Mattress doubles in weight in 8 years?

There are a bunch of ads floating around trying to scare consumers into buying vacuum cleaners, mattress treatment products, and new mattresses.  The claim is that your mattress will double in weight in 8 or 10 years, presumably due to skin flakes, bedbugs, dust, and other debris.  Well, that not only sounds disgusting, but … yes! Inane!

Here’s a great article I ran across on it:
http://www.straightdope.com/columns/read/2545/does-a-mattress-double-its-weight-due-to-dust-mites-and-their-debris

Be sure to read all the way to the bottom – good advice for scientists there.  But, if you don’t feel like linking over there, the bottom line is: Not true.

Music marketing / acceptance in America

I love music.  Those of you who checked out my Slacker station probably have some idea of my eclectic taste.  I play drums and sing, and have been making music since the late ’70s.  It’s a wonderful hobby!  As a musician myself, I am probably a bit more sympathetic than most in regards to other musicians and their ability or inability to “make it”.

I find it unfortunate that many times, artists are not able to succeed in the American market.  I’m not sure whether this is due to US record labels and their modus operandi, or whether it is the American consumers not liking “the product”.  Frequently, artists who struggle here are able to find much better acceptance and sales overseas; specifically in England, Germany and Japan.  I wonder why?  From a selfish point of view, this means that some really great music is not readily available in this country, and neither are concerts by those artists.

Of course, I have a couple of examples for your edification:

Tony Carey – This very versatile artist was born in Turlock, California, in 1953.  He currently has released over 30 albums, but is still not well known in the USA.  He has done very well in the German marketplace, and as a result, he has moved to Germany.  In the ’70s, he was releasing albums under both his name, and “Planet P Project” in order to circumvent record label restrictions on putting out too many albums per year (they didn’t want to confuse the buying public).  He plays multiple instruments and has a very expressive voice.  His style is difficult to quantify; The Planet P material is more sci-fi in concept, but his other material ranges from country, to pop, rock, and just about everything in between.  It’s marvelous to see an artist who doesn’t feel they have to keep grinding out the same old stuff, in the same old style all the time.

Joe Baiza – He is a punk/funk/jazz guitarist from California.  His style is jazz-rock, but more free-form than the structured rock usually heard.  Joe is usually part of the LA scene, but hasn’t been able to have as much success here as he has in Germany.  He has been part of several talented bands; Universal Congress Of, Mecolodiacs, Saccharine Trust to name a few.  Granted, his high-energy improv driven music isn’t for everybody, but why do more people in Europe know him than in the US?

Kevin Gilbert – One of the many struggling, incredibly talented artists who was unable to really “make it big” in the American music scene.  Sadly, he died at a young age.  One has to wonder if he would have found the audience he needed overseas, but as far as I know he did not have an opportunity to explore in that direction.

Here is an interesting article on the music scene in Japan.  Apparently, credit cards are not trusted there, and so on-line ordering is not popular.  People pay cash for physical CDs, usually around $22 each.  You’d think that with lower cost in the US, people would take more chances on artists than in Japan, but that is opposite from reality.

One Rule for a Flat Stomach!

You know those really annoying ads you see all the time on the web “One Rule for a Flat Stomach”, or “Teeth whitening for free discovered by a Mom”?  It’s incredible that something so simple, and in the latter case free, is showing up in paid ads all over the place.  The budget for this advertising must be impressive.  Have you ever wondered what these are all about?

I did, but refused to click on the silly things just on principle.  Crabby McSlacker did some great research for us all on the Flat Stomach ads – check out her post!

As you might guess, these ads are just amazingly well-funded scams.  Read the comments below her post too, some are very funny.  I like the “Bender Ball” one by NeverSayDiet, and “Dr J’s” comment on “dropped 50 pounds this week”.  However, “Tom Rooney” did the best one – search for “bat guano”.

So what about the Teeth Whitening one?  Well, yours truly did the research on that one for your edification and enjoyment.  The scam is that some Mom somewhere tried two free sample products (they give you the link to both – the actual products vary depending on which ad you click), and found that the combination of these whitened her teeth as good as expensive treatments from a dentist (which she couldn’t afford because she’s a single mom, unemployed, has only one leg, etc.)  The empathy factor goes off the scale on this one folks.  I guess they are hoping that nobody will remember that every so often, some Mom-chemist like this gets the bright idea to combine Ammonia and Bleach for a really extra-clean punch, produces Chlorine gas (whoa – who knew?), and ends up dead or in the hospital.

Anyhow, ranting aside, the scam is to get you to try free samples from two companies and presumably you’ll buy more, and at the very least will get on their mailing list.

This reminds me of the old commercials from the ’70s: “4 out of 5 Dentists agree”.  The funny thing is, half the time, the product they were selling had nothing to do with teeth.  I frequently use this same technique to add qualification to an opinion I have, so that people will believe me more easily.  I use “4 out of 5 Dentists agree”, and “Proctologist and wife both agree”.  I get mixed results – go figure.

CNN: Good old Rick

As you probably know by my previous postings, I don't watch the news.  Where I work, however, they have CNN on the TV in the lunchroom.  Rick Sanchez has a show on at that time, and occasionally I watch a little (though with the very poor subtitles as there is no audio).  Rick seems to be a pretty good guy, and is reasonably even-handed when doing interviews and so forth, so I don't fault him personally.  However, I just don't get the point of the whole dang show.  They like to say "it's YOUR newscast!" and that it is interactive news which is "audience driven".  It seems to me that this takes newscasting's already shaky credibility and drops what little was left right down the toilet.  Why on earth does anybody care what "Joe from Pacoima" thinks… about anything?  I sure don't.  I don't know Joe, and since I've noticed that people who call in to talk shows and so forth usually are idiots, I inherently don't trust Joe's opinion.  I can get the same unqualified drivel from the myriad of blogs on the web.  Um, like this one.  I guess.  Anyhow, my point is that it's not "news" if it's stories which seem more appropriate for Jerry Springer, focusing on the hype and trivialities, and supported by commentary from Joe Q. Public.  Where's the credibility?

Oh yea, and the show is really into Tweets.  BZZZZZZTTTT! Ring up no sale.  Say no more, Squire!

Update: Apparently CNN felt the same way – Rick's show is no more.

MOBA : The Collection

Here’s something amusingly inane: The Museum of Bad Art (MOBA : The Collection)

The Museum of bad art is dedicated to firmly-tongue-in-cheek reviews of incredibly bad art.  A fair percentage of their items have been rescued from trash cans or thrift stores by astute individuals who cannot bear to see such waste of questionable talent.

By Tim Posted in Humor Tagged

Financial woes

I’m not doing very well financially, I have to admit that.  Truth be told, I’m headed towards bankruptcy and I really don’t have any idea how to avoid that.  I’m just putting it off as long as I possibly can.  I have a huge amount of debt and each year, it increases.  Whenever I am able to make by debt increase less than I did the previous year, I am very proud and tell all my friends what a great job I’m doing.  Even though I have obvious cash flow problems, I give lots of money each year to charity because I’m a big believer in that.  Of course, as you might imagine, since I don’t have available cash, I have to put that on credit (adding even more to my debt), but I’m okay with that because it’s all in a good cause.  My family and friends, though, sometimes are disappointed in me because I’m unable to help them out financially when they need it.  They should be more understanding, don’t you think?  I have all my expenses, all my debts, and my charities, and there just isn’t any money left for me to help them.  One thing I have decided to do for them from now on though is paying all of their medical expenses.  After all, isn’t it the morally correct thing to do?  Now, I don’t have any cash for this either, so that goes on the old credit also, but when it comes to their medical bills, I just can’t say no, can I?

So, i’m trying to do the right things, but it just seems like I’m on a financial downhill spiral and right now I just don’t see a light at the end of the tunnel.

Who am I?  Why, my name is America, of course.

Political Correctness

It’s time for a witch hunt.  That witch is Political Correctness!!  Witch you say?  Isn’t that a bit harsh?  After all, Political Correctness is funny and amusing, and doesn’t hurt anyone, right?

One of the things that we Americans love about our constitutional amendments is Free Speech.  One would think that this is pretty high on the priority list, as it is the First Amendment.  We all seem to think that this is a very important right, and I’m right there waving the flag on that one!  However, in recent years, it has become fashionable to be “Politically Correct”.  What this amounts to is a self-imposed limitation on free speech.  Burn the witch!

How could this be?  Are we really giving up some of what is universally recognized as a key American tenet?  What’s next?  Baseball? Apple Pie?  Horrors, Agnes!

Okay, I get why all this started.  We can choose our wording to be hurtful or not, and whenever possible we should strive not to be hurtful.  Racial slurs, gender bashing and so forth really should not have a place in modern America.

On the other hand, we are driving full steam ahead into some rather dangerous territory.  If you “call a spade a spade” these days, you will no doubt garner disapproving looks or comments at the very least.  This process seems to be accelerating, so the parameters of what is “correct” and “acceptable” are narrowing daily.  People trip and stumble all over themselves in an effort not to “cross that line”, and in the process actual problems are caused.  Here are a couple of examples that pop up in my mind:

Problem #1 – We are weakening our kids’ psyches.  Yes, little Johnny, when you are playing baseball, and your team does not win, you Lose.  That shouldn’t be damaging, but it is perceived that way in many circles.  You hear garbage like “everyone is a winner”, or “he’s not a Loser, he’s a uniquely fortuned individual on an alternative career path”.  Puhleease!  If you want a good laugh, check out some of these gems.  To me, this is like my diatribe on hand sanitizer.  Do we really want to raise a generation of weak-minded people who can’t deal with reality?  Let’s give them some matches instead and help them burn the witch.

Problem #2 – trying not to racially profile gets in the way.  Security folks have to try really hard not to racially profile, or anything along those lines.  This makes it very hard for them to do their jobs.  Let’s see, if an NTSB security officer is busy with a random strip-search of an 85 year old grandmother with a walker, they have to let the swarthy young man with the shifty expression behind her go by because it’s random, don’t you know.  This doesn’t make me feel very secure, if I’m a fellow passenger.  Can we please stop being so sensitive, and get the job done?  C’mon, NTSB, pull out that Tazer you love so much and Taze the witch.

Problem #3 – The workplace is becoming littered with land-mines.  I do see sexual harassment as an issue which should not be ignored.  However, in other areas we tend to be overly careful.  Let’s have a meeting and downsize the witch.

Problem #4 – The media has to be very careful when reporting a story.  Now, this one I don’t necessarily think is such a bad thing, given the media’s track record.  However, when stories have to be diluted and presented with mealy-mouthed verbiage just to not offend anyone, we’re going too far.  The top news story should start with “Ding Dong, the Witch is dead”.

General Aviation as a Terror Weapon

Is General Aviation as a Terror Weapon a Real Threat or Red Herring?

Here’s a really good article on it: General Aviation as a Terror Weapon: Technology at Officer.com.

However, what post of mine wouldn’t be complete without my own spin?

Actually, on this one, it’s hard to improve on the article above.  I completely agree.  The media in general has been playing Chicken Little with General Aviation since 911, and as a private pilot, I know just how limited that threat really is, and how silly they are being.  Small planes just can’t carry very much payload, and they aren’t very big and heavy (that’s sort of the point of an airplane – make it light so it flies), and they don’t carry all that much fuel.  A typical light plane will carry around 48 gallons of AvGas.  Since they burn 10 gallons per hour (some more, some less, but an easy number for discussion), unless some nutter’s target is right next door to the airport, odds are only 38 gallons would be remaining on board after you allow for taxiing around the airport, taking off, climbing, getting out of the pattern and heading toward your target.

My verdict: Red Herring

My Music

Hey, cool – another opportunity for you to peer into dusty crevices in the scary place known as ‘Tim’s Brain”.  This time, I’m sharing my most excellent taste in music (um, yea, that’s it). I listen to Slacker radio at work, and sometimes in the car, and have set up a pretty good (and often odd) collection of music on there.  Check it out here!