Posts Tagged ‘crackpot’

As Radio Shack Lays Dying — A Love Letter

March 5, 2014

Once the go-to shop for American geekdom, Radio Shack is closing another 1000 retail outlets. Some blame Amazon, the internet, a dumbed-down consumer even, but Radio Shack really has no-one to blame but themselves.

Radio Shack, we were once friends, lovers even, so take this as friendly advice: abandon your current, worthless PR efforts (after the firing squads are done, anyway) and re-engage with your core market. Or… just die. Preferably quickly.

That sounds harsh, but that’s how things are now.

Regarding your PR: does Toys’R’Us buy ad-space in the ‘Journal of Injection Moulded Plastics’? Of course not.
So why does
 Radio Shack buy ads in magazines catering to electrical engineers? A smiting is warranted by this abject idiocy.

Also, is this lame ‘Do It Together’ campaign the best you can do, a shitty logo with nothing to back it up? How does this engage anyone that doesn’t already shop at Radio Shack? ‘We’re Doing Ourselves’ would have been a more appropriate slogan. Those behind this wasted effort should be fired, and I’m not just talking about the ad agency. All it takes is one glance to see that somebody at Radio Shack didn’t have their thinking cap on… or just quit trying. 

Your core market:  the DIY folks — the enthusiasts, tinkerers and crackpot inventors. You know, like those ne’er-do-wells named Wozniak and Jobs? The polite term is ‘Maker’ now and if you can bring yourself to become a useful resource to them, the Makers can save your feckless corporate ass. 

Drop the appliances and cellphones and all that other crap that every other retailer kicks your butt at and focus on the Makers that nobody else is serving. This market is yours to lose.

Cast your minds back to the Tandy Leather stores, the sister shops to the old Radio Shack. The joke used to be that fetishists were keeping them in business. But if you drop over to their website, take a look at their in-store class schedules.  Hmmm, that’s a tool of engagement that Radio Shack never offered. Interesting. And predictive. 

I know you’ve tried carrying a few fun products like Arduinos and Basic Stamps (hidden between the mountains of bullshit, toys and iPhone cases), but there is a big difference between putting a product on your shelf and actually engaging potential customers for that product. You already know this, right? Well, do something about it!

Everything wrong at Radio Shack can be fixed. If you need some ideas (and you really-really do, old chum!), here’s a few freebies:

  • Sponsor local school Chess Clubs and Science Fairs. This is where Makers and geeks come from!
  • Hold some kind of in-store intro classes. If they don’t know how to use it, they won’t buy it! Of course, you’ll need someone with a clue to teach these classes, so…
  • Get to know your local Makers, maybe even hire a few of them: think ‘seed crystals’! These folks network and scheme and organize. Use them!
  • Make ‘The Shack’ a meeting place for those techie losers… just like in the old days. Knowledgeable staff and espresso would help.
  • Sponsor your local hackerspace(s)! A few resistors and some soldering irons would make a big splash for little cash!
  • Quit doing everything you are doing now that doesn’t work and THINK for a change!

Regarding your stupid Super Bowl ad: Makers don’t give a fuck about your shitty store fixtures… but I’d bet they would compete to design and fabricate some very sweet custom fixtures for their local ‘Rat Shat’. Just sayin’.

Amazon and other online sellers are slaughtering small retailers. They used to say the same thing about big box stores. But guess what? You can’t stream a hands-on experience. I had a coffee seller tell me that they didn’t bother with an on-line presence because that’s not what sells coffee. Same thing with Makers and their tactile, muscle-memory, wiggle-that-wire meatspace. You cannot put that experience or that face-to-face learning down a wire, not even a coaxial one. That’s what Radio Shack has to stick to if it wants to survive.

Do you get it, old friend?
We don’t like watching you die from self-inflicted wounds.
You can fix this… and your shareholders and the Makers would be thankful if you did.


Nothing is Beyond Our Reach

December 8, 2013

US Spy Agency Boasts ‘Nothing Is Beyond Our Reach’ With New Logo. The ACLU suggests the NRO “may want to downplay the massive dragnet spying thing right now. This logo isn’t helping.” Besides, it could distract from the Cephalopodmas Season!

Researchers at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine have found certain fungi possess the ability to ‘photosynthesize’ ionizing radiation, like inside the Chernobyl containment structure.

Meet The Tiny Rock That Could Start World War III.

The solstice isn’t for more than a week, but the earliest sunset of the year is already upon us. How’s that possible?

Moral Quandaries Department: The NFL has turned down an ad for a maker of modern high-capacity human-hunting rifles! So what’s a gun-nutter to do?? Wheel out the language of the civil rights movement of course: “There was a time when a black man couldn’t kiss a white woman on TV. That day has passed”! Another blow for freedom, y’all! Freedom and stray bullets.

Gene therapy scores big wins against blood cancers. A trixie reprogramming of T-cells.

This could get good! Westboro Baptist Church Will Fly To South Africa To Picket Mandela’s Funeral. I’m betting on “promptly killed and bodies mutilated by angry mob”, how about you?

The Neuroscientist Who Discovered He Was a Psychopath. “I got to the bottom of the stack, and saw this scan that was obviously pathological,” he says, noting that it showed low activity in certain areas of the frontal and temporal lobes linked to empathy, morality and self-control. When he looked up the code, he was greeted by an unsettling revelation: the psychopathic brain pictured in the scan was his own.

Who gets the prize for most deranged statement this week? Limbaugh? Palin? Santorum? Maybe the RNC? 10 Biggest Doozies From the Right-Wing Wackosphere This Week.

The existence of the RQ-180 has been long rumored. It’s probably been flying for a few years now, but you weren’t supposed to know that; the existence of this secret project, based out of Area 51, was revealed Friday by Aviation Week.

“Food is the First Thing, Morals Follow On!”

October 11, 2013

Food Will Win the War” –  an awesome 1942 propaganda cartoon from Walt Disney. Tom Waits gives us a rougher taker on ‘food security’ (what a screwed-up euphemism)!

While  the US government is shut down, the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) Food and Nutrition program will not be receiving its regular federal funding. Feminist Hulk is building a list of alternative sources of infants and children nutrition aid sources… while the Teahadi terrorists inflict their childish tantrums (at full pay) on the vulnerable.

Fox News host Elisabeth Hasselbeck on Thursday suggested that welfare recipients who had air conditioning and cell phones were part of the “ugly side of entitlements”. Then Jesus threw His beer at the TV and damned her and all those like her to Eternal Torment.

Have they been huffing starter fluid, or what? “Truckers Ride For The Constitution” (a Tea Party group formerly known as “Truckers To Shutdown America” before their original Facebook page was killed) plans to clog the Interstate 495 inner loop from Oct. 11 to Oct. 13. Apparently they wish to emulate French farmers, who regularly pull this kind of stunt!

Get Out Your Calculators, It’s Time To Go To Crazyland, TX for a look at Louie “Louie” Gohmert’s FEC filing. “Why does his staff get pizza but he dines at The Capitol Hill Club for $1,500 a month? Do you think the staff will try to poison him when they find this out?“. And where does he get a $10 plane ticket?

Death is permanent in Ohio, lurking everywhere in Florida… and debatably redundant in Oklahoma.

It’s that time of year again! New Pumpkin Spice Channel To Offer Fall-Themed Hardcore Pornography (TheOnion).

The Smell of Peanut Butter Could Diagnose Alzheimer’s, because your olfactory is one of the first things affected.

Noted holy man Pat Robertson cranksplains AIDS: “I think the World Health Organization was doing some experiment in the Congo on a monkey virus, a monkey injection to fight polio and it wasn’t an injection, they put it in sugar cubes and they gave it to these Africans, a couple hundred thousand in the test.”

Kids with Matches!

October 3, 2013

The Flying Crowbar: The Insane Doomsday Weapon America Almost Built. Sure, nuclear ram-jets are cool and all, but this thing made me say “Thank goodness for ICBMs!”

Any Animal That Touches This Lethal Lake Turns to Stone. Well, almost any animal, that is. There are some fish that quite like it there.

Just in time for holiday cookie season: the vanilla flavoring in your baked goods and candy could come from the anal excretions of beavers.

So long for now, Silk Road! It looks like at least part of the government wasn’t totally shut down, after all.

Swiss War Game Envisages Invasion by Bankrupt French.

World News: Obama has told the American people there will be ‘no discernible difference’ when banks take over the running of the country after the shutdown of the US government.

Australia had a government shutdown once, in 1975. In the end, the Queen fired everyone in Parliament. I know how she felt!

The Walking Dumb: How a small gaggle of thick-headed Republicans could derail the entire global economy for a decade.

I know my own district’s elected Tea Party catamite, Rep. Jim Bridenstine, can expect nothing but the highest respect from me, especially after he helps tank the economy again. But I’m hearing rumors of more sinister motives for his backstabbing of our nation.

Tomorrow is the dream we build today

September 26, 2013

Shooting has begun on Disney’s upcoming movie Tomorrowland. Will it be about Tesla? The Oatmeal investigates… and really whets my appetite.

Shades of Tesla and VALIS: the legendary “Black Knight” satellite continues to intrigue. Here’s a slightly more conventional examination.

Another day, another Atlantis pyramid found. This time it’s 40 meters underwater off the coast of Terceira Island in the Azores.

Like a snake eating it’s own tail.” With the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy less than two months away, the Smithsonian Magazine has published an article on the iconic ‘Zapruder film’ that ignited a virtual conspiracy industry.

Neal Stephenson (author of “Snow Crash”, et al) is developing a concept for a 20-kilometer tall skyscraper that could be used to launch rockets into space. Wind loading makes this a little tricky.

Is there life beyond the isoelectric line? What if inside the brain of a person who had already flat lined, there was still something going on—some murmur of electrical signals? Could the person still be considered brain dead?

‘Alien Jesus’: The Pre-Modern History of Outer Space. Giordano Bruno, a renegade sixteenth-century monk from the Kingdom of Naples, argued that God must be “glorified not in one, but in countless suns; not in a single earth, a single world, but in a thousand thousand, indeed in an infinity of worlds.”

Stand your telepathic ground! Meloney Selleneit, 55, of Centerville UT pleaded guilty but mentally ill last week after convincing her (non-Mensa member) husband  to shoot the neighbor she said had “telepathically raped” her. Rumors of her being a possible running-mate for Sen. Ted Cruz in 2016 are circulating.

Why is the GOP so dedicated to the NO FUTURE!” politics of keeping Americans sick and hungry? Are they members of some kind of secret underground society or something?

Socialist tyranny! An appellate court broke some villainous hearts when it ruled that Onwentsia Club in Lake Forest really did have to pay property taxes on its pool, tennis courts and horse stable.

Let’s take it a step further and end the tax-free status of country clubs.

Koch-backed conservatives go pro-cervical cancer, and just couldn’t be any creepier if they they tried! You know it’s evil if the Kochs are backing it.

Electric spiders and H-bomb duds

September 24, 2013

We almost lost North Carolina in 1961. Good thing the Mark 39 Mod 2 H-bombs that got dropped were more unreliable than they were unsafe.

Over 150 Americans die each year on average after accidentally taking too much acetaminophen. Good thing they put it in everything.

Do I behead them and drink their blood… or just do some household chores? How the voices in our heads reflect cultural influences.

Just what we need, electric spiders. Do arachnids dream of electric flight?

While you wait for the Navy Yard shooting “Truther” kooks to erupt (it’s only a matter of time), try this quick read: CONSPIRACY THEORIES, MAGICAL THINKING, AND THE PARANOID STYLE(S) OF MASS OPINION.

There’s a simple reason why supply-side economics doesn’t work — and the data confirm it.

The wild story of the short-notice, three-hour viewing period for a national-security document on the August Friday that summer recess started. It was on display in the bottom of a locked filing cabinet stuck in a disused lavatory with a sign on the door saying ‘Beware of the Leopard’.

Wanna See Me Eat Some Paste?” By Sen. Ted Cruz.

The evolution of bald men:

Behold the glory of Goat Week

September 17, 2013

You didn’t miss it this year: GOAT WEEK is finally here! It’s like Shark Week only safer but… beware the Maryland Goatman!

Kitchen Time Machine: A Culinary Romp Through Soviet History. Very good interview about memory, food and the struggle of the urban proletariat!

Though the scientific conclusions of the study remain valid, Tufts University announced on Tuesday that one of its researchers broke ethical rules while carrying out a study of genetically modified “Golden Rice” in China.

Excerpts from The Mad Scientist’s Handbook: The Human Recipe.

“Will it fly?”: yet another skeptical overview of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program. ‘Build a plane, fly a plane, find a flaw, design a fix, retrofit the plane, rinse, repeat’.

So size does matter! Research suggests perception of time is linked to size, explaining why insects find it easy to avoid being smooshed.

Traditional aboriginal interpretations of the Aurora Australis: the Sky Deity’s anger or the campfires in the Land of the Dead?

Deny them your Essence!! Conservative noise chamber declares ‘water’ a commie plot.

Crazy Caucus gives ‘Science Laureate’ notion the kibosh because Science is their enemy!

Wait, book-learning ain’t nuthin’ to fear! Science confirms: Politics wrecks your ability to do math.

Annual Pre-Samhain freakout!

Jetcopter Cyborgs Appear on the Shore

September 12, 2013

Alex Jones is crying out for Pharaoh to let his sheeple go… but the Crazy keeps getting louder! Homosexual juice-boxes, weather control, clockwork elves and those unblinking eyes following him everywhere!! AIEEEEE!!!

All hail the Georgia Guidestones! “Let these be Guidestones to an Age of Reason” reads the capstone in classical Greek, Sanskrit, Egyptian hieroglyphics, and Babylonian cuneiform.

These totally awesome rubber-bands are my costume this Halloween!

Bashar Al-Assad Tries Tiny Bit Of Sarin Gas On Self To See What It’s Like (The Onion)

South African performance artist, Steven Cohen thought it would be a reasonable idea to dress in a bird-like costume with a rooster tied to his penis on a long ribbon and shimmy around the Eiffel Tower. The Paris police did not agree.

Tennessee Rep. Phil Roe’s proposal to require that SNAP beneficiaries be limited to foods that meet the tougher Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) standards (which exclude junk food) might pass if nobody in the GOP figures out that teh Poors might live longer because of it.

Say nice things about the NATO HERF program, it’s starting to look useful (for stopping NWO cyborg jetcopter elite machine elves in their tracks):

Assad, Azathoth and what have you

August 30, 2013

A gargoyle on a historic 13th Century abbey has caused a social media sensation with its resemblance to the monster from the Alien films. The prosaic explanation is quite prosaic.

The police, an open door, and probable cause: Seven things Maggie Koerth-Baker and Her Husband Learned at 4 am on a Tuesday.

Earth life ‘may have come from Mars’, New research supports an idea that the Red Planet was a better place to kick-start biology billions of years ago than the early Earth was.

Meet Lisa/S, the world’s smallest UAV autopilot! At $230 each, there’s no excuse to not build your own flying kill-bots!

Here’s some good Oklahoma weirdness! Strange monument mysteriously shows up in front of Paseo area restaurant: “In the year of our lord 2012 Creer Pipi claimed this land for Azathoth“!

True to form, the Texas State Board of Education has nominated several well-known creationists to review high school biology textbooks. The battle against Reality continues.

Poverty and the all-consuming fretting that comes with it require so much mental energy that the Poors have little ‘mental bandwidth’ left to devote to other areas of life, according to the findings of an international study published on Thursday.

Dr. Jesse Marcel Jr., who said he handled debris from the 1947 crash of an unidentified flying object near Roswell, N.M., has died at the age of 76.

Beach’s short list of Totalitarian Bizzarreness. I was let down that he didn’t mention Josef Stalin’s round-up of those decadent saxophones.

All that Syria Jazz-

Reporters for Le Monde spent two months clandestinely in the Damascus area alongside Syrian rebels. On the scene during chemical weapons attacks, they bear witness to the use of toxic arms by the government of Bashar al-Assad.

5 Possible Repercussions of a U.S. military Strike on Syria – ABC News

Analysis: Strike on Syria could trigger retaliatory attacks, cyberwar – Reuters

Alleged CW munitions in Syria fired from Iranian Falaq-2 type launchers, from The Rogue Adventurer, and stills of the launch process from Brown Moses Blog.



(Pre) History speaks in tongues!

August 21, 2013

“Ya-bando-ba-ba-basoya!”. Speaking in tongues was mentioned in Paul’s letter to the Corinthians, but it died out until the 20th century.

In 1971 a book hit the shelves suggesting human evolution was driven by cannibalism. The book is The Beginning Was the End by Oscar Kiss Maerth. Yes, Virginia, we’re all DEVO.

A team of scientists say they have uncovered evidence of early humans in China dating back at least 1.6 million years, the oldest signs of early humans in North China.

The megalithic enclosures of Gobekli Tepe (Urfa, Turkey) are the most ancient sacred structures of stone known so far, dating back to the 10 millennium BC. It turns out that they may have been originally constructed to celebrate the appearance of a new, extremely brilliant star in the southern skies: Sirius.

The earliest known iron artifacts, 5000 year old funeral beads from Egypt, were made with meteorite iron!

The Hall of Ma’at has many papers debunking “alternative archaeology”, but I’m not giving up on the Solutrean Hypothesis just yet!

Could a blood test predict whether a person is at risk of committing suicide? For the first time, a set of proteins in the blood have been linked to suicidal behavior.

Serious People said that budget deficits hurt the economy. So we increased taxes so deficits are wayyyyy down. Now the Serious People are saying that taxes hurt the economy. Maybe the Serious People don’t know what they are talking about?

Officials in Tennessee say that a father and his 12-year-old son died over the weekend after an AR-15 rifle accidentally discharged, causing a fire and a series of explosions in a room full of ammunition in their home. If only they’d had more guns!!!

Guns don’t kill people, boredom does: Oklahoma teens charged in Australian baseball player’s killing. Slap an NRA sticker on that coffin, why don’t you? Oh, right: that would require some perspective on things, yeah!