What Annoys Jeff this Week?

1. Facebook. If you’re looking at a meme I post and think to yourself “By god, ol’ Jeff is right. It is my Constitutional right to stick a fork in this power outlet,” I’m not sure Facebook should even try to save you from yourself. Similarly, Facebook needs to refine its sarcasm detector, because this is some ridiculous content to spend a lot of time trying to eradicate from everyone’s precious feed. Lighten up, Francis. 

2. Updates. At some time during the weekend, my home computer updated itself automagically. As part of this helpful update, “dark mode” was turned on by default for all my Microsoft Office products. Look, I get that software updates are necessary inconvenience. Some of them are downright critical. Still, it would be helpful if changes I didn’t request or expect wouldn’t randomly change the settings I’ve left alone since basically the dawn of personal computing. Then again, I wouldn’t get the opportunity to spend 20 minutes trying to diagnose why my computer was going off the rails.

3. Sizes. I’m going to need food and beverage companies to just stop fucking with product sizes. I suppose the theory is that as long as the price stays the same, people will never notice they’re getting less and less of whatever product they’re purchasing. I’m old enough to remember when coffee was still sold in one-pound packages. Now it’s 12 ounces if you’re lucky. Most packaged products seem to be going the same way. What is now selling as “large” or “jumbo” is what a decade or two ago was just the regular size. But hey, if I need sixteen ounces of something for a recipe it’s definitely better to buy two 14-ounce cans, take a scoop out of one of them and then toss the remainder. Maybe I’ll start mailing these leftover ingredients destined to go bad in the fridge back to their corporate offices. I’m a generally reasonable human being who understands inflation happens over time and price increases are the inevitable consequence. How about just passing along that increase instead of adopting slick marketing gimmicks?

Making monuments…​

Occasionally you open your mouth and say something that should be patently ridiculous to every person in the room. The mere suggestion should be met with mocking, rolled eyes, and sighs of disbelief. Mostly you do it when you’re a little bored or just want to see what kind of rise you can get out of someone. You’d never in a million years think anyone would take any of it as an actual suggestion.

Then, of course, you are brought crashing back to the real world with a comment about “how relevant” your suggestion is.

No. Please, just no. These words were not meant to be taken seriously. They were meant as biting critique of our penchant for creating monuments out of things that should be sandcastles. I’m not sure I remember what #winning looks like, but I’m reasonably certain we’re doing it wrong.

Humor, or the lack thereof…

Some people are funny – and no I don’t mean in that “Hey, pull my finger” kind of way. There are virtues to that kind of humor too, of course, but I’m think more about people who can turn drop a perfectly aimed barb on a dime. They have the knack. It’s some combination of timing, ability to turn a phrase, topical awareness, and lacing your words with just enough poison to let the point drive home without ever doing more than brushing against a subject.

Sadly, there are another group of people who wield sarcasm like a brute force weapon – a cudgel with which to beat people about the head and neck repeatedly. It’s a pity, because sarcasm is a real art form when it’s done right. When it’s done wrong, it leaves you looking like a total ass. There’s a fine line there and it’s critical to know where that line is at all times.

People who don’t have the gift just really shouldn’t try to force the issue. It shows every single time and it never stops being uncomfortable. There are few thing more awkward than a person standing around throwing out what they think are zingers while the rest of the captive audience is forced to ponder just how much of a tool that person really is. Here’s a hint: if no one else in the room is laughing, you’re probably doing it wrong. You should stop immediately. And you should consider never doing it again.

The world is a big place. Not everyone needs to have the same skills. For the love of God, if you don’t have a knack for humor please leave it to the professionals – or at least to the skilled amateurs. Sometimes it’s ok to enjoy the show rather than try to be a part of it.

Picked up…

Like a television being picked up for another season, I got my notice from GoDaddy this morning that the domain registration for http://www.jeffreytharp.com was renewed for another year. Assuming the blood keeps flowing to my fingers, I suppose that means the posts will keep on coming.

A new season often means new characters, a new story arc, and sometimes a completely different direction in an effort to breathe fresh life into a well worn formula. Rest assured, I won’t stand for that kind of foolishness here. You’ll keep getting the same surly, sarcastic, barbed, and vaguely misanthropic posts that you’ve come to expect when you point your browser at my small slice of the internet.

There are currently no changes, no specials, no 2-for-1 bargains planned in this seventh year of blogging. I’m just going to be over here doing what I’ve been doing since 2007. Hopefully you like it… but if it’s not quite your cup of tea or doesn’t live up to your expectations, feel free to bugger off at the earliest opportunity.

August: By Request…

It’s been a while since I’ve opened up the request lines around here. With July rolling to a close, the summer doldrums well in place, and realizing that I can’t write about sequester and furlough every day and expect 99% of you to keep reading, it seems like as good a time as any to let someone else do a bit of the heavy lifting involved in topic selection.

11182-i-love-question-markThe rules are simple and straightforward:

1. You pose a question or identify a topic of your choice. Be ruthless, I’m looking for a challenge. Just don’t ask about math. I don’t do math.

2. I carefully hand craft a response and post it on jeffreytharp.com for your amusement.

I’m tempted to say that nothing is off limits, but there’s not a chance in hell that I’m giving you jerks passwords or account information just because you were froggy enough to ask for it. With a very few limitations, though, the gloves are off so feel free to pick your topics and ask your questions with reckless abandon.

I’ll keep the request line open for the entire month of August (or until I get tired of it), so the sooner you leave me a comment, the sooner I can get on with the serious work of writing a sarcastic response.

The journey of 1000 miles…

There are two things I’ve discovered for sure in the exciting world of self publishing: 1) Nothing is as easy or straightforward as it appears; and 2) You will find a typo about 37 seconds after hitting “publish.” Still, getting from the barest notion of an idea to an actual Createspace Announcementprinted book has been a real experience. Since I’ve turned my personal brand of snark and sarcasm loose on the world, the lest I can do now is stand behind it and bother as many people as possible to get behind the effort with me…

That’s why I’m please to announce to you today that Nobody Told Me… The Cynic’s Guide for New Employees is now available in paperback from Createspace for the low, low price of $7.99 (+3.52 shipping and handling of course). I might be biased, but I think it would still be a deal at twice the price.

For Amazon Prime members, the paperback should be available through Amazon in the next week if you want to save the shipping costs. As soon as I’ve got confirmation back from Amazon, I’ll post a notification here and on my Facebook Fan Page.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to step away from the keyboard, fix a strong drink, and take a breath.