01.22.14

Top ten things making me really sick of the internet

Posted in at 15:39 by RjZ

Are there any media outlets left that haven’t resorted to headlines consisting of lists?

I am not exactly sure how this excuse for a story ever became popular, but it’s driving me crazy. It’s worse than mindless internet memes which attempt to encapsulate deep human lessons with a single phrase and humorous, yet ironic, picture. Frankly, memes are more successful.

A likely explanation for the tendency to create articles composed of numbered paragraphs is that this excuse for writing is easier and journalists, underpaid and overworked as they are, resort to them as a way to get words to paper with shorter and shorter deadlines. I’m not willing to pass the blame on to anonymous journalists in the ‘lame-stream media’, I actually believe in the power of the free-market and clearly, most of us like these things.

I recall a sales training many years ago based on the Myers-Briggs temperament sorter. The point here was to identify and anticipate how your customer communicates and adapt to their style to improve your discussion. One could identify the orderliness of the client by the tidiness of her desk and conclude that simply numbering points in your discussion arbitrarily, that is, just make up the numbers even if the order doesn’t matter, would improve her comprehension. (I’ve tried this, and indeed, it seems to work!)

I just don’t get why it works for so many people? Sure, my desk isn’t all that tidy, so perhaps I am the wrong audience for all these ‘five things you should do with your retirement/lover/holiday meals’ articles but it’s not like I’m the only one with a messy desk. Who is driving all this ‘three things that hotel managers/bloggers/car manufactures aren’t telling’ articles?

Will this be my most popular article ever? Is this the holy grail of click-bait that will allow me to finally monetize my blog? Tell me in the comments section. Just be sure to number your reasons.

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01.17.14

Getting rid of the goat

Posted in at 14:47 by RjZ

After the Boulder flood I learned why basements aren’t included in square footage for houses in most parts of country. Suddenly, my living space dropped to a half of what it had been. Now, technically, this isn’t a problem at all. There’s still more than enough room here, even if food from the pantry is stacked up behind the living room couch. It’s just that I have enough furniture, and things I don’t need, to fit tidily in a house twice as big and now it’s all in boxes pushed into every corner and along every hall in the home.

It’s been over three months but last weekend, replacement carpet was finally installed. After a few more details, I can begin moving everything back downstairs but friends came by to help move a big couch into the basement right away and it’s a pleasant relief. I can find stuff in the garage, and the hallway is twice as wide as it used to be.

This episode reminds me of the old joke. A man, troubled by problems at home asks his rabbi for help. The wise man tells him to get a pet goat. The man is confused how a pet goat is going to help him with his children, wife and money problems, but the rabbi is wise and trustworthy so he follows the instructions. On his way out, the rabbi adds ‘make sure you keep the goat inside your home with you!’ After a week with the goat, the poor man is distraught. Things aren’t better in his home and now his furniture is chewed up, it smells like a farm in his home and his wife and children are angry at all the damage. He returns to the rabbi and tells him that he’s sorry, but the goat isn’t helping. He needs more advice. His rabbi barely looks up from his studying and says ‘now get rid of the goat.’ ‘That’s it?’ the man asks, but he’s happy to bring the goat back where he got it. That very evening his children are happier, his wife gives him a big kiss and the house seems so much roomier.

The flood damaged some furniture and cost a bunch of extra money, but it already seems so much roomier upstairs now!

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