How going green may make you mean [via Nina Reznick]

A consumer of 'ethical' products such as organic food might be more inclined to cheat and steal, the study found. Photograph: David Sillitoe/Guardian

When Al Gore was caught running up huge energy bills at home at the same time as lecturing on the need to save electricity, it turns out that he was only reverting to "green" type.

According to a study, when people feel they have been morally virtuous by saving the planet through their purchases of organic baby food, for example, it leads to the "licensing [of] selfish and morally questionable behaviour", otherwise known as "moral balancing" or "compensatory ethics".

Do Green Products Make Us Better People is published in the latest edition of the journal Psychological Science. Its authors, Canadian psychologists Nina Mazar and Chen-Bo Zhong, argue that people who wear what they call the "halo of green consumerism" are less likely to be kind to others, and more likely to cheat and steal. "Virtuous acts can license subsequent asocial and unethical behaviours," they write.

The pair found that those in their study who bought green products appeared less willing to share with others a set amount of money than those who bought conventional products. When the green consumers were given the chance to boost their money by cheating on a computer game and then given the opportunity to lie about it – in other words, steal – they did, while the conventional consumers did not. Later, in an honour system in which participants were asked to take money from an envelope to pay themselves their spoils, the greens were six times more likely to steal than the conventionals.

Mazar and Zhong said their study showed that just as exposure to pictures of exclusive restaurants can improve table manners but may not lead to an overall improvement in behaviour, "green products do not necessarily make for better people". They added that one motivation for carrying out the study was that, despite the "stream of research focusing on identifying the 'green consumer'", there was a lack of understanding into "how green consumption fits into people's global sense of responsibility and morality and [how it] affects behaviours outside the consumption domain".

The pair said their findings surprised them, having thought that just as "exposure to the Apple logo increased creativity", according to a recent study, "given that green products are manifestations of high ethical standards and humanitarian considerations, mere exposure" to them would "activate norms of social responsibility and ethical conduct".

Dieter Frey, a social psychologist at the University of Munich, said the findings fitted patterns of human behaviour. "At the moment in which you have proven your credentials in a particular area, you tend to allow yourself to stray elsewhere," he said.

NOW THAT’S A BAD DAY! [via Sam Cormier]

A guy is sitting at the bar just staring at his drink for half an hour when this big trouble-making biker steps next to him, grabs his drink, gulps it
down in one swig and then turns to the guy with a menacing stare as if to say, 'What'cha gonna do about it?' The poor little guy starts crying.

'Come on man I was just giving you a hard time,' the biker says. 'I didn't think you'd CRY.' 'I can't stand to see a man crying.

'This is the worst day of my life,' says the little guy between sobs. 'I can't do anything right. I overslept and was late to an important meeting, so my boss fired me. When I went to the parking lot, I found my car was stolen and I don't have any insurance. I left my wallet in the cab I took home. I found my wife in bed with the gardener and my dog bit me.

So, I came to this bar trying to work up the courage to put an end to my life, and then you show up and drink the damn poison.'


I know you don't clean your computer screens very often

and it's hard to do the inside, so here is my present to you.

( just click on the word "here" high lighted in yellow above ) and presto the inside of your screen is clean.



Six retired Irishmen were playing poker in O'Leary's apartment when Paddy Murphy loses $500 on a single hand, clutches his chest, and drops dead at the table. Showing respect for their fallen brother, the other five continue playing standing up.

Michael O'Conner looks around and asks, "Oh, me boys, someone has to te...ll Paddy's wife. Who will it be?"

They draw straws. Paul Gallagher picks the short one. They tell him to be discreet, be gentle, don't make a bad situation any worse.

"Discreet??? I'm the most discreet Irishman you'll ever meet.

Discretion is me middle name. Leave it to me

goes over to Murphy's house and knocks on the door. Mrs. Murphy answers, and asks what he wants.

Gallagher declares, "Your husband just lost $500, and is afraid to come home."

"Tell him to drop dead!", says Murphy's wife.

"I'll go tell him." says Gallagher.



Snow White

Little Red Riding Hood

Sleeping Beauty

Jasmin (Aladdin)

Belle (Beauty and the Beast)

The Little Mermaid

"Literature is an occupation in which you have to keep proving your talent to people who have none." Jules Renard via Michael A. Simpson


There is a slideshow of the work in the show Body and Soul up on Kathy Jacobie's website. If you'd like to see it, please go to and press enter to go to the main menu. At the top of the list, click on News.

The exhibit is up at the Platt/Bornstein Galleries of the American Jewish University until April 28, and features Margaret Lazarri, Galya Pillen Tarmu, and myself, as well as hours and directions.

Country Haiku

…Thrillionairess Freda Chaney, 3/10/10

Little chicken man

Holds a handled basket full

Of fresh Bantam eggs

Serpentine sunset

A spring horizon shimmers

And sheds away day

Summer cowbells ring

Milk maids herd the Holsteins home

White foam tops the pails

Jugs full of May wine

Sweet Woodruff steeped in water

Succulent springtime

Stone wall—micro view

Arbutus trails up and down

Star nosed mole struggles

Fire red fall orchard

Children laugh, cling branches and

Snap ripe apples free

Barefoot schoolboy skips

Treasures wrapped in handkerchief

Mischievous spring day

"The only obligation to which in advance we may hold a novel, without incurring 
the accusation of being arbitrary, is that it be interesting."

Henry James (via Michael A. Simpson)


This video (link below) shows the winner of 2009's " Ukraine 's Got Talent", Kseniya Simonova, 24, drawing a series of pictures on an illuminated sand table showing how ordinary people were affected by the German invasion during World War II. Her talent, which admittedly is a strange one, is mesmeric to watch.

Senior Road Trip [via Sam Cormier]

While on a road trip, an elderly couple stopped at a roadside restaurant for lunch.

After finishing their meal, they left the restaurant, and resumed their trip. When leaving, Mildred unknowingly left her glasses on the table, and she didn't miss them until they had been driving for about forty minutes. By then, to add to the aggravation, they'd have to travel quite a distance before they could find a place to turn around, in order to return to the restaurant to retrieve her glasses.

All the way back, the elderly husband became the classic grouchy old man. He fussed and complained, and scolded Mildred relentlessly during the entire return drive. The more he chided her, the more agitated he became. He just wouldn't let up for a single minute. To her relief, they finally arrived at the restaurant. As the woman got out of the car, and hurried inside to retrieve her glasses, Bill yelled to her, "While you're in there, you might as well get my hat and the credit card."
"The older I grow, the less important the comma becomes. Let the reader catch 
his own breath."

Elizabeth Clarkson Zwart via Michael A. Simpson.




LOST IN HOT AIR [via Nina Reznick]

A woman in a hot air balloon realized she was lost. She lowered her altitude and spotted a man in a boat below. She shouted to him, "Excuse me, can you help me? I promised a friend I would meet him an hour ago, but I don't know where I am."

The man consulted his portable GPS and replied, "You're in a hot air balloon, approximately 30 feet above ground elevation of 2,346 feet above sea level. You are at 31 degrees, 14.97 minutes north latitude and 100 degrees, 49.09 minutes west longitude.

"She rolled her eyes and said, "You must be an Obama Democrat."

"I am,” replied the man. "How did you know?"

"Well," answered the balloonist, "everything you told me is technically correct. But I have no idea what to do with your information, and I'm still lost. Frankly, you've not been much help to me."

The man smiled and responded, "You must be a Republican."

"I am," replied the balloonist. "How did you know?"

"Well," said the man, "you don't know where you are or where you are going. You've risen to where you are due to a large quantity of hot air. You made a promise you have no idea how to keep, and you expect me to solve your problem. You're in exactly the same position you were in before we met, but somehow, now it's my fault."


I already knew I was dumber than a fifth grader...but now it's the preschoolers! A PRE-SCHOOL TEST FOR YOU Which way is the bus below traveling? To the left or to the right?

Can't make up your mind? Look carefully at the picture again. Still don't know? Pre-schoolers all over the United States were shown this picture and asked the same question. 90% of the pre-schoolers gave this answer. "The bus is traveling to the left." When asked, "Why do you think the bus is traveling to the left?" They answered: "Because you can't see the door to get on the bus." How do you feel now ??? I know, me too. Have a nice day

CATFISH FROM HELL [via Vicki Hake]

For all those crazy guys who go 'noodling' for catfish and stick their arms down the fish's throat!! This would be 'all the catfish you can eat',

Each year, a few people were drowning or disappearing mysteriously in Huadu's Furong Reservoir. It was not until recently, when the son of a government official went swimming, in the reservoir and was drowned, that the secret was revealed.

It is a 3 meter (9.8ft) long man-eating catfish whose head alone is 1 meter (3.3ft) wide!

After cutting up the catfish, people were surprised to find the remains of another man inside!

Swimming in the reservoir is now forbidden because it is feared another similar man-eating catfish is still lurking in the waters

"Don't try to solve serious matters in the middle of the night."

Philip K. Dick via Michael A. Simpson

ENTERING DALI’S BRAIN [via Nina Reznick]

Zoomquilt II: Flash zoom-through painting

The Zoomquilt 2 , a 2007 sequel to the jarring Zoomquilt of 2004, is an even more hypnotic Flash zoom-through collaborative painting with bits from more than 30 different artists.

GUEST POST: Winning Book Proposal

Linda Sivertsen

Are you avoiding your Competition section?

Maybe it’s because I’m an ex-athlete, but I love a good, healthy, vigorous competition. That’s not to say I don’t get insecure in life (cuz I do!), but give me a challenge, and I usually relish the opportunity to give it my all.

That’s probably why I’ve always had a bit of a sweet spot in my heart for the Competition section of any Book Proposal. It’s fun for me to compare and contrast existing best-selling titles to whichever one I’m selling. It’s like a puzzle, figuring out what made the masses fall in love with the former, and what I have to offer the marketplace that adds to what’s already out there. When I find the compelling, fresh, or cutting-edge ways to position my book, I get that much more excited about writing it!

This past weekend I learned that one of my most intelligent, hardworking, driven, and successful clients absolutely HATES this section! I was floored.

We were on the phone; I’d just read her proposal, and it was fantastic. Except around page 25, I hit the Competition section and the energy fell off a cliff. “Dead to bones,” as my son used to say in kindergarten. The summaries were dry and dull and in need of a total competition makeover.

It took me a second, but I gathered the courage to ask her why it felt so lifeless. “Oh. I have to admit that I didn’t write that section,” she said. “I hired someone else to do it. I didn’t even read those books!” I started laughing, relieved. “I thought this sounded different,” I said.

Turns out, she was over-the-top intimidated by this section for a few reasons (maybe you relate):

1. She didn’t want to criticize other titles (which, she didn’t realize, isn’t a good idea anyway)

2. She didn’t want reading the other books to cloud her “take” on her topic

3. She worried that she could even accidentally plagiarize thoughts or portions without meaning to

4. With both an agent and editor excited to see her pages, she didn’t feel she had the time to read those books anyway (a high quality problem).

While it’s IMPORTANT that you intimately know your competition (editors are BUSY and depend upon you doing this research for them), you may want to see what other people are saying about these titles, especially if you haven’t read the book(s) in a while. One suggestion that helped ease this client’s stress was to look at the readers’ comments for each title on Amazon. NOT to cheat or replace actually reading the titles herself (which she promised to at least skim). But many of the comments are well structured and insightful, and can highlight things you’ve missed.

Just be sure to run any comments by your own experience and intuition. You know, in case those “reviewers” didn’t read the book either!

To learn more, click here.

[via Vincent Atchity]

Super Bowl Bacon Cheese Turtleburger

The newcomer to the zoo that is bacon-centric food experiments - please give a round of applause for the Bacon Cheese Turtleburger. Created the day the Saints made their first appearance at the big dance, these little guys are sure to be a fan favorite. Who doesn't love a lot of meat on Super Bowl Sunday?

Handmade ground beef patties are topped with sharp cheddar cheese and then wrapped in a bacon weave before the Hebrew Nationals are inserted as the heads, legs and tails. Place them on a rack, cover loosely with foil and then put them into an oven heated to 400 degrees. Bake for 20-30 minutes, or until the bacon is done - cooked through and a little crispy, but not too crunchy.

And voila! Perfectly cooked Bacon Cheese Turtleburgers.

Recipe, experimentation and photos courtesy of
MRD, the Marquis de Meat.

Irish Blessing

His name was Fleming, and he was a poor Scottish farmer. One day, while trying to make a living for his family, he heard a cry for help coming from a nearby bog. He dropped his tools and ran to the bog.

There, mired to his waist in black muck, was a terrified boy, screaming and struggling to free himself. Farmer Fleming saved the lad from what could have been a slow and terrifying death.

The next day, a fancy carriage pulled up to the Scotsman's sparse surroundings. An elegantly dressed nobleman stepped out and introduced himself as the father of the boy Farmer Fleming had saved.

'I want to repay you,' said the nobleman. 'You saved my son's life.'

'No, I can't accept payment for what I did,' the Scottish farmer replied waving off the offer. At that moment, the farmer's own son came to the door of the family hovel.

'Is that your son?' the nobleman asked.

'Yes,' the farmer replied proudly.

'I'll make you a deal. Let me provide him with the level of education my own son will enjoy If the lad is anything like his father, he'll no doubt grow to be a man we both will be proud of.' And that he did.

Farmer Fleming's son attended the very best schools and in time, graduated from St. Mary's Hospital Medical School in London, and went on to become known throughout the world as the noted Sir Alexander Fleming, the discoverer of Penicillin.

Years afterward, the same nobleman's son who was saved from the bog was stricken with pneumonia.

What saved his life this time? Penicillin.

The name of the nobleman? Lord Randolph Churchill .. His son's name?

Sir Winston Churchill.

Someone once said: What goes around comes around.

Work like you don't need the money.

Love like you've never been hurt.

Dance like nobody's watching.

Sing like nobody's listening.

Live like it's Heaven on Earth.



The Beatles, Michael Jackson, and U2 Make Vatican Newspaper’s List of Best Albums; Bob Dylan Snubbed

Pope Benedict XVI
Photo by Mimmo Chianura - Vatican Pool/Getty Images

The Beatles, Oasis, Pink Floyd, Michael Jackson and U2 may be one step closer to paradise. But Bob Dylan is still “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door.”

The Vatican has previously denounced rock music as the devil’s work but in a surprise change of tune on Sunday the Holy See’s official newspaper, L’ Osservatore Romano, published what it called “a semiserious guide” to the top ten rock and pop albums of all time.

The list included The Beatles’ “Revolver,” which was given the top slot, Pink Floyd’s “The Dark Side of The Moon”, Oasis’ 1995 bestseller “(What’s the Story) Morning Glory?” and Michael Jackson’s blockbuster “Thriller.”

“Some songs seem to have been written yesterday…. while others still send shivers down the spine for their illuminating simplicity and musical thrust” the writers of the article said about “Thriller.” Of Oasis’ record, L’Osservatore Romano said “the album was never equaled” in part because of the disruptive in-fighting by the Gallagher brothers, the leaders of the group.

The “little handbook of musical resistance” was published in an attempt to offer an alternative to mediocre and cheesy tunes that feature in Italian popular festivals like the 60-year old one of Sanremo, which starts Tuesday in the north-western Italian region of Liguria and is widely-watched on television.

The albums are perfect listening material for anyone who finds himself marooned on a desert island, the Holy See’s newspaper noted.

Other records that made the top ten include U2’s “Achtung Baby”, Fleetwood Mac’s “Rumours”, Donald Fagen’s “The Nightfly,” Carlos Santana’s “Supernatural,” Paul Simon’s “Graceland” and David Crosby’s “If I Could Only Remember My Name.”

The article by Giuseppe Fiorentino and Gaetano Vallini said that Dylan was excluded from the list despite his “great poetic vein” because he paved the way for generations of unprofessional singer-songwriters who have “harshly tested the ears and patience of listeners” with their tormented stories.

In the last two years, under new editor- in-chief Gian Maria Vian, L’ Osservatore Romano has shed some of its serious image and taken a more open approach, finding merit even in popular movies such as the “Harry Potter” series and “The Lord of the Rings.”