Saturday, December 22, 2007

Christmas Dinner, Here and There

Christmas is celebrated in many countries around the world. The centerpiece of the celebration is the Christmas dinner meal. But the center meal is surely not the same in so many different cultures.

Well, that's true. Turkey seems to be popular in many homes, almost everywhere. If not turkey, other poultries such as duck, goose, or even pheasant make the family happy. Ham, too, is favored, as is roast beef, especially in the UK and former colonies. Some cultures have different ideas.

Japan likes fried chicken and strawberry shortcake. In Australia, chicken or ham is eaten cold, or shrimp is bar-be-qued. Remember it's summer down under.

Several cultures center their meal around twelve courses or dishes. Poland, for example, has 12 meatless dishes breaking a fasting period. The Ukrainian 12 courses are each dedicated to an apostle. They eat boiled wheat.

Finnish dinners consist of ham or fish with a smorgasboard of side dishes. The French stay up, often after midnight. The Netherlands has gourmet dishes, often individually cooked and the table in small skillets. The Mexican feast is largely fruits around special stews and tamales.

So many different cultures with as many different culinary tastes, all to celebrate Christmas. Read details in Wikipedia or an article about special dinners around the world.

Enjoy your Christmas tradition and your family dinner, or try something new by borrowing a taste from another culture.

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Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Sending Smiles to Wounded Soldiers

I suggested sending a Christmas card to a wounded soldier. I thought it would add a smile to his or her day.

I ran across an article that cautions sending letters to unnamed soldiers. Apparently the Pentagon is concerned a toxic substance or a hateful message will be sent. The hospitals lack the manpower to screen the cards, so they will be returned or discarded. How sad.

If you have names of specific soldiers, be sure to remember them this festive season.

Sorry to be the one to spread this information. It sounded good to me. Sorrier we have to worry about such things.

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Tuesday, December 11, 2007

A World Fit for Children

World War II had ended, an organization had begun an international co-operation promoting world peace, and Europe was facing a grim winter. As the Iron Curtain divided Eastern and Western Europe, a Geneva conference worked to restore Europe.

Ludwik Rajchman spoke for the children suffering from lack of resources in their war-torn homelands. A resolution in the UN General Assembly created United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund, December 11, 1946. UNICEF was born with the promise of no restrictions where the aid might be provided.

Look at UNICEF now after 61 years review of "Progress for Children" towards building a world fit for children. What started with providing powdered milk to children of the war evolved into a broad range of programs to benefit children around the world.

Support by sending UNICEF cards and gifts. They even have a variety of e-cards.

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Monday, December 10, 2007

Does Medicare Matter?

If you are not on Medicare now, there is a good chance you will be sometime in the future, so you might want to pay attention.

The American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) is a membership organization leading positive social change and delivering value to people 50 and over through information, advocacy and service. AARP has a project that supports legislation to strengthen Medicare. This legislature benefits everyone, not just the aging population.

Medicare premiums are rising to the point that some doctors are likely to limit the number of Medicare patients. AARP would like to preserve access to doctors and prevent premiums from skyrocketing. Prescription drugs are often quite expensive, and lower income citizens need help to pay for them.

With this in mind, AARP is asking Congress to pass legislation to ensure Medicare is accessible and affordable. Support this project and sign the petition.

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Happy Birthday, Emily

If I read a book and it makes my whole body so cold no fire can ever warm me, I know that is poetry. ~ Emily Dickinson Dec. 10, 1830 - May 15, 1886

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Give a Smile to a Wounded Soldier

Here it is, Holiday Season again.

This year many of our young men and women are recovering from wounds and injuries in military hospitals. If you have an extra card or two, send them to recovering troops. With help from the U.S. Department of Defense, Walter Reed Army Medical Center, and Pitney Bowes Government Solutions, the Red Cross will gather and distribute the cards throughout the holiday season.

Please address your holiday cards to:

We Support You During Your Recovery!
c/o American Red Cross
P.O. Box 419
Savage, MD20763-0419

Sounds like a good idea to me.

12/12 Note:
I ran across an article that cautions sending letters to unnamed soldiers. Apparently the Pentagon is concerned a toxic substance or a hateful message will be sent. The hospitals lack the manpower to screen the cards, so they will be returned or discarded. How sad.

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Friday, December 07, 2007

Another Fun Site

Ask500People is a new site that is kind of fun and potentially useful. You can pose a survey question to be answered by people all over the world.

Here's the drill - Register. If your question is chosen -- by site visitors like you -- it will be available for 100 random respondents, whoever signs on and chooses to vote. Then it remains available for more respondents.

Read through some of the questions that have been submitted to Ask500People. Questions are serious, quirky, personal, political, and just plain silly. You can review questions that have been submitted and vote for any you think should be featured.

The featured question is displayed over a world map and you can track the response live. When someone answers, a pin is placed on the map, so you can see how many people agree or disagree and where the respondent is from. You can leave a comment if you choose.

Before you Marketers ask, yes, it can be used for business and the results can remain confidential. All you have to do is sign up for a premium account and you're ready. For the rest of us, it's free and fun. Think of a question. then Ask500People.

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Monday, December 03, 2007

Looking to Hire?

Consider hiring a disabled person -- maybe a disabled veteran.
Congress acknowledged that society's accumulated myths and fears about disability and disease are as handicapping as are the physical limitations that flow from actual impairment.
William Joseph Brennan, Jr. (1906 -1997), Associate Justice of the Supreme Court
Today is International Day of Disabled Persons, and the theme for 2007 is "Decent work for persons with disabilities." Many disabled people are denied the opportunity to work in an accepting environment. In most countries, 80% of working-age disabled people are unemployed. That's a high rate for so many capable and talented people.

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Saturday, December 01, 2007

It's That Time of Year Again

December. The joy of the holiday season has begun. Lights - Music - Decorations - Gifts. What do you buy for a disabled child?

Chris Coleman wrote me a message about this very topic.

Holiday time is exciting for every child. Each year kids wait with anticipation to open special gifts hiding within beautifully wrapped packages. This year, more than 6 million of America’s children awaiting gifts have disabilities. For parents, grandparents and friends, selecting toys for differently-abled children can be challenging. Afraid of selecting the “wrong” toys, many parents, families and friends of special needs children end up placing socks and pajamas in those brightly colored boxes, instead of what kids really want – toys and games.

Chris reminds us that all children want to have fun. Parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, friends, all want to buy the best, most appropriate toy for the child with a disability. So where do you start?

“The first step is to look at what your child can do and what skills you want your child to use or practice. Think about skills such as fine motor, gross motor, language, or reading. The key to choosing a successful toy is understanding your child’s abilities AND the features of the toys.” -- Diana Nielander, Executive Director for the National Lekotek Center

A new web site has been launched to help shoppers learn about the "hidden" features of the toys. The free website, AblePlay, was designed to help make the best match between the toy and the child. Toys on the site have been evaluated and rated by Lekotek's trained therapeutic play experts.

To see the National Lekotek Center's Top Ten Tips for selecting toys for disabled children, see my post on Down the MS Path. Happy shopping!

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Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Writer's Guild

The Writer's Guild Strike is in its fourth week and we, the viewing audience, are beginning to feel it. The last strike, in 1988, lasted 22 weeks. Are we prepared to watch reruns for the four or five months? Maybe.

But maybe we won't need to worry. There is news that an agreement may be in the works. Nikki Finke's Deadline Hollywood Blog says there is a glimmer of hope, and the strike could be settled before Christmas. Now, that's good news!

However, we know how strikes go, and Nikki reminds us this is happening in Hollywood. Nikki Finke is generally considered the best entertainment writer in Hollywood. In an earlier post, she indicated that strike play is not necessarily fair play.

Apparently Variety delivered boxes of issues to a protest where John Edwards appeared in hopes of spreading disinformation. That issue had an article saying some writers had agreed to drop the pickets and return to work regardless of an agreement, and buried information that showrunners are walking the picket line and closing down the show. A reaction note was sent to Variety by an accused group:

"As the writing staff of
The Young and The Restless gathered together to share pizza -- something we have vowed to do weekly until the strike ends -- we were incensed to read the incorrect information printed in Variety, that several writers on our show sought financial core status. Our entire writing staff of 18 is united, and we fully support our union. Not a single person who was writing for Y&R when we struck has gone core. Not one. We stand united with sore feet from picketing. Well, some of us sit. But we all do our part, and we cannot be parted.

"The Y&R writers have been asked how long the strike will last. We know it will last as long as it takes to get a fair contract. We've also been asked if Jack Abbott will prove Victor Newman is a killer. We could answer that one, but we're not going to -- because we are not writing."

It sounds as if they are standing firm and ready for whatever lays ahead. I hope the rumor is more than a rumor and a good agreement is in the works. And besides, I want to see if and how Jack proves Victor is a killer.

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Wednesday, November 21, 2007

World Hello Day Promotes World Peace

Remember the conflict between Israel and Egypt in 1973? It prompted the creation of World Hello Day. This day was begun as a message to world leaders to encourage communication over force, and has been observed by people in 180 countries.

Today is the 35th annual World Hello Day. Anyone can participate, and in fact, many people do.

I am very happy to know that your organisation is working for the promotion of world peace. -- Mother Teresa 1981
I wholeheartedly support your efforts for world peace and unity and wish you the best in your endeavors. -- Joe Paterno 1987
This simple campaign has worldwide importance -- keep it going. -- Whoopi Goldberg 1992

Read the full text of 80 letters by a variety of celebrities, entertainers, world leaders, and more!

Be sure to say "Hello" to at least ten people today -- demonstrate the importance of personal communication for preserving peace.

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Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Listen to the Demo Girl

When you want to buy a new service or product, how do you decide? What about a 2 or 3 minute screencast demo? Then you could see for yourself if it's something that really interests you.

Molly McDonald thinks a short video demo might be just what you might like to become familiar with new software. As the voice and Editor in Chief of DemoGirl, she has created more than 300 screencasts available for viewing FREE as far back as April 2006.

Visit Demo Girl for a new demo each day. Then look at the sidebar and select a topic to see what is available. I looked under "bookmarking" and found ten demos for packages including Yahoo!, Zoho, Searchles TV,,
Technorati, AOL and more. Pretty impressive.

I happened across this site while looking over Garry's shoulder. He found BoomShuffle, watched the demo, and developed a music mix on Garry's Blog. Visit his blog and listen to the tunes he chose.

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Monday, November 19, 2007


"An adventure is only an inconvenience rightly considered. An inconvenience is only an adventure wrongly considered." -- G.K. Chesterton
Chesterton was quite a prolific writer and a friend to one of my favorite playwrights George Bernard Shaw. They must have had lively discussions. At one time they played cowboys in a silent movie, but it was never released. How fun it would have been!

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Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Marooned? Without a Compass?

Today is Marooned without a Compass Day.

Marooned is to be isolated with little hope of rescue or escape. Pirates used to abandon people on islands so they were intentionally marooned. A compass is a device used to determine geographic direction, so it could be useful when trying to become un-marooned. Except for those abandoned by the pirates -- knowing which direction is North is nice, but not very helpful for those surrounded by the ocean in all directions.

If someone was marooned in Europe before the 14th Century, they understood the spirit of the day because the compass had not been invented yet. The Chinese were luckier, though,
because they had a compass as far back as the 11th Century.

Today we have a choice of compasses: There's the electronic compass, the magnetic compass,
and the solar compass which made its appearance in 1836. There are also many other patents, so we can find our choice of compasses.

Some cars even have their own built in compass which is very helpful if only you knew if your friend lives east or west of your house. Sometimes the highways are named to be helpful to those of us who do not carry a compass, but they can be confusing, too. For example, Interstate 35 splits at one point between Waco and Denton, so you might be on East North I-35. Good luck!

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Saturday, October 27, 2007

Do Something and Tell About It

A Halloween cat made by Garry's mother out of a light bulb carries a memory. Garry's story is in Our Story, a site that encourages story writing. Why is this important?

The Halloween cat has lived with us almost 11 years which is amazing. How many light bulbs do you have that are 11 years old? We display it every Halloween and entertain our young grandchildren, and it still survives. That is one strong cat.

Now Garry wrote a sweet story, and that is important because today is Tell a Story Day. Well, actually it is Tell a Story Day in the UK, but we like UK stories. Our Story is great for today because you can read stories about all kinds of things written by all kinds of people. You can tell your own story and share it with the world community. How fun!

If you choose to tell a story today, make it a good one. Garry's story tells how the cat reminds him of his mother. She made a difference in his life and that was important to him. Today is Make A Difference Day when people work for non-profit organizations, perform community service, or even do an act of kindness that will touch someone.

Tell a story that will touch someone, read a story to a young child, or an elderly person, or a sight-impaired person. That will make a difference. Or make a new story by helping someone in your neighborhood. That will make a difference in their lives and in yours.

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Thursday, October 25, 2007


Pablo Picasso
1881 - 1973

Garry and I played with our granddaughter trying to out-Picasso Picasso. Here are our resulting pictures. We used the art tools found on Mr. Picasso Head. I thought of that today because it is Pablo Picasso's birthday.

I have had a print of his line drawing Face-Dove hanging in my room for years. I prefer the simplicity of his line drawings to his cubist paintings although his paintings are fun and interesting.

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Saturday, October 20, 2007

The Sweetest Day

One Saturday in 1921, a committee of men in Cleveland began a trend of delivering small gifts to orphans and shut-ins who needed a special day. That kindness spread to other cities, notably Buffalo and Detroit, and became known as "Sweetest Day."

That was appropriate since the committee was made up of Cleveland's top candy makers. Although it did not reach the heights of Valentine's Day as hoped, it is a legitimate special day. Hallmark has 163 Sweetest Day cards. Most of the cards today have a romantic theme even though the day is to make people that someone cares.

Give candy, a card, some small gift or a kind word or deed. It shouldn't cost much to let someone know you care. Have a sweet day.

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Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Breast Cancer Awareness Month

The Breast Cancer site is donating at least one free mammogram a day to an underprivileged woman, and it is up to you and me to ensure that happens. It takes less than a minute to go to their site and click on "donating a mammogram" for free (pink window in the middle).

This doesn't cost you a thing. Their corporate sponsors /advertisers use the number of daily visits to donate mammogram in exchange for advertising.

Check The Breast Cancer Site and give the gift of cancer awareness to a woman who cannot afford it herself. And then, tell your friends to do it, too.

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Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Are You Hungry?

If you are hungry, you are not alone.

More than 850 million people in the world are hungry, too. About six million children die from a hunger-related cause every year. Even in the U.S. where we seem to be chubby, more than 12 million children live in households without enough food. Bread for the World has all types of food facts along with suggestions to take action. They are seeking justice and ending hunger, ambitious goals.

Today is World Food Day. Click on the map for a larger version presented by the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations. Select the animated map that shows how the hunger pattern changes over the years.

The United States Congress is also taking steps to address world hunger. The House passed the Global Poverty Act in September and now it's in the Senate.

If that doesn't work, we can start a local food drive. There are plenty of kids, and maybe some adults, who would be glad to contribute their vegetables and maybe even liver.

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Sunday, October 07, 2007

American's Dance Party

On this day a cultural icon was born. Well, actually, something started that grew to be a major part of American teenagers' lives. On October 7, 1952, Bob Horn moved his program from radio to television as Bob Horn's Bandstand aired in Philadelphia. This new concept, a disk jockey playing records on TV while kids danced -- all live. Remember those innocent days?

Well, here's some dirt from behind the scenes -- the station ran a campaign against drunk driving when Bob Horn was picked up for DUI. The station replaced him -- that bad example -- with the squeaky clean disk jockey who had been spinning the records all along.

When Dick Clark moved to host the program, things began to change. He insisted on integrating his dancers. This was the 50's, and that was quite a bold move. The show was broadcasting locally, and Dick Clark was a bold young man. He talked ABC into picking up his little dance party show for the nation. Soon American Bandstand was a favorite of teens across the country.

American Bandstand ran for thirty years, the longest running show aimed at American youth. By the time the program played, MTV was a fledgling network. MTV was slick and flashy, but it probably owes its beginnings to Dick Clark's little dance party.

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Saturday, September 29, 2007

Confucius Says

Wheresoever you go, go with all your heart.

Today is Confucius Day. Confucius (551 - 479 BC) was a scholar, a teacher, and a philosopher who left 499 short sayings to enrich the world.

We have all heard funny little sayings introduced by "Confucius says," so was he a comedian? Probably not. His philosophy centered around morality and justice, social relationships and sincerity which all sound like very serious subjects.

In observance of this day, we should study his teachings and perhaps incorporate some of them into our own lifestyles.

To see what is right and not to do it is want of courage or of principle.

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Friday, September 28, 2007

Well, That's Stupid

If there are no stupid questions, then what kind of questions do stupid people ask? Do they get smart just in time to ask questions? Scott Adams
Today is Ask a Stupid Question Day, created by teachers in the 1980's. Too often, kids in the classroom did not ask their questions for fear of being ridiculed by their classmates, who were probably not asking their questions for the same reason.

The teachers created this special day to encourage school kids to go ahead and ask.

There is no stupid question! Except, possibly, a question not asked. Christer Romson

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Monday, September 24, 2007

L'Oiseau Bleu

Today is National Bluebird of Happiness Day. I found a reference to this special day, but no official information, so is it really National Bluebird of Happiness Day? In the spirit of the little blue bird, I choose to believe it is.

My introduction to the bluebird of happiness was a play I read in high school, L'Oiseau Bleu by Maurice Maeterlinck for which he won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1911. If I remember correctly 40+ years after reading the play, children searched far and wide for the bird and finally found it in their own yard. I apologize if I'm wrong, but it's a nice story and I choose to believe that is the story.

The little bird symbolizes peace of mind. If you, too, choose to find happiness in your own back yard and enjoy the peace of mind it brings, you might want to look into The Bluebird of Happiness Forum.

There was also a song popularized by Jan Peerce in the late 40's.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

International Rabbit Day

Though not everyone agrees, International Rabbit Day is observed on the fourth Saturday in September. In the UK, the day is September 25, so get ready.

We often have bunnies in our backyard. They munch on our long grass before it is mowed. They are not too shy, and rarely run off even when we go outside. However, when the lawnmower is cutting down their feast, they stop
grazing and, fast as a rabbit, take for the fence until that machine racket is gone.

Rabbits are social animals, and they like other rabbits and people, but not lawnmowers. Be kind to rabbits today, because it is their day. They can be playful, as you can see by the picture of the bunny safe on the other side of the fence. I do not know who took this picture. I got it in an email. It is signed, but I cannot read it to give proper credit. Sorry.

My 10-yr-old granddaughter raised New Zealand rabbits for 4-H last year and won first prize for Best of Breed. She was so proud to stand among the other winners -- all teenagers. We were proud, too.

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Saturday, September 15, 2007

Better Business Bureau Dispute Resolution

If you have a complaint with a product and the company is not responding satisfactorily, the Better Business Bureau may be able to help. BBB Arbitration is one dispute resolution process without lawyers that is fair for both the consumer and the company.

In the 80's I trained to be an Arbitrator, then later to be a Senior Arbitrator, and I heard cases for several years. This is a volunteering experience I highly recommend. It is interesting, fun, and the process gives unhappy consumers an opportunity to correct problems.

Both the company and the consumer present a case for the arbitrator to make a decision. Sometimes it was clear the consumer had a valid point the company just did not address. Other times, however, the company had tried everything to correct the problem, but the customer could not be satisfied.

Satisfaction was sometimes as easy as just knowing someone was listening.

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Thursday, September 13, 2007

Do You Believe in Good Fortune?

Today is a good day for Chinese food because, well, Chinese food is good every day.

Then be sure to eat the fortune cookie because today is Fortune Cookie Day. Those crunchy little Chinese cookies were first served in California. It's beginning to sound a little suspicious, especially considering the Fortune Cookie Day is also claimed in April, and again in June and July, and even again in August. Just in case you don't have time to go to a restaurant, get your fortune online at one of several online fortune cookie sites. And are we supposed to believe the little paper in that suspicious cookie? I think not.

Good thing today is also Defy Superstition Day. It is a superstition, isn't it, to believe in a good message found in a little Chinese -- I mean -- Californian cookie? But wait. What if the little slip of paper says "Good news will come to you by mail," which is exactly what it did say when I clicked on my online cookie. Do I wait by the mailbox? What if I don't get a letter? Maybe it will be an e-mail.

Well, luckily, today is also Positive Thinking Day so I'll just wait and know the good news will come my way. Norman Vincent Peale, the champion of positive thinking, said, "We tend to get what we expect."

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Saturday, September 08, 2007

Read Any Good Books Lately?

September 8 is International Literacy Day designated by UNESCO in 1965.

The objective is to emphasize the importance of literacy to individuals, communities, and societies. There are nearly 800 million adults around the world do not know how to read, and 2/3 of those are women. More than 100 million children have no access to education. How tragic.

Today a reader, tomorrow a leader.
Margaret Fuller

To learn to read is to light a fire; every syllable that is spelled out is a spark.
Victor Hugo

A home without books is a body without soul.
Marcus Cicero

Reading is a discount ticket to everywhere.
Mary Schmich

Support Literacy. It is important for all of us.

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Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Extra! Read All About It!

Today is newspaper carrier day. This day honors anyone who was ever a carrier. Almost everyone my age knows someone who was once a carrier.

In 1833, The New York Sun advertised for an unemployed person to vend the paper. Ten-year-old Barney Flaherty was hired when he qualified by throwing the paper into the bushes.

Now, the paper is often delivered by being thrown from a car. On cold days, the heat can be turned on; on warm days, the air-conditioning.
Garry's first job was as a newspaper carrier, and he had no such comforts, riding his bicycle on such a long route in three Buffalo, NY, winters. Brrrr . . .

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Saturday, September 01, 2007

Number, Please

In the beginning of telephone operators, before there were dials, operators were needed to connect the caller with the called. The operators were teenage boys -- and they were known to be rude and unruly. Can you imagine? Teenage boys, rude?

On September 1, 1898, Emma McNutt (also known as Emma M. Nutt) was hired as the first female telephone operator.

Young women, whose employment opportunities in the 1880's were limited at best, became eligible to connect callers, dispense news, weather, sports and more, and test trunk lines and splice cable. But they were considered only if they were prim and proper, obedient, virtuous, and single. An operator could not be married and employed.

Emma started a trend. Operators were women. In the 40's, there were 350,000 telephone operators and they were women. My first regular job was as a switchboard operator, not with the phone company, but in a small, family-owned motel. I was a teenager, but I wasn't a rowdy boy, and I was always polite. The switchboard was a wall unit of holes that I connected with cabled plugs. It was kinda fun connecting with the plug and disconnecting by pulling the cable.

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Friday, August 31, 2007


Be careful of downloads. We know that, but a reminder may be in order.

Bloggers Battered by a Viral Storm

Thank you my favorite military spouse.

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Thursday, August 30, 2007

Have a Good Laugh or at Least a Great Smile

Most people like a good laugh. I know I do. And I like a good Laughorist. Pawlie has a delicious way with words, never fearing to use a word not often encountered in water cooler conversations, and always playfully sharing his enjoyment with us unpretentious readers. He is not above creating his own words and phrases as with Bloggerexi Nervosa accompanied by an illustrative mind map. What fun!

It was through The Laughorist that I discovered The Wonderful World of Nothing Worthwhile. Michael is funny, too, and willing to share his fun with those of us who drop by for a visit. But let him tell you his story himself, first being perky, then Frank.. . uh, frank. He also encourages participation with Q&A Tuesday. Give him a read and then give him a question or two.

Have Fun.

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Saturday, August 25, 2007

Women's Equality Day

If liberty and equality, as is thought by some, are chiefly to be found in democracy, they will be best attained when all persons alike share in government to the utmost. Aristotle
The United States took a step toward equality on this day in 1920 by passing the 19th Amendment to the Constitution granting women the right to vote. I have written before about women's fight f
or equality, but I think it is important to remember milestones even if it means repeating myself.

Aristotle said it clearly (above), but here's a thought from someone who has consistently worked for equality.
Marlo Thomas with her equal
partner, husband Phil Donahue
One of the things about equality is not just that you be treated equally to a man, but that you treat yourself equally to the way you treat a man. Marlo Thomas
Commemorate Women's Equality Day by treating everyone, including yourself, equally.

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