Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Scene It?

Have you been to a movie lately? They've almost managed to ruin this once-fun experience for us. The industry used to produce scenes in brilliant Technicolor with panoramic views, where stunning, fabulously talented actors and actresses were wholesome looking, and often did their own stunt-work as the story developed into something worth our time.

Now when we see a film, the scenes are dark and shadowed with muted colors, and we’re lucky to recognize an actor beneath the massive costumes and makeup. That’s only if you can find them amongst the tediously time-consuming graphic art and fast-moving scenes. In most of these shows, 'loud' substitutes for music.

Give me the good old days with a plot, a fantastic sound track, and a character performance that doesn’t mimic the actor’s own personality.

Monday, July 21, 2008


Does it bother anyone besides myself that using the term 24/7 is either redundant or incomplete?  Doesn't 24 cover it all?  Oh, does that include Sunday?  Of course!  If it didn't, I'd say EXCEPT Sunday.

Okay, you want the 7 on there anyway.  That's incomplete.  Do you mean every MONTH, or maybe not July?  Perhaps you should use 24/7/12.  Or, every DAY?  24/7/365(366)!  It can get confusing.

This irritates me 24!

Wednesday, May 07, 2008


I’m still not convinced that mankind is responsible for the current global warming, but I know we are responsible for stripping the Earth of it’s resources. With all the talk this past Earth Day (April 22) of ways to protect the environment, I was trying to enumerate the efforts I make. I don’t consider myself “Mother Earth Green”, but instead, as one actress called herself, I’m “Minty”.

Green Strip

Much of being green includes recycling and reuse. I love the idea of “Free” wind and solar power, and recently learned of a power project in Scotland to take advantage of the ocean tides.

I think we should encourage the use of bioplastic harvested from the starch stored in plant sugars to create a clear plastic, called polylactic acid, or PLA. Unfortunately, the use of foods for fuel or other innovative resources increases the cost of food.

Try to list 5 (or more) things YOU do to protect the environment. Maybe the rest of us can adopt them, too. Here are mine.
  1. I put as little as possible down the garbage disposal. Everything that goes down the sink eventually has to be removed from our drinking water supply.

  2. Reusing wrapping paper for gifts is an easy and reasonable thing to do, as well as re-gifting something you can’t use. Along the same lines is saving packing peanuts, bubble wrap, and air pillows to use in the next package you mail.

  3. I plan the route for the errands I run so I’m driving the least amount of miles. A little off topic, I also try to shop in my own community so that my tax dollars (city and county) stay local, too.

  4. The load I carry in my car is kept to minimum so I’m not burning more gas than necessary. Unfortunately, I’ve been unable to reduce my personal load.

  5. Recycling electronics is easy, saves our landfill and keeps lead out of the ground.

  6. I don’t let the water run while brushing my teeth.

  7. I do full laundry loads whenever possible. At other times, I’m lucky to have settings on my washing machine for less water for smaller loads.

  8. I avoid fast food that has over packaging and creates mountains of trash.

  9. When I bought the house I’m in now, city ordinances required water saving commodes that use the 1.6-gallon flush rather than the normal 5-gallon flush. These are quite annoying at times, but claim to save 550 gallons per year per person. I would have much preferred the “dual flush” commode option with two buttons on top so you can be selective on water use.

  10. Something I’ve done since the beginning of the age of computers, with coversheets for each printout, is to put them in a pile with blank sides up, and use them as scratch paper.
The following are some generally known ways to save power and reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.
  1. Each degree the heat is turned down saves 3 percent of heating costs, while each degree air conditioning is raised saves 3-4 percent of cooling costs. Changing the temperature by 2 degrees all year, can save about 2,000 pounds of CO2 a year.

  2. Cook with a slow cooker or a toaster oven (or even a solar oven!) to reduce electrical use from kitchen appliances. For a meal that requires one hour to cook in an electric oven, and which uses 2.7 pounds of CO2, a crock pot uses 0.9 pounds of CO2 for seven hours, a toaster oven takes 1.3 pounds of C02 for 50 minutes, and a microwave only 0.5 pounds of CO2 for 15 minutes of cooking. A solar cooker requires NO CO2!

  3. Switch to a laptop instead of using a desktop computer and cut three-quarters off your electrical use. Turn off the laptop at the end of the day.

  4. Switch to cold water washing and save 80 percent on energy used for laundry and save an estimated $60 a year. Hang dry your clothes instead of using the dryer and save 700 pounds of CO2 a year.

  5. Plug anything that can be powered by a remote control or that has a power cube transformer (little black box) into a power strip, and turn it off, and/or unplug, when not in use.   (Power cubes are 60-80 percent inefficient.)

  6. I like the knowledge that unplugging unused chargers and appliances will save electricity. It’s something I have partially done, but need to re-survey my home for culprits. “They” say that unplugging appliances and electronics that glow could save $200 a year in electrical use.

  7. Turn off the lights when not in use to reduce direct lighting energy use by 45 percent. Stop using heat-producing halogen lamps (that can also be fire hazards). Install occupancy or motion sensors on outdoor lights.

  8. Switch to compact fluorescent from regular incandescent bulbs and use 60 percent less energy per bulb and save 300 pounds of CO2 a year.

  9. I do not like the little twisted CFL bulbs for two reasons. First, I cannot see in dim light, which is what most of the CFLs pretending to be regular light bulbs are. The long tube fluorescent lights seem to be “brighter” that the corkscrew shape, perhaps because they are spread out. I do like that type in the kitchen and bathroom. Second, disposal of the mercury in CFLs creates a new hazard.

  10. Wrap water heaters in insulation and save 1,000 pounds of CO2 a year. Insulate hot water pipes.

  11. Use public transportation whenever possible, carpool, shop locally, and ideally switch to a hybrid or energy-efficient car.

  12. Keep tires inflated to improve gas mileage by 3 percent. Every gallon saved also saves 20 pounds of CO2 emissions.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Ridiculous Division

I've wondered about the reasons the United States continues to be segregated and think I've pinpointed one of them. I'm getting somewhat tired of people complaining that segregation is alive and well in the U.S.A., all the while declaring themselves to be some kind of dash-American...Mexican-American, Afro-American, Italian-American, Asian-American. Isn't this part of the reason there is segregation? And are these people trying to separate themselves based on the color of their skin or on the location of their ancestry centuries ago? How many generations of blood-mixing does it take before one is forced to declare them self just American because all the dashes won't fit on a page?

It's as ridiculous as dividing groups based on the color of their eyes or their hair. Would that mean when someone ages and their hair turns gray or falls out, they have to declare they are part of a different group?

If we stopped this hyphenating of America and all declared to be American, wouldn't this go a long way toward uniting us.

I'm an American! And proud of it.

Freedom of Speech

Since we are a country that values freedom of speech, we should be able to say anything we want. I’m personally offended that special groups of people declare certain words offensive and strive to reduce my right to say them. Won't the dictionary eventually run out of acceptable words? But, along these same lines, if we want others to pay attention to our thoughts and opinions, we might want to make some effort to say them diplomatically, in a non-offensive manner.

I always thought it would be much more powerful to have the skill to use the English language to cut a person down or raise someone up, rather than having every other word be an obscenity. I consider the use of foul language to be a strong lack of intelligence. If we don’t care what others think about us and our opinions, and we spout off, we should be prepared for the consequences.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Let's Celebrate!

I recently discovered that there’s actually a publication called a “Retail Promotion Calendar” that is used to target people to try to part them from their money. In addition to the traditional holidays, Mother’s Day, and Father’s Day, some of the less personal, yet interesting listed are:
     January 14 - Organize Your Home Day
     May 11 - Eat What You Want Day
     June 1 - Donut Day
     October 22 - National Nut Day  (I’m not sure if that’s the
          food or the person!)
     December 5 - National Bathtub Party Day

There’s a whole week for some things:
     November 23-29 National Game and Puzzle Week

Some of the events get an entire month, such as:
     January - Clean Up Your Computer Month
     February - Return Shopping Carts to the Supermarket Month
     July - National Ice Cream Month (One of my favorites!)

I may be calling on a few of my friends to help me celebrate some of these, after all.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Trade Skills

Recently, I've been enthusiastic about baking, sewing, tatting, and beading, and spent a lot of time at craft and hobby stores getting supplies to get started. In the past, I've crocheted, needle pointed, cross stitched, quilted, done macramé, learned cake decorating and unsuccessfully tried knitting and whittling.  

While funneling too much money into supplying and setting up my new projects, I wondered when all these things that used to be a way of's daily work or a trade skill...became hobbies and crafts. Creating most of these resulting products was usually the woman's responsibility.  Some, like cooking, sewing, knitting, and quilting, were for survival.  Others were to make a drab life enjoyable by decorating one's surroundings.

I can't imagine spinning my own yarn or thread, or weaving my own fabric (as boring as one of my design's would be).  The possibility of having only one or two needles scares me because it's so easy to loose them.  My stomach turns at the thought of food prepared without my collection of spices from around the world and the convenience of my electric oven.

Then there's the whole range of outdoor tasks that have become hobbies like fishing, hunting, and gardening.

I'm glad I live in a time that I can do these things for fun and relaxation.  And when the spirit moves me rather than for survival.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

No Go Logo

My favorite part of clothing from the ‘50s and ‘60s is the lack of logos and advertising. It seems that once the Nike swoosh was designed in the early ‘70s to put on their shoes, we were doomed to be walking advertisements for everything from clothing to cars to beer to sports. Not only that, but we had to pay EXTRA to do this advertising for these companies.

This has always annoyed me, so I have tried to select clothing without this annoying "feature". Okay, so I don’t care a whole lot about fashion. My goal has always been to wear something comfortable. Give me the good old Madras plaids, huarache sandals, Keds, home sewn dresses, hip hugger pants, and mini skirts!

To Snooze or Not to Snooze

As a female who’s lived with a man in the house, it’s become annoyingly obvious that a man can be asleep within seconds of his head hitting the pillow while while I often become irritated that I’m not asleep three-quarters of an hour later...even when I’m physically exhausted. During that time, I wonder why.

I’ve heard that females can multitask more issues and make decisions faster than a male, therefore, we are constantly considering issues, making decisions, and planning ahead. It must take more time to shut down these processing systems and let our minds clear for sleep to take over.