Baseball Toaster Fairpole
Layout Experiments This Weekend
2008-07-25 10:09
by Ken Arneson

I'm going to be making some fairly big layout tweaks this weekend. These changes are not permanent. I'm doing these experiments, mostly moving ads around here and there, just so that I can get a better understanding of the economics of our site. We will return to our regularly scheduled layouts after the weekend.

2008-07-25 10:17:50
1.   mehmattski
Uh oh. Will there be pastels? How about plaid?
2008-07-25 13:32:53
2.   Sushirabbit
How 'bout some flashing text?
2008-07-25 15:18:58
3.   Cliff Corcoran
I believe Bronx Banter is going to be replaced with a flashing, primary-colored quiz that asks "Which of these players hit the most career home runs?" over photos of Babe Ruth, Tony Womack, and Eddie Gadael and says that you can win a laptop if you get the answer right.

Do I have that right, Ken?

2008-07-25 15:38:00
4.   Ken Arneson
There will be interstitials featuring "Toasty", the animated toaster, who before you can read each page, will teach you how to throw a forkball, and butter your bread.
2008-07-25 15:42:30
5.   Ken Arneson
BTW, if I've never said this before, f**k Microsoft. I've wasted pretty much the whole day today messing around with HTML workarounds just because those idiots who programmed Internet Explorer can't read the damn language specs.

Seriously, how many billions of dollars in productivity have been lost from Microsoft's incompetence?

2008-07-25 15:54:19
6.   Bob Timmermann
I'm telling Steve Ballmer!
2008-07-25 19:40:27
7.   The Trolley Dodger
6 If you do, try to do it when there aren't any chairs around.
2008-07-25 22:08:00
8.   Daniel Zappala
5 Hallelujah, Amen.
2008-07-26 09:17:26
9.   3rd gen yankee fan
5 Incompetence or barely concealed agenda to rule the world with proprietary software and processes? You decide.
2008-07-26 13:49:25
10.   Ken Arneson
9 It's incompetence, because if it was smart and deliberate, they'd also own all the consulting and security companies that make a living cleaning up Microsoft's mess.
2008-07-27 10:37:42
11.   Chyll Will
10 Dogbert they are not.
2008-07-27 17:06:56
12.   Linkmeister
1 Well, it may not reappear, but you can see classic Aloha attire at the Griddle right now.

I never expected to see an ad for Reyns sportswear on a non-Hawai'i site. I own three or four of their shirts; they're very good quality.

2008-07-27 23:37:14
13.   Cliff Corcoran
I'll likely change but there's actually an add for Toaster Ovens on this page right now. Awesome.
2008-07-29 09:29:55
14.   Ken Arneson
I'm extending this experiment a few days, then I'll make some decisions. The revenue increases were way, way more than I expected. I suspect there's some novelty factor involved. I need to see what happens when people get used to the ads.
2008-07-29 10:56:10
15.   Dimelo
Ken, one thing that has changed with this new layout has been my ability to read a post from my phone.

I noticed this change yesterday and was trying to figure out why I couldn't read any of the posts.

2008-07-29 14:27:27
16.   Ken Arneson
15 What kind of phone do you have? I've heard about some trouble with Treos. What exactly do you see when you try to read a post?
2008-07-30 08:22:07
17.   Marty
16 I'm having the same problem on a blackberry using either the blackberry browser or Opera. It looks fine until you click on the comments link. Then you have to scroll through the right-hand sidebar (at least on DodgerThoughts) before you get to the current topic and comments.
2008-07-30 11:48:51
18.   Dimelo
16 I have a Samsung Windows based PDA, it's the Samsung SCH-i760. Previously I had no problem reading the entire post and comments section, not anymore.
2008-07-31 18:20:31
19.   xaphor
Ken, might be what you are already looking at long term, but have you thought about stretching the sidebar to accomidate the 336x280/300x250 ads. Using the increased space to highlight the 'Hot from the Toaster' section would also be nice and could tempt casual viewers to any one particular blog to click through the rest of the Toaster crew's columns.
2008-08-08 08:51:52
20.   koolman2
You posted a notice about Phil Simkins and the Daily News.

The story was about how the Yankees in the championship season of 96 used a body cooling invention of his and never got credit for it.

He finally asked for compensation, but the Yankees turned a deaf ear on him which has kept him in a homeless situation ever since and deprived the firefighters, police, soldiers, elderly, and everybody from having his revolutionary body cooling device that could have saved thousands of lives from heat stroke and allowed us to win the war in Iraq, years ago.

It's a great story and a sad one for the Yankees, which might explain why they stopped winning championships so suddenly and were humiliated by Boston.

It just might be the curse of the Kool Rope coming back to haunt them.

The reason I know the story is because I am Phil Simkins!!!

And for those who want to know the entire story follow along:

I had been in touch with the trainer for the Yankees, Gene Monahan, in 1995, about the cooling units and had made him several units of the necklace version which he kept in the training room locker.

He had even put me in touch with the Valvoline Nascar racing team and Mark Martin their driver to see if they could test the units while driving in a race.

I sent down 2 heavy duty Kool Ropes to Mark and he tried them out while practicing in his race car.

He got back to me and said that they worked great and if I could get the electronic freezer pack finished, he would definitely use them at races.

During the 95 season, the weather during the Yankee games never got too hot so the ropes were never used, but in 96 I developed the yellow Kool Rope for use by firefighters, policeman, construction workers, that i sent you the sample of.

I called Gene Monahan during the season and asked him if he would show the new unit to Dwight Gooden to see if he would endorse them and also that they were not for athletic use.

I dropped off to Yankee stadium, 2 units in late July and called Gene back on August 20 to see what Dwight had said.

Gene told me that he wanted to wait till after the season ended before doing any endorsement deals and then as I was hanging up the phone he said, "Oh by the way, Phil, some of the players have been using it in batting practice!!!"

I said to myself, Wow, now I am a part of Yankee history!!!"

Gene asked me to give him a call back in two weeks when they returned from California and he would discuss it further with me.

But, the team was doing so well at that time, I decided not to call until after the season was over, so not to take attention away from them winning.

I told the firefighters up at the 77th about the Yankees using the units and said that if we could be patient and wait until the season was over, if they won the Series, than what better publicity to get them into production than to have helped keep the team cool.

Well, as the story goes, they won an exciting Series with everything falling into place and I knew that my moment would soon come.

I waited until after the parades and festivities were over before I sent a letter to Mr. Steinbrenner.

He had known about the team use of the ropes right after Gene told me because I called his office and told his secretary, Lisa,about it and then sent her a unit to give to Mr. Steinbrenner, which she kept in the office refrigerator.

I waited for a reply and got none.

I then sent another and the same thing happened.

I did not know what was going on because I was not asking for money, just acknowledgement of my contribution.

It was a day or two after Christmas when I walked into a copy store on west 52nd street to fax another letter to Steinbrenner, when I saw on the wall all of these Christmas cards that were signed by Yankee players.

I asked the owner, Marthe, how she came by these and she said that her husband worked for the Yankees in the PR Dept.

So, I told her the story and asked her if she would give Gene a call to see what happened.

She spoke with him by phone and told me that he said that the team had used the Kool Ropes for a week in batting practice and then found them to be cumbersome and for me not to write to Steinbrenner anymore.

Well, I was crushed to say the least and didn't know why they would want to keep it a secret since they obviously had a positive effect on the performance of the team and by publicizing their use, it would have enabled me to get them into production for everyone, including the fans who came out to see games on really hot days.

So, for years after never knowing what happened and still trying to get the units into production someone told me that they probably didn't want it to be known that they used the ropes because it might have been considered an unfair advantage.

Gene Monahan knows the truth and the fact that they used the ropes for a week where they were playing in a heat wave in Texas and Kansas City and that they had to win at least one game at Texas or they would have known that they never could beat them at home which would have been a psychological disadvantage come the playoffs.

They won the third and last game they played in Texas and you had to know they were desperate after losing the first 2 to try anything to win. It was a close 6-5 win but keeping cool in that heat surely gave them the feeling of being able to overcome any obstacles and feeling as if they were Supermen.

They went on to Kansas City where they won 2 out of 4 and won on the hottest and most oppressive days. They also won in Texas on the hottest day. Then they left for cooler locations where they did not need the units.








The 1996 World Series win marked the birth of the modern day Yankee dynasty, where they went on to win 3 more championships and made the playoffs each year, since.

It is a dark secret, kept by the Yankees for twelve years, that have prevented the world from having their cooling units and, certainly, changing the course of history!!!

If you guys want to get rid of a curse that might be keeping the Yankees in real hot water, and you can't blame me because I'm still stuck in homelessness, post this and give Lonn Trost a call who on 2 occasions called me a liar and the other asked what I wanted, because he knew it was true, before slamming the phone in my ear and then stand outside the player's entrance before a home game, usually he arrives about 2:00, and shout out to Gene Monahan, "Is it true that the team used Phil Simkins's Kool Rope in batting practice during the 96 season to keep cool in a heat wave in Texas and Kansas City??? "And why did you stiff him for the past 12 years and not allowed us to get our ropes???"

Monahan is the "keeper of the secret" guys so you have to get in his face and stay there until he fesses up, and then I can get you your ropes and the curse will be lifted.

But, you would think I would be still mad and hate the yankees??? Sure, to some extent, I'm human, but I will root for them and stand up for them by fighting a devious plot to put a curse on Yankee fans by putting up a monument to the Red Sox by a closet Sox fan who was the architect behind renovating the old Verizon buiding on 42nd street and sixth.

Dan Shannon, the architect, and Yankee hater, had the color of the building made in, brace yourself, "Fenway Green!!!"

That's right. Check it out. It's the exact color and shade of the notorious fenway Park and the Green Monster!!!

And you know how I found out his plot???

I matched the color on Google images and then went to his site where he had his projects listed and I knew that if he did any work in Boston then he certainly would know what that color was.

What I found at the bottom of the page when everything else was done in NYC and I was ready to admit he might be clean as a whistle was this entry:

0 ST. JAMES, Boston, MA, (1991)
Senior designer for 600,000 sq.ft. office building in
Boston Back Bay for Macomber Development.

BOSTON CROSSING, Boston, MA, (1989 to 1990)
Senior designer for the master plan and architectural
design for 3 million sq.ft. mixed-use project in
downtown Boston for Campeau Development.
So, as Columbo would break out a cigar when he cracked the case, I said to myself, "I got this guy!!!"

Check out the Green Shadow Post article and see what I said.

If I truly hated them would I try to save the team from a curse worst then what the Sox endured.

This one is right in your own backyard sitting right in your face.

Blackstone Group owns the building, so you got to call them, but don't do anything stupid, OK guys.

We'll get the color changed!!! and you guys help me with the Kool Rope. This has been a bitch of a ride but' things happen for a reason and I have some other monumental things to come out.

Take care guys!!!

Phil, Koolman2, Simkins

2008-08-08 09:05:48
21.   Ken Arneson
wow, long post.
2008-08-12 15:33:48
22.   dzzrtRatt

Ever since this layout-change weekend, your sites have not functioned properly on my mobile device (a Treo). I can read the posts, but I can no longer see or add to comments.

Is anyone else having this problem?

(On the plus side, I'm thrilled to know Toaster Ovens are still being sold. I like them so much better than microwaves.)

2008-08-16 15:48:59
23.   williamnyy23
20 You're joking right? You really want credit for the Yankees success because some players might have used your device for a week in BP? If the product is so good, I am sure you can find a market without the Yankees acknowledgment. I think you need to put somethings into perspective and then maybe you wont be in a "homeless situation".

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