Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Pistachio newest nut to avoid



I don't know about you but I haven't had a peanut in a while now. I just can't bring myself to do it. I can't get past the idea of dying because I had a snack.

In case you've somehow missed it, peanuts have been on the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) recall list after a salmonella outbreak in a PCA (Peanut Corp. of America) plant out of Georgia. The outbreak is still an issue and products are still being added to the list (you can find an up-to-date list at the bottom of this page). More than 690 people in 46 states have gotten sick and almost 3,900 products have been recalled.

Now there is a new nut to concern yourself with, the pistachio.

Tuesday Kraft Foods Inc. notified the FDA that it had detected salmonella through routine product testing in roasted pistachios . Kraft and the Georgia Nut Co. recalled their Back to Nature Nantucket Blend trail mix because of those test results.

Friday Kroger Co. (the grocery store chain) recalled bagged pistachios from California-based Setton Pistachio of Terra Bella Inc., the nation's second-largest pistachio processor. They voluntarily recalled more than 2 million pounds of its roasted nuts shipped since last fall. Those nuts were sold in 31 states.

A spokesman for the company, Fabia D'Arienzo, said "It will be safe to assume based on the volume that this will be an ingredient in a lot of different products, and that may possibly include things like ice cream and cake mixes. The firm is already turning around trucks in transit to bring those back to the facility."

Salmonella is the most common cause of food-borne illness. It is a bacteria that causes diarrhea, fever and cramping. While most people recover it can be life threatening for children, the elderly and people with weakened immune systems.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Conficker worm on it's way



I was reading a story this morning from Yahoo about the Conficker worm that comes out every year on April 1st. The first Conficker worm was sent out in 2008 and infected over 9 million computers. Now it's on its third version, Conficker C, and is "incredibly complicated, powerful, and virulent".

Microsoft has offered a quarter million dollar bounty on the writer of the worm and are trying to find a solution before April 1st gets here. They say:

"What's known so far is that on April 1, all infected computers will come under the control of a master machine located somewhere across the web, at which point anything's possible. Will the zombie machines become denial of service attack pawns, steal personal information, wipe hard drives, or simply manifest more traditional malware pop-ups and extortion-like come-ons designed to sell you phony security software? No one knows.

Conficker is clever in the way it hides its tracks because it uses an enormous number of URLs to communicate with HQ. The first version of Conficker used just 250 addresses each day -- which security researchers and ICANN simply bought and/or disabled -- but Conficker C will up the ante to 50,000 addresses a day when it goes active, a number which simply can't be tracked and disabled by hand.

At this point, you should be extra vigilant about protecting your PC: Patch Windows completely through Windows Update and update your anti-malware software as well. Make sure your antivirus software is actually running too, as Conficker may have disabled it.

Microsoft also offers a free online safety scan here, which should be able to detect all Conficker versions."

And from the Windows Live OneCare website:

How do I know if my computer is infected?

System Changes
The following system changes may indicate the presence of this malware:

  • The following services are disabled or fail to run:
  • Windows Update Service
    Background Intelligent Transfer Service
    Windows Defender
    Windows Error Reporting Services
  • Some accounts may be locked out due to the following registry modification, which may flood the network with connections:
  • HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\Tcpip\Parameters
    "TcpNumConnections" = "0x00FFFFFE"
  • Users may not be able to connect to websites or online services that contain the following strings:
  • virus
    spyware
    malware
    rootkit
    defender
    microsoft
    symantec
    norton
    mcafee
    trendmicro
    sophos
    panda
    etrust
    networkassociates
    computerassociates
    f-secure
    kaspersky
    jotti
    f-prot
    nod32
    eset
    grisoft
    drweb
    centralcommand
    ahnlab
    esafe
    avast
    avira
    quickheal
    comodo
    clamav
    ewido
    fortinet
    gdata
    hacksoft
    hauri
    ikarus
    k7computing
    norman
    pctools
    prevx
    rising
    securecomputing
    sunbelt
    emsisoft
    arcabit
    cpsecure
    spamhaus
    castlecops
    threatexpert
    wilderssecurity
    windowsupdate

So I thought, well, I'm safe, I have McAfee...I have Spyzooka...I automatically update and have my firewall and Windows Defender set up to run automatically...I'm good right?

Then I looked in my system tray and NOTHING WAS THERE! Windows Defender had been turned off; McAfee off; Spyzooka off. Ack! I immediately stopped what I was doing and ran every kind of scan I have. I found several viruses.

I'm glad I came across the story and checked into my own PC. I hope y'all check yours too. This could be bad, bad, bad.


Saturday, March 28, 2009

Journalism with a bow tie



I noticed a few minutes ago that journalist and long-time economics correspondent for NBC News Irving R. Levine has passed away from cancer. He was 86.

From Wikipedia:

"During his 35-year career, he reported from over two dozen countries, which led to him becoming the first foreign correspondent accredited in the Soviet Union (as a result of which he wrote three best-selling non-fiction books on life in the USSR).

Back in the U.S. he became the chief economics correspondent for NBC, and Time magazine described him as a "pioneer" in economics reporting on television. He became known for his distinctive TV sign-off, slightly stressing his middle initial.

Levine was famed for his impeccable grammar and diction leading to a self-mocking appearance on Saturday Night Live. He was also known for wearing bow ties when reporting on screen. He also appeared on Murphy Brown and on David Letterman and Jay Leno's shows.

After he retired from NBC in 1995, Levine became dean of Lynn University's School of International Communication in Boca Raton, Florida."

May he rest in peace.

Good morning



I'd like to thank the people who commented on yesterday's post. I understand that the war is a very controversial issue. I would like to add that I don't agree with everything David Letterman said but I do agree with some of it. When I said I agreed with 90% of his opinions, I meant in general, not just about that video.

My personal history:

I am an Air Force brat and proud of it. Both my parents were members of the Air Force. My father was in Vietnam and my mother continued her military career here in the States until she had me. I was born in 1967. Both of my grandfathers were military members and fought in several wars. I have many family members and friends that have fought for our country, proudly and bravely, and even some that have given their lives for us. I highly support and admire our troops and am proud to be an American.

With that said, I'd like to add that I do NOT understand this war we are in. I don't believe we should just pull out of it and leave Iraq to fend for themselves but I don't want to see our sons, daughters, parents and friends continue to die with no resolution. I don't have any answers (I wish I did) and it hurts my heart to see this continue.

Thank you again to the people that commented yesterday. You did give me more to think about and I'm very open to opinions other than my own. Have a great day everyone. Peace.

Friday, March 27, 2009

David Letterman VS Bill O'Reilly





This is why I love David Letterman. He's not afraid to say what he thinks. I happen to agree with about 90% of what he thinks in general so that helps my love of him. Have a great Friday everyone.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

I'm so turning emo



I've been a pretty big American Idol fan since it began. Ok, honestly, I hated it the first year it was on but I've been a loyal and loving fan since the second season. This year hasn't been that great for me. For one, as most of you know, I really don't like Kara (the new judge) AT ALL. And the singers just didn't seem as into it this year as they have in the past, with one exception...

Adam Lambert. I swear I'm thinking about "turning emo" for this guy just to show what a big fan of his I am. (As a side note, can you see me with black and purple hair and big holes in my ears? Um, I may need to rethink this whole emo thing...)

Adam is already a superstar in my eyes. I know he'll be a rich and famous lead singer for some lucky band. I personally compare his voice to Freddy Mercury (the late lead singer of Queen). Adam is that good.

I wanted to show you a video of his Motown performance on last night's American Idol but copyright laws make that impossible. I did however find a video that someone made of him singing last night with a slideshow of pictures of him. That'll have to work I guess.

Just listen to his voice. You'll know I'm right. He's a star.


Pass the cheesecake



Women of the world pick up your forks and get ready to eat! Have all the cheesecake, chocolate and other delicious treats that you’d like. Don’t worry about anything, just eat away! What? You’re worried you won’t look good if you eat all that? Aww, come on, haven’t you seen those gorgeous Hollywood actresses stuffing their faces with lots of good treats? They still look good right? If they can do it so can you. All you need is faith and trust…oh yes, and one more thing…

Photoshop.

Kim Kardashian recently discovered the backlash that occurs when people find out your picture is fake. Complex magazine accidentally released an unedited photo of Kardashian which showed her in all her glory, cellulite included.

When the editors realized what they’d done, they quickly pulled the REAL photo of Kardashian and replaced it with the retouched and slimmed down photo they had intended to use. They weren’t quite quick enough though and the photo made its way around the internet.

Kardashian said that “retouched photos are standard in the industry”. I guess I missed that admission. Maybe they talked about it in between their telling us about their terrific diets, motivational personal trainers and long hours at the gym.

I don't know about you, but for me personally, I'd rather have someone say "Wow, she's brave to wear that!" while they look at the REAL me than to tell me how beautiful the FAKE me is.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

I THINK I'm done...



Well, I played on and off all day with this page. I'm pretty happy with how it turned out. What do Y'ALL think though? Good?

I also see Blogger has a scheduled outage at 4:00 p.m. today. It must be hanging out with my internet.

Be back in 5 minutes



You probably know I have more blogs than just this blog (if you don't you do now...they are here and here) and you may know that I've recently given both those blogs a makeover. I've been searching and searching for a layout for THIS blog too but so far I've been unsuccessful. That may change today. We'll see.

So if you're here and things are changing at every refresh, no need to panic :) It's just me being me and playing around with things. By this time tomorrow This Crazy Adventure I Call Life should be brand spanking new (at least in it's appearance)!

Have a great Wednesday everyone! See you tomorrow :D

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Maybe it's the food they eat...



I was surprised this morning when I came across a story about a second Florida student being disciplined for having gas. I'd even say I was a little shocked. Ok, it's completely unbelievable to me! It's a bodily function people! Get a grip!!

Just in case you missed it, I'll remind you of the first student.

Back on November 4, 2008, a 13 year old Spectrum Junior-Senior High School student was ARRESTED for passing gas in school. Arrested. Isn't that crazy?

Authorities said he was passing gas and that he also turned off his classmates' computers. A report from the Martin County Sheriff's Office said the boy "continually disrupted his classroom environment" by intentionally breaking wind. He was charged with disruption of school function and released to his mother. I guess I can see a boy thinking that was funny but to arrest him? No way.

Then this morning I saw the newest flatulence offender...

A 15 year old eighth grader from Lakeland Florida.

The bus driver said the boy was passing gas on the bus Monday to make the other children laugh. He also said that the boy created "a stench so bad that it was difficult to breathe." That's some bad gas now. And I can judge gas since I live with several gas passers (My husband and my cats are all offenders...). It's got to be some mighty powerful stuff to make it difficult to breathe.

The boy was suspended from riding the school bus for three days even though he said he wasn't the one passing gas. The bus driver didn't even give the boy the suspension notice until the next day. I don't get that part. Why not address the matter immediately? Why wait until the next day?

I have a couple major problems with this second incident all jokes aside. First, why not open the windows? Do school bus windows not open anymore? I can remember it being over 100 degrees outside and we'd have every window on the bus open. And the driver has a small window by them too. Why couldn't he open that and give himself some fresh air? I just think that's a pretty petty thing to complain about. Have you ever been in the store and walked down an aisle that someone just passed gas on? Maybe we should confront them and tell them they can't come in the store for three days because they passed gas.

The second thing is the fact that because he had gas (IF he is the guilty one), he now has to find alternate means to get to school. I personally rode the school bus every day of my high school career. I rode it on the first day of school and I rode it on the LAST day of school. My parents worked. We weren't allowed to drive. We definitely weren't allowed to ride in anyone else's car (even though we snuck a few times). The bus was our only choice. If I had been kicked off the bus for any amount of time I would have caused a huge issue. (Not to mention I would have gotten my butt whipped pretty darn good.)

So needless to say, I think it's ridiculous that these students got in trouble for gas. There are so many bad things happening in the world and we're going to arrest a teenager for farting. That makes sense.

Monday, March 23, 2009

On this day in history - Patrick Henry



According to Wikipedia, Patrick Henry was "one of the most influential (and radical) advocates of the American Revolution and republicanism, especially in his denunciations of corruption in government officials and his defense of historic rights." On this day, March 23, 1775, he gave his "Give me liberty or give me death" speech. The video below is a little on the long side but I enjoyed it.


Saturday, March 21, 2009

A bunch of crap



Sometimes my sense of humor is in the toilet... (You realize I meant that literally right?) Tonight it's triple strength. I'm sorry ahead of time.

A North Carolina woman had a very bad day on Friday. She had $400 in cash that she planned on depositing in the bank but it was instead deposited in her dog. That's right, her greater Swiss mountain dog ate it. He was adding some ruff-age to his diet...

It worked too because when the woman took her dog for a walk, the money um, showed back up. She gathered up the pieces of three $100 and five $20 bills and washed them off with the garden hose. She's hoping to get enough pieces back to turn it in to the bank and get her money replaced. Surely they have some kind of recycling program at the bank...

Oh yes, and according to the story I read "A professor at the North Carolina State University Veterinary School said the money shouldn't hurt the dog." I know that's what I'd be worried about.

*****************************

Let's move this conversation inside. Ok, sort of inside...Port-a-Potty kind of inside. I'll even provide you with some music. Do you like Bob Dylan?

Oh, wait, I forgot to tell you that people in Malibu are complaining about Bob Dylan's Port-a-Potty(s). Specifically they're complaining about their smell. Yep, Bob Dylan is stinkin' up the joint! We may not want to go to his place after all...

His neighbors, Cindy and David Emminger, said that the toilet fumes are being carried by breezes from the Pacific Ocean and making their family ill. David Emminger said "Mr. Civil Rights is killing our civil rights!"

Wow. Bummer. Totally dude.

Ok, now that the hippie is out of my system, I'm thinking we should hook Bob Dylan up with Clorox. They're having quite the Port-a-Potty issue themselves right now.

Just down the road in San Franscico, somebody has torched more than two dozen construction site toilets and caused an estimated $50,000 in property damage. Clorox isn't having it. They want it to stop.

They want it to stop so badly that they're willing to pay. It's true. They're offering $5000 PLUS (and this is the best part if you ask me but I'm a clean freak)
a year's supply of toilet cleaning products for tips leading to the arrest of "San Francisco's notorious portable potty pyromaniac". (I totally admit I was rolling on the floor at that nickname. If you really think about it, that's a lot of pee's...)

Ahem, sorry.

*All puns in this story were completely intentional :D



Friday, March 20, 2009

The devil made me do it



You’ve heard that saying before, “The devil made me do it”, I’m sure. When I was growing up one of my girlfriends said it all the time. She was always doing things she wasn’t allowed to do and she always ended up getting caught. And that was always her answer… the devil made me do it.

I would laugh because I thought it was funny. The first time I heard her say it I didn’t laugh. I thought ‘oh boy, that can’t be good’ and waited on the reaction of her parents. They’d obviously heard it before because their reaction was a roll of the eyes and a humph while they were walking away shaking their head.

Because of my friend saying it often, I picked it up too and decided one day to try it out. I had the bright idea to go to Dairy Queen during our lunch break. It was right next to my high school and even though we weren’t allowed to leave campus, I did it anyway. And I got caught. I didn’t even make it to the Dairy Queen. I was halfway across the field when I heard “Miss Atchley” yelled in a not so happy voice. I turned around and saw our principal standing at the edge of the parking lot glaring at me. I knew I was in trouble.

I sat in the office, the nervousness building up in my stomach, for probably 20 minutes before my parents showed up. We went into the office and I sat there, not saying a word, while the principal told my parents what he had caught me doing and why we had a closed campus. It was dangerous for us to leave the school grounds. He was just trying to protect me.

I happened to glance at my father around the time the principal was finishing up his speech and when I saw the look on his face my brain shut down. I had no excuse except I really wanted a chocolate dip cone. He asked me what I was thinking and without thinking I blurted out THE DEVIL MADE ME DO IT. Boy was that a mistake.

I got a pretty good spanking that night. My dad didn’t believe there was an age limit for spankings and even though I was a junior in high school he still burned my butt up pretty good. All because I blamed Satan for my bad decision. I won’t ever forget that spanking that’s for sure.

So this morning when I was looking through the headlines, one of them really jumped out at me. It said ‘Woman accused of church theft blames Satan’. I had to read it.

The 62 year old Washington woman stole $73,000 from the Arlington Free Methodist Church by forging her pastor’s signature on 80 checks. When detectives questioned her she said “Satan had a big part in the theft.” She also told them that she used the money to keep from losing her house.

I understand not wanting to lose your house but to steal from a church and then blame it on the devil just doesn’t work for me. My first problem is this: she worked at the church as an administrative assistant. She had a job. There are so many people out there right now that don’t have a job and are still trying to find honest ways to make money. I say she HAD a job; they fired her in February of 2008.

My second problem is that she worked for a church. They help people. I bet if she’d gone to her pastor and told him that she was having problems he would have at least tried to find a program that would help her.

Another problem I have with it (besides the obvious one of she stole from a church) is that the reason she says she took the money was to not lose her house. Mortgage companies will work with you. I know because when my first husband and I bought a house and then lost our jobs, Chase worked with us and allowed us to set up a repayment plan. All you have to do is talk to them. They even have programs for people that aren’t in the best financial shape.

Basically it all boils down to I just don’t buy it. The devil didn’t make her do anything. She had bad intentions in her mind and she followed through on them. I could tell you the story about my one and only time of stealing money (I was 12) and being caught but this post is running a little long. Maybe I’ll tell you another time. I will take the space to tell you that I definitely learned my lesson and that when I did it all that was in my mind was ‘I want that’. Oh, and that I made me do it.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

You just never know



I was sad to read the news of Natasha Richardson’s passing at the age of 45. If you don’t know, she was an actress, the daughter of Vanessa Redgrave and the wife of Liam Neeson.

An autopsy will be performed but it is believed that she died as a result of a head injury that she suffered after falling during a private ski lesson at a Quebec resort. The story I read says she felt fine after the fall but about an hour later she was complaining that she didn’t feel well. She was admitted to a Montreal hospital and then flown to the New York hospital where she died.

She left behind two sons, Michael, 13, and Daniel, 12. She was once quoted as saying that Liam Neeson’s 2000 motorcycle accident made her really appreciate life. I know she did. I’m just heartbroken over this tragic accident. You really never know when life is going to end.

1963 - 2009


Wednesday, March 18, 2009

That’s a serious fan



Baghdad is in the news often and it’s usually something to do with violence. I know that’s sad to say but honestly, even thinking hard to come up with something about Baghdad that isn’t connected to violence is practically impossible for me to do.

It should be no surprise to me then that while reading my morning news, I came across another story of violence from Baghdad. The only thing different is it involves soccer and not war.

Two local teams were involved in a heated soccer match. According to the story, Iraqis love soccer and hope that it will reconcile the war between ethnic groups and sects in their country.

A player was at the goal, about to make a shot that would tie the game, when a fan of the opposing team took matters into his own hands in the most drastic way I can think of. He shot him.

Yes, he shot him to keep him from making the goal and tying the score. The player died as a result of the gunshot. The fan was arrested. Can you believe that? I was in total shock. No lie.

I’ve been to some sports events that got out of hand. Fans get crazy. That’s actually a part of the game I enjoy, everyone getting worked up and loud. It gives you a feeling deep inside… a little nervous, a little excited, a little crazy… but NEVER life threatening. At least not in my experiences. I can’t believe that someone would kill a person over a game. I’m still shocked.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Those three little words…



Some of you may know that Tim and I met through the internet. Specifically we met through a chat room. I can remember the first time he said those three little words to me… I love you… and the way it made me feel like a teenager again. Isn’t it funny how three little words can mess you up inside? My stomach hurt, my head spun, I wanted to cry, all over three little words.

Tim wasn’t the first person to say those words to me (and he wasn’t the first one in the chat room to say them either) but when he said them I felt it. I felt it through the internet connection. Some people may think that’s crazy. Some people may even think it wasn’t too smart. I, personally, am glad I took that chance.

Because I had ‘read’ those words from other people in there, I didn’t put a lot of confidence in their sincerity. With Tim it was different. I knew he was sincere. With the others I knew, basically right away, that they weren’t true. I’ve always been pretty good at seeing through bull. I’m lucky like that. Not everyone is though.

A 56 year old Australian woman learned her lesson the hard way. She was chatting with what she thought was a 57 year old man in Nigeria. She believed him when he told her he loved her. She bought every word he said including that he was in need of medical treatment. She bought that literally by paying for the treatment. He bought two plots of land and a car with the money she sent.

In reality the 57 year old white man was a Nigerian undergraduate. He received 19 years in prison for duping the caring woman out of $47,000. She will receive $10,000 immediately and then $250 a month until all the money is repaid. She will also receive the money made from the sale of the two plots of land and the car.

Every time I read a story like this I think of two things. One, all the emails I receive that start off Dearest One… And two, how lucky I am to be able to read people well. With all the dishonest people on the internet and as much time as I spend here, I could be in real trouble. I’m glad the man was caught and the lady will get her money back. It’s heartbreaking for me to think of how many con artists are out there and how many victims.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Take a chill pill!



Reading the news this morning, I came across a story that made me laugh. And it made me think of the movie 9 to 5. Do you remember that movie with Dolly Parton and Lily Tomlin? It was so ridiculously stupid that it was funny. That movie is the reason it made me laugh.

Let me start out by saying I think what the woman did was wrong but it still made me laugh. You want to know what she did, don't you? Ok, I'll get on with it.

A 24 year old Arkansas woman decided that her veterinarian boss "needed to chill out" so she slipped some tranquilizers into his coffee. Luckily he realized something was wrong with his coffee. The lady has been arrested and goes to court on April 21st.

While I was reading the short but funny (at least to me) story, all I could see in my head was Lily Tomlin dumping poison out of her skull-and-crossbones ring while dressed as Snow White. (If you haven't seen that movie you're probably thinking I'm insane and rather coldhearted right now; if you have haha right?)

But honestly, who hasn't had an evil thought against their boss at some point or another? I know I have. I'm not perfect :) I just can't believe the lady actually did it. That's on the crazy side.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Joaquin getting weirder and weirder



Has Joaquin Phoenix lost his mind?

If you don’t know, Joaquin Phoenix has quit acting and gone into the hip-hop business. After performing in Walk the Line, a film about the life and times of Johnny Cash, Joaquin says he was inspired to be a singer. But not a country singer as he portrayed; a rap/hip-hop performer.



His appearances in the public eye have become more and more bizarre. His David Letterman appearance was beyond odd even for that show. We’re all used to seeing odd people on David Letterman’s Late Show but this was a little more than normal.





Then this past Wednesday night/early Thursday morning during his performance at Miami’s Fontainebleau Beach hotel he was beyond bizarre.

Hundreds of people crowded into the club at the hotel to see Phoenix perform. They waited nearly 4 hours before he walked out on stage at 2:00 a.m., smoking a cigarette. He was rapping when an audience member began heckling him at which point he leaped off the stage shouting “We have a **** in the audience” (I would tell you what he actually said but the Yahoo story is edited…I can imagine the actual words though, how about you?) Security guards immediately jumped into the crowd, breaking up the fight and dragging Phoenix away.

Isn’t that crazy?! I just don’t understand what is going on with him. I used to be so impressed with him and now I just don’t get him. At all. I want my old Joaquin Phoenix back.





Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Horrific killing spree in Alabama



Michael McLendon of Samson Alabama went on a killing spree yesterday. He left at least 9 people, including his mother and several other family members, dead before he took his own life at his former job.

He began his terror at his mother’s home which he burned down with her inside. He then drove 12 miles to the metal plant he used to work at in Geneva, killing people along his way.

After his mother, he killed five people on the front porch, four family members (including his grandparents) and a 74 year old neighbor. Two of the victims were the wife and 18 month old child of a Geneva County sheriff’s deputy who had come to the home for a visit.

During his drive to the metal plant he shot randomly out his window, killing 3 more people; a woman who was leaving the gas station, a man who was driving down the road and one man who was trying to run away from the horror. He was shot in the back. When McLendon arrived at the metal plant he opened fire on police then went inside and killed himself.

This is so upsetting to me (as I’m sure it is to everyone) that I’m finding it hard to even type. I don’t understand why people want to take innocent people’s lives because their life is messed up. If you have issues and don’t want to get help, why ruin more lives? It makes NO sense to me. If you want to be gone then be gone but don’t take the decision of whether you want to live or die away from others.

All of these deaths are heartbreaking to me but I think the one that hurts me the most is the baby. How can you kill a child? How can you look at a baby that’s only been here a year and a half, just starting out living life, and shoot them down? All I can do is cry for that baby, and that mother, and those grandparents. All of them.

This is a tragedy in every sense of the word.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

I am a chicken



It seems there is an issue over who’s allowed to be on the trail used by late night skiers in Bangor Maine. The skiers say it’s them; an owl has a different opinion.

A great horned owl has apparently decided that East Trail in the Rolland F. Perry City Forest belongs to him. He’s attacked at least 8 skiers and several dogs over the past three weeks.

One skier, Jim Allen, said “…all of a sudden, I felt a whack in the back of my head and this stinging…” Luckily he had a thick winter hat on and that protected him from the bird’s talons. Other skiers haven’t been that lucky.

Dr. Dan Cassidy, a local physician, said he had treated three skiers for lacerations after they had also been attacked by the owl. The city has posted warning signs to alert skiers and hikers of the threat.

I don’t know about you but I think I’d postpone any skiing I had planned if it was in the near future. I’m just a big chicken though. And owls scare me. I know that sounds bad *lol* but they really do. All hunting, meat eating, long, sharp talon bearing birds scare me. On the other hand, if people do stop going in the area because of the owl, it may decide it’s a good place to stay. I don’t know for sure about any of that…except that I would be scared.

Photobucket

One afterthought... Stephen King is from Bangor Maine. Do I need to say more about where this story took my mind?

Monday, March 9, 2009

Try it, you might like it



Do you have a printer? Do you ever mail letters? If so, have I got a deal for you!

The United States Postal Service has a website (which I'm sure most of you know or, like me, assumed) and they offer stamps. But not just sheets of stamps. They have a program that allows you to print your own stamps right on your envelopes!

The program itself is pretty cool if you ask me. You can print the whole envelope, addresses and all. Plus they have pictures you can add to your envelopes. We sent a letter out to my daughter with a four leaf clover next to our return address and a lady hugging whose arms made the shape of a heart across the top. That was a standard size envelope.

Then we got fancy. We decided to burn some CD's for Tim's mom and get them mailed out to her. We printed a large envelope and added a fragile picture (which was actually a broken glass that says Fragile! underneath it! That was pretty cool I thought). It was a 6 x 9 envelope.

It turned out beautifully! You can even change your fonts and colors. Now are you ready for the best part? It was free!

Yep, I said free :) Don't get too excited though. It's only free for 4 weeks. After that it's $15.00 a month for the service plus the cost of stamps. But the first 4 weeks ARE free plus you get $5.00 worth of free stamps too (@ 42 cents a stamps that works out to 11 letters) which is awesome. At least I think it is.

So, like I said, try it, you might like it. And you may decide the $15.00 a month is worth continuing the service after the free month. Who knows? Everything you can do at the post office (paying by weight, insuring your letters, tracking) can be done from the website and they offer a free set of scales (you have to pay shipping and handling but I think it was only $6...we ordered them) which is great if you're not good at guessing weights.

All in all I think it's a terrific deal and I would encourage you to try it. If you're anything like me you'll love how your envelopes look with all the pretties!


Saturday, March 7, 2009

Oh Facebook, why?



Let me first start out by saying I obviously can't read a calendar. TODAY is the Saturday to change your clocks, not the 14th like I told you in yesterday's post, Change. I changed it though. :)

Now on to Facebook. The social networking program has seen five different security threats in the past week.

These hoax applications attempt to trick Facebook members into divulging their usernames and passwords. And there is a worm running rampant on the site, installing malware on the computers of victims who click on a link to a fake YouTube video. It's called the Koobface worm.

According to a Yahoo news story, the Koobface worm searches for cookies on your computer, then makes a DNS query to check IP addresses that correspond to remote domains. They can then send and receive information about the affected machine. Once connected, they can remotely perform commands on the victim's machine.

Then the Koobface worm composes a message and sends it to the user's friends. The message contains a link to a website where a copy of the worm can be downloaded by unsuspecting friends. And the cycle repeats itself.

How crazy is that? Some people just have too much time on their hands. Combine that with a malicious attitude and you have trouble. Trouble for you. And trouble for your PC. My advice? Don't play on Facebook... No. I'm just kidding. Just be careful about how you play and pay attention. If something doesn't look right, get out of there. Never enter your password unless it's the normal log in screen. There is no place, no application, no "extra" on Facebook that requires you to reenter your username and password. I promise. I'm there all the time.

As far as the fake YouTube video link, don't click on any links unless you are 100% positive about where they originated. My PC is loaded down with anti-spyware programs that won't allow me to visit links until they've been scanned and approved. It definitely slows my computer down but, to me, it's better to be safe than sorry. Today's news reaffirmed that.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Change



I have two things I want to talk with you about today and they both have to do with change.

The first one is the changing of our clocks this coming Saturday, March 7. Don't forget or you'll be late for everything! We "spring forward" this Saturday which means at 2:00 a.m. you need to change your clock to 3:00 a.m. (or if you're lucky all your electronic "stuff" will change on it's own). I've always wondered why we did that at 2:00 a.m. It seems odd to me. (You know I looked it up!)

From the USNO website:
  • In 2009, daylight time begins on March 8 and ends on November 1.

Many other countries observe some form of "summer time", but they do not necessarily change their clocks on the same dates as the U.S.

Daylight time and time zones in the U.S. are defined in the U.S. Code, Title 15, Chapter 6, Subchapter IX - Standard Time.

History of Daylight Time in the U.S.

Although standard time in time zones was instituted in the U.S. and Canada by the railroads in 1883, it was not established in U.S. law until the Act of March 19, 1918, sometimes called the Standard Time Act. The act also established daylight saving time, a contentious idea then. Daylight saving time was repealed in 1919, but standard time in time zones remained in law. Daylight time became a local matter. It was re-established nationally early in World War II, and was continuously observed from 9 February 1942 to 30 September 1945. After the war its use varied among states and localities. The Uniform Time Act of 1966 provided standardization in the dates of beginning and end of daylight time in the U.S. but allowed for local exemptions from its observance. The act provided that daylight time begin on the last Sunday in April and end on the last Sunday in October, with the changeover to occur at 2 a.m. local time.

During the "energy crisis" years, Congress enacted earlier starting dates for daylight time. In 1974, daylight time began on 6 January and in 1975 it began on 23 February. After those two years the starting date reverted back to the last Sunday in April. In 1986, a law was passed that shifted the starting date of daylight time to the first Sunday in April, beginning in 1987. The ending date of daylight time was not subject to such changes, and remained the last Sunday in October. The Energy Policy Act of 2005 changed both the starting and ending dates. Beginning in 2007, daylight time starts on the second Sunday in March and ends on the first Sunday in November.

*************************************************************************************

The second change I wanted to talk to you about has to do with changing appearances. It seems drug lords have a new trick. I was listening to the radio this morning and heard a report about cloned trucks. Here in Houston police found a H.E.B. truck abandoned at a truck stop. The problem was that it wasn't a H.E.B. truck. It was a clone. Drug dealers created the H.E.B. fake semi to haul marijuana. There was 4500 pounds in the back of the truck.

Since they said the truck was found abandoned, I assume they don't know who's responsible. That's a crazy amount of marijuana and I never would have thought that they were creating semi's to mask their activities. That actually took a lot of thought if you ask me. I'm not defending the drug dealers in any way but I have to admit it was pretty smart. Who would look twice at a grocery store truck? I know I won't ever look at them the same again. I'll be wondering what's inside.


Thursday, March 5, 2009

A news trio



I have three things that I want to talk with you about today and instead of writing three different posts, I decided to group them all together.

1. Former first lady Barbara Bush had heart surgery at The Methodist Hospital here in Houston yesterday. Last week she experienced a shortness of breath and went to her doctor. They discovered that her aortic valve had begun to harden and scheduled the surgery. As a true testament to her strength, a family spokesman said that she was talking from her intensive care bed just hours after the surgery. She should be released from the hospital in 7 - 10 days. Mrs. Bush also suffers from Grave’s Disease (as do I) which can cause heart issues. I pray she has a speedy recovery with no complications. She's 83.

2. Charla Nash, the woman who was brutally attacked on February 16th by her friend’s chimpanzee in Connecticut, is still in critical condition. She’s lost her hands, nose, lips and eyelids and doctors don’t know if she’ll recover. Her brother said that she’s always been tough (on CBS’s Morning Show) and that he has hopes of a full recovery. The family has set up a website (which you can visit by clicking here) to accept donations to help pay for her care. Bless her heart, I hope she makes it.

3. Finally I’d like to tell you about a man in New Hampshire. Police say a 69 year old man became irate after being put on hold by the Social Security Administration. He says he called to find out where his check was because he had not received it and was put on hold for over 30 minutes. When somebody did finally get on the line he told them he was going to go to the Social Security office in Keene New Hampshire and kill the first person he met. The office was closed and the man was arrested. If you ask me I’d tell you that was an extremely dumb move. I can understand his anger having sat on hold longer than I’d like but I can not understand his threat. I mean really, come on, you’re going to KILL someone over a little inconvenience? That’s just not a normal reaction to me. I think he may need some help.

Well, that’s all I have for you today. I hope everyone is having a nice Thursday morning so far. I’ll see you soon.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Call the police! Ronald McDonald is messin' up!




“911 What is your emergency?”

“There are no Chicken McNuggets!!!”

As crazy as that sounds, it actually happened. 27 year old Latreasa Goodman of Fort Pierce Florida called 911 three times because the McDonald’s she visited was out of Chicken McNuggets.

Apparently last week she ordered and paid for a 10 piece McNugget but was told they were out. The cashier told her all sales were final. What? That’s ridiculous. Having worked in restaurants for 25 years I can tell you that NO sale is ever final in the food industry. Yes, restaurants run out of product. It happens to the best of us. I can recall times that I ran out of beef while working at Arby’s. (Arby’s is a roast beef restaurant in case you haven’t left your home in a while.) Running out of beef is NOT a good thing there but it happened and I had the “pleasure” of informing the customers that America’s roast beef restaurant didn’t have any beef. I did not however tell them too bad you ordered it, all sales are final.

The cashier refused to give Goodman a refund and instead offered her a larger portion of food at the same price of the nuggets. That’s when Goodman became irate and called 911. A McDonald’s spokesman says she should have been given a refund. I couldn’t agree more. Restaurants, especially fast food restaurants, have permission to refund your money regardless of what they may tell you. A lot of independently owned restaurants choose to act like they can’t give you a refund because it will interfere with them making GP (Gross Profit) for that month. Having been an assistant manager for many years I was privy to that information and I paid attention.

Goodman has been charged with misuse of 911. I agree that should have happened too. 911 is there for EMERGENCIES not missing chicken nuggets. The police have enough to deal with with real crimes and real emergencies and should not have to stop that work to deal with irate McDonald’s customers over missing chicken.

The McDonald’s spokesman did say she would receive a gift card for a free meal. I guess that’s good. Honestly I think she should just get her chicken nuggets. I don’t believe in getting more than what I paid for and I wouldn’t want someone giving me something just to shut me up. Of course I would never call 911 over a messed up McDonald’s order either.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

You didn’t need that, did you?



You wake up, go about your normal morning routine, walk out your front door, lock it and head to work. Five hours later you return home to find your apartment empty. Did thieves break in while you were gone? No, it was the landlord.

In Madison Wisconsin, Edward Peterson came home to discover all of his possessions gone. Numerous CD’s (about 150), DVD’s, books, credit cards, cash… all gone. His landlord (who manages several complexes) had maintenance workers clean out the wrong apartment. I would freak out.

Most of Peterson’s property was found in the dumpster and his TV with its remote was in the rental office (I guess they found it difficult to throw away a TV). The landlord says he’ll be reimbursed for all his property. Thank God for that anyway.

If I were that landlord I would be so embarrassed. He got the apartment number correct; it was the complex that was wrong. I can see how that would happen.

Many years ago I lived at 252 Tyler. A hang up 911 call from 252 Taylor came into the police station. They sent an officer out and he came to my house instead of the house that placed the call which was about 3 blocks from us. He was really upset when I said we hadn’t made a 911 call. He was quite insistent. He accused me of lying. That made me mad. I could have made things better immediately by telling the officer that we didn’t have a phone in our house (we didn’t) but when the words “Why do you want to lie to me?” came out of his mouth, my brain stopped being reasonable and my mouth quickly followed. I said “Why don’t you send another officer out here since you’re too hardheaded to listen to me.” I’m surprised I didn’t go to jail that night. I was mad. Very mad. When I’m that angry I’m not friendly. It’s something I really need to work on.

He did call for another officer but he didn’t leave. When the second officer arrived I invited him inside (I was already calming down and therefore I was being a little more reasonable) and showed him that we had no phone. I asked him how we could have made a 911 call with no telephone. He told me I couldn’t. He used his cute little radio (I’ve always wanted one of those radio mike’s that attach to your belt. Don’t ask me why. I just like them) to call the station and found out the address of the hang up call. I heard them say 252 Taylor and I started laughing. He said “what?” and I told him our address, 252 Tyler. He smiled and walked outside to talk to the other officer.

The original officer that visited me got a weird look on his face. I knew he knew he was wrong. He walked over to me and apologized. Then I felt bad that I had been rude to him. It was an honest mistake. I apologized for that and told him I hoped everything was ok at the other house. He got another weird look and said he had to go. Obviously he had forgotten about his original mission. It was a pretty bad night for him and I still feel terrible that I was rude even though it’s been over 15 years since this happened.

So I can understand the landlord making a mistake. I feel almost as bad for the landlord as I do for the man whose possessions were thrown out. ALMOST.

Monday, March 2, 2009

I wouldn't like to see, how a Dr. Seuss-less life would be




Blow up balloons!
Put on your silly face!
Let’s have some cake!
And maybe even a race!
It’s a beautiful day
Here in Seussville because
There once was a man
Who was special...he was!
Today is his birthday
And if he was alive
The wonderful Ted Geisel
Would be 105!

Click here to visit Seussville

Somtimes love leads to understanding and trust




On October 3, 2003, the magical performing team of Siegfried & Roy changed forever. It was on that day that one of their white tigers, a 7 year old male named Montecore, attacked and seriously injured Roy Horn.

According to Wikipedia, the tiger believed Roy was in danger. When a woman from the audience reached out to pet him, Roy jumped between the woman and the tiger and that’s when the trouble began.

After jumping between the woman and Montecore, the tiger bit into his arm and was ignoring his command to release. He hit the tiger with his microphone and was attempting to back up when he tripped over the big cats paw. Stagehands then leapt onto the tigers back in an attempt to restrain him. Former Mirage owner Steve Wynn said that it was at that time that Montecore thought his trainer was in real danger and took his neck in his mouth to drag Roy out of dangers way. They truly believe the cat was trying to help his master and not hurt him.

Roy also believed the tiger was not trying to hurt him and was even heard saying “Don’t shoot the cat!” on his way to the hospital. Doctors had to remove a portion of Roy’s skull to allow room for his brain to swell while healing. He suffered a stroke and partial paralysis. But he still never blamed Montecore.

After spending 10 days in quarantine to ensure he was not rabid, Montecore was allowed to return to his home at The Mirage. The show was ended.

Now a little over 5 years later the three performers took the stage for one final show. Roy Horn, Siegfried Fischbacher and Montecore performed together at a benefit for the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health on Saturday. The center will treat brain disorders like the ones Horn now suffers from when it opens later this year.

After performing their illusion they stood silent with Siegfried standing between the tiger and Roy and blew kisses to the audience. An announcer said “Within all of us there is an illusive melody, which when heard and followed will lead you to the fulfillment of your fondest dreams.” The performance will be shown on a one-hour 20/20 special Friday. I’ll definitely be watching.
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