Hemingway, Here to Help

I recently heard about the Hemingway App via our friends at Evernote and thought I’d look into it. Designed to help your writing be more concise and powerful, it grades your sentences on whether they’re hard to read and calls out a reliance on adverbs or the passive voice.

Not surprisingly (“adverb. Remove it.”), that last sentence was classified (“use of passive voice. Aim for 1 or fewer.”) as very (“phrase has a simpler alternative.”) hard to read.

Hemingway screenshotAfter 15 minutes of kicking it around, I’m already more self conscious of my writing than I’ve ever been. Perhaps that’s not all bad and I’ll give it a fair shake, but fortunately this app wasn’t around to negatively influence it’s namesake.

You can buy Hemingway’s desktop version for $9.99, but the web version appears free so let’s test this thing out!

P.S. I wrote this at a 7th grade level, so I may be ready to write my young adult series after all.

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Breaking Through

When you own a blog and posts become scarce, the amount of time that’s passed since the last post is directly proportionate to the worthiness-threshold a new post must cross. It just grows and grows and grows until you can’t think of a single thing worth writing about.

So let’s break through that altogether and just post…something!

Oh…hmm…not that. No, not that either…too obscure. Uh, now that can’t be the first thing I think of. What else…no, too edgy. Ugh, I quit.

Yep, that’s what happens. So fine, here’s one of my favorite scenes from Old School:

There, that wasn’t so hard. Was it?

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Seinfeld’s Got Comedians, Coffee & Cars

With decades of comedic pursuits under his belt – a solid standup career, the most popular TV show ever, Talking Funny on HBO, etc – Jerry Seinfeld is cashing in his industry friendships with his web series “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee“. The premise is as simple as the title suggests, but these mini-episodes are packed with humorous anecdotes from comedy legends like Mel Brooks and David Letterman and surprising candidness from younger comics like Sarah Silverman and Seth Myers.

Jerry (sidebar…Is my instinct to call him by his first name due to Kenny Bania ringing in my head?) also chatted with my favorite comedian, Louis C.K., and got him to share his more sensitive side. Don’t worry, it’s still regular Louis.

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Throwback: Seth Green Cha-Chings New Orleans

Before he was SETH GREEN of Austin Powers, Robot Chicken and Can’t Hardly Wait fame, Seth Green was a 17-year-old pitchman dropping catchphrase dimes from behind a cash register.

While the term was likely created by the advertising agency hired by Rally’s, Green is largely responsible for “Cha-ching” being a part of pop culture. In 1991, Green was sporting my brother’s haircut and selling out…before it was cool.

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NASA: World Survives 12/21/12

This just in from NASA: World to continue. While many have been marking their calendar for the End of Days-fest this December 21st, NASA scientist (and all-around conspiracy theorist killjoy) Don Yeomans has taken to the Internet to debunk various popular scenarios. In this short video Yeomans shoots down the Mayan calendar (“…calendar does not end…just the end of a cycle.”), planet Niburu (“…would have seen it long ago.”), solar storm (“…next solar maximum…will actually take place in May 2013.”), planetary alignments (“…no planetary alignments in December of 2012.”), and Earth rotation axis shift (“…can’t shift because of the orbit of the moon…”) theories.

If this video fails to assuage your fears, take heart that you are still well within your rights to disregard this “science” mumbo-jumbo and continue accumulating canned goods, weaponry, and apocalypse-free floating dirigibles.

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Got Duck?

This afternoon at the office I went to the restroom and to my surprise, their was a giant duck head rising above the top of the big stall. At that point I remembered the Oregon cheerleaders and Puddles the Duck were there visiting the studio and spending time with our on-air talent, Mike and Ashley. After initially taking a step back in the restroom doorway, I laughed and moved toward the urinal.

“The Duck…you don’t see that in here every day,” I said to our guest as he finished changing into his mascot uniform. Expecting to get a response from a 20-year-old college student, the 6’8″ duck replied with a hearty mouth fart. Clearly that got me laughing.

Without breaking character, Puddles shuffled out of the stall and saddled up to the neighboring urinal to “relieve himself.” After earning another laugh there, he flushed, spun on his heel, and walked out the door.

Man, I love working for a sports network.

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Gangnam Style Meme

Not one to pass up on spreading a respectable meme, I can’t help but share the Gangnam Style video by South Korean rapper Psy.  After less than two months on YouTube it’s garnered over 105 million views, so it’s gotta be good.  Judge for yourself:

Want to learn Psy’s cowboy dance?  Check this:

And while there have been tons of parodies, until I make my own the Oregon Duck parody is closest to my heart:

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Golden Gate Bridge Turns 75

Guess what they called the Golden Gate Bridge in 1917?  Nothing.  Not until that year did the idea of building a bridge across the Golden Gate strait become a serious conversation topic.  And construction on the bridge didn’t even start until 1933.  Yet the span was completed in four short years and this past Sunday, we celebrated the 1937 completion of the Golden Gate Bridge with an epic, scored fireworks display.  I watched it from the rocks along the Marina jetty and this video by KFOG captures the magic of the experience perfectly.  Enjoy.

Awesome, right?

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Now Playing: Henri 2, Paw de Deux

A friend just asked me today, “Are you a dog or cat person?”  To that I ask, “Does the Prometheus trailer leave me both rife with anticipation and a strong urge to cover my face with a pillow?”  Yes, of course it does.  And yes, of course I am.

I grew up with dogs (not wolves), but as a keeper of felines I have a special place in my heart for my cat kids.  And I’ll admit it, when a trusted source tells me I just have to see the latest viral cat video, I’m in.  To that end, enjoy Henri’s anguish:

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The Philly Phaithful

The National Hustle welcomes Philly Keys to tackle our blog’s third guest post.  Philly Keys is a native Philadelphian who loves sports and now calls Atlanta home.

OK, enough.  Yes, we booed a pathetic, decrepit Santa Claus.  Yes, we booed Michael Irvin as he lay prostrate on the Vet Stadium concrete.  Some of “us” have been known to use vomit as a weapon.  Others have been escorted to a basement prison and convicted by a presiding judge … in our own home stadium.  And yes, Mr. Andrus, our celebrated security personnel have wielded a taser on occasion, to subdue a raucous fan or two, but only when there was no other alternative.

But to use those singular few events, perpetrated by a few bad egg inebriated individuals, to categorize an entire city?  Ridiculous.  That’s like saying the entire city of Tucson should get a bad name because of the streaker ref, or that Detroit should suffer eternal damnation for Kid Rock, or that Atlanta is a hick town because it spawned John Rocker.  Bad examples?  Perhaps, but you get my point.

Philly is a great sports town, from Conshohocken to the Main Line, from West Chester to West Philly, from the Palestra to Ashburn Alley, from Pat’s to Geno’s to Jim’s, from Bull’s BarBQ to Ardmore Pizza (my personal fave).  But we are a long suffering fan base, who continue to expect more from our teams and get less.  We’ve suffered more than our share of stomach punches (via Bill Simmons, @sportsguy33) throughout the years, and we’ve celebrated precious few championships.  So cut us a break, for gosh sakes, and back off these “Philly fans suck” posts.  Yes, the Phillies ended our title drought in 2008, but they’ve turned around and tantalized us now 3 years running, dropping out of baseball’s big dance earlier and earlier each postseason.  You’ve already forgotten the few near misses and the much more frequent ineptitude?  Let’s take a journey back through the past 30 years or so, shall we? Continue reading

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