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Friday, March 30, 2007

Review - Friends in Dark Places


Friends in Dark Places
by John Bushore
ISBN: 1-933556-55-2
Buy it at: The Genre Mall

I grabbed up this book for a couple of reasons. First, I'm becoming familiar with the quality of publications put out by Sam's Dot Publishing and second, I've been following John's various publishing endeavors. What the heck? I thought. I'll get this trade paperback and give it a read. I had a few books ahead of it, so handed it over to my hubby to read first. By the time I was ready for it, hubby said he'd read the first few pages and wasn't grabbed up by the story. So, I read and stayed up too late, then read some more and stayed up too late. I went back to hubby and essentially told him he should try again.

This darned book keeps me reading well past my bedtime. Dang it! I hate when a book does that and I also love it. You know the feeling, I'm sure.

Okay, all that aside, let's give you a bit of synopsis. Brad and his buddies go off to the desert out of the small town of Tres Viejos, in the American Southwest. They're on a lark. Following an old treasure map, the teens are looking for Spanish Gold or whatever. It makes no difference, 'cause they're really just out on a kid-type adventure. Brad is forced to take along his younger sister, Becky, whom he hates in traditional teen fashion.

Things go wrong, seriously wrong, and Becky is abducted by what Brad describes as a 'monster.' Well, that explanation doesn't get very far, but Becky is gone and Brad feels guilty for not following the ghost-like gremlin into dark places.

Twenty-some years goes by and Brad comes back to Tres Viejos on the unhappy errand of burying his parents who have died in a car accident. He makes friends with a young woman he knew slightly in high school. Jenny and he warm to each other and things are going along well until the same monsters of his childhood snatch Jenny's daughter. He runs off after the kidnappers across the desert, but loses them in the rocks and crags.

Returning to the truck where he'd left Jenny, he finds that she's gone, too. He calls the cops, but suddenly he's under suspicion of being the abductor. It seems that a number of young girls have disappeared and the local good-ol-boy Sheriff is convinced that Brad has been the perpetrator of his own sister's disappearance along with a string of other girls.

Brad is desperate to follow Jenny, but the deputy who arrives at the truck in answer to Jenny's 911 call tries to arrest him. Brad knocks the deputy flat and runs off to the desert. He'd snatched up Jenny's cell and calls his friend, Andrew, to come help him. He also enlists Wayne, Jenny's brother and a spelunker, to help out.

Well, enough of the plot because you need to read the book for yourself. John has built a mystery for the reader. Who are these strange troll-like creatures who seem to be grabbing girls for whatever purposes? How can Brad rescue Jenny and her daughter? Just where the heck have they been taken?

Throughout the narrative, the reader is taken into the world of ancient humans, caught in the dank underworld of caves. Turned into almost-alien creatures, the cave dwellers are both sympathetic and disgusting. Dang it! Those poor folk have been trapped underground for thousands of years. Kill them! Those nasty creatures eat human flesh. Yechh!

That's probably way too much to tell a potential reader. Trust me on this. John Bushore's book will make you feel Brad's desperation at being falsely accused, claustrophobic fear of dark places and underground dwellers. You'll have shudder moments and root for Brad to save Jenny from the monsters, while sympathizing with these poor, underworld creatures.

So, buy the book. Read it. Enjoy. So there. Here's where you can find "Friends in Dark Places." The Genre Mall

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Kimber An - Star Captains' Daughter - An Odyssey in Publishing


Our guest today is Kimber An, a novelist of longstanding, she's still seeking the elusive publisher and/or agent. This lady isn't sitting still waiting for them to come to her. She's on the hunt and I think she'll be bagging some big game real soon.

Visit Kimber's websites:
Star Captains' Daughter - The Blog
Kimber's Website
Kimber's MySpace Page

Marva: Hi, Kimber. I know that Kimber An is your nom de plume. Could you tell my readers how you decided on that name?

Kimber: Kimber is the first part of my real name. I wanted a short surname which began with ‘A’ and quickly settled on ‘An’ because it sounded so elegant. I was delighted to learn later that it means ‘Peace’ in Chinese and Vietnamese. Asian mythology and culture never cease to inspire me!

Marva: You're writing a series about a hyperactive girl named Junior, who happens to be the daughter of a Star Captain. Could you give us your query hook for Star Captains' Daughter?

Kimber: Actually, you’re only part right, Marva. I’ve written a novel about TWO star captains who have a hyperactive teenager nicknamed Junior because she’s so much like her father. This is a Science Fiction Romance novel. If you’re unfamiliar with that subgenre, check out www.linneasinclair.com and www.susangrant.com for my two favorite published authors in it. Both have new novels out and they are both stellar human beings besides! While the STAR CAPTAINS’ DAUGHTER is a stand-alone novel, it is also the first in a trilogy and one in a series which just keeps popping more stories into my head as I go along trying to mind my own business. Here is the hook:

‘Captain Olivia O’Keefe accepted the destruction of her marriage to Captain Edward Delano to avoid war. She never imagined their secret baby girl would grow up to wreak havoc on the galaxy trying to reconcile them. Now a Menelaen prince has a telepathic lock on Junior and saving her soul could set off a new interstellar war.’

Marva: Tell us all about SCD and what's going on in SCD2. Here's your chance to tell my readers why they should become your reader.

Kimber: ‘The STAR CAPTAINS’ DAUGHTER is quite different from anything out there, even in my own subgenre.

For starters, it’s a triangular story rather than the traditional hero-and-heroine of other romances. Junior is a fully involved protagonist. She cannot be cut from the story or it will fall apart. Likewise, this story cannot be done Young Adult either. Junior’s parents’ reconciliation is everything to her. Their love story is essential and can only be told well enough by including their points of view.

Secondly, this is an Enduring Love story. Not a couple’s first meeting and falling in love. Edward and Olivia were happily married, and their marriage was torn apart from the outside. Emotionally shattered, Edward broke out of the stockade and exiled himself in the Menelaen Empire. It’s only Junior learning about this and sacrificing everything which finally redeems this couple.

Finally, this is a Working Mother’s love story. For reasons which baffle me, powerful heroines are rarely cast as involved mothers. Having been a Certified Professional Nanny, I know assuming a powerful heroine can’t also be a mommy is absolute crap. I worked for several in real life and loved and respected them all dearly. A while back it was assumed that mommies can’t be sexy either, but that attitude’s changed. I’m hoping fiction will catch up with real life in this respect too.

It’s difficult to say much about SCD-2, since it’s still being Slashed & Burned into a comprehensible draft.

Marva: You're seriously going after agents. Lots of writers are kind of lost on this. What's your research process? Had any kick-yourself moments you'd like to warn other writers to avoid when they're querying?

Kimber: Last August, I researched the process as much as I could and just plunged into it. I consider that first wave of queries purely an educational exercise. I learned so much I couldn’t have until I actually went into it. For my second wave which began in February, I had completely revised the manuscript, query, and synopsis. And then I just plunged again.

I’ve had a few kick-yourself moments, but I can honestly say they weren’t my fault. The fact is every agent wants something different in the query submission package. Some only want a query letter, while others want pages and/or a synopsis. Of those, some want short queries, some want longer ones. Right after I sent off the last queries, I popped into the Knight Agency’s blog in my on-going effort to self-educate. In that day’s column, the agent talked about how she wanted to know if the writer blogged and if she personally knew published authors. No reflection on the Knight Agency here. They’re wonderful and I didn’t query them. But, I was screaming! I had been advised not to mention I had a blog, even though I’d had over a thousand visitors at that point. And in nanny school we were taught never, ever to name-drop or talk about people in the public eye. Well, I would have told the agents about my blog, but I still can’t bring myself to name-drop without direct permission. I’m sure the school director would hunt me down and whack me over the head with her magic umbrella. I also don’t want to ask the authors I know for recommendations or permission to mention their names. I don’t want them to think I only value them for what they can do for me. Anyway, the queries are out. I have no way of knowing which agents feel the same as the Knight Agency and which ones don’t. In the end, you just have to learn as much as you can and take your best shot.

Marva: I know you're also a reviewer on your blog (Tuesday Speed-Read). Since you're a speed-reader, you manage to chow down on several books each week. What is your review process? Take notes while reading? Read the whole thing, then note your thoughts? How do you decide what to review?

Kimber: I try to find booklists on the Internet and elsewhere. I also visit the blogs of authors, aspiring authors, and agents who regularly feature new releases. Then, I hit the bookstore or library. I speed-read the first couple of pages and bring home the ones which snag my interest. At the computer, I speed-read and fill out a little form on each book. Usually, this goes easily. Sometimes, I’ll be doing a book that loses me and I toss it. Other times, I do a book which is soooo good that I can’t speed-read it. I set that one aside for normal human reading. Once complete, I post it to my blog. No big deal really. I need to read a lot as part of learning about the publication business. I figured I might as well share what I learn with my Blog Buddies. The goal of Tuesday Speed-Read is to let people know about good books they might not otherwise try because they’re afraid of being disappointed. For each book, I let the potential reader know if there’s an HEA, if there is sex and how hot it is, if there’s anything really icky, or paranormal. Some people like some of those things and others don’t. But, no one wants to spend hard-earned money on one thing and get something else entirely.

Marva: Along with reviews, you've also been hosting blog parties for writers with new releases. Where did you come up with that idea?

Kimber: I read about real life Launch Parties and wanted to throw them for my mentor-type Blog Buddies. Linnea Sinclair, Susan Grant, and Gwyneth Bolton all had new releases within just a couple of weeks of each other. But, I live in Alaska and they’re spread out all over the Lower 48 states! I thought I could have an image, an interview, a drawing for a prize. That was wonderful, but it didn’t feel like a party. So, I started making stuff up in the comments section until we had a really bizarre virtual bash going on! Klingons were stalking Tribbles. Yoda barbecued Bantha Burgers with his lightsaber. The authors sent in some of their characters too. It was a blast!

Marva: Anything else you'd like to tell my readers? Have at it. 500 words or less.

Kimber: Visit my website and click on My Stories if you want to know just how many stories I’ve piled up since I wrote my first novel at age 11. I know the odds of publication are seriously stacked against me. I figure I might as well polish up my stories for submission, since I’m going to keep writing anyway. Sooner or later, something may break for me. I won’t hold my breath. I’ve learned from children that enjoying the process of anything is as important as achieving the goal.

Marva: Thanks for answering my nosy questions, Kimber. See you around Critique Circle!

Kimber: Thanks so much again, Marva. This was fun!

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

POD

Print on Demand (POD) simply means that a purchase of the book spurs the printing. It does not mean that it's a vanity or self-published book. Why people keep getting this confused is beyond me. It's very simple. On the other hand, so what if somebody self-publishes? It's not exactly the Crime of the Century. Nevertheless, here are a couple of sites that review POD books:

POD Critic

P.O.D.lings

There are additional links from these sites.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Marge Simon - Artist and Writer


Marge Simon is an artist and a writer. I wish I could do both, or even one of them half as well as she does.

Marge's latest book is a collection of flash fiction titled "Like Birds in the Rain." (Sam's Dot Publishing)

Stories included in this collection have appeared at Vestal Review, Flashquake, The Pedestal, FlashMe, EOTU, Fictionwise, From the Asylum, and Raven Electric.

Being a multi-talented lady, she has a ton of publications out in the world featuring her writing and her artwork. Everything is listed on her website at:

Marge Simon Online

Drop by her site to view her art galleries, too.

She and hubby, Bruce Boston, will be program guests at RavenCon, Richmond, Virginia, April 20-22, and Oasis 20, Orlando, Florida, May 25-27

If you're near either Con on the dates, drop in to say hi.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

If I Was Dave Barry

If I had Dave Barry's comic writing ability, this story would be much better. I still can't resist telling it. As Dave would say, "I'm not making this up."

From an AP report out of Lynnwood Washington:

A couple pulled up near a pet store, Petco, which allows people to bring their pets in. Dogs and cats, pretty common, but the woman carried her duck inside. In the meantime, her male companion decides to go to the nearby Linens 'n Things and shoplifts some iPod accessory. He leaves the store with a security guard hot on his trail.

The woman with the duck sees this activity and goes out to wave the man down as he tries to escape. He runs into her whereon she drops the duck as she's hit. A Petco employee, runs out to save the duck. As she grabs the duck out of harm's way, the man in the car runs over her,too. But, all this smashing into both friends and strangers disoriented him and he ends up rear-ending another car. The security guard catches up and holds the man for the police.

The Petco employee got a broken ankle, but the duck was okay.

My husband and I thought it suspicious that the duck owner didn't know her male companion was planning to shoplift. We could only assume the duck was a decoy.

Quit groaning.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Nomadic Delirium Press

This is the first of what I hope will be a regular run of interviews by publishers and writers. I think these are folks that deserve your attention, so I'm hoping you're interest will be piqued to take a look at what they have to offer.

This interview is with J Erwine, the new owner of Nomadic Delirium Press.


Check the website at: Nomadic Delirium Press

Q: Hello, Mr. Erwine, how are you today?

A: I can't complain. Spring has definitely sprung here in the Front Range of the Rockies. After all of the storms we had during the winter, it's nice to have some decent weather, although as warm as it is now, I'm sure we'll be facing a brutal summer.

Q: I recently heard that you are the new owner of Nomadic Delirium Press. What possessed you to add that iron to your fire?

A: Simple answer...I'm insane! I was already doing a lot of the legwork for it, and when the owners wanted out, it seemed like the logical next step...I think the first answer is probably more accurate.

Q: What's available from Nomadic Delirium now?

A: Currently we have my novel, The Opium of the People, my short story collection, Marionettes on the Moon, and an anthology about crime in the future called Future Syndicate.


We will soon be re-releasing a novel by the late James Baker entitled The Poet. After that we'll be opening to submissions for a new anthology, and we will also be doing a couple of novels as well.

Q: Nomadic Delirium currently carries science fiction titles. Are you planning to expand to the related genres of horror and fantasy?

A: At the moment, there are no plans to expand into other genres. However, I am toying with the idea of creating an RPG...we'll see where we go with that.

Q: Where will Nomadic Delirium's books be carried?

A: At the moment, they are available from most on-line booksellers. We are working on getting them into some brick and mortar stores as well, but that's very hard for the small press. Hopefully we will have some new reviews in the next couple of weeks which might get us in the door.

Q: What else would you like to tell my readers about ND?

A: Like many small presses, we really do offer some good alternatives to what the big boys are putting out. It's so hard now for writers to break into the larger markets, we're just glad we can be there for some truly talented writers.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Subscribe to My Feed

Okay, I heard about this subscribe thing, so I'm giving it a shot. I actually do subscribe to a few blogs and get them listed on My Yahoo page. It helps me see when something is new on blogs I'm interested in reading.

The little orange doohickey on the left down a bit that says SUBSCRIBE next to it is how you get a feed to this blog. Try it out and plunk it wherever you hang out a lot. It gives you choices like Yahoo or Google. Don't worry. You can always remove the feed if you find it annoying.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Wordless Wednesday


I signed up thinking I'd get some instructions to do this, but nothing happened except adding my name to the list. Sorry. Just go back to whereever you came here from and try another link. Here's a picture for you, though.

If I figure it out, I'll come back and fix the post.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

The answer to an age-old question

Do frogs barf? Well, according to the folks who accepted my twisted little drabble titled "Fluffy" they do. Go take a peek:

Barfing Frog Press

On the main page, select Perpetual Issue, then Fiction. Since this is a perpetual issue, the new story links are added to the top. When enough stories fill up a reasonable sized page, the editor creates a new first page and everything is shoved down the list.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Terms of Endearment

I read a blog today reporting that somebody was being charged with stalking for (amongst other crimes, I'm sure) calling somebody a "Fat Penguin."

Given the popularity of the animated film, "Happy Feet," you'd think that was a compliment. I've been calling my hubby, on various anniversarial tomes, "My Sweet Baboo(n)." How did this get started? A Pepe LePew cartoon? Hmm. I can't remember, but if dear hubby decided to start calling me "Fat Penguin," exactly how would I respond. Well, "fat" isn't very nice, but penguins are cute. Should I take that as a slam? Or, given the current animated film's popularity, shouldn't it be a plus?

Well, it might be difficult, because if DH (dear hubby) called me "fat" in any context, he'd certainly be in a position to explain himself. "Penguin?" Not so bad, but a bit obscure.

Still, an endearment can come in many guises. Some sound like insults and, unless Dr. Phil intervenes, the endearee should accept the sentiment in which the endearment is offered. DH might call me a horse, goat, cow, or pig, but I think I'd try to figure out just exactly what he's trying to say. It might be something very nice.

Of animalistic endearments, elephant isn't all that bad. Loyal, family-oriented, loving. How about bear? Furry, fuzzy, cuddly. Cat? With our feline friends, it's definitely a positive.

So, if you're beloved puts foot in mouth and offers up an endearment of dubious quality, just take it in the spirit it's offered, no matter how strange it might be.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Firefighters Expose the "Real" Rudy Giuliani

Thanks to the Women on the Verge blog for posting this.

On March 14, 2007, the IAFF will host the first bi-partisan Presidential Forum of the 2008 election cycle. No other union and very few organizations has the credibility and respect to attract top-tier candidates from both political parties. The lineup of speakers who have agreed to participate in our Forum is truly a testament to our great union and the reputation we have built as a powerful political force and a coveted endorsement.

John Edwards, John McCain, Barack Obama, Chuck Hagel, Hillary Clinton, Chris Dodd, Joe Biden, Duncan Hunter and seven other candidates will make their case before the 1,000 delegates who will be attending the Forum and to our entire membership via same-day broadcast on our web site.

Early on, the IAFF made a decision to invite all serious candidates from both political parties — except one: former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani.

We made this decision after considerable soul-searching and close consultation with our two New York City affiliates, the Uniformed Firefighters Association Local 94 and the Uniformed Fire Officers Association Local 854, as well as our former Local 94 President and current IAFF 1st District Vice President covering New York.

The IAFF recognizes that Mayor Giuliani generally enjoys a favorable reputation as a result of his actions immediately after the tragedy of 9/11. As such, we want our affiliates and every one of our members to clearly understand the reason and rationale behind this very serious and sober decision.

Many people consider Rudy Giuliani "America's Mayor," and many of our members who don't yet know the real story, may also have a positive view of him. This letter is intended to make all of our members aware of the egregious acts Mayor Giuliani committed against our members, our fallen on 9/11, and our New York City union officers following that horrific day.

Rest assured, our exclusion of Mayor Giuliani is not about any particular contractual or policy issue or disagreement, nor is it based on his unfriendly relationship with our New York City affiliates prior to 9/11 — which we will document and explain in additional correspondence later on during the campaign. In fact, we invited several candidates with whom we have had substantial disagreement on policy issues because we feel very strongly that our members have the right to hear from all candidates, not just those who tow the IAFF line.

Regrettably, the situation with former Mayor Giuliani is very different. His actions post 9/11 rise to such an offensive and personal attack on our brother and sisterhood — and directly on our union — that the IAFF does not feel Rudy Giuliani deserves an audience of IAFF leaders and members at our own Presidential Forum.

The disrespect that he exhibited to our 343 fallen FDNY brothers, their families and our New York City IAFF leadership in the wake of that tragic day has not been forgiven or forgotten.

In November 2001, our members were continuing the painful, but necessary, task of searching Ground Zero for the remains of our fallen brothers and the thousands of innocent citizens that were killed, because precious few of those who died in the terrorist attacks had been recovered at that point.

Prior to November 2001, 101 bodies or remains of fire fighters had been recovered. And those on the horrible pile at Ground Zero believed they had just found a spot in the rubble where they would find countless more that could be given proper burial.

Nevertheless, Giuliani, with the full support of his Fire Commissioner Thomas Von Essen, decided on November 2, 2001, to sharply reduce the number of those who could search for remains at any one time. There had been as many as 300 fire fighters at a time involved in search and recovery, but Giuliani cut that number to no more than 25 who could be there at once.

In conjunction with the cut in fire fighters allowed to search, Giuliani also made a conscious decision to institute a "scoop-and-dump" operation to expedite the clean-up of Ground Zero in lieu of the more time-consuming, but respectful, process of removing debris piece by piece in hope of uncovering more remains.

Mayor Giuliani's actions meant that fire fighters and citizens who perished would either remain buried at Ground Zero forever, with no closure for families, or be removed like garbage and deposited at the Fresh Kills Landfill.

Our Local presidents at the time attempted to meet with the Mayor to stop this despicable treatment of those who perished, but he refused to even see them face-to-face.

The scoop-and-dump continued. And when hundreds of family members of the fallen joined with our affiliate leadership and members to protest Giuliani's decision, he ordered senior officers of the New York Police Department to arrest 15 of our FDNY brothers, including a number of local elected IAFF leaders.

Giuliani modified his policy after the protest because public opinion was so strongly with our members. Ultimately, he was forced to put the fire fighters back on the pile. Our protests were later proven justified as more bodies were ultimately recovered and those families given a chance for some closure and a decent burial.

Giuliani argued that the change was for our own safety, but his argument was empty and without substance. Fire fighters had been on that pile since minutes after the twin towers fell — why all of a sudden, after nearly two months working on the pile, was Giuliani concerned about fire fighter safety?

In our view, he wasn't really concerned. The fact is that the Mayor's switch to a scoop-and-dump coincided with the final removal of tens of millions of dollars of gold, silver and other assets of the Bank of Nova Scotia that were buried beneath what was once the towers. Once the money was out, Giuliani sided with the developers that opposed a lengthy recovery effort, and ordered the scoop-and-dump operation so they could proceed with redevelopment.

In the first few days immediately after the disaster, Giuliani had said he was committed to the recovery of those lost "right down to the last brick." We believed him at the time. But, what he proved with his actions is that he really meant the "last gold brick."

Giuliani crucified fire fighters after our protest and publicly stated that our members were essentially acting like babies, that they didn't have the market cornered on grief. His insensitive statements demonstrated his inability to grasp what members of the FDNY were experiencing.

What Giuliani showed is a disgraceful lack of respect for the fallen and those brothers still searching for them. He exposed our members and leaders to arrest. He valued the money and gold and wanted the site cleared before he left office at the end of 2001 more than he valued the lives and memories of those lost.

Our members deserved the right to continue with a full search for their lost brothers and other innocent victims. Proudly, as you know, the fire service has a code similar to the military, where we leave no one behind. Recovering even a piece of a turnout coat or helmet gave our FDNY brothers and sisters and the families of the fallen some small semblance of peace, something to honor. But hundreds remained entombed in Ground Zero when Giuliani gave up on them.

The fundamental lack of respect that Giuliani showed our FDNY members is unforgivable - and that's why he was not invited. Our disdain for him is not about issues or a disputed contract, it is about a visceral, personal affront to the fallen, to our union and, indeed, to every one of us who has ever risked our lives by going into a burning building to save lives and property.

We have heard from some affiliates that Giuliani's campaign is beginning to reach out to our locals, looking to build support. If you are contacted by Giuliani, Von Essen, or a representative of the Giuliani campaign, we hope you will say not just, "No," but, "Hell no." And please let the IAFF Political Affairs Department know about it by calling (202) 824-1582.

Please share this correspondence with your membership. Thank you. Fraternally and Sincerely, Harold A. Schaitberger, General President Vincent J. Bollon, General Secretary-Treasurer and Past President, UFOA of NYC, Local 854 Kevin Gallagher, IAFF 1st District Vice President and Past President, UFA of NYC, Local 94 Stephen Cassidy, President, UFA of NYC, Local 94 Peter Gorman, President, UFOA of NYC, Local 854
Written by IAFF

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Woman? Blog?

If Yes, Yes, then head on over to BlogHer and sign up. This registers your blog with a bunch of other women's blogs. A lot of Mommy blogging, but with the number of enrollees, there's bound to be somebody else out there who is your feminine soulmate. Seems to me that even my men friends have a touch of the feminine mystique about them. Don't sulk, I mean it in the most complimentary way.

So, check it out:

BlogHer Org

Friday, March 09, 2007

Adopt a Pet Program

And you don't even have to clean up after them! Click on Prickles and watch him jump for joy. There are many needy pets awaiting adoption. Do the right thing.



Thursday, March 08, 2007

Medical Costs and Insurance

Insurance is supposed to pay for your medical stuff, right? Don't count on it. Also, expect the amount you have to pay out-of-pocket to keep going up in an inexorable march past any reasonable rise based on inflation.

I pay for my own insurance. I get it through my retirement plan from state service. When I retired, I tried to get a cheaper plan with a higher deductible. They gave me a physical and I passed completely. BP, cholesterol, weight, etc. All of it great. Then, the denied me. Why? I happen to have a very minor amount of osteoporosis in my lower back. As if the entire world doesn't have back problems. Nothing is being done about it. I take no prescriptions for it. I exercise to keep my back flexible and pretty much ignore those periods of minor pain if I overstress my back. The other reason is that I take Bupropion. You might have heard of it as Zyban--a drug that helps people stop smoking. Note I havaen't smoked in nearly six years. Bupropion helped. But, the problem is that bupropion is an anti-depressant. If you've ever taken an anti-depressant for any reason whatsoever, the insurance companies will deny you.

So, a perfectly healthy woman with two minor, but completely controlled problems can't buy private health insurance. I'm lucky in that I can get insurance through the group plan from my retirement. Many folks don't have that option. It costs me twice each month what a private plan would. The premium goes up a minimum of 10% per year, and the service level goes down.

Now, imagine you're a family guy/gal working someplace where insurance isn't employer-provided. Imagine you have a minor back problem. Imagine trying to get health insurance. Imagine being turned down no matter what exorbinant amount you'd have to pay.

40,000,000 people or more are going without health insurance in the richest country in the world. Now, you know why. Insurance companies won't sell insurance to individuals if they can help it. Oh, yeah, they pretend to offer it, but they'll find any excuse to deny you.

So, never get yourself in a position where you'll have to buy private health insurance. No amount of tax breaks on premiums will make any difference if you can't even pay premiums. You just have to wait until something catastrophic happens, then you can either go into debt for the rest of your life trying to pay it off or . . . wait, there is no 'or'. After the Republican Congress handed out the happy gift of new bankruptcy laws to the credit card companies, you can't even go bankrupt. Got a modest home, a car? Too bad. You're dead.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Hate(ful) Mail

Over the past several weeks, I've gotten emails from a variety of different names, but they all say essentially the same thing. That is, that everybody at my workplace is talking behind my back about how fat I am. This talk just disgusts the emailer and they want to recommend a product that will help me out. After I buy this product and (supposedly) lose a ton of weight, then I can thank the writer by taking them out to lunch.

Most are worded exactly the same way, however, a couple decided to up the ante and rewrote the basic message but pretty much spewing curse words throughout. Now, I've been know to say a few myself, but these were a bit over the top.

At the bottom of each email is a web address. Every email has a different web address. I have to assume that these pathetic people are trying to make a buck through lies and deceit. Well, what else in new in the world of web entrepreneurs?

What gets me about these emails is how they might affect somebody who is obese (I'm not) and in a workplace rife with backstabbers. To me, these emails come down to being hate mail. It would be nice to grab these freaks by the neck and ask them what their mother would think about what they're doing.

Unfortunately, they are safely off in the internet ozone. I can only register my disgust of their tactics by writing this blog entry.

This is almost as creepy as the Nigerian scam, or the dying woman who wants me to take her money to use for Christian good works because her family is a bunch of money-grubbing pagans (or something to that effect).

Ain't email fun?

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Serenity

If you haven't seen the series or the movie, shame on you. Go out and rent it right away, then come back here to take the quiz. I also don't know why that big gap is showing. Oh, well.

Your results:
You are Malcolm Reynolds (Captain)

Honest and a defender of the innocent. You sometimes make mistakes in judgment but you are generally good and would protect your crew from harm.
























Malcolm Reynolds (Captain)
80%
Wash (Ship Pilot)
75%
Zoe Washburne (Second-in-command)
70%
Dr. Simon Tam (Ship Medic)
70%
Kaylee Frye (Ship Mechanic)
65%
River (Stowaway)
55%
Jayne Cobb (Mercenary)
45%
Inara Serra (Companion)
25%
Derrial Book (Shepherd)
25%
Alliance
25%
A Reaver (Cannibal)
15%


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