Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Oh My Gosh In Oshkosh - People Really Do Have A Heart!

You know, there's so much bad news in the world that it's a good thing when we see people show some heart. An that's how an 11-year-old boy who was robbed at his lemonade stand is seeing another side of humankind in the outpouring of support he has received since his story was reported. Austin Cundy, 11, was robbed by two teenagers of a plastic container containing $20 that he had collected by selling cold drinks from a lemonade stand in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.

Cundy said he was selling cold drinks to raise money to go camping with his grandparents and to buy a birthday present for his mother. He said he saw two teenagers on bicycles eyeballing him as they were riding past. One of the teenage boys then punched Cundy, shoved him off his chair and took the plastic container with the money in it along with Cundy's wallet, which held his library card and student ID. A tip from the public led officers to the home of a 17-year-old boy on Wednesday where officers found a container but no money, police Sgt. Steve Sagmeister said. The teen was being held on suspicion of robbery and physical abuse of a child, pending formal charges, he said. Even though police got the bad guy, Cundy said it probably will be a while before he opens another lemonade stand.

To show how good people can really be, some people who have contacted him asked if he'd like to have a lemonade stand at their businesses. Another person offered to give Cundy and his parents passes to the Experimental Aircraft Association AirVenture gathering this last week at Wittman Regional Airport in Oshkosh. Others have simply offered to replace the stolen money.

Cundy's mother, Nicole Cundy, said she's impressed with the response from the community. "All of these people are showing how much they care about a little boy they don't even know," she said. "It's wonderful." The boy's grandmother, Barb Cundy, agreed."This shows how people really care. There are good people in the world," she said.

You see, our conscious efforts to be positive, enthusiastic, and supportive can have a huge impact not only on the emotional well-being of our children, but on their ability to experience the joys and pains of being a kid in healthy and constructive ways. My hat's off to the good people of Oshkosh. I wonder if anyone offered this kids a pair of those Oshkosh 'bgosh jeans?

Monday, July 30, 2007

Our Civil Rights: This Guy Get Worse Treatment Than Lindsay Lohan In Santa Monica

Where do we draw the line on our rights as Americans living in a "free" country? Sometimes, what we think may not be morally or ethically acceptable but it's not illegal. So where do we draw the line? A self-proclaimed pedophile best known for posting pictures on a website that advised other pedophiles on how to meet young girls is now upset that the Santa Monica Police Department (famous for the recent Lindsay Lohan arrrest) has posted his picture on their website.

This sick and twisted individual, Jack McClellan, admits to going to public events to take pictures of young girls, says he is now in fear for his life since a flyer has circulated bearing his picture, car description and license number. He should be. The circulation of the flyer is an unusual step, since McClellan is not wanted for any crime and the Santa Monica PD are going to incite some "justice" in a way that may be unintended. The flyer is careful to simply warn parents of McClellan's proclivities and his presence. But why are the police involved in this if there is no crime? Where does "innocent until proven guilty" fit into this story.

At least one mother is conflicted about the move -- Sharon Hart is glad to know about a potential predator (I am too), but is not sure whether the Santa Monica Police Department's move was correct. "He says he's a pedophile, but he's never done anything -- he just says he's attracted to children, but he's never actually molested a child," Hart said. "So is it a violation of his rights? …Yeah."

McClellan is threatening to sue the Santa Monica Police Department. I don't agree with what this guy does, it makes me sick. But if we are to live in a free society, as we call it, then we've got to follow the rules set forth to protect all of our rights. This is definitely an issue that is going to get some press here in LA and probably in the court system for years. This guy has admitted his problem publicly, maybe that's not a good thing for him, but it is for parents with kids. Instead of trying to hang him in the court of public opinion, maybe we should help him. Is that too far fetched?

Pedophilia, sexual abuse and crimes like those are running rampant in our country. Let's do something about it. It's kind of like someone who constantly talks about suicide. Are they asking for help? The experts say, Yes! So let's get off our asses and get this guy some help. Let's stop the problem before it become a real problem.

Is that too hard to do? Of course, that's just my opinion, I could be wrong!

Sunday, July 29, 2007

A True Eagle Scout And Hero Gets His Just Honor!

Now here's some good news that isn't about Lindsay Lohan. More than a half-century after he finished the requirements to earn the rank and after verifying the information with the National Office of the Boy Scouts of America, the Southwest Florida Council will present Walter Hart, 88 with his Eagle award...70 years after completing the requirements. This could make him possibly the oldest person to ever collect the honor. Hart couldn't become an Eagle Scout at the time he earned the rank because his service in World War II got in the way.

"I've been looking forward to this for a long time," said Hart, who lives in a retirement center and whom Scout officials say may be the oldest person to ever earn the honor. Hart joined the Cub Scouts in 1928 in Malden, Mass., and earned 23 merit badges during his years as a Boy Scout, scouting officials said. Of the 120 merit badges available, 21 must be earned to qualify for Eagle Scout rank. But it all got set aside when he joined the Navy during World War II and last year, he rediscovered some of his old Boy Scout memorabilia, including documents that showed he completed the requirements for his Eagle Scout rank. He contacted the Scouts about receiving his award.

"I think this was something that was always on his mind, but every time he went to go do it, something else came up," daughter Elizabeth Gatturna said. "I know how hard he's tried to get to this point." Only about 5 percent of all Boy Scouts earn the rank of Eagle Scout. Since 1912, nearly 1.9 million Eagles have been awarded, but the recipients' ages aren't recorded, Boy Scout officials said. "I'd be pretty surprised if anyone older has ever become an Eagle Scout," said Margie Byers, spokeswoman for the Southwest Florida Council, Boy Scouts of America.

“Pride, honor and the will to never-give up” are the words Hart’s daughter Elizabeth Gatturna uses to describe her father, “He is Boy Scout through and through,” said Gatturna.

And to that we say, Congratulations Walter. You finally did it. Late, but you did it! Now could you have a small chat with Lindsay Lohan?

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Remember The Rumor You Could Drink Your Own Pee? Well, It May Be As Good As Your Bottled Water!

Remember when? Well, it started with Perrier. Somehow, a snot hole French company convinced American people it's cool to buy bottled water. Today, Evian has surpassed Perrier in sales and now it's the chic water of choice. Why? It costs about 5 bucks a gallon! Why do people pay so much for something they can get virtually free? If they're not buying Evian, they buy Aquafina and Dasani and the dozens of new brands that are jumping into this billion-dollar business, including bizarre ones like Venus, the Water for Women, and Trump Ice, with "The Donald" scowling on the label. I'd have to be very thirsty to buy that.

Yesterday, in a concession to the growing environmental and political opposition to the bottled water industry, PepsiCo Inc. spelled out that its Aquafina bottled water is made with tap water. According to Corporate Accountability International, a U.S. watchdog group, the world's No. 2 beverage company will include the words "Public Water Source" on Aquafina labels. Pepsi's Aquafina and Coca-Cola Co's Dasani are both made from purified water sourced from public reservoirs, as opposed to Danone's Evian or Nestle's Poland Spring, so-called "spring waters," shipped from specific locations the companies say have notably clean water. That's interesting isn't it. Why does Arrowhead water have a plant in South El Monte, California? Have you ever been there? It's a long way from Lake Arrowhead!

"Pepsi and Coke do not make a lot of profit" on bottled water, says a corporate rep, adding that people may talk about the issue, but will likely continue buying some bottled water. Last year, we spent more on Poland Spring, Fiji Water, Evian, Aquafina, and Dasani than we spent on iPods or movie tickets--$15 billion. It will be $16 billion this year. If the water we use at home cost what even cheap bottled water costs, our monthly water bills would run $9,000. Now we find out that 24% of the bottled water we buy is tap water repackaged by Coke and Pepsi. Welcome to the incredible journey into the economics and psychology of a major business boom. Look what it says about our culture of indulgence.

Bottled water is the food phenomenon of our times. We're a generation raised on tap water and water fountains. We drink a billion bottles of water a week, and we're raising a generation that views tap water with disdain and water fountains with suspicion. We've come to pay good money--two or three or four times the cost of gasoline--for a product we have always gotten, and can still get, for free, from taps in our homes. A chilled plastic bottle of water in the convenience-store cooler is the perfect symbol of this moment in American commerce and culture. It acknowledges our demand for instant gratification, our vanity, our token concern for health. Its packaging and transport depend entirely on cheap fossil fuel. Yes, it's just a bottle of water--modest compared with the indulgence of driving a Hummer.

Many people say they buy bottled waters because they taste better. We spoke with people in New York City, asking them why they liked bottled better than tap water. "I drink Dasani. It tastes good, it tastes crisp, like -- natural," one girl said. Hello?? You're drinking tap water! The ABC News show "20/20" took five bottles of national brands of bottled water and a sample of tap water from a drinking fountain in the middle of New York City and sent them to microbiologist Aaron Margolin of the University of New Hampshire to test for bacteria that can make you sick, like e. coli. "There was actually no difference between the New York City tap water and the bottled waters that we evaluated," he said. Many scientists have run tests like that and have consistently found that tap water is as good for you as bottled waters that cost 500 times more.

Look at this crap. In the town of San Pellegrino Terme, Italy, a spigot runs all the time, providing San Pellegrino water free to the local citizens - except the free Pellegrino has no bubbles. Pellegrino trucks in the bubbles for the bottling plant. And in Fiji, a state-of-the-art factory spins out more than a million bottles a day of the hippest bottled water on the U.S. market today, while more than half the people in Fiji do not have safe, reliable drinking water. Which means it is easier for the typical American in Beverly Hills or Baltimore to get a drink of safe, pure, refreshing Fiji water than it is for most people in Fiji.of water.

The really big water company in the United States is Nestlé, which gradually bought up the nation's heritage brands, and expanded them. The waters are slightly different--springwater must come from actual springs, identified specifically on the label--but together, they add up to 26% of the market, according to Beverage Marketing, surpassing Coke and Pepsi's brands combined.

Now they've got water that's got vitamins in it. Water that's got some immunity-type benefit to it. Water that helps keep skin younger. Water that gives you energy. Look at the stinkin' tag lines..."Water: It's pure, it's healthy, it's perfect--and we've made it better."

The future of water sounds distinctly unlike water. And once you understand where the water comes from, and how it got here (from the tap!), it's hard to look at that bottle in the same way again.

Friday, July 27, 2007

To Hell And Back: Travelling Is So Much Fun Thanks To Our Governments "Help"

Confused about passport regulations? TSA Security measures? You’re not alone. Rules are changing almost daily, Congress can’t agree with Homeland Security officials, and State Department processing centers are clogged with a passport logjam that that's become total gridlock. And it's a rare day in Washington when a top government official accepts responsibility for a massive bureaucratic failure. But there she was, Assistant Secretary of State Maura Harty, telling a congressional committee last week it was her fault that tens of thousands of Americans have had to delay or cancel their travel plans because the government couldn't process their passport applications fast enough. Help may be on the way to deal with the backlog of unprocessed passport requests.

At the peak of the passport fiasco in early summer, more than 2 million Americans were still waiting for passports, with half a million waiting more than three months for a document that was usually ready in six weeks. "I deeply regret that," said Harty, who heads the state department's passport office. The delays resulted from a change in passport rules enacted by Congress in 2004 as an anti-terrorism measure. Effective Jan. 23 of this year, Americans visiting Canada, Mexico, Central and South America, the Caribbean and Bermuda were required for the first time to have passports to return to the country. The Bush administration had two years to prepare for the change, but for the most part failed. In the first three months of the year, 5.5 million passport applications were filed. The State Department did not hire enough workers to keep up with the demand and fell massively behind, disrupting many personal travel plans, honeymoons and business trips and also affected child molesters going to Thailand. Harty said some applicants were not aware that the passport requirement applies only to air travelers, with the extension to land and sea travelers not going into effect until 2008 at the earliest. She also noted that many non-travelers were now applying for passports because they view the document as a solid form of identification. Anybody remember the National ID Card? What happened to that?

On June 8, the State Department said that as a stopgap measure it would accept government-issued photo ID and a passport application receipt from air travelers returning from affected countries through Sept. 30. By then, it says, it ought to be able to catch up with the application demand — estimated to now be 17.7 million by the end of the year. That little piece of legislation passed the other day would make it easier for the State Department to rehire retired personnel to pitch in.

A House bill, approved by voice vote, responds to the department's inability to cope with a deluge of passport applications. The bill would grant the State Department flexibility to rehire, on a temporary basis, retired foreign service passport adjudicators. It would waive rules that deny pension payments to retirees returning to work when they exceed strict wage and hour caps.

Got that? Good – it may change again tomorrow.

In a related, unrelated story (adding some of the government confusion here), The Transportation Security Administration has done it again. Earlier this summer it prevented a dangerous sippy cup from being carried on board a plane in Washington. This week, it stopped a 7-year-old Florida boy from boarding his flight because he's on the no-fly list. It was his third attempt to get on a plane. Take a look at young Michael Martin of Coral Springs, Fla. Cute kid, huh? Does this look like a terrorist? Well, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel says the 3-feet, 9-inch boy's name is on the nation's no-fly list, which the feds claim includes only those individuals who are a "known threat to aviation." TSA says no children are on the watchlist.

Still, Michael Martin — the child — most recently ran into problems on July 3, when his mother booked a flight on AirTran Airways to Baltimore for vacation. After a kiosk refused to spit out a boarding pass, she asked an airline agent if there was a problem. "She made a funny face and said, 'Oh, he's on a no-fly list,'" Krista Martin said. "They looked at him and immediately realized he was only 7." There is an Irish terrorist named Michael Martin who was convicted in 1995 of taking part in an Arizona smuggling ring that attempted to ship bomb detonators to the Irish Republican Army, according to the Memorial Institute for the Prevention of Terrorism, a nonprofit organization based in Oklahoma City. He was sentenced to 16 months in prison. The TSA says the AirTran incident shouldn't have happened because airlines are responsible for "automatically" removing children from no-fly lists. Indeed, on its Web site, tsa.gov, the agency proclaims that placing children on such lists is a "myth."

Now, it doesn't take a lot of common sense to know that this is nuts. We know that the no-fly list is bloated and inaccurate ... but kids, for goodness sake! That should be a no-brainer. The TSA now has a new program called Traveler Redress Inquiry, or TRIP, that could help the Martins and any other kids who are unfortunate enough to be tagged as terrorists.

And the good news for the cigarette smoking travelling public this year is that you can now take a lighter on an airplane. But in what airport can you actually smoke a cigarette? You'll need a passport and not be on the no-fly list just to do that. Ahh, I love the government!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Don't Fear The Reaper...Fear The Pretty Kitty!

You shouldn't be too worried if Oscar the cat crosses your path. But if he curls up beside you, you may want to call your loved ones. It seems that in Providence, Rhode Island, Oscar the cat seems to have an uncanny knack for predicting when nursing home patients are going to die, by curling up next to them during their final hours. His accuracy, observed in 25 cases, has led the staff to call family members once he has chosen someone. It usually means they have less than four hours to live. Yikes!

The staff there is so convinced of his ability, they will call family members once he has chosen someone."He doesn't make too many mistakes. He seems to understand when patients are about to die," says Dr. David Dosa. "Many family members take some solace from it. They appreciate the companionship that the cat provides for their dying loved one." Doctors say most of the people who get a visit from the sweet-faced, gray-and-white cat are so ill they probably don't know he's there, so patients aren't aware he's a harbinger of death. Most families are grateful for the advanced warning – although one wanted Oscar out of the room while a family member died. When Oscar was put outside, he paced and meowed his displeasure.

The furry grim reaper was adopted as a kitten and grew up in a third-floor dementia unit which treats people with Alzheimer's, Parkinson's disease and other illnesses. After about six months, the staff noticed Oscar would make his own rounds, just like the doctors and nurses. He'd sniff and observe patients, then sit beside people who would wind up dying in a few hours. Dosa said Oscar seems to take his work seriously and is generally aloof. "This is not a cat that's friendly to people," he said.

Oscar is better at predicting death than the people who work there, said Dr. Joan Teno of Brown University, who treats patients at the nursing home and is an expert on care for the terminally ill. She was convinced of Oscar's talent when he made his 13th correct call. While observing one patient, Teno said she noticed the woman wasn't eating, was breathing with difficulty and that her legs had a bluish tinge, signs that often mean death is near. Oscar wouldn't stay inside the room though, so Teno thought his streak was broken. Instead, it turned out the doctor's prediction was roughly 10 hours too early. Sure enough, during the patient's final two hours, nurses told Teno that Oscar joined the woman at her bedside.

Oscar has proven so accurate, he has got an essay coming out in tomorrow's New England Journal of Medicine and now has his own wall plaque publicly commending his "compassionate hospice care." Now if only we could find an animal to predict in advance when Lindsay Lohan or Paris Hilton are going out for a cocktail or 12!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

A Discover Insanity True Hollywood Story

Please Wait For Image to Change

Need We Say More?

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

One You've Got Mac, You'll Never Go Back! The Reasons To Switch To The Mac Platform

Wake up computer geeks! If you haven't realized it yet, Macs are selling at a faster rate than PC computers. Apple and its shareholders are proud. the quickly-gaining popularity of the Mac computer lineup is just another notch in Apple's belt. Take a look at Apple's successes in the last few years...have you heard of the iPod or the iPhone? PC makers like Dell and Hewlett-Packard are scratching their heads, Microsoft is scrambling to promote its "new" Vista operating system, which looks oddly like the Mac OS - hmmm, and everyone in the Windows world is waiting to see the repercussions when Apple launches Leopard, its next-generation operating system, this fall.

What does this mean to you? There has been no better time than now to experiment and switch to a Mac. Students are already doing so in droves. If you visit any college or university, one out of every three students can be seen typing away at one of the new MacBooks. In the IT and business world, many companies are looking to move away from Microsoft's restrictive licensing and are experimenting with Linux, Unix, and the Mac environment. And many normal, every-day consumers are either switching to a Mac or buying one as an additional computer.

So why is everyone switching to a Mac? Apple lists a dozen reasons why you should switch to a Mac. In this blog it would be impossible to go into it in any sort of detail; this is something you should check out on your own on your own. However, in summary, Apple says (and so do I) that you should switch for the following reasons:

1. It just works. Apple says that "all the hardware and software just works, and works well together. Get a Mac and get your life back." Apple makes both the hardware and software, ensuring a seamless and hassle-free integration of your computer and software. I've been using them since the Mac 128...to me there is nothing better.

2. You can make amazing stuff. Apple includes iLife, their lifestyle software, free with every Mac. On the Windows side, you'd be shelling out a couple hundred dollars for software like this. iLife includes products like iPhoto (a photo editing and management program), Garage Band (a music-making software popular with music artists), iMovie (an easy way to make movies), iDvd (creating professional DVDs was never easier), and more. Apple says that you can "make high-quality websites, photo books, DVDs, songs, slideshows, music CDs, calendars, cards, prints, podcasts, music videos, documentaries, and more." For a novice with not a lot of experience in the multimedia world, this is definitely a great introduction into the future!

3. Everything-ready. The computers made by Apple are the only ones "in the world that can run all the major operating systems, including Mac OS X, Windows XP, and Vista." You can use programs that allow you to boot your computer in another operating system. Very handy! So you don't have to give up your PC. There's still some "necessary' purposes and applications, but with a Mac, you can run both!

4. 114,000 viruses? Not on a Mac.The Apple operating system has been long renowned for being very secure. There are no spyware, adware, bloat software, and no viruses. Remember, there are exploits in any software, but the Mac is the most secure I've seen since it runs on a Unix core!

5. Still the most advanced OS. Apple says that "no other operating system, Vista included, offers the rich features and simplicity" that Apple's operating system offers. The current version is Tiger, and the next version coming soon is Leopard. It has already wow-ed computer experts and the media with its advanced design, amazing graphics, and futuristic features.

6. The latest Intel chips. The Mac world (and me too) was in a frenzy when Apple started using Intel chips, but the only thing that has arisen from it is speeding-fast computers that are energy-efficient. Hey, the PC world has always had good chips, they just weren't in a box that could use them to their full capabilities. Welcome Apple!

7. No hunting for drivers. You'll never have to install drivers for your hardware like you did on your PC! Plug and Play has been the norm for years. If you plug in a new device, there is no waiting or searching for a driver to run the darn thing. Everything just, well, works!

8. Design that turns heads. You have to admit, Apple's products are stunning examples of good design. Unlike computers that you'd want to hide under a desk, putting your Mac on your table looks good! It's more like a piece of art than a box full of electronics. By the way, where is that Dell store in the big mall?

Well folks. the list goes on, but you get the general idea. Macs are great computers that can do a lot more than PCs for less cost and less headaches. If you have any specific questions about the Apple universe, Google can direct you to dozens of websites that offer a whole host of articles and information regarding why Macs are an excellent choice to replace, or add to, your computer collection. Or, just ask any Mac addict!

OK, so you want to switch. How do you do it? Isn't it hard? Hardly. Switching to a Mac is easy. First, you'll need to buy your new computer. You can buy it at Apple.com or at any one of the dozens of Apple Stores across the country. The great thing about buying at an Apple Store is that there are very knowledgeable, friendly and helpful staff members who can answer your questions and help you choose the right Mac for you. If you're a high school or university or college student, you can get a great discount on your new computer. Once you have your Mac, bring it home (of course). Here's the great part: The Mac works right out of the box. Take it out, and turn it on! If you bought the Mac Mini, you can plug it into your old PC equipment (like the monitor, keyboard and mouse) and those will work with it. If you bought a complete system (like an iMac) or a laptop (the MacBook Pro or Macbook), you can start using it right away.

The Mac has different computer software than a PC, but they do the same thing; just better! Safari is the Mac internet browser; it is faster and more secure than Firefox or Internet Explorer. Safari was just released for the Windows side, so you might already be familiar with it. Other programs are iMovie (like Windows Movie Maker), iPhoto, iTunes, Garageband, Apple Mail (like Outlook Express), etc. A lot of popular programs work on the Mac, too. For example, you can run Microsoft Office on your Mac. In fact, the Mac version is always one-step ahead of the Windows version; Microsoft tests advanced features on the Mac before putting them on the Windows version. Photoshop, the premier photo editing system from Adobe, is so powerful on a Mac that it's mindblowing!

In conclusion, switching to a Mac is a great idea and, once you're using it, very easy to get used to. There aren't too many glaring differences in the user interface, and soon you'll be used to it and the proud, new owner of a Mac computer. Again, I've been using them for years and love the amount of work I get done and the quality of that work. Sure, I'm forced to use PC's at work, but I'll tell you this, and I tell everyone I know the same thing...

Once you have Mac...you never go back!