Looking So Hot in Them Silver-Blue Britches

There are two types of pro football fans; the ones who love the Cowboys, and the rest of us, who hate everything about them.  As if to rub salt in our wounds for any success they’ve ever had, some knucklehead once christened them “America’s Team” – a misnomer if ever there was one.  Fans of other NFC East teams will attest that it is in fact, un-American to be a Dallas fan, even if you live in Texas.

So, it was with a great deal of humor and a healthy dose of schadenfreude that I read about the latest controversy in the land of Romo.  Apparently fans of the team were greeted with an unexpected surprise when they clicked “cowboys.com” on their browsers.  It turns out that cowboys.com is not a exactly a pipeline to America’s Team.  It’s actually a gay dating site, dedicated to the Brokeback Mountain set, who are looking for a special guy in a Stetson hat.

The chaps aren’t metallic silver-blue, but you gotta love the hat. Git along, little dogie! (Image from gratuitousscience.com)

Likes: Camp fires, sleeping under the stars, show tunes.

Dislikes: Pushy people, replacement refs, the guy in the Village People who dresses like a Redskin – I mean really,  feathers?!  Girl -that’s so 1980’s!

Quite simply, this is the kind of thing that Dallas Cowboy haters everywhere will savor and laugh about for decades to come.  Sure you guys have Super Bowl rings.  Sure you have a shiny new stadium that’s bigger than the entire town of Pine Bluff, Arkansas.  Before you brag any further, let me say these three words to you: cowboys dot com!  The team I root for may be under-achieving again and headed for another disappointing season, but at least no one confuses them with a gay dating site. Not to imply that there’s anything wrong with gay dating sites, they just don’t go especially well with the National Football League – kind of like pairing a crisp Pinot Grigio with a Denny’s Meat Lovers Breakfast Combo.

My favorite team’s owner, who’s as filthy rich and detested as every other team owner in the NFL, had the good sense to buy the rights to anything and everything, including websites, which he could possibly parlay into profit and/or publicity for his business…I mean team.  I don’t know how the Cowboys let this happen.  I’m guessing that Jerry Jones, the team’s owner and self-appointed El Presidente for Life, has already fired several people in the social media and IT departments over this little golden turd.

I can just picture him, furiously waving stacks of money in the tiny offices of the website.  A vein is pulsing on his forehead as if the Giants just blocked what would have been the game-winning field goal.  Perhaps he’ll send one of his underlings to do his bidding.  Savvy deal-maker that he is, I’m thinking that he’ll choose that guy Dale from accounting.  Tell him to dress up as if he’s going to a hoedown and walk in kinda bowlegged, like he has an Appaloosa tied to the hitching post out-front.

Can’t you just picture it?

Dale saunters in through the swinging doors, orders a bottle of red-eye and tips his hat to the cute guy playing the pie-annie over by the poker tables.  The room hushes at the appearance of the tall, handsome stranger in the metallic silver-blue chaps with the shiny star.  He tosses a dollar coin to the piano player and asks him to play “sump’n purdy”.  Shocked by his generosity, the musician bites the coin to test for authenticity and then asks the cowboy in the glittery drawers what he’d like to hear.

“Play me some Ethel Merman if you know any, if not, Liza Minelli will do,” he drawls.

As the piano player launches into a medly of songs from “Gypsy”, the cowboys in the room resume their hollering, drinking and line dancing.  The handsome stranger picks up his bottle of red-eye and walks back to the table to sit and discuss business with the domain owner, a chubby feller in a black hat with a little too much wax in his mustache to be from these parts.  There’s a big burly guy standing behind Ol’ City-Whiskers – must be the hired muscle.

“I didn’t know we wuz bringing pets to this here meeting” Dale says, his steely glance showing no fear of the bear of a man.  “If’n so, I’da brought a coupla O-linemen from the practice squad”

He stands and stares at the hired muscle.  “Why doncha run along, son?  Pa and Little Joe are waiting fer ya back at the Ponderosa.  They’re likely worried sick bout ya by now”

City-Whiskers turns and nods to the mountain of a man and he reluctantly leaves, but not before giving Dale a look.  Ooo, such a look!

Dale smiles thinly and sits back down.  He pushes his hat back on his head with two fingers to the brim and pulls the cork out of the bottle with his teeth.  He pours a shot for Ol’ City-Whiskers, then takes a swig right out of the bottle himself.  It’s time to get down to business.

The deliberations are short and not so sweet.  City Whiskers makes it plain that he’s not changing his site name.  For the record, he’s not selling his land for pennies on the dollar just to make room for no dang railroad, neither.  Dale angrily rises from the table and tells him that he aint seen the last of him, not by a fer piece he aint.  He stalks out of the saloon, hops in the saddle and gallops back out to the Jones’ ranch to tell the boss man the news.

So yeah, my team might not be so hot, but Dallas fans know in their hearts that every away game for the next several years will include something witty about Cowboys.com written on a bed sheet hanging from the upper decks.  The cameras won’t likely show it, but the fans will see it and have a good chuckle.  Sarcastic T-Shirts will be worn, bumper stickers will be printed.  Not all victories show up in the win/loss stats.

As for the website, I wish them well.  Hopefully the massive surge of hits the story has generated will propel them to huge success.  Everyone deserves the right to find a date, including lonesome gay cowboys.  Giddyup!

Delete is such a strong word

I have to admit that, for the most part, I enjoy WordPress.

Blogging has given me a forum for my thoughts and has fueled my delusions of someday actually making money writing.  One of the cool things about it has been the ability to leave comments on the posts of writers whose work makes mine look pathetic, and then being tickled when they actually respond.

“Dear Mr. Hamill, I think you write real good, and you’re books r kewl. I know your busy being famous and righting another best seller. I just wanted to say Hi”
(Photo from nyu.edu)

I’ve never actually sat down and written fan mail to David Sedaris, Pete Hamill, or any of the other authors whose work I’ve enjoyed.  Maybe they would have written me back, but I tend to think they’d be too busy living in mansions and working on their next incredible book.

Anyway, back to WordPress.  They’ve recently upgraded their website and making comments now has strings attached.  I would always get an email telling me if an author had replied to one of my comments.  I also received notification anytime anyone commented on one of my posts, which I loved.  The other day, after the latest alterations to the site, that all changed.  Now, if I have commented on someone’s post, I started getting emails anytime anyone commented on that post.

This may seem like a minor change in how the site works, but consider this; some of the people whose work I admire can easily get 60 or 70 comments to a post.  If I read the posts early in their published state, and write a witty comment, my email box will blow up with the torrent of comments from other readers still to come.  If I commented on 4 or 5 author’s pieces, my incoming email grows exponentially by the end of the day.  Between those comment emails, ads for low cost E.D. pills, and great new recipe ideas for family-fun dinners from the Food Network, I barely have time to sift through my emails for electronic coupons from the Liquor and Wine SuperStore.

I decided to click the box on the bottom of the email to manage my subscriptions.  It was a simple process;  to avoid having my email box over-flow with other people’s comments about my favorite authors, I just needed to hit the “delete” icon below the author’s name.  “Delete”?!!  These are writers who I have “followed”.  I’ve “liked” their work on numerous occasions.  Would hitting “delete” be anything less than an obvious betrayal of my loyalty?  These hard-working, creative geniuses had earned my love and admiration.  Was I expected to delete them just because of my whiney complaints of having a full email box?

You don’t really mean that, do you?

Well…yeah.

I mean it’s really inconvenient to check my not-so-smart phone all day for emails, only to find that OkeydokeyDonkey220 has written a typo-riddled comment about The Byronic Man’s latest masterpiece.  I gritted my teeth and hit the dreaded delete button.  Almost immediately, the incessant chirping of my phone slowed to the pace of a poorly made metronome.  I closed my email then raced back to WordPress.  I wanted to hurry and refollow Byronic before he discovered what I’d done.  I was already cooking up lame excuses in my head to explain to him how I had accidentally hit the button in a tequila-addled state.  Perhaps I’d go with having my dog excitedly jump onto my lap upon hearing my laughter and hitting the key with her paw (Byronic doesn’t have know the cold truth about my dog’s disability).  Maybe I would blame it on the DEA, and tie it in with Byronic’s recent funny post – no Dave – don’t try to ride the coat-tails of someone else’s creativity – you’re (slightly) better than that.

I got to WordPress and clicked on Blogs I Follow.  There he was, still high on my list.  I didn’t understand, I’d hit delete.  My computer dictionary says that “delete” and “unfollow” are two different things, but my inner voice tells me otherwise.  I hit refresh a couple of times just to be sure.  The Byronic Man was still there, right where I’d left him.

Apparently, the people who run WordPress, a blogging site for literary wannabees with varying levels of talent, chose to use the word “delete” when perhaps a different word may have been more apropos. Was it too much to expect that the people at a website dedicated to the expression of the written word could have chosen a more suitable phrase or single word for us to click to keep from getting emails?  They could have chosen any number of alternates.  Some of the candidates which come to mind are:

“terminate”

“You deserve better than me”

“fuggetta-bow”

“neglect”

“We’ve grown apart”

“screw”

or my personal favorite,

“discontinue receiving comments on this post via email”

Obviously, WordPress has the same problem as almost every other business in the world.  They have idea guys, worker bees, and somewhere, in a room with a special key and way cooler office chairs than everyone else, they have the I.T. department: those tech savvy guys and gals with the names you may or may not have trouble pronouncing.  Like most I.T. departments, they feel the need to run massive, complicated upgrades to the site every so often.  The sleek new look of the site and “increased fluidity of the browser-main frame interface” will accomplish two significant things:

1)  It will frustrate the daily users of the site, who’ve become accustomed to finding their way around without being stranded or hopelessly lost

2)  It will give the I.T. staff plenty to do developing the next site upgrade/facelift

Luckily, bloggers like me can feel free to write any kind of criticism we care to about the I.T. types as they don’t generally bother spending much time on the actual content of the site, preferring to stand behind the curtain of the Great and Imperial Oz.  These tech-heads just wreck it for the rest of us, making life difficult while creating work for themselves to feed off the corporate teat a little longer.  I’m not afraid of some I.T. dopes.  What are they going to do to me?

In any case, I’m glad that when they said delete, they didn’t really mean it.