Life Is Wonderful, Day 143: The Road Ahead

February 19th, 2011

“Pillow Fighting for Freedom” has been postponed because the committee isn’t finished reviewing it.

In its place, I thought I might pass by you some of the topics I’m developing for the next few weeks.  Please feel free to respond, choose one or two, or suggest others — but remember, all suggestions will be reviewed by the committee.

Here we go:

The Mild Adventures of Tucky the Squirrel” — Currently on hold due to an interspecies squabble that one species wins.  Will be available shortly, I think.

“Koans From the Heart” —  Short sentences that don’t seem to mean anything at first, but when you think about them they lead you in the direction of wholesome, appropriate love.

“Isn’t Life Funny?  Only If We’re Careful” A reformed humorist looks back on the wreckage of his life.

BOOK REVIEW: “We Shall Speak Sharply to Them On the Beaches, We Shall Speak Sharply to Them on the Seas” Winston Churchill’s herstory of World Disagreement II.

“What Would St. Augustine Do?”  On hold until the committee works out the problem with his famous prayer.

“The Little Girl Who Grew Up Uneventfully” On the fast track.

“Should the Government Make Our Lunch?” A Dietitian looks at public food policy.

“Political Debates: Unnecessarily Confrontational?” — Frederick W. Thrum and Marjorie Allingwood propose replacing the acrimonious and divisive pre-election debates with a good old fashioned hootenanny, complete with talking stick.

“Fishing Without Pain” – New insight into an old pastime.

“Rainy Saturdays: Five Feel-good Games You Can Play With Tables of Contents”

“Candide in the Classroom: Why America Has, Always Has Had, and Always Will Have, the Best of All Possible Public Education Systems” — Title tells all.

“Mysteries Improved” In this day of e-books, there’s no reason to put up with violence in your reading.  We’ll show you how to replace the murders and violence in mystery novels with things like missing eyeglasses, malfunctioning thermostats, undependable AA cells, and the Polite Pathway to Agreement™.

“150 Uses for Old Plastic Water Bottles”:  Why should the Pacific Gyre get all of them?  Now you can be the envy of your friends with handsome planters, drinking cups, chemistry beakers, shower heads, angel costumes,  finger rings, sunglasses — even a working accordion — made from your empties.  Make the All-Bott® Trike, and you’ll really be recycling!

“Ten Steps to Stepping Better”: World-renowned podiatrist Dr. Stephanie Schrum helps you to overcome five walks that lead people to leap to conclusions about you.

“The Library — A Really Great Place to Get Books!!” How to visit the . . .

“Is Past Tense Discriminatory?” How books in past tense lead our children to undervalue the present.

“With a Song In My Heart” — The inspiring story of how a woman whose surgeon left his iPod in her left ventricle turned personal tragedy into a best-selling book, a film starring Meryl Streep©, and a career in reality television.

“Adverb Roulette Game of Chance Fun Family Game” Win FREE adverbs to sprinkle through your writing.  No writing sparkles like Adverb Enhanced® writing.  No purchase required!

“Making Today The Best Day of Your Life Until Tomorrow” Happiness consultant Faith Wilders on how to scoop life’s tastiest morsels from the corners of the package.

“Git Back to the Raft, Huck, Honey”  Why does that large male adult keep calling Huckleberry Finn “honey?”  Preparing your children to avoid a great read.

“A Quick and Easy NPR Filter” — Here’s a simple rubric you can use to intercept all of NPR’s unacceptable content and focus on Garrison Keillor.

. . . and so, so much more.  Please cast a vote and/or suggest something new!

18 Responses to “Life Is Wonderful, Day 143: The Road Ahead”

  1. Suzanna Says:

    You’ve given me many giggles my friend so thanks for that. I hope that laughing this heartily will assure a better night sleep. I think all of these topics are quite humorous. Your choice, boss, they all work for me. Suggestions may follow after I’ve had some zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz’s but none will be as clever as yours, so maybe I’ll just stand by, full stop. We’ll see how the sleep goes first. Thanks again!

  2. Gary Says:

    Been away. Came back. Found all this.

    There’s only one way to make it stop (suggested a couple of blogs ago):

    The first thing we do,
    let’s kill all the lawyers.

    Henry VI, Part 2
    William Shakespeare, 1592

    The more I think about it,
    old Billy was right;
    Let’s kill all the lawyers,
    let’s kill them tonight.

    Get Over It
    The Eagles, 1994

  3. EverettK Says:

    Please stop. You’re killing me. Or, at least, you’re rupturing my appendix.

    (Just remember: if you never add an appendix to your book, it can’t be ruptured.)

  4. Laren Bright Says:

    I vote for: Should the Government Make Our Lunch FOR FREE because it would put an end to the misconception that there is no such thing as a free lunch.

    I also like Cohens of the Heart, the autobiography of two Jewish vascular surgeons.

  5. Lil Gluckstern Says:

    I’m laughing too hard to think of anything-other than there is a hint of the Tim I’ve read before in there. Just how long do you plan to keep this going?

  6. micael hallinan Says:

    How about MAKE AWKWARD SEXUAL ADVANCES NOT WAR-The timeless story of a teen’s struggle to find peace during the dark days of an unnamed war?

  7. Phil Hanson Says:

    ““Should the Government Make Our Lunch?”

    Why not? The corporate-funded GOP has been eating it.

    “Mysteries Improved”

    Writing advice is always appreciated. A truth about writing that should be self-evident is that it is impossible for a writer to successfully create a fictional character that is more intelligent than the writer. That’s why, if I ever get around to writing a novel, all my characters are going to be freakin’ idiots.

    “150 Uses for Old Plastic Water Bottles”

    Some people even use them for building houses.

    “Adverb Roulette Game of Chance Fun Family Game”

    You have no idea how happily that makes me.

    Okay, I’m done.

  8. Timothy Hallinan Says:

    Hi, everybody.

    Now, this is more like it. Until all these nice letters arrived, I was on the verge of writing tomorrow’s blog in appreciation of this nice note I just got from someone named Autentic Shoe Outlet.

    Autentic says, You received a definitely beneficial webpage. I have been right here reading for about an hour. I’m a newbie and your success is of really much an inspiration for me.

    Suzanna, get that sleep. Sleep is important because without it we sometimes become intemperate and make rash remarks to those we love and those we not-so love, although, of course, we’d love them if we knew them better. So I’m happy the post cheered you — remember, it takes either more or less muscles to smile than it does to frown, and either way, well . . .

    Gary, while I share your appreciation of Shakespeare, I think he must have written that speech of Falstaff’s after a bad night’s sleep. That’s not the bluff, hearty, optimistic Falstaff I know and love. And even though Shakespeare wrote the occasional tragedy, I’m certain in my heart that he shared our conviction that the world is just one unending square dance in which no one ever stumbles and every partner is the right one.

    And where’d you go, anyway?

    Laren, that’s a terrific improvement on both my ideas. I’m always open to suggestion and collaboration because two heads are better than one, even when one of them is yours. Whoops, an unwashed fragment of the old dark me floated up. Actually, “Cohens of the Heart” made me laugh out loud.

    Everett, please say something unpleasant so I can demonstrate moral superiority by absorbing it gracefully and — and learning from it. Otherwise I’m stuck in this isn’t this nice and here’s something nicer gear, and it’s getting — well, not old precisely, but a bit too well-explored.

    Lil, I’m hoping to preserve this new perspective through infinity, or whatever sliver of it will be granted to me. The old Tim lies dusty and deserted in a ditch beside the road leading to Damascus. And these are gum wrappers that were his eyes.

    Micael, you can suggest new topics as often as you like, although ideally you’ll send them to me by e-mail so I can claim I thought of them. That’s the funniest one of all. Make a great bumper sticker.

    Hey, Phil, glad you’re back. You’ve made me laughingly several times, especially with the GOP eating our lunch, although I’m sure if we understood everything we’d see that they have our best interests in mind.

  9. Debbi Says:

    “Git Back to the Raft, Huck, Honey” Why does that large male adult keep calling Huckleberry Finn “honey?”

    By “large male adult,” do you mean that dark-skinned fellow who’s referred to as a, um … slave? I mean a n- … never mind. 🙂

  10. Phil Hanson Says:

    That’s a nice welcome, Tim, but really, I haven’t gone anywhere; I read your blog daily, come rain or come shine (mostly rain this time of year). Some days, though, I get here kinda late and kinda brain-dead and find that you’ve already responded to everyone’s comments; on those days, I don’t leave a comment because I know it would compel you to respond in kind (that you acknowledge every respondent by name goes to the heart of your character and is one of the many qualities I like and respect about Tim Hallinan, the person), and sparing you another time-consuming visit to the scene of the crime, as it were, is sure to be for the greater good.

  11. EverettK Says:

    Tim, I’m saying nothing but warm-fuzzy-glowing things for the indefinite future, just to see how long you can keep this up. It’s going to be fun watching the pressure gasket blow, as it inevitably must. (Did you notice how smoothly and almost invisibly I snuck in that -ly word?)

  12. Lil Gluckstern Says:

    Hmm. Why do writers look down on adverbs?, she asked. Seriously.

  13. Stephen Cohn Says:

    Many provocative subjects there – somehow Fishing Without Pain really speaks to me. Is such a thing really possible? How would our lives change if we were able to do this? I would love to hear you explore the philosophical and cultural ramifications.

  14. Timothy Hallinan Says:

    You like me. You really like me. All it took was a change of tone. It’s all sunshine from now on! And I’m laying in an extra store of exclams!

    I’m having an enormous amount of fun with this, and I hope you are, too, because it’s not likely to end any time soon. Unless it does and I return to my lifelong study of The Human Condition.

    Debbi, I read (of course) the new expurgated version of H.Finn. I wouldn’t tarnish my consciousness with the old dirty version. And while I would love to claim the title as my own, GIT BACK TO THE RAFT, HUCK, HONEY is actually the title of an (in)famous critical paper written in 1948 by Leslie Fiedler that “revealed” the powerful homoerotic strain that flows, as irresistably as the Mississippi itself, through the novel. According to Fiedler, anyway.

    Hi, Phil and it’s good to know you’re out there. I sometimes feel like I’m on the radio and everyone has turned to television. My words just echo . . . endlessly . . . in an . . . empty hall. I’ll be back in a second with a Kleenex-brand nose-blowing tissue. Anyway, glad to know you haven’t moved on.

    Lil, an honest answer is that it’s Conventional Wisdom, like Write What You Know and Don’t Fracture Point of View. In fact, though, there’s no piece of conventional writing wisdom that hasn’t been violated, often to the benefit of the book or story. Many people, and I’m one of them, see a lot of adverbs as (a) empty calories — what word could be eliminated from, “Scared to death, she ran quickly away,” or (b) just laziness — using a word to TELL the reader something the writer should be SHOWING. “I love you,” she said tremulously” isn’t terrible (although it’s close) but wouldn’t it be better if the writer showed us her tremulousness and let us draw our own conclusions? Of course, adverbs that modify the verb “to say” are the basis of the whole “Tom Swifty” genre of jokes “I’m coming as fast as I can,” Tom said swiftly. My friend Bruce Tierney, the mystery critic for BookPage, can make these up as fast as I can talk, and often does.

    Everett, thanks so much for the gentle tone. My nerves aren’t what they used to be, and my trips to the Kleenex-brand nose-blowing tissues are more frequent than most men would (or would care to) admit. Every kind response is another paving stone on the long walkway to recovery.

    Stephen, the world would be unimaginable. I’ve been trying to imagine it ever since I read your response, but I’ve failed. Our lives would be — well, perhaps this is too strong a word, but — transformed. They’d be transformed. We’d still be friends, though. Wouldn’t we?

  15. Rosa St.Claire Says:

    You have made me laugh so much today. What a great talent. I was down in the doldrums lately, but your humor is contagious.

  16. Timothy Hallinan Says:

    Hi, Rosa, and thanks so much. If I give you the e-mail addresses of everyone else who reads this blog would you write and tell them about this? Avoid those doldrums. Isn’t it interesting (well, maybe it’s not) that we don’t cap the “D” on “doldrums” even though it’s a proper noun as the name of the equatorial calm zones where ships used to sit for weeks, even months. Well, it’s sort of interesting.

    Thanks for dropping by.

  17. Jaden Says:

    My favorites are TUCKY THE SQUIRREL, the Winston Churchill review, and IMPROVING MYSTERIES. MAKE AWKWARD ADVANCES NOT WAR is good too. Thank you for the laugh, Tim. I’d respond in kind, but I have it on good authority that I have no sense of humor.

  18. Timothy Hallinan Says:

    Hi, Jaden and thanks. Tucky’s is a story that longs to be told, and I’d be willing to lease it to the right writer in exchange for co-credit and a slice of the royalties. Make Awkward Advances is my brothers and made me spit coffee, although I managed to miss the keyboard.

    Thanks for coming by.

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