Monthly Archives: July 2008

10 Things You Might Not Know About Your Credit Card

Written by Meg Marco

As you might imagine, we get a lot of questions about using credit cards. Based on those piles of emails we’ve put together a list of 10 things a lot of people don’t know about credit cards. Enjoy!

1) Unsigned Cards Are Not Valid And Merchants Can And Will Refuse Them

You might think that everyone knows that you have to sign your credit card in order for it to be valid – after all – there’s a panel on the back that says “Not Valid Unless Signed,” but you’d be shocked at the number of angry emails we get from people who have tried to use an unsigned credit card with “SEE ID” or “CHECK ID” written on it and were turned away when they refused to sign their card.

Here’s what VISA says should happen when you present an unsigned card:

1) The merchant will ask for your government ID.
2) You will be asked to sign the card. If you sign it, the signature on the card will be compared to the signature on the government ID. If you refuse, the card will not be accepted.

Here’s VISA’s official statement on “See ID”:

Some customers write “See ID” or “Ask for ID” in the signature panel, thinking that this is a deterrent against fraud or forgery; that is, if their signature is not on the card, a fraudster will not be able to forge it. In reality, criminals don’t take the time to practice signatures: they use cards as quickly as possible after a theft and prior to the accounts being blocked. They are actually counting on you not to look at the back of the card and compare signatures-they may even have access to counterfeit identification with a signature in their own handwriting. “See ID” or “Ask for ID” is not a valid substitute for a signature. The customer must sign the card in your presence, as stated above.

Most merchants don’t follow this policy, but some (most notoriously- the U.S. Postal Service), are quite strict.

2) The Maximum Liability For Unauthorized Use Of A Credit Card* Is $50 According To Federal Law

The Fair Credit Billing Act protects you from suffering damages due to unauthorized use of your credit card. If you report a lost or stolen card before anyone uses it, you are not responsible for any charges. If you do not report it before an unauthorized use you are liable for a maximum of $50.

(*Credit cards only. Debit cards and ATM cards are covered under the Electronic Fund Transfer Act, and your liability depends on how quickly you report the loss. Unlike credit cards, debit and ATM cards can have unlimited liability in certain circumstances.)

3) Merchants Cannot Require You To Present ID, Unless Your Card Is Unsigned
Some consumers enjoy it when a clerk asks to see their ID. Others do not. In some states, it’s actually illegal for a store to record any additional information (such as an address or drivers license number) as a condition of processing a credit card transaction (unless the address is needed for shipping, of course.) For some reason this is always a hotly debated topic, so we’ll go right to VISA for the answer:

Although Visa rules do not preclude merchants from asking for cardholder ID, merchants cannot make an ID a condition of acceptance. Therefore, merchants cannot refuse to complete a purchase transaction because a cardholder refuses to provide ID. Visa believes merchants should not ask for ID as part of their regular card acceptance procedures. Laws in several states also make it illegal for merchants to write a cardholder’s personal information, such as an address or phone number, on a sales receipt.

We think that’s pretty clear. Don’t want to show your ID? Don’t.

4) Merchants Cannot Require A Minimum Transaction Amount
It’s a violation of the credit card company’s merchant agreement to refuse a transaction because it is below the “minumum.”

VISA says:

Imposing minimum or maximum purchase amounts in order to accept a Visa card transaction is a violation of the Visa rules.

Mastercard says:

A Merchant must not require, or indicate that it requires, a minimum or maximum Transaction amount to accept a valid and properly presented Card

5) Merchants Cannot Charge A Surcharge For Using A Credit Card, However, They Can Offer A “Cash Discount”

You may have noticed that gas stations are starting to offer a different, higher price for credit cards. This isn’t technically allowed- unless it is marketed as a “cash discount.” In other words, if you fill up your car and find that you’ve been charged more than advertised because you paid with a credit card – that’s not allowed. If, however, you decide to pay with cash because you saw an advertised “cash discount” to the “regular price” – that’s ok. A subtle distinction, but an important one.

(There is something called a “convenience fee” that some institutions are allowed to charge if they do not typically accept credit cards in their normal course of business. The example VISA gives is a utility company where the customary way is to pay by mail or in person. The rules for charging this fee are somewhat complicated and there are loopholes, etc.)

6) Many Credit Cards Have Programs That Will Automatically Double The Manufacturer’s Warranty And Other Excellent Benefits
We get a lot of complaints that can be easily solved by the complainee’s credit card company. We’ve helped readers get laptops replaced out of warranty, and helped them get their money back when Best Buy sold them a box full of bathroom tile instead of a hard drive. Your card may come with extended warranty protection, 90 day accidental damage protection that includes vandalism, rental car insurance, road side assistance, baggage insurance, and return protection. You should be aware of what benefits your credit or debit card offers so that you remember to use them when you need them.

7) Merchants Are Not Allowed To Make You Give Up Your Right To A Chargeback

You might see a receipt that has suspicious-looking waiver stating that you’re agreeing to give up your right to issue a chargeback against the merchant for any reason, no matter what, period. These waivers are the result of some crafty entrepreneurs selling sales-receipt paper with the waiver printed on it, claiming that it helps protect the merchant. It’s all nonsense and it isn’t allowed. If you see it, you should report the merchant.

8) Merchants Are Not Allowed To Place A Hold For The Estimated Tip

Because so many consumers have instant access to their account information, merchants aren’t allowed to place an “authorization” for an estimated tip. For example, if you go to dinner and the bill is $100 and you pay with a credit card, the restaurant might be tempted to “authorize” your card for $120-a 20% tip. If you choose to leave a 15% tip and then check your balance – it will appear that you have been overcharged. This apparently results in lots of angry customers, so the practice has been forbidden in VISA’s merchant agreement.

9) If Merchants Suspect You Of Fraud They Are Supposed To Call With A “Code 10”
If a merchant is suspicious of you, they are supposed to make a “Code 10” call. They are instructed to take your card, call in, and say “I have a Code 10 authorization request.” They will then be asked a series of questions that can be discreetly answered with either yes or no. The merchant bank will then authorize or deny the card. They are not supposed to threaten to call the police or try to detain you. Mastercard says that if the police need to be involved, the “Code 10” operator will call the police while the clerk waits on hold.

10) If Merchants Break These Rules, You Can Report Them To The Credit Card Company
Here’s Mastercard’s Merchant Violation form. To report merchant violations to VISA, they ask that you report them to the financial institution that issued you your Visa card. You should be able to find the number your on Visa statement or on the back of your card.

(Photo: Maulleigh )

13 Things You Didn’t Know About The Office

Written by coedmagazine

The Office

Over 1,000 people voted in our recent poll What Is The Best Show On TV and The Office came out on top with 13% of the votes. So, you want more Office content? Ask and you shall recieve.

I bet you didn’t know that Steve Carell called out of work on the first day of the writers strike citing “enlarged balls.” Pretty sweet fact right?!

Up your Office trivia knowledge by checking out 13 Things You Didn’t Know About The Office after the jump!

dwight_bobblehead_landing.jpg– Dwight is a big fan of bobble-heads as he has four on his desk. The first is his “Dwight Schrutte Bobble-head, two are former Philadelphia Phillies stars, Mike Lieberthal and John Kruk and the fourth is former guard for Syracuse University and Scranton native Gerry McNamara.

– The exterior of the Dunder-Mifflin office in the opening credits is really the Penn Paper building located on Mifflin Avenue in Scranton, PA. Up until a few years ago a bar named The Office was located across the street from the Penn Paper building.

– To pay homage to the British version of The Office, that he is said to rarely watch, Steve Carell placed a Union Jack flag on his characters desk.

– Characters have admitted to surfing the internet while shooting background scenes as the computers on the Dunder-Mifflin office set are connected to the intenet.

– Similar to the secondary characters in the movie Knocked Up four Office actors have the same names as the characters they play – Angela (Angela Kinsey), Oscar (Oscar Nuñez), Phyllis (Phyllis Smith) and Creed (Creed Bratton).

The British version of The Office takes place in a town calle Slough. To pay homage to this Dunder-Mifflin’s street address 1725 Slough Road, Scranton, PA.

– B.J. Novak’s character Ryan Howard is named after former Scranton/Wilkes Red Baron and current Philadelphia Phillie, NL All-Star and league MVP Ryan Howard.

picture-1.jpg– Some video used in the opening credits of The Office, specifically the exterior shot of the “Dunder-Mifflin office,” was taken by John Krasinski and his friends when they road tripped to California after he was hired to play the part of Jim.

– The Office has many real life high school connections, as John Krasinski (Jim) and B.J. Novak (Ryan) graduated from Newton South High School in Newton, MA together in 1997. And Brian Baumgartner (Kevin) and Ed Helms (Andy) graduated from The Westminster Schools in Atlanta, Georgia.

– The cast frequently refers to Poor Richard’s Pub. In real life this bar is actually called South Side Lanes and is located at a bowling alley in South Scranton.

– In the opening credits we see a document being highlighted. This is actually a copy of the Los Angeles Municipal Code, Section 12.22 that relates to building codes and permitting

– Michael is the “Proud Owner of a Quality Seyko Timepiece” or at least that’s what the “Certificate of Authenticity” hanging on his wall states.

50 Things to Do Before You Die

Written by Josh Lew

Feature photo by acastellano Photo above by Matador Community

Whether single events or processes that take weeks, months, or years, these experiences remind us that the world remains a magical place.

Help spread the word!

Editor’s Introduction – David Miller:

This July 4th we stood on a dock at Green Lake waiting for the fireworks to begin strobing the dark sky above Seattle. Except for the occasional pop of a bottle rocket, it was peaceful there, quiet. Our 9-month old daughter slept in her car-seat. My parents stood nearby holding hands. The water lapped against the dock pilings and nobody said anything.

As we kept looking skyward I had this strange thought that if everyone came out each night just to listen and watch the sky like this then the word would be different somehow. Better.

And then the fireworks started, far away, the muffled booms arriving several seconds after the flaring colors. Layla sensed the excitement and woke up and we lifted her to watch the display, her first. She smiled and reached her hands out as if trying to grab what she saw.

After it was over my mom said “Well, if she’s lucky she’ll have another 100 years of fireworks.”

It got me thinking about just what she might see in her lifetime, and what I’d still like to see in mine. There is so much out there, and on the other hand, so much less wilderness and wildlife. Sometimes it feels like we’re racing against time to experience something or somewhere before whatever it is that makes it special has been exhausted, used up, crowded out.

And yet the experiences we seek as “once in a lifetime,” the ones Josh Lew and other Matador community members have collected here, have a way of transcending time. Whether single events or processes that take weeks, months, or years, these experiences remind us that the world remains a magical place.

50 Things to do Before you Die

1. Set foot on each of the seven continents. Antarctica might be a tough one, but once you’ve reached all seven you can truly call yourself a world traveler.

2. Cross a country on a bicycle. A bicycle tour takes some planning, but it beats being separated from a country though a passenger-side window.

3. Ride something bigger than a horse. Trekking through the jungle on the back of a two story tall elephant will surely be something you remember forever.

Photo by Ben Ditto

4. Live like a local for a month. The experience of visiting native peoples will give you way more insight into another way of life than two years hopping from one backpacker ghetto to the next.

5. Visit a “real” blues bar in Chicago. What better way to leave music’s commercialism behind and find the soul of the blues?

6. Learn another language. This is definitely a weighty and time-consuming proposition, but there are plenty of resources out there to ease the process.

7. Go heli-skiing. The access to snow and terrain via heli is different (read: better) that anything else you’ll ever experience.

8. Travel India by train. With its extensive rail network, this mode of transport is the best way to see one of the world’s most colorful and perse countries.

9. Climb one of the world’s Seven Summits. Climbing mountains is not for the faint-hearted, but everyone has had a dream of standing atop one.

10. pe with a whale shark. Swimming with these gentle giants is among the most powerful wilderness experiences in the world.

11. Participate in a Carnival parade in Brazil. You haven’t had a good night out until you’ve been to the biggest party in a nation of big parties.

12. Dance Tango in Argentina.

13. Surf. It’s not about being a ripper but just catching waves.

14. SCUBA in the Great Barrier Reef. The largest coral reef in the world is a must for pe enthusiasts. It is the world’s most unique aquatic environment.

15. Publish an article about your travels. Part of traveling is sharing your experiences with others. Plus, getting published might be easier than you think.

Photo by Creative Corners

16. Volunteer abroad for a month.

17. Follow in the footsteps of your favorite travel book. What better guide than a book that inspired you to travel in the first place?

18. Take a bush plane ride into Africa’s interior. These lightly visited regions are filled with unique cultures and perse wildlife.

19. Cross a glacier on foot. Traversing these fast-disappearing natural wonders is an adventure that future generations might not be able to experience.

20. Visit the source of one of the world’s great rivers. Great rivers, like the Nile, have humble beginnings.

21. Climb an active volcano.

22. Buy a boat and learn to sail. Before the Brothers Wright, everyone traveled by wind power. It’s still the most sustainable way to travel there is.

23. Follow your food from field to table. Most people in the world still eat what they have picked with their own hands. Why not get back to these basics?

24. Bathe in the Ganges. What better way to experience the spiritual heart of India?

25. Travel around the world. Sure, you could do this without ever setting foot outside of planes and airports, but few people ever truly traverse the entire globe. Round the world tickets are great for budget-minded wanderers.

Photo by James Dorsey

26. Photograph an endangered species. Aside from an image you can keep for a lifetime, it will remind you, and others, how fragile life can be.

27. Participate in Burning Man . As they say: “Trying to explain Burning Man to someone who has never been is like trying to explain color to a blind person.”

28. Spend 24 hours alone in the jungle.

29. Learn how to make a national dish. What is the one and only thing that everyone has in common? Eating.

30. Teach English in a foreign country. Sure, it’s a way to fund your travels, but also the experience of a lifetime.

31. Attend a music festival in another country.

32. Cross a country using only public transportation. See a country the way most of its people do: from the window of a bus, train, or ferry.

33. Spend the night in a storied/historic hotel. You might not even have to leave town to experience a night of classic atmosphere.

34. Attend the Olympics. Whatever you say about the commercialism of the Olympic Games, they are one of the biggest events on the planet.

35. Meet your favorite (living) travel writer. They’ve inspired you; now thank them for it.

36. Travel to Germany to experience Love Parade. It’s one of the biggest festivals, attendance-wise, on the planet.

Photo by astropixie

37. Partake in a Japanese Tea Ceremony. This timeless tradition is at the heart of Japanese culture.

38. Join a caravan in the Sahara. See how people can thrive in one of the world’s harshest environments.

39. Go to Oktoberfest. The meeting of over 6 million beer afficionados and drinking song singers is one of the biggest parties in Europe.

40. Stand at the North or South Pole.

41. Be in the stands when two rival South American club teams play each other in soccer. Soccer (sorry, football) is a passion for most of the world’s population.

42. Visit the birthplace or gravesite of a cultural icon. Could be Che Guevara or Picasso or Levi Strauss or the guy who invented widgets; anyone you think is important.

43. Find your version of “The Beach.” One of the best travel books ever inspired a generation of backpackers. Why not find your own version of untouched paradise?

44. Enjoy a freshly rolled cigar in Cuba. Taste a hand rolled specialty close to its source.

45. Visit every capital city in Europe. The crowded continent is full of beautiful architecture and perse cultures.

46. Watch an orchestral performance in Vienna.

Photo by Nickmunstr

47. Skype. It is the ultimate thrill, unless you add a wingsuit, and actually fly.

48. Bike the Pacific Coast Highway.

49. Shake hands with someone who has truly changed a country.

50. Participate in the world’s biggest water fight during Thailand’s New Year’s festivities (Songkran).

10 Steps to Becoming Fluent in a Language in 6 months or Less

Written by Felicia Wong

Photo by Felicia Wong

Even if you don’t feel linguistically-inclined, it’s possible-with patience, diligence, and a sense of humor-to become fluent in a language in six months or less.

Although English is my first language, I learned Mandarin Chinese and Cantonese Chinese as a child, picked up French in high school, and have recently became conversant in Spanish as I travel through South America. Over the years, I’ve picked up the following tips for expediting language acquisition.

1. Immerse yourself

It’s almost impossible to learn a new language, or at least to learn it rapidly, unless you begin thinking in that language. But how do you think in a new language you can’t yet speak?

Ingratiate yourself with the community and you’re halfway there!

The answer is to simply immerse yourself in it. Traveling in a foreign country allows you to continuously hear the sounds, rhythms, and inflections of a new language-spoken on the streets, in buses, on television, etc. Your brain will already start to process and interpret a new language.

Even better than simply traveling is being forced to “operate” in a new language by participating in a volunteer program, or working abroad. Best of all is being completely immersed with locals (such as living with a host family) and completely isolated from other native speakers of your language.

Immerse yourself with the locals, their music, culture, media, politics, sports, family, etc. Ingratiate yourself with the community and you’re halfway there!

2. Forget translating: think like a baby!

photo by Felicia Wong

How do babies learn language? Through imitation, repetition of sounds, and above all, by not being shy or self-conscious.

So what if your pronunciation is a little off, or you can’t remember the proper conjugation? Just start talking, even if it seems like babbling. Resisting the urge to translate everything into your native language can be the single fastest shortcut to fluency.

Rather than walking up to the restaurant or giving your host family a pre-memorized phrase for what you’re going to order, simply listen to how the locals order their food, and then imitate them as best you can. The same goes for greetings, small talk, etc. Watch their facial expressions as they say the words; study how they move their mouths.

Copy these expressions and sounds just like a baby would. Whether you understand what they mean exactly or not, eventually you will begin simply calling upon these sounds / phrases / words in appropriate situations. They’ll appear, as if by magic. This is the gateway to thinking in a new language.

3. How do you say?

Besides common greetings, the one phrase you should memorize and always have at the ready is the phrase is “How do you say that / what is that called?”

By being an inquisitive traveler, one who is always asking questions, you befriend the local people. You’ll find that over time they’ll open up to you, making it easier to initiate conversations. These daily interactions with the locals are your best teachers: set a daily goal for yourself of having X number of conversations each day-asking people about things you’re interested in, but don’t know the words for. Even if you can’t finish the conversation, you’re on the way.

4. Write it

After having conversations, jot down the things you remembered hearing but didn’t quite understand.

After having conversations, jot down the things you remembered hearing but didn’t quite understand. (This can serve double duty if you’re also taking notes for your travel blog).

Then go back and use your dictionary. Look up the words, piece the conversation back together in your mind. Then, next time you have a conversation, use what you learned.

When studying French and Spanish, I also used “grammar sheets” where I wrote down the various verbs to learn their conjugations. Besides helping me focus, they also became handy reference guides.

5. Use cognates and draw links

Ever noticed how some words appear exactly the same across various languages? These are called “cognates.” Unlocking the usage of cognates instantly gives you several hundred more words to your vocabulary. For example, most words ending in “ion” in the Latin languages are the same in English.

For example: information / información, donation / donación

Similarly, words across different languages often share the same root word, so drawing on what you already know will make it easier (e.g.: cheese is fromage in French and fromaggio in Italian). Studies have also shown that when you have mastered a second language, your brain becomes becomes better wired to learn subsequent new languages. Fret not, it gets better!

6. Local TV, movies, music

photo by Robert Paetz

Watch movies, listen to music, sing songs, and browse newspapers and magazines. It’s fun and helps improve your pronunciation and comprehension.

I often stumble when trying to read Chinese script because I don’t use it enough and there are no phonetic cues in Chinese characters. But by watching Chinese music videos and following the lyrics, I learned many new characters and also began pronouncing words more accurately.

In the same way, I attuned myself to rapid French prattling by watching French movies on DVD without subtitles and improved my Spanish by paying attention during the dubbed action movies on long bus rides in South America.

Salsa classes have also ensured I know my izquierda (left) from my derecha (right)!

7. Non-verbal cues

Beyond words, observe locals when they talk. Be it the Gaelic shrug or a slight tilt of the head, combining body language with a new tongue helps you communicate better.

This is especially important in cultures where language is closely linked to gestures. For instance, appropriate bowing and greeting in Japanese are inseparable, as with the hand gestures and intonation in Thailand. Picking up on non-verbal cues added a new dimension to my interactions with Thais, as I learned the appropriate bowing of the head and a deep enough wai (palms together) to accompany my greetings.

8. Get emotional!

photo by Robert Paetz

Emotive experiences often etch impressions onto our memory. Make full use of embarrassing / funny / angry experiences by linking them to the new language.

I learned, quite unfortunately, the importance of the special “ñ” character in Spanish because saying “Tengo 24 anos” instead of “años” meant I told everyone I had 24 anuses rather than being 24 years old.

Needless to say, the embarrassment helped correct my pronunciation for good! Similarly, negotiating with shady cab drivers or nasty vendors also helps you learn numbers rather quickly so you don’t get ripped off.

9. A world of friends / then going solo.

While inpidual classes can be highly beneficial for unsurpassed attention, group classes with friends can greatly aid learning. Having a friend to practice with helps you get better, and you can also learn from the different mistakes different people make.

On the other hand, venturing out solo in a foreign country forces you to speak with local people-say the person riding next to you on the bus, or standing in line at the market. It also prevents you relying on a friend with stronger language skills to do the talking for you in key exchanges such as asking for directions or buying food.

10. Practice at every opportunity before and after you travel.

Ever felt really “rusty” and lacking confidence in a language despite having taken classes or used it (or even mastered it) at some other time in your life? Languages are alive and require exercise. Find avenues to practice wherever and whenever you can.

For instance, I don’t get to use French very often in my daily life, so I found a French penpal to exchange emails. I also keep in touch with people I met in France and French travelers I met in the course of my travels. Writing in French on FaceBook ( walls does wonders and even helps you learn some local slang!

50 Greatest Quotes on Men

Written by Ron McCarty

Before success comes in any man’s life, he’s sure to meet with much temporary defeat and, perhaps some failures. When defeat overtakes a man, the easiest and the most logical thing to do is to quit. That’s exactly what the majority of men do. ~ Napoleon Hill

Today’s post as you can see from the title itself is dedicated to men. Well, technically women since they would be the one trying to find answers about men. After researching all day I have been able to compile this post with quotes that might answer some questions and some, as always, will remain unanswered no matter how hard we try.

  1. I never liked the men I loved and never loved the men I liked. ~ Fanny Brice
  2. You can tell the strength of a nation by the women behind its men. ~ Benjamin Disraeli
  3. Power does not corrupt men; fools, however, if they get into a position of power, corrupt power. ~ George Bernard Shaw

  4. When men and woman die, as poets sung, his heart’s the last part moves, her last, the tongue. ~ Benjamin Franklin
  5. Passion makes idiots of the cleverest men, and makes the biggest idiots clever. ~ Francois de La Rochefoucauld
  6. If you would convince a man that he does wrong, do right. Men will believe what they see. ~ Henry David Thoreau

  7. All men’s miseries derive from not being able to sit in a quiet room alone. ~ Blaise Pascal
  8. The world judge of men by their ability in their profession, and we judge of ourselves by the same test: for it is on that on which our success in life depends. ~ William Hazlitt
  9. All women become like their mothers. That is their tragedy. No man does. That’s his. ~ Oscar Wilde
  10. God made woman beautiful and foolish; beautiful, that man might love her; and foolish, that she might love him. ~ Unknown
  11. Young men want to be faithful, and are not; old men want to be faithless, and cannot. ~ Oscar Wilde
  12. It’s not the men in my life that counts, it’s the life in my men. ~ Mae West
  13. A man may conquer a million men in battle but one who conquers himself is, indeed, the greatest of conquerors. ~ Buddha
  14. Women need a reason to have sex. Men just need a place. ~ Billy Crystal
  15. Men play the game; women know the score. ~ Roger Woddis
  16. Man will occasionally stumble over the truth, but most times he will pick himself up and carry on. ~ Winston Churchill
  17. There are some sluggish men who are improved by drinking; as there are fruits that are not good until they are rotten. ~ Samuel Johnson
  18. When a man points a finger at someone else, he should remember that four of his fingers are pointing at himself. ~ Louis Nizer

  19. Happy is he who still loves something he loved in the nursery: He has not been broken in two by time; he is not two men, but one, and he has saved not only his soul but his life. ~ Gilbert K. Chesterton
  20. Few men have been admired of their familiars. ~ Michel de Montaigne
  21. Boys will be boys, and so will a lot of middle-aged men. ~ Kin Hubbard
  22. If it’s true that men are such beasts, this must account for the fact that most women are animal lovers. ~ Doris Day
  23. All men [are] of one metal, but not in one mold. ~ John Lyly
  24. Men are like steel. When they lose their temper, they lose their worth. ~ Chuck Norris
  25. Adversity makes men, and prosperity makes monsters. ~ Victor Hugo

  26. Men seldom, or rather never for a length of time and deliberately, rebel against anything that does not deserve rebelling against. ~ Thomas Carlyle
  27. Is it not rather what we expect in men, that they should have numerous strands of experience lying side by side and never compare them with each other? ~ George Eliot

  28. A child, from the time he can think, should think about all he sees, should suffer for all who cannot live with honesty, should work so that all men can be honest, and should be honest himself. ~ Jose Marti
  29. The greatest truths are the simplest, and so are the greatest men. ~ Julius Charles Hare
  30. Men are so willing to respect anything that bores them. ~ Marilyn Moroe
  31. There are more men ennobled by study than by nature. ~ Marcus Tullius Cicero
  32. Young men preen. Old men scheme. ~ Mason Cooley
  33. If you want anything said, ask a man. If you want something done, ask a woman. ~ Margaret Thatcher
  34. A diplomat is a man who always remembers a woman’s birthday but never remembers her age. ~ Robert Frost
  35. Classical quotation is the parole of literary men all over the world. ~ Samuel Johnson
  36. Men do not quit playing because they grow old; they grow old because they quit playing. ~ Oliver Wendell Holmes
  37. The desire of excessive power caused the angels to fall; the desire of knowledge caused men to fall. ~ Francis Bacon
  38. Perfect friendship is the friendship of men who are good, and alike in excellence; for these wish well alike to each other qua good, and they are good in themselves. ~ Aristotle
  39. Men should be like Kleenex, soft, strong and disposable. ~ Cher
  40. There are three kinds of men. The one that learns by reading. The few who learn by observation. The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence for themselves. ~ Will Rogers
  41. Priests are not men of the world; it is not intended that they should be; and a University training is the one best adapted to prevent their becoming so. ~ Samuel Butler
  42. Let me embrace thee, sour adversity, for wise men say it is the wisest course. ~ William Shakespeare
  43. Men are only as great as they are kind. ~ Elbert Hubbard
  44. Men kick friendship around like a football, but it doesn’t seem to crack. Women treat it like glass and it goes to pieces. ~ Anne Morrow Lindbergh
  45. Only the wisest and stupidest of men never change. ~ Confucius
  46. In the long run, men hit only what they aim at. Therefore, they had better aim at something high. ~ Henry David Thoreau
  47. It is a fact often observed, that men have written good verses under the inspiration of passion, who cannot write well under other circumstances. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
  48. If there is no struggle, there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom, and deprecate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground, they want rain without thunder and lightning. ~ Frederick Douglass
  49. Violent men have not been known in history to die to a man. They die up to a point. ~ Mohandas Gandhi
  50. Great men or men of great gifts you shall easily find, but symmetrical men never. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

I know there are way too many quotes on men to simply include in a post. If you got some time and have any quotes on men, please take a moment and share with the rest of us.

Man must be disciplined, for he is by nature raw and wild. ~ Immanuel Kant

10 things you might not know about robots

Written by Mark Jacob | Tribune staff reporter

Robots that are alarmingly humanlike, such as this traffic controller in Tokyo, seem too creepy and do not elicit empathy, says Japanese roboticist Masahiro Mori. (David Guttenfelder, Associated Press / April 17, 2007

The movie “Wall-E,” a futuristic tale of a trash-compacting robot, has become a money-making machine at the box office. Here are some key components of robotics:

1. The word robot, coined by Czech playwright Karel Capek in his 1921 play “R.U.R. (Rossum’s Universal Robots),” is based on the Czech word “robota,” meaning forced labor or serf. The fictional robots in Capek’s play were created chemically, not mechanically.

2. Here’s a nightmare scenario: Robots learn to build new robots, replicating without human aid and eventually achieving world domination. In theory, at least, that could happen through nanotechnology, the science of manipulating materials on an extremely small scale. Nanotechnology expert Eric Drexler once envisioned tiny machines replicating out of control, overwhelming the Earth in a wave of “gray goo.”

3. “Proprioception” is sometimes called the sixth sense. It means knowing where each part of your body is without having to look for it. This is natural for people, but very difficult for robots.

4. As household robots such as the Roomba vacuum cleaner gain popularity, clashes with pets are becoming more common. Los Angeles graphic designer Rob Sheridan has posted a YouTube video called “Puppy Vs. Robot! Epic Battle for Territorial Domination!” The video, featuring confrontations between Sheridan’s pet Lola and a toy called Roboquad, has been viewed more than 2.4 million times.

5. Cyborgs–part man and part machine–are coming. In fact, some would say they’re already here. Is a person with a heart pacemaker a cyborg? How about a person who attaches a cell phone to his ear? Scientists are working on a robot suit or exoskeleton that people could wear to increase their physical strength. The happy application: Disabled people might be able to walk. The darker side: Soldiers could fight longer and better.

6. Scientists are studying swarming behavior among robots–the collective actions of robots that have inpidual intelligence. Robot enthusiasts enjoy staging soccer matches between teams of machines, such as the Sony robo-dog Aibo. Daniel H. Wilson offers scarier swarming scenarios in his tongue-in-cheek but science-based book, “How to Survive a Robot Uprising.” An army of robots that communicated with each other would be effective at hunting down people because if one robot spotted a person, all of them would instantly know where the person was. Wilson also postulates how all the appliances in a “smart home” could conspire to kill the owner.

7. The “Uncanny Valley” is a theory by Japanese roboticist Masahiro Mori suggesting that as robots become more humanlike, people’s empathy with them increases. But Mori sees a drop-off–a valley–when the robot is not perfectly human but is alarmingly close and seems creepy, like the living dead. Filmmakers and critics have cited the Uncanny Valley as the reason some animation fails: It is neither close enough to reality nor far enough away to be comfortable to the viewer.

8. While androids–humanlike robots–dominate popular perceptions, many roboticists believe that the robots of the future will be limited-function machines that look nothing like people. One example is a snakelike robot being developed to find people trapped in the rubble of an earthquake.

9. The U.S. military may be struggling to sign up soldiers, but it’s recruiting plenty of robots. Predator drones have become a key part of the arsenal, and robots are being used to defuse roadside bombs. The U.S. military’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency sponsors a competition to develop an unmanned vehicle that can operate in urban environments. Congress has set a goal that one-third of the military’s “operational ground combat vehicles” be unmanned by 2015.

10. Many Americans view robots as threatening, but the Japanese have fully adopted them, consistent with their Buddhist and Shinto principles. “If you make something, your heart will go into the thing you are making,” Mori told the Tribune in 2006. “So a robot is an external self. If a robot is an external self, a robot is your child.”

Mark Jacob is a deputy metro editor at the Tribune.

[email protected]

Sources: Tribune staff and news services, The Wall Street Journal, University of Texas at Austin’s Robotics Research Group, the Economist, Forbes, and “How to Survive a Robot Uprising,” by Daniel H. Wilson.

25 Historical Events (As Depicted by 5 Year Olds)

Written by CRACKED Readers

article image

Children are stupid. We know it’s not their fault, but it doesn’t stop us from laughing at their innocent, wide-eyed idiocy.

With this in mind, we asked you to depict some of history’s most significant events, as they would be drawn by a five year-old child. We offered $50 to the winner, and the prize-winning entry is below. But first, the runners-up:


by Illiterati


by angelbrahd


by Gambiani


by CountBaqula


by Cowtppr


by brahman


by mtbutta


by Salah


by keviokevio


by joscott


by phluxcapacitor


by rhinopig


by Bell110


by blemm


by Boron


by Sleeper


by Tim


by baredevil


by AgentScarn


by Senor_Taco


by B.Leyd


by chrisolson7


by Bakudai


by Dan The Great

And the winner is …

by Bell110

Congrats, Bell110, you win money.

25 Clever Bar Pick Up Lines

Written by rtcrooks

Pick up lines, chat up lines, whatever you call them, we’ve all heard at least a few. There are some that will invariably send women running for the hills, and others for which you can only hope the lucky girl is very, very drunk when you let them fly. The bottom line is there is a very negative stigma surrounding these sleazy attempts at starting a conversation that will end in fornication. However, there are some lines that deserve mention and merit a list in such a fashion as we’ve created. These are lines that are good enough to fool a women into thinking you are clever and creative enough to continue talking to you beyond a “yes” or “no” response. While we do not claim to be Mystery AKA the Pickup Artist, we do know that a solid intro is the first step in impressing your potential mate. Here are some of the finest one, two or ten-liners that you are sure to bring success at the bar.

1. How much does a polar bear weigh? Enough to break the ice. My name is _________.

2. Hi, can I buy you several drinks?

3. Inheriting 80 million bucks doesn’t mean much when you have a weak heart!

4. You might as well come home with me because I’m going to tell everyone you did anyway.

5. You look like my second wife, and I’ve only been married once.

Bar Pick Up Lines


6. Excuse me, I think you have something in your eye. Oh never mind, it’s just a sparkle.

7. Your place or mine? Tell you what? I’ll flip a coin. Head at my place, tail at yours.

8. My boys over there bet that I wouldn’t be able to start a conversation with the most beautiful girl in the room. Want to buy some drinks with their money?

9. Get your coat, you’ve pulled.

10. I can sense that you’re a terrific lover, and it intimidates me a little.

Bar Pick Up Lines


11. Okay, so I came over here to ask you to dance, but I’m kind of concerned. I mean, we could hit it off really well, end up having a few drinks, next thing you know you’re giving me your number because I’m too shy to ask for it, I finally get up the nerve to call and we take in a movie, have some dinner, I relax, you relax, we go out a few more times, get to know each other’s friends, spend a lot of time together, then finally get past this sexual tension and really develop this intense sex life that is truly incredible, decide our relationship is solid and stable, so we move in together for a while, then a few months later get married, I get a promotion, you get a promotion, we buy a bigger house. You really want kids, but I really want freedom, but we have a kid anyway, only to find that I am resentful, the sparks start to fade and to rekindle them we have two more lovely kids, but now I work too much to keep up with the bills, have no time for you, you’re stressed and stop taking really good care of yourself, so to get past our slow sex life and my declining self-confidence I turn to an outside affair for sexual gratification. You find out because I’m careless and a lousy liar, you throw me out (justifiably so) and we have to explain to the kids why mommy and daddy are splitting up. That’s just too sad. Think about the children. For God’s sake, if you dance with me and we hit it off, let’s just keep it sexual, because we both know where it’s going.

12. Greetings and salivations.

13. I’m not actually this tall. I’m sitting on my wallet.

14. Did you see the fight outside a little while ago? These two girls were fighting over a short guy named [your name].

15. If I were to ask you for sex, would your answer be the same as the answer to this question?

Bar Pick Up Lines


16. I bet you $20 you’re gonna turn me down.

17. Excuse me. My friend over there is a little embarrassed. He’d like your phone number. He wants to know where he can get a hold of me in the morning.

18. (Give the person a pint of beer) Drink this, then call me when you’re ready.

19. I’d like to name a multiple orgasm after you.

20. Excuse me, do you want a double entendre?

Bar Pick Up Lines


21. Is your husband still on nights?

22. Hi, I make more money than you can spend.

23. You’re going to have to buy me a drink?
Her: What for?
I dropped mine when I saw you.

24. Do you know the difference between a hamburger and a blow-job?
Her: No.
Do you want to do lunch?

25. There is something wrong with my phone. Could you call it for me to see if it rings?

20 Ways to Attack Shyness

Written by thinksimplenow

Photo by Jordan Fraker. See more of his work here.

Can you remember the last time you stepped into a room full of strangers and felt that self-conscious and awkward feeling rush over you? Or that heart thumping moment when you wanted to ask someone on a date, but were too shy to do so? Or wanting to approach someone for business, but was too hesitant to actually do it? That anxiety in the pit of your stomach in social situations? Does it always feel like something is holding you back?

Regardless of whether you are introverted or extraverted, we can all relate to that feeling of shyness at some point in our lives. Socially, we tend to have the misconception that only introverts experience shyness, but that is not true. Shyness has more to do with being uncomfortable with one’s self, especially around other people.

This article is the result of collaboration between Amanda Linehan, an introvert, and Tina Su, an extravert. Together, we wanted to shed some light on the topic of shyness in a collective perspective from both extremes. We will also share the ways that we used to turn shyness into personal empowerment.

The Three Components of Shyness

According to Dr. Bernardo J. Carducci of the Shyness Research Institute, shyness has three components:

  • Excessive Self-Consciousness – you are overly aware of yourself, particularly in social situations.
  • Excessive Negative Self-Evaluation – you tend to see yourself negatively.
  • Excessive Negative Self-Preoccupation – you tend to pay too much attention to all the things you are doing wrong when you are around other people.

Can you relate? When you are experiencing shyness, can you fit your state of mind into one or more of the above categories? We sure can.

Why Do We Experience Shyness?

We all experience shyness differently and on varying degrees. However, root cause can be boiled down to one of the following reasons:

  • Weak Self Image – This is especially true to our experiences in high school. We would believe in the fallacy that our unique qualities were not interesting, cool or worthy of anyone’s admiration.We would try to fit in with everyone else, resulting in us not feeling like ourselves.
    • Amanda: Looking back I’m not even sure I knew what my unique abilities were, I just knew that everybody else seemed to be a cooler, more interesting person than I was, so I tried to imitate them…poorly.🙂
    • Tina: I thought of myself as cool, because I was loud, and worked very hard at keeping that image. It was of course, a false image that I worked hard to keep. It was exhausting and I was exceedingly self conscious. Even though people didn’t view me as shy, but I felt shy most of the time with a lot of built up anxiety. Turns out, the ‘cool’ kids themselves have weak self images and wanted to fit in with everyone else.
  • Pre-occupation with Self – When we’re around other people, we become extremely sensitive to what we’re doing, as if we’ve been put on center stage. This creates anxiety and makes us question our every move. Our focus centers around ourselves and particularly on “what I was doing wrong”. This can cause a downward spiral.
    • Amanda: Coupled with a weak self image,I didn’t thinkIwas doing anything right! And this would start a cycle that I couldn’t get out of. What I understand now is that is that most people are not looking at me with the detail thatI was looking at myself.
    • Tina: I too was very sensitive to my every move around other people. My senses were heightened to the way I talked, walked, laughed, etc. My focus was on how to not screw up in front of other people, and this made me very nervous. What I understand now is that everyone is so caught up with their own insecurities that they hardly notice yours.
  • Labeling – When we label ourselves as a shy person, we psychologically feel inclined to live up to those expectations. We may say to ourselves, “I am a shy person, than it must be true that I am shy. This is how I am, and this is the way things are.” When we label something, that thing has the perception of being fixed and therefore we must live up to the expectations of the labeling.
    • Amanda: I was known by others as a shy person, or a quiet person, and this perception held me captive at times. People expected me to be a certain way and so I was. And knowing that other people regarded me as shy, in addition to my not wanting to be shy, resulted in great anxiety when I was with people. I really wanted to show myself to others when I was around them, but it was easy to simply go along with what others expected from me.
    • Tina: Deep down, I felt the anxieties from shyness often, yet, when I’m around people, I had to live up to the expectations that I wasn’t shy. My experiences with shyness would manifest in unusual ways, like when I’m ordering food, when I call someone on the phone, or speak to strangers. I would never let that side of myself show, but I do experience it. In those moments, I can hear myself say, ‘I am shy.’

How to Overcome Shyness

We’ve both experienced different variations of shyness, and through practice and increased awareness we have both overcome this. The following are tips that have helped us overcome this uncomfortable feeling.

Photo by Lauren

1. Understand Your Shyness – Seek to understand your unique brand of shyness and how that manifests in your life. Understand what situation triggers this feeling? And what are you concerned with at that point?

2. Turning Self Consciousness into Self Awareness – Recognize that the world is not looking at you. Besides, most people are too busy looking at themselves. Instead of watching yourself as if you are other people, bring your awareness inwards. Armed with your understanding of what makes you shy, seek within yourself and become the observing presence of your thoughts. Self awareness is the first step towards any change or life improvement.

3. Find Your Strengths – We all have unique qualities and different ways of expressing ourselves. It’s important to know and fully accept the things we do well, even if they differ from the norm. If everyone was the same, the world would be a pretty boring place.

  • Find something you are good at and focus on doing it. An identifiable strength will boost your natural self esteem and your ego, helping you better identify with yourself. It is a short term fix, but will give you the confidence you need to break your self-imposed barrier of fear.
  • See how your unique strength gives you an advantage. For example, Amanda is a naturally quiet person who prefers to spend time alone. She learned that she listens better than others and notices things that others miss in conversations. She also discovered that her alone time has given her a better understanding of herself.

4. Learn to Like Yourself – Practice appreciating yourself and liking the unique expression that is you. Write a love letter to yourself, do things you enjoy, give gratitude for your body and its effortless functions, spend quality time getting to know yourself, go on a self-date.

5. Not Conforming – Trying to fit in like everyone else is exhausting and not very much fun. Understand that it is okay to be different. In fact, underlying popular kid’s public displays of coolness, they too are experiencing insecurities, self-consciousness, and awkwardness. Accept that you may not be perceived as the most popular social butterfly, and you may not want to be either. At the end of the day, being popular will not make you happy. Accepting your unique qualities can set you free.

6. Focus on Other People – Rather than focusing on your awkwardness in social situations, focus on other people and what they have to say. Become interested in learning about others, and probe them to talk about themselves. You can try pondering the question while interacting: What is it about this person that I like?

7. Releasing Anxiety through Breath – Anxiety and fear can feel overwhelming if you are practicing to become more assertive in order to overcome this fear.

  • One simple technique to calm this anxiety into manageable bites is taking deep breaths with your eyes closed, while concentrating on just your breaths. Inhale and exhale slowly while clearing out all thoughts.
  • Another technique is from yoga: counting as you inhale and then as you exhale. Slowly leveling out your inhale and exhale duration. Example, 4 count for in and 4 for out. Once your breaths are leveled, add an extra count during your exhale. This means slowing down your exhale by just a tad as compared to your inhale. Continue for a few minutes until you are comfortable, than add another count to your exhale. You can easily do this in the bathroom, or in a spare room of when you need it.

8. Releasing Anxiety through Movement – One way of viewing anxiety is that it is blocked energy that needs to be released. We can release this energy through physical movement.

  • Exercises like jogging or walking will help to re-channel some of the blocked energies, but also helps by pulling you out of the situation and shifts your state of mind. This refreshed state of mind will help by adding perspectives to things.
  • Another effective technique is a simple muscle meditation/exercise. Sit down or lie down. Bring awareness to every part of your body, starting from your toes and moving up your body to the top of your head. At every part of your body, tighten the muscles at the center of awareness for 3-5 seconds, and then relax. Repeat this until you get to the top of your head. Remember to breathe.

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9. Visualization – Visualizing yourself in the situation as a confident and happy person helps to shape your perception of yourself when you are actually in the situation. Close your eyes, sit back somewhere relaxing, listen to some relaxing music, imagine yourself in a scene or situation and see yourself the way you would like to be. In this scene, how do you feel? What do you hear? Do you smell anything? Are you moving? What do you see? Get all your senses involved to make it real.

10. Affirmation – Words can carry incredible energy. What we repeatedly tell ourselves, gets heard by our unconscious mind, and it acts accordingly. If we repeatedly tell ourselves that we are incapable, and too shy to do anything, we will become increasingly aware of evidence to back up this ‘fact’, and our actions will always match what we tell ourselves. Similarly, if we repeatedly tell ourselves that we are capable, confident, and wonderful human beings, our unconscious mind will likely surface the awareness that gives evidence to this new ‘fact’. While, we can’t lie to ourselves, positive visualization and affirmation are helpful in placing us along the road of positive thought patterns.

11. Do Not Leave an Uncomfortable Situation – When we leave shy situations, what we are really doing is reinforcing our shyness. Instead, face the situation square in the face. Turn the fearful situation into a place of introspection and personal growth. Become the observer and dig into yourself, answer the questions: why do I feel this way? What caused me to feel this way? Can there be an alternative explanation to what is happening?

12. Accept Rejection – Accept the possibility that we can be rejected and learning to not take it personally. Remember, you are not alone and we all experience rejections. It is part of life and part of the learning process. The key lies in how you handle rejections when they come. It helps to be mentally prepared before they happen:

  • Never take it personally. It was not your fault. It just wasn’t meant to be. The scenario was not the best fit for you.
  • Find the lesson – what did you learn? There is a lesson ingrained in every situation. And through these life lessons lies the potential for you to become a better person, a stronger person. Nothing is lost if you can find the lesson. See these as the blessings in disguise.
  • Move on. Recognize that when you fall into self-pity, you are not moving forward. Nothing will be changed from your self-pity. When you start to recognize this, it becomes clear that only energy is wasted while we feed to our problem-seeking ego. Pick yourself up, dust off the dirt and move on to the next thing. Try again, try again, try again. It will pay off!

13. Relinquish Perfectionism – When we compare ourselves, we tend to compare ourselves with the most popular person in the room or we compare ourselves with celebrities we see on TV. We set excessive expectations by comparing ourselves unreasonably to people unlike ourselves and wonder “why can’t I be that?” We carry with us a vision of another’s perfection and expect ourselves to fit that exact mold. And when we don’t fit, we beat ourselves up for it, wondering why we are such failures. You see, the problem lies in our emphasis on fitting into a vision we have created in our minds, which is not us. Let go of this perfect image, create visions of yourself out of the Being from who you are, naturally; and let that expression flow, naturally.

Photo via g2slp

14. Stop Labeling Yourself – Stop labeling yourself as a shy person. You are you, you are unique, and you are beautiful. Can’t we just leave it at that?

15. Practice Social Skills – Like any other skill, social skills can be cultivated through practice and experience. The more you put yourself out there, the easier it becomes next time. If you have a hard time knowing what to say, you can practice what to say ahead of time.

16. Practice Being in Uncomfortable Situations – Sometimes, it is not the social skills we lack, but rather the lack of self confidence that we may succeed, and a heightened fear that we will fail. Placing yourself in these uncomfortable situations will help to desensitize your fear towards the situation. The more you force yourself to face it, and to experience it completely, you will realize that it is not that bad after all. It may be hard for your ego to accept at first, but quickly you will find that you can just laugh and enjoy it.

17. The Three Questions – During social settings where you may experience nervousness, periodically ask yourself the following three questions. Doing so will distract yourself from more self-destructive thoughts. Make it your mantra:

  1. Am I breathing?
  2. Am I relaxed?
  3. Am I moving with grace?

18. What is Comfortable for You? – Going to bars and clubs isn’t for everyone, and that’s okay. Understand what feels comfortable for you, and find people, communities and activities which bring out the best in you. You can be just as equally social in settings that you connect with on a personal level, than the popular social settings. You don’t have to be doing what “everyone” else is doing. Besides, everyone else isn’t necessarily happy, despite your perception as such.

19. Focus on the Moment – Becoming mindful of what you’re doing, regardless of what you’re doing, will take focus away from the self. When you are having a conversation, forget about how you look, focus on the words, fall into the words, become absorbed in the words. The tones. The expression. Appreciate it and give gratitude for it.

20. Seek and Record Your Successes – As you overcome this condition we’ve been labeling as shyness, you will have many wins and realizations about yourself. You will gain insights into the truth behind social scenarios. You will start to view yourself differently and come to recognize that you can become comfortable and confident. When these wins and realizations happen, make sure to keep a notebook and write them down. Keeping a journal of your successes will not only boost self confidence, but also shift your focus towards something that can benefit you.

What are some of your moments of shyness? What did you do to overcome them? If you haven’t overcome them, why do you think that is the case & what can you do about it next time? See you in the comments! 🙂