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, before a visitor arrives at your 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.


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.


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

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?

At Last: The Yertle Interview

Welcome to ThePoeLog, Yertle. You’ve cancelled this interview four times over the last three weeks. What gives?

Yertle: Get off my shell! I’ve been busy. I just moved from Chicago back to my native habitat of Nevada (I’m the state reptile, you know). And, well, let’s just say I’ve been settling in.

“Settling in”

ThePoeLog: Let’s take a question from one of your readers. Masha asked, “Is that your cat?” Other readers pointed out that you appear to be a turtle. What exactly are you?

Yertle: Yeah, I get that a lot. Well, not the cat part, but the turtle stuff. Big difference: I’m a desert tortoise, native to the Mojave and Sonoran Desert of the Southwestern United States and Northwestern Mexico. I’m way bigger than a turtle — I weigh 10 lbs, but some tortoises can weigh up to 15 lbs when fully grown.

Also: I hibernate, which turtles don’t do. And, frankly, I’m more special than a turtle. In fact, I’m an endangered species in the wild. It is unlawful to touch, harm, harass or collect wild desert tortoises. You can, however, adopt one bred in captivity, which is how XFE’s family found me.

ThePoeLog: So how old are you?

Yertle: Well, XFE got me when he was about 10 years old, so I’m around 30 years old. But I could live to be 80 or even 100 years old. I’ve got really good genes and I keep pretty active. You know, at the craps table.

ThePoeLog: Where do you live and why don’t you live with XFE?

Yertle: Like I said, I just retired from the Chicago grind after 16 years, and moved to Las Vegas full time. I live in the house, but I like to spend a fair amount of time outdoors, getting some sun.

Pool time
Lunch at the pool.

I don’t live with XFE because 1) I like where I’m at; 2) I hear XFE has stairs, which I’m not too good at; 3) I’m not too sure about that whole cat thing. I already live with a dog (Frankie) and we get along pretty good, so I’m not really looking to mix it up with a cat.

ThePoeLog: Do you not get along with other animals? How do you defend yourself? Do you bite? Do you have teeth?

Yertle: Whoa! Slow down! No, I don’t bite or have teeth. As for other animals, I do my thing and they do their thing. But if they get too close, I will hiss. I also hiss when I get picked up. Mostly, I just want to be left alone.

Hiding in the shade
Anyone seen that dog?

I’m also pretty fast, faster than some people might expect, and I’m pretty stubborn. I’ve been called a tank, because I just go and I don’t really let anything get in my way. I’m not going to lie: One defense mechanism the tortoise has when it is handled is to empty its bladder. It’s not pretty, but effective.

ThePoeLog: That brings up a good point – where do you go to the bathroom? Do you go outside like a dog?

Yertle: I don’t really drink a lot of water, so it’s not like I gotta a lot of pee or anything. Hell, I can survive up to a year without water. I also have a very large bladder and can store over forty percent of my body weight in water and waste. But basically, I go wherever I want, and whenever. It’s a tiny bit, so it’s not a big deal. My peeps clean up after me.

ThePoeLog: What do you eat?

Yertle: I’m straight up herbivore. I eat a lot of kale, salads, you know, with spring mix. I like tomatoes, strawberries, green beans. I like to treat myself to hibiscus flowers once in a while. I eat a lot during the summer to store up for hibernation time. No spinach though. I don’t like spinach.

Lunxh closeup

ThePoeLog: Tell us about your hibernation – how long is it? How do you know it’s time? Where do you sleep?

Yertle: I generally start slowing down in late October, as the days get colder. What better way to escape a cold Chicago winter than to go to sleep, am I right? By October, I’ve got some nice fat stored up with reserves around my legs and shoulders. I like to sleep under the bed in the master bedroom. I burrow down into some blankets and get my dream on. My peeps check on me periodically and I’ll respond if my foot is touched. When the days begin to warm, around March or April, I start to become active again, slowly moving around, looking for something to drink (I’m real thirsty). Within a week or two, I’m back to my normal level of activity, eating, exercising and sunbathing.

ThePoeLog: So, what do you do all day when you’re not hibernating?

Yertle: I like to be in the center of the action, so I hang out in the kitchen a lot. I like to find a corner to put my head in and then just chill. You never know when a bit of kale might fall to the floor.

In kitchen
Hmmm, I thought I smelled some mesclun mix around here, no?

I also go outside and work on my tan, maybe roam around the yard, looking for any opportunities to escape. I like my home, but I’m of course interested in the world at large. I’ve gotten out a couple of times, but I always get caught and brought back. Dude’s gotta try, right? I’m also big into digging. My front limbs have sharp, claw-like scales and are flattened for digging, so I’m pretty good at that.

ThePoeLog: You have a pool. Does that mean you’re a good swimmer?

Hanging at the pool

Yertle: Not at all. I’m a terrible swimmer. This shell really doesn’t do me any favors either.

ThePoeLog: Everyone thinks that turtles are slow. Is that a fair portrayal?

Yertle: You know, I’m really glad you asked about that, because I have a real issue with the media’s portrayal of turtles and tortoises. Listen, if you were carrying a house on your back, you wouldn’t exactly be a sprinter either. The way that companies like Comcast portray tortoises is totally irresponsible and just not accurate. I mean, the Slowskys? Really? That’s pretty funny coming from a company that can’t get its act together. Every time my peeps try to use their OnDemand, it doesn’t work. And if you call customer service, they tell you that it’s a free service and therefore, you shouldn’t really get your scales in a fluff if it’s now working. Which is ridiculous! First of all, it’s provided with the package that people pay for – that’s not free! Anyway, sorry. I get quite worked up on the Slowskys issue.

Face off
Facing off with a stone decorative tortoise. That dude is SERIOUSLY slow.

ThePoeLog: One last question – MelgFox asked, “how do you pronounce XFE. I have a friend who is now following thePoeLog blog and we were just wondering. Is it just X. F. E. BTW love the name Yertle.”

Yertle: I think the X is kinda like in Xavier, which also sounds like Javier, so I would say the X sounds like a soft “h.” Which would mean XFE sounds like “jefe” which is Spanish for boss. XFE = boss.

Close up 1
XFE may be the boss of Old Town, but I run this joint. I’M the jefe.