A MinD in MoTown

You look like a monkey, and you smell like one, too.

Woman 1: “Ohhhh! It looks like there was a celebration here.”
Woman 2: “Yes, there was. It’s my birthday tomorrow.”
Woman 1: “Congratulations. My birthday is next month.”

Ignoring the fact that someone forewent* the traditional “Happy Birthday” for congrats – which really seems to be a polite way of saying, “Yay, you haven’t died yet!” – why exactly do people feel the need to tell complete strangers about their birthdays?

This conversation happened between a lady who just came into the office (Woman 1) and our lifestyles editor (Woman 2) only moments ago, and I found it strangely bothersome. Woman 1, who we’ll never see again, ensured that our entire news department knew about her July birthday. Does she expect a cake? Why else would she have found it necessary to share this information? Couldn’t a simple “Happy Birthday” – or in this case, “Congratulations” – suffice?

I wonder if we’re all guilty of this – unknowingly divulging senseless, meaningless tidbits with others throughout the day. Is it something subconscious? Or a simple gut reaction, like saying “nothing” after someone asks “what’s up”? Are we internally programmed to make everything about us?

Whatever the answer may be, isn’t it a bit presumptuous to assume anyone other than ourselves and maybe our parents care about the day we were born? Sure, I’m all about celebrating July as “the month-long celebration of Mindy’s birth” – so Woman 1 better back the eff** off, and you better mark July 15 on your calendar – but there has to be a line somewhere, right?

I guess I’m just babbling on about this because I found Woman 1‘s response a little selfish when, clearly, we Tribuners spent this afternoon honoring one of our own. There was zero need for her to gear the conversation her direction by mentioning her birthday. I mean, come on lady, we all have birthdays. Why must we know when yours is?

* Did you know that “foregoed” is not a word? It’s actually “forewent.” You truly learn something new every day!
** Just wasn’t feeling the actual word today. Ha.

Walk the plank.

I think the New York Times summed it up best when they said “When the Thrill of Blogging is Gone…” in a recent article.

To those of us who run in the same (or nearly the same) blogging circles, the disappearance of many popular bloggers is becoming more and more noticeable. Others are changing the way they blog, simplifying their techniques and sporadically posting rather than regularly providing readers with quips and banter.

The amazing Arjewtino called it quits in early April, saying he “just didn’t have it in” him anymore. At the same time, the ARW (…the almost right word) said she’d be back “at some indeterminable time,” yet few of us had heard much from her since, quite unfortunately. And most recently, SO@24 bid farewell to his loyal readers earlier this month.

And then bloggers like RS27 and Chris from Surviving Myself are reformatting their blogging methods while others – such as GoLightly’s MegKathleen, Wild ARS Chase’s Andy and Kendall from The Odd Duckling – have stepped away from their keyboards and taken “temporary” leaves from their sites, much to the dismay of readers who hope they return to the blogosphere in time.

Has blogging become our generation’s 21st century version of pogs or the Tamagotchi? Is this just another trend that us 20-somethings flock toward then swiftly ditch within a matter of months or years? Will our blogs be little more than a “phase” in our lives, just like those toys of our prepubescent days?

I’m beginning to think so, although I’d love for someone to prove me wrong.

As the aforementioned NYTimes article notes, some people seem to board the blogging ship with dreams of treasure and fame. The moment those distant hopes turn to ill-fated desires, bloggers abandon the deck and swim toward land before drowning in a sub-par-writing sea. Others remain at the hull, braving the storms and riding through, until boredom arises and life on land, away from the blogosphere oceans, seems more appealing*.

Regardless, many great bloggers are departing this Internet-world for a variety of reasons and most of us are likely wondering “who’s next?”

Will it be that blogger you check daily, soaking up every written word, wishing his or her life was your own? Will it be that person who rarely has much to say, but when he/she does, it’s extremely thought-provoking? Or could it be your favorite photo-blogger, fashion-blogger, news-blogger that says farewell? It could be me**, it could be you, it could be Joe Schmo, but someone else is bound to fall victim to blogger-death sooner than later.

And because of that, I’ve compiled a few tips for anyone who feels that demise is imminent:

  • Write for yourself. Once you start shaping your blog around the opinions and thoughts of others, the writing becomes contrived and you won’t necessarily feel as happy with the words you’ve shared.
  • Creating a blog in the hopes of it becoming a book/movie/anything else is ridiculous (really, this goes back to the first tip). The NYTimes article notes that, according to Technorati, “at any given time there are 7 million to 10 million active blogs on the Internet.” Of those, less than 100,000 have a sizeable audience. That’s a very small margin of hope in making a blog more than just ramblings on the Internet.
  • Vowing to blog every day is unwise. Personally, I think people are more likely to continue blogging if they do it when/if inspiration happens. Forcing yourself to write something each day, whether or not you have anything to say, could potentially make for less appealing postings, thus a slow demise.
  • Quality over quantity. Sure, TONS of readers are great. But sometimes, a few dedicated readers who actually enjoy your work is better than hundreds of readers who comment only because they want you to “follow” their blog, too. Don’t get bogged down or frustrated by lower-than-preferred readership (again, back to the first tip!). Just because the hoards aren’t flocking to your blog doesn’t mean what you have to say is any less interesting than someone who regularly receives 1,000 hits. Maybe that person networks better, has stirred more word of mouth or simply make his/her presence known on more blogs than you currently do. It’s a combination of factors, if you ask me.

So if you’re reading this and thinking about jumping ship, maybe I helped talk you into riding the waves a bit longer. Personally, I’m finding this an enjoyable and rather cathartic ride and I hope to keep trudging through with my 12 readers intact, ha.

What, if any, tips can we add to this list? Because really, none of us want to turn around and watch another beloved blogger disappear any time soon. Maybe, just maybe, we can prove this blogging-trend will hold out longer than our Tamagotchi digital pets did.

* I may have overdone the “pirate ship/sea” analogy just a wee bit.
** No worries, I have no plans of “peacing out” yet.

Your scare tactics are lost on me.

I know that bloggers aren’t much into clicking links, but this is one I think you might need to make an exception for… This information was brought to my attention about a week ago via a Twitter friend and as “the blogger who regularly talks about gay marriage,” I clearly needed to pass it along.

Apparently there are efforts being made by the “National Organization for Marriage” to scare folks into believing marriage should remain one man and one woman. “Based on real incidents,” a variety of actors discuss the reasons why homosexual marriages would ruin their lives in a new television advertisement, and it’s my opinion that this ad campaign is utterly ridiculous.

“There’s a storm gathering. The clouds are dark and the winds are strong. And I am afraid.” Seriously? A storm? Do you think they even realized the comparison to something natural? Bet not.

“I am a Massachusetts parent helplessly watching public schools teach my son that gay marriage is okay.” …REALLY!? Well, if you’d like your child to have an education where he or she is taught that it is “wrong,” I strongly encourage you to reconsider the public school option. Clearly a more sheltered education – such as one at a private, religious-based school – is more ideal for your family.

“The storm is coming. But we have hope! … Coming together in love to protect marriage.” WHAT!?!?!?! In love? Weren’t you also taught to “treat others as you wish to be treated”? What happened to that? Where’s the “love” in hatred and inequality? Oh, that’s right, there’s none!

The site shows that this particular advertisement comes in response to the marriage equality amendments recently made in Vermont and Iowa. This campaign clearly aims to incite fear among viewers so marriage remains out of arm’s reach for homosexuals in the United States. I, for one, hope this is one force that can be stopped, which is the goal of the linked Web site.

Now, I am in no way asking or even encouraging anyone to delve into their pockets and contribute to the fund listed on that site – just making sure everyone knows that – but it’s a video I wanted everyone to see and react to so that one day, optimistically, these scare tactics will finally cease and gay marriage will prevail.

This advertisement is deplorable, and that’s putting it nicely. From day one I have realized and understood the stance many religiously inclined people took against gay marriage rights even if I 100% disagreed with them. However, campaigns such as this one are taking personal opinions farther than necessary. It’s more than a protest against equality; it’s a position fueled by hatred that outright mocks the idea of uniformity for all who seek marriage.

Without question, this ad disgusts me to the very core, and honestly, I hope you find the same reaction as you watch it. As always, comments on this issue, whether in agreement or otherwise, are welcomed and appreciated.

I’m a textaholic and I’m not afraid to admit it.

“No meat on Fridays” is a norm for anyone who practices or even simply grew up with the Catholic faith. But I’m thinking the church is taking Lenten sacrifices to the extreme with this one: “Catholics are urged to give up texting for Lent” via the AP.

That’s right folks, the bishops and cardinals over in Italy are trying to persuade Catholics into a weekly “no SMS day” so people can refocus on the church, life without technology and apparently some conflicts in the Congo. They want followers to forego modern appliances – not just cell phones, but TV, IPods, computers, etc. – because the church feels a “wariness” toward new media and the dangers those avenues could potentially unfold (i.e. pornography, less “real life” social interaction and so on).

Is it just me or are they pushing the envelope a little far this time? Let me know what you think (after you click and read the damn article, ha)!

Try explaining that to the grandkids.
February 24, 2009, 6:34 pm
Filed under: Inked, Such a quandry, What were they thinking?

Since I was young, I’ve had an affinity for tattoos. I knew that one day, without a doubt, I would get one and at 22 years old, I finally did.

Less than two years later – a few months shy of my 24th birthday with two works of ink on my body – I’m contemplating a third (though it may not happen for quite some time). And with the concept in my head, I headed over to The Google in search of a pristine tattoo photo that would capture the ideas swirling in my mind. After all, if the image will be permanently placed on some portion of my body, you damn well better believe I’ll make certain that illustration accurately reflects the tattoo’s meaning.

Somehow, however, I stumbled upon the world’s most ridiculous tattoo portraits and felt this utter urge to share those images with you fine folks.

BMEink.com is a great venue for viewing the mistakes tattoos others have chosen to eternally etch onto their skin and even get a few ideas if you’re one of those people venturing into the parlor just wanting to get inked. And it was on their site that I found these gems. My commentary is a MUST. My sincerest laughter apologies if one of these happen to be you…



 Al Bundy

Sure, “Married with Children” was quite funny, but I thought dudes primarily tuned in for Christina Applegate … not Ed O’Neill. I just wish I knew what was going through the mind of this individual when he/she decided to tattoo the face of “NO MAAM” to his/her arm (maybe it’s a leg? who knows!). Regardless, that is not a face I’d like to wake up to each morning. No thank you.




 Lil Wayne

Now, I don’t know about you, but I have always found lyrics such as, “Shawty wanna thug / Bottles in the club / Shawty wanna hump / You know I like to touch ya lovely lady lumps” terribly inspirational. And apparently, so did the individual who chose this face only a mother could love as a permanent display of his feelings. Or maybe this dude just wants to be like Lil Wayne and “make it rain on them hoes.” Who knows.





‘Ol Dirty Bastard

I suppose if you strangely insist on getting a tattoo of ‘Ol Dirty Bastard, your armpit seems like a wise placement decision. I cannot imagine that felt too hot getting tattoed though. I hope homedude wasn’t ticklish.






Pee-wee Herman

I wish I could tell you that this was an odd find, but alas, it was not. Pee-wee Herman must be a rather popular tattoo choice as this image was just one of several on the single Web site I perused for crazy portraits. And while Pee-wee was most definitely a significant figure in most of our childhood days, you simply have to look past the character and remember you just put Paul Reubens, a man arrested for public masturbation, on your arm. That should be a fun story for the kiddos.



 The Joker

Undoubtedly, this is masterfully done. The tattoo artist did a fabulous job, without question. But … really?! I can’t help but wonder if this man decided to tattoo half of his upper body with this face because of the Batman villain or Heath Ledger. I suppose that question could be asked of the dozens of individuals I found online with this tattoo. Yep, dozens. Nutty. 




Yes, another Batman character, but this one is from the good ole’ Michael Keaton days. What on earth prompted someone to request Catwoman is way beyond my realm of thought – unless she’s the woman on the corner with a bazillion kittens who lives alone and quietly weeps about her life every night – but at least this person chose Michelle Pfeiffer over Halle Berry (don’t argue with me people, we all know old school Catwoman was 10x better than the newer version).




Dwight Schrute

By now, if you’re a regular reader of A MinD in MoTown – so all three of you – you realize my slight disdain love for The Office, thus I simply had to comment on this colorful tattoo. I can admit it’s very well done – kudos to the artist – but Dwight is, well, a moron. I may not be a fan of the show, yet I’ve watched enough to realize this tidbit and the reasoning behind anyone choosing this portrayal as a permanent bodily emblem is far outside any comprehension whatsoever.



There are so many more tattoos I could share with you – someone’s “Bills” (that’d be Murray and Cosby), the Gerber Baby, way too many Eddie Munsters, some Mr. Bean, the ink-version of Scarlett Johansson, a bottle of Heinz 57 ketchupNapoleon Dynamite, Corey Feldman (why oh why!?), and one titled “Einstein Jesus” – but that’s simply going to take far more time and effort than I’m willing to put forward at the moment (so click the links).

…Did I mention the full-back advertisement for The Shawshank Redemption? No? Oops.

I suppose these tattoos truly prove the options are endless when permanently etching an image onto your skin. And while these were all created with amazing accuracy and detail – no lie, almost all of them are rather beautiful – I still cannot help but ask “why?” for each. I just hope the proud owner’s of these works of art aren’t banging their heads against the wall, questioning their own motives 50 years from now when armpiece Rodney Dangerfield has even more wrinkles.