Showing posts from January, 2009

Mr. Obama: About That Health Care Promise

Now that I have joined the millions of other unemployed Americans, I wonder if I will be able to keep my health insurance. My COBRA premium (including dental and vision) is over $420 a month. It will take about two weeks of unemployment benefits (after taxes) to pay that premium. That will not leave me anywhere near enough to pay my mortgage, let alone pay utility bills and eat. I do have a roommate who does pay his rent on time, so thank the heavens for that. But, it is still going to be an uphill struggle.

It was timely that Paul Krugman, in a NY Times Op-Ed, asked the question yesterday:
Why has the Obama administration been silent, at least so far, about one of President Obama’s key promises during last year’s campaign — the promise of guaranteed health care for all Americans?
There’s a populist rage building in this country, as Americans see bankers getting huge bailouts while ordinary citizens suffer. [NY Times]
Rage is a good term...maybe a desperate rage is better. Those of us …

You'll Never Think of Tents the Same Way Again

I used to go camping and have owned a couple or more tents in my life. Most of them took a long time to erect and take down. Some were made of heavy canvas and had metal poles with which to contend. And then I was SOL if a big wind came and collapsed the tent in the middle of the night.

Well, scrap all those notions. Enter air-supported technology...what NEMO calls "... the most important development in tent design this century." Well that has only been this decade so far, so they may want to work on that wording a bit. However, you get the idea of something great.
Q. How fast and easy are the tents to inflate and deflate?A. Very fast and easy! That is the single biggest benefit of inflatable tents for three-season use: you don't need to fuss with poles! NEMO pumps come with quick-disconnect fittings which plug directly into the airbeams on every NEMO AirSupported™ tent. Morpho, our largest AST™ tent, takes less than 50 seconds to inflate with the foot pump and less than 9…

Lunch at Chez Roger

Today was a good day. I had a phone interview for a 4-6 week contract job. No info. on the result yet, but even if I don't get the job, the interview was good practice.

Shannon and Melissa came over for lunch this afternoon. I made homemade bread, salad, and spaghetti with meatless "meat" sauce. (I should have taken photos.) I served all of this in a four hour lunch. Guys, that was a lot of fun!! Hope I didn't make you wait too long to eat.

They brought some high-fiber muffins (They must think I am "full of it."), which I am going to dig into tonight. Yes, I remember you told me only try one at a time. ;-)

They were kind enough to bring ice since my ice maker stopped working months ago. (Reminder to self: buy ice trays.) On the off chance I could get the ice maker working again, they brought a hair dryer too. (Why would I ever have one?) I thought the ice maker was frozen up, but I don't think that is the problem. Right now, being unempl…

CNN: Hate Groups Use Obama Inauguration For Recruiting

Few people blog about this subject, but I won't let it go. There is racism that is merely someone's ignorant point of view, and then there is the violent kind, which every patriotic American should report.

Investigators in Forsyth County are still pursuing leads in a fire that destroyed the home of a supporter of President Obama. They have confirmed that the blaze at the home of Pamela Graf was intentionally set but are not releasing any specifics, Steve Anderson, chief of investigations for the fire department, said Tuesday. Graf’s home burned Jan. 18 after she left town to attend Obama’s inauguration. Racially charged graffiti was sprayed on a nearby fence. Federal ATF investigators are assisting in the investigation. Anyone with information is asked to call the department’s anonymous tip line at 770-888-7308. [Atlanta Journal-Constitution]
Three men accused of burning a predominantly black church in Massachusetts hours after the election of President Barack Obama have been…

Haggard: Can't Pray Away the Gay

More news is coming out about the Rev. Ted Haggard, who was "outed" in 2007 for a having sexual encounters with a man. There was another man also who apparently has waited until now to prevent a complete whitewash of Haggard's past since his church is trying to "pray away the gay" from Haggard. An HBO special (premiering Thursday) and several high profile interviews are upcoming with Oprah (already taped) and Larry King. I expect they are part of Haggard's "I'm clean" tour to regain his ministry.
Brady Boyd, who succeeded Haggard as senior pastor of the 10,000-member New Life Church in Colorado Springs, told The Associated Press that the man came forward to church officials in late 2006 shortly after a Denver male prostitute claimed to have had a three-year cash-for-sex relationship with Haggard. Boyd said an "overwhelming pool of evidence" pointed to an "inappropriate, consensual sexual relationship" that "went on for …

Hate Banks? You'll Love This.

Here is the 500 character (maximum) comment I left on the website today.
I was laid off from my job less than three weeks ago. Being responsible financially, I decided I wanted to refinance my house to lower my monthly payments since I have no idea how long it will take to get a job. My mortgage holder (Bank of America) told me that if I did not have a job, I could not refinance. With all the aid we are giving financial institutions, this policy seems absurd. They told me if I got to the point of not making a payment, I would have to contact customer service. Help!!!Oh yeah, banks were perfectly willing to approve bad mortgage loans and then hold out their hands for our tax money. But when a good customer with an excellent credit rating wants to do something responsible, his bank would rather him miss payments and then they can foreclose. Oh, that makes so much sense. If this pisses you off like it did me, please contact your representatives.

Many Bugs in Microsoft Technical Documentation

I believe I am a good technical writer. I have won lots of professional awards and I've been writing in the IT industry for 19 years. Yeah...until this month. Now I'm a causality of the Bush depression.

Many software developers and companies, especially very small operations, deliver inadequate or no documentation. You've probably experienced that. I have. Some companies make you buy the documentation (if you want it) and do not include it with the software.

You might think that Microsoft, because of its size and big pockets, would be a leader in good technical documentation even if it is not included with the product. However, this example offers some evidence to the contrary. And this court case involves just one area of the company's business. I wonder if these problems are more widespread?

This story should serve as a warning to those IT companies that do not employ technical writers because they do not see the value. I believe technical writers often save companies m…

TV Alert: Prayers for Bobby

Prayers for Bobby will premier on the Lifetime channel on Jan. 24 at 9 pm et/pt. It encores Jan. 25 at 8 pm and Jan. 27 at 9 pm et/pt.
Academy Award nominee and Golden Globe winner Sigourney Weaver stars in this emotional true story about a 1970s religious suburban housewife and mother who struggles to accept her young son Bobby being gay. What happens to Bobby is tragic and causes Mary to question her faith; ultimately this mom changes her views in ways that she never could have imagined.

Also starring: Ryan Kelley ("Mean Creek"), Henry Czerny ("The Tudors"), Dan Butler ("Frasier") and Susan Ruttan ("L.A. Law"), Austin Nichols ("John From Cincinnati"), Carly Schroeder ("Mean Creek"), Scott Bailey ("Guiding Light"), and newcomers Shannon Eagen and Rebecca Louise Miller. Based on the book “Prayers for Bobby” by Leroy Aarons.

Chinese TV Censors Part of Address by Obama

From the NY Times:
Chinese TV Censors Part of Address by Obama -
This is something to think about the next time you or I buy something made in China.
President Obama’s 18-minute Inaugural Address on Tuesday was generally lauded by Americans for its candor and conviction. But the Chinese Communist Party apparently thought the new American president’s gilded words were a little too direct.

China Central Television, or CCTV, the main state-run network, broadcast the address live until the moment Mr. Obama mentioned “communism” in a line about the defeat of ideologies considered anathema to Americans. After the translator said “communism” in Chinese, the audio faded out even as Mr. Obama’s lips continued to move.

CCTV then showed an anchor asking an analyst about the economic challenges that President Obama faces. The analyst was clearly caught off guard by the sudden question.

The offending line in the president’s speech was this: “Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism…

Oscar Nominations: Best Picture

Although now I am too poor to see very many movies, last year I did manage to see all of the Oscar nominees for Best Motion Picture of the Year:
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” (Paramount and Warner Bros.), A Kennedy/Marshall Production, Kathleen Kennedy, Frank Marshall and Ceán Chaffin, Producers “Frost/Nixon” (Universal), A Universal Pictures, Imagine Entertainment and Working Title Production, Brian Grazer, Ron Howard and Eric Fellner, Producers “Milk” (Focus Features), A Groundswell and Jinks/Cohen Company Production, Dan Jinks and Bruce Cohen, Producers “The Reader” (The Weinstein Company), A Mirage Enterprises and Neunte Babelsberg Film GmbH Production, Nominees to be determined “Slumdog Millionaire” (Fox Searchlight), A Celador Films Production, Christian Colson, ProducerMy reviews of each of these fine films appear on this blog. Click the movies or film tag to view all reviews. I usually have a favorite, but all of these movies are excellent choices. I thin…

Tears of Joy on the Inauguration of President Obama

I am sure many of you feel as I do today, full of hope and promise for our future. As I was glued to my television all morning, there were many moments when the tears of joy would overcome me.

This AP photo I think captures something uniquely American. Only people who have struggled as this nation has with the issue of race can imagine what today means to each of us, regardless of race. From slavery, to abolition, to reconstruction, to Jim Crow, to struggle and strife, to civil rights, to today's inauguration, the inauguration of President Obama is something of what dreams are made.

TerraCycle: Garbage to Gold

Now here is a green company that the world should know about. I had heard of them but, as is often the case, I forgot to write down the information. So, better late than never. Tell your children and grandchildren to study science. They can get rich and save the world.

In Memory of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Today, let us pause to remember the legacy of Dr. King: A legacy of non-violence, love, and struggle. A legacy that has brought us to another victory on the road to end racism and discrimination with the inauguration of President Obama on Tuesday. A legacy we all wish the rest of the world would emulate.

In this world of strife, I believe that injustice and conflict can best be overcome by non-violence and patient struggle instead of violence, if the world would but really listen to Dr. King's words.

I look at the suicide bombers in the Middle East and know that few people in other parts of the world will ever support their cause because most people want to live in peace. What they are doing does not represent a value system with which most of the world agrees. The lessons and victories of Dr. King and Gandhi are clear, but they do not see.
"At the center of non-violence stands the principle of love." [Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.]

Free on HBO: Obama "We Are One" Celebration

In case you missed it live, you can view the Obama "We Are One' celebration at the Lincoln Memorial either free on HBO on cable and satellite or watch it free at You do not have to be an HBO subscriber to view it.

I watched the entire event live, and I was just blown away by the hopeful spirit that it presented. I was especially moved to see the folk legend, Pete Seeger, perform. He was a progressive before it was cool. Bruce Springsteen and I think it was Seeger's grandson joined him to sing Woody Guthrie's This Land is Your Land. Not sure why Arlo wasn't invited too.

BTW, the Fox Noise Network complained that by HBO getting exclusive rights to the event, it would prevent millions of people from seeing it. But HBO made it available for free, so looks as if Fox is wrong yet again. Maybe some folks in the boonies without Internet or satellite TV might not see it, but they would have to have electricity first anyway.

Nutjob Arrested for Threatening Obama

And so the nutjobs, wingnuts, and extremists start with their threats, plots, and schemes. God save and keep safe President Obama and all of our other nation's representatives and their families.
Secret Service agents on Friday arrested a man in Mississippi who wrote a series of entries in an Internet chat room saying he intended to kill President-elect Barack Obama, the Justice Department said. The man, Steven J. Christopher, who is from Wisconsin, was arrested in Brookhaven, Miss., for making threatening entries on Jan. 11, 15 and 16, said Dunn Lampton, the United States attorney in Jackson. [NY Times]
The really dangerous folks are the ones who would not be posting threats online. My guess is this guy is a nutjob wanting attention. Well, he got it.

A Complete Fiction

This is an old New Yorker cartoon, but doesn't it just fit this decession/repression we have? It was just a few months ago that all the Republicans were saying how great things were. We now know they were either just guessing or lying.

The Good Thing Is They Are Now Hiring

But most everything else is wrong with this sign.

As a technical writer, I must admit that I get just ever so anal when it comes to bad signs. You name it: misspellings, bad punctuation, bad grammar, etc. I find myself driving down a road mentally correcting signs as I go. And "they" think cell phone usage is a driving distraction. However, this sign also made me laugh. Obviously inflation there is worse than where I live.

[Photo Source: The Joy of the Mundane]

Tagged by Lisa - No Pee for Me

I have been tagged by Lisa over at That's Why. Since she has threatened to pee on my bottom drawer if I don't pass this meme along, I thought I better get hopping on this one.

The Rules
1. Link to the person who tagged you.
2. Post the rules on your blog.
3. Write six random things about yourself.
4. Tag six people at the end of your post and link to them.
5. Let each person know they’ve been tagged and leave a comment on their blog.
6. Let the tagger know when your entry is up.

Rules 1 and 2 complete (see above).

Rule 3 - Six random things about myself:
I can cook healthy Southern food so good that you would slap your mama.I obsess about my weight. (See number 1 above.)
I'm unemployed and not scared yet, sometimes known as self-delusion.
I recycle. More information will cost you.
I love to travel but rarely have the money to do so. (See number 4 above.)
If I could afford it, I would spend more leisure time at the movies. How would anyone guess that one?
Rule 4 - Tag six people (who will…

How to Weather the Recession

Since I suspected layoffs were coming before I was laid off last week, I had already given thought to how I might ride out this terrible recession even if I could not find a job right away. Here are a few things I am considering. Maybe some of them will be instructive to you. If you can think of other things, please add them as comments here so that I can keep this list in one place.

I do not have much in the way of savings. I do have a fair amount of home equity, and I do have smallish retirement funds.
Take early Social Security this fall after I turn 62. There are a lot of drawbacks to this because of a permanently reduced monthly benefit and limitations on earnings until I reach full retirement age of 66.Refinance my home. I currently have a 15-year mortgage. Interest rates are declining. I could refinance and cut my monthly mortgage payment in half.Exhaust my home equity loan to keep up house payments. Makes sense to me since my current rate on this loan is about 1% lower than my m…

Bishop Gene Robinson to Lead Sunday Invocation at Lincoln Memorial

I previously satirically posted here my belief that Obama's selection of Rick Warren to give the invocation at the inauguration was being over hyped by the LGBTQ community. I hope this news about Gene Robinson reduces the drama, dahling. Now everyone can get their panties out of a wad and put away the ventilators.
President-elect Barack Obama has asked V. Gene Robinson, the openly gay Episcopal bishop of New Hampshire, to deliver the invocation at an inaugural event on Sunday on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.Gay rights advocates saw the move as a way to compensate for Mr. Obama’s decision to give the Rev. Rick Warren, a prominent megachurch pastor from California who opposes same-sex marriage, the high-profile role of delivering the invocation at the inauguration next week.Bishop Robinson advised Mr. Obama on gay rights issues during the campaign. He is the first openly gay bishop in the Episcopal Church, and his consecration in 2003 set off a growing rift in that church’s pare…

A Film Buff's Reflections on the Golden Globes

If you follow my blog with any degree of regularity, you know that I am a movie fan nut. I have been so since I was a child, but now I am choosier about which movies I go to the theaters to watch, in an effort to save money and time. I get tips from friends, such as Sharon (a former film teacher) and from checking the star ratings of Roger Ebert and other critics.

I rarely read reviews before I go to see a film. I just stick with quickly looking at the star ratings. I prefer not to see film trailers either, but those are harder to avoid. My goal is to know just the least information possible about a movie but expecting that I will be seeing a high caliber film. I want the movie to tell me a story without me knowing what is coming. With the advice of friends and my own research, I typically do see most of the award nominees for Best Picture before the awards ceremonies. This is true for both the Golden Globes and the Oscars.

With the Golden Globes, the only Best Motion Picture, Drama th…