The Great Creativity Quote Quiz

Robert Frost

Can You Accurately Attribute These Pearls Of Wisdom?

  1. “Poetry is far too important to be left to the sane.”
    a.) Heavy D
    b.) Morbidly Obese D
    c.) Physically Fit D
    d.) Taz Mopula
  2. “Mediocre art misrepresents reality; great art obliterates it.”
    a.) Martha Stewart
    b.) Norman Rockwell
    c.) Stacy London
    d.) Taz Mopula
  3. “If you need mania to be creative, then maybe creativity isn’t for you.”
    a.) Lord Byron
    b.) Ernest Hemingway
    c.) Hunter Thompson
    d.) Taz Mopula
  4. “Without life, poetry itself would be meaningless.”
    a.) Charles Bukowski
    b.) Tom Waits
    c.) Robert Allen Zimmerman
    d.) Taz Mopula
  5. “No artist, however prodigious his talents, can create a great audience.”
    a.) P.T. Barnum
    b.) Cecil B. DeMille
    c.) Gaius Julius Caesar Augustus Germanicus
    d.) Taz Mopula
  6. “Great soldiers are brave; great poets are reckless.”
    a.) General George S. Patton
    b.) Audie Murphy
    c.) Hannibal
    d.) Taz Mopula
  7. “Writing great poetry becomes much easier when you’re willing to die for it.”
    a.) Dylan Thomas
    b.) Donatien Alphonse François, Marquis de Sade
    c.) John Denver
    d.) Taz Mopula
  8. “The audience is never wrong; that said, one does occasionally wander into the wrong theater.”
    a.) Abraham Lincoln
    b.) Ronald Reagan
    c.) Gerald Ford
    d.) Taz Mopula
  9. “Art is the shortest distance between two points, when one of the points has no known, or knowable, location.”
    a.) Albert Einstein
    b.) Stephen Hawking
    c.) Carl Sagan
    d.) Taz Mopula
  10. “Even the greatest paintings are flat; they only become three-dimensional in the eyes of those who behold them.”
    a.) Clarence Fountain
    b.) Art Tatum
    c.) Stevie Wonder
    d.) Taz Mopula

The Great Epigram Quiz

epigram taz

The use and abuse of quotes, aphorisms, and bromides has grown to epidemic proportions; today the Internet is awash in frequently misattributed, pithy sentiments. Who really said the following?

1.“Why pay to exercise in a gym when you can enjoy an exercise in futility for free whenever you like?”
a.) Cicero
b.) Snooki
c.) Sisyphus
d.) Taz Mopula

2. “You have the right to remain silent, and listen. Might be advisable to exercise it before they take that one away, too.”
a.) Marcel Marceau
b.) Lao Tzu
c.) Boxcar Willie
d.) Taz Mopula

3. “Don’t honk if you love auditory hallucinations.”
a.) Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
b.) Sylvia Plath
c.) His Holiness the Dalai Lama
d.) Taz Mopula

4. “Laughter is the best medicine; except when it comes to poisonous snakebites, then it’s the second-best medicine.”
a.) Albert Schweitzer
b.) Baron Rochefoucauld
c.) Kim Kardashian
d.) Taz Mopula

5. “The real tragedy of political correctness is that it has given lying a bad name.”
a.) Pliny The Elder
b.) Pliny The Younger
c.) Regular Pliny
d.) Taz Mopula

6. “Think twice before burning bridges; you never know when you might want to jump off one of them.”
a.) Zig Zigler
b.) Pema Chödrön
c.) Reverend Ike
d.) Taz Mopula

7. “Looking for self-worth in someone else’s eyes is like trying to breathe with someone else’s lungs.”
a.) Maya Angelou
b.) Charlie Sheen
c.) Gertrude Stein
d.) Taz Mopula

8. “It’s not that I don’t love you, I do love you; I just don’t love you enough to lie to you.”
a.) Dante
b.) Paris Hilton
c.) Shakespeare
d.) Taz Mopula

9. “Should you meet someone who claims that visualizing a thing makes it so; tell them to visualize being flattened by a bus.”
a.) Tom Waits
b.) James Dean
c.) Hunter Thompson
d.) Taz Mopula

10. “Life is good! Death is poopy!”
a.) Dr. Wayne Dyer
b.) Oprah Winfrey
c.) Tony Robbins
d.) Taz Mopula

11. “You can’t fool all of the people all of the time; but why would you even try when they’re so eager to do the job for you?”
a.) Abraham Lincoln
b.) Will Rogers
c.) Niccolò di Bernardo dei Machiavelli
d.) Taz Mopula

12. “Why raise the bridge when you can lower your expectations of the river?”
a.) Albert Camus
b.) Søren Kierkegaard
c.) Jean Paul Sartre
d.) Taz Mopula

13. “Ultimately it’s not what you don’t say that matters most so much as how you don’t say it.”
a.) Harpo Marx
b.) Tomás de Torquemada
c.) Oscar Wilde
d.) Taz Mopula

14. “Be nice to your enemies; you just might be one of them.”
a.) Pogo
b.) Socrates
c.) Ozzy Osbourne
d.) Taz Mopula

15. “The best things in life aren’t free, the worst things in life aren’t free, and the cost of mediocrity is hidden.”
a.) John Lennon
b.) Jack Lemmon
c.) Blind Lemon Jefferson
d.) Taz Mopula

16. “Dying is easy, they say, but comedy is hard. So cheer up. Even if you fail at comedy you’re almost certain to die successfully.”
a.) Andrew “Dice” Clay
b.) Sam Kinison
c.) Carrot Top
d.) Taz Mopula

17. “American liberals, celebrated for their tolerance, stalwartly defend the right of wretched refuse to agree with them.”
a.) Noam Chomsky
b.) Pete Seeger
c.) Christopher Hitchens
d.) Taz Mopula

18. “Political Correctness: An experiment in social engineering which holds that renaming dung mousse au chocolat makes it edible.”
a.) Reverend Al Sharpton
b.) Julia Child
c.) Che Guevara
d.) Taz Mopula

19. “If technology makes our lives any more convenient, even breathing will become too much of an effort.”
a.) Steven Jobs
b.) Bill Gates
c.) Larry Page
d.) Taz Mopula

20. “Artificial intelligence will soon be the only kind remaining; thus conclusively proving the failure of human intelligence.”
a.) Isaac Asimov
b.) Ray Bradbury
c.) Michel de Nostredame
d.) Taz Mopula

The Heartbreak Of Terminal Hipness

hip cat with beret

Despite exciting progress in the world of mental health, millions of Americans still suffer the ravages of Terminal Hipness, a debilitating mental, emotional and spiritual disorder preventing them from experiencing life. Symptoms include:

· Chronic cynicism
· Faux fin de siècle ennui
· Delusions of superiority
· Black clothing
· Obsession with irony
· Devotion to sunglasses
· Mirthless sarcasm

For Terminal Hipsters, caring is the final frontier; revealing raw emotion is the summit of K2. Despite being subjugated by a chronic illness, to them the cure is worse than the disease; they cannot make the scene, man, because negativity is comfortable armor hiding fear.
I know. I was once counted in their ranks – and I have the Albert Ayler records to prove it.

“Cynicism: When you’re clever enough to see life as it is but not emotionally strong enough to accept it.” Taz Mopula

My creative renaissance began over 20 years ago, when I wrote the first draft of Invisible Driving. At that time I also returned to my first artistic love – poetry.

“Writing great poetry becomes much easier when you’re willing to die for it.” Taz Mopula

Surprisingly, my work became a regular feature of the Internet’s weirdest, darkest, and most prestigious literary magazine – Exquisite Corpse – published by celebrated poet and Count Dracula impersonator – Andrei Codrescu.

“Celebrity: A state of being where one is not known by a large number of people.” Taz Mopula 

Codrescu is a creature of the night, and he liked my subterranean stuff. But one day I decided to submit something unapologetically poignant – a poem which had reduced several grown men to tears when I performed it at hipster flipster finger poppin’ daddy poetry readings at snoochy poochy art galleries in Philadelphia.

“Great soldiers are brave; great poets are reckless.” Taz Mopula

He wrote me back and said, “It’s a lovely poem, Alistair, but we are into darker music at the moment.” I let it go, wondering if my hep cat card had been pulled.

To my surprise, he published it anyway.

I know so little, but along the way I have learned a few things. Among them: there is a rather disheartening linkage between fear, cowardice, and cynicism. For so many of us – unvarnished love and honesty are unimaginably terrible.

Nursing A Grudge Will Not Make It Healthy

No Matter How Long You Nurse A Grudge

If you’ve ever gotten divorced you know that, as soon as it happens your married friends start avoiding you as if the inability to maintain a relationship is some sort of bizarre, highly contagious skin condition. The fate of those fighting serious mental health issues, including addiction, is far worse.

“Not all human sacrifice is equally noble; it depends a little on which human is being sacrificed.” Taz Mopula

The road leading out of Bedlam seems endlessly challenging but we trudge it all the same, then, at the finish line, in place of that brass band we expect there is an angry mob. It seems beastly unkind, especially after the hard work, but before you start nursing a grudge, understand a few things about who and what you’ve become and why the new you is bringing out the very worst this wretched refuse has to offer.

“People are always finding God in prisons and mental hospitals; but try finding a gift shop.” Taz Mopula

The day you went skidding off the road and right into downtown Cuckoopantsatopolis was the day you reminded every straight arrow of your acquaintance that none of us is ever truly safe. Sanity itself, that sine qua non for the bourgeois, mediocre, pointless life ostensibly guaranteed by the Constitution, is as vulnerable as a Fabergé egg. Nobody wants to be reminded of that, and yet you do.

“Ever noticed that people who claim to be crazy never are; and people who actually are crazy always claim to be sane?” Taz Mopula

“But wait,” you say, in that adorably naïve tone of voice you apply to questions that illustrate your innocence, “do I not also teach, i.e. show, that by facing down these unholy perils one can evolve spiritually and grow stronger, actually emerging as a better, more morally grounded person in the process?”

“Those who can’t do, teach; those who can’t teach, teach anyway.” Taz Mopula

Yes, yes you do, Sparky, and this is precisely why that mob is roughly as happy to see you as they were to see Frankenstein.

“Give a man a fish and you have fed him for a day. Teach that man to fish and you have given him a way to hide a drinking problem.” Taz Mopula

They say in the rooms that a pickle can never return to its previous incarnation as a cucumber. While you may be a reformed devil transformed into an angel, one thing is certain, you will never again be just another Bozo on the bus in the eyes of outsiders; the tired, the poor, the slow, the dim. Fellow insiders know better, they know that all of us are merely Bozos on the bus, but that is another story.

In the final analysis it’s important to remember that uniqueness is about the only thing we all have in common. Taz Mopula

Your very existence says to these apple pie bakers and flag wavers, “My experience is larger than yours, I know terrible truths you dare not admit. Though horribly handicapped I have emerged morally grounded, fearless, strong, and (most upsetting of all) happy.” Trust me, they will never forgive you for that.

“For the sake of convenience be your own best friend; it’s always easy to get in touch with you.” Taz Mopula

You have become a teacher, a leader, whether you care to admit it or not. As ever, peace of mind lies in embracing the inevitable, my advice is – learn how to lead by example, make your life a poem, a prayer.

“No matter how long you nurse a grudge it will never become healthy.” Taz Mopula

Look around you; we desperately need leaders. Today we have none, instead we have celebrities who only lead by being cautionary tales, they show us what not to do. Leave footprints.

Prunella Entwhistle Visits The Highlands

glen coe prunella highlands

Many years ago my (then) girlfriend, let’s call her Prunella Entwhistle, and I took a vacation to Scotland so she could meet the relatives and eat haggis.

A dyed-in-the-wool Romantic, Prunella adored art and was an amateur sculptor. Enthusiastic and impulsive by nature, she was given to moments of inspiration infrequently preceded by rational deliberation. The vacation progressed well and we crisscrossed the Scottish highlands in a rented Mini, lodging modestly in tiny towns with names like Auchnagallin, Kearvaig, and Cave of Smoo.

One morning, as we were leaving the latest in a long line of B&Bs, I firmly gripped the handles of our suitcases to take them downstairs for packing into the Mini. Doing so gave me the distinct impression that our suitcases did not wish to come along.

Flummoxed and put off in a way unique to people trying to break camp and get going, I raised the bags slowly – they had definitely put on weight. I was then reminded of a nagging suspicion I’d had – and ignored – for days, that either I was becoming weaker or the bags were getting heavier.

Impatient and irritated I opened them up to determine if this was real or some dreadful hallucination. There, carefully wrapped and stashed inside Prunella’s sweaters, shirts, and trousers were half-a-dozen large stones, souvenirs of the Highlands. I was horrified, but it was about to get worse.

I also discovered several whiskey bottles that had been filled with water from mountain springs. As I realized I’d been carrying this dead weight up and down stairs – and was expected to carry it through various airport terminals – the blood began to rise like mercury in a thermometer.

Later, after I’d vented sufficiently to make continued travel possible, Prunella revealed her “artistic” plan to install a little garden in our Pennsylvania home featuring Scottish rocks and water. I shook my head in quiet disbelief, wishing for a witness to confirm the depths of my suffering.

To live is to accumulate baggage. It pays to have a good look through the contents every now and again; some beliefs, assessments, values, etc. may have outlived their usefulness. As to dragging around somebody else’s insanity, well, enough is enough.

The Great Fake Art Quote Quiz

campbell soup

Ours is a slovenly age where being loudest actually trumps being right. Long before I discovered Taz Mopula, whose sage utterances so frequently grace these virtual pages, it became evident to me that misattribution of quotes had reached epidemic proportions.

Today, the time is fast approaching when Chuck E. Cheese will be getting credit for, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.”

In an attempt to return decorum, and intellectual good faith, to the practice of quoting exceptional people for general edification, I have gathered some profound observations on the subject of art. Your challenge is to locate the disingenuous one(s). Good luck!

“Mediocre art misrepresents reality; great art obliterates it.” Leroy Neiman

“My fondest wish is that I have contributed nothing to the art world.” Andy Warhol

“Fear is the motivating force behind all great art. Artists achieve greatness not because they set out to, but because they desperately fear mediocrity.” Pier Paolo Pasolini

“The great triumph of art is its purposelessness.” Salvador Dali

“Critics are to artists as cats are to fish; fascinated by their movements up to the very moment they devour them.” Pablo Picasso

“It is art, not science, that most convincingly shores up the imaginary wall allowing Man to believe he is qualitatively superior to the lower beasts.” Samuel Beckett

“When you find an enterprise for which there is no satisfactory category, all that remains is to call it Art.” Christo Vladimirov Javacheff

“To ensure success, always treat your audience the way you would treat a retarded baby.” Alfred Hitchcock

“In a perfect world there would be no art; it would be superfluous.” Jackson Pollock

“Paint, musical notes, and words are not the raw materials of art; the raw materials of art are fear, resentment, and free time.” Albert Camus

“Art may be best understood as the shortest distance from Point A to Point B in all cases when Point A resides in the material realm – therefore enabling it to be proscribed by sensory analysis – and Point B resides in a realm which is at once unknown and unknowable.” Jean Paul Sartre

“The artist is not compelled to earn the audience’s respect; quite the contrary, it is the responsibility of the audience to erode the contempt naturally felt for it by the artist.” Richard Wagner

“The difference between lavatory attendants and art critics is that lavatory attendants provide a valuable service to society.” Rene Magritte

Contact me for answers.

TAZ TALKS – The Totally Awesome Retard

taz talks logo

There has been some confusion about TAZ TALKS versus TED TALKS. Actually, it’s pretty easy to tell the difference. TAZ TALKS feature intellectually challenging explorations of innovative ideas that boldly address the pivotal issues of our age, and ages to come.

TED TALKS, by contrast, are Tony Robbins infomercials for NPR listeners.

Hope that clears it up.

What follows is a transcript of Taz Talk #2 – presented by Taz Mopula at the Aspen, Colorado Airport Hilton on March 17, 2009.

Life Is Good When You’re A Totally Awesome Retard 

Hello.

Ann Landers, Pema Chödrön, and Dr. Ruth Westheimer walk into a bar. The bartender says, “Help yourself.” True story.

TV was once exciting. Every new technology shows promise before plummeting to meet the level of its user.

Technology has democratized the tools of creativity, resulting in a tsunami even more cretinous and loathsome than anticipated.

Our ability to broadcast the wretched detritus of daily life is no argument for doing so; restraint is increasingly precious.

Humans can repair mechanical problems; but machines cannot repair human problems, only manifest them in new forms.

If technology makes our lives any more convenient, even breathing will become too much of an effort.

We think of the world as a dangerous place and realize too late that we are the most dangerous part of it.

I avoid all political discussions because the doctor told me to reduce my daily intake of anger and stupidity.

Common good must take precedence over all else: obstinate adherence to partisan ideology for its own sake is treasonous.

The problem with Democracy is that it allows absolutely everybody to participate; fortunately they don’t.

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Fool me every day and you’re ready to run for office.

The real tragedy of political correctness is that it has given lying a bad name.

You have the right to remain silent, and listen. Might be advisable to exercise it before they take that one away, too.

You can’t fool all of the people all of the time; but why would you even try when they’re so eager to do the job for you?

Never confuse fame with artistic quality, or wealth with value. Society gets what it wants, not what it needs.

For today’s artist, reality is an unsatisfactory inconvenience desperately in need of digital enhancement.

No one goes to school to become an artist; you go to school to avoid becoming an artist.

Why pay to exercise in a gym when you can enjoy an exercise in futility for free whenever you like?

Clever is a poor relation of smart, and a bitter enemy of wise. The inevitable consequence of knowledge is humility.

Whales and polar bears, yes; but you will never find intellectual sloth on the endangered list.

Should you meet someone who claims that visualizing a thing makes it so; tell them to visualize being flattened by a bus.

If you want to find your bliss, get yourself some blisters.

Exorcize your demons; don’t exercise them.

It’s not that I don’t love you, I do love you; I just don’t love you enough to lie to you.

Thank you.

Self Medication

If You Need Brain Surgery - Involve Other People

The first time I heard the term “self-medication” I laughed out loud. In searching for an analogy one thinks immediately of the old adage – the lawyer who defends himself has a fool for a client. But that’s when the stakes are low, going free or going to jail. How about when the stakes are high? Sanity versus insanity? Life versus death?

Jean Paul Sartre, a very clever fellow, used to play Russian roulette because he was bored. Well, self-medication is like playing Russian roulette with one big difference, all the gun’s chambers contain live ammo.

Self-medication – (the term itself is preposterous) – fits nicely into the insufferable arrogance and egotism of mania – as if to say – I can manage this little spot of bother myself with nothing more complicated than some garden-variety drugs. I remember it all too vividly – “throwing gasoline on a fire”.

I adored the adrenaline rush of mania, and I tried to “manage it” with marijuana and alcohol – marijuana to knock the sharp edges off the mania and make it smooth and yummy – and alcohol to slow me down and mellow me out to the point where I wasn’t constantly irritated by the sheer inanity of the huddled masses and their inability to keep up with me.

It was an inspired strategy except that it wasn’t and a brilliant idea except that it almost got me killed – folks – when it comes time for brain surgery you really need to involve others, professionals – people who actually know what they’re doing.

The hubris and sense of entitlement one encounters in a person at the apex of mania are astounding, but add in the loss of inhibitions and appalling judgment that arise from drunkenness and you have a confident imbecile who thrives on risk-taking and abusing authority.

Some people can drink; I’m not three of them. It would be nice if the folks who made booze would take people like me into consideration. For example, if booze came with realistic warning labels with statements like these.

WARNING: Excessive Use Of This Product Might Cause You To:

· Invade Russia during the winter.
· Buy life insurance from a guy named Guido.
· Toss your Rolex onto the chips in the expectation of filling out an inside straight.
· Believe your boss really wants your advice about improving the department.
· Think you’ve suddenly become a great singer who will dazzle them all on karaoke night.
· Tell the cop of course you knew it was a one-way street; you were only driving one way.
· Impress your mother in law with that joke about the octopus and the bagpipes.
· Get the word THINK tattooed on your forehead backwards so you can read it in the mirror while you’re shaving.

The list would be long. Perhaps reading it would give us time to get over the absurd idea that we can “medicate” ourselves using drugs that are designed to rob of us of our reason.