Category Archives: Muffin chokers

EXPLODING KITTENS is what card games should be

How can you not love this?

The Oatmeal is a local man turned cartoon phenom, and all he touches turns to gold. Including this kickstarter campaign, which has raised five bazillion dollars.

Even though these three men could grab that cash and run away to a life of beaches and margaritas, I hope they make this game. It’s a lot better than Go Fish.

More posts for your amusement and possible education:

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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. Wrote a thriller that won some award and is represented by Jill Marr of the Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency.

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Filed under 6 Friendly Friday, Animals, monsters and monstrous animals, Muffin chokers

Meanwhile, in Russia

So this is an actual sport, and yes, that’s Vladimir Putin’s daughter dancing like it’s 1985.

Back in 1980’s, competitive aerobics was a big thing for about two seconds right when when Sylvester Stallone (5’10”) pretended he could beat up Swedish studmuffin Dolph Lundgren (6’5) in a big U.S.vs. Russia stand-in for the Cold War.

In 1987, Crystal Light had national championships in team aerobic dancing, and folks on the interwebs make fun of it today. I probably have shown people clips from back then. Yet this new Russian video made me take a second look. You should, too.

See? The American version, sure, we can say it’s seems silly now, but those men and women actually could dance and did hard physical stuff that was entertaining. They didn’t repeat themselves over and over like Putin’s daughter kicking sideways before doing the whole Throw the Cheerleader in the Air and Catch Her trick seventeen times. Difficult? Yeah. Impressive? Maybe twice.

So in the battle of Cheesy Aerobic Dance Sports Similar to Ice Skating in that Only Judges Can Know Who Wins, you have to give this round to the Americans. (Yes, ice skating is not a sport, even though it is hard. Neither is bodybuilding, even though it is hard, too. The more audiences are clueless about who wins until judges reveal the answer, the more it’s like a reality show where producers are pulling all the strings and you get scandals were judges are bribed to pick the right winners.)

What’s the verdict with U.S. vs. Russia competitive aerobics? We did it first and we did it better, even if Russia’s president has his daughter involved or not.*

What other strange sport-like objects deserve scrutiny? Hit me in the comments or the Twitter.

*Maybe if he showed up at halftime, shirtless and riding a tiger, the score would be closer.

Note: updated post after putting up wrong second video. 

More posts for your amusement and possible education:

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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. Wrote a thriller that won some award and is represented by Jill Marr of the Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency.

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Filed under Animals, monsters and monstrous animals, Muffin chokers

Golden retriever destroys obedience course, wins Interwebs

This is funny, sure. But the Series of Tubes is packed with funny little things involving dogs, cats and kids with painted faces at county fairs who like turtles.

Let’s dissect this little piece of film to see what makes it work.

First, there are no words getting in the way of the images. This isn’t a PowerPoint slideshow. Nobody has to explain the joke, and it actually works better than English speakers like me have no idea what the announcer or anybody is saying, though it would not shock me if this is Scandanavian, if not Swedish, and make me have a sad for not speaking Swedish.

Second, there’s actually a structure to it, despite being so short. There are two setups before we get to the payoff, two different dogs doing the right thing, and ignoring all the food and chew toys, before the last dog decides obedience courses are a free buffet.

Third, the Benny Hill music makes it all work. Right when the setups are over and we get our payoff, the music puts you right there, and the golden retriever rewards us, not once or twice, but again and again, going after every treat in sight and ignoring all commands.

This snippet of moving pictures gives us the biggest possible gap between expectation (obedience) and result (chaos).

Well done, whoever edited this. Give us more.

More posts for your amusement and possible education:

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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. Wrote a thriller that won some award and is represented by Jill Marr of the Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency.

1 Comment

by | November 21, 2014 · 12:56 pm

Mystery Monster in Backyard possibly not so mysterious

So we had some kind of animal lurking about, possibly a mountain lion, which is not a shock because we live smack up against a giant forest. Folks have spotted cougars on our hill time and time again.

The weird part is this critter has apparently decided to live in our backyard. Cougars have a ginormous range, all kinds of territory to patrol and deer to munch, so it’s rare to see them at all. This mystery cat is hanging around for eons.

In the same week, here’s this guy who now lives under a rock by the mailbox.

Oh, hai. I've been eating those mice and bugs bothering you. Why are you holding that rock, Mister?

Oh, hai. I’ve been eating those mice and bugs bothering you. Why are you holding that rock, Mister? Photo by Guy Bergstrom.

Plus five bazillion hummingbirds have taken up shop next door, which is great. Hummingbirds are fearless. They’re like, “Yo, I’m so cute and fast, nobody can touch me. Feed me more sugar water, human!”

HOWEVER: Back to the mystery monster, which freaked out our Hound of the Baskervilles a few times. He keeps barking at the tall grass and trees as if he smells a demon, and this is dog who happily went after a raccoon in the yard even after the went all claw on him, ENTER THE DRAGON style. Do mountain lions eat people? Yeah, sometimes. Wouldn’t want one to randomly pounce on my people.

Now this mystery critter has been captured in a photograph so fuzzy, it makes the Zapruder Film look like 4K high def.  Continue reading

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

Insanely great photos taken the most epic possible way

So this man spends his time (a) shooting horrifically beautiful photos by (b) putting on shorts and (c) taking a waterproof camera into (d) giant waves on the shores of a tropical beach.

He’s making money doing it, and it all started accidentally. Check out some of the photos and how he gets them.

Epic, right? Love the shots and it’s got to be fun getting those shots. My brother-in-law, David the Fellow Swede, taught me to bodysurf on a beach in Kerala, India, which we did for days, so I know the joy of having waves tumble and smash you across the sand and rocks again and again. THERE IS STILL SAND IN MY LEFT EAR. Good times. And this guy is tackling massive waves that could do more than separate his shoulder. Hey, if it’s not dangerous, it’s not rock and roll.

I am a semi-literate photographer who’s lugged the Nikon of Infinite Beauty all over the place, and this man should inspire every photographer to think differently.

However: copying this man won’t work. The first person to paint a canvas black got semi-famous, and sure that took guts and imagination, or possibly a lot of drugs in the ’60s and overthinking the whole thing. The second and third people to paint a canvas black got ignored.

What other semi-insane venues are there to shoot photos? Hit me with your crazy ideas and I’ll think of some, too.

P.S. Hat tip to Lilia for showing me this. You are a fountain of fun things on the interwebs.

Related posts:

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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. Wrote a thriller that won some award (PNWA 2013). Represented by Jill Marr of the Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency.

4 Comments

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

The Duckpocalypse is upon us

Why are these ducks gathering together? I can’t decide if it’s the beginning of an invasion, a giant duck dance party or a flash mob.

Or maybe they’re fleeing the second horde of zombie ducks. Hard to say. But they’re certainly talking a lot, and seem determined to do SOMETHING, whatever that may be.

The Red Pen of Doom’s Greatest Hits Collection: 10 Epic Posts

  1. Epic Black Car deserves good owner; are you worthy?
  2. The Mother of All Query Letters
  3. Why every man MUST read a romance – and every woman a thriller
  4. The Red Pen of Doom impales FIFTY SHADES OF GREY
  5. The Twitter, it is NOT for selling books
  6. A BOWL OF WARM MILK AND MURDER
  7. 30 achy breaky Twitter mistakeys
  8. Writing secret: Light as air, strong as whiskey, cheap as dirt
  9. The Red Pen of Doom murders THE FOUNTAINHEAD by Ayn Rand
  10. Quirks and legs matter more than talent and perfection

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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. Wrote a thriller that won some award (PNWA 2013). Represented by Jill Marr of the Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency.

3 Comments

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

How weird news teaches us great storytelling

Every day, there are real stories in the morning newspaper that make you snort coffee out your nose or choke on a blueberry muffin. Note: This is why journalists call such pieces “muffin chokers.”

Yet the daily weirdness is more than funny. If you dissect these stories, you can learn deep storytelling lessons from the shallow end of the journalism pool.

Here’s a real story that just happened in my state: Man steals RV from Wal-Mart parking lot, leads police on wild chase. Swerves into sleepy little town where he knocks cars into front yards and such, then blasts through a house and crashes. Runs out, strips down to his underwear and invades a home to steal girl clothes. Cops catch him and haul him off.

This is pretty typical of a weird news story, and not simply because it started in the parking lot of a Wal-Mart — and yeah, go ahead, google “Wal-Mart parking lot” and “weird news.”

While you’re at it, google “7-Eleven robbery” and “trailer park ninjas.” It’s a thing, especially in Florida, though in Colorado somebody robbed a 7-Eleven with some kind of Klingon sword, and yeah, the clerk who got robbed knew exactly what to call that sword when the cops took the police report.

Great storytelling comes from the gap between expectation and result. Audiences, like kittehs, love surprises.

Your normal day is not a great story because there’s no gap. It is what you expect, and what your neighbor expects. There’s nothing shocking.

So let’s dissect the RV thief story and the rash of 7-Eleven robberies involving trailer park ninjas, to see why those short little stories pack so much punch. The gaps between expectation and result are all over these stories.

First, it’s a surprise for a criminal to prowl the parking lot of a Wal-Mart, or steal an RV, because as a smart person, you think, “If I were unemployed and desperate, and forced into a life of crime, maybe I’d steal a new Mercedes convertible, something I could sell for real money and drive crazy fast if the police chased me.”

You would not think to yourself, “Let’s go to a Wal-Mart parking lot, full of witnesses, and steal a ginormous RV that (a) could be seen from space, much less a police helicopter, (b) would be crazy hard to sell or hide and (c) is slower and less maneuverable than anything short of a logging truck.” Continue reading

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Filed under 4 Writing Secrets Wednesday, Animals, monsters and monstrous animals, Fiction, Muffin chokers, Thrillers and mysteries