Sunday, October 31, 2010

changes

Well I realize my posts here are getting to be fewer and farther inbetween, which is a combination of not having much to write about plus being too busy anyway and those two factors kind of build on one another.

So maybe you used to drop by fairly frequently to see what's new, and in light of how lately there's usually not much new you've stopped coming around so often.

Have you noticed how places change after you haven't visited for a while? Like you will go to a certain store a lot but then comes a long period of staying away. Then when you come back, everything is different.

Well, it might be the same with this site.. you will stay away for a long time then when you come back, it will have turned into a Spanish-speaking radio station.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

'tis the season

I heard on the news today that merchants are quite excited about this Halloween season because business seems to be booming - a lot higher than last year, which itself was higher than the year before.

The estimate was that people will spend a total of $5.8 billion just on Halloween merchandise this year, which, said the newscaster, works out to about $66 per person.

That really surprised me. I am not spending a dime on Halloween. Not even on candy. We are Halloween grinches - go to dinner then sneak back and keep the porch and front room lights off. But even if we were to give out candy and even buy a costume, $66????

Maybe that takes into account the cost of booze and parties, too. That would explain it. I've found that many, maybe even most people just look for some excuse to party and drink, so one "holiday" is just as good as another to them, I suppose.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

time marches on

I hear this from many people and I feel the same way myself - as we get older, it seems that the year seems to just fly by; the days go by faster and faster. Whereas when we were kids it seemed like Christmas took forever to arrive and summer vacations lasted a pleasingly long time (for some even to the point where they looked forward to going back to school, although that was never the case for me), the older we get the more we find ourselves remarking on how it is [insert month or holiday] already!

I was thinking the other day, maybe that's because time really is moving faster now than it was when we were young.

Yes, a day is still a rotation of the earth and a year is a revolution around the sun, but what if that rotation happens faster now than it did in our youth, and that revolution moves faster as well? So what was 24 hours back now only takes 23 hours. That's just one hour per day, much too small for us to really notice the difference, but that adds up to 365 hours per year. That's about 15 days.

So maybe that's why the year seems to go by quicker - because it really does.

Then you may say hold on, stupid, then my watch would seem to run slow, wouldn't it? Because my watch keeps absolute time and it tells me when 24 hours have gone by.

Well all I can say is maybe the calibration standard is different these days or there is a conspiracy among watch makers.

Or.. didn't Einstein say time is relative? How do we really measure how much time has gone by, anyway? By reference to something else, is how. So whose to say that the reference hasn't sped up over the years and thus time really is moving at a faster clip than previously?

Perhaps the theory of relativity acts upon all time-keeping devices and there is no such thing as "absolute" time.

Maybe it is or maybe it isn't but I suppose if the Obama administration were to read this post, the president would probably put it on his agenda to put forth a bill to legislate and control time. Perhaps even find a way to bail us out for all the time we've lost over the years..

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

election time

Well here we are all close to election time.. I try and avoid politics here but of course I just can't help myself today so I have to get in my digs.

Reading through all the propositions on the ballot (especially if you are in California) can become quite the confusing and time-consuming process. Looking at the ads on television is no help because they put such a spin on everything that you can't believe anything they say.

So what is a person to do?

I have developed the fast way to evaluate any proposition and any candidate.

Simply see which candidate or which proposition is supported by the teachers unions and nurses unions, and then vote the opposite. Chances are 99% of the time you will be doing the right thing by tossing greed and self-interest to the wayside.

Do I feel education and health are not important? No, not at all. These two things are very important, but when it comes to unions and politics, education and health are merely things to exploit in order to get votes.

I approve of this message. : )

Monday, October 18, 2010

swizzied

I checked out another link that Donna sent me and this one turned out to be a pretty interesting auction site. Well, quasi-auction, which I think you will understand why I use that term after explaining it. Go take a look around at that site and see what you think.

Here's how it works: There are various products up for auction at ridiculously low prices, such as iPads for $15 or $100 Target gift cards for $10. Each bid on a product takes the price up by a penny. Meanwhile, a countdown clock ticks down second by second. Whoever is the last person to bid when the clock runs out of time is the winner of the auction.

There's a catch, though.

Each time a bid is placed and the price goes up by a penny, it also adds back a second to the clock. If there are less than 15 seconds left in the auction, the bid causes the clock to reset to 15 seconds, and it continues to count down.

For example, let's say the current bid on an iPad is $11.67 with 17 seconds remaining. You place your bid and now you are the successful bidder at $11.68, and the clock adds a second to go to 18 seconds left and continues ticking down. Then with 12 seconds left someone else places a bid taking the price up to $11.69 and the clock back up to 15 seconds (remember, if there are less than 15 seconds remaining, a bid will set the clock back to 15 seconds instead of just adding one second back to the remaining time).

It costs 60 cents to place a bid.

So let's think about this. If you have to pay 60 cents for each bid you make, then that means for every $1.00 increase in the price of an auction, the people running the site collect $60 (100 bids of a penny increase x 60 cents each).

If the bid reaches $10, that means they have collected a total of $600 in bid fees! That's enough to pay for a $500 iPad plus have $100 profit left over. Zowie!!! What a racket!!

This is really more like gambling, rather than a true auction because it depends more on your having the luck to be the last bidder in the auction. It has nothing to do with how much you bid. It's like those sad-looking but hopeful people sitting in front of a Las Vegas slot machine feeding dollars into it and winning nothing. Then they get up to take a break and the next person sits down, puts in a dollar and hits the jackpot.

I can just see some unthinking person racking up astronomical charges for placing a bunch of 60 cent bids, much in the same way people run up huge text messaging bills because they don't realize just how much they are doing.

I can also imagine a bunch of bleary-eyed folks who keep clicking on the bid submission button adding more time to the countdown clock and hoping they will be the final bidder - just a slot machine of a different shape.


Saturday, October 16, 2010

red wagon

Hey I'm still here but just been busy.. and haven't had much to write about. My buddy Donna sent this to me so I thought I'd share it with you because this is so cool - you will get a kick out of this!






Saturday, October 9, 2010

celebration

The 2009 Annual Report for Keiro arrived the other day and lo and behold, a familiar face was on the cover (click the pic for larger version):


Yup, that's my dad there in the picture on the left side. I think that's a great picture. Well, all of them on the cover are great but of course I am biased towards the one on the left.

If you've read earlier posts on this blog and seen the YouTube videos, you know he's enjoying himself and really hamming it up. My mom is more subdued. I think I take after her.

Anyway, I wanted to post the picture to share it with you all!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

samples

Okay, so how many of you freeload your lunch by going to Costco and loading up on the food samples they give out? Don't try and act like this is a foreign idea to you!

I ran across an interesting page on flickr. This person has taken a picture of every single Costco food sample they've tried - over 1,100! Here is the link to the page:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/evanbrom/sets/72157617974842924/

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

send for the secret

Today a co-worker told me his great idea for getting rich.

"I'm going to run an ad telling people I have the secret to how you can make a lot of money while you sleep all you want and don't have to work and can just do whatever you want. All they have to do is send me five bucks for the secret."

Of course I asked him how so..

"When they send me the money I'll send them back something telling them to place an ad telling people they have the secret to making a lot of money that allows them to sleep as long as they want and do whatever they want - just do the same thing I did."

We laughed about that and I asked him, "You ever hear of Joe Karbo?"

He shook his head.

"He had exactly the same idea you did. A long time ago he used to put full page ads in the newspaper telling people he was a millionaire and that they could buy his book in which he shared his secret of getting rich. And the book told them to do the exact same thing he was doing - run an ad telling them how to get rich."

I told my co-worker if he was going to try and do that, he'd have to charge a lot more than five dollars. "You have to charge them a lot of money to make them think it's valuable."

***

Do you remember Joe Karbo? I remember reading his ad and being extremely curious about how he became a millionaire. I never sent for his book, but it was tempting. It wasn't until later that I found out the "secret."

He did it the right way - he took out a full page ad, and whether he or someone else wrote the ad copy, they sure did a great job.

I've seen variations on his method but none have even approached the classy way of the original. Mr. Karbo knew you couldn't skimp on anything, that you had to create the full effect in order to really sell something.

I was thinking these days it would be a lot harder to replicate the successful sale of a similar product, although I'm sure there are still plenty of copycats out there trying to do just that.

The reason? The internet. Can you imagine what things were like pre-internet? It wasn't that long ago, but man, it is so ingrained in me now I find it hard to recall the primitive days.

The WWW has made the world much smaller. Information is now so much more readily available, and if you wanted to find out Joe Karbo's secret, all you'd have to do would be to enter the relevant search terms in Google and voila, you'd have a bunch of results, among them links that would be sure to provide you with your answer.

Things like buying or selling stocks are so much easier now, too. Not only is there a wealth (actually overwhelming) of information about companies, but when you do decide to make a transaction, it's easily accomplished online and takes but a second to complete. Gone are the old days of having to call a broker for a quote and then waiting while he placed an order, or of having to send for information on a company by mail or make a phone call.

That's it.. I just thought today I'd write about how the internet is such an amazing thing. Why, just think.. for you to get this blog you'd have to actually subscribe and wait for the mail to come. And who'd be crazy enough to do that??