RIP: Unknown Search Terms

What a week, huh? Kray up here in tha DC, y’all, what with the government shutdown and all the crazy effects of that — veterans storming World War II memorials, DC metro saying it will run fewer train cars, and, worst of all, no panda cam at the National Zoo. Then there was that whole crazy car chase/shooting business yesterday.

How can you be so cruel, Congress?
How can you be so cruel, Congress?

All of that (plus the end of “Breaking Bad” — sooooo good; and total work insanity), has distracted us from a true travesty: the end of unknown search terms.

You see, one of the greatest and most amusing features of WordPress was a feature that rounded up terms used in search engines like Yahoo, Google and Bing, that somehow led people to your blog. For example, someone found my blog recently by searching for “grand theft auto widow.”

Anyway, this list of search terms brought me a ton of pleasure and laughs. Whenever I found a particularly weird search term, I would post it on Facebook or Twitter as a Totally Random Search Term that Brought Someone to thePoelog, also known as TRSTBS for short. And I would speculate exactly what kind of person would have been searching for that term. Here’s an example from September 11: Totally random search term that brought someone to thePoeLog “rat on a treadmill videos.” Welcome, Pied Piper in training.

Sadly, the search term feature is being relocated to a nice family farm out in the country, never to be heard from again. Here’s what WordPress says:

In September 2013 Google started to rapidly expand the number of searches that it encrypts, which results in a higher proportion of “Unknown search terms” in your stats.  According to some sources, this expansion will eventually result in encryption of all Google searches.  This is being done for privacy reasons by Google when someone searches at Google.com, before a visitor arrives at your WordPress.com site.  Therefore we don’t have any way to unhide the search terms.  We recognize this means a loss of stats information for you and we will look for other ways to show you how users arrived at your site.

Source: http://blog.hubspot.com/google-encrypting-all-searches-nj
Source: http://blog.hubspot.com/google-encrypting-all-searches-nj

Damn you Google! And Edward Snowden! And NSA, who really, when you think about it, started this whole nonsense to begin with. Listen, I got nothing to hide. If NSA wants to look at pictures of my chubby cat and whatever deliciousness XFE has made us for dinner, knock yourselves out. I live my life loud and proud.

However, other people do not really feel the same way I do and like their privacy to remain intact. But now, NSA, you’ve gone and made everyone all wild-eyed and outraged and who pays the price? Cultural observers such as myself who get a snicker out of people finding my blog while searching for “Kate Middleton porno.” (Can’t you just imagine their disappointment?)

kate compares

So far, however, I do have a list of the last month’s search terms that I’ve copied and saved. So, I thought we’d have a little Irish wake here, pour some wine (one for me and one for my fallen homies) and do a little Q&A using a small sampling of those last Totally Random Search Terms that Brought Someone to thePoeLog.

What to pack for doomsday — This is a very good question. Also, quite philosophical. On the one hand, does it really matter? After all, it’s doomsday. But, maybe our erstwhile searcher is an optimist and expects to survive and carry on the human species, perhaps with the assistance of one mighty fine Matthew McConaughey, for example. In that case, you might want to pack something lingerie, a nice sturdy box of wine, a sleeping bag, and a gun. The gun, mind you, isn’t to use on Matthew. It’s to protect Matthew from other the clutches of other lady survivors.

matthewut

How to get in touch with duck dynasty — Well, shouldn’t be too hard. West Monroe is a pretty small place. Population is only 13,000. I think if you hung around the Circle K long enough, you’re bound to run into one of those long-bearded fellas. Or, you could probably start going to their church. Or just stop by Duck Commander headquarters. They say on their website that, “We would be HAPPY, HAPPY, HAPPY for you to come by and say “HEY”.  You can even pay them to hang out with you, according to the website: for information on booking the Duckmen please visit WME Speakers at ducks@wmeentertainment.com

Is hilary from love it or list it pregnant — I haven’t been watching it lately (we’ve got three episodes hanging out on the DVR), so I don’t really know. But (and no offense here), she seems a bit old to be starting a family. I would guess the answer to this question would probably be no. Now Desta on the other hand, I believe she’s fairly recently married, so that would make sense. And if Hilary is pregnant, congratulations and good luck.

When is gold rush coming back on discovery channel — The Hoffman Knucklehead Crue are back on Discovery Channel on October 25. According to this blog: “In season four of GOLD RUSH, Todd Hoffman puts his life on the line, and asks his crew to do the same, braving malaria, poisonous snakes and quicksand to set up a mining operation in a patch of hostile jungle deep in Guyana, South America.” We saw a few preview episodes on Discovery a few months back, and it looks like plenty of bad decisions ahead.

Can you get brain eating amoebas feom bath water — I believe that should be “from” and my guess is yes. Brain eating amoebas are everywhere and we should all be afraid of them. Best to just take showers whilst holding your breath. But you might want to have a chair in the shower. If you pass out from holding your breath, amoeba-carrying water will definitely get up your nose and eat your brain.

Death and danger are everywhere. A pink floatie will not save you.
Death and danger are everywhere. A pink floatie will not save you.

When men reading shades of grey — I’m not familiar with the book “Shades of Grey,” so I’m guessing you mean “Fifty Shades of Grey.”  Also, this query seems to be missing some very important connecting words here, which changes the possible answers a bit. If you are asking “When do you find men reading fifty shades of grey,” then the answer is most likely when they think they won’t be caught, so maybe when they’re in the tub enjoying a nice bubble bath? If your question is, “what to do when men [are?] reading fifty shades of grey,” my advice is to avert your eyes and calmly and slowly walk away without drawing attention to the awkward situation. The obvious caveat here is that no man should be reading Fifty Shades of Grey. Even Matthew McConaughey.

I feel nervous about an upcoming trip — Totally understandable. Travel can be exciting but scary. After all, a lot of things can happen — the plane might crash, your luggage might get lost, the car rental place might be closed, the hotel might have lost your reservation, the roads might be blocked by protesting fishermen, you might eat bad salami and be violently ill for 10 days in one of the world’s great gourmet regions. Or, you might get a brain eating amoeba from taking a bath while reading “Fifty Shades of Grey.”

That would be a highway closed by protesting fishermen on our trip to Peru.
That would be a highway closed by protesting fishermen on our trip to Peru.

But, it’s all worth it because travel provides you with an opportunity to brag about all the great places you’ve been and all the great things you’ve seen on your very own blog. See? Don’t you feel better already?

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Reality Time: Fine TV Programming

Hey, have y’all been watching Gold Rush? Because I think these nimrods are on the gold.

"If we squint hard enough, we can make gold appear."

Against all odds, and logic, the Hoffman Crue seems to be working it out. I mean, I’m sure they’ll mess it up, but so far, it looks like they’re going to break even at least. Which is very puzzling for me, because according to Hoffman Math (which is probably as reliable as ThePoeLog Math, which is to say, not very reliable.

Example: I just asked my absent valentine – he’s on a work trip – XFE what time it was in Dallas currently. Before he could answer, I hazarded a guess by deducting three hours from DC time. Let’s let that sink in….I’m FROM Texas. I’ve LIVED in Dallas. I’ve even visited Texas in the last year. And I guessed that the time difference was three hours. Ugh. (It’s not, by the way. Just one hour, in case you’re wondering)

Anyway, what was I saying? Oh yeah, so the Hoffman’s say they’ve broken even at 70 ounces of gold valued at $110,000. This, they say, covers their operating costs. To which I say, what the what? Last year, a season in which they lost money, by the way, they estimated they spent $250,000. So now, all of a sudden, this year, gold mining only costs $110,000?

So, alright, whatever. The point is: the Hoffman’s have found 70 ounces. After four and a half months, they’ve cleared three different areas, but just barely. It’s just insane. I can’t believe it. It seems like any moron with a bulldozer can tear up a bunch of dirt and find gold.

Also: Bering Sea Gold is amazingly crazy awesome. These guys go out on these “boats,” which are like two pieces of plywood and a lawnmower motor with a tarp and dive down into the water and use a vacuum system to suck up dirt off the ocean floor and they find gold. They find a lot of gold, actually. When they can go out, that is. Since the weather up north is kinda chilly and unpredictable.

Since XFE is out of town, I’ve been catching up on other really embarrassingly bad reality TV. Today has been all about “Teen Mom.” Wow. These broads. It’s honestly the best birth control. If I had a kid, I’d totally make them sit down and watch every damn episode.

And, Proactiv, I get it. You really, really want to sell some acne products. And, yes, there are a lot of teenagers probably watching this. But seriously?? Every damn commercial break? And Justin Bieber talking about rubbing the special cleansing bar against his chest and back makes me feel really creepy. It’s like you guys at MTV don’t even want an almost 40-year-old watching your show.

Also: I am in no way interested in seeing “The Vow.” In fact, I’m thinking about parking myself outside a theater showing it and heckling single women I see walking into it. Have some pride, ladies. It looks HORRIBLE. If Rachel Adams thinks she’s too good for Tatum Channing and can’t find a way to love him, even though he worships her, who cares? I mean, he’s waaaayyyy hotter than her, so I don’t know what she’s being all uppity about. Has she even SEEN his abs???

I’ve also been getting reacquainted with the lovely ladies of the Real Housewives of OC. And whoa. I’m loving the new lady on there, that Heather chic. She’s awesome, she’s thin, she’s rich, she’s beautiful, and it looks like she doesn’t take crap off trashy wanna-be rich blondes. I can’t figure out why she’s joined this trashy (and I mean that in the best way possible) bunch. Does she think she’s going to class this joint up? Because she’s grossly outnumbered here.

"Let me tell you some more about how awesome I am." (Editor's note: I can totally relate.)

Also: I loved that Gretchen and Tamra making nice over drinks and then like a minute later, Tamra totally blasting out Gretchen’s lip job in front of all the other women. Hilarious. That Tamra. Oh man. She’s a jewel. And by jewel, I mean really tacky plastic pop ring.

But my favorite part of the first episode was watching Alexis try to build a career as a commentator on a San Diego local morning news show, doing a segment with the most-awesomely named fitness doctor, Dr. Booty. He seemed like a genius next to Alexis.

Anybody else watching RHoOC? What are you guys watching out there? Any recommendations?

Commercials To Set Your DVR To, and Keep You Up at Night Fretting Over Gout

Finally the major work project we’ve all been busting our collective behinds on is over. Well, can any major project really ever be over? Let me assure you the answer is no. However, the largest and most immediate deadline has passed.

I can now get back to keeping on the lookout for new, bad reality programming.

It was while pursuing this hobby the other night that I saw the most amazing commercial, obviously intended to put me in full, hypochondria panic mode.

I was watching Discovery Channel, which, by the way, has some major intriguing reality shows coming up. I mean, what is one to make of this gem?

It’s like a cross between two of my favorite shows: “Gold Rush” and “Deadliest Catch.” Which I’m pretty sure is basically how the pitch for “Bering Sea Gold” went.

Anyway, if the commercial is accurate (and I mean, come on! It’s television! Of course it’s accurate) these Bering Sea gold miners are an exceedingly tough crew. One of them says he’s involved in such a dangerous occupation because he’s got to pay the bills. Fair enough. But then he says that he has the kind of bills that you go to jail if you don’t pay!

(I’m thinking child support, although my personal experiences in the child support system suggest that paying it is really only a suggestion and nothing bad will happen to you if you choose to ignore the obligation. You certainly don’t go to jail over it, in my own experience. Right, deadbeat dads out there? High five for being losers).

So, these undersea gold prospectors seem kinda tough. I think I even saw one eating nails or something. I don’t suspect they’ll be bumbling around hoping to stumble on some gold like the clueless crew over on Gold Rush. No, I think these guys have got this stuff figured out.

I can’t even wrap my head around the concept of looking for gold deep underwater in an ocean (alright, a “sea”) that’s incredibly, incredibly cold. There are just so many easier ways to pay bills that get you thrown in jail if you forget to pay them. Like, working at Starbucks, just as an example. Who even looked out on the Bering Sea and said, “Yep, I bet there’s a ton of gold out there. Let’s go get that.”

Yes, I will probably be watching this one.

What was I saying? Oh yes, the panic-inducing commercial. Well, I mean the other panic inducing commercial, not the dying-in-frigid-seas-because-I-have-to-avoid-jail commercial. I’ll get to that other commercial in a minute.

But first, before I forget, I have got to tell you about another show coming on the History Channel and this one is completely shrouded in mystery for me. It’s a commercial for a show called “Full Metal Jousting.”

Now, obviously, the incredibly success of NatGeo’s “Knights of Mayhem” has every cable channel scrambling to rip off that money-making formula (are you sensing the sarcasm here?) And this is History’s offering.

The commercial is very intriguing and manly – just a black screen with the logo and some swishing metal blades noises. However, after my last foray into the world of watching competitive jousting, I think I’ll skip it. But I thought it was interesting to note this new “trend” in cable TV formatting. And, if I know my reality TV clichés, the next iteration of this show will feature buxom women jousters of some sort. (For examples, see: “American Pickers” + girls = “Picker Sisters;” “American Hoggers” + girls = “Lady Hoggers;” “Deadliest Catch” + girls = “Hook, Line and Sisters”)

So while these two commercials are very, very interesting, this commercial is the one that made me sit straight up in my chair in fear.

This commercial starts innocently enough: A nice gentlemen in a white coat is speaking in soothing yet questioning tones. I imagine he’s talking about cholesterol or something but then I start paying attention and suddenly I realize he’s actually telling me that the gout is going to get me!

It can attack silently, and he says I may not feel it (a quick mental check confirms that I don’t feel anything,) but if I don’t treat it right away, I’ll experience constant pain and joint destruction!

All because of this horrible uric acid stuff! Which is continuously building up in my joints! Dangit! When and where have I been injesting uric acid? And just how tasty is it: ie: how difficult is it going to be for me to kick the uric habit (with my undoubtably already gouty foot and ankle)?

Man, I’m terrified. This gout situation is likely to keep me from getting any sleep. Luckily, the fine folks at Takeda Pharmaceuticals (the ones who put that gout commercial out there) also offer prescription sleep medication to deal with insomnia.

Gold Rush Recap: Hey! Let’s Ask Other Folks How They Do It!

OK, I’m just going to say what everyone is thinking: Porcupine Creek is quite obviously jinxed.

How else do you explain all the bad luck poor old Dakota Fred has had? Just like his predecessors, he’s had equipment failure. He’s had fights with his son. And now, it appears his home back in Minot, ND is floating away due to floods.

That’s right, folks, it’s time for Gold Rush!

That's a pretty nice looking living room. Hope it didn't float away.

Dakota Fred is seriously bumming me out. He’s having all kinds of problems at Porcupine Creek. He’s had delays getting his wash plant in, then he got in a fight with his son while perilously unloading his de-rocker from the semi, then he had problems with his loader, then there were problems with his little dozer (it was the starter). I don’t know how they’ve done it, but those wily folks over at the Discovery Channel have almost gotten me to feel sorry for ol’Fred and his bum leg a couple of times. (Seriously, something is up there: the soles of one of his work boots is SIGNIFICANTLY thicker than the other. He’s evening out a short leg for sure.)

But then we get back to the Original Losers of Gold Rush, the Hoffman crew.

Yee Haw, Let's Get to That There Gold!

When last we left our Clueless Crue, they were trying to make a go of it up Klondike Way. The need to make up for lost time and get mining. They’ve identified what they think is virgin ground and they get to clearing it.

Ah, ah, ah, not so quick. Of course there’s a couple of major obstacles to clearing the virgin ground and getting the (supposedly) gold bearing layer of earth. The first issue being that it’s on a steep incline and therefore, they can’t get any traction with their clearing equipment. But the bigger, and in my mind, probably predictable problem is PERMAFROST!! Yeah, since they are so far up north, the Hoffman crew now have to get through about 8 feet of frozen dirt. And, it’s hard as concrete. Of course.

By the way, can I just take a moment here to point out something that’s been bothering me since last season: these guys talk about their love of God and country and marvel at the wonder and beauty of Alaska. And then they are so, so incredibly destructive of said land. They bulldoze trees (often in places where there isn’t even gold to acquire), divert water sources, dig major holes all over the place, use tons of diesel fuel and water. It’s actually quite sad to watch.

OK, back to our program. Todd opines, in perhaps his most insightful comment ever, “Maybe we’re doing it wrong. I don’t have all the answers, OK?” No, actually, it’s not ok. Not when you are asking a bunch of dudes on the verge of bankruptcy to put their lives on hold and follow you into a gold-mining adventure. And no one’s asking for all the answers, just a couple of key ones, like, is this a potentially good spot??

But Todd has a great idea. There’s some other land adjacent to the former legitimate dredging operation and it’s flat. And if, at this point, like me, you’re thinking, “Bullshit. There’s no way that section RIGHT next to the ginormous mill wasn’t mined,” you would be correct. But facts never stand in the way of fruitless work by the Hoffman crew, so they will, of course try to clear that area and mine it. They spend 5 days and $5,000 clearing an area equivalent to a football field.

At this point, they are five weeks behind in the mining season. So, they start asking folks who might know a thing or two about this whole mining business. Actually, they’re happily trudging along, but the original claim owner who’s visiting his son stops by to make small talk. During the course of the conversation, he asks Todd which part of the claim their working on. And then, he confirms the worst – that nice, flat easy area was dredged 60 years ago. They now must go back to the slippery slope section and “rip, strip and hope,” as Todd puts it.

Well, the crew isn’t too interested on living on hope. Especially since clearing the permafrost on this sloped section is so difficult and dangerous. Ice melts unevenly, causing all kinds of sinkholes for the equipment to get stuck in. The crew is FINALLY insisting that there be some evidence that there’s gold. They aren’t too interested in Jack’s “hunches” anymore after last year’s fiasco. Of as one of them puts it, “We don’t want to be willy nilly gold miners again and we lost our ass.”

In his quest to avoid certain willy nilly status, Todd heads to town to talk to another successful gold miner (seriously, isn’t there a “Gold Mining for Dummies” or something? I feel like I could figure this stuff out quicker than the Hoffman’s).

And this is where we meet the very interesting, hilarious and totally-blasé-about-the-whole-thing, Dutchman Tony Beets. Oh, and he’s Dutch. And like a modern-day-Yoda (wait, is Star Wars set in the future? Maybe I should say “like a future-day-Yoda?”) anyway, DJ Dutchie Beets states something that should have been glaringly obvious to everyone from the onset – you have to drill test holes. “No drilling, no digging,” he logically explains.

"Son, you are in over your head. That's for sure."

Now alight with new-found knowledge, Todd heads back to the camp to sell the guys on the idea. Ornery ol’Jack isn’t so sure about all this new-fangled, high-falutin’ drilling rigamarole, preferring instead to rely on his gold intuition, which is probably just gas, but Pere Hoffman finally gives into the threatening mutiny and goes along with the idea. Which makes me wonder: If Jack had been vehemently against it, what then? Would Todd just ignore the good and reasonable advice he’d gotten? Would the Crue accept one man’s decision and just keep stumbling along?

"I'd as soon shoot ya as look at ya."

Alas, we will never find out the answers to these questions. Todd hires a drilling expert, which will cost $4,000 for 12 holes throughout the claim. Todd proclaims, “We’re going to do it right this year.” To which I would add, “After doing it wrong about 100 other times.” 

Anyway, the first six samples from the treeline on the slippery slope are a bust, but the other six holes from other sections show some slight traces of gold. This is, of course, enough to give the Hoffman crew hope.

Personally, if this drilling expert can find where the gold is, I’m not really sure why he’s not mining for it himself. Actually, after watching this bunch of idiots the last two seasons, I get it. That gold mining stuff seems hard.

Gold Rush Recap: Where Kids Act Like Adults and Old Men Act Like Jackasses

Today’s Friday–or as I’ve started calling it around my house, Fred-Day. As in Dakota Fred, the rottenest vermin in all of Alaska. Actually, I do not call it Fred-Day. I literally just made that up.

Anywhoooo, Friday’s mean “Gold Rush” around these here parts, and I’m plumb excited! I might have even just peed myself a little, which gives new meaning to the term Gold Rush, if you know what I mean. And, I think you do. Wink, wink.

OK, when last we left our intrepid little band of would-be millionaires, the prevalent air of uncertainty caused by the lackluster economy and heavy-handed government policies coming out of Washington had caused go-getters like the Hoffman Crue to take their fate into their own hands and strike out on a road paved with nothing but certainty-riddled success – gold mining. Because, really, there’s nothing more certain and secure than gold mining. Not risky at all.

They got booted out of the claim they spent all of last year working on, digging a glory hole (tee-hee). But as the narrator says, “they refuse to give up their dream, even without a claim to mine.” So here we are, episode three of the season, and the Hoffman Crue is heading north to Canada (less regulatory oversight and pesky environmental rules?), to the Yukon, to an unknown and untested claim. They are already 10 days into the 150 day mining season.

Meanwhile, back at Porcupine Creek – but before we get to that, it is fairly obvious to me at least, that the producers of Gold Rush are in fact worried that the Hoffman No Clue Crue will either implode or fail (again) because this season they are pursuing two other story lines in addition to the Hoffman extravaganza.

So back at Porcupine Creek, Dakota Fred (who is currently still crewless) is gleefully filling in the glory hole and otherwise destroying all of the Hoffman Crue’s work from last season. I don’t know what they did to that old man, but he is pissed!

Just down the road at the originally named Big Nugget Mine, we meet the true hero of the series, 17-year-old Parker Schnabel.

 

The smartest 11th grader in all of Alaska.

 

This kid is pure genius and the most mature person on this whole show. In one episode, he gives Fred a dressing down on diplomacy. He also goes head-to-head with his 91-year-old grandfather who has promised to turn over the operation to the new generation, but hijacks the mining crew for some road repairs, further putting our budding young entrepreneur behind schedule.

But young Parker has a pretty nifty idea to motivate his much-older crew to listen to him – he offers them a 5% share of whatever profits they pull in. That’s much better than the deal they were getting from Grandpa Schnabel and before you know it, they’re pulling gold out of them thar hills.

Up in Quartz Creek, Todd and crew buy a wash plant for $40,000 that has been sitting out in the open for the last six years. Not surprisingly, it needs a major overhaul. And they’ve basically got two days to do it since the only trucker that can move it is as popular as an easy girl at a dance. (He’s definitely more popular than Congress, but according to this chart, so is the IRS, the airline industry, lawyers and banks. Yikes. I don’t know why anyone runs for office. I really don’t.)

As you know, the way to get anything impossible done in an incredibly tight deadline is to give a rousing and inspiring pep talk, which is exactly what Todd does to his almost-fed-up crew. There is talk of cojones and representing all that is good and wonderful about America, the greatest country in the land (right behind Canada, where the gold is). And a “who’s with me” and a prayer, maybe, I dunno, I was kinda dozing.

Which brings us to episode four; day 21 of the 150 day mining season and the Hoffman Crue needs to build a new claim from scratch. We also discover that the whole season depends on the word of the claim owner. Seems that old Todd didn’t have time to do any soil tests, so no clue if there’s any gold potential.

There’s a disagreement between Todd and Jack on how to move dirt. It’s a silly disagreement because it seems quite clear to everyone that the old man doesn’t know what he’s doing and he’s making very deep tracks. But like any ornery old man who doesn’t know what he’s doing, but likes to sit atop tall, powerful equipment, Jack just walks off. Just gets in his truck and goes charging down the road to stay in a hotel for the night. Not leave, mind you. Just go and pout for the night without telling anyone where he’s at. That will teach them all. They’ll all be sorry now.

There’s a whole bunch of talk from Todd and Jack about disrespect, but honestly, I didn’t detect it, and I think it’s just nonsense. That old man is just crazy.

Todd sends one of his trusty crew, the elegantly mustached Thurber to chase after the old man, because that’s a great use of personnel and time. Thurber, by the way, is facing foreclosure back in Oregon. Just for a little perspective here. Oh, and he had JUST started a job at the beginning of the season which he has, apparently, abandoned to go back gold hunting. Just so you know.

Tom Selleck ain't got nothing on this 'stache.

More hijinks follow, including a Jack plan to drag the wash plant to its final destination through trees and mud. The plant, of course, gets stuck, but somehow they are able to get it free and finally in place. Really they just spent the majority of this episode creating drama between cranky old man and son.

Perhaps now the Hoffman No Clue Crue are ready to start mining? Somehow, I doubt it. Let’s see tonight!