Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The Consumer Electronics Association Publishes Electronics Recycling Tips

Just found this article on Yahoo! with tips from the Consumer Electronics Association on what to do with old laptops, cell phones and other electronics you may want to dispose of now that Santa has brought you some great new techy stuff for Christmas.

Before you dispose, be sure to check out the CEA's advice on protecting yourself from identity theft.

Happy new year to all! May 2010 keep you and your family healthy, happy and rich in love.

Please check out my novel, In Fashion's Web on Amazon.

Water Bottles Now Worth 5 Cents in Connecticut

According to the Container Recycling Institute, sales of plastic water bottles in the U.S. doubled between 2002 and 2005 from 15 billion to 29.8 billion.

And up until 2009, those bottles were recyclable but not returnable in the state of Connecticut. Now, if you live in Connecticut, you should be aware that your bottles are worth 5 cents a piece when returned along with your soda and beer bottles. If your family goes through a case of water a week, that's an extra $1.20 you could be getting back, or $62.00 a year.

While every penny counts today, $62 is still not much -- it doesn't even buy a family a week's worth of groceries. But over five years, that's $310. Ten years - $620. Do it your whole life and you can treat your family to a free vacation just by returning water bottles.

Also, returning the family's bottles and cans is a great way for a child or teen to make their own money. It also teaches them about the environment and about responsibility. And if there's one things kids and teens want today it's their own money.

So if you live in Connecticut, be advised you can now return your water bottles and get a refund.

Please check out my novel, In Fashion's Web on Amazon.

10 Ways You Can Recycle

Recycling is easy. Here are several ways you can recycle above and beyond what you're tossing into your the blue bin:

1. Metal hangers: bring them back to the dry cleaner. They will gladly accept them. Hangers are expensive and most dry cleaners these days are recycling hangers.

2. Eye glasses: Many eye glass retailers have a bin for recycling eye glasses. They get refurbished and go to the poor so they are put to very good use.

3. Cell phones: Pretty much every cell phone retailer today recycles old phones for the poor, so don't throw yours away!

4. Ink cartridges: Staples is just one retailer that gives points equal to $1 to for a returned ink cartridge. Return 10 ink cartridges, get $10 in a rebate check. You must be a rewards member to get the rebates.

5. Take your old books to your local library: Most libraries have a used book sale every year. Or, search online for a needy community such as areas struck by Hurricane Katrina that might be looking for books.

6. College text books: There are websites that both buy and sell college text books, including and

7. Grocery bags: Bring your plastic bags back to the grocery store. Stop & Shop keeps a recycling bin in the entranceway.

8. Clothes: Donate your gently worn clothes to your local shelter or Goodwill store.

9. Batteries: Take your regular batteries down to your local firehouse. Ours collects hazardous materials on the first Saturday of every month.

10. BBQ propane gas cans: Take your empty propane tanks to a local propane company in your area. They will gladly recycle them.

And don't forget things like mulching your leftovers and making quilts for the poor out of your old clothes. There is a use for everything if you think about it!

Please check out my novel, In Fashion's Web on Amazon.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Bravo Jet Blue

Last night, as I was boarding a Jet Blue plane from Austin, Texas to JFK in New York, the flight attendant began to call passengers in order of priority (i.e., those who need special assistance and families with small children first, etc.).

But yesterday was Veterans' Day and the flight attendant did something that I thought was very classy and cool. He asked if there were any veterans on line and he invited them to board first.

Way to go Jet Blue.

Please check out my novel, In Fashion's Web on Amazon.

"Alledged" and "Suspect" Are Alledgedly Suspect

I get that the law is black and white. You are innocent until proven guilty. But I feel we banty around these words "alledged" and "suspect" a little too much. When someone clearly did something, such as the major who shot and killed 13 people in Ft. Hood, there is no unclarity there. He did it. What is alledged and suspect is why or how because those facts have yet to be proven.

When a serial killer or a sniper has been "suspected" and the law is on the lookout for the person they feel the evidence is leading them to, they clearly have not yet proven who the killer is and it takes a court of law to pull all the evidence together and do that. The actions of the person they are seeking are "alledged" because it has not been proven that they have the right person.

But this is different. This is clear cut.

Does he have rights that need to be protected? Yes he does. But that has nothing to do with whether he did or he didn't commit the act. He did. Period. So why do we have to call him the alledged or suspected killer? He's a killer. His reasons are alledged. Not his actions.

Please check out my novel, In Fashion's Web on Amazon.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

This Is It - Two Thumbs Way Up

My husband and I went to see the Michael Jackson tribute "This Is It", a compilation of video footage made from the rehearsals of Michael's "last" tour. I thought it was excellent.

I had my doubts before I got there because I questioned how much footage could they possibly have and how far could they stretch it? I expected it to be padded with a lot of fluff. It wasn't. It turns out, they filmed literally everything during the practices, so they had a ton of original material to work with.

We got to see every dance move Michael planned to make, and every update and new twist to every song, which I thought he did an excellent job of. One thing Michael Jackson never did was stand still. He always evolved, and it showed in the practices for the "This Is It" concert tour.

Also, since the show was only eight days away when he died, all the video backdrop footage was already done, so they had all that to share, as well. And they did a great of showing the personalities of his team, which I thought was nice because he worked every day for months with these people and they became his family. The dancers were awesome and the show he was planning would have been absolutely amazing.

Anyway, bottom line, I thought it was totally worth the money and the time. I felt like I was at a concert. I felt like he was still alive. I felt like he had never left. Go see it.

Please check out my novel, In Fashion's Web on Amazon.

TOMS Shoes Gets 15 Minutes of Fame

Okay, that’s an exaggeration, as they are already famous. But I was happy to see them make the “big time” recently when they were featured on American Spirit, a CBS nightly news feature with Katie Couric.

TOMS Shoes is a pretty cool company and I like what they do. For every pair of shoes they sell, they give one pair away to a child in need. Since the company’s inception in 2006, they have given away more than 150,000 pairs of shoes.

The company website explains that their “shoe drops” do a lot more good than just putting shoes on the feet of people who can’t afford them:

“Wearing shoes prevents feet from getting cuts and sores on unsafe roads and from contaminated soil. Not only are these injuries painful, they also are dangerous when wounds become infected. The leading cause of disease in developing countries is soil-transmitted parasites which penetrate the skin through open sores. Wearing shoes can prevent this and the risk of amputation.”

In addition, the site says, “Many times children can't attend school barefoot because shoes are a required part of their uniform. If they don't have shoes, they don't go to school. If they don't receive an education, they don't have the opportunity to realize their potential.”

In Sodo Ethiopia, where the soil is rich in silica – a type of volcanic ash – people suffer from a disease called podoconiosis, which causes deformity, intense pain, ulcers and social stigma and exclusion. It is founder Blake Mycoskie’s trip to Ethiopia which is featured on CBS’ American Spirit.

It sounds like a continuous domino effect of poverty and poor health conditions. And solving this problem can be done with a simple pair of shoes. Wow.

Check out TOMS Shoes at You can shop, donate, intern at their Venice, California headquarters, host a ‘design your own shoe’ party, or join or start a TOMS Shoes Campus Club at your college.

Clearly one person, or one simple act, can absolutely change the world.

Please check out my novel, In Fashion's Web on Amazon.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Good Bye, My Friend

To my friend Adriana who moved away today, there was never enough time to walk. Never enough time to share a bottle of wine, and never enough time to sit and teach you English while you taught me Spanish.

I will miss you, my friend!

Please check out my novel, In Fashion's Web on Amazon.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

The Day I Almost Met Bill Clinton

One day I had to pick my husband up from work at Pepsico headquarters in Armonk, NY. It was about 2 p.m. I sat in the semi-circle with my car in park, engine running. There were a couple of other vehicles there, but I didn't pay them any mind. I never noticed that the one in front and in back of me were both black Escalades.

As I was waiting, I saw four people come out a side door. I noticed that one coincidentally looked a little bit like Bill. But I would never expect the former president of the United States to come out a side door. Nor would I expect him to have such a small entourage. Just him and three other people, including a woman who looked to me like someone who handled public relations for the firm. In addition, he was wearing an orange polo shirt and a pair of faded jeans and sneakers. The former president of the United States dressed so casually after a speech? Perhaps someone had already put his pinstripe suit in the car. He also looked unusually thin.

As he came closer to the Escalade in front of me, the one behind me moved up and cut in front of my car. Only then did I know for sure that it was really him. I wanted so badly to roll down my window and yell, Hey Bill! and wave. But I was afraid that if I did, I would have 20 secret service men in my face in about three seconds.

I watched him get in the car and the two Escalades drove off. But I'm disappointed that I missed my opportunity. He was only about 20 or 30 feet from the hood of my car. Bill, if you're reading this, perhaps you could make up for it by taking me to lunch one day. Well, at least I've got the memory.

Please check out my novel, In Fashion's Web on Amazon.

The African Children's Choir Graces Norwalk, CT Again

For the second year, Norwalk United Methodist Church sponsored a visit by the African Children's Choir, and I have to say, if it is possible to fall in love with 30 children, I did. They also moved me to tears.

We had an hour long free concert on Saturday, October 17th and then an abridged show during worship services on Sunday, the 18th. And these kids are nothing short of amazing. If they come to your neighborhood, I highly recommend you go see them.

The children of the African Children's Choir, which was founded by missionary Ray Bennett 35 years ago, takes in children from war torn Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda, and other parts of Africa and gives them a life they would never have otherwise. In fact, many of them would be dead right now if it wasn't for the ACC. These kids have lost at least one, if not both of their parents and many of their siblings. They have been homeless, starving and living on the street or in refugee camps.

Once accepted by the African Children's Choir, they travel the world for one year, and are tutored while traveling from 9-5 every day. When they return home, they are provided with an education that goes all the way through college. Because of the ACC, these children have dreams. "I want to be a doctor," one said. "A pilot," said another.

Their smiles are beautiful, and they dance and sing African folk and spiritual songs beautifully. When they spoke, I was captivated. They are so cute when they say in their African accents, "I'm sure some of you would like to adopt us, but we are not available for adoption." (Laughter) "But there is a way that you can take us into your home." Then all the children pull out from behind their back CDs and DVDs and really cute t-shirts. Everyone laughs.

But seriously, the African Children's Choir has saved hundreds of thousands of children from poverty and death and turned them into adults and future adults who will be responsible for saving their country from war, poverty and hunger. Please check out their website at and turn your speakers on so you can hear their angelic voices. Buy a CD, DVD or t-shirt, or simply donate to their cause. You can save a child. No amount is too small.

Please check out my novel, In Fashion's Web on Amazon.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Greenest Town in America

This news item in Native Energy’s e-newsletter really grabbed me and I wanted to share it. On May 4, 2007, a tornado destroyed 95% of Greensburgh, Kansas and killed 11 people. In their efforts to rebuild, the residents of Greensburgh decided they were going to make their town the greenest in America.

They recently broke ground on the Greensburgh Wind Farm, which will generate enough energy to power 4,000 homes, which is more than enough electricity for every home, business, and municipal facility in this little town. The wind energy will displace fossil-based energy and reduce hundreds of thousands of tons of carbon pollution.

Very cool. Go Greensburgh!

Please check out my novel, In Fashion's Web on Amazon.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Who Is Responsible for the Sound of Music Train Station Video?

I think the choreographed dance routine to the song “Do Re Mi”, which takes place at the Centraal Station in Antwerp, Belgium, is about the greatest thing since sliced bread. I love watching it and I never seem to get tired of it. I’ve already watched it at least a dozen times. It’s playing on my desktop right now, in fact!

But after about the twelfth time, I became intensely curious. Who is responsible for this really creative and original fete?

There are so many things I like about this video. First of all, there’s the wardrobe, or lack of one. All the dancers are wearing their own clothes, ranging from business suits to jeans, hoodies and sneakers. They truly look like 200 people who simply came to take a train and got caught up in the excitement and fun of it all, and oh by the way, they all just happened to know the steps! At one point, you see this fifties-ish guy with grey hair and a tan coat smiling and watching like he thinks it's really cool, and a few minutes later he's smack dab in the middle! And then there's this twenties-ish really tall guy in a dark suit who looks like he could be anybody's accountant in the very last row on the end and he's completely into it!

And I especially like the looks on their faces when the music starts. They’re all looking around like, “Where is this music coming from?” like they have no idea and are really surprised. They pull that off really well.

So I did some Googling and here’s what I found. According to, the promotional stunt was put on by a Belgian television program, which was looking for someone to play the lead in a remake of “The Sound of Music”. The Huffington Post says it is a promotional stunt for a reality show.

Either way, HuffPo offers a great explanation for why I, and roughly a million other people, enjoy this video so much: “We’re in a global economic crisis, America’s fighting two wars, there’s genocide in Darfur, AIDs running rampant, and a pretty good shot that we could all be killed by bird flu in a year or two. We need this video.” Well that certainly explains a lot.

Please check out my novel, In Fashion's Web on Amazon.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Kanye West Doesn't Deserve an Ounce of Fame

Did anyone catch the MTV music awards last night, or if not, the news this morning about his actions at the awards?

He actually interrupted Taylor Swift's acceptance speech of the MTV video of the year award, pulled the microphone out of her hands and said that Beyonce's video was awesome. In other words, that she deserved the award. Taylor didn't know what to say after that.

Kanye West is rude, arrogant, pretentious and doesn't deserve one ounce of fame. He deserves to be knocked down a few pegs. How sad that someone can be so uncaring and self-centered in this day and age.

Please check out my novel, In Fashion's Web on Amazon.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Can We All Have a Moment of Silence Please?

We won't forget. For all the people who died on September 11th, 2001, for all the spouses who lost their other halves, for all the children who lost their parents, grandchildren, brothers, sisters, and for all the people who lost their bosses, friends, colleagues, buddies and team members. We know you haven't forgotten. We haven't forgotten either.

This moment of silence is for you and for the loved ones you lost.

May peace be with you.

Please check out my novel, In Fashion's Web on Amazon.

God Bless Tuesday’s Children

Hugo graduated high school last June and is now working in a restaurant with the hopes of becoming a chef. He’s following in his father’s footsteps, but unfortunately his father isn’t there to tell him how proud he is of his son. His father was a chef at Windows of the World on the 105th floor of the World Trade Center. He died on September 11th, 2001.

There are thousands Hugos. Thank God there is Tuesday’s Children. Tuesday’s Children is a nonprofit organization that helps families of 9/11 with parenting, mentoring, legal issues, career counseling, life management skills and health and wellness.

If you or someone you know lost a loved one on September 11th, you are invited to their annual anniversary luncheon. It’s passed the RSVP date, but I doubt they would turn away a new member from their fold:

Date: Sept. 11, 2009
Time: 11:30 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
Where: Merchants NY Café
Address: 90 Washington Street
Between Rector and Washington
New York, NY 10006
Phone: 212-363-6000

Out of sadness and pain comes something wonderful. If you would like to donate to Tuesday’s Children, go to

Please check out my novel, In Fashion's Web on Amazon.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Health Care Town Hall Meeting Rises to a Boil

Last night I attended one of those town hall meetings on health care that have been all over the news. There were about 5,000 people in attendance from Stamford, Greenwich, Westport, Wilton, Weston, Norwalk and Darien.

The tension was high. Dissension was high. People were screaming from the audience. Most of the comments were pretty stupid. One woman yelled, "equal opportunity health care is not a constitutional right!" Huh? Another one yelled, "I don't want to pay for abortions!" Again, huh? Wow, there's a lot of misconception and ignorance in the world.

First of all, I believe that equal opportunity health care IS a constitutional right. Let's remember that most of the rights we have today - like the right for women to vote and for integration, not segregation - came long after the original constitution was written.

Here are some other things I know:

FACT: A 36-year-old woman's insurance company wouldn't pay for her $6,000 weekly chemo treatments because the treatment was new and "not proven".

FACT: There have been numerous stories about people who needed bone marrow transplants and insurance companies refused to pay for the expensive procedure because "it wasn't proven". It took years of fighting to get insurance companies to pay for these. I wonder how many people died waiting.

FACT: I've been turned down by insurance companies. My husband has been turned down by an insurance company. Insurance companies should not be allowed to turn anyone down.

FACT: We ended up forfeiting our COBRA because the rates were raised so high that we couldn't afford them. Insurance companies should not be allowed to charge absorbitant rates.

FACT: We're already paying for schools in our taxes. I don't have any kids in the school system but yet I have to pay for it anyway.

FACT: My taxes go to pay for the highways and the roads. I work from home so I don't use those highways and roads as much as most other people but yet I'm still paying the same amount for those roads as everyone else. Why not pay for healthcare out of our taxes?

FACT: From the time we are first old enough to work (i.e., age 16), we start paying into social security, something that none of us uses until we reach retirement age, yet no one has ever complained about paying into that. Furthermore, some people never even reach retirement age and never get to use any of it. Most people never get to use all of it. But no one has any problem with that.

I believe that equal opportunity healthcare is a constitutional right for all Americans. I believe that any government run program that requires us to pay into it from our paychecks should be for documented Americans only (but I also feel there should be better ways and more opportunities for undocumented aliens to become documented). And anyone who thinks that a government run healthcare system is going to pay for free abortions for the poor is an idiot. Unless that person is raped and is an uninsured minor. Then I think it makes sense.

The only shout out in the crowd that I heard last night that makes any sense at all is this: let's not try to boil the ocean. Let's take small steps. Today, pass a law that says that insurance companies cannot deny anyone insurance and make it illegal for insurance companies to deny preexisting conditions or new forms of medicine. That would be a great start. From there, we should move on to make payments affordable.

Perhaps there are certain medical wellness processes that could be government run, such as child vaccinations, mammograms, pap smears, prostate cancer tests, eye exams, blood pressure screenings, etc. Things that we can all benefit from. I am not opposed to government run medical insurance that creates a level playing field for all who need care, and I am not opposed to paying for it out of my paycheck or my taxes. Let's find a workable program that meets the needs of everyone.

Please check out my novel, In Fashion's Web on Amazon.

Some People Are Sooooo Stupid

I can't believe what I just saw. I was pumping gas and along comes this guy about 60 with a frumpy hat who looks like he's had waaaay too much alcohol in his lifetime to even remember his own name. He walks through the gas station smoking a cigarette and then tosses his lit cigarette butt on the ground near the gas pumps.

This made me furious! I can't believe that we actually have people in this society that are that stupid! I started yelling at him but he didn't hear me. Or maybe he just didn't care.

And then, his next move was classic - it was 9:00 a.m. He walked directly into the liquor store to get more pickel juice.


Please check out my novel, In Fashion's Web on Amazon.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Michael Will Live On

By the end of this year, I predict that you will hear about the launch of the Michael Jackson Foundation.

Within the next 12 months, I predict that Michael Jackson will post-humously receive no less than three humanitarian awards. One will be created in his name.

By the end of next year, I predict that you will hear about the launch of Neverland Ranch as a permanent Michael Jackson Museum.

By the time she is 18, I predict that Paris Jackson will become a staunch advocate for the betterment of all humanity and she will dedicate her entire life to humanitarian work.

It would have been wonderful to see the creations Michael would have come up with in his next 20 years - and I have no doubt they would have been great. But the real loss is in his humanity. He has got to be one of the top two humanitarians in the entire world.

Dirty laundry? Please. We've all got that. I'll bet you can name three people you know personally whose dirty laundry is worse than Michael's. So get over it.

I'm very sorry he left us at such a young age and I pray for his family, especially his children.

Please check out my novel, In Fashion's Web on Amazon.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Bernie Madoff Sentence Just and Deserved

With a 150-year sentence, Bernie Madoff got off easily. My only regret is that he is already 71, which means he will only spend a small portion of his lavish spoiled life in prison. I wish he were 20 years younger so he could suffer more.

Let us not forget that two of his victims committed suicide. He is responsible not just for making hundreds of people penniless but for these two deaths, as well.

I hope prison wipes that smug, shit-eating grin off his face and I hope he never commits suicide. He should live out every single day God gives him in one tiny room, going to the bathroom on an open toilet. Even that is too good for him.

This should be a message to any scam artist who is thinking of trying a ponzi scheme or any other scheme, for that matter. I hope all the other idiots who have followed in his footsteps are caught and get similar sentences.

Please check out my novel, In Fashion's Web on Amazon.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Calling All Bahamians!

The Bahamian American Association is planning a “Bahamians in New York” Mixer, Sept. 12th at Astoria Manor, Queens, New York.

As a Bahamian by marriage, I have learned that there are dozens of fellow Bahamians out and about in the neighborhoods of the New York, New Jersey, Connecticut tri-state area.

My husband and I, who are members of the Bahamian American Association (BAAI) in Harlem, New York, have met many good people, both Bahamians who live in America and friends of Bahamians, through events held by and at the BAAI, and we are always interested in meeting more.

On September 12, the Bahamian American Association, a 97-year-old nonprofit organization and an icon of Harlem, is holding a mixer to bring Bahamians and friends of Bahamians together for a night of fun, food, entertainment and fellowship.

The event, organized and hosted by Anwar Rolle of Island Boy 4 Ever Entertainment, and formerly the lead singer of the Baha Men (known for their hit single “Who Let the Dogs Out”), will be held on Saturday, September 12, 2009, from 7 p.m. until closing, at the Astoria Manor in Queens, New York. The mixer will benefit the BAAI scholarship fund.

The evening will include a cocktail hour with a delictable assortment of hot and cold hors d’oeuvres and a formal dinner. Dinner and dancing music will be provided by DJ David, renowned for his appearances at the world famous Atlantis resort and casino’s “Dragons” club in Nassau.

Several prizes will be raffled off, including a two-night stay at Sheraton Grand Bahama Lucaya Resort, a five-star resort on the island of Grand Bahama, sponsored by the Grand Bahama Tourism Board (, and a seven-night stay at the five-star Sandy Port Resort in Nassau, sponsored by, as well as additional surprises througout the evening.

Walk the red carpet! A red carpet webcast will be recorded during the event. All Bahamians are encouraged to record a message to their friends and family back home. The webcast, which is sponsored by The Bahamas Weekly ( will be available on MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, and In addition, both the Bahamian American Association and Anwar Rolle will be awarding scholarships throughout the evening.

“Bahamians who are away from their homeland really value the ability to congregate with their fellow Bahamians,” said Mr. William R. Dames, president of the Bahamian American Association. “At the BAAI, we strive to foster that togetherness on a regular basis and also to come together to do good within the Bahamian American community. The scholarship fund is a major focus of BAAI and we are pleased to be able to award two scholarships at this event.”

To order tickets for the mixer, find out more about the Bahamian American Association, or to make a donation, go to

To find out more about Anwar Rolle and Island Boy 4 Ever Entertainment, go to or

Please check out my novel, In Fashion's Web on Amazon.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

New Reynolds Wrap Made From Recycled Aluminum

How excited I was when I found this product on the shelf! Recycled aluminum foil from Reynolds Wrap! My first reaction was to slap my forehead and say, "what took so long?" This is a great idea and one that ZipLoc, Saran Wrap, CutWax and all the others should follow. It was only a few pennies more than the original Reynolds Wrap and worth the price. It is as strong as the original version and it's helping to save the environment. And I especially love the fact that it is "100%" recycled. Not 3%. Not 10%. Not 30%. 100%! That's the way it should be! I highly recommend this product to all. Stop sending tin foil to the landfills today.

Please check out my novel, In Fashion's Web on Amazon.

The Problem With QWERTY Keyboards

QWERTY keyboards are great. The first time I got a phone with a QWERTY keyboard, I was actually pleasantly surprised at how fast I could type with just two thumbs. But here's the problem: Have you ever tried to dial a vanity phone # with it? If not, I challenge you to try it now. Go ahead. Dial 1-800-USA-RAIL or 1-800-JETBLUE.

Aha! There's no number over the letters! Go to push down the U and guess what happens - you get a U! And who in their right mind is going to sit there and count out which three letters go with each number? And what if it's an emergency? You're SOL!

So what's going to happen to vanity phone numbers going forward? Companies that spent so much money and effort on getting easily recognizable vanity phone numbers will now have to heavily advertise the numeric equivalent or they're going to have a lot of complaints from customers and a lot of missed calls.

In addition, I recently tried to access my office voicemail from my BlackBerry. The prompt first asked me to enter the pound or hash symbol and then input my 10-digit #. On the QWERTY keyboard, the # is the very first key, directly above the Q. I clicked on the shift button and hit the #, but it didn't work. The system kept telling me "5 is incorrect". So I am unable to access my office phone mail from outside the office. That is not cool.

I went to to try to find a phone number for customer service to get their thoughts on the subject, but I couldn't find one. It will be interesting to see how this plays out. If anyone has any suggestions for how to handle these issues, please let me know.


Please check out my novel, In Fashion's Web on Amazon.

Please Make the Television More Like the Computer

I am a creature of habit. Once I develop habits, they stick with me for a long time. And nothing today is more habitual than the computer and the Internet. I find that certain habits that I’ve picked up through modern technology I want to use elsewhere, but they don’t exist.

For instance, online searching. When I sit down to my television set, I generally will flip through the channels until I find something I want to watch. Most people would go to the directory channel provided by their cable or satellite company and sit there while they read screen after screen of program names and times. That’s not for me. Still others may pick up the good old fashioned TV Guide. I haven’t owned or purchased a TV Guide probably since the 1980s.

But I have a solution, and I task any young entrepreneurial spirit to develop it. I would like to be able to sit down at my television, click a button on my remote and have a search box pop up. I would just type into the search box the name of the show I’m looking for, hit enter and bam! The television finds it and there it is. If, for example, I wanted to hear the latest dish about Madonna, I could — just like the Internet — type in “Madonna”, and all the Madonna songs, Madonna gossip or Madonna interviews would pop up on my screen for my review.

The other thing that drives me nuts are the forward and back buttons. They work just fine on the Internet, but get into a Microsoft Word doc or Excel spreadsheet and try to find the back button and it “ain’t there”. I’m still using Office 2003, and perhaps good ol’ Bill has already figured this out and its in Office 2007. But in the meantime, I find myself nonchalently seeking out that back button out of habit.

Someday, I believe everything on television will be served by the Internet and everything on the computer will work just like the Internet. It can’t come soon enough for me.

Please check out my novel, In Fashion's Web on Amazon.

Friday, May 22, 2009

What You Need to Know About Trampolenes

Recently, my brother and sister-in-law let my 10-year-old niece have a trampolene. It was against their better judgment, but it had side netting all the way around so they thought she would be safe. Besides, Nicole is an athlete - playing either soccer or basketball every week.

What they didn't know is that there was an 8-inch gap between the netting and the edge of the trampolene that was covered with nothing more than a leather flap. One day, Nicole went to get off the trampolene and her foot went through the flap. She fell through the netting and broke both her arms.

Of course, my sister-in-law was furious at the safety that was promised and not provided. She called the manufacturer, who literally told her to go "f" herself. Can you believe that? She then called Wal-Mart where they had purchased the trampolene. Wal-Mart came out, disassembled the trampolene, took it back and gave them a full credit. Wal-Mart is also in talks with the manufacturer about possibly covering the additional expenses - medical expenses, new clothes she could easily slip on, a home tutor for several weeks, etc. Leave it to Wal-Mart to have this kind of clout with the manufacturer.

A trampolene can be a fun toy that also provides much needed exercise and gets kids away from the gaming console and out of the house. But be sure to check it carefully for safety features. Check the connection between the netting and the edge of the trampolene to ensure there is no risk of falling through. And talk with your friends about their experiences.

Please check out my novel, In Fashion's Web on Amazon.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Give Life

I'm a month behind, but it doesn't matter. April was National Donate Life Month, but even though April is over, this is not the kind of issue that you celebrate for a month and forget. This is a subject that affects people all year long so it's good that I'm keeping the thread of conversation going.

If you are a registered organ, eye and tissue donor, bless you. If you are not, I ask you to consider it. If you are not interested, then you, most of all, should read my girlfriend Dara's story, below. I asked Dara if I could tell her story here and she said please do:

"I had a son, Tyler Haywood Smith born on Sept. 4, 1991. On the day when we were about to take him home we were told that something was not right and I must bring him to my pediatrician first thing on Monday morning. As a matter of fact I had to sign an affidavit saying I would do this and was told my doctor would be expecting to see me first thing on Monday.

"We went on Monday and were told that he was more then just a little jaundice and they were sending us to John Hopkins Hospital. After several weeks of testing at Hopkins I was told he had Biliary Atresia. Bilary Atresia is a disease that, at the time, affected one out of ten thousands babies. Bilary Atresia is when the bile duct between the liver and the small intestine is blocked or absent. I was told that if this was happening three years ago I would be told to go home and enjoy my time with my son. Instead, because of advances in medicine, I was told that I could be one of the lucky ones: my son could have a life saving transplant.

I could not believe this. This was me, this was not a dream or a TV show. This was me and my family's life and it was our son and Alexis' brother they were talking about. Tyler needed to take medicine every day and in time he would need a liver transplant. It was hard because he was not as sick as the other kids with this disease. Yes! He was a little yellow and his belly stuck out some, but he was not as sick as other kids that were on the transplant waiting list. You had to be sick to move up on the list. All I could think about was, because Tyler was not extremely sick, he may have to wait a long time before getting his liver transplant.

I knew how I felt before I learned about organ donation. I was afraid of it. I did not realize how it could save someone's life nor did I know how many people were dying because they needed a transplant. No one was talking about it back then. I had to learn more...because my son was dying.

When Tyler was 8 months old, we started looking for other options. We learned that if we were compatible we could do a living related transplant. It was new and only a few hospitals were doing it. I had to do it. I learned both my liver and the part I donated to Tyler would rejuvenate fully in both of us.

People told us we were crazy. They told me I had more than one child. I knew we were not crazy, this was my child...and I would do anything to save his life. The hospital put us through so many tests to make sure this is really what I wanted to do and that I was healthy enough to endure the donation surgery.

The day came for our surgeries: I donated part of my liver to Tyler. The transplant was successful and things went well for several months. Tragically, in our case Tyler had other complications and did not make it. While this is still very hard for me, one of the things that I find comforting is that Tyler's heart is living in a young lady who is probably about 19 years old now.

Tyler became an organ and tissue donor when he passed away. Tyler gave life to others when he no longer had his own. Not a day goes by that I do not think of families that are going through what my family went through.

To honor my son's memory, I volunteer with Donate Life Connecticut. Donate Life Connecticut plays a crucial role in the field of organ, eye and tissue donation. Nearly 1,000 Connecticut residents are waiting for a life-saving organ transplant...and nationally, over 100,000 Americans are waiting for their second chance at life.

Unfortunately, there are not enough people saying 'yes' to donation, and 18 people die daily simply because an organ wasn't available. Through compelling educational programs and materials, Donate Life Connecticut empowers residents to make an informed decision about donation and to register their decision to save lives with the state donor registry.

Please take a moment to consider my family's story and to educate yourself about donation from their website. Also, I urge you to consider Donate Life Connecticut in your yearly charitable giving. Donate Life Connecticut is funded by concerned individuals, businesses and foundations that assist us to deliver our lifesaving message to the public.

An honorarium, memoriam in Tyler Smith's name or general contribution can be given online at
Thank you for taking a minute to learn how you can save lives.

Or go to

Hopefully, you will decide that donation is right for you and you'll join the organ and tissue donor registry. "

Thank you Dara for sharing your story. I hope it helps.

Please check out my novel, In Fashion's Web on Amazon.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Leave Miss California Alone

I believe in gay rights and, in particular, their right to marry. But I don't think it's right that Miss California lost the beauty pageant because of her views. She has a right to her beliefs and I don't think she should be chastised for it. Last time I checked, we live in a democracy where people have the freedom to choose.

Please check out my novel, In Fashion's Web on Amazon.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Happy Earth Day!

Al Gore asked me to forward this message to all my friends, so I am putting it here for you:

In order to solve the climate crisis, we can't just change light bulbs -- we need to change laws. We're closer today than ever before. Right now, Congress is debating clean energy legislation that will jumpstart our economy and help solve the climate crisis. On this Earth Day, can I depend on you to support this crucial legislation?

Yes. I'll get 10 people to sign the petition in support of clean energy legislation within the next week.

This is the historic comprehensive energy legislation that we've been waiting for. It will create millions of jobs and help solve the climate crisis by closing the carbon pollution loophole. After so many years of inaction and obstruction, it's incredible that we have finally reached this point. But the legislative process is never easy. With powerful forces fighting hard to maintain the status quo, it will take all of us working together to seize this moment.

Today, you are one of more than 2 million Repower America members, and tens of millions of Americans, who want to take positive action for our planet. This is it -- a chance to demonstrate nationwide support for clean energy to our leaders in Congress, and help to bring about a new economic era based on clean energy.

So please, talk to your friends. Talk to your parents or grandparents. Start a conversation with a co-worker. And ask them to join with you and the millions of other Americans who want Congress to support clean energy jobs by closing the carbon pollution loophole.

Yes. I'll get 10 people to support this historic clean energy legislation in Congress.

I support clean energy but I'd like to help in other ways.

Your efforts have brought us this far. I hope you take this opportunity to make this a historic Earth Day.

Thank you,
Al Gore

Please check out my novel, In Fashion's Web on Amazon.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Recycling to Save the Earth

When I was a junior in high school, the student body decided to sell recycled note paper and envelopes to make money for the class. They brought in a representative from the recycled paper company, whose name I, at this point, don't remember.

Instead of a straightforward boring speech, the man presented a slide show. A few years earlier, he took an entire summer off and decided to take a cross-country driving trip. Early on, he picked up a hitchhiker who ended up spending the entire trip with him. The two took pictures of the beauty of America. Crystal blue water. Crisp mountain caps. Clean sandy beaches. Flowers. Blue skies. Dessert. Rich lush forests. You name it. He accompanied his slide show with the song, Rocky Mountain High by John Denver.

That day, when I viewed those slides and listened to that melodic song, I fell in love with the planet, and I'm still in love with it today. Every time I hear Rocky Mountain High I picture that slide show and the beauty of America.

That's why I am so fanatical about recycling. I hate to see this living planet be destroyed by humans. I'm doing my part. Are you?

Please check out my novel, In Fashion's Web on Amazon.

Let's Make Every Day Earth Day

Picture this. It's 400 years from now. And every inch of the earth is buried in landfills. Schools, parks, apartment buildings, offices...are all built on top of landfills. The only place to find natural soil is in a protected areas such as Wyoming's Yellowstone or New York's Central Park. These landfills emit methane gas and other chemicals into the atmosphere, which cause diseases. So there are more people with allergies, asthma, multiple sclerosis, all kinds of diseases than ever before. Maybe even some new diseases have come into being as a result.

Do you want your children's grandchildren and their grandchildren to play on top of a landfill? Have little league games on ground that sits on top of 50 feet of garbage? Swing a swing on top of buried plastic that takes 75 years to biodegrade?

It's going to happen if we just keep throwing everything away. Thousands of tons of garbage just pile up every day. Every year, hundreds of landfills are filled and closed and new ones are opened. How long before we run out of room for landfills? How long before every new building can only be built on top of a greened-over land fill?

It's time for everyone to do their part. Recycle everything you possibly can. And I've said this before, it's not just about what you put into your recycling bin. Saturday I recycled my printer. I bring my ink cartridges back to the store for recycling; glasses to the Pearle Vision Center for recycling; and hangers to the nearest dry cleaners.

I buy recycled toilet paper and paper towels and 100% recycled copy paper. A ream is only $1 more than the non-recycled. Recently, I discovered 100% recycled aluminum foil by Reynolds Wrap. And the quality is excellent. When I bought my new HP 6500 Officejet printer on Saturday -- which uses 40% less energy -- I got a $50 rebate for bringing in my old one, and they planted a tree. They even made the box out of brown kraft, which is recyclable, instead of the old white coated boxes, which are not.

Please, don't make Earth Day an annual holiday. Make it every day. Make it a montra you live by. The earth is a living breathing thing and it needs every one of us to keep it clean. After all, every one of us messes it up and depletes its resources.

Now imagine this. Four hundred years from now, your children's children's children are playing in a park. An all natural park. The air is clean. You can help. Start today. Please.

Please check out my novel, In Fashion's Web on Amazon.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Is There Really a House in New Orleans Called the Rising Sun?

The song House of the Rising Sun, an old folk song which was recorded by Bob Dylan in 1962 and became a classic rock icon by The Animals in 1964, is one of my all-time favorite songs, and I still listen to it often. If I could play that song on the organ straight through perfectly, I could probably die a happy woman after that and want for nothing. But alas, I play as well as a three-year old, so this dream is unlikely to happen in my lifetime. I’ll have to stick to air keyboarding.

But listening to the song lately made me wonder, is there really a house of the rising sun in New Orleans that’s been the ruin of many a poor boy? Well, according to Wikipedia, there actually was such a property. In fact, several different historic spots lay claim to the name.

Wikipedia reports that old New Orleans directories have records of a short-lived hotel called “Rising Sun” on Conti Street in the French Quarter dating back to the 1820s, which burned down in 1822. A 2005 document search turned up evidence of advertising that eluded to prostitution. Additionally, an archaeological excavation of the site uncovered a large number of pots of rouge and cosmetics.

A second building rumored to have a similar name was the late 19th century “Rising Sun Hall”, a social and pleasure club, which Wikipedia tells us was on the riverfront in the Carrollton neighborhood.

Still a third and even more intriguing claim, made by guide book Bizarre New Orleans, is that The House of the Rising Sun is named for Madam Marianne LeSoleil Levant whose name translates from French as “the rising sun”.

Additional attribution stories include murder, alcohol, gambling, wife beating, slavery and a jail house (thus the words “I’m going back to wear that ball and chain”). 1960s folk singer Dave van Ronk reportedly said in his autobiography that he had seen pictures of a rising sun design over the front door of the old New Orleans Prison for Women, and claimed, as many others did, that the house of the rising sun was a nickname for the prison.

People looking to add a little nostalgia and intrigue to their New Orleans trip can still stay at the House of the Rising Sun. Today, there is a bed and breakfast that goes by the name at 335 Pelican Avenue and a club at 333 Bourbon Street by the same name.

For more information about the history of the House of Rising Sun, click here. For more information about the song, click here. For the lyrics to the song as sung by The Animals, click here. For information about the bed and breakfast, click here. For information about the club on Bourbon Street, click here.

Please check out my novel, In Fashion's Web on Amazon.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Thanks Jennie — and Betty — for 35 Years of Friendship

I have a pen pal. Her name is Jennie and she lives in Tootgarook, Australia. And right now, I’m sounding a little bit like a second-grade kid standing in front of the classroom holding a piece of paper and explaining their homework assignment out loud. But that’s okay with me.

I was trying to write “25 random things” for Facebook and I thought, ooh, not too many people know I have a pen pal. I could write about that! And then I realized, ooh, I’ve never written about her in my blog, so I could blog about how I got a pen pal and all about our relationship. So I stopped the random things to work on this post.

The story goes like this: When I was 13, I went to a birthday party for a girlfriend from my 8th grade class named Betty Gostomski. But as my mom was driving me to the party, a really huge thunderstorm developed and because of the storm, only two girls, me being one of them, showed up at the party. So rather than do “big party” type stuff, we decided to just hang out in her room. I was laying across her bed flipping through a magazine — Seventeen, or Ingenue or something — and at the back of the magazine was this ad for The Friendship Club. For $1, I could send away for a pen pal and I got to choose the type of friend I wanted.

I asked for an English-speaking girl about my age. Within about a month, they sent me the name and address of Jennie Prosser from Lakes Entrance, Victoria, Australia. I wrote her right away and she immediately wrote back to me. I felt bad because she said that it took her years to hear from the Club, but I hoped that it was fate and our friendship was meant to be. It was.

Jennie was 16 and I was 14 by the time we started conversing. We have spent our whole lives together. She got married. I got married. She had three kids. I didn’t. Her husband died and I got divorced at the same time. She remarried, I remarried. She divorced. I divorced. I remarried. I’m now one ahead of her. : )

All this time — during the ’70s and ’80s — she didn’t have a phone, so snail mail was the only way we conversed. In the mid-’90s, when all the telephone companies started putting the phone books on the Internet, I found someone with a similar name in Australia and decided to pick up the phone and call. It turned out not to be her, but a few years later we started emailing back and forth. We completely dropped snail mail from our communication channels and began emailing quite regularly.

Then, about a year ago, I thought again about talking by phone and decided to ask her for her phone number. She emailed it to me, and I picked up the phone and called her. After more than 35 years, we finally got to hear each other’s voice on the phone, and all I could think of was, why did we wait so long?

While we were on the phone, we both got on our respective computers and went to Google Earth, and were able to see each other’s streets. That was incredible! From nothing but snail mail to a photo of the street she lives on while at the same time talking to each other on the phone! It’s like I was there.

A couple of days ago, my mother asked me if I had heard about all the wild fires in Australia and if Jennie was okay. I hadn’t heard about the wild fires so I immediately looked them up on the Internet. Then I went to Mapquest to see how close they were to her. Well on a microscopic map, they looked like they were right on top of her, so I emailed her to see if she and her kids were okay. An hour later I still hadn’t heard, so I picked up the phone and called. It was only 6 a.m. which is why she hadn’t gotten my email, but I just loved the idea that I could pick up the phone and talk to her any time I want to! And with the great long distance package I have, it only cost $3.72!

We still haven’t met yet. We’re hoping to be able to make that dream come true some day soon. But it’s amazing how technology has helped us grow our friendship. I’m very appreciative of that.

I haven’t seen Betty Gostomski since 8th grade, but I probably should look her up and thank her for 35 years of friendship, all because she invited me to her 13th birthday party. Friends like that — and like Jennie — you don’t forget. May God bless us with 35 more.

Now back to my 25 random things...

Please check out my novel, In Fashion's Web on Amazon.

Let’s Sign Into Congress a Paparazzi Law

I don’t believe in the ways of the paparazzi. I think there should be a paparazzi law which states that they have to stay 50 feet from any door or entranceway, such as a retail shop or a bar, or from a famous person’s driveway.

I think it’s disgusting how famous people can’t even get out a doorway or into their car and they have to fight their way through the streets.

If you want to take pictures, take pictures, but I think that blocking someone’s path should be illegal. I think it should be against the law to get within a certain number of feet of a specific establishment.

Now, if you happen to catch someone on a public street, in a park or on a beach, that’s a different story. If you’re in a pub and you can take a picture of them without a flash — notice I said without a flash — from a distance — notice I said from a distance — and you’re not disturbing them, then go for it.

But I can’t believe we don’t have laws about this already. I think it’s not only pathetic but it puts famous people in danger and that’s a violation of their rights.

Some would say it comes with the territory. But I believe there are ethical limits, and right now, no one is abiding by those limits.

Please check out my novel, In Fashion's Web on Amazon.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The Integration of the GRAMMYs

I was very impressed and touched by the GRAMMYs program this year -- in particular, the way they integrated various genres of music together throughout the entire night. It was as if they were trying to send a message that we are all one in the universe -- all brothers and sisters -- all equal in the eyes of God.

Keith Urban playing with B.B. King, Stevie Wonder with the Jonas Brothers, Jay Z with Coldplay, Sugarland with Adele. The message was loud and clear and yet so subtle.

Also on the subject of integration, I especially like the speech by Neil Portnow, president/CEO of the Recording Academy. He not only announced that Barack Obama was a past two-time Grammy winner for his audio books, which I didn't know, but he incorporated "yes we can" over and over again into his speech, and it was tasteful, not cheesy. He said:

- When it comes to pledging ourselves to the proposition that every young person deserves an opportunity to experience music and the arts in public school, our GRAMMY Foundation says, "Yes we can..."

- When it comes to providing a safety net for music people in need — any time…any place — our MusiCares Foundation says, "Yes we can..."

- When it comes to protecting a musician's intellectual property and the right to earn a living, The Academy says, "Yes, we can!"

I find it very touching how people have taken President Obama's slogan and made it their own.

It was, in my opinion, the best planned GRAMMY awards show I've ever seen.

Please check out my novel, In Fashion's Web on Amazon.

A word about A Rod

I’m glad that Alex Rodgriguez told the truth. I’m not happy that he took steroids five years ago.

Yet while everyone is responsible for their own actions, I feel the real blame lies on the baseball organizations that are willing to pay out these multi-million dollar contracts.

If I was paid millions of dollars over the course of a few years, I would feel pressured to perform too. And I might do anything I had to not to fail.

People like A Rod and Jose Conseco ruin the dream of baseball for everyone. I think the Major League Baseball Association needs to get tougher on steroids with a strict policy that anyone who tests positive is eliminated for the entire season. And I think random drug testing should be improved and the frequency increased. Perhaps, instead of urine tests, take a strand of a player’s hair, since drugs can be traced through the hair going back three full months, or through saliva swabs, like they do on Law & Order SVU.

The contracts issue will never change. The bar has been set and nobody’s going to lower contract fees for star players. But perhaps they should be structured differently so athletes are rewarded for doing their best and not for attempting to achieve goals at any cost.

Please check out my novel, In Fashion's Web on Amazon.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Thank you for your votes!

I want to thank everyone who voted for my new health care idea on I did not make it into the top three, but I did receive over 100 votes. Thanks to everyone for your support! To read the top three suggestions that will be presented to President Barack Obama after he is sworn in, go to

Please check out my novel, In Fashion's Web on Amazon.