Saturday, November 21, 2015

Modern Science Has Cured Dandruff?

In my last post, I reflected on Americans fear of terrorists, refugees, and Ebola.  However, it seems that modern science has defeated the previously feared disease of DANDRUFF.

Back in the 60's and 70's, the golden age of Television, dandruff was one of the most feared conditions in America.  We were bombarded with commercials from Resdan, Head and Shoulders, and Selsun Blue claiming they could cure dandruff.  Men in black turtlenecks were shown being dissed by sexy women because of the visible flakes of dandruff - they seemed to be the size of potatoe chips.  This dandruff disease was rampant, and only the advertised solution would work, check out a commercial below:

Today, we no longer fear the dandruff plague, as I never see any commercials for dandruff shampoo.  Clearly we have won this scientific battle and the new commercials are all about prescriptions for urinary incontinence, erectile disfunction, and constipation from taking too many opioids (the dreaded OIC!).

Friday, November 20, 2015

Americans Love To Be Frightened

Land of the free, home of the brave?  Yes to the former, not so sure about the latter.

The media has again gone nuts spreading fear, because fear sells in America.  The news is full of coverage of the Paris tragedy, a valid subject.  It was a terrible and horrible incident.  But on top of that, every news anchor is saying, in a "concerned tone":

  • Three flights had to land because of terrorist threats - except it is always a crank who calls these in.  Can you think of a situation where a terrorist put a bomb on a plane and warned about it?
  • The terrorists released a threatening video with some old shots of Times Square.  Great!  The terrorists can make a video, that certainly frightens the heck out of me.
  • The terrorists infiltrated an airport in another country with an unstable government on another continent (Egypt) and planted a bomb in a soda can that could be detected by American security screening.  Heavens!  I will never fly again!
  • Terrorists may wait out and pass the 24 month screening and enter America as refugees!  The last 10 or so terrorist incidents in the US (Muslim and Right Wing) have all been perpetrated by native born Americans with nutty ideas.  We photograph every single piece of mail delivered in the USA, we monitor the whole Internet, we monitor all international phone calls, we lock people up for years without trial in Guantanamo, we fingerprint and photograph everyone entering the country, we have secret terrorist courts where you can get a warrant on a person if they don't change their kitty litter every week, we have more guns than people in the country, and we fear terrorism from some refugee who sat in a camp for 24 months waiting for a visa??!!
I also recall the Ebola crisis, where no American died, and the TV anchors covered the bowel movements of every single one of the four people who caught Ebola.  Fox spent a lot of time talking about banning people who had traveled to Africa.  There was even coverage of citizens saying "we shouldn't let anyone into the country!"

The only difference between the "mainstream media" (ABC, NBC, CBS, PBS) and the right wing media (Fox), is that the mainstream just concentrates on fear, and the right wingers concentrate on fear, hatred, and blame Obama for overything.

I would also point out that twice as many people were murdered so far this year in Baltimore than were killed in Paris.  17 US citizens were killed by terrorism worldwide in 2011, 29 were killed by lightning in the same year.

What is going to happen when we have something really important to worry about, like a real war, "the big one" earthquake, or Yellowstone erupting, are we going to have to put Valium in the water supply so people don't die of fear?

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Credit Card Fraud - Are the New Chip Cards Working?

Pardon the long interval since my last post.  Between vacation, family commitments, and just plain laziness, I have neglected my blog.

On the vacation front, we went to Germany and Northern Italy, which were very nice.  A few observations:
  • While we were touring wineries and eating the local ham and salami in Italy, it was announced that processed/cured meats and alcohol are carcinogens.  It did not alarm me as I did not see large tumors protruding from the backsides of the Italians and Germans in the streets.
  • These areas are great values.  Every time we had a meal, we looked at the bill and compared it to Northern Virginia.  We could have a gourmet meal with a bottle of good wine for about the same price as the local Virginia restaurant that just opened in a converted IHOP location (I am not kidding).
  • No sign of migrants, even around the train station in Munich. 
  • The Europeans are shocked by Trump and his lunacy.  They see him as the quintessential ugly American - ignorant, loudmouthed, prejudiced, rich, with a squirrel on his head masquerading as hair.  I explained that it was all about the ratings for the TV Networks.
  • Airport security in Italy leaves a lot to be desired. 
No one seemed to have a problem with my absence from my consulting job, so that was good.  Consulting does seem to be the ideal second career for someone like me.

While in Europe, we got to use our new chip-enabled credit cards.  They worked well there, but here in the US, despite all the deadlines, I have used the chip functionality exactly twice.  The readers are at the stores, but hardly any of them are enabled.  On top of that, we don't used a PIN with the card, so there is no protection against stolen cards.  I think the credit card companies and merchants are having a dispute and this is holding up usage and the addition of a PIN.  Perhaps they are watching Congress and think that argument and inaction are the best ways to resolve a dispute?