A recent smattering of my with and pit…
Short and sweet.
Beware anyone who comes at you with a Top 10 list. They are out to get you.
Top Ten Things You Need To Know About Top 10 Lists
10. If they build it you will come. The assumption is being made that when your brain sees “Top 10” you’ll click the link faster than a monkey pounding a button for a banana. Because, mmm, banana!
9. Fast acting. They know you have the attention span of a gnat on Heisenberg’s Blue Sky meth. Wait. What?
8. Unefficiency. Forcing content into a rigid format isn’t necessarily the best way to communicate information and ideas. It’s one of those “square peg – round hole” kind of dealios.
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I recently had a brutality visit me regarding my blog.
While signing up for podcast hosting, I was asked to categorize my blog. This is when I realized, “Gee. I must be weird.” When something is that hard to define, you just might have a problem on your hands.
Politics? No, even though I occasionally tackle that topic.
Education? Maybe to some small degree. Guru advice on negativity and the gerbil studies institute (G.R.I.P.E.) might count. (Admittedly that’s quite a stretch.)
Philosophy? Science? Religion? Recipes? Babies? Cats? It seems I’ve dabbled all over the place. Am I just scatterbrained?
Turning to my “tag cloud” for inspiration I realized my #1 all-time tag is “poop.” But I didn’t see a category for that. How could anyone leave “poop” off a list of blog categories? Unconscionable!
Since my blog hops around more than a Mexican jumping bean, this left me in a quicksand of quandary. That simple question about “categorization” had forced me to come face to face some some grim demons.
Bottom line? I had to go with a branch of “Entertainment.” More specifically, “Comedy.” If I’m brutally honest with myself that’s really the only thing that fits, all things considered.
So yeah, when it comes to my blog, I’m an … entertainer. Note: That is decidedly not that same as saying anyone who ever reads this blog is “entertained.” Those are two wildly different things!
So I selected “Comedy” from the drop down list and saved my entry.
But that’s not all. Then I came across one of those “list” posts. You know the type? Where they garishly entice you in with the sparkly promise of “top ten” of this or the “six ways” to improve that?
Blah blah blah.
Lists are popular. Lists attract readers. Magazines and newsstands know this. Next time you see some magazines look for this phenomenon. See anything like this? “The top 10 ways Bennifer conspired with TomKat behind Brangelina’s back.”
Yes, don’t overlook the fact I’m doing the very same thing in this post. Meh. Don’t be angry at me. You’re the one who fell for it!
Anywho, the list I came across was something like “Top Blogging Tips” and as I read those tips, a familiar sinking feeling began to engulf me.
Me and my blog violated all of them.
Wow. That’s some talent! Without further ado here are some of the promised 10 ways I suck:
- “Cultivate Good Writing.” Ha! Nuff said. Let’s move on.
- “Don’t write about yourself.” Ooops!
- “Try not to whine or complain too much.” Actually, here I think I do okay. I can’t stand complaining. That’s probably the one area of my life where I show the most restraint, don’t ya think?
The other seven examples were cut by my editor prior to publication. Unfortunately our headline writer was not informed.
So, I don’t know. Personally I think wallowing in filth, despair and self-pity makes for compelling blogging, but that’s just me. I’m open-minded enough to realize not everyone may agree.
There’s a small chance I was a weird kid.
I think I played different.
I’ll talk about one of those differences today.
Like a lot of kids, I had toy cars that ran on little pieces of plastic track. I did the usual stuff with these toys like conducts races, torment the cat, and bounce them off my sister’s head.
But I also did some weird stuff with them, too. One things I did was conduct experiments.
Actually, I think I was a bit before my time. Long before I’d ever heard of reality TV or “bracketology” I was simulating both, even as a wee tyke.
What I would do is take my assorted cars and devise experiments for them. In my own version of bracketology each car would randomly challenge another car for the right to move on in the competition. I’d put the cars through all sorts of tests. There were jumping tests, distance tests, stability going down a bumpy surface, etc.
I’d go through as many rounds as it took to determine the “winner.” Then I’d log my findings in my little notebook. My objective? To determine which car was the “best.”
Sometimes I’d mix things up, though. Instead of bracketology, I’d run the contest in rounds where only the worst performer was eliminated. After a series of these rounds only one competitor would remain and be declared the “winner.” And I kept logs of those findings, too.
Logs of my results! Sick, huh?
It’s been far too long to remember which method produced the best results and how the methodology effected the results, if it did at all. But I distinctly remember doing both. And the logs themselves haven’t survived. Sadly, that bit of scientific knowledge has been lost forever. The world won’t be able to benefit from my experiments.
But I can’t help but wonder. Does the modern reality TV show methodology of “who sucks the most this round” eventually get around to producing a contestant who is the “best?” Or is it just a fancy way of randomizing things?
One thing is certain: The producers of this form of entertainment could care less as long as you watch.
Like Alton Brown says, “Even great cooks can have bad days.” And one bad day could easily eliminate the “best” contestant, especially when the conditions of the test are extremely rigged based on some totally random and extreme criteria. “And the secret ingredient … is … TOBACCO!” Unfortunately this severely hamstrings every chef except the one from North Carolina.
Does Tyra’s show really produce America’s next “top model?” Is the last chef left standing really the “top” one? Is the last person on the island really the best “survivor?” And why are we so compelled to watch?
Am I wrong or do these shows seldom produce the “best?” Or, in a case like Survivor, who was the best player that “deserved” to win but was still voted out?
Whatever. The decision of this blog is final. The person who sucks most will leave this blog immediately. The blog has spoken.
Opening shot. A wide view of a room surrounded by casks of wine. View of table with four people seated and a door visible in the background.
Shot tightens on the door as dramatic music beings to play. The door opens.
In walks Olaf all decked out in his Top Chef attire. In walks Stefan. In walks Fernand. In walks Alexandre. In walks God.
The shot changes. We are now viewing the judges from behind, the camera view sliding along parallel to where they sit, with a front scrolling view of the contestants lined up in order standing with their feet slightly apart and their hands behind their backs.
Judge: God, let’s talk about your dish. How do you feel you did today?
God: I feel I did extremely well. The dish I created was delicious. As the designer and creator of the human tongue, I knew the flavor combinations in my dish would hit all five flavor centers in exactly the way I intended.
Judge: What was your inspiration for today’s challenge?
God: I wanted to highlight the natural beauty of the freshest ingredients, with a focus on clean, crisp and vibrant flavors.
Judge: You could have selected any protein for this challenge but you went with pork. Again. What was your thought process there?
God: All this talk about pork being unclean is just a bunch of hype. It’s actually my favorite protein. Maybe I went to that well once too often, but I think it was a good decision.
Judge: Did you taste your dish?
God: Of course. And since I am infallible I know it was perfectly seasoned.
Judge: Some of us felt the pork was a little overcooked. And frankly, the presentation was a little over the top.
God: You have to be somewhat careful with pork. I certainly didn’t want to serve it undercooked. And my presentation was specifically designed to appeal to the precise average of the sensibilities involved for the particular judges in this challenge. Even in theory it could not have been more accurate.
Judge: Some of the judges felt you played it a little safe. And your seasonings were a bit off.
Judge: You all put out some amazing dishes today. Unfortunately this is a cooking competition and one of you will not be moving on to the next round.
Cue dramatic music. Cue a two-second close-up shot of each contestant’s face. Change view back to judge who finally says in dramatic fashion:
Judge: God, please perform a miracle on your knives and go.
God: Thank you so much for this opportunity.
Sometimes there is just no pleasing those picky, picky judges! 🙂
And when was it decided that taking 16 persons of any given profession and eliminating the “worst” one round after round in a series of challenges until only one remains is a valid method of determining the “top” person? Since any chef can have a bad day, this is decidedly not very accurate. 🙂