Monday, August 28, 2006

Visit Cargoria, Write Yourself a Paycheck

I'm a fairly decent writer. I've sold a fair-size pile of short stories and had one novel published. But the problem with being a writer of fiction these days is that there's just no way to make decent money, largely (I think) because Stephen King and J.K. Rowling have pretty much sucked up all available publisher funds.

As you can imagine, I get pretty depressed about this. I was on the brink of quitting fiction writing all together and looking for a real job when I heard about what sounds like a decent opportunity to get paid serious money for making things up. The opportunity that got me all atwitter is Cargoria -- an online story that will be written by regular folks and that will, ultimately, pay some lucky writer one million dollars. Let me say that again: one million dollars.

Do you have any idea how many of these blog entries I'd have to sell to earn a million dollars? Well, I'm no math major, but it'd have to be in the dozens, at least.

The beginning of the story is up on the Web site, along with some cool graphics and a place where you can enter your e-mail address to be notified when the whole thing gets up and running. It says that if you want to write part of the story, you have to challenge other writers in a game called "Mohanci." I have no idea what this is, but I hope it's not too violent. As exciting as the idea of genre authors battling it out for the right to write might sound (I can hear the original Star Trek fight music even now), I'm a total wimp. I guess I'll just have to wait for the game to get going to see what the deal is.

What I'd like you to do is to take a look at when you have a chance and consider signing up. True, I'm going to do my best to win the $1,000,000, but it'll look a lot better if I have some competition.

So thank you, Cargoria, for rejuvenating my will to write fiction and saving my literary life. Truly, even though you are still waiting to officially open your doors, you have saved this writer's life.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Who Would Win (Revisited)

I received an interesting comment about my Superman vs. Batman post. The post took my argument that Superman would be victorious and subjected it to intense scrutiny, eventually arriving at a different conclusion than mine and questioning my reasoning ability.

In response I would like to say that my support for Superman's eventual victory is based not on coercian or corruption, but on a generous donation to my PayPal account. I'll be happy to change my mind on the subject for as little as $15 (see the link in the sidebar).

Thursday, August 17, 2006

How Big is Too Big?

Recently, a global coalition of astronomers proposed a definition of the term "planet" that would, once and for all, settle the questions of whether Pluto deserved to be a planet and what other objects deserved that coveted status. This is all well and good, but in their haste to hammer out this definition, the astronomers neglected to indicate a maximum size for a planet. Sure, they got a minimum size, but not a maximum, and without that, how can we tell a brown dwarf from a bloated Jupiter-clone?

Enter Martin Davis of Arvada, Colorado. Martin may be "just" a high school student, and he may not have a degree in astronomy (yet), but he has a spectacularly simple solution to the problem. That solution: don't bother having a maximum size for planets! Instead, if the center of a potential planet's orbit around a star is within that star, then the object is a planet. If, however, the center of the orbit is between the star and the object, then the system is considered binary.

Now, I don't understand a word of this, but it's obviously brilliant! This is the kind of thinking that's going to get Martin a Nobel Prize in short order and will have him dating a string of adoring supermodels the second he turns 18. Good going, Martin!

Friday, August 11, 2006

You Can't Rush Great Art

I was browsing through artwork on eBay yesterday, looking for something to fill the hole left above my couch when my framed print of Elvis playing poker with dogs fell off its nail and landed on my unprotected head, not only tearing the painting but also interrupting an otherwise excellent evening of Animal Planet. While browsing, I came upon artwork auctions for an artist named Koopa. These are beautiful, abstract creations in which thoughtful colors swirl in lazy arcs that draw the eye and calm the spirit. I had to have one. I placed a bid.

While waiting to see if my bid would win, I visited Koopa's Web site. It was there that I learned that Koopa, in addition to being a brilliant artist, was also a turtle. I don't know how I missed that on the eBay listing. I e-mailed Koopa, hoping for some assistance with my own artistic endeavors and was well rewarded. It turns out that Koopa is currently completing his 500th painting and has sold pieces to discerning collectors in every one of the United States with the exception of North Dakota. I've only sold blog entries to people in four states. So there's a turtle out there that's not only more talented than me, but also more successful.

It's all quite humbling and it leaves me with this question: why are they so behind the times in North Dakota?

Monday, August 07, 2006

Who Would Win?

I've been asked (via PayPal, my preferred method of meaningful communications) to weigh in on what some consider a very serious, socially significant question. I want to warn my readers ahead of time that we're about to delve into an area of intense controversy here -- there are many opinions, and although they all have their merits, I have been asked to choose a certain side and will do so. Please, no hate mail on this subject. If you have an opposing position, my PayPal account is open. But for now, for this blog entry, this is my opinion and I am sticking with it.

So, defensive preamble complete, we come to the debate in question: In a battle between Superman and Batman, who would win? It's a difficult question, one which -- like the intense (and still undecided, pending U.N. intervention) debate over whether the Federation could beat the Empire -- is made even more difficult because the sides often cannot decide on the ground rules for the competition. Would the two heroes have time to prepare for the battle? Would they be constrained by their personal moralities? Would it be a one-round affair, or could a hero escape to continue the fight at a later time? I have no idea, so I'm going to ignore these issues and look at the problem for another angle.

Pretty much everyone who knows anything agrees that Batman is the superior inventor and tactition (or whatever that word is), and that Superman has it all over him in the raw-power column. So the question comes down to, could Batman invent some device or situation that would overcome Superman? Well, Lex Luthor is always defeated, and he's as smart as (if not smarter than) Batman, so my guess would be that the answer is no. In the end, Superman would kick Batman's backside. So there's your answer. Superman 1, Batman 0. You can all stop arguing now.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Get the Blues -- Cheap!

I just purchased the premier issue of the downloadable magazine, Seventh Hour Blues. Talk about impressive! The thing is as slick and cool as a newsstand magazine, but without the bulk, blown-in cards, and tree killing. When you purchase the magazine you get access to four free MP3s and two videos of cool blues-related stuff. So it's a pretty darned good deal.

The first issue has interviews with Buddy Guy, Bob Weir, Reverend Gary Davis, and Otis Rush, and I'm not embarrassed to say that I had no idea who the heck these people were. It turns out they are intensely important folks in the blues music community -- which explains why I didn't know them since, as a quote whore, my musical taste is pretty much limited to whatever people will pay me to listen to. But after reading these interviews, I gained an incredible amount of insight into these fascinating people -- enough, in fact, that I am now devoting my listening life to their works.

As a lover of the fine arts, I was also very interested in the magazine's article on Vincent Van Gogh. It not only showcased what may be the only authentic photograph of the artist, it also gave away the secret behind some of his remarkable paintings. Inspired by this, I went out and bought the necessary equipment, and within hours I was cranking out valuable masterpieces like Warhol on speed. Within 24 hours I had a contract with an art gallery, and I project that my annual income from this endeavor will be in the six figures, at least. All for downloading a $3.50 magazine. What a deal!

Monday, July 31, 2006

Magic on Your Wrist

Even though they're not available to the general public yet, I just got my gorgeous new Mallusionist wristband in the mail. It's gorgeous black with red lettering, and has a secret gimmick built in so that it can be used as part of a card trick. I got mine free, but I would happily have paid $5 for it. Why? Let me tell you why: Just last night I was walking home from a fancy dinner party in a disreputable part of town, dressed in a tuxedo with a pure silver platter I'd won as a door prize under my arm. As I walked past a dark alley, a gun-toting man jumped out and said he was going to shoot me either before or after I "handed over the goods," my choice. Well, fortunately I had on my Mallusionist wristband (it went great with the tux) and was able to use it to engage the crook with an entertaining card trick. He was so impressed that he let me live and only took the wristband. So the moral here is, if you meet a guy in a bad part of town with a Mallusionist wristband, he might have a gun buy a Mallusionist wrist band -- it's a life saver!

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Flaming Pants of Privacy!

I enjoy my privacy, and I realize that running a Web site like The Quote Whore can lead to certain difficulties (such as attacks from people who think the word "whore" is offensive to women or who are under the impression that this is a collection of quotations by or about prostitutes, which now that I think of it might be interesting but really isn't within my skill set). So anyway, that's why I operate this site through Pants Aflame Productions.

Pants Aflame registers everything for me and takes care of all the paperwork so that nothing here's in my name. If you want to send me a box full of rabid pit bulls because you're peeved that I took $15 from someone you hate and said nice things about them, you're going to have a heck of a time finding my street address. So when you come right down to it, I probably wouldn't be alive today if it wasn't for Pants Aflame Productions.

You should hire them for something. Or just send them money. It's the right thing to do.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Bionicles and the Right to Rename Your Children

My eight-year-old son is so into Lego Bionicles that he wants to have his name legally changed to Metru Nui (or something like that). As a parent, I'm against
this for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is my inability to spell the thing. So all I can do now is tell him he has to wait ten years and move out before he can make the name change, and help support his Bionicle habit in the meantime so that he doesn't rebel completely.

To help with the habit-forming thing, I spend a lot of time on eBay. And while looking for a "100 pounds of Legos" auction with a reasonable price, I stumbled upon the We Game to Please eBay store. They had a bunch of Bionicles at decent prices, and were actually giving away Lego pens with certain purchases. I spent about $900 there, but it looks like they still have plenty of Bionicles (and other cool stuff) available. Check them out before your kid runs off to join the Piraka.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Memory of a Crystal Duck

You know what you need? You need a yellow crystal duck with a USB flash drive built into it. Don't agree? Well let me tell you something -- this duck can hold up to 128 MB of data, glows in the dark, and at about $75 is probably less expensive than a live duck, and the live one would do a lot more going to the bathroom on your carpet and a lot less storing important files.

And if anyone out there is willing to pay $25 for it, I'll be happy to share with you how this product resurrected my sex life.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Naming Numbers for Christmas

I hate shopping, particularly for people that I don't know well, people I know just well enough to get them a present but not well enough to know what they want, and people I know so well that I know they already have everything. That's why I was so pleased to find the Universal Number Registry with their unique Name a Number service.

You know those silly services where they'll name a star after you? Well, Name a Number is like that but far more reasonable. Seriously, who uses star names? Some astronomer on a mountain somewhere? But everyone uses numbers, and once you have a number named after you, it's yours forever. I went ahead and ordered dozens of the things for everyone on my Christmas list. Sure, there's half a year until Christmas, but now I can spend more time updating my Amazon wish list instead of trying to puzzle out what to get for a bunch of freeloaders.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Eat Dry Stuff! It's Good!

I'm a big fan of snacks. I snack when I'm listening to the radio. I snack when I'm on the phone. I snack when I'm driving. And sometimes I do all these at the same time. Unfortunately, snacking can lead to a condition that doctors call "Getting really fat." That's why I'm so happy that I discovered Just Tomatoes, Etc.! These folks sell freeze-dried fruits and vegetables that you can eat like candy, but that have all the nutrition of natural produce a fraction of the calories they'd have if they were covered in chocolate. Enjoy!

Monday, July 17, 2006

How To Annoy an SUV

When I first started this blog, I mentioned that I'd be happy to whole-heartedly endorse people's beliefs in addition to promoting products and individuals. Well, there are some beliefs that I'm happy to promote whether or not I'm paid to do so.

One such belief is that SUVs are a blight on the American landscape. They are almost always unnecessary, and according to an e-mail I received they are more dangerous than other cars — both to their owners and to other drivers. They waste gas, they waste space, they ooze arrogance, and somehow they always seem to be driven by someone who is on the phone.

So what can we do about this? Well, again according to the very persuasive e-mail I received, there is a plan. The idea is that if you are out driving and see an SUV somewhere it doesn't belong and being driven by just one person, honk at it. If the car is going off road or is full of people, that's okay. But if there's just one person behind the wheel, honk. If you're following the car, honk every two or three minutes. If you're passing, honk two or three times as you go by. I have no idea if this is illegal harassment (and if it is, I take this all back), but if not, then it might be a great way to show these gas-wasting idiots that we don't approve of their stupid choice in vehicles. Or, at the very least, maybe all the noise will get them off the phone.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

It's the End of the World, Darn It!

I just visited and found out that the world is going to end. Soon. Is that as depressing to you as it is to me? I sure am. Whatever that means. So, what are you going to do with your last few months before the planet explodes? I was thinking of either eating a lot of ice cream or building a space ship. Whatever.

Monday, July 10, 2006

The Fabulous North Country Lodge

I live in California, and despite the state's reputation for great weather, it can sometimes get pretty hot here during the summer. And on top of that, the air quality has been horrible. So I thought it might be nice to find a quiet place to spend a few days relaxing in the pool and avoiding my creditors.

I did a little Web surfing and came upon the Web site of the North Country Lodge in Warrensburg, New York. I gave them a call, and after a few moment speaking with the nice gentleman (who wasn't rude, stuck up, hard to understand, obviously insane, or prone to violence, no matter what you may have heard about New Yorkers) I had a reservation. I hopped in the car, and 43 hours later (more or less -- I kept falling asleep at the wheel so it was hard to keep track) I was there!

The hotel was fabulous. Forget your Hiltons and your Caesars' Palaces, this was the place for me! The rooms were clean, the pool was damp, and the staff helpfully assisted me in spelling "Adirondack" on my postcards. Nestled in the wilderness as it is, you can just walk out of your room and see wildlife like trees and stuff (if you're into that kind of thing). If not, you can head into town for a meal at one of the local eateries, or walk into the forest, hunt down a meal, and eat it at one of the lodge's many picnic tables.

Now, before you start worrying because of any associations you might have between small hotels and Norman Bates, I want to assure you that for the whole time I was there (about four hours) there wasn't a single killing, attempted murder, or even simple assault anywhere on the property that I'm aware of. Feel better? After staying at the North Country Lodge, I know I do!

So call them up and make a reservation now. Be sure to tell them The Quote Whore sent you, and they'll gladly remind you to watch your language!

Friday, July 07, 2006

All the Secrets of Criss Angel (and Other Magicians) Exposed!

After learning so much magic at Trickshop, I decided to see how much magic I could learn online without have to pay for anything. A few quick searches found me pointed to I couldn't believe it! Here were magic tricks I'd seen Criss Angel, David Blaine, David Copperfield, and my weird Uncle Hal do, all explained in incredible detail but using small words so that I could actually understand what they were talking about. I immediately invited my next-door neighbor, Marsha Hottington, over so that I could try out my new knowledge (and, incidentally, be reminded how southern California summer weather whittles away at her clothing). I tried sawing her in half right off. It didn't quite work out as planned, and, well, the police came and there will be an inquest and stuff. I guess I need more practice.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Saying Goodbye to God

I sealed my fate this afternoon. I visited and had any last vestiges of religious thought stripped from my mind. I am now completely godless and believe that the supernatural is a pile of garbage. How did this happen? Go to the site and you'll see for yourself. It's amazing. It's miraculous. And while you're there, visit the correspondence section where you can read brilliant conversations between the obviously super-intelligent site owner and those who have written in. Then click on some of the advertising and see how that impacts your new-found world view.

Now if you'll pardon me, I have a Bible to burn and a "Dear John" letter to write to my pastor.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Lies! Lies! Lies!

I have to admit that there is a special place in my heart for urban legends -- you know, those stories about a guy who has a hook for a hand or a woman who picks up a hitchhiker late at night that turns out to be a Mexican hairless rat full of exploding tarantulas, or something like that. I just can't get enough of them! That's why I was so excited to find is a Web site dedicated to urban legends and other forms of information (there are also small sections for literature and general information). Everything on the site is brilliantly written. It's intelligent, funny, irreverent -- everything Congress should be but isn't. While reading through the site (I read every single word of the thing over the course of one wonderful but sleepless night), I learned many important facts, some of which have turned my life around to the point that I no longer have a desire to dress in a wetsuit and violently French kiss a loaf of wheat bread at the Saturday Santa Monica farmer's market, and believe me, this is a change for the better.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Get the Magic -- Be the Magic!

Until recently, I didn't know a thing about magic. I could barely shuffle a deck of cards, and the closest I'd ever gotten to reading minds was realizing that the burning look in my wife's eye means I've forgotten our anniversary again. Well, that all changed when I found

For less than I'd spend on a decent pair of toenail clippers, I was able to purchase and download a document that showed me more than 200 ways to force someone to pick a certain card out of a deck of cards. Not just suggest, not just influence, but FORCE! Talk about RAW POWER! Ten minutes later I'm in my boss' office betting him double or nothing on my salary that I could predict what card he'd pick from a shuffled deck. Eleven minutes later, I'm a much wealthier man. Back to, a few more bucks, and I learned how to levitate, read people's minds, and make psychic predictions based on The Da Vinci Code -- all at the same time.

Seriously, if you're not going to go over to right now and spend a ton of money, then I just don't know what's wrong with you.

Words On Us

Have you heard of this Web site called Words On Us? It's a collection of essays on literature, book groups, and home schooling by author Deborah Markus, and it's absolutely unbelievable. I spent only about half an hour reading it last night, and already I've started reading Bronte novels and sent my kid to burn down his school.

Great New Horror Novel

I just finished reading this great new horror novel, Revenant Savior by Dominick Cancilla. It was incredibly short for a novel -- just the way I like it! There was tons of gratuitous supernatural violence, too, which is nice. In fact, the book was so short and so full of supernatural bloodshed that I'm going to go out on a limb and say that it is definitely the #1 contender for novel that is most unlike Gone with the Wind.

Revenant Savior is brilliant writer Dominick Cancilla's first novel, and if this stunning literary masterpiece is any indication of what he has to offer, then I can only hope it is far from his last. Really, the only choice you have is either running out RIGHT NOW and buying a copy of this thing, or sitting at home and stabbing yourself in the eye because you're just that stupid for not reading this incredible book.

By the way, I know that you can buy this book online somewhere, but I'm having trouble remembering exactly where. If you happen to be the book's publisher, and want to remind me what the URL for your store is, just click the "Buy a paragraph $15" link at the right and drop me a note.

Who Does the Writing? (and other questions)

I got another question -- will I just reprint text that you write? Well, yes and no. I do have a certain amount of integrity. Sort of. Okay, so I don't have any integrity at all. I still want this blog to have a consistent feel to it. For that reason, you can send me text but I might rewrite it to fit the site's style.

While we're on the subject, purchasers at the "go to town" level are welcome to send me a picture or artwork to go with their post. So long as it's not pornographic, disgusting, or otherwise objectionable, I'll post it.

I was also asked how I'll know what to write about something I'm endorsing. Well, it all comes down to what you tell me when you make your purchase. You can e-mail me details if you like, or even send me a sample through the mail (e-mail me for my address) if you want me to be accurate. Otherwise, I'll just say wonderful stuff and accuracy be damned!

The last question is about whether I'll be consistent in my posts. That is, if I endorse Coke in one post, will I avoid endorsing Pepsi in another post? Nope! I don't place any such restraints on myself. Every post is at the purchaser's pleasure, and I'll be whoever they want me to be for that post. In fact, I don't even feel compelled to be consistent about myself. Need a college-age computer geek to rave about your new album? I'm your man! Want to hear a married guy in a corporate suit's glowing report on your kung-fu blog? That's me! I'll probably keep my gender the same (whew!), but after that' it's all for sale.

Any freebies?

So, you ask, what is The Quote Whore going to write about during those times when nobody is shelling out money? Well, I'll either write about nothing, or I'll just pick something to write about. If I'm writing about something and not being paid for it, how will you know? You won't — isn't that beautiful?

I've already gotten an e-mail from someone saying that this whole “scheme” is unethical. I can't imaging how it can be unethical since I'm not making a secret out of what I'm doing. But if you'd like me to go into detail about my feelings on this issue, click the button in the right-hand column to send me some money and tell me what you think my opinion should be. If you're payin' I'm sayin'!

Sunday, July 02, 2006

The Quote Whore Welcomes Your Money!

What is The Quote Whore? That's easy. The Quote Whore is a blog that completely gives up on all pretense of neutrality. I'm here to say great, glowing things about stuff that I like, and as it turns out I like pretty much anything that anyone is willing to pay me to say I like.

What are the limits? No limits. You want me to say I love your book, your movie, your product? No problem -- just show me the money. You want to hear praise for your team, your home town, your show, your boss, your writing, or you personally? Not a problem. Want to hear how gorgeous you are? How great your girlfriend is? How much your poetry doesn't suck? I'm ready, willing, and available.

So, to get things started, let's put a few things out on the carpet. Will I lie for you? So long as it won't get me sued, sure! Will I discuss things I know nothing about? Absolutely! Will my posts about things I know nothing about be accurate? Probably not, but hey -- it's advertising! It's not supposed to be accurate! Do you have any control over what I say? Nope! I promise it'll be positive, but that's as far as it goes.

What does it cost you ask? Good question. One paragraph on this blog will run you $15. Two is $25. You want me to go to town on the subject? $100. What could be easier? I'll gladly accept call-to-action money, too.

How do you sign up? Use the "Hire the Whore" links in the right-hand column to get started (using PayPal) or drop me a note using the contact link.

If you're not interested in hiring The Quote Whore, I suggest that you spend some time clicking through the ads on this site. It's for your own good.