Ben Edelman, a rather well-noted Harvard Business School professor, had this fascinating exchange with a local Szechuan restaurant:
When we left naturalist and filmmaker Paul Rosolie, we were told that he journeyed to the Amazon, donned a special suit, slathered himself in pigs’ blood, and allowed himself to be swallowed whole by an anaconda on “Eaten Alive,” in a two-hour special produced by the Discovery Channel that would air December 7. Rosolie would be removed from the snake by a cord attached to his suit, presumably before he was digested. Animal rights groups and zoologists objected, quite accurately, that this was cruelty to animals for sport.
What did viewers see on December 7? (I’m sorry: my sock drawer desperately needed organizing that day. I’m basing this on published accounts.) Rosolie found an appropriately large and hungry snake and attracted its attention in the water. The 20-feet long reptile attacked, wrapped around him and then began to constrict. Then the snake started to try to eat the naturalist head first: Rosolie’s helmet camera provided a lovely shot of the anaconda’s gaping throat.
At that point, Rosolie did a terrific imitation of Gene Wilder as “Young Frankenstein” after he had himself locked in a room with the Monster with instructions that nobody should let him out no matter how much he begged. (“Let me out! Let me OUT OF HERE!!! GET ME THE HELL OUT OF HERE!!!….Mommy!” ) Rosalie’s team rushed in and pulled him away, disappointing the snake. Continue reading
I’m in Newport, you see, where I have presented three-hour legal ethics seminars to two large and responsive groups of lawyers, courtesy of AON and the Rhode Island bar. My wife was kind enough to accompany me, and thus instead of returning from a seminar to a lonely hotel room and endless hours surfing cable TV, I am actually enjoying my surroundings for a change, driving around, checking out galleries, walking along the shore. The only persistent problem is meals. By the time I finish the seminar, talk with participants, get back to our bed-and-breakfast in scenic Newport and walk Rugby (he’s here too), it’s invariably 2:30 0r later; by the time we drive to Iggy’s or Flo’s (double yum) for clams, it’s 4:00, meaning that dinner is up against the hard, generally 9 PM deadline most kitchens observe around here, and the fact that I’m as fried as the clams we ate and barely able to move. This makes carry-out mandatory, but time is tight.
By this time we’re sick of pizza and sandwiches, so after perusing the options, and there goes another 20 minutes, we arrive at the perfect solution: the well-regarded Asian restaurant Kio’s, which is close by (everything is close-by; this is Rhode Island), delivers, and, it announces on it’s website, I can order on-line! See…
We are adding Online service to Kio’s Chinese Cuisine in Newport, RI. You can now online order your favorite chinese dishes such as Chicken Chow Mein, Shrimp with Cashew Nuts and Sauteed Mixed Vegetables. Order online is easy and fun. We provide fast Delivery too (minimum order $10). Order Now!
For the special experience of ordering online at Kio’s, try the link. There’s the tantalizing menu, but oddly, clicking on the various options accomplishes nothing. You will search in vain for a form or anything else that suggests “on-line order,” much less “easy and fun” on-line order. Continue reading
See that young black man in the photo above, gracing the cover of the University of Wisconsin admissions brochure? The one apparently cheering for the Badgers at a Wisconsin football game? His name is Diallo Shabazz, and as a student at the school in 2000 had never been to a game in his life when someone photoshopped his head into a crowd shot to let potential applicants know how diverse the University of Wisconsin was. This infamous incident, which Jon Stewart had a ball with in the day (is the Daily Show really that old?), is apparently more the norm that we thought at the time.
Tim Pippert is a sociologist at Augsburg College in Minnesota. He and his researchers looked at more than 10,000 images from college brochures to compare the racial composition of students in the pictures to the colleges’ actual demographics. They discovered that diversity, as depicted in the brochures, was over-represented. “When we looked at African-Americans in those schools that were predominantly white, the actual percentage in those campuses was only about 5 percent of the student body,” Pippert told NPR. “They were photographed at 14.5 percent.” Continue reading
I am looking at a box of “premium dog treats” that my sister gave Rugby, my Jack Russell Terrier. (All right, she gave the stuff to me to give to Rugby.) The box says that they are “ridiculously delicious.” I have just offered him one of the “natural wellness nuggets” because we are temporarily out of regular dog biscuits and he is clamoring for his afternoon snack, driving me crazy in the process. You don’t want to be in the room when a Jack Russell clamors.
He refuses to touch it. In the past, he has spat them out; occasionally he will throw them around the house like an Olympic discus thrower would do if he had no arms and could only use his mouth. Clearly, Rugby doesn’t believe the damn things are edible. Continue reading
While we’re on the topic of euphemisms, I want to show you one of the most intriguing.
The purpose of euphemisms, as in the case of the two in the recent Ethics Alarms Quiz, is often to avoid legal consequences. The Bush Administration didn’t want to brazenly violate the treaties it has signed banning torture, so it came up with a description of torture that made it seem like something else. President Obama doesn’t want to be accused (though he is anyway) of joining a war without Senate consent, so his Administration is calling the Libyan adventure a “kinetic military action.”
But they are both amateurs compared to the on-line marketers of brass knuckles, those deadly metal devices one puts over one’s fingers to give an adversary the beating of his soon to be shortened life. Brass knuckles are illegal in many countries, and in most states here; their sale is also prohibited in various ways, and as weapons, they are subject to other regulations. The companies that sell them on-line, however, get around all this by calling them…
Paperweights! Continue reading
A recent perusal of some developments in the ghastly realm of false advertising suggests several conclusions:
1. Too many merchants and vendors traffic in deceit, misrepresentation, and out right lies in order to separate trusting customers from their money.
2. The law is a pretty blunt instrument when it comes to controlling this. Too many tricks and tricksters, seldom enough evidence.
3. The ancient common law rule of “Let the buyer beware!” is less a warning to gullible purchasers than it is a green light for unethical business practices.
4. For every instance of dishonest advertising that is stopped, there are probably hundreds that slip by.
5. Anti-government types looking for legitimate uses of taxpayer funds for critical government regulation of private enterprise should start here.
For example: Continue reading