Tuesday, September 7, 2010

I can haz... DO NOT WANT!!!1!

Despite the adage that you cannot teach an old Kat new tricks, I recently discovered that I had a previously unknown talent. I am good at producing amusing captions for photographs of cats. Rather predictably, this skill figures to earn me $0, but it seems a shame to waste it. Consequently I spend quite a bit of time at I Can Has Cheezburger. Indeed it was the success of my efforts at the site that revealed my ability in this area.

My only previous experience in this general field occurred in grade school when I was compelled to write a report about Kenya. Rather than go to the library to research the topic, I decided it was easier to write to the Kenyan embassy and have them send me anything they felt would be useful. If anyone knew what constituted useful information about Kenya I felt it would be them. Much to my delight I received several brochures by return of post.

Since the teacher who assigned the project was the type of bearded, right-on, let's build a tee-pee tree-hugger that blighted much of the UK education system in the 1970s, it occurred to me that cutting-and-pasting [1] images from the brochures into my report would add the kind of "making-it-my-own touch" that the smelly hippy was always going on about. However, something in my wiring prompted me to change the captions of the photographs I included in my report. This started off fairly innocuously. A photograph showing the Agriculture Minister addressing farmers, for example, was re-captioned "Sports Minister congratulates swimming team on first Olympic medal." However, I soon tired of merely lying and decided to push the envelope. Thus a photograph showing Kenyan business leaders sitting around a large conference table received the legend "Pink Floyd Fan Club discusses fund-raising possibilities in order to buy Syd Barret a new brain." As I suspected, my teacher was so busy making his pupils "feel good about themselves" he apparently had insufficient time to read the report in any detail. [3]

[1] Note for younger readers: Cutting-and-pasting used to involve scissors and paste [2].

[2] An adhesive.

[3] I later discovered that most reports are only skimmed if read at all. I used this fact to my advantage when working for NASA, thereby freeing up a lot of time for flirting with grad students at Johns Hopkins University.

My most successful "lolcat" to date involves a picture of kittens in classic "I'm much bigger than I at first appeared" defense posture with the caption "Justin Bieber visits Humane Society." (As an aside, I should mention that I have no idea who Justin Bieber is. I saw his name in several other lolz and cut-and-paste it.) It's a rather obvious and one-dimensional joke, but it was well-received by my fellow lolologists. Indeed it was the remarkable acclaim that this lolcat received that prompted this blog entry. As of this writing, 4,654 people have taken the trouble to "vote" for this lolcat (it has received an average vote of 4.5 cheezburgers on a 0-to-5 scale) and 1,149 people have added it to their favorites list. The image has also been shared on social networking sites, including 1,877 instances at FaceBook.

Part of me is alarmed by these numbers. It's the part that still gives a crap about sociological issues that don't have a direct impact on me and is easily suppressed. The part of me that views everything in the light of how I might profit from it is more sanguine. As a result of this and my other lolcats I now have 4,005 fans at the site. Statistically this implies a reasonable pool of single women in my target age-range. Further, they have been pre-screened to enjoy my sense of humor and, more importantly, to like cats. That's the sort of critical filtering that you simply don't get with eHarmony.com. And since I am currently single and never leave The Kattery, what better chance to meet potential partners?

I was thinking along these lines and developing a plan of attack when I stumbled across what may be a fatal flaw. The chain of logic requires some additional information about lolology convention. Most captions involve misspellings and incorrect grammar. Thus "I am good at captioning" becomes "Iz gud at capshunning." One of my own lolcats employing this device is shown. The problem is that many site regulars insist on using this mode of speech at all times. There are long chat threads that follow many of the most popular lolcats that show the kind of fanatical adherence to dogma more commonly associated with Spanish Inquisitors and fans of Manchester United Football Club. For example, the chat thread beneath my "Bieber" lolcat begins as follows.

Skaerz awl teh kittehz!

*whispers* hoo awn erf iz justin beiber?

Ai haz heered uv justin tiem….

Whispas: Himz a teenaged teenage pop singa !!

And he’s teh suck.

Taht maekz mi fiel beddur, annipuss, knoen dat Ize nawt teh oanlyist wun aleib didun knoez hu in teh whirrld iz dis beiber pursen!

*yoinks torty adn wite kitteh cummin owt of borx* oooh teh cyootnesses, tehy iz ORL gorjus

Ohai GC !! Yoo goanna hab yor hans ful, aifinkso :smile: !!* PB purrfurz teh awlder kittehz wivvowt the kitten sharp clorz :wink: * Wotz gnu in Souf Arfrika ??* BTW, yor bloo linkee duznut werk proppa. Nede a noo fawmat *

If you understood all of the above it is possible that the remainder of this blog will confuse and/or insult you.

Here is my problem in the context of using my lol-fans as a potential dating pool. It strikes me as quite possible that, based on the above quoted thread, many of its members are at best annoying and at worst in desperate need of in-patient treatment at a mental health facility.

Imagine the scene. It is my first date with emo_sk8r_chik. (She's older than her name might suggest. Honest.) We are seated for dinner, she picks up the menu and says "I can haz cheezburger?" Given where we "met" I would only wince slightly. Her next words are "Dey not hav mowse? Dese hoomins weerd." We're getting into the realm of "only amusing occasionally." Roughly once every five years or so.

However the real problem would not arise until after dinner in my bedroom. Imagine, if you dare, the young lady slinking through the bedroom door wearing nothing but Halloween cat ears and eye-liner whiskers. She bats here eyelashes seductively and purrs "I can haz oral?"

My ordinary enthusiasm for the project would... Wilt.


  1. I iz inzulted Surz! You muzt realaiz cat language is da language of Ceiling Cat. You iz commit sacrulej. Preparez 4 wrath of Basement Cat. mmkbai. But u iz funny.

  2. The day you start writing your entire blog in Catspeak is the day I find another amusing friend to read. My teeth are itching from trying to decipher that middle bit.

  3. Oh dear. (I popped back here to read you, since I hadn't added you on a feed.)
    I couldn't even finish reading the middle bit, but the lolcats do make me larf.
    Too bad you can't use "larf" ... I'm sure it means something completely different in lolspeak.

  4. maybe yorkshire lolcats will be the next big thing.