Archive | November, 2010

Please don't inform me of the correct date.

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Ah, folks, it’s that time of year again … the leaves are changing, there’s a chill in the air, and one of my favorite holidays is just around the corner. So what better way to start your Halloween festivities that to talk about the spookiness of Salem, Massachusetts?

Wait, what? It’s November? Halloween was weeks ago?

Well, crap.

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My site is usually full of many angry, cuss-filled rants about travel. Occasionally, though, I am lucky enough to write about good things as they pertain to the travel community. Today is one of those days, and frankly, this news warms the brittle lump of coal that is my heart.

I was recently asked to take part in Passports with a Purpose, an annual fundraiser started by a group of travel bloggers who decided they weren’t just going to see the world – they were going to make it a better place, too. Naturally, I jumped at the chance. In 2008, PwP raised $7,000 for Heifer International. In 2009, they raised nearly $30,000 to build a school in rural Cambodia. And this year? They’re upping the ante – and trying to raise $50,000 to build a village in India through a partnership with Friends of Lafti. Once complete, the village will serve as a home for the Dalit (untouchable) population in India.

Holy cats. I just got goosebumps typing that. Seriously – the lump of coal in my chest is positively glowing. Can you blame me for going against my true (cranky, occasionally evil) nature  and wanting to help out?

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Folks, I have news. Crazy exciting news. Well, perhaps not crazy, but exciting nevertheless. I mean, I hope you will find it exciting …

GOD, can I do anything without rambling? Evidently not.

Anyway, where was I? Oh, yeah – the news. I’ve started a new blog all about copywriting.  I wanted a place to ridicule discuss all the terrible copy and ads I encountered while traveling, and I didn’t think that the Everywhereist was the right forum. So I launched Copywronged. It’s full of the same snark and vitriol that you’ve come to expect from me, but it has the added bonus of fantastic pieces of copy like this:

This option should be on every menu.

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Everywhereist loyalists (yes, all three of you) fear not: I’m still going to be posting on this site as often as I have been. There’s now even a Facebook Group page dedicated to the Everywhereist, should you decide to profess your love from virtual rooftops. The group presently has disturbingly few followers. Not that I’m obsessively checking or anything.

And since Copywronged is brand-spanking-new, I’m still making some changes and tweaks. Let me know if there are any features you’d like to see, and I’ll ineptly browse through WordPress plugins to see if I can add them. Oh, and don’t hesitate to email me pictures of terrible copy or ads you encounter.

That’s it, folks. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got some blogging to do.

This was my first full week at home in ages, and I got to do all the things one dreams about while on the road: cooking elaborate meals in your own kitchen. Picking out clothing from a seemingly endless selection. Driving places and knowing exactly where you’re going. I suppose it’s not that big a deal, or that grandiose or special, but there’s something to be said about sleeping in your own bed.

And so, while I relish in being in one place for a little bit, here’s some fun stuff that I found on the internet this week …

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Do not bother reading the following paragraph unless you were, at some point in time, obsessed with The Babysitters Club (seriously – it will make no sense. For those of you BSC die-hards, read on: the brilliant gal behind What Claudia Wore started her own meme – Incredulous Kristy. And my submission made it to the site. SWEET.

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I … I have no words. This is pretty much the best headline ever written.

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My inner child is apparently alive and well, and she giggles like a fool every time she sees a rainbow.

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I am a ball of frenetic energy this morning, folks (note to self: stop snorting Pixie Stix. Really). So I hope you’ll forgive me if I can’t sit down long enough to type a coherent post, but instead I offer you pictures! Lots of pictures!

1. Union Oyster House at night.

Also, "Night Oyster" would be a terrible superhero.Though the tagline, "Extracting pearls of justice" would be pretty cool.

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2. Ask not what Urban Outfitters can do for you …

Wait - is he telling US to beware OF hipsters? Or is he telling hipsters to beware?

Wait - is he telling US to beware OF hipsters? Or is he telling hipsters to beware?

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A little while ago, I posed this question to folks on Twitter:

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A few people agreed with me, which was both comforting and alarming (you know, like a warm cuddly blanket that happens to be made of live gerbils). Oh, and my brothers replied: (more…)

It’s been a bit serious here on the blog over the last few days, and it seems a bit of levity is in order. After all, it can all be nudity and violation of inner sanctums, can it? No, no. Sometimes we need to throw a bit of idiocy into the mix, too.

I was doing some searches on Google the other day, because, as many of you know, my geographic knowledge is more than a little lacking. I can get lost inside my own closet (which, in my defense, is a walk-in). So I was delighted when I saw that the Google Suggest box that dropped down when I was typing revealed questions from people who were, to put it delicately, far stupider than I have ever been in my life. Let’s take a look at some of the suggestions I encountered …

I hear they're very clean and loyal.

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Things started out innocently enough. The phrase “Why can’t I own a Canadian?” became popular after idiot radio personality Dr. Laura claimed that homosexuality is immoral according to the Bible. Someone kindly wrote a letter to her, illustrating what happens when we take scripture too seriously…

Lev. 25:44 states that I may indeed possess slaves, both male and female, provided they are purchased from neighboring nations. A friend of mine claims that this applies to Mexicans, but not Canadians. Can you clarify? Why can’t I own Canadians?

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I mean, it’s not like the people doing these searches actually have some weird, completely inaccurate impression of what Canadians are like, right? (more…)

I feel badly. Yesterday I sufficiently freaked a lot of people out (I mean a lot of people. Thanks to everyone who retweeted the article) when I wrote about the invasive, privacy-violating, potentially-dangerous full-body scanners that are appearing in airports all over the U.S.

That’s not the part I feel badly about.

I feel badly because I told you about the problem, but I didn’t offer any solutions. And part of the reason for that was that I didn’t see that many viable ones. Unfortunately, the TSA and Homeland Security pretty much have full reign over this sort of thing, and can do whatever the hell they want (I mean, they have thus far). The other problem is that most people can’t avoid flying – a lot of us have jobs that require travel – driving or taking the train to our final destination just isn’t feasible. Still, there are a few things that you can do to make it clear to the TSA and the Department of Homeland Security that you aren’t going to stand for the full-body scanners.

1. Opt-out of the scanners, and select the pat-down option. You simply need to tell the TSA agent that you are opting out of the full-body scan, and they will give you a pat-down instead. Be warned that the pat-down is just as humiliating and invasive as the screens (perhaps more so). But it sends a message to TSA that the scanners are unacceptable. Give yourself a lot of extra time before your flight, since TSA officials have been known to keep people waiting for extensive periods of time. Their goal is to make pat-downs as unpleasant as possible for you (as it was for this blogger), in an attempt to force you back to the scanners.

2. Spread the word to your family and friends. Email them articles (like this one about the dangers of the radiation emitted by the scanners), encourage them to join Facebook groups, and do whatever you can to inform the people in your life about the b.s. we’re getting from the TSA.

3. Join my Facebook group. I’m trying to update the page with as much information as possible about the scanners and what you can do about them. And while you’re at it, why not “like” the ACLU’s Facebook page?

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