Sometimes, I don’t even know why I bother.
I’ve tried to make it a habit in this daily blog to devote each Friday’s piece to some kind of review, usually a website review. I don’t feel much like making the effort this week because, frankly, readership is down and I’m growing a little discouraged.
I’d like to think it’s just the dog days of summer, and that most of my readers are on fabulous vacations in Europe during which they’re patronizing our civilization’s great museums and monuments rather than noodling around on the Internet. But deep inside, I know the Louvre can’t hold a candle to funny cat videos and online poker. So it must be me.
Most websites are stupid and dumb. There, I’ve fulfilled my commitment for this week.
Normally, discovering a site like mistersteamy.com would give me fresh encouragement. For those of you who haven’t recently spent an hour waiting in a doctor’s office equipped with a television locked to the Home and Garden channel, Mister Steamy is a yellow rubber ball with holes in it. Some genius got the idea to take one of his children’s discarded baby toys, jab at it with a knife for a few minutes, fill it with water and then throw it in the dryer. By following these few easy steps, he’s now able avoid ironing his clothes and can use the extra time spending the millions of dollars this invention has brought him.
Or, I could update everybody on the ineffectiveness of a service I wrote about last fall (see https://davisw.wordpress.com/2009/11/13/website-review-gogeese-com/ ). I spent my lunch break Thursday walking around the office park where I work, enjoying a warm summer breeze while studiously avoiding stepping on goose turds. When I got to the small lake near the back of the park, I discovered the source of said turds — a large flock of Canada Geese who supposedly aren’t there because the park management hired a company called GoGeese to keep these beasts in check.
GoGeese uses its stable of Jack Russell terriers to chase the geese around the park. What most of us would consider an amusing Saturday diversion for our dogs has somehow become a full-fledged business plan for another lucky entrepreneur. Unfortunately, much like Mister Steamy, it’s not working and the geese are still there. And they’re wrinkled.
I tried to approach the flock to get a comment from the biggest bird in the group. He’d allow me to get close, then would usher his family just out of range. In one final attempt, I walked slowly toward the group before breaking into a full-on sprint trying to at least get close enough for a nice mug shot with my camera phone. The birds took flight just as I noticed a co-worker walking nearby, who was probably thinking I had accidentally left my lunch at home again and was trying to capture a handy alternative to my usual turkey on whole wheat.
Instead of the website-inspired observations I might usually make, perhaps I’ll reference an interesting story from yesterday’s local newspaper:
Mechanics found a cheeseburger in the gas tank of a Rock Hill woman’s car, police say.
The 30-year-old told police she noticed her car was running “rugged” late last week, according to a Rock Hill police report. The car would stop running, and let her start it again only to cut off a few minutes later.
A mechanic found a cheeseburger and a pickle inside the car’s gas tank, the report said. The lunch caused about $1,000 in damages to the car. It is not known how the sandwich got inside the vehicle’s tank.
Or I could cite a story out of London, broadcast on NPR yesterday afternoon, in which a report encouraged doctors to stop calling their overweight patients “obese” and instead use the word “fat.” It was believed that pathetic tub-o-lards would respond better to a blunt assessment of their condition than they would hearing it couched in medical-sounding terms. Calling them fat would “subliminally” urge them to lose weight, just as calling them ugly might present a great business opportunity for the doctor next door who specializes in plastic surgery.
In the interest of journalistic balance, NPR rounded up another interview subject they described as “morbidly obese” to hear which term she preferred. She said she liked “fat” better, not as much as she liked “plus-sized” but certainly better than anything modified by the word “morbidly.”
(By the way, if she’s hungry, I know where she can find a cheeseburger or, if she can manage a brief sprint, a nice plump — excuse me, “fat” — goose.)
Or maybe I’ll do what TV executives do in the summer when they know viewership is down: produce a reality show. Instead of posting a scripted humor piece, I could run an excerpt from a memo I had to write for my current project at work, in which I’m charged with soliciting suggestions for process improvement from my fellow workers. See if you’re entertained by this:
Thanks to all of you for agreeing to participate as part of the Project Greenline core team. In the next week or two, I’ll be coming in during your normal work hours so we can spend some time discussing how best to coordinate our efforts among all shifts. In the meantime, we’ve identified what might be some “low-hanging fruit,” changes to processes that might be seen as reasonably good ideas that can be easily implemented. Some of these have the potential of getting us moving quickly in a few areas, while we take more time to consider the “stickier” subjects. Please read through the attached list of bullet points and see what you think. If you need more details on a particular subject, let me know. We can talk about concerns or related ideas you might have when we get together in early July.
“Dancing With the Stars” it’s not, but at least I’m phoning it in with the best of them.