Nothing is forever. Except everything.

tattoo250-dcI came this close to getting a tattoo while in D.C. last week. Changed my mind at the last minute and knew immediately it was the right decision. It wasn’t the permanence of a tattoo that changed my mind. Rather, the insight that tattoos are not permanent.

Oh sure, that ink will be beneath your skin for a lifetime, but how long is that, really. A blink of the Cosmic Eye. Is there really that much difference between a child’s lick-it-and-stick-it tattoo and an some elaborate kanji that translates to: “I’m a dip-shit who thinks this is ‘Bad Ass’ in Japanese?”

If you’ve stayed with me this far, you can understand why the Sharpie-drawn fez by the talented Mr. Roe has the same metaphysical lifespan as any other tattoo.

Paul Roe, British Ink

I jammed my way into some very crowded Metro cars to make my way down to M Street where Paul Roe [Fez #30], the owner of British Ink was taking part in an art exhibition called Artomatic.┬áPaul was doing pre-session consultations while his colleague, Cynthia, hummed away on a guy’s right bicep. He squeezed me in for a chat and I even got to sit in the tattoo chair.

The interview ran just under 12 minutes and I couldn’t find two to trim so I could post on YouTube as a single file. So it’s a two-parter.

Google Juice: Example #32

I do these from time to time, in spite of how self-serving they seem. That’s never my intention, given the modest traffic through this little alley of the Internet. I’m talking about Google ranking and how well blogs do in this most important metric.

In July of 2006, I posted passage from John Burdett’s second novel, Bangkok Tattoo. The subject –and title of the post– was “Western Concept of Self.”

Today, I happened across the post and decided to Google “western concept of self” (minus the quotation marks). Those are pretty common terms and Goggle returned almost 13 million pages with one or more of them. My little post was number two on that list.


So when clients ask me, how can they get their website to show up on the first page of Google search results, I always tell them the same thing: Start by making your site a blog and update it every day.

“Isn’t there some meta-thingy you can hide on the page that will force my site to the top of the rankings?”

Yeah, maybe. But I’m not your guy for that. I love that Google almost always helps me find what I’m looking for and I’m not keen on helping someone game the system. Even for money. (God, I hope I don’t get hammered by all the SEO experts. Can I just stipulate that you guys are right and I’m wrong?)

One final point and it has to do with blogs vs. newsletters. I’ve posted on this in the past. It came up again recently. The “village elders” of a local organization were unhappy with the blog one of their members maintains for them. They didn’t like having frequent, short items and wanted to go back to their “newsletter” format. Save up any news and post it all, once a month, at the same time.

Nothing wrong with that approach if you’re only interested in reaching the people who are already in the organization and know to go check the website once a month. But if you’re trying to reach more and new people, you want that Google juice. Blogs deliver. Newsletters… not so much.

We’ve come a long way from the banner ad

A tip of the fez to The Dulle Man for pointing us to this clever bit of marketing. It’s probably funnier if you speak Portuguese, but it works if you don’t.

Put your first name in the first field and your last name in the second field… then click on "Vizualizar" link, bottom/left. And if you’re quick enough, you can grab a frame like this.

De plane! De plane!

I’ve been helping my friend Taisir feed and care for a blog for his coffee shop. It’s a labor of love and I’m there every morning anyway. With help from Phil we got his domain in place.

In time, we hope to build an online community to compliment the one he has built with his customers.

It was in this spirit that I stopped by Our Ink Don’t Stink and got my first body art.

Cool Tattoos

Thanks to a fascinating new technique you can cover yourself in body art and no one will be the wiser, unless they see you in the dark, which is the only time these tattoos are visible.

The new technique uses blacklight reactive ink, which is reactive to UV light. [The Cool Hunter]

My kind of scavenger hunt

I’m not a state fair kind of guy. I’m just not. But that just shows you how little imagination and creativity I possess. And why I missed the Hoosier Hunt at this year’s Missouri State Fair.

The Hoosier Hunt is what happens when black humor meets the digital age. You fire up your camera phone and bring back the following images:

  • Mullet
  • Marlboro T-Shirt
  • Woman 2x as big as her man
  • Matching shirts
  • Camel Toe or Melvin
  • Best girl’s ass (not your wife)
  • Best boy’s ass (not your husband)
  • Most tattoos
  • Most in need of having roots done
  • Picture in stranger’s hat
  • In same shot with girl with “D” cups
  • Picture with someone famous
  • In shot with Jeff Gordon fan
  • Woman in bikini top
  • Man/woman in overalls
  • Someone eating a turkey leg
  • Person wearing air-brushed T-Shirt
  • Woman with 80’s hair
  • Woman without a bra
  • Big belt buckle
  • Someone barefoot
  • Wearing two articles of John Deere clothing
  • Ugliest person with Big & Rich T-Shirt
  • Ugliest person with Cowboy Troy T-Shirt
  • Fat woman/man in belly shirt
  • Most facial hair

If you don’t find this amusing, you’re probably in one of the photos above. And, god willing, I will be able to share the winning images with you. I’m told there were three teams competing in this Hoosier Hunt and they’re compiling the winning photos and will share them here.

BusinessWeek: Don’t quit your day job, podcasters

Good article in Business Week about how difficult it is to make a living as a podcaster. Seems I am one of about 35,000 daily listeners to Keith and the Girl:

“Keith Malley and Chemda Khalili, the couple behind Keith and the Girl, an engaging, sometimes raunchy Howard Stern-like podcast, have cultivated a devoted online audience. (Six fans have already had Keith and the Girl tattoos done.) The show, which has 35,000 daily listeners, is just one part of the brand. Just as important to fans are the online forums and (NWS ) pages where they gather to talk about the show and their lives. As a result of this devotion, the audience last year was willing to snap up about $80,000 worth of T-shirts, key chains, and other merchandise.”

I bought a hoodie. Just trying to do my part.

Some would argue that $80K ain’t bad for just shooting the shit for an hour a day. But, as a regular listener, sounds to me like they’re working damned hard and earning every penny.

The ink that never was

Tattoo SleevesI confess I was surprised by the number of readers that –even for a moment– entertained the idea that I got real tattoos for my little video project. (You are the people that open the spam email)

It wasn’t Magic Marker. It wasn’t Photoshop magic (I should be so talented). Simple nylon sleeves that come in all sorts of designs and prices (from expensive to cheap. You can even get full-body faux tattoos.)

You pull these on and you start fantacizing about walking into a biker bar and GETTING IN SOMEONE’S SHIT, MAN!!

Everett reports you can still see plenty of jailhouse tattoos in Kennet.

“The L-O-V-E H-A-T-E across the tops of the fingers in ballpoint ink is most common, though the Dagger Dripping Tears on the forearm is a close second. Then there’s the guy who started on the wrong finger and got LOVE HAT.”

Everett loves hats.

Western concept of Self

John Burdett’s second novel, Bangkok Tattoo, was as good as his first (Bangkok 8). Both stories are set in (you guessed it) Bangkok, where Thai police detective Sonchai Jitpleecheep solves bizarre murders. Sonchai is a devout Buddhist and the plot is laced with Eastern religion. I especially liked this description of the Western concept of Self:

“…a ramshackle collection of coincidences held together by a desperate and irrational clinging, there is no center at all, everything depends on everything else, your body depends on the environment, your thoughts depend on whatever junk floats in from the media, your emotions are largely from the reptilian end of your DNA, your intellect is a chemical computer that can’t add up a zillionth as fast as a pocket calculator, and even your best side is a superficial piece of social programming that will fall apart just as soon as your spouse leaves with the kids and the money in the joint account, or the economy starts to fail and you get the sack, or you get conscripted into some idiot’s war, or they give you the news about your brain tumor.”

Ouch. The wannabe geek in me also enjoyed this password to a CIA online database:

AQ82860136574X-Halifax nineteen [lowercase] Oklahoma twenty-2 BLUE WHALE [all uppercase] Amerika stop 783

Won’t even fit on a Post-It note.