Archive for the ‘Technology’ Category

The Disappearance Of…

January 25, 2011

The Common Core State Standards had omitted cursive writing from its standards, standards that represent a set of expectations for a student’s knowledge and skills that high school graduates need to master to succeed in college and careers. No inference is made that cursive writing is such a standard and has already begun to disappear from some classrooms and in the next few years could be completely phased out in most school systems.

It’s because today’s youth spends most of their time texting or typing on the computer or other such communications device and one teacher in an Athens, Georgia school said she’s had to stop writing in cursive on the board because a lot of her students aren’t able to read it and she has to print.

Perhaps they should also do away with English class and learning how to speak. I mean, it’s becoming such an isolated society anyway…  A prime example; take  the mother and daughter duo I witnessed one night when we were out to eat who sat across from each other, each on their phones, texting away and either completely ignoring each other or maybe they were communicating between themselves with their phones. Who knows?

But what happens when the bottom falls out and computers around the globe crash and cell towers are felled like dead trees and no one can get a signal–how will we communicate? I guess a fingerprint or an iris scan will be the way we’ll identify ourselves since there will no longer be person’s unique signature. I can see it now, running into a celebrity and asking, “Can you fingerprint my autograph book?”

I forgot to mention in my blog yesterday that along with putting the rooms back together after the carpeting went down, we had to cut down 7 doors. Thankfully I just happen to have a table saw tucked away in my bag of tricks. We considered having it done, but at $35 per door, we figured we could do the job ourselves.

You know what else might be on the way out? The use of credit cards. More and more, people are using their iPhones, Droids or Blackberrys to pay at the cash register (now there’s an oxymoron sort of). They can even lend a friend some money by bumping phones. It’s just as well anyway, because who will be able to sign the charge receipt? Michael Abbott, the CEO of Isis, a new mobile payment network told CNNMoney “This is a chance to bring payments forward from the plastic age and the vinyl records age to the digital age.” What happens if your battery is dead? Or you can’t get a signal? Or you’re walking along texting and fall into a fountain like Cathy Cruz Marrero. Come on…..really?

Here’s an aside: the woman has a criminal record and she still has the audacity to threaten the Pennsylvania mall with a lawsuit for untold humiliation after the now fired security guard leaked the footage that has been views more than 3.5 millions times in one week. So, what now?  A ban on texting while walking? Can no one use any logic anymore?

You know what’s NOT disappearing? The snow! Looks like we’re in for more starting tomorrow night and we could get as much as 1-3 or 4-8 inches by Thursday morning. Now how is that for a prediction? Looks like the repair job I did on my mailbox will get an official road test. Maybe I shouldn’t say “road”.

And what’s so bad about vinyl records, Mr. Abbott?

The Green Light

July 20, 2010

Yesterday started off like any other day. I got up, had my coffee, customarily mopped up the trail of water in my basement, decided to work out later in the day after I was sufficiently awake, sat down at my computer and dug into the pile of work that suddenly appeared. Then I answered the phone and was told, “There is a building permit ready for pick-up”. I was nearing the end of one of the projects I was working on so I closed up shop and headed over to town hall with my check, then got myself a sandwich at the deli and called my contractor.

He swung by last night while I was listening to an episode of “My Favorite Husband” on my Droid, through an app (free) called Old Time Radio. They have several genres; mystery, drama, comedy, etc. from the golden days of radio (even the Mercury Theater presentation of War of the Worlds). I chose “Liz Changes Her Mind” which, on television transformed into “Lucy Changes Her Mind”. But many, if not all, of Liz and George Cooper’s antics were rewritten for Lucy and Ricky Ricardo.

Right, so, Lou swung by with the contract to sign and to get his initial deposit and as he looked over the inspection papers; plumbing, electric, etc. he discovered that by ordinance, because of the addition we’re putting on, we now have to have hard-wired smoke detectors in specific spots throughout the main house and the total we came up with is seven and we’re talking around another grand for that alone.

Today started off a little different than any other day and general consensus has it that it might have been from the landing I made jumping off the ledge in the back of the house while we were attending to the other gutter over the weekend. Well, the pain, far up in the groinal area, began last night when I went to get up for a banana flavored bar of Bonomo Turkish Taffy (which tastes like those circus peanut marshmallowy things, which I also enjoy) and I could barely stand on my right leg and had to basically crawl up the stairs to bed. This morning, it feels as though my sciatica is beginning to stir on the other side and so far, during this short time of writing this blog, I’m squirming around to find a comfortable sitting position. But once I’m up and moving about, I’m fine and I got outside to take picture number 1 of the area that’s being worked on so I can keep a better photographic journal of the addition’s progress unlike the upstairs bathroom and I’m still trying to locate some before pics.

Give Me An e. Give Me An i

July 16, 2010

It’s Friday, hooray, but that’s not the only reason to be happy. I made yet another discovery about my Droid that kind of blew my mind. Well, for one thing, thanks to my friend Maria, who also has a Droid, told me that there was an app that made it possible to play my iTunes library on my phone. I downloaded it, registered online and lo and behold, there was my iTunes library. Or what little there was of it. I don’t keep very much stored in the computer because it just uses up memory, but I moved a mess of songs from my eBook into iTunes and I have those songs now. (I need something with an “a”, an “o” and a “u”). The beauty of that is I can change my line up of songs every now and then. But that’s just one of the incredible things I discovered.

A while back, I painstakingly transferred enough 12″ club mix vinyl records from the post-Disco era (mid to late 80’s and some into the early 90’s) to fit onto 36 CD’s, not including the special Donna Summer disc(the 17 minute “Love To Love You, Baby” is a must!) . From there, I imported them onto my iPod. I would do the same with my treasure trove of  (disco) 45’s if only I could find them. I still say the team that installed my central air took them from my attic. Brian, what are records doing in the attic?

Back to my Droid. I was listening to my iTunes playlist the other day when I decided to explore what the “L” in a little box in the top corner of the album art icon that accompanies each song. Would you believe it opens the lyrics to those songs that display the “L”? Even to the 12″ vinyl transfers I made, records from 20 + years ago? I was, and am, well, quite frankly…amazed! There, I said it. Oh, I almost forgot. The name of that app is mSpot.

I got a little nervous last night when I read an article that  my soap opera, One Life To Live was rumored to be on the chopping block once again, like it was last fall. However, according to the article, Brian Frons, head of ABC daytime television said the network was committed to keeping all three of its soaps–All My Children, OLTL and General Hospital–on the air.

From the “I’m still getting water in my basement” department”: There is one more aveune I will try this weekend to see if it might be the cause of the leak. Another downspout, which also empties to the channel beneath the driveway seems to be clogged. I discovered that the other day when the sky opened up. Water was shooting out of every conceivable connection from the gutter down to the ground and water was even bubbling up from where the downspout connects to the underground channel. I’m kind of hoping that somehow the drainage system is clogged (or otherwise deteriorated) and somehow backing up on itself and the water, as water does, is finding it’s own path and that path is a direct line into the basement. Even my contractor guy said it was a very good possibility.

And, finally, this is for your viewing pleasure….you’re welcome! Just get past the first minute or so before things really kick into gear. I have thank Ken for sending this video to me.

I take no responsibility if you end up trying this at home and hurt yourself! Have a great weekend!

The Complete Picture

June 2, 2010

I was playing around with my Droid the other day, during a break in the frenetic pace of this past weekend and thought I’d do some housecleaning and take off some apps that seem to be just taking up space on my phone. I got to the WordPress app (WordPress is the host of this blog) which I found a few weeks ago and installed thinking it might come in handy. But the only use I could see for it was to read the blog (which I can do from the saved link in my favorite internet settings) and read the comments. Well, quite under the wire of deleting the app, I discovered I can actually write my blog using that app, and I think I can also add pictures. I”m gonna give it a shot one of these days and see how it turns out.

I went to the dentist yesterday for a cleaning and my yearly round of X-rays. When we got home from the weekend, I had a message on my phone reminding me. I was surprised because I thought the appointment was for next week. All’s good and he wants to bond two back teeth. While I was there, I had forgotten the subliminal suggestion I’d heard on the radio on the way that on the way back I’d stop at Dunkin Donuts. That is, until we started talking about health and dieting and arthritis (him, not me) and overall lethargy and he had to go an mention donuts, so guess where I ended up afterwards? I was stunned. Stunned to see the price of a single donut costs more than the lowest amount per dozen I can remember from many years ago. 99 cents each. I remember when a dozen was 89 cents! But, did I let that stop me from buying anything? No, it didn’t. In fact, it didn’t stop me so much that I bought 2. I also realize I haven’t updated on the weight-loss log for the last two weeks. Maybe that’s a good thing.

I forgot to mention that over weekend I got points for Gary Coleman, but I lost out on Dennis Hopper. The only thing, though, was that my points for Gary Coleman were cut in half…

Okay, well, here is the rest of that picture I showed you yesterday. I have to say the tornado made quite a hit at the party, everyone was impressed and some even took pictures. The Wicked Witch of the East did the censoring in this picture before I was allowed to show it. I think it might have something to do with a particular previously mentioned “log” . Dorothy didn’t mind. Dorothy was on the way to being half lit and too concerned with not breaking an ankle, or anything else.

An “appy” Day

May 7, 2010

I guess you could say work has officially begun on the addition. Yesterday, after some touch up spackling was applied in a few spots in the bathroom and set to dry, which will be smoothed out and finished off today, the Lou Crew began cutting down the gargantuan lilac bush and the dead cherry tree that saw it’s last bit of life last season on one branch that greened. Again, did I take a starting picture of it to start of that slideshow after the project is complete? No. No, I didn’t.

And I still have to locate that video of the house. Apparently my mind’s eye is blind because that videotape is not where I envisioned it, nor anywhere close by. I guess I’ll have to start looking in unconventional places, like in boxes with other videotapes.

Did you hear the one about the mosque the American Society for Muslim Advancement got the go ahead to build 2 blocks away from ground zero? The decision was met with a high emotional debate among area residents. Hmm. Imagine that!

I officially fell in love with my Motorola Droid last night. I’ve had it for about three weeks and contrary to the ads you see and hear of what Droid does, I found there are a few things that the less powerful phone I just replaced did that Droid doesn’t, namely play animated .gif files like Mona Lisa’s interpretation of Janet Jackson’s wardrobe malfunction. I understand, though, that might be corrected shortly. But I found an app called Where, which I wish I had found on the trip to Illinois last week. It ties in to the phone’s GPS and can give you the current weather (and extended forecast), traffic conditions, like construction delays, it can find local restaurants, etc for every cuisine, movies (theaters and movie times, descriptions and trailers), local attractions and events (where applicable). I was pretty much stupefied; it found the two Dunkin’ Donuts near me and the one grocery store I won’t go into, as well as Mr. Tod’s Bakery, where we first learned of lemon chess pie, which he never has anymore anytime you go in to get one and even the Cuban restaurant, Martino’s not far from here and tons of other things. And it was FREE! Unfortunately I don’t have any immediate travel plans to be able to put it to the test outside my area.

On the heels of Mother’s Day this weekend, today is National Roast Leg of Lamb Day. Hmm, I haven’t taken anything out of the freezer yet to have for dinner…

Gotta run. Got tons of work to get through before my weekend starts.

Sometimes A Nail Is Just A Nail

February 5, 2010

I was planning on blogging about a man on my roof yesterday morning. Then, I thought about the near sentimental loss of a nail. And while I was thinking of just how to bring them into the conversation, I found two things online that I could also mention. So, what does one do in a case like this? One puts to use his long windedness and talks about it all. It’s Friday, it’s supposed to snow like the dickens today, so sit back, relax and read.

Before I go on, I have to mention the passing of legendary actress Frances Reid, who portrayed Grandma Alice Horton on the soap opera Days Of Our Lives, the role she created when the show premiered in 1965 and played until her final screen appearance in 2007, even though her presence was “felt” since, thanks to clever script writing. The official cause of death of the 95 year old actress, which occurred on Wednesday, has not yet been disclosed.

Oh, and how’s this? Because of a mixup with our Unilazies that I was talking about yesterday, the vendor contacted Ariel by email, who in turn replied and mentioned I had blogged about it. The vendor guy, David, then emailed me, because I was copied on the entire transaction and gave me a complimentary compliment on my blog and hoped that after we tried them out I would post a favorable review.

History? Or a despicable attempt to exalt a filthy past? If you haven’t heard, a new popular iPhone app is being removed after legal threats against iMussolini. The app allows users to download speeches and video clips of the former Italian dictator. The legal matter comes from the from the film institute where the images came from, whose representative says the application is an aberration, far removed from the educational purposes for which the clips should be used. Jewish groups and holocaust survivors say it’s offensive that it legitimizes fascism and is the rehabilitation of Mussolini. Well, yes, all the atrocities of WWII are offensive, but to say the educational value is offensive is ridiculous. Education, in no matter what topic, should never be thought of as offensive. Learning is living even if sometimes the lesson is a harsh one. Should history books be rewritten? Should TV’s History Channel never speak of ‘history’ again? Should everyone who has learned about it have a lobotomy to wipe if from their memories? Keeping the past hidden doesn’t mean it never happened. Personally, I think some people just have to much to say. Apps are optional to buy. Don’t buy it if you don’t want it on your own phone. It’s as easy as that, like changing the channel on TV or the radio dial when you’re not enjoying what’s on, like say, for instance The Jersey Shore. That kind of legitimizes people’s eagerness to watch stupid television shows. I don’t like it, so I don’t watch it. Grow up, people…try freedom of choice.  Apple says it will reinstitute the app once the matter is cleared up.

I was working yesterday morning and through the office window I saw a truck backing up at the bottom of my driveway, up against my garage. What the…. I put on my “I’m ready for fight going outside clothes” and by the time I went out to see what the hubbub was, the guy was up on the roof. I couldn’t see him at first but I could hear him. I didn’t want to shout and startle him because then I’d have to deal with “mangled man” after he stumbled and fell. Then I heard a familiar sound, the sound of a Mylar band snapping into its casing. Then I caught sight of the contractor guy who was working next door and it turns out it was his guy taking measurements so he can work up an estimate for a new roof along with the addition we’re hoping to put on the house.

You know I finally filled out my wall calendar–I think I mentioned it a few blogs back–and it hangs on a nail in the kitchen, that doesn’t exactly fit so tightly into the plaster wall like it once did, but we know that and we’re careful. Last night, by accident, the calendar got knocked into, jarring the nail f rom the wall. Couldn’t find it, couldn’t find it. Maybe because I had shoes on, because you know, one barefoot trip through the kitchen and I would have found it. It’s the same principle that makes food container covers fall food encrusted bottom down on the floor. Armed with a flashlight, I lowered myself to the floor to look underneath the hutch and I found the nail, with my knee. That nail was in the wall when we bought the house and it’s been holding my calendars in that spot ever since, now over 11 years. I know, it’s just a nail, but this is the kind of person you’re dealing with.

On that note, let me just say “LET’S GO NEW ORLEANS SAINTS!” 

Round And Round To The Poor House…or To Hell!

February 4, 2010

In Warsaw, Poland, a priest installed an electronic fingerprint reader to monitor the schoolchildren’s attendance at mass. Over three years, the students will mark their fingerprints and if they attend 200 masses, they will be freed of the obligation to pass an exam prior to their confirmation. The kids like it, they say, because it saves time of having to wait in line to get the priest’s signature that they attended mass. I’m gonna go to Hell for this, but it was he, Grzegorz Sowa, the priest who invented the fingerprint reader, who was probably tired of signing off on all the students’ attendance. And if I’m not going to Hell for that, then it’ll probably be for the time I refused to make an offering in a Catholic church during a confirmation ceremony I was attending. When it came to the part when the priest was offering communion to the congregation, he actually announced that anyone who was not Catholic to not bother going up. Well, that put my back right up, especially since the collection plate was making its way toward me as I sat in an insulted funk. And if I’m not going to Hell for that, then it’ll be for something, I’m sure.

Really, wouldn’t you like to just do this to somebody…anybody, sometimes?

Go directly to jail, do not collect two million dollars.  Wait, no, two hundred, right? Nope, not any more, not in the newest version of the board game Monopoly.  Monopoly is turning 75 years old and to celebrate, it’s getting a facelift and, apparently, a larger budget. Among some of the changes, besides what you can collect for passing “Go”. Purchases and rents will be paid for with credit cards and the banker is now electronic.  The iconic metal game pieces are now plastic pieces with images of the original pieces on them. And there will be sound effects like a jail cell door closing and there is also music such as Elton John’s “Rocket Man” and Daniel Powter’s “Bad Day”.  Oh yeah, and the board is now round.


Yesterday, Ariel sent me a link to something that started out being a joke, the UniLazy, something he thought would fit perfectly along the lines of the ludicrous Snuggie or a Slanket, but I immediately took it as a more practical item and after a moment of consideration, he, too, saw its usefulness…for camping. It can get cold up there in the mountains, even in July and August. Why, we’ve had nights that were in the high 30’s. Once you’re away from the huge bonfire, that chill goes right through you. Not to mention half the time we’re dodging the rain, but this is a story about the cold. So, right away, when I mentioned how great they’d be for camping, we ordered up two of them. This pink is just one of the colors it comes in, but we opted for a little more subtlety and got a black one and a gray one. What you don’t see in the picture is the zippered rear trap door. And the front fly is a dual system so that you don’t have to undo the entire front to do your business (provided you’re a guy) and you can still stay warm. The only thing that wouldn’t be cool would be sewn-in feet only because what would you do with them when it’s wet and muddy (as it inevitably will be, to be sure). But these don’t have them

And click below to see what those two nutty newts were up to last night.

Weekend Wrap-up

December 18, 2009

Whoever took the mile marker from Cemetery Road in Wantage, please return it. Don’t you realize the world is in enough turmoil now that Elin Nordegren Woods has been seen at a Florida gas station without her wedding ring?  After all, the woman is filing for divorce from that suddenly reclusive golf-pro husband of hers. I’m sure in the end, though, when all is said and done, even with the pre-nup or the “re-nup” as he is trying to finagle, Tiger will probably still get to keep his golf clubs, but Elin is gonna get his balls.

Can you believe someone absconded with a headstone-looking mile marker that dates back about 200 years from a road in Wantage, in Sussex County, NJ? The stone, with a carving that reads, “48 miles to Hoboken or Jersey City” has been missing for about three weeks. Wayne McCabe, the county historian, says the marker was most likely on the side of one of the new privately owned turnpikes around the beginning of the 19 th century and money was collected from drivers of horse drawn vehicles; farmers carrying products to markets in Jersey City or Hoboken and stagecoaches carrying travelers. When people didn’t want to pay the toll, they would use other roads that was far less maintained and a rougher ride. Kind of like the turnpike we have today, except you pay a toll and it’s a rough ride. The worst of both worlds. Honestly, if you know of its whereabouts, you can call Jim Doherty, the administrator for Wantage, at 973-875-7192 or contact his office at  (By the way, these thumbnail pictures are working)

“Let him that would move the world first move himself”–Socrates  “Aaayy” – Arthur Herbert Fonzarelli

4-year old Taylor “Tater Tot” Pugh from Dallas, Texas, has been suspended from pre-kindergarten because his hair is a little longer than the school says it should be; it covers his earlobes and shirt collar. I would hope it would cover his earlobes if it’s long enough to cover his shirt collar otherwise he’d have more things to worry about than having long hair…just sayin’. He’s not allowed to play any games with his schoolmates because of it and has spent his in-school suspension sidelined with the teacher’s aid since late last month. Hmm, that was like, two weeks ago. Did his hair all of sudden grow out of control like a Beautiful Chrissy doll? Good, who wants to play stupid dodge ball, anyway? It’s no good for kids anymore anyway. They might get hurt. Or have fun. Tut tut.

You know what, let’s go back to the sun for a moment. Last night, I made a conscious effort to look at the sky at 5pm and it was really rather light. A thought came to me about it. Maybe the earth’s axis has shifted since those days 30 years ago I remember it being dark at 4pm. I saw Donna’s comment that maybe it has to do with the time change coming later, but even so, the time would have been changed by now and the winter solstice is still  3 days away. Also, considering how the weather pattern has shifted (staying colder longer after the winter is over and staying warmer further into the fall) maybe the earth’s axis has shifted and maybe that, not car exhaust and empty plastic bottles in landfills, is the reason for “global warming”.  After all, how much pollution was around during the ice age?  How many dinosaurs were protesting. “Stop global freezing. Think about the children!” If there are any scientists out there, can you get on this and get back to me?

What else is there I can talk about. There’s a house in Sydney, Australia, that rotates, guaranteeing the family a new view every time they wake up. Luke Everingham came up with the idea after talking with neighbors who wished their houses were angled more to catch the sun. The octagonal house sits on a rotating platform whose motor is controlled by a computer (of course). The house can do a complete rotation in as little as 30 minutes or as much as two hours depending on the speed. And, whoops, how convenient when the house is “docked” facing the tall blonde next door. “Sorry, computer glitch. I’ll have that fixed in a jiffy.”  Just sayin’. They even have their own website. Click here to see it.

And here it is, the end of a stressful work week and so close to Christmas and you probably need a release. Here it is. Have a great weekend!


Hair’s A King’s Ransom

October 22, 2009

There was an auction this past weekend in Chicago, at the Leslie Hindman Auction House where many Elvis Presley items were up for bidding. There were more than 200 items on the auction block from the collection of the late Gary Pepper, president of the Tankers Fan Club, which was created for Elvis Presley fans. The items included the requisite bounty of signed photos, record albums, and assorted other memorabilia. It also included a shirt, worn by Elvis, valued at $52,000. (That can’t be right, can it? Good grief, my car didn’t cost that much). And besides the shirt, there was a lock of hair, that was anticipated to rake in between 8 and 12 thousand dollars. The clump of hair, is said to be from the historic 1958 shearing of the King’s mane when he was recruited into the army. The auction house did not conduct a DNA test on the hair but stated thatelvis hair John Reznikoff, an expert in celebrity hair authentication, says it matches an Elvis hair he has in his own collection. Thank goodness, because I’m not so sure I’d appreciate plopping down that kind of money, $18,300, on a clump hair that didn’t once grace the head of The King.

More than $300,000 was made during the auction, but that money is being held in escrow until a claim by John Tate and Norma Deeble, cousins to the Gary Pepper is ironed out that the memorabilia was stolen by their late relative’s caretaker, Nancy Pease Whitehead when Pepper, who suffered from cerebral palsy, was moved to a home for the disabled people. What if…oh, man, the controversy…imagine…what if she replaced the original clump of hair with imposter black hair. That would mean all those bids would have been senseless. Oh no, never mind, it was authenticated. I forgot. And look, there’s a picture of Elvis, that must mean it’s really his hair.

There’s a prototype of a new device called The Rationalizer being tested in Amsterdam by Philips Electronics. It’s main aim is to sense online day traders’ stress levels so they can…take a time out and calm down and regroup. The user wears an EmoBracelet (emo being short for emotion or emotional) and when it senses stress it lights up a an EmoBowl that flickers in colors from yellow to red as intensity grows. It’s the mood ring of the new millennium. I don’t need a mood ring or a Rationalizer to tell me when I’m stressed. I usually get that dull echoing thud of blood pounding in my ears and that kind of psychedelic black swirling clouding my vision. That more or less tells me I need to back away. And if I don’t pay attention to those indicators, what makes anyone think I’m gonna listen to an EmoBowl. At least I can ignore myself for free. The product is not currently in production but the prototype is part of an effort to technologically help people cope with stress. Like a nice cattle prod.



And then there’s the story of the Tree House Man, Michael Chapman from Worcester, Massachusetts. After three months of physical labor and nearly $12,000, he’s got until November 2 to tear it all down. The reason? It violates a city ordinance because it is higher than 15′ (it towers at 50′) and it is within 5 feet of a property line.  The elaborate structure, which is made of more than a ton of pressure treated lumber, 500 lag screws and nuts, 1,000 feet of jute rope and 48 feet of rebar, that can securely support several adults at one time, caused one neighbor to threaten to burn it down with or without Chapman in it. During all the construction, as neighbors complained, Chapman kept working on his boyhood dream, even adorning it with a plaque that reads  “Heart Of Oak”. The commissioner of the city’s Department of Inspectional Services fears the treehouse would be an “attractive nuisance” like a swimming pool without a fence and that kids could hurt themselves not to mention the possibility of Chapman climbing the structure with binoculars to spy on his neighbors. So now with his time running out to dismantle his creation, he faces a daily fine of $300 for each day beyond  November 2.   Boo! Hiss!

Special Delivery

October 21, 2009

What a beautiful day it was yesterday, wasn’t it? I was only somewhat aware of how nice it was as I saw the sun shining through my office window against a sky the color of blue chrome until I went out to get my mail and breathed in the unexpectedly warm autumn air. I crossed my front lawn, my feet slightly rolling over the blanket of fallen acorns, too many even for the deer to keep up with. To my surprise, the mailbox was full, almost to the point of overflowing, mostly with glossy mail order catalogs and a few assorted first class envelopes; bills and such. The stack was easily a hefty three inches thick. I grabbed the stack and instantly panic, fear and virtual heart failure ensued at the sight of the spider with the one inch leg span that went flurrying across the top of the stack. How the mail ended up back in the box as opposed to the lawn is a mystery to me, and I hesitated for moment, thinking what to do. Leave it? Bring it into the house? If so, how? Carry it? I chose to bring it in, eschewing a momentary thought of getting a pair of work gloves and carried it between the thumb and forefinger of one hand, stretched out at my side as far as I could get it. I didn’t want to walk too fast for fear of all that slick mail sliding out of my grasp, but I didn’t want to take too much time in case that infernal creature was still with me and give it time to attack. I got to the front door and dropped the mail onto the floor and I proceeded to shake out every envelope and catalog…TWICE until I was moderately confident I was critter free.  I then went out with a flashlight to investigate to see if it was still in the box, but against the glaring sun, the flashlight was futile.  With the mail still splayed across the foyer floor, I returned outside a third time , this time with a can of Ortho spider spray and doused the interior of my mailbox. Hopefully I got that S.O.B. and I can only hope my mailman isn’t puffing on a cigarette when he comes today. To be on the safe side, in case it was still hiding between the pages of my Popcorn Factory cataloge, I placed the stack of mail on the floor as opposed to ritualistically on my red chair.  And it goes without saying, I’m apprehensive about picking up my mail later on today.

In other news, in Dayton, Tennessee, it looks like teachers have a new high tech sort of teacher’s pet. Grade Cam. Whatever you might be thinking this is, you might be right. Its one more technological marvel that has wormed its way into the classroom among the likes of movie projectors and wireless keyboards and teachers are really excited about it. It’s a camera that takes a picture of students’ tests and grades them. One teacher assures that it won’t be used 100% of the time for 100% of the assignments, but that it will give the children practice for standardized tests. Another teacher exclaimed that the thing she likes most about it is the time it would free up for her aid to work with the kids in the class. Aha!

Two things about this baffle me. One, if  teaching is one of the more underappreciated and underpaid professions, how can school systems justify such silliness?  And to that end, the second thing that perplexes me is, that if teachers are so underpaid, how can they abide by this, knowing their salaries are being spent so foolishly? And to those teachers so gung-ho over this new innovation I ask, why can’t they grade papers at night, at home?  Is Dancing With The Stars that important? Are teachers that disconnected with their students that they can’t even grade papers without the help of some piece of technology? Is isolationism now being taught in schools, starting with the teachers not having a bond with the kids? And why does she need an aid? What is she so busy not doing that she can’t teach a class by herself? And why is the aid grading papers in the first place? Let her get a class of her own to teach.

Think you’ve seen it all? Think again. Well, you know about the Snuggie, the blanket with sleeves, available in bright enticing colors; Royal blue, burgundy and sage green. Then we got a choice of wild and vivacious leopard or zebra prints. What else could there be? Well, this:



How humiliating, yet lucky at the same time. They get custom made sizes, while we have to deal with one size fits all. Coming soon, kitty snuggies and ones to fit your parakeet and your goldfish. That would be the wash and wear version. But would your parakeet be able to work the TV remote?  

  doggie snuggie  Pathetic!