Friday, September 29, 2006

Quit Smoking Made Easy!

I was in a bookstore this afternoon, wandering the aisles, trying to find something that caught my eye. They say you can't tell what a book is like from its cover. Perhaps that is the case many times, but as a whole, I disagree. You can tell a lot about a book from its cover!

One book I noticed out of the corner of my eye had an eye catching title of something about how to quit smoking, and how easy they'll make it. Really? Now, I'm not a smoker and never have been, so I can't speak from direct experience, but is there really an "easy" way to quit smoking? From everything I've ever heard, it's incredibly hard. Most people who quit often take years and several tries before they succeed. Some people who've had a lung removed because of lung cancer haven't even been able to stop.

And this book, on its cover, it promising to make quitting 'easy'? I never even touched this book. I never picked it, I didn't leaf through the pages. I didn't read about the author's credentials. Why should I? (Besides the fact that I don't smoke, of course.) It's obviously a bold-faced lie on the cover. What else do I really need to know about the book? If the title is a blatant lie, dare I ask what the contents inside might include?

It's easy to find such books in a bookstore. Just wandering around the aisles, you'll see plenty of titles like Make millions in real estate in just three years with no money down! or Lose 30 pounds by eating more!

Obviously, publishers wouldn't publish these books if people weren't buying them, but why the heck do people buy into such bold-faced lies? If making millions was so easy or losing weight was so easy, wouldn't everyone already be doing it?

I'm not sure what sickens me more--that people are stupid enough to fall for such a pile of manure or that there are people who are willing sell you such crap. I'd like to think a book titled something like, "The hardest thing you'll ever do: Quit smoking" could become a runaway bestseller. If I were a smoker, I wouldn't necessarily buy the book, but of all the choices on the bookshelf, it would certainly be the first to grab my attention, and I'd perhaps leaf through the pages to see if the inside is as remarkably candid as the cover.

Just say no to hype, people. If a book lies to you on the cover, the inside isn't even worth the effort of checking out.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

George W. Bush! George W. Bush!

There's a commercial showing here in California. It's election time, and one of my biggest annoyances living in this country are political ads. Most people would be better off and make better educated voting decisions if they did not have to listen to such crap. They're choked full of emotional pleas rather than logical discussion. They're full of information taken out of context, and twisted into what often becomes outright lies. It's disgraceful and does nothing to help the voting public, but rather confuses them more.

The particular ad I'm annoyed with now is against re-electing Schwarzenegger for another term as governor of this populous state. The reason? He supported re-electing George W. Bush. I had him, chanting with an audience, "George W. Bush!" with a narrator saying something about would you want to support someone who supports George W. Bush.

Really? Is that the worst they can do? As much as most people hate to admit it today, he was actually voted into office after getting more of the popular votes than anyone else--which is more than can be said for the first time he made it into office--but that's besides the point. More people in this country felt that George W. Bush was the best man for the job. Arnold Schwarzenegger felt that George W. Bush was the best man for the job.

Maybe Arnold made a mistake--George pulled the wool over his eyes just like he did with the rest of America. But is that really the best reason not to like Schwarzenegger? I wonder how many people who voted for Bush in the last election are thinking, "Yeah! That bastard voted for Bush too!" If that was a good reason not to elect Arnold, then it seems to me that everyone else who voted for Bush's second term really shouldn't be qualified to be voters anymore. They screwed up! They've lost the right to an opinion, and they've lost the right to vote!

Doesn't really make sense, I know, which is what is so friggin' annoying to me. They're trying to convince the very people who voted Bush into office that Arnold is not fit to govern because he supported Bush. That's f*cked up.

Monday, September 04, 2006

I dunt no no inglish

Since when has it been okay to use a double negative in this country? For instance, take this sentence, "I have not not gone shopping." Technically, it is grammatically correct. I suppose. It's awkward, obviously, but the two 'nots' essentially cancel each other out and you wind up with the meaning, "I have gone shopping." More or less.

Apparently, geeks with GPSes never learned this fact, because I constantly see coordinates written like this: "The latitude of Cumberland is 43.756N and the longitude is -70.189W."

It's that -70.189W that really bugs me. What is it? -70.189 degrees, or 70.189W? You can't have both. Well, technically, it's possible, but -70.189W actually means 70.189 east, which is clearly not what they meant to write since it would put Cumberland, Maine (a real city, btw, which I use as an example since it's the latest one to have bugged me) somewhere in Siberia, I suspect.

Think of it like this. Start at the prime meridian. Face west. Then walk precisely -70.189 degrees. That negative means you'd have to walk backwards and be walking a complete 180 degrees in the wrong direction!

So please, unless you live in Latin America (where two negatives actually IS a negative), use either a negative sign or the letter for W, but never use both at once. You just look like an idiot when you do that.

-- Ryan, who's currently located in Seattle not far from 47.57N and 122.39W, but will probably never be found at 47.57N and -122.39W (which would put me not far from Qiqihar, China)