IT’S ANDYS ALL THE WAY DOWN

Andy KaufmanIn 2006, we discovered and reported the truth about Andy Kaufman‘s survival in a groundbreaking investigational piece: We Are All Andy Now.

Reviewing in 2011, we investigated further and found disturbing evidence that the Andys were multiplying incestually. This was published as There Are Certain Things That Enter The Minds Of People Even Without One. Although mainstream media ignored the story, those in the know confirmed the truth, some in public.

For a while, things were quiet. We began to wonder if the phenomenon had slowed down. Perhaps something in the genetic material was faulty? Or did they just get tired?

Nope.

We have found another Andy. This one has an australian accent, very large glasses, and a suboptimal solution to male pattern baldness. The definitive evidence is in his style. Nobody else can combine deliberately bad critical thinking, delusions of grandeur, and almost-plausible manipulation like a full-blooded certifiable Andy.

Clearly the Andys are still spawning. We can’t wait for the next election.

 

There is no talent

ur speaker 2 day

Years ago, we made fun of  Grabow, the beautifully named speakers bureau that can fill your event with Vegasy hell on tap. The comment thread is good.

There’s now an unused blog and some tags, but everything is still as it was, down to the HTML-resized headshots. Hootie is now available, as are Angela Davis, and Sheryl Roush, the “Sparkle-Tude(TM)” Expert.

Carol Channing remains.

The best pages on the site are now the blank ones, found while browsing categories. There is no talent here. Horseman, pass on.

Irvine is a land of contrasts.

Under its combed lawns, Irvine holds down a mad carnival of Bosch, Max Ernst, Seraphinianus. Pressure makes it leak.

The teeth of Geraldo.

CELEBRITY TEETH! From a waiting room at a large dental laboratory. They have a showcase of these. Many.

 

this path does not workThis phenomenon is all too common in Irvine. Why? Why is there a careful path to nothing? WHY, IRVINE?

 

 

Well, how did they get here?

Here are some of the searches that led people to this blog since I started paying attention to that.

  1. Pigurines (#1!)
  2. medieval terms of endearment for children
  3. “mail order alien bride”
  4. what kind of chickens have a afro
  5. innsmouth community college¹
  6. pictures of philippine contemporary literature
  7. philadelphia phillies sex toy
  8. sexy german ladies
  9. beelzebub hunks
  10. selling smoke damaged furniture²

That’s all part of our world tonight.

¹Go Sea Devils!
²Change your life, change into a nine year old Hindu boy, get rid of your wife.

How I killed my blog

You aren’t reading this. Once, you did. Here’s why.

In 2001 I started a LiveJournal entirely as a social networking tool. My friends were all signing up. We had a lot of fun sharing a circle of friends on LJ, and most of us ended up at least reading if not posting every day.

The social network expanded rapidly, and I made new connections. And I wrote more. I have a background in journalism and I’ve always written compulsively. With the spigot open, things sputtered out: personal confession, satire, sociopolitical conversations, culture, an avalanche of ephemera. It was mostly a good time, although the madness of myself and others provided some spectacular low points as well. (None of the madness has been removed. Good thing you’re not reading it.)

A few years into this I had a decent audience for someone who hadn’t tried. At best estimate the thing had 300 regular readers. If I wrote something interesting or challenging or unusually annoying I always got a few comments. Even a couple of my literary heroes showed up to say nice things about my writing. And the writing got better. There was a deadline feel to working on that LJ. I would think: “what should I write today?” rather than “should I write?”

Like others, I messed around with syndication and linking other services. There were all these ways you could stuff your LJ and photo service and other crap into one feed, but those weren’t popular in this case. A couple of times I started up a separate blog intending to put longer stuff there but didn’t use it enough or try to promote it really, and it sat there. This should have been a warning.

I never wanted to leave LJ, despite its “uncool” teen-angst image. It was a great platform for us, and a decent place to write. I had a built-in audience and a lot of daily reading for myself. But LJ started to get weird. Its ownership got passed around a few times, and the infrastructure and policies looked wobblier every day. When it was inhaled by an opaque Russian company it was looking like a worse and worse place to do anything a person might care about.

So, I made a WordPress blog and slurped up all the old LJ posts into it, and kept going here.

Whoops!

The social element is gone. Comments are rare and telegraphic. If I send a link to a friend I’ll get friendly and useful responses. Syndication to Facebook gets comments there. When comments are enabled on the syndication to the old LJ I get some responses from my friends there. But in general the thing is just dead. Traffic is awful.

As a result, I don’t write as much either. I never had too much invested in a big audience (good thing, because I didn’t have one!) but without any audience at all… Well, it’s like doing a late night shift on a radio station nobody hears. (Another story.) It’s boring and a little depressing.

I wasn’t the only one to abandon LJ, but it looks like most of the others went to Facebook for ephemera and socializing. That makes sense because the whole world is on FB, and because people don’t like uncool things (LJ). A lot of LJ’s benefits, like semi-anonymity and great filtering for audiences, are gone. But if your friends aren’t there, it’s not a social network, so, that’s the end of that.

Part of me wants to go back to LJ, but it’s not the same thing now. Mostly I want to keep the energy going with my own little thing, because I want to write and I need to control where it lives. Perhaps enforced write-every-day discipline would help.

In any case, I trashed something useful. LiveJournal was a good audience of friends and strangers and a wonderful conversation space, where I learned more about public writing than I had working full-time at a newspaper. Where did we go wrong? In any case, I met a lot (more than 50) of great new people I still have to talk to.

Anyway that’s how I killed my blog. If you’re reading this, something must be terribly wrong.

Party Girls at Gatsby’s, or: Avoid a Modeling Career

Wrong number email and text messages are a joy. I’ve had email addresses with just a first name or simple word and received everything from a detailed thank your for a weekend-o-sex to a nauseating consumer complaint about a yeast infection remedy.

Sometimes it’s just Kismet, though.

Years ago I got a mistaken invitation to an actor’s birthday party. He’s a B level guy who’s been in two good movies.

It was a decade birthday and they’d gone all out. The venue was an estate in a rural but aristocratic setting.

The invitation presented necessary information: location, parking instructions, notes about food and pets for those with allergies, etc. Directions were given for those driving, arriving by airline, or flying in on private or chartered planes to the closer local airport. Hotels were listed for those staying multiple days in the area.

And then the kicker. The last set of “resources” was a list of local escort agencies, followed by modeling agencies including the nearest local branch of probably the world’s best-known modeling agency.

I’ll set aside for now my opinion on someone who puts prostitution options in his birthday invitation. Plus, for a call girl in Nowheresville, a gig at B-level celebrity’s big shindig is at way better than the usual.

But let us pause to consider the life of those on the roster of BigModelingAgency in a town that isn’t even Sacramento, much less New York. Young and driven, aiming for the bright lights and adoration of high fashion, always the most dazzling kid in school, and pumped with excitement at this new opportunity to move up with the reknowned agency… …and you get those phone calls. What the hell do you do? What happens if you do, or if you don’t? Is this job explicit, or do you just find out at the party, or afterwards? What’s the role of the agency here? What are the stories, and what do they sound like from each of the parties involved? Holy crap!

So that’s the wrong number email I remember the most, not because of the weird celebrity connection, but because of that window into the world of an aspiring fashion model out in the sticks. It is, to paraphrase David Foster Wallace, a double-handed forehead clutcher.

Dear Consumer Reports: an Open Letter

I have trusted Consumer Reports since I was a child for product ratings. Your policy of no advertising and no commercial use has been admirable and useful, and I’ve always been happy to pay for the service.

Now your website has a shopping section. The explanatory paragraph says that it’s intended to provide a safe, unbiased environment for shopping, and that you’ve surveyed us customers and found just the right places to shop. It also says that it’s “powered by” Pricegrabber.com.

So this means that you’ve cut a deal with Pricegrabber to send your members to their service. Pricegrabber is not a charity and anyone in the business knows how these things work. You have taken your very valuable membership as a commodity and rented us to an outside commercial service.

Your noncommercial use policy says: ” We are not beholden to any commercial interest. Our income is derived from the sale of Consumer Reports®, ConsumerReports.org®, and our other publications and information products, services, fees, and noncommercial contributions and grants.”

What are the terms of your deal with Pricegrabber, exactly? What exactly are the criteria by which you or Pricegrabber choose vendors and products for the shopping site?

Consumer Reports is not BizRate.com. Neither are you AAA, or any of the other “organizations” that sell your membership to affiliates.

How much money will it cost you to dump this shopping nonsense, and when will you do it?

There’s no way to maintain the fiction that you’re following a noncommercial use policy at the same time that you’re selling your customers to a generic Internet shopping portal.

Thanks in advance for your reply.

Note: This was also sent via their website as a Letter to the Editor