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 September 2006


And "the rest" as they say "is history"...

I was talking today, ironically, to someone who edits textbooks. Ironically, I say, because although I've talked to this man on several occasions, this is the first time we've really spoken in-depth and after voicing a few of my opinions about teaching and teachers...found out what his present vocation is.

He started by asking me if I ever watched a certain show on HBO...and I remarked that mainly I watch AMC, TCM and The History Channel. The latter being the last bastion of documentary television since TLC and Discovery have, unfortunately, segued into the realm of reality TV. Then from there I got on the topic of how I probably never would have been interested in history at all without the intervention and innovation of my 8th grade History teacher, Phil Marder. Mr. Marder...if you are out there...and I Googled you the other day and couldn't find anything on you...I would like to take this opportunity to say "thank you...you made History...one of the most misunderstood and maligned of subjects...interesting".

Oh...sure, we all cringed and thought he was corny with his "Where are you heading? Bering Strait." and "Sideburns...Burnside" remarks...and countless others of that ilk...but to this day I still remember their significance. I also remember the films he used to "sneak in"...oh, he'd be fired in a heartbeat if he showed them today. Let's say they were less than acceptable, by today's standards...films he "procured" by, as he always asserted, by a friend who worked at Washington DC's National Archives Building...excerpts I don't think they'd even dare show on The History Channel. Graphic footage of mutilated Mussolini and his mistress, the Holocaust, and more were shown to us...and to the best of my knowledge, since they continued...and he continued teaching...no one complained. We were appalled...but morbidly, like that horrific roadside accident we've all passed, we crooked our collective necks and watched. And because of a grisly fascination and roll-your-eyes "Welcome Back, Kotter" approach...history became something not just to read in some boring old book...but something tangible that everyone experiences at one time or another.

I've had only one other teacher who actually truly influenced and inspired me...my High School English teacher, Tom Bauer. But for now I'll leave the writing of my past and the writing of my present to the future...and talk about him and how one teacher can make a difference...in a subsequent blog.

18 September 2006

Nobody's Fault But My Own

I don't know if anyone has ever noticed but I typically post these blogs quite late...as that's usually when I'm writing them. You can say I do my "best" work at night...or at least I think so. Well, I was indeed thinking so last night...but this might not necessarily be the case. Case in point:

What I usually do is think of some ideas I could use for blogs...then I sit on them as I think of something else to write instead. Just the other night I was sitting around and thinking..."ya know, I bet people don't even know there is a fault line nearly outside our door...and those people further north probably never think of the New Madrid Fault Line". I remember watching a program on television years ago which talked about how we here are "due for one". I thought of all this and sent the idea to my friend on the 5th of September...and then sat on it. Oh sure, I gathered up the geologic info on earthquakes and on fault lines and such...but I didn't do anything...blogwise. And then what happens? A 6.0 earthquake in the Gulf of Mexico on the 11th. How timely would that have been? Well...at least there is one person out there who believes me when I say this.

So, what does all this have to do with thinking I do my best work at night? Hang in there...I shall try to illuminate you.

I grew up in New Jersey as many of you are aware if you've read my blogs...and I also have trouble sleeping...a fact I've also mentioned. So, last night I take half an Ambien and then decide to forage thru some of my blog ideas I've sent myself and pull one out and work on it. One I've been meaning to do is about prescription drugs and how drug companies are supposedly trying to make them affordable to the elderly and lower income bracket people...especially those with children.

"What does all this have to do with New Jersey? And really...what does it have to do with you thinking you do your best work at night??" Those are the two questions that are probably still sticking out as unanswered to you at this point...but please don't give up yet...there's a method to my madness.

Growing up 45 minutes from Philadelphia meant we received the Philadelphia news channels, and one year one of them started doing this "experiment" which was really fun and enlightening to watch. With the aid of the local police department the news team would, one by one...and literally "one by one"...get behind the wheel of a car on a closed test track and go all around the little orange cones like you've seen done in those car commercials...darting in between them and on a curve...being careful, of course, not to smash into any or knock them down. "Pretty easy" you say, huh? Well...have a beer! And another and another! Each time they drank one down they would ask them how they were feeling and if they felt at all impaired. Then they would let them drive around the track. It was actually quite comical after a while...they honestly thought they were fine...that they could literally drive their "best" after a few. Then when they all sobered up...they played the tape back for them and boy were they surprised...cocky attitudes...cones all over the place...and not as many beers tossed back as they'd have imagined.

So...although not nearly as dangerous...but equally as comical I assure you - is my Ambien-taking and blogging, ironic as it may that my intended blog was about prescriptions drugs. As for my self-assuredness? Let's just say it's not very likely that I am ever going to produce the evidence to show you, even if it is, essentially, "on tape" as well.

13 September 2006

Don't Abandon All Hope...

Like many of you who watch or read the Montgomery, Alabama news, I was sickened and saddened by the story of a woman who drowned her newborn baby daughter in the toilet tank of a gas station on West Fairview Avenue on the morning of September 1. The surveillance video shows an unidentified woman, who appears to be pregnant, entering the service station and leaving some 40 minutes later.

When I heard this, having two children of my own, I had to think "what kind of monster would do this to a baby...what kind of monster does this to their OWN baby"...but I try not to judge people as I don't know the circumstances which led to the event. But one has to wonder how someone can put their own welfare ahead of their own child's. We've seen the 9/11 tributes the past few days which show how unselfish people can be...putting their own lives on the line for complete strangers...and police and firefighters do this nearly every day of their careers...how can someone not for a completely innocent child?

Yes, the person could have been afraid for their own life...could have been under the influence of drugs...could have been mentally unstable. We won't know until they apprehend and question this woman...but one thing I do know is that they could have taken another course of action. One that perhaps they don't even know exists. I am speaking of the "Baby Moses" or "Safe Haven" laws which many states have adopted whereby a person, usually the parent, can drop off (abandon if you prefer...I prefer "drop off") their child at a designated location, usually a hospital, police station, etc., without criminal investigation...totally without retribution. They can literally walk away...no questions asked. Ever.

That's the second thing which entered my mind when I heard this story...how much differently this ending would have been if only she had gotten back into her car and headed to a hospital. Now not only is an innocent life snuffed out...but her "life" as well. She cannot keep running...someone will find out...maybe not in a week or a month...but eventually. And even if they don't, imagine the inner turmoil of dealing with committing such a heinous act. You might say "well she's a monster...she doesn't have any remorse"...but you cannot be the judge of what a person thinks any more than I can. Please don't get me wrong...I am not at all saying any excuse she gives will be justified...and certainly nothing she or anyone says on her behalf will change the end result.

All I do know is that educating the public, thru Public Service Announcements, billboards, word of mouth, etc., might have prevented this from happening...and might prevent the next one. I don't believe, as some things I've read regarding this "drop off" system stated would lead to countless children being abandoned. I don't think they have the statistics to back that up...and face it, if someone abandons a baby...that child is most probably better off than suffering the consequences had they not. All is not 'Ozzie and Harriet' in this world...we need to educate people in that respect as well...as I believe all too well people don't necessarily turn a blind eye to the bad things...but they just don't know.

Knowing things is the key...and that key can unlock so many life-changing possibilities...but it cannot happen without someone teaching us...and I think we can all benefit from learning something...and from teaching others.

10 September 2006

A Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On

Will someone please tell Hollywood they can stop already with the "shaky-camera technique"...I tuned in to watch this (probably) horribly bogus show on Sci-Fi Channel tonite...altho I completely forgot about it, and only caught the last 20 minutes. It was this film with Lance Henriksen (of Aliens and MillenniuM fame) - something about Sasquatch. Then I changed the channel to this movie called "Primer"...granted it was made in 2004...but it is replete with the "shaking"...every single frame.

Anyway, not only did they (the Sasquatch film) have the annoying "must be your first day with the studio camera" thing going on...they also had this eye-strain-inducing severe colour contrast thing happening...where it was totally too intense in the white/black realm to watch comfortably. Hopefully this will not be a mainstream manifestation...and this begs the question..."what is next"...perhaps that horizontal hold from the past brought back?

"And, no...I won't attempt to adjust my picture...I'll just change the channel...like I did watching Sci-Fi tonight."

06 September 2006

Something to Whine About

Well, it's been over two months now that I've gone without my computer. Sharing a computer with my two children isn't very much fun...really that's not fair...it's basically just with my son.

I guess in the grand scheme of things that above statement does sound rather ridiculous...most people in this world don't have any computer...let alone one computer to share with their kids, so I guess I shouldn't whine. In general I think Americans whine a lot, so why should I be any different?

So, I guess what I'm trying to convey here is that I haven't had access to a computer whenever I want, so when I want to write a blog or update my humour website, I usually am "computerless". Heaven forbid I do it the "old-fashioned" way and hand-write something out to type up later...I have a standard to live up to...I have to have something to whine about.