Mightier Than The Pen

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Posts Tagged ‘marketing

Study: Twitter ‘Favorites’ Slightly Less Useful Than Bowl Of Warm Urine

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All it's missing is a label with a cool font.

New York, July 27 – An interdisciplinary team of pathologists and market researchers have determined that in terms of overall benefit to mankind, a bowl full of warm urine possesses greater utility than people clicking the “Favorite” toggle on a Twitter post, the journal Science reported this week.

Scientists looked at the potential positive impact of “Favoriting” a tweet and compared it with that of a receptacle containing secretions from the human urinary bladder. They found that while a Favorite can potentially – but not necessarily – induce feelings of positive achievement in the person or persons who posted the tweet, a bowl of urine starts out even warmer, and also has disinfectant properties.

Twitter allows users to indicate they approve of a tweet in three ways: Favoriting, replying with an actual response, and retweeting. The latter two methods generally result in the user’s followers seeing the original tweet, and thus afford it additional exposure beyond the roster of those who follow merely the original tweeter.

Favoriting, on the other hand, is directly and immediately visible only to the user and the original poster. Technically, a list of the tweets a user has Favorited is visible to others who view that user’s profile, but such an action remains rare. In contrast, a bowl of warm urine can be used to help water certain kinds of plants, or to keep away certain kinds of animals.

Twitter offers an alternative purpose for Favorites, a use that involves marking a tweet for later review or exploration, but such use also remains vanishingly rare, and is not congruent with the term “Favorite” itself. Urine, on the other hand, can also serve as a critical diagnostic medium for such important physiological indicators as diabetes, kidney stones, drug addiction, and hydration levels. It also usually serves as the preliminary vehicle for detecting pregnancy.

Written by Thag

July 27, 2014 at 3:01 pm

With Visibility Of Posts Downgraded, User Sues Facebook For Emotional Distress

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FacebookMenlo Park, CA, June 9 – The owner of a Facebook page struggling to reach and expand his audience is suing the social media giant Facebook for emotional distress resulting from the social media giant’s deliberate withholding of many of his updates from his audience.

Thag Boogerman, who writes for the blog Mightier Than The Pen and the satirical news site PreOccupied Territory, filed  a lawsuit today charging that Facebook, with malice aforethought, displays posts and links to only a handful of users, even when hundreds of users have expressly requested to receive those updates by Liking that page. For each post, the page operator is invited to “boost” its visibility for a cost; the lawsuit charges that this puts beyond Boogerman’s reach the level of exposure necessary to maintain, let alone expand, his audience, thereby thwarting him in his efforts to earn a living, exacerbating domestic tensions, and causing untold emotional distress. Boogerman is asking the courts to order Facebook to pay him $89 million.

Just yesterday, says the thirty-eight-year-old father of five, a user who Liked his page more than a year ago sent him an angry message, asking him why she had not received any updates from his page in six months. She refused to accept his explanation that Facebook’s EdgeRank algorithm was at fault, and accused him of neglecting his audience.

“I can’t afford to promote every single post, link, and status update,” says Boogerman, who lives in Yehupitz Park. “Every one of my posts is important to me and my users, and Facebook makes truckloads of money on ads, data sharing, and who knows what else. This whole thing is a naked attempt to gouge people for more money, and it increases the gap between the haves and the have nots.” He added that this results in the sad irony of Facebook functioning for so long as a social equalizer – notably during the Arab Spring, when the masses of protesters used the site to coordinate anti-government demonstrations – becoming yet another tool with which the moneyed class presses its wealth to its advantage.

Facebook has yet to respond to the lawsuit, but experts expect them to argue for its dismissal on the grounds that they don’t give a crap about little people when there is so much money to be made. This consideration is especially important, they are expected to argue, since the disastrous IPO of the company’s stock last year.

Written by Thag

June 9, 2014 at 3:52 pm

“Backwash” Body Soap Selling Poorly

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shampoo bottleRochester, NY, May 29 – Procter and Gamble executives expressed disappointment this week when initial sales figures fro their new Backwash body soap proved negligible.

Company analysts had expected the product to sell relatively well on the strength of the product’s novelty and a campaign targeting the coveted 25-35-year-old demographic. However, the campaign seems to have little effect, and retailers are reporting only a handful of sales throughout the Northeast and Midwest regions.

The Backwash campaign highlights the product’s enzymes, which are suspended in a special formulation containing certain proteins such as amylase, which breaks down a set of common but complex organic molecules. The body wash produces a thicker, frothier foam when water is scarce, a contrast with other shampoos and soaps that froth best with a higher minimum level of moisture. The dry frothing was a feature that the company had hoped would translate into a selling point, emphasizing the water-saving advantages that Procter & Gamble calculated would appeal to the ecologically-minded Millennial demographic.

“We don’t yet know exactly where we went wrong,” said brand manager Abel Spitz. “The focus groups were pretty clear on the fact that this body wash’s features were promising, and that the design and color of the packaging was eye-catching and bright. We had a fabulous slogan for the ad campaign, so it’s going to take some more granular data analysis to get to the bottom of this.” The “Spray It, Don’t Say It” campaign launched in February, with ads on billboards, in print media, online, and a sprinkle of spots on network TV.

Spitz hopes his other brands make up for the losses generated by the Backwash failure. He also oversees a whitening toothpaste called Tartar Sauce and a nasal decongestant called Gland Opening. Even if they do well, says Spitz, “this one is hard to swallow.”

 

Also see PreOccupied Territory.

Written by Thag

May 29, 2014 at 3:44 pm

Tobacco Executives Perplexed That Drug Chain Won’t Sell Their Drug

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CVSWoonsocket, Rhode Island, February 6 – The heads of America’s largest tobacco companies are scratching their heads at a decision by CVS, the nation’s largest pharmacy chain, to stop selling cigarettes, wondering why the drug they sell is somehow different from all the others.

CVS announced yesterday that as of October 1 it would cease to stock cigarettes, which represent $1.5 billion annually in revenue. The company announced the move as part of a strategic shift toward a healthier image. Executives from RJ Reynolds, Altria, and British American Tobacco, three of the world’s largest cigarette sellers, professed confusion over the move, noting that the active ingredient in product they manufacture is nicotine, a bona fide drug.

“We are as yet unsure how to formally react,” said a Vice President at Altria who spoke on condition of anonymity. “I mean, tobacco is basically nicotine in smoking form, and nicotine is a drug. CVS is a drug store. They sell drugs. What am I missing here?”

CVS’s 7,600 retail outlets represent the US’s largest pharmacy network. Recent years have seen the chain offer an increasing variety of low-cost healthcare services, attracting consumers and insurance providers alike with costs noticeably lower than those at hospitals and health clinics. In keeping with its emerging image as health-oriented, CVS elected to forgo the tobacco revenue in favor of a more wellness-friendly image that it calculates will more than make up for the loss in sales. However, the pharmacies will still sell such dangerous items as razor blades and abuse-prone substances, which the tobacco executives see as puzzling.

“They sell cosmetics, some of which can be positively lethal if ingested, so clearly this isn’t a health-based decision,” said a British-American Tobacco VP. “And they traffic heavily in greasy, salty, fatty, and sugary snack foods, which means that any claim that the move is specifically motivated by long-term health concerns doesn’t seem to hold up,” he added.

“It might be some warped considerations of painting tobacco companies as peddlers of evil, but really, why would anybody think that?” wondered the executive.

Written by Thag

February 6, 2014 at 3:33 pm

Batteries For Sale (Batteries Not Included)

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Batteries Not Included - New Page

Written by Thag

February 4, 2014 at 8:12 pm

Feedback Is Just A Fancy Word For Vomit

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common senseDear Thag,

I just wanted to write to say how pleased I was with your customer service. Miggtha was an absolute delight; she explained in great, colorful detail what to expect and why you are so incompetent. I’ll be sure to recommend your site to all my friends who want to laugh at someone else’s expense.

Sincerely,
Dawn Adams
Racine, WI

****

Dear Thag,

What a breath of fresh air! I’ve gotten so used to businesses not caring about their customers, it was such a surprise and relief to be treated so well by your customer service team. They promised that if anything else went wrong, you would personally come to my house and clean my windows with your tongue. I’m so happy that old-fashioned customer relations is alive and well.

Sincerely,
Jake Doolum
Manhattan, MT

****

Dear Thag,

Thank you for taking the time to explain the ins and outs of your order process. I didn’t actually know that when I use my credit card online, there isn’t someone at the other end copying down the numbers. I had another question, though: how does the computer know that NJ means New Jersey, and my shipment won’t end up in some Austrian village with the same initials?

Yours truly,
Jim Beam
Arcola, IL

****

Dear Thag,

Who does your hair? On the phone, you sounded like you had a good coif. Is that something you spend a lot of time on, or give a lot of thought to? I give a lot of thought to my hair, which is why I wanted to order some hair care products from your site, only you don’t seem to stock what I was looking for. That’s OK; you sounded like you know your way around the shampoo and conditioner shelf, so I was hoping you could share some of your knowledge and experience with me as a person, not as the owner of an unrelated business. Do I need to use baking soda or something?

Respectfully yours,
Gerard Dupont
Olympia, WA

****

Dear Thag,

I am attorney for MRS. HUANGA DAMAKKA. She instructed me find a CUSTODIAN FOR SIX MILLION US DOLLARS that the government want to steal her. You can trust me; I am her lawyer for twelve year. Looking ahead to hearing from you.

Honorably you,
Bigga Goniff
Lagos, Nigeria

****

Dear Thag,

I meant it about the hair. You really do sound well coifed. Won’t you share some of your tips? The world awaits your expertise! I meant it!

Yours again,
Gerard Dupont
Olympia, WA

****

Dear Mr. Thag:

Our client, Mr. Gerard Dupont of Olympia, WA,  claims that you promised him some hair care tips and neglected to deliver on that promise. We hereby advise you that if you persist in delaying fulfillment of this obligation, we shall be forced to file a claim against you in Washington State.

Sincerely,
Nasty, Brutish and Short, Attorneys at Law
Olympia, WA

****

Dear Thag,

Fine. Be that way. You think you’re so superior, hogging all that valuable hair care information for yourself? Well, I got news for you, buster: I got me a stylist from the Ukraine, named Karina, and she can style the pants off you any day of the week! Forget the lawsuit – I’m better off this way! And she KNOWS baking soda is a crock! Shows how much YOU know!

Go to hell,
Gerard Dupont
Olympia, WA

****

Dear Thag,

We haven’t a clue about this Dupont guy, either. There’s nobody by that name in Olympia. He’s probably some dude yanking your chain; it’s not worth your time worrying about it. What ever happened with that Nigerian windfall, by the way? That looks like it’s worth the effort.

Gully Bill

Written by Thag

February 2, 2014 at 8:58 am

Sports Illustrated To Discontinue Swimsuit Issue

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Sports Illustrated‘Just doesn’t suit our target market,’ says executive

New York, January 27 – Sports Illustrated publisher Frank Wall told reporters today that TimeWarner would make this year’s swimsuit edition the last, as the company no longer sees the annual issue as a core part of its commercial appeal.

Wall assembled a press conference to announce the news, noting that the American sports fan has grown ever more sophisticated, and base appeals to sexual desires are no longer the sales draw that they once were. “With the maturity of the American male sports aficionado, the annual swimsuit issue just doesn’t suit our target market anymore,” he said. “Our strength has always been in trenchant analysis, not cheap pandering to the male libido.”

The decision brings to an end a fifty-year-old practice. For years, the swimsuit issue was the magazine’s best-seller, but according to Wall, TimeWarner’s board decided late last year that it was time to move beyond the adolescent appeal of lithe, bronzed supermodels showcasing designer bathing suits in provocative poses. “We have more respect for our audience than that now,” said Wall, “and of course we regret subjecting women to such treatment, thereby fostering their objectification and warping the way in which people view romantic relationships.”

Once release of the Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition ceases, there will be only two American magazine publishers that use sex appeal to engage the male reader. Maxim and Muscle&Fitness magazines will be the only remaining such publications available at newsstands. Penthouse, Playboy, and Hustler, all one-time mainstays of the pornography field, folded over the last few years as interest in their offerings faded with the rising maturity and morality of their audience. Other, lesser-known purveyors of smut have likewise gone under or moved their operations exclusively to the internet, where discreet access to the crude content is still available to the few with stunted sensibilities.

Written by Thag

January 27, 2014 at 4:02 pm

Lords-A-Leaping Shortage Sparks Holiday Shopping Scare

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Sith lords a leapingNew York (AP) – Retailers are warning that a serious backlog of orders for lords-a-leaping and other high-demand Christmas goods is threatening the robustness of a crucial shopping season and caused a series of near-stampedes as dozens of would-be consumers rushed to retail outlets to obtain the coveted gift items. Several online merchants also reported server volume trouble that caused at least three major sites to crash.

Major brick-and-mortar retailers and online merchants began noticing early Friday that they were having trouble fulfilling orders for the perennial gift item, with some stores, such as Macy’s and Wal-Mart, placing placards at their entrances to inform customers of Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Thag

December 1, 2013 at 6:58 pm

FBI Uncovers Conspiracy To Deprive Your Blog Of Traffic

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FBI sealArlington, Virginia, August 2 (AP) – Federal investigators have unearthed a plot to keep internet users from visiting your blog, FBI spokesman Shelby Cummin-Rounthmountain announced at a press conference today.

In February, the FBI’s Online Investigative Division received an informant’s tip to the effect that a shadowy group of conspirators had, for at least six months, if not much longer, diverted potential visitors to your blog, and continues to do so. The investigation is still in progress, but Cummin-Rounthmountain said they were nevertheless allowed to offer certain specifics to the news media, including the fact that most of the members of this alleged cabal operate from overseas.

The Bureau was prompted to recruit an informant after you observed repeatedly that by all rights, your blog should enjoy significantly higher levels of popularity and acclaim, given the manifest quality of your work. However, despite significant time and emotion invested in this project, traffic to your blog has never exceeded 633 page views in a single day, and that figure represents an outlier. The median number of visits per day is actually 28, with only six days in the last three years in which your blog attracted more than 100 views.

FBI Director Roberst S. Mueller III immediately ordered an investigation. According to the rudimentary details offered to the press, agents have documented hundreds of cases in which your posts were removed from display on the relevant category pages within minutes. Your efforts at finding the right blend of category tags to help users navigate toward your urbane useful, and well-presented material proved for naught, as this group of online pirates forcibly pushed your posts off the front page by stuffing those sites with a barrage of inane, meandering, badly-written posts by other users.

The FBI is exploring the possibility that these blog-stuffing posts were written by bots programmed to detect when you posted. This would serve to explain why so little of the traffic your site does attract comes from the users of the same blogging platform. In addition, fellow users who have actually subscribed to your blog seldom actually see your posts unless they make an effort to do so, which deprives you of the page views you so clearly deserve, no doubt about it. One possible angle of investigation of this issue involves collusion with these criminals from within the blogging platform enterprise itself, who for some unfathomable reason will not allow you to realize your dreams of becoming a blogging superstar. Perhaps jealousy is the motive, the FBI suggests.

However, says Cummin-Rounthmountain, the activities of this conspiracy extend beyond the boundaries of WordPress or Blogger, or whatever stupid platform you use. When you – or, on those all-too-rare occasions, someone else – shares a post of yours on other social media such as Facebook or Twitter, it still goes all but ignored. This, the FBI asserts, suggests a much broader effort to silence you and frustrate your ambitions. It simply cannot be, they reason, that there is so much other compelling material on the internet that yours would go effectively ignored.

This is not the first time that the FBI has investigated crimes of this nature. The case remains open on who exactly is behind the popularity of certain TV shows with no recognizable merit whatsoever, such as The Kardashians. Similarly, several dozen soft drink industry executives face federal felony charges for defrauding the public by convincing them that there is actually an appreciable difference between Pepsi and Coca Cola.

Written by Thag

August 5, 2013 at 2:29 pm

Repenthouse: the Magazine for Porn-Again Christians

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Condé-Nasty's other recent success.

Condé-Nasty’s other recent success.

New York, New York, May 12 (AP) Condé-Nasty Publications announced today that starting next month it will begin selling a magazine aimed at the growing demographic of Porn-Again Christians, called Repenthouse. The magazine will come monthly to its subscribers and be available at nudesstands across the country.

With the release, Condé-Nasty thus hopes to penetrate the coveted demographic that worships Jizzus. A pokesman for the organization, Li Bido, said that Condé-Nasty had been probing the Porn Again market for some time, and biding its time until the moment was ripe to thrust itself onto the scene. “There’s a tremendous amount of exposure we can expect with this venture,” said Bido. “It’s not often that a mainstream publishing outfit seeks to establish itself as a presence in such a niche market, I’ll admit, but with our industry already strapped for cash, finding the sweet spot for our product can spread doors open wide for us in other arenas.”

Repenthouse represents a formidable risk for Condé-Nasty, however. If the magazine fails to penetrate the market to a significant degree, and does not stimulate sufficient subscriptions or sales to warrant its continued issue, the venture could showcase the publisher’s impotence or give it the stigmata of an outfit already on its knees.

“It’s an ambitious idea, I’ll give them that,” allowed Larry Flynt, an industry veteran with significant experience. “But they can’t exactly expect to be wearing divine protection. While I don’t yet see the Four Whoresmen of the Apocalypse breathing down their necks, but if sales are flaccid the whole enterprise will be blown to Kingdom Come,” he warned.

“But if they pull it off, I’ll be the first one to give them a hand; jobs are scarce enough, and anyone who can stimulate growth in this business will be snatching up profits,” he added.

At Condé-Nasty the mood is decidedly optimistic. “Things are definitely looking up for us – we have a few tricks left up our sleeves,” said President Lou Brickant. “Our religious values really come through with Repenthouse: our thrust in God and our fleshes of divine inspiration will be evident to any Porn Again reader. We have plenty of material over which our subscribers will want to linger – we don’t veneriate the saints the way Catholics do, but there’s a decided reverence for foreplague and the Sin-optic Gospels.”

Please Like Mightier than the Pen on Facebook, where the screwballs responsible for this  have already been sacked.

Written by Thag

May 12, 2013 at 1:54 pm

Urine Connoisseurs Insulted at Comparison to American Beer

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All it's missing is a label with a cool font.

All it’s missing is a label with a cool font.

Washington, DC (AP) – People for the Imbibing of Strange Substances (PISS), a coalition of citizens devoted to the appreciation of drinking urine, expressed outrage today that the liquid they enjoy has been used to indicate inferior-tasting American beer.

At a rally on the Washington Mall this afternoon, several hundred PISS activists chanted slogans protesting the unflattering association and calling for greater awareness of how much better urine tastes than most American beer. “It’s just not right to compare it with Bud Light!” shouted the crowd, referring to a particularly low-quality product made by the Anheuser-Busch company.

“We understand that not everyone appreciates the taste of urine,” said PISS director Mick Turitian. “As with many of the finer things, it’s an acquired taste. But to go ahead and put urine in the same class as American beer, well, that’s just beyond the pale – and I don’t mean ale.”

Turitian said that in Europe, where quality beer is essentially a given, he would be disappointed, but not offended, to have an inferior grade be compared to his favorite beverage. In some cases he conceded it might even be a compliment. “But there’s no way to justify saying Miller Lite” – he paused to spit – “tastes like piss. Piss tastes a hundred times better than Miller Lite could ever hope to.”

Yuri Terr, 34, of Richmond, Virginia, also attending the rally, said the only way to get people to stop making such unfair analogies was to raise public awareness of the issue. “The beverage companies spend billions of dollars on marketing and advertising, to get people to buy their products based on image, and obviously not on taste,” he explained. “Once enough people are aware how unjust the association is, peer pressure can be brought to bear on those who, wittingly or not, put urine and American beer in the same sentence.”

The demonstrators brought samples of their favorite drink to offer passers by, but few, if any, of the onlookers accepted. A block away, a convenience store was doing a brisk business selling cases of Budweiser, Michelob and Coors.

Please Like Mightier than the Pen on Facebook, where pissing people off is all in a day’s work.

Written by Thag

April 11, 2013 at 4:03 pm

Joneses Now Unable To Keep Up With Selves

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JonesNew York, NY (AP) – The Jones family, long a symbol of the Western capitalist ethos of competitive conspicuous consumption, has announced that they can no longer serve as the field’s avatars, as their economic abilities have eroded over the course of the latest financial crisis.

Speaking to reporters at the entrance to the family home – now facing foreclosure – in the New Jersey township of Bergenfield, just over the road from the swank section of Teaneck, family patriarch Carl Jones offered a detailed account of the family’s fall from contention in neighborhood one-upmanship.

“The Nichols family across the street got a Lincoln Navigator back in ’07, and we knew we couldn’t sit idly by,” he recalled. “So we took out an additional mortgage and invested in a Lexus SUV and a Hummer H3 – but the day we took delivery the market dropped like a stone and I lost half my portfolio equity. It went downhill from there. I’ve only been working part-time, the kids’ college tuition is still sky-high – of course we sent them only to the most expensive schools – and we fell behind on the loan payments last year.”

Throughout the boom years of the 1990’s, the Jones were exemplars of visible social climbing, embarking on multiple home renovation projects and highly touted trips to exotic locales abroad. The boom years of the Clinton administration gave the Jones coffers enough of a cushion to survive the leaner times of the early part of last decade. But the ever-growing demands of showing off to the neighbors, and, more importantly, showing them up, created a large enough draw on the family assets that even the good economic times that preceded the current recession could not shield them from its effects.

The Joneses have since sold both luxury vehicles, scaled back their landscaping significantly, no longer take extensive or expensive vacations, and encourage the younger generation to find steady, if low-paying, work.

At press time, fifteen-year-old Jenna, the youngest, had accepted an offer to wash the Nichols car for $20.

Please Like Mightier than the Pen on Facebook, where, when the bank threatened to foreclose, we threatened to continue writing. Guess who backed down.

Written by Thag

March 18, 2013 at 8:45 pm

American Youth Running Out of Body Parts to Pierce

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piercedSeattle, WA (AP) – The Association of American Body Piercing, a trade group, is warning its members to expect a slowdown in demand in the coming years as American youth run out of body parts in which to make holes.

Citing statistics that point to the emerging trend, the association sent a notice to its 24,000 member practitioners that discussed the challenges soon to confront the industry as fewer and fewer American youngsters have available areas of epithelial tissue through which to stick a metal stud or other adornment. Though many piercing experts expected continued growth ever since the emergence of the punk scene decades ago, it appears that the industry has increasingly depended on repeat business from goths, misfits and just plain weirdos.

“We should have seen years ago that our business model was unsustainable,” said Loeb Needler, a tattoo and piercing parlor owner in Spokane. “But we kept looking at the total numbers, not once looking at the fact that we’ve been piercing the same people over and over again, and they’re running out of places to stick a new accessory.”

Perversely, according to the association notice, although more and more American youths are overweight or even obese, which should reflect vastly increased potential areas for piercings, the increasing prevalence of the overweight among American youth has a depressing effect on the piercing industry. Heavier people tend to be more sedentary, and thus are less likely to pay an impulse visit to a piercing studio. Also, the increased fleshiness of American youth means plentiful folds that wind up concealing or obscuring desirable piercing locations. That fleshiness both makes infection more likely and eliminates the aesthetic or social value, if any, of the piercing.

Another factor is the greater and greater reliance among American youth on social interactions in the online realm, where one can easily Photoshop as many piercings into once image as desired, but without the headache of actually undergoing what might be a permanent alteration.

Needler is not completely convinced, however, that the industry faces a mortal threat. “There have to be other people out there who aren’t obese,” he contends. “I mean, if American kids are so damn fat, who’s buying all the skinny jeans?”

Please Like Mightier than the Pen on Facebook. That is, if you can follow the link at all, what with your pierced fingertips. Good lord, that’s disgusting. What were you thinking? That it’ll impress the babes in the retirement home in sixty years?

 

Written by Thag

March 5, 2013 at 4:50 pm

4 Out of 5 Stalkers Prefer Pine-Scented Mace

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Oddly, the respondents did not choose anything in the broccoli-cabbage family.

Oddly, the respondents did not choose anything in the broccoli-cabbage family.

New York, NY (AP) – A nationwide poll has found that stalkers like a faceful of mace with the aroma of pine twice as much as they do lemon- or cinnamon-scented spray, according to Criminal Research Associated Partners, a firm that studies the consumer protection market.

The CRAP study asked 2500 stalkers to list their favorite mace scents in order of preference, and pine came out the clear winner, though some areas of the country clearly favored citrus, such as Florida. Overall, about eighty percent of the respondents chose pine as their favorite, with lemon, orange, cinnamon and vanilla rounding out the rankings. The poll had a margin of error that effectively conceals the guy hiding in the bushes.

CRAP CEO Mick Turitian says he was surprised by the results, given that stalkers tend to be a single-minded group, and that he was pleased to discover that they were, on average, sophisticated enough to also consider the aesthetic questions involved in being sprayed by the caustic material. “Last year we conducted a survey about what color dye attempted rapists want to be sprayed with, and there was no clear favorite,” he said. “It’s encouraging to see the American stalker maturing, and realizing there’s more than just incapacitation and uncontrollable tearing to be had from being sprayed with CN Tear Gas.” Turitian referred to the purple dye that is included in some varieties of Chemical Mace, the product’s trade name.

George Tannenbaum, director of Clandestine Romeos Ever Eyeing People (CREEP), a fraternal organization for stalkers, said that tastes in mace have been changing for some time, but the data pool has not been as rich as it is now. “Ten years ago, most of our members ranked a direct spray in the face as about as unpleasant as being kicked repeatedly in the groin, but now mace has outpaced other defenses by a large margin,” he explained. “With the greater variety of scents available today, that’s not much of a surprise – at least, not as surprising as having the object of your devotion mistake your affections for ill intent and giving you a sudden, totally unjustified shot of harmful chemicals in the face.”

Grace Underfire, a carrier of Chemical Mace since 1996, when she was a college student, has used her supply exactly twice, and on both occasions had to opt for an unscented variety. She remains unconvinced of the retail potential of pleasant-smelling mace. “Um…what the hell are you talking about?” she said.

The manufacturer, Mace Security International, declined to say whether the company intends to expand its modest selection of chemical defense sprays to better match the evolving preferences of stalkers. “We have no comment at this time,” said a spokesman under condition of anonymity who kept looking over his or her shoulder, then hurried back into his or her office in an undisclosed location.

Please Like Mightier than the Pen on Facebook. Visit repeatedly if you wish. We are unaware of the online equivalent of Chemical Mace, unless you count malware. Which we find best with a hint of honey flavor.

Written by Thag

January 17, 2013 at 4:03 pm

Domino’s Perplexed By Poor Sales of Pizza Suppositories

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Domino's logoAnn Arbor, MI (AP) – Fast-food giant Domino’s Pizza, confronted with anemic sales of its new pizza suppositories, has put further marketing efforts for the product on hold, according to a statement from the company’s corporate headquarters.

Following a lengthy promotional campaign, the Italian food chain finally released its line of “Up Yours” pizza suppositories, hoping to tap into the growing need for ever-more-efficient food delivery in a busy era. With Up Yours, Domino’s hoped to appeal to rushed parents and hurried workers who lack the time to properly ingest and digest even typical fast food. Its “Taste is waste” slogan leveraged the company’s reputation for providing a less-than-stellar culinary experience; a 2009 survey of consumer taste preferences among national chains by Brand Keys, Domino’s tied with Chuck E. Cheese’s for last place.

The advertising push followed an intensive program to get buy-in from the chain’s more than 5,000 franchise holders, but that stage of the program took several months longer than expected because headquarters found it difficult to convince the franchisees to get behind the initiative, according to Seymour Butz, an analyst at Sphincter Industries who studies the fast food industry.

“The franchisees were worried about bottlenecks in supply and production,” said Butz, who also noted that trial runs of that production exposed lax adherence to quality standards. Although the company addressed those concerns, problems continued to emerge even as the release date approached.

Any resemblance to the actual product is entirely, outrageously funny.

Any resemblance to the actual product is entirely, outrageously funny.

Domino’s was forced to push back the start of the promotional campaign to fix those emerging issues, and the executives were apparently satisfied that they had managed to wipe away the sticky problems by softening its position on franchisee contribution. Advertising began in January, and the first Up Yours suppositories were offered in Kansas, Texas and Arkansas. Hopeful initial data from the “In Testin'” phase prompted the further roll-out of the products up and down the eastern seaboard and Illinois.

But sales logs, initially positive, proved disappointing, and continued to contract through the spring and summer, skidding almost entirely to a halt by August. The board pinned its hopes on the September “Backside to School” advertising blitz, aiming to appeal to more regular customers, but decided that if October sales showed no major improvement they would be forced to cancel production. Despite an $18 million investment in equipment, materials and marketing, the company’s bottom line has suffered, limiting Domino’s to a second-quarter profit only slightly higher than the same period last year.

Hopes had been high until then, as a program in the same spirit by a different fast food player had shown its potential. In 2009 White Castle announced that it was “eliminating the middle man” by liquefying its burgers and spraying them directly on the insides of toilet bowls. White Castle sales figures had not appreciably suffered as a result, and Domino’s executives apparently felt that their marketing acumen could make such an approach profitable.

This is not the first abortive Domino’s marketing program. In 1992 and 1993, high-profile lawsuits charged the company with recklessness in guaranteeing home delivery within 30 minutes of an order’s placement; two fatalities had resulted from Domino’s delivery men’s driving. Of particular interest to the plaintiff was a provision calling for the public beheading of drivers who failed to reach their destinations within the allotted time. The company settled both cases, but agreed to eliminate the punitive measures for late deliveries, which had garnered initial popularity and a contract to televise the beheadings.

Please Like Mightier than the Pen on Facebook, where, on principle, we do not post pictures of our lunch. Count yourself lucky.

Written by Thag

December 27, 2012 at 3:46 pm

Tenth Annual Misunderstanding Judaism Conference Kicks Off

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Kosher style.

Kosher style.

New York, NY (AP) – The Jacob Javits Convention Center was filled to capacity on Sunday as thousands of non-Jews came to attend a four-day conference to deepen their misunderstanding of one of the world’s oldest faiths.

The General Organization of Yiddish Ignorance Movements (GOYIM), an umbrella group of gentile organizations devoted to misapprehending Judaism, sponsored the event in conjunction with SoundBite, an advocacy group that promotes superficial treatment of complex, nuanced social and political issues.

GOYIM set up dozens of booths, each one devoted to disseminating misinformation about Jewish tradition, characteristics and practice, with an entire section of purveyors selling “kosher-style” food next to the booth devoted to mischaracterization of Jewish dietary rules.

Several large Christian congregations sent delegations to the fair to reinforce the myths their communities have always assumed to be true, and the entrance hall was lined with posters of famous individuals whose Judaism was of marginal importance to them but given outsize emphasis by the uninformed public. A special section portrayed many famous real-life and fictional figures who were not Jewish but everyone assumes were, such as Ebenezer Scrooge, the protagonist of the Dickens novel A Christmas Carol. No pains were taken to disabuse the attendees of those notions.

At the “kosher style” food court, Mary Entwistle of Mahwah, New Jersey, commented that the frankfurters tasted just like the ones she could get anywhere else. “What’s so special about kosher food, then?” she wondered.

Her companion, Michelle Powell, went to investigate at the relevant misinformation booth, and came back triumphantly to announce, “Kosher means it was blessed by a Rabbi,” satisfying herself and Entwistle with a complete corruption of a complex system aimed at promoting Jewish awareness of the sanctity involved in eating.

They finished their pork sausages and found themselves at a display of bed sheets with holes in the middle, where the booth attendant was explaining that the sheets are the kind used by Ultra-Orthodox Jews for sexual intercourse, so that the husband and wife can minimize contact with each other in the name of modesty. The audience oohed and ahhed, taking at face value the complete opposite of the level of marital intimacy that Jewish law encourages. The sheets were for sale at $35.99 each for twin size, and $44.99 for king.

Elsewhere in the hall, a pair of caricature artists were busy sketching customers’s faces and whimsically adding horns to the images, in keeping with the popular, hilariously off-base image of Jews as anatomically different from other people. Artists George Lamont and Nina Cassidy let visitors know that the once or twice they had encountered Jews in their home town of Pottsville, Iowa, they tried to find an excuse to feel the sides of the Jews’ scalps for the small protrusions. They warned their clients that they clearly exaggerated the horns’ size, but, rest assured, it’s as real as could be.

GOYIM Director Paul Gregory said he had hoped to find other sponsors for the event among wealthy Jewish businesspeople, considering his bizarre assumption that Jews control the banks and finance industry, but to no avail. “I was dumbstruck – here they have this global fund that sponsors every Jew’s entrepreneurial initiatives, and they can’t spare a few grand?” He stared at a poster of the allegedly Jewish symbols on the American dollar bill before adding, “I guess if they’re the Chosen People that means they get to be elitist and all,” completely missing the sense of ethical purpose and mission to which the term refers.

MDA bloodNot everything at the conference was purely misinformative or commercial; some displays were overtly altruistic. One booth solicited contributions to a fund for nose jobs so that Jews would not have to walk around all sporting unattractive hook noses. Another asked for blood donations, encouraging passers by to give so that Jews would not have to slaughter a gentile child to make their Passover matza. The proprietor, Mustafa Isfahan, was unsure exactly how to get the donated material to the appropriate destination, but was confident he would find a way. “All I have to do is call up a Jewish temple and they’ll be able to direct me to the proper people,” he said.

“I mean, all Jews know one another, so it’s not like that should be a problem.”

Please Like Mightier than the Pen on Facebook, where admission to the Control of Hollywood gallery is free on Mondays, when the Mossad told Jews not to come.

Written by Thag

December 24, 2012 at 8:58 pm

What Those Children’s Product Terms Really Mean

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Definitions (1)

Please Like Mightier than the Pen on Facebook, where the no-money-back guarantee is valid only in months containing at least one letter.

Written by Thag

December 13, 2012 at 7:50 pm

The Clueless Loser Blogging FAQ

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1. How long does it take to become a Clueless Loser Blogger?

Contrary to what many people believe, Clueless Loser Blogging is not strictly a function of time. A blogger can spend hours at work on a post and still not achieve CLB status. To qualify as CLB behavior, the time spent must include at least:

– 10% staring at one’s work and wondering whether the results so far justify the effort
– 55% engaging in unrelated activities in the vain hope that inspiration lies elsewhere, such as a game of online Spades.
– 30% fuming at the world for not acknowledging your manifest greatness RIGHT NOW.

Some people can attain these numbers right away. Others spend weeks or months unlearning the work ethic they were trained to adopt earlier in life, and some never get there. We call such people “normal.”

2. Can one forfeit CLB status?

Theoretically, CLB can be revoked if one ceases to blog entirely, but that’s a mere techincality: all it means is that the loserness has been transferred to a different medium, much in the way Yasser Arafat continued to be a Nobel Peace Laureate even after fomenting an unsuccessful armed uprising. [ed: the analogy needs work; not politically offensive enough]

3. What are the advantages of Clueless Loser Blogging?

There is no risk of having to deal with a higher tax bracket or too many friends.

4. Who are some famous examples of Clueless Loser Bloggers?

The question demonstrates cluelessness, which means the inquirer has hope of achieving CLB. By nature, CLB people do not achieve fame.

5. Should I include photos of my cat?

Yes.

6. How important is it to ask the viewers of my blog to click “Like” or share the content on other social media?

It’s a common misconception that the mere presence of a Facebook “Share” or “Like” button is enough to put a blogger on the road to CLB. There are two important additional factors: the frequency the button is clicked and the pathetic begging the blogger does so that viewers do click. In addition, the relationship between those doing the clicking and the blogger plays a role.

Shares that come from non-relatives or viewers unaware of your personality, if they occur more than once or twice a week, can remove you from CLB status. But you can cement your Loserness with sympathy shares. A sympathy share occurs when a viewer knows how crushed you would be if your post went completely ignored, but doesn’t genuinely believe your content deserves the attention. Any clicks that occur as a result of: multiple share buttons; more than a token or understated request for a Like; or sending around a link to your contacts and asking them explicitly to Like or Follow, qualifies as a sympathy share. One sympathy share can offset up to six sincere shares.

7. How long can I go without blogging?

It’s not the frequency or regularity of the blogging that determines Clueless Loser status, but the obsession with the frequency. The Clueless Loser Blogger, despite all the evidence to the contrary, believes that his or her success depends on churning out something every day, or every two days or whatever, regardless of demand. In fact nothing the blogger does will ever amount to anything, but the Clueless Loser Blogger lacks the internal fortitude to accept that, and insists on maintaining delusions of adequacy.

8. How do I find my unique voice?

Check behind the sofa. Otherwise, the dog ate it.

9. Should I buy my own domain name?

No, that requires actual investment that might make you work hard enough for things to work out well. If you want to become a Clueless Loser Blogger you must live as if the quality of your work will bring you attention and financial success all on its own merits, without your having to lift a finger away from the keyboard.

10. What should I write about?

It doesn’t matter, as long as you do it in mediocre fashion. “Mediocre Fashion” would be a perfect Clueless Loser Blog name.

Please Like Mightier than the Pen on Facebook (this request included to maintain CLB status).

Written by Thag

November 9, 2012 at 11:27 am

This Is Why We Only Buy Cheerios

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Please Like Mightier then the Pen on Facebook and we will allow you to turn your own milk into rainbow sludge. Which would make a LOUSY name for a rock band.

Written by Thag

August 13, 2012 at 2:47 pm

Clueless Loser Blogging Tip No. 991: Highlight Your Spotty Commitment

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Written by Thag

July 19, 2012 at 11:58 pm

Classic Thag, July 2011: I Need that Lemonade Stand Business Plan

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Originally posted July 25, 2011

Son, this business plan for a lemonade stand needs some serious work. I haven’t seen such a sloppy job since your sister’s proposed itinerary for walking the dog. It’s time to sit you down and go through this lame excuse for a business plan so you know what to fix. And there’s plenty to fix, young man.

First, there’s the business goal. You want to “make some money so I can buy stuff.” We all do, son. That’s why people go into business in the first place. You need to get more specific. How much money do you want to earn? How long do you plan for it to take? As your primary investor, I need to be confident that you at least intend to do something worthwhile with the capital.

I don’t see a decent treatment of anticipated expenses anywhere. You’ve got to determine who your target market is – oh, wait, I see that: “people walking by at the corner by the library.” But you need to present how much you plan to spend, and on what. I can’t just give you some lemons and send you on your way. No, you need to give me a detailed discussion of costs: marketing, production, distribution, personnel, overhead, pricing and the rest. “Mom will make some lemonade for me to sell” doesn’t even come close. What materials are necessary? In what quantities? How much will they cost? What is the projected outlay for employee wages? I see none of that here.

You’ve got to deal with the government, as well. They’ll want their share in tax revenue. When you arrive at your target income figure, have you factored in your tax bracket? What health or employee safety regulations must you comply with? You refer to a lemonade “stand,” which implies an actual structure, and which will require all the relevant zoning and construction permits. And then there’s the environmental impact statement, which can get quite complicated. What are the risks of a massive spill? Is there a controlled method for disposal of used materials such as squeezed lemons and plastic cups? You haven’t discussed these issues at all.

As far as marketing is concerned, you have to find a way to create demand for your lemonade. Banking on hot summer weather seems a pretty safe bet, but that’s insufficient for real profit. You need to make people think they need your lemonade, not the free water they can get from the library drinking fountain, or their own nearby homes. That’s going to take research, and a good plan, including advertising. A hand-written sign over the stand just won’t do it. You need to figure out how, when and it what media to advertise. Do you need air time? Radio or TV? Print media? Is your audience merely local, or do you want to attract business for afar, perhaps through shipments of your product?

Have you explored the feasibility of packaging and delivering the lemonade long distance? Do you need a web site? Who will run it? You need to consider all of these questions before I can invest in this project.

Who are your employees? Does your mother expect to be compensated for the time she spends in production? Who will perform Quality Control? Do you have a good way to transport the goods from the production facility to the point of sale? Remember, son, business is rough, and only those who are truly prepared can succeed. You get back to me within fourteen business days with some real answers, and then we can discuss my stake in this enterprise.

Now, let me see that outline for your letter to Grandma.

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Written by Thag

July 11, 2012 at 7:40 am

Breakfast of Cheating Champions – that’s the One for Me!

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Dear General Mills:

For decades now, you’ve been touting Wheaties as the “breakfast of champions.” As a champion, I appreciate the elite status that Wheaties has earned in our culture. Which is why I find it necessary to write this letter; I regret that it has become necessary.

If, indeed, Wheaties is the breakfast of champions, what business do non-champions have partaking of it? It would dilute the phrase to utter meaninglessness. It would be like awarding a gold medal just for showing up. Calgary Flames fans might find that idea comforting, but I, for one, protest the misuse of the Wheaties brand as anything other than the breakfast of bona fide champions.

I could understand certain people – ignorant, or perhaps mischievous people – eating Wheaties even though they never earned the title of Champion. I can comprehend an incentive program, where people with demonstrated champion potential are given a taste of the breakfast of champions, to provide an idea of what they can achieve. I can even see an actual champion deigning to share some of his or her Wheaties with others at the table, much in the way an Olympic medalist might allow others to handle and appreciate the token of achievement. What I cannot fathom, however, is the apparent marketing strategy of your company regarding this breakfast of champions: promote it to absolutely everyone. Everyone, as you no doubt know, includes non-champions – in fact, as you probably also know, the vast, vast majority of people in the category of “everyone” are decidedly not of champion caliber. Let’s call them what they are: losers.

It disturbs me to no end that General Mills, a company I otherwise respect, would cheapen the breakfast of champions by allowing – nay, encouraging – losers to buy a product patently incompatible with their status. Would you also market high-performance sports cars to people sitting in jail on drunk driving convictions? Leather-bound special editions of classic works of literature to drooling toddlers? I no longer have the confidence that you would answer the way you ought.

It is with continuing bewilderment that I therefore ask – no,  demand – that General Mills cease this tawdry strategy of pushing patently inappropriate breakfast cereal to those who do not deserve it, and probably never will. We champions know all too well the pull of filthy lucre, of false achievement, but know how to rise above that base temptation.

Sincerely,

Lance Armstrong

Written by Thag

May 9, 2012 at 8:54 am

Clueless Loser Blogging, Quantified

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Written by Thag

May 3, 2012 at 2:42 pm

I, for One, Welcome Our HOT GIRL-ON-GIRL ACTION Overlords

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Here at the back end (snicker) of Mightier than the Pen we are privy (double snicker) to all manner of BS (OK, that was a gimme) wrought by the poopyheads (more of the same) who program bots with the sole task of making innocent users think their blogs have been visited by actual people. You know, the species that posts to Facebook? Anyway, for some reason these %$#@-for-brains marketers (a redundancy, of course) seek ever-more-innovative ways to get eyeballs to their (clients’) sites through whatever nefarious means possible – which may or may not include misleading descriptions to attract visitors (this site, you will note, is devoid of such underhanded tactics; we refrain, nobly, from employing such cheap methods as repeated use of the phrase HOT GIRL-ON-GIRL ACTION!).

But as WordPress and their ilk have gotten better and better at screening out the false trails of bots visiting their users’ sites, the spammers have gotten desperate, and now the bots leave fake “search terms” they “used” to “find” the sites, perhaps in the hope that the occasional dupe of a user will plug those terms into a bona fide search engine and maybe, perhaps, if the stars align just so, will stumble upon the desired site (HOT GIRL-ON-GIRL ACTION!). Or I have it all wrong and they’ve actually taken over the internet and are just messing with the rest of us. I, for one, welcome our new %$@-for-brains overlords.

As you can tell, we have given this topic WAAAY more attention than it deserves, but bear with us (HOT GIRL-ON-GIRL ACTION!). The following helpful chart uses actual, genuine search terms, as recorded by WordPress, that led visitors to Mightier than the Pen. You will note that as the terms get more and more unlikely, they become more and more likely to be the work of a retrofitting, signature-falsifying bot. Or possibly the Jews. At least that’s what the old guy over at the next terminal keeps mumbling. Oatmeal hedonism, indeed.

 

Written by Thag

April 8, 2012 at 7:58 pm

The Top 12 Phrases to Avoid in Business Communication, You Moron

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Listen up, business people. And housekeepers. And pets. OK, maybe not pets. Not many of you communicate using words, so this might not be relevant to you. You can decide afterwards, I suppose.

This little item from Inc.com asserts that the phrase, “I will try” signals an openness to failure that automatically dooms your proposed activity in the eyes of supervisors, prospective employers, clients, rampaging badgers, etc. “3 Words that Guarantee Failure,” the writer calls it. And it may be so. But those can hardly be the most egregious words to avoid in any proposal. They’re just so…lame. And everything about business communication is lame. It has to be, or you frighten off the delicate wallflowers who have the money you want.

But we can do better. Here, therefore, are the top 12 phrases and statements that guarantee rejection or failure before you get off the ground:

12. Dear Ugly: Using this greeting, or variations thereof, to open a cover letter or other kind of business communication will invariably result in rejection. Remember that at many companies, the first person to see your letter will be not Ugly himself or herself, but a less secure individual acting as clerk or secretary to Ugly, and will be moved to relegate your letter, and CV, no matter how impressive its contents, to the circular file. And even if your mail goes directly to someone important enough to matter, you want to flatter. Really. I know it’s hard for someone as bitter as you, but you must, uh, try.

11. I has: Grammar, you imbecile. You are not an LOLcat, and even if you were, proper LOLcat syntax calls for “I can has,” and even then, only as a way of seeking permission. You will note that few, if any, cats hold positions of influence at major corporations.

10. …and in general, embezzle as much of your assets as I possibly can: Bad form. Advancement and wanton misappropriation of property may go hand in hand in today’s corporate (and political) world, but it is impolite to aver such things at the outset. Subtlety is your friend. You goddamn idiot.

9. Despite repeated arrests for disorderly conduct…: You do not want to call attention to your more troublesome skills until you have had time to secure an adequate severance package.

8. …to destroy your company: As threats go, this one’s a biggie, but this formulation risks not offending the reader personally. As we all know, personal affronts are your ticket to rejection, failure and lawsuits. Play your cards right and you might even earn a contract – on your life.

7. Companies like yours, who give thieving bastards a bad name: “Such as.” Grammar again. Careful, ladies and gents.

6. As you could see from the attached CV if you weren’t an illiterate toad: You have no idea whether toads can read, or whether the reader is in fact a toad. This shows sloppy research at best, and outright carelessness at worst.

5. My strong nose-picking skills: Although the cover letter is the place to highlight attributes not necessarily evident from your CV, you do want to reserve the space for talents germane to the position for which you are applying, or the project you are proposing. This writer doubts that nose-picking skills of any kind are an asset in business. Even if you are applying for President of the Fourth-Grade Gross-Out Club, that organization can hardly be expected to solicit CVs and go through the arduous process of selecting candidates when turnover in that position happens, by nature, every single year.

4. My political views, which can only be described as Neo-Caligulan: It’s unclear what you mean by this. You cannot assume that the reader knows Roman history, and will therefore remain unaware that you plan to promote an equine to a senior position and slaughter most of the leadership. Perhaps you see this as an advantage, but keep in mind that Caligula did not end well. You might fare better with Stalin. Meaning emulating him, not actually trying to fare with him personally. That would be stupid. He’s dead, you know.

3. My plan to convert all employees, and their families, to homosexuality: You know that’s not possible, right? Ambitious is good; unrealistic is not so good, and prospective clients and employers have a very good grasp of the difference. Aim high, but not ridiculously high.

2. All office space not currently occupied by space aliens: This meaningless detail detracts from your main points – as far as the willfully ignorant sheeple are concerned, all office space remains free of alien life, and you risk confusing the reader. You might do better with something closer to the general (if erroneous) perception of reality such as, “all space not currently in use as a hiding place for illegal immigrant workers.”

1. But while I consider driving customer satisfaction to unprecedentedly low levels to be only a minor achievement: Such weak phraseology. Be forthright. State things directly: “I relish making my client/employer regret entering this line of business in the first place.” Less wordy and more to the point.

You can apply these lessons. I know you will try.

Written by Thag

March 20, 2012 at 4:26 pm