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Showing posts from August, 2010

Letter to the Doctor

This has been driving me crazy now for almost two weeks and you know I can't keep stuff bottled up inside. I left out names (the ones I know, anyway) but this is the letter I just finished to the doctor through Relay Health and I am sharing it with you, my readers, friends and support. Maybe you will avoid this kind of issue.

Doctor,

As I have not have any reasonable amount of sleep since two Thursdays ago when I last came to the office, I may be a little tactless. Not that I am ever anything but obvious about my feelings and opinions on things, but after witnessing yet another sunrise not due to my normal early morning habits but having been up all night... well.

This all began in July. I called in with a message to the prescription to please call in for Ambien. We had just switched from my old insurance carrier to a new carrier and there was no time for me to get a paper script to submit to their mail order prescription service. The order went in and was, incorrectly, filled on the…

ARTICLE: Four Places Bedbugs Hide - and How to Avoid Them

Bedbugs are all over the news -- and apparently, they're all over these 15 cities. Number one on the list? New York City -- SELF's home base! They've been found in office buildings (thankfully not ours!), hospitals, hotels, theaters and even the Empire State Building. And the bloodsuckers hide in mattresses, furniture, clothing ... blech. Is anyone else suddenly itchy?

But it's not just NYC that's being bitten -- bedbugs are a growing problem nationwide. According to the National Pest Management Association, bedbug-related calls to exterminators have jumped by 81 percent in the last 10 years and 57 percent over the last five years.

The good news is that unless you have serious underlying health issues, the critters aren't likely to make you sick. Still, they gross us out. So we asked Missy Henriksen, Vice President of Public Affairs for the National Pest Management Association, where bedbugs hide and what we can do to steer clear. The top spots:

IN HOTEL ROOMS..…

ARTICLE: Are E-books Worth the Money

I don't care for reading things off the screen and I'm not a technology nut so much as to give up my collections of books. But for Luis and his ilk (which are everywhere) this is a good article.

If you walk out of the cinema this week with a burning desire to read Elizabeth Gilbert's "Eat, Pray, Love," you can download it onto your Amazon Kindle electronic book reader — if you have one—for $12.99.Then again you could just walk into your local Borders bookstore with a coupon and get the paperback for $10. Barnes & Noble will charge you $12.99 to read the book on its e-book reader, the Nook. But it's only $9.36 (shipping may cost you extra) if you order the paperback at bn.com.As a society, we have gadget-itis. No new machine that goes ping goes unsung. People stand in line for hours to purchase an iPhone barely distinguishable from the one already in their pockets. Amazon's newest Kindles sold out within days of going on sale. (Those who bought …

ARTICLES: Miss Universe is Everywhere...

This morning:

"Mexico's Newest Icon: 22-Year-Old Miss Universe

From flags to Facebook, 22-year-old Jimena Navarrete has quickly made it clear what she plans to promote as the world's newest Miss Universe — her home country of Mexico. "I want the whole world to know about my country and my people," the Guadalajara native said after beating 82 competitors for global bragging rights at the pageant in Las Vegas."I imagine that they're all going crazy in Mexico right now," she said through an interpreter. "I'm extremely proud and I'm sure they're very proud, too." She donned a flowing red dress, strutted confidently in a violet bikini, and said onstage that the Internet is indispensable and requires parents to impart family values. The model-turned pageant queen then posed for pictures with a Mexican flag and Mexico's last Miss Universe as congratulations from her countrymen came pouring in."Her triumph is a sourc…

How did Barnes & Noble Fall so Far so Fast?

How did Barnes & Noble fall so far so fast?

The giant bookstore chain, whose superstores once struck fear into the hearts of independent booksellers everywhere, put itself up for sale this month, rendering it the corporate equivalent of the remaindered books it sells at a discount.

The company said it made the move because its shares are undervalued, but to me there was an air of desperation about it.

The simple explanation for Barnes & Noble's decline is the Internet, which spawned Amazon.com, e-readers and digital books. But that didn't have to be the end for B&N, which had a dominant market position and should have out-Amazoned Amazon, leveraging its brand and innovating when it began marketing and selling books online.

I know exactly when B&N lost me as a customer. Some years ago, to compete with Amazon, B&N began offering free same-day delivery in Manhattan if you placed your order over the Internet by 11 a.m. I did so several times -- and not once did the…

Fifteen Things You Shouldn't be Paying For

I'm not frugal. I don't clip coupons, I don't comparison shop, and I don't believe in living any other way than large - not a comment on my weight, although there is a good argument for it. But if you are into the freebies, here you go. I plan on single-handedly boosting the economy no matter what.

"So much money and energy is wasted on things we could get for free. If you're into new, shiny things and collecting stuff, this is not for you. But if you want less clutter in your life and want to keep more of your money, then check out these 15 things you shouldn't be paying for.

Basic Computer Software -- Thinking of purchasing a new computer? Think twice before you fork over the funds for a bunch of extra software. There are some great alternatives to the name brand software programs. The most notable is OpenOffice, the open-source alternative to those other guys. It's completely free and files can be exported in compatible formats.

Your Credit Report -- Y…

No Article, Just me... Not Sleeping...

Given the time (03:49), this may not be one of my wittier, more meaty postings, but the idea here is to fall once again into the arms of Morpheus. That is the only thing I really want to do.

Two things woke me up: the medication, which at half the dose is not as effective and my nasal passages, which are completely blocked up. It has been really bad the last two nights, driving me to take Benadryl during the night. I guess the one good thing is that it makes the user drowsy, so maybe this will help me get back to sleep.

This is what I have been trying to explain to my doctor. Their office called in the script for 60 tablets and I got those, and as usual, began taking two at night. The same dose I've been on for at the very least a year, although I know it's longer than that. Now, suddenly, I'm down to one with a hundred other things to help assist it and then they will figure out "something".

Last night (well, the night before. I did not get steady sleep. I was up a…

President Obama Car Metaphor

Unlike W, this guy can at least speak – proper English, no made-up words, sounds intelligent…

Article: "SEATTLE — It started out simple enough. There was a car (the economy). And a ditch (the recession), Republicans had been driving the car (were in power) for eight years. It went into the ditch. And now that Democrats have dug the car out (won power and passed a bunch of economic recovery policies), the Republicans want back the keys (power).

The first time President Barack Obama used the metaphor at a Democratic fundraiser in April, he spent exactly four sentences on it: “And yet, after driving our economy into the ditch, they decided to stand on the side of the road and watch us while we pulled it out of the ditch,” Obama said at the Los Angeles event for Sen. Barbara Boxer of California. “They asked, ‘Why haven't you pulled it out fast enough?’ ‘I noticed there's, like, a little scratch there in the fender. Why didn't you do something about that?’”

It has since becom…

Unguarded Border Bridges Could be Route into U,S,

ACALA, Texas – On each side of a towering West Texas stretch of the $2.4 billion border fence designed to block people from illegally entering the country, there are two metal footbridges, clear paths into the United States from Mexico. The footpaths that could easily guide illegal immigrants and smugglers across the Rio Grande without getting wet seem to be there because of what amounts to federal linguistics. While just about anyone would call them bridges, the U.S.-Mexico group that owns them calls them something else.

"Technically speaking it's not a bridge, it's a grade control structure," said Sally Spener, spokeswoman for the International Boundary and Water Commission, which maintains the integrity of the 1,200-mile river border between the U.S. and Mexico. The structures under the spans help prevent the river — and therefore the international border — from shifting.

Whatever they're called, there are fresh sneaker tracks on the structures — indicating they…

Hoe to Hide From Friends You Don't Like

On Friday August 13, 2010, 10:48 am EDT
New York Times
With more than 500 million people now on Facebook, it's inevitable that you'll be friended by someone you know, but with whom you don't want to share your online life. Once you've accepted them as a friend, how do you avoid them without the awkwardness of unfriending them?Facebook has made it easy to hide other members' status updates. Place your mouse over an update from, say, Charlie, and a light blue X appears to the upper right corner of the update. Click the X, and Facebook will present you with three buttons from which to choose: Hide Charlie, Mark as Spam and Cancel. If you click Hide Charlie, you'll never see Charlie's updates again. (Click Spam and the message disappears and a notice gets sent to Facebook's servers and analyzed by spam filtering software.)But how do you keep Charlie from reading your updates? Skirting your way around someone you've accepted as a Facebook fr…

MUST READ: Do You Know What this Symbol Means?

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Do you recognize the symbol here? It lights up in your instrument panel and looks like a U-shaped pictograph with treads and an exclamation point in the middle.

Do you understand what it means now?

If you guessed a low tire-pressure warning, you are right. If you didn’t recognize the symbol, that’s also understandable because one out of three drivers do not, according to Schrader, a company that makes tire pressure monitoring systems.
The warning for the TPMS lights up when one or more of your vehicle’s tires is 25% below the manufacturer’s recommended pressure. The system is now required on all vehicles starting with the 2008 model year. The issue here seems to be that the public hasn’t been properly educated on the warning symbol, which is supposed to be “idiot proof” and understandable across a wide variety of cultures and languages. Yet 46% of drivers couldn’t figure out that the icon represents a tire and 14% thought the symbol represented another problem with the vehicle…

One of These Days...

I'll sit down and write something a lot more meaningful. I've been meaning to, but I get home so exhausted (the joys of MD) that I eat dinner, take a nap and then do stuff before I go to bed. It's turned into a weirder life than I had before!

But it's not much good as a life if I just waste it away turning into a turnip on the couch, not reading, not writing, not even putting in five minutes on Facebook. (Not that this should be where the bulk of my time goes, but you know what I mean.)

However, it is time to get dressed, go to work for the next round of this week's pick of the fun. I must say that I've suddenly been able to get a lot of little things cleared away and off my burgeoning To Do list, which is a good - no, delicious - feeling. Isn't that a great word choice? It was much better than a mere "good" would indicate.

OK. More later, I hope!

Judge Orders Wells Fargo to Pay Back $203M in Fees

Suddenly so much makes sense... read on:

"NEW YORK (AP) -- A federal judge in California ordered Wells Fargo & Co. to change what he called "unfair and deceptive business practices" that led customers into paying multiple overdraft fees, and to pay $203 million back to customers. In a decision handed down late Tuesday, U.S. District Judge William Alsup accused Wells Fargo of "profiteering" by changing its policies to process checks, debit card transactions and bill payments from the highest dollar amount to the lowest, rather than in the order the transactions took place. That helped drain customer bank accounts faster and drive up overdraft fees, a policy Alsup referred to as "gouging and profiteering." Wells Fargo adopted the policies beginning in 2001, and they became widespread across the banking industry. It is unclear how the ruling would apply to the rest of the industry.The ruling detailed the experiences of two Wells Fargo cus…

Are Fed-Up American Workers Getting their Gumption Back?

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"Surveys show employees are tired and disillusioned with their employers. Helen King / Corbis As companies cut a higher-than-expected 131,000 jobs in July, you can't blame the American worker for seething. Wages remain stagnant and unemployment is at 9.5 percent, even as employee productivity is at levels not seen since 2002. Much of the workforce has endured pay cuts, furloughs, and a loss of benefits. During the same time frame, corporate profits have rebounded, according to the Standard & Poor's 500 Index. Main Street may not be adding jobs, but Wall Street went on a hiring binge, and according to a recent report by Obama's executive-compensation czar, banks paid $1.58 billion in bonuses at the end of 2008, just days after receiving federal bailout money and dangerously close to the nexus of the financial collapse. Is it any wonder the average employee is in a bad mood? "There's more of a divide in terms of compensation…

Sudden Weirdness on Whippany Road!

I drove through the light on Monday... and there was no light! Duh... where did it go?! It used to be in front of the Lucent Technologies Industrial park. I think it is now Alcatel. At any rate, it is gone. And the light just beyond that was a new light fixture. They must have done it over the weekend. It was quite surprising.

Turns out (and had I thought this through more I'd have known this) the Alcatel there was closed. The light was a timed monstrosity to let the commuters out. But there've been no commuters for a year or so now.

Still, it was very weird!

ARTICLE: Dangerous Supplements

We Americans do love our dietary supplements. More than half of the adult population have taken them to stay healthy, lose weight, gain an edge in sports or in the bedroom, and avoid using prescription drugs. In 2009, we spent $26.7 billion on them, according to the Nutrition Business Journal, a trade publication. What consumers might not realize, though, is that supplement manufacturers routinely, and legally, sell their products without first having to demonstrate that they are safe and effective. The Food and Drug Administration has not made full use of even the meager authority granted it by the industry--friendly 1994 Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA). As a result, the supplement marketplace is not as safe as it should be. We have identified a dozen supplement ingredients that we think consumers should avoid because of health risks, including cardiovascular, liver, and kidney problems. We found products with those ingredients readily available in stores and onli…