Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Doesn't He look Good?

A good friend of my husband died recently. He fought the cancer battle for two years. My husband and he worked together for 12 years. Pete was in his early sixties, robust and healthy for most of those years. He was a large man with a loud voice. There was no way to lose him in a crowd. If he wasn't seen he was heard. I once accused him of bellowing orders. He laughed at me. But two years ago he learned he had cancer.

We are all going to lose the battle with death sometime. Most of us hope we can put it off for, well, forever. But we know that won't happen. Seeing Pete as he lay in his casket made me keenly aware of that. The big guy we were used to had shrunk to a shell of himself. People would stop by and look at him and think, "He looks good, doesn't he?". Really? You should have paid more attention to him. He does not look good. He looks dead. Why do people always say the person " looks good" or "they made him look good"? A human being who is no longer alive doesn't look good.

Seeing a friend lying in a casket makes me think of my future. I'm about the same age that Pete was. How many years will I have? That answer is not given to anyone. We all hope to live many healthy and productive years. We have things we want to do or places we would like to see. The one thing it reminds us is that life is really short. No matter the age at death, there was never enough time. One thing that really bothers me is that death brings so much sadness. Why? Sure we will miss that person. But life goes on. Are we sad at the loss or do we mourn our future?

Funerals bring family and friends together to honor and reflect on the life of the departed. We may also realize what we took for granted. Every funeral I have ever been to was tinged with sadness. When I go I don't want people to be sad. I want them to think, "Thank God the old bat is gone!" Well, maybe not. But I have always hated funerals and burials. I have always wanted someone to have a party and laugh, not cry. Remember the good times. Put the money someone would spend on a casket/funeral to use helping someone else. Yes I know that tradition and relgious upbringing dictate that we give the deceased this homage. But does it get us to Heaven any faster? Nobody has ever come back from the dead to give any information.

Even as a kid I thought a cemetary was a waste of space. Yes, I know what most people think. "I want a place where I can be close, or talk..." Then we move and never get back. Just what do we say to a plot of ground or a headstone? 'Hi, how are you doing? How's the weather?" There is less and less land available. The oceans are losing the reef structures. I thought I would like to be creamated and my ashes made into part of a reef. Or I thought I would like to have my ashes thrown into the ocean. Of course I am also a cheapskate. Cremation is cheaper. Then again, I'd rather not think that my family has to share custody of the urn. Knowing my family...nevermind.

I just would rather people remember me in the good times. I don't think I will look good dead. I can't see myself in a box that cost several thousand dollars. I'd rather know that a round of drinks for all in celebration of my life, not death. And please, don't anyone say "Doesn't she look good".

Friday, November 11, 2011

How Did This Happen? How Did We Miss It?

The scandal at Penn State University is all over the news. It is without a doubt horrible. To think that a trussted employee of a major university would do something like this to children is, well there are no words for this. We read about this all the time. How many times do we see news stories all over the country about adults hurting children. What makes this even worse is that a major university is now going to have to figure out how this happened and why nobody did anything. How can this be fixed? Fire the man involved. Fire the Head Coach, Fire the school President.

Is this the answer? Many large companies have a "chain of command" that employees have to go to for problem solving. In this case when Joe Paterno was informed of what was happening, he apparently notified his superiors. But he did not call the police. Apparently no one did. Who was responsible for calling the police? Who knew what was going on and did nothing. Is this what a major university does or doesn't do? Was it right to fire Joe Paterno, the "face" of Penn State football? Did he know this was going on? How long did he know? Was it right to fire him because he did not call the police? Did he see this himself?

For years I have enjoyed college football. I've always been a fan of three major college coaches. I grew up watching Alabama's Paul "Bear" Bryant coach his teams and do things for the community. He frequently did things for families that the general public never knew. Coach Bryant coached for many years before integration. During this time he knew of good football players who were not white, and he often helped these players get into colleges where they could get an education and a future in the NFL, if that is what they wanted. He was the heart and soul of the Alabama Crimson Tide.

When I moved to Austin, Texas I watched the Texas Longhorns and Coach Darrell Royal. He, too was a football "God" in college football. He built a following no only with his players but the fans of football. Players knew he wanted the best for them both in college and after college. Many of his players went on to sucess in the NFL. In 1972 Texas played Penn State in the Cotton Bowl. That year I read a newspaper article about the two head coaches, Royal and Paterno. The writer wrote that either coach would be a good role model and teacher for any young man going to either school. Both coaches were highly regarded among their peers.

All three schools, Alabama, Texas, and Penn State are steeped in a long history and traditions. Fans live and die with the wins and losses on the football field. The Lions, Tide, and Horns are always fun to watch and hope they become National Champions. Both Bryant and Royal retired as beloved icons of their schools. But not Paterno.

Joe Paterno will not have this. He will not retire a winner. He once said he didn't want to retire because football was his life. There was nothing else for him to do. At his age maybe he was trying to life long enough to be Penn State Head Football Coach for 50 years. That will not happen. Now the university will have to figure out what to do. Their image and trust is gone. Many students rioted when they heard Paterno was fired. Will we ever hear JoePa's side of the story? To allow an assistant do what he did and say nothing is wrong. No question. How could Paterno not know? Why didn't he call the police? If he had to tell his superiors instead of calling police himself, why didn't they? Why? why? why? How many children will come forward and how can we help them?


Wednesday, November 02, 2011

To Death Us Do Part or Until You Change Your Mind?

It seems that the entire world is talking about Kim Kardashien, again. She seems to constantly be fodder for someone. People are feeling duped, or upset that she is divorcing her husband of 72 days. One has to wonder how her husband,Kris feels about now. I saw a clip of him telling Kim that by the time they decided to have kids, no-one would care about them. In other words they would be old news, very old news. But that won't happen. Kim has decided to leave the marriage. By the way how many people really care? And just how much did they spend on that over the top wedding? Was it 10 million or 20 million? That's a lot of money to spend on a wedding even if it was to be a long lasting marriage. I can't help but think that a lot of charities would love to have that kind of money donated instead of thrown away. My thought, when I heard how much the wedding cost was "You could feed a small country for that kind of money".

My parents met during World War II. They knew each other six weeks. They had nearly 25 years and would have had more but my mother died of ovarian cancer when she was only 49. I'm sure they had their share of problems in their relationship. Most marriages go through both good and bad times. I tried to make my first marriage work for 17 years. But it was not a good relationship and ultimately ended in divorce. I tried to keep it together for my children. I did them no favors. I should have left sooner. But that was then.

These days "Hollywood" sees many stars "hook up" and have children with multiple partners and never get married. Over and over I see stories about someone having children before marriage, if they marry at all. That would be shamefull thirty years ago. Not now. But at least so far, Brad and Angela seem to be together forever. They have had or adopted a total of 6 kids. That takes work. Good for them. Others seem to marry and within a few months decide they don't want to be married. Hollywood is filled with a history of short marriages of stars.

Marriage is something that needs work. It seems that some, like Kim Kardashien, use the excuse that knew they should not have gotten married but did not know how to get out before they said "I do". In this case I don't know. Kim's mother, Kris Jenner and the rest of the family are defending her decision. But the viewing public seems to be outraged at her decision. They call her marriage a sham. Was it just for money? It has been said they did not make any money from showing the weddin on tv or in the magazines. Really? So what will happen with the show now? Will Kim keep the $2,000,000 ring? Should they return the gifts? Why is everyone asking? Does anyone want to know how the spurned husband feels? Inquiring minds want to know...oh wait I changed my mind, I don't want to know.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Is This Too Much for a Fan to do?

Music is one thing I enjoy. I have a wide varity of artists whom I enjoy. I like many different styles. While I am not a big fan of Country Music there are artists I do like to listen to occasionally. I don't think George Strait has even done a bad song. I enjoy Reba, Toby Keith, Lady Antebellum and others.

I like to listen to jazz and enjoy both vocals and musicians. Ever heard of Jonny Blu or Charley Langer? How about Dave Koz, George Benson? They are just a few. Who could beat Ella Fitzgerald, Tony Bennett, or even Frank Sinatra? Or take Broadway music...many standards have come from Broadway. What would movie musicals do without Broadway? I even enjoy classical from time to time. It can be soothing and relaxing or a way to find the drama in music.

I have enjoyed seeing some singers/musicians in concerts. It can be a lot of fun. Of course these days it costs a lot for people to go to concerts. It could easily cost more than $100 to see a concert. I can only guess it is even more expensive to go see artists like Garth Brooks, Donny & Marie, Barry Manilow or others who establish a following at the different hotel venues in Las Vegas. It's not a cheap place to visit. Of course I've never been there so I really don't know.

Fans often write "reviews" of their favorite artist's performances. I know that many fans enjoy reading the personal stories of their friends visits. I have seen these reviews cover every thing from the costumes, to the song choices and styles as well as what the back-up singers/dancers do. Some fans see the same artist over and over again. They almost know the order in which the songs will be performed. If the artist changes a lyric or an inflection or even a facial expression, they note it.

I saw a "review" by a person who had seen the same artist in Vegas 200 times. Yes I said 200. Wow! I can not imagine that. What can you say about an artist when you have seen the show 200 times? What would the artist think about a fan that goes to Vegas to see him or her that many times? Really like the music, right? Loyal fan? Gotta have a lot of money, right? Or would the artist think the fan is obsessed? I don't begrudge any fan the right to see their favorite artist as many times as they want. But 200 seems a wee bit excessive. I'd rather, if I had that kind of money, spread it around and see a variety of people. I still haven't seen Straight No Chaser in Houston, or Dave Koz, or Michael Buble, or Big Bad VooDoo Daddy, or George Strait, and so on...

No, I do not envy people who do see the same people so many times. I would just rather have some variety. When you know what songs, moves, looks, jokes, costumes, dances, foot placement, etc will be done before the artist does them, you've seen them too much. But hey, I'm just a music fan who enjoys the songs the whole world sings.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

You Want Me in "Who's Who"? Who Are You Kidding?

The other day I got an interesting e-mail which said I had been selected for inclusion in a "Who's Who" list. Ok, I'll wait till you can stop laughing. I find this funny too. I've been snickering for a while now. So today I get another e-mail about this. Oh come on guys. I'm not an executive or professional... I have run offices and departments before, but nothing out of the ordinary. This is why I have to ask myself "What's the deal here? Or what is the catch to this? There is always a catch to these things.

Today's e-mail read: Dear Jillmalitz,

You were recently appointed as a biographicalcandidate for inclusion in the prestigious 2011 Search Who's Who" directory of accomplished executives and professionals.

We are pleased to inform you that on October 4th your candidacy was formally approved by Professional Biographies. Congratulations! The office of the Managing Director appoints individuals based upon a candidate's current position and also focuses on information obtained from researched executive and professional listings. Given your background, the Director thinks that you may make an interesting biographical subject for online publication.

There is NO COST nor obligation to be listed.

After receiving verification, we will validate your registry lissting within seven business days. Once finalized, your profile will share prominent registry space with thousands of fellow accomplished individuals across the globe - each representing accomplishments within their own geographical area.

Your prompt response is needed to ensure your correct professional information. Upon final conformation, you will also recieve a Free Personal Website (including your professionally written biography).

Our regisstration deadline is October 31st,2011. To ensure you are included, we must receive your verification on or before this date. On behalf of our Committee, I salute your achievement and look forward to welcoming you to our association.

Benjamin Morrison, Editor in Chief

First, there has to be a catch to this. Nobody gives an "honor" like this for nothing. And what's with the "free personal website"? Is there another Jill Malitz somewhere who is an accomplished professional person who deserves to be in a Who's Who". Next there has to be a cost somewhere, right? I'm pretty sure this is not legit. Pretty funny joke, right? Now let's all get back to regular programing.

Monday, October 10, 2011

The Post Office is on Life Support.

The USPS, our wonderful post office, has been hemorraging money for quite some time now. Soon they will lay off thousands of employees and cut mail service. Does that bother anyone? What would Ben Franklin say? Write more letters? Well maybe we should write more. These days we want instant everything. We e-mail and text each other. We pay bills online. We shop online. So it is no wonder the mail service in in trouble.

Here is a novel idea. Write a letter. Yes, I said write. Pick up a pen or pencil and use your hand and fingers to actually write on paper. Paper manufacturers will love this. What do you mean you don't know how to write a letter? Oh dear. I remember when I was a kid having to write a Thank You note to my grandmother, aunt or uncle thank you notes for presents. We didn't have e-mail. I had to write these notes for Christmas gifts, birthday gifts, graduation or wedding gifts. Who does that now. I can actually remember the term "bread and butter" letters. Don't know those? If you went to spend time at another person's house you sent them a letter thanking them for having you at their home and how much you enjoyed the visit.

We used to spend a great deal of time picking out holiday cards or anniversary or birthday cards. We had to find just the right ones. Sweet cards to grandma. Funny cards to brother. Sympathy cards for the loss of a special person. This was hard work sometimes. I wonder how the cardmakers are doing. E-card are in fashion now. That is if we even do that. We have, for example gone from buying just the right present and card for a special occasion, to texting a greeting. Somehow that seems a little impersonal. Even taking time to call a person is too much for people to do. Then we wonder where time went because it is too late to talk to that person.

The Post Office these days seem to make the most money from junk mail and catalogs. Have you noticed the commercials for flat rate shipping? There is a reason for that. Money. But, the people who do actually get catalogs only look at them. Do they order by mail? No, they go online and order. Of course my last adventure online was ordering some free samples. I never got them. I hope the makeup shade looks good on the mail carrier.

Companies are encouraging people to pay bills online telling us that it is less waste of paper. Sure, let's save those trees and landfills. And just how long does it take for a disposable diaper to degrade in a landfill? I'm still not sure I want to pay my bills online. I still like getting that bill delivered once amonth. I had an experience years ago when a company took a payment out of my bank account twice in one month. That was not fun to get straight.

I guess we are just moving too fast these days. Soon the postal service will be a thing of the past. Until then, I will continue to get mail. Yes, I get irritated with some of the junk mail. Hey, it's mail. Can you imagine that little old lady down the street? That may be the only contact she has with the outside world. Her kids are in the cmputer age. They don't call, they don't write. If they can't say something in 140 characters or less, they don't do it. She will miss her mail person.

Monday, August 29, 2011

The Big Hype of Irene's Visit to New York City

Irene visited New York City and decided that there was nothing for her to do there. So she moved on. That was a good idea on her part. But now people are complaining that the storm was "over-hyped" by officials and media. Was it over-hyped? I guess it depends on who you ask. Certainly New York City and other places along the eastern coastal areas could have had much more damage. Many people feel that they had no real reason to evaculate. Well...

Here in the Houston-Galveston area we have seen the good the bad and the ugly of Hurricanes. We've been told to evacuate. We've been stuck on vehicle clogged roads for hours. We have hunkered down and stayed home. Yeah, it is a pain to have to leave. But what is the alternative? We know all too well.

We remember Katrina, Rita, and Ike. We lived through them and learned. The state of Texas figured out how to get people out of harm's way in a timely manner. Yes, it wasn't easy. But we learned from our mistakes. We've seen the force a storm can bring. Allison was only a tropical storm. In and out, right? No, she decided to stay and flood much of Houston. The world famous medical center lost millions of dollars worth of valuable research. The Houston Symphony was babdly damaged. Even cell phones didn't work. But we learned what to change for our protection.

We watched, as did the world, as Katrina obliterated New Orleans. We watched as thousands of people there died. Bad planning? Some say yes. The federal government didn't act fast enough or had no idea what to do first. Now they know. We watched the Houston Mayor Bill White get in touch with "can do" people. The Astrodome was set up to take care of the hundreds of people escaping from New Orleans. Some skeptics said it couldn't be done. Houston did it. We learned what to do and how to do it.

I remember being one of the "lucky" ones during Ike. We lost electicity, but we still had water. Because our water heater was gas we could still take showers. We learned how to cope with no power for nine days. We watched as electric company trucks from across the country rolled into town after the hurricane. We watched as people worked together to get this area back up and running. Sure there were problems and some people and places have yet to be fixed for a lot of reasons. But we are still learning.

Yeah, maybe the Hurricane Irene was not as bad as was predicted. Those mayors and governors may have been over cautious, thus over-hyping the scope of the disaster. But tell that to those who lost loved ones. Tell that to the people who have flooded homes or destroyed homes. I know that your vacations may have been ruined and you have had to scramble to get where you need to go. You are losing patience because it may be days before you can get a flight out of town. You have problems with hotels. Your vacation is ruined and your patience is waning. You didn't get to see that Broadway play that you waited months to get tickets. New Yorkers got off easy. Trust me. You are thinking that this was all a bunch of pontificating for nothing. Maybe...until the next time. Then you will be glad you were told to evacuate.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Irony in Heaven

Two men are waiting at the gates of Heaven and speak to each other.

"How'd you die?" the first man asked.

"I froze to death," the second man said.

"That's awful," says the first man. "How does it feel to freeze to death?"

"It's very uncomfortable at first," says the second man. "You get the shakes and then you get pains in all your fingers and toes. But, eventually, it's a very calm way to go. You get numb and drift off as if you were sleeping. How about you? How'd you die?"

"I had a heart attack," said the first man. "I knew my wife was having an affair,so one day I showed up at home unexpectedly and found her alone watching TV. I ran around the house looking for her lover didn't find him. As I ran up the stairs to the attic, I had a massive heart attack and died."

The second man shakes his head. "That's so ironic."

"What do you mean?" asked the first man.

"If you had only stopped to look in the freezer, we'd both still be alive."

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Selling Insurance to Whom?

Sometime I wonder if insurance people have ever noticed this. I saw an ad on televison for a "Senior" care life insurance. What's so special about that? Nothing really, except for one samll thing. The ad showed the age range from "0 to 85"... The voice-over person said "if you are between zero and eight-five call this number...you can't be turned down.... While I know that "Seniors" may times need more life insurance this caught my attention for only one reason. How is a person age "0" going to hold a phone, yet alone dial it? How is a 0 aged person going to speak? How is the operator going to hear them or be able to understand words. Who will the bill for the insurance go to? Do they even know their mailing address? How much life insurance will they need to buy. After all they can't be turned down for insurance, right? Heaven help the 0 aged person trying to muddle through the telephone system of some companies. If you want English press 1, if you want to speak to an operation press 2, to hear this message again, hang up and do something else.

Yeah, I want to see this. Don't you? Then again I want to see how long my dogs would actually wear a snuggie blanket.

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Just What I Need, A Light Bulb

As I played around on Facebook the other day I saw an ad which made me think "what"? We all know that energy efficiency and savings are hot topics these days but this really made my day. The ad was showing a light bulb from GE that is supposed to last 200 years. Yes, I said 200 years. Personally I think it was a joke. We all know that the average energy efficient lightbulb is supposed to last longer than the old-fashioned incandescent bulbs that we all know. Some have said ten years. Good. But 200 years? Come on now. Why should I care if a light bulb will last 200 years? I'm not going to live that long, right? Sure we can live longer, healthier lives thanks to modern medicine and good genes, but not 200 years. So why should I buy a light bulb that will outlive me? That just sounds a little creepy to me.

I can just see this now. The newest rage in baby shower gifts. The gift that keeps on giving. Give that brand new baby a light bulb for the nursery and later their bedroom, their college dorm room and even into their brand new home when they grow up. Sure it would be easy to store and pack every time a person moves and I guess it would save money (and energy, remember). Then we move on to the eldercare home. Yes Grandma, you can bring your light bulb. Yes I know it will help with your failing eyesight. By the way, have you updated your will?

Any light bulb that is said to last 200 years should be passed from generation to generation, right. Imagine the fight at the reading of the will. Bobby gets the golf clubs, Susie gets the jewelery, Don gets the house, Jane gets the light bulb. Now everyone is mad at her. Jane is happy (I assume) to get this, but it still has a lot of years left. What is she going to do with it since it will outlast her. Somehow I just don't see any joy in this. Who wants to keep a light bulb for 200 years.

At my age if someone gave me a lightbulb for a Mother's Day, birthday or Christmas present I would wonder what the real motive of giving this as a gift was. Are my children trying to tell me something? Do they really think I would like this. Did they spend a lot of time trying to decide on "just the right gift"? Do they want to make sure it stays in the "family" like family heirloom? Will there be fights over it? Will it increase in value? Someone will have to figure it out. I won't be around. Neither will my children, grandchildren, etc. Get the picture? Or maybe we need to turn on the light?

Friday, June 17, 2011

In the Still of the Night

The boys and their dad left late this afternoon to go to El Paso to visit family. They also took the two cats to Jason's sister. It's 11:15 at night and it sure is quiet around here, just Annie and me. I never really noticed the cats making any real noise before. I've gotten used to to the way they slink around the house. Just imagine two black and white cats who think they are in charge. Chloe, the female tries to stay out of the way for the most part. Willie, the "fat cat, does not. Time and time again I watched as he lumbered down the hall to the bedroom. Ever go into a bedroom only to find that a cat has laid claim to it? How many times has that cat climbed onto the dresser so that he could survey the landscape? I don't know how many times I have had to remove him from his perch on top of something or step over him as he lay on his back in the middle of the floor.

I never really thought about how much noise two boys make, even when they are playing quietly. Their latest kick is to run through the house shooting each other with nerf guns. A nine year old, and six year old can come up with some weird sound effects. Now that they are not here it is too quiet.Annie and I are each sitting here, in separate chairs, watching tv and "playing" on the computer. I even tweeted her from across the room. Sad isn't it. Remember I said it is very quiet here. The last real noise we heard was the two boys and two cats getting into the car. Chloe was loudly protesting the fact that she was stuck in the cat carrier while Willie was "free" to roam about the inside of the car. With two little boys for companions one can only guess how that trip will end. One boy wondered what the cats would do on the trip while the other boy complained that he couldn't watch a movie because the Neon didn't have a way to play movies like Mom's Tahoe does. Let me see...one father, two boys, and two cats in one small car for five to six hours. I'm so glad I didn't go on that trip.

Annie decided to let Bailey, the big black lab come inside. So it's a real girls night in for us. The dog came into the room, ambled over to me as if to ask, "What's the plan?" Plan? what plan? We are just breathing in all the quiet, peaceful air. Scarey isn't it? Wonder what we will do tomorrow? Bailey can't seem to figure out where the cats are. But, once or twice around the room and she decided any further investigation was not needed. So begins the long, quiet and dark night. Think I need to go to bed. Maybe I'll sleep a little late tomorrow, say maybe to seven? Try not to wake me too early.

Friday, June 03, 2011

Apps, Internet Dummy Down the World?

We've all heard the saying, "there's an app for that". I have no idea how many applications are available. Some are free and others cost money. Some are useful and others are...well not so much. You can get directions,play games, or be funny by using sayings. We have come to depend on them for so many things. Let your baby cry and an app can tell you why the baby is crying.. Some people use funny sayings apps. I guess they are funny, but from what I have seen some of the "funny sayings" are not especially funny unless your are a 10 year old boy who likes "bathroom" humor. "Angry Birds" is a popular game. I've never played it. I have enough trouble with solitaire. All of this brings up, at least for me. Are all these applications, and the internet itself, seem to make our lives easier but does it really?

Newspapers have seen circulation dry up because most newspapers can be read on line. Every time I see a paper copy of the Houston Chronicle newspaper I cringe. It used to be a large thick paper. Not any more. Is it lack of advertizing or lack of subscribers? No one seems to read a newspaper or magizine these days unless it is on the internet. Sometimes the enternet articles are full length but often they are not. Many newspapers may no longer be in business before long. Is that good? We are a world of instant everything thanks to the internet. Breaking news from anywhere in the world is instantly sent out. Major news networks all have their own websites. We watched the funeral of Michael Jackson and the wedding of Prince William.

We can buy almost anything online. We buy clothes, computers, music and books online. We find jobs there too. We can sell things too. Of course then it really becomes "buyer beware" because not everything sold is "real". We can check on our kids when they get home from school and we can pay bills. Some of this brings possible questions of security. We've all seen stories of banks and companies being hacked. Do you think you are really safe on the net? tAnd of course the net is full of "true stories" which when researched are not true. Example, how many more times will President Obama have to show his birth certificate before some people will believe he is a citizen of the United States.

In the long run, I wonder all the applications and the internet are not lulling us into a false sense of security. We don't call people on the phone. We text. We don't stop at a gas station to ask directions. We Google them. Some of us don't exercise like we used to by going to a store and walking around while shopping. We shop online. And then we sit and wait for our order to come to us. What would happen if we all lost use of the phone applications and the internet for even one day? We've all seen what happens when Twitter goes down even for a couple of days. How many people would be distraught to find that they could not get on the net? When was the last time you used the Yellow Pages books? They still make them - for now. But soon they will be phased out. We check on our bank balances buy calling our phone or checking the account online. Soon the Social Security Administration will no longer send out paper checks. That is supposed to be more secure. Less chance of the paper checks getting into the wrong hands.

Think back to the days when there was no internet. Remember. Computers were the size of an average room. We didn't have home computers. Do you remember. You often had to walk somewhere to buy something. You had to go to a library or school to learn something. You had to physically do things, not just push a button on your phone or keyboard. Most people these days would be lost without all those applications. Just look at how far technoligy has come. What if you didn't have it? What would you do? You won't be able to find an app for that. Think about all we do easily by app or computer. Poof! It's all gone! Now what?

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

If Noah Built an Ark in 2011

And lo, in the year 2011, the Lord came unto Noah, who was now living in the United States, and said:
"Once again, the earth has become wicked and over-populated, and I see the end of all flesh before me."

"Build another Ark and save two of every living thing along with a few good humans."

He gave Noah the blueprints, saying, "You have 6 months to build the ark before I will start the unending rain for 40 days and 40 nights."

Six months later, the Lord looked down and saw Noah weeping in his yard, but there was no ark.

"Noah! I'm about to start the rain! Where is the ark?"

"Forgive me, Lord," begged Noah, "but things have changed."

"I needed a building permit."

"I've been arguing with the inspector about the need for a sprinkler system."

"My neighbors claim that I've violated the neighborhood zoning laws by building the ark in my yard and exceeding the height limitations. We had to go to the Development Appeal Board for a decision."

"Then the Department of Transportation demanded a bond be posted for the future costs of moving power lines and other overhead obstructions, to clear the passage for the ark's move to the sea. I told them that the sea would be coming to us, but they would hear nothing of it."

"Getting the wood was another problem. There's a ban on cutting local trees in order to save the spotted owl."

"I tried to convince the environmentalists that I needed the wood to save the owls, but no go!"

"When I started gathering the animals, an animal rights group sued me. They insisted that I was confining wild animals against their will. They argued the accommodations were too restrictive, and it was cruel and inhumane to put so many animals in a confined space."

"Then the EPA ruled that I couldn't build the ark until they'd conducted an environmental impact study on your proposed flood."

"I'm still trying to resolve a complaint with the Human Rights Commission on how many minorities I'm supposed to hire for my building crew."

"Immigration and Naturalization are checking the green-card status of most of the people who want to work."

"The trades unions say I can't use my sons. They insist I have to hire only Union workers with ark-building experience.

"To make matters worse, the IRS seized all my assets, claiming I'm trying to leave the country illegally with endangered species."

"So, forgive me, Lord, but it would take at least 10 years for me to finish this Ark."

Suddenly, the skies cleared, the sun began to shine, and a rainbow stretched across the sky.

Noah looked up in wonder and asked, "You mean you're not going to destroy the world?"

"No," said the Lord. "The government beat me to it."

Thursday, April 07, 2011

That's Some Bad Horror Movie

Last night while taking Daisy out I discovered a crawfish was waving at me, or maybe Daisy. I'm not sure. It was waving it's pinschers wildly in the air as we walked by. Ever try to keep a curious dachshund from getting smacked by a crawfish? I didn't like the idea of a battle between the two species, so I pulled Daisy away and took her back inside. I told Jimmy what I had found. When he came out, he suggested we grab it and put it in the fish tank. "You grab it!" I thought. Not me. I stood there watching it attacking the air by striking a "come near me and I'll hurt you" pose with it's claws ready to strike. I think I'll just go back inside. Where did that thing come from anyway?

Of course the minute I went back inside Rowdy wanted to go outside to do his business. Thinking I would avoid the armed intruder, Rowdy and I went in a different direction than Daisy and I had. So much for that idea. We found another one lurking around the front of the building. Rowdy is a lot smaller so I had to distract him and go around in back of the building. It was then that I saw a third pincher packing bad guy. Feeling like I had stepped onto the set of a bad horror movie, I began to wonder how the trio had managed to wander into this area. This is the time of year when people eat a lot of the little critters. No wonder these guys didn't seem to thrilled about their location. They did look a little like they were ready to take hostages for safe passage to a friendly river.

Though I thought briefly that one of them might make an interesting addition to our fish tank, I was not about to make the offer to any of them. I like my fingers the way they are. After the dogs had finished their nightly stroll, I got ready to go back to the comfy confines of the indoors. It was then that I discovered one of them had decided to try to block the way by establishing residency, however temporary in front of the door. Menacingly it looked at me as if it were ready to attack my foot. Ok, can we cut to the stunt double now? I really don't want to deal with this. Who's directing this horror flick anyway? Where's Wes Craven when you need him.

The dogs and I were able to sidestep the creature without further bother. But that one little guy apparently had decided to stay there in front of the door for a while. Early this morning before sunrise, I gingerly took the dogs out. I had trouble seeing if the crawfish were still outside since it was dark. After sunrise I decided to see if they were there. Two of them had apparently escaped. But one was lying dead between the buildings in front of the lamp post. Sorry dude. Later I heard my neighbor lift what sounded like the top of a cast iron pot lid on his patio. Ah ha! Could the three escapees have been meant for boiling? It sounded like it. I know that my neighbor likes to eat crawfish. For that matter so does Jimmy. Me? No thanks! Beheaded shrimp, yes. Pulling the head of a crawfish off and eating the crawfish may be what a lot of people around here like. I'll skip it. It sounds too much like a sequel to the "Attack of the Mad Crawfish" movie. What? You haven't seen it? Oh well, it was a very low budget film. It was only showed one night. Last night.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

If God had Voicemail

I saw this on the Beliefnet site and couldn't resist.

Thank you for calling heaven.

I am sorry, all of our angels and saints are busy helping other sinners right now. However, your prayer is important to us and we will answer it in the order it was received. Please stay on the line.

If you would like to speak to:
God, press 1.
Jesus, press 2.
The Holy Spirit, press 3.
If you would like to hear King David sing a Psalm while you are holding, press 4.

To find a loved one who has been assigned to Heaven, press 5, then enter his or her social security number followed by the pound sign. (If you get a negative response, please hang up and try area code 666.)For reservations in heaven, please enter J-O-H-N 3:16

For answers to nagging questions about dinosaurs, the age of the earth, life on other planets, and where Noah's Ark is, please wait until you arrive.

If you are calling after hours and need emergency assistance, please contact your local pastor.

Read more: http://www.beliefnet.com/Entertainment/Joke-of-the-Day/Daily-Joke.aspx#ixzz1GDXYjeJX

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Hey Prisoner, Your Ass is Ringing

Texas is one of many states finding it hard to keep cell phones out of prisoners hands. They are easy to hide and apparently are even easier to get through prison walls. They are so valuable that convicts are willing to pay large sums of money, sometimes more than for illegal drugs, to get them. According to the Inspector General of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, one phone could cost as much as $2000. How do convicts get that kind of money? And just how do these cell phones get inside? It is apparently not unusual for family/friends or even prison trustees seem to know how to smuggle them in. There could even be some crooked prison guards in the mix. One state senator received a call from a death row prisoner. Needless to say that senator was not at all happy. Apparently there is not much in the way of prisoner monitoring. So now the Texas Legislature passed a bill that would crack down on the prisoners with cell phones. That bill went straight to Gov. Rick Perry.

So this bill would allow prisons to detect or block cell phone signals. Arizona prison officials are apparently training dogs to sniff out cell phones. Ok, so how are they doing that? Do they send dogs into each cell to sniff the beds and other things in the prison? There has even been talk in Texas about doing cavity searches to find the phones. Boy, wouldn't you like that job. I can see the guard now, "Drop your pants and spread your cheeks, I'm going in..." Or what about the women's prison? Most women have a yearly GYN exam. Lie down, we are going to do an internal exam. Speculum? Look what we found! I don't think we will need to send this to pathology - it's only a cell phone. Either way prisoners beware. A dog may sniff out a phone. Or since prisoners will always find new and inventive ways to hide things, prison officials could just wait until they hear a cell phone ring from a body cavity. Who wants to dive in and find it?

Friday, February 04, 2011

The Joke's on Us, Again

The day is here. The day children hoped they would see snow. Gotcha! Didn't happen! Call me a cynic, but I knew it wouldn't. I really did hope I would get to see what my dogs would do in a couple of inches of snow. But Mother Nature was just kidding. All week we listened to warnings of impending significant amounts of snow. Snow was the lead topic of all the local new outlets. Plans were made for the roads and schools and even some business owners. Schools dismissed early Thursday as the weather pattern trudged along looking more and more like we would be in the middle of a blizzard. How big a snowman will we be able to make?

Yesterday all the weather experts were in line saying things would start getting bad around noon. There would be significant accumulations of snow and so on. Then when noon came and nothing really changed, I began to see a hedging of bets. It will come later they said. We still expect a good bit of snow. As the evening goes they said. Then around midnight it would come. That's when I began to think that maybe... no I will still see snow. It would just be later they said, after midnight. We would have to adjust to thinking about snowfall after midnight and waking up to snow in the morning. Ok, I can live with that.

So I wake up Friday morning - no snow, just ice. I knew it would not happen. The weather people dangled that carrot in front of us again and we fell for it. Again. Without snow there was nothing to do. No snowmen to make, no snowballs to throw. Ah, but there was ICE. Ice on the grass, the trees, cars, roads. All of the schools were already closed having dismissed early Thursday afternoon. Ice all over bridges and highway over-passes forced closures of some highways and roads. Authorities begged people not to try to drive in the icy conditions. Did drivers listen? No. Hundreds of accidents happened. A large truck got stuck on a high bridge and could not safely move. So for hours it sat waiting. In another accident, rescuers could not get to the victims by ambulance so they gingerly walked their equipment to them for treatment. It was not the "fun" morning we had hoped for by any means.

Local news was all about ice. Reporters were everywhere covering the story. I don't know how many different reporters were sent to report on the stranded truck story. One reporter had an accident on route to her story which was IN a building. But the story continued to get coverage, if for no other reason than to discourage drivers from attempting to drive. If you don't have to go out, don't go out was the mantra. The news droned on and on, taking over just about all morning programing. I, bored with the repetition, quit watching the news.

Now, it is afternoon and the sun is out. Temperatures are still low and there may still be some ice, but soon it will all be gone. That is until the next time Mother Nature decides to tease us. I said I would believe it when I saw it. I still haven't seen it so I still don't believe. The joke is on us, again. We now return you to regular programing.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Houston, I'll Believe It When I See It.

The big news topic these days is the weather. Snow and ice are all over the country. I understand that thirty-seven states have some form of snow or ice. Even Hawaii had snow, but Alaska didn't. Many of my friends live in areas where the snow has piled up and it is difficult to get around. They are all tired of the freezing temperatures and the mountains of snow. Havoc abounds. We here raid the stores when we are waiting for a hurricane. In some parts of the country people are raiding stores for food during free time between shoveling snow.

This is one reason why I live in the South. Most of the places in the South where I have lived rarely got snow. If it snowed it wasn't much and didn't last long. As a child I remember one time snow fell where we lived in the small town of Brewton, Alabama. I was in grammar school when it snowed. My dog didn't like it. It snowed when I was in high school in North Augusta, South Carolina. It made for a nice picture. I moved, years ago, to Austin, Texas. It rarely snows in Austin, my uncle told me. That year it snowed three times.

In Houston where I now live, it rarely snows. Occasionally snow flurries will float around for a day or so. This is when everybody goes nuts. Nobody knows what to do. So far all the weather people are reporting that we have anywhere from a 20- 60% chance of snow starting maybe Thursday night or sometime Friday. Trucks have already been out spraying some bridges and roadways while others are on standby in the event of a lot of ice. Ice is more likely here, but who knows? People in Houston really get excited when snow is mentioned, but they also get nervous. I can just hear the children now, praying for snow. On the other hand people here don't know what to do. They all run outside to take pictures and send them to the local tv stations or put on their Facebook pages.

I know that there are a lot of kids hoping for a "snow day" school closure. At this very moment the DFW airport in Dallas is closed. That brings an interesting problem for people arriving for the Super Bowl football game. The teams have both already arrived but a lot of fans have not. I wonder what they will do if the Dallas area still has a lot of snow on Sunday? Will the airport be able to open soon? I think it is funny that the game will be played in what is supposed to be a fairly "warm" area. We didn't have these problems when Houston hosted the Super Bowl. Janet Jackson had a problem, but we didn't.

I guess I will just wait and see what happens here. Part of me is excited about the possibility of snow, especially if it were to be of a significant amount. We don't usually get much in the way of snow here. I've gone outside to watch a few flakes fly furiously for a fleeting time. I know that is some parts of our area there has been enough snow to make tiny snowmen. But, we shall see as time goes on and the day gets near. Weather people have been wrong before, but they are all saying we will have some snow. Of course the media can't make up their minds. Our chances of snow are anywhere from 20 to 60% depending on who is reporting at the moment. I will believe it when I see snow on the ground.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Let's Talk...

Is it just me or have people stopped having conversations? Of course we all know people who won't shut up, especially when talking politics or religion. But do family or friends talk to each other anymore? Sure we have to talk to the boss at work or co-workers. But even there e-mail or text seems to be the preferred method of communication.

I watched two of my daughters sit on the same couch and text each other. Hello, you are sitting beside each other! Open your mouth. Some people do call on the phone to ask a question when one person is upstairs and the other downstairs in the same house. Some people will text and then follow with a picture all from their cell phone.

Since we can't text or use a cellphone while driving, who will talk? Just let the machines do it. Smart phones are getting smarter. Soon we will be able to use credit/debit cards from our cellphones. We can watch a movie on our cell phone. That way we don't have to leave the house and ask someone for a ticket or popcorn and a drink. We can get directions on a GPS system. I'm sure the men of the world will like that. They won't have to drive around and around town looking for something while the wife complains, "ask somebody" Let the "box" do it.

The very act of actually talking to a human being may become a lost art. Of course there will always be people in bars. They love to talk, and talk, and talk. The more the drink the more they talk, or attempt to. Have you seen the commercial featuring a girl breaking up with her boyfriend by text while she sits across from him at the same table? Some cars can tell what they are doing or how they are feeling by e-mailing you a status report. "My oil is a quart low and the left rear tire needs air."

We used to send birthday cards to people. That required going to a story and picking out that special card for that special person. Then we would actually speak the words "Happy Birthday". If our favorite grandparent,aunt/uncle, brother/sister needed to talk, we listened, sometimes in person, occasionally on the phone. Now it's a text in some weird abbreviated script which sometimes is hard to understand if you are not up on the texting lingo. The image of "phone sex" has forever changed. $20 per character, emoticons are extra.

Oh well. I'll stop now. I've got to talk to someone. Do dogs count as someone?

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Religious Debate?

About a century or two ago, the Pope challenged the Jewish community of Rome to a debate.

The Jews looked around for a champion who could defend their faith, but no one wanted to volunteer. It was too risky. So they finally picked an old man named Moishe who spent his life sweeping up after people to represent them. Being old and poor, he had less to lose, so he agreed. He asked only for one addition to the rules of debate. Not being used to saying very much, he asked that neither side be allowed to talk. The Pope agreed.The day of the great debate came. Moishe and the Pope sat opposite each other for a full minute before the Pope raised his hand and showed three fingers. Moishe looked back at him and raised one finger. The Pope waved his fingers in a circle around his head. Moishe pointed to the ground where he sat. The Pope pulled out a wafer and a glass of wine. Moishe pulled out an apple. The Pope stood up and said, "I give up. This man is too good. The Jews win."

An hour later, the cardinals were all around the Pope asking him what happened. The Pope said, "First I held up three fingers to represent the Trinity. He responded by holding up one finger, to remind me that there was still one God common to both our religions. Then I waved my finger around me to show him, that God was all around us. He responded by pointing to the ground, showing that God was also right here with us. I pulled out the wine and the wafer to show that God absolves us from our sins. He pulled out an apple to remind me of original sin. He had an answer for everything. What could I do?"

Meanwhile, the Jewish community had crowded around Moishe, amazed that this old, almost feeble-minded man had done what all their scholars had insisted was impossible. "What happened?" they asked.

"Well," said Moishe, "first he said to me that the Jews had three days to get out of here. I told him that not one of us was leaving. Then he told me that this whole city would be cleared of Jews. I let him know that we were staying right here."

"And then?" asked a woman.

"I don't know," said Moishe. "He took out his lunch and I took out mine."