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Showing posts from June, 2008


Erik Deckers
Laughing Stalk syndicate
Copyright 2008

"Okay, Buddy, put your mitt on."
"No, your left hand."
"No, the other left hand."
"That's your left hand."
"Because you throw with your right hand. "
"Not a mitten, a mitt. It's also called a glove."
"A bat is the thing you hit the baseball with."
"Yes, baseball like the Cincinnati Reds. We watch—yes, like the Chicago Cubs too. We watch—right, like the Chicago White Sox."
"Yes, yes, like those other guys. Just listen. I'm trying to teach you about baseball. I want you to learn to play baseball when you're older."
"Sure, you could be a baseball player when you grow up. Or a football player."
"Depends on which one you like better."
"I like them both. It wouldn't matter to me what you played, just so long as you were happy."
"Because your mother and I…

Blog Indiana discount - I'm speaking at Blog Indiana 2008

I'll be speaking at the Blog Indiana 2008 conference in Indianapolis this August 16 & 17. It's on the IUPUI campus, and promises to have a lot of great information for new and experienced bloggers. And it's only $49 for the whole weekend.

I'll be talking about how to write for blogs, both for readership and search engine optimization. (Tip #1 - repeating keywords in sentences doesn't do it.) In fact, I'm already listed in the session schedule, which makes it official!

But best of all, as a Laughing Stalk reader, you get a 15% discount off the price of your registration. So, you pay the low, low price of $41.65.

To register, go to the conference website, enter the code BLOGDISC on the registration page, and you're in like Flynn, bay-bee!

Just call me "Dad"

My oldest daughter just called me Dad. She's nearly 12, and up until today, she's called me Daddy. But she sent me an email to my Gmail account today that said "Dear Dad, Thank you for letting me go to the church retreat."

Dear Dad. Not "Daddy." The older honorific. The one she'll use in public, in front of her friends so she's not embarrassed by them thinking she's a baby. Eventually, it's the one she'll use all the time, so she doesn't think she's a baby.

When did I become Dad? I knew this day was coming. I even talked about it with my wife. Neither of us have been looking forward to it. I'll still be "Daddy" to the two youngest for several more years, but it's still a denting blow.

One of the things Google does is put sponsored links in all of their email windows. It keys the messages on the text of any email. Write an email to your friend about a diet, and all the sponsored links will be about diet programs. Ge…

My New Sissy Dog

My New Sissy Dog
Erik Deckers
Laughing Stalk Syndicate
Copyright 2008

My family hit an all-time low this week. One that I vowed we would never hit as long as I was alive: we have a new Maltese-Poodle puppy.

For those of you not familiar with the Maltese-Poodle, let me describe it. A Maltese is a small dog with fluffy fur that constantly gets underfoot and has an annoying yip for a bark. A Poodle is a small dog with curly fur that constantly gets underfoot and has an annoying yip for a bark. The Maltese-Poodle is a mix: a small dog with curly and fluffy hair, but apparently it doesn't get underfoot or have an annoying yip. At least that's what my family tells me. They were the ones who picked it.

"Honey, we need a new dog," my wife said a couple weeks ago. "The kids miss having a dog."

"What did you have in mind?"

"How about a Maltese-Poodle?"

I reminded her that our son was allergic to our last dogs, a pair of Beagles, and that we had said we wer…

David Sedaris Likes Me, Doesn't He?

David Sedaris Likes Me, Doesn't He?
Erik Deckers
Laughing Stalk Syndicate
Copyright 2008

This past Tuesday was Humor Hero Day for me. I got to meet one of my favorite writers, David Sedaris, at his book signing and reading at Big Hat Books in Indianapolis. I've enjoyed listening to David – we shared a moment that day, so I get to call him David; we're close like that – on public radio's This American Life for years, so this was exciting.

David is known for his wry and snarky humor, telling stories from his childhood in North Carolina, his young life in New York, and his home in France with his partner, Hugh, and making fun of people he meets in restaurants and at book signings.

I bought my advance copy of his latest book, When You Are Engulfed in Flames, six weeks earlier, which was my ticket into the reading. I arrived at the bookstore early to avoid the long lines, but there was already a short one when I arrived.

I stood behind two women, one of whom said she was "an …

Harlan Ellison Hates Cheap Writers

Harlan Ellison's rant on YouTube shows why writers do themselves a disservice by giving away their writing for free or cheap. I quit responding to freelance jobs on Craigslist, because I was getting beat by newer or worse writers who would do a one day project for $25. (Let's face it, if you're doing a job for that much, you're losing money. Your time is worth more than $3.00 per hour. Go wait tables if you're happy making $25 for a day's work).

If you're a writer, freelance or otherwise, and you're getting less than you're worth, watch Harlan's video. Then ask yourself if you're worth more than $25. Ask other freelancers what they charge, and then charge accordingly. We writers tend to take it on the chin, pay-wise, because we're humble and have self-esteem issues. We don't think we're 1) allowed to ask for money; 2) allowed to ask for more money; or; 3) it seems fair to ask for $75, $100, or even $250 per hour for our craft. Aft…

Attack of the Killer Tomatoes

From The Consumerist:

My youngest daughter loves tomatoes. But I think an outbreak of raw tomatoes is going to break her heart. But I always knew tomatoes would turn on us.

(For the record, this is related to the recent outbreak of salmonella in several breeds of tomatoes. See, this kind of thing wouldn't happen if you just bought your food at farmers markets.)

Karl vs. Bigfoot

Karl vs. Bigfoot
Erik Deckers
Laughing Stalk Syndicate
Copyright 2008

"I see they're hunting for Bigfoot," said Karl the Curmudgeon, taking a swig of his beer. We were sitting at our favorite Ukrainian bar, enjoying a couple of cold Obolons, a Ukrainian beer brewed in Kiev.

Who's doing what now? I asked.

"Bushnell Binoculars and Field and Stream magazine are offering $1 million to anyone in the United States who takes a photo of Bigfoot."

Yeah, right.

"No seriously, Kid. I read it on the Internet."

On the Internet, huh? I read on the Internet that he was living at Graceland in the apartment over the garage.

Karl plonked his beer on the bar. "Now you're just making fun of me." He sulked in his seat, so I bought him another beer, which cheered him up.

"They know no one has ever actually seen a photo of Bigfoot. It's just a marketing stunt for their real contest."

What about that grainy Bigfoot video they show on Discovery Channel?