[The curtain opens on the interior of a small studio apartment. A police siren goes by outside. Words moves around the apartment frantically. He throws some junk in a closet, tosses the dishes under the sink and hastily makes the bed. He is straightening up the desk when there’s a knock at the door.]

Words: [calling towards the door] Just one sec. Be right there.

[Words tosses some stuff into one of the drawers, looks helplessly at the pile of papers strewn across the desk and sweeps them into the trash can. Another polite knock. Words runs to the door, unclasps several locks, slides the chain out, and opens the door. 9rules stands politely in the hallway.]

Words: Hi. Sorry. Please come in.

[9rules steps inside and looks around slowly.]

Words: Um. Can I get you anything to drink?
9rules: Sure. What do you have?

[Words hustles to the refrigerator, opens it and looks inside.]

Words: Uh. I got grapefruit juice and, um… water.
9rules: I see. I’m alright.
Words: I can run to the store real quick if you want something else. A coke or-
9rules: Don’t worry about it. [9rules looks around with obvious disdain.] I won’t be long.
Words: Well, okay. Thanks for coming by.
9rules: That’s my job.
Words: Still, I appreciate-
9rules: You have requested an interview. Is there anything you’d like to say?
Words: Uh, yeah. I, um, saw that you guys were accepting applications and-
9rules: Who told you that?
Words: I found out at Airbag Industries, actually.
9rules: I see.

[9rules begins walking around the apartment, appraising the space and its contents.]

9rules: Did you receive a personal invitation?
Words: Not exactly.
9rules: Not exactly?
Words: Not at all.
9rules: Continue.
Words: Um, I saw that you were accepting applications and I’ve been a fan of your community ever since I found out about it and I thought that it wouldn’t hurt to throw my hat in the ring.
9rules: Theoretically.
Words: Excuse me?
9rules: Nothing.
Words: Alright… Well, I just wanted to see if I could make it in. You know?
9rules: Sadly, yes.

[Awkward silence ensures.]

Words: So, um…

[More awkward silence.]

Words: Can I show you around?

[9rules looks around the small apartment. He takes it all in with one quick glance. A large rat waddles across the living room floor.]

9rules: I can say with confidence that I’ve seen quite enough.
Words: When will you guys be making your decision?
9rules: Sometime this week.
Words: Can you give me any sort of idea on how I did?
9rules: Our standards are very high.
Words: I know. If you give me a chance to-
9rules: I’m sorry.

[Words slumps, dejected.]

Words: Isn’t there anything-
9rules: Don’t.
Words: But-
9rules: You’re only making this harder on yourself.
Words: I-
9rules: No.


9rules: I’ll see myself out.

[9rules steps out. After a few moments of staring at his shoes, Words steps into the kitchen area and opens the fridge. He pulls out a gallon of ice cream and a bottle of mustard and plods to the couch. He turns on the TV, pours mustard directly into his mouth, pulls a spoon out from underneath the couch cushions and begins to shovel ice cream through his frowning lips. Curtain.]


I submitted Words for consideration for inclusion in the 9rules network. Moments afterward, I was filled with the confident reassurance that it would not be picked. But that’s okay. I don’t care about them anyway. And besides, I’ve got plenty of mustard and ice cream to last for weeks. Maybe months.

In my defense, I misread that “best content on the web” thing. I thought it said “best of the worst stuff you’ve ever seen”. And if you’ll forgive some boasting, that’s a category Words could really shine in.

UPDATE: As usual, my writing is vague and unclear. As of May 31st, 9rules has not yet published the list of sites accepted during the latest round of submissions. I don't know for sure if I've been accepted or not. I just don't feel very confident about my chances. Because I don't write very good.


With his book The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, Robert Heinlein popularized the adage, "There ain't no such thing as a free lunch."  There's also no such thing as free beaches and fresh air, free suburbs and soccer fields, free public education or free speech.  For the last two and a half centuries, men far greater than I have stood firmly in harm's way, sacrificing themselves so we can live in freedom.  Freedom for children to play baseball in the park.  Freedom for women to drive badly.  Freedom for men to grunt and own power tools and guns.  Freedom to criticize and encourage.  Freedom to eat and exercise.  Freedom to blog.  Freedom to be free.

Let's enjoy the freedom they've given us.  Let's barbecue and swim and eat pounds of watermelon.  But let's not forget to honor their memories.


While I doubt very much that anyone's contemplating cutting themselves over it, I do apologize for the lack of posting with no forewarning.  I've been insanely busy at work and am in Denver this weekend to shoot a wedding and the associated festivities.  I have a post in the works, but it bears striking resemblance to a struggling marathon runner.  It's halfway done and it smells terrible.


The Beginnings and Endings of Stories You Really Need to Hear the Middles Of

So we went out for ice cream…
…and that’s how I got syphilis.

We went to the mall to look for some shoes…
…and now I’m never allowed back in Great Britain.

The car rental place gave us this little, blue Geo Metro…
…and we had the hardest time buying little Bill back from the gypsies.

For our vacation, we decided to rent a boat on Lake Michigan…
…and you know, I never thought I’d say this, but those Canadian Mounties are surprisingly gentle.

When I was living in Philadelphia, me and my roommate decided to find a new apartment…
…and to the best of my knowledge, he’s still working with those Pilipino pirates somewhere in the Baltic.

It was a beautiful day, so I decided to take my daughter to the park…
…and I still don’t have any feeling in my right leg or the palms of my hands.

So I was riding this little Vespa scooter around…
…and I ended up paying the midget almost three grand.

I was sitting on my couch watching TV…
…and you know what he used to stitch up my leg? Yak hair. Yeah.

The Plan to Revitalize Downtown

Because it smells like old bologna down there.

Right now, it's a real craphole.

You should be ashamed.

Because some people can't tell the difference between it and Mexico.

Or just give it to the hobos and the crack whores.

Or the smell will slowly take over the rest of the city.

Because children have nightmares about it.

Or we could just let it burn.


I bought a car today.

Sort of. I'm sending the check with some paperwork I'll receive tomorrow.

I bought it in Austin so that Jim can drive it home from school.

He'll be home on Thursday. And I'll find out if I worked out a good deal or if my time would have been better spent burning my money in the street while singing Beatles tunes and cutting myself.

part one | part two | part three

How to Run a Photoblog

1. Begin by assuming a self-important air. This is essential. Without arrogance, you might accidentally realize that you’re just like everybody else with a digital camera. This realization could become a major obstacle to your personal motto as a photoblogger: everyone else’s photos suck. Hard. Even Ansel Adams.

2. Choose a blogging method. Some people pay for domain name registration, site hosting and blogging software. Others use one of many free services. Decide what’s right for you. Keep in mind that few readers will follow your blog if you’re constantly switching from domain to domain. Pick something you can live with for a while. Since your photos are better than everyone else’s, you’ll probably want to choose a service that allows you to have a completely unique domain name. You don’t want your photos to be associated in any way with those of the talentless plebeians.

3. Practice writing poems. It may be a photoblog, but your art demands something more. Like unrelated words strung together in nonsensical sentence fragments. If you don’t write poetry and don’t want to, steal some song lyrics.

4. Practice focusing on even the smallest details in order to tell your story. Clerk accidentally forgot to scan your coupon? Take a picture of one of the painted stripes in the parking lot. Mailman dropped the letter from your mail order Russian bride in a puddle? Take a picture of the reflection of your crying face. Dog peed on your lawn? Take a picture of a solitary blade of grass.

5. Take lots of pictures of walls. Brick, plaster, decaying plaster over brick… You get the idea.

6. Get on flickr and search for photos similar to ones you’ve taken. Then leave a comment pointing back to that photo on your photoblog so that everyone can see how much better than them you are. Those crazy hippies over on flickr love that.

7. Take lots of pictures of crazy hippies.

tag lines

Hooked on Phonics. Because illiteracy is for losers.

Pepsi. In the end, it's just cola.

Beverly Hills. We're better than you.

Illegal Immigration. The backbone of America's cheap produce.

Movies. Because literacy is for losers.

Old Spice. Smell like an old man. But kind of good.

Ford. We invented the assembly line so Toyota could perfect it.

Apathy. What's the difference?

Metamucil. You know why.

Alcohol. Because livers are for losers.

Photoshop. Because you're unattractive.

College. Because boiling French fry oil burns the ever-loving crap out of your face.


Helpful Tips for a Happy Marriage

1. Find the right man/woman. This is the hardest part, but critical to a happy marriage. I can’t imagine that you would ever be happily married to David Hasselhoff/Paris Hilton/Satan himself. Finding the right guy or gal can be a crapshoot. Good luck.

2. If you do luck out and find the perfect someone, marry them as soon as you can. The longer you wait, the more likely they are to realize that they are too good for you. Get married quick and lock ‘em in.

3. Work on conflict resolution. When you spend that much time with someone, you’re going to disagree. You’re going to get angry. You’re going to say things you don’t mean. If you’re a man, you’re going to end up sleeping on the couch. So develop the conflict resolution strategy that works for you. Then develop the conflict resolution strategy that works for your spouse. Warning: this may take many, many fights, but you should be committed to the endeavor. You may need to start some fights to perfect your strategies. Do whatever is necessary. Family insults always work well.

4. Commit yourself to open and honest communication. All the time.

5. Learn to lie well. Unless you're still working out your conflict resolution strategies, there are times when open and honest communication is not your friend. Like during childbirth. If you aren’t passed out on the floor, just tell your wife that she’s beautiful. For women: tell your husband that he has huge muscles. Just whenever.

6. Don’t cheat. Except at Speed Scrabble. Because sometimes you just have to win if you want to live your life with any sort of self-respect.

7. Make an effort to do the little things for him or her. Bake a cake. Take out the trash. Make the bed. Wash her car. Bake some cookies. Rub her feet. Shave his back while he watches Lethal Weapon 4.

So it may not be the best advice, but it’s working fine for me.

Happy Anniversary, Aims. I love you.


Helpful Tips For Selling Your Car

1. Find someone who's interested in buying a car like yours.  Convince them that your car is perfect for them.  It may be hard to believe, but people looking to find a more efficient vehicle might not consider a dump truck and you may need to educate them as to your dump truck's fuel-sipping attributes.
Also, without an interested party, you are not likely to be able to hand over those keys to anyone in exchange for cash.  Some vehicles may not garner as much interest as others, especially if your asking price is too high.  Trying to sell a Ferrari for $500?  This could be a challenge.  Email me for a tutorial more suited to your specific needs.

2. Once you find an interested party, they'll have questions about the vehicle.  They'll probably want to know what year it was manufactured.  Lie to them.  When they find out that the car is not a 2004, but a 2003, they will most likely be very pleasantly surprised.  Everyone knows that an older vehicle is more seasoned, full of sage advice and the wisdom that can only come with experience.

3.  An interested party might also ask you questions about the vehicle's mileage.  The same rules apply here as apply to the year of manufacture.  Lie.  Take the vehicle's actual mileage and divide by two.  The results: more pleasant surprise.  Buyers look for one thing in a used car: seasoning.  Lots of it.

4.  Now that you've convinced an interested party that your vehicle is perfect for them and they've been roped in by all the vehicle's seasoning, it's time to close the deal.  Determine the vehicle's value.  Like many Americans, you probably still owe money for your two or three-year old car or truck.  Like many Americans, you might owe more than the car or truck is worth.  In that case, instead of quoting a price, tell the potential buyer that they can just take over your payments.  Everyone's a winner.  You avoid paying too much and they avoid down payments and the hassle of loan procurement.  Your generosity will not go unnoticed.

5.  Once you've sold the car, change your name, disconnect your phone and move. It's better this way.

The flickr set is now complete. If you're into that sort of thing. You sick freak.





Companies are constantly switching their advertising agencies. They don’t get along with the team handling their account or they get tired of the creative or they don’t see results or they get tired of paying big bills. So they look around for other agencies. The process usually begins with a request. Then all the agencies that want to work for the client send in letters and books and DVDs of their work. It’s called a capabilities statement. The agency tells the client that the client is great and that they’re great and that they should all work together doing great things. The client will take all the capabilities statements and pick the agencies that might be good enough. These agencies then have the opportunity to impress the pants off the client with some really good strategy and even better creative. They have a week or two to meet and talk about the client, research what the client is currently doing, research the client’s target, meet and talk about stuff, eat cheeseburgers, write a bunch of stuff on post-it notes, drink coffee, come up with some creative, shoot some pool, meet and talk about other stuff, refine the creative, eat pizza, refine the creative some more and then, the night before the presentation, throw out all the creative and start over with brand new stuff.

Then there’s the presentation of the strategy and the work. Once again, the agency tells the client that the client is great and that they’re great and that they should all work together doing great things. And you go home and pray. And pray some more. And ritually sacrifice a kid. You know… a baby goat. If you get the business, you crack open a bottle of champagne or two. And if you don’t, you send out consolation emails to the team saying how badly the clients blew it when they chose another agency.

At least, that’s how we do it around here.

I’m off to Austin again on Monday for a pitch. I’ll be posting photos.

not found

Signs that your buddy might by absolutely flamingo-loving crazy nuts:

1. He ran off into the jungle by himself.
2. He ran off into the jungle by himself with one gun and no toothbrush.
3. He ran off into the jungle by himself with one gun and no toothbrush to take on an army of mysterious jungle people who travel in packs with complete stealth and the uncanny ability to kidnap people in the middle of the night.
4. You found him a week later when he came charging through the brush mumbling incoherently.
5. The first thing he said when he woke up from his insanity nap was, “Oh, hey guys. Let’s kill some women and kids.”
6. He apologizes to a chick. And shoots her.
7. He shoots another chick. Then himself.
8. He has the appearance of an individual who is absolutely flamingo-loving crazy nuts.


A few months ago, a gas company in Texas asked us for some ads that would make it clear to people how much money they could save by using natural gas in their homes for heating and cooking. As part of the campaign, I wrote some TV spots. One of them stirred up a little controversy1.

In the spot, some money is accidentally run through a paper shredder2. And because of a little bit of money cutting, the folks over at the corporate office are a little shy about airing it. They say that it encourages the irresponsible and dangerous use of an office tool. It's stupid. I mean, you send one little puppy3 through a paper shredder and everybody flips out. What's the big deal?

1Our client was told by the people in the corporate office that he could go ahead and run the spots. If he enjoyed unemployment.
2I know it sounds absurd, but it makes sense in the spot. Really. Just trust me.
3And several kittens.


In the early 1970's, a vehicle was manufactured by hardworking, honest Americans in Lansing, Michigan. It rolled down the assembly line, collecting its parts in silence. It relished the power of the rumbling V8 bolted into its engine bay. It reveled in the masculine grace of its nearly 20-foot long body rich with broad shanks and an aggressive stance. When its ignition turned over for the first time, it roared to life with the fury of a wild beast preparing for the hunt.

It was rolled on to the back of a truck and delivered to a dealership in Texas, where it anxiously awaited its owner. It envisioned torquey climbs on highway hills, its exhaust bellowing forth as it dominantly passed Fords and Dodges with ease.

And then Nick's grandmother bought it.

He languished in her garage, occasionally escaping to putter along Main Street at 15 mph. Sadness and despair overcame him. He resigned himself to a sad and lonely life of hauling groceries and knitted handbags. But his rage grew within him.

And then he was passed on to Nick, who found him ugly. A thing of the past. So Nick left him on the street, in the wind and rain and hot desert sun. And his rage grew within him.

And then Josh grew weary of the 30-year old land yacht collecting dust and detritus on the curb in front of his house. So he called Nick.

Josh: Nick, get rid of that car or let me chop it up.
Nick: Do whatever you want. I'm at work.

And Josh did whatever he wanted. Armed with a Sawzall and a grinder, he liberated the rumbling, angry soul of the aging Oldsmobile and the Bone Crusher was born. Windshieldless, roofless, seatbeltless, and merciless, it rampages through the streets of southern New Mexico. And it is awesome to behold.

Behold the Bone Crusher.


Tonight on FOX: our most thrillingest episode of the Jack Bauer Show 24 ever! Tune in as Jack beats the flamingo-loving bejesus out of someone/something for valuable information/things while breathing heavily! Watch Jack watch a satellite feed on his PDA while breathing heavily! See Jack drive from Los Angeles to Montana and back in ten minutes! While breathing heavily! Also, people die.

words © 2006-2008
All rights reserved. Reproduction prohibited without proper consent.