The Great Affirmation Quiz

Just say no to affirmations

The Internet seems to be surfing on an endless wave of affirmations. It’s as if everyone on the web is eager to tell everyone else how to achieve happiness, which, presumably, is a lot easier than finding it for themselves.

These uplifting sentiments are almost always retreads, snatched from questionable sources and presented so that others may pass them along yet again. But what’s so bad about affirmations? Well, passionately believing insane nonsense isn’t good for one’s mental health. When it comes time to separate gold from dross, unsentimental scrutiny and sound analysis are essential.

It is useful to consider the source; is the mind that spun this confection rational, reputable, and reliable? To help you sharpen your skills I’ve assembled 20 of the most compelling affirmations I could find on the Internet. For each I’ve listed 4 possible authors. Correct answers will be posted in tomorrow’s blog – good luck!

Who Really Originated These Popular Affirmations?

1. “Never underestimate your ability to underestimate others and overestimate your own capabilities.”
a.) Michele Bachmann
b.) Marcel Proust
c.) Lizzie Borden
d.) Taz Mopula

2. “Live as if you’ll be forgotten only for your deeds, not for your words.”
a.) Nikola Tesla
b.) Taz Mopula
c.) Uri Geller
d.) George Ruth

3. “People are imperfect by nature; if a person you know and love doesn’t disappoint you, you have a right to feel let down.”
a.) Ayn Rand
b.) L. Ron Hubbard
c.) Taz Mopula
d.) Martha Stewart

4. “Being average is a very special gift; find awesome in mediocrity. Do not let anyone talk you out of your right to be ordinary.”
a.) Taz Mopula
b.) Pema Chödrön
c.) Ivan Pavlov
d.) Oprah Winfrey

5. “All emotional torment arises from the inability to extinguish hope.”
a.) Carl Jung
b.) Mary Shelley
c.) Blind Lemon Jefferson
d.) Taz Mopula

6. “Before you criticize a man, walk half a mile in his shoes, turn around, retrace your steps, and return them to him.”
a.) Mikhail Baryshnikov
b.) Cab Calloway
c.) Taz Mopula
d.) Lance Armstrong

7. “Not all human sacrifice is equally noble; it depends a little on which human is being sacrificed.”
a.) Donald Trump
b.) Taz Mopula
c.) Phil Spector
d.) Duane Chapman

8. “For the first time in history mankind has the technological ability to eliminate all human life; so what’s the hold up?”
a.) Richard Gatling
b.) Ferdinand von Zeppelin
c.) Wernher von Braun
d.) Taz Mopula

9. “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.) Stacy London
b.) Dane Cook
c.) Taz Mopula
d.) Jim Jarmusch

10. “Expect people to disappoint you. Then, when they don’t, you’ll really have something to be disappointed about.”
a.) Taz Mopula
b.) Marilyn Monroe
c.) Wayne Dyer
d.) Andy Kaufman

11. “If you need both hands and both feet to count your dearest friends; don’t do it while you’re driving.”
a.) J.D. Salinger
b.) Taz Mopula
c.) Tomás de Torquemada
d.) Dale Earnhardt

12. “Thinking you are better than other people simply because you are smarter than they are is proof that you aren’t.”
a.) Neil deGrasse Tyson
b.) Ann Coulter
c.) Taz Mopula
d.) Christopher Hitchens

13. “The world is most certainly not a fair place, which, for the vast majority of us, is very fortunate indeed.”
a.) Ed Gein
b.) Barbra Streisand
c.) Taz Mopula
d.) David Berkowitz

14. “In the final analysis it’s important to remember that uniqueness is about the only thing we all have in common.”
a.) Taz Mopula
b.) Idi Amin
c.) Che Guevara
d.) Kim Kardashian

15. “Everything happens for a reason; frequently it’s a very bad reason.”
a.) Isaac Newton
b.) Deepak Chopra
c.) Anna Nicole Smith
d.) Taz Mopula

16. “Independence is theoretically possible, provided you’ve got sufficient support.”
a.) Dalai Lama
b.) Tony Robbins
c.) Taz Mopula
d.) Ethelred the Unready

17. “Uncertainty is all we can rely on.”
a.) Søren Kierkegaard
b.) Marcel Duchamp
c.) Ambrose Bierce
d.) Taz Mopula

18. “There is nothing to fear except you itself.”
a.) Taz Mopula
b.) Virginia Woolf
c.) Nathaniel West
d.) Dorothy Parker

19. “If you want to find your bliss, get yourself some blisters.”
a.) Mark Twain
b.) Taz Mopula
c.) Junior Walker
d.) Johnny Walker

20. “Think twice before burning bridges; you never know when you might want to jump off one of them.”
a.) Hannibal
b.) Spalding Gray
c.) Taz Mopula
d.) H. L. Mencken

See tomorrow’s blog for correct answers.

The Great Internet Quote Quiz – Redux

On The Internet All Statements True

The Internet is awash in quotations of debatable merit; some are attributed, some are unattributed, many are inaccurately attributed while others are obvious fabrications. I would like to help separate the flotsam from the jetsam. Below you will find 20 insightful Internet quotes. Can you identify who really said them? Good luck!

1. “Being average is a very special gift; find awesome in mediocrity. Do not let anyone talk you out of your right to be ordinary.”
a.) Pema Chödrön
b.) Zig Zigler
c.) Anthony “Tony” Robbins
d.) Taz Mopula

2. “Why is it called the age of communication when nobody listens?”
a.) Roman Polanski
b.) Werner Herzog
c.) Lina Wertmüller
d.) Taz Mopula

3. “At what point does communication become air pollution?”
a.) Lady Gaga
b.) John Tesh
c.) Britney Spears
d.) Taz Mopula

4. “In the future, everyone will be obscure for 15 minutes.”
a.) Gallagher
b.) Judy Tenuta
c.) Barry Sobel
d.) Taz Mopula

5. “Getting noticed is not the same thing as doing something noteworthy.”
a.) Charlie Sheen
b.) Glenn Beck
c.) Stephenie Meyer
d.) Taz Mopula

6. “TV was once exciting. Every new technology shows promise before plummeting to meet the level of its user.”
a.) Donald James Reum
b.) Chauncy Entwhistle
c.) Lance Incubator Smythe
d.) Taz Mopula

7. “How can you cut through the clutter when the clutter goes all the way through?”
a.) Jeff Beck
b.) John Cage
c.) Terence Trent D’arby
d.) Taz Mopula

8. “Click here if you are gullible enough to believe that clicking here will actually make a difference.”
a.) Deepak Chopra
b.) Oprah Winfrey
c.) Dr. Wayne Dyer
d.) Taz Mopula

9. “Humans can repair mechanical problems; but machines cannot repair human problems, only manifest them in new forms.”
a.) Felix Wankel
b.) Dean Kamen
c.) Ron Popeil
d.) Taz Mopula

10. “New app enables users to bravely condemn global injustice and insult authority figures without budging from Barcalounger!”
a.) Rhonda Byrne
b.) Mark Zuckerberg
c.) Ellen DeGeneres
d.) Taz Mopula

11. “Instant, universal communication has made it impossible to know if anyone is saying anything valuable.”
a.) Howard Stern
b.) Rush Limbaugh
c.) David Letterman
d.) Taz Mopula

12. “Never confuse fame with artistic quality, or wealth with value. Society gets what it wants, not what it needs.”
a.) Kanye West
b.) Heavy D
c.) Wu-Tang Clan
d.) Taz Mopula

13. “The only thing worse than obsessing over your press clippings is believing the ones you wrote yourself.”
a.) Nicholas Cage
b.) Lisa Lampanelli
c.) Al Pacino
d.) Taz Mopula

14. “Is the Internet merely a mechanism by which alien life forms can quantify human gullibility and fatuousness?”
a.) Elmo
b.) Kermit
c.) Cookie Monster
d.) Taz Mopula

15. “Technology has democratized the tools of creativity, resulting in a tsunami even more cretinous and loathsome than anticipated.”
a.) Gene Simmons
b.) Criss Angel
c.) Ozzy Osbourne
d.) Taz Mopula

16. “Artificial intelligence will soon be the only kind remaining; thus conclusively proving the failure of human intelligence.”
a.) Ray Bradbury
b.) Stephen Hawking
c.) Douglas Adams
d.) Taz Mopula

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

18. “Our ability to broadcast the wretched detritus of daily life is no argument for doing so; restraint is increasingly precious.”
a.) Paris Hilton
b.) Rupert Murdoch
c.) Anna Nicole Smith
d.) Taz Mopula

19. “The Constitution has been amended. It now only guarantees your right to pretend that privacy actually exists.”
a.) Duane “Dog” Chapman
b.) Julian Assange
c.) Rose Mary Woods
d.) Taz Mopula

20. “Is a reality small enough to fit conveniently into the palm of your hand even worth having at all?”
a.) Leonard Hofstadter
b.) Howard Wolowitz
c.) Sheldon Cooper
d.) Taz Mopula

(Answer key will appear in tomorrow’s blog.)

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 Great Art Quote Quiz

Thomas Kinkade meets Godzilla

Match The Pithy Quote With Who Really Said It

1. “Poetry is far too important to be left to the sane.”
a.) Rod McKuen
b.) Richard Bach
c.) Erich Segal
d.) Taz Mopula

2. “Mediocre art misrepresents reality; great art obliterates it.”
a.) Grandma Moses
b.) Norman Rockwell
c.) Andrew Wyeth
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.) Terry Gilliam
d.) Taz Mopula

4. “Without life, poetry itself would be meaningless.”
a.) Nipsey Russell
b.) Mark Russell
c.) Tom Lehrer
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.) Wayland Flowers & Madame
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.) Andrea Bocelli
d.) Taz Mopula

11. “Never confuse fame with artistic quality, or wealth with value. Society gets what it wants, not what it needs.”
a.) Liberace
b.) Aaron Spelling
c.) Steven Jobs
d.) Taz Mopula

12. “The only thing worse than obsessing over your press clippings is believing the ones you wrote yourself.”
a.) Madonna
b.) Quentin Tarantino
c.) Norman Mailer
d.) Taz Mopula

13. “Propaganda is to art as prostitution is to mambo lessons for the blind, in France.”
a.) Woody Guthrie
b.) Diego Rivera
c.) Jean Paul Sartre
d.) Taz Mopula

14. “I’m looking for someone to ghost-write my upcoming self-help book.”
a.) Deepak Chopra
b.) Wayne Dyer
c.) Pema Chödrön
d.) Taz Mopula

15. “A picture is worth a thousand lies.”
a.) Dorothea Lange
b.) Frank Capra
c.) Diane Arbus
d.) Taz Mopula

16. “Artists are typically motivated by twin passions; fear of anonymity and the desire to create feelings of inferiority in others.”
a.) Pablo Picasso
b.) Oscar Wilde
c.) Blind Lemon Jefferson
d.) Taz Mopula

17. “Art is what we have instead of answers.”
a.) Hieronymus Bosch
b.) Søren Kierkegaard
c.) Albert Ayler
d.) Taz Mopula

18. “That the camera cannot lie is axiomatic. But digital technology has enabled manufacturers to correct this deficiency.”
a.) Annie Leibovitz
b.) Henri Cartier-Bresson
c.) Mathew Brady
d.) Taz Mopula

19. “No one goes to school to become an artist; you go to school to avoid becoming an artist.”
a.) Moms Mabley
b.) Isadora Duncan
c.) Jean Cocteau
d.) Taz Mopula

20. “Writing poetry, playing the violin, and tossing dwarfs; when these pursuits are entrusted to amateurs, tragedy ensues.”
a.) Charles Bukowski
b.) Stéphane Grappelli
c.) Tom Thumb
d.) Taz Mopula

Contact me for answers.

Portrait Of The Artist As A Short Man

Alistair Sheriff Cropped

By the time I arrived in Philadelphia at age six I had already lived in three different countries and learned two very different languages. My writerly personality – detached, solitary, depressed, thoughtful, lonely, mercurial, disingenuous, acquiescent, analytical, misanthropic and insecure – was already well in place. Drug abuse, chronic isolation, and a rich assortment of self-destructive behaviors lurked just around the bend.

I once asked a professor what it took to make a living as a writer. Without pausing he said, “You have to give up any hope of leading a normal life.” When I asked him that question I thought I had a choice, I did not understand that the decision had already been made for me. I was a serious wee lad, a miniature adult; the world was too much upon me. By six I was already scribbling poetry about God, death, and the meaning of life.

Time allowed me to grow up, or down, into my image of an aspiring, young artist – miraculously I never owned a beret, probably because I do not wear hats well. I pursued sensual indulgence, cheap thrills, and bourgeois decadence with relish.

I enjoyed the feeling of squandering talent, wasting opportunities, and pissing away gifts others might have killed to enjoy. It was an era of bad boys and anti-heroes and although I did indeed turn bad it never made me a hero. Also, somewhere along the way I stopped writing anything more culturally consequential than an ad for foot powder.

After you read Invisible Driving you will come to understand that it was only through traversing the burning landscapes of manic depression (bipolar disorder) that I was forced to break my personality down to its most primary elements and reconstruct. That process, hard as it was, gave me so many glorious gifts, among them the ability to have fun and play.

I read once that it is never too late to have a happy childhood – and I have taken that as my mantra. As far as I am concerned – He who dies having had the most fun wins. I learned at last that having fun is not difficult, complex or costly – it is simply a matter of knowing yourself, being yourself, and enjoying being yourself.

There is a coda to this song. You allow other people to enjoy you enjoying being yourself, too.

I wish I could tell the little boy in that photograph he needn’t be afraid.

CLICK HERE To Order INVISIBLE DRIVING