First Hamburger: The Top Ten Myths About Who Invented It

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Who Invented the first hamburger Top Ten MythsFor some reason (and probably a good one if you think about it), the powers that be have decreed May 28th as “National Hamburger Day.” This coincides nicely with the month of May either being “National Hamburger Month” and “National Burger Month,” depending on whose press release you read.

As a result, no doubt you’ve read, listened to, or watched something about the almighty burger at your favorite news outlet. The question you should ask (but won’t know to) is whether what you’re reading, hearing, or seeing is true. Unfortunately, in all likelihood, probably not.

To help set the record straight, here are the top ten myths about the origin of the first hamburger:Continue Reading “First Hamburger: The Top Ten Myths About Who Invented It”

CNN+ Joins Such Iconic Failures As The Edsel, New Coke, And Alf Landon

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At least Google+ lasted nine years. CNN+ barely made it past nine days. The colossal flop doesn’t even merit a “crash and burn” label because that would imply it made it past the launch. The embarrassing fact is CNN+ never got off the ground. Maybe “stillborn” would be a better epitaph.

Every generation needs its version of the Edsel, Ford’s classic foray into product infamy and marketing case studies. The Edsel belongs to the Boomers. Gen X-ers get New Coke. The Millennials now have CNN+. Heck, if you want to go back far enough, you can hang Alf Landon on the Silent Generation (parents of the Boomers).

Each of these failures feature a common trait: hubris. Those in charge simply believed they Continue Reading “CNN+ Joins Such Iconic Failures As The Edsel, New Coke, And Alf Landon”

School Elections Matter, Too

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The moonless night trembled with eerie silence. Still, the veteran warriors waited with resigned anticipation. The now 54-day old siege had worn upon them. Yet, they stood, along with their courageous emperor, willing to confront their ultimate fate.

That final assault began shortly after midnight on Tuesday, the 29th of May, 1453. It would prove to be the last day of an Empire that had existed – in one form or another – for more than 20 centuries. Wave after wave of Ottoman attackers charged with relentless regularity. The 150,000 invaders far outnumbered the 7,000 war-weary defenders of Constantinople – the last capital of the Roman Empire.

Amid the battles cries and the shouts, the screams and the barking of orders, the first Continue Reading “School Elections Matter, Too”

Patrick H. Price – Savior, Savant, or Sacrifice?

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The Watergate hearings began in earnest in May of 1973. All of Washington feared the end was near. Wagons were circled. Anything the least bit nefarious was to be swept under the rug. It was all coming to a head.

For a little over a year at that time, two little-known California physicists had been receiving secret funds from the CIA to research a phenomenon known as “remote viewing” – the ability to see in detail a far away location while safely ensconced within the confines of a secure location. The researchers had brought in Uri Geller and Ingo Swann, two professional psychics (or magicians, depending on your point of view) for this purpose.

The CIA, whether because of impressive results or the heat of Watergate, decided to Continue Reading “Patrick H. Price – Savior, Savant, or Sacrifice?”

The Stargate Folly – It’s Never About The Science, It’s Always About The Funding

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On August 1, 1973, Johnny Carson introduced Israeli mentalist Uri Geller to America on The Tonight Show. Geller’s claim to fame was his ability to bend spoons with his mind. Admittedly a skeptic, Carson gave Geller more than twenty uninterrupted minutes to show his stuff to the audience. Geller never had a chance. Here’s why.

Carson sought to shame Geller. He suspected Geller was a fraud (for calling himself a psychic, but a very good illusionist). He contacted his friend James Randi, a magician and psychic skeptic, to trap Geller. When Geller showed up on set, he sat down between fellow guest Ricardo Montalbán and host Johnny Carson. In front of him was a table with an array of trinkets on it.

For the next twenty minutes Geller hemmed and hawed and didn’t do a thing. His “bent” spoon wasn’t very bent at all, with Carson sarcastically saying “A spoon that’s got a slight Continue Reading “The Stargate Folly – It’s Never About The Science, It’s Always About The Funding”

SCANATE Proved There’s No Such Thing As A Government Secret

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A lot of crazy things happened during the Cold War. In California those things got crazier. As you might expect, it took some time to discover the truth.

Or did it?

In late 1995, the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) declassified all materials relating to what was then known as the Stargate Project. The Stargate Project represented the final consolidation of several secret research efforts by multiple government agencies (including the CIA) to investigate the application of psychic powers in military and criminal matters.

The powers that be decided to assemble what they called a “blue ribbon” panel to assess the success or failure of the nearly two-decade effort to determine the efficacy of “remote viewing.” According to “An Evaluation of Remote Viewing: Research and Applications,” this committee’s final report which was issued on September 29, 1995 under the auspices of The American Institute for Research, “remote viewing,” which is also called “anomalous cognition,” is “the ability to describe locations one has not visited.”

In other words, “ESP.”

Naturally, if you combine “secret government research” and “ESP,” you no doubt get Continue Reading “SCANATE Proved There’s No Such Thing As A Government Secret”

Why The Harvard MBA Should Be FIREd

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Have you ever played the game of Life? Very early on, you reach a fork in the road. You have to decide whether you’re going to go to college or whether you’re going to go straight into a career.

Does this sound familiar? If it sounds a lot like “What Do You Want On Your Tombstone?” then congratulate yourself. You’re definitely paying attention.

Recall the story of the Sicilian fisherman. When the Harvard MBA tried to convince him to expand his business, the fisherman would have none of it. Why? Because he understood Continue Reading “Why The Harvard MBA Should Be FIREd”

Pyrrhus and Cineas – The True Story Behind The Origin Of The ‘Fisherman’s Parable’

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Ferdinand Bol, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Ferdinand Bol, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

If you search “Fisherman’s Parable,” you’ll find dozens of sites repeating what is commonly labeled in terms of the parable of the “Mexican” fisherman. In truth, most of these sites merely repeat a variation on a theme akin to the “Sicilian” variation told to me by my grandfather.

These sites tend to declare the original author of this story is “anonymous.” A few of the more honest ones cite a specific source, namely Heinrich Theodor Böll, a German writer who received the 1972 Nobel Prize for Literature.

Böll wrote a short story in 1963 titled “Anekdote zur Senkung der Arbeitsmoral” (“Anecdote Concerning the Lowering of Productivity”). Rather than a Harvard MBA, the interlocutor is a “smartly-dressed enterprising” tourist. Instead of being Sicilian (or Mexican, for that matter), the “shabbily dressed local” fisherman was found resting at an unnamed harbor on the west coast of Europe. The rest of the story, including its ironic conclusion, remains very similar.

Still, we can’t credit Böll with an original philosophical insight. In fact, the original source Continue Reading “Pyrrhus and Cineas – The True Story Behind The Origin Of The ‘Fisherman’s Parable’”

‘What Success Means to Me…’

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The Parable of the Sicilian Fisherman and the Harvard MBA
(based on a grandfather’s story to his grandson)*

*My grandfather, an immigrant from Sicily, always laughed when he (repeatedly) told this story to me. If it sounds familiar it’s because this Parable has been told in many different ways by many different ethnic groups. Next week I’ll reveal the story behind the original story and why you may have seen this particular version, albeit with a different international flavor.

One morning, a Fortune 100 CEO, vacationing in a lush Sicilian villa overlooking the warm Mediterranean sands, came upon a local peasant sleeping comfortably against a fig tree. The peasant’s children danced around him, only occasionally tugging at the straw hat that protected his relaxed face from the tropical sun.

The energetic CEO studied the placid scene. Curiosity getting the better of him, the CEO woke the native and asked him what he did for a living.

“I’m a fisherman,” yawned the perplexed peasant.

The CEO then asked the man why he wasn’t fishing.

“I’ve caught enough fish for today,” replied the tranquil fisherman. He didn’t seem to mind the CEO interrupting his quiet family life. “I am the best fisherman on all the seas,” he continued matter-of-factly. “Each morning I take 30 minutes out of my day and haul in a boat-load of fish. This is enough to feed my very large family and still have some left over to share with my less fortunate neighbors. I can then spend the rest of the day watching my children grow or whatever else I want to do.”Continue Reading “‘What Success Means to Me…’”

Your Date With Destiny

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An inconspicuous spot stands apart in a dimly lit corner of a musty, but comfortable, restaurant. The usual red and white checkered cloth covers this tiny table for two. The only light in the darkly paneled corner comes from a lone candle atop the table’s center. A worn wooden chair occupies a position on each side. The slightly overdressed couple sits casually. Their rigidly relaxed bodies betray the dull seriousness of their conversation.

Ever the curious sort, you’ve always wanted to meet fate. She’s now poised across from you, having accepted your invitation. Things aren’t going well.

“Tell me,” she says with forced interest, “what is it you really want to do?”Continue Reading “Your Date With Destiny”