When I first signed up for Google AdSense, the money came in at, if not a brisk clip, then certainly a found-money sort of way. For about three days, my little craptastic monument to personal narcissism and avoiding my paying gigs was bringing in about $5 a day. My goodness, this will pay the cable bill and have money left over for lattes, I thought giddily. Why didn’t I do this years ago?

I don’t know what happened. It’s as though Google sniffed around for a while, then left me behind, because soon I was getting bupkis, pennies per day. Apparently your demographically desirable eyeballs are worth a mere fraction of your stupid click finger. Not that this should be construed as a prod to click on the ads, because I’m forbidden by my user agreement to tell you to do so — I’m just explaining how the system works. (You’re starting to see, perhaps, why web advertising doesn’t even bring a wan smile to publishers’ faces.) I think I mentioned, the day of my Lileks screed, when I got linked all over the place and saw something like 9,000 unique visitors in a single day — about 10 times the usual traffic — I made 15 cents. So much for the new-media business model.

After a while I stopped checking daily, it was so disappointing. They don’t write you a check until you reach $100, after all. The other day was my first log-in for some time, and I saw that I had cracked $93 and would maybe get to $100 within a few more …weeks, maybe. But it felt like a C-note in my pocket, so I decided to do what my friend Fatih advised the last time I was broke: “Nancyderringer,” (he always called me by my married name, mushed together like that) “in Turkey we have a saying: ‘You must spend your money so the money that’s trying to find you will know where you are.'” Someone else will have to tell me if this is true, but Fatih is such a dear, and it sounded so amusing in his accent, that I’ve used it ever since as an excuse to stay broke.

So I decided to give most of the $100 away. To other bloggers. I spend $600 a year to get the New York Times delivered to my home, and a couple hundred more in magazine subscriptions; surely I can spread a little to the volunteer pundits of the world. There won’t be many bequests — I’m parceling it out in $10 to $20 chunks so as not to be entirely insulting — but I’m hoping it will be a small gesture of thanks to some of my favorites, who amuse me daily with the work they give away free. I sent $10 to the Send John Scalzi to the Creation Museum fund, which raised an astonishing $5,118.36 for Americans United for Separation of Church and State, a worthy achievement indeed. (And I can’t wait for the report from the Creation Museum.) I sent TBogg a bauble from his Amazon Wish List. Lance got a tenner in his tip jar. The Poor Man suggested a donation to Oxfam in the name of The Poor Man Institute for Freedom and Democracy and a Pony. I asked Roy to make a wish, too, and he declined, because he’s prosperous at the moment, but did tell me his birthday, so I have to think of something. (I think, for Roy, it has to be a gesture in the Bob Evans/Joe Eszterhas note-in-vagina spirit.)

That’s about half my stash. Who else deserves a little spare change? I went through my bookmarks, and my other faves either aren’t asking, haven’t replied to e-mails, have well-paying professional jobs or would, I’m convinced, spend it all on crack. Make a suggestion, you folks who follow the blogosphere with more attention than I do. Someone out there has cancer or is facing foreclosure. For a gesture this small and meaningless, the sky’s the limit.

(Or maybe I should take the remaining $45 down to the casino and try to figure out craps once and for all. I’ve read the rules a million times, and they go through my head like grass through a goose. Every time I’ve been to one of the three downtown gambling palaces, it’s the only game that interests me even a little. The slots are full of crabby old people with oxygen tanks, the poker tables populated with guys who watch way too much poker on TV, and yes I’m talking about you in the sunglasses, and blackjack, my old favorite, seems to have lost its mojo — it’s all funereal mopes at those tables, too. Whereas at least one craps table is ringed by seven or eight threatening-looking rapper types, laughing and having a high old time and waving cash around like flags at a GOP convention. I want to go to that party.)

The good news about summer: I’m getting more sleep, at least at night, as long as the AC is on and I’m not awakened at dawn by squabbling blue jays, surely a sound they will play on infinite loop in hell. The bad news: Lawn services. Times are tough in the Mitten, and I’m reluctant to criticize anyone who’s found a way to make a living, but the other day I was grilling at something like 7:30 p.m. on a freakin’ Saturday, and the people two doors down had their service there, running two gas blowers and a string trimmer. It was like standing at the end of the runway with the Concorde taking off five inches overhead, only louder.

They have a noise ordinance in Bloomfield Hills, and I’m told it’s never questioned and strictly enforced. Ah, to live in Bloomfield Hills.

I have no tasty bloggage for you, no wait, I do. Those of you who spend less time online than I do may not be familiar with the LOLcats phenom; go here for a dry, Wikipedia take on things. It’s not hard to understand, as the wildly addictive I Can Has Cheezburger can attest. (Warning: FLYPAPER!)

And it was only a matter of time before someone took it in a new direction:


Have a hot, sticky day with scattered thunderstorms. That’s what I’m planning for.

Posted at 9:16 am in Housekeeping, Popculch |

21 responses to “Karma-buffing.”

  1. Bill Rotz said on June 19, 2007 at 10:05 am

    For $10 you can give an African child a mosquito net. See

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  2. LA mary said on June 19, 2007 at 10:06 am

    Slate had an article about LOL Cats last month, with a slide show. The monorail cat is very good.

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  3. Jonathan Arnold said on June 19, 2007 at 10:18 am

    My I suggest Dave Neiwert’s Orcinus bog?


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  4. jdevault said on June 19, 2007 at 10:20 am

    Nancy. Can’t you request some better ads. I had to click on three wedding ads and half the time I’m sorry I got married the first time. Maybe you could start each post with some vague reference to porn stars.

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  5. 4dbirds said on June 19, 2007 at 10:24 am

    Nancy, Nancy, Nancy, poker is the only game where you can win consistently and the house had zero edge. I love the guys in sunglasses, it is so easy to take their money.

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  6. MichaelG said on June 19, 2007 at 10:41 am

    I kind of looked over my faves and a lot of them do look as if they could survive without your sawbuck. What about Digby?

    Every time I look at some kind of cat humor stuff I wonder where B. Kliban went.

    Ever check a Joe Eszterhas book out of the library and actually try to read it?

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  7. Connie said on June 19, 2007 at 11:28 am

    If you lived in Bloomfield Hills you would have no public library. Gotta wonder why.

    May I recommend http://www.heifer.org . This organization provides livestock to people in third world countries. For $20 you can send someone a flock of chicks.

    Heifer International has a farm near Goshen for whateverr reason.

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  8. Connie said on June 19, 2007 at 11:30 am

    The Goshen address turns out to be the midwest regional office.

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  9. tom bulger said on June 19, 2007 at 12:08 pm

    As a longtime daily reader, I never noticed that there WERE ads on the site. I’m happy to take a few clicks for the team, but I suspect most visitors never see them as is.

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  10. LA mary said on June 19, 2007 at 12:28 pm

    My son’s birthday is coming up, so in addition to the usual cash and dinner out, I just sent some geese and tree seedlings in his name through heifer.org. I think he will really like that as a gift. He’s that way, which is nice to see in a 17 year old.

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  11. Connie said on June 19, 2007 at 12:35 pm

    Mary, my about to be 20 yr old has requested a passport for her birthday. I have no idea where she may be going.

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  12. Jenine said on June 19, 2007 at 12:52 pm

    I nominate Lymphopo’s blog As The Tumor Turns for donation. She pretty much paid all her money and just sold her house while paying for her medical treatment. And she’s a sassy gal. With great muscles — really.

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  13. John said on June 19, 2007 at 1:18 pm

    Turnout time for passports is over 6 months now. Get your order in now Connie. Passport rule suspended for Caribbean in the interim (until the State Department can get their act together).

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  14. Ann said on June 19, 2007 at 1:27 pm

    A great political blog, written mostly, as far as I can tell, by women. http://www.firedoglake.com/ They did the best coverage in the country of the Libby trial. http://www.nytimes.com/2007/02/15/washington/15bloggers.html?ei=5088&en=b3be07d96386d30e&ex=1329195600&adxnnl=1&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss&adxnnlx=1182277233-GlQyBNTe31VigQvYc7urmg
    Jane Hamsher, one of the founders, had a recurrence of breast cancer just before the trial but she had her surgery, recuperated briefly, and covered the trial anyway, putting off chemo till it was over.
    No connection, just a fan. A huge fan.

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  15. Cathy Dee said on June 19, 2007 at 1:35 pm

    OMG everybody is talking about LOLcats. My husband thinks I have lost my mind as I surf over there every day and fall off the couch laughing.

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  16. Mindy said on June 19, 2007 at 2:13 pm

    Go for online poker. A friend’s husband has a blast playing poker online and came in second in a big tournament last year. He won a trip for two to play in the big leagues; his job forced him to cancel the one in Australia so now they are scheduled for South Africa.

    Or else give the cash to the local animal shelter. Maybe spend it all on Spriggy’s favorite vittles and donate it in his name.

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  17. MarkH said on June 19, 2007 at 2:29 pm

    Speaking of the Libby trial…

    Nancy, you haven’t linked much to Richard Cohen lately, but here’s his take today on that fiasco:


    Cohen isn’t always my cup of tea, but I think he nails it here.

    (Sorry, Ann.)

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  18. Kim said on June 19, 2007 at 3:52 pm

    Great suggestions for heifer.org. I clicked on my first nn.c ad today in the hopes of raising more cash for the cause(s) and had a great laugh — personalized shot glasses for the wedding. What a useful favor. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve wished I had a special memento like that from a family wedding where a fight broke out.

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  19. Jolene said on June 19, 2007 at 5:26 pm

    Another great organization is site. For very modest amounts, you can make a big difference through the microlending programs that help people in developing countries start or expand small businesses.

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  20. Jolene said on June 19, 2007 at 5:27 pm

    Whoops! My effort to create link didn’t exactly work. Here’s another try. kiva.org

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  21. ashley said on June 20, 2007 at 1:33 am

    I’m not even up to a dollar.

    I say you give some bux to the New Orleans Musicians Relief Fund, and that you plug my AMEX project.

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