Archive for August 2007

for the Children

August 23, 2007

This is what we are told by folks running questionable, even fraudulent charitable organizations. They put the bite on us by claiming it is for the children hoping the plea will pull at our heart strings.

Here is something that might pull at your brain strings.

When have children ever been sole principles, alone responsible for their own welfare? Okay, I will help you. The answer is NEVER!

Children are members of families. They may not be members of perfect families but most do have some sort of adult supervision.

Charities that minister to CHILDREN while ignoring their adult supervision are overstepping their bounds. There is no higher authority than a child’s parents when it comes to a child’s welfare. Charities that ignore this simple fact may also be ignoring other basic rules of society and family.

Such charities are not helping anyone but themselves and should be avoided like a plague. This includes politicians who claim their efforts are ‘for the children’.

Remember the bigger the lie, the easier it becomes to believe it. That does not make it any less the lie.

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Multiband Antennas in Receive Mode

August 23, 2007

By Muliband I mean antennas that are resonant on more than one band at the same time. This includes nearly all beams which may be the only exception because they exhibit gain and front to back ratios.

Normal wire antennas that use traps, special impedance matching devices like the Windom, or other schemes that allow multiband operation without the need for an antenna tuner, are systems that qualify as multiband antennas being considered here.

While it can be convenient to change bands without need to change antennas we need to realize that such a system allows the receiver to be bombarded by signals from multiple bands in addition to allowing the transmitter to operate without need for antenna tuning.

Is this a problem? Maybe not, but it raises questions about the efficiency of a multiband antenna system. At the very least, such an antenna is far more susceptible to picking up unwanted signals and other noise when compared to a system using an antenna tuner.

The Good Times

August 23, 2007

There seems to be a curious tendency for people to remember the good old days with more relish and satisfaction than what they are experiencing in the present.

Not everyone can identify a ‘good old day’ period of time, but folk older than thirty years of age generally have no problem reflecting on better times in the past.

An even more curious phenomena is that people always seem to remember only the good things. Then they compare those good things to the bad things they are experiencing currently without any consideration for the bad things of the past or the good things of the present.

The result is a completely unfair comparison.

Sometimes we get a chance to visit the old days by going back to the locations of our childhood and adolescence. If less than fifty years have passed there is a better than average chance that those buildings, stores, and haunts of our earlier life are still there waiting our return, maybe.

I recently had a chance to visit my old high school. The high school I attended was in an upper scale neighborhood. At least so it seemed when compared to my lower middle class roots.

The school building was a superb example of 50s architecture and named after a famous personality whoes memory was honored.

Happy memories of graduation were recalled as I drove to the location. When I got there I was shocked to see a ten foot chain link fence encircling the high school and the grounds. The fence was topped with a generous quantity of razor wire. It looked as though the school had been turned into a prison.

I left vowing never again to try and relive days that were forever gone. No, you can’t go back home because the home in your recollections no longer exists.

New Scam

August 21, 2007

Junk messages welcoming you to an unknown service which you did not join. Inviting you to log on to an IP address and set up your personal password etc.

It may be legit. Could be someone is using your email address. Just to be safe I have blacklisted all the IPs involved.

Professional Services

August 21, 2007

Here is a copy of an open letter to Professional Service providers that do direct mail marketing.

We thought you might find it interesting.

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This is an open letter in response to your recent inquiry or mailing.

The number of unsolicited offers of professional services to this address have increased over the years. Generally they originate from vendors unknown.

I am sure you realize that marketing professional services in such an indiscriminent way is somewhat less than professional. It is not unlike marketing door to door. Such marketing might work for selling magazine subscriptions or Girl Scout cookies but it is inappropriate for the services you seek to provide.

You might want to consider the following before continuing to present yourselves in a less than professional manner.

1. If we have never heard of you, your salutation will find a home in the dustbin. We are not referring to brand recognition only. By ‘heard of you’ we are referring to positive knowledge of your services, recommendations of your services from trusted friends who have been your satisfied clients, or really big brand name recognition.

2. You may very well be an excellent provider of services but making the assumption that EVERYONE will want those services raises doubt about your judgement. When it comes to providing professional services judgement is a very important factor. Poor judgement in marketing makes prospects suspect such poor judgement may spill over into the services you seek to provide.

3. Prospects who are smart enough to realize they need professional services are also smart enough to investigate those qualified to provide such services. Such investigation does not include unsolicited referrals submitted by the service provider.

4. There are entirely too many ‘offers by mail’ that are misleading, too good to be true, and downright fraudulent. If you want to be considered a reputable provider of professional services, you do not want to be using marketing tools used by folk out to defraud.

5. Some offers of real estate and financial services are accompanied by an invitation to a ‘seminar’ with the lure of a free supper or lunch. The majority of these offers deal with products sporting sizable price tags or serious investment requirements on the part of prospective clients. In short, these products are in search of people with deep pockets. Unfortunately, people with deep pockets do not spend their time at seminars in search of a free lunch. So here we have a marketing strategy good at attracting people who are not qualified to purchase the products offered.

6. Mailings, handbills, repetitious radio and TV ads, all disclose the possibility that those using these marketing means are desperate for business. It makes prospects wonder about reasons for such desperation. This is particularly true when is comes to professional services of ANY kind. Successful professional service providers already have a client base. They have no need to beat the bushes or offer services to uninterested parties.

7. Congradulations on your sale of the house next door. However; it is not polite to toot your own horn as loudly as you have in your recent mailing to us. It is also somewhat presumptious of you to think that everyone else in the neighborhood wants you to sell their houses as well.

Egg? Rolls

August 17, 2007

For the better part of two decades we have enjoyed a food referred to as ‘egg rolls’. We get them as a side when we buy a oriental dinner. Comes with the take out just like the fortune cookie.

Turns out that what they call ‘egg roll’ is actually just a deep fried cabbage roll. We have discovered that you can make your own without too much effort.

All it takes is cabbage, spices, some canola oil, a large frying pan and soft flour tortillas.

Start by cutting the cabbage in half through the core stalk. Then cut the cabbage off the stalk a bit at at time until you have a pile of shredded cabbage.

Pour a little oil into the large frying pan and bring up to temperature on low heat. Drop the shredded cabbage into the pan. Fill it all the way to the top and more. It will look like a lost cause but the cabbage cooks down considerably. Put a lid on the pan while it is cooking.

Add salt and pepper. Maybe some chili powder, cumin, sage, paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, curry powder and anything else you think might make it taste better. Or just do the salt and pepper. Once cooked the cabbage taste pretty well overpowers all other seasoning anyway.

Let the cabbage cook for about ten minutes or so, then turn it. Use a spatula to bring the oil soaked cooked cabbage up to the top and let the uncooked cabbage contact the hot frying pans surface. It should take about twenty minutes or less to cook the cabbage. Do not let it scorch or burn. Let is simmer on low or medium heat. When the cabbage is no longer crunchy, it is done.

After the cabbage is cooked transfer it to a convenient container and let it cool. It is easier to make these rolls with cabbage that is cool.

Clean the frying pan and add fresh cannola oil to the pan to a depth of about 1/8 inch or less. Let the oil heat with the burner adjusted to medium heat. While the oil is heating, take a tortilla round and load about three tablespoonfuls of cooked cabbage onto the tortilla. Bring up one edge of the tortilla to capture the cabbage and roll it as you might a cigar or cigarette. Push in the ends of the tortilla to keep the cabbage from falling out. Insert a tooth pick to keep the roll from unrolling. Place the roll into the pan of hot oil.

If the oil is hot enough the roll will bubble in the oil and start to cook. Watch it carefully. We are looking for a golden or dark golden brown, not charcoal black. If it burns to black, throw it out and start over.

Carefully turn the roll so that it can cook fairly evenly all the way around. Once it is a golden brown, remove it from the pan and let it cool on a plate.

If you have a deep fat fryer, use it. We have a deep fat fryer too but we prefer to cook this in a pan with a thin layer of oil because we do not want to use all the oil needed by the deep fryer.

One 10 inch tortilla makes a ten inch long roll. That is about twice the length of what we get at the take out so we cut it in half. If you do cut it in half, wait until it is fully cool or the cabbage might fall out.

A hot cabbage roll seems to taste better than a cold one. You can reheat it in a microwave. Just set the microwave on high and timer for 30 seconds. If that does not get it hot enough, do it again for another 30 seconds.

Or you can go to the oriental take out and buy them ready made. The last time I checked they were asking a buck each for ‘egg rolls’. If you need more than a couple, you could save some coin by making them yourself.