ramblings from the noisedoctor

October 1, 2009

news to file under ‘no duh’

Filed under: family, soapbox, unclear on the concept, useless junk — noisedoctor @ 2:46 pm

I just saw this “news” story on a recent email from Baby Center. Here’s some highlights the article:

Less TV brings more parent-child interaction

Wed, Sep 16, 2009 (HealthDay News) — Parent-child interactions suffer when a television is blaring in the background, a new report finds.

The finding is important because more than one-third of American infants and toddlers live in homes where the television is on most or all the time, even if no one’s watching, researchers say.

The researchers studied how much verbal interaction there was between parents and children, whether parents were actively involved in their children’s play, and whether they responded to each other’s questions and suggestions.

The study authors found that while the TV was on, parents spent about 20 percent less time talking to their children and were less active, attentive and responsive to their kids, resulting in a decrease in the quality of the interactions.

“Although previous research found that background television disrupts young children’s solitary play, this is the first study to demonstrate its impact on the quantity and quality of parent-child interactions,” the researchers explained in a news release from the Society for Research in Child Development.

Eureka! What a brilliant new discovery! Sheesh. Seriously… Someone needed to do a research study to determine this? I guess common sense just isn’t good enough, huh?

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August 14, 2009

now that’s great church stewardship… not!

Filed under: Christianity, people unlike us, soapbox, unclear on the concept — noisedoctor @ 1:56 pm

This news story on the heels of me pondering my church and stewardship.

HASLETT, Mich. – Divine intervention? Or just plain luck? No matter what the circumstances, a Michigan church is $70,000 richer courtesy of the Michigan Lottery. The Covenant Life Worship Center and its 25 members in Haslett, Mich. had one of the second-prize tickets in the Lucky 7s raffle held May 4.

The $10 ticket was purchased at a convenience store in Haslett, five miles northeast of downtown Lansing. The lottery Web site says the odds of a single ticket winning $70,000 in Lucky 7s are one in 55,556. Michigan Lottery officials say the church will receive the full amount of the prize because it is a tax-exempt group.

Pastor Marilyn Parmelee tells the Lansing State Journal that the prize money will go toward the church building fund, setting up a missionary fund and supporting local community service projects.

I was concerned about my church not taking “free” government money for a geothermal heat system. Here’s a church that takes its money and buys lottery tickets. Wow. That’s great stewardship. I just can’t quite put words together to describe my feelings. I guess I can’t wrap my head around their thought process.

May 28, 2009

and that’s why it was called “the web” in the first place

Filed under: freecycle, soapbox, unclear on the concept, useless junk — Tags: , — noisedoctor @ 8:53 am

In my effort to save an item from the landfill and maybe make someone else’s life just a little brighter, I posted an item on our local freecycle group yesterday. It happens to be a wedding cake top decoration that my wife and I got as a gift before our wedding but never used. To make it easier for people to see what it looks like, I added a link to the manufacturer’s web site so they could see a picture. Makes sense, right? Here’s what I got today from the moderator:

Links are not allowed to be used on this group. Most of the time, link go to a sales site and this is a Free site.
Please use our PHOTO tab for your photos or just add ‘photo available upon request’.

You may repost.

Thanks!

Um… isn’t that what the whole point of the world-wide-web was in the first place? Instead of stealing the image from the manufacturer’s web site and posting it somewhere else, I chose to simply link people to it. And the whole “free” and “sales site” just doesn’t make any sense to me. Interesting, Yahoo hosts the freecycle group page and there are plenty of links within Yahoo to services they sell. Actually, there’s 3 “sponsor results” on the yahoo group site. So, the difference would be???

I just can’t help but think of Jesus and the religious “establishment” he challenged time and again. They took God’s law and built up all these traditions around it–some good and some not so good. Here our local power-hungry moderator has added a whole set of rules (ala traditions) on top of the freecycle.org guidelines (ala law). And, yes, there’s nothing in there about not posting links, I checked.

May 19, 2009

not impressed with the arbor day foundation

Filed under: gardening, lame companies — Tags: , — noisedoctor @ 11:34 am

I decided to “join” the Arbor Day Foundation (TM). To be accurate, I decided to take their 10-flowering-trees-for-$10 offer that I keep getting in the mail. And, for responding right away, I was to get a free bonus bush of some type. Yippie!

Now, I’m a realist. I know for $10 I wasn’t going to get massive, local-nursery-quality trees in the mail. I expected to get a box of bareroot, dormant trees. The key words in my mind were: box and trees. Okay, trees and box.

What I got was a plastic bag with tiny sticks. I’ve used bamboo skewers that were longer and thicker than these alleged trees. That’s not really the problem. As long as they grow (it looks like maybe half of them were actually showing hints of life, the others I’m skeptical), I’m cool with that. If I wanted big trees now, I’d go to the nursery and plunk down $100 and have it. I don’t mind waiting.

What really ticked me off the most was that none of the trees had any kind of label. I have 2 each of 5 different varieties of flowering trees (assuming they live) and no way to know which is which. It would be nice to maybe have some sort of plan to how I put them around the yard. Also, assuming some don’t live (not a stretch to me), I have no way to request them to send me replacements since I don’t know which is which.

Like I said, I wasn’t expecting amazing size and quality here for $10. But… if you can’t label the trees… come on, charge what you need to in order to do a decent job.

so voluntary, it’s required! (part 2)

Filed under: soapbox, unclear on the concept, useless junk — Tags: — noisedoctor @ 10:16 am

Here’s a note I got from my employer recently. I am one of those few oddball people that believe that questionnaires that ask for your “race” is pointless. My “race” is human. Not white, African-American, Hispanic, etc. We’re all one race. So, I don’t fill it in. Ever. And, almost everywhere, that information is optional. It would appear that with my employer, it is optional… sort of. I don’t have to fill it in, but they’ll just go ahead and do it for me. For whatever good that will accomplish. Supposedly the federal government requires this information. Brilliant policy, folks. But, what else would I expect coming from the feds.

A recent audit of [company name]’s Human Resources systems has identified your employee record as having an Ethnic Group value of “Not Applicable” or “I prefer not to disclose.” As an affirmative action employer, [company name] is committed to Equal Employment Opportunity and is required to report race/ethnicity data to the federal government. To assist us in complying with that commitment, please update the Race/Ethnic Group value in your record in HR Online no later than [date]. This information will be kept confidential and will be used for employment compliance purposes only.

The government defines the race/ethnic groups. Please follow the instructions below to update your record with the applicable race/ethnic group value(s). Even though you have had an opportunity to self-identify in the past, the federal government now has additional options from which to select. There is an option to select more than one race/ethnic group if you so desire.

If you choose not to self-identify your race/ethnicity by the aforementioned date, the federal government requires [company name] to determine this information by visual survey and/or other available information. Once [company name] makes a visual determination of your race/ethnicity, your record will be updated accordingly.

[…instructions for how to provide the information…]

Thank you for your time and attention to this matter.

April 8, 2009

do as we say, not as we do

Filed under: humor, soapbox, unclear on the concept, useless junk — Tags: , , — noisedoctor @ 3:19 pm

Yet another example of “do as we say, not as we do” today. I got a 16-page company newsletter/magazine in the mail. Now, I got mine in the mail because I work from home. I assume everyone else got theirs at the office. But, really, that’s a trivial matter. On page 4, I see:

Become an environmental steward

Join the thousands of team members who are already helping improve our efficiency (and profitability) by greening [company name].

Oh… but it gets even better. On the next page in a nice colorful block, under “Five quick ways to ‘green’ your workplace” it says “Print smarter. Encourage team members to print in black and white, print only pages needed and print double-sided.”

Let’s see… I’m holding a 16-page color document. Oh, but at least it’s double sided… Because, gee, I guess it’s easier/cheaper to print a few hundred thousand of these than make a PDF and email it to everyone, huh?

Brilliant.

February 19, 2009

nicely done, fisher price

Filed under: cool companies, useless junk — noisedoctor @ 3:03 pm

In my effort to acknowledge good customer service when I actually receive it, I offer a virtual hat tip today to Fisher Price.

I bought my son a “Little People” “Sail n’ Float Boat” (TM, (r) whatever) for Christmas. Ironically, we only started using it for bath time a week or two ago. After only a few nights use, it stopped working (there”s a button you press and it plays a song). I figured the batteries just conked out. But, when I opened it, it was filled with water. Apparently the seal didn’t work.

I called Fisher Price customer service today (there’s my only complaint with them is there’s no way to email them, phone only). The person I spoke with was efficient, polite, and immediately offered to send me a new boat. No faxing receipts, mailing mine back, etc. I was pleasantly surprised with how easy that was, given how hard most companies make things to handle warranty situations like this.

Very nicely done!

February 13, 2009

everything is a competition

Filed under: family, soapbox, society — noisedoctor @ 11:53 am

Two things caught my attention recently and made me think about this. A few weeks ago, I saw an ad on HGTV for some upcoming show where their show hosts would be in some sort of competition of landscaping/decorations or such. I didn’t really pay that much attention to it. I thought, “You’re having decorators compete? Where does this ‘competition’ thing end?”

Then last Sunday in church, there was an announcement about the kids in the Awana program going to some Bible memorization competition. I’m all for kids learning Bible verses, but is a competition the right method to encourage this? Is it a good message to send to our kids? I don’t know. It just makes me wonder.

It just seems that everything in the world is a competition: singing, dancing, being locked in a house, castaway on an island, etc., etc., etc. Maybe it’s just human nature. I’ve watched my nephews make practically everything in life a competition between them–if they can make bathroom habits a contest, they can make anything a contest.

I guess I’m just pondering “out loud” at this point. It’s something I plan to study and pray about.

February 12, 2009

bad bunny!

Filed under: lame companies, useless junk — Tags: , , — noisedoctor @ 11:37 am

Here’s something I have been meaning to post for a while. Last year, after my son was born, we started using all sorts of toys/gadgets/gizmos to entertain the little guy–all of which eat up batteries. I dislike standard batteries and prefer to use rechargeable ones when possible. I had a good stock of AA and AAA rechargeable batteries. I did not, however, have any D batteries. My son loved a battery-powered swing and I wanted to get some rechargeables for it.

So, I snagged some Energizer rechargeable D batteries at a local store. I’ve been pleased with their AA and AAA ones. But, thankfully, when I got home I decided to comparison shop and make sure I wasn’t overpaying too significantly. One of the first things I hit was at Amazon, and the reviews there pointed me to something that was right on the label, but I neglected to notice and process it correctly.

It clearly says 2500mAh. Wow. That sounds like a lot, right? Not really, especially if you realize that the Energizer AA rechargeable batteries rate at 2450mAh. Also note that the price for 2 D batteries is roughly the price of 4 AA batteries.

What does that mean? It means that they took an AA rechargeable and stuck it inside a big chunk of plastic and sell it for twice the money–hoping people will be (like I almost was) dumb enough to fall for it.

Bad bunny! You should be ashamed of yourself.

February 10, 2009

so voluntary, it’s required!

Filed under: humor, lame companies, soapbox, unclear on the concept — noisedoctor @ 3:39 pm

The company for whom I have worked for the last 1.5 years was bought up at the end of last year. So, we’re going through the process of applying for jobs within the “new” company. No big deal, right?

So, as I’m completing my profile today, I reached a page that said “entering your sex and race information is strictly voluntary…” and “failure to provide that information will in no way affect you…” So, I decided not to enter it. I clicked the “continue” button.

I’m sure you can guess what happened next. Yup. took me back to the page with a red warning message: “You must enter all the information on this page before proceeding.”

So, it’s voluntary for me to provide that information–but it’s required. Brilliant! I’m applying for a job at a company that can’t tell the difference between optional and required. If I were just a few years older I could work as a greeter at Wal-Mart…

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