It’s Raining Spiders … and Stuff

Ladies and gentlemen, it has rained spiders in Brazil. Yes … spiders. Rained. IN BRAZIL.

The land which gave birth to Zumba has now become Stephen King’s official playground. And you can thank the “social spider,” a group of arthropods working together to form a giant web to catch their prey.

Now that’s socialism, folks.

 

Thank you to 12 News in Phoenix, Ariz. for originally informing me of this (intriguing? terrifying?) phenomenon.

[… Shudder …]

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AND IN OTHER NEWS:

**I officially ended the world’s longest eyelash debacle on Sunday. Not sure how this happened, but I wound up with an eyelash stuck in my eye for a MONTH. A month, people. Do you have any freakin’ clue what it’s like to wake up every morning to an eyelash jabbing its way into your cornea, with NO recourse? I poked, I stabbed, I rubbed; yet that dang thing would not budge. For this alone, I think I deserve a spot in the “Guinness Book of World Records.”

the_black_keys

**The Black Keys won three Grammys. The Black Keys are seriously the coolest musicians EVER (except for my dad, of course).  I saw them, LIVE, with my sister, back in October, and they tore it up. And last night, they won THREE GRAMMYS, which means my El Camino ticket stub is now worth some mula. $$$$ 🙂 (Not that I’m selling it … suckers!)

**Java jam. That’s it, people. Jam made from espresso. A piece of Heaven really does exist here on earth. I may now die in peace.

**My cat peed on his own this morning. VICTORY!

cat in litter box

5 Reasons the World is Ending: No More Saturday Mail!

It’s over! It’s all freakin’ over. I always said when the mail stops coming on Saturdays, the world is ending.

And on Wednesday, the Post Office announced it: no more Saturday mail.

SkywalkerNooooo

I want to thank the Arizona Republic and the Associated Press for publishing the story and letting me know I can now begin preparations to DIE. Just as long as I don’t decompose under a parking lot, like poor King Richard III.

Not that I believe in “The Book of Revelation” (in fact, I’m Jewish), but I’m sure if you dig deep enough—somewhere within its dark pages of death and destruction—you’ll find something about the mail ceasing to deliver on Saturdays.

I am convinced we are only months away from the REAL Armageddon.

City_Zombies_Wallpaper__yvt2

And here are 5 reasons why:

  1. We are running out of IP addresses. Don’t believe me? Go take a class in Cisco networking. You think the wars over cinnamon were bad (yes, empires actually rose and fell over cinnamon)? Just wait until no one else can log onto the Internet.
  2. Stars Wars married Mickey Mouse. If George Lucas no longer retains the right to sue you for using the word “lightsaber,” I think we’ve reached a whole new dimension in history. Hopefully, Disney isn’t as bad … but maybe I should call my lawyer, just in case?
  3. Twinkies joined the dinosaurs.  Ever seen the movie, “Zombieland,” starring Jesse Eisenberg and Woody Harrelson? If you haven’t, you need to know only two things: Zombie Apocalypse and extinction of the Twinkies.
  4. Guns now shoot lightning bolts. Yes! You can thank the United States Army for this. We now have LASER GUNS that can shoot freakin’ LIGHTNING BOLTS (thanks WIRED Magazine). Dying isn’t good enough; we need to rip our enemies’ electrons from their surrounding air molecules, first.
  5. NO MORE SATURDAY MAIL. Really … need I say more???

How Did King Richard III End Up Under a Parking Lot?

If I was a king, I’d be pretty peeved if I wound up buried under a parking lot, of all places.

Then again, if I was a king, I’d be pretty peeved—period—since I’m a GIRL. Well anyway, this is exactly what happened to England’s King Richard III. In case you haven’t heard the news, scientists confirmed Monday that a skeleton they found during an archeological dig last August is, indeed, the King.

Not only that, but CNN reports how DNA extracted from the bones “was matched to Michael Ibsen, a Canadian cabinetmaker and direct descendant of Richard III’s sister, Anne of York.”

Could you imagine being that guy?

One minute, you’re sawing through wood in some remote town in Canada, and the next minute, you’re freakin’ ROYALTY.

Dude, seriously … I need some of that karma. Now.

However, should my dream ever come true and I end up as “Queen Shari,” I’d much rather decompose under a shopping mall. With cute shoes.

So Kim Kardashian’s Baby Bump is Showing; WHO CARES?!

As I logged into my Yahoo! account yesterday to check my very important and serious email … there were the words … bitch-slapping me across my tender cheeks:

Kim Kardashian’s Baby Bump is Showing!

[Pause … for effect.]

When my eyes finally adjusted to the message, you know what words fluttered through my delicate brain?

300-KimKardashian-012413-jpg_173908

‘Who the f– cares!’

I mean, really. I’m not trying to be a celeb grinch or anything, but how many women become pregnant each year? I’ll tell you (yes, I actually looked this up):

In the U.S. alone, nearly 4 MILLION births take place each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And that’s births. Can you imagine how many women actually become pregnant?

So Kim Kardashian’s baby bump is showing.

(Note: NOT “Kim Kardashian’s Baby is BORN,” or “Kim Kardashian in Custody Battle”)

Hmmm. To complement this fascinating, breaking, Pulitzer-worthy story, here are some other items that made headlines on Thursday, Jan. 24:

KIM KARDASHIAN’S BABY BUMP IS SHOWING!

excited-woman

Quick, grab the camera! Light a fire! No, sound the tornado sirens! Hell, make it a nuke warning! Close the movies, call the President … hurry, someone get me a pedicure! STAT!

Meanwhile, I demand a headline of my own: “Shari Lopatin Drives Car.”

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14 Ways to Use Duct Tape that You Never Knew Existed

So did you hear about the man who got duct-taped to his seat on an airplane?

No, this is NOT the start of a stupid joke. It really happened … in Iceland. Seriously:

Which got me thinking about the numerous ways we can use duct tape. Like, for instance, back in high school, the battery to my portable brick—a.k.a. cell phone—fell off. Rather than buying a new one, I just duct-taped it back together and walked around like that ’till college.

Because I’m just that cool.

So here are 14 uses for duct tape that I bet you NEVER even knew existed:

  1. Wallpaper
  2. Household bug trap
  3. Cheap Frisbee
  4. Do-it-yourself bikini wax
  5. Band Aid
  6. Nail polish remover
  7. Car parts adhesive
  8. Fat reducing body shaper
  9. Handmade tug-of-war rope
  10. Lipstick substitute (seriously, try it!)
  11. A ball to amuse your cats
  12. Nose-pore cleaner
  13. Tin Man Halloween costume
  14. And finally … silencer for that “God, shoot me now!” annoying-as-hell coworker

So tell me, what are some ways YOU use the ever-beloved duct tape?

A World Without Twinkies (NOOOOO!!!)

But alas, ’tis the final season of those yellow sponges filled with a taste of Heaven.

TwinkiesCry, stomp, bawl and threaten all you want. It won’t stop Hostess—the maker of Twinkies—from closing its doors, according to an Associated Press article published in the Arizona Republic today:

“The maker of the iconic snack Twinkies said Friday it is going out of business and laying off all of its 18,500 workers after a national strike crippled its operations.

The company, founded in 1930, was fighting battles beyond labor costs. Competition is increasing in the snack space, and Americans are increasingly conscious about healthy eating.”

F- that! Could you imagine a world without Twinkies?

  • Or Ding Dongs
  • Or Snowballs
  • Or Suzie Qs (that is Hostess, right?)

This situation reminds me strangely of the movie, “Zombieland,” where Twinkies have vanished off the face of the earth. Perhaps we ARE approaching the Zombie Apocalypse after all.

So if I were you, I’d stock up. Because the next time you get a Twinkie craving, you might suffer through the realms of infinity … and beyond.

What Will It Take?

I haven’t blogged in more than a month because I’ve been busy with other life priorities, but today, an image from The Atlantic forced me to stop and post:

Syria, AP Photo/Manu BraboThe photo was snapped in Syria by Associated Press Photographer Manu Brabo, and the caption reads:

“A Syrian man cries while holding the body of his son near Dar El Shifa hospital in Aleppo, Syria, on October 3, 2012. Three suicide bombers detonated cars packed with explosives in a government-controlled area of the battleground Syrian city of Aleppo on Wednesday, killing at least 34 people, leveling buildings and trapping survivors under the rubble, state TV said. More than 120 people were injured, the government said.”

As a journalist, I knew this image was more than just a photograph, and had to be shared. As a human being, it made me ask, “What will it take to stop this bloodshed?”

A friend and former colleague of mine is a survivor of the Bosnian War. Her family suffered genocide. Whenever I see images of that conflict, it affects me deeply, because I’ve watched my friend cry—decades later—as if the wounds are still fresh.

Syria is beginning to remind me eerily of Bosnia.

I do not know the answer. I’m aware the U.S. is not capable of getting involved in another conflict, but I find myself asking, “Where the heck is the REST of the world??”

What in God’s name will it take, to make this stop?

Are Blogs Dying?

Two weekends ago, I spent my Saturday and Sunday in Washington, D.C. (for the first time—yeah!) at the 7th Annual Military Blogging Conference … and an interesting subject arose during one of the panels.

Are blogs dying?

DeathAnd therefore, subsequently, is the future of sustaining an online presence moving the way of social engagement on Facebook pages and Twitter feeds only?

I found this to be fascinating, because several “old school” military bloggers, who’d been around since 2004/05, mentioned they’d noticed their readership vastly deteriorating. However, some younger bloggers talked about how their Facebook engagement was growing, the conversation therefore moving away from their blog to social networks.

The Social Movement

OK, so here’s what I think: Blogs are not dying (they better not be, or else what the freak am I doing here?). Their methods of drawing website traffic are merely evolving.

Is this a bad thing? Well, that depends on YOU. How resistant are you to accepting change and implementing it? From my personal, as well as professional experience, it appears blogs are not becoming obsolete; however, it’s completely pointless to maintain one if you’re not on Facebook, or Twitter, or both.

I’ve built a readership using my blog. It’s a way for me to write and find readers. I’ve even gained a few freelance jobs through this blog (God bless it!). However, if I relied on my blog solely, would I have reached success?

Definitely not.

I relied, and still do rely, on Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, and other bloggers to drive traffic to my site. Without the “social platform,” my blog would not—and could not—survive.

Perhaps the bloggers at the conference had a point. Blogs, in their older forms, are dying. They are no longer the go-to hubs for conversation. Maybe it’s time to think of blogs in a different light. Let your social pages drive conversation, and let those conversations drive traffic to your blog, where visitors can delve deeper into subjects or ideas. Best of all, they can learn more about YOU.

WHAT DO YOU THINK? Are you seeing less traffic to your blog? Are blogs, in their original forms, dying?

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Top (Funniest) Tweets on ’50 Shades of Grey’

Before you ask … NO, I haven’t read it. But that doesn’t mean it’s not blog-worthy.

50 Shades of GreyIf you haven’t heard about “50 Shades of Grey” yet, you might as well be living in a cave … an ice cave … at the top of Mount Everest.

Continue reading Top (Funniest) Tweets on ’50 Shades of Grey’

5 Lessons I’ve Learned from Reporter to PR

I used to hate PR (public relations) people when I worked on the newspaper. And really, I still kinda cringe when someone calls me a PR professional.

“I’m in media relations,” I always correct them.

I don’t spin. I don’t twist. I just educate the public the best I can for a company. Would I love to pound the pavement again as a journalist seeking the truth, living the edgy life? Yea, I dream about it. I’m not gonna lie.

BUT … I will say that I’ve learned several lessons on my road from reporter to “media relations.” And if I ever make it back, I’ll definitely apply them!

So, here are my top five takeaways I’d like to share—whether you’re a writer, reporter, or PR hack:

1) Not all journalists are honest, or accurate.

Trust me, this was a HUGE surprise to me. And quite honestly … a blow. My job on the newspaper was my first out of college, and I truly believed that every journalist was ethical—like me. But after working on the PR side, I realized that some reporters don’t care about the truth; they only care about their angle. Whether from laziness or an agenda, I’ve witnessed journalists report blatantly false information. Lesson? Don’t believe everything you read, always research the facts yourself, and treat ethical journalists like royalty.  

2) Understanding media strategy or content marketing can HELP writers or reporters, not hurt them.

Not to brag, but I believe I’m the perfect example of this. As a reporter, I’d slap you if you mentioned the word “blog” to me. However, after entering the world of media strategy, I started this blog, Facebook, and Twitter. Now, I have a readership … and I haven’t even published a book yet! Lesson? Any reporter who can build an ENGAGED following will more efficiently distribute the news … so don’t run from the concept of content marketing.

3) Multi-media and diverse writing is now a requirement, for anything.

I left journalism right as the newspapers began to collapse in December 2007. I began my new job in PR at the start of 2008, allowing me to witness the media world’s transition from the outside. I used this time to develop my skills in writing for the Web, social media, blogs, magazines, newspapers, e-newsletters, business, and to persuade. No longer can I find a writing job that merely asks for experience in print. Lesson? The more you understand multi-media–as well as writing for different audiences—the better chance you have of landing a job!

4) Learning to pitch well isn’t only for PR people. Freelance journalists need it for editors, and writers need it for literary agents.

I’ve been able to help creative writer friends perfect their query letters to literary agents. And I’ve advised journalists on pitching a solid story to a magazine editor (and landed freelance gigs myself). Why? Because I’ve become an expert in pitching. Understanding “the tease” has become a vital skill in anything media-related today. Lesson? Don’t think of pitching as selling out; instead, embrace what you can learn, and use it to your advantage!

5) The basics ALWAYS apply.

Bottom line, I still attribute information to its sources, even when writing for a company. My leads are always 30 words or less. And I always keep my readers in mind; the goal is still to inform them, regardless of the outlet. Lesson? The basics are taught for a reason. THEY WORK. So … never forget them.

WHAT ABOUT YOU? Do you agree with my observations? Have you witnessed something contrary, or additional? Discuss …