Tuesday, July 31, 2007

RIP Bill Walsh...

Bill Walsh coached the 49ers from 1979-1989. It was during this time, about 1985 that I became fascinated with professional football and became a 49ers fan. I have fond memories of those high school years staying up late with grams on Monday nights watching 49er games, writing about their games in the school newspaper, following the careers of many of the players, and even having met a few of them when they visited military base when I was stationed in Hawaii many years back. I was a huge Joe Montana fan for years and when he and Coach left the team, for me it was like breaking up a family. Oh sure there were other fabulous players who were awesome and I followed their careers but for me it was never the same.

I didn't know Bill Walsh but he coached an extraordinary team during a time in my life that I will never forget. I learned about football by watching 49er games, I appreciated the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat by watching the Niners win and lose under his leadership. I was fortunate enough to be witness to one of the greatest teams that ever played the game under the leadership of one of the greatest coaches to ever coach the game.

RIP Coach, you'll be missed.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Graduate education a privilege not a right...

I'm about to go on a tirade so those of you who hate rants and tirades should exit now.

When it comes to education, probably the most challenging and rigorous is graduate school. Having worked in higher education for nearly 14 years I can tell you I've seen thousands of students come and go and not all of them were cut out to be graduate students. Graduate academic programs are difficult, they should be, for if they were easy everyone would be attending. No matter how good a student one can be at the undergraduate level, not everyone is cut out to write a thesis or a dissertation or get an MBA or some other specialized graduate degree. It doesn't mean that person isn't smart, it's just that graduate school requires a certain type of person who can handle the challenge, the stress and the work required. It's for many, but not for everyone, no big deal. I believe graduate school education should be challenging and rigorous and go above and beyond the scope of the undergraduate education, at least it's supposed to. I believe that admission to graduate school should be selective and that it is a privilege not a right.

And so I am irritated by students in graduate school who complain about a tough course saying that it is too difficult. Even worse are the students who complain about the fact that the difficult course they hated and had to muddle through was eventually removed from the curriculum (for whatever reasons) after they took it and future students do not have to take it. Instead of focusing on doing well in their own program, these students are busy bitching about the fact future students will not have to go through the same hell they did. It is the nature of graduate programs to change, to evolve to the needs of the students in the program. Often faculty committees will explore change and seek to find ways to make the program more challenging while meeting the needs of the students, the department and the university. That's the nature of the beast.

My thoughts are that if a student would rather whine and bitch instead of utilizing the program to grow to their fullest potential, then perhaps that individual isn't cut out for graduate education.

I can only imagine what happens when people like this move into the real world and behave in this manner.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Because I just couldn't resist:

This story (click link) really got me, I was laughing my ass off. In fact I made some minor changes you may enjoy. You can call it "what the article should have read"


Hollywood to Put Pesky Celebrity Publicity Whores on the Pill

Monday, July 30, 2007

LOS ANGELES — Pesky publicity whore celebrities living in tinsel town are going on the pill. Hollywood residents believe it's a humane way to reduce the enormous celebrity population and the messes they make.

Community leaders plan to announce the pilot program Monday at a news conference. Laura Dodson, the president of the
Argyle Civic Association said the "celebrity poop problem" has become unmanageable and this could be the answer.

Over the next few months, a birth control product will be placed in the alcoholic beverages served to celebrities in the most popular celebrity bars and nightclubs in tinsel town. Experts who developed the method believe that inserting the product in alcoholic drinks will be the one way to ensure that it is spread widely and efficiently throughout the population of publicity whores in Hollywood.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Celebrities (ETC) and other celebrity rights groups approve of the measure stating that there are already so many celebrity publicity whores in the Hollywood area, there just isn't room for more. Experts in the area of eradicating pesky celebs estimate that about 15,000 celebrities call the Hollywood area home, with about 1/4 of that population fitting the category of pesky publicity whores.


Saturday, July 28, 2007

Cracking down on hate crime gone too far again...

According to this New York Newsday story, 23-year old Stanislav Shmulevich was arrested for throwing a Koran in the toilet at Pace University. And because of past offenses to Muslims, the University is offering "sensitivity training" to its students.

Think about this:

You can destroy a Bible in America and it's called free speech.

You can cover a statue of the Virgin Mary with feces and urine and display as art and it's called free speech.

You can burn a cross and it's called free speech.

You can march and demonstrate in favor of neo-nazism and it's called free speech.

You can march and demonstrate against our government and it's called free speech.

You can burn literary works of art and it's called free speech.

You can destroy an American flag in America and it's called free speech.

But...you can't destroy a Koran in America because it's considered offensive and hate speech.

Like the other acts aren't offensive or hateful to some group in America? WTF country am I living in? It's either all or nothing? Either you can or you can't, but you can't have both.

Newsday reports Muslims believe the Koran is the direct word of God and "treatment of the Quran is a sensitive issue for Muslims, who view the book as a sacred object and mistreating it as an offense against God."

So friggin what?

This is America and if some idiot wants to desecrate a religious book or icon, they are free to do it so long as they are not infringing on the civil rights of another person. At least that's the way it's supposed to be.

Some people would say that free speech ends at the point where it infringes upon the rights of another human being. And so you have to ask yourself:

Is throwing a Koran in the toilet an act of infringing upon the constitutional or civil rights of any person?

The answer is a resounding no!

All I can say is right now NY sucks!

Friday, July 27, 2007

I'm sure their parents would be proud...

What kind of idiot crosses a street and doesn't look to see if there are cars headed towards them?

It's something basic learned before a youngster even starts the first day of kindergarten. When you cross the street, you look left, right, then left again. In this town I look left, right, left, right, left, right and then left again because you see, we have dumbass drivers and pedestrians and bicyclists who don't know the meaning of the word caution. I once hit a dumbass on a bike because she wasn't paying attention yet I got the ticket. Me? I did my turn, I had looked left and right so many times my neck hurt! Of course it rarely matters if a biker/pedestrian just runs right out in front of you, if you hit them, you get the ticket.

Every morning when I pull into the parking lot near my building at work, there's at least two or three dumbass students who are walking across the street and NOT EVEN LOOKING to see there's a car coming towards them. Usually the students are on their cell phones or have their I-Pod and headphones glued to their ears. And they walk so damn slow, they stroll, like they have nothing better to do. And I wait, I'm on their heels hoping they'll smell the evil carbon or hear the evil 4-cylinder of my non-hybrid car. Nope, it doesn't phase them, they never even notice. The same thing happens when I get in my car to depart the lovely workplace at the end of the day only this time there's MORE of these twits. And in the afternoons it's much worse because there's more of them. It seems once a person goes to college they seem to forget the rules of the road. They think they are invincible. Yeah so did the girl on the bike that I hit many years ago. Oh she was alright, no damage to her, just her bike. When I called up ready to make an appointment to have it fixed I found out from her roommate that her parents had pulled her out of school and shipped her back home with them to attend school locally because she'd biked out into the middle of a busy intersection and gotten herself hit again. I heard she was a little dinged up but fine.

Do you think she learned that time?

It amazes me how some of these people got into college in the first place!

Is it FRIGGIN possible to divorce your FRIGGIN family?

Uh in a word...NO!

Sorry ma, you asked! :)

So there I was yesterday at work minding my own business, which just doesn't happen very often, when I received an email from my aunt thanking me for the info I'd sent her on our family history. Then she asked if I could find some other info for her and then she gave me some info to help me which made me laugh and so I emailed her back with the phrase "Oy Friggin Vey!" meaning an extreme "oy vey" and next thing you know darling uncle sends back a reply asking me not to use curse words in my emails to them.

What curse words?


Sure, friggin means a lot of things but so do a lot of words. It's all in how you use them.

I emailed him back and told him "friggin" isn't a curse word and then HE proceeded to email me back a copy of a webpage from reference.com citing the different uses of the word f*ck and showing that "friggin" was one of the terms for it.

I hate it when someone thinks they know everything and works so hard to prove everyone else is FRIGGIN wrong. My uncle has done this on more than one occasion. And I just was already perturbed yesterday and wasn't backing down. So I emailed him back and told him that I thought it was interesting that he can't email me, phone me or write or even THANK me for the lovely birthday card I made for him BACK IN APRIL yet he has the time to point out my allegedly incorrect verbage.

My auntie emails me back asking me not to be mad, that they loved the card and had tried to contact us several times but couldn't get us. Hey I know our phone at home is busy a lot because we have dialup but uh---he can't call me at work? Or use email? I mean hell he used email to chastise me for my cursing.

And good grief don't even ask what else happened yesterday. Ok I'll tell you because if you got this far already you're a glutton for punishment.

Yesterday my aunt emailed me needing some genealogy info for my cousin, her oldest son (and for her too or so I thought) and we knew I had to get it from grams but we all know there are certain things from long ago that grams doesn't want to talk about it--and so I asked ma if she could call grams and ask her for me. Then poor ma's on the phone with grams for thirty minutes getting the FRIGGIN third degree about this and that. All the while I'm sitting here at work, trying to rewrite some text for a publication we're putting out and mom's IM'ing me with the sordid details while she's on the phone with grams. I'm quite sure that if my grandmother were the cursing kind she would have inserted the "f" word between every other word. My mother, poor thing, is on the receiving end of all this, IM'ing me at the same time. I pictured for a moment in time mom as Archie Bunker picking up the rope, tying the knot and hanging himself.

Yes it gets like this in our family. Anyway, let's see how this went...

My Aunt asks me for some info. (I should have known this was not going to turn out well)

I say ok (I'm a sucker!)

I call mom and ask mom to help me. (What was I thinking?)

Mom says ok (bad idea!)

Mom calls grams (a very bad idea!)

Grams proceeds on a thirty minute tirade. (what? like this is anything new!)

Grams calls Aunt (oh boy the shit's about to hit the fan now!)

Aunt calls mom (man my mom is gonna get it....)

My phone rings at work (oh hell you KNOW who that was LOL!)

You see, this is why people lock themselves in the bathroom and burn toilet paper. This is why people drink heavily before family get togethers. This is the kind of dysfunction that can warp a person for life!


Tuesday, July 24, 2007

"I'll never eat a tangerine again."


Lunacy rears its ugly head once again!

Elizabeth Edwards has decided that eating fruits and vegetables which are transported and not grown locally causes a carbon footprint. She vowes only to eat locally grown fruits and veggies from now on and says since tangerines don't grow in North Carolina she'll have to give them up.

Ok eating locally grown fruits and veggies is fine but really now--perhaps her wig is too tight but doesn't she realize there are fossil fuels involved in the planting and production and local transportation of those fruits and vegetables? Tractors use fuel, people who work on the farms have cars which require fuel, the food has to be transported to market in vehicles using fuel.

These people are killing me!!!

The hell with tangerines, what Elizabeth Edwards should be eating is brain food!

Monday, July 23, 2007

The state doesn't understand "if it ain't broke don't fix it."

I'm one of those individuals who thinks if there's nothing wrong with something why spend money to fix it? It's really common sense to me. I suppose I tend to associate with people who live by common sense and so most folks reading this who know me will likely think as I do on this matter.

It seems like the more a business or organization attempts to fix a problem that doesn't exist, the more time and money is spent on it. Take that problem and multiply it ten-fold when it's a government organization. One of our biggest problems with government today is that simple problems are turned into huge ones and result in committees and subcommittees and new cabinet positions and task forces and all that just to fix one simple little problem. And then there's the government entity that creates problems where one doesn't exist, at least not to anyone but the people claiming there's a problem. And so goes the saga of a state institution which claims that because they are one of the "nation's largest and most comprehensive institutions", and because they are"ranked among the best and most complex", it is important that they present "one clear image through a coordinated identification program." The institution's higher ups want to show that the institution is a "multifaceted but unified organization".

Most people still don't see where there was any confusion in identity before. There were never any known complaints from entities inside or outside so how did this become such a major issue? One can only guess.

Some time ago departments were informed they had to use up their old supply of printed materials so new ones could be purchased and everyone could be unified. But with the budget crunch, there is an extension on using up the old letterhead, envelopes, business cards, and other printed items, after which departments will have to pay good money to buy new business cards, brochures, envelopes and letterhead, all of which is now in color and not basic black ink. Departments can print out their own letterhead which must be done by a color printer.

Just wondering.....why does basic black letter head not work? It's cheap and it's effective. And most of the stuff it'll be printed on will likely wind up in someone's trash can eventually.

But I digress. The institution has published a list of things individuals can do with the letterhead, business cards and envelopes. Of course the normal average taxpayer would think that using it for its intended purpose would be the only use but of course that would be too simple. And so here it is for your enjoyment......is the wonderful list of things one can do with letterhead, business cards, and envelopes paid for by YOUR tax dollars!

-Have notepads made at no charge
-Cut up and use as scratch paper.
-Shred and use for packaging, confetti, and pet substrate.
-Donate to your child’s school for craft and art projects.

Business cards
-Enter them in free lunch drawings at local restaurants.
-Trim and use as file cabinet labels and hanging file folder labels.
-Use as bookmarks.
-Glue on the inside cover of books to encourage borrowers to return to owner.
-Stuff a few in your wallet or purse to jot down urgent reminders, telephone numbers, to-do lists, etc.
-Staple to the inside of file folders to make room for brief notes about the contents of the file.
-Flip over and use for neat, uniform notes on bulletin boards.
-Donate to your child’s school for craft -projectsorigami, decoupage, etc.

-Continue to use for inner-office mailings, such as memos and check stubs.
-Slap a thick label over the UF logo and use for campus (or personal) mailings.
-Store seed collections in them.
-Organize small items in them—rubber bands, paper clips, keys.
-Make grocery shopping a breeze by scribbling your grocery list on the outside and storing coupons on the inside.
-Organize stacks of papers by scribbling notes on the outside of the envelope and folding the flap around the stack.

Are you kidding me?

Did they just say it was ok to use letterhead envelopes for personal use by slapping a label over the institution's name? For storing seeds? For shopping lists? I would have thought the ONLY use for all this stuff would be to use it for what it was originally intended!!

We're in a budget crisis and this is what we get.....


Thursday, July 19, 2007

It's Schiavo vs. Kevorkian now...

Terri Schiavo's brother is spearheading a petition to force UF to reverse its decision to invite Dr. Jack Kevorkian to speak at UF on the topic of euthenasia. Dr. Kevorkian was invited by ACCENT--the Student-run speakers bureau managed by Student Government and funded by student fees. Besides, what in hell business does Schiavo have trying to tell UF student government what they can and can't do? He's not a student at UF, he doesn't pay fees here, he's not affiliated, so he shouldn't even be telling them what they should or shouldn't do. ACCENT often invites controversial speakers to the campus, Kevorkian is no different.

Schiavo thinks Kevorkian is sending the wrong message to young people. What Schiavo forgets is that these are college students on a college campus where diversity in thoughts, ideas, and opinions is promoted and is necessary in this type of environment. It is important for these students to have access to a wide variety of speakers with varying viewpoints. That's one of the things which makes higher education so great.

But Schiavo doesn't care, he wants Kevorkian silenced. Why? Because he disagrees with him.

Once again we have another person who, in order to further their own personal cause (regardless of how noble that cause may be), believes that free speech is limited to acceptable and non-controversial speech.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

"Michael Vick" synonymous with "scumbag bastard"...

Michael Vick's fingerprints are all over this mess. The bastard abused and beat dogs viciously when they didn't perform to his liking. This isn't the first time he's been in trouble. He's a creep. There's something inherently evil about a person who is cruel to animals.

Innocent till proven guilty? Yep, according to the law. But my own personal opinion which I've held for a long time is that Vick, the buddy-buddy of gang bangers is seriously lacking in the morality department and he's a scumbag. It's likely been breaking the law for years and getting away with it because of his athletic talent.

I hope it catches up with him.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Dish Network still can't get it right...

Some time ago I wrote a few pieces about Dish Network and what a piece of shit company they are. In the past 6 months since we cancelled service with them we have had no less than a half dozen phone calls asking for our business back. Each time we give a resounding no.

In a nutshell their customer service sucked and every time we called they kept insisting we had a contract that we of course knew never existed. First thing we were told every time we called was "you have a contract and if you cancel you owe us______". They kept getting our bills wrong too. We got so pissed off we finally cancelled, returned the equipment and chucked what was left. F*ck Dish Network.

So color me stupid when today they called again and I bit...well almost. They almost sold us on the no installation charge, no service charge, no contract, and $10 off every month for a year. We figured maybe they really wanted to make up for the shitty service the first time. So after discussing it DH and I thought we might go for it. Well I give the guy my credit card number so he can have it on file because as the guy says "in case you don't return the equipment should you ever cancel" and then when he tried to put me in the system but it blocked him!

Apparently....and those of you who know well about my last Dish Network saga, the system showed that we could not get service with them because......according to their records, LAST TIME WE WERE WITH THEM WE BROKE OUR CONTRACT!!!!

I shouted "are you f*cking kidding me?"

and then because it just sounded so good I again exclaimed "are you f*cking kidding me?"

I wish I could say I was surprised but I'm not. Dish Network sucks. Their customer service sucks, their management sucks, their whole f*cking operation sucks.

The funny thing is that I have a letter here dated March 9, 2007 from Gerri Santistevan, Dispute Resolution Specialist, (720-514-7292 or Geraldine.santistevn@echostar.com) wrote to the Florida Attorney General's office and cc'd me in response to my official complaint against them. In the letter she states:

"We take our customer service seriously and strive to be the best in our industry. Our customers are very important to us and we sincerely apologize for the service she received."

Yeah right! Ms. Santistevan, save the bullshit for some poor schmuck who actually believes it, because I don't.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

When good looking celebrities go bad...

"I want to apologize for all the trouble this has caused."

What? Are you kidding me?

Miss New Jersey Amy Polumbo was recently the victim of blackmail and decided to go public with the photos. I say good for her.

Of course she disappointed me a bit when she apologized. Why apologize? She didn't do anything wrong, in the pics she was a college kid having fun. I've seen the pictures as has the rest of the country and they're no big deal. Why should a person apologize when they've done nothing wrong?

While I'm not a fan of pageants because of their promotion of physical beauty over any other qualities, I will say kudos to Amy Polumbo for standing up for herself and for paving the way for future contestants. You know this sort of thing wouldn't be a problem if the pageant officials weren't hell bent on insisting these contestants have such a fairy tale image.

What fairy tale image you ask?

The one of perfection. As Amy Polumbo said, she's a human, not a robot.

Cut her some slack.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Another excellent use of Florida taxpayer dollars!

A department within a state agency was at risk of losing their storage room (about 20x20 roughly) to another department for their storage so in order to keep this from happening, a requisition was made to convert said storage room into an office at a cost of nearly $30,000 to the taxpayers. The office which is located in this department's warehouse, was to be air conditioned and house two individuals who work in the department whose job responsibilities do not even warrant an office (rather it just puts a couple of guys who spend much of their time screwing around in their own private office doing it).

Well after the room is all finished and nearly $30,000 has been squandered---I mean uh--spent, it turns out that some dipshit forgot to spec out the electrical, computer and telecommunications wiring in the office. And so now the office can't be used because there's no money to finish it-remember Florida's in a severe budget crisis--or so they say.

I know what you're thinking. I know, I know and when I was told about it I damn near spewed my Publix low-fat pineapple yogurt all over my computer screen.

Must be nothing more important going on in Jersey...

I used to get angry now I just laugh. How can you do anything but laugh at this latest proposed legislation seeking to ban toy guns in New Jersey

The ban (yep, another ban folks!) would make it illegal for anyone under 18 to purchase a toy gun. Violators would be subject to $1,000 fine or six months in prison.

The esteemed NJ moron senator who is backing this would rather ban the item altogether than encourage parents to talk to their children about the proper use of toy guns. The moron Senator Nicholas Scutari said, "We need to stress to our children that guns are not toys, but deadly weapons which should always be regarded with extreme caution and handled with respect. Restricting access to imitation firearms will help to drive that point home."


So how many crimes were committed with toy guns last year Senator?

Yes we know that some stupid kids bring toy guns to school and it can be difficult to tell if it's real or not to a teacher. So why not create a rule, a strict one that states bringing a toy firearm to school will result in extreme punishment? How about kicking the kid out of school? I mean hell we kick boys out of school now for more serious offenses like oh--telling a girl she is pretty, or wearing a cross on a necklace, or accidentally leaving a butterknife in the back of their car or the ultimate sin of having a key ring that might God-forbid have a point on it.

This ban is yet one more attempt to take away from parents the responsibility of parenting and lay it in the hands of the government.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

You see, this is the idiocy of America...

Banning is always the easiest solution isn't it? Because it requires no work or effort on the part of the regulating authority.

This article is ridiculous.

The environmentalists want to ban bottled water because they say it's not good for the environment. San Francisco has banned purchasing bottled water and Ann Arbor Michigan will no longer offer it at city sponsored events. Even some California restaurants are beginning to voluntarily ban the use of bottled water as well. The water is being banned for two reasons....too much plastic (made from oil) and too much fuel (made from oil) to transport all those filled bottles. (We're also being told that tap water is just as good, but if you've had tap water in any major city lately, chances are it tastes like crap)
“For us, it’s about doing the right thing,” said Michael Kossa-Rienzi, general manager of Chez Panisse, a restaurant in Berkeley, California.

Yeah uh-huh, that's interesting considering that Mr. Kossa-Rienzi's restaurant still imports wine from Europe, wine which is uh---in bottles (the old evil) and much heavier, thereby contributing to the use of more fuel. Dumbass! In fact, everything in that restaurant was likely imported from somewhere, requiring the use of fuel. And I am sure there's plenty of plastic in other places in that restaurant.

Why stop at water bottles? Why not just ban everything made from plastic? Think about the costs to transport every single thing from China that is made from plastic? Toys, computer parts, furniture, you name it--it's likely got some plastic in it. Hell, our environmentalists could put the Chinese government out of business overnight and our environment would be clean and fresh.
Hmm....a two-fer!

I seem to recall in the 70's when we were warned of the evils of glass. Plastic became popular and millions of containers converted to plastic. I recall the commercial where the little kid knocks over the two-liter pepsi and it doesn't crash and break on the floor, instead, it bounced! Plastic was wonderful. Plastic was great! Plastic was the big craze and we were ALL encouraged to buy plastic. Glass was the evil enemy!

And now plastic is the new evil. Go figure. It's always something with these people.

The fact is that 100 percent of plastic water bottles are recyclable. Maybe instead of spending their valuable time telling us what we can and can't drink from, cities should best be using that time to implement mandatory recycling programs which are guaranteed to benefit all of us in a multitude of ways.

This is too funny. I'm looking around my house at dozens of things made from plastic. The in-boxes on my desk, my computer monitor, the damn CPU that houses my hard drive, my binders for school, the dials on my television, my clock radio, the bookcovers on my books, the kitty litter boxes, the dishsoap containers, laundry baskets, the list goes on and on.
They are all either entirely made from or contain some of that dastardly plastic.

If they're going to start banning water bottles, they better start banning every friggin' thing made from plastic. If not they just need to shut the hell up! First they shrink our automobiles to midget size, then they start telling us how many damn squares of toilet paper it should take to wipe our asses, and now this?

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Government at its best...

Dear incompetent employees of federal government agencies,


Just one more pissed off American.

Ahh, I feel better now. And since that's out of the way, I oughta at least share with you the whole reason behind the above rant. Read this for yet another glimpse of where our hard-earned tax dollars are going!

Summertime, Summertime, Sum Sum Summertime...

Many hugs and thanks to the Canadians for holding back our jet stream! It's been a nightmare here with temps in the 100's daily. In fact it was 103 the other day and in the mid 70's at night. I know, I know it's Florida, we should expect it but when I was a kid growing up I don't remember it being this hot. It must be GLOBAL warming. Yes that would explain it uh-huh but what about the glowing GLACIER population in the arctic region? Hmm........yes you take some time to think about that won't you? :)

DH and I were outside on Saturday morning folding up a large tent and bundling poles, we'd used this for the annual graduate barbecue at our house, and we were only out there fifteen minutes and when we were finished we were sweating like pigs. Good thing we had showered prior to going outside eh? And it wasn't even 10 am yet.

I feel sorry for my plants, my azaleas, caladiums, elephant ears, hydrangeas, impatiens, dahlias, gardenias, india hawthorn and all the other things we have growing because they need water and there isn't enough. We get weekly rain but the heavy rain is few and far between, we need more. When we water it's usually every few days and in the evening or early morning if it's a weekend day. We have mulched everything so that really helps. But still you can see a few wilt at times from the heat. They come back when watered and when it cools but still you hate to see them get that way.

Speaking of impatiens, here's one of the two we have hanging on the side porch:

We've had good luck this year planting and pruning and let me tell you neither of us has the green thumb. I took the pruning shears to the azaleas which were planted in front of the house and growing haywire and I chopped 'em down to 6 inches. Now they are so full and green I can't believe the change! I have taken photos and once they are developed (yes developed, we still do things the old fashioned way!), I will post them.

Since I'm posting pics, below are some pics of the front, sides and back, we have more grass now and the gardenias (seen to the right of the white birdbath in the picture above), are growing nicely now. These photos were taken a few months ago before everything we planted began blooming and yes in one of those photos next to the white bird bath that is a kitty litter box with water in it! The crows love to take baths and they needed something deep and so I improvised!

Thank goodness for all the shade we have, it really cuts down on the electricity consumption. The house is in shade for 3/4 of the day which is really nice during seasons like this. It's one of the reasons I love this place, so many trees, so green, so many birds, deer and other little critters...the place is all woods. It's nice too, very quiet, and lots of deer. The deer love to come right out of the woods and graze in the open areas.

I tell ya, we have the best of both worlds, You see we live in the peaceful serene country with wild animals and we are just off a grated road leading to a paved county road. It's not a busy highway, we hear cars occasionally because the sound travels way out there. But we're only 45 minutes from work which makes it really convenient. I'd love to buy this place eventually and then build a house, we've talked seriously about it but we don't know where we'll be. Where will DH's future welding career take us? Where will my profession after my degree(s) lead me? For now this place is nice, 1500 roomy square feet, 3 BR, 2 BA, a HUGE kitchen and damn near as much cabinetry, countertop and storage space as a woman could want, a large front deck, a covered sideporch, a pole barn for DH to work, and a smaller workroom/tool shed for smaller projects and for storing his equipment. For now we have this comfy place and it's only 7 years old, it's got quite a few years left on it so we have time to build a house. Anyway we love our place in the country and maybe next year when the lease for year #2 is up, LL will be interested in selling it to us. He's expressed interest already saying that when we're ready to move then he'd sell but he told us from the beginning that he'd give us an opportunity if we were interested. We know what he paid and if it's close to that, it'll be a great deal.

Anyway, like I said, it's hot, damn hot, bring on the winter, I mean arctic winds, glaciers in the front yard, the whole thing....I won't be complaining!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

No 20th for me...

Our 20th high school reunion is in September and I thought I wanted to attend but my little voice kept nagging at me and I couldn't figure out why, till I finally realized I really didn't want to go. The thought seemed odd since after all, I'd been instrumental in putting together the contact list and emailing everyone and asking for their info. Suddenly though I realized that while I had become friends with a few people in the class over the last few years, they were the only ones I really cared about seeing and I didn't need a reunion for that.

In a class of about 35, there were only a handful of people I really cared about now who never bothered me in school, the rest I could care less about. In a school of just over 600 in K-12, everyone knew everything about everybody else and there were as many cliques in this small school as there were in the bigger ones. Sometimes they can be just as cruel if not worse. My days spent in class were tough, it's not that they were bad every day but I just never felt like I fit in and we all know that fitting in is a huge part of high school! I was smart, I wasn't a bad person, wasn't mean to others, I just wasn't one of them. From the day my parents moved us up here, my siblings and I had a hard time fitting in though I'm not sure why, there was nothing wrong with us, except that maybe unlike everyone else, we weren't related to half the town . Being the new kid on the block is tough. I heard recently that a classmate who I am friends with now (who was eventually one of the popular crowd), sat alone at lunch when she first arrived at our school because nobody would sit with her. So I guess we each have our own experiences with peer pressure and fitting in.

I will admit that moving us here from Miami was the best move my parents could have made in regards to the well being of us kids. Living in the country was great. Even with rough times that comes with being kids, we enjoyed times at home with our folks and grandparents. The area where we lived offered a good education in a good environment and the people overall were very kind and generous. My senior year was my favorite year because I was on the newspaper staff, and served as news editor and was also on the yearbook staff. That was a great time for me, I was writing the opinion page and enjoying the class very much. But other than that, much of the rest is a blur.

I attended the 10 year reunion in 1997 because honestly I felt I had something to prove to those people who had been cruel to me....the class snobs and the asshole guys, none of which are among my small circle of friends I mentioned an with whom I keep in touch. It was nice to see the same people mentioned above but the rest--I just didn't care. I attended the reunion for selfish reasons, not to see them, but for them to see me. I wanted the snobs and assholes to see the person they tossed aside and wouldn't have anything to do with because she didn't wear makeup and didn't have fancy clothes and wasn't a cheerleader and wasn't in the Christmas pageants, and all those other umpteen reasons teenagers ostracize and ignore their classmates who they think are beneath them. At the reunion I kept telling myself, "you are just as good as they are". There was my little voice again, the one that constantly talks to me telling me one day that I'm not good enough and the next day that I am. I have always had a complex and I don't know if that ever goes away. Little by little I hammer away at it, but I think it takes a lifetime to get rid of it. Those who know me best know it's as much a part of me as any of my other traits and they are pretty good about dealing with that side of me.

For more than ten years now I've been friends with Susan, who was very quiet in school, well-liked but stayed to herself, it was just she and Robert. And I've become friends with Jeanette, Katrina, Stephanie and Julie who were all very popular and well-liked but also kind people, never cruel, and I found out later they each had their own share of struggles. There was also Melissa, a very kind and very smart girl who was as unpopular as I was, and she was picked on quite a bit. I suppose in my own right I should take some responsibility. You see, one of my friends recently apologized to me, not for the act of commission but for the act of omission--for not doing anything. You see, while she never did or said anything to harm me, and we always got along, she felt bad she never stuck up for me. She apologized, but frankly she has nothing to apologize for, she did nothign wrong. I say to her, "it's ok Steph, I understand". To be honest, I didn't do that for Melissa either. I should have stuck up for her. And so I guess I'm guilty too.

Recently I emailed Katrina, Steph, Julie and Susan to tell them I didn't want to be a part of the reunion and I suppose it was a surprise given I was working with them to plan the darn thing. But my gut told me that I just didn't want to go and I didn't want to force myself. I don't need a reunion to keep up with them and the other few I've become friends with, all of whom are here except for Jeanette who lives in Pennsylvania.

Anyway I'm sure I can't be the only person on this earth whose ever felt this way about a reunion or gone similar high school experiences, it's just the way it has been, is now, and will always be...as long as there are kids in the world :)

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Who else do you know who can read 98 pages per hour?

First off, I never attended any speed reading courses nor would I want to. I don't really believe in speed reading because I think that it tends to take away from the enjoyment of a good book. I like to skim for facts when I'm reading my course textbooks but that's normal, but when I read for entertainment, I like to take my time and enjoyit.

I don't know how I learned to read to fast and absorb the information but I just do. It all started at the age of three when I began reading anything and everything. I can recall reading the back of cereal boxes attempting to pronounce big words until I had them. I recall seeing the word "together" used in some silly promotion on the back of a cereal box. I thought the word was pronounced "tah-gether" and I kept saying it over and over till I got it right, it was "too-gether". Ask my parents and my grandmother and my grand aunt, they remember, I couldn't get enough to read.

I don't know if mom and dad know this but by the time I started high school I had read every single young adult fiction in that section of our school library. Mom thought I should spend more time on school books rather than library fiction but I used to check them out anyway, sometimes bringing them home, sometimes reading them at school and keeping them in my locker. She never discouraged me to read mind you, she just wanted me to focus on my STUDIES! For punishment (which I now say THANK YOU!) she would make me read my schoolbooks from cover to cover. And I did, over and over. I think that also helped my vocabulary. Look, parents aren't perfect, so my mother made me read my books? My parents cared....and I thank them for it now!

I went to the Florida State spelling championships two years in a row when I was in sixth and seventh grade. There are few words I cannot spell. I have always been good at pronouncing big words and I have this odd ability to pronounce foreign names immediately upon the first time seeing them. If it's too difficult I read it once, sound it out once and then pronounce it perfectly the second time. My foreign students are amazed at that ability. I don't know where it came from. I can imagine words in my head, I can almost feel them. Sounds silly doesn't it? I'm beginning to wonder if all that is why I enjoy writing so much and why I'm so good at it--when I put my mind to it.

Last night, I read Dan Brown's "Deception Point" (a fabulous thriller by the way!) starting it at 4:30 in the afternoon and finishing at midnight. I didn't rush through it, it was a paperback of 736 pages I believe, but for me it was a quick read. Before I began the book I'd joked to DH that there were times I could open a book that thick on a Friday night and have it finished by Sunday night. He was astonished even more so when I told him this morning I finished the book before going to bed Saturday night.

Of course reading such a book and then going to bed afterwards lends itself to all sorts of really weird dreams. I dreamed that Robert Redford (borrowed from the movie Sneakers), me and another girl were being tracked and we were on the run and we had to keep solving these word puzzles and then I ran to my mom and dad's neighbor's house (Mr. G) and used his phone to call out to get help because our phone was bugged. And I killed a lot of people with machine guns and pistols who were on to us, and I used guns that shot darts to put people to sleep vs. killing them. All in all a very very weird dream. Mom was grocery shopping and not home, where was dad? Oh who knows? The dream was a direct result of the book, no doubt in my mind.

Anyway, the paperback was small, standard paperback size so really the pages are quick reading but I realized that reading a 736 page book over 7.5 hours = 98 pages per hour.


Is that good?

Saturday, July 07, 2007

It's not really "7-7-7"

Everyone's buying into the 7-7-7 hype and I haven't figured out why. If it was "July 7" in the year "7" maybe I'd buy it, but it's July 7, 2007, so uh...where's the lucky number?

That's right----- it's not there.

I'm such a bubble burster aren't I?

Friday, July 06, 2007

A great quote for the day...

One of my favorite movies is Sneakers and near the end there's a hilarious dialogue between the characters played by Robert Redford (Martin), David Straitharn (Whistler), River Phoenix (Carl), Dan Aykroyd (Mother), Sydney Poitier (Donald) and James Earl Jones (Abbott)...

NSA Director Abbott: "What is it that you want?"

Whistler: "I want peace on earth and goodwill toward men"

Abbott: "We are the United States Government, we don't do that sort of thing!"

My goodness now that's a line that never gets old!!

Not to take anything away from the little tykes but...

...in addition to Kindergarten graduation we now have Pre-K graduation!

Are you kidding me?

I thought it was bad that many schools actually hold a kindergarten graduation but now Pre-K? I saw online a picture of someone's son who just graduated from Pre-K (and there was a prom afterwards but please don't get me started on that!) and I thought it strange that four year olds graduating from Pre-K are now considered serious accomplishments. Now, I don't want to take away from the accomplishments of children but let's face it, how difficult can Pre-K and Kindergarten really be?

Let's see---learning ABC's, learning to work and play well with others, learning to count to ten, naptime (do they have naptime anymore?) How difficult can it be?

I didn't "graduate" from anything till I graduated from high school. Then I graduated from boot camp. Next will be graduating from college with the undergrad and then the graduate degree.

Now that's a graduation. Pre-K and Kindergarten are not major accomplishments, at least not in my eyes and putting these kids in caps and gowns, handing them diplomas, giving them a prom, and making a big fuss is setting them up for expecting kudos every time they do something simple in life. It's likely their next graduation will be from elementary school which is what--5th grade? Then middle school which is 8th grade, if they even do graduations in middle school, and then in high school at 12th grade. So between the ages of 4 and 17 the kid's going to have anywhere from 3-5 graduations.

Graduating from high school is a major accomplishment, especially in today's world. Graduating from military training or college is a major accomplishment.

Graduating from pre-K and Kindergarten is not. Unless you can prove to me the rigors of Pre-K and Kindergarten I'm not buying it.

What this is you see is a way to make all the little children feel good. It's no different from schools who give no grades and sports teams who play for no points, it's all about everyone being equal and feeling good.


Life is tough. Coddling these kids at such a young age is going to make them weenies. When they enter the real world they will be faced with decisions they are unable to make and situations they are unable to handle. I'm not saying be mean to your kids, no way, but I am saying that we need to let kids be kids. We need to let boys be boys, they fidget, they get curious, they're anxious. We need to let kids play, get dirty, fall down and scrape their knees, and we need to not be throwing them in school at age 4 to "prepare" for Kindergarten. And we need to applaud them for a job well done, but we need to scrap the graduation bull.

Save the graduation for the real tough accomplishments.

Ok I'm awaiting the nasty comments...

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Hillary has some nerve!

I was just sitting there at work minding my own business, doing my thing, not feeling at all irritated or pissed off when word came across the wires that Bush had been blasted for commuting Scooter Libby's sentence. Ok fine, no biggie, we all knew that was coming but all the sudden I hear that annoying irritating shrill voice in the background....

"Today's decision is yet another example that this Administration simply considers itself above the law. This case arose from the Administration's politicization of national security intelligence and its efforts to punish those who spoke out against its policies. Four years into the Iraq war, Americans are still living with the consequences of this White House's efforts to quell dissent. This commutation sends the clear signal that in this Administration, cronyism and ideology trump competence and justice."

...and I just lost it. I don't know what happened but I believe in the medical world it's referred to as a "conniption". Thank goodness the guys at work didn't have to call an ambulance. A few slaps in the face, a bucket of cold water from a urinal in the men's room and I was ok, sort of. I'm still having dizzy spells and occasional periods of black out and memory loss. All because of that woman!

My day was going so well till I heard her voice. Now mind you, it wasn't the remark itself that made me want to hurl her...er.....I mean myself off a building, I could handle the remark, it's the person behind the remark. I mean the sheer weight and impact of the hypocrisy of that remark could itself have taken down the WTC, no terrorists necessary!

This remark from the wife of the man who granted hundreds of pardons and we're not talking for jaywalkers either. There were some small time offenders sure, but overall there were many pret-ty hefty crooks pardoned by Clinton including counterfeiters, individuals who served time for defrauding and attempting to defraud the government, tax evaders, and other serious offenses. And to my recollection, not once did I hear a single Democrat in Washington crying F-O-U-L at that time.

Whether or not Scooter Libby deserved a commutation of his sentence here isn't my point, it's that Hillary Clinton of all people, has absolutely no business blasting Bush for his actions considering the many questionable pardons her husband granted when he was President.

You'd think the "smartest woman in the world" would be smart enough to figure that out!

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Gee, would he commute your unfair prison sentence?

President Bush just commuted the sentence of Scooter Libby but he didn't pardon him. I guess pardoning him would have been too risky eh? This sends the message that sure, maybe the guy is guilty but why should he serve the time?

Is Scooter Libby guilty? A jury said so. While I think this attack on him was politically motivated I'm not an expert on the case. Did he receive a harsh sentence? I don't know. What is the average sentence for someone convicted for the same crime? If it was less or more than the norm, it was harsh.

But...in all the cases the President could have gotten himself involved in why this one? Gee, I bet there are thousands of people in prison all over the country whose sentences are too harsh, many who shouldn't even be in prison.

How about Texas Deputy Sheriff Gilmer Hernandez who I spoke of recently? This guy was doing his job and sentenced to one year and one day in prison for nabbing illegals and injuring them when they were trying to run him over in their van.

How about Lt. Colonel Jeffrey Chessani, a decorated war hero who is being treated as a scapegoat for the Marine Corps in relation to the killings at Haditha of which he had no prior knowledge, did not witness and did not sanction.

What about border patrol agents Compean and Ramos who in the course of doing their job nailed a drug smuggler--a criminal who was in turn given immunity to testify against the agents?

What about the many people every year who are falsely imprisoned or given unfair sentences for minor crimes? Who's going to commute their sentences?

Yeah, exactly!

Computers suck part II...

When it rains it pours. All I did was fix something years ago and people run to me with their problems! It happens at home and at work. This isn't a gripe against the people who ask for my help it's a gripe about the fact that I just don't know everything and I can't fix every problem and well...computers just suck!

Of course you know recently I went on and on about computer issues at home right? Well we finally got Vista on there and after spending the better part of my day off last Friday working on DH's computer installing programs he needed and such, turns out that Windows Vista freezes up from time to time when connected to the internet (dialup) and after it unfreezes it disconnects. It was very annoying and so I brought it back to the guys at work and they're diagnosing it and turns out other Vista users are experiencing the same problem. At this point I just want XP put back on and be done with it.

Screw Vista.
Screw Dell.

Dad's computer is screwed up too. I have no idea what's wrong with it. It isn't Vista, he's got XP but he will keep getting these two viruses on his computer, sometimes they show up in the scan sometimes not. Anyway his PC is slowed down, I have done my best to fix it, I am NOT a computer guru, I just do research to find solutions and use what I know to help. But now it's just beyond what I know how to do. I'm not fixing anything anymore--and that goes for everyone.

Everyone will have to find their own computer guru cause it isn't me. It's just too much stress and when things don't work out right, if I don't work on it, I won't be responsible!

Monday, July 02, 2007

The only one not injured was the one wearing the seat belt...

This story really pissed me off.

One adult male driving an SUV with 8 children ages 13 and under and only one is wearing a seatbelt? I thought people figured out seat belts save lives. How many more deaths and injuries does it take?

Hey if you're an adult and you have a death wish and don't want to wear one, fine...you're an idiot.....but at least buckle up the kids or don't transport them!!