Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Hurricane Katrina Story

A Chicago friend from Laurel, MS sent this today.

Well, I just came back from Mississippi.  We made it through the hurricane but when we left we had no power, water, and phone.  We did not know how bad it was until we got to Tennessee and heard the news report.  Laurel is about 70 miles from Biloxi and we were
right in it.  We had a lot of trees and power lines down.  Lots of houses were destroyed by falling trees and it was really tough getting out of the area.  We were blessed.  My mom’s house lost a lot of shingles but no trees fell on it.  There was a 50 foot tree in the front yard that fell the opposite direction of the house. Praise the Lord.

I’ve been in Mississippi since August 5th to take care of my mother who had a stroke after her hip replacement in July.  She did not want to leave her home but I was able to convince her to come to Illinois at least until we get some power, water and phone communication.  They are saying it will take 2-3 weeks.  The stores and gas stations are closed.  Some people did not take this hurricane seriously and are suffering because the food and water supply is very low.  There is a curfew for 8:00pm to prevent looting.  When we left the temperature was 95 degrees outside but in the house it was over l05 degrees.  But the people are coming together to help each other but the situation is very tragic. 

Posted by Nuttshell on 08/31 at 04:44 PM
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Can you afford your gasoline?

Here’s a satirical look at the situation.

Posted by Nuttshell on 08/31 at 02:32 PM
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Gas pipelines down

Much higher prices, shortages possible
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Published on: 08/31/05

Metro Atlanta drivers are facing the possibility of paying considerably more than $3 a gallon for gas by Labor Day ˇ if they can get it at all.

The two pipelines that bring gasoline and jet fuel to the region are down ˇ powerless to pump as Hurricane Katrina wreaked havoc on electrical infrastructure.

The metro Atlanta region generally has about a 10-day supply of gasoline in inventory, said BP spokesman Michael Kumpf. The pipelines have been down for two days.

Alpharetta-based Colonial Pipeline Co., cut off from its suppliers on the Gulf Coast, is now pumping gas from huge storage tanks, many in Powder Springs. Whether electric power can be restored to the pipeline pumps before supplies run out is “the great uncertainty ... that hangs over all of us,” said Daniel Moenter, a spokesman for Marathon Ashland Petroleum, a major supplier of metro Atlanta’s fuel.

Some suppliers are rationing gasoline to retailers, so some stations may already be near empty.

With supplies uncertain, oil companies and larger wholesalers are ratcheting up prices, partly to slow demand. Some local wholesalers already are paying 65 to 80 cents per gallon more than they paid three days ago. That kind of price increase will hit the pumps within a few days.

On Monday, the scare talk was about prices hitting $3 a gallon at the pump. By Tuesday, that line had changed for the worse, said Tex Pitfield, president of Saraguay Petroleum Corp., which delivers gas to retailers.

“Depending on how much damage has actually taken place and the time involved in getting the infrastructure up and running, is $4 a gallon out of the question? Not necessarily,” he said.

Peter Beutel, an oil analyst with Cameron Hanover, told The Associated Press: ‘’This is the big one. This is unmitigated bad news for consumers.’’

It’s unclear how soon the pipeline outages may affect operations at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport.

Fuel suppliers and airlines have 22 storage tanks at the airport that hold up to 27.6 million gallons of fuel. At full capacity, that’s enough for about 10 days of fuel at the airlines’ recent daily consumption rate of 2.8 million gallons.

No information was immediately available on how much fuel remains in the tanks.

Gov. Sonny Perdue’s office is aware of the situation and is meeting with Georgia’s fuel suppliers.

“We know that they’re on top of this issue, and they’re assessing damage to their production and distribution process in the wake of Hurricane Katrina,” said Heather Hedrick, Perdue’s press secretary.

Hedrick said it’s too early to say whether Georgians should be concerned.

“In order to answer that question fairly, the governor needs a full briefing from fuel suppliers in Georgia,” she said. “We’re waiting for that information now.”

Metro Atlanta motorists already pay a little more for gas than those in surrounding states because of a clean-fuel requirements to reduce air pollution.

Perdue issued a statement Tuesday saying those requirements would be lifted temporarily to increase supplies and lower prices, once the pipelines are again operational.

Perdue’s decision, which awaits approval from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, would affect 45 counties in and around metro Atlanta.

“The governor felt it was important to take some steps to help alleviate gas prices that have been increasing for weeks now,” Hedrick said.

Lisa Ray, a spokeswoman with the Georgia Emergency Management Agency, said the department is prepared to help deal with any gas shortages.

“We have talked to the Georgia Department of Agriculture, and they said supplies are not a problem in Georgia at this time,” Ray said.

GEMA is a coordinating agency for emergency support functions.

Posted by loni on 08/31 at 11:45 AM
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Monday, August 29, 2005

Chickens Coming Home to Roost

My aunt sent this.  I can’t speak to the veracity but unless the picture been’s doctored, this is a sad, sad affair.  We Black Americans need to be more responsible about what we say and do because our people all over the diaspora pick this stuff up and know not why they do what they do.


Hi Black Folks!

My name is David Sylvester and I recently completed a charitable bicycle trip in Africa, riding over 7000 miles from Cairo, Egypt to Cape Town, South Africa . The trip made me the first and only African American to cross two continents on a bicycle. I have plenty of great and fascinating stories. Many are funny, others bittersweet, some are poignant, but all are entertaining. Surprisingly one story has stood out and if it was not for the fact that I have a picture of it, many would never believe it. and it is for that reason that I am sharing it with you.

While in Lilongwe, Malawi, I came across a store by the name of “Niggers” -that’s right “ Niggers”! The other riders, who were all white, could not wait to inform me of this to see my reaction. Initially, I thought that it was a very bad joke but when the other riders were adamant about the existence of the store, I had to see it for myself.

What I found was a store selling what the owner called ‘hip hop’ style clothing . It was manned by two gentlemen - one of them asleep! (Talk about living up to or in this case down to a stereotype) I asked the guys what was up with the store name. After hearing my obvious non - Malawian accent and figuring out that I was from America, the man thumped his chest proudly and said “P-Diddy New York City! we are the niggers!”

My first reaction was to laugh, because many things when isolated can be very funny, but it quickly dawned on me that this was so not funny at all. It was pathetic. I did these bicycle trips across the USA and through the ‘Mother -Land’ in honor of one of my good friends, mentors and fellow African American, Kevin Bowser, who died on 9/11. Here I am, a black man riding across the world on his bicycle in honor of another black man, riding ‘home’ and what do I see?? Some Africans calling themselves Niggers! They were even so proud of it they put it on their store front to sell stuff. When I relay the story to folks back home in Philadelphia, most of them laugh too and rationalize it by saying ‘well, we can say it to each other’ or ‘there is a difference’ or even ‘they just spelled it wrong. It should have been ‘nigga’s’ or ‘niggah’s’ Gee like that would make a difference.

The issue is not the spelling. I was wrong. We are wrong. There is no justification for an infraction of this magnitude. The word and the sentiment behind it is Flat out wrong! We have denigrated and degraded ourselves to the point that our backwards mindset has spread like a cancer and infected our source, our brothers, our sisters, our Mother Land. I have traveled all over the world and have never seen a store by the name of “Jew Devils”, ‘spic bastards’ , ‘muff divin’’’ dykes’ or anything like that- Only the store niggers!

I am to blame for this. Every time I said the word I condoned it, by not correcting others or rationalizing it gave it respectability, by looking the other way when others said ‘hey nigga what’s up’ allowed others to see it and ultimately that when I purchase CDs, DVDs, T-shirts and other stuff, I enriched it. I now see the error in my ways and I am so so sorry black men and women. The flame that we called entertainment, that was only to warm and entertain us, now engulfs us and scorches our own self esteem. If a child only knows to refer to men and women as niggers, bitches, pimps and hoes, then what is he/she to grow up thinking of themselves and others as he/she gets older?

This is no joke you can see my site and read some more stories. The bottom line is this I rode over 12000 miles on 2 continents through 15 states and 13 countries and broke 2 bikes in the process to get to a store in AFRICA called niggers. I am willing to step and admit my part in the havoc that we have wrought on our mindset but I think that We all are to blame.

I finish with 4 things:

If you don’t like being called a nigger, bitch, faggot, dyke, spic, Jew dog, wop, towel head or anything of that ilk- then THINK. 

1.  THINK before you speak those words,

2.  write those lyrics,

3.  support that rhetoric

4.  and most of all THINK before you purchase! Purchasing is akin to compliance- I may like the beats and rhythms of some songs but I can not support it any more.

You rappers are intelligent- find another word to describe your selves

If they call you a nigger is one thing but if you answer to it then there is really something wrong!


Posted by Nuttshell on 08/29 at 03:27 PM
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Saturday, August 27, 2005

Giving More Space

The continuing saga of MAU’s, Me, & my LG

Ninth Grade, beginning of High School, continuous good grades and 14 years of existence have finally worn me down. I don’t know what I was thinking but in the end… the inevitable happened. My little girl (LG) is now allowed to talk to male affectionary units (MAU’s) on the phone. Heavy sigh.

I know this will evetually lead to dating. What to do? I know!… I’ll scour the internet for some standards. In my quest I think I’ve found the best fit for my personality disorder.

Please read on......

“Ten Simple Rules for Dating My Daughter”

(author unknown)

Some thoughtful information for those who are daughters, were daughters, have daughters, intend to have daughters, or intend to date a daughter.

Rule One: If you pull into my driveway and honk you’d better be delivering a package, because you’re sure not picking anything up.

Rule Two: You do not touch my daughter in front of me. You may glance at her, so long as you do not peer at anything below her neck. If you cannot keep your eyes or hands off of my daughter’s body, I will remove them, with power tools if necessary.

Rule Three: I am aware that it is considered fashionable for boys of your age to wear their trousers so loosely that they appear to be falling off their hips. Please don’t take this as an insult, but you and all of your friends are complete idiots. Still, I want to be fair and open minded about this issue, so I propose this compromise: You may come to the door with your underwear showing and your pants ten sizes too big, and I will not object. However, In order to ensure that your clothes do not, in fact, come off during the course of your date with my daughter, I will take my electric nail gun and fasten your trousers securely in place to your waist.

Rule Four: I’m sure you’ve been told that in today’s world, sex without utilizing a “barrier method” of some kind can kill you. Let me elaborate: when it comes to sex, I am the barrier, and I will hurt you - badly. Nuff said?

Rule Five: In order for us to get to know each other, you may think that we should talk about sports, politics, and other issues of the day. Please do not do this. The only information I require from you is an indication of when you expect to have my daughter safely back at my house, and the only word I need from you on this subject is “early.”

Rule Six: I have no doubt you are a popular fellow, with many opportunities to date other girls. This is fine with me as long as it is okay with my daughter. Otherwise, once you have gone out with my little girl, you will continue to date no one but her until she is finished with you. If you make her cry, I will make you cry.

Rule Seven: As you stand in my front hallway, waiting for my daughter to appear, and more than an hour goes by, do not sigh and fidget. If you want to be on time for the movie, you should not be dating. My daughter is putting on her makeup, a process that can take longer than painting the Golden Gate Bridge. Instead of just standing there, why don’t you do something useful, like change the oil in my car?

Rule Eight: The following places are not appropriate for a date with my daughter: Places where there are beds, sofas, or anything softer than a wooden stool. Places where there are no parents, policemen, or nuns within eyesight. Places where there is darkness. Places where there is dancing, holding hands, or happiness. Places where the ambient temperature is warm enough to induce my daughter to wear shorts, tank tops, midriff T-shirts, or anything other than overalls, a sweater, and a goose down parka zipped up to her throat. Movies with a strong romantic or sexual theme are to be avoided; movies which feature chainsaws are okay. Hockey games are okay. Old folks homes are better.

Rule Nine: Do not lie to me. I may appear to be a pot-bellied, balding, middle-aged, dim-witted has-been. But on issues relating to my daughter, I am the all-knowing, merciless god of your universe. If I ask you where you are going and with whom, you have one chance to tell me the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. I have a shotgun, a shovel, and five acres behind the house. Do not trifle with me.

Rule Ten: Be afraid. Be very afraid. It takes very little for me to mistake the sound of your car in the driveway for a chopper coming in over a rice paddy outside of Hanoi. When my Agent Orange starts acting up, the voices in my head frequently tell me to clean the guns as I wait for you to bring my daughter home. As soon as you pull into the driveway you should exit your car with both hands in plain sight. speak the perimeter password, announce in a clear voice that you have brought my daughter home safely and early, then return to your car. There is no need for you to come inside. The camouflaged face at the window is mine.

Posted by cricket on 08/27 at 11:01 PM
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Friday, August 26, 2005

Johnny Gill and Girlfriend Splitting Up. Rumored to be DL Life

Not sure if this is true or not but Eddie Murphy is supposedly involved in this situation.

Los Angeles—The ex-girlfriend of New Edition and LSG singer Johnny Gill is now speaking out about her recent split up with the singer. She tells Atlanta Gossip, (AG) reporter Tiffany Long that Johnny is struggles with his sexuality and that Hollywood has put pressure on him to be straight.

“Johnny and I broke up earlier this year after I became curious about his friendship/relationship with actor/comedian Eddie Murphy,” she said. “Johnny and Eddie have always been very close friends, but I could not compete with their relationship. It was strange...I can’t even explain it,” she tell Atlanta Gossip.

Other sources tell (AG) that Johnny Gill is actually living in a guest house on Eddie Murphy’s property in CA. A posting on taken from entertainment forum says this: Rumors are circulating throughout Hollywood about the Eddie’s divorce battle, I was talking to an industry friend last night 08/15/05, she said, Nicole got sick of putting up with him and Johnny Gill.

People had warned her yrs. ago about the downlow rumors, even one of her close family members, but she chose not to believe it until she witnessed it, Eddie had got to the point where he didn’t care, he often told her, he was the breadwinner and to stop asking him stupid questions about where he was going and who he was with.

He became so brazen, Johnny came over to their house every holiday, sitting at the head of the table with Nicole and the kids. Tevin Campbell, Sugar Ray, Tyler Perry and Shemar Moore are also heavily involved in this scenario, they tried to recruit Mike Tyson (when he had
money) but it wasnt his scene. Johnny is pathetic, he was with all these men and did not benefit, before he reunited with New Edition, he was so broke, he lived in Sugar Ray’s Guest house and I heard his wife wasnt too happy about it.
Sources say at the New Edition Album release party, Johnny got extremely drunk and made a pass at P. Diddy.

They also stated that the following gentlemen are involved in their circle of DL brothers: Arsenio hall, football player Johnnie Morton and Benny Medina. They said that the reason his wife stayed knocked up is so she wouldn’t be suspicious of his extra activities.

Posted by loni on 08/26 at 10:11 AM
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Win the “War on Terror”!!  I command theee!!


Posted by SPN on 08/26 at 09:44 AM
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Thursday, August 25, 2005

The Latest Gas Guage

This is pretty cute.


Posted by Nuttshell on 08/25 at 10:30 PM
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Eddie Murphy and wife to divorce

Couple has been married for 12 years

Access Hollywood
Updated: 6:24 p.m. ET Aug. 8, 2005

Access Hollywood has learned that comedian-actor Eddie Murphy and his wife, Nicole, are divorcing.

Nicole filed the papers on Friday, citing “irreconcilable differences.”

The couple has been married for 12 years, after tying the knot on March 18, 1993.

Nicole and Eddie have five children—Bella Zahra, Bria, Shayne Audra, Zola Ivy and Miles Mitchell. Eddie also has another son, Christian, from a previous relationship.

According to a statement released to Access Hollywood, Eddie said: “The welfare of our children is our main concern and their best interests are our first priority.”

Murphy has starred in more than two dozen films since making his big screen debut in 1982’s “48 Hours” alongside Nick Nolte. The comedian first gained national attention as a regular on “Saturday Night Live” in the early 1980s.

Copyright 2005 by NBC. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
ę 2005

Posted by Nuttshell on 08/25 at 04:30 PM
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Confused idiot-in-charge says, ‘We will stay, we will fight and we will win’

Only an idiot can realistically think that military action will defeat the roots of extremist ideology.  Military action will force terrorists into hiding until they reorganize.  Does anyone in the White House use their brain these days?  This should be common knowledge to people in our government.

By Richard Benedetto and Judy Keen, USA TODAY
NAMPA, Idaho ˇ President Bush responded Wednesday to calls for the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq with an emphatic vow to stay there “until the terrorists have nowhere to run.”

“So long as I am president, we will stay, we will fight and we will win the war on terrorism,” he told a supportive audience of National Guard members and their families in a sports arena in this Boise suburb. Pulling out now, he said, would “embolden the terrorists and create a staging ground to launch more attacks against America.”

Bush met privately afterward for more than three hours with 68 family members of 19 servicemembers killed in Iraq. It was his 25th such meeting since January 2002.

In the arena after the speech, Carrie Rhoades, 31, of Boise, said Bush’s upbeat message gave her a lift. She said her husband, Bill, 34, has been in Iraq with the Idaho National Guard for 14 months and believes in what he is doing. “He needs to hear the country is behind him and all the other troops on the line,” she said. “When I see the protesters, it makes me feel as though they don’t respect the sacrifice (U.S. troops) are making.”

Posted by SPN on 08/25 at 02:24 PM
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A Love Story

Fidos For Freedom, Inc., a Maryland volunteer group that trains therapy dogs, service dogs and hearing dogs, recently lost its facility. The donated space is being demolished to make way for a Lowe´┐Żs shopping center.

They named him “Pendulum,” because he was constantly moving--back and forth, back and forth through the house.

He had more energy than it seemed possible for his canine body to contain--typical for Australian shepherds, dogs bred to work all day herding sheep or cattle. They are an exuberant breed that thrives on, that needs activity.

When the rescue group got him, he had spent a good portion of his nine-month life crated in a basement. The family that owned him, realizing that wasn’t the best life for the dog--which was then named Steve--passed him onto a friend.

But the friend couldn’t handle him either. He wasn’t willing to give the dog back to the family--their method of keeping his energetic nature under control seemed harsh.

So Steve got a new home at an Australian shepherd rescue foster family, and a new name.

The first night Dorene Farnham had him in her care, she took him for a 10-mile run--she on a bike, the dog tethered alongside--just to exorcise those pent-up energy demons.

This one, Ms. Farnham knew, was going to be difficult to place.

It wasn’t his looks--Pendulum was a gorgeous, classic tri-colored Australian shepherd, with white, brown and black markings on his face, black tinged with brown along his back, and white down his legs. It wasn’t his personality--he was an affectionate, intelligent dog, a playful clown, and a ham in front of a camera.

But people who want pets don’t want dogs with that much restlessness, that much of a drive for activity. “We thought he’d be in rescue for a long time,” she said.

Pendulum didn’t just need a home to be happy. He needed a job.

He was about to get one.


John T. McCormick Sr. was a truck driver. He had worked all his life hauling groceries for Pantry Pride Stores, beverages for Pepsi, and refrigerator shelves for Olson Wire.

He noticed something starting to go wrong in the 1980s, when CB radios became popular. Other drivers would try to talk to him over the radio, and end up shouting. “They kept yelling at me-- `What’s wrong with you? You hard of hearing?’”

At diners, other truck drivers would sit with him and start talking. But Mr. McCormick couldn’t hear them. He dealt with it the best he could. “When he smiled, I smiled. When he frowned, I frowned.”

Eventually, the charade became tiring. “I would sit in a booth, so no one would come and start a conversation with me.”

Mr. McCormick doesn’t know why his hearing started to deteriorate. He blames it on the years of driving--nerve damage, maybe, from the noise. The doctor told him nothing could be done except to amplify the sounds with a hearing aid.

He got one hearing aid, then two.

His deafness continued to increase. The withdrawal that had begun with the truck drivers did the same. It wasn’t embarrassment over being partly deaf, Mr. McCormick said. It was just discomfort.

“With a crowd, I can’t join in,” he said. “I used to be a party man--I used to love parties. Now I’m always the first one to leave.”

Even family dinners were a problem. Mr. McCormick, 77, has six married children and 10 grandchildren. His wife died in 1997.

During dinners, the family members furthest from him would chat, and he would talk to his nearby son-in-law, since he had no idea what the others were discussing.

Eventually he excused himself from the larger group meals, explaining to his daughter that he felt bad about the situation. “The only thing I can do is talk to Ray--who probably would rather be talking in your conversation, but out of respect he’s talking with me.”

Not being able to hear drained enjoyment from gatherings. “I’ve had feelings--`I wish this conversation would hurry up and get over, or this dinner would hurry up and get over,’” he said. “You feel like you’re lost and have no where to go. “

His children were worried about him as well. He was alone in his Glen Burnie, Md., home, where he’d lived for 50 years, and he couldn’t hear all the warning sounds that tell people when something is going wrong--the sound of a pot boiling over, the clatter of an object hitting the floor. “My dad can be sitting under a smoke detector that’s going off, and not flinch,” said JoAnn Gomes, one of Mr. McCormick’s daughters.

The Gomes family was moving into a new home. They convinced Mr. McCormick to move in with them. They would build him his own addition--a senior apartment. He agreed. It seemed settled.

But a few of his children had also brought up an odd idea one day. One of his daughters had heard of a Maryland group, Fidos For Freedom, Inc. The group trained service dogs--dogs to help the disabled with everything from undressing to pulling a wheelchair.

The family discussed it among themselves, then approached Mr. McCormick. Dad, they asked, how would you like to have a hearing dog?


Dorene Farnham had been fostering Pendulum for about a month, working with his manners, teaching him basic puppy training. She was returning with Pendulum from the veterinarian’s office one day when she decided to make a quick stop at the mall.

Fidos For Freedom had an information table set up there, staffed by Debbie Gavelek, executive director. Ms. Farnham, envisioning potential homes for Australian shepherds, stopped at the table to ask about their policy on accepting rescue dogs.

She wasn’t thinking of Pendulum as a candidate--service dogs were supposed to be calm, quiet types--golden retrievers and Labradors, she thought. But she mentioned that she had an Aussie with her in the car. If the group members would take a look at Pendulum, it would give her a comparison she could use in finding appropriate dogs.

Ms. Gavelek went with her to the car. She was immediately struck by the dog inside. “He seemed very sure of himself,” she said. “He had a lot of awareness of the environment around him. He seemed very confident.”

A few days later, she went with another Fidos member to see Pendulum at Ms. Farnham’s home. The dog’s typical reaction to visitors was to grab a toy and start playing, Ms. Farnham said. This time it was different.

Ms. Gavelek sat down and Pendulum crawled into her lap.

Ms. Farnham was amazed at the dog’s response. “It was almost like he knew. `I want to go with you.’”

Pendulum was about 10 Ω months old when he entered the Fidos For Freedom program. He was the organization’s first rescue dog to make it through the program.

Fidos takes a broad approach toward training service dogs. The dogs are trained for everything at first, and then the members move them into categories as their skills and strong points become apparent.

Service dogs are taught to open doors, to help remove shoes, to retrieve objects, to pull wheelchairs. Hearing dogs are trained to alert their owners to noises--the telephone, the alarm clock, the doorbell, the sound of their name being called, a dropped object hitting the floor.

The two types of dogs have different personalities. Service dogs are laid back, willing to wait for their owners to tell them what to do. Hearing dogs are self-starters. They have to be self-motivated; listening for sounds, eager to identify noise.

“As little puppies, we’re not sure what way they’re going to go, so any dog that displays interest in a sound--`What is it?! Good boy!’ And we encourage them to be a brave puppy and go out there and investigate that sound,” Ms. Gavelek said.

Pendulum was a dog that could have gone either way, his trainers said. “There wasn’t really anything he couldn’t do,” said Ann Dunn, one of his trainers and a Fidos board member. “He was one of the smartest dogs I’d ever met. He could just look at things and figure them out.”

Ms. Dunn owns a black Labrador, Maddie, that was trained as a service dog before a health problem made her ineligible for Fidos.

One day Ms. Dunn was going over Maddie’s old service training, having the Labrador take off her sneakers. The Aussie sat watching. Then he nosed in and pushed her aside, sniffing the shoe. O.K. Let me do that.

“You want to take my shoe off?” Ms. Dunn asked. She pointed to the heel--the place he had to grip. “Fetch.” The dog reached in and pulled the shoe off.

“That’s not normal,” Ms. Dunn said. “With any other dog, I would have been [surprised], but he’s just that quick.”

But it swiftly became apparent that the rescue dog had a special aptitude for hearing. When Pendulum entered Fidos, he went through a third and final name change. They called him “Radar,” after the character on “M.A.S.H” who could hear the helicopters approaching from so far away that he always knew it before the others.

“It wasn’t so much the acuteness--all dogs have good hearing,” Ms. Dunn said. “It was just that he was so attuned to his surroundings.”

She recalled taking Radar to a conference of Assistance Dogs International in Orlando, Fla. There lay Radar, a student dog, in a conference room full of handlers and mostly fully-trained service dogs.

The other dogs were sleeping. Radar wasn’t.

“I was amazed, sitting there looking at him,” Ms. Dunn said. “The other dogs were asleep and snoring, and he would just lay there, his ears twitching, always on alert. He’s always like that. He’s always waiting for that sound.”

But Radar did need some extra work because of his past. He hadn’t been raised from his first few weeks of life as a service dog, constantly trained and socialized. His obedience, particularly his “stays,” needed a lot of enforcing.

“Radar had a problem with distractions,” said Sandy Melichar, a former Fidos’ trainer. “He would see food or hear a noise, and his instinct would be: `Let’s go check it out.’”

Fixing such glitches is particularly important because service dogs need to have manners beyond reproach. Establishments aren’t fond of dogs, and service dogs have to be exemplary visitors. The behavior of each reflects on the entire class of canine.

Ms. Melichar dealt with it by throwing all the distractions possible at Radar. The dog was with the trainer constantly. “If my daughter had a dental appointment, Radar had a dental appointment. If I went to dinner, Radar went to dinner.”

There was no doubt, though, that Radar was going to be a service dog. All service dogs enjoy their work, but Radar seemed to love it. “He was an ace,” Ms. Melichar said. “You’d show him something and he’d take it from there, and he’d own it.”


Initially, Mr. McCormick wasn’t sure about the hearing dog proposal. It sounded great, he admitted--a dog that could tell him when the phone was ringing, or someone was knocking on the door.

But when his family first mentioned it to him, he was still driving tractor-trailers 500 to 600 miles a day. That wouldn’t be a fair life for a dog, he thought, and dismissed the idea. But it kept coming up. His family wouldn’t let it lie.

After his retirement in 1998, there was less reason to refuse. Cost, Mr. McCormick thought--but Fidos’ fee is only $150 plus the $10 application cost--amazing, considering that each dog’s actual value is about $10,000, taking into account all of their training, as well as their purebred status.

So Mr. McCormick and his family filled out the paperwork and applied to the program. After an interview, he was accepted.

Mr. McCormick went with four of his daughters to check out the program at its headquarters in Laurel, Md. He watched with dismay as the clients put their highly trained dogs through their drills. “I used to sit there and watch everyone work with the dogs and think—`I could never do this. I could never get my dog to do that for me.’”

But the other Fidos clients inspired him. One woman, Trish, was wheelchair-bound. Her service dog was a black Labrador, Jellybean. “She said, `John, it’s very hard work, but it’s well worth it. It’s wonderful after it’s completed--It’s probably one of the nicest things that’s happened to me in my life.’”

Because Fidos wants to pair people and dogs perfectly, clients train with several of the program’s canines, trying the partnership out for size during the first 60 hours of client-dog training that takes place.

Not everyone is paired immediately. It can take as long as two to three years for a client to find the right dog. After Fidos makes a match, clients must go through another 60 hours of training. Clients can also return for additional work whenever they feel they need it.

Mr. McCormick was teamed up with Radar first. “I fell in love with him the first night,” he said.

He can’t explain it--it would be like explaining what attracts you to a woman right away, he said. “You find out this is what you want in life.”

The more they worked together, the more attached Mr. McCormick became. “I told Deb—`I love Radar.’ And she said, `Well, John, you can’t fall in love with the first dog you train with.’”

At the time, Radar was the only hearing dog in the program and Mr. McCormick the only hearing-impaired client. But Ms. Gavelek couldn’t tell Mr. McCormick they were likely to be matched.

“Even though he was the only hearing dog in the program, it’s whether you and the dog mesh together as a team,” Ms. Dunn said. “If we felt this was not the proper match, he might not have gotten Radar. But in this case, they clicked immediately.”

Mr. McCormick’s family was hearing about Radar, too. “He wanted Radar to be his dog,” said Sharon Moore, one of Mr. McCormick’s daughters. “I remember my sister was with him the first night and saw Radar, and she said, `I know Dad’s going to end up with a big old hairy Australian shepherd.’”

One night, about six months after Mr. McCormick had begun training with the program, Ms. Gavelek and Ms. Dunn drew him aside.

The group had made a decision. “The two looked good together, they worked well together--it was a match made in heaven,” Ms. Dunn said.

They told him. He and Radar were going to be a team. “He was ecstatic,” Ms. Dunn recalled. “He just had a big smile on his face. He said, `You know, I wanted that dog from the start ... he’s my boy.’ We said, `We know.’”

Mr. McCormick wanted to take Radar right then, Ms. Dunn recalled. But Radar still had a lot of training to do. Up until then he and Mr. McCormick had mainly worked on basic obedience. Now it was time to learn the hearing alerts.

Hearing dogs are personalized service dogs. They learn five initial sounds with their clients. Usually the first is the sound of a baby crying--a disturbing sound to dogs, easy for them to pick up on. Clients with children tape the sound of their own baby crying--the dog has to be able to distinguish that child from others.

Clients also tape the sound of their own doorbell and telephones for the dog to learn. Dogs are taught to identify the sound of the alarm clock going off, and an object dropping to the floor.

Dropping objects is particularly important--imagine dropping your car keys or a credit card and not hearing them fall. Eventually the dogs become so sensitive that a person can drop a dollar bill onto carpet and get an alert.

Once a dog gets three or four sounds down, it starts picking up the others quickly. Dogs start to pick up on important sounds and alert their owners--one Fidos dog will alert its owner to the sound of water boiling on the stove, Ms. Gavelek said. Another was taught let its owner know when water had been left running.

Radar took to hearing alerts like he’d been bred for it. “He’s almost a natural,” Ms. Gavelek said. “He didn’t take much real training at all to learn the hearing part.”

Radar officially became Mr. McCormick’s dog on June 30, 1999. The dog has changed his life, he says simply. Things have been different since they’ve been together.

One of Mr. McCormick’s first acts with Radar was to take the dog to his wife’s grave, to introduce them.

He recalled a time his wife was in the hospital. The family of the patient in the next bed convinced the staff to let them bring her dog in for a visit. “I thought, `Why would people bring that dog in?’” Mr. McCormick said. “I couldn’t believe it. But now I could.

“He’s filled a big void in my life. I hope I go before he goes. I just can’t describe it.”

He went on to try, though, looking for the right words. “I liked dogs, and I thought I loved dogs, but I could never visualize me loving a dog the way I love Radar,” he said. “I just know that he’s with me and I don’t have to depend on anyone.”


On a July afternoon, Mr. McCormick prepared for a trip to the local Wal-Mart. He needed to pick up a new grooming rake for the dog’s coat.

But first he showed off a few of the tricks he’d taught Radar. He tossed a handkerchief to the floor, then put a hand to his face and gave a loud sneeze.

Radar picked up the handkerchief and brought it to Mr. McCormick, who rewarded him with praise and a treat.

Mr. McCormick demonstrated some of Radar’s hearing alerts--the doorbell, the alarm clock. Each dog develops its own way of alerting owners to a sound. Some bounce and bump against them, some run around them in circles.

Radar goes into a controlled frenzy of activity, his movements necessarily restrained but bursting with urgency. He moves toward the sound, ears perked. He looks at Mr. McCormick and barks. He jumps against him with his paws. He leads him to the noise, turning his head often to make sure he’s following.

Each time, Mr. McCormick followed him to the noise. Nothing will kill a hearing alert faster than not responding, Ms. Gavelek said. Clients have to be careful to do such things as ignore their ringing phones until the dog alerts them to the sound, and to always, always respond.

Afterwards, the dogs get praise and attention. And Radar gets a little more. “John, he doesn’t need a treat every time,” Ms. Gavelek, visiting, told Mr. McCormick sternly, as she noticed a pattern developing after each demonstration.

She took one of the treats and broke off a tiny corner. “You should give him this much. He’s getting chunky.” Mr. McCormick made placating but not particularly convincing noises. Radar watched the exchange with concern.

On the drive to Wal-Mart, Radar lay silent as empty air in the back of the car, invisible behind the seat. Mr. McCormick recalled going for one long drive and hearing nothing for so long that he became worried. “Radar--are you my dog?” he called out. Radar responded, as Mr. McCormick had taught him, with a bark.

As the two walked into the store, an employee wondered aloud, sharply, “Is that a Seeing Eye dog?”

Two hearing aids, each made of a clear plastic, filled Mr. McCormick’s ear cavities. Two transparent cords looped behind the ears, where they connected to two plastic curves coordinated to match his flesh. It’s not a hugely noticeable disability.

But Radar wore an orange service-dog leash and collar. His leather harness has an ID tag looped to it, with pictures of both Mr. McCormick and the dog. There were no further questions.

“Do Not Pet” is emblazoned across the tag in red. One of the difficult things about owning Radar is having to tell small children that they can’t pet him, Mr. McCormick said. Radar is on duty and off-limits, and in any case the owner is supposed to be the primary source of the animal’s praise and affection.

But the dog doesn’t go unnoticed. “He’s a good dog, isn’t he?” one woman said. “How cute,” said another. People smiled. Children stared, eyes wide. Mr. McCormick smiled and murmured in response.

An employee greeted Mr. McCormick. “Hi, John--You back in again? Beautiful dog--he never ceases to impress me.”

The conversations happen all the time, Mr. McCormick said. Often they ask about Radar. “You meet so many nice people,” he said. “Before I got Radar, I really didn’t want to go out. I tried to stay away from conversations, so I stayed away from people.”

His family has noticed the change. Mr. McCormick, never a public speaker before, now does speeches for Fidos. He recently took Radar to Baltimore, and on the Metro rail line to Washington, D.C. “It’s almost like he has to take the dog and entertain him,” Ms. Gomes said. “These are things my dad would not do without the dog.”

Everyone who knows Mr. McCormick knows the dog. Radar has been made a lifetime member of the Association of Retired Members of Teamsters Local 355. Mr. McCormick has his official, signed membership card, certifying that “Brother Radar is a lifetime member in good standing.”

The change in independence and self-confidence is significant, his children said.

“He’ll go out to eat alone, but I don’t think he feels that way with Radar,” Ms. Moore said. “I’ll call him and he’ll say, `Yeah, we went here and we went there today,’ and you’ll think he had another person with him. I think it’s that he knows that Radar will alert him to anything going on in his surroundings that he can’t pick up--he really trusts Radar to react to situations.”

Mr. McCormick is still leery about being in groups--"He kind of gets lost in the crowd,” Ms. Gomes said.

But he loses fewer opportunities to socialize. One friend had stopped coming over because Mr. McCormick never heard the doorbell or knocking. “That never happens now,” he said.

The safety issue has lessened as well. Shortly after getting Radar, Mr. McCormick decided to keep on living in his own home. The dog’s presence decreased the worry for both him and his family. “I used to think, `Dad’s home alone,’” Ms. Gomes said. “Now I think, `Oh, he’s home with Radar.’”

Mr. McCormick no longer lies awake worrying about someone breaking in, or a fire breaking out. One night, around 4 a.m., Radar woke him wildly and led him to the front door. Mr. McCormick looked through the peephole and saw a uniformed police officer.

He grabbed Radar by the collar and opened the door. “Before you say anything, I am hearing impaired,” he told the officer.

The officer asked him if he lived in the house alone. It was just him and the dog, Mr. McCormick said. The officer pressed him. Was he sure? No son? No one else?

No, Mr. McCormick said. No one. Then the officer told him that a hit-and-run had been reported to Mr. McCormick’s address.

Mr. McCormick wonders now what would have happened if Radar hadn’t woken him up. “Would they have broken the door down?” he said. “That’s why I can go to sleep at night now. I don’t have to worry about that as long as he’s here.”

In Wal-Mart, Radar was handling less dramatic tasks.

The store was out of grooming rakes. Mr. McCormick wandered over to another aisle. “No treats!” Ms. Gavelek called to him.

“I want to buy him something while we’re here,” Mr. McCormick protested, continuing to browse. “I’ll just buy a little bag.”

Ms. Gavelek gave in. “Lean would be good,” she said, and handed him a package of soft treats, instructing him to break off a little bit at a time.

Mr. McCormick handed them to Radar with the command, “Take.” Radar walked through the store with the bag of treats clamped in his mouth. As they waited at the checkout line, Mr. McCormick absently scratched the top of the dog’s head with his pinky finger.

Outside Wal-Mart, Mr. McCormick and Ms. Gavelek stopped for some pizza. “Leave it!” Mr. McCormick rapped out as Radar lunged for a scrap on the floor. Radar gave up the attempt immediately.

Recently he tried to go after a squirrel, Mr. McCormick said. It’s something he’ll work on during his next visits to Fidos. Like all service dogs, Radar needs continual reinforcement of his training.

Lying under the table, Radar spread his head and neck over Mr. McCormick’s feet. His ears twitched, tilted, constantly moving. Keys jingled and his head turned, pausing, identifying. A plastic bag rustled and he looked up, watching.

A woman approached. “Excuse me--what is your friend trained for?” she said.

“He’s a hearing dog, ma’am,” Mr. McCormick replied.

“Oh, I knew he wasn’t a Seeing Eye dog--I have a friend who has one--and I wanted to know.”

“Yes, I’m hearing impaired, and I live alone and that kind of thing,” Mr. McCormick said. “He’s an Australian shepherd. His name is Radar.”

The two chatted for a few moments, then the woman patted Mr. McCormick on the shoulder. “You have a good life now,” she said, and walked away.

Under the table, the dog lay silent and listening. “Radar,” Mr. McCormick said.

Radar’s head went up instantly. He rose and wove past Mr. McCormick’s legs and the table, and stared up into his face, intently.

“He’s my partner,” Mr. McCormick said quietly, rubbing him under the chin, on the throat. “He’s my partner.”

Posted by rosevine69 on 08/25 at 02:09 PM
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I Can’t Afford My Gasoline

This song takes a satirical look at the situation before the time comes when we can’t afford our gasoline. How ‘bout those hybrid cars, eh?
Check out the link for this song:


I got out of bed this morning,
Got in my car and turned the key,
Then I called outta work and I went back to bed,
Because the needle was on “E”.

I can’t afford my gasoline.
The prices have become obscene.
They’re up 5 cents a day. Who has that kind of green?
I can’t afford my gasoline.

I’ve got a friend who bought a hummer, (hum v yeah)
One of those gigantic trucks, (he don’t give a… darn)
But he can’t drive since he maxed out his credit cards, (tough for him)
Because his mileage really sucks. (six whole miles)

He can’t afford his gasoline.
The prices have become obscene.
Too bad he had to buy that gas guzzling machine.
He can’t afford his gasoline.

Who are the people making money (stack them chips)
While the rest of us are hurtin? (choose gas or food)
Big oil companies, their shareholders, and friends (scratch my back)
Go ask those guys at Haliburton (I’ll scratch yours)

We can’t afford our gasoline.
The prices have become obscene.
Unleaded regular, forget about supreme.
We can’t afford our gasoline.

We can’t afford our gasoline.
The prices have become obscene.
You’ll get screwed at the pump, so bring your vaseline.
We can’t afford our gasoline.

“That hybrid car doesn’t seem so queer after all...”

[TocciOnline Home]

Posted by loni on 08/25 at 01:40 PM
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Doesn’t [u]this[/u] prove that she is money hungry?

And think...she caused the citizens of CA to pay all of that money.  Take her ass to jail so she can have material to write about in her tell-all book.

The mother of Michael Jackson’s molestation accuser was charged with welfare fraud yesterday for allegedly collecting almost $19,000 in benefits under false pretenses, the Los Angeles County District Attorney said.

The pop star’s defense team dug up the evidence of the mother’s alleged welfare cheating and used it to discredit her at his criminal trial. Jackson was acquitted of all charges June 13.

A five-count complaint alleges the mother knowingly lied and concealed cash assets to collect $18,782 in assistance payments between November 2001 and March 2003.

She could face more than four years in prison if convicted, said Jane Robison, a spokeswoman for the district attorney.

Posted by SPN on 08/25 at 01:04 PM
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I’m relocating in the coming months to Richmond. If you have any contacts that can aid me in my job search please pass along my resume.  Thanks in advance.

2947 Meadow Lark Drive ´ East Point, GA 30344
678.231.4178 ´ Email:


A position that will utilize my managerial, human resource, administrative, and customer care experience.  I am especially interested in a position within an organization with the potential for advancement and increased decision-making responsibilities.


Over 16 years experience working in the human resource and administrative arena with a focus on internal and external customer service. Experienced in accounting/bookkeeping and possesses a Masters in Business Administration, currently pursuing a Master of Management in Human Resource Management.


2004- Present University of Phoenix Phoenix, AZ
M.M., Human Resource Management.
Cumulative GPA 4.0

2000-2004 University of Phoenix Phoenix, AZ
M.B.A., Business Administration.
Graduated Cum Laude, GPA 3.52

1998-2000 Herzing College Atlanta, GA
B.S., Business Administration. Minor; Accounting.
Graduated Cum Laude, GPA 3.56.  Awarded: Most outstanding graduate and student.


Jul. 2004 - Present World Travel BTI Atlanta, GA
Executive Administrative Assistant/Operations Management

´ Executive Administrative Assistant for two Vice Presidents and four directors.
´ Tracks and monitors database projects to ensure project is completed by target date.
´ Facilitates monthly executive board meetings.
´ Coordinates and distributes materials and scribes minutes for departmental and executive board meetings.
´ Maintains departmental calendars and responds to centralized departmental email requests.
´ Researches and compiles information for confidential reports and presentations.
´ Prepares departmental and/or management travel expenses and vendor invoices for payment.
´ Monitors and prepares reports on department profitability for board meetings.
´ Arrange travel for vice presidents and directors.
´Implemented ElementK IDÝs and scheduled training programs.
´Reviews incoming correspondence and forwards to appropriate management personnel or responds appropriately. 

Dec. 2000-July 2004 Bellsouth Communication Systems Atlanta, GA
Senior Office Assistant/Administrative Assistant

´ Administrative support for first line managers and District Operations Manager.
´ Prepare and distributed monthly budget reports through computerized system (Actuate).
´ Supervised clerical staff. 
´ Developed PowerPoint presentations, and created spreadsheets, to be used in conjunction with reports on employee profitability.
´ Ordered equipment and supplies. 
´ Verified appropriate supplies were kept in company break room and Conference Room.
´ Processed employee transactions and investigated employee concerns/issues.
´ Member of Diversity Committee.
´ Scheduled training and travel, arranged meetings, and verified expenses statements.
´ Prepared correspondence, researched customer contracts and files (i.e. email, fax, memos).
´ Distributed departmental pay checks on bi-weekly basis

Sept. 1999-Nov. 2000 Derivion Corporation Atlanta, GA
Accounts Payable Manager

´Promoted to Accounts Payable Manager within six months of taking position as Accounts Payable Clerk. 
´Input vendor invoices with 95% accuracy.
´Performed calculating, posting and verifying duties to obtain financial data for use in maintaining accounting records. 
´Maintained fixed assets, accounts receivable and account reconciliation. 
´Issued purchase orders for equipment and software. 
´Determined work procedures, prepared work schedules and expedited work flow. 
´Assigned duties and examined work for exactness, neatness and conformance to policies and procedures. 

Mar. 1998-Sept. 1999 Budd Terrace At Wesley Woods Atlanta, GA
Administrative Assistant

´Maintained the supervisorÝs appointment calendar, coordinated staffing meetings, conferences, and contacted participants for meetings. 
´Prepared itineraries and scheduled travel arrangements. 
´Worked on personnel files, benefits and employee reviews.
´Processed employee payroll.
´Conducted maintenance inspections for Joint Commissions on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO). 
´Assisted with moves, new hires, and interviews
´Updated patient database.

Sept. 1995-Feb. 1998 AT&T Atlanta, GA
Human Resources Assistant
´Maintain the personnel records of employees.
´Record information and answer questions about employee absences and supervisory reports on employeesÝ job performance.
´Updates forms regarding employee promotions, benefits, etc.
´Prepare reports for other managers regarding employees.
´Respond to written inquiries from the public, sent out announcements of job openings or job examinations, and issued application forms.
´Screened job applicants to obtain information such as their education and work experience; administer aptitude, personality, and interest tests; explained the employment policies of the company.
´Referred qualified applicants to the employing official; and requested references from present or past employers.
´Utilized Meters/IPay Payroll system for time input.


´ Microsoft PowerPoint
´ Internet Explorer Navigation
´ Peachtree 2000
´ Microsoft Word
´ Microsoft Access
´ Visio
´ QuickBooks for Accountants
´ Microsoft Excel
´ Elementool
´ PeopleSoft 8
´ Element K
´ Legadero/Tempo
´ Typing speed - 65 wpm


´ Introduction to Six Sigma - 05/02/2005
´ Computer Fundamentals - 06/07/2004
´ Supervisory Leadership Series - 10/08/2003
´ MS Internet Explorer 6.0 - 06/07/2004
´ Controlling your environment - 07/18/2001
´ Spanish 101 - 02/14/2004
´ Excelling As A First Time Manager - 10/01/1999

Available Upon Request

Posted by loni on 08/25 at 12:42 PM
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Fat woman in NH is mad at her doctor because [u]she[/u] is fat.

What was he supposed to tell her?  “Oh I think you should become a runway model because you got it going on!” Stupid people sue because they are stupid. Fat people sue because they are fat.  It’s too bad that dead people can’t sue.  Lawyers would be laughing their way to the bank.  Well, I guess they already are.

ROCHESTER, N.H. (AP) ˇ As doctors warn more patients that they should lose weight, the advice has backfired on one doctor with a woman filing a complaint with the state saying he was hurtful, not helpful.

Dr. Terry Bennett says he tells obese patients their weight is bad for their health and their love lives, but the lecture drove one patient to complain to the state.

“I told a fat woman she was obese,” Bennett says. “I tried to get her attention. I told her, ‘You need to get on a program, join a group of like-minded people and peel off the weight that is going to kill you.’ “

He says he wrote a letter of apology to the woman when he found out she was offended.

Her complaint, filed about a year ago, was initially investigated by a board subcommittee, which recommended that Bennett be sent a confidential letter of concern. The board rejected the suggestion in December and asked the attorney general’s office to investigate.

Bennett rejected that office’s proposal that he attend a medical education course and acknowledge that he made a mistake.

Bruce Friedman, chairman of the board of medicine, said he could not discuss specific complaints. Assistant Attorney General Catherine Bernhard, who conducted the investigation, also would not comment, citing state law that complaints are confidential until the board takes disciplinary action.

The board’s Web site says disciplinary sanctions may range from a reprimand to the revocation of all rights to practice in the state.

“Physicians have to be professional with patients and remember everyone is an individual. You should not be inflammatory or degrading to anyone,” said board member Kevin Costin.

Other overweight patients have come to Bennett’s defense.

“What really makes me angry is he told the truth,” Mindy Haney told WMUR-TV on Tuesday. “How can you punish somebody for that?”

Haney said Bennett has helped her lose more than 150 pounds, but acknowledged that she initially didn’t want to listen.

“I have been in this lady’s shoes. I’ve been angry and left his practice. I mean, in-my-car-taking-off angry,” Haney said. “But once you think about it, you’re angry at yourself, not Doctor Bennett. He’s the messenger. He’s telling you what you already know.”

Posted by SPN on 08/25 at 11:13 AM
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