Mightier Than The Pen

Making The World A Bitter Place

Archive for November 2011

All Roads Lead to Sleeplessness and Irritability

with 2 comments

Written by Thag

November 30, 2011 at 3:58 pm

Dear Parents: Please Send Your Child to School with an Ax Today

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Dear parents:

On Thursday, December 15, the fifth grade will visit the Bestiality Museum in Weehawken. This exciting opportunity to enhance the children’s classroom learning will give them hands-on experience in applying what they have learned to the problems of today – and in the presence of some of the most important contemporary personalities in bestiality.

As you know, this year’s integrative curriculum includes a focus on evolutionary biology, through multiple lenses. Our previous trip, in early November, took the children on a riveting journey through the myriad ways in which creatures engage in reproductive activity. Because the feedback from that outing to the Short Hills BDSM Museum proved so hearteningly plentiful, for this month’s trip we selected another venue guaranteed to offer impressionable young minds a broadening experience, while at the same time making the subject relevant to everyday life. Our success in accomplishing the latter is evident from the parental involvement and interest in these trips.

Speaking of parental involvement, we still need two parental chaperones to accompany the students. Eleanor Jacobs, Stuart’s mother, generously offered her time for the last two trips, and we must also thank her for using her inside connections at the BDSM Museum to get the school a steep discount. This time, however, Mrs. Jacobs has a prior engagement, and we need another parent to step into her boots. We need a second volunteer, as well, as this year’s fifth grade class has seventy students. Interested parents, please contact school secretary Geraldine Ferraro.

The January and February trips still require some finalization, but we intend to take the students to the chemical weapons testing facility in Woodbridge and a mortuary, either in Jersey City or Newark. If you can let us know this far in advance whether you can serve as chaperone on one of those outings, please do so.

We welcome your continued feedback. Nothing says you care about your children’s education as much as when you let us know what you think.


Jeff Dahmer
Principal, Mahwah Central Grammar School

Written by Thag

November 29, 2011 at 3:38 pm

Tutorial: Avoiding Homework

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Please Like Mightier than the Pen on Facebook, and get further demonstrations of avoiding work at all costs.

Written by Thag

November 28, 2011 at 3:43 pm

The Arab Spring, with a Dash of Onion

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Written by Thag

November 27, 2011 at 10:08 pm

Train Yourself to Think Like a Knee-Jerk Bigot in Four Easy Steps

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Written by Thag

November 26, 2011 at 10:14 pm

Take That, Hitler

with 7 comments

I’ve given you all the wrong idea recently: in fact I know little or nothing about graphics and flow charts. So today we’ll depart entirely from snark and cynicism, just to remind my eleven or so regular readers that the genius monster doofus behind Mightier than the Pen’s trenchant social commentary can play the straight man, too. As in straight vs. funny, not straight vs. gay. Stop confusing me. Where was I?

Believe it or not, I was in Poland. Not I, personally, but that’s where my ancestry reaches. I mean the subject matter was in Poland, I just hadn’t told you yet. I’ve never been to Poland, nor do I wish to go. I’d rather not tread on the soil that swallowed up so much of my family between 1939 and 1945. Lest you think we’re discussing death and destruction: quite the opposite. This is a tale of redemption, of life beyond death, and every word of it is factual.


I’d always been under the impression that my great-grandparents died before, or were murdered during, the Second World War. My father’s parents came from large families, but emerged from that Hell with only one surviving sibling each. My mother’s family was a bit less unfortunate: each of her parents still had two siblings once the horrors ceased. The German Einsatzgruppen took care of the rest in the forests and fields of Poland and Lithuania. Perhaps some of my great aunts and uncles met their ends at Belzec or Sobibor; no one knows for sure. And my great-grandparents were already past their primes when the war broke out – there was no way the Nazis and their local collaborators would deign to keep them alive long enough even to squeeze a bit of work out of them before consigning them to the gas chamber or machine gun.

Or so I thought. My mother recently attended the funeral of her uncle, who married my grandfather’s sister and raised a family in Detroit and Los Angeles. Discussing the family history with me a couple of weeks ago, she shared a fact previously unknown to anyone in our nuclear family: her mother’s father actually survived the war. He died in 1951, and is buried but a forty-minute drive from my house.

Naturally this new information breathes life into a moribund family connection, and raises a slew of questions I’m not sure anyone can answer with certainty: how did he survive? In hiding? With local Resistance movements? By some other miracle? How much did he tell his remaining children, two of whom lived within half an hour of him? What do the grandchildren – I don’t think there are any great-grandchildren from those branches of the family – know about him? How did they end up here?

We’ll end the musings here, but not without noting that it’s not everyday one discovers a redrawing of the family tree. Me, I’m doing my part to make up the Nazi-perpetrated deficit: our fifth kid was born a week ago this evening. Five down, 5,999,995 to go.

Written by Thag

November 24, 2011 at 3:15 pm

Mapping the Conflict: Which Kind of Useful Idiot Are You?

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Written by Thag

November 23, 2011 at 11:20 am

For a Good Time, Call Anyone but Us

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Now that we have five kids we can do this:












Spit up all over Mommy’s clothes

Abuse Daddy’s computer just to get attention

Refuse to eat food that I specifically requested

Pour way too much cereal and milk

Complain about lack of clean laundry I was supposed to put away myself

React with tantrum to diaper change

Climb into clothes dryer

Insist on wearing clashing, out-of-season clothes and footwear

Throw laundry at ten-year-old

Give seven-year-old satisfaction of the reaction he sought to provoke

Keep crying through attempts to nurse

Toss toys down the steps


Refuse to wipe myself


Ignore admonition to get into pajamas

Find every distraction possible from homework

Demand to nurse juuuust when Mommy has begun to drift to sleep

Pull four-year-old’s hair

Refuse to eat because food was served on wrong color plate

Break eyeglasses. Again.

Feign stupidity in order to evade responsibility

Contract high fever just to drive parents into a panic

Dump kitchen garbage all over the floor

Traipse about the house stark naked, requesting help finding what to wear

Leave house without informing parents

Insist I’m fine in just a T-shirt on a really cold day

Written by Thag

November 22, 2011 at 8:16 pm

The Only Sentence You Will Ever Need as a Parent

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Written by Thag

November 21, 2011 at 3:41 pm

How to Conclude that Your Blogging Is Worthless

with 4 comments

Written by Thag

November 20, 2011 at 8:59 pm

Toddler Decisions Explained

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Please Like Mightier than the Pen on Facebook and get free reruns! As opposed to the free reruns you get here, which are, like, TOTALLY different.


Written by Thag

November 19, 2011 at 10:18 pm

Classic Thag, December 2010: The Toddler Principles of Mitten Use

with 3 comments

Originally posted December 17, 2010

1. I am dimly aware that my thumb plays a role in the process, but am as yet incapable of aligning that thumb with the thumb compartment. Either that, or I mastered the required level of digital dexterity and am just messing with you.

2. You will regret not clipping the mittens to my coat sleeve. Are you trying to lose these things?

3. The number of times I will remove the mittens and cry that my hands are cold is inversely proportionate to your patience.

4. I am perfectly capable of disproving your contention that mittens only disappear one at a time.

5. You are fooling yourself if you think that I cannot remove mittens that have no separate thumb.

6. Because washing mittens is inconvenient at best and outright destructive at worst, I will make sure to wipe my runny nose on the mittens as frequently and messily as possible.

7. The compromised manual dexterity that mittens cause will in no way prevent me from demanding foodstuffs that necessitate full finger use, such as pretzel sticks or Cheerios.

8. The odds of my removing and dropping at least one mitten increase in proportion to the wetness of the ground.

9. If you do wise up enough to attach the mittens to my coat sleeve with clips, if you then make the mistake of trying to do so while I am wearing the coat, I will move around as much as possible, and might throw a tantrum.

10. Despite all your precautions and efforts, at least one mitten will disappear by the time winter ends.

Written by Thag

November 18, 2011 at 3:02 pm

How to Announce Your Child’s Birth Like a Clueless Loser Blogger

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1. Apologize to the nonexistent, yet somehow still apathetic, hordes of followers for neglecting your posting schedule as a result of labor and delivery.

2. Offer a rambling record of your thought process vis-à-vis how much detail of the labor and delivery to share with those hordes, as if your experience adds anything new to the billions of births in human history.

3. Apologize for not including up-to-date photos of mother and child, when, essentially, all post-partum photos look the same, but for the particular hospital logo on the mother’s gown.

4. Wonder why your visitor stats have not spiked upwards following your momentous announcement.

5. Attribute the lack of increased attention to people’s busy schedules, never for a moment allowing yourself to consider the possibility that no one gives a $%#@.

6. Find ways of mentioning the birth in every post and comment for at least a week afterwards, with a link back to the original post containing the announcement.

7. Cease posting altogether for at least three weeks while your life turns upside down with the new demands of parenthood.

8. Upon your return to posting, apologize as in step 1. Repeat.

Written by Thag

November 17, 2011 at 9:44 pm

The Really Messy Part of Childbirth Is in the Guy’s Head

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Her Reaction

His Outward Reaction

His Real Reaction

Sex during labor “Ew. How uncomfortable are you trying to make me?” “Uh, OK, if it will help with relaxation.” “You bet!
Oh. Wait. You mean with you?”
Time to go to the hospital “Oh, can’t I just give birth right here?” “Whatever you think is best, honey, but I think you’ll feel safer with the doctor around.” “Oh, God, please let’s just go to the hospital, OK? Driving there will give me something useful to do.”
Getting into the car “Drive slowly, OK? The bumps are awful during contractions.” “I’ll do my best, honey. We do have to go at a reasonable speed.” “Come on! Outta my way! I’m gonna floor it!”
Check-in “Can I just (deep breath) see the (deep breath) doctor already?” “Can we just see the doctor already?” “Get somebody else responsible for this woman’s welfare before my true incompetence has a chance to show.”
Internal examination Damn, that’s uncomfortable. Is this really necessary? Damn, that looks uncomfortable. Is this really necessary? Won’t be doing that for a while.
Hooking her up to a fetal monitor “Oh, God, I hope nothing’s wrong.” “Oh, God, I hope nothing’s wrong.” “That is one fine-lookin’ technician.”
Hearing the fetus’s heartbeat Thank God my baby’s all right. My baby’s all right, right? Is it supposed to sound like that? I hope so. That is one fine-lookin’ technician. Mm-hmm.
Pitocin to speed up the delivery process “This is exhausting. Thank you for trying to pull me through it more quickly.” “This is exhausting. I can’t wait to meet our new child.” “This is exhausting. I hope I have the energy later to make it to the game.”
Offer of an epidural Either: “NOW, DAMN IT!” or: “No, I’m going to do this naturally.” Whatever she wants; it’s her body. “I want one too. Isn’t there a place for me to lie down or something? What lousy service.”
Transition contractions “UUUUUUUNGGGH!” “Breathe, honey. I’m right here. Here, hold my hand during those contractions.” “JESUS! THAT HURTS! YOU’RE GONNA BREAK EVERY BONE IN MY HAND!”
Delivery “UUUUUUUNGGGH!” “Omigod! Omigod! I see the head!” “I think I’m gonna be sick.”
Placenta delivery “Uuuuuuuhhh…” I think I’m gonna be sick. I think I’m gonna be sick.

Written by Thag

November 16, 2011 at 4:20 pm

How to Walk Your Dog Like a Class-A Jerk

with 5 comments

Fig. A: Dog bladder

1. Examine dog. Make sure dog bladder (Fig. A) and dog colon (Fig. B) are fully loaded.

2. Attach leash to collar of dog (if dog is not American, attach lead instead of leash).

3. Neglect to take plastic bags with you for inevitable intestinal output.

4. Follow route that includes urination and defecation sites best suited to inconveniencing passers by. Select such sites for dog, as well.

Fig. B: Dog colon

5. Unleash dog at local park or playground in flagrant violation of leash laws and common sense.
5a. If challenged on point 5, dismiss concerns with wave of hand and nonchalant assurances that dog behaves well and never bites.

6. When children or adults react with fear of unleashed dog – or even of one still restrained – express only shock that anyone could suspect a carnivorous, fanged beast a threat.

7. Make big show of not noticing that dog has deposited excrement when creature has manifestly done so.
7a. If challenged on point 7, respond with aggressiveness and assertion that you will do as you damn well please, and besides, the town employs people to keep the streets clean.
7b. On rare occasions that challenger carries some official capacity – such as that of a police officer, or some other person with authority to levy fines – assume posture of arrogant indignation, explicitly noting that your taxes pay the salary of said person.

8. Return home with clear conscience, if any.

Written by Thag

November 15, 2011 at 9:39 pm

The Chocolate-Decision-Making Process

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Written by Thag

November 14, 2011 at 8:20 pm

Why Has Your Blog Attracted Only Five Visitors Today?

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Likely Explanations

Less Likely Explanations

Your Explanation

There are a billion other blogs basically identical to yours.

You timed your last post badly.

Your subscribers, fans and WordPress have conspired to pull a vast practical joke on you.

You haven’t said anything compelling in all the time your blog has existed.

People have misunderstood your avant-garde material and fail to see its merit.

Was it something I said?

You haven’t made sufficient effort to promote your blog.

Your tireless efforts to promote your blog have come to naught.

Your screen has gotten comfortable with the same familiar, low figure, and refuses to display anything new or different. “5” is such a nice numeral, isn’t it? Why exchange it for something else?

Your idea of a reasonable number of visitors is exaggerated.

A bug in the stat-tracking scripts has delayed display of the actual figure.

A sudden onset of innumeracy has made you misapprehend what is actually a respectable figure.

It’s the weather. The seasonal changes have affected your mood and you haven’t posted anything new in three weeks.

It’s the weather. Sometimes people’s connection to the internet is affected by the weather, so just give it time.

It’s the weather. Because it’s so warm, people are trying to find ways to cool off and haven’t gotten around to checking out your blog. Or because it’s so cold, people are bundled up and can’t maneuver their devices properly. Or because it’s so mild, people are outside enjoying themselves instead of staying online. You know, because it’s not like anyone stays so attached to a mobile device that it might as well be connected by IV.

Your spotty internet connection has made it difficult to keep to a rigid posting schedule, causing frequent large gaps between posts, and consequently, a diluted following.

Your spotty internet connection has made it hard for you to check your stats when an accurate number of visitors is recorded.

Your spotty internet connection sometimes gets confused and gives you old data that got caught there by accident. You have to unplug the router and blow the lint out of the Ethernet cord.

Your material sucks.

God hates you. If you’re even worth His time.

Your material is so awesome that God Himself is wary of letting more than a select few humans encounter it.

You made poor choices in selecting tags for your last post, condemning the post to virtual oblivion.

WordPress has an unfair policy when it comes to posts that genuinely need three dozen tags, honest!

Your computer is stuck in Dr. Crusher’s warp bubble.

You wrote your last post before your morning coffee, and the results speak for themselves.

Your regular visitors are busy having their morning coffee now, but after breakfast time, look out!

The rest of the world just hasn’t had its coffee yet. Yes, even the people over in Western Samoa. Any minute now, boom!

People have only so much time for entertainment, and your blog just doesn’t make a persuasive enough argument to make it part of their routines.

Your post came this close to being noticed and spread around by a major online entertainment powerhouse. Of all the rotten luck.

Maybe if you spelled “Michael Jackson” “Mykel Jaxson” you would get more hits from search results.

“bunion-related-sports.com” is a lousy name for a blog site dedicated to cultivating azaleas.

Crossover sports-gardening-podiatry sites are the next big thing, and you’re getting in on the ground floor.

The domain name is completely unimportant to a site’s success. Just you wait and see!

Written by Thag

November 13, 2011 at 3:14 pm

Thag’s Labor and Delivery Quiz: You’ll Need an Epidural to Read this Post

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1. Your OB-GYN has calculated your delivery date as the 15th of November. This means:
(a) You will give birth on any day BUT the 15th of November.
(b) From about the 1st of November you will be on pins and needles just waiting for the onset of labor.
(c) Your ultrasound data will not jibe with your projected due date, causing unnecessary and unwanted additional trips to and from your OB-GYN and the ultrasound facility in case the discrepancy portends something horrific, but of course it’s probably nothing, we just have to cover all the bases, but don’t you worry about it, everything’s going to be just fine.
(d) You can expect to hear unsolicited horror stories until approximately the 15th of December.

2. A contraction feels:
(a) Like someone has whomped you in the gut with a firm pillow.
(b) Like a bad case of constipation holding back a bad case of diarrhea.
(c) Like your midsection has been taken over by the cast and crew of Stomp.
(d) Like a perfect reason to call your doctor for the fifteenth time this week, because this time it might be for real.

3. The proper role of the father during labor and delivery :
(a) Mainly involves photography.
(b) Traditionally includes primarily being sent to boil water, which no one really needs, but it gets him out of the way for a while.
(c) Should not, on pain of death, feature minute-by-minute tweets advising of the mother’s progress.
(d) Is to do all the stressing out that the mother is too busy to get done herself, what with the actual labor and all.

4. Your childbirth class instruction included a description of the contractions during Transition as having increased discomfort. Your reaction this description:
(b) Is to be reminded of Dave Barry’s description of a junkie as a “heroin fancier.”
(c) Prompted you to request an epidural to be administered starting in week 32.
(d) Confirms your suspicions that women who claim to love childbirth inhabit an entirely different dimension that only occasionally intersects with this one. You wonder whether they relax by having their fingernails extracted with a pipe wrench.

5. Post-partum, you will bleed:
(a) Like a stuck pig in a meat grinder.
(b) All over the goddamn designer nursing clothes you bought in a fit of yuppie insanity.
(c) From your nipples, for crying out loud. They didn’t warn you about that emphatically enough, did they?
(d) For so long you will wonder why hospitals even have a separate facility for blood donations.

6. In your professional opinion as an OB-GYN, which of the following is the best justification for a scheduled Cesarean section?
(a) I get more money from the the insurance company for performing such a procedure.
(b) Putting the mother under is the best way to shut her up.
(c) It’s too risky to let the uterus do exactly what it evolved to do.
(d) The patient is already dead.

7. Which of the following measures should be taken to preserve the birthing mother’s dignity in the delivery room?
(a) Restricted access: only four random strangers allowed to view the woman’s intimate parts at a time.
(b) If not otherwise occupied, the anesthesiologist can muffle the mother’s unbecoming vocalizations by holding a pillow over her face.
(c) Laughably open hospital gowns in subdued, non-attention-grabbing hues.
(d) Strict procedures governing which hospital personnel are allowed to treat the mother as an ignorant piece of meat and which must settle for only using a condescending tone.

8. Carol Burnett compared childbirth to taking one’s bottom lip and stretching it over the top of one’s head. Why might this be so?
(a) Holy crap. I’m getting an epidural.
(b) No, really. You’re scaring me. My body was NOT meant to do this.
(c) Um, WTF?
(d) If you need me, I’ll be in the waiting room, clobbering my husband for the next twenty minutes. Bastard.

9. A newborn baby most closely resembles:
(a) A powdered donut.
(b) Winston Churchill.
(c) A number three frozen Purdue chicken (or Frank Perdue himself; it’s a toss-up. Wait. Isn’t that H. Ross Perot? Former NY Mayor Edward I. Koch? Help us out here).
(d) The member of the family most closely related to the person noticing the resemblance.

10. The feeling of cradling your newborn baby against your skin:
(a) Is Heaven on Earth.
(b) Is the most persuasive argument for the existence of God as can possibly be made.
(c) Makes every last bit of unspeakable pain in your life, let alone your pregnancy, worth it and then some.
(d) Is too precious and pure for me to even think of putting a sarcastic, snarky answer in for this question. (Oh, by the way, congratulations. And enjoy).

Written by Thag

November 12, 2011 at 10:35 pm

Classic Thag: December 2010

with 10 comments

Mmm..chocolate coated litterbugs…

Originally posted December 27, 2010

Hi, there. Do you mind if I toss my empty wrapper into your yard?

I wasn’t sure. See, it looks like a few other people have already done so, but I didn’t know whether they have some special arrangement with you, or what. I see that a lot, and I’m never certain as to some people’s behavior when it comes to disposal of refuse.

I figure all the wrappers, newspaper fragments, cigarette butts and half-eaten food items that I see all over the place must have been discarded with some forethought, because, you know, humans have this capacity to consider the consequences of their actions. I favor the economic model that sees people acting more or less in consonance with their interests – which, I know, does not account for all of human behavior, notably the popularity of certain television networks – but I’m looking for ways in which what appears to be profligate, indiscriminate scattering of garbage might be accounted for in terms of productive ends.

So I surmised they had some collaborative, mutually beneficial arrangement by which they might save time and energy by just chucking their trash into other people’s property, and in exchange they might offer some tangible benefit, such as payment, babysitting or housekeeping services, for example.

Why Hannibal REALLY gave up.

Now, it could be – and please indulge my speculative musings here – that some people knowingly dispose of their garbage every which way and rely on their tax dollars to fund municipally administered cleanup efforts; but this fails to reckon with the obvious benefits of having a continuously clean environment, not one that merely oscillates between filthy and passable (let us not get carried away with the assumption that cleanup successfully removes every morsel of crap; one illusion at a time, please). The long- and short-term benefits of taking one’s refuse all the way to the nearest appropriate receptacle far outweigh the negligible savings of time and energy involved in just dropping everything on the spot. So it could not be this calculus that drives the litterbug to act thus.

That’s why I posed this question to you, you see. If my assumption proves correct, I would further inquire as to the benefits you enjoy from the accumulation of assorted waste in your territory. I admit that my own territory might lack a bit in the maintenance department – I vacuum and wash my car scarcely more than once a year – but I wish to understand why one might countenance active use of one’s space as a dumpster, especially in light of the ill will such aesthetics can easily generate among the neighbors.

The Urban Chandelier would be a good name for a pub.

Unless, of course, you already have an agreement with those neighbors, who are willing to forgo a completely pristine street or neighborhood in exchange for, say, something you might offer them in return – free shortcuts through your yard; barbecues or block parties that you sponsor; decorative pairs of your old shoes, tastefully adorning telephone wires throughout the area. It could be anything, really, which just piques my curiosity even more.

I suppose an alternative hypothesis could explain this phenomenon: the individuals putting their trash in your yard, or bicycle basket, or the bed of your pickup truck, have not actually received permission to dispense their detritus there, but behold the existing accumulation and conclude that you are an avid collector, and generously wish to contribute. This hypothesis has the advantage of explaining both what you might receive from these passers by and the benefit you offer them – the convenience of clearing the space these objects occupy without additional effort.

Give this arrangement enough time, though, and people might start driving over just to deposit their used whatever in your yard. I suggest you forestall this by warning them they can be cited for illegal dumping. After all, it’s only the concern we all share for one another that keeps our society functioning as well as it does.

Written by Thag

November 10, 2011 at 8:05 pm

More Guy-Bashing. It Just Doesn’t Get Old.

with 7 comments


Good Response

Typical Guy Response

Ultra-Guy Response

“Does this dress make me look fat?”

Take her in your arms and kiss her passionately.

“No! Of course not!” (She knows you’re lying, you jerk.)

“The dress doesn’t make you look fat; all the flab on your body makes you look fat.”

Crying lover

Say nothing, but make sure she knows you’re with her. If she feels like saying anything, indicate only that you’re listening intently.

“Jesus. What the hell happened to you?”

“What’s this? Where the &@#$ is my dinner?”

Another driver cuts you off in traffic, in the presence of a woman

Shake your head at the stupidity of other people and move on.

Shout obscenities at the other driver.

Cut off the other driver repeatedly in retaliation, since failing to react thus can only mean you have a small penis.

Your child has a soiled diaper

Immediately change the child’s diaper

Pretend not to notice the soiled diaper, gambling that eventually your better half will stop whatever she’s doing and take care of it.

“Yo! Honey! The kid’s filthy, and I can’t concentrate on the game!”

Child wakes up crying in the middle of the night

“Is that the baby? I’ll go get her.”

“Your turn.”

“I’m trying to sleep here. You think you could sing her to sleep somewhere else?”

You finish almost all the milk in the carton, leaving only a few drops

Drink the rest and dispose of the empty carton; determine necessity of buying more milk.

Return practically useless carton to refrigerator.

Leave carton out, causing milk to spoil and stink up the place.

Beer supply depleted

Buy more beer.

Casually mention lack of beer to significant other.

Complain loudly about the kind of woman who would let the beer run out.

New kind of gadget comes out

Dismiss urge to buy product Right Now.

Go out and buy product Right Now

“A book for my birthday? What the hell?”

Your favorite team makes it to the playoffs

Gratitude to the franchise for representing you so well

“Woohoo! [rival team] sucks!”

Snag tickets for you and the guys to a game that happens to be scheduled for her birthday.

Your approaching anniversary

A romantic but tasteful  evening out

Ooh! Thanks for reminding me!

My what?

Written by Thag

November 9, 2011 at 4:42 pm

Hey! I May Be a Lousy Blogger, but…but, Uh…I’ll Think of Something

with 7 comments

Things You Have Seriously Considered Offering in Exchange for Robust Visitor Stats

Things You Might Consider Offering in Exchange for Robust Visitor Stats if Push Comes to Shove

Things You Will Only Offer in Exchange for Robust Visitor Stats if Your Life Depends on It

Various numbers of children, both born and unborn

Your significant other or others, especially former lovers

A sex life

The pinkie finger of your non-mouse-clicking hand

A roof over most of your residence. Really, you can manage without one everywhere except where the computer gets plugged in.

Wait, I take that back

One meal per day, possibly two, as long as you could still have pizza with some regularity

Daily (one hopes) hygiene

I think. Let me consider my options:

All the extra shoes you have lying around, especially the ones that you haven’t worn in about four years, but are still saving because, hey, they might come in handy

Shaving. Yes, your legs and unibrow count.

What are the chances I can get some – any, really –  with low self-esteem that results from my current sustained mode of attracting an average of twelve users a day?

Jersey Shore. Let’s be honest here: you should be giving this up no matter what, but a bargaining chip is a bargaining chip.


Wouldn’t it be wiser, taking the long view, to give up on this pipe dream of hitting it big with my blog and try to get a real job with real income?

Your subscription to Celebrity Inanities Weekly (also known as Parade magazine, free with your Sunday paper. While you’re at it, you might want to give up your Sunday paper. Talk about a waste of trees).

Electricity at non-computer-using times

In this economy? What are you, a moron?

Non-essential furniture, such as anything not involved in holding up the computer or the person using it

Fresh vegetables

Oh, so it’s better to keep flogging the dead horse of a useless blog and pray for a miracle?

The collection in your toolbox of random screws and other hardware that has accrued over the years. It might come in almost as handy as the old shoes

Canned vegetables

So you have a better idea, Einstein? I don’t see YOU raking in the cash.


Frozen vegetables

Yeah, but at least I think about trying something else that might work out better – you just sit there on your fundament and blather on endlessly to no one in particular! You should have your own hour on C-SPAN!

Continence. How bad can permanent catheterization be?

Pickled vegetables. Thankfully, this does not include potato chips.

Say, that’s an idea. I’ll do some online research into getting my own TV show…


Written by Thag

November 8, 2011 at 4:16 pm

OK, Now the REAL Real Reasons Your Blog Gets No Traffic

with 8 comments

You thought we’d covered this ground before. Just yesterday, in fact. Well, perhaps many of you do not take kindly to direct criticism. Just for you, I have developed an alternative set of reasons, one that takes the onus off you, the poor, beleaguered blogger, and places the blame, and therefore the responsibility for fixing things, squarely on the shoulders of others.

But of course, in this go-getter world, when every idiot, especially you, needs to put something “proactive” on a cv, we must also provide direction as to what YOU can do to remedy the situation. Fear not, for the directions provided herein will not, as you might otherwise think, require you to actually get off your duff and act, unless you’re the sort of person who enjoys criminal insanity. More on that as we progress.

1. A Sinister Cabal Has Conspired to Deprive You of Visitors by Attracting Them to More Compelling, Interesting and Useful Sites. This cabal is so sinister, in fact, that the vast majority of its members remain completely unaware of its existence. As far as they know, they are merely producing quality content without regard for the effect on your site’s traffic. The worst offenders are, perversely, some of the most respected names in the online world. But try alerting, say, The New York Times to its misdeeds, and they simply ignore you.
What You Can Do: Hunt down and kill all competing content providers, one by one.

2. Your Audience Prefers Content Other than what You Have to Offer. You know they’d find your content edifying, informative or otherwise useful, whereas they seem to think they’ll find what they seek basically anywhere else on the web. Whether through sheer bad luck or actual malice, these people, staying away from your site in droves, callously allow your content to languish, causing you no end of frustration and self-esteem-enhancement course enrollment.
What You Can Do: Hunt down and kill all the people not visiting your site, one by one.

3. Your Free Blogging Platform Has Inadequate Processes for Identifying and Prominently Displaying Top-Quality Content Such as Yours. WordPress, for example, might have its mysterious ways of finding and evaluating which new posts to place front and center, but clearly those methods remain woefully inadequate, because not once have the Powers that Read deigned to afford your manifestly worthy output the showcasing it deserves.
What You Can Do: Hunt down and kill the blogging platform content evaluation people one by one.

4. There Just Aren’t Enough Hours in the Day for You to Create High-Quality Content AND Engage in Other Essential Activities Such as Television. You have too many things to do that simply must get done: catching up on seasons six through twelve of The Simpsons; following celebrity gossip; gaming, whether online or otherwise; agonizing over the fortunes of your favorite/most despised sports franchise (in the case of the Boston Red Sox, one and the same); and complaining to family and remaining friends about the lack of appreciation/success in your content creation, among many other critical activities. You need more than 24 hours in a day if you’re also going to create good content and find ways of promoting it. How else will you gather material for your trenchant social commentary? The world surely awaits your pontifications concerning the superiority of Lindsay Lohan’s sartorial decisions over those of Beyoncé, or vice versa.
What You Can Do: Hunt down and kill those who continue to promote the 24-hour day.

5. Aliens Have Focused Inspiration-Sucking Beams on Your Head, Blocking Your Creative Faculties. These aliens are devious entities, often taking the form of snack cravings, excretory needs and environmental hazards just as creative thought is about to strike. They intend to divert you from your noble goal of enlightening the world, of course. Because of your skill and talent in producing reams of content without working very hard at it, you have never been required to cultivate the discipline and willpower necessary to overcome these obstacles.
What You Can Do: Destroy the planet so that the aliens stop bothering you.

Written by Thag

November 7, 2011 at 3:47 pm

The 5 REAL Reasons Your Site Gets Such Pathetic Visitor Traffic

with 4 comments

I just saw another of the endless, mindless posts supposedly detailing Why No One Visits Your Web Site. You know the kind I mean: an ostensibly exhaustive list of all the technical, professional and personal  factors that contribute to your continued failure to generate a real audience for your online content, a list that primarily showcases the manifest knowledge and expertise of the writer. Don’t you want to be like them, the post all but shouts?

These posts are perennial favorites on buttoned-collar sites such as LinkedIn, and to some degree on other social media. But of course these “experts” fail to account for the main factors, always missing the point. “Won’t someone set everyone straight already?!” you cry into the ether.

Cry no more, and wipe that ether off your bib. It’s very unbecoming. Thag is here to give you an uncomfortably intimate litany of factors in Why No One Visits Your Web Site. This kind of treatment you cannot get elsewhere on the web, outside forums dedicated to vicious political debate. Listen up:

1. You Can’t Write a Sentence Worth a Damn. Let’s not beat around the bush here. Your writing would make any civilized person cringe. Learn to separate your sentences with periods, not commas. Realize that apostrophes are unnecessary in creating plural forms. Appreciate the differences among “there,” their” and “they’re.” The moment I see such offenses I lose all respect for the content creator, and by extension, anything that writer has to say. I don’t care how much you know about the topic of your choice – if you use “it’s” as a possessive, as far as I’m concerned you know diddly-squat, and I’m going back to reading The Onion, at least until they ask me to pay for further access.

2. You Have Awful Taste in Music. Your video technology might be state-of-the-art. Your mad editing skillz might put most media professionals to shame. Your images and sound quality might evoke Academy Award-winning films. But if you assault my senses one more time with disco, for crying out loud, or some wannabe hip-hop act, buh-bye. Mozart. Brahms. Offenbach. Rossini. Those should be on your roster of go-to guys, not some hit-me-over-the-head-with-your-message idiot. And no, Chevrolet, the approved list does not include Pete Seeger.

3. You’re Boring. Why exactly, should I care what you have to say if you don’t seem to care about it very much? Use humor, or at least show how excited the subject gets you. I don’t want to read your attempt to continue reliving your high school History class, when you had to turn in essay after essay on such titillating topics as The Role of Sorghum Cultivation in American Westward Expansion, which of course you could have transformed into a stinging satire of your teacher’s technique, and had fun in the process, but no: you decided to produce yet another sober essay in an infinitely long line of sober essays presenting in a straightforward, sleep-inducing manner a sober analysis of a sober, ridiculously useless topic. No wonder your teacher hated you and kept assigning more drivel, week after week. Are you still listening? If so, it means I’m a better writer than you, since I’ve managed to keep your attention for this long. But that isn’t saying much, is it, you Hemingway, you?

4. You Betray Ignorance of Basic Elements of the Human Psyche. If you want to generate traffic, attention and engagement, provoke people. Don’t go for vanilla – you want wasabi, extra sharp. If you want people to come back, foment jealousy. Rage. Passion. Hate. Take a goddamn stand on an issue, and let the chips fall where they may. They may end up being cow chips, but they’ll be authentic expressions of your ability to pull in readers, even if you do think abortions should be mandatory for illegal immigrants.

5. You Have Not Subscribed to Mightier than the Pen, nor Have You Shared this Post. It’s quite simple: I’m exploiting the attention you’re giving me, and gambling that enough of you will fall for this cheap ploy to significantly boost my traffic. Since in general, persistent bloggers increase their audiences over time, I hereby take credit for that increase in your readership which follows your following me. You follow?

Written by Thag

November 6, 2011 at 11:15 pm

How to Shower Like a Ten-Year-Old

with 5 comments

1. Do not respond to the first three parental admonitions to go shower.

2. Upon hearing the agitated, exasperated fourth admonition, react with indignation at the tone, as if the first three never occurred. Attempt to prolong discussion of the tone/listening issue as much as possible.

3. When issue is exhausted, or when parental threats indicate, sullenly acquiesce to following parental instructions, stomping in protest all the way toward bedroom.

4. Take least direct route toward ostensible destination, finding as many distractions along the way as possible. Ideally, this will involve provoking a younger sibling into a fight or extended play.

5. Following the fifth admonishment and rising parental anger, pretend to suddenly remember that you were on your way to shower, and proceed again toward bedroom.

6. Find book/toy/other diversion in bedroom.

7. At parental inquiries as to progress, ignore as long as possible until you have no choice but to nonchalantly respond, “Not yet.”

8. Do not permit parent to complete the consequent scolding before disappearing out of earshot behind closed bathroom door.

9. Find intra-bathroom activities to occupy the time, such as making faces in the mirror and stacking various toiletries.

10. In response to parental inquiry as to the lack of water running, feign deafness.

11. Streak back to bedroom to find post-shower clothing item that you “forgot”.

12. Return to bathroom and resume face-making operations.

13. Wait for parental frustration to plateau before actually getting into shower and turning on the water.

13a. If shower has removable spray nozzle, spend at least eight minutes admiring how the spray travels along or against various bathroom surfaces.

14. Perform perfunctory cleaning routine. Be sure to neglect obvious body parts such as ears and face.

15. Resume face-making activities.

16. Wait for third parental inquiry as to progress before opening bathroom door.

17. Innocently proceed to bedroom as if all along, parental instructions were followed assiduously.

18. Dump dirty clothes and wet towel on floor of bedroom; leave for three days or until parental reaction sets in, whichever is later.

Written by Thag

November 5, 2011 at 10:44 pm

Are You Crude Enough for the Rudeness Brigade? Take Our Test. Jerk.

with 2 comments

1. At the pizza joint, you attempt to dispose of some used napkins, but one or two of them fall on the floor instead of into the receptacle. You:
(a) Continue on your merry way as if nothing has happened.
(b) Pause for a moment, but rationalize leaving it there by noting that the place has a cleaning staff anyway.
(c) Pause for a moment, but rationalize leaving it there by congratulating yourself on removing the trash from your table in the first place, and hey, you can’t expect too much from a person. What do I look like, Mother Theresa?
(d) Fake a bad back so that anyone observing will conclude that you just can’t do anything about it.

2. Boogers go:
(a) On the undersides of tables, chairs and desks.
(b) On walls, but only if you’re below the age of twelve.
(c) Out the driver’s side window.
(d) On shirt sleeves and cuffs.

3. The proper reaction to a sneeze involves:
(a) A playful punch on the arm and the phrase, “Good one!”
(b) Faking that some of the spittle got in your eye.
(c) A look of withering disdain.
(d) “Say, you still gonna eat that?”

4. The napkin’s proper position:
(a) Is, uh, under the fork? No? The spoon?
(b) Well, doesn’t that depend on whether it’s a super-crappy cafeteria napkin that doesn’t absorb squat, or a top-quality napkin like the ones in the dispenser over the restroom sinks?
(c) Is in those spring-loaded dispensers on every table, with the Coca-Cola logo on them.
(d) Ya got me. Defensive end?

5.  Upon discovering that a female friend’s husband has died, you:
(a) Wonder aloud which of his bad habits did him in – was it the booze or something illegal?
(b) Crash the funeral, drunk, and loudly serenade the deceased with ribald lyrics.
(c) Wonder, not necessarily aloud, about how long she’ll wait to start dating again, and how you can put yourself in a good position when the time comes.
(d) Wonder, probably not aloud except perhaps to certain other males, as to the possibility of scoring some grief sex.

6. “I’m sorry” means:
(a) That I regret getting caught, and I’ll refrain from the offending behavior as long as the offended party is unaware of my actions.
(b) That I regret hurting the offended party, because it reduces my ability to exploit the relationship.
(c) I’m male.
(d) What’s that second word again? I don’t understand. Speak English, willya?

7.  The car horn should be used to convey the following message:
(a) “Yo! The light’s green already! It’s been green for like three quarters of a second! Who taught you to drive, Stevie Wonder?”
(b) “Hey! You! You’re preventing me from advancing another car length in this gridlock!”
(c) “Yo! Stella! I’m waiting downstairs! Quit fixing your makeup again and get down here!”
(d) “I have a horn.”

The "c" is silent, as in Peanut Butter.

8. Etiquette is:
(a) For losers with no appreciation for bleacher-creature sensibilities.
(b) Um…a fancy word for fish?
(c) Hell, it’s a French word. Probably something to do with surrendering, or women not shaving their armpits.
(d) Oh! I know this one! It’s a state in New England! Where the Hartford Whalers play!

9. I learn my manners from:
(a) Beavis nd Butthead.
(b) Jersey Shore.
(c) Al Bundy.
(d) Ted Bundy.

Not actual size.

10. My idea of a good time involves:
(a) Pizza.
(b) Beer.
(c) Pizza and Beer.
(d) Pizza, Beer and televised sporting events.

Written by Thag

November 3, 2011 at 11:06 pm