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Saturday, October 27, 2007

More Human Tetris and Other Japanese TV Fun!

The long-awaited day has arrived: a new episode of Human Tetris is available! WOO HOO! I am NOT a big fan of television, but I admit, I am completely addicted to this show.

Human Tetris 4 from Youtube user aaaaaaa4000

I have also discovered some other funny Japanese television shows and skits.

Matrix-style Couple Food Fight from Youtube user cariba2332

Human Pac-Man from Youtube user theproz

As far as Japanese television, and any international television shows, really, there are some shows which are really risque or even sick . . .and others are just downright creative and hysterically funny.

American television producers could learn a lot from the good, clean fun of international entertainment.

What do you think about international television versus American television?

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Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Handy Halloween and Harvest Celebration Hints and Helps

Photo by Kerry A. Adamo
With Halloween just around the corner, it seems fitting to do a post about some great, fun, and unique Halloween and Harvest (Non-Halloween) ideas.

Fun, creative, and original recipes and ideas for a fun Halloween Party or Trunk-or-Treat event.

Recipes From Betty Crocker Online

Recipes From Better Homes and Gardens Online

Halloween Entertaining

Party Ideas

Trunk or Treat Ideas

Planning a Trunk or Treat Event

Homemade costume ideas for kids, adults, and pets which are quick, cheap, easy, and creative.

Cheap, Easy, and Quick Homemade Costume Ideas

Indexed Gallery with TONS of Homemade Costume Ideas (photos)

Fun Kids Costumes with Instructions

Fun ideas for clever indoor and outdoor decorating.

Outdoor Halloween Decorating Ideas

Decorating with Landscaping and Natural Elements

Decorating Basics

Make Realistic Looking Tombstones

Make Creepy Dummy Props

How to Make ‘Shrunken Heads’

Guides to ‘FOG’

Guides to multiple decorating props and ideas

Spook Alley Special Effects

Safety first! Or, as is commonly quoted, “It’s all fun and games ‘til someone loses an eye”. Let’s be careful out there, folks! (to paraphrase Hill Street Blues)

LA Fire Dept. Safety Tip List

American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Safety Tips

American Red Cross Safety Tips

US Federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Tips and Warnings

An assortment of other Halloween ideas, helps, and tips.

Free Animated Halloween Ecards: Customizable. Can use pre-recorded message or record your own.

Pumpkin Carving Ideas, Tips, Helps

Free Printable Pumpkin Carving Patterns/Stencils

Pumpkin Decorating


History Channel: Origins of Halloween and More

ALTERNATIVES TO HALLOWEEN (for the Anti-Halloween Crowd)
There is much debate amongst many Christians over the propriety of celebrating what began as a Pagan ritual. With so much focus being on things dark and evil in nature, a movement is in progress to find alternatives to traditional Halloween festivities and themes.

Alternatives ideas for Halloween: Celebrate Fall

Five Fun Alternatives for Halloween

Harvest Celebrations Instead of Halloween (Ideas)

European Alternatives

Christian Celebrating Ideas (NOTE: I am in no way affiliated with this site)

Whatever you decide to do or not do, please be safe and have fun!

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Sunday, October 21, 2007

Texting is NOT Safer

Photo by Chance Agrella
Texting is NOT safer than talking on a cellular phone while driving.

You may ask,'Do we really need to tell people this?'

The answer is a clear and resounding 'YES' based upon an experience I recently had. For about one mile I was driving behind a young man who was, indeed, texting while (instead of, really) driving.

Clearly, he felt one hand on the steering wheel and one foot switching spontaneously between hard on the gas and hard on the brake was all he needed in order to drive.

His head was pointed downward, as he looked at his cell phone while he used his other hand to simultaneously hold the cell phone and type out text messages.

He made sure to explore every inch of the road with his car along the way. Hey, that oncoming lane must have looked really good to him, too, because it got a good portion of his wheel wear-n-tear.

Sudden stops in the middle of the road, random sharp swerving, and sudden full-gas peel-outs were only part of the entertainment the rest of us on the road got to endure. . .I mean, enjoy. . . along the way.

The fact it would not be safe to text and drive should be a matter of common sense. However, don't take my word for it. This KCTV-5 video report with a demonstration illustrates the dangers.

Want more proof? Try these reports about accidents, most of which include fatalities:

Santa Maria Crash - 63 yr old injured

Colorado Crash - Bicyclist Killed

Teen Driver and 4 Passengers Killed in New York: Was Texting to Blame?

64 year old killed - 19 year old sent to prison

Two Killed in Arizona Crash: Teens Weigh In

What can be done about it:

States Seek Ban on Texting and Driving

Consumer Reports Poll, Data, and State Bans

Teen Driving Seminars -Suggestions for Parents

Since it has not eliminated people talking on their cell phones while driving, I wonder how much good it will do to pass such a law. I think it is a good move, but I think parents taking more control over their teens, cell phones, and driving privileges is needed to work in conjunction with such laws.

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Saturday, October 20, 2007

Which Presidential Candidate is Compatible with Your Beliefs?

Photo by Chance Agrella
Once again an online test has been constructed which is supposed to help users quickly determine which presidential candidate is most compatible with their own views and beliefs. This is based upon the user’s answer selections and the candidates stated views, which may vary widely from their actual voting or practice behaviors/track record.

At the very least, with it narrowed down, it will be easier to focus on one or two candidates and research the real deal behind their campaign before actually voting for them.

15 questions are presented and users rate them by importance according to their own belief system.
To take the test from Minnesota Public Radio, click HERE

I took the test myself, and while many of the candidates were unknown to me, the major players ended up in the actual order in which I had already personally ranked them. That was comforting to me, in some weird way.

While I don’t think those lesser known ones have a real chance of winning, I am now interested in learning more about them, as several of them beat out all of the major players, in my results.

Want some unbiased info about the candidates? Here are some links to check out:

Your Next President

Person Not Party

Vote Smart
(click on the candidate’s name, then their bio or voting record, etc. This site is a work in progress)

On The Issues (click on the candidate's name to get the scoop on their stand on various issues)

Open Congress (you can track issues, congressional voting records, and more)

Most importantly, please learn the issues, the real deal about the candidates, and vote. We have no right to complain when we have done nothing to improve things for ourselves. Every vote can make a difference, as previous elections have shown.

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Friday, October 19, 2007

Where to Find Business Grants

Photo by Chance Agrella
People have made a living off selling supposed ‘secret’ information on where to find money from the government. The books I once bought on the subject were a joke. Much of the information was outdated and/or too vague to be of any help.

The technology available to the average consumer today allows for individuals to find their own grant money information with relatively little effort.

Small Business Grants and Information
One of the first places to look is at the US government’s Small Business Administration (SBA) website. They do not give out grants, but they do give great information and links regarding how to locate funding for business. They offer a limited number of special purpose loans to businesses for things such as disaster recovery. Their Grants page is loaded with links to extensive grant information, grant sources, and grant writing tips.

Individual States offer programs designed to help promote business growth and revenue for their state. About.Com’s USGOV Info/Resources section offers a state-by-state listing of where to find business grants and resources. I don’t know how often the links are checked or updated, but a quick email to the guide for that section should elicit further help.

Also in that same section is a page dedicated to sources of funding which is not a government grant. The statement is made that most people don’t really need a grant, but other available assistance. A link if available to a page which explains what is involved in obtaining Federal Grant money . . . and the reasoning behind their statement that most would be better served with other forms of assistance.

The Small Business Center has a lot of information and links about various loan and grant programs, along with tips for applying.

General information about small business grants is also available in a different section of in their small business section.

The Idea Café website has a link for more information about grants, and also offers some grants of their own for small businesses. A wide variety of other business information is also available from their site.

Specialty Grants: Business Grants for Women
There are multiple sources of grant monies for women. A few links regarding such are:
Home Biz Tools.Com

Web Momz.Com

Women’s Business Grants

Woman Owned.Com

Specialty Grants: Business Grants for Other Groups
Grants for Disabled, Veterans, Single Moms, Ethnic Groups

Grants and Loans for Minorities

Your local state vocational rehabilitation program or welfare program may also have limited funds available to help those in need begin or expand their business, under certain circumstances. Call them for more information.

For information about how to start your own business, click HERE.

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Thursday, October 18, 2007

Shame on You Mutts and Moms: An Open Letter

Dear Mutts and Moms;

While I applaud your vision of placing unwanted dogs into good homes, I most seriously question not only your judgment, but also where your true commitment lies.

When Ms. DeGeneres adopted Iggy, she did indeed sign an agreement to return the animal should she at some point in time no longer be able to keep him. It is understandable in this day and age that while consumers are strongly and repeatedly urged to carefully read everything before they sign, they do not . . .or they simply forget all of the fine print which they have agreed to, especially when a plethora of forms and contracts are being thrust at them regularly.

Due to conflicts between Iggy and her current animals, Ms. DeGeneres found a loving home for Iggy. I am sure she did not realize at the time she was in violation of her agreement with you, and felt she was acting in the best interest of Iggy; which was, in the spirit and nature of the agreement she signed with you, what she had agreed to do.

When you called about Iggy, she honestly told you the responsible action she had taken to provide a good and loving home for the animal. At this point you had several options. You chose the most inhumane and bureaucratically flawed one.

You could have explained to her the situation, and reminded her of the agreement. You could have asked, if the new family agreed to it, to screen them as you do all prospective adoptive families, while Iggy remained with them. As a consequence for her failure to follow the agreement she signed with you, you could have asked her to pay for all associated costs of the additional paperwork, time, and adoption fees/screening involved with approving the new family. They were innocent in all this and took the animal at no cost to themselves: why should they be hit with the expense? Plus, facing that or the alternative, I am quite sure Ms. Degeneres would have happily paid the costs.

In addition, not only would Iggy be with the family he was happy with; not only would 'justice' have been satisfied by Ms. DeGeneres paying the costs; but the family you have now placed Iggy with would have been free to adopt another animal. The result would be TWO animals having good homes, not just one.

You would have also gathered all the necessary paperwork to satisfy your rules about screening families for the animals. This would protect you from any false claims of favoritism for celebrities, breaking your own rules, etc. It would have shown you as humane and more concerned with the welfare of the animal than technicalities.

What you have done instead is shot yourself in your own foot. So caught up in your own bureaucratic red tape have you become, that you have totally lost sight of your original vision of placing ALL these dogs in your care with good families. Isn't that the spirit of your rules and fine print: to ensure the animals good homes?

You have added to Iggy's stress which is NOT what an 'animal protection' agency is supposed to do. You have cost an animal in need of a home, a slot in a good home by filling the one Iggy is in with Iggy, instead of another animal. You have broken the hearts of a great family who were providing a great home for Iggy, and you have elicited much negative press for yourselves. The new family which has Iggy now also has stress and potential heartbreak looming as well.

It would have been so simple to act in the best interest of the animal and create a win-win situation for everyone, which is what my above suggestion was. You would have been completely following the spirit of your own guidelines. Everyone would have walked away happy and satisfied; and I am sure that approach would have elicited some great word of mouth publicity for you, at the very least.

Instead, your ignorance and bureaucracy have shamed you and all you supposedly stand for.

Now, by virtue of all of this, you have most likely cost yourselves some future support, and cost the animals in your care some future good homes. You had the chance and the choice to do right by everyone involved. You chose not to.

Shame, shame, shame on you.


Daniella Nicole: animal lover and disgusted bystander.

**NOTE: I have every intention of getting this letter delivered to Mutts and Moms by whatever means I am able to. Their website and email has been temporarily shut-down due to the overwhelming outpouring of communication this issue has generated.

However, I was able to refer this letter to Ms DeGeneres via her show website contact form.


"Ellen's Plea for Iggy"
The Baltimore Sun

Statement from Petfinder.Com regarding Mutts and Moms contact website/email.

The Ellen DeGeneres Show (updates)

The Ellen DeGeneres Show Video Clip with Her Tearful Plea:
Video from Youtube user Kristinaxo

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Tuesday, October 16, 2007

“The Right to Food” World Food Day 2007

Photo by Kerry A. Adamo
Each year, October 16th is celebrated as World Food Day. The history of this day is revealed in the United Nations (UN) website:
“World Food Day was proclaimed in 1979 by the Conference of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). It marks the date of the founding of FAO in 1945.”
The 2007 World Food Day theme is ‘The Right to Food’. The Food and Agriculture Organization website explains this choice as follows:
“The Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948 first recognized the right to food as a human right. It was then incorporated in the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (Article 11) adopted in 1966 and ratified by 156 states, which are today legally bound by its provisions.”
In honor of World Food Day, a teleconference will be conducted from noon to three pm, eastern time (USA), in which the environment and its role in world hunger will be discussed, along with ideas for change. More information may be obtained at the USA version of the world food day website.

For more information and background, please check the following links:

World Food Day official organization website

World Food Day official USA website

Glabalicious World Food Day Video

UNICEF world food day (2006) Video

video from Youtube user environmentalist21

What do YOU think can be done to end world hunger?

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Thank you.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Want to Start Your Own Business?

Photo by Heather Shelley
As an entrepreneur, I can say with some authority that there is a LOT to know before jumping into the world of self-employment/business ownership. However, this is a good thing.

Being prepared, and doing this advance planning and research helps prevent costly mistakes, and increases your chances for success. Most businesses fail within the first year of startup. If you want to avoid being another of those statistics, take some time to get all your facts and figures in order.

A few basic things to do before starting a business:

1-Write a business plan. It doesn't have to be extensive or lengthy, but going through the process of completing one will help you to think of things you had not, and will set you up to be largely prepared should you need to apply for financial aid (loans or grants). The things you need to know to complete a business plan are also the things you need to know in order to obtain financing.

2-Licensing and Laws. It cannot be stressed enough that you must check all local, state, and federal licensing and tax laws which apply to you and your particular business venture. Be sure to strictly adhere to them all or be prepared to face hefty fines and penalties. Ignorance of the law is not an excuse they will look mercifully upon or will accept.

3-Know your market. Knowing who your particular market is will help you determine how to advertise, and what your odds for success are. The market may already be flooded with a similar product or service. What will you do to make your business stand out from the rest and be more desirable to your customers or client-base? Be prepared to refine your plan or come up with a new one should this be the case.

4-Resume, Cover Letter, Credentials. Update your resume and credentials. Learn how to write a killer resume and cover letter. You will need these as part of your business plan, and for any application for financing. Also, if you are providing a service, you may need these in order to obtain clients.

5-'It takes money to make money'. Yup, it does. It may not need to take a lot of money, but there will most definitely have to be some capital invested in order to start a business. Advertising and licensing are just two of the costs involved.

6-Blood, Sweat, and Tears. It takes a lot of long hours and a great deal of work to make a success of a business. Starting your own business commonly requires a much larger commitment than a typical 9-to-5 or 40-hour work week would. Learning to find balance with work and your personal life will be crucial so you don't burn yourself out. Also, learning how to say 'no' in business and in your personal life will be a skill you will want to master quickly, so others do not burn you out.

The following links are just a few of the sources available that may offer some great information to start with in your quest to be a business owner:

This page on The Denver Channel 7 News website offers many links to articles, resources, and videos all related to starting your own business.

The Small Business Administration is a governmental agency set up specifically to help small businesses. A plethora of information may be found at this website and through this free governmental service. One section is all about business plans.

The business section of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) website can offer a great deal of needed info regarding starting and running your business. A toll-free number is available if you need more help and information. has a lot of great information, articles, forums, and resources for starting a running a business. Great place to get info about the latest trends in business and business technology.

MyOwnBusiness.Org is a non-profit entity which offers many free services and information. Some, such as certification and their textbook is available for a small fee. However, it is free to take the course, which is helpful in guiding you through the business start-up process. Writing business plans is covered in the free coursework. The costs involved with utilizing the paid features of this site may be tax-deductible. Consult your tax professional for more information.

This site is mostly about selling the software which has many features and information you can find for free online and from other sources. It does have free information and interactive features on the site you may need to write your business plan and start your business. One is a cost calculator for determining your start up costs. is renowned for offering great legal information, and has a section devoted to starting a business. Also on their site is information about patent law and other laws business owners may need.

An article about the home office deduction may be found here. Claiming the home office deduction may not be the best idea for everyone or in every situation.

One Final Thought:

Be sure to do online searches for forums and websites specifically for your particular business or product. For example, someone offering virtual assisting services would search for virtual assistant job boards to get clients and projects; and also search out other sites offering information for that particular business.

Want some leads for where to find business grants? Click HERE.

Good luck! And please let me know how this information worked for you. Please add any additional information or resource links which you have found helpful.

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Saturday, October 13, 2007

Whose Line is Richard Simmons Upstaging, Anyway?


I was directed to this clip, and I must say that I laughed so hard I teared up. What really struck me was that it was ok to laugh and joke the way they all were, about the things they were.

No PC-Mongers there to mess it all up. Just fun in the spirit of true comedy.

Funny Videos
video from

I know Mr Simmons can come across as very odd, but the man is a blessing to millions, in his own right. He has dedicated much of his time, talents, and resources to truly helping others. Many know of his weight-loss guru status. What many do not know is how generous and loving he is behind the scenes.

This man routinely allows himself to be the butt of jokes on talk show appearances, in order to help get the word out about obesity and weight loss. It takes a great deal of chutzpah to be so courageous!

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Thursday, October 11, 2007

Going Green

Photo by Leland Davis
Over the past couple of days, I have been stumbling across multiple references to environmentally-friendly clothes and lifestyle choices. Even how 'green' Hollywood really is has been the subject of the media.

So, here are a few of these article and videos for you to check out. Afterwards, please give me YOUR feelings about them, and 'going green' in general. Any tips and suggestions you have based upon your own 'green' efforts would be greatly appreciated.

Watch the trailer for the documentary by Anderson Cooper titled, "Planet in Peril".

Green fashion pros and cons discussed in this short video from CNN. Interesting and useful products and tips.

How 'green' is Hollywood really? These two videos reveal some interesting facts about that very issue. The first one is from March 2007. The second one is from October 2007.

From October 2007, a quick look at the best eco-friendly destinations for travelers.

An organization dedicated to helping people de-clutter and recycle at the same time is Freecycle. There are groups set up all over the world, and each is listed on the website.

Environmentally-friendly electronics are spotlighted in this video from Reuters.

Talk show host and magazine publisher Oprah has done some shows about becoming more environmentally-aware. Check out this information on what you and your family can do today to be more 'green'.

Health.Com has this great article jam-packed with resources and information for those interested in learning how to become more environmentally-friendly.

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Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Australia Attacked . . .by Mother Nature?

Photo by Leland Davis
As I was perusing the CNN videos of the day, two were about some 'natural disasters' occurring in Australia of severe weather and an infestation.

These are just two in a series of wild natural events occurring around the world. In the past 30 days alone we have seen typhoons (Vietnam, Taiwan), flooding (Vietnam, a bee invasion (Houston Texas), multiple war stories, and multiple tragic circumstances coming out of Myanmar, to name just a few.

We have, by and large, become desensitized to such events. Modern technology allows us to be more aware, instantaneously, of what is going on in the world around us. The question to be asked is if we are hearing more about these things due to technological advances or due to something else.

Could the bible or other sources predicting an 'end times' be correct?

Matthew 24:7 refers to signs of the last days including wars, natural disasters, plagues, pestilences, etc. Further study of the Bible reveals that these events will occur more frequently and more closely together in the last days.

What I have found interesting is the number of independent sources of 'end times' prophecies and predictions which revolve around the year 2012. The Bible states that no one knows or can predict the time, so I, as a devout Christian, would tend to go by that; however, I think the end times prophecies from sources other than the Bible do give us all something to think about.

That something is that in reality, if there is to be an 'end of times' as predicted by the Bible or other sources, it could realistically, based upon all the other signs listed by all sources, occur or begin to occur at any time.

We can't do anything to stop or prevent it, but we can be prepared. We can learn and watch the signs; and have basic things like food storage, 72-hour kits, etc. We can undergo basic training with the Red Cross, The American Heart Association, or CERT in order to be in a better position to help and protect ourselves and our loved ones in the case of emergencies of any type: regardless of the last days scenarios.

It will cost us nothing to be prepared, but if we are caught unprepared, it could cost us everything.

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Dust in the Wind: That's All We Are

"New Galaxy" artwork by Richard Hampson
First, I'm going to apologize for this really cheesy heading. But, the correlation between the song title and the article was just too much for me to (choose to) resist.

According to this article from CNN, scientists have discovered 'dust in the wind' which explains where planets and all of us come from.

Scientists theorized that planets were created from space dust, but no one could explain where there space dust came from until now. This dust was found in winds randomly being emitted from a super-massive black hole, and was first detected in a quasar.

I find this interesting as what I have always heard about black holes is that they are
"A region in space where gravity is so strong that space closes back on itself, allowing nothing, not even light, to escape."
Unsure what exactly the difference is between a regular black hole and a 'supermassive' one, I checked, and a supermassive black hole is defined as
"Black holes that have the mass of 10 to 100 billion Suns. They are found in the centers of galaxies called active galactic nuclei, which are incredibly energetic."

So, to my very unscientific mind, this discovery seems to be a contradiction. I looked up what a quasar was, and discovered it is
"The highly luminous core of a remote galaxy, thought to be powered by a supermassive black hole. Quasars look like stars on an ordinary photograph but have very different spectra."

So, I don't understand how stuff is coming out of a black hole of any type (it could be said this is a black hole passing gas . . .ok sorry for that cheesy reference, too), but I do find this utterly fascinating.

In the dust itself they found many things, including sapphires and rubies. So, there are precious gems floating around in space. Maybe that children's song needs to have some lyrical changes, eh?

"Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star
How I wonder what you are.
Up above the world so high
like sapphires and rubies in the sky . . "

What do YOU think about this discovery?


black hole. (accessed October 10, 2007)

quasar. (accessed October 10, 2007)

supermassive black hole. (accessed October 10, 2007)

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Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon . . .and Charity?

Most are familiar with the game, "Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon".

This game is so famous, that it ended up on the television series, Will & Grace; and VISA made a commercial out of it, featuring none other than Kevin Bacon.
Thank you, youtube user Franksvalli for this video.

There is also this online ORACLE which does the figuring for you as to how many degrees separate any actor you can think of and Kevin Bacon.

Now, Kevin Bacon has used this concept to promote charity. Watch this amazing short video by CNN which explains how it works. A second short video by them highlights one of those involved with Kevin Bacon's charity organization, Robin Maxwell, who has MS. It immediately follows the first video, and will automatically play after the first video.

Visit this amazing site, founded by Kevin Bacon, here at SixDegrees.Org

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Monday, October 8, 2007

Forwarding Falsehoods

Photo by Chance Agrella
I used to get a ton of forwarded email from family and friends. Being relatively new to the online world, I believed many of the forwards with 'warnings' about politicians, scams, and rapist tactics. I happily forwarded them on, feeling proud of myself for playing a part in helping others to be safe and make wise choices.


It was only after someone not-so-nicely pointed out to me that I had 'yet again' forwarded on claptrap which was completely untrue and had been circulating around the internet for many years, in many forms, that I changed my email forward policy.

First, I no longer want forwarded email. After spending about a year of my time checking every blasted piece of 'warning' and other 'true story' email at sites such as Snopes and Truth or Fiction, and discovering that at least 90% of it was completely false or partially false; I told everyone around me to take me off their junk mail list.

Second, in those rare instances I do get 'true story' and 'warning' email, I check it out and then promptly forward on the results to the sender along with the fact that most of these email forwards are HOAXES and I suggest they check them out at online email hoax sites before forwarding them on.

At the very least, that cuts down the number of these time-wasting emails which fill my multiple inboxes.

A few other good hoax busting sites are:

Urban Legends
Hoax Slayer

You can go to any of those sites, or just do an online 'search' using a keyword or two from the email and the word 'hoax'. If any of those sites have info on it (and you chose good keywords) you should get a great set of results to check out.

I appreciate being thought of and I appreciate being filled in on TRUTH. I just simply don't have the time to sift through and check out dozens of hoax emails daily. So, the point of this post, and my public service announcement for the day (or for NOW) is as follows:


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Saturday, October 6, 2007

Measuring by Miles or Time?

As I drove my son to visit with his dad and his dad’s family, I thought about how I measure my travel by time, not miles. Many times I have had people ask me how far one place is from another, and I have answered by a measure of travel time, rather than miles or distance.
Photo by Chance Agrella

In traveling, mileage is irrelevant and meaningless to me. I have a packed schedule, so I have to measure many things by the time I will need in order to accomplish them.

I remembered a favorite movie line of mine. It is the now infamous Raiders of the Lost Ark line uttered, impromptu by Harrison Ford, “It’s not the years, honey, it’s the mileage.”

I turned 40 in August and while age has never really bothered me, I admit to a mini-meltdown of several hours as I reached the big 4-0.

I looked back upon my life and reflected upon how it was not at all what I had planned. At 40, I was not living the life I had planned for myself at younger ages, and I was not living the life I had planned for myself as late as January of this year, just prior to my engagement ending.

As I considered all of these things, I realized in the case of my life, as with travel, I was looking at time and not mileage. I realized the flaw in my thinking, almost immediately.

John Lennon stated that ‘life is what happens [*to you] while you are busy making other plans’, and that is very much a true concept. Regardless of what we want and plan, life seldom cooperates with even the best laid plans. Tragedies and miracles, disappointments and surprises, surround us upon every breath and every step we take.

When I reflect upon my 40 years in mortality, I see that while I may not have accomplished everything I wanted to by this point, I have, in many ways, accomplished things I never dared to dream of even attempting. . .and I have overcome many unexpected and heart-wrenching trials.

In the case of mortality, perhaps the better measure is one of mileage rather than time.

*Mr Lennon has been attributed with saying that quote with and without the ‘to you’ part in it. Just as many sources quoted it with the ‘to you’ as without it. Both were equally represented by reliable sources. I was unable at the time of this posting to verify which version was the original and correct one. If I can verify the correct quote I will note it in this post.

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Friday, October 5, 2007

Being Called a Hate Mongeror & Anti-Gay

Today, I took my son to get a haircut. While he was inside, I sat in the SUV and was cleaning the dashboard and such with some wipes I had purchased the day before. I was listening to music, and just having a peacefully pleasant time when something caught my eye.

From the corner of my eye, some sudden movement in the rear-view mirror caught my attention. Two women stopped behind my SUV and began LOUDLY commenting on a bumper sticker I have on it. I have tinted windows, so I get the impression they did not know anyone was in the vehicle as they carried on their commentary.

The bumper sticker is from a few years back when the Gay Marriage issue was such a hotly debated topic. I got it from the 700 Club.

I understand others may have differing opinions. I embrace that. I respect that. Am I anti-gay? Of course not. Over the span of my lifetime I have had many gay friends and co-workers. A boyfriend's gay brother died of aids, and it was a horrific thing to bear witness to. He was surprised when I first found out about his brother that it didn't make me want to stop dating HIM. That is what he was used to. It never stopped me from dating him, or going to his parents' home where his brother was dying.

I ate there, I used the restroom there, I hung out there, I spent time around his brother there. My heart broke for my boyfriend and his family, and there were times I cried when I got home over what I had seen of his brother's suffering.

One of my best friends in high school was (is) gay.

One former co-worker (a gay man) and I used to hang out and joke about our 'agreement' to stay away from each other's men. LOL.

I love all (ok, most. . .can't say I feel a lot of love for mass murderers, rapists, terrorists, etc. . .but I digress) people and I would give my own life to protect the rights we have in this country to be unique individuals with differing beliefs and ideas. . .even when they are in conflict. I value YOUR rights just as much as I value my own.

On the topic of Gay marriage, however, I stand by the bumper sticker's sentiment. I do not believe marriage should be legal for gays. I'm sorry if that bothers you, and I am sorry if it hurts your feelings, but it is how I believe and feel.

I am part of the Christian segment of the population which is not anti-gay, but is very much pro-God's word; and we know according to God's word that homosexuality is an 'abomination' (biblical wording used). Anything that is against the word of God can be called an 'abomination' actually. Anything against His word is offensive to Him. Call it evil, call it wicked, call it sinful, call it wrong: call it whatever you want. Whenever we cross that line and go against what He has commanded of us, we are in the wrong.

I cannot, in good conscious, support something which is contrary to God's law. I can't. I am not perfect; and I am just as big a sinner and flawed human as everyone else. This is just how I feel, how I believe, and how I live my life.

You may be different and you have the right to be so.

So, these two women were loudly making disparaging remarks about ME (not the bumper sticker or sentiment: ME) and walked away, still loudly spewing venomous judgments against me.

Were they gay? I don't know. I don't care.

What I do know is that this really bothered me. Not because they were angry over my bumper sticker; but because they were classing me as the judgmental bigot for expressing an opinion they did not like about a topic; all the while they were making some pretty seriously offensive and disparaging comments about me personally.

It begs the question: in this day and age of politically correct hogwash, does anyone really know and understand what bigotry really is anymore?

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Target on the Republicans

In the news today is the announcement that Senator Craig has decided to go against his word and NOT step down after pleading guilty to soliciting sex (a crime) in an airport (public) restroom (gross) from a person who turned out to be an undercover police officer.

Did this man learn nothing from George Michael?

This New York Times article has a media player in it which will allow you to hear the tape of Senator Craig as he is being arrested.

There is debate about whether he solicited sex or not. Apparently, there was some 'code' involved which is allegedly part of the gay culture and soliciting sex.

Did the Senator knowingly use code and solicit sex?
Did the Senator accidentally use various things which are sex solicitation code?

I don't know.

What I do know is that this man plead guilty and tried to take it back. A judge said he can't. He said he would step down, and now is taking that back.

He said he used poor judgment in entering a guilty plea.

What is going on with this man? He is showing a great deal of poor judgment, in more than just entering the guilty plea.

I don't pick up paper off public restroom floors. I don't put my feet anywhere near where they would touch the feet of the person in the next stall, and I do not place my hand under the stall divider or anywhere near the stall area of the person next to me unless they have asked me to pass them some toilet paper or I have asked that of them.

Toilet paper passing is not what happened.

So, what was the Senator doing with all his foot and hand stuff? I don't know, but it does seem like odd behavior to me.

Should he be convicted for odd behavior? Should he be 'forced' to step down due to odd behavior? Nope.

But the man pleaded guilty, did not get an attorney before doing so (why on earth not?) and decided to step down.

Now he wants to take back the guilty plea and not step down.

It's like the equivalent of a Republican Roller Coaster Ride and I am getting sick.

This kind of wishy washy bullpuckey is not something we need in the ranks of our leadership. I feel bad for the man. One writer labeled him as sounding 'pathetic' on the tape, and I must agree. He sounds pathetic and sad, and his behavior is pathetic and sad.

I am not usually one who believes politicians should resign over being human. If they are abusing their power, or breaking the law, then I do think they need to step down as there is a massive difference between making a human mistake and misusing their power or committing a crime (which is what breaking the law is).

In courtroom proceedings, people are sworn in. They swear to tell the truth. This man pleaded guilty. No legal counsel advised him to do this: he did it on his own. Perhaps he hoped the whole thing would go away.

The fact remains that in a court of law, he stated on public record he was guilty of soliciting sex in a public bathroom. That is a crime he stated he committed.

By his own mouth and his own 'counsel', he admits to committing a crime. By his own mouth he has said he would step down.

The man needs to step down. Whatever is going on with him, he probably needs some time and help; and this public scrutiny and scandal are not going to help him take care of whatever is going on.

He has been wishy washy, indecisive, and publicly admitted in a court of law he committed a crime. His behavior is weak, inefficient, and unreliable leadership at best.

He needs to go back to his original statement and resign. The public interest needs to come first; and as far as I am concerned, his behavior shows that he is simply not functioning, by any means, in the public's best interest.

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Japanese TV: Human Tetris

I have a true love and appreciation for some international media over some American media. There is some Greek music, particularly by Anna Vissi, which I just love; more so than the music of many of her American counterparts.

There are some television shows from other countries which I am just totally crazy about; and find more interesting, entertaining, and creative than much of what is currently on American TV.

I found this show, Human Tetris, on Youtube; and I just can't get enough. Creative, hysterically funny, and very entertaining; this show is good clean fun and spellbinding.

For your enjoyment, three segments of this amazing and rib-tickling show:

Human Tetris from shadowbot09

Human Tetris 2 from humantetris

Human Tetris 3 from humantetris

I can't wait to see new episodes! I have GOT to get my fix!

What are YOUR favorite international shows?

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Thursday, October 4, 2007

Christmas Toy Shopping in October: Walmart slashes prices, hot toys announced, Recalls

As I stated in an earlier post on my other blog, retailers are bringing us holidays earlier and earlier, and Christmas 2007 is no exception.


Gargantuan retailer Walmart has announced special price slashing on toys for the month of October. Two cited causes for this dramatic move are the recent toy recalls, and the slowness with which consumers undertook back-to-school shopping. Walmart wants to excite consumers about Christmas shopping, and make up for their earlier sales losses.


Wanna know what toys are considered to be hot this year so you can try to get them in October and beat the rush? Try this list with info about the toys and why they are hot items.


Check the Consumer Product Safety Commission website for the latest recall information for toys and other items.

Image: ©2000 Denise Van Patten - Doll Collecting at

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McDonald's Sued Again: Hoaxer Gets Teen Employee Strip Searched by Phone

This incident occurred in 2004, but it is in the news today as the jury is now deliberating.

The best explanation of what happened is in this ABC Report, shown in a Youtube video posted by user Nofilterpaul3.

I could say, yet again, that common sense has died, but that seems so inadequate in expressing the scope of the stupidity and sheer depravity involved in this incident.

How an adult in a management position could NOT know a police officer would NOT CALL and ask civilians to be involved in investigating a case is beyond me. How an adult could NOT know that a police officer is not allowed to involve civilians in such a manner, would be jeaopardizing the case by the call and involving civilians, and would never ask civilians to perform a strip search, is beyond me.

In the video it looks to me like Mr Nix is not concerned about the legitimacy of the caller as he is getting some free entertainment. Why Ms Summers was not concerned (which is clear on the video tape, her casual entrances and exits, and the fact she allowed it to go on so long without questioning it)boggles my mind.

Ms Ogborn cried and complained about the situation. Ms Summers did nothing to stop it or check it out. A second employee, the young man called in to 'watch' Ms Ogborn complained to Ms Summers that it was wrong. She still did nothing. It was only after a THIRD employee (the maintenance man) said something to Ms Summers about the absurdity of the situation that she felt prompted to end it.

I am all for limiting lawsuits against big companies as I think too much stupidity is rewarded (i.e. putting a cup of hot coffee between your legs). In this case, I agree that the manager, Donna Summers and her now former-fiancee', Walter "Wes" Nix, Jr., should be held responsible, as should the hoax caller, David Stewart.

I do not agree that McDonald's should be held liable for the actions of those individuals; however, I do agree that they had an ethical responsibility to alert all the stores in the chain of the hoax, which had happened previously at other of their stores.

They absolutely have reliable means of communicating quickly with all of their stores about sales, policies, etc. There is no reason why they could not and should not have sent out a memo alerting their stores.

While lawyers are typically classed as 'ambulance chasers' looking for big bucks any way they can get them, they also have to formulate a strategy for helping their client to recover some damage money. Filing suits for huge amounts of money can result in smaller but still large settlements without going to court. This is what many attorneys count on.

If I understand this story correctly, there is also a civil suit pending against Ms Summers and Mr Nix, who have both already been convicted for the incident. The hoax caller, David Stewart, was acquitted in the criminal case; and if I understand correctly, is NOT named in the civil suit, even though he is the instigator behind the incident and the director of all that happened to Ms Ogborn.

How does the caller get off, and the manager and her fiancee get convicted? They were involved in ONE incident, he was behind multiple incidents/attempts. Why are they named in the civil suit, and yet the instigator of it all is not?

Ms Summers is also suing McDonald's over the incident. Since she is an obvious liar (watch the ABC report), and it was not HER who was victimized, I hope the case gets thrown out. McDonald's trusted her to watch out for their restaurant and the employees there. She did neither. Maybe they should sue HER for negligence. Plus, she brought a non-employee into the back office area which may be against company policy. If they look at it, I am sure they can find multiple incidences of HER negligence and violations of company policies in this case.

Again, I believe McDonald's ethically had a responsibility to alert their stores, but ultimately they are NOT responsible for the choices and actions of Ms Summers, Mr Nix, and Mr Stewart.

I feel very badly for Ms Ogborn and hope that she can move forward from this incident in a positive manner at some point. I hope that her civil suits end in her favor. I hope at some point Mr Stewart is held accountable for what he did.

This case has driven home to me the need to make sure my teen knows beyond any shadow of any doubt that he has rights and if he ever thinks an adult is violating them he has every right to say 'no' and leave. Better to be safe than sorry.

CASE UPDATE 10/05/2007:
Ms Ogborn was awarded $6.1 Million in damages.

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