Have Pen. Will Blog.

by Translation Guy on May 30, 2010

Thanks to you guys, Translation Guy is the people’s choice in the Lexiophiles Top 100 Language Blogs competition. So we came third, even though none of the other blogs came even close in terms of response from readers.

The judges counted popularity as only 50% of the final score in order to control a selection process that best suited their agenda. Fair enough, it’s their sandbox. But count your matchbox cars before you head home, kids, because it looks like your votes may have gotten lost in the dust at this play date. So what did we learn?

Ever since I was drafted against my will onto the Unami Middle School Newspaper in 7th grade, writing has been the black hole on the event horizon. My name was my destiny―Ken Clark, Clark Kent. I would wear the newshound muzzle.

Frank Frietag, my Honors English teacher, who remained all his life convinced that I was an ass, was just the first splash of a wave of ruthless taskmasters who squeezed words out of me just as they squeezed their toothpaste out of the tube as they greeted themselves in the mirror each dreadful morning.

They weren’t all that bad, but I had to write as I was told. I was proud to be that kind of writer, making my living from the pen in the service of my betters, but I found it about as much fun as laying pipe in a parking lot.

So I started the translation business and stopped writing, unless I couldn’t help it. Being self-employed, I was surprised to discover what a prick my boss was. And he couldn’t fire me. Just between you and me, the inside scoop on this outfit?  The fish rots from the head down. That’s all I’m saying.

Then they made me do this blog, but since I can write whatever I want, I write whatever I want. And that some of you have made it a habit? To have readers without editors! It’s a wonder!  The judges at Lexiophiles disapprove! I wear their scorn as a badge of honor!

And that some of you like my blog enough to drop a line. Wonder of wonders! I pour over your every word, laughing and pondering every jewel and chestnut offered up. I sincerely thank you.

I vow to amuse you if I can, and edify you if I must. Thanks again.



  1. Salem Alaton says:

    Congratulations. Third is not chopped liver.

  2. Andreas says:

    Ken –
    just a few words on your thoughts. We made it clear from the very beginning that user votes count 50% towards the final score. The idea behind this is to have a weighted view on the blogs. While we recognize that any ranking criteria will by nature be subjective we try to include as many criteria as we can (and we have included a detailed explanation in the competition’s ‘how and why article’). The idea of the blog competition is not a popularity contest / people’s choice award but to show the diverse range of language-related blogs, including many niche blogs with a smaller follower base. This way the top 100 list features some new and not-so-known blogs every year, while relying only on user votes would just feature the largest user base blogs over and over again.
    We definitely don’t want to be your English teacher – sharing your own thoughts as you like makes your blog unique and fun to read. Although we don’t have a People’s Choice Award we hope to see you back next year.
    Keep on blogging!

    for the bab.la and Lexiophiles team

  3. Danny says:

    Love the blog Ken and congrats!

    @Andreas – there was obviously some rigging that took place here. Look at the Top Language Professionals voting results. How could Alta’s blog, Beyond Words, beat out TG in the standings? This is almost mathematically impossible. Unless, Beyond Words ranked so much higher in the judges voting… and I mean SOOO much higher. I don’t see how it could have been that one-sided by the judges.

    Andreas, I get that “The idea of the blog competition is not a popularity contest / people’s choice award but to show the diverse range of language-related blogs, including many niche blogs with a smaller follower base” but then why does popularity count for 50%? Oh wait, it obviously doesn’t….

  4. Agreed Danny, I would like to see the scorecards because this makes no sense. It looks like a complete farce to me.

  5. TheOne says:

    “features some new and not-so-known blogs every year”??? Oh that’s why one of the most popular blogs, in Atominium the art of translation won…

  6. 1964: the election was tampered with by the coup in Dallas (1963/11/22).

    1968: the election was tampered with by the killings of Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King, and by Nixon’s sabotage of the Vietnam peace negotiations.

    1972: the Watergate scandal damaged democracy.

    1976: the Carter campaign was in part an effort of the “Trilateral Commission” (a quasi-official transnational entity of elites).

    1980: Carter’s “Friendly Fascism” was sabotaged by the “October Surprise”. (“On October 19, 1980, Bush was dealing with Khomeini”) In most countries, that would have been called a coup d’etat.

    1984: Reagan’s re-election campaign was a “cake walk” over Mondale.

    1988: Dukakis appeared to get “cold feet” (understandable) and chose to stay silent about Bush’s crimes as Vice President. Iran-Contra and the October Surprise were not part of the campaign issues.

    1992: Clinton was clearly the elite’s choice. Clinton put the happy face on fascism and got a lot of the Reagan-Bush agenda passed — NAFTA, GATT, WTO, gutting health, safety and environmental laws, abolition of welfare, doubling prison complex, etc. “Homeland Security” was started toward the end of Clinton’s second term (around the time of the phony impeachment). Clinton had been involved in Iran-Contra while governor of Arkansas (much of the cocaine used to fund the contra war was flown into Mena, Ark.), and therefore was compromised and couldn’t prosecute Bush for his crimes. See the book “Barry and the Boys” by former NBC investigative journalist Daniel Hopsicker for more on this (www.barryandtheboys.com)

    1996: Dole seemed to understand that his campaign was a token gesture – entertaining for him (and profitable), but not a serious effort to defeat Clinton.

    2000: the whole world saw George W. Bush was not actually the winner. While vote fraud was not limited to Florida, that state became famous as the center for the election tampering.

    2002: several elections – especially the Georgia Senate and Governor races – were flipped by electronic ballot machines. The plane crash of Senator Wellstone also was a factor in the shift of the Senate to the Republicans.

    2004: Kerry won the election, but electronic ballot machines and voter suppression flipped several states in the Electoral College and shifted a few million votes to Bush.

    2006: vote fraud was present in many Congressional races, but not enough to prevent the Democrats from taking both houses of Congress

    2010: Ken Clark falls short in what seems to be a landslide victory during the ’10 Lexiophiles competition, and much like the Watergate scandal, democracy as we know it is damaged further…

    • Ken says:

      Paula, Thanks for the head’s up. I had no idea that this conspiracy was so vast.

  7. ForensicCult says:

    Not too sure about the voting comments, but I’m happy to see you did so well!

  8. TheBleeder says:

    Congrats KEN!

  9. Susan O`hare says:

    Ew, this smells so fishy!

  10. Centerfold says:

    That’s the way the cookie crumbles I guess. Well third place is still great – I like the chopped liver statement :-)

  11. Wilber says:

    Way to go, Ken! Barbed, bold and to the point.

    Substance aside, this question: Just what is it that you “pour over [our] every word” – syrup, perhaps? (No Schadenfreude intended I assure you).

    • Ken says:

      Wilber, as in most things, I usually pour cheap wine over comments. My childhood writerly inspiration, Mr. Ray Bradbury, says that writers must be drunk on writing. And I’ve never met a carton of white that I didn’t like enough to pour anywhere.

      Thanks for standing down on the Schadenfreude (also misspelled in a previous post) for “pour.” I’ll leave that typo in place as a monument to your eagle eye, and as a warning to my editor, who will be severely punished for any of my future errors in style.

  12. YourEditor says:

    Duly noted! I must have interpreted that as drunk when writing. My apologies.

LiveZilla Live Chat Software