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    • Cold War 2.0 Incoming
      Right, with the ban on Huawei using chips made with American manufacturing equipment (one of America’s last few places of absolute advantage); the bans of TikTok, Tencent and WeChat; the attempt to convince other countries to not use Huawei 5G; the arrest of the Huawei founder’s daughter for doing business with Iran along with the […]
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Tuesday: Clearing the Instapaper Queue

Let’s see, what have we got in there today:

1.) How useless is marketing?  Let me count the ways.  I went into Lowes the other day to buy some molding for my generic builder’s grade bathroom mirror.  The guy showed me *one* profile that would fit my mirror.  One.  I told him it was too narrow.  You know that fricking “take it or leave it” shrug that 60 year old men who work in the molding department of Lowes give you?  That shrug that makes you want to shoot him through the throat with an arrow just to watch the surprised look on his face while you stand over him saying, “Bet you’ll never do that again”?  Sorry, where was I? Oh, yeah, the reason why Lowes doesn’t have the right molding with the channel on the back that goes around the mirror clips is because some smug asshole in marketing decided YOU didn’t NEED it in zip code 02134 (That’s ZOOM!).  Welcome to Soviet Suburbia where everyone gets to choose the same mediocre decor, food and fashion that all your neighbors will buy as determined by your local demographic and mined studiously by some MBA in marketing.  You’ll never get anything different because nothing different is ever offered for sale and therefore does not go into the database as the kind of thing your demographic will buy.  No, it doesn’t make any sense.  That means if you want something with taste, style or is a smidge different, you have to keep shopping out of your area or go online to buy it.  Fun.  Just what I always wanted to do.  I hate to shop.

Anyway, here’s an article from the NYTimes about marketing for the upcoming movie, The Hunger Games, which I am dying to see this Friday.  If you haven’t read the book by Suzanne Collins, I highly recommend it.  It’s young adult fiction but it’s really too good for sarcastic, sulky adolescents.  So this article is all about marketing and how this guy is marketing his skills as a marketer to market a movie that needed zero marketing and how he created this facebook page and a website and trailers and stuff and that’s why the movie is going to be the blockbuster that ate Jurrasic Park.

No, the movie is going to be a monster blockbuster because the books were that good and it features Jennifer Lawrence, who is the next Meryl Streep.  The distributer should have saved the money.  All it would have taken is one or two trailers on TV or youtube to have screaming girls from 12 to 64 lined up around the theater on Friday.  Twilight?  What’s Twilight?

When are American businesses going to learn that the thing that marketers sell best is themselves?  Other than that, they’re fricking useless.

2.) A new height for helicopter parenting: purge your house of “toxins” before the little tyke comes home from the hospital.  It’s the new “vaccines cause autism” and “genetically modified crops are bad” thing.  {{rolling eyes}}  Like you can isolate your kid forever from the world.  Oh, please, don’t even tell me how there are things that can harm and cause cancer and they’re in everything, EVERYTHING!  You nervous types really need to chill.  Rats get cancer from anything, ask any phamacologist.  They’re kind of prone to it.  A rat study is just a warning that if you eat a ton of that stuff or breathe it 24/7 for 20 years, you *may* get sick.  There are better tests than rat studies.  If you have time to worry about this instead of some poor kid drinking polluted water in a third world country, you’re making way too much money or you need to find a hobby.  Like palm reading or astrology or some other embarrassing belief in things you can’t understand.

Yes, I am a little irritated this morning.  Why do you ask?  The world is full of gullible people freaking and going to extremes when they really just need to use common sense and stop feeding their kids formaldehyde.

3.) David Silverman, head of American Atheists, writes Why We Need a Reason Rally for the Washington Post.  Um, because way too few Americans actually use reason in everyday life?  Just a guess.  David says:

America is one of the most religious countries in the world. And if you are non-religious, it can seem that without religion you cannot be elected to public office, cannot be considered a moral or ethical person, or be considered a patriot. It does not appear to matter what religious beliefs you cling to so long as you can tell anyone who asks, “Yes, sir or ma’am, I believe in God.”

Well, when you put it that way.  He makes it sound like there’s an incentive to lie about religious beliefs.  Hey, how many of the 12% of Congressional representatives and senators that are non-religious can we expect to come out at The Reason Rally on Saturday?

What does secular America believe?

3.5) From Derek Lowe’s blog, In the Pipeline, news of a new study that shows that cancerous tumors are full of hypermutable cell lines.  In other words, in some cancerous tumors, there is a heterogenous collection of cancerous cells containing different mutations. This may be caused by the first mutation running wild and setting off other cell mutations and before you know it, you’ve got a bunch of cells breaking free and getting into trouble. This is the kind of thing geeky evolutionists get off on.  The bottom line is that it’s going to take a lot more work for us to get to the bottom of what’s going on in every cell.

Too bad we’re all laid off.  Bummer.

4.) This one’s funny.  Fox News says that James Carville said that Hillary was going to run in 2016.  I read this blurb and Carville said no such thing.  It’s what he didn’t say that intrigues me.

5.) Paul Krugman is having another “Hey, guys, we’ve been eating grass” moment about Barack Obama’s persistent intimidation by the Washington Press corps and how that has made his policies suck, big time. In his blog post, Political Malpractice, Krugman writes:

Finally, it’s hard not to have the sense that when political types in this administration talk about appealing to “voters”, what they really mean is appealing to self-proclaimed centrist pundits who claim to have their fingers on the pulse of independent voters. Aside from the fact that they don’t — that the complicated psychodramas concocted by pundits exist only in their heads, not the heads of voters — experience shows that nothing Obama can do will satisfy these guys; they need, professionally, to maintain the pretense that both sides of the political divide are equally extreme. How many columns have you read demanding that someone stake out centrist positions that happen to be exactly what Obama has already been saying?

I have to say that the various accounts of what went wrong are converging on a very depressing picture, in which White House political “experts” actually believed that trying to please the Washington Post editorial page was a winning political move.

And I worry that they’ll double down on this mistake in an effort to prove that they were right all along.

Ya’ think?  Hey, did you know that the economy is recovering?  Neither did I.

6.) Dave Weigel at Slate wonders Why Obama ever won in the first place and gets some honest answers which may come as a bit of a shock to the Obama campaign that is still thinking it had something to do with his political gifts,  genius campaign and brilliant speaking style.

7.) And finally, my dream house, off the grid, in Extremadura, Spain.  I love the water features and the happy accidents they produce.   Contributions for making my dream a reality are gratefully accepted.  Get me out of New Jersey before I break out my bow and arrows and go hunting.

14 Responses

  1. The link to the Carville story makes me think that Hillary might be a serious threat THIS year. Did you see the photo they chose to dress the story? Did you read the comments? It was like reading Huffington Post circa January 2008.

    • What?? That’s just crazy. Whatever makes you think that?
      Honestly, I have no idea what Carville is up to but Fox got to 2016 out of that is beyond me.

      • I miss-wrote, I meant to say that maybe FOX thinks she’s a threat now. Not me. She is obviously towing the party-line. I just mean, the photo and the comments are ugly in an Ugly-Hillary way that we haven’t seen in a long time.

        • I know. I’m just kidding.

          • Wow — that’s two days in a row, I’m not getting FOX humor! Yesterday one of my oldest friends made a joke about the comments on one of my Facebook posts sounding like something from FOX news and I came THIS close to blocking him! He’s not an online guy and had no idea how un-funny that comment was to me!

            I think I’ve gotta find a way to calm down or this is going to be a really long year.

      • There, there. It’s been a rough month for all of us.

        • Today was the Illinois primary and I chose a Democratic party ballot for the sole purpose of being able to write in HIllary Clinton in the section for President. I enjoyed it immensely!

  2. 3.5) From Derek Lowe’s blog, In the Pipeline, news of a new study that shows that cancerous tumors are full of hypermutable cell lines…The bottom line is that it’s going to take a lot more work for us to get to the bottom of what’s going on in every cell.

    And a LOT more money…perhaps too much money, in the end. Maybe cancer is just too complex a collection of disorders to realistically “cure”…other avenues may need to be explored more vigorously (and no, that does not mean “alternative medicine”).

  3. Off topic: I stumbled across an interesting article from the September 2003 issue of Harper’s. A former teacher named John Taylor Gatto composed a simple desultory philippic against school.


  4. I’ll be taking a car full of 13-year-olds to The Hunger Games on Friday night. I’m going to stay and watch, too (although of course I can’t actually SIT with my daughter and her friends). All these girls had read all three books at least once before there was any maketing whatsoever. The buzz was spread strictly by word of mouth.

    Liking to know what my child is reading (read all the Twilight books – UGH!), I picked up the first one and got hooked. Whatever the studio spent on marketing, it was completely wasted. I’m definitely already on Team Katniss! But I would like one of those mockingjay pins…

    • LOL! I have to sit in another section of the theater too. So glad to know it’s not just me.
      Yeah, I loved the books too. I like how the revolution grows. In the first book and much of the second, the main characters don’t even know they are part of it. Katniss Everdeen will go down in history as the iconic girl heroine in young adult fiction. I think she has eclipsed Meg Murray.

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