What Ever Happened to the Truth?

OK, trigger warning here: I’m going to be getting “political” here, and discussing racial and police issues. If that’s not your thing, I understand. It’s why I’m putting up the warning.

So what sparked this? We’ve been catching up on TV lately. We missed quite a bit of shows during our moving prep, the actual move, and the time our furniture was MIA. We got into the most recent Season of CBS’s S.W.A.T. reboot.

Overall, it’s a really good show; a rarity among reboots. They went off the deep end trying to show support for Black Lives Matters at the start of this last season though.

The episode involved trying to break up a chain of terrorist attacks that were designed to hit South Central and stir up racial tensions to the point of actual violent conflict. All this while the neighborhood is planning an annual remembrance event of the Rodney King beating.

LONG story short, the episode spins the riots following the King verdict as the fault of the police because they didn’t step in and restore order. They even have the Commander of the SWAT Division of LAPD get up in front of the community and apologize to them for not disobeying orders and trying to help (he was a patrol officer at the time).

The thing is, I was in San Diego at the time the riots broke out. I was staying with my dad the cop AND (his idea) I was also working as a private security guard in the Miramar area of North San Diego at the time. Believe me, I was paying CLOSE attention to everything that was happening.

Still can’t believe I went to work the nights of the riots completely unarmed, but otherwise looking for all the world like a cop. Pinkerton had dark blue uniforms.

ANYWAY… The truth is people in the neighborhoods where the rioting was taking place were actively shooting at any police that came into the area. Not only that, they were shooting at fire trucks and ambulances trying to help as well. The police pulled back and focused on containment because the alternative was to turn South Central into a full blown war zone, and be accused of a race massacre.

Back in those days, the police were also outgunned. The military weapons and transports that we see police using nowadays came about after the riots.

That’s a big part of why the national guard was mobilized to deal with the riots.

What’s My Point?

First, let me say that NONE of the above facts justify what happened to Rodney King, or others like George Floyd. The idea that Rodney King’s 1986 Hyundai could even do 120 MPH as police claimed is laughable. Even my dad called BS on that one. Early Hyundais were complete crap. You couldn’t get them going 120 if you dropped them out of the space shuttle.

Black Lives DO Matter.

If we’re ever going to get to a solution for all of this though, things have to be dealt with honestly. Both sides are going to have to see each other as human beings. Policing needs to change, no doubt about that. You can’t drive the police out of neighborhoods or try to eliminate them completely (as a few cities have tried) and then complain when they’re not where they were chased out of though.

It’s racist if they’re in black neighborhoods, and it’s racist if they don’t respond (fast enough) to calls in black neighborhoods. Is it any wonder cops are quitting in record numbers and cities can’t find replacements for them?

I’ve seen the impact firsthand there. We left Sacramento and California completely because it LITERALLY took 7 hours for police to respond to any call that didn’t involve gunfire. That’s IF they responded at all!

I won’t fault Shemar Moore (lead actor and producer) or CBS for trying to shine the spotlight on race issues as relates to police. They’ve done it before and up till this point had done a very balanced job of showing both sides of the issue.

I’m REALLY disappointed at the spin they put on the whole situation in this episode however. It was blatantly and unabashedly anti-police, dishonest, and only served to deepen mistrust of law enforcement, especially in minority communities. Nothing in that episode was going to promote communication or healing.

Maybe I’m expecting too much in hoping for Shemar Moore’s character to instead say “We have every right to be pissed about what happened that day and still happens too often. We can’t blame the police when some of us burn down and loot our own neighborhood, and shoot at the people who come to help us though.”

I’m only going to add one other point here: I am NOT saying that the entire neighborhood was involved in shooting at police, etc… I’ve said time and again that the vast majority of Black people, like ALL races, are good people. Like all races, there’s a small percentage of bad apples though. That small percentage did ALOT of damage though, and to their own neighborhoods.

Anybody comes in here with a racist reply about that’s how “all of those people are”, it’ll be an insta-ban from this blog. I don’t have the time or patience for ignorance and hate.

When it Rains…

It definitely pours.

Image via ClarionLedger.com

I’ve been occupied the last week or so with several different events. That’s what’s kept me quiet the last couple of days.

First was trying to get our lawn overseeded to fill in the bare spots. That was a bit time consuming and had to be worked around all the rain we’ve been getting. Not TOO bad though.

A few days later though, the lawn got overrun with wild mushrooms of several different types:

I had other pictures, but the phone ate them; yet another problems I’ve been dealing with for a while. That big mushroom on the right is a good 6 or 7 inches across, and our lawn is getting covered with those and strange small orange ones that as best I can tell are a variety of Russula and some white ones that look like death caps.

As for the phone, since the update before last, it’s locked me out of being able to DL my pics directly, and instead is forcing me to go to iCloud to retrieve them, probably in an effort to embed cookies in my PC. I’ve tried all the methods to fix that and / or reset the phone, but nothing has worked.

Speaking of not working, has anybody else noticed how utterly useless DuckDuckGO has gotten lately? It’s it’s not a cutting edge pop culture reference, DuckDuckGo.com can’t seem to find it at all.

So, next… We have our roof. I told our landlord before we moved in that it looked sketchy to me. He sent somebody out who rubber stamped it as fine. Well, maybe it’s not so fine:

We’ve got a large area at the far end of the kitchen where the ceiling is water stained and the crappy spray on popcorn is falling off. The landlord gets a guy out to look at the roof, and I swear he made the Beverly Hillbillies look erudite and well dressed. He stunk of pot also. He takes a look, and says he’s going to fix it and notify the landlord. The next thing we hear of it (after the pot-head just vanished) is that the landlord is trying to run the cost of a new roof through his insurance company.

We’ve weathered (pun intended) all of that fairly well. The leak hasn’t damaged anything inside yet, and it’s not OUR roof. The icing on the cake for me came Monday. One of the corporate idiots came to my other half’s job for whatever reason a week ago, and on Monday he notifies the office that he and the eye candy he was apparently traveling with have tested positive for COVID and been quarantined.

One of the other people at that office apparently decided they were too cool and smart to be vaccinated, so they may have caught it and passed it on to their family.

We weren’t TOO worried about it here, having been vaccinated BUT, a day later we both got sick with symptoms that mimicked the reaction we had to the second dose of the vaccine. Nothing’s been severe by any means, but I’m decidedly NOT happy about it all.

We did go to a local testing spot, and the tests came back negative. It MAY be a minor case of the flu (which oddly enough I don’t think I’ve had in 10 years), OR the vaccine might be causing a false negative.

My other half is diabetic, and has minor asthma issues, AND a heart murmur as well. IF this were COVID and we weren’t vaccinated, it could have potentially been VERY serious. Yeah, I’m pissed.

I’m annoyed just having been sick the last few days simply for no other reason than somebody thought they were above the rules and too clever to be vaccinated. Yeah our tests came back negative but I know what the flu feels like and what the vaccine symptoms felt like.

Yes, there’s a literal shit ton of misinformation on both sides of this issue, BUT that doesn’t change the fact that COVID spreads fast and has killed alot of people. Personal freedoms have to be balanced in light of social responsibilities. Both are equally important unless one doesn’t wish to live among their fellow man.

All of the above has left me frustrated with how little control I have over my life also. The roof isn’t the only problem the house has, and ending up homeless, even briefly, doesn’t exactly appeal to me. My back is making SLOW progress, but keeps going out enough to make getting back to real work impractical and improbable. THAT, in turn, means if anything happens to my dingbat spouse who ignored my requests for life insurance until AFTER the heart murmur and blockage were discovered, (and now can’t qualify for any), I’m screwed.

I spent most of my life at the mercy of abusive parents and a manipulative ass of an ex. I HATED it, and I HATE feeling like I’m in the exact same boat now.

So, M$ Outlook Actually Taught Me Something Yesterday

I was in the middle of an email with my uber small writing circle, and misspelled “Epilogue”. The spellchecker in Outlook automatically throws up suggestions before you can even do a correct yourself, and “Apologue” came up as a suggestion.

I’d never heard of the word, so I had to search it out of morbid curiosity:

So yes, an allegory or parable. The word is obscure enough nowadays that I’m not certain if I’d use it in writing… Perhaps if a character was fairly erudite and known for their vocabulary.

Still nice to learn something new however. 🙂

Culper Precision Makes Custom Gun That Looks Like Toy

Time for a Rant. Utah based Culper Precision (a firearms manufacturer) decided to customize what I think is a Glock 19 to look like a toy made of Legos.

Image courtesy of Newsweek and MSN

They called it the “Block 19” and that is a VERY real firearm. They were quite proud of the fact that they glued the Legos onto it, and got the gun to keep them in place for over 1500 rounds fired.

Oddly enough, they also don’t understand the outrage this has generated with people.

Stats on how many children are killed with guns are sadly twisted and politicized. Regardless of the actual numbers, children getting ahold of guns and accidentally shooting themselves, a sibling, or shooting people at school are too common, and IMO one is too many because a responsible gun owner keeps their guns properly secured.

I’ve already called for the gun owners to be tried as co-conspirators in such cases unless they can show that they did have their guns locked up. Kids are tempted by the mystique surrounding guns, and if you make it look like a harmless toy, whatever respect they may have for the weapon is going to be lost. This was just completely irresponsible on Culper’s part.

Before any of the Pro-Second Amendment crowd jumps on me here, I *am* a gun owner. I own a CZ-75 Compact 9mm pistol:

Image courtesy of CZ-USA.com

Not only do I own it, I practice regularly and I’m pretty damned good with it:

Image courtesy of me; 20 rounds at a distance of 40 feet or 12.19 meters

Point being that I’m not some extremist activist who has never held a gun nor understands how they work. I’m a responsible gun owner who keeps my gun secured, practices to be accurate so I don’t unnecessarily endanger somebody IF I’m ever forced to defend myself, AND I hope to never, ever have to point it at another human being.

Culper made a gun that looks like a child’s toy, and then defended it by saying they were doing it to protect the second amendment (I can’t make this stuff up):

What’s all the more scary is that Instagram post got 2900+ likes.

Then, when they started getting TONS of hate, they doubled down on stupid, saying the reason people didn’t like it was because they gave their children unlimited access to guns or were a bunch of ignorant anti-second amendment nuts. See the story I linked above. I’m paraphrasing but NOT exaggerating.

THIS is the kind of irresponsible idiocy that makes others question the mindset of gun owners.

FINAL THOUGHTS:

My OPINION on this; Why does it matter? First of all, as previously stated, it LOOKS like a toy. That’s going to give a child a false sense of safety with it. Ideally, children in a gun owning household are taught to respect guns, that they’re extremely dangerous, and not a toy. Even such children would likely be tempted by this however. It only has to be put down for a moment for a kid to snatch it up too.

Second, and equally important, it shows that the ADULTS are viewing guns in an irresponsible manner.

A gun can be used as sporting equipment; for competitive target shooting or hunting, as well as for lethal self defense. Regardless of use however, it is a DEADLY WEAPON and should ALWAYS be treated with the respect and caution that comes with that.

Things like this, and the stupid gun tricks videos on YouTube reflect poorly on ALL gun owners. It does NOT protect the Second Amendment. It instead shows that it’s followers are too stupid to respect that rights come with equal amounts of responsibility.

As a responsible gun owner who values the ability to defend my home as a LAST resort, I’m extremely offended here, both by the infantalizing of guns, and the gaslighting of people who had the common sense to object to this stupidity.

If you need your gun to look like a toy, or be a pretty color (ie it’s pink);

then, to be blunt, you don’t have the right mindset to own a firearm.

It’s Rained So Much….

Anybody remember ‘The Match Game’?

Well, in that spirit:

It’s rained Soooo much here that ___________.

The squirrels and jays are building an Ark

People are commuting to work in boats

The state song has been changed:

FINALLY!!! Scrivener 3 for Windows!

As I’m starting to gear up for more writing, I decided to check yet again to see if the oft promised and never released Scrivener 3 was released for Windows.

IT’S HERE!!!

Not only that, they even kept their word and gave me my upgrade from 1.x for free!

I have to be honest, at this point I’ve just downloaded it and am beginning to work through the tutorial. The only thing new that I’ve seen thus far is the ability to easily insert pictures and videos into your project. I’m not even sure if the videos have to be linked via YouTube or something similar.

Some stuff, as noted in the description I… borrowed from the Scrivener home page has been moved around and “cleaned up”. I’ll see if this ends up to be better organized or not. At this VERY early hour, the two things that I can report are:

  1. That gawdawful, clunky Windows 95 era interface is FINALLY gone
  2. The new version is 64 bit, so it’s a good deal more responsive.

I suspect my previous review will hold true that you can do anything with Office that Scrivener can do. It’s just a question of IF Scrivener has finally made it easier and cleaner to do it with them; one tool instead of 3 or 4.

If you own a copy of 1.x you’re eligible for either a free upgrade or half off depending upon when you bought it, so check it out:

Scrivener for Windows home page at Literature and Latte

Beyond that, I’ll report back in a day or two how things have been going for me.

OK Guys, You REALLY Need to Hang It Up…

I debated writing this days ago when I read that 76 year old Harrison Ford trashed his shoulder during the filming of Indiana Jones 5, and that filming will be delayed for 3 months because of it. He was just rehearsing a fight scene also.

Picture via digitaltrends.com

We also have 59 year old Tom Cruise reprising the role of Maverick in Top Gun 2. Never mind that it’s almost unheard of for anyone older than 45 to be flying fighters for the military. In fact, the world record for oldest fighter pilot is an Isreali F-16 pilot at 60 years old.

67 Year old Bruce Willis is still knocking out action movies at a pace to outdo Steven Seagal’s string of late life B movies as well.

And as it turns out, Arnold (who was born in 1947 and is 74 years old) is also doing more action movies also, including Expendables 4 and a new Conan movie.

*Raises walker over head and snarls* “By the bones of Crom, you kids get off my damned lawn… err sand!!!”

OK, being a little more serious, most of these guys, Stallone included (since he keeps doing Rocky and Expendables movies) are in really good shape for their ages. They still look nowhere like they did in the 80s though, and are really stretching the bounds of suspension of disbelief by continuing to try to relive their movie glory days. Poor Bruce Willis looks particularly haggard anymore.

I LOVED these guys in the 80s and 90s. I thought the idea of the original expendables was awesome also; grizzled veterans showing they’ve still got the moves. After a while though it starts to remind me of Ric Flair (the wrestler). This is the guy as I remember first seeing him when I was a YOUNG kid in the 70s:

Nowadays, 40+ years later, he still trying to make himself relevant within the WWE, and it’s just sad to be honest:

Getting old sucks, I get it. I’m getting there far faster than I’d like to admit, and my spinal issue are only highlighting it. I don’t like to be told I can’t do things, and I’m sure these guys don’t either.

At some point you have to set your pride aside and retire with dignity though. Harrison Ford is a great example here. At the end of Indiana Jones, they had probably the best scene in a otherwise horrible movie when the hat blew off Indy’s head and his son picked it up. Perfect symbolic passing of the torch and Indy could still be back in the role of the wise old master, mentoring his son. NOPE, he has to take the spotlight again though.

The Expendables started to go that way with 3; Barney training the new kids. It didn’t last though as the old guard had to come bail them out. They made it clear they were sticking around at the end also.

The 20 somethings can bad mouth the WW2 generation all they want, at least the actors of that generation knew to pass the torch and move on to more mature roles.

Anniversary Dinner

I’m LONG overdue for a food post here, and even this meal was a week ago this evening.

For those who have been following long enough, AND actually reading (RARE), you’ll recall that last weekend was my 2 year anniversary. Thankfully, it was SLIGHTLY less hectic than the actual day.

We had family over and I cooked a big meal for everyone. MOST of it turned out too.

First was homemade Tex-Mex guacamole with tortilla chips as an appetizer:

The main course was Ribeye steaks, slow smoked on the Rec-Tec and then reverse seared on the Weber charcoal grill:

There’s some (turkey) bacon on the top rack that was going to be chopped up and added to the steamed green beans but…

It’s hard to see from the pic, but some of the green beans were bad and turned brown while steaming. So, the beans went into the trash and the bacon got saved for later.

Luckily I had another vegetable in the works at the same time, a combination dish really. I took zucchini and yellow summer squash, sliced them into rounds, seasoned them with a little salt, pepper, garlic, oregano and rosemary, then topped them with Parmigiano Reggiano.

I’ve said it many times but it bears repeating; Parmigiano Reggiano is WORLDS better then plain old Parm cheese and Infinitely better than the gunk in the green can.

The basic recipe i found online just said to go with the cheese only but I knew a light bit of seasoning would help also. Once you throw the cheese on, just bake at 425 (or 218 degees C) until the cheese turns golden. Oh yes, cut the veggies 1/4 inch or .635 cm thickness. The summer squash turns out a little watery, but everybody loved both:

I also had some sliced baby potatoes for a carb:

Oh and if you’re wondering how those steaks turned out:

That’s as close to I got to a picture of a fully plated meal. It kept saying “Eat Me”, so I put down the phone and did. 😀

BUT… Then There was Dessert:

And this was a bear. The core of the dessert was individual sized, double chocolate mini bundt cakes. It took 3 tries to get cakes that would come out of the molds properly, and I had to thicken the batter almost to the point of being brownies:

BUT, we weren’t done there, nooooo. Next I took some Godiva chocolate, and melted it into a ganash, topped the cakes with Mayfield Cookies and Cream ice cream, and then drizzled the ganash all over them:

We ate good, and I think I’m turning my in-laws off the local restaurants with the quality of my cooking, lol.

Sleep Number Bed – How It’s Made & Review

Kind of random I know, but that’s my blog.

This post inspired by our battle with our own bed and Sleep Number’s customer non-service department.

Image from Businesswire.com

As you doubtless guessed from my opening and previous post about sleep quality, I have some real gripes here. I’m going to be fair and talk about the pluses we experienced while we owned the bed also. It’s probably easiest to work through things in a chronological order.

We started out looking for a new bed about 5 1/2 years ago when my back was probably at it’s worst, or at least during one of several truly bad points over the years. The advertised fact that the bed could adjust to conform to the needs of a sleeper, and even that sleeper’s changing sleep needs was a powerful selling point for us. You could make it firmer or softer if you had a physically demanding day, etc…

Resting on the bed at the store, it was just as comfortable as a foam mattress like a Tempur-Pedic, but seemed to adapt and support even better as our sleep numbers were dialed in. And that’s the trick; Sleep Number beds are great when you first buy them.

Purchase is where we hit our first snag or grumble though. When you see the commercials and they say “Only X Dollars”, they’re only talking about only the mattress assembly itself. The base costs more, with an adjustable base potentially more than doubling the cost of the bed. Then there’s the topper that goes on top of the air chambers. The more plush or heat dispersing you go, the price goes up, but the topper is disguised as a different model number. “Oh no, the super plush cooling top? That’s our i12 model, not this i8… It’s much more.”

To be fair, the vast majority of manufacturers of numerous products play the “different model” game. Even with other bed manufacturers though, there’s more of a difference in material construction than with a Sleep Number bed. Many of those beds won’t cost you upwards of $3000 out the door either.

Sleep Number Construction:

Let’s get into how the bed is made so that we can actually start talking about where the real problems begin.

Above is our (former) Sleep Number bed. It was a little over 5 years old when we got rid of it. That is about the shelf life for a poor to middle quality inner-coil spring traditional mattress. The reason we bought this bed though is that it came with a 20 year pro-rated warranty. We figured in the end, we’d come out ahead vs buying 3 or 4 supposedly lesser quality beds over that same time period.

If you notice above, the topper or “pillow top” already looks pretty shabby in terms of holding it’s shape, particularly on the right side. The problem is that the topper is primarily just cheap foam:

It’s got the sleep number logo all over it though, so that must make it high end, right? LOL.

Aside from that foam, there’s about 3/4 of an inch (1.9cm) of not very dense or supportive padding in the upper casing. The problem with the foam is that it loses support without you even realizing it IF you’re only judging it’s condition based on it returning to a normal shape after you get off of it.

As a side note, this is an issue I have with Tempur-Pedic; to get warranty replacement of their mattresses, the foam has to show a full 1 inch (2.4cm) of sag or indentation before they’ll replace it, per some internet sources. Foam, even high quality stuff like Tempur-Pedic uses, loses support well before it shows that kind of sag.

Same problem with our topper there. It looked OK if you unzip it, but NO support. Why does that matter? Because the rest of the bed is a glorified air mattress:

Or in the case of our Queen sized bed, two air mattresses connected via a zipper so there’s no gap in the center. This allows each side of the bed to be adjusted to varying firmness levels independent of the other side. If you’re wondering, the construction there is a combination of cloth and some vinyl-like material. Not much different from a decent quality camping air mattress that you’d buy from a department store.

Needless to say, the potential for leaks is there. Unlike those camping air mattresses, these held pressure pretty well up till our move out here from California. More on that in a minute or so.

Oh and of you’re wondering, YES, that IS just a foam block border around the air mattress, on all four sides. The outer fabric shell is primarily what holds the bed together. NOW, for the sake of being complete, here’s what’s under the air chambers:

First, we have about 3/4 of an inch of more foam to act as padding for the air chambers. THEN we have the bottom of the outer shell, secured to the adjustable base via four bolts anchoring wide plastic hold downs:

As you can see, it’s a fairly simple design overall. The air bags provide the firmness level of each side of the bed, and the topper helps the bed conform to your body and feel softer than a basic air mattress would. The hold downs keep the mattress from going anywhere while the adjustable base is in anything other than a flat position.

The air pump’s hoses hook into the head of the air mattress, and keep the mattresses at the desired setting, at least in theory.

Our Actual Problems:

Aside from the topper’s foam wearing out without us being fully aware of it (the air chamber softness can make this harder to notice than with an all foam mattress), the big problem was with air pressure. Customer (Non) Service as well, as you’re about to read.

Twice in the last 4 months we’ve had my side of the bed alternate between not holding pressure and just slowly being completely random in what it would be. I might go to bed at my ideal sleep number, wake up 2 hours later and have the pressure maxed out, and the next time I wake up, it could be nearly flat. This played hell with my back and neck as well as my already very poor sleep quality.

The first time, we called Sleep Number’s corporate customer service. We got told that we could throw parts blindly at it, OR have somebody come out and diagnose the bed. That would cost $100 though. Cheaper than just guessing and going through a pile of parts, right? We went that route.

It took a week and a half for them to get somebody out. We were stuck on our old inner spring guest bed during that time.

Two young guys that barely look out of high school show up, unzip the topper from the main body and take a quick look at the mattress, looking lost the entire time. They call the same 800 number we did, and talk to corporate. Perhaps unknown to corporate, we can hear the other end of the conversation, and they tell the kids to just label it the air chambers and get on to the next call. They sounded quite annoyed that the kids seemed to want to actually do the diagnosis we paid for.

Unsure what to do at the moment due to fatigue and not knowing how to check the other parts ourselves, we throw up our hands and say “fine”.

Here’s the kicker for this first call: Not only did we get charged $100 for a diagnosis that was nothing more than a blind guess, our 20 year pro-rated discount price for the new air chambers was another $200! Being pro-rated and only 25% of the way through our warranty, that means the parts should have been 75% off. MEANING, Sleep Number prices their air chambers at $800 MSRP.

The replacement parts order was also botched, and when we called back a day or two later, the order had never even been placed. THEN it took almost two weeks for the new air chambers to arrive. Yes, if you’re doing the math, that’s a month without the high priced bed. We also told them we’d install the new parts ourselves (it’s really pretty simple). Another three or four weeks later, Sleep Number has two new guys knocking on our door at the crack of dawn saying they were here to install the new parts we’d ordered.

SO, if we’d waited for them that would have been almost two months with no bed.

We put everything together though, and for a short while everything seemed OK. We figured that MAYBE the fluctuations in air pressure were caused by the pump trying to compensate (poorly) for a previous leak and we were good.

Three months later, we were back exactly where we were before.

THIS time, I spend a couple of days online researching things. YouTube and other review sites have several irate reviews about the pump systems on these beds being complete crap, and Sleep Number allegedly deliberately making them that way so they can sell a steady stream of replacement parts.

The crappy pump in question

Between the cost of the parts last time, realizing finally that the topper is worn out also, and feeling very burnt over the diagnostic fee, we had enough. We figured we’d be paying the same inflated prices for a replacement pump and topper, AND that we’d have NO idea how long before those parts or something else gave out again. That was when we opted to replace instead of repair.

Sleep IQ and Questions of Privacy:

Another thing to consider with a Sleep Number bed is their “Sleep IQ” phone app. First, the app is going to want access to quite a bit of your phone’s system. It’s also not just tracking your sleep via pressure sensors in the pump, it’s reporting that info back to Sleep Number’s computers. It will also pressure you to allow the app to monitor your wi-fi enabled thermostat, “to help avoid you sleeping hot or cold”.

All in all, there’s a ton of data about your sleep habits, sleep schedule, and home energy usage, along with God only knows what else from the other phone permissions, that the app data-mines and reports back to Sleep Number. I guarantee you that info is getting sold to third party marketers.

Since the app also claims to stop snoring by detecting it and elevating the upper portion of the bed, one can assume that the app is also using your phone as a listening device. How else is it going to detect snoring after all? Tossing and turning might be detectable via minor, brief changes in air pressure, but snoring??

Needless to say, we never installed the app. WAY too “Big Brother” for us.

Final Thoughts:

First, let me be fair: Our Sleep Number bed was pretty comfortable when we got it. It really helped with my back. MY big issue with the bed is the lack of long term quality and the piss-poor customer service with the company at the corporate level. When one pays a premium for a product, it’s naturally expected that performance and longevity will above average, ideally well above average.

Most fair, independent review sites will show that the Sleep Number bed is at the top of the charts for long term cost of ownership with beds. Even the custom fitted sheets designed to stay put on the unusual construction and movable base are around $250 for a queen set. Sleep Number is as much in business to sell you parts as they are an actual bed.

As you can see from the pictures above, the bed is really just an air mattress surrounded by foam as well. Nothing that justifies a nearly $4000 price tag for the newest models. In short, in my opinion, not only is the quality not there to justify the price, it’s long term costs are too high, AND the combination of foam and air mattress also make it hard to recognize when some parts are wearing out.

It’s also pretty lousy for sex as well. Too much give, and neither side is intended to support the weight of two people.

Buy ANYTHING else, but save your money here. It’s not worth the aggravation.

Fake News?

I saw a picture 5 days ago online that was part of a story how the sexist Ukranian army was making female soldiers march in high heels. MUCH outcry over it also, with the world denouncing the barbaric practices.

This story came from the Washington Examiner and was (theoretically) vetted by MSN News before they also posted the story. The Examiner even claims that the photo in question was released by the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense.

BUT, are we REALLY seeing what we are told we’re seeing? These are cadets practicing for a parade supposedly. HOWEVER… The picture immediately raised several questions for me.

First, why are they all wearing numbers like they’re entering a marathon? Hardly military.

There are also several other inconsistencies with their “uniforms”:

  1. Their stockings are all different. No Uniformity.
  2. Their T Shirts are different colors and worn differently also, with sleeves folded or rolled at the wearer’s whim.
  3. There’s no rank or any other military insignia anywhere on the uniforms
  4. Their pants are too tight, with many of the girls looking like they’re wearing stretch pants almost. Military combat uniforms are loose to allow freedom of movement.
  5. Hats are pulled down with their bills creased to varying degrees as well.

There’s a variance in posture, head position and hair styles that don’t speak to being real military cadets as well.

For comparison, I did A LITTLE scouting around the internet and quickly found several pictures to fact check. Something it SEEMS that the Examiner and MSN should have done:

image via Reddit

These are actual Ukrainian soldiers (as opposed to alleged cadets). Note that everything I pointed out as wrong in the above picture is different here.

image from UniformGirls.blogspot.com

Above is a picture of women wearing a Ukrainian army dress uniform.

image via warnewsupdates.blogspot.com

And for comparison, there’s the men’s uniforms above and the women’s’ full combat uniforms below:

MY CONCLUSION:

I’d bet that first picture that the Examiner ran with was a fake created by Russia, and wasn’t even fact checked. Russia has wanted The Ukraine back under it’s thumb for a long time, and propaganda is a favorite tactic. If they can make Ukraine’s government look evil, less people will complain when Russia rolls in to take the rest of the country after already seizing part of it’s coastal area for naval bases.

That said, I do indeed smell a rat here, AND wonder where the fact checking and named sources are. I also wonder how we’re supposed to trust the media when things like this are regularly turning up as “factual” news.