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Charlie Hatton
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Howdy, friendly reading person!
I'm on a bit of a hiatus right now, but only to work on other projects -- one incredibly exciting example being the newly-released kids' science book series Things That Make You Go Yuck!
If you're a science and/or silliness fan, give it a gander! See you soon!

Your Tax Dollars, Hard at… Something

I get visitors to this site from all over the world.

Not a lot of visitors, mind you. But they come from all corners of the globe, and they’re the best readers around. It’s the quality of the clicks that matter, not the quantity. That’s my stance.

Until there’s quantity. Then all bets are off. Obviously.

In the meantime, the slow steady crawl of page hits allows me to see where people are coming from, and what they’re seeing, and in many cases, what they came looking for. Through careful study and analysis, I’ve come to a firm and scientifically defensible conclusion:

You people are freaks.

Nah, I’m just kidding. Oh, don’t get me wrong. There are freaks out there — as I’ve documented several times in the past — but mostly, I like to think that the people browsing by the site are just looking to kill a few minutes of time, and maybe grab a quick laugh or two. They’re regular folks, whether from Paris, Texas or Paris, France, from Riyadh to Rio de Janiero, from Quebec to Canberra, and from everywhere in between.

They’re even, as I found out recently, from the United States government. Gulp.

You may imagine, quite rightly, that when I first found hits from the Fed in my logs, I was a little worried. Who knows when the lawmakers will finally get around to passing some sort of anti-silliness law, or a bill outlawing the use of words like assmometer or flaccipointing? If not for the crippling economic situation, the half-dozen wars being fought, the recent election, baby-kissing photo ops, education, health care, billion-dollar bailouts, Social Security, welfare reform, special interest pandering, mall openings, urban rezoning, Constitutional amendments, media spinning, subcommittee meetings, foreign relations, union negotiations, environmental watchdogging and deciding what to buy Wolf Blitzer for Hanukkah, it’d be way up high on their to-do lists. Maybe even first.

So it was with some trepidation that I clicked on an access log from last week indicating that a visitor from ‘‘ had made his or her honorable way to my little corner of the internets. And that trepidation trebled when I saw that specifically, the hit came from the office of the U.S. Senate Sergeant at Arms. It looked bad. It looked official. I had no freaking idea what a sergeant of arms is, or why the Senate would need one. So I looked it up on Wikipedia:

The Sergeant at Arms and Doorkeeper of the Senate is the law enforcer for the United States Senate. One of the chief roles of the Sergeant is to hold the gavel used at every session. The Sergeant can also request the attendance of absent Senators.

He’s a ‘doorkeeper’. And his main duty is to hold a gavel and play truant officer for Senators playing hooky. Suddenly, I felt a lot less trepidatious.

With the architect of the Capitol and the House Sergeant at Arms, he serves on the Capitol Police Board, responsible for security around the building.

Fine. I’d be concerned if I were blogging from the Capitol rotunda. From an unspecified location outside of Boston, I think I’m probably in the clear.

Also. There’s an architect on the Capitol Police Board? Seriously?

Pfffft. Rent-a-cops.)

The Sergeant at Arms of the Senate can arrest any person upon their violating Senate rules (including the President of the United States).

Uh-oh. That whole ‘flaccipointing‘ thing could conceivably violate Senate rules somehow. There’s no way shit like that is covered in Roberts’ Rules of Order. Maybe I’d better see what this person came looking for:

grammar lesson your and you’re

Well. That takes a load off. Here I’m worried about being court-martialed — or sworn in and court-martialed, or enlisted and court-martialed, or whatever they’d have to do to make me eligible — and it’s just some high-ranking government official searching for a basic rule of grammar taught to children in the third grade.

That’s… um, comforting. Sort of.

The question is, was it more or less comforting than the visit I had today, also from the office of the Senate Sergeant at Arms, who found my Simpsons quotes page by searching:

“you, sir, have the boorish manners of a Yalie” simpsons

I suppose that sort of thing would come in handy on the job, when you catch a couple of truant freshman Senators hanging out at the ice cream shop when they’re supposed to be voting. You’d think a ‘Sergeant at Arms’ would be using tougher language, though — maybe he should be searching for Full Metal Jacket quotes, if he really wants to make an impression.

I suppose you’re not allowed to call elected officials ‘maggot pukes’, though. Not actually in the Senate building, anyway. Only in the newspapers, I guess.

(It’s remarkable, by the way, how much the U.S. Senate Sergeant of Arms’ office gets around the web. I don’t know what the size of the staff is like, but a quick search reveals several other posts like the one you’re reading, reporting visits from the same folks.

Of course, given the subject matter around this place, I ascribe little significance to a couple of chance visits from the legislative branch. Many of the sites above are political in nature, and prefer to think of the visits as much more targeted and meaningful.

My guess? If they knew the truth, they’d be sadly flaccipointed.)

As troubling as the experience with Sgt. Senate was, there was one other gubment-related log item of note in recent days. This one came from, of all places, the domain belonging to the United States Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims. And what, pray, were the good folks on the appeals board searching for, perhaps to assist in a ruling on some worthy veteran’s case?:

photographs of women who go commando

Now, possibly they’re talking about the military sort of commando. Maybe they’re after pictures of camouflaged ladies, to compare to an alleged commando lady pleading her case to the court. There’s a chance it’s all on the up-and-up.

Only… no. I don’t think so. If you’re in the military, and you have to Google for pics of ‘women who go commando’, I’m pretty sure it’s not the good sort of ‘commando’.

(Depending on your views on underpants. And special forces personnel. And possibly whe’er the twain should meet.)

At any rate, it’s been an eye-opening experience to catch a glimpse of the browsing habits of supposedly-serious government officials. I suppose they’re people, too, just like the rest of the internet crowd — curious, bored, horny types looking to the web to brighten their days. Sometimes in the form of pantiless women, evidently. And who hasn’t been there, am I right?

But I’m not sure it helps me sleep any easier at night, knowing these elected officeholders are just as fragile, just as forgetful, and just as freaky as the rest of us. When it comes to learning about how these governmental gavelholders and Army appellate agents get their online jollies, one of their own policies leaps to mind:

Don’t ask. And don’t tell.


Permalink  |  1 Comment

One Response to “Your Tax Dollars, Hard at… Something”

  1. kerry says:

    i am deeply disturbed by this. and also just fractionally jealous. but only just.

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