Friday, September 29, 2006

The Foster Baby

Note to All: I am so very sorry that I haven't been able to visit your blogs lately. I thought that I would have more time once I sold my one business, but my primary business has built up steam and I am swamped. My days are filled with business, and my evenings are filled with family, friends, obligations, and responsibilities. Please bear with me. I truly do value each and every one of you, and look forward to your thoughts and comments here.

The Foster Baby

Recently, I was asked to babysit children for a large Bible study group. I ended up in the baby department. That's when I realized that it had been 12 years since SaurKid had been that age, and I felt somewhat at a loss. What do you say to these little creatures? Er... what are you supposed to do with them again...? It's amazing how much you forget!

One mom dropped off at least a couple of the babies. One of them began to pout up and cry as she left, so I picked him up and started talking to him and cooing at him, in an attempt to distract him.

"That's David," said someone helpfully. "He's a foster baby. This is his last week with her."

How sad. I began to wonder what was going to happen. Was his bio-mom going to take him back or was he going to another foster home? I also reflected on how this was the stuff that makes a good, healthy sociopath. Actually, no one knows for sure how a sociopath is made, possibly because there are varieties. Like various pastries: We end up with the same result but the ingredients differ.

However, one thing we know is that although some sociopaths may be born, some are definately made. Their pathology begins in their childhood. Sociopaths bond with either very few or no people. Part of the problem they have is this disconnection where they cease to identify with others. How easy it will be for little David to disconnect if this "pass-the-baby" continues. Since a child develops his personality within the first two years of life, these are the most delicate and important years that they will ever experience.

I never found out what David's fate is going to be. It terrifies and saddens me to think that he is very likely a victim of "pass-the-baby". Mom's on drugs? Oops! Let's take the baby away from her for a while. Mom's off drugs? OK, give the baby back to her. Oops! Mom's on drugs again! Give us the baby...

Let's face it: Usually kids are taken away from their parents for a very good reason. And usually, that type of parent will continue to repeat those mistakes for as long as they live. In my humble opinion, once a child is taken away, the parent needs to lose the child unless it was an obvious "set-up" or the parent is not convicted for whatever they had supposedly done wrong.

Children are not simply a "thing" to be passed about from one person or foster family to another. There are plenty of people who would love to adopt a baby that is rendered unadoptable because the parents (who aren't fit to be parents themselves) refuse to relinquish their "right" to that child.

Abortion has reduced the adoption pool. Most of what is left are children that have serious problems because their mom would have aborted them if they had realized they were pregnant in time. That means babies with fetal alcohol syndrome, crack babies, or severe health or mental problems. What remains are the healthy babies with the unhealthy mothers. It is this small pool of babies that is so very desirable to people that are desperate to have a child of their own. And these babies will soon be screwed up too, due to the system that allows them to be used as pawns in the game of life.

That's why foreign adoptions are growing at a rapid pace. In 1998, there were 15,774 children from other countries which were adopted by U.S. adoptive parents. I think it's admirable that we can help out such children. But I would love to see our own children be given the same advantages.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Anna Nicole Smith's Son Died of Fatal Drug Combo

As some of you may have heard by now, Anna Nicole Smith's son, Daniel, died from a fatal mix of antidepressants and methadone. Ironically, it was around the same time as a news special that I was watching about a young woman (near Daniel's age) who died on a luxury cruise after taking a very small dose of her boyfriend's methadone.

Methadone can be deadly. What amazes me is how many people get hooked on it. It's rarely used to treat extreme pain. In Daniel's case, this surely wasn't the reason. What it is most commonly used for is a substitute for other highly addictive, illegal drugs such as crack cocaine.

My ex-boyfriend has been struggling with his crack cocaine addiction. Once I'd found out about it, I'd asked him why he didn't simply go on methadone to help with the cravings. "Why?!" he asked. "I would only be substituting one addiction for another!" He had a very good point. Methadone is serious stuff. It's just as nasty as the drugs that it's supposed to wean an addict away from.

Perhaps Daniel had only taken the stuff as a lark, without realizing that even a teaspoon can be deadly. Perhaps it belonged to his mother or another relative. Or, perhaps it was a substitute for something else he had been hooked on. We may never know. But this may serve as a valuable message to others: Methadone is nothing to fool around with.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Recommending the Wrong Person

I ran into "Bill," an old client of mine, last night. I struck up a conversation with him and his wife and then said "Look, I really have to apologize for referring Trixie to you for the job. I really had a lot of faith in her, and I had thought she would be perfect for you. When you guys parted company, I tried to stay above it all. I didn't want to get in the middle of the whole situation. I'm sorry that it worked out so badly."

Bill smiled slightly and assured me it wasn't a big deal. "Hey, she was great at first," he added. "But when she stopped showing up for work, it got to be a problem."

"You think?" I asked, grinning, and the tension eased. We ended up having a nice visit and I felt better about the situation.

Years ago I recommended "Rob", a friend of mine (who was a landscaper) to a major real estate company. Initially, they were so impressed by him that they contracted him to do the landscaping of their main office. The landscaping had to be a showpiece since it represented them specifically.

Rob dragged his feet, did substandard work, and took months to finish installing what he had promised would be done in weeks. When he was finished, it was far less than what had been promised. And I was the moron who recommended him.

The real estate company representative never quite forgave me for that particular recommendation. I was terrifically embarassed and took Rob to task over it repeatedly, but there was no changing the fact that he could talk a great game but his follow-thru was horrid.

I learned my lesson. In the future, unless the person has worked with or for me, I will never recommend them. It saves a world of embarassment, apologies, and awkward meetings.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Business Freedom of Speech

I sold one of my businesses lately. It was with great relief; just as if a large thorn had been pulled from my side. This business was a nightmare from the beginning and was too dependant on the "blue plate special worker"; someone who comes cheaper than a "blue collar worker", but you get what you pay for.

This was the type of employee that works for their Addiction of Choice. They work just enough to get the money which covers the basic necessities (booze, drugs) with a little left to take care of the incidentals (food, shelter). Obviously we're not talking about Quality People. And no, I don't ascribe to the theory that everyone has an equal amount of value. (Sorry, I call it like it is. I don't have the time to be "politically correct" when the truth is simpler.)

I would have happily paid more for better quality employees, but the business would never have supported it, and my competitors were paying the same amount for the same rejects out of the labor pool. And at least they wanted to work... sometimes.

Obviously, none of these people would be someone you'd want to hang out with if you wanted a good debate or even decent conversation. In fact, their opinions were pretty much limited to "Jack Daniels? Or Jim Beam?"

Yup. We're talking about the same caliber of employees as the girls who work in the bikini clubs in Hillsborough.

That's why I find it laughable to hear that three bikini club owners joined forces in a lawsuit filed last week in U.S. District Court, saying the county's ordinance illegally restricts their First Amendment right to free speech. I assume this means that the dancers know sign language?

Yeah, yeah. I know that the liberal courts have corrupted the whole "free speech" concept over the years. But somehow I never pictured Thomas Jefferson and George Washington hanging out at a bikini bar, discussing the merits of Bambi The Bimbo's freedom of speech.

"Wow," Washington would say. "She definately contributes to the conversation, doesn't she?"

"And how!" Jefferson would agree. "Whew! Lookit how those participles dangle!"

Monday, September 25, 2006

You Really Should...


You need to rent the movie Goal. I'm not a sports fan and I can barely follow soccer. It was recommended by a friend of mine, and I decided to watch it (somewhat reluctantly).

This inspirational movie is wonderful. I have a few quibbles about it, of course. They lean toward glorifying the illegal Mexican immigrant (personified in the lead character) and there are a couple of sexually indicative scenes (but nothing too graphic) which give the movie its PG-13 rating. However, the sexual scenes are actually used as an example of what not to do.

One fan of this movie wrote "I would say this film is Bend it Like Beckham meets Gattaca." This is a movie which SaurKid is going to love. I think that I can safely say that it's a movie for your entire family to watch.


There's a lot of talk around the watercoolers about Ann Coulter's new book, Godless: The Church of Liberalism.

When I saw Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11, I recommended it. Whether you agree or disagree with Moore, it's necessary to see the film. I would say the same thing about this book. It's a must-read.

Coulter's asssertion that "Assuming you aren't a fetus, the Left's most dangerous religious belief is their adoration of violent criminals" may cause some readers to start frothing at the mouth. There is no doubt that she is opinionated and caustic, but she is also witty and puts forth a very convincing argument.

Being a right-leaning moderate, I may not necessarily agree with everything Coulter says. But there is a lot of enjoyment to be had from reading such statements as: "This leads to the astonishing spectacle of Teddy Kennedy, in full-dress sanctimony, getting all high and mighty with Supreme Court candidates as if the nominee had done something heinous like drown a girl and walk away from it because he had diplomatic immunity in the state of Massachusetts."

Coulter got an amazingly large advance to write this book, and you can see why her publisher thought that she was a good investment.

This is a book that will be near the top of my "Recommended" list this year. When you read it, you'll understand why.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Craft Shows & Festivals

Now that the weather is finally getting a smidgeon cooler, it's time to begin my weekly pilgrimages to craft shows and festivals. Somehow, I never get bored wandering amongst the crafts, the foods, and the jewelry; always on the lookout for something new.

Perhaps you enjoy them just as much as I do! If so, you need to bookmark Festival Network Online, which is a great source. It sometimes misses a couple events here and there, but it's the most comprehensive source I've discovered. I'm going through withdrawal symptoms because there are none in my area right now.

If you get a chance to go to a craft show or festival in your area, please take pictures, write it up in your blog and let me know. I look forward to reading about it! It may help me to feel a little better, just knowing that somewhere, somehow, some little old lady is still making plastic canvas tissue paper covers and selling them in an obscure little craft show.

OK, I lied. Plastic canvas isn't my idea of a decorative accessory. Neither are little old ladies. But perhaps you'll find that elusive Harvest Wreath which you've been searching for.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Friday, September 22, 2006

Is George Bush the Devil?

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez called President Bush "the Devil" in a speech to the United Nations on Wednesday. "The Devil came here yesterday," Chavez was quoted while making the sign of the cross. He added that the podium "smells of sulfur still today."

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Chavez's remark was "not becoming for a head of state."

Gee... ya think? Rice shouldn't have bothered opening her mouth if she was only going to come across sounding like a scolding school marm. Here's what I would like to say for her:

President George W. Bush is not the Devil. The Devil lies in the hearts and minds of those that attempt to influence others through terrorist acts. The Devil stands with the people who claim that they are peaceful, yet demand the death of a peaceful Pope who dares to speak out against them. The Devil holds hands with those who oppress women and others in the name of religion, who force genital mutilation on young women and who strap bombs to the chests of young men. The Devil embraces those who, in turn, embrace such barbarism. The Devil is with President Chavez.

And now for a politically incorrect note from me: President George W. Bush is most assuredly not the Devil. As we know, from Biblical lore, the Devil is a very intelligent creature. Bush, love him or hate him, could not be accused of posessing vast amounts of intelligence.

And President Chavez: Are you listening, Big Guy? As we used to say in grade school: He who smelt it, dealt it.

Thursday, September 21, 2006 The Little Gray Lie

As many of you remember, I removed my profile from However, let me tell you about one of the date disasters that I had before I took it down.

One day, out of the blue, I received a message from a guy (we'll call him Dean) who'd seen my profile and was interested in getting to know me. I looked over his profile and found him to be a pleasant looking 39-year old guy. Dean wasn't a stud-muffin, and his eyes were set a little too close together, but he looked nice and well put-together. One of his pictures had him standing outside, wearing a casual suit with a book in his hand. I didn't know if it was a Bible or not, but he actually reminded me a little of Eric Liddell (made famous in the Chariots of Fire movie).

We exchanged a couple emails, exchanged numbers, and he called to ask me to a last minute dinner (he had been out of town and had just returned). I had no plans, so I agreed to meet him at a local restaurant.

I got there a couple minutes earlier than he did. When he walked in, I didn't recognize him at first, because he was both wrinklier and at least 10 pounds heavier than his pictures. Now, I don't mean that he was as wrinkled as a cotton skirt left in a dryer, but he was obviously older than his photos. However, he was very pleasant and when the hostess came up to us, he motioned for me to go ahead of him. We were seated, and began the usual chitchat that newly-met people make.

We had a wonderful visit. I truly enjoyed the conversation. However, (as you can guess) I couldn't avoid the topic forever and finally had to ask "So, Dean, why did you say you were only 39 in your profile?"

Dean looked cornered. At first he tried to laugh it off. "Uh, what do you mean?" he asked. "How old do you think I am?"

He looked 50. "45," I guessed.

He looked shocked. "What?" he gasped. "Most people guess that I'm 35!"

Only if they ran into you in a very dark alley, I thought to myself. "Really?" I asked. "Well, how old are you?"

"50," he answered. "But I have a good reason for lying in my profile! This will be the only thing I'll ever lie to you about, I swear!" Here he put his hands dramatically on his heart. "You see, if I had told the truth, we would never have met, would we? Your profile said you were interested in men from 35-45. I would never have had a chance!"

Nope, you wouldn't have. Now you still don't, but you're out the price of a dinner, bub.

I tried to be as gracious as possible, and since he had assured me that we could remain friends no matter what, we had a pleasant dinner. During that dinner, he also told me that he had recently had two hip replacements. That's when I realized that his motioning me to walk first (as we were being seated) wasn't merely being polite. He had done it to save himself the embarassment of having to explain why a 39 year old guy had just had two hips replaced. As he walked me to my car, it was obvious that he needed a walker or a cane as he struggled to swagger jauntily along.

When I got home, I re-read Dean's profile. Not only was he advertising himself as 39 although he was 50, but he also was looking for women aged 25-45. Talk about a hypocrite! He wasn't even willing to consider women in his own age range! That did it for me. I wrote him a nice email thanking him for the dinner but stating that someone who lies in such a way would be no one I'd be interested in. I never heard back from him.

Go figure.

I could have understood an omission of a year or two. But I don't understand what anyone could possibly hope to gain from such a bald-faced lie. In Dean's case, his words lied. His photos lied. I suppose his Ms. Right will be a few points short in the IQ department. She would have to be, in order for her to swallow his little gray lie.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

The Weird Massage Therapist

As you know, I had neck surgery almost a year ago. The doctor recently gave me the not-so-good news that I will always be in pain and will always need to treat it. Surgery helped, but the condition had been allowed to go too far due to continued medical misdiagnosis. So, I try to alleviate the pain through massage, over the counter pain medications, ice, and (rarely) muscle relaxants.

My neck has been bad lately due to a lot of rain these last couple of weeks. It makes me tired, and I am unable to socialize or spend time with anyone when it's like this. I have other health problems which combine with this to wear me out.

Yesterday, I decided to run down to a local massage group and get a chair massage. The therapists are usually pretty good even if it's not a full-blown massage.

The guy I got this time was a guy I'd never met before. He was odd to begin with. From his mannerisms, I had the initial impression that he was gay. However, he started dropping hints and flirting with me as he worked on my neck. Come to find out, he was married with three boys. I despise married men who flirt, and will usually never give them business if I can help it. I wouldn't want my husband to do it.

I need deep tissue work. So, as he was working on my neck, he would say things like "am I hurting you?" When I said no, he would say "Would you like me to?" and then laugh in a high pitched giggle. These S&M references continued throughout the whole session and included him saying "hurt me baby, hurt me," and "oh yeah, I love being able to do this for you!"

Oh sure, one could construe him as just being an especially enthusiastic masseuse but I'm not buying it. I'm expecting to see him in the paper one day, holding an axe, screaming "Heeeeere's Johnny!"

When the session was over, I thanked him politely, paid him, and beat a hasty retreat. As I left, he was mopping the sweat off his brow with a handkerchief. I have to admit, he really pours himself into his work! Of course, so did Ted Bundy.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

The Fall Color Scheme: Smoky but Not.

Does any woman change her color scheme any more? My mom is of the old school. When we were kids we wore white after one holiday and stopped wearing it after another. That lasted for a short time and Mom finally threw in the towel once she discovered that no one else cared about that tradition. It went the way of gloves and hats.

Still, Mom clung to some of the old ways. During my first year in college, Mom called me to ask what color my spring wardrobe was going to be. Hers was going to be yellow that year, I believe. "Denim, Mom!" I answered. She took it well.

Years have gone by and we wear what we want. In the fall we add wooly sweaters, in the summer we wear shorts instead of pants. But does anyone really read what the fashion editors have to say about the latest fall colors? Does anyone frantically rush out to buy the latest "smoked teal" wardrobe and drop off their other clothes to the Salvation Army thrift shop on the way?

Everywhere I'm seeing "Fashion Editors" (what a gig that must be!) in teaching mode, telling us that the newest makeup look this fall is "smoky eyes" but not too smoky. "It’s a colorful smoky eye we want, so sweep on a single layer of soft gold from lashline to crease for day, then discover your inner diva at night with a saturated blue or gem-like green on your lid and a slightly darker hue defining the crease."

I don't wear eyeshadow unless it's at night because, frankly, it screams "street walker" when you wear make up like that. Also, heavy makeup ages you. At my age, I have all the aging I want.

My father, a scientist, once informed me that blue eyeshadow was tacky and that when I wore it, I looked like a mating lizard. Apparently a particular male lizard will change his eyelid color to blue when trying to attract a mate.

I valiantly resisted as best as I could, but to this day, all I think of is mating lizards when I see blue eyeshadow. Perhaps we could inflict this on others, so that we don't have to see such violent blue lids as the model is sporting here.

I have hopes for this fall season, however. I think it's come to the point where the confusion will take over and there will be millions of women cast adrift, wandering through cosmetics counters throughout the nation, trying to find colors that are smoky-but-not-smoky. Eventually something will snap and they'll openly rebel, wearing *gasp* summer colors or even *gasp again* no colors on their eyelids at all!

That is, until it's time for the Winter Color Scheme: Icy but Not.

Monday, September 18, 2006

7-Eleven Hymns of the Modern Church

I have two churches that I enjoy tending in this area, but I will have to choose, eventually. Both are modern with fun music and live bands. Both are casual and both preach using the Bible. In my case, I prefer a church that uses the Bible, although there are many churches that don't (or use another manuscript altogether).

However, I still have reservations. Neither church uses a hymnal. That can be fun, at first, but all they play are 7-Eleven songs (as my mother points out). A 7-Eleven song is a song that has 7 choruses which you repeat 11 times. In other words, we're talking sheer monotony here.

There is something to be said for monotonous songs. They put the participants in a trancelike mood and make them more malleable. They're popular in pagan religions and in many churches, too. But when a song is stripped of meaning, and you're left singing repeatedly about how great God is, you are left with something which is in danger of being completely useless. It adds nothing of worth to the ceremony or the worshipper's experience. Just because a song is catchy, doesn't mean that it's a keeper.

My ideal church would have a mixture of some of the old standards and some of the new songs. At the very least, it would have hymnals that contain the musical score for the new songs so that we wouldn't have to warble helplessly along in the vain hope that we might occasionally hit the proper note.

Singing in the modern church becomes a guessing game. As you sing along, you will likely lose the meaning of the words as you desperately try to second guess where the song is going. You are in a constant state of suspense: Did the song writer intend this line to end in a "C"? Let's try it! Oops, I'm the only one that sang it in a "C". Everyone else sang it in the note of "D". Don't *I* feel like an idiot? Maybe I shouldn't sing at all! I'll just nod and clap along with everyone else.

I took a Catholic friend to a church service recently. He thought it amusingly eccentric. He didn't ask to go back. I think it had to do with the music leader telling us all to hop to the left and the right during one of the songs. I had never seen that before. I must admit, it was fun. But was it appropriate for a Sunday morning service?

Ah well, at least no one was rolling in the aisles or frothing at the mouth. That would be quite entertaining. With any luck, they'll save that for the time I invite another guest to go with me. It's always refreshing to admit that your church is completely unpredictable. Isn't it?

Isn't it?

Maybe I need to start my own church.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

All is Fixed

My computer finally is fixed after they completely wiped and reloaded my Windows XP Professional. I guess I had gotten lucky, because it turns out that I had no anti-virus software and hadn't had it since my Norton subscription expired over a year ago. I had thought that SpySweeper was enough. Although it's an excellent program, it's not an anti-virus one. I don't know how I had come to the assumption that it was, but I made a terrible mistake which won't be made again.

I did some research and found this article by PC World which highly recommends Avast; a freeware anti-virus program. I installed it, and I am very pleased by what I am getting. As the writer for PC World says, "What you may consider... is when the license is about to expire, uninstall your current AV product and give (it) a whirl."

The Public Library

During the entire debacle, I re-discovered our public library. As everyone knows, you are issued a free library pass for the library assigned to whatever city you live in. You get to check out movies, DVDs, CDs, books, and even artwork (in some towns / cities). Best of all, you get 2 hours of internet time a day.

My business is very internet-based. If I couldn't get to the internet several times a day, it would fail. The public library proved to be the solution for me. It was very easy to use and the printing fees were nominal. The only down-side was that they didn't have fax machines or scanners. I had to utilize a nearby Office Depot, which charged $1 a page. For a 40-page fax, we're talking real money.

My Recent Article

I stopped writing it. I was asked by a prominent politician (that I respect... which is rare) to squash the story. Sometimes it's good to let sleeping dogs lie.

Friday, September 15, 2006

I Spoke Too Soon

I spoke too soon. Unfortunately, the virus completely destroyed my computer's operating system. It's still in the hospital but I should be getting it back today after it's mind has been completely wiped. Wouldn't that be a nice luxury for all of us at times? Don't we all think it might be nice to just eliminate certain (if not all) memories?

The Latest Bush Debacle

My prediction about Bush's strategy has come to pass. We are now looking at a fierce fight including Sen. John McCain and Colin Powell on one side, and the Bushies on the other.

I remember years ago when Rush Limbaugh spoke mockingly of the "talking points" that the Clinton administration sent out to all news outlets. He pointed out the common words and themes that were repeated throughout the news, indicating the administration's influence. What do we have now, when all the conservative talk show hosts are unitedly speaking about how wildly insane McCain and Powell are? Inquiring minds want to know.

Although it's understandable to be scared of the terrorists, we need to realize that this is yet another tool we could give the administration to squash any dissidents in our own country.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

The W32/Vanebot Worm

My computer had the W32/Vanebot Worm. In answer to an earlier suggestion, no... I didn't get it from surfing porn, although I'm sure I got it from surfing for something. What, I don't know.

There was an opening pop-up that came on when I turned on my computer which read: "LLIBKCUF / File has remove his self." This actually provided a rather humorous note to the whole thing. Hmmm! I wondered... could this be indicative of a computer virus when the grammar is as graceful as a inner-city gang member's? I can see some nerdlike cretin working away at this, night and day, only to become the laughing stock of the world. You would think a hacker might consider using an English dictionary before he publishes his virus.

Once I input that phrase into the search engine, I discovered what the problem was. I am currently cleaning everything up using some freeware provided by Sophos (which I highly recommend).

Horse Slaughterhouses

Let me mention something I wanted to blog about a couple of days ago: Horse Slaughterhouses in the U.S.A. It turns out we have a couple, and they kill the horses, carve them up, and sell their meat overseas to other countries that have a taste for horsemeat.

Right now there's legislation in place that will stop these slaughterhouses. I agree. What's next? Dogs & Cats R' Us: We Ship Only the Finest Cuts to the Finest Customers in Asia.

Social Drinkers Make More Money

Today I heard of a new study showing that social drinkers make up to 20% more than teetotallers. The announcer half-jokingly recommended that everyone needs to drink more.

What ever happened to scientific research? Undoubtedly cause and effect are getting mixed up here, but no one is pointing that out.

The reasons are probably very simple. Either social drinkers have more discretionary income to start with, and can afford to go out for a couple of drinks on a regular basis, or they are networking and increasing their business opportunities after work. Either way, it's not the drinking that leads to the profitability. The profitability leads to the drinking.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

I Need a New Computer!

It was SaurKid's weekend with his dad this last Saturday and Sunday, so I didn't have access to my child protege. When I told SaurKid what was happening with my computer, he asked me if I'd run certain diagnostics which I'd never heard from. So, I handed him the reigns.

Soon SaurKid had come back with the announcement that I had a trojan horse and a virus. Great. That, combined with Verizon's crappy service, and we have a recipe for a true disaster.

However, my system needs updating and I'm thinking it's time to get a computer that someone can fix easily, over the phone. This one is a mutt that was put together for a computer show at the Florida State Fair Grounds by a company based in Miami (a 4-6 hour drive away, depending on how fast you drive. For me... 4 hours).

I got a system where if I need to get it fixed or even speak to someone, they are way beyond my reach. I don't want to go through that again. Because I'm not a computer guru when it comes to hardware, I'm considering getting a Dell. What are your thoughts and suggestions?

Friday, September 08, 2006

Verizon's Crappy Service

I'm very sorry I didn't have a chance to post today. My server (Verizon) went down on Thursday at 1:30 PM EST. I then had to call and for at least 4 hours over 2 days, dealt with different morons, each with a contradictory story or piece of advice for me. The last one told me that a concensus had been reached and that the problem was definately in my computer and I would need to replace a card in there.
When I took it to a computer repair shop, they charged me $45 but no more, since there was nothing wrong with my computer whatsoever. The problem lay with Verizon. I am now being refunded the $45 through their billing department. I'll be back on track tomorrow.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Bush Finally Admits to Concentration Camps in America

As I wrote in May of this year, the U.S.A. has concentration camps. But in a really unusual move, President Bush admitted to this yesterday.

Because Bush has been sidestepping the issue for a very long time, it is surprising that he's finally decided to come out and admit to it. Why did he?

There could be two reasons. One: (Partly in thanks to the internet) the American public was beginning to catch on. Two: Bush is angling for even new legislation which could potentially bring more dangerous encroachments upon our liberties.

This admission coincides with the upcoming 9/11 Anniversary and may be an attempt to diffuse protests against another Patriot Act, in the hopes that we'll say "Ahhh, OK! We have more to fear from the terrorists than from our own government!" But we don't.

Someday the government could be the terrorist.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Working on a Story

Sorry for the absenteeism. I'm working on a very interesting story right now. I can't share it with you, because (hopefully) it will be picked up by one of our local papers. I'll be back to writing tomorrow, if all goes according to plan.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Nature's News

More Dinosaurs Waiting to be Discovered

According to a new statistical study, we have only uncovered 1/3 of the dinosaur skeletons which are waiting to be discovered. There are many which we have probably never seen or heard of. "It's a safe bet that a child born today could expect a very fruitful career in dinosaur paleontology," said Penn paleontologist Peter Dodson.

However, this is merely a statistical analysis and it must assume that skeletons / dinosaur matter are scattered about the earth and not concentrated in certain areas. They also must make the assumption that new discoveries are not an aberration but are representative of what is left to be found. Both assumptions could be false.

And yet, I have always loved dinosaurs and it gives me hope that the romance of discovery will continue for many years to come.

Crocodile Hunter's Death

As you know, Steve Irwin was unexpectedly killed in a freak stingray accident yesterday. The latest reports say that his death was actually caught on video tape, and will be reviewed by the coroner. There will also be an autopsy.

Steve was following a school of stingrays, when one suddenly turned and stung him. The long, poisonous barb pierced the wall of his chest and entered his heart. Steve pulled it out before losing consciousness and dying almost immediately.

Aussies had mixed feelings about him. He was a cheeseball at times, and some of them felt he was an embarassment. But as time went by, and he continued to ride a wave of popularity in America, most of those Aussies reluctantly embraced him as the charasmatic money-generator that he was.

Although Steve occasionally made some idiotic mistakes (such as taking his infant son into an alligator pen during feeding time), I adored him from the moment I saw him. Steve's enthusiasm and energy was larger than life and highly contagious. He captured our hearts. God speed, Steve Irwin. You will be sorely missed. My thoughts and prayers are with his family.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Some Top Reasons to Leave a Relationship

I had forgotten I'd written this a long time ago. Perhaps you don't do as much creative writing as I do, but have you ever run across something, thought to yourself "I wish I'd written that!" and then realized you did? (No? Maybe it's just me). Anyway, here are...

Some Top Reasons to Leave a Relationship

When you suddenly look at your birth control pills and wonder why you’re taking them anymore.

When you see him as sexually fascinating as Helen Thomas.

When you realize that some of your most important discussions are revolving around the TV set.

When you realize the rest of the important discussions revolve around him.

When you’d rather be home alone in peaceful, golden silence than anywhere with him.

When you tire of picking up all his clothes. And everything else. For years on end. 24/7.

When you discover that he continually keeps secrets from you.

When he helps himself to your cash without telling you, because (he says) you wouldn’t have loaned it to him, anyway.

When the white powder on his upper lip isn’t from a donut.

When you work full time, and then discover that he expects you to work full time at home, too.

When you start to feel like you should have “ATM” tattooed on your forehead.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Back in Black

Macy's has decided to insist that all their employees wear black from now on. To ease the drain on their pocketbooks, Macy's is allowing their employees an extra discount for a short time.

As someone wrote in Retail Worker (a forum for retail employees): "Anyone have any response to the new "all black" dress code? ...Do we wear armbands for all the stores that have died as a result of the "merger\takeover"?"

I thought this was pretty funny... but then, I was once a retail manager for a major, upscale retail chain in my checkered past. I saw the deaths of many stores as they were assimilated into Macy's.

This is actually a very kindly idea on the part of management, even though upper management is never deliberately kind to their employees. It's much easier on the pocketbook than the other possibility, where employees are not allowed to wear anything that is not currently displayed on the floor. Most retail employees get paid peanuts. That means their limited budget can hardly be spent on the latest fashions, unless they live at home with mom and dad.

An all-black wardrobe is a wardrobe that can be updated only when necessary, where everything matches, and you're always fashionably accessorized for a funeral or an Amish parade.

P.S. I just learned of Senor Caiman's recent loss which he mentioned in my last post. My thoughts and prayers go out to the friends and family of this poor woman.

Friday, September 01, 2006

How Do We Know it's Working?

An editorial in today's St. Pete Times says that this summer the St. Pete police department made 226 referrals of black youths to social programs. Under normal circumstances, these referrals would usually have been arrests.

The St. Pete Times applauds this, but why? There is certainly no evidence that this is working. It's way too early in the game. Instead of taking an objective "wait and see" approach, the Times is gambolling about like a happy puppy.

"Such referrals are good news because many of the cases involved substance abuse problems, some of them minor, that professionals can help with if not solve," the editor intones.

But I wonder: if these cases would normally have resulted in arrests, why are we thumbing our noses at justice? Why do we choose to reward these young thugs? And how do we know it's working? When will we ever know?

Mayor Rudy Giuliani was famous for cleaning up the streets of New York when no one else could do it. How did he do it? He got tough on every crime, no matter how small. He sent the message that he had zero tolerance. What message is the city of St. Petersburg sending?