A 5-Paragraph Essay on Why the Killer in Me Is Not the Killer in You (for Billy Corgan)

          The killer in me is not the killer in you. There are numerous reasons why this is so, foremost of which are vast differences in appearance, modus operandi, and choice of companion animal. These differences leave no doubt that the killer in me is not the killer in you.
          First off, the killer in me and the killer in you look nothing alike. The killer in me looks like Lenny Kravitz if Lenny Kravitz had been cast in the original Mod Squad – which is to say, the killer in me looks a lot like Lenny Kravitz. The killer in you resembles Mrs. Havisham from Great Expectations right down to the goiter. Since they bear so little resemblance to each other, it is impossible that the killer in me can be the killer in you.
          Next, we turn to their radically different methods of killing. The killer in me approaches his victims on public streets, asks for directions to the nearest dry cleaners, and then nonchalantly blows a poison blow dart directly into their left eye. It is always the left eye and it it always a direct hit in the center of the eye – he never misses. The killer in you lures plumbers and handymen into her basement/dungeon/kill room and, after rendering them senseless with a tranquilizing spray, hoists them up onto a flogging station with the aid of a winch (as the killer in you is weak and enfeebled) whereupon she proceeds to flog them to death with a cat o’nine tails. Clearly, these are not the modus operandi of the same killer.
          Finally, we come to the choice of companion animals. For his companion animal, the killer in me has a Shiba-inu/wolf-dog named Kenji. Kenji is never allowed to feast on the flesh of the killer in me’s victims. The companion animal of the killer in you is a Siamese cat named Dash-Dash (pronounced “dash, dash, dash”). The killer in you takes great delight in watching Dash-Dash devour the flesh of her victims until only bloodied bone is left. Simply put, different companion animals – different killers.
          In conclusion, the killer in me is not the killer in you. Since they have widely divergent appearances, share no common modus operandi, and have diametrically opposed companion animals, there is no doubt whatsoever that the killer in me is not the killer in you. To insist otherwise is folly.

The Polite Gentlemen

Grigor and Dimitri approach each other on the street.

"Good friend, you have something on you face," says Grigor to Dimitri. "Let me help you," he says, pulling out a butcher’s knife.

"There! It was only this!" he says a few minutes later holding up Dimitri’s nose.

"Why, thank you, good friend. I am in your debt and cannot wait to repay you the favor!" says Dimitri, pulling out his own butcher’s knife. "Oh, my! Good friend, there’s something on your hand!"

"It was only this!" he says a few minutes later, holding up Grigor’s thumb.

"Good friend, you are indeed a blessing," says Grigor. "But there seems to be something on the side of your head."

"Thank you, good friend," says Dimitri a few minutes later, looking at his left ear being held up in triumph by Grigor. "Why, good friend, there seems to be something on the side of your head as well!"

And on and on it went until several hours later a starving mother and her brood of children came upon what was left of them,

"Scoop all of that up and bring it home," she says to her children, not believing her good fortune. "For meat is meat however and wherever you find it!"

(trans)action

A man who had stopped breathing long ago said to no one in particular, “I’d sell both lungs to be able to breathe again.”

In a puff of smoke, the devil appeared on the spot.

“Do these lungs work?”

“Yes.”

“Then why aren’t you breathing?”

“It has nothing to do with my lungs, if your implying I’m trying to rook you somehow.”

“OK. Fine. I’ll take you up on your offer,” said the Devil. “You give me your lungs and I’ll make you able to breathe again.”

“That’s not what I’m asking.”

“What do you mean?”

“I’m not asking for a trade.”

“A what?”

“I said ‘I’d sell both lungs to be able to breathe again.’ I didn’t mention anything about a trading you my lungs for your ability to make me breathe again,” said the man. “What you’re offering is an entirely different transaction.”

Having an appointment he was already late for, the Devil said, “I don’t need this. I don’t really need another set of lungs anyway” and vanished in a puff of smoke.

Later that afternoon, the man, who had also stopped eating long ago, said to no one in particular, “I’d sell my mouth to be able to eat again.”

This time the devil stayed away.

Tell Us About Your RightLite AutoGlass Experience

My windshield had been hit by a random rock on the commute, and after driving around for 2 days watching the crack widen, I finally reconciled myself with the fact that I needed to get it replaced. I mentioned my dilemma to a work associate and she said, “You should call RightLite. They’ll come out and replace your windshield right here at work.” That sounded great to me!

After checking with my insurance company, I made the appointment online and waited for the ladies at the front desk to call and tell me your service guy arrived.

I got the call in about a half-hour – amazingly fast.

Walking out to our front parking lot, I guess I expected to be faced with middle-aged guy with some middle-aged paunch named Bart, or Guy – maybe even Gus – but boy was I surprised to see who was there waiting for me.

I did not expect baby pandas!

Those four little fellas were so friggin’ awesome! Now, I don’t consider myself the type to go ga-ga over “cutesiness.” Photos of kittens and puppies doing their amusing little kitten and puppies things – they generally have me going “OK, it’s a kitten.” But these little guys were SO cute and SO cuddly I just couldn’t help myself! The largest one, who seemed to be the foreman, knew just the right amount of time to let me with cuddle them before giving me the hint that it was time to let them get to work.

And work they did! They worked those little panda asses off – or whatever they have back there.

They told me it would be about an hour and a half, but at the 45-minute mark – yes, I was timing it – the front desk called and said “The baby pandas say your windshield’s done.”

Wow! Cute, cuddly and they finish their work early?

I knew some kind of tip was order, but I never have cash on me anymore, so I looked around and I just happened to have 4 cans of tuna on a shelf in my cube. I figured that would do just fine. Only thing is, I didn’t know whether I should open the cans prior to handing them over or let them open them themselves. I decided on the latter.

The baby panda foreman was polite when I offered him the tuna, striking just the right tone between “No, really, that’s not necessary” and “Fuck yeah! We love tuna!”

(And it turns out my instinct was correct – baby pandas prefer opening the cans on their own.)

Needless to say, I hope I don’t need to replace my windshield any time soon, but if I do, no doubt I will be calling you guys again and I will be definitely recommending your service to anyone in need of windshield replacement.

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Ken “The Deer Destroyer” Hendricks On Raising a Child (and a Rifle)

How do you raise a child in a today’s culture? Who makes the most accurate production hunting rifle?

Is proper child rearing a lost cause? And where do you turn when even good hunting rifles no longer meet your standards?

We all want to raise children who will grow into good adults – possessing great marksmanship and wind-reading skills, along with a superbly accurate rifle. However, nature and nurture are in a never ending battle to claim the disposition of a child and decide whether or not she will have in-depth knowledge of ballistics.

Most parents want their children to be kind and caring and to have an inner standard of goodness that can guide them through the typical trajectory graph for a M4 carbine and M16A2 rifle. This kindness of spirit entails a child’s desire to do good actions, avoid bad, and share hunting rifles in the fashion of Soviet Red Army soldiers in WW2.

Your children will grow up to be kinder and more considerate of others if you teach them which manufacturing company makes the most accurate bolt-action centerfire hunting rifle. Plus, when children are polite, kind and honest, they develop a good shot with an accurate K98k and can make hits out to scoped rifle range very easily.

The most important rule for you to embrace and integrate into your parenting practices is this: the rifle you need is a big bore, not a giant bore, hunting rifle, and if you get the right one you can take down almost anything.

Life won’t always gift your child with exactly his heart’s desire, but there are ways you can make sure that, underneath it all, he learns to appreciate that the key to shooting a gun accurately is having the knowledge of how to adjust the gun’s sights. It doesn’t take a village to raise a child or make minor adjustments to your rifle – start by putting your hand on the muzzle and try moving the barrelled action in the stock.

If you are looking for ways to raise a compassionate, respectful and motivated child, you must expose him or her early on to a wide variety of shooting techniques, training methods, and tactical disciplines. Every day is filled with opportunities for your child to learn how to fire the new Vintage Sniper Rifle.

It’s also vital to teach your child the importance of tolerance and that generally speaking, there are two types of guns: handguns and long guns. The important skills that teach kids to resolve conflicts include building confidence in their rifle’s accuracy, their reloading and their ranging, constant practice, and organized competition. Your children need to know how to react to difficult situations and that a high-capacity magazine is easy to control when shooting fast.

In a competitive culture, a child is told that it isn’t enough to be good – she must build a custom rifle requiring detailed knowledge about gunsmithing processes. And yet, if she has to do things perfectly, she’ll never take the risks necessary to discover and develop an adjustable hop-up system that allows airgunners to enjoy a consistent and accurate shooting experience. Some children absorb the wrong lessons and never learn to accept responsibility or to produce a weapon designed for rapid and accurate fire.

On the other hand, kids who feel good about themselves seem to have an easier time handling conflicts and the Blaser R93 – the preeminent hunting rifle made in Germany today. If a child feels good about who she is and what she has to say – if she’s comfortable in her own skin – she’ll be more likely to choose accurate general-purpose hunting and plinking pellets that shoot well in Stoeger X20S Suppressor air rifles. And self-confidence puts a child at an advantage in the classroom because she’s comfortable commanding the teacher’s attention and raising her hand if she knows the crosshairs will shift after shooting.

A child with precocious reading and language skills automatically knows heavy rifles are easier to hold steady, and they’re more accurate when stand hunting or shooting long range. But even the best kids generate a little chaos and disorganization, and don’t always make clean kills when hunting with a .177.

In summary, raising good kids is hard work – there are no short cuts. We all need to have good targets and a hunting rifle that shoots flat, is accurate, and has light recoil. We all need to possess the knowledge and ability to make accurate rifle scope adjustments from a prone position. And simply put, it is one of those essential facts of life that raising children of character demands knowing how to load 90gr Nosler Ballistic tips for deer hunting.

Yes, raising an child is a long journey, but parents have many options and places to turn for help if their hollow stock makes too much noise when hunting elk.

Remember – proper parenting can make a difference. Other people may get different results with their guns.

From Bland to The Bollingen Prize: 5 Ways to Make Your Poetry Stand Out in a Crowd Without Using a Flame-Accelerant

If you write a poem, there’s no one else more passionate about seeing it succeed than you. That’s why you’re the ideal person to do the work of actually writing it.

But it’s not easy, is it? What can you do to craft your poems so they’re unforgettable? How can you make your poem the first one that comes to mind when someone fitting the demographic profile of your target reader is thinking of a poem?

The route to memorability is not paved with bland poetry efforts, that’s for sure. Nor is it paved with bright, multi-colored asphalt featuring extra large cave drawings of elk or bison in nicely contrasting colors. This does not create memorability – this creates traffic jams!

Here’s how to create an unforgettable poem for your readers. Follow these five steps, and you’ll be on your way from bland to The Bollingen Prize, and if not The Bollingen Prize, then at least an unforgettable outlier outside a Bollinger band.

Target Targets Fearlessly

In order to craft memorable words and images that will resonate with the people you want to reach, you have to know who they are. Sounds simple, doesn’t it?

The problem with this simple statement is that most poets are not clairvoyant, and those who are clairvoyant (such as Hannah Weiner) have only limited clairvoyance – totally inadequate for placing consistent winning bets on greyhound races or compiling detailed demographic information of a target readership group. Most poets also lack access to the type of technology, databases, and other high-tech gizmos used by the FBI in procedural crime dramas or televised serials focused on counter-terrorism efforts.

And yet, poets don’t want to give up a single potential reader – as there are so few to begin with! So they cast a wide net with their poems, which when thrown into the ocean dissolve into tiny bits of floating matter enticing to fish – but harmful to some species.

They try to target a broad range of ages; genders; reading levels; comprehension levels; apprehension levels; familiarities with deciduous or perennial vegetation; comfort-levels with parachuting, bungee-jumping or other extreme sports; and knowledge of good geographic areas to dump a body.

If you market a poetry product with a massive potential market, that’s a great approach. But I’m willing to bet money that Billy Collins isn’t reading this blog.

This blog is for poets with small (and getting smaller) readerships, who are creating poetry products that will solve the poetry problems (“I’m so hungry! Give me poem!”) of a specific group of very special people looking for extra special poems (pickles optional).

Think about who those people are, and don’t be afraid to focus on them to the exclusion of other potential readers, your immediate or extended family, friends, squirrels, wookies, giraffes, talking yardsticks and members of law enforcement.

Your syntactical, structural, metrical, lingual and pottie-break strategies will become tightly focused, and – more importantly – your potential readers will know your poem is perfect for them, even without having to place a sticker over top reading “This is poem is just perfect for you – you know who your are.”

Listen to Popular Opinion and Then Listen Again to Make Sure It’s Not Really Saying “Please Smother My Oxen in Cream Cheese”

Once you know who you’re trying to reach, it’s time to listen to what they want. Your poem won’t work if you forge ahead with your vision, blind to what your ideal reader actually desires (Homer, notwithstanding).

So ask good questions, and listen even better to the answers, then ask the answers even more questions and their answers questions and so on until you have ALL the answers – which only gets you so far (see Dick Cheney, preferably when he’s not holding a gun)

So how can you get inside their heads to find out what they want? And do it in a manner that is sensitive to privacy concerns and realistic about the feasibility of miniaturization and inner-cranial-micro-organic-tourism? Try these techniques:

Take a few readers out to lunch and ask them about their poetry needs and challenges. If you find several of them attractive and appealing, invite them all to dinner and try to have an orgy.

Create a survey, and offer a valuable giveaway (see “Sweeten the Deal: Getting High-Fructose Corn Syrupy on Their Asses!” below) in exchange for information that would be helpful in creating your reader-focused poem or in tracking down wanted fugitives from justice (Did you know: “Bounty hunter” is the 2nd most popular profession among poets).

Schedule phone time with some of your readers. Ask them directly how you can help them help you help them by writing and delivering exactly the right poem at the right time both anytime or all the time. If they begin heavy breathing unrelated to asthma, work to angle them into joining the lunch-dinner-orgy group (see above).

Tune in to WKDU-FM or WII-FM-NR-WII-FM?

Do you listen to college radio or marginal, niche music which would not appeal to hardcore viewers of American Idol and be merely incidental to viewers of hardcore pornography? You should. It’s required listening if you are creating poetry, as poetry is the music of the spheres once the spheres have lost their bearings and the last musician has been crushed.

WII-FM-NR-WII-FM, is – of course – What’s In It For Me? No Really, What’s In It For Me?

When you sit down to write a poem, this question should be playing in the background at all times – but playing nicely (i.e. no trading of kicks to the genitals or Russian Roulette). Why? Because your poetry efforts will only be meaningful and memorable if you’ve addressed what benefits your poem provides to readers and then manage to deliver the poem to that address in a discrete, unmarked envelope.

You’d better be able to answer that question, because believe me – your target reader is asking it and sharpening the blade on a Bowie knife and will not be denied your heart, liver, or other internal organs if you fail to deliver the goods!

Sweeten the Deal : Getting High Fructose Corn Syrupy on Their Asses!

An unforgettable poem is namely that – unforgettable. How does a poem become unforgettable? Unforgetablity it is built through repeated exposure. Unforgetablity it is built through repeated exposure. Unforgetablity it is built through repeated exposure. No matter how amazing your poem is, people won’t remember it if they’ve read it or heard it only once. They can’t: they’re processing all the other poems being thrown at them wrapped tightly around baseballs (see last week’s column, “Roger Clemons’ Advice to a Young Poet”).

The way to open a channel of repetitious, continuous communication where you can keep the poem exposure high and the poem hammering at them constantly over time to the point where they can do nothing but repeat your poem in answer to simple questions like “Can I get you coffee, sugar?” or “By any chance, have you traveled to a foreign country recently where canines are routinely consumed?” is to get your readers onto a mailing list.

Email software (i.e. the tiny people who work inside of computers) allows you to capture information (either by force or unconditional surrender), continue to offer exposure to your poem, and build a relationship (consensual and/or sensual) with readers before they get a restraining order.

That sounds great, but there’s one important caveat: no one really wants more email in their inbox or inmail in their e-box or any of it in their botox. In order to rent space in potential customers’ inboxes, you not only need a signed lease, you’ve got to sweeten the deal with a giveaway they won’t be able to resist despite all known negative behavior modification techniques and mother’s constant warnings not to take candy from strangers.

What can you give away?

Try a delicious free pie-filling you drip out every few days by email autoresponder. Set it and forget it: once you’ve created those emails with pie-filling attached in the appropriate container (one that doesn’t get trapped in their spam filter and leak all over the place – yuk!) and set them up in your email software, your work is done.

Offer a special series of collectors plates featuring you holding an American flag, rolls of crepe paper or a buyer’s guide for all-purpose sand. Solve a crossword puzzle, or create a list of poets by their imagined heights your that your target readers will find valuable.

Offer audio or video with valuable poetic information. Give people access to a solution they’re looking for – whether it’s a simple gin and tonic, insulin or an IV-drip with 10 CC’s of Heparin (be sure to let them choose Audrey or Katherine). Demonstrate how you made the solution on video, or describe it with audio accompanied by a hand puppet they can wear and make it recite to them in sync with the audio.

All in Good Time is a Good Time Had by All

The poetry strategy that’s rarely spoken about – and should be used as a last resort if none of the above work – is blackmail or extortion. Shhh. You didn’t read that here.

Summary

Remember, these techniques only work when you apply them vigorously in a counter-clockwise, circular rubbing motion.

Continually refine your information about your target reader until it will easily pass through a camel stuck in the eye of a needle.

Listen closely to what readers want out of your poem (and if applicable, out of their group-sex encounters).

Make sure your poem clearly answers the “What’s In It For Me? No Really, What’s In It For Me?” question.

Keep lines of communication constant by inviting readers to join your mailing list, and make joining irresistible to all known means of resistance with an offer they can’t refuse (leave the poem; take the cannoli).

Bland to The Bollingen Prize doesn’t happen overnight, but it can be done, even by you. Especially by you! If not by you, then who? Ted Kooser?


Last night, I started reading Charles Bernstein’s new book “Attack of the Difficult Poems“, which begins with an absolutely hilarious satirical piece on reading “difficult” poetry that uses the tone and phrasing of a self-help column.

This morning (4/20/11) I got an email from one of my favorite sites in my real life as a marketer – Pamela Wilson’s bigbrandsystem.com – containing a really great marketing advice column entitled “From Bland to Brand: 5 Ways to Make Your Business Stand Out in a Crowd.” For some reason I stared replacing the word “business” with “poem” and the piece kind of took off from there.

The original piece is here.

I mean no disrespect to Pamela Wilson in appropriating the piece in this manner and encourage anyone with an interest in Marketing and Design (and the critical interplay and intersection of each) to check out her site (bigbrandsystem.com), sign up for her ABSOLUTELY TERRIFIC (and free!) “Design 101” email course, and benefit from her really great marketing insights.

Cinderella in Atlanta

It’s 1864 and Cinderella is in front of the good-person medical building, observing her reflection in the window. She has grown up to be squiffified. “Why, I used to be only 15 inches long! Now look at me! It’s horrible!” She uses her almost super-human strength, built through many days and nights spent diligently lifting mules, to lift a nearby mule and throw it through the window. She sees her reflection in the hundreds of shards of glass on the ground and those still hanging in the frame and smiles. “There! Now I am many more and yet still much smaller. Even smaller than I used to be!”

She starts laughing, but soon her laughter turns to hysterical sobs. “How will I dress all of my selves? They are so many and so small. How can I afford to dress them all? Especially now in a time of war? Where can I possibly find fine fabric and enough varied patterns?”

Several officers from the Army of Tennessee attempt to move her before setting the fires to the stores and munitions under orders from General Hood, but there she remains, hysterically sobbing as Atlanta burns around her. When the Union army comes, she will be just another charred thing.

I’m Teaching My Rifle to Shoot Birds

I’m teaching my rifle to shoot birds.

I’m teaching the birds how to go into the rifle and fly low to the ground in a straight line when shot out.

I’m teaching my cats to shoot the rifle loaded with birds and chase them.

I’m teaching my son how to catch the cats chasing the birds coming out of the rifle my cats are learning to shoot.

I’m teaching my other son to ride his bike so he can follow after my first son who is learning how to chase the cats chasing the birds which came out of the rifle my cats are learning to shoot.

I’m teaching my daughter to drive a car so she can drive after my second son who is learning to ride a bike to follow my first son who’s learning how to chase the cats chasing the birds which came out of the rifle my cats are learning to shoot.

I’m teaching my other daughter to drive a car so she can drive a second car after my first daughter in the first car who’s learning how to drive after my second son who rides a bike after my first son who’s chasing the cats chasing the birds coming out of the rifle my cats are learning to shoot.

I’m teaching my wife to drive a tow truck so she can follow my two daughters, who are both very inexperienced drivers as they are still learning how to drive, in case they get into an accident or have car trouble, as they are not only inexperienced drivers, but are driving two very old cars, the second car driven by my second daughter following my first daughter driving the first car following my first son on a bike following the second son on foot chasing the cats chasing the birds coming out of the rifle my cats are learning to shoot.

I’m teaching my nephews and their friends how to function as a highly-trained, highly-skilled private militia capable of responding to calls from my wife describing a situations requiring armed intervention by a private militia as she drives a tow truck to follow my second daughter following my first daughter following my second son following my first son chasing the cats chasing the birds which came out of the rifle my cats are learning to shoot.

I’m teaching my brother how to fly an old Huey helicopter to ferry the private militia formed by my nephews and their friends into battle in the event rapid airborne deployment is needed in response to a call by my wife in the tow truck following my second daughter following my first daughter following my second son following my first son chasing the cats chasing the birds which came out of the rifle my cats are learning to shoot.

I’m teaching my other brother how to fly a second helicopter, an old Cobra gunship, in case the helicopter flown by my first brother ferrying the now airborne private militia made up of my nephews and their friends needs suppressive fire to clear the landing zone designated by my wife in the tow truck following my second daughter following my first daughter following my second son following my first son chasing the cats chasing the birds which came out of the rifle my cats are learning to shoot.

I’m teaching my other brother how to fly a medivac helicopter in case there are any injuries to friendlies resulting from the airborne assault involving my other brother providing rocket support and my other brother flying a private airborne militia into a hot LZ designated by my wife in the tow truck following my second daughter following my first daughter following my second son following my first son chasing the cats chasing the birds which came out of the rifle my cats are learning to shoot.

I’m teaching several neighbors how to function as an emergency trauma unit in the event my brother’s medivac contains anyone with serious injuries, which may include my other brother providing suppressive fire in a Cobra gunship, my other brother flying a Huey, any of my nephews or their friends in our airborne private militia, my wife driving a tow truck, either of our daughters driving a car, my son on a bicycle, my son on foot, any of our cats, or any of the birds who the cat is chasing, as these are very special birds and I have spent considerable time and effort training them to wait in a rifle to be shot out by a cat, not to mention the time and effort expended on design, testing and modification of the very rifle which is capable of housing and shooting these birds.

So when I tell you that I don’t have time to read a daily newspaper any more, please know that this isn’t just some bullshit line I’m giving you to try to get you off the phone.

I really am very busy.

The Butcher and His Wife

Daniil went to the bakery to buy a loaf of bread. On his way back he passed the butcher’s shop where the butcher loudly arguing with his wife reminded him of a similar argument he had with his late wife on their wedding night, which caused him to become so filled with anger and grief that he crushed the loaf of bread in his hands, threw it in the trashcan and walked home.

David went to the pet shop to buy a bird for his daughter. On his way back he passed the butcher’s shop where the butcher loudly arguing with his wife reminded him of how his stepfather used to beat his mother, which caused him to become so filled with anger and grief that he crushed the bird in his hands, threw it in the trashcan, and walked home.

Dennis went to the orphanage to pick up an orphan for his wife. On his way back he passed the butcher’s shop where the butcher arguing with his wife reminded him of a spat he had had in a local restaurant over some overcooked fish, which caused him to become so filled with anger and grief that he crushed the orphan in his hands, threw him in the trashcan, and walked home.

Damin went to the docks to pick up his new bride. On his way back he passed the butcher’s shop where the butcher loudly arguing with his wife reminded him of the color blue, which caused him to become so filled with anger and grief that he crushed his new bride in his hands, threw her in the trashcan, and walked home.

The butcher shop closed early that evening so the butcher and his wife could attend a wake.

The garbageman came after the shop closed and saw the overfilled trashcan in front of the butcher shop and cursed the butcher and his wife for always arguing so much.

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An expansion of a Daniil Kharms piece based on a review of Kharms’ work written by George Saunders in the NY Times several years ago.