Betsy Devine: Funny ha-ha and/or funny peculiar

Making trouble today for a better tomorrow…

Betsy Devine: Funny ha-ha and/or funny peculiar header image 2

Entries from February 2004

What Richard said! (and what Betsy said…)

February 28th, 2004 · Comments Off on What Richard said! (and what Betsy said…)

My friend Richard aka “Just A Gwailo” blogged what he sweetly called counterpoint to something he claimed I said–that you should never blog your personal life.

What? I said that? No way!

I do remember blogging half-serious advice to young job-hunters–that high-tech employers might know about Google–that nothing on the first page of Google results for your name should portray you as Mr. or Ms. Keg-Party-With-Tears-And-Fist-Fights.

So I ran my Feedster blog-search and found that blog entry and–by gosh! Richard was kind of right about what I said:

Don’t blog your drinking habits, pet peeves, relationship issues, etc….Hey–limit yourself to corporate/geeky stuff on any page linked to from Google results for your name.

OK–I was exaggerating–so sue, me, I’m half Irish. My actual, not very funny advice–your blog shouldn’t make some cipher in Human Resources afraid of getting in trouble if they hire you.

Wait–do you suppose that blogging I sometimes exaggerate, or that my memory isn’t always perfect, will shut me out of a job? Hope not, but then again, I already have a job, a job I really love.

Tags: Metablogging

A government more like Google

February 27th, 2004 · 1 Comment

Patent laws were created for things made of wood and metal with maybe a pane of glass here or a leather hinge there.
How well do such laws apply to “things” made of ones and zeroes?

Big companies with good lawyers are eagerly “gaming” the patent and copyright laws. Google deals with the people who “game” their search results by revising to meet such attacks at the end of each month. I wish our government were half as vigilant.

Tags: Life, the universe, and everything

Here comes Bloggercon!

February 27th, 2004 · 2 Comments

Tags: Metablogging

Blogrolling the curiousfrog blog

February 25th, 2004 · 4 Comments

Adding to my blogroll: in #joiito the other night, lefauxfrog whose blog is at “curious frog” told this joke:

A woman walked into a bar and asked the bartender for a double entendre.


…. he gave her one.

I love that! So today I went over to Michael’s weblog and I found a lot
more good stuff, most of which you should go there and find for
yourself. So how does he manage to overhear such funny things, e.g. this Harvard Square conversation:

“And what does the red light mean?”

“I learned that when I was in law school. Here in Massachusetts it means ‘no more than three cars may pass through’.”

Tags: Learn to write funny

Another homecoming

February 24th, 2004 · 3 Comments

MickeyCuke: Mickey holding pineapple sea cucumber, Australia, February 2004. Mickey just got back from nature-guiding in Australia, with some great stories and amazing photos. And guess what she brought me?
No, not a giant pineapple sea cucumber–what gave you that idea? Something almost as strange. She brought me a stuffed cane toad made into a change purse.

Mark Lewis’s hilarious cane toads movie got a lot of play in our house at one time….

“Cane toads are coming….”
“They’re not just toads to me. They’re my friends. I love them.”
“Sometimes I call him ‘Dairy Queen’….”

I’m so glad Mickey is back, and I love my present.

Tags: Pilgrimages

Was it a tourist trap?

February 22nd, 2004 · 3 Comments

Gator: Baby alligator, apparently smiling.

Way back in the 1950s, my mom and dad packed 4 kids into a car and drove from NH to Florida. Our route south was studded with stoplights, paneled with billboards.

Eisenhower’s interstate network and Lady Bird’s highway beautification came much later. Credit cards also came later. On the way home, a blizzard stranded us in Dover, Delaware. My grandfather had to wire us money (Western Union) to buy the gas to get us home.

Years later, I still remember the alligator “farm” in St. Augustine–and, lucky me, I got to go there once again with Frank on Saturday.

People had warned us it was now a tourist trap–now, what do you think a “tourist trap” really means?

  • The adult entry fee was $15, though we got discounts. Was it a tourist trap? Would it have been a tourist trap if it had been located in South America and we had paid thousands of dollars for airplane tickets, personal tourguides, and an authentically Hemingwayan canvas tent?
  • The other people visiting the farm were mostly parents and children oohing and aahing. Was it a tourist trap? Would it have been a tourist trap if we had been the only visitors that day? Would it have been a tourist trap if we had been surrounded by PhDs tut-tutting about global warming?
  • Alligators, crocodiles, caimans, and gavials–every species of crocodilian on the planet was peacefully floating, sunbathing, or grunting somewhere on the grounds. Was it a tourist trap? Would it have been a tourist trap if two or three of the global species were missing?

I have to admit, the families who shared our enjoyment were probably not totally postmodern.

Child: Do I smell alligator poop?
Dad: Do I hear someone talking dirty talk?
Another child, from another family: Mom, something stinks.
Mom: We are not going to talk about that.

Past the entrance, the gator smell melted away. And, tourist trap or not, I had a great time.

Tags: Pilgrimages

Seven deadly sins? Or marketing tips!

February 22nd, 2004 · 1 Comment

Inspired by Joi Ito’s musing on vanity as a business model, I’m now at work on a new best business best seller: Seven Deadly Sins, One Hell of a Market.

Sample chapters:

Envy-based marketing
6540 Google results for “don’t be the last.”

Covetousness-based marketing
11,300 Google results for “dies with the most toys”

Anger-based marketing
254,000 Google results for Nader+president

Gluttony-based marketing
2,580,000 Google results for buy+delicious

Lust-based marketing
3,580,000 Google results for buy+sexy


Sloth-based marketing
5,520,000 results for buy+sleep

Vanity-based marketing
25,200,000 Google results for “blog”!

Tags: Life, the universe, and everything

Citizen blogging: Election in Iran

February 20th, 2004 · 1 Comment

Friday, February 20, and the big news today is  election day in Iran. 

CNN disagrees. CNN thinks today’s top
news is Schwarzenegger’s opinion of gay marriage. Further down the
front page, but still well above Iran–a piranha was found in the
Thames. Bzzzt! Sorry, CNN, but thank you for playing.

Many liberal voters are staying away from the polls to protest–so
the ultra-conservative minority expects to win by a landslide. 
Some liberal leaders argue that refusing to vote is political suicide.
Others hope to undermine the legitimacy of a conservative takeover by
publicizing their boycott. Iran TV stations, who know what’s good for
them, are broadcasting
photos of long peaceful lines of voters. Out of the picture–boycotts,
protests, moderate candidates shut out of the process, opposition
newspapers shut down. 

The excellent group blog
iranFilter is publishing live and realtime eyewitness election reports from Persian blogs.
Bloggers are publishing photos of empty streets and idle polling
places. Bloggers are asking why the TV film of “voters” shows people
dressed for a warm summer day instead of the actual  chilly
weather today. (Not coincidentally, iranFilter is Feedster Feed of the Day today.)

News media don’t want to cover this story for us, but bloggers do.

Tags: Good versus Evil

Thank you, Howard Dean

February 19th, 2004 · 1 Comment

DeanPlus: Howard Dean, Judith Steinberg, Iowa, 2004

I want to thank Howard Dean for a candidacy that began with courage, and now ends with grace.

I will be sitting out the rest of the primary season, but I look
forward to voting for the Democrat–Kerry or Edwards–in November.

There are things that I like about each, and things I dislike. There
were also things about Dean I didn’t like. And this is how elections
have to work–reasonable people finding the best available compromise

Throwing your vote away as a glorious gesture of protest because the
perfect candidate isn’t up there? It’s easy to make that sound
glamorous. There will be lots of people trying to make it sound good to
all of us.

If you care about what happens in the next four years, don’t let such people throw away your vote.

Tags: Invisible primary


February 19th, 2004 · Comments Off on ABB

ABB (Anybody But Bush) icon

Tags: Old Site