Category: review

I’m Going to Walley World

The Amazon is a jungle, and I’m not referring to the rainforest in South America. I’m referring to the internet Amazon. Amazon has been my favorite online retailer for about two decades now, but after all that time my loyalty is slipping from the grapevine.

Amazon scams seem to be on the rise. Not long ago I never worried much about ordering from this retail giant. I’d never been scammed. I had great faith in Amazon’s integrity. I always got the product I paid for, and it always arrived in a timely manner.

But a few years ago some of my faith was shaken when I discovered that some Amazon vendors were providing free products to customers who would write a review. I wrote a post about this, hoping it would get the Amazon corporation’s attention and cause them to make widespread reforms. And who knows, maybe it was my meek little voice that motivated Amazon to make some changes, because they apparently ended the practice of biased reviews.

Alright, I’m sure it wasn’t little ol’ me. But just in case it was me, I’m writing this post to encourage further changes. So Amazon, with the might of my meek little voice I command you: Stop the scams, now! (Cue Tarzan call.)

Because it isn’t just biased reviews. Lately I’ve encountered additional predators in the Amazon jungle:

FALSE ADVERTISING PREDATOR:
THE CASE OF THE COLOSSAL SUITCASE

Early this year I ordered a suitcase. I wanted a portmanteau that would be just under the size limits allowed by United Airlines for checked bags, which is 62 linear inches. The product description said this trunk was 61 linear inches. But when I received it, I found it was 64 linear inches. That could subject me to some hefty extra fees by my airline if they happened to notice and make an issue of it.

So I returned the suitcase and got a refund. No big deal, but the misrepresentation wasted my time and left me feeling irritated.

BAIT & SWITCH PREDATOR:
BAD CALL BY A TELEPHONE VENDOR

About three months ago I ordered a telephone. I wanted a nice fancy one that would allow me to block lots of phone numbers. I was sick of all the junk phone calls I constantly get and was going for overkill in my defense weapon of choice. I decided to splurge and get a phone that cost $269.99, rather than a different phone offered by the same vendor for about $85.

Both phones looked very similar.

A few days later I received the phone, unpacked it, and set it up. It worked great. But as an afterthought I checked the model number against my order. It was the model number of the $85 phone. Yet the vendor charged me $269.99.

I immediately contacted the vendor and complained. They apologized and claimed that their more expensive phones had been water damaged, so they were only able to send the cheaper phone. But if that was so, why did they charge me for the expensive phone? And why didn’t they contact me before shipping the cheap phone, to give me a choice? This seemed like a bad call on their part.

I had already set up the cheap phone, so I went ahead and kept it, and accepted a refund for the difference in price. But if I hadn’t noticed the different model number, and had not complained, I believe I would have been scammed. And what a sneaky little half-legitimate scam it was.

REFUND HASSLE PREDATOR:
THE BED THAT WOULDN’T GO TO BED

About a month ago I ordered an adjustable bed frame from Amazon. It did not arrive on the day the tracking information promised it would arrive. But the day after, I got an email apologizing that the shipment had been delayed, and advising me to wait another 10 days before making any inquiries.

I wouldn’t wait. That’s because the tracking information showed that the bed frame was in the shipper’s facility just 70 miles away. Why would that take an additional 10 days to deliver?

So I contacted the vendor through Amazon’s chat service. After a little research, the vendor told me the bed frame had actually been damaged in shipping and was being returned to the vendor by the shipper. Gee, it would have been nice had their tracking information told me that, rather than leave me waiting all day for a delivery that was never coming. And why did the email say the shipment had been delayed, rather than returned? And why was I advised to wait 10 days before making an inquiry?

The vendor offered me a refund, which I accepted.

But after a week the refund had still not appeared on my credit card. So I contacted the vendor again. They again promised me a refund.

But the next day I got an email from a trucking company saying they were going to stop by my house and pick up the bed frame. This left me feeling alarmed, because I had never received the bed frame in the first place. I worried that my refund depended upon this trucking company picking up this nondelivered bed frame from my house.

So I took the time to contact the vendor again. They called off the pick up and again promised me a refund. And a few days later I did, indeed, receive the refund. At last, I finally put the bed problem to bed.

But what a time-consuming hassle to get my money back on an item I never received. I’m not sure if this was an attempted scam, but even if it wasn’t, the incompetence has left me feeling nervous about Amazon.

MORE PREDATORS, AND MY SUMMER VACATION TO WALLEY WORLD

Apparently I’m not the only one. Here’s an article from Forbes about Amazon scams on the rise:

https://www.forbes.com/sites/wadeshepard/2017/01/02/amazon-scams-on-the-rise-in-2017-as-fraudulent-sellers-run-amok-and-profit-big/#493cf87a3ea6

I’ve revered this company for years, but no longer. I’m now actively seeking a replacement for Amazon. I love shopping online, but only when I can trust that I’ll receive what I’ve paid for.

I’ll still make some small purchases through this jungle, as I transition away. But right now I’m sizing up Walmart as a replacement. I checked out their website and it seems they’ve greatly improved their online service from what it was a few years ago. So I opened an account and plan to give them a try.

Walley World seems to be the first to give the Amazonians a serious run for their money. I hope they hang in there and stick around. I believe online retail needs better competition, to battle the scams.

Now I just have to keep my fingers crossed and hope Walley World continues to hold their own against the gigantic jungle of Amazon, and maintain their online presence. I’d sure hate for them to be closed when I go to place an order.

A Week of Recreational Trips

Last week I came upon a fork in the road. After pulling it out of my foot, I had to decide to go left and pursue a life of crime, or go right, and continue to be the upstanding, law-abiding citizen that I have been throughout much of my adult life.

I went left. And now I am a criminal. I have violated a federal law that is punishable by up to a year in jail and a thousand dollar fine, for the first offense.

You see, I decided to try marijuana. You know, ganja, grass, weed, hemp, airplane, dope, rope, Mary Jane, 420, broccoli, wacky tabacky . . . everybody is familiar with those terms, right? Even a guy like me who never used the stuff.

I was a marijuana virgin until a week ago. I don’t like to use mind-altering substances. And so I also don’t drink, having given that up about 25 years ago. I think it’s wise to stay clear-minded and sober. This makes it easier for me to beat my impoverished mother at penny-ante poker games.

But I’ve heard so much about the forbidden fruit of marijuana that my curiosity got the best of me, leading to the fork in the road. And the state of California has made it easy to go left and satisfy my curiosity. This year it became legal in our state to sell marijuana to recreational users.

And so, feeling recreational and curious, I headed down to the head shop to buy a baggie.

It’s still a federal offense, so I felt a little bit nervous about this whole process. Turns out I wasn’t the only one. Those who sell it are a bit nervous, too.

The head shop was a suite in a strip mall containing a few other businesses, including a tile and countertop shop. I nervously pulled at the door. But it was locked. Was this the right suite? Then I heard a click and it popped open. Someone from inside had remotely unlocked the door. I stepped into a small, cheaply decorated lobby with two couches. A security guard sat in a booth behind a bulletproof window.

He asked if this was my first time here. Oh god, would he find out I’m a marijuana virgin? How embarrassing. It would look so uncool for a guy as old as me to be a newcomer to grass. But how would he know I hadn’t used this substance before at some other place? So I casually put my hands in my pockets and dismissively remarked, “Yes.”

He asked, “Medical or recreational?”

“Recreational,” I replied, while trying to utter this polysyllabic word in the coolest way possible. I think it came off, “Rehhhhhcreationallll.”

He took my driver’s license and scanned it, for reasons I still haven’t figured out and was afraid to ask. He also had me fill out a form, where I gave my contact information.

Then he told me to wait.

About 10 minutes later my reverie on the couch was broken by a young lady who opened a door and called my name. This formality was just like seeing a doctor.

I followed her into a tiny room that contained marijuana product displayed in glass cases. She and I were the only ones in this tiny room, and it felt a little intimate and uncomfortable. I said nothing, but just stood there trying to look as cool as possible. Finally she asked if there was something she could help me with. I asked, “Do you sell edibles?”

She said, “Sure,” and began reciting a long rundown of all the edibles in stock. I can’t remember all the different names, but when she said, “Brownies,” it rang a bell. Only cool people consume marijuana-laced brownies. Or so I think I’ve heard.

I interrupted her with, “I’ll take the brownies.”

My baggie of brownies.

She removed a bag of brownies from a refrigerator behind the cash register. They were professionally packaged, with the brand name, “Kaneh Co.” She said they were $15.00, plus tax.

The tax was extraordinary. Tacked onto the sale was a $2.25 excise tax. Plus a $1.73 city tax. Plus a $1.76 sales tax. Although these figures add up to $20.74, the total on the receipt read $20.73. Don’t ask me what happened to the penny, but hey this was a marijuana outfit I was buying from.

I paid cash. I’ve heard they don’t accept credit cards or checks, due to federal laws, so I didn’t even offer to try those methods of payment.

I left the store a federal lawbreaker, in illegal possession of a Schedule I controlled substance. That’s right, marijuana is right there at the top of the list of drugs that our federal government fears the most. Schedule I drugs are considered by the FDA to have a high potential for abuse and/or physical dependence, with no currently acceptable medical use.

Hello, glaucoma? Hello, chemotherapy relief? Hello, are there any intelligent people working at the FDA?

Other Schedule I drugs besides marijuana are, heroin, LSD, ecstasy, and Quaaludes. Schedule II drugs, considered less dangerous by the FDA, include cocaine and methamphetamine. Yep, the FDA considers cocaine and methamphetamine to be safer than Mary Jane.

On my way home I wasn’t worried about the dangers of marijuana. I was only worried about being stopped by the law. Yeah it’s legal in our state. But no, it’s not really legal, because of federal law. This is a gray area I felt anxious about. And wouldn’t you know, I passed three cops while driving the back roads home, and they all gave me long hard stares. Or so I imagined. And what gives? I hardly ever see cops on those roads. Or so I imagine.

But the most feared cop of all was at my destination. My wife. She hates any drugs, and has told me many times that she would never be married to someone who uses drugs. So I couldn’t let her know what I was doing. I had several half-baked plans swirling in my head on how to get my broccoli brownies past her nose and into a safe hiding spot.

Fortunately the DEA wasn’t home, so I easily smuggled the brownie bag in through the front door. Then I hid my stash beneath a sweater in a dresser drawer and waited.

Close to bedtime, when my wife wasn’t looking, I consumed my very first brownie and lost my marijuana virginity.

One of the brownies. Looks delicious, no?

Each brownie was about one-inch square, and according to the packaging, contained 10 mg of THC. THC is the active ingredient of cannabis, and it’s what makes you high. 10 mg of THC is 1/2800 of an ounce. It may not seem like much, because you need much more to get high if you’re smoking pot. But it’s a significant amount when it comes to edible marijuana. I’d learned from research I did beforehand that edibles have a much more potent effect than smokables.

There is no leaf marijuana in edible brownies. Instead the THC comes from an oil called concentrated cannabis, or cannabis extract. The state of California allows you to legally possess 28.5 grams (1 ounce) of leaf marijuana, but only 8 grams (~1/4 oz) of concentrated cannabis. I dug out my calculator, and it seems that with each brownie containing 10 mg of THC, and with 10 mg being 1/100th of a gram, you would have to be in possession of more than 800 brownies to violate California’s legal limit.

My baggie only contained 10 brownies, so I was very safely within the limit.

But healthwise, was I safe to eat even one of those ten brownies? I’ve read that some people have bad trips even with that small amount.

The brownie was sweet and toothsome. It was hard to hold back and not devour more. I truly believe that chocolate and sugar should be included in the list of Schedule I drugs. They are very addictive and very easy to abuse. And they cause cavities.

Nothing happened from this one brownie, at first. But within a half hour I began to perceive a very light, fuzzy feeling. I went to bed soon after, but did not fall asleep for an hour. Who says marijuana helps you to sleep? Nonsense.

About an hour after I finally dropped off to dreamland I awoke feeling even more light and fuzzy. I also felt a little dizzy and nauseous. And there were some small hallucinations going on. After drifting back to sleep I began getting brief, intermittent sensations that a pole made of pure crystal was running through my chest. It was a bit disconcerting, and would repeatedly startle me back awake for about half the night.

I felt glad I only ate one brownie.

The next evening I ate another brownie. The effect was far less pronounced than the night before. It made me feel a little light-headed and fuzzy, but that was the extent of this high. It seemed as if I had quickly developed a tolerance.

So the next evening, just after dinner, I consumed two brownies instead of one. I wanted to play around some more with feeling high.

I got my wish. It took a few hours, but suddenly the full effects of 20 mg of THC kicked in. I began feeling excited, and somewhat unfocused. This worsened, until I was having difficulty concentrating on reading and typing, and anything else. I felt a little dizzy, and staggered when I walked. I glanced in a mirror and noticed that my pupils were a little dilated.

After I went to bed, I awoke several times feeling dizzy. I also felt a scratchy throat. And before this I assumed the scratchy throat that potheads get was from smoking. Now I know better. THC makes your throat scratchy no matter how you ingest it.

I also experienced auditory hallucinations. These included the sound of muffled voices, and the sound of rapid, soft thumping in the distance. But the scariest hallucination was a very vivid splish-splash noise that coincided with my heartbeat. It was as if I could hear the actual sound of my blood striking my heart walls.

This was some trip, and I debated whether it would be safe to travel to this high height again.

I had six brownies left. I didn’t want the bland experience from just one brownie at a time, so I went for it. The next day I consumed two more brownies.

It seems my tolerance had not strengthened any further, because that evening’s high was just as powerful as the high of the night before, with hallucinations and everything.

For the next two nights I continued with two brownies per evening, as a postprandial indulgence, and continued to have strong highs.

But after that my baggie hidden under the sweater was completely empty. And then I had no more brownies, no more THC, and no more highs.

Now I faced the real test. Would I just have to have more cannabis? Would I miss the light fuzzy feeling, the wild hallucinations, the tripping high? Would I be in a hurry to rush back down to the head shop and purchase more brownies?

Or even worse, would this turn out to be a gateway drug, like so many anti-pot zealots have claimed? Would I want to start doing heroin now? Or LSD? Or Quaaludes? What kind of dissipated dope addict might I descend into?

The good news is, I’ve been drug-free for four days now, and have no craving to return to my debauched druggy lifestyle. My self-imposed rehab program is proving successful.

Heck, I’m just not interested in getting high from drugs. The high from marijuana feels unnatural and kind of unpleasant. I’ve experienced much more pleasant highs from doing more natural things. Things such as napping, meditating, and napping while meditating. I may be a nap addict, but I’m not yet a drug addict.

I doubt I’ll ever do marijuana again. Nor will I somehow stumble through a gate and start experimenting with other drugs.

But even if I did, so what? I want everyone to be responsible for their own oblivion. I don’t think we need nannies like Uncle Sam to protect us from ourselves.

I’d like to see all drugs legalized. This was my opinion before using marijuana, and remains my opinion after. It seems like such a waste of human life to throw people in jail, just because they obtained a high through unnatural means. Let them be.

Let everyone be. Let us experiment and pursue our happiness in any way we see fit, as long as we don’t hurt anyone but ourselves.

My experiment has taught me the power of the natural high. The unnatural high from marijuana doesn’t even come close to matching it. But I would not have learned this if it wasn’t for that baggie of brownies.

Thank you, state of California, for allowing me that freedom.

Nixon Vs. Reagan (as Librarians)

My wife and I ventured forth and found a unique experience. We visited two presidential libraries over the past three months. First we toured the Richard Nixon library in September, and then the Ronald Reagan library just last week.

We were enamored with the Nixon library. That’s what motivated us to see how Reagan was doing as a librarian. But although we enjoyed it, we didn’t love it. It was just okay. This left us feeling kind of disappointed. Our high expectations were unmet. I guess Tricky Dick is a hard act to follow, even by a former movie star.

This was as warm a welcome as we received at the Reagan library.

I mean, here’s a president who fell from office in disgrace and dishonor. For years, he was the most reviled man in our country. Meanwhile, Ronald Reagan left office riding a massive wave of popularity. Since then he has been idolized, oft-quoted, and used for reflective glory by aspiring politicians who never seem to come close to actually matching him.

So naturally we expected Reagan to outshine Nixon in the library department. After all, a presidential library is intended to celebrate a president’s legacy. And Reagan’s legacy far outshines Nixon’s, most would agree.

A segment of the wall that Mr. Gorbachev was told to tear down. Here is one of the few exceptions where Reagan’s library outclasses Nixon’s. You are allowed to touch and feel this exhibit to your heart’s content. Whereas Nixon’s exhibit includes a sign that reads, “Please do not touch Berlin Wall”. Er, kind of chilling, don’tcha think, Mr. Nixon?

Yet we still found ourselves more intrigued with the Nixon library. It detailed his presidency, and historical events surrounding his presidency, in an informative and painfully accurate manner. And it put Watergate and other Nixon scandals, on full display. It whitewashed nothing about this man, but instead seemed to give equal time to both his successes and failures. The open honesty disarmed us, and we liked and respected Nixon better after leaving his library.

But the Reagan library seemed artificial. It emphasized his successes, while making little or no mention of his failures. For instance, it celebrated his success at tax reform. It highlighted his ideology concerning the evils of big government. And it hailed his victories in the Cold War. This left us with the sense that Reagan was proud of his achievements, proud of his ideology, and proud of his country. Quite possibly in that order.

Remember this enthralling game in the 1980’s? No?! Why just think of all the fun-filled wholesome nights your family missed. This byproduct of Nancy Reagan’s “Just Say No to Drugs” campaign had interesting rules and strategy including the movement of tokens by rolling a . . . a . . . snnxxx . . . zzzzzzzzzz.

Meanwhile, we found no mention of the Iran-Contra scandal in his library. Perhaps it was in an exhibit hidden in some shadowy corner, but we sure couldn’t locate it. I believe a man with more pride in this country would highlight what makes it so great. And that is our freedom to debate anything and everything, and our liberty to challenge the authority of our leaders, including the highest leader of the land.

Nixon’s humility and honesty, compared with Reagan’s ego and elephant-in-the-room elisions, left us respecting Tricky Dick better than the father of our modern-day GOP.

The much ballyhooed Titanic exhibit was visiting the Reagan library, so we eagerly flocked with the crowd to see it. Turns out, most of it contains props from the movie, Titanic, such as this reproduced debris field in underwater illusion lights. We felt disappointed to find that the exhibit features very few genuine artifacts from the ship itself.

We were also unimpressed with the panhandling we encountered at the Reagan library. While standing in line to buy our admission ticket, a nattily attired library employee introduced herself and began a friendly conversation. She was personable and demonstrated an inquisitive interest in us, leaving us feeling flattered. Then she handed us a flyer and made a pitch to get us to donate to the GE-Reagan Foundation Scholarship Program. We politely declined, then proffered our $29 per person admission fee, and quickly slipped away from her in the least awkward manner possible.

While perambulating through the library, we encountered more panhandlers. This was usually in the form of photographers, trying to persuade us into having our photo taken in front of an exhibit. I don’t know what these photos cost, because we always declined their advances.

However at the Marine One exhibit, I found I could not refuse the persistent paparazzo. She would not allow me into the helicopter until I stood before the door, held a flag that she handed to me, and waved, saluted, and performed other poses for her camera. I finally got rid of the fucking bitch and made it inside the stupid aircraft to see where Reagan always planted his ass when flying off to Camp David. Perhaps it was my mood, but I felt much less impressed than I felt while touring Nixon’s helicopter.

By the way, we encountered absolutely zero panhandlers and professional photographers at the Nixon library. This left us feeling much more welcome and free to enjoy his premises, than we felt in Reagan country.

Our favorite part of the Reagan library was the Air Force One exhibit. Here it is hanging out where airplanes hang, in a hangar of course. Or as they call it at the Reagan library: The Air Force One Pavilion.

We found that the most impressive aspect of the Reagan library was Air Force One. The complete, full-sized, original Boeing VC-137C that seven presidents used, from Nixon to Bush 43, was on full display in a hangar. And we were actually allowed to stroll through it, from the cockpit to the rear exit (after circumnavigating the photographer stalking us at the front entrance).

The view outside the Air Force One hangar was pretty spectacular.

We also loved the view. The Reagan library is constructed atop a hill that affords a panoramic vista of orchards, fields, and settlements in Simi Valley, California. The weather was mild and the pellucid air felt delicately cool that day, and we found ourselves more inclined to tarry outside and enjoy the view, than return inside and endure more dry, dull showcases of Reagan’s perpetual successes.

One of the many gorgeous perspectives in the viewshed of the Reagan library includes this path that leads to a white cross. I kind of wonder if hiking this trail would have created better memories than hiking through the Reagan library.

All in all, we left the Reagan library with a lesser opinion of the man than we held when we walked in. But I still like Ronald Reagan. In spite of my semi-liberal attitudes, I believe he was an overall good influence for our country. But I wish his library possessed the same honest humility we witnessed at the Nixon library.

Perhaps Reagan had been steeped too long in Hollywood before entering politics. Perhaps for him it was more important to put on a good show than to bare himself as a fallible human being. And perhaps that’s why he rarely excelled in Hollywood beyond being a “B” movie actor.

As president he was, in my opinion, Grade A. But as a librarian Reagan seems to have retrogressed into the same “B” status as his old movies. In my view his caliber as librarian falls far short of that master Grade A librarian, Mr. Tricky Dick.

Ronald Reagan farted here.

Black Book of Satan (book review)

Are you into chaos? Wanna learn black magick, or take part in orgies? Willing to catch a few STDs? If so then Satan worship may be just the thing for you.

I’m familiar with the Bible. I grew up with it. But I’ve never seen the Book of Satan until just recently. No, my eyes did not turn into cinders of smoldering coal and drop out of my skull the moment I opened this book. Nor have I been haunted by cacodemons in the middle of the night. Nor does my head spin around 360 degrees.

I’m not superstitious, so maybe that’s what has saved me. But I am curious. Any book purporting to come from Satan is enough to give most people the collywobbles, wambles, and chilly willies. And that just piques my curiosity more. You know, forbidden fruit and all.

But I always thought such a book was a myth. So imagine my delight when I discovered I could download this sinister text from the internet, in pdf format. You too, can download it, at this website: http://www.o9a.org/wp-content/uploads/Black-Book-of-Satan.pdf.

This particular book of Satan portrays Satanism as a practical philosophy, where individuals can enhance their lives through the use of “magick”, to achieve their desires. By the way, that’s the archaic spelling of “magic”, perhaps intending to reflect the age of this philosophy. Or perhaps reflecting that Satan doesn’t know how to spell.

21 Satanic Points

Early in the book you will find “The 21 Satanic Points”. These are sort of like the 10 Commandments, except they come from the devil, and there are 21 of them.

Point #1 reads: “Respect not pity or weakness, for they are a disease which makes sick the strong.” This kind of gives you an idea of how the remaining 20 read, so I won’t go through them all. However, I found it interesting that some of the maxims are cliches I’ve heard before, outside the circles of Satan.

For instance, Point #7 reads, “Build not upon sand, but upon rock. And build not for today or yesterday but for all time.” This kind of echoes Matthew 7:24-27 of the Bible, where Jesus advises to build your house on rock and not sand. Was Jesus in league with the devil?

And then there’s Point #21, which reads, “What does not kill, makes stronger.” Hmm, I think I heard this one in basic military training. Which confirms to me that basic training is one of the levels of Hell.

Two Books of Satan

Apparently there are at least two books of Satan. One book contains practices that individuals can engage in, in order to take advantage of magick and get the things they want. The other book (this “Black Book”) explains how to practice in a group. It mainly contains rituals performed in a temple or outdoor setting, to draw on the dark powers of the devil.

The Black Book of Satan instructs how to set up a temple, what sort of incense and candles to use, and so forth, so that you can do everything properly, the Satanic way. Then it gets into the liturgy of the rituals themselves.

Rituals

Rituals include: The Black Mass, The Pledging (Satanic wedding ceremony), The Ceremony of Birth (for mothers named Rosemary, I suppose), and the Rite of Initiation.

Nearly every ritual in this book involves some sort of sexual activity. The descriptions rival any book of erotica. The Priest or Priestess often lies naked on an altar. Someone designated as a “Master” or “Mistress” also take part in the ceremony, while the congregation, naked beneath black robes, observes and chants.

Often the officiates of the ceremony perform sex acts on each other, in front of the congregation. Then when they are finished, the members of the congregation lose their black robes and dance around naked, in a counterclockwise rotation. After a bit, these naked worshipers abandon all form and engage in chaotic, orgiastic sex, while feasting on a banquet of food.

That’s typically how a ceremony goes, although the details differ somewhat with each ritual.

The Death Rite

I’ll give you an example by describing “The Death Rite”. The Death Rite is a ritual for wishing death upon someone, whom the book names “N.N.” for the nonce. You can fill in the blank with any name, because the actual name used is one that a member of the congregation has submitted. This is a person, any person, whom that particular Satan worshiper hates and would like to see dead. Or who knows, maybe they just want to collect on life insurance, end a marriage, or win an election.

In this ritual the Priest dresses in black robes, while the Priestess lies naked on the altar. The Mistress dresses in sexually alluring crimson robes. The congregation dresses in black robes with crimson cords.

Black candles are placed on the altar, a musky incense is burned, and a small wooden coffin is placed near the altar with a handful of graveyard earth piled upon it. No kidding. These kooks really dig up dirt from a cemetery for this ceremony.

A small wax effigy made in the likeness of N.N. is placed on the womb of the naked Priestess. This effigy is made to a size that will fit into the wooden coffin.

The Mistress rings a silver bell 13 times to start the ritual.

The Priest chants, “I will go down to the altars in Hell.”

The congregation chants back, “To Satan, the giver of life.”

The Priest then begins reciting a parody of the Lord’s Prayer, beginning with, “Our Father which wert in heaven …” (“Father” being Satan, who fell from heaven).

The Priest turns and fondles the Priestess, then he and the Mistress begin a series of chants with the congregation, including: “Agios o Satanas!” (meaning “Saint the Satan”.) “Satanas – venire!” And “Ave Satanas”.

Then the Priest gets into the meat of the ceremony by making the sign of the inverted pentagram over the congregation, and declaring, “We, the spawn of Chaos, curse N.N.”

All: “We curse N.N.”

Priest: “N.N. will writhe and die!”

All: “N.N. will writhe and die!”

And futher chants back and forth, such as:

“By our will, destroyed.”

“Kill and laugh and then dance to our Prince!”

“N.N. is dying!”

“N.N. is dead!”

“We have killed and now glory in the killing!”

“The Earth rejects N.N.”

At this point the naked Priestess places the wax effigy of N.N. into the coffin. The congregation begins dancing “counter sunwise” (counterclockwise) in a circle, chanting the Diabolus.

Then the Priest has sexual intercourse on the altar with the Priestess while the congregation clap their hands in approval, chanting ‘Ave Satanas!’ After the climax, the Priest withdraws, and the Mistress kisses the Priestess on the lips. The Mistress then kisses each member of the congregation.

The Priest, after this, makes the sign of the inverted pentagram over the coffin, declaring loudly: ”N.N. is dead and we all have shared in this death. N.N. is dead and we rejoice!” This is a cue for the Priest and the congregation to laugh.

The Mistress then takes the Priest’s penis in her mouth until he is erect again. Then she shouts: “I who bring life, also take!”

Soon after, the Priest declares: “Feast now, and rejoice, for we have killed, doing the work of our Prince!”

An orgy of lust then ensues, concluding the ritual.

The next morning everyone wakes up with itchy crotches and a burning sensation when they pee. But that’s my conclusion. The book makes no mention of STDs.

Recruitment

Toward the end of the Black Book of Satan, suggestions are given on how to recruit new members, and how to become a Satan worshiper yourself.

New members are recruited by luring them to rituals. Sex is often used as a lure, by inviting them to an orgy. Or they can be promised a lesson in magick. I can understand falling for the first lure, but you’d have to be a real nerd to fall for the second one.

But it isn’t easy to join the ranks of chaos and evil.

Initiates into Satanism must undergo a probationary period of several years, under the guidance of the Master or Mistress. During this time the Master or Mistress teaches Satanism to them, and tests their knowledge. It’s just like being back in school. Which figures, because school was another level of Hell, in my opinion.

Initiates may also be required to put themselves into dangerous or illegal circumstances. The book warns that some will die or be imprisoned.

Gulp!

But those who manage to survive or evade arrest may eventually become full-fledged members. Lucky bastards. I hope they’re grateful.

Instructions are also given for how to establish a Satanic group. And there is instruction on how to self-initiate, just in case someone has a hard time finding a Satanic group in their area. Gee, you’d think you could find all kinds of them in the Yellow Pages.

When someone joins the legions of the devil, they must adopt a new temple name. The very last pages of the book contain suggestions for names.

Examples for men: Oger, Hacon, Serell, Noctulius, Athor, Engar, Aulwynd, Algar, Suevis, Angar, Wulsin, Gord, Ranulf.

Examples for women: Sirida, Eulalia, Lianna, Aesoth, Richenda, Edonia, Annia, Liben, Estrild, Selann.

Take note of these names, in case you frequent online dating sites.

My Conclusions

The Black Book of Satan purports to help members fulfill their potential through the dark powers of magick. But I believe it actually weakens their potential.

Apart from catching some sort of hideous venereal disease, initiates run the risk of dying or being jailed, due to the diablerie required of them. But even if they make it through that gauntlet, they can fall under the blackmailing control of a Priest or Priestess.

They’ve committed crimes and can now be induced to go deeper into lawbreaking. They can be drawn into a criminal syndicate. Their criminal actions make them vulnerable to being manipulated into causing more and more harm to others for the benefit of the Priest or Priestess.

This is the same pattern found in other kinds of criminal gangs. You rob, steal, and kill to benefit the gang leaders. In return you get to live the life of a fugitive, while feasting on any crumbs of pleasure rewarded to you from your boss.

In my view, Satanism is a tragic, suicidal path that has little chance of leading to self-fulfillment. It deprives followers of safety and security. It steals away their liberty. And ultimately, it leads worshipers on a dark path toward their own self-destruction.

Maybe that is why the book is black.

Symbols found within the Black Book of Satan. They are somewhat similar to the doodles of Donald Trump.

Where Far East Meets Grand Canyon West

When people plan a visit to the Grand Canyon, they usually make a choice between the North Rim or the South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park. But this wonder of the world can also be seen without the National Park Service playing host.

If you go to Grand Canyon West.

Grand Canyon West is hosted by the Hualapai Indian tribe. Hualapai (pronounced Whollop-Eye) means People of the Tall Pines. For centuries the Hualapai’s have lived and and died in these majestic lands skirting the southwestern rim of the Grand Canyon. And here they’ve been confined to the Hualapai reservation since the 1800’s.

Great Seal of the Hualapai Tribe.

Great Seal of the Hualapai Tribe.

Not only has the Grand Canyon separated them from the rest of our country, but so has a deep chasm of poverty. At least until the 1980’s. That’s when they came up with a grand plan to raise a few bucks. They designed and built a tourist trap facility, called Grand Canyon West. And now, over the past 30 years, these clever and enterprising Native Americans have been growing in prosperity, while attracting unsuspecting tourists from all over the world.

Hualapai Indian dancer.

Hualapai Indian dancer.

My wife and I were two such unsuspecting tourists, just a few days ago. Well actually, we did suspect a few things. We read the Yelp reviews. These mixed reviews led us to approach with caution. We only paid the basic entrance fee of $40.00 per person, and decided against paying the extra $20.00 to walk on their famous Skywalk, or the extra $10.00 to eat their famous beef mush, or the extra $187.00 to take their famous five-minute helicopter ride combo 20-minute pontoon boat splash.

We’re oh so grateful for those reviews and our caution. Overall, we enjoyed ourselves, but I must say our experience was just like the Yelp reviews. It was mixed.

The barely visible rim hinting of the Grand Canyon below, from Hualapai Ranch.

The barely visible rim hinting of the Grand Canyon below, from Hualapai Ranch.

We drove two hours from our beachhead at the gambling town of Laughlin, Nevada. The drive was a bit confounding. I could not get my GPS to find their address, so I had to guess on the waypoint. Signage along the way helped out, until we got deep into the heart of the Arizona wilderness. That’s when, for some strange reason, the Hualapai’s decided to stop putting up those friendly helpful signs guiding us to their place of business.

We sweated it out for quite a stretch, wondering if we should have turned down that other road 30 or so miles back. But then we saw some tourist buses heading in our same direction and that gave us the reassurance we needed.

A waiting taxi, at Hualapai Ranch.

A waiting taxi, at Hualapai Ranch.

Parking was plentiful and easy. However, this was a Tuesday. And with such available parking, my wife and I began congratulating ourselves on how clever we were for planning this trip during the middle of the week, where we could beat the crowds. But what we failed to remember was those tourist buses.

Those buses were loaded with Japanese tourists, who had been brought in for a day trip from Las Vegas, where they had been vacationing. And there were hundreds and hundreds of these selfie-stick-toting Asians.

Many headed straight for the heliport, forming a long queue. And there were dozens of helicopters swirling in and out, their twirling blades chopping the air with a cacophany of “whollop-eye-whollop-eye-whollop-eye”.

The grounds were hurly-burly with scrambling tourist guides barking out loud commands in Japanese to their Asian minions, over the obstreperous machinery of the whirlybirds.

Can you spot the helicopter?

Can you spot the helicopter?

But not all the Japanese wanted to ride in helicopters. Several hundreds of them were wise enough to opt for the same basic ticket package that my wife and I went for. This package included unlimited riding on the shuttle buses that take you from point to point to all the attractions at Grand Canyon West.

There are three attractions.

We crowded onto a bus that may as well have been in downtown Tokyo. And what I’ve heard about so-called Japanese rudeness was confirmed on this and other buses. I don’t think they mean to be rude. But Japan is a crowded island. The Japanese have apparently developed the survival habit of fighting amongst each other to board their public transportation, such as trains, subways, and buses. It was every man, woman, and child for themselves.

Hualapai Ranch. Does this look like a ranch to you?

Hualapai Ranch. Does this look like a ranch to you?

Our first stop was Hualapai Ranch. As my wife and I, and all the Far Eastern visitors aboard our bus attempted to debouch, Japanese tourists outside attempted to board, without waiting for us to get off. This impoliteness made for a calamitous and comical exercise of people squeezing past each other from opposite directions, sometimes throwing each other back, and sometimes surging forward, like receding and advancing waves of soldiers involved in hand-to-hand combat.

After claiming victory in this battle by successfully debussing, my wife and I set off to explore our conquered territory. But we were disappointed. Hualapai Ranch was really nothing but a fake ghost town with a souvenir shop, horseback riding stable, and other businesses whose prime aim was to loosen up our wallets. We didn’t stay long.

"Lissen you low-down yellow-bellied skunk. I'll meet you in the middle of this here street at HIGH noon, an' we'll settle our beef once an' fer all!" Wasn't that a line in a movie?

“Lissen you low-down yellow-bellied skunk. I’ll meet you in the middle of this here street at HIGH noon, an’ we’ll settle our beef once an’ fer all!” I found Hualapai Ranch kind of inspiring. It made me want to write a Western.

We raced for the bus stop and managed to be first in line. Well, it kind of resembled a line. Though we planted our feet exactly where we expected the bus door to open when the next shuttle would arrive, crafty Japanese began to encroach on both sides. When the approaching shuttle bus was descried, our Asian competitors hurried forward, threatening to overwhelm our position.

But then a loud war cry erupted from a stentorian Hualapai standing nearby. He gruffly ordered the tourists to fall back and form a line behind us. He was very authoritarian and even wore a uniform. This was the magic touch that was needed. Apparently the Japanese greatly respect authority, because everyone in the crowd obeyed instantly. And the bus was boarded in a polite and orderly manner.

View from Eagle Point.

View from Eagle Point.

Off we rolled to Eagle Point. Eagle Point is the locale of the famous Skywalk. The Skywalk is a loop of plexiglass-floored walkway that extends from a cliffside building out over the Grand Canyon. For 20 bucks, tourists can tread upon it, and pretend they are walking on air. However cameras are not allowed. You must leave your camera and all other personal items behind, in a locker, before you are allowed on the Skywalk.

According to the Yelp reviews, you will be stalked by professional photographers with every step you take upon the Skywalk. They will snap many pictures of you, and for a mere $50 to a $100, you can buy these photos. This apparently is why you aren’t allowed to take your own camera with you on the Skywalk.

They want your money.

The Skywalk at Eagle Point. Notice the tourists up there running from photographers?

The Skywalk at Eagle Point. If you look carefully, you may notice tourists up there running from photographers.

But we didn’t pay for such nonsense. And the view of the Grand Canyon at Eagle Point is spectacular, whether or not you walk the Skywalk.

The third and final stop of the shuttle bus was at Guano Point. We were herded like cattle onto this bus, and it was standing room only for hapless stragglers. My wife found the last seat, but I had to hang onto a bar, while being crushed between two grim-faced Asian men who clung to the same bar.

The Colorado River from Guano Point.

The Colorado River from Guano Point.

Guano Point is the site of an old guano mine. You can hike about a half mile out to the mine, over a promontory that juts into the Grand Canyon. There are many vantage points along this route for snapping breathtaking photos of the Colorado River.

Looking upriver from Guano Point.

Looking upriver from Guano Point.

After Guano Point we were anxious to get the hell out of this tourist trap. We had spent about two-and-a-half hours at Grand Canyon West, and that was enough for us. Besides, we’d seen all there was to see.

Remains of the guano mine at Guano Point. An Air Force jet put this mine out of commission in 1960, when its tail clipped a cable that spanned the width of the Canyon.

Remains of the guano mine at Guano Point. An Air Force jet put this mine out of commission in 1960, when its tail clipped a cable that spanned the width of the Canyon.

All-in-all, I’d say it was worth doing this as a one-time experience. But my wife and I agree that we will never go back again. It’s too crowded and too touristy for us. And there are only two viewpoints.

But I must admit they are great views. And it’s the only place where you get to see the tail-end of the Grand Canyon, just a few miles before the Colorado River empties into Lake Mead.

Northern rim of the Grand Canyon, from Guano Point.

Northern rim of the Grand Canyon, from Guano Point.

If you decide to visit this tourist trap, don’t expect to have a one-with-nature kind of experience. There are just too many people and there’s too much noise from all the helicopters whirring about. But bring your camera. I guarantee you’ll have a great time snapping lots of stunning photos.

Except, of course, on the Skywalk.

The view seems like it's just  about as good off the Skywalk, as on. And the photography is free.

The view seems like it’s just about as good off the Skywalk, as on. And the photography is free.

Flipping on a New Phone

Alexander Graham Bell. The man who started this mess.

Alexander Graham Bell. The man who started this mess.

This is a follow-up post to my screed on Friday about flip phones.

My wife did a little shopping around, and found a flip phone for $20 at Walmart, that supports AT&T. She then took that phone to our local AT&T mobile phone service store and paid them $10 to add 40 minutes of call time. Now all she has to do is keep buying at least 40 minutes a month from AT&T, at 25 cents a minute, to keep her minutes and service. All her unused minutes will roll over, each month.

Who knows, there could be better deals out there, but this seems good enough for our purpose, which is just to have a cell phone for emergency needs.

Thanks for all the great suggestions you guys gave us Friday. If we didn’t follow your particular suggestion, it at least helped point us in a general direction that was useful, because most of the suggestions involved doing something similar to what my wife finally did.

As a side-note, and to give credit where it’s due, my wife took the $20 Tracfone card that didn’t work for us, back to Walmart. She asked for a refund. They refused. They said they don’t give refunds for that card. My wife insisted and spoke with a manager.

She said, “If I stole $20 from this store, you’d have me arrested, wouldn’t you?”

Manager: “Yep.”

Wife: “Well you guys just stole $20 from me, by selling me this useless card. Isn’t stealing from customers illegal?”

The manager finally relented. He took a 20-dollar-bill from petty cash and gave it to her, in return for the card.

Thanks Walmart, for seeing the light and finally coming through.

What the Flip is Wrong With the Phone Companies?

All my wife wants to do is call someone in case of an emergency. So I got her a Tracfone. Tracfone allows you to pre-pay with a phone card that you have to buy for about $20, every three months. But the past few years I’ve found it harder and harder to get the damned pre-paid cards to work.

Last week I gave up on Tracfone. My wife bought a new pre-paid card, and no matter what I did, it wouldn’t upload air time on her phone. So we’re out $20.

Then my wife got all excited about Jitterbug. For $15.00 a month she could have a flip phone that would be easy to use, and never require those damned pre-paid cards. The Jitterbug company advertises a lot and has a good reputation. Seemed like a good deal for us, even if it was a little more expensive than a Tracfone.

So she bought a flip phone. Then she left me with the job of activating it. That’s because I’m the supposed technology brain in this household. My wife is lost when it comes to electronic devices. She hates smart phones. She can’t figure out how to work them. She just wants a simple goddamned phone for making what?

You guessed it.

Phone calls.

But I couldn’t activate her new fuckin’ phone. I tried to activate it online, and everything seemed to be going peachy. Until the very last screen. It popped up a message that said there was a problem, and that I had to call their customer service line, which is available 24/7.

President William Howard Taft, trying to get his phone activated.

President William Howard Taft, trying to get his phone activated.

It was 6:30 PM. I called them. But all I got was a recording that said they were only available for calls from 6:00 AM to 6:00 PM. What? Don’t they know what the hell “24/7” means? Maybe they think it’s a math equation, with the end result being the amount of hours they’re available for calls.

Alright, so the next morning I called them again. I got a recording that said, “Due to our overwhelming call volume, you may experience a long fucking wait.” Or words to that effect. And then they gave me another message: “However, if you want to experience faster customer service, please call back between the hours of 5:00 PM to 9:00 PM.” WTF?!! I had just tried to call them the night before at 6:30 PM, and got a recording to call back later.

That’s when I came to the conclusion that Jitterbug is a real fly-by-night operation. Or rather, an operation that claims to fly by night, but really only flies between 6:00 AM and 6:00 PM.

Anyway, I waited nine minutes on hold, listening to jitterbug style old-fogie music, until a customer service rep answered. She then put me on hold to try to straighten the problem out and activate our new phone. I was on hold for 45 minutes. Then a new customer service rep got on the line and said some mysterious things about technical support working on the problem. And then she hung up on me.

That was it for me. I found a new phone number to call, to cancel our account and get a refund. After about 25 minutes on hold, while seething with suppressed rage, I finally was able to negotiate that transaction.

But now my wife has no phone. All she wants is a flippin’ flip phone. Not a stupid-assed smart phone, but a flip phone, godammit. She just wants to be able to make phone calls. Nor do we want to pay all those exorbitant smart phone data rates.

Does anybody know of any phone companies out there with reasonable rates, that offer flip phones, along with good customer service? Our needs are simple. But our choices are complex. And it seems difficult to negotiate the mine fields of all the fly-by-night phone companies out there, where the wheat seems to be buried by the chaff.

We would appreciate any suggestions.

Pink Trump and The Wall (a politically slanted review)

One July day in 1977, Roger Waters spit on his fans. Well, they were acting too damned loud and too damned excited. And he’d never played in a stadium before. All those people! All that noise! It was too much for him.

PinkFloydWallCoverOriginalNoText

As he wielded his axe before the wild, adoring throng, he imagined building a wall between the audience and the stage. Something that would isolate him. Forever. From people. That’s when he spit on a group of fans near the stage.

What was he becoming? An anti-social pyschopath? It gnawed at him. So he withdrew inside and reflected deeply. And from these reflections was born the inspiration for one of the biggest selling rock albums in history.

“If you wanna find out what’s behind these cold eyes,
You’ll just have to claw your way through this disguise.”*

The band Pink Floyd released their album, The Wall in 1979, and it has gone on to sell over 20 million copies. This makes it the third best-selling album in U.S. history, behind Michael Jackson’s Thriller and Led Zepellin’s Led Zepellin IV.

Waters wrote most of the material. The Wall is about a character named Pink. Pink is based upon the lives of Waters, and another guy familiar with walls, named Syd Barrett. Syd Barret was Pink Floyd’s original band leader, and the one who named the band. He was forced to leave his rock group in 1968, due to mental illness. A few years later he secluded himself from the public, and lived the rest of his life as a recluse.

“When we grew up and went to school,
There were certain teachers who would
Hurt the children any way they could.”

Pink has a messed up life. His problems begin in childhood when he loses his father during World War II. He also endures abuse from his schoolteachers.

“We don’t need no education.
We don’t need no thought control.
No dark sarcasm in the classroom.
Teachers leave them kids alone.
Hey, teacher, leave them kids alone.
All in all it’s just another brick in the wall.”

And his mother is overprotective. And later in life his marriage falls apart. Every heartbreak he experiences at the hands of others is represented by a brick. And he uses each brick to build a metaphorical wall. A wall of self-imposed isolation from society.

“Hush now, baby, baby, don’t you cry,
Mama’s gonna make all of your nightmares come true,
Mama’s gonna put all of her fears into you,
Mama’s gonna keep you right here under her wing,
She won’t let you fly but she might let you sing.”

I think of Donald Trump when I listen to this album. He promises to make us great again by building a wall between us and Mexico. And he says Mexico will pay for it.

“Did you see the frightened ones?
Did you hear the falling bombs?
The flames are all long gone,
But the pain lingers on.
Goodbye blue sky, goodbye.”

I have no doubt Mexico will pay for it. As will everyone else. Don’t we all pay, in pain, for the walls that are built between us?

“What shall we use
To fill the empty spaces
Where we used to talk?
How shall I fill
The final places?
How should I complete the wall?”

Was Trump like Pink? Did he go through hardships that led to a wall-building attitude? Of course. Don’t we all?

“I don’t need no arms around me.
I don’t need no drugs to calm me.
I have seen the writing on the wall.
Don’t think I need anything at all.
No, don’t think I’ll need anything at all.
All in all you were just bricks in the wall.”

The main purpose of Pink Floyd’s album is not to condemn wall building. It’s designed to help us understand what’s behind it. And for showing a way out.

“Hey you! Out there beyond the wall,
Breaking bottles in the hall, can you help me?
Hey you! Don’t tell me there’s no hope at all.
Together we stand, divided we fall.”

People can be a real pain-in-the-ass. So sometimes we have to put up barriers between ourselves and others, just for our own protection. I think we can all relate to that. Otherwise Donald Trump wouldn’t be so popular.

But if we live in solitary confinement for too long, we start to go mad.

“There must be some mistake.
I didn’t mean to let them take
Away my soul.
Am I too old. Is it too late?”

Too much living behind a wall leads to paranoia. We imagine there’s nothing but danger out there. And everyone becomes our enemy.

“That one looks Jewish and that one’s a coon.
Who let all this riff-raff into the room?
There’s one smoking a joint and another with spots.
If I had my way I’d have all of you shot.”

Wall building is what nationalism is all about. But look where nationalism got the world during the 1930’s and 1940’s. Over 60 million people perished.

“Would you like to see Britannia
Rule again my friend?
All you have to do is follow the worms.
Would you like to send our coloured cousins
Home again my friend?
All you need to do is follow the worms.”

I think a temporary wall can be a good thing. It gives us rest. It buys us time to strategize. And it allows us to get in touch with our inner selves. But after a while, walls become dreary and oppressive. Just the same, if you’ve spent too much time behind a wall, you might want to stay there just a little bit longer, to figure out how you got there in the first place.

“I’m waiting in this cell
Because I have to know,
Have I been guilty all this time?”

Signs were waved at the Democratic National Convention that read, “Love Trumps Hate”. Hate is caused by fear. Fear can be overcome when we face our fears and understand them. And then we can learn to relax, be vulnerable, and love again.

“Since, my friend, you have revealed your deepest fears,
I sentence you to be exposed before your peers.
Tear down the wall!”

We can do this for ourselves, personally.

And we can do this as a nation, on November 8th.

“All alone, or in twos,
The ones who really love you
Walk up and down outside the wall.
Some hand in hand,
Some gathering together in bands,
The bleeding hearts and the artists,
Make their stand.
And when they’ve given you their all,
Some stagger and fall.
After all it’s not easy
Banging your heart
Against some mad bugger’s wall.”

  • *All quoted verses are excerpts from Pink Floyd’s album, The Wall.

An Amazingly Accurate Amazon Review of a Product I Paid For

I love living in the desert. But my sinuses don’t. This desert makes my sinuses as desiccated as a lunch of sardine sandwiches. Or a bowl of corn flakes without milk. Or a sprinkle of salt on the underside of a snail.

But not quite as dry as my jokes.

I thought I’d do something about it, so I went on Amazon and found the Seneo 3.0L Ultrasonic Cool Mist Humidifier with Sensor Control, Auto Swing for Whole Home and Office. (What a mouthful.) It has a 4.5 star rating, so I bought it.

The Seneo 3.0 L humidifier, which I paid for with money.

The Seneo 3.0L Ultrasonic Cool Mist Humidifier with Sensor Control, Auto Swing for Whole Home and Office, which I paid for with money.

I read customer reviews on it, before the purchase, but after I received this product I discovered that some of the reviews weren’t as accurate and informative as I hoped they would be. Some of these reviewers admitted that they were given a free product in exchange for their review. Huh? Isn’t that bribery? Well I guess that should have been my tip-off. I’ve since discovered that many companies offer free or discounted products in exchange for submitting an Amazon review.

This is apparently a growing trend, and I suspect that this reduces the quality and reliability of product reviews. I’ve been a loyal Amazon customer for many years, partly because of their customer review feature. But after this experience I’ll be more circumspect about any products I purchase through Amazon.com.

Anyway, I wrote my own review of Seneo’s humidifier, which I posted on Amazon as follows:

I Have Not Received a Free Product for this Review

This big white beast will pour out a Sacramento tule fog at it’s strong setting (Level 3), and a gentle spring mist at it’s weak setting (Level 1).

The online product description says it will support 12 hrs continuous use at the strong level, and 33 hrs at the weak level. But I can only get 7.5 hrs at the strong level, and 21 hrs at the weak level. At Level 2, I get about 13 hrs.

It makes a low whirring noise, which I find slightly annoying. But what irritates me most is a loud knocking sound it occasionally emits. I think this occurs when it draws water from the removable tank. This noise happens about every 20 minutes, and startles me from a light sleep, even when I’m wearing earplugs.

It displays a readout of relative humidity which seems inaccurate, because it is always at least 15% higher than the readout from another humidity gauge in my bedroom, even when I initially switch the machine on. This leaves me wondering if the manufacturer is trying to fool me into believing the machine is doing a better job than it actually is doing.

The humidity level is displayed in large, very bright white LED letters, along with the temperature reading (in Celsius) of the water inside. This display cannot be turned off, and it’s so bright I had to construct a cardboard shield to block the light, so that I can sleep with this unit turned on.

This unit will not raise the relative humidity level in my bedroom, unless I keep the door and the windows closed. Otherwise, in order for me to feel like I’m benefiting from it, I must be no further than two or three feet away from the humidifier.

I can only pour 2.75 liters into the water tank, in spite of the claim that it has a 3.0 liter tank.

The instruction manual is skimpy, in my view, and written in comical pidgin English. I had to figure out some of the features on my own.

I have not received a free or discounted product in exchange for this review. Therefore, you need not suspect the accuracy and detail of information I have provided.