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Polite Way to Ask Someone to Stop Emailing You

Over the summer, my friend Patty suggested an emergent club that might interest me.  She put me in touch with the group’s president, who was enthusiastic with a capital E. He told me he’d be happy to add me to their mailing list. I responded that I was looking forward to meeting him in person at Tuesday’s meeting, and that Patty had given me all the details I needed to get there. I guess, technically, on the subject of the mailing list. . . I never actually said no.

Here we are, early April, and I’m still receiving 3-4 emails a week regarding the study sessions, meeting minutes and upcoming potluck dinners of a group that I attended exactly once. Such is my luck that not one of these emails has featured an unsubscribe button. I don’t want to burn any bridges here, so I Googled, “What is a polite way to ask someone to stop emailing you?”

The top hits fell into two categories: 1. Just hit the unsubscribe button, you silly girl. And 2. Sometimes in life, you have to suck it up and tell a friend not to send you so many forwards. But if you’re really struggling, here’s a service that will pass on the message anonymously. This doesn’t really solve my dilemma. But maybe some of you have an aunt or co-worker who could use a friendly reminder.

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Seniors Meet-Up NYC

Some of my students are working on a project that involves interviewing members of their community. One group, in particular, is focused on individuals of a certain age. Often, the best way to nail down a particular demographic is to visit them at their local watering hole. So when one student told me that he was having trouble finding elderly people to chat with, I suggested a) the diner across the street from my apartment b) the coffee shop across the street from my apartment and c) the funeral home across the street from my apartment. Then I did a quick Google search for “Seniors Meet-Up NYC.” As it turns out, if you’re in your golden years, Meetup offers dozens of ways to connect for appetizers, jam sessions and retirement planning. I don’t know about my students, but quite frankly, I’m thinking about crashing PESID’s next event. [Spring fling in the Rockaways? Sounds like a dime store novel just waiting to be written.]

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Ears to the Ground

I’m in the market for a new apartment. I live in New York City, where it’s easier to snag a private box at Yankee Stadium than it is to find a decent, affordable place to hang your hat. I decided to post a note online, asking all of my friends to keep their ears to the ground. Then I paused. Since losing a bitter battle over the phrase “For All Intents and Purposes” – show of hands if you too thought it was “Intensive” – I have paid careful attention to my use of idioms. There’s nothing worse than being *this* close to winning an argument, only to find out that tender hooks aren’t really a thing. I started to experience some serious doubt. Was it ears to the floor? Ears to the door? Ears open? Maybe I should just ask people to listen hard. Fortunately, Google led me here, and confirmed that ears to the ground does, in fact, refer to listening for clues. Until I get a hot tip, you can find me on Padmapper. Fingers crossed for exposed brick.

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How to make your hair grey but just on the sides

There was a time when I used to think to myself “Hey self, you wear glasses, so you sort of get a free pass into not looking homeless because, let’s face it, homeless people don’t just go to Lens Crafters and pick up some new specs, right?”


There was a time at work when, I don’t know, maybe I had a beard, and maybe my hair wasn’t kept up, and maybe … just maybe … I didn’t really care.  It was at that time that someone mentioned that maybe I looked like I could be a person who would also, on the side, sell drugs.

So, I’m more clean shaven now, but you know what?  I’m a classy guy!  BUT I WANT TO BE MORE CLASSY!  I want some grey hair, but just on the sides, not like all over, y’know?

Look, there’s nothing wrong with going all grey, you can still be an icon of grace, finesse, and don’t-mess-with-me-icity.  But you better have a beard.  And consider technologically advanced weaponry.  And, for goodness sake, get some extra midichlorians.

But I’m just going for something that says “look at this guy’s majestic silver stripes, don’t they just lend a mad air of sophistication about this gent?” or even “Great Odin’s Beard!  If this guy isn’t all Jack-Kirby-era Reed Richards, then why do I feel all topsy-turvy on my insides?”

So here is about the best thing I found because I want this to be natural (any corn dog out there can buy spray paint and also maybe some cardboard to protect his face, but this has to be the real deal).

Basically the best bet is to :

  • Get older – By nature of being currently not dead, I’m checking this item off my list every single day.
  • Have the correct genes – Cannot affect this too much (well … not with the current state of science).
  • Start smoking – This is the #1 thing I can get behind.  Not a lot of people take up smoking in their 30s, but when do you see a classy bloke who isn’t smoking in your daydreams anyways?
  • Stress more – Doable, but not preferable.
  • Medical stuff outside my area of expertise – It even says that if you have chemo-grey (an excellent band name, or maybe chemo-grey dot tumbler dot com) that it will turn back normal after a while, so no dice there.

So there you go.  I guess I need to start smoking, but then when I get the grey on the sides, just stop.

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Invest In Forever Stamps

50 cent Forever StampsI saw in the news that postage stamps are going up to 50¢ a piece, and I immediately heard, “ChaChing!” Buy a bunch at 45¢ Forever stamps the day before the increase and then sell them for 50¢ the next day. That’s an 11% ROI in one day. Pretty incredible.

When I researched it though, I was less enthused. First of all, by law, stamp prices are not allowed to increase faster than inflation (though they are this time somehow), which means they can only work as a short term investment… and then, only if you can sell them. There will likely be hundreds of thousands of stamps for sale online the day after the price hike. I’m certainly not the only one that heard the retro cash-register-bell.

I realized a few other problems with my plan too:

  1. Nobody needs 15,000 stamps, if they even need 1.
  2. Anyone who does need a bunch will also have purchased them ahead of time.
  3. eBay isn’t an option because it has a 9% fee, which practically destroys the profit margin.
  4. Competition will drive the selling price below 50¢/stamp.

I’m still kind of toying with the idea, but selling them without eBay would be hard, and when I die one day and they’re reading my Will, I’d hate for my kids to have to argue over who gets Dad’s bucket of postage.

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Last Minute Valentine Gifts

Portable Bath Tub Fail

I do this search practically every year, because unlike Christmas, the commercials don’t give me the three month ramp up time I need to start thinking about what to get. There was actually one year I didn’t need to do this search. That was the year I told Melissa I thought Valentines day was silly. Mmm… Not her favorite “gift.”

Unfortunately, searching for ideas rarely returns any useful results. The recommendations are either too generic or the writers have a very different idea of what I mean by “last-minute.” However, sometimes you can take the generic ideas and use them as inspiration for more personal ones:

  1. Generic Idea: Chocolates… Better Idea: Instead of just picking up a box of Russell Stover’s, buy several boxes until you can fill one of them with just the chocolates that taste like toothpaste (assuming that’s her favorite).
  2. Generic Idea: Movie Night… Better Idea: Instead of going out, try to recreate the theater at home. Pick up some sour patch kids and huge Cokes from the gas station; break out the lawn chairs with the cupholders; pop some popcorn; and turn the volume up unreasonably loud.
  3. Generic Idea: Spa Day… Better Idea: A gift certificate is nice, but what if your house was the spa! Don’t have a bathtub? No problem. Run to Target and pick up a kiddy pool. What? They don’t have a bathtub sized one? Get the one that holds 12 people. Oh, it needs 220 gallons of water? No problem, that’s only 44 trips with a bucket. Hot water heater can’t handle it? That’s what the tea kettle is for. You’re worried the floor might cave in? Don’t be. You’re all set!
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Best Time to Tweet

I just started “Stuff I Google” two weeks ago, but in this age of instant gratification, I want 5,000 hits per day, and I want it now. So, I’ve been trying to leverage my thousands dozens of Twitter followers to spread the word. To optimize the effectiveness of my tweets, I searched for some advice. I found this super helpful infographic from Dan Zarrella. Click on it to view the full thing.

In summary, the best time of day to tweet is 2pm, and weekends seem to be most effective as well. There are some other interesting statistics on there too, so don’t miss out.

He also created a tool called TweetWhen which generates a graph showing what time of day you personally get retweeted the most. Unsurprisingly, as someone who hasn’t historically spent much time on Twitter, I had too little data to generate a graph, but I’m hoping to change that in the coming months.

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How Long is the Timer on Catchphrase?

Last Saturday, my family and I were looking to play a rousing game of Catchphrase. We encountered a snag when we discovered that we had no batteries for the timer. “To Google!” we all said.

We found a wealth of advertising for the game itself, but only one place that looked promising: A place called, a message board for board game enthusiasts. A haven, if you will.

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Is OkCupid really okay?

Shortly before the holidays, a slew of my friends took a stab at online dating. Kim immediately enlisted me in routinely proofreading her profile for typos or anything else that might make her undesirable to eligible bachelors. I wasn’t the ideal candidate for this job. Yes, my grammar is impeccable. However, I’m chronically undateable. Also, I promptly forgot her OkCupid name.

One night, I got a text message reading: “Updated fave movies. Too many rom coms?? Check it out!!”

Check it out. Crap. Was she KC23? KC323? KLCThirtySomethingPisces? The only thing I could visualize in my mind was the tagline she’d used, “Is OkCupid really okay?” And instead of behaving like a normal person and texting back, “Remind me. Your handle?” I went to Google and searched her tagline. I was never able to locate Kim’s page because I was overwhelmed by all of the single people who wanted to know how OkCupid stacks up to Match and Eharmony.

If you really want to know if OkCupid is okay, here are some people with opinions on the subject. Now stop flooding the internet with this question so I can find Kim’s profile.

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