February 27th, 2002 § Comments off § permalink
Oh, right, I have a Web site.
Amazon recently recommended a book it thought I would like, a new one called Food Politics: How the Food Industry Influences Nutrition and Health. According to Amazon’s summary, it exposes “the tactics used by the food industry to protect its economic interests and influence public opinion.” The book just started shipping today, and already there’s three scathing reviews, all of them obviously written by PR flacks. (Note the strange convergence on the theme of personal responsibility, the straw-man references to “greedy trial lawyers” and new taxes, and not least the fact that all three reviews were written before the book was publicly available.)
Stop and think about it for a moment: The food industry is paying an anonymous PR firm to simulate grassroots opposition to a book that exposes the industry’s tactics. It’s funny how they claim that we’re all capable of free will and making up our own minds, even as they try to influence us in such a way that we don’t even realize what’s being done.
If you think I’m missing the mark, take a look at Toxic Sludge Is Good for You! and get back to me. Or better yet, talk to my friend who works for a PR firm and earns a living by ginning up “grassroots” campaigns like this one. Just get some letters to the editor planted here and there, set up a phone bank to call elected officials, and maybe sneak a few fake book reviews onto Amazon, and voila, you’ve generated an imaginary public outcry. This sort of thing happens far more often than you might expect.
February 21st, 2002 § Comments off § permalink
You’re the man now, dog!
Forgive me. I’m a bit punchy.
February 20th, 2002 § Comments off § permalink
Caltrans has online versions of its sign specifications for a bunch of traffic signs. They’re strangely compelling.
Some of the specs are for common signs, like the Speed Limit sign. Others are more obscure, like the In Memory Of (one-name plate) and my personal favorite, $1000 Fine for Animal Abandonment.
February 18th, 2002 § Comments off § permalink
with instant access. step by step instructions are included. you must try this.
you’ll love it. simple! this is not a pyramid scheme.
February 13th, 2002 § Two comments § permalink
My new personal theme song is “Do You Want to Feel Happy?” by Janeen Brady, from the album I’m a Mormon.
Janeen Brady – Do You Want To Feel Happy
If you do, in fact, want to feel happy, the song advises you to do the following:
Do something nice for somebody else
That’s what Jesus did
Don’t be afraid, it won’t hurt you to try it
As my brother astutely pointed out, “Didn’t it hurt Jesus a lot?”
February 10th, 2002 § Comments off § permalink
Silicon Valley business-speak might become more enjoyable if people started using it euphemistically. Imagine the following sentences being uttered in America’s bars and nightclubs:
Wanna leverage some key strategic alliances?
I couldn’t help noticing that you were checking out my innovative, integrated, multi-channel base offering.
I’d like to rationalize your operations as we drive towards profitability.
February 9th, 2002 § Comments off § permalink
February 6th, 2002 § Comments off § permalink
Handbook for Emergencies. March 1966.
“In the event of a nuclear attack, be prepared to live in a shelter as long as two weeks, coming out for short trips only if necessary.”
February 3rd, 2002 § Comments off § permalink
Before there was any such thing as an LCD, people used nixie tubes to display numbers on electrical testing equipment. A nixie tube looks a lot like a vacuum tube, but it’s filled with neon, and it contains a stack of ten electrodes, each in the shape of a single digit. When a current runs through an electrode, the digit lights up.
People have been building clocks with nixie tubes for decades. I would give my eyeteeth for some of these clocks. (Scroll down to see Geoff Tomlin’s, which is my favorite; it looks like something out of Brazil.)