Quote of the Day - Good actions give strength to ourselves and inspire good actions in others.
How To Give BackI ride a Harley, something like this one. Not all the time, but typically on weekends.
One weekend in November, in particular.
On November 9th, the Love Ride will feature some 15, 000 bikers on a 50-mile fund-raising ride from Glendale to Lake Castaic. It's sponsored by Glendale Harley-Davidson, and is in its 20th year.
The Love Ride donates to Reading by 9 (a L.A. Times sponsored literacy initiative which benefits local schools), and 20 other charities including the Muscular Dystrophy Association, City of Hope, Providence Saint Joseph Foundation, Sheriff's Relief Foundation, Ahead with Horses, National Kidney Foundation, Scleroderma Research Foundation, American Diabetes Association, and Glendale College Foundation.
Last year, over $1,000,000 was raised, with hopes to top it this year. So, if you're so inclined, please become a Love Ride Sponsor
Knees Squeezed? Try This!I'm not vertically challenged. I enjoyed flying American when it had extra leg room, and was disappointed after AA reversed itself. If available, I ask for an exit row, aisle seat. I suspect some readers may know what I'm talking about.
The dreaded seat recliner.
You know, the person in front of you who insists on reclining as soon as the plane lifts off, and then plants the back of the seat firmly into your knees. Not to mention what happens to your laptop.
Now, there's hope - and controversy. Thanks to the Knee Defender, a small Tic-tac sized block of plastic. Slide it down on the metal bar of your seat tray up against the seat back in front of you, and viola!, no more bruised knees. The inventor claims it prevents deep vein thrombosis, also known as economy class syndrome.
Not everyone is happy, though. Northwest Airlines has banned the less than $10.00 device. Other airlines are studying it.
In the meantime, I'm buying it.
The Contrast Between Workers and PoliticiansIt snowed in Vienna last night near the Schoenbrunn castle. We've got temps in the high 90's here in Southern California, and wildfires at Camp Pendelton. It's a stark contrast.
Just like it is in Congress, I'm afraid. Today, we learn once again that Congress has agreed to give itself a pay hike.
On the other hand, here in Southern California, grocery union workers are still on strike vying for health benefits. Los Angeles MTA workers want better health benefits, too.
Maybe the workers just need to run for Congress.
Irish Castles Will Not Go Up In SmokeI'm not Irish, so I may not be qualified to write this post. I did visit once, so I can claim some minor understanding of the Country. On my trip, I learned that nearly 44 million Irish men, women and children emigrated to the U.S. Unlike a certain European city, Americans are welcomed in Ireland.
Right now, though, Ireland is struggling with the application of its new Smoke Law, scheduled to go into effect January 1, 2004. This time, the flap seems to be over the application of the smoking ban to homes.
When caregivers, plumbers and electricians come into an Irish home, they're entitled to a smoke-free environment, according to an Irish Government Agency's interpretation. I wrote about this ban once before when Irish cigar vendors were complaining.
The law's proponents point to a study out of Helena, Montana. There, when the smoking ban was in place, heart attacks went down by 48%.
When the law was rescinded, the number of heart attacks went right back up. Kind of makes you think, doesn't it?
New Yorkers have been trying to stymie their smoking ban, too. But a federal judge will have nothing of it. On the left coast, we've gotten pretty used to the no smoking law, and in fact, I miss it when traveling.
I'm a dedicated cigar smoker, though, but I respect others' rights not to breathe it in. While writing this post, I was glad to have found 78 more reasons to buy cigars.
We got used to the ban, and it looks like New York and Ireland will too.
Only in IowaI don't get the chance to write about Iowa very much. It's not because I don't want to, it's just that there's not a lot going on there. I really like the state, and it's a great place to live (and go to school). In the summer, anyway.
Winters really suck. In Iowa, snow comes down sideways, with the wind. Where I was born in New England, that's where they take those winter wonderland postcard photos. The snow there falls ever so gently and piles up white. Oh, the memories. Enough of that, though. Back to Iowa. That's what started this whole article.
In Iowa, 14-year old Bryce Wiley is wheelchair bound in a little town 150 miles northwest of Des Moines.1 Unfortunately for Bryce, none of the sidewalks have cut-outs at the curbs, according to this article.
So, he drives his motorized wheelchair on the road. It doesn't go over well with the police, and the State of Iowa bans wheelchairs from the road.
Obviously, a conundrum.
Never fear, though. The police and Bryce worked out a deal, brokered by the Mayor and Bryce's dad. As long as he obeys the traffic laws and put a safety light on his wheelchair, all is fine in Mudville once again.
1 Everyone uses Des Moines (mockingly pronounced dez moyne ez by locals) as the measuring stick. I don’t know why, because no one other than Iowans really know where Des Moines is. But, it’s the capital, so they figure that those of us who memorized the 50 capitals as kids at least have heard about it.back
ChevronTexaco Consent Decree PostedLast week, I wrote about the ChevronTexaco consent decree. Now, the actual paperwork is here to view in Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV, and Part V.
It runs in toto over 200 pages. Not too bad for spending over $275 million to resolve this air-quality lawsuit.
Box Cutters Can't Cut Through Red TapeRecently, the United States Inspector General's investigators carried knives, a bomb and a gun through Boston Logan International Airport's boarding procedures without being detected.
In comparison, 20-year old Nathaniel Heatwole placed box cutters, molded clay and bleach on two Southwest Airlines flights that went undetected for a month. Even despite the fact that Heatwole sent an email detailing the who, what, where and how of his "civil disobedience" action.
Guess who's facing charges, though? Heatwole, and 10 years in jail, to be sure.
Heatwole seems like a regular guy. Earlier this year, he won a $1,000 ham radio scholarship. According to other articles, he also won a similar scholarship from his college radio station for writing.
Heatwole said, "I have a ton of stuff I'd like to say, but ... I have to work with government before I work with the media," in an interview from his home in Damascus, Md. to a newspaper, according to CBS.
The September 11 hijackers used box cutters to take over the planes that day.
No doubt what Heatwole did was wrong - but he did nothing to hurt anyone, only prove a point. It seems to me that we ought to thank him for pointing out these problems instead of punishing him.
But that's just one guy's opinion.
Smukers May Get SmackedLast week, Smuckers got smeared with a lawsuit over its claim of 100% fruit in its jams.
Smuckers itself advertises "Simply fruit" both on its website and jars.
But, tests revealed that the spread contained less than 30 percent actual strawberries and the blueberry version contained just 43 percent berries, the lawsuit said. The suit was filed by a woman, Stephanie Schwebel, with a "sensitive palate."
I couldn't find where Smucker's website lists the ingredients, but it invites you to send an email to find out. The article cited above says the website lists the ingredients as fruit syrup, lemon juice concentrate, fruit pectin, red grape juice concentrate and natural flavors.
I just went down to the kitchen and couldn't even find a jar of it.
Guess I have to brave the picket lines and go to the grocery store to get some jam. I've heard it goes real well with ice cream, too.