But It Increased My Engagement

You know if I get a marketing email entitled Proof It! How To Be a Better Proofreader, you’d better believe I’m proofreading it.

Oh, yes, there’s the typo. No, wait, it has two:

Also, bullet point items should consistently end with punctuation or not. Generally, you don’t want to mix and match–even if the outlier is an exclamation point!

On the other hand, it did make me read the email more closely than I would have otherwise. My engagement is up, but my conversion from prospect to sale remains false.

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SCIENCE!

Facebook suggested this post from an outfit called “American Council on Science and Health”

It’s a quote from a film I enjoyed, Secondhand Lions.

The quote starts:

Sometimes the things that may or may not be true are the things a man needs to believe in most.

I mean, much of it is about honor, courage, Wuv, True Wuv, and stuff.

But one cannot help wonder how much a non-profit science group that lobbies politicians would prefer we believe things are true even if they’re not. Especially when we’re told them by people with credentials after their name in their email signatures (originally, I was going to say “stationery,” but, c’mon, man, the only stationery with my name on it I have is notepads sent to me as parts of fundraising pitches from organizations much like this).

I support a lot of things, but very few of them have “American” in the name. Not because I’m unpatriotic, but because national organizations too often are grifts.

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Betrayal

Amongst the music-themed sponsored posts I see on Facebook, I have learned that David Gilmour, of Pink Floyd and solo projects, is apparently a Dallas Cowboys fan:

Well, he’s British, so maybe he thinks Dallas is really America’s Team.

Here’s the last song on his 1984 album About Face–my favorite of his solo albums. I got it on cassette, about wore it out, and now have it on CD. The song is entitled “Near the End”:

I quote it a lot. Well, relative to other songs.

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Not Depicted: Who You Are

I guess there’s a comedienne coming to town, but the Facebook ad does not say who it is:

I guessed correctly Margaret Cho even though her name was not listed on the advert, and even though I was not familiar with her work on the listed programs, but I remember she was a big deal from the television program All-American Girl. Twenty-eight years ago. Right about the time I stopped really paying much attention to television or stand-up comedy. So, yeah, I could not really name any comedian under forty.

On the other hand, at least Facebook presented me with an ad for a show in Springfield. Other times, I get ads for artists I’d like to see, like Joss Stone, but she’s performing in Memphis.

Other times, I get bands I’ve never heard of performing nowhere near me.

The who? In Memphis?

And the other who? In LA?

Someday, I would like to have more money than sense. But until then, no jetting off to see unknowns. Given what I’ve heard on the “free” CDs and downloads I’ve seen advertised on Facebook, I’m not even inclined to take those low-cost fliers, either.

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Perhaps In The Disney Movie

I might not be a smart man, Jenny, but I know who Janet Yellen is.

And that’s not her.

So Microsoft is throwing up random ads in the home page of the Microsoft Edge Web browser these days, and one of them is clickbait enough to combine a powerful financial figure, a buzzword, and a stock photo of a woman.

But not enough to make me click. Only enough to make me mock.

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Another Soundex Heard From

In addition to showing me ads for every individual song that Misa1 (not to be confused with Maysa or Misia) has released, Facebook has started showing me ads for Messa:

Who the heck is Messa? Apparently, the genre is described by Messa as Scarlet Doom.

Messa emerged on the first day of 2014. The extreme diversity of their musical background immediately proved to be essential in the construction of the band’s sound: Prog, Black Metal, Punk, Dark Ambient, jazz, Blues and Doom… all those influences have been channelled into a sonic cauldron that the band defines “Scarlet Doom”.

Here’s what they sound like:

Facebook sure seems to think I like some odd and disparate music. I’m not helping that I often purchase the odd and disparate music that Facebook shows me. But my Facebook feed is now 60% music offers, 25% other ads, and 15% posts by three or four people I worked with fifteen years ago.

Also, getting music from this disparate sources is going to make my next musical balance way out of whack, as well as tricky to compile and probably incomplete.

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I Know, I Know

Facebook sometimes shows me posts from an assortment of old movies and dead celebrities pages such as this one:

I know, I know, and Mary Livingstone was a shop girl and not actually in the show business, so she felt a little insecure about it.

It’s one of those things that my beautiful wife might ask me, “How do you know that?”

In this case, I know how I know. But I won’t tell you… just yet.

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Welcome To The New Normal

How do you like this, the middle part of the first half of the 21st century?

I saw this ad whilst watching football this weekend:

For those of us in the future, when this video has been removed by the owner or when YouTube re-writes its embeds again and renders three quarters of a twenty-year-old blog inscrutable (actually, I’ve only been embedding YouTube videos for about ten years, so I’ve only had to deal with dead embeds twice so far), this is an ad featuring Drew Brees, Jerome Bettis, and Jerry Rice sharing breakfast with a family of football referees, and they call Quaker Oats instant oatmeal a “superfood.”

You know what I call it? Gruel.

That’s right, gentle reader, the powers that be want you to think gruel is a superfood. Please don’t riot over the prices of meat and milk when you can find them in stock. You can grind your own grain and bark and think it’s good for you.

Alright, alright, alright, I am trying to be a bit arch and wry here. Full disclosure: I actually eat Quaker Oats for breakfast a couple of times a week since it’s fast, filling, and will not leave me bonking in the middle of a gym workout. But I eat meat with it. Bacon, to be precise. And although bacon doesn’t make everything better, unlike what the Internet of 2014 might have told you, paired with some carbs, it’s a good thing.

Still, when I saw the ad, the first thing I thought was “They’re calling the food of poor people, ground grain soaked in water, a superfood now?”

Another full disclosure: If you add the amount of water recommended on the packet, one half cup to the packet, it’s more of a porridge than a gruel. But if you have a family to feed, you’ll add more water than that, ainna?

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I’m Not Saying They’re Listening To You, But They’re Listening To You

So I mentioned to my beautiful wife that I’m working my way, slowly, through Tea in the Time of COVID which I bought in June and which disappeared into the back of the truck, a boy’s room, or both for a while.

I mentioned the author has 100 blog posts, essentially, about the tea mug she’s drinking from (she has a vast collection of hand-crafted tea mugs), the philosophical tweet on her teabag, and a little of what’s going on.

So suddenly, I’m seeing ads for artisanal tea cups on Facebook.

Yeah, that’s a coincidence. Yeah, I’m seeing a pattern where there is none. But given how often I see ads for things I don’t buy online but have talked about, I’d say there is a pattern.

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The Wrong Funny Hats

Apparently, because I wear a fedora, Facebook thinks I like funny hats.

I’ve gotten this ad a bunch, and I don’t know why. I’ve never worn a scully. Well, I had a corduroy hat with a sloping front when I was in eighth grade, but I didn’t wear that hat very often–although I once drew a self portrait for an art class that actually looked like me, and I was wearing that hat. So maybe it just looked like the hat. My friend Shaun favored hats like that–I think there’s a photo of us together, and he’s wearing a hat like that. But, c’mon, man, do I look like some guy out of Southie? Don’t answer that.

I also get ads for some novelty headgear as well.

I’ve also gotten some ads for top hats and steampunk abhorrations.

I am definitely not the target audience for these hats. I take a classic fedora, 2″ brim, 4″ c-crown, black. I accept no substitutions.

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The Savings Is More Than I’m Willing To Pay

My beautiful wife has taken to gardening and has an indoor garden with a grow light that uses little pods and can grow small herbs, maybe tomatoes, and flowers.

So I was a good target, maybe, for this ad ahead of Christmas:

But, wait a minute, mister. Save $200 now? How expensive is this that everyone can save $200 now?

Gott im Himmel! $1000 plus a monthly membership of $30-40.

I see a lot of ads like that. Save $X now, where X is a lot already. Which generally indicates it’s not something for me.

Wait a minute, Brian J.! Don’t you buy $10 CDs by the bucketful? Don’t you like to write checks greater than that amount for organizations you support? Well, you have me there. And if I need a $1000 home repair, I get the $1000 home repair without thinking. Or a thousand bucks of firewood which is just money going up in smoke, ainna?

But something about $200 gifts which might or might not be liked, or $200 things for myself, tend to make me blanch. Blanch, I said–not make me into a Golden Girl.

I’m sure Dave Ramsey would still go all Patton on me for my spending habits, but there you go.

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Forget the Night Light

I dunno why Facebook thought I was in the market for this:

But I’ve got all the navigational beacons I need for my darkened household.

I would, however, be interested in a book on D&D Furniture.

What, you don’t look at the books in advertisements? You probably don’t go right to the bookshelves when you first visit someone’s home to see what they have, either.

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This 70s Show

Inflation! High gas prices! An incompetent in the White House! Now, my local library brings you…. macrame!

Those who do not know history are doomed to repeat it. And it will be the mostest and bestest and first time for everythingest for them.

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Been There, Done That

Apparently, someone of Facebook thinks I am a baseball fan, or that I am so desperate to learn to code that I would like to learn Pandas through either fantasy football or baseball.

C’mon, man, I tell the story of the only software product I was paid to write (over and over, like an old man with five or ten go-to stories to tell over and over), when I was in high school, I wrote a baseball stat manager in BASIC 2.0 for the Commodore 64:

My high school’s baseball team manager paid me $50 for something that could save and calculate the team’s stats.

Funny, in my various dilettante careers, I was most highly paid for poetry.

  • Poetry: $100 for “Canny” in There Will Be War Volume X. I think I was supposed to get a share of royalties, too, but I no longer can reach out to my editor to wrench it from the publishing house as he did my flat payment.
  • Software development: $50 for Baseball Stats Manager v1.0.
  • Short fiction: $5 for “Reading Faces” in Show and Tell magazine.

You know, I guess I have been paid money for nonfiction, including pieces in Writers Journal and History magazines as well as perhaps some cash from Artisan Journal back in the day.

Blogging and self-publishing, though? Money sinks.

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They Saw Me Coming

Facebook proffers this item for my review:

I really hope that it’s because I’ve posted that an Iron Maiden poster got me a wife.

And not because aforementioned beautiful wife has put an Iron Maiden cassette into the deck in our 2008 vehicle which I’ve been listening to in the mornings taking my oldest to band practice.

Because I’m really close to believing that my phone was also listening and selling that information to shadowy Internet data brokers who passed it onto Facebook.

I did click through, but I am not sure that she would get enough use out of a $50 cooler to buy it for her for Christmas.

I wrote and scheduled this post last night; this morning, in my Facebook memories, I see this post:

Unfortunately, I often run out of Iron Maiden before I run out of work day.

Clearly they saw me coming in 2017.

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Creepy Is The New Normal

So I read this article in Chrome with the JavaScript off: ‘Preppers’ Quietly Stock Up for the ‘Perfect Storm’, and it mentions a prepper supply company:

Keith Bansemer, president of My Patriot Supply in Salt Lake City, said his business has grown exponentially amid widespread fears of a return to COVID-19 lockdowns, empty store shelves, and forced vaccinations that will limit personal freedoms.

And I log into Facebook minutes later in a separate browser, and I get:

You know, that’s pretty fast information sharing. Too fast.

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I’d Rather Have The Product I Imagined

An ad for some frippery I saw on Facebook:

I thought, How cool is that! A reversible trenchcoat that turns into a cape!

Oh, but no. It’s just some overpriced “artist” putting your face on some stock portrait background. Which is not something I’m interested in.

A trench coat that you can turn inside out and it’s a cape, now that might be tempting.

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