28 March 2010

Why You Should Read Reviews

The Advertising Line

The HoMEDICS Neck and Shoulder Massager (with heat) promises, “an invigorating massage that provides soothing heat right where you need it most. The massager flexes to comfort your neck and shoulders – allowing you to sit back and indulge in a relaxing massage.”


I bought the massager for my wife as one of her birthday gifts. She had been suffering from a stiff, sore neck, and I thought something like this would be perfect to help her relax those tense muscles. The unfortunate reality is it did anything but.

My wife tried it out and didn’t like it. I tried it out and didn’t like it. I also felt it would be a disservice to humanity if I didn’t warn my fellow Earth dwellers that it is really a malevolent mind control device designed by super intelligent mutant moles who throughout their lives have suffered from mankind’s cruelty at the hands of jackhammer operators who literally rocked their world… and not in a good way.

The “invigorating massage” was less of a massage and more of a high-frequency vibration. Think of your cell phone sitting happily on the dresser without a care in the world, then vbRRRRRrrrrRRRRrrr – it jitters toward the edge and certain doom. I always assumed it was the intense vibration causing the phone to move like that. I was wrong. In fact, cell phones have become so advanced that they now experience a low form of self awareness. When you put the phone on vibrate its innards get violently shaken about so fast that all it can think about is somehow making it to the edge, toppling over the precipice and ending it all. It – just – can’t – take – it – anymore.

This is the same sensation you can purchase in a box with the HoMEDICS Neck and Shoulder Shake-your-eyeballs-in-their-sockets-so-fast-everything-goes-blurry-and-you-want-to-curl-up-in-a-ball-and-vomit-then-pass-out Massager.

Yes, you too can pay good money for that experience.

Fortunately, you don’t need to pay anything. To duplicate this phenomenon in the comfort of your own home all you have to do is cross your eyes as hard as you can until you feel a headache is inevitable, you are disoriented and queasy; then while remaining cross-eyed, violently shake your head side to side as you jump in the air and spin in circles as fast as you can. You will know you have achieved the desired result when you crash to the ground head-first and puke a little bit in your mouth. You swallowed it back down, didn’t you? Gross.

On a lighter note, the heating bit actually works as advertised. The only problem is that the unit is so bulky that if you try and sit back to relax, your neck will be shoved forward at such an angle as to not only nullify any soothing effects, but actually worsen the pain. Oh, and if you sit up it falls away and loses contact with your neck, so all it becomes is gaudy neck jewelry… with a trailing AC adapter plugged into the wall. You saw the picture.

This is not a fashion trend I expect will become faddish anytime soon.

THE POINT TO THIS WHOLE POST is that I could have saved myself time, money, and discomfort by simply doing a Google search, finding the product at Wall-Mart and reading the unhappy reviews. Here are some of my favorite quotes:

After we tried it...we agree that it wasnt worth it because the vibration was soo hard that it made our brains go crazy. Now we're getting a headache if we choose to use it.

“It was clutzy.
Didn't form in a comfortable position.
The HEAT button didn't it
had NO heat.
I returned it to Wal Mart for refund.
Had no problem doing so.
It is something I would NOT suggest
to anyone to buy.
Cheap and very un-comforatble

“We both were so excited about the product thinking it would work beautifully. It does vibrate and is very loud around the ears so hard to hear persons talking or the tv sounds.

“This was ok if you like your head to be shaken off of your neck!! I had a headache and felt nauseated for quite a while after trying this for just a minute or two. Impossible to relax with this. The heat isn't noticeable! It only has two settings, low and high. Even low is not comfortable!! Don't waste your money. It is pretty stiff too, so it doesn't conform to your neck very well, either

And it goes on…

Bottom line: If you are a masochist (or sadist that likes gift-giving), run out and buy two TODAY. If you are an activist, write Al Gore and tell him to forget “global warming,” we’ve got a bigger problem on our hands. If you have sympathy for the human condition but simply don’t care enough to motivate yourself to take an active part in the struggle against 21st Century over-the-counter torture devices, blog about it. Otherwise, if you are a normal person, just don’t buy one.

18 March 2010

The Burger King Identity

I went through the Burger King drive through yesterday. While I am not a frequent BK visitor, I go more often than I would like… or should. Breakfast was going to be one ham omelet sandwich (hamlet = $1). I don’t like the honey butter on my sandwich, so I asked for it without. At this point, the lady on the other end of the order terminal said, “Oh, now I recognize your voice. Is that you?”

Uh… how do I answer that? I was pretty sure I was me, so I answered a monosyllabic, “Yes.”

Once I pulled up to the window, however, I learned that I was in fact not myself; and the proper response to her query would have been, “No. I am not me. I am in fact someone else who is still me, but not that me at all… nor am I schizophrenic… at least I didn’t used to be.” Then, following proper small talk etiquette, I should have returned the question to show I am courteous and caring. “How about you? Are you you today?”

I’m just glad that whoever I am, I got my hamlet sans honey butter.

14 March 2010

Daylight Savings Time: The rest of the story

Spring forward, fall back. That’s how I was taught to remember it. Oh how deceptive those terms are.

Spring forward

All light, airy and worry-free, it sounds like we’re making some real progress here; getting ahead in life, taking an extra turn in Monopoly, skipping past opponents in Candyland, or nearing the finish in that never-ending game Chutes and Ladders. However, nothing could be further from the truth. The truth is much darker – depressing in fact. The reality is… you LOSE. That’s it, lose; not win. We’d call you a loser, but that term isn’t PC, so we will call you winning challenged. And just what did you lose oh winning challenged one? You lost an hour. Where did it go? Did you get anything in exchange? No, sir, you lost. Go straight to jail, do not pass GO, and do not collect $200.

Fall back

Just the opposite here – fall back, as in retreat, as in you are being defeated. Your army is losing. Men are dying. Or even if it’s not as bad as death, you’re still trying to get away. Run away, little boy, the bullies are coming for you. Your hair looks like it could use a swirly and they found a toilet with your name on it. There is nothing pleasant here at all. Or is there? When we fall back, we actually get a GIFT! We are given an extra hour.

“Excuse me, sir, I’d like to purchase that set of 24 hours on the top shelf there. That should be enough to get me through until Monday…”

“Great, and as a one-time special offer, with today’s purchase we are throwing in one extra hour, free of charge!”

“Wow! I feel like I’ve won the lottery! I’ve never won anything before in my life.”

“So, what are you going to do with your extra hour?”

“I’m going to Disneyland!

09 March 2010

The Cleanup Game 2.0

You likely played it as a child, and if you’re a parent you have probably used it to motivate your own kids at one time or another. There are likely millions of versions, each with unique rules and rewards. Today I will tell you about one that works for me.

My kids are fascinated with electronic games, and their pretend-time play often turns into something like LEGO Star Wars characters battling in far off reaches of the galaxy. Unfortunately, but not surprising, they are far less enthusiastic about cleaning up their messes.

One particularly unenthusiastic day, I was trying (quite unsuccessfully I might add) to get them motivated to clean the playroom. The usual bribes, threats, and daddy-evil-eye only increased the weeping, wailing, and general gnashing of teeth. As a last-ditched attempt,

I announced the beginning of a NEW cleanup game.

Since they were just starting, they were all at level one and would have to work their way up from there. Level one consisted of picking up five toys and putting them away properly. They would then have to return for further instructions. Intrigued, the three oldest ran to complete level one. Independently each would scurry back to report and their eyes would light up as I told them they had now advanced to level two.

“How many toys for level two?” they asked.

“Ten!” I declared.

Eyes-wide they ran off to complete level two. Moments later, three kids ran back and excitedly reported that they had each put away ten toys.

This went on and on with different toy amounts anywhere from 5-15 until the room was clean. Each time their zeal began to wane, I would announce they had reached a special achievement level and had earned the title of “Advanced Toy Cleaner-upper,” then “Expert Toy Cleaner-upper,” and finally “Super-duper Toy Cleaner-upper.”

The only potential downside with inventing a cleanup game that kids actually enjoy is you will likely be asked to play it again in the future – a small price to pay for happy helpers.

This post is linked at RocksInMyDryer.

03 March 2010

Too little time so here's another freebie

Work and home life has me quite busy this week, so here's something I ran across today I thought you might also enjoy. It's from the Onion.

02 March 2010

Free web hosting for your site

I have recently started a kid-friendly website at It’s still in the construction stages, but open to the public. But that’s not what my post is about. It’s about the web host. I considered paying for one since most free web hosts had forced ads, very little storage space and/or allowed bandwidth, or extremely limited features. I tried a few and finally found a great fit at You can pay $4.84/mo for premium hosting, but since you get 1500 MB of disk space and 100 GB per month of bandwidth I haven’t found any need to upgrade.

Free web hosting works for me.

This post is linked at Works For Me Wednesday

Disclaimer: I just realized this completely sounds like an ad or that I am in some way affiliated with the company. I'm not -- just happy with their service and wanted to share the joy. Here, have a bit of joy. You're welcome.


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