Saturday, January 24, 2015

Buttered rolls and responsibilities

It is not often that I am able to spout an original pun. I've whined before about Googling my original ideas only to find out hundreds if not thousands of people have already had them. But I am proud to say that I think I am the first one to use the pun, "rolls and responsibilities" on purpose. I think it would make one bitchin' name for a socially responsible bakery.

I am staking claim to this pun after a Google search that turned up 73,900 references to "rolls and responsibilities." Now I didn't scroll through all 73,900, but after going through the first three or so pages that all of the uses of "rolls and responsibilities" were made by people whose intentions were to refer to "roles and responsibilities." Of particular note were pages by firearm safety program supported by the NRA and one called "Rolls and Responsibilities of Academy Governors" out of the UK prepared by education advisor consultants (who might want to rethink their career paths).

So now I hereby claim "Rolls and Responsibilities" as my sole pun. No other shall be the first.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Talking trash and Sisyphean tasks

Garbage Man (sung to the tune of Rocket Man by Elton John)
I filled my trash bags up last night, alright.
Pick-up hour, six a.m.
But the Garbage truck won't be by 'til ten.
I hate taking trash out so much, just ask my wife
I carry it out at a snails pace
Cause the bag ain't light. 
And I think it's gonna be a long, long, time
'Til trash time brings me 'round again to find
I can't believe all the garbage we produce at home
Oh, no no no...I'm a garbage man
Garbage man taking out the trash out here alone 
Can't believe all the waste you generate when you have kids
In fact it really starts to smell
And no one would pick it up, if you didn't.
And it's recycling, I don't understand
Why don't they pick it up, every week?
A garbage man, a garbage man 
And I think it's gonna be a long, long, time
'Til trash time brings me 'round again to find
I can't believe all the garbage we produce at home
Oh, no no no...I'm a garbage man
Garbage man taking out the trash out here alone 
And I think it's gonna be a long, long, time
'Til trash time brings me 'round again to find
I can't believe all the garbage we produce at home
Oh, no no no...I'm a garbage man
Garbage man taking out the trash tryin' not to bitch and moan. 
Now, I think it's gonna be a long long time
And I think it's gonna be a long long time
And I think it's gonna be a long long time
And I think it's gonna be a long long time
This song came to me the other night when I was taking the trash out on a cold and rainy night. I seem to make an inordinate number of trips to the trash can with bags of trash. This is even after the even more inordinate number of trips to the recycling bin. Trips to the yard waste receptacle have subsided with the advent of winter.

Friday, January 09, 2015

Twitter me this, Twitter me that

A few year's ago, I wrote about Dan Zarrella's book about contagious ideas. In his book he reveals a list of words and phrases that analytics have shown get the most retweets on Twitter:

"you, twitter, post, blog, social, free, media, help, please retweet, great, social media, 10, follow, how to, top, blog post, check out, new blog post"

I kind of poo-pooed the book, but ironically my post about it is probably my most read. So maybe Zarrella was onto something.

At the time I read Zarrella's book, I wasn't really actively using Twitter. But my day job forced me kicking and screaming into the land of 140 characters and I've recently immersed myself in the fire hose of tweets that spew through my feed each day. In the process I have tried to figure out what grabs people's attention enough that they will either follow me, retweet me or favorite one of my Tweets.

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

So funny I forgot to laugh

I read this article on Gawker (one of those blogs that isn't supposed to suck) the other day call Time to Retire, Dave Barry. It was written by Hamilton Nolan, a writer I've never heard of writing about a writer I'd grown up wanting to write like. And the bold statement Nolan makes about Barry is that he is no longer funny.

Okay, normally I would just shrug and say, "Whatever," after reading someone's critique of a relatively famous person. I am sure it isn't the first time Dave Barry has been told he wasn't funny. Humor, after all, is a very subjective thing. We all laugh to the beat of a different drummer.

Friday, January 02, 2015

Top ten reasons to ignore top ten lists

As someone who grew up in an era when journalism required you actually had to write about something based on facts and research, I've become increasingly appalled that news has been reduced to what you can fit into 140 characters with a link to a list that usually contains some version of a ten ranked items.

So I've come up with my own list of reasons why you should ignore any top ten list someone tries to lure you in to read (including this one):

Tuesday, December 30, 2014


There is nothing more depressing than a pile of post-Christmas morning, unwrapped gifts. This is largely due to my belief that there is a Schrödinger's cat quality to wrapped gifts. They hold so much more promise wrapped than they do unwrapped. It's not that I'm not happy with the gifts themselves once they are unwrapped. It is more the excitement they hold before you unwrap them and lose the mystery.

I think most of life is like that. The promise is always more intriguing than the ultimate reality.

But I am just wallowing in the after the holiday blues. It's the seam between Christmas and the New Year that gets me the most. The old year is crawling out the door and the New Year is smacking it on the butt screaming, "WooWoo, it's my turn!" Little does it know that it's time to whoop it up is going to be briefer than it can imagine.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Where have all the bloggers gone?

As I sift through over my posts of the past in an effort find relevant content to share on Twitter (part of an experiment I'm engaged in with trying to understand social media), I've grown nostalgic reading all of the comments I used to get from fellow bloggers. Most are from my early years in blogging...2006 and 2007 were my peak years. And I've grown a bit melancholy wondering where did all the bloggers go?

I know I've harped on this topic off and on for years, but it still nags at me. It's one of those mysteries like why pods of whales beach themselves or what happened to the Roanoke Colony. Why did my little band of fellow bloggers who used to comment regularly vanish?

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Art by accident

The concept that maybe great art may be more a product of accident then design was posed on my latest binge-watching obsession, Six Feet Under. If you are not familiar with Six Feet Under, you should be. It's far better than just about anything on television today. Regardless, it is an HBO series that ran for five seasons beginning in 2001. It is the story of the Fisher family and their funeral home. It is also the story of life, death and love (not necessarily in that order).

Anyway, 18-year old Claire Fisher (played by Lauren Ambrose), posits her theory about accidental art as she struggles with self-doubt in her first year of art school under the tutelage her sadistic art teacher (who is having sex with her brother's ex-fiances mother and her wonder Claire is confused). The line about maybe great art being an accident struck me as profound and kudos to whomever the writer was that wrote it for troubled teen Claire to utter.

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Tribute to the Elvis tree


Writing about the Elvis tree seems to be becoming almost as much a tradition as decorating it each year. I posted photos of me taking it down one year. Shoot, I even posted a video of it one. But my earliest post was in 2005

I won't go into the history again here. Click on the links above if you want to know something of its origins. Suffice it to say that it has been around my various houses for more than a decade.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Death, dying and Disney on Ice

From the title of this post, one would think it was about fulfilling some one's Make-A-Wish dream with a trip to Disney on Ice.

It's not.

Last week started off with me yet again walking into the vet's office and holding yet another of our geriatric cats as she was euthanized.  Lahaina had been diagnosed (to the tune of $600) with cancer a few days earlier. At 12, she was the youngest of our cats. I had a sense of deja vu as I held her and stroked her head while her life ebbed after the vet gave her the injections. I'd stood in the same vet's office back in July to hold my 17-year old cat Bailey while she slipped into whatever afterlife there is.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Top ten lists of top ten lists

Ten must be a magic number. Because I've sensed a pattern of tweets and "news" sites of hooking readers in by the promise of a top ten list. And it works. I inevitably get sucked into pages that promise to give me a list of the top ten foods to eat or not to eat, the top ten islands I can't afford to buy or the top ten celebrities that have aged ten years in the past decade.

I imagine some researcher or psychologist told marketers that ten is maximum number of things the ADD public can focus on before rushing off to the next list of ten. For the heck of it, I Googled "top lists of lists" and sure enough there were a plethora of top lists of top ten lists. One, Listverse, ironically, had not ten, but a dozen list of top-ten lists of top ten. They included:

Monday, November 10, 2014


I was tempted to call this post "Twitterings" but it thought it might be too hypocritical since I've been making my own ventures into spouting wisdom in 140 characters or less. And in all fairness, ravings take place on all parts of the Internet, not just Twitter. It's just seems to be a fire hose to drink them from.

I confess, I have never paid much attention to Twitter or how it works up until a few weeks ago and I was forced to try and understand as part of my job. I had basically relied on Facebook posts to repost on Twitter when I had made a new post on Dizgraceland. And I assumed the lack of attention I received on Twitter was due to the short attention spans of people rather than the fact that I only had 40 followers. And only two or three of them actually were following me because they were aware of my blog.

After reading a book about social media marketing, I finally realized that in order to get attention on Twitter, you actually have to have more than 40 followers. It is nothing like Facebook where you are actually trying to communicate with people you know and sort of like. Twitter requires volume.