Truly Horrible Detective

Rumor has it that season 3 of True Detective will be set in the suburbs and they'll just use the same aerial photos over and over. (Image from skyscrapercity dot com)
Rumor has it that season 3 of True Detective will be set in the suburbs and they’ll just use the same aerial footage over and over – because you know, suburbs.  (Image from skyscrapercity dot com)

I’m far from the first person to point out how disappointingly bad the second season of HBO’s “True Detective” has been. I just watched another recorded episode last night, in the futile hopes that the series would somehow pull itself together.  I’d watch the finale but I’ve gotten behind on “Naked and Afraid” and to be honest, even watching filthy digitized people eat barbequed snake is more entertaining than this season’s edition of “True Detective”.

The first season was quite good, and cynical viewers might have expected a certain amount of drop-off in quality for season two, but this has been more along the lines of a bungee jump without the cord.  Here are a few comparisons of how using the same recipe with different ingredients can go horribly wrong:

Season 1: Aerial shots of vast Louisiana swamps and woodlands – worked because it reinforced the plot.  You could easily imagine creepy people doing awful things out in the middle of nowhere.

Season 2: Aerial shots of vast highway interchanges and rail yards – didn’t work because the shots brought to mind strip mining and commuting more than violent crime.  It also seemed like there was twice as much aerial footage – maybe they had extra money in the budget for helicopter shots.  At least it reduced the number of times we had to look at Collin Farrell pushing his Shemp-style hair back out of his face.

Quiet you numbskull! I'm trying to solve crimes and sulk! (Image from movieline dot com)
Quiet you numbskull! I’m trying to solve crimes and sulk! (Image from movieline dot com)

Season 1: Powerful secret organization hides terrible secrets of child abuse and murder – worked because anyone perpetrating such atrocious crimes would be secretive by nature, and who doesn’t suspect that powerful, rich people are up to no good?

Season 2: Powerful men have big sex parties with beautiful prostitutes and/or meet in richly appointed studies to make shady land deals – didn’t work because while the idea of shady land deals is entirely believable, the thought of captains of industry and politicians having orgiastic fun in front of one another is absurd.

I don't care how hot your date is; if you see a couple like this across the room at the mansion, it's gonna be a buzz-kill. (Image from africanewsposts dot com)
I don’t care if you have a hot date and a wrinkle fetish; if you see a couple like this across the rumpus room at the mansion, it’s gonna be a buzz-kill. (Image from africanewsposts dot com)

Season 1: Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughay play cops with personal demons and are dedicated to solving a case despite  overwhelming odds against them – worked because Woody portrayed a blue collar cop who plays fast and loose, while McConaughay’s character is a brainiac whose oddness and intellect are both his best and worst enemies.  Harrelson’s character is responsible for asking McConaughay’s WTF he’s talking about during his philosophical rants.

Season 2: Collin Farrell, Rachel McAdams and Taylor Kitsch play cops with personal demons and are dedicated to solving a case despite overwhelming odds against them – didn’t work because for the most part, it was difficult to have much compassion for any of them.  Every other line had one of them making obtuse comments about the meaning of life.  The is no sounding board character, so the audience must ask WTF these people are talking about during their philosophical rants.

Interesting. Is this a sexual analogy or are there actual blue balls in your heart? (Image from wikia dot com)
Interesting. You say that you should “..never do anything out of hunger, not even eating“.  Is there another reason to eat, or will you explain it to me in the next episode? (Image from wikia dot com)

Season 1: Opening credits, music – worked because the images and music evoked the overlapping of good and bad, light and dark, etc.  Hearing the theme song “Far From Any Road” still creeps me out.  The low, mechanical rumble during suspenseful scenes brings to mind the beating heart of a dangerous, hidden evil.

Season 2: Opening credits, theme music – did not work because…I don’t even know why it didn’t work, but it didn’t.  The theme song title, “Nevermind”  sounds like good advice.  The low, mechanical rumble during suspenseful scenes brings to mind the possibility that someone is having an MRI nearby.

Odds and Ends:

  • The bruised girl singing in the dive bar every time Collin Farrel’s character needs to have a confidential meeting.  I’m sorry, there’s just no way she gets to sing there or anywhere else – not even on open-mike night in the City of the Deaf.  Replace that droning songbird with the karaoke talents of out-of-town businessmen singing The Cowboy Junkies songbook.
  • The cops, one of whom was working in the same capacity as Erik Estrada’s character on CHiPs, have the ability to look at complicated legal documents and instantly determine what the fuck they actually mean.  I didn’t realize that motorcycle cops had advanced training in contract law.
  • Collin Farrel’s pudgy, ginger son – I know about as much about genetics as I do about the legal documents for land transactions, but I know it’s genetically impossible to have a kid who looks like that from any combination of those three parents.
  • They always pick the right door for the plot.  Kitsch’s character is being held in a labyrinth of tunnels which according to one of the bad guys, “runs beneath the entire city.”  He somehow escapes, killing a half dozen special forces guys who shine their flashlights to give him good targets.  After scrambling through miles of tunnels, he emerges via a ladder up to the street level, and the last bad cop is standing right behind the door waiting to shoot him in the back.  In an earlier scene, Rachel McAdams is stumbling around a huge mansion dragging a drugged woman along behind her.  No one is able to stop her despite her sluggish cargo.  She happens to emerge from one of the dozen or more available exterior doors to where Kitsch is standing waiting for her.  I can’t find the men’s room at the Cheesecake Factory but somehow these characters manage to pick the right door.
  • Some of the most stilted, unnatural dialogue I’ve ever heard.  Vince Vaughn’s character alone has more awkward things to say in any one episode than I’ve said in my entire life (including some epic drunken stupors and childhood night terrors).  It’s difficult to imagine an actor reading those lines and not asking for someone to consider rewriting it to sound like it’s being said by a human being.  If you think I’m exaggerating, please note that in one scene, Vince Vaughn’s character made an analogy that not being able to identify his enemies “Is balls in your heart“.
I'm no cardiologist, but I'm thinking this can't be good.
I’m no cardiologist, but I’m thinking this can’t be good.

HBO has contracted with writer Nic Pizzolatto for one more season.  Like any true optimistic masochist, I’ll tune in to see if the same formula for season 3 yields an incredible souffle or cold scrambled eggs.  A quick FYI; I have a couple of manuscripts on the back burner if HBO is looking for new writing talent.

My Word Souffle Fell Flat

Exhibit 1: Colored pencil illustration for my entry in the "Lust" in Katydid's Seven Deadly Sins competition.  The post, thought by me to be the best one I'd done in the contest didn't even make it to the finals.  The drawing scored yawns from readers.
Exhibit 1: Colored pencil illustration for my entry in the “Lust” chapter in K8edid’s Seven Deadly Sins competition. The post, thought by me to be the best one I’d done in the contest, didn’t even make it to the finals. The drawing scored yawns from readers.  If you decide to click the links at the end, you may want to go back to the gluttony one first and read them in order.

I thought my last post was pretty good.  It had lots of great ingredients including a bubble-headed newscaster, Lady Gaga, Academy Awards and racial slurs.  In my book, that’s a can’t-lose recipe.  I tossed that crap in my handy WordPress Lazy Blogger Crock Pot®, set the timer and toddled off to work.  Eight hours later, I’d open the front door and be greeted by the savory aroma of delicious comments and a bountiful platter of steaming “likes”.  I knew better than to hope for any Freshly Pressed action – this post was discomfort food, not French-Asian fusion cuisine featuring fair-trade organic lemongrass and sustainable free-range snails [Food analogies inserted to whet the readers’ appetites and make blog writing seem as effortless for me as slow cooking.  Analogy of Freshly Pressed as some sort of trendy, politically-correct restaurant is due to my being a bitter man who can’t get a reservation]

In some people's eyes, these are nothing but miniature cabbages, but in the hands of a master chef, they can be steamed over simmering rice wine, garnished with a chiffonade of Thai basil and served in groups of 3 for $17.
In some people’s eyes, these are nothing but miniature cabbages, but in the hands of a master chef, they can be steamed over herbed rice wine, garnished with a chiffonade of Thai basil and served in groups of 3 for $17.

I followed the instructions to the letter, adding a little extra salt and a pinch of cayenne, then left for my day of toiling making the world a better place for special-needs youngsters [Shameless self-promotion inserted to make people feel crappy for not reading my last post]

Shameless self promotional shot of me helping my post-stroke, ass-paralyzed dog.  Disclaimer: I am not a licensed dog physical therapist and may have only done this to keep the pooch frm crapping in the house.  Good news, she's recovered the use of her ass, and is back to being ignored by me.
Shameless self-promotional shot of me helping my post-stroke, ass-paralyzed dog. Disclaimer: I am not a licensed dog physical therapist and may have only done this to keep the pooch from crapping in the house. Good news, she’s recovered the use of her ass end, and is back to annoying the daylights out of me.

I trudged through the door that night and rushed to turn on the laptop.  I was greeted with a mere four likes and a handful of comments from a few of my more ardent supporters.  Four likes?!  A fifth like showed up later, but it was clearly a “sympathy like” at best.  I responded to each and every comment, and waited patiently for the momentum to pick back up.  I jiggled the cord to make sure it was plugged in and touched the side to see if it had warmed up [Appliance malfunction analogy inserted to hint at my disappointment and grumbling stomach.  Grumbling stomach analogy inserted into aside to imply that I’ll starve without positive reinforcement.  Rushing to my laptop involved ignoring the greetings of both my long-suffering wife and gimpy-but-faithful dog]

It’s been too long now, there may be more likes trickling in and possibly a comment or two, but by this point, the post is buried and the expiration date on the topics has come and gone.  My post before that one was over at The Nudge Wink Report.  It had just a few words and was mostly comprised of cut-n-paste images of Kim Kardashian and her ample tushy being put in a bunch of silly places.  It was far from my best work and I was fully prepared to be accused of having “smart-phoned it in”.  Despite my doubts about the quality, the post got a butt-load of likes and a bumper crop of comments!  Mrs. Kanye West’s ass pasted onto my dog’s nose is apparently blog gold. [Kim and Kanye reference inserted to allow me to put them in my tags for this post with a clear conscience – thus increasing my hits exponentially.  Choice of using the words “butt load” and “bumper crop” in reference to ass-themed post responses was entirely intentional]

Kim's keister perched on a snifter of imperial stout?  Is this what it takes to get blog hits?
Kim’s keister perched on a snifter of imperial stout? Is this what it takes to get blog hits?

My first instinct, as a born pleaser, was to try to figure out what I’d done wrong.  Surely there were errors in my less successful post and some sort of mysterious appeal to the more popular one.  This is far from the first time I’d wondered what I’d done to displease the masses. [Self-reflection reference inserted to paint the author as being a little deeper than someone with an apparent fascination with Kim’s sizeable fanny might otherwise appear]

The bigger question eventually rises to the surface and sits there waiting to be acknowledged, like a turd in the punch bowl which can’t be ignored any longer.  Here it is; Who exactly am I writing for? [Rhetorical question inserted in hopes of eliciting cries of “Me, Dave! You’re writing for me – I simply can’t get enough of your snarky brilliance!”.  Turd in the punch bowl analogy inserted because, you know…poop humor]

I’ll be the first to admit that most of my blog posts are not exactly the stuff of literary artistry.  I have written a handful of serious posts and some marginally humorous fiction in the past, but my blog identity is largely that of a smart-ass commenting on the news and/or the idiocy of the world.  I enjoy making people laugh or even just smile.  I like the thought of being the sarcastic voice of people who are annoyed or amused by the goofiness of our world. [As if to imply that most folk simply can’t read news stories and shake their heads in amazement without checking for my two cents first.  You really should be insulted]

Insert photo of braying donkey here.  Great teeth, you jack-ass!
Insert photo of braying donkey here. Great teeth, you jack-ass!

If I’ve learned nothing else from drawing and writing, it’s that people are going to like what they like, and not necessarily what I find appealing.  The differing tastes and opinions of people is part of what makes the world go ’round. [Reference to my occasional drawing inserted to portray myself as something of a renaissance man, albeit one who had to try three times before finally spelling “renaissance” correctly.  Reference to “making the world go ’round” is a bold-faced lie – we all know damn well that people with poor taste should not be tolerated, and couldn’t have less to do with the rotation of a planet]

Bet you thought I was going to put the picture of the pig in the dress in here again, didn't you?  I'm not just a one trick pony, you know.
Bet you thought I was going to put the picture of the pig in the dress in here again, didn’t you? I’m not just a one trick pony, you know.  On a side note, I noticed some awful issues with this drawing, so I’ll probably never use it again.

Please don’t think this is some kind of a “Read my blog or I’m gonna quit” threat-fest. [Actually, that’s exactly what this is – you damn people better start coddling me a little or I’m going to take my mad writing skills over to the “Rants and Raves” section of the local Craigslist and hang out with the illiterate crowd.  They’ll appreciate me even less, but there’s no like button there, so I won’t know]

Here are a few links to some of the posts I mentioned – no obligation, I’m just happy you actually got to the end of the post:


Deadly Sins #1 Gluttony

DS #2 Envy

DS #3 Sloth

DS #4 Lust

Gaga-boo Music

Nudge Wink Kardashian cut-n-paste post




Welcome Back, Squatter

I looked for photos of actual squatters, but felt the ones I found were demeaning.  This woman chose to dress this way to perform squats, and as such, she demeans only herself.  By the way, honey, love the shoes!  (Image from thegreatfitnessexperiment dot com)
I looked for photos of actual squatters, but felt the ones I found were demeaning. This photo features a woman doing squats in a snazzy lavender outfit. By the way, honey, love the shoes! (Image from thegreatfitnessexperiment dot com)

I’ve been gone from this blog for a while.

I’m tempted to come up with some elaborate tale of intrigue to explain why I’ve been absent.  Kidnapped by land pirates, I’ve been held hostage in their underground lair and tortured daily as they tried in vain to get me to divulge the passwords to my 403b and savings accounts.  With that knowledge, they could abscond with the few remaining nickels of my nest egg which may still be been left since the Target data breach and laptop theft from the offices of my dental insurance company in Newark a few weeks before that.

Alas, I have no such story.  There is nothing to report of my overcoming adversity to acend from the ashes like a bald phoenix.  There’s been no bravery to report nor any triumph of spirit against overwhelming odds.

It would be easy to pin this on the holidays.  Who could blame me for caving in to the impossible pressure of trying to live up to the uber-consumerism of Lexus commercials or the Norman Rockwellian family bliss of nearly every one of my friends’ posts on Facebook?  Surely it would be easy to connect my lack of productivity to jolly old St. Nick and the hollow feelings which hover close by nearly every December.

If the holidays weren’t daunting enough, I could blame the weather.  Though many people have suffered far worse weather than I in recent weeks, the lack of sun and chilly temperatures could be the problem.  Seasonal affective disorder could be the root cause, but it’s not.  If anything, the lack of any excuse whatsoever to go outdoors should be making me write more, not less.

It would be ludicrous to think that my dwindling posts have been due to a lack of fodder.  Anyone who reads my blog with any regularity knows better than that.  I can crank out 800 words whining about damn near anything at the drop of a hat.  In the past week or three, there have been more slow-pitched, beach ball-sized topics lobbed over my blog plate than I could count.  Even if I swung my giant cartoon bat like a girl, I would have had home runs nearly every time.  Yet, I never even made it to the on-deck circle, preferring to sit in the dug-out gnawing on sunflower seeds and ignoring the game.

I will admit to having spent more time than usual tending to my seasonal duties, putting up and then taking down Christmas lights and decorations.  I was also relegated to the kitchen for 3 straight days, cranking out feasts for the usual suspects.  Still, those tasks coincided with my being free of my work-for-pay responsibilities, so there was ample room in my days for a little blogging, and yet I didn’t write a stinking word.  In fact, I’ve barely read any blogs in weeks.

I just haven’t felt like writing, or reading, or participating.  In reality, I’ve been nothing more than an intellectual squatter in these parts for these past weeks.  Squatters by definition reside in empty or abandoned locales, so it wouldn’t really apply to WordPress, where the rest of you appear to be very active occupants.  I consider myself a squatter more because I paid no rent, made no contribution and had no business being here.

Alas, with the coming of a new year, comes grandiose promises.  If I’ve learned a damn thing over the past 50-odd new years, it would be that it’s wise to keep my foolish promises to yourself.  Rather than set myself up for failure, I’ll just leave it at this: I’m going to stop being a WordPress squatter.  Hopefully, I’ll accomplish this feat by writing again.

Twelve Days of Silence

Illustration of the Easter Bunny in the off-season.  This aint no comic book drawing.
Illustration of the Easter Bunny in the off-season. This aint no comic book drawing.

I was glancing through my abysmal stats and realized with a dull surprise that I haven’t posted jack-squat in twelve days.

It’s not as if the world hasn’t been providing me with more than enough fodder to ridicule or outlandish news to leave me gob-smacked.  The fault is not the world’s, it’s entirely mine.  I’ve let life get in the way of writing about life and you, my loyal readers have suffered for it.  I apologize.

Installing Vine on my not-so-smart phone certainly hasn’t helped my productivity.  I’ve been snacking on 6 second videos which make Tweets from B-list celebrities look like James Michener novels.

I’ve also been on a diet.  While hopefully easing my waistline back away from triple digits, it’s been fairly miserable.  I don’t how I can possibly be expected to write when my stomach is desperately crying out for food and booze.  On one occasion my keyboard started looking like a deluxe assortment of licorice and dark chocolates decorated with letters and numbers.

Then the other day I was knocked out of my stupor.  The talented Andrew of Shut Up Dad posted a blog letting us all know he’d published his first e-book.  After 1.4 seconds of being impressed and happy for his accomplishment, I moved into a state of seething jealousy.  I decided right then that I’m going to get one of my works published (I’m sure someone will do it if I pay them enough).

I’ve been gradually adding to a short story I posted around the holidays which four or five of you might recall reading, called “Christmas Greetings From The Zombie Apocalypse“.  As you might gather from the title, it’s a light-hearted romp filled with tender moments and wholesome family values.  Actually, it’s not.  Feel free to see for yourself.

I was considering trying my hand at presenting CGFTZA as a graphic novel.  For those of you in the dark about the format, “graphic novels” may also be referred to as “expensive comic books“.  After careful consideration of the graphic novel idea, I had to admit to myself that my drawing style is not really along the lines of the comic book art, or at least not what I would want.  More importantly, I draw even slower than I write, so it would likely take decades to accomplish.

So anyway, now I’ve really done it.  I’ve promised myself to get something finished and published (e or otherwise) here in this most public of venues.  Crap!  Now I have to do it.

Flakey Like A Biscuit

The cover art from my upcoming CD.  I figure even if the music sucks, someone might buy it because they're hungry.  (Image from evil shenanigans dot com)
The cover art from my upcoming CD. I figure even if the music sucks, someone might buy it because they’re hungry. (Image from evil shenanigans dot com)

After a brief inventory of my life, I came to the realization that I’ve never written a top-40 song.  Technically, I’ve never actually written a bottom-40 song either.  With apologies to actual songwriters everywhere, and to my long-time follower, the fabulous yet M.I.A. FreddyFlow, I offer my first attempt at songwriting since having my heart broken in 7th grade.  (Please disregard the fact that I’m a middle-aged, lily-white suburbanite and just accept the fact that anyone with basic cable has access to both MTV and re-runs of “The Fresh Prince of Bel Air”)


You so damn fine,

Playin handball in my mind,

You been runnin laps-es,

All up in my synapses,


Went three blocks out my way,

Just watchin how you sway,

Girl then we got to talkin’,

Once you finally finished walkin’,


I listened for a minute,

N I quickly reached my limit,

I think you better go back,

N take another Prozac,


You look as hot as Tempe,

But yo pretty skull is empty,

You might look fine to Hef,

Got me wishin’ I was deaf,



Flakey like a biscuit, a bis-cuit, a bis-cuit,

Flakey like a biscuit – every time I hear you speak,

Aint no amount of butter,

Can cover what you utter,

You flakey like a biscuit and that aint no way to be,


I’m-a leave you standin’ here,

Get some cotton for my ears,

Don’t need no selfish chatter,

All up in my gray matter,


You make a sexy picture,

But your brain is like a mixture,

It might be two parts moon rays,

N five more parts of cray-cray,


Got a ego like The Donald,

Suck attention like a funnel,

When your ruby lips start movin’,

Your appearance stops improvin’,



Flakey like a biscuit, a bis-cuit, a bis-cuit,

Flakey like a biscuit every time I hear you speak,

Aint no amount of butter,

Can cover what you utter,

Flakey like a biscuit and that aint no way to be,


Dr. Phil don’t want no part,

Of your nasty, mangled heart,

There aint no magic tonic,

Can cure a true moronic,


You like a box from Russell Stover,

Filled with turds from my dog Rover,

Lookin’ fine that candy shell,

Chewy center – nasty smell,


Aint too deep inside yo mind,

No diving please, you break yo spine,

Need no lifeguard on the side,

Shallow here – my socks are dry,



Flakey like a biscuit, a bis-cuit, a bis-cuit,

Flakey like a biscuit – every time I hear you speak,

Aint no amount of butter,

Can cover what you utter,

You flakey like a biscuit and that aint no way to be

Put Some Sunblock On That Labradoodle’s Ass!

I know, a space suit right?  It'll keep him safe from gamma rays and he'll be able to sniff his own butt!  (Image from )
Forget the dopey sweater, I’m dressing my mutt in a spacesuit! It’ll keep him safe from gamma rays and protect me from his breath! (Image from Animation Library dot com)

There’s an old saying which goes something like this: Even the sun shines on a dog’s ass somedays.  Essentially it means that everyone gets lucky at some point or another.  Well guess who’s lucky today?  That’s right people – today is my day!  The blog-goddess Peg has bestowed the highest of honors upon yours truly!

She created a weekly feature on her blog which highlights a post that should have been Freshly Pressed on the front page of WordPress but was somehow overlooked.    Her weekly spotlight is shining on this dog’s ass today and my tail is wagging proudly.  After pressure from legions of followers, Peg has christened these snubbed gems as “Freshly Pegged”.  To the best of my knowledge, she has yet to receive any cease-and-desist notices from the corporate boys up at WordPress HQ.

If you’re not following Peg over at Peg-o-Leg’s Ramblings, there’s a good chance that your diet is lacking lierary fiber and the kind of homespun midwestern humor that’ll stick to your ribs.  In any case, as loyal lemmings of good old 1 Point himself, you are commanded to click on the link above to Peg’s place to see my post – that’s an order.  Wipe your feet and mind your manners while you’re there – don’t embarrass me, dammit!

The post of mine which Peg is featuring is my initial entry in The 7 Deadly Sins contest, hosted by the one and only k8edid.  Entries could be no more than 600 words, and had to include death and/or the threat thereof as well as a connection to the deadly sin of the week.  The deadly sin for this particular post was “gluttony”.  The title is “Willie Prader, Private Eye – Deadly Sin Series – A Glutton For Punishment“.  I drew the illustration in a pathetic attempt to improve my chances at winning and to distract readers from typos and holes in the plot.  While I did manage to win gluttony plus one more sin, I missed out on the Freshly Pressed brass ring.

k8edid’s blog is always packed with great writing; for example, she recently revealed that she’s not dead!  Please click on Peg’s link before k8edid’s – there are rules of etiquette which must be maintained.  We simply can’t have you people flitting around WordPress all willy-nilly.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to put on some Coppertone on my tail.

1Point’s Guide to Winning Blogs: Chapter 2 – Topics

Everyone knows that some topics are just more appealing than others.  If you write about the best way to peel a rutabaga, you shouldn’t be too surprised at the lack of hits.  Juicy, sexy topics will almost certainly be more popular.  Many readers, just like actual people, are bottom-feeding gutter dwellers.  They savor scandal and yearn to laugh at the idiocy of others.

So penning a post on the “Real Housewives of Tulsa” or a similar bit of pop-culture fluff will almost guarantee hits.  Even so, you’ll inevitably get comments from people who don’t watch “those shows”.  Given half a chance, they’ll point out that while you’re watching inept goldminers sift through dirt and try to fix broken front-end loaders, they’re sitting on their intellectual buttocks watching BBC America for the higher-browed, better versions of The Office, Kitchen Nightmares and Who Wants to be a Bloody Millionaire, Eh Guv-nah?

The long-standing advice to writers has always been to “write what you know”.  This advice is quite logical, as writing about what you don’t know is damn near impossible.  If you doubt me, refer to my post titled, How the Minds of Women Work”

The trouble is that what most of us “know” is pretty boring and not even of interest to ourselves, let alone others.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve started writing a post on “wheelchair seating assessments for the non-ambulatory pediatric population” only to realize that there’s just not enough sex and violence to keep most readers on the hook.  Similarly, my post “Forty Shades of Brown” on the best approaches to raking leaves in a yard littered with Labradoodle dookie, while filled with useful information, fell flat on the hits.  I’m almost certain that recounting a less successful outing in the yard, complete with slips, falls and cursing would have been better received.

The best strategy then, is this; if you have to write what you know, be sure to jazz it up with some dirty humor and fabricated violence whenever possible.  I’ll show you what I mean.  Here’s a brief paragraph I wrote up for an example;

Peeling a rutabaga doesn’t have to be difficult.  Using a sharp knife and cutting board, I start at the end where one of the flat spots is.  I chop a fairly thick slab off – maybe a 1/4 inch – parallel to the flat spot.  This gives me a nice stable root vegetable to work with – you don’t want that thing rolling around when you’re handling sharp knives!  Next, I systematically slice the waxy skin from the equator down towards the cutting board.  Don’t worry if you cut the skin off on the thick side, rutabagas are pretty big – you should still have plenty!  In my next post, I’ll describe the best way to chop, cook and prepare the rutabagas for your table!

There wasn’t much wrong with that paragraph.  It gave a fairly decent idea of how to peel a rutabaga.  My special hints on how to make the homely rutabaga a star on your Thanksgiving table will remain top secret.  I’m trying to instruct you rubes on how to write successful blogs, if you think I’m going to divulge decades of culinary knowledge in the process, then you’ve got another thing coming.  Wait..Don’t pout!  You know it pulls at my heart strings to see you that way.  Alright… I’ll give you a cooking hint, but then it’s back to writing winning blogs.  Here it is:  If you put enough butter on it, even a turd becomes appetizing.  Happy now?  Good!  Now let’s dab those tears away and get back to writing.  I’m going to take that same paragraph, but punch it up and really give it some zip.

You want to know how to peel a rutabaga?  Cut all the waxy crap off the outside of it and try not to lose any fingers.  If you’re a woman – and you should be, because this is woman’s work, after all – I suggest wearing a lacy apron and a pair of pumps while you do it.  It’d be nice if you did something with your hair too, but it’s not mandatory.  When you’re about half way done, put down the knife and go see if your man needs his martini refreshed.  When you ask him, try to smile and use a soothing tone – he’s probably had a tough day already.  If he slaps you on the fanny as you turn to return to the kitchen, be a good sport and give him a little squeal.

Did you notice the difference?  It was subtle – go back and read the two paragraphs again if you need to, I’ll wait.

To the novice author, this is a rutabaga on a window sill.  To the seasoned story-teller, this is a sexy orb of starchy desire.  Its pale orange skin and bruise-colored markings just need a little lace and maybe a sharp knife.
To the novice author, this is a rutabaga on a window sill. To the seasoned story-teller, this is a sexy orb of starchy desire. Its pale orange skin and bruise-colored markings just need a little lace and maybe a sharp knife.

Careful readers might think that the second paragraph was a tad sexist.  I wouldn’t be surprised if the more sensitive among you were even insulted by it.  The important thing is the end result; the next time I post something, no matter how inane the subject matter, readers will hopefully click on it as they mutter the words “I wonder what that idiot will say this time“.

To summarize, it doesn’t matter what your topic is, as long as you write with some style and a voice, even if the voice is that of a moron.  Here are some more helpful rules of thumb:

  • If the post is “clean” enough to send to your 12 year old niece, you need to go back and sex it up.  You also need to drop your niece off your email list.  I’m sure she has more than enough homework and only reads your blog because your sister-in-law makes her.
  • If there aren’t enough scatalogical references to keep the attention of your average 6th grade boy, then put some in there.  Refer to my “buttering a turd” reference above – that one’s a gem!
  • If no one gets slapped, pinched or threatened, you need to find a way to work that kind of stuff into your post – I’m telling you, violence is blog gold!
  • Finally – Give your blog a test-read, aloud, before you consider publishing it.  If it sounds like the audio-book adaptation for “Changing The Oil In Your Ford Taurus”, narrated by Ben Stein, you’ll need to consider an overhaul, or better yet, just trash it and start over.

Tune in next time, when I provide more tips for writing winning blogs!

Here's 1point in happier times, before the cardboard dwelling, before fighting a bum named "Lefty" for the rights to the steam grate.
Here’s 1point in happier times, before the cardboard dwelling, before fighting a bum named “Ostrich” for the rights to the steam grate.

About the author:  Ironically, despite his massive following and several “likes” of most of his posts, 1pointperspective has yet to be Freshly Pressed.  He’s been blogging about the goings on in his head for 10 months or so, and he doesn’t seem to heed his own advice, except for the stuff about poop references.  He lives in a cardboard box just adjacent to a steam grate, just south of City Hall in Philadelphia.  When not giving free blog advice, he pan-handles and screams at tourists. 

These Grapes Are Sour…Or Not

I didn’t draw this, it from Ayem

In the realm of fantasy football, it’s a given that if you win, you can consider yourself a strategic genius, with a better understanding of the nuances of the game than those chuckleheads at the water cooler.  If you lose, it’s simply because the entire structure of fantasy football is based on nothing more than dumb luck.

I’m beginning to think that I’m going to feel the same way about Freshly Pressed.  For those readers who are not particularly familiar with it, Freshly Pressed is sort of the front page of WordPress.  Having a piece posted there will give a huge number of readers a good look at you.  After a day or so, there’s a new crop, but for one Warhol-esque moment, you’re a star.  Some folks get their pieces posted there regularly, and others never seem to.  Without sounding bitter, though I know I will, I’ll admit that I’ve never had a post Freshly Pressed.

Supposedly, the posts featured on FP (as the blog savvy like to call it), are hand-picked by mystical blog editors at WordPress.  I don’t know if this is true.  If it is, I think this group of critics may have a communal weakness for pretty pictures and food.  A recent inventory of the 19 blogs featured on the first page of FP showed that roughly a third of them were non-writing intensive subjects.  Three of them were straight-up recipes for various desserts and cocktails.  One was a craft project with step by step instructions, one was the photography of the contributor.  Finally, one was an assortment of paintings and prints by famous and less famous artists from hundreds of years ago, all of a similar subject matter.

While any self-professed writer would scoff at the idea of competing with pages from cook books and craft projects, the idea of the last one really goes beyond absurd.  This blogger cut and pasted a bunch of other people’s artwork about a specific subject and posted it, with no text other than the title.  It wasn’t the blogger’s fault – people post blogs of far more inane subject matter which require even less effort or content.  The finger of blame must be pointed directly at the FP editors, assuming they actually exist.

Let’s compare and contrast shall we?

A writer has been struck by a notion.  He starts putting thoughts down on virtual paper, eventually forming his ideas into sentences and his sentences into paragraphs.  He forms his paragraphs into a logical sequence.  He finds a photo from the internet, cuts, pastes and inserts it into his post, with some sort of credit to the photographer.  Once finished, he re-reads and edits the post repeatedly trying to weed out typos and awkward sentences.  When he has finally decided the post is ready, he hits the “publish” button and hopes for the best.  Maybe this time, the FP gods will smile upon him.

Another person sits at his PC.  He figures out a topic he likes, let’s say it’s brides and grooms.  He then scans the internet, looking for paintings, lithographs and drawings of brides and grooms from the last four or five hundred years.  He cuts and pastes 25 or 30 of them into a post, gives credit to the artists and/or museum the drawings came from and hits “Publish”.  Other than those footnotes of credit and the 5 or 6 words of the title, he has not typed a word.  Though to be fair, he probably did type “brides and grooms” into Google Images at some point.

The writer doesn’t get Freshly Pressed on a blog site with the word “Word” in its name, and the web searcher who has clipped photos of other people’s art, is right there on the front page, smack in the middle of FP royalty.

So, as I continue to write and occasionally illustrate my posts with hopes for being Freshly Pressed someday, I’ll cling to my fantasy football logic that it’s merely dumb luck when someone gets FP’ed.  In the event that I actually do end up with a Freshly Pressed post, I’ll surely consider it to be due to my incredible talent and work ethic.  I just hope and pray my beautiful work of writing doesn’t pale in comparison to the cookie recipe next to it.

Silence Everyone, I’m Writing My Book!

“I’m writing my book

I can’t think of a more wildly pretentious thing to say.   For extra snooty points, I should always refer to it as a novel.   Either way, it’s certainly way more hoity-toidy than saying “I’m working on my blog post about Gilligan’s Island”

Hey numbskull, I’m thinkin’ here! Nyuk Nyuk Nyuk (Image from

That being said, I’ve been working on a novel for several years.  For the record, my “work” on it has been sporadic at best.  It’s not unlike someone buying oil paints and a canvas and proclaiming that they’re “working on a painting”.  The canvas is all set up on the easel, the tubes of paint are laid out next to the palette, the brushes are ready and willing.  Six months later, the entire tableau sits there inert and is covered with a thin coating of dust, the canvas still about as blank as Sarah Palin’s resume.

Last week, I went to the beach for my annual 7 days of vacation.  I told myself that since it was a vacation, I would not be writing my blog.  I was going to spare my family the sight of me hunched over the laptop all day and night typing some annoyingly self-absorbed blather and then forcing them all to read it.  Besides, it’s nearly impossible to work on my skin cancer and type at the same time, I’d end up with white frown-wrinkles running across my rather expansive forehead like elevation lines on a topographical map of Mars.

I opted for a more noble pursuit during vacation, I’d work on writing my book – I’m sorry, my novel.

I typically start my vacation days up by 5 A.M., standing knee-deep in the Atlantic watching the sun come up while not catching fish.  This year, I managed to forget my fishing equipment entirely in the frenzy to pack everything else we own into the car.  Not to worry, I’d still get up at 5, but spend my quiet morning hours writing instead.  I pictured myself out on the deck, the cool morning breeze swirling the steam from my nearby cup of coffee as I wrote chapter after chapter.  When the rest of the family eventually stumbled out of bed, I’d click “save”, shut down the laptop and start cooking breakfast, changing diapers and putting sunblock on them – the family members, not the diapers.

Sounds positively romantic doesn’t it?

My first morning on the deck proved to be less than successful.  It turns out when you’re situated two blocks from the ocean to the east and two blocks from the bay on the west, there’s lot’s of condensation on the furniture at dawn’s early light.  I went back inside on tip toes and found towels for the chair and table.  I sat myself down and flipped open the laptop.  Sadly, there was enough early light in the sky by then that I got lots of glare on the screen, and more than a few bugs.  If you want to see a “no-see-um” just have them land all over your computer screen.

I shifted to Plan B – moving my coffee, laptop and funky-bad-self into the living room.  I got cozy in a large armchair, propped my feet up on the ottoman, took a sip of coffee, and opened the file.

I knew better than to think that I’d just start writing, so I busied myself reading what I had so far.  Before long, I had found some redundancies and inconsistencies.  I reworked a few awkward sentences, moved some things around.  As for putting new words on the screen, I didn’t get to that before the rest of the family started getting up and requiring my attention.

The days ticked by as I tried unsuccessfully to get some actual writing done.  I had switched from the upholstered chair to the dining room chair with the computer on the table top.

Finally, after four days of trying, I was able to write a little bit.  Not multiple chapters, but some pages.

I realized what actual writers already know; writing is work.  It’s not supposed to be relaxing or something you do because you have some free time.  It’s not necessarily easy to do.  The end result will hopefully appear fluid and engaging – the effortless telling of a story – but there’s sweat behind it.

Unlike many pursuits, like boatbuilding or biomedical research, writing a book is something that anyone can say they’re doing.  Go steal yourself a legal pad from work, or open a new Word file.  Name it “book project”, hit save, and you’re a self proclaimed author.  On some level, that’s exactly who I am.  More correctly, that’s who I was.  I am vowing right here before my massive population of blog readers  – all 16 of you –  to not tell anyone that I am writing a novel, until I have actually written at least 3/4’s of one.

I’m going to hit “publish” now and rid myself of this post so that I can focus on my novel.

When I’m done with my novel, I’m considering taking a break from writing to try my hand at boat building or working in oils.

Act III, Final Scene

She glanced around the room, looking at her feet and then the framed prints on the wall.  She felt like she’d never really seen the images before, despite so many years in the house.  She avoided his face, knowing how deep the pain was she would see in his eyes.

She tried to make small talk, about the yard, the weather.  She knew she sounded like an idiot, but couldn’t stand the silence.

After an eternity, he finally spoke.

“Look,”  he said, “I’m exhausted.  Shut the door behind you”

Glad for the excuse to leave, but terrified she’d never be back, she twisted the cold brass knob.