Newsflash: Being Not Poor Makes You More Content Than Being Poor

According to a recently-released poll conducted by the Associated Press of 1,001 people (that one last person made all the difference in the curve, I’m sure), people who earn more money are more likely to be satisfied with their lives than people who make less money.

Wow! Really?!?

Specifically, according to the AP, people who earn more than $75,000 a year are far more likely to say that they are “very satisfied” with their lives as compared to people who make only $25,000 per year or less.

The people who earned between $25,001 and $75,000 were too busy trying to find affordable health care to take part in the survey.

You can read more about it here.

Exactly Whom are the U.S. Airport Security Programs Protecting?

USA Today is reporting that undercover investigators managed to get both weapons and explosives past airport screeners at no fewer than fifteen U.S. airports.

The full results of the investigation were recently disclosed to Congress, with an abbreviated version being released to the public.

John Mica a representative from Florida, and Chairman of a House aviation subcommittee, is quoted as saying that “the results on weapons were “bad enough,” but the results on explosives were “absolutely horrendous.””

While the government has installed explosive-detection devices for baggage which is checked, they have, inexcusably, not mandated such devices for screening of passengers and their carry-on luggage. Because, of course, a passenger is much more likely to stow a weapon or explosive device, and then somehow get into the cargo hold at 30,000 feet to retrieve it. In fact, passengers are usually just sent through metal detectors and only occasionally checked by explosive trace detection equipment.

“You’re not going to find plastic explosives with a metal detector, no matter how hard you try,” said Oregon representative Peter DeFazio, in a blinding bit of logic that had somehow escaped those charged with, you know, keeping us all safe in the unfriendly skies.

This seems to be one more case where the balance of interest weighs in favour of big business concerns, and against our country’s citizens. The odds of any one of the hundreds of flights which go out each day being brought down are relatively low, even though the results are devastating for all involved. On the other hand, think about what it would do to the airline and travel industries if we instituted real security. What’s more important, a few thousand lives, or several hundreds of millions of dollars? You be the judge.

You can read more about this here.

Feds Probe Why Singer Allowed on Jet

From a USA Today headline: Feds Probe Why Singer Allowed on Jet

…because everyone knows that one of the highest security risks in commercial aviation today is that everyone might burst into a round of Kumbaya, rendering the crew somnambulent.

[Ok ok, I realize that with the common knowledge that Yushuf Islam (nee Cat Stevens) was ordered off a U.S. bound plane and returned to Britain takes some of the humour out of this line.]

A Potpourri of Guns

There is just something wrong about the phrase “a potpourri of guns”, don’t you agree?

Actually, more specifically, the phrase was “a potpourri of rifles, handguns and shotguns, including a Rugar Mini-14 assault rifle”. Still just…wrong, yes?

And hey, lest anyone think that I am not an equal opportunity pedant, I find equally wrong the phrase “an arsenal of flowers”.

But the first phrase actually exists, and comes from a news story about someone from San Francisco who was caught with..Jiminy…a pound of methamphetamines with a street value of approximately $30,000, a block of hashish and that potpourri of rifles, handguns and shotguns, including a Rugar Mini-14 assault rifle, and thousands of rounds of ammunition. Twenty-seven firearms in all.

The stash was discovered in the apartment of the suspect, close to a local Catholic high school.

One of our finest, always masters of understatement, opined that “It was far too many guns to have that close to a school.”

Which of course leads one to wonder: what is the cut-off? At what level is it not too many guns to have near a school? Is there a number which is “just the right amount of guns to have near a school”? How about “too few guns for being so close to a school”?

Of course, it is often open season on Catholic school girls.

[You can read more about this here.]

Next Up: Do-It-Yourself Brain Surgery

USA Today is reporting that the FDA has just approved the sale of defibrillators for home use, without a prescription.

According to the story, the FDA “found that the model it approved, Philips HeartStart Home Defibrillator, has been designed and labeled in such a way that anyone can follow the directions.”

It goes on to say that “Mickey Eisenberg, a Seattle researcher who has studied cardiac arrest survival, likens the HeartStart to airbags, carbon monoxide detectors or home security systems. “Widespread dissemination, especially in homes of high-risk patients, offers the means to improve these grim mortality statistics.” ”

And hey, what a neat party trick – way better than that little buzzer you palm before you shake someone’s hand!

You can read more about it here.

The Antidote for Anorexia…. Happy Meals?

In a move which is just so baffling that I can’t even think of anything snide to say about it, the Olsen twins are in France promoting McDonald’s Happy Meals.

The Happy Meals contain tchotchkes which bear either the names or likenesses of the Olsen twins.

Twin Mary-Kate was recently released from a widely-publicized treatment for anorexia.

Somehow the two just don’t go together. Or shouldn’t.

You can read more here.

Recommended Reading for Everyone: “The Art of the Start” by Guy Kawasaki

Ok, I admit it. I am unabashedly, openly, and happily a fan of Guy Kawasaki. He’s a great guy, with a big heart, caring and empathy for his fellow man (and woman), openly family-focused, and hey, he knows a thing or two about business. He should, being the CEO of Garage Technology Ventures.

So I was honoured and pleased when Guy, whom I consider to be a mentor – because, well, he agreed to be my mentor (I begged, pleaded, and generally debased myself…it wasn’t pretty) – when he asked me to read the draft of a new book he was working on, and give him feedback.

Well, that book, The Art Of The Start: The Time-tested, Battle-hardened Guide For Anyone Starting Anything, was released today, and let me tell you, and I’m speaking from inside knowledge here, it’s a great book.
Run out and buy it right now! Go on, I’ll wait for you.

Oh ok, you can wait. In fact you can buy it from the link below.

Here’s the thing: The Art is such an easy book to read! And it makes so much sense! All of the information, thoughts, and advice offered in The Art (and there are plenty of each) is so straight-forward, and presented so well. With his highly readable and casual style, Guy invites you into the pages, sits you down across from him, and tells it like it is – no BS.

I learned so much reading the advance drafts of this book, and having read it now several times, I can honestly say that there is nobody – NOBODY – who shouldn’t read this book. I guarantee you that if you read this book you will learn something – some things – and will be the better for it. I know that I did, and I was. Every chapter contained lightbulbs which went on, or affirmations of my own sense of “the right way to do things”, or both (in fact, most often both). There are things I learned, and things I took away, from every chapter. Things which can be applied if you are just starting or breathing new life into a project or company, and things to help keep it going and on track.

Do you know the ideal length for a business plan? For a VC pitch? Do you know what VCs are thinking while you’re pitching them? (That isn’t pretty, either.) How much do you really know about the art of schmoozing? What does Guy think of HTML email?

Seriously. Get this book. Here’s the link (disclaimer: this link contains my Amazon affiliate i.d.. If you find this objectionable, you can go directly to Amazon and search for “Kawasaki Art Start” and find the book that way):

cover

By the way, and even Guy doesn’t know this – it was his role as an Apple evangelist which I had in mind when I named this blog. When I realized that I had become an ‘evangelist’ of ideas and products in which I really believed, and in my sharing my enthusiasm for them here.

Sick Toy of the Decade Award – Airplane Flying Into the World Trade Center

Nobody yet knows who the sick [ ] is that manufactured and distributed these “toys”, but the Associated Press is reporting that somehow 14,000 toys depicting an airplane flying in to the twin World Trade Towers, and with the product number “9011″, were unknowingly included in bags of candy distributed to small stores throughout the United States.

Unbelieveable, I realize, but you can read the full story here.

Security Threat at Democratic National Convention Uncovered!

You may have heard that security was uber-tight at the recent Democratic National Convention in Boston, particularly given the current and heightened terror alerts indicating that there is going to be an attempt to disrupt the political process (maybe someone should actually float a viable candidate – now that would disrupt the political process!..but I digress…)

What you may not have heard was that the security forces at the DNC had to confiscate razors from several individuals.

And none of the individuals seemed to be acting in concert with any of the other individuals who were found to be carrying the razors.

More insidious, these individuals triggered no profile: they were not swarthy men, spoke perfect English with no hint of a foreign national accent, and, in fact, were dressed as members of the press.

In fact, they were members of the press.

According to the ultrahip Spencer Katt, who slipped it to yours truly, the DNC handed out press bags to members of the press, at their hotel before they wended their way over to the convention. Included in those bags, along with a box of…I kid you not…donkey and star Kraft Mac’n’Cheese, some beverages and some craisins, was…a Gillette Mach 3 razor. Perhaps they thought the Katt-man was just too furry, or perhaps they figured the press for a bunch of longhairs. Or, perhaps they just weren’t thinking at all, as they sent a flotilla of press armed with razors straight to the security checkpoints at the convention.

On the other hand…it is a novel approach to protecting the homeland – “Vote the Democratic Ticket: We’ll Give You a Well-Armed Press Corps”

Hey, they are everywhere, after all.

The California Tea Party

No, it’s not a new political party, although maybe it should be.

I have just discovered Harney teas, and am blown away.

Harney teas are to teas as Penzey herbs are to herbs.

The aroma and bouquet of the *dried* teas, even before steeping, are just incredible. It’s like smelling the finest potpourri; open a tin of Harney’s tea and it’s like walking through a garden after a fresh morning rain. Absolutely incredible.

Incredible enough that I willingly shelled out $7.00 for a tin of 20 bags at the Starbucks concession in a local Barnes and Noble (in my defense, each bag makes two cups). You can get 50-bag tins for $19.00, and also loose leaf for less, at http://www.harney.com

Do it.

Your tea-loving self will be glad that you did.