Lead Balloon

Lead Balloon — Special Spoof SectionDecember 2003
By Richard Thiel

Dot-Com Dumb-Down
Online topics include “How to Tell if That Thump Was a Manatee.”

Everyone knows that PMBMY is the magazine that real boaters read. But as the numbers of boats have grown, we’ve seen many new, inexperienced, and in some cases downright stupid boaters decide, in their ignorance, to subscribe to the other boating magazines, probably because they get a free duffel bag. Well, we’ve had enough! We’re no longer going to ignore those readers. We’re going to win them over, not with free junk but with focused editorial—and not in this magazine but in that refuge of so many dumbos and dilettantes: the Internet.

PMBMY is launching a series of Web sites aimed at these readers. While they certainly won’t appeal to you, our core reader, they will perfectly target boaters you may recognize. See if anyone sounds familiar.

www.tiedtothedock.com: appeals to those who have invested considerable money in a boat that never leaves the dock—in other words, a cocktail barge. Topics covered here include “Winterization: How to Unplug Your Shorepower Cord,” “How to Remove Cobwebs From Your Turbocharger,” “Five Cocktails From Isaac That Will Turn Your Convertible Into the Love Boat,” and “What to Do When You Can’t Remember How to Untie Your Dock Lines.”

www.whatnowakesign.com: For boaters who do leave the dock and intentionally or more likely unintentionally ignore speed-related marine signage, we offer “Successfully Swamping a Sailboat—How to Make a Blowboater Really Mad,” “Slow Down to Produce a Bigger Wake,” “Make Your Mark—Create Some Beach Erosion,” and “How to Tell if That Thump Was a Manatee.”

www.bigtalker.com: is useful to boaters who want everyone to think they’re hardcore anglers but can’t stand the thought of fishing. The site features “Using Slime to Make Your Boat Look Salty,” “How to Play Home Videos on Your Fishfinder,” “Keeping TV Dinners in Your Bait Freezer,” and “10 Uses For Captains Besides Driving Your Boat.”

www.endlessmaintenance.com: We all know people who seem to always work on their boat but never actually use it. They’ll appreciate the topics covered on this site, including “Shelf Paper Can Brighten Your Teak,” “Using Jack Stands Instead of Blocks to Make Your Boat Look Sharp,” “Looking Good—Color-Match Your Respirator and Coveralls,” and “Removing Toxic Bottom Paint: Your Kids Can Do It!”

www.cheapboater.com: While sailing pretty much has a lock on parsimonious mariners, there are powerboaters who have made a career of spending the absolute minimal amount of money afloat. For them we offer “Tools—When Borrowing Means Forever,” “Discover the Hidden Treasures in Your Neighbor’s Dockbox,” “The Best Times to Show Up for Free Drinks,” “Arrive Late and Leave Early: How to Avoid Slip Fees,” and “Boating Magazines—Why Subscribe When You Can Bum Old Issues?”

www.bratsaboard.com: We all know boaters with children we’d rather not see on our boats. Direct them here, where they can benefit from “Six Knots Adolescents Can’t Get Out of,” “Fun Games Kids Can Play in the Engine Room While Underway,” “Do Screaming Kids Raise Fish?” and “Trolling With Teens.”

www.heavyboater.com: Aimed at the huskier navigator, this Web site offers “Atkins Aboard,” “Deboarding so You Don’t Capsize the Boat,” and “Finally! Why Your Boat Is Slower Than Everyone Else’s.”

As boating changes from an activity enjoyed by a relatively few number of serious-minded, educated, and experienced enthusiasts into one in which masses of ill-bred, uninformed nouveau riche ignoramuses take to the water, we here at PMBMY are prepared to fight for these new readers—at least those who can read.

Richard Thiel
Big Cheese

This article originally appeared in the November 2003 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.

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