December 31, 2006

Happy New Year!

Let's hear it for 2007!

happy_new_year_2007.jpg

Wishing everyone a wonderful Happy New Year.

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December 30, 2006

Need Something to Read?

Are you in a lull waiting for the New Year's Eve celebrations to kick off? Well, here is some fun reading for you.

First via Solomonia we have a non-satirical response from Scott Ott to a newspaper editor. Don't miss it.

Then from Hugh Hewitt we have an interview with Joseph Rago.

That the WSJ would hire someone with so little in the way of critical thinking skills is very troubling. I realize he's very young, but eventually he will be responsible for approving content for some news site somewhere... scary.

I would say there should be a required class in critical thinking given in schools, but who would teach it?

Here's my previous post on the subject.

Happy Reading!

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It's Always Better When You Don't Have To Decide For Yourself!

Richmond has pointed me to a nifty tool that figures out what my New Year's Resolutions should be...




Your New Year's Resolutions



1) Get a pet Tasmanian devil



2) Eat less garlic



3) Travel to China



4) Study abnormal psychology



5) Get in shape with water skiing

A pet... just what I need.
Less garlic... but I LIKE garlic!
Travel to China... let me get my passport sounds like fun.
Study Abnormal Psychology... I read enough MSM headlines to know I wouldn't like it.
Get in shape with Water Skiing... tried it once - skiing of any type is not for me.

I figure this takes care of my need to think up any other resolutions. Now I can drink Champagne and have fun on New Year's Eve instead of worrying about all the things I need to work on in the coming year.

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December 28, 2006

Got Your Passport?

Starting with the new year, are new rules for traveling with passports...

A valid U.S. passport will be required starting Jan. 23, if you're traveling between the United States and Canada, Mexico, Central and South America, the Caribbean, and Bermuda.

"The only places now outside of the 50 states where one will not need a passport to fly to are U.S. possessions, like Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands," said Andy Caraber, of Colpitts World Travel.

Caraber said that even newborns will be required to have passports.

I don't remember where the post was, but blog sis Quality Weenie has already run across this when coming back from Canada... before the law was really in effect! She was soundly harassed by our own border guards because she was traveling without her passport.

Oh yes, if you do update or are issued a first time new passport, it will include an RFID chip. (for that matter many European passports have them too)

These are the computer chips that allow you to waive things like a credit card or a "speedpass" at a reader without having to swipe the card. You've probably all seen the commercial with the runner who stops at a convenience store and just taps his credit card on the reader before dashing out to continue the race... that would be an RFID chip allowing him to do this.

If you are worried about possibly exposing your personal information to an identity thief, you can also get one of these to block anyone from reading your passport with "drive-by" readers.

There are supposed to be safeguards on the coding of the chip. Whether or not these are done well is still up in the air. For that matter, I don't know if they have been implemented at all and I'm not inclined at the moment to go searching. I just wanted to point out that the chip is now there and you can get a special cover to protect your passport or... you can take a hammer to the chip itself (which some people have done in pursuit of privacy - that's a bit over the top for me). But this leads to another point.

From July of this year in Computer World there is an article with the pros and cons of having RFID chips in passports. Of those who are downplaying the issue the argument goes...

Other experts downplayed such potential flaws. "The only vaguely legitimate arguments I have heard against E-passports is that they might permit someone two feet away from you to learn that you are American and blow you up, or permit someone two feet away to learn whatever might be stored on the E-passport," said Michael Shamos, a professor who specializes in security issues at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh.

"It's a balancing of risks. The E-passport will be much more difficult to forge and thus ought to reduce the prospect of terrorists getting hold of valid ones," he said.

To which there are several very valid opposing points.

First - considering the length of time we spend waiting in airports, it is certainly possible for any number of people to pass within 2 feet of us while we are there. Think of the hundreds of people you might pass closely while dashing through O'Hare to catch your next flight. An identity thief could have a field day grabbing tons of information from travelers.

Second - since passports may be used when the chip is "broken" his argument about forged passports becomes ridiculous. The only way RFID's can cut down on forgeries is if you make it mandantory for the RFID to be in working order when the passport is used. Otherwise, it's just like forging any other passport. All they have to do is grab someone's passport, break the chip and either reuse it in a forged passport or change out the picture to the person who will now be using it.

Making things more complex seldom makes them safer, it simply provides many more people with jobs and makes everyone else miserable. Such is government.

Happy travels.

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December 27, 2006

Week 4 - Next Change Over

Some short teeth blogging. Started my third set of Invisilines today. So far these have been the most difficult to fit, but with a little finessing I was able to get them properly placed on my teeth. They aren't hurting, but they are very tight.

Since the outgoing set is always so loose, I have to wonder if they change shape along with moving the teeth. Interesting thought. In any case. Nothing really new today. In 2 weeks I see the dentist for the first checkup and I get my next 3 sets of liners.

I'm still brushing and flossing like mad. So far the most annoying thing is that I have to change my style of eating. For Christmas I made a lovely Cranberry Pecan pie - a recipe that Jill was gracious enough to send me. Usually I eat dinner and then wait a while to eat any dessert. But now I face a dilemma.

I can eat dinner and not have pie.

I can eat dinner and then run up - brush and floss, put the Invisilines back on, take them out to eat pie later and do the brush/floss thing again.

I can eat dinner, leave the Invisiline's out then eat pie later.

Or I can eat dinner, eat pie, then go brush/floss.

I'm going with the last one because the first 3 just don't work for me - especially the one that has me leaving them out for several hours. I don't like eating that much food at once, but there it is.

Good thing I don't make dessert very often.

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Gerald Ford

Rest In Peace Mr. President.

He had one of the toughest jobs an incoming President has ever had. Put the country back together again. That he was never accorded the appreciation he deserved in life is sad. May his legacy be the better for it.

Pajamas Media has much more.

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December 24, 2006

I've Been Memed Again!

The Venomous One has tagged me with yet another meme. Which is...

The player (me) must list 3 things that I would love to get for Christmas. Then I must list 3 things that I definitely do not want to get for Christmas. Then I tag 5 friends and list their names. The one I tag needs to write on their blogs about their Christmas wishes then tag 5 more people. They must also clarify all the rules. When you tag someone you need to leave a comment that says “you’’ve been Christmas tagged!” in their comments and tell them to read your blog.

This is tough since I seldom think in terms of things I want for gifts. I guess I'll have to be outrageous because nothing is coming to mind.

Three things I would love to get for Christmas
1) A new sofa for the living room, so I could move the leather sofa to the tv room, so I could get rid of the highly uncomfortable love seat we have in front of the television right now.
2) A couple of new laptops to mess about with - one with a Linux OS the other with a Mac OS - just for grins and giggles and cause it would be fun to mess about with different stuff.
3) A cell phone repeater - because we get very bad cell reception at our house. It would be nice to look at the phone and see 4 bars instead of 0-1.5

Three things I don't want for Christmas
1) I like Kate's answer of a robe - I have several and I never wear them.
2) Jewelry, I forget to wear it.
3) knick-knacks - at the moment I have no where to put them

I'm not going to tag anyone because it's Christmas Eve and it's kinda late to be asking anyone else about what they might want.

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December 23, 2006

Christmas

Well, it's here. Our first Christmas at home in 23 years. Tomorrow and Monday my husband and I will be sitting here relaxing, being happy that for once we don't have to spend Christmas on the road. We don't have to get in the car and drive 6-7 hours, we don't have to fight airport crowds and wait for planes that won't take off, we don't have to try to find restaurants that might be open so we can eat, we don't have to listen to noisy televisions in the next hotel room, we're going to do... nothing. It's a wonderful thing. If this happens a few more years I may even start to like Christmas again.

To everyone who celebrates the season A Very Merry Christmas.

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December 21, 2006

This Week's Snark Hunt Is Up

Head over to Venomous Kate's and get some snark on.

*** I meant to post this yesterday and naturally forgot all about it when I couldn't do it right that minute. Forget fixing the teeth, I need a memory overhaul.

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December 20, 2006

Week 3 - I Still Have Teeth

It's the end of week 3 of Invisiline fun and games. And in an effort to promote foolishness and imbecility, it's time for teeth blogging.

Invisilines sets are changed every 2 weeks making this the start of week 2 of set 2. This second set seems to have loosened up considerably faster than the first set, or I got used to this set faster. New this week: the inside of my mouth is not too happy, it's a bit sore. This is my own fault as I can't seem to stop myself from constantly messing about with them.

Well, you know, they are on my teeth and my brain refuses to accept that they are necessary, so I tend to create a vacuum in my mouth - this causes the one unanchored side to move around a little bit. It also causes some rubbing on the inside of my mouth. Can't wait to hear what the dentist has to say about that. I can almost hear the "don't do that" now. Uh - sure - just remind me every 10 seconds or so.

Dinner time is the only time I leave them off for an extended period (about an hour) so I can eat and then have a cup of tea. I notice they take a few minutes to settle back into place after that length of time. Otherwise there are no fitting issues.

When I have them out now, my teeth are so weirdly aligned I can't close my mouth properly. I prefer to have them in giving me a proper "bite" when closing my mouth. When they're out I'm afraid I'll hurt a couple of teeth on top and bottom that now clash against each other. This shall pass, but it's a bit awkward for eating.

I do find a little trouble talking sometimes. My tongue occasionally gets things wrong and I stumble over a word when it sticks to the bottom set. After a few "blah,blah,blah's" I can carry on talking. (we'll leave off trying to decide whether I ever have anything of more value to say than "blah,blah, blah")

I have noted one interesting thing this week. I switched toothpaste. Well, I do that in any case, I am not wedded to a single brand, or I should say I wasn't. I do have to use toothpaste for sensitive teeth. Last time I went shopping for a tube of toothpaste, the only Sensitive tooth type they had was Crest for Sensitive Teeth with added scope. I picked it up while I was thinking about it.

I started using it and the tube itself was being very annoying. There is no way with the material they used to make the toothpaste tube, to squeeze the stuff up from the bottom. No matter how I try, the tube squishes every which way. I hate that!

Therefore, a couple of days ago, after being aggravated once too often, I went to another store and picked up a tube of Sensodyne. This one does not have an insane design that keeps me from squeezing the paste out of the tube. That's when I discovered an interesting side result. (the Crest tube is only half empty and has been relegated to another drawer for emergencies) Now I don't have a bad taste on my teeth when I remove the Invisilines for eating or to brush before bed.

Maybe I should rephrase that, it wasn't a "really bad" taste. Stale... might be a good word. Rather like your mouth in the morning. In this case, it was easily rinsed away, but it was always there when I took the things out. I'm not finding that with the Sensodyne toothpaste. Maybe it's my mouth chemistry at work and someone else might have a different result. In any case, I think I'll stick with the Sensodyne.

So, that's tooth blogging for the week. We aim to be a total entertainment blog here.

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