If you’ve ever watched a reality show contestant choke down a Madagascar hissing cockroach smoothie or bungee-jump off a bridge, and thought, “I can do that,” maybe you’ve considered applying. ‘Cause it looks so easy, right? Sure, from the safe, plushy tentacles of your sofa. But you’ll need more than good hair and an inspirational… More So You Want to Be on a Competition Reality Show?
Well, pass the remote and deep-fry me a Madagascar hissing cockroach. To honor the return of the “new” Fear Factor to NBC (which looks just like the “old” Fear Factor), I’ve updated one of my favorite posts. Enjoy. And kids, don’t try this at home. — What makes an animal? Consider the Madagascar hissing cockroach.… More Fear Factor Is Back. Will PETA Be Watching?
Okay, this I know is a departure from my usual writing- and book-related posts, but I needed to have some fun today. Plus, I’ve been studying up on the craft (yes, you cynics out there, it is a craft) of writing for television. What especially amused me was the device of leaving a much-referenced character… More Invisible TV Characters
I’d seen the previews for Terra Nova on Fox months before it actually appeared. Cleverly, their marketing people had positioned this as Jurassic Park meets Lost. But for me, the actual show did not live up to the hype. The setup was kind of interesting, if not a little politically correct: a home planet we… More Terra Nova: Nothing “Nova” About It
When a celebrity flames out-and this was damned impressive as far as flameouts go-why does the star in question (or in rehab) so often blame everyone but himself for his misbehavior? Even more disturbing, the character Charlie Sheen plays on Two and a Half Men is basically Charlie Sheen without the ex-wife, the kids, or… More Some Popular Wisdom Charlie Sheen Should Consider
What I love about guilty pleasures is the way they humanize us. Could you even imagine that your firebrand English Lit professor reads romance novels like popcorn? Or that your macho, beer-guzzling neighbor melts while watching Disney princess movies with his little girl? In fiction as in life, these traits define a character. They can… More 10 Guilty Pleasures
I’ve always loved listening to the music of language, especially those words and phrases outside the tidy boundaries of Merriam-Webster. Somewhere in the Exurban Dictionary of my brain, I filed them away, the associated gray matter swelling with each new person I met and each new place I visited. Here are some of my favorite… More Sling A Little Slang
Having worked in advertising, I understand the pressures on creative departments to produce winning campaigns under sometimes-ridiculous time constraints. I’ve been part of teams that have collectively caved as the deadline loomed, and went with an idea that was not necessarily the best, but one most people agreed didn’t suck. Or one they thought the… More Irritating Ad Campaigns 2010
I’m pretty sure that everyone writing fiction has at some time been stumped for a name for a character. It has to feel right for the character, match his or her personality, age, socioeconomic status, historical era. Sometimes I’ve been lucky and the right name just bubbles up out of my subconscious. Sometimes I flip… More What’s In A Name?
Come on, people. I thought we’d been through this already. George Carlin said the words, got thrown in jail, and that’s the template the FCC had been using ever since. You could use every pseudonym in the Urban Dictionary and even dream up a bunch of your own to refer to the load in baby’s… More Words You Can Say on Television