The BLAHS #4–Geek of the Year

“Beware of geeks bearing formulas.”–Warren Buffett

 A view of technology in my youth.

A view of technology in my youth.

I know what you’re thinking.   Why don’t I give the Geek of the Year BLAHS to myself?   Short answer:  I almost won an award like that in my youth, but lost out to the guy in the picture above.   It was no fair really;  I look far cooler in a leopard skin toga than he does.  Anyway, I am only half geek.  In my ancient past I was both a sportscaster and a classical music radio announcer.  How is that for a cognitive dissonance?

Jokes aside, let’s get down to the serious satire.  It’s time to give out another BLAHS (BLog Awards Handed out by Sackler).   A quick review of the rules is in order:

  1. Unlike the various chain-letters going around that masquerade as awards, this one is given out only one at a time–by me.
  2. The only thing the winner has to do to claim the award is endure the embarrassment.  Actually, they don’t even have to do that, as they are getting it either way.
  3. I give these out whenever I want to, to whomever I want to, for whatever reason I feel inclined to give them.  If you don’t like that, I’ll take my football and go home.
  4. The prize is a limited-edition T-shirt and matching refrigerator magnet complete with typographical errors that make them valuable collectors items.  (Don’t worry, when I run out I’ll order more.  As long as the number out there is not infinite it is still technically limited.)
  5. This award is in an appropriate-for-this-blog state of superposition on two counts.  The name BLAHS is both single and plural and the award itself is both serious and satirical at the same time.

You can see a complete history by clicking on “The BLAHS” link under “Categories” in the sidebar to the right.  The short list of previous winners is:

  • The Blog of Funny Names for being my favorite blog (other than mine).  They returned the honor–I am now one of their guest authors. (Is there such a thing as retro-active conflict of interest?)
  • Millard Fillmore’s Bathtub for having the funniest blog name among those I follow.
  • Essa on Everything for winning a reader poll in the category of Lady Blogger with an Attitude.

So, without further ado, let’s go on to the latest and greatest BLAHS–Geek of the Year!  May I have the envelope please?

The envelope?

Where is it?  Oh wait, I forgot. It’s not in an envelope;  it’s in an encrypted email.  Hey, considering that the Associated Press recently had their Twitter account hacked, you can’t be too careful.  Give me a nanosecond to gear up my quantum computer and decode it.  OK, here it is…[drum roll]…and the winner is:

Elke Stangl (a.k.a. Elkement) of Theory and Practice of Trying to Combine Just Anything



Congratulations Elke. You have been named to this honor for any number of reasons. You might ask, what are those numbers (other than 42)?

Besides writing a blog that I follow, her fine geeky points are:

  • As mentioned in a previous post, a resume that reads like a character from The Big Bang Theory.
  • She is a founding member of the cult of search term poetry and spam poetry.  My search term haiku feature is a direct result of her challenge to me in this arena.
  • She is one of the most loyal followers of this blog.  Others may hold that habit against her; I applaud it and award it.
  • She appreciates Douglas Adams as much as I do.
  • Her most recent post of existential spam poetry puts her immediately in a class with Woody Allen and Albert Camus.

Let’s hear from Elke herself:

MS:  What are your favorite geeky things to do—other than spam poetry, of course?geek power

ES:  That’s a tough one. I hardly do anything non-geeky. I spend my whole life nearly hard-wired to my computer and hope for better man-machine interfaces (Stephen-Hawking-Borg-Google-Glass stuff). I indulge in putting the geekiness back into so-called business-y or scientific documents (in a very subtle way, so that only other members of the Geek Cult will notice), and I enjoy hunting bugs and evil networking packets (very much in the same way as Sandra Bullock in The Net – including living off pizza). I feel uncomfortable when directly exposed to sun light which resulted in a lack of vitamin D.

MS: So what got you started on search term & spam poetry?   Who or what is your muse?

ES:  I was sick last year, had just started my meteoric rise to fame as a virtual stand-up comedian on Facebook – and was desperately searching for something funny to post. My non-creative brain, impaired by fever, could just come up with recycled content – from WordPress Stats. So it started with search term poetry on my FB timeline – spam poetry was a logical step in my evolution as an artist. If I would be a more down-to-earth artist, I’d create art from pieces from the scrap yard.

My muse is a person called “Irgendwer” – this is German for “somebody”. His job title in one of my geeky universes is: Somebody Doing Anything Nobody Wants to Do. (My job title in that said universe is Subversive Non-Coordinator and Chief Desperate Dreamer, if you really need to know). He might be my significant other in quite a bunch of alternate universes.

MS: Kirk or Picard?  (Damn, it makes me feel uncomfortably geeky just to ask that—I don’t even like Star Trek)

ES: Picard of course, because he is a refined educated French (European) philosopher 🙂

MS: Any advice to aspiring geek bloggers?

ES:  I don’t care about advice on blogging – in particular avoid those Top Ten Most Important But Yet Extremely Trivial Things to Know about Blogging lists.

[That was a close one.  I thought she was going to say “avoid The Millennium Conjectures”]

MS: Who on “The Big Bang Theory” do you think you most take after?  (Assuming you watch if over there in Austria, otherwise you can pass on the question).

ES: I don’t have time to watch TV, I am following too many geeky blogs.

  [That comment alone is worthy of this award.]

MS:  Any other comments you would like to make are welcome.  (Sorry but “42” is taken)

ES: I am exhausted from all that existential stuff posted to my blog in the past days. I leave it at a quote of Douglas Adams and my discerning observation of artists being better than management consultants and sociologists in analyzing corporate culture:

Context: Part 5 of the Trilogy of Five, Ford Prefect enters the building of the publishers of the guide,

He always entered via the ventilation system rather than the main lobby because the main lobby was patrolled by robots whose job it was to quiz incoming employees about their expense accounts.  The company had been taken over by InfiniDim Enterprises…We spent millions on that name, because before it was under-structured, over-resourced, under-managed and over-inebriated.

Congratulations, Elke.  To claim your prize, please send me a self-addressed stamped steamer trunk.  Your award will arrive via return carrier pigeon as soon as I can train one to fly to wherever you are.



  1. Wow. Of course I had prepared an acceptance speech in advance as I knew from rumors in the blogosphere that I was a promising candidate for the most prestigious blog award in the galaxy.
    But now I am at a loss for words. The handkerchief I had written my speech on is soaking wet with my Oscar-acceptance-speech-style tears. I am honored – however, the responsibility lies heavy on me; I hope I can rise to the challenge in future posts of mine 🙂
    Thanks for the verbatim quotes – I don’t have to call my lawyers! If the red text contains typos still I blame it on the editor 🙂
    Thanks for all the fish, Mark!

  2. … and I just configured my replicator for manufacturing that steamer trunk! …

    • Great. The bad news is that you will have to send me your actual mailing address if you want to receive the prize. If you don’t want to reveal you home address, you can use a post office box, dead letter office, or sink hole.

      • I am working with CERN on a secret project. We plan to create a worm hole that allows for efficient transport of trunks in particular.

  3. Good grief – you’re older than I thought…

  4. Yep. Older than dirt. 😛

  5. Reblogged this on Theory and Practice of Trying to Combine Just Anything and commented:
    Earthlings, bow to me. I am famous. The Elkement has been bestowed upon the most prestigious blog award in the universe – non, handed out exclusively by the founder: The BLAHS – BLog Awards Handed out by Sackler. Yes, this is THE Mark Sackler – serial innovator in Search Term Haiku Art and discerning commenter on The Ridiculous and The Sublime.

    • Serious comment by elkement, the expert on digital certificates and cryptography: I have found a bug in’s reblog feature: The Read More link has https[this post] as a target, not http[this pist]. However the certificate used here is a wildcard certificate issued to * You will get all kinds of errors and Firefox will hardly let you click on the URL unless you confirm all Those Dangerous Acceptions.
      Not nice – breaks my attempt to run a marketing campaign that will keep the Followers to Our Cult(s) bouncing between our blogs forwever.

      • I can’t believe I wrote “Acceptions” instead of “Exceptions”. Blame it on my programmer – as discussed I might be a test in AI software, and some imperfection has been added to make me appear more human.

      • Hey my proofreader always misses stuff. I should fire him. (Oh, wait, I’m the proofreader). In this case you could have just emailed me and I would have edited the comment for you. Of course, I might have just made fun of you. You’ll never know now, will you? 😛

    • I didn’t pay her to say those things about me. I swear it. 😀

      • 1) Re typo:I have high ethical standards – I am accoutable for my errors. I also started a discussion with a spammer once on my blog, seriously considering “it” a human being… until my final comment was “I failed the Turing test”. This discussion is still visible on my blog.
        2) Re money: As you mention the business / payment aspect now… you are giving me ideas…

  6. Best be careful. When we discover the warp drive and subsequently build a starship you just know who’s going to be the science officer :>) Have to be nice to Elke or she won’t bring back any souvenirs from space.

    • Oh yes, I am always nice to Elke. It’s too dangerous not to be, considering the technology she possesses. 😉

      • (Social media really feels like work today – what an incredibly productive Friday afternoon here in time zone GMT+1)
        Yes – better be careful. I could always travel back in time and ruin all the jokes and quotes you intended to publish on your blog by posting them as a comment in premature fashion.

      • That’s the best you’ve got!!?? I was afraid you had a remote control that could make my head explode. (not that it hasn’t multiple times already)

      • I am just careful about what I post in public. I need to digress now to illustrate my point in a mixture of dark satire and kafkaesque reality:

        Recently a German blogger / journalist running a satirical blog had had an unexpected visit by armed forces in the early morning (nearly mission-impossible-style) who searched her house. The reason: She had been given a fake academic title issued by a dubious organization by her children as a joke, and the she signed a funny blog article using that fake title, tongue-in-cheek. This was all that was required to accuse her of misusing an academic title as per law blah.

        So I better keep my plans and knowledge about That Mind-Controlling Weapon or Little Nano-Robots Invading Your Brain a secret. First I need to develop the technology further so that I can foresee the actions of Those Dumb Governmental Agencies and invade their brains (? or whatever they use as a replacement thereof) before they hunt me down.

      • Yeah. Yeah. You already won the “Geek of the Year” award this year. Are you already working on earning next year’s as well?

      • I’d like to be geek of the galaxy in all possible instances of the multi-verse at all times.

      • That’s OK by me. And if you get that starship job, please send a post card from Alpha Centauri and let me know if they have any decent beaches.

    • Thanks, Maurice, but I am a Science Officer already. This is the job title I have bestowed upon myself in our corporation – that consists of two Vice Presidents = workers = share holders . My husband is Chief Engineer. (I am sure that there are some people who take that org chart of ours serious).
      We have no Captain though – waiting for Picard to send his application.

  7. Picard here. Faites ca…

  8. I thought I had already commented on this post, but apparently not. Welcome to the crew Elke! Glad to have you along!

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