Blog Posts by Fast Talking Dame

  • Procrastinator's Valentine Validation

    This is a Valentine truism: If there were no teenage girls, there'd be no advance planning for Valentine's Day. They are the population that keeps the idea of love alive, and pushing the occasion into the top 200 searches on Yahoo!.

    But not to worry, there are people of all ages still searching last-minute V-Day details. Hearteningly, the gender distribution gets more equal for the search term "Valentine Day" as the day goes on: Instead of 6 out of 10 queries being pursued by females, the imbalance slightly declines to a 56% female / 34% male ratio. True, the ladies are more conscientious in acknowledgements, like "Valentine's Day Cards" (65% F/35% M).

    Males do lead in one area: They've been asking "When is Valentine's Day" on Yahoo! (15% F/85%M) since January 17. But many guys do capitulate - I mean, join in on the fun. Guys slightly edged out the females in the frantic online surge for "valentine gifts" on the last weekend shopping day (49% F/51% M -- the term popped up more than

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  • January 2012 the Buzz that Was: Political Campaigns, Ships Aground Water Dragons

    Ah, January -- a time of reboots, resolutions, that invigorating resolve to be leaner and ... meaner? A drier winter aside, the seasonal sport devolved into political mudslinging, from the GOP to the Occupy movement to Uncle Sam. Meanwhile, an Italian cruise captain is under house arrest as millions try to piece together what happened on the fatal Mediterranean cruise. The upside? The Year of the Water Dragon is supposed to be one of cooperation. Here now, the buzz that was.

    Political brawls
    The GOP game of musical chairs devolved into a belligerent seesaw face-off between Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney. Michele Bachmann (January 4), Jon Huntsman (January 16), and Rick Perry (January 19) dropped their Oval Office bids, but Rick Santorum and Ron Paul have hung on. Gingrich dusted off his brass knuckles after the "avalanche of negative ads" and blasted his closest rival and the "Republican establishment." Gingrich, who won South Carolina, refrained from commenting about his

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  • Lunar New Year: Serving the Water Dragon

    Year of the Water DragonYear of the Water DragonHappy 4709. Sun nien fai lok (Cantonese) or Xin Nian Kuai (Mandarin).

    By now, casual observers know the Dragon ushers in this Lunar New Year. In general, the dragon in Chinese mythology is a far more benevolent and beneficial creature than its Western fire-breathing counterpart. The last time the creature ruled the zodiac, though, it wasn't just a Golden Dragon (an elemental phenomenon that occurs every 60 years), but an Angry Dragon. That means all animals had to watch out and avoid touchy scenarios.

    This time around, the much more amenable Water Dragon takes the astrological reign. According to the site Lunar New Year Houston, "This year favors the art of negotiation, progressive ideas with an eye to reinforcement of foundations for all we plan to build for the future... Given the challenging conflation of current events, both natural and man-made, it is truly fortuitous that the Year of the Water Dragon is heralded for its serene, visionary intelligence. It is a Dragon Year that

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  • POLITICS: GOP as Family Men, Poll Gender Divide, and Prepping for Palmetto Politics

    Two down, about 54 to go. (Oh yes, besides the 50 states, there are Puerto Rico, American Samoas, the Northern Mariana Islands and the U.S. Virgin Islands). The Mitt Romney first-place finish at New Hampshire surprised few, and Ron Paul's endurance harks back to 2008, where he also showed strong online appeal:

    Top GOP Candidate searches on Yahoo!, Jan. 10

    1. Ron Paul
    2. Mitt Romney
    3. Jon Huntsman
    4. Rick Santorum
    5. Newt Gingrich
    6. Rick Perry

    Third-place finish for Jon Huntsman, however, was not so much a surprise but overdue recognition for the former Utah governor - given the musical chairs of GOP candidates in the limelight. Indeed, you know you're viable when people start taking a close look at your family.

    That's right: Searches for "jon huntsman daughters" -- who have been singing their father's praises for some time - gallivanted up 248%. Not only that, despite being outnumbered, they've attracted more than double the online queries as "mitt romney

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  • TRENDING Jan. 6: Resolutions, Human Barbie, Funny or Die GOP Debate

    Back for the new year and the blog after finishing some major projects, especially the Yahoo! Year in Review. I returned to talk about trending topics on KGO Radio, and there may be other local chats in the works. Meanwhile, for this week:

    • · New year's resolutions: Oh, there are many. As you might suspect, cutting weight's at the top - and people are looking at everything from the quickie Master Cleanse stuff to finding the perfect workout routine. People also want to find a job, volunteer, and travel more. We're also looking forward to more new years - lunar's coming up on the 23rd, and there's always Nowruz in spring. Check out Yodel Anecdotal later for more resolution trends - and when diet searches are really at their highest. (Hint, it's not January)
    • Sarah Burge, the Human BarbieSarah Burge, the Human Barbie· Human Barbie. Yes, Barbie can procreate, but some people think that's a bad idea: The surgically altered Sarah Burge gave her 7 year old daughter a liposuction gift certificate valued at nearly $11k. She already has a breast
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  • Captcha captors: One more annoying hoop that doesn't even work

    Modern life is full of incremental obstacles that gnaw away at you. Coming up with passwords that require cypher training - and forgetting those passwords. A flotilla of hidden fees. The latest Facebook update.

    What's even more aggravating is when those obstacles seem completely unnecessary - like sitting on a tarmac without working toilets for eight hours. (Occupy Jet Blue?)

    Now here comes a study that affirms one more useless obstacle: the Captcha system. That's right, the optical illusion you have to go through to confirm you're a living breathing entity so that you ca answer a poll question, sign into email, buy a concert ticket, or upload a blog. Except your chances of living get foreshortened because your blood pressure is pumping over how nigh impossible it is to figure out those damn characters to type in, and by the time you figure it out, your time has expired and you got to go through another round of visual torture.

    Well, turns out the bot-spotting system invented by

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  • Steve Jobs, Moammar Gaddhafi, Occupation: October 2011 Buzz

    October marked an end of several eras. In America, a digital visionary succumbed to pancreatic cancer, while in Libya a ruthless "king of kings" died at the hands of rebels. But so far there's no end yet for citizen outrage that has fanned out across the country, with one blowout more than 3,000 miles from Wall Street. Below, just some of many stories that occupied attention and searches.

    End of an artist
    Apple tribute to Steve JobsApple tribute to Steve JobsAt a time when disgruntled Joes feel disconnected from their CEOs, there was much reverence for the late Steve Jobs. He died October 5 at age 56, but efforts to measure his extensive legacy started when he resigned in August. After his death, people began asking more personal questions to figure out the why behind his vision. Jobs, as always thinking ahead, had authorized a biography, which hit the bestseller list upon its Oct. 24 release. His final words, shared by his sister to the world, captured the wonder of how he lived and what he shared: ""Oh wow. Oh wow. Oh wow."

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  • Irresistible quotes of the week, October 28

    "Vocally, his balls have dropped." Manager Scooter Braun, lowballing his client Justin Bieber to Billboard magazine.

    "To remain silent in the face of stupidity this blatant is to acquiesce to a kind of culture-destroying ugliness." Writer Ron Rosenbaum, comparing the minds behind Shakespeare-not-a-playwright "Anonymous" movie to birthers in Slate.

    "Only in Santa Cruz would you have biker wars over who's going to control pumpkin spice lattes." Santa Cruz Deputy Police Chief Steve Clark on the Hells Angel versus Vagos bike gangs at a Starbucks.

    "We don't have the money to pay to the city, and that's one of the reasons we're here because we don't have that kind of money." VCU student Ira Birch from the Occupy Wall Street movement, explaining why occupations cost less than Tea Parties.

    "This explains why these big f---ing monuments are all around the world." Raul Julia-Levy, producer of an upcoming documentary on aliens "Revelations of the Mayans 2012 and Beyond."

    "But the people in

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  • SEARCHES: Origin Myths - Tea Party vs. Occupy Wall Street searches

    special thanks to Becky Uline, editorial data analyst, for pulling the stats and her analysis

    Would you like tea or occupation?
    Adbusters Occupy Wall Street posterAdbusters Occupy Wall Street posterThe fast-moving Occupy Wall Street has surface similarities to the Tea Party: a gathering of citizens who feel disenfranchised, who have been inspired by a media campaign (Adbusters versus Rick Santenelli of CNBC) and coming together thanks to a common frustration against an institution - and without a clear platform to guide their immediate future. Of course, the differences among the demographic makeup are much deeper (and the Tea Party is adamant in making distinctions clear), but the quick rise has prompted many comparisons.

    Among them - how much attention did each movement gather in the beginning days, and who gravitated (at least online) to the movement?

    Despite the speed in which the Tea Party formed, the outreach did take longer. If you compare the first six weeks when searches for the Tea Party appeared in meaningful numbers on Yahoo! (March through

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  • Tidbits: Apple Genius, Hard-Working Slackers, and the Working Class Will Be Televised

    Sometimes, it's possible to write too much. Heavy-duty deadlines have come and gone and come again, including working on the Clinton concert (revisiting First Daughters and a misty-eyed former president). Since thoughtful ruminations will be sparse these days, I wanted to hit on some random news and Search tidbits:

    • Jeff RobinJeff RobinApple genius, revealed: Bloomberg talks about the possibility - but no guarantees - of an Apple TV. More importantly, the reporter names names, namely Jeff Robbin, who created iTunes. Like a comely Victorian maiden, Robbin has at one point been carefully hidden from the media and poachers. (Bloomberg alludes to that 2005 Time article, which is a pretty damn good eulogy of Jobs' ouvre: "He is one of the technology world's great innovators but not because he's an engineer or a programmer. He doesn't have an M.B.A. either. He doesn't even have a college degree. (He dropped out of Reed College after one semester.) Jobs has a great native sense of design and a knack for
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