If You’re a Blogger, You Might Need These Tips (And If You Need These Tips, You Might Be a Blogger) Maybe!

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There’s a famous saying that every blog has its day! So without further ado . . .  on with The Ten Tips — And you can just take what you want (in a little doggy err bloggy bag) and leave the rest for other readers to digest.

  1. Your Job Title – When you’re at a cocktail party and you’re asked about your profession, do NOT just give a simplistic, two syllable, seven letter career name like “Blogger” or “Writer” or “Author.” How is that going to command any kind of respect? We’re Wordsmiths but we can’t even generate an impressive description for what we do all day?  Try these instead. a) A Controller in the Language Industry b) A Disseminator of Thought Processes c) An Ideation Ideologist.  See if that doesn’t cause a few people to avert their eyes, murmur, “Wow” and bow in deference. The host might even raise his glass in a toasting gesture.
  2. Suggestions — Learn to cut people off who offer you “terrific ideas” for your blog. WTF?  Why does everyone who finds out you’re a blogger think you’ve run dry and it’s their civic duty to tell you their life story so you’ll be chalk full of entertaining posts again?  And they always end by saying, “You can use that story for free!” Gee, thanks.  I don’t go up to my physician with a toy stethoscope from my son’s Doctor’s Kit and say, “Here!  Take this!  I won’t even charge you!”
  3. Conclusions — Always end your articles or blogs with some sort of “Call To Action” for the reader. Sometimes readers just need a nudge or a little direction. You can ask the reader to leave a comment, like it on Facebook, or request that he Tweet it on Twitter. I usually make my Calls To Action very personal. For example — “Please show up at the author’s home with dust rags and Windex this Saturday at 10 am.”
  4. Write-offs– For income tax purposes (you must do ample exploration of your location so it’s realistic, yes??) always set your blog post somewhere beautiful and exotic. Seriously, would you rather research events that take place in Costa Rica or Tahiti — or your bathtub?
  5. Lifelike — You want fictional people to be believable in your writing, so be sure and flesh out all your characters. You may even want to completely flush out a character, if one of them is due for a colonoscopy.
  6. There are NO NEW IDEAS.  — Got that?  If you have an idea that you think has never been done before, Google it and trust me, it’s already out there in some form. All plots loosely fall under these three categories — 1. Man Against Man. 2. Man Against Himself. 3. Man Against His Dishwasher.
  7. Plagiarism — Don’t do it. Take this vow:  “I pledge-arize not to plagiarize.” However, there are a lot of poems, famous sayings, and quotes out there that list “Author Unknown” at the bottom of them.  So even though “There Are No New Ideas” (see #6)  that doesn’t mean you cannot take credit for some old, anonymous ones. Does it?
  8. Reviews — Most bloggers are shy about asking people to review them on Linkedin or Amazon (if they’ve written a book) but you can do this in an innocent, charming way that harkens back to grade school. Simply pass your reader a folded note with a bashful smile, and they can check off the appropriate box. yes-or-no
  9. Funny! — Become a Humor Blogger so that when people don’t like what you’ve put out there you can always say, “That was just a joke.  Here’s the REAL blog.”
  10. To Be Continued — Always leave a cliffhanger (especially effective if your name is Clifford!) to ANYTHING you write.  Notice that there were only 9 real tips in this post?  But now you’ll keep checking back to see if I add a 10th item, won’t you?

Reader CALL TO ACTION!  Please leave a comment or take out my kitchen trash.  Your choice. But should you let sleeping dogs err blogs lie? Maybe!

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/maybe/

Colonel Mustard & Miss Scarlet See a Marriage Counselor

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Therapist: Just to make it very clear — what happens here always stays highly confidential.

Colonel Mustard: Maybe we can write it on little cards and slide them into a sealed envelope in the middle of the game board?

Miss Scarlet: Oh will you just get a Clue? This isn’t about fun and games. That’s not why we’re here.

Therapist: Well maybe you can tell your husband the reason you ARE here, Miss Scarlet. What’s bothering you?

Colonel Mustard: Wait! Why does she get to go first?

Therapist: Check the rulebook. It’s right there in black and white. Miss Scarlet always goes first.

Miss Scarlet: Yes, that’s just the way I roll.

Colonel Mustard: Well this time, I’m making the first move. You’re just a little slut, wearing your slinky red dress all the time, with your long skinny cigarette holder. I see the looks Mr. Green gives you and I could just kill him for what he’s thinking.

Miss Scarlet: Did you hear that? You’re a witness to his threats.

Therapist: Please leave me out of this dangerous game you people play.

Colonel Mustard: Is it a crime to want my wife to be monogamous?

Miss Scarlet: When we go home tonight, we’ll sit down and talk this over in The Lounge.

Therapist: Wow. I’ve never known anyone with an actual room called The Lounge in their home.

Miss Scarlet: Never mind that. His fly-by-night behavior is for the birds.

Colonel Mustard: You leave Mrs. Peacock out of this. I knew you’d find a way to drag her into our personal affairs.

Miss Scarlet: You mean your affairs. She’s already very involved, I suspect.

Colonel Mustard: You should suspect. Because you ARE the prime suspect.

Therapist: Folks, settle down. My recommendation is you go back home and host a fun Murder Mystery Party. You know, your guests come dressed in costume, you put out lots of . . .

Colonel Mustard: Weapons.

Therapist: I was going to say appetizers.

Miss Scarlet: We’ll need a sharp knife for the cheese.

Therapist: My goodness, what’s wrong with you people? I think no matter how you toss the dice, it’s safe to say your marriage is over.

Colonel Mustard: The romance is dead. She killed it.

Miss Scarlet: You’re the one with the guilty conscience. You should turn yourself in; it would shorten your prison time.

Therapist: But if he goes straight to jail, how would I collect my $200 hourly fee? We could take a ride on the Reading railroad to a bank. Or you can take a Chance from the Community Chest?

Colonel Mustard: Can’t you see her community chest is already on display in that low-cut dress? Listen, I don’t know what game you’re playing right now, but deal us out. There are a million therapists in town. You don’t have the Monopoly on Couples Counseling, you know.

Receptionist: Sorry to interrupt but your next appointment is here, those two inventive male siblings.

Therapist: Please tell the Parker Brothers, I’ll be right with them.

This was the third in a series of shorts I am creating wherein Famous Fictional Couples see a Marriage Counselor.  Stay tuned for more. And please leave me a comment if you’d like to request an iconic pair rush to a shrink!

Bizarre Travel Tips You Won’t Read Elsewhere!

IMG_5408Just returned from the Middle East and because I’m not writing a Travel Blog here, I was going to take all this great information to my grave. But the more I think about it, the more I’m convinced there’s one reader out there who can benefit from my strangely comforting travel tips. Are YOU that reader??

Taking the Mystery Out of International Travel!

  1. When in airports that have heightened security, don’t sit around on benches darting your eyes furtively around. YOU know you’re contemplating which Duty Free shop to go drop major bucks in (because you forgot to souvenir shop for your kids) but the armed soldiers in Israel won’t get it. Neither should you have this dialogue. SOLDIER:  State your business for being in this terminal, Miss. ME: Oh, I’m just killing time. SOLDIER: Killing??!  Passport and ID. Now! ME:  Wait, what? That’s just an expression. You know like, “Wait till you hear the huge bomb my ex dropped on me last night!”  SOLDIER:  You’re coming with me.
  2. Try not to walk into open air market places and say, “Excuse me but which aisle would feminine hygiene products be on?”
  3. Don’t finally make it to the Western Wall in Jerusalem, extremely honored to slip a prewritten note of prayer into one of the cracks (because it’s the holiest spot in the country and there’s a direct connection with God there) get confused, and instead slide in your “To-Do” list for when you return home.

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    The Western Wall: Don’t tell me someone else didn’t accidentally leave their grocery list?

  4. As you enter the country of Jordan, never tell the stiff, rigid-looking Border Crossing Guards that you almost named your son “Jordan” but then thought it might sound too girly so you went with “Benjamin” instead.
  5. At the Dead Sea, agree that you WILL float.  Don’t argue with everyone around you that you’re an exception because you weigh too much for this natural phenomenon to work on you. JUST BELIEVE. In fact bring reading material so you can have a photo like this fellow. dead sea
  6. Three hours later when you’re finally satisfied that you can float with the best of ’em and decide to try covering your body with the black sludge that sits on the shores (because it’s supposed to have healing and therapeutic qualities for your skin) don’t go around saying, “Guess I’m just a stick in the mud, eh?” and elbow people roughly trying to nudge a laugh outa them. Saying “Well, here’s mud in your eye!” gets even less of a chuckle.

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    Don’t be afraid to get dirty in Israel

  7. You will encounter co-ed public bathrooms. You don’t need to document this fact with photos. People back home WILL believe you.
  8. Many places will bargain for their wares, but you’re not Monty Hall. Don’t say, “Let’s Make a Deal!  How about I give you some Mickey Mouse soap from an official Disney hotel, a Hershey bar, and I’ll throw in a lock of hair from my firstborn for that Star of David necklace in the window?”
  9. Don’t go to Masada remarking, “Gosh, it looked far more grandiose in the Peter O’Toole movie.” And hiking around Petra asking every tour guide, “Exactly which Indiana Jones movie was filmed here again?” won’t ingratiate you.
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    The Top of Masada!

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    Petra, Jordan where a famous movie was filmed!

  10. Don’t think you’re so clever figuring out that the Med, Red & Dead Seas all rhyme (and you can make money off that) because there’s already a tee-shirt for that.
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    Coffee Mugs exist too.

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    Quick!  Is this the Med, Red, or Dead Sea?  Or is this just a boring beach back home in San Diego???  Could be a prize…leave a comment!

A Shot in the Dark!

light-bulb-banA fairly old, (since 1999) but highly unique concept (and one that I’m just catching on to) called “Dark Dining” is making the rounds in my area of the country. Patrons pay a lot of money to NOT see the food they will be ingesting. It began in a small diner in El Paso where the Texas style BBQ ribs were so ugly in appearance and terribly messy  (dripping down the white bandanas of glutinous wranglers) that the proprietor of the establishment told his waitstaff, “Y’all, let’s just kill all the lights and we won’t have to garnish the plates all pretty like no more!”

Dark Dining was instantly born and swept the nation. The theory being that it heightens your other senses to eat in pitch blackness. But really it’s just a starving dieter’s dream. “What’s gobbled in the dark, stays in the dark!”

I decided to try this phenomenon at home instead of our Saturday night pizza restaurant jaunt — only I added one other unique concept…Darkness AND Silence. After slaving away all afternoon over a healthy meal of meatloaf, green beans and potatoes au gratin, I issued formal invitations to my family via disappearing ink (seemed eerily fitting) with written instructions specifying all six kids to enter the room quietly at 6 pm sharp with their lips zipped.

It was an unusually pleasant dinner with just the sounds of ravenous chewing here and there and once I thought I heard someone growl in appreciation. There was even one point where my senses were extra heightened.  I sensed that someone definitely needed a bath.  I congratulated myself on our first civilized meal in years and considered adopting this ritual as a once-a-week family tradition. And then I turned on the lights and found our mangy dog Lola lapping up the last bit of gravy on each plate. Apparently Dollar Store ink that disappears never reappears. The rest of the family could be found at Mama Lucia’s scarfing down an extra large pepperoni.

Hmmph. Here then is my list of…

 TEN ACTIVITIES THAT SHOULD BE MANDATED DARK!

  1. Bathing Suit Shopping — Female customers can grope racks of swimsuits, grabbing any size their heart desires, head to the dressing room and if anything ties around their neck, that’s a perfect fit! Gleeful women will pack up their purchases and post on Facebook that they’ve just purchased a size 2 string bikini. None of this will matter because the next activity commanded in the dark is . . .
  2. Night Time Swimming Without Any Pool Lights On— (You’re welcome!)
  3. Gynecological Exams — If you’ve seen one, you’ve seen ’em all.  No more having to shave your legs and shell out money for pedicures for a man who can’t be bothered to warm a speculum.
  4. Blind Dates –Blindfold the couple. Spin them around three times and let them pin the tail on the … ass who thought they would hit it off.
  5. Weddings— Will the bride wear white?  Yes, a white terry cloth bathrobe. May as well be comfortable when taking the plunge because how many solemn promises are made wearing Spanx? The only vow that can be taken seriously is to be able to breathe again. “Something old, something new, something that leaves its mark, something that glows in the dark.”  (How about fluorescent lipstick so “You may kiss the bride” doesn’t lead to the groom smooching the best man?)
  6. Sex–Married men are already accommodating in this regard if they wanna get any.
  7. Church–Hallelujah! The miracle of lower electricity bills.
  8. Grocery Shopping — Cuts down on damaged produce. What fun is it salaciously pinching melons when nobody can see you?
  9. Beauty Pageants — Can we actually crown someone for their inner beauty?  I think it’s about time!
  10. Parties — Finally you really can dance like nobody’s watching!

What types of things would you like to see (pun intended) happen in the dark?