Archive for December, 2005

Illiteracy Are a Shame

Monday, December 19th, 2005

Friday night’s NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams:

"1 in 20 American adults are illiterate."

Hey highly-educated NBC employees. It’s IS. The subject of the sentence is ONE, and that’s singular, so it gets IS and not ARE.


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Made Up Words

Thursday, December 15th, 2005

Have you seen the commercial advertising a fiberlutionary product? How about the Burger King breakfast sandwich that claims to be meatnormous?

There seems to be a new trend of making up words or combining two words to advertise something. I guess we’re so short on time that we can’t hear two words; they have to be combined into one word.

You might say this trend is ludicriffic.


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Definition of Harassment

Wednesday, December 14th, 2005

I’ve had some issues lately with people who don’t understand the word harassment. Let’s see what Dictionary.com has to say.

n 1: a feeling of intense annoyance caused by being tormented; "so great was his harassment that he wanted to destroy his tormentors" 2: the act of tormenting by continued persistent attacks and criticism


[French harasser, possibly from Old French harer, to set a dog on, from hare, interj. used to set a dog on, of Germanic origin.]

I like the idea of harassment being comparable to someone setting a dog on you. It’s attacks from someone and you can’t seem to stop them just like you are unlikely to be able to suddenly stop an ongoing dog attack.

That means that if you continually email me attacks or criticism, and I tell you to stop because it’s harassment, I’m right. When I tell you that my spam filter will block you by email address, that doesn’t mean please change your email address so you can keep writing to me. I’ve blocked that one too now.

I think the most interesting tormentor is somebody who read a web page I put up in 1996 about a town I briefly visited on the other side of the world. I took a non-serious look at the town since many people I knew had blown this town way out of proportion in their minds. They figured that since their favorite musicians were born there, it must be some sprawling shrine to them. The town’s nothing like that.

So some random chick has been emailing me trying to get me to take this page down as she feels it insults the town.

  1. She’s 10 years too late. I’d think that if I’m ruining the town, someone might have mentioned it to me by now.
  2. Prove that I personally have hurt the town or its reputation. I’m telling people to go visit, but I’m telling my target audience that it’s not the shrine that they may have thought it was.
  3. I have the right to post a web page about a town I visited and give my opinions of what I saw.
  4. I linked to the town’s local museum on my page. They wanted me to date the page so people would know that their museum had changed since I saw it many years ago, which I did. Other than that, they had no complaints or requests.
  5. The people who were on the trip with me never asked me to change the page because I wrote something inaccurate or unfair. They must have experienced the same thing or felt the same way.
  6. My page is on a semi-official website for the musicians who were born there. Neither the musicians nor the fan club, who are my main contacts, has asked me to change or take down the page.
  7. I enjoyed the town. I didn’t think my page put the town down. It was meant to demonstrate that it’s not a shrine to the people who thought it was, and people did think that.

When this chick got my spam filter’s message that she’d been blocked and I considered her emails harassment, she started writing from another address. She told me that I can’t stop her Freedom of Speech, which allows her to respond to published material. Evidently, her Freedom of Speech is fully in effect even if it harasses me, but I’m not allowed Freedom of Speech to describe my opinion of a town and the experiences of my visit.

Not very compelling! Stop harassing me. I’m allowed to think a town’s court looked like someone’s house. I’m allowed to think the museum was small, and what I saw at the time had everything in one room. The rest was a library. I’m allowed to be oddly impressed at a sizeable statue outside the McDonalds. So stop harassing me.

Careers and lives are ruined every day because of what people publish on websites and in blogs. If this woman is so concerned about how people will think of things after they read them, then perhaps she could turn her attention to what our government is secretly doing, what big US corporations are secretly doing, or the problem of people being completely libelled and their lives ruined. This woman seems to have time and interest, and I’d rather see her solve these problems than harass me because we see a small town differently.


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You Can’t Win

Tuesday, December 13th, 2005

The government has produced this poster about the scams that "foreign lotteries" are. However, I think they’ve missed the point, which is HOW people end up involved in those. OK, if I do those things, I could lose money or be a victim of identity theft. But how do I avoid doing those things?

When I’ve spoken to people who have been victims of phishing emails they believed, they really have no idea what happened to them. All they know is that they got real emails from companies they knew, they did what the email said, and then $1200 came out of their bank account in Budapest. To them, these are all unrelated though you and I know how they’re related. If we’re going to cut down on people falling for these scams, we have to teach them how these are related!

I think this also starts with parenting. I’m all for teaching trust, but there should be a point where common sense outweighs trust. Someone is calling or emailing me saying I won a free prize but they need me to pay them to get a free prize. Hello, common sense!

If that poster is the best our government can do, that’s a major shame. Bad marketing.


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Your Special Date

Monday, December 12th, 2005

Ross, a clothing chain, is running a commercial about how for what you might pay for an outfit at another store, you could get a bunch of outfits there. The stress this by showing a guy getting dressed for a number of blind dates, and the narrator names each woman’s name as he’s getting ready.

The last woman’s name is Ginger. The commercial shows the guy sitting on a couch with the lights off and lit candles everywhere. He is sitting on the couch next to his DOG and just looking at her.

I don’t know about you, but I’m not comfy with the idea that a man is having a date with his dog. I don’t care what that means. Nobody should be having a date with a dog. Perhaps Ross has identified psychos or those who are unhealthily into animals as their target audience.


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We Can Prove That People Can’t Spell

Thursday, December 8th, 2005

There is a banner ad running around the eBay site about how you can make money from items that are listed incorrectly. This banner links to a listing where OF COURSE someone wants to sell you some sort of publication about making zillions on eBay. It’s a mile-long listing with all of the usual hallmarks of scams or MLM.

And what about items that are listed incorrectly? Sometimes you can get great deals on eBay because an item is in the wrong category. Maybe the title is lame or has words that are spelled incorrectly. The less an item is found by eBay shoppers, the less likely it is to sell, the more likely that someone who stumbles upon it and wants it might get a steal. I guess this publication wants to sell you some ideas on how to search for these incorrectly listed items. Then you resell them correctly listed, and you make money. I’m guessing that’s the idea.

The funny thing is that this is the ad:

Notice anything interesting? How about "Make $400/dy on Ebay Form Incorrectly Listing Items!"

  1. Dy? How about day.
  2. Ebay is actually supposed to be written eBay.
  3. Form? How about from.

I wonder if the person who made this ad decided to spell things incorrectly to make her point about bad spelling. I’m guessing not as most people who read that might just assume that this is a poorly education poor typist. Bad marketing!


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A Load of Brown

Wednesday, December 7th, 2005

TV commercial:

"The only thing that could make a white Christmas even better is a load of brown!" I’m thinking WHA? Then the narrator continues, "Charlie Brown." ABC is promoting all their holiday Charlie Brown specials.

Somehow, I tend to not think of "a load of brown" as making Christmas even better. Bad marketing!


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Alison, It’s Your Mother

Tuesday, December 6th, 2005

This is a great story from my college days, and it teaches a good lesson about paying attention.

My college nickname was "Midge" and I was dating Dave (not the Dave I’m with now). That Dave stayed in my room enough that I mentioned him on the answering machine message. :) So I had a 30 second outgoing message about Midge and Dave. Midge and Dave aren’t here right now. Midge is out, Dave is out, et cetera. One day, I get this message (I apologise to those who are faint of heart).

"Alison, it’s your mother. I think you need to have a vaginal culture done. Mervyn won’t prescribe you anything until he knows what that is. The infirmary there could do it, but it would be really good if you came home. OK! Talk to you later!"

Neither of us were Alison. Neither of us had a vaginal problem. :) It’s really good to pay attention to things. And perhaps it’s really good to not leave deeply personal things on people’s answering machines.


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Personalized License Plates

Monday, December 5th, 2005

Personalized license plates here are really cheap, so a lot of people get them. Many are religious. Someone in our neighbourhood has "JSUSAVS" (you can’t fit more than 7 letters). The best I saw so far is "HEYSOOS," which I like to pronounce as "Heeeeeey, Soos!" Of course, it’s phonetic for the Spanish pronunciation of "Jesus." I can only imagine what plates that person went through before choosing HEYSOOS.

Today I saw a few custom plates. A woman in a convertible with the top down (and it was darn cold today) had a plate LUVSSUN. Another guy had this plate:

NOPSTNS

I spent minutes trying to figure out what that is. I tried saying it all kinds of ways. And I finally landed on "No Pee Stains." I guess it could also be "No Pistons" but I wasn’t sure what that means. I know what "No Pee Stains" means.

Weird. Weird local plates.


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Lie To Your Kids!

Friday, December 2nd, 2005

There is a commercial that really bothers me. You see a woman get out of her minivan with a brand new stuffed animal in it’s packaging. She takes it out and proceeds to abuse it basically. She rips the eye out, she runs over it a few times, and then she washes the van with it.

At that point, she has a germy and disgusting teddy bear. Would you give a bear that grimy to your child? In this commercial, she does. Not only that, she gives this bear to the child to TRICK the child into thinking that the Mom has found the original bear somebody lost. The child is happy to see her bear back.

The child doesn’t notice the bear has tire marks or smells like detergent (after being used to wash the car)? The child really thinks this is her bear? Why is the mother lying to the child? Why not just get her a new bear and talk to her about making that new bear all her own?

Why is this a commercial for the CAR? Why do parents lie to children and then act all surprised and shocked when their children lie to them? You reap what you sow. Teach your children honesty by being honest. And don’t buy the minivan that promotes lying to your kids!


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