Friday, August 31, 2007
my friends were there bet they are not in this picture your friend emilee i am blogging because i am sleeping ovor aunties house to night because i nevr see her before the beach and camping.
i took a picture of my baby kittin and he's cute and his name is moshmelow. i like the name moshmelow. moshmelow is a nice name is it yes it is he has a coler it is pink and it rings too isit cool i thik he is do you... i like my baby kittin he is cute and small. but i still love him alot.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Big oil companies did not conspire to raise U.S. gasoline prices last summer, as it was high crude oil costs and supply problems that caused the spike in pump prices, government investigators said on Thursday. The Federal Trade Commission said that about 75 percent of the rise in gasoline prices was due to a seasonal increase in summer driving, higher oil costs and more expensive ethanol that was blended into gasoline.
The other 25 percent of the price increase stemmed from lower gasoline production as refiners moved to using ethanol as the main clean-burning fuel additive and lingering damage from hurricanes Katrina and Rita that reduced refining capacity.
"Our targeted examination of major refinery outages revealed no evidence that refiners conspired to restrict supply or otherwise violated antitrust laws," the FTC said. "We therefore conclude that further investigation of the nationwide 2006 gasoline price spike is not warranted at this time."
Many lawmakers at the time had accused oil companies, which were raking in billions of dollars in record profits, of overcharging U.S. consumers at the pump.
President George W. Bush directed the FTC and the Justice and Energy Departments to look into whether manipulation or other illegal activity by oil companies was behind the sharp rise in gasoline prices.
The national retail monthly average gasoline price jumped from $2.28 a gallon in February 2006 to $2.89 by the beginning of May, and then declined slightly through June. Prices started rising again in July and hit a peak of $3.02 a gallon during the second week of August, and then took a steep decline to $2.18 by the end of October.
The FTC said its investigation found the increases in motor fuel prices "were caused by a confluence of factors reflecting the normal operation of the market."
FTC Commissioner Jon Leibowitz dissented from the report's conclusions and issued a separate statement that said the agency developed a "theoretical model" for why gasoline prices likely increased.
Leibowitz said he believes "there was profiteering (by oil companies) at the expense of consumers."
(acdc) Sounds like this guy Leibowitz is the only one in DC who realizes that the oil companies can't have record profits just because the refiners were making some changes. Even if those changes were costly, the oil companies should not have had billions in profits that broke records.
Thursday, August 30, 2007
I've always considered myself to be a reader. As a kid I would read under the covers with a flashlight. Through school I always enjoyed the books we were assigned to read; 1984, The Grapes of Wrath, The Scarlet Letter, Jonathan Livingston Seagull among many others.
Mostly I read mysteries, detective stories and the occasional biography. I've been a fan of Stephen King since I picked up Carrie, his first book. I have lots of other favorite authors and, of course, my favorite characters in their books.
I always go to my library's website and request any books that sound interesting or has been recommended to me. A few weeks ago, Lillian gave me (as she often does) the names of a couple of books that she had heard of. I'm probably the only person who has their library card number (all 14 digits) memorized. I've no idea what my license number is, or my bank account number, but I do know my library card number by heart.
The books that Lil recommended were Freakonomics by Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner and The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell. I haven't even gotten to the second book yet, I am so fascinated by the first. Both books are somewhat similar; they give you a different way to look at the world around you.
Freakonomics is absolutely fascinating. The chapters have titles like;
What do Schoolteachers and Sumo Wrestlers have in common?
How is the Ku Klux Klan like a group of real estate agents?
Why do drug dealers still live with their moms?
I was hooked just reading the introduction, part of which is:
Anyone living in the United States in the early 1990s and paying even a whisper of attention to the nightly news or a daily paper could be forgiven for having been scared out of his skin.
The culprit was crime. It had been rising relentlessly-a graph plotting the crime rate in any American city over recent decades looked like a ski slope in profile-and it seemed now to herald the end of the world as we knew it. Death by gunfire, intentional and otherwise, had become commonplace. So too had carjacking and crack dealing, robbery and rape. Violent crime was a gruesome, constant companion. And things were about to get even worse. Much worse. All of the experts were saying so.
The cause was the so called superpredator. For a time, he was everywhere. Glowering from the cover of newsweeklies. Swaggering his way through foot-thick government reports. He was a scrawny, big-city teenager with a cheap gun in his hand and nothing in his heart but ruthlessness. There were thousands out there just like him, we were told, a generation of killers about to hurl the country into deepest chaos.
In 1995 the criminologist James Alan Fox wrote a report for the US attorney general that grimly detailed the coming spike in murders by teenagers. Fox proposed optimistic and pessimistic scenarios. In the optimistic scenario, he believed, the rate of teen homicides would rise another 15 percent over the next decade; in the pessimistic scenario, it would more than double. "The next crime wave will get so bad," he said, "that it will make 1995 look like the good old days."
Other criminologists, political scientists, and similarly learned forecasters laid out the same horrible future, as did President Clinton. "We know we've got about six years to turn this juvenile crime thing around," Clinton said, "or our country is going to be living with chaos. And my successors will not be giving speeches about the wonderful opportunities of the global economy; they'll be trying to keep body and soul together for people on the streets of these cities." The smart money was plainly on the criminals.
And then, instead of going up and up and up, crime began to fall. And fall and fall and fall some more. The crime drop was startling in several respects. It was ubiquitous, with every category of crime falling in every part of the country. It was persistent, with incremental decreases year after year. And it was entirely unanticipated - especially by the very experts who had been predicting the opposite.
The magnitude of the reversal was astounding. The teenage murder rate, instead of rising 100 percent or even 15 percent as James Alan Fox had warned, fell more than 50 percent within five years. By 2000 the overall murder rate in the United States had dropped to it's lowest level in thirty-five years. So had the rate of just about every other sort of crime, from assault to car theft.
Even though the experts had failed to anticipate the crime drop - which was in fact well under way even as they made their horrifying predictions - they now hurried to explain it. Most of their theories sounded perfectly logical. It was the roaring 1990s economy, they said, that helped turn back crime. It was the proliferation of gun control laws, they said. It was the sort of innovative policing strategies put into place in New York City, where murder rates would fall from 2,245 in 1990 to 596 in 2003.
These theories were not only logical; they were also encouraging for they attributed the crime drop to specific and recent human initiatives. If it was gun control and clever police strategies and better paying jobs that quelled crime - well then, the power to stop criminals had been within our reach all along. As it would be the next time, God forbid, that crime got so bad.
These theories made their way, seemingly without question, from the experts' mouths to journalists' ears to the public's mind. In short, they became conventional wisdom.
There was only one problem: they weren't true.
There was another factor, meanwhile, that had greatly contributed to the massive crime drop of the 1990s. It had taken shape more than twenty years earlier and concerned a young woman in Dallas named Norma McCorvey.
Like the proverbial butterfly that flaps it wings on one continent and eventually causes a hurricane on another, Norma McCorvey dramatically altered the course of events without intending to. All she had wanted was an abortion. She was a poor, uneducated, unskilled, alcoholic, drug-using twenty-one-year-old woman who had already given up two children for adoption and now, in 1970, found herself pregnant again. But in Texas, as in all but a few states at that time, abortion was illegal. McCorvey's cause came to be adopted by people far more powerful than she. They made her the lead plaintiff in a class-action lawsuit seeking to legalize abortion. The defendant was Henry Wade, the Dallas County district attorney. The case ultimately made it to the US Supreme Court, by which time McCorvey's name had been disguised as Jane Roe. On January 22, 1973, the court ruled in favor of Ms. Roe, allowing legalized abortion throughout the country. By this time, of course, it was far too late for Ms. McCorvey/Roe to have her abortion. She had given birth and put the child up for adoption. (Years later she would renounce her allegiance to legalized abortion and become a pro-life activist.)
So how did Roe v. Wade help trigger, a generation later, the greatest crime drop in recorded history?
As far as crime is concerned, it turns out that not all children are born equal. Not even close. Decades of studies have show that a child born into an adverse family environment is far more likely than other children to become a criminal. And the millions of women most likely to have an abortion in the wake of Roe v. Wade - poor, unmarried, and teenage mothers for whom illegal abortions had been too expensive or too hard to get - were often models of adversity. They were the very women whose children, if born, would have been much more likely than average to become criminals. But because of Roe v. Wade, these children weren't being born. This powerful cause would have a drastic, distant effect: years later, just as these unborn children would have entered their criminal primes, the rate of crime began to plummet.
It wasn't gun control or a strong economy or new police strategies that finally blunted the American crime wave. It was, among other factors, the reality that the pool of potential criminals had dramatically shrunk.
Now, as the crime-drop experts (the former crime doomsayers) spun their theories to the media, how many times did they cite legalized abortion as a cause? Zero.
I hope you found that part of their introduction as fascinating as I did. (The authors revisited this in a later chapter.) The book just gets better and really makes you look at things in a new and different way.
I'm sure you're tired of reading by now, so I'll leave you with this one thought. Get this book! Whether you borrow it from the library or you buy it from Amazon ($16.77) it is a MUST READ!
Wednesday, August 29, 2007
I've had many opportunities to visit New Orleans, but have chosen not to. It's a dirty city with way too many people, noise, crime, parties and drinking.
The news today was filled with pictures of New Orleans. I, for one, will never forget the images that came out of there two years ago this week. It was absolutely unbelievable to see what the people of that city went through during the storm and the aftermath of the next several days. It was shocking to see the anguish on those faces and to hear their pleas to get out of there. I couldn't imagine being there, I might just have lost my mind. At that time I said many times that I would never complain about anything ever again. (Sorry to say, that didn't last too long, as I've found plenty to complain about since.)
More mistakes than can be counted happened that week and in the two years since. The biggest mistake, in my opinion, is the rebuilding of many areas of that city. The lack of planning for rebuilding their communities is appalling. The government has proven that they can't build levees that will hold up against a Category 3 (or greater) storm which is sure to be in their future.
With global warming, oceans are already rising and it's only a matter of time before all coastline cities are going to be in real trouble, which will just make Katrina look like a summer storm instead of the devastating hurricane it was.
So, I'm not sure what I'll say, though I'm sure something will come to mind.
I did get up to watch the eclipse. Looking west this morning at 5:00 am I couldn't see the moon from my house. So Hannibal and I got in the car and headed down Potowomut Road where there's a little fishing spot. I did spot the moon as I drove there and thought it would be a good place to sit and watch. Wrong. The moon was so low that the trees around the river were blocking the view. So I decided to head out to Post Road where there are more buildings than trees. As I was driving I was not able to find the moon at all. Then I realized that I was looking east, where the sun was starting to rise. DUH. Once I turned and looked west I saw the moon, found a spot to park and got my camera out, just as the clouds blocked the moon from my view. I waited for about a half hour and never saw the moon again. So I went to Dunkin Donuts and got a donut and headed home, knowing there's another eclipse coming before long.
I do enjoy the lunar eclipse so much more than a solar eclipse. I remember once, years ago, when we were having a solar eclipse, I decided to go outside (I was downtown at the time) and I looked up towards the sun (which you are NOT supposed to do), my eyes starting to hurt and they continued to hurt for weeks afterwards, so I do not recommend that. It's alot safer to watch a solar eclipse on TV or use a special pair of glasses or welders glass.
Here's some upcoming dates to watch the night sky:
September 1 is the peak of the Aurigids meteor showers.
October 8 is the peak of the Draconids meteor showers.
November 18 is the peak of the Leonid meteor showers.
December 14 is the peak of the Geminid meteor showers.
I do enjoy the night sky. Maybe that's why I like to stay up late.
The rest of my day was spent sleeping (I've been exhausted lately) and working on Castle stuff.
On the day that I went to the Castle, I left a letter for the owner at the house and mailed one to him at the address of the house. The mailed one was returned to me and I haven't been by the Castle lately to see if the one I left is still there. I have no clue as to where the owner of that house is. I did check and he's not in prison, nor has he been arrested for anything. I would sure like to know what's up with him and the house though. I can't imagine another winter passing and that place still being vacant and abandoned.
I guess that's it for now. My brain can't think too much longer at this late hour.
Monday, August 27, 2007
The first Hispanic (not that that has anything to do with his creepiness) Attorney General - Alberto Gonzales, who; drafted the torture memo, tried to limit the legal rights of those held at Guantanomo Bay, lied repeatedly about the firings of US Attorneys and continued the illegal prying into Americans' personal information allowed by the Patriot Act which was drafted by the moron evangelical bozo before him.
Today, our inept and corrupt President praised Gonzales' performance and said the attorney general was "honest" and "honorable." Of course, Bush wouldn't know honest and honorable if it bit him in the face (which I have to admit would be fun to watch).
Since Rove resigned recently, and now Gonzales, let's hope these resignations rub off on some others who need to go, namely; Bush and Cheney!
Sunday, August 26, 2007
People in Europe, Africa or the Middle East, who had the best view of the last total lunar eclipse in March, won't see this one because the moon will have set when the eclipse begins at 4:51 a.m. EDT. It will take an hour to reach full eclipse stage.
An eclipse occurs when Earth passes between the sun and the moon, blocking the sun's light. It's rare because the moon is usually either above or below the plane of Earth's orbit.
Since the Earth is bigger than the moon, the process of the Earth's shadow taking a bigger and bigger "bite" out of the moon, totally eclipsing it before the shadow recedes, lasts about 3 1/2 hours, said Doug Duncan, director of the University of Colorado's Fiske Planetarium. The total eclipse phase, in which the moon has an orange or reddish glow, lasts about 1 1/2 hours.
The full eclipse will be visible across the United States, but East Coast viewers will only have about a half-hour to see it before the sun begins to rise and the moon sets. Skywatchers in the West will get the full show.
During the full eclipse, the moon won't be completely dark because some light still reaches it around the edges of the Earth. The light is refracted as it passes through our atmosphere, scattering blue light - which is why the sky is blue - but sending reddish light onto the moon.
"When someone asks why is it (the moon) red, you can say because the sky is blue," Duncan said.
The next total lunar eclipse occurs Feb. 21, 2008, and will be visible from the Americas, Europe and Asia.
Saturday, August 25, 2007
CLOVIS, Calif. (AP) - Early in the Iraq war, Jeff and Peggy Hubbard faced the news that every parent with a child at war dreads, the death of their son Jared, a Marine killed alongside his best friend.
Two years, nine months and 18 days later, they faced another grim-faced officer. This time, it was their youngest, Army Cpl. Nathan Hubbard, 21, dead in a helicopter crash in Iraq.
A third brother, Jason, was on another helicopter in the same unit and was at the crash site. He accompanied his brother's body on a flight out of Iraq and was on his way home for the funeral.
The family has been told that, if he requests it, Jason Hubbard will be discharged or given a noncombat assignment under an Army policy governing sole surviving siblings and children of soldiers killed in combat, said Tim Rolen, a family friend and pastor who co-presided at Jared Hubbard's funeral on Veteran's Day 2004
"In all of our minds we have an order of the way things go. The death of a child is out of order. You now have a family that has lost two," Rolen said. "One doesn't prepare you for another one."
Nathan was barely out of high school when a roadside bomb killed Jared and Jared's best friend. Nathan tattooed his brother's initials on his arm, described him as his hero and enlisted to pick up where his big brother left off.
With a yearlong tour of duty almost behind him, he was making plans to meet his buddies in Hawaii, where he was stationed, when the Black Hawk helicopter carrying him and 13 other soldiers had mechanical problems and crashed during a night flight. There were no survivors.
Jason Hubbard, 33, had resigned as a Fresno County sheriff's deputy to join the Army at the same time Nathan did. At their request, the two were assigned to the same unit, the 3rd Brigade of the 25th Infantry Division based on Oahu.
Jason was riding in another helicopter when the Black Hawk went down. He told his wife by telephone that he was part of the crew assigned to search the wreckage, according to Rolen.
He accompanied Nathan's body on a military aircraft from Iraq to Kuwait, then on to California. Flags were lowered to half-staff outside homes, stores and municipal buildings Friday all over Clovis, a city of 90,000 next to Fresno.
For many people in the town, the Hubbard family's tragedy elicited echoes from two movies: "Saving Private Ryan," which depicted the search for a paratrooper whose three brothers have already died in World War II, and "Legends of the Fall" - one of Nathan Hubbard's favorite films - about the death of the youngest of three Montana brothers who went off to battle during World War I.
The military does not track families with more than one child serving in Iraq or cases in which casualties have resulted in a service member's discharge or change in combat status, said Lt. Jonathan Withington, a Department of Defense spokesman.
Buchanan High Principal Don Ulrich remembered Nathan Hubbard, a 2004 graduate, as a happy-go-lucky student and junior varsity wrestler who made friends easily. Counselors sent to the school Thursday were mostly visited by teachers and staff members who remembered the deaths of 2001 graduates Jared Hubbard and his friend, Jeremiah Baro.
"It is very difficult to comprehend the loss this Buchanan family has endured. All we can do is support Nathan and his brothers' commitment to serving their country and keep the family in our prayers," Ulrich said.
The Hubbards - who also have a daughter, Heidi, 31 - asked for privacy. Jeff Hubbard is a retired Clovis police officer, and a uniformed officer was posted outside their door. Capt. Drew Berrington, a longtime friend whose son grew up with Jared Hubbard, said the family's double tragedy had unsettled the most hardened veterans.
"It's difficult for us, even though we are people who deal with disturbing situations on a daily basis. It gets under our armor, even though we deal with death all the time," Berrington said.
Rolen said Jeff and Peggy Hubbard had conflicting emotions when Nathan and Jason enlisted six months after their brother's death. The parents were proud, but wanted to make sure the sons were doing it for the right reasons and understood the risks, he said.
"Any parent who has lost a child in this manner would say, 'Be sure.' This is a family that is strong on commitment," he said.
In an interview with The Fresno Bee shortly before he left for basic training in 2005, Nathan Hubbard said he knew the dangers but did not worry about dying.
"My brother - my parents' son - will always be in our hearts, and we'll always remember him and we'll always think of him and all that, but we've got to move on, and that's what we are doing," he said.
Nathan is to be buried late this coming week with full military honors at Clovis Cemetery, where his brother and friend Jeremiah Baro were buried side by side.
On Friday, at their first regular season game, members of Buchanan High School's football team plan to wear five stars on their helmets, one in honor of each graduate who has died in Iraq, school district spokeswoman Kelly Avants said.
Friday, August 24, 2007
Until two nights ago, we didn't know Nick even existed. Now we have a new friend!
After the beach on Wednesday, Roni and I were having Chinese food while sitting in front of my computer. I started looking at apartments and then we thought to check out the cars for sale as my new bumper stickers were really bugging her.
We came across his ad within the hour of the posting. I sent an email; he called and gave me some info. I told him we were interested and would call back to say what time we'd be there Thursday morning.
After plugging the car in, looking under the hood (at an extremely clean engine compartment), and going for a test ride, Kevin gave it the all clear. Michelle and Nick had agreed to a price on the drive over and we told him the car was SOLD! So Nick headed back to the East Bay, we brought Michelle home and then I dropped Roni at work.
Once she was home, Michelle worked her financial magic and got a loan approved for Roni within an hour or so and we made plans to meet Nick this morning. Again, Nick left the East Bay, heading West. Michelle headed to Junction to pick up JaeMae, Roni picked me up and we all converged at People's CU. After a bit of waiting for paperwork to be faxed, my acquiring a safe deposit box and papers getting signed, Nick had his check and Veronica had the paperwork and title.
Veronica, JaeMae and I headed to my house. Michelle went to the registry, and Nick again headed back to the East Bay! After spending some time trying to get JaeMae to eat and/or sleep, we met with Michelle and we swapped JaeMae for the new license plates and registration. Then Michelle and JaeMae went to the beach and Veronica and I headed back to the East Bay to get her new car.
We get to Nick's house and - no car and no Nick!! I think Roni was getting a little nervous because he had the check and the car! A little while later, Nick (along with the car) came home. He took his plates off and put on Veronica's new plates - one of those new 6 digit plates. After removing his stuff, he gave Roni some CD's he made for her, left her some change in the center console, we snapped a picture and he was off - hopefully not back to the West Bay. I took some photos of Roni and she followed me - back to the West Bay!
She looked so cute and adorable driving her new car; it seems like it was made for her! I had to call her to tell her so on the way.
So Nick leaves for France on Monday, Veronica has driven off into the sunset and I have my car back! All is well between the East and West of Narragansett Bay.
Thursday, August 23, 2007
But, where is the outrage over the dead and disfigured soldiers? Why is it that people seem to care more about animals than human beings? To date, 3,723 men and women have been killed in the war in Iraq.
Here are the facts: American Deaths
Since war began (3/19/03):
3723 total dead
3066 in combat
Since "Mission Accomplished" (5/1/03)
3584 total dead
2958 in combat
Since Capture of Saddam (12/13/03):
3262 total dead
2760 in combat
Since Handover (6/29/04):
2864 total dead
2433 in combat
Since Election (1/31/05):
2286 total dead
2170 in combat
27,506 Official count
23,000 - 100,000 Estimated
Latest Fatality August 22, 2007
I just don't get it.
Wednesday, August 22, 2007
sun barely shined and the wind was blowing hard, we had a good time, which is as it should be when you're at the beach.
It cracks me up that when Veronica comes along, as she did today, Chelsea (who loves Veronica completely) followed her lead when it came to placing the towel on the ground and laying down.
Emilee was the only brave soul to go into the water, which she did with great abandon (as she does with pretty much everything), boogie boarding in on the perfect waves. Matthew, along with Nathan and Jackie went searching for sea glass and shells.
The conversation was good, the company even better, and we all had a great time, even the seagull who Natalie pointed out by saying "that is the fattest seagull I ever saw." Probably because he stole a raisin cookie and assorted potato chips.
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
Monday, August 20, 2007
I love a good storm, thunder and lightning, wind, driving rain. It doesn't get much better, unless you add snow. A nor'easter or a hurricane just make life more interesting. The fury of Mother Nature is something to behold.
Of course, here in New England, the hurricanes we've had have been pretty mild, at least in my lifetime. We've had some where trees get knocked over, power goes out. The worst hurricane experience I can remember is listening to a generator running for over a week at a house across Johnson's Pond from where I was living. I'm sure they wanted their power back on, but I was probably as ecstatic as they when that generator was finally turned off. Usually when it's blowing, I go outside and walk around feeling the air and rain around me.
One time while living on the pond, Hooke and I were sitting on the screened porch watching a thunder and lightning storm. All at once, I could feel the hair on my arms stand up and Hooke went wild barking and doing his little donut circles on the floor, then BOOM, lightning came down and hit a tree that was about 50 feet away. It was great. There was a little fire that the rain put out after a few moments.
Whenever the weatherman is forecasting thunderstorms, I anticipate where I'll be, what the best vantage point is, how long will it last, etc.. Often, like the last few days, I'm disappointed when nothing happens. Where did the storm go? Who was able to experience it? Why wasn't it me? Hannibal isn't fazed at all by storms, sometimes he picks his head up when lightning flashes, but the thunder bothers him not at all.
I never understand people who are afraid of storms. They're so exhilarating, you feel so alive. Last summer, when Chelsea, Matthew and Emilee were sleeping over there was a storm that started about 11 pm. They were all nervous so I decided they needed to understand the feeling of experiencing something so wild. I opened the window, pulled the shade all the way up, and pushed the bed up against it. Then we all laid there feeling the rain blow in, watching the flashes and feeling the house rumble. I think they appreciated it, as they didn't seem to be afraid anymore. I hope they still aren't afraid.
Hurricane Dean was just upgraded to a Category 5 storm, with winds over 156 miles per hour. I've watched the weather channel on and off today to see where it's been and where it's headed. Unfortunately, the islands have been hit pretty hard, and there has been a lot of devastation. The buildings and houses down there are not built for the harsh environment that hurricanes bring, I'm sure many people are homeless and many lives have been lost.
So maybe we'll be lucky and have a hurricane here in New England this summer or fall. My request would be a Category 1 or 2, maybe a 3 tops.
Sunday, August 19, 2007
Don't leave mail in mailbox overnight or on weekends.
Deposit mail in U.S. Postal Service collection boxes.
Tear up or shred unwanted documents that contain personal information.
Report lost or stolen credit cards to the issuer immediately.
Sign new credit cards immediately.
Never leave receipts behind at ATMs, on counters at financial institutions or at gasoline pumps.
Check expiration dates on credit cards and contact the issuer if you don't get a replacement before they expire. Do the same with monthly financial statements and bills.
Match credit card receipts against monthly bills and check financial statements for accuracy.
If you applied for a credit card and didn't receive it when expected, call the financial institution.
Memorize your Social Security number and passwords. Don't use your date of birth as your password and don't record passwords on papers you carry with you.
Don't carry your Social Security card or birth certificate leave them in a secure location.
Don't disclose credit card or other financial account numbers on a Web site unless the site offers a secure transaction.
Beware of mail or telephone solicitations that offer prizes or awards especially if the offer asks you for personal information or financial account numbers.
Watch for your monthly financial statements and bills. If you don't get them when expected, contact the sender.
Saturday, August 18, 2007
Friday, August 17, 2007
This year Emilee crashed her bike going down a hill and got her foot and her flipflop stuck between the front tire spokes and the brake.
Matthew fell off his bike and landed in the gravel and dirt.
Chelsea did what she does every year - she got her hair stuck in the zipper to the tent. I was laughing pretty hard so Jackie and Faith had to rescue her, otherwise she would have spent the remainder of the weekend stuck in one place!
Thursday, August 16, 2007
It all started back in the 70's. We were definitely a camping group of friends. I guess it was because there wasn't a lot to do, so we spent much of the time camping out all over New England. When we were young, it didn't matter so much where we went, or what the accommodations were. Some places we went to didn't have any accommodations. An outhouse with a hole, no showers. There were also cabins that we would stay in, where the price was $1.00 per night, and that was for your mattress! The cabins were free! We didn't pay a lot of attention to menus or who was bringing what. We just loaded our cars and went.
As we got older and children became part of the group, planning was much more important. In the early years, I was part of the planning. But over time, as Faith and Jan (who had the kids) perfected the menus, games and activities and then got the pop up campers (where they could leave camping items from year to year) my part has greatly diminished. I can barely plan and cook a meal at home, nevermind when camping. Their imaginations and ingenuity have resulted in some fabulous meals over the years.
I've taken nieces and nephews over the years and they always have a good time. My ideal camping day is watching the kids, reading a book and munching on the assorted snacks that are offered.
This past weekend, after 3 days of camping, the kids discovered 4 tiny baby mice living in a log that Tim brought from home. I've included a video, recorded by my 7 year old niece, Emilee with my camera. Each time this weekend as she was recording she would say "This is going on the internet!" so I thought I should add something to make her happy.
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
I actually saw the ankle bracelet home confinement unit she wears, though I got a feeling it's not really hooked up to anything, because she doesn't spend a lot of time at home, except for the middle of the night when she's up making noise.
I've done a little investigating and found the following:
1993 Malicious destruction of property and disorderly conduct = 1 yr probation
1996 DUI 1st offense = fine, probation, loss of license 3 months
2000 Driving with suspended license = pleaded nolo contendre, dismissed
2006 Reckless driving and leaving scene of accident with property damage = 1 yr suspended sentence, 1 yr probation, no loss of license, substance abuse counseling, restitution, home confinement
2007 Driving with suspended license, 2 counts of possession of Class 5 controlled substance, driving with possession of controlled substance = trial 9/5/07
Now you have some idea of what a lovely neighbor I have. I've thought of moving, but I'm gonna hold out hope that her trial ends in a lengthy jail sentence for her. Or she gets evicted, whichever comes first.
With her departure, one way or another, the Idiot should be gone too.
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
Gently out of town
Merely, merely, merely, merely
You're such a stupid clown!
Rove, rove, rove your gloat
Life is not a dream
When you're gone, goney, gone
Take all your friggin schemes.
Rove, rove, rove you joke
Tuck your tail and go
Barely, barely, barely, barely
With what little you do know.
Monday, August 13, 2007
For someone who just turned 12 yesterday, my niece Chelsea has had quite a lot of adventures and experiences in her short life.
There are so many adjectives to describe her that I think some haven't even been found or invented yet. Compassionate, considerate, thoughtful, smart, sentimental, silly, beautiful, soulful, dignified, lovely, delightful, etc., etc., etc..
When she was 13 months old her parents went away overnight and left her with me. Veronica, who was then 6, was also staying with me and we had the most fun spending time with Chels. Right before her father was to pick her up, Veronica and I decided to put a couple of teddy bear tattoos on Chelsea's butt while changing her diaper. A couple of hours after Michael left with her, my phone rang and it was my brother who accused me of "corrupting his daughter". That really started our fun together.
As a 3 year old, she was the first to skinny-dip in my little inflatable pool. She was also the first (and only) to touch my hot wood stove with her little hand, thankfully with no lasting scars.
Her brain is a lot like mine (which might not be so good) because it never stops thinking. In her kindergarten class they learned about fire safety and smoke detectors. For some time she became a bit obsessive worrying about fire. She had us worried because it seemed to be on her mind more than it should. I explained to her that they taught that info to keep families safe, but she continued to worry. Finally, one day I held her cute little head in my hands, and told her that it was my job to help people stay safe and that I was taking all of those thoughts from her head and putting them into my head, that I would be the one to worry for her. It seemed to help her a great deal. Shortly after that she and I, along with Veronica went to Lil's cottage in Maine. At that time there was an old gas stove that had to be lit by a match once the gas had been turned on. I had taught Veronica how to do it, and one day while Chelsea was eating her breakfast at the table, Veronica turned the gas on earlier than she should have before lighting the match. Once she lit it, the flame shot up several inches. Chelsea was out the door in a blur, which cracked us up then and we still laugh about today. So she may have some issues with fire, which I think should keep her safe.
About the same time we also had to spray her room with Monster Spray to keep away the monsters that only she saw! Little did she know we used lemon spray, which made her room smell nice and clean. All that mattered to her is that the monsters stayed away.
She started dancing at 3 years old and is now a lovely dancer. To watch her each year at her recital and seeing her improve and her confidence grow makes me proud of her. She and her company have traveled from Las Vegas to New York City for competitions and have won many 1st place honors. I assume the other girls do a fine job, but this Auntie only has eyes for one dancer up on the stage.
She graduated from 6th grade this year and is headed to middle school in just a couple of weeks. I went to the same elementary school that she did (1961-1967). This year at the graduation ceremony she received many awards. At the end of the program the Principal announced that they had one more award to present. It was a Presidential Award, given to the best and brightest students and I'll give you one guess as to who it was awarded to. I believe she is the only one at that school who has ever received this award. In my opinion, it was the one smart thing that our current president has done in the past 6 years.
She's been to Disney World a few times, on a Disney Cruise, Niagara Falls and to Jamaica. She enjoys those trips and looks forward to another trip to Jamaica in the spring.
Needless to say, the time since her birth 12 years and 1 day ago has gone much too quickly. She got braces last week. Junior High in two weeks. Sooner or later (I hope, much later) boyfriends. Then high school, driving and college. She's already begun to be too busy to spend much time with Auntie, though this past weekend we were together while camping.
She never fails to amaze me with who she is. I am in awe of all that she has accomplished and look forward to watching where she is headed, wishing her love. I hope she knows this Auntie is very proud and loves her very much.
Saturday, August 11, 2007
There is a bank that credits your account each morning with $86,400. It carries over no balance from day to day. Every evening deletes whatever part of the balance you failed to use during the day. What would you do? Draw out ALL OF IT, of course!!!! Each of us has such a bank. Its name is TIME.
Every morning, it credits you with 86,400 seconds. Every night it writes off, as lost, whatever of this you have failed to invest to good purpose. It carries over no balance. It allows no overdraft.
Each day it opens a new account for you. Each night it burns the remains of the day. If you fail to use the day's deposits, the loss is yours. There is no going back. There is no drawing against the "tomorrow." You must live in the present on today's deposits.
Invest it so as to get from it the utmost in health, happiness, and success! The clock is running. Make the most of today.
To realize the value of ONE YEAR, ask a student who failed a grade.
To realize the value of ONE MONTH, ask a mother who gave birth to a premature baby.
To realize the value of ONE WEEK, ask the editor of a weekly newspaper.
To realize the value of ONE HOUR, ask the lovers who are waiting to meet.
To realize the value of ONE MINUTE, ask a person who missed the train.
To realize the value of ONE-SECOND, ask a person who just avoided an accident.
To realize the value of ONE MILLISECOND, ask the person who won a silver medal in the Olympics.
Treasure every moment that you have! And treasure it more because you shared it with someone special, special enough to spend your time. And remember that time waits for no one. Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. Today is a gift. That's why it's called the present!!!
Friday, August 10, 2007
The combination of nice conditions and picturesque meteors offer prime viewing pleasure.
The Perseids stand out because they occur at the time of warm summer nights and because they produce a consistent annual display of bright meteors.
The Perseids slowly have increased in number in recent weeks and are expected to peak overnight Saturday and Sunday with up to 60 "shooting stars" an hour.
While other showers might sporadically spawn higher numbers, the Perseids offer dependable yields of eye pleasures, often with persistent light trails that linger in the air.
The Perseids produce many bright blue-white meteors that usually catch the attention of people who are outside for reasons other than meteor watching.
The best time to watch the nightly exhibition is between 2 a.m. and dawn when the constellation Perseus, from where the shower seems to originate, is highest in the sky.
Can't wait up that late? The Perseids usually start appearing around 10 p.m. Some of the early ones streak more slowly, providing longer and more spectacular meteors.
People in the Northern Hemisphere have a good view of the Perseids, but because the constellation Perseus hardly rises above the horizon, their Southern Hemisphere counterparts have much less luck.
The Perseid meteors come from dust-size grains left behind by comet Swift-Tuttle, which every 130 years flies into the inner solar system. Most of the time the comet orbits beyond Pluto.
During August, the Earth moves into the comet debris trail, and the particles splat into the atmosphere, much like bugs hitting a windshield.
Rather than leaving behind a bloblike carcass, the Perseids disappear into a blaze of streaking light, incinerated by intense friction as they smack into the sky at speeds of about 37 miles per second (60 kilometers per second).
Bright lights are the bane of night sky watching; therefore, viewers should make sure to head to dark, open spaces far from cities for optimal viewing.
Thursday, August 9, 2007
Wednesday, August 8, 2007
Tuesday, August 7, 2007
To go back a little bit to fill you in on how we got to this point it all started last Wednesday when the Idiot drove the Dimwit to work at the local nuclear submarine shop. They left about 3pm and never returned! Thursday comes and goes, nothing. Friday the boyfriend shows up, yells at Hannibal who woofed at him and goes up to the apartment and leaves a few minutes later. On Saturday he returned to take a shower and then was gone. Sunday he showed up, took some stuff out of the apartment and, thank goodness, I've not seen him since.
The dimwit's mother came by a couple of times and I heard her rummaging around upstairs once and other times she just picked up the Dimwit's mail.
So I was trying to figure out what was going on. Where the heck could she be?
On Sunday I ran into Cindy (she of the really, really big hair) who has lived in this old house for 35 years!!! I told her I hadn't seen Tina in a few days and she said she should be home because she's on home confinement and didn't I ever see her ankle bracelet!?! Nooo, I never noticed that because I rarely looked at her, having heard enough through the ceiling to know I didn't want any contact unless absolutely necessary.
As I stated earlier, the internet is a wonderful thing. If you go to the Department Of Corrections you can look up information about prisoners. And there she was. Though, surprisingly, they didn't have The Dimwit listed as one of her aliases.
No idea what she did, though Cindy told me enough to know this Dimwit really is a dimwit because she has been busted for drugs, hit and run, driving with suspended license and registration among other things.
I really can't help but smile and gloat a little bit - I knew right from the beginning that she was trouble. And if the Idiot stays away, I'll be happy not to have to see his reprehensible self in the driveway anymore. Yeah.
Monday, August 6, 2007
Many years ago, at his previous home, he found a kitten under the shed in the backyard. The kitten was tiny, seemingly too young and small to be away from it's mother, but there wasn't much choice. So they became cat owners. He is a beautiful tiger with gorgeous markings and double paws. That kitten is now a cat named Snickers (though I call him Stinkers, because one day when I was sitting in their kitchen and the cat pooped in the litter box in the bathroom, which was a room away, I thought it had to be right under my chair, the smell was so big and bad). Stinkers is a little like me, he doesn't like a lot of people around. He begs at the table, like a dog would, especially when Beverly is having dinner, he knows she is sure to feed him.
A few days after finding Stinkers, Michael was cutting his back lawn and he heard a scream over the sound of the lawn mower that turned out to be another kitten. An even tinier gray kitten that literally would fit in the palm of your hand. This kitten turned out to be Scooby and he is a big bad prowling the neighborhood kind of cat. For years he wanted to go outside, but the family knew he'd be safer indoors. So everytime someone would open the door, Scooby would make a run for it and we'd all head outside trying to catch him. That got old pretty fast, so they started letting him stay outside. Luckily (at least so far) he doesn't go too far from the house and, has, on occasion, spent a night or two outdoors. I guess the Governor Francis coyotes don't know that, which is good for Snickers as well as the family that owns him.
Last week, while fishing with Matthew at Warwick Lake, they heard something moving around and making noise in the woods. Wouldn't you know it, another kitten. Covered with fleas, he got a bath as soon as they got him home. I haven't met this kitten yet, but he's had several names so far: Fishy, Marshmallow and Smores. We'll have to see what his final name ends up being as well as what type of pet he becomes.
I'm not sure how much these three free cats have cost Mike and Bev over the years, but, as they say, there's no such thing as a free pet!
Sunday, August 5, 2007
He then asked the students if the jar was full? They agreed that it was.
So the professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles, of course, rolled into the open areas between the rocks.
He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed it was.
The professor picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else.
He then asked once more if the jar was full. The students responded with an unanimous yes.
The professor then produced two cans of beer from under the table and proceeded to pour their entire contents into the jar -- effectively filling the empty space between the sand. The students laughed.
"Now," said the professor, as the laughter subsided, "I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life. The rocks are the important things - your family, your partner, your health, your children - things that if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full. The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, your house, your car. The sand is everything else. The small stuff."
"If you put the sand into the jar first," he continued there is no room for the pebbles or the rocks. The same goes for your life. If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff, you will never have room for the things that are important to you. Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness. Play with your children. Take time to get medical checkups. Take your partner out dancing. There will always be time to go to work, clean the house, give a dinner party and fix the disposal. "Take care of the rocks first -- the things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand."
One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the beer represented.
The professor smiled. "I'm glad you asked. It just goes to show you that no matter how full your life may seem, there's always room for a couple of beers."
Saturday, August 4, 2007
Obviously, you should do everything you can to avoid being locked in a trunk to begin with. But if all else fails, remember you still have options.
* In models made after 2002, getting out is simple since the trunks contain a release that lets you open them from the inside.
* Try to find the spring mechanism of the latch opening the trunk. In most cars, this latch is located near the lock. Try pressing on it or jiggling it for a few minutes.
* If it doesn’t open, look for the wires going to the tail lights. Once you find those wires, pull them loose to disconnect the lights. My Volvo, for instance, has little doors that open to replace tail light bulbs, so that bulbs can be removed if there are no wires to be found. That will hopefully attract the attention of a passing police officer.
* When the car does stop, bang on the trunk lid and yell as loudly as you can. Lie on your back and kick it. There’s always a chance you might be at a service station or convenience store where others can hear you. Or that the car’s been stopped by a police officer who will walk past the trunk to speak with the driver.
* In some models you may actually be able to punch out the plastic tail light, sticking your hand or foot through the hole and out of the back of the trunk.
* Check your own car’s trunk for the location of the tail light wires and latch. And remember--it’s dark inside a closed trunk. If you are ever locked in a trunk, you’ll have to feel your way around.
Friday, August 3, 2007
The first time I saw her, I thought that I might actually be looking at a heavenly cherub, she was that gorgeous. As she grew she kept her angelic look. Though it's changed now as she is more than halfway through her 7th year she is still a beautiful little girl who has a zest for life. She is almost always smiling. Though, when she gets mad, watch out, for she is one tough little girl.
I call her twinkle toes because as soon as she learned to walk, she was dancing. And singing, always with her volume on high. She has an amazing ear for music, not for the words, but for the melodies. It's always fun to hear her sing songs that we recognize while trying to figure out what words she had come up with.
Three years ago, when I took all the kids (except Vanessa), to Maine for a week, Emilee has several band aids all over her. During that week, we added a few more until she had a total of about 9. On our next to last day we went to Old Orchard Beach for a swim. In her bathing suit it became very apparent that this little girl had an addiction to band aids that we had to take care of right there - so we had a band aid intervention. We chased her all over the beach. Because she and her band aids were wet, they came off pretty easily but it was still a bit traumatic for her. However, it was a success!! No more band aid addiction. She was cured. It was a fun time and even funnier to hear a 4 year old say the word "intervention" as she shuddered with the memory.
She's a sweet girl too. Last year she had a gift bag with toys and a stuffed animal in it - for Hannibal! He loves her, she spends lots of time with him, walks him, plays with him and when she was little he would, in her words "get on me and give me a hug". Needless to say, he was doing the hula, which had us laughing hilariously. Once she got bigger than him, she put a stop to that!
All time spent with her is fun, whether we're playing cards, a board game, or just talking, she's one of the best people I know to spend time with.
I love my little Emilee, and luckily, she loves me too!
Thursday, August 2, 2007
It seems that 13% of bridges across the 50 United States are "structurally deficient", meaning that at some time in the future, these bridges need to be repaired or replaced.
The top 3 states with the worst bridges are Oklahoma, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island.
It's estimated that $185,000,000,000 (yes, that's billion) is needed to repair and replace bridges.
The cost of the war in Iraq is $448,608,018,154!
Hmmm, imagine how many bridges could be fixed with that money? Or how many hungry children could be fed? Or how many homeless people could have a safe place to go each night?
Oops, now we're up to $448,608,312,769! Just in the few moments it took for you to read those sentences.
Not to mention, the 3,652 dead Americans. And the numbers keep rising.
Wednesday, August 1, 2007
He states that neither he or anyone in the White House would engage in any sort of cover-up and that the military men under investigation are "men of enormous integrity and would not participate in something like that," he told a House committee while under oath!!
Imagine that we're supposed to believe a known war criminal. They really do think we're the morons.