• Published: Sep 26th, 2008
  • Category: t.g.i.f.
  • Kewl Comments: 2

Poor Telemarketer. Bwahahaha.

Caution; If you’re at work, and you’re not supposed to be messing around right now, DO NOT listen to this until you get home. You will surely get busted when you’re laughing out loud for no apparent reason.

If you haven’t heard this one before, turn your volume up.

If you have heard it before, it’s worth listening to again.

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The Risks of Drinking Water. Yikes.

I’m normally not an alarmist, but I’ve gotta tell you, I’ve got some genuine concerns about the water we’re drinking.

Concern #1 – PBA, the chemical compound used in hard, clear polycarbonate plastics like baby bottles, water bottles and food containers. It’s been used since the 50’s, but it’s just recently begun to receive negative attention because it appears that PBA in the body mimics the effects of estrogen. Exposure to high levels of PBA may present a greater risk of developing a myriad of health problems, including breast and prostate cancer. And even more recently I read an article that indicates that people found to have high levels of PBA in their urine are more likely to suffer from heart disease and/or diabetes. So, this stuff is leaching into our baby formula, water and food products through the use of #7 plastic containers. FYI – numbers 3 and 6 indicate that similar chemicals are present in the plastic. But wait, according to the good ‘ole FDA, the amount of PBA being released into our food and drink is too low to cause any harm. Hey, aren’t they the ones that approved Vioxx for the market? We all know how that turned out. Personally, I’d rather be safe than sorry.

Concern #2 – Recent AP research found that huge quantities of medications are contaminating our tap water. Hospitals and long-term care facilities are discarding millions of pounds of unused, expired or spoiled medications down the drain. Minute concentrations of pharmaceuticals in the nation’s drinking water is commonplace, and affects some 46 million Americans. Evidence exists that even extremely diluted concentrations of pharmaceutical residue harms fish, frogs and other aquatic species. And our water reclamation plants aren’t removing these contaminates during the treatment process unless they’re following their purifying process with reverse osmosis. So, it’s quite possible that we’re ingesting minute amounts of antibiotics, hormones, pain medications, heart medications….even Viagra in our drinking water. Double yikes! You can read more at USA Today
I’ve tried using filtered water pitchers. The water tasted better than it did straight from the tap, but they weren’t all that convenient, and they really weren’t much more economical than bottled water when you consider the price of the filters, which need frequent changing.

So, I started buying bottled water by the case. My favorite brand is bottled in #1 plastic. Phew. However, I’m putting at least 30 one-pint plastic bottles in the reclying bin each week. When you think about it, that’s a minimum of 1,560 bottles per year being generated from one two-member household.

So I’ve done some homework, and for about what I pay for a year’s supply of bottled water I can purchase a reverse osmosis under sink water filter. Better yet, I found some that are made in the U.S.A.

If any of you are currently using an RO filtration system, I’d love to hear from you before I plunk down my money.

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  • Published: Sep 19th, 2008
  • Category: t.g.i.f.
  • Kewl Comments: None

Have You Been to Africam Lately?

This is, without doubt, one of the kewlest websites I’ve ever encountered.

Africam plays 24/7 live streaming video, with audio, from a camera focused on a watering hole in Nkorho Pan in South Africa. Another cam, which runs during daylight hours, is focused on the elephant plains.

One night I tuned in just as an enormous herd of water buffalo was passing through. And when I say enormous herd, I mean it must’ve taken a 1/2 hour for the parade to end. It was amazing to watch.

If you’re a Mac user you won’t be left out. Just check out the FAQ on the site for instructions.

So if you find yourself with nothing to do, check it out. You just never know what wildlife might pass by.

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Stop Unwanted Catalogs with Catalog Choice

Last fall I made several online purchases through RedCat companies like Chadwicks, MetroStyle and Brylane Home.

Approx. 3 weeks later the catalogs started trickling in. Then they began pouring in. By spring the mailbox was flooded.

I understand the importance of advertising, but some of these companies were mailing catalogs two and three times a week, which really is overkill considering that the same merchandise is available online.

So I registered with Catalog Choice and supplied them with each catalog’s name, the customer number off each label, and the reason I was opting out. That’s all there was to it.

It took about 8 weeks before I saw a significant decline in the number of catalogs I was receiving. The flood’s back down to a trickle.

Now I’m happy, my mail carrier is happy, and somewhere…..a tree is happy.

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Home Heating – Fuel Oil vs Radiant Heat

It’s currently a balmy brisk 60 degrees in my part of the world. That’s 25 degrees cooler than yesterday. Which leads me to realize that we’ll soon have to turn on the heat.

Like many others in the North East we heat with fuel oil, which is now $3.779/gal and rising. With the thermostat set at 68 degrees (with a 10-degree setback at night) we go through approx. 600 gallons of fuel oil each winter.

It doesn’t take a mathematical genius to figure out that it’s going to cost an arm and two legs to heat with oil during the ’08 – ’09 season.

It’s our good fortune to be related to a plumbing and heating guru. We’re going to act as guinea pigs beta testers for a radiant heating system he’s devised, fueled by a $250 hot water tank, as opposed to a traditional $2,500 boiler. (See, we’ve saved $2,250 already. How kewl is that, huh?)

Installation will involve miles of tubing, several pumps and enough insulating material to cover half of Rhode Island. Hopefully, by the time the water makes it back to the tank, it will only have to be heated a few degrees before re-circulating again. At least that’s the way I understand it, but I may have to edit this information later. I can only absorb so much tech-speak at a time, and it’s quite possible I’ve made up this entire paragraph.

For future reference, my most recent electric bill was $80.73. The radiant heat should be fully installed by the end of the month, so the first electric bill to reflect the change should arrive in early November. At that time I’ll let you know how that bill compares to this one, and to the oil bill for the same period last year. (And if I happen to fall over dead from opening a $3,000 electric bill, I’ll make sure the guru himself posts on my behalf, and lets you know where the plan went wrong.)

In the meantime, if you’d like to do a little reading on in floor radiant heat, here’s an article from Popular Mechanics.

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  • Published: Sep 12th, 2008
  • Category: t.g.i.f.
  • Kewl Comments: None

Here…..Have Some Cake

If you find yourself with an hour to spare this weekend check out Cake Wrecks.

This wonderfully witty website features page after page of carelessly crafted confections.

No doubt a few of the cakes themes seemed decent during the planning stages, but went amok when executed in icing. And how the misspellings make it out the bakeries is a marvel in itself.

Some of the wrecks will leave you speechless, others will have you laughing out loud, and if at least one of them doesn’t make you spew coffee on your monitor, well than I don’t know what will.

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Free Birthday Reminder Service

Since they have about 50 million members, I suspect a lot of you already now about BirthdayAlarm.com. But if I can save just one poor soul from forgetting an anniversary or birthday, well then it’s worth the post.

Registration is free and there’s no learning curve. Just enter your important dates, and about a week before the event, BirthdayAlarm will send you an e-mail reminder……for free!

There’s an easy to use chart to enter names and birth dates, in addition to a section for event reminders, like anniversaries. There’s even a calendar that populates itself with the information you’ve entered, so you can see a whole month at a glance. And your free membership gives you access to over 100 free birthday e-cards.

After all that underlining, if you’re still determined to spend money, you can also buy individual premium e-cards for any occasion, or send unlimited cards for an entire year for just $13.95.

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How to Save $312

Need a good photo editing program? I’ve been using irfanView since 1996 and I’ve yet to find a task that it can’t perform.

Technically it’s called a graphics viewer, and it handles all the basics, like cut, crop and resize. In addition, it does thumbnail previews, slideshows, has paint options and kewl effects like this —>

I can’t think of a format it doesn’t support, including ICO, so you can make your very own little favicon using any image you want.

It’s fast, light, rich in features and easy to use.

So, if I haven’t convinced you yet, here’s the clincher….this is a FREEware program for non-commercial use. You can download yours here.

There. Now you don’t have to buy that Adobe Photoshop upgrade sold here for $312.

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  • Published: Sep 5th, 2008
  • Category: t.g.i.f.
  • Kewl Comments: None

You Think You Had a Bad Week?

Imagine the kind of week this guy must’ve had.

If you find yourself in need of a chuckle after an especially long work week, stroll on over to Engrish.com. There you’ll find many more examples of Japanese to English translations that went horribly, hilariously wrong.

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I Heart Kenny Wayne Shepherd

I don’t know how I overlooked this Louisiana born self-taught guitarist, but I only discovered his music about a year ago. I’ve since loaded more of his tracks on my MP3 player than any other artist. And you won’t catch me skipping through them either; each soulful tune is as good as the next.

You’ll no doubt recognize the Stevie Ray Vaughn influence in Kenny’s music, but he adds his own enthusiasm to every chord. He’s so comfortable with the guitar…… it’s as if it’s just another extremity. His passion for the genre is unmistakable.

And his sound is somehow all the more impressive when you learn that not only has he never had a formal guitar lesson in his life, but he also can’t read music.

I was fortunate enough to see the Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band in concert in July. If anyone could ever inspire you to want to pick up a guitar, it’s him.

His first album Ledbetter Heights was released when he was just 18.

And if you like what you hear, you’ll want to try Trouble Is…
next. Pay special attention to “Blue on Black.” It’ll make your ears happy.

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