Monthly Archives: November 2008

Stealing Christmas decorations… what is the point in that?

Every year, people report that their Christmas lights, blow up characters, and other decorations “get stolen”.

What is a decoration thief thinking?

To put up holiday decorations, you are trying to give back to your community. So when someone with an evil spirit stomps on your lawn, rips out your decorations, and brings them home…

..and then puts them up on display on their home.. what are they thinking?

Here’s a pseudo interview with a decoration thief:

Interviewer: “So you walk around late at night and steal Christmas decorations?”

Thief: “Yup”

Interviewer: “why?”

Thief: “Cuz decorations are expensive, and they are cheaper to steal”

Interviewer: “why do you want these decorations?”

Thief: “So I can display them and feel good about myself”

Interviewer: “Can’t you feel good about  yourself knowing they are already being displayed on the owner’s house.. where everyone can see them?”

Thief: “I never spent much time thinking about that.. but I want to be the one that people think favorably about..”

Interviewer: “So what you are saying is, it is OK to rip off the community, steal and take, display what you’ve stolen, and when that happens, you feel good about yourself?”

Thief: “All I know is, they can afford the decorations, I can’t. I have the Christmas spirit too… So those that can afford it, can replace whatever I take..”

Interviewer: “How do you know they can afford to replace what you’ve taken?”

Thief: “Well I assume. Well I don’t know.. Actually well I am just guessing they can..”

Interviewer: “Isn’t the spirit of Christmas about giving? About sharing? About joy? In what way are you a part of that when you steal from someone on the street and fabricate your own display knowing you’ve caused disheartment to someone else?”

Thief: “I never paid attention to any of that. I want decorations, I see people that have decorations. I can’t afford decorations, and they are easy to steal. Will you please stop appealing to my sense of right and wrong, and STOP asking these questions?”

Interviewer: “Does it bother you when I ask you to account for  your actions?”

Thief: “Yes. I saw an opportunity, it seemed right at the time. I don’t want to think about my behavior like that…”

Interviewer: “Do you realize you’re hurting people, cheating your self, and acting like a moron who doesn’t know the difference?”

Thief: “I have nothing more to say, other than.. ok, FINE. 5 minutes of thinking about this, I won’t do it anymore..”

..and there you have it…

When a thief steals your holiday decorations, there is no thought in it. They see decorations, those that they can’t afford.. they think the victim must be able to afford it, and stealing is perfectly fine. But when you drill down the concept to the thief, they buckle quickly and realize their mistake.

This is the world we live in.. stupid criminals stealing and taking without realizing what they are doing..

Food prepared with love… What is that anyway?

Have you ever had a spouse, girlfriend or boyfriend make you something to eat?

Do you find it tastes better? It could be anything, a peanut butter sandwich, a grilled cheese, or a steak. Food prepared with “love” in mind, seems to taste better. Why is that?

Simply put, when someone that cares about you cooks, and prepares a meal for you.. there is more care taken to the dish. You won’t get burnt toast. You won’t get burnt food. You’ll get carefully seasoned and prepared food, because the person cares…

When you cook with love, you are actually going that extra mile to prepare it right.

Now, we’ve all eaten in grease pits before. Where they slop the sandwich or burger together, with “time” (instead of love) being their momentum.

Rushed food never tastes the same as food make with love.

(Similarily, frozen food NEVER tastes the same as fresh neither).

So at this point, you might be asking, or wondering.. What is my point? Why are we talking about food prepared with love… ?

Quite simply: someone has to talk about it. It happens everyday, and no one seems to recognize it as being something special.

A grilled cheese is two pieces of bread, butter/margarine and cheddar cheese fried in a pan…

BUT NOT when it is made with love…

Then it is, two pieces of carefully selected bread. butter/margarine spread thinly, and to the corners… Cheddar cheese that is freshly sliced, or even if it is processed, it is placed on the bread in such a fashion that it completely covers the bread slice. The sandwich while it cooks is watched like a hawk. If the pan gets too hot, it is flipped over. When you make grilled cheese with love, there is NEVER any burning. When it is ready, you cut it carefully and perfectly, and you serve it right away.

…and then there is the psychological effect by the “eater”…

When someone you love walks toward you, with something they cooked or created for you… Smiles and says here you go “hunnie”….

It’s that magical angel dust in the air, that turns a sandwich into something spectacular. Someone spent the time and effort into cooking for you… with love… How could you not appreciate it?

Now some of you may think I’ve beaten this topic to death.. and to those of you that say that, I have one thing to say…

“Food prepared with love” isn’t something I came up with.. we’ve all heard it before. Perhaps I’m the first one to analyze and talk about it openly and publically?

New Casino Idea for small towns!

Many people like to gamble. They usually allocate $50 to $200 as their limit, and visit a casino. They spend anywhere from 2 hours to all night long trying to triple their money, or more..

But the cost of building a casino is too expensive for small towns, therefore they are out of luck. Even just the cost of one slot machine is very expensive.

So I was thinking of a streamlined, efficient casino idea for small towns.

They could have a small doorway, all light up and decorated. You walk in, hand over $200, they pick a number from 1 to 10, and if your number matches, you’re an instant winner.

Otherwise, for efficiencies sake, they say “sorry, the house took ya” and wave goodbye as you turn around and leave.

Why waste time fighting the inevitable for 2 hours? You can either win or lose your $200 in an instant, and get it done and over with, in a quick efficient manner.

If this was the case, and it was streamlined this way… Would anyone try it?  I think I’d be interested to be a guinea pig for this type of scenario…

WordPress, Blogs, and Spam. It’s important…

That’s right, it’s an important combination.

If you have a WordPress blog, and you don’t get spam.. it means that you’re not popular. This is the one and only time that spam serves a purpose…

There are spammers out there that run spiders who roam around the internet looking for WordPress blogs. If they find one, they attempt to leave a “spam comment” in order to advertise a URL.

(In this day and age, I wonder why they bother. Spam is filtered by newer versions of WordPress anyway)

But if you do write a daily blog, and get your dose of spam, then it means… you’re popular. If spammers find you, so can the rest of the world. It’s actually a compliment when a spammer’s bot writes (or tries to write) on your blog.

I am proud to say, that daily I DO get spam comments. Naturally I do filter them out. What I am really hoping for.. and crossing my fingers for.. is those few people who do read my dribble and have a legitimate response..

So here it is…

IF YOU ARE READING THIS (AND YES I AM YELLING)

…I would love to hear from you. Register and make a comment to my blog. Let’s see if anyone is out there. Don’t pass up this opportunity.

Do you have your own WordPress blog? Have you received spam comments?

Surely I’m not the only one out there…

Or am I?

Grocery store pricing: Bait & Switch gimmics..

Today in the grocery store, I was paying special attention to the pricing schemes used. You’ll see things that say:

$4.49 (in tiny grey letters)
$1.99 ea (in big bold black letters)
buy 4 or more (in tiny grey letters) again

So… if you buy two of them, you’ll pay $8.98
But if you buy four of them, you’ll only pay $8.96

Doesn’t seem fair does it… How many people stare at the $1.99 in big bold black leters, and not realize that when they bring the item to the cash, and the cashier scans it through, they just got charged $4.49 instead?

Some of them say “mix and match” and some don’t…

Grocery shopping these days, must be treated like a science. Who regulates the way prices are displayed? We all know that nutrition information has to be printed a certain way — but what about PRICE TAGS?

What is misleading, and what isn’t?

How about items with no visible price. I was in the milk aisle one day, and the milk jugs were not priced. I watched gleefully as people scouped up milk jugs without a thought on how much they were priced at..

How many of them paid $6.29 that day?  How many of them would see the price flip by on the cashier’s screen, and not know if it was correct or not?

Next time you go into the grocery store.. pay special attention to price tags.. and remember, so-called deals are not always a deal, irregardless of how special the sign makes the item sound..

Casinos and what are you trying to win?

Here’s the thing..

Many of us go to local casinos… We walk in with spendable cash. $200 is a nice number. We’re hoping to turn that cash into a few thousand.

WRONG

Of all the people that walk into a casino, say 300 people, most will walk away with nothing or very little.

Few of them may walk out ahead $100 or $200…

…and out of 300 people, if its a lucky day, someone will walk out with $5,000 on a slot machine, or a massive side-bet on blackjack which gave them “lucky ladies” when the dealer had a black jack.

But the rule of thumb is..

Walk into a casino with $200 or $300…

Walk out with none.

So it’s an expensive form of entertainment. The dopamine and adrenaline to our brains is what we’re after… The thought.. the chance… it feels good to be there and hope. Casino’s wouldn’t last, if they didn’t give us those chemical bursts to our brains…

..and thats all it is…

So, if you are planning to have fun gambling.. let it be that.. But why bring in $200, $300 or even $600? If you want that dopamine / adranaline effect.. even $50 works..

We have to sit back and realize what it is that the casino does for you.. It surely won’t pay your bills.. It won’t put you in a better financial position. It won’t solve your problems. If anything.. the way you were “before” entering the casino.. was a better situation!! You had spendable cash. Walk out from the casino, now you don’t..

Casino’s are full of bright lights, action, people, sounds like the place to be…

But guess what, strip away the bright lights, strip away the people trying to win who haven’t.. and it’s a cold desolate place… akin to standing in the line at the bank. Its a financial decision nonetheless.. and a poor one at that.

Be wary of casinos — they have a mission, and even if they do pay, they’ll own you next time.

Stupid Infomercials that are too good to be true.

I was watching an infomercial last night. I watch them because some of them are quite amusing, almost like a comedy show. I figured I’d write about some of them every now and then..

Last night was John Beck’s program on how to buy houses worth 180,000 for as little as $300

While I’m watching, they are flashing nice looking homes on the screen, and coming up with numbers and testimonials. “I bought this house for $427.65!”

They go on and on… Now while it all sounds amazing.. at some point, a logical person has to go..

WHAT IS THE CATCH? Surely if homes worth $180,000 can be bought for $300 and THESE INFOMERCIAL people know that..

What the heck are they doing advertising how to do it? Surely they would be running around buying as many of these homes by themselves and turning profits.

Well think about that … think about it again.. and then again…

Why would anyone pick up a phone and order the program without some advanced research? I can tell you why. People watching the program late at night are overtired, some have been drinking, people’s minds don’t work right and they just go “ah, what do I have to lose”

Well today, I did some research, and YUP, there is a RipOffReport about this:
http://www.ripoffreport.com/reports/0/177/RipOff0177451.htm

So people, if you are reading this blog right now.. It means YOU HAVE ACCESS TO THE INTERNET.

..and if you do have access to the internet — whenever an infomercial advertises something you might be interested in, DO SOME RESEARCH ON THE INTERNET BEFORE ORDERING!

Simple concept. Yet millions of people don’t think. They pickup the telephone and grab their credit card without doing any research whatsoever. The excitement of watching something on TV that you want to be part of, confuses the logical part of your brain.

Have you ever been taken advantage of by an infomercial? If so, let’s hear your story. Be honest — many of us can learn by hearing about any misfortunes you might have experienced.

Christmas music in the malls already?

Ok, about a week ago, I heard my first song of “Jingle Bells” in the mall. Remembrance Day wasn’t even here yet, nor was the U.S. Thanksgiving Day.

Now we all know how commercialized Christmas has become, but isn’t there any reasonable etiquette on how early is TOO early to start playing holiday music in stores?

I know some people like to do their holiday gift buying early. That’s fine. But atleast get Remembrance Day and Thanksgiving Holidays out of the way first.  How are we suppose to remember our fallen war heroes while Jingle Bells and Silent Night are playing over the mall’s speakers?

I mean, why not start advertising Easter now? Perhaps easter  bunny chocolate should hit the shelves in November?

To be honest, the over commercialization of the Christmas holiday season is what ruins the holidays for many of us. By the corporations pushing the season down our throats, they are taking the true fun and spirit out of it.

By over advertising, over marketing, and over promoting — it’s caused a lot of us to turn into holiday scrooges who end up turning our backs on the whole concept.  The “specialness” of hearing Christmas music at that time of year has worn off of me.

If I hear Jingle Bells while snow is falling, a week before Christmas, I’m joyeous and happy.

If I hear Jingle Bells a few days before Remembrance Day in November, I’m pissed off, annoyed and upset.

How do you feel?

Nagravision 3 and FTA (Free to Air) fix available?

Nagravision 3 (Nagra3) has recently hit BEV and Dishnet. This is causing a stir in the satellite FTA arena. Apparently currently FTA receivers cannot decode this latest encryption algorithm.

Now, I myself, pay for my BEV subscription every month, so I am not affected.

However, those satellite FTA people who have been using Viewsat and Coolsat receivers that previously decoded Nagra 2 (Nagravision 2) since 2005, now are running around wondering what they are going to do..

The truth is, that these temporary viewsat and coolsat binary firmware fixes (bin file), are exactly that — temporary. How could you feel confident watching TV for a couple days, and then having to download a new fix for your receiver?

I don’t understand why people would invest so much time and effort into trying to get a fix. Isn’t your time worth something?

Now they claim that people are already out there trying to get a hack for nagra 3. Everyday they are checking all the fta forums, hoping and waiting.

Now I do agree the cost of having a satellite subscription is probably 2X as expensive as it should be. Mostly because I read somewhere that over 2 million people illegally decode satellite signals (atleast under the old nagravision encryption scheme) at any given time.

Well perhaps if satellite providers were to charge 50% of what the current retail rate is now, for TV subscription, and they would give everyone 100% of the full channel offering, that includes pay-per-view and the porn channels… Guess what? I hardly doubt 2 million people would bother to try and obtain satellite TV illegally.

That would be more money in their pocket. Less worry about devising new encryption schemes. Less time policing people, taking them to court, etc.

It’s similar to the argument “legalize marijuiana” — if it was legal, there would be less crime, and you could tax it.

Well if indeed over 2 million people are waiting for a nagra 3 fix for their FTA satellite receiver bin files, why not take this time to talk to these people and win them over somehow?

Sounds like a lot of business ready and ripe for the BEV and DN (dishnet) marketing team to sell them on the idea while their receivers are down.

Scratch and win tickets (or scratch and lose).

I read a statistic which said that out of 100% of tickets sold, 96% of them win less than $3,000. Now most of us do not buy a scratch and win ticket to only win $5 or $10. We want a chance at a big prize.

Furthermore, how many times do you spend $3 on a scratch ‘n win ticket, and it says “congratulations! You win $3”

Shouldn’t it say “congratulations! You win nothing. You get your money back”.

I really don’t think that “free ticket wins” or where you win exactly the cost of the ticket back, should be considered part of the winning odds printed on the back of the ticket.

Pull tabs are equally discusting. I don’t know if your local bar or pub has pull tab tickets, but here, they come in a 16 lb package, with 3,600 tickets in them.

On the front of the 50 cent pull tab it advertises:

3 winners of $100
3 winners of $75
4 winners of $25
8 winners of $10
25 winners of $2
100 winners of $1

Well, let’s add that up.. Out of 3,600 tickets there will be 143 winning tickets totalling $935

But if you bought the whole bag, it would cost you $1,800.

Now naturally no one wants to win $1, nor $2, nor $10. Everyone is out to win a minimum of $25 on a 50 cent pull tab ticket — thats the reason you play.

In that case, out of 3,600 tickets, there are only 10 real winners that mean anything.

3,590 tickets are sold, and 10 walk away with a real prize.

Doesn’t sound so fun to play anymore does it?

If someone announced a huge gathering of people, got on a Microphone and said to a crowd of 3,600 people “attention please. I would like everyone to dig in their pockets, and give me 50 cents. I guarantee that 10 of you will walk away with a prize of $25 or more”

Guess what? The crowd would disperse, and people would walk away cursing and laughing … “what a joke”

BUT THE REAL JOKE IS:

This is what goes on everyday, in the hundreds of bars around in this province. Bags of 3,600 tickets are dropped off at each bar, they get sold, and only 10 people per bag actually win anything worthwhile.

No one likes to do the math — but if you do, it’s a very scarey situation out there.

Be aware and forewarned!

Keno numbers. How to find the pattern.

If any of you are avid keno players, you may stare at the result screen and see patterns emerging. The number 56 may come up 3 draws in a row. Sounds like a good bet to play 56 over the next 5 draws, because the chance of the number coming up again is high.

WRONG.

Casinos, lottery corporations, and the like, have spent expensive money from people like www.gtech.com to ensure that their number picking server is choosing unbiased and unpredictable numbers through true RNG (Random Number Generation).

Yes, patterns will materialize with KENO. But guess what? They are random patterns. To the human eye and brain, we’ll associate random patterns with logical patterns. We’ll figure that the computer must be locked into some mode that is generating patterns and if we could only figure out the pattern and the frequency, we’ll dominate Keno.

Not true. Well, actually a correction. It was TRUE in the earlier days of Keno. You can read news articles from many years back, where random number generation was based on the time cycles of the computer when it was switched on, and every time the computer was switched off and turned back on again, the same random number sequences would produce predictive random numbers.

But that was identified, and corrected, and is no longer present in today’s society.

Similarly, cooked potato chips may have a burned or bruised marking on them. If you sift through 5,000 bags of chips and examine each one, you may eventually find one that has the marking of the Virgin Mary, Jesus, or even a NIKE symbol.

Does this mean that you’ve found something sacred? No, it just means that if you look at randomness often enough, eventually random patterns will emerge, and as humans we can identify them. But all you are really doing is identifying something totally random that happened to produce a pattern.

So when you are losing your shirt over the long term playing KENO, keep in mind you are competing with a random machine. Randomly, you WILL win. However, randomly you WILL lose too. Keno is suppose to be an entertaining game, for FUN, with the chance of winning a random prize.

If you feel that if you play the game enough, and try to beat the system — well the long term odds will get you to lose money, and the keno operators will eventually profit from your failed investments.

I still play KENO, but with a very different attitude now. I’ll throw a couple bucks at the system, but no longer will I try and capture patterns. I’ve analyzed it enough and done research. I think its funny when I sit in a public gambling establishment and hear people freak out and exclaim “wow! Look! See!! 56 came up again! Make sure you put that number on the ticket.”

In true random number theory, 56 can come up 30 times in a row. But then again, it can stop coming up for the next 30 times. There is no rhyme, reason, or pattern to why KENO numbers come up.

Sorry if I’ve burst your bubble where you had hoped to one day dominate Keno patterns with finding out the secrets. It isn’t possible. But don’t you feel better being well informed?

Actually to be fair, there are some things that you can do to maximize the money you wager to get the best value for your bet.

IMPORTANT NOTE:
I recommend that you maximize the risk/reward ratio if you want to continue playing Keno.

Take a look, just Click Here!

Maximizing your risk vs reward is the best way to play properly.

Dining out & Bad Waiters & Waitresses: Food service complaint

Ok, once in awhile, we all like to go out to eat. Sit in a semi-fancy restaurant, eat about $8 worth of wholesale food, and pay $17 for the opportunity to have someone else cook, someone else serve us, and someone else do the clean up.

So.. For the extra bucks, what are we all expecting?

First of all, we expect that our dinner will be cooked to perfection. Someone trained and qualified to cook our food the way it should be, without burning it. Someone who knows how to season the food correctly, and for the ingredients to be fresh.

Secondly, when our beverages start to run dry, whether it is coffee, tea, soda pop, or even just plain water. Never should we spend almost $20 a person to go “out” and eat, and sit there stupidly parched during our meal.

When you go out and dine, which most of us only do only once or twice a week… You want it to be a favorable experience. After all, you are expected to pay triple the amount of what it would have cost you to prepare the meal yourself. Plus you have taxes added… not only that, but you are expected to tip your server.

What can ruin the whole night, is to have a lazy waiter or waitress, who lets your water glass run dry. Who serves you your meal and then doesn’t come back 5 minutes later, to ask you if there is anything else you need, or if everything is OK.

Today that happened. Four of us went out to a golf & country club, for an “elite” breakfast brunch buffet. Each plate cost $25. The food was great. The atmosphere was great. The service “sucked” which basically ruined the whole meal.

There is nothing worse than enjoying a cup of fresh coffee with your meal, and then finding yourself looking all over the place for your waitress — trying to make some eye contact which basically says “hey! I’d like a refill of coffee please.. is there any chance you can pay attention to the customers in your section?”

So now we get to the concept of the ultimate gratuity or tip that the staff is expecting.

But if my coffee cup has to go empty, and I have to search around like a scavenger for a coffee refill.. What does that say about how well the waiters & waitresses performed?

Keeping your dining customers happy is quite simple. Insure that their beverages are filled. Insure that their food is digestable and is fine.. and best of all..

Wear a smile and be attentive, whether or not it is in your job description. 🙂

When people are dining out and spending hard earned cash to enjoy a meal at an expensive restaurant… They don’t want much. They just want to be noticed and treated as if they “matter”. 🙂

Out of 10 times I’ve dined out, I can safely say, its is only about 50% of the time, do I have a good experience, whether it is food quality, freshness, and taste — or simply service by the wait staff. That is a very bad ratio.

If the food service industry did its job, 90% of the time, people would be totally content with dining out, and only 10% of the time would anyone ever have any complaints.

Let me know about your dining out experiences..