THIRD TIME FOR THIS ONE SO I HAD TO SAY SOMETHING
I'm standing in line at a store and an asian guy says to me "Feel how hot this flashlight is." And he won't stop pestering me until I grip the metal flashlight he's holding and agree that it's hot and probably has defective batteries. It's happened twice before in my life and it happened again today. So here's my question. Is he a cop using a clever technique to gather fingerprints for an investigation or is he a criminal gathering my fingerprints to plant at a crime scene? After all, a few minutes earlier there were four police cars on my street. If he's a crook I don't want to give him something he can use to incriminate me, yet if he's a cop and I avoid touching the flashlight, that would be construed as suspicious behavior.
So I played along and gripped the flashlight and went through the routine. As far as I know, nothing bad came of it the last two times this happened.
And why do they always use an asian guy?
RTJ -- 7/26/2009
UPDATE ON THE HORRIBLE HORRIBLE SMELL
It's been a while since I've written on this topic, so we'll do a little review along with the new material. If you've read my rants from years ago, you'll remember that after reducing my consumption of phosphates I discovered a very common smell that I found very unpleasant and I couldn't find a way to get rid of it.
IDENTIFYING THE HORRIBLE HORRIBLE SMELL
The horrible horrible smell is a dark, plasticky, oily, funky, nauseating odor that I've found on all kinds of things, from interiors of old cars to packaged products to soda bottles. Darned near everything I bring home from the store will have some of the smell on the package. The most consistent and most concentrated source of the smell is currency. Just take a few dollar bills and throw them in the clothes dryer set on high for a few minutes and the unforgettable smell will come out through the exhaust. You'll probably never want to do that again because it's just so rank.
They say money is the root of all evil. The smell it puts off when heated confirms that.
If you've got the smell in your house, the best place to find it is on something acrylic, like carpets, drapes, bedspreads, clear plastic things like the crisper trays in your refrigerator. Just dunk the acrylic thing in boiling water and see if that funky smell comes off it. If the steam rising from the item smells like the devil's armpit, you should assume the chemical causing it exists throughout your house just waiting for some heat to volatilize it.
WHAT IS THE EFFECT OF THE HORRIBLE HORRIBLE SMELL
Since reducing my exposure to the smell, slowly purging it from my floors, drapes, cabinetry, bedding, drywall and everything else, my health has improved. I've got fewer miscellaneous complaints. It could be an allergy peculiar to me and of no concern to anybody else. Surely there's someone else out there who can benefit from this.
HOW DOES THE HORRIBLE HORRIBLE SMELL GET INTO MY HOUSE
In addition to riding in on the surface of everything you bring into your home, it's apparently a key ingredient in many common household cleaning products. Try smearing some household cleaner on a piece of cardboard and set it outside to dry. After the product dries and the perfume smell is gone, put the cardboard in your dryer like you did with the cash and see if you get the same smell. I've found most household cleaners leave a residue that smells bad when heated. Trying to remove the horrible horrible smell with one of these cleaners only makes the problem worse. So use the cardboard test to find a cleaner that doesn't leave a foul-smelling residue.
As long as you're doing the cardboard test on cleaning products, try it with your aftershave, your hand lotion, your shampoo, your armpit deoderant, your sun block, your deoderant douche -- all your personal care products, just to make yourself more aware of the kind of thing you're spreading directly on yourself. If you don't want that smell in your house, you sure don't want it on yourself.
HOW DO I GET RID OF THE HORRIBLE HORRIBLE SMELL THAT'S ALREADY BUILT UP IN MY HOUSE.
Recently I've found a couple of things that absorb the horrible horrible smell. Just about any fat, grease, wax, or oil left sitting out will absorb the smell from the room. For example you can smear a stick of butter or lard on a piece of cardboard and that will absorb some of the smell. There are better choices, though. The disadvantage is that food fats and oils attract pests. Once it's saturated, throw it out. Don't eat it.
Pine tar works best. Smear it on a piece of cardboard and just leave it in the corner for a few days. As the pine smell starts to give out, throw the cardboard away. Linseed oil works, too, but it's messier. Dry gelatin is very good at absorbing smells and doesn't have any smell of its own. It's easy to handle, but it works slower. Just pour a packet of it into a saucer and set it in a corner where it won't get upset. Change it out after a week. Gelatin in a good choice for your kitchen cabinets.
Again, these are just three things that I have confirmed to work. I could make a long list of things that will probably work. Here's a sample. Beeswax. Cheese. Roofing tar. Bacon grease. Eggs. Margarine. Shortening. Cooking oil. Avocados. Unscented bar soap. Everything tried so far that is oily, greasy, fatty or tarry has worked with one exception. Mineral oil did not work. Also, unexpectedly, baking soda did not seem to work. It's advertised as an odor remover, but as far as I could tell it did nothing. Commercial room deoderizers did more harm than good, adding their own powerful perfumes to an already noxious blend.
Also, if you can wash the affected item in milk, that will cut the smell, especially on acrylic items, crockery, glassware and cookware. You can use very diluted milk for this. I've even put milk in the laundry to get the smell of detergent out of my clothes.
WHAT IS THE CHEMICAL THAT PRODUCES THE HORRIBLE HORRIBLE SMELL?
If you've got access to a gas chromatograph and a mass spectroscope, you can find out. I'd suggest a BNA extraction of one of those stinky dollar bills just to make sure you cover all the bases. That's probably a better choice than the cleaning products since currency inks should be very non-volatile and should separate well in the column from the stench component. In fact, I'd suggest using a fractionator before injecting the extract because that printer's ink is probablly going to foul up your column. Only inject that fraction if the stench doesn't turn up in the early fractions.
It'll probably turn out to be something that is commonly used in manufacturing and is generally regarded as safe. Whatever it turns out to be, from here on I'll regard it as kryptonite.
So there. I hope that helps.
Now if we could just fix those tapwater issues.
RTJ -- 7/27/2009
BEVERLY HILLBILLY UNIVERSAL HEALTH CARE
What with health care being so much in the news these days, I thought about the old Beverly Hillbilly series and Doctor Granny and how she was the sole health care provider for her family.
The real magic was in the workings of her spring tonic, or rather the nonworking of her spring tonic. It was an elixir with no theraputic value whatsoever, but several dangerous and uncomfortable side effects. The face turns red. The hair stands on end. Smoke comes out of the ears. Over the years the members of her family had learned to ditch the dose in a potted plant or something and lie to Granny's face about having taken it. In this way, the family could stay healthy by avoiding the potion and Granny could tell herself that she has safeguarded the health of her family for one more year.
The trouble arises when Mr. Drysdale and Miss Jane come along. They see the robustness of the family. They hear the testimony of the family about Granny's tonic, and then they learn the hard way that Granny is really a very persistent old hootowl laboring under a delusion. The reality is that the tonic just makes you sick and there's no way to explain that to Granny. The family has to pretend to be healthy to avoid being dosed further, and Granny takes that as confirmation of the effectiveness of her tonic.
So that's the cheap, Beverly Hillbillies way to universal health care. Granny's tonic is so vile that people act healthy in hopes of getting her to stop the treatment. They figure if they don't act healthy they'll die of Granny's good intentions.
RTJ -- 8/5/2009
JESUS AS A MEDIA COMPANY
I was thinking the other day about Jesus as a business, a small media company, a CEO with twelve employees and a mission to promote a message. Despite the fact that the Jesus Company has spread across the entire earth since it was founded, you could argue that the mission statement was left unfulfilled. Growth itself became the mission to the detriment of the original message.
The original message is outlined in seven points in Matthew chapter 23. Without going into each point, Jesus accuses the Temple of being corrupt and unjust, and he hopes to move the nation to reform the governing system. Most of his parables and sermons are illustrations of that central message.
What happened to that message? It was really meant for the Hebrews and other residents of first century Palestine who lived under the Temple's juris diction. It doesn't apply so much to us two thousand years later and half a world away. It certainly didn't take hold when it was first set forth.
Nowadays the message of Jesus is redemption and salvation and forgiveness of sins. Here's the kicker. All this is by grace. That means you don't have to make sacrifices or offerings in order to get redemption. That's very unlike the temple, where you have to make tithings and first fruits offerings and wave offerings and sin offerings and offerings on holidays and offerings for every kind of business transaction and they just don't stop. It was very expensive to stay right with god, and that's what Jesus objected to.
Jesus was a whole different story. When you came to him for a healing or an exorcism he didn't ask for an offering or a sacrifice or a payment. He didn't ask you to bow or kneel or kiss his butt or whether or not you believed in the same god. You don't even have to like Jesus or agree to follow him. All you had to do was believe in him and repent. He didn't ask for gratitude or obedience. Jesus says in John chapters 14, verse 15, "If you love me, you will obey what I command." But there's a flip side to that coin. "If you don't love me, you will not obey what I command." That's a pretty laid back attitude for a cult leader, a kind of come-and-go-as-you-please ministry. Every sinner freed from his sin is one less soldier for the devil. No further reward is necessary.
The religion founded by Moses is very strict. Moses gets you away from Pharoh and now you belong to Moses. And if you start to think maybe you don't belong to Moses, check out Exodus chapter 32 and Numbers chapter 16 to see how Moses asserts his authority. Jesus and Moses are polar opposites. Moses and the Temple are authoritarian. Jesus and his group are libertarian.
Then there's Paul, the man who created the church that became the Christianity of today. Under Paul's guidance, criticism of the temple stopped. They started recruiting gentiles. They dropped the jewish dietary restrictions. The church started by Paul became an organized heirarchical authority, exactly the kind of thing Jesus preached against. Paul invented a new religion with Jesus' face on the package, but whether or not Jesus would have approved we'll never know.
In Paul's letters he's always saying shun lazy people, ostracize sexually promiscuous people, cut off this kind of people, cast out those kinds of people. That's not like Jesus, who associated with lepers and prostitutes and tax collectors. I don't think Jesus ever shunned any social outcast, but Paul takes the opposite view.
Paul writes in First Thessalonians 4:11. "Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we told you....," That doesn't sound like Jesus, the guy who railed against the Pharisees and turned over the tables of the money changers. That sounds more like a shill for the Temple telling the population to sit down and behave themselves. In Colossians 3:20 he tells children to be obedient to their parents. Review what Jesus says to his own mom when she asks him to turn water into wine at the wedding feast. Not very respectful. Also, check out what Jesus says about the subject in Luke 14:26. The situation is of course different. He is advising his desciples to become estranged from their families so that the Temple can't use their families against them.
Paul says in Thessalonians 3:10, "If a man will not work, he will not eat." However Jesus says in Luke 12:22, ""Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear, Life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. Consider the Ravens; They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them."
So Paul's teaching matches up with Moses pretty well. The teaching of Jesus doesn't dovetail particularly well with either Paul or Moses.
HEALING PROPERTIES OF GARLIC
Speaking of garbled information, I've read a lot of books and articles touting the health-and-vitality-restoring properties of garlic, yet I have yet to see one article mention the key piece of information that makes the trick work.
The chemical parts of garlic that supposedly work the wonders are fragile and are easily denatured by stomach acid or the heat of cooking. So if you cook or eat the garlic, you're having culinary fun; but those healing components are getting away from you. Instead, get a clove of garlic and cut a slice as thin as a penny. Hold that in your mouth like a cough drop and those fragile chemicals, the ones that account for the hot sensation, will absorb through your cheek and gums. You'll get twice the results in half the time. Same with ginger. Same with onions.
RTJ -- 8/25/2009
SARAH PALIN QUIT HER JOB
The press hounded Sarah Palin so much that she couldn't properly perform the duties of her office as Governor of Alaska, so she quit and let the next guy take over for the good of her home state. The press leaped on this and ridiculed her for quitting in the middle of her term.
Who else quit their offices in the middle of their first terms? Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.
Sarah Palin was taken to task for buying $150,000 worth of clothes for the campaign. The press never told us the value of the clothes Hillary Clinton wore during the same period. Palin's clothing budget was a lot, but Hillary doesn't scrimp on her wardrobe either. If the press compared them at all, they didn't tell us about it.
The American press is just as biased as Fox. They pretend that they have standards of fairness, but that's baloney.
RTJ -- 9/15//2009
President Obama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize despite his having accomplished nothing at all. In fact, he must have been nominated within a few days of taking office in order to win today. The committee that nominates people for this prize is made up of smart guys and true blue geniuses. They don't do something like this by mistake.
Such a peculiar act is a danger sign. President Obama is being groomed to make a bad decision. Go back to the days immediately preceeding the start of the present war and review the press conferences, particularly the ones given by Colin Powell. There's a small group of like-minded reporters who begin each question with thirty seconds of effusive praise, such as, "Before I ask my question I want to say that it is such an honor for us to have our coalition led by such a man of courage, vision and integrity...."
A few days later Colin Powell went before the United Nations and presented the American case for war. The war began and later the arguments in favor of the war tuned out to be based on half-truths, unreliable intelligence and biased data selection. It was a monstrous error. Not only did we end up fighting an expensive war in a coutry that had nothing to do with 911; but Colin Powell, who was at the time one of the most admired men in the U.S. will have his legacy tainted by this bogus presentation.
So now President Obama out of the blue sky gets the Nobel Peace Prize. This is extraordinary unearned validation for a young president, and it will psychologically prepere him to reject sensible criticism. "Why are you listening to him? YOU'RE the one with the Peace Prize. Your critics are obviously jealous of your wisdom and virility. You're a visionary, and that frightens them The rest of the world loves you." And this gesture so far exceeds the smarmy butt-kissing sessions delivered by the hawk press to General Powell, I think we can assume that our young president is being groomed to make a mistake on a biblical scale.
There is nothing new in the news. Refer to the story of Jesus being tempted in the desert. Big Flattery is a corrupting tactic refined by people over thousands of years; and if Colin Powell falls for it, what chance does Obama have? And remember how the press gushed over Sarah Palin for a couple of weeks before turning on her with a fourth estate sucker punch? Remember the fuss made over the "Blair Witch Project?" Where are those kids now? What about that never-been-kissed woman who got the Cinderella treatment via the Singing Idol show? First comes the makeover, then you travel around metaphorically browsing the buffet that fame has brought, then comes the meltdown. Is it the fame or the buffet that fame brings that makes otherwise intelligent and talented people crack?
That's my pessimistic prediction. Somebody is about to try to get our kid president to do something collossally stupid. Flattery is how people soften you up for that. Keep cool. Don't panic. Consider this an opportunity to spot a budding Rasputin. Look for the guy who tries to convince the president that he really deserves the Peace Prize.
RTJ -- 10/10//2009
BAD TAP WATER
Does your tap water smell like a footbath at a public swimming pool? Does it smell of antiseptic and benzene sometimes? Is it so bad that you get symptoms like red eyes, scratchy throat, a mild ice cream headache and anxiety? Is it so bad that you can't filter out the stink even with a store-bought pitcher filter?
Try using old cofffee grounds as a filter element.
Save up your old coffee grounds. Boil them in a big pot of water. Set them aside to settle. Decant the water off. Add more water. bring to a boil. Repeat.
While you're at it, pour some of that boiling water over a coffee filter to rinse off the stray chemicals. Paper products like paper towels and coffee filters are sometimes treated with boric acid or other chemicals to suppress microbial growth. You don't want to be drinking boric acid. It takes a very long time for your body to excrete boric acid, so it stacks up in the liver. It's generally not considered toxic, but if you get a speck from your coffee filter and a speck from your visine and a speck from your deoderant douche and a speck from your contact lense solution and a speck from the dishwashing liquid residue on your silverware and a speck from your hand sanitizer because your'e paranoid about the swine flu, and by the way your flu shot is probably buffered with boric acid, and so on and so on, it soon adds up and it's probably not good for you to accumulate a large reservoir of it in your liver. I didn't mean this to turn into a rant against industry's overuse of boric acid. Rrinsing your coffee filter in boiling water is one way to reduce your exposure to it.
Once you've boiled your grounds in several changes of water, strain them and spread them on a plate in a 200 degree oven. Turn occasionally with a butter knife until dry. You'll know they're dry when they no longer stick to the knife.
Now all you have to do is make a pot of ultra weak coffee with your washed-out grounds. Your homemade filter medium will remove the misguided good intentions of those who make it their business to improve our drinking water past the point of drinkability.
The downside is that the water is a little stained and the taste is still going to remind you of coffee, but it's better than it was before. You will have taken out the symptoms. I've used the same grounds and filter to make up to four pots of coffee.
After making four pots, th same grounds can be boiled with a little pickling salt (Avoid table salt. It's made with aluminum silicate, and that's not something you want to eat), dried and used again.
RTJ -- 10/16//2009
Want to argue about it? Send me mail.