Monthly Archive: December 2008

Neglected News

Did you know that many Israeli young people are refusing to join the Israeli Army?  I bet CNN and Fox are dumping this off the feed and laughing at our ignorance.

You GOTTA see this.  These people are being jailed for their beliefs — that Israel is an occupying force, and that peace will never be won by violence.



Well, my little electronic organizer bit the big one about two weeks before Yule… the batteries seem good, so I guess the on/off switch is busted.  Unfortunatly, I did not have the data backed up (I backed it up BEFORE the last disk crash), so I have lost most of my addresses… I have nearly all my phone numbers, as they got entered into the new cellphone while the box was working.

So I went on eBay to find another one.  I found one that was a monster, definitely had everything I wanted; another that looked about the same level as the one I lost; and a third that looked good enough if nothing else happened and was too cheap to ignore.  I made the mistake of making minimum bids on all three… and won all three.  That just shouldn’t happen, I’m sure there is a crack in the reality matrix somewhere.

Well, it left me with two to give away for presents, good timing right?  I gave the cheap one to my roommate (now moving out), who was MORE than happy to receive it (he has little slips of paper with phone numbers all over the place); and I’m giving the other one to a close friend.  The monster, indeed, turned out to be more than I needed, so I’m keeping it.

The new organizer is an Oregon Scientific EX888L.  Don’t bother looking it up, Oregon Scientific has forgotten about this model — the only stuff I could find about it on the Web was in Spanish.  So it’s probably not a brand new thing, except it WAS new and unused in the original box.  The thing weighs more than any 4 organizers I’ve ever had, but it does fit in the same pouch on my backpack that I used for the old one (barely).

If you know anything about electronic organizers, you probably know that unless you need a Blackberry, 34 Kb is enough memory.  (The mid-range one I got, a Royal, has just that, and I think the cheapie does too.)  Well, the Oregon Scientific organizer has 256 Kb of memory on it.  It uses a CR-2032 only as a data backup battery — the main system runs on two AAA batteries, which is great as they are much cheaper to replace than CR-2032s, but that adds to the bulk and weight.

The really fun thing is the software disk and data cable.  This is the best-looking-constructed data cable I’ve ever seen… but the software is on a floppy.  Have you noticed that most computers in the past 4 years do not have floppy drives anymore?  Since the company doesn’t seem to remember making this model, it’s unlikely that I can download the software… but I have written the company just in case.

So if you’d given me your address before, or if you think I should have it for whatever reason, please send it to me again.  I’ll do my best to back up the data this time, if only on paper.



I don’t know if more than 20 people in the world watch C-SPAN, but tonight they showed a program, taped live on December 4th, of the festivities surrounding the inauguration of the National Christmas Tree in Washington DC.  (I only watch when everything else on my limited selection of channels is so boring that I figure C-SPAN might be better than no TV.)

There were some really good acts, but the one that had the “HUH?” factor for me was Phil Vassar, the renowned Country singer, coming out and singing some old (like 1940s) Christmas songs… in his best imitation of Johnny Mathis.  My roommate Danny was watching, and he laughed when I said that, but he didn’t disagree.


Peer Support

Well, I’ve been engaged in peer support for at least the last 7 years.  Every now and then, some local agency (usually mental health) offers peer support specialist training.  I’ve applied several times, and been ignored.

It looked like it was going to happen again.  I contacted the agency in October about training beginning in January.  The lady I emailed and chatted on the phone with said that she was not the person who was scheduling the seminar, and that she’d pass the information on; and that they did not yet have an application process in place.  I did not hear from them again, and emailed her again last Friday.

Today I got an email from her, stating that all the applications should have been submitted by December 5, that there were already 20 full slots and 15 on the waiting list, that she WAS the person scheduling this.  She did me the favor, however, of acknowledging that she had dropped the ball, and sent me the fliers and application.  When I turned them around to her in less than an hour and she read them, she immediately said that I was in, if I could schedule the full 80-hour, two-week training session (Jan 5-9, 12-16).  I looked at my calendar — right now, I would only have to miss 4 meetings to do that, which is an incredibly light load for 2 weeks.  I may need to not schedule my chiropractor.  But I can do it. 

Successful completion of this course will certify me as a Peer Support Specialist, and could result in a job offer.  With a paycheck.  Wow.


Poets of Old

I had a phone call tonight from a friend of mine, who had just acquired a book of romantic poets of the 19th Century.  We spent some time with her reading a few of the poems, and some time with me looking the poets up on Wikipedia.  I also mentioned that I have a book of poetry from that period, by John Godfrey (J.G.) Saxe.  Sometime later (like, about 10 minutes ago), I decided to look HIM up on Wikipedia… and found that they knew virtually nothing about him, including having no bibliography.  I immediately edited the page to add a Bibliography, with all the information I had on the one book that I have; nevertheless, I found it odd that a popular comic author writing in the mid-1800s has been so forgotten.  As a poet, I rank him slightly beneath my favorite comic poet, Guy Wetmore Carryl.  (At least they have photocopies of at least 2 of Carryl’s books online, at Michigan State University’s website.)  Saxe gets quite silly, but most of his poems are worth reading and chuckling over.  Prior to tonight, I had no idea how rare this book was… it isn’t in fabulous shape, but is still readable.  You wouldn’t be in as good of shape if you were published by Houghton, Mifflin and Co. in 1881.  According to my note in the inside cover, I purchased this while living in Browns Mills, NJ — that would probably mean a library book sale, in 1972-73.


Getting Busy

Get your mind out of the gutter.

Today I handled an incredible amount of email, added stock to my online store (, wrote my next article for, filled out a form as a presenter on Homelessness at a health forum in February, read to Frankie on the phone… and a few other things.  Yesterday I did two loads of laundry, cleaned up the kitchen, got groceries… oh boy, lots of other things that I forget now.

What happened to me?  I used to struggle to get one thing done per day.  A month ago I was in a tailspin.  Now I’m competent and active.  I have been having some memory problems lately, not remember what I told who or in some cases who different people are, but that (I hope) will be temporary.

Blame the chiropractor.  LOL


I Hate The New Xanga

I have been a Xanga member for quite some time now, and love the old interface.  Every few months lately, I get asked to change to the new Dash setup.  This last time, it wouldn’t let me change back.  Oh, I read all the Help files, and I followed all the directions, but no matter what I click and how many times I save it, I’m still stuck with Dash.

If you agree with me, please go to the Ideas area and vote for my comment.


Sports Gripes

I don’t have any friends locally who are sports fans like me, so I have to air it here.  I have not done so previously.  Time to pay up.

The Charlotte Bobcats.  What the blank is wrong with them?  The team is owned by a local owner, the only black owner in the league; have Micheal Jordan in the front office; now even have Larry Brown on the bench as Head Coach (his first head coaching job was with the Carolina Cougars in the defunct ABA)… the bench is filled with 1st Round draft choices from premier college teams…  but somehow, these guys can’t win games!  Each and every player in the first 8 have proven that they can score, play defense, rebound… but they’re still not playing as a team, even with the man who could be called the best coach in history at the helm.

The Carolina Panthers.  They have the same record as the Giants, last year’s SuperBowl Champion.  They have the same record as the Tennessee Titans, who, in the other Conference, have already clinched Home Field through the playoffs.  But they still haven’t even CLINCHED their OWN spot in the playoffs.  (If the Giants had beaten Dallas on Monday, they would have clinched — but would be a game behind the Giants.)  They play the Giants this Sunday night (on NBC), which should at least result in clinching a playoff spot and maybe even the Division Championship… and if they BEAT the Giants, they will be in the running for Home Field through the playoffs (assuming they win their last two games against nobodies).

I’m not going to complain about the Carolina Hurricanes… don’t know enough to complain, and besides, they play in Raleigh, not Charlotte.  And I can’t complain about the UNC Tarheels men’s basketball team… still ranked #1…

All right, rant over.


If you won a multi-million dollar lottery, what would your first five purchases be?

First I would pay off all my debt.  Then I would give my parents something back for all they’ve done for me; I’ve been disabled a long time, and they often pick up the slack financially.  Then I would buy a house and car, nothing fancy, just something I could afford now were I out of debt.  And then I’d go visit India before coming home and settling in to my new life.  #6 would be to visit some friends I’ve known a long time, and see that they are taken care of.  And #7, probably higher chronologically, would be to make sure the homeless of Asheville had more of their needs met, build a new shelter if I must…


I just answered this Featured Question; you can answer it too!

The Cost of Consumer Society

Cost of ten years of basic education for all the world’s children:  $6 billion

Amount spent on cosmetics each year (US only):  $8 billion

Cost to provide clean water for everyone in the world:  $9 billion

Amount spent on perfumes each year (US & Europe only):  $12 billion

Cost per year to achieve basic health and nutrition for the entire world:  $13 billion

Amount spent each year on pet food (US & Europe only):  $17 billion

Total amount the US spends on Christmas each year:  $450 billion

Cost of Iraq War to US (as of Dec 15 2008): $580 billion

Initial cost of the US Government bailout of failing financial institutions:  $700 billion

Resetting our priorities:  PRICELESS