This week, my blog passed a few landmarks:
1) It got its 3000th hit.
2) It was read in its 70th different country. Hvala, Bosnia and Herzegovina!
Love you too, kids.
Early on, this blog centered a lot on my breakup, and that got the most hits/comments. But as the Good Book says, man shall not live by breakup blogs alone. I wrote what I’m probably still most proud of, a goodbye note to my ex-stepdaughter, because we never got a chance to say goodbye, the shittiest thing among many shitty things my ex did. But soon, I realized the blog was stultifying, going from a vale to a crutch. If it was going to amount to something more than a public diary, it, like I, had to move on.
I wrote a bit about my first experiences with on-line dating, but that came to a quick end because my heart wasn’t really into it then. Plus the only real response I got from anyone who read that piece was jealous rage from a bizarrely infatuated woman I “dated” for about 3 seconds who flipped out when she read about the walk I took with another woman, even while Miss Unbalanced Imbalance was hooking up with another guy and sending him naked pics of her crazy ass. They say any publicity is good publicity, but this was exhibit Z of 2013 giving me my fill of enough idiot women for one lifetime (spoiler: 2014’s seen some idiot spillover).
I tried making the blog half-lifestyle and half-sports for a while, ‘cuz I write a lot about sports and think a lot about sports, and because, relatedly, I like sports (“sports” = basketball/baseball/soccer. I consider football to be less a sport than pre-litigation; golf is just oppression in super-slow motion and ugly clothes). I’ll still link pieces I wrote for other sites about sports, and may write pieces on an issue where sports touches on the larger society, but most of the hits I get on this site are for non-sports goo. And what you want is what you get, dear Reader.
My readership demographic shifted. Early on, it was primarily Americans. But more and more, my audience is skewing international, from early rates around 15% to now pushing to break the 50% mark. If they’re not the majority yet, it seems they will be soon. It’s like my blog reflects the changing face of America. If this site ever comes down with hypertension as a consequence of a high sodium/high sugar/sedentary lifestyle, but doesn’t sweat the diagnosis ‘cuz it’s too busy burying its face in a sleek handheld portable cancer box that Apple charged $500 for ‘cuz it runs 0.00398 seconds faster than the last portable cancer box, my blog really will be America.
WordPress has a feature that lets me see what search terms people Googled that led them to my blog. So someone will Google “small-market NBA teams” and end up here ‘cuz that’s a keyword in the title of a piece I wrote a few months ago. I decided to look up which blog post and which search term got the biggest numbers.
My most-read blog ever is about my struggle with writer’s block after I finished teaching last spring. It’d be sweet to imagine my audience is chock full of literati who found themselves roped in by my brave description of this struggle. But nope. The answer was simple: porn.
The #1 search term that’s led people to my site–and it’s not even close; it’s 5 times more searched than any other term people have used–is “Belle Knox.” That’s the stage name of the girl from Duke who became a porn star to pay her tuition; some frat guys leaked her name and soon there was the predictable hoary “debate” over whether Knox was an example of a post-feminist feminist taking control of her body, or a case study of the obvious and hidden costs of rising tuition rates, or a well-to-do white girl trying to hide her privilege behind a poor life decision and a pseudo-political bullshit defense. I cannot tell you how many international hits I’ve gotten the past six weeks of people looking for Belle Knox–every day perverts the world over end up on my blog because one time I mentioned her by name and included a pic of her in passing in one post that had NOTHING to do with her. Apparently Germany, in particular, is full of pervs. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. I will admit to being just a bit thrown off this week when I learned someone ended up on my blog after Googling “Show me old black man fucking a football player.”
In honor of that WTF moment, some other things that made me go hmmmm:
–PEOPLE ARE STRANGE
I recently joined a gym. I don’t want to mention any names because why should I give them free publicity when I’m paying them for my membership? In the interest of anonymity, we’ll call this gym Flanet Pitness. Flanet Pitness prides itself for being “non-judgmental” (ironic, given that it’s covered in wall space and TV commercials making fun of big bulky testosterone-rich aggressive-sorts they call “lunkheads.” The only way they could be any more aggressive promoting their ideology would be if they all grew silly mustaches, staged a beer hall putsch, and committed suicide in a Berlin bunker one day). In the spirit of judging others, I’ve learned I have three gym peeves:
*Equipment loiterers. These are the people who, while you’re busting your ass trying to get through your sets on a machine, stand two inches behind you because they have to make sure the whole world knows they got next. Working out is inelegant: its hard work, you’re sweaty, you have to breathe a certain way when you’re lifting heavy weights, and it’s just not a time and place you hope some stranger trespasses in your personal space. There are like a hundred different machines in the gym. Can you really not go use one that isn’t occupied? We don’t accept this kind of behavior in other settings. If you’re at a table in a restaurant that’s full, the people waiting to be seated don’t get to come by your table and stand over you while you’re eating. If you’re at a stadium and all the urinals/stalls are full, the people waiting to go don’t get to loiter inches away from you while you’re doing your business. In fact, you know what? If Gym Equipment Loiterer wants the machine I’m on so badly, I’d prefer he piss in a circle all around me to mark his territory than stand behind me. Creepy, yes. But, as I’ll get to shortly, certainly not the creepiest gym character.
*People who treat the machine like a social lounge. These yahoos are probably why the equipment loiterers exist. I know we’re all God’s creatures, each a spectacular lil’ snowflake in and of ourselves. We live our lives differently. Huzzah. However…the gym is not a café. It’s not the mall. It’s a place people go either because they’re righteously disgusted with their bodies, or because they’re one of the lucky ones who aren’t, but they see all the people there who are, and so they’re working out to avoid becoming one themselves. So, if you’re doing ab crunches or lat pulls or back extensions, you know what you should do? Ab crunches, or lat pulls, or back extensions. You know what you SHOULDN’T do? Lean back in the machine like it’s a La-Z-boy recliner and yak on your cell phone with your friend, or yak with your friend who’s standing next to you while the two of you do no exercising. Why are you paying Flanet Pitness money to NOT work out? Then again, Flanet Pitness offers free pizza on Mondays. So maybe it’s more of a vicious cycle than a gym.
*The dude who always shows up around 5, when the gym’s at its busiest, and rather than wearing gym clothes is in khakis and a polo shirt and sunglasses, and invariably finds the cutest girl working out and picks whatever random machine is closest to her, then puts no effort into using the machine while creepily leering at the girl every 2 seconds and somehow thinks the WHOLE FREAKING GYM doesn’t notice what he’s doing, and then when the girl moves halfway across the gym to a new machine, he oh-so-casually gets off the elliptical he just spent microseconds on and follows her to the free weights, where he grabs a pair of 2.5 pound barbells and does a handful of bicep curls while creepily leering at her some more. I bet no one in the entire gym would mind if a lunkhead came over, wrapped Creepy Khaki Guy up in a floor mat, and tossed his ass through the window.
–WELL-DRESSED ARTICULATE CHRISTIAN DICKWADS ARE STILL DICKWADS
This week, former NFL coach and current NBC broadcaster Tony Dungy said if he was in charge of a team, he wouldn’t have drafted Michael Sam, who came out as gay before being drafted by the St. Louis Rams, because, and these are Dungy’s words, “…not because I don’t believe Michael Sam should have a chance to play, but because I wouldn’t want to deal with all of it. It’s not going to be totally smooth…things will happen.” So Dungy thinks Sam shouldn’t be victimized by his sexuality or denied the same equal rights in the workplace that the NFL’s parade of rapists and violent offenders enjoy…only Dungy wouldn’t want his team of red meat hetero-warriors to have to “deal with all of it.” No word on whether Dungy thinks that Jackie Robinson integrating baseball inconvenienced all the racists he played with and against by forcing them to “deal with” being on the wrong side of history. Slow clap, Tony D. Way to have your cake, eat it too, and then spit it into human decency’s eyeball.
–THE FAULT IN OUR HEARTS, MINDS, AND SOULS
This week brought the world yet another in a series of bizarre alleged charity cross-promotions that somehow end up seeming less than the sum of their parts. The general manager of the Myrtle Beach Pelicans, a minor league baseball team, announced he would sing “Take Me Out To The Ballgame” during the 7th inning stretch while getting a prostate exam if 10,000 people “liked” the Facebook page of Fallon Emery, a ten-year old suffering from brain cancer. Bring it back, Bubbles.
There seems to have been an increase in non sequitur good causes as Facebook’s popularity has depressingly increased. It reminds me of The Company in Borges’ short story “The Lottery in Babylon,” where a game is created whose popularity eventually leads to the game makers becoming more powerful than anyone in reality. To put it another way:
1) How the fuck does “liking” the FB page of a kid with brain cancer help him with, you know…brain cancer?
2) How do 10,000 empty gestures made with a child suffering from brain cancer in mind have ANYTHING to do with encouraging men mostly 50 and over to get prostate exams? You know what would be more encouraging? If the Texas Rangers, the team that owns the Pelicans, put aside a couple million dollars–in other words, the amount they spend on one inconsequential player–and paid for, oh, I don’t know…HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF FREE PROSTATE EXAMS?!?!
This certainly isn’t the only case of weird corporate twatness of late. Recently, I heard an interview on ESPN radio with Bob Valvano, whose brother, former college basketball coach Jim, was diagnosed 20+ years ago with metastatic adenocarcinoma and who died after a struggle with bone cancer. Before his death, Jim Valvano announced the creation of the V Foundation, a charitable foundation committed to funding cancer research. Valvano sounds like a pretty universally loved dude, and the V Foundation has raised millions of dollars since its inception and earned the reputation of a charity that actually puts its money where its mouth is and sends all donations directly to cancer research.
What’s creepy, though–not Gym Khaki Leerer creepy, but close–is that for 51 weeks every year, Jim Valvano may as well be an enemy of Stalin and we may as well be living in the USSR circa 1946. He’s never talked about, never mentioned, never nothinged…until this one week of the year. Why this one week? Because it’s the anniversary of his birth? Or his death? Nope. Because this is the week ESPN airs the ESPYs, a pseudo-award they created out of thin air decades ago to give them an excuse to televise an award show that mainly serves to promote the network and remind viewers that athletes are celebrities, and look! ESPN has insider access to these celebrities, and boy it sure is super nifty and swell that all these super cool jocks come rub elbows with ESPN. And because in 1993, the first year of the ESPYs, Jim Valvano was given the inaugural Arthur Ashe Courage and Humanitarian Award, less than 2 months before Valvano passed away. You couldn’t draw up better publicity/synergy for the then-fledgling award show. And every year now, ESPN makes sure to link this ostentatious abomination irrelevance of a program with the death of a good man.
ESPN didn’t have Bob Valvano on the radio this week to honor his brother’s memory. They never talk about the V Foundation in March, or May, or September. They had him on this week because they like the free and positive publicity they get to lather themselves up in once a year by linking a good man whose gone with a self-aggrandizing award show I wished would contract metastatic adenocarcinoma and die already.
Do you read this blog? Do you have thoughts? Questions? Suggested topics? Gas? Share your comments! Never forget: without you, this blog would be…well, it’d be pretty much exactly the same, actually. Just with one less viewer. But that one less viewer would be YOU! Remember: voting is a waste of your time. But commenting on my blog–that’s power, holmes. Use it wisely.