September 29, 2008

Going to Hell, but Whatever

Yesterday, the wife and I were out on a walk, when we happened upon the following scene, which I felt compelled to take a picture of with my cell phone. I'm assuming the cat was probably hit by a car, and then somebody came along and moved it to the side of the road and placed it on the plastic mat.

But, man, whoever put the "CAT" glove near its head; that shit had the two of us laughing for the next three hours.


Posted by Ryan at 08:05 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Time Travel

You know, I've always looked at pictures and video of the Great Depression and wondered what it would have been like to have lived through those times. After this week, I may actually get that chance. I'm not as enthusiastic about it as you might think.

Posted by Ryan at 07:41 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

September 26, 2008

That Can't Be Unintentional

So, I was reading this post on one of the Post-Bulletin's more prolific blogs, when I noticed the complementing picture thumbnail. At first I thought "No way!" and then I was all like "IDK, my BFF Jill!" and then I was all like "Whoa. . . HAHA."

You can't tell me the photographer actually thought that was a good shot. I guess it's at least a good thing the guy is wearing gloves. . .


Posted by Ryan at 02:18 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Bad Smell Air

Just when I thought the news this week was going to consist entirely of negative, down-in-the-dumps, financial meltdown bringdownery, we're saved by the news that "Charge dropped against man accused of farting."

I just KNOW I'm going to have a hard time writing about this without giggling uncontrollably, but I shall soldier on regardless, because that's the kind of ThunderJournalist I am.

SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va. - A West Virginia man accused of passing gas and fanning it toward a police officer no longer faces a battery charge.

Mmmgff. Gblllgblllll. BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! He no longer faces a battery charge! Can you imagine getting hit so hard in the face with a fart it actually constitutes battery? Wouldn't it be awesome to see this in the UFC? The fighters circle each other for a few seconds, when suddenly one fighter reaches to his ass, catches and cups a fart, and then throws it at his opponent, knocking him unconscious. That's some top quality fartin' there, Lou.

The Kanawha County prosecutor's office requested that the charge be dropped against 34-year-old Jose Cruz.

Not to worry, he has plenty of other charges to worry about:

Cruz, of Clarksburg, W. Va., was pulled over early Tuesday for driving without headlights, police said. According to the criminal complaint, Cruz smelled of alcohol, had slurred speech and failed three field sobriety tests before he was handcuffed and taken to a police station.

And now the story just get's super awesome.

According to a criminal complaint, Cruz passed gas and made a fanning motion toward patrolman T.E. Parsons after being taken for a breathalyzer test.

Hey, maybe it's like putting a penny in your mouth to try to fool the machine!

"The gas was very odorous and created contact of an insulting or provoking nature with Patrolman Parsons," the complaint alleged.

Some people just have absolutely no sense of humor. I wonder exactly how Patrolman Parsons felt the contact of the fart. Did it make his skin prickle? I wonder if he was more insulted, or provoked. Can you imagine being provoked by a fart? Insulted? Maybe. But provoked? That's some serious fartinating!

Cruz acknowledged passing gas, but said he didn't move his chair toward the officer nor aim gas at the patrolman. He said he had an upset stomach at the time, but police denied his request to go to the bathroom when he first arrived at the station.

Aim gas at the patrolman? Look, there's only one real way to "aim" fart gas:


If you're fanning a fart, it's more redirecting than it is aiming. I would argue that cupping and throwing isn't really aiming, either.

"I couldn't hold it no more," he said.

I feel your pain, man. I. Feel. Your. Pain.

He also denied being drunk and uncooperative as the police complaint alleged. He added he was upset at being prepared for a breathalyzer test while having an asthma attack. The police statement said he later resisted being secured for a trip to a hospital that he requested for asthma treatment.

Drunk, asthmatic and stupid is no way to go through life, son.

Cruz said the officers thought the gas incident was funny when it happened and laughed about it with him.

Gas incident? Man, this story is so full of WIN, I can barely handle it. Gas incident. . . Honest, man, it wasn't a fart, it was a GAS INCIDENT. Makes it sound like it's historically important. On this day, in 2008, the nototious Gas Incident took place, claiming the lives of several people and causing hundreds of other people to feel either insulted or, in some cases, provoked.

Cruz, who was arrested Tuesday, still faces two charges: driving under the influence and driving without headlights, and two counts of obstruction.

But, hey, at least that "battery by fart" charge was dropped.

Posted by Ryan at 11:03 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Palin Comparison

Okay, keeping in mind I think both presidential candidates are atrocious, and I have no real opinion about Sarah Palin beyond the fact I think it would be fun to do her, I've recently been noticing an odd phenomenon regarding her name and the name of her family members.

There's a linguistic anomaly called a spoonerism, which basically takes two words and transposes the first one or or two letters. Thus, a "sink by the door" becomes a "dink by the soor." Or, "take a shit" becomes "shake a tit." My grandfather was a legendary fan of spoonerisms. He was always talking about "stoing to the gore" and "dalking the wog." One of his favorites had to do with a local townsperson named "Denis" and his pickup--and he was particularly gleeful when Denis put his "pickup in the ditch."

ANYHOOOOoooooooo. My grandfather passed on his penchant for spoonerisms to my mother, who in turn passed it on to me, and it was for that reason that I realized, earlier this week:

- Sarah Palin = Parah Salin. I honestly don't know if she enjoys parasailing or not, but she should.

- Trig Palin = Pig Tralin. Why he would want to trail pigs, I have no idea.

- Bristol Palin = Pistol Bralin. Because guns should be accessible to the blind, too.

- Track Palin = Pack Tralin. A prepared hiker, if ever there was one.

- Willow Palin = Pillow Walin. For those tough and crying times after a boy dumps you.

- Todd Palin = Podd Talin. Which pods he may be tailing, I have no clue.

- Piper Palin = Well, this one is spoonerism-proof, much like my own name.

Posted by Ryan at 09:18 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

September 25, 2008

Unexpected Conversation

Me: *noticing Star of David ring on co-worker's finger* That's neat. Are you Jewish?

Co-worker: *looking at her ring* Oh, no, I just really like symmetrical things.

Posted by Ryan at 02:11 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

September 24, 2008

I would feel guilty, but. . .

For the record, having a job that allows you to pack up your laptop, leave your cubicle, and basically work from anywhere the laptop can pick up a company WiFi signal, is one of the greatest work-related freedoms you can experience. I was sitting outside, in the grass, at a downtown park earlier this afternoon, "working." Now, I'm on the 19th floor of a 19 story building, looking out over a view usually associated with CEO offices. Man, this is nice.

Posted by Ryan at 01:30 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Missed it by that much

You know what makes me sad? What makes me sad is I won't be around to see the Andromeda galaxy collide with the Milky Way in about 5 billion years or so. I'd bet real money that would be some serious shit to witness. Computer models are cool and all, but they just don't quite capture it. . . you know?

UPDATE: Man, this post wasn't up for an hour, and I ALREADY had to delete a spam comment.

DONNA UPDATE: Ask and ye shall receive:

Posted by Ryan at 07:38 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

September 23, 2008

When Your Show Sucks, Show Boobies

Having just watched the season finale of "Weeds," I've come to the conclusion that the writers tried to make up for a horrid plot/storyline by showing more and more of Mary Louise-Parker's sweater pets.

And I'm in no way complaining here: they're a fine pair of sweater pets. I mean, sure, it would have been nice to have both a storyline that DIDN'T suck big, bouncy balls AND still showed Mary Louise-Parker's chest goblins, because that would have been the whole package.

Oh well. Boobies.

Posted by Ryan at 11:22 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Blame Can Be Shared Like Cake and Ice Cream

So, yeah, this whole financial meltdown, crisis, disaster, TRAGEDY unfolding on Wall Street right now? Could we please stop trying to pin it on any one political party? Because, let's be honest here, greed is pretty much a bi-partisan failing.

And, as is often the case, the road to this meltdown of volcanic proportions was paved with the bestest of intentions:

In a move that could help increase home ownership rates among minorities and low-income consumers, the Fannie Mae Corporation is easing the credit requirements on loans that it will purchase from banks and other lenders.

The action, which will begin as a pilot program involving 24 banks in 15 markets -- including the New York metropolitan region -- will encourage those banks to extend home mortgages to individuals whose credit is generally not good enough to qualify for conventional loans. Fannie Mae officials say they hope to make it a nationwide program by next spring.

Fannie Mae, the nation's biggest underwriter of home mortgages, has been under increasing pressure from the Clinton Administration to expand mortgage loans among low and moderate income people and felt pressure from stock holders to maintain its phenomenal growth in profits.

That's from an article dated September, 1999, so the seeds of this thing have had plenty of time to take root. Hindsight is always 20/20, if not better, but just reading that excerpt, you can't help but be struck by how ill-advised it seems to extend loans to people who have generally proven to not be particularly good credit risks. The whole "Give a man a fish, he'll eat for a day; teach a man to fish, he'll eat for a lifetime" thing sort of comes to mind, except it's more like "Give a man a loan, he won't pay it back; give that man another loan, what the fuck are you thinking?"

Of course, those higher risk loans came equipped with higher interest rates, so it's sort of, kind of, understandable why those loans were handed out; I'm sure it all looked really good ON PAPER. It's just that the reality of giving loans to people who probably won't be able to make payments just took a decade or so to kick in. You'd think some sort of oversight would have just been built into such a system. But, what fun would that be? Regulation is SUCH a pain.

It's all very perplexing to witness from my perspective. Then again, I took out a home loan I knew I could afford (in fact, I pay extra each month), and I've always been terrified of debt in general.

Just seems unfair that I'm going to end up paying for this thing, one way or another.

Posted by Ryan at 08:34 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

September 22, 2008

Just a thought

I could buy a pretty cozy house for $700 billion, I betcha.

Posted by Ryan at 03:23 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 19, 2008

Election Coverage: 2088

Sept. 19, 2088, Associated Blog Press (ABP)--WASHINGTON--The election battle for the White House went negative today, as Democratorque candidate, Sen. Zanzibar Ortiz Cruzeman, attacked his RepublicanZord opponent, Sen. Thomas Jackson, for being too old and out of touch with the average American citizen.

Specifically, Cruzeman pointed out Jackson is unable to telepathically communicate with others because he has no nannite implants, whereas Cruzeman is known to have no less than seven such implants and is in telepathic contact with dozens of friends and colleagues.

The Jackson campaign countered, pointing out their candidate is unable to undergo the necessary procedures for implanting nannites due to harsh mental treatment he received years ago when he was held prisoner during the Chinese Incursion of 2053; a conflict, they point out, Cruzeman was too young to even participate in. On the campaign trail, Jackson attempted what was assumed to be some sort of joke, saying "those nannite implants just seem like midichlorians, when you think about it." No one seemed to know what the senator was referring to.

Cruzeman, the first presidential candidate in American history born to an impregnated male, has steadfastly maintained that his relative youth and inexperience will nevertheless serve him well as President, and he's been consistent in his message that he will bring further light to the plight of transgendered-birth individuals.

For the Jackson campaign, controversy still swirls over his unexpected vice-presidential selection of Angie Starling, a relatively unknown governor of the lunar colony, Absolom 7. Despite her insistence and reputation as an opponent of the practice of legislative bookmarking, evidence suggests she worked to secure federal funding for the so-called "Space Elevator To Nowhere." Starling also experienced her own nannite implant problems when one of her implants was hacked into, in a particularly nasty violation of her privacy, and several of her family memories were broadcast over the SpaceNet.

The Cruzeman campaign has undergone its own vice presidential gaffe woes, with Cruzeman's V.P. selection, Adrian Krosos, saying a Cruzeman presidency will work to redistribute wealth from the top one percent to help grow America's middle class, a baffling statement, considering America's wealthiest one percent established their own separatist colony on Mars in the "Great Wealth Secession of 2079." When pressed on this gaffe, Krosos was quoted as saying "it sounded better in front of a mirror."

On the economic front, stocks plummeted earlier this week on news that Solar Flare Storm Betty had crippled nearly 4 million solar panels nationwide, sending energy prices soaring and re-charging the debate about the need to research better Helium 3 lunar mining techniques. Critics of this research continue to maintain the lunar surface should be kept pristine for future generations and that further mining could upset the fragile lunar ecosystem, even though no life has ever been discovered on the moon.

The confluence of the solar storm devastation and the ongoing sub-optimus prime mortgage loan crisis, has sent the Dow Jones Industrial Average index down 8,000 points, or 1.2 percent, a point drop not seen since the "Great Overreaction of 2070." Financial markets have been reeling, with the U.S. government, the largest holder of financial institutions in America since "The Unwise Government Overreach of 2008", looked to itself to bail itself out, a move that financial experts nationwide called "pretty much impossible."

No one is certain how all of this will play out come November, and current polls have both candidates deadlocked. With six weeks to go to Election 2088, an anxious nation waits.

Posted by Ryan at 09:46 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 18, 2008

Not Quite Hacking E-Mail. . . But

As some of you may know, my Geode Twin side-kick, Caroline, had a baby earlier this summer and has been on maternity leave. Thus, our routine MSN IM conversations, which are usually a huge hit here, read by literally ones and twos of you, have basically dried up.

Well, Caroline and I are still in occasional e-mail contact, and today she forwarded something she called "A Cat and a Swear Word," which was, true to her description, a series of pictures featuring a cat and a mouse and an eventual swear word. It lead to the following e-mail exchange:

Me: "A Cat and a Swear Word" is a sitcom that NEEDS to be made.

Caroline: Absolutely it is. The theme song would have to be the Perfect Strangers theme song and the laugh track would just be cats meowing. I'll get working on it.

Me: You know, a sitcom like that would probably actually be considered pretty darned good entertainment by a disturbing number of people. I think the thought of a meowing laugh track is freakin' hilarious. Also, the main character cat would normally speak English, but would meow when swearing, kind of like the Smurfs. I'm telling you, the possibilities here are BOUNDLESS. . . well, except for being limited to a cat main character, I mean.

Caroline: Yes, yes. A cat that normally speaks English, but NEVER answers when asked a question. The cats could be named after famous cats in TV history. Azreal in honor of the Smurfs and Toonsis in honor of when SNL was funny. And didn't ALF try to eat the family cat on that show? He could be the wacky next-door neighbor. Maybe that's going too far ...

Me: The first rule of "A Cat and a Swear Word" is: You can never go too far with "A Cat and a Swear Word." The chance to bring ALF back to television should never be dismissed.

Caroline: ALF can always stand for "A Legendary Feline." We have some big ideas, you and I. If only we could make money off of them. Alas, "A Cat and a Swear Word" will die and join TotalTard Magazine.

Posted by Ryan at 10:29 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

The Time Has Come

We need Odin Soli to man up and create another chick blog we can all escape into. But, instead of gappy teeth, the new creation should have some sort of more exotic cosmetic problem, like she was born without her left nipple or something.

He could call it. . . "Just a Girl Missing Her Nip."

Posted by Ryan at 10:06 AM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

September 17, 2008

It's Funny Because, well, It's Funny

Economists Warn Anti-Bush Merchandise Market Close To Collapse

Posted by Ryan at 02:34 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Business Plan

I'm going to start a financial institution, loan money to all sorts of high risk applicants, and wait for the government to bail me out when it all goes South.

Not sure why I didn't think of this before. . .

Posted by Ryan at 08:43 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

New Fight Craze

NOTE: I can't take full credit for this idea; my cousin and I were bouncing this concept off each other during a family reunion back in August.

So, you know how wildly popular mixed martial arts and the UFC have become, what with all those professional fighters and the blood and knockouts and the glaven?

I think an even more popular fighting venue would be one in which complete fighting novices are thrown into the octagon to do hand-to-hand combat. Better yet, just select complete office nerds who have only made a fist in their lives for masturbatory purposes.

It could be set up, managed and marketed almost exactly like the UFC, only it would be called something like. . . the USB. And it would be aired on the Discovery Channel.

The first fight would feature Erwin "The Keyboard" Schemple against Julian "The Julian" Breckenridge.

Schemple, a 29-year-old Web page specialist out of San Francisco, with a professional fight record of 0-1 (having lost an ice cream cone to a girl after she kicked his groin when he was eight years old), would be known for sudden nose bleeds and a reliance on hypoallergenic pillows.

Breckenridge, a 31-year-old online day-trader from St. Louis, would be known for throwing elaborate "Lord of the Rings" role-playing parties and his particularly well-crafted, but entirely empty, insults and threats posted on assorted online forums.

The fights would entail all the hype and build-up we've come to expect of UFC bouts, complete with one-on-one interviews with the fighters. However, instead of the confident smack-talk of the UFC, the USB interviews would feature uncertain, timid and basically terrified-combatants.

More on this later. . .

Posted by Ryan at 08:13 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

September 16, 2008

Oh, and another thing

Are people really, REALLY influenced by election lawn signs? They've always struck me as such a completely useless eyesore. If you base your vote on a lawn sign you saw in your neighborhood, you may require a groin-punching.

Posted by Ryan at 02:54 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Debit Don't

There are few things that cause me quite the same flavor of anxiety as when I open my wallet and realize I'm missing my debit card. Granted, it doesn't happen very often, but when it does, all my neurons come alive and start sparking with every potential scenario involving a sinister card thief with a black handlebar moustache, draining my savings account in 10 minutes on e-Bay.

So it was, when I went to pay for gas last night and was confronted with an empty wallet slot usually reserved for my debit card, I basically started to freak out. I rushed home, called my credit union, pulled up my account information online, and basically looked like Jack Bauer trying to disarm a bomb. DAMN IT!

Well, it turns out, I apparently forgot to retrieve my card from an ATM after making a withdrawal Sunday afternoon, and the ATM ate my card after I hadn't retrieved it after 30 seconds. The credit union had mailed it back to me, but of course I cancelled it last night, fearing the worst, so when I get the card back, it will basically be a useless plastic rectangle. I suppose I could frame it or something, as a reminder to always retrieve my debit card. . .DUMBASS.

Posted by Ryan at 02:16 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

The Purge

I'm not sure why, exactly, but my perception of the online world right now seems to indicate people are starting to step back from the insanity of ubiquitous online commentary. Oh, sure, the commentary is still rampant and often unhinged, but it just seems as if more stable people are basically saying "whatever. . . not interested."

It's about time.

Posted by Ryan at 08:25 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 15, 2008

SiteMeter Haikus

In tribute to SiteMeter's ridiculous upgrade and subsequently wise rollback, I thought I'd dedicate today's ThunderJournal posting to haikus about SiteMeter. Feel free to take part in the comments, or e-mail (because I know my comment engine sucks donkey balls).

Thank you, SiteMeter
For change we can't believe in.
Thank God for rollbacks.

For reading blog stats
I rely on SiteMeter
Their upgrade sucked ass.

I could not log in
Nothing seemed to work at all
Upgrade? What the fuck?

A million voices
Cry out against SiteMeter
Can someone say FAIL?

It's not that often
Something sucks across the board
Congrats, SiteMeter!

As Web face-lifts go
This was pure Michael Jackson
Without the young boys.

Posted by Ryan at 08:29 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


Well, at least SiteMeter had the common sense to rollback to their old version. If Star Wars Galaxies had done that a few years ago, I'd possibly still be playing. Sometimes, just because you CAN change something doesn't mean you SHOULD.

Get off my lawn.

Posted by Ryan at 08:00 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 14, 2008


Not to put too fine a point on it or anything, but from what I've experienced so far, SiteMeter's "upgrade" has been one of the biggest online face-plants of this decade.

Posted by Ryan at 10:29 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 12, 2008

Sinking The Sub

Me: Could I get a foot long Philly cheese steak sandwich.

Sandwich Artist: I'm sorry, we're out of the Philly cheese steak. We're also out of prime rib.

Me: Oh. Okay. I'll get a foot long chicken breast. . .

S.A.: I'm sorry, we're also out of chicken breast.

Me: Ah. Well, do you have turkey breast.

S.A.: Yes we do.

Me: All right, I'll have a turkey breast foot long on honey oat.

S.A.: I'm sorry, we're out of honey oat bread. We have plenty of wheat, though.

Me: *ahem* I guess I'll have a foot long turkey breast on wheat then.

S.A.: What kind of cheese do you want on that.

Me: *wary* Pepper Jack?

S.A.: I'm sorr. . .

Me: American, then.

S.A.: Do you want that toasted?

Me: I'm not sure. . . is your toaster working?

S.A.: Oh yeah!

Me: Well, then I guess I'll have it toasted.

*sub toasts*

S.A.: Do you want the works on this?

Me: No, but I'll go extra spinach.

S.A.: I'm sorry, but JUST ran out of spinach.

Me: Of course you did. . . lettuce then.

S.A.: Extra lettuce?

Me: No.

Me: Tomatoes.

Me: Extra onion.

S.A.: I'm really sorry, but we're out of onion right now.

Me: You're out of ONION?

S.A.: Yes, I'm really very sorry.

Me: But. . . didn't you just ask me if I wanted "The Works" on it? Aren't onions part of "The Works?"

S.A.: You're right, and I'm sorry about that. I get so used to saying "The Works" that it was just kind of automatic.

Me: I understand. Green peppers?

S.A.: We do have. . . oh, wait. *to co-S.A.* Hey, check in back and see if there's any more green peppers.

*green pepper waiting interim*

Co-S.A.: We don't have any more green peppers, but I found one last thing of onions.

Me: *in my head* 10. . . 9. . . 8. . . 7. . . 6. . . 5. . .

S.A.: Sorry about that. Do you still want extra onion?

Me: Yes. Please.

S.A.: Any sauces?

Me: *to self* Is that question directed at me, or is he asking if this Subway has any remaining sauces?

Me: *to S.A.* No, thank you, and you don't need to cut it.

S.A.: *cuts sandwich in two, realizes what he just did*

Me: *in my head* 4. . . 3. . . 2. . .

S.A.: Oh my God, I'm so sorry.

Me: Don't worry about it.

*get to the register, notice with a wry and slightly disgusted smile that there's a sign saying this particular Subway was out of Scrabble game pieces; note with irony that, spelled out in Scrabble letters, is the word "SORRY."

*get to the chip display and start scanning for Cool Ranch Doritos. After a few seconds, I start to reach the conclusion that. . . "

Co-S.A: If you're looking for Cool Ranch Doritos, we ran out earlier today. Sorry about that.

Me: Me too.

Posted by Ryan at 12:48 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Bringing the Nation Together

I'm so bloody-frickin sick of this neverending election cycle. I feel like I've been absorbing presidential election bullcrap, non-stop, since 2001. It certainly doesn't help that media organizations have glommed onto politics as their saving grace and report the shit until it's nonsensical. It's been filling my brain cells with useless information, when I could have been using those brain cells to formulate a plan for sleeping with Sarah Chalke. But, nooooooo, now I'm all married and shit. Way to go, election cycle! Dick!

Side-note to Sarah Chalke: call me.

Anyway, I think a good way to bridge the national political divide would be to call a one-week, work-free holiday immediately following the election. During one day of that week, people in town and cities across the nation should gather and meet at accepted neighborhood get-togethers and have bonfires consisting only of election signs and flyers. Have a cook-out. Play games. Just celebrate not having to hear anything about an upcoming election for one glorious week.

Mostly, though, I just want a week off work.

Posted by Ryan at 10:13 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

September 11, 2008

Link This

Awhile back, I wrote a freelance article for an IT think tank that explored what the future look and feel of the Internet may have in store. I interviewed Daniel Nations, freelance writer and editor for's "Guide to Web Trends."

One of the areas that didn't make it into the article, but which I found extremely fascinating--in addition to his opinions regarding newspapers vs. the Web--was the current state of the online, link-based economy. Rather than let that part of the interview wither and eventually get taped over, I thought I'd post it here, for any of you who may be interested. Here's what Nations had to say:

Newspapers, most of them kind of shot themselves in the foot because they were very antagonistic towards the Web for the longest time, and way too many of them still are. Early on, it was just too difficult for people within the newspaper industry to figure out how to really make any money on the Web; they were just too reliant on their print economic models, and too slow to adapt. The Web, on the other hand, has evolved and adapted practically on a weekly basis. Just look at what Web pages looked like back in, say, 2003 compared to today's Web pages; by comparison, newspapers changed very little, if at all. Now, some of them are starting to catch on, although a little late in the game, coming to terms with the online community aspects of the Web and how to attract and retain readers.

Thrown into all this has been the emerging and sometimes competing opinions on what has more value: content or links. Clearly, I think the value is in linking. People are still sometimes struggling with this idea that linking to other sites is good; it seems so contrary, but it's cooperative game theory at its best, something that seems contrary to your own interests but at the end of the day it's going to do you good. This is an area that newspapers and a lot of other news media have trouble wrapping their heads around, because you may have all these news aggregator and similar sites popping up that snip a portion of a news article as a tease and then link to the original site and the entire article. This is kind of a gray area, because you start walking into areas of copyright law and plagiarism and fair use and a lot of other hot button issues. But, when it comes right down to it, those news aggregator sites are creating links to the original content, and those links are being clicked by people who would otherwise probably never have even visited the originating site if it hadn't been linked elsewhere. And this isn't limited to news aggregator sites, either. You have Stumbleupon and Twitter and forums and all these Web-based applications and sites that are potential links and traffic.

The #1 thing you want to do if you want a successful Web page with a lot of traffic, is to be ranked high in Google, and a sure way to get there is to gain a lot of legitimate links to your content. Interesting content is important, but content means nothing without links to it, and a lot of them. Links are sort of the equivalent of online currency, which is something a lot of people just don't understand yet. Links are valuable.

However, it's important to understand that simply linking to someone else doesn't mean it's entirely okay to snip some or all of an article; people have a genuine claim to content they've created, and while some people are enthusiastic about being excerpted and linked, you have to respect those people who don't necessarily want their content essentially copy-and-pasted. I would say there are more people out there who want to be linked and quoted, but that's not everyone.

Posted by Ryan at 09:24 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 10, 2008

The News As I Understand It

So, let me get this straight, if it works, the new Large Hadron Collider is capable of putting lipstick on a pig?

I just don't get science.

Posted by Ryan at 02:38 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

September 09, 2008

Frowning at Robberies

Let's face it: robbery, theft and other such thieving derivatives represent a very real and serious problem plaguing humanity. I say this as a man who has had probably $9.84 in change stolen from my assorted vehicles over the last 15 years. I really should start locking my doors more frequently.

Anyway, as I was saying, theft and robbery in any form should be frowned up with the full frowning power of one million frowners, including this great nation's Frowning Fathers, a dour bunch if ever there was one.

All of this was a confusing and only-mildly-funny segue into the heart of this post, which is intended to explore the dark and unusual underbelly of theft and robbery crimes that are apparently sweeping America.

For example, according to a Sept. 8, Associated Press (AP) report out of Fresno, Calif., authorities say they've arrested a man who broke into the home of two California farmworkers, stole money, rubbed one with spices and whacked the other with a sausage before fleeing.

This is one of my greatest fears, incidentally; to wake up in the middle of the night, only to realize, not only have I been robbed, I'VE BEEN TENDERIZED. I honestly don't think there's any amount of therapy available to deal with the mental repercussions of such a violation. I'd be doomed to a lifetime of nightmares involving myself and Mrs. Dash. "shudder"

Fresno County sheriff's Lt. Ian Burrimond says 22-year-old Antonio Vasquez was found hiding in a field wearing only a T-shirt, boxers and socks after the Saturday morning attack. He says deputies arrested Vasquez after finding a wallet containing his ID in the ransacked house.

See, now that's just sad. He went through all the effort of a vigorous spice rubbing and assault with a not-particularly deadly sausage, and then he goes and leaves his wallet and ID behind. It would have been the perfect, befuddling crime, but then he went and messed it all up through what can only be described as "debilitating stupidity."

Not all random, audaciously bizarre criminals are apprehended, however. Some thieves are just too savvy and up-to-date on the methods employed by law enforcement officials. Others, it can be argued, are just chock full of dumb luck.

Take another example, this time a Sept. 5, AP report out of Dallas, which informs us a wheelchair getaway at a 7-Eleven has police looking for an unusual robbery suspect. Authorities said Friday that a man in a wheelchair entered a Dallas convenience store this week, rolled straight toward the cash register and began hitting it with a baseball bat.

Although you can certainly question the baseball bat tactic of going after the cash register, versus simply pressing the "No Sale" key, you have to admire the straightforwardness and focus on the robbery task at hand. Unfortunately, that laser-like focus apparently faltered:

But he didn't grab any cash. The suspect instead stole 10 boxes of condoms and an energy drink before making his getaway Wednesday afternoon, Dallas police Cpl. Kevin Janse said.

Well, to be fair, attacking a cash register with a baseball bat is probably thirsty work. As for the ten boxes of condoms. . . that's pretty much anybody's guess.

Janse said the culprit may have been homeless and probably intoxicated at the time.

Homeless and intoxicated is no excuse. This man must be frowned upon with as much frowning power as we can muster.

Come to think of it, "Frowning Muster" would make a great spice rub. . .

Posted by Ryan at 10:25 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

September 08, 2008

Speaking of Uppity Things

Man, you'll never want to give this up.

Posted by Ryan at 09:00 AM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

September 05, 2008

My Cube, Let Me Show You It

For whatever reason, I've found that professional writing and editing has almost without fail landed me in working environments where there are A LOT of women. This holds true for my current job where, in the half of the building I'm seated, I'm the only guy amidst 10 female co-workers.

The thing is, I don't quite understand the reasons behind decorating your office or cubicle space. During my last job, spanning over seven years, the only thing decorating any of my offices were the numerous conference badges and laniards from the assorted IT conventions I'd attended around the country. When I left that job behind, I also left behind the badges, hanging unceremoniously on the wall by a single thumb pin.

Here, however, my female co-workers really seem to get into decorating their cubicles. And I'm not talking simply photos of friends and loved ones, either. These cubicles remind me more of dorm rooms. Seriously, they've even put up a dry erase marker board in one of the cubicle hallways where they write French and Spanish words and phrases for the day. In contrast, my cubicle looks like something where a troll that subsists on stacks of paper would live. I have no decorations. None. Nada. Zero. Zilch. Zippo.

And the thing is, I'm starting to get razzed about it. My co-workers are now insisting I should at least have a picture of my wife up, or something. One even offerred to bring in some art for me to hang on my fabric cubicle walls. Seriously, why would I want to do that? What possible reason would I have to hang a Van Gogh reprint in my cubicle?

Now, maybe if I had an opulent office with a mahogany desk, with busts of Athena and Zeus on either side of a solid oak office door, I'd feel more compelled to bring in some decorations and momentos. But a cubicle?

Although, it might be fun to maybe hang shrunken heads and a string of Viet Cong ears on my cubicle walls, just to see what people say.

Posted by Ryan at 12:41 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

An uppity post, from an uppity guy

I feel downright uppity today. I know it seems somehow counterintuitive to be both "downright" AND "uppity," but that's how I feel.

Gosh darn it, that MUST mean I'm racist.

UPDATE: Having experienced the stench of wading through a Jeff Fecke comment thread firsthand, the following image came to mind:


What would Freud say. . . ?

Posted by Ryan at 09:34 AM | Comments (18) | TrackBack

September 04, 2008

Fun Exercise You Can Do At Home

Take a deck of cards. On each card, write down one of four exercises: Push-ups, squats, burpees and sit-ups (or "V-ups"). Place four jokers into the deck.

Now, shuffle the cards and start going through the deck, card by card. If a 4 comes up with "push-ups," for example, you do four push-ups. All face cards count as 10, and aces count as eleven.

Oh, and those jokers? If a joker comes up, you double the number of reps from the previous card, and you pray the previous card was a frickin' two. Oh, and you DEFINITELY pray that two jokers don't appear back to back.

Why, yes, this is one of the new exercise regimens thrown into jiu-jitsu warm-ups, why do you ask? First gymnastic rings. . . now this.

I prefer Texas Hold-em.

Posted by Ryan at 02:50 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

An Ode To The Dog I Saw Hit By A Car This Morning

A dog of undetermined breed, yet full of canine joy,
Unleashed its boisterous need, the world was its toy.

Unfettered by the leash of man, it ran into the street,
It had not yet traversed the span, when car and dog did meet.

As meetings go, it did not end well, as the car was moving rather fast,
Beneath the car, the doggie fell, tumbling head over its ass.

For me that's when the scene did end, since I was running late for work.
The guilty driver I cannot defend, since he drove on as well, the jerk.

And so today, a doggie died, and it shall woof no more
I'm too heartless to have cried, at the sight of doggie gore.

To the poor doggie I can only say, it sucked to be you, my friend.
I only hope you felt no pain, as you met your grisly end.

Posted by Ryan at 12:09 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 03, 2008

The History of the Internet. . . Sort of

I really think the scientists who dabble in science should conduct a scientific study, using science, regarding the phenomenon of obsessive Internet commenting. I genuinely think this could be a ripe area for scientific scientists to exploit in the name of science.

I've basically been plugged into the Internet now for well over a decade, having spent most of my professional writing career staring into the radiating warmth of countless computer monitors, usually for eight straight hours a day, if not more. In that time, I've watched as the Internet has morphed into a technology that enables narcissistic navel-gazing to a degree previously deemed impossible.

In the mid to late 1990s, the Internet was still mostly a repository of static Web pages consisting mostly of text relaying information of varying degrees of value. Companies wishing to remain hip and with it established their own official Web pages, while some enterprising individuals armed with some understanding of Internet language coding carved off their own personal corners of the Web.

The insanity that is the current state of the Internet really got a boost around the turn of the Millennium, at which point personal Web logs (or blogs) emerged, which put the power of online publishing literally into the hands of the masses. Blog publishing tools were, and are, exceedingly easy to figure out, and in most cases they were, and still are, free. For the first time, people could expound endlessly on their love for cats, their incredibly niche hobbies and, most ominously, their political ruminations.

The most nefarious innovation made possible through blogging, however, was the advent of the comment engine. At first, comment engines were novel, dare I say "fun." Suddenly, the Internet became a worldwide discussion, no longer limited to newsgroups or other forums that had previously been the sole domain of the world's geeks. In those halcyon days of blogging and commenting—up to but not exceeding the year 2005—people engaged in, for the most part, somewhat civil and sane online conversations.

Invariably, blogging became even easier and thus more popular, eventually giving way to manifestations such as MySpace and FaceBook, forums that allowed countless teenagers to post images of themselves in various stages of undress, teenagers who were apparently oblivious to the fact those images would be accessible by roughly 408 million people at any given time. Sensing a ripe market for online exhibitionism, YouTube emerged at about the same time, which added the innovative touch of allowing people to comment on each and every submitted video, resulting in comment threads that are at the same time borderline unreadable and mind-numbingly idiotic.

Coming to the game nearly a half decade late, online newspapers and other Internet news outlets have begun equipping their content with comment engines. Unfortunately, because they're coming to the game so late, and because they have seemingly no idea how to moderate the insanity that now is online commentary, watching these news outlets adapt to unfettered commentary has been a lot like watching grandpa trying to set the time on a VCR.

The Internet of today is still trying to come to terms with the commenting Hydra it accidentally spawned. People who are otherwise mild-mannered and pleasant in face-to-face interactions can become vitriolic online ranters in the time it takes to open a Web browser. Anonymous commenting has become the equivalent of screaming "Hey, Baby!" from a moving car. Endlessly yammering Poindexters convinced of their own superiority can hijack comment threads and kill them through the weight of the sheer boredom they bring to the debate.

And the worst part? The worst part is: each and every day, several hundred thousand people discover online commenting for the first time and enter the fray, believing what they have to say is somehow fresh and illuminating, rather than the tired and irrelevant tripe it actually is.

You know, kind of like my ThunderJournal.

Posted by Ryan at 10:11 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

September 02, 2008

I Protest!

Well, it's time, once again, with the Republican National Convention underway in St. Paul, to watch repeated loops of frenzied protesters protesting things, which is what protesters are apt to do in this charged political climate.

After watching the drama unfold first at the Democratic National Conventions, and now again this time around, I've come to the conclusion protesting is the in thing to do.

Even though a lot of today's protesters don't appear to have any real coherent message, and sometimes they come up with such laughable concepts as the Lysistrata Project (which, contrary to popular belief, has nothing to do with Listerine), I have to give them credit, they're out there anyway, marching, marching, holding up signs, marching, and, perhaps most importantly, getting on T.V.

Despite the apparent difficulties inherent in being a protester, I can't stand on the sideline and watch the latest fad pass me by without whipping up my own protest. Therefore, I spent a considerable part of last week carefully orchestrating my own protest movement.

First and foremost, I needed a cause; something so profound that I would be guaranteed to garner a loyal following of like-minded protesters. I considered starting a "Make Ryan Rhodes Rich Beyond His Wildest Dreams" protest movement, but I decided a movement like that would probably only benefit me. No, I needed to organize a protest that could, in the end, help other people as well. That's just the kind of protester I am.

I briefly flirted with the idea of an "Anti-Junk Mail" movement. All my fellow protesters would strip completely naked, glue junk mail to their bodies, and march through U.S. cities chanting catchy slogans like "We don't approve of being pre-approved" and "Sweepstakes are the tool of the devil."

Again, fearing that I would have a tough time rallying a large enough number of protest troopers to my anti-junk mail movement, I decided to dig even further into my protest bag.

Finally, I meticulously crafted a protest certain to bring millions of people within my protest fold. Let it be known today that I am officially establishing the "Anti-Protest Movement." All who join will be asked to work tirelessly to bring an end to the protest web that is spinning its way across our country. We will protest day and night until the last protester throws up his or her hands and surrenders. If you wish to support my fledgling movement, I simply ask that you adhere to the following rules.

First, as a protest protester, you cannot reveal your identity to anyone. To do so will mark you as a protester and, under my movement, all protesters will be protested against.

Secondly, all members are asked to work tirelessly, at risk to their own safety, to not do anything even remotely protest-like. In other words, simply go about your daily routine as if you never even heard about the anti-protest movement. However, you are free to think all the anti-protest thoughts you want. You can even think of the anti-protest signs you won't be making and the protest gatherings that won't take place. This is a very tight-lipped movement.

Third, I've noticed that every good protest movement has solid lines of communication with its members. But, since all my protest members are anonymous, I ask that no protest protester talk about their non-actions to anyone. This rule coincides closely with the first rule, but it's so important I thought it should be underscored again.

Finally, I have to mention the difficult area of donations. After all, maintaining a protest movement like this is an expensive pursuit. All I ask is $5 per member, a fee that you obviously cannot pay because to do so would mark you as a protester, and we just can't have that in an anti-protest movement such as this. We don't want to be labeled hypocrites after all.

Let me take this moment to thank all of you who have just now joined my anti-protest movement and, judging by your silence, I can only assume there are millions upon millions of you. And thank you for your $5 non-donation. I can assure you that any money I don't receive won't be spent on anything even remotely anti-protest in nature.

Of course, I'm sure such a popular protest movement as mine is bound to give rise to copy-cat movements who will no doubt try to steal my thunder.

If that happens, I can only assure you that I will strenuously protest.

*This is a somewhat rewritten column from way back when, and it was also a blog post from March, 2003, and again during the RNC in NYT back in 2004. It's amazing how fresh and up-to-date this thing remains.

Posted by Ryan at 12:34 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Storm Porn

That's what I'm calling the breathless coverage media outlets are now devoting to every single hurricane or tropical storm or cumulus cloud that looks like a puppy.

In retrospect, this should have been a Twitter post. Oh well.

Posted by Ryan at 12:15 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Ironical asks Palin.JPG, while running a picture and article link on its main page.

So, apparently, the answer is. . . yes?

Posted by Ryan at 11:31 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack



Posted by Ryan at 08:37 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

The Pepsi Code

I don't ask for much out of life, but I really think, after nearly three years of Pepsi loyalty, I deserve to win AT LEAST a trip to Las Vegas.

But I'll also gladly accept $500.

Posted by Ryan at 07:32 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
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