Friday, December 31, 2004

Dec. 31 New Year's Eve

Profile America -- Friday, Dec. 31. On this New Year's Eve, some 295 million Americans of all ages are ready to greet the year 2005:

Fifty years ago, the U.S. population was just over 162 million; a century ago, it was 82 million. To show how fast the nation is growing, by this time tomorrow, there will be some 84 thousand new babies on hand to welcome the New Year. Not only is the population growing, it is moving to new locations. For several years, the fastest growing states have been in the West. The population of Nevada jumped almost 9 percent in just two years, followed by Arizona at over 6 percent. Four states added nearly 5 percent -- Colorado, Florida, Georgia and Texas. The men and women of the U.S. Census Bureau wish you a happy, safe and prosperous New Year.


Chase's Calendar of Events 2004, p.642

Statistical Abstract of the United States 2003, pg. 7, Figure 1.1

Thursday, December 30, 2004

2004 - The Year's Anniversaries

Profile America -- Thursday, Dec. 30. Before closing the book on this eventful year, it's worth noting a few of its anniversaries:

50 years ago

  • Elvis Presley recorded his first song
  • The Supreme Court issued its landmark Brown v. Board of Education ruling.
Seventy-five years ago
  • The stock market crashed, kicking off the Great Depression
  • The first Academy Awards were given' out -- best picture was the silent wartime flying epic Wings.
100 years ago
  • Glenn Miller and Fats Waller, swing and jazz greats, were born
  • Ralph Bunche, the first African-American to win the Nobel Peace Prize, was born
  • Average life expectancy for a baby girl was 51 years and for boys 48. Now, those figures are close to 81 years for girls and 75 for boys.

Find these and more facts about America from the U.S. Census Bureau on the Web at


Statistical Abstract of the United States 2003, t.105

Historical Statistics of the United States, p. 55

Ten Reasons Why Cities Mattered in 2004

Ten Reasons Why Cities Mattered in 2004

12/28/2004 5:03:00 PM

To: National Desk

Contact: Sherry Conway Appel, 202-626-3003 or John Pionke, 202-626-3051, both of the National League of Cities

WASHINGTON, Dec. 28 /U.S. Newswire/ -- As we approach the end of the year, the staff of the National League of Cities looked at the most important domestic news stories of 2004 and developed our list of 'Ten Reasons Why Cities Mattered in 2004.' In no particular order we found that 2004 brought:

1) Disastrous hurricanes: In the paths of Charley, Frances, Ivan and Jeanne, local law enforcement, emergency services, public works and other municipal officials implemented strict evacuation plans, conducted land and water rescues, coordinated after-event disaster planning and assisted in the clean up resulting in fewer deaths and restoration of business as usual within a relatively short period of time. Congrats for these often heroic efforts to cities such as Pensacola, Port Saint Lucie, Fort Myers, Orlando and Gulf Breeze in Florida and the coastal towns and cities in Alabama.

2) The Presidential Campaign: Cities and towns such as Waco, Texas, Columbus, Ohio, and St. Louis, Missouri, were called upon many times during 2004 to ensure a safe campaign, spending hundreds of thousands of dollars with each visit to support additional police, fire and emergency personnel.

3) The Conventions: The cities of Boston and New York rolled out the red carpet for the Democratic and Republican Conventions this summer. The first Presidential election year since the September 11th attacks, the host cities faced numerous added security risks and were able to provide sufficient resources and strategic planning. Both Conventions went off without a hitch.

4) The War in Iraq: Thousands of municipal employees who are active in the Reserves and National Guard have been posted to Iraq. Overall, one-in-five cities were affected by significant National Guard and Reserve deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan. With longer deployments and more Guard and Reserve units being mobilized, the trend is expected to continue.

5) Shortages of Flu Vaccine: City leaders worked with local health officials across the country to set priorities and advise the public on ways to reduce the threat of transmission. In A City Official's Guide to Public Health, NLC offered guidelines adopted by municipal officials on the best methods to prepare for public health emergencies. Southbury, Conn., First Selectman Mark A.R. Cooper has stopped shaking hands during the flu season to underscore his concerns with 'hand hygiene' and cold and flu transmission.

6) Information technology in transition: The city of Philadelphia joined others in offering their citizens ubiquitous high-speed Internet access. (On the down side, the General Assembly adopted a bill preventing other cities in Pennsylvania from offering this same service.) The Center for Digital Government named the most technologically advanced cities in America in four population categories: Virginia Beach, Va; Des Moines, Iowa; Denton, Texas and Ogden, Utah (tied); and Redmond, Wash.

7) Tighter Border Security in the Wake of 9/11: NLC leaders went to Nogales, Arizona to develop an action plan for local governments concerned with border security. Challenges facing these cities include drug trafficking and day laborer issues to thwarting terrorism. NLC is stressing greater collaboration between the US Bureau of Customs and Border Protection and local homeland security authorities.

8) Steep Oil Price Increases: Cities already strapped for cash had to dig deeper to pay for gasoline for their buses and vehicles, heating oil for their buildings and schools, and pass- through shipping and other costs as the price of oil rose to $50 a barrel. In 2004, three of five US cities and towns were less able to meet their financial obligations and expectations for 2005 are equally dismal.

9) No Child (or Teenager) Left Behind: As the President launches his effort to raise standards at middle and high schools, the National League of Cities is already working with five cities--Corpus Christi, Tex, Hartford, Conn., Phoenix, Ariz., San Jose, Calif., San Antonio, Tex.--to expand options and innovations in high school education. NLC's Network of Mayors' Education Policy Advisors (EPAN) represents 60 of the largest cities in 31 states and is assisting mayors in their efforts to be stronger advocates for K-12 school reform and school improvement, as well as to increase their awareness about innovative options in high school for their cities.

And Last But Not Least:

10) Cicada Invasion: As Brood X arrived on the trees, buildings and lawns in the Eastern United States, cities and towns from the eastern seaboard to Indiana and Tennessee provided the clean up.

Source: U.S. Newswire : Releases : "Ten Reasons Why Cities Mattered in 2004"

United States-Population 295 Million

Census Bureau Projects Nation's Population to Total 295 Million on New Year's Day

12/28/2004 10:51:00 AM

To: National Desk

Contact: Robert Bernstein of U.S. Census Bureau, 301-763-3030 or; Web:

WASHINGTON, Dec. 28 /U.S. Newswire/ -- As our nation prepares to ring in the New Year, the U.S. Census Bureau today projected the Jan. 1, 2005, population of the United States will be 295,160,302, up 2,835,602 or 1.0 percent from New Year's Day 2004.

In January, the United States is expected to register one birth every eight seconds and one death every 13 seconds.

Meanwhile, net international migration is expected to add one person every 26 seconds. The result is an increase in the total population of one person every 12 seconds.



News releases, reports and data tables are available on the Census Bureau's home page. Go to: and click on 'Releases.'"

Source: U.S. Newswire : Releases : "Census Bureau Projects Nation's Population to Total..."

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

And Bingo Was It's Name-o

Trivia about popular game:

Census Bureau Daily Feature for Dec. 29 -- Bingo

12/28/2004 9:36:00 AM

To: Feature Reporter

Contact: Rick Reed or Tom Edwards, 301-763-2812, both of the U.S. Census Bureau WASHINGTON, Dec. 28 /U.S. Newswire/ -- Following is the daily "Profile America" feature for Dec. 29 from the U.S. Census Bureau: WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 29: BINGO

Profile America -- Wednesday, Dec. 29. Several times a week in firehouses and community centers all over the country, people gather to play bingo. The roots of the game go back to a 16th century Italian lottery game. In the U.S., a toy salesman named Edwin Lowe observed a game at a carnival near Atlanta this month in 1929. Players put dried beans on numbered cards and declared "beano" if they completed a line. Lowe took the concept home to New York and refined it. The new "bingo" became a hit almost immediately and has grown into a $ 5 billion a year fund-raiser. Bingo is also played at some of the nation's 13-hundred commercial betting and lottery facilities, which generate revenue of nearly $4 billion a year.

Find these and more facts about America from the U.S. Census Bureau on the Web at

Chase's Calendar of Events 2004, p. 606

1997 Economic Census, NAICS 713290
Source: U.S. Newswire : Releases : "Census Bureau Daily Feature for Dec. 29 Bingo"

Cincinnati City Sd schools - information

Mt. Healthy City Schools - Special Education

As we plan our move back to Cincinnati this coming Spring, I'm looking for information that will help us. The following comes from the Special Education page at the Mt. Healthy school district website:

The Mt. Healthy Schools are fortunate to have a parent mentor available to provide information and support to all parents, and especially those with children with disabilities. Rose Kahsar is the parent mentor. Her office is at the Duvall Center, and she can be reached at 522-1612.

In addition, a parent support group – Individuals of Mt. Healthy Participating to Achieve a Child’s Tomorrow (IMPACT) – meets monthly at Duvall. Through this group, information about special education issues is provided and parents gain insight about the entire spectrum of special education services. See the district calendar for IMPACT meeting dates and times.

Call your child’s teacher or building principal concerning the appropriateness of special education services. If your child is not already enrolled in school, contact the Special Education office at 728-4974.

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

The Melting and The Leaking

What freezes eventually melts. All that snow we got last week is melting. This naturally comes with its own set of difficulties. I anticipate that waterways will become flooded from the large flow of melted snow.

Closer to home - inside our apartment, in fact - we're dealing with leaks: Close to our patio door, we have water dripping. Earlier this year contractors came to fix the flashing outside to prevent this from happening again. It looks like it didn't work.

The maintenance manager poked a hole in the ceiling to allow one focal point for the water to drain, so that we wouldn't have a huge bubble suddenly crash down on us. I've had to poke another hole. We had to move furniture out of the way, lay down plastic and place an empty garbage can underneath.

Similarly, we have a leak in our bedroom, at the window sill. I have a 44-oz cup collecting the water.

The management at the apartment complex told us that there really isn't anything they can do until the snow has melted so that they can get workers up on the roof. Our situation is a typical one in the complex right now, apparently.

Friday, December 24, 2004

Christmas Eve-Morning to Dinnertime

On a morning in which we could have slept in, we woke up at our usual time. We knew we wanted to get to the bank and the store before heading to Cincinnati to spend the evening with my family.

We got ready, putting on layers: I wore two t-shirts, three pair of socks, a pair of sweatpants, a pair of jeans, a button-down shirt, and a sweatshirt. Then I put my coat, scarf, and Santa hat, and boots on.

I took Jake outside to do his business. He's still confused, wondering what happened to his smells and usual peeing posts.

I went to our car. I tried the doors, but they were frozen shut. Ironically, we'd left the de-icing solution inside the car last night. I bumped the doors with my hips to no avail. Then I, Mr. Smartypants, kicked the door. As I did that, the rest of my body decided to land in the snow. I lay there for a little while before finally deciding to get back up.

Fortunately, Jennie later came outside and got the car started.

As we began to run our errands, it became obvious how blessed we were. We drove to the temp agency where I picked up my paycheck at 12:15 PM, even though the office manager said they had closed at 12 PM for the holiday.

We drove to the credit union, and I got in a line of 30 people at 12:30 PM, noticing a sign stating that they were going to be open until 1 PM. While in line I poked fun at the situation.

"Is this the line for the concert tickets?" I asked out loud to those around me. "No? Then maybe it's for the ferris wheel. Gee, I hope I'm tall enough to ride it."

Those next to me looked as though I was nuts, but I could tell I'd helped alleviate the tension. After all, the credit union was closed the day before because of the storm, and, all of us were in line for our Christmas money.

I thanked the teller for working on Christmas Eve and deposited my check. As I walked out, I told those in line, "They said I'm not tall enough to ride the ferris wheel. Darn it."

When we got home, there was a message from my uncle in Cincinnati. He'd been out shovelling for 4 hours, trying to make room for company that would show up at 6:30 PM. Snow plows had not been down their street. With below zero weather forecasted for that evening, he decided to postpone the get-together.

We suddenly had to make dinner plans on our own. Jennie, Keisha, and I got back in the car and drove to Golden Corral, a restaurant that has an all-you-can-eat buffet. We arrived at 3:25 PM, which was good, because they stopped taking new customers at 4 PM. We thus had plenty of time to eat, drink, and be merry.

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Christmas Storm Chronicles, Part 9

Here's a picture in front of our apartment. I could look from the top of the pile and see into our apartment on the second floor.

Jim Borgman, the Pulitzer-prize winning editorial cartoonist for the Cincinnati Enquirer, has a great perspective on the storm:
A thought to brighten your season as you slide to work this morning...

Christmas Storm Chronicles, Part 8

After Jennie went to bed, and I planned to head back outside to try to get our car into a parking spot. We told Keisha she could either play in her bedroom or lay down next to Mommy. We offered her that last choice because I’d waken her up early, and I knew she was still a little tired.

Armed with our shovel, Jake and I went to our car. He playfully dove into the snow, and I left him to do his business. I think he was a bit confused, as though thinking, “Hey! Where are all my usual smells? What’s this fun white stuff?”

Walking along an unshovelled area of our sidewalk, the snow was up to my knees. When I got to our car, I looked around and I saw that there were a lot of other cars that were stuck along the main roadway. I shovelled under the car and around the wheels. I also cleared the parking space. After awhile, I was able to get the car in the spot.

Jennie, Keisha, Jake, and I stayed inside for the rest of the day. We had left our shovel outside our apartment door, and, from time to time, some neighbors came by asking to borrow it. We obliged, and, they were considerate enough to bring it back when they were finished.

Christmas Storm Chronicles, Part 7

We’ve finished breakfast, and I retrieved our mail. Jennie’s mom sent us a Christmas card with $50 cash! Whoo hoo! Someone else in Cincinnati sent us a $100 gift card to Kroger. I think that person is an engineer-type because it looks like they used a ruler to make sure they printed the address in a straight line.

We also got Keisha’s progress report from her school for second quarter. She received High Honors for having 6 A’s. She got B’s in Math and Language Arts. Everything else was A’s!

We’re so proud of our learner!

Christmas Storm Chronicles, Part 6

As we sat down to eat, Jennie’s mom, who lives in Cincinnati, called. Apparently, customers of Cincinnati Bell, the phone company, get free long distance time for each game that the Cincinnati Bengals win:It sounds like they got a lot of snow in Cincinnati, too. Keisha played her new harmonica over the phone.

Christmas Storm Chronicles, Part 5

Jennie just came home. She needed two screwdrivers to fix the contraption on the car that controls the headlights because it broke off. She took care of that and came back inside. She parked part of the way in a parking spot across the lot. I’ll probably have to go back out there later to shovel so that I can put the car all the way in the spot.

For breakfast, I made potatoes with some sliced onions, some sausage links, toast, and some oranges.

Christmas Storm Chronicles, Part 4

Jennie’s still not home. I checked the answering machine, and apparently she left work shortly after 9 AM. Keisha’s decided to make her a card, and I’m cleaning up the kitchen to make some breakfast for her. We know she’s going to be really tired and frustrated when she does get home.

I’m watching Dr. Phil on CBS while in the kitchen. His program is about ADD and ADHD – alternatives to medication.

Christmas Storm Chronicles, Part 3

I just came back inside. The spot where our car was parked last night has close to a 12 inches of snow in it. Our road appears impassable; you can barely see that it was plowed yesterday afternoon. Only the cars that were not moved yesterday show how heavy the snow has been. The airport may report only 13.6 inches, but it appears to be at least 24 around here.

While Jake and I were outside, I saw a neighbor’s SUV stuck at the top of the hill. Another neighbor emerged from his apartment, started his SUV up, commenting that he needed to be at the Columbus airport for a flight at 5 PM this afternoon. He has to dig his way out. I helped sweep some snow off his vehicle for awhile.

Jake started whimpering. The snow is up to his shoulders, and the wind is blowing pretty hard. I decided to bring him inside.

I called Jennie’s work and found out that she had already left. We’ve no cell phone, and it appears that she’s not going to get very far in our apartment complex.

Keisha’s awake right now, watching PBS Kids in our bedroom. Regis and Kelly are on the TV in the living room. I’ve made me a cup of coffee with some cocoa mix in it. I’m going to head back outside to look for Jennie in a bit.

Christmas Storm Chronicles, Part 2

Jennie called awhile ago to say that she’s still at work, waiting for someone to relieve her. I told her the news about it being a record snowfall. It appears that the snow is tapering off, and the bigger concerns will be the cold weather (17 degrees F, -8 degrees C), high winds, and drifting snow.

During the night the precipitation changed from snow to a wintry mix of sleet and freezing rain for a time before changing back to snow. I’m wondering if folks are going to have trouble getting car doors open.

Someone just called the radio station. He lives near the border of Clinton and Highland counties. He reported that he’s got about 5 inches of ice that’s keeping him from getting his door open. He’s decided to stay in bed in the meantime and listen to the radio.

Keisha stirs in her bed. I’m in no hurry to wake her. The radio just reports that the high today will be 22 degrees F (-5.6 degrees C).

The meteorologist on TV is talking. Here are some of what he's saying:
  • The previous record: 12.2 inches; 12.9 for the total
  • The current level is 13.6 and growing.
  • Some areas have had as much as 17 inches.
  • Now that the snow has ended, there are three big concerns
    1. bitter cold, with wind chills below zero
    2. snow drifts
    3. winds as high as 30 miles per hour
  • We have a chance to break the 1983 record low –13 degrees F for Christmas; the forecasted low for this Xmas –15 degrees F.
Okay, I gotta get me a cup of coffee, get dressed, take the dog out. I’ll be back soon.

Christmas Storm Chronicles, Part 1

Greetings from Dayton, Ohio USA!

I just found out that we’ve had record-breaking snowfall within the last 24 hours. At about 2 AM at the Dayton International Airport, authorities measured 13.6 inches (34.544 cm) of snow. This surpasses the amount that fell during the blizzard in 1978. And more is still coming down, although not as fast.

Last night, Keisha, Jake, and I were outside, digging the car out. She had a broom, I had a shovel, and Jake, our dog, ran around like the maniac he is when it comes to snow.

It was coming down at a rate of 1-2 inches (2.54 – 5.08 cm) per hour, which meant that, as soon as we had the car brushed off, we’d have to brush it off again.

I resolved to get the snow around our vehicle dug out as much as I could, to provide a clear path for Jennie to back out. Then we came inside to warm up. Keisha enjoyed a nice bath and fell asleep about an hour later.

At 10 PM last night, as Jennie woke up to get ready for work, I went back outside to dig the car out again. It almost looked like I hadn’t been there at all. After I finished, I put the shovel and broom in the back seat so that Jennie could have them with her as she drove.

She left at 10:30 PM for her 11-7 shift. She called me an hour later to let me know she arrived. Apparently the maintenance man was going around the nursing home, offering rides home to those staff that couldn’t get out. Some of the staff decided to spend the night in some of the Assisted Living units.

So many of the flights at the Dayton International Airport have been delayed and/or cancelled.

I’ve got the local CBS affiliate on TV right now, muted with the captions, so that I can listen to the radio show of the local country music station. The TV lists announcements on the bottom of the screen.

On the radio I just heard that people are calling in to find out when the malls will be open. The Fairfield Commons Mall will open at Noon; no word on the Dayton Mall yet.

Snow emergencies have been declared in surrounding counties. In some of the rural, outlying areas, people will be cited by police if they are found. Montgomery County, the most urban and where the city of Dayton is located, does not have such a system. The sheriff has stated that he’s confident in the residents here to have common sense. (lol)

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Daytonians! Come See Me This Week!

Mood: Awake
Listening to: Bob and Tom Show, my daughter's CD player playing some Kids Bible Songs
Reading: nothing in particular
Eating: Honey Nut Cheerios, milk, toast with homemade jam
Watching: PBS Kids

Dayton, Ohio -- Hey Daytonians! Stop by the Kroger on Needmore Road today from 12 to 4 where I'll be playing and singing Christmas songs for the Salvation Army. I play the alto saxophone and the guitar and sing. While you're there, make a donation to the Salvation Army!

Scheduled appearances for the rest of the week are as follows:

Tuesday, 12/21: 12PM-4PM Kroger Needmore (Needmore and North Dixie)
Wednesday, 12/22: 12PM-4PM Kroger Siebenthaler (Siebenthaler and Klepinger)
Thursday, 12/23: 12PM-4PM Kroger Needmore (Needmore and North Dixie)
Friday, 12/24: 9 AM-3PM Kroger Needmore (Needmore and North Dixie)
For information on how to donate to the Salvation Army online, head over to their website:

The Salvation Army National Headquarters

Update: I found out this afternoon that the Salvation Army has finished its kettle campaign for the season, so I won't be playing tomorrow or on Christmas Eve.

TIME Person of the Year 2004: 10 Things We Learned About Blogs

TIME Person of the Year 2004: 10 Things We Learned About Blogs

Get Ready for Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince!

Sixth Harry Potter to cast its spell in July

Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling, announcing that she has finished the sixth book in the series, "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince:"

"I know you all expected this to happen on Christmas Day, but I was sure that those of you who celebrate Christmas have better things to do on the day itself than fight your way into my study, whereas those of you who don't celebrate Christmas would definitely prefer not to wait until the 25th."
I remember devouring "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix" in two whole days. Of course I didn't do much else of anything, either (posts from June 2003):

Sunday, December 19, 2004

Hauer Music

Hauer Music Co., 120 South Patterson Blvd. Dayton, Ohio 45402

Their logo has always made me think of Eddie Bauer, for some reason.

Bene Diction Blogs On: Frightening the Gnomes

Bene Diction Blogs On: Frightening the Gnomes

1. Create an entry with your best 5 entries of the year.

2. Send me the entry link at

3. I am going to repost your entry on The Corner

4. Subscribe to the RSS feed

5. Spread the word

6. Enjoy the fun.

Only 5, huh?

Saturday, December 18, 2004

Observations from the Kettle

Mood:Tired, needing to go to bed
Listening to: the sound of the dying battery in our smoke alarm ("Change me! Change me!")
Reading:a book on the origins of Christmas carols
Eating: Meatloaf, mashed potatoes, green beans, and carrots
Watching: Deliver Us From Eva

Here are some things I've learned from serving at the Salvation Army kettles thus far:

Motivation for Giving

People have different reasons for giving money at the Salvation Army kettles. Here are some of my observations so far this season:

  • A kettle tended by a musician gets more donations that one tended by a simple bell ringer
  • People who do not give almost never make eye contact with the person tending the kettle
  • A lot of parents give their money to their child to place into the kettle
  • Some people give because they see me working hard
  • Some people will comment that they gave previously as a way of allaying any guilt they might feel for not giving now
  • A handful of people give because a certain retail outlet (the "bullseye" one) has refused to allow kettles in front of their store
On Being a Musician

Here are some other neat things I've discovered:
  • I love taking carol requests from the employees who are working at the store
  • People can here my saxophone from the very back of the store even though I play in the front entrance area
  • Everyone loves a "Merry Christmas", "Happy Holidays", "God Bless You", or a simple "Thank You"
  • I play my saxophone very well, I've been told a number of times
  • I switch from playing the saxophone to playing the guitar and singing from time to time
  • I call the guitar/singing portion the "comedy" portion because it often doesn't sound as well as the saxophone playing portion
  • A 34-year old man with a beard, singing and playing "All I Want For Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth" is a riot
  • My impression of Elvis singing/playing "Blue Christmas" pales to the real thing, but I have a lot of fun trying
  • Kids just think I'm the coolest thing to see me playing and singing
  • I can play the saxophone while wearing gloves, but I have to take them off when I play the guitar
  • I almost can't believe I'm getting paid to play music and encourage others

Thursday, December 16, 2004

In the Year 1983... (Jason)

Ronald Reagan is president of the US

Sally Ride becomes the first American woman to travel in space

Marines are killed when a TNT laden suicide terrorists blows up Marine headquarters at Beirut International Airport

US Marines and Rangers invade the island of Grenada and evacuate hundreds of US citizens

The Soviets shoot down Korean Airlines flight 007

The Internet Domain Name System was invented by Paul Mockapetris

Ronald Wilson Reagan signs a bill creating Martin Luther King Day

Baltimore Orioles win the World Series

Washington Redskins win Superbowl XVII

New York Islanders win the Stanley Cup

Return of the Jedi is the top grossing film

"Every Breath You Take" by The Police spends the most time at the top of US charts

The A-Team and Webster premiere

In the Year 1970...

In 1970 (the year you were born)

  • Richard Nixon is president of the US
  • A federal jury finds the "Chicago 7" innocent of conspiring to incite riots during the 1968 Democratic National Convention
  • The lunar spacecraft Apollo 13 splashes down in the Pacific after near catastrophe
  • The first Earth Day is marked by millions of Americans participating in anti-pollution demonstrations
    At Kent State University, National Guardsmen fire into a crowd killing four student antiwar demonstrators
  • A powerful earthquake claims 50,000 lives in Peru
  • 18 year olds are given the right to vote in federal elections
  • Tidal wave driven by cyclone from Bay of Bengal hits East Pakistan, killing hundreds of thousands
  • An anti-war rally is held at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, attended by John Kerry, Jane Fonda and Donald Sutherland
  • Queen Latifah, Mariah Carey, Andre Agassi, Uma Thurman, Jennifer Lopez, and Matt Damon are born
  • Baltimore Orioles win the World Series
  • Kansas City Chiefs win Superbowl IV
  • Boston Bruins win the Stanley Cup
  • Tearjerker Love Story is the top grossing film
  • I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou is published
  • "The Long and Winding Road" becomes the Beatles' last Number 1 song
What Happened the Year You Were Born?
More cool things for your blog at Blogthings

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

The Usual Info, Visit From Dad, Kettle Kontemplation

The Usual Information:

Visit From Dad
My dad spent the better part of his evening driving from his job in Cincinnati to our place in Dayton and then to his home in Bright, Indiana. An easy three hours. He came to bring us packages and such. We hadn't seen him in over two years. Our lives had just gotten so busy that the distance seemed to far to make a trip to their place on the farm worthwhile. I hate the way that sounds, but I think that's the truth.

Kettle Kontemplation
I wasn't home. I had mistakenly thought I'd be off work by the time he was to arrive. Instead I had the evening shift. You may recall that I'm doing a few gigs with the Salvation Army this season, playing my saxophone and guitar while tending a kettle. It's true that people are more apt to put something in the kettle while hearing someone play Christmas carols than by hearing someone ring a bell.

I enjoy it because I get to get paid for playing music, encouraging people along the way. It helps me be in the holiday spirit.

Also, I was encouraged to see a woman who has a child in Keisha's school. I saw her at the school's holiday program last Thursday. My wife says that she's a morning news anchor for the local CBS affiliate. When this woman came to put some money in the kettle, I said, "Hi! I remember seeing you at the Jingle Jump last week." I could have made a reference to her job, which I'm sure others do when they see a local celebrity. But I didn't. And I think that encouraged her more.

Monday, December 13, 2004

Creativity Challenges

Dr. Rober Alan Black asks:

Do you want to increase your creativeness?
Do you want to expand your creative thinking skills?
Do you want to spark your creativity?
Do you want to learn fun ways to tap and improve your creativity in 15 minutes?
Head over to enrich and develop your creativity.

Somehow, For Some Reason, You Got Here

Mood: Deliberate
Listening to: Local album-oriented rock station, WTUE, 104.7
Reading: GIS for Everyone
Eating: bran cereal with raisins
Watching: Man on Fire, starring Denzel Washington

Thanks. I think it's interesting to review the recent referrer log:

Congratulations to 'Survivor' Winner Chris Daugherty

Yahoo! News - Highway Worker Daugherty Wins 'Survivor'

Chris Daugherty became the winner of 'Survivor: Vanuatu'. He hails from South Vienna, Ohio, about 40 miles east of Dayton. Congratulations to this hero from the Miami Valley!

Sunday, December 12, 2004

A Lot of Reading - For Me

I recently checked my record at, and I learned that I've completed 30 books since I started tracking my reading with this service in January 2003. Pretty cool personal milestone.

NPR: Dog Tunes: 'Tails of the City'

Mood: Thoughtful
Listening to: Sound of this computer
Reading: nothing lately
Eating: pizza from Donato's, chicken nuggets, and french fries
Watching: "Robin Williams Live On Broadway" (oh my goodness!)

I heard the story about this album of Dog Tunes on NPR's All Things Considered this past week. What a neat idea for an album.

Saturday, December 11, 2004

Stoking the Fire

It's a lesson I should have learned long ago as a child. Maybe I'll share THAT one some time in the future. For now, dig this...

Last night, in a vain attempt to stoke a fire in our fireplace, I did something stupid. Well, you could say that trying to light a soaked log that had been outside in the rain was stupid in and of itself, but this just makes it even more so. Fortunately I wasn't hurt. Much.

I've had some success in the past by using melted candlewax on the wood/paper mixture. Since this log was fresh from the outside, I felt that it needed some "encouragement". The lighter I'd been using had stopped working, and I noticed that there was some fluid still in its reservoir. That ought to stoke the fire, I thought. So I put it on the pile in the fireplace.

I resumed the dribbling of melted candlewax. Then, all of a sudden... WHOOOSH!! A "bubble" of flame burst from the fireplace long enough for me to notice -- then it was gone.

"AAAGGH!" I cried out, in shock. Apparently the plastic reservoir containing the lighter fluid had melted. I looked around me. Fortunately, nothing was on fire. I noticed that most of the hair on the back of my hands had been singed off. I checked the bathroom mirror, and I saw that my eyelashes were shorter now, having also been singed. A small part of my beard, too.

I could have ended up like Fire Marshall Bill from "In Living Color".

And though the material in the fireplace lit up for awhile longer, it still went out after a few minutes.

That manufacturers place warnings on flammable containers is a good thing, therefore, and these should be heeded.

Thursday, December 09, 2004

For the Person Who Truly Has Everything

The United States Census Bureau has released its latest Statistical Abstract, called "Uncle Sam's almanac," by Glenn King, the bureau economist who oversees its production.

The Statistical Abstract includes new tables each year to keep up with Americans' changing habits. Among the new items this year is data on where people performed volunteer work last year: of the 63.8 million volunteers, 35 percent at religious organizations, 27 percent for school or youth services, and 12 percent social or community service.

An abstract costs $35 for a softbound edition and $39 for hardcover, and can be obtained by calling the U.S. Government Printing Office at 202-512-1800 or the National Technical Information Service at 800-553-6847.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

The Official Homepage of Bob Zany

I recently saw his cameo in "Joe Dirt". Love hearing him do "The Zany Report" on the Bob and Tom Show.

The Science Channel | 100 Greatest Discoveries

Hosted by Bill Nye, whom you may recall from the program "Bill Nye the Science Guy" (BILL! BILL! BILL! BILL! BILL!) ("Science rules!").

The website contains a Eureka Quiz in which you can see how much you know about the greatest science discoveries of all time (BTW, I got a 9 out of 16).

For fun the whole family will enjoy - educational, too!


When we communicate, we build bridges.
We make the connections that enable ideas to flourish and actions to occur.
Healthy connections begin with clarity, and last only as long as we continue to invest in them.

spotted on a poster at the Dayton Job Center Job Bank

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Free GIS Stuff

I'm investigating a career that uses Geographic Information Systems, and I think it's a good thing that I've found some Free GIS Stuff.

Facts for Features on the Holiday Season

The U.S. Census Bureau today recently released Facts for Features on the Holiday Season. Some interesting trivia...

Can the Bengals Do It?

The Cincinnati Bengals still have a shot of clinching a playoff berth, after a fourth-quarter comeback win against the Baltimore Ravens this past Sunday. It's a bit of a long shot, but, if the Boston Red Sox can win the World Series against the New York Yankees, then anything could happen, right?

Bengals get long-awaited breakthrough win

At the Library

Mood: Pleasant, deliberate
Listening to: Sounds of books, etc., being checked out/in
Reading: Joke book (cannot remember the title)
Eating: Corn flakes, toast w/ strawberry jelly, milk, coffee
Watching: saw Patriot Games last night

I have an opportunity to be considered for a federal grant to get some training that would help me get a better job. I'm at the library doing some research on it. I find that getting out of the home helps me to not be distracted as much.

Monday, December 06, 2004

How I'm Doin'

Mood: Sleepy
Listening to: Oprah on TV behind me
Reading: finished More of the Rest of the Story
Eating: Whatchamacallit candy bar
Watching: the computer screen

That's all for now.

Saturday, December 04, 2004

It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like

Mood: Full, content
Listening to: "Feels Like Christmas" mix of "World Christmas", "December", and "A Winter Solstice 3", among other things
Reading: Almost finished with "More of Paul Harvey's The Rest of the Story"
Eating: Rocky Road ice cream
Watching: Big Fat Liar, Adventures in Odyssey, and Christmas lights that need to be hung up

... Christmas around our home.

I've got a part-time job as a "bell ringer" for the Salvation Army. Actually I play my saxophone and guitar. Yesterday I worked from Noon until 8 pm. My mouth was so sore from playing the saxophone for that long.

Today we got a cash advance on Jennie's paycheck so that we could take care of an overdraft problem with our checking account. Then we all went to Aldi, a bare-bones grocery store (barebones, i.e., no frills). We had money left over, so we got some Little Caesar's pizza, a 6-pack of Miller Genuine Draft, and some Faygo Ohana punch.

We came home, put the groceries away, ater dinner, and watched "Big Fat Liar". After that we brought the Christmas decorations out while watching Adventures in Odyssey. We've put the tree up, but we still need to string up the lights and decorate it.

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

A Little Caffeinated

Mood: Tired, but a little caffeinated
Listening to: the sound of others typing on their PCs, the HVAC system
Reading: - How-To's
Eating: I had some raisin bran, toast, cranapple juice, and milk for breakfast
Watching: Nothing

I spent all night going through papers, trying to find pay stubs and other important documents. I then realized that I'd misplaced the vital paperwork I needed to complete.

Greetings from the Job Center. I had a follow-up appointment with a career counselor about getting some more training. Apparently there is some more paperwork I have to complete. I'm going to do a little bit of research here and head home via the library.

Signing Santa is Coming to Town

Mood: Tired
Listening to: a Super Mega Chillout Mix of music
Reading: finished Skipping Christmas, almost done with The Rest of the Story
Eating: potato chip crumbs
Watching: Bedroom TV has ABC News on

Do you remember that scene in Miracle on 34th Street in which Kris Kringle spoke to a child in Dutch?

[Doris is trying to convince [her daughter] Susan there is no Santa Claus]
Susan Walker: But he spoke Dutch to that girl.
Doris Walker: Susan, I speak French, but that doesn't make me Joan of Arc.
Something similar is about to happen in the Miami Valley:

On Sunday, December 12, 2004 from 3-8 PM, at the Deaf Association of Dayton on Valley Street, there will be a Signing Santa Christmas Party.

Deaf and hard of hearing kids will be able to tell Santa Claus what they want for Christmas using sign language.

Jennie, Keisha, and I have gone to two of these. The first year we got on the local news. Well, Jennie and Keisha did; Jennie was interviewed, and Keisha was just being cute.

The event is being sponsored by Fox 45 and ABC 22, who will be providing gifts.

Update: While we were at the party, Keisha got a chance to talk with the big guy.

Monday, November 29, 2004

Need some Java to Jive (aka what's up here)

Mood: Sleepy
Listening to: Prairie Home Comedy
Reading: Skipping Christmas and Paul Harvey's More of the Rest of the Story
Eating: Leftover sweet potato pie, a turkey sandwich on wheat, and some potato chips
Watching: Local news and "Another World"?

I need to get some coffee going. I'm also working on the packet of information I got from the WIA people at the Dayton Job Center. My follow-up appointment with them is tomorrow at 11 AM.

I just finished watching the movie Life as a House, starring Kevin Kline. I love all the movies he's been in, and this one is no exception.

Last night I was browsing the website for Jim McCutcheon, aka the Guitarman. Keisha's music teacher recommended talking to him because she's interested in learning the banjo. Jim has authored some great articles for parents and music educators.

In addition, I need to get some information out about the Father's Club at Keisha's school. We had initially planned an activity for December, but that's not going to happen. We also had planned a working meeting to set this activity up. I have to get the notice out that we're not having an activity and get ideas for the upcoming meeting.

Busy day, huh?

Sunday, November 28, 2004

McCutcheon Music

McCutcheon Music in the south Dayton area offering music lessons, band and orchestra instruments, guitars, amps, sheet music, accessories, musical gifts, music classes for children and more...

Saturday, November 27, 2004

Federal Computing Week Online

FCW - Your Government IT Resource: is the essential online resource for government IT executives and delivers more breaking news and in-depth content than any other online information source in the government IT market.
I was searching for an updated link for FirstGov for Workers (found it), and I saw a link to an article from these guys. Ah, the wonderful world wide web.

crossposted to Get That Job!

Some Holiday Lip

On the Friday after Thanksgiving the city of Dayton has a big festival to light up the Christmas tree at Courthouse Square.

Carnival rides, music, food, and a Holiday (Scavenger) Hunt around the businesses of downtown for the kids.

Keisha and I arrived downtown at 5 PM. After parking behind the public library, I put 1-hour's worth of fare in the parking meter - since the meter maids stop enforcing at 6 PM. We stopped inside the library for a bathroom break, and headed toward the festivities at Main and Third.

Upon arriving, we walked to the tent the Junior League had set up. They gave us a bag and a map so that we could go on the Holiday Hunt around downtown. Keisha and I strolled from business to business downtown, and at each stop, someone stamped our map and gave Keisha a goodie for her bag.

One of the places is the Dayton Church Supply store, which, ironically, is sandwiched between two adult bookstores. Keisha saw a mannequin "dressed up" for the holidays in one their store windows and said, "I want to get an outfit like THAT one!"

"Oh, no, you don't!" I said, as we continued walking.

We turned around to get our last two stamps. Then, all of a sudden, Keisha tripped and fell face forward on the concrete. She hit her forehead and lips. As I helped her up, I saw that she was bleeding.

In between wails, I heard her say, "I need to go to a doctor!"

"Let me see it," I said, wiping off a little of the blood. I made the sensitive decision to skip these places so that we could find a restroom where I could help her get cleaned up.

Special thanks to the folks at Skolganik's, for letting us use their restroom to help Keisha get cleaned up. I put some cold water on a paper towel and wiped Keisha's mouth. After awhile, Keisha had calmed down and felt much better.

So much better that she was up for a ride on the ferris wheel. The family in line behind us, it turns out, has a 15-year old who is hard of hearing as well. Talking with the mom and the teen about sign language and other deaf/hard of hearing stuff helped the time in the line pass by quickly.

Finally, it was Keisha's turn. It was a great ride. The lights were lit. A chill descended on the air. We were hungry and needed to pee. So we went home.

Friday, November 26, 2004

Smells Like Dog Poop

Yesterday we spent Thanksgiving with some friends from church who live in Springfield, Ohio. I'd taken Jake our dog outside before we left so that he could relieve himself, but he didn't poop.

I knew that we would be gone a long time, and I didn't want Jake to have an accident in our apartment, so I put him in his cage (what we call his 'bed').

Fast forward seven hours... we return and find that he had gotten out of his bed. Did I fasten the door securely? I guess not. I inspected our apartment. Fortunately, Jake hadn't left us any "presents".

I took him outside for a walk, and he pooped, to my relief. I brought him back inside, and we got ready for bed. Since one of the local radio stations has changed their format to all Christmas music for the season, Keisha kept her hearing aids on so that she could listen to it while she fell asleep.

About an hour later, I got up to take Keisha's hearing aids out so that her ears could get some rest. I thought she'd taken them out and put them on the floor, and I bent down to pick it up.

It wasn't a hearing aid. As I walked down the hall to the main bathroom, I realized
that I had a piece of dog poop in my hand! I flushed it down the toilet and washed my hands really well with antibacterial soap. Then I returned to Keisha's room, this time turning her light on. I saw that there were other pieces on the floor. I was so upset.

I took Keisha's hearing aids out and placed them on the window sill next to her bed. Then I went to our bedroom, where Jake was laying in his cage. I grabbed him by his collar and drug him to Keisha's room, showing him that he'd been a bad dog.

I then grabbed a wad of toilet paper from the bathroom to pick up the rest of the poop. I flushed it down the toilet and got some carpet cleaner for the floor. After all of this, I returned to our bedroom, and I made certain to lock Jake in his cage for the night.

The next morning, as I let him out of his cage, I told him I wanted him to be a good dog. And I let him outside to go poop. Which he did.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

I Know It's Your Money, But --

I suppose that if you really had several $100 to burn, you could have this done, or you could just send the money to me instead.

Individual Development Account Program

I got an email from a friend and sister in Christ with this website. I haven't checked it out yet, but it looks interesting:

Individual Development Account Program

Sunday, November 21, 2004

Free internet call waiting - No More?

Does free internet call waiting still exist? I dunno. BuzMe, whom we'd been using, just became a fee-for-service.

Maybe this link will help us:

Internet phone software, Internet Call Waiting, Free long distance, Broadband Phone, Free Cell Phone, VOIP Adapters

Saturday, November 20, 2004

Great Movies

I'm watching The Rookie on ABC right now. I love inspiring movies like this one!

Speaking of which, I've seen a lot of movies lately, including

  • Walking Tall - great action flick with The Rock
  • Fight Club - eerily reminiscent of Se7en (same director)
  • 13 Going on 30 - terrific, sweet movie with Jennifer Garner of 'Alias' and 'Daredevil'
  • Mr. Jones - the definition of bipolar/manic-depression
  • Gone in 60 Seconds - suspense/action/thriller with Nic Cage
  • Goodfellas - gangster movie with Bobby De Niro, Joe Pesci, and Ray Liotta
  • Usual Suspects - another thriller, with Kevin Spacey, Benicio DelToro, Kevin Pollack, and others - 'Who Is Keyser Soze?'
Check out the Internet Movie Database ( for other great movies.

Using Family History to Promote Health

Genomics|General Public|Family History|Flash

via Librarian's Index to the Internet

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Captain's Log

Biz Stone rightly notes that Captain Kirk of "Star Trek" was a blogger; every episode begins with "Captain's Log, Stardate..." Not only is that so, Biz, but Bill Shatner, the actor who protrayed Captain Kirk, is a blogger.

You can catch him in the David E. Kelley drama "Boston Legal" (Sundays, ABC, 10 PM Eastern), playing the eccentric lawyer Denny Crane, the role for which he recently won an Emmy. He plays the eccentric Denny Crane. Check out Shatner's recent "Mind Meld with Denny Crane."

Monday, November 15, 2004

What She's Really Saying

Keisha and Jennie are in the kitchen, making dinner.

Jennie mentioned that she was feeling hot, obviously from being around the oven. Then Keisha said she felt like a "Hot Girl". Jennie asked Keisha, our 7-year old first grader, if she knew what a "Hot Girl" was. She said she didn't know, so Jennie sent her to see me.

I knew I'd need to explain it to her in a way she could understand without being overly coarse. So I told Keisha that a "Hot Girl" is someone who is very, very beautiful.

"Like me!" Keisha said.

"Usually it's like someone you would want to marry," I said.

"Oh, like Jennie!" she said, referring to her mom.

"Absolutely!" I said.

Then Jennie said, "Who are you calling, 'Jennie'?" Keisha chuckled.
This girl, who you might recall, is hard of hearing. This means that, even though she wears hearing aids, sometimes words don't come in that clear. Like this afternoon, she said that she wants to grow up and become a "Tick Tock" dancer. Then she proceeded to give us a demonstration, busting a move.

"Oh, you mean like in those music videos?" I said. Jennie didn't understand. "Those where they play the 'tick tock' music?" I smiled. Jennie understood.

Sunday, November 14, 2004

Never Too Old To Tease And Be Teased

Yesterday Jennie, Keisha and I went to Kroger to buy some ice cream. We three had just gotten a half gallon of chocolate and an half gallon of strawberry when Keisha said she wanted me to get her a bottle of water. "No," I said, "you already have a water bottle at home. Besides you can get a drink from the water fountain here."

She then elbowed me in the stomach, and I bowled over, holding my side. I wanted to give Keisha an opportunity to come over an apologize. Jennie came to my side and asked if I was okay.

Looking at Keisha, I said, "You go with your Mommy. I need a time out from you." She could tell I was upset with her. Jennie and Keisha went to the hair care aisle to get something while I started for the checkout lane.

I arrived behind two middle-aged ladies. I found out soon that they were identical twins, but what was more interesting was how obvious - aside from their appearance - that they were sisters.

Here these two ladies were, arguing about whether to keep something or to take it off the conveyor belt. The one placed her arms over the items, so as to prevent her twin from pulling them off the belt. It was amusing.

Keisha and Jennie rejoined me in the checkout lane. Keisha saw some Christmas decorations nearby and asked if she could go over to see them. I told her "No." She had a grumpy face. I motioned for her to come closer to me. "Did you know that you hurt me earlier?"

"But I'm SORRY!" she said.

"Well it's good to finally hear it from you," I said. "As to whether you can go over by the decorations, the answer is... y-y-y-- no." She wasn't happy. "Oh, yeah, by the way," I began, "no." I teased. I taunted.

Jennie observed how similar the drama betwen Keisha and me was to the antics of the middle-aged twins in front of us.

Friday, November 12, 2004

On Having the Moody Blues

Okay, so here's what's up. I've been off my medicines for almost a month now. The co-pay amounts for them are more than what we have been able to afford. Specifically, we're behind on rent, phone, and utilities. We've barely been able to keep food in our home.

I thought I was doing okay moodwise until these things came to a head last Friday. The phone was turned off, and our rental complex notified us that they wanted to kick us out for nonpayment of rent. I checked our bank account and discovered that we were overdrawn for the amount of my paycheck.

That's when the anxiety and depression really kicked in. Right before I had to go to work. I set aside a bunch of boxes to bring home in case we needed to pack up and move over the weekend.

Jennie picked me up and told me that she'd talked to the management and made an arrangement to pay our rent in halves, once she got paid.

So this past week has been really challenging. I've gotten upset at home. Monday night I was so upset that I had to excuse myself from the dinner table. I went to our bedroom, turned the radio on as loud as it could go, grabbed a pillow, and cried out to God as loud as I could, using a few choice words.

My voice is still a little sore, but it's getting better every day.

I recently checked out this book entitled "The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Healing Remedies". I hope it will lead me to some non-medicative methods of treating the depression, anxiety, OCD-type, and ADHD-releated behaviors/symptoms I have.

So Angry I Was Speechless

Ever been so angry you couldn't say anything?

Today I came home early from work. I was so angry I found it hard to put it into words. For a few minutes.

Then I started to type. On the computer. Because if I don't type on the computer, I won't be able to see what I'm writing, of course. Oh yeah, and I don't have a typewriter, too.

But seriously, folks, I was hot. Stuff happened at work, and I was frustrated, upset, angry, and I felt fed up.

I haven't looked at what I wrote, and, since I'll have to go back to work tomorrow, I'll probably need to remind myself of what I wrote.

Where to Seek Help for Mood Disorders

The links included here come from the section of the same name in a book I'm reading entitled "Conquering the Beast Within : How I Fought Depression and Won . . . and How You Can, Too" by Cait Irwin. I don't know if these links are valid or not, but I include them here anyway:

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Message to Hotmail

Dear Hotmail Staff,

You provide a substandard free email service with only a little amount of storage while other, better services (Yahoo, GMail) love me more. Your spam filtering sucks.

I've ported all the messages I wanted to keep to a different account. I don't need you anymore.

Two words: You're fired.

Sunday, November 07, 2004

Emotions At This Moment

Note: During church service this morning, I wrote this.

I'm feeling emotional right now, struggling with depression. I've had passive suicidal ideation within the last couple of days. I know I need to be careful how much I let the "convicting" passages of Scripture affect me. To use a bicycle analogy, my mind is "out of true" right now.

This morning on the way to church I saw a large, full trash bag on the side of the highway. This led me to think of a great escape plot point for a story: person hides inside of laundry bag, bag rolls off truck as it travels down highway, protagonist claws his/her way through to escape.

Income ideas: sell books, CDs, videos, DVDs
sell blood plasma
odd jobs
put in job apps to BW-3 or Tumbleweed for bartender/server-type job
put in job app to Salvation Army for musician to attend kettles at donation points

God will not give me more than I can handle (1 Corinthians 10:13)

Anxieties, pressures of life:

  • Car
    • registration/title/insurance -- no $ for it; what if we get pulled over or in accident? Car impounded, arrest, sent to jail, fined, court, bad reputation?
    • coolant - seems okay - not leaking now, fortunately, but must continue to monitor
    • Front brakes/driveaxle system: will tire come off axle like on Mom's car? Why does it stop/start again? What if we have an accident while driving? No $ to have it looked at/fixed
  • Keisha
    • bladder control issues - frustration at her many accidents. I've been short with her, emotional with her, disappointed. Why do we have to continue to pay $ for pull-ups, which we could be using for something else to take care of something she should be able to control herself? I'm angry she's having so many accidents. H2 get her to stop wetting the bed. So much extra laundry to do.
    • Keeping up with her school work - frustrations with her frustration as she has difficulty grasping new concepts
  • Rent, phone, electric, water: Continued cycle of getting behind
I wish I had a job like I used to - it paid a significant salary so that we could pay our rent, etc., on time. I don't feel like my skills are what they used to be.

Self-loathing, self-doubt -- thoughts of worthlessness. How can I sell someone else on me when I'm not convinced myself? So I go back to what's easy, comfortable, even though I know I'm worth much more.

I have difficulty focusing enough to do a job search. I wish I had money for prescription co-pays. I'm frustrated and angry that I cannot pay for anti-depressant and ADHD meds I used to take. I've been off them for over a month now. I'm frustrated and angry that I have to deal with depression, anxiety, OCD (scab picking), and ADHD at all.

It's hard to see what's good about it at all.

So I head for distractions - outside activities to help lighten the atmosphere:
movies, DVDs
music: recorded and my playing
spending time with my wife and daughter
drinking coffee to stay stimulated (caffeine is a legal stimilant)
walks with the dog
drawing and coloring with Keisha
bike riding

more to come later, perhaps...

Friday, November 05, 2004

Google Search: help stop scab picking

In previous posts I've described my struggles with compulsive scab picking. I currently have a couple scabs on the back of my left hand, some larger scabs on the right side of my scalp, one almost the size of a quarter just above my left eyebrow, and some on my back side.

Now that I've got that out in the open again... I found that someone came to this blog via Googling the phrase "help stop scab picking". I decided to check it out myself, and I've learned a couple of things from others that may help me.

  • Keep nails short
  • Clean open scabs with hydrogen peroxide or other antiseptic right away.
  • Have hand lotion available to use to keep hands busy
  • Minimize looking in the mirror so as not to be reminded of the scabs on face and other exposed areas
  • Bandages might help
  • Fake tatoos may help, if one feels the need to scratch something off
  • Topical antihistimines may help with the itching
  • Antidepressants (SSRIs) may help
  • Hypnosis might help

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

'Read my story from my experience yesterday as a Poll Observer'

Got this from my friend and brother in Christ in Cincinnati:

Hi all,

I participated in yesterday's election as a Poll Observer (aka Challenger &
Witness) and stayed from the Poll Opening to the Poll Close and until the
ballots left the building sealed in their bag with a one use lock with the
serial number recorded (just to assure the courier fulfilled the transfer
without any further handling of the ballots). I've written a blog entry of
the day at the "Command Post", a large web blog environment where grass
roots news is collected and distributed. You can read my story at the
following links:

At the precinct I watched for 14 straight hours over 288 ballots cast; a
record turnout (previously the most was 175). There were lines as long as
30 minutes and the weather was cold and rainy but still the voters kept
coming. Now as our country waits for the tally and results my hope is we
can maintain civil discourse to resolve these matters. Please help to
encourage "cool headed" thought and reason and direct your friends, family
members, and others to participate in this important time if not by means of
this online weblog, than through similar open environments. Please consider
praying on this as well so that our country moves forward united and does
not become embittered and divided.

Regards from Ohio,


Tom Daschle Is Gone - Thank You South Dakota!

Tom Daschle, master of doublespeak and divisive partisan politics, is no longer a U.S. Senator. During his time in office this last term he was responsible for the death of many bills that would have helped the U.S. economy. He also prevented several appellate judgeships from happening.

Shortly after 9/11, Daschle stated he supported President Bush, and was even shown hugging the President. This photo came back to haunt him, as did the tax break for his mansion in Washington, D.C., where he said he called home.

Thankfully, the voters of South Dakota had their say:

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

The Quest

This particular post from The Quest contains the testimony of Rio Diaz, who, through the grace of God, was able to endure cancer and get better.

I found this post because someone came here, looking for the devotional "Streams in the Desert". I checked the search results page from which this blog was listed, and I found the post from "The Quest".

When you read it, I think you'll be inspired.

A-Voting We Will Go

It's almost 9 AM Eastern time on Election Day, Tuesday, November 2, 2004 in Dayton, Ohio USA. As I took the dog for a walk, a neighbor told me he'd already been to vote this morning. Our precinct had already seen a good turnout from our apartment complex, he said. He also mentioned that lines were already beginning to form.

The three of us - Jennie, Keisha, and I - are heading to the poll in a few minutes. No, we're not going to let Keisha vote, LOL! We just want Keisha to see what's going on. As it turns out, we'll probably just have enough time to show her what it looks like before taking her to school.

I'm supposed to be at work at 10 AM, so I'll probably head straight to work from the poll.

I am still a bit undecided.

Monday, November 01, 2004

Sites tell you what candidates are really saying

Hey, all you Undecided voters!

This post comes verbatim from's show notes from 25 October 2004:

Many claims people make in the political world are simply gross fabrications and lies. The Internet has become a source of rumor as well as a source of correction for many of these claims., for instance, offers a truthful explanation for many of the misstatements and distortions made by candidates on both sides. It's really hard to separate fact from fiction in the heat of these campaigns, and these sites don't hold back when it comes to what candidates are really saying. Another site is It takes the extreme comments candidates make and tells you what they really mean. and are two other sites that have been around for a while and offer a truth serum for lots of claims, including political ones. If you?re undecided about whom to vote for, these sites may help you decide.

This Ohio Voter Longs for the End

I am eager for this coming Wednesday, once the election stuff coming our way via radio, TV, and telephone is over.

We must have received close to 10 telephone messages over the weekend related to the upcoming election. Examples:And here is the rest of it.

First Lady Laura Bush
Actress Sarah Jessica Parker, who also happens to be from Cincinnati, Ohio
Volunteer from the Bush campaign
Volunteer from the Kerry campaign
Someone from the local Republican party
Someone from the local Democratic party
California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger urging us to vote for Bush
Comedian/Actor Chris Rock, who says that if we decide not to vote, we're crazy, among other things
Yesterday, Sunday, is a day when I'm more apt to answer the phone. I got a call at about 3:30 PM, answered it, and heard the beginning of a recorded message from the Ohio Republican party. I could tell it was a recorded message because it started to skip, like a CD sometimes does. I simply hung up.

I also would like to thank the local campaigns for cleaning up their campaign signs from the roadsides on Wednesday. And I have some beachfront property for sale.

Saturday, October 30, 2004

Happy Halloween at Our Place

In typical Halloween tradition, I changed the answering machine message this morning. It says, in a very spooky-sounding voice

Hallow. Yoou hahve reached the hoame of Dan, Jennie, and Keisha Johnson. We ahre not able to come to the phone right now because we are out being spoooky and being spoooked. Please leave yoour message ahfter the tohne and have ah vehry spoooky day.

Jennie and Keisha went to Ace Hardware this morning to decorate a pumpkin. When they returned, Keisha and I carved hers and the pumpkin we'd already had. I put candles in our jack o' lanterns and placed them in our respective bedrooms, which overlook the parking lot. Keisha named the one in her bedroom Geri. Hmmm. Geri O'Lantern. The one in our bedroom is named Jack O'Lantern. Whatever.

We'll roast the pumpkin seeds tomorrow. That is, the ones that didn't accidentally get washed down the drain as I was straining them in the collander from rinsing them off.

Also, tonight was Beggar's Night in much of the greater Dayton area. Keisha dressed up as a purple princess. Jennie and I decided that most, if not all, of our apartment complex, comprised mostly of childless households (single and married), was not the most effective place to "Trick or Treat".

Keisha, Jake (our dog), and I walked across Philadelphia Avenue to some residences. One couple gave Keisha some candy. We then walked down Macy Avenue past the Shiloh church of Christ to a residential area across Main Street.

Keisha made out like a bandit. It was great for Jake, too, to get such a long walk. I dressed in a white oxford shirt with a red, black, and white jersey on top. I didn't even mind that I carried a bag of doggie doo from Jake for most of the trip.

As we headed back home, we stopped by the Kwik n Kold to get something to drink. Keisha got a Sprite Plus, and I got a 22 oz Bud Ice. We also got some Funjons and a couple of Slim Jims for Jake and I.

I guzzled that beer down, and I quickly felt the buzz. Jake thoroughly enjoyed his Slim Jim, and Keisha shared the Funjons with Jake and me as we paused by the bus stop to finish our refreshment.

When we arrived back home, Keisha and I sorted through her stash. She was outraged to think that there are people in this world who are so mean that they would tamper with someone's candy. C'est la vie.

She told me she didn't like the Baby Ruths, so I get to have them all. (Yum!)

After disposing of some questionable items, Keisha and I put the rest in her candy container. I then mixed it up, and she picked out a Reese's Nutrageous to have as a special treat for tonight.

Then I called my Dad for the first time in over a year. We chatted for a moment, trying to catch up on what could be caught up in such a short time. I told him I'd felt guilty for not calling him for so long, asked him to not be a stranger himself, and, after getting my sister and niece's information, hung up.

I tried my mom's number, and I got her roommate, who told me she was at work. I look forward to talking with her in awhile.

Jennie will be waking up shortly to head to work tonight. Since Keisha didn't wear the purple hair wig as part of her costume, I think Jennie might wear it instead.