The Squirrels Let Loose

Email to a Young Poet

Note: This is a parody of Rainer Maria Rilke’s famous book, “Letters to a Young Poet”. In a nutshell, the book contains the correspondence between Franz Xaver Krappus, a young man riveted by Rilke’s extraordinary poetry, and Rilke (Franz kept sending Rilke his poetry).

In the opening of the book, Krappus (this was his real name, not a name created as commentary on his poetry) writes:

“After our talk, I decided to send Rainer Maria Rilke my poetic attempts and to ask him for his judgement.”

Below is a riff of what I think Rilke would have sent back in a modern email correspondence (Rilke was born in 1875 and died in 1926).

Franz,

I have been receiving your vapid attempts at poetry,
which bastardize the dignity of this sacred art form, degrade women, the elderly, and the obese, and often strike me as low budget beer commercials employing a rhythm scheme devised for toddlers.

Additionally, I have been receiving the forwards of all the juvenile crap you have found on the Web and consider entertaining; please remove me from this list at once.

Franz, writing cannot be taught, as writing is simply a tool used by a deep soul to dig a tunnel from a vast, lonely, and earthy place up to the piercing, diminutive, and sun-lit world. Deep souls, Franz, cannot be taught or bought in a weekend writing seminar.

Having said this, if you are still intent on attending my writing seminar this weekend, I will gladly take your money, as I have few other sources of income and must often sacrifice integrity for practicality.

I can only hope that my direct and repeated bitchslaps to your shallow soul will cause something to be felt in your innermost core, and this, you see, is all I (or anyone else) can do to help you grow as a writer.

For $15/seminar, I believe that after 30-40 sessions, my direct and relentless assaults on your callous and oblivious being will begin to awaken something in you that may, with the promise of a second hand lottery ticket, result in the grand payoff of having a soul worthy of a voice.

Yours for $15/hour,
Rainer Maria Rilke

Traveling to Space

Having won the Rhode Island Lottery a few years back (which is when I stopped posting blogs and became a farmer in Colombia), I have decided that Earth is no longer for me. Therefore, I will launch myself into space on a privately owned luxury space craft, where I will orbit until the rest of you burn up or kill each other. I will occasionally come down to get some cheese dip and a few People Magazines and check my mail. Ok, ttyl.

Tomorrow morning I fly to Toronto for the SMX Analytics convention.

I am open to recommendations for how to have a good time in Toronto, as long as they are not things I can legally do in the US.

All things come to an end, and for that reason keeping your area at work saturated with photos of your lover is setting yourself up for the inevitable day when you have to take them all down because the relationship is over.

For that reason, I keep pictures of my ex-girlfriends at work. They will forever be x, and if I get back together with them, I can’t leave the pictures up and as far as anyone else is concerned, nothing dramatic has changed in my social life.

For men who have have few or no lovers, I suggest keeping pictures of your right palm. You will definitely never have to take those down.

Collective Intelligence

Movements like Top Coder and open source lead us to believe that the intelligence of a group is greater than the sum of its individuals.

I tend to believe this is true, but the problem is that it’s difficult to see the scenarios for which this is not true.

How about when a team comes to the wrong conclusion because the one person who was right was out-voted?
Or the many disciplines that require focus and discipline over a long period of time? Those kind of projects can be more likely to succeed with fewer people.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/12/02/the-simpsons-mocks-steve_n_147789.html

The Default Gift Ideas

Every year, someone gives me a gift who I didn’t get one for.  It’s inevitable.

So I am starting to keep my “default gift” – which is a gift I buy about 20 of and keep around in case someone gives me a gift and I need to reciprocate.

This year I am making t-shirts with some of those one-liners I came up with during the year but forgot about.

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