More questions. More help. Introducing Mastering Table Topics Second Edition.

Apocalypse: Death by appointment

Next Friday will come and go, and the world will still be here. Even with another blown prediction, we Americans love apocalypse.

I grew up believing we’d nuke ourselves to death, or overpopulation would make us resort to cannibalism, or chimps would do us in. Perhaps computers would cause our doom either by being too smart or too dumb. And if these didn’t do the job, we have asteroids, rogue planets (the best choice for those who like seeing Kirsten Dunst naked), and zombies, zombies, zombies.

Why do we want to see the world end? There are some great theories about this, including my favorite from Tom Lehrer. I see another reason: apocalypse would enable us to die by appointment.

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2012 Parody: You’re Breaking My Heart

Uh, oh. It’s year-end parody time again. This is my sporadically annual tradition when I recap the major events of the past year with a song parody. Last year, I pillaged Rankin-Bass. This year, I’m picking on one of the greatest singer-songwriters of all time, Harry Nilsson. Why? Because there is only one song that can capture the spirit of a year as crazy as 2012: Nilsson’s very NSFW “You’re Breaking My Heart.” (Don’t worry, my parody uses the “radio edit” version.) Enjoy!

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What diamonds can teach you about communication

Thinking about getting a diamond for your loved one this holiday season? (Perhaps one you deliver on one knee while asking a rather important question?) If you shop for diamonds, you should know about the four c’s: carat, cut, color, and clarity. These four attributes help you determine the quality of a diamond. These attributes can also help you improve the quality of your communication. Let’s take a look at each of these as they relate to speaking and writing.

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My next big thing (and Gwen Perkins’)

Comic Book Heroes LogoNovelist Gwen Perkins got tagged for the Next Big Thing. (Her next big thing is her new novel The Jealousy Glass coming December 1. Order your copy on Amazon.) She asked others to share about their work in progress. Mine is my screenplay. So, here are her questions about my next big thing (which I adapted so they apply to a script).

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Why gratitude is magic

It’s Thanksgiving in the United States, or as some would like to call it, Black Friday Eve. (Although an increasing number of stores don’t even wait until Thanksgiving is over.)  I’ve written about the importance of Thanksgiving and gratitude before, but what if I’m wrong? What if gratitude is some wimpy rainbows-and-unicorns sentiment that is out of touch with the harshness and competitiveness of today’s world? Or are rainbows and unicorns what we need today? I believe so, and here’s why gratitude is magic.

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