The Huge Words Book is here!

From Liam James Leaven and artist Katrina Kinder comes this collection of masterfully illustrated Huge Words by Huge People quotes.

Delving deeper into the pearls of wisdom and inspiration spoken by others, Leaven works to unearth greater truths to present the world in a unique, irreverent, and always hilarious manner. Clinical depression has never been so much fun.

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Something Huge Is Happening

Take a sneak peek at the first Huge Words book cover! Stay tuned for book launch information and discount ordering options in the coming two weeks.

Re-Purposing Ideas for Your Leftover Toxic Credit Default Swaps

Got caught holding the hot potato, eh? Me too. And then, suddenly, nobody else wanted to play . . .

They all said, “Umm, I don’t know, man, I think I’m tired of hot potato. How about we switch to Red Light-Green Light, or Mother May I?”

As in: Mother may I have a bail-out.

So here we are, the salt-of-the-earth types, the ones not in on the in, left on the other side of the looking glass as we put our hands to the glass and peer through, trying to make out what’s going on in that magic land on the other side, our worthless sacks of toxic credit default swaps by our side.

Well fear not, favored friends, as I have been hard at work coming up with ideas to extract as much value from those sacks of garbage as I can, and today I pass these ideas along to you, my brothers and sisters, so that we may begin to rebuild our personal empires. And so without further ado, I present to you:

Liam James Leaven's Top Five Re-purposing Ideas for Your Leftover Toxic Credit Default Swaps:

1. Put them in the scrapbook next to your junk bonds.

2. Go to Mexico and see if you can trade for some Coronas.

3. Stuff a bunch into an envelope and send as payment for your next mortgage bill.

4. Call them “lidos” and sell to people as “Internet money.”

5. Make toxic credit default swap stew.



The Art of the Close

A couple of weeks ago the clutch went on my car and I came to the difficult decision to put my old, faithful friend of the last 147,000 miles on the market and get what I could for her, rather than put in the $1500-$2000 it would take to get the car back into working order.

I began my car search with a somewhat bittersweet, reluctant excitement. At once sad to say goodbye to that old, familiar . . . thing . . . but more than a thing, really, as a car becomes an extension of one’s home, of one’s private space . . . of one’s safe man-cave into which all who wish to enter need to know the secret handshake . . . and happy to find what new and exciting mix of technology and machinery lay ahead for me.

There is a Toyota dealership close to my home, so I took a stroll onto the lot and immediately was taken by the Scion Tc, a car and brand that is made by Toyota. Of course, long before I had the time to exit my car and walk up to the sporty coupe, a car salesman, we shall call him, Mr. Felix Morone, was kind enough to make my acquaintance and welcome me to the lot.

Felix and I went for a test drive, during which I expressed my interest in the car, going on further to detail my preference for a black car with manual transmission, rather than the baby blue car with automatic transmission that we were driving. We returned to the lot, and Felix came back after stepping inside to check with the manager regarding what colors and transmissions the dealership had in stock. As it turned out, they had no manual transmissions and nothing in black.

“So,” he said, after revealing the information, “you’ll take this one.?!”

Declarative, question, exclamation, I really wasn’t sure.

“Felix,” I said. “After driving that car, I would actually consider buying a car with automatic transmission, but I don’t like that baby blue color. I really like black.”

“Well,” he said, “we don’t have any black ones.”

“Yes, I am aware of that. They do make them in black, though. Perhaps you could get one?”

“Why do you want a black car anyway?”

“Well, because that’s the color I like, I suppose.”

“But black cars get so dirty. Look at this blue one here, you hardly ever need to wash it.”

“Yeah, but I don’t like that color. It’s all speckly and weird.”

“Do you plan to stay in Florida?” he queried.

“For the near term, I suppose, there are no immediate plans to leave, at least.”

“Well then!” Mr. Marone exclaimed (this time I knew – it was definitely an exclamation). “You can’t get a black car. Black cars are two degrees hotter inside. You’ll die in the summer!”

While admittedly marveling at the car interior heat index wisdom Mr. Marone was spewing forth, I felt an irresistible urge to say something, and so I did. It went something like this: “Felix, there is no way I am buying that baby blue car,” as I pointed. “I puke on that car. Good day, Sir.”

Mr. Marone chased me to my car, pleading with me to stay as he suddenly came to the realization that he might be able to get that black car afterall, asking me to just come inside and sit down, telling me that he thought black was was indeed beautiful . . .

I did not and never will buy a car from Mr. Marone. For he and those like him are the reason for Rule #1 of my auto purchasing pamphlet. . . never buy a car from a someone who doesn’t listen (readers of this blog may download, for a limited time, a complimentary copy of my complete Car Buying Pamphlet here).

Rule #2 of my pamphlet goes like this: Never buy anything from someone who lies to you. Rule #3? Never buy anything from someone who wastes your time. I met some of the people who are the reasons for these two rules in the second dealership I entered. The primary suspect is someone we shall call, Ms. Dangerous Liaison.

Ms. Liaison and I made a deal on a Honda Civic Coupe EX (with automatic transmission, thanks to my test drive with Mr. Felix Marone). I was happy with the deal. I told Dangerous that I loved the deal, and I would just need to go home, give it all some final thought, and then return the next day to sign the contract and buy the car. Dangerous really, really , really, really didn’t want me to leave, but I assured her that, barring an asteroid strike, chances were somewhat excellent that I would return the next day.

For all those who think God doesn’t know how to be God, I propose that God is in fact a giving God, for there were no asteroid strikes and I was able to return to the dealership the next day to purchase my Civic Coupe LX.

It was about 11:00 a.m. when I entered the dealership and Dangerous was very happy to see me. However, she was with another client, so she had me take a seat at her office cubicle. I glanced to my right to see a middle-aged woman seated in the next cubicle over, on the client side, looking somewhat worn and dejected. She slouched slightly in her chair and seeing that she, visibly, did not feel good about her deal made me, visibly, feel even better about my deal. I smiled.

Selfish of me, to feel such a thing, in the face of someone else’s misery? Perhaps. But hey, God had spared me from the asteroids so that I could buy my new car from Dangerous Liaison. Today was my day. I was the Chosen One.

So after Ms. Liaison returned and departed several more times, saying how busy the finance guys were and leaving me seated for about thirty minutes, I finally suggested, upon her fourth re-arrival, that I leave and come back in an hour or so. This would give the finance guys time to catch up with whatever they were doing, so that by the time I got back they could have the contract prepared, I could sign it, and then I could drive away with my new car and we would all be happy.

Telling Ms. Liaison that I was leaving swiftly threw her into, well, something I perceived to be akin to convulsions, and something I also imagined to be of the Grand Mal sort, though I am admittedly not an expert, as she begged and pleaded for me to just sit and wait, don’t leave, why would you leave, why would you ever even consider leaving???

“Well, because I have things to do. Why should I waste my time sitting here? I’m coming back, I’m buying the car, so why are you, like, going nuts?”

Finally, I convinced her that I would be back, and I returned at the appointed time, which was a little over an hour later. Once again I was directed to Ms. Liaison’s cubicle (looking to the right, I noticed that the middle-aged woman had sunk about another 18 inches down into her chair and some foamy drool had made its way out of her mouth to run down her face and drip from her chin) and, to make a long story short, after about 20 minutes I learned that the finance guys were still “working with the bank.” All bank details, including payment, were supposed to have been pre-determined the day prior when they ran my credit report, took my income information, etc., yet, here we were, now close to three hours into my second day at the dealership, and they decided to let me know that the deal we made yesterday was, at best, hopelessly tentative.

Obviously, I freaked out, told Ms. Liaison and the finance guy, a Mr. Johnny Wardrobe, to give me a call when they had a payment exactly equal to the one we had agreed upon, and left the dealership (walking like Frankenstein’s monster as Ms. Liaison clung to my right ankle and Johnny Wardrobe clung to my left). As I started driving away, I heard JW screaming as he chased after me, “Sixteen dollars!! I can get your payment down to just 16 dollars more than we came up with yesterday!!”

Idiots? Yes. If they had just given me that number the day prior, I would have happily agreed to it. But they couldn’t control their hard-wired impulse to make an honest deal shady, leaving me no choice but to leave them, following the edicts of Rules #2 and #3.

How do they ever manage to put a deal together? Look to the drooling lady.

So, exhausted and traumatized, and thinking now that God may not know how to be God afterall, as an imminent asteroid arrival was seeming now to be quite possibly not the most disastrous of all conceivable outcomes, I took some time off from the search and found myself, a few days later, on the Nissan lot speaking with a salesperson who shall presently and at all times in the future be referred to as Mr. Ernesto Diaz.

I had seen a car and price advertised on the Web and I asked Mr. Diaz to show me that specific car. It took some doing to get the message through, as English was not Mr. Diaz’s native tongue. In fact, he barely spoke a word of English, so I resorted to using a lot of hand signals and air drawings.

On the test drive, I asked Mr. Diaz several questions regarding the car and he simply nodded each time, saying, “Jes, jes, oh, jes.” Feeling that Mr. Diaz had given me all the information that I needed to make an informed decision, I lit a piece of paper on fire and fashioned of the smoke some symbols that I believed would convey the message that I wanted to buy the car. Apparently, Mr. Diaz had studied the same American Indian Smoke Signal Interpretation book that I had, no doubt translated into espaƱol, as, before I knew it, Mr. Diaz and I were seated across from each other in his cubicle.

He wrote down some numbers on a piece of paper and pushed the paper across his desk to me. I looked at him hard, heard a rattler doing that thing with its tail in the background, followed by the sound of a whip cracking, and then I crossed out the number, wrote down my own, and pushed the paper back across the desk towards him. We performed this exchange several times until, at long last, we sealed the deal with a universally accepted nod of the head, followed by a handshake.

So, who did I finally buy my new car from? A salesman who barely spoke a word of English. A salesman, therefore, who was exempted from rule #1 because he couldn’t listen to me even if he had wanted to since he didn't understand what I was saying, couldn’t break rule #2 because he didn’t know enough words in English to string together a lie, and was unable to break Rule #3 due to his inability to break Rules #1 and #2. Luckily, I barely speak a word of Spanish, Ernesto’s native tongue, save some kitchen Spanish that I’ve learned through the years from working in the place where writers go to get their money (you didn’t think we got it from writing, did you?), restaurants.

Kitchen Spanish is generally not appreciated in polite company. As is not, judging from my recent car buying experiences, an equally offensive vernacular: Car Salesperson English.

Gracias, Ernesto, for not being able to employ the latter, and de nada, for my not showing you my knowledge of the former. (This is not to say, however, that I exclude the possibility of stopping back in at some point to the other dealerships in town to wow them with my Central American Kitchen Speak prowess.)



Fascinated by people and want to earn a degree where you can help them?
Check out Social Work Degrees Online.

This post first appeared at The Parody Files

Can you DIGG it?

Huge Words, by Huge People. Today's Theme: Tall Tales

Creationists make it sound as though a ‘theory’ is something you dreamt up after being drunk all night. Everyone knows you need to be drunk for at least seven nights, and seven days, to come up with a good theory.

~ Me. And Isaac Asimov

Don’t ever take a fence down until you know why it was put up. Especially if you live on an island off Costa Rica, where some eccentric billionaire has extracted dinosaur blood from an amber-preserved mosquito, etc.

~ Me. And Robert Frost

A book is so much a part of oneself that in delivering it to the public one feels as if one were pushing one’s own child out into the traffic. Go now, little Johnny, our word of the day is ‘agility’.

~ Me. And Quentin Bell

If there is to be any peace it will come through being, not having. Being a millionaire, not having a stupid job.

~ Me. And Henry Miller


Can you Digg it?

The Healing Power of Spam

They say that one man’s junk is another man’s treasure. And so I say: Countrymen, send me your spam!

Most people get annoyed by spam. Google, MSN and AOL have spent tremendous amounts of resources developing technology that can detect spam messages and route them away from your primary inbox. As for me, I have used Gmail’s “Create a Filter” function to do the reverse: I route all spam messages to my inbox and all non-spam messages to my spam folder.

That’s right, I don’t read the real emails. I just read the spam. Real emails from real people are really depressing. Spam, on the other hand, is magnificent.

Witness the revolution in thinking . . . below is a real email I received today. Normally, I would not have ever read this email, but I dug it out of my spam folder for illustration purposes. It’s from my boss:

Hey Liam, did you get that Crabpull Project done yet? I mean, just checking, no biggie if you didn’t because you probably don’t need this job anyway, right? You are here today, aren’t you? I need it by 3 p.m.. If you bring it at 3:01, you’re fired.

Ughh, who the hell wants to read crap like that? K, I’ll get right on that Big Boss Man . . .LOL, yeah right! Crabpull? WTF is that? Well, luckily I didn’t by chance happen to bring it by, whatever the hell it is he was talking about, at 3:01 . . . that would have been bad! ROFL!! BTW, we call him ‘Dr. Donkey’.

Now, contrast that with this “spam” email that I read instead, which I have summed up for you below:

Mr. Dom May, a Diplomatic Agent, contacted me regarding my inheritance. Mr. May informed me that he is at JFK international airport, “in the United States of America”, and that he will deliver to me my funds of $7.5 million US as soon as I verify my name (LJL), address (1401 Space of Cyber Blvd., Parody Files, Internet), telephone number (I have 3 telephones, Mr. May), age (late 20th - early 21st century) and occupation (wayward vagabond). I have forwarded Mr. May this information and I am awaiting his arrival at my domicile with the inheritance.

Uh-duh. I’ll take that one any day. No-brainer. Are you with me yet?

For those who are not, here is another illustration. I think this email is from last week but I’m not sure because I’ve been sleeping on the bus (there is STILL some beer left in the kegs!) since NF’s bachelor party last Friday. The email appears to have been from my wife:

Hi Honey, it’s me, pooh-bear :) got a call from Alice, you’re going to need to pick up Little Johnny today at three because I have to go to the mall to help Alice pick out her Friday night dress. Thanks honey, you are such a sweetie pie ;) Oh, and don’t forget Jessica and Little Johnny’s swim meet tomorrow – you’ll have to get them up around 5 to make it to the meet on time . . . bet you forgot and thought you’d be sleeping in this Saturday!! I know it’s Nuttiest Friend’s bachelor party tonight, and you all rented a bus to go into the city and you’ve been looking forward to it for months, but you know that I can’t get up at that hour to take them to the meet because I have to be well rested for Olivia’s luncheon. :( It’s very important. Tks babe. K, gotta run, call u later. Kisses, PB

Hmmm . . . something about Winnie the Pooh, I gather. Good thing I lost my cell phone at that strip club last Friday because I’m thinking now that there may be a couple of messages on it which, if they had come via email, would have been sent directly to my spam folder. Ho-hum stuff, straight outta the bored room . . . like, what is my name, Liama, I want to hear about this crap – malls and swimming pools and getting up early?? You lost me at hello.

Thankfully, I did not read that email and I instead read another regarding the fortunate place that My Maker has reserved for me in society, summarized below.

Mr. David Uzoigwe, Director of the IMF World Regulatory Office, Inter-Continental Debt Reconciliation Department, has informed me that at today’s meeting they ruled in my favor and therefore (obviously) are now ready to release the $15.5 million US to me as soon as they receive my Western Union transfer to Mr. David Uzoigwe (Yes, the very same: Director of the IMF World Regulatory Office, Inter-Continental Debt Reconciliation Department) in Lagos, Nigeria, for $75. I have sent word to Mr. Uzoigwe that I am a bit short on the $75 so to please just go to Western Union and send himself the $75 to release the funds, then, before he sends the $15.5 million US to me, he can take out 75 bucks for himself. I even told him that, if the IMF World Regulatory Office had not given him his annual COLA this year, he should feel free to take out a few extra c-notes for his troubles.

Ahh, isn’t that so much more refreshing? I mean, can you believe my good fortune? Thank you so much, tiny, infant Jesus.

In spam there is hope. And in hope there is healing. Walk with me, my children, and read with me your spam: Together, we shall overcome.

Hey now, what am I going to buy with all this $$US? Let's take a look at the inbox: Viagra pills 4 big sexy u like only $1.37 . . .


This post first appeared at The Parody Files

Can You Digg It?

Huge Words, by Huge People. Today's Themes: Charity and Determination

What lies behind us and what lies before us are small matters compared to what lies within us. Especially when we have just eaten a couple of chili cheese corn dogs at the hoedown.

~ Me. And Ralph Waldo Emerson

Speak softly and carry a big stick. This way, in order for them to hear you, they will have to come close. That’s when you hit them with the stick.

~ Me. And Theodore Roosevelt

Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any other one thing. Yes, Junior, it is even more important than pizza. Yes, and the remote control.

~ Me. And Thomas Jefferson

Do something for somebody every day for which you do not get paid. And if the kid down the street insists upon giving you money every day in exchange for the crystal meth that you so selflessly give to him with the intention of not getting paid, well then, it would be selfish of you not to accept the money, so this still counts.

~ Me. And Albert Schweitzer

You start out giving your hat, then you give your coat, then your shirt, then your skin and finally your soul. Next thing you know, you’ve made it through the doors of a trendy L.A. nightclub.

~ Me. And Charles de Gaulle.


Can You Digg It?

This post first appeared at The Parody Files