2009
Nov
15

Wendell Ends Well

This is my last blog post. I regret to announce that Wendell and Me have broken up.

Anyone who has been following me too closely in my past ten years of blogging knows Wendell is not my legal name. It originated from a family joke about naming the baby alliteratively that I picked up on when I wanted to make a whimsical identity for my college-era radio endeavors more than 30 years ago. Wendell actually spent years in cold storage until these Internet and Blogging things came along. I’m proud that Wendell and his blog OneSwellFoop (domain name long lost) made the first blogroll in 1999 (and became the first to be banned from the blogroll after an ill-defined prank on the blogroller). I’m proud to be one of the earliest members of MetaFilter, with a user number (206) lower than most of the people who work for the site, and to have become a site cliche under better circumstances than I deserved (because somebody noticed ‘wendell’ is an anagram for ‘end well’).

Well, it’s time to End Well, because trying to hold onto this identity much longer would surely make for a more unhappy ending. There’s a gap in my online activity during which I fell into a deep depression, and I used writing and Being Wendell as a ‘drug’ to help overcome it. It worked, but like so many drugs, I developed an unhealthy dependency on it, even as its effectiveness has waned over time.

Even as I have ignored the fact that I was neglecting almost everything else in favor of my on-line identity, I have found it getting harder and harder to sustain it. The time I take to write anything has frustratingly grown longer, until, while preparing my last MetaFilter post, I realized that, if I were getting paid for the writing by Demand Media (the subject of the post), I’d be earning less than minimum wage.

I need to work on regaining my other abilities (or at least my interest in my other abilities), so I’m shutting down the Wendelling. Now, those abilities may result in some web-based things, but they won’t be in blog form. And my new MetaFilter identity, “oneswellfoop” will occasionally be heard from, just within a very restricted format. I have already been neglecting both on-line and real-life relationships for a while, but in order to restore the latter, I’ll need to cut off the former entirely, at least for a while.

I’m disabling comments here (if I can figure out how) because I don’t want to be tempted to come back and see how people are reacting. Frankly, it doesn’t – and shouldn’t – matter, I need to do this for myself and I have already wasted so much time thinking this out that I just want to DO IT. And no, I’m not revealing my True Identity here; I just don’t trust the Google.

To those of you out on the Internets who care, have a nice life. To those of you who don’t, neither do I.

AND NOW A WORD FROM SOMEBODY WHO MAY HAVE NEVER HEARD OF ME...
2009
Oct
8

Drew a Crowd

I don’t know if anyone will believe this, but I was following the talented Drew Olanoff on Twitter before he was diagnosed with cancer and decided to fight it by blaming it for everything. While logically unsound, the approach shows a defiant attitude and sends a valuable message about taking charge of things you’re not expected to have any control over. And it has evolved into a successful charitable campaign for Lance Armstrong’s LiveStrong org, and the beginnings of something even bigger. Then he came up with the idea of auctioning off his short Twitter ID, “drew”, with the money raised going to fight cancer (and not just blame it), drawing the attention (pun intended… pun is always intended) of a more famous Drew than Olanoff. ‘Drew Who?’ you may ask? Well, not famous acting person Drew Barrymore (unfortunately) or accused multiple-wife-killer Drew Peterson (fortunately) or Drew NoLastName who creates the quite poorly drawn (chuckle) but not-as-successful-as-XKCD webcomic Toothpaste For Dinner (no big deal) or Drew U. or Drew Shoe or anything else that rhymes with Drew (I may sometimes use the name Drew Man Foo as an alias).

Nope, it’s TV Comedy Alleged Legend Drew Carey, the man who has some strange control over the CBS Television Network. Honestly, first his ‘Drew Carey Show’ co-star Craig Ferguson gets the timeslot after Letterman (currently known as ‘Apology Hour II’)…

But I digress… Then he himself gets the plum job replacing Bob Barker (who taught Letterman all he knows about job-based hanky-panky) as the host of “The Price Is Right”. Now, Wayne Brady, who got his first big break doing song-and-dance on Drew’s improv comedy show (and a second big break from Dave Chappelle, but I’m digressing again) is hosting a new version of “Let’s Make a Deal” replacing “Guiding Light”. What’s next? “The CBS Evening News with Colin Mochrie”?!? (Actually, that’s not a bad idea… remember, Peter Jennings was Canadian… but I’m really digressing).

So, to make a long story longer, Drew Carey decides he (a) really wants to be Twitter’s Drew, (b) really wants to do something good for a good cause, (c) really knows what kind of positive PR this is or (d) all of the above, and bids $25,000 for the Twittername, while giving notice that he will increase the bid to $100,000, even if nobody bids against him (where are you, Ms. Barrymore?) if he gets 100,000 followers for his old Twittername, @drewfromtv. (Go ahead, click the link and follow him; there’s no shame in it; it’s for charity) Then during a segment for another CBS show (I’m surprised it wasn’t Kathy Kinney interviewing him) he, supposedly off the cuff (one problem Drew Carey has is that even his honest sincerity sounds like fake sincerity), declares that he’ll raise the stakes by $1 per follower up to ONE MILLION DOLLARS (Can anybody say that figure anymore without sounding like Dr. Evil?)

drewanddrew But of all the various issues raised by this whole thing (Do we really want to give Drew Carey’s ego that big a boost? Should Drew Olanoff blame cancer or credit cancer for this? Have they tested Twitter on rats to see if it causes cancer?), the most perplexing comes from the juxtaposition of these two pictures (right) on Mashable’s page covering the news.

Now look closely at the Two Drews and tell me.. Are they both wearing the same style of glasses? And if so, is Drew Olanoff’s pair twice the size of Drew Carey’s, or is Carey’s head double the size of Olanoff’s? Inquiring minds want to know. (And shouldn’t somebody tell Drew Carey that those glasses he used to wear are back in style, thanks to the “Mad Men” Early 60s Revival? Or is he going to use his inexplicable influence at CBS to make David Caruso change his style of sunglasses? Can I get a “YYEEEEAAAAHHH” on that?)

2009
Oct
7

Almost Hitting the Mark

As I continue trying to shove the meager traffic this blog has in the direction of my half-hearted new venture, Tooned In, I forward some quotable quotes from a guy who knows what he’s talking about…

Oct
7

I Am Not A Number…

…but I am a scanable bar code.
wenbarcode
Now all you have to do is print it out on labels and stick them onto packages in the supermarket for hours of fun watching cashiers go crazy!

I normally don’t wish Happy Birthday to inanimate things, and I’m not going to change my policy for the Bar Code.

2009
Oct
6

The Chips Are Down

There is something about this self-desciptively “gratuitous” commercial that appealed to me with its obviously British mix of dry wit and smarminess…

How did I know it was a British ‘advert’? Well, everyone had British accents in a scene that, if an American commercial, would have had them all speaking Californianese; the spot was 45 seconds in length, whereas all American TV outlets have lost the ability to deal with anything not in multiples of 30 seconds; and the design of the potato chip bags was different from that of the Kettle Brand Chips sold ’round here. I know that specifically because I had recently acquired two bags of that brand in a bargain-hunting experiment (the sale price at Ralphs/Kroger combined with a newspaper reduced the cost of two bags to about the regular price of one, which was extra useful since there were several different flavors of the product) and I had been attempting to snack on them at the time I happened upon the video. Serendipitous!

And if the commercial is not so much “gratuitous” as it is rather blah, it’s actually somewhat better than the chips, which were “gratuitously” greasy, less crispy than somewhat rock-hard (I was wondering why the British ad didn’t call them ‘crisps’ but then realized it would have been misleading advertising), and, in the case of the Sweet Onion flavored variety, a little off-flavor (the Sea Salt & Vinegar was more passable for this fan of vinegar chips, but unspectacular). But please note, this is the opinion of one who considers In-N-Out Burger’s fries to be overrated – your taste may vary.

2009
Oct
5

Rush to Judgment

I must admit that I have a level of admiration for the Evil Genius that is Rush Limbaugh, having started out in radio at about the same time as he and Leo Laporte (whom I admire for being a Non-Evil Genius) and given up on the medium after only a few failures. And on the few times I listened to Rushbo, I considered his ability to target Liberalism with humor was far superior to most Right-Wing comics and comedy writers, but far too small a part of his overall ‘act’. My own experience with radio talkers of the pre-Rush era (as well as stories told to me by a confidant of Joe Pyne, the original Angry Conservative) taught me to be highly skeptical of the sincerity of anyone making a name on radio as ‘opinionated’ (confirmed later by the failure of Al Franken to become “the Liberal Limbaugh” primarily because he was being himself and not a character… and his more recent electoral success, while hard-won, explains why no successful political talker can ever get elected to anything, and why ex-politicians do so poorly as talkers… and I’m including ex-congresscritter Joe Scarborough, MSNBC’s answer to the hopeless token Liberals at FoxNuze, but I digress).

So I was somewhat tickled by the recent news that The Radio Blowhard Who Shares a Name With a Halfway-Decent Pretentious* Rock Band was a partner and the inevitable public face of a group bidding to buy the NFL’s St. Louis Rams.

Now, for much of my formative football fan years, the Rams were Los Angeles’ team (in fact, moving to L.A. from my birthplace Cleveland a few years before my debut, so you might say my family followed them to Southern California). I spent part of my youth a few blocks from a foreign-car dealership co-owned by Rams star players Roman Gabriel and Merlin Olsen. I kept an emotional connection to the team when they relocated from the L.A. Memorial Colliseum to a stadium in Anaheim (but hey, I was and still am an Angels fan, making it through the years when Nolan Ryan was their only asset). I ignored the Raiders’ tenure in LaLaLand (knew it wouldn’t last) and kept a thin umbilical cord to the Rambos when they relocated in St. Louie. More recently, I moved to St. Louie myself – St. Louie Obispo, California, a safe distance between the L.A. and S.F. Metro Regions, only to be extremely disappointed to see that most of the local NFL interested is in the *shudder* Raiders.

But if the Rams become a subsidiary of Limbaugh’s Excess In Broadcasting corporation, that will be moving too far away for me.

Still, the opportunity for jokes on the subject is undeniable…
* Good news for the beleaguered white quarterbacks in the NFL…
* Since the Rams used to have a woman owner, this will be a major defeat for the Feminazis…
* Forget the players, time to institute drug testing for Owners…
* Obviously, passing plays are out, and all rushing plays will go right…
* And I am so looking forward to the first meeting between the Rush Rams and the Green Bay Packers… The Cheeseheads vs. The Dittoheads. (two of the three most stupid group self-identifications until the Tea Party Right recently embraced the term ‘Teabaggers’… the third was the Grateful Dead’s Deadheads… are there any surviving members of the band with some money they’d like to invest in a football team?)

*Pretentious Rock is my name for what others call “Progressive Rock”, because it is much more accurately descriptive (and I, for one, am rather entertained by a high level of pretentiousness in hard rock music), especially since ‘Progressive’ has become a political term that ill fits the band Rush with its dabbling in Randian Libertarianism.

Oct
5

Did You Ever Have to Make Up Your Mind?

“X or Y” Quizzes have been an Internet Mainstay since the first time a nerd noticed similarities between the names of sci-fi aliens and programming languages. While finding those earliest examples is beyond my Google-Fu skills (YOU try a search for ‘x or y quiz’), here’s a more recent example,“Web 2.0 or Star Wars?”. MeFites who enjoyed the recent “Font or Cheese” quiz may have been unaware of the related “Band Name or Font” quiz. MentalFloss.com has frequently engaged in this kind of quizzery, either raising it to an art, or jumping it into the shark’s mouth (Star Trek Character or Erectile Disfunction Pill, Harry Potter Character or Skin Disease, Moon-Landing Astronaut or Pro Golfer, Ben & Jerry’s Flavor or Pottery Barn Paint Color) And just in case you thought this was a ‘guy thing’, try your luck at “New Perfume or Soap Opera Character?

But the “x or y quiz to end all x or y quizzes” has just been put online by some terminally snarky t-shirt salesmen, with tongues in their cheeks and hands down their pants (obviously NSFW), it’s “Pornstar Or Potato?

Another MetaFilter Crosspost or Incredible Coincidence?

2009
Oct
3

Posting the MetaFilter, if you know what I mean…

…nudge nudge, wink wink.

“They spent the entire weekend licking the underside of the airbags. Or sowing oats with the pepperoni calzone. Or Martinizing the Twinkie. Or messaging* the hand grenade. The Euphemismator provides randomly-generated euphemisms (like the previously MeFi-ed Always Amusing Euphemism Generator, but with the option to ‘lock’ parts of the phrase to seek out the best combinations). Or try out the more complex algorithm of Toykeeper.net’s Euphemism Generator. Politics has even gotten involved with the Obama-Matic (TM) Content-Free Euphemism Generator (funnier than 99% of right-wing humor, but isn’t there anybody in the Teabag Blogoshpere who can automate it, like somebody did to Wondermark’s Genre-Fiction Generator [previously here]?)

* yes, it said ‘messaging’ not ‘massaging’. Subtle but important difference.

And I can’t believe I created this post without the aid of The Generator Blog, which may have been put out of business by the All-Purpose Generator Creator.

2009
Oct
2

The Latest IgNobility

cross-posted at MetaFilter (because I can).

This year’s winners of the Ig Nobel prizes are a bumper crop of wild and crazy SCIENCE!, featuring sword-swallowing, knuckle-cracking, benefits of cow-naming, pregnant women NOT tipping over, a household use for giant panda poop (take that, Packham), diamonds made from tequila, a brassiere that can be used as TWO gas masks, “Ireland’s Worst Driver”, Icelandic banks, Zimbabwean currency, and a ‘Peace Prize’ earned by hitting people over the heads with beer bottles (and comparing the effects of empty vs. full bottles) (related inquiry)

2009
Sep
30

Okay, It’s Wendellsday – Big Whoop

I can’t tell you about all the things that did NOT work out for my Big Wendellsday (non-)Event, at least without crying into my keyboard, and with my luck, I’ll end up shorting out my last surviving computing gadget (THAT’S the kind of things that are not working out). But if the old song goes “It’s my party and I’ll cry if I want to”, well, this is MY Birthday, and I’ll poop the party if I want to… okay, that doesn’t sound right.

Anyway, I found something cool that somebody else has done for September 30th, without even knowing it’s my birthday. And since it’s very an7mated, you’ll have to go to Tooned.In to see it. So go there.