Here’s the deal. People have called my last post: “A series of words”, “Somewhat coherent”, and “Available on the Internet.” That’s right, it’s one of my most popular ever. It even garnered over zero comments! So I’d be crazy not to produce a sequel. And now, your wait is over…

Top Ten Musical Questions – Asked and Answered, Part II

11. “How many roads must a man walk down?” Fourteen.

10. “Have you ever seen the rain?” Of course. Haven’t you?

9. “Is it me you’re looking for?” Actually…no. I was looking for Susan. Is she home?

8. “You down with OPP?” More or less.

7. “What would you think if I sang out of tune?” Don’t worry, I wouldn’t think poorly of you. I’m well aware of the fact that singing in tune is no easy task. Don’t beat yourself up, buddy.

6. “Do you know the way to San Jose?”

san jose

5. “Why are there so many songs about rainbows?” There aren’t. This is the only one I can think of. Oh, Somewhere Over the Rainbow. Fine. There are two songs about rainbows. That’s not very many.

4. “Isn’t it ironic?” No. Not a single one of your examples is ironic.

3. “What’s new pussycat?” This fabulous flea collar for one. Thanks for noticing.

2. “How can you have any pudding if you don’t eat your meat?” Easy. You just eat the pudding. It’s okay. You’re with friends. No one’s going to judge you. We don’t care how much meat you ate, if any. Enjoy your pudding.

1. “Where have all the flowers gone?” They’re probably with the cowboys.

 

Here’s the deal. My top ten lists are probably the best on the internet. (At minimum, they’re top ten). Don’t believe it? Just ask me. Yeah, that’s right – they’re the best. Not only is the content awesome, but each top ten list goes to eleven. Why? For one, I’m not a big fan of the number ten, for two – you deserve it, for three through eleven…that’s another list.

But today I bring you the…

Top Ten Musical Questions – Asked and Answered

11. “Is she really going out with him?” Yes.

10. “Y’all ready for this?” No.

9. “Why do birds suddenly appear every time you are near?” They don’t. It’s a false correlation. What’s happening here is that you’re perceiving a relationship between the presence of birds and my proximity to you that simply doesn’t exist. There are, in fact, always birds around. Go ahead, take a look. They’re there. When you see me, you notice the birds because of this association you’ve formed in your mind. But I don’t make the birds appear.

8. “Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy?” Real life.

7. “Who needs a heart when a heart can be broken?” Everybody.

6. “Does anybody really know what time it is?” Most  people. Most people know.

“Does anybody really care?” Sure. People with appointments, for example.

5. “Who let the dogs out?” I’m pretty sure it was Larry. And I specifically told him not to.

dogs

4. “Why don’t we do it in the road?” Seriously? That’s literally one of the worst places we could do it. Very, very dangerous.

3. “Can’t you smell that smell?” Dude. Not cool.

2. “If I go crazy, then will you still call me Superman?” I seriously have no idea what you’re talking about.

1. “How long must we sing this song?” I’m so sorry. I thought you knew. You’re free to wrap it up anytime you like.

Here’s the deal. I took on Patton Oswalt in my very first blog post back in 2011. I challenged Mr. Oswalt to a Google-off, a gentleman’s duel to see whose name would get more Google search results. In what some called a cowardly move (others referred to it as, “He doesn’t know who you are or what you’re doing”), he did not reply to my challenge. Undeterred, I began my quest to dethrone him. And a refocusing of my efforts is definitely past due.

A quick refresher. Simply put, Patton Oswalt is me with a five year head start. He was born in 1969, five years before me. He graduated from the College of William and Mary with an English degree in 1991 – I did the same exactly five years later. He moved to Los Angeles to pursue a comedy career in 1995. Guess what I did in 2000? In 2005, Oswalt married Michelle Eileen McNamara, I married her in 2010.

Okay, that last one isn’t true. But the rest is 100% accurate. A little crazy. No, I wasn’t following him around (not back then, anyway). I discovered all of this only when I started this blog. And it’s very difficult to achieve success as a humor writer when someone else is living your life five years before you can. (I’m tempted to do more research on what Oswalt is doing this very moment, so I can see what I’ll be doing five years from now, but I don’t want to screw with the space-time continuum).

When I started this blog, Patton had just published his first book. A few months ago, his second book – Silver Screen Fiend – came out. I know what you’re thinking, and I can’t believe it either. I’m losing a Google-off to a guy who can’t even spell friend.

patton

Look – the Google logo is in the background. They’re in this together!

And I’m here to tell you, this new book of his is no prize pig. Here is an actual excerpt from the first page – “Copyright 2015 by Dagonet Inc. All rights reserved, including the rights to reproduce this book or portions thereof in any form whatsoever…” And so on. Snooze fest. Sorry to say so, Mr. Oswalt, but no one cares about your precious copyright laws, how about writing a book where something actually happens? (Side note: by quoting the part of the book that says I can’t quote part of the book, did I again just screw with the space-time continuum?)

So, let’s all double our efforts to make me at least as famous as Patton Oswalt. (If you don’t happen to know who Patton Oswalt is, please do not Google him to find out…that would only help his cause. Come to think of it, maybe I shouldn’t have mentioned his name forty two times in this post). I can only defeat him with your help. This blog needs to be tweeted about, facebooked to death, and myspaced until that site is no longer relevant. Those of you reading this right now – you are my allies. And I need you now more than ever. Remember, a fiend in need is a fiend indeed.

Here’s the deal. It just occurred to me that I haven’t posted anything on here in 2015. To be fair, there are a lot of other things I haven’t done in 2015. I haven’t jet skied or written any political speeches or had a really good fajita. So, I suppose it’s not entirely surprising. There are a lot of things one can do in 2015 and most of them aren’t going to get done. It’s just a numbers game.

Flickr elisart 324248450--Beef and chicken fajitas.jpg

But even though this blog may be on life support, I can’t give up on the little guy just yet. I just don’t want my blog to become one of the countless online carcasses littering the information superhighway. Honestly, there should be some type of government service to scoop up this internet road kill. Once you haven’t posted in over a year, that’s it – that’s a dead blog.

Take, for example, Stuff White People Like. Perhaps one of the most successful blogs of all time. It even got Whitey Whiterson (or whoever wrote that blog) a book deal. But I just checked and the last post was November 11, 2010. That’s a very dead blog. Sure, the last comment on that same post was only three days ago, but someone just has to help those mourners move on. I’m sure there are other blogs about white people if you look really hard. I’m white. I like stuff.

I don’t know, maybe it’s true that you can’t teach an old blog new tricks. Perhaps my little buddy is on his last legs. Maybe I do need to open an Instagram account and start instagramming every day. I think I may have waited just long enough that by the time I get it figured out everyone else will have moved on to the next thing. I mean, it was just last weekend that I finally perfected my Friendster page. But I wildly digress. (Another symptom of a sick blog)

Here’s the good news. When I started this blog I had two goals: defeat Patton Oswalt in a google-off, and create a blog that would get 69, 575 hits. I recognize now that Oswalt simply has me out-classed. On my very first blog post four years ago, Oswalt had over 800,000 Google results and I had 560. I Googled myself today (as I do each and every day – if there was someway to attach dental floss to Google, dentists wouldn’t have to keep begging us to take care of our teeth…hmmm, I’m going to have to Instagram that) and I have 1,510 hits. Yes, I’ve nearly tripled my online exposure, but Patton is now closer to a million. What was I saying? Oh, yes, here’s the good news. My unspoken second goal was to create a blog that would garner 69,575 hits. As of today, I have 69,572. We can do it, people. If we all work together, I can achieve my lofty goal. It actually won’t even take all of us working together. If three of us can work together that’ll pretty much do it.

Check your rear view mirror, Oswalt…I’m still coming for you. This blog’s not dead yet.

Here’s the deal. Those who have been reading my blog since the beginning will know that two weeks ago I wrote the classic post, “Vs. WikiHow Part I.” Since then, I’ve given a lot of thought about how to best follow this up…then it hit me – Part II. It’s perfect. Frankly, it probably shouldn’t have taken so long for me to come up with it.

WikiHow (or WikiWhy as I prefer to call it) has a tremendous collection of thought-provoking, useful articles. Just kidding. It’s got stuff like this –

(1) How to Get Rich Quick. This article honestly contains the following suggestions: play the lottery, gamble, and sell your plasma. “Gambling is one of the easiest ways to make large sums of money instantly,” says WikiHow and no one who’s ever been to Vegas ever.

blood(2) How to Fake Your Own Death. “Sometimes in life you may need to fake your own death.” WikiHow, you know me better than I know myself, there have been many times in my life when I’ve needed to fake my own death. I’m on my fourth identity already. Here are their actual steps: Decide whether or not you really want to do this, Stop using anything that will be traceable back to you, Watch out for little things that may give you away, Decide on a death method, and Do it. I just love how they make the most complex things so incredibly simple. Faking your own death – Just Do It.

death

No, she’s not deciding on what to order at Starbucks, this is a woman figuring out whether or not she should fake her own death. Hmmmm…it could be fun…

(3) How to Make Your Girlfriend Want to Have Sex with You. Some pictures really are worth a thousand words…

sex

(4) How to Convince Your Friends to Buy You a Llama for Your Birthday. Finally, a how-to article we can all relate to. Step 1, “Make your love for llamas obvious…mention llama fun facts at dinner.” This is great advice but, unfortunately, there are no llama fun facts. All facts about llamas are decidedly not fun. Other suggestions include “Discussing llamas over coffee,” and “Writing llama related articles for WikiHow.” Sounds to me like someone wants a llama for their birthday…

llama

The only thing she loves more than llamas is meth.

(5) How to Start Your Own Country. First things first…

country

I know I’m just a beginner here, but it looks like the language is going to be English. I love how dedicated this guy is to naming his new country, he even wrote down “Name” in case he forgets what he’s doing. And my favorite line so far from a WikiHow article, “You can think about it.”

Okay, you’ve picked out a nice name for your new country, what’s next? Well, you’ll need some land. WikiHow suggests that you “conquer an existing country. There are many small island nations dotting the Pacific, and it’s unlikely they have much of a defense force. Sure, it’s crazy—but crazy enough that it might just work! All you need is an army, a navy, and the support of the world community.” That’s right, all you need is an army, a navy, and the support of the world community…of course, if you already have those things, chances are you already have a country.

Nice. You’ve got a name, you’ve got some land. Now what? “Invite your friends. One of the key requirements for a nation—aside from territories—will be a population. If the land you conquer or build doesn’t come with an indigenous people, you will have to bring your own to the party.” Oh, WikiHow, is there anything you haven’t thought of? (Seriously, you’re telling people how to get others to buy them a llama…is there anything you haven’t thought of?)

Perfect. You’ve got a name. You’ve got land. You’ve got a population. Anything else? “These days, if you’re serious about anything (and creating a micronation can be serious, indeed), then you will have a website.” Right, you used your army and navy to conquer a small island nation – time to post about it!

Of course, WikiHow also notes that, “You are free to declare yourself a country, anytime, and anywhere. However, nobody will take you seriously, which translates to the simple truth that you will have no legitimacy as a nation.” Well…every plan has its downsides.

WikiHow is truly a treasure trove of useless information. I could go on and on, but I have to go get a llama, fake my own death, get rich quick, start my own country and (this is the tough one) make my girlfriend want to have sex with me.

Here’s the deal. Friends recently introduced me to this awesome thing called the internet. It’s on computers and some phones. It’s full of funny videos, cats, and people you almost remember from high school…look, my words don’t do it justice, you should just check it out for yourself.

Unfortunately, in addition to being the greatest thing ever, the internet is also quite terrible. And some argue that all of our screen time is making us stupider and badder writers and stupider. Take, for instance, WikiHow. How silly are most of the how-to articles on this site? So silly that I titled this blog post “Part I” not knowing what my hypothetical Part II would consist of, but confident that this site would provide ample fodder.

WikiHow features such essential articles as “How to Check Out a Library Book” in 6 easy steps. That’s 100% true, there is an article that stretches this process to six steps. I can simplify the process a little – How to Check Out a Library Book in 1 easy step: Check Out a Library Book.

Or how about “How to Rip Paper” (also in 6 steps). This article begins with the wise words, “Have you ever needed/wanted to shred unwanted documents, homework, junk mail or papers the right way, without a pair of scissors or a paper shredder on hand? Now you can!” Okay…is there really a human being anywhere on the planet who has a pile of paper they need ripped and can’t figure out how to do it? A single one? A solitary organism that could find this article even remotely useful? Their target audience is nobody.

But I’m going to focus my energy today on the WikiHow article, “How to Make Friends.” As with the above examples, they include quite a bit of filler and stretch this one out to 24 steps. Unlike the above examples, there are some people who genuinely need help in this area. But, like the above examples, they will find no help in this article.

Let’s dig right in. Step 1. “Spend more time around people.” Are you taking notes? In order to make friends, you will need to be in the company of humans other than yourself. Great tip.

Steps 2 and 3. “Join an organization or club with people who have common interests/Join a sports team.”

ping pong

Or, apparently, invent a new sport. Such as a version of ping pong where two new friends stand next to each other and both serve a ball into play simultaneously.

Step 5. “Talk to people.” This actually helped me a lot. I used to try and make friends by walking up to them and then just staring at them with saying a word. Not terribly successful. I’ve begun to implement their speaking strategy and it’s really working out.

Step 7. “Start a conversation.” This is a bad sign. They’re only seven steps into a twenty four step article and they’re already repeating themselves. Sure, if you want to make new friends, try talking to people. And if that doesn’t work, try starting a conversation. They even offer conversation starters. For example, they suggest saying, “At least it’s not raining like last week.” Yeah, that’s a humdinger. If someone came up to me and said that, I think I will have found a friend for life. Another conversation starter from the geniuses at WikiHow, “Can you help me carry a few boxes?” That’s right, there’s no better way to make a friend than to go up to a total stranger and ask them to do manual labor for you.

Step 8. “Make small talk.” Seriously. I’m not making this up. They just keep suggesting that you talk to people.

Step 11. “Pursue common interests.” Wait, this sounds a lot like Step 2, where you “Join an organization or club with people who have common interests.” Did they think we would have forgotten already as it was nine steps ago?

nose

“Hi, do you want to talk and start a conversation about a common interest?”

“Yes, I can see that we both are missing noses. Shall we make small talk about this, potential friend?”

Step 15. “Be a good friend.” About a third of the steps in this article are more about how to act towards your friends than how to make a new friend. I imagine that in the WikiHow article How to Shop for a New Car, they would provide such advice as – park your car in the garage to protect it from the elements.

minotaur

“Even though you’re a minotaur, I’m going to be a good friend to you. Let’s go drive my car I need to shop for.”

Step 22. “Be confident.” This is the closest they ever got to being helpful. Feelings of inadequacy and self-esteem issues could actually prevent people from making new friends. Unfortunately, WikiHow took a topic that therapists could deal with for years and reduced it to a two word solution. Thanks, WikiHow, now that you’ve told me to be confident, I’m fully equipped to be confident. It’s like that time you cured my fear of heights by telling me not to be afraid of heights.

So that’s the problem with WikiHow, they take an issue and simultaneously oversimplify the important parts while endlessly repeating the obvious points. And the pictures are kind of creepy.

So, if you want to make new friends, all you really have to do is spend time around people and talk to them. That is, as soon as you finish using the internet to scroll through a 24 step article about how you need to get out more.

Here’s the deal. The world has a proud history of individuals and groups successfully protesting injustice. But not every protestor has a great game plan…

Take, for example, Mr. Chris Sevier. As a means of protesting gay marriage, this gentleman petitioned for the right to marry his computer. He claimed that he should have the equal right to marry his “preferred sexual object.” Wow. Trying to marry a computer to protest gay marriage, that’s like…trying to marry a computer to protest gay marriage. Yes, it’s so absurd that the action itself is the best example of its own absurdity.

This would be like protesting the death penalty by stomping on Twinkies. It’s just difficult to make a logical comparison between an action involving a person and an action involving an inanimate object. But I’m sure you and your laptop will have many happy months, until it’s rendered obsolete.

If you want your protest to be taken seriously, it really needs to make sense. In Sweden, the Feminist Initiative decided to protest the discrepancy in pay between men and women. They calculated that women made 100,000 kronor ($13,000) less than men every minute across the country. An important issue? Sure. But how did they protest this gap in wages? By burning 100,000 kronor. Hmmmm, what exactly is this message? Pay us more money or we’ll keep lighting fire to money? You’re destroying that which you’re asking for. How do we know that if their wages aren’t increased, they won’t just build another cash bonfire?

And, while we’re on the subject of taking the time to have a clear message, let’s talk about signage. The Tea Party, for example, is notorious for being able to almost spell a lot of words. Come on now people, most of these signs have fewer than a dozen words on them – would it kill you to take five minutes to double check? If you’re trying to make an informed comment on politicians, the constitution, and issues of the day it never hurts to be able to spell “politicians,” “constitution,” and “day.”

respect-are-country-english[1]

You see, protesting used to be about something, nowadays people just like to make noise. Have you heard of rolling coal? For reasons that aren’t exactly clear, people with big trucks are spending lots of money to outfit their vehicles so that they emit giant plumes of black smoke. Apparently, this is somehow a protest against environmentalists. But the online videos that show these people blasting pedestrians with clouds of toxic smoke raise some doubt as to the thought they put into their “protests.” Guess what, most people don’t want to look like Dick Van Dyke in Mary Poppins, and shoving your exhaust down everyone else’s throat only proves one thing…you’re just not very nice.

Of course, no one is better at being just not very nice than the Westboro Baptist Church. Their bread and butter is protesting homosexuals, but, because they know God’s opinion on everything, they are ever expanding. They’ve protested Jews, Catholics, Harry Potter, Lady Gaga, the Kansas City Chiefs, HBO, iPhones, Swedish vacuum cleaners, and probably just about anything else you can imagine. On the positive side, they did tweet that God loves bagels. So…there’s that. Yes, the church’s twitter page (with the exception of church members, they only follow Fox News and Sarah Palin…how’s that for a horrific endorsement?) is one long string of hate. The only thing they do without discrimination is protest. If there’s something out there (other than bagels), they’ll find a reason to condemn it.

And maybe that’s the biggest problem. People used to protest because they believed in something. Now it seems that most people aren’t protesting for a change – they’re protesting against one. They’re not offering a way to make the world a better place, they’re just blasting away at all the things that don’t fit into their world view. Having a sign is fine. Having an idea is better.