Friday, April 22, 2011

Would you like to help out my friend, the Nigerian prince?

Would you be interested in buying the Brooklyn Bridge?

I am starting a Ponzi scheme.  Want to invest?

If you answered YES to all of these questions have I got a product for you!  


Basically, Power Balance wristbands are magic bracelets that you can buy for around $30 (they look like they cost roughly a dollar to make) and they make you a better athlete.  They contain a thin polyester film hologram that, according to the company's website, "is programmed through a proprietary process, which is designed to mimic Eastern philosophies that have been around for hundreds of years."  What's that I hear?  Oh, it's nonsense talk!

Power Balance used to claim right out that their wristbands improved strength, balance, and flexibility, but then the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (one of my favorite commissions) determined that these comments were misleading.  So what do they say the bracelets do now that they can only imply they improve performance?  Their site explains that the special hologram "reacts differently for each person."  You've just got to "give it a try and see what it does for you."

A bunch of different nerd groups have done blind tests with the wristbands and found that they have no affect on an athlete's performance.  While some people might think they really are getting stronger and faster when they wear them, this is actually something called the "Placebo effect."
If you want to look less cool, get this wristband.

So why are people buying these wristbands?  It is because they are dumb.  Hah, hah, I'm just kidding (not really).  This is really an example of great marketing.  Power Balance gets a bunch of athletes to say the wristbands work for them and tons of people buy the wristbands hoping they'll make them stronger and faster.

"There is no doubt in my mind that with this product I am performing at a different level... it helps keep me at the top of my game."- Matthew Stafford (frequently injured Detroit Lions quarterback)

Shaq loves Power Balance!

And Vitamin Water.

And Icy Hot Patches.

"I don't really do a lot of testimonials, but this really works!"- Shaquille O'Neal (not kidding, that's what his Power Balance Athlete Profile says)

How can you start a company like Power Balance that scams people out of their money?

Let's look at the steps in this example:

1. I plant apple trees.

2. Apples grow and I pick them (Granny Smith and Red Delicious only).

3. I start a company called Jeffrey's Apples.

4. I say that these apples are the best apples in the world and that eating the apples has different reactions for different people.  (I do not say directly that they make you better because that would be a lie.)  Even though each apple only costs me ten cents, I sell them for $20 each.

5. I pay famous athletes like Mark Sanchez, Tiger Woods, and Shaquille O'Neal to eat the apples and say that they make them feel stronger and faster.

Shaquille O'Neal LOVES apples!

6. Everyone buys Jeffrey's Apples.  I become very rich.

Basically, Power Balance has done exactly what Jeffrey's Apples could do if it existed.  I do not like apples though, so I will never create such a company.  Just kidding!  Everyone loves apples.  

*After I wrote this, I realized that I am giving Power Balance free publicity with this article and that everyone who reads my blog (Cindy mainly) will now know about them.  Oh, well.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Happy Birthday Bela Baliko!

Happy birthday to Bela Baliko, the photographer of my POLAR BEARS 2011 CALENDAR! 

POLAR BEARS 2011 is a (slightly) above average calendar that I got for $1 in January in the Borders by Penn Station.  (You should always use the bathroom at Borders and not Penn Station or you could (probably will) get stabbed).  

Today is "Photographer's Birthday" (high-quality picture)

Let's hope that Bela doesn't get herself in a Grizzly Man situation and get eaten by bears.

Friday, April 8, 2011

NEWS ALERT: Government Shutting Down, New Yorkers Want Their Kids to Stay Fat, Apocalypse Looming

If you are like me and do not care much about politics then you probably don't realize that the federal government is just hours away from closing its doors.  "Why is this happening?", you ask.  Well, I will tell you in a way that you can understand.  It is basically the same thing that's going on with the NFL Collective Bargaining Agreement except instead of players vs. coaches, it's Democrats vs. Republicans.  However, it is far less important.

Since I do not like to be completely ignorant, I decided to investigate what would happen if the government were to just shut down.  Here's the three main things that I learned: 

* National Parks will be closed.
This goat lives in a national park.  You won't be allowed to see him.

*Government workers  shouldn't be too worried because when everything is resolved they'll get cash back despite having not worked after the whole mess is resolved. (BBC told me this, I am not making it up.) 

*A man who plays a funny drum and harasses people in line for the ferry to go to Liberty Island will have no way to make money since it'll be closed.  CBS News introduced us to this man so that we can see how an average American will be affected.

Looks like I will have to cancel my plans for a tour of our country's greatest national parks.

Instead of going to national parks, I will sit in this chair.

(***UPDATE: Almost immediately after posting this, the government reached an agreement to avoid a shutdown at midnight.  It looks like important members of Congress do read this blog!  I can go visit all those national parks after all!)


In other news, New Yorkers want their kids to stay fat.  Morbidly obese Queens City Councilman Leroy Comrie has proposed a bill that would prevent McDonalds from including toys in Happy Meals that don't meet certain (reasonable) health requirements.  Judging from the uproar from the fine writers at The New York Post, you'd think the councilman had done something really, really bad.  Like murder.

Councilman Comrie has a great personality.

People need to realize that the Councilman Comrie isn't against toys and fun, he just doesn't want kids to grow up and be fat and unhealthy.  We are clearly heading down the path of turning the movie Wall-E into a reality.  The councilman is just trying to save us.



All of this general awfulness leads me to believe that the apocalypse is coming.  Maybe it will be the zombie fungus that gets us.  (I have expressed my fears about such a zombie problem in the past.)  Or maybe general anarchy will ensue if people do not get to visit National Parks, or people will become fat and robots will take over, or an asteroid will hit the planet.  I do not know for sure.  

Hopefully, this brave group of oil drillers will be able to stop the asteroid.