Stop Using So to Start Sentences

Stop using SO to start every sentence.Please stop!

Note: This post has nothing to do with the paranormal, occasionally I just have to rant about something on my mind.

I found a reference to an article by Hunter Thurman on Fast Company regarding the use of “so” at the start of sentences. The claim is that it insults your audience, undermines your credibility, and demonstrates discomfort with the subject matter.

I don’t necessarily agree with that last idea, I’ve had many conversations with people who overuse “so” and are completely comfortable with the subject matter they are discussing, but the first two are right on. It’s just dumb. Apparently Mark Zuckerberg notoriously uses “so” to start sentences. Big fucking deal, it’s still annoying and sounds stupid.

Stop using “so” unless it works. And I’m not talking about the beginning of questions like, “So, how did your interview go?” or “So what’s with the new car, midlife crisis?” Those are example of normal usage of the word. Another example of correct usage is, “I couldn’t find a red one so I got blue instead.”

There are many instances where the word “so” belongs and works in any dialogue, but starting every statement with it sounds idiotic. For example, “So, I found this new hairdresser… [we can almost let that one slide, but..] So, she’s locate close to where I work and her prices are great.”

Recently I had a meeting with a couple of people and each of them used the word “so” at the start of almost every sentence and always when beginning a new topic. It became such a damn nuisance that anything following this word was instantly less interesting to me than it would have been if they’d left it out.

Some motivational speaker or bullshit leadership program probably got the ball rolling on this one somewhere. Maybe the idea was that it made you sound important and gave you control of the conversation. Listen up, anything that annoys your audience and makes them cringe everytime you open your mouth to speak does not put you in a leadership roll.

It has become an annoying habit we need to put the kibosh on right away.

Okay, that’s it for my rant. Thanks for listening.

The Blimp that Ate PA

CmdsJlens1” by U.S. Army – Licensed under Public Domain via Commons.

Getting to this a bit late, been busy with some other stuff.

So I’m standing there in my back yard watching a squirrel bury his nuts and this huge white nerfy-looking blimp drifts over my house. For a minute I thought, “oh, it must be a promotion or something.”

So I looked for a brand logo or lettering of some kind on the side and saw nothing. Then I noticed it was floating kind of funny, a little limp at the one end. I watched as is slowly passed overhead, to the north.

By the way, I was staying at my regular house for the week, not my secluded cabin at an undisclosed location in the wilderness of northwest Pennsylvania. As a result I was missing out on what my neighbor Andy might have said at such a sight, “What’s that, the fucking Hindenburg?!”

I would have had to say, of course, no. But he probably would have gone on about “how they shouldn’t fly those things because they can blow up!” and I would have countered with how they used helium these days.

In response he likely would have wandered off back to his house muttering something like, “Maybe that’s why I’m hearing that high pitched sound…”

Anyway, Andy wasn’t around but my other neighbor, my “in town” neighbor Robert, strolled up with his homemade geiger counter, waving it slowly through the air in front of him. Wearing a red and black insulated flannel jacket and matching cap he conjured the image of an odd character Steve Buscemi might play.

Looking skyward at the blimp he lowered his device, which probably couldn’t detect a fart, and said, “Hey guy how you doin’? I’m not getting a reading on this so we’re probably safe, but would you take a look at that thing?!”

I nodded, “Strange for sure. What do you make of it?”

“Well come on man! Obviously it’s a covert government op gone awry! Surveilence or something. They’re probably sittin’ up in that thing listening to us right now with some uber-sensitive high-tech microphones and stuff. So I’d watch what I say if I were you!”

I nodded again. Robert wandered off, mumbling something I couldn’t really hear, but I could make out part of it, “some people just don’t know what we’re up against. Poor damned sheeple.”

The blimp — which I have now come to learn was a NORAD JLENS aerostat, part of testing being conducted at the Aberdeen Proving Grounds in Maryland — continued on its unmanned journey northward. I noticed a long cable or something hanging behind it, but I couldn’t tell if it was actually dragging on the ground.

The scene was eerily silent, surreal. I felt like I was in a M. Knight Shyamalan movie. Especially when, somewhere far below and behind the craft, sparks started to fly accompanied by ominous flashes of blue light and very distant popping noises. This confirmed that the cable was at least very close to the ground. Close enough to intersect with power lines and pull them down.

I scanned the sky, not sure what I was looking for. Another blimp? Giant walking Transformers? Mothra?

Robert had made his way over to Herb, our back yard neighbor. Herb was an interesting cat too; a ham radio operator with a 40 foot radio tower in his yard. They were looking at Robert’s geiger counter and glancing up at the blimp between head shakes and nods.

In my pocket, my smart phone made a brief vibrating pulse. I retrieved it to see what the alert was about. My news app headline read, “NORAD Blimp Breaks Free Drifts Over PA.”

Why not. I walked over to the guys to relay the news report. After I showed them the headline, they looked at me, then glanced at each other. Wry smiles sneaked onto their faces.

Robert tipped back and blatted a laugh, “HA! Sure, believe whatever they tell you!”

Then they both chuckled and went back to watching the blimp.

I half waved them a goodbye and headed back into my house. My phone pulsed once more, this time a text message had come through. It was from my top-secret government informant, and it read, “call me…”

To be continued…

Back from my Paranormal Vacation

Haunted Cemetery I investigated while on vacation.

Copyright ©

The thumbprint was not Andy’s. I found that out by comparing the print on the note to a print I lifted from the trunk of his car while he was out in his field getting high. Well, I assume he was getting high, he may have just been burning some underbrush. But the smoke was thick and I heard him cough.

Anyway, he was back in his garden by the shed and couldn’t see clear to the driveway so I figured it was a prime opportunity for a covert op. Wasn’t sure if I’d find any prints but the car is pretty dirty so I figured I’d get lucky. I did.

There were several to choose from along the edge of the trunk lid so I took a length of clear tape and carefully laid it across the line of prints. Voilà, a perfect sample.

Later at home, under my desk lamp with a magnifying glass, I compared the prints on the tape with the print on the note. No match.

So the question remains, if Andy is not the mysterious note leaver, who is? And who was Andy chasing off with his shovel? Was that strange figure the note-leaving phantom? I may never find out. But I’ll keep working on it. Mysteries for another day.


The reason for my two month absence was that I was called away on business to a town which will remain unnamed — at the town’s request of course, to avoid unwanted weekend ghost hunters and gawkers in search of paranormal weirdness — and I decided to mix in a little mini vacation along with the trip.

It may be evident from this website that I am an investigator of paranormal activity, by which I mean anything seemingly unexplained and apparently not normal, including, but not limited to: UFO sightings, aliens (from outer space), alien abductions (meaning people abducted by aliens from outer space and not the other way around), cryptozoological creatures like your common Sasquatch varieties, Bigfoot, Mothman, Nessie, etc.; and let’s not forget good old-fashioned ghosts and haunted houses! Hooray!

Early in June I received a call from a woman who began nervously babbling on about a paranormal entity she guessed had taken up residence in her home. She seemed frantic and serious, so genuinely scared that I felt compelled to at least try and help her out.

I don’t believe in ghosts. Not at all. So when someone calls me up to investigate their haunted house I feel that I have an obligation to help them understand what they are really experiencing. I look for the facts and explain it so that they can understand what is really going on.

However I am no psychologist, so if they do happen to be plumb crazy they’re on their own.

When I found out who the hell gave her my number I was pissed. The lady didn’t want TV cameras or any of that nonsense so my publishing agent, Alfred, knowing I was a low-key investigator in need of a little extra cash, felt it was okay to pass along my contact information. Real nice Alfred.

He told me he figured I could use the extra money since sales have dropped off on my latest book. Hey Alfred, if you’re listening… you’re my publishing agent, do your job. The novel was your idea anyway.

So I arrive at the “haunted house” and knock on the door. The house is located right next to a creepy old cemetery. What better location to foster spooky thoughts. Personally I love cemeteries, because they are spooky and I love spooky shit. Simple as that.

While waiting I scanned the porch and surroundings. Someone needs to clean a little bit more around here. Dusty cobwebs hung in the rafters and drifted sluggishly in a slight breeze, the silken threads heavy with the funk of ages. Dry leaves were caught up in one of them, a long dead moth in another.

Something weird: a small doll sat in a corner behind an old rickety rocking chair. Generally speaking small dolls aren’t weird, but when they have an X carved in their head and an inverted pentagram painted on their dress with maroon nail polish I’ll concede the notion.

What the fuck?

Is it near enough to October to have Halloween decorations set up already? Maybe that explains it. Or maybe not.

I heard a muffled cough from inside. Then the door creaked open…

Andy is Getting Creepy

I walked out to my garden earlier today and noticed that my hot peppers have just taken off! I mean these buggers are really growing like crazy. Actually all of my plants are taking off. My seedlings sprouted like Jack’s magic beans. Unbelievable.

It must have something to do with that Mothman manure. The dung of the century, no joke. Andy let me have a wheelbarrow full, and he had enough left to spread in his small field. It’s a mini farm really. The old timer grows all sorts of stuff out there; peppers, peas, cabbage, cucumbers, carrots, radishes, rhubarb and assorted herbs here and there. He has some funny looking stuff way out in the back that he tends to pretty regularly.

When he’s back there I usually see some smoke drifting out from the weeds and smell something funny. When he comes out he walks back to his house, sits on the porch and starts drinking beer and eating nachos.

He’s got a major green thumb though, really impressive.

I finally asked him about the shovel in his trunk. Just seemed weird to me that an old dude would be driving around with a shovel in the trunk of his car. He’s a nice enough guy but you never know, could be one of those unassuming nice fellows who turn out to be serial killer or something. You can never be too safe.

He said he keeps it back there just in case he spots an interesting plant or tree growing on the side of the road. Says he’d stop, dig it up and bring it back home to plant in his yard. Could be true, he has a huge assortment of random growth out there.

Oh, and the report came back from the lab about the origin of the giant turd. What fell onto the street that night, the crap that’s fertilizing my garden and Andy’s mini farm, was a giant cow pie.

Obviously it wasn’t just the dung of one cow, but many cows, collected into a gargantuan poop load and dropped right there on the street.

The question is, what the hell did the poop pile drop from? Why was it collected? And why the hell was Mothman flapping around my woods that night? There is a real mystery here my friends, and I aim to solve it.

One more thing. Yesterday evening I happened to glance out my back window and saw Andy running with his shovel, brandishing it like a halberd, as if chasing someone from his property. I leaned in to the window pane to peer farther ahead of him but saw no one. He ran from view behind his shed, which lies just this side of his vast planting field.

Ten minutes later a note was slipped under my door.  Two words on the paper as usual, but this time written by hand. The words?  “Andy – Crate.” And in the lower right corner of that paper, a dirty thumbprint.

The mystery deepens.

Mothman Sighting in Pennsylvania

My approach as a skeptic is to seek evidence to support claims of the paranormal or cryptozoological, instead I find a profusion of data that point entirely in the opposite direction. This is why I remain utterly perplexed following an experience I had over the weekend. If I do not get to the bottom of it I may have to concede that at least some of these mysteries may be for real. Read more

Mysterious Notes from Mr. X

As you may have noticed, my phone rang just as I was wrapping up my last post. It was my mother. She always calls on the landline, which I have absolutely no idea why I still own one… yes I do, my mother won’t call me on my phablet or use FaceTime. She’s one of those whacks who think the government is tracking us and monitoring everything on the cellular network. Read more