Tuesday, June 6, 2006

The One Hundred Ninety-Fourth Carnival of the Vanities

Author: Nick
Category: Money
Topics: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

admit one to here

Greetings! Welcome to the 194th edition of the very first blog carnival, The Carnival of the Vanities. Here you’ll find the best works of some of the greatest minds on the internet. There are 39 terrific submissions eagerly awaiting your attention, so I’ll make the introduction as short as possible. If you submitted an article but you don’t see it here, then you either submitted multiple articles from one website (and I only accepted one) or you missed the deadline of 6pm Eastern on Tuesday. But don’t worry, because you can always submit your fantastic piece of work for next week’s Carnival of the Vanities which will be hosted by Generic Confusion.

Before we get started, just a quick note on the format. Keeping in mind that the point of the Carnival of the Vanities is to encourage authors to submit their best recent work (and not just any old post), I’ve taken the liberty of being a totally unbiased judge of the authors’ decisions to submit their work this week. As such, while I’ve included every last eligible submission, you’ll find that they’re ordered starting with my favorites and ending with my… not-so-favorites. I mean no offense to any of you fantastic writers, but there were some articles that simply engaged me more than others. Maybe they were highly original, or possibly I really learned something from them, or perhaps they just made me laugh.

I hope you take the time to enjoy each and every one of these submissions as much as I have, and feel free to hang around Punny Money afterwards for some great financial news, tips, and tales with a bit of humor on the side.

1. The Easiest Way to Fool Smart People

caution, clever people ahead Paul’s Tips are usually insightful, helpful, or at least amusing, but this one combines all three and amplifies them about a million times. According to Paul, even very smart people like myself can be fooled by even smarter people who make themselves look more clever than they really are. This article gives some examples of how certain people have gained fame and fortune doing just this.

I’ve been to quite a few consultancy presentations where all kinds of jargon and graphs are flashed up on the screen. The consultants will drop terms like “inverted blade-center uptime matrix” into the presentation while showing some baffling data on the screen. If I look around the room while this is going on, everyone will be nodding and wide-eyed. The audience is baffled by the cool-sounding words and the clever-looking graphs.

Gold Editor's Choice AwardNick says…
Check out this highly accurate and authoritative article I wrote a while back for the perfect example of what Paul is talking about. While the ideas I pose look perfectly sound on paper, and I even have a professional-quality graph to accompany my data, I’m really just a very clever person who doesn’t know what the heck he’s saying. Fortunately for you, I’m willing to tell you that; there are plenty of other clever people out there who want your money and will use your own intelligence against you to get it.

2. Oxford Scientific Activists Take Their Message to the Streets

this is only a test Nick Anthis, better known at The Scientific Activist, covers recent protests by those in favor of testing on animals. Almost 1,000 people took their silent message to the streets of Oxford University last week, and Nick was there to report on the whole event.

Supporters of animal research have been silenced for years by the intimidation and fear tactics of animal rights extremists. But, just as the chants in favor of research, science, progress, and reason resumed today when the crowd turned north to march toward the Science Area, so to was it apparent that a new era of speaking out in favor of science had begun.

Silver Editor's Choice AwardNick says…
You don’t hear very often in the news about the other side of the coin in the animal rights debate, but it looks like Oxford heard plenty from it even given the silent nature of the protest. Nick does a terrific job capturing the atmosphere of the day complete with plenty of pictures and full details on the many presenters who spoke out in favor of testing on animals to help save human lives.

3. You Can’t Rush a Boiling Egg

not boiled enough You can take this advice from Paula over at Coaching4Lesbians literally and learn a nice culinary tip, or you can read deeper into it and find the underboiled eggs in your own life.

No matter how much of a hurry I was in, there was no rushing this egg or willing it to become hard boiled in 5 minutes versus the usual 10+ minutes it actually takes.

Bronze Editor's Choice AwardNick says…
Paula closes out her post with an excellent question that I think everyone should try to answer for themselves. How many times in your life can you identify where you thought you could bend reality, when all you managed to do was make a mess of things?

4. We’d Have More Money If We Were Gay

apparently, gay people get more of these in oregon Gullyborg at Resistance is futile! laments an Oregon law which excludes heterosexual domestic partners from receiving tax-free health insurance benefits. Thanks to this law, he and his female domestic partner had to pay taxes on thousands of dollars of benefits while a gay couple in the same situation would not have paid a dime.

So, the state of Oregon charges us more money for being heterosexual. Sounds to me like a BLATANT violation of the Equal Protection clause of the 14th Amendment.

Nick says…
I’m not really sure where to stand on this topic. On the one hand, I completely agree with Gullyborg that straight domestic partners should be entitled to at least all of the benefits that gay domestic partners enjoy. On the other hand, a straight couple could marry and bypass the whole situation while a gay couple cannot. I guess Oregon just wants all you sinning cohabitators to quit shacking up and get hitched.

5. The Hoor’s Last Sigh

fair women of paradise Ali Eteraz of Unwilling Self-Negation presents this striking piece about the virgins awaiting devout Muslims in Paradise.

It is this Muslima, in all her manifestations, that The Hoor has transgressed against. We ask how it is that we have become unable to give dignity to our women, and the answer is because we have been wenching before their very eyes; because we have already bought our whores and found nothing reprehensible in this.

Nick says…
One more quotation, since nothing I say can do this piece justice: “If I should find myself in Paradise I will not whet my longing in a subservient Hoor’s dispassionate embrace. I will wish for immersion in the Muslima’s crooked smile. In her cantankerous elbow. In her happy knees. In her supined feet. Let Paradise be a celebration of woman’s inadequacy, because we men have been the greatest one.”

6. Dear Christian…

pretend this is a bible Francois Tremblay over at Goosing the Antithesis hosts an outstanding audio entry (I guess they call these things podcasts now, eh?) that asks Christians a simple question: Have you even read that whole book in which you believe?

Suppose you were not born into any religion, and say you were just walking around in a library, and I asked you to choose one book that represents what you think contains the most truth. Would you really choose the Bible…?

Nick says…
Francois brings up some good points in his commentary, and he poses a couple of questions that I bet many Christians (including myself!) would have to give a lot of thought to before answering. And to answer the main question this podcast asks–yes, I have read every last page of the Bible. I’ll agree that there’s some troubling stuff in there that sometimes raises more questions than answers, but there’s also enough good stuff in there that’s given a whole lot of people a basis for leading a good, wholesome life. But listen to this four-minute program yourself and see what answers you’d come up with to the questions Francois raises.

7. The Eternal Hunt for the Cell Phone…

crouching child, hidden cell phone Lisa at Lil’ Duck Duck shares a tale of intrigue and mystery involving the kidnapping of her cell phone by her fiendishly clever offspring. Can Lisa find her lost cell phone before it becomes another victim of the destroyer?

My cell phone provider must love me, as I regularly send text messages to myself via the Web in an effort to discover its hiding place. … Finally I hear a faint note from my cell phone ringer (which is constantly reset, also thanks to the small destructive person) and regain hope.

Nick says…
This is the must-read action blog of the year! Okay, so maybe this one won’t beat out Mission: Impossible 3 at the box office, but you’ll really enjoy this story and its adorable ending. Let this be a lesson to all you advocates of increasingly tinier cell phones; before you know it, someone’s going to accidentally swallow their one-inch flip phone and wake up in the middle of the night with voicemail indigestion.

8. Aloevera, The Wonder Herb

aloe, ow are you From Beauty & Personality Grooming by aparna comes an excellent article on the many benefits of aloe. Did you know that aloe can be used as an aphrodisiac? Well, it can’t! That’s why you need this terrific list of things aloe can do instead of me making stuff up.

Aloe for gas trouble: Mixing a dish of aloe by roasting it in a small quantity of ghee and taking it once or twice a week with a meal is a common practice in rural India. This recipe is helpful in cases of chronic gas trouble and distension of abdomen.

Nick says…
And here I was just using aloe for all the times I burn myself when I could also be using it as an after-shave, a sunscreen, a weight-loss aid, and a reliever of menstrual irregularities. Not that I’ve had any menstrual irregularities. Or menstrual anything for that matter. But if I did, you better believe I’d be swimming in aloe.

9. The Army’s Heart–Military Monday 2

a military with a good heart Soccer Dad shares some heart-warming stories that remind us that the U.S. military isn’t just a merciless killing machine; it can also be the vehicle for saving the lives of children with defects that would otherwise go undiagnosed.

Much of what the army has done in post-war Iraq and Afghanistan has involved setting up civil rule and providing care for the civilians under its watch. The medical attention that has saved numerous lives is part of the Army’s mission.

Nick says…
I love hearing these kinds of stories about the good that our military is doing for the people of the world. Usually all you hear on the news are the scandals and corruption and violence that accompany the U.S. military presence in places like Afghanistan and Iraq. But most of the folks in our armed forces are good people who would rather be saving the lives of children than ending those of the enemy. Thanks for reminding us of this fact, Soccer Dad.

10. Authentic Leadership

authentic leadership Brandon Peele, the author of GT, describes the principles of Authentic Leadership, a concept which challenges the notion of modern-day leadership. He outlines four guidelines that any Authentic Leader should follow: vision and values focus, investing in people, faith in people, and evolving structure.

Lastly, the Authentic Leader is a warrior. He/she has a destiny that can only be manifested through connecting with others, thus necessitating an organization. The Authentic Leader is a messiah of sorts, in that the nature of the work is the perfect expression of one’s inner nature.

Nick says…
It seems more and more places of business are starting to adopt non-traditional leadership methods in order to get ahead in their industry. Authentic Leadership is one of the better methods I’ve come across. Be sure to pay special attention to Brandon’s brief but fascinating discussion on chaordic organization.

11. Rejected Offers to Purchase Real Estate

come on, this house is easily worth 12 cents Prospective homebuyers should definitely read the advice of Dan Melson at Searchlight Crusade. He tells you what you should do next if an offer you make on a property is rejected.

Of course, the real value of the property may be beyond your range or reach. If your agent showed you something you could not reasonably acquire within your budget, you should fire them.

Nick says…
I should warn you that Dan might tell you something you don’t want to hear. While it’s possible the person selling the property you want is being unreasonable by rejecting your offer, it may also be you who is offering less than the property is worth. And of course, the third possibility is that you’re being yanked around by a buyer’s agent who’s just looking for lots of money and won’t guide you toward making a reasonable offer on a property you can really afford.

12. Business Advice From Margaret Mead

small groups making big differences Wayne Hurlbert from Blog Business World shares this quotation from noted anthropologist Margaret Mead: “A small group of thoughtful people could change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” Wayne also discusses how to apply this idea to your business.

The way to success is to let your employees help you to change your world. After all, when you hired the staff members, their talent and skill were needed in the organization.

Nick says…
This might seem to be a basic principle of running a successful business, but all too often there are companies that don’t harvest the talent of their workers as much as they could. Wayne’s advice on letting people create and develop new ideas is crucial, especially for small businesses that need all the new ideas they can get!

13. Secrets of the Wealthy: Five Lessons from the Rich

five secrets to lots of these From the guru of my wallet, Free Money Finance, comes this article on five lessons learned from rich people that can help make you rich, too. FMF promises that if you read this article, you’ll wake up $33,000 richer tomorrow morning. Hahaha, just kidding. Or am I?

Many of the rich seem to be regular givers and I’ve noted how it seems that there is a power in giving. If you want to give but can’t afford cash, there are many other ways to give to charities.

Nick says…
Yes, I am just kidding about waking up richer tomorrow morning, but it’s amazing that five simple lines that amount to less than fifty words can give you, me, or anyone the advice we need for living a successful, well-off life.

14. Drink A Car?

no, drink a train Has Elena at The Wuggy Chronicles stumbled upon a new renewable food source very high in iron? Or has she discovered an alternative fuel that gets 60 miles per gallon and tastes great, too? Sorry, but the real story behind “drink a car” isn’t that earth-shattering, but it does make for a great little story.

I thought maybe he was hoping I could explain the meaning of these bizarrely nonsensical lyrics, but Andy was pretty sure he meant to say “Drink a cup,” except that the force of the rhyme required him to end in “ar.”

Nick says…
This is an adorable and well-told story that will put a smile on anybody’s face… unless you’re a heartless meanie who bites the heads off marshmallow Peeps and puts them back in the container for your baby sister to find later. If so, then GET OFF MY INTERNET, JERK-FACE. Otherwise, have a lovely day!

15. Dear GOP: I’ll Be Back If…

heading off to more conservative pastures DL at TMH’s Bacon Bits is one of many conservatives left feeling disenchanted in the wake of the policies of the Bush administration. And it looks like it’s going to take more than gay marriage bans and promises of immigration reform to win back these folks.

It is in this order that I have loyalty: my God, my family, my conservative values, and my country–but no longer my political party.

Nick says…
It’s surprising to see such strong words come from people like DL and others who have been ardent supporters of the Republican Party for years or even decades. Will President Bush be remembered as the straw that broke the back of conservatism, or is it not too late for him to win back the loyalty of those who have been alienated by his recent work?

16. Pay Cash for Gas for Discount?

cash discounts for gas make no cents for you Anyone planning to buy into gas discounts by paying in cash should read jim’s advice over at Blueprint for Financial Prosperity. Despite the discount, there’s a much better way for you to save even more at the pump than a paltry four cents.

You personally save eight cents more by using credit over cash. (if you have a 5% cashback card, if you don’t, then the cash option is better)

Nick says…
I sure do love my reward credit cards. They’re a great way to save 5% on many of your daily purchases including gas, groceries, and even food at restaurants. This year alone, I’ve earned about $100 in free money just by using my credit cards instead of cash. Assuming you pay off your card at the end of every month, there’s no reason to pay cash when you could be earning cash back instead.

17. Don’t Buy A New Propane Tank, Buy Used

steak in search of a grill for a heated relationship The Grill Maestro cooks up a delicious post on saving money by making your first propane tank purchase a used one. By picking up a used empty tank for cheap, you can trade it in for a full one and save enough money for two more trade-ins down the road.

If you look on your local Craigslist or in the classified section of your local newspaper, you might see someone selling an old grill complete with old tank. I saw a grill and propane tank on sale for $40 on Craigslist.

Nick says…
This is great advice for someone getting started in the world of grilling. A friend of mine just bought a grill and found an old tank left by his home’s previous owners. He took it to Home Depot and got a new, full tank free with the purchase of a grill. He probably saved about $70 doing this!

18. Personal Finance Tip: What Do You Need To Let Go Of?

throw it away Steve Mertz at In Cash Flow We Trust talks about some of the crutches we use in life that we eventually need to let go of before we can reach the next level of financial prosperity.

Go home and throw something out that will generate some space for you. It’s a symbolic gesture but by letting go of something you create the space for something new–something that will serve you better!

Nick says…
While your crutches may not be as literal as Steve’s, there may be something you’re hanging on to that symbolically serves as a link to your current state of financial affairs. So let’s all join Steve and find something we no longer need to discard from our lives.

19. Tara Hunt: Shy, Retiring Wallflower?

an amazing woman behind every man Elisa Camahort over at Worker Bees Blog talks about the unfortunate marginalization of Tara Hunt. Read on and keep in mind that there really is always an amazing woman behind every man.

Tara: you are neither a wallflower nor a whiner. I think of you as extremely vocal and visible. How many speaking engagements have you had this year? How quickly has your blog become successful and well-read? To my knowledge you are widely known, sought after, quoted etc. The bottom line is that you have made yourself one of the least invisible valley denizens there are this year. And if you accomplished that via self-promotion I say: good for you!

Nick says…
“[Tara’s boyfriend] Chris tells me I should be more aggressive, take more credit, etc. But that’s not my style. I keep holding the faith that people will see the work for what it is and give it proper credit.” Those are Tara’s own words from the post which Elisa references. Also her words: “…I do wonder how it is that I become invisible in these conversations.” Elisa seems to disagree with the notion that Tara isn’t vocal enough, even though Tara herself seems to think she isn’t. It’s an interesting situation, but I think all women could stand to learn a thing or two from Elisa in this case.

20. Transfer That Balance? Look Before You Leap

quite a balancing act Steve Faber wants you to be Debt Free, so he suggests you think twice before transferring big balances between various credit card offers and to be especially wary of offers with rates that sound too good to be true–because they probably are!

Something else the credit card execs probably stay up nights getting hard over is the sneaky terms they slide into the fine print, like this gem seen on one card offer: “we reserve the right to change the account terms including the APRs at any time for any reason.” That just proves the print on those offers is fine for a reason. They’re praying you don’t read it.

Nick says…
As Steve mentions, credit card balance transfers can be a great tool for coming out from under massive debt. But be sure you’re getting the terrific rate you think you’re getting before you sign up. And there are even some of us who enjoy using 0% balance transfers to earn interest off the credit card companies’ money, but walking around with tens of thousands of dollars on credit cards voluntarily is not for the faint of heart.

21. Organic Goes Mass Market

i am organic, love me David Daniels of Business & Technology Reinvention has news of–OH NO! It’s the attack of the killer tomatoes! Oops, what I meant to say is that the friendlier, chemical-free tomato and all its organic friends will be popping up on store shelves more and more starting very soon.

Don’t get me wrong I am very definitely a capitalist, but when an organization has the ability to do right while making a profit I think its the ideal scenario.

Nick says…
Organic food still costs an arm and a leg around here, and I’d much rather keep my limbs attached. Still, if big stores like Walmart can bring organic foods to the masses, then maybe we’ll be seeing some of those drastic differences in price between organic and conventional foods start to disappear.

22. 101 Ways to Help Birds

someone please help this poor owl Do you wish you could do more to help our feathered friends? GrrlScientist from Living the Scientific Life reviews a book, 101 Ways to Help Birds, that can teach you a variety of direct and indirect tips to help make our birdy friends a little happier.

…I wish to add one suggestion to the author’s proposals for what you can do with your pet bird’s body after it dies; donate its body to a local natural history museum. Similar to a human donating his or her body to science, donating your pet bird’s body to a museum will provide scientists with the opportunity to carry out research that they might not be able to do otherwise, particularly if the bird is an unusual species.

Nick says…
It looks like this book has it all for those of you out there who want to make the world a better place for birds. I’d say it’s worth the purchase price just for the valuable information on how to deal with injured birds you may come across. Now if only someone would write a book for birds to help them not poop on my car so much…

23. "Take This Job and Shove It" is a Country Song, NOT a Best Practice

take this briefcase and open it Unless you just hit the lottery jackpot and are certain you’ll never work another day in your life, you’ll want to follow the advice of Bill Tyler of My Bubble Life if you’re faced with the position of leaving your job voluntarily so you don’t burn bridges or ruin relationships.

When you leave a company, it is like breaking up with a boyfriend or girlfriend. Regardless of how you do it, there will still be emotions. The longer the relationship, the deeper the feelings. Keep this in mind during the separation.

Nick says…
I’m going to disagree with one bit of advice that Bill offers here based on my own personal experiences following the same advice. If possible, tie up loose ends before your last day; and while you may wish to give your address and phone number to help maintain contact for potential future jobs, you shouldn’t necessarily follow that up with the words, “Call me if there’s anything you need.” While it’s unlikely, your old boss may see this as an opportunity to get some free work out of an experienced ex-employee such as yourself. So don’t burn the bridges, and leave a map for where you’re going, but don’t walk out the door with a big target on your chest or you may find yourself taken advantage of.

24. Is Traditional Journalism Dead?

world wide writing David Porter of Pacesetter Mortgage Blog thinks that your everyday newspaper and television journalists are in danger of being replaced by (gasp!) people who actually know what they’re talking about. He even estimates that up to 80% of today’s journalists might want to start looking into a career change soon.

Think about it… would you prefer to get your mortgage news from a 20 year veteran of the industry or a 25 year old reporter who doesn’t even know how to spell mortgage?

Nick says…
Learning how to write is an important skill that today’s society doesn’t seem to emphasize enough. But I’ve always said that being a good writer, speaker, or journalist isn’t enough if you don’t have knowledge of something else. All you communications majors take heed of David’s advice–learn how to be a good writer, but then learn something about which to write. Otherwise, two-bit bloggers like me are going to take your jobs.

25. How Much Can You Save in a Lifetime?

my calculator only goes up to 7 If you like counting your money before you make it, then you’ll love JLP’s new retirement savings calculator over at AllFinancialMatters.

Assumes straight-line (linear) growth in account value at the specified Rate of Return. As a conservative measure, accounts are also assumed to begin growing at the assumed
Rate of Retun after a full-year’s contributions are received.

Nick says…
Forty years from now, I’ll have about $5.4 million in the bank according to this calculator. Unfortunately, once you take inflation into account, that works out to only $72. All kidding aside, it’s amazing just how much an extra decade of work can mean to your savings. Mine would jump from $1.9 million to $5.4 million between year 30 and year 40. But since I’m planning to retire in a few years after I discover the cure for uncoolness, I’ll be a billionaire by age 28 anyway.

26. USS Scorpion Lost

uss scorpion Jack Yoest recalls the loss of the USS Scorpion nearly four decades ago. Be sure to read Jack’s article at the National Review for the full story.

At 1 in the afternoon on Monday, May 27, 1968, at the height of the Cold War the USS Scorpion was due in port. Yolanda didn’t know it then, but her dad was already dead….

Nick says…
It’s a terrible tragedy when a boat is lost during wartime, but the loss of the Scorpion on a routine deployment must have been even tougher on the families of the 99 men lost when it sank.

27. National WHAT Month?

happy student safety month, oops You might think that Father’s Day is the only big observance in the month of June, but you’re forgetting some of the important month-long celebrations like National Ice Tea Month and Potty Training Awareness Month. Josh Cohen of Multiple Mentality has the full list of interesting, surprising, and just plain bizarre observances that make their home in June.

This month is National Erotic Spanking Month.

Nick says…
I hearby declare the month of June to also be National “National Months” Month in which we celebrate the notion of assigning crazy celebrations to months at random. So pick a month, give it a purpose, and throw a party for your cause. And invite me, I’ll bring brownies… unless it’s National Anti-Brownie Month or something.

28. Irony Police Arrest Elderly Couple

maybe they were on their way for lessons The skwib‘s Mark A. Rayner is all over the story of an elderly couple’s ultimate run-in with irony. Yes, that really is a car that crashed into a driving school. And no, I don’t think they’re getting a discount on the driver improvement course.

They will appear in court next Tuesday to defend themselves against the serious charge of dangerously ironic driving, having crashed their van into the front window of the Say Dez! School of Safe Driving.

Nick says…
I’d think this would generate some wonderful publicity for the driving school. At the very least, the scene of the accident should be immortalized in bronze so that future generations may also experience this monument to irony.

29. What Is Legitimacy?

flag Francois Tremblay, one of the individualists over at The Radical Libertarian, discusses what it means to hold legitimacy and how it applies to one’s role as leader, soldier, or even scientist.

Legitimacy and exploitation are closely linked, or to be more precise exploitation links itself to legitimacy, because it is far easier to exploit when the exploited believe that you are acting for their own good.

Nick says…
It’s hard to comment on politically charged articles, but I do at least find Francois’ comparison of the legitimacy of a scientist to that of a politician to be quite thought-provoking. And while it is widely held that I am really awesome, my legitimacy to that claim is uncertain because my authority on awesomeness is, in fact, something entirely made up by me.

30. Bad Chess Players

no need for fans in shiloh The muse over at Shiloh Musings reports on a big problem plaguing parts of Israel–shortages in the supply of electricity. It looks like someone didn’t plan ahead well enough to anticipate the quickly growing energy needs in the area.

Today, the fan is a joke and even up here in the mountains air conditioners are becoming the norm. The only problem is that there isn’t enough electricity supply. Already at least one person was killed, due to the power shortages.

Nick says…
I guess my area isn’t the only part of the world experiencing problems getting electricity to the people when they want it, in the amounts they want it. As for me, I’d be happy with enough power to run a fan and my laptop… oh, and my Gamecube. And the TV, of course. And probably the toaster for Pop Tarts. And a lamp would be nice. So would one of those big massage chairs that–oh nevermind.

31. The Art of Flipping Off Plan Property and New Homes

sell me, sell me Nubricks outlines the basics of purchasing a property before it is even constructed and selling it for a profit before it is even finished.

Competition is far greater than in years gone by and amateur investors have flooded the overseas markets with properties that were supposed to be sold before completion. Many clients are now stuck with properties they can’t sell as there weren’t enough buyers to take all the properties that had been sold to investors.

Nick says…
Nubricks makes flipping so-called “paper” property seem simple… and it is! There are plenty of people who have had success buying and selling non-existent homes; but now that the housing bubble is exploding (at least in the U.S.), these same people are scrambling to unload some of the paper property they’ve acquired over the years.

32. Accutane–Is It A Magic Bullet for Acne Treatment?

take two of these Acne sufferers rejoice! Peter at Stunnerian shares his thoughts on accutane, the seemingly perfect solution for patients with problem acne. Is accutane really all it’s cracked up to be, or are the possible side effects not worth the trouble?

In my opinion, unless you are a man or not planning to get pregnant, you may think twice before taking accutane. Another situation is that if you have a serious acne problem and have tried other treatment plans but not effective, you may take accutane.

Nick says…
For some, accutane really has proven to be a miracle drug that has cleared up chronic acne like nothing else can. Where antibiotics have failed, accutane has swept in and shown acne who’s boss. But others have claimed that accutane can cause severe depression, and it has even been blamed in several high-profile suicides. I’m just happy acne was never a problem for me so that this was never a choice I had to make.

33. Dems Abuse Gay Marriage, Too

earth, fire, wind, water Don Surber would like to remind everyone that the Democratic Party hasn’t always been the most ardent supporter of same-sex marriage like everyone seems to think.

Clinton codified “don’t ask, don’t tell” in the military and signed the Defense of Marriage Act into law after most Democrats in Congress voted for it.

Nick says…
Whether you’re Republican, Democrat, or whatever, you shouldn’t just assume that you’re on the right side of the issue because the other party’s opinion is different from yours. If you’re bored one day, go through some of the recent issues voted on by your state congresspersons; you might be surprised to see how some of them sided. This way, you won’t be surprised if things like the Federal Marriage Amendment make it through to the President with a bit of non-Republican help.

34. Symantec 360, Microsoft One

i am error Trent at Stock Market Beat carries the story of Microsoft’s new OneCare product which will go head to head with the likes of software security giants McAfee and Symantec. Symantec responds to Microsoft’s announcement as best as it can: with the name of its next product that will do battle with OneCare.

Hmm… didn’t some other company recently name one of their products 360? Is it us, or is today’s press release a sign that Symantec is a leetle paranoid about Microsoft?

Nick says…
Wouldn’t it be great if you install Microsoft’s OneCare and Symantec’s Norton 360 on the same computer and they each try to delete the other as a suspected virus or something? That would be so cool. That said, both products would fail miserably against my ultimate computer security tool–hot chocolate spilled on my laptop’s keyboard!

35. Becoming A Jew

makes becoming a christian look easy Reb Chaim HaQoton gives us a detailed explanation of everything involved with converting to Judaism along with various schools of thought on the conversion process.

Conversion is a unique far-reaching experience. In converting, one undergoes a change of identity, and the assumption of a new status, a Jewish one. Therefore, many of the rituals involved in conversion include the most basic elements of Judaism.

Nick says…
Even after the thousands of years this religion has been around, it’s amazing to see that there’s still some disagreement as to how a gentile should enter the faith. I guess when you’re a religion that doesn’t actively proselytize, you don’t worry too much about formulating specific guidelines for converts.

36. A HARD Problem

prevent bone loss, know where your bones are From muse at me-ander comes this discussion of osteoporosis and a couple of the treatments available for the disease. muse mentions Fosamax, a drug more and more women are taking to strengthen their bones, as well as an even better method for handling bone loss–preventing it in the first place.

There must be better ways to treat osteoporosis. One way is prevention, not being too thin. I’m OK there, never having had that problem.

Nick says…
Calcium, vitamin D, weight-bearing exercise, and not smoking while you are young are the keys to avoiding osteoporosis later in life. You can thank muse and me later when you’re running a marathon at age 90.

37. Other Children’s Book Recommendations

kids and their books The latest of the Musings from Brian J. Noggle includes some of his reading suggestions for children who wish to grow up and be a Democratic Senator from Nevada.

Since Instapundit sees fit to make children’s book recommendations, we here at MfBJN offer the following…

Nick says…
While I certainly remember reading the many adventure of Henry Reed when I was little, I’m not so sure I recall those of “young” Harry Reid.

38. Bad! Bad, Maiden! Bad!

i wonder if they still throw these John over at hell’s handmaiden is feeling a little rejected. Why, you ask? It seems some people aren’t exactly fond of John’s subject material. But that’s okay, because John has plenty of love for all members of his audience.

Oh my! Left with only my understanding? Seems like that no matter what I do I am left with only my own understanding.

Nick says…
Sigh. Don’t you just love it when people get into arguments on a forum or some other website? Usually it’s either two very dumb people, neither or whom know what they’re talking about, or one dumb person and a smart person who schools the other person like it’s fifth grade all over again. I’ll let you be the judge of what is happening here, but I’m sure you’ll agree that John’s post is pretty entertaining.

39. Separated at Birth–Kirstie Alley and Peter Griffin

first one to the burger gets a free burger Wendy Boswell of Snarky Gossip provides us with some irrefutable photographic evidence that Jenny Craig spokesmodel Kirstie Alley and very very dumb cartoon character Peter Griffin share a set of parents.

Didn’t she lose a whole bunch of weight? Or did it all just migrate to her neck area?

Nick says…
Uh… okay. Moving right along…

Thus concludes this week’s Carnival of the Vanities. If you’re interested in hosting, it looks like there are some openings for future editions. And be sure to get in your entries for next week’s stop at Generic Confusion using either the Blog Carnival submission form or the one at Conservative Cat.

Everyone have a great rest of the week!

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