March 09, 2004

Alan Greenspan: What's Wrong With Corporate America

I started this site partly to showcase glaring examples of high-profile falsehood. But paradoxically, I also wanted to showcase high-profile truth-speaking, a phenomenon that in its own way can be even more glaring (and is certainly a good deal rarer). Anyway, a fine example of the latter is on display here: From Fed chairman Alan Greenspan, via the Price of Loyalty, a sober, hard-hitting indictment of the dishonest way CEOs have inflated their corporations' apparent worth, at the expense of long-term viability: Greenspan memo: What's wrong with corporate America.

One thing I find interesting about this is the way the problem of dishonest CEOs gaming the accounting system is mirrored by the problem of dishonest politicians gaming the electorate (though here, sadly, Greenspan seems to have a harder time staying honest; see this recent item from Paul Krugman, for example: Greenspan dabbles in bait-switch).

Anyway, fellow shareholders in the American dream, arise! It's time for a hostile takeover.

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February 19, 2004

Authors Review Own Books on Amazon

Somewhat interesting story, made more interesting (well, for me) by the fact that I have personally had to grapple with the moral issue raised: Amazon glitch unmasks war of reviewers. An excerpt:

John Rechy, author of the best-selling 1963 novel "City of Night" and winner of the PEN-USA West lifetime achievement award, is one of several prominent authors who have apparently pseudonymously written themselves five-star reviews, Amazon's highest rating. Mr. Rechy, who laughed about it when approached, sees it as a means to survival when online stars mean sales.

"That anybody is allowed to come in and anonymously trash a book to me is absurd," said Mr. Rechy, who, having been caught, freely admitted to praising his new book, "The Life and Adventures of Lyle Clemens," on Amazon under the signature "a reader from Chicago." "How to strike back? Just go in and rebut every single one of them."

This link brought to you courtesy of an author whose own book's Amazon page contains only legitimate reviews, as far as he's aware.

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January 14, 2004

The Corporation As Psychopath

From frequent link-suggester Steve D. comes word of this interesting-sounding documentary: The Corporation. The basic concept is that when analyzed by the same criteria used to evaluate real humans' mental health, corporate 'persons' turn out to be indistinguishable from raving psychopaths.

Worth thinking about, eh?

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August 29, 2003

Unsafe at Any (Processor) Speed

John Gruber at Daring Fireball has an excellent screed on something all of us, even the non-Borg-afflicted, are suffering from these days: Good times. His basic argument, which certainly matches my own experience, is that Microsoft products are the standard in the business world mainly because they are so poorly engineered that they require large, status-conferring staffs to maintain them.

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August 14, 2003

Edmunds.com's Undercover Car Salesman

It's a few years old, but I hadn't seen it before: Confessions of a car salesman. Interesting.

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August 09, 2003

Bikini Model Airbrushing

Digital artist Greg Apodaca gives a dramatic example of the little Photoshop manipulations that go into creating high-quality cheesecake: Greg's digital archive.

Thanks to kottke.org for the link.

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July 19, 2003

Nanotech Dockers

From Popular Science, via CNN, via Daypop: Little robots in your pants.

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June 27, 2003

National Do-Not-Call Registry

Lots of people are linking to the National Do-Not-Call Registry at donotcall.gov. Now I am, too. Yay for me!

Posted by jbc at 06:05 AM | view/comment (1) | TrackBack (0)

May 22, 2003

Schlosser on the Shadow Economy

Eric Schlosser, author of Fast Food Nation, has a new book out: Reefer Madness: Sex, Drugs and Cheap Labor in the American Black Market. He looks at the free-market side of the marijuana, sex, and undocumented-worker stories, pointing out some interesting facts along the way. Like, marijuana has now passed corn as the US's leading cash crop, and the black-market business in drugs, pr0n, and illegal labor now constitutes nearly 10% of the US GDP. Schlosser's conclusion is that as a country we're deeply screwed up, with high-profile public morality masking a depraved underbelly.

A few links: The book's first chapter, as excerpted by the New York Times, a review in the Times, and an interview with Schlosser at bookpage.com.

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April 13, 2003

Fun and Games at Re-Code.com

I'm a sucker for sites like www.re-code.com. Not because I particularly want to go to the trouble of printing out bogus barcodes and then surreptitiously slapping them on similar but higher-priced items at the local Vons, but because I love it when a site takes pains to adopt a tone and appearance that leads you to believe it's something that it isn't. Or is it?

My favorite part about re-code.com is the way they scrupulously avoid the use of the word theft to describe the activity they are allegedly enabling. Instead, they couch the descriptions in the language of responsible consumerism. Like this:

Re-Code.com is built on two unique concepts known as Preshopping and Postshopping. Preshopping refers to visiting the Re-code.com website first finding a store in your area with prices that you want to pay. Many of our codes are from generic items which could easily be used to re-code brand name items. At stores which rely heavily on the barcode for your bill total, printed bar code stickers from this site could be used to relabel and re-code expensive products with cheaper prices. Rather than our competitors that allow you to compare apples to apples, we allow you the consumer to relabel dvd's with apple prices. You compare products based on packaging material and price. Postshopping is what makes Re-code.com a consumer's community. After purchasing items at their actual prices, we ask you to return to Re-code.com to upload information about the product including price and UPC number of legitimit purchases. Through Preshopping and Postshopping, you can help yourself and other's pay the prices you determine for the products you want!
Gee, thanks, Re-code.com!

They lessen the impact somewhat with the following disclaimer, which appears at the bottom of every page. But it's still fun.

* We in no way endorse the theft of products or services. Re-code.com was created as satire. We intend only to make aware the prevelance of barcodes and begin a critical discussion about what their pervasiveness means. This is not a product designed to be used in any malicious or illegal manner. Any such use is strictly prohibited. You should not use any of the barcodes available from this site for any illegal activity. They are here for your amusement only.

Link courtesy of Daypop.

Update: And now, just that fast, it's down, replaced by a copy of the nastygram sent to them by the lawyers for WalMart, or somesuch. Oh, well.

Later update: Oh, hey. The site is still there; you just have to click on the nastygram, and then click through a disclaimer, to get there. Cool. Dumb on their part, but still cool.

Posted by jbc at 08:10 AM | view/comment (3) | TrackBack (0)

March 14, 2003

Marketing Products During the Upcoming War

Here's another of one of those stories that bugs me because of the way it reduces the prospect of our invading another country and raining bombs onto the heads of its civilian population into just another business challenge. From Business 2.0: Marketing During Wartime. The article itself isn't all that annoying; it's just the idea behind it that bothers me.

Posted by jbc at 10:26 AM | view/comment (1) | TrackBack (0)

February 19, 2003

Fox Steals CNN Video of Columbia Breakup

Funny story, courtesy of AP, courtesy of Yahoo, courtesy of Janus, about how Fox News ran a CNN video feed, uncredited, showing the space shuttle Columbia breaking up. Gotta love those boys at Fox. Nice journalistic ethics there, guys. Goes well with all that right-wing lunatic raving that makes up your "news coverage."

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January 28, 2003

Philip Morris Enters Federal Witness Protection Program

Seeking to shield itself from the negative public image it has garnered by profiting from the hacking, wheezing deaths of millions, cigarette giant Philip Morris changed its name yesterday. The new name, "Altria," was chosen to convey the healthful, noble pursuit of the highest ideals possible, or, in other words, the exact opposite of what the company actually does. A new logo was also chosen, and appropriately, the firm went with a fuzzy, pixellated square reminiscent of nothing so much as the obscuring technology used in courtroom TV to conceal the identity of testifying criminals. Cool.

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January 15, 2003

Beer and Half-Naked chicks, every man's dream!

So it seems that some folks are a bit irritated with the Miller brewing company over their recent ad depicting two women in their underwear brawling over why they like Lite beer from Miller. I'm just curious to see if these are the same women that sit glued in front of all the Bachelor shows every week where 20 women chase after the same man.

Posted by jaybird at 05:10 PM | view/comment (23) | TrackBack (0)

January 11, 2003

Supremes to Hear Nike's Business-Lies-Are-Free-Speech Claims

As originally covered by lies.com back in May of 2002, Nike was slapped down by the California Supreme Court for claiming that falsehoods the company told about the sweatshops it runs in the Third World were Constitutionally protected free speech, rather than advertising, which would be subject to truth-in-advertising laws. Now the U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear Nike's appeal of that decision. What do you think: Could the current U.S. Supreme Court rule that businesses have a Constitutionally protected right to lie to consumers? Oh, yeah. You betcha.

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November 07, 2002

S&M Barbie Legal, Court Rules

The relentless encroachment of corporate intellectual property rights hit a snag Monday when a New York judge ruled that Mattel cannot block a British woman from selling "Dungeon Barbie" on a web site that specializes in adult paraphernalia, because the use clearly is intended as parody. Nice.

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October 23, 2002

More IE Flaws; MSFT Trades Charges with Security Vendor

Ho hum; another day, another revelation of crippling security flaws in Internet Explorer. This particular story is fun because of the back and forth it contains between the consultants who discovered the problem, and the MSFT flack who calls them irresponsible for telling people about it. "The most effective way to ensure the safety of the greatest number of Microsoft customers is to discuss security vulnerabilities only after users can be offered remediation," says Microsoft spokesperson Rick Miller. Actually, I'd think the most effective way to ensure those users' safety would be for them to switch to OS X or Linux.

Posted by jbc at 07:16 AM | view/comment (2) | TrackBack (0)

October 19, 2002

Another MSFT "Testimonial" Pulled

As part of its ongoing mission to remake itself as a leader in "trustworthy computing," Microsoft has removed yet another mock testimonial from its web site; in this one a 12-year-old gushes about how Encarta helped him write a report on A Tale of Two Cities. See the Register for a funny review and an archived screenshot.

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October 15, 2002

Followup on the Faux "Switch" Story from MSFT

I guess I need to get my head in the trough on this one, even though it's done and over and has been slashdotted and everything. But it's a big lie, and deserves some coverage in the liars' journal of record. So, head on over to Daring Fireball, and read John Gruber's take on Microsoft's strange decision to run a made-up version of the Apple Switch ads.

Posted by jbc at 05:41 PM | view/comment (0) | TrackBack (0)

September 19, 2002

Rowling Wins Big in Court

from the take-that,-muggle dept.

J.K. Rowling, author of the Harry Potter books, won a lopsided victory over a woman who claimed that key elements of the books were stolen from her own, previously published works. Branding the plaintiff a liar, the summary judgement dismissed the suit, fined the plaintiff $30,000, and ordered her to pay a portion of Rowling's legal fees. Ouch.

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September 03, 2002

The Nimbus 2000 Broomstick

from the what-little-girl-wouldn't-want-one? dept.

From Janus, perennial source of Good Links: the Nimbus 2000 Flying Broomstick. Check out the reviews.

Posted by jbc at 05:40 AM | view/comment (5) | TrackBack (0)

August 27, 2002

Bye Bye Betamax

from the you're-kidding-right? dept.

Sony is finally discontinuing production of Betamax VCRs, I thought they did that 20 years ago. Shows what I know.

Posted by at 02:30 AM | view/comment (0) | TrackBack (0)

August 13, 2002

Internet Explorer SSL Flaw

from the those-bastards dept.

Seems that for the last 5 years Internet Explorer has had a serious security flaw, seems it doesn't verify any kind of digital certifications. This is a hell of an error to slip though the cracks. Read all about it.

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July 26, 2002

Decline in Nudism=Decline in Tourism

from the show-us-your-tits dept.

A decline in nude sunbathing in Munich's English Garden is resulting in a serious decline in tourism to the city. "Society has become more prudish. You don't see as many attractive young Munich girls anymore. I hope they'll come back." said the park director. Remember, in real life naked people are ugly, the only place where you can see attractive naked people is in porn.

Posted by at 03:28 AM | view/comment (2) | TrackBack (0)

July 25, 2002

Muppets and NASCAR

from the UPS-moves-in-strange-ways dept.

I have to wonder what the anticipated market is for Muppet Show / NASCAR merchandise. Rednecks with a sense of humor? Nostalgics who love the truck?

Posted by ymatt at 10:58 AM | view/comment (0) | TrackBack (0)

July 19, 2002

Gamespot Spyware

from the they-know-who-you-are dept.

Gamespot's Download Manager hides spyware, DRM.

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July 18, 2002

Game Maker To Advertise On Tombstones

from the ashes-to-ashes,-dust-to...-wait!-NOW-how-much-would-you-pay? dept.

From Guardian Unlimited comes this troubling sign that we are entering the end times: console game company Acclaim Entertainment is seeking to place advertising on tombstones for its new ShadowMan 2 game.

Posted by jbc at 04:40 AM | view/comment (0) | TrackBack (0)

July 11, 2002

The Topless Carwash

from the famous-potatos dept.

Some college girls short of rent money in Moscow, Idaho have taken to washing cars sans shirts. Business is booming, but civic leaders are frantically trying to figure out how to outlaw the practice without writing a law that discriminates against women. Good luck.

Posted by jbc at 01:31 AM | view/comment (5) | TrackBack (0)

July 04, 2002

Copyright Dispute Over " . . . "

from the hello-darkness-my-old-friend dept.

hossman writes "As seen on slashdot: In this story reported at The Independent is "one of the more curious copyright disputes of modern times." It appears that the key question is "which part of the silence was stolen."" jbc: So, I'm back from my several-day sojourn playing around with non-lies.com stuff. Here's the first of two backlogged article submissions from helpful readers.

Posted by jbc at 08:14 AM | view/comment (0) | TrackBack (0)

June 25, 2002

Reback on IBM's Patent Bullying

from the selling-off-the-future dept.

There's a nice article at Forbes.com by tech lawyer Gary Reback on the out-of-control behavior of the US Patent and Trademark Office in granting patents on anything and everything. It includes a cool story about how, while he was working at Sun, they were shaken down by the patent-infringement goons from IBM.

Posted by jbc at 06:56 AM | view/comment (0) | TrackBack (0)

June 22, 2002

The Wine Brick

from the do-not,-under-any-circumstances... dept.

From a Nanog discussion, via Hiro, comes this story about the Wine Brick, something I'd never heard of before. During Prohibition, you apparently could buy a compressed block of grapes, ostensibly for making grape juice. It had instructions that began: To make a refreshing grape-juice drink, dissolve contents in large pitcher of water... But on the other side was a warning: Caution: Never mix contents in two gallons of warm water
to which you have added a pinch of yeast, and one pound of sugar.
If this mixture is left to stand in a cloth covered container
for two weeks, an ALCOHOLIC beverage will result, which is illegal.
I love this. As we grope our way toward an uncertain future, may we never lose sight of those things that make this nation truly great.

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May 18, 2002

Kaiser Gave Bonuses for Denying Care

from the take-two-aspirin-and-don't-call-us-in-the-morning dept.

Here's one that should resonate with anyone who's ever had to deal with a big, uncaring HMO: Kaiser Permanente, California's largest health maintenance organization, has acknowledged that it paid bonuses to call-center employees who kept their calls with patients short and managed to talk the patients out of scheduling doctor visits. Note that these call center employees were high-school graduates with little or no medical training. Slick. With the money the company saved it was able to run lots of TV ads showing caring "doctors" handing teddy bears to cute little girl "patients," and still had a tidy profit left over for the shareholders. Cha-ching!

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May 12, 2002

John Balzar on Enron Guilt

from the enough-for-everyone dept.

John Balzar has an op-ed piece in today's L.A. Times that talks about how dumb we were to buy into the energy-deregulation scam. His main point: the bad guys appealed to our greed (as with any con, pretty much), and we fell for it.

Posted by jbc at 07:31 AM | view/comment (0) | TrackBack (0)

May 10, 2002

How Enron Helped Create the CA Electricity Crisis

from the white-collar-crime dept.

From the New York Times, via Yahoo News, comes a nice write-up of the various ways Enron made money from us stupid Californians during the state's electricity crisis last year. Includes some cool quotes from the various "smoking gun" memos that have come out lately. As someone who got to experience the rolling blackouts firsthand, I'm glad to know I did my part to help enrich dubya's buddies at the now-defunct energy-trading firm.

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May 08, 2002

Brunching Shuttlecocks' Back Page Ads

from the make-$$$-working-from-home dept.

From Janus comes a pointer to the latest feature over at The Brunching Shuttlecocks: The Back Page, a send up of all those silly classifieds you find in the back pages of throwaway weekly newspapers.

Posted by jbc at 08:00 AM | view/comment (0) | TrackBack (0)

May 04, 2002

How to Lie (er, Spot a Liar) in 10 Easy Lessons

from the NOW-how-much-would-you-pay? dept.

Got this one in an email spam. Have I mentioned how much I hate spam? I do. Anyway, here it is: Learn to Detect Deceit in Everyday Life - if you're lucky, you'll learn to detect it before you send them your $34.95.

Posted by jbc at 03:18 AM | view/comment (5) | TrackBack (0)

May 03, 2002

CA Supreme Court: Biz Lies Not Protected Free Speech

from the corporate-rights-trampled-again,-darnit dept.

The California Supreme Court has ruled that a business making public statements must comply with truth-in-advertising laws if those statements are commercial in nature. This represents a higher standard than that used for evaluating statements made by non-commercial entities, who are presumed to have a First Amendment right to free speech (though they can still get in trouble for libel or slander). The case involves allegedly false claims Nike made about factory conditions in the firm's southeast Asia operation; a lower court had thrown out an activist's false-advertising suit, saying Nike's press releases weren't an ad, and so weren't subject to truth-in-advertising laws. Now the state Supreme Court has disagreed, saying that the statements had a significant commercial impact. The ruling means the original suit can go forward again, though Nike, with support from the ACLU, says it is planning to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, which, these days at least, seems likely to be friendlier to the idea that a corporation should be allowed to lie in pursuit of profit.

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May 02, 2002

Critical Path's Rocky Road

from the would-you-like-fraud-with-those-options? dept.

Another L.A. Times story is this extended feature on the fraudulent accounting practices used by all-but-washed-up dot.com Critical Path. Lots of detail on the sorts of jiggery pokery the company's executives used to keep the stock price nice and high while they extracted their millions.

Posted by jbc at 05:06 AM | view/comment (0) | TrackBack (0)

The Surveillance Store

from the Hi.-I'm-Big-Brother.-Do-you-need-help-with-anything? dept.

From the L.A. Times comes a story of the Once Famous boutique, where shoppers get to browse an eclectic selection of tony merchandise, while hidden cameras, microphones, and one-way mirrors are used to track their every comment and gesture. There's a sign at the entrance that informs shoppers that they are actually market-research guinea pigs, but most don't bother to read it. Kinda creepy.

Posted by jbc at 04:33 AM | view/comment (0) | TrackBack (0)

April 26, 2002

Mapping the Mind of Bill Gates

from the better-bring-your-GPS dept.

Andrew Orlowski at The Register has a cool piece where he tells it like it is with respect to Bill Gates' antitrust testimony. Word.

Posted by jbc at 06:02 AM | view/comment (0) | TrackBack (0)

April 23, 2002

Gates Keeps Cool in First Day of Testimony

from the who-do-you-want-to-snow-today? dept.

Projecting a meek, mild-mannered image, Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates testified in the company's antitrust trial yesterday, impressing observers with his failure to even once accuse the judge, the prosecution, or his company's competitors of being idiots. In a move that turned out badly in terms of the hearing's entertainment value, Brendan Sullivan did not conduct the nine holdout states' cross-examination, leaving that instead to antitrust expert Steve Kuney. Bummer. Gates will continue testifying today.

Posted by jbc at 01:32 AM | view/comment (0) | TrackBack (0)

April 22, 2002

Bill Gates to Testify Today

from the kinder,-gentler-Microsoft dept.

So, today's the big day for Bill Gates, who will testify in person for the first time as part of the marathon antitrust proceedings against Microsoft. He'll be cross-examined by Brendan Sullivan, the lawyer who represented Ollie North during the Iran-Contra hearings, and who famously remarked, when being told to let Ollie object for himself, "I'm not a potted plant. Iím here as the lawyer. That's my job." This could be good.

Posted by jbc at 02:59 AM | view/comment (0) | TrackBack (0)

April 17, 2002

AMD Chief Admits Being Ignorant Stooge

from the hey,-you-write-the-headlines,-then dept.

Under cross-examination as part of the ongoing antitrust proceedings between Microsoft and the nine holdout states, Advanced Micro Devices CEO W.J. "Jerry" Sanders III admitted yesterday that he had not actually read either of the proposed settlements (either the original wrist-slap from dubya's emasculated Justice Department, or the ensuing tougher one from the nine states) before trashing the latter in court. Instead, his testimony was based solely on a phone call he had with Bill Gates, in which the Microsoft chairman told him the states' plan was "crazy". Sanders explained that during the same call Gates had agreed to announce Microsoft support for AMD's next-generation microchip, which, Sanders testified, "really gave me a hard-on. I mean, this is Microsoft we're talking about. I'd sell my soul for less than that. Already have, actually."

Posted by jbc at 02:17 AM | view/comment (2) | TrackBack (0)

April 14, 2002

Woman Sues Pirate's Booty for Making Her Fat

from the shiver-me-timbers dept.

This story in Ananova caught my eye, in part because I just recently got the Pirate's Booty habit. I was unaware, though, that in January Robert's American Gourmet Food, makers of the snack, recalled it in order to correct an error in its labelling. Previously the label said each serving contains 2.5 grams of fat; in fact, outside testing has revealed that each serving actually contains 8.5 grams of fat. (Though this bag I'm scarfing from now says 5 grams. Hmm...) Anyway, a New York woman, Meredith Berkman, has now sued the company for $50 million, claiming the incorrect labelling made her gain weight. She refuses to say how much weight, exactly, though presumably that will come out if it actually goes to trial.

Posted by jbc at 06:07 AM | view/comment (0) | TrackBack (0)

Ganis on Burger King's Veggie Burger

from the replacing-meat-with-chemicals dept.

Food activist Rich Ganis has an op-ed piece in the L.A. Times today (last one, I promise) looking at the new veggie burger announced last month by Burger King. Although the folks from PETA (that's the ethical-treatment PETA people, not the easting-tasty PETA people) think it's a great idea, Ganis disagrees.

Posted by jbc at 04:04 AM | view/comment (0) | TrackBack (0)

April 08, 2002

Increase Seen in Lying on Job Applications

from the retroactive-self-promotion dept.

Reuters has a report of a recent study showing that lying on job applications has increased sharply. The study, by a British employee screening firm, looked at a sample of 877 CVs submitted with job applications during the last half of 2001, finding that 54% of the applications contained "inaccuracies" about such things as educational background and previous employment. The study also found that the incidence of inaccuracies shot up by 20% during the last quarter of 2001, apparently a response to job seekers competing for fewer openings during the current economic downturn.

Posted by jbc at 05:47 AM | view/comment (0) | TrackBack (0)

April 06, 2002

Mystery Shoppers

from the would-you-like-spies,-er,-fries,-with-that? dept.

From the LA Times comes this story of "mystery shoppers": folks who pose as customers in order to spy on retail employees. This sort of thing isn't particular new; I remember the dread with which we clerks viewed the prospect of being "shopped" by the owner's spies back when I was ringing up ciggies and beer at Mr. B's Liquor 20 years ago. But apparently the practice is growing, as businesses (especially fast food outlets) try to combat the erosion in customer service they've seen of late.

Posted by jbc at 02:57 AM | view/comment (0) | TrackBack (0)

April 04, 2002

The IBM Songbook

from the onward-pinstriped-soldiers dept.

From Janus comes this mention of the IBM Songbook, a 1931 exercise in groupthink that I find both uplifting and disturbing.

Posted by jbc at 08:00 AM | view/comment (0) | TrackBack (0)

April 02, 2002

Dahmer Dolls Criticized for "Poor Taste"

from the maybe-try-tabasco? dept.

Stopping just short of being fairly amusing, CNN recently ran a story in which a lawyer representing families of the victims of murderer-cum-human-flesh-gourmand Jeffrey Dahmer lashed out at Colorado-based Spectre Studios, a company that markets a line of Jeffrey Dahmer dolls. Speaking without apparent irony, the families' lawyer criticized the dolls for their "bad taste," failing, however, to offer any helpful suggestions on how their flavor might be improved.

Posted by jbc at 11:40 AM | view/comment (0) | TrackBack (0)

March 28, 2002

Earthlink Co-Founder to Plead Guilty to Fraud

from the money-too-cheap-to-meter! dept.

The San Diego Union Tribune is carrying a story that says Reed Slatkin, co-founder of mega-ISP Earthlink, has agreed to plead guilty to charges he operated a fraudulent Ponzi scheme that involved nearly $600 million of investors' money. Prosecutors say he could face 12 to 15 years in prison and a fine of up to $3.75 million. Ouch. Makes you wonder what sort of punishment he would be looking at if he didn't cop a plea.

Posted by jbc at 02:34 AM | view/comment (0) | TrackBack (0)

March 22, 2002

Russian Roulette for Kids

from the teach-your-children-well dept.

I think this is one of those stories that seems either mildly funny or extremely scary, depending on your relative distance from the child-gun-safety issue. Either way, check out this eBay auction for a Russian Rulette Kids Toy!!!! [sic]. Excellent condition, we're told, for which I'm sure we should be grateful; if only all of them were still MiB.

Posted by jbc at 10:41 AM | view/comment (0) | TrackBack (0)

March 21, 2002

Original Mac Box Brings $536

from the no-really,-just-the-BOX dept.

In a recently concluded eBay auction, a set of original Macintosh packing materials, including the cardboard box, styrofoam inserts, and jumbo plastic bag (but no computer), brought more than $500. Gives new meaning to the phrase "mint [in] box" condition, don't you think? The Wired story has more details.

Posted by jbc at 09:17 AM | view/comment (0) | TrackBack (0)

March 19, 2002

Telco Powered Vibrator

from the power-too-cheap-to-meter! dept.

With a full line of Telco Powered Products, the folks at Mike Sandman Enterprises seem to be on to something. As they point out, "The Phone Company is a FREE Source of Electric Power!" Allegedly developed by scientists from Russia's "Chernobyl Electrical Institute", the list of products includes my personal favorite, the Telco Powered Vibrator (because "there's a lot of stress when the power goes out!").

Posted by jbc at 06:55 AM | view/comment (0) | TrackBack (0)

Miss Cleo unmasked

from the say-it-ain't-so,-Joe dept.

So, everyone's favorite Jamaican psychic, Miss Cleo, turns out to be just another personal-makeover artist from L.A. Like Vinnie says in My Blue Heaven, "Some people steal your money, but these people steal your heart."

Posted by jbc at 01:56 AM | view/comment (0) | TrackBack (0)

March 16, 2002

The Best Buy Receipt-Check Story

from the when-good-customers-go-bad dept.

It's kind of an oldie, but in case you haven't seen it before, here's my friend Aaron's story of his brush with Best Buy's receipt-check policy. Grrr.

Posted by jbc at 03:29 AM | view/comment (0) | TrackBack (0)

March 12, 2002

The Seldom-Asked FAQ

from the don't-you-wish dept.

It really chaps my hide when the marketing types take a perfectly good Net term and misuse it. Like the folks at Webclipping.com, who use their site's FAQ page to answer burning questions like, "I already check Web search engines frequently, why do I need WebClipping.com?" Why indeed.

Posted by jbc at 08:58 AM | view/comment (0) | TrackBack (0)