Friday, May 30, 2003

Warning Labels

It is now possible to find warning labels on almost everything we own. For example, on plastic bags, buckets and ovens:


On the bunk bed:

Even on plastic model car kits:

This makes you wonder why cars have so few warning labels. In my car, there is not a single visible warning sticker. Imagine if there were...
On the sunroof, there would have to be these:
The number of possible warning labels around the gas cap is mind-boggling...

Keep in mind that if you drive 10,000 miles per year, your chances of dying in a car accident are 1 in 6,000 or so. More than 100 people die every day in the U.S. in car wrecks. Nothing is more dangerous to consumers than a car. If every part of every car were stickered as carefully as most consumer products, you would not be able to see the dashboard or find the steering wheel. That may be why car manufacturers are off the hook...

Buy Here

If you have ever been used car shopping, you have seen signs like this all over the used car lot:

"LOOK! BUY HERE, PAY HERE!" It is treated like a remarkable revolution in buying. What is so amazing about that? When I go to the grocery store, I buy my groceries and I pay for them... at the grocery store. When I go to McDonald's, I buy my hamburger and pay for it... at McDonald's. Can you think of a single thing you purchase in your normal life that does not work on the "Buy here, pay here" principle?

Tuesday, May 27, 2003

Virtual Attractiveness

"Virtual attractiveness" is a fascinating article on the kind of people that human beings find attractive. For example, the article points out that this photograph is not of a real person, yet most folks find her attractive:

Images of synthetic, perfect people are showing up more and more in the media. The article's main point is this: "Being surrounded by so much perfected beauty, it is not surprising that so many people are frustrated by their own appearance or that of their partners."

Explore Mars Now

I really like this website: ExploreMarsNow.

Finding the Music

I was in New York City. I had turned on VH1 -- I am doing a lot of music articles right now, so I watch VH1 more.

This video came on where a guy is on stage at a live concert. He is playing an acoustic guitar and singing. What was interesting about the video to me was that they had cut in a bunch of shots of the crew putting the stage together for the show (hanging the lights, putting up trusses, etc.). Then the phone rang, and I missed the name of the band. But I am pretty sure that the chorus of the song was, "living in rhyme" or something like that.

I said to myself, "OK, I am in NYC, I should be able to go buy this song." I walk down to the Virgin Megastore on Broadway, which is this huge huge 3-story store full of nothing but CDs. Millions of CDs. I find a nice salesperson and I explain to her I am looking for a song named, I think, "Living in Rhyme."

She asks, "What's the name of the cd?"

I don't know.

"What's the name of the band?"

I don't know.

"What do you know?"

Well, there was a guy on stage at a live concert playing an acoustic guitar on VH1 and I am pretty sure the chorus was 'living in rhyme' or something like that.

"We can't look up song titles -- only CD names or band names."

OK, is there someone here who watches VH1 and who would recognize the video?


Come on -- there must be 50 employees in this store.


OK - none of them watches VH1?

"I don't think so."

OK, where would you put songs where a guy plays an acoustic guitar on VH1?

"Well... it's hard to say."

OK, where would you put James Taylor?

"He's in Rock."

Rock????? So the guy I am looking for is in 'Rock'?


OK, take me to Rock.

So we go to Rock and she tries the Dave Matthews Band. No -- The guy I saw had curly hair. She tries a couple of other guys. No. We find James Taylor, just to prove he is there. She was incredibly nice, and she really did try to help. But as you can imagine, 'Rock' takes up nearly an entire floor.

So..... I come back from NY, come home and try to find the song on the Internet. There is no song named "Living in Rhyme." So what else is there to do? I turn on VH1 every so often. After a couple of hours the song comes on again.

His name is John Mayer.

The song is "Why Georgia".

I look up the lyrics on the Internet. Now that I know the name of the song it is easy. The Chorus is, "Am I living it right?"


The kids and I were picking up trash around the local elementary school and came across a bunch of these stickers, still on their backing paper:

"Why..." you might ask, "Were you picking up trash at the elementary school???" The school is within walking distance of our apartment, and we go there to play on the playground. When we see trash, we pick it up.

Friday, May 23, 2003


My family and I spent a weekend in Myrtle Beach, SC on May 10/11. That happened to be "Bike Week" at Myrtle Beach -- an annual thing where hundreds of thousands of Harley-Davidson motorcycles and their riders descend on the town.

My history with motorcycles is that I have owned two. My first was a Honda 450. Then I got a Honda Magna, which was a nice bike -- 1,100 cc, water cooled, shaft drive. Very smooth, very fast (at least compared to a 450). My longest ride on it was from Raleigh, NC to Kitty Hawk, NC to Elizabeth City, NC and back to Raleigh in a day. That's a little over 400 miles. The Magna was a great bike for trips like that.

Then I got married. Then we got pregnant. Sometime during the week we got pregnant it became obvious that my motorcycle days were over. But I still have my hemet, and there's still a motorcycle endorsement on my driver's license.

Reasons #1 and #2 for selling the Magna

Reasons #3 and #4

One cool thing about Bike Week is that vendors rent out all the big parking lots along the "main drag" (US 17) and display stuff. The custom bikes, and the Harley aftermarket in general, are amazing. There were custom bikes heading up toward $100,000. There were motorcycles built around Chevy V-8 engines. And so on. It's nuts.

I got home and did a little research, it has been fascinating. The Harley aftermarket produces engines, transmissions, frames, forks, wheels, brakes, handlebars... You can literally build your own Harley clone from scratch with off the shelf parts. I'm probably not ready to do that... so for people like me there are complete kits!

In the Beginning

I have never had a blog before. We'll see what happens...

ARCHIVES © Copyright 2003-2005 by Marshall Brain


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