He Nice, the Jesus

me-talk-pretty-one-day-david-sedaris

I’ve been chuckling along to Me Talk Pretty One Day, a collection of comic writing from David Sedaris. It covers stories from youth to his art school days, where “a fistful of burning hair could not begin to represent the mess I had made of my life.” It continues to his current life as a writer – which he emphasizes is a real typewriter type author… a machine “where the smack and clatter…. suggests you’re actually building something.”

The characters are great, full of the types of people we usually all suffer in silence (the guy with you in a dead end job, who keeps telling you “I could have been doing something”). It is also full of little nuggets of wisdom, such as the point of fantasies is that they allow you to “skip the degradation, and head straight to the top”. I also liked his idea of a ‘Guessay’ – where you generate ideas (for a play, book, or TV show) by writing up a guess of what your idol might do in the future. Our idols are always a perfected idea of our own potential.

The highlight, however – and the source of his book’s title – is two perfect essays describing the horrors of learning French under a tyrannical French teacher. Mangled French is translated back into English, to describe terror filled, concentration camp-like huddled discussions between verbally abused students.

“Sometimes me cry alone at night.”

“That be common for I, also, but be more strong, you. Much work and some day you talk pretty. People start love you soon. Maybe tomorrow, okay.”

Great stuff. Get it from Amazon – you won’t miss not having it.

Crazy Talk

If you’ve looked for smart videos on the web, chances are you’ve skipped over YouTube and moved onto TED already.  This Spreadsheet allows you to sort TED talks by Tweets, Facebook posts, and any number of other metrics – which is a great way to unearth some good new stuff.

This video is by former Al Gore speechwriter Dan Pink (sounding very much like Al Gore on meth). It’s kind of about how paying people lots of money is not a good idea (giving them autonomy, mastery, and purpose seem a lot better.)

Timeology

Thank goodness there is a new category of activity, somewhere between goofing off and working – timeology. Urban Dictionary defines timeology as

the act/studying of spending time doing what you want but not accomplishing anything but also not wasting it either

I think I’ll spend the rest of the day field studying me some timeology over here.