Think different … No, more different

Think more different

But officer – I was just charging my iPhone so I could call a cab!

Exciting news, especially for drunks with dead cell phone batteries. Scientists have devised a cell-phone battery powered by urine. Just right for those emergencies when you drunk-tweet way too much and then need to call for a ride home.

This is also good news for the 19 percent of people who drop their phone in the toilet. “No problem, just charging my cell phone. If you can hand me a couple of those paper towels…”

And here’s one more reason why I didn’t end up in an advertising job: First thing that comes to mind when I hear about this, is an advertising tie-in or cross-promotion between two very successful brands (so far, so good), Apple and Snapple. Their ad campaign could feature a new mega-size SnApple® (not legal in New York City) that could fully charge your iPhone, when used with the optional iPower® (uPower®? pPowe®r?) attachment.

At left is a non-artist’s rendering of celebrity spokesperson Mark Wahlberg charging his iPhone at an available ipWahl®.

SnApple® – for when you really, really, really need to go … online!

(I have to note that someone first did this back in 2005, but that battery was only usable to make one call, and maybe was more cumbersome than the current version, which is only the size of a car battery.)

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Posted in Humor, Technology

If you really, really want to live in the ‘Friends’ apartment, or at the Gilmore Girls’…

TV floor plan - Gilmore Girls

… thanks to the Internet, Etsy and an interior designer with a possibly unhealthy obsession with TV, you can. Well, as long as you have the money, time and energy. It’s up to you to remodel the inside of your house to duplicate the set of How I Met Your Mother, or to build that duplicate of The Simpson’s house you’ve secretly craved/lusted after.

Iñaki Aliste Lizarralde, an interior designer from the Basque region of Spain,  created floor plans of homes from famous TV shows, including Friends, The Simpsons, Golden Girls, I Love Lucy and more. (Also from movies, including Holly Golightly’s apartment from Breakfast at Tiffany’s, and houses from Totoro and Up.)  She will sell the floor plans to you via Etsy. And there you have it.

You can join the discussion of how accurate these plans are — The Gilmore Girls house did have another room added upstairs during season six, the question mark room in Friends was Monica’s junk room — at Happy Place. (This is a “lost” post that was scheduled to publish in May, but somehow did not find its way to the web.)

TV floor plan - I Love Lucy TV floor plan - The Simpsons

Posted in Humor

Semi-Literary Trivia #7 – Rod Serling


“You’re traveling through another dimension, a dimension not only of sight and sound but of mind; a journey into a wondrous land whose boundaries are that of imagination. That’s the signpost up ahead—your next stop, the Twilight Zone.”

Almost 40 years after Rod Serling died, a well-known producer has bought the rights to his final script.  J.J. Abrams’ Bad Robot Productions is said to be trying to develop it into a miniseries.

Rod Serling was a very successful TV scriptwriter — but he was probably more famous for his voice. As the host of  The Twilight Zone on TV, he introduced each week’s episode — at first with voice-over narration, then in front of the camera.

Serling also lent his voice to radio ads for a candidate who entered the presidential primaries as an underdog. Which candidate was it?

  1. John F. Kennedy – versus Adlai Stevenson, 1960
  2. Robert F. Kennedy – versus Lyndon B. Johnson, 1968
  3. Nelson Rockefeller – versus Richard Nixon, 1960
  4. Harold Stassen – versus Richard Nixon, 1968
  5. Eugene McCarthy – versus Lyndon B. Johnson, 1968
  6. Ayn Rand – versus Ronald Reagan and Richard Nixon, 1960
  7. Norman Mailer – versus Myra Breckinridge, 1968

Answer here

Posted in Humor, Trivia

Drink Beer for Big Ideas, Coffee to Get Them Done…

Coffee versus beer graphicAt least that’s what this item at lifehacker says. I haven’t had coffee since early afternoon, so I don’t have the mental chops to properly evaluate these claims. And I haven’t had a beer today, so I can’t come up with a brilliant response. A few take-aways, though:

  1. It says that one time you would do better without either coffee OR beer, is when doing ” detail-oriented or analytical projects like your finances.” No wonder I hate balancing my checkbook, or doing taxes.
  2. “Eureka moments” come from a certain part of the brain — “a small spot above your right ear responsible for moments of insight.” For some reason, that reminds me of the old TV cliche where a character gets hit on the head and loses his memory, and someone has to hit him on the head again for him to regain it (I think it was usually a guy).  How many boys tried this and left a companion with irreversible brain damage, I wonder? (As a former boy, I have to believe it would be a boy thing to actually try this, rather than a girl thing). Also, why did this occur to me? And please don’t hit me above the right ear to help me discover the answer.
  3. To get the benefits described in the article, it says to use coffee and alcohol “always in moderation.” That doesn’t sound very writerly. At least not fiction writing. Or advertising writing.
  4. People sure seem to have a lot of fun in comments sections.
Posted in Humor, Writing

Taco Tuesday Haiku

A short post from “Shut Up Dad” to help keep your mind alive — or at least your appetite.

Posted in Uncategorized

Finding inspiration to write

Not my hometown - photo from webduckie

Not my hometown, but in a similar vein. Photo courtesy of webduckie,

Two weeks of pecking away at a short story that “should” have worked — similar in spirit to other stories that are coming along nicely, but different enough to be a completely new story — and this morning I tossed it. For now, at least. It just wasn’t working. The developments in the story were boring me — and this in a story that was supposed to be humorous. The only completely unforgivable sin in writing,  is to not be interesting.

Writing humorously wasn’t working. I needed to tap into some misery instead. But what misery? I looked inward, and two subjects popped into mind pretty quickly: my hometown, and my ex-wife. Now we’re getting somewhere. About 1,400 words since this morning on a new story inspired by them, plus another 600 words of notes on characters and plot developments. Not my largest output for a day, but more progress than I was making on the previous story.

Thank goodness for misery! and ex-spouses!* and desolate and depressing hometowns! What would writers do without such things? (And don’t even get me started on poets.)

*My apologies. I pride myself on being as non-sexist as possible, and the first version of this post (and the email version, if you subscribe) came out as “ex-wives.” I am well aware that spouses of any gender can be miserable human beings, and that opinions can vary as to which partner (if any) in a failed marriage is the ditwad. I was focused on my own particular situation at the time I wrote this. In which situation, I was and remain firmly on my own side.

Posted in Motivation, Writing

Semi-Literary Trivia Question of the Week # 6

The Great Gatsby - 1925 book cover

The 1925 book cover for The Great Gatsby

F. Scott Ftizgerald’s The Great Gatsby:

  1. Was a surprise success, being made into one of the last silent movies.
  2. Was based on movie scripts that Fitzgerald had been unable to sell to the studios.
  3. Was largely forgotten by the time of Fitzgerald’s death in 1940, but became popular again starting in the 1950s.
  4. Was widely banned in the 1950s as being anti-capitalist and pro-Communist.
  5. Was the basis for the first Popeye full-length animated film in the 1940s — with Popeye as Gatsby, Wimpy as narrator Nick Carraway, Olive Oyl in the part of Daisy, and Bluto as Tom Buchanan.

For the answer on this one, I am falling back on Wikipedia — although you can find it in a more chatty column at Thought Catalog, “25 Things You Didn’t Know About ‘The Great Gatsby’.” (Although that column implies Daisy is modeled on Zelda Fitzgerald, when other sources agree the inspiration was Ginevra King, from an earlier romantic relationship doomed by her being richer than Fitzgerald.)

Posted in Humor

Semi-Literary Trivia Question of the Week #5

What Does This Mean? graphA rayograph was:

  1. An early version of the x-ray machine that was placed in stores by the J.W. Bass shoe company, and offered free “skeletal images” to show correctable defects in customers’ feet.
  2. A technique used by surrealist artist Man Ray, to produce images by placing objects directly on photo paper.
  3. A machine in a Ray Bradbury short story that was able to take photographs of the future – often depicting the demise of its various owners.
  4. A device that appeared in just one of L. Frank Baum’s 14 Oz books; it printed out a time line of a person’s future moods.
  5. A predecessor to the microwave oven than used plutonium-90 to cook food without flames, usually.


Posted in Humor, Trivia

Awww, how sweet!


Click photo to see full-sized at “Random Funny Picture”

Tunnels face many negative stereotypes in the popular culture. We can blame that mostly on movies and TV shows. Take the one in this photo (ignore the painted message for now). If you were to enter this tunnel, you would expect to be robbed, sexually assaulted, stabbed, shot, or to hear the terrifying sound of your own voice echoing back the words to a Justin Bieber song you didn’t even realize you knew.

Luckily, some folks are apparently trying to upgrade the image of tunnels. Offering free hugs is just the sort of public relations effort they need.

With Earth Day so fresh in our memories, we can also reflect on the thoughtful use of sustainable principles in this effort. How many times have you had to step around folks getting their free hugs right in the middle of a walkway? By relocating free hugs into the little-used space under roadways and railroad tracks, these innovators could make it possible to build narrower sidewalks that accommodate just as many people. This would allow wider roads, with more room for automobiles — a far more popular means of transportation than walking.

One can only look forward to the next step in the evolution of tunnel marketing. Perhaps next, the fine folks behind this effort can work on friendlier-sounding echoes in tunnels. Or product placement in movies: how about tunnels as a place where only fun things happen?

If you have more ideas, feel free to offer them in the “Leave a Reply” box below. (Comments are moderated — which means I need to see them before they get posted — but I try to check at least once a day).

Posted in Humor

Semi-Literary Trivia Question of the Week #4

Cover of Truman Capote's In Cold Blood

Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood

To research the book that would become the “non-fiction novel” In Cold Blood, Truman Capote traveled to Kansas before the murderers were even caught. He was accompanied by childhood friend:

  1. Author and poet Conrad Aiken.
  2. John Dos Passos, author of the U.S.A. Trilogy.
  3. Harper Lee, author of To Kill a Mockingbird.
  4. Photographer Diane Arbus.
  5. Film director and producer Alfred Hitchcock.
  6. Cartoonist Charles Schultz, who later uses some of the In Cold Blood material for a Peanuts episode in which Charlie Brown finally gets even with Lucy for pulling away that football at the last minute. Twenty-seven newspapers refuse to run the comic that week, releasing a joint statement that “such violent murder belongs on the front page, not the comics page. Unless it’s in Dick Tracy.”

See the answer.

Posted in Humor, Trivia

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