April 18, 2005

The Cruelest Month

Oh No!
It’s Time for Yet Another Installment of …

A Semi-Recurring Rant Feature

AH, APRIL. The cruelest month, according to Eliot, who undoubtedly knew such things quite well. However, I’m quite pleased with this, as it means I get to be especially sarcastic in my responses to this month’s Your Search Engine Queries Answered, a sort of how-you-doin’ guide for all those folks who arrive here via Google. With that out of the way, let’s get to work!

QUERY: paragraph on comparing an orange to a tangerine

ANSWER: It sounds like you’re taking Freshman English at a college or university of your choice! Or, rather, Freshperson English. Or is that Freshpeople English? Or maybe Freshpeople Lingua Franca?

Anyhoo, son, here you go. Remember that the orange symbolizes many things, all of them somehow related to race, gender, ethnicity and social status. For instance, the orange can symbolize how the heretic English ran roughshod over the Irish for three centuries via the cruel boots of the Orangemen, or Orangepeople, or simply the Orange, as Syracuse calls them now. But if that doesn’t fit in with your theme, you can also use the orange to symbolize the prison-industrial complex, the struggle for environmental justice in newly-developed areas, or the Boxer Rebellion. Use your imagination.

As for the tangerine, the tangerine can be used as an interesting “dichotomy” subject. For instance, compare and contrast how tangerines are represented both in college football (i.e. the Tangerine Bowl) and something really odd, like a modern-art exhibit at your college museum. You won’t have any trouble missing it – it will be down in front, while all the good paintings will be in back. But if that doesn’t fit in with your theme, write up something about how Americans’ preference for oranges over tangerines, tangelos, and other tropical fruit is proof of the nation’s cultural imperialism.

So there you go – some tips on comparing an orange to a tangerine. I hope it proved helpful. Oh, and one final tip – for the love of God, whatever you do, don’t buy any grapes.

QUERY: soccer haikus


It’s one-nil again
The fans are getting angry
Go cut off the beer

Hearts booed the Pope
But the pathetic yobbos
Didn’t check the score

There. How’s that?

QUERY: what I shall say at the birthday

ANSWER: Well, shouldn’t you know? Anyway, it’s probably not a good idea to be nasty about how the birthday boy (or girl) is getting on a bit. Nor is it polite to make smart remarks about the cheap gift you brought. Also, buy a nice bottle of wine, will you?

QUERY: why do rich people live in monaco

ANSWER: Because Monaco doesn’t tax them.

QUERY: aol cancellation

ANSWER: I wish you luck.

QUERY: eugene oregon in the seventies

ANSWER: I don’t think it’s changed all that much in the ensuing three decades.

QUERY: ford taurus no heat

ANSWER: Ohhhhhhhh. There’s no heat in your Ford Taurus.

Admittedly, having that happen would suck. I know, because back in 1996, it happened to me as I drove home from the University of Michigan in my old 1987 Mercury Sable, which at the time was practically the same car.

I mean, dig this: I’m driving up on North Campus to get to the 23, so I can avoid the day-before-Thanksgiving crush down on Washtenaw Avenue. Much to my surprise and annoyance, I discovered the car’s fan had gone kaput, and as such, the car overheated roughly a quarter-mile from the expressway.

Not. Extreme.

Thank God for small miracles, however: it was like ten degrees out. This meant I could air-cool the engine all the way back to Cleveland, a trip that generally took between three and four hours. Unfortunately, the defroster had also broken and so apparently had the heater. This meant I was traveling in a car where the air temperature was well below freezing, and I was forced to stop every hour or so in search of shelter to warm up. And it’s no fun drying out one’s socks in the men’s room of a gas station near Toledo. Meanwhile, as I was freezing in the car, any time I drove slower than 60 mph, the car would start overheating again.

My advice to this particular person is that he ought begin saving for a down payment on another Ford Taurus.

QUERY: letter of sacking employees

ANSWER: I hate to break this to you, but you can’t send a letter, because your firm will then be known as the firm which fired its employer via letter. As this is the age of the Internet, you’ll be screwed. Therefore, you’re actually going to have to act like a human being – or at least delegate that responsibility – and tell them in person.

QUERY: diamonds as investments

ANSWER: Oh, dear God, no. I’m not even a fan of going all-out on one’s wedding ring, although even I recognize the need for buying a decent diamond for that particular occasion. One wants her to say yes, right?

Still, diamonds are a crappy investment for a few reasons. First, you’re spending vast sums of perfectly good money on very sharp and very shiny rocks, which may or may not hold their value over time. They will almost certainly not hold their value in a time of war or calamity, because everyone ELSE is going to be selling the family diamonds at the same time, and the market will be flooded with them. You’ve seen “Casablanca,” you know I’m right. Plus, since you’re not an expert on diamonds – who the hell is? – you’re almost certain to get screwed in the selling process anyway.

But back to the ring question for a moment. God knows I’m not saying men ought not buy diamond rings – for better or worse, buying them for one’s intended is recognized tradition now. Furthermore, one ought spend a good bit of money on them, because failing to do so invites trouble. Still, though, I think a man should be reasonable about it, because while a diamond represents everlasting love, it also represents an amazing amount of dead capital. It’s an asset but it’s not an asset, because if you ever had to hock it, your wife would kill you. On the other hand, she also might kill you if she found out you spent ten or twenty thousand on the ring, but didn’t have enough for a down payment on a home.

QUERY: manchester not suburb of boston

ANSWER: Goddammit, for what people want for a house around here, you’d think Manchester was three blocks from Fanueil Hall. OK, so maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but my God – the housing here is really expensive, and it’s all based on its proximity to Boston. So yes, we’re a suburb, just like everything else in southern New Hampshire.

QUERY: exceedingly funny politics

ANSWER: You do realize you’re visiting a Web site domiciled in the United States, yes? Exceedingly funny politics is out, my friend.

QUERY: live on $40000 per year

ANSWER: Yes, you CAN do it! Even in Los Angeles!

QUERY: weird conversation starters

ANSWER: Here’s a few of my favorites:

“Say, Jack, I wasn’t saying you were a racist.” (aka “the Benfield manuever”)
“Did you see what Phil just did with the punch bowl?”
“What the hell is this, Mariachi Day? There’s no work for you either!”
“That guy over – oh, him? Just made parole, actually.”
“I’ll have the avocado milkshake.”
“Bring me the head of Alfredo Garcia!”
“My rights, please.”

QUERY: war and remembrance soundtrack by

ANSWER: Bob Cobert.

QUERY: getting married in prison

ANSWER: What’s that phrase – oh yes, “bad idea.”

QUERY: songs about abstinence

ANSWER: (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction

QUERY: britney spears overweighted

ANSWER: According to a proprietary analysis from The Rant Capital Advisors LLC, which factors in BSPR’s merger with an underperforming firm and the combined entity’s pending spinoff of a new product line, analysts have given BSPR a rating of underweight vis-à-vis the entertainment industry as a whole. However, there is a possibility BSPR could be upgraded to market perform in the near future, depending on sales of BSPR’s next album.

QUERY: prospectus of knitting industry in bangalore

ANSWER: Learn Chinese – and quickly!

QUERY: salisbury steak dinner incident with the eagles fans

ANSWER: Now THAT sounds like a movie I’d pay money to see!

QUERY: value of house after loss of roof


QUERY: how many ounces in small movie popcorn


QUERY: which is better - city or suburb

ANSWER: Well, I suppose it depends on what you like, doesn’t it? Personally, I like the cities more than I do the suburbs, for a few reasons. For one thing, I’m single and I don’t mind living in an apartment. For another, I like lots of good restaurants and other cultural activities near where I live. For a third, I actually don’t mind public transport and would use it all the time – if only I lived in a place which had decent public transport.

There are tradeoffs to everything, of course. Living in the cities often means experiencing higher taxes, a greater vulnerability to crime, congestion and pollution. Living in the suburbs often means experiencing higher taxes, a greater vulnerability to the predations of your homeowners’ association, congestion and pollution. Either way, you’re screwed and should move to rural New Mexico, which quite frankly sounds like a hell of an idea, now that my allergies are acting up.

QUERY: shapes of buildings remind you of

ANSWER: Well – with the notable exception of the University of Michigan’s North Campus bell tower – they remind me of buildings.

What’s that, you ask? What’s the Ann and Robert H. Lurie Tower look like? Ah … erm … well, it’s a Giant Triumph of Engineering, and we’ll leave it at that.

Did you click on the link? Yeah. HOLY ...

QUERY: tracheotomy scar

ANSWER: I’d be surprised if they were all that bad these days. I myself have one, and it’s not all that bad, although it is noticeable because – well, you’d have to see it, but it’s as if the skin didn’t heal up right. Still, it’s not something which prompts a lot of discussion, and that was from a surgery done nearly three decades ago. Today, there shouldn’t be any trouble at all.

QUERY: why women love assholes

ANSWER: Ah, Man’s Traditional Great Lament – the object of my affection is attracted not to me, but to that other man, who clearly can’t be a man, because he does not smoke the same cigarettes as me.

Of course, I quit smoking, but you get the drift.

Men react to this situation in different ways, but one unifying force between them is a complete and total lack of understanding of how such a situation could occur. After all, the universe is an orderly and rational place, with physical laws and deep-set moral principles. Therefore, it makes no sense for the woman in question to like the other guy, because … well, it just doesn’t make sense. After all, the guy says to himself, she is all that and a bag of chips, so it makes no sense for her to like that other guy, who is ---

Well, you insert the proper phrase(s). He is a jerk. He is a cad. He is a moron. He has strange and un-American political views. He has no money. He has too much money. He’s uneducated or too educated. He rides a motorcycle. He drives a sedan. He listens to crappy music. He is uncultured. He is pedantic. He talks too loud. And so on, and so on, and so on.

Of course, things perhaps make more sense when one turns the tables and thinks about what some men see in certain women. I am sure there are lots of disagreeable things which women notice about other women, and about which men don’t have a frickin’ clue. The long and short of it is: I don’t know why some women happen to like jerks. But of course it helps to remember that one is only discussing a small portion of women out there, not all of them. After all, your mother fancied your father, no?

QUERY: amor vincit omnia!!!


(stare at computer monitor, thinking)
(continue staring at computer monitor, still thinking)

Yeah, it does.

Anyway, that’s it for this month’s edition of Your Search Engine Queries Answered! Drop in next month, when we examine … well, more of the same, but it'll be different. After all, I don't know how many pictures of ... uh, Freudian ... bell towers I can dig up.

Posted by Benjamin Kepple at April 18, 2005 10:52 PM | TrackBack