Monday News Chum

It’s Monday, the election is over (but for the electoral college)… this must mean it is time for a mostly non-political news chum:

  • From the “Gift that Keeps On Giving” Department: A reminder for those giving gift cards this year: Be careful about the retailers you use, because if the retailer goes belly-up, the gift card may be worthless. This happened to folks with The Sharper Image earlier this year, and given today’s news, I’d spend that Circuit City card sooner than later.
  • From the “Room 222” Department: The economy is not only affecting gift cards. Schools are also feeling the pinch–private schools in particular. Parent’s can’t afford the tuition, and the income from and value of the endowments are way down. Will the parents move to public schools? Unknown, but if they do, the budgets there will be tighter as well. Further, fundraising won’t be as easy… as bake sales are now subject to school nutritional rules. That’s right: no more selling those homemade or purchased cookies or brownies or cupcakes. Food served at school must be healthy and nutritious. So keep your eye out for more carwashes.
  • From the “Pata Pata” Department: Today’s news also brings the report that Miriam Makeba has died. I learned of Ms. Makeba when Pata Pata became the new dance at CHK/GHC in the early 1970s. What I never understood was why an African song became popular at a Jewish summer camp… and it is still popular these days!
  • From the “Sorry, Tiffany” Department: There’s a hot new name for babies: Barack. Evidently, this is something that happens most election years: there were lots of Dwights and Lyndons (although I’ve never met a Lyndon) back in the 1950s and 1960s. We haven’t had odd names for president’s in a while; after all, John, James, Richard, William, Ronald, and George are always popular. Folks also use last names as first names, so there is also a rash of “Obamas”. This explains why Clinton was also a popular first name. Still, some names just never caught on, such as Nixon or Bush.
  • From the “Another Sign of the Economy” Department: Lastly, want to get your child a classic toy, something just inducted into the toy hall of fame. Go outside and get him a stick. Yup, the humble stick, as well as the skateboard and the baby doll, have been inducted into the Toy Hall of Fame. Previous inductees range from the bicycle and Mr. Potato Head to Crayola crayons and the cardboard box. The stick is a special addition. Curators praised its all-purpose, all-natural, no-cost qualities and its ability to serve either as raw material or an appendage transformed by imaginations into something else.

And speaking of toys, a popular toy is the toy train… and a popular toy train is Thomas the Tank Engine. You could have seen a full-size Thomas last weekend at OERM’s Day Out with Thomas. But don’t fret. You can still see Thomas tomorrow, Veteran’s Day, as well as next weekend November 15-16. As an added bonus — no extra charge — if you come tomorrow you can see me and nsshere as we work as Thomas Car Attendants (alas, you won’t be able to see gf_guruilla, as it looks like she has to stay home with pneumonia). So if you’re in SoCal, and not working (or able to take a vacation day), come on out to OERM in Perris, CA and say “Hi”. Go for an early or late ride and save $4 off the tickets.


Shillin’ For The Kid, not Chillin’ in the Hood

My daughter walked in last night from Religious School, handed me a shift of brightly colored paper, and said “Shill for Me”. Well, she didn’t use those exact words, but the intent was there.

You’re probably wondering what I’m talking about. Simple. Her religious school, Temple Beth Hillel, is doing one of the Barton’s Kosher L’Pesach Chocolate Candy Sales. You’ll find the catalog here (Acrobat-750KB). She has to turn in orders by February 8th. If you want to order something, let me know. We can do the payments either via paypal (faigin -at or a personal check, and I’ll figure out how to ship your stuff to you. Unless you want to add something for shipping (figure Priority Mail from zip 91343 to your address), I’ll cover it, as it is for a good cause (namely, it means we don’t have to buy candy!)

I thank you, and S&F thanks you. Note to the locals: I do have the catalog with me today.


A Busy Day For The Family (grrrrrr)

Today was a busy day, although for some reason I feel like I got nothing done.

For me, the day started with a headache, which some Excedrin knocked down. ellipticcurve joined us early in the morning, and we all went to a Pancake Breakfast to support S&F’s school. After that, I spent the day between doing laundry loads (including folding… I did about 7-8 loads), and playing around with Paint Shop Pro 9, which I just got. I redid a few of my userpics (you might have noticed), and played around with some of the new features.

Even busier were gf_guruilla and ellipticcurve, who spent the day working in the Sewing Room, continuing to declutter. We no longer need to call in Clean Sweep. Yeah, and thanks to ellipticcurve for all her hard work.

S&F has been in a pill mode (or I’ve been grumpy… between the headache, and my arm bothering me off and on), and luckily, ixixlix took her and the Karate Kid to the Huntington Museum during most of the day. S&F is home now, listening to My Fair Lady, and trying to keep putting off doing her homework.

Speaking of S&F… In going through her backpack today, we had a note from her school about how they are trying to update their computer lab (they are a technology magnet). To quote the letter: “If you or your company purchased Microsoft software (Windows, MS-DOS, Office, Excel, Word, Works Suite, Home Essential 97 or 98) between February 18, 1995 and December 15, 2001, you may be eligible to donate settlement money from a Microsoft Class Action suit. Anyone can donate up to $650 of their settlement vouchers to schools. Additional detailed information can be found at If you need the name of S&F’s school, drop me email.

As for my arm: It’s been bothering me off and on. Supposedly, it will stop bothering me once the NSAID builds up to a suitable level. I’ve also had it suggested to me to explore a professional massage. Of course, I don’t know if that will help, or how to find one. All I know is right now it is bothering me, S&F is starting to fight back on going to bed, and I’m getting extremely grumpy. I think I’m going to go for a walk.