Friday, June 11, 2010

Search engine weirdness and a request...

It's always fun to see what search terms bring people to your website. I don't profess to have a clue how search engines work or what mysterious algorithms they use, but the results can be funny and sometimes, a little poignant and sad.

For example, as a result of this joke post my blog is now a first-page Google result for the term "how to trap mountain lion." And the results of said Google term have arrived from all over the place: Canada, Mexico, numerous states. Including states in which mountain lions occupy only the realm of cryptozoology and folklore. Who knew mountain lions were so common, and so threatening? I can only hope my own mountain lion trapping experience can be of  use to someone else...

Another one that recently caught my eye was the person who visited my site as a result of typing "why is there so much discontent in the modern world." Type that into Google and I'm the number four result. Seriously.

Those who know me best would say that it's an hilariously apropos result. After all, it isn't called the Mallard of Infinite Cheerfulness. But something about the image of some poor anonymous soul out there typing such a pleading, heartfelt and profoundly human question into what has become - in essence -  a de facto modern-day oracle, our All-Knowing Answer Machine, struck me as particularly sad.

That, or it's simply one of those "type a weird phrase into Google and see what results you get" type games. Which, when you think deeply enough about it, might say even more about the current state of the human condition than someone soliciting philosophical advice from a search engine. I'm sure Douglas Adams or Kurt Vonnegut could probably make sense and comedy of it were they still with us...

At any rate, I'll take a quick stab at it. Quick, because I've got a puppy chewing at my toes and a four-year-old tugging at my arm (which again, when you think about it deeply enough, might serve as some sort of answer in and of itself. Or at least a rebuttal).

So here goes:  Who the hell knows? You think I do? This isn't The Mallard of Self-Actualization, you know. All you can do is find something you believe to be true and worthy, and have the faith to stick with it. And if it brings you comfort, if it brings you a center, then there you go.

So maybe that's the answer: because too many people have lost the ability to identify what - if anything - is true and worthy in their lives. And whatever that may be, I doubt you're going to find it on Google. Sorry I couldn't offer anything better. Maybe there's an app for that. I don't know.

And now a request...

I'm planning on tinkering with the blog in the near future. I haven't done much (OK, anything) with the format in quite a while and one thing I desperately need to do is update the blogroll. If there is anyone out there among my legion readers with a blog they'd like me to include on the blogroll (if I haven't done so already), please let me know so I can include you. I know there have been several requests along those lines and I promise it's forthcoming, but just in case, those of you who have asked, could you remind me?


  1. Please change the brown background color. I read your blog daily, but it does present well on my monitor. Not enough contrast between your content and the background? Maybe it's my monitor, but your's is the only blog out of the many that I read regularly that doesn't "stand out" so maybe there's something about the brown background and black type, etc. Keep up the good work.

  2. I've got a blog post in mind about search-engine weirdness. I wonder if I could string a bunch of the stranger search terms together and make something semi-coherent. A recent favorite: "Are elf owls carnivores or vegetarians?"

    A couple blogs I might consider adding: Fat of the Land, Wandering Owl Outside.

  3. P.S. Wandering Owl Outside just became Listens to the Winds.

  4. I have taken a liking to John Shore's blog. He's a modern day Christian apologist. His readers are generally pretty level headed, well educated, and there are some great discussions that have been going down in his comments (and his Facebook page).

  5. Also, is perhaps one of the most interesting blogs I've ever read. You think that guy would run out of stuff...

  6. Chad, sign me up.

    Tovar, one would think the bird's name would give a clue as to its eating habits...
    : )