Jade Helm, five years on. We remember!

Memories fade as time passes, but as Real Americans we are compelled to pause every so often and reflect upon the many events – good and bad – which form milestones in our country’s collective history. The story of America is one of challenge and triumph, victory and tragedy, uncertainty and accomplishment.

Then there are the days you just look around and ask random passersby, “What the actual fuck?”

Today, we recall just such an occasion, as it was precisely five years ago on this day which will live in incredulity that the United States launched an unprecedented invasion upon its own soil. Driven by unseen influencers operating in the shadows of the New World Order, military forces descended upon the hapless state of Texas, U.S. by God A., with the intention of…well, the full truth may never really be known.


Continue reading “Jade Helm, five years on. We remember!”

Another scam targeting writers? An update!

This could’ve been yours…if the price was right. $14.95, as it happens.

So, last night I spent a little time talking about something I along with…conservatively speaking….forty or fifty bazillion people on the internet took to be some kind of possible scam, which if true had apparently set its sights on the oh-so lucrative pastime of trying to separate inexperienced or maybe even desperate writers from their money.

(Would you like to know more? See “Another scam targeting writers?“)

When a fair number of those aforementioned forty or fifty bazillion people–most if not all of them some form of writer just trying to make their way pushing words through this crazy messed up world–took to their blogs or Facebook or Twitter or other venues to report, dissect, condemn, and generally mock the very same email I described in last night’s post, things quickly devolved to the point of absurdity, culminating in what can charitably be described as a dumpster fire shit show train wreck very poor attempt to “set the record straight.”

Presented here, without any edits or changes to formatting, is the *second* email I and most of those forty or fifty bazillion people received from this group:

Continue reading “Another scam targeting writers? An update!”

Jade Helm is over. VICTORY!

That’s right, patriots! After a long, arduous campaign, the forces of tyranny are in retreat. We have successfully defended our homeland from those who would seek to oppress us. Outstanding job, warriors. This will be a day long remembered. Official reports are beginning to filter in from the front lines. For example, we have The Washington Post:

Remember Jade Helm 15, the controversial military exercise? It’s over.


Though the war may be over, the rebuilding is just beginning. We have much work to do in order to restore our pristine lands to their former glory, erasing the scars and pain of the battles fought here. At last report, requests for federal aid were still being considered.


Meanwhile, savor your victory, and hey! Check it out: Overstock sales on ammo and beef jerky. Everybody wins!

Jade Helm sitrep: D-Day.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you likely know that today, July 15th, was the first day of the “controversial” military training exercise Jade Helm 15. Now, depending on whom you ask, this is either the latest in a long string of such exercises the military has performed over years and years, or a plot by the Obama Administration to launch a federal takeover of certain “enemy states,” such as Texas.

For those of you who lack a basic understanding of United States history and politics, Texas has been a member of our union since well before Obama became president, and for more than a century before he was even born, but let’s not let facts and logic start to pull at the threads of this particular tapestry, all right?

Anyway, if you’ve clicked on the handy link I provided up above, you’re now familiar with what Jade Helm is supposed to be (or what its disinformation campaign wants you to think it’s supposed to be, etc.). Today was the first day of fun for the folks in uniform participating in the exercise, and of course attention from all over was focused on it to see if Obama’s nefarious plot would unfold before our very eyes.

Continue reading “Jade Helm sitrep: D-Day.”

The spam I get.

So, this gem appeared in the email inbox this morning, under the subject heading “Editorial” –


I hope you’re having a nice day.

We are interested in sending over a quality and relevant article to your site daytonward.com as a contribution. We have a team of writers ready to prepare a post that adds value to your site and its readers.

Is this something you might consider? If yes, I can email over the article asap. Rest assured that it will be subject to your review. Please note that we’ll also add references to our client.

Aside from the article, we will also pay an administrative fee worth $100 for your trouble.

Please email me back if this is something that might interest you.

Looking forward to hearing from you.

[Name Redacted]

My first reaction?


Apparently, the sender thinks my blog/site is just so gosh-darned awesome, they have a “team of writers” standing by, like operators hoping I’ll call to order one of those garden hoses that doesn’t kink or that spray-on crap that lets you cover holes in boats or whatever. Not only that, but they’re concerned for you, dear reader, because they’re prepared to write a “quality” and “relevant” article that “adds value” to my site and you, because until they searched the wilderness and found me, I was hopelessly wasting your time.

I’m not saying they’re wrong, mind you. I mean, look at this place. It’s a pimple in the ass crack of the internet, for crying out loud.

Therefore, with that in mind and in the interests of doing whatever I can to further enhance the experience for you, my devoted blog reader, I replied with this:


This sounds like a terrific idea! I’m sure that after your review of my site and its reader comments, you’ve learned that the three things discussed the most here are bacon, Star Trek, and porn, with occasional diversions toward the occult, climate change, and whether Dick Sargent or Dick York made the better Darren.

If you’ve already reviewed my site and prepared an article tapping into this particular zeitgeist in a manner that only my readers can fully appreciate, and doing so better than I’ve been able to accomplish to this point, I can’t wait to read it.


Can’t wait to see what happens next.

I should’ve just had cereal….

During the school year, my weekday morning routine usually consists of getting up and getting dressed, and working for an hour or so until it’s time to take the kids to school. During this time, the girls are going through their “morning routine,” which usually includes (in often random order) getting their “bathroom stuff” done, getting dressed, making their bed and putting away anything which might be cluttering the floor of their room. Once all that’s complete, Mom or I (usually Mom) gets them breakfast. After Mom leaves for work, I make sure any outstanding “tasks” are completed before it’s time to head off for school.

Normally, I don’t eat breakfast during any of this. If I do eat something in the morning, it’s after I’m back from delivering the kids to school. Some days, I run a quick errand or two before returning home, and such was the case today. I was picking up a couple of items, including some fresh fruit (pineapple FTW!) and my route through the store took me past the frozen foods section. I spied that refrigerator unit housing all the various breakfast options, and my eyes fell upon a box of breakfast sandwiches — turkey sausage, egg whites and cheese on an English muffin. For reasons I still don’t fully understand, my stomach communicated its desire that it be filled with such a sandwich.


Meanwhile, the pineapple in my basket was going, “WTF, bro?”

Anyway, I decided to grab a box of the sandwiches, and put aside my idea of eating a bowl of cereal with my fresh-cut pineapple.

“It was a bad call, Ripley. It was a bad call!”

For one thing, what the hell is with the directions for heating up one of these things? I’ve seen shorter lists of instructions to defuse explosives, for crying out loud.

  1. Remove from wrapper.
  2. Wrap in a paper towel.
  3. Defrost for ## seconds.
  4. Turn over.
  5. Heat for ## seconds, rotating once during heating.
  6. Add ## seconds if your microwave isn’t the precise model we describe in our instructions without actually naming the brand and model number.
  7. Make sure you’re properly inoculated against ptomaine poisoning.
  8. Make sure your will or living trust is up to date.
  9. Mutter a prayer to your deity of choice.
  10. Consume the sandwich-like product.
  11. Regret previous step.
  12. Verify steps 7 and 8.

So, while I tend to the ball of molten lava which is now my heart, I recommend the multi-grain Cheerios for those of you still searching for breakfast.

But keep your paws off my pineapple.

It’s the War on Christmas, Charlie Brown!

After a long cease-fire, hostilities once more are heating up, with reports coming in from checkout lanes and talking heads stationed all along the front lines. “Remember the 25th!” and all that jazz.

Yep, the “War on Christmas” is back. It never really went away. It was just in remission.


From my observation post here on the periphery of the conflict, I see the first battles of every new campaign unfold each year with clockwork precision on The Day After Thanksgiving. Code named “Black Friday,” it usually is the first wave of any renewed assault, though I’ve been receiving reports detailing the increasing numbers of early reconnaissance patrols and other probing actions. However, after initial contact with the enemy, legions of soldiers now are descending upon unsuspecting civilian marketplaces in order to seize territory and secure supply routes.

During more recent engagements, pre-emptive strikes have been launched in the hours before B-Day to devastating effect, simultaneously securing footholds on numerous mercantile beachheads. What do these brave souls face upon taking the fight to the enemy? The harshest invective ever to assail human ears, rivaling even the worst oratory ever offered by Tokyo Rose, Hanoi Hannah or Muhammad Saeed al-Sahhaf, and embodied by such offending salutations as “Happy Holidays!” or even the dreaded “Seasons Greetings.”

This bit of rambling was brought about after reading an article a Facebook friend linked a few weeks ago. Would you like to know more?

NYMag.com: The Sarah Palin War On Christmas Soundboard

Yeah, that’s entertainment.

Don’t believe the lies posted by the godless heathens! The fight must continue, or all will be lost! See your local recruiter and find out how you, too, can serve the war effort.

Or, you know, not.

Let’s be Spam Buddies!

So, this showed up in the comment filter/moderation queue a day or so ago:

Greetings! I know this is kinda off topic however , I’d figured I’d ask. Would you be interested in exchanging links or maybe guest writing a blog article or vice-versa? My site discusses a lot of the same topics as yours and I feel we could greatly benefit from each other. If you’re interested feel free to send me an email. I look forward to hearing from you! Excellent blog by the way!

In other words…..


So far as I was able to determine without actually clicking any links, the site to which the trapped comment linked back is a dating/match-making/hook-up site of some sort from somewhere in Europe. As irony would have it, the comment had been posted to this bit of weirdness I wrote about SEO spammers back in August.

I’ll wait while you conjure a joke or two of your own.

We good? All righty, then.

My favorite part, of course, is this bit:

My site discusses a lot of the same topics as yours….”

Well, that’s certainly not true, but I imagine that if I did write about the same sorts of things that appear to reign supreme over there, I’d be getting shit-ton more blog hits, for sure.

This isn’t the first time I’ve gotten some flavor of this particular bit of spammage,  but like everything else of this sort, it seems to be coming with greater frequency. Obviously the douche nozzles on the other end of missives like this are trying to tunnel their way under the perimeter security barriers surrounding stately Ward Manor, but to what end? I’m certainly not going to write anything suitable for their site, and I damned sure don’t want anything of theirs over here. I mean, I like to think I’ve got the market cornered at this particular blog so far as utterly useless postings and other nonsense is concerned.

Anybody else getting stuff like this?

Selling my new novel, inspired by the Star Trek Into Darkness Blu-ray “kerfluffle.”

By now, those of you who follow such things have heard at least some of the rumblings prompted by the news regarding the forthcoming Blu-ray release of Star Trek Into Darkness, and that the strategy for selling this title entails a variety of different “versions,” each featuring unique bonus content depending on your retailer of choice.

Best Buy and Target will have their own “exclusive editions” of the title, for example, each with bonus features not available on the other store’s version. Those who opt to purchase the film in a digital-only format will be treated to yet another subset of features exclusive to that medium. Those of you purchasing the traditional DVD are just hoping the thing is offered in a true anamorphic widescreen format, and will be thrilled if the marketing copy on the back of the case doesn’t list “Chapter Breaks” as a special feature.

VHS and LaserDisc hold outs? I got nuthin’ for ya.

What? All this is news to you? Well, then: allow me to direct you to one particularly scathing review of the situation with the upcoming release, along with a pretty unforgiving additional commentary/rant, courtesy of Bill Hunt over at the venerable Digital Bits:

The Digital Bits: Star Trek Into Darkness Blu-ray Review

My Two Cents: Paramount Has A Blu-ray Problem 


I mean…someone somewhere was sitting in a meeting, and somehow convinced everyone else in the room this was the greatest idea EVAH.

Yeah. Not so much, methinks.

Anyway, hardcore home theater enthusiasts are decrying the shameless money grab and its expectations that fans simply will drop coin on multiple editions of the same film in order to secure the full package of bonus features, aka “value added content,” which is–or at least it used to be–a selling point of the disc itself. Plus, Blu-rays are supposed to be the premiere format for devoted film collectors and addicts. The notion of having to endure a scavenger hunt in order to obtain everything is rather off-putting.

Or, maybe it isn’t……..?

With this in mind, I’d like to take this opportunity to announce the bold, exciting retail strategy I’m formulating to accompany my next novel, inspired as it is by the Star Trek Into Darkness Blu-ray Delivery Model.

Most of you know my next novel will be published on December 31st. The book will feature different bonus chapters and endings, depending on whether you buy the book at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, any of 13 individual independent book sellers scattered all over the world, or eBay.

Yes, the endings will be different if you opt for the physical book (hardcover, trade paperback, mass market paperback, and/or Braille edition), e-Book, audiobook, graphic novel adaptation, and/or special limited Twitter-fied edition.

Additional scenes and other information will be inserted into fortune cookies at participating Chinese restaurants. It’s possible we may also secure a deal with Taco Bell to print a serialized version of Chapter 22 on the little packets of taco sauce (mild flavor only, of course).

Customers of the iTunes service can look forward to receiving an exclusive behind-the-scenes audio track bundled with their edition of the e-Book, recorded during the writing of the novel and featuring my wife yelling at me to clean out the cat’s litter box and me begging her to just let me finish the chapter I’m working on. As a cross-promotional push with Taco Bell, this indeed will be the aforementioned Chapter 22, but a different version than the one featured on the taco sauce packets.

Finally, there will be a super special bonus version of the book with a completely different ending–along with a subplot written exclusively for this edition–available from a hidden page on my website, but only at random intervals in tandem with the lunar cycle and reruns of The Shawshank Redemption on AMC.

Did I mention there also will be cover variants? That’s right! You can expect several different covers to accompany the novel, featuring the artistic talents of Doug Drexler, Alex Ross, Berkeley Breathed, Rob Liefeld, Picasso, and my five-year old daughter. She’s been working on hers for weeks in her Kindergarten art class, and this variant is being reserved as a special retailer incentive, so be sure to order early and often.

Full details on the release strategy will be forthcoming, but for now feel free to leave any questions in the comments section. Answers to your queries will be randomly distributed among the different versions of the book when it goes on sale in December.

Peace, out.

Dear SEO spammers: Bite me.

So, every once in a while, I get a spam comment to one blog entry or another that features some variation of the following:

Hello Web Admin, I noticed that your On-Page SEO is is missing a few factors, for one you do not use all three H tags in your post, also I notice that you are not using bold or italics properly in your SEO optimization. On-Page SEO means more now than ever since the new Google update: Panda. No longer are backlinks and simply pinging or sending out a RSS feed the key to getting Google PageRank or Alexa Rankings, You now NEED On-Page SEO. So what is good On-Page SEO?First your keyword must appear in the title.Then it must appear in the URL.You have to optimize your keyword and make sure that it has a nice keyword density of 3-5% in your article with relevant LSI (Latent Semantic Indexing). Then you should spread all H1,H2,H3 tags in your article.Your Keyword should appear in your first paragraph and in the last sentence of the page. You should have relevant usage of Bold and italics of your keyword.There should be one internal link to a page on your blog and you should have one image with an alt tag that has your keyword….wait there’s even more Now what if i told you there was a simple WordPress plugin that does all the On-Page SEO, and automatically for you? That’s right AUTOMATICALLY, just watch this 4minute video for more information at. Seo Plugin at some bullshit website linked here

Holy. Shit.

SEO, for those of you who might be wondering and because the douche nozzles responsible for polluting the blogosphere with this crap always fail to define their acronym after its first use as is customary when introducing a lot of jargon, lingo or techie shorthand into any sort of correspondence meant to be read by anyone other than the dickbag writing it, stands for “Search Engine Optimization.”

Essentially, we’re talking about a collection of tips and tricks which, when employed on your site’s various pages, result in higher “page rankings” whenever various key bits and bytes of info are collected and organized by the Googles or your search engine du jour.

According to the boneheads pushing stuff like the infoblob above, your website, the internet, and indeed the entire space-time continuum will come to a screeching halt if you don’t sprinkle some of this virtual voodoo into your webbins and bloggins and whatnot. Now, we all hate when the entire space-time continuum comes to a screeching halt for any reason, so is it really all that far out of line to want to take steps to delay or even avert said catastrophe?

What. The Fuck. Ever.

Now, this isn’t to say that there aren’t a varying number of common sense things any website can do to improve not only its appearance and navigation but also in how it’s found by those the person running the site would like to have come over for a visit. Some of these are holdovers from the “rules of thumb” established way back in the early days of webpages, when everybody had little more than a handful of markup tags and a dream. You know, stuff like limiting the number of clicks anyone should have to make to reach anything on your site (three’s the max, one instructor of mine used to say all the time).

Having relevant titles in blog postings is another easy one, as is making sure that your site is linked through the various arenas in which you maintain a social media presence. I keep all of that stuff very simple. My name/handle on Facebook and Twitter is “Dayton Ward,” and both profiles link back to “daytonward.com,” which in turn is a very simple navigation tool to bring you to my blog. Voila! We’re done.

Well, not really, according to the infodump gnarling up my spam filter. Let’s break this all down and see what it is my would-be savior wants me to do (aside from give him or her money, of course). By the way, I’ve left everything from the original comment as is–typos, repeated words, mashed together sentences, and all, because nothing makes me want to give money to somebody more than a professional-looking sales pitch like this one:

I noticed that your On-Page SEO is is missing a few factors, for one you do not use all three H tags in your post, also I notice that you are not using bold or italics properly in your SEO optimization.

Ah, yes, the all-too vital “H tags.” You know why I tend not to use those things all that often?

Because shit like this is really pretty annoying.

So’s this. Kind of.

To be honest, this one’s not so bad, but fuck that guy for whining about it.

Next? There’s not enough bold or italics. HOLY SHIT!!!! Now what am I supposed to do?

Probably less of that, I’d imagine.

On-Page SEO means more now than ever since the new Google update: Panda. No longer are backlinks and simply pinging or sending out a RSS feed the key to getting Google PageRank or Alexa Rankings, You now NEED On-Page SEO.

And here I was, grinding my teeth and pulling out my hair at the thought of substandard Google PageRank or Alexa Rankings. By the way…what the hell are those, anyway? I tried to read about PageRank here, but Holy Dogshit on a Triscuit. The only thing I could come up with was that it’s a way for that creepy guy from Person of Interest or those Balok-looking precogs from Minority Report to figure out if I’m about to convert my blog to a porn site or a place to download pirated e-Books or something.

As for Alexa Rankings, that seems aimed more toward commercial websites and such, so it really doesn’t apply to me. Indeed, most SEO “tips” are aimed at marketing and promotion in order to boost sales, which would be fine if I actually was selling something here on The Fog of Ward, or was running a website that was a portal for a brick & mortar location.

“But, Dayton!” I can hear someone calling out from the cheap seats. “Aren’t you a writer? Isn’t this blog really nothing more than you selling yourself to potential readers?”

Yes, that’s true to a certain extent, but let’s be fair: not everything I write in this space is aimed at selling you something. I like to have my bit of fun from time to time, too, as well as wax pseudo-philosophical every so often on this or that issue or topic of interest. Whoring myself with every blog post would get old after the first or second entry, right?

(Hey! Where are you going? Sit down!)

Also, let’s be honest: Not everyone who comes here is a customer, potential or otherwise. A lot of you are, of course, and I love you all, though I hope you’ll believe me when I tell you that I don’t view you that way. You’re already doing me a great service by supporting me and my writing, so the least I could do is not shove my latest “Gotta buy this, too!” thing in your face every time you come here.

However, in addition to you faithful readers, we’re going to get the occasional visitor who’s found his or her way here because they were looking for something entirely unrelated to me or my writing, and a few minutes spent reading a rant about politics, stupid people, or TV isn’t going to convince them to run out and buy my new Star Trek novel.

(Unless it is, in which I case I’d like to direct you to my newest release, From History’s Shadow. Yeah, that was pretty shameless, wasn’t it? I even feel a little dirty for having just done that. Well, not really.)

Anyway, the simple fact is that, as a writer, my biggest asset when it comes to selling myself is my name, and guess what? Plug my name into the interwebz and BAM! There I am, right at the top of the page listings, without any special tricks or shenanigans, or money stuck into some “expert’s” pocket. There’s even a picture of my dumb ass staring back at you when you do the search thing. I win, internet!

Onward, we go:

So what is good On-Page SEO?First your keyword must appear in the title.Then it must appear in the URL.You have to optimize your keyword and make sure that it has a nice keyword density of 3-5% in your article with relevant LSI (Latent Semantic Indexing).

Keyword? BITE ME. You’ll note that “Bite Me” also appears in this post’s title and accompanying URL. As for “Latent Semantic Indexing,” I’m guessing that if I invite the authors of the spam comment to bite me, and also include “Bite Me” in the post’s title and accompanying URL, they’ll be arriving at Ward Manor in due course to…you know…bite me, because the search bots will have determined from the latent semantic indexing and casual use of the term “bite me” that I really want these boneheads to…you know…bite me.

(Hey. That bolding and italics thing works pretty neat.)

Then you should spread all H1,H2,H3 tags in your article.

I think we’ve already established that I find

shit like this

to be

three or four kinds of irritating,

and I

tend to avoid using such obnoxious markup tags

whenever I can avoid it.







Moving on.

Your Keyword should appear in your first paragraph and in the last sentence of the page.

Whoops, I already blew the first part of that one. Don’t worry, though: I’ll hook you up before we’re done.

You should have relevant usage of Bold and italics of your keyword.

For the love of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, get over it, already.

There should be one internal link to a page on your blog and you should have one image with an alt tag that has your keyword…

What, you mean a link to a totally unrelated page elsewhere in the Fog, which just happens to incorporate my chosen keyword? You mean like this one? Wow. That’s certainly relevant, eh? No wonder the web’s infested with tangled knots of crap clogging up everything.

Of course, this leads me to one of the more annoying facets of reading just about anything on the web, anymore: The embedded link to something not at all related, stuffed right into…

Related: Spam doesn’t even try, anymore.

…the middle of the article you’re reading! Damn, but that sort of thing bugs me. I’m reading a story about nuclear missiles being misplaced at an Air Force base in the middle of Bumfuck, Nowhere, and suddenly there’s a link to a review for Independence Day, because they set off a nuke in that movie.

Hang on! I almost forgot! At least one image with an “alt” tag containing the keyword, right? Here we go:

Bite me.

Mark that one off the list.

wait there’s even more Now what if i told you there was a simple WordPress plugin that does all the On-Page SEO, and automatically for you? That’s right AUTOMATICALLY, just watch this 4minute video for more information at. Seo Plugin at some bullshit website linked here

Well, then. Why didn’t you just say so in the first place? It would’ve saved me typing out all this crap.

I guess the point is that for the people who might want to find me, the process for doing so is already about as easy as it’s ever going to get. As for keywords and other triggers making individual pages on my site more visible to search bots and other aggregators? If there’s value for me there, I’ve yet to figure out what that might be. Meanwhile, and for the real people looking to come to my little corner of the web, well…you found me. Welcome aboard.

Don’t drink my beer, screw with my TV or grab my wife’s butt, and we’ll get along just fine.

I think I’m done here. Oh, wait! I almost forgot.

Dear SEO spammers: Bite me.