Archive for the ‘Hilarity’ category

Fun with StatsTracker: The Most Incongruous Google Searches that Landed Web Citizens at Vox Pop in 2010

December 30, 2010

This will be my last “end of the year” post, I promise. I’m as burnt out on them as you are. Instead of talking bests, or mosts, or worsts, I thought we’d have some fun by going through the google searches that landed people at Vox Pop over the last twelve months. Most search queries are accompanied by a brief retort, sometimes answering the question asked in the search, sometimes just making fun of the searcher. Okay? As unbelievable as some of these might be, I solemnly swear that I didn’t make any of these up. Even the ones about public intercourse.

zach wells, cage fighter
I like to imagine this search being done in optimism, by a recently dissed poet, in the hopes of a Celebrity Boxing-esque showdown wherein they could acquire their revenge.

the world is more than we can comprehend
I’m with you, buddy. I don’t know how we found each other, but I’m with you

kevin connolly’s glasses brand
I’ll ask him for you, the next time I see him.

brand inventory
There’s a lot like this. All those business students are going to be pissed when they find out my blog post was about this and not this.

my friend was dishonourable to me
That’s unfortunate. You should seek vengeance.
It’s nice to know that even now, at the end of 2010, there are still grandmothers out there who get the search bar and the url bar confused on their copies of Internet Explorer 5.
See above.

behind the bohemian
See above. Also, web addresses don’t have spaces.

“laisha rosnau” + “lousy explorers”
I have no idea what I did to acquire this.

beardy poet from olympics
I’m okay with this moniker. However, if you came for a legal name, it’s Shane something.

different snakes in canada
Some of them write poetry

canadian assholes
See above.

Best Spenser Novel
Ceremony, or Early Autumn. Or, though you’ll need to know the characters pretty well by then to appreciate it, Small Vices.

tired blood john turturro
Geritol cures it. And I should be ashamed of myself?

“mistaken for irony”
I wonder if those quotation marks were meant ironically?

poetry on self pleasuring
There once was a man from Berkoff…

lumberjack porn
It’s not the size of the hatchet, it’s the angle of the axe. Again, no sense of how many google results pages someone has to eagerly scroll through to get to this blog.

“andrew alexis” “jon metcalf” “the walrus”
You know a literary feud has gone mainstream when you get searches in which none of the names of the belligerents are spelled correctly. This came from an IP address suspiciously similar to the one that sends me emails from the Globe and Mail, fyi.

everyone is entitled to their own opinion. it’s just that yours is stupid.
Fine, well, fuck you too.

Mine is manly, thick, and invisible.

inexpressible media
Whoa, what would that look like?

picture that insults assholes
I recommend this one.

campo di fiori czeslaw milosz englisz translation#
I recommend this one.

meanwhile in canada
The beginning of the final, smallest, paragraph in every chapter of every book on North American poetry.

“johanna skibsrud” human being
It’s true, she is.

aughts definition
It’s 2000 to 2009. It’s NOT 2001 to 2010. Don’t let people tell you different.

parker, robert b., 1932-2010.
The saddest day of this young gumshoe’s year, perhaps.

bomb threat checklist karen solie
That should really be online somewhere, but I can’t find it. Can anyone else?

snakes of eastern canada
What is it with all these fucking snakes? When did I ever write about snakes?

fucking in the street
I’m down. Call me.

candace fertile fun run
Is this some sort of annual memorial jog organized after Linda Rogers had her executed last month?

Facebook for Writers: A Constitution

November 29, 2010

Alex Boyd (blogger, poet, editor, Parkdalian) and I got into an email conversation a couple weeks back about the uses and misuses of Facebook by the literary community. We started throwing around tongue-in-cheek “rules” to govern the Facebook behaviour of our peers. Eventually, we had a whole list, and thought we’d share. Some of these are his, and some are mine. If you’re offended by one of them, please assume the former.

Facebook for Writers: A Constitution in Ten Rules and One Appeal
by Alex Boyd and Jacob McArthur Mooney

1. First, decide if your profile is a personal or professional one. If you’re going to friend every other writer in the world, we don’t want to hear about how much you enjoyed your eggs.


2. On that note, you don’t need to friend everyone, and writers in another part of the continent will not race out to buy or review your book because you’re friends on Facebook. Seriously, it’s an epidemic. Be a person, not a computer virus. Friend the people you know, (and the people you’d like to know. Don’t befriend people you know you’ll never know, y’know?)


3. Do not complain about Facebook stealing all your writing time. This isn’t really what’s happening. Procrastinating writers existed before 2002. If it wasn’t Facebook, it’d be something else. Don’t steal others’ Facebook time with reminders about writing.


4. Don’t complain about Facebook in your Facebook status update. Even though you’re a writer who stands for truth and wisdom in all things, you look stupid when you complain about FB’s privacy settings from inside your profile. You’ve bought in. Deal with this. The only thing worse than acquiescing is acquiescing ironically.


5. Don’t have fan pages and invite people to be a fan of you. High school is over, and we should all be working to keep it that way. If someone had approached you decades ago to say someday you’ll have a machine in your home, and you’ll use it to try and get everyone you know to indicate they like you, you’d have said please go away and take your soul-destroying ideas with you. (You’d have been in the right.)


6. Profiles are for people and groups are for publishers and bookstores. Some of us aren’t comfortable being friends with anonymous entities (like Buzzard Wing Books, Alberta) that can look at all our photos.


7. If someone invites you to an event, and you don’t want to go, hit the “Not Attending” button, not the “Ignore” button, and especially not the “Attending” button. Facebook offers you innumerable opportunities to be a passive-aggressive wimp. Don’t overdo it. The “Maybe” attending button is a decent compromise, and notes are often appreciated if you’re going to decline.


8. The following things are difficult to communicate through text, among others: sarcasm, tongue-in-cheekiness, and irony. Try to avoid these writerly tools around casual acquaintances as they may not be fully briefed on your staggering capacity for wit. When your bon mots crash against the sheer cliffs of others’ literal-mindedness, it will not be their fault. It will be yours.


9. Never confuse the apparent popularity of something’s Facebook presence with its actual popularity in the real world. Include yourself among these somethings. The following expressions are to be avoided: “This reading should have really been better attended, it got __ attendees on the FB invite.” and “If every one of my FB friends just bought 2 copies of my book, each, I could sell out on Amazon.”


10. If you feel another writer is using their profile as a personal soapbox to describe the mundane slog of their workaday lives instead of anything thoughtful about writing, and you want to call them on this, fair enough. But first, put yourself through the following test: copy and paste your last ten status updates to a word document. Now, scan through that document looking for references to your children or pets. How many did you find? Is it more than three? Yes? Okay, then shut up.


In closing, we all have writing in common, and we’re all sensitive enough to be writers. This makes us a loose community of the easily offended. Avoid dropping and blocking people because they reviewed your book poorly, or didn’t speak to you at an event, or anything else. It’s counter-productive to polarize the writing subcultures, plus it’s hurtful. We’re not saying we’re perfect people, and have never made mistakes, but let’s be honest – we were supposed to be done with turning our backs on inconvenient people somewhere around grade school. Okay, thanks for reading. Play nice, kids.

Patton loves Mencken

October 25, 2010

My favourite working comedian, Patton Oswalt, reads and discusses his favourite poet, H.L. Mencken, on the official podcast of my favourite bathroom reading, Lapham’s Quarterly. If the universe of my taste could someone be expressed geographically, this would be its Mecca.

Here’s the link to the podcast (Episode 2). It’s free. And awesome. One can see Mencken as an inspiration for the ridiculously hyperbolic asides that are Oswalt as his best. This podcast will keep me warm as the barbarians take Fortress Toronto after the polls close tonight. Ironically, Patton reads from the new LQ issue, on “The City”. Suck on that elitism, Robert.

Proof that Even the Books Know Amazon is Bad for Them

July 31, 2010

This one appeared to have had enough one day, and just refused to continue passively down the conveyor stream to the future corporate ownership of literature.

Update: It would appear that the footage of the box’s brave protest has been removed by the folks responsible (no filming inside the Amazonian Rainwarehouse, I imagine?). Too bad. If the video resurfaces, I’ll put it back up.

The question then becomes, what was in the box? A handpressed version of Benjamin’s The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction? The new Naomi Klein? Maybe an ingeniously engineered piece of off-balance book design, snuck in by a former employee of one of Canada’s recently closed indie book shops, as a final Go Fuck Yourself to the big box culture? Who knows, kids. Until then, run, little revolutionary! Run away and save yourself!t wo

Fun Internet Things

December 18, 2009

I’ve been wasting a lot of time browsing the internet for shiny new mind-nuggets lately, and thought I’d share the highlights. There may be other good things on the internet, I’m not saying this is the entire list, but I haven’t found them yet. This post goes out to all the teachers and students who are reading this sentence when they know full well they should be either marking or studying. You know who you are. Click on the Locales for the links.

Conspirator: Brian Foley
Locale: HTMLGIant, that oft-interesting hub of electronic poetry and hip thinking.
Gimmick: Brian has concocted a list of the 25 most important English-language poetry books of the decade. Consider it “Knotting-Off the Everywhere”. I’d give it more space here if it wasn’t for A. It’s basically a list of known quantities we should all be reading anyway and B. It’s doing that annoying list-making thing where it’s a list of “important” or “notable” things, not “favourite” things, which is the way we do it here at Vox Pop: personal, honest, and thoroughly invested in my own ego. Thanks to poet, performer, and noted Vox Pop amigo Aisha John for the find.

Conspirator: Alessandro Porco
Locale: OpenBookToronto
Gimmick: A Mississauga native, Alessandro inexplicably lives in Buffalo, where there is apparently a university set among the endless sadness and the people who look like misshapen old birch trees. Anyway, he has a really wonderful article in the new OBTO magazine about a Canadian poetry festival set in Buffalo circa 1980 that involved a pretty incredible breadth of Canadian poets (bissett to Atwood, and more than a dozen in between. It’s the kind of poetry journalism I wish we saw more of: diligently researched, broad-minded, and open to everything from cultural analysis to the bawdy joke.

Conspirator: David Brock
Locale: Spartan
Gimmick: A writer, condo owner, and noted Vox Pop poker enemy, David keeps this little sports blog running in the background, and occasionally weighs in with cogent and hilarious commentary on the stories and scandals of the day. He has this great piece about the recently deceased historical footnote, former Cincinnati Bengals receiver Chris Henry, whose baffling death was lost in the endless Tigergate newstrap this week.

Conspirator: Lauren Leto
Locale: Her eponymous blog
Gimmick: Leto, whose major blog creation is the amusing Texts from Last Night, has posted a hilarious re-imagining of the old “ideal readership” idea. She’s expressed it as a lengthy list pairing famous authors with their stereotypical fans. It’s close, but my favourite might be: O. Henry…Men who have names like Earl or Cliff and were really close with their paternal grandfather. Full disclosure–I completely stole this link from the folks at The National Post’s Afterword blog.