About Les

I'm the guy that runs this place. You can contact me at: les@stupidevilbastard.com

Everyone loves my blog’s content and wants to help with it.

It seems like every day I get one to upwards of five emails from people who just love my blog and want to know if they can “collaborate” on a post or who feel they have a page that is way more informative than whatever thing I linked to in an entry written years ago and they just want me to know that if I’d be willing to link to them/let them write a post that they’d help me out by sharing my amazing website with everyone they’ve ever known in their entire lives.

Here’s an example from Tuesday the 14th with the links to their website removed:

Hi Les,

My name is Helen Sanders, I am the main editor at <website about health stuff redacted>

I just wanted to send you a quick email to let you know that we recently released a very comprehensive blog post on the benefits of cold showers.

While browsing your site, I noticed you linked to a piece from treehugger.com on the same topic from this page (https://stupidevilbastard.com/2016/07/apparently-showering-is-another-thing-im-doing-completely-wrong/).

I believe our piece is a lot more comprehensive, updated and quotes more trustable sources and I think it would be a great addition to your page.

If you were willing to add our link to that page, I would be more than happy to share it to our tens of thousands of social followers to help you gain some visibility in exchange.

Here is the link for your review:<link redacted>

Let me know what you think and thank you for your consideration!

Helen

Right off the bat it’s clear that Helen hasn’t been browsing my site nor has she read the entry in question. If she had then it should’ve been clear that the last thing my entry was doing was promoting taking cold showers. If anything, it’s a humorous rant against the idea of taking cold showers regardless of how healthy it would make me because cold showers suck. As such, there’s little need for a more comprehensive or updated source of information on the benefits of cold showers. The attempt at humor is in no way reliant on the accuracy of the article I linked to.

At least Helen gave me some details on what she wants from me. Just this morning I got this exciting offer:

Hello,

My name is Rick and I would like to write a guest post for your website. I think your blog is missing one great story that would be of interest to your readers.

Send me a text if you’re interested.

Kind regards,

Rick Slot.

What could it be?? How can I allow my die-hard readers to miss out on a great story like… like whatever it is he wants to write about? How can I sleep at night not knowing what amazing thing I and my readers are missing out on?

Here’s another one from yesterday:

Hi there,

My name is Jenna, I am the main editor at <website about dogs>.

While browsing your site, I noticed you have an amazing article from this page: https://stupidevilbastard.com/2011/12/what-do-you-get-when-you-combine-cute-puppies-and-christmas/

My team actually just published a comprehensive article on <article about dogs redacted> which I think your visitors would truly appreciate and add value to your awesome article.

You can check it out here: <website redacted>

If you were willing to add our link to that page, I would be more than happy to share it to more than 40 thousands of our social followers to help you gain some visibility in exchange.

Let me know what you think and thank you for your consideration!

Cheers,

Jenna D. Collier

Then there’s the ever helpful YOU GOT A BROKEN LINK IN AN ENTRY YOU WROTE 15 YEARS AGO SO LINK TO MY WEBSITE INSTEAD. Their concern for my site having broken links is nearly palpable:

Howdy Les,

I just finished reading your piece at https://stupidevilbastard.com/2002/12/dmca_abuses_continue_to_pile_up/, and I noticed you’re linking to a discontinued website here: TechDeals.net.

I just thought your readers might like to have an updated link.

A very similar resource can be found at <link to website redacted>. Might fit in as a good replacement, if I may say so myself 😀

Just a thought – keep up the great work and have an awesome day.

Cheers,

Angelica

Angelica here isn’t even offering to share my amazing article with her “umpteen tens of thousands, no, literally millions of visitors” for my trouble.

You need to step up your game, Angelica.

Shall we do one more? Sure, let’s do one more from two days ago:

Hi Les,

My name is John Rizzo and I run a one man PR/marketing agency. I recently found your blog and wanted to reach out on behalf of some of my clients.

Specifically, we are interested in guest posts and sponsored posts. Is this something you offer?

If so, could you please send over more information.

I appreciate your time and I hope the rest of your week goes well!

Thanks,

John Rizzo

You can tell John’s a professional as he’s using a standard Gmail account to send his inquiries. I’m sure all of those guest/sponsored posts would be of the highest quality.

To be honest, I’m surprised that I get a constant stream of emails like these considering the traffic to my blog isn’t what it used to be. The pages they want me to add their links to aren’t even in the top 10 of most popular threads on SEB. Most of them won’t even show up in the first few pages of a Google search for those topics. I can only assume they’re trying to gain page rank by getting as many places as possible to link to their websites.

Now usually I just delete these emails as they come in, but there’s a new trend as of late that has led to this rant: They won’t stop emailing me until I reply.

Allow me to illustrate with this one from March 13th:

Hi there,

I was just browsing Stupid Evil Bastard and saw you were interested in gaming from this post (https://stupidevilbastard.com/tag/ps3/), and so I thought you might also be interested in linking to a resource we put together on the health benefits of playing video games.

Here is a link for your review: [link redacted]

Our post is comprehensive, up to date, and quotes trustworthy sources to give our readers the best information available. We think it would be a great resource for your readers as well.

If you were willing to add our link to that page, I would be more than happy to share it to our tens of thousands of social followers to help you gain some more visibility in exchange.

Let me know what you think and thanks for your consideration!

Regards,

Danielle

Damn, but that sounds very familiar. Almost like Danielle and Helen from up top use the same automated bot to send those emails out. I love that Danielle here doesn’t even link to a specific entry, but to the category tag for posts about the PS3.

Anyway, I deleted the email and went about my business. Three days later I get this:

Hi ,

I just wanted to follow up and see what you thought of linking to our site on your blog.

Just double checking you received our previous email.

Looking forward to sharing some of your content across our social following, let us know what you think.

Regards,

Danielle

Once again I deleted it. Much like Jesus, three days later she was back again:

Hi,

I just wanted to follow up on my previous email and hear your thoughts on linking to us in one of your blog posts.

We would be happy to share your blog post across our thousands of social followers in return.

Let me know what you think by shooting me a quick reply.

Regards,

Danielle

So too did Helen, from the first example up top, continue to pester me:

On Sat, Mar 18, 2017 at 7:00 AM “Helen Sanders” wrote:
Hi there,

I understand you are a busy person and your time is valuable but did you have some time to look at my last email? (see above).

I’d love to collaborate with your site!

Many Thanks,

Helen

 

On Tue, Mar 21, 2017 at 3:00 AM, Helen Sanders wrote:
Hi there,

I will give this one last shot, did you have time to review my proposal? I’d be really excited to collaborate with you.

Best,
Helen

These fuckers can’t seem to take a hint.

So today I replied to Helen with a very simple “no thanks” — that was literally all the email said outside of “Helen” and “Les” — and apparently that just wasn’t good enough for Helen. Almost as soon as I sent her my reply this morning I got this back:

Hi Les,

Thanks for taking the time out to get back to me.

I was just wondering if you had any feedback on why you weren’t interested so that I can take it on board while promoting my work in the future.

I really appreciate the opinions of the people I’m reaching out to, so anything I can take on board is appreciated 🙂

Thanks

If you’ve been reading my blog for any amount of time you already know that I don’t deal with annoyances all that well and I was pretty proud of myself for limiting my first reply to Helen with just a “no thanks” and not some profanity laced tirade. Helen, as I said previously, hasn’t really read my blog. My response to this latest missive strains to stay civil with her and I think I just barely managed it:

Helen,

I’m getting roughly 3 to 4 of these offers every single day for the past few years. I’m surprised so many people want to associate their products with a site with the name Stupid Evil Bastard. I literally just told another person making this sort of offer “no thanks” before typing up this reply. [Editor’s Note: That would’ve been Rick’s offer of a great entry of some unspecified type that I reproduced above.] Everyone loves my content and wants to write for my blog except that it’s clear based on the couple of folks I did entertain the thought with that this is entirely for your benefit to drive traffic to your site and/or promote your product. Nine times out of ten the topic of whatever someone wants to write about for my blog has little to nothing to do with what my blog is about (mainly, things that catch my attention) or even the page they claim they saw that inspired them to contact me. It’s pretty clear these requests are ads disguised as posts. One you probably don’t wish to pay me for or, if you do, the amount is hardly worth considering. I’m often told to consider the extra “exposure” the ad-post will generate for my blog as though I needed more exposure. In short, it’s a pretty one-sided equation that benefits you more than me.

I’ve been blogging for 16 years now. For awhile, I accepted guest posts from my regular readers who wanted to participate in the community I’d managed to build up. None of those guest entries were ever anything close to an ad or an attempt to drive traffic someplace else. I’m not as active as I once was and my readership is down to the most loyal of regulars. I’m fine with that. It was never about being at the top of the search results or making a ton of money. It was a place for me to express myself for those who were interested. Nothing more. Needless to say, my blog is a deeply personal thing to me. Frankly, the number of people who wish to exploit it for their own gain is more than a little annoying.

Sincerely,

Les Jenkins

P.S. I’m probably going to blog this.

I’ve not heard back from Helen. With any luck this is enough of a hint for her to not bother sending a reply. It annoys me that I am going to have to respond to each and every one of these offers with “no thanks” as they come in or put up with an endless stream of WHY HAVEN’T YOU REPLIED TO MY AWESOME OFFER???

So let me just say this right here and now: Dear people who think it’d be a great idea if I helped you to promote your website/product at no cost to you. Don’t bother sending me your sales pitch because it’s not going to happen. At least, not unless you’re willing to toss me some serious greenbacks. I don’t need “tens of thousands” of people to see my blog, but I would be happy to sell out for “tens of thousands” of dollars. This would be particularly handy right now as I’m in the process of buying a house and could use the extra cash.

So, once again just to be clear, I don’t need your exposure, but I would take your cash as long as it’s substantial. I doubt any of you will be making such an offer anytime soon so you may as well not waste the electrons it would take to send me an email.

Sincerely,
Me

UPDATE: Holy Christ on a cracker! I’ve not even PUBLISHED this entry yet and Rick Slot — of the “I wanna write a guest post, let me know if you’re interested” I quoted above to which I had replied simply “I am not” — has just replied with the following:

Hello, Les

Thank you for the reply. Do you post sponsored articles?

Best wishes,
Rick

Seriously, what does it take for these people to understand the concept of “no”?  I’m half-tempted to send him a dictionary definition, but perhaps I’ll just send the link to this entry. Maybe he’ll offer me tens of thousands of dollars to let him write a guest post. Also, maybe I’ll be made Queen of England. Probably about equal chances of both, right?

The great House Hunt of 2017.

I’ve not posted much lately because I’ve been busy shopping for a home. You may recall we tried home hunting back in 2014 and came very close to buying a house and then I got cold feet and called the whole thing off. I still think that was the right decision at the time because I’m not sure I could’ve afforded the payments at the time.

A little under three years later I’ve taken out a loan against my own 401K and we’re trying it again. So far we’ve actually made three attempts to buy a house only to have all three attempts fail. Which is an odd reversal of our first go at this because back then it took forever to find a house to make a bid on and we dropped it before they ever got a chance to consider it.

The first house we tried to bid on was, in my opinion, everything I was hoping for in a house. It had only been on the market a couple of days when we put in a bid on it, but apparently a lot of other people liked it too and the sellers went with someone else’s offer. I did not take this disappointment well and was moody and grumpy for the rest of that weekend. The second house wasn’t as nice as the first one, but it was pretty close and so we tossed out an offer. However, I didn’t get my hopes up because the listing had been updated to say that all best and highest offers had to be in by 5PM on the day we submitted which told me this house also had a lot of competition. It went to someone else.

Third time’s the charm, right? Not really. The third house we bid on wasn’t one I was particularly excited about, but it would’ve been a decent house. We’d need to purchase a stove, fridge, washer and dryer for it as — unlike the first two houses we bid on — those appliances were not present. It was clear the home had been bought to flip and it had some nice updates and the basement would’ve been awesome for LAN parties. Someone else had bid on it previously and it fell through so it was back on the market. Alas, the mortgage we’ve been preapproved for is an FHA and the sellers already knew that the appraisal of the home would be for 5K less than they were asking for so they wanted us to kick in another $3,000 above and beyond the down payment and closing costs to go towards the commission. Alas, that would’ve left me with no money to buy the appliances I’d need let alone afford to pay for movers so we had to drop the bid.

Part of the reason I gave up back in 2014 was the sheer stress of the process and it’s no different this time around. I hate everything about this, particularly the part where I don’t really know what I’m doing. We’re using the same agent we used in 2014 — Mike Mazurek — who has been really great at shepherding us through it and pointing out potential issues with the homes we’ve looked at. I think after making it through three failed bids I’m managing my stress a lot better. Which isn’t to say that I’m not still a big ball of nerves, but I’m not totally freaking out about it like I was at the start of this adventure.

So, yeah, that’s what we’ve been doing. It is my full intent that I will find a house that will be my last move ever unless I win the lottery or get kicked out. So it’s gotta be a decent house. Especially given that I’m a computer nerd with absolutely zero ability to fix up a fixer upper. I’ll try to post a little more often while we’re doing it and if anything interesting happens along the way.

Would you jump from a Ten Meter Tower?

This is fascinating. Take people who have never before jumped from a 10-meter diving platform and pay them a small amount to take the plunge. Then film it.

Ten Meter Tower – New York Times

Our objective in making this film was something of a psychology experiment: We sought to capture people facing a difficult situation, to make a portrait of humans in doubt. We’ve all seen actors playing doubt in fiction films, but we have few true images of the feeling in documentaries. To make them, we decided to put people in a situation powerful enough not to need any classic narrative framework. A high dive seemed like the perfect scenario.

Through an online advertisement, we found 67 people who had never been on a 10-meter (about 33 feet) diving tower before, and had never jumped from that high. We paid each of them the equivalent of about $30 to participate — which meant climbing up to the diving board and walking to its edge. We were as interested in the people who decided to climb back down as the ones jumping.

I’ve never jumped from a ten meter tower, but I have have from a 5 meter tower and that was pretty exhilarating at the time. I was in high school and thus in much better shape, but I still made sure not to belly flop from that height.

Could I do a ten meter tower today? I’d like to think I could with only some minor hesitation, but you never really know until you’re standing on the edge of that platform and looking down at the water.

Wishing my mother a Happy 82nd Birthday!

My mother, whom you can find over on her blog Momma’s Corner, has reached another milestone. Today she turns 82 years old and is looking pretty good while doing it.

Here’s a pic of her from this past Christmas Eve. Click to embiggen.

Mom had an eventful year in 2016 as she finally managed to sell the house in Otisville and moved in with my sister in Pontiac just across the street from the house my siblings and I grew up in. She’s since been keeping busy with her projects, feeding the zoo, and updating her blog at a pace that, frankly, puts me to shame. She even got an entry up marking this special occasion where you can leave your congratulations if you’re so inclined. As for me, I’ll be seeing her on Saturday when we gather to do the food and cake thing as is traditional.

Happy Birthday, Mom!

Take a tour of a brand new 4 bedroom home in Tokyo.

Being that I am currently in the process of house hunting and have had a long-standing fascination with Japan, this video from the folks at Life Where I’m From that gives us a guided tour of a brand new four bedroom home in Japan caught my attention. The limited available land in Tokyo requires building homes right next to each other and they tend to be expensive. This particular home is over $400,000.

Check it out:

Note: You may need to click on the Closed Caption button at the bottom right for the English translations.

There are some very cool aspects to this home such as the control panels for filling the bathtub before you ever enter the room and the video intercom to see who is at the front door. I also like how many things are tucked away behind panels. That said, a stove without an oven and the overall cramped aspects of this house (let alone the price) make me glad I’m not living in Tokyo.

“12th and Clairmount” upcoming documentary on the 1967 Detroit riots.

Back in 2007 I wrote a blog entry about the 40th anniversary of the Detroit riots. Now we’re coming up on the 50th anniversary and there’s a new documentary being produced in remembrance of those events:

Trailer for new Detroit ’67 riot film ’12th and Clairmount’

Drawing from more than 400 reels of donated home movies from the era, the documentary is being produced by the Free Press in collaboration with Bridge Magazine and WXYZ-TV (Channel 7) and a group of metro Detroit cultural institutions, led by the Detroit Institute of Arts.

The film combines archival and new interviews with witnesses to the events with footage from the home movies. Those five days in July were among the most pivotal — and divisive — in the city’s history, with the turmoil leaving 43 dead. While the 50th anniversary of the summer of ’67 was the impetus for the film, the home movie footage in “12th and Clairmount” captures a wide spectrum of Detroit life, from proud streetscapes to dance parties to neighborhood sporting events.

As I wrote back in 2007, this topic is a fascinating one for me because I was born in late August at Brent General Hospital just blocks from where the riot started while Detroit was still dealing with the aftermath. Right now it appears viewings are limited to the upcoming  Freep Film Festival in March and then at the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA) in July. The DIA is continuing to collect home movies of the riot for those interested in contributing:

The film is part of a larger project led by the Detroit Institute of Arts. The DIA, with funding from the Knight Foundation, is collecting amateur films from the era since the fall as part of an ambitious effort by several organizations — including the Free Press, Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, the Detroit Historical Society, the Walter P. Reuther Library of Labor and Urban Affairs at Wayne State University, Bridge Magazine and the Detroit Journalism Cooperative — to commemorate the 50th anniversary of that pivotal year.

The DIA is continuing to collect footage and is regularly screening them in their raw form. Its effort will culminate with a marathon screening on July 29. “12th and Clairmount” and the DIA screenings will be among a broad swath of cultural events happening in Detroit throughout the year that will reflect on the 50th anniversary of the riot, its cause and lasting impact.

Unfortunately, the trailer isn’t embeddable (or at least the link to do so isn’t working) so if you’re interested click through to the news article to check it out and for information on how to contribute footage.

The Burning Question of Our Times: Where do you keep your ketchup?

When I got married I had to relearn how to do laundry. Growing up my mother did laundry every other day or so and, unless my recollection is faulty, she dumped everything into the machine regardless of color so that’s how I learned to do it. There were exceptions for things like bedsheets and comforters that took up a lot of room on their own, but otherwise there was very little separation. The first time I tried to do this after I got married my wife looked at me like I had suddenly turned into a neanderthal. I was retrained to separate out the whites as well as to generally put darker clothes and lighter clothes into separate loads.

My point is that a lot of the stuff we learned as we grew up we just accepted as the way things are done and when we’re confronted by someone who learned it a different way it’s a bit of culture shock. Stuff that I would never think of questioning how I learned to do it ends up being a surprise when someone says that’s not how you do it.

Take for example, where you keep your ketchup (or catsup if you prefer). Apparently there’s a raging debate on the Internet right now about the appropriate place to store it when you’re not using it. Do you keep it in the fridge or the cupboard?

U.K. supermarket chain Asda (I have no idea how to pronounce that) Clapham waded into the argument with a Twitter poll:

Asda Clapham sparks fierce debate after move to stock ketchup in fridge

The supermarket tweeted: “Where do you keep your tomato ketchup? Our colleagues at Asda Clapham have joined the debate by stocking them on shelves AND in the fridge.”

Asda’s Victoria Williams told the Daily Mail: “Tomato ketchup is a staple of many of our customers weekly shop but recent debate has prompted us to trial two areas to stock our great value own brand tomato ketchup sauces, so we can end the debate once and for all and give everyone what they want.”

The final poll results are below:

I have to admit I’m surprised there’s a debate about this at all. The answer is: Both.

I mean, look at this label for Heinz’s ketchup:

Click to embiggen.

See that circled bit? It says “For best results, refrigerate after opening.” So you store it in the cupboard until you open it the first time, then it goes in the fridge. Same thing for A1 Sauce. How is this even a debate?

All that said, one thing that doesn’t go in the fridge is Maple Syrup unless it’s 100% pure a.k.a. REAL maple syrup. The “maple flavored” syrups sold under brand names like Aunt Jemima (THAT’S RACIST!) or Log Cabin even say right on the bottle they don’t need to be refrigerated after opening. Yet invariably they end up in our fridge and it ain’t me or the cats doing it. Makes pouring that stuff really fucking annoying.

In fairness I should point out that I do put my malt vinegar in the fridge after opening it even though it’s completely unnecessary. I have no idea why. I don’t remember us ever having it in the house when I was growing up so I have no precedent for this. We did have worcestershire sauce back then and we generally kept that in the fridge even though it didn’t need refrigeration either. I don’t think I’ve had worcestershire sauce in the house since I started living on my own so maybe I transferred the habit from that to my malt vinegar.

Randy Rainbow is the best thing about the Trump Presidency.

I discovered Randy Rainbow during the election and if I weren’t already married — and heterosexual — I’d marry this guy. Probably the only truly good thing about Trump winning the election is all the material he’s gonna be giving Randy to work with. Here’s his latest:

Humor is one of the best ways to cope with a bad situation and we’re gonna need a lot of it before this administration is done. Thankfully we have Randy to help keep us sane.

OK, I had to add one more:

The Idiot’s Guide to Japanese Apartments

Back in my early 20’s when I was big into anime and manga I would occasionally entertain the idea of moving to Japan and living the life of an expatriate. Then I looked into what it immigrating to Japan would require and opted to just live in Japan vicariously through anime and manga. The more I learned about Japan the more confident I became in my decision.

However, every now and then I wonder if I didn’t make the wrong decision. Then I see something like this video by Rachel and Jun and any doubts vanish:

In comparison to Japanese apartments (at least in the larger cities), the places I’ve rented are almost palatial in size. Which isn’t to say there aren’t a few features in this video I wouldn’t mind having in my own place. That control panel for filling the tub from any room is pretty wicked cool. That said, living in Michigan our earthquakes are rare and rather timid so all the earthquake proofing stuff is nothing I need worry about.

I only just discovered their YouTube channel and I’m loving it. They’ve been at it for the last 4 years so I’ve got a lot of catching up to do, but they tackle all sorts of interesting topics from modern Japanese table manners to gender equality in Japan to how to get an apartment in Japan. Being a Japanophile who decided staying home was a better option, this scratches a long standing itch and is just generally fascinating.

A couple more that I found very fascinating:

There’s several forms of Japanese clothing that I’ve always wanted to try because of how they look or how comfortable they appear to be. I wasn’t aware there had been controversies about it here in the States.

There’s a lot of “trivia” about Japan that makes the rounds. This video takes on some of those claims and whether they’re true.

I don’t know how many other folks who drop by are as fascinated by Japan as I am, but I’m in heaven watching these videos.

Man literally betrayed by his own heart.

Modern technology is amazing, but every day we’re hearing about cases where someone’s electronic device ends up tying them to the crimes they’ve committed. Usually it’s cellphone location data or photos that busts someone for a crime, but in this case police arrested Ross Compton for arson because his story didn’t line up with data from his electronic heart monitor:

Middletown man’s electronic heart monitor leads to his arrest – WLWT5

Middletown police said Compton told them that he was able to pack his suitcases and throw them out his bedroom window after he broke out the glass with a walking stick.

According to court documents obtained by WLWT, a cardiologist told police that those actions were “highly improbable” because of Compton’s medical condition.

Police sought to prove that by collecting electronic data stored in Compton’s electronic heart device. They wanted to know Compton’s heart rate, pacer demand and cardiac rhythms before, during and after the fire.

Police told WLWT on Friday that it was an excellent investigative tool, and the information that was retrieved didn’t match Compton’s story.

“It was one of the key pieces of evidence that allowed us to charge him,” Lt. Jimmy Cunningham said.

It’s believed this is the first time data from an electronic heart monitor has been used in this manner. Of course, it helps that the arson inspectors say the fire was started with gasoline at multiple points around the outside of the house and it was on the clothes Compton was wearing at the time, but this is the icing on the cake.

I’m always amused by the criminals who don’t think to leave their cellphones at home when undertaking a planned crime because that’s going to be the first thing the police are going to check. Turning it off is another option, but that looks suspicious if it’s only off during the time the crime takes place. Especially if it’s during the day when you’d have it turned on.

Having a heart monitor, however, is not something you could (or probably would want to) turn off. I suppose you could start the fire and then go through the motions of what you are going to claim to have done so that the data links up, but given that it’s physically demanding you’d be putting yourself at risk of heart failure while in the middle of a burning building which doesn’t seem too smart either. Probably want to change your clothes after handling the gas too.

I dunno, seems like the smart thing to do is not to do this in the first place.