I always look for the library when I am in someone else’s house. If they don’t have a library, I look for magazines. To me what someone reads is the key to knowing them. And what they don’t read is also part of that key. I am reminded of one of the taglines of a national advertising campaign that is currently running - “Wearing a mask says so much about you. Not wearing one tells even more.”
Peeking into what someone reads is almost like dropping down into their soul to see all the gears, cogs, pulleys, and engines that drive the person. And, that act of dropping down into their soul, also fulfills a universal drive of sorts - that of a voyeur.
Our voyeur instincts are more active than you might think. Most people are nosey. Given the opportunity, most people will look at other people’s stuff - especially the stuff of the rich and famous - what they read, how much they make, how much their clothes cost, where they shop and dine out, who they hang out with, what car(s) they drive, how much their home costs. You know what I am talking about.
This voyeur instinct is the basis for a lot of media/programming as well. Think People Magazine, Entertainment Tonight (“E”), and of course all those reality and talent shows. Think about why we watch the Oscars.
What is it that you find yourself looking for when the opportunity presents itself?
So, I know that when I mentioned using books and magazines to get a read on someone, some of you were thinking that many people now go online to read instead of using hardcopy and, I agree that is a good point. So, that idea led me to add another voyeur-path - and that would be perusing someone’s bookmarks on their computer.
So, here you go. Here is a list of the last 10 websites bookmarked on my laptop. You can peek into my soul a little if you wish. (I don’t know why anyone would want to, but, have at it!)
1. BuggyBusters.com - This is a “deals” website that my son Carl used recently. He bought flooring for $.50 a foot instead of the $3-5 per foot that I would have paid. It’s a fairly local company too. How he found this site I have no idea (maybe on Reddit.com).
2. BedlamFarm.com - I have no idea how I found this site, but I want to guess it was my wife Christina who reads far more than I do. The blog is written by a veteran former journalist named Jon Katz. He is prolific, often posting a number of pieces a day. His blog can be as funny as Dave Barry and as insightful as Maya Angelou. He writes about everything, from donkeys to farms to politics to falling in love. Spoiler alert: He also occasionally writes about the president and often shares almost Yoda-esque insights about him.
3. Wordnick.com - I discovered the site because it popped up on my phone the day after I had been Googling the word “Indict” except, I was spelling it “indite” because that is how - in my opinion - it should be spelled. What popped up on my phone was a link to Wordnick.com and a dictionary definition of the word and the following: “Video: Why is There a “C” in “Indict… and who put it there anyway.” Above that popup, was “How to Remember the Spelling of “Definitely.” How could I not love this website for amateur lexicographers! And by the way, for true lovers of words, Merriam-Webster.com is a must as well.
4. Crunchbase.com - So I have no idea what this is but I wrote it down. So, the home page says “’Discover innovative companies and the people behind them.” So, this must be a sort of People Magazine that only focusses on entrepreneurs. Cool, (and very voyeuristic)!
5. Tinamion.com - This one is close to my heart. And there is a story behind it. The short version is that Tina is a wonderful artist - think Andy Warhol but better - that Christina and I discovered when we were camped out in our RV in the middle of a desert (is that the word about sand or something you eat, or “noun: that which is deserved” or , verb, to abandon ?). We were in a state park named Homolovi (azstateparks.com/homolovi) which is actually a sacred 4,000 acre ancient Hopi burial ground - about five miles from Winslow Arizona (and yes, I could almost see that girl with the strawberry blond hair and wild eyes, in that flat-bed truck trying to get a look at The Eagles). This land at Homolovi is magic. Watch the YouTube on the site.
6. Supersod.com: Where I found this one and why I book-marked it. I found it because I saw it advertised - a lot. People who advertise get new customers. That made an impression on me. Plus, they offered what seemed to me to be the best deal on sod on the planet. I bought 250 square feet of Fescue sod - delivered to my house - for $250 - about 75% less than I found it anywhere else.
The other reason that I book-marked them is that I love their business model. Truly, they must be the sharpest tool in almost all sheds. It looks like they are based in South Georgia where they must have huge sod farms. Then they truck up orders daily to their branches or possibly franchisees (?) all over Georgia, South Carolina, Tennessee, and North Carolina. Now I see they have branched out and are selling compost, seed, mowers, pavers, and soil. When I first looked at their site, I think they were only selling sod and compost. Look out for this company! I love to discover folks on a mission, taking names and taking numbers and growing like, pardon the expression, weeds!
7. Groupon.com: Another deal site! Why did I bookmark them? Well, while I never use this site, I have friends who do and one, who is retired and loves to travel, takes adventures all over the world, booking flights, hotels, and tours and such for pennies on the dollar (pre-pandemic). I always assumed that something that seems too good to be true, frequently isn’t, but my traveling friend has never had an issue. And, oh yes, the other reason I suspect that I bookmarked this site is that the company that owns it - or used to own it - turned down a $6 Billion dollar offer to buy it by Google in 2010! While Groupon eventually went public and actually is worth about that much now, it was to me the bone-head decision of the decade at the time.
8. Spokenlayer.com: So, another marketing site. That suits me as a wanna be serial entrepreneur. I met the guy who started this company at a trade show here in Atlanta. He is young and already has a number of relatively well known start-ups under his belt. Spokenlayer is to the podcast world what Andrew Carnegie was to steel or Rockefeller was to the oil industry. They didn’t own the industries, but they did own and control the means to process them and / or transport them. Spokenlayer’s initial push was and probably still is establishing the network that puts audio (podcasts) on things like Alexa. This is what their website says: “Short form audio is what we do. We create it, distribute it and monetize it. As the leader in the space, we know how to build engaged audiences, who listen to it anywhere it can be heard.”
9. https://www.sarahcaudleart.com: So here is another art website I like - a lot. The reason I like it a lot, besides the fact that I actually like the art, is that the artist - the daughter of a good friend of ours from church - is “living the dream” like no one else I know who is not a famous musician/actor, sports star, author, someone with at least 12 years of post-bachelor studies as in heart or brain surgeon or is not Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, or Warren. Sara got her degree in industrial design or something similar, then got married and moved to Hawaii to work - in her profession - for a company and then, I believe, became so successful selling her art online, that now her focus in primarily on her painting and on her suntan - not bad. And I could-a bought a Caudle-original a few years ago for pennies!
10. Musicliveshere.com: Music Park and Campground in North Florida near Lake City or, as they describe it, “is an 800-acre campground located on the historic banks of the Suwannee River. So we go to North Florida every chance we get and we love music and we have an RV, so, what’s not to like about this venue! I think I found it searching for places to drive our RV to. It turns out that these folks put on shows using primarily local musicians and some regionally known bands and musicians and it looks like they just have a blast. And, to boot, they have our just before Covid-19 $300 deposit on a great show that got postponed until next year! But, no worries, it’s something to look forward to.
Quote of the day: “ I don’t think it is a sin to be a little strong on cash when you are as big a company as we are.” Warren Buffet whose company Berkshire Hathaway, at the time had like $138 billion in cash parked on the side (as in not in the stock market). What does that tell you, by the way!
So there you go - my expanded list. Send me your list - serious or just fun like mine, so I can craft a column of reader submissions without having to write my own! Email it to me at RayAppen@Gmail.com and in the subject line put “bookmarks”, and include your name and what city you live in!
Topic for the next column: I am not sure but possibly writing about the future of the future, cul-du-sacs, labels, or possibly “words.” I have a long list of column ideas - scraps of columns everywhere!