Oct 15, 2004

The Importance of Stories

What is it about the human brain and stories? It seems that stories,
and I mean the concept of stories, is deeply interwoven in our
essential being...

The following are at some level, nothing more than stories:

Cave Paintings, Epic Poems, Novels, Plays, Operas, Songs, TV,
Movies and even Legends and Gossip -- all just story telling.

Sep 28, 2004

Organ Grinder Monkeys

We knew they were smart - trained Capuchin monkeys are clever
assistants for Italian organ grinders. They are the same species that
have been trained as "helper monkeys" for quadriplegics. But even
though they have the highest brain-to-body size ratio of any primate
other than humans, how do they know this...

During the rainy season when mosquitoes bother them, Capuchins
rub their fur with crushed millipedes that produce a chemical insect

Jun 21, 2004

Ad hominem

From The Wikipedia

An ad hominem argument... is a logical fallacy that involves replying
to an argument or assertion by addressing the person presenting the
argument or assertion rather than the argument itself.


As a technique of rhetoric, it is powerful and used often, despite its
lack of subtlety.

Jun 17, 2004

The Pledge

I just heard that the Pledge of Allegiance didn't have the words
"under god" until 1954. Eisenhower signed the change as
another means of differentiating the US from the (atheist) USSR.

Apr 20, 2004

Landmark Education (The Forum)

Do you know people who have attended this seminar? I do
and have attended myself. It seems that so many "graduates"
cannot stop talking about the central themes of "integrity",
"being their word" and others. It's like they really cannot
stop talking about it.

But that's not the weird thing about it. What's really weird
is how impossible it seems to be for these people to actually
do what they say (be their word) or have integrity (which
I think of as actions consistent with their stated beliefs).
It's like a truly rare thing with these people.

Now, I'll admit that I may have meet people who have
integrity and have attended The Forum but who just don't
talk about it. But it is safe to say that the more
out-of-the-closet a Landmark graduate... the more vocal...
the more true this trend seems to be.

Mar 9, 2004

Spalding Gray

I was very sorry to hear that they found his body today. I had
really hoped that he had found a way to cope and come out this
better for it.

Man, they don't make 'em like that anymore.

(update: since Spalding Gray's passing yet another stray cat
came into our lives. This one is completely gray in color so
he has been named... Spalding)

Feb 22, 2004

Latin Wisdom

From Pubilius Syrus: Pecunia avarum irritat non satiat

translation: The greed of money excites but doesn't satisfy.

Feb 19, 2004

Bad Marketing

It doesn't happen very often but every once in a
while I see a commercial that I find so dissonant...
so incredibly annoying... that I get a permanent
negative association with the product it's pitching.
This is the case with every single commercial made

The new copies of YELLOW BOOK that showed up
in my lobby (like so much other junk mail) just went
directly into the recycle bin!

Jan 15, 2004

Cost of Neutrality

I was looking over some stats for the previous 3 presidential elections.

2000 (too close to list these as percentages)
Gore 50,996,582
Bush 50,456,062 (540,520 less!)
Nader 2,858,843

Clinton 50%
Dole 42%
Perot 8%

Clinton 43%
Bush 37.7%
Perot 19%

From these figures alone you might argue that the independent
candidate in the last 3 elections probably affected the outcome.
Some might also argue that in all three elections the
independent candidate got votes that are likely to have been
cast for the loser among the two non-independent candidates.

But, take a look at these statistics. These are the numbers of
eligible votes who actually voted in each of those past elections:

2000 (51.3% of eligible voters)
1996 (48.8% of eligible voters)
1992 (55.2% of eligible voters)

Clearly, if these voters showed up each race could have
been entirely different. Since many feel that we are
now in a time of crisis I leave this message to the
folks that didn't make it to the polls last time:

"The hottest place in hell is reserved for those who,
in times of great moral crisis, remain neutral."


Jan 11, 2004


A study done by a high school student (and his father) while
working in his father's MRI imaging lab amounts to a high
tech version of Pepsi challenge.

When subjects were given Coke or Pepsi (without knowing
which) the MRI scanner showed that Pepsi drinkers had
activity in areas of the brain associated with reward more
often than among those drinking Coke (i.e., Pepsi tastes

However, when subjects knew what they were drinking the
Coke drinkers showed activity in the areas associated with
reward as well as the areas associated with motivation and
sense of self
. The reaction was dramatic and there was no
such response among Pepsi drinkers. This is consistent with
the fact that Pepsi does win taste tests but Coke sells more

It turns out that there are marketing firms that already
specialize in this type of work.

Bush's Proposals on Immigration and Manned Exploration of Mars

President Bush has recently offered up proposals on both immigration-law reform and on
manned exploration of Mars.

Let's expose this for what it really is. First off, my sources indicate that Halliburton already has a lock on the contracts to build oil pipelines back from both Mars and the moon!

And you can pretty much bet that Bush's proposal for an over haul of immigration laws is going to include verbiage that lets Martians work here for less than the minimum wage!

Jan 7, 2004

Levitra. As in levitate...

These days many commercials for pharmaceuticals don't really even say what they are for. I guess if they're for you then you just know it. I have seen this a few times now and still didn't get it. There is a picture of a 40ish guy and the voice over says "some times you need a little help getting back in the game" as this guy throws a football at a tire hanging on a rope. He misses.

The music picks up to a chipper beat and he throws the ball through the tire several... I mean multiple times. The woman in his life see this and apparently, it's good. She smiles. They embrace as he deftly flings the ball over his shoulder and it accurately penetrates the opening in the woodshed and lands right in...the box.

Since I'm not a sports fan I assumed this guy was a recognized quarterback who had a shoulder injury or something... maybe arthritis and this medicine helped his throwing arm. Until I came across this on the NPR site I didn't know this medicine is a new competitor to Viagra!

NPR : Slate's Ad Report Card: Levitra's Tire Swing