Monday, 30 March 2009

Just Fire Dennis Rodman ALREADY!

I'm watching the end of the latest Celebrity Apprentice, which aired last night, too late for me to stay awake. (Good thing...) I'm appalled that Dennis has lasted this long into the show. He was obviously drinking the whole time, missed the second task, and then got so bombed in this task that he went with two customers to a restaurant. And drank some more. He'd started when they were working.

This guy is awful. He looks ugly as hell. I have no idea if I've seen him sober, so I can't tell you whether or not he appeared hung over or drunk. But the slurring of words and not showing up was ugly. And he looks like he's been attacked by a hardware store. All over. He pierced both nostrils, his lip (I can't ev en look at that! There's someone on Hell's Kitchen with that same deal. EEEEIIIIIIUUUUWWWWW! Yuck. It is so disgusting). I don't care what you pierce that I cannot see, but there is no way I can deal with the weird facial piercings.

Oh, my gods. I have no idea if he pierced his tongue, which is grisly for a multiple of reasons. The top reason? It is patently unsafe. Your mouth is the dirtiest part of your body. By and far. And here you are putting a hole in your tongue!

Oh, interesting. Donald Trump did not send anyone from the room to do the firing process. Dennis was told by Donald that he gave him every opportunity and what did he have to say? Dennis said that he does everything the best and he'd kick anyone's ass. And he finally got fired. Wow - the fact that he survived, what, four or five shows is amazing. He probably won't learn anything. He kept saying he was a great athlete. Underline WAS - he has not been a great anything. I have never seen the man do anything and never paid attention to him, but when this show started, I thought he was the biggest ass I've ever seen. And that is the polite version!

Thank the gods he's gone!

A New Payroll System

Today I ran our first Balance Point payroll.

I loved it.

Sure, it needed some tweaking, there were some little things here and there that needed to be adjusted, added in, recalculated. But this was the very first run in something that began a mere three weeks ago. And the adjustments and such could have just as likely been my fault especially with all the little weirdnesses that I wanted and that go with my specific industry.

Well. Adjustments or not, the programmer there was wonderful. I am usually really pleasant and I give more than fair warning about working with me: early morning is the best time of day for me; I have a very dry/sarcastic sense of humour and I can be brainless sometimes. As long as you can roll with that, we'll be fine. Arunan, their programmer, put up with my late afternoon uselessness, my mathemadical idiocy, and worked with me at every minute of this process to make it the most painless process in the world.

Once we had the tweaking done, the rest was so easy! It really was a simple, very user-friendly process. The Ceridian system makes the user go through "pages", the columns are a fixed number, so any additional changes or adjustments were invisible without opening up the specific "check" (I put parathesis because in the adjustment phase, nothing has been given numbers as yet). The payroll totals are on another page, so you cannot see them as you go. Their system is not nearly as easy to use as the Evolution program.
I went in to work today expecting a long difficult day with tons of tweaking and issues and just a slow process in learning. I wasn't thinking it wouldn't work, but just that a first-time anything can be long and and arduous. I'm also thinking back to October 2005 learning to run the Ceridian payroll. It was just as difficult then as now, but I also had never done payroll before at all. And that took a couple of weeks for me to get the hang of the basic functions and then almost 2 years to perfect the system. I had every expectation that today's run would take the two days I needed.
It was done today at 1410.

I really was impressed (again) when I printed out the payroll register during the Preview Process. The register looks great, just as the finished product looked in Ceridian, but not the register that printed out of the Ceridian program before processing the final. I will fall over dead if the deduction names on the checks (which I will see tomorrow) match the register. The Ceridian register read one thing and the actual check read something else entirely, which is very confusing when you are the one issuing manuel checks. Fortuitously, that does not happen often.

The company totals on the final plage where all beautifully laid out, easy to read and matched perfectly with my figures. So far, so good! And if I wanted anything broken out separately, I only have to ask.

When it was completed I received a cover letter (in liue of the payroll summary that Ceridian uses, that was simple to understand. Even better! It was not off by any pennies. (That will become more evident when I do the payroll reports. That will be its own adventure as I have to print any reports I want and won't know what I need quite yet. I hope there is a way to automate that insane payroll tax report. I wouldn't miss that.

I'll keep you up to date, but so far, I would advise anyone to drop their other payroll people and make the switch to Balance Point!

Sunday, 29 March 2009

Three Weeks of A.W.A.D.

with Anu Garg

Monday, 9 March 2009 - This week marks the quindecennial of Fifteen years ago, on Mar 14, 1994, the first word went out to a handful of grad school friends. Since then, here's the journey in numbers: 15 years, 200 countries, 4000 words, 700,000 subscribers, who share our infinite enjoyment of words.

To mark the milestone, this week we'll feature words that are 15 letters long. And a contest for you.

Today's 15-letter word infundibuliform can be defined in exactly 15 letters as "shaped as a funnel". For the other four words this week, can you likewise provide definitions that are exactly 15 letters each? We'll select four winning definitions, one for each of the words. Winners will receive their choice of an autographed copy of a book by Anu Garg. Send your definitions to (contest at by Friday (replace at with @).

PRONUNCIATION: (in-fuhn-DIB-yuh-luh-form)
MEANING: adjective: Funnel-shaped

ETYMOLOGY: From Latin infundibulum (funnel), from infundere (to pour in), from fundere (to pour). Ultimately from the Indo-European root gheu (to pour) that is also the source of funnel, font, fuse, diffuse, gust, gush, and geyser

PRONUNCIATION: (sub-in-tuh-LIJ-it-uhr)
MEANING: noun: Something that is not stated but understood

ETYMOLOGY: From Latin sub- (below) + intelligere (to understand, literally, to choose between), from inter- (between) + legere (to choose, collect, read). Ultimately from the Indo-European root leg- (to collect) that is also the source of lexicon, lesson, lecture, legible, legal, and select

PRONUNCIATION: (lep-i-dop-tuh-ROL-uh-jee)
MEANING: noun: The study of butterflies and moths

ETYMOLOGY: From Greek lepido- (scale) + pteron (wing, feather), ultimately from the Indo-European root pet- (to rush or fly) that also gave us feather, petition, compete, and perpetual

PRONUNCIATION: (math-uh-mat-KAS-tuhr)
MEANING: noun: A minor or incompetent mathematician

ETYMOLOGY: From Latin mathematicus, from Greek mathematikos, from mathanein (to learn) + -aster (a pejorative suffix)

PRONUNCIATION: (duhr-mat-uh-GLIF-iks, -muh-tuh-)
MEANING: noun:

1. The ridge patterns of skin on the inner surface of the hands and feet
2. The scientific study of these skin patterns

ETYMOLOGY: The term was coined in 1926 by Dr Harold Cummins (1893-1976), from Greek dermato- (skin) + glyphein (to carve). Ultimately from the Indo-European root gleubh- (to tear apart) that is also the source of cleve, glyph, clever, and clove (garlic). And that's also where we get cleavage, cleft palate, and cloven hooves

Monday, 16 March 2009
What does a Francophile have in common with a bluestocking or a profligate? Each of these words is made up of letters that are not repeated.

The longest word with no letters repeated was last Friday's word: dermatoglyphics. No two persons have the same fingerprints, and dermatoglyphics with distinct letters is an apt word to describe them. Can you think of another equally long word? Hint: You can't copyright the word. It's "uncopyrightable".

Are these the longest examples of such words? Well, it's possible to extend them with prefixes or

suffixes, but then they enter the domain of showcase words -- words formed just to serve as examples.

It's easy to find short examples ("I"), but this week we feature five longer words in which no letter is repeated. Try them in a game of Hangman!

MEANING: noun:

1. A subtle argument, especially on a theological or philosophical issue
2. A musical medley: a whimsical combination of popular tunes

ETYMOLOGY:From Latin quodlibetum, from Latin quod (what) + libet (it pleases), meaning "whatever pleases". Earlier the term referred to a mock exercise in discussion. Sense 2 arose from its use in German to refer to a gallimaufry of light-hearted musical compositions

PRONUNCIATION: (i-PIS-tuh-ler-ee)
MEANING: adjective:

1. Of or relating to letters
2. Composed of letters (as a literary work)

ETYMOLOGY: From Latin epistola (letter), from Greek epistole (something sent), from epi- (upon, over, on) + stellein (to send). Ultimately from the Indo-European root stel- (to put or stand) that is also the source of stallion, stilt, install, gestalt, stout, and pedestal

MEANING: noun: The point of focus; an area of concentrated effort, especially in a military operation

ETYMOLOGY: From German Schwerpunkt (center of gravity, focal point), from schwer (weighty) + Punkt (point)

PRONUNCIATION: (gruh-MIN-ee-uhs)
MEANING: adjective: Of or relating to grass

ETYMOLOGY: From Latin gramineus, from gramen (grass)

PRONUNCIATION: (O-vuhr-slaw)
MEANING: verb tr.:
1. To pass over someone in favor of another, as in a promotion
2. To bar or to hinder

ETYMOLOGY: From Dutch overslaan (to pass over, omit), from over + slaan (to strike)

Monday, 23 March 2009
Two for the price of one! It's a come-on commonly used by marketeers. But getting two of something isn't always desirable. Consider diplopia or duplicity (literally, doubleness).All of this week's words have some connection with doubling. And if a whole week of double-mania proves too much, keep this term handy -- it's guaranteed to purge all the doubling: hemidemisemiquaver. It manages to fit three halvings into one word.

MEANING: noun: A work of art on two hinged panels, such as a painting or carving

ETYMOLOGY: From Latin diptycha, from Greek diptycha, from di- (two) + ptyche (fold)

snake eyes
PRONUNCIATION: (snayk aaiz)
MEANING: noun: A throw of two ones with a pair of dice. Since this is the lowest possible score, by extension the term is also used to refer to bad luck

ETYMOLOGY: Either from the apparent resemblance of such a throw to a snake's eyes, or from the association of snakes with treachery. The origin of the word craps, where this term is often used, is also derived from an animal: crab. A synonym of today's term is ambsace.

MEANING: noun:
1. A word coined by blending two or more words
2. A case opening in two parts, used for carrying clothes while traveling

ETYMOLOGY: From French portemanteau, from porter (to carry) + manteau (mantle)

MEANING: noun: A crispy, sweetened bread made by slicing a loaf and baking it a second time. Also known as a rusk

ETYMOLOGY: From German Zwieback (twice baked), from zwie (twice) + backen (to bake). The word biscuit has a similar origin. It was twice-baked (or used to be), from Latin bis (twice) + coquere (to cook). The name of the color bisque owes its origin to a biscuit.

PRONUNCIATION: (dai-SEF-uh-luhs)
MEANING: adjective: Having two heads

ETYMOLOGY:From Greek dikephalos (two-headed), from di- (two) + kephale head. Ultimately from the Indo-European root ghebh-el- (head) that is also the root of the word gable. A synonym of today's word, bicephalous, also has all unique letters.

Thursday, 26 March 2009

America's Unhealthiest Restaurants

I love these guys. GO GET 'EM!

Your favorite fast food restaurant is often like your favorite city: Visit some neighborhoods and you live the high life. Visit others and you’re just plain asking for trouble. And that’s where Eat This, Not That! comes in: We’ve analyzed and graded 66 different chain restaurants—fast food and sit-down—to determine which ones have healthy options, and which could turn out to be diet disasters.

What we found will surprise you. Specifically, some of the fast food joints you’ve come to think of as terrible for you actually ranked alright—McDonald’s scored a B+, for example, so the Micky D’s drive-thru just might be your fast-lane to weight loss. Something even more shocking, though: more than half of the sit-down restaurants we graded ended up with our lowest scores!

To separate the commendable from the deplorable, we calculated the total number of calories per entrée. This gave us a snapshot of how each restaurant compared in average serving size—a key indicator of unhealthy portion distortion. Then we rewarded establishments with fruit and vegetable side-dish choices, as well as offering whole-wheat bread. Finally, we penalized places for excessive amounts of trans fats and menus that tempt you with fat-laden desserts. Hey, if the neighborhood is crowded with shady characters, sooner or later, one of them will jump you.

Here’s our restaurant report card for some of the unhealthiest restaurants in America. It’ll help you stay on the safer side of town.

We thought we'd see some improvements after we identified Baskin's Heath Shake as the Worst Drink on the Planet. All they did was lower it from 2,300 to 1,900 calories, leaving an almost equally egregious drinkable disaster to set back unsuspecting sippers. It’s typical of the menu there; B-R’s soft serve is among the most caloric in the country, the smoothies contain more sugar than fruit, and most of what Baskin sticks into a cup winds up with more fat than what'll end up on your plate at a steakhouse buffet. Check out our complete list of the 20 Unhealthiest Drinks in America to see the other liquid offenders. If you learn how to make smart choices when you sip, you can lose a few pounds a month—without giving up your favorite foods, or ever dieting again.

SURVIVAL STRATEGY: With frozen yogurt, sherbet, and no-sugar-added ice cream, Baskin's lighter menu is the one bright spot. Just be sure to ask for your ice cream in a sugar or cake cone—the waffle cone will swaddle your treat in an extra 160 calories.

Carl’s Jr.
Most fast-food restaurants today are making at least some attempt to offset their bulging burgers and deep-fried sides with healthier options such as lean sandwiches or yogurt parfaits. But Carl's Jr. is swimming against the nutritional tide, trying to attract those with hearty appetites and less concern about fat, salt and calories. The lightest item on the breakfast menu, for instance, is the Hash Brown Nuggets—but even they have 21 grams of fat, and 5.5 of them are trans fats. (As a rule, you should try to get 2 grams or fewer of the stuff in an entire day!) The burgers are worse, and there's not a side on the menu that hasn't been given a long, bubbling bath in their trans-fatty frying oil.

SURVIVAL STRATEGY: Find another place to grab lunch. Failing that, you should settle on either the Charbroiled Chicken Salad with Low-Fat Balsamic Dressing or the Charbroiled BBQ Chicken Sandwich—the only sandwich on the menu with fewer than 400 calories.

Too bad the adult menu at Denny's doesn't adhere to the same standard as the kids' menu. The famous Slam breakfasts all top 800 calories, and the burgers are even worse. The Double Cheeseburger is one of the worst in the country, with 116 grams of fat, 7 of which are trans fats! (This explains why it made our list of the worst burgers in America (and what you should eat instead). Make sure you try to avoid it (and all others on the list) whenever possible.

SURVIVAL STRATEGY: The Fit Fare menu gathers together all the best options on the menu. Outside of that, stick to the sirloin, grilled chicken, or soups. For breakfast, order a Veggie Cheese Omelet or create your own meal from a la carte options such as fruit, oatmeal, toast, and eggs.

Dairy Queen
Dairy Queen’s taste for excess rivals that of other fast-food failures such as Carl's Jr. and Hardees. But unlike Carl's, DQ offers an avalanche of ice cream creations to follow up its sodium-spiked, trans-fatty foods. Here's a look at one hypothetical meal: a Bacon Cheddar Grill Burger with Onion Rings and a Small Snickers Blizzard is a staggering 1,740-calorie meal with 2,640 mg sodium and 83 grams of fat—2 grams of which are trans fats.

SURVIVAL STRATEGY: Play solid defense. Skip elaborate burgers, fried sides, and specialty ice cream concoctions entirely. Order a Grilled Chicken Sandwich or an Original Burger, and if you must have a treat, stick to a small soft-serve or a small sundae.

Ruby Tuesday
The chain earned its fame from a hearty selection of hamburgers. The problem: They average 75 grams of fat a piece—more than enough to exceed the USDA's recommended limit for the day. Even the veggie and turkey burgers have more than 850 calories! The chain rounds out its menu with a selection of appetizers that hover around 1,000 calories (supposedly to be split 4-ways), a smattering of high-impact entrées like potpie and ribs, and a sloppy selection of salads that is just as bad.

SURVIVAL STRATEGY: Solace lies in the three Ss: steak, seafood, and sides. Sirloins, salmon, and shrimp all make for relatively innocuous eating, especially when paired with one of Ruby Tuesday's half dozen healthy sides such as mashed cauliflower and baby green beans. Other than that, impersonate Mick Jagger and think about occasionally saying goodbye to Ruby Tuesday!

From burgers to baby back ribs, Chili's serves up some of the saltiest and fattiest fare on fast-food row. In fact, with 3,810 mg of sodium and 122 grams of fat, Chili's Smokehouse Bacon Triple Cheese Big Mouth Burger earns the distinction as being one of the worst burgers in America. The Guiltless Grill menu is Chili's attempt to offer healthier options, but with only eight items and an average sodium count of 1,320 mg, there’s meager hope for nutritional salvation.

SURVIVAL STRATEGY: There's not too much to choose from after you omit the ribs, burgers, fajitas, chicken, and salads. You're better off with a Classic Sirloin and steamed vegetables or broccoli. Another decent option is the Chicken Fajita Pita with Black Beans and Pico de Gallo. A lot of the appetizers, while delicious, are worrisome too—one from Chili’s made it on our list of Worst Appetizers in America.

Uno Chicago Grill
Uno has some serious strikes against it: The chain invented the deep-dish pizza, they encouraged gluttony with their Bigger and Better menu, and in 1997 they faced false-advertising charges for erroneously claiming that some of their pizzas were low in fat. They've cleaned up some of the more conspicuous health hazards and have increased nutritional transparency at all of their stores, but from appetizers to desserts, this menu is still riddled with belt-busting fat.

SURVIVAL STRATEGY: First off, cast aside the bloated breadstick that Uno tries to sneak onto most plates. Next, choose flatbread over deep-dish pizzas—it could save you more than 1,000 calories. Beyond that, stick to soups or entree items served with Mango Salsa.

Don't let the made-fresh-daily shtick distract you; Chevy's massive portions push many of the meals beyond the 1,000-calorie threshold. The taco trader’s menu has three strikes against it: 1.) the consistently high amount of fat in its entrees (the average salad has 67 grams); 2.) the outrageous salt levels that make it difficult to find a meal with fewer than 2,000 mg of sodium (you should get around that amount in an entire day of eating); and 3.) the chain earns its poor score by failing to offer complete nutritional disclosure. It provides no information for its appetizers or quesadillas, for instance, and although it maintains it uses trans-fat free oils, there's no trans-fat data for the full entrees.

SURVIVAL STRATEGY: The best items on the menu are the Homemade Tortilla Soup, with just 393 calories and a full 26 grams of protein, and the Santa Fe Chopped Salad, which has only 470 calories when you order it without cheese. If you can't resist an entrée, order it without all the fixin's—tamalito, rice, sour cream, and cheese. That should knock more than 300 calories off your meal.

On the Border
On the Border is a subsidiary of Brinker International, the same parent company that owns Chili's and Romano's Macaroni Grill. It should come as no surprise then that this chain is just as threatening to your health as its corporate cohorts. The overloaded menu offers appetizers with 120 grams of fat, salads with a full day's worth of sodium, and taco entrées with an horrific 960 calories—and that’s the calculation without rice and beans. Border crossing is a decidedly dangerous enterprise.

SURVIVAL STRATEGY: The Border Smart Menu highlights four items with fewer than 600 calories and 25 grams of fat. Those aren't great numbers considering they average 1,800 mg of sodium apiece, but that's all you've got to work with.

Romano’s Macaroni Grill
For years now we've been on Romano's case to clean up the menu at the beloved Macaroni Grill. So far we've had no luck. This Italian grease spot serves some of the worst appetizers in the country, offers not one dinner entrée with fewer than 800 calories, and hosts no fewer than 60 menu items with more than 2,000 mg of sodium—almost an entire day’s worth of the salt! A select few menu items earn the restaurant's Sensible Fare logo—a fork with a halo over it—but unfortunately these items can still carry up to 640 calories and 25 grams of fat.

SURVIVAL STRATEGY: Macaroni Grill will let you build your own dish. Ask for the marinara over a bed of the restaurant's whole-wheat penne, and then top it with grilled chicken and steamed vegetables. Just beware their salads—one of them made our list of America’s Worst Salads!

Baja Fresh
It's a surprise Baja Fresh's menu has yet to collapse under the weight of its own fatty fare. About a third of the items on the menu have more than 1,000 calories, and most of them are spiked with enough sodium to melt a polar icecap. Order the Shrimp Burrito Dos Manos Enchilado-Style, for instance, and you're looking at 5,130 mg sodium—that's more than 2 days' worth in one sitting!

SURVIVAL STRATEGY: Unless you're comfortable stuffing 110 grams of fat into your arteries, avoid the nachos at all costs. In fact, avoid almost everything on this menu. The only safe options are the tacos, or a salad topped with salsa verde and served without the belly-busting tortilla bowl.

Applebee’s, IHOP, Outback, T.G.I. Friday’s
These titans of the restaurant industry are among the last national chains that don’t offer nutritional information on their dishes. Even after years of badgering their representatives, we still hear the same old excuses: it’s too pricey, it’s too time-consuming, it’s impossible to do accurately because their food is so fresh, or we have too much variety. Our response is simple: If nearly every other chain restaurant in the country can do it, then why can’t they?

Your Survival Strategy: Write letters, make phone calls, beg, scream, and plead for these restaurants to provide nutritional information on all of their products. Here’s the contact information for each of the restaurants that refuse to fess up!

Applebees: 888-59APPLE, or send an e-mail
IHOP: 818-240-6055 (press 1 for Guest Visit issues)
Outback: Send an e-mail
T.G.I. Friday's: 800-FRIDAYS

For a comprehensive Restaurant Report Card on all of the other fast food and chain restaurants, please click here for the whole list. You can also join the Eat This, Not That! premium Web site, which acts as a 24-hour-a-day online personal nutritionist, offering other useful tips, tricks, hints, and insights into navigating the restaurant industry’s nutritional landmines and making the best eating choices each and every time. Or, check out the regular site for other great articles—like the 20 worst foods of 2009 and the 20 most sugar-packed foods in America.

Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Spring Madness is Coming

That is all there is in the Spring season - madness! It is usually good madness; sometimes it is bad madness but most of it really is positive in nature. But no matter how it goes or what it is... it is insanity!

Hiring is not specifically my area... I'm more the facilitator of the process. I'm the one who enters the person into the system - I'm the one who makes the candidate an employee, after the manager has decided to bring that person on board. While I have little interviewing to do, I have a lot of paper processing to do.

In some ways, I prefer it - I enjoy recruiting as a part of my job but I always hated doing it to the exclusion of all else. Having been there before, this is a pleasant change. On the other hand, by May I am fried from paper nightmares! It is a funny thing.

Still... there are some great people to be had out there now and this is the time to find them... if we can. Sometimes recruiting is a huge challenge in this kind of economy. We'll find out soon enough.

Friday, 20 March 2009

Celebrity Apprentice 2009

I know, I know, how cheesy. We watch Celebrity Apprentice - how embarassing. On the other hand, if you gotta watch a reality show...

It's an interesting group. There's Joan Rivers, who has someone else's face; her daughter, Melissa Rivers, who is butt-ugly and openly takes credit for ideas that she did not have; a professional poker player, a former Playboy bunny, a model from Deal or No Deal, a reality telly star, a women's professional golfer (yay!) and an R&B singer. This is the women's team. So far they have kicked the asses of the men's team.

The men consist of Andrew Dice Clay (casualty number one, whom I don't miss; Scott Hamilton, who is wonderful but is not in his element as a team leader (casualty number two); Tom Green, who is a complete mental midget and while no one actually said it, showed up drunk to manage the last task... but I would almost guarantee that he is bipolar or just severely ADD. Casualty number three. I don't miss him. I've had the misfortune to see him a movie or two. He's awful.

I'm amazed beyond all imagining that Dennis Rodman is still on the team, but I am sure that this week will see him voted off the island. He needs to go.

The rest of the dwindling men's team is comprised of Clint Black, Brian McKnight, Hershel Walker and Jesse James (I think he is the husband of Sandra Bullock). They have been really beaten and abused by the women's team. But they really had some weak links.

And still do.

Dennis Rodman has never been attractive. There's nothing about him that is even slightly respectable. And now it is boldly underscored how completely useless he is. And then, of course, he may be a raging alcoholic. He joined this show to raise money for his favourite charity (I'm guessing he went through a Yellow Pages to find a charity, as I am sure he is unfamiliar with the basic concept) and doesn't make any effort and then in the last episode, he drank too much and did not show at all.

What blew my mind was two things: 1. Tom Green, that moron, was granted a second chance when Scott Hamilton was fired and blew it when he made lame excuses for Dennis' non-appearance and could have saved his ass by throwing that useless chump change under the bus; and b. no one called them both on drinking too much to be functional. True, Tom showed - but he wasn't hung over, he was still drunk! In my world, people get fired instantly for that! On the other hand, Dennis - who must be a seasoned drinker by now - no called/no showed!

Let's not discuss the man's face. When did it become okay to decorate your face with a nail gun?!

Well, I feel better, getting that off my chest.

Monday, 16 March 2009

Golfer Hits Hole-In-One on First Swing

Up until autumn of 2005, I'd never have paid attention to a story about golf. Like almost any sport, this is not something I was even aware of before then. Now, this hardly means I'm going to become one of the dropping-balls-all-over-the-place people... but this was definitely worth a read and a chuckle.

"Okay, ready for your you-gotta-be-kidding-me story of the week, if not the year?

Your setting: lovely St. Petersburg, Florida. Your heroine: 62-year-old Norweigan native Unni Haskell, who, after two months' worth of golf lessons, teed up her first-ever shot on a real live golf course.

On the first tee of the nine-hole par-3 Cypress Links in St. Pete, Ms. Haskell pulled out a driver -- this is a hundred-yard hole, but remember, Ms. Haskell had never played before -- and drilled a 75-yard corker that bumped, ran and ended up right in the hole. That's right ... on the first swing of the first hole of the first course she ever played, Unni Haskell hit a hole-in-one. "I didn't know it was that big of a deal,'' she told the St. Petersburg Times. "I thought all golfers do this.''

"She stood there and I could tell she was thinking about her grip and posture and everything,'' said PGA teaching pro Rick Sopka, who was with Haskell on the tee. "Then she makes her swing and hits it about 75 yards in the air. It kind of trundled up to the green and I'm like, 'Go in! Go in!' And then I go crazy, screaming and yelling. I give her a big hug. She didn't believe me. Then I said, 'Unni, here's the problem. There's nowhere to go from here but down.'"

Now, our bitter and cynical culture is such that the immediate reaction is to call shenanigans, to put it politely, on this story. It's got echoes of the infamous Jacqueline Gagne 16-aces-in-six-months story, yes? And much like the two kids who hit back-to-back holes-in-one -- also in Florida, strangely enough -- it's too good of a story to believe. Plus, since the vast majority of us have never hit an ace -- and, obviously, could never match Unni Haskell's feat -- let's admit it, we're jealous as heck.

But it's honestly not that tough to believe. Apparently, Ms. Haskell has played tennis for quite some time. And a 100-yard hole isn't that tough to reach, particularly with a driver. Think about how many people spray golf balls around the course; doesn't it make logical sense that one of them would eventually drop the ball into the hole? It's the golf equivalent of the infinite monkeys on infinite typewriters eventually banging out the works of Shakespeare.

Still, I'm thinking Ms. Haskell missed an opportunity here. After she hit that shot, she should have dropped her clubs and walked away from the game, retiring as The Greatest Golfer In The History of the Universe. Nobody could ever top that."

I'd have to agree with that. I would drop 'em where I stood and say it is time to move on to something else!

Monday, 9 March 2009

A.W.A.D. - Words from Other Languages with Poor Pronunciation

with Anu Garg

The great humorist Mark Twain once said, "In Paris they simply stared when I spoke to them in French; I never did succeed in making those idiots understand their language." Well, that's the pitfall of learning a foreign language away from its natural habitat. We might become proficient in the grammar but there is never a certainty about the nuances of the language.

No matter. Some of the terms we borrow from French have now become part of the English language. They often help us convey a whole idea succinctly just in a word or two. This week we'll look at five of them.

A note about pronunciation: When we adopt words from other languages, we don't always adopt their pronunciations as well. So the pronunciation suggestions given with these words reflect how they're generally pronounced in English.
bon ton
MEANING: noun:
1. Good form or style
2. Something regarded as fashionably right
3. High society

ETYMOLOGY: From French, literally, good tone

MEANING: noun: Pout; grimace

ETYMOLOGY: From French moue (pout), from Middle French moe

au fait
MEANING: adjective: Being well-informed or skillful in something
ETYMOLOGY: From French, literally "to the fact", from Latin facere (to make or do)

MEANING: noun: A major point of interest, or a central idea
ETYMOLOGY: From French clou (nail), from Latin (clavus)

plural pieds-a-terre (pee-ay-duh-TARE)
MEANING: noun: A place of lodging for temporary or secondary use

ETYMOLOGY: From French pied-à-terre (foot on the ground)

Wednesday, 4 March 2009

Old Reading, New Thinking

I'e finished the Mything series by Robert Asprin and have begun rereading the John Grisham books. I read The Chamber in about two weeks, not quite, and today I started on The Testament. I have brought up several from the "library" but I know I have more to find. The Rainmaker has to be there somewhere as well as The Street Lawyer and The Pelican Brief. As good as the movies for The Pelican Brief and The Client were, the books are just that much better.

The Chamber inspired some thinking because it is indeed a grisly subject - an old man on death row who grew up with a family in the Ku Klux Klan (I did some reading on them years ago but have always found them to be dispicable and so have forgotten the history of the group's name. I should look it up on Wikipedia, but I have trouble just admitting that such a group exists. Sadly, I imagine they still do exist, but on the fringes of society. 1950 Mississippi this is not.

But The Testament is much lighter, more amusing read and while you can still consider it to be about a hate crime, it is not the kind of hate crimes that were openly committed by the character on Parchman's death row inmate in The Chamber. Instead, this book is about the Phelan family, all bloodsucking relatives of a multibillionaire named Troy Phelan who executed his final will, a handwritten holographic codicile, right before he takes a flying leap off of his highrise office building.

The hate part of it is that he leaves nothing to his three ex-wives (they were adequately provided for in the divorces), just enough money to the kids, six living, to pay off their incurred debts as of that day and stipulates that his new holographic will cannot be read until 15 January 1997 (he jumped on 9 December 1996). The whole lot have gone through the money. The wives who'd each gotten millions at the time of each divorce, are running out if not completely; the children all received 5 million on their 21st birthdays, except the youngest, Ramble, who is only 15 or 16. And they are all out there wracking up new debt faster than anyone can imagine.

I couldn't help thinking about it. I have my foibles with money, but I'm not anything close to that stupid. Granted, had I received five million dollars when I turned 21, it would likely be gone now. But if I somehow managed to fall into five million dollars now, I would get a new car play with about five or ten thousand by way of travel to Hawaii and Australia and sock the rest away. I certainly would not quite my job. And I would not change my lifestyle - five million is not what it once was... but it would make my after-working life quite comfortable.

I make a good salary. I don't make a high salary, but Im completely happy with it and feel that the value of my living is not just in the paycheck but also in my work, my coworkers and my value to the company. That is more than most people can say about their jobs. I don't make below my market value, maybe I'm at the lower end, but until I came into this job I was a generalist. I hadn't even considered being a manager. All in all, I'm very happy with how things are now.

I make the perfect salary in that I earn enough to pay all my bills, keep a small amount in savings which, if I did not enjoy spending my money as freely as I do, would be a lot. So I have the best of all worlds... not all of this entirely due to my salary - I still spend freely, but not as stupidly and not as impulsively as I once did. So reading a novel where a group ranging from 80 years old to 16 trying to divvy up $11,000,000,000 (unfathomable, isn't it?) is not only amusing but extremely thought-provoking.

I wouldn't mind falling into money of some kind but not enough to do something illegal, cheat on my taxes, marry the wrong person... or the zillions of other ways that people get into trying to find the fast buck. I want what I have now - a fun, interesting, satisfying position with a place I want to work for; a comfortable life; an income enough to pay what needs to be paid and buy things I like. Sure, I'd like to be able to purchase a car more comfortably, but I'm more inspired to buy many small things instead of one or two large things. Both my husband and I have noticed that.

I love this book. Within the first forty pages following the old man's suicide, the adult kids, from Troy Phelan Jr to Geena, have all gone out purchasing crazy things like Porsche 911s and looking at houses in the $5,000,000 range. We have a house that around now might be worth $500,000 and I love it. What the hell would we do with two of us and a small-sized cat do with a house ten times the cost!?

It just gets better. The kind of damage these people - and their bloodthirsty lawyers, who also smell the money - can do in just over a month is staggering. And fun to read! Even I am not so blind as to spend money I have not yet received and to boot, don't know the amount. And the "kids" here mostly knew that they were not in other wills.


Tuesday, 3 March 2009

A Beautiful Sunrise

Isn't this amazing? I love this image and I enjoy sunrises. I happen to enjoy sunsets, too, but I never seem to be in a place where the sunset is spectacular and also can be taken while indoors and get this rather unusual look.

I take images through glass all the time, especially this time of year, since I have this thing about being cold. I have taken many rising sun images from all over but there is something about this glass that creates the "phantom sun" that is in the lower part of the image. And amazingly enough, I may have somehow gotten the moon. It was a new moon when I took this last week, and I don't know how, but there is a crescent-shaped shadow in front of the phantom sun. It's the only image that came out this way. So maybe something else created that shadow... dirt on the glass? But if it was dirt, why didn't it show up in any other photo? I stood there and took images of the rising sun from the same spot for a few minutes, many images. (The first pictures I took had a tree in front if it, so I moved until the shot was clear.) It would have shown it somewhere else, but it is not in any other images.

I love nature, I love astronomy, and I love the images of the rising sun. It has all the components of the things I enjoy and it looks pretty neat. I took this at the beginning of a long day. I happened to see the red of the rising sun again the the outside of the building through a window, grabbed the camera and went to take some pictures. Not that I don't have a gazillion images of the sun rising, but every one is different, and this certainly has some unique aspects.
This following image was taken before the other one... the weather wasn't great that day, but it was perfect that morning - a thick layer of clouds was just above horizon, and then there was a clear section above and then more clouds above. It may not be a great day but it made for a gorgeous sunrise. I take pictures at all times of the day of the sun, but none come out like this - big, red, amazing... This is what makes magic.

Here again you can see the phantom sun, this time very close to the real one. I still like the look - as though we have two suns rising. There are binary systems out there, and I'm sure that there are binary systems that can support life.

The round ball below, however, is not the Moon. There's a water tower there. I don't think I've ever noticed that before. How funny is that? I love this picture. It's just a sharp image, even with the tree there.

The day I took these pictures was a long hard day, and the following day was, too. But every hard day has its rewards: my long-awaited boots finally came in! Check these babies out:

I ordered another pair of boots from Catskill Mountain Moccassins in October 2007 at the Maryland Renaissance Faire. They were the fully Monty, the whole nine yards, the final pair with all the bells and whistles. I have three other pairs, but all of them had basic features, as each item has its own associated costs. I did upgrade them over the years, but I wanted to buy one pair with all the trappings and no holds barred.
I got my basic boots in chocolate brown, with the leaf-looking green and white leather trim with the flaps on top and a green leaf applique, which you really can't see in this picture, and the braided piece to close the boots. They are extra padded and so comfortable, like walking on air!
A perfect end to the day!

A.W.A.D. - Words to Describe People

by Anu Garg

"Always remember that you are unique. Just like everyone else." Like all genuine humor, this waggish remark carries a grain of truth. There are six billion of us around, and we are very different - in our demeanor, diction, and dreams; in our fingerprints, retinal patterns, and DNA sequences.

Yet, no matter which hand we write with, what language we speak, or what we eat, there is something that binds us all, whether it is our preference for a life free from fear, our efforts to make this world better for us and for others, or our appreciation of beauty of the soul and our longing for love.

With so many people, so many shared traits, and so many differences, there's no wonder we have so many words to describe people. This week we look at five of them.

PRONUNCIATION: (KON-tuh-may-shuhs, -tyoo-)
MEANING: adjective: Stubborn, insubordinate

ETYMOLOGY: From Latin contumacia, from contumax, contumac- (insolent)

MEANING :adjective:
1. Tearful
2. Relating to or inducing tears

ETYMOLOGY: From Latin lacrima (tear)

PRONUNCIATION: (per-uh-puh-TET-ik)
MEANING: adjective:
1. Moving or traveling from place to place
2. Of or related to walking, moving, or traveling
3. Of or related to Aristotle: his philosophy or his teaching method of conducting discussions while walking about

1. An itinerant
2. A follower of Aristotle

ETYMOLOGY: From Latin peripateticus, from Greek peripatetikos, from peripatein (to walk about, to discourse while pacing as did Aristotle), from peri- (around) + patein (to walk). Ultimately from the Indo-European root pent- (to tread) that also gave us words such as English find, Dutch pad (path), Hindi path (path), French pont (bridge), and Russian sputnik (traveling companion)

MEANING: adjective: Noisy or unruly

ETYMOLOGY: From Latin obstreperus (clamorous), from ob- (against) + strepere (to make a noise)

MEANING: adjective:
Having the same age or duration.

A contemporary

ETYMOLOGY: From Latin coaevus, from co- (in common) + aevum (age), from Greek aion (age). Ultimately from the Indo-European root aiw-/ayu- (vital force, life, eternity) that is also the source of ever, never, aye, nay, eon, eternal, medieval, primeval, utopia, Sanskrit Ayurveda

Something Funny Someone Sent Me!

We all know those cute little computer symbols called "emoticons," where: :) means a smile and :( is a frown.

Sometimes these are represented by :-) :-(

Well, how about some "ASSICONS?"

Here goes:

(_!_) a regular ass

(__!__) a fat ass

(!) a tight ass

(_*_) a sore ass

{_!_} a swishy ass

(_o_) an ass that's been around

(_x_) kiss my ass

(_X_) leave my ass alone

(_zzz_) a tired ass

(_E=mc2_) a smart ass

(_$_) Money coming out of his ass

(_?_) Dumb Ass


Monday, 2 March 2009

A Little Behind on Memes

Monday, 23 February
Week Number 157
1) If you could eliminate (or lessen the effect of) one emotion from your life, which would you choose? I'm pretty sure this is the same as the prior week's first question, but the answer is unchanged. I need to have all of my emotions, all at the same strength.

2) What is the nicest imperfection in your Significant Other? Number 1, I hate the term "significant other" as it implies that one of us is insignificant. That is just wrong. As for a quality that is considered an imperfection that I like... I don't know. His imperfections are, by nature, annoying. I love the whole package - the whole Luis Gomez, perfections, imperfections, and everything in between. He would not be Luis without those things.

3) If one thing you own were to become a religious relic, what would you pick? Oooo, fun question! Does this mean just one thing, or can it be a collection? Hmmm. I know. I'm going to make my mondo-cheep be the religious icon. That would be cool. Everyone should pray to da cheep!

Tuesday, 24 February
(I'm looking for a new Tuesday meme, since I don't see the need to answer endless questions about my sex life.)

TMI Tuesday #175
1. What do find is the most exciting part of a new sexual encounter?
2. Do you have "a most exciting part of a sexual encounter" with a usual partner?
I don't feel the need to share this. And I wonder about the authors of this meme, that ALL they want to hear or write about is sex? Sex is a part of life, but should not be all-consuming.

3. How open and honest are you about your life with someone you just met? I'm quite honest across the board. Why not? Life is good, and there is little that I won't discuss.

4. How open and honest are you about your life with someone you work with? Just as much. What's changed?

5. How open and honest are you about your life with a casual acquaintance who lives in your neighborhood (or the parent a your child's friend or...)? Again, same answer.

Bonus (as in optional): Define a "normal" as in "normal relationship" or "normal sex life". Well, how I define normal and how others define normal may not have any similarities. Who am I to impose my ideas/ideals of "normal" on someone else? I think Grissom said it best: "Freud said the only abnormal sexual behaviour is not to have any." There's your answer. It is not much different for relationships in general.

Wednesday, 25 February
WW #44
1.) You're on a trip taking a tour through the jungle. You have a backpack with some food, some first aid supplies, a pocket knife, a flashlight and a couple bottles of water. Some how, you get separated from your group. By night fall you haven't found your group and haven't heard them looking for you. How long do you think you would be able to survive on your own? I have a tough time with this. On the one hand, I have little physical strength, maybe a quarter what a normal person has. I am not a person with stamina. On the other hand, I am stubborn as hell and a survivor, a fighter. I honestly don't know. I'd like to think I would, for a goodly time.

2.) Do you think it's okay to lie to spare someone's feelings? Why? Well, a little white lie never killed anyone but if it is something more serious, I would not lie. Sometimes the truth, while a bitter reality, is in the long run more of a service. But if someone tells me that s/he got a new haircut and asks how I like it and it is perfectly hideous, I'd smile, biting my tongue all the way and say it looks great. If it was a close friend, though... no. I would again see that as a disservice.

3.) If a talking "Aislinge" doll were made, what are THREE phrases it would say? Good gods. I say a lot of things... I've no idea. I suspect I could give it three facial expressions that would be me all over, though!

4.) If the super power to be able to read minds at your own will were possible, do you think it would be... cool and helpful, intrusive and wrong, manipulative or maddening? Explain why you would or wouldn't want to be able to read anyone's mind at your own will. Well, it would be all of those things at different times. I always tend to feel that this is not a good ability to have. People's thoughts should be private. As open and honest as I am, there is still a lot - a LOT - going through that absolutely should not be uttered. I'd hate to "hear" all the things people are thinking about me. So mostly it would be invasive and wrong. Once in a while it would be helpful and it would be manipulative, but heck, I can be manipulative without that kind of assistance!

5.) Drunk confessions, are they the things people can't bring themselves to say sober or just crazy ramblings of an influenced and intoxicated mind? It really depends on the person, but it is usually things that one would not utter sober. Alcohol tends to bring out the hidden emotions.

6.) What brings out the worst in you? Mmmm... high stress that is too much for me. It is hard to know exactly what that is. Triggers are all different... most of the time, I work best under stress but there is a line that will occasionally get crossed and then I am very difficult.

7.) Do you think long distance relationships work? Have you ever been in one before? Yes and no. I feel that intimacy is key and long distance doesn't allow for that.

Thursday, 26 February
3x Thursday: 02/26/y2k+9:
The Time (in whatever context that means)?
1. Do you have a calendar on your wall? What's it of? Do you like it? Why/why not? If you don't have a calendar on your wall, what do you do when you need to look at the days and months ahead? I have two in my work office and two at home, one in my home office and one in my kitchen. I don't use them for the date or timekeeping, I love the images. At work one calendar is of volcanoes and the other is of astronomy images.

2. Do you wear a watch? Why/why not? If you don't wear one, how do you keep track of your time, appointments, when to eat, go to bed, etc? I ALWAYS wear a watch when out of the house. At home, time is less important, but I usually have a good idea of the general time. I do not wear it when I go to bed. Luis does - he never takes his off. But I have only one item that I wear all the time - my claddagh ring.

3. How do you keep track of appointments (of all kinds) in your life? I have a Franklin Covey binder that I just completely live by. I love it. It is a very good, comprehensive organiser that goes everywhere with me.

Friday, 27 February
Q1 - Foreclosure: Millions of Americans are currently facing home foreclosure. For some, real estate and mortgage fraud is to blame, while for others it is a combination of using their home as an ATM machine and living beyond their means, or job losses or resetting adjustable rate mortgages. If you were in charge, how would you manage the housing crisis in America. Would you simply reset everyone's mortgage to more affordable rates, allow those who bit off more than they can chew to lose their homes, take everyone's situation into account on a case-by-case basis, do nothing, do something else, etc.?

What makes you think I'd sign myself up for THAT?! Good gods. This sort of thing is not my strength. And I will be honest, I don't see a way out of this. I do think Congress should have been slapped around for this. They agreed with the Head Mental Midget and pushed it through that anyone should have a house. I doubt it would be anywhere close to this bad with just those using their homes as an ATM or those who've lost their jobs.

Q2 - Troop Withdrawal: A new poll indicates that a majority of Americans support President Barack Obama's plan to send nearly 20,000 U.S. troops to the conflict in Afghanistan. What do you think of President Obama's recently announced plan to have U.S. combat troops out of Iraq by August 2010?

I didn't know about it, so at this point I don't have an opinion.

Q3 - Success: In large numbers, U.S. teens today express a troubling contradiction when it comes to ethical readiness for the workforce. At the same time, they express confidence in their preparedness to make the right choices in the future, they freely admit to unethical behavior today. Those are among the key findings of a new study from Junior Achievement and Deloitte, the results of which reveal considerable ethical confusion among teens regarding what types of behavior are appropriate in order to succeed. Do you think it is possible to be successful beyond even your wildest dreams by playing by the rules, or is some level of unethical behavior required to succeed beyond measure?

Mmmm. Tough one. I do believe that success is completely attainable by ethical means, I have faith in that. I certainly did not do anything unethical to get to my position. I may not be the perfect employee, but I did not stab someone else, steal something, falsify records or anything illegal or immoral to get to where I am. I also don't earn $500,000 so I suspect people would say I am not that kind of successful. But I know I'm more successful than many who do pull in $500,000 annually - I'm happy.

However, everyone who truly earns their money, whether it is $40,000 or $400,000, has to work their way to that point. No one handed me anything and no one handed the others I work with anything; we all did our time in the trenches and worked our way to our positions. We all did our time. And maybe some people just immediately step into the high-end positions, but that is not typical (unless maybe you inherited a company). The ones who are CEOs at 22 are not necessarily doing something unethical either... It is the CEO who has earned honest money but suddenly reaches a point where too much is not enough.

But there will always be people who cheat the system or do illegal and/or unethical things to get to the next level. But I do firmly believe that people get what they give. Look at Enron... karma is just one of those things...

I'm sorry, what was the original question...?

Q4 - Picture: According to market research released at the end of 2008, the most lucrative consumer segment within the digital camera market is mothers, defined as females between the ages of 25 and 44 with children under age 12. Mothers exhibit particularly unique preferences and behaviors when it comes to digital photography, the research concluded, and will account for more digital camera sales in 2009 than any previous year. Think for a moment... what were the last three pictures you shot with your camera, and what do you plan on doing with them?

The last three images I shot were taken around 0530 this morning of the snow falling. I did not actually have any specific plans to do something with them, but I may post one or two of them on here. I use my camera all the time. I am between 25 and 44 and have no children. I'd probably take images of my child if I had one, but I take images of the sunrise, my house, nature, friends, the kitty... I'd like to think I have broader horizons because I've noticed that a lot of parents only take images of their kids... YAWN.

Saturday, 28 February
(I do three different Memes on Saturday, that is a heavy meme day)
Saturday 9: Liar, Liar
1. What is the last "white" lie that you told? I do recruiting. I am going to burn in hell for the white lies I've told just this week. I certainly don't need to share them.

2. Can you forgive a liar? Sure, almost always. People often lie for innocuous reasons. I wouldn't hold it against them. But if it is an ongoing thing or something done to be purposefully destructive, I'll terminate the relationship.

3. Do you tend to exaggerate or underestimate? Oh, golly, yes. Who doesn't?

4. Do you hold a grudge? 99.9% of the time, no. It simply isn't worth it. I'm learning to let go of the few grudges that I do hold.

5. What's the biggest lie you've ever told? Oooohh, I don't know. I have told them. But I can't recall the biggest one.

6. Are there times that you feel that it is okay to lie? See above, under WW #44, Question #2.

7. Did you ever end a relationship because of lies? Certainly.

8. Do you think you can tell when someone is lying to you? Most of the time, yes, but there are plenty of people who 1. do it so well that I might never know and 2. believe what ever it is that they are saying so much... Scary, isn't it?

9. Have you been caught lying? Yes.

Saturday Six - Doctors & HealthPosted by Karen in Saturday Six, tags: , , ,
It’s that time again for this weeks Saturday six and this weeks theme is Doctors & Health, so without further a do let’s get on with it:
Do you rush straight to the doctors when you feel ill? No, most of the time, I don't.

Do you have trouble trying to make an appointment with your doctor? Not at all. Medicine is not socialised in the United States, so if I need to, I can see him the same day I call.

When was the last time you visited your doctor? Um... two weeks ago.

When someone close to you is ill, are you caring and considerate or do you try to stay away so you don’t catch anything? Uh, I'm an EMT, I don't get to stay away from sick people!

Have you ever made the excuse that your ill to get off work/school/college etc? I suppose everyone has.

What really annoys you about people when they are ill? Whining.

Patrick's Place
Saturday Six - Episode #255
1. When you write on your blog, are you more often trying to entertain, inform or persuade? Mostly just write. I like to inform, too, but this is for me and just happens to be a public forum. It works for me.

2. Do you feel you’re successful most of the time? Yes, I do. I'm not widely read but I'm happy anyway.

3. Do you consider yourself to be more bold online than in person, or the other way around? No, I'm the same everywhere I go.

4. Who would be most embarrassed if they read your blog? I suppose anyone mentioned... no, not really. Maybe Luis - he finds in unfathomable that I share so much information with the world.
When you're arguing with someone:
You make it clear where you stand
You get intense and emotional
X You try to be as persuasive as possible
You stick to the facts and speak as logically as possible

Your friends know you as:
X Funny

If you were write a book, it would likely be:
Non-fiction about a very specific subject
X A humorous memoir
A self help book

You can't stand talking to someone who is:
X Uninterested

Do you curse?
Yes, a lot
Not usually
Only when you're upset
X Only when doing so is witty

If nothing else, you are:
X A straight shooter
Able to think under pressure
Interested in truly connecting with people
Someone with a great imagination

If you want to break the ice, you will:
Ask a provocative question
Tell a story that you've rehearsed in your head a bit
Introduce yourself and ask others to do the same
X Make fun of yourself a little

You Communicate Honestly
You don't mince words. You are to the point and all about the facts. However, you are charming enough to tell people the truth yet still not offend them. It's likely that you have a hilarious, no holds barred sense of humor. And you sure tell an entertaining story!

You're also quite open. People can ask you anything, and you don't shy away from controversial conversation topics.

6. What do you think the biggest change has been in your online writing in the past year? Not writing about certain topics. I like to write about anything and every thing. It's hard to leave out big things like what goes on professionally. If I worked in a retail chain or something it probably wouldn't matter as long as I didn't give away company-specific secrets. But with what I do it's not that easy.

Monday, 2 March
Week Number 158
1) What is the single most important moment in history for organized religion? No idea. I'm not religious. I guess Jesus' birth was a biggie, assuming you believe that. I don't believe that he was the son of god, and not for a second do I believe that Christmas is his real birthday and we just happened to have that one piece of information right!

2) What is the most dangerous thing you have ever done on purpose? I don't know. Drive every day?

3) Who is the one person you’ve hated the most in your lifetime? There aren't too many people to hate that way.

Sunday, 1 March 2009

Looks Like We Are on Deck Again...

...for snow...




245 PM EST SUN MAR 1 2009...


Take Note: Doodling Can Help Memory

FRIDAY, Feb. 27 (HealthDay News) -- You might look like you're not paying attention when you doodle, but science says otherwise.

Researchers in the United Kingdom found that test subjects who doodled while listening to a recorded message had a 29 percent better recall of the message's details than those who didn't doodle. The findings were published in Applied Cognitive Psychology.

"If someone is doing a boring task, like listening to a dull telephone conversation, they may start to daydream," study researcher Professor Jackie Andrade, of the School of Psychology at the University of Plymouth, said in a news release issued by the journal's publisher. "Daydreaming distracts them from the task, resulting in poorer performance. A simple task, like doodling, may be sufficient to stop daydreaming without affecting performance on the main task."
For the experiment, a two-and-a-half minute listing of several people's names and places was played for test subjects, who were charged with writing down only the names of the people said to be attending a party. During the recording, half the participants were asked to simultaneously shade in shapes on a piece of paper without attention to neatness. Participants were not told they were taking part in a memory test.
When the recording ended, all were asked for the eight names of those attending the party as well as eight place names mentioned in the audio. Those asked to doodle wrote down, on average, 7.5 names and places, while those who didn't doodle listed only 5.8.

"In psychology, tests of memory or attention will often use a second task to selectively block a particular mental process," Andrade said. "If that process is important for the main cognitive task, then performance will be impaired. My research shows that beneficial effects of secondary tasks, such as doodling, on concentration may offset the effects of selective blockade."
In everyday life, Andrade said, doodling "may be something we do because it helps to keep us on track with a boring task, rather than being an unnecessary distraction that we should try to resist doing."