May 2009

2009
May
21

Hiatal Without The Hernia

Okay, I’m going to take a break from this bloggery while I figure out what to do next. Currently leaning toward using some of the domain names in my back pocket to set up blogs on specific subjects rather than this all-sizes-fits-me thing. One promise: you will find out all about it right here by June 1st. Ten days ain’t too long; nobody’s that addicted to the virtual sound of my blogvoice, not even me. For a few short bursts of me, and maybe a little preview of what I’m doing next, check out my Twitter and/or FriendFeed.

Thanks for putting up with me. What more can I say?

AND NOW A WORD FROM SOMEBODY WHO MAY HAVE NEVER HEARD OF ME...
2009
May
20

RStevens > Wendell > Maureen Dowd

I am better than Maureen Dowd because when I steal someone else’s good lines, I give them full credit, as I am doing now with rstevens’ string of recent un-sequiturish LOL Twitterings. R being, in case you didn’t know, the Evil Genius behind the Webcomic Diesel Sweeties, who is celebrating the 7th Android-Versary of being a full-time professional webcomicker (wow) by having a sale on his dangerously adorable “pixel socks” and dropping the add-on-shipping cost to the U.S. and Canada on everything. Where else can you get a Plush Killer Robot?!? He is an extremely cool person and will forgive me for repurposing his intellectual property in exchange for this big honking commercial I just gave him.

Anyway, rstevens recently Tweeted…

“The government declared me too legit to quit, so I applied for a leave of absence instead.”

“Are Free Masons Open Source?”

“”I’m not unemployed, I’m NSFW.” #breadlinetwopointoh”

“Sometimes you’re the soap, sometimes you’re the lather.”

“I just figured out why there are no bathrooms on the Enterprise. They don’t rematerialize your pee after transport.”

“I wonder if anyone sells boxers that say “POP UP BLOCKER ENABLED”?”

“What if Mr. T stood for “Mr. Tits” all along?”

“Signed up for the Dalek Corps. Last night. Should have my plunger in 4-6 weeks and my insane paranoia as soon as I install the disk.”

“I ate an amaizeing amount of corn yesterday.”

“I have anger delegation issues.”

“The impact vest held but the jet pack needs some work. Wonder if I’ll be reported as a UFO?”

“Once you go Spock, you don’t go back. For seven years. #ponfarrposse”

“That road leads to madness. Better yet, there’s no speed limit! ”

“Jesus saves. Satan will make you a backup- for a price.”

“All the young nuns applied for my missionary position.”

I am never going to top that. I quit. And I’m not too legit to do that.

2009
May
19

I’m Not in the Mood for This

And, based on my blog stats for the last couple days, neither are most of you. I don’t know which of my recent posts alienated the most of you, but in my own review, 5 of them made me respond “why the £µ¢√ did I write THAT?”

I should mention that the .ME at the end of this domain name has nothing to do with Maine (which will probably lose me the Twitterfriendship of Marie and FakeMerv). The registrar is in Montenegro but they were smartly promoting .ME addresses to egomaniacs/domain-name-addicts like myself. (And it’s not where Hugo came from)

If any of you are ashamed of my .ME egocentricity, feel free to use one of the other domains I own that redirect here: WendellWittler.com, WendellWit.com, WendellWeb.com, WendeLOL.com, WillNotWendell.com or the much less wendell-centric but self-centered in its own way TalkingWithMyself.com.

And I’m fairly certain that in a few minutes I will look at this post and say “That makes 6!”

2009
May
18

Strunk, Not Stunk

The dead skunk in the middle of the road near Wendell Ranch has not yet been cleaned up… and it is still NOT stinking to high heaven. But it did remind me of a bit of long-forgotten mental free association.

Jud Strunk in the middle of the road.
Jud Strunk in the middle of the road.
Jud Strunk in the middle of the road.
Stinkin’ to high heaven.

Now, who, you may ask, is Jud Strunk? He was a briefly-almost-popular singer/comic in the 1970s, just a few years before the Dead Skunk song came out, and he did NOT stink to high heaven either. He just was spectacularly unspectacular.

After settling in Farmington, Maine in the ’60s, he wrote and sang mostly-humorous country-folk songs, but his biggest close-to-a-hit was atypical of his style (as so often happens), a diabetes-inducingly-sweetly-sentimental song called “A Daisy A Day” (linked webpage automatically plays Jud Strunk’s original recording – you have been warned).

Based partly on the success of that song (which, in a cassette taken aboard Apollo 17, was the first pop recording played on the moon), he was inexplicably recruited as a regular on “Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In”, possibly as a response to the success of the Country Clone of Laugh-In, “Hee Haw”. (What do you prefer? Watching bad jokes told by Hillbilly stereotypes or Hippie stereotypes?) If he was supposed to replace Henry Gibson’s deadpan innocence, the producers got it wrong, and he was especially out of place as an unexcitable “Sports Reporter” on the Laugh-In News segment, previously done by Alan Seus in his most flamingly gay personna. As is often the case with new cast members added for the final season, some people blamed him for the demise of Laugh-In (which had already lost half of its most popular performers and had added 6 other regulars that season).

Still, he persevered, and his second most popular recording was the unsubtly double-entendre “The Biggest Parakeets in Town”, which was popular on the Dr. Demento Radio Show, and when I did my college radio station’s “Sunday Night Demento Clone” show (every college station had one in those days) I enjoyed playing “Dead Skunk” and Jud Strunk back to back.

He quit show business soon after (after hearing my segue? I hope not!) and returned to Maine to restore antique airplanes. But in 1981, at the age of only 45, he suffered a heart attack while flying one of his planes and crashed. A bad way to die for Jud, even worse for his passenger. And I really hope the plane didn’t crash in the middle of a road. That would stink to high heaven.

May
18

Did Someone Cringe?

jozblinkLongtime blogfriend and former L.A. blogneighbor JozJozJoz (she’s so nice, they named her thrice) has become a “meme”, as a blog and Flickr post expressing frustration with a camera with a “blink sensor” that doesn’t recognize the natural shape of her and her Chinese family’s eyes – Racist Camera! – got Digged and Reditted and spread all over the web. At least she used a good pose of herself for the example.

I must note two things, however. The accused camera is made by Nikon, a Japanese company that sells a shipload of cameras all over Asia, including China. I’ve seen elsewhere that Nikon does a lot of ‘country-specific’ features on its products, and I’ll bet the “blink sensor” was probably customized for the Racist American Market. Also, there are a few non-Asians who would probably would also give the camera a false positive, the most famous of which are, coincidentally, two rather different stars of Westerns.
royandclint
Roy Rogers and Clint Eastwood… Probably has to do you with the bright sunlight in the West, right?

Maybe that was part of the original (semi-racist) thinking behind the TV show “Kung Fu”. David Carradine does look a little more Asian when he squints… (and he always looked a lot more like a White Guy in the flashback scenes in China).
kungfu

2009
May
17

Chili Con Saywhat?

This may be the funniest arbitrary category I’ve seen in a supermarket ad in a long time. From page 6 of the Ralphs (Kroger’s California branded chain) flyer dated May 13-19.
chili-con-caber-net
Or maybe it’s an incredibly perceptive look into “the California Lifestyle”. Na-a-ah.

2009
May
16

Loudon Wainwright III Lied to Me

While driving the road from Wendell Dot Ranch into town, I saw a dead skunk near the center yellow stripe. Hardly any visible blood and guts, just black fur with a visible white stripe in a non-moving lump shaped like a partially squashed animal. And it DID NOT “stink to high heaven”.

I also learned how unskilled I am with my phone camera. I turned around, slowed way down (further confirming it NOT stinking), tried to watch the screen at an awkward and sun-glared angle and took a clear picture of the pavement a few feet away from the skunk. Repeated the process three times before giving up and moving on. No, you may NOT see the pictures.

May
16

Wendell’s Laws of Business

(on the weekend? my internal clock has gone cuckoo)

FIRST LAW: Give the people what they want, but make them pay through the nose for what they need.

SECOND LAW: (revised) A truly ‘free’ market is one where most competitors have been eliminated.

THIRD LAW: Getting everything you thought you were buying costs extra.

FOURTH LAW: The Best Things in Life must never be made available to everyone.

CEO’S LAW: Good executives are those who can maximize their income while their company runs at a loss.

LAW OF THE MIDDLEMAN: Sex is free, but condoms cost money.

LAW OF HANDLING: Handling charges are based on how much you want to handle the customer’s money.

LAW OF VALUE: If Everybody thinks your product is Worth Every Penny, you have made a serious pricing error.

LAW OF OVERINFLATED VALUATION: If you’re not very very small, getting out of the “bubble” before it bursts will make it burst.

2009
May
15

25 Scalzis Not To Follow on Twitter

One blogger I have long respected is John Scalzi, now known as a successful and award-winning writer of Science Fiction (and who took the best of all possible routes to that career, as a writer of non-fiction books about both Science and Sci-Fi). I first crossed paths with him many web-epochs ago, when I was first considering this Internet thingy as a potential market for my writings and he had the thankless job of providing original content for AOL. Later, I stumbled upon his blog before I started my own, when I found, to my dismay, that he was already using my first choice for a blog title: Whatever.

scalzialeSince then, I have followed his blog and his writing career (I even bought a hard copy of a book he originally gave away online), but have not participated much in commenting at the Whatever, but today, he did something I took as a funny-writing challenge.

He had recently been honored by Wired.com as one of the 100 Geeks You Should Be Following On Twitter and in playful response, made up a list of 25 Geeks NOT to Follow on Twitter, all of which were TwitterIDs that were not currently in use* but which clearly represented most of the Major Categories of Online Undesirables:

1. @DrunkenStalker
3. @IHeartBoogers
4. @AynRandBoyToy
6. @Cats6Catboxes0
7. @BobaFart
8. @IDontBlink
9. @BathingInMayo
17. @JobsGatesSlashFan
19. @SpksOnlyElvish
21. @OwnzAZune
23. @MuggleMugger
25. @2Girls1Tweet

*of course, Scalzi’s legion of devoted fans are currently setting up Twitter accounts using those names

Of course, I almost immediately came up with some of my own:
@heckraiser
@XKCDisaboutme
@CannibalRightsNow
@MissGayCalifornia
@SwineDoctor
@elfMILF
@ToneDefJam
@LAClipperFan
@LOLscat
@GlennBeckForKing

But I also started thinking of TwitterIDs that were, well, John-Scalzi-oriented, like from the titles of his books. I discovered that @agenttothestars was a suspended account (John, have you been taunting Twitter?) so I worked on some variations.

Ladies and Gentlemen, SCALZI SOCKPUPPETS NOT TO FOLLOW ON TWITTER:
@AgenttotheAlien
@OldMansWhore
@GhostintheBrig
@TheLastColonic
@TheSaganDairy
@ZoewithaTail
@AndroidScreams
@HateMailGradiant
@UncleJohnsJohn
@TooRoughGuide
@Scarzi (and his brothers @DuelingScarzi and @AppendixScarzi)
and from his book of advice to other writers: @NotFoolingAnyone

May
15

Kindling

As part of my rather casual approach to monetizing my web, and because I’d heard that everybody was doing it (some fraudulently), I have now made this blog available on the Amazon Kindle. wemescreenshotazIt’s kind of a gas seeing an Amazon.com page featuring ME, but I’m not comfortable with that $1.99 a month price tag (Maybe if I lie and say my blog is updated less frequently, they’ll put it at 99¢?) and I don’t think the 70/30 revenue split (me getting the 30%) is that great for content providers (but Amazon and the Kindle may be !important! enough to be able to demand that 70%). But I’m there, and it may be even better for some of my current secret projects. I will have to remember how the Kindle handles graphics (minimally) and that it ignores YouTube and other video imbeds completely (not even a placeholder) if I ever do get any Kindle subscribers. Which probably means absolutely nothing to you, unless you have your own blog, in which case, I suggest you sign up yourself before some writer at TechCrunch does it for you…