A Bit About Me

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Along with my daily duties as founder and head writer of HumorMeOnline.com, in 2003, I took the Grand Prize in the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest (also known as the "It Was a Dark and Stormy Night" competition). I've also been a contributor to "The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson" and the web's "The Late Show with David Letterman". I also occupy my time writing three blogs, "Blogged Down at the Moment", "Brit Word of the Day" and "Production Numbers"...and my off-time is spent contemplating in an "on again/off again" fashion...my feable attempts at writing any one of a dozen books. I would love to write professionally one day...and by that I mean "actually get a paycheck".

23 October 2008

Sounding Off

I have a "white noise" machine. Well, actually, it's one of those "sound" machines the "Sharper Image" people make. It comes with such "soothing and calming" sounds as: White Noise, Heart Beat, North Woods, California Coast, Rain, Ocean, Brook, Summer Night, Rain Forest, and Tropical Cruise.

The theory behind these things is innocuous enough: mask noises so you can relax, fall asleep, not be able to eavesdrop on someone else's therapy session, etc. And, in this theory, it sounds like a great, applaudable and laudable idea...until you get the darned thing home, plug it in, and...


The sounds are on a loop. A continuous "can actually pick it up - audibly" loop. You can tell where it ends and where the "seam" is. If you've ever watched a looped video - there's that "jump" you can see when it starts from square one again. I swear I can "hear" the jump on these.

And they are far from "natural" representations of nature - in fact, some are downright frightening. Instead of that nice peaceful sit by the lake in the "woods" as you originally "bargained for" -- you know, sitting by the campfire, roasting marshmallows and getting all "kum-bah-ya" and then...unbeknownst to you, you suddenly get "worst nightmare in the Serengeti". I swear it sounds as if something or someONE is being gnawed on...off in the distance. If you've ever seen The Twilight Zone episode "The Jungle" where the couple brings some trinkets home from Africa...and he and his wife end up being stalked in their own Manhattan apartment only to be torn to shreds (sorry to spoil it for you - but it's only been out since 1961). Well, that said...hopefully you don't have a monkey paw back scratcher or elephant wastepaper basket from Pier 1 Imports or anything dessiccated once belonging to a living jungle animal. To be on the safe side, that "good luck" rabbit's foot Uncle Joe picked up for you when you were a kid - (you remember) you got a green one, your sister's was purple and she wouldn't let you trade -- you've long since forgotten but they've been lying about the house since circa 1969 - or that pig's ear "chewy" you just picked up for the family dog? Well, I'd change the dial...just in case.

Edgar Allan Poe's "Tell-Tale Heart" has nothing on this "Heart-Beat" one - if you'd like great ambient music to play while kids are "Trick or Treating" - crank this baby up...it's sure to scare them senseless.

The "Brook" - by their own admittance from several people - brings thoughts to the forefront of another kind flowing into their minds - constant flowing water...flowing...flowing. You got it - another constant: your trips to the bathroom. So, if you need a "natural" diuretic...skip the coffee and tea and literally - go - and get one of these.

But, what's even more disconcerting to me is - my steadfast belief that a subliminal message is embedded into one of the sounds. No, seriously - I've heard it. My kids have heard it. I can't make out what is says, but it creeps me out...much worse than anything old Edgar could conjure up - and he was pretty damned macabre.

Consequently, I don't listen to the "noise-masker" any more. I found not sleeping...or sleeping with the "help" of Ambien was preferable to my imagination getting the better of me...convincing myself that "take the ax from the tool shed...sharpen the ax...take the ax into the..." message set to the beat to "
Stayin' Alive" from the Bee Gees...just weren't worth the blood-gurgling "Shaper Image"ry that water-gurgling brook sound emitted...regardless of how many lives it could possibly save...or not.

What I have to show for this experience is a very expensive piece of electronic equipment shoved somewhere in my house, undoubtedly next to the Sharper Image foot massager I just had to have...which is probably next to the one-way video monitor I also had to have...which is tacked on top of...

As a side note: I realized only today their brilliant strategy for playing the looped Sharper Image soundbyte at my therapist's office: What better way to drum up business than to submit unsuspecting would-be patients to the "take the ax from the tool shed"...brain drone? Sure...I know it's only in my own imagination...any similarity to actual persons, living or dead, or eventually to be dead, is purely coincidental...

02 October 2008

Biden My Time...or Palin Comparison?

Well, I am not politically-minded. I can't wait until this election is over so I can stop seeing all the political stuff...especially all the blogs just saying the same stuff over and over - or worse yet, just copying the same stuff over and over and popping it in a blog.

Yeah...thank goodness Joseph McCarthy isn't alive as I'd just have put my name in the top of that Communist witch-hunt list with that last comment.

But, I am a curious sort. I haven't watched any Saturday Night Live/Tina Fey impersonation of Sarah Palin. Not because I didn't want to get my opinion swayed...but because I haven't watched SNL in years...yes, can we please put THAT up to a vote? I know one person who watches SNL...and he does so only BECAUSE of Tina Fey. Everyone else says that it's well passed the time we just "stick a fork in it...it's done". But, that's neither here nor there. I'm not debating whether or not I think SNL should be cancelled...at this point the debate on that would be "when SHOULD it have been cancelled?"...but I digress once again...

...I DID watch the debate tonite because I wanted to see...as one reporter said, in essence, "the train wreck we were all waiting for" And what I'm debating is...after the fact, due to a 30 minute TiVo delay, is: sitting here watching the first of the press-scrutinies - on which one won. They haven't gotten this many women reporters out of the woodwork since...well...I don't know when. I'm watching the NBC coverage of it, by the way...so I can't speak for what the other networks are doing...but the only one I haven't seen yet is Cokie Roberts...and probably because she's on another network.

But it seems these women watched a whole other debate than I did. Oh, it's not that I don't like this woman...I don't really know her...so I have no real preconceived perception of her...but what I've seen OF her...well, let's just say it's "Bush-esque". To me, no pun intended, but she "skirted the issues"...and she kept saying the same thing over and over again...if nothing else, I do come away knowing that "John McCain IS a maverick". She must have said it 14 times. It got to be that the only thing that I remember her saying...was that John McCain IS a maverick...and maybe, just maybe, that WAS their point.

Just like that annoying television commercial on television that doesn't tell you anything - but you remember it only because of its repetitive catchphrase...well, she did a fine job advertising her candidate. But, in my opinion, not much else. Sure, she didn't give the "deer in the headlights" look I was anticipating...and I was really anticipating it...but, although she "held her own"...I think just because someone doesn't fall flat on their face isn't grounds to say "she's terrific!"

Biden, on the other hand...seemed to be genial and just was smiling a bit too much for my liking. I kept thinking "oh, don't hold back...I recognize that smile...it's the smile I do when I'm trying to be nice to anyone who 'just doesn't get it'...take off the kid gloves and hit back!" But, he really didn't. Maybe the whole "she's a girl...I can't come off like gangbusters and get into all kinds of stuff with half the voting public" mentality. I don't know.

Personally, I still like Biden better. He's much better on his feet - and it's not only because he didn't wear heels (even my daughter remarked she must have some stamina for standing there in those shoes that whole time)...but maybe Biden is more like me. More outspoken and not a "mouthpiece puppet" for their Presidential counterpart.

I don't know if that's a good thing...but as Biden did mention (and again, I'm paraphrasing), "Obama picked me because I wouldn't be afraid to tell him I disagreed with him" - I really don't want a "Yes-Man" as a VP...even IF that "Yes-Man" so happens to be...a woman.

Now...on to the "REAL" debates...but in the meantime...who do YOU think won? And does it EVEN matter at this level?