In honor of flu season…

Ok, so by now everyone knows that this year’s flu vaccine isn’t quite as effective as would be desirable. By the way, that’s because the flu virus changes (read: evolves!) quickly. There’s still a few things you can do to reduce your chance of getting the flu. One of the biggest things is almost free and you won’t even need a doctor: wash your hands regularly.

Hand washing — a controversial yet effective technique since 1846. I wish I didn’t have to point out that it’s a good habit.

In Closing: a few items about terror, the internet, and security; point, partially refuted.


Red Oleander



In Closing: Slippery slope; Empire in decline; ok sure, have some NSA, Snowden, spying, and bonus Homeland Security links; Yellen at nothin; deny it all you like; yeah right, it might result in a very nasty bit of commentary but populist revolt??; it’s almost like math teachers get bored and try inventing new ways to add and subtract (and places like Kumon and Sylvan make more money….); and better figure it out, Eric.

Heartbleed Beat

Ok folks, you could drive yourself mad trying to figure out the whole Heartbleed thing, so let me round it up for you.

What the heck is Heartbleed (thanks, Adam), and what does it mean?

How is the NSA connected? Or are they? Or are you really gonna believe they’re not involved, come on! (Bonus NSA linkage for your browsing pleasure!!!)

Ok, so what should you do now?

In Closing: Stupid kid; I’m not sure how you understand Nakba without understanding Auschwitz; let the dead bury their dead; why was it ever allowed in the first place??; circumcisionGlucosamine; priorities; and college.

A choice selection of NSA and spying on citizens links

So much for “We’re only using it to track bad guys overseas. Ok, well maybe Americans but only if they’re terrorists.” Turns out the DEA, CIA, FBI, and IRS got a piece of that action too. And then they tried to cover it up. Here’s a hint folks, government officials don’t try to cover up good and perfectly legal things.

Oh, and it turns out that they are only willing to go on the record about 13 “contributions” to an arrest. How much is this program costing taxpayers — in an environment where at least one party is constantly screaming about the national debt — per arrest? Any sensible CEO would have pulled the plug.

When CNN notices that 1984 is uncomfortably close to what we are experiencing, you have to wonder.

Cloud computing is now dead. After all, if you can’t trust that the government doesn’t have your data, how can you possibly trust that your competitors, enemy, or ex-wife doesn’t have it?

They know when you are sleeping, they know when you’re awake, they know when you’re downloading porn so be good for goodness sake! No, actually they just know the IP (internet protocol) address of every site you visit.

And they’ve hacked a major internet anonymizer to keep track of you when you don’t want it. Wikipedia is trying to lock them out. Good luck with that, seriously.

The frosting on this rotten cake? They won’t even tell Congress what they are up to.

Over 100 organizations think this is a bad thing that needs to stop now.

“A matter of national security — The age old cry of the oppressor.” — Jean Luc Picard.

Follow Up: Americans cars are getting older.

In closing: to do list; on pregnancy; lefties against Obama.

Welcome COM 101-3050!

Image by Peter Steiner, courtesy of Wikipedia.

How to get started blogging.

Notice that my online name reflects me rather than my content.

To the right, you will see an ad. Below that is a list of websites I like, grouped by category. Many of these have links back to me. At the end of this post is a set of “keywords” that search engines can use to find content like this.

This site uses WordPress software on a Hostmonster server.

Never put anything on the internet that you wouldn’t want to read out loud to your mother, your boss, and a judge!

Hansel & Gretel: Warriors of Shorties

I haven’t been as posty as I’d like lately. As some of you know, I have recently gone back to school. That means I have a lot of reading, and a bit of getting used to classmates who occasionally make me feel like this:


I remind myself that I am old enough to be mommies to some of them. So without further ago, shorties.

Social Media: It’s embarrassing that social media is now little more than yet another way to send me ads.

Social Security: There’s only a crisis if you want there to be one.

Too much Social, too little work: Up to 80% of a worker’s internet time might be spend “cyberloafing.” It’s easier to hide that you’re doing nothing at the computer than at the water cooler.

Bad Association: Turns out that Countrywide kept doing “business as usual” after B of A took over. I hope this surprises none of you.

Social Promotions for Educational Reforms?: I still like Kevin Drum.

Social Studies: The Avengers and The Breakfast Club.

Fitting in to Society: On immigration reform.

Vegas: Visitors are at a record high despite reduced convention traffic.

Reducing the deficit without slashing our own throats: From the progressives. But it won’t happen because the conservatives really want to make the majority of us into modern serfs by slashing the safety net instead.

Speaking of modern serfs: A third of student loans are subprime. They can’t be discharged through bankruptcy. They are creating a generation that may always be in debt.

Obesity is bad for you: even if you are the Governor.

On Republicans: From a Republican woman (endangered species, I know).

Gee, you don’t say!: Global climate change might adversely effect agriculture. Who knew?!?

Missing the Point

It is absolutely a tragedy what happened at the Empire State Building. Who can possibly predict that a guy who was laid off almost a year ago would come back and start shooting? Nevertheless, I’d like to digress for a moment to point out that it’s a lot safer to never hire a nutcase than to have to fire one. Screen your employees before you hire them, people.

So then let’s get into the nitty gritty, starting with this opinion piece talking about how NYPD officers use great restraint:

As a rule, it takes a lot to get NYPD officers to fire their guns at anyone. Despite a handful of isolated, but highly publicized, exceptions to this rule when officers have shot unarmed individuals over the past decade and a half, New York’s 35,000-officer force remains a worldwide model of firearms restraint and veneration for human life.


In rapidly unfolding and completely unpredictable situations, assessing the need to use firearms is often a split-second decision. It can mean the difference between life and death. Officers have to sift through confusion, fear and fragmented information.

In the incident outside of the Empire State Building, it is made more difficult because the street is one of the busiest in America. The officers had to take into account the risk of the gunman hurting potentially many people in the vicinity were he not stopped.

Look, nobody sane is disputing that they had to make sure this guy didn’t hurt anybody else. The man pulled his gun out and was clearly intending to shoot at the cops. This wasn’t a place to experiment with a taser.  What were they supposed to do, offer to buy him a latte and talk for a while??

The problem is not that NYPD had to shoot this guy. The problem is that out of the 16 shots fired, 3 hit the perp. All 9 innocent bystanders were shot by the cops trying to “protect” them.

Take aim at the real problem: aim.

In Closing: It’s the jobs, stupid; the important question is the one about whether his mom was born in Kansas; if no blacks support Romney and a minority of women and Hispanics and people under 35 support him, how can the polls possibly be as close as they’ve been? Are there really that many angry old racist men?; school internet safety; yep (so why are these guys still married?); if Republicans get their way, be ready for $10,000 per ounce gold; abused by the system; fake world leaders; can’t make this up; trash can babies; ok, but Goldman didn’t make the drought happen; over 20 serial rapists in Detroit so far; scary; probably not what life is like in Russia; and the old man speaks the truth.

Happy Towel Day

Yes, it’s Towel Day once again. Don’t forget your towel. And most importantly DON’T PANIC.

In Closing: R-Money proposes using my tax dollars to send rich kids to private school help poor and middle class families still not afford private schools; would it have been so hard for some adult, any adult to say “We treat others with respect around here?? (I don’t even know what to say); 550 cats and no husband; there’s an app for that; oops; Detroit; achievements include 8 life sentences; mass hysteria; and Today I Learned there is a patron saint of the Internet.

A Few Words about “Nice, Safe Neighborhoods”

It isn’t very often that I have something to say worth posting to both my personal and professional websites. This is one of those posts.

I am often asked by my relocating clients about “nice, safe neighborhoods.” This is honestly a trick question that I can’t really answer. I can point you to Metro‘s or Trulia‘s Crime Map, I can tell you what I like about various areas, I can tell you about historical resale trends. What I can’t and won’t do is say “Oh yes, that’s a great neighborhood and you shouldn’t have any problems there.” Not going to happen.

I can’t even say that gated communities are “safe.” A lot of people think it’s a “security gate,” but it’s only an “access gate” and it will only keep out people who want to be kept out. And what if the guy who wants to hurt you already belongs within the gates?

If you ask 10 random Las Vegans about desirable neighborhoods, at least 8 will mention Summerlin. Granted, one or two might use it in a sentence like “Well, a lot of people like Summerlin, but….” Of course “but” can lead many directions: but it’s kind of expensive, but the HOAs can be so picky, but it’s so far away from the Strip. I do think, however, that more than one of our imagined random people could be persuaded to say the area is “safe.”

Sadly, bad things happen in “nice, safe neighborhoods” too. Yesterday, a 19 year old was shot and killed in a Summerlin backyard. It’s a little unclear yet whether he was really trying to break in or was just cutting through the yard, or even whether he tried to get away after the first shot was fired.

Nobody really wants to live in a bad neighborhood. However, living in a “good” neighborhood is no magic spell preventing crime or tragedy.

In Closing: Mr. Rogers; Larry Niven on the Universe; KABOOM!; you knew the media did this, right?; interesting; this messed up traffic; predatory; only works because we’re afraid to say no; insane; internet is 4.7% of our economy; consensus.

Book Review: Diary of a Mad Fat Girl

This post is in connection with the BlogHer Book Club. I am being compensated for this review and received a free copy of the book itself. Join the conversation!

My first clue that Diary of a Mad Fat Girl by Stephanie McAfee might have a little disconnect was when I laid eyes on the cover: a pair of slim legs draped over a wood privacy fence, not a hint of cellulite, not an ounce of flab, topped with a flouncy pink miniskirt that no overweight woman I’ve ever known would be caught dead wearing. Now, I wasn’t expecting extreme corpulence, but our protagonist describes herself as size 16 high school art teacher. Frankly, I was expecting, well, somebody who looks more like the author.

One of the more remarkable things about this book is that it was originally self-published as an e-book! It was so successful online that the author was able to get a literary agent and a publisher. This is in fact the author’s first novel, and as such I am going to cut her some slack for some heavy-handed foreshadowing and a delightful deus-ex-machina. Whoops! I dare not say more! Nobody likes spoilers.

If you’re a fan of small town intrigue or school district politics, you’re going to love this one. Most of the major characters have known one another since they were children. The prose is amusing, the dialog perfectly suited to the characters, some of the situations delightfully silly. Serious topics like spousal abuse and homosexuality are treated with dignity. If you’ve read my reviews before, you know I’m very picky about endings. Without giving anything away, there was one aspect of the obligatory happy ending that didn’t really fit right. Assuming you can take the sexual themes, an amusing book worth checking out

In Closing: Try to use them all!; contraceptives; urban unrest; Hail Seizure; Call Center Bill; guaranteed prisoners (somebody explain to me how a for profit company can provide the same quality for less money than a government body that doesn’t need to make a profit? Don’t yell pensions because some government agencies have proven they can already screw workers out of those); costs more and pays less; stop buying them; this must stop; on moral decline; judge speaks common sense, that someone in a public place has a limited expectation of privacy, even if he/she is a cop; nothing to hide; and what really causes heart disease.