Wednesday, November 28, 2012

What's Wrong With These Pictures? Anything Strike You?

What's wrong with these pictures? Anything interesting strike you? It did me. Take The Critical Thinker Challenge and see if you can find a common pattern, theme or trend. Something to critically think about. After your viewing of these ads I would love to read your thoughts on what you see (or maybe don't see) going on in them. Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comment section of the blog and you are also welcome to leave feedback in the Feedback tab on the right side of your screen and lastly you are invited to follow The Critical Thinker on Twitter @thinkcritical01.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

When Friday Became Thursday Night


Every year about this time the “Make-Sense-O-Meter” needle drops so far to the left in the meter that it cannot be seen. Picture a sound monitor in a music or radio studio that has a little needle that moves to the left and to the right depending on the volume of the music. This monitor also is equipped with a red light that appears when you are running “hot” as we say in the business or too loud. It is this monitor that I am using as an analogy for the “Make-Sense-O-Meter.” As I said, it is at this time of year that the needle just falls dead on that meter and if it were able to fall out of the monitor, it would.  I am sure by now you are either wondering what is he talking about or what has dropped the needle so far below zero or both. I am thrilled that your critically thinking minds are asking. The opening of stores as early at 8:00 p.m. on Thanksgiving night is what has dropped the “Make-Sense-O-Meter” indicator needle dead and oddly enough it is not necessarily because of the decision to open at that time (though I will address that too), but that too many of us as consumers will be at the doors on November 22 at or before 8:00 p.m. with the proverbial “bells on.” I have never shopped on “Black Friday” because for me personally, there is not that much shopping or gift buying in the world that would cause me to leave my home at  8:00 p.m. on Thanksgiving night (opening time was at one time somewhere between 3:00 a.m. – 6:00 a.m. Friday morning) to stand on some line; to wait to enter some store; to buy some items that ought not have been as expensive as they were to begin with because those expensive prices have been so called “slashed.”  That’s what has knocked the needle in the “Make-Sense-O-Meter” dead. 

As a marketing major with a degree in Business Administration, I totally understand from the retailer's point of view, (though I don’t agree with it) their trying every trick in the book”(Black Friday is one of those tricks) to make that “Almighty Dollar." I don’t agree with it from the standpoint of the employee. You now have employees who for the most part won’t be able to really relax and enjoy their Thanksgiving because they are going to have to leave whatever celebrations they are attending and go to work.  Yes, some could argue that they had the day portion of the holiday off and that it is no big deal to have to come to work Thanksgiving evening. It is a big deal however because now the employee will have to cut short his/her visits either to try to get some rest before work, or leave their location of celebration to go directly to work. Either way, their holiday is cut short
It has been reported that one of the reasons for the earlier store openings is the increase of customers who are shopping online. So let me get this straight….. People who choose to make purchases online and stay in the comfort of their homes are causing other people (store employees) to now have to leave the comfort of their homes on a holiday and another set of people who will voluntarily be standing on lines and in large crowds beginning earlier in their holiday waiting for the doors to open. The needle on the Make-Sense-O-Meter has fallen out of the monitor.
Retail advertising and gimmicks such as opening at 8:00 p.m. on Thanksgiving Night has become the shepherd to far too many consumer sheep. I use this analogy because as long as sheep have a leader, they are absolved of thinking for themselves, they can just merrily follow along with the flock. Retailers have become that leader. Retailers (Shepherds) every year around Thanksgiving bank on these sheep to merrily follow along and flock to their doors. They are banking on these sheep to not really be thinking, but to be caught up and mesmerized by the barrage of radio and television commercials advertising sale prices(Even Lay-Away is now fashionable). They are banking on the flock so much now that they are opening their doors even earlier hence Black Friday now being extended into Thanksgiving Thursday Night.  And guess what, the shepherds will most likely be smiling all the way to the bank because nearly 135 million shoppers go out to shop on Black Friday every year. Reports show that in 2010, 212 million shoppers spent $39 billion for an average spending amount of $365.34.   Every now and then the retail shepherd even has to deal with the valley of the shadow of death because who can forget the Walmart employee who was trampled to death a few years ago by the flock trying to get to those sales. But that’s not enough to stop the madness. All of this in the name of shopping; buying more stuff. All of this just to say I went shopping on “Black Friday” and I was there.

One commentary I received from a reader was I was trying to get readers to think what I think. That is not my objective. It really does not matter to me if you see things like I see them or think like I am thinking or not. What matters is your taking the time to really look at an issue and giving some thought to what we are doing and why. Always ask yourself, does that make sense? What doesn't make sense to me may make sense to you and vice versa. The bottom line is we really need to think before we act. We get what we allow. Greed is leading us more and more. Something to critically think about.  You are invited to follow The Critical Thinker now via our podcast at, and on Twitter @thinkcritical01.  I also invite your feedback (whether you agree with me or not) by clicking on the red “feedback” tab on the right side of your screen and in the commentary section below in the blog.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Gee.....What Went Wrong? Let's See.......

I think we can guess which way Big Bird voted.

One of the great things about being the host of TheReading Circle talk radio show is the people who I have met since the inception of the show. I have developed wonderful relationships with many of the authors who have appeared on the show and such is the case with author DenriquePreudhomme, author of The Undisguised Truth: Thought-Provoking Social and Political Commentary, Stranger Than Fiction and Reflections of Realism. Ms. Preudhomme is always fascinated by how when something goes obviously wrong the question always comes up “What Went Wrong?” Every time either one of us would see that question in the press, we would email, text or call each other about it and it became a running inside joke between us. We always had a good laugh about the asking of "What Went Wrong" about a situation when it was abundantly clear what went wrong. The 2012 presidential election is yet another example of this. It was very clear to me concerning what went wrong for Mitt Romney. 

When Republican candidate Mitt Romney lost the presidential election on Tuesday night, Denrique was one of the people who popped in my mind because I knew on Wednesday someone would indubitably ask the question “What Went Wrong?” I knew with so many people (including the candidate) expecting Mitt Romney to win, that the re-election of President Obama would be viewed as an upset and the pundits would have to ask “What Went Wrong?”  Well sure enough they did.  Well this post to The Critical Thinker is here to address what I see is an obvious answer to what went wrong.
 I don’t understand how Mitt Romney could expect the very groups that he pissed off to then in turn vote for him on Election Day.  What went wrong is Mitt and some of his other Republican colleagues did a fantastic job of alienating just about every group from whom they sought votes.  If you look at the voter turnout for President Obama by group, you will see a relationship between the percentages of the groups who voted for President Obama in droves compared with Mitt Romney and the commentary made about each group by him (Mitt Romney) or one of the Republicans running for office.
 Let’s take a look and see if you can figure out “What Went Wrong?” Let’s look by group and commentary made about each group by Mitt Romney or one of his party members.

WOMEN (60% voted for President Obama)

Commentary by Romney or Republicans:
"From what I understand from doctors, that's really rare,” he replied. “If it's a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down."  Todd Akin 
"I struggled with it myself for a long time, but I came to realize life is that gift from God, and I think even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen."  Richard Mourdock
 “I have no abortion-related legislation on my platform but I would reinstate a policy banning nongovernmental organizations from using federal funds to provide abortions.” Mitt Romney

ASIANS (73% Voted for President Obama)

Commentary by Romney or Republicans:
Mitt Romney and running mate Rep. Paul Ryan on Saturday tagged China as "cheaters" in the global economy and accused President Obama of being soft on a country whose trade and currency policies are hurting the U.S. manufacturing sector and the middle class.
"Let me tell you, on Day One of my administration I will label China a currency manipulator. We have got to get those jobs back and get trade to be fair." Mitt Romney

Commentary by Romney or Republicans:

There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe that government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you name it. That that's an entitlement. And the government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what. And I mean, the president starts off with 48, 49, 48—he starts off with a huge number. These are people who pay no income tax. Forty-seven percent of Americans pay no income tax. So our message of low taxes doesn't connect. And he'll be out there talking about tax cuts for the rich. I mean that's what they sell every four years. And so my job is not to worry about those people—I'll never convince them that they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives. What I have to do is convince the 5 to 10 percent in the center that are independents that are thoughtful, that look at voting one way or the other depending upon in some cases emotion, whether they like the guy or not, what it looks like. I mean, when you ask those people…we do all these polls—I find it amazing—we poll all these people, see where you stand on the polls, but 45 percent of the people will go with a Republican, and 48 or 4…” Mitt Romney

"We're not going to round people up" but rather, financially struggling undocumented immigrants would choose to return to their home countries of their own volition. The answer is self-deportation, which is people decide they can do better by going home because they can't find work here because they don't have legal documentation to allow them to work here," he said. "And so we're not going to round people up." Mitt Romney 
Romney suggested his administration would make it harder for illegal immigrants to get jobs, which would in turn lead them to seek work elsewhere.
Romney told the contributors that "women are open to supporting me," but that "we are having a much harder time with Hispanic voters, and if the Hispanic voting bloc becomes as committed to the Democrats as the African American voting block has in the past, why, we're in trouble as a party and, I think, as a nation." 
BIG BIRD(100% Voted for President Obama)

Commentary by Romney or Republicans:
“I’m sorry Jim, I’m gonna stop the subsidy to PBS,” Romney told debate moderator Jim Lehrer, who is executive editor for PBS NewsHour. “I like PBS. I love Big Bird. I actually like you, too. But I’m not gonna keep on spending money on things to borrow money from China to pay for it.” 

I think when you put it all together, one can figure out what went wrong. People are not going to vote for someone who is degrading them or putting them down. People who are called “cheats,” and “manipulators,” or told to “self-deport are not going to vote for you. People who are told that they will never take personal responsibility and care for their lives, or who must have a baby after they have been raped are not going to vote for you.   So when you ask “what went wrong” we can only come to the conclusion that you can’t piss folks off and then expect them to vote for you.  That expectation is what went wrong. Mitt felt that he and his colleagues could say any old thing , any old kind of way and then expected these same voters to vote for them. That’s what went wrong. Congratulations President Barack Obama on your re-election. What went wrong for Mitt Romney and the Republican Party is something to critically think about. I invite your feedback by clicking the red feedback box to the right of your screen and in the commentary section of the blog. I also invite you to follow the Critical Thinker on Twitter @thinkcritical01. 

Friday, November 9, 2012

Not Now

Example of an Avatar

Hello my fellow critical thinkers. Today’s post concerns our selection of avatars for our various social media sites. The thought for this post came from the various friend requests I receive on Facebook, the extremely popular social networking service launched in February 2004 [upd that now has over one billion active users.
In most cases I am not very finicky about who I confirm as a part of my Facebook network, however, every now and again (and the reason for this post) I receive friend requests with some of the strangest and weirdest avatars imaginable. For those of you unfamiliar with the term avatar, it is according to, a small picture that represents a computer user in a game, on the Internet, etc.(shown above).  Therein is my problem in many cases when I choose to ignore or "Not Now" a friend request……the small picture that is selected to represent whoever is making the request. For example if someone sent me a friend request using the avatar that I am using in this post, he/she would quickly receive a Not Now or be ignored. I don’t know about you, but the selected avatar tells me a lot about the person making the request. Anytime I see something representing evil or something satanic, or something destructive, you can rest assured that that request will be a "not now." The same holds true for anything that has a racial or ethnic slur in the screen name. 

I write this to make those of us who utilize the social media aware that I am sure that I am not the only one who bases his/her decision on who to Confirm or Not Now based on the avatar or screen name. We must be very selective in what we select to represent ourselves. Nowadays prospective employers, schools, banks and other institutions are actually checking out our social media services to see what we post and use to represent ourselves. It’s that serious. So my advice is to select an avatar and screen name that positively reflects who you are because not being befriended or receiving a "Not Now" is nothing compared with getting turned down for a job, loan, or educational institution acceptance. Something to critically think about. I welcome your thoughts by clicking on the red feedback box on the right side of your screen, and in the commentary section of the blog. You are also invited to follow The Critical Thinker on Twitter @thinkcritical01.  Be mindful of those avatars and screen names.  

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Pinky, Are You Pondering What I'm Pondering? (Quote From "Pinky and the Brain")

Well I had been looking for something to blog about because I had hit a dry spell (Writer's Block). I wanted to do something around the storm Sandy (and I probably still will) however, all of my thoughts have not come to me about it yet. There are a few angles to write about concerning what occurred as a result of Sandy. As I was looking to come up with something to blog about in The Critical Thinker, one of my email accounts was hacked and a SPAM message went out to my address book and contact list.  Thankfully not too many of my contacts took the message seriously, however, a few did and called out of concern because it did look legit. I am grateful to know that I have friends and family who would think to call even if they thought the message had an infinitesimally small chance of being real. I am also thankful for those who knew right off of the bat that the message was a fraud.  The message appears below and I decided to write this post for a couple of reasons. First to make everyone aware of the message and what to look out for and secondly to talk a little bit about the ingenuity of the criminal minds out there and how if that intellect were put towards something positive, what a contribution these people could make to the world. 

So my first objective is to put them on blast. Since the hackers felt as if they could compromise my email address, I feel that I can expose their verbiage so that no one will pay attention to the message if they see it again. It’s kind of the “If you can’t beat them, join them” strategy. Upon review of the message, a reader with any modicum of sense would see that the message does not make sense. Ironically most of my contacts knew it was not me because the message was grammatically incorrect and many have shared that observation with me. We had a good laugh about it.

Secondly, think what good these minds could bring to the world, if their ability to create was used in a positive manner. That has even perplexed me with many of our criminals behind bars. Many of them had elaborate master plans and were able to carry these plans out for some time until they were finally caught. Think about how there are some intelligent folks out there plotting evil and mayhem. It takes just as much energy to figure out how to get what someone else has (steal) as it does to figure out how to get what you want or need for yourself.

Thanks to my hackers, I have now changed my password as I am not looking to shut down that email account. I have had it for too long and there is too much associated with it for me to just shut it down because of some idiot low lives who are trying to scam people. Read through the message to make yourself aware of what it says because the likelihood is high that you will see it again under someone else’s email address (this was not the first time that I have seen this message). Do not respond to it no matter how legit or real it looks. Read through it and critically think about it and the other options someone in that situation would really have. I’m sure the person would have been able to make at least one telephone call from the hotel phone to let someone in the states know what was happening to them and to let other loved ones know. Enjoy the hoax message below and know that it is something to critically think about. I welcome your commentary in the comment section and/or your feedback by clicking the red "feedback" button/tab to your right in the blog or on your screen. I also invite you  to follow the Critical Thinker on Twitter @thinkcritical01.

Sent: Monday, November 5, 2012 6:54 AMSubject: My Terrible Trip......Marc A. MedleyI really hope you get this fast. I could not inform anyone about our trip, because it was impromptu. we had to be in London UK for a program. The program was successful, but our journey has turned sour. we misplaced our wallet and cell phone on our way back to the hotel we lodge in after we went for sight seeing. The wallet contained all the valuables we had. Now, our passport is in custody of the hotel management pending when we make payment.  I am sorry if i am inconveniencing you, but i have only very few people to run to now. i will be indeed very grateful if i can get a loan of $1,800 from you. this will enable me sort our hotel bills and get my sorry self back home. I will really appreciate whatever you can afford in assisting me with. I promise to refund it in full as soon as I return. let me know if you can be of any assistance. Please, let me know soonest. Thanks so much.