The Random Yak

Monday Frivol: Just Say No to Naked Bicycle Riding

Filed under: Frivol,News Yaks,Random PSAs,Yak Rants — Random Yak @ 11:37 am on June 11, 2007

It appears it’s time for another “Just Say No” public service announcement from The Yak.

Just Say No to Naked Bicycle Riding.

In fact, let’s all just say no to naked sports in public.

Uncover the rest of the storybelow: (more…)

A Random Public Service Announcement for Star Wars Geeks

Filed under: Random PSAs — Random Yak @ 1:47 pm on April 25, 2007

Geeks like Star Wars.

Geeks like Robot Chicken (no, I won’t link the page from here. Kids read this blog.)

Geeks will therefore certainly like the Robot Chicken: Star Wars Special (scheduled to air June 17, 10PM on Comedy Central’s “Adult Swim”)

It appears we Star Wars geeks were not the only ones who appreciated the Robot Chicken sketch “Darth Vader’s Telephone Call” – in which Vader calls Emperor Palpatine to explain that the Death Star has been blown up. George Lucas liked it too – and apparently liked it well enough to give Seth Green and Matthew Senreich full access to the Star Wars universe – and the original Chewbacca sound files.


Lucas may regret this one … but the rest of us probably won’t.

Clear the calendar.Grab the popcorn. Lock your political correctness in the closet – and consider yourselves warned. Calling my house between 21:59 and 22:31 on June 17 will get you nothing but the answering machine.

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A Public Service Announcement About Telephones, Manners and Job Hunting

Filed under: Random PSAs,Yak Rants — Random Yak @ 12:31 pm on March 9, 2007

Last week I received a Strange and Inexplicable Telephone Call From Parts Unknown, which I now relate as part of Today’s Object Lesson and Public Service Announcement About Telephones, Manners and Job Hunting.

To fully understand the call, you should understand that our offices have been plagued with solicitors and telemarketers to a level that would drive even saints to impatience(and I’ve never claimed even the patience of a two year-old, let alone a saint). By office policy and decree, those who answer the telephone must now find out the caller’s identity before giving out information (partly because we want to minimize advertising calls and partly because, well, if they’re going to waste our time we’re going to have a little fun with them in the process.)

That said, the call and the punchline are below the fold: (more…)

Illness-Based Content Disclaimer

Filed under: Just Yaks,Random PSAs,Random Warnings — Random Yak @ 4:17 am on November 20, 2006

On the advice of legal counsel (the “Voices In My Head”)I am providing the followingIllness-Based Content Disclaimer (“Space Filler Post”):“Alleged Blog”) may contain entries, articles, commentary, “news,” irony, puns, and bad attempts at humor (“Tomfoolery”). Following periods of illness or missed work (“Feeling Like Death Warmed Over”) the Random Yak’s ordinarily stellar and sparkling sense of humor may be somewhat impacted, diminished or skewed (“Business As Usual”). Reading Tomfoolery duringperiods of Business AsUsualmaycause entertainment,confusion, irony,loud gobbling noises(oobie oobie oobie!) andan uncontrollable desire to consume multiple helpings of turkey and cranberry sauce. We here at The Random Yak disclaim all responsibility forTomfoolery and Business As Usual.

This has been a Random Public Service Announcement.

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An open letter to readers, bloggers and spammers alike

Filed under: Just Yaks,Lessons Learned,Random PSAs — Random Yak @ 10:26 am on April 13, 2006

Good morning, afternoon, evening or oh-dark-thirty to you all.

Today, we?re talking about email.

I like to receive email. I like it a lot. Nothing warms my shaggy little heart like opening the ?in? box to discover that some of you have something to say to me. I do my best to answer every one (well, every one that?s not crude).

I?ve made some good blogging friends and discovered some interesting blogs through email. (Go check the links, by the way, particularly the Real Ugly American, who has some important news about a restaurant closing that may impact some important national assets.) Some of them have even made the blogroll ? though I don?t generally add blogs just because they request it. To me, the blogroll represents a recommendation ? and I can?t recommend something I don?t read regularly.

But by all means, email me. I?m looking forward to hearing from you. Provided?you?re emailing ME.

You see, I find something else in the inbox too. Something about which I?m neither so delighted nor so polite. I call it ?Spam.? And all spam is NOT created equal.

Category 1 Spam (largely of the type that makes sailors and teamsters blush) gets automatically filtered out by the Gmail program. This is "semi-invisible spam" because I don’t have to look at it and it doesn’t interfere with my day.

Category 2 Spam manages to slip by the filter but identifies itself in the subject line. You know who you are, and you’re still not getting my attention. This gets reported as spam, referred (as appropriate) to the companies or government entities (theoretically) responsible for policing these things and then – mostly – forgotten. This is "obnoxious but easily-handled spam" and it doesn’t do much more than blip the proverbial Yak radar.

But Category 3 Spam comes in looking suspiciously like a real, live contact letter – and what makes this spam all the more insidious is that close to 30% of the time it comes from another blogger. You know who you are. The ones who send out mass-market emails asking for links – only instead of sending them to me personally, you send them to 20, 30 or 500 sites you pulled from the listing of some other website or server, asking all of us to blogroll you as a "blog of special interest" or a blog with ?shared subject matter.? (Hint to the wise: the fact that we can both fog a mirror doesn?t mean we share subject matter.)

If you fall into this category I’ve got four words for you.

You’re spam. Go away.

And I suggest you go away NOW, because my patience with this sort of behavior has reached its end. I’ve previously treated you like "Category 2 Spam" and reported you to the Gmail server, hoping your comments would thereafter filter directly into my "delete" file. But no longer. Your behavior has reached critical mass and I’m changing my attitude and my approach. You now run the direct risk of being openly, publicly and personally ridiculed here at the Yak – WITHOUT a Technorati-or-ecosystem-tracking hyperlink – for your behavior and your desire to win friends and increase your traffic by spamming me (and half the sentient blogosphere) with your link request.

In case I haven?t made myself sufficiently clear, here are the rules:

1. If you have something to say to me, feel free to send me an email (individually or as part of a small distribution list of people invited to participate in the conversation). Assuming you?re not crude or offensive I?m likely to respond, and I appreciate the input.

2. If you already know me (or if we already communicate by email) keep it up. I don?t make fun of my friends (well, not publicly?) and this post is NOT meant for you.

3. If you really want me to see your blog or website, send me an email and link. (Me. Not me and fifty thousand of your least-closest friends.) Assuming you?re not rude or offensive, I?m likely to visit. And if I like it, I?m likely to return. In time, you might even find your way onto the blogroll.

4. If you choose to disregard Rules 1-3 and include me on a mass-spam-email-link-beg, I WILL MOCK YOU. Openly. And. Publicly.

I reserve the right to use you as my own personal Pinata-of-Fisk. I reserve the right to inform friends and fellow bloggers in case they choose to join the fun. I reserve the right to set Ferdy on you. And I reserve the right to publish your email ? in part or in its entirety ? in order to form a more perfect Fisking.

I also reserve the right not to humiliate anyone if I decide an email doesn?t warrant it or I?m not in the mood. But that?s a risk you spammers had better be willing to run ? and the odds are not in your favor.

Don?t say you weren?t warned.

R. Yak

Joint Proprietor and Fisker-in-Chief

Linked from High Desert Hi-Jinks (aka the Sagerats – hello and welcome, I see you lurking) – another member of the anti-spam brigade.

Random Public Service Announcement: Abraham Lincoln Edition

Filed under: Random PSAs — Random Yak @ 11:40 am on February 16, 2006

Faith is good. Truth is good. Fortitude is good. Quailing in the face of the one who yells the loudest, regardless of whether he’s right, is not – repeat, not – good.

For those who may be on the fence, and those of us already off it, I offer useful advice from one in a position to know. Don’t just read Lincoln’s words: think about them.

"The probability that we may fall in the struggle ought not to deter us from the support of a cause we believe to be just; it shall not deter me." (said in the Illinois House of Representatives, December 26, 1839)

"There is no grievance that is a fit object of redress by mob law." (January 27, 1838)

"Stand with anybody that stands RIGHT. Stand with him while he is right and PART with him when he goes wrong." (from the "Speech at Peoria, Illinois, October 16, 1854)

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