Showing posts from May, 2010

Cash vs Credit with Fuel

For the longest time, the Gulf Station on Route 46 West in Parsippany, just after the turn for Edwards Road, had the same price for cash or credit transactions. Now, suddenly, they have done the sleazy thing and raised the price per gallon $0.08! I'm hacked.

I know a lot of other fuel suppliers were doing that but I could go to this station and not have to deal with it. Now I can only go to the Hess Station... and who knows how long that will last? I really hate the fuel industry.

It's bad enough that BP has this huge oil spill. Now we can get screwed for this by everyone.

What a Weekend!

It was a four-day weekend. And that sounds great, right? Most people want to be home or away from their jobs.

I like mine enough that like Luis, I prefer to be there. He loves, loves, loves his job. For so many years, I didn't understand it. Like too many people, the balance of what I love to do was offset by things about the department or company or whatever. It's not so now. It's unique and great. It's also structured and interesting. My home life is not terribly interesting. Most of the time, I'm perfectly happy with it; this one (twice as long as most) it was not. Although today was great.

Add to that Luis had to go out to Chicago area (some place called... uh... Northfield? I think that's it). He went out there to pull someone's bacon out of the fire. This is not one of the "I love my job" items for him, I might add. As much as he enjoys his work, advice not taken and irresponsibility on the client's side is more than likely the issue and h…

Education Abounds in Short Conversations

I love talking to people. A friend of mine from high school (and I do mean a friend) sent me a message on Facebook asking how I was and I replied. I asked a couple of leading questions to get the conversational ball rolling and then got this:

Message: "I am done with dog training... the course was a lot of fun. The only down side is the group is filled with mostly old women. Guys like me I do not think fit in. I have offered free basic training to everyone I know including friends and neighbors but no one has taken me up on the offer. Hell there are 3 new puppies in our neighborhood and ... nothing. I have also found out that people do not take dog training seriously enough and do not seek the help of trainers until there are big problems! And trying to fix a dog rather than train a dog is 3 to 4 times more difficult.

I haven't written much lately or should I say I haven't found anything to write about in while. Deb and the puppies are well. We have 13 chickens now and that…

ARTICLE: Remembering Memorial Day

For many, Memorial Day brings to mind images of parades and picnics, of barbecues and baseball games. What's sometimes forgotten are the reasons for the holiday: The sacrifices made by American soldiers in times of conflict.

As the United States' death toll passes 1,000 in Afghanistan, Memorial Day takes on an especially poignant meaning this year. Here's a brief look at how the holiday got its start, and how people are searching for ways to honor the brave men and women who have lost their lives.

The first holiday
Originally, the holiday was known as "Decoration Day." It was started by a Civil War general named Gen. John Logan, who was the Commander-in-Chief of the Grand Army of the Republic. General Logan sought a way to help the country come back together after the horrors and divide of the Civil War.

The holiday was first observed on May 30, 1868, and Gen. Logan chose that date for two very important reasons: First, the day did not mark the anniversary of a Civil…

The History Channel's "America" Made an Error!

I'm watching "America: The Story of Us" - an episode called "Rebels". It is nearing the end with the battle of Lexington.

Early they talked about Paul Revere's famous ride, where he stopped at several towns to announce... the British are coming!


We were all British back then! He would have sounded like an idiot if he stopped at houses to announce, yell or whisper, "The British are coming!" He did tell everyone that the Redcoats were coming. That makes a lot more sense and also is historically accurate.

But think back to all the things we were told in history. How many fallacies were we told as kids? When I went to school in the 1970s, they were still telling the story about George Washington cutting down a cherry tree as a suck to promote honesty - as history - when it was total fiction. The American Revolution never mentioned that we were terrorists; by definition, the rebels were just that. People love to whitewash history when really honesty…

Remember Fred?

I met Fred on Monday, 4 August 2008. He was sitting on my hammock with me making short work of flies.

I surely could have kept Fred fed this afternoon with the mosquitoes although maybe he only ate flies. I would have given my eye teeth for anything that ate mosquitoes, providing they didn't want to snack on me when done with the flying blood banks. Then again, they'd never run out of the bloody (pun intended) mosquitoes!

I was very happy in my hammock from around 13:30 until 18:30, when in the westering sun, the mosquitoes began to show up. I didn't think they'd be out that early. At least eight of them got me without my knowing it but one alighted on my arm and I happened to see him and kill hi-- oh, sorry, her (only female mosquitoes drink blood). I killed a second one on the back of my left leg, and got blood - mine - so I packed it up as fast as I could amidst stinging and got the hell out of there!

My own back yard went from haven to hell in the space of a few minut…

Thinking About Ariel

I miss Ariel.

If you knew me two years ago, then you've heard of her. She was mine and Luis' first cat together. She was with me for 18 years, and died on 8 June 2008. I have a million images of her and there are pictures all over the house of her (and Chelsea, who died on 19 September 2008, also age 18). I think of them frequently and it is less difficult. And I have fur to bury my face in when it does hurt.

Still... you never know what can stir up the feelings...

Yesterday, while in the loo, I hear this loud, demanding meow from out of sight, and without thinking, I called, "Ariel?" It sounded just like her. I was floored. It was a little freaky and very disconcerting - not to mention upsetting. I called out for Sorcha and Siobhan but they weren't in the room.

The ghost of my cat?

I have no idea. 'Ockham's Razor would deny that: Ockham's razor states that "entities should not be multiplied needlessly". It's also called the principle of pars…

Cat Fur

I have two cats, Siobhan and Sorcha. Both are classified as American short-hair cats, although given Sorcha's size, I'm guessing there is some Mainecoon in her. She's a huge cat.

She's also the most fur-producing cat in the history of fuzzy animals.

Siobhan sheds to some degree - at least I think so, only because most cats with some fur do shed. Both Ariel and Chelsea shed fur; my grandmother's crazy Siamese cat Fuji shed; my father's cats including Figaro, Callie and Carlton shed; every cat I've known has shed. But then there is Sorcha - who sheds by the pound!

My laptop was covered with fur! I found Luis' can of air and cleaned it all off the screen, out of the keyboard and off the screen area where I can move my finger around as the mouse. There was tons - measurable amounts of fur! This cat is shedding more fur in a day than all three other cats I've had as an adult did!

Where does it all come from? Usually shedding is a response to warm temperature…


If you haven't seen this movie, then see it. It's a charming, wonderful, fun movie.

Ignore Steven Guttenberg's roll, which had a little too much of the ridiculous. Tahnee Welch was okay, but not amazing. But Wilford Brimley, Don Ameche, Hume Cronyn, Jessica Tandy, Maureen Stapleton, Gwen Verdon and Brian Dennehy were just delightful.

Some aliens come to Florida to rescue some of their friends who were left behind when Atlantis sank. While spending most of their time out in the ocean, they had rented the house next door to an old folks community with the assisted and unassisted living options.

They discovered that something in the pool, now cluttered with strange, large rocks, made them feel really good, really young and revitalised. They asked their new neighbours to allow them to continue to use the pool. In the end, the aliens had an offer for them that was too good to pass up.

It's a great movie. And maybe there is that element of fantasy - wouldn't you like to reve…

The Anti-People Society

We are anti-people.

I've been hearing a lot of bitter sentiments about people from other countries. I'm bothered by it and find it unpleasant, even worrying. We refer to people from other countries as "aliens". I always think of aliens as peoples from other planets, not those from other countries. When did we lose that feeling of humanity?

Some of the bitterness is understandable. We the taxpayers pay for far too many lives. We make the medical care possible, we allow for services that should be for just the citizenry, not everyone. I don't agree with allowing non-citizens to apply for education scholarships. I don't want to pay for everyone who isn't paying into the same system. But then, I pay for the Americans who suck off the system with ten kids, no job or low income and I resent that, too. I need not target only people from 0ther countries for that.

I would certainly not hold it against anyone to come here for that better life. On the other hand, peopl…

Picking Through People

The magazine, pervy person!

It's a full Moon night, so just picture what we've had already. One call with that was enough. So onto the trashy stuff!

Normally I pick through the People Magazine in order, but this one gets the out of order approach. The Brett Michaels one pager was more interesting to read immediately. We saw the last episode of Celebrity Apprentice and we were delighted that Brett Michaels won! He was amazing and while he is absolutely the poster boy for ADD - or ADHD - he had a positive effect overall on everyone. The man's creative abilities were so good that teammates who started out finding him to be too difficult to work with were won over in the end. No one ever actually uttered the acronym ADD or ADHD (which was surprising because you'd think someone there would have been savvy enough about people in general to realise why he and Cyndi Lauper were so easily distracted and "difficult". They weren't really difficult, they were just so d…

ARTICLE: Silly Bandz Bracelet Craze

I'll get back to real writing, but this is interesting:

'The Bandz are now contraband. Schools in several states, including New York, Texas, Florida and Massachusetts, have blacklisted Silly Bandz, those stretchy, colorful bracelets that are creeping up the forearms of school kids across the U.S. And starting this week, all 800-some kids at my son's elementary school in Raleigh, N.C., were commanded to leave at home their collections of rubber band–like bracelets, which retail for about $5 per pack of 24. What could possibly be so insidious about a cheap silicone bracelet?

"It's a distraction," says Jill Wolborsky, a fourth-grade teacher at my son's school, who banned them from her classroom before the principal implemented a school-wide ban. One student stole some confiscated Bandz from her desk, choosing them over the cash in her drawer.

Students fiddle with them during class and arrange swaps - trading, say, a bracelet with a mermaid for one with a dragon…

ARTICLE: Double Your Social Security Benefits

by Lynn Brenner
Saturday, May 1, 2010

How'd you like to double the size of your Social Security checks? You will goose your future retirement income if you are able to delay the start of your benefits from age 62 to 70. If you can't wait that long, at least try to avoid taking Social Security until 66 — that will increase the size of your checks by one third. Sure, you'll forgo some income in those early years, but you'll make up the difference quickly once those larger checks start coming in.

We know what you may be thinking: What Social Security? If so, take a deep breath. Yes, the Congressional Budget Office projects the program will have a $10 billion deficit this year and bleed another $9 billion in 2011. And still, Al Gore's "lock box" sits empty.

But few careful observers think Social Security's checks will stop arriving (though how they're calculated may change). "I never cease to be amazed that financial planners and regular citizens are…

ARTICLE: Ten Ways You're Getting Ripped Off

10 Ways You're Getting Ripped Off
by Forbes, Edited by Brett Nelson
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
provided by

Think you're not getting a fair shake? Here's how bad it really is.

Economists call them "market inefficiencies"--those periods when the price of something veers from its underlying, inherent value. Consumers on the short end of these misalignments call them rip-offs.

We're not talking fraud here, though there's plenty of that going around, too. We're talking about all the ways, within the law, that we allow ourselves to be taken for a ride.

Rip-offs imply choice. If there's truly no substitute for a particular good or service, then you'll put up with sticker shock. (Think movie theater snacks and certain life-saving medications.) That's good work for businesses that can get it, but plenty rely on our collective naiveté, distraction, shortsightedness and high stress levels when pushing this flimflam.

To be sure, in some cases we know we're bei…

Grey's Anatomy Season Six Finale

It was shocking.

It opened up with a big black screen reading VIEWER DISCRETION IS ADVISED - VIOLENT CONTENT. Okay... it's a hospital show. There's usually blood and other usual hospital finds... how bad could it be?

It was bad.

It wasn't ten minutes into the show that Gary Clark, lost in the hospital, suddenly shot Dr. Reid in the head. Point blank, right in the middle of the forehead. It was so shocking I cried out. It was just out of nowhere. BANG... She was there in a pool of blood. And when Dr. Karev walked in, BANG again. He had started to raise his hand and turned so he was shot mid-axillary - which means at the least a collapsed lung. (They had to do a chest tube later.)

When I did my ER time in April 2004, a man was medi-vaced in to the hospital and they sent me up with the team to get him. He drove into a tree and was in bad shape. Generally the tree wins. We got him down to the ER trauma and he had a tension pneumothorax. They put a hole into his lung and then told…

ARTICLE: Jupiter Loses its Southern Belt

One of Jupiter's major features — its South Equatorial Belt — is gone. And although the current disappearance probably resulted from intense storm activity within Jupiter's atmosphere, planetary scientists find themselves at a loss to explain what the trigger was. They also don't know how long the belt will remain invisible.

This isn't the first time this phenomenon has occurred, and it probably won't be the last. The South Equatorial Belt (SEB) disappeared in 1973 and 1991. "I've been watching Jupiter for 4 decades," said Astronomy Contributing Editor Raymond Shubinski, "and I've seen Jupiter with only one belt at least twice before. It's a jarring sight if you're familiar with the planet. It's like seeing Jupiter without one of its large satellites, but a belt can stay hidden for months."

Astronomers noticed the missing belt after Jupiter reappeared in the morning sky in March. Just prior to that, it was invisib…

My Review of Hot/Cold Therapeutic Comfort Wrap

Originally submitted at King SizeDesigned for the neck, shoulders and back. Ideal for sore muscles, arthritis, stress and more. Heat in the microwave for moist heat therapy, in the freezer for cold therapy. Polyester/buckwheat. Spot clean. Burgundy. 22½"Lx22"W. Hot/Cold Therapeutic Comfort Wrap
Excellent Relaxation DeviceBy Aislinge from Parsippany, NJ on 5/20/2010 4out of 5 Pros: Comfortable, Heats Up Quickly, Easy To Use, Even HeatCons: Cools down a little too fBest Uses: Pain from Muscular Dystro, Muscle Spasms, Daily Use, Sore MusclesDescribe Yourself: Muscular DystrophyI use this almost every night. It heats up fairly quickly, but cools down faster than the usual mall style neck heating pads. The weight is good, it's nice and light. It works well for when my neck is tight or after I've been on a call with the ambulance doing patient care. My father recommended it to me, and it is a good product and I do recommend it.(legalese)

Another EMT Recertification Gone By

I spent this weekend in classes recertifying.

When I first joined the squad on 10 March 2003, I had no certifications, no knowledge other than a lot of reading and was completely new to Emergency Medical Services. But it sounded amazing and neat and we'd moved into this area the previous October and I had a little too much time on my hands.

The first night I rode, we went out on a "smell of smoke" standby and watched in the cold air as the firemen methodically put holes in the house to determine if there was a problem. After about 90 minutes, they gave up and had the heavy rescue guys come out to board it up. As we were released from that, we were called out for a bug on a kid's back. On the way, we were diverted to something else.

It was exciting.

So a month later I went to Chilton to get my first CPR/AED training. It was eight hours and fascinating. I learned a lot and realised that is the first of three levels of training that I could take. I love learning.

In October …

Lyrics: It's A Wonderful Night

Yeh, yeh yeh yeh yeh
Uhm hmm hm hm

It's a wonderful night
You've gotta take it from me
It's a wonderful night

Come on and break it on down

It's a wonderful night
You've gotta shake it for me
It's a wonderful night

Come on and break it on down

It's a wonderful night
Everybody can see
It's a wonderful night

Come on and break it on down

It's a wonderful night
Go ahead and release
It's a wonderful night

Come on and break it on down

You know the music search engine need a tuneup
Soon as they out the gate they all a wanna hear da corner, uh-huh
Well that was cool but now but then I heard a rumor, uh-huh
Your crew was ridin' for the White Cliffs of Dover

Uh let me tell ya how we do it in California
We'll have you on the run just like a puma
If it don't move us
Ain't paid ya dues and it ain't gonna get our roosers
We gonna lose ya to the consumer solution c'mon

It's a wonderful night
You've gotta take it from me
It's a wonderful night

Come on and …

What to Buy and Not Buy from WalMart

I personally hate WalMart for a multitude of reasons, and will never support them. So this is interesting reading.

"Despite (or perhaps because of) the fact that Walmart (NYSE: WMT - News) is the nation's largest retailer, there are plenty of people who wouldn't be caught dead in one. To these folks, Walmart conjures images of a rapacious juggernaut of stadium-sized stores offering low-quality merchandise, spotty service, and mistreating employees and the environment — while driving small local retailers out of business.

But many of those misgivings are starting to fade, partly as a result of some well-timed improvements to the company's product line-up and its environmental record. What's more, there's nothing like the worst recession in 80 years to nudge "low prices" a little higher on the collective priority list. And while Walmart may not be making its employees rich, the chain handed out very few pink slips in the downturn and remains t…

Are You There, New Jersey? It's Me, Judy.

From The Uncle John's Bathroom Reader Plunges into New Jersey:

"Since 1969 Elizabeth-born Judy Blume has been the patron saint of the Awkward Years, otherwise known as puberty. Anyone who's grown up in America in the last 35 years has probably had a Judy Blume book on hand to explain something that parents often felt uneasy discussing.

Judy Blume, born Judy Sussman in Elizabeth in 1938, could have been one of the characters she wrote about in her own books, as she acknowledged in 2004: "I was a small, shy, anxious child with eczema, as fearful as Sheila the Great, as imaginative as Sally J. Freeman." As a girl, she was an avid reader--but not of children's books. The reason: "I never found my kind of reality in children's books. No child was anything like me. No child thought the kinds of things I did, leading me to believe I definitely wasn't normal." But with all that working against her, how did Judy Blume become the undisputed queen of al…

Sometimes Miracles Happen

This weekend, so far, has been a miracle.

Nothing has happened. Not a thing. Car 65 went out on four or five runs, Car 69 went out on one. There is, granted, still 9 hours on, but for the moment and the last 15 hours, nothing has happened. Maybe we paid our dues on Thursday. Tough to think that one call with vomited blood makes up for five to seven runs but I will take it. I won't think twice.

You always want luck like that, but it is rare that you get it. Somehow the gods have you marked for doom when the long shift comes up. However, I have been dreading this since last weekend. The shift we had six weeks ago was wretched. We had one run at 2200, one at 0800 (an unsuccessful CPR call), then a string throughout the day and then another unsuccessful CPR call around 1630. It was a LONG weekend and fruitless to boot.

On the other hand, the person at 0800 had made peace with dying and it was a fast deal - no getting a shockable rhythm, no long work up, just doing what we could until the…