The Wonders of Text Searching

I took my wife to the mall last night.  While there, we stopped in the book store.  She was interested in a book called Feed Me, I’m Yours, which she read about in the discussion forum that she frequents.  We asked the girl behind the counter if they had the book and where you could expect it to be, and the computer revealed that it was in the store and located among the cookbooks.  We searched the entire rack, and I even went back to search it again, but we could not find the book.

At that point, I began to reflect on how easy it is to find items like that book online.  Looking for that book amongst all of the others on that shelf, having to pull books out when their spine isn’t clearly labeled is so, well, analog.  We never did find the book, but when I got in to work this morning I decided to search for it, and it came up on the first try:

Believe it or not, even though I am a gadget geek, I have not entirely adopted ebooks yet.  When I am sitting at my computer, I can always find other things I would like to be doing than reading a book.  I haven’t really found a free ebook reader for the Pocket PC that I like yet either. uBook isn’t bad, but still has a long way to go in formatting.  I tend to stick to the freeware/open source side of the spectrum because my wife would flip if I tried to drop $15 to $30 on every single program that I thought was cool or highly useful.


Buyer’s Choice Survey of America

I got the Buyer’s Choice Survey of American in the mail yesterday.  It asks many questions about my household and our purchases.  The front of the survey (which is several pages) promises to get me coupons, product samples, and special offers, as well as register me for sweepstakes prizes.  I actually don’t care much about that. I do recognize that money doesn’t solve everything.  My pay stub has come a long way from my days as an 18 year old E-2 making a base pay of $880 a month, and I have more problems to go along with that vast increase in pay stub figures. However, the kicker is that this survey promises to "Reudce unwanted mail- Buyer’s choice will help eliminate unwanted mail in categories that don’t interest you".  Well, that alone is reason enough to take the survey.

I decided to do a quick web search about this survey.  I turned up this article:  Apparently, Equifax bought the company.  That’s just what we need: the same company that holds our credit reports also handles the direct marketing.  Do you ever feel like we’re in some kind of "The Truman Show" for marketers?  We live in a virtual world for them to amuse themselves by watching us.  I have to wonder if advertisers have gotten too much power over our lives, but we did allow it to happen.  Great free services such as the internet and television are brought to us by advertisers.  Yes, we pay an ISP and a cable company respectively, but many of the services that we enjoy on each medium are paid by advertisers.

I think I will fill out the survey however.  The direct marketers need to get their act together.  I get mail from AARP, and I’m only 31 for crying out loud.  Before we junked our landline, I used to get telemarketing calls for retirement condos. I’d like to retire, but I have more years left in the workforce than I’ve been alive.


Stupid In America


The following is from a newsletter that I receive on an almost daily basis. ABC’s John Stossel did a report on public schools called “Stupid In America”.  I’m normally not one for spending $30 on a less than 1 hour DVD. Thankfully, it is available to be watched online for free with no commercials. Please watch this, especially if you have children in public schools.




By the way, I do find that ABC has apparently reduced the price back to it’s original $29.95.










Two days ago, I ordered a copy of John Stossel’s "Stupid In America" 20/20 report from last Friday night off ABC’s website.  This report, in case you don’t know, BLISTERED the education establishment and has the potential of finally waking the public up and forcing them to declare they’ve had enough of the government monopoly over education in this country.




The demand for a copy of this report must have been staggering.  When I ordered my DVD on Wednesday, the cost was $29.95.  But when I re-checked the website on Thursday, I discovered that ABC was now charging a whopping $89.95.




And liberals complain about price-gouging by the oil companies?




Not to worry, dear reader. Thanks to an email I received this morning from South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford, who was featured in the report, here’s a link where you can watch "Stupid In America" for FREE.  And with NO COMMERCIALS, too.  Spread this link far and wide…







Send THIS To Ten People, or else you’re a commie who doesn’t love Jesus

I’ve been getting some really good stuff in my inbox lately.  Some of it has been in the form of inspirational stories, some are beautifully put together Power Point slideshows complete with music.  Some have been very informative such as a history lesson.  And yet, each and every one has been ruined by the end, causing me to delete it rather than to share such a lovely, well put together message with all of my friends, family, and coworkers.  Each one tries to guilt me into sharing it.  I can’t explain why, perhaps because of my rebellious nature, that no matter how good one of these emails are, the second that they try to guilt me into passing them along, I simply hit the "DELETE" key and go about my business.

If you must send these emails, STOP INCLUDING THAT STUPID REQUEST TO FORWARD THEM!  I will forward them if I feel like it.  I will decide who is and is not interested among my own contact list of receiving these, and they can decide for themselves whether or not to pass them along.

This is as bad as those stupid chain emails that used to get passed around.  Are you people not able to sleep at night unless you can crank out 10 emails a day and know that each and every person that you send them to will send them to at least 10 other people or feel guilty for the rest of their lives for not doing it?

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A Good Argument For Feng Shui

I used to think that Feng Shui was nothing more than New Age mystical bovine fecal matter, until just last night.  As a Christian, and as I study the Bible more, I find that there is evidence for many of the events and systems that we find in the world, hence the Bible’s warnings to stay away from magic, sorcery, divination, etc.  Why warn if there’s no such thing to warn against?  I know that Feng Shui has to do with arranging your rooms so that energy can flow through.  It does sound like bunk, but I have noticed something that makes me wonder.

Like many other homes, ours has a wireless router.  My wife keeps a laptop back in the family room of our house so that she can surf the internet, pay bills, and still watch the kids.  Call me a bad father, but I’m not letting my laptop anywhere near my two boys right now, especially since our toddler is implicated in three laptops having been broken or disabled.

My wife has a lot of trouble getting a wireless signal.  She sits on the couch, right at where I always thought the range of the router to be.  The router is at my computer desk on the other end of the house.  It’s an older Belkin 802.11b spec router.  I’m hoping to get a new Belkin Pre-N, but I believe that the 802.11n spec just got approved so maybe I should wait for N routers to come out.  I had noticed that my Pocket PC, which is also a b spec, can pick up a signal on the other end of our family room which should technically be further from the router and also behind a wall.  Last night my wife was having problems with her laptop again because the power cord was damaged along with the hard drive and the service department didn’t fix the power cord very well.  It’s now totally broken.  I was in the middle of setting up an old laptop for my wife to use in the meantime, and I was sitting farther away.  I realized that I had a better signal.  When I got her email and Quicken files put on it, I gave it to her and sure enough, the signal went away.  I took it back to the other side of the room and it worked again.  Either there really is something to Feng Shui or my wife is a wi-fi black hole.  Don’t tell her I said that.  She doesn’t read my blog.

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Husband and Wife perspectives on wastes of time

My wife and I have our anniversary coming up.  As usual, I lobbied to get away for the weekend.  She almost did agree, but let me know (finally!) that she thinks it’s a waste of money.  I’ve been trying to get us to go away every year, but she always resists.  Now I know why.  What I don’t know is why do women not just tell you the truth right away instead of letting 4 years go by while leaving you in the dark as to why she won’t let you book a romantic getaway?  At least I finally understand.  I was looking forward to a little romance and maybe 8 hours of sleep (see my previous blog entry).

While we’re on the subject of wastes of money, I have a few of my own.  I honestly think that exchanging cards with my wife is a waste of money.  Fortunately, her birthday, our anniversary, and Valentine’s Day are within 11 days of each other so I only have to make one trip to the card store each year.  While there, I can purchase overpriced $30 bears with 3 pieces of chocolate.

I was in the card store just tonight.  Do you ever find yourself in the situation of walking in to an empty store and suddenly find yourself surrounded by an immense crowd of people who all want exactly what you came in for?  The funny thing tonight is that it happened to me while I was looking at anniversary cards and the mob was made up of teenagers.  I thought people got married after 30 these days, so what did these kids need with anniversary cards?  Aw, the mysteries of life…

Another thing I see as a total waste of money and time is having professional pictures taken of babies.  It takes a lot of work to get them into the position that you want just to snap a picture.  Of course, the professional places insist on taking several shots so that they can sell you the packages.  They always take the one shot that you came in for last.  Now, when you have a baby and a toddler, trying to get them lined up for a picture is tough.  A toddler doesn’t understand sit still.  I almost thought it was funny.  We were trying to get our baby to smile when our toddler just got up and walked away, then the baby smiled.

Hopefully I’ll get some sleep one of these days, and I can get back to my usual banter.  Until then, enjoy the sleep deprived rants.


8 Hours Of Sleep?

Perhaps my current sleep deprived state is a good reason to begin this blog entry. I try to make my writing relevant, but sometimes a good, old fashioned rant has it’s purpose. Anyone who has been following my blog (seriously, does anyone read this thing?) knows that I have devoted about 3 entries and 2 podcasts to Kevin Trudeau’s Natural Cures They Don’t Want You To Know About. I notice a theme in his book that I’ve seen in many others. It is a theme that I have almost always found to be impossible to live by. I could sooner change my diet completely over to grapefruit and soy milk before I could actually live by this often given advice.

Let me recap. I served 6 years in the Navy. I tend to gravitate toward jobs that require my presence before 0700. OK, my current job is very flexible, but I find that getting in at 0630 saves me a lot of trouble in traffic on both ends of my commute. I’m not a morning person, but this works. I have two small children, currently 17 months and 5 months. My 17 month old has been sick lately, which makes for troubled sleep. He can’t just take Nyquil like I can, and I can’t really take Nyquil anymore because even when sick I need to be able to function to help my wife out if need be. The baby, of course, is not exactly sleeping through the night. No matter how the kids sleep, I’m up at 0500 each workday. Oh, yeah, I’m also in my "spare" time taking classes toward my degree from the University of Phoenix.

And so, with my family and work responsibilities, and my military background, when I read over and over again in books such as Trudeau’s that you should get 8 hours of sleep a night, I honestly wonder who in this country has time to get 8 hours of sleep a night? I would like to take a flying leap with my foot (it doesn’t matter which one; whichever is extended at the time) into the stomach of someone who can say with a straight face that I should get 8 hours of sleep a night. I have come to the conclusion that most people who are able to get 8 hours of sleep a night

1) Can’t be married
2) Definitely don’t have children (at least small ones)
3) Don’t have a job with enough responsibilities.

I can understand retirees and maybe childless couples who don’t watch TV and can set their own work schedules being able to sleep 8 hours is one thing, but to tell an early or mid career family man (or woman, gotta take that into account) with children that they should get 8 hours of sleep a night is frankly a denial of reality. Would you like to come watch my children and keep up my house maintenance while I get those 8 hours?


I Have A Podcast!

Thanks to the good folks at, I have signed up for a podcast. I think I only get three minutes, but how much can you possibly need?

For my first cast, I’m going to include some show notes in this blog. First of is my continuing interest in Kevin Trudeau’s Natural Cures They Don’t Want You To Know About. I think if I had paid $30 for the book I might be a little upset. The repetition is starting to drive me a little crazy, to the point where I believe that the book would be two chapters long if he took out all of the "remember, it’s all about the money" and other continuously repetitious phrases.

In my investigation, I came across a doctor’s blog. You can find the post here: I left a comment which I’ll read in the podcast and she responded. I am willing to agree to help convince doctors that the way they practice medicine will only lead to a loss of patients and trust.

Part 1 may be found here: Odeo only gives 3 minutes for free podcasts, so I had to go to part 2. Part 2 can be found here

I’ve been playing with desktop managers. I have settled for now on Screen-It, which provides 2 desktops. I’m still in the process of working it out. I did not specify in the recording that I am using Windows XP rather than Unix or Linux. I wouldn’t want to mislead you. I think it’s an awesome functionality that we should have on Windows.

Finally, some brief background on Friday the 13th…


Natural Cures Update

I’ve been reading more of "Natural Cures They Don’t Want You To Know About". As I said in my earlier post, I have yet to come across anything that I haven’t heard yet, although Kevin Trudeau does seem to not feel a need to document some of his claims. He claims to have been present in board rooms while CEOs were loving money more than the welfare of customers, but he has not laid out qualifications to make me believe he would be in those board rooms in the first place. I’m not saying he hasn’t, just that I don’t think his background has required him to back up claims with documentation. When he begins talking about cures, he will give a little bit of information and suggest his website, which requires a paid membership, or another website that more often than not is little more than an advertisement for a book or product. However, thanks to the miracle of a web search engine, it’s easy to find free and useful information to learn some more about what Kevin Trudeau claims.

If you’re at the point in health where you’re wondering why prescription drugs just aren’t helping you, this book is a great place to start. Everything is laid out in a simple and easy to understand manner with plenty of repetition to allow it to sink in. You can start here and work your way to more comprehensive and informative sources of information.

I’ll report again as I read some more.


Homer Simpson’s Email Address?

I was watching a rerun of The Simpsons last night where Lisa got infuriated with Homer over not knowing anything about her. Isn’t Homer a great role model for Dads? Uhmmmmmm, beeeeeeeeeer….. Homer, desperate to get his daughter’s love back, hired a private detective to learn everything there was to know about her. While working out the details with the private dick, Homer gave his email address. The address that he gave was "". Somehow I figured Homer Simson for an AOL user, that is, if fictional animated characters could choose an ISP. I got to wondering, first of all, is anyone really dumb enough to send an email to that address and of course, where does it actually go? Did the producers purchase a dead email address? Another thought I had was about how Hollywood would govern email addresses. Traditionally when a character has to give away a phone number, they’ll use the 555 prefix, such as 555-1234. It’s supposed to be a dead end, but some people actually dial these numbers and they turn out to be real. I wonder what industry rules will or have been set in place to govern the email addresses of fictional characters? Will they all be on AOL? Will someone make up a fake ISP similar to the old 555 prefix?

Maybe I should devote some time to thinking about things that matter. If anyone has bothered to email Homer, let me know what happened.