Look, we’ll be honest. When we heard that a blogger plagiarized posts from Amalah, we were so angry that we almost started to Mouth Off on the subject. But then we thought, why not use this as a teaching moment? Because many of you out there may need an easy reference guide for avoiding plagiarism. And we are nothing if not full-service! (We think. Also, we just made that up, so don’t start dropping off your laundry or anything like that.)
So, here are some easy and fun tips to help you remember not to plagiarize!
1. When you are about to copy someone’s words and use them as your own, don’t. Instead, make yourself a smoothie.
2. When you read something that you love on a blog, leave a comment, not a copyright violation.
3. Remember, it’s See Something, Say Something. Not Read Something, Steal Something.
4. If you are a mommy blogger and you wrote the most amazing travel post about how you just sailed around the world solo, you may have accidentally stolen it.
5. Do not mix margaritas and your computer’s copy and paste features.
6. If you are writing about a fork in the road, you better be talking about flatware or you may be stealing someone else’s idea.
7. If your post is about how you can’t believe you won so many Grammys and you want to fank all of your fans and snarf some fish and chips, you may have accidentally lifted a few quotes from Adele’s website.
8. If you’re only 27 years old, but your post is about raising babies in the Great Depression, maybe you should do a few moments of soul searching.
9. If your blog usually reads like the work of a demented 3rd grader and then one day it suddenly sounds like you got a PhD overnight, there’s a chance you maybe copied the work of someone a hell of a lot smarter than you.
10. If you don’t remember writing the words on your screen and you don’t have either a smack habit or multiple personalities, then you are probably stealing.
11. If you’re 27 and you still don’t understand the old adage, “If it’s not yours… It’s NOT YOURS” then even The Mouthy Housewives can’t help you.
12. If you find yourself constantly using catch phrases like: “Have a Coke and a smile”, “Fair and Balanced”, and “Neglecting our families to give you advice since 2009″ then you are probably plagiarizing.
13. Unless it’s 1963 and you’re standing in front of the Lincoln Memorial, we don’t think your “I Have A Dream” post was written by you.
14. Not sure if you’re plagiarizing? Keep this simple rhyme in mind! If your source is pissed, you’re a plagiarist!
15. When you’re proofreading your writing and you see something that seems familiar, be sure to find the missing citation before printing. Sometimes neighborhood fliers can help.
(Annoying husbands, on the other hand, do not help.)
Dear Mouthy Housewives,
My fiancée makes great food, and she cooks for us almost every night. We both work the same number of hours, but she cooks because she gets home earlier. I feel bad about letting her take on all the responsibility of food management, especially since I feel exhausted at the end of the day and I figure she must too.
I asked my father about it, but he’s quite old-fashioned and, though he’s supportive of me generally, he said I shouldn’t interfere with “women’s work.”
I don’t even know how to bring up the topic with her, and I’m a terrible cook. What should I do?
No Chef Boyardee
Dear No Chef,
It’s a good thing you’ve put a ring on it because, frankly, I was considering divorcing my husband just to pursue your kitchen-handy fiancée! I think my spouse may have had the same thought. For some reason he’s tired of the toasted cheese sandwiches I know how to make. Like those somehow get old after 18 years together? He’s very high maintenance!
Also, while I’m sure your father has a lot of good advice in other areas, I’m not confident “it’s women’s work” is a good motto to follow. Does Gordon Ramsey know that cooking is “women’s work”? I’m not really sure you want to anger a guy who’s been quoted as saying: “I have a very assertive way. It’s wake up, move your ass, or piss off home.”
Now, as for your lack of culinary know-how, it’s possible to make up for this inadequacy in other ways, like cleaning the bathroom. Properly. You know, by using ACTUAL cleaning fluid and NOT your wife’s toothbrush. Take it from my husband, that’s the quickest way to find yourself sharing a 1-bedroom apartment with 8 other guys, one of whom goes by the name of Cooter and doesn’t believe in store bought liquor.
But without sitting down with your gal and talking it out, it’s hard to know what her wish list may contain. Perhaps, she’d prefer you to wash the dishes or mop the floor or give the cat a haircut? Having this discussion will give the two of you much needed practice for the many and varied conversations (both heated and not) that are a huge part of marriage and your next 20+ years together.
That’s right, people! It’s time to meet another Housewife! So strap on your tap shoes, throw some glitter in the air and avoid getting yelled at by that scary teacher from Dance Moms by reading Tonya’s most guarded secrets. Have some tissue handy. You may cry a little. Or, if you’re smart, call the cops.
Age: What? I can’t hear you? Did you say something? Lalalalalalalala…..
Hometown: Brooklyn, baby!
Tonya and her friend Emily going to a high school Homecoming dance. Clearly, Emily knows how to take a picture. She also knows that you are supposed to wear shoes with a fancy dress. Tonya, obviously, does not have this knowledge. Not that her date noticed. He spent the whole night whispering in her ear: “I can’t believe I’m not on anything.” Poor Tonya.
I like to peruse the DSM IV (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) and read up on my friends, family members, and co-workers. I’m a little worried about the other Housewives…
Signature dance move?
Whatever happens with 4 shots of tequila and a song by T.I. or C & C Music Factory. I’m complicated.
If you could give The Bachelor’s Ben Flajnik a makeover, what would be your vision?
He doesn’t need a makeover, he just needs to admit he’s really Kim K’s BFF, Jonathan Cheban, AND Cojo from Entertainment Tonight.
All. The. Same. Guy.
How do you feel about juicing diets and cleanses?
I believe that they are the reason why Naomi Campbell throws phones at her assistants. SHE’S HUNGRY, PEOPLE! Unless, you’re talking about the kind where you shoot up heroin then snort meth. That one looks fun.
Least favorite household task:
Cleaning the bathroom after my 4 year old has used it. Very humbling. Also, walking through the house and having to ask: Whose underwear is hanging in the dining room? Why is there peanut butter on the cat? How did shampoo get on the kitchen ceiling?
Which tattoo is better: Confederate flag or Yosemite Sam?
I prefer text to images. I think: “Cannibalism Recycles” has a nice ring to it.
Who’s your celebrity crush?
Eminem. He seems nice.
What’s wrong with Fergie’s face?
I think it’s a strongly guarded Hollywood secret. Like why Tori Spelling has a career or why Gwyneth Paltrow believes she has useful advice.
Paper or plastic?
I like foil. We are talking about hats, right?
Neil Diamond. I like bad boys.
Where did you meet your husband?
At a party that just ran out of cups for the keg. He had procured a large pitcher to drink from, so he really wasn’t going without. I saw him and immediately decided that he was the one for me. He never did share that beer in his pitcher. He’s a keeper.
Three items you’d want on a desert island?
I’m a very pale person with a slight case of OCD so I’m not sure I would make it with all that sun and sand. Why don’t you just add Kathy Lee and Hoda to the equation and call it my working definition of hell. Great. Now, I need a moment to myself to imagine my safe place.
Why do you keep “forgetting” to clean the TMH clubhouse windows?
That’s Marinka’s job. I’m in charge of our compost pile. Which totally does not contain any bodies of people who have angered me, like that CVS pharmacist who refused to acknowledge my presence and give me my son’s damn cough medicine! Or that overly pushy mom who lives down the street and likes to make statements under her breathe about my son’s choice of clothing. LADY, HOW DOES MY SON WEARING HIS PANTS BACKWARD AFFECT YOU??? HE’S 4! HE’S NOT TRYING TO DATE YOUR DAUGHTER! Ok, back to my safe place…
Now that you know Tonya better, aren’t you glad she’s not your neighbor? Stay tuned for another Meet the Housewives! In the meantime have a great weekend!
Dear Mouthy Housewives,
I am a freelance writer and like to work in coffee shops. Usually I get there around 8am and find a booth to sit in while I drink my coffee and use my laptop. Since it’s not crowded, I feel okay taking up space meant for four people.
The problem is that around lunchtime, the place gets crowded and people start to glare at me for taking up a big table or booth. The staff has never said anything, but I still feel like I should either get up and leave or move to a smaller table.
My boyfriend says I have every right to my spot and I should just stay there.
What do you think?
Am I a Double Frappucino Freeloader ?
Dear Half-Caff, Skim, Shot of Butterscotch, Extra Hot, Double Cupped Frappucino,
As a practitioner of this writing method myself I can say that there are a few ways NOT to handle this situation:
-Don’t pretend being in the booth is the same as being in your house and write shirtless. They will kick you out and call the cops, mostly because they don’t think you look anything like Heidi Klum, no matter how insistent you are on the subject. Also, when the cops are taking you away, don’t tell them they owe you beads for the boob show. They do not find that funny. And they won’t deliver on the beads.
-Don’t try and use the booth for a side business. It seems restaurant owners don’t want homeless tweekers like Scabby Tim or naked bongo players that go by Swingin’ Sam coming in and out of their establishment at all hours looking to score. No matter how many refills of coffee and water you order!
-Don’t try and Feng Shui the restaurant. Apparently, the owners paid a lot of money to some fancy-shmancy interior designer and the last thing they care about is how their qi may be affected by the misplacement of a moosehead mirror. Plebians!
-Don’t expect just because you’ve peed on something it is now yours. The Nature Channel is wrong. Simply urinating on the booth in question does not make it your property. The shop will send you a cleaning bill and a restraining order.
It is perfectly acceptable to take up a booth, though, if you are ordering from the establishment, it’s not busy and your are a loyal, respectful patron.
I would suggest, however, that when the restaurant is really crowded you move to a smaller table. It’s just good karma.
If you have already been there for a few hours, then it makes sense to downsize to a one-person or two-person table once lunchtime is in full swing. This way your favorite coffee shop can serve as many customers as possible, thus keeping itself in business. And groups of folks will be able to find a place to sit and eat/drink together. Then once lunchtime is on its downward slide, you can move back to the booth…provided you still have your shirt on.
Dear Mouthy Housewives,
I have a 5-year-old son who has never seen Star Wars. We were planning on watching this iconic movie with him when he got a bit older. Except, all of his friends at school seem to have seen it. He asks about it, but we are a little worried that he’s still too young. Our son is very sensitive and doesn’t tolerate violence on television well.
I know this seems like a small problem, but I really don’t know what to do. Do I sit down with him and watch the movie? Are we being too over-protective?
Not Really Han Solo Averse
Dear Pro-Han Solo,
All kids develop at a different rate. For instance, my own son is four and has already asked to borrow the car. Of course, we’ve explained to him that he will get those keys when he starts to contribute to this family’s financial situation. I’ve even left the classifieds out to help him, but he keeps saying: “Mom, I can’t read!” As if that’s a real excuse!
Anyway, you know your son best. If you believe he may be too sensitive to watch the movie then most certainly you should follow that instinct. Frankly, five seems a bit young to watch that movie to me. But then, I may be writing to you for advice in a year when my son wants to know all about Darth Vader.
I can’t imagine that you are the only parents that have this issue. For some children, watching Star Wars may be no big deal (I’m talking about the first three, of course. I’m a grown up and, honestly, the last three – or prequels – gave me nightmares because they were so bad) but that doesn’t mean that your child falls into that group. That also doesn’t mean your child is alone in it either. Reach out to some of the other parents and see what they have to say. How have they handled it? This is just the beginning in your child wanting to do things that may, sometimes, not be right for him no matter what his friends are doing.
If he keeps bugging you about the movie and it becomes an issue, why don’t you try reading him some of the books first? There is even a series on Star Wars that will help your child practice reading. And, for Mommy, there’s even one dedicated to that major hottie Han Solo!*
Another way to handle this would be to watch the movie with him but fast forward past the parts that he may find scary or unpleasant. I do this with CSI Miami. That guy with red hair really freaks me out.
*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.