Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Can't Sleep (health and medicine)

REVIEWED BY: Marguerite Zelle


AMAZON SUBSCRIPTION LINK: Can't Sleep, by Adventory Limited

WEB ADDRESS: http://www.cantsleep.com/

BLOG DESCRIPTION: The Can't Sleep blog provides a wealth of information, advice and discussion about coping with sleep disorders such as insomnia and sleep apnea, as well as looking at sleeping aids, drugs that assist sleeping, and dealing with non-sleeping specific disorders and situations that may impact on your ability to get a good night's sleep.

MY REVIEW: An interesting blog for those suffering from insomnia and other sleep disorders. Some of the blog entries are personal, about one individual's bout with insomnia, others are factual in nature about the causes and potential cures for the condition.

The blog averages one to two posts per week.

--Common Symptoms of Clinical Depression
--What Is Narcolepsy?
--Getting Restful Sleep With Valerian
--Seeking Natural Cures For Insomnia
--Going In For A Sleep Apnea Test

Check out the following blogs:
Seaborn: Oceanography Blog
Star Trek Report: Space Sciences
Volcano Seven: Treasure and Treasure Hunters
Rush Limbaugh Report

Monday, August 30, 2010

No Sleep in Helena [Alabama] (lifestyle and culture)

REVIEWED BY: Marguerite Zelle


AMAZON SUBSCRIPTION LINK: No Sleep in Helena, by Hewy Nosleep

WEB ADDRESS: http://helena-alabama.blogspot.com/

BLOG DESCRIPTION: News and events from the little town of Helena, Alabama. Located next to the Cahaba river in Shelby County.

MY REVIEW: The author of this blog is a guy after my own heart. His posts cover everything that happens in his little town, from store closings, to sporting events from elementary to high school, to this and that.

It's a fun read. Every post covers something different about the town. It's also illustrated profusely.

If you like reading about small-town America - and finding out just how much happens in these small towns, this blog is for you.

Sample post:
Champion Plant Winn Postal Zone in Helena
Division Championship
Teresa emailed some exciting news! Two Helena Wildcat football teams will be playing in league championships this Saturday (11/21). Helena’s 80 lb football team (made up of 1st & 2nd graders) will be playing at 9:00 am in their division’s Championship game, and the 120 lb Wildcats (mostly 5th graders) will be playing in theirs at 3:00 pm. This is the first time EVER that Helena has had 2 teams make it to the football Championships! The Championships are being held at Pelham City Park all day on Saturday. Let’s encourage all the Helena fans to come out and support our teams!

Little Italy Fundraiser
From 4pm-9pm the Cahaba Bend Student Ministry will be the servers at Little Italy 2693 Highway 58 in Helena. All tips along with 10% of sales go to help the ministry for all dine-ins and take-outs (no deliveries). So if you dont have dinner plans then give them some help. Here's their menu if you havent been before: 1, 2, and 3

Plant Sale
JP wrote in to say that there is a half off plant sale at Helena Landscape on Hwy 52. It was this weekend but hopefully they will keep it going all week.

What to do about Winn Dixie
First off, I'm sad that we were not able to convince Winn Dixie's Corporate office to keep our store open. I'm also a little miffed that the close-out company, that is selling off Winn Dixie's goods, had raised all the prices before offering the "big" discounts. So 50% is more like 5% off their prices from a couple of months ago. They also are keep a minimum staff. So when I went this weekend, everything was still more expensive than walmart except for a small cooler which I had to wait in line 10 minutes to buy. When I got home, it leaked.... no returns.

Ok, enough belly-aching. How about a cool idea! An official from Shelby County told us about what some ingenious towns in the Carolinas did with their grocery stores closed down. They leased them to the United States Postal Service!

Ding! Our post office is in desperate need of additional space and parking. Why can't we do that here? All the developer would have to do is sub-divide the space and there would never be a parking problem. The other stores would also benefit from the additional traffic that the post office always bring. Maybe they could even expand their operation and provide more jobs for the city! I heard that at the PZ meeting.

Planning the Future
There are a lot of bodies in the Helena government but recently I have been able to sit in with the Helena Planning and Zoning Commission. They are in the middle of creating a long term plan for Helena and the details are fascinating. Since it is still in the planning stage, it would be inappropriate for me to tell everything, since none the plans have been finalized. I will tell more in the future but here are the top 7 interesting things from the last meeting:

1. The planning and zoning board has to make long term strategic plans for the future locations of Fire stations, schools, parks, community centers and roads based on population trends. They also write regulations about signs, parking lots, roads, sidewalks and more. They really involved in every aspect of the city.

2. . Helena's property tax (millage) is smaller than the cities around us. Our rate is "5" whereas Alabaster & Calera is "10" and Pelham is "14".

3. Helena is limited by the ADEM air monitor located off Hwy 261. This monitor has an impact on the entire county so Helena has an obligation to recruit clean air industry.

4. Septic lines cant cross the Cahaba River so all the homes to the west of it use their own septic systems instead of the City's.

5. The Helena Cemetery by City Hall is one of the most affordable cemetery in the area and still has openings.

5. Helena used to have a racetrack for cars over by Roy Drive which had racing every Sunday.

6. Helena has a swamp called the Ruffin Swamp and has several creeks named "Hurricane, Beaverdam, Prairie Brook, Lee Brook and Black Creek. Some of these wetlands could qualify for Federal funds.

7. One map had the 261 Bypass connecting at Hwy-52 at the Hillsboro bypass and shows the walking trail from HMS connecting to Helena Intermediate and Cahaba Lily Park.

You can scroll down to see some photos from the weekend or "friend" me on facebook (I met three friends from facebook this weekend at the Market). If you had a chance to stop by the Helena Farmer's Market then here are the recipes that Jon Gower was using:

Watermelon Pina Colada
Smoked Wings
Congrats to all the people who participated in the Smoke & Gun Poker run. There were also over 150 people at the HMS 5k Panther Prowl.
[Video he filmed of race not included]

--Champion Plant Winn Postal Zone in Helena
--Saturday Events
--Smoke & Gun, Run & Fun, Prowl & Bake, Beads & Cake
--Retro Look
--Myth, Ice and Grads in Helena
Check out the following blogs:
Seaborn: Oceanography Blog
Star Trek Report: Space Sciences
Volcano Seven: Treasure and Treasure Hunters
Rush Limbaugh Report

Orange County Mexican Restaurants (restaurant dining)

REVIEWED BY: Marguerite Zelle

MY RECOMMENDATION: YES, with reservations

AMAZON SUBSCRIPTION LINK: Orange County Mexican Restaurants, by Christian Ziebarth

WEB ADDRESS: http://ocmexfood.blogspot.com/

BLOG DESCRIPTION: My blog for reviewing the best Mexican restaurants and food in Orange County, CA

MY REVIEW: If you live in Orange County, or are planning to visit, and like Mexican food, this is the blog for you. Except for one problem, it isn't posted to very often. August has 5 posts - that's once a week, May had 2, March had 2.

At $1.99 a month cost for subscription, that's not enough posts. Nevertheless, check it out during your free 2-week trial period and see if you like its suggestions.

--OC Restaurant Week
--Blog Redesign
--Lucky Habanero Salsa
--Taqueria Tapatia
--Del Taco 39¢ Tacos

Check out the following blogs:
Seaborn: Oceanography Blog
Star Trek Report: Space Sciences
Volcano Seven: Treasure and Treasure Hunters
Rush Limbaugh Report

Sunday, August 29, 2010

RetroReview: Ethan's RV-7A (aviation)




WEB ADDRESS: http://rv-7construction.com/

BLOG DESCRIPTION: Follow my step by step progress as I build a Van's Aircraft RV-7A.

MY REVIEW: Aviation enthusiasts will enjoy this blog, as it follows the author's progress to build his RV-7A.

I first reviewed this blog back in March, and had been concerned about the infrequency of the posts. But now in August he's been posting at least once a week, and making progress.

So check it out.

The author explains:
My reasons for wanting to build and fly my own airplane are simple and best summed up by the words of one of the true father’s of aviation, Leonardo DaVinci:

“Once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return.”

Even though I’m a low-time pilot, I’ve already figured out that renting an airplane isn’t the best option available. The airplane may not be available when you want it and, at $115 an hour, it’s difficult to do anything more than pattern work and local flights. Of course, there’s a simple solution, buy my own airplane!

OK, maybe it’s not so simple. I started looking at buying a used aircraft and was amazed how airplanes hold their value. An ancient Cessna 172 would still cost me 30-80 thousand. At the 30 thousand end, you get a 40-year-old plane with an engine in need of overhaul. At the 80 thousand end, you get a 20-year-old airplane that is in good shape, but only cruises at 115 knots. Personally, if I own an airplane, I’m going to want to use it to go places and I want to go places fast! Unfortunately, my budget won’t allow this if I purchase a factory built aircraft.

With this in mind, I started looking at kit aircraft. There are hundreds of kits available. Some are not much more than a set of plans and some materials. Others are so advanced that you just match up holes, rivet, hang an engine, and go fly. I’m not an aerospace engineer, but I can follow good directions and I don’t want to have to fabricate a lot of parts. With this in mind, I started to focus on kits from Van’s, Ran’s, Sonex and a few others.

After looking at the specs, performance data, cost, and ease of construction, the hands down winner was the RV line from Van’s Aircraft. In addition, the RV-7A seemed like the best airplane for my mission. For more details on the RV-7A, check out the Van’s website (www.vansaircraft.com) or click on my specs and performance page.

The RV-7A is a low-wing, tri-cycle gear design with great handling characteristics in both slow flight and in high speed cruise. Sure, a lot of airplanes claim this, but how many of them fly as slow as 50 mph and top out at over 200 mph? Not many! On top of that, how many take off and land in less than 500 feet and are capable of minor aerobatics? Again, not many! Furthermore, how many kits are computer designed, precision machined, match punched and under $20,000 for the airframe.

With an RV, you get the complete package, fun, fast, and long-range. As a bonus, the airplane is designed to accept several sizes of engines and has many extra features which can be added both during and after construction. There are a lot of great kits out there and an RV may not be for everyone, but for me, the choice was simple.

The blog gets kind of technical, so those who aren't deeply interested in aviation might not want to spend the time taking a look at it, but aviation enthusiasts certainly will.

--Still More Wing Stand Construction (3/22/10)
--Wing Stand Construction Part 3 (3/17/10)
--More Wing Stand Construction (3/15/10)
--Started Building Wing Stands (3/13/10)
--Elevator Horns Drilled to Center Bearing (3/13/10)
--Fit Elevators to Horizontal Stabilizer (3/7/10)
--Finished Elevator Leading Edges (3/4/10)
--Left Elevator Leading Edge Rolled (3/2/10)
--More Trim Work (3/1/10)
--Finishing the Left Elevator (2/27/10)

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Retro Review: Winged Victory (aviation)



AMAZON SUBSCRIPTION LINK: Winged Victory: Women in Aviation

WEB ADDRESS: http://youflygirl.blogspot.com

BLOG DESCRIPTION: Six percent of all the pilots in the world have been, and are, women. This blog shares news and views about women pilots.

MY REVIEW: On March 10, 2010, women celebrated 100 years of aviation. Just 5 years after the Wright brothers flew the first viable airplane, the Wright Flyer, in 1905, Frenchwoman Raymonde de Laroche earned her pilot's license. She was the first to do so, but within just a few years women from practically every country with an aviation presence had earned their wings - this despite the fact that it was hard to find instructors. The daredevils of the day thought that their heroism was lessened if a woman could fly as well as they could. After all, if a woman could do it, how hard could it be?

The early pioneers faded out once WWI began. A new crop supplanted them after the war, with Amelia Earhart, Nellie Snook, Elinor Smith, Marvel Crosson, Pancho Barnes, and many more taking to the skies. Everyone knows the name of Amelia Earhart, but there were dozens of women pilots who set more records than Earhart ever did. Earhart concentrated on distance, the others on speed, altitude, time, etc.

During WWII, over a thousand women became WASP - women airforce service pilots, ferrying planes across country where men being trained to fly them would then take over. In England, it was the ATA - both men and women flew planes there.

After WWII, many of the women wished to continue flying, but they were not permitted to do so. It was not until 1977 that laws were in place to prevent the discrimination of women (and minorities) in airlines, and in the military.

It was not until a couple of years ago that a woman, Major Nicole Malachowski, became a pilot for the Airforce demo team, the Thunderbirds. The English Red Arrows have a new team member, Lt. Kirsty Moore. Other traditionally male airforces around the world have recently added women pilots...

Keep in touch with all the news at Winged Victory, Women in Aviation.

--Elinor Smith has died
--Flying For Her Country - American and Russian wome...
--F-35 Lightning II makes first vertical landing
--Book overview: Flygirl, and two dates for your cal...
--PR: Feminine-Friendly Gear Brightens Cockpits
--Deanie Parrish, age 80, shows off her legs
--PR: Flying Musicians to Land at Music and Aviation...
--The Lady and the Tiger, Strip #2
--Emily Howell Warner - request to rename an airport...

Brit Abroad in USA (lifestyle and culture)

REVIEWED BY: Marguerite Zelle


AMAZON SUBSCRIPTION LINK: Brit Abroad in USA , by Brit Abroad

WEB ADDRESS: http://britabroadinusa.blogspot.com/

BLOG DESCRIPTION: My experiences as a British expat, rants, witterings, homesicknesses.... the things I love and the things I don't so love. My life as an immigrant in USA.

MY REVIEW: The author of this blog posts about once a week on average. Nevertheless, it's an interesting blog, to see how an immigrant to our shores from England views our culture and ways.

The author writes well, and has many interesting things to say.

So check it out!

sample post
I was going to write about the rodeo....
I was going to write about the rodeo but I have been struggling to describe my whole experience without insulting anybody! I wonder why I am being so polite since certainly much of the experience I had was littered with examples of other people's rudeness, mocking and negativity.

So let me start at the start. I've never been to a rodeo, and since we only did a fraction of our desired Summer activities, I wanted to have one last family night out before school started. We bought the tickets in advance, but just hours before leaving, 3 different people mentioned animal cruelty at rodeos, so right off I was worried and didn't want to go. Quite honestly, despite my abhorrence of all things cruel, I assumed in this day and age there wouldn't be any animal abuse going on in such events so it didn't even enter my head when we bought the tickets.

Hubs said he had wondered why I wanted to go, but after a little talk we said we'd go since we'd paid anyway, and at the first sign of anything horrible we'd leave. In actual fact, most of it seemed okay (although I spent a fair bit of time in a queue for a root beer float for Son.)

What bothered me was some of the people. Now, I have written about rural life before. I meet some awesome people and on the whole, I love living in the country. It's quiet, we have space, we grow food. But at the same time, along with that comes a fair bit of ignorance and bigotry, which gets pushed aside as "just a joke," "don't be so sensitive" or "uh-oh, the P.C. Brigade are here!"

Well I guess that means I can't take a joke or I am part of the P.C. Brigade? But if I drop the "p.c." (a.k.a. manners and politeness) and reply in kind to the "jokes", I wonder if I'd just be told to "go back where I came from"?
Oh no one said that (this time), but I run out of fingers if I try to count the foreigner or immigrant jokes. Or the jokes about women, or city folk, or Democrats, or immigrants... oh I said that one already. Or jokes about foreigners that should speak English, or asking "where's your greencard?" if they hear an accent. Or if I counted the people chewing tobacco and smoking at the same time. With a baby on their arms. Or kids buying Confederate flags when they or their family have never been outside Pennsylvania (what's that about??)

I bit my tongue a fair bit. P.C or just polite? But you know, it bugs me because by being polite and not saying anything back, the offenders think that everyone agrees and so just carry on. Of course, any complaint just results: "It's just a joke. Don't be so sensitive." Maybe I shouldn't be. Maybe I should just join in, and for every immigrant joke thrown out, I should come up with a redneck joke.

The evening wasn't awful though, actually. We had fun. For the most part, I have learned to ignore these kinds of comments: I share them here solely to describe an experience and share that while many folk in rural America are really great, there's also an element that's as ugly in character as anywhere else. It's just harder to blend in if you're a minority and therefore harder to ignore the ugliness you sometimes encounter.

--I was going to write about the rodeo....
--I lost another worker!
--Fitness So Far....
--What do a bridge, a good book and a washing machin...
--How's the weekend? And back to school!

Check out the following blogs:
Seaborn: Oceanography Blog
Star Trek Report: Space Sciences
Volcano Seven: Treasure and Treasure Hunters
Rush Limbaugh Report

Dead Monkey Society (arts & entertainment, fiction serial)

REVIEWED BY: Marguerite Zelle


AMAZON SUBSCRIPTION LINK: Dead Monkey Soceity, by Penfold Crockett

WEB ADDRESS: http://www.deadmonkeysociety.com/

BLOG DESCRIPTION: The challenge? To write a novel in micro chapters of 4 and half lines or less. Confused? You certainly will be when you enter the mysterious world of the Dead Monkey Society.

"High Noon at Dead Monkey Junction..."
A lawless town. One man standing tall. A short guy called Clarence and a dead monkey playing the piano...

MY REVIEW: To start out, you might want to visit the website, to read the story from the beginning. For some reason the Kindle feed doesn't begin until Chapter 7.

It's an amusing story, perhaps an aquired taste. As the blog description says, each chapter is a paragraph. The writing is over-the-top, but amusing in that way, and the story is intriguing.

CHeck it out

Sample chapter:
Meanwhile, back in the Dirty Cowpoke the monkey was meandering through an early morning rendition of ‘the Forlorn Leghorn’ when a hail of bullets shattered the doors into matchsticks. The six remaining Klaun brothers stormed in, each one bigger, dumber and uglier than the one before…


Check out the following blogs:
Seaborn: Oceanography Blog
Star Trek Report: Space Sciences
Volcano Seven: Treasure and Treasure Hunters
Rush Limbaugh Report

Friday, August 27, 2010

RetroReview: Fully Booked (NYC Travel)





BLOG'S DESCRIPTION: Events with an edge! In New York. Parties, press events, launches, shopping events and more! Trends in the party scene. And lifestyle tips. For those who are not invited. Get invited for free!

MY REVIEW: Bored in New York? No idea what to do? Where to go. . . here's your answer. This blog gives a daily post with a description of the event, the location, the time, and any other relevant information, often including a picture. Frequently web sites are listed and, although you cannot access them from the Kindle, you do have them for later reference. The events are interesting and run the gamut from the Fancy Food Show, a book signing at Williams Sonoma, Food & Wine from North Carolina, gallery openings, and happenings at Whole Foods just to name a few.

  • Wedding Salon and Dylans Candy Bar
  • Pistachio Hot Chocolate
  • Back Stage at New York's Fashion Week - Designer's Andy and Deb
  • Beard on Books

RetroReview: Hoofprints (equestrian)




WEB ADDRESS: hoofprints.typepad.com

BLOG DESCRIPTION: Get a horse fix on your Kindle! For horse lovers and horse owners alike. Hoofprints will take you to the real world of horses, their people and their dreams!

MY REVIEW: A blog that covers everything horse related from feeding horses to handling manure to exercising to local politics concerning stables to equine health and more. One of the more interesting features is following the release of the blogger's first book, a teen horse novel, titled, Winning Bet. The blog is interesting, informational, and personal.

It is well written with pictures in most posts. It does suffer from my usual complaint infrequent and inconsistent postings. Sometimes she posts two days in succession, sometimes it will be a week between posts or more. I feel certain her readers would be happy with more.


  • Horse operations : Agriculture?
  • Fencing Francas - Tips for Sanity
  • Clipping your cool
  • Stable Land use rules: We're back.
  • Manure happens . . . and it's good stuff

Ann Currie publishes My Life a Bit South of Normalwww.abitsouthofnormal.com/
and also, Silver Pieces: The Strange and Peculiarstrangeandpeculiarsilver.blogspot.com/

RetroReview: The Happiness Project

Reviews from when this blog was just starting out, eight months ago.



AMAZON SUBSCRIPTION PAGE: The Happiness Project, published by Gretchen Rubin

WEB ADDRESS: http://thehappinessproject.com

BLOG'S DESCRIPTION: I'm working on a book, THE HAPPINESS PROJECT--a memoir about the year I spent test-driving every principle, tip, theory, and scientific study I could find, whether from Aristotle or Martin Seligman or Oprah. On this daily blog, I recount some of my adventures and insights as I grapple with the challenge of being happier.

OUR REVIEW: There's not a lot of happiness in the world today, unfortunately. Of course, with all the earthquakes...in Haiti and Chile, the lousy economy, the conundrum of global warming (is it or isn't it man-made?), everyone is just a bit tense, if they're paying any attention at all to what's going on in the world. But even those who aren't - teenagers who spend all their time playing violent video games, or even just practicing their skateboarding skills... are they happy?

Then there's girls...hard to be happy when you're going to be teased at school for being overweight, or for not having a boyfriend, or any of a hundred things some clique finds it necessary to tease you about. Then there's the fact that girls start obsessing over their weight at the age of six, and this new government "anti-obesity" project is just going to exacerbate matters.

Oh...there's lots of things to feel tense about, which is why The Happiness Project is so important, and why I recommend it highly.

Here's a few sample paragraphs:

I’ve always been a bit of a humbug when it comes to “personal development”, happiness fluff and life-changing inspirational yaddayadda…

That’s because I’ve known for a long time that all these damn lists, personal improvement systems and anti-systems, productivity tips, self-righteous self-help gurus and on and on are mostly just more noise added to the online eco-system of “average” — more stuff to read and follow, more stuff to “TRY” when really you should be out there cutting your teeth and “DOING.” I’ll talk a bit more on my own experience with this, but first let’s get to the point:

There ARE a number of exceptions to the rule of general mediocrity and fluff online…
One of the true stand-outs is Seth Godin. It’s been remarkable for me to watch Seth in recent years, as he dives deeper and deeper into his own real natural genius. His short, brilliant, and to the point 14-page manifesto, Brainwashed: Seven Ways to Reinvent Yourself is indispensable for anyone who’s struggling to change the world, grasp their own genius, and stand in their greatest personal power...

I highly, highly, recommend this blog.

-We needs must love the highest when we see it
-Finish the projects you've started. Or call an end to them.
-Nice paradoxes to contemplate as you consider happiness
-Happiness and the visits of a gazelle
-The extraordinary happiness of completing a project: "Four to Llewelyn's Edge"

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Dalai's PACS blog (radiology, industry specific)

REVIEWED BY: Marguerite Zelle



WEB ADDRESS: http://doctordalai.blogspot.com/

BLOG DESCRIPTION: An irreverant look at PACS, radiology, medicine, and life in general

MY REVIEW: What is PACS, you may be asking yourself. (If you are, you perhaps won't be interested in this blog.) It is: "Picture Archiving and Communications System. A device or group of devices and associated network components designed to store and retrieve medical images."

I found it an interesting read. The author is a radiologist, and yes, the terminology was over my head, but one could get the gist of what the author was talking about, and it was an intersting introduction to a whole new world.

For those people who know what PACS are, I'm sure this blog will be of great interest!

The author also makes a few "off topic" posts, about politics, and life in general, so give it a try.

Sample post
We live in a Broadband world, and ultimately, it shouldn't matter whose pipe dumps the bits and bytes into your lap. Thus, when AT&T's U-Verse became available in my neighborhood, I thought it was time to jump ship from Time Warner Cable. After all, even the rather pricey Business Class was only delivering about 4-6 Mbps, and 50+ channels of non-HD. For the same price, I figured I could go with Ma Bell and get a better deal. So I did.

Before I dive into my personal tail of woe, I need to tell you just what U-Verse actually is. From ATT.com:

AT&T U-Verse® uses fiber optic technology and computer networking to bring you:
* Advanced digital TV
* High speed Internet
* Digital home phone serviceIt's basically a big data pipe like I said at the beginning, delivering the goods via fiber and DSL instead of cable. The TV end of the package is pretty good, with innumerable digital and HD channels. They are all full of the usual mind-rot, but having 200 or 300 channels of mind-rot has to count for something. And you can record them for playback on any TV in the house. AND there's an iPhone app for remotely programming the recorder, which is also great for impressing your less-than-technical friends.

Since Mrs. Dalai doesn't like to deal with change (you know who she didn't vote for), I arranged the switch-over to take place while we were en route back from Peru in mid-June. Thank Heavens for my PACS guru, who gave up most of his Saturday to supervise this fiasco. It seems that even though my neighborhood is "U-Verse ready," the fiber or whatever hadn't quite made it down to my end of the street, so that had to be, ummmm, laid (which sets up the theme for what's to come) before any other progress could occur. Then, because I had two phone lines which were billed separately, the BIG AT&T BILLING COMPUTER wouldn't allow voice to be activated. Even so, they got the TV (and associated boxes and DVR and remotes and so forth) running nicely, and the 18Mbps internet came up properly as well. (I actually max out at only 14Mbps for my download speed, but that's still a lot better than where I was.)

So far, so good. All the while, the old POTS (plain old telephone service) analog lines were working nicely as well. Sadly, I tend to ignore the old maxim that tells us the enemy of "good" is "better." More importantly, there were lower prices and lovely rebates to be had for those who added on U-Verse Voice (which is really Voice Over Internet Protocol, VOIP, using the shiny fiber broadband pipe.) Thus, I insisted, over Mrs. Dalai's wise protest, upon having Voice put on as well. This was not a good move.

We've had U-Verse voice up and sort of running for about a month now. It works, but it has glitches. Our particular glitch involves a strange buzzing feedback when the victim on my end speaks into the phone. Of course, that doesn't start until about 5-10 minutes into a call. It is INCREDIBLY annoying, and ultimately intolerable. I've had AT&T out to look at everything about 5 times, and I've been on the "chat" with Tier 1, Tier 2, and all of the other Mouse-ke-Tiers on about 30 occasions. Every time, they bounce the 2Wire Residential Gateway (a big fancy router), which disturbs Mrs. Dalai's Farmville activities, and thus creates even more grief in the house than the malfunctioning phone itself. And every time, the phone acts properly for the first five minutes of a call, just enough for Nahtanoj, I mean Jonny, to sign off on our case, and then..... BUZZZZZZZZZZZ.

By this afternoon, I had had enough of this nonsense, and got downright pushy with Haripol, I mean Paul, the Tier 1 helper du jour, and demanded that they come out and fix it or yank it. I was trying to do this from work, and Paul kept asking me to unplug and plug in phone wires, which we've done 50 times before. I typed in all caps to show I meant business: "NO! I WON'T! YOU SEND SOMEONE OUT TO FIX THIS DOG OR I'M GOING BACK TO TIME WARNER!!!" To which Haripol replied, "OK, but if the tech does what I'm telling you to do, and that fixes it, we'll charge you $50." He didn't need the computer to hear me squawk about that statement.

Ultimately, we got someone out to look at it one more time earlier this evening. All I can say is God bless honest people. The gentleman from AT&T got to our house, examined the tangle of red, green, yellow, and black wires, and said, "You know, I'm finding this situation quite often, where the digital phone just won't install properly in some houses." Well, I'll be darned. You mean to tell me the damn thing actually might not work? I'm not crazy? Of course the latter determination is not in AT&T's scope of operations, but the former turns out to be the case. Our new best friend from Ma Bell went on: "AT&T rolled out VOIP before it was ready. When you hook up the old wiring in the house to the digital output, you have done little more than create a huge antenna, and it picks up any strong radio signal in the vicinity. I was just at a house on the other side of town that couldn't work with U-Verse Voice at all because the guy next door had a big CB base station."

Eureka! That is why the interference and bad behavior doesn't start right off, although for the life of me, I can't imaging what RF source is causing the problem. Whatever. U-Verse Voice has to go. I've put through the order for the phones to be switched back to POTS. And they darn well better not try to take my rebates back, either. I've already used the stupid VISA gift cards!

Here's my revenge on U-Verse. I'm telling everyone I know: DON'T GET U-VERSE VOICE!!! Not until the technology improves! Seriously! This isn't ready for prime time. Of course, even if I get everyone to avoid U-Verse Voice, the victory is pyrrhic at best as POTS costs more. But sometimes you have to stand up for your principles.

Hear that, Nahtanoj???

--Two Hundred Thousand Hits!
--Reagan Was Right Again
--Hooked Again
--You Should Have Seen The One That Got Away...
--DoctorDalai.com "Noteworthy"!
--Doctor Dalai and the Demo

Check out the following blogs:
Seaborn: Oceanography Blog
Star Trek Report: Space Sciences
Volcano Seven: Treasure and Treasure Hunters
Rush Limbaugh Report

Sweeties Sweeps (lifestyle, sweepstakes)

REVIEWED BY: Marguerite Zelle



WEB ADDRESS: http://sweetiessweeps.com/

BLOG DESCRIPTION: Welcome to Sweeties Sweeps!

My name is Wendy but you can call me Sweetie. I have been entering and winning prizes consistently since 1993. Sweepstakes have helped me "win what I can't afford" and they can help you too. Some of the big prizes I have won include a $25,000 trip to France, a Dodge truck, 6 or 7 TVs, $5,000 in cash twice, $1,000 in gas certificates, $2,000 in groceries, and lots more.

What you will learn:

- what are sweepstakes
- what you need to get started on the way to winning
- how do I find legitimate sweepstakes to enter
- get notified of the hottest sweepstakes every month
- and lots, lots more

MY REVIEW: This is a blog that wouldn't be suitable for the Kindle, since it provides links to various websites or other places where you can enter sweepstakes.

This is a commercial site, the author has a "FREE Sweeping 101 Email Course to learn " you can sign up for, but she also provides links to sweepstakes that you can enter.

Hey, a chance for free money or free goods. Go for it!

--Featured Sweepstakes: Lifetime’s Project Runway, You’re In or You’re Out Sweepstakes Ends 10/28/10 1PPD18+
--Featured Sweepstakes: MyLifetime Sherwin-Williams Make the Most of Your Color Sweepstakes Ends 9/27/10 550P18+
--Featured Sweepstakes: EZWINGAMES
--Hotels.com “Win Vacation for Life” Sweepstakes and Sweeties Giveaway Ends 9/6/10
Check out the following blogs:
Seaborn: Oceanography Blog
Star Trek Report: Space Sciences
Volcano Seven: Treasure and Treasure Hunters
Rush Limbaugh Report

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

I Want to Teach Forever (parenting, teaching)

REVIEWED BY: Marguerite Zelle


AMAZON SUBSCRIPTION LINK: I Want to Teach Forever, by Larry D.

WEB ADDRESS: http://www.teachforever.com/

BLOG DESCRIPTION: Information, inspiration and ideas to help teachers in and out of the classroom

MY REVIEW: I have no kids, but I try to keep up with what's going on in the education system, just because the kids in those classes are the future of this country, and if they're not taught properly...well, we get what we've got today! Americans at the bottom of the list for math, geography..practically everything.

Anyway, Mr. D. loves his job, and his enthusiasm shows in his writing. If you're a teacher or a parent, I highly recommend this blog.

Sample post:
(Okay, it's a guest post, but I thought I'd share it anyway!)
Lies My High School Teacher Told Me: How to Better Prepare Your Students for College
Tags: college prep, education issues
As someone who recently graduated from college, I can attest to the fact that most high schools do not adequately prepare their students for the critical secondary school-university transition. College, of course, is already a huge shock of change after change. For many first-year college students, they will experience for the first time what it's like to live without their parents. They will also be surrounded by a fresh set of friends and peer pressure that is one step above what most experience in high school.

To soften the blow, I believe it is absolutely critical that high school teachers, especially those instructing junior and seniors, give their pupils a more realistic academic experience that closely resembles a college environment. Since I grew up in the Rio Grande Valley and attended a public high school there, I also know first-hand some of the unique challenges presented to Valleyites who first make that leap into the higher education unknown. Here are some tips.

1. Don't remind your students of deadlines.

One aspect of my first year college experience that I had a particularly tough time getting accustomed to was the lack of hand-holding. This was especially true when it came to deadlines. Professors gave students syllabi at the beginning of the semester, and these deadlines were expected to be met without reminders. Do your students a favor and give them some personal responsibilities when it comes to time management.

2. Encourage class participation--both in and out of the classroom.

By far the most enriching part--academically and personally--about my university experience was developing an intellectual relationship with my professors. At first, I was shy, but as time wore on I realized how much more rewarding the process of learning can be when you stop keeping your curiosity to yourself. Unfortunately, I missed out on much of the student-professor interaction simply because I wasn't used to it from being a student in high school.

While of course, student-teacher interaction at the high school level has many more limits than it does in college, a high school teacher can prepare the college student to-be by encouraging frank discussion and participation. Let students know that you are willing to talk about academics outside of the classroom in a professional environment.

3. For RGV students, prepare your students for social, cultural, and racial diversity.

The Valley is in many ways a great place in which to grow up. However, as anyone who has lived in the RGV for some time knows, the area is very heavily influenced by Hispanic and Catholic cultural values. When I moved from the Valley to a university in a very urban setting, I experienced a heavy dose of culture shock. I interpreted the idea of "personal space" as coldness, simply because in the Valley, closeness to kin and friends is the region's hallmark. I was also ill-prepared for the diversity of opinions on a range of topics. Especially if you teach social science courses in Valley schools, be sure to address some of these issues.

--What Do You Love About Your Job in Education?
--3 Years of I Want to Teach Forever = 3 Chances to Win My Book!
--Giveaway: Wild Ride to the Heart Game Helps Kids Deal With Emotions
--The Evolution of Mr. D: "First day"
--Essential Back to School Reading: Week 3

Check out the following blogs:
Seaborn: Oceanography Blog
Star Trek Report: Space Sciences
Volcano Seven: Treasure and Treasure Hunters
Rush Limbaugh Report

Organizing With Love (lifestyle, business)

REVIEWED BY: Marguerite Zelle


AMAZON SUBSCRIPTION LINK: Organizing With Love, by Paris Love

WEB ADDRESS: http://paris-organizewithlove.blogspot.com/

BLOG DESCRIPTION: Organizing Expert, Paris Love will provide you with organizing tips and solutions to help you live an organized and clutter-free life.

MY REVIEW: Paris Love is a professional organizer (author of 50 Tips to Get You Organized in 50 Minutes or Less). (Here's her credentials: An active member of the National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO). Paris co-chairs as NAPO's Membership Director and has served on the NAPO-GA Executive Board and Board of Directors and has held the positions of Librarian and Secretary. She currently holds the Historian and Ambassador positions within the Georgia Chapter. Paris is a member of NAPO's Golden Circle, a prestigious designation denotes an elevated level of experience within the professional organizing industry. Golden Circle members possess at least five years of proven professional organizing work activity.)

So she knows whereof she speaks. The caveat for this blog is she only posts once a week. Of course her blog is only 99 cents a month, which is not an onerous fee for five posts, but really, it should be more.

Anyway, she writes well, has things to say of interest, so give her blog a look-see.

Sample post
Going Green This School Year
Back to School is here and below are some tips on keeping your child healthy this school year.

Does your child have allergies? Are they easily distracted? Do you notice their concentration level slipping when they are given an assignment? You may want to consider the products they are using. Adults spend the majority of their time at work and our children spend their time at school/daycare or with friends. Using eco-friendly products are essential for your health as well as your child’s. Here is a list of suggested products;

--Use binders made with 100% recycled corrugated material
--Children put everything in their mouths, so consider biodegradable or non-toxic writing utensils
--Use post consumer products for paper products
--Scissors should have a 70% recycled plastic handle
--Use desks that are 100% formaldehyde free

A number of companies (traditional brick and mortar and online) sell environmentally-friendly products that a parent can use to set up an in-home study area for their child

100 percent recycled file folders from Staples are perfect for a study area
Greenhome.com sells an eco-friendly wastebasket made from 99 percent reclaimable automobile tires and recycled plastic trim

IKEA sells a number of storage products that can be placed in the study area as a drop point to recycle school papers and junk mail

When purchasing recycled or reclaimed products be sure to look for the recycle symbol on the item’s exterior packaging

If you’re not fully convinced, compare a recycled folder to a regular product by taking the ‘sniff’ test. You can smell the toxics in non post consumer products and the texture is different as well.

Online sources for eco-friendly organizing products

· Lowimpactliving.com
· IKEA.com
· SeventhGeneration.com
· SpecialtyLiving.com
· Greenhome.com
· Inmodern.net

Until Next Time......

--Going Green This School Year
--Top News vs Most Recent
--What organizer doesn't like to hear this?
--If you blink you will miss it
--What if...

Check out the following blogs:
Seaborn: Oceanography Blog
Star Trek Report: Space Sciences
Volcano Seven: Treasure and Treasure Hunters
Rush Limbaugh Report

"It's great to be young and a Yankee." (Baseball)

REVIEWED BY: Marguerite Zelle


AMAZON SUBSCRIPTION LINK: "It's great to be young and a Yankee.", by Crazy Yankee Chick

WEB ADDRESS: http://crazyyankeechick.blogspot.com/

BLOG DESCRIPTION: Daily recaps, highlights, analysis, and a general bullpen of observational commentary...plus everything a Crazy Yankee Chick does in between watching the Yankees, Giants, and Rangers.

MY REVIEW: This is a heckuva fun blog. (If you're a Yankees fan. I'm not. Booo hiss!) The author covers each game, in detail, in her own inimitable style. As you'll see in the sample post below, she knows her baseball. I don't really care for some of the language she uses, but it's not that egregious, and younger people of course won't mind it.

Highly recommended.

sample post:
Game 127/ Tuesday, August 24: NYY @ J's (You wanna play long ball, Toronto? Well, DO YA?) Two thousand nineteen.

That's how many feet of bombs came off the Yankee bats during the course of this game. The longest one, improbably, came from Jeter. This wasn't like a GGBG-esque basehitter homerun. This was like a Giambi in the pouring rain moonshot. Dammmmn, #2. And dammmmn, Yanks. But let's be honest, you're the Yankees. This is what you do, right?

The J's just temporarily forget that they're the not the Original. Just a $10 generic version that comes out years after the original brand name, legitimate prescription.

So last 2 nights ago, Bautista acted like a little bitch and took his sweet ass time rounding the bases. Because "lookatmelookatme I'm the homerun champ so far!" You guys are like 108 games out of the division.

But, hey, if that's how you want to do it, the Yanks are game. In fact, they're so game that they'll show you exactly who the real kings of [bat] pop are. As my often quotes from his favorite movie, "You may be a one-eyed jack around here, but I've seen the other side of your face."

I'm not entirely sure what this means, but it sounds menacing, which is basically all I'm looking for here.

By the 3rd inning, the Yanks were up 6-0, thanks to 3 dings in the 3rd inning alone. Monster blast from Tex, a 2-run shot from Timms, and a solo from Jorge.

2 innings later, Grandy and Jeter both went yard, and the J's were reeling. (No fights though!) After 6 innings, the Yanks were sitting on an 11-1 game. The J's had a measly 1 run from an RBI single off the bat of Vernon "My Name is Vernon if that gives you any idea of how f'n old I am" Wells.

Moseley gets the win, and this guy is starting to remind me of Brain in Inspector Gadget or something. Like the guy behind the scenes that you don't really pay much mind to. I've suggested that this guy was lifted from some stock imagery website.

Or, rather, his line scores have been. 2 runs, 5 hits, 4BBs, 4Ks, 6 innings. Your basic fare from this guy. And basic is being liberal. It's more like your lock-it-up numbers from this guy.

Gaudin came in for relief, and managed to avoid intentionally/unintentionally beaning anyone, much to the dismay I'm sure of the warning-trigger-happy umps. Kerry Wood closed out the game with a scoreless 9th. Well, Mr. Wood, I'll bite.

(Oh Good God, did I actually just write that?? Moving on...)

Ok, KERRY, I'll SAY IT. You're not working out too badly. At all. I had my doubts. Lots of em. I thought you'd be the new Esteban Loiza or something.

But I guess it's true what they say about senior citizens. And by "they" I mean Lloyd Christmas. "Senior citizens, though slow and dangerous behind the wheel, can serve a purpose!"

The pitcher for the J's is a guy I had big predictions for last year. He's also a guy who joins Jonathan Albaladejo and Buehrle as players whose names I hate typing with an unyielding passion.

Welcome to the club, Mark Rzepczynski. In fact, I'm making you President. Congrats.

He got chased in the 4th, big surprise there. 6 runs on 8 hits isn't gonna impress anyway and pretty much guarantees you the L. Which he got.

The Yanks had 17 hits on the day, with Tex and Posada both going 4 for 5, Grandy and Timms both going 3 for 4.

Grandy made an OUTSTANDING play at the plate. It was one of those plays that made me think for a second, "Wait, are we the home or away team?" on account of how raucous the cheering was afterwards. Amazing work. It's funny how these things seem to happen RIGHT when The Other Man's name starts lolling around sports journalists' tongues.

As soon as Johnny Damon even remotely starts tiptoeing towards the limelight, it's like Grandy goes, "YES, YES FOR THE LOVE OF CHRIST, I WAS THE RIGHT MOVE."

(On a side note, that's f'n gangsta, Damon. Well done. It's like being on the Yanks reminded you how decent a guy you are. I'm sorry you had to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous idiocy and classlessness on the Sox for so long. If you're happy, I'm happy.)

The bad news was a foul ball that Swish inflicted upon himself, and put GGBG in mid AB. Who struck out looking.

The other bad news is that the LIFE WITHOUT AROD propoganda has officially set in.

13-1 without him. 3 runs per game more. About 1 more HR per game. And more than 30 points more in the team BA.

Yeah, only logical conclusion is that Arod sucks, yeah?

Or you could subscribe to the much more reasonable explanation which is that the rest of the team is working to fill in the power gap that Arod left.

But I mean, teamwork, schmeamwork. Makes much more sense to just deduce that future Hall-of-Famer, legend-in-our-time Arod is just secretly bad, statistical contradictions be damned.

Sigh. Anyways...

Weird stat of the night: The Yankees have 44 four-run innings this season, the most in the majors. Yay? Can we take that to the bank? Eh, sure, why not?

Annoying fact of the night: Javy's moving to the bullpen for the time being, with newbie Nova set to start in his place Sunday at Chicago. This irks me for some reason. I used to get so f'n annoying at Javy in his early starts, because he let everything get under his skin.

But he's shed that habit, and now he's playing strong and composed and it annoys me that the flashy newcomer is pushing Javy to the pen. I don't know. I feel like Javy is getting walked all over. Yeah, it's a business. Yeah, maybe it's a good move. And yeah, he probably doesn't care as much as I do. But I'm just saying. It rubs me the wrong way.

The Yanks stay tied with TB, since the Angels are an unmitigated nightmare in the field. It was like watching a softball team play at 8am on a Sunday morning. ("Stop talking so loud! Why is everything so bright! WHERE ARE THE GODDAMN GATORADES AND SAUSAGE MCMUFFINS?")

And don't listen to anyone. The Yanks are doing great. It's not as "magical" as last year, but sometimes you gotta take the inside straight. It'll pay just as big dividends as getting the cards on the flop, but now we gotta wait for that elusive card on the river.

I'll call.

--Monday, September 7: TB @ NYY (Juggernaut Double Digest Edition)
--Game 126/ Monday, August 23: NYY @ J's (Nova Like a Caine)
--Game 125/ Sunday, August 22: SEA @ NYY (Cano is good. And he knows it.)
--Game 124/ Satruday, August 21: SEA @ NYY (Beach Day)
--Game 123/ Friday, August 20: SEA @ NYY (The King and I)

Check out the following blogs:
Star Trek Report: Space Sciences
Volcano Seven: Treasure and Treasure Hunters
Rush Limbaugh Report

Little Green Footballs (political commentary)

REVIEWED BY: Marguerite Zelle


AMAZON SUBSCRIPTION LINK: LIttle Green Footballs, by Charles Johnson

WEB ADDRESS: http://littlegreenfootballs.com/weblog/

BLOG DESCRIPTION: "Pretty much center-left before 9/11," Charles Johnson's blog discusses topics related to the War On Terror.

MY REVIEW: This blog is well-written, and covers the issues of the day. He's a Liberal, and so of course I disagree with practically everything he says! However, it's important to read these things, even if you disagree with them, to see where they are coming from.

Johnson is in support of the Mosque at Ground Zero, for example (along with many other people) and doesn't understand why people object to it. (As Rush Limbaugh states, they don't object to the mosque, just that it not be built there.)

In any event, interesting reading. Check it out.

Sample post:
Conservatives Waking Up to Global Warming?

There are signs that some right wing climate change deniers are finally waking up.
Science editor of the Daily Mail, Michael Hanlon, announced last week that he is changing his stance on global warming due to recent events in Greenland and his trip to this country (which he now refers to as “Global Warming Ground Zero”). Hanlon wrote: “I have long been something of a climate-change sceptic, but my views in recent years have shifted. For me, the most convincing evidence that something worrying is going on lies right here in the Arctic” (emphasis added). Joss Garman of Left Foot Forward said Hanlon “could previously be seen as the UK’s most influential ‘sceptic’” and has a good story on this and other recent changes in conservative media as concerns global warming.

And, on the other side of the Atlantic, a little over a week ago, CNN meteorologist Chad Myers made a breakthrough statement on one key issue of global warming, finally admitting that global warming IS caused (at least partly) by humans. Covering this story in more depth, Brad Johnson of The Wonk Room wrote: “One of America’s most influential global warming skeptics, CNN meteorologist Chad Myers, has finally admitted that global warming is “caused by man.’”

Now, most recently, oil-funded Pat Michaels, “a scientist who now works for the Cato Institute, the libertarian think tank that strongly opposes caps to carbon dioxide,” and who has promoted global warming denial for decades, has acknowledged that addressing global warming is an issue of “political acceptability.”

--Jon Stewart: The Hurt Talker
--Conservatives Waking Up to Global Warming?
--Overnight Open Thread
--Bloomberg on Anti-Mosque Movement: 'Unfair and Un-American'Politics

Check out the following blogs:
Seaborn: Oceanography Blog
Star Trek Report: Space Sciences
Volcano Seven: Treasure and Treasure Hunters
Rush Limbaugh Report

TARDIS Newsroom (science fiction, Dr. Who)

REVIEWED BY: Marguerite Zelle

MY RECOMMENDATION: YES, with reservations


WEB ADDRESS: http://tardisnewsroom.blogspot.com/

BLOG DESCRIPTION: The place for all 'Who' related news

MY REVIEW: I'm a Doctor Who fan (well, Doctors 1 through 7, excluding 5) and it's fun to keep up with what's happening with the Doctor. In that sense, this blog is a lot of fun.

Unfortunately, it's also link heavy, which makes it inconvenient. However, it is useful in the sense that you can read all the entries at the blog, and if one of them strikes your interest, then you can go to the web and read it there.

So, definitely check out this blog.

--Hire a TARDIS
--Todays Doctor Who on BBC iPlayer (UK Only)
--BBC Doctor Who: What's in Your TARDIS?
--'Who' at the Proms broadcast details, TV Movie gets North American DVD release, plus more news and a pick of the blogs
--Hoo On Who Exclusive Announcement!!
--James Moran: Doctor Who: The Adventure Games - "TARDIS"

Check out the following blogs:
Seaborn: Oceanography Blog
Star Trek Report: Space Sciences
Volcano Seven: Treasure and Treasure Hunters
Rush Limbaugh Report

Monday, August 23, 2010

Winging It (aviation)

REVIEWED BY: Marguerite Zelle

MY RECOMMENDATION: Yes, with reservations

AMAZON SUBSCRIPTION LINK: Winging It , by Thomas Clough

WEB ADDRESS: http://winging-it.blogspot.com/

BLOG DESCRIPTION: I am a 60 year old private pilot. This blog will document my experiences and adventures, both flying and non-flying, as I learn how to make the most of growing older.

MY REVIEW: If you're a pilot, you'll probably enjoy this blog.

The reason why I say, "Yes, with reservations" is because the author's wife is ill, currently with what is thought to be Parkinson's disease, and that impacts his post making. For example there were no posts from May to August, as he dealt with his wife's illness. (And that's a sad and frightening story, by the way. I'd advise everyone to visit his blog just to read that. What happens to you if you take medication for 20 years? For his wife, apparently Parkinson's.) Check out:

So, basically, if he's able to keep up the blog with at least a post a week, it's worth reading via the Kindle. If he is not, well, you may as well check it out on the web and say a couple of dollars a month.

Two sample posts
Reading for Motivation
Way back in olden times (when I was a teenager) I read the books written by Frank Kingston Smith. I found "Week-end Pilot" and "Flights of Fancy" at the local library and was immediately fascinated. Years later I also read "Weekend Wings". They might not have been the start of my fascination with flying but, they certainly fed the fire.

Recently I have been thinking about how I got interested in aviation and how I was going to get back into the air. I remembered those books by Mr. Smith and decided to try to find copies. They are long out of print but, luckily, I was able to locate used copies of all three. I am happy to say that, although a little dated, they still inspire me as much as they did back in my teens. I highly recommend these great books to every aviation enthusiast.

Line Up and Wait?
If you thought "line up and wait" referred to that cluster of airplanes bunched up at the end of the active runway on a sunny afternoon, you will have to learn a new definition. Starting next month, the tower instruction to "position and hold" (meaning to taxi into the takeoff position on the runway then hold there until issued a takeoff clearance) will change to the ICAO standard "line up and wait". I suspect there is going to be a period of confusion while pilots and controllers get used to the new terminology.

--Reading for Motivation
--Waukegan Airshow Coming September 11
--Line Up and Wait?
--Lightspeed Aviation Foundation
--There is Always Next Year

Check out the following blogs:
Seaborn: Oceanography Blog
Star Trek Report: Space Sciences
Volcano Seven: Treasure and Treasure Hunters
Rush Limbaugh Report

Organizing for the Next Chapter of Your Life (lifestyle, business)

REVIEWED BY: Marguerite Zelle


AMAZON SUBSCRIPTION LINK: Organizing for the Next Chapter of Your Life, by Sue West, Certified Organizer Coach(R) & Certified Professional Organizer(R)

WEB ADDRESS: http://organizenh.com/wordpress/

BLOG DESCRIPTION: You're writing your next chapter because

* your children are out on their own.
* you're finally starting that new business you've had in mind…
* or it's growing so fast it's hard to keep up.
* maybe just discovered you have ADD, or some other brain-based challenged. It's a relief to finally know, but now what?
* you're suddenly single – widowed, separated, divorced.
* you're downsizing or simply want less stuff around you and less on your calendar. Life's too short.

As you move through this chapter of your life, your mindset is shifting.

You're thinking differently about your things, your surroundings, and how you use your time.

MY REVIEW: Why is it that so many people have problems getting organized? Whether it's in their professional or personal life, most people just can't get their act together.

And frankly, I think that's one of the main problems in the U.S. today. People can't keep track of their money, they can't keep track of their belongings and they can't keep track of their time. And it's not being able to keep track of your time that is the real killer, literally. It's "the unforgiving minute" as Kipling says. Lose a couple of dollars in your house? No problem, you can always get more. Lose a shirt or a book, you can always buy another one. But the time you have to spend re-doing things you've already done...that time is gone for good. It will never come back.

Well, time for "Organizing the Next Chapter in your Life."

Time wasn't important to you when you were young...but now that you've moved on to the next chapter, it's all important. Either it's weighing heavy on your hands, or you don't have enough of it.

This blog will help you with that quandary.

Sample post:
You just have to…”
August 18th, 2010
Recently, I read a life coach’s blog in which most paragraphs started with the phrase “You just have to.”

Like that’s so simple. The phrase really turned me off. I made myself continue to read on in case the tone changed. (No.) I suppose it’s possible this is a marketing approach, that if you can’t “just” do it yourself, you’d call on this person.

But it made me wary of how that relationship would work. I can see the finger shaking, as if I’ve failed already. I wanted to hide.

I can’t imagine speaking to my clients (or anyone in my life, really) in this manner.
You just have to … find a filing system that works for you.

You just have to realize your children will grow up and leave the nest and figure out what to do next with your life.

You just have to realize you won’t make as much selling your house as you would have a few years ago …

You just have to move on after your husband’s death.

You don’t have to do anything at someone else’s pace.
Do it at your own pace. Stand your ground.

If you aren’t ready to go through your adult children’s rooms to clear them out, wait. Wait until you know how else you’d like to use that space. Remember your hobbies and passions before you raised your children. Create your own space in one of their rooms. But in your own time.

Or do it in stages. If someone close to you has died, it will be easier to go through some of their belongings than others. Try the easier stuff first, whenever you’re ready. Wait some time until you’re ready to go through more.

Have patience with yourself.
Grief takes it own time we know, and going through someone’s belongings is a useful but difficult way to process and think through some of your feelings.

Same goes if you are moving. Where you live now is filled with memories. Intellectually, you know you’ll make new ones. But give yourself time to pack and take those memory lane strolls. This is the hardest part, that in between stage where you’re going to have to rest for awhile, even if you want to push ahead to make the new memories.

Notice why you are not moving on or making any change.
It may be emotions you need to work through. It may be procrastination, or worry about taking a risk, or not knowing where you want to head next.

Have you been through this before? How long do you think is reasonable? Are you there yet?

If you’re past that point, take stock of what’s going on. Journal, create, talk to a friend, meditate. Slow down enough to notice why you’re stuck. Much of this about “noticing,” because noticing leads you to understand what the single issue that’s preventing you from moving forward. Often we are in a cloud of reasons. Break it down. Talk it out. Write it down. Sort it out.

And even when you ARE ready
Even when you are ready to go through mom’s things, or make your child’s room into a new space for you, or tackle the paper piles you may want outside support or structure.

If you want to get from point A to point B quickly, that’s a reason to hire experience.

If you have tried on your own and the stuff keeps coming back, that’s a reason to hire experience.

If you need a deadline, some accountability — that could be a friend, or an organizer coach, depending on the other skills you need to support you.

We can all read, anywhere and everywhere it seems, about “how to” get more organized. Tips, tricks and products.

What’s difficult is applying what you read to your specific situation. And it’s often more about how you’re wired and knowing yourself well enough to figure out which of all those organizing systems will work, consistently, for you.

So it’s really not “just” that easy, is it.

--Easing into Fall
--“You just have to…”
--The Five Organizing Systems Your Home Needs
--Should: A Word I’d Like to Eradicate
--Organizing before Surgery: Winding Down at Work

Check out the following blogs:
Seaborn: Oceanography Blog
Star Trek Report: Space Sciences
Volcano Seven: Treasure and Treasure Hunters
Rush Limbaugh Report

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Daily Norsemen (MInnesota Vikings blog)

REVIEWED BY: Marguerite Zelle



WEB ADDRESS: http://www.dailynorseman.com/

BLOG DESCRIPTION: The Daily Norseman features news about the Minnesota Vikings. From game highlights to player stats to team updates, all things Vikings is covered.

MY REVIEW: If you're a Minnesota Viking fan, you'll like this blog.

For myself, I grew up in Minnesota and the Vikings were my team. Ever since they recruited Brett Favre of the Green Bay Packers [yes, I know he spent some time in New York], I've been ambivelent to them. But this year is just beyond the pale. The guy sits at home and three of his teammates have to come and beg him to play? Pathetic.

I hope they never win another game with him as quarterback.

There, I said it and I'm glad!

This blog doesn't get into that issue, just covers the news. Although if you go to the website itself, there are discussion boards you can join.

--It's Schism Gate II!!! And A Comment About Harvin's Situation
--The Favre and I: A Tale of Two Marriages
--Brett Favre Press Conference Open Thread
--ESPN Goes After Vikings On Favre Story; I Laugh

Check out the following blogs:
Seaborn: Oceanography Blog
Star Trek Report: Space Sciences
Volcano Seven: Treasure and Treasure Hunters
Rush Limbaugh Report

National Football Post ( American football)

REVIEWED BY: Marguerite Zelle

MY RECOMMENDATION: YES, with reservations

AMAZON SUBSCRIPTION LINK: National Football Post - Football News and Opinion, by various

WEB ADDRESS: http://www.nationalfootballpost.com/

BLOG DESCRIPTION: The National Football Post is founded on the vision of creating the definitive forum where news, information and insight come together through voices of experienced NFL executives, agents, and current and former NFL players. These professional football insiders will bring a unique and previously unavailable glimpse into the inner workings of NFL front offices, locker rooms and playing fields. Unlike any other outlet for news about America’s most popular sport, The National Football Post provides organic news, opinion, analysis and knowledge that are not presently found in the sports information service industry. Our insiders will use their respective experiences, access and knowledge to allow all those who consume professional football to have the ultimate portal to see the inner workings of their favorite pastime.

MY REVIEW: I recommend this blog, with reservations, because as far as I can tell, Kindle users receive only a couple posts a day, whereas at the actual website, there are 13 columns that are updated on a regular basis. I have yet to figure out which particular columns get fed to the Kindle.

News you might receive on your Kindle are: The Business of Football, The Player's Page, The Agent's Journal, the Scouting Department, The Biggs Report, The Wilson Wire, the Zone Dog Blog, Against the Grain, the Director's Report, the Eye in the Sky, Crosstalk, Inside the Playbook and Guest Stars.

If you want to make sure you're able to read them all, I'd visit the website instead.

--THe fantasy stock watch report
--2010 NFP scounting series: Clemson
--Inside the Revis talks, Part II
--Preseason weekend tipsheet
--2010 NFP scounting series, Mississippi.

Check out the following blogs:
Seaborn: Oceanography Blog
Star Trek Report: Space Sciences
Volcano Seven: Treasure and Treasure Hunters
Rush Limbaugh Report

Thursday, August 19, 2010

The Campaign Spot on National Review Online (politics)

REVIEWED BY: Marguerite Zelle


AMAZON SUBSCRIPTION LINK: The Campaign Spot on National Review Online , by Jim Geraghty

WEB ADDRESS: http://www.nationalreview.com/campaign-spot

BLOG DESCRIPTION: The Campaign Spot is National Review Online’s blog for all things political and campaign-related. The blog is written by Jim Geraghty, author of Voting to Kill: How 9/11 Launched the Era of Republican Leadership.

MY REVIEW: First, let me share Geraghty's bio from Wikipedia:
Jim Geraghty is a conservative activist and regular contributor to National Review Online and National Review. In addition to writing columns for National Review, Geraghty also blogs for National Review Online and is a former reporter for States News Service.

During the 2004 US Presidential election, Geraghty was often critical of Democratic Party presidential candidate John Kerry. At the time his weblog used the name "The Kerry Spot". It was later renamed "TKS". Geraghty reported on the Killian documents and Rathergate stories on a daily basis on behalf of National Review and was critical of CBS and Dan Rather. Geraghty was one of the self described Pajamahadeen.

Starting in March 2005, Geraghty posted to TKS from Turkey, where he lived as an expatriate. In January 2007, he moved from TKS to a new blog, originally named "The Hillary Spot"[1] but since renamed to "The Campaign Spot".

Geraghty's book, Voting to Kill: How 9/11 Launched the Era of Republican Leadership (Touchstone, September 2006, ISBN 0743290429) argues that national security and safety in the face of terrorist threats is the key issue in U.S. politics.

Geragthy frequently mentions his maxim "All statements from Barack Obama come with an expiration date. All of them." This recurring theme in his writing is sometimes known as "Geraghty's Rule."

With this current incarnation of his blog, Geraghty bebops all over the map, giving one or at most two paragraph news items about what's going on with the various campaigners for poltical office for the Nov 2 election.

Pretty interesting, but not as ind-depth as one might wish. Nevertheless, check it out.

Sample post:
Pondering Nevada’s Ballot Order . . .
August 19, 2010 4:33 PM By Jim Geraghty

According to a sample ballot for Clark County, Nevada, candidates for office will be listed alphabetically.

Good news for Sharron Angle, bad news for next-to-last Harry Reid.

The somewhat better news for Reid is that federal offices are listed ahead of state offices. Harry Reid’s son, Rory Reid, is running for governor and trails badly. I suspect that if voters vote against the first Reid, they’ll be inclined to vote against the second one, and vice versa.

You think ballot order doesn’t matter? Ask Alvin Greene.

Another sample post:
An Obama Endorsement Hurts Candidates . . . in Illinois.
August 19, 2010 10:50 AM By Jim Geraghty

I doubt you’ll read anything more surprising today:

Illinois voters say they would be negatively influenced if a candidate was endorsed by Barack Obama. And if his support isn’t an asset in his home state it’s hard to imagine where it is.

40% of voters in the state say they’d be less likely to support an Obama endorsed candidate to only 26% who say it would be an asset. The reality at this point is that Obama turns Republican voters off to a much greater extent than he excites Democrats. That’s reflected in the fact that 83% of Republicans say an Obama endorsement would be a negative with them while only 49% of Democrats say it would be a positive. Independents also respond negatively by a 38/19 margin.

The numbers on an Obama endorsement are perhaps more relevant with undecided voters. Among those who have not yet made up their minds in the Senate race 21% say an Obama endorsement would resonate positively with them while 33% say it would be a turnoff.

We’re hearing a lot of talk about Obama being a one-term president, his presidency is over, etcetera, etcetera. Most of this is premature. But if Obama has become a political liability in Illinois . . . well, he’s really in the depths, and it’s quite possible he’ll never recover.

--Pondering Nevada’s Ballot Order . . .
--In Arkansas, Tim Griffin Clings to a 17-Point Lead
--Think of This Bad Poll for the GOP as a Palate-Cleanser
--An Obama Endorsement Hurts Candidates . . . in Illinois.
--Another Four Women Get Nods From Sarah Palin

Check out the following blogs:
Seaborn: Oceanography Blog
Star Trek Report: Space Sciences
Volcano Seven: Treasure and Treasure Hunters
Rush Limbaugh Report

The Draconian (finance)

REVIEWED BY: Marguerite Zelle



WEB ADDRESS: http://thedraconian.com/

BLOG DESCRIPTION: The Draconian features market commentary and research from Draco Capital Management. Its directors have been active in the world of alternative investments for two decades and currently manage over $100 million in the space. The firm’s trading heritage extends back to the mid 1960’s and has long specialized in strategic alternatives to traditional investing methods.

MY REVIEW: This blog is published once a week. It's more of a newsletter than a blog - each week you receive a long, in-depth article on a certain subject, such as market neutrality, the ins and outs of uranium, and so on.

An interesting blog for those with the wherewithal to get into such large investments.

--The Theory of Market Neutrality
--The Theory of Buy-and-Hold
--The Trade of the Decade
--Uranium: How to Play it and Why

Check out the following blogs:
Seaborn: Oceanography Blog
Star Trek Report: Space Sciences
Volcano Seven: Treasure and Treasure Hunters
Rush Limbaugh Report

The Angry Black Woman (lifestyle and culture)

REVIEWED BY: Marguerite Zelle

MY RECOMMENDATION: YES, with reservations

AMAZON SUBSCRIPTION LINK: The Angry Black Woman, by The Angry Black Woman

WEB ADDRESS: http://theangryblackwoman.com/

BLOG DESCRIPTION: Discussions of Race, Politics, Gender, Sexuality and the intersection between them.

MY REVIEW: This is an interesting blog that deals with issues of lifestyle and culture, arts and entertainment, and politics from an African American perspective. Well written, well-thought out posts, with the occasional four-letter word used for emphasis. If she's really annoyed about her topic, she uses more, as you see in the sample post below.

Although I've placed this in African-American interest, really her topics are of interest to all Americans. Check it out.

The one caveat - she seems to post only once or twice a week at most.
Sample post
Political Apathy: Don’t Have It
July 5th, 2010
Since it’s 4th of July weekend, I thought I should post something vaguely patriotic. However, since I share very similar feelings on this issue as my friend Cat, I’ll have to skip the flag waving and talk about another America-centric issue close to my heart, instead.

Primary results are in from all over the country, and now constituents know who their party candidates are for federal, state, and local government. The more I listen to NPR, the more I hear that everyone is against incumbents, everyone is against the Democrats, and there’s really no hope for the midterm elections. Unless you’re a conservative.

To this I say: bullshit.

Look, I am well aware that not everyone is happy with the Obama administration, and after the last midterm election even Cindy Sheehan threw up her hands and lost hope for our government. While I agree with ultra-left progressives that the past year hasn’t been everything we wished for, I don’t think it’s all that helpful just to complain, turn our backs, and let the goon squad make it even harder to get a tiny bit of what we want done.

Progress requires constant vigilance, constant pushing, and constant gardening.

So, now that the election is mere months away (it seems far, but it is not), I challenge all of you to work for the kind of government you want. That means being involved in the political campaigns of the senators and representatives up for election and re-election in your area.

Support the campaign. If you can give money, do so. If you can’t give money, give time. You don’t need to commit to every evening and weekend from now until November. One weekend, one phone bank session, one letter-stuffing drive is helpful.

Know your candidates. Who are these people, anyway? It’s much easier to be an advocate when you know something about the person beyond their name, slogan, and party. Do you even know where your party candidate stands on those issues, laws, and bills? Do you know where their opponents stand? Do your friends and neighbors?

Use your voice. Blog about the candidates in your area and why you support them or why you don’t. Talk about the issues that matter to you, the laws that have been passed, the bills that died. Use your voice in other arenas, too. Write an op-ed piece for your local paper, call in to radio shows, use social networks, make a short film using your cell phone camera (seriously), start a podcast.

Don’t just shill; challenge and demand. If you feel passionate about an issue or cause and want that candidate to be passionate and fight for it, tell them so. Find out if they agree. Challenge them to do or do better. The campaign process isn’t just about sending someone to office because they have the right party affiliation. They are accountable to you. Don’t let the vocal minority be the majority of people your candidate hears from.

Try to have meaningful conversations about issues that effect you. As we all know from watching the talking heads on 24 hour news channels, you can’t really understand someone else’s point of view if everyone is yelling. When you talk to people about why you support this or that candidate or this or that issue, really get into why. You’d be surprised how many people are willing to listen when you actually just talk. (I discovered that after starting this blog, actually.)

If we don’t take the attitude that a Republican/Tea Party win is inevitable we have a chance of making the better world we dream of. So that’s my patriotic challenge to all of you: don’t let apathy pull you down.

From now until the election there will be an Open Thread on Mondays for discussions of political and election-related topics. Share links, talk about your experience, your frustrations, your candidates. We are, of course, very interested in political issues dealing with women and people of color here at the ABW. That might be a good place to start.

--There Is No Ground Zero Mosque
--Good Guys: An Appreciation
--Since Dr. Laura Can’t Give Advice To Black People Without Being A Racist Twit, We’ll Give It A Shot
--The Last Airbender’s Target Audience Thinks Whitewashing Is Wrong, Too
--On Being A Considerate Parent
--Whitewashing: Stealing our stories from real life to fiction.
--Realms of Fantasy Columnist Condones Whitewashing When “Magic” Is Involved
--Political Apathy: Don’t Have It
--Why you should not see “The Last Airbender” movie, but watch the cartoon instead.

Check out the following blogs:
Seaborn: Oceanography Blog
Star Trek Report: Space Sciences
Volcano Seven: Treasure and Treasure Hunters
Rush Limbaugh Report