Generally Updating Things (Back Edition)


I know people worry about my health. Sometimes I even consider worrying about it too. But to give an update: after a couple days of rest and Aleve and therapeutic twitching and whimpering, my back no longer feels like it’s been hit by a truck picking a fight with me in a bar. It has advanced to the point that it feels like the truck saw me, and then slammed me against the wall. Then it called in a hitman. The hitman then rushed over, sized me up, and composed an EP-length album that went triple platinum. Then the triple platinum discs were grabbed and smacked against my spine repeatedly. While this is still generally fitting the description of “hit by a truck”, being slugged repeatedly by decoratively-sculpted chunks of platinum is a much better sort of truck hit than before. And, not to brag, but I have walked up and down several different flights of stairs since Thursday. Things are looking up, although I must admit, I’m not looking with them because that kind of hurts too.

Poising For Success


I don’t want to sound like one of those people who’s averse to making money by blogging. Actually, I think the idea is a pretty good one and if I can’t make money myself by blogging then I’d like to see it done by someone like me, keeping in mind as ever that there are few people who are more like me than I am myself. I know two of them.

Also I have to admit that I don’t know who these people are who are averse to making money by blogging, but apparently there’s a lot of them, since pretty much everybody who starts following my blog turns out to be writing about how other people can make money while blogging. I suppose everybody in the world has to know something that I don’t, even if it isn’t just what the back of my neck looks like, so what the heck. Maybe I need to figure out what’s needed to make money while blogging.

If I understand what I see properly, the most important thing is search engines. I had always thought search engines were these shadowy corporations in thrall to the surveillance state and working hard to divert queries like “who invented photocopiers” into investigations of “are sloths ticklish?” and DeviantArt pictures showing what the Signing of the Declaration of Independence would look like if everybody in it were Care Bears and “if sloths are ticklish how long does it take them to laugh?”. Maybe I’m not using it right, but the point is, I figured that if you were around, sooner or later a search engine would find you, and the search engine would get some money for it, and you would not.

But apparently that isn’t enough, and you have to get yourself optimized, so that a search engine has a chance of finding you. I think a search engine that can’t find me isn’t trying very hard. I stick around the house most of the time and don’t do a lot of travelling, and even if I’m somewhere unexpected I can be picked out as the person who clearly picked his own clothes without thinking about the fact that other people were going to have to see me dressed like that. If you can’t find me, surrounded by people who are wincing and not looking too directly at my shirt, then nothing I do to optimize is going to help. Of course, I’m not the one making money at this, so maybe Google is earning its vast profits by helping people to pretend they haven’t noticed me. I guess we all feel like that some days.

Another piece is that I have to give some way of classifying everybody into one of the major characters from The Wizard of Oz. I don’t doubt the benefits of classifying everybody, since I’ve been on the Internet long enough to know one of the most popular activities on it is protesting that you were put into the wrong group by some web site’s classification scheme and making sure all your friends know about it so they can be classified wrongly too. About the only thing people like better is taking dialect quizzes, because people love to think about how they’re the only ones who deploy the English language sensibly and everybody else is crazy, but classification pages give you more repeat readers because people have already heard about the soda/pop division and they’re getting kind of tired of “in line” versus “on line”.

What I don’t know is why it has to be The Wizard of Oz. I mean, I know the obvious, that we all think what it would be like to be the Tin Man visiting the Emerald City and have a huge circular feather duster rubbing the backs of our knees to a rich shine, but can that really be enough for everyone? I mean except for the people who’re looking to be grabbed by enraged apple trees. Maybe that’s the categorization I can use for my fortune: which Wizard of Oz characters figure everyone can be sorted into groups of Wizard of Oz characters based on what scenes and which ones don’t. Yes, I suppose that will do it.

After that I guess I have to make a whole bunch of tweets in which I say I wrote this thing, and if you don’t go looking at it enough to make me rich then I have to tweet it again. That’s going to be really hard. I hate making a spectacle like that.

Robert Benchley: “YOU!”


Knoebels went and did it, and really did open their Flying Turns ride, and now I’m just so torn about whether I should start hitchhiking my way there I just have to turn over the place today to the late Robert Benchley, and Love Conquers All, and a review of one of those silly little success books that we’re still getting all those years later.

In the window of the grocery store to which I used to be sent after a pound of Mocha and Java mixed and a dozen of your best oranges, there was a cardboard figure of a clerk in a white coat pointing his finger at the passers-by. As I remember, he was accusing you of not taking home a bottle of Moxie, and pretty guilty it made you feel too.

This man was, I believe, the pioneer in what has since become a great literary movement. He founded the “You, Mr. Business-Man!” school of direct appeal. It is strictly an advertising property and has long been used to sell merchandise to people who never can resist the flattery of being addressed personally. When used as an advertisement it is usually accompanied by an illustration built along the lines of the pioneer grocery-clerk, pointing a virile finger at you from the page of the magazine, and putting the whole thing on a personal basis by addressing you as “You, Mr. Rider-in-the-Open-Cars!” or “You, Mr. Wearer-of-14½-Shirts!” The appeal is instantaneous.

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