hogwash

Airwick has the audacity to boast that their product is 4 in 1. Four of what, you may ask?  Is is it 4 products? Does it have 4 functions? What does it do that the other air fresheners do not?  The answer is that the 4 are:  1. Premium fragrance. 2. Eliminates odors. 3. Lasts up to 1 hour. 4. Acts in seconds. What’s the problem with that?  The marketers know that a person will buy the product simply because they see 4-n-1.  It is pretty well understood that people don’t question everything they should.  The problem is that “premium fragrance” is not only expected, but a subjective description.  The fact that it is a fragrance is understood.  Eliminates odors.  Ok. There’s one function–the primary function.  That it lasts up to an hour is a quality rather than an activity such as eliminating odors.  Finally, it acts in seconds… it’s spray.  One would expect nothing less than immediate results.  As I understand it, nearly every aerosol air-freshener works pretty much the same way– in seconds.  When it’s all said and done, it is not 4 in one.

I remember seeing a sign advertising the $0.99 bag of Doritos as 2 for $1.98.  I had to do a double-take.  Last I checked, 99 plus 99 is 198.  I’m not suggesting that I’m the only one that caught on to this, but that there are enough people that will not take notice that it is lucrative to post such signs.  In the realm of marketing, truth and ethics take a backseat to misleading exaggeration.

My point is that on a daily basis consumers are being duped, manipulated and exploited simply because it works. I use the term, “consumer” to refer, not only to consumers of merchandise, but consumers of dogma.  It is utterly fascinating how many truths or facts are skewed, overlooked or dismissed.  Most of us are not paying attention.

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what a fool believes

I use the term “fool” loosely and only to bring to mind the lyrics of the song by that title:

But what a fool believes … he sees
No wise man has the power to reason away
What seems … to be
Is always better than nothing

Here’s the thing: sometimes, and often as a coping mechanism, a person can believe what’s easier to accept; not necessarily what is true. We can lie to ourselves (or choose not to see) the affair our partner is having, the drugs our child is doing, the poor decisions that we have made for ourselves, et al.  When it comes to religion, people become sheep of unyielding, blind obedience.  I especially question those that are scholarly (Mayim Bialik) or that are well-versed in the psychology of Man and how ideas impregnate and propagate; how history is edited and “facts” are created, yet continue to worship the elusive Supreme Being.  We’ve all played the game of telephone and possibly believed that someone deliberately altered the story for it to have been so inaccurate by the time it reached the other end of the line.   When it comes to studying for the sake of worship, once experience, science or common sense have debunked even 3 of the ideologies or “facts” this doctrine perpetuates, that should offer enough reasonable doubt to stop defending what one clearly does not understand.  Allow me to enumerate some pretty basic precarious proclamations:

The Bible pretty much starts off shaming women for their menstrual cycle.  I knew a female growing up, that was not [permitted] to go to church while menstruating, as she was considered impure.  The Bible explains that the pain of childbirth and the menstrual cycle are a punishment for the misdeeds of Eve in the Garden of Eden.   So women have to blame this this pseudo-ancestor for the horrors of childbirth and menstrual cramps and, provided that Eve has been dead for 6 millennia, there’s no chance of her repenting, so this is a cross women are to bear.  Then, what happens when you go to school, take health and biology courses and learn the function of the menstrual cycle?  What happens when you find out that dogs also have periods?  What happens when you take into account that the Bible was written at a time more than a thousand years before for The Plague that took out 1/3 the population Europe–the Plague that was essentially ‘cured’ with hygiene?  What then, do you do when you take into account that not up until the late 1800’s  (in the United States) was public education available for girls.  So many years after the Bible was written, edited and, until the past 50 or so years was interpreted exclusively  by men, blind sheep pride themselves on being such avid, unwavering, faithful followers.

There is episode of Family Guy that addresses the ironic and somewhat comical and arbitrary rejection of advanced technology in the Amish community.  The purpose is to not be seduced by the luxuries and temptations of the “outside world” that may lure them away from their Amish family, community and beliefs.  This is ironic because the Amish do utilize some extent of technology, only it’s the technology that was available during the lifetime of it’s founder.  This is to suggest that what was considered too luxurious, too distracting from worship was relative to the technologies available at that time.  The question then is, if the religion was founded in Medieval times, would the Amish be allowed to ride bicycles? For the Amish, when it comes to such concepts as food storage,  in many cases (depending on how orthodox one may be) one must decide whether to get an ice box (and regular ice deliveries), pitch-in for community storage (minimized use of electricity), get a gas-powered refrigerator or break down and use electricity.  Living a simple life is commendable–they are a close-knit, private, self-sustained community.  The problem is that should one decide that they seek more out of life (such as furthering their education), they risk being shunned.  Again, a religion that teaches temperance and love of thy neighbor fails to teach tolerance and frowns upon educating oneself.  The religion is not about the individual, but sustaining a community and passing on a heritage.  Cool.  As it so happens, it doesn’t appeal to most people.

The Bible says that God plucked a rib from Adam to create Eve.  While the sentiment is sweet, a couple of biology and history courses should clear that right up.  For, we find in nature that opposite genders are an attribute of species that practice sexual (as opposed to asexual) reproduction.

We are told that all was well and all were nude in the Garden of Eden, but as part of the punishment, they became aware of their nakedness and felt a new sense of shame.  Well, when it boils right down to it, every culture treats nudity and sexuality differently.  Throughout the world, most civilizations cover, if nothing else, their genitals. This has everything with preserving your ability to procreate.  Every life form seeks to replicate itself.  Men cover these parts so that they are not vulnerable to injury, an enemy (one could cripple their opponent by rendering them unable to reproduce), to keep their testicles warm and to even the playing ground when seeking a mate (as opposed to being chosen based on size alone).  Women cover their genitals for practically the same reasons.  Additionally women cover themselves to thwart advances, not for shame.   The shame that we feel is something that we develop during adolescence.  Toddlers do not have such shame.  The shame stems from standards of beauty imposed by society that we may not live up to.  The embarrassment of being seen naked is more of a feeling of vulnerability.   When we are naked, it’s like letting the table see your hand.  We are not ashamed to be naked when it is by our choice or to our benefit.

One of the most disturbing tendencies of theists is their assumption that they are morally superior. It might even be cause for alarm, that people rely on pious rhetoric as their moral foundation. Perhaps theists simply don’t realize that many of the most revered individuals throughout history have been nonbelievers and morally upstanding citizens all at once. Religious folk tend to spend more time trying to appear holier than they are or ever will be.  These religious folk have great nerve to speak of love, all the while ridiculing the fornicators, the gays, the unwed mothers, the prostitutes, the foreigners, etc.  The Ku Klux Klan are, typically, Southern, white, God-fearing Christians.  KKK often doesn’t have to answer to local authorities because they ARE they local authorities.  Notwithstanding that killing is illegal, it’s one of the Ten (pretty simple) Commandments.  It goes to show that not even they believe the shit they preach: we are all God’s children. These people go out of their way to distance themselves from what they deem morally inferior, all the while shoving their own skeletons back into the closet. There are pastors screwing members of the congregation, priests raping or molesting boys, preachers that publicly denounce homosexuality up until the moment they’re caught bent over with their pants down. There are places in the world where a female pregnant out of wedlock is expected to kill herself, rather than bring shame on her family.  Although that expectation is based in culture, as opposed to religion, the people that uphold these traditions are worshippers.  On what moral ground does the father stand that lets his daughter kill herself for after impregnated out of wedlock, even if she was raped? Had it not been for disbelief and dissidence, civilization would be stuck in the Stone Ages.

Aside

Sometimes less is more.  I saw the Jim Beam’s “Devil’s Cut” bourbon commercial in which the gimmick is that they have devised a way to extract bourbon from the saturated wood.   I wondered what possessed them to try to extract the bourbon from the wood.  I suppose that it’s supposed signify the degree of potency, aroma or woody flavor.  But who is to say that that would make the bourbon taste better? On the part of the manufacturers, this may be a business-saving measure, necessary for the sustenance of their enterprise; or on the more likely end, it’s one more way to sell a product to people by making them think it is something they have been missing [and therefore needing] all the while.  Next, in considering the potency factor, it’s called The Devil’s Cut. The title is a blatant acknowledgement, if not association with the potential negative effects of alcohol.

There is Belvedere vodka commercial that says, there are only 93 summer nights–shows people with clear liquid in glasses, toasting with a bottle of Belvedere between them at which time the narrator continues provocatively: make each one count.   It would seem as though this commercial condones, if not encourages drinking vodka on a daily basis, notwithstanding the long term and short term affects of alcohol use, abuse, and overdose.  Even if you do not abuse alcohol–perhaps you have one drink per day for 30 years, there is a risk of dependency.  Of course, most people do not use alcohol in such moderation over extended time.  Most people that have had alcohol, have found themselves accidentally drunk and subsequently embarrassed.  With alcohol there is risk of overdose, risky behavior, poor/lapse in judgment, fighting, erratic or exaggerated emotions, incidence of physical, sexual or mental abuse, rape, domestic violence, black outs, life-altering consequences, hangover, vomiting, hepatitis, pancreatitis, cirrhosis, gout, high blood pressure, jaundice, vitamin deficiency, ascites, encephalopathy, seizures, delirium tremens, tremors and death (pardon me if I’ve left out something)

That said, when it comes to what is being marketed, which is implicitly acceptable, I am disappointed that there are those that can ignore all the aforementioned in the defense of the War on Drugs and other determinations made be the FDA, ATF and for that matter the NRA and all the other bureaucratic agencies on the pay roll behind the scenes unaffected by and unyielding to the laws they impose.

what they’re selling

weed’s still illegal??

There’s been some debate as to whether marijuana is, at $35+ billion annual revenue –the top cash crop in the United States.  Here’s what we know it is: a cash crop!  And we need some cash! We know that it is not a lethal substance; that is the only “drug” that is plucked from the earth and utilized in its natural, unadulterated, chemical state! We know that it is the most widely used “drug”, including internationally.  We know that using marijuana doesn’t yield the same rate of negative consequences as alcohol; in fact, nothing does: date rape, rape, murder, domestic violence, buffoonery, blackouts, vehicle accidents/fatalities, overdose, jumping off of balconies and other folly-such deaths, strained relationships, job loss, liver disease, heart disease, dementia, encephalopathy, et al.  We know that it was once legal.  We know that slanderous propaganda, off the heels of a failed alcohol prohibition, targeted marijuana to be criminalized within, not only the justice system, but our minds. Some parents get more upset about their children using marijuana–nevermind that some of their children are already drinking– buying into the misrepresentation of marijuana as a gateway drug, when in fact, you are more likely to make a horrible decision, like trying a harder substance, while under the influence of alcohol.  With alcohol,  you may say or do something at any moment to destroy your life–you may become volatile.  You may feel free, without limitations.  You may get beer goggles and then an STD.  You may get beer muscles and get your teeth knocked out.  Now, there are exceptions to every rule and there are some people that can enjoy alcohol without abusing it.  Still, it is the easiest and most frequently abused.  Use and abuse are distinctly different.  No matter how you use it, if you have more than 2 glasses you might feel bubble guts or a headache the next morning.

In the 1980’s, crack hit the US with a vengeance.  Nancy Reagan declared a war on drugs,  marijuana became a schedule one drug and there are people spending their lives in prison on marijuana-related charges.   There are people that are getting arrested in their teens and getting 3 strikes before they hit 21 for marijuana related charges, or the ones that don’t stay in prison but have the felony on their record– the rest of their lives ruined because of this illegal, yet apparently prevalent, cash crop.  I’ll discuss the racial disparity later.  The point is that the United States has the largest prison population in the world, and many people are having to be subjected to prison life and cavity searches despite it being the safest, most natural substance that people are ingesting, including prescription drugs (whether being used as prescribed or abused).

Why can’t marijuana be sold just as are cigarettes?  At this point, what is the point? The government can use the money from marijuana sales to fund drug awareness education.  Why isn’t common sense prevailing?  Everything should not boil down to insurmountable moral debates.   It should be a matter of facts, irrefutable facts- non-debatable facts and when people learn the facts, they should accept them.

the truth about altruism

I’m a fan of President Clinton.  While speaking with Stephen Colbert on one March 2013 episode of the Colbert Report, promoting the Clinton Foundation, he explained his motives as being selfish.  He said that if you understand the way the world works, selfless is selfish.  I get it and I agree.  If you understand the way the world works…

You need not be particularly compassionate to understand the importance of giving of yourself.  In the grand scheme, helping others, wanting to make the world a better place is more about your own fulfillment.  It may seem too far-fetched and indirect to make the correlation, but the notion is rudimentary.  We tend to act out of selfishness in more ways than we imagine.  I am speaking of selfishness by definition of the word, as opposed to the exclusively negative connotation that may be throwing you off.  To the extent of risking your life for your offspring, you are acting selfishly.  You instinctively, not consciously, know that your offspring is the continuation of your bloodline, thus, self-preservation manifests by way of saving your offspring.  Of course, we understand that our emotional and intimate attachment plays a role but, again, I’m speaking of basic instincts- the physiological reaction that takes place.  Therefore, back to what President Clinton was explaining: ultimately, it is in your own best interest to make the world around you a better place.

In a more peaceful, progressive, self-sustaining society, there is more potential for leading a successful, productive, fulfilling life.  What we give of ourselves in order to help others is our investment.  The problem seems that no one has patience and that we invest in the intangible world of the stock market rather than, say, the education in failing school districts throughout the country.  We do this because we are thinking of ourselves.  Therein lies the traditional use of the term ‘selfishness’.   Still, it is in our own best interest to make sure that everyone’s needs are met.  For one thing, it would reduce the crime rate.  It is in our best interest to make sure that everyone has access to medical care and is educated about what constitutes a healthy lifestyle.

Hearing politicians complain about the number of people receiving government assistance but then oppose universal health care or cut school budgets, is an example of how disconnected people allow themselves to be.  It’s like how one neighbor’s house can affect the property value of the neighborhood.  Also similar to how one bad apple ruins the bunch, or how a chain is only as strong as it’s weakest link.  Although his efforts seem idealistic, they are with the understanding that a whole is made from various components and if the whole is to be healthy, so must be the components. To deny masses access to good education and healthcare puts your own safety at risk.  Uneducated and impoverished people are more likely to engage in crime.  Too many unhealthy people drains resources of the able-bodied.  This results in more people in prison, more people dying of preventable illness and more of the nation’s money spent, ultimately, widening the gap between the haves and have-nots. At this point, matters of universal healthcare and better education should not be up for debate.  It is a matter of fact that not having these systems in place is more costly.

Apparently, too many people are too short-sighted, power-hungry and dense to know what’s for their own good.  Man has always been his own worst enemy.  Arms races go on today and, in proposing the greatest threats to the survival of Mankind, scientist do consider Man as one such.  In keeping with the theme of President Clinton, it so happens that it behooves us to be altruistic, even if we have to do so out of selfish reasons.

that’s a medical condition, and that’s a medical condition and that’s a ….

We see so many commercials for prescriptions to treat a variety of ailments, not all of which sound serious enough to require medical intervention.  There’s a commercial that says, “opioid dependence is a real medical condition”.  Apparently there was some doubt or prior confusion.  So, what’s a medical condition?  It’s simply a condition that requires treatment other than surgery.  Those specific words are chosen in order to invoke a sense of urgency or concern.  Consider that restless leg syndrome, chronic dry-eye and erectile dysfunction are also medical conditions.  Not all medical conditions require medication.  Many conditions could be resolved with a change in diet or lifestyle or both.  The best method to combat any condition is with healthy choices.  I am not suggesting that there’s no reason to take medication and that healthy lifestyle will cure mental illness, for example.  I am suggesting that people pay more attention to marketing tactics and really consider whether the ‘medical condition’ is adversely impacting their daily lives.

I was delighted to see that Arianna Huffington also posted on the issue.  It has come to the point that pretty much everyone meets the criteria to take one of the millions of prescription drugs available.  http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/03/opinion/diagnosis-human.html?smid=pl-share

 

I also came across this article that speaks to the same point, stating:

Unbiased science and clinical data has proven that culture, psychology, lifestyle, attachments, diethormones, toxicities, immune function, infection, gastrointestinal function are factors in depression, just as they are in most other chronic disorders. There is no single medicine that will remedy or restore each of these factors. Patients’ overall health benefits when their mood disorder is treated as part of a large whole body system and not a symptom to eradicate.

http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/health-matters/201210/why-do-antidepressants-stop-working

F pink slime

I am not sure why so many people seemed to be surprised, much less up in arms about the pink slime revelation.  No one had to tell me that if I can get a burger on a bun for a $1 but that you can’t find meat that cheap at a supermarket, that it’s probably not meat.  No one had to tell me that the chicken-flavored product that looks like a sponge with fake grill-marks was not really chicken or ribs.  No one had to tell me that McNugget with their grisly texture, no meat with striations, was not really chicken.  How does one just come to realize what ‘processed meat’ means? It seems as long as there wasn’t actual evidence to sere the image into out minds it was okay.

how they get ‘ya

I was in a Rite Aid and saw the 99 bag of chips being advertised as on sale, 2 for $1.98.  But that’s not quite a sale, now is it?

There’s an Ore-Ida commercial that says: you’d be surprised that crinkle cut fries are only 120 calories per serving!

This works because people have such short attention spans and don’t really question what they hear.  How about asking, well, how many calories are in any other fries and that does not account for the oil that, no matter the brand, you are likely to fry them in.

 

tp commercial

There’s a Charmin toilet paper commercial that says, “ladies, it’s time to get real about what you really goes on in the bathroom”.  I was taken aback.  I didn’t know women were still struggling with mastering the use of toilet paper-despite its efficacy. I thought if the toilet paper sucks, you simply adjust the wipes accordingly.  Otherwise, I don’t understand what’s happening in the bathroom.  I mean, have women been suffering in silence?  And is it only a female thing? I mean, I understand, perhaps there may be some left behind post-wipe but I imagine men might also have this dilemma at least once in awhile.  I just wonder why that is the monologue that made it out of the boardroom and onto my television.

And btw, I have been to the Charmin bathrooms in Times Square.  It is a bit impressive just for the scope of the whole production.

degree not worth the price you paid?

There should be a cap to student loan debt.  The should not be a medical expense for emergencies.  In these two categories are where the majority of Americans’ debt lies.  The good thing is that 20-30 years ago it was credit card debt.  The difference, clearly, is that more people started to go to college, there has been poor healthcare reform up to this point and most people learned their lessons with credit cards or simply has no more credit.  The bad part is that we are in debt, credit ruined and, in part, due to either trying to advance ourselves and the other, unforeseen illnesses that we would rather not have contracted.  It almost like being punished for having to go to the doctor or hospital.  Now, doctors got tired of making less than basketball players and they have decided to get their share, no matter if it’s fair.  There are so many rampant cases of welfare fraud.  Meanwhile, we have these insurance companies that don’t seem to be helping the matter, nor do they advocate for patient care.  People say that Americans don’t want socialism, but it seems Americans don’t want the label.  It seems that if everyone having insurance and hospitals being public means be a socialist society, a good number of us understand and welcome that advantage.  For the skeptics that remain; clearly, you simply having had this problem.

As it is, half of us don’t have insurance and this is a problem when we find ourselves in need of medical care because even if we had insurance, we would be charged astronomical fees for mediocre care.  At least when you have insurance, the hospital and affiliates can hope to recoup at least a portion.  This is why medicaid is not favored: there is a cap to what they will pay and it’s called the diagnosis-related group.  So what happens is that doctors turn away medicaid patients for regular preventive care.  People without insurance, often aren’t leading the healthiest of lifestyles (i.e. no regular exercise regimen or nutrient-rich diet).  By the time these un[der]insured people seek and attain medical care, it’s usually when the condition is progressed and symptomatic.  This will require more expensive lab work and imaging that the person cannot afford to pay for.  For those people that think Charity Care serves as insurance, what it serves as is a pardon–that you will not be charged for services you clearly couldn’t begin top afford.  This leads to more people out of work applying for state assistance.  The states are buckling under the weight and referring these people to apply for federal benefits.  This is how 47% of the population ends up collecting some form of government assistance.  There are also a number of veterans and seniors that account for the 47%.

The problem with student loans is that the cost of education is not realistic and has too much profit in mind.  The more education you want, the more specialized you aim to become the more in debt you are, the more successful you need to be, the more stressed when getting out about repaying the loans, the higher the rates of depression and then, again, more people receiving government assistance, perhaps in the form of disability.  Americans are a stressed bunch.

As for socialism, since it benefits society as a whole to have more healthy, educated/skilled citizens and that is the first four years of higher education and emergency medical expenses should be paid by state and local government.