Wednesday, December 29, 2010

(Tattler Best Of 2010 - #4) We Answer the AOL/Sierra Madre Patch Questionnaire So YOU Won't Have To!

In order to better serve the consumers of Sierra Madre, AOL/Patch has come up with a reader survey for you to take. You can find it on the Sierra Madre Patch site, one of the hundreds of blogs - excuse me, websites - thus named and located all across America. All owned by AOL.

This survey attempts to get in touch with your many hopes and desires as you contemplate the activities you will engage in this weekend. All hopefully conducive to the fabulous foothill cities lifestyle to which we all aspire. Fashionable Sierra Madreanos please take note, the survey is long. And with your busy consumer schedules I doubt you will have the time to complete much of it today. So we here at The Tattler are going to take this survey for you. It is the least that we can do.

Oh, one other thing. We found many of the multiple choice answers available within this survey to be unsatisfactory. They just didn't reflect what it is that we, as actual residents of this town, truly feel about ourselves and our way of life. Probably because the people who wrote it are from somewhere in Virginia. So we have, in places, substituted what we feel are more appropriate replies.

Thank you for taking the time to help Patch! We are interested in your opinions, which will help us improve the site. This survey is for research purposes only and your answers will be strictly confidential. The questionnaire should take approximately 15 minutes to answer.

AOL/Patch Question # 1: How likely are you to use a local news and information website to obtain information about your community? Extremely likely. The remnant print venues here pretty much tailor their opinions to suit those businesses and entrenched economic interests that write them checks. Though I suspect that the editorial policies of Patch will not be all that much different as its AOL parent expects its properties to produce revenue for them. Which means it will have to closely serve the political requirements of those whose advertising it needs.

AOL/Patch Question #2: If were to offer the following, how would it affect your usage of the site?
a) A daily video recapping the day's news in the community? Honestly, I think this city has seen enough of Chiefs Diaz, Hamburger and Heydorff hamming it up in order to get a larger slice of our tax money. And videos of certain City Council members telling us that what they're doing isn't really what they're doing would be an absurd redundancy. Daily exposure to that sort of thing could be detrimental to one's health.
b) Articles written by local college students? Death would be preferable.
c) Ability to buy goods or services from local merchants directly on As opposed to driving 4 or 5 blocks downtown and picking it up myself? Of course I'd rather wait the 3 days delivery time for a bag of pistachio nuts from The Bottle Shop. Who wouldn't?
d) Rewards system giving on-site icons or badges to recognize users who contribute to this site? It depresses me to think that there might be people motivated to work for because they'd get a gold star or happy face next to their name.
e) Real Estate section with information about recent transactions? A couple of years ago this could have served as a kind of local stock market. But now? Weltschmerz.

AOL/Patch Question #3: How have you ever participated in a Patch conversation? Using the function that allows readers to anonymously inform the site's editor about local breaking news, I have tried to plant false stories in hopes that they will be taken seriously and posted on the site. I thought the one about live chickens running loose behind the now defunct KFC site might have done the trick. But it didn't.

AOL/Patch Question #4: How many children do you have under the age of 18? First you'll have to explain to me about the children over the age of 18 thing.

AOL/Patch Question #5: Where do your children attend school? I have discovered that among the key attributes for success in life are a ruthless drive to take whatever it is you want unencumbered by what most would regard as refinement or civilized sensibilities. Therefore my children do not attend school. Rather they roam the woods looking for small animals to eat. It is my belief that this kind of upbringing will prepare them for a highly successful career in California government.

AOL/Patch Question #6: What is your annual household income? How little income would I have to claim for you to lose all interest in me?

AOL/Patch Question #7: What best describes your employment status? I work on the top floor of an office building that used to accommodate around a 100 people. Through an attrition process that seems to have been going on for a lifetime, all but about 10 grizzled veterans have been laid off. The place might seem empty to those who visit, but since the few remaining have absorbed the work of the many who departed, our days are filled with many challenging activities. Mostly involving upper echelon phone calls from New York executives undergoing extreme panic attacks.

AOL/Patch Question #8: How important is it for you to be involved in the following community activities?
a) Local politics? Very important. Many people do not understand just how amusing local politics can be. Watching certain City Council members attempt to convince a room filled with highly skeptical people that they are not who they obviously are is comedy of the highest order. It's like pickpockets claiming to be philanthropists. Or jackasses saying they're racehorses..
b) Local school fundraisers? Despite what I said above, my children actually attend a private school. Which makes my entire life pretty much a school fundraiser.
c) Neighborhood Watch? Knowing that we have one of the highest resident to police officer ratios in the Western Hemisphere, I rest easy knowing that I don't have to worry about the safety of this community. I also believe in Santa Claus.
d) Community organizations (e.g. Rotary, Breakfast Club, etc.)? Though I do work for a living, I understand that there are those who need to join with other well-leisured individuals to celebrate their value to the community. As long as they mind their own business I'm fine with it.
e) Using local businesses (shops, restaurants, services)? I always try to support independent businesses. Which are what most here are. McBlogs, on the other hand, are not.

AOL/Patch Question #9: If you have never contributed content to the website, please indicate why you haven't commented on an article? In order to comment on your site a person has to register their name and e-mail address with an AOL controlled entity. One that does not own up to (at least on the site) the coercive nature of that proprietorship. And God only knows what they do with that information.

AOL/Patch Question #10: Are you single or married/partnered? Why? What do you have in mind?

AOL/Patch Question #11: Thinking about the site you visit most frequently, how familiar are you with the local editor? Quite familiar, actually. And considering that during his tenure at The Sierra Madre Weekly he published the most absurdly untrue fabrications about both this town and some of the people living here, I would think that working for a highly demanding east coast corporation for relatively little money is an apt karmic reward. Plus his having to wander nowhere but the streets of Sierra Madre in order to produce the 3 to 4 features required daily by his employers only adds to my sense of satisfaction. I suspect he'll be talking to the squirrels before long.

AOL/Patch Question #12: How did you learn about Like most people in town, I read about it on The Tattler.

Thank you for participating in our survey. We will use your input to help improve (your community name here) Patch. You may now close this page and resume your regularly scheduled activities. Enjoy the rest of your weekend.
(Ed: This post originally appeared on 10/16/10.)


  1. John Crawford, thanks for the laughs! You are brilliant.

    However.....Old Kentucky has a warning to anyone going on an AOL site.
    We used to be on AOL several years ago and had a very unfortunate experience. All of a sudden our credit card was being charged bogus charges from obscure little phony companies. We traced them as AOL ADVERTISERS. We had the charges eliminated right away, but when we complained to AOL, they ignored us and were actually arrogant about it! Also had a hell of a time getting rid of AOL as our ISP.
    So really think twice about even getting on this site.
    If you do, which I have to admit, I might chance it.
    Copy Crawford's beautiful answers and let's barrage them over there. But, delete your web traces as soon as you finish their survey. Looks like a phishing attempt.

    Crawford, am I wrong?, I'm just concerned about Tattler's security.

  2. Aghast at the effronteryOctober 16, 2010 at 8:17 AM

    I hope to God that there is no one in Sierra Madre - on any side of any discussion - who is fool enough to fill out the AOL/Patch questionnaire. So now the idiots think we want our "news" and folksy coverage of events in town, albeit a day late and a dollar short, filtered through the lens of corporate greed (AOL's)? If not John Stephens, then some other down and out newsy who'll work for peanuts.

  3. Why do they need to know all that information about us? Talk about nosy!

  4. Laugh, laugh. laugh . . . what a great start to my day!

  5. working for a livingOctober 16, 2010 at 10:27 AM

    15 minutes! And they expect anyone to respond?
    Who is there target audience, with 15 minutes to help them do their marketing research?

  6. working for a livingOctober 16, 2010 at 10:35 AM

    their. I meant their, both times.
    Fun restless adorning Sir Eric.

  7. Those people in the picture are running away because they just heard there's another city meeting they have to attend.

  8. Jackasses saying their racehorsesOctober 16, 2010 at 10:38 AM

    The problem is they really think they are racehorses. And
    all the other jackasses bobble every time they ask.

  9. Just as long as they are there next Tuesday at 6:30. You'll
    want to be there for that one. I kid choo not.

  10. Tattler, great fun. Thanks.Hope all the Patch communities get to see this!One of my favorites:
    AOL/Patch Question #6: What is your annual household income? How little income would I have to claim for you to lose all interest in me?

  11. The questions about articles by college kids and real estate transactions sound like the Patchers are ready to poach the sad remains of what was once the Mt. Wilson Observer.

  12. Do you think that Patch is why Rooster Coburn has pretty much given up on his website? They both seem to work the same kind of cheesy stuff.

  13. My question is:

    Do we need a special security "patch" to protect us from the spammers who will be phishing that AOL, real estate dominant website?

    Should I contact Microsoft?

  14. Thanks for the laugh, it made my morning.
    The image of feral children training for a career in California government was genius!

  15. LA Times today "SEC investigating City of Bell's use of 70 million from bond proceeds".

    A forensic investigation of Sierra Madre's past bonded indebitedness, (also millions...but no one seems to know for sure) should be the focus and perhaps only focus of the Tuesday Oct 19 meeting. The Ciy's squandering of past bond revenue and becoming a "bloated public entity", (too many employees, in house services, lawyers, and consultants) make it mandatory that we reduce our numbers and services,spend what we have, pay off past bond indebitedness.

    We seem to add what we want, then look for ways to pay for it. Perhaps we should let the City go bankrupt, clean house, outsource some services, and be what we are; a small city with limited resources and funds.

  16. I try to go to the Pasadena Star News website and I get redirected to City of Sierra Madre. I used both firefox and safari.

  17. The less money City Hall has to spend, the less damage they can do.

  18. the lame survey is just to build marketing demographics to sell advertising

    most likely, they are following the Beth Buck lead of manufacturing traffic, she claimed in a city of 10,000 she had over a million unique visits in a few months

  19. We'd like to know a little bit about you for our files
    We'd like to help you learn to help yourself

  20. This is a motivation?
    "Rewards system giving on-site icons or badges to recognize users who contribute to this site"
    Who wrote the survey? An out of work kindergarten teacher?

  21. You don't get much in the way of quality when you're paying in on-site icons or badges...

  22. Not a chance 2:33. Prolly a verrrrry expensive PR consult resulted in that fine survey.

  23. love takin a surveyOctober 16, 2010 at 2:54 PM

    "Are you single or married/partnered?"
    My wife walked out because she said I spent too much time online.

  24. "And here we have Boris Daly, a 3 Smiley Face contributor to the Sierra Madre Patch.."

  25. Check out my precious daughter under the recent article written by the Garden Gal...The Garden Gate At The Yellow House.


  26. No Looney Views News today. Did Susan melt?

  27. Haha. That's funny because Dan Abendschein is so earnest and you're so cynical. I like to laugh at others in my community that are trying to create something. It's even funnier because there are so many journalists losing their jobs. Hilarious.

  28. Momus? The Greek God of Mockery?

    When did you get into town? Kind a come down for you, isn't it?

  29. "Are you single or married/partnered?"


  30. still read the papers, but not that oneOctober 18, 2010 at 9:01 PM

    Did the Looney Views News stagger out to make an appearance?

  31. The Looney did show up on this city's rustiest racks. Just a whole lot of nothing. Except for the weird artlce on the front page about two old dudes wacking each each other on the butt with a fraternity paddle. That was just strange.


The Tattler is a moderated blog. Annoying delays when posting comments can happen. Thank you for your patience and understanding.