Archive for January, 2012

Here’s the deal.  Years from now, people will ask each other, “Where were you on January 2, 2012?”  Stories will be retold, memories shared, and everyone will recall, with great fondness, the events of this historic day.  For it was on this, the first Monday of the year, that Celebrity Wife Swap made its US debut.  On this night, former child star and current former child star Tracey Gold swapped households with former carnie and current Wilson, Carnie Wilson.  And, while I didn’t watch it myself, the result must have been pure television magic.

So imagine my surprise when, earlier this week, I saw an ad for the season finale of this very same show.  That’s correct, the season premiere was on January 2nd, and the season finale is tomorrow, January 31st.  Um, last time I checked, January wasn’t a season…it was a month.  What’s next, a show premieres on Monday and the finale is Wednesday?  The madness must be stopped…or, in this case, elongated.

Sandra Bullock at the premiere for The Proposal

Image via Wikipedia

Sure, I’m the same guy who, a few months ago, complained about “more.”  And, believe me, I am not arguing for more Celebrity Wife Swap.  As best I can tell, nobody is arguing for more Celebrity Wife Swap. No one appreciates how they’re playing fast and loose with the term, “celebrity.”  But I am saying that if a season of your television series can be fit into the time it takes for Sandra Bullock to attend rehab (no, I’m not saying that Sandy went to rehab, I’m referring to her dramatic turn as big city newspaper reporter Gwen Cummings in the moving, 2000 release 28 Days…and its 2002 sequel, the Cillian Murphy helmed, 28 Days Later…which, now that I think about it, is less of a sequel and more of a reimagining…with less rehab drama and more zombies…) then maybe you shouldn’t air your show in the first place.

Yes, I would rather watch twelve episodes of a quality show like The Twilight Zone, Hawaii Five-O, Charlie’s Angels, Dallas or Melrose Place than have to sit through twenty-six episodes of such dreck as The Twilight Zone, Hawaii Five-O, Charlie’s Angels, Dallas or Melrose Place (depending on your age, feel free to insert the 1959, 1968, 1976, 1978, 1992 versions or the 2002, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 versions into the “quality” versus “dreck” categories as you see fit), but  there has to be a limit.  We can’t keep shortening our TV seasons forever.  I know we live in a fast-paced world, but at this rate the season premiere and the season finale will be the same show…and then what will we call it?  A prenale?  I can’t live in a world like that.

So, how am I going to do it?   How will I…aw, forget it…these shortened TV seasons have reduced my attention span…hey, look, tonight’s the season premiere of Celebrity Whitney (it’s just like Whitney, only with celebrities).


Vs. Newts

Posted: January 27, 2012 in Animals
Tags: , , , , ,

Here’s the deal.  Newts are popular pets for both young and old, but if you don’t fully understand these tricky, little amphibians, they can sometimes be more trouble than they’re worth.

Let’s start with the basics.  Newts are a type of salamander.  They are lizard-like in appearance, with a cylindrical trunk, fleshy toes (some have fully webbed feet), and moist, slick skin.  They are slow-moving, semi-aquatic, and survive on a diet of earthworms, slugs, snails and crickets.  So far, what’s not to love?

Newts tend to stay out of the sun, hiding under rocks and logs during the day.  Although they are not, surprisingly, camera shy.  Newts not only shed their skin, but are capable of limb regeneration (so that, for example, if a newt were to put its foot in its mouth…and then accidentally bite it off, another foot would grow back), which makes them surprisingly resilient.

Notophthalmus viridescens English: Eastern New...

And, despite their diminutive size, newts can be deadly.  Newts have a highly toxic skin, as they produce a mucous poison that can kill their enemies.  The Ribbed Newt has needle like tips on its ribs and can squeeze its muscles so that its own ribs pierce through its skin and into any would be attackers.  Now that’s dedication to self preservation.  The newt, then, is a very dangerous animal when cornered and if you attack one you should expect a venomous retort.

Thus, if you intend to keep a newt as a pet, you should never eat food or touch your face after handling your newt.  To be safe, I would recommend never touching newts at all…it hasn’t worked out well for anyone yet.  You should also make sure that your newt’s aquarium has a tight lid, as newts are conniving and will crawl out of any crack they can find.  Every time you may think that newt is trapped, it’ll find a way to scurry away.

But perhaps most interesting of all is a newt’s mating habits.  Young, male newts form a mentor relationship with an older female, who will teach the young newt, and then become its first reproductive partner.  But newts do not mate for life.  As soon as this older female becomes frail or sick, the male newt will move on to a younger mate.  But even this younger female will age and male newts will eventually seek out a female as much as twenty three years its junior.

So, how am I going to do it?   How will I convince people that the newt makes a poor pet?  Although newts have been known to flourish in such southern states as South Carolina and Florida, do we really want them in our homes?  Do we want our children thinking that slick, poison-spewing, lizard creatures who hide in the dark and sneak around with younger mates are the answer?  Sure, newts may be interesting to study from a distance…but if you put one of these in your house, you’ll be cleaning up its mess for years to come.

Here’s the deal.  It’s finally arrived.  Hasn’t happened since 2000.  It’s the year of the Dragon. 

As my eight hundred and twenty million Chinese Twitter followers know all too well, this is the luckiest of all the zodiac signs.  Every twelve years there’s a population spike in China, because parents wait to have their child in this, the most blessed of all years.

The Dragon is the only mythical symbol of the Chinese zodiac.  Those born under this sign are said to be charismatic, energetic, wise, strong and protected by heavenly blessings.  They are to be honored and respected.  And that’s the problem I have with it. 

Sure, if you’re born now, you’ll grow up under the sage guidance of this divine creature.  But if you were born, say, last week…well then your zodiac sign is the rabbit.  And instead of wisdom and good fortune you’re skittish and enjoy carrots.  That hardly seems fair.

The first fight scene in the NES version of th...

Remember when this seemed cool?

Less than 9% of people are born in the year of the Dragon…what about the rest of us?  What about the rats?  The sheep?  The pigs?  What hope do we have?  Some of us are protected by the mythical, powerful beast that Chinese culture holds sacred…and some of us are rodents, followers, and enjoy rolling around in mud.  It’s just not right that all of the other signs of the Chinese zodiac pale in comparison.

Me?  I’m year of the tiger.  Which is relatively fortunate, as it’s one of the more powerful, positive-sounding animals.  But I can’t fly.  I can’t breathe fire.  I may be tough compared to a dog or a rooster, but the dragon can pretty much step on me like everyone else.

So, how am I going to do it?   How will I make the Chinese zodiac more equitable?  How will I ensure that those born this year don’t feel superior to their friends born under a more humble sign?  Maybe we could just add dragon to every year…so that everyone gets the blessings of this mythical superstar.  You’d have the year of the ox-dragon, the horse-dragon, the monkey-dragon, etc.  And this year would still be special, the year of the dragon-dragon – that’s Double Dragon, baby (or Billy Lee and his twin brother, Jimmy, to those of you who remember the video game).  Yep, that should do it.  That should make everyone feel better.

Could somebody tell China?

Here’s the deal.  For the past ten months, my posts have stood alone.  But a storyline has recently emerged.  Today, I am not versusing anything.  I am following up on my previous two posts.  After calling upon internet users everywhere to spread this blog to the four corners of the world, I did my best to increase readership by tagging the most popular Google searches of 2011.  But there’s a problem.

Yes, Rebecca Black was the most Googled term in 2011.  And, as a result, searching for her will provide you with 124,000,000 hits.  And, surprisingly, my blog does not show up on the first page.  It does not, I suspect, show up on the first hundred thousand pages.  Therefore, my last post is doing me no favors.  No one’s going to be able to wade through the tens of millions of pages to find me.  I couldn’t do it…and I’m more interested in me than anyone I know.

An Acer laptop computer.

You can use one of these to comment.

So, how are people finding me?  Luckily, WordPress provides a daily synopsis of which search terms lead people to my blog.  I get almost daily results from, “Referring to yourself in the third person.”  Just yesterday, someone happened upon my post ranking crayon colors by searching for, “What is the number one caryon coloer.”  And last week, I notched another view from someone searching for, “Sexy brawny man.”

Here’s what I’ve learned.  People love their pronouns.  You don’t have to be an above average speller to find what you’re looking for on the internet.  And, even though “sexy brawny man” has nearly two million hits, I’m on the very first page of results because my post didn’t just randomly use the words, “sexy,” “brawny,” and “man.”  I spoke to the actual sexiness of the Brawny Man.  And I stand by my work.

Clearly, I need to adjust my strategy.  Nobody is going to find my blog while looking for the latest news on Rebecca Black (unless they search for the more specific, “Rebecca Black Justin Bieber iPhone,” in which case I’m the second site you’ll see).  So, I’ve got to switch it up a little.  I need to find things that fewer people are searching for, so that their only choice will be me.  For example, if we change the color from “Rebecca Black,” to “Rebecca Turquoise,” we go from over one hundred million hits…to 734. So, that will be one of my tags today.  One in seven hundred and thirty four isn’t bad odds.  But I think I can do better.

I need to find things that no one is searching for.  Then, when people do search for these things, my blog will be the only Google search result.

So, how am I going to do it?   How will I come up with terms that no one has ever searched for on Google?  I tried searching for, “Least searched word on Google.”  I got 117,000,00 results…not a one of which gave me the answer I was looking for.  So I open the question to you.  Please use the comments section to suggest the words or phrases that you think are under-represented on Google.  Then I can use these as tags and have a monopoly on these searches.  If you’ve been reading this blog and have never commented, here’s your chance.  I know you’re out there.  Don’t be shy.  I need you now more than ever.  If we work together, this can be a real game changer.  After we’re done, when people think of the things they’d never want to search for, when they think of the things that interest no one, when they think of the things nobody would want to examine further…they’ll think of me.

Here’s the deal.  In my previous post I asked my stunningly attractive readers to help spread my blog to all countries of the world.  In the comments section, athletic and sophisticated reader aclundin told me that people are directed to her blog daily when they search for, “Justin Timberlake’s naked butt.”  She suggested I include a celebrity and a body part in a post to achieve similar success.  At first I considered doing “Makya McBee Vs. Helen Mirren’s Bare Elbows,” but then I decided to do a little research.

English: The three biggest web search engines

I didn't say it was close...

I reckoned that if I’m going to go for something that is searched for a lot, I might as well shoot for the stars.  So I looked at the top three search engines (Google, Yahoo and Bing, in that order) to see what people were lookin’ for on that there internet.  Turns out that the most Googled words of 2011 were “Rebecca Black,” the most common search on Yahoo was “iPhone,” and Bing users typed “Justin Bieber” more than anything else.  So I put the top three search items, from the top three search engines, into one blog post.  That’s the trifecta of internet popularity.  I’m goin’ viral, baby!

And this is so much easier than all those tips to increase blog traffic that involve actual work.  I haven’t done any actual work since 2008, and I’m not looking to start back up now.  But I can’t just throw these popular terms in my blog title and use them as tags…I need to actually address them in the post itself.

So here we go.

Justin Bieber at the 2010 White House Easter E...

I know I can't say "Superbowl," but that's a super bowl cut.

What do I have against Rebecca Black?  Actually…nothing.  If anything, I have a problem with all of the people who have a problem with Rebecca Black.  She and I are two peas in a pod.  According to her official website, “she loves going to the mall, hanging out with her friends and putting together colorful outfits.”  Hello…I think I just found my twin.  Well, technically, I don’t particularly enjoy the mall.  And I don’t have any friends, per se.  But I love the heck out of putting together a colorful outfit. 

Look, I understand why people make fun of Friday.  The Sophie’s Choice-esque decision over which seat to take…the fun, fun, fun, fun…and, my favorite line, “Yesterday was Thursday.”  Upbeat and informative.  Yes, the lyrics are truly terrible.  But she didn’t write it.  She’s just a kid, and I think all of the people who direct their anger at a child singing a silly song probably have some issues of their own. 

And what about Justin Bieber’s iPhone?  Well, as it turns out, Bieber does own an iPhone.  If you want to see a picture of it, click here (FYI, there’s really no reason to click there…it’s just an iPhone).  And do I have issues with his iPhone?  You bet I do.  Why else would I put it in the title of this post?  Not just to get search engine traffic, I can tell you that much. 

According to this article, his iPhone is jailbroken.  Now, granted, I don’t know what that means.  But it doesn’t sound good.  It has “jail,” which is negative.  And “broken,” which is also negative.  Any time you put two negative words together to make a new word, that’s trouble.  For example, nobody knows what the word “prisonruptured” means because I just made it up.  But you can bet it’s not a good thing. And that’s why I’m against it.

So, how am I going to do it?   How will I put an end to Black bashing and prisonrupturing electronics?  I don’t know, but it’ll probably involve a lot more posts with popular search terms in the title.  I have a feeling I’m about to have some issues with Lady Gaga’s Kindle and Kim Kardashian planking.  In the meantime, I eagerly anticipate Rebecca Black’s next song.

I can’t wait to see what comes before Thursday.

Here’s the deal.  If you don’t live in the United States of America, the United Kingdom, India, Canada, Philippines, Australia, Brazil, Sweden, Germany, United Arab Emirates, Netherlands, Spain, Mexico, Argentina, Colombia, Chile, Ecuador, Singapore, South Korea, New Zealand, Ghana, South Africa, Kenya, Botswana, or Nigeria…what’s your problem?  According to WordPress, individuals from all of these countries have read my blog.  And all of the other countries?  Not so much.

Sure, one could argue that this is a success story.  One could say that less than a year ago I started a blog and told my family and a couple of people I went to high school with and now I’m an international superstar.  One could posit that my words reach round the globe and change the way we see our world.  One could say that I’m handsome, funny, and Earth’s most eligible bachelor.  But I gotta tell you, I’d really like to meet whoever is saying all this stuff.

The truth, however, is that I’ve barely scratched the surface.  Depending on which random website you trust with all of your world facts, there are somewhere between 189 and 257 countries out there.  (Why such disparity?  Well, there’s some semantics involved…do you include territories?  Colonies?  Peru?  And, also, it’s just simply difficult to count that high).  That means that between 86.8 and 90.2% of all countries have yet to read my blog.  We’ve still got a lot of work to do.

The Earth seen from Apollo 17.

Here's the area we're hoping to cover.

You see, most bloggers give fairly vague reasons for their blogs – they’re just putting random thoughts down, hoping to entertain a few friends, simply keeping an online journal.  Not me.  I’m here to get an audience.  To better my chances of fame and worldwide domination.  And it’s pretty hard to dominate a world that mostly doesn’t know you exist.

Here’s another way to look at it.  It is estimated that around 1.5 billion people have internet access.  Yesterday, forty-two people read my blog.  What are the other 1,499,999,958 people doing online?  According to Google, the most searched term yesterday was “school closings” followed by “peoples choice awards.”  While I can understand the need to know whether or not your child will be heading to school on any given day (where, hopefully, they’ll learn that there’s an apostrophe in “People’s Choice Awards”), I’m a person too…why not choose me?   

So, how am I going to do it?   How will I get the other 200 plus countries to read this blog?  Well, that’s where you come in.  I currently have 176 followers, so all I need is for each one of you to pick one person you know who lives in one of the countries not listed above and tell them to read this blog.  Or, even better, if each of you could simply tell 8,522,728 people about my blog, then every single person with internet access would be a reader.  It’s just that simple.  But we’ll start with the countries.  A quick email to your buddy in Finland.  Call up that distant cousin who lives in Belize.  Send a text to that business associate in Zimbabwe.  We can do this, people.  Or, more accurately, you can do this, people.

It’s right there in this blog’s subtitle – “One Man Takes on the World.”  I didn’t call it, “One Man Takes on 13.2% of the World” for a reason.  And not just because that would be an oddly specific and terrible sounding subtitle.  So let’s realize our geographic destiny together.  Pick a country.  Any country.  And grab a butter knife.  Cuz this blog ain’t gonna spread itself.

Here’s the deal.  In a few weeks, two teams (the New Orleans Saints and the New England Patriots…or else I’ll be on the run from my bookie) will gather in Indianapolis to play in the NFL Championship Game.  Some people refer to this contest as the Super Bowl…but those people have been arrested.

You see, the NFL is fairly dedicated to protecting their trademark of the phrase, “Super Bowl.”  No doubt you’ve heard advertisements for “The Big Game,” “The Game of the Year,” or “The Competitive Event that Involves Throwing and Kicking a Football and Rhymes with Pooper Goal.”  Companies have to use these ridiculous euphemisms for the game or they may face a lawsuit.  I started to read some of the details of trademark law on a few legal blogs so I could be more informed, but I soon gave in to extreme boredom when I realized I was reading legal blogs about trademark law.

Image:Wilsonnflfootball.jpg, modified to have ...

Are you ready for some...actually, I probably can't say that either...

I did, however, read enough to learn that, in 2006, the NFL also tried to trademark the phrase, “Big Game.”  This effort failed, but I imagine their legal team is currently looking into the possibility of obtaining trademarks for, “Exciting Athletic Competition,” “Helmet and Pad Related Sporting Event,” and “Gosh, that Tim Tebow is really something.”  Their ultimate goal is to not allow anyone to mention the Super Bowl in any way.  They’re trying to make it a secret.

But, despite their best efforts, they simply can’t hide it.  Last year’s was the most watched television program of all time.  Whether you watch for the game, the commercials, or you’re hoping for another wardrobe malfunction, almost everyone watches the Super Bowl, er, Big Game, um, He Who Must Not Be Named.

We have certainly created a sometimes silly society.  When we hear ads for Sunday’s Game of the Year, everyone knows what they’re talking about.  And yet we have to tiptoe around these words, it’s ridiculous.  Some years ago, my sister got into pottery and she gave me a bowl which she had made and which I use almost every day to eat my morning cereal.  It is undoubtedly a super bowl.  But I dare not mention it this time of year. 

So, how am I going to do it?   How will I defy the team of lawyers dedicated to keeping everyone from major corporations to local sports bars from uttering this magical phrase?  In fact, how am I even able to write about it so openly?  Well, I’m just a lowly blogger with a few hundred followers.  They certainly wouldn’t waste their time trying to stop…hey, who are you guys?  Get away from that!  That’s my computer!  No…not a cease and desist order…what’s with the handcuffs…but her bowl is super…must…hit…publish…