The Art of High Coo (An Emerging Form of Short Poetry Similar to Haiku) in this year

“High Coo” is a not the correct spelling of the classic form. The classic form is spelled “haiku”. It is a Japanese poetry form with a specific arrangement of syllables. “High Coo” is a play on this word, and in the opinion of this writer, an emerging style in and of itself.

I started writing “High Coo” in the late 80’s and upon publishing them found that I was not alone in this invention. I had been looking for an adequate “genre” label for what had become my blatant disregard for syllable count whilst writing short form poetry. Whether it be a fascination with fitting as much as possible into a small space (like packing the trunk of a car before a road trip), or the sheer joy of capturing something profound and vital in a very few words, this type of poem continues to be my favorite.

Quite honestly, it is something that happens all by itself. What doesn’t, right? I will often crawl out of bed in the middle of the night just to scribble down a few words on the closest piece of paper. Call them mantras or a koan or whatever you will, they carry a particular power.

I can appreciate the discipline that comes with the syllable structure of traditional haiku, yet for me a clear understanding of something captured in a few words is what it is really about. I say “syllable schmyllable” and practice the art of simplicity-in-language and honesty-of-experience without any strict form.

Whether it be by reflecting on something in nature, or by reflecting on something in my own experience, poems with just a few words in them can really hit the spot. As a reader, I am always thankful for a poem that is digestible in length, and gets to the point. Long pretentious poems wear me out quickly.

The path to “enlightenment” or just feeling the best we can about life, must necessarily be by way of personal growth-traversing many moments where misunderstanding transforms into understanding. Haiku, “high coo” or any other form of concise testament is often a chronicle of these transitions. There is a special beauty in recorded revelation, and it is often expressed concisely. Truth has a strange simplicity to it whether it is mine, yours or universal.

“High” (uplifting, aspiring) “Coo” (innocent, spontaneous muttering) is the perfect name for this type of poem. After thirty years of writing and scribbling, it is undeniably the art form that comes most natural to me. My guess is that it comes as natural to many others. Almost all of my poetry is this short and would consequently fall into this category of poetry.

Here are a few examples:

Ouroboros

by the time you finish

making your point

it will be the same

as everyone else’s

Shetland

her dog smiled

even if she

couldn’t bring herself

High Coo Kerpoo

high coo kerpoo

big bang two

and the

nuclear arms race

is over

Contemplation Takes the Gold

do you think it’s possible

that staring at the ceiling

will ever become

an Olympic event?

I have found that reworking these natural pieces to fit a syllable-per-line strict form often robs them of their inherent value and organic unity. After all, this haiku-ization can only be accomplished through a deliberate-de-liberate (not liberated) effort. Let’s face it; part of the joy of writing “high coo” is in the expression of irreverence for the traditional form. Most of what the Muses drop into my head has an angle that is very Zen-like in its joy and playfulness- laughter at the absurdity of the ideas that we fall prey to so easily.

The joy in this witnessing of inspired arrangements (via Muses) is doubled by the prevailing amusement for over the process of personal growth (as in “How I could have previously thought otherwise?). Struck by the clarifying insight, and still giggling with delight over the freedom from one more mental shackle, the words still buzzing their narration drive me towards the nearest pen and paper.

On whose authority will this form of poetry be officially recognized? Let’s hope it isn’t soon, because with it will come a homogenized version. It may then appear on cereal boxes, and advertising campaigns. Let’s enjoy its obscurity while we still can.

The Need for Hybrid Cars in this year

Since the very conception of the automobile, engineers and designers have been searching for was to make them more efficient and save on fuel consumption. Petrol fuels the majority of vehicles and diesel fuel is used in heavier automotive equipment. The internal combustion engine is considered to be a major if not the biggest source of environmental pollution and the cost of fuel is increasing every day.

With a constant rise in fuel costs and the environmental concerns regarding automobiles, vehicle engineers have had to develop more economical and environmentally safer alternatives to the internal combustion engine that powers most cars. This has led to the birth of the hybrid automobile. These hybrid automobiles offer a number of benefits. The hybrid automobile is a car that is powered by both an electric motor and a gasoline engine. Compared to non hybrid vehicles, the hybrid car saves on the cost of fuel by being more fuel efficient and has a lower rate of fuel consumption.

Hybrid cars operate on a dual mode where the electric motor, powered by batteries, takes over once the gasoline engine has gotten the vehicle up to speed. Braking and deceleration generates energy that is used to charge the electric motor’s batteries. This system allows the hybrid car to provide better fuel efficiency. This also means that the engine of a hybrid vehicle is shut the moment the car is stopped. Considered the biggest advantage to the hybrid car is the reduction of environmental pollution due to fewer emissions of carbon dioxide and other harmful gases in to our atmosphere. Automobile manufactures such as Honda, Toyota, and Ford have already introduced hybrid car models to the commercial market and several others are in development.

Currently there are two types of hybrid vehicles on the market. The first is the “Series” hybrid. A battery powered electric motor powers the Series hybrid car. It also has a gasoline powered engine but it does not singularly power the vehicle. The gasoline engine powers a generator which is used in turn to charge the batteries of the electric motor. The electric motor is left on during the vehicles entire operation however the gasoline engine can be switched on or off depending on the needs of the vehicle. This type of hybrid automobile provides better mileage in city traffic.

The second type of hybrid vehicle on the market is called the “Parallel” hybrid. The Parallel hybrid car, like the Series type, has a gasoline engine and an electric motor. The electric motor and the electric motor can both be used to turn the transmission and power the vehicle. The major difference between the two types of hybrid cars is that the Parallel hybrid uses its electric motor to boost the vehicles power when required to increase the car’s speed. The Parallel hybrid car is considered better suited for the open highway.

Hybrid automobiles provide several benefits due to some very unique features. The construction of the hybrid vehicle uses more lightweight materials than traditional automobile. This saves energy by using less to propel the hybrid car. Hybrid cars also increase energy efficiency because of their more aerodynamic shapes. Tires used by hybrid vehicles run on a higher pressure and are made of a more rigid material than general car tires. The higher pressure helps to increase the vehicles gas mileage per gallon of gasoline used. The overall efficiency of the vehicle is increased by these tires because they reduce friction on road surfaces and provided a grip. The braking system provided an energy transfer from the electric motor to the vehicles batteries when ever the brakes are applied. The overall gas mileage of a hybrid varies from model to model. The EPA test numbers report that the Lexus RX400h receives 31 MPG in the city and 27 MPG the highway while the Honda Insight receives 61 MPG in the city and 68 MPG on the highway.

In conclusion, the future of automobiles is currently the hybrid car and purchasing a hybrid vehicle will not only save you money but will also allow you to take responsibility and do you part in creating a safer, cleaner and greener environment.

7 Ways You Are Destroying Your Car in this year

Your car is one of your most valuable assets. It takes you to and from the places that make you money, pay your bills, feed your family, and more. For this reason, you should be taking extra care of your vehicle if you want it to last a long time. There are many ways you can damage your vehicle, so it is important that you develop good car care practices early on in your driving career.

Many drivers have developed habits that they think are helpful, but actually do more harm. Continue reading to learn the top 7 ways you are ruining your vehicle without even knowing it, and what you can do if it is no longer suited for the road.

1. Revving the Gas

Many drivers believe they can warm the engine up faster by revving the gas pedal over and over again, but this is not good for your vehicle because it leads to engine damage. If it is cold outside, it is best to allow your vehicle’s inner fluids to warm up; but revving the engine is not the right way to do it.

2. Riding the Brakes

Many people also have a habit of “riding the brakes”, which basically means slightly adding pressure on the brake pedal while driving so that they can stop instantly at any time. This practice, often executed on downward hills, is highly damaging to a vehicle’s overall braking system. Driving at lower speeds will help eliminate the urge to keep your foot on the brake petal at all times.

3. Failing to Decelerate at Bumps and Potholes

Speed bumps, potholes, and other surface blemishes can be highly destructive to a vehicle’s suspension and undercarriage parts if you fail to significantly reduce your speed while passing over them. In fact, potholes should be avoided at all costs. Speed bumps should be driven over, cautiously and slowly.

4. Habitually Driving With Low Fuel

Gas prices are certainly a bummer, but you do not want to drive around with $10 in your tank at all times. Be sure to always fuel up all the way at every fill-up in order to prevent forcing your vehicle to use the old, mucky fuel at the bottom of the fuel tank at some point in time. This will lead to engine damages and clogged filters.

5. Suddenly Starting and Stopping

Whether in rush hour traffic or in a big hurry to not be late to work, you do not want to resort to sudden stopping and starting, over and over again. This habit of driving puts a lot of pressure on the internal workings of the braking system and rotors, and significantly increase fuel consumption.

6. Driving With Improperly Inflated Tires

Proper tire inflation is heavily significant to the overall safety and performance of a vehicle. Not only are improperly inflated tires unsafe, they will eventually cause other damages to a car. Be sure your tires are not over or under-inflated by checking the levels regularly with a manual tire pressure gauge.

7. Neglecting Regular Scheduled Maintenance

Routine car maintenance, such as inspections and fluid chances, are imperative for vehicle safety, performance, and longevity. Be sure to have your car serviced according to the instructions in the owners’ manual if you want to avoid unsafe driving conditions and repeated repair costs.

Is Your Car Done For?

If you are guilty at damaging your vehicle beyond the possibility of repair, you still can bring home a profit to use toward a new vehicle. Simply sell your junked car for cash on the spot at any local junk cat buyer! Regardless of age, make, model, or condition, a professional junk car buying company will pay you cash for the recyclable scrap metal inside your vehicle.

A Review of Boyz N the Hood: Signs Stereotypes and Critical Analysis in this year

Boyz N the Hood is a classic African American film that can be critically analyzed through the lens of race and gender issues in the media. The first thing that I noticed when watching the film through such lens was the usage of common signs throughout the film that were found on the street and around the neighborhood. These signs served as a visual reinforcement to the paths that these young kids were on in the neighborhoods in which they grew up.

For example, immediately after a title card displaying a dismal statistic directly correlating with the theme of Boyz N the Hood was followed by an opening shot of a red “Stop” sign on the street over which an airplane flew past as if to signify the rest of the world is going on not giving a care in a world to the issues that the children in this neighborhood are facing.

There was also a “One-Way” street sign in the background of two shots when the children were either walking to or from school. There was also a glaring red “Wrong Way” sign just before the dead body, which serves as a message that the crime committed is not the right way of doing things, and also a subtle visual hint that these kids are going down a one-way path that can lead them the wrong way in life. To top it off the writer and director made sure to add yellow police caution tape in order to signify to the audience that these types of scenarios in this film and in real life deserve our cautious attention; however, in the film the kids ignored the caution tape which leads to the next few scenes of Trae losing his temper and being sent to live with his dad who teaches him how to use caution and ultimately sets him on a path in which he is able to rise above all the warning signs displayed and reiterated throughout this film indicating that there was only one way, the wrong way, to live and survive in this neighborhood. Near the end of the film, there was one more sign that stood out by the dead bodies of the guys who killed Ricky that highlighted the word exit. However, I was glad to see a title card at the very end of the film with uplifting information stating that Trae went on to college at Morehouse University in Atlanta, GA. The use of the street signs, statistics and written information was always in this movie. Although I had never paid much attention to them before, it could be possible that they served to engrave this powerful message about these Boys who grew up in this neighborhood into my psyche when I since a younger girl watching this film at different stages in my life.

Now that I watched it this week, I was saddened to see the drawing of the elementary school aged students portraying a colored man in a white t-shirt with his hands up facing a what seems to be a black and white police car. This movie was produced back in 1991 and more nearly twenty-five years later in 2015, black men are still being profiled, brutally harassed, and killed by police officers even when they’re hands are up in the air with no weapon on or near their bodies. That hurts.

Addressable stereotypes in this film includes the use of the term Indian as a slip of the tongue by a white female American teacher who quickly corrected her mishap by rephrasing her terminology to Native Americans during her reference regarding the early settlers of America.

Another stereotype perpetuated in this film is that of the Self Hating Black Man portrayed as the African American cop in this film who hates “niggas” like Trae in his own words.

Another issue brought to light in this film focuses on humans with physical disabilities like Little Chris who was stuck in a wheelchair throughout his adult life. Just a dialogue of one word, “Mannn… ,” with a sincere expression of disappointment highlights how people with physical limitations are often left out during a mission by those who are mobile and without limitation as in the scene in which Little Chris sees the rest of his friends drive off to go search for the guys who killed Ricky.

I think that Native Americans are still stereotypically referred to as Indians in the media. However, I think the self-hating black man stereotype is less perpetuated now than it was in the past. Nonetheless, the self-hating black man stereotype has been replaced by other stereotypes about stereotypical features of black men that could cause black men to hate or devalue themselves if left unaddressed.

Finally, I think that thugs in films are often still depicted as violent African Americans and, or minority men who assault people recklessly similar to the stereotypical roles found in Boyz N the Hood depicted by minor African American characters like the youthful teenagers in the gang who stole Ricky’s football when he was a kid.

Confessions Of A Female Sub: How Did I Get Here? in this year

Wow. Just how did I get here? To the bottom of my secret garden, down and round the winding path, past the pond and behind the bushes, hidden from everyone I had ever met, until now?

It’s a long story, a true journey of discovery, helped along the way with an increasing sense of certainty and more than a few deep breaths.

I was brought up, like lots of women, to believe that sex was something private, something that happened between a man and a woman during marriage, definitely not before and definitely not to be enjoyed. A perfunctory provision of the wedding vow, if you like. And boy, was that ever boring!

Having followed the expected passage into womanhood, I married at twenty one, still innocent in matters of the flesh, save the odd kiss and cuddle and slap of the hand if things looked like they were going too far.

Kevin was a great guy in many ways, considerate and caring, a good provider. We were from a similar background, sharing traditional family values and views on marriage. But, it was clear, even on our wedding night, that the great depths of physical passion I was hoping for were never going to be. Kev was a straightforward roll-on roll-off, peck on the cheek and sleep, kind of man. I was doomed to a life of unfulfilled sexual desire, or so I thought.

Although I had always been taught that ‘nice girls don’t’, it hadn’t stopped my fertile imagination from fantasising all sorts of sexually lurid ideas from my early teens. They had begun, naively, at about the age of thirteen, mostly concentrating on the legendary tall, dark, handsome stranger whisking me off my feet and forcing himself upon me, much to my feigned protests and secret excitement. I didn’t have much material to feed my curious mind at that time, but my fantasies soon diversified when I discovered my brother’s porn magazines when I was snooping around in his room one day, curious as to what he did behind closed doors.

Well, all I can say is that the Saturday morning I discovered his stash was the beginning of my lifelong fascination with sexually explicit imagery and the early blossoming of the sexual being I was to become.

By the time I married Kevin I had a huge catalogue of sordid fantasies in my mind that I could draw on anytime I wanted. Before I left home I used to satisy myself regularly when everyone was out or had gone to bed, opening my mind to more and more exciting scenarios. When I discovered the S&M scene for the first time, through a TV programme I wasn’t supposed to be watching whilst my folks were at a party, I was so turned on that I had to rush to my room the minute the programme ended.

I didn’t dare tell Kevin any of this. I was locked into my secret fantasy world and knew that Kev would be horrified if I told him even just a little of what went on in my head. Jeez, he wouldn’t even do it with the lights on! I managed to get through the once-a-week Sunday morning marital duty by disappearing into my secret garden. And, it seemed the more bored I became, the further I went in my fantasies.

By the time I was twenty-five I admit that it was starting to bother me. The fantasies I now used were dominated by fully-fledged sado-masochistic scenes. Although I occasionally imagined myself as the dominator, usually I was the one being dominated, the submissive. Despite my upbringing which dictated a woman’s subservient role, I wasn’t that enamoured with my subconscious desire to be so submissive and controlled by a man. Kev was the provider alright but it was me that ran the show, like a lot of other women I guess. Meanwhile, as the years went by, Kev still had no idea about my secret self and I tried to ignore the feeling that I was living a lie.

It was when Larry appeared in my life that everything changed. It was a classic meeting; I dropped the groceries loading them into the car one day and he had just stepped out of his car in the bay next to mine. He came over to help and that was it, we just clicked. Little did I know what that meeting was to bring! By the time we had loaded the bags into the boot we’d agreed to meet up for coffee, swapping numbers. That twinkle in his eye as we said goodbye was all I needed to put any guilty thoughts to one side.

Coffee with Larry soon turned into a regular thing. He certainly wasn’t shy in talking about everything under the sun and he had me mesmerised with tales of his exploits. I found him so easy to talk to that when the conversation turned to our sexual experiences, on just our third meeting, I was shocked to hear myself starting to open up the dark secrets of my mind. It was just a little at first but Larry was really encouraging and understanding. He reassured me that there was nothing wrong with feeling the way I did, that I could enjoy being sexually submissive if I wanted to without having to be controlled in other areas of my life.

Soon, Larry was telling me about a whole alternative scene that existed, and of his sexual pleasure in acting as master in a sub-dom relationship. He talked about it so casually it was as if he was describing something more ordinary, like interior design, which in a way I suppose he was! Inside, I was alive and bursting, my already expansive imagination soaring to new heights, fuelled by Larry. I had no idea how I was going to keep all this inside, and really, I didn’t want to. Larry picked up on this of course and, looking back, I can see that during those early coffee meetings I had already begun to assume my long-desired role, allowing him to lead me to where we are now.

Never before had I been so weak to temptation. You hear people say ‘I just couldn’t help myself’ and probably, like me, you think people who give in are weak and merely making excuses. But, really, I couldn’t help myself, it was like becoming complete, whole, the real me.

A quick coffee turned to leisurely lunches, and lunch in turn became whole afternoons in motels, where Larry joined me in my secret garden. I had not resisted in the slightest at his suggestion that I become slave to his master. Within a few months I had fulfilled every one of my fantasies, and some of Larry’s.

During those months poor Kev didn’t suspect anything. Did I feel bad? Yes, I did actually. He was a decent man and I knew it would hurt him to find out what I had been up to. But, there was no going back for me. He couldn’t see it but I had changed. Sure, I still performed my marital duties but I lived for my time with Larry. As time went by, I longed to take our exploits out of the motel. I wanted Larry all the time. In a funny way, you might say that while the shackles of my marriage to Kev had been stifling, I was actively looking to get some new ones, leather bound this time though!

Inevitably, the afternoon fun with Larry took a more serious turn. I had reached the point where it just wasn’t enough anymore and I couldn’t face the thought of a lifetime with Kev and snatched afternoon’s with Larry. It all came to a head one day. Larry could tell I wasn’t my usual self and eventually coaxed it out of me. That turned out to be the second best thing I ever did, the first being dropping the groceries in the parking lot that day. After I confessed that I wanted to leave Kev for him, Larry told me that he had just been waiting for me to get to that point. Although he’s a fantastic master, he wouldn’t force me into doing something I didn’t want to do.

I was ecstatic. We made plans immediately to take our relationship to the next level. I would have to leave Kev, of course, and Larry would have to move out of his marital home too. Strangely, neither of us felt too guilty, knowing that we had formed a bond so strong that we had no choice. In fact, we were so excited that, whilst talking about telling our partners of our plans, we suddenly realised that the conversation had somehow turned into planning the dungeon we were going to build in our new home together!

That was seven years ago. When it came to it, Kev took it quite well, all things considered. I didn’t tell him the exact truth about why I was leaving, he just wouldn’t have understood. How can you tell someone you’re leaving them to be another person’s sexual slave?

Larry and I are still together and, really, we have the most perfect relationship I could ever want. To everyone else we look like a normal couple; we share responsibilities and chores and are equal in most aspects of our day-to-day lives. But, when we shut the door on the world, we become who we truly are and I find it just as exciting now as I did then. We even built that dungeon we talked about all those years before, sometimes inviting friends round we’ve met through the scene. Mostly though, it’s just me and my master, taking each other to places we need to go, somewhere I can’t come back from. Do I have a problem being submissive? Oh no. I wouldn’t swap those leather bonds for the world!

Tactical Assassin 2 Game Walkthrough in this year

Warning: You are about to enter a dark world of an assassin. Killing, murdering, and assassinating target stickmen is your profession, and you are a professional. Tactical Assassin 2 is a classic stickman sniper game. It isn’t a tough game to complete, but it does have a few tricky missions. If you have been playing this game for 2 hours and for the life of you cannot pass level nine, you should keep reading this article as I will walk you through on how to complete Tactical Assassin 2.

Mission 1 is an easy training mission. You are given a Winchester.308 rifle with a Tasco 4×15 scope. Your targets will popup randomly every few seconds so keep your eyes open! You must hit six of them to move on to the next mission.

Mission 2 is called “A New trust.” Your target is a militia member that assassinated 2 key allies of the organization called F.M.G. Intel confirms he is sitting at a local coffee house. Your target is the stickman on the right that is smoking a cigar. Easy money!

Mission 3 is called “Brotherhood.” Your boss likes your work and has assigned you to assassinate one of the King Brothers and the forensic specialist. Both targets are sitting on a bench in the park. Remember the code of Snipers. “One shot, one kill.” So wait for just a few seconds and when the KB stickmen sits up and both of their heads are aligned, take the shot!

Mission 4 is called “A New Lead.” Our boss is having a hard time locating the last two remaining KB members. But we do have a lead. In order to get the information, we must assassinate a doctor for reasons our source wants to remain unknown. He will be leaving his office shortly. The doctor is an easy kill.

Mission 5 is called “Full House.” We have word from the “Fox” that one of the KB brothers is hosting a poker game at his house. Your target is the stickman sitting closest to the window, back to you, drinking with his right hand.

Mission 6 is called “Airliner.” Fox has given us intel that the last remaining KB brother is staying in Iraq and about to walk out of the plane. We must eliminate him and his bodyguard. The body guard is standing underneath the wing of the plane. Wait until the KB brother walks down the stairs and infront of the bodyguard, then shoot him. After killing the bodyguard without the KB seeing you, take him out.

Mission 7 is called “Disruption.” An Iraqi forensics specialist is close on closing the case of recent bombings by the FMG. This forensics agent must be eliminated. You will be positioned on the roof of an adjacent building. Your target’s room is the middle one on the top floor. First shoot the satellite tv dish on the roof. Your target will then get up and walk through the window view giving you the opportunity to take him out.

Mission 8 is called “Last Speech.” You have been giving a powerful.50 caliber sniper rifle. Your target is a Spanish politician who is giving a speech protected by thick glass. This is your change to eliminate him.

Mission 9 is called “The Boom-man.” Boom-man is a high profile assassin in Iraq responsible for many bombings. Your mission is to distract the guards so that the Boom-man can plant bombs on the vehicle. You must not shoot anyone. Mission is quite tricky as you have a limited amount of time. First look up and notice the guard under a tree. Shoot the tree to distract him. Next, look down and to the right for a bottle near the door of the garage. Shoot it to distract the second guard. Third, look down to the right of the garage and you will notice a guard on the car and an electronics box just to the right of the garage door. Shoot the box to distract the third guard. Then watch as the Boom-man plants the bomb on the car and blows it up!

The End! Hopefully this article has helped you pass this cool assassin game!

Superior Marketing Usually Trumps Superior Product in this year

The largest selling mouthwash brand in the world is Proctor& Gamble’s Scope. In second position is the very popular and familiar Listerine. These products enjoy massive sales and international distribution. They command dominant shelf positioning in retailers large and small. There are very few households that do not utilize one of these products to fight halitosis.

And yet, a better product, scientifically verified, and the brand that invented the term “halitosis” to describe bad breath is largely forgotten. Once a huge seller, Lavoris has declined precipitously in consumer popularity. Why?

Originally Lavoris was used as an antiseptic during the Civil War. Formulated utilizing the ingredient Zantrate, Lavoris was first marketed as a mouthwash in 1903. Zantrate is a patented ingredient, and coupled with a low alcohol content and pleasant cinnamon flavor, Lavoris quickly exploded in popularity.

Zantrate has been clinically proven to instantly neutralize the bacteria that promote bad breath. Clinical studies at Hill Top Research in Cincinnati, and the University of British Columbia claim to show that Lavoris is three times more effective than Scope at killing oral bacteria. These studies were so compelling that the three major television networks accepted and validated the results.

Richardson-Vick, the former owner of Lavoris created a classic marketing and advertising campaign that still resonates with older Americans to this day. The Company created the word “halitosis” as a powerful branding aid to identify the problem that Lavoris could solve. It succeeded so well that the word “halitosis” is now found in Webster’s Dictionary. In addition, the term “Pucker Power” became one of the most famous slogans of all time after years of use in Lavoris advertisements.

How does a brand with a century old pedigree, solid clinical support for its claims of better performance and clever branding fall off the precipice and almost disappear from the consumer’s radar? Actually it is not that unusual and the reasons are often quite similar. Lavoris lost sight of the famous old marketing adage, “You are never the greatest, only the latest”.

Graphics, packaging, branding, sales promotion, sales collateral, public relations, display, advertising strategies, sampling and product placement are only some of the components involved in constantly refreshing a product. The goal is to keep the brand fresh and in the forefront of the consumer’s mind as times, tastes and competition changes. However, it is imperative that the consumer not be put off by the new and the changed. Remember New Coke? Remember the K-Car?

The Lavoris brand found itself in a constant state of flux. The product was involved in a number of corporate ownership changes that forced frequent management and creative adjustments. Each new owner was less than keen on refreshing the brand and making essential investments that might have protected its place on shelves, while profits were used for other corporate purposes. In the face of an aggressive onslaught from brands like P&G’s Scope, Lavoris wilted.

There are many examples of great products that are outsold by more pedestrian quality competitors. The resources to market properly, aggressively and creatively all too often trump quality. If you can’t let consumers know about a products superior features and benefits, especially in a cyclonic marketplace, your item will suffer at the hands of the more dexterous marketer. This is where alternative marketing strategies, such as bootstrapping and guerrilla marketing become essential.

Writing For Comedy in this year

The idea behind writing for comedy is easy enough to understand – make people laugh – but the elements that result in something that is truly funny are complex and varied. Comedy is essentially drama without the laughs, and, just as in drama writing, there are formulas to writing a successful comedy. Humor can be used in almost all aspects of writing: in conflict, in character development, in story structure, and so on.

Conflict in Comedy Writing

Conflict serves as a starting point for your story structure. It is what makes the story lead somewhere; it’s what gives your comedy a point. Conflict not only makes for easy, expandable laughing points; it can serve as motivating factors for the characters as the story develops and takes shape. Much like the three types of conflict in classic dramatic writing (man against nature, man against man, and man against himself), there are three basic types of comic conflict: global conflict, local conflict, and inner conflict.

Global conflict has to do with a character being at war with the world around him or her. In comedy writing, this can go one of two ways. First, a normal character may be placed into a comic world. For instance, in the television sitcom Arrested Development, the main character Michael stands as the voice of reason in a world that is relentlessly and hilariously against him. Alternately, a comic character can placed into the normal world. For example, the 2003 Will Ferrell film Elf placed a human who has been raised as an elf at the North Pole into real world New York City.

Local conflict has to do with man versus man. There are two ways to most effectively execute local conflict with comedic success: comic character versus a normal character or comic characters in opposition. Comic character versus a normal character places an outrageous character in opposition with a normal one. A good example of this method is television show Mork and Mindy, where Mork is the comic character and Mindy is just a normal person. Comic characters in opposition place two comically opposite characters in conflict. Perhaps it’s an obvious choice, but The Odd Couple is the perfect example of this type of conflict – their opposing comic personalities clash, making for a funny premise with plenty of room for conflict.

Inner conflict places man versus himself. This is considered by some to be the deepest type of conflict, and that’s no less true of comedy writing. In many cases, a normal character becomes a comic character in this type of conflict. A good example of this is The Mask starring Jim Carrey, where Carrey’s character is a normal person in possession of an artifact that turns him into what is essentially a cartoon character – the two sides of his personality are in conflict over which he should be.

Character Development

All that conflict leads us to where the conflict comes from – comic perspective. The most important part of a comic character is his perspective – what makes him think the things he thinks and do the things he does. It is his unique way of looking at the world. The more exaggerated the comic perspective, the funnier the character is going to be. For instance, a guy who sometimes gets paranoid is not inherently funny. A guy who is so paranoid that he spray paints his car silver (because ‘they’ can’t see silver) and makes a suit of tin foil is a good expansion of that paranoid person’s comic perspective and an effective use of exaggeration.

Exaggeration takes your character’s perspective to the end of the line, which is what will make that character funny. As such, comic perspective and exaggeration go hand in hand.

A good way to build on your character’s personality is to make the character flawed. People are more drawn to characters that have recognizable flaws – nobody is perfect, and if your character is imperfect in a hilarious way, you’ve got relatable humor.

Further development can be made in revealing your character’s humanity. The Comic Toolbox describes humanity as “the sum of a character’s positive human qualities that inspire either sympathy, empathy, or both.” Humanity unites your character with the audience, allowing sympathy and empathy to work at making the viewer care about your character. It’s important in all aspects of writing, but, in comedy, if a joke relies on the audience having any emotional bond with the characters and the humanity is not there, the joke will fall flat and people probably won’t be interested.

Concepts to Build On

Humor and comedy go back as far as writing itself; and, as in any art, most of the groundwork has been laid. It is important to know where the ideas have been developed and which concepts are the most solid ground for expansion, so that you have some direction with your writing and so you don’t wind up reinventing the wheel. Building on the concepts that have already been established as tried and true is the best way to ensure that you will get the most laughs.

Clash of context is one such example of a tried and true comedic concept. In general, the unexpected is what takes us by surprise and makes us laugh – clash of context takes advantage of this effect by taking something from where it belongs and places it where it does not.

There are a few ways to incorporate clash of context into comedy writing. Physical juxtaposition puts the items that clash physically close to one another. Emotional juxtaposition would place something emotional in an impassive setting or vice-versa – for instance, a hot dog vendor selling in the aisles at a funeral. Attitudinal juxtaposition has to do with the aforementioned conflict development strategy comic characters in opposition. The clash of context between the character’s personalities is what makes this strategy humorous.

Exaggeration is another important tool of the comedy writing trade. This one has a lot of range – it can, and should be, incorporated into many of the concepts and strategies discussed here (exaggeration of comic perspective, discussed previously, is one such example). Everything your characters do should have some level of exaggeration -mannerisms, understanding of the world (or lack thereof), responses, and so on – exaggeration keeps the character interesting and makes everything a little bit more outrageous.

In writing jokes, build tension and release. Go over jokes and ensure the payoff is positioned optimally in the joke. “Sometimes when a joke doesn’t work, fixing it is just a matter of rearranging the parts. When in doubt, put the funny word last.” If you give away the punch line of a joke before you’ve built it up, the joke is going to fall flat because there is no element of surprise. The longer you can build to tension without the audience losing interest, the bigger the payoff is going to be.

Tell the truth to comic effect or tell a lie to comic effect. If one way isn’t particularly funny, try the other. Telling the truth to comic effect has to do with pointing out the truth and the pain of a given situation explicitly. Telling a lie to comic effect is a little bit like sarcasm. For example, if a friend were to ask you to accompany him for a day trip to the DMV, you might say, “I can’t think of a better way to spend my day!” Obviously, it doesn’t sound like a very good time at all, but saying the opposite is what’s funny.

The rule of threes is very simple: setup, setup, and payoff. This method is best used in lists. Start with two seemingly normal things that go together and add something completely outrageous as the third. As an example, “I’ve got to run some errands … the bank, the grocery store, and the crack house.” The first two are obviously normal errands, while the third is shocking and takes the reader or viewer by surprise.

As with any kind of writing, the best way to get great results from comedy writing is to begin with a rough draft. Come up with a rough draft of a joke, then go back and ask yourself what the essence, the basic idea behind the joke is. Rewrite with that idea in mind to make the most out of the joke’s potential.

The doorbell effect is when the character has a strong certainty of the outcome of a situation, then his – and the viewer’s – expectations are shattered. A good example of this is in the opening scene of the film Super Troopers, where three stoned teens have a freak out because a police car with its siren on pulls up behind them. The teens experience vast relief when the police car abruptly passes them, but, as they discuss their close call, one notices in the rear view mirror that the same cop has somehow gotten behind them and is approaching the vehicle. The teens expected that the cop had driven away, when their expectations were shattered by the lights in the rear-view.

One concept popular to sitcoms is the running gag – use a joke several times, but tweaked in new directions each time. Tweaking the joke ensures that it is going to stay fresh, and there are ideal ways to go about it. Change some details each time – the circumstances surrounding the joke, the lead-up to the joke, and so on. Escalate the importance of the joke each time it’s told, so that by the end it’s a proper laugh-riot. Lastly, change the source of the joke – have a different character make the joke.

Comic stories

The center and eccentrics approach to comic stories regards an everyman surrounded by comic characters. The audience relates to the everyman and experiences a bizarre comic world through his eyes.

A “fish out of water” approach places a normal character in a comic world or a comic character in a normal world. With a normal character in a comic world, the viewer experiences life in this new, hilarious world through the eyes of the normal, relatable person. With a comic character in the normal world, the viewer experiences what life is like when you’re new to the everyday.

Character comedy has to do with direct emotional war between strong comic opposites. This incorporates the character conflict “man verses man” into plot development.

Some comedy writing has its emphasis on supernatural powers as a driving comedic factor. The powers are used as a plot device to put the character into unique situations – like in the television sitcom Bewitched. It is important to keep in mind, when writing for powers, not to be hackneyed about it. The same old thing just won’t do because nobody will care, so if a writer chooses to pursue this method it absolutely must be original.

Ensemble Comedy is when there isn’t one main character, but rather the emphasis is on a group and how they interact. This is good for multiple intersecting storylines and is most apparent in sitcoms such as Friends or Seinfeld. While there are main characters to each of these sitcoms, the larger emphasis is placed on interpersonal character interaction.

One of the easiest – and least respected – comic story structures is an emphasis on slapstick. Slapstick is generally thought of as shallow and simple, though there is value in incorporating some slapstick in situations where there is something lacking.

The last type of comic story to be discussed is satire and parody. These can be the most challenging types of stories to make original and hilarious, but the payoff is great if you can pull it off. These are not only funny and relatable, but are oftentimes socially relevant. A good example of this is the wildly popular cartoon South Park, which often satirizes politics and parodies cultural phenomena.

Conclusion

Writing for comedy sounds like a lot of fun, and one might think that because it seems like a lot of fun that it is easy. This is not the case. Like any art, writing for comedy requires practice, patience, and knowledge of the underlying structures that make for quality work. The writer must consider not only what he finds funny, but what the audience will and in what context.

Bibliography

Vorhaud, John. The Comic Toolbox. Silman-James Press, 1994.

Perret, Gene. Comedy Writing Workbook. Sterling Publishing Co.,

Luff, Brian. “Writing Comedy Sketches That Sell”. Planet Comedy. 2008 July 25.

Movie Review – "The Big Lonely" – Surviving in Isolation in this year

“The Big Lonely” is a captivating film telling the story of Michael Nelms, a persecuted man beaten down by an uncaring bureaucracy and left penniless to live on the streets. Having been a successful car dealer, a real estate broker and the victim of several bad marriages, retreating to a remote forest hideout seems a logical choice. Living under a bridge as a homeless person has no appeal for this man.

As he talks into the camera we discover he has built this small cabin on federal land and justifies his right to be there by calling it a mining claim, a bogus one he confesses. One of his daily tasks is to collect water from a nearby stream. The winter has been harsh and he has to chip through a foot of ice. Leading the way is his dog Tic, a mix of wolf and Malamute. Food is a constant need in this wilderness and obtaining fresh meat is a demanding challenge. In the winter, elk and deer go to lower elevations where food is more plentiful and the snow is not so deep. Snow pack levels have reached as high as ten feet in past years

As such, meat sources are limited to rabbits, coyotes, and rats. Dressing out of such animals and cooking them is a major part of the film. Michael shares his fixings with his dog Tic and their relationship is one of equal partners in their quest to survive.

However, the survival issues are not what make this film unique, it’s the positive attitude of the participants, both Michael and his dog, Tic. They accept the hardships as a part of life and work together to overcome them. When a bear attacks Michael and pins him on the ground, he stabs the animal in the windpipe. He describes this ordeal in detail, down to the whizzing sounds as the bear gasps for air. It’s a horrendous moment in his life and he displays the resulting scars with some trepidation. While the bear meat did get them through another winter, the attack left him with repeated nightmares. Michael recounts, “Dreams are where you take you mind. Nightmares are where your mind takes you.”

It’s philosophies like these that give weight to this film, that this man has learned from his time in the wilderness, and openly shares his thoughts with us. He talks about dying and wanting his body to replenish the land that fed him for so many years. With supplies running low in the midst to winter, the two journey some fifty-miles to restock. Michael sets up camp outside the town and finds various jobs to buy supplies that will get them through the next winter.

You may be asking how could he videotape this much footage without an electrical source to recharge the camera batteries. While not covered in the film I did notice a couple of solar power devices mounted on a tree, which likely allowed for the battery recharging.

The film is a stunning self-shot account as we eavesdrop on a man finding peace and understanding in the Oregon wilderness. It is one man’s inspiring story of resilience and the durability of the human spirit. A heartwarming film, “The Big Lonely” imparts prophetic wisdom about the sins of the past and hopes for the future..

CREDITS: Cast: Michael Nelms; Director – David Manougian; Producer – Troy Gamble & David Kamens; Executive Producer – David Monougian; Editor – Kerribeth Elliot Camera Setup & Consulting – J.P. Morgan; Camera & Sound – Michael Nelms; Composer & Performer of Original Music- Robin Zimmermann; Sound Editor – Reed Harvey; On-line Editor – William Schultz; A Juicebox Production Presentation; Unrated; 82 Minutes.

Fixing Leaking Triumph T140 Rockerbox Spindle O-Rings in this year

Triumph T140 Bonneville rockerbox spindles are prone to leakage, especially on high mileage bikes. Simply replacing the tiny rockerbox O-rings often isn’t enough. Many O-rings on the market are sub-standard in terms of quality. Many are quite simply the wrong size.

Unfortunately, you might need to try a number of O-rings before you find a pair that work. But they are cheap to buy and easy to replace. Fixing them just seems more complicated than it is. Here’s how to do it.

With the engine off and cold, loosen and remove the aluminium inspection covers from the front and rear rockerboxes. Each cover will be secured by six Allen screws. Loosen them just a fraction of a turn to take off the initial load. Now undo the Allen screws incrementally. That helps avoid distortion. Once you’ve turned the Allen screws once of twice, you can relax and remove them quickly.

There should be a paper gasket under each inspection cover. Remove this gasket carefully by scraping and peeling gently. Do not use a hard scraper such as steel. Use a plastic or aluminium scraper of some kind. Loosen the valve adjuster nuts on the rockers. This takes the load off the rocker spindles and the valve gear. Do NOT omit this step. You need only ensure that the rockers are loose. Don’t remove the valve adjuster nuts.

If, however, you see that one of the valves is in the fully open position, gently rotate the engine (using the kick starter) to close the valve. This operation also helps take the load off the rocker gear and the rocker spindle. To facilitate closing a valve, you might prefer to remove the spark plugs to relieve cylinder pressure. The engine will turn over much easier this way.

But how will you know if a valve is open? Simple. Look at the ends of all the valves where they meet the rocker adjusters. If one of the valves is pushed all the way down by the rocker adjuster, it’s open. You might want to turn the engine over a few times to familiarise yourself with the valve movement. It will become clear when you look at it for a while.

Next, you will need a special tool available from good classic Triumph dealers. Cheap to buy (usually a few pounds or dollars), this tool is just a tapered tube about one inch (25mm) long designed to fit snugly over the rocker spindle.

To use it, follow these simple steps. First loosen and remove the right hand dome headed nuts that secure the rockerbox oil feed pipes. There will be one for the front rockerbox, and one for the rear. The pipes are joined at a T junction which is in turn connected to a rubber pipe. Remove the copper washer from under each dome nut. Remove the oil feed pipe. Remove the copper washers behind the rocker oil feed pipe. There should be one on each rocker spindle.

Now temporarily replace the dome headed nuts, but not the copper washers. Save the washers for later reassembly. The idea behind this stage is to get the rockerbox oil feeds out of the way. The dome headed nuts do not need to be fitted tightly. They are replaced only to protect the threads on the end of the rocker box spindles. Wind them on just a couple of turns.

Next, using a hide mallet or rubber mallet, gently tap one of the dome headed nuts. This will drive the rocker spindle across the rocker box from the right side of the engine to the left side. Don’t tap the spindle more than a few millimetres. The idea is to slide it across just enough to expose the O-ring and O-ring groove on the other end of the spindle. Keep tapping gently until you can see the O-ring. Do this on the front and rear rocker boxes. You might have to loosen the dome headed nuts a turn or two to facilitate this. It will be clear when you’re working on it.

Next, take a small tool with a point or hook. Gently lever off the old O-ring from each spindle. They will now be flattened rather than rounded. You can just pull these off and throw them away. Wipe the end of the rocker spindle with a rag and check that nothing is damaged. If the spindle is damaged, it will have to be replaced. If the spindle is in apparently good condition, oil it with some fresh engine oil. Then oil one of the O-rings. Gently roll the O-ring over the end of the spindle and ensure that it’s a snug fit in its groove. Do this with both rocker spindles.

Now you need that special tool mentioned earlier. Oil it on the inside with fresh engine oil and slide it over the O-ring and rocker spindle. Take care not to snag the O-ring. Next, remove the dome headed nut on the end of the spindle and temporarily replace the rocker oil feed. Replace the dome headed nut and gently tighten whilst holding the special tool on the other end of the spindle. The idea is to slowly draw the spindle and the O-ring through the small tapered tube. This helps stop the O-ring from snagging as it’s pulled back into the rocker box.

Do this with both O-rings. Check as best you can that both O-rings are seated. If you cut or damage one, replace and try again. Remember to use plenty of oil. The oil feed pipe is used here purely as a spacer. You’ll see why quickly enough. Some owners try to tap the spindle back through from the left side. You should avoid this. Just use the method above. It’s slower, and more controlled.

Next, anneal the copper washers. There should be four; one to fit behind and one to fit in front of the rocker feed pipe on the right hand side of the engine. To anneal, hold each washer in a naked flame until it’s cherry red, then drop immediately into cold water. Copper can be safely annealed this way. Ferrous metals need to be cooled slowly.

Remove the rocker oil feed pipe and fit a copper washer onto each spindle. Replace the oil feed pipe. Put another copper washer on each feed pipe. Carefully replace the dome headed nuts and tighten. This will pull the rocker spindle even more tightly into the rocker box. Don’t over tighten.

Reset the valve clearances. Eight-thousandths of an inch for the inlet side, and six thousandths of an inch for the exhaust. It’s unusual to have the inlet rocker gap larger than the exhaust, but this is correct for the T140 engine due to its camshaft profiles. Replace the rocker box gaskets. A smear of gasket sealant won’t hurt. Don’t overdo it. Tighten the rocker box inspection covers (incrementally, please).

Check that everything is as it was. Start the engine, ensure that the oil pressure light goes out, inspect for leaks, and ride the bike to warm thoroughly. If, after a period of a few days or weeks, the spindles aren’t leaking, they are probably fixed. But if one or both still leak, you’ll have to try again. It ought to work every time, but it doesn’t. These are old bikes and need a little fussing.

If you have persistent issues here, you can try removing both rocker boxes and stripping completely. Then you might try machining a very small 45-degree bevel (or thereabouts) on the left side of each rocker box where the spindle is drawn in. This bevel can help prevent the O-rings from snagging on reassembly. Just a millimetre or two will suffice.

Always buy the best O-rings you can from a reputable source. Don’t bother trying any form of resin or sealant around the O-rings. It rarely, if ever, works. Remember that the spindles don’t actually spin. Instead, the rockers inside the rockerboxes pivot around the spindle. The object of the exercise is to feed those new O-rings gently into the rocker boxes. Look at the problem in engineering terms. Never force anything in this area. It shouldn’t need it. Just be slow and methodical. If you want to check the spindle housing for wear, start the engine and put a gloved finger against each spindle in turn (left hand side, and then right hand side).

If the spindles are bouncing up and down, or moving at all, they need replacing. Sometimes this movement is clearly visible. If you prefer, you can completely remove each rockerbox and replace the O-rings on the bench. But it isn’t necessary if you first remove the valve/rocker-load and use the special tool with plenty of oil.