Saturday, April 30, 2011

Buy This And Retire Last Week!

Oh, my God! Apparently, if you search online how to make a quick dollar, you will find people who have found ways to make money by scratching their armpits. You know, those get-rich-or-die-trying guides about how one week someone is living in a van-down-by-the-river, and the next he outbids Rich Uncle Pennybags for Gekko's penthouse. Who knew we were just in a recession? If you wish you knew how to become the internet's most prodigious salesman, you are not alone.

People actually believe these people. They have to, or else the marketers would not have their portraits taken in their new Bentleys, fitted with luxurious aardvark fur. Affiliate marketers must be the smartest people on the planet. They make a product, which they create while watching Jersey Shore; next, they slap together a copy page made with their friend, who just proudly earned a prestigious Associate's degree in graphic design; and then they might even produce a cinematography piece that even makes the worst videography teacher think "how could someone produce such a monstrosity?"

In case you did not know, the world hates Americans. True, half of the actual affiliate-marketing cadre are not American, but they feast on Americans who proudly live the American Dream: It's my money, and I want it now! Where else could you con so many highly intelligent, highly motivated logic monsters on how to spend their well-earned cash? What? Turn $47 into $10,000 by next week? Sign me up! You need to ask yourself if affiliate marketers deserve the Anheuser-Busch-Most-Useful-Product Award.

The only question that should be asked about our get-rich affiliate marketers: are they great Americans or the greatest Americans? These philanthropists have given away their secrets of how to afford a fleet of Ferraris this afternoon for the motivated, I-still-live-at-home, recent graduate. There may be a sucker born every minute, but these consumer's advocates will prevent you from becoming the next statistic!

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Kids Are Easy Marks

Every parent knows that kids are easy marks. That’s the best reason to have them around.

If parents are going to spend zillions of dollars feeding, sheltering and educating their children, they should at least get some enjoyment out of the deal. And the best way to do that is to take advantage of the adorable little people before they turn into surly, text-messaging ipod slaves who ignore their parents and look to Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber and ten thousand close personal Facebook friends for life wisdom and fashion advice.

Get them while they’re young.

But not too young. Children who lack language skills are at a distinct disadvantage when it comes to believing the shinola their parents are shoveling. That’s why it makes sense for parents to teach their kids to communicate: he who controls the information is pretty much in charge of everything. No wonder Moammar Gadhafi hates Twitter.

Yes, read to the little sponges. Talk to them. It will be time well spent.

Then, once the tiny tykes pick up the mother tongue, the opportunities to take advantage of their gullibility are endless. Just be sure to start with the basics. Build the critical foundation for all the scams to come by asserting parental infallibility: the parents are always right. Always.

Plant this seed and the door to junior’s brain will open wide to whatever Mommy and Daddy choose to cram in.

Feed them Santa and the Tooth Fairy and the Easter Bunny. They’ll swallow it all, hook, line and sinker. And don’t hesitate to use this mind-control superpower for good. Shock and awe the rug rats into blind obedience by telling them Mommy has eyes in the back of her head and Daddy has magic laser nostrils.

And, when guilt threatens to spoil the fun, go ahead and balance the scales by throwing in a few important life lessons like “drugs are bad” and “do unto others”. Couldn’t hurt.

So don’t wait. Get in on the action as parents all over the world baffle their children with propaganda. Of course, the fun stops when the kids finally get wise to the con and decide that grown-ups don’t have a clue. But don’t fret. Nature has a way of setting things right.

There’s a grandkid born every minute.

The Martians Have Landed

Are we, the general public, gullible or well-informed? How do we know the difference? Our level of trust in the source of information has a lot to do with whether or not we believe what we are told. If an apparently trustworthy person, brand or medium supplies us with information as truth, are we being gullible if we follow the masses that believe without question, or should we take a closer look at exactly who, or what, is behind the message we are being given?

Take the case of suburban housewife Janet Elford. She has gone down in UK history as the victim of one of the nation’s favorite TV pranks, which culminated in her singing to what she believed were aliens in her garden. Janet was taken in hook, line and sinker, when London Weekend Television, which produced “Beadle’s About” between 1986 and 1996, went to extraordinary measures to convince her that aliens had actually landed in her back garden. LWT enlisted the help of both the local policeman, whom Janet knew and trusted absolutely, and the local fire brigade. It was then easy, if expensive, for LWT to arrange a national news anchor man and numerous TV news crews to appear to cover the story. Who could blame Janet for believing what they were all telling her, especially when she was literally under the spotlight? A nation laughed at Janet’s expense, although she was very good-humored about the whole episode.

On this side of the pond, the opposite of this situation occurred in 1938, when one individual took great delight in fooling millions of people. Orson Welles used his magnificent powers to persuade the CBS radio network to let him broadcast a play over their airwaves. Not only that, he also persuaded them to broadcast it on Halloween. The play was an adaptation of The War of the Worlds by H.G.Wells, and was about faceless Martians invading Earth and killing all in their path. Orson Welles understood the value of timing, executing his prank when people were already excited about the Halloween holiday and edgy about the situation in Europe in the build-up to WW2. Orson Welles was a master of the dramatic (some say the master of the dramatic) because he knew that his audience was already nervous and he capitalised on it. He brought his audience to fever pitch almost immediately by seeming to interrupt a regular radio show with an “urgent newsflash” to announce that Martians had landed on US soil. The whole event caused such disruption that it resulted in the introduction of new laws to control how news was delivered to the general public. It was a home run for our hero, Orson Welles, though.

Whatever you believe, someone is probably thinking how gullible you must be. Possibly you’re thinking the same about them.

There's an American Born Every Minute

P.T. Barnum was right when he said that you can fool all of the people some of the time and you can fool some of the people all of the time. What he forgot to mention is that, to succeed in American politics, all you really need to do is fool most of the people who actually vote most of the time. How hard is that? Not hard at all.

Politicians in this country have been serving up the Big Lie since, well, since they figured out they could. A quick look at recent history provides ample proof of that. Weapons of Mass Destruction Casserole, anyone? It comes with a side of Mission Accomplished Loaf. Be sure to save room for dessert, scrumptious I Never Had Sex With That Woman Pie! Yum!

In their defense, politicians are fighting to survive in a world where the loudest, dumbest, most outrageous statements are the ones that get all the attention. When was the last time anyone in this country listened to the voice of reason? Americans wouldn’t recognize the voice of reason if it knocked over their mailboxes with a baseball bat and fired fifty caliber armor piercing rounds through their front doors. And remember, people truly want to be lied to. That’s just the grease that keeps the machine turning.

Yes, people fool themselves because it suits them to do so. Folks on Medicare want to hear that the rich should pay higher taxes. The rich want to hear that entitlements like Medicare are sinking the economy. Left wingers want to be told that conservatives are gun toting, hairy knuckled Neanderthals. Right wingers want to hear that it’s okay to grab liberals by their long hair, drag them back to their elitist caves and put a bullet in their puny communist brains. And every American desperately wants to be told that America is the greatest country ever! Politicians are perfectly happy to play to this crowd.

So here’s to the big Fibbers-in-Chief and all the little fibbers-in-waiting who keep the rest of us entertained without making us think too hard. Old P.T. Barnum himself would be proud. After all, there’s an American born every minute.

The Wonders of a Low Carbohydrate Diet

Low carbohydrate diets became all the rage a few years back and oddly they still remain quite popular even after all the publicized controversy. So are low carbohydrate diets really so bad, or is the case against them nothing but hot air?

How Low Carb Diets Work

Our body uses carbohydrates as its main source of fuel. This fuel is used for many functions and is what gives us the energy to perform from day to day. When the body is starved of carbohydrates, it starts to use fat reserves in place of carbohydrates and this is how low carb diets supposedly result in weight loss.

So What Is So Bad With That?

Well when the body starts burning fat instead of carbohydrates it creates a chemical reaction that occurs within the kidneys. This results in a process known as ketosis and can be potentially harmful to the renal function. Low carb diets can also produce other side-effects, and while these are not hazardous to your health, they may make you somewhat unpopular.

Why Low Carb Equals Low Popularity

To be blunt, low carb diets make you stink! Ketosis can result halitosis, or bad breath. You may be thinner but the only time your friends will want to hear about your miracle diet is down the phone. You could knock down a deer from a mile away.

You can also expect a whole lot of gas and not the good kind that fuels your car. The only thing this gas will power is the power to drive away anyone stood within 10 feet of you. Wind energy may be eco-friendly and clean but your wind energy will be neither. Your stomach will feel more bloated than Santa’s Christmas sack and it is not going to contain the kind of present any child would want.

Weight Loss vs. Friend Loss

A low carbohydrate diet may help to reduce weight but part of the enjoyment of losing those extra pounds is being able to impress your friends and family with your new streamlined figure. Sadly, the chances are with your toxic breath, indigestion and atomic flatulence you will not be getting any party invites anytime soon.

Miraculous New Weight Loss Fruit Discovered In the Amazon Jungle!

A recent expedition into one of the remotest parts of the Amazonian jungle by a conservational research team has resulted in an accidental medical discovery that has created mass excitement in the weight loss industry.

Researchers from the Small Furry Animals Conservation Group (SFACG) were hoping to locate an endangered Amazonian pygmy jungle mouse (minisculus rodentia amozonius), thought to reside in an area of the Amazon that was previously unchartered, when they stumbled upon an undiscovered indigenous tribe never before encountered.

Interacting With the Tribe

The tribe was initially hostile and apprehensive towards the research team. But the research team persevered and soon became accepted into the tribe’s inner sanctum. Overcoming language barrier difficulties by using drawings and sign, the SFACG team discovered the tribe called themselves the ‘Fruuti-Slimmee’.

The Fruuti-Slimmee people were hunter-gatherers, and rather ironically, their main food source was the very same endangered pygmy jungle mouse the research team had been trying to locate. At first the team thought it impossible that any culture could survive by relying on such a tiny creature as their main source of food. But an amazing discovery revealed how this was possible…

A Weight Loss Miracle Revealed!

The Fruuti-Slimmee regularly ate a small bright red fruit, similar to a cherry, and whilst this fruit had no obvious nutritional value it did produce two miraculous side-effects: Rapid weight loss and appetite suppression

The Fruuti-Slimmee called the red fruit, ‘fati-gon-gon’. Not only did the fruit’s side-effect allow the Fruuti-Slimmee people to survive on the meager meal of the pygmy mouse, it also assisted in their efforts to hunt the tiny mammal. The hunting benefits were three-fold:

1. Because the fruit made the tribes people stick thin they were able to easily hide behind even the slimmest of trees.

2. Their svelte figures allowed them to follow their prey into tighter, confined spaces.

3. They presented smaller targets for other jungle predators also hunting the mouse.

The New Diet Miracle Trialed and Tested

Since the SFACG team brought their find back, it has since been given the more scientific label of liposuctionii naturalis. Scientific tests have shown that the fruit rapidly increases the body’s metabolism and causes a temporary contraction of the stomach. These effects last for approximately 6 hours after the fruit is digested. There are other minor side effects which include: chronic wind, diarrhea and a purple tongue. But most dieters will find these effects minimal compared to the rapid weight loss benefits.

The miracle rapid weight loss fruit has been relabeled as the ‘Slimming Berry’ (patent pending) by the dieting industry and will soon be available as both a juice drink and dried fruit product.

Where Can You Buy This Weight Loss Miracle?

You can’t. This was all a load of fictitious nonsense. Sorry, but the idea was to highlight how easy it is to promote some fancily named exotic fruit as a miraculous weight loss marvel. Read the article again and instead of becoming exited when you see ‘weight loss miracle’ try concentrating on the supposed facts!

Stop believing that every new fruit holds some mystical property. The Acai berry is just a berry. Mangosteen is simply another exotic fruit. All fruit is good for you as part of a balanced diet. You don’t need to spend a small fortune on over-priced fad fruits to reap a benefit.

Bananas have lots of potassium. Blackberries, pineapple and cranberries contain anti-oxidants. Oranges and apples have vitamin C. The standard fruits contain the exact same nutritional properties as the over-priced diet super fruits. No fruit will miraculously dissolve fat. Eat healthily, exercise regularly and don’t get sucked in by clever marketing.

"It's Me! It's Me!" - The Simple Little Scam That's Scouring Japan

In the corner of many ATM kiosks in Japan, you'll find a small sign with a comic on it. The comic will show a frightened-looking person - often an older person, a grandmother in an apron - holding a phone. The voice on the other end says, "Ore da, ore da! Taihen da!" "It's me, it's me! Oh, god, something awful's happened!"

This is the Ore-Ore Scam, a classic phone grift used heavily on older individuals who don't hear from their families often. It goes like this: the victim receives a call from someone sounding distraught, perhaps hoarse, crying out, "It's me! It's me!" The victim makes a guess - "Is this Takeshi?" "Yes!" says the scammer. "There's been an accident! I need money! Please, you have to help me!"

On the strength of this story, the victim makes up his or her own details. "Was it a motorcycle accident? I told you you shouldn't go riding that thing at night! I warned you, Takeshi!" "Yes, I know, I'm so sorry! Please hurry, grandmother!"

The victim then hurries to the ATM with their cellular phone and initiates a bank transfer. Japan, a cash-based society, doesn't use checks or credit heavily - most large money transfers take place via a system called "furikomi," which simply involves entering the name of a bank and an account number into the ATM. Because the sender needs provide only an account number, not a name, they never realize that the person they're sending the money to is not "Takeshi." Most people don't memorize their wayward motorcyclist grandchild's bank account number.

The scam depends on two things: one, the victim's inability to recognize a loved one's voice over the phone; and two, their willingness to invent their own story of what happened for the scammer to use. The Ore-Ore Scam works most commonly on older people with nothing to do. While it's common to think of scam victims as people who let greed get the better of them, the Ore-Ore Scam shows a different kind of psychology - it feeds the need for importance, not the need for cash. Given the unusual chance to save the day, victims jump without thinking.

Gambling, A suckers Bet

With a roll of the dice, a spin of the wheel or a deal of the cards anyone can strike it rich, right? For anyone, especially anyone who failed high school math, gambling is the quickest way to Easy Street.

Wanna bet?

The truth is that most people looking for Easy Street end up buying a ticket on the idiot bus, getting off at the corner of Empty Wallet Avenue and Fool’s Gold Lane, and asking for directions from the filthy rich, cigar chomping casino owner in the suit spun from broken dreams and shattered lives.

Gambling is a sucker’s bet. The whole point is that the house always wins. That’s the gambling industry’s business model.

Do the math. In order for gambling establishments to stay in business, gamblers have to lose more money than they win. Everybody knows this. Even gamblers know this, yet they still gamble. It’s human nature. It’s addiction. Smokers know that cigarettes are dangerous for their health. It says so right on the side of the pack, yet they still smoke. The same is true for people who gamble. They know they are going to lose but, like cigarette smokers, they are addicted. Ever notice how many gamblers are also smokers? Ever wonder why?

Sure, everyone knows someone who went to Las Vegas, bet on thirteen black and walked away with a small fortune. That’s the kind of story that people who dream of jackpots and dollar signs love to hear. The kind of story nobody wants to hear, much less tell, is the story of some schmuck who, every weekend for twenty-five years, heads off to the casino, dumps a couple of hundred bucks into the slots, and comes home smelling of cigarettes, booze and failure.

Here’s the kicker, the guy who tells the thirteen black story is that same schmuck who lost his wife, his kids and his home in the suburbs to his gambling addiction. The house always wins. Always.

Bet on it.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Telemarketing Calls Are a Health Risk

It’s a familiar scenario: The phone rings and Caller ID displays ‘number withheld’ or ‘unknown’. You agonize whether to screen the call or ignore it completely. But maybe it is something important…like a hospital trying to reach you or maybe your workplace? Or it could be an urgent call from the bank? You rush over, desperate to grab the phone before the caller hangs up. Snatching at the handset you place it to your ear, answer with a curious, “Hello?”, and listen attentively for the response.

“Hi. This is Cindy from The Shaky Window Company. Can I take a minute of your time to ask you a few important questions?”

Telesales calls are one of the major causes of household phone damage. They can result in raised blood pressure and heightened irritation. Many victims have suffered an uncontrollable urge to curse and kick a family pet following one of these infectious calls. They should come with a warning before anyone is actually allowed to speak.

“Mental health warning: The following call may cause sudden psychosis, and result in acts of uncontrollable rage. If you are prone to losing your temper when receiving any unwanted, privacy invading call, please hang up now.”

The problem is you never know it’s a marketing call until you answer. It seems unjust that you should need to screen calls just to avoid infuriating phone harassment from these cold-calling pests. They do not even possess the bravery to come to your house, knock on the door, and face you in person. Plus they never offer up a full name.

Telemarketing is intrusive cowardice of the highest order and nobody on earth who possesses a phone ever wants these calls. So why are they allowed? Phone service providers should be held accountable. Let everyone stand up to the phone companies and declare: ‘We will only pay when you stop providing telemarketing irritants with phone lines’.

Gullible or Just Plain Dumb?

The dictionary definition of gullible is…

But wait: before we see what the dictionary definition of gullible is, let’s be clear about what it is not.

A gullible person is not the same as a person who has diminished mental capacity. If you try a gullibility prank on someone like this, you are the one who needs help.

Nor does it describe someone who is stupid. Stupid is a person with an I.Q. rating which starts just above the “diminished mental capacity” level, and has a complex mathematical equation of “age x boredom x length of years married x I.Q. x risk factor of possible consequences if stupid action is undertaken = what the hell, GO FOR IT!”. We are all stupid at some time in our lives. It may just be once or twice, a little “brain freeze”, making a stupid decision because we have not fully considered the possible outcomes of our actions. But then, it may be all the time, all day, every day. The higher the rate of stupid decisions made, the more likely a person is to be tarred with the “dumbass” brush for life.

While gullible is similar to stupid in that we all have it in us to be gullible, it is an entirely different beast in its nature. To admit to having made a stupid mistake is admitting to not having used your brain with due care and attention. Being gullible is to not even engage your brain in the first place. You can easily spot the gullible person in the room, standing in the corner turning over the piece of paper that has “P.T.O.” written on both sides. Gullible is the person who believes exactly what they are told, and accepts it as credible without turning on their brain and taking a moment to analyse the facts of who/where the information is coming from, weighing that up with a factor that we shall call the “blindingly obvious unless your brain is turned off”, and coming to the inevitable conclusion that THEY ARE BEING TOLD A GLARING LIE!

Now that we have established exactly what gullible is not, let us return to our dictionary definition of what it is.

Or rather, that’s what we would have done if the powers that be hadn’t decided that it should be removed from the dictionary because it doesn’t get used enough.