Mightier Than The Pen

Making The World A Bitter Place

Posts Tagged ‘social media

Facebook Acquires Hamas: Tool In Further Emotional Manipulation Studies

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FacebookMountain View, CA, Augist 6 – In a follow up paper to Facebook’s controversial emotional manipulation study, Facebook researchers have found that posts reporting and commenting on military or terrorist actions overseas have a statistically significant impact on people’s moods.

In the methodology section of the paper, the authors described how the company quietly acquired Hamas for one billion dollars, and then proceeded to direct the timing and location of missile strikes and air raids. The acquisition bad been previously reported in the press as a hitherto inexplicable purchase of WhatsApp.

To continue reading click here.

Written by Thag

August 6, 2014 at 10:01 pm

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

Nation Holds Breath As Teen Deliberates Liking Friend’s Selfie

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selfiesUrbana, IL, April 28 – The United States remains on tenterhooks as Samantha Johnson, 14, determines whether or not to click “Like” on the self-portrait of her friend Paula McMaster, also 14.

McMaster, a classmate of Johnson’s at Urbana High School, uploaded a picture she took of herself in the bathroom mirror this morning, just before leaving for school. Seven minutes later, Johnson saw the image in her Facebook feed, and these next few seconds will prove crucial in the developing relationship between the two freshmen.

The stakes in the decision have grown high over the last few days, explains professor of psychology Ben Shwarmer. “The two young ladies move in different cliques at school, and as such are not close friends. Each one considers the other likable enough, but the fact that their parents are pushing them to become close has made each of them wary of doing just that.” Then, three days ago, McMaster and Johnson were the only people their age at a community event to which their parents had dragged them, and the commiseration that they shared sparked a potential new friendship nevertheless.

The two teens exchanged phone numbers and friend requests on Facebook, but had little online interaction in the intervening days, as McMaster’s charger was unavailable. Once she found it and charged her device overnight, she photographed herself several times and chose the image she found most satisfactory to post to her wall. The next several minutes were the first time both of the teens were on line for any significant duration at the same time since they friended each other.

Experts are divided on what will happen. “There’s probably still some residual awkwardness from all the parental associations, and we’re likely to see Ms. Johnson ignore the image entirely,” says Yenta Gross, who writes about social media use for several teen publications. “Shes shown some admirable restraint in the past, such as the time three weeks ago when she tactfully pretended that a friend’s drunken, lewd rant never appeared in her feed.”

Educator Jack Kass disagrees. “Kids are stupid,” he insists. “That’s an ugly picture, it’s obvious the girl is fishing for compliments, and Samantha has a low tolerance for such things.”

“In fact, I think I’m going to post a mocking comment right no – crap. I can’t comment if I’m not a friend. OK, teenage creepy alter ego here I come…”

Written by Thag

April 28, 2014 at 6:26 pm

Second Coming Delayed; Jesus Distracted By Twitter

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Tweet JesusJerusalem (AP) – The Savior was prepared to return to his corporeal form, reward the faithful, and exact retribution from sinners, but has been waylaid by his constant Twitter habit.

According to divine spokesman St. Peter, the Christ was scheduled to fulfill his promise of a Second Coming once the Boston Red Sox had won the World Series for the third time this millennium, a phenomenon that was all but inconceivable in previous eras. It precipitated extreme instability that the Second Coming was meant to forestall, but Jesus found himself absorbed by the messages of the Twitter accounts he follows religiously, and the links they share. As a result, the world has since experienced Typhoon Haiyan, new Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Thag

November 26, 2013 at 2:59 pm

Coroner: Subject Killed By Not Enough Prayers And Likes On Facebook

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BatesGainesville, Florida (AP) – Jennifer Bates, a local high school senior, died last Wednesday because news of her plight was only shared 228 times on Facebook, according to the County Medical Examiner. The number that would have allowed Ms. Bates to survive her battle with an infection was estimated at 250.

Friends and family gathered this afternoon to mourn the former cheerleader and accomplished student, lamenting the cruelty of a world hat could not spare 22 more Likes and Shares. Her closest friends, in particular, found it difficult to absorb that all it would take to save Jennifer was a click of the Share link, yet untold numbers of Facebook users decided not to expend the fraction of a calorie necessary to do so. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Thag

October 20, 2013 at 9:00 pm

Experts To Confirm Internet Addiction Exists As Soon As They Check FB Again

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internet addictionCharlotte, North Carolina (AP) – Mental health professionals studying the pathology and incidence of internet addiction are set to announce that it is a bona fide psychiatric phenomenon, right after they go onto Facebook and Twitter again just to check a couple of things.

In a landmark study involving more than 2,000 social media users, researchers were unable to meet their data collection objectives because they were too busy using the very platforms they were commissioned to study, all while denying they were in any way dependent on their obvious attachment to them. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Thag

October 14, 2013 at 2:20 pm

Four Moderately Annoying Things WordPress Doesn’t Tell You

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mehYou’ve been pouring out what passes for your soul into your blog and are wondering why, despite your, uh, creative efforts, your material has somehow not fired the public imagination and made you famous, rich, and an object of near-religious veneration. Or perhaps you have yet to experience the crushing disappointment of a masterpiece ignored, but wish to prepare yourself for the inevitability.

We’re good for the latter bit. In no particular order, here are some of the frustrating features of the WordPress blogging platform:

Useless Referrer Stats

SubmarinesIf you’re really into SEO and the search engine referrals help you, you’re probably not reading this right now. And you probably should get a life. For the rest of humanity, even if the stats worked properly they would be of limited use, if any. Do I really need to know that someone reached my blog by searching for some random phrase that happens to occur on a post I wrote back in 2011?

Compounding the annoyance is the near certainty that no actual humans are performing 99% of these searches. And that if I perform the same search, my blog doesn’t even show up in the results. This one is not just annoying, it’s mystifying, because there seems to be no earthly reason for a bot to manufacture search terms in order to leave a nonexistent trail.

WordPress Doesn’t Count Views Through Their Site In Your Stats

invisibleLet’s say your content is good enough that another WordPress blogger – we’ll call her Stacy – decides to subscribe to your blog. Stacy will be informed every time you make a new post, and if the news moves her to do so, will click through to it. Great! But you have no idea that’s happened unless Stacy comments or Likes your post (more on that below). WordPress doesn’t care to let you know that the people who care about your content the most, the ones who have actually registered interest in what you have to say, have visited.

This blog has almost 350 subscribers. That’s almost as many people whose gaze you avoid on a typical walk from one New York City avenue to the next. Or the number of times a professional baseball team performs manual crotch adjustment in a typical nine-inning game. And while we harbor no illusions that anywhere near every single one of those lovely subscribers – and they are a lovely bunch, if a bit reticent – sees all the posts we make, WordPress does not alert yours truly to the fact that these folks – have we mentioned they’re lovely? – have done so. Makes audience management a bit pointless.

Ah, but if your content is good enough they should be expressing that in visible ways, right? Not exactly. Which brings us to:

llama carcassWordPress “Likes” Are About As Useful As A Rotting Llama Carcass

If all you want is to feel good that someone has found your content worthy, the WordPress Like can provide those warm fuzzies. So maybe a taun-taun carcass. If you’re like most people, however, warm fuzzies don’t cut it. You want attention. Credit. You want it known that others have liked it. There’s got to be a way of making a Like visible to the subscribers of those other subscribers. You know, the way a Like on Facebook becomes visible to the friends of the one who did the liking.

There’s No Alert When A Post Has Been Shared On Social Media

like sadnessYou can keep track of which of your posts have been shared on Facebook, LinkedIn, or any of the other online substitutes for an actual existence, but you have to track down on your own whether that’s happened, and it’s not very illuminating. We, for one, would love to receive an alert of some sort when a share happens, since we are, just as you, an attention whore. Just as WordPress can alert you instantaneously that MarmiteGlutton33 has liked your post about your guinea pig’s ingrown toenail, it should be able to alert you when someone has gone one better and actually shared that content with an even larger circle of readers.

It might also be nice to know who did the sharing, if their privacy settings allow that information to be conveyed. We’re not holding our breath on that one. Especially if it’s MarmiteGlutton33. Good grief.


That’s what we find annoying about this platform. At least they got rid of the yodeling with every page load.

Written by Thag

May 13, 2013 at 8:22 pm

Blogger Mines Life for Material, Bores Hell Out of Readers

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boringChicago, IL (AP) – When a coworker sardonically suggested to Gregg Myers that he start a blog about his life, the 35-year-old accountant completely missed the fact that his interlocutor was trying only to shut him up. Now, Myers devotedly posts to his blog at least three times a week, regaling his nonexistent readership with the petty dramas of his humdrum life.

“I used to have to wait to talk to people to share with them my humorous little observations about life,” said Myers, whose last romantic relationship ended twelve years ago. “But online I can potentially reach a lot more people. You can only e-mail so many friends with office anecdotes and housekeeping annoyances. With my blog, if anyone wants to go back through the archive and follow the evolution of my writing, it’s so much easier,” said the career loser, who is either completely ignorant or in denial about the utter lack of visitors to his online ramblings.

Myers does occasionally stumble upon the visitor statistics on the administrator section of the blog, and mistakes the visits of bots, spammers and unlucky humans for genuine traffic. “People find my blog in the most interesting ways,” he mused as he programmed his DVR to record the Dora the Explorer episodes he would miss while at work. “Last week I saw that someone had found my blog by googling the phrase ‘mushroom onion squirrel’ – so I got repeat visits to my post about the differences between two major brands of instant soup mix, which also had some funny reminiscing about growing up in suburbia,” said the sad sack, pathetically unaware that at least 99% of search engine visits logged by blogging platforms are generated retroactively by link spammers and their ilk.

Lou Zerr, trying to force himself to look at Myers's blog.

Lou Zerr, trying to force himself to look at Myers’s blog.

Myers is hardly alone, says Lou Zerr, who studies the habits of bloggers who lack what cultural anthropologists call a “life.” “You can find people like him almost everywhere,” says Zerr, who recently wrote a book on the subject, due out in May, called Deservedly Invisible. “The internet has allowed these people to come out of their shells just a a bit more, to allow them the illusion that other humans might care what they have to say. At the same time, the internet has also allowed other humans, many of whom have a life, to focus on other, more worthwhile pursuits, such as making fun of sad sacks such as Myers.”

Perhaps the peak achievement of Myers’s writing involved a day in which he found himself home sick from work, but still feeling reasonably good. He banged out six blog posts that day, beating his previous record of four. “It was a good day, in terms of creativity,” recalled the total dork. “Two of the posts were imagined dialogues between my toilet and the stuff that passes through it – and they were funny. You should see them. Another was a photo montage of funny-looking baby photos with captions that had Battlestar Galactica references. Great stuff,” continued Myers, but the remainder of his tale sailed into oblivion as the reporter originally assigned to the story self-immolated rather than listen to the rest.

Please Like Mightier than the Pen on Facebook, and we promise not to tell anyone that you actually found those Battlestar Galactica references kinda funny. Loser.

Written by Thag

February 17, 2013 at 3:47 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

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?


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

Fern Despondent after Being Defronded on Facebook

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Autumn, a fern in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, has withdrawn from social activity after a gymnosperm she admired defronded her publicly on Facebook.

The perpetrator accused Autumn of stalking and repeatedly leaving her hanging. The gymnosperm, named Twiggy, said she never got an anther to comments or questions, and when Autumn did offer any responses, she quickly back-petaled. Twiggy posted on Autumn’s cell wall for everyone to see that she would no longer subject herself to such treetment.

The relationship began several months ago when both Twiggy and Autumn happened to get trunk together one night, and they each discovered the other was an aphid fan of Botany Spears. But Twiggy, who always aimed to become more fully evolved, soon grew past whatever affinity they shared, and made several vein attempts to introduce Autumn to pursuits that were less, in her words, “bush league.”

But Autumn viewed any such changes as growth violations of etiquette, and made a series of more and more obvious digs at Twiggy. In late September she showered the gymnosperm with accusations that she had shared pollen with Chloro Phill. Twiggy initially gave those insults little more than a shrub, not wanting to go the root of outright conflict, but Autumn’s bark became progressively more biting.

After another bitter exchange sapped Twiggy’s will to maintain the relationship, she decided to nip further conflict in the bud. “I have tried to get you to be a good spore about things, but you have done nothing but soil my reputation. I must stem the flow of more insults. I’m sorry we grew apart. It wasn’t plant that way, but you seem incapable of doing anything but adding ovule to the fire,” Twiggy’s first comment read. Autumn reacted with shades of Greta Garbo, first claiming she wanted Twiggy to leave her alone, then publicly unearthing Twiggy’s thorny relationship with the comedian Billy Pistil, another mutual frond, and continuously needling her about it.

That was the last straw for Twiggy. She pruned her list of contacts to avoid any further association with Autumn, and the latter has barely said a word, only speaking up to voice regret at her “foliage attempt” to get along with Twiggy. “It just canopy.”

Please Like Mightier than the Pen on Facebook, and we promise to minimize further puns that wood ring hollow. Knot!

Written by Thag

October 14, 2012 at 3:36 pm

The Blogging Frustration Proficiency Quiz

with 8 comments

Please Like Mightier than the Pen on Facebook. The valid reasons for not doing so are:
(a) You have already done so.
(b) You work for Google, and are required by company policy to believe that Google+ is so vastly superior to Facebook that even having a Facebook account for non-work purposes would be ridiculous. Of course that just means you have to share this stuff on Google+, which we don’t exactly see you doing.
(c) You have fewer Facebook friends than Bill Buckner, so what’s the point?
(d) You don’t like anything. Not even puppies, chocolate or music.

Written by Thag

September 20, 2012 at 11:22 pm

Like My Page and Win a Free Invisible Ice Cream Sundae (Zero Calories!)

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Like Mightier than the Pen on Facebook, thus demonstrating your refined character, taste and social status. Oh, and you’ll smell better, too. Trust us; it will do you good. Just sayin’.

Written by Thag

August 6, 2012 at 2:30 pm

Tom Brady’s Twitter Feed

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MHK on our Jerseys. No disrespect for the Kraft family, but shouldn’t mine say MVP?

Winning the coin-toss and choosing to kick off. It’s more fun to crush opponents when you pretend to give them a chance first.

Uh-oh. Tummy rumbling. Shoulda had another bowl of Wheaties.

Intentional grounding, my foot! Or Gronkowski’s foot. Better his than mine, right?

Did I leave the iron on? Damn, can’t even ask Gisele to check; she’s here too. What the hell is that thing for, anyway?

Down 9-0. Child’s play. Now all we have to do is win.

I always thought coach Belichick could be a presidential candidate if he smiled more.

See? Shred the middle defense – it’s that simple. They don’t stand a chance! I’m awesome!

Bill for President – I can really see it. If he wins he can make it legal for us to cheat again.

Halftime. But you knew that. Charlie Sheen knows nothing about winning.

Madonna at halftime? Really? I didn’t know she was still alive.

Pep talk. We’re trailing! And we have them right where we want them! We’ll surprise them by throwing the game! They’ll NEVER expect that!

Got some Wheaties. All is right with the world.

Some kid wants my autograph. His folks mortgaged their home for the game tickets; you’d think there’d be enough left over to buy one online.

Back to the game. You know, locker-room wedgies never get old. And you thought Welker couldn’t look sillier.

That’s right, Eli. Archie’s not your daddy. You know who is. Boo-yah!

Boo-yah? WTF? Can’t we come up with something snappier? I’ll ask Giselle.

You can’t touch me, Tuck! You couldn’t sack the dust off a- OOOF!

What’s this green stuff in my face? Is that what the turf looks like? Jeez, can’t the Colts afford to hire a groundskeeper?

Mental note: next time, make sure to put on the right size athletic supporter. “Tight End” has a new meaning.

OK, so the defense surrendered two unanswered field goals. We’ll still squash ’em, just like we squashed ’em in ’08! Oh, wait…

I missed Welker. I NEVER miss. That’s gotta be his fault. I’m too awesome for it to be my fault.

Manning, Manningham. Who can tell the difference? Apparently, the defense can’t.

The Giants screwed up and scored a touchdown when they didn’t mean to, and that’s good for us. I’ll explain later.

Which reminds me. Remember the part about throwing the game? We MEANT to let them score. I %$#@ you not.

57 seconds and 2 time outs. No problem.

4th and 10. OK, problem.

Because I’m awesome!

OK, we might have a problem. But it’s not my fault, because I’m awesome.

Time for one more play. We can do it, because I’m awesome.

It’s up! A Hail Mary! Get it, boys, get it…..!

I don’t care. I’m still awesome. I get to go home with a supermodel, no matter how much we sucked today. Remember that, losers.

Written by Thag

February 6, 2012 at 3:48 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

You Have 12,199 New Enemy Requests

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I might not officially exist, since I don’t have a Facebook presence, but the occasional peeks over my wife’s shoulder have taught me something about Facebook people: too many of them are sickeningly earnest.

I went to high school with a guy we’ll call D (not his real name; his real name is Q). Back then, D was somewhat soft-spoken, but friendly, reasonably popular, and obviously not a nitwit. He’s now a Conservative Rabbi somewhere, possibly out in California, and he posts to Facebook a number of times a day, judging from how often I see his name and visage during those peeks at Miggtha’s feed. Maybe I always catch him at the wrong time, and he has plenty of posts that don’t make him seem like he’s got a prayer shawl stuck up his butt, but that’s not what I’ve seen. It’s all this cause and that cause, and sober analysis and assuming the moral high ground and taking the rightness of [insert cause here] for granted. We were friendly back in the day, but man, if I were to judge the guy now based solely on his Facebook behavior, fuggedaboudit. Who has time for such earnestness when there’s so much mockery to accomplish?

What good are your Facebook friends if they don’t make you laugh, or vice versa? If the links you share do not elicit at least one snarky comment from your friends, you must reexamine your choice in friends. Conversely, if you cannot find something snarky to say about the links or status updates in your feed, you must reconsider your value as a human being.

Everything needs a dose of humor. C’mon, even the Bible has some great lines (Achish, king of Gath: “Do I lack lunatics that you bring this one before me?”). And the book of Esther is one big political farce. If the Good Book sees fit to employ a zinger or two, why are you so goddamn serious? Dude, the second patriarch of Israel was Isaac, whose name means “he will laugh”. When Esther had Haman taken down a peg (OK, a whole fifty-cubit tree), couldn’t you just hear the ancient Persian laugh track between the lines?

So don’t make me come out there and do the mocking on Facebook for you. Or of you.

Written by Thag

July 6, 2011 at 2:27 pm

Work Ethic: Noun; What I Lack

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In my junior year of high school I came to the conclusion that I wanted to be a journalist. Thank God I never acted on that decision. For one thing, I can’t stand deadlines. They make me want to hide from the work and hope it goes away. I’m surprised how often that actually works. [Note to self: the US Presidency is probably not in your career path.]

It actually wasn’t my decision at all, come to think of it. My AP English teacher decided it would match what she perceived as my skill set and passions. She even ended up writing an effusive recommendation for some merit-based scholarship based on my supposed goals of bringing the truth to the world with compelling, articulate flair. In a fit of what now seems to be insanity, I even had her sign my yearbook. She did so with breathless prose, extolling the virtues of good journalism and the nobility of chasing such a dream. She wrote it in French. In retrospect, I must say her virtues as a teacher remain difficult to prove. Not to mention her presumed ability to arrive at an accurate assessment of an adolescent’s still-nascent talents. I should have seen even then that there was no way I’d ever succeed in journalism.

I harbored the illusion that I would eventually grow out of my tendency, which flowered from the fourth grade onward, not to give enough of a damn about things assigned to me. “Half-assed” doesn’t begin to describe most of my last-minute project submissions: if you strung them end-to-end you might end up with three quarters of an ass. But the few projects about which I did care, I did well. I suppose I assumed that as I approached a path in life that hewed more closely to a career that suited me, those would be the rule rather than the exception. I was a moron.

Fortunately, I discovered rather early in my college years that journalism and I were not destined to blossom together. Although I quickly advanced through the hierarchy of the undergraduate newspaper, I found myself assigning the meaty, potential-rich stories to others instead of snatching them for myself. I just wasn’t interested in more work than was absolutely necessary. My most notable journalistic achievement during those years was transcribing a conservative lecturer’s hourlong diatribe against the impending opening of the university’s first fraternity. My avoidance of work, on at least one occasion, extending to manufacturing absurd scenarios that would shift the burden of responsibility for my uselessness to the laps of my unsuspecting superiors.

The occasion that comes to mind occurred during my second semester on campus, when I hadn’t done an iota’s worth of work toward a major story, since I was too busy playing simulated chess on my roommate’s computer. The night I was supposed to submit it, I took one of my unused 3.5″ floppy disks and slammed it repeatedly in the door to my dorm room, taking care to crease the internal disk and render it all but unusable. I then sulked into the newsroom forlornly brandishing the disk and lamenting the fate of this major story. Oh, and that this unforeseen turn of events could not be remedied my me, as I had important prior commitments. But my shirking was seldom so obvious that it became too discernible a pattern. What I did discern, however, was that although I had no specific ideas of what career to choose, I would certainly not choose journalism.

So it gives me a measure of gratification to see the myriad philippics in all and sundry bastions of traditional media, railing against the newfangled business model that values eyeballs over all else, to the point that the pillars of good journalism as we knew it are at risk of collapse. The gratifying feeling lasts about four seconds, until I realize that I am unemployed anyway.

Still, I breathe a sigh of relief that I did not waste years of my life pursuing a career in a field rapidly transforming from excellence in reporting to excellence in marketing. For journalism, I never had the requisite discipline; for marketing, I never had the requisite lack of a soul or conscience.

Even at this moment, as the four of you read this post, I cannot bring myself to do what every rational person would conclude is the reasonable act: despite my sincere wish to succeed as a writer, I refuse to sell my soul to Facebook, to cynically exploit my friendships in an effort to give this blog prominence. Heck, I don’t even have a Facebook account.

Call me a traditionalist. Or whatever. Whatever you call me is probably not important enough to warrant any effort on my part to respond. There’s a simulated chess game going on here, after all.

Written by Thag

June 28, 2011 at 10:27 pm

…and If Everyone Looks to the Right, the Plane Will Tip Over

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Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for choosing Thag Airlines, and welcome aboard flight 3.14159 to, uh, let me check again…Newark. Huh. That’s funny. Isn’t that in New Jersey? It sounds so much like “New York,” but it’s not. It’s close, though, so don’t worry. Anyway, yeah, welcome aboard.

This is Captain Thag, and with me is copilot Miggtha. Together we have almost three weeks of commercial aviation experience, unless you count the times we got locked in the baggage compartment for a transatlantic flight back in ’05. Those jokers at Logan did that to us more often than I care to remember! But you can just relax in the comfort of the cabin, because we don’t want you in here with us any longer than you do.

Our flight time today will be about six hours, not counting any last-minute refueling stops we have to make along the way. Not many passengers are aware of this, but we experienced pilots know about all the little jet fuel stations with amazingly low prices, and at what times they’re not crowded. So we’ll probably be going only a bit out of our way. You just sit tight and enjoy Thag Airlines service in the meantime.

We will show you a safety and evacuation video in a few minutes, as required by FAA regulations. Additional information regarding this aircraft can be found in the pouch in front of each seat, blah blah blah. Come on; we all know you’ll only feel like looking at that under two conditions: (1) you’re an inquisitive boy, or (2) at some point after we announce, about two hours from now, that the video equipment is malfunctioning, you will be so starved for visual input that you will willingly search through the stack of detritus for something that might, under highly rare circumstances, manage to hold your attention for more than fifteen seconds. Select seats in coach and business class have also been provided with copies of Cramped!, our in-flight magazine. The rest of you have been provided with vintage issues of Woman’s Day.

Once we are at cruising altitude and the “Fasten Seat Belt” light is off, our cabin crew will come around with a beverage cart, specially designed to block every inch of aisle space. Please do not mistreat our flight attendants, as we have authorized them, at their discretion, to kick people off the plane in midair.

Dinner will be served about three hours into the flight, just when you thought you could get some shut-eye. Your choices of entrée will be meat loaf made during the Reagan administration, or meat loaf made during the Johnson administration. Andrew Johnson, in case that makes a difference to you. Please enjoy our complimentary tea and coffee, which is usually still warm when served.

Please turn off your electronic devices and refrain from using them again until the seatbelt sign is off. This includes phones of any sort, not only the amazingly pretentious iPhones that somehow the world managed without until now, but also laptop computers and the remote control for your DVR. Did you honestly think you could control it from far away? Please stow them in your carry-on baggage until their use is permitted. Please note that we have also authorized our cabin crew to eject in midair any mobile devices being used in an improper manner. Be advised that some of our staff understand “in an improper manner” to mean “at all.”

Once again, thank you for choosing Thag. Have a pleasant flight.

Written by Thag

April 28, 2011 at 2:42 pm

WordPress Doesn’t Care About You

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To the anonymous folks trying to attract clicks by faking incoming links to my site:

I appreciate what you are trying to accomplish. I, too, wish to increase traffic to my site, and employ some strategy toward that end. Our strategies seem to differ from each other so markedly, however, that I am compelled to address the difference, and perhaps to offer some constructive comments.

The most glaring difference in our approaches manifests in the straightforward vs. the roundabout. My approach, the straightforward, requires real work to generate quality content and attract a loyal audience of readers who themselves feel driven to share my writing with others. Whether this eventually evolves into something more lucrative is not the current issue, but of course I have no problem with earning money from my creative efforts.

You, on the other hand, favor the indirect approach, i.e. tricking me – and I do not flatter myself into thinking I am the sole object of your automated techniques – into thinking that someone followed a link from your site to my own, and perhaps then clicking on that “referring” link as it appears in my stats, thus boosting the traffic of the referenced site. This approach in effect ignores the quality of the site in question, as well as the morality behind the technique it employs.

Each of our approaches presents challenges that the other might not, and still other challenges remain no matter which approach one chooses. My approach requires actual work, sometimes hours at a time, to generate good ideas and express them effectively. It might also involve addressing feedback, corrections and comments. Your approach requires hiring a shady consultant to employ a bot that fakes visit logs at countless sites, much in the way a spammer sends thousands upon thousands of messages to people’s inboxes in the hope that a tiny fraction will respond. This presents little challenge, of course; the challenge of your approach lies in the slow death of soul that any feeling human should sense upon embarking on such a cynical journey in service of Mammon.

Neither approach really guarantees quality traffic, the kind of traffic that sustains a site; the vagaries and competition of the sea of online information make any simple prediction impossible. But only one of the two approaches preserves the dignity and self-worth of the site promoter, and it’s not yours.

Perhaps you do not care. Perhaps you simply hired a consultant to boost your traffic, but did not specify that you wanted quality traffic, the kind of audience that actually takes an interest in your site and its content. Perhaps you are aware of the issues but are already so morally corrupt that none of it bothers you. All of that is immaterial. Your behavior offers me one undeniable benefit: each fake referred link gives me one more reason to feel smugly superior to you, furnishing me with more fodder for my own pontifications. One day, those pontifications will become popular enough that I shall wield enough clout to silence you and your ilk. And I will feel righteous in the process.

We all dislike sanctimonious behavior. So you must ask yourselves whether provoking it is such a worthwhile endeavor. While you consider that, I’ll be over here, mocking you. Cheers.

Written by Thag

January 18, 2011 at 10:58 am

This Just In: We Do Not Need to Know Your Every Move

with 6 comments

I do not have a Facebook account. I do not ever want a Facebook account. As with any convictions, this remains subject to change, but probably not in the next week or two. Check back every so often for updates.

In any case, as I was saying, I harbor some disdain for Facebook, mostly in regard to the way people use it as a platform to share their logorrhea. So I suppose it’s not so much Facebook per se that I dislike as the behavior of the people who use it. The guidelines for Facebook posting should somewhat mirror your guidelines, if you have any, for saying things out loud in public. That’s what you’re doing, even if it’s not actually spoken. Please avoid the following status posts. Please.

1. Just pooped. Softer than usual.

2. That liver and onions ice cream is repeating on me. Mental note: next time, try the banana-broccoli-peanut-butter flavor.

3. Tell me honestly: am I really a ho?

4. Just got my first period! All over the place!

5. Waiting for that Nigerian widow to come through with the $7,000,000 she promised me.

6. My boyfriend is ugly.

7. Felix is gay. He doesn’t want anyone to know. You didn’t hear it from me.

8. I don’t bother doing the dishes. Eventually, the old food gets so crusted on it just becomes part of the dish and no germs grow on it anymore.

9. Ran out of clean underwear. Anyone got some spare they can get to me before 7:30?

10. Just realized I hate my kids. Just putting that out there.

11. You know, if I wanted to be cryptic…

12. Just apologize already!

13. Planning to threaten to assassinate the President. Anyone want to join me?

Of course most of these and their ilk I have not had the pleasure of encountering with any frequency, as the only experience I tend to have with Facebook is when I’m looking over my wife’s shoulder. Mrs. Thag is an upstanding member of the Facebook community, one who knows better than to clutter her friends’ screens with drivel unless absolutely necessary (such as when they post a status requesting that others respond with drivel; as you can imagine, this doesn’t happen all that frequently).

So I leave it to my legions of fans to share the most inane Facebook status changes they have encountered. I like finding justification for my superciliousness.

Written by Thag

January 8, 2011 at 8:37 pm