Tuesday, September 30, 2008

This Just In: Two Can Play That Game

Introducing (like four years ago), the lady lap pillow...

This Just In: My Replacement


Okay, once again I am way behind in discovering things people already know, but it appears the Japanese have invented a boyfriend pillow! My days are numbered.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Confined Spaces


So over the weekend I dutifully followed Heather to one of her friend's wedding. Marriage, what's it good for? Am I right lonely and sad people? Anyway. The shindig went down at a summer camp. And we played the part of campers crashing in sparse cabins and dancing in the dining hall. Good times, especially for me since I never went to summer camp. So I got a mini-adult version.

It also made me realize what Clue and Saw II have in common. They're both movies of dubious quality that I enjoy for the simple reason that they trap strangers in a confined space. It has sadly taken me forever to articulate this love of the confined space genre. It comes at a time when I'm showing Night of the Living Dead (the original, of course) in class--there it was all along.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Elephant Ear vs. Funnel Cake



So a few weeks ago we went to the Greek Festival to enjoy the culture, i.e. the food. And last weekend, we went to the Festival in the Park to enjoy the art, i.e. the food. Though, I did not this year have a turkey leg & foot-long corn dog sword fight in my stomach because I actually escaped without eating anything. But food could not escape my attention. What, I asked, is an elephant ear? A funnel cake like thing, came the answer. What then is the difference between them? I was proud of my question at this point because I'm teaching Socrates and I felt he would have been pleased. I don't know, came the reply. But tonight, we have it on good authority that an elephant ear is bread fried while the funnel cake is fried batter. There you go, another mystery solved. Sleep soundly.

Friday, September 12, 2008

How to Blog

Here, in a helpfully numbered fashion, I will tell you how to blog for fun and profit. Mostly for profit because once you have that fun will naturally follow.


  1. Live life. Many bloggers forget this one, but it is essential. You need to go out into the big, dark world and find something mysterious and terrifying, then wrestle it to the ground and in this way have an experience. Once that is done, you must come directly home to your computer where you will set it all down in words or else that experience will be completely meaningless and lost in your ever fading memory. If you’ve done that, then you’ve completed the first step, but that’s not all. Go on.
  2. I cannot stress this one enough. Click the publish button. If you fail to do this your post will not appear on your blog, and you will, in fact, not be blogging.
  3. Do not put any pictures on your blog. First, readers do not like pictures because it makes them feel childish. Secondly, if you do, you will be sued.
  4. Make people read your blog.
  5. Set up an account with one of those places that measures the hits your blog gets. A hit is the measure of how many times a person clicks on your blog. This count, in theory, measures the amount of people reading your blog when, in fact, it can’t actually tell if they clicked on it by mistake or are painstakingly crocheting your words onto a pillow. Don’t worry about that. What is important is that you put the total on your blog, so that people can see how many theoretical people are reading your blog. If you do not do so, you are a coward. And no one likes a coward. Especially a coward who blogs.
  6. Some people will tell you not to measure your stats with other blogs. They will tell you that blogging is not a competition. They are wrong. The numbers are all that matter. Obsess over them endlessly. Hits are as good as money (see the Money section below).

Congratulations! You are a blogger. Enjoy your success.

Troubleshooting: Marketing. Let’s pretend people aren’t reading your blog. What to do?

  1. Make your family read it. First, tell your family that you’ve started a blog. They will not read it. Second, tell them that you’re talking about them in this blog. Some of them will look into it. Be sure to say rude things about one family member in particular, usually the one who is least likely to read the blog. Your brother, perhaps, who sells irrigation equipment and accessories. After a while rotate which family member you choose to ridicule. The more negative, the more likely your hits will go up. Corollary: the more hits you get, the less you will be invited to family functions, which will have the advantage of giving you more time to blog.
  2. Make your friends read it. First, do not tell your friends that you’ve started a blog. Instead, write several long posts about them where you use their full names. They will inevitably find the blog while Googling themselves. They will feel a secret thrill as if they’re reading your secret diary, when in fact they are falling for your secret plan.
  3. Get more friends.
  4. Go to any random blog and leave a comment. The comment doesn’t even matter, only that you link it back to your blog. In fact, the comment should be something inscrutable. For example, just write “Turnip!” I would also recommend an exclamation point. The blogger and the blogger’s audience (i.e. that person’s friends and family) will inevitably think to themselves who is this person that has written “Turnip” with an exclamation point and then click on your link to uncover the mystery. Presto! More readers.
  5. Pay people to read it. Warning: this step may cut into your profits.

Troubleshooting II: Money. Why are you not rich yet?

  1. Hits are not as good as money. Only money is as good as money. Hits, however, can be converted into money.
  2. There are programs like Adsense that will place ads into your blog and based on a complicated geometry problem decide how much money to give you from these advertisers. I suggest you not do this because this is what we in the biz refer to as “selling out.”
  3. A far better and easier way to capitalize on your blog is to, as we like to say in the biz, be “discovered.” This is where a person with a lot of money reads your blog by accident and decides you are brilliant and wants to give you a lot of money to be your sponsor.
  4. An even easier way to capitalize off your blog is to convince your significant other that the above shadowy sponsor will find you sooner the more time you spend on your blog. Suggest to your significant other, therefore, that you should quit your job in order to dedicate more time to the blog. Enjoy not working.
  5. Finally, sell things on your blog. Like transcripts of this very “How to Blog” manual, available here for only $9.95!

You have completed my online course on the fundamentals of blogging. You are free to put the button “S. Craig Renfroe, Jr. Approved” on your blog (WARNING: This button is trademarked and the sole property of S. Craig Renfroe, Jr. Any attempt to actually put said button on your blog will result in a lawsuit).

Copyrighted 2008 (One final tip: be sure to put this at the end of every post so that no one steals your beautiful ideas and makes more money off them than you do.)

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

New from Science: Black Hole Death

I'm minding my own business when suddenly I hear that some jack-off scientists are going to crank up this atom-smasher and destroy the world. How might they do that, I stopped to ask. Apparently, there are fears that the Large Hadron Collider will produce black holes that will swallow the world.

Now at first, this news scared me so bad I wanted to hide under the bed--but then I thought the black hole would be sure to look there.

Then, I took some deep breathes. In the past, I have been entrusted to teach Darwin and Galileo (hahahhahahahhaha). And sure enough after my initial horror, I read the articles and found that the people complaining are led by a safety inspector with a law degree. A law degree! Phew!

Most importantly let's not let this LHC distract from the real threat: grey goo!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

I Will Defiantly Go

So I'm grading. My favorite part of teaching. If only I could just grade--that would be the best. Not to sound like the curmudgeonly old man that I will inevitably become, chasing kids out of my yard with leaf blowers or chainsaws, you know, whatever's handy, but I have to say: "definitely" is not spelled "defiantly." Though, I see it misspelled that way so often why don't we just change the spelling? It would cause me less stress. And hey, most of the time it fits. I think it's defiantly a good idea.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Your Etiquette Advice from Some Old Books I Found


So I found another old book--what can I say; it's a pastime--The Royal Path of Life, published in 1880. It's an old self-help guide so not exactly etiquette, but I'm too lazy to change up the feature. T. L. Haines and L. W. Yaggy hope "it shall be a counselor to those who have become indifferent to life's purpose." I want to be anything but indifferent to life's purpose. That sounds reminscient of some other modern book I keep hearing about, something about how purpose will drive my life. I wish purpose would just give me a lift.

Anyway. The Royal Path turns out to be instructive, especially in the ways between men and women: "Man is bold--woman is beautiful. Man is courageous--woman is timid. Man labors in the field --woman at home. Man talks to persaude--woman to please.... Women are generally better creatures than men. Perhaps they have, taken universally, weaker appetities and weaker intellects, but they have much stronger affections. A man with a bad heart has been sometimes saved by a strong head; but a corrupt woman is lost forever."

Strange, then, to find what appears to be a statement of support for the suffrage movement tucked inside the pages. It seems legimate, though did they have yellow paper back then? When did we invent colors? The top reads THE EMPIRE STATE CAMPAIGN COMMITTEE: Victory for Woman Suffrage in 1915.