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To The Writers of Songs:

Hey. I’d just like to start off saying, congratulations. You do for a living what high school students everywhere fill whole notebooks with in hopes that their “deep” and “inspired” lyrics will one day make them rich, or at least cool. This, as you probably know, never works, but to be quite honest…your work isn’t much better these days. I’ve compiled a list of suggestions to help you up your game.

1. Rhymes. You should get some new ones.

Invest in one of these things maybe?

Here are a few rhymes that could use a few decade’s vacation:
“Friend” and “End.” Yeah, yeah, friends to the end. It’s bad. Stop now.
“Pain” and “Rain.” There is absolutely nothing you can add to this rhyme.
“Alone” and “My own.” It’s a rhyme that relies on redundancy. You’re better than that.
“Ever” and “Never.” Jeeeeez.
“Love” and “Above.”
“Right” and “Night.”
“Night” and “Sight.”
Let’s just leave night out of it.
“Air” and “Care” (thanks Freelanceguru for the reminder there)
“Joy” and “Boy”
“Said,” “Dead,” “Head.” Any “-ed” rhyme. They’re all washed up. Plus the English Language is pretty much cheating in your favor, what with the entire past tense ending that way.

I’m sure there are others, but I’m sure you can pick out the rest. That’s a good running start. Also, stop using assonances. You don’t do it well, you need practice. It just sounds reeeallly lazy and bad. “Girl” does not rhyme with “World” under any circumstances (thanks for that one, Kelly, can’t believe I forgot it).

Stop tacking extra words and filler phrases onto lines so that you can half-butt a rhyme. That “that’s right” or “oh yeah” or whatever…they’re all just fluff to fill up syllables and set up bad rhymes. Heck, I wouldn’t mind if you did the artsy thing and just gave up on rhyming altogether, it works for Coldplay. And please stop using the phrase “you know what I mean.” There’s no guaranteeing that. Stop stop stop. It’s cheap filler, we can tell.

2. Take a breath. You can always write another song later.

Your song should not be this crammed full of concepts.

Nowadays the fashionable song length is between three and five minutes. Any longer and the popular culture starts to get a little antsy and their minds start to wander off into green pastures and candy forests. And we understand that it’s a little hard for an artist to get the messages they need across in such a short time.

So don’t try. Pick one or two concepts. Pick one or two key phrases. Write them. The end. Nowadays songs are so wordy and full of themselves it’s hard to bear. Stay cool. Just pick a couple key messages and save the rest for other songs. I’m tired of having a thousand different cliche’s packed into one song. I mean, come on.

3. Grammar exists. Stop ignoring it.

I think this might be a pun.

Stop killing grammar. Stop it. I’m tired of those songs that uses the phrase “myself from me” just for the sake of a rhyme (in one of these songs, that rhyme is “me” and “street.” See number 1). Nothing “be” anything. I don’t be hungry. I am hungry. That lipstick does not be poppin’. It is poppin’. I don’t even know what that means. It pops? You could just say it pops, Lil’ Mama! My point is, “is” and “be” have the same number of syllables, come on!

Double negatives. Stop. Hanging prepositions. Stop them.

Hope these tips help, there are more where those came from if you ever need them (these three are free).

Sincerely Yours.

Karen at

You see it coming.

I’ve done a number (4 I think) of these Breakin’ it Down articles, and I’ve consistently been harangued for one thing (though granted, less and less): I keep picking on “nice” bands and “nice” songs.

Of course, when a person picks on a nice song, it must mean they listen only to evil songs according to internet logic. But, the fact it makes me sad when the music on the stations I listen to is horrible, horrible quality; regardless of family-friendliness.

Plus it would hardly do to break apart a very obscene song for a clean humor site, now would it?

But, I do recognize variety as the spice of life, and decided that I would break down a Mainstream Song just for you! So I cranked up that old “radio” and hit the “seek” button and decided I would break to bits the first random song to hit “my ears.

It was “Carry on My Wayward Son” and I don’t know what kind of evil soulless witch you think I am, but needless to say, I hit “seek” again to find something more breakable. It’ll be a clever day with Paris Hilton when I raise my hand against art.

Anyway! I listened through about five hours of commercials and was just about to give up on my will to live when a song came on! Aha!

3-and-a-half soul-beatingly dreadful minutes later, and I was forced to ask myself a very difficult question. Did I just listen to an entire song…a rap song no less…about dang lip gloss?

“Lip Gloss.” By…oh jeez…”Lil’ Mama”


Its poppin (4)

What you know bout me
What you what you know bout me
What you know bout me
What you what you know

They say my lip gloss is cool
My lip gloss be poppin
I’m standing at my locker
and all the boys keep stoppin

Well…it starts out…vivaciously. No music, just a strong rhythm and a bunch of lyrics. About…lip gloss.

Mac Mac, Loreal yep cause I’m worth it
Love the way I puts it on so perfect
Wipe the corners of my mouth so I work it
When I walk down the hallway they cant say nothin
Oh oh oh my lips so luscious
The way I spice it up with the Mac Mac brushes
Loreal got them most watermelon crushes
That’s probably the reason all these boys got crushes

Can’t say nothin. Rhyming crushes with crushes. At one point she rhymes “virtue” with “universal.” Got them most watermelon. What you know bout me. It be poppin’. It is not popping. It is be poppin’.

Okay, okay. I’m stopping.

I’m stopping! NO!

There is NO REASON why anybody should have a hard time figuring out why I don’t do these kinds of songs. Lip gloss? This whole song is about why LIP GLOSS made this girl popular. LIP GLOSS.


Why do I even feel the need to say this is stupid garbage? Why? It should be inherently obvious! And I’m not going to do it! Just…listening to that song made me want to swallow razor wire, and I’ll be darned if I let my blood pressure rise any more by thinking about it. There are other verses, find them for yourselves. If you can’t figure out why this song is unfetteredly terrible and make your OWN witty jokes about the real reason the boyz prolly keep on jockin and chasin after school, then my pointing it out here really would not make any difference.

It’s a lip gloss commercial, people. A L’oreal lipgloss commercial. Why does this girl make money. It’s the saddest story in the world.

To Whom it May Concern:

I would like to make it clear that I do understand that it is winter and, traditionally, winter is cold. But I would submit that this cold winter idea is archaic and unnecessary. I think it’s time for a re-vote. I think even should the public choose to maintain the chill for three to four months of the year, they will all agree that by February, it’s just about time for these deep snows to cease. I have detailed below five reasons the late-winter snowfalls that have occurred again this year should seriously be reconsidered for future winters.

Stop this now. It’s getting old.

1) School. These late snows shut schools down, which seems fine, but the semester just started and the last thing I need is to be stuck in my house with nothing to do for even longer.

2) Health. I’m not sure if the snow made me sick or not, but just to be safe, we should discontinue late snows to prevent similar illnesses from ever happening again. To be fair, if administration stops the snow, I’ll stop eating eggs of dubious age, even if they do float in water…or were they supposed to sink?

Yeah maybe not the best thing to put in my stomach.

3) My car. It’s been two days since the snow and my car is still completely buried. C’mon.

4) It’s not even that cool anymore. In the first few weeks of winter, snows are awesome. But we get it now. The ground is white! You can’t walk on it without sinking knee deep! Your pants get all wet around the ankles unless you buy boots!

5) I need to do laundry. How am I supposed to get to the laundromat like this? I’m dangerously low on underwear here!

To conclude, thanks for running the weather. I mean, I don’t want to backseat drive or tell you how to do your job, but…just who approves this kind of cold anyway? I hear administration is tossing around a ‘global warming’ idea. Sounds like a real step forward. Go with that.

Respectfully yours,


Well, my happy one-week break away from home and school and everything is ended, along with Christmas which I guess doesn’t affect me as much as it does some since I don’t actually celebrate it but regardless, it’s over, and I’m relieved.

As I’ve mentioned briefly in the past, I work at a small thrift store, and, as I’ve also mentioned, am often pelted with sub-par music at the hands of our variety-free local Christian radio station, but this last month has been kind of nice since the station has been playing Christmas music exclusively and I love Christmas music. Sure, the station managed to keep the long arm of variety out of its playlists as it played the same four songs over and over as reinterpreted by seven different artists, but dangit I like Amy Grant and Michael W. Smith, and I almost never get to hear them except at Christmas.

So it was good, right? And surely not even a nit-picky little Grinch like me could have the heartless nerve to break down a Christmas song, right? I liked the music, and I’m sad now that it’s gone back to regularly scheduled programing.

But one song of the holiday I definitely will not miss, ever, even if I never heard it again, is Christmas Shoes.

I look for “Christmas Shoes” and this is what I get. Oh well.

The premise? A man goes to the store and there’s a kid in front of him in the check-out line and he’s a totally normal boy.

Except wait! He’s poor looking.

And then he tries to buy these shoes and tells the cashier for some reason that they’re for his mom, because she’s sick, and she’s probably going to die soon, and the shoes will make her happy and also pretty for when she meets Jesus.

But oh noes! Kid has not enough money!

So the kid looks at the singer of the song and repeats the same exact story to him. And the man pays for the shoes. And the kid leaves. And the guy had some kind of Christmas epiphany or something. Lyrics:

It was almost Christmas time, there I stood in another line
Tryin’ to buy that last gift or two, not really in the Christmas mood
Standing right in front of me was a little boy waiting anxiously
Pacing ’round like little boys do
And in his hands he held a pair of shoes

His clothes were worn and old, he was dirty from head to toe
And when it came his time to pay
I couldn’t believe what I heard him say

Sir, I want to buy these shoes for my Mama, please
It’s Christmas Eve and these shoes are just her size
Could you hurry, sir, Daddy says there’s not much time
You see she’s been sick for quite a while
And I know these shoes would make her smile
And I want her to look beautiful if Mama meets Jesus tonight

He counted pennies for what seemed like years
Then the cashier said, “Son, there’s not enough here”
He searched his pockets frantically
Then he turned and he looked at me
He said Mama made Christmas good at our house Though most years she just did without
Tell me Sir, what am I going to do,
Somehow I’ve got to buy her these Christmas shoes

So I laid the money down, I just had to help him out
I’ll never forget the look on his face when he said
Mama’s gonna look so great


I knew I’d caught a glimpse of heaven’s love
As he thanked me and ran out
I knew that God had sent that little boy
To remind me just what Christmas is all about.


Wow. Okay. Three things.

1) This kid is one shallow little jerk. His mom’s dying for heaven’s sake, and all he can think about is “oh no what if she’s ugly and JESUS sees her?!” If I’d been the clerk at the counter I’d have smacked him for being so dumb: what was he, some kind of messianic ancient-Egyptian kid? You can’t wear your shoes to the afterlife. You just wasted some stranger’s money.

You know what I would want to do for my dying mom on Christmas (you know, if I had a dying mom and not a regular, healthy kind of mom)? My time and attention. Here this kid is traipsing around town begging for money so that his mom can be PRETTY, while she wastes away in some hospital somewhere. Poor priorities, shallow. No stars.

2) I think the man who payed got conned. I mean, here this kid makes a big deal to the cashier about the shoes, when the cashier didn’t even ask, as if the kid’s trying to draw attention to his purchase. Then, when he finds he has no money, he repeats the exact same story again, as if it were rehearsed. A little convenient…tooo convenient…

It’s a flawless plan, actually. For a psych project a group in my class did an experiment just like this…one tried to buy some fries at the cafeteria, pretended to have lost their money card, and asked the person behind them to pay, just to see how many strangers would honestly fork over cash for someone. Turns out, a lot did. A nice, big majority. And college kids aren’t even cute little boys.

Yeah, what happened in real life is the kid waited outside for the good Samaritan to leave, then returned the shoes for some nice, hard cash, which he then probably spend on drugs or something. Kids these days. A sucker born every minute.

3) This song is manipulative. Every time it played someone in the store would say, oh, this song always makes me cry. And that’s the point.

The point of this song is not to lift spirits or to inspire, or even tell a good story. It’s to make people cry. It’s an emotionally manipulative song, and I always feel toyed with when it’s over. I for one do not stand for emotional terrorism like this. I hate songs tailor made to make people cry…a song can be sad without being this kind of cold, calculating heartstring-pulling. It’s a special formula and I don’t approve.

And I hate seeing people suckered into feeling bad for some shallow, imaginary, con-artist kid when it’s supposed to be such a light happy time of year.

And…point four, I guess: Bob Carlisle. He wrote it. Bob Carlisle of the ridiculous to spell last name and the song Butterfly Kisses, another song tailor-made to jerk tears. This guy seems faaaar too eager to sell his listener’s heartstrings in for a few bucks.

I think it’s about time these kind of sappy songs were retired. Next year, the first time I hear that song, I’m going to…to…make myself a tray of cookies.

Hot dang I win.


Yes I do hate coloring in the lines.

Well, responses seemed encouraging to the idea. I’ve never done a webcomic before, and am in fact horrible at drawing and have amiddling sense of humor when I’m allowed to ramble and a very strange one when I must condense.

So, comic experiment number 1. Good feedback, and I’ll try again. Negative and…well, that’ll be the end.

…that is, if not paying attention in class were a crime, this would be insight into the mind of a criminal. As it is, it’s just insight from the mind of Me, Karen, from So less a criminal and more a slacker.

And it’s not so much insight either…During class, rather than take notes or pay attention the way ordinary students do, I let my mind frolic off into the recesses of memory, imagination, and sleep-deprived stupidity. And in my hand, I keep a pencil. While other students write their notes, I scribble and doodle and make weird images, and by the time I’m done, I’m not even sure why, what they mean, or how long it took me to draw them.

I have literally filled whole notebooks with this junk. It makes time pass like a charm. A papery, time-passing charm.

So I thought it’d be cool to share with you the drawings that come out of my head on days like these. If you like them, maybe I’ll make a routine thing out of giving them to you now and again. If you hate them…hey…it’s not a video right?

Without further ado, sketches from Karen’s notebook:

“Bunny and Butterfly”
bunny and butterfly
…he knows what he did.


“Nihilist Gastropod”

See? I don’t get it either, it’s just what happens when you let your mind wander off into space with paper and pencil. But, flipping through the pages, I think I’m most confused by this one:


I’m not sure why I drew ham and a dinosaur. I don’t think I meant for them to go together as a total image, but that’s how I’ll present them.

And this has been, Into the Sketches of Karen’s Notebook.

Smurf Village Mushroom

After bringing joy to children for almost 50 years, the Smurfs have met a sad end. A Mexican coffee farmer stumbled on the Smurf Village near the border with Guatemala, and promptly pulled all their mushroom houses to sell as souvenirs.

While there is no official news regarding the fate of the Smurfs, Jose Gargamel (the farm’s owner) issued this statement:

“We are deeply saddened by the loss of Smurf Village. We aren’t able to offer further information on the Smurfs’ whereabouts at this time, but we have begun producing lifelike Smurf snacks to satisfy the massive demand for information and Smurf products. These one-of-a-kind Smurfs, er … lookalikes, are exactly three apples high, chocolate covered, and very high in protein.

Please direct any questions to our processing department.”

via Yahoo News

I made a post in a forum a long time ago about the similarities between Ringers and Trekkies, and have re-created it here, with minor tweaking and an extra tablespoon of love for you guys:

only one will survive…or both, who knows

Hard core Lord of the Rings fans have been given a name in the past several years, since the movies premiered and gained a bigger fan base: Ringers. I guess. In an interview a few years ago on the Tonight Show, Elijah Wood described Ringers as kind of like Trekkies. And at first I thought that was kind of unfair…I mean, it’s fantasy versus sci-fi, a show versus a movie: dangit, that wasn’t just an unfair comparison, it was a…a…and then I thought, wait. Maybe…maybe…he had a point. I mean, when I thought about it:

Star Trek: features a band of people making their way across space, many species from many planets, helped by the occasional Vulcan comrade: a tall, wise, pointy-eared, race of people with cool powers.

LOTR: features a band of mortals making their way across middle-earth, many races from many lands, helped by the occasion Elf comrade: a tall, wise, pointy-eared race of people with cool powers.

Trekkies: Learn and fluently speak imaginary languages (for instance, Klingon)

Ringers: Learn and fluently speak imaginary languages (for instance, Elvish)

Star Trek: features a variety of different races and beings, with different powers and abilities.

LOTR: yeah, that too.

Trekkies: Wait outside theaters for hours, dressing up as their favorite characters for fun.

Ringers: yeah, that too.

Star Trek: has a prime directive.

LOTR: Well, yeah

Trekkies: Can quote their favorite episodes (and the movies) line for line, and can name even the minorest of characters.

Ringers: Can quote the movies line for line and can name even the obscurest of characters (where WAS Gil-Galad? I know.)

LOTR: one of the worst enemies used an unnatural means for creating a race of mindless killing machines (uruk-hai)

Star Trek: one of the worst enemies used unnatural means to create mindless assimilating machines (the Borg).

LOTR: Every once in a while a race of immortal beings with extraordinary powers will step in and help (or sometimes confuse and irritate) the people, all for the progressing of the greater good of everything (Istari, wizards).

Star Trek: Remember Q?

At this point I had to stop, as my world was ready to cave in all around me. Up was down, black was white, the world ceased to make sense! Of course, it did help when I came down off the three bags of fruit leathers and got out of the washing machine, but still! Dang!

there are four lights!
there are four lights!

I guess we fanatics, we’re really not so different after all. Maybe one day we can live in peace: the Ringers, the Trekkies, the Star Wars fans, the Bean stalkers, the Bruce Campbell fans…

Mmmm…perfect world. Except those darn Fanilows. Seriously, who cares what they think.

Breakin’ it down

Good times, good times. Finals are over, and summer has begun. And, aside from the untimely death of my fish, Gill-Galad, and the purchasing of his (somewhat ugly) replacement, Monet, it’s been a pretty good beginning. My last day of work at my thrift store job is Saturday, and my first day of work at the factory for summer money begins in a week.

I’ll miss that job, but I won’t miss the music. My manager only let me play the local Christian radio station, despite my attempts to bring in other, equally appropriate, but better, music (like, classical stuff, ABBA (shut up, they’re wonderful), They Might Be Giants, Josh Groban….) but no. She’d catch me, and turn it back to CONTEMPORARY CHRISTIAN MUSIC SAFE FOR THE WHOLE FAMILY ALL DAY LONG.

Now, far be it from me to rag too hard on Christian music…but nowadays, the artists seem to have realized that it’s not that hard a job. Christian music fans will accept anything that has the name Jesus, the word “holy” or a reference to church in it, even if it is unoriginal, sounds bad, or is a grammatical nightmare (I once heard a song that used the phrase “you saved myself from me” just so it could rhyme “me” with “street.” Come on!) Frankly, Christian artists seem to have stopped trying, and it’s not like their fans have given them a reason not to.

There is one song in particular that played at least three times an hour…probably the worst Christian song I’ve ever heard, and I don’t mean worst song that is Christian, I mean worst song that can ever claim to have Christian foundations. Seriously. It’s called “Wherever We Go,” and it’s by a group called the Newsboys (so Google tells me), and they’ve pretty much given up on trying to be anything like any good, if this song serves as their talent compass.

I’d post the song if I could find it, but here are the lyrics, just to give you a taste…

Wherever we go, the bluebirds sing
And the flowers bloom
And the grass gets green
It’s a curious thing
But it’s just our thing

Okay, okay, let me stop them there for a moment. Are the Newsboys Persephone?

Wherever we go, the bees behave
In the treetops, squirrels smile and wave
It’s a curious thing
And it’s humbling

Wait, wait, what? What? They just spent two stanzas totally bragging on how magical their powers of arrival are, and that makes them humble? Do they know the definition of the word humble? Newsboys: “humble” is not a synonym for “huge ego trip.”

I think they got so lost in how wonderful they are, they forgot they’re supposed to be a Christian band, and had to throw in the humbling bit so they didn’t blow their cover. But then, they kept singing….

Where we go, little glow-worms glow
Little roadrunners run ahead
Gonna tell their friends
Little mice, little men
Get ’em all excited
All invited



Hokay, hokay, wait, wait, wait. Holler back? Holler back. Seriously? Well, you heard the boys, holler back! And holler back here, because, apparently, this party is in an inappropriate gear, and needs to be thrown into the correct one!

holla back
holla’ back

They’ve brought the welcome mat! As you already undoubtedly know, a real party must have a welcome mat. If only I could count the times I’ve arrived at a friend’s house for a party, found there to be no welcome mat, and simply turned and walked away. Psh.

Also, before I continue, take care to notice the humbled tone of the lyrics.


There they go again! You must not have hollered back sufficiently, because they demand it again, and this time, they mean now, not just here. They require a holler back both here, and now. They are unsatisfied with less than immediate holler back gratification. Also, I love the “we’re giving God all that,” as if this one line (and it is the only line in the whole song with any reference to any deity outside their own miraculous selves, I might mention) made up for the fact that this whole song is just stroke, stroke, strokin’ away at that enormous ego they’re sportin’. I’m pretty sure it’s canceled out by the next line “wherever we go, that’s where the party’s at.” Where its AT, folks! AT! Not is, no sir! They be too marvelous for that! At!

And they claim no know-how! They just work their miracles and have no clue how. They’re just that amazing.

I’ll spare you the rest, but it’s about a million more verses in which “dumb get wise,” “bullies make nice,” and–get this “the ozone layer shows improvement.” I can’t even make this stuff up! These people are educators, councilors, and environmentalists…just by showing up! Oh, but right…they’re giving God “all that.” What ever “all that” is. Perhaps “all that” is located with them, where the party’s at.

And the thing is, people listen to this stuff all day long, then come to me and tell me that the Yin-Yang image on a pillow we were selling is a demonic symbol. I’m just saying the Newsboys seem to be on the verge of founding a religion all about themselves, and are luring innocent radio-listeners into their pseudo-Christian trap, and meanwhile the unsuspecting victims are busy not being able to difference between a pentagram and a yin-yang. We are assuredly doomed.

Special thanks to Sing365 for the lyric look-up.

Holla’ back.

Note: this is a repost of one of my early favorites. Given Paris’s recent drama, I thought new readers might enjoy.

Have you ever noticed that Paris Hilton looks a lot like Smurfette?

Paris Hilton and Smurfette

The similarities don’t end at appearances either:

Smurfette: Premiered in 1981 on NBC
Paris Hilton: Born 17 February 1981

Smurfette: Was magically created out of clay by Gargamel to cause jealousy and competition between smurfs
Paris Hilton: Has a clay personality, thinks everyone is jealous, and wants famous men fighting over her

Smurfette: Considered to be the worst singer in all of Smurfdom
Paris Hilton: Did you ever listen to her album, Paris?

Smurfette: Wears tiny white dresses that barely cover her smurfly parts
Paris Hilton: Wears tiny white dresses, and often shows her, uh, smurfly parts

Smurfette: Always causing trouble, including flooding of the smurf village
Paris Hilton: Do we need to go into details?

Smurfette: Underwent extensive plastic smurfery to become a blond bombshell
Paris Hilton: Underwent extensive plastic surgery to transform her from smurfly-looking to tabloid-worthy

Smurfette: Has large smurf feet
Paris Hilton: Is embarassed that plastic surgery couldn’t shrink her large feet

Smurfette: Lives under a mushroom in a strange fantasy world
Paris Hilton: Lives a strange fantasy life, and (based on her smarts) presumably grew up under a mushroom

Coincidence? I think not. 😉

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