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Showing posts from 2011

It's been a great year, warts and all.

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So we all sit here on December 31st thinking similar thoughts. Or not so much. Some are depressed, thinking they haven't accomplished much. Some hopeful, thinking of all they will. Some just trying to figure out who the designated driver is.

Me? All of the above except the driving part. Not going out. At first, that seemed depressing. But then I figure my family and friends will stop by, we'll have our usual boring New Year's Eve, enjoyable only for the company we keep, but still not the most exciting event in town. But this year, no one is stopping by. No one is coming over to wish us a Happy New Year or help pass the time while we wait for the ball to drop somewhere in the world so we can have an excuse to go to sleep.

And it's really okay.

Recent events have once again delivered unto me one of life's most valuable lessons, for the umpteenth time. I need not recount them here. Some have made the news. Other's more personal. I will wager though that every sing…

Goodbye PC. It's been real. Just not Real Fun.

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So the Aspire may now rest in peace, after it's daily grind for several years. And I do mean that literally.

Morning to night that beast never shut up. Anti-virus constantly scanning, 20 minutes to log in and out. Programs crashing left and right. And my husband pulling his hair out. He claims it's genetic but I think that bald spot has PC written all over it.

So for Christmas, which like all good agnostic, atheistic, Jewish Unitarians we celebrate, we gave the poor suffering patriarch of the Miller clan a Chromebook. And let me tell you, he is one happy man.

The instructions for getting started fit on the back of a small booklet.
1. Plug it in.
2. Open the lid.
3. You're done.

I kid you not. And the only set up required was for him to enter his gmail user name and password. In roughly 15 seconds, his entire library of music and photos and docs and email and everything he'd done on his PC through google in the last year was right there. Poof. Magic. No whirring or whee…

When words fail.

I am writing this simply to convey my sense of utter helplessness and complete wonderment at the strength and courage of my cousin Robin. He celebrated a birthday this week with his wife of almost 23 years, and then in an awful twist of fate, began mourning her loss as she suffered a massive stroke.

He has shown a grace and dignity through this that I find remarkable. A man who epitomizes the moniker Devout Christian, he has shown us all what that truly means. Today, by fulfilling his wife's wish to donate her organs. And as he lives his life, through his teaching, his mentoring, his writing, and his role as a wonderful father of two and champion of those in need. Whether it is anti-bullying or health-care reform, he has and I fervently hope continues to be the champion of those in need of a voice.

I have never had the opportunity to meet him in person, nor his wonderful wife and children. But through his friendship I know that real compassion does exist. Real courage does exist. …

A true Gift-giver's guide to the holidays

I love the holidays. Truly I do. But I'm also known to be quite the nag this time of year. I want to know where you shop, how you shop, why you shop, and whether you truly have the giving spirit or are a closet shop-a-holic looking for a reason to spend.

So. Where'd ya shop? Did you venture out on Thanksgiving night to wait in the cold for Wally World to let you in and enter the mayhem known as Black Friday? My daughter went in one store for several minutes. Got caught in a crossfire of crazy shoppers ramming carts. Left without buying anything. So proud of my girl.

Times are tough. So many people out there shopping for bargains aren't doing so because they're irresponsible. They do it because it is the only time they believe they can afford to do it. Not true, really, but thanks to the mass media, they are bombarded with messages that convince them otherwise. 75% off. Really? Off what. It's not ignorance. It's not gullibility. It's just pure human instinct…

Thanksgiving Thoughts.

First, why is that Facebook thinks you want them to group all posts regarding Thanksgiving together and then only show you one. Click to see more. Holiday wishes from your best friends get buried in the mire of thanksgiving bullshit being spewn out by retailers lucky enough to have had you "like" them.

Why do retailers think its OK to take advantage of all the poor. Literally. You want to be able to buy that precious doll for your baby girl? Hmmm? Then get off your ass, ditch the Turkey dinner with the family and come wait on line, freeze your ass off and bring cash and maybe, just maybe you'll get one of the 3 we have in stock. Oops! Too late, but they've got another doll. Sure it costs more and isn't the one she wants. But you're already there, already sucked in. It's wrong on so many levels it disgusts me.

And don't get me started on the poor schmoes who have to work on Black Friday which technically now begins on Crimson Thursday. Why Crimson you …

The Final Five

So we're down to the final five. Or more than likely, the almost final final five. Let's just say we've sent in applications to 5 institutions of higher learning. Now I say we, and some of you are cringing and wagging your finger at the screen, shaking your head, wanting to knock some sense into me. I didn't really help her with the applications did I? I didn't help her research did I? Damn straight I did. This ain't my first rodeo you know. I've been down this road before. Or in this case, these roads, many of them, as we criss-cross the country looking for the perfect school.

Now I know hubby and I are being played here. I get it. Our daughter has a yen for traveling. But those traveling shoes are back in the closet for now. Having just returned from our LAST, we hope, college road trip.

Where to? Wisconsin. Beloit. A quintessential American City Margaret Meade once declared a Microcosm of America. And it was stunning really. A beautiful place. Sure there…

Rolling Back Benefits? Try Rolling Back our Spending instead!

Anyone remember this touching PR spot Wally World gave us last year? A woman's husband needed a stem cell transplant and thanks to Walmart's benefit plan for hourly workers, he got it.

So, let's flash forward shall we? The tiny little news flash yesterday. Cutting benefits for part time workers and upping premiums for their full time employees.

So basically, for those still blaming all your woes on wall street, I suggest you turn your attention to Walmart. Here's why. This is how they operate. They will only sell a product if they can sell it cheaper than anyone else. They will promise to sell more of it, and therefore, pay less for it. Classic example. Most Apple products sell for the same price no matter where you buy them. The new iPhone is $199 with a 2-year contract. Except at Wally World. $188. Yes. It's true. Even Apple bowed to the retail ogre. But they refused to compromise their brand by allowing them to sell computers there. That makes it OK. Oh wait, th…

Fueling the fire.

Occupy Wall Street. I appreciate the anger, but perhaps it's time to point the finger of blame somewhere else as well.

I know who the 99% are. I don't need your signs. I am one of the 99%, just not one of you. Fact is, there's a few groups in that 99%. And many of them aren't actually blameless. And for a liberal, that's probably heresy. But I am partly responsible for my lot in life and accept that. Partly. Remember that. Wall Street is a major player in the downfall of our economy. Just not all of it. And not everyone who works there.

As much as I hate to say it, the sign-carrying protesters are beginning to bug me. As someone who believes in, and supports, their underlying message, I am also a bit frustrated with them.

I saw a woman interviewed as she was leaving a protest let's just say somewhere in middle America. As she walked away, yakking on what appeared to be an iPhone, I began imagining just what she'd do next. Her pace was fast. Probably in a hu…

Back to life.

So our college road trip, #2,374, has come to a close. Back home after a full week of actual vacation. Meaning I really didn't work. At least for the most part. Nor did I watch news, or participate in anything other than experiencing the simple joy of a family trip. Though incomplete without both daughters.

We visited the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and yeah, it's cool. You just have to go and see for yourself. This year they are honoring Women Who Rock. And they do.

We visited my brother and sister-in-law. No squabbles or heavy family-related discussions. Just threw some steaks on the grill and relaxed and enjoyed.

Visited old friends. The best kind of visit. No pretense, no one-upmanship. Just good friends, good food and moments to keep for a lifetime.

We toured Baldwin-Wallace College. And I have to admit, it was fun. The kids who gave the tour were excited about their school, their studies, their futures. It made you want to be 18 again.

Toured my alma mater. I was kind of…

Jobs, Apple Co-Founder, Is Dead - NYTimes.com

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Jobs, Apple Co-Founder, Is Dead - NYTimes.com:

my first "pc" was an Apple II. And it was new and shiny and didn't really do much at all. Loved it anyway. I make fun of the iPhone, the iPad and the iPod. Sure. But when it comes to the big kahuna on my desk? Her name's Mac. Has been for over 25 years. RIP Steve Jobs. I can't imagine how different our world might have been were it not for your creative genius.

'via Blog this'

Apple unveils the faster iPhone 4S - CNN.com

Are you kidding me? We've all waited on pins and needles for this? Faster. Great. Virtual personal assistant? um, yeah. Droid already does that. Apple unveils the faster iPhone 4S - CNN.com:

'via Blog this'

OMG it's #5. And still not made in America.

First there was the iPhone. Then iPhone 2. then, well, iPhone 3? and wait... wait for it... iPhone 4. And now the world is abuzz... huge news leak... iPhone 5 is coming. Really? Who could have dreamed.

Let me start again. 1, 2, 3, 4... and surprise of all surprises, they will have a 5. But as you might suspect, that's not the big news. Here's the real big news. It's slightly thinner and a bit sleeker.

So  yes, I'm sick of hearing about it. Android updates their system frequently with little or no fanfare. We Droidzilla fans don't make a big deal out of it. Yep. Every month or so it just gets better.

So here's the big news I'm waiting for. The story that I'll + and Share and scream from the rooftops with excitement. That we, the Americans, are finally making our own damn mobile phones. Here. In America. And hiring people to make them in the factories that have reopened, stocked with parts from the other factories that also reopened and also hired people.

The Parrot Sketch - YouTube

Just having some fun today. It's Sunday. A little sacrilege never hurts.
The Parrot Sketch - YouTube:

'via Blog this'

What's next, remotely controlling your video chat?

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I want to tell you about Jack. He's a  13  year old boy who lives in Washington. Today he woke up at about 7am and threw a rock at a passing cyclist. Nice kid. He thought it was funny and so did his friends. Then he had oatmeal for breakfast, which apparently was too runny. Then it was off to soccer practice with all those lame toeless wannabes he has to put up with every week. Not his fault he didn't make the advanced team. The scrimmage sucked and then he had to wait for his dad, Jack Sr., who is always late. Seems he's always looped too. Marney thinks it would be great to have a dad like that since hers is always on her case about everything. Especially school. She's flunking 3 classes. Might not graduate middle school. But back to Jack. He just wishes he could stay at this mom's over the weekend but she's busy screwing every guy in town. So he has to stay with his dad. Not all bad, he gets to hang out in front of the TV all afternoon drinking what's lef…

last words

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I know, some of your are hoping this is my last blog. Seems I cause nothing but trouble. But I won't stop writing because someone here or there doesn't want to know what I have to say. Because someone else misinterpreted my words or, worse, used them to validate their own issues. I've had that happen way too often lately. Something rings true and you think OMG they are talking about me!! Yeah, you, and 5,000 others.

Back to today's topic. Last words. What do you want yours to be? For all those close to you, or those you've distanced yourself from? Today is 9/11/11. An anniversary for America, and not a happy one. A day we remember the sudden and terrifying loss of so many Americans. Fathers and Mothers, Sisters and Brothers. Going about their daily lives, some who were everyday heroes in uniform who became, if it's possible, extraordinary heroes.

For many people today is painful for reasons even now they can't come to grips with. There are stories from peop…

And the lord spoke. And said to me...

Mary, the voice said, someone needs your help. "Who?" I called out, not able to pinpoint the source of the command. "Little Amy Hobnacker," came the echoing reply.

So I frantically googled her, called my friends, sent out tweets, and tried to find little Amy who needs my help. I was unsuccessful. But because the lord commanded I help, I am setting out to do just that. However, and this is important folks,  I'm going to need all of your help. Every last human being within reach of this blog has to step up to the plate.

The goal? I'm not sure but I'm thinking it will require extraordinary resources and powerful connections. And that can mean only one thing. I need to run for office.

Which office? Hell if I know. I'm guessing it's going to have to involve some major players, so at the very least, probably Senator. From Arizona. How hard can that be? There's an empty seat coming our way after all. And in the land of ludicrous, where the GOP is r…

How sad we've all become

I find it amazing. On Facebook, you can spread a story in about 90 seconds across a million miles. Usually it ends up being untrue. Now truth on the other hand, well, try to spread a little of that and you'll be shut down in 90 seconds flat.

I find it incredibly disturbing. If you ask people to copy and paste a post that's been copied and pasted over and over, they will do it. Because it's already been done. No risk. Ask them to share something real and powerful... they simply move on. Fear? Or simply social insecurities. If you post it, maybe someone will unfriend you. Or worse, maybe people just don't really give a damn.

I used to complain that people were on Facebook and not posting. Just creeping. Now they post every little tiny detail of their life. Every single one. Good gravy. I don't need to know about your irritable bowel. Or your hangnail. I just don't. So while I recognize that I've chastised you in the past for not participating... now I'm s…

Write it down...

The other day I got upset with my family. My daughter in her infinite wisdom said, "blog about it Mom, you write about everything else that upsets you!" And I thought, um no, they'd all read it and get all huffy and use it as an excuse to justify their earlier behavior. Than I remembered most of them don't read my blog. And it's true, if you write it down, you release some of the pent up frustration and anger at the ridiculousness of others. Besides, there is a message in here somewhere. You can't pick your family. They are who they are. All their faults and foibles. But they're your family and there is a line you don't cross. If you know something you say is going to be terribly hurtful don't say it. Arguments will happen but should never ever be hateful. And always consider the endgame.

So the other day it was my birthday. Not a cause for major celebration just a day to reflect and appreciate the fact that I'm still here. And for my siblings…

Patriots or terrorists?

The tea party says they're not terrorists.  Well, let's discuss it rationally.

How does one take down a nation? You take down their economy.
How can a small group of citizens take down the economy?

That's the key. Our economy is built on three things. Production. We must not only consume, but produce. Two, an educated and healthy populace. That requires funding. And three, financial security. Which requires sound governance.

The Tea Party attacked our nation by attacking our governance. Attacking our funding. And ultimately, tearing down our ability to produce. This past week was nothing more than financial terrorism. Holding our nation's economy hostage, to achieve their own political goals.

For Tea Baggers, and yes I don't use the term lightly, it is not about country, it's about self. And shame on them all for that. When we stop being a society built on putting others before self, we stop being a society worthy of respect. And when we lose the respect of the…

Shots heard round the world, and way too close to home.

I know the buzz today is all about Amy Winehouse. Yeah. I'm sorry she made bad choices too. But in Norway 93 or more people who made good choices are also gone. And will be sorely missed. Their potential will never be known. One, maybe 10 might also have become voices of a generation. So take a moment and express your sadness that one lone misguided singer wasted her talent and her life, and then maybe take a few more if you can spare them to mourn the loss of almost one hundred souls at the hands of a Norwegian madman.

You can write off the Norwegian as a crazed lone gunman. Like Jared Loughner. Maybe. But, perhaps not so coincidentally, their insane ideology was identical.

Breivik, who admitted to the shooting spree and bomb blast, has said through his lawyer that his actions aimed to "change Norwegian society" which he saw as being undermined by multi-culturalism.That is a frightening statement for anyone to hear, in any country. But here in the US, the hairs on your n…

For just one moment, think of someone else

I am truly astounded. I shared a post on Facebook yesterday expressing the horror that can't ever be expressed, when faced with a tragedy such as Norway's. I expected to be sharing that emotion with a good number of facebook friends.

None. Not one. While the death toll mounted, I saw only posts about the weather. And fish. And beer. And song. But none about what was happening across the seas to family after family.

Norway's children were being slaughtered and everyone was silent. Shock? Fear? Ignorance is Bliss?

I don't know. Perhaps Norway is simply not on anyone's radar. It is mine. I had the sheer joy of spending time there during the summer after finishing college. I loved it. A country on the sea, where you could find a sophistication in the downtown Oslo area, and the traditional harbor village on the sea. We travelled there by car ferry, accompanied by a group of Norwegian sailors. Memories that will last a lifetime, and hopefully in time overshadow those of …

Just because

Did you ever want to just tell someone they are important? You know just because? Not because they are an extraordinary, heroic, super-smart, multi-tasking, brave, adventurous, talented hero. But because they simply are who they are.

I admit, I am the jealous, envious, green monster type. I hear about how great other people are, or their kids, or their friends, and I want to puke. Seriously. There. I said it. Sue me.

So how come I am such an internal toad? Because there are so many people in this world who live their lives in a seemingly ordinary way, yet by every measure they are the ones we should be acknowledging. The ones who get up at 4am and go to work at the coffee shop. Or behind the wheel of an OTR Semi. Maybe just get up and take care of their kids.

See it's not what they do. It's how it's done. The one who greets you at the coffee shop with a smile and a coffee exactly how you like it? They just set the tone for your day. They made you feel important, if only fo…

No fireworks here. Just real patriotism.

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Some of this I've posted before, but considering it's history, it never gets old. Every year on this holiday weekend I remind my daughters to say Thank You to their ancestors who fought the good fight and gave us the freedom we have today. Freedom that some would slowly but surely take from us if we aren't vigilant. So before entering into my rant for today:
Hats off to my childrens' forefathers:


Lemuel Sturtevant. Lieutenant, Massachusetts Line
Daniel Baldwin.  Private, Connecticut Line
Elijah Baldwin.  Private, Connecticut Line
John Dean. Corporal New Hampshire Militia, Battle of Bennington
Ambrose Barnett. Private, 14th Virginia Regiment
William Johns. Private, 5th Pennsylvania Regiment, at Valley Forge
Valentine Coosard. Private, New Jersey Militia, POW at Sugar House


Levi Davis. Private, Maryland Line
Gilbert Ritchey. Private Pennsylvania Line


Real Patriots. Real People. Who Deserve Real Respect. Read a little about what one such ancestor endured. 


Valentine Coosard was taken…

For my dad, who taught his children well.

Today is Father's Day. I lost mine a few years ago. And that, for a moment, makes me sad. But most days, when I think of my dad, and that is most days, I remember only one thing. Being so incredibly loved.

Something I should have told him while I could but didn't. But I do it now. I'm not much on the afterlife. Not sure what actually happens to people when they die. Except, for me, I somehow understand that they are here with me. In some fashion. I carry them with me. Their hopes and expectations. Their advice. Their unconditional love.

So. Here it is Dad. It's Father's Day. Rather it's Father's Day weekend. I think everyday is Father's Day. Really. Where would we be without you? I can see you smile at that. You always got it didn't you. You were so very smart. It was intimidating much of the time. I wasn't a great student. Not because I wasn't smart enough. I realize that now. Mostly because whatever I achieved would never be good enough to…

News you can't use

When I got up this morning, I was, like all good Americans, concerned about the world around me. I wondered how the firefighters were doing in the battle against the flames in Arizona. I wondered if the stock market could find it's way out of the depths of hell. I wondered if we'd get rain soon. So I logged on to my computer and hit my handy, preset News button, And found out what's trending in the "news" for the USA. Am I the only one who finds the following stories absolutely, positively stupid?

In Politics

Sociology

Entertainment
Crime


Now I am the first to admit that there's a hunger out there for stupid human tricks. And inane factoids. And John Boehner has said and done many offensive things in office. Lighting up? This is news?

Women shouldn't date attractive men. Or marry them. That's not worth the paper it wasn't even printed on.

Hollywood couple with matching jewelry? We're sinking ever deeper here and the stench is rising.
Pulled over for y…

Things you shouldn't say, or do, or be, after 50

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Look. Noone wants to be middle aged, old, graying, flabbing, wrinkling or even remotely considered too old to understand. But there it is. Deal with it. And please, can you not use the following words on your Facebook status?

Dude.

Awesome.

Posse.

Homies.

Peeps.

Sweet.

The 411.

We tell our children to act their age not their shoe size. We tell our children sit up don't slouch. And we tell our children to speak clearly so we can understand them.

And then you log into facebook and are confronted with your dear friend Roland, using the moniker  "Rollin Wid it" and a photo with his face in the shadows, sideways baseball cap and a shirt with *$&^# on the front. Looking like such a badass. His status says "Hey peeps...ketch me on the cell...we'll do it up..." Roland dear Roland. High School Valedictorian, Summa Cum Laude, CEO of Fortune 500 company, father of 3 who doesn't let his kids friend him on facebook.

I once asked politely just what the hell he wa…