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Wednesday, December 24, 2008

New Washer

Last night around 7:00, I got a call from Sears to confirm my address and to let them know that someone 18 or older would be here between 8:15 and 10:15 this morning to receive the new washing machine.

At 7:15 this morning, I got a call from the deliveryman who said that they would be at my home in 30-45 minutes. The washer arrived and was installed at 7:45.

Yeah Sears.com!!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Move over shirtless Putin!

PUTIN POKER

I'll see you, Putin and RAISE you one Obama!!!!

Merry Christmas to me!

As I have said in an earlier post, December is not my month.

Yesterday morning, I got up early to start washing bed linens and clothes for my much anticipated company from family on the 29th. Much to my dismay, my 13-month old washing machine refused to work.

Being one month out of the warranty, I had no other choice than to purchase a new machine via Sears.com.

Since I'm low on funds at this time, I went with the cheapest. This machine was not available 13 months ago, however. At that time, none of their cheaper machines were lighter on water usage nor energy efficient. This unit was also on sale, however, no expensive enough to forgo the $65 delivery charge. Oh well.. the $57 savings on this Kenmore 400 3.2 cu. ft. Capacity Top-Load Washer, almost covered the delivery. I will continue to dry the clothes on the line outside.

Their website has become more friendly than 13 months ago when I was last in the market for a washer. This is the fourth washing machine I've had in this house, and with my luck, it won't be the last. The new washing machine will be delivered Christmas Eve.

I truly believe that we need these appliances made with good old US-worker ethic of producing well-built, long lasting appliances. These foreign-made units just don't last. Of course, FPL's electricity surges don't help either.

A gift I didn't want to have to get!

BAH HUMBUG!!!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Santa Cam Installed

From now until the cam ends, the top of the blog features Santa Cam from Lapland Finland.

From Wikipedia:

Many people believe that Santa Claus (or joulupukki in Finnish) comes from Lapland. Santa Claus Village is built to be the home of Santa Claus. Santa Claus village is the most popular tourist destination in Finland with thousands of tourist visiting it every year.

The majority of tourists are coming from United Kingdom, Germany, Russia, France, China, Japan, India and other countries. In recent years there have been a significant increase in tourists from the Americas, though tourists from the United States are responsible for only 4.7% (2005) of total tourist visits.

In North American culture, Santa Claus lives in the North Pole, though North Pole is in the middle of the Arctic Ocean and there is no land, although the ice is thick enough to walk on during the winter making it feasible for Santa to live there. This opinion is widespread in the world and reflected in many feature film and advertisements about Christmas. In majority of European cultures the exact location of Santa Claus residence is not specified. The Santa Claus Village in the Arctic Circle is the main world-wide recognized Santa Claus residence.

Santa Claus Village is located about 8 km northeast of Rovaniemi and about 2 km from Rovaniemi Airport. In the Christmas time the amount of daily flights triples. The majority of international tourist switch their plane in Helsinki-Vantaa airport. The timetable is set up in such a way that delay between the flights is no longer than 3 hours. Also in the Christmas time there are many charter flights from Sweden, UK and other countries that fly directly to Rovaniemi. Also there is [sic] Ryanair flights to Tampere which also has regular connection to Rovaniemi. There is also a regular bus and train connection with all major cities in Finland.

Rovaniemi city bus route 8 travels between Rovaniemi Railway Station and Santa Claus Village. The bus trip takes about 30 minutes.

More Information from Wikipedia

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Trying to get into the spirit of things

It just doesn't feel like the holidays (or as the TV ads in Miami say, I guess to get around that controversy, the Holy Days).

December is not one of my better months. My best friend of 30 years died two years ago on December 22; my Grandmother died on Christmas Eve; My Father died on Boxing Day; and an Uncle died on New Years Eve. But, as we use to say, we have to keep our spirits high for the sake of the kids (what kids?).

Hope this little movie will brighten up your day and help you get into the spirit of the season despite the real possibility that you might be one in six Americans who will lose their job in the next eight months.

Bah Humbug!



Worse Person in the World

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Christmas memories jogged as UK's Woolworth Stores Close

I have fond memories of Woolworth's. They had a lunch counter that couldn't be beat. Eating many a tuna fish sandwich "cut 4 ways" and they had a banana split that couldn't be any better.

They had a long-time marketing plan on those banana split. Balloons hanging over the counter included a slip of paper with a price of your banana split written on it. I believe the prices ranged from a penny to 99¢.

While I was looked after by friends of Mama, who worked behind the counter, my parents shopped for just about anything that was needed in the house, including Christmas toys for me.

Years later, I purchased my first color TV from Woolco, a subsidiary of F. W. Woolworth Company. That TV lasted longer than any other TV I have ever owned. In fact, when in the Navy, Mama and Daddy used it and never gave it back. In the early 80s, Woolco was closed. It was devastating to us in Key West, as it was the last discount store and Woolco offered many items not offered anywhere else.

In Fredericksburg, VA (where I grew up), Woolworth's eventually moved into a smaller store at the Mall and closed its downtown store. That beautiful building, built on the property where the Fredericksburg Opera House had once stood is now a mixture of antique stores "under one roof." The Woolco building became K-Mart and is now a Burlington Coat Factory store.

By Woolworth’s 100th anniversary in 1979, it had become the largest department store chain in the world, according to the Guinness Book of World Records. Today, all that is left of this mighty business is The Foot Locker, Inc.

This all brings me to today's news:

Woolworths to close in January

Administrators at Woolworths say that all 807 stores will close by 5 January.

The first shops will shut on 27 December and all 27,000 permanent and temporary staff will lose their jobs if no last-minute buyer is found.

The administrators said there was still interest in parts of the business but admitted they had "not come close" to finding a buyer for the firm.

A range of food, clothes and "value retailers" have made offers to take over the leases at about 300 stores. And efforts would be made to put Woolworths staff who were losing their jobs in contact with these potential employers, the administrators Deloitte said.

Deloitte's Neville Kahn said it was unclear how much of its debts would be paid, but added it was "clear that the creditors and suppliers will not get paid in full".

BBC News Report

Auto Dust Biting

Chrysler To Close All Plants For One Month

Chrysler says it will close all 30 of its manufacturing plants for a month starting Friday.

The company needs to match production to slowing demand and conserve cash.

Tighter credit markets are keeping would-be buyers away from their showrooms, Chrysler says.

Full NPR Story

Names: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

I have always been interested in names. Don't know why, really, but sometimes, I just sit down with pen in hand and start writing fictitious names on a piece of paper. I am most interested in First and Middle names.

My current favorites are: Wesley Wayne, Emily Anne and Frederick Alexander.

I also go through rituals of laughing or being disgusted at parents who give their children familiar names, but don't look them up first and end up spelling them in an abnormal fashion. One example of this is of a mother who always wanted to name her child "Mackenzie," however, the spelling on the birth certificated ended up with a spelling of "Mahkenzie."

My cousin, Vicki is yet another example of this problem, although, the spelling was not wrong. Her birth certificate spells her name "Vicki," however, when she was sent to school, the teachers told her that her name was spelled "Vickie" and that is the way she spelled it until last year, when trying to get her driver's licence under her new married name and her old driver's licence, marriage licence and birth certificate did not match. She had an awful time trying to prove to a new county clerk that she was who she said she was.

Finally, after (no age here.. we'll just say over forty years) several years, her name was officially reverted back to the original birth certificate spelling.

The last type of name is what I call, The "My God, what the hell were they thinking?" Name.

These are names like: Sparkle Cider, Sunshine Starr and Tiffany Lass (at least they dropped the "G").

This type also is included in a story from about 20 years ago about a mother who named her boy "Johnson Cotton" because it was the first thing she saw after giving birth to him. I wonder how many other men in this country are named for Johnson & Johnson Cotton, or worse, how many are named Cotton Swab or Cotton Ball? To tell you the truth, I've seen some names that look like they come directly from the eye chart!

And then, there are names that are just asking for trouble (As I sit here, thinking about the old Johnny Cash song "Boy Named Sue").

This story appears on MSNBC's website.

Wed., Dec. 17, 2008 — EASTON, Pa. - The father of 3-year-old Adolf Hitler Campbell, denied a birthday cake with the child's full name on it by one New Jersey supermarket, is asking for a little tolerance. Heath Campbell and his wife, Deborah, are upset not only with the decision made by the Greenwich ShopRite, but with an outpouring of angry Internet postings in response to a local newspaper article over the weekend on their flare-up over frosting.

"I think people need to take their heads out of the cloud they've been in and start focusing on the future and not on the past," Heath Campbell said Tuesday in an interview conducted in Easton, on the other side of the Delaware River from where the family lives in Hunterdon County, N.J.

The Campbells' other two children also have unusual names: JoyceLynn Aryan Nation Campbell turns 2 in a few months and Honszlynn Hinler Jeannie Campbell will be 1 in April.

Deborah Campbell, 25, said she phoned in her order last week to the ShopRite. When she told the bakery department she wanted her son's name spelled out, she was told to talk to a supervisor, who denied the request.

Karen Meleta, a spokeswoman for ShopRite, said the Campbells had similar requests denied at the same store the last two years and said Heath Campbell previously had asked for a swastika to be included in the decoration.

"We reserve the right not to print anything on the cake that we deem to be inappropriate," Meleta said. "We considered this inappropriate."

Full Story

This concludes my rare, if long, Andy Rooney style opinion.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Group Works To Weaken Electoral College Process

The Electoral College met yesterday to officially elect Barack Obama President.

From NPR:

Members of the Electoral College are meeting around the country Monday to make Barack Obama's election official. Obama's margin of victory has made the process free of controversy, but that hasn't always been the case with the Electoral College.

Click here to hear the full NPR Report.



The Lame Duck "DUCK"

Sunday, December 14, 2008

The "Skinny" on High Fructose Corn Syrup

I use sugar at home and don't drink much soda. However, I found this interesting.

Critics have worried that the sweetener known as high fructose corn syrup -- which is found in many foods not considered sweet, along with soft drinks -- tricked the body into thinking it wasn't full, adding to the nation's obesity problems.

A new study said, however, that HFCS is no different from any other sweeteners and that it does not cause obesity more than other sweeteners.

Researchers and members of industry came together to study the issue. The president of the Corn Refiners Association said that studies that have found problems with HFCS have actually looked at pure fructose, rather than the combination of fructose and sucrose -- also know as table sugar.

At a symposium, the experts concluded that HFCS and sucrose have similar sweetness and are treated the same by the body. They said they found that calorie intake in the U.S. increased 24 percent per person from 1970 to 2005, but that the extra calories were not from sweeteners, but came across all food groups.

They also said that per capita consumption of HFCS has dropped in recent years, even as obesity rates continued to climb.

The researchers offer more information at HFCSfacts.com.

Online Story

Thursday, December 11, 2008

BUSHED!

Stocking Stuffers: Singing Coal - Lame Duck Watch

This Is Reality

We all heard it during the Presidential Campaign, but the mere statement "Clean Coal Technology" mystified me. Every time I think of coal, I think of a picture of Elinor Roosevelt visiting the coal mines of West Virginia. How on earth can coal be clean? In what context? In what world?

Now, reality has set in and my suspensions are correct:

In reality, there is no such thing as "clean" coal in America today. Coal cannot be called 'clean' until its CO2 emissions are captured and stored safely.

Let's be clear: there are no US homes, factories, shopping centers or churches powered by coal plants that capture and store their global warming pollution.

Today, coal power plants emit carbon dioxide (CO2), the pollutant causing the climate crisis. A third of the America's carbon pollution now comes from about 600 coal-fired power plants. And of the more than 70 proposed new coal power plants, barely a handful have plans to capture and store their CO2 emissions. If these dirty plants are allowed to be built, this will mean an additional 200 million tons of global warming pollution will be emitted in America each year. Until coal power plants no longer release CO2 to the atmosphere, coal will remain a major contributor to the climate crisis.

Scientists indicate that we can avoid the worst climate impacts if we turn CO2 emissions around in the next few years. The Chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Dr. Rajendra Pachauri, in 2007, said, "If there's no action before 2012, that's too late. What we do in the next two to three years will determine our future. This is the defining moment." For coal to maintain a role in America's energy mix, the industry must act quickly to stop emitting CO2.

The Reality Coalition is a project of the Alliance for Climate Protection, Sierra Club, National Wildlife Federation, the Natural Resources Defense Council and the League of Conservation Voters, and tells the truth about coal today — it isn't clean. We are challenging the coal industry to come clean — in its advertising and in its operations. You can learn more about the reality of "clean" coal here or take action and help stop misleading coal campaigns.

The Reality Campaign Website

HELP!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Winter Garden Update

Everything came up! Turnips are stuggling, but they always do.


Expecting family in for New Years. We should have a nice salad.


Every strawberry plant (25) survived. New leaves on each one.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Acting Your Age

For some odd reason, this doesn't look right to me. No matter how we look like, things do wear out. How would we know? And what are the mental stability of this.

When I first saw the picture, I thought it was photo-shopped, I mean really .. doesn't it look like an old man's head stuck on a 30-something's body?

LAS VEGAS – It's one of those photos that make you do a double-take. Dr. Jeffry Life stands in jeans, his shirt off. His face is that of a distinguished-looking grandpa; his head is balding, and what hair there is is white. But his 69-year-old body looks like it belongs to a muscle-bound 30-year-old.

The photo regularly runs in ads for the Cenegenics Medical Institute, a Las Vegas-based clinic that specializes in "age management," a growing field in a society obsessed with staying young. Life, who swears that's his real last name, also keeps a framed copy of the photo on his office wall at Cenegenics.

"He's the man!" patient Ed Detwiler says teasingly, pointing to the photo of the doctor who, in many ways, has become his role model.

Detwiler, 47, has been Life's patient for more than three years. In that time, he has adopted the regimen that his doctor also follows — drastically changing his exercise and eating habits and injecting himself each day with human growth hormone. He also receives weekly testosterone injections.

He does it because it makes him feel better, more energetic, clear-minded.

Full Story

Saturday, December 6, 2008

A New Birth of Freedom


The Presidential Inauguration on Jan 20, 2009 will not be the only item on tap in the DC area. With TPTB opening up the bars 24/7, "Happy days are here again!" will undoubtedly be the song of choice.

The agenda for other activities:

The Presidential Inauguration will be held on January 20, 2009. A week of festivities will include the Presidential Swearing in Ceremony, Inaugural Address, Inaugural Parade and a night of Inaugural Balls and galas honoring the new President of the United States.

The theme for the 2009 presidential inauguration will be "A New Birth of Freedom," commemorating the 200th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln's birth. The words come from the Gettysburg address, and express Lincoln's hope that the sacrifice of those who died to preserve the nation shall lead to "a new birth of freedom" for our nation. The theme is particularly appropriate in light of the historic election of Senator Barack Obama.

With the election of Barack Obama - the first black president in America - inaugural events are expected to draw record breaking crowds to Washington, DC. This historic day immediately follows the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr which will be celebrated with special events as well. And just in time for Inauguration Day, the nation's capital honors Lincoln's Bicentennial with a city-wide celebration including special exhibits and tours.

Getting around the region throughout the four-day inaugural weekend will be challenging. Washington Metro is gearing up for the events with increased hours and security.

Click & bookmark this link as it will update as information becomes available.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

When will FEMA be overhauled?

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) was established under the 1978 Reorganization Plan No. 3, and activated April 1, 1979 by Jimmy Carter in his Executive Order 12127. In July, Carter signed Executive Order 12148 shifting disaster relief efforts to the new federal level agency. FEMA absorbed the Federal Insurance Administration, the National Fire Prevention and Control Administration, the National Weather Service Community Preparedness Program, the Federal Preparedness Agency of the General Services Administration and the Federal Disaster Assistance Administration activities from HUD. FEMA was also given the responsibility for overseeing the nation's Civil Defense, a function which had previously been performed by the Department of Defense's Defense Civil Preparedness Agency.

One of the first disasters FEMA responded to was the dumping of toxic waste into Love Canal in Niagara Falls, New York in the late 1970s. FEMA also responded to the Three Mile Island nuclear accident where the nuclear generating station suffered a partial core meltdown. These disasters, while showing the agency could function properly, also uncovered some inefficiencies.

In 1993, President Bill Clinton elevated FEMA to a cabinet level position and appointed James Lee Witt as FEMA Director. Witt initiated reforms that would help to streamline the disaster recovery and mitigation process. The end of the Cold War also allowed the agency’s resources to be turned away from civil defense to natural disaster preparedness.

With FEMA removed from the President's Cabinet and becoming a part of Homeland Security after 9/11, FEMA has been progressively bogged down by mismanagement and bureaucracy. The catastrophe response to Katrina in New Orleans should have given the Bush administration fair warning that this agency needed not just a new leader, but a complete overhaul.

As the 2008 hurricane season ended this past Sunday, news of FEMA disastrous responses are coming back to light yet again. It is with great hope that President-elect Obama will urge Congress to find a remedy to this broken and inefficient Federal Program that is clearly broken and that affects all of the US population.

As for this year's FEMA failings:

SMITH POINT, Texas - A 30-mile scar of debris along the Texas coast stands as a festering testament to what state and local officials say is FEMA's sluggish response to the 2008 hurricane season.

Two and a half months after Hurricane Ike blasted the shoreline, alligators and snakes crawl over vast piles of shattered building materials, lawn furniture, trees, boats, tanks of butane and other hazardous substances, thousands of animal carcasses, perhaps even the corpses of people killed by the storm.

State and local officials complain that the removal of the filth has gone almost nowhere because FEMA red tape has held up both the cleanup work and the release of the millions of dollars that Chambers County says it needs to pay for the project.

Elsewhere along the coast, similar complaints are heard: The Federal Emergency Management Agency has been slow to reimburse local governments for what they have already spent, putting the rural counties on the brink of financial collapse.

"I don't know all the internal workings of FEMA. But if they've had a lot of experience in hurricanes and disaster, it looks like they could come up with some kind of process that would work," said Chambers County Judge Jimmy Sylvia, the county's chief administrator.

Governor incensed
Gov. Rick Perry was so incensed at delays in sending cleanup crews to the rotting, city-size pile of waste that he angrily told reporters two weeks ago that he is going to have the state clean it up and then stick FEMA with the bill.

FEMA, whose very name became a bitter joke after the agency's botched response to Hurricane Katrina in 2005, said it is working as fast as it can considering the complex regulations and the need to guard against fraud and waste in the use of taxpayer dollars.

Moreover, "you can't work too many people because it's just too dangerous," said Clay Kennelly, hired by FEMA to oversee the cleanup of a section of the debris pile. "And you can't just put Bubba or Skeeter out here on a dozer."

The 2008 hurricane season ended this week after walloping the Texas and Louisiana Gulf coasts with three major storms: Dolly, near the Mexican border in July; Gustav, which slammed the Texas-Louisiana line on Labor Day; and Ike, the 600-mile-wide monster that barreled ashore at Galveston on Sept. 12.

Only a hundred yards or so of the 30 miles of debris in Chambers County has been cleaned up, because the project has been slowed by negotiations over who is responsible for what.

Living in tents
Along the rest of the Gulf Coast, thousands of homeless families are still living in tents, trailers and motel rooms, and hundreds of businesses are lying in near-ruin.

The federal government is responsible for public lands or hazardous waste, while private landowners must handle their own cleanup but can apply for assistance. Much of the debris has been left to rot while crews determine whose land the junk is on and what's in it.

Payment in three years
Galveston County Judge Jim Yarbrough tells the story of receiving word on Sept. 12, as Ike closed in on Galveston, that FEMA was sending him $1.8 million of his $3 million request for storm cleanup — from Hurricane Rita, three years ago.

"Good Lord! The red tape and rules you have to go through to get anything done," Yarbrough said. "On Hurricane Ike, when we're putting out tens of millions, we can't afford a three-year reimbursement program. It would bankrupt most entities in this area if it takes that long."

In Louisiana, hit by two storms this year, Gov. Bobby Jindal complimented the agency on improvements made since Katrina but criticized FEMA's focus on paperwork and an inability to make decisions quickly.

"It has gotten better, but the problem you've got with FEMA is that they're looking for reasons to say 'no,'" Jindal said. "While they've made progress since '05, there's such an emphasis on filling out paperwork. They need to have a focus on results."

In an e-mail statement, FEMA said the recovery process "continues seamlessly," and it noted the many rules and overlapping jurisdictions involved.

"The steps in the process of recovery include many at the individual, local, state and federal level," FEMA said. "In large measure they are understandable safeguards."

$1 billion in aid
FEMA pointed out that more than $1 billion in federal and state aid already has gone to Texas in disaster assistance since Ike, with about one-third of that in grants for temporary housing rent and another third in low-interest loans for renters, homeowners and businesses. The state has estimated the total pricetag at $11 billion.

Harris County Judge Ed Emmett, whose area includes Houston, complained that FEMA's bureaucracy is unwieldy. He recalled a FEMA official showing up at his office after Ike and declaring he was "going to be joined at the hip with you in this whole process."

"Then the next week, somebody else would show up and tell me the same thing," Emmett said. And then somebody else. "That was really frustrating to me."

Near the Mexican border, thousands of families remain in homes damaged by Dolly, the storm that blew ashore on South Padre Island on July 23. FEMA was helpful at first, but bureaucracy and the distraction of the other hurricanes have slowed the recovery, local officials said.

A farmworker rights organization and 14 poor South Texas residents sued FEMA last month, accusing the agency of refusing to help thousands of poor families repair their homes.

"I understand they have Hurricane Ike, but we had a Category 2 come through the Valley, too," Hidalgo County Judge J.D. Salinas said.

History of FEMA

MSNBC Article on the 2008 Hurricane Season

Monday, December 1, 2008

2008 Hurricane Season Ends

We here in South Florida, for the most part, lucked-out this year, however, this year was bad for Texas as will as the countries of Cuba and Haiti as storms ravaged one after another, creating much property damage.

Six consecutive named storms struck the U.S. mainland — most ever

WASHINGTON - The 2008 Atlantic hurricane season, which ends Sunday, appears to have attained Olympian heights, setting at least five weather records in the United States and Cuba.

"It was pretty relentless in a large number of big strikes," said Georgia Tech atmospheric sciences professor Judith Curry. "We just didn't have the huge monster where a lot of people lost their lives, but we had a lot of damage, a lot of damage."

Data on death and damage are still being calculated.

Three records showed the hurricane season's relentlessness. Six consecutive named storms — Dolly, Edouard, Fay, Gustav, Hanna and Ike — struck the U.S. mainland, something that had not been seen in recorded history. It's also the first time a major hurricane, those with winds of at least 111 mph, formed in five consecutive months, July through November. And Bertha spun about for 17 days, making it the longest lived storm in July.

Fay hit Florida four times
Two records involve storms hitting the same places repeatedly. Rain-heavy Fay was the only storm to hit the same state — Florida — four times, leaving heavy flood damage in its wake. A record three major hurricanes smacked Cuba: Gustav, Ike and Paloma.

Full MSNBC story

New Technology

Fuel-cell powered devices getting closer

Tiny fuel cells powered by combustibles could power a laptop for days.

A self-contained USB mobile power system is designed to provide power for all consumer electronic devices utilizing butane and a silicon based power cell.

Full Story

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Naked Radcliffe Craves Onstage "Boost"

Daniel Radcliffe, the "Harry Potter" star who is currently making his Broadway debut in the acclaimed revival of Equus, will appear on Bravo's "Inside the Actors Studio" in December.

James Lipton will chat with the young actor on the Dec. 1 broadcast of the Emmy-nominated series. Broadcast time is 8 PM ET; check local listings. (watch excerpt below)

Equus, which co-stars Radcliffe and Richard Griffiths, is playing a limited engagement at the Broadhurst Theatre through Feb. 8, 2009.



In Equus, "psychiatrist Martin Dysart investigates the blinding of six horses, a savage act committed by an unassuming 17-year-old stable boy, Alan Strang, whose family life is rife with bigotry and religious fervor. As Dysart exposes the truths behind the boy's demons, he finds himself face-to-face with his own." Playwright Shaffer based the play on a true story told to him by a friend.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Henry Merritt "Hank" Paulson Jr.


The first time I heard of Hank Paulson, I was foggy mentally and could only think of Pat Paulsen, of the Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour ... you know, the one who ran for president in his weekly time spot. (see photo left). As I continued to find out about him, I figured that we would have probably been better with Pat rather than Hank.

However, when I finally saw him in a news conference, I said.. OMG! It is Col. Klink!

With no offense to the fine actor who superbly portrayed the bumbling, clueless Nazi, remove the Nazi Uniform and the Nazi political mindset, and you have Paulson. He is clueless and in my opinion, is making our already unstable, failing economy worse. Flailing between ideas much like McCain did when he put his Presidential campaign on hold, his inability to communicate his intentions, or even the current problem to the American Public, this man needs to leave Washington via a mob ready with tar and feathers.

Rachel Maddow this evening on her MSNBC show called Hank Paulson Mr. Magoo. I can see where she is going with that.

I still think we would have been better with Pat Paulsen.

Disturbing thought.

Looks like everything I have planted so far has come up!

Raised Beds

Lettuce & Herbs


Click pictures for better view.

2008-09 Garden Update

Today I made some small pots using a potmaker, pictured at right, that I purchased with my seed from Jung Seed, Inc. (see Online Shopping links to the right.).

These little pots turned out very nice.

Made with an old newspaper (Miami Herald), they measure 2.5-3 inches tall and 2 inches in diameter.





The pots on the right, with the white plastic underliner will be Ground Cherries (also referred to in some locales as Cape Gooseberries. The four pots on the left hand side rear are tomatoes (Best Boy) and the 12 pots in front are a mix variety of shallots.

Thanksgiving Madness

Pardoned Turkey Going to Disneyland

WASHINGTON, Nov. 24 (UPI) --

United Airlines says it will help the turkey that dodges Thanksgiving dinner at the White House make its getaway to Disneyland this week.

The airline will strap the lucky bird into a first-class seat Wednesday for a non-stop flight from Washington to LAX where it will be whisked to Orange County and a date as grand marshal of the annual Thanksgiving parade at Disneyland.

President Bush is set to issue the traditional Thanksgiving pardon Wednesday, freeing the bird and a companion for the holidays.

A United spokesman told Crain's Chicago Business Disney annually buys out the entire first-class cabin for the turkey delegation, which includes the caged turkey and a group from the National Turkey Federation.

Monday, November 24, 2008

I HATE computer mice

Maybe because I'm a southpaw is the reason I have always found it difficult to use a mouse. After using one on my new Apple iMAC these past 6 months, I have developed soreness in my hand and wrist. This soreness was extremely painful and was so when I used a mouse at work and when I had a desktop computer last.

Having been a avid laptop user, I have always loved the pointing device. I especially like the IMB Thinkpad "red dot" device, which has all but disappeared, however, the Glidepoint device built in to all laptops now, are still better than any computer mouse on the market.

Last week, I ordered a Cirque Easy Cat. I last had one when I found their website back in the 1990's. I never could convince any employer to allow me to install one on my work computer, even if I paid for it. My iMAC accepted this Easy Cat seamlessly, without any additional drivers to install. When it arrived today, I just plugged it in and it worked.

I recommend this product to anyone who either finds mice uncomfortable to use or to anyone who would like to use a computer without much effort. To click on anything, you just lightly tap the pad. The light triangle (see picture upper right) is your right click and the outer edge on the right-hand side can be used to scroll on the page. If tapping isn't your thing, the Easy Cat has both right and left buttons.

The cost on the Cique website is: PS/2 port: $39.95. USB unit (which I got) $44.59. The Easy Cat comes in both Black and White.

Cirque's Easy Cat features

Friday, November 21, 2008

People don't know where their food comes from

I am amazed how many people do not know where their food comes from. Slaughtering animals for food is common place on farms both small and large all around the world. Get a grip, America. There should be no reason to 'cover up' the slaughter of any animal for food. What has happened to Americans. Are they that squeamish.

I am not a fan of Sarah Palin, however, the only reason the video is funny to me in the irony. I am in no way offended by the slaughter (or massacre, as some reporter have been writing).

Sunday, November 16, 2008

This Week: State of the Union

As I sit here waiting for the football game to end and 60 minutes to begin, I thought I would upload some cartoons that represent the state of things as we start a new week. (click pictures for easier read)

President-elect and Mrs. Obama will be interviewed tonight on CBS's 60 Minutes.









Saturday, November 15, 2008

The Winter Garden has been planted


I have been a busy beaver here with not much time to post.

Today, I completed putting in the 2008-09 winter garden. Well.. maybe not everything ... the strawberry plants have not arrived ... but everything else, which I am starting from seed, has been planted: Carrots, Basil, Parsley, Assorted Lettuce, Kohlrabi, Golden Beets, Pak Choi, Peas, and Purple-top Turnips.

In about 3 to 4 weeks, I will be planting Potatoes and Shallots. The only thing I am growing this year in a pot are tomatoes, which have not come up enough for me to transplant.

The picture above shows my new raised beds. From the left: Strawberry & Cape Gooseberry Pryamid, Potato & Shallot bin, Lettuce & Herb round, 3x6 foot raised bed.

Garden Journal

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Hollywood Neighborhood Erupts with Fireworks

As the announcement rings out over the TV, of Obama's win, fireworks light the Hollywood skyline and I pop the cap on the first of eight beers that I have now consumed.

With that said, I will reserve and preserve my post-election opinion and remarks for a more sober moment in time.

Monday, November 3, 2008

One Day More

My fellow blogger, Joe. My. God. posted this YouTube video a few months ago and I placed it in my favorites in my YouTube account. Throughout this presidential race, I have gone back to this "battle cry" video and somehow, it has given me strength.

The video features the fine music of Les Misérables produced by First Night Records of the UK and lip-synced perfectly by Ultimate Improv of LA.

So, without further ado, here is the video, this 2008 Election Eve:

What goes around, Comes around

Very Funny

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Apple Computers

When my Acer laptop died earlier this year, I did not go back on my promise to myself that I would never buy another Microsoft product again. I bought an Apple iMAC.

I have not regretted it. Not having to do scans and worry about viruses are just two of the wonders I have enjoyed since buying my 24" iMAC. The fact that the entire computer is in the monitor keeps the floor virtually wire-free (click picture above to see a great comparison). The productivity of this machine has been outstanding, and I'm learning something new every day. This past week, in fact, I used the built-in video/phone feature. I'm very impressed.

I have not had a "desktop" model for years and yet I don't miss my laptop one bit. With that said, be it known, Apple has re-designed their MacBook and since I know it has the same operating system and software of my iMAC, I would certainly recommend it to my friends and family. A current review:

Born to Hand Jive

What's more Partisan, shrill and exhausting than presidential politics? The eternal conflict between Microsoft and Apple, of course. While the race to the White House will, mercifully, be over soon, the decades-long battle between Macs and PCs--with the negative ads and trash-talking bigwigs--will persist until cockroaches inherit the earth. You think taxes are just a political issue? A few weeks ago, as Apple prepared to launch its new line of laptops, Microsoft execs were on the stump, criticizing what they call the "Apple tax," the premium consumers pay for Macs with the same power and speed as lower-priced PCs.

Market-research firm NPD Group dug into the numbers and determined that, on average, you'll spend up to $800 more on an Apple than you would on a comparable PC laptop. And in most cases, PCs come with more bells and whistles, like Blu-ray drives and more ports for special external hard drives and video connectors. So what kind of sucker would be willing to pay the Apple tax?

I would! Gladly. Where do I sign? After months of reviewing Windows desktops and laptops, I put the new $1,600 MacBook through its paces--and it was like returning from a backward country where nothing works only to find your homeland is even better than you remembered.

Apple specializes in mini-malist design that simply works better. Each MacBook, for instance, is carved out of a single block of aluminum, and this unibody construction creates a stronger, lighter chassis that looks like a work of art.

Likewise, while some of the PC laptops I tried have two separate sets of mice on board--in case you prefer one type over the other--Apple's pointing system has evolved on the new laptops so that the (only) mouse consists of a single glass touch pad. Push the entire pad down to click, or configure it so a double tap does the same job.

Cooler yet is the touch pad's iPhone-like gesture system. Drag one to four fingers across the surface to perform a variety of tasks--move your cursor, zoom, scroll through documents, even navigate among alternate desktops you can create on your machine.

Full TIME/CNN review
Apple Website

Friday, October 31, 2008

All Hallow's Eve

I went and voted tonight; to avoid Trick or Treaters that may or may not have come to my front door. I don't have the money to shell out candy to these Munchkin Thieves.

I got in line at 6:11 and entered the doors at 8:05. The ballot was 5 pages long, front and back, and it took me about 14 minutes to fill it out. However, I love the fact that it is a paper ballot ... something that can be recounted. Plus, it was very interesting that this new system prints out the ballot when you sign in. They were very organized. Three people checking you in on the computers and there were 25-30 booths. The only reason the lines were long was because the ballot had just too much on it, small print, and written in three languages.

It may be very undemocratic of me, but I still say that if you vote in this country, you should speak and read English. I truly believe that a ballot should be written only in one language. It was written in English, Spanish and Creole. As for all the amendments and charter changes, anything that would cost money, I voted against. I don't want my taxes to go up and we cannot afford it. I also hate these multi-million dollar "studies" that community leaders like to spend money on. You either need something or you don't.

Of course, I also voted against changing the State Constitution regarding same-sex unions/marriages. I didn't vote for any Judges, since I could find nothing on them and there was no campaign literature available online nor at the poll. I did not vote for the Mayor's older brother for Sheriff (I felt it was a conflict of interest) and after talking with both candidates for School Board member, while waiting in line, chose the man over the woman, mainly because the woman kept looking at my feet and would not look me in the eye.

Pianist Who Lost Arm Arriving At Supreme Court

After given a drug treatment to ease the pain of migraines, a known reaction, not mentioned on the labeling of the medication, set in and this Vermont woman lost her livelihood when her arm was amputated.

She sued and won her lawsuit that was appealed to the VT Supreme Court, who upheld the lower courts. Now, the case is headed for the Supreme Court.

Listen to NPR Radio's moving story by John Dillon.

David Tennant quits as Dr Who

David Tennant has announced he is quitting the BBC's Doctor Who series at the end of next year.

Tennant's decision brings to an end his popular four-year tenure as the time lord [tenth doctor].

He made the announcement while collecting the Outstanding Drama Performance gong at the National Television Awards.

Tennant said: "When Dr Who returns in 2010 it won't be with me.

"Now don't make me cry. The 2009 shows will be my last playing the doctor. "I love this part. If I don't take a deep breath and move on now I never will."

The Mirror Story

A big gay Mormon wedding

The Church of Latter-day Saints has pumped millions into Proposition 8 to ban gay marriage. But for one devout family, the politics are personal.

Oct. 31, 2008 | "Love each other, be selfless, negotiate," George E. Redd III said to his son Jay on his wedding day recently. Gazing at his 36-year-old son standing next to his beloved, in the Swedenborgian Church in San Francisco, Redd III quoted Paul, Ringo, John and George: "All you need is love, love is all you need."

It was hanky time inside the chapel, a cozy wooden Arts and Crafts building that could have been airlifted in from a village in Scandinavia, or perhaps the Shire. There's nothing like the father blessing the son at a wedding, with Irish folk musicians strumming in the background, to get the tear ducts flowing. Especially when the son's gorgeous spouse is another man.

A few weeks after the wedding, Jay, a movie director based in Los Angeles and San Francisco, told me that his father's Beatles reference had taken him totally by surprise. "When Dad said, 'And to quote the great Western philosophers,' I thought for sure he was going to read from Scripture," Jay said. But to his great relief, the advice his father doled out came from John Lennon and not John the Baptist. After all the pain Jay had endured, wondering whether his devout Mormon father would even attend his wedding, those Liverpool lyrics were music to his ears.

While same-sex weddings are daily events in California these days, especially since the California Supreme Court legalized gay marriage earlier this year, it's easy to overlook the fact that it's still a strained personal issue inside many families. With Proposition 8 on the ballot this Tuesday, which would amend the California Constitution to ban gay marriage (effectively overriding the recent Supreme Court ruling), the strain has taken on a renewed political intensity.

Full Salon story.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

GOP plan "special goody" for trick-or-treaters

Is this the Republican's idea of Family Values? To me, these are just cheap GOP tricks in Broward County:

Parents, check the kids' candy extra carefully this Halloween. Some Broward Republicans plan to drop a little something extra into the bags: a piece of political propaganda.

Each is about 3 by 4 inches on heavy paper, the brainchild of Sharon Day (pictured at right), Broward's state Republican committeewoman. When parents go through the kids' candy, they'll find messages telling them, "Don't Make Everyday Halloween in America! Keep Barack Obama from using your hard earned dollars as his own personal 'Trick or Treat' bag!"

Original Story

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Wanda Sykes For President

I like her ideas!


New Harry Potter Trailer Released

A new trailer for Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince has been released.

The trailer - featuring new footage of the sixth Potter film - comes ahead of the film's July 2009 release.

The latest Potter film follows the trials of Harry during his sixth year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.


Beyond the Facts

Monday, October 27, 2008

Families split when it comes to politics this year

On TV and the Internet, I'm finding more and more stories on this topic. There seems to be no middle ground. This post shows two examples of this year's presidential race effect on normally close-knit family ties that have created a social strain on the family unit.

Story #1

Some couples are united in love but fiercely divided at the voting booth

When Jonathan Doyle, 40, talks politics, you can hear the passion rising in his voice. A question, say one about Sarah Palin, sets off a 20-minute monologue starting with an incredulous “I don’t even know what to say about that,” and concluding with exclamation points: “a vice-presidential candidate winking at everyone! I mean, when did we start to accept that!?”

But ask Amy Ryberg Doyle, 38, Jonathan’s wife, about Palin and she says “I like her!”

Jonathan simply cannot fathom how his wife, the woman he loves, the woman whose qualities he shamelessly praises, the mother of his three children, can consider voting for the McCain-Palin ticket when the superiority of the Obama-Biden ticket is so obvious to him.

She, on the other hand, thinks her husband is flat wrong. “And he keeps trying to convince me,” she says. “He thinks I am undecided. He is nuts. I have told him I am supporting McCain. He’s delusional.”

Voter registration across the country is at an all-time high and the whole nation seems riveted by this election. A crumbling financial system, two wars, an uncertain energy future and half a dozen other big issues have combined to make this the most momentous election in at least a generation. It has also left emotions ragged and voters arguing, particularly couples like the Doyles, of Greenville, S.C., who find themselves rooting for opposite candidates. All around the country, some husbands and wives are facing the challenge of loving their partner even when they don't love their partner's political leanings.

“I was huge Ronald Reagan fan,” explains Ellen Gold, 51, over a cell phone while her husband, Bill, 58, stands nearby while the California couple tours Rockefeller Center in New York. “I really loved Reagan. Bill thinks that is a disgusting thing.”

Judy Ranieri also finds herself in a house divided.

Full Story

Story #2

In mama-daughter disputes, politics is personal

It wasn’t supposed to be like this. Karen and Kristen Ingraham, who’ve always been more BFF than mother and daughter, were united in their rabid support of Sen. Hillary Clinton.

But when it became clear that Senator Barack Obama had clinched the Democratic nomination, mom headed right — but daughter stayed left.

"Since Kristen was born, it's always been ‘Just you and me, kid.’ She finishes my sentences,” says single mom Karen Ingraham, who’s 55 and lives in Baltimore. “We've never had an argument about anything important — maybe about a $100 dollar pair of blue jeans. It's just shocking."

During one of the most heated presidential elections in this country’s history, party lines are being drawn among loved ones of every kind — couples, friends and family members — including that close-but-often-contentious relationship: mothers and daughters.

Generational divides are evident in certain election polls. Young voters favor Barack Obama over John McCain 59 percent to 38 percent, according to the latest Gallup data. Voters 65 and older are more evenly divided, with 45 percent for Obama and 43 percent for McCain. Among women overall, there's a big gap between the 54 percent who support Obama and the 39 percent who choose McCain.

Within those numbers are likely countless mother-daughter duos polarized by political preference — and surprised at the impact on their connection.

“Women tend to be more intense about relationships, they tend to prioritize relationships more,” says Nadine Kaslow, an Emory University psychologist. “Even if you think of female relationships in elementary school or the professional world, the women are often more intense about it than the guys are.”

Full Story



Sunday, October 26, 2008

Stinky farts are healthy

A study has found that gas relaxes the blood vessels to prevent hypertension in mice.

A smelly rotten-egg gas in farts controls blood pressure in mice, a new study finds.

The unpleasant aroma of the gas, called hydrogen sulfide (H2S), can be a little too familiar, as it is expelled by bacteria living in the human colon and eventually makes its way, well, out.

The new research found that cells lining mice’s blood vessels naturally make the gas and this action can help keep the rodents’ blood pressure low by relaxing the blood vessels to prevent hypertension (high blood pressure). This gas is “no doubt” produced in cells lining human blood vessels too, the researchers said.

Hydrogen sulfide is the most recently discovered member of a family of gasotransmitters, small molecules inside our bodies with important physiological functions.

This study is the first to reveal that the CSE enzyme that triggers hydrogen sulfide is activated itself in the same way as other enzymes when they trigger their respective gasotransmitter, such as a nitric oxide-forming enzyme that also regulates blood pressure, Dr. Snyder said.

Because gasotransmitters are common in mammals all over the evolutionary tree, these findings on the importance of hydrogen sulfide are thought to have broad applications to human diseases, such as diabetes and neurodegenerative diseases.

Full Report

Anchorage Daily News Supports Obama

The largest daily newspaper in Alaska has endorsed Barock Obama for President. The most read newspaper in the most northern state in the U.S. has been very supportive of Gov. Palin, however, in the op-ed, it feels that she is not ready to be the VEEP.

I have always said that it would be interesting if both Arizona and Alaska turned blue this year. After reading this and hearing reports of discontent in both states with their native son and daughter, it just might come true on November 4.

Alaska enters its 50th-anniversary year in the glow of an improbable and highly memorable event: the nomination of Gov. Sarah Palin as the Republican vice presidential candidate. For the first time ever, an Alaskan is making a serious bid for national office, and in doing so she brings broad attention and recognition not only to herself, but also to the state she leads.

Alaska's founders were optimistic people, but even the most farsighted might have been stretched to imagine this scenario. No matter the outcome in November, this election will mark a signal moment in the history of the 49th state. Many Alaskans are proud to see their governor, and their state, so prominent on the national stage.

Gov. Palin's nomination clearly alters the landscape for Alaskans as we survey this race for the presidency -- but it does not overwhelm all other judgment. The election, after all is said and done, is not about Sarah Palin, and our sober view is that her running mate, Sen. John McCain, is the wrong choice for president at this critical time for our nation.

Barack Obama, the Democratic nominee, brings far more promise to the office. In a time of grave economic crisis, he displays thoughtful analysis, enlists wise counsel and operates with a cool, steady hand. The same cannot be said of Sen. McCain.

Of the two candidates, Sen. Obama better understands the mortgage meltdown's root causes and has the judgment and intelligence to shape a solution, as well as the leadership to rally the country behind it. It is easy to look at Sen. Obama and see a return to the smart, bipartisan economic policies of the last Democratic administration in Washington, which left the country with the momentum of growth and a budget surplus that President George Bush has squandered.

On the most important issue of the day, Sen. Obama is a clear choice.

Read entire Op-Ed in The Anchorage Daily News.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Cussing is not a crime - Thank fucking God!

You can’t arrest someone for the content of their speech, even if the speech is offensive

Two area people who were charged with disorderly conduct for using curse words have agreed to settle claims they filed against police departments in Lackawanna and Luzerne counties for $19,000 each, according to their attorney.

Attorney Barry Dyller of Wilkes-Barre said the city of Scranton has agreed to settle a claim filed by Dawn Herb of Scranton, who was charged after a neighbor heard her cursing at a toilet inside her home.

Dyller said he also secured a settlement with Larksville in the case of Stephen Kita of Wilkes-Barre, who was arrested after he referred to a police officer as an offensive name referring to a body part. Both settlements include damages for the plaintiffs and attorneys fees.

Dyller said he believes officers in both cases over-reacted to the situations, leading them to file unwarranted charges in violation of his clients’ First Amendment Right to free speech.

“Some may consider these small cases, but I consider them of paramount importance,” Dyller said. “There is no freedom more important than the freedom of speech.”

Herb was charged in October 2007 after Patrick Gilman, an off-duty Scranton police officer, heard her cursing though an open window at a toilet that had overflowed.

A Lackawanna County judge later found Herb not guilty of the offense.

Dyller, who represented Herb in the criminal case, had threatened to file a lawsuit. The city agreed to the settlement to avoid the suit, Dyller said.

Full Story

Culpeper, VA: Time to decide

Matt Frei makes his final visit to the town of Culpeper in Virginia, a 'swing state'.

He speaks to the voters who he has been in touch with for the past year, to find out what issues will decide their vote.

Full BBC Video Report



Local Political Ads

It is obvious that money is an issue this election season, for local politics. I guess it sort of snuck up on them. The polls here in Broward County have been open since Monday and I'm just now getting my first mail flyers (not counting the presidential cards and letters).

I'm quite underwhelmed.

Example: Some guy running for a School Board position. He is the only one that I've gotten anything about. The heavy paper advertisement had so many people on it, you couldn't tell who was running. I ended up going to his website to see which guy it was.

His qualifications are questionable. His parents were school teachers in Broward County. Is that a good thing? He is also an engineer. He has been on the Hollywood Development Review Board since 2004. He thinks that is a good thing? He has one 2-year-old child, so he has no current educational reason to be on the board. Harvard degree in Engineering seems better suited to what he is doing now, but considering the state of things here in Hollywood, it doesn't look like he knows what he is doing.

I think I'm know what I'm going to do. Vote a strict party ticket and let the population that has to deal with everything else, vote for everything else.

Ron Howard, Henry Winkler and Andy Griffith

See more Ron Howard videos at Funny or Die

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

From Bill Maher's "New Rules"

Now that Gordon Brown and Nicolas Sarkozy have done what George Bush and Henry Paulson couldn't, maybe it's time conservatives accepted that there's more to Europe than just castles and accordion music. Sarah Palin recently explained proudly that she wasn't one of those kids who graduates college and their parents get them a passport and a backpack and say, "Go off and travel the world." Oh, God, no, that's the kind of thing that could open up your mind.

No, Sarah stayed right here in America and learned about foreign cultures the proper way: by standing on the shore with a pair of binoculars.

You know, the specter of becoming a little more European doesn't frighten me so much because, in the recent crisis, it was the wiser, less swaggering leaders of Europe who came through with a financial plan that might actually work; the plan that George Bush is now doing; the plan he didn't want to do because, a) if it did work, it might threaten his perfect record of monstrous, retarded disasters - that make Armageddon look like a flesh wound - and, b) it was socialism, which he equates with poor black folks getting cheese for free.

But, maybe things have gotten so bad here, the public is finally receptive to the notion that we could learn something from other nations. Europe's currency happens to be kicking our currency's ass. And they cover everyone with health care at far less cost, and beat us in life expectancies. We're 38th in the world in that category, behind Colombia, Morocco and Costa Rica. "USA! USA! USA!"

Europeans are leading the "green" revolution, and their infrastructure is gleaming and efficient, with thousands of miles of high-speed rail track. We have the trolley at the mall that takes you from Pottery Barn to the Gap.

10/17/08 New Rules

New Va. pharmacy won’t sell any contraceptives

A new drug store at a Virginia strip mall is putting its faith in an unconventional business plan: No candy. No sodas. And no birth control.

Store follows Roman Catholic teachings; some fear impact on rural women

Pam Semler, of Fairfax, Va., (right) works the register at DMC Pharmacy in Chantilly, Va. on Monday, Oct. 20. The pharmacy bills itself as "pro-life" and carries no contraceptive products.

Full Story

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Stupid is as Stupid does.

Here goes Dingbat Palin with her perverted view of our government:

The Tree is Down!

At 6:55 this morning, as I was pouring milk in my first cup of tea, Economic Tree Service arrived to take down the Dwarf Poinciana tree in the back yard.

My Mango Tree now has full sun and will grow and produce!

Monday, October 20, 2008

The Garden Website is up

My 2008-09 Garden website has been activated. You may visit it at www.vicpier.com/Plunkettgarden08/.

I was going to vote today, however ...

Early on, I had decided to vote early and thought, I would get it out of the way and do it the first day, however ... I heard that there were first day voting machine problems and lines at some polling places.

To top it off, I looked at my sample ballot that came in two weeks ago, and to my horror, the ballot is a big as a Harry Potter book with mumbo jumbo Constitutional amendments, Broward County Charter amendments and elections for people that I assume have no campaigning budgets, because just as in the primary, I have not received a single ad in the mail.

Will try and find some information on the questions that are not worded as questions and vote a solid Democratic ticket.

I guess I'll vote on Thursday. I have that tree coming down tomorrow and I'm working on the raised beds in the backyard. Wednesday, my friends from Naperville, IL will be coming for the day. That leaves Thursday as the earliest to perform my civic duty.

News came on tonight that Barack's grandmother is gravely ill. Sounds like hospice. My thoughts are with him.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

It is coming down!

This is a picture of my backyard. It was suppose to highlight my mango tree, however, you cannot see my mango tree because the so called dwarf poinciana tree's canopy is covering it.

Economic Tree Service arrived Saturday afternoon and gave me an estimate of $400 to remove this 42 foot weed. I will be keeping the large pieces of wood, which I can burn in the BBQ pit. All of the canopy debris will be removed by them. It will be removed on Tuesday.

After the delivery of the soil by HD (see posting below) and actually having someone show up and having arraigned to have the tree removed, I laid down to take a nap and slept solidly for 8 hours.

My sleep now, is turned back around which is unfortunate, as I had turn my sleep around so I could be up in the daytime for very dear friend and her husband who will be visiting me on Wednesday. This is something I am really looking forward to.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Home Depot

I'm still sitting here in shock.

While taking my first sip of tea at 6:10 am this morning, I got a call from Home Depot. The guy said that my soil (which I ordered on Thursday for my garden) was about a block away and that I needed to move my car.

6:10 AM, Home Depot delivers! — I'm still in shock!

It seems that the driver lives three doors down from me in the next block and as he went to pick up his load, noticed a light on in the kitchen and assumed I was up. In reality, I wasn't, but had gotten up about 30 minutes before he called.

And I thought I would still be waiting for it at 5:30pm today.

Now I am waiting to see if the tree trimmers show up to do an estimate for me on a tree I need removed and the stump of the Mahogany tree that didn't make in through Hurricane Wilma in 2005. I really tried to save that tree, but eight months after the storm, I had to have it cut down completely. A 2-foot stump and roots remain.

Friday, October 17, 2008

2008-09 Garden

I'm currently working on my Garden for this season. A special website is in the works and will have a link when I've put it up.

Here is a sneak preview.

I love watermelon, but as you may or may not know, watermelon is hard to tell if it is ripe or not. This watermelon turns a mustard-yellow color when it is ripe. See Picture.

McCain office in Pompano Beach links Obama to dictators


This sign -- which was headlined "Barrack Hussein Obama" and compared the Democratic presidential candidate to Karl Marx, Adolf Hitler and Fidel Castro -- was hanging in the John McCain campaign office in Pompano Beach on Thursday, October 16.

Full Sun-Sentinel Story

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Humane

Dying owner leaves 32 cats with vets

OPELIKA, Ala. - Five veterinary clinics in eastern Alabama received 32 surprises in the last week: Healthy cats in containers and carriers, along with notes from an anonymous donor saying she is dying from cancer.

The notes signed by "Miss R" beg the vets to find her pets new homes.

"My time is very, very short," the donor wrote. "There is not enough time to find homes for my children another way. I beg you not to let them die because I have to, please!"

"Please do not kill!" was written in capital letters on each of the containers.

Veterinarian Kim Bond said she found three plastic containers poked with holes sitting at her clinic's front door when she got to work at 7 a.m. a week ago.

Each cat's name, age, description and medical summary was written on its container. At least four other clinics received cats in Lee County, about 50 miles northeast of Montgomery.

"These cats were dearly loved," Bond told the Opelika-Auburn News. "They're not feral cats or neglected cats."

Most have new homes already. Veterinarian Buddy Bruce at Animal Health Center still has the six males dropped off Thursday at his clinic and he's offering discounts on all vet services, such as shots and neutering, to anyone who adopts one of the cats.

The identity and location of the donor is unknown.

"Other vets that I've talked to say the same thing, 'Let's do what we can to find these kitties homes,'" Bruce said. "These are her children. She took care of the situation the best way she could."

AP Story via MSNBC

Stormy Weather for us, but...

Looks like all the tropical storms are either going toward the North Atlantic or Mexico.

Good news for us. We've had quite a few storms, however.. loads of rain. It has been hard to get my raised beds in for my fall/winter/spring garden.

Monday, October 13, 2008

European, Asian markets bounce back this morning

A woman walks past a display showing stock index in Hong Kong Monday, Oct. 13, 2008. Hong Kong's key index surged more than 9.7 percent as Asian markets rebounded after last week's dramatic sell-off. The Hang Seng Index was up 1515.29 points, or 9.7 percent, at 16312.16. Associated Press © 2008

Gambling is a chronic problem in the U.S.

From the Free Lance-Star in Fredericksburg, VA:

Blooms of Plunkett

Blooms of Plunkett
A Banana tree in the backyard in full bloom