Thursday, January 27, 2011

How about some cute Yorkie pics?

Puddin' and Lovey.

Lovey is in the jammies because she decided to take a walk on Sunday...into the pool! Apparently she has not yet grasped the concept of "transparency" as she still tries to walk through glass doors and on Sunday, tried to walk on the surface of the pool. Fortunately, Hubby was in the pool when it happened and fished her out, but even as he grabbed her, she had bobbed to the surface and was swimming for the edge! But even after I dried her off, she was shaking, so I dug out Puddin's outgrown flannel jammies and put them on Lovey, and in no time she was back to her pugnacious self!

Puddin' at the window: we have rented our cottage to a lady who has two young cats. They have just gotten up the courage to explore the back garden and they decided to investigate the potted plants on my patio...just outside this window. Puddin', who has very little experience with cats, was fascinated by them. Days later, she is still checking all the windows and doors that lead out to the patio, hoping they will come back!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Dilettantes need not apply

Ok, I need a contractor.

My brother-in-law owns a flat in a suburb not too far from my home and the property management company recently called him saying it needed some painting, the quote for which was outrageous. BIL asked Hubby and me to go have a look for him.

I don’t know what those people have been charging him for, but it sure wasn’t for the management of that flat! I have seen slum apartments in better condition! And, according to my husband, who has been in the flat many times before it went to rental, it was previously in good shape. This management company…supposedly the largest rental and property management company in the country…has done a shameful job and the flat quite literally needs to be gutted to the bare walls and floor. Even the kitchen stove needs to be replaced…assuming the massive infestation of cockroaches doesn’t carry it away first.

So, I’m looking for a contractor, a renovations specialist if I can find one, to strip this place to its bare nubbins and refurbish it from the ground up. It’s gonna put a pretty piece of coin into someone’s pocket…who would think that so few people are serious about the trade they have chosen for themselves?

We have a series of advertising magazines that are home delivered every second week. These magazines contain full colour ads from various companies that do every kind of imaginable home maintenance, repair, or addition you can think of, from doors and windows to roofs, pools, security systems, paving, and new kitchens. I’ve dug out three back issues of these mags and called every construction and maintenance company that advertises it does renovations…only one of the half dozen paying for full colour ads in this publication even answered the phone! One had a phone number that, according to the recording, did not exist, one was a wrong number (despite my having dialled correctly), and another one…well, I don’t know what the problem was, but the call didn’t go through at all—didn’t even connect to ring.

Next, I went to the web where I called three companies. One answered and I have an appointment with them to give me a quote on the flat. The other two? Can’t be bothered to pick up their phones.

How serious can you be about your business if you don’t answer your phone? If the number published in your ad doesn’t exist or it is a wrong number or it goes to a voice mail but you don’t return the call…just how serious are you about your business and why should I trust you with my project, assuming I can even get in touch with you? Why are you wasting your money…and my time…advertising when you obviously have no interest in communicating with new customers and taking on the new work your advertisement would lead me to believe you want?

I made nine phone calls and got only two answers...that’s just shameful! But somebody in Joburg is going to make a pot of money because they answered their phone…in addition to renovating my BIL’s flat, I have a second renovation project to do after this one. But I guarantee you, if you didn’t pick up your phone when I called you, if you don’t return my call the same day I left the message, one of your competitors not only will get my two projects, they’ll get all the follow-on work as well. I won’t deal with dilettantes like you.

Monday, January 17, 2011

An emailed comment

This comment was too large for the comment section so it was emailed to me. I am passing it on. The writer lives in Arizona.


Good comments. Sarah Palin scares the shit out of me. As far as I'm concerned, she is very dangerous. And her choice of the term "blood libel" was very unfortunate. I realize that that expression doesn't mean what it used to, but many Jews still find it very offensive. How did she come up with that expression anyway? I don't know if she has some advisers who are just bad advisers or if she just doesn't listen to them.

At least Glen Beck and Rush Limbaugh who are also a BIG part of the problem seem to be much more intelligent than she. Unfortunately, they are so hell bent for leather to scare voters that they spout their vitriol, half truths and mis-information and so many people don't take the time to understand just how biased Beck and Limbaugh are. They just believe everything Beck and Limbaugh have to say. And to know that Palin has joined those two at Fox News - one of the most biased news organizations in the country is a very scary thought.

There was a study done with the results released recently that was poling people- the study was done by the University of Maryland’s Program on International Policy Attitudes. The study’s aim was to determine whether the Citizens United case before the Supreme Court, which allowed unlimited campaign contributions from corporations and unions, affected people’s perception of the truthfulness of the information being fed in the midterm elections.

The study wasn’t intended to be concerned with where people got their information, just how accurate it seemed. But the researchers noticed a peculiar thing: Although some Americans were misinformed, they generally became more informed if they consumed more news — with one major exception. The study found that the more people watched Fox News, the less informed they became.

Add to all this and not that it would have changed anything, AZ just last year made it legal for any citizen to carry a concealed hand gun without a permit. And some people are stupid enough to think they could / would have responded to this jerk fast enough to have made a difference and not to have added to the problem - so more people are buying hand guns since the tragedy - I don't think so!!! At least in the past and in some states, if you want to carry a concealed weapon, you have to pass training every couple of years, be certified and verify that you need to carry. He passed the background check to buy a gun because he was never treated / hospitalized for his mental illness. So now we have a bunch of people running around who have no idea how to handle a hand gun, who don't practice by target shooting and who say having a gun makes them feel more safe. How dumb.

Sarah Palin is scheduled to be the keynote speaker at the Safari Club International convention in Reno next week. The group’s website says Palin will address the politics of hunting along with discussing her “past hunting experiences.” Somehow seems fitting. Glad I'm not living there right now.

Let's hope the rhetoric becomes more civil and less vitriolic. Yes, politics have always been contentious, but what people keep forgetting is that with the Internet and 24 hour "news" channels (most of whom are so biased it isn't funny) that anyone's comments start circling the world in a few moments rather than in days or weeks and that the things we say and do have a bigger impact and reach more people faster than in any time in history.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Too Little Too Late

I have long questioned the IQ of Tea Party darling, Sarah Palin, but with her response to the recent Tucson tragedy, I find myself questioning her EQ as well.

I cannot say if the woman is as intellectually challenged as she seems, serving up stupid quips for answers to serious questions and inventing her own words to compensate for an inadequate vocabulary, but common sense and human compassion seem to be in short supply in her heart, based on the tepid, insincere-sounding “condolences” she offered in the aftermath of the shooting of one of the members of Congress who were targeted in her ill-conceived crosshairs map.

“My sincere condolences are offered to the family of rep. Gabrielle Giffords and the other victims of today's tragic shooting in Arizona. On behalf of Todd and my family, we all pray for the victims and their families, and for peace and justice,” she said. My, how emotionally uncharged, in view of the deaths of a federal judge, a 9 year-old-child, and others, and the wounding of even more, including that member of Congress she so disingenuously targeted on her website. You have to wonder why the map, which was posted as part of the rhetoric of a long past election, was still up on her site…and why its disappearance did not happen until shortly after the shooting of one of the targeted members of Congress.

Oh, I know that “everybody” believes the shooter was not a Tea Party supporter and that his shooting of Rep. Giffords was more personal than political, but that does not alter the fact that Palin’s map, with rifle crosshairs marking the location of 20 members of Congress she and her Tea Party brethren sought to unseat, could easily be looked upon by the less mentally stable among us as a mandate. Coupled with Palin’s own command “Don’t retreat, reload!” and the Tea Party rhetoric “If ballots don’t work, bullets do!” there is no question that Palin is culpable in creating an atmosphere of political hostility that can easily go off the rails.

Her lukewarm passive-voice commentary…“my condolences are offered” instead of a more engaged, genuine-sounding “My heart goes out to” or “I offer my deepest condolences to…”…denotes insincerity and a lack of emotional connection to the tragedy or to the victims. It is saying the right thing (almost) with no indication of accompanying empathy.

Sarah and her ilk have missed a golden opportunity to step up to the ethics plate and repudiate (not “refudiate”), formally and publicly, any form of violence or illegal behaviour in the furthering of one’s political causes or ambitions. The illegal Watergate break-in caused the unprecedented resignation of a president…shouldn’t someone speak out against the similar break-in and vandalism of Rep. Giffords’ office? Or the untrue allegations by the GOP-funded “Swift Boat Veterans” who lied about John Kerry just days before that election? Or the wasting of millions upon millions of US taxpayer funds to embarrass a sitting president for a sexual liaison between two consenting adults? I find it absolutely appalling that Ms. Palin finds it acceptable to offer no more than a token message of condolence and make no comment whatsoever about the violent act that brought about its necessity. Is she tacitly consenting to such behaviour through her silence? Hers is supposed to be the “family values” party: when did dishonesty, cheating, law-breaking and assassination become acceptable family values?

Silence, after all, is consent.

Saturday, January 01, 2011


Happy New Year, everybody. May the coming year bring you clarity, joy and prosperity.