Originally posted January 25, 2021.
I want to immediately begin by saying that isn’t me in the picture. Sure, I do own and use a typewriter fairly regularly, and there have been plenty of times where, in shirtsleeves, necktie, and slacks I sat and forced myself to work through some writers’ block. But that isn’t me. It’s just a funny picture I found when Googling “writers block.”
Okay. I’m going to take a moment and be very frank with you, the readers. This website is my baby. For years I’ve had half-formed plans of starting a website where I can offer information and commentary on a wide range of subjects. I’m a man of broad interests, and I believe in being something of a Renaissance man. A Renaissance man is, broadly, a “person with many talents or areas of knowledge.” I feel like that “or” is pretty important. Talent or knowledge. We can all strive for both talent and knowledge, but to be a Renaissance man, you just need one or the other, provided you have a lot of whichever.
Folks who have known me a long time know that I love trivia. I love learning about stuff. And it’s not some cursory jack-of-all-trades-but-master-of-none kind of thing. Sometimes it is. But more often than not when I learn about something I get really, really into it. But I’m veering slightly off topic.
The point is that I have a lot of interests and I’ve always wanted an outlet for them. So, here we are. I’m determined to make this website a success. I decided I wanted to put at least one post up every day. This is post number 76 total, and number 60 for me personally. But there’s a huge problem with that: If I’m going to make sure we get one post up a day, then I’m going to have to try and bridge gaps when the other contributors don’t have anything ready to go.
And that’s fine. With each contributor we’ve brought on, the understanding is and always will be that this is just a creative outlet. No deadlines, no subject-matter control, no real oversight. And I wouldn’t have it any other way. The minute this becomes a job for someone, I’ve lost, because this is just supposed to be a fun way for fully-employed folks to let off a little creative steam.
I love the set up, but occasionally there are days like today where I woke up with a monumental case of writers’ block. So I decided to take a leaf from George Carlin’s book and just have a potpourri of short takes (or as I call them, “quick hits”) on some things that aren’t good enough ideas to warrant an entire post. This is the first in what I can safely assume will be a long line of these quick hits. Enjoy.
Listening to non-native English speakers try to say the word “squirrel” is fun. Germans are the most fun to listen to because by and large Germans speak impeccable English except for a few words. However, the French are runners-up. Watch those linked videos for a nice laugh. Then, to humble yourself, watch this one of Americans trying to pronounce German words.
If you’re getting on a highway in normal traffic and are not up to highway speed by the time you are actually getting on the highway from the service road, you’re a huge part of society’s problems. You’re forcing everyone to slow down to compensate for your total lack of awareness and consideration, which in turn will make someone late, which will make them grumpy, which will lead to unpleasantness all day. Plus, starting and stopping your car frequently is an inefficient use of fuel and adds more exhaust to the atmosphere, meaning you’re also hurting the earth itself. Think about that next time you’re going 38 miles an hour on the on ramp.
Once a year, during that lull when baseball is mostly over but football, basketball, and hockey aren’t in season yet, professional athletes should get together and try the other sports. Have Tom Brady try and play hockey. Actually, don’t. He’d probably be good at it and it would be depressing. But have JJ Watt play hockey, have Tiger Woods play basketball, have Lebron James play baseball, have Mike Trout play football, etc. And film it! Who wouldn’t watch that? Like a weekend fantasy camp where this mondo athletes play other sports and see how they compare to those who play those sports professionally.
Every album an artist releases should include rehearsal recordings of what they anticipate the biggest hit on the album will be. No Auto-Tune, no computerized noise, no super filtered and produced music. Just have the singer singing and someone else accompanying on a guitar or piano or whatever. A little like MTV Unplugged. For some groups like Mumford & Sons, there’s probably not going to be a huge difference. But for the really pop acts like Ariana Grande, Justin Bieber, etc., it would probably be shocking to hear how vulnerable they are without a bunch of dudes in hoodies helping fine-tune (no pun intended) their work. It might even drive me to actually purchase a Justin Bieber album if they did that.
The thing no one wants to acknowledge in the world of food is how mayonnaise is used in everything. A lot of people don’t like mayo and even those that do might be shocked to know how often mayonnaise is used as a base for sauces and a fat to fry in. The best grilled sandwiches on earth are fried in mayo, not butter. Don’t hate me because I tell the truth.
Having a cash bar wedding is the most evil thing a person of normal standing can do. Think about it. Very few people really want to be at the wedding, especially for the actual ceremony. The least you could do is let folks drink for free. The only reason to have a cash bar if if you don’t have the budget for an open bar, but if you don’t have the budget for an open bar, you should really save more or postpone the wedding.
At some point, there weren’t very many languages. Scientists have theorized about something called the “Proto-Indo-European” language that they believe is the foundation of most modern languages in Europe, the Middle East, and South Asia. But what’s really odd to think about is that at some point someone had to point to a chair and say “this is a chair!” And everyone else had to agree to that.
The earliest records of toilet paper being used date back to the 6th Century, or about 1,500 years ago. Mass-produced toilet paper can be found about 700 years ago. Modern toilet paper became more common about 200 years ago. Scientists estimate humans have been around for about 300,000 years, meaning that for 99.5% of human existence, toilet paper was nonexistent.
When you consider that Romans had to use Roman numerals in their math, it’s even more amazing they were able to engineer things the way they did. Think about having to find the area of a given plane and Measvrvs Twicivs has to tell Cvttvs Oncevs that the area is CCLIV times CDXCVIII. How do you even do that math?
There many, many dead languages that are no longer not used but don’t even have a good record of being used. At some point, someone was the last person ever to speak that language in their daily life. And sometimes those languages are pretty recent. No one speaks Old English anymore, but we have plenty of records of it. That doesn’t change the fact that, statistically, someone was the last person to routinely use Old English in their life. Wild, right?
Okay, that’s it for this installment of Writers’ Block Quick Hits. Enjoy the rest of your day!