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Monday links, a weird PSA, and a small favor

Small favor

Thanks to you using those Amazon links, I’m on the way to my best-ever Amazon month! And boy, is it welcome! Now, if you’re willing, you can help accomplish one small but gratifying goal.

If Amazon fulfills orders for 320 items from my links before the end of the month, that’ll push me into the next tier of commissions. I’ve never been remotely close before. This month, you have put us within spittin’ distance. Another 53 items and — voila!.

Tiny items: $.99 Kindle books. $1.99 instant videos — anything. Baubles, bangles, doo-dads, mathoms. It’s not about the cost; just the number of things that get instantly delivered or shipped before month’s end. Ten boxes of cheap pens for your office. Three Stooges (or Elvis) Million Dollar novelty bills with free shipping to delight (or offend) everybody on your Christmas card list. Or you can do what I did one year and give genuine Zimbabwe $100 trillion bills to people who “get it” (but look out for the shipping charges on some of those!). Possibilities are endless — as long as the items get reported as shipped this week and as long as they are for somebody other than me; my wish list items don’t count.

Making it to 320 isn’t a big money deal. Maybe an extra $30. But you’ll give me a big wow. So buy whatever you were going to buy, anyhow, using any Amazon links on the blog. But if you can see your way to adding a few trinkets or instant-delivery items … kewl.

Finally, here’s a bizarrely entertaining PSA for your Monday morning work avoidance:


  1. Pat
    Pat November 26, 2012 7:47 am

    I think there are several reasons for apathy re preparedness.

    1) “It can’t happen to me.”

    2) People don’t appreciate the impact a disaster may have on their lives; or

    3) They over-estimate their ability to cope.

    4) We learn mostly from experience and, if we haven’t lived through it, cannot believe “the worst” that others tell us will happen. (That’s why history keeps repeating itself.)

    5) People generally do not think in specifics re the future… re what MAY happen at some later date. Humans tend to live in the here-and-now; for many people, planning for the future is a nebulous thing, depending on what outside influences interfere with those plans.

  2. furrydoc
    furrydoc November 26, 2012 8:46 am

    David thanks for the annoying tune he will never get out his head.

  3. Kent McManigal
    Kent McManigal November 26, 2012 8:53 am

    Preparedness- If I were only getting the message to prepare from the authoriturds I wouldn’t pay any attention either. Why listen to those you know from lifelong experience are lying? So I see that as a good thing: people have learned not to trust government. Plus, look how many times people who actually do prepare are either arrested or smeared in the media. This is why I try to get people to see how FUN preps can be.

  4. Claire
    Claire November 26, 2012 9:05 am

    furrydoc — Tell David he’s not alone. 🙁 The video (a real one from Melbourne, Australia’s Metro train system) is on its way to the tens of millions of views.

    I wonder how many millions of those (me included) woke up this morning with “Dumb ways to die-ie-ie” playing in their heads.

  5. Jim B.
    Jim B. November 26, 2012 10:02 am

    Ooh! Too bad I’ve already used your link a couple days ago to finish up my Christmas shopping. A toy for my nephew and a long sharp and pointy thing for me. Which means my budget is done for now. Ah well, hope you’ll soon be able to light your way this month or any other time. ; )

  6. Claire
    Claire November 26, 2012 10:35 am

    Jim B. — No worries! The fact that you used my links (this month or any other time) is all I could ever ask.

  7. Karen
    Karen November 26, 2012 10:55 am

    That is a cute and catchy PSA! Made me wonder what might be considered intelligent ways to die. 😉

  8. Claire
    Claire November 26, 2012 11:42 am

    Karen — Now there’s a video I’d like to see!

    Hm … Intelligent ways to die …

    In your sleep at 106 after taking your daily walk and enjoying a big meal?

    Successfully blowing up the Fuehrer with the bomb in your suitcase?

    Saving the life of the greatest freedomista genius who ever lived?

    Flying upside-down into your barn while stunt flying the plane you built yourself, age 90 or so (ala a certain beloved movie)?

  9. IndividualAudienceMember
    IndividualAudienceMember November 26, 2012 11:55 am

    “the annoying tune he will never get out his head.”

    Ah, I’m thinking I made the right choice in not watching that particular video 🙂

  10. Claire
    Claire November 26, 2012 12:14 pm

    Ah, but if you gotta have a tune stuck in your head, that one’s weird and cute enough to be worth it.

    … Quite unlike the Flintstones vitamin jingle that sometimes plagues my brain at 3:00 a.m. I’m hoping “Dumb ways to die” will be a suitable replacement in whatever dark corner of the psyche makes stuff like this happen.

  11. WolfSong
    WolfSong November 26, 2012 1:26 pm

    Not only will I wake up singing that song for days on end, I’ll be singing it all day too…I downloaded the mp3 of it and just can’t stop laughing at it. Or singing it!

  12. Claire
    Claire November 26, 2012 1:29 pm

    MamaLiberty — I did mean to link to PoL’s home page. But here’s the link to the specific news round up where I got that article:

    Of course, I completely agree with your and Nathan’s take that government “help” is a large part of the problem — and a part the writers of the linked article don’t seem to realize. They talk of mindset and everyday self-reliance. Then they talk about how to encourage that from above, using public schools.

    Talk about major Not-Getting-It-Ness!

  13. Claire
    Claire November 26, 2012 1:37 pm

    WolfSong — Isn’t it wonderful how mayhem, fountains of blood, and gruesome death can bring such good cheer? LOL, I’ve watched the video about six times myself and am having the same reaction to it that you are.

  14. Ellendra
    Ellendra November 26, 2012 2:18 pm

    “In your sleep at 106 after taking your daily walk and enjoying a big meal?”

    That’s how my great-great aunt died, just 3 days shy of her 105th birthday.

    I’m hoping to buy a few things from Amazon soon. I don’t have any money so I’ve been doing Bing searches and trading the points for Amazon gift cards.
    (I know, I know, I’m feeding the Microsoft Empire. Re-read that part about not having any money.)

  15. MamaLiberty
    MamaLiberty November 26, 2012 3:48 pm

    “Talk about major Not-Getting-It-Ness!”

    Much agree, of course. I conveyed the message to Nathan. He says:

    “The problem is that too many folks are still trying to reach out to those fence sitters that still think the public schools are useful or that refuse to open their eyes or think that “our town’s school is different” – and so they moderate their message.”

  16. Mac the Knife
    Mac the Knife November 26, 2012 5:01 pm

    Just ordered two items using your link. I always use your link to purchase on Amazon. I guess because I love your writing.

    Now, I need a big favor from you. I have just purchased the new Kindle Fire HD 8.9 inch Wi-fi tablet and I really really wanted to subscribe to SWAT magazine electronic edition on Amazon, but they do not carry it. You can get an app for the iPad to get an electronic edition, but I would love for you to convince SWAT to put up a Kindle edition that people can subscribe to.

    Pretty please – with sugar on it.

  17. jed
    jed November 26, 2012 5:11 pm

    Hmmm, shipped? Oooh, I always choose free super-saver. Sometimes takes days before something ships. Not usually, but it ain’t reliable. Do you see the order before it actually ships? I suppose not, because someone could cancel, in which case, cross your fingers for yesterday’s.

    Well, I was planning on letting the CC recover a bit before my next bout of buying stuff, but if someone can recommend a good sewing book, tailored (hah!) to making outdoor type stuff, such as rollout gear bags, that’s next on my list, and I could squeeze it in. I have this book from the library, and will probably buy it. I like the style of it, and from what little of the ‘look inside’ I saw of ‘Sew Everything Workshop’ by Rupp, I don’t know that I’d like that. I want good technical data, not refrences to Bjork and whatever the latest hipster junk is. (Nothing against hipsters — I even know one, and he’s a fine fellow, it’s just not where my interests lie.)

    I need to search for ‘open source’ sewing patterns too.

  18. Claire
    Claire November 26, 2012 6:32 pm

    Mac the Knife — With that backgrounder, how could I even think of refusing? I’ll get right on the project of nagging and badgering Rich and Denny.

    jed — I don’t want to send anybody to Amazon on a special trip just for me. And since I also choose super-saver shipping, I know exactly what you mean. Don’t give up the benefit of super-saver shipping. It’s not worth it.

    Yes, I can view a report on ordered items. But the earnings report is separate; it’s compiled from the shipped items, and only that report counts toward the monthly sales total.

    Really, though. Please don’t worry about it. It would be fun to make that 320 goal, especially since I’ve scarcely reached half of that in previous best months. But it’s not that big a deal.

  19. Claire
    Claire November 26, 2012 6:37 pm

    Oh, and jed. While I don’t have personal experience with any books on sewing outdoor gear, I see that Amazon has several titles on exactly that topic:

    And re the book you have from the library … you really can’t go wrong with any advice from Simplicity. Nobody is better at the basics of the sewing craft than Simplicity, and they’ve maintained that reputation since I was a teenager making all my own clothes.

    I’d love to hear more as you get into those projects.

  20. Karen
    Karen November 26, 2012 6:55 pm

    For clarification, is the count based on orders or items? If I place 1 order containing 3 items, which number adds to the count?

  21. Claire
    Claire November 26, 2012 7:00 pm

    Karen — Great question: items. Specifically, items shipped. So say you placed an order with three items and two get shipped and one is delayed into next month, that would be two items. If all three get reported as shipped by Nov. 30, it’s three items. If somebody actually did buy 10 of those boxes of cheap pens I linked to, that would be 10 separate items credited to the earnings report.

    You guys are always so good; I almost feel I shouldn’t be asking this. And really, I have to emphasize that it’s not a big deal, just a goal that would be fun to meet.

  22. jed
    jed November 26, 2012 7:19 pm

    Thanks for the search link. I’ll look at those. I’m pretty sure nobody has written “the” book I’m looking for — it’d have to cover making your own patterns too, for example. But I think I can fake that part with appropriate forethought.

    I suppose I’ll start with something simple like some drawstring bags to learn with, but my #1 project is a larger version of that green zippered clamshell thing, done in sturdier fabric, with molle webbing front and back. Beyond that, my DIY nature is such that I think being able to sew well is just a good skill to have.

  23. Claire
    Claire November 26, 2012 7:36 pm

    Mac — Rich Lucibella (SWAT publisher) says: “Tell them you convinced us. However, Amazon has a queued up new applicants and is not accepting any new apps until after the New Year. We hope by June.”

    June. Jeez, who would think Amazon would get that far behind? But at least it’s in the works. I’ve asked Rich to keep me posted so I can promote SWAT for Kindle when it’s out.

    I understand I recently caused some headaches for SWAT — in a rather surprising way. In the issue just before the election, in a piece Joel Simon and I co-wrote, we opined that the entire election process was corrupt and basically just a game being played on us by TPTB. Pretty elementary statement, you might think. But apparently it steamed some SWAT subscribers so much that they dropped their subscriptions.

    Then, in the very next issue, I mentioned (strictly in passing, in an article about another topic) that I thought the drug war should be ended. This drew a long letter pretty much accusing me of single-handedly destroying Western Civilization, condemning Motherhood and Apple Pie, and being responsible for the disappearance of Judge Crater, Jimmy Hoffa, and Ambrose Bierce — with SWAT as my accomplice.

    Denny Hansen (editor) ably answered the letter without even bothering me. But I don’t think he’s been too fond of my lately. It would be nice if I could nudge some new subscribers their way.

  24. jed
    jed November 26, 2012 7:51 pm

    Oh, memories … (like the corners of my mind) …

    We did have those conversations with Rich over @TCF about SWAT. I still have those issues (someplace) from your 1st run. I still can’t bring myself to subscribe, despite the content (IIRC, Tam is also writing for them). But I know that everyone, Rich included, has to pay the bills somehow.

  25. winston
    winston November 26, 2012 9:11 pm

    So kindle books DO count as ‘shipped’ items? Cause that I can certainly do…

  26. Woody
    Woody November 27, 2012 2:19 am

    “This drew a long letter pretty much accusing me of single-handedly destroying Western Civilization, condemning Motherhood and Apple Pie, and being responsible for the disappearance of Judge Crater, Jimmy Hoffa, and Ambrose Bierce”

    Damn! Now you really are my hero. I’ve been trying to do those things without success for my whole life and you accomplish the whole lot with one offhand sentence.

    Regarding Amazon: Curious if the free books I “purchase” from them for $0.00 count? They go through the checkout process just like the ones that cost $8.99.

  27. Mac the Knife
    Mac the Knife November 27, 2012 6:37 am

    Thanks a bunch Claire. I will just have to buy SWAT on the newsstand until the Kindle app comes out.

  28. Claire
    Claire November 27, 2012 8:18 am

    Yup. Anything instantly delivered is counted as shipped. Except ones with $0.00 cost, which are something I simply never see.

  29. Claire
    Claire November 27, 2012 8:25 am

    Woody — I’m sure glad somebody isn’t mad at me for disappearing poor old Ambrose. 🙂

    Seriously, though, hanging out with you guys I forget how controversial some positions might be with other people. The guy who got that upset about one offhand line … well, that happens. I’ve seen anarcho-whatevers go non-linear about single lines in articles, too. Some people just have their hobby horses.

    But the idea that multiple people would be so shocked at the notion that the electoral process is inherently corrupt … what can you say?

    I suspect the subscription-droppers were probably die-hard R-party supporters who took that article and its timing as tacit support for Obama. Denny got me to agree to add a closing “vote if you must” paragraph, but presumably Joel and I were discouraging bunches of Romney fans from going to the polls. Or something.

  30. Ellendra
    Ellendra November 27, 2012 12:24 pm

    “But the idea that multiple people would be so shocked at the notion that the electoral process is inherently corrupt … what can you say?”

    Given the number of precincts that have more ballots cast every election than they have people living there, I’m not sure how it can be denied anymore. Just one precinct in Florida has 7 registered voters, and this last election they had over 900 ballots cast there.

    I’m an election inspector, and this last election I saw more stunts being attempted than I’ve seen in all my previous election inspecting years combined!

  31. Claire
    Claire November 27, 2012 12:34 pm

    Ellendra — Sounds as if you have some interesting stories to tell.

  32. winston
    winston November 27, 2012 9:12 pm

    Well I have been wanting to do a little more book shopping on my new kindle, I’ll be sure to use your link.

  33. Ellendra
    Ellendra November 29, 2012 12:50 pm

    “Ellendra — Sounds as if you have some interesting stories to tell.”

    Nothing really exciting, just disappointing really. People who were ineligible tried to register, a couple people tried to register to vote in one place after voting absentee in another place. A few “helpful” social workers tried to register their clients who obviously didn’t even know their own names. One person got caught trying to go through the line twice.

    Usually the precinct I work at is so by-the-book that we’ve had poll watchers walk out on us. We were just too boring for them.

    The most unusual thing this time around was the number of people who tried to mark more than one candidate for president because, no matter how carefully we tried to explain it, they just couldn’t comprehend that there were 7 people running instead of just 2. About every 5th person had their ballot rejected because of that. And I tried not to notice this, I really did, but every single one of them was an Obama voter.

    The voting system we use is the one that has been shown to be the most reliable, at least as far as technology goes. People mark a paper ballot, which then gets fed into a machine that reads it, and if it’s accepted then the machine automagically deposits the ballot into a locked compartment. If it rejects the ballot (usually because of extraneous marks, or because they voted for more than one candidate per office) then it beeps and spits the ballot back out, and we have to look and see why it got rejected so we can walk them through getting a replacement ballot. Even the rejected ones get logged in a book, then torn in half and the halves kept in an envelope so we can verify that the number of ballots handed out matches the number cast. If the machine gets full, the chief election inspector opens it with another inspector watching, and the ballots get put into a box that is then taped shut and the tape signed and dated.

    It’s a pretty secure system, but it’s impossible to make anything 100% secure.

    I have friends who are poll workers or poll watchers in other states, and they have some interesting stories to tell. One guy noticed that if a voter seemed elderly or confused, they were encouraged to use a paticular booth. This was one where you pull the lever to vote, but he found that that one booth had the lever for one candidate sabotaged. It would only go down halfway when pulled. Far enough to make people think they’d just voted, but not far enough for the machine to actually register it.

    Another person found it odd that one district always had 100% in-person turnout, and that everyone there voted for the same candidate, so he parked outside the polling place with a video camera and watched the front door. Not a single person ever went in except for the poll workers themselves. Not one.

    That same friend also has video proof of vans full of people using foreclosed house addresses to vote absentee. He taped them going around the city picking up hundreds and hundreds of ballots.

    A friend who was monitoring the 2000 recount in Florida noticed that some of the volunteers had what looked like snow accumulating under their chairs. Upon investigation it turned out that several women had shaped their thumbnails to match the stylus used to punch out chads, and as they “counted” they were making new ballots for Gore. (This friend became a republican because, according to him, every time he caught someone pulling a stunt like that, it was a democrat doing it.)

    Several friends have caught poll workers putting the same ballot through the machine hundreds of times. And stay away from those touch-screen voting machines! They have a remarkable tendancy to mark the D candidate, no matter what part of the screen you touch.

    Why are there so few stories of voter fraud being investigated? Well, without making any blatent accusations, I will just point out that the person responsible for investigating voter fraud in each state, is themself an elected official.

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