Monthly Archives: December 2021

A&W’s Third Pound burger

I recently heard¬† a disturbing true story that is all too believable. It’s an old story you may have heard, so forgive me if it’s a repeat for you.

In the 1980’s A&W attempted to compete with McDonald’s new Quarter Pounder by coming out with a One-Third Pounder at the same price. It didn’t sell. When consultants were hired and put the question to a focus group the answer was clear: most of the panel thought 1/3 was smaller than 1/4 because 3 is smaller than 4. They thought they were getting less for their money when of course they were getting more with the Third Pounder.

This is not just about marketing or food. It shows how stupid people are and explains a lot of politics today, If people don’t know which is bigger, 1/3 or 1/4, why would we expect them to be able to distinguish lies from truth? It’s a sad commentary on humanity. It makes me wonder whether it’s even worth the effort to try to educate most people.¬† The idea that everyone should be able to go to college is ludicrous. We should be directing more people to skilled trades.

Blacktop Wasteland by S.A. Crosby

Blacktop WastelandBlacktop Wasteland by S.A. Cosby
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Admittedly, I did not give this book a fair chance. I quit after about 30 pages. The dialogue was nearly all Ebonics and the characters, with whom we were supposed to sympathize, were mostly low-life. Sure they were trying to make a legitimate go of it, but the main character was, in plain terms, a getaway driver who collects debts by breaking bones with a wrench. That’s not a set of characters I can get behind.

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Embassy Wife by Katie Crouch

Embassy WifeEmbassy Wife by Katie Crouch
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The author seems unfamiliar with the concepts of logic, plot, and consistency but is a master (mistress?) of description. She vividly brings to life some wacky characters and a fascinating country she obviously deeply loves: Namibia. She provides similes and metaphors up the wazoo, most of them quite amusing, which is appropriate for an instructor of creative writing. The book skirts the line between a comedy and a soap opera as it relates the story of two “embassy wives” trailing their husbands to southern Africa. The ending was confusing and downright ridiculous, but by that point, I’d had days of entertainment from the book and really didn’t mind. I’d long since ceased to expect sharp plot development or believability. What I enjoyed the most was experiencing the unique mix of modernity and age-old African lifestyle that the author knows first hand from having lived there. It didn’t give me a desire to travel there, but I thank the author for providing a taste of that exotic cultural blend.

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Our Biggest Experiment by Alice Bell

Our Biggest Experiment: An Epic History of the Climate CrisisOur Biggest Experiment: An Epic History of the Climate Crisis by Alice Bell
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

There’s nothing particularly wrong with this book, but it wasn’t what I was hoping for. The author delivers what the title promises – a history of the climate crisis. I like science and I’m very interested in the climate crisis and what we can do to prevent it getting worse or deal with what can’t be changed. But I’m not a fan of history. The book sets forth when, why, and how the climate crisis began and when and how it came to be recognized for the crisis it is. Scientists and amateurs alike are named and credited. That much I expected and was willing to plow through, but I expected it to be brought right up to the current day and to discuss what is being done to deal with it. Unfortunately, near the very end the author comes out and says that as a historian she shouldn’t be writing about anything within the last ten years because there’s no perspective, so she stops there. What!? She does end with a chapter of her own views and speculations, but it tends to be more along the lines of assigning blame and discussing policies and politics, not cures or hopeful avenues being explored. In other words, it’s all history, not science.

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The World’s Finest Mystery and Crime Stories: Fifth Annual Collection by Ed Gorman

The World's Finest Mystery and Crime Stories: Fifth Annual CollectionThe World’s Finest Mystery and Crime Stories: Fifth Annual Collection by Ed Gorman
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I found this book disappointing. I read the first five or six stories and not one of them caught my interest. They weren’t mysteries. They were crime stories, I’ll grant that, but if you’re looking for detectives (police or amateurs) sleuthing and putting together clues and solving the crimes, you won’t find that here. At least not in the first several stories. They all consisted of someone committing a crime and either getting away with it or getting his comeuppance.

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