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Hi, This is Wayne. This is my site, my stuff, my blog, blahblahblah. The site itself is powered by WordPress and the Scary Little theme. I thought it was cool, and I still do.

November
17
2011
7:00 am
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Dear Hampton Inn,

I’m not one to write a letter such as this.  I’m a calm, cool-headed consumer who goes about his business with little fanfare.   But your actions have compelled me to respond. 

I’ll put it simply: You have impressed me for the last time.

I am sick and tired of you exceeding my expectations.  I know letters like this come across your corporate desk every day, but please bear with me and take the time to read mine.  Don’t just throw it away.  This incident means something to me, so I’d appreciate my story meaning something to you. 

Traveling is a constant way of living for me.  Airplane, rental cars and hotel rooms are like second homes.  I usually know where I’ll be ahead of time, and there are several cities I frequent.  In those areas, I have found my “favorite spots” to stay and try to give those hotels my repeat business.  However, this time around I was in a relatively new area and I had neglected to pre-book my lodging.

So there I was… 6pm.  Alone.   No place to stay.

Let’s begin with how easy you were to find.  I cannot believe I had to completely change my plans because of how little time it took to locate you.  I had expected to have to look online, call around, drive aimlessly, or otherwise figure out where to stay and how much it would cost.  But NO.  It took me less than five minutes to find you,see a price AND BOOK MY ROOM from my iPhone.

Do you understand what that does to me?  My entire evening’s plans of procuring adequate lodging… completely shot!  I didn’t get to talk to anyone.  I wasn’t put on hold or lost in some dialing tree hell.  I wasn’t hung up on… NOT EVEN ONCE.  I wasn’t even able to get obscure web browser errors trying to make a reservation with my credit card.  It. Just. Worked.

How do you think I felt, having completed what I had budgeted a significant portion of my precious time to this process, only to be abruptly slapped in the face with a short 5 minute procedure?  To add insult to injury, I was rendered speechless as I stared at my phone, trying to come to grips with the lowest price I’d paid for a hotel in years.

YEARS.

How could I explain this to my kids?  How can I prepare them for a world such as this, where companies like you can get away with charging such a measly price?

I thought I was done with the shock. 

Sadly, no.  It gets worse.  A LOT worse.

I drove up and there wasn’t anyone blocking the main entrance.  I couldn’t detect a single trace of any trash anywhere, and believe me, I looked.  My sensibilities were visibly shaken by the creative “hello” sign etched into the automatic glass doors at the front of the building.  Do you really think I expected that? 

As I walked in, my olfactory senses were accosted. Scents of way-too-pleasant odors wafted my way and permeated my being.  It’s like my nostrils were being groped by an angel. 

Admittedly, I was a little bewildered by the experience.  However, I quickly gained composure and strode up to the registration desk, which was a little too close to the front door if you ask me.  I’m used to walking much longer distances and being a little confused as to which desk to approach — do I go to the normal counter?  Do I use the VIP counter?  What if I’m bothering the person behind the computer?  What will I encounter when I finally get there?

Alex.

Alex.

Alex is what I encountered.

Let me ask you something.  Do have some manufacturing plant somewhere that cranks out service personnel who are neither too helpful nor too unhelpful, resulting in the perfect amount of helptitude?  You know what I’m talking about – people who have a positive attitude and will do basically anything to ensure your stay is a good one, but doesn’t go overboard?  And when you fabricated this apparent unnatural person, why did you apply the “make banter and side talk that is actually interesting and doesn’t feel fake or superficial” add-on?  Don’t you think you could leave well-enough alone?

No, you didn’t leave well enough alone. 

He gave me free wifi.  The nerve! 

Let’s see, what else happened. Oh, I was asked what floor I preferred.  Alex wanted to verify that I was just staying the one night.  He inquired into my personal business to ask if I was enjoying the area.  AND THEN HE STARTED TO TELL ME ALL ABOUT THE BREAKFAST PLANS for the morning, and that it’d be available from 6-10. 

Don’t you realize that you’re making me miss the morning hunt for information while I’m running late to a client, ironing my shirt and trying to check out?

When he noticed how uncomfortable I was with his constant and reliable service, he did the unthinkable.  It’s like he wanted to throw me off guard and savored every moment.  I’m sure he’s still smiling about it.

He offered me a free bottled water.

I panicked, and ran out.

Finally rid of the hotel manager who clearly didn’t have anything better to do than make my day much more fantastic than I could hope for, I went back to park my car.  You’d think I’d expect what happened next, given the ample foreshadowing, but I guess I’ll never learn.

There was a parking space open RIGHT NEXT to the side entrance.  I know!  I can’t believe it either.  And not only that, but there was plenty of available parking all around the entrance, so it’s like you’re TRYING to save me time and energy. 

So I get up to my floor, open the hotel door (which, incidentally, didn’t cause me any problems whatsoever… another rarity that I’m sad to report to you) and immediately stopped in my tracks.

The furniture.  It was way too nice.

The temperature.  It wasn’t anywhere near too hot or too cold for me.  In fact, I’m shaking as I type this — the temperature was downright perfect.  Do you think that is forgivable?

The bed had a lapdesk sitting on it, just out in the open.  It had a remote, an HBO guide and a hand-written note from Teresita in housekeeping welcoming me.  Do you really think I would want this kind of intrusion into my life?  What am I supposed to do with THAT?

There were (get this) 8 pillows.  EIGHT.  And they were (*shudder*) full and fluffy.  If anyone knows anything about me, it’s my addiction to a high quantity of full, fluffy pillows.  And here you are, feeding my addiction like a drug dealer.  I hope you’re satisfied with yourself.

The desk wasn’t an awkward height like I’m used to, and you seem to have gone out of your way to place the power plugs right on the top instead of hidden down behind the TV where it’s supposed to be.  Oh, and the desk chair?  Where’d you get it, The Expensive Store?  It was all padded, comfortable, adjustable and attractive.

OMG the kleenex.  SOMEBODY (I’m not naming names, but I suspect Teresita, frankly) had formed a little tissue rose out of three or four kleenex’s and placed it top of the tissue box.

Did I mention there was a tall refrigerator?  and a MICROWAVE! and a big flat screen TV?  And an attractive bureau where I could hang my business clothes?  AND FLOWERS?!?!?!?

I hope you’re listening to what I had to endure.

Oh, another thing.  I haven’t heard a single neighbor make those familiar noises.  Not in the adjoining rooms.  Not in the hallway.  Nothing.

The bed was one of the most comfortable things I’ve slept on in my life.  If you think I’m going to forget that, you’re wrong.  You’ve effectively ruined most all other beds in this world for me, and YOU have to live with that.

One last thing – the wifi.  It turned out that I didn’t even get to use your free wifi, because the room I was given just happened to be right at the far corner of the building.  It overlooked a Fedex office that just happened to have very fast free wifi that no-one else was using, since it was in the evening and they were either closed or just not busy.  So I had one of the best Internet experiences of my life.   oh thank you so very much (shrug).

I started off the letter with a summary.  “You’ve impressed me for the last time.”  I mean that – you’ve forever ruined me and my hotel shopping, for now my expectations are irreversibly set.

My hopes are that you become  prepared for my ongoing and relentless response.  I will not rest until I’ve slept in one of your Cloud Nine beds again.  I won’t eat until I’ve encountered the On the House hot breakfast.  I will continue to patronize your business again and again until you get it through your heads that I am not someone to be trifled with, and until you provide the service I expect for such a low price.

You had it coming.  You know you did.

I’m looking forward to your continued improvement.

Sincerely,

 

whall,
the blog of whall

Hello.

My name is Wayne.

 

And I’m a bbqaholic.

That right there is 1.5 lbs of extra moist brisket, 4 St. Louis pork ribs, a cup of potato salad and a bottle of coca-cola from a local BBQ place called Rudy’s BBQ.  Add it all up and you get one happy Texan.

My relationship with BBQ started back in 1994.  Most people who knew me, knew me as a picky eater.  Heck, most people who know me NOW would say I’m still quite the picky eater.  No chinese food, very few veggies, eat the same four or five basic kinds of meal every week… you get the idea.

Back then, I “didn’t like” BBQ.  I would see people order it, or crave it, or just eat it every once in a while and I always passed.  I would say “no thanks” and smile all the way to my tasty cheeseburger, pizza or lasagna.  I guess I just didn’t like the smell; I didn’t understand why there was so much sauce (ketchup is all *I* needed to make food better).

Our first born, Caitlin, came about in 1994.  With a new mouth to feed came a dwindling checking account, and I could no longer afford to eat out so much during lunch.  Sometimes I brought my lunch, but mostly I looked for cheap food.  I was working downtown at the time, and it wasn’t easy to find cheap food downtown.

One day, I noticed my windshield had an advertisement stuck to it.  This was common practice back then… probably still is now, but I frequently became annoyed at the intrusive manner.  A white flapping piece of paper, it looked to be hand-drawn and copied over and over too many times, so much that it lost some of it’s detail.

I picked it up as I always did, despite the underlying annoyance factor.  It advertised something called a “Chopped Beef Sandwich” for $0.99 at a place called House Park.

Now, at the time, I didn’t know that “chopped beef” was some sort of code for BBQ – all I saw was “sandwich”, “$0.99” and “some place called something something that had $1 sandwiches”.  It’s not like I had a choice.

I took the address into my mind and knew that it was within walking distance, so I decided to trek it on over, gleeful that I had found a lunch place with $1 sandwiches.  Heck, maybe I’d get TWO.

Once I found the place, my heart sank a little.  As my eyes breathed in the sight, I noticed the full name of the place — it’s name wasn’t just House Park.  It was House Park BBQ.  Ugh.  BBQ.  It was a little podunk hole in the wall that looked ancient.  I soon found out it had been there since the 40’s.   It had a few picnic tables out front and was tiny.  I thought more than twice about forgetting the $1 sandwiches and turning back, but it was hot and I was hungry.

Who knows? maybe they had something else for $1.

After going in I noticed one long ordering counter, behind which were two guys – one working the customers, condiments, orders, etc and one working a huge oven or smoker or whatever BBQ is made in.  The smell, I realized as I became more and more hungry, wasn’t all that bad.  If fact, it was quite enticing.

I went up, showed my coupon thingy and the guy spoke backward “chop beef!’.  He took the paper and asked if I wanted anything else.  I asked for a coke, paid less than $2 total and got my plate with this new huge alien sandwich and an empty styrofoam cup for the fountain drink.

Since I love me some coke, I knew at least I’d be satiated by a bunch of refills.  I took a seat inside and inspected this foreign food sitting in front of me.  I wondered if it was inspecting me, too.  Was I worthy to be it’s consumer?

The whole thing was warm… borderline hot, even.  The chopped beef had sent it’s heat through both buns, which were soft and gave into my fingers.  I was a sucker for soft bread so I was beginning to like the experience.

I took a bite.

I understand Capitalism.  I embrace greed when it brings out innovation, excellence and a strive to beat the competition.  To make another buck, to finish in first place, or to win the trophy – I applaud how we are inspired and driven by these motives.

But it shouldn’t include cheating, deception or intentionally misleading people.

One example is how some companies send out invoice-looking statements to people for services they get for free.  Or postcards that offer to save the homeowner hundreds of dollars on their property taxes if they hire them, but all they do is file a homestead exception, which the homeowner can do themselves for free.  It just feels wrong, sneaky and cheaty.

I got another example in the mail this past week.  It’s a 4-page letter that consists of

  1. Mostly nothing on the first page (date, addressee, sender)
  2. Blank second page
  3. A third page containing a Notice of Privacy Policy that looks just like every other privacy policy notice you get from every possible company you do business with about what they collect, what they disclose, yada yada yada.  This same page also said in bold type “This Notice is for information only. No action on your part is required
  4. A fourth page, below the fold, letting me know that I may be entitled to a refund of unearned credit insurance if I paid off a loan early

Let me ask you — after the first three pages, would YOU have gone to the fourth page?  I almost threw this letter away, and I believe it was the intent of ANICO (American National Insurance Company) to craft this letter in such a way that most people DO throw it away.  They owe me money, and I bet they’re only required to send a notice of the refund, and if people don’t respond, the company keeps the money.

That?  is sneaky.

You know what else?  The website they list on the fourth page doesn’t work.  They point you to www.anico-cid.com/refund but that page doesn’t exist.  You have to go to http://www.anico-cid.com/refund.htm.  Yet another mark in the “sneaky” column.

When I called the number to tell them about the website, the person on the phone said “maybe you have to try to browse around the site to find it.”  Yeah, lady.  I’m sure that’s what I have to do.

In order to get the refund, I need to submit some paperwork, including the page that states “no action on your part is required.”

I’d like to find out how many of these notices result in a tidy profit for the company because they’re hiding them deep within privacy policies that people are already trained to throw away.

(more…)

If you haven’t seen TeeFury yet, it’s quite a neat deal.  It’s a website (and twitter account, iPhone app, email list, etc) where they just sell ONE T-shirt for 24 hours.  For $9.

That whole “gone tomorrow” part?  Absolutely true.  They only sell the one shirt, for the one day, and there ain’t no going back.

If it sells out?  Tough Shirt.

If you missed it by a minute?  Noshirtforyou!

My history with Teefury

I had bought one shirt from them a while back – it was a cool Star Wars inspired design of AT-AT’s as seen behind an X-Ray from a Veterinary Clinic’s point of view.

Since Star Wars is a big part of my job, I thought it quite fitting (haha).  The fact that it’s an instant collector’s item isn’t a bad deal either, because I’m snobby like that.  I also like the weird look of recognition certain people get when they look at my shirt, then look again, then smile when they recognize the AT-AT (All Terrain Armored Transport).

The “Grab Bag”

Sometimes TeeFury does these things called “Grab Bags”.  You pay $5 a shirt for X number of shirts, and you have absolutely no idea (or control) over what you get.  You might get cool shirts; you might get “whaaaa?” shirts; you might get “ok” shirts; and if you’re like me, you wait for weeeeeeks to find out what you get.

People even post what shirts they got on the forums.  Either they’re commiserating or gloating, or a little of both.

I participated in my first Teefury Grab Bag recently and I must say, I’m quite impressed with the results.

What Did Wayne Get?

I know, you’re wondering what I got from my Grab Bag.  After all, you read my blog because you CAN’T WAIT to know what happens to me, right?

First, let’s get the stupid one out of the way.  WHAT IN THE HILTON HEAD ISLAND is this thing?

It’s a cat.  A happy cat.  riding a Motorcycle with a fish on the tank (heh, fish tank).  Plaid-looking seat.  Detailed jacket, pants, pointy boots, and WHY IS IT YELLOW?!?!?

There’s an explanation over at MyLoveForYou about an artist named Lisa Hanawalt who made a shirt called “Kitty Biker“.  I don’t mind telling you – I’m more lost than a caveman with Tourette’s trying to do open heart surgery with a chainsaw while wearing oven mitts.

At night.

While drunk.

Moving on… We come to something I still am a little lost by (doesn’t take much, I guess… maybe I was put into shock from the first shirt) but at LEAST it’s a little bit appropriate for me.  I am, after all, a strong proponent of the 2nd Amendment and the right our Founding Fathers gave us to keep and bear arms.

I googled for a while to try and find out what the name of this shirt is, but failed.  It’s probably on my receipt, which I threw away.  Anyway, here it is for your perusal.

Not bad.  Not good, either… but not bad.

Wait a second.  Is this an anti-2nd-amendment shirt?!?!?!?  I’ll have to do some more self-reflection before I actually wear this down to the next Secede Texas Rally.

The Most Appropriate Shirt Ever Shipped

Then I look at the 3rd shirt and I’m like… whoa, Keanu-style.

YES, that’s a Death Star.

YES, those are Tie-Fighters.

YES, that’s an X-Wing at the bottom.

YES, it’s Space Invaders, Star Wars-style.

YES, IT’S MINE!

Teefury, I think I love you.  I think I want to go out into the galaxy and do wild things with you and then go to Anchorhead and get our memories erased.  Copy that, Gold Leader *wink*  I’d like to take you point five past lightspeed, and it will take me a LOT longer than twelve parsecs to make the Kessel Run.

Now that I have the iPhone app installed, I don’t think I’ll be missing out on too many cool shirts in the future.

Today I sent a support ticket to TechSmith, the makers of the incredibly awesome SnagIt tool.

snagit

I’ve been a user of this product for … shoot, probably 8 years now?  Love it.  LOVE it.  However, some time back, they changed this one little minor piece of functionality in the product and it aggravates me so.  SOOO much.  It’s like I can’t let go.

I’m hoping my sense of humor helps them consider putting the feature back in.

At some point in the last year or so, one of the “upgrades” brought with it the incredibly annoying behavior of completely ignoring the ESCAPE key in Snagit Editor.

Here’s one of my extremely typical tasks, done a dozen times a day:

  • PrintScreen (or CTRL-PrintScreen or ALT-PrintScreen, depending on which profile I want)
  • I review the screenshot, possibly edit it, tweak it with arrows or highlights (nothing I want to save)
  • Press CTRL-A, CTRL-C to put it in my clipboard (sometimes I just want a section of the modified screenshot)
  • Press Escape to dismiss the Snagit Editor
  • Cuss up a storm because Snagit removed this wonderful feature
  • Go and find my mouse, manage to drag the cursor all the way over to the [x] on the screen so I can close the screen, and lament the time I just wasted
  • Switch to my other application (which varies), press CTRL-V and admire my handiwork.

Please either make this an option in preference or just bring the dad-gum feature back.

Why do you sometimes REMOVE features?

What do you think? Over the top?

February
9
2010
4:30 pm
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Take a look at my inbox from this morning:

apple-ipad

I mean, come on.

IF YOU’RE GOING TO SPAM ME, LEARN MY LANGUAGE.

How can spammers even sleep at nite, noing how bad they’re grammer and speling is?  its abhoarent and pisses me of. lolz its so bad I just wanna laugh at them cuz they so stoopid. OMG like i have received a new ipad. u didn’t even captalize Apple and every1 noes iPad has a capital P. luzer.  and in the body of the email you said “test apple ipad before it come out” hahaha luzer, it’s “comes out” stupid email person.  good thing you left unusbscribe instructions int he email because i did and you wont be sending me no more stupid emails. well see who the smart one is wont me.

laterz

January
6
2010
1:55 pm
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I saw this link on Twitter a couple of days ago.  Or maybe it was Facebook. Or maybe it came to me while looking at the pattern of bird droppings on my workplace window. 

I’d not heard of Barry Nalebuff before, but I really enjoyed this ~1hr long presentation he gave about innovation, ingenuity and general insights on solving problems.

 
Watch it on Academic Earth

I can say for sure I’ll never eat a banana the same way again.

Barry & Co runs an Open Source Idea site called http://whynot.net. When I get some more time I plan on spending a little bit over there to participate. I’ve been thinking that idea and innovation could easily be something opened up to the masses, so I’m glad someone acted on it.

December
17
2009
10:08 am
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For the most part, I’m not a fan of big government.  I don’t like intrusion into privacy, overly regulated industries, or yet-another-piece-of-legislation that makes mankind all the more administratively burdened.  Part of it is the overhead (and therefore, inefficiency) and part of it is a deeply-rooted fear of Big Brother combined with the lack of trust of humans in general, that there is the inherent likelihood that someone in power is going to do bad things to keep and grow their power.

Of course, not all legislation is bad.  There are some (decidedly few) laws that help us prosper, protect the little guy, and direct our nation into becoming a large self-sustaining body of rugged individuals.  Part of the ongoing struggle of a democracy is how we balance the two.

scales_of_justice

I’m not sure if “Truth in Labeling” is an actual law or not, but it seems I’ve heard something about FDA this or EPA that which required food to have consistent and accurate labeling.  For example, a product could not claim to cure cancer, and even if it did, it couldn’t be a food – it would have to be a drug.  The list of ingredients on a particular food must, by law, be put in order of content such that the first item listed represents the largest percentage of a single component.

In fact, I tweeted a picture recently of a Burger King icing packet and saw how they found all these ways of saying “Sugar”.

sugar

Lessee… Four different types of sugar!  liquid sugar, icing sugar, glucose, and… wait for it… sugar.  I feel like Bubba is there extolling all the different ways you can make Shrimp.  Wonka Gump, if you will.

Well, I’m here to tell you that I found a candy maker who is NOT afraid to comply fully with the Truth in Labeling law.  They are NOT trying to hide, obfuscate or otherwise distract you from the TRUTH.  We have here, ladies and gentlebloggers, a company who upholds the honor, integrity and trust we so timidly place in our corporate giants.

I now give you – the – Best.  Wrapper.  Ever.

scorpion-closeup

Since I know some of you respond poorly to pictures of icky nasty creatures found in nature (my tarantula videos and pictures come to mind), I’ll put the other pictures of this Scorpion Sucker in the extended entry, below.

VIVE LA LABELING!

(more…)

I’ve been an AT&T customer for a long time.  A looooong time.  Even back when I had the Telegraph Rollover plan.  I’ve been with them so long, I still have support for my two-cans-with-a-string phone.

Because of this, I’m very familiar with dropped calls.

I have enjoyed Verizon’s “There’s a Map for That” commercials showing the horrible, despicable and downright truthful discrepancies between the Verizon 3G network and the AT&T 3G network

Heh.  There’s even a lawsuit as reported by ZDNet.  The story Sam Diaz wrote is pretty funny and interesting.

Now, when it comes down to it, I really don’t care much about the Verizon map because 99.9% of the time, I’m in one of the dark blue AT&T parts.  Austin is pretty well saturated with 3G coverage, and it wasn’t long ago when I had a BlackBerry 8700C phone, and it only supported EDGE anyway.  Now that I’m on the iPhone 3GS, 3G coverage is more important to me, but in general I’m pretty happy with it.

Except in this one place.

This ONE, solitary intersection. 

This ONE AREA where I drive every day to and from work. 

THIS SPECIFIC DOT ON THE MAP WHERE I DROP MY CALL NO MATTER WHAT.

Yes, I’m sore about it.  A little.

I had heard that you can report to your cell provider dropped calls or problem areas, and if they have enough reports, they’ll investigate.  Who knows, they might actually DO something to fix it.

So I called in, waded through the options to figure out which one would help (hint: it’s zero, then zero again) and talked to the nice lady.  She did say that yes, I can report it and confirmed what I had heard.  So I reported it.  She let me know that she checked on the map and there was a transition point right there where calls would switch towers, and “sometimes calls drop when switching towers.”

Thanx for letting me know.

I also submitted the following email to their support team to hopefully hit home a little more.

This issue is not related to my specific phone, but I couldn’t find the option in the drop down. This issue involves dropped calls at a specific intersection. The intersection is Anderson Mill road and Millwright Parkway in Austin, TX, 78750. I’ve driven in this area for 20+ years, and ever since I’ve been with AT&T (8+ years), coverage at this intersection is spotty and usually results in dropped calls. It does this with my iPhone (3G), blackberry 8700C(edge), motorola RAZR, and the various phones I’ve had over the years. Since I drive this every day to and from work, I can count on a dropped call at that intersection.  It is very annoying. I’d love it if it could be tweaked to not drop calls every time.

YOUR MISSION, should you choose to accept it, is to also contact AT&T and let them know calls drop at this intersection all the time.  If you’re not in the Austin area, just say you were talking to Wayne and got dropped, and it annoyed you greatly.  If you’re not an AT&T customer, tell them you’d consider becoming a customer if they fixed that intersection.  You can contact them at http://www.att.com/wireless/contact-us/ or call 800-331-0500.

With our loud Internet voice, we can bring change!

This message will self-destruct in 10 seconds.

(more…)

As I’ve grown older, I’ve grown more skeptical. 

I hear politician’s lies, and I sigh.  I pick apart their carefully chosen words and attempt to figure out “the real truth” based on the specific choices they make with their adjectives and “clarifying words”.  It’s like the Devil is speaking, because as Piers Anthony put it in his great book “For Love of Evil”, the best lies are sandwiched firmly between two truths.  The Devil doesn’t always lie; he actually tells the truth most of the time.  It’s when he lies that makes the difference.

In fact, one can tell the complete truth and still effectively lie.

As they say, the Devil is in the details.  It’s in the qualifying words one uses to further distinguish and refine the meaning, even to the point where it makes it more vague.  Be it a pronoun that can be taken multiple ways, or an unspoken assumption; there are countless ways to hide the truth.

Remember Pirates of the Carribean?  Curse of the Black Pearl?

At one point in the film, Captain Barbossa agrees to Will Turner’s terms of surrender, which is to set his companions free.  When it appears to Will Turner that Barbossa went back on his promise, Barbossa quickly explains he promised to set them free, and he’ll keep to his word (because not keeping your word will bring back luck to your ship), but it was Will Turner who failed to specify when or where.

Classic. In his case, it’s the lack of qualifying details that gives Barbossa what he wants without lying about it.  However, sometimes you can get information (or at least more healthy suspicion) from the details that are provided.

Take this milk carton for instance. 

milk

Seems like a harmless, instructive carton of milk that makes you feel safe that no nasty hormones were used with the cows that produced the tasty treat contained inside.

With the keen, skeptical mind I possess, however, I dissect the Growth Hormone badge they presume to use to make me, the consumer, more at ease with my purchase.  But it just makes me wonder what the real truth is.

Here are my thoughts when I see this kind of badge.

  • “Our Farmers Pledge”
    Ah, the promise of a promise.  Note they they don’t come out and say “This product has no growth hormones” or even the shorter “No growth hormones.”  They say that their farmers pledge that there aren’t any.  For one, what’s a pledge, anyway?  Secondly, do the farmers go about injecting hormones, or do scientists?  Since when do farmers know anything about chemicals?  Farmers farm.  And as far as we know, the hormones might be in there, but the farmers just don’t know about it.  If the company is found out to have the hormones, it’s the farmers that get the shaft, not the scientists or executives.
  • No artificial growth hormones
    So then I hit the word “artificial” and wonder why they stuck that word in there.  Did they add it to increase confidence that something bad (presumably anything artificial) isn’t in there, or is it that growth hormones ARE given to the cows, but the hormones just aren’t artificial?  Are they putting in natural hormones instead?
  • Asterisked
    The almighty asterisk.  How many lies have been sold to the public with this unwitting ally?

I just don’t know what to believe.  I did a little googling (probably one of the most dangerous things on the planet to someone who thinks they know but know nothing (I’m talking about me here) ) and found this tasty little nugget.

The hormone of greatest concern to critics and whistleblowers is not bovine growth hormone, however, but insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1), which occurs naturally in both cows and humans. IGF-1 causes cells to divide and is one of the most powerful growth hormones in the body. Cows injected with rbGH have higher levels of IGF-1, and elevated levels of the hormone have been linked to cancer.

And it goes on

A Harvard study of 15,000 white males revealed that those with elevated IGF-1 levels in their blood were four times more likely to get prostate cancer than the average man. The report says, “administration of GH [natural human growth hormone] or IGF-1 over long periods…may increase risk of prostate cancer.”

Somehow I wonder if the people responsible for making this “natural growth hormone” are the same people making prostate pills.

There’s even a lawsuit against the people who use this label by the one producer of artificial growth hormone.  Imagine that – suing over deceptive labeling.

I now open up the comments to anyone wanting to submit a good cow or milk pun.

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