Thursday, December 20, 2007

Mars Needs Blood:

When I first stumbled across the link for PETA's anti-Mars website, I thought "Those wacky PETA freaks are at it again. What could they possibly have to complain about with Mars candy?" And then I looked at the site. It's pretty disturbing. The experiments that Mars has been performing involving animals and chocolate seem like a bad joke. Injecting chocolate into the veins of mice? It's like Josef Mengele went to work for Willy Wonka. That's why it always bothers me when people call PETA a bunch of whackos. Certainly there are whackos in PETA, particularly the founder (whose stated goal is to have her body barbecued and turned into purses after her death), but they make some good arguments sometimes. And nobody else is going to do it.

In a related note, while I think the idea of their Holiday Celebrity Snow Globe is a good one, it's not as funny as it could have been. If you can't make a good joke out of Michael Vick's prison time, you're not really trying. That just shows that PETA has no sense of humor.

UPDATE: According to another article, Mars is trying to prove health benefits to chocolate, like that chocolate lowers blood pressure, etc. A twist that I'm surprised PETA didn't point out is that Mars' own website states that it does not promote animal research involving the suffering of animals. So PETA's taking them to court.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Jokebook: Designated Driver

This cop is waiting outside a bar and sees this guy come stumbling out. The guy is staggering all over the sidewalk from the bar all the way to a car parked out front. The guy pulls out his keys, drops them, picks them up again, fumbles around trying to put the keys into the lock, finally unlocks the door, falls inside, starts the car, and drives away, weaving all over the road.

The cop turns on his lights and pulls the car over. The guy gets out and the cop gives him a breathalyser test.

The guy blows a zero-point-zero.

The cop looks at the results, then looks at the guy and asks, "What is this?

The guy straightens, looks the cop square in the eye, and says in a clear voice, "Tonight, I'm the designated decoy."

Related Posts:
* Jokebook: Homeward Bound
* Jokebook: Police Phobia

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Pro Wrestling is Real: The Montreal Screwjob

I discovered an article on Wikipedia about the Montreal Screwjob. What's the Montreal Screwjob? An infamous event in wrestling history where Bret Hart was set up to lose a match against his arch-rival, Shawn Michaels, even though he was originally scripted for a draw. The article is fascinating in its complexity and impact the event had on wrestling in general. What I find most fascinating is that this entire story sounds like one of the hokey story lines they put on stage. If I had seen it happen, I would have assumed it was a clever plot device. I had no idea this kind of machinations and back room dealing actually occurred in wrestling. Maybe it's not all as stupid as I thought. Yes, it is. Or is it? Yes, it is.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Not-So-Pointless: More Thoughts on NaNoWriMo

I admit, since I wrote that last post on National Novel Writing Month, I have softened my tone. I do think there is value to the speed-writing approach. I have so many novels plotted out that I think would be great, but never get around to writing because it seems such a monumental chore. To think I can churn them out in a month makes it easier. Other novels I've started, and then let taper off after my enthusiasm waned. For me, the hardest part is getting something down on paper (er, in my case, down on hard drive). Once the first draft is complete and I have something to work with, it takes some pressure off.

My last completed novel took me three months to write, and then I spent another two months revising and editing. I have to admit that most of the best parts of the novel came in the revision, not the first draft.The novel I wrote in November is extremely rough, but how many writers do nail it on the first draft, anyway? I don't. I was surprised at how much of it came out well, actually. In fact, some of it may be my best writing ever. My biggest concern is how to add another 40,000 words to make it a saleable length. I don't think writing 10,000 words of the main character eating breakfast is going to cut it.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Pointless: NaNoWriMo

In case you didn't know, National Novel Writing Month (more commonly known awkwardly as NaNoWriMo) was in November. The month is dedicated to writing an entire novel, and the goal of everyone who participates is to write 50,000 words in one month. I've heard of it for years and never participated. Well, this year I had a novel idea that I really wanted to do, and it was October anyway, so I signed up. And I did it. It was a close call for a while there, considering on Nov 15, I had only written 17,000 words, but I made a burst of speed in the end by writing at work.

In the end, I found myself disappointed by the whole experience. I'm happy I finished the novel, but I realized that the whole exercise is kind of pointless. First of all, technically 50,000 words is not a novel. That's a novella. Second, the FAQ discourages focusing on things like character, plot, and revision, just brute force. Well, I could write 50,000 words of garbage, but that doesn't do me any good. I also discovered that a few of the "winners" cheated by starting the month with more than zero words to begin with. I also discovered that while many people who participate do publish their works, most never actually go back and polish up their NaNoWriMo works. It's a good writing exercise to get past writer's block, but I can't take it too seriously. Still...I won. And I have a first draft. Which is a good start.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Jokebook: Lawyers

Q: How do you stop a lawyer from drowning?
A: Take your foot off his head.

Q: What do you call a hundred lawyers at the bottom of the ocean?
A: A good start.

Q: Why could the lawyer swim through a river of piranhas without getting eaten?
A: Professional courtesy.