Ypsilanti City government takes a stand on my penis

A few days ago, at lunch, I received a strange call. Ypsi’s new City Manager had somehow gotten his hands on my cell phone number. He was calling to apologize. I can’t remember his exact words, but he said something like, “Uhhhh… The City just launched a new website, and, somehow, it was hacked. You can’t reach it from the front page, but there’s apparently a page that… uhhhh… references your…” I stopped him there. I knew what he was talking about, and I didn’t want him to have to complete the sentence. The next word, was either going to be “penis” or “anus.” I’d already received a heads-up from a friend, letting me know that someone had left a link on my site to an internal page on the CIty’s website, in the Boards and Commissions section, announcing that, in the opinion of our esteemed City leaders, I, Mark Maynard, had an “exquisite” anus and a penis that was neither gnarled by deformity, nor blemished by discoloration.

I apologized back to the flustered City Manager, who explained to me that it was only his third day on the job. I gave him the context, told him that I wasn’t upset by it in the least (after all, they said good things about my penis), and told him that I was sorry for the distraction, as I knew that he had better things to be spending his time on than scouring the City’s website for references to my genatalia.

For those of you who haven’t visited the site in a while, here’s the context… Last weekend, I visited a new restaurant in Ypsi and posted something about it. In the review, which was overwhelmingly positive, I noted the fact that the place had a trough urinal in the men’s bathroom. I also mentioned that, given the choice, I’d rather not excrete fluids in front of strangers. Well, one of my readers – a woman from Ypsi by the name of Karen – took the opportunity to suggest that my dislike of urinating in front of others might stem from some kind of penile deformity. And, things went downhill from there, with others in the audience questioning her fascination with my bathroom habits, and challenging her to step up and defend herself from charges of hypocrisy by peeing unashamedly in front of the the greater Ypsilanti community. And, it was at the height of this exchange, that someone left a link to the City’s website, revealing the following:

I waited a few days to report this, as I was concerned that my friends at AnnArbor.com might take the opportunity to run the hacking story on their front page. My hope is that, now, it’s no longer newsworthy, and I won’t awake tomorrow morning to find a headline like, “Ypsi’s website hacked in escalating public battle over Mark Maynard’s penis.” And, god willing, I won’t have to experience the worst case scenario of having professional acquaintances, who have no idea that this blog exists, asking me why the size and quality of my penis is a matter of public debate… I probably shouldn’t have even mentioned it here, but I felt compelled to share the story of the new City Manager calling me, distraught, and trying to talk me out of a law suit agains the City.

It’s probably worth noting at this point, that I don’t condone the hacking of public sites, even if said hacking is being done in defense of my manhood. So, if you’re behind this, I’d encourage you to use your considerable hacking powers for something more positive, like transferring money from Romney’s Swiss bank account to our friends at Ypsi’s Queer Zone.

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  1. j
    Posted January 29, 2012 at 2:03 am | Permalink

    Oh shit. I sometimes forget that very few people have any clue how this web thing works.

    The other day I was on the City’s site looking for a department listing and got a message, something about access denied. It was a random bug, since I requested a public department listing, but I happened to notice that the error message was also in the url (the address thing at the top of your browser). It looked something like this: http://cityofypsilanti.com/Government/BoardsCommissions/DirectoryofBoardsCommissions/tabid/126/ctl/Access Denied/Default.aspx?message=Error+you+do+not+have+access+to+this+resource

    Immediate thought: “Morons.” When I changed the message part of the url the message on the page changed with it. This is often a sign of bad development practices. It makes sense that changing the following url: http://www.google.com/#sclient=&q=mark+has+a+lovely+penis would change the search results, but you probably don’t want the url altering the content of the page in a way that makes it appear the City endorses Mark’s penis. So the site was never hacked, so much as coded to be embarrassingly gullible. Make any request of it and it would happily oblige. Of course, the only way to get the message was to click on the one link on this here blog.

    Anyway, I checked to make sure they were properly escaping javascript, the stuff that could do real damage to visitors, and they were so I filed it away as yet another crappy municipal website.* As luck would have it, a few hours later I noticed Mark’s penis had become quite the topic of conversation. I hope the lack of wit in the message belies how little thought I put into it. I figured I’d get some smirks and maybe a reply about how we ended up with yet another crappy municipal website. Total effort 10 minutes, including 5 minutes seeing if I could get some ascii art into the url.

    I suspect what happened next, was some city employee then asked the contractor what was going on. Rather than admitting to gross incompetence, the contractor probably responded with some bullshit about getting hacked when no laws or even security had been broken. That said, I am sorry that city employees had to deal with this.

    *All municipal websites are crappy; typically designed by committee with nontechnical city employees trying to oversee the work of underpaid code monkeys who could not give two shits as they put up a different site weekly.

  2. j
    Posted January 29, 2012 at 3:34 am | Permalink

    > I hope the lack of wit in the message belies how little thought I put into it.

    “belies” is the wrong word. “reveals”? I don’t know, it’s late.

  3. Edward
    Posted January 29, 2012 at 8:07 am | Permalink

    I generally disprove of hacking, but I’d love to see the electronic billboard over 94 hacked to include an add for Dr. Rodriguez, Penis Inspector.


  4. dirtgrain
    Posted January 29, 2012 at 8:20 am | Permalink

    This is what you get when you publicly defend your penis.

  5. Elvis costello
    Posted January 29, 2012 at 8:28 am | Permalink

    You know, Mark, in some places you have to pay big bucks to have someone stand on your penis! Not that I know where or how much, first hand, but I heard that it can be done…just sayin’

  6. Citizen w/ Cane
    Posted January 29, 2012 at 8:43 am | Permalink

    Mindblowing that in a town filled with so many talented web and graphic designers, City officials would have turned to a talentless drone to come up with that embarrassingly ugly new City of Ypsi website.

  7. Citizen w/ Cane
    Posted January 29, 2012 at 8:46 am | Permalink

    It turns out the City of Ypsi website was designed and built by a company based in . . . Lansing.

    So much for “buy local.”

  8. alan2102
    Posted January 29, 2012 at 10:26 am | Permalink

    All further content on these subjects should be moved to

  9. Posted January 29, 2012 at 11:58 am | Permalink

    Citizen w/Cane — I’m betting that, if you looked, you could find the City Council packet showing the results of the competitive process for selecting the web firm.

    I too support buying local, and am willing to have my public entities pay some premium to support that, but the sad truth is that there are plenty who would jump down City Hall’s throat for paying $10 extra to “buy local”–as if that $10 were making or breaking the city’s budget. (Honestly, I’m surprised nobody tried to convince the city to outsource the project to India in the name of cost savings…)

  10. Lynne
    Posted January 29, 2012 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

    Assuming that he’s seen our lovely water tower, I dont think any new city manager should be surprised that Ypsilant might be a place favored by people who like to make penis jokes. I’ve often thought we should change our motto to “Pride. Diversity. Heritage. Penis Jokes”.

  11. Dan
    Posted January 29, 2012 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

    This is just tremendous. Literally laughed out loud reading this.

  12. Eel
    Posted January 29, 2012 at 9:16 pm | Permalink

    It’s like in High Noon, when the people of the town don’t rally to the defense of their beloved sheriff when he needs them, but make him fight the bad guys alone. At least J came to Mark’s defense. The rest of just just cowered in our homes, forcing mark to defend the quality of his penis alone. I hope we all learned something here. And I hope, the next time Karen, or someone of her ilk come out and attack Mark in this way, the rest of us do the right thing and come to his aid, buying billboards proclaiming the merits of his anus, taint and tool.

  13. Piper Peter
    Posted January 29, 2012 at 11:07 pm | Permalink

    As much as Mark tries to resist it, there’s only one way Mark can put the question regarding the validity of his penis to rest.

    He’s simply going have to publicly produce his “birth record.”

    I think it would be appropriate for him to settle the matter once and for all at a press conference at the water tower where citizens can compare/contrast his penis with an accurate representation of a healthy one.

  14. Megan
    Posted January 30, 2012 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

    This was awesome!

  15. lorie thom
    Posted January 30, 2012 at 4:41 pm | Permalink

    Megan, agreed, awesome. John Hansen calling Mark Maynard about his perfect penis.

    I haven’t laughed outloud like that in a very long time. Welcome aboard John.

  16. Fran
    Posted January 30, 2012 at 6:24 pm | Permalink

    just the facts, ma’am.

  17. Gene
    Posted February 1, 2012 at 10:00 am | Permalink

    i really hope your penis and anus go viral. they could get viral as well, but not wishing for that. congrats on the added exposure.

  18. Eel
    Posted February 1, 2012 at 10:57 am | Permalink

    I love that for a new tag line at the top of the site.

    “Here’s hoping your penis goes viral.”

  19. City Watcher
    Posted February 3, 2012 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

    Apparently being fingered as a participant in Penis Gate was too much for John Hansen. He’s resigned as interim city manager.


  20. ypsi shame
    Posted February 4, 2012 at 1:05 am | Permalink

    A week later, the problem hasn’t been fixed. I hope Mark will create a post where we can all evaluate the new city site. Frankly, I find it more ugly and embarrassing than anything since the “hip, historic, hipsilanti” light pole dancers.

    I can’t find council minutes on the new city site, but I sure would like to know how much we paid the undeniably incompetent “Artemis” for this homely mess. Mayor? Esteemed councilpersons? What did we pay for:


  21. Ext
    Posted June 29, 2013 at 11:40 am | Permalink

    I would welcome the opportunity to stand on your penis. Where is it?

  22. francisca cheng
    Posted July 5, 2013 at 10:30 pm | Permalink

    And I was concerned that I might not be able to find any substantive information on the internet about your penis. I should have known better.

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