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Ramblings from the Marginalized » General


General August 10th, 2008 by HMTKSteve

Car Crash Anatomy, part 1

In the world of life insurance there are two different types of policies; whole life (lasts your whole life) and term life (lasts for a fixed number of years).

When you buy term life insurance you pay a small premium and if you die within the confines of the insurance contract a payment is made to the beneficiary. Normal exclusions include suicide, fraud, war, riot and civil commotion. These exclusions are in place to keep people from scamming the insurance companies.

Whole life is seen as more of an investment opportunity than an insurance policy. The premiums are much higher than in a term life policy but the money invested can be made available to the policy owner before death.

Now I'm not an insurance salesman and I'm sure I butchered a thing or two in my above descriptions. I'm not looking to talk about life insurance but to talk about car insurance.

Anyone who owns a car is the USA has to have some form of car insurance on it or a bond, rates and amounts vary by state.

Most people look at car insurance as a necessary evil. If you want to drive you have to have insurance on your car.

Now, what if we took the idea of investment life insurance and applied it to automobile insurance? What if the premiums you paid to your car insurance company were treated as an investment that you could draw against at a later date?

Do you see where I am going with this?

I think such a thing would lead to more responsible drivers and less fraud. If you knew that any claim you filed with the insurance company would result in a lowering of the cash value of your investment wouldn't you be more likely to drive more carefully? what would be the point of attempting insurance fraud if the only one you are cheating is yourself?

Because most people look at the thousands of dollars a year they "lose" by paying for car insurance they don't have any sympathy for the insurance company when they file a claim or hear about others trying to defraud the insurance company. When you turn it around and make the policy holder an investor and let them know that if they don't get into any accidents or file any claims there will be money left over for them to have at a later date you change the whole relationship.

Now, this is just an idea at this stage and I'm sure there are some problems that I have not even thought of. Think about it though. Car insurance where you got money back for being a good driver! Where can I sign up?

Car Crash Anatomy, part 1 by flickr member Dr. Keats used under Creative Commons License

General May 6th, 2008 by HMTKSteve

I had to go to the dentist this morning and get two cavities filled. It wasn't all bad because the teeth in question had been filled about 15 years ago when I was in the army and they still had the old metal fillings in them.

A few months ago I had to get a filling replaced that fell out. When my dentist replaced it he used a new type of filling that matches the teeth. Yeah, as much pain as I was in beforehand I was very happy afterwards not to see that ugly patch of metal on my tooth.

This is why I went to the dentist this morning in a good mood. I knew I was going to get two old fillings replaced with the new "looks like a real tooth" style of filling.

I'm not a vain person but I do not like for metal to show when I smile. I've had enough dental work in my life to understand the value of a good smile and that is where I am headed.

I know I can't just go in and tell my dentist to replace all of my fillings (too expensive) but every time I go in now I look forward to the idea of another one of those things getting yanked out and updated. I still brush and floss regularly (I guess not regular enough because I still have problems) and it's not that I'm trying to gain new cavities. I just want those old fillings gone.

The one thing I do not enjoy is the novacaine. It was well past lunch before I could actually eat anything. I tried to eat a burrito around lunch time but I failed. I even tried drinking a soda from a can and failed. It's been six hours since the injection and the sides of my mouth still hurt.

I figure in a few days my tongue will get used to the shape of the two new fillings. Just in time for me to go in and get the last two "problem teeth" fixed. After those two that will be it, no other teeth show signs of problems though some of them do still have old fillings.

Tooth-Brush from flickr user get directly down used under Creative Commons License

General April 4th, 2008 by HMTKSteve
Absolut Mexico

What in the world were the makers of Absolut Vodka thinking when they made this ad? Did someone forget to inform their advertising team that the USA is the biggest importer of their vodka? Or should I say "was" the biggest importer of their vodka?

Perhaps the Swedish-French partnership at work here failed to do a little bit of research into the Mexican American War before making this advertising campaign? If they had done a little bit of research they would know that this ad is patently offensive to their biggest importer. What's next, will they create a special German version of this advertisement where all of Europe and parts of Asia and Africa are all under the controlling power of Germany? Would that also be part of an "Absolut World"? Somehow I think not.

Absolut is clearly trying to gain the favor of the Mexican market with this advertising campaign but they screwed up by allowing the campaign to be found out about by those of us who live north of the border.

Take some time to read about the history of the Mexican American War and you may be surprised to learn a few things:

  • Texas was a bit of an Australia for Mexicans. It was garrisoned by Mexicans who were given the choice of "join the army (in Texas) or go to jail".
  • Texas succeeded from Mexico in 1836 and signed a treaty with Santa Anna after defeating his forces. This treaty was never ratified by Mexico.
  • After gaining its independence the Republic of Texas began signing treaties with other foreign powers and also became interested in annexation by the USA.
  • After the war Mexico was paid $15,000,000 for the land awarded to the USA under the terms of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. The USA also took on the burden of $3.25 million in debts that the Mexican government owed to U.S. citizens.
  • A final territorial adjustment between Mexico and the United States was made by the Gadsden Purchase in 1853.

Trying to make a buck off of the growing problems in the South-Western US is a bad move by Absolut. This may be forgotten in a few months but some people will forever change their vodka buying habits over this.

General and Internet December 21st, 2007 by HMTKSteve

I have been using this site as a blog for a little over a year now. In that time I have met many interesting people. Some of them are still blogging while others have moved onto bigger and better things. I'd like to take a moment and list some of the bloggers I have met over the last year.

1. Ohad from the Plugg - I think I met Ohad through the social bookmarking site Digg about a year ago. We had some similar interests and chatted for a while. We still send emails back and forth every few weeks but that is about it.

2. Ryan J. Parker - I met Ryan via John Chow's blog in the comment area. At the time he had some gaming blog with him eating Lucky Charms in the header. Ryan helped me out a few times with some coding problems (damn my old feeble eyes for missing obvious things) and he's a cool guy. I think he won one of my contests too. His blogs have been dead for a while now.

3. Baron - I don't remember if I found him or his blog first. Baron was fairly active on Digg until he got banned and brought back. His blog was a very good read and he even got linked to by Wired at one point. Sadly his blog has turned into a twitter link fest.

4. Jez from Site Logic - I'm not sure where I met up with Jez, it might have been the same place I met up with Ryan. Jez is a sharp cookie and he runs quite a few sites, many of which I am not familiar with. Jex has always been good with some information on SEO and linking strategies.

5. Ben Cook from Blogging Experiment - Ben contacted me a while back when I was looking for guest authors. He sent me a good article and I published it. Since then his own site has really taken off. He had some trouble a short while back dealing with selling a theme (that should have remained private and not posted on site) and his site is always worth a read. right now he is making the rounds on digg with his Lessons on Blogging series.

6. Ms. Q from Q Musings - Another person that I can not remember how I met but I do enjoy her blog. I tried to help her out earlier in the year with traffic and building an audience and I can only think it must have worked because her posts always have a ton of comments attached to them.

7. RT from Untwisted Vortex - I have no idea how I met up with R.T. but it was around the time I was checking out Plime. I reviewed his blog and kept going back. Like me R.T. is a former military man.

If I left you off don't worry, I'm planning to do a few more of these in the coming days.

General November 19th, 2007 by HMTKSteve
boxes for the reception 3

This subject came up in a discussion with some of my friends; why do woman always ask for things indirectly?

A bunch of married guys (and a few with starter wives) were talking about how the woman in their lives never ask for things directly but instead phrase requests indirectly. The most prominent example is the "I sure would like..." phrase used by many a woman.

"I sure would like a cup of tea."
"I sure would like a box."
"If I had a diamond ring on my finger I would be so happy."

And so on...

In contrast the guys would simply say:

"Hey honey, as long as you are up can you get me a cup of tea too?"
"See that box over there? Could you hand it to me 'cause I have a use for it."
"Diamonds? Are you serious? Those things are a racket and they wouldn't even be worth anything if not for the high profile marketing campaigns put on my big diamond miners..."

Yes, I know all about that wacky serious of books that suggests men and woman are from different planets but being from different planets should not force me to buy a universal translator to talk to them!

I think part of this language difference comes from the idea of wants vs. needs. As a man I prefer to be wanted and not needed. I feel that if someone wants you (rather than needs you) it implies a conscious choice. I need food and water to live but I want a roasted chicken and some bubbly water for dinner.

I have met too many woman in my life who desire to be needed. They feel that if a man does not need them he may grow tired of them and leave. This worries me because being a need implies you have no choice. I would not want someone to consider me a need because that means that if something were to happen to me they would be helpless.

As to my earlier topic of discussion I think woman prefer to use the indirect approach to ask for things because they feel that when they get what they are asking for it implies that the man had to do some thinking to figure out what she wanted. It also gives her a bit of deniable plausibility if something goes wrong.

"No, I didn't want that box, I was just thinking out loud."

Image boxes for the reception 3 used under Creative Commons License from flickr user cyancey.

General November 19th, 2007 by Digg
da Vinci with nails

Take a famous drawing of Leonardo da Vinci and reproduce it by banging nails into a piece of wood. AMAZING!

You need to take a look at this. What we have is a guy who copied a famous sketch of Leonardo da Vinci by banging nails (varying heights) into a large piece of wood. You have to see it to believe it!

read more | digg story

Family and General and Parenting Advice October 21st, 2007 by HMTKSteve

A few weeks ago my daughter received an invitation to a sleepover birthday party. I was looking forward to it with great gusto while my wife was apprehensive and nervous. My mind was saying, "awesome! kid gone for the night!" My wife was thinking, "oh no, I'm so nervous, she'll be gone all night!"

Well, the day of the party came and my wife brought her over and dropped her off. My daughter asked her to stay for the party part but my wife told her she couldn't and to have fun.

My wife did take some pictures before she left and let me tell you, there were a lot of girls at this party. I think it was about 19 little eight year old girls running around that house when she left. I don't know what the girl's parents were thinking inviting so many kids to a sleepover party unless they had a stockpile of pain killers in the house! I use to run card game tournaments for kids and I always gobbled down a few pain killers before each event to deaden the eventually pain my head would experience as all those kids would sugar up, open their mouths, and just babble. Being a birthday party you just know there will be a high quantity of sugar flowing through those kids veins.

A little while later my wife and I were relaxing at home (I was relaxing) when the phone rang. My daughter was calling just to say hello and tell us she was having a good time. They had just finished watching the Last Mimzy and were getting ready to watch High School Musical. My wife asked her is she wanted to come home and my little girl said no, she was having too much fun.

The hours went by and we settled down to catch up on the last few episodes of My Name is Earl. Man I love that show! After that I had to do some website maintenance on some of my sites while my wife checked on her eBay auctions. It was nearly midnight when we went to bed.

Within five minutes of going to bed the phone rang, it was my daughter. She sounded far too awake for midnight and she wanted to say good night to us. I handed the phone to my wife and the dialogue changed from "good night" to "I miss you please come and get me!"

So my wife got dressed and brought her home. I guess my little girl is still my little girl for a little while longer!

General October 17th, 2007 by HMTKSteve

Ouch... My tooth hurts.

About a week ago I lost a filling in one of my teeth. I do not know exactly when I lost it but I did notice that the inside of my mouth did not feel right. There was something sharp and a hole where things used to be smooth.

For the first few days everything was OK. I knew I needed to call my dentist but since nothing hurt I waited.

Why did I wait? That tooth hurts like hell right now!

I have an appointment to see my dentist tommorow but now I am wondering if I should have the tooth filled or extracted. It is a molar and dits way in the back on the upper right part of my jaw. Because it is in the back if it was pulled no one would notice. If it was between two teeth there would be no question.

So I'm sitting here, downing pain killers and wondering, "should I have him fill it in or yank it out?"

Tooth-Brush from flickr user get directly down used under Creative Commons License

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