Thursday, January 26, 2012

Welcome to the National Corn League.... 

Field of Dreams 2: NFL Lockout with Taylor Lautner from Taylor Lautner

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Rest in peace, Etta.... 

Thursday, January 19, 2012

One example of why the newspaper industry is dying.... 

On Saturday, I received a curious letter in the mail from the publisher of my local newspaper. It trumpeted an "improved" product coming February 1st, the improvement in question being a digital version of the newspaper that you could access on your tablet, smart phone or computer e-mail. For a mere 20 percent increase in the subscription rate, you got this plus full access to their website, which used to be free.

While this sounds lovely, the one thing their letter DIDN'T mention is that EVERYONE'S subscription rate was climbing 20 percent, whether or not you wanted a digital version. I have no cell phone, no portable electronic devices whatsoever, and I gave up on their poorly designed website some time ago. I called their customer service, and there was no option to continue to just get the regular newspaper for a lesser rate than the "deluxe" version.

Seems to me they honestly don't care whether or not you read the printed version of their publication. They are so busy pushing the digital product that they are driving away their traditional readers. People like me.

So I closed my account. I get my last newspaper February 1st. While I will miss one local, one national and three syndicated columnists whose articles run in this paper, I won't miss the rest of it very much. The content had become so poor that it was pretty much a journalistic joke, albeit not a funny one.

But having worked a decade in the newspaper industry, I felt compelled to tell them WHY my account was closed, so I wrote a letter to the editor. I'm pretty sure it won't get printed, but the act of writing it made me feel better. The following is what I sent:

Dear Editor:

Congratulations on placing a nail in the print media coffin. By springing a rather large subscription rate increase upon all your readers, you will discourage many of them from continuing to receive your product. Those who are disabled and/or have fixed incomes may not have portable devices, or even computers, on which to view your digital version. So why are you making them pay for something they will not use?

The quality and quantity of your newspaper has declined precipitously in the five years I have lived in this city. I see duplicate stories in the same edition, articles that end mid-sentence, headlines that don’t match the content of the story, spacing and format issues, poor grammar, and sentences where it is obvious words were left out. Can no one be bothered to even run a spell check? The end result is a publication that is unprofessional and an embarrassment. We are to pay more for that?

I have canceled my subscription. I have asked around, and I am not the only one who will be doing so. I am not fond of the local TV news, but at least they are not asking me to pay more for less.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

It was only a matter of time, heh heh.... 

"Weird: The Al Yankovic Story" from Aaron Paul

This is truly your friend.... 

Got this from But You Don't Look Sick. I can definitely vouch for this product myself:

Bed, BACK, and Beyond: The Original Bed Buddy Back Wrap Product Review

I've had mine for at least 12 years. One of the nice things about it is that you can walk around with it on, handy if you want to stretch a little while your muscles are warming up. I also just put it flat on my pillow and lie in bed with it right behind my neck, helpful after a chiropractic adjustment.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

WWJD about Tebow? 

LOVE it!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Inspiration for the Day, January 15, 2012: 

“Being happy doesn't mean that everything is perfect. It means that you've decided to look beyond the imperfections.”

~Unknown Author~

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Inspiration for the Day, January 14, 2012: 

"Blessed are they who see beautiful things in humble places where other people see nothing."

~Camille Pissarro

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Got Sjogren's? Get this! 

Book Review: "The Sjogren's Book, Fourth Edition", edited by Daniel J. Wallace, M.D.

Sjogren's syndrome is an autoimmune disease that, while not rare, is not widely known. Until tennis star Venus Williams revealed recently that she had been diagnosed with it, most of the general public had not heard of it. That is why this book, published in September, is so necessary.

Sjogren's occurs when the immune system attacks the body's sources of moisture, altering or even destroying function. The most common areas affected are eyes and mouth, but it can also be systemic, involving many parts of the body at once with varying degrees of dryness and/or inflammation. It is classified as a rheumatic disease in the same family as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis. It can be secondary to another disease, or occur as a primary disorder. And it is much more widespread than most would ever suspect, occurring in one of every 70 Americans.

"The Sjogren's Book" is weighty, with 35 chapters and close to 400 pages. But it is the most organized and complete volume I have ever read about the disorder. Each chapter is authored by one or more experts on the subject covered. All relevant fields of medicine are represented. It would be appropriate reference source material for both patients and medical professionals, and any reader would learn something new.

The first segment of the book provides a general introduction and addresses an important question: is Sjogren's truly a syndrome, a group of symptoms without a known source, or a disease, in which we know how the body is affected even if we don't know why it starts? This is the first publication I've read that says science now knows enough about Sjogren's to classify it as a disease. The signs and symptoms are measurable and fairly predictable, enough so that international diagnostic criteria has been established.

The ailment was named after a Swedish ophthalmologist 70 years ago who noted its effects on eyes, mouth and joints. Little progress was made as to discovering the cause until recently, when DNA and other research grew more advanced. The latest findings are covered in this fourth edition in a four-chapter segment on the pathophysiology of Sjogren's. While I must admit some of this information went over my brain-fogged head, what I did grasp was fascinating. And I found the generous sprinkling of illustrations and charts to be quite helpful in improving my understanding of the disease process. I think most medical professionals could benefit immensely from learning this updated material.

The next twelve chapters are dedicated to covering the vast array of symptoms and complications of Sjogren's. The eyes and mouth each have their own chapter, but there are also segments on the internal organs, the central nervous system, gastrointestinal problems, gynecological issues in women, lymphoma, the salivary glands and ears, nose and throat. Also, diseases which most commonly accompany Sjogren's are described. Anyone newly diagnosed needs to read this section because it answers many questions about what Sjogren's can and cannot do to the body. It could also help those who have had the disease a long time recognize whether a new symptom might be a manifestation of existing disease or a different medical problem altogether and seek an appropriate medical specialist if needed. I found it gave me some reassurance that I wasn't imagining certain changes in my functioning, and I was better able to relay these symptoms to my doctor.

Once one knows about the various manifestations of Sjogren's, the logical followup is: what can be done about it? There is no cure, so the focus is generally on symptom management and limitation of disease progression. There are 10 chapters in "The Sjogren's Book" dedicated to treatments. Of particular interest may be the segments on managing fatigue and chronic musculoskeletal pain, as these are problems not widely addressed by the medical profession but nevertheless may be significant. Complementary and alternative therapies are also included so as to present as many reasonable options as possible.

Depending on one's age at diagnosis, most people with Sjogren's can expect to have it for decades. Thus long-term coping skills need to be developed. The final of this book contains five chapters about living with the disease. Subjects include: quality of life; emotional issues; dealing with stress; and recommendations for sex, sleep, surgery and vaccinations. In 2009, Social Security recognized Sjogren's as a potentially disabling ailment, so there is a chapter that covers the effects of disability and what to do if you need to file for and/or continue to receive long-term benefits. Finally, there is a resource manual for web, print and media.

"The Sjogren's Book, Fourth Edition" is the go-to book for the info you need on the disorder, even if you have the previous volumes. I'm going to keep my copy right by the computer and refer to it often.

Saturday, January 07, 2012

Part of my history goes up in smoke.... 

A friend of mine who lives in Topeka, Kansas let me know about this. It happened Thursday evening:

Fire Officials: Blaze At Former WIBW Building Intentionally Set

I worked at WIBW-AM for three and a half years as a technical producer, meaning I did all the behind the scenes stuff during broadcasts. I ran the control board, microphones for hosts, played the commercials, edited and aired pre-recorded material, monitored wire machines and police scanners, and did live weather reports. WIBW was the Topeka affiliate for the Royals Baseball Network, so there were a lot of listeners. It was my first job right out of college, and I was lucky to get it.

I was at work when the World Series was interrupted by an earthquake in San Francisco and had to go on air and ad lib because we lost the network feed and there was no one else to stall until we could get the signal back. I was at work during the student revolution in Beijing, listening to a network reporter get beaten up by the Chinese military during a live broadcast. Two of my co-workers, Aimee Sporer and Jerry Schimmel, went on to be famous in Denver, Aimee on TV news and Jerry as the voice of the Denver Nuggets (Jerry also survived a horrible plane crash in Sioux City).

The building was said to be haunted, but I never saw any evidence of this other than the local wildlife seeming unusually interested in the area. Deer and squirrels were plentiful on the hilltop and would often peer inside to see what I was doing. Even though the building was vacant at the time of the fire and would have been demolished eventually, it's a damned shame someone thought it would be fun to torch it, especially since a firefighter was injured.

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Quite the trio, heh heh.... 

Monday, January 02, 2012

Rave of the Day for January 2, 2012: 

One more post-holiday poem. Like the previous ones, it's from the 2002 archives and probably was forwarded to me by Ducky.....

The Month After Christmas

Twas the month after Christmas,
And all through the house
Nothing would fit me,
Not even a blouse.

The cookies I'd nibbled,
The eggnog I'd tasted
At the holiday parties
Had gone to my waist.

When I got on the scales
There arose such a number!
When I walked to the store
(less a walk than a lumber),

I'd remember the marvelous
Meals I'd prepared;
The gravies and sauces
And beef nicely rare,

The wine and the rum balls,
The bread and the cheese
And the way I'd never said,
"No thank you, please."

As I dressed myself
In my husband's old shirt
And prepared once again
To do battle with dirt---

I said to myself,
As I only can:
"You can't spend a winter
Disguised as a man!"

So--away with the last
Of the sour cream dip,
Get rid of the fruit cake,
Every cracker and chip

Every last bit of food
That I like must be banished
'Til all the additional
Ounces have vanished.

I won't have a cookie--
Not even a lick.
I'll want only to chew
On a long celery stick.

I won't have hot biscuits,
Or corn bread, or pie,
I'll munch on a carrot
And quietly cry.

I'm hungry, I'm lonesome,
And life is a bore---
But isn't that what
January is for?

Unable to giggle,
No longer a riot.
Happy New Year to all
And to all a good diet!

Sunday, January 01, 2012

It's 2012! 


How the rest of the world rang in 2012.... 

Got this link from one of my Facebook friends. Check out the spectacular pix and video:

Here comes 2012! Big Ben lights up the sky with firework display to ring in Olympic new year

My celebration was a bit more sedate. I watched some of the "Twilight Zone" marathon and the last "Thin Man" movie, played the Logo board game, put some rum in my Splenda-sweetened cola (I only do that twice a year), kissed my husband at midnight (first time in five years he was still awake at 12am), and viewed my neighbors' illegal fireworks from the living room.

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