Saturday, October 31, 2009

Blogging For Cash?

Last year I came across some upstart, potty-mouthed trader blog which I highlighted in - What Happens Next?.

Apparently, the dude has taken his newfound fame and run with it. He's obviously *upgraded* his website:

And taken a page, quite literally, from Drudge!

So there's the stock market scuttlebutt on the left....and a linkfest of inanity, sophomoric humor, and crudity blanketing the rest.

This is precisely the sort of idea I brainstormed for myself, if I was ever going to try to make money from my blog and whatnot. After all, it's far easier to aggregate the work of others than to author.

This guy will probably do alright because what he's providing, a web *filter*, is what most harried and weary wage slaves demand. It's both daunting and inefficient to scour the bottomless pit of internet content on one's own. So why not outsource the tedium?

Though, I don't see any advertising on the site at the moment...

I don't know...maybe posting *hot chicks* and lewd language aren't so alluring to marketers???

[BTW, this is by no means the first attempt at out-Drudging Matt Drudge. I distinctly remember a homophobically-named site called *The Fudge Report* - which appears to have gone nowhere.]

Another Education Book

I just started this book - and let me just tell you, so far, it's really, really good.

Check it out on Amazon; order it for yourselves.

I'll be buried in it for the rest of this weekend so a full report is forthcoming.

Ackoff is a famous Wharton professor type. And Greenberg is the founder of that revolutionary unschool - Sudbury Valley.

UPDATE - I have withdrawn this book recommentation.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Grade 4 Math - Done!

We're still chugging here on the homeschooling front. Tonight Prince C-Nut finished the last of the Grade 4 Kumon Math books: Multiplication, Geometry, Decimals & Fractions, and Division.

Here's where the final book took us:

Click image to enlarge.

In Homeschooling Update - Grade 3 Division, I forecasted that we should be through Grade 6 math before Prince C-Nut was legally eligible for kindergarten (Sept 2010)...

But at this pace, we'll be done sixth grade mathematics by January. Perhaps it's time to slow down and branch out a bit, no?

I don't know how we are going to prevent this kid, or his sister, from giving me one heck of a *teaching ego*!

BTW, he keeps asking me *who is cap-is-nut?*. The nosy little dude keeps peering at my open browsers.

I haven't answered him, at all, on this one. As a rule I do not like to discuss my blog with live people. But I won't be able to hide it much longer from my literate and tech-savvy son.

Soon he won't just be a blog post subject; before you know it he'll be schooling Taylor on the folly of drug legalization and he'll be ribbing West Coast Tom over his love-life in the comment section!

Pig Flu Hysteria, Still Raging

Friday Night Funny

This week from Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner:

"You can say now with confidence that the financial system is stable, the economy is stabilized....You can see the first signs of growth here and around the world."

Sure, Tim!

Growth in bankruptcies. Growth in government debt. Growth in *money supply*. Growth in unemployment. Growth in foreclosures. Growth in public anger!

These guys are all such pieces of worthless garbage.

Still Making Us Laugh

I found this scene pretty funny:

I've noticed that Larry David bases a LOT of his humor in restaurant scenes:

  • That time he thanked only the man of the treating couple - because *she didn't work*.
  • That time he *corrected* the black man's tip.
  • George Costanza pulling out his tip from the jar because his gesture wasn't witnessed.
  • And, this season, Larry trying to *coordinate* tips with Jason Alexander on a split check.

  • I had one other good example of Larry and *tipping* or *the check* but can't recall it right now. Obviously, Larry personally spends a lot of time eating out.

    Larry David is one twisted loser - but he is darned funny at times. This, the seventh season of Curb Your Enthusiasm has been good thus far.

    Though, did y'all see how hideous the Seinfeld cast is now? Outside of Elaine anyway who looks exactly the same.

    Thursday, October 29, 2009

    Dogs And Morons - Always In Proximity

    As Taylor would say, we truly do live in an absurdist society.

    Here's local article of *news* from Boston's South Shore:

    The town selectmen have ordered Gabriella to be euthanized after it bit two customers, a decision that stunned the owners and broke the hearts of the people who made the decision. Now, the owners are trying to find a no-kill shelter that would take the dog.

    In the days since the decision, police have disclosed several other complaints against the shop owners, Bob and Megan Ulman, about their dogs. Twice, the Ullmans have faced misdemeanor charges in Hingham District court because of the dogs, and area merchants and selectmen say the owners have often failed to keep a close eye on the two English Mastiffs that weigh in at about 140 pounds apiece.

    "They never should have had her in the shop in the first place," said Catherine McLaughlin, an 18-year-old server at Brewed Awakenings. "They set they’re[sic] dog up to get killed. They put her in that position, but she shouldn’t die for their mistake," she said.

    Selectmen Chairman Laura Burns said the Ullmans’ actions after the first biting gave officials little choice.

    "They had already defied the authority of the police on multiple occasions, multiple times--we couldn’t trust them to follow what we wanted them to do," Burns said in an interview. "They put us in an impossible position and I did what was best for public safety and residents even though I’m saddened by it," she said.

    One of the victims was Stacey Wakefield, wife of Red Sox pitcher Tim Wakefield, who was bitten in June 2008. She described her bite as a 1 1/2 inch wound on her thigh that broke the flesh. A year later, the dog bit a second customer, Krista Brewer, who told the selectmen that Gabriella’s teeth caused a puncture wound in her stomach.

    Police Chief Taylor Mills showed close-up photographs of her bruised and swollen abdomen taken after the attack.

    Mills said the dog was seen at the South Street gallery after the first bite, and the Ullmans were charged with misdemeanor disorderly conduct. The charges were reduced to a civil infraction and the Ullmans paid a $25 fine and agreed to keep the dogs out of the shop.

    The Ullmans face another criminal charge in Hingham District Court for disorderly conduct because of the second bite a year later. After the second bite, Lt. Mike Perraino said, complaints about the dogs increased.

    Police log entries show six calls about the dogs in a two-month period this summer. Some calls were complaints the dogs were running loose in the square. Another reported the dogs in the store. Another reported dogs barking, and yet another reported large dog out front barking.

    "After the second bite people seemed to not want the dogs there anymore," Perraino said. "We got more calls and complaints."

    Merchants and others in town said while some customers loved the dogs and came to the gallery to visit them, as the Ullmans have said, others feared the Mastiffs. What irked some was the dogs often lounged on the sidewalk in front of the gallery unleashed—a violation of the town’s leash law.

    Since the selectmen's decision, the Ullmans have said they will appeal the decision and hope to find a compromise. One idea they suggested to selectmen was to find a no-kill shelter that would take the dog, said Town Administrator Kevin Paicos. He said selectmen might be in favor of that, but a judge would have to make the decision.

    The Ullmans have said the bites are not drastic enough to take the life of Gabriella. "It was our, fault not the dogs. We didn’t lock the door, but there was a sign in the window that said closed and they went in anyway," Bob Ullman said. "I still maintain there was a 50-50 responsibility," he said after the hearing.

    Around Hingham, residents interviewed this week were more likely to blame the dog owners, not the dogs.

    Hingham resident Russell Reeves said he has been in the shop and has not seen the dogs be aggressive.

    He said the decision to euthanize is too harsh, especially when all parties admit it’s not the dog’s fault, but the owners.

    "You can’t euthanize the owners," Reeves said. "There has to be another option. There has to be someone up in Maine or somewhere to take them.

    Selectmen John Riley said Gabriella may be sweet and lovable most of the time, she has shown a pattern that she can be dangerous when left unattended.

    Riley said once he went into the shop to buy a postcard as a gift for his daughter. He said both dogs growled low as he walked through the store. He said he paid for the postcard and has not been to the shop since.

    "We could go around in circles with this, but there is a pattern of biting and a pattern by the owners of not complying with the town’s demands," Riley said. "Our job is to protect the public."

    Before anyone declare the MOST absurd aspect, consider the full slate of nominees:

    The town selectmen have ordered Gabriella to be euthanized after it bit two customers, a decision that....broke the hearts of the people who made the decision. [BROKE their what?]

    "They set they’re[sic] dog..." [Boston Globe editorial illiteracy!]

    ...paid a $25 fine... [Ooooh that'll teach'em!]

    One of the victims was Stacey Wakefield, wife of Red Sox pitcher Tim Wakefield... [The dog was anti-Red Sox? In my book, that's a mitigating circumstance!]

    Or, how about the fact that one of the death-sentencing selectmen was *growled* at by the dog? Shouldn't he have rightfully excused himself from the proceedings on account of prejudicial experience?

    But the winner has to be the owners themselves. How Moronic are they to put huge, unleashed, nasty animals outfront to welcome their customers?

    I've walked by this store a few times and do remember the dogs. I always keep my kids far away from all non-poodle dogs. And stories like the above only justify my precaution.

    I've written a bunch on dog people - click here.

    Honest-To-God Moron Parents

    I can't believe the juice boxes I walked by tonight at the supermarket:

    Organic and honest?

    If there's any justice in this world, the kids whose parents pack Honest Kids Juice Pouches in their lunches....they will get brutally picked on by their dishonorable classmates.

    My wife informs me that she has seen these juice boxes at a couple of our friends' houses. What could possibly compel a person to buy these?

    Do they think that by drinking them, it'll magically make their kids honest or decent? Or *save the planet*?

    In that case, we can safely presume they have the brats watching Baby Einstein videos as well. See - Money Back For Moron Kids.

    I regret that in my haste, I forgot to assess the price differential. Will look next time.

    Wednesday, October 28, 2009

    Only Good For The Goose

    While Big Government has been out there, doing its best to scare the nation about a *swine flu pandemic*, there was a glaring lack of example-setting in the Oval Office.

    I read it just last week that President B. Hussein O. had yet to get his daughters vaccinated against the pig flu.

    But today I came across this:

    So the President answered his critics - for the time being anyway.

    Two questions remain:

    *Why won't Obama get the shot?*


    *When will he and the rest of Congress send their children to DC government schools?*

    Tuesday, October 27, 2009

    Web Homeschooling

    My kids, the 4.93 year old Prince C-Nut in particular, are all over my computer these days.

    Here's just what we were playing with this evening:

    As one might deduce, you drag the geometric figures down, rotate them, and try to squeeze them into the polygon at the bottom. Since this stuff is online and free....those popular tangible Tangrams needn't be bought.

    Obviously, exercises such as these serve as good introductory geometry.

    My son LOVES Egypt for some reason. We googled *egypt quiz for kids* and easily found exactly that.

    And since the Prince has mastered the States....we're onto state capitals. He's picking them up fast and will probably know them all by the weekend. Do y'all know/remember the capital of Alabama?

    Two points about the vast store of free educational resources online:

    1) There's so much out there, I can't imagine how MUCH MORE will be there 3, 5, 10 years hence!

    2) Some of the stuff is so's going to make much of today's professional *educational world* obsolete - if it hasn't already.

    For one final example, I just googled *teach me to read* and found a great website - It starts with letters, and then phonics, and then full-out reading:

    One clicks on a word....and the computer pronounces it!

    Who needs an adult to teach them now?!?!?!

    We could probably take a toddler, lock him in a cell with a computer limited to the best educational sites, slide mush under the door every morning for 15 years,....

    AND he'd probably walk out a nuclear physicist!

    [More ideally, he'd develop into a high order polymath.]

    Although he might be somewhat anti-social, and ornery.

    IMO, kids should be on the computer at age 2.5, or 3.5 years at the latest.

    Gladwell On Dain Bramage

    My boy, Malcolm Gladwell, just penned a piece for the New Yorker:

    Offensive Play - How different are dogfighting and football?:

    One evening in August, Kyle Turley was at a bar in Nashville with his wife and some friends. It was one of the countless little places in the city that play live music. He’d ordered a beer, but was just sipping it, because he was driving home. He had eaten an hour and a half earlier. Suddenly, he felt a sensation of heat. He was light-headed, and began to sweat. He had been having episodes like that with increasing frequency during the past year—headaches, nausea. One month, he had vertigo every day, bouts in which he felt as if he were stuck to a wall. But this was worse. He asked his wife if he could sit on her stool for a moment. The warmup band was still playing, and he remembers saying, "I’m just going to take a nap right here until the next band comes on." Then he was lying on the floor, and someone was standing over him. "The guy was freaking out," Turley recalled. "He was saying, ‘Damn, man, I couldn’t find a pulse,’ and my wife said, ‘No, no. You were breathing.’ I’m, like, ‘What? What?’"

    They picked him up. "We went out in the parking lot, and I just lost it," Turley went on. "I started puking everywhere. I couldn’t stop. I got in the car, still puking. My wife, she was really scared, because I had never passed out like that before, and I started becoming really paranoid. I went into a panic. We get to the emergency room. I started to lose control. My limbs were shaking, and I couldn’t speak. I was conscious, but I couldn’t speak the words I wanted to say."

    I haven't had a chance to read it yet, but I'd wager it's worthwhile.

    Everyone with a clue knows those ex-NFLers' bodies are destroyed.

    I've highlighted Gladwell in prior posts:

    Book Rec - The Tipping Point

    Outliers - A Must Read

    Monday, October 26, 2009

    Picture Notes For The Musically Illiterate

    I thought this was pretty cool - especially since, in the course of getting my kids started down this path, I'm trying to educate myself on the basics:

    Money Back For Moron Kids

    Disney Offers Baby Einstein Refunds

    A chastened Disney is offering refunds to consumers who own a copy of the company’s "Baby Einstein" video, bowing to pressure from a parents group that says the video is more likely to turn children into Baby Alfred E. Neumans.

    Disney’s move allows anyone who bought a Baby Einstein video between June 5, 2004 and September 4, 2009 to get their money back. Alternatively, consumers can trade their DVD in for a Baby Einstein book or CD, or redeem it for a 25 percent discount on future Baby Einstein purchases. The offer is good through March 4, 2010.

    For years the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood (CCFC), a group fighting to "reclaim childhood from corporate marketers," has said the videos don’t live up to Disney’s promises.

    In 2006, the CCFC filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), alleging that Disney’s claims about the videos’ supposed educational benefits amounted to false and deceptive advertising. The complaint pointed out that the American Academy of Pediatricians recommends no TV at all for children under two, regardless of content. The CCFC thus reasoned that the videos may in fact damage, rather than promote, children’s intellectual development.

    Susan Linn, a CCFC director and psychologist, said Disney’s latest move is an "acknowledgment that baby videos are not educational." The group’s website calls the turn of events "another CCFC victory" and reemphasized the lack of "credible evidence that any screen media is educational for children under two."

    This is great news!

    Now nobody can say that my 4.94 year old son's math precocity (will finish 4th Grade level this week) came from those videos he watched as an infant.

    It's a shame though that we can't get back all that tuition money from our alma maters.

    What about their false and misleading claims to *educating* us?

    Saturday, October 24, 2009

    I'll Take My Chances With The Flu

    Morons Still Investing In Shacks

    Ever see a house hit the market and declare that it will never EVER sell, at any price?

    Well I do so all of the time. But you know what, they've all eventually sold in this continually bailed-out *market*.

    The above shack, not far from where I live, was put up for sale this past year.

    It's a whopping 864 square feet; and it sold for $240,000 after probably starting somewhere in the 300s

    But get this, as you can see above, it's basically ON A ROAD. And not just any road, it's right at an traffic lit intersection of a MAJOR ROAD as you can see by the painted turning lane. Coming into the intersection, from one side, the speed limit I believe is 45 or 50 mph.

    Now there is a real shortage of cheap rentals in these parts, but still.

    Maureen Dowd - More Perverted Than Thou

    So the article is about the sapphic daughter, Mary Cheney, of the former Vice President - and the content is otherwise quite beside the point.

    The perversion comes from the title and its uncouth reference to the aforementioned.

    Did you know what a daisy chain was?

    I certainly didn't - and I've had HBO for a dozen years now. Furthermore, I've been known to, in the dutiful course of my blog research, once in while swim in the shallow end of the World Wide Web. Still, I'd most certainly have remembered this term had I come across it!

    So there you go, just the fact that Ms. Maureen Dowd knows the term is incriminating enough.

    And that she'd use the filthy allusion as the title of her column in the New York Times, and that they'd publish it....that's beyond the pale.

    Movie Skip - Righteous Kill

    Despite two jurassic stars headlining the action....this movie underwhelmed.

    From the get-go, it was obvious there was going to be a twist at the end of the film. The twist wasn't obvious itself, but part of a good surprising ending has to be the surprise of the surprise, no?

    And, not for anything, at a still young 69 years of age, Al Pacino has morphed into one hideous creature. To borrow from Seinfeld, his face looks like an old catcher's mitt! Too much sun?

    Two out of four stars, at best.

    All The Schools Need Is A Little More Money

    So I hear that Chicago schools are awash in violence these days. Link:

    Owens' son Marques transferred to Calumet Charter School this year to escape violence at a neighborhood school, but he was badly beaten Tuesday. His nose was broken after one kid sucker punched him and more piled on.

    10 Calumet students were arrested and charged with aggravated battery.

    Traci Wallace said she transferred her kids to Calumet Charter School because she wanted something better.

    Recent numbers show about one out of every five Chicago students change schools during a given year. Some of them because the family moved, others because they were granted what CPS calls a "Safety Transfer."

    One in five transfer, every single year?

    "You have to weigh that decision very carefully," said Chicago Public Schools spokesperson, Monique Bond. "You really want to make sure you don't disrupt a student's education process."

    Ms. Bond actually said *education[sic] process* with a straight face!

    I know, I know, I know. It's not funny.

    Abilify - For Depressed Psychotics

    I was blown away by the litany of disclaimers I heard on a commercial last night for Abilify:

    Precisely 50% of that 81 second ad was CYA legal disclaimers!

    From a Consumer Reports video:

    It's not an anti-depressant, it's an anti-psychotic...

    ...spent more than $150 million advertising to the public in 2008. The investment paid off. Sales rose 33% to roughly $2.4 billion.

    Doctors are the ones who expertly diagnose and prescribe for illness, right?

    Why then is so much color TV advertising warranted? Is that where the doctors get their ongoing medical education?

    If I were president dictator....I'd ban Big Pharma ads from television tomorrow. Just think, it would lower medical costs AND at the same time decimate those contemptible major networks. Ha! Banning Viagra and Cialis commercials alone would disengorge the revenues of the NFL and the PGA and their network carriers.

    And this Abilify can cost up to $450 per month???!!!

    That's over $5,000 per year. Remember that this is taken only IN CONJUNCTION with an anti-depressant - which explains why the whiners I've seen on web forums are saying they pay $600-$700 on pills each month.

    This has to be one of the reasons my annual family health insurance premium is pushing $14,000.

    BTW, this drug, Abilify, also has a ridiculous name; it sounds like some ebonic neologism one would hear in a rap video.

    Friday, October 23, 2009

    Sticking It In Our...

    Local mom told me today:

    That her son was sick last week. She thought he had strep throat. Took him in to the doctors who ruled that out. They wanted to give him a flu test, but not for the pig flu, for the regular flu.

    So mom held her four year-old on her lap while they jammed a swab up his nose. Blood went everywhere and the kid started screaming - but that's neither here nor there.

    Miffed, the mother asked her friend, a pediatric nurse herself, what happened. The nurse said obviously the swabber was incompetent - pushing it up too far. Also, they shouldn't be doing that test in the first place because the result is not actionable. She asserted that doctors are ordering up unnecessary regular flu tests simply because they can these days; because they reap $175 from the insurance companies for each swab!

    Now, this story sounds a little fishy to me. There has to be some basis for performing a regular flu test - even if it's just so bought-and-paid-for government agents, aka *doctors*, can prescribe some ineffective, expensive drugs! But I'll let my pedantic doctor readers elaborate on that technical issue.

    The central point is that in the fog of pandemic bubblemania, with Big Government writing checks left and right, the door hangs wide open for scamsters - just as it was trafficked with subprime lending, Wall Street bailout monies, welfare,....and now *green* energy.

    The government steals from you....and then these clowns rob the government.

    Don't let the smiles, office jokes, ties, and white lab coats distract you from the reality of this larceny.

    Pig Flu Breakout!

    So apparently, the pig flu has made an appearance at a local government middle school.

    AND, I discovered that a woman in my area, that her young son was diagnosed late last night.

    After much contemplation, I decided to breathlessly notify my wife's most hypochondriac friends!

    Was that wrong?

    The way I figure it, they'll be thanking me....while I get to secretly mock them.

    Let's just call my shenanigans *positive sum fear-mongering*.

    See also:

    Pig Flu Quack-ccine

    Regular Flu Shot - Fail!

    On Extra-Curricular Work

    In the past year or so, my kids have started some organized activities: soccer, karate, and ballet. These are new endeavors for them, and, since they are pretty young, just following directions can at times be daunting - never mind mastering the new drills and exercises.

    What I've found is that if just once during the week I go through the stretches, dance moves, and kicks with them at home that it goes a long ways towards not only their progress, but it also towards their enjoyment. In short, one just can't show up once a week at a class and think they are ever going to achieve much - no matter the arena or how much it costs! Outsourcing has its limits; and to invoke a homeschooling shibboleth, all education is self-education.

    Though a life-long DIYer myself, I also recently re-learned this lesson with my Bible study. Recall that last year I read the good book cover-to-cover. One benefit of doing so has been that now Sunday Mass has taken on new, enhanced meaning. For thirtysomething years phrases like *A letter from Paul to the Corinthians* flew through my one ear and out the other. But, after reading the Bible with application, now I have a clue who Paul is, where Corinth was, and why he was writing all those letters! And this is but one example of many I could offer.

    I realized that by simply attending mass each week, that I had been guilty of outsourcing as well - and probably the worst kind imaginable! Sure, the Catholic church is partially guilty on this front as they don't really encourage much on the individual front, but I was a complete Moron for thinking that I could just show up once a week, put in no extra-curricular work and somehow turn into a spiritual blackbelt.

    Eat Or Be Eaten

    That's a six-foot perch that some crazy Irish dude caught in Uganda.

    AND, as if braving the wilds of Africa wasn't Moronic enough, on landing the fish, a crocodile almost ate him! Read the story.

    I just don't get why thrill-seeking has to be so life-threatening.

    Thursday, October 22, 2009

    Only Visual Levity...

    Because I know most of you lazy wage-slaves can't stand it when I force y'all to think!

    Note the race of the baby! See the comments of - Second Career Roadkill!

    Thanks to my MIL for this one!

    Philly Pagans....In Their False Heaven, Again

    Hmmmm....a Philly v. New York Yankess World Series....that ought to be a ratings bonanza for MLB.

    The Chicago White Sox did square off against Houston in 2005 - those are two pretty big markets, but neither is what one would call a storied franchise.

    And I don't think when the Yankees played the Atlanta Braves (twice), I don't think the Braves were much of a national draw.

    So this year's imminent World Series, IMO, might potentially be the most profitable advertising-wise in 23 years, since the Red Sox faced the Mets.

    But on second thought, a Yankee/LA Dodgers contest might have been just as widely-received, if not more so. Except it wouldn't have had the drama of a possible repeat.

    Even though I don't really give a hoot, I'll be quietly rooting for the Yankees to lose spectacularly, and for my all-time favorite Pedro Martinez.

    Gee, I wonder if the Red Sox could have used Pedro this year....or Manny Ramirez?

    I really can't wait until the Red Sox start to suck again, and Fenway Park is as empty as it was in all those old 1970s highlights. Believe me, that WILL happen. Have y'all seen the ticket prices lately?

    See also - Philly's Turn For a Pagan Victory

    Regular Flu Shot - Fail!

    This starts out slow, but gets better:

    From the end of it:

    In any business....imagine you had a product that EVERYONE would buy....and not only would they buy it, they would buy it EVERY SINGLE YEAR.

    Wednesday, October 21, 2009


    So the latest problem with my rental/landlord, not counting the fact that our house is probably in *mortgage default*, is that we have some rodent infestation.

    At night, some critter crawls out from under the appliances and makes a whole lot of noise. It's gone dumpster-diving in my trash and whatnot. I set mousetraps but they've been set off three times without a kill. Methinks it's a very large rat or a squirrel. Anyways, it's a real pain in the a$$ having to make sure all the cabinets are closed and taking the trash out EVERY SINGLE NIGHT.

    Furthermore, there's an animal in the rafters of my bedroom. I can hear it late at night as it scampers across the ceiling and rattles my light fixtures.

    Let the record show that I tried to deal at least with the former issue myself before notifying the landlord.

    An exterminator came today:

    Exterminator - You've got mice in the kitchen....the droppings are right there.

    CaptiousNut - Those are old 'droppings', I think.

    Exterminator -You've got squirrels in the rafters too?

    CaptiousNut - Yeah. Well, aren't they right there in the yard (pointing to two)....Can't you close up the holes (in the eaves) and easily lock them out?

    Exterminator - Ah, no, the squirrels you've got in there are 'flying squirrels'....they are nocturnal.

    I pressed him on that last *line* a bit. I think he was trying to tell me that the squirrels in my roof were sleeping THERE during the day. I smelled hucksterism but what do I care, as the savvy non-owner of the house, I wasn't going to pay for this.

    What I can't stand is the template sales pitch from these guys. All they do is say *you've got droppings here* and *droppings there*. This SCATOLOGIST went on the roof, looked at the eaves, and declared that not only did he find squirrel droppings in the holes, but that he could tell what KIND OF SQUIRREL they were from.

    Now we do have a problem here. But if we didn't, that same guy would come out and with great ease magically diagnose the same exact infestation. They take advantage of people like my MIL who's petrified of even cute little baby rats.

    He told me that to clean out the house, it would cost $700!!!

    I can't imagine my landlord paying that. But still, if he doesn't take care of the problem, my November 1st rent check will be *late*.

    But getting back to the rodent hucksters....

    This exterminator dude also informed me that he charges $600, SIX HUNDRED DOLLARS(!!!), to remove a hornets' nest. To think that I thought the exterminator I met in the Hamptons was a crook for charging $200 per hive!

    AND, he told me that, upon thinking about it, he once got rid of squirrels from this very house about 3 years ago - before I was here.


    Why pay all that money if the guy already has an admitted record of failing to permanently fix the exact same problem.

    Well, because there's a kernel of truth in all alarmism - that's why it's so dangerous.

    Apparently squirrels teeth are always growing. So they need to chew on hard objects to whittle them down. Often(?) they chew through wires, electrocute themselves, cause a short circuit, and burn houses down.

    All of that was pointed out to me by the exterminator, a man who said he was also a volunteer firefighter ergo he knew what he was talking about.

    I did a quick google confirm of this. Link:

    According to the US Fire Administration there are usually about 120,000 residential fires of "unknown cause" each year in the US. Since 25% of house fires of "unknown cause" are attributed to squirrels and other rodents chewing on wiring, that’s possibly up to 30,000 house fires each year in the U.S. as a result of inadequate squirrel control, mice control, or rat control.

    And I guess the guy wasn't BS'ing me about the so-called nocturnal flying squirrel:

    Flying squirrels are completely nocturnal so they are very rarely seen. These squirrels spend the daylight hours resting comfortably in the insulation of your attic. About an hour after sunset the squirrels will emerge from the attic to go out and feed in the wooded areas that surround your home.

    And I also discovered they are very common in my area.

    We'll conclude this post with a funny, from one of the pest control companies' websites:

    Not for anything, but when we had a rodent problem at my past rental...

    Our Chinese landlord handled it completely by himself! I kid you not.

    See the savory comment thread on - Second Career Roadkill.

    Marginalizing Apers

    First, that knucklehead stole my shtick with a book...

    And now, another buffoon is aping my Marginalizing MO!

    (Link here - and for sourcing only, not because I recommend wasting time and brain cells reading it.)

    Tuesday, October 20, 2009

    Pig Flu Quack-ccine

    So apparently, there have been more Morons rushing to get inoculated from a contrived epidemic than Big Pharma/Government could *vaccinate* against. There are no swine flu shots anywhere to be had at the moment AND, if I have to hear one more idiotic neighbor of mine complain.....argh!

    Nothing on Ebay either, I checked. I knew I should have been stockpiling...


    Let's not beat around the bush on this issue: The swine flu vaccines now being prepared for mass injection into infants, children, teens and adults have never been tested and won't be tested before the injections begin. In Europe, where flu vaccines are typically tested on hundreds (or thousands) of people before being unleashed on the masses, the European Medicines Agency is allowing companies to skip the testing process entirely.

    And yet, amazingly, people are lining up to take the vaccine, absent any safety testing whatsoever. When the National Institutes of Health in the U.S. announced a swine flu vaccine trial beginning in early August, it was inundated with phone calls and emails from people desperate to play the role of human guinea pigs. The power of fear to herd sheeple into vaccine injections is simply amazing...

    I probably don't need to remind you that in 1976, a failed swine flu vaccine caused irreparable damage to the nervous systems of hundreds of people, paralyzing many. Medical doctors gave the problem a name, of course, to make it sound like they knew what they were talking about: Guillain-Barre syndrome. (Notably, they never called it "Toxic Vaccine Syndrome" because that would be too informative.)

    But the fact remains that doctors never knew how the vaccines caused these severe problems, and if the same event played out today, all the doctors and vaccine pushers would undoubtedly deny any link between the vaccines and paralysis altogether. (That's what's happening today with the debate over vaccines and autism: Complete denial.)

    Ten things you're not supposed to know about the swine flu vaccine
    (At least, not by anyone in authority...)

    #1 - The vaccine production was "rushed" and the vaccine has never been tested on humans. Do you like to play guinea pig for Big Pharma? If so, line up for your swine flu vaccine this fall...

    #2 - Swine flu vaccines contain dangerous adjuvants that cause an inflammatory response in the body. This is why they are suspected of causing autism and other neurological disorders.

    #3 - The swine flu vaccine could actually increase your risk of death from swine flu by altering (or suppressing) your immune system response. There is zero evidence that even seasonal flu shots offer any meaningful protection for people who take the jabs. Vaccines are the snake oil of modern medicine.

    #4 - Doctors still don't know why the 1976 swine flu vaccines paralyzed so many people. And that means they really have no clue whether the upcoming vaccine might cause the same devastating side effects. (And they're not testing it, either...)

    #5 - Even if the swine flu vaccine kills you, the drug companies aren't responsible. The U.S. government has granted drug companies complete immunity against vaccine product liability. Thanks to that blanket immunity, drug companies have no incentive to make safe vaccines, because they only get paid based on quantity, not safety (zero liability).

    #6 - No swine flu vaccine works as well as vitamin D to protect you from influenza. That's an inconvenient scientific fact that the U.S. government, the FDA and Big Pharma hope the people never realize.

    #7 - Even if the swine flu vaccine actually works, mathematically speaking if everyone else around you gets the vaccine, you don't need one! (Because it can't spread through the population you hang with.) So even if you believe in the vaccine, all you need to do is encourage your friends to go get vaccinated...

    #8 - Drug companies are making billions of dollars from the production of swine flu vaccines. That money comes out of your pocket -- even if you don't get the jab -- because it's all paid by the taxpayers.

    #9 - When people start dying in larger numbers from the swine flu, rest assured that many of them will be the very people who got the swine flu vaccine. Doctors will explain this away with their typical Big Pharma logic: "The number saved is far greater than the number lost." Of course, the number "saved" is entirely fictional... imaginary... and exists only in their own warped heads.

    #10 - The swine flu vaccine centers that will crop up all over the world in the coming months aren't completely useless: They will provide an easy way to identify large groups of really stupid people. (Too bad there isn't some sort of blue dye that we could tag 'em with for future reference...)

    The lottery, they say, is a tax on people who can't do math. Similarly, flu vaccines are a tax on people who don't understand health.

    I DID NOT know that a *swine flu vaccine* paralyzed some people in the 1970s. Pretty scary.

    One thing is for sure, if today's swine flu vaccine turns out, down the road, to be lethal to all the docile Morons who ran out to get vaccinated...

    In that case, at least the global IQ will profit!

    I do feel bad for all of these people, like nurses, that are being forced to get the quack-ccine - some of whom have been fired upon refusal.

    Sometimes it's mindblowing to think about how many functioning stupid people there are out there.

    See also - Nonstop Alarmism.

    UPDATE - More here:

    Step 7) Defend mercury as safe. It's not that bad, really. What's a little mercury in your shot anyway? Ignore these inconvenient facts: A typical flu vaccine shot solution is 50,000 parts per billion of mercury. The EPA classifies any substance with more than 200 parts per billion as hazardous waste. (The EPA limit in drinking water is 2 parts per billion.) Thus, the mercury density in a vaccine is 25,000% higher than the level required to be considered hazardous waste. This is injected directly into the bloodstream of infants, children, expectant mothers and senior citizens. What could possibly be dangerous about that?

    Step 8) Find a bunch of other flu vaccine zealots and quote each other. This is the best part about being a vaccine zealot: It's social! Instead of quoting any actual science to back up your non-position (because there isn't any), all you have to do is quote each other! "The CDC says..." and at the CDC, they say, "The FDA says..." and at the FDA, they say, "The drug maker says..." and at the drug maker, they say, "The researchers said..." and the researchers were quoting the CDC! (I think I remember playing this game in kindergarten... but then I grew up.)

    The Dweeb Nails It

    Jeff Jarvis is a whack-a-do, but he does have his finger on the fading pulse of newspapers. In this blog post (link above), he takes on a couple of Big Media dinosaurs and their insistence that Big Government officially subsidize jurassic journalism:

    Just because newspapers put themselves at risk, it does not follow that journalism is at risk. Newspapers no longer own journalism. As too often happens in this discussion, they focus only on the revenue side of the business ledger of news – advertising falling from monopolistic heights – and not on the cost side and the efficiency new technology – and thus collaboration – that technology allows.

    And I'll probably use those pic on my other blog - Marginalizing Hackers!

    Top Priority!

    Amherst Mulls Resolution Welcoming Guantanamo Detainees

    The western Massachusetts university town of Amherst is mulling a resolution urging the Congress to release cleared Guantanamo Bay detainees into the United States and calling for the town to welcome those detainees into the community.

    The town's Select Board voted 2-1 Monday night to endorse a warrant article titled, "Resolution to Assist in the Safe Resettlement of Cleared Guantanamo Detainees."

    "The United States has a long history of being a place of refuge and asylum for persecuted people. There's nothing new about this," said Gerry Weiss, one of the two selectmen supporting the resolution. "This is the tradition of the United States."

    The resolution was submitted by Ruth Hooke, a Town Meeting member and a member of Pioneer Valley No More Guantanamos.

    In briefing material supplied to the selectmen, the group said the resolution "asks our local community to look beyond the stereotype that all the men at Guantanamo are 'terrorists,' and instead to look at each man as a human being who deserves human rights and a presumption of innocence until proven guilty."

    I have nothing to say on this matter. But I will post the top-rated comment from the Boston Globe's article. Click to enlarge.

    Monday, October 19, 2009

    MRIs Suck

    I was going to write on post on how much of a pain in the arse MRIs were....I googled *mris suck* and came across women complaining about the ordeal of getting their pair scanned.

    So, alright, maybe having your tweaked knee MRI-ed for 40 minutes ain't as bad as lying face-down, exposed, in a couple of holes. I concede.

    Though when that inept Moronic technician says they have to redo an image because *you moved*, when in fact you DIDN'T....that can really, REALLY piss you off!

    The hardest aspect is keeping dead still when you are fresh off a severe injury TO THE PRECISE body part they need to examine.

    I always joke with my wife that I am very good at getting scanned because I've practiced my whole life, for hours on end *not moving a muscle*!

    She's an ants-in-the-pants scurrier who would probably have a very hard time in the tube.

    My knee MRI went smoothly this weekend - except that I had to stare at a GE logo on the machine throughout. I'm still short that POS.

    So later on this week we'll see who was right about my knee - me or my doctor.

    Though, admittedly, I'm hoping to have been dead wrong on this one.

    Book Rec - The Tipping Point

    Okay. Since Outliers was sooooo good, I figured I had to check out Malcolm Gladwell's prior work.

    The Tipping Point was decent - and only took me 1.5 days to fly through.

    You can read the outline on the above link; in a nutshell, it's about fads, trends, and the pathology of *contagion* and what he calls *epidemics*.

    For me, the most notable part was his chapter on the birth of Sesame Street. The show's creators, back in the 1960s, used revolutionary techniques to capture the attention of pre-schoolers. While nobody dares bash the *intentions* of Big Bird, Jim Henson, and the gang (ABCs and 123s), it seems to me there was an unintended and possibly more pronounced side effect.

    Sesame Street did all of the heavy lifting. They had children watch the shows in laboratory settings where scientists tried to measure what images, formats, and approaches would literally keep their eyes glued to the screen: 3 minute segments were found to be optimal, no adult altercating on-screen, etc. Then, people left the show and applied that know-how to, well, let's just say to shows more concerned with addicted viewers than early literacy.

    John Gatto, in his work, mentions a few times that the makers of children's color TV programming knew precisely what they're doing. And he says it with palpable disdain.

    Sunday, October 18, 2009

    Morons On Wheels

    One of the surest signs of a Moron is....

    Seeing somebody on the roadways who thinks they can still drive *normal* speeds when it is dark, pouring, and there are huge puddles everywhere.

    I had a few such idiots fly by me in the wee hours this morning, on my way to a 7am MRI exam for my knee. One of them was a tiny Volkswagen going 75 mph in a 60 zone.

    IMO, there should be severe penalities against people who speed or otherwise drive recklessly in the rain. How about $5,000 tickets? These are the stupid jerks that are going to kill somebody one day.

    I mean, it's abundantly clear who the really dangerous drivers are, isn't it? Must we just sit back and wait until they cripple or kill one of our loved ones?

    See also - Marginalizing Bad Drivers.