Saturday, August 16, 2014


One of the greatest intellectual paradoxes and quandaries that sparked an imaginative response among a generation so absorbed with mindlessly operating technology (like robots), is the birth of the philoso-raptor. This meme depicts a raptor musing over interesting or paradoxical questions. For example: 

This meme, while not intrinsically related to books or writing, presents the chance to explore the imagination, fueling the "what if" factor that is so critical to writing. So, without further delay, here are the best Philosoraptor quotes EVER!

1. If tomatoes are a fruit, isn't ketchup technically a smoothie?
2. If we squeeze olives to get olive oil, what do we squeeze to get baby oil?
3. If I received a nickel for every time I recieved a nickel, would I have infinite nickels?
4. We avoid risks in life, so we can make it safely to death?
5. If I'm taught not to talk to strangers, how do I make friends?
6. If dentists make their money from unhealthy teeth, why would I trust a product 4/5 of them recommend?
7. Can you pay a time traveler by the hour?
8. If practice makes perfect and nobody is perfect, why practice?
9. If a tree falls down and no one is around to hear it, how do they know the tree fell?
10. If the pen is mightier than the sword, then why do actions speak louder than words?
11. If Satan has supernatural powers and uses them to punish evil doers, then isn't he a superhero?
12. When people yawn, do deaf people think they're screaming?
13. Why do noses run and feet smell?
14. If you enjoy wasting time, is that actually wasted time?
15. Why do people say "heads up" to tell you to duck?
16. If women are never wrong, what happens when two women disagree?
17. If two mind readers read each other's minds, wouldn't they be reading their own minds?
18. If you have one eye, do you wink or blink?
19. Did bookstores create a "spiritual" section, because they didn't know if they should put Bibles in the non-fiction or fantasy section?
20. If a church gets an insurance settlement due to an act of God, wouldn't that be fraud?

On the next post, I'll do a book review. Until then!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Word Games

Here are some funny, ironic, or thoughtful sentences for your entertainment:

1. The alarm went off, so I had to turn it off.
2. Here is a picture of me when I was younger.
3. If the world didn't suck, we'd all fall off.
4. Don't join dangerous cults; practice safe sects.
5. Blue is greener than purple.
6. I stepped on a corn flake. Now, I'm a cereal killer.
7. The average woman would rather have beauty than brains, because men see better than they think.
8. You're unique, just like everyone else.
9. If there's a will, there's a way...for you to find 500 relatives.
10. The road to success is always under construction.
11. Everyone wants to go to heaven, but nobody wants to die.
12. (Blogger favorite) We live in a country where pizza gets to your home before police.
13. A "word to the wise" isn't necessary- it's the stupid people who need it.
14. When it comes to thought, some people stop at nothing.
15. You're just jealous because the voices only talk to me.
16. Beauty is in the eye of the beer holder.
17. To all you virgins, thanks for nothing.
18. Evening news starts by saying "Good evening" and then tell you why it's not.
19. Why do "fat chance" and "slim chance" mean the same thing?
20. When life gives you melons, you might be dyslexic!

Tomorrow, we'll explore the musings of the great Philoso-raptor! :)

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

The Spectacular Power and Influence of Swear Words

The most effective words, and arguably most powerful, we possess in our language are the words that are not often uttered. The taboo surrounding them give them power. I'm talking of course about swearing.

There are many belief systems that the mere utterance of a word without particular purpose will cause a harmful effect. Saying the "true" name of God in the Jewish faith when in vain, is thought to be of grave offense, for you are attempting to overpower God himself. Hence, they use the term "Yahweh", to indirectly refer to God outside of religious function. Taking the Lord's name in vain is a type of swearing known as Paranormal Swearing, but there are many others. 

Abusive Swearing is the most commonly known, and as the name implies, is designed to insult to an extreme degree that normal words would not allow. These words are given power because of the intent and of the rarity of their use. According to economical law, rarity means value. When we hear someone insult us with a rare form of speech, we feel as if the insult is not just an expression, but an injury. If we are able to disregard the speech or practice this swearing more often, it tends to lose it's value. Thusly, we do not feel as injured as, say, a sheltered Christian.

Another type of swearing is Emphatic Swearing. Emphatic Swearing can be quite effective and truly drive the meaning of emotion behind the swear word. A great example of this is the most climatic moment of the popular movie "A Few Good Men". When Colonel Jessup is asked if he ordered the code red that killed a subordinate after relentlessly being pummeled with questions, he shouts "You're goddamn right I did!". The setting is in a courtroom, a specific area where you do NOT swear, coupled by a high ranking officer who should be above reproach. His emotional outburst and swearing while admitting to murder shock and leave the entire courtroom paralyzed for a few moments. That is the power of mixing emotion with swearing.

Quite the opposite, Euphemism Swearing is much less dramatic, and hardly a form of swearing at all. A doctor may politely say, "After the patient went into cardiac arrest, he defecated." That's swearing? In a way, it is so, and worth noting. The politeness around such a traumatic event is to be equally noted, for it is equally strange. A normal person, while frantic at the time, would give a statement to police similar to, "The guy just shit himself and died!" Normal? Yes. The Euphemism Swearing would be most powerful if the "normal person" had been calm when saying that. Many would suspect, if it was a homicide scene, this guy might be a really polite killer.

Alternatively, the frantic person saying "The guy just shit himself and died!", is a type of swearing. This is called Dysphemism Swearing. This means the person might not swear if they were calm, but they swear to really drive home the unpleasantness of the experience that couldn't be conveyed if they said it in a politically correct way. They want their trauma to be the policeman's trauma.

But swearing isn't all bad. Cathartic Swearing, termed lalochezia by medical practitioners, is when swearing relieves pain. Shouting "shit" or "fuck" after you hurt yourself can actually reduce the pain felt. Just don't say it in front of your kids, like in A Christmas Story.

Ideomatic Swearing is shown best, in my opinion, by Stephen King in his novel/film "Stand By Me". This type of swearing serves not as an emphasis for speech, but actually as the opposite. It is used to show an air of casualness, that bringing taboo to light is only natural. "Well, shit man you can sleep at my house tonight.". It's saying that we're all friends here.

What's interesting about all these different swear words is that the power from them is because, as stated earlier, of their economical rarity. The only time where this rule doesn't apply is in Ideomatic Swearing, which holds a power of it's own because it changes the atmosphere of environment rather than effecting an individual person.

As these terms come into popular use and mainstream by television, radio, and other media outlets, people will and have turned to archaic words not really used today to bring back the taboo meaning behind it. Words like harlot (meaning slut) are already circulating in the "underground linguistics" of more eccentric crowds and religious folk. 

The lesson to be drawn from this is that words have power, usually in unusual combinations to invoke vivid meaning to the reader or listener. There are only few select words that have true power all on their own, and those are swear words. Without identifying the meaning, a novice writer might misuse them. More commonly, they might just repeat swear words for shock value, which is lost very quickly with every swear word used. This is why I mainly use Dysphemism Swearing and Emphatic Swearing. 

As always, thanks for reading!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

What if TV, YouTube, and Other Media Outlets Came Before Books?

I recently stumbled upon a fascinating YouTube group called Vsauce. Their scientific theorizing and musings are truly captivating, and one of the things they said struck me. They quoted a book called "Everything Bad is Good For You". The author wondered what would happen if books were invented after computers, and pontificated a possible quote from a teacher (to paraphrase) 'Perhaps the most dangerous property of these newfangled books is that they follow a fixed linear path. You have the story dictated to you. Why would anyone want to embark on an adventure choreographed by a singular person? Reading is not an active participatory process- it's a submissive one. The bookreaders are learning to follow the plot instead of leading.'

This is a fascinating concept. It enabled me to look at my computer screen and the words/videos I see on it as a form of a book. Also, it caused me to read books as a sort of collusion of varying outside factors to cause the author not to choreograph a particular work based on their own singular idea, but of the conditions of nature they were in at the time. For example, if one of my author friends, S.G. Redling, wasn't flying on a plane and using hand sanitizer, she probably would've never have thought of her debut novel "Flower Town", even in her own writing space. If Stephen King hadn't been driving in a car listening to religious radio at a specific time, he wouldn't have thought up "The Stand".

The collaboration of events in nature, in part, determine what we write. Authors typically regulate their writing areas to what they deem to be most comfortable. True, while this may comfort us to explore the deepest recesses of our minds to 'discover' these ideas, I propose that perhaps changing the scene and taking us out of our comfort zone might help us reach a more introverted state. Introversion in the first draft manuscript is critical, for both plotters and pantsers alike, so it'd be natural to assume that a structured writing environment will provide us a certain measure of control over the masterpiece we wish to create. But if we think harder, we might find that this isn't the case.

The most ingenious writing pieces we tend to create are created by not what is controlled by us, for that is the nature of the ordinary. Rather, it is created by us questioning what ISN'T controlled by us or what we don't know. Surrounding ourselves by things we are unfamiliar with may be the key to piecing something together that we couldn't do with what we have familiarized ourselves with. It is easier to familiarize the strange, but harder still to make strange what is familiar. One of my favorite writing quotes actually dictates something similar. "The best asset a writer can have is the ability to make the strange familiar, and the familiar strange."

The randomization and rationalization of that randomness we place ourselves in brings us to the reality we live in. And you know what? Each person rationalizes their reality differently. Surely you've heard of the exercise where one person will whisper a sentence to another, and they to another. By the end of the line, it's a new sentence. How then, can something so concrete be so misinterpreted? It's because of the variation. In this case, the variation of the person's dialect, audibility of their whisper.

The lesson to be drawn from here is that variation is the opportunity of exploration. The deeper we explore, the farther we will get from anyone else. This unexplored portion of our realities is where we will find the next Stephen King, Dean Koontz, Anne Rice, etc. While everyone can reach these unexplored realities, only you can reach yours.