I’m a freelance interactive content strategist and copywriter in Austin, TX. See my work here.
I post about whatever geeky stuff interests me. Sometimes I post funny stuff that I make up. About once a week I post videos of my cat Yeti ignoring me. I welcome reader suggestions and feedback. I seldom get any.
Oh, yeah. I’m also the recording artist currently known as ManChildATX.
Bear with me here, because this may make no sense whatsoever.
It’s a challenge to find new things to blog about, mostly because I am so boring, and the boundaries of my fascinations and interests so seldom extend outside the mundanities of my own mind. A blog is supposed to be, in part, an expression of what makes the blogger unique. And one of the things that makes someone unique is his or her unique intrerests, the things he or she pays attention to that few others do.
So, for me, we already know one of those things is full dog poo bags that obnoxious people leave lying around.
And another thing is the edges of concrete footings that have been exposed by soil erosion.
Why does this capture my attention? I don’t know. I wish I did.
If I had to put it into words, I guess I’d say that it’s a simple, omnipresent illustration of our hubris in our belief that we can control nature in even the smallest ways.
We want to place things in the ground permanently. We want them to appear to be rooted in and flush with the soil, so they appear to be a permanent part of our “natural” surroundings. So we dig holes, we make forms, we pour in huge blobs of concrete, we remove the forms and backfill the soil, and voila! We have created “permanent” infrastructure; smooth, flush with the surface, and, seemingly, eternal.
But we can’t keep soil where we want it. And when it washes away, it puts the lie to our ability to make anything that lasts forever. It forces us to confront the fact that much of what we see as our “natural” surroundings was, in fact, put there by us to being with. And nature will have its way. It will wash the soil away until our concrete is not rooted in the earth, but teetering on top of it.
I can’t help it. I don’t understand it. But this captures my attention.
The internets is all about the cutting edge and what’s new, right? Wrong! And especially wrong if you are discussing brand design.
You may not know this, because you may actually have a life, but AirBNB introduced a new logo yesterday. My first thought was, “Huh. New logo.” My second thought was, “Oh, geez, I’m so uncool for not hating this.”
Because a significant number of people spent a significant amount of time on the internets yesterday hating on the new logo. And sure enough, when I checked in, there they were, posting their snarky comments and their clever, acerbic Photoshop manipulations, raising a hew and cry that this new logo is the dumbest thing since, well, the last time a big brand changed its logo.
In short, it is the WORST. THING. EVER.
Nowhere are the lowest aspects of internet cynicism and one-upsmanship more evident than in the certain sectors of the design community. If something new drops, you better not be standing between the haters and the bandwagon or you will get your ass trampled.
So old. So atavistic. Sooooooo predictable.
Louis Menand’s overview of two new books about the Civil Rights Act of 1964 in the New Yorker’s July 21 issue includes this sentence: “On May 3rd, Birmingham police, under the direction of the public-safety commissioner, Eugene (Bull) Connor, trained fire hoses and sicked dogs on young protesters.”
Ahem. That would be “sicced.” Although sicking a dog on me would definitely get me to stop whatever it was I was doing.
Dear Pathological Liar:
I don’t need to ask your advice. Instead, I want to ask about you. Specifically, I want to know if you are really a pathological liar, or merely some shill hired by the content syndicate that distributes your column. Frankly, my guess is it’s the latter. Based on my several marriages, I think I know from pathological liars. And I’m calling bullshit on your credentials.
Stacy the Skeptic
Ah, crap! You busted me. You’re right, I’m not really a liar, pathological or otherwise. And I am so contrite and ashamed. I hope you and all of my other readers will forgive me. But please allow me to explain.
Actually, it’s not Murtaugh Features Syndicate who hired me. They are just a front for my real sponsors: the CIA. And this is where it gets kinda complicated.
I admit that the root of my efforts to come off as the world’s greatest pathological liar really starts with a deep-seated need to win the approval of my dad. When he was the long-time covert head of the CIA, there was no one I looked up to more, but there was also no one I hated more. He’d go globetrotting all over, terminating a recalcitrant dictator here, fomenting a bloody revolution there. And then he’d come home and look at me with my 8th grade school books and my burgeoning careers as an amateur architect and veterinary surgeon, and he’d just have such a look of disdain on his face. It didn’t matter that “Afternoon Delight,” the song I wrote for Starland Vocal Band, was topping the charts and playing from every radio. To Dad, if you weren’t being extremely duplicitous in the service of your country, you were nothing.
And that really affected me. When you’re young and already fabulously wealthy thanks to the decades-ahead-of-its-time stock-picking algorithm you developed, people think you’re invulnerable. Nothing could be further from the truth. The last time dad returned from overseas—where he’d overseen the light-switch replacement of the entire Brazilian government with his squad of look-alike operatives—he sneered at me and said, “Hey, teenage multi-millionaire—when are you going to do something that means a shit?”
And it hurt. I mean it really hurt. So right then and there, I abandoned my cancer cure research (and I was SO close!) and vowed that I would make my father proud of me if it took every blood cell in my body. (Which, by the way, it eventually did, although I’m not at liberty to discuss my bionic hemoglobin replacement therapy protocol until the patent expires in 2018.)
So when the Murtaugh Features Syndicate people came calling, I saw my opportunity. Finally, I had a cover identity clever enough to allow me to take up and build on my dad’s legacy. After all, who is going to question the credibility a pathological liar?
Besides you, I mean, Stacy.
So, there you have it. No, I am not really a pathological liar with an advice column. Like my dad, I am the covert director of the CIA, a job I have enjoyed for almost two decades now. Thankfully, the terms of my contract allow me enough free time to enjoy my architecture, veterinary surgery and songwriting hobbies.
“Royals,” by Lorde, for instance? That was mine.
Whew! It feels great and is such a relief to finally come clean!
Perhaps no other entity than BitTorrent is as responsible for creating the misbegotten attitude that all creative content should be free. The company makes peer-to-peer streaming software that it KNOWS its users employ largely to download pirated copyrighted content. But now it wants to create original content, and it wants its users to pay for it. Up front. Uh huh. And because outcomes on the interwebs are counterintuitive, paradox-ridden and frequently fly in the face of what is right and just, I am predicting they will succeed.
And because I am the worst prognosticator in the world, I hope I have just doomed them to fail.
NYT: BitTorrent to Try a Paywall and Crowdfunding (note: article may be paywalled—ha!)
Guess who isn't one of the 50 most influential cats on the internet, and if you said "Yeti," you are correct.
What a load of kitty shite! Friskies, the famous cat food brand, has launched a crapulous popularity contest purportedly listing the 50 most influential cats on the intertubes, of which you-know-who (Yeti) is not one of them!
I call bullshit.
Who wants to be on that stupid old list anyway? Yeti is too busy.
Those cynical Friskies bastards even have a quick and easy way of nominating cats to the list, but God forbid someone should nominate Yeti! And God forbid they should include his YouTube playlist as one of his “social properties” if they do nominate him. (Yeti’s YouTube playlist, featuring his 100 or so videos, may be found at http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLA5D9D361DD2DEFA3.)
In conclusion, Yeti is not listed as one of the 50 most influential cats on the Internet and does not want to be, because any list that excludes him is a dumb, worthless list, although Yeti is NOT saying that if he was added to the list he might not grudgingly reconsider his position.
To repeat, Yeti does NOT want to be on a list that he is not on. Currently.
That is all.
Until the age of 34 I believed vampires were real.
The inside of my left eyelid itches when I smell pancakes.
To save money, I sometimes steal my tips back when the bartender isn’t looking.
I’m letting the hair on my ears grow out.
Sometimes when I burp it makes me nostalgic, because it smells like the Frito pie served by my high school cafeteria.
I often feel like my life is a prequel to a movie I hated.
I’m one of those people who think President Obama was born in a foreign country, but unlike most, I think that country is New Mexico.
Sometimes I sit on the toilet to combat feelings of loneliness.
Writing this is one of those times.
As we all now understand, the Internet is a morass of overhyped and/or misleading and/or deceptive content, the sole purpose of which is to expose you to,
A) Advertising, and;
2) Links leading to more bullshit content.
These stories, which exist only to sucker us into viewing them, are known as click-bait.
Coming up with the content itself is easy. You either just make shit up, or you wait until the last paragraph to weasel out of the premise teased by your headline: “But as it turns out, despite hundreds of Internet headlines to the contrary, Kim Kardashian did not have an alien vagina transplant.”
No, it’s coming up with the premises themselves, as trumpeted by the headlines, that are difficult. And that’s where we come in.
Together, we can help those poor burned-out click-bait headline writers come up with ways of enticing gullible idiots to click on links they know in their hearts are bullshit, but are so bored and desperate for a little novelty they’ll click on them anyway.
After all, who knows better than we do what gullible, bored and desperate idiots want?
10 CELEBRITIES YOU NEVER KNEW WERE HERMAPHRODITES
VIDEO: MAN CELEBRATES 6TH ANNIVERSARY OF PERMANENT ERECTION
AUSTRALIAN MIRACLE: KITTEN SAVES ORPHANS FROM GREAT WHITE SHARK
INTERNET HEALTH CRISIS: ARE YOU DOING THIS POTENTIALLY DEADLY SURFING?
ARE YOU ON THE LIST? IRS TO REFUND 27 BILLION OVERCHARGED TAXPAYERS
YOU’LL NEVER BELIEVE HOW THIS WOMAN PLAYS THE KAZOO!
DEADLY DOG FOOD: IS YOUR POOCH PROTECTED?
YOU CAN DO THAT WITH AN IPHONE?!
5 HIDDEN SOURCES OF IMMENSE WEALTH IN YOUR HOME RIGHT NOW
DEADLY SMARTPHONE BACTERIA: SEE IF YOUR MODEL’S AFFECTED
DOES TYPO IN CONSTITUTION MAKE YOU PRESIDENT?
PHOTOS: TAYLOR SWIFT CAUGHT IN DEVIANT SEX STING?
MICHELLE: THAT THING BARACK DOES THAT I LOOOOOVE
OMG! DID LEBRON JUST HAVE A DICK SLIP?
Hive Mind Contributions:
Jose Altuve is the second baseman for the Houston Astros baseball club.
I wrote this song honoring Altuve in 2012, his first full season in the majors.
At that time, he was the lone bright spot in an otherwise dismal season.
Today, in spite of playing for the lowly Astros, he is on his way to becoming a bonafide star.
As of today, he leads the AL in hits, steals and batting average.
He has a fielding percentage of .997.
In short, he is flat out AWESOME.
But he’s been my favorite Astro since the day he first broke in.
He brought real excitement to Astros fans like me for the first time in a long time.
He brought serious skills, heart, smarts and guts to the Astros lineup.
He has what it takes to win, and he wants to win.
PS: This song is on my forthcoming ManChildATX album, My Mouse Finger Is Insured for $10 Million
OK, I need your help. Can you give me your expert aesthetic opinion?
So, I’m working hard to make all of the goodies I need to fulfill the rewards for people who backed the Kickstarter campaign for my second ManChildATX album, My Mouse Finger Is Insured for $10 Million. And I decided I may as well make a bumper sticker while I’m at it.
I came up with about a dozen designs and slogans I feel certain will help get more people interested in my music. But they’re all so good, I can’t decide which one to go with.
So I thought, “Let the people decide!” Tweet your vote to @richie_boy. Or email me.
Seriously. Oh, come on!
I just read a one-two punch about the unequal dispensation of justice in the U.S. We’ve been hearing a lot about income inequality lately. Justice inequality is income inequality’s bullying little brother who does much of the dirty work that keeps income inequality thriving.
Matt Taibbi’s new book is called The Divide: American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap. I’d never read Taibbi before, although I’d always heard great things. Still, I wasn’t looking forward to a bitter polemic about how our justice system gives carte blanche to the haves and while putting the screws to the have-nots. But Taibbi’s book doesn’t read like a screed. He tells his stories and for the most part lets them speak for themselves.
Each chapter pairs tales of brazen corporate criminals on one side and some poor down-on-his-luck schnook on the other side. Time after time, the corporate criminals are not charged for their crimes, which harm countless lives and livelihoods by, for instance, bankrupting cities and government pension funds. They get off with fines, which are paid by their parent corporations, with no individual crooks ever held accountable, even when the evidence has them dead to rights. Meanwhile, the schnooks bear the full brunt of the criminal justice system for their trivial offenses, like driving without a license, or even imaginary offenses, like being stopped and frisked for no reason and then being charged for blocking pedestrian traffic on an empty New York sidewalk at 1am.
What Taibbi gets so right is how we all have come to accept and internalize the sliding scale of equal justice that is based on economic caste. Yeah, we might want to see wealthy crooks get what’s coming to them, but we understand that they have the money to hire lawyers and make any prosecution a costly roll of the dice that might come up snake eyes. Meanwhile, we accept what happens to the poor because, well, we Americans don’t like losers, especially when we know we could become losers ourselves in a heartbeat. So, yeah, we think, it sucks, but better them than us.
Then just as I finish the Taibbi book, the latest New Yorker arrives with Sarah Stillman’s article Get Out of Jail, Inc., (sub req) about the private probation industry. These for-profit companies strike deals with local and state courts who have seen their budgets slashed by state governments. The deal is, they manage the probation of minor offenders, thus keeping the government from having to spend the money to house them in jail. Even better, they shift the cost of administering probation from the courts to the penny-ante offenders themselves. Not only does it make money for the courts and these for-profit businesses, it keeps these minor offenders caught in a Kafka-esque nightmare where they are under the constant threat of incarceration if they don’t cough up cash to pay constantly compounding fees and penalties.
In both Taibbi’s book and Stillman’s article it’s clear that these effects may be driven less by ideology and more by systemic lethargy. It’s hard and often fail-prone to prosecute the rich; it’s easy to prosecute the poor. So justice inequality and income inequality join in a self-reinforcing cycle.
So you say you want to jump on the San Antonio Spurs’ NBA championship celebration bandwagon?
But you’re kinda cheap and you don’t wanna spring for officially licensed NBA gear?
Is that what’s bothering you, bunky?
Well, hold your head up high and walk tall, because Walgreens in Austin has just what you need. Just like the stores that sell the real thing, the day after the Spurs’ triumph, Walgreens had their shelves stocked with just-in-time merch made to help them cash in.
Yes, go forth proudly with your muscles flexed and your chest all puffed out, the better to display this knock-off t-shirt Walgreens let you have for only ten bucks.
Just be sure to remove the sticker that disclaims any resemblance—unintentional or otherwise—to any officially licensed sports team.
And have an answer ready for when anyone asks you what the hell your shirt means.
OK, so I was wrong; this is totally explicable. It references a comment Spurs coach Gregg Popovich made during the playoffs TWO YEARS AGO. So these shirts are not only unlicensed and treading the line of trademark infringement, they are two year old surplus goods.
Facebook has made it easier for you to determine which ads you see and which ads you don’t. In addition, Facebook will now show you the data it knows about you that determines why a particular ad was displayed on your Facebook page.
Accessing these new controls is easy. Here’s all you have to do:
1. Remove all clothing. Discard.
2. Remove all gold jewelry, package it and mail to:
Facebook Privacy Initiative
Gold Jewelry Stockpile
PO Box 19332300223345
Omaha, NE 68101
3. Slather your body with electro-luminescent paint. Perform the rest of this procedure only under ultraviolet light.
4. Simultaneously press the control, alt, delete, function, option, shift, tab, F3, F5, F7 and F11 keys.
5. Oh, wait. We forgot to mention that you should have the Facebook preferences pane open in your browser. The only browser you can use for this process is Opera, which you probably don’t have, so…
6. Go download Opera, install it and open it. Then pull up your Facebook preferences pane. We’ll wait.
7. OK, now repeat steps 1-4.
8. Continue pressing the the control, alt, delete, function, option, shift, tab, F3, F5, F7 and F11 keys as you page through the Facebook preferences pane until you reach the panel titled “Confirmation.”
9. Click “No, I do not wish to confirm.”
10. Repeat steps 1-8.
11. Click “Yes, I most certainly do wish to confirm.”
12. Close your browser.
13. Shut down your computer.
14. Wash off the electroluminescent paint. Do not towel yourself off. Instead…
15. Huddle in the fetal position on the floor of your bathroom while naked and sopping wet for a minimum of 12 minutes.
16. Send a hand written, notarized request by registered mail indicating that you DO want to opt in to the new privacy controls to:
Facebook Privacy Initiative
Written Request Stockpile
PO Box 1304402203304403
Omaha, NE 68122
17. Wait approximately 18 weeks for acknowledgement of your request. If you do not receive an acknowledgement of your request within 18 weeks, repeat steps 1-16.
18. If you receive acknowledgement of your original request after you sent in a duplicate request, send a letter of apology to:
Facebook Privacy Initiative
Duplicate Request Apology Processing
PO Box 1204402203404402159
Omaha, NE 68133
19. Once you have received acknowledgement of your request and have no other requests in process, you can expect to receive confirmation that your request has been approved within approximately 18 weeks after receiving request acknowledgement. This confirmation will include instructions for how to actually use the new privacy controls. Save a copy of these instructions, as they are a bit more complicated than this process, but it’s nothing you shouldn’t be able to handle.
20. Oh, and one more thing: only use the Feldspar brand of electro-luminescent paint. If you used any other brand, please repeat steps 1-19.
AND IT’S JUST THAT EASY!
Dear People (the magazine, not the species):
I’m sorry, but can you please send over here someone to scrape me off the floor? I mean, if you are going to drop bombshells on me like the news of Antorio Bandana and Menalie Griffin’s impending S-P-L-I-T on me, you can’t just expect me to go on with my daily life without some kind of extra support. Like maybe a shot of adrenaline to the heart.
Because, you see, I was one of those who believed that what Antorio and Menalie had was real. I mean, you can just look at Melarie and see she is all about the real, yo. Sister don’t play, am I right?
I will be so disappointed if I find out that Antolio has left her for a younger woman, or for one whose scars don’t show quite as much. Say it ain’t so, Antsy!
So, yeah, until you guys see fit to send someone over to help me recover from the shock, I’ll be lying on the floor in a helpless pile of sadness goo.
Nice pics of Bey’s new look, BTW.
Yrs vry trly, etc., etc.,
WASHINGTON — The bear was loose again on Tuesday.
Twice in two days, President Obama has veered from his official schedule and shaken off the confines of White House security to get a taste of life on the outside. At one point he left his Secret Service detail, the reporters who cover his every move and even his own staff scrambling to keep up.
“The bear is loose,” Mr. Obama likes to say of these unplanned outings, comparing himself to a circus bear off his chain.
On Monday, it was an impromptu stroll with his chief of staff to a nearby Starbucks, where the president had a venti-size cup of tea, sending reporters and members of his senior staff scurrying around downtown Washington in search of Mr. Obama as he shook hands with passers-by…
Blocks away, another aide who had rushed to intercept the president at a Dunkin’ Donuts stood gazing around on a street corner, cellphone to ear, realizing too late that she was in the wrong place.
On Tuesday, it was lunch at a burger joint in suburban Virginia, FireFlies, with Arne Duncan, the education secretary. Mr. Obama admired babies and shook hands with patrons, but warned that he would not be off his chain long enough for pictures with everyone. “I’ll be here too long,” Mr. Obama said at the restaurant, in Alexandria. “I’ve got to get back to work pretty quick.”
NYT: Obama’s Moments of Freedom Send His Aides Scrambling
10:17—The Bear enters Murtaugh’s Hardware, approaches several customers and asks, “Hey, do you know where I can get a five-cent screw,” cracking self up repeatedly.
10:22—The Bear visits Aaron’s Sporting Goods, tries on several Speedos and is overheard asking, “Say, does my skinny ass make these trunks look fat?” “Later, bitches,” he says as a parting shot as he exits, cackling.
10:25—The Bear spends several minutes mesmerized by a street mime, drops a 10-dollar bill in the performer’s hat, and says quietly, “You had me at the glass box, dude. You had me at the glass box.”
10:31—A block and a half away, the Bear purchases a set of curtain rod finials at Pottery Barn, exits as he is overheard complaining, “Sold in sets of two only. What a load of horseshit. I just need one goddamn finial, for Christ’s sake. Talk about waste, fraud and abuse.”
10:39—The Bear quickly downs a couple Bud Lights at The Hoop & Pigskin sports bar. Bystanders claim he tells the bartnder, “Hey, I’m off duty for at least another 10 minutes, so I’m not worried about it. Hit me again, good sir.” Leaves a $2 tip, stifles a belch, exits.
10:46—The advance and follow teams finally catch up to the Bear just as he is leaving a fragrance store holding up a small package and exclaiming, “Paco Rabanne—that’s my jam!”
10:49—Bear back on the chain. “Show’s over, folks,” he manages to shout to startled pedestrians, as a member of the Secret Service detail shoves him into the back of his limousine. Damage control commences.