Smudge Report

A co-worker suggested I check out a new website, saying it’s like The Onion, except local. I set my expectations on low. I’ve spent enough time reading Times Union blogs to know that when people try being funny, it usually sucks.

But I went to Albany Smudge anyway – and I was pleasantly surprised.

At Albany Smudge you’ll find satirical news stories that are both funny and dead on target. Many of the pieces use references that display a deep knowledge of local culture and the stereotypes we have of area towns. For example, this jab at snooty Bethlehem:

“The Town of Bethlehem is even a little less friendly now that it has announced it will remove all “welcome” signs by the end of the summer. The move, said one local official, is being made so that area signage “conforms more accurately to the evolving views of our residents toward outsiders.”

The writer knows Bethlehem, right down to the annoying hyphenated last names.

People will be curious to know the author’s identity. Whoever is behind this is a real writer — not some hack like me who bangs out silly blog posts — and he or she deserves credit.

My only critique is a tiny one: some stories might play better using the names of real local figures and politicians, but that’s easy for me to say; I’m not the one responsible in case someone gets angry — and the fake names are pretty good.

Chalk up this one up as a winner. A bright spot on an increasingly bleak and depressing internet.

12 responses to “Smudge Report

  1. Great website, and dead-on-the-money.

    Perhaps they will cover the cancellation of the Bass Fishing Tourney in Troy. The story in the Troy Record reports, excerpted below:

    “…The new DEC regulations that took effect in April prohibit striped bass between 28 inches and 40 inches long from living in the Hudson River, which is the range most of the tournament’s fish fell into.”

    No word how DEC will deal with the illegals – perhaps turn them over to Homeland Security?

  2. Good stuff. I like the fake names because they lend sort of a parallel universe feel to the stories.

    Don’t think your cheap shot on the Times Union went unappreciated. Not to pick on anybody, but the blogs by Rob Hoffman and Brian Huba are especially bad. If you want to read the worst blog post ever, please click here:

    http://blog.timesunion.com/brianhuba/the-true-meaning-of-memorial-day/350/

    Yes, I know that “worst blog post ever” sounds like hyperbole, but I’m serious. It’s the worst blog post ever.

    • Yes, that’s pretty bad, but the worst blog post ever is harsh. There are so many bad blog posts, many of them right on that same site, so who can say?

      I’ll tell you this though, it’s certainly the worst one I’ve read this year, but there are still six months to go in 2015.

      • I use LeechBlock to keep me from looking at Times Union blog page, but the promise of the “worst post ever” appearing on a blog I’d already ID’ed as being epically idiotic was too much to resist . . . so I turned off the block for 10 minutes, called up Mr. Huba’s page and, well, I’m kinda sorta inclined to agree with Chet!

        • LeechBlock… interesting add on!

          I think we had this coversation before. I’d like to give Mr. Huba the benefit of the doubt and assume he is engaged in a form of satire that’s so sophisticated that none of us understand it. Maybe his humor is way over our heads, and we’re like children reading Jonathan Swift and not getting the jokes.

          Or maybe it’s just the worst blog post ever.

          • The nice thing about LeachBlock is that it stops you from clicking the websites that you habitually hit in moments of boredom/weakness, and once you’ve stopped doing so for awhile, your brain removes it from the “List of Things To While Bored” register. I don’t use it for time-wasters so much as I use it for websites that annoy me so much that I can’t stop looking at them just to see what they’re doing to annoy me now: weather.com . . . yahoo . . . Times Union . . . those are the big three!!!

          • Yes, Weather.com is curiously annoying — as is the Weather Channel.

  3. Many thanks to your co-worker for the tip — that’s some quality writing/humor.

  4. dittos on passing on the thanks – this is hilarious! the personal ads had me rolling out of my chair

  5. they remind me a bit of the Letters From the Editors in National Lampoon that I grew up with. I miss that type of irreverent, politically incorrect humor.

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