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As much as I love links, appreciate comments and am surprisingly tolerant of random declarations of praise targeted at my writing skills, I have unfortunately discovered that none of these commodities go very far with my local grocer.1

So while scouring the netosphere for writing gigs that pay in a more spendable currency, I stumbled across this post by Skellie, the new assistant Darren2 at ProBlogger, who inspired me with a revolutionary idea.

She points out the overwhelming majority of blogs voted Most Likely to Have a Date to the Homecoming Dance engage in what she calls value-blogging.

Not to be confused with faith-and-value-blogging or even overhead-valve-blocking, value-blogging centers not on facts or opinions, but rather on actually improving the readers themselves. Which as a writer I find very convenient, since it allows me to avoid certain inconveniences like research, investigation, and accuracy.

One value-infusing tactic she recommends is to provide readers with helpful how-to articles, such as Blogging for Beginners, Taxidermy for Tenderfoots, or for the more advanced, Sitz-baths for Sasquatches.

So in this same educationally generous spirit I am introducing the latest in a very short series of potentially helpful posts: Spontaneous Combustion for the Inexperienced.


Although some of my more cynical readers may be questioning my qualifications in this field, having thus far in my life thoroughly failed to burst into flame, the fact is that amazingly little is know about Spontaneous Combustion, which in the lack of credible contradiction, makes me an expert.

If that doesn’t convince you, think of it this way: I have precisely the same level of experience in this endeavor as the major presidential candidates have with being the Chief Executive.

Having silenced the scoffers, let’s move on to today’s lesson.

Helpful Tips for Those Intent on Spontaneously Combusting

Spontaneous human combustion has a long, colorful, and completely unverified history. If you are interested in joining the charred ranks of the unexpectedly consumed then keep the following high-value educational tips in mind:

  • Anyone with serious human torch aspirations would do well to avoid scientists, cameras, and Geraldo Rivera, since this flaming phenomena has never once occurred in their presence.
  • In addition, you would be wise to avoid random incineration in the presence of government officials, because it won’t take them long to find a way to tax, license or otherwise charge your surviving relatives for your newly acquired skill.
  • Also be aware that certain locations are less than conducive to combustion and should be avoided by those intent on auto-immolation. Places to avoid include saunas, pools, and the lunar surface.
  • In light of the absurdly high water content of the human body, some people are tempted to jump start the process. This is cheating. Your combustion must be spontaneous for it to count. Use of ignition-enhancing agents such as TNT breath drops, C-4 chewing gum, or even a nitroglycerin/papaya cleansing facial mask constitutes a clear breach of applicable protocols.
  • Finally, please be considerate. Avoid going up in a blaze of glory in restaurants, coffee shops, and in posted no-smoldering areas.

There you have it, High Value Blogging if ever I have performed it.3

So, although I have strained the very fiber of my being, as well as this blog, by becoming so thoroughly useful, we will both recover and will soon return with even more bowel-quivering reader improvements for you, the reader in need of improving.

Meanwhile, I am going to put on my asbestos undergarments, and maybe take a quick sitz bath, just to be safe.

This post can be found burning up the charts at

  1. In a recent attempt, I offered the Wal-Mart cashier/slave two LOLs and a LUUSMNC for a medium sized bunch of bananas. The silence was deafening. Even throwing in a generous PR4 link from this publication wouldn’t budge her. A guy outside did offer me some foodstamps for them though.
  2. In the wake of the unfortunate Bewitched scandal, all upgrading, exchanging, or outright trading of Darrens is out of necessity, a slow and fully transparent process.
  3. I’m going to have to check my records on this one.