Tag Archives: psychology

Movie Review – The Voices (2015)

Your dog says behave.  Your cat says be bad.  What to do?  Why, read this review, of course.

SPOILER ALERT – I can’t really get into much of this film without giving it all away, so for now, if you haven’t seen it and your stomach isn’t turned by the thought of guts, gore, murder and also, the fact that somehow this is a comedy (a dark one) then go ahead and watch it on Netflix, then report back here to discuss in the comments.

I caught this at random, just searching through Netflix for something to watch and was surprised that I had never heard of this one.  It’s got Ryan Reynolds and Anna Kendrick and it’s been out for so long yet it fell below my radar.

Moreover, Ryan Reynolds does some honest to God acting in this flick.  You laugh, but I think that even Double-R would admit he has been depending on a snarky, over confident, self-absorbed schtick for a long time now.

Here, RR plays someone different, nay, three someones.  First, he’s Jerry, a shy, socially awkward bathtub factory worker.  To his coworkers, he’s a bit of an odd duck yet still a member of the team.

In his personal life, he’s clearly bananas.  Living in an apartment above a bowling alley, he talks to his pets – Bosco the dog and Mr. Whiskers the cat.  Bosco is Jerry’s good side so naturally, the cat is the villain.  Bosco advises Jerry to behave while Mr. Whiskers urges Jerry to give in to his deepest, darkest impulses.

Usually, Bosco wins, until a fateful night when Jerry scores a date with the babe of his dreams, Fiona (Gemma Arterton).  Alas, Jerry accidentally kills Fiona and Mr. Whiskers takes advantage of this to push Jerry over the line and urge him to kill again, this time on purpose.

Potentially in the crosshairs is Lisa (Anna Kendrick), another coworker who has harbored a longtime crush on Jerry.  Her fate will depend on whether Jerry starts paying more attention to his good pet or his bad pet.

From a writing standpoint (and look away for this is a big SPOILER), Jerry’s medication plays a big role from a “show, don’t tell” perspective.  Prior to the chaos, Jerry has been seeing Dr. Warren (Jacki Weaver) for treatment related to a traumatic childhood.

She urges Jerry to take his medication.  When he doesn’t, his world is happy, calm, peaceful.  He believes he has a pretty comfortable, sweet life, living in a nice, swanky apartment with his best four-legged buds.  Heck, the dismembered head of Fiona, now kept in his fridge, even talks to him, saying all the sweet nothings he longed to hear from her.

What happens when he takes the medication?  Reality sets in, and it’s a grim one.  The apartment isn’t a nice place to live at all.  It’s filled to the brim with filth – dog and cat poop, unwashed dishes, various warning signs that this wack job has not been taking care of himself for quite some time, as well as the bloody remains of his victim.  Worse for Jerry, his pets don’t even talk.  They’re just a cat and a dog.  And yikes!  Fiona is no longer a happy go lucky talking head but as you might have guessed, a silent, rotting head.

As Dr. Warren later explains with advice that could help everyone, no matter their level of crazy, most people hear “voices” though to most people, those “voices” come across as thoughts – ideas of self-loathing, disappointment, urges to do bad things and most people know well enough to push those thoughts aside and not be consumed by them.  Others, like Jerry, hear literal voices and create false worlds to avoid reality.

Scary, dark, funny though it seems like it shouldn’t be, the film has, surprisingly, a good message about facing reality, warts and all, learning to accept ourselves, rally around our strengths, forgive ourselves for our weaknesses, confront problems rather than pretend they aren’t there, to not live in a fantasy land because improving the real world around is often too hard.

It’s a good film where Ryan actually convinces me that he’s shy and awkward even though he’s anything but and to boot, he hams it up as an angelic dog and devilish cat.

It’s a good flick that probably deserved a little more critical acclaim than it got so its worth a watch, unless you aren’t into comedies about crazy men who talk to heads and killer kitties, then you know, don’t watch it.

STATUS: Shelf-worthy.

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Stop Sucking with Vinny Baggadouchio – Taking Your Not Sucking Journey One Suck Free Day at a Time

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World Renowned Motivational Speaker/Anti-Suck Expert Vinny Baggadouchio

I’m Vinny Baggadouchio and I’m sucking the suck out of the world so you don’t have to.

Perhaps you recognize me from one of my many fine books which describe in detail how you no longer have to suck:

How Now, Brown Suck Cow

John Livingston Suckgall

De-suck You, De-suck Me, De-suck it Together, Naturally

Stop the Suck World, I Want to Get Off!

When a Problem Comes Along, You Must Un-Suck It

How to Win Friends and Avoid Sucky People

I’m Mad as Hell and I Don’t Have to Suck Anymore!

Today’s question comes from a big ole suckface in Pismo Beach, Florida.  Wow, it’s so nice and sunny, you’d have to be a big super sized sucker to suck in a place like that.

Dear Vinny B,

I’ve sucked so hard and for so long that I don’t even remember where all the suck began and I’m not sure how to even find a way for the suck end.  Sometimes, when I think about all the things I have to do to not suck, I feel so overwhelmed that I begin to engage in sucky behaviors, like smoking crack, banging discount prostitutes with STD laden, gangrenous vaginas and eating Tide pods.  So many Tide pods.  Sometimes I just sit down in front of the TV and eat a whole bucket of those things.  I’ve died seven times already and the doctors tell me they doubt they can bring me back again and I should stop eating Tide pods but I can’t help it because I suck so much.

How can I stop sucking today so I will not suck tomorrow?

Sincerely,

Pismo Sucker

My word, Pismo Sucker.  Your life sure does suck.  Don’t worry though.  I’m here to help you un-suck it.

Here’s the deal.  Your life didn’t suck itself up overnight.  I’m sure it took many, many years worth of steadily, increasingly suckier activities until you became the great big sucker that you are today.

Maybe at one point you were great – young, vibrant, healthy, good job, you were going somewhere.  Then, you started to suck a little.  Maybe you stopped shaving everyday.  Maybe you stopped caring about your appearance.  Maybe you didn’t keep your desk, office, car, or home or anywhere else clean.

Maybe you started with an extra drink.  Then two.  Then five.  Then twelve.  Then came the crack, the smack, the horse tranquilizer and then the Tide pods.  Boy, people have really been sucking themselves up with Tide pods lately.  Don’t eat them, people.  They suck and they’ll kill you and that would suck.

Slowly but surely you took a new, sucky step down the ladder of suck into the great sewer hole of suck-dom.  Now you’re down there in the suck sewer, covered in so much suck muck you don’t know how you’ll ever get to the suck free top again.

Simple.  Just as you plunged into suckitude one step at a time, so too will you step up into a suck free life, one step at a time.

Today you’ll start shaving.  Tomorrow, you’ll start dressing better.  The day after date, you’ll cut down on the booze.  As time goes on you’ll cut out all the substances (though the Tide pods must be cut instantly.)

Seek counseling and a support group and therapy and treatment for your various addictions.  There are many professionals who are quite adept at curing sucky problems like yours.

Rome wasn’t built in a day and your sucky life won’t be unsucked in a day, or a week, a month or even a year.  Take each day is it comes.  Find as much suck-free enjoyment as you can whilst still trapped in your suckitude.  Slowly but surely, make incremental and positive changes that build up your suck free life and build up your immunity to suckyness.

Think of all the years you wasted wallowing your suck.  Think how quickly those years went by, how happy you’d be if you’d stepped onto the slow but sure path onto a suck free journey years ago.

If you try to de-suck all of your suck instantly, it’ll be too much – a Herculean task for even the most advanced non-sucker.  De-suck little by little, taking baby steps towards an overall end game of a suck free life.

You’ll get there, my friend, but you didn’t dick this suck hole overnight, and you aren’t going to fill it up with suck-free dirt overnight either.

I know it can be hard to sit there and think how far away a suck free life is, how much needs to be done before your life won’t suck anymore that it seems so surreal that your life could do anything but suck, but trust me, a suck free life is not a fairy tale.  If you believe you won’t suck, then you will achieve a life that doesn’t suck.

Good luck, don’t suck, and FYI, my new book, “Good Luck, Don’t Suck” is now available at a book store near you that doesn’t suck.

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Movie Review – Split (2017)

Oh my God, 3.5 readers.

After sucking for so many years, M. Night Shyamalan has returned to making good movies again.

It’s a Shyamalan renaissance!  A Shyamalan-aissance!

BQB here with a review of the horror thriller Split.

The year was 1999.  The Sixth Sense starring Bruce Willis and Haley Joel Osment premiered.  For most of the film’s run time, it seemed like a pretty decent film.  Not below average.  Not above average.  Just decent enough until…OMG!!!  Super mega did not see that coming at all surprise ending that fits with the whole movie, whoa!

And thus, director M. Night Shama…shamalama….whatever.  His career was born.

Alas, rather than try new and different things, M. Night just put himself on a quest to recreate that amazing Sixth Sense twist:

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But it never happened.  While Signs was a good film, all his other post Sixth Sense films sucked the big one.  The twists were ridiculous, absurd, and just crowbarred in as if to say, “Hey look!  I’m M. Night and I’m the twist guy!  Don’t you love my twists?”

The evidence speaks for itself:

2004 – The Village – Super dumbass twist.

2006 – Lady in the Water – Incredibly shitty twist.

2008 – The Happening – The plants were the villains all along?  OK.  Go home, M. Night.  You’re drunk!

I’d long written M. Night off as a one (maybe two) hit wonder but low and behold, he’s back in a big way with Split and it’s about damn time, M. Night Shabadu.  About damn time indeed.

The setup – Three high school girls are kidnapped and locked in a basement room by a psychopath with multiple personalities played by James McAvoy.  At various intervals, McAvoy enters the room, each time pretending to be a whole other person.  Some of these personalities are friendly, others more dangerous.

Casey (Anya Taylor-Joy) is usually made fun of by Claire and Marcia, but now that they are all captives, Casey, who knows about pain and suffering all too well, is in her element.  If anyone has a chance to save the day, it’s her, but will she be able to?

Meanwhile, Dr. Karen Fletcher (Betty Buckley), the madman’s psychiatrist, suspects her patient might be up to something, but can’t quite put her finger on it.  Will she be able to piece the mystery together before it’s all too late?

Plus, there’s an overall message to the movie – are people who have suffered pain stronger than those who haven’t?

An amazing performance by James McAvoy.  He shows great Oscar potential here with his ability to convincingly turn into other people.  It’s funny because he still looks the same, yet he is so good at taking on the various personalities that you almost begin to believe they’re real.

The suspense!  The thrills!  The chills!  M. Night’s first non-shitty movie since the Clinton administration!

Are there twists in this film?  Yes.  Many.  Will I tell you what they are?  No.  But the best part is they aren’t crowbarred and slammed in haphazardly in so many other films where M. Night tried to recreated his Sixth Sense glory.

The man has finally learned to let the twists flow naturally.  In fact, the biggest twist of this film is that it is directed by M. Night Shamalamadingdong and it does not suck.

STATUS:  Shelf-worthy.  Rent it today!  Oh, M. Night!  I’m so glad you don’t suck anymore!  I always knew you had it in you to stop sucking.  It was unfortunate that this movie was released in January, because January movies tend to come and go without much interest from the public.  I do believe this film will likely grow a following via word of mouth as people start to rent it.  Crack a beer, M. Night.  It’s the first one you’ve deserved since 1999.

 

 

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Clinically Depressed Werewolf – Dropped Ice Cream as a Metaphor for Life

By: Clinically Depressed Werewolf, Official Bookshelf Battle Blog Sad Lycan Correspondent

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Arr…arr…arrrwooooooo…oh who am I kidding?  Howl today, gone tomorrow.  What am I even howling at?  Whatever it is, it is only a temporary blip on the endlessly changing radar screen of life.

I went to the ice cream parlor the other day, 3.5 readers.  I was hungry because, you know, I’m a werewolf and the one good thing about being a werewolf is that we can eat as much as we want and never gain any weight.  You’d think that’s a positive thing but honestly, I can turn any positive into a negative.  Frankly, if you’re constantly eating and never gaining any weight then it’s like it doesn’t even matter, like pushing a boulder up a hill only for it to fall down and then you have to push it up the hill again.

Where was I?  Does it even matter?  Oh right.  So I went to the ice cream parlor and I got a three scoop cone.  I got a scoop of rocky road, a scoop of strawberry, and a scoop of peanut butter fudge.  Three diverse scoops, all bringing their own benefits and detriments into the mix.

I got it into my mind that I could not exist without these three flavors missed together.  But alas, a freak gust of win blew in and knocked the peanut butter fudge off the top of my cone.

Oh, how I cheated I felt as I stared at that glop of peanut butter fudge ice cream lying on the ground.  I didn’t have any idea what to do next.

I’d already paid for it so I felt cheated.  I paid for three scoops so I should have gotten three scoops.  But it wasn’t the ice cream parlor’s fault.  They don’t owe me what they already gave me.

Then I was mad at myself but why?  It’s not like I could have preconceived that the wind was going to knock the scoop off my cone.

Suddenly, I was mad at the weather, the forces of nature, the world.  It felt like the fates were conspiring against me to prevent me from having any kind of enjoyment.  Oh, what a depressing feeling.

At one point it popped into my head that I should just lick the ice cream off of the ground.  I mean, sure it had germs on it but who am I?  The King of England?  I’m a werewolf.  I eat people, like, all the time.  And you know what?  People are dirty.  They’re extremely filthy, you have no idea.

I’ve eaten people who haven’t bathed for days.  I’ve eaten people who just got off of a sixteen-hour double shift at a hot, sweaty machine shop who tasted disgusting.

Hell, I’ve even eaten people who were sitting on the toilet who were right in the middle of doing their dirty business, a half pinched loaf stuck you know where.

Yet, all of a sudden, I’m all like, “Look at me.  I’m so fancy.  I shouldn’t have to lick peanut butter fudge ice cream off of the ground.”

Then I felt an internal struggle inside of me.  Am I a pretentious prude for not eating ice cream off of the ground?  Am I just being a proud werewolf, that I believe in myself too much to do something so disgusting and better yet, I deserve to feel that way?

Was all this mental turmoil really about the ice cream?  Was it about life instead?  Are we all just a bunch of ice cream scoops, happy to be a loved and desirable part of a cone one minute only to be knocked off our pedestal and left alone to rot in the mud the next?

Ahh…such is life.

So many questions.  So few answers.  I got so upset that I ran to a farm and ate seventeen sheep.  For awhile I was starting to feel better…until the eighteenth sheep fell on the ground.

 

 

 

 

 

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Stop Sucking with Vinny Baggadouchio – Coping with Sucky Regrets

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World Renowned Motivational Speaker/Anti-Suck Expert Vinny Baggadouchio

I’m Vinny Baggadouchio and when it comes to karate chopping suckyness, I’m a black belt.  Perhaps you have read one of my fine anti-suck books:

Who Needs to Suck When You Don’t Have To?

I Can’t Stand This Sucky Feeling

Suck Ways to Saturday

The Suckback of Notre Dame

Suck Out the Suck

Set the Suck Aside

Kiss My Suck and Call It Ice Cream

A Brief History of Sucky Times

All Aboard the Anti-Suck Train

Make America Not Suck Again

Build a Wall Around the Suck and Make the Suck Pay For It

Who Let the Suck Out?

3.5 suckers, I’ve been busy spreading my suck free message across the world, consulting with the rich, famous and powerful and teaching them how to not suck.  And when I’m not busy sucking the suck out of celebrities, I make plenty of time to help poor suckers come to grips with their sucking.

Why, just last week I held the “Tenth Annual Gala to Bring An End to All the Things that Make Poor People’s Lives Suck.”  It was a rousing success and I’m happy to report that I helped a grand total of 10,000 sucky poor people get started on the path to a suck free life.

But enough about me.  Here’s today’s question:

Dear Vinny B,

I’m getting older.  Forty is just around the corner and when I look back on my life, I realize that it really sucked.  Seriously.  It sucked so bad.  All the sucky things in life happened to me and none of the non-sucky things happened to me.

Even worse, I made decisions that sucked.  I didn’t realize at the time how I was sucking up my life.  It didn’t dawn on me until I was able to look back on all the sucky behavior in hindsight.

I regret my sucky past but now I face an even suckier dilemma.  Is it too late to stop sucking?  I feel like everyone judges me based on my sucky decisions.  I’ve woken up and smelled the non-suck, but try as I might, I’m trapped in a suck cycle.  I want to not suck but the weight of all my past sucks weighs me down.

Am I doomed to always suck?

Sincerely,

Once a Sucker, Always a Sucker

Wow.  Sorry to hear about all that suck, Sucker.  That really sucks.

Let’s face the sucky truth.  Life has a tendency to suck.  Even worse, when we are young, we are trained to think that it won’t suck.  All the adults tells us positive things and treat us like mush brained dummies when we are young.  It keeps young people from making plans to combat a sucky life.

So, you made some sucky decisions.  You did some sucky things and you had sucky things happen to you.  You can’t let suck define you.  You can’t let suck bog you down.

Yes, we all wish we could take the knowledge we have learned about how not to suck, travel back in time, and give it to our younger selves, only to then find ourselves in a suck free present.  Alas, the state of time travel technology really sucks, so we aren’t there yet.

Still, you are alive and you have time to not suck.  Sure, you don’t have as much time as you wish you had to not suck, but there’s still time to not suck.  Only a sucker doesn’t use all of his time to not suck, no matter how much or how little time is left.  Be your least sucky self, always and no matter what.

You regret how much your past forty years sucked?  That sucks.  Don’t get to sixty and regret not taking steps in the past twenty years to not suck.  You had an excuse to suck when you were young.  You were young and you didn’t know any better.

Now you are older and wiser.  You’ve been knocked around by the sucky world.  You know the ins and outs of suck-dom.  You know how to curtail your sucky behaviors.  You know the suckyness that happens if you don’t.  Sorry pal, but you’re all out of excuses to keep sucking, so grab that anti-suck bull by the horns and ride it for the rest of your life.

“Regrets, I’ve had a few,” Frank Sinatra used to sing.  So, you have a few, or even a lot.  It’s time to wipe the suck slate.

You can’t change your sucky past, but the story of your future has yet to be written.  Will you write it with a sucky pen or will you vow to put an end to all your sucky ways for good?

The choice is yours, Sucker.  Choose to not suck, always and no matter what.  It’s never to late to not suck.

By the way, you can buy my new anti-suck book, It’s Never Too Late to Not Suck at a book store near you that doesn’t suck.

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Daily Discussion with BQB – What Can We Learn From Buddhism?

If I’m understanding Buddhism correctly, and I probably am not, life and in particular, all of the material and greedy pursuits that we tend to seek are fleeting and impermanent, therefore they can never make us truly happy so we should either stop chasing them or if we do chase them we should not feel bad if we fail because had we succeeded we were eventually going to lose whatever it was that we were pursuing anyway.

The big house, the fancy car, the supermodel girlfriend with the giant fake boobs – these will all be lost sooner or later so rather than beat yourself up for not achieving them, focus on calmness of mind and spirit and meditate.

If your mind starts to dwell on mistakes you made in the past, mistakes you made that cause you to hate yourself because you feel they prevented you from getting the big house, the fancy car and the girlfriend with the big fake boobs, then close your eyes and mediate.  Focus on your breathing, focus your mind on thinking about nothing, repeat a mantra and chant it over and over again, essentially distract your mind.  You will only feel bad if you keep rehashing all of your failures in your mind.  Focus instead on meditation.

It’s basically like those shirts – “Keep calm and…”  Well, instead of “and drink beer” or whatever, it’s “Keep Calm and Meditate.”

Anyway, I’m sure there are better buddhists out there who could explain this better.  I tend to research subjects related to novels I am working on at the moment so don’t mind me, I’ll be researching something else in the next five minutes.

Also, in theory, I feel like the girlfriend with the big fake boobs would be a calming influence but only if you could have access to the big fake boobs without the ensuing problems that go with them but let’s keep it real.  She’d probably bring a lot of drama into your life, want all your money, leave you broke, cheat on you with the pool boy and so on.

Until they invent robot girlfriends with big fake boobs, meditation may be our only hope for staying calm.

What say you, 3.5 readers?

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Stop Sucking With Vinny Baggadouchio – Trapped in a Suck Rut

shutterstock_669906521World Renowned Motivational Speaker, Anti-Suck Book Author and Bookshelf Battle Blog Columnist, Vinny Baggadouchio

I’m Vinny Baggadouchio and I’m sucking all the suck out of the world in order to make it a suck-free place for a new generation of non-suckers.

Perhaps you recognize me from one of my fine anti-suck books:

You’re Once, Twice, Three Times a Sucker

I Once Was Sucked But Now I’m Found

Get Outta My Life and Into My Suck

The No-Suck Zone

Suck Warriors, Come Out to Play (But Don’t Come Out to Suck)

Mad Suck: Beyond Suckterdome

I Can’t Fight This Sucky Feeling Anymore

One Sucky Day at a Time

Non-Suckadoon: My Dream of a Suck-Free Utopia

Get Your Sucky Hands Off Me, You Damn Dirty Sucker!

A Low Down Dirty Suck

3.5 readers, if you suck, I want to know about it.

In fact, here’s a message I received from one of Bookshelf Q. Battler’s readers just the other day.

Dear Vinny,

I have been a giant, economy sized suck bucket my entire life.

However, I recently started reading your anti-suck books and I immediately developed a desire to suck the suck right out of my life and join the world again as a productive, non-sucking member of society.

Alas, I just can’t find the motivation.  I have sucked since Hillary Clinton was basically the president the first go around. We all know Bill was her unwitting pawn.

That’s a long time to suck and I just can’t wrap my mind around the possibility that there’s a suck free existence out there waiting for me.

Even though I don’t want to suck anymore, I can’t stop sucking. Every morning, I wake up, fully intending to cease my sucky habits, but sure enough, by noon time, I’m sucking up a storm.

What should I do? I don’t want to suck anymore!

Sincerely,

Trapped in a Suck Rut

Wow Trapped. I’m sorry to hear about your situation. That really sucks.

And honestly, I understand. Rome wasn’t built in a day and one simply doesn’t stop sucking overnight either.

You’ve been a sucker for decades.  That’s a whole lot of suck to shake off.

I have three important words for you:

STOP…SUCKING…GRADUALLY!

I’m a very inspirational anti-suck advocate.  What can I say? It’s a gift.

But what happens is someone reads one of my anti-suck books and instantly they want to purge all the suckyness out of their system pronto.

Can’t be done.  Your body feeds off the suck now.  The suck is in your blood.

Thus, if you try to quit all your sucky activities all at once, you’ll be back to sucking in no time flat.  You’ll go into suck withdrawal and end up sucking far worse than you did before, you big dumb sucker you.

What you need to do is pick one sucky activity, drop that, and then once you feel like you no longer need to perform that sucky action anymore, you can move on to dropping the next sucky activity.

EXAMPLE:

I had a client once who:

Cheated on his wife by having sex with other men’s wives.

Cheated on his dog by petting other men’s dogs.

Cheated on his cat by petting every other cat in the neighborhood but his own cat.

Picked his nose at work and planted the boogers underneath his co-worker’s desk.

Tore tags off of his pillows and mattresses and set the tags on fire.

Spent all his free time writing Firefly fan fiction.

Posted his dumb opinions about the quality of his lunch on social media.

Farted in public with reckless abandon. Also posted about it on social media.

So, I was just all like, “Look, Client.  You need to pick one of these sucky behaviors and drop it today.”

And I’m proud to say he did.

My client no longer writes Firefly fan fiction.

He still does all of that other sucktastic nonsense, but he’s been Firefly fan fiction free for a hundred days and counting.

I think he might just kick the Firefly fan fiction habit entirely.

In fact, when he’s up to two hundred days, I’m going to suggest that he start flicking his boogers into a trash can.

He can do it and I’m confident by the end of next year, I’ll get him to stop talking about his lunch and/or farts on social media.

We’ll get him to be loyal to his wife, dog and cat by the end of the decade.

De-sucking yourself is a slow, gradual process, Trapped.

But think about it this way: you didn’t suck yourself overnight, so you certainly won’t fully de-suckify yourself overnight either.

Be patient. All good things come to those who wait to not suck.

And while you’re waiting to not suck, don’t forget to check out my anti-suck books, available now at a bookstore near you that doesn’t suck.

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The Writer’s Battle – Expression Challenge – “It is what it is.”

EXPRESSION: It is what it is.

MEANING: A situation that is difficult yet must be accepted as is, for it is unchangeable.

EXAMPLE: MARGOT: Hi Becky. Just wanted to say I am sorry to hear that your lousy husband stole all your money, ran off with your sister to Paraguay, and started a folk music jazz fusion band together. Moreover, I was chagrined to hear that their new hit single, “Becky Sucks in Every Conceivable Way,” which is basically just a list of all of your faults set to a melody, has not only gone triple platinum but has had a Sirius XM channel devoted to playing it on a continuous loop 24/7.

BECKY: It is what it is.

COMMENTARY: I really despise this one. These days, I mostly see it posted all over facebook, social media, etc. People trying to be cool about a situation by saying the obvious – “It is what it is.” Of course it is! What else could it be? Unfortunately, we live in a society where everyone is so sensitive about every little thing that if you complain about something negative in your life people start to become amateur psychologists and try to diagnose you with depression. No one can just take two seconds to complain about a crappy situation without everyone getting all flustered. “Oww! I hate that I stubbed my toe! That really bugs me!” “Really? Sounds like you are well into the advanced stages of the early onset of clinical depression! Get ‘ye to an insane asylum posthaste!”

So to avoid people making a big deal about something, people just say “It is what it is.” It sounds negative without being negative. It lets someone complain without complaining.

ORIGINS: “It is what it is.” Surely, that has to be a grandiose philosophical statement of epic proportions. I can see Socrates, Aristotle, and Plato all sitting around in their togas, pondering the mysteries of this phrase.”

PLATO: What is it?

ARISTOTLE: It is something, surely. Something it must be.

SOCRATES: It is what it is.

ARISTOTLE AND PLATO: Whoa!

Over time, various philosophers and political movements got their grubby mitts on this expression and twisted it to suit their own ends:

COMMUNISM: If it’s yours, it should be ours!

FACISM: If it’s theirs, it should be ours!

CAPITALISM: Screw you! It’s mine!

EXISTENTIALISM: It is to the extent you believe it is.

NIETZCHEISM: There it is…enjoy it while it lasts.

MACHIAVELLIANISM: Make it yours before the other guy makes it his.

1960’s HIPPY-ISM: It is like whatever, man.

DARWINISM: If it is the best, it lasts longer than the rest.

PREPARE TO HAVE YOUR MIND BLOWN: That’s right. You heard me. I’m about to tilt the world’s philosophical axis, right here on a dorky book blog website. Check out my own flawless philosophy:

It is what it is.

If it is what it is, then —> Is it not what it is not?

BUT —> If it IS NOT what it IS NOT…

THEN—> IT MUST BE WHAT IT IS NOT!

AND THEREFORE:

The transitive property teaches us that IT is both what IT IS *AND* what it IS NOT!

I know! I should have told you to sit down for that one, right! Are your heads ok? Did they blow up? Did I just lose half my readership? Am I down to only six readers now? I’ll have to make it six more to make it an even dozen.

You may scoff, but if you think about it – is a person not defined by a) what he is and at the same time b) what he is not? Is a person who is a) a good person also b) not a bad person? Is a person who is a) a dentist also b) not a race car driver?

Put that in your pipe and smoke it. Go tell it on the mountain! It’s the Expression Challenge now till Labor Day on bookshelfbattle.com where once in awhile, the proprietor actually does review a book!

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