The Rise Of The On-Line Booster

If you would like to read about ” boosters “, I can suggest no finer book than ” Babbit ” by Sinclair Lewis. It may seem a little dated to some, but then anti-American propaganda never really gets old if you find the right readership. You may be just the fellow traveller who would appreciate it. Paperback versions are readily available, and Dear Old Sinc does get some good lines in there.

I am reminded of it when I get responses via email to these columns. A fair few of them seem to suggest that I can make a fortune by following their formulae for search engine success and/or marketing. I suspect that few of them really have read what I wrote – that this column is not selling anything – nor buying it either.

It almost seems as though they have turned the old saying back to front and are urging me to stick my business in everyone else’s nose…

Fine, if I was trying to market a feel-good book on how to feel good or a successful program on how to be successful…but I am actually operating a personal pillbox from which I can mow down my enemies. When I run out of enemies I mow down friends. Hey, the machine gun bullets are not fussy…

If you have had the misfortune to be attacked and destroyed by this weblog column consider yourself lucky – when you lie down and bleed you will not attract further fire. It is only the heroic that get another fusillade.

Far worse off is the person who I praise. When you put people on a pedestal they are visible to more batteries and will attract heavier ordnance. The spotlight of fame is a merciless one.


” Once In A Lifetime Opportunity “

Versus ” Once In A Lifetime Experience “.

This is all a load of hooey. The opportunity that is always being offered is to give your money to someone else. This is not once in a lifetime – this sort of thing comes up all the time. All day long people want your money.

The experience is also common – that of being bilked. Whatever the hype promises, the hyper will not deliver, and the hypee will not receive. The best outcome for most once in a lifetime experiences are that you don’t have – or want – to do them ever again…

Example? Having your wisdom teeth out. Getting a mouth ulcer treated with silver nitrate. Visiting Vancouver. Death…See what I mean?

I would suggest an alternative approach for advertising people who want to take home the money that you arrived with. Instead of promising singularity, they should promise the same old thing day after day. And use the same colouration, typeface, and phrasing for it.

Not only is going to be a saving for them in writer’s fees, ink pots, and paper stock, but there is a much better chance that you’ll become so desperate that you’ll throw your wallet at them just to escape. No expectation of satisfaction or a refund there.

If You Don’t Have…

I’ve just seen one of those cooking sites that specifies extra virgin water grown on the slopes of the Gobi desert and kept under magical moonbeams for one of their ” signature ” dishes. I’m left with a number of questions…at least one of them pertinent:

a. What is a ” signature ” dish?

Is it a dish that has been signed? By whom? In what? Ketchup?

Would the bank accept a plate of ravioli at the bottom of a cheque?

Are there people who forge cutlets?

b. I get virgin. Not as often as I might like, but I do understand the concept. Something that has been previously untouched by human hands or any of the other parts. It’s a one-off thing.

But what is extra-virgin? Virgin on steroids? Virgin with attitude? The sort of virgin that marches in protests and yells at the police?

c. Water. It isn’t virgin now and hasn’t been for aeons. Every molecule going has been through something before: an animal gut, a pore, a plant tubule. Some molecules have been through every single Tom Cruise movie…but then you have to sort of admire that.

But all water is experienced. It knows its way around. It might appear in lite beer but not willingly.

It does appear in bullshit…and some cooking sites.

d. I’ve seen pictures of the Gobi desert. It looks like the Simpson desert or the Mojave. Without the taco stands. If you want water in the Gobi you need to order it waaaaay in advance. Like the Pleistocene era.

e. Magical moonbeams. Well thank God we’ve returned to sanity. I was starting to suspect a scam for a while there. No-one who has ever read J. K. Rowlings’ books …or for that matter her bank statement…could ever doubt the power of magic.

For my part, I prefer the recipes that allow some wiggle room in the pan. When they specify shrimp they will equally accept chicken or rat. I do draw a line at the medical advice columns that deal in substitutes, though. The one that said you could substitute wasabi for Murine wised me up.

The Bunnings Phenomenon

I’ve written of Bunnings before – the local Australian version of the DIY shop or Home Depot. It is undoubtedly like other shops in other countries in that it sells nails and plumbing fittings, but in other respects it is wholly our own.

The first time I cottoned on to this was on World Talk Like A Pirate Day. All the staff dressed up as pirates – and we’re talking about senior citizen employees as well as junior staff – and talked like pirates. It was a bit disconcerting, when all I went in for was a can of spray paint, to see hardware clerks rolling their Rrrrrr’ses early in the morning…

Today they supplemented the standard sausage sizzle stand that parks out front of the place with Christmas cupcakes. I have no idea whether these are a commercial product or fundraiser’s specials, but I do salute the imagination that used a pretzel for the reindeer horns…

One cake is missing. Not my fault.



The Free Bees

Charity is when A gives to B unasked and C never hears about it.

Publicity is when A gives to B and tells C all about it.

Mendacity is when A gives B something from C and lets B think that it is from both A and C. And then lets D, E, and F know it, but forgets C altogether.

I do not know the correct English term for the circumstance where A takes C’s money, uses it for administrative expenses, gives nothing to B, and tells D, E, and F how charitable A is. I think there must be a name, but I just now it escapes me.

My vocabulary is not as extensive as I could wish…




Gaining A Wider Audience

untitled-1I have been told that the only way to get more readers for this weblog column is to pay money to someone to compel the search engines to pop my name up. One part of this that bothers me is paying someone money – the other part is the kind of readers I would get.

While I have no idea how to find out who is just browsing through, I do take careful notice of who signs up to read the thing. I go to their own weblog columns and see what they write. Some are excellent. Some are average. Some are nut cases. I’m not too worried about that as they seem to be the gentle types – given to religious fervour or blank verse. It’s a free net and as long as they are not emailing me constantly it is fine. I like the occasional bit of poetry.

I also wonder whether the regulars on my Facebook feed are actually reading the thing or have just set their receivers to gloss it over. To play it safe, I never reveal the endings of television serials or my political opinions on here for fear it will cause havoc amongst them.

But it would be nice to have more readers. I do not profit from them, as I have no affiliation with any sponsor here, and I cannot think how to monetize the columns without making them a sad chore rather than a fun thing. I need the fun more than the money. Now that we are settled in the new themes, I think I can carry on for years – there are always new topics cropping up each day.

But I intend to try an experiment. If the local merchants and fringe religions can pay teenagers to cram my letterbox full of advertising pamphlets…and no amount of signage will hold them back…I will make a few lurid but attractive leaflets for the Backstabbers Guild Of Australia and poke them into the local postboxes myself. I will target the local shops and services that have filled my box.

Achtung: Minen!

untitled-1webimageI am starting to think that the big blue Facebook logo should be replaced with a skull and crossbones and the ” Achtung: Minen! ” warning. Because every time I open the site I seem to see hidden dangers – lumps in the landscape, if you will, and not all of them containing potatoes…

Today I have been invited on several political or moral wild goose chases and I suspect that if I had followed the chain of remarks and replies I would be receiving even more of the things in the future – that seems to be how the mechanism works. To be fair, they do seem to sit pretty evenly on the balance of loony left and loony right – perhaps equilibrium might be acheived…if at the expense of a lot of bad language and worse grammar.

I have also been invited to be duped. When I declined, and pointed out the technical flaws of the presentation…my protest was removed by the person who posted the original message. I also recognise this as a standard feature of Facebook – I have been baited and deleted before. I really must exercise more discipline with myself when this sort of thing occurs – After all, I am not the Internet Sheriff and I cannot close down every pea and shell game in town. I do wonder at the algorithms that permit it, but. Sigh…

I must ask myself the question: is there likely to be high morality or overweening intelligence on a free-to-click app with advertisements in a sidebar that are based upon my browser history? Better questions: Is there going to be more benefit than harm in continuing the service? Will open access to this separate line of internet communication be enough to make the rest of the thing bearable? How far down can one go in the mine of popular social media before one uncovers a vein of nausea?

I shall find out.

*  Thanks to the person on the web who provided the image. If you are in town I’ll buy you a beer.