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Sunday, November 7th, 2010
9:43 pm
Two and a half years ago, I wrote this blog showing how my voting philosophy has changed since I first started voting. Here is the meat of it again, but now I'm adding a new philosophy for the decade of 2010s.

When I first voted back in 1985 for the first time (yes I'm that old ;) ) I was told I'd have to always vote for the lesser of two evils. For 1985 that was true for me. I couldn't imagine worse than that.

About 10 years later (in the 1990s) I found this philosophy wasn't good enough. My choices actually got worse. My new philosophy became vote for the person I hate the least. I couldn't imagine worse than that.

About 10 years later (in the 21st century) I found that my 1990s philosophy wasn't good enough anymore. It got even worse. My new philosophy became vote for the person I think will screw up the least. I had a hard time imagining worse than that.

Now my voting philosophy had to change for this election we had in 2010 again because it wasn't good enough. I pretty much think they're almost all somewhat evil, contemptible, and screw ups. So now my new voting philosophy for a new decade is vote for the person that seems the least insane. I can't imagine worse than that yet, but I'm constantly being surprised with how it just keeps getting worse.

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Friday, January 29th, 2010
2:23 am - Billy Mays' successor?
Billy Mays once challenged this guy to a Pitch Off.

This is Vince Offer with the Slap Chop which you've probably seen. Notice that he says it's $19.95 and you get a Graty and a second set free. The S&H is doubled for the second "free" set, so it's really $19.95 + (2 x $7.95) or about $36. They ask you to ask about the foldable cutting board (Basically a 10 cent item) which is only part of the Platinum Set. But if you get the platinum set which they'll try to upgrade you to, then it's an additional ($9.95 + $3.95 S&H) x 2 for a total of about $64.

He's so slick that he's kinda fascinating in a sick sort of way. Yet his speech and mannerisms scream that he's a scam artist.

Would you believe Vince is not his real name? Hard to believe since he seems so honest. ;)

Wikipedia Entry

I won't post the link to the site that sells the SlapChop to protect you. It's a really obnoxious site. Before you can quit it, it asks you if you're sure. Then it has a dialogue box where Cancel keeps you on the page and OK lets you quit it. It will let you save $5 on the set when the special internet offer pops up ;)

Needless to say, I don't recommend his products.

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Friday, November 27th, 2009
12:34 pm - Jan Leighton
My friend Jan Leighton passed away on November 16th. His obituary is a large article in the NY Times today. Buy a copy or see it for free at The New York Times Site

You can also go to the webpage I designed for him years ago at janleighton.com

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Sunday, August 16th, 2009
2:46 pm
lilysnowflower Asked me about which books I'm reading now on Facebook. Here is the list:

My Stroke of Insight by Jill Bolte Taylor, Ph.D.
It's the true story about a brain anatomist who went through a major stroke. Since she's a brain expert, she was able to describe in detail what it was like and how it took her 8 years to fully recover and re-educate herself.

The Works of Oscar Wilde
I probably won't read this from cover to cover, but I pick out the things I like. I liked The Importance of Being Ernest.

The Year of Living Biblically: One Man's Humble Quest to Follow the Bible as Literally as Possible by A. J. Jacobs
The author who was originally an agnostic/atheist reads several versions of the bible and many commentaries. He then tries to live as closely to the original intent and rules of the bible as possible for one year. He chronicles his spiritual journey and his difficulties with it during this year.

Physics of the Impossible: A Scientific Exploration into the World of Phasers, Force Fields, Teleportation, and Time Travel by Michio Kaku
I've read most of Michio Kaku's books. When he was in high school he built an atom smasher in his garage. This was in the 1960s when it was really difficult to built an atom smasher in your garage. He writes popular science books, but he writes them for the intelligent layman and doesn't dumb them down too much. He relates science to popular fiction very well, since he's a science fiction lover.

So far all the books are good. Since I'm going for my master's degree, I often don't have much time for pleasure reading. This does not include all the reading I do to get that degree. Enjoy :)

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Sunday, August 9th, 2009
8:03 am - Today is my Birthday
Today I am the answer to life, the universe, and everything. Is that at all good? ;)

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Sunday, July 26th, 2009
3:19 pm - Josie and the Pussycats, Musical Journey

Josie's band travels through musical genres; Classic Josie, Disco Josie, Punk Josie, Country Western Josie, Metal "Kiss" Josie, and Techno Josie. Listen closely; all the original lyrics are there.

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Monday, June 1st, 2009
7:36 am - GM will declare bankruptcy today

Click here for the article

OK GM isn't completely done, but there was so many ways they could have avoided this years ago. High School dropouts were earning over $20 per hour 30 years ago for manual labor. Executives were robbing the company routinely. All employees were getting ridiculous benefits. Some employees were receiving retirement benefits for over 50 years.

The business practices were bad and short sighted. We knew all these problems didn't have a real hope of getting addressed until there was no other choice. GM will probably survive in some form, but it won't be the company we knew. They will make inelegant efficient cars and have employees who make much more modest wages.

It makes me wonder if this is a precursor to our own US economy. That we won't see anything but optimism until everything crashes. All the danger signs are here. Can we ever act before the problems fully hit?

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Wednesday, May 27th, 2009
12:16 am - Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

Take about 85% of the original text by Austin and then add Zombies and you get a reimagined classic. I don't know if this is any good, but the concept is good for a chuckle.

"It is a truth universally acknowledged that a zombie in possession of brains must be in want of more brains." So begins Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, an expanded edition of the beloved Jane Austen novel featuring all-new scenes of bone-crunching zombie mayhem. As our story opens, a mysterious plague has fallen upon the quiet English village of Meryton—and the dead are returning to life! Feisty heroine Elizabeth Bennet is determined to wipe out the zombie menace, but she's soon distracted by the arrival of the haughty and arrogant Mr. Darcy. What ensues is a delightful comedy of manners with plenty of civilized sparring between the two young lovers—and even more violent sparring on the blood-soaked battlefield as Elizabeth wages war against hordes of flesh-eating undead. Can she vanquish the spawn of Satan? And overcome the social prejudices of the class-conscious landed gentry? Complete with romance, heartbreak, swordfights, cannibalism, and thousands of rotting corpses, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies transforms a masterpiece of world literature into something you'd actually want to read.

Click here to see the amazon.com entry

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Sunday, April 26th, 2009
2:35 pm - Burt Reynolds on Twilight Zone (1963)
A very young Burt Reynolds plays a parody of Marlon Brando named Rocky Rhodes on an hour long episode of Twilight Zone. He really steals the show. Here is a clip.

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1:44 pm - SCI FI Video - Talking Gadget Theater: Blade Runner

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Saturday, April 25th, 2009
6:41 pm - And Then There Was Maude or Ode to a Golden Girl
Bea Arthur dead at 86

And she had the same last name as me before she was married. :)

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1:35 pm - Movies Again!!!
17 Again (2009). It's the most original idea since the movie 18 Again (1988)

Let's not forget other body swapping movies with kids switching with adults like Freaky Friday(1976), Vice Versa (1988), Like Father Like Son (1987), Big (1988), 13 Going on 30 (2004), and of course Freaky Friday (2003)

This is just in the adults-and-kids-body-switching-through-magic-major-movie genre. Who knew this genre was so rich? And remember the adults-and-kids-body-switching-through-science-major-movie genre hasn't even been explored yet. I'm so excit......ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ

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Wednesday, April 15th, 2009
5:39 pm - The Muppet Show - Mahna Mahna
Here's an old classic that should cheer up the kid in you in these troubled times. If you saw it when you were really young like I did, it should bring back fond memories.

This originally was performed by the muppets in 1969, but this version considered one of the best is from April 25, 1977.

Here's the history of the tune
Damn Swedes copied it from us a few years before we stole it from them. ;)

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6:34 am - High IQ societies
There is Mensa whose members are supposed to be in the top 2% in IQ.

Then there is the Giga Society whose few members claim to be in the top 0.0000001% in IQ (1 in a billion level IQ)

There are only 7 members, since there is slightly under 7 billion people in the world. Here is their website.

By the law of large numbers, I would have expected at least one member in China and/or India. Combined they have more than 1/3rd of the world population.

I've noticed mistakes throughout their site and their members are not exceptionally accomplished. So I'm skeptical of their superhuman brain powers. For example they claim six members on one page of the site and list seven members on a different page, I guess they're too smart to bother with counting.

They tried to impress me by spelling Gödel incorrectly as Gφdel.

Going to a Mensa meeting is a painful experience, so I wouldn't want to meet Giga Society Members. If they're anything like Mensa members, they must be ridiculously dysfunctional.

Here's a list of other High IQ societies

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Saturday, April 4th, 2009
7:28 pm - One of Us! One of Us!
You probably heard the chant "One of us. One of us" as a phrase when someone becomes part of a group of low social status. It's used in many TV shows and movies. But do you know where it came from originally?

It's the movie Freaks (1932). It was billed as a horror film, but it's now kinda funny. This was made before modern special effects so all the Freaks were actual circus freaks. The movie is quite un-politically correct by today's standards when dealing with those born differently and was banned for decades in the UK and Boston. It kinda killed Tod Browning's movie making career.

The chant of the Freaks accepting a physically normal woman into their group is
"We accept her! We accept her! One of us! One of us! Gooble gobble, gooble gobble! One of us! One of us!"

Some of the freaks included are the human torso, pinheads, midgets/dwarves, half man/half woman, and the bearded lady.

The human torso

You can watch it here if you wish. Its only 66 minutes.

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Friday, April 3rd, 2009
7:15 am

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Tuesday, March 31st, 2009
The U.S. government is set to offer an online emotional rescue kit!

"Getting Through Tough Economic Times" will launch Tuesday with a media push across all platforms.

The site is meant to help people identify health concerns related to financial worries.

The feds will warn of depression, suicidal thinking and other serious mental illnesses. It will raise warning flags for: Persistent sadness/crying; Excessive anxiety; Lack of sleep/constant fatigue; Excessive irritability/anger.

The guide will be available starting at midnight at http://www.samhsa.gov/economy.

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Monday, February 23rd, 2009
1:47 am - Pennsylvania boy, 11, charged with murder of father's pregnant girlfriend
Click here to read article

As horrible as this is, what really got to me is that the victim was shot with a youth model 20-gauge shotgun. I think any gun that can kill a person should not be considered a child's weapon. If we can convict a child as an adult for murder, then all lethal guns should at least be considered to be adult weapons. There should be no children's guns other than possibly squirt guns or BB guns.

What possible rationale are there for laws that allow labeling a lethal gun can be made for a child? That there was money to be made?

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Saturday, February 14th, 2009
9:11 pm - Scams on TV
When I was a kid, when I saw an ad on TV, I figured that they had to tell the truth. They might try to trick you a bit or exaggerate, but one trusted they couldn't bald-face lie. One believed there was a fine system in place or rules that ensured this.

If those rules ever worked, they definitely don't work now. I've seen several ads on cable that looked great if they worked. But they sounded so fantastic, that I had to investigate them. Thankfully the internet makes it incredibly easy.

One is Amaze RX. They claim that by drinking one of their shakes instead of a meal, you could lose about 30 lbs in a month. They associate a doctor with it, that looks somewhat like a doctor.

Well I don't believe a shake can fully replace a meal indefinitely and the weight loss claims they make are unbelievable. As I type the product into google, Rather than the autocompletion pick out "Amazerx", it only has a choice for "Amazerx scam". Here is what I found.

This was advertised on the Oxygen channel (A channel programmed for the female demographic). So they evidently thought women were their key market. They thought female lust for weight loss would outweigh their common sense. I feel insulted for all women.

Here's another product that looks great. Riddex Plus is supposed to get rid of bugs by just plugging it in. This would be a great idea for a product...if it actually worked.

This scam was only slightly harder to find on the internet. I looked at the Amazon.com reviews of it.

The best review of it is that the user had no bugs, and has no bugs now. Therefore he guesses it works. The worst review is that the user thinks it actually attracts bugs. There are no pest control improvement stories at all. The product clearly doesn't work at all.

Here is one more, Enzyte-Male Enhancement Formula

The commercial involves a lot of happy whistling and beautiful women who wink at you.

I'm not even supplying links debunking this one since many of them are x-rated. Just trust me when I say this product is actually damaging to one's health. Don't ever try it. It's a scary product.

The lie is so perversive on the internet, that the company peppers proofs that it works throughout the web. But reliable websites show it's dangerous.

So this seems to be a new age. Infomercials can bald-faced lie now on cable channel commercials. They will get fined for it, but the fines are outweighed tremendously by the profits now. So be really careful out there. Caveat Emptor just doesn't cover it.

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Thursday, January 15th, 2009
1:39 am - Ricardo Montalban dead at 88
Click here for the article

It would be fitting if his coffin was lined with the Corinthian Leather he loved so ;)

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