Tuesday, July 31, 2007

My three plumeria trees are all in bloom. The first (white with a yellow center) is my original plant, that I brought home about 12 years ago, and it has the strongest scent. The deep pink plumeria with the orange center smells like cinnamon. The last is pale pink with a bit of orange at the center . . .

I was up in Century City today for a meeting and had lunch at Gulfstream - - Sea Bass with a fruity, nutty, grainy side dish that was really good. It was so healthy that I felt free to eat about half a carton of Haagen Dazs when I got home.

Every summer I am terrorized by a single mosquito. I assume it is a different one every year, but the modus operandi is the same. About 4 am, I awake to hear a single buzzing noise circling overhead. I lay in bed waiting for silence which I take as the signal that it has landed on my face or shoulders. I then begin to flail my arms wildly to shake it free from its perch. This generally keeps me bite free, but makes for an unfitful sleep. So my plan for tonight is to watch the Angels (hopefully) beat the Mariners, and hit the hay early.

My big plans for the rest of the week include golfing, playing poker and taking the bus to work. What do you have on your plate this week? If I may make a suggestion? Haagen Dazs!

And the good news for the week comes to us from the San Diego Zoo where 16 year old female panda Bai Yun is pregnant with her 4th cub. They expect her to give birth in the next week or so . . .

Monday, July 30, 2007

My new issue of Bead Style magazine arrived today. I've mentioned before that one of the really cool things about alot of crafting communities, i.e., knitters, jewelry makers, is the strong desire to give back and reach out to help others, particularly people living in impoverished areas.

This issue features the directions to make a hot, hot, hot bracelet and earrings combo constructed from beads made by a group of Ugandan refugees. You can find their work here. I have ordered some of the loose beads to make the bracelet and earrings, and I can't wait for the beads to arrive!

Sunny the puppy has returned to Las Vegas, but he was a lot of fun while he was here. Pictured are Sunny, Hanna and Samantha waiting for Milk Bones. As you can see, Sunny is trying very hard to sit still.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

We've been up for a couple of hours now, and even walked a couple of miles, but the weather is warm and humid, which makes the dogs very uninterested in exercise. So I've brought them home, and am taking off to walk some more. I'm enjoying listening to The Water's Lovely by Ruth Rendell on my iPod. Rendell writes wonderful mysteries. Her latest is described on Amazon as:

Three-time Edgar Award–winner Rendell (13 Steps Down) often creates fragile characters, trembling on the edge of losing a lover, child, job, solvency or sanity. Slashing through their world is a wild card, an obsessive or a sociopath too focused on personal gain to be concerned with damage to others. The vulnerable people at the heart of this taut and enticing stand-alone are the Sealand family, particularly Heather, who's assumed to have drowned her unsavory stepfather, Guy, in the bath while he was weak with illness. A veritable pack of wild cards—including Marion Melville, who cozies up to the lonely and aged in hopes of inheriting their estates after she's poisoned them, and Marion's Dumpster-diving brother, Fowler—keeps everyone off guard. Rendell enlivens the tale with subplots involving various romances—ardent and desperate—and a killer who lurks in London's parks, as well as with pithy comments about class, technology, generational conflict, food and aesthetics. The plot twists in this electrifying read reach all the way to the last page.

Later I am heading off to a pool party for a six year old (no beer served) and then to meet a friend and watch some live music (beer will be served). Hopefully, Sunny will be back to play with the girls later, he did a nice job of wearing them out yesterday. His owner, kind of a tough guy, was telling me yesterday how much adopting Sunny has changed his life . . . it's amazing what the love of a puppy can do . . .

Have a good Saturday, all!

Friday, July 27, 2007

The score for today: Decency - 3; Vick - 0

Nike suspended its lucrative contract with Michael Vick on Friday, while Reebok took the unprecedented step of stopping sales of his No. 7 jersey.

Facing protests from animal-rights groups, Nike announced it was suspending Vick's endorsement deal without pay, as well as halting sales of Vick-related shoes and other products at its retail stores.

"Nike is concerned by the serious and highly disturbing allegations made against Michael Vick, and we consider any cruelty to animals inhumane and abhorrent," Nike spokesman Dean Stoyer said in a statement.

Reebok, the official uniform supplier of the NFL, said it would stop selling Vick's replica jersey at retail stores and through its Web site.

Donruss, one of four major trading card companies, has decided to pull Vick's card from any future 2007 releases of trading card packs, according to Beckett Media, which covers the collectibles industry.
In more bad news for Vick, one of his indicted co-conspirators has entered into a plea agreement with the feds, which is scheduled for hearing on Monday. The most likely scenario is that he has agreed to testify against the others in exchange for reduced charges or a limited sentence. Yes, it looks like Tony "T" Taylor is going to throw Vick under the bus.

If you look up exuberant, rollicking, or "big, dumb puppy" in the dictionary, there's a good chance you will find a photo of Sunny there. Sunny is a 7 month old Golden Retriever puppy staying with my downstairs neighbors while his people are visiting from Las Vegas.

He came upstairs yesterday for a lengthy visit, and managed to annoy both Nanners - by following her around with his nose half way up her rear end - and Noodles - by stealing her rawhide bone. I may be the only "bitch" in the house to find him charming.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

I was pleasantly surprised to pick up my mail today and find that someone had sent me a card with a 100 dollar bill inside. Besides being a very, very nice way to start one's day, the nagging question is . . . what to do with it?

1. I can add it to the coffee can that holds my vacation fund

2. I could buy a new pair of shoes; or

3. ??????????????????

What would you do with an extra and unexpected hundred dollar bill?

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

As I was driving to work today, I passed a bus that said I could get help planning a bus route at the Orange County Transit Authority website. This gave me the perfect opportunity to exorcise some of my OCD demons and try to find a reasonable way to take the bus to and from work. I have to say, the options weren't too bad. Yes, it would be a longer commute, but I could spend the time knitting, reading or working . . .

True, it's been decades since I've taken the bus, but I'm going to give it a try . . . Southern California is seriously lacking in public transportation options, but I'd like to take my car off the road at least one day a week . . .

These handsome folks are the three polar bears from the San Diego Zoo. When I was a kid, the polar bears were always the most fun exhibit to watch at the SD Zoo. We'd visit in the spring and the baby bears were a delight. I've recently discovered that I can still enjoy the antics of the bears here. I've tuned in a few times recently, and on every visit found the bears playing in the pool.

Addendum - not sure why today the camera is on a dry, bear-free portion of the exhibit!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

I am having a bad day at work.

I like my outfit, but everything else is going haywire. And going haywire in a way so that I look like a totally incompetent idiot . . .

On the good side (did I mention that I like my outfit today?) someone just left some fresh baked chocolate chip cookies in the kitchen, and I'm listening to Quadrophenia. But I'm not so selfish that I must keep these delights all for myself, and because I don't know how to share cookies over the 'net, I will share Love Reign O'er Me, featuring the world's sexiest 60 year old, Roger Daltrey.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Michael Vick was ordered by commissioner Roger Goodell on Monday to stay away from the Atlanta Falcons' training camp until the league reviews the dogfighting charges against him.

"While it is for the criminal justice system to determine your guilt or innocence, it is my responsibility as commissioner of the National Football League to determine whether your conduct, even if not criminal, nonetheless violated league policies, including the Personal Conduct Policy," Goodell said in a letter to the quarterback.

The girls keep me company as I work at home today on my laptop . . .

Mandevilla blossoms . . .

Should be another busy work week, but I'm working at home today. Any day spent working in shorts and thongs, listening to the dogs snore and the birds bickering over the seed in the feeder, is not too bad of a work day.

I could have sworn that I pre-ordered a copy of the latest Harry Potter, but nothing arrived in the mail . . . apparently, I just intended to pre-order a copy. I haven't been reading a whole lot lately, but always have 3 books going, even if I'm not giving them much time or attention. In hard copy, I'm reading Look to the Lady by Margery Allingham - a British mystery set in the early '30s - featuring Albert Campion. I'm listening to Obsession by Jonathan Kellerman on my iPod and The Devil of Nanking in my car. I haven't read Kellerman before, and I am enjoying his latest Alex Delaware whodunit.

Devil of Nanking involves a young English woman's travels to Tokyo to discover the truth behind the massacre of 300,000 Chinese civilians by Japanese soldiers in 1937. The massacre really happened, but is rarely acknowledged by the Japanese. The story of this young woman, however, is fiction. I have concerns that eventually this book will get too gruesome for my listening pleasure. The problem with audible books is that it is hard to page quickly over parts you don't much want to read or hear . . .

I'm golfing on Friday afternoon, so hey, at least I have that going for me . . .

Saturday, July 21, 2007

This morning was cool and overcast, and the girls and I spent a lazy morning watching the British Open. Having spent a summer there attending the University, I'm still reeling from hearing the the ESPN/ABC announcer pronounce Edinburgh like "Pittsburgh".
Hanna woke up on the sweet side of the dog bed this morning, and was sweet and kind of clingy all day. She spent most of the day in contact with me, and I'm a bit worried she may not be feeling well, though her appetite is still good . . .

My spend no money streak ended yesterday, but it was worth it . . . . A friend wanted to go out to lunch, and even though I had brought my lunch, I agreed. I'm glad I did because she is going through a rough divorce, and it was good to get out of the office to talk. I must also confess that yesterday evening I bought Elvis Costello's My Aim is True off of iTunes - $7.99 for the whole album . . . . and having revealed some of my poor cd choices below, can anyone recommend any good new music to add to my collection?
Tonight my niece and I went and saw the American Ballet Theater's production of The Sleeping Beauty, and it was lovely. Some of the costume choices were a bit odd, though . . . I'm not sure I would have outfitted the Beauty's father as Burger King, and I'm also not sure why the Act III wedding guests were dressed as extras from Marie Antoinette . . .
How is your weekend going????

Friday, July 20, 2007

I pulled out my box of cds looking for the classic, "My Aim is True" by Elvis Costello. I couldn't find Elvis, but I did find the following:

3 copies of Bob Marley and the Wailers' "Legend". Legend is one of my if-you-were-stranded-on-a-desert-island-and-could-only-bring-10-cds cds, but 3 copies seems like overkill.

Even more disturbing is "Happy Holidays, With Love . . . Esteban", a 3 disc compilation of "Esteban's Favorite Holiday Treasures" (never opened). I'm not sure if Esteban sells his music anywhere but the Home Shopping Network, but how many glasses of egg nog did I drink before I picked up the phone to order anything sold by this man ----->

Next on the hit parade? Floored by Sugar Ray. Saying this cd sucks is unfair to suckie cds. Sure, "Fly" was a catchy single, but the rest of the cd sounds nothing like that. I'm pretty sure I listened to this once.

This last cd was also only listened to once or twice, but in this case, that is not a reflection on the quality of the music - - Dark Side of the Moon by Pink Floyd. This cd was purchased to accompany a viewing of The Wizard of Oz. You may have heard the urban legend that Dark Side of the Moon is written as a sort of unofficial soundtrack to Wizard. It sort of works; you turn off the sound on the movie and play the cd instead. For instance, the song "Money", or at least the clanging of the cash register, seems to play whenever the Wicked Witch of the West is on the screen. Admittedly, it helps if you are slightly schnockered/stoned when you test out this legend.

Do you have any cds/albums in your collection that make you say to yourself, "what the f$%k was I thinking?"

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Five, count 'em, five days without spending any cash. I was torn when I found out the golf attire I have been eyeing has gone on sale, but I hung strong.

Today should be another busy one at work, but at least it's Friday; maybe I'll bring Elvis Costello's My Aim is True cd to power me through . . .

My dogs both like to rub on different sorts of things when we are out walking. Luckily, neither prefers poo or dead things. Samantha likes to roll all over worms, (there are usually a few out on the sidewalk with the morning dew) which are surprisingly lacking in smell. Hanna likes to rub against bushes and shrubs that are sticky and smelly.

Sergio Garcia is leading the British Open, but has zero chance of being at the top of the leaderboard Sunday afternoon.

More than 100,000 people emailed the NFL demanding the suspension of Michael Vick. Nike hasn't (yet?) dropped Vick, but at least it has delayed the release of his latest branded shoes and pulled his videos from its website. To urge Nike to drop Vick, click here.
Images from my deck . . . flowers, and a relaxed canine.

I am overwhelmed at work today. I am behind on some projects because I had to pick up the balls dropped by others and run with them. I was in one conference only to return to a screen full of unread emails and an inquiry as to my lack of immediate response. Because I am unwilling to become a speed freak, my artificial aid to help me crank out work in the afternoon is to listen to Green Day's American Idiot cd, including this song, Jesus of Suburbia. Thanks to Billy Joe and the boys, and I hope my head doesn't explode before I leave the office.

On a similar note, all the male checkers and box boys at my local Ralphs grocery store dress and sport hair like the lead singer of Green Day, so whenever I have a question I just call out: "Hey, Billy Joe - where can I find shelled sunflower seeds?"

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

More proof that I am a geek . . .

Thursday through Sunday brings us the best PGA golf tournament of the year, the British Open. Although my favorite Opens are when the tournament is set at St. Andrews, the birthplace of golf, it will be entertaining at Carnoustie (aka Car-nasty) this year. This is one of the few perqs of getting up early; I love being able to tune in to watch the players struggling against the elements as I enjoy a nice cup o' joe. (Coverage starts about 7 am Pacific Time). The next 4 days will be delightful.

I slept better last night now that I have figured out how to dim the LED display on my new iPod docking station/bedside clock radio. It was so bright before that it cast shadows in the room. If I was better at doing hand shadow puppets on the closet doors, I might not have fixed it.

By the way, I made it through Wednesday without spending a dime, so four days and counting.

I'm trying to figure out why I should pay Netflix this month when the last 4 dvds they've sent me have been damaged and unwatchable.

The Angels have been beaten, and beaten badly, their last two games by the lowly Tampa Bay Devil Rays - they've sent Santana down to AAA, and it's time to take Colon out of the starting rotation too.

I'm taking my niece to see the American Ballet Theater's Sleeping Beauty this weekend - I've never seen this ballet, and I hope it is lovely . . .

When a Bad Newz Kennels dog was wounded in a losing fight, NFL star Michael Vick was consulted before the animal was doused with water and electrocuted.

That's just one of the gruesome details that emerged Tuesday when the Atlanta Falcons quarterback and three others were indicted by a federal grand jury.
Nevertheless, Nike CEO Phil Knight refuses to drop Vick as one of the athletes sponsored by Nike, claiming that he hasn't yet been convicted of any crime. I'm here to call bullshit. It's called the "appearance of impropriety", Mr. Knight. I guarantee that the conduct clause in Vick's multi-million dollar contract with Nike does not require proof beyond a reasonable doubt before they can void his contract, and there is more than sufficient evidence that Vick is seriously lacking in character. The NFL and many corporate sponsors have penalized players for their conduct, including driving under the influence, conduct that arguably could be explained as a temporary lapse in judgment. The systematic torture of animals cannot be so explained, and Vick should be banished from the NFL, and his sponsors should drop him now.
Click here to urge the NFL to suspend Vick.

So, I'm trying to see how long I can go without spending any money.

The last money I spent was on dinner and a mango margarita post-golf on Saturday. I did my grocery shopping early Saturday, and I have plenty of food for me and the dogs, and a mostly full tank of gas. Consequently, I can feed and transport myself for the remainder of the week, and I have already paid my bills for the month.

The best case scenario is Saturday evening; I am taking my niece to the Ballet, and even though I already have the tickets, parking and refreshments are a mandatory expense.

There are a couple of expenditures that I have decided are allowed exceptions (they are pre-existing obligations), to my self-imposed spending restriction. I wrote a check to the housekeeper yesterday, and on Thursday, my regular bi-monthly delivery of produce from Organic Express will arrive, and the cost will auto-deduct from my checking account.

The question is, can I make it all week without spending any money for a soda, coffee or a meal? Can I resist the temptation to buy that really cute golfing skort online? Only time will tell . . .

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

It's a glorious day! My housekeeper, who had to skip last Tuesday, is here today to transform my dog hair riddled home into something livable. Not only does she clean, but she does my laundry and even IRONS my clothes. Yes, she is the greatest person on the face of the earth. I know this last statement is true because Nanners LOVES her . . . . When Christina comes to the door, Hanna gets all sweet and floppy eared and wriggles up to see her and show off her current favorite bone or toy.
I can hardly wait to get home and revel in the clean before I start making it all a mess once again . . .

Monday, July 16, 2007

So, riddle me this, Batman . . .

It was already irritating when an acquaintance leaves a voice mail message that says something like: "hi, it's me, call me!" and you have no friggin' idea who it is, or where to find the phone number. Isn't an "it's me!" reserved for close family relations and good friends?

So how about when texting? Last Saturday I received a text message "how r u? Long time no talk" . . . needless to say, I didn't recognize the number, nor was it associated with any name in my directory. I responded "who is this?" The answer? "kevin from yahoo way back". Allow me to decode that message. Kevin is a guy I met online through Yahoo Personals sometime around Y2K . . . we did go out a few times, but I haven't seen or spoke to him in more than 5 years. We stopped going out when he asked me if I was into "the lifestyle". Pardon me? Apparently, that is how those in the know refer to "swinging". He had been invited to a swingers' party, but single men must have a woman with them, or they are not allowed in to partake. Did I want to join him? Umm, no.

I can only imagine how many phone numbers he texted to before he got to mine that day . . . but he could at least add his name to the message.

Speaking of my cell phone, I need to get new service. Cingular/AT&T keeps sending my nasty letters telling me that the type of service (analog or digital or something like that) provided to my phone goes kaput in mid-August. So here's the dealio, unlike Edit, I'm not ready to move up to an iPhone, but I'm debating whether to go Blackberry . . .

Sunday, July 15, 2007

1:30 a.m., Sunday morning and I was semi-wide awake. I attribute this to a couple of things - 1. my ginormous tongue (see below); and 2. the world's loudest car alarm blaring outside. Being unable to sleep, I log on and browse the internet. Since none of the blogs I regularly peruse have added any posts in the middle of the night, I log on to ebay, and click on the murano glass tab. For some unexplained reason (ok, lack of sleep), I bid on two murano glass perfume bottles (free shipping on the 2nd one since they are offered by the same seller!), I watch a bit of an Inspector Lynley mystery on Netflix's Watch it Now!, and finally fall back to sleep. I awakened way too early (like John Wayne in "The Cowboys" - one of the Duke's better films - Nanners doesn't believe in "burning daylight") , and found that I am now the proud owner of these:

Now I can add to my resume, "used perfume bottle collector".

Saturday, July 14, 2007

This is what my tongue feels like - like it is too big for my mouth, and like it would feel better if I could re-locate it outside of my mouth. Why, you may ask? While I was getting Noodles' poo sample (in a bag, thank you very much) out of the car to take into the Vet's office, Hanna suddenly jerked her hard, Labrador head straight up and into my chin, causing me to bite my tongue so hard that I started to see stars . . .
From the Vet's office we stopped at a strip mall with a butcher shop and a Petco. I went to the butcher shop first and bought a couple of steaks, which I then carried into Petco, because while the girls are good dogs, I'm not dumb enough to leave them in a car with $18.25 worth of filet mignon. After Petco, we headed to Ralph's grocery store, where I went in to grocery shop carrying a bag of steaks AND a bag of Petco dog treats (the bags of wild bird seed were safe, I was confident, even if left with the dogs in the car).
Golf was fun and I shot a personal best at the local course. I only hit a couple of seriously bad shots, and I was driving the ball better than ever . . . between concentrating on my game and drinking 2 cold Coors Lights, I barely noticed that my mouth can no longer accommodate my gargantuan tongue . . .

Today we are taking Noodles to the Vet for her annual exam and shots. While Nanners LOVES going to the Vet (or anywhere she might encounter people/her adoring fans), Noodles is a bit more reticent. Dr. S., however, is the nicest Vet on the planet. We have been taking our cats and dogs to Dr. S. for 35 years - since he graduated from Vet School. Back in 1972 he joined the practice of the local Vet, and took over the practice a few years later. I've been told that Noodles once tried to bite her old Vet, but Dr. S never gives an animal cause to complain. We all trust his advice, he charges reasonable rates and he never tries to sell you on some expensive procedure that isn't necessary for the health and happiness of the family pet.

I have promised Noodles a treat from Petco on the way home if she is a brave little buckaroo . . .

I am very excited about the release of the latest and last in the Harry Potter series. (Yes, I have pre-ordered my copy). My first impression of the books was that they were the poor man's/child's Lord of the Rings, but I as I have read each of the books in the series I think they stand alone as a really great series of books. I hope that Harry survives, and I hope that some how, Dumdledore returns.

JK Rowling has gone from being a single mum on the dole in the UK to a billionaire based on nothing more than her own imagination and the ability to tell a great tale. What an amazing success story . . .

Is anyone else a Tim Curry fan? He guest stars in the season premiere of Psych on the USA network, and as usual, is friggin' brilliant. I have been a huge fan since my teen years where many a Saturday night was spent watching the Rocky Horror Picture Show at midnight. I also had the pleasure in the early '80s to see him on stage in London as both the Pirate King in the The Pirates of Penzance, and playing Mozart in Amadeus. If you get the chance, check out Psych . . . Curry is wonderful playing the Simon Cowell-like judge of American Duets, and the final scene with the 2 lead actors performing Tears for Fears' "Shout" had me laughing out loud.

Friday, July 13, 2007

It's Friday the 13th - time to check in at Casa Diane. The petunias and impatiens I planted last weekend are doing well, and the girls are conserving their energy for the weekend.
I'm golfing tomorrow afternoon for the first time in a couple of months, so I'm off to the driving range this morning on the way into work. My spiffy new bicycle was delivered this week, but needs a bit of assembly . . . I can't wait to go toodling down the street with my cool basket and bell . . .
Now for the bad news . . . I've gained 5 lbs., so it's time to get back on the diet and exercise path to health . . . not that I haven't enjoyed making french toast from Trader Joe's cinnamon raisin bread. And as you can see from the woeful look on Noodles' face, she has an appointment at the Vet's tomorrow for her annual shots . . .
Happy Friday the 13th, all! And if you see anyone with a mask and a knife, don't stop to ask stupid questions . . . just run, fast, in the opposite direction.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

From my friends at the Natural Resource Defense Council . . .

We must stop the Bush Administration's plan to declare open season on the wolves of Greater Yellowstone and central Idaho. Once approved, Wyoming and Idaho intend to begin exterminating up to half their gray wolves -- by aerial gunning and other cruel methods -- as early as this fall. Submit your Official Citizen Comment, opposing this disastrous plan, before August 6 by clicking

My second book for the Southern Reading Challenge is Wise Blood, published in 1952 by Flannery O’Connor. Wise Blood is the grotesque comic tale of Hazel Motes who, in a twisted spiritual quest, starts his own church: a church without Jesus Christ.

"‘Church of Christ!’ Haze repeated. ‘Well, I preach the Church Without Christ. I’m member and preacher to that church where the blind don’t see and the lame don’t walk and what’s dead stays that way. Ask me about that church and I’ll tell you it’s the church that the blood of Jesus don’t foul with redemption.’"

The novel is populated by a host of unlikeable characters—con-artist preachers, a shrunken mummy, Gonga the gorilla, and other assorted misfits—and the plot includes scenes of illicit sex, self-flagellation, unapologetic racism and murder. But it is also a novel about the miracle and mystery of God’s grace, for after vigorously denying Jesus and seeking out sin for nearly the entire novel, and after engaging in a gross act of self-mutilation, Hazel Motes achieves salvation in the end.

In the author’s note to the second edition, O’Connor states: "That belief in Christ is to some a matter of life and death has been a stumbling block for readers who would prefer to think it a matter of no great consequence. For them Hazel Motes’ integrity lies in his trying with such vigor to get rid of the ragged figure who moves from tree to tree in the back of his mind. For the author Hazel’s integrity lies in his not being able to." It is apparent that for the author, the idea of integrity is at the core of this novel.

Others have described the book as having a variety of themes: it can be read simply as a comedy of grotesques (the so-called "Southern Gothic" genre), for it is comedic and has many grotesque elements. It can also be read as a philosophical novel, for it presents opposing views of reality and asks the reader to resolve the conflict. It can even be read as a social text, for the novel captures the South at a time of great tension, when, after World War II, the rural and cosmopolitan populations were clashing, and tent-revival preachers encountered big city marketing. Finally, some say that Wise Blood can also be read as an unusual case study of heresy and redemption; however, I felt like O'Connor did not offer enough of a background or biography of Motes to explain the psychological and spiritual crises that have brought the character to such a state of "grotesqueness."

This is one of those books that I wish I liked more than I did.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Hey, batter, batter . . .

Any Dodger fans out there? Well, on July 19, the Dodgers are playing the NY Mets. spcaLA and the Dodgers have teamed up to bring fans discounted tickets to help a good cause. A portion of ticket proceeds benefit spcaLA programs and services. You can purchase tickets here, where you also find a link to an online auction on ebay with some cool celebrity autographed merchandise - check it out!

Monday, July 09, 2007

At some point in the past, I pushed some mysterious button on the remote control so that when I watch HBO on the tv in my bedroom, closed captioning in Spanish appears. In the months/years since then, I have been unable to figure out how to undo this selection.

So . . . here we have the closing musical number from tonight's episode of Flight of the Conchords, with the lyrics en Espanol.

As I mentioned before, I honestly do make an effort to donate to charities that I find to be worthwhile. But here's the rub - - I never, ever give money in response to a telephone solicitation. This is for a couple of reasons: 1. I don't want to encourage telemarketers; 2. I don't want to give out personal information over the phone; 3. I want the opportunity to research the charity to confirm it is legitimate; and 4. It gives me a ready out when I do answer such a phone call, and so inform the caller. No telemarketer will waste his or her time talking to you if they won't get to rack up a "sale". And I refuse to give a dime that will be used in part to pay a commission to any telemarketer.
I give money automatically every month to the ASPCA, yet received a phone call last week from a woman who described herself as a professional fundraiser. I noted that I already give each month, and she responded, "yes, dear, that's why I'm calling you now". Do they really believe that the way to thank me for giving regularly is to have a professional fundraiser call me at home? That the only thing keeping me from increasing my donation is the convenience of doing so by phone? I asked to be removed from the call list.
Greenpeace has been calling me on my home office phone literally every day for weeks. When they called twice on Sunday, I finally answered the call, declined to donate, and asked to be removed from their call list.
My favorite calls though or by imaginary charities that incorporate the words "police" or "sheriff" into the made up organization's name. At first, when listening to one such caller, it sounded like they were soliciting funds for a camp for disadvantaged children. I said that I would not donate by phone, but would consider their cause if they sent me information by mail. He said they couldn't afford to send out a mailing unless I agreed to give a minimum donation in advance. When pressed further, they weren't raising money for camp; rather, they were raising money to pay for the costs (what costs? copying flyers?) of having law enforcement officers go to schools to remind kids to "buckle up". I declined to donate.
I later received another phone call from the same organization, and was in an ornery mood. I decided to challenge the poor woman on the validity of the charity. She claimed it had been around since the '70s, but couldn't identify a single police or sheriff's department that participated, nor even identify any California County in which any of the charity services were provided. This time, they had expanded their goals from that fabulous "buckle-up" program, to also supporting law enforcement officers who serve as mentors to troubled kids. With all due respect, what are the costs associated with a man or woman donating his or her time? When I served as a mentor through the juvenile court system, I didn't receive financial assistance, nor would I expect to. Are they giving each cop 5 bucks for hot dogs at the park? Not surprisingly, she couldn't tell me where a single such program is in effect.
Their latest ploy? Now they are seeking money to support the families of fallen officers. ("Ma'am, did you realize that 110 men and women have been killed in the line of duty in the last 25 years?") Hello! Why wouldn't I just give the money to the "Family of Officer Smith Fund"? Why would I give it to this guy on the phone, who asked not for me, but for Ms. X, probably the next surname down the row in the phone book. When I said he had the wrong number, he responded "that's ok, I'm sure you can help me".
Add on the 5 solicitations I get every day by mail, and I wonder . . . do they realize that they are on the verge of biting the hand that feeds them? That I am coming to believe that no good deed goes unpunished? That I want to help and support worthwhile causes, but they are driving me crazy?
Sigh . . . . thanks for letting me rant . . .