The Power of Brett Keisel’s Beard

It should come as no surprise to anyone reading MuchAdo that very little planning or thought was given to MuchAdo before its launch. In fact, other than a reluctant guest blogging stint on my cousin’s site in 2002, I never thought about blogging at all. As a result, the MuchAdo adventure has come with a number of very pleasant surprises. For example, who know that the fine folks at WordPress provide their bloggers with a number of analytical tools. Now, were MuchAdo a site with advertising revenue, aspirations of advertising revenue, or anything resembling an organized attempt to do something more lofty than simply exist, those analytical tools would probably be pretty darned handy. In the case of MuchAdo, however, they are less a tool than a source of constant entertainment.

One of those tools shows the search terms people use to end up at MuchAdo. What have I learned from that tool? Well, for one, Brett Keisel’s beard should have its own agent. Keisel, as you may know from a previous post, is a defensive end for the Pittsburgh Steelers known for having a beard that looks, at times, as if the bewhiskered Keisel is carrying Troy Polamalu in a Baby Bjorn. What you may not have known is that there are a lot of people with what I can only assume is a very unusual interest in Brett Keisel’s beard. (Or possibly a small number of people with an extremely unhealthy interest in Mr. Keisel’s beard.) At least 59 clicks through to MuchAdo have been as a result of searches related to Mr. Keisel and his beard. FIFTY-NINE! And the number may be as high as 73. (Do I count “steelers beard” or my favorite, “older beard man”?) Now were this Google or The Drudge Report or Beards.org (yeah, that exists), that might not be significant. But given the relative anonymity of MuchAdo, 59 is a large number.

Behold, The Beard!!

Especially when you consider the work those 59 searchers had to do to get to MuchAdo. Let’s look at the most popular search term landing folks (or, again, one really weird dude in Oil City, PA) here: “brett keisel.” Any idea how many pages into that Google search you have to go before you find MuchAdo? Me neither. This is my site, and I’m not even interested enough to figure that out. I made it eight pages in before I was distracted by something more interesting (which is to say, just about everything). The results are decidedly more favorable on Bing, where MuchAdo shows up by Page 6. But here is my question to the readers of MuchAdo. “When was the last time you looked at six or more pages of search results?” I’m guessing your answer is a resounding, “Ummmm . . . never!” In fact, the most recent edition of The Big Book of Internet Statistics sites the following statistic:

The average internet searcher reviews no more than three pages of search terms. One notable exception occurred during the six day period between the introduction of The Internet and the day on which pornography became widely available for free. During that six day period thousands of technology savvy thirteen year old boys would routinely review dozens of pages of search terms. Since that period, it is virtually unheard of for anyone to review more than four pages of search terms.

I have no doubt you read that and think, “There was a six day period of the internet without free porn?” This is why the research staff at MuchAdo takes the time to consult exceptionally scholarly, very credible and highly fictional resources like The Big Book of Internet Statistics. But seriously, how is it possible that people (or that sketchy dude) landed here 38 different times whilst knee deep in a search for information about a hirsute defensive end?

I’m afraid this is where the research staff has come up a bit short. We are left only with a series of questions and very few answers. Questions like, “Why are people so interested in Brett Keisel’s beard?” “Why are we all using Google when Bing is so clearly superior?” And “Why, for the love of God, would a search for ‘older beard man’ land someone on MuchAdo?” And though we do not have the answer to any of these questions, I think we can all agree on one thing: that we will never, ever do a search for the term “older beard man.”

So, in the name of research, I ask that anyone who has landed here because they were searching for information about Brett Keisel, Brett Keisel’s beard or something having to do with older beard man, please do us all a favor and leave a comment with the following information:

  1. What search term you used to get here;
  2. Why you were searching that term;
  3. What search engine you used;
  4. What page of the search results you were on when the link to MuchAdo appeared;
  5. On a scale of 1 to 10, how disappointed you were to end up on MuchAdo, with 1 being “Man, this is the best Brett Keisel/beard site on the internet” and 10 being “Dude, where are all the naked pictures of Brett Keisel/dudes with beards!?!” and
  6. What is Oil City, PA like?

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Listen to This — Girl Talk, All Day

What do you think about as you lay awake at night? If you’re like me, the restless monologue goes something like this, “God, I love this bed. OK, time for some sleep . . . wait, did I set the alarm? Yeah, I set it in the kitchen . . . ooh, I forgot we bought ham. Is it too late to have some ham? I’m not going all the way downstairs for ham. I could wake HK up and ask her to get me some ham. We should totally get a ham refrigerator for the bedroom. But where would we put it? It would have to go on the floor, and the damned kids would constantly be stealing my ham. Dammit, kids, stop stealing my ham!”

OK, so I bet I know what you’re thinking. “Is there such a thing as a ham refrigerator?” I don’t know, but that’s something we should explore at a later date.

There are those of us whose bedtime thoughts trend toward the smoked meats and then there are people like Gregg Gillis. I would be willing to bet that Gillis, a musician who performs and records under the stage name Girl Talk, does not lay in bed at night wondering about ham refrigerators. And that is not because I Imagine Gillis being disinterested in ham, but rather because a man as creative as Gillis no doubt solved the midnight ham problem (a pretty good album name, if you ask me) long ago. And so, when Gillis finds himself wondering whether Radiohead and ODB (that’s Ol’ Dirty Bastard for those of you not in the know) are musically compatible, fortunately for us Gillis’s response is not, “Dammit, brain, get back to the ham!”

20120324-003220.jpg

Gillis translated this, and many, many other similarly ludicrous thoughts, into a mashup album entitled All Day. In the year-and-a-half since I first downloaded All Day, I have listened to it countless times, and it is only recently that I’ve been able to listen to the album without being distracted by the sheer brilliance (and, let’s be honest, absurdity) of Gillis’s creation. The album’s first track, “Oh No” begins by pairing Black Sabbath’s “War Pigs” with “Move Bitch” by Ludacris. I’m not sure what more to say about that, except that the tracks, recorded 32 years apart, sound as if they were always meant to be together.

And that is the genius of Girl Talk — Gillis’s frightening ability to not only conceptualize these combinations, but also to execute on that vision. At times, Gillis layers his tracks with seven or more songs at a time, but he does it with such skill that it is only after dozens of listens that you are able to fully comprehend what it is he has assembled. By the time “Oh No” comes to a close (with a rousing combination of J-Kwon’s “Tipsy,” “Blitzkrieg Bop” by The Ramones, Aaliyah’s “Try Again” and “Waiting for the Sun” by The Doors) you are left wondering if the rest of the album could possibly be as good as the first track. It is.

Throughout the album, Gillis pairs Beck and Snoop Dogg, Fugazzi, Sir Mix-a-Lot and Rihanna, Peter Gabriel and Foxy Brown, Miley Cyrus, M.O.P. and Whodini, T’Pau (c’mon, you know you love you some “Heart & Soul”), Skee-Lo, Notorious B.I.G. and Talking Heads, and dozens of other radically disparate artists. The beauty of All Day is that the whole is dramatically greater than the sum of its parts. Tracks that you may despise on their own (can you say, “All The Single Ladies”) become decidedly better in Gillis’s world. And what a wonderful world it is.

Oh, and did I mention that All Day is free? So go download it now and listen to it. A lot. And then, once you’ve listened to it enough that your brain stops shouting, “What the . . . seriously?!?” go and listen to it again here. The fine folks at Mashup Breakdown created an audio player and map (of sorts) that displays which of the 372 tracks sampled on All Day are being played at any given time during a track. Once you’ve listened to the inspired duet between Radiohead and ODB found on “Jump On Stage” you’ll learn what Gillis likely knew all along — ODB and Radiohead were made for each other.

Wanted: Inspiration

There comes a time in every hack blogger’s career (i.e., free time) when he must write the obligatory, “I Have Nothing to Write About” post.  This, my friends, is that post for the staff and writers of MuchAdo.  All of MuchAdo’s readers (by which I mean “Both of MuchAdo‘s readers”) have been so kind (which is to say, “have not openly criticized the blog”), that we simply cannot bear to write just any old thing* and risk any (either) of you losing faith in the quality (passable strings of mostly real words) you have come to expect from MuchAdo.  The writers at MuchAdo strive for excellence in every post they write, and we believe that one of them may achieve that goal some day.  Probably accidentally.   Certainly not soon.  But they’ll keep trying.

But Who’s To Blame?

In trying to determine why we’ve found ourselves in the midst of this creative famine (and, yes, I understand that we weren’t exactly awash in creative brilliance before this), it occurs to me that The World is truly to blame here.  First, The World has held no Superbowls for several weeks now.  Second, The World has not caused Joel Stein to send any additional e-mails (other than the one where he thanked me for plugging his book and called me a “condescending ass,” but I think we’ve pretty much ridden that train as far as it will go).  Finally, The World has caused people to pretty much behave at the grocery store.  In other words, what the heckfire is a guy supposed to write about?

Oh, sure, there is all that political stuff, but do we really want MuchAdo to be associated with those clowns?  Exactly.  Not until we get closer to the election and we can write something truly poignant (i.e., something that might get people to arrive here for some reason other than the hope of glimpsing Brett Keisel’s beard).

The Phrase That Pays (But Not Really)!

So, that leads me to the purposes of today’s post.  First, is there is anything you would like to see us writing about?  If so, leave a note in the comments section. (And remember to leave your name so we can thank you!)  Second, are you tired of “us” referring to “ourselves” as a staff of writers and researchers when “we” are, in fact, just a guy in his boxers sitting on the couch? If so, leave a note in the comments section to let us know. (And remember to leave your name and e-mail so “we” can send you a picture!)  Third, would you like to win a valuable prize**?  If so, click on every link in this post and be the first to leave a comment including the phrase “I read every post and each one was better than the last.  I laughed.  I cried.  It was better than cats (the animal, not the Broadway show — nothing is better than Cats).  MuchAdo is the greatest!” (And remember to leave your name and e-mail so we can send you your prize!***)

But What If Someone Beats Me To It?

The editorial staff (ha!) at MuchAdo will verify all entries to determine whether all links were actually clicked.  In the event that the first commenter claiming the grand prize*** failed to meet the requirements of the contest, the next commenter who meets the requirements will be our lucky winner.  That means you should keep trying to win, even if dozens (HA!) of others have already posted the winning phrase.

Good luck!!!

* Items written or posted on New Year’s Eve were not included in this analysis.

** There is no valuable prize.

*** First place is a free lifetime† subscription to MuchAdo!!

(Note: prize is only valid until MuchAdo becomes a subscription-based service, at which time prize winner will be required to pay like everyone else.)

Top Ten Super Bowl 2012 Predictions

Inspired by Senator Jon Kyl’s dogged insistence on accuracy and fact-finding, the research staff at MuchAdo has meticulously combed through 40+ years of data and analysis to compile the following list of predictions for Super Bowl 2012.

1. Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth will read dozens of promotions for NBC shows like Smash and The Voice and The Biggest Loser with all the enthusiasm of a glossophobic delivering a eulogy.

2. Hardcore fans of both the New York Giants and the New England Patriots will be decidedly more coherent after several cocktails than they were before.  This does not include Boston Mayor Tom Menino.

3. Regardless of which team wins, Patriots quarterback, Tom Brady, will spend the next year atoning for making super model wife, Gisele Bundchen, go to Indianapolis.  Millions of men across the planet will still wish they were him.

4. Watching Pittsburgh Steelers defensive end, Brett Keisel, shave his beard will be significantly more entertaining than all but three of the $3.5M+ commercials.

Bearderrific!!!

5. Dozens of viewers will require medical attention after trying to determine whether Madonna’s plastic surgery, the performers from Cirque du Soleil, or Cee Lo Green’s outfit is the most disturbing part of the Super Bowl halftime show.  They will be thankful come Monday morning when they are the only people in America not singing “Wiggle, wiggle, wiggle, wiggle, yeah!” following LMFAO’s performance.

What? This Old Thing?

6. Neither a Super Bowl win nor a Super Bowl loss will make Rob Gronkowski more intelligent or better at speaking Spanish.  Either one will make him more attractive to porn stars.

7. You will consider, but ultimately resist, force-feeding Cheez Whiz and Buffalo wings to that one annoying party guest who feels compelled to say, “Isn’t there anything healthy to eat at this party?!?”  You will have made the wrong choice.

8. Giants coach Tom Coughlin and Patriots coach Bill Belichick will scowl.  A lot.  [Ed. Note: In all fairness to the research staff at MuchAdo, coming up with ten whole things isn’t as easy as it seems.]

9. Baltimore Ravens kicker, Billy Cundiff, will spend the entire Super Bowl praying that Patriot’s kicker, Stephen Gostkowski, or Giants kicker, Lawrence Tynes, shank a gimme worse than his AFC Championship gaff so people will stop referring to boneheaded mistakes as “Cundiffs.”

10. Someone will feel compelled to read this blog post aloud at a critical moment during the Super Bowl, and they will be hoisted on the shoulders of their friends and lauded as a hero.  Seriously.

Community Organizing . . . Kinda Like Obama, but Not Really

When I started MuchAdo, I gave absolutely no thought to a MuchAdo community.  At that time, the only “community” I envisioned  on MuchAdo was sitting across the room from me doing a crossword puzzle.  It turns out that there are a decent number of you reading MuchAdo (well, a decent number compared to one), and the best part of this experience, by far, has been the (mostly) kind words from people reading my silly posts.  Well, that, and reading the search terms that sometimes land people on MuchAdo.  (Suffice it to say I am second guessing my decision to name a post “She Put What Where?!?“)

So, in the name of community building, I’ve added some options for folks who are interested in following MuchAdo.  Just click on the “Instant Happiness” button (you’ll see it if you’re logged in to your WordPress account) or enter your e-mail address on the right side of the page (if you’re not logged in or don’t have a WordPress account).  Plus, if you like what you’ve been reading, I’d love for you to share MuchAdo with others.  It has been somewhat shocking to me how many complete strangers have found MuchAdo and stuck around to read a bunch of posts (especially when they were looking for something MuchAdo clearly isn’t offering).  If you want to refer readers to the site, you can give them the address (http://muchado.me) or click on the Facebook, Twitter or Press This buttons at the end of each post. 

Finally, feel free to leave comments on the site.  I’ve gotten a lot of feedback outside of the site, but it would be great to see more comments on MuchAdo.  Something tells me the MuchAdo readers (seriously, I’m pretty sure there’s more than one) will enjoy interacting.  Something also tells me that I may regret encouraging this behavior, but isn’t that what the internet is all about — making regrettable decisions for the whole world to see?

Thanks for reading.  I’ve really enjoyed this whole blogging experience and look forward to hearing more from you, the MuchAdo community!

Joel Stein* Reads This Blog . . .

A Mulletted The Joel Stein

That’s right. Joel Stein, general funny guy and frequent contributor to Time Magazine, the Los Angeles Times and a number of other A-list publications, reads this blog. The Joel Stein. Or possibly The Guy Who Responds To Joel Stein’s E-mail (let’s call him “TGWRTJSE”). Now, I would love to tell you that TGWRTJSE just happened to hear about MuchAdo while standing around the writer’s workshop (that’s a thing, right?). Or that the internet buzz about MuchAdo has reached a fever pitch. And I would really love to tell you that I did not, in an act of supreme douchery, write to The Joel Stein simply because his e-mail address (or rather TGWRTJSE’s e-mail address) is prominently displayed on his website, www.TheJoelStein.com. Sadly, that is exactly what I did.

Unfortunately, not being an e-mail-a-celebrity kind of guy, I had very little that I actually wanted to say to The Joel Stein (or to TGWRTJSE). However, it occurred to me that given his penchant for the funny, The Joel Stein might actually send a funny response to an e-mail from a random stranger (is there any other kind of stranger?). Or that he might be prone to hire someone who would send a funny response to an e-mail from a random stranger. (What is the opposite of a random stranger anyway? A particular stranger?)

I suspect I would feel like far less of a tool had I written what I imagine is the standard fan letter. (“Gee, Mr. Stein, I think you’re super neat.”) Instead, I proceeded to tell The Joel Stein (or TGWRTJSE) that after a week of writing a blog I was prepared to stand in for him should he need a week off from Time Magazine. I may also have implied that doing so would be a major step back in my career (which is to say that I said exactly that). But, TGWRTJSE being the class act that he is, responded with the following message:

I enjoyed your site. It’s full of stuff about art and photography and smart people stuff. Therefore, I will not let my editors know about you in case they want to replace me with something smart.

Joel

Decidedly nicer than, “Dear Condescending Ass, Your writing is amateurish and formulaic. Joel,” wouldn’t you say? I won’t fault TGWRTJSE for not getting past the home page of MuchAdo (let’s just say that the traffic patterns of MuchAdo are not all that hard to divine at this stage of its development). I’m just happy that he stopped by, read a few of the category topics, and sent a nice message. And I choose to believe that The Joel Stein, either as a result of having one too many margaritas or because he lost a bet with TGWRTJSE, will visit MuchAdo (again). So, Joel, if you’re reading this, thanks for the nice message. And the offer still stands, I’d be happy to stand in for you any time. I promise not to write anything smart.

[Note: The Joel Stein’s new book, “Man Made: A Stupid Quest for Masculinity” comes out May 15th. You might want to buy a copy.]

A Few of My (Least) Favorite Things . . . (Part 2)

Dear Passenger Behind Me in the Parking Lot,

Hey, I’m just writing to make sure you’re not upset with me.  It seems you may have misunderstood my intentions this afternoon.  I assure you that I meant no harm as I backed up to let another driver pull out of her space.  It seems that your boyfriend/husband/friend was in a hurry to get somewhere.  No doubt there was a snow emergency that could only be resolved by a Jeep Grand Cherokee plow.  I’ll admit that I’ve never seen a Jeep Grand Cherokee with a plow attached, so it may be that I violated some Soccer Mom Plowing Association’s code of conduct in my attempt to be gracious to another driver.  If so, I am deeply sorry.

But clearly I did something to upset you.   I thought it was nice of your boyfriend/husband/friend to abandon his attempt to pass me once he recognized that doing so might slightly inconvenience the poor woman pulling out of her space. No doubt when you drive a plow, you become acutely aware of the positives and negatives of driving your plow into the side of a car.  I’m assuming the negatives outweigh the positives, but I’ll admit that is just a guess.  Now, you might be worried that I was irritated by the fact that you stopped in a way that prohibited me from backing up further, but the truth is, the woman backing out had plenty of room to perform a 14 point turn.  And anyway, what’s life without a few challenges, right!

However, when you got out of the Grocery Getter Plow and called me an “a$$hole,” it occurred to me that you may have been upset.  I want you to know that I did not take it personally.  As I said, I’m quite sure I did something wrong.  Could it be that the woman I was letting out drives a Subaru Forrester with a plow attached?  Oh my, I certainly hope I didn’t give your arch plowing enemy a head start!  By the way, if you are at all worried that I am upset, do not give it a second thought.  In fact, I was quite happy for you.  Based on the way you tottered out of the cab of the “plow” and back in again, it looked as if you got quite a cardiovascular workout (not to mention the increased heart rate you were probably experiencing from the apparent anger), and I think the medical experts will come to the conclusion some day that that’s a good thing. So good for you on getting a leg up (slowly, but that’s OK) on that one.  And if you are at all concerned that your boyfriend/husband/friend was at all mortified by your behavior, I say, “Pshaw!”  I would guess a little guy like that is quite literally incapable of escaping the thought that he has been given more than he could ever have prayed for with a girlfriend/wife/friend like you!