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...


  1. "Thank you for the enlightening post. Appreciate it a lot.
    Subliminal messaging can indeed be very powerful. Interesting enough, a website http://www.chargedaudio.com (non-aff link) sells a bunch of subliminal programs. Might be interesting to check them out. "

  2. I also have a "sound" machine. The only one I can tolerate is the rain. The brook made sleep almost impossible for the numerous trips to the bathroom LOL. The ocean made me seasick, the heartbeat was just creepy,the white noise scared me and the birds were just frickin annoying! Before I got a sound machine, I bought a CD of swamp sounds...very lovely and peaceful, but just as I was about to drift off, a bull alligator came on and scared the living p*ss out of me and of course made sleep almost impossible for me running to the bathroom!!! LOL
    Today, I am falling asleep to the commentary from Eddie Izzard CDs. And that seems to work just fine. No more running to the loo to p*ss (unless it's from laughter)

  3. ROFL - I'd like to hear the alligator noise. I have no idea who conjures up these things - but I have the suspicion they don't listen to them.