Choice Magazine’s latest commercial insults Maytag refrigerators

I wonder why Choice magazine has decided to pick on a Maytag refrigerator as an example of poor quality?

In its latest television ad it shows a Maytag fridge as being responsible for melting ice cream. We have had one of those fridges for six years and have never had any problems with its ability to keep ice cream cold.

So I wonder why Choice has chosen to denigrate this brand?

Since we have been supporters of Choice for many years we searched our files to see if Maytag has ever been properly tested. As far as we can tell it has not figured in the past year. There were some problems with G.E and Maytag in 2008 but Choice has done no testing on Maytag since then

Is it because Maytag is expensive? Is it because it’s an American fridge?

Even if the name of the fridge is not explicitly shown any owner of a Maytag will recognise its appearance and be concerned about its quality.

Surely the producers of the Choice commercial could have shown a generic fridge that did not resemble a particular brand or used one that had scored poorly in their recent reviews!

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What does an Up To 90% Off Sale really mean?

If you walk around the shopping districts in Melbourne you are struck by the plethora of stores that promise up to 70% and even 90% discount. Now I don’t mind 90% discount if that’s what the stores are delivering. But what really gets my goat is when the words “UP To” are stuck in front of the promised saving in small or feint letters.

It makes you feel that the stores think you are an idiot by including just one single item which is discounted by 90% while the rest of the sale gives much smaller discounts. Of course, I realise that it’s a come-on. It’s meant to bring you into the store, but it’s definitely counter-productive and it’s putting me off.

I now give those stores a miss because they annoy me. I really don’t appreciate being manipulated in this way. Wouldn’t it be preferable if they offered at least 30% off all the sale stock? At least that is ethical.

And I wonder if “Up To” can include zero? Isn’t zero part of “up to” or am I wrong?

And if only one item has to be discounted by the promised amount then why not then offer “UP To 100% OFF”? Surely this can be achieved by offering some dud product for free and then charging regular prices for the rest.

It’s as ridiculous as those ads that inform us of “UP To 32%” improvement in our complexion if we buy that miracle cream. Surely it can also mean that there was zero improvement.

Perhaps these cosmetic companies should actually disclose the proportion of bullshit in their advertising. If they did that, then the BS content would reach that magical 90%. Not Up To, but AT Least 90% and that’s a promise.

Do we care about gay marriage?

This morning I went to a current affairs discussion. We talked about the usual topics such as this weekend’s Labor Conference, selling uranium to India, the GFC, the Eurozone, the promised surplus by our federal treasurer, Wayne Swan, etc. etc. etc.

Then someone brought up the subject of legalising same-sex marriage and there was an interesting reaction to it. Nobody, but nobody, was interested in whether gays should be allowed to marry or not.

Quite frankly, my dear, we didn’t give a damn.

If they wanna get married, let them get married. It didn’t bother us one bit.

Perhaps it’s because we are older and wiser and we’ve learned that it has nothing to do with us anyhow. We have seen how marriage is no longer the genuine commitment that it was supposed to be. People get married, then they get fed up and then they either have affairs or they divorce. Or they live together without being married.

I’ve wondered why the gays want to get married at all and I think it’s because they need to be accepted by the rest of society. Which is understandable since they have not been accepted in the past and will probably always have problems with the Church.

So if they are allowed to marry they hope that they will be like us. This is quite ironic, in a way, because we as a society no longer value marriage. Been there, done that and wonder why anyone would want to be married.

Quite frankly, young women are attracted to weddings. They want a glamorous party with lots of tinsel and bling. All this fuss has nothing to do with the reality of the institution itself, of course. And when the party’s over they wonder what they got themselves into or grammatically speaking, into what they got themselves.

So good luck to the gays. Why not give them what they ask for?

Seriously though, I can envisage a time when the only people to get married will be gays. And so once again they will be a group apart. How ironic is that?

Further developments in the alleged arson and murder case at Quakers Hill

There have been some more developments in the Roger Dean case. He is the registered nurse who was charged with arson and murder at the nursing home two days ago.

Seems that he has had previous trouble with management at other nursing jobs. This time the police was called in the night before the fire at the Quakers Hill nursing home. He was being questioned by detectives following a complaint from management at this facility where he had worked for only a short time.

The interview was interrupted so we will never know whether an arrest could have prevented the subsequent fire. Anyhow, it now appears that Dean lit the fires in two rooms following that interview.

This may turn out to be a simple case of retribution against the nursing home and its management.

Or it may be the case that Dean knew he was going to be dismissed and so lit the fires to show that he was a good employee by coming to the aid of the patients. So still a possible case of Munchhausen by proxy.

Perhaps there should be more stringent vetting of potential nurses before they are employed in nursing homes. That’s easy to say, I guess, but the reality is that there is a shortage of nurses in those facilities and so nursing homes have to accept whomsoever they can get.

It’s a sorry state of affairs.

I keep on seeing the images in my mind of those poor old people being taken to hospital and they break my heart.

Wow! I singled out the alleged arsonist at Quakers Hill

Yesterday morning, when we were watching the TV reports about the horrific fire at the Nursing Home at Quakers Hill, Sydney, I couldn’t help but be suspicious about the Asian male nurse who was being interviewed about the fire. He was very camp and extremely solicitous. He was also saying how much he was helping with the rescue of the residents.

Somehow, it struck me at the time that he was enjoying the attention just a bit too much. So I wondered whether it was a case of Munchhausen by Proxy.

This man has now been named as Roger Dean and charged with arson and murder. As a result of the charge Dean’s face is being covered up, but it is obvious who it is, since he was the only male nurse to be interviewed by the media.

I think that sometimes we should really pay attention to our gut feelings. As Blaise Pascal, the Seventeenth Century French philosopher, writer, mathematician and scientist wrote:- “the heart has it reasons of which reason knows nothing.”

I wonder, though, if there really is such a thing as gut feeling or is it a kind of fast assessment based on quick observation, an educated guess?

Perhaps it has to do with our prehistoric instincts for survival, a gut feeling of imminent danger followed by Exit stage left.

A Real Aussie Welcome for President Obama

After trying hard to make a difference in the Middle East and in Europe, President Obama appears to be changing course. He is focusing on the Pacific region instead. This is where future growth will be greatest, according to him. It is also where the US is welcome.

Unfortunately for Europe/US relations, Europe has a chip on its shoulder. A very weak shoulder as it turns out. The Europeans have their own problems now and it is no use trying to form closer alliances with them while they are struggling with financial difficulties. Europe is unfortunately shackled by traditions, and it suffers delusions of past grandeur. Yes, they were powerful once but now they are in deep trouble.

As far as the Middle East is concerned, what can one say? A basket case of disaffected people who are busy with their own political turmoil. And when that is solved, in the fullness of time, there will be economic turmoil as well. So no wonder that President Obama has decided to retreat from closer involvement with that part of the world.

Anyway, the US cannot solve the entire world’s problems. It has tried and been rebuffed too many times by envious nations. Nor should it be expected to do so when it has obligations at home.

Which leaves the developing nations of Asia, S.E. Asia as well as the developed Western nations of Australia and New Zealand. And that is sensible.

It was a pleasure to hear President Obama speak to the Australian parliament today. He is a skilled and diplomatic orator. No wonder the Australian parliament gave him a lengthy ovation. Everyone kept on clapping and clapping as he personally made certain that he shook hands with all the politicians there. Even Senator Bob Browne of the Greens was unusually courteous even though he is no fan of the US and its policies.

Prime Minister Gillard spoke very well and was impressive, but the standout speech was by Opposition Leader, Tony Abbott, who appeared more erudite than Gillard.

I wish that the public could hear him talk that way more often. Less passion, less vitriol and more reflective speeches from Abbott would do him a lot of good. He shouldn’t suppress his natural inclination to be a deep thinker. And he should reveal that side of his character to the Australian population.

It’s what is appealing about President Obama. The President is intelligent and is not ashamed to show it. Abbott is also intelligent and educated. So why not demonstrate it to us more often?

Fun at the auction at 49 Mathoura Rd Toorak

If you want to study humanity you will get your fill by attending a real estate auction. Sticky beaks like us occasionally attend. It’s live theatre.

So that’s what we did yesterday, Saturday, a day which apparently was going to keep Melbournians busy at about 800 or so auctions. We chose the one which was selling a very attractive renovated Nineteenth Century home.

As we approached the house we could see that every parking spot in the street was taken. A large crowd of curious neighbours and potential bidders filled the front lawn of the property. I’d been to some crowded auctions before at which nobody made a single bid. Very deflating. The whole thing would be over in a flash.

This one was different, though. Some families with little children positioned themselves. There was definitely an air of anticipation among the crowd.

Was anybody interested? Would the auction go the way of other auctions and fizzle out? We chatted among ourselves and waited.

And then the auctioneer, Justin Long, began his preamble. A very descriptive and enthusiastic one, naturally. After about ten minutes he finally declared the auction opened and asked:-

“Is there anybody here who would like to open the bidding?”

A little voice piped up. “I will” One of the toddlers stood in front of Mr Long and repeated “I will” until his dad picked him up and whisked him away.

The whole crowd burst out laughing and for a brief moment we all relaxed. And then the auctioneer asked the child:-

“Does your father have any money? If he has then go ahead and bid.”

There were four bidders there and one of them was successful. It seemed to go on forever with the auctioneer playing one of the bidders off against the others until we felt like calling out “Enough already…”

It turned out to be one of the most exciting auctions I had ever witnessed. Nail biting is the only way to describe it. And it felt so good to have that comic relief before it started. He was such a cute kid!