Category Archives: 5 Random Thursday

The simple story of a dog–and why it makes you cry

So there’s something stuck in your eye, right?

Let’s talk about why this works, as a story, and how it could be even better. Because I’m not adding value by simply sticking funny or heartwarming videos in your feed. We have to dissect them and learn a little. SCHOOL IS IN SESSION.

Why this works and how to make it better:

 

1) The mangled start doesn’t matter–yet fixing it would’ve made it even more viral

This video works even if you read the story on Huffingtonpost or wherever, and know all the story beats, before you watch the thing. That’s how good the story is.

HOWEVER: Starting out a video with text screens like this is almost always a mistake. Cramming all the text in the beginning slows it down and I bet a good percentage of people bail in those first few seconds instead of sticking with it, which is a mistake.

How to fix it: Start with video of the dog chained up. We don’t need any text to understand the problem, to get that setup. Then if you really have to, add a little voice narration. I’d kill the text screen entirely.

 

2) Our narrator takes risks and is a hero

The narrator keeps the focus entirely on Rusty the Dog, but he shows real heroism, taking time–and risks.

He spends time to get to know this dog, repeatedly risks getting bit and confronts the owner, saying he’s not leaving without the dog. That took guts.

And all the while, he knows his family can’t adopt the dog, that he’d have to find another home for it.

Everything the narrator does is unselfish, and while he doesn’t focus on it, or take credit, this makes the story better.

 

3) The biggest possible gaps 

Conflict and surprise comes from the biggest possible gaps between expectation and result.

  • You expect the chained up, aggressive dog to bite his hand.
  • You expect the owner to laugh at him when he says he’s not leaving without the dog.
  • You expect the narrator to adopt the dog himself, not search for a home.
  • And you expect the dog to be timid and afraid when finally free, not friendly and joyous.

This is a little story, a tiny snippet of life. But it made me feel more than most of the action movies that I’d happily paid money to watch and wouldn’t see again.

I’d see this again. I’d smile to see a follow-up, to find out how Rusty is doing.

And I’d want to shake the narrator’s hand for taking some risks, and doing the right thing, for an old dog most people would avoid and forget.

 

More posts for your amusement and possible education:

###

This is Guy Bergstrom the writer, not the Guy Bergstrom in Stockholm or the guy in Minnesota who sells real estate or whatever. Separate guys. Kthxbai.

Guy Bergstrom. Photo by Suhyoon Cho.

Reformed journalist. Scribbler of speeches and whatnot. Represented by Jill Marr of the Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency.

6 Comments

by | August 8, 2015 · 11:50 am

The most epic and hilarious Crime Stoppers in history

Why is this so funny and perfect? Let’s take it apart and see why it sings.

1) The sheriff deputy is from central casting.

If there’s a factory where Hollywood makes police officers from small towns, Lt. Higgins is the man they use as the mold.

Even without the hat and the uniform, Higgins would look and sound like an officer of the law. It’s in his bones.

Also, his accent and the cadence of his speech is mesmerizing. I could not, and would not, improve it. And his name is perfect.

2) Telling details about the crime and the suspect.

Show somebody the surveillance video without any narration from Lt. Higgins and they’d be all, “Yeah, it’s some kid in a hoodie. Good luck figuring out who.”

Lt. Higgins doesn’t see grainy film and a kid in a hoodie.

He sees a six-foot-tall suspect in a camo hoodie, a man with a distinctive lanky gait.

If we gave Lt. Higgins more screen time, I bet he could dissect every frame of this surveillance tape. And we’d be educated while entertained.

3) Son, I’m gonna have a cheeseburger here, with fries and a coke

The beginning is good. The middle is interesting.

But the last two-thirds is the climax, and that’s what makes this little bit of YouTube footage into viral gold.

This is what slayed me: “Look at me son, I’m talking to you. The sheriff likes Stelly’s restaurant, and so do I. The food is good, and the folks are friendly. We’re gonna identify you, arrest you and put you in a small cell. After that, I’m gonna have a cheeseburger here, with fries and a coke, and leave a nice tip for the waitress. Meanwhile, your next meal will be served in a small door through a cell door.”

Then Lt. Higgins gets all CSI, talking about his detectives “harvesting DNA from the rock you used” and the perfect bootprint on the door.

The kicker: Lt. Higgins doesn’t need all that science evidence, because the suspect’s friends, they don’t like him much and will go for the reward money. Oh, that stings.

Verdict

Lt. Higgins should have his work duties changed so he records Crime Stopper videos all across America.

 

More posts for your amusement and possible education:

###

This is Guy Bergstrom the writer, not the Guy Bergstrom in Stockholm or the guy in Minnesota who sells real estate or whatever. Separate guys. Kthxbai.

Guy Bergstrom. Photo by Suhyoon Cho.

Reformed journalist. Scribbler of speeches and whatnot. Represented by Jill Marr of the Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency.

Leave a comment

by | August 6, 2015 · 12:12 pm

Just dogs freaking out about magic tricks

Loved this. Our own Hound of the Baskervilles gets faked out every time I pretend to throw the ball and palm it. Where’s the ball? The ball? I CAN’T FIND THE BALL!

But what about cats?

Yeah. Cat’s don’t care at all. Related: A BOWL OF WARM MILK AND MURDER

More posts for your amusement and possible education:

###

This is Guy Bergstrom the writer, not the Guy Bergstrom in Stockholm or the guy in Minnesota who sells real estate or whatever. Separate guys. Kthxbai.

Guy Bergstrom. Photo by Suhyoon Cho.

Reformed journalist. Scribbler of speeches and whatnot. Represented by Jill Marr of the Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency.

2 Comments

by | June 18, 2015 · 1:06 pm

Bourbon and birthdays and such

buffalo trace bourbon

So I try not to write about personal things, because a good blog is not a bad version of Dear Diary.

HOWEVER: It’s my birthday and I’ll blog if I want to. (Believe this is a song from the ’50s. Could be wrong. Not gonna check.)

Though I rarely drink now, my wife gave me two bottles of fine bourbon this morning: Knob Creek and Buffalo Trace.

A while bag, I toured the Buffalo Trace distillery while in Kentucky’s capitol, and they spent hours educating all about bourbon, which is rather complicated and interesting.

Also, the governor made us Kentucky Colonels.

I kid you not. Not really a military thing. Honorary advisory role from way back. Colonel Sanders wasn’t an officer who fought in World War II, then decided to open fried chicken restaurants. He was a Kentucky Colonel.

So yeah, those of us who went on this trip still joke around and call each other Colonel, though none of us have gone to the annual reunions.

The interesting part about the tour wasn’t just the ABC’s of bourbon and how each barrel was worth $25,000.

At lunch, they gave us pulled pork sandwiches and little taster cups. Columns were ingredients: rye whiskey, bourbon, vodka and so forth. Rows were age, with six months on the bottom row, a year, two years then the expensive stuff on the top row aged something like seven years or more.

Here’s the thing: didn’t matter if you loved whiskey and hated vodka. Every single thing in that bottom row, the six-months old, tasted like cheap moonshine. Rocket fuel. It was terrible, no matter what ingredients they used.

The next row was better. Third row was great.

Weirdly, the top row, the expensive stuff, wasn’t universally wonderful. Vodka doesn’t really taste like anything, so it was fine, but other cups weren’t smooth like the middle rows. Some of them tasted seriously off. Spicy, heavy, more concentrated. You’ve probably run into this if you’ve ever had an expensive bottle of wine. Uncorking it after thirty or sixty years is rolling the dice. Could be amazing. Could be sour and terrible. Either way, it’ll cost you as much as a used Honda Civic.

On the same line of thought, I’d always thought the Z3 was the best-looking car ever since Remington Steele drove one in GOLDENEYE: SEAN BEAN DIES AGAIN. (Love the Swedish subtitles on this video. Perfect.)

Last week, I spotted a Z3 at our friend’s house with a FOR SALE sign. Beautiful car, low miles.

She gave me keys to drive it. A dream, right?

Hated it. A fine car, just way too small, my head would poke out of the top of the soft-top. I felt cramped, like an astronaut shoved into a space capsule. I honestly feel far more comfortable in the Epic Black Car Part II: The Sequel, which sounds weird to say–I’d rather drive that instead of a Z3? But yeah, I would.

Sometimes, expensive is just expensive, and something one-third the price is twice as good.

Sidenote: Now that it’s summer, I’ll have time in July and August to do a few side projects for fun. Shout if you have ideas, as long as they don’t involve Gertrude Stein poetry.

More posts for your amusement or education:

###

This is Guy Bergstrom the writer, not the Guy Bergstrom in Stockholm or the guy in Minnesota who sells real estate or whatever. Separate guys. Kthxbai.

Guy Bergstrom. Photo by Suhyoon Cho.

Reformed journalist. Scribbler of speeches and whatnot. Represented by Jill Marr of the Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency.

 

4 Comments

Filed under 5 Random Thursday, Housekeeping

JADE HELM: Texas rebels train kamikaze armadillos for coming federal invasion

HOUSTON—In an empty parking lot behind a suburban Cabela’s, they’re preparing for war.

There’s a retired Marine who did two tours in Afghanistan in the far corner, teaching five local men it’s better to pull the trigger on your AR-15 once and hit the enemy than empty the magazine in a “spray-and-pray” that only wastes a clip.

But the real secret weapon sits in a crate on the back of J.T. Derringer’s rusting Ford 150.

“There’s no way we can win a conventional war, not even with the Texas Guard, Chuck Norris and Ted Nugent on our side,” said Derringer, who called himself the five-star brigadier general of the Volunteer Army of the Republic of Texas. “And it’s damn near impossible to fight a successful guerilla campaign without jungles like ‘Nam or mountains like ‘Stan—so we aim to get creative.”

U.S. Army troops spent years learning how to spot and destroy IEDs in Iraq and Afghanistan, Derringer said, so that powerful tactic isn’t really an option for his rag-tag rebels.

But what about a mobile IED, one that’s low to the ground and remote-controlled? One that tends to jump up to four feet in the air when startled?

“If you drive these parts, you see plenty of armadillos as roadkill,” Derringer said. “That got me thinking, why not use their natural habits to our advantage, militaristically speaking?”

A nine-banded armadillo in the wild. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia commons.

A nine-banded armadillo in the wild. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia commons.

The first experiments did not go well. They successfully combined a pipe bomb, duct tape, the working bits of a cattle prod and a remote control taken from toy monster truck with two broken wheels, all items Derringer had in his garage. Those components worked, sort of. Pushing left and right on the controls gave the nine-banded armadillo a shock to the left or right, though their first test case simply jumped straight in the air whichever direction they pushed.

“That old cattle prod was engineered for steers that weigh more than my ex-wife,” Derringer said. “Far too powerful for a little old armadillo, so I don’t question why it ran scattered right under Johnny Lee’s new Tundra, hiding from all that pain and shock. I do apologize to Johnny Lee for how it torched his ride, though we had to tease him about maybe buying an American pickup with the insurance money.”

Derringer is also training the remaining platoon of armadillos for underground warfare.

“We read about the secret tunnels beneath Wal-Marts, the ones they’ll use for re-education camps,” Derringer said. “One tunnel plus one armadillo equals no more tunnels and a lot more freedom.”

When asked about reports that Jade Helm is simply a military training exercise, or that Texas was already part of the United States and not in need of being invaded and conquered, Derringer shook his head and spat on the ground.

“Isn’t that what you’d expect them to say, seeing how they’re lying?” he said. “I’d rather believe the honest patriotic journalists at World Net Daily and that Texas Ranger who witnessed saw trains with shackles. Plus, this morning Johnny Lee says he saw heard straight from his barber who read something online about Sarah Palin flying down from Alaska with a planeload of guns, moose jerky and night-vision goggles.”

Derringer said if his forces run out of ammunition and armadillos before Palin touches down, his backup plan was to base every brigade of his army within half a mile of the nearest Cabela’s, since it’s already “packed to the rafters” with tents, camo, boots, rifles and 5.56 mm ammo.

A separate team of trackers and hunters, he said, were out in the bush right now, gathering up a sufficient supply of armadillos for the coming Armageddon.

###

More posts for your amusement and possible education:

###

This is Guy Bergstrom the writer, not the Guy Bergstrom in Stockholm or the guy in Minnesota who sells real estate or whatever. Separate guys. Kthxbai.

Guy Bergstrom. Photo by Suhyoon Cho.

Reformed journalist. Scribbler of speeches and whatnot. Represented by Jill Marr of the Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency.

Leave a comment

Filed under Animals, monsters and monstrous animals, Fighting and MMA, Gear, guns and such, Muffin chokers, Zombie apocalypse

True facts about the Mantis Shrimp

This. So much this.

If you haven’t seen his other videos, they’re all worthwhile. He does a beautiful impression of Morgan Freeman narrating, and the writing for each video is spot-on.

I salute you, sir. Give us moar moar MOAR.

More posts for your amusement and possible education:

###

This is Guy Bergstrom the writer, not the Guy Bergstrom in Stockholm or the guy in Minnesota who sells real estate or whatever. Separate guys. Kthxbai.

Guy Bergstrom. Photo by Suhyoon Cho.

Reformed journalist. Scribbler of speeches and whatnot. Represented by Jill Marr of the Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency.

1 Comment

by | May 7, 2015 · 12:56 pm

The random junk in our garages, it is multiplying, and IT MUST BE STOPPED

How much stuff is in your garage or basement, taking up space?

I feel your pain. Once you put something in a plastic bin and shove it in your garage, there’s a 95 percent change you’ll never open it. You could move across the country three times, loading and unloading those same plastic bins into U-Hauls, and never crack open the seal.

This is wrong. And it doesn’t have to be this way.

Though my first social media love remains Twitter, and my affair with WordPress lives on, the useful thing about Facebook is you can connect with local people who’ll pay you monies to TAKE JUNK YOU DON’T USE.

Here are three ads I put on Facebook today for my local group, East Grays Harbor Swap and Shop, or as I like to call it, EGHSS, which you pronounce kinda like “eggs” except slower and in a Danish accent.

Also: here’s a link to the craigslist ad that started me blogging in the first place: Epic Black Car deserves good owner; are you worthy?

Champion Juicer Emir's Bike Hitting Machine

More posts for your amusement and possible education:

###

This is Guy Bergstrom the writer, not the Guy Bergstrom in Stockholm or the guy in Minnesota who sells real estate or whatever. Separate guys. Kthxbai.

Guy Bergstrom. Photo by Suhyoon Cho.

Reformed journalist. Scribbler of speeches and whatnot. Represented by Jill Marr of the Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency.

5 Comments

Filed under 5 Random Thursday, Animals, monsters and monstrous animals, Muffin chokers