Monday, December 2, 2013

"You Are Not Alone" : a message from the Brain Injury Association of Ame...

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Thoughts about gun ownership

Freedom comes with responsibility, but giving up our freedom so others will keep us safe is no option at all. No matter how seriously professional law enforcement takes its responsibility, it CANNOT provide both safety AND freedom; police cannot be with us in our homes 24/7, nor would we want them there.

If you own a gun, use it regularly so that you can use it safely,
 and avoid deadly accidents.

If you own a gun, use it regularly so that you can use it safely and avoid deadly accidents. Otherwise, get rid of it. Gun ownership is both a right and a responsibility. If your ownership of a gun does not make you, your family, and your neighbors safer, then let someone else handle that responsibility. Keep your firearms locked. Store ammunition away from where you store firearms. Carry weapons pointed down. Never aim at anything you are not willing to kill, whether the gun is loaded or not. Expect to be shot, if you aim a weapon at another person.

The US Supreme Court recently ruled that the right of individuals to protect themselves is one of the checks and balances designed to protect freedom. Self-protection operates as a check against tyranny, when it eliminates the need for a large police force. If citizens responsibly protect themselves and each other, then Government has no need to grow. Big Government eventually results in tyranny. THAT is why the right of self-protection is a check against tyranny.

Police are not the enemy. Never confront law enforcement. That is NOT the point of the US Supreme Court ruling. If you confront law enforcement, you deserve whatever happens. They ALSO have a right to protect themselves, and they are probably better at it than you!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Rudeness and Hypocracy

I just made an emergency trip to Wal-mart for some margarine. My wallet is empty, my bank account is low, but I had some coins in my car, and I was about to make breakfast. Everything went fine. I found my favorite (second-favorite) brand of margarine for 74¢, which was in today's price range. As I left, feeling foolish that I had even bothered getting a shopping cart, (but not really, because with extreme arthritis in both knees, I use the shopping cart as a crutch), I started to put the cart back in the slot where I found it, when another shopper walked in the door. I smiled and said "this is a good cart," as I walked past her. She thanked me, took the cart, and continued into the store.

Outside, as I started my car, I noticed the parking space next to mine had a shopping cart blocking one of the parking spaces closest to the store. I wanted to point and shout "RUDE!" but since there was no one to point at, and in fact no one to hear me, I remained silent. As I drove away, I self-righteously complemented myself that in spite of painful arthritis, and the fact that the trip back to the car without a "crutch" is always more painful than walking to put the cart away, I have "never" failed to put my cart away.

Then I noticed some trash on the side of the road, and I thought "leaving a shopping cart in the middle of a parking lot is just as bad as littering. It ought to be illegal." Then I remembered that I often have justified throwing apple cores into the woods, saying to myself, it won't be there by morning, or walking a distance (years ago) and tearing paper into tiny pieces I could roll into grains of paper sand, and eventually have nothing left to throw away by the time I reached a suitable disposal area. Then I remembered what it was like to have three children alone with me on a shopping trip, when at least two of them were still very small and hyperactive.

Now I used to make a point of arranging my situations to avoid problems when I had small children with me, so I would have parked next to a shopping cart corral, if I were in that position. I don't recall ever leaving a cart and not putting it away, but if I were faced with the choice of leaving children unattended, or leaving a cart for someone else to put away, I would have left the cart, and stayed with my children. So I guess my first reaction depends on circumstances, and my indignation was squelched with the realization that except for the Grace of God, I could have been that rude person.

Monday, July 29, 2013

I just got an automated call, but I missed hearing the first few words of the message. The message kept asking me to identify myself, and kept repeating. The FBI (2013) recommends never giving personal information over the telephone unless YOU make the call. I never identify myself to anyone who calls me, and no one should, because it is impossible to know with any certainty WHO is asking for identification. Any phone system that makes an outgoing call and demands personal identification should be illegal, with criminal penalties, because people who are called are put at risk of identity theft JUST BECAUSE some such calls could possibly be legitimate!

Since these calls expose innocent people to a greater risk of identity theft, they are automatically malicious, endangering calls.

I let the unknown automated call run it's course, as I recorded the call. With each loop it continued to fail to identify itself (not that that would have made a difference, since anyone can impersonate anyone else over a telephone.)

When the system finally hung up, even though caller ID was apparently blocked, I was able to use automatic call-back. The caller was NIPSCO. Their automated voice mail system did not provide any choices that remotely resembled "why did you call me?" I looped through the system twice, as it automatically restarted when I did not pick a choice. Through both iterations, I hit zero repeatedly as the robotic voice continued speaking. Eventually, after repeatedly saying my response was not understood, it finally connected me to a real person who had no idea why NIPSCO might have called me. My account is up to date. There are no special situations going on related to my account. I am annoyed. I only have so much useful awake time each day, and they just stole ten minutes of it, for no apparent reason. (Plus whatever time it is going to take me to respond with this tirade).

I am going to write to my congress-people, including the recording of the ridiculous experience, and I will be demanding that automated voice mail systems MUST provide an opportunity to speak with a real person at EVERY LEVEL, with a significant fine imposed for each call that violates this principle, at each level at which the automated script fails to provide a clear way out. Such a fine should be larger if the system makes the call. I urge my friends to all do the same.

To review:

1) Demand criminal penalties for callers that ask for personal identification information.
2) Demand financial penalties for every instance in which an automated call system offers a list of options that does not include "speak with a live representative."
3) Penalties for failing to provide an opportunity to speak with a live representative should be greater when the company operating the voice mail system initiates the call.

Can you remember to mention these three points? This US Government website will help you find your representative, and will provide tips about how to write an effective letter. Start writing!


FBI. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), (2013). Common fraud schemes: 
          Tips for avoiding telemarketing fraud. Retrieved from an official site
          of the U.S. government, U.S. Department of Justice website:

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Why is Oracle updating Java so often? DON'T ASK!

It is time for a class action lawsuit against Oracle for the malware it pushes with its Java updates, and maybe it's time for another lawsuit against Oracle for making Java so insecure that it needs so many updates. If Java is so untrustworty, why is anyone still using it?

Maybe Oracle has another reason for pushing so many updates. Maybe Oracle makes its money by pushing updates!

In fact, Oracle is updating Java so often, not because they are so inept at creating reliable software, but because they get a commision on the malware they push with their updates.

For a long time I resisted allowing Java updates on my computer, but when I needed to run an app that required a current Java version number, I finally gave in, and updated Java.

Suddenly I no longer had a reliable computer.

Oracle damaged my search settings in a way I have not been able to completely repair. By replacing my default search with "Ask," Oracle caused me to spend weeks troubleshooting my settings to figure out why my link between Evernote and Google was failing to produce Evernote results when I used my internet search.

I am recovering from a brain injury. I depend on my computer to work the way I set it up so that I can be productive (to the extent possible). When I allowed Oracle to update Java, I saw their checkbox suggesting I use Ask as my search engine. I was annoyed that they would use a mandatory program update to push software, but I was angry when I realized that the check box was already selected. I unchecked it. Then I clicked the button to proceed. As I clicked the button, I saw that check-mark reappear. I tried to stop it. I closed the browser tab. Then I closed the browser completely. Then I reset my computer.

Nothing I did helped. Oracle pushed that update on my computer in spite of my efforts. After my computer had reset, the first thing I did was to uninstall the Ask taskbar program, before I ever started the browser. Unfortunately, Oracle had still replaced my Google search settings with their own settings making Ask my default search engine. There was a time when I liked that tool, but out of principle, I will NEVER USE ASK, and I ask everyone else not to use it also.

Oracle's malicious practice of replacing user settings that are unrelated to their software should be CRIMINAL. Oracle causes all of this damage to thousands of computer users on a regular basis just because they get a small commission for each copy of "Ask" that they install. It's time to make Oracle pay for the damage they do to so many of us, so often. It is time to make Oracle re-think their strategy, by making their Trojan updates too expensive for them to continue, and while we're at it, we should sue Ask as well.

A close look at how Oracle installs deceptive software with Java updates | ZDNet -

Monday, May 13, 2013


While driving Audra to school this morning, a boy (guessing 15 year-old) walked out onto the road in the middle of the block, right in front of our van. I'm glad it wasn't during one of those moments when I was looking off to the side (of course, I only tend to do that at intersections). I commented "that's illegal." Audra said, I didn't know it was illegal until you told me sometime in Junior High. I asked, do you think he doesn't know that what he did is illegal and dangerous? She said, unless someone points it out to him, maybe not.

I dropped Audra off at the school, watched her until she was in the door, as I always do, and started to head home. Moments after I pulled out onto the road, the SAME KID crossed the street in the middle of the block, directly in front of my car!

Not expecting the school to actually be able to do anything about it, (after all, "a kid in a gray shirt" probably describes half the student population on any given day) I called anyway, and I asked the secretary to "put a bug in the ear" of whoever has authority to make sure these kids are made aware that jaywalking is illegal and dangerous.

I realize my response was probably not effective. Any ideas about how I could have done something positive with this incident?

Friday, April 19, 2013

How can money come OUT of my account instantly, but take up to four days to be "received" by a bank?

(Lord, Howard, Fine & Howard, 1943)
One of the interesting effects of recording phone conversations, linking emails, and scanning receipts into Evernote each day, a practice I adopted when I realized my memory is no longer reliable for tracking various responsibilities, is the number of times various companies I do business with get their information wrong because they obviously don't manage their own information as well as I manage mine. 

Two days ago, I scanned a "past due notice" that had me concerned because I did not have the money to pay it immediately. It was at the top of my agenda when there is money to pay things, but just now, I scanned all the receipts in my wallet from last week, and the payment was made before the past due notice was sent.

At my previous job, when merchandise was scanned onto a trailer to produce a bill-of-lading to go with the trailer (using software I had written) the data that comprised that bill-of-lading had been replicated to the trailer's destination (again by data replication software I wrote), usually before the paper document was printed. Bank transactions cannot possibly be as complex to replicate to various locations as data connected with the scheduling, production, and accounting of manufacture of many quantities of many different products with many different components. Manufacturers would go out of business if their accounting systems were as backwards as our those of our National Banks.

And we were replicating that data even back when phone lines and modems connected locations. There is NO EXCUSE for delays in replicating financial transactions. They should be visible across the country, affecting all aspects of their accounting, before the customer leaves the building: not after midnight of the following business day, up to four days later.

Obviously, we have had the technology for reliable instant transfer of money for nearly 20 years, and probably longer. What is the excuse for accounting delays that cause banks to charge interest and fees on "late" money, when they have had it in their own possession the entire time? There is NO excuse. It is a crime. It's called fraud. Regardless of whatever antiquated regulations the practice hides behind, when banks can create fictitious delinquencies, and then charge interest and penalties for those fictitious delinquencies, they are stealing. Their actions are a crime by any common-sense definition, every time they do it. They may think they are getting by with something for the time being, but eventually the Law will catch up with reality, and they won't just have some explaining to do, they will owe a lot of people a lot of money.

Why does our Government put up with such incompetence in our banking system? How far does this corruption go? In this country, it is the duty of citizens to hold Government accountable, and it is the responsibility of Government to hold financial institutions accountable. It is the right, and the duty, of every citizen to pay attention to the injustices around us, to speak up about it, and to demand change.

Image Reference:

Lord, D. (Director), Howard, C. (Performer), Fine, L. (Performer), & Howard, M. (Performer) 
          (1943). Phony express [Short Film]. In The Three Stooges. Columbia Pictures.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

At about 9:00...

At about 9:00...:

'via Blog this'

At about 9:00 Sunday morning, Dylan Miller knocked on our door and asked to speak with Betty and I. He was looking very serious. I invited him to come in, and I led him to the living room, and I asked Betty to join us. When we were all seated, Dylan asked our permission to propose to Laura. I said, "absolutely." I told him to make her happy. I told him that means to spend time with her every day, even when it is difficult. Since then, I've thought of all kinds of "wise" things I might have said, but I trust I said the right things. Dylan showed Betty and I the engagement ring he intended to give to Laura. Early that afternoon he proposed to Laura, and she accepted. Laura asked me not to tell anyone until she had a chance to talk with a few key people first. So now the cat is out of the box. (I know that's not the phrase, but all of my geek friends will understand the poetic significance of boxes, cats, and quantum states.)
I believe they have set a tentative date of August 16th!