Click here to email me.

Write to Kathy

Visit my Facebook page.

Hey, Arnold! A tax by any other name ...

... is still a friggin' tax!!

From the L.A. Times:

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger will propose hiking the cost of insurance for millions of California homes and businesses in the budget he unveils Thursday, with the money to be used for firefighting efforts.

The proposal, a copy of which was obtained by The Times, calls for new charges to be tacked onto the insurance bill for every residential and commercial property in the state. Administration officials call the charges fees and defend them as consistent with the governor's pledge, repeated in his State of the State address Tuesday, to not raise taxes. The plan, which the insurance industry has agreed to support, would cost California property owners and renters $12.50 for every $1,000 in insurance premiums, for a projected $125 million.

"I don't know how you avoid calling it a tax," Lew Uhler, president of the National Tax Limitation Committee, said of the assessment. "The ability of government officials to figure out new ways to tax us is limitless, no matter what their nomenclature."

The levy [emphasis mine] is the latest to be championed by the governor. Last fall, Schwarzenegger signed a bill that raised California drivers' registration payments by as much as $11 to pay for research on alternative fuels. And his healthcare plan relies on new taxes on tobacco users, hospitals and employers.

Administration officials acknowledged that some of the money raised could be used to balance the budget. They declined to be precise about how much.

The charge would be added to an existing 2.35% premium tax on property insurance policies. That tax, which is not earmarked for any particular program, generated $216 million for the state budget in 2006, according to the Department of Insurance.


Marc Cohn - Marc Cohn - Dig Down Deep
... is currently playing: Dig Down Deep from the album Marc Cohn by Marc Cohn.
Comments

And you thought YOUR boss gave out crappy presents

From Ben Widdicombe's Gatecrasher column in the NY Daily News:

Will Smith has joined the ranks of Hollywood power players actively recruiting for the Church of Scientology.

Big stars traditionally distribute "wrap presents" to crew members after completing a film. His recent gift after wrapping next summer's comedy "Hancock" was a card good for a personality test at your local Scientology center.

Never mind that such tests are given free by the church anyway. The quiz is designed to convert people to the religion by identifying personality flaws that - surprise! - Scientology can fix right up for you. For a fee, of course.


Anita Baker - Giving You the Best That I Got - Priceless
... is currently playing: Priceless from the album Giving You the Best That I Got by Anita Baker.
Comments

New Years Resolution (for your computer)

I have been trying out lots of new computer products of late and I want to recommend a few things that I have found particulary useful.

The first is an online back-up system that everybody should sign up for ASAP. Yes, everybody! It doesn't matter if you are a Mac user like me or saddled with an inferior operating system like Windows. You should get yourself over to Mozy.com and sign up for their free account, which gives you two gigs of storage along with some nifty software to get your files from your computer to the Mozy site. (And did I mention that it is totally free?)

Mozy has a software client for both Windows and Mac OS X. The Mac client is still in beta, and although it is a bit quirky, it is very usable. And super easy! With either version, you can let the software make suggestions about what should be backed up OR select files and folders yourself.

If, like me, you have way more than two gigs worth of data files to back-up (I have already uploaded almost ten gigs), you can get upgrade to an account with UNLIMITED storage for $4.95 a month. And even if, like me, you have an external backup drive connected to your computer, you should still have your files stored at another location for an extra layer of protection. (If your house burns down, that external drive won't be much help, will it?)

(NOTE: If you have more than two gigs of data files to back up and some of them are images, make sure you sign up for a free Flickr account and use that to store your images. Then you can just use Mozy for the rest of your stuff.)

To set up either a free 2 gig account OR an unlimited paid account, click the Mozy banner to the right of this message. You WILL thank me! :)


Stephen Bishop - 20th Century Masters - The Millennium Collection: The Best of Stephen Bishop - Save It for a Rainy Day
... is currently playing: Save It for a Rainy Day from the album 20th Century Masters: Millennium Collection ( Stephen Bishop ) by Stephen Bishop.

Technorati Tags: , , , ,

Comments

From Peggy Noonan's Lips to God's Ear!

On John Edwards:

" ... we can't have a president who spent two minutes on YouTube staring in a mirror and poofing his hair. Really, we just can't."


Marni Nixon, Yvonne Othon, Suzie Kaye & Joanne Miya - West Side Story - I Feel Pretty
... is currently playing: I Feel Pretty from the album West Side Story by Carol Lawrence and Marilyn Cooper.
Comments

WOO HOO!!!!

Apple, one of my two favorite companies, hits $200 a share, a new high. (Yeah, TiVo is my other favorite...)

Apple stock hits a new high!


Spiral Starecase - Pop Classics of the 60's - More Today Than Yesterday
... is currently playing: More Today Than Yesterday from the album More Today Than Yesterday: Complete Columbia Recordings by Spiral Starecase.
Comments

Happy Obit

Really. I dare you not to smile.

From the L.A.Times (Dec. 21, 2007):

Beverly Allen, dancing in her 80's.

Beverly Allen, a longtime professional dancer who joined the Fabulous Palm Springs Follies late in life and at 87 was the oldest showgirl regularly performing in a chorus, according to the 2005 Guinness World Records, has died. She was 90.

"Beverly Allen was . . . a bright and sparkling gem of a dancer," Riff Markowitz, producer of the Palm Springs Follies, said in a statement Wednesday.

The [Follies] dancers are 55 or older. Allen joined the company at 80 and retired at 87. During that time, "she reigned supremely over nine three-hour performances a week," Markowitz said.

"At 82 she was cartwheeling across the stage and being tossed from the arms of a 60-year-old male dancer to another who was 70," [her daughter Lora] Le Maire recalled of her mother. "I said, 'Mom, are you sure these guys are going to catch you?' She said, 'Sure, honey. They're kids.' "


Bryan Ferry - More Than This - The Best of Bryan Ferry and Roxy Music - Don't Stop the Dance ... is currently playing: Don't Stop The Dance from the album Boys and Girls by Bryan Ferry.
Comments

Dick Morris wrote an interesting piece ...

... for NewsMax.com in which he refutes Bill and Hillary's claims that she was "deeply involved" in the Irish peace process, something that Bill and Hill site as evidence of her qualifications to be president. Morris points out that while both of the Clintons discuss this issue at length in their memoirs, neither book even suggests that Hillary had anything to do with resolving the situation in Ireland. If she had played a significant role in bringing about peace in that country, you would certainly expect her book to say so, wouldn't you.

Morris makes a strong case that her claimed experience in foreign affairs is much ado about nothing. His essay reminds us that the Clintons wouldn't recognize the truth if it jumped up and hit them in the nose AND that she has no experience that qualifies her to be President. (If she did, they wouldn't have to make stuff up, would they?)

But the passage that really stands out in my mind is this:

Hillary does recall that in her meetings with women in Ireland, she'd spoken with them about the troubles [ongoing violence in the region] and how to find a way to "achieve peace and reconciliation." But she turns that into a discussion of her own personal problems with Bill and Monica, "Now that's what I had to try to do in the midst of my own heartbreaking troubles."


So Hillary Clinton compares her "heartbreaking" situation (which is to say, her choosing to stay with her womanizing husband after he publicly humiliated her and Chelsea) to what these Irish women experienced while living in a war zone? Holy moly.

I know that Hillary is very popular with Democratic women. I'm sorry, but I just DO NOT GET IT.

Styx - Styx: Greatest Hits - The Grand Illusion
... is currently playing: The Grand Illusion from the album The Grand Illusion by Styx.
Comments

It seems to work.

The site needs a bit of tweaking, but overall it was much easier than I expected. If you find a broken link or something, please let me know.


Beth Nielsen Chapman - Beth Nielsen Chapman
... is currently playing: That's The Easy Part from the album Beth Nielsen Chapman by Beth Nielsen Chapman.
Comments

Wal*Mart sells this adorable mini-digicam …

... for less than $20.00. It is quite popular among toy camera buffs.

VistaQuest VQ1005 Keychain Camera

VistaQuest VQ1005 Keychain Camera

This guy (Camera Hacker) tells you how to take it apart and improve its ability to focus to infinity, which is interesting.

But another guy has set up a web site where he shows us how he rigged this camera to take a series of timed photos and then sent his cat, Mr. Lee, out into the world with the rigged camera attached to his collar. When the cat returned home, the owner had a series of images showing him where his cat had been hanging out (and with whom), something the guy had always wondered about.

Here is a picture of the now world-famous Mr. Lee wearing his Cat Cam:

The world-famouse Mr. Lee and his Cat Cam

Mr. Lee's owner also sells these modified cameras, in case you want to know where your pet goes when you let him outside. (Of course we all know that pets should not be allowed to roam outside, but many people do anyway.)

And if you go here, you can view a photo gallery of cats, dogs, and robots wearing the Cat Cam. (No, you will not find any of my cats in the gallery. My cats are not allowed to roam outside.)

Another example of why I LOVE THE INTERNET!!!


Pat Metheny Group - Offramp - Are You Going With Me?
... is currently playing: Are You Going With Me? from the album Offramp by Pat Metheny Group.
Comments

American Life in Poetry: Column 138

I haven't posted an ALP selection in a while. I hope you like this one. Enjoy.

American Life in Poetry: Column 138

BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE, 2004-2006

You've surely heard it said that the old ought to move over to make room for the young. But in the best of all possible worlds, people who love their work should be able to do it as long as they wish. Those forced to retire, well, they're a sorry lot. Here the Chicago poet, Deborah Cummins, shows a man trying to adjust to life after work.

At a Certain Age

He sits beside his wife who takes the wheel.
Clutching coupons, he wanders the aisles
of Stop & Save. There's no place he must be,
no clock to punch. Sure,
there are bass in the lake, a balsa model
in the garage, the par-three back nine.
But it's not the same.
Time the enemy then, the enemy now.

As he points the remote at the screen
or pauses at the window, staring
into the neighbor's fence but not really seeing it,
he listens to his wife in the kitchen, more amazed
than ever--how women seem to know
what to do. How, with their cycles and timers,
their rolling boils and three-minute eggs,
they wait for something to start. Or stop.

American Life in Poetry is made possible by The Poetry Foundation (www.poetryfoundation.org), publisher of Poetry magazine. It is also supported by the Department of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Poem copyright (c) 2007 by Deborah Cummins, and reprinted by permission of the author. Deborah Cummins' most recent book of poetry is "Counting the Waves," WordTech Communications, 2007. Introduction copyright (c) 2007 by The Poetry Foundation. The introduction's author, Ted Kooser, served as United States Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress from 2004-2006.


Billie Holiday - 16 Classic Performances
... is currently playing: Time On My Hands from the album Billie Holiday: Portrait.
Comments

Sometimes all you can do …

... is laugh to keep from crying.

No more termites!  (Or house, either!)


Alison Moyet - Alf - All Cried Out
... is currently playing: All Cried Out from the album Alf by Alison Moyet.
Comments

Remember that episode of the Dick Van Dyke Show …

... where he buys Laura the "Empress Carlotta Necklace" ??

I think this can safely be filed under "What the %#& was she thinking?"

Drew Barrymore models the Empress Carlotta Necklace.


Marni Nixon, Yvonne Othon, Suzie Kaye & Joanne Miya - West Side Story - I Feel Pretty
... is currently playing: I Feel Pretty from the album West Side Story- Original Broadway Cast with Carol Lawrence and Marilyn Cooper.
Comments

Poll from today’s Asbury Park Press

A small sample but it still speaks volumes ...

When are you leaving NJ?


Pat Metheny Group - Offramp - Are You Going With Me?
iTunes is currently playing: Are You Going With Me? from the album Offramp by Pat Metheny Group.
Comments

Cats get blamed for everything!!

What about the idiot homeowner who went to sleep with a kerosene lantern burning with pets in the house??

Dog Saves Family From Fire Blamed on Cat

GREENVILLE, Maine - Thumper, a black Labrador retriever, is getting credit for saving a Greenville man when a fire swept through his home. Roland Cote said his wife and their 7-year-old grandson were away when the blaze started early Sunday in a converted two-story garage. He said Thumper grabbed him by the arm to wake him, leaving just enough time for him to dial 911 before fleeing the fast-moving fire.

While the dog is the hero, a cat is the bad guy in this story.

Cote said the fire marshal investigator believes the blaze was started when Princess, the family cat, tipped over a kerosene lantern. Cote says he and his pets escaped safely, but he says Princess did get her tail singed by the flames.


Talking Heads - Stop Making Sense - Burning Down the House
iTunes is currently playing: Burning Down The House from the album Stop Making Sense: Special New Edition (1984 Film) by Talking Heads.
Comments

Al Gore: “Do as I say, not as I do.”




Randy Newman - Land of Dreams - Dixie Flyer
iTunes is currently playing: Dixie Flyer from the album Land of Dreams by Randy Newman.
Comments

What I want for Christmas.

From the L.A.Times:

$31million home in Laguna Beach.


Bryan Ferry - More Than This - The Best of Bryan Ferry and Roxy Music
iTunes is currently playing: Windswept from the album Boys and Girls by Bryan Ferry.
Comments

It looks as if Chloe is being …

... dragged into her dorm kicking and screaming, doesn't it. Actually, she could hardly wait until she got her ID/key card so she could move her things in. The first thing she did was to add accessories to the bay window in her room, which she claims is the main reason she applied to Skidmore.

I added an album of pictures from our trip to Skidmore. Click here to go to my Album page OR here to go directly to the Skidmore page.

Chloe and Dad at McClellan Hall.


Sting - Brand New Day - Brand New Day
iTunes is currently playing: Brand New Day from the album Brand New Day by Sting.
Comments

Yes, I am glad she was deported …

... and I don't mind admitting that publicly, even though I will probably get another email message from a certain relative reminding me that I am a racist.

Meanwhile, the OPEN BORDERS folks might want to look for a better spokesperson than someone who says moronic stuff like this:

In speaking to the Mexican Congress about her deportation from the United States, Elvira Arellano claims that "the United States is the one who broke the law first by letting people cross over without documents. By letting people pay taxes."


Carole King - Tapestry - Home Again
iTunes is currently playing: Home Again from the album Tapestry by Carole King.
Comments

Comments made to the media by black activists and football fans …

... about dog killer Michael Vick:

From the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (7/29/07): About 200 people braved rain and thunderclaps outside the Georgia Dome on Sunday to condemn the country, the media, Nike and, most of all, the Atlanta Falcons for treating Michael Vick like a dog. "We Support Vick a Human Being Over Dogs," was the message of one placard to honking passing cars on Northside Drive. Other supporters said they believed Vick should be given the benefit of the doubt until his day in court.

"Look at what he has done for this city — he's made this city a ton of money every Sunday," said Hiram Melvin, 50 of Decatur. "This dogfighting has been going on for years. It's not something that just started. It's not a big deal." [Emphasis mine. kh]

Charles Steele, Jr., President of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, said that the SCLC "prefers to focus on Vick's redemption and plans to honor him for his community contributions at its convention [in August] in Atlanta." "We need to support him no matter what the evidence reveals," Steele said.

Citizens of Atlanta support the dog killer.

Anisa Wright, holding dog DJ, her mother Charita Wright, and Imani Wright show their support for Michael Vick.

[Dressing the dog up in a #7 jersey is a particularly classy touch, don't you think?]

The same article goes on to say that The New Order National Human Rights Organization, a non-profit group purportedly established to deal with human rights violations experienced by people of any "race, creed, color, or religion" but which appears to have only black members (based on the photos displayed on its web site), "is calling for a boycott and protest of Falcons games until Vick returns to the field — and season-ticket holders in the crowd plan to demand their money back." New Order President Gerald Rose says, "This is still his dome. This is still his house."

----------------

From CNN.com (8/22/07): Atlanta NACCP President R.L. White says that Michael Vick's "mistakes" should not cost him his football career and that "he didn't understand the uproar over dogfighting, when hunting deer and other animals is perfectly acceptable."

---------------

From Breitbart.com (8/22/07): New York Knicks guard Stephon Marbury defended Michael Vick, calling dogfighting a sport and comparing it to hunting. "I think it's tough," Marbury said, according to Albany TV station Capital News 9. "I think, you know, we don't say anything about people who shoot deer or shoot other animals. You know, from what I hear, dogfighting is a sport. It's just behind closed doors .... I think it's tough that we build Michael Vick up and then we break him down," Marbury said. "I think he's one of the superb athletes, and he's a good human being. I just think that he fell into a bad situation." [Again, emphasis is mine. kh]

----------------

And let's not forget Deion Sanders, former NFL player/current NFL Network analyst/part-owner of the Austin Wranglers (of the Arena Football League), who offered this take on the situation in a piece he wrote for the Florida News-Press on 7/02/07 (and who has since been silenced by the NFL based on the terms of a contract he signed, a situation that the News-Press is NOT happy about).

The potential impact [of the indictment] could be devastating.

This is all the result of perspective.

What a dog means to Vick might be a lot different than what he means to you or I. Hold on, don’t start shaking your head just yet. Listen to me.

Some people kiss their dogs on the mouth. Some people let their dogs eat from their plate. Some people dress their dogs in suits more expensive than mine, if you can believe that.

And some people enjoy proving they have the biggest, toughest dog on the street. You’re probably not going to believe this, but I bet Vick loves the dogs that were the biggest and the baddest. Maybe, he identified with them in some way.

Why are we indicting him? Was he the ringleader? Is he the big fish? Or is there someone else? The fights allegedly occurred at a property that he purchased for a family member. They apparently found carcasses on the property, but I must ask you again, is he the ringleader?

Are we using Vick to get to the ringleader? Are we using him to bring an end to dogfighting in the United States?

The only thing I can gather from this situation is that we’re using Vick.

I believe Vick had a passion for dogfighting. I know many athletes who share his passion. The allure is the intensity and the challenge of a dog fighting to the death. It’s like ultimate fighting, but the dog doesn’t tap out when he knows he can’t win.

It reminds me of when I wore a lot of jewelry back in the day because I always wanted to have the biggest chain or the biggest, baddest car. It gives you status.

The reason this is turning into a three-ring circus is that baseball is boring, basketball is months away, football is around the corner and we in the media don’t have a thing interesting to write about.

-----------------

The population in general seems to have strong negative feelings about Michael Vick and his behavior. However, I have spent a significant amount of time searching the Internet for examples of black individuals (prominent or otherwise) who have publicly condemned Michael Vick's behavior (even if the condemnation came after the announcement of his plea deal) and I have been unable to find a single example.

Is the media reporting on this situation in a way that makes it appear that most blacks are supportive of Vick when this is not the case? (And if so, why would they do that?)

OR

Do most blacks think that this is all much ado about nothing and Vick should be at training camp right now? (And if so, how do people grow up in the same country, surrounded by animals that are, to most of us, like members of the family, and end up with such different opinions about this issue, with those opinions split evenly along racial lines?)

OR something else???

What do you think? And why?

[I bet this is my longest blog post ever!]


Billie Holiday - The Essence of Billie Holiday - How Could You?
iTunes is currently playing: How Could You? from the album Billie Holiday: Portrait by Billie Holiday.
Comments

I never understood why people would install …

... a doggie door in their house. Doesn't it occur to them that if their pet can go in and out through the opening, other animals can do the same??

Pit Bulls Break Into Home, Maul Woman

GIG HARBOR, Wash. (AP) - Two pit bull terriers broke into a house through a pet door Tuesday and attacked a woman in her bed, mauling her badly, a Pierce County sheriff's spokesman said. The pit bulls also killed a neighbor's Jack Russell terrier, which entered the house during the attack, Troyer said.


Jim Brickman - No Words - Open Doors
iTunes is currently playing: Open Doors from the album No Words by Jim Brickman.
Comments
*** CLICK HERE TO READ OLDER POSTS. ***