Are We Still Evolving?

This week for “You Want to Know” we’re addressing a question put forth by viewer and commenter “MeanBlackDude” about whether humans have reached the end of their evolution. We go over the history of man’s evolution and the possible futures, as well as some recent adaptations to the human race. How will the evolution of humans progress in a Mars colony? What about the singularity?

5 Top Fidget Toys

Fidget toys are huge right now, especially the fidget spinner. I got five of the most popular toys and tried them out, compared them, and judged them on their merits or lack thereof. There are two clear winners, one solid choice, one that’s “OK”, and one that sucks.

Before Toilet Paper – How Did People Wipe Their Butts?

If you live in a country where you have enough time to casually watch this video, you probably use toilet paper. It seems like the “always been that way” answer to how we clean our butts. But that’s not true, toilet paper has only been around for less than 200 years. Well… OK, MODERN toilet paper, the Chinese have had it much longer. BUT… BUT… BUTT… Toilet paper that wouldn’t put splinters in your posterior didn’t exist until 1930.

12 Daily Time Wasters

We all do things we don’t really need to do. We can all be more efficient. It’s a shame to waste your day on silly stuff, and this video lists twelve things that are simply not worth doing (usually anyway) because they just waste time.

Did Adam and Eve Have Belly Buttons?

Did Adam and Eve Have Belly Buttons?  –  The World’s Most Popular Navel Debate – Assuming there WAS an Adam and an Eve, there wouldn’t have been need for an umbilical scar for either of them, right?  Or maybe…

Why Are Certain Words Deemed “BAD?”

Why Are Certain Words Deemed “BAD?” – Curse Words – Swearing – Expletives. The question this week was submitted by Grandma Arby’s. Oh, and this episode is what I’d definitely call not safe for work – NSFW. Let’s look into a little expletive history to learn more about swearing.

7 Album Covers Banned or Cancelled

7 Album Covers That Got Banned or Cancelled – What seems like a good idea initially doesn’t always work out that way. Censor problems, logistics, and marketing opinions… that’s rock and roll. Bob Marley, Blind Faith, Chumbawamba, Kanye West, The Sex Pistols, Bon Jovi, and The Beatles.

Murder in Space? What Laws Apply?

What if you were to commit murder in space? What country’s laws would apply? What about Lake Constance? Australia? When does Maritime law apply? Is there such a thing as space law?
Here’s the CGP Grey video I referenced:

MagnaWow 54 Piece Set – Toy Review

This MagnaWow 54 piece set is a hit with young kids and their not-as-young parents. While encouraging creativity and imagination, they also help kids understand geometry and how to build stable structures. If you already have similar magnet tiles from MagFormers, Magna Tiles, or ShapeMags, these tiles are 100% compatible. The included tote box makes clean up easy and lets you take the set on the go if you want.

Find MagnaWow on Amazon ➜ http://amzn.to/2oCDyR4

Dwarfs, Giants, and Buggy Eyes

Dwarfs, Giants, and Buggy Eyes – 5 Actors Who Made the Best of Physical Differences – Peter Dinklage, Marty Feldman, DJ Qualls, Andre the Giant, and Michael Berryman all embraced their physical differences to craft their acting careers. I also throw in a special mention of Adam Pearson and the Munchkins.

Lamborghini – Built to Spite Ferrari

Lamborghini – Built to Spite Ferrari – Ferruccio Lamborghini was the owner of a successful tractor company and a sports car enthusiast. He owned several sports cars from Alfa Romeo, Lancia, Mercedes, Jaguar, and Maserati, as well as some Ferraris. Frustrated with fragile clutches in his Ferraris, he approached Enzo Ferrari about his complain, who turned him away. Lamborghini repaired his 250GT with a clutch from a tractor, which worked better than the original, and after that decided to start a sports car company to spite Ferrari.


Audioblocks has license free music and sound effects for your YouTube, podcast, and other projects. There’s also a great selection of loops to use royalty free.

What I Learned Making Daily YouTube Videos

Let’s talk about the video making process. I share some tips and observations I picked up from doing daily videos in March (March Madness, no VEDA for me, haha). Have you got any advice yourself? Share it in a comment or with a video link!
Here are the three other channels I mentioned
Nick Nimmin ⭐ http://youtube.com/nicknimmin
Brian G Johnson ⭐ http://youtube.com/briangjohnsontv
Tim Schmoyer ⭐ http://youtube.com/videocreators
Here’s the Dyson my wife was hugging in that clip 🙂

Lawn Mower Accidents – Overlooked Dangers of Yard Work

Lawn Mower Accidents in the USA – The United States leads the world in lawn mower accidents and fatalities. Most people take lawnmowers for granted, not recognizing the dangers, especially with riding lawn mowers. Mowing without proper attention to yard work safety can lead to minor injuries, accidental amputation, or even loss of life. Mow safe!

Dead Sea Mud Mask

FIND IT ON AMAZON ➜ http://amzn.to/2nFLocd
Dead Sea Mud Mask review – I bought this for Carolina… um… I mean Santa brought it… for Christmas. I liked the idea and bought some for myself too. I’ve used it a couple times, this is Carolina’s first time using it. It’s a face mask made of mud from the dead sea, with dead sea minerals that are supposedly good for skin care. We’re not skin care experts. Perhaps you already gathered that 🙂

Daughter Injures Herself on First Live Stream

For today’s March Madness entry, a little something different. Dad and daughter try to figure out YouTube live streaming… or is it livestreaming, as in all one word? Kind of an on-air family vlog, but with an unfortunate trampoline injury (she’s fine). What a first experience with mobile live streaming, right?

$156,450 Vinegar – Thomas Jefferson Wine Bottles

Both Malcolm Forbes and Bill Koch have bought bottles of Chateau Lafite supposedly once owned by Thomas Jefferson. Problem is, the Thomas Jefferson Wine Bottles were frauds. Forbes paid $156,450 for his fake bottle, the most expensive wine ever sold.

Dating at a Price – WhatYourPrice.com

Web developer and nerd Brandon Wade seems to have come up with the perfect solution for men who have problems interacting with women. He’s invented a way for men to get female companionship by paying for it! How new and novel it THAT, right? WhatsYourPrice.com is his site that matches up “generous” men with “attractive” ladies when those men place the high bid. It’s like eBay for meeting women! It’s totally not a sugar daddy website (he actually runs one of those too) and it’s totally not the oldest profession in the world, ’cause they said it’s not.

Calico Cats are 99.99% Female

Calico cats are a kind of domestic cat with white, black, orange, and grey markings. They are almost all female. Male calicos are rare. It’s all about the chromosomes. The cat needs either xx chromosomes or xxy chromosomes. There is a 1 in 3000 chance of a male calico cat.

5 MORE Random & Unrelated Facts!

I liked the last random facts video I made, so I decided to make another one. This time about how rats like to be tickled, ancient Romans sweetened their wine with lead sweetener, and how Sea World has medicated orcas. Cool facts for March Madness.

Selling You Soul on eBay?

There has been at least one soul sold on eBay. Since then, the rules have changed. It’s officially against eBay policy, so you’ll have to make your pitch somewhere else on the internet. One author, Hemant Mehta, sold his soul to a retired holy man for less than $600, but he got a book deal out of it.

Worst School Bus Route Ever

Point Roberts, Washington is a town of about 1300 on the end of the Tsawwassen peninsula. There are no schools in town that teach kids older than 3rd grads so kids but to another US townl… Through Canada!

10 Absurd Automobiles

Ugly cars… silly cars  – we need then to appreciate the nice cars, right? Or maybe not. Here are 10 absurd automobiles that will make your head shake. From the completely pointless Suzuki x90 to the much loved but bizarre BMW Z3 M Coupe.

Popeye Stroked His Chicken

Popeye the Sailor Man is someone you know as a man who gets strength from eating spinach. Every time Olive Oyl gets herself in a jam (pretty much every episode), Popeye tears open a can of spinach and saves the day. But there WAS a time when Popeye got strong from stroking a chicken. More importantly though, who are the true parents of that kid Swee’Pea?

Ladybugs – Vicious Killers

Ladybugs are not very lady like as far as bugs go. These lady bugs eat like cavewomen in fact. They take their prey still alive, munching away regardless of the kicking and screaming. Oh, and if they run out of aphids to eat, they’ll straight up turn to cannibalism. These cannibal creatures will eat baby ladybugs or even other adults.

Taste Buds on Testicles

Researchers at the Monell Chemical Senses Center have discovered that men’s testicles have taste buds! They’re not yet sure what taste receptors on testicles would be for, but it’s apparently related to spermatogenesis.

Barbie – Her Struggle With Normal

The Barbie doll has been criticized as an over-sexualized influence rather than a positive image of women. Lately, Mattel has release a selection of curvy Barbies. They’re part of the Barbie Fashionistas line of toys and they’re supposed to represent a more realistic body image.

You Can’t Cheat Sleep

Sleep deprivation is no joke. You can’t cheat sleep. Exhaustion is the most obvious symptom, but that’s only the tip of the iceberg. Turns out, you have a physiological need for sleep. Without it, your cells don’t function properly, you stress your heart, and you can have sleep deprivation hallucinations. Plus, when you’re tired, your brain doesn’t function correctly, making it harder to remember things and also making you accident prone.

Canon Lens Review – 10-18mm EF-S f/4.5-5.6 IS STM

FIND IT ON AMAZON ➜ http://amzn.to/2mPDvyW
The Canon 10-18mm EF-S lens seems to be the lens of choice for selfie vloggers. It’s a great wide angle lens for not a lot of money. Better yet, it’s lightweight. It focuses super quietly (I SHOULD HAVE MENTIONED THAT IN THE VIDEO, DOH!) and has image stabilization.

5 Random Unrelated Facts

5 random unrelated facts including weird stuff about the Three Stooges (more than just Moe Larry and Curly), the plastic thing at the end of your laces, and Captain Kangaroo. Cool facts for March Madness.

Pie on Pi Day – A Real Holiday!

Pi day, or “pie day” is March 14. Get it? 3/14… or 3.14. Nerdy, yes, but fun. In 2009, the US Government actually made it a real holiday. They didn’t get anything ELSE done that year, but who cares when you can have PIE! Celebrate Pi Day 2017 with pie! Get out and find yourself some Pi Day deals!

From the Mind of a 4 Year Old

Something a little different for tonight, mainly because a skunk made my office shed smell like… well… skunk. This is a peek into our family vlog (TheMastBroadcast) and a bit of the vibe we often hit on our review channel as well (StuffWeUseNet). Basically, I just asked my four year old daughter what she likes. Things that make her happy, which in general are things that make a lot of kids happy, especially little girls. Next video we’ll be back to the “Christopher in front of the bookshelf” format, skunk spray or no.

Dyson V8 Absolute – Vacuum Vlog

FIND IT ON AMAZON ➜ http://amzn.to/2lMThNv
Dyson V8 Absolute – Vacuum Vlog
Unboxing and Demonstration Family Style
That’s an affiliate link, which means at no cost to you, I do receive a small commission for sales resulting from this link.

Electric Cars are Charging Ahead

Electric cars aren’t a new thing. There have been electric cars as long as there have been cars. They’re quieter and usually faster than their gasoline equivalent and there’s very little to maintain, as long as the software doesn’t bug out that is. Tesla, Nissan, Chevy, and BMW have already invested heavily in the technology, with Volkswagen and Hyundai gaining ground. Even Jaguar plans to make an electric sports sedan soon. It seems the general public is becoming more comfortable with the idea of owning an electric car.

Pink Eye

Pink eye, or conjunctivitis as it’s known medically, is an infection or inflammation of the eye, often accompanied by redness, watering, nasty discharge, itching, and frustration. There are five types of pink eye, including viral conjunctivitis, allergic conjunctivitis, chemical conjunctivitis, inclusion conjunctivitis, and bacterial conjunctivitis.

GTFO Evacuation Guide

*NOTE* Regarding the comment about stealing a car – Don’t do that on a general evacuation order pre-disaster of course. I’m not advocating car theft… But if there’s a fast-spreading fire, an incoming tsunami, or gremlins running around everywhere, I still say you’re better off facing whatever legal consequences may happen from taking a car ALIVE than being dead. Oh, and take one nobody’s trying to use, don’t be a freakin’ carjacker. Zombies, fires, monsters, aliens, failed governments… What are you going to do when the poop hits the fan? In the case of a natural disaster, fire, zombies, or giant ants, when you need to evacuate, planning ahead for your escape could mean the difference between life and death. A backpack with the right prepper supplies is key. Get the right survival pack together and your chances are better to bug out.

Here, I’ve done your prepper shopping for you. You’re welcome:
Backpack – UNIQEE Tactical Backpack – http://amzn.to/2m6BNKE
Beef Jerky – Naked Cow Beef Jerkey – http://amzn.to/2m6kw4q
Ramen Noodles – Nissin Instant Ramen – http://amzn.to/2mPN54a
Water Purification Tablets – Aquatab Water Purification Tablets – http://amzn.to/2mPTMUe
A Canteen for Water – Military Issue 2 Quart Canteen – http://amzn.to/2moje5w
First Aid Kit – Forge Weekender Kit – http://amzn.to/2m549Dq
Duct Tape – 3M Duct Tape – http://amzn.to/2mQ9y15
A Butane Lighter – Scorch Torch – http://amzn.to/2m6yrHx
Maps – US Army Map Reading Handbook – http://amzn.to/2m51Jos
Extra Clothes that are Light and Durable – Legion of Weirdos Shirt Shop!
A Rain Poncho – Coleman Rain Poncho – http://amzn.to/2mojGkd
A Sleeping Bag – Tummah Survival Mylar Thermal Bag – http://amzn.to/2mPIBe6
Rope – Rope – http://amzn.to/2mlQFFB
Baling Wire – Hillman Group 20 gauge – http://amzn.to/2m51Yjt
Two Decent Size Tarps – Dry Top 10’ x 12’ Tarp – http://amzn.to/2mma8pz
A Hat – Columbia Booney – http://amzn.to/2mCSAq2
A Camping Knife – Tac Force – http://amzn.to/2mCQ97b
Disposable Wipes – CleanLife wipes – http://amzn.to/2mCPp1W
Emergency Radio – Running Snail Solar Crank NOAA Radio – http://amzn.to/2m6Ceoj
Walkie Talkies – Komvox FRS/GMRS – http://amzn.to/2mPNqE7

Here’s the American Red Cross first aid kit list:

Star Trek’s Theme Song Had Lyrics

“Theme from Star Trek” (which was originally called “Where No Man Has Gone Before”) was composed by Alexander Courage in 1966. It was an instrumental, but exploiting a purposefully-included contract loophole, Gene Roddenberry wrote lyrics for the song so that he could take half the royalties. Oh, and by the way, the first pilot was completely devoid of William Shatner. Oh, and Spock was originally supposed to be red.

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13 Towns with Scary Names

America’s scariest sounding town names, and a few of them are actually kind of scary. With names like Deadhorse, Bloody Springs, Frankenstein, and Fresh Kills, these are some of the most uniquely named places in the country. Some are ghost towns and some are still thriving.

Homtime C1 Digital Alarm Clock Review

Homtime C1 Digital Alarm Clock with Dual USB Chargers and Indoor Thermostat. It’s perfect in simplicity.

Japan Plans the World’s Tallest Skyscraper

The Sky Mile Tower is a proposed 5,577 ft (1,700 m) megatall building to be constructed in Tokyo, Japan. Part of an initiative called Next Tokyo 2045 fit was presented by Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates and Leslie E. Roberson Associates.  The Sky Mile Tower is to be built on reclaimed land in Tokyo Bay. This proposed reclamation project with the Sky Mile Tower as its centerpiece is dubbed as “Next Tokyo”. The building is designed to be occupied by around 55,000 people. With this building, Japan hopes to own the record of world’s tallest skyscraper.

6 Comics with Hot Wives and Girlfriends

Everyone knows rock stars get the pretty girls. Did you know that rule sometimes also applies to comedians and comedic actors? The wives and girlfriends of the likes of Jerry Seinfeld, David Cross, Larry the Cable Guy, Emo Philips, and Jonah Hill may surprise you.

Thanks to You!

Just a quick note since there’s no review this week… Wanted to thank you for the support you give and surprising me with this channel’s growth, however modest it may be!

The Thylacine – Should we clone extinct species?

The Thylacine, or Tasmanian tiger, was a carnivorous marsupial that lived in Australia until the 1930s when it was hunted to extinction.  Actually, some believe it’s not actually extinct. There have been reported sightings, but no proof. Meanwhile scientists working for a group called Project Lazarus are hoping to resurrect the extinct species via cloning.

Sexist Ads – Vintage Misogyny in Advertising – Coupledom Podcast Preview

This week we did something a little bit different. Carolina and I set up the podcast gear and had a conversation about various vintage sexist ads. The conversation is very similar to our Coupledom Podcast, which is going through a “reboot” starting Wednesday. Come join us for the Misogyny.

Blue Yeti USB Microphone – Music & Podcast Mic for Mac or PC

The Blue Yeti USB Microphone is a plug and play microphone with four patterns – stereo, cardioid, omnidirectional, and bidirectional. It makes a great podcast microphone, it works fantastic for voiceover work, and it’s acceptable for recording music.
That’s an affiliate link, which means at no cost to you, I do receive a small commission for sales resulting from this link.
Capsules: condenser/ pressure gradient
Polar Patterns: cardioid, bidirectional, omnidirectional, stereo
Frequency Response: 20Hz – 20kHz
Sample Rate: 48kHz
Bit Rate: 16bit
Max SPL: 120dB (THD: 0.5% 1kHz)
? FIND IT AT AMAZON – http://amzn.to/2kSxdh1
? Black version is $15 cheaper – http://amzn.to/2kSvKam

D.B. COOPER – Possibly the Most Successful Hijacker

On Thanksgiving eve, November 24, 1971, a man identifying himself as “Dan Cooper” purchased a one-way ticket on Flight 305, a 30-minute trip from Portland to Seattle. Once on board, he notified the crew that he had a bomb and demanded $200,000 cash, four parachutes, and a flight to Mexico. After a stop in Seattle, as the plane embarked on a southward path, Cooper jumped out of the plane with a parachute. He’s never been found. The D. B. Cooper case has been unsolved for over 45 years.
The FBI files on the case: https://vault.fbi.gov/D-B-Cooper%20

Simon – The modern version of a vintage memory game

Simon was a huge hit in the late ’70s. It’s just as fun to play the modern version as it was the vintage memory game. How’s your memory?

5 YouTube Gurus – Grow your channel with the help of these experts

Sources for YouTube tips and advice seem like they’re a dime a dozen, and they are… But here are five experts who stand out in the social media guru genre to provide quality suggestions and tutorials to help grow your youtube channel and grow your brand.
Nick Nimmin – https://www.youtube.com/NickNimmin
Roberto Blake – https://www.youtube.com/robertoblake2
THiNK Media TV – https://www.youtube.com/THiNKmediaTV
Video Creators – https://www.youtube.com/VideoCreatorsTV
Derral Eves – http://www.youtube.com/derraleves

Dying on Stage – The Story of Comedian Dick Shawn

Dick’s son Adam interviewed:
Comedian Dick Shawn was a very well known comedian in the 1960s who performed successfully in nightclubs for 35 years. He also starred in several movies and TV shows. His brand of comedy was often similar to that of Andy Kaufman, but before Kaufman’s time. In 1987, he died on stage while performing a comedy routine. Unfortunately, the audience thought it was part of the act.

Colombia Facts #2 ?? More about Colombia

Colombia isn’t probably what you think it is, especially if you’ve never traveled. What you know about Colombia probably comes from movies, TV, rumors, and crappy Vice.com pieces. The real Colombia is a vibrant and beautiful place with much to offer. Can it be dangerous? Yes, just like Chicago, New York, Detroit, and Oakland. There’s plenty of history and culture to be experienced if you travel there, and you might be surprised to find they have a booming tourism industry! Also, in the more popular areas many people speak English, so you don’t really need to learn that much Spanish. So sit back and take in the fun facts about one of South America’s greatest countries.

The Blackbird – It’s Every Car – CGI VFX Automotive Camera Rig

The Mill Blackbird is able to transform its chassis to match the exact length and width of almost any car. Its electric motor can be programmed to imitate acceleration curves and gearing shifts and the adjustable suspension alters ride height, rigidity and dampening to replicate typical driving characteristics. It helps capture quality footage and data due to its camera array and tailor-made stabilization unit. A combination of high dynamic range imagery and 3D laser scanning generates a virtual version of the environment, producing 100% realistic CG renderings.

Mr Potato Head from Downtown Disney’s Once Upon a Toy ( Disney Springs )

Vacationing in a Disney park is expensive… a small consolation is getting a great deal on Mr Potato Head!

Downtown Disney Orlando
(now called Disney Springs… I got it mixed up in the video)

Downtown Disney Anaheim

Classic Mr Potato Head
Mr Potato Head Bucket
Mr Potato Head Silly Suitcase

The Amazon links are affiliate links, which means at no cost to you, I do receive a small commission for sales resulting from these links.

17 YouTube Tips that Work – Grow your YouTube channel

I’ve been combing through all the vlogs and books and guru channels trying to learn how to get Youtube subscribers and increase YouTube views. This video is about the 17 YouTube tips that have been helping me grow my youtube channel. Also, here are the links I mentioned:
Vickie Eisenstein – http://youtube.com/vickieeisenstein
vidIQ – http://vidIQ.com
Five YouTube and social media advice gurus I like:
Nick Nimmin – https://www.youtube.com/NickNimmin
Roberto Blake – https://www.youtube.com/robertoblake2
THiNK Media TV – https://www.youtube.com/THiNKmediaTV
Video Creators – https://www.youtube.com/VideoCreatorsTV
Derral Eves – http://www.youtube.com/derraleves

German Pilot Spares American B-17 in WWII – Franz Stigler and Charlie Brown

WWII 2nd lieutenant Charles “Charlie” Brown and his crew set off on their first bombing run Dec 20, 1943 in a B-17 Flying Fortress named “Ye Olde Pub”. Shortly into the mission, they were hit by anti aircraft fire and the plane was heavily damaged. Following that, they faced several German fighter pilots, and soon found themselves with three damaged engines, four injured crew, a dead tail gunner, and no radio. Ace fighter pilot Franz Stigler could have taken them down and earned an award, but instead he found himself being a humanitarian.

Google’s Project Fi After One Year – Review

One year in, and I’m still loving the Google Fi service and Nexus 6P phone.

7 Stupid Radio DJ Pranks and Mistakes

The 7 stupidest radio DJ promtions and pranks. From switching prizes to public sex to pranks to just saying awful things, this week we list off the worst radio dj mistakes. From holding your wee to Don Imus and more.

Ciclovia ?? Every Sunday Bogotá Colombia Reserves Streets for Bikes ?

Sundays and public holidays from 7:00 am until 2:00 pm, many streets of Bogotá are blocked off to cars for runners, skaters, and bicyclists. Bogotá’s Clicovia see about a million people participate on over 75 miles (120 km) of car-free city streets.
In 2006, Colombian congressman José Fernando Castro Caycedo proposed a law banning Ciclovia, charging that it caused traffic jams. Ciclovia users and many other politicians protested the change and the proposal was defeated.

Bogotá’s closing these major streets is akin to Chicago closing Lake Shore Drive and Michigan Avenue or San Francisco blocking off Market and Van Ness, but it’s happened every Sunday since 1974. If you find yourself in Bogotá on a weekend, grab a bike and go!

InnoGear Aromatherapy Essential Oil Diffuser

The InnoGear Aromatherapy Essential Oil Diffuser Portable Ultrasonic Diffuser may or may not be a form of therapy, but it does in fact make the house smell nice. Its pretty colors via the LED night light are attractive. It’s also a great night light for kids!
Click here to find the InnoGear Aromatherapy Essential Oil Diffuser on Amazon
That’s an affiliate link, which means at no cost to you, I do receive a small commission for sales resulting from this link.

8 Misattributed Quotes – Einstein Didn’t Say That, Silly!

The internet is full of insightful, humorous, and poignant quotes. The problem is many of them are misattributed. Einstein didn’t say that thing about the definition of insanity. Neither did Mark Twain.

Disgusting Cheese – Casu Marzu – The World’s Most Rancid Dairy Product

Casu marzu literally translates into English as “rotten/putrid cheese.” It contains live insect larvae, specifically the mangos for the Piophila casei cheese fly. The digestive action of the maggots breaks down the cheese’s fats, delivering a more fermented product. The maggots appear as translucent white worms, about 8 mm (0.3 in) long. It’s created by leaving a whole Pecorino outside with part of the rind removed to allow the cheese flies to lay eggs, which later hatch and eat through the cheese, making it very soft. By the time it’s ready for consumption, the typical casu marzu will contain thousands of maggots.

Warby Parker Glasses Online – Review

A couple years ago, my vision perfect. OK… maybe it was longer. Recently, my vision got bad without my noticing. OK… I was in denial. My prescription eyewear from a shop were expensive, never fit great, and they wore out quick. Then I broke them. I replaced them with Warby Parker glasses that I ordered online.


14 Top New Year’s Resolutions

The New Year is the time when we all decide to do better for ourselves… for a while anyway. You might make a 2017 resolution to quit drinking or lose weight or travel… you might resolve to make no resolutions. Here’s a list of everyone’s top picks.

Buford, Wyoming – America’s Vietnamese Coffee Stop

Buford, is an unincorporated community in Albany County, Wyoming, United States. It is located between Laramie and Cheyenne on Interstate 80. At 8,000 feet (2,400 m) of elevation, this is the highest populated settlement along the First Transcontinental Railroad and on the transcontinental Interstate 80. The town was named Buford in honor of Major General John Buford, a Union cavalry officer during the American Civil War. In 2013, the town was sold to Vietnamese owner Phạm Đình Nguyên. He bought the town to market Phindeli Coffee, a Vietnamese coffee brand.

Dorco Razors – Eliminate the Shave Club Middlemen

I love my Dorco razor, and not paying a lot for blades!

19 Rock Stars’ Real Names – from Bowie to Gene Simmons to Freddie Mercury

Stage names are a part of the rock and roll business. You can’t be a rock star with a name like Myron Grombacher… oh wait, he’s kind of a well known drummer. But think of how well he’d have done with a good stage name! Most musicians change their name for show business, and here are 19 examples. Bowie to Freddie Mercury to Flea…

Krampus – The Anti-Santa

Krampus the Christmas Devil is the counterpart to Santa Claus. Santa rewards, Krampus punishes. Nicer version of the story say he brings you coal and mud and hits you with sticks. In more graphic stories, he puts children in his bag and carts them to hell. The Krampus myth is a part of the German Christmas tradition, as well as tradition in other countries in Europe.

Amazon Merch T-Shirt Print Shop Review

Amazon Merch is a program that allows you to sell tee shirts on a “print to order” basis. If you sell one, they print one. Come up with your original idea, upload the file, and off you go. There is a wait time and an approval process first, however.
AMAZON MERCH APPLICATION PAGE ➜ https://merch.amazon.com/landing
MY CURRENT TEE SHIRTS ➜ http://amzn.to/2hUTU1i

What’s on Santa’s Christmas shopping list this year? (2016 gift giving ideas)

Santa has made his Christmas shopping list, checked it twice, and has loaded it up with goodies! Wanna check them out for yourself for your own gift giving ideas? Here are the Amazon links:
➜ Cars Against Humanity
➜ Amazon Echo / Alexa
➜ Fujifilm Instax instant film camera
➜ Sony Playstation 4 Slim
➜ The Secret Life of Pets BluRay
➜ Hasbro’s Pie Face Game
➜ Dead Sea Mud Mask
➜ FitBit Charge 2
➜ Innogear Aromatherapy Essential Oil Diffuser
➜ Amazon Fire Stick
➜ Lionel Pennsylvania Flyer Electric Train

Those are affiliate links, which means at no cost to you, I do receive a small commission for sales resulting from these links.

The Cheapest Car in the World – Tata Nano

The Tata Nano is a car manufactured by Tata Motors. Made and sold in India, the Nano was initially launched with a price of one lakh rupees or ₹100,000 (US$1,500). Designed to lure India’s middle classes away from motorcycles, it received much publicity but little acclaim. Although the price of the Nano has increased, considering its current price, the claim “world’s cheapest car” remains true today.

Savage Omnidirectional Lavalier Microphone

The Savage Lavalier Omnidirectional Microphone is a clip-on mic for DSLRs and smart phones as well as audio recorders and PCs. It’s small and unobtrusive and comes with a 20 foot cable.
*Savage Lav Mic at AMAZON* ➜ http://amzn.to/2heHowO
That’s an affiliate link, which means at no cost to you, I do receive a small commission for sales resulting from this link.

Dangerous Tech that Worked OK – Radium Clocks, X-Ray Shoe Fitters…

Old school ideas like lead paint, leaded gasoline, x-ray shoe fitters, and radioactive clocks might have been dangerous, but they did serve their purpose well.

Amazon Go – Is Amazon’s Robot Grocery Store a Job Killer?

Amazon.com announced on October 11, 2016 that they are planning to build convenience stores and develop curbside pickup locations for food. In December 2016, Amazon Go was opened to Amazon employees in Seattle. The store uses a variety of sensors and automatically charges a customer’s Amazon account as they walk out of the store, avoiding cashiers and checkout lines. Amazon intends to open Amazon Go for the general public in early 2017.

“Big Skinny” Wallets

Just a nice simple review about the tiny wallet I love to use. Don’t like a bulky back pocket? You’ll love the Big Skinny wallets!
FIND IT ON AMAZON ➜ http://amzn.to/2fUY7QY

That’s an affiliate link, which means at no cost to you, I do receive a small commission for sales resulting from this link.

8 Under Rated Bass Players

What about the bassists who are extremely successful, but not widely recognized by the general public – under-rated – for their bass playing abilities? Maybe they’re famous for other reasons or just known as part of a band vs. an individual.
Here are the links:
Gene Simmons – Kiss
Paul McCartney – The Beatles, Wings, solo
John Deacon – Queen
Christ Wolstenholme – Muse
Sting – The Police / Sting
Ross Valory – Journey
Simon Gallup – The Cure
Carol Kaye – session bassist:
bass playing 
giving a lesson to Gene Simmons 

Millennium Tower – The Leaning Tower of San Francisco

Millennium Tower is a 58-story condominium skyscraper completed in 2009 located in the South of Market district of San Francisco. It is the tallest residential building in San Francisco. In 2016, the building was found to be sinking and tilting. It has sunk 16 inches and is leaning to the northwest.

TheraPutty Stress Toy Putty

Squeeze, pinch, stretch or twist TheraPutty using a variety of different finger, hand and wrist resistive exercises to strengthen hand muscles, improve fine motor skills, and decrease stress. Great for occupational therapists, golfers, tennis players, musicians, weight lifters, children, and the elderly.

39 1/2 Really Dumb Jokes – Silly Puns and Dad Jokes

For the list this week, we’re taking a break from too much thinking and factual consideration. It’s just a list of really stupid jokes. Besides, it’s always good to have a few good silly jokes on hand, right?

Indians Had a Noise Complaint – Thanksgiving Tag Video

Thanksgiving Day is a national holiday celebrated in Canada and the United States. It was originally celebrated as a day of giving thanks for the blessing of the harvest and of the preceding year. Well… that’s what Wikipedia says anyway. Funny, they don’t much mention the Indians (Native Americans / First Nation People) unless you really dig.
I was tagged by Vickie Eisenstein:

Schiit Mani Phono Preamp for Moving Coil or Moving Magnet Cartridges

The Schiit Mani phono preamp is just the thing if you have a moving coil cartridge and want great sound without spending a boatload of money. It has four settings to adjust the gain just where you need it to enjoy your music at the right volume. It’s a great upgrade to a vinyl-based stereo systems with moving magnet cartridges as well.

That’s an affiliate link, which means at no cost to you, I do receive a small commission for sales resulting from this link.

Mercury Was Used for WHAT?

Mercury (Hg) is the only metal that is liquid at standard conditions for temperature and pressure. It’s used in float valves, mercury switches, medical devices, and CFL lamps, and has been used in the past for a variety of uses that were just plain bad ideas; laxatives, baby teething powder, syphilis treatment, etc.

The Aroma of Tacoma

The Aroma of Tacoma is an odor associated with Tacoma, Washington. The smell is similar to the odor of rotten eggs. Many possible causes have been attributed to the Aroma of Tacoma, including sediment in Commencement Bay, sulfur released from the Simpson Tacoma Kraft pulp and paper mill, a rendering plant, the U.S. Oil refinery, or a combination of all of these. In 1996, the paper mill completed a $4million cleanup and the odor has been eliminated for the most part.

Innova 3020 OBD2 Scan Tool

The Innova 3020 is a good basic code scanning tool to help you figure out problems with your 1996 or newer gasoline powered car, truck, van, or SUV.
That’s an affiliate link, which means at no cost to you, I do receive a small commission for sales resulting from this link.

Mars – Incredible Facts About the Red Planet

Mars, the fourth planet from the sun, is our second-nearest neighbor and the most Earth-like planet in our solar system. Nasa, Elon Musk, and others look forward to a day when we could colonize Mars. People could travel through space to Mars and start a new life. Would you go?

Ghost Bikes – Roadside Memorials for Fallen Cyclists

A ghost bike is a roadside memorial made out of a bicycle that’s painted white. They’re installed in places where a cyclist has been killed, usually by a motor vehicle. Apart from a memorial, it’s also a reminder to passing drivers to watch out of bikes.
RoadBikeCulture YouTube channel

8 Mind-Blowing Bridges

It’s possible a bridge might have been one of the first structures man has ever built. After all, it’s as easy as laying a log over the span of a ravine. This week’s list is about eight remarkable bridges.

Dog Suicide Bridge
Overtoun Bridge in West Dunbartonshire, Scotland is a gothic stone structure arching 50 feet above a small river below and over the past 50 years 50 dogs have jumped to their deaths from it. Supposedly over 600 dogs have actually jumped, which I guess indicates pretty good odds for survival from that fall… if you’re a dog. Some dogs have even jumped twice.

Oldest Functioning Bridge in the World
The Caravan Bridge over the river Meles in Turkey is the oldest bridge in the world that’s still in regular use. It’s a single arch stone bridge that dates back to around 850 BC. That’s 2865 years-ish! According to the U.S. Federal Highway Administration, the average designed lifespan of a bridge in the States is 50 years.

An Even OLDER Bridge
The Arkadiko Bridge in Greece is the world’s oldest bridge and dates back to the Bronze age. That’s around 1300BC when King Tut was still in charge.

Running in Circles
The Laguna Garzón Bridge in Uruguay was designed by world-renowned architect Rafael Viñoly. It’s weird circular design is intended to slow drivers down, allowing drivers and passengers to take in the scenery. It also reduces traffic noise and it’s a pretty good bet it’ll end up a popular tourist attraction

Bridge to Nowhere
Azusa California, however, can boast the actual Bridge to Nowhere. It was built in 1936 and was meant to be part of the East Fork Road project in the San Gabriel Mountains. The road was still under construction in 1938 when it was destroyed by a huge flood. After that, the project was scrapped, but the bridge is still there.

The Mount Huashan hike in China is known as the most dangerous hike in the world. It’s officially called Changkong Zhandao “Long Sky Dangerous Road”. It was first built in the 13th century for monks. Now, with the assistance of a safety harness installed in 2005, pretty much anyone is welcome to try

The Eshima Ohashi Bridge in Japan is known as “The Rollercoaster Bridge”. It spans Lake Nakaumi and was build with a high center to allow boat traffic to pass below it without the need for a drawbridge. Photos exaggerate the slope with telephoto lenses, but it’s still steep for a bridge.

China’s Bridge to Nowhere
The New Yalu River Bridge was constructed between 2011 and 2014 at a cost of about $330million. It was supposed to connect China’s Dandong with North Korea to further free trade relations between the two countries, and it was meant to handle 20,000 vehicles a day. The problem is North Korea dropped the ball on their share of the infrastructure and the four lane bridge ends very abruptly in a field in North Korea.

For the full story, check out the video!

Thumbnail photo: Creative Commons 2.0 Jimmy Baikovicius

The Alaskan Ice Monster – A Lesson in Critical Thinking

The Internet has gone crazy for a new monster, apparently we’ve grown bored of clowns and we’ve moved on to a mysterious sea creature in a river in Alaska.

It all started with a 21 second video clip of what appears to be a 15 foot ice-covered creature swimming upstream in an undulating fashion. Undulating, by the way, means to move in a wavelike fashion; that will be important later.

Inferred credibility grew out of the fact that the video was originally posted on the Facebook page of Alaska’s Bureau of Land Management, part of the United States Department of the Interior, a government agency. The caption of the video was, “Our Fairbanks employees captured this strange ‘thing’ swimming in the Chena River in Fairbanks.”

It’s exciting to think that a new creature has been discovered. It’s also exciting when things are mysterious, we’re compelled to want to know more, our brains are just wired that way. What’s in the water in the video looks somewhat like a creature moving against the current. Also, the Facebook post referred to it as a “thing” and said it was “swimming”, which further misdirects the brain into believing a new sea monster has been discovered.

There’s an idea called “Occam’s razor”, which was described by a guy named William who probably owned a razor because beards were out of fashion in his day. In philosophy, a “razor” is a principle that allows one to discard (“shave off”) assumptions and unlikely explanations for a phenomenon.

Let’s start shaving.

Firstly, the original video is only 21 seconds long and the “full length” video is just over a minute. Both versions of the video cut before the “creature” is out of sight. If you saw a strange sea monster floating in the river, wouldn’t you get as much footage as you could? We don’t see what happens after the video clip. Also, for most of the video the image is zoomed in so that you don’t see the “creature” in relation to objects around it. The water rushing over “it’s nose” gives the appearance of upstream movement, but if we can’t really track its position.

Next, the creature appears to be covered in ice, but still moving actively. Ice – which is frozen water – is 32 degrees Fahrenheit, 0 degrees celsius. Most animals that aren’t mammals or birds are unable to produce body heat, their temperature is regulated by the environment. They’re called ectotherms, or “cold-blooded” animals. Large reptiles and snakes cannot live in freezing water, as their metabolism would stop. Cold-blooded animals that do survive in extreme cold environments do so by placing themselves in a state of torpor, which means they slow their metabolism and stop moving. It’s almost like the “suspended animation” you see in sci-fi movies. Almost. Torpor greatly reduces their body’s energy needs. Fish in a freezing pond will swim down to the warmest spot they can find and just sit there until it gets warm again. Moving would waste energy. This includes giant sturgeons. The “creature” in the Alaska video is moving. Kind of a lot.

Warm-blooded animals in cold environments, especially cold enough to get themselves iced-over, go into a state of hypothermic shock. The heart stops at 68 degrees F (20 celsius). If the Alaska video were of an actual creature, it wouldn’t be warm-blooded, unless it were some kind of new warm-blooded animal who’s body fluids contain a high concentration of antifreeze (incidentally, some fish actually produce their own antifreeze).

The idea of a warm blooded animal that can produce enough of it’s own antifreeze to survive in freezing water long enough to get itself iced-over is an assumption. A big assumption. Another assumption is that this animal has gone undiscovered until just now. Remember our buddy Occam? I mean William?

This “creature” appears to be moving in a wavelike fashion; undulating. What else moves in a wavelike fashion? If you said “water”, give yourself a cookie! As a result of that movement, anything buoyant in that water is going to move with the motion of the waves. Anyone who’s gone for a swim in the ocean knows this.

The “ice monster”, when you shave away the assumptions and unlikely explanations, is most likely a rope that has one end stuck on something to keep it from drifting away. If the rope has been underwater for a while, it would be covered in moss and plant material. The leading edge of this rope creates and obstacle for the water current, and the appearance of motion is due to the water rushing around this obstacle.

If the original video had the caption “look how this rope moves like it’s some kind of creature” the video would probably never have gone viral.

This isn’t the first time something like this has happened. Five years ago in Iceland, Hjörtur Kjerúlf filmed a similar “creature” on the river Jökulsá í Fljótsdal. It was dismissed as a piece of fishing net caught on something underwater. Some people still insist, however, that the Iceland “creature” was real, nd it’s a good bet people will also insist the Alaska “creature” is real. The “rope” explanation will probably be labeled a government cover up. Because it’s a lot more fun to believe a 15 foot creature that can survive icy conditions is only just now being discovered

Honeywell HCE323V Digital Ceramic Heater

The HCE323V Digital Ceramic Heater from Honeywell is a space-saving tower with two heat settings and a programmable thermostat. It has a safety motion sensor that shuts off the heater when an object becomes too close; it then turns back on when the item is removed.

CLICK HERE TO FIND THE Honeywell HCE323V Digital Ceramic Heater on AMAZON

That’s an affiliate link, which means at no cost to you, I do receive a small commission for sales resulting from this link.

Bill Murray and Tom Hanks – 7 Facts Each

bill-murrayThe website Reasons My Son is Crying posted a photo of a celebrity. Shortly after, the internet was in a frenzy with people arguing whether it was Tom Hanks or Bill Murray. It actually does resemble both actors, but the man in the photo is Tom Hanks.

This week’s List –
Seven Facts Each About Bill Murray and Tom Hanks

– Bill Murray got his start on Saturday Night Live and since leaving the show has guest hosted three times.

– Tom Hanks has hosted SNL 8 times

– Tom Hanks has an asteroid named after him

– Bill Murray has a Galago named after him at the Tigerhomes Animal Sanctuary

– Bill Murray’s Bacon number is one

– Tom Hanks’ Bacon number is also one

– Tom Hanks can be reached through publicly available contact info via his own production company, Playtone Productions, his agents, his publicist, his estate attorney, or his professional attorney

– Bill Murray only fields offers for scripts and roles using a personal telephone number with a voice mailbox that he checks infrequently.

Tom Hanks crashed an engagement photo shoot for a random young couple

– So did Bill Murray

Tom Hanks went to high school in Oakland California

– Bill Murray took over a guy’s taxicab in Oakland California so the guy could practice saxophone in the back seat

Tom Hanks turned down the leading role in Groundhog Day

– Bill Murray turned down Forrest Gump

A History of Hemp and Marijuana in the USA

Marijuana or cannabis is the most readily accessible illegal drug in the United States. Some surveys suggest one in three people have tried marijuana at some point in their lives. Lately there’s been a lot of talk about legalizing marijuana, it’s currently a schedule one drug. Did you know it was once required by law for farmers to grow cannabis?

Check out the video for the entire story:

Audio Technica ATH M50x Headphones

Audio Technica’s ATH M50x headphones are probably the best buy for the money you’re going to find. Nothing in their price range touches them for performance and build quality!
That’s an affiliate link, which means at no cost to you, I do receive a small commission for sales resulting from this link.

Public Toilets – Best to Worst

When you’ve gotta go, you’ve gotta go… but where to go is the question. In this video; public toilet choices ranked from best to worst:

Toxic New Car Smell

Did you know it’s smelling your new car good cause disorientation, headaches, and even cancer? Most people love the smell of a new car and go as far as attempting to reproduce that smell automotive air fresheners or fragrances. New car smell is made up of gases that escaped from the materials that went into the construction of your car’s interior.

Check out the video for the whole story:

Tile Tracking Device Review

I finally got around to doing a Tile review and those guys release the new Tile Mate AFTER when I was mid-edit! DOH! Oh well, the tile is a great tracking device for your keys and probably many other things.
Tile Generation 2 on Amazon
Tile Mate on Amazon
Tiles Slim on Amazon
Those are affiliate links, which means at no cost to you, I do receive a small commission for sales resulting from these links.


California used to be island on maps. During the 17th and 18th centuries the Spanish seems to think California was an island. In fact they thought it was an island paradise.

For the other California facts, check out the video:

All Clowns Scare Some People

Clowns, perhaps you love them, but you probably either hate them or couldn’t care less about them. Purposefully scary clowns in movies didn’t really become a thing until the late 1980s. Obviously if you’ve had some bad experience with a clown as a child you’re bound to be scared of them as an adult, but many kids who haven’t had this experience are equally terrified of clowns.
Check out the video for the whole story:


The super fast Samsung T3 portable SSD drive has really upped my editing game by freeing up some space on my computer’s main drive and providing a source for audio and video at 450MB/s.
250GB ➜ http://amzn.to/2dWJEVj
500GB ➜ http://amzn.to/2dDaF0q
1 TB ➜ http://amzn.to/2dzcb3X
2 TB ➜ http://amzn.to/2dWL7uW
Those are affiliate links, which means at no cost to you, I do receive a small commission for sales resulting from these links.

13 Bands With Only One Original Member

Is your band still your favorite band? There are bands that have been around for years with all of their original members, like ZZ Top and U2. Sometimes bands carry on with a missing member, like The Cars, who last toured without Benjamin Orr because… well… he’s not alive anymore. Some bands have so many personnel changes that only one original member remains.

Check out the video for the whole story:

OXICLEAN Keeps Our Kids From Destroying Their Clothes

Seriously? An OxiClean review? YES!
I’ll review a lens or a phone or something next week (likely the Audio Technica headphones), but this week I’m paying tribute to the thing that’s kept up from breaking open the piggy bank to replace our daughters’ clothes over and over.
Find it on Amazon ➜ http://amzn.to/2dfhIfH
That’s an affiliate link, which means at no cost to you, I do receive a small commission for sales resulting from this link.

Recognizing Clickbait

You won’t believe what happens next! It will change your life! See it before you die!
You’re on the internet so you seen clickbait. Dubious and vague hyperbole and a photograph or graphic image to draw you in. This week’s list; 11 clickbait phrases.
Check out the video for the whole story:

Tesla vs Lambo

Did you know the latest Tesla can smoke a Lamborghini Huracan at the drag strip? The Tesla p100d sedan with its ludicrous battery covered a quarter mile faster than the latest Lamborghini just last week at Palm Beach International Raceway. The Lamborghini Huracan with a base price of $240,000 in the United States uses a 5.2 liter V10 to reach 0 to 60 in about two point five seconds with a maximum speed of 212.5 miles per hour. Yes, we realize most of you would still rather have the Lambo.
Check out the video for the whole story:

Amazon Dash Button Review

Amazon Dash is a device that allows you to reorder one specific item via Amazon Prime with the simple push of a button. Basically it saves you the trouble of having to go to your Amazon app on your phone or computer. Also if you are the forgetful type, pushing the Amazon Dash button immediately when you notice you’re low on supplies saves you the headache of having forgotten to order that product later.

The dash button connects to your Wi-Fi to send the order the moment you press. Placed them anywhere in your house, for example you might want to locate a button for detergent wherever you store your laundry supplies. Each button has an initial cost of $4.99, but that is credited back toward your purchase placed via Amazon Dash. An Amazon prime membership is required.

Amazon Dash Buttons ➜ http://amzn.to/2de1iTO

Bose SoundTrue Headphones Review

The Bose SoundTrue over ear headphones sound really good and are light enough to forget you’re wearing them. The pack small so traveling with them is a breeze. There are better sounding headphones in the price range (namely Audio Technica ATH-M50x) but the Bose are probably best for portability and comfort.
Bose SoundTrue headphones on Amazon
Audio Technica ATH-M50x headphones on Amazon

Samsung BDH6500 BluRay Player Review

The Samsung BD H6500 is a great BluRay player for playing BluRay discs and for Netflix and other apps. For some reason, though, it’s not so great with Amazon streaming video. I’m not alone, I’ve read plenty of other cases where folks are experiencing the same.

If for SOME REASON you’re still wanting this, it’s on Amazon

For streaming Amazon (and now everything else), I ended up buying a Fire TV. Review coming later, but so far, so good.

Uncharted Ultra-Lite Packing Cubes Review

WOW! It’s like drawers for your suitcase. They’re available in blue, sky blue, black, red, gray, and green. If you have a family, buying a color for each family member makes identifying everyone’s stuff a piece of cake. Uncharted Ultra-Lite Packing Cube 3 Piece Set.

“In Exchange for My Unbiased Review” – A Bit of a Rant

We all love free stuff, right? Of course we do! Things we get for free are way better than things we have to shell out our hard earned dollars to get! Does getting an item for free (or at a 95% discount) bias our opinion of that item? I think so.

*update – 2/26/2017 – Just finding this article again… the good news is since I originally ranted about this, Amazon has done a great job handing the problem!

Contour ShuttleXpress Review

The Contour ShuttleXpress jog wheel is the perfect too to speed up my video editing in Adobe Premiere Pro or Final Cut! It also works with a huge list of other software and it’s completely programmable.
Click here to view the Contour ShuttleXpress on Amazon

Spigen Bluetooth Selfie Stick Review

Spigen’s Bluetooth Selfie Stick is the perfect accessory for someone wanting a compact and simple device.

Click here to find the Spigen Bluetooth Selfie Stick on Amazon

The Muppets and their Violent Past

One of the first muppets was a murderous psychopath. Cookie Monster used to eat snack crackers, back when he still had teeth. Kermit used to sing about the wonders of cooked bacon!

After first being introduced on a Washington DC television show called Sam and Friends, the Muppets started branching into commercial work. Starting in 1957 to advertise coffee, Muppets Wilkins and Wontkins acted out dozens of violent slapstick skits that would make Moe, Larry, and Curly wince.

Wilkins was a character similar to Kermit the Frog, but with round eyes. Wontkins was a bit more abstract-looking. In most of the commercials, Wontkins would be the victim of some horrible accident or abuse, triggered or inflicted by Wilkins. Guns, guillotines, and bombs often came into play.

Rode VideoMic Me Review

I bought the Rode VideoMic Me thinking it would greatly improve the sound of video I make with my phone. The sad truth is, for most applications, the built-in mic is much better than the Rode.

Click here to find the Rode VideoMic Me on Amazon

Instant Pot DUO60 Pressure Cooker Review

We used to be a crock pot slow cooker family… Now that we’ve bought the Instant Pot, however, things are changing. We’re mainly using it to cook meats, but have started with rices and lentil dishes too.

Instant Pot on Amazon: http://amzn.to/2aB4n1s

Old School Toyota Pickup Truck Review

Toyota’s Tacoma and Hilux trucks are virtually indestructible, and are of great use for many household, business, or sporting purposes. Generally speaking, older trucks work harder than newer trucks. We’re not afraid to hurt them, because they’ve already been through the wringer.

Nest Thermostat Review

The Nest Learning Thermostat is best put to use when you have both heat and air conditioning, at least if you live somewhere that has changing seasons. If you’re into watching your energy usage, you get reports via Google, and it works with Amazon’s Alexa / Echo.
Nest Thermostat Gen 2 on Amazon ➜ http://amzn.to/29Xz9j8
Nest Thermostat Gen 3 on Amazon ➜ http://amzn.to/29SuTje

VTech Write & Learn Creative Center Review

VTech Write & Learn Creative Center has helped our daughter learn to write her name at the age of three. It’s also a great tool for kids to practice drawing and perfect their handwriting skills.

Here it is on Amazon:

Amazon Air Prime is Real

Amazon first teased drone delivery on December 1, 2013 and almost everyone thought it was a joke. But Amazon Prime Air is a real effort they are still working on. The FAA is making progress difficult in the USA, but the program is being tested in the UK, Canada, and the Netherlands.

Logitech Type+ iPad Keyboard Review

This week we’re talking about the add-on keyboard and case combination from Logitech that Carolina uses with her iPad 2. It’s called the Type+ (Type Plus).

Logitech Type+ on Amazon: http://amzn.to/2b3qbPX

Cam Caddy Scorpion Video Stabilizer Review

We finally got a more convenient and lighter stabilizer, the Cam Caddy Scorpion. Not perfect by a longshot, but at $30 it’s priced right and the images come out a lot less shaky than just holding the camera. It’s not going to compare to a $200-$400 gimbal by any means, but I’m just looking to keep the video from looking like earthquake footage.

Cam Caddy on Amazon: http://amzn.to/2b83DiQ

Kokua Jumper Balance Bike Review

Kokua Jumper by Like a Bike – the bike I chose for my kids to learn how to ride without using training wheels. It’s a step above the the next best thing, the Specialized Hotwalk, in features and unfortunately in price.


Rode VideoMic Pro with Rycote Lyre Shock Mount Review

After my first shotgun microphone died, I opted for the Rode VideoMic Pro with Rycote Lyre Shock Mount the second time around. I’m a lot happier with this mic vs the Sennheiser.

Rode VideoMic Pro on Amazon: http://amzn.to/2bmsHlm

21 Unusual Ethnic Slurs

Ethnic slurs aren’t nice. They’re also generally a lazy way to insult someone, versus coming up with some original zinger tailored just for an individual. But, even though they’re lazy and not nice, some racial slurs are actually kind of humorous. In this video, I’ve curated a list of funny ones (with the really offensive ones weeded out). I be you haven’t heard all of them.

Thumbnail image by Gratisography.com

Tarion TR-V1 Universal LCD Display View Finder Review

I got the Tarion TR-V1 view finder because I couldn’t see the LCD on my Canon DSLR while outside in sunlight or in a brightly lit room. It works as expected, but with a couple of small caveats.

Tarion TR-V1 on Amazon: http://amzn.to/2bBwvRz

5 Widow Spiders in the USA

Black widow spiders – Do you know them as well as you think? Did you know they can be brown? Also, they’re poisonous, but did you know they’re more scared of you than you are of them?

There are five kinds of widow spider in the USA, out of thirty-one total species. Oh, and nobody in the USA has ever died as a result of being bitten by any of these spiders.

  • Black Widow (Latrodectus mactans) – Known as simply “black widow” or sometimes “southern black widow. The female of this species is known for colorful decorations, including the hourglass on her underside. These reside in the southeastern United State.
  • Northern Black Widow (Latrodectus variolus) – Living in the middle Atlantic United States, the females of this species are beautifully decorated with colorful spots down the center of her back flanked by lateral stripes.
  • Western Black Widow (Latrodectus hesperus) – This one call the western United States home and is the textbook image of a black widow; a large black bug with a bright red hourglass decoration.
  • Red Widow Spider (Latrodectus bishopi) – You will probably never see this one, as it lives only in southern Florida and makes its home in sand dunes and pine trees. This one is entirely red except its abdomen, which is black with red spots lined by yellow rings.
  • Brown Widow (Latrodectus geometricus) – As the name would suggest, these are not black. They’re hard to identify because the decorations on their abdomen vary greatly from bug to bug, but they do have the hourglass on their underside. In this case, the hourglass is usually bright orange instead of red.

    Thumbnail image via Creative Commons 2.5 Chuck Evans

Amazon Echo / Alexa

The Amazon Echo is a bluetooth speaker that’s loaded with personal-assistant like features. Alexa is a program similar to Apple’s Siri, but with slightly different functionality.

Echo on Amazon.com ➜ http://goo.gl/1kCFpm

George Foreman Grill GRP1060B review

The old George Foreman Grill bit the dust, so we replaced it with the GRP1060B four serving model. We got it on Amazon for about thirty bucks and it was totally worth it.

Find the George Foreman Grill on Amazon

Black and Decker Pivot Vac 18 Volt

My wife chose this thing because we have two kids that constantly drop food on the floor during dinner and she was tired of dragging out the regular vacuum (not a big deal to me). I’ve made it a rule since I was a teenage to avoid Black and Decker tools.

13 Ways to Be a Better Social Animal

  • Don’t ask “What do you do?” Instead, ask “What do you like to do?”
  • Don’t suggest to people that they need to change their appearance or weight
  • Don’t tell people what to do with their stuff
  • Avoid talking politics
  • Don’t assume people are religious
  • Put down you’re phone when you’re interacting with someone in person
  • Don’t text, call.
  • It’s not cool to stereotype depression, ADHD, OCD, etc.
  • Never assume guys are into sports
  • Don’t be sexist
  • Wrap gifts instead of using gift bags
  • Your having a dog or cat is not the same thing as being a parent
  • Don’t make pointlessly loose associations

Folex Instant Carpet Spot Remover

Folex Instant Carpet Spot Remover has saved us so much headache I feel I have to mention it… especially after a recent and massive red wine spill on our carpet. If you have kids, a dog, or a messy roommate, you need this stuff.

Folex on Amazon.com

16 Cover Songs That Were Better Than the Original

Sometimes the first isn’t always the best. Singers and bands who do a better job on covers than the original artists. You might not agree, but that’s the beauty of music, it’s all subjective.  The video below outlines sixteen examples from Whitney Houston covering Dolly Parton to Judas Priest covering Joan Baez.

Daniel Koren – Thumbs Up!

Daniel Koren is a musical YouTube comedian with a flair for editing sound and video in expert fashion. He’s also formally trained musically. He graduated Berklee College of Music and was nominate for an Emmy as composer for the PBS kids’ program “Fizzy’s Lunch Lab”. His creative range spans from animated funnies like “How to Not Murder” to spoofs of horror movies like “Noisy Furniture” to self-harmonized a cappella tunes.

Daniel Koren’s links:

Greenworks Corded 12 Amp 20-Inch Lawn Mower

My Greenworks 12amp 20-inch corded mower is great! It has a seven position height adjustment that offers a range of cutting height from 1 1/2″ to 3 3/4″, an easy folding handle, and it can be used as a mulcher, side-thrower, or bagger. I got at Target.com for about $18)

Target patio & garden lawn & garden yard equipment lawn mowers

5 Movies That Should Never Get Remade

These days it seems like Hollywood is all about remakes, superhero movies, and remakes of superhero movies. Sometimes the remake has very little in common with the original, in which case we call it a “reboot”. Sometimes the result is actually pretty amazing. Ocean’s Eleven was fantastic both times around (it’s just unfortunate someone decided to make an Ocean’s Twelve and Thirteen). Jeff Bridges out-John-Wayned John Wayne in True Grit. But Russell Brand’s Arthur crawled under the high bar set by Dudley Moore and the trailer for the upcoming Ghostbusters reboot has sent the internet into a murderous rage.

Much like nobody will ever do “Stairway to Heaven” as well as Led Zeppelin, nobody could paint a ceiling like Michelangelo, and no-one will tell you about Huckleberry Finn’s adventures like Mark Twain, some movies should be universally recognized as masterpieces.


Labyrinth_ver2Labyrinth – A flop at the box office, bringing in only just over half its production budget, Labyrinth has garnered a cult following in home video formats. To the general population of movie theater patrons, an adventure movie starring puppets isn’t a likely draw, and David Bowie, who’s “Serious Moonlight” shine had worn down a bit, wasn’t what 1986 America considered leading man material.

Despite being a bit dark, this movie is great for kids. It has fantastical creatures, silly music, and the classic adventure quest plot architecture. Oh, and don’t worry, you’re kids won’t notice your troubled morals over Jennifer Connelly being a bit too young to be that attractive in at least twenty states. Oh, and they also don’t notice David Bowie’s bulge. That bulge… what the hell is the deal with that bulge?


forbiddenplanet-1Forbidden Planet – A “faster than light spaceship of the future” travels to a faraway world, commanded by a very young Leslie Nielsen, who was so unknown at the time that the movie’s big star was Walter Pidgeon. The special effects in this movie are excellent for 1956. These days, they hold up much as the effects in The Wizard Of Oz still hold up, in that they’re nowhere near realistic but you accept them all the same. The plot is still unique, even though Hollywood has had sixty years to copy it. Best yet, this movie introduced us to Robby the Robot, who you know even if you think you don’t. Robby lived on to star in scores of movies and TV shows and to be recreated in wind-up toy form for little kitsch boutique toy stores.


Fight Club – The first rule of Fight Club is… I’ve already said too much.

There’s no way to re-do a surprise plot twist and the movie is all about that plot twist. That aside, you’re just never going to put together a more perfect cast for this story than Brad Pitt, Edward Norton, Helena Bonham Carter, Jared Leto, and Meatloaf. Frikkin’ Meatloaf!
So much attention to detail was brought into making this movie. Not only is the script carefully acted out as to not spill the beans, but there are tons of little “Did you see that?” moments. Its detail, along with its societal critiques, have given birth to many interpretations and the movie is still discussed by its fans seventeen years later.

Oh, yeah, and that whole thing about the movie having you root for people who are essentially terrorists… that wouldn’t play out so well in today’s political climate.


The Princess Bride – There’s no way Hollywood could reproduce a cast that’s this big and this good. There’s no reason they should either. This story will hold up for another hundred years in its current form. There’s nothing to make it feel dated and there’s nothing that could be done better than it has already been done for this film. Besides, the giant was played by an actual giant! How cool is that?


Mrs. Doubtfire – This is another ageless classic, even though it will definitely age. It’s about the story, not the time and place. It’s also about the cast, especially Robin Williams, who ad-libbed so much that extra cameras were employed to ensure they didn’t miss anything. Mrs. Doubtfire was one of Williams’ best characters and she wouldn’t be the same with any other actor, even though the role was originally written for Tim Allen. Can you imagine Tim Allen as Mrs. Doubtfire? Us neither.

Dual 1229 turntable review

There are some great choices of new turntables for those getting into (or back into) vinyl. Some great choices are the Teac TN300Pro-Ject Debut Carbon, and Rega RP-1 for $300, $400, and $445 respectively. Those decks will get you pretty solid analog sound with decent speed stability sent through an analog signal (meaning you need a phono preamp). The Teac even has a built-in preamp and USB output, although to many, running your awesome analog signal through you computer speakers seems to negate the whole point of listening to records.

For the same money, with a little diligent shopping, you can get way more “bang for your buck” with a vintage turntable. Also, your deck will be a conversation piece, especially if you match it with a vintage amplifier or receiver like the Pioneer SA8500 or Marantz 2230. Probably the best places to find a good vintage turntable would be estate sales or vintage hi-fi shops. With estate sales, the stereo system will often be displayed where it’s been for the past several years, ready for you to give it a test spin. Hi-fi shops will usually test the equipment and do any necessary restorative work before putting a turntable on their shelves. However, getting to an estate sale before someone else grabs the goods can be a daunting task and hi-fi shops sometimes charge more than you’d pay looking for a turntable on Craigslist or eBay. The internet is a good “easy” way to shop for vintage turntables.

The Technics SL-1200 series turntables are probably the most bulletproof of vintage turntables, but their desirability means finding one in decent shape for less than $500 can be nearly impossible. If you do find one for cheap and it works, grab it quick; worst case scenario you flip it on eBay or Craigslist. Thorens, Dual, Marantz, and Pioneer have made some great turntables that can be had for under $500 and that should, with proper care, stand the test of time and outperform most newer turntables.

My weapon of choice is the Dual 1229.  A decent one in good working condition should cost between $350 and $500 if you’re shopping eBay. If you’re lucky with Craigslist, you could often nab one for as little as $150. I scored mine for $300 in 2014. Including the dustcover and optional flip-front plinth, the 1229 cost $300 new in 1972, which is $1725 in “2016 money” when adjusted for inflation.

What I got for my money is a German-made, rock solid turntable that weighs just under 20lbs with the plinth. A good chunk of that heft comes from the 7lb dynamically balanced platter that acts as a big flywheel, knocking wow and flutter down to .06% (way better than any of the modern turntables I mentioned). That massive platter is driven by an idler wheel instead of by a belt or via direct-drive, so motor noise is low while the time to reach proper rotational speed is very quick. Signal to noise is 63dB, which is pretty much on par with most sub-$500 turntables available new today.

Unlike the modern units I mentioned, the Dual 1229 is fully automatic and can actually be operated as a changer, meaning you can stack records on a spindle and automatically play up to six discs. The tone arm automatically adjusts it’s height to accommodate for the added height, keeping the stylus at the proper play angle. That tone arm, by the way, has 4-point gimbal suspension and anti-skate. The 1229 also features pitch control with an illuminated strobe, three playing speeds, and the option of quickly changing cartridges via the skeletal headshell (necessary if you’re into playing old 78rpm records).

The 1229 is a great soundstage for pretty much any choice of cartridge with the exception of Grado, which can cause excess hum in this turntable. An Audio Technica AT95E is a fine enough “basic” cartridge and can be had for $40. Mine has a vintage Stanton 680 with an original Stanton stylus (by the way, if you’re considering a Stanton or Pickering cartridge and find it has an aftermarket stylus, skip it).

The “cons”? Well, sometimes the automatic start doesn’t hit the lead-in on the record and starts a few seconds into the song. This usually happens with newer pressings and can be avoided by holding the cue lever until the automatic mechanisms lets go and then dropping the arm manually. Some people actually convert their 1229 to fully manual operation, but really you should just look for a manual turntable if it drives you that crazy. Also, some people complain about the noises that come from the automatic operation, which remind me of an old clock, but those only happen before the record plays, no during playback, and as I said before, if it’s a problem, look for a manual turntable.

Overall I’m extremely happy with my Dual 1229. The only upgrade I’m considering is swapping the smoked-grey dustcover for something clear to better showcase it in my living room.

Bad Foley Effects

A Foley artist is a person who recreates sounds for movies when capturing the sounds during filming is impossible or impractical. Like any artists, skills vary from virtuoso all the way down to plain-ol’ hack. Here are seven examples of bad foley effects that happen far too often:
  • Screeching car tires on a dirt road – This is a matter of the Foley team just phoning it in. It’s like somewhere in their library of sounds is one marked “car sound” and they just go with it.
  • Noisy readouts on computer screens – Even in the days of monochromatic screens, a computer didn’t make a clicking or beeping sound with each character that appears on a screen. In WarGames, not only did the computer do both, but the keyboard sounds like a raccoon digging in a trash can.
  • Unrealistic gun sounds – In the movies, guns sound like they were loosely pieced together with the wrong-sized bolts. However, when it gets fired it sounds much softer than a real gun, which can shatter your eardrums. The latter is understandable, the former is not. Oh, and guns with silencers are still really frikkin’ loud!
  • Same sound twice – Sometimes to fill space, the foley artist will loop in the same cat hiss or crash sound, apparently hoping you don’t notice it’s the exact same sample. It’s especially obnoxious when they happen within a few seconds of each other. 
  • Same thunder sound for dozens of movies – A true fact. The clip is called “Castle Thunder” and was originally used in the 1931 “Frankenstein” movie.
  • Punches are super loud – Punching someone in the face isn’t something you can hear from thirty yards out. It especially doesn’t sound like the movies. I think they get the sound from dropping a side of beef on a concrete floor. 
  • Really long, two part explosions – Explosions don’t go “Bweeeeeeeeee-Bwoooooohhh!”, there’s just one loud crack or thud followed by some low-frequency rumbling.

Canon EF-S 24mm f/2.8 STM lens review

Called a “pancake lens”, the Canon EF-S 24mm f/2.8 STM is a good “go to” lens for making video with a DSLR which also performs fairly well for still photography.
Here’s the lens on Amazon

5 Funny YouTube Music Channels

Jon Lajoie

Jon Lajoie (lah-jwah) is probably the most well known on this list, but even so, with all the other stuff out there on the internet, he’s still underrated. In his early days he made songs like “Show Me Your Genitals” and “Everyday Normal Guy” on a shoestring budget. Since having made a living with a regular TV role as Taco MacArthur on FX’s “The League, he’s stepped up his game to making videos with production quality that rivals anything VEVO puts out. Quick warning, he doesn’t hold back with the expletives, so unless you work in a home office or tattoo parlor, his music is “not safe for work.”

Black Turtle Show

Black Turtle Show makes educational (?) videos with topics ranging from the anatomy of a shoe to pi to the iron cross blister beetle. Not all of his songs are informational, though, there’s a song about a kidnapped teddy bear and one about a bologna sandwich among others. If there’s a recipe for Black Turtle Show, it surely includes a bit of Zappa, some B52s, Primus, a dash of Deep Purple, and a hint of Oscar the Grouch.



Crudbump, who for some reason goes under the YouTube handle “DrewToothpaste”, is another one of those “not safe for work” channels. The first song of his I heard was called “F*** You if You Don’t Like Christmas“. Cleverly, for this song, he created a custom coloring book for the video. While that song has a clear message, “I Don’t Do S***” is even clearer. He makes a political statement in “NSA“, with lyrics like “I put a hundred thousand pictures of my ass on the internet, so the NSA could spy on it and try to keep an eye on it”.


Parry Gripp

Parry Gripp seems to have an affinity for animals. With songs like Guinea Pig Bridge and Weasel Riding on a Bird, he gives personality to the animal kingdom in a very original way. It’s not entirely about the animals for Parry Gripp, though, as there are also songs like “Space Nachos” and “I Love Bread“.

The Doubleclicks

The Doubleclicks, as the tag line for their Twitter page, have written “We like cats & dinosaurs & feelings & we write songs about them.” That’s a better description than I could have come up with. Don’t think they just sit around making YouTube videos either, they tour the USA with this act!  Unlike most of the previous acts on this list, Doubleclicks shows are mostly kid-friendly. They write originals like “Why Can’t Every City be Portland?” and do covers, like the Star Wars theme on cat piano.

Here’s the video version of this list:

Sony ICD PX333 MP3 Recorder review

Sony’s PX333 portable MP3 recorder is a great little device for not too much money. It’s useful for podcasting, interview recording, note taking, and dictation. It can store up to 199 files and includes a software to manage file folders. USB transfers with a Mac or a PC are a breeze.

11 Things Kids Can’t Do Anymore

Oh, the good ol’ days; candy cigarettes, cap guns, and free range parenting. Just like probably all previous generations, those of us who were raised by baby boomers are now getting nostalgic for the days of old. Never mind that I almost burned the house down, nearly cut my toe off, and nearly drowned in the Mississippi river. Never mind that my beloved wife had something like twelve bone breaks, nearly died drinking bleach, and wandered a Vegas casino on her own at the age of four. Most of us made it to adulthood. A little danger is good for evolution, right?

Parents these days, my wife and myself included, are much more cautious about their children. If you’re a parent now, even if you’re not a “helicopter parent”, there are surely things you did as a child that you’d never dream of having your kid do today.

  • Waiting in the car – This was something kids did on the regular in the ’70s. Sometimes we had a sibling or cousin in the car to converse with, other times we had conversations with other kids waiting in other cars. If we were really lucky, our parents left the car running so we could have a radio playing and maybe a heater on cold days.
  • Riding in the front seat of the car, and even on the armrest – The front armrest was considered the prime seating position in any family sedan or wagon. You’re in front, you can see everything, and you’ve in the middle of the car, so you’re totally safe, right? We didn’t need stinkin’ seat belts, because in those days the distance to the dashboard was much greater.
  • Wandering the neighborhood on our own – We a relatively acute awareness of traffic, we memorized back alleys and shortcuts, and we knew where the creepy people lived. As long as we made it home by the time the street lights came on, we were good.
  • Standing by the roadside to get a spray from the street sweeper truck – Maybe it’s because in my hometown nobody had a wrench big enough to open a fire hydrant, but a passing street sweeper truck was a neighborhood event on a hot day. Plus, it was a lot more exciting that running through a lawn sprinkler.
  • Riding a bike without a helmet – When I was a kid, wearing a helmet to ride your bike would get you beat up for sure. It was better to take your chances with the pavement. Even BMX riders went without a lid.
  • seesawRiding a seesaw – We rode real seesaws, not the modern bastardization that only goes two feet in the air and has shock absorption bumpers on the bottoms of the seats. We didn’t have springs and padding, we had a twenty foot board mounted at its midpoint to a metal bar by way of a big hinge thingy. If we were lucky, the big hinge thingy had some kind of bearing to make working the device a bit easier. The seesaw of old was the ultimate instrument in trust-building, because if the other kid got off the thing at the bottom of his swing, you’d eat dirt.

  • Lawn darts – My grandpa had a set of these. We thought they were awesome. There’s a version sold now with round weighted heads on the missiles, but we had the original kind with the big metal spike. The originals are outright banned in the US and Canada now.
  • Riding in the bed or a pickup truck – This was another summertime treat when we were kids. Now, several states have laws banning or restricting the activity. In California, even dogs aren’t allowed free run of the pickup bed.
  • Buying cigarettes and beer for dad – My dad sent me to the store with a note on the regular, a note instructing the cashier to sell me tobacco and alcohol. I usually got to use the change to buy snacks and candy. Also, my mom would send me to the store to cash checks (in the days before ATM machines).
  • Sledding on runner sleds – Finding a sled for sale that’s not on the internet is a challenge these days, and many cities in the Midwest and New Jersey have banned sledding. You can usually buy a plastic toboggan, sometimes with a crappy attempt at a steering mechanism that doesn’t work. Another casualty of injury litigation is the “saucer of death”, those aluminum woks we used to dare each other to ride down the hill, spinning hopelessly out of control.
  • Mowing lawns for a living – Gone are the days of the neighborhood kid who mows everyone’s lawn for pocket money. Many people are wary these days of letting someone else’s kid onto their property, let alone with yard implements, for fear of getting sued if something bad happens. Moreover some states prohibit anyone under 15 or 16 from operating any tool with a motor, including lawn mowers, weed whackers, and leaf blowers. There doesn’t seem to be a similar ban on garden rake operation, even though they are likely dangerous than a leaf blower.

Roxant Pro DSLR Video Stabilizer review

I bought the Roxant Pro stabilizer for a corporate video gig because it was cheap and had great reviews. It’s a decent piece of equipment, not great, but for the price you can’t beat it. I probably wouldn’t choose it again if I had the decision to make over again.

What’s Been Cool in Your Life?

People like to much to focus on the negative; what chances they didn’t take, jobs they didn’t get, friends they’ve lost, mistakes they’ve made. How about we all try and experiment by seeing how we feel after remember all the cool stuff instead? Here are some examples from my life (and I forgot to mention a lot in the video, I’m sure… like riding a zip line, for example):

  • I’ve traveled to Mexico, Grand Cayman, Jamaica, Bahamas, Colombia, England, and Canada (if Canada counts)
  • I’ve Driven Route 66, all of it, several times
  • I built a hotrod Mustang
  • I have owned two convertibles
  • I recorded three CDs (the first one sucks and the third isn’t in print anymore)
  • I got a college degree from University of Iowa
  • I’ve built several computers, and have REbuilt several MacBooks
  • I’ve camped in Death Valley heat and below freezing winters
  • I once dated a girl who was a former prom and homecoming queen… what a bitch
  • I’ve seen several brain surgeries
  • I’ve watched four babies’ births, including my two daughters
  • I’ve driven a NASCAR style race car (at a driving school)
  • I rode in a sailplane
  • I actually flew a Cessna
  • I’ve run a marathon
  • I’ve done several 100 mile bike rides
  • I’ve ridden a bike to the top of three different mountains
  • I can sail
  • I taught myself HTML, PHP, Javascript, and other web code stuff
  • I toured California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Kansas, Missouri, and Illinois as a singer songwriter
  • Aprendí español
  • I’ve ridden a bike through 20 miles of Bogotá
  • I’ve met Sammy Hagar, Maya Angelou, Julia Child, Dikembe Mutombo, The Tubes, and I saw John Cleese at a restaurant in Santa Barbara but didn’t want to be a pest, so I let the guy eat his lunch without my babbling about how great “A Fish Called Wanda” was

Sennheiser 400 MKE Shotgun Mic Review

I bought the Sennheiser MKE 400 microphone based on reputation of the company. I’ve used it with my Canon DSLR about a year and now I’m in the market for a Rode.

7 Cars That Look Like Animals

VWBUGBEETLEBug – Beetle (duh) – This is kind of the “go to” reference for an automobile looking like a living creature, and for good reason. The Volkwagen Beetle, or Bug, or Type 1 as it is officially named, really does look like a beetle.


BASSLexus RX – Fish – The first time I saw one of these, I started hearing the “World of Virgil Ward” theme song in my head. This thing looks like a largemouth bass getting ready to chow down.

I3 PANDABMW i3 – Panda – Just the black and white color combination of this one, but it does bear (pun intended) a striking resemblance.

GOOGLECARKOALAGoogle Car – Koala – Koalas aren’t bears, and neither is the Google car, but they both have that goofy oval nose. The rest of the facial features are similar too.

ISETTAFROGBMW Isetta – African Bullfrog – They have the same basic silhouette. If I didn’t have my glasses, I might mistake one for the other.

PORSCHEPILLBUGPorsche 356- Pill Bug – Probably because it’s closest cousin in the Volkswagen family resembles a bug as well, this car inherited characteristics of the Arthropoda Phylum.

2CVSNAILCitroen 2CV – Snail – Not only does the 2CV look like a snail, it’s actually almost as fast as one.

8 Lost Mascots

frito_banditoFrito Bandito – He was the mascot for Frito’s Corn Chips from 1967 to 1971, voiced by Mel Blanc and sounding very much like Speedy Gonzales, another moderately racist and overly stereotyped character based on 1960s white America’s idea of a Mexican. He spoke very little English and was on the run from the Frito Bureau of Investigation. He originally had a gold tooth, which was nixed after complaints from the National Mexican-American Anti-Defamation Committee.


“Where’s the Beef” Lady – She was the most popular grouchy granny of 1984, but her stint as pitch lady for Wendy’s restaurants ended in 1985 when she apparently found the beef in Prego pasta sauce. That’s when Wendy’s fired then 83-year-old Clara Peller for conflict of interest, and the restaurant’s sales went into a two year slump. Peller passed away in 1987 at the age of 85.


Taco Bell Dog – Yet another Mexican stereotype, the oh-so-cute chihuahua with the Latin accent was Taco Bell’s best weapon in the burger wars of the day. Originally cast in the role of “girlfriend”, Gidget was the face of Taco Bell for three years after a last-minute casting change. That’s right, Gidget. The Taco Bell Dog was a girl. Taco Bell stopped the campaign in 1999 among legal troubles with the ad campaign’s original creators.


Erin Esurance – The pink-haired spy girl that got Esurance noticed appeared in over thirty commercials. She was meant to appeal to males ages 18 to 25, and that she did. As luck would have it, guys in that age bracket also have dirty minds, and with the advent of better consumer-level editing software, many began to make pornographic versions of Erin. When search results without content filters started returning more pornographic images than genuine images, the company stopped the campaign.


The Noid – The Noid would try his best to keep you from getting your crappy pizza in thirty minutes or less (by the way, a later ad campaign by Domino’s would focus on the fact that their pizza had been crappy for years). On January 30, 1989, a man named Kenneth Noid concluded that the ads were in fact a personal attack on him, so he walked into one of the chain’s restaurants in Atlanta with a .357 Magnum and held the employees hostage for over five hours. His demands were $100,000, getaway transportation, and a copy of “The Widow’s Son” by Robert Anton Wilson. Everyone was OK in the end, and the police chief made a statement that the suspect was “para-Noid” (See what he did there?).


California Raisins – How this ad campaign escaped being labeled racist is anyone’s guess. These commercials featured anywhere from four to ten anthropomorphized and very African-American looking raisins signing blues standards and Motown songs. They released four albums and even charted with one. Originally created for the California Raisin Advisory Board (What kind of raisin advice can there be to give?), these little guys ended up pitching for Post Raisin Bran and Hardees.

joe_068Joe Camel – With his own line of clothes, backpacks, glassware, and toys, Joe made Camel a household name from 1987 to 1997. Smiling in his blacked-out Wayfarers and with his vagina-like mouth, he became just as well-known by six year olds as Mickey Mouse. Not that Joe was worried about the competition, because the Disney rodent stopped selling cigarettes years before. Mangini v. R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Company put an end to the campaign however, when the tobacco company agreed to settle out of court and stop shilling nicotine to children.


King Ding Dong – Can we all just agree from the start than no mascot intended for children should be named “King Ding Dong?” It’s already bad enough they chose such a sophomorically suggestive name for their snack cakes, “Some Ho-Ho ate my Ding Dong, Honey Bun.” The King left the building sometime in the 1980s, although if Starkist can bring back a Beatnik fish that only dreams of being slaughtered and canned, it’s not impossible to imagine the King regaining his throne.

ASUS RT-AC3200 Router Review

Here’s a review of the ASUS RT-AC3200 three band router (two 5GHz and one 2.4GHz). It covers up to 4500 sq feet at 3200MBPS with 802.11ac Wi-Fi
Find the ASUS RT-AC3200 router on Amazon

Blendtec Classic from Costco – 3 Year Review


Blendtec Classic from Costco, a review after three year’s use. Great for smoothies, good for soups, OK for baby food. I’m starting by assuming you know how to use a blender. I cover the durability and functionality more than the actual functions, here, people. In other words, I don’t show you what all the buttons do… if I were reviewing a car I wouldn’t start by teaching you how to drive 🙂


Click here for more of our product reviews

Alesis MultiMix 4 USB FX

This inexpensive little mixer is great for small projects and podcasts.
The video below is my review, but here are the bullet points:

  • Four channel mixer with two XLR channels that provide phantom power
  • Controls for gain and balance as well as 80Hz and 12kHz tone
  • Onboard effects
  • USB2

Sony ECMCS3 Lavalier Microphone

I use the Sony ECMCS3 as my “go to” mic for making YouTube videos.
The video below is my whole review, but here are the bullet points:

  • Very sensitive and picks up sound very loudly, so positioning is important
  • Uses “plug in power” so it won’t work with many smart phones and laptops
  • Works great with a DSLR or portable recording device
  • Cord is about three feet (90cm) long
  • Clip rotates 360 degrees, but is made of cheap, slippery plastic and loses grip easily
  • Very affordable at about $15

Nexus 6P plus Google Project Fi

Recently I made the switch from an iPhone and AT&T to the Nexus 6P on the Google Fi service. The video below is my whole review, but here are the bullet points:

  • Google Fi cell phone plan is $20 monthly for text and voice
  • Data is billed at $10 per gigabyte, prorated. If you use 3.7 gigabytes, you pay $37.
  • Whichever data plan you use, unused data rolls over to the next cycle
  • There are no overage fees for data
  • Extra sim cards to share data with tablets are free
  • Phone calls are via Sprint, T-Mobile, and WiFi. The phone automatically picks the strongest signal
  • Nexus 6P battery life is great
  • Main camera is 4K, selfie camera is 1080p
  • Built in speakers are great, especially for podcasts
  • Sometimes games crash
  • Some products aren’t USB-C friendly, like cars that allow USB phone connections
  • Nexus 6P is too large for one-handed texting

Note, in the video I keep saying “USB 3” instead of USB-C. Oops.

Our “Shave Club” aka Dorco Razors – Thumbs Up!

The Legion of Weirdos Shave Club: It’s free and easy to join!

The first step is say “bye-bye” to those fancy-schmancy online shaving hawkers that wooed you with a catchy name, cute commercials, and cleverly-engineered packaging designed to make you feel like a connoisseur of toiletries. Step two is to head to DorcoRazors.com and pick out a truly discounted set of gear for yourself. You might even recognize some of their stuff, as some of the hoity-toity shave clubs are really just flipping Dorco stuff as their own wares (And if that’s the case for you, you can just re-use your existing shaver handle! Woo-hoo!).

Shave clubs have become so popular that even the companies that sell you overpriced blades at WalMart and Target have started their own clubs, although still at a higher price than the ritzy-titzy clubs. By the way, if you’re still buying razors at discount stores, what the hell is wrong with you? Don’t have the internet?

Now you can be part of the best shave club, the smartest shave club, the only shave club that you control fully, can quit and re-start at any time, and don’t have to sign a contract for. Join the Legion of Weirdos Shave Club and buy your blades the smart and cheap way.

Before discovering Dorco razors, I was paying $9 plus tax each month for four top-of-the-line six-bladed cartridges. At DorcoRazors.com I found I could pay just $4 plus tax for basically the same thing (they’re a different color). That brings the price down from $2.25 per cartridge to a buck each! The only weird thing I’ve found with Dorco is that it seems the more razors you order in one go, the pricier they get. I’m a super-prepper freak when it comes to toiletries (you should see my butt-wipe closet!), so I order a box of 24 at a time for $34.80 plus tax. That puts mine at $1.45 each, still quite a bit cheaper than the uppity-schmuppity shave club, and I’m not committed to buy new blades in the future.

By the way, Dorco isn’t just for guys, they make razors in pink and lime green and with the fancy shaped handles and cartridges or whatever a girl may be looking for… or if you guys want to shave with a fancy pink razor. Whatever, no judgement here.

Oh, and don’t go thinkin’ I get anything out of this deal besides the satisfaction of sharing some good ol’ knowhow. I don’t get a cut of this or ad money or anything, although is someone at Dorco reads this and wants to reward me for preaching their good word, I’m open to it!