Thursday, August 31, 2006

Useful Information

>> A corporate attorney sent the following out to the
>> employees in his
>> company.
>> >
>> > 1. The next time you order checks have only your
>> initials (instead of
>> first name) and last name put on them. If someone
>> takes your checkbook,
>> they will not know if you sign your checks with just
>> your initials or
>> your first name, but your bank will know how you
>> sign your checks.
>> >
>> > 2. Do not sign the back of your credit cards.
>> Instead, put "PHOTO ID
>> >
>> > 3. When you are writing checks to pay on your cr
>> edit c ard accounts,
>> DO NOT put the complete account number on the "For"
>> line. Instead, just
>> put the last four numbers. The credit card company
>> knows the rest of the
>> number, and anyone who might be handling your check
>> as it passes through
>> all the check-processing channels will not have
>> access to it.
>> >
>> > 4. Put your work phone # on your checks instead of
>> your home phone. If
>> you have a PO Box, use that instead of your home
>> address. If you do not
>> have a PO Box, use your work address. Never have
>> your SS# printed on
>> your checks, (DUH!). You can add it if it is
>> necessary. However, if you
>> have it printed, anyone can get it.
>> >
>> > 5. Place the contents of your wallet on a
>> photocopy machine. Do both
>> sides of each license, credit card, etc. You will
>> know what you had in
>> your wallet and all of the account numbers and phone
>> numbers to call and
>> cancel. Keep the photocopy in a safe place. Also
>> carry a phot ocopy of
>> your passport when traveling either here or abroad.
>> We have all heard
>> horror stories about fraud that is committed on us
>> in stealing a name,
>> address, Social Security number, credit cards.
>> >
>> > 6. When you check out of a hotel that uses cards
>> for keys (and they
>> all seem to do that now), do not turn the "keys" in!
>> . Ta k e them with
>> you and destroy them. Those little cards hav e on
>> them all of the
>> information you gave the hotel, including address
>> and credit card
>> numbers and expiration dates. Someone with a card
>> reader, or employee of
>> the hotel, can access all that information with no
>> problem whatsoever.
>> >
>> > Unfortunately, as an attorney, I have first hand
>> knowledge because my
>> wallet was stolen last month. Within a week, the
>> thieve(s) ordered an
>> expensive monthly cell phone package, applied for a
>> VISA credit card,
>> had a credit line approved to buy a Gateway computer
>> and received a PIN
>> number from DMV to change my driving record
>> information online. Here is
>> some critical information to limit the damage in
>> case this happens to
>> you or someone you know:
>> >
>> > 1. We have been told we should cancel our credit
>> cards immediately.
>> The key is having the toll free numbers and your
>> card numbers handy so
>> you know whom to call. Keep those where you can find
>> them.
>> >
>> >
>> > 2. File a police report immediately in the
>> jurisdiction where your
>> > credit cards, etc., were stolen. This proves to
>> credit providers you
>> > were diligent, and this is a first step toward an
>> investigation (if
>> > there ever is one). However, here is what is
>> perhaps most important of
>> > all (I never even thought to do this.)
>> >
>> > 3. Call the three national credit reporting
>> organizations immediately
>> to place a fraud alert on your name and Social
>> Security number. I had
>> never heard of doing that until advised by a bank
>> that called to tell me
>> an application for credit was made over the Internet
>> in my name. The
>> alert means any company that checks your credit
>> knows your information
>> was stolen, and they have to contact you by phone to
>> authorize new
>> credit. By the time I w as adv ised to do this,
>> almost two weeks after
>> the theft, all the damage had been done. There are
>> records of all the
>> credit checks initiated by the thieves' purchases,
>> none of which I knew
>> about before placing t he alert . Since then, no
>> additional damage has
>> been done, and the thieves threw my wallet away this
>> weekend (someone
>> turned it in). It seems to have stopped them dead in
>> their tracks.
>> >
>> > Now, here are the numbers you always need to
>> contact about your wallet
>> and contents being stolen:
>> >
>> > 1.) Equifax: 1-800-525-6285
>> > 2.) Experian (formerly T RW): 1 -888-397-3742
>> > 3.) TransUnion: 1-800-680-7289
>> > 4.) Social Security Administration (fraud line):
>> 1-800-269-0271

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Another Stupid Criminal

When a man attempted to siphon gasoline from a motor home parked on a Seattle street, he got much more than he bargained for. Police arrived at the scene to find an ill man curled up next to a motor home near spilled sewage. A police spokesman said that the man admitted to trying to steal gasoline and plugged his hose into the motor home's sewage tank by mistake. The owner of the vehicle declined to press charges, saying that it was the best laugh he'd ever had.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Don't You Love the ACLU?

A Rhode Island state trooper who apprehended 14 illegal immigrants during a traffic stop is being investigated at the request of a renowned “civil rights” organization that claims the officer had no right to ask for identification.

During a routine traffic stop in Richmond’s Route 95, Trooper Thomas Chabot asked the driver as well as the passengers in a van for identification, a department procedure. When 14 of the passengers could not provide valid identification, the officer called Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials.

As it turns out, the 14 passengers were found by federal authorities to be in the U.S. illegally and now face deportation. This outraged the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), an advocate of open borders and rights for illegal immigrants.

The ACLU went so far as to accuse the trooper of “egregious racial profiling” and overstepping his authority by taking immigration enforcement into his own hands. The organization’s Rhode Island affiliate filed a complaint this week, forcing the officer to be investigated.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Useless Information

With thanks to Snapple

Mosquitoes have 47 teeth...

I wonder who counted them and why do they need these teeth?

Monday, August 21, 2006

Good to See Some Things Returning to Normal

Mismatched Sox
HRs in 10th give Yankees another win

By Gordon Edes, Globe Staff | August 21, 2006

Jonathan Papelbon has saved more games in a season than any Red Sox rookie ever, saved more games than Keith Foulke did in the World Series year, saved more games than anyone had a reasonable right to expect.

But when called upon last night to save a season -- the Red Sox one out away from stalling a relentless Yankee march toward October -- Papelbon came face to face with Derek Jeter.

Jeter claimed another victim, spoiling an otherwise sizzling performance by Papelbon (a career-high five strikeouts) with an opposite-field single that floated to right field and fell a few feet in front of Gabe Kapler. That hit scored Melky Cabrera, who had opened the ninth with a double and taken third on a wild pitch, and tied the score at 5.

Mariano Rivera pitched out of a bases-loaded jam in the bottom of the ninth and the teams went into extras.

Jason Giambi (5 RBIs) hit his second home run of the night, and 36th of the season, off Craig Hansen to open the 10th, Jorge Posada followed with a two-run homer, and the Bombers made it four straight wins over the Sox with an 8-5 triumph.

With 39 games to play, the Sox fell 5 1/2 games behind the Yankees in the American League East while remaining 4 games behind the White Sox in the wild-card race.

In his last 10 appearances dating to July 29, Hansen has allowed 13 earned runs in 10 1/3 innings with an ERA of 11.32.

``Stunned," said Boston starter Curt Schilling, who left with a 5-3 lead and pitched seven strong innings despite a 57-minute rain delay.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Just When I Finally Switch from VCRs to DVDs....

Warner Home Video's New Blu-ray and HD DVD Titles

Warner Home Video says they are going to debut Blu-ray HD versions of Lethal Weapon, Firewall, Blazing Saddles and Full Metal Jacket. On September, the 12th 4 more HD DVD titles will be issued by Warner: Troy, Lethal Weapon 2, House of Wax and Space Cowboys.

Troy will get HD DVD with In-Movie Experience (IME). IME is a new interactive feature allowing viewers to enjoy new ways of accessing interviews and other material - while the movie is running. Troy's IME has director Wolfgang Petersen and his creative team leading the viewer on an audio-visual tour of their epic recreations of Greece and Troy.

Warner Home Video HD DVDs and Blu-ray Discs offer resolution 6 times higher than standard definition DVDs, as well as extraordinarily vibrant contrast and color and beautifully crisp sound. The new formats also provide a higher level of interactivity, with instant access to extra features via a seamless menu-bar where viewers can enjoy features without leaving or interrupting the film.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Blue Suede Shoes

50th Anniversary of the day Elvis died

By the beginning of 1977, when he turned 42, Elvis Presley had become a grotesque caricature of his sleek, energetic former self. Hugely overweight, his mind dulled by the pharmacopoeia he daily ingested, he was barely able to pull himself through his abbreviated concerts.

One March night in Norman, Oklahoma, during his second tour of the year, he fell asleep in the middle of dinner, almost choking on his food. “Is there much more time left?” wrote an aide in his diary. At about this time Elvis’s staff drew up a contingency plan for smuggling his body back home to Graceland, his Memphis mansion, in case they needed to cover up a fatal overdose on the road.

Three nights after Norman, Elvis was in Alexandria, Louisiana, where a local journalist complained that the star was on stage for less than an hour and “was impossible to understand.” At the next stop, in Baton Rouge, Presley didn’t go on at all. He was unable to get out of his hotel bed, and his manager, Col. Tom Parker, cancelled the rest of the tour.

In mid-April Elvis flew to Las Vegas; according to his cousin and close aide Billy Smith, the reason for the trip was to get prescriptions from a Las Vegas doctor. The singer had had a tiff with his Memphis physician and chief prescriber, Dr. George Nichopoulos, and was tapping another source.

On April 21 the year’s third tour began, a Midwestern swing. The reviews “ranged from concern for his health to perplexity over how little he seemed to care,” writes Presley’s most assiduous biographer, Peter Guralnick; according to a Detroit journalist, Elvis “stunk the joint out” in that city. Fans, too, Guralnick writes, “were becoming increasingly voluble about their disappointment, but it all seemed to go right past Elvis, whose world was now confined almost entirely to his room and his [spiritualism] books.” And, one might add, to his tranquilizers and sedatives.

When the next tour started, in Knoxville, Tennessee, on May 20, “there was no longer any pretense of keeping up appearances,” Guralnick writes. “The idea was simply to get Elvis out onstage and keep him upright for the hour he was scheduled to perform.” So it went for the rest of that spring, with Presley stumbling and lurching through show after show. One June concert in Omaha was especially bad; to Guralnick, listening to a recording made of the show, Elvis “gives the impression of a man crying out for help when he knows help will not come.” As the tour promoter Tom Hulett said, “It was like he was saying, ‘Okay, here I am, I’m dying, f--- it.’”

From the end of June through July and into mid-August, Presley stayed at home, rarely leaving his bedroom. Sometimes his girlfriend, Ginger Alden, was with him, sometimes not; it was an on-and-off relationship. After sunrise on August 16, he and Ginger went to bed (he kept an inverted schedule). At about 8 a.m. he still hadn’t fallen asleep, and he told Ginger he was going into the bathroom to read. Awaking at about 1:30 p.m., she found herself alone in bed and went to check on him. Entering the bathroom, she found him lying on the carpet, his face in a puddle of vomit. There was a bathroom intercom; she called downstairs and told a bodyguard that something was horribly wrong. Within minutes the bathroom was crowded with people “surrounding the almost unrecognizable body,” Guralnick writes. “[Presley’s] face was swollen and purplish, the tongue was discolored and sticking out of his mouth, the eyeballs blood red.” An ambulance sped him to Baptist Memorial Hospital, where efforts to revive him were futile. He was pronounced dead at 3:30 p.m.

The autopsy, which began at 7 p.m., was still going on when the Shelby County medical examiner, Dr. Jerry Francisco, told the gathered press that Elvis Presley had died of cardiac arrhythmia. This was the sanitized version, which Francisco would stick to. Meanwhile, Baptist Hospital sent blood and other fluid and tissue samples to Bio-Science Laboratories in California, one of the nation’s top toxicology labs. Bio-Science found 14 drugs in Elvis’s system, 10 in significant quantities. Codeine was present at 10 times the therapeutic level, methaqualone (Quaalude) at a toxic level, and three others on the toxic borderline. The conclusion was clear: Elvis died from polypharmacy, or the simultaneous use of multiple drugs. Actually, as Charles Thompson and James Cole point out in their book The Death of Elvis, “the codeine alone, in lower concentrations than Elvis’s, had put people in their graves.”

On the evening of August 16 the body was taken to Memphis Funeral Home for burial preparations. The next morning Presley was brought back to Graceland, where 50,000 people had already gathered outside the gates. Thirty National Guardsmen, 80 policemen, and 40 sheriff’s deputies were there to control the crowd, and three police helicopters hovered overhead. South Central Bell asked Memphians to keep phone calls to a minimum; the circuits were overloaded.

A viewing was scheduled for 3 p.m., to last until 5. The open coffin sat in Graceland’s foyer, just inside the front door, and fans filed past four abreast. Several mourners fainted beside the coffin; outside in the 90-degree heat hundreds more fainted. “Many, revived with rubber gloves filled with ice, staggered back into the crowd and fainted again,” said a wire-service report. At 5 p.m. the viewing was extended for another 90 minutes. At 6:30 an estimated 10,000 fans were still waiting to view the body, but the police closed Graceland’s gates. The crowd thinned, though thousands remained overnight.

The funeral service was held at Graceland at 2 p.m. on August 18. Presley was eulogized by C. W. Bradley, a local minister, who said, “Elvis would not want anyone to think that he had no flaws or faults. But now that he’s gone, I find it more helpful to remember his good qualities, and I hope you do, too.” Then a 49-car cortege, including 17 white Cadillacs, accompanied the body to Forest Hill cemetery. The road was lined with at least 15,000 fans. After a brief service the body was interred. Eleven days after the funeral there was a bungled attempt to steal the corpse, and in late October both Presley and his mother, Gladys, were reburied at Graceland, where they remain.

So many millions of words have been written about the trajectory of Elvis’s life that it’s impossible to say anything really original. Contemplating his depleted final months, one’s mind inevitably turns to the vibrant music of his youth, “That’s Alright,” “Blue Suede Shoes,” and dozens more, or even to the less assured but passionate songs of his brief reflowering, circa 1968 to ’70, “Suspicious Minds,” “If I Can Dream,” and so on. We have these recordings forever, and the sad later stumblings and sordid death can never erase them, or dim the brightness they radiate.

Not that remembering past glories necessarily consoled the forty-something Elvis, who must have lived with an especially acute sense of how far he had fallen. But surely, escaping now and then from his unhappiness, his narcotized fog, he found some fugitive moments of pride in the way he had so effortlessly tapped into our unconscious yearning for freedom and redirected the path of modern American culture.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Coast Guard turns 216

Coast Guard Day
To the Men and Women of the Coast Guard:

Today marks the 216th Birthday of our Coast Guard. This anniversary offers us a moment to celebrate our rich history, reflect on our past and focus on our future. The Coast Guard’s unique legacy as America’s lifesaver and maritime guardian evolved from the selfless courage and unflinching determination of our predecessors. It is in their honor that we celebrate today.

In 1790, Congress authorized secretary of the treasury Alexander Hamilton to build a fleet of ten cutters to secure our freedom and protect our coast. For the next eight years, the Revenue Marine was the nation’s only naval force. Over time, it evolved and acquired new responsibilities to meet the growing needs of a democracy in the early years of a new nation.

The world has changed dramatically since 1790 and continues to change with every day. The global war on terrorism, the Maritime Transportation Security Act, The Homeland Security Act, the National Strategy for Homeland Security, and the National Strategy for Maritime Security have given the Coast Guard additional areas of mission emphasis. Meeting those new maritime security demands, while sustaining the trust and confidence of the public we serve in preserving our maritime safety and exercising our maritime stewardship duties, requires us to continually challenge ourselves and improve the way we do business. By focusing on superior mission execution in all that we do, our active duty, reserve, civilian and auxiliary men and women are meeting these challenges head on, often times in unique and innovative ways. I am proud of these tremendous efforts and your hard work.

With the arrival of our 217th year of continuous service, we can look forward to the promise of more opportunities to serve America, and even more challenges. I reaffirm my commitment to each of you on this special day to ensure that our Coast Guard men and women are the most versatile workforce in government, equipped with the most capable fleet of ships, aircraft and boats, along with the most effective systems that will support them. We have an extraordinary legacy of excellence as America’s Coast Guard. We will build on that legacy. We will rise to meet the challenges facing us. And we will remain always ready.
Birthday Congratulations

Happy Birthday and Semper Paratus!

Admiral Thad Allen

Sunday, August 13, 2006

When Your Hut's on Fire....

The only survivor of a shipwreck was washed up on a small, uninhabited island.
He prayed feverishly for God to rescue him. Every day he scanned the horizon
for help, but none seemed forthcoming. Exhausted, he eventually managed to
build a little hut out of driftwood to protect himself from the elements, and to
store his few possessions.

One day, after scavenging for food, he arrived home to find his little hut in flames,
with smoke rolling up to the sky. He felt the worst had happened,and everything was
lost. He was stunned with disbelief, grief, and anger.

He cried out, "God! How could you do this to me?"

Early the next day, he was awakened by the sound of a ship approaching the island.
It had come to rescue him.

"How did you know I was here?" asked the weary man of his rescuers.

"We saw your smoke signal," they replied.

The Moral of This Story: It's easy to get discouraged when things are going bad,
but we shouldn't lose heart, because God is at work in our lives, even in the midst
of our pain and suffering.

Remember that the next time your little hut seems to be burning to the ground.
It just may be a smoke signal that summons the Grace of God.

P.S. You may want to consider passing this on, because you never know who feels
that their Hut is on fire today.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

My Daughter's Favorite Celebrity

If it isn't already hard enough having an 11-year-old daughter...what happens when her favorite celebrity, Lindsay Lohan, is constantly in the news...not for her acting skills but for her drinking excesses?

Reclamation Project

For current posts go to here.