The City of Seattle has confirmed that it is Lawless

The City of Seattle has confirmed that it is Lawless

Through a number of city-wide policies, the fast-growing city of Seattle has decided that, because more people “of color” than whites skip out on Library fines, ride the Metro buses without paying, live in tents on the streets, commit property crimes, and use and deal drugs out in the open, that those crimes and misbehaviors will no longer be punished.

This article on the Fox News Web site details how Seattle no longer enforces its laws, and everyone suffers.  This is pathetic.

It’s pretty funny that many wealthy residents of big houses on the east side of Lake Washington are downsizing and moving to pricey condos in downtown Seattle.  They should watch where they walk, lest they get tripped up by used needles and human feces on the sidewalk. Luxury Urban Living.

The vagaries of the English Language

This is what happens when you are in the bathroom stall at work, and you are given something to think about.  At my workplace, which is a factory, many women of every possible ethnicity use the bathroom.  Some of those women are not the most fastidious, and leave various kinds of trash behind.  The Facilities staff have left various messages on the inside of the stall doors to try to get the users to clean up after themselves.  The current message says:

Be Courteous, Leave the Bathroom Stall Looking Like You Were Never Here.

That got me thinking about pronunciation in English.  In the sentence above, there are two words that are only one letter different, but they are pronounced totally differently.  How would a non-English-speaker remember that Were is pronounced “Wur”, but Here is pronounced “Heer”.  And then, there is the word “There”.  Same “ere”, but pronounced differently than here and were.  How would you know that “where” is pronounced the same as “there” and not the same as “here” or “were”?  There don’t seem to be much in the way of hard and fast rules of pronunciation, so English learners just have to learn as they go.  Makes me glad I’m a native English-speaker.

You CAN teach old ladies new tricks-the joy of giving!

This past week, I did something I’ve never attempted before…since until now I had no need to do it.  Over at Ricochet.com, one of our most beloved members did a post about her unfortunate situation.  She is elderly, and living alone.  She lives in Montana, and we met her in 2017 at the big Montana meetup.  Everyone just loved her, and she was the life of the party.  Well, last week she was essentially cast out by her family.

Since this is the 21st Century, the obvious response was : Someone should set up a GoFundMe for her.  Since no one else volunteered, the task fell to me.  I had already done a post over at Ratburger, for the many Rico Refugees over there, so I had two big groups of “friends you haven’t met yet” as possible donors.  She gave permission, and her post was copied over.

So last Saturday, I sat down at my trusty iMac, found the GoFundMe Web site, and initiated a campaign for her.  I found the site pretty easy to use, and it only took me about 30 minutes to get the campaign set up.  Then, I put up posts on both Ricochet and Ratburger, with links to the site, and an initial goal of $5,000.  I had a pretty good idea that the members of both sites would give generously to help our friend, and I was right, big-time!  Before the end of the day, we had reached the initial goal.  I was just flabbergasted that it took so little time!  That was helped by large donations from a couple of people, and many smaller donations.

The campaign is still open, with a new goal of $7,500.  We are almost there, and I am leaving it open until we reach the new goal.  When the initial posts got buried, I posted updates, and more donations came in.

I have always believed, since I was a psychology grad student, that giving to others not only benefits the recipient, but the donor.  We humans are programmed to get a thrill from helping someone else, and this campaign proves it.  My heart is just bursting with joy, at being able to succeed at a first effort to corral that many donors to reach a goal that would help someone we all know deserves it.  I have this big grin on, whenever I see a new donation drop in!  I get a text message on my new iPhone whenever a new donation is registered, and the site makes it easy to say “thank you”.  I remembered a few years ago, when a Rico member who was wheelchair-bound needed a handicapped van to get around, and the Ricochet family pulled together, and funded it.

I learned that if I want to help someone, I can do it.  I am glad that GoFundMe is there, and their people should be proud that they are able to help so many.  Try it, you’ll like it, and you’ll benefit almost as much as the beneficiary does.

RushBabe Enters the 21st Century

I celebrated my 70th birthday in April.  Just before that, I made it into the Twenty-First Century.  Yes, I bought my very first smartphone.  Thank you, thank you for all the applause, much appreciated.  After a few hiccups in the setup process (don’t EVER forget your initial passcode-it’s awful trying to reset it), I got the thing together.  I bought the phone, an iPhone XR, unlocked at the Apple Store.  I just love going into the Apple Store-nobody has figured out the Retail Ambience like Apple!

This is what I bought:

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And this is what I bought to keep it safe:

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I have the coolest phone out there, in my opinion.  Already owning an iPod Touch, it was pretty easy setting up my email account, and syncing my apps and music from iTunes.  The phone doesn’t have a headphone jack, so I had to buy the adapter so I can use my noise-canceling headphones at work.  Well, I confess that I am still keeping the little iPod, since it does have the headphone jack for listening to my Rush Limbaugh podcast at work.

I made certain to get enough memory with the new phone, so I won’t run out of space for all my pictures.  This summer, I plan to take an iPhone photography class at the Apple store, so I can get familiar with all its features.

One of the things I was really looking forward to with an iPhone was getting the ringtone I’ve always wanted.  Years ago, I discovered that the best-known of Mozart’s Piano Quartets, the G-Minor, was nicknamed “Answer the Telephone”!!  So that’s the first thing I did, try to find it on the Apple Tone Store.  I found it, and now when my phone rings I get to answer the telephone to the music of Answer the Telephone!  Even if it’s a robocall,  just hearing the ringtone makes me smile.  Eventually, once I learn how to use the new version of GarageBand on my computer, I am going to make that ringtone from the real music in my iTunes.

One thing I discovered that really made me jump out of my skin the first time it happened, was that when the phone rings, so does the iPod!  You can answer the phone, but you can’t “answer” the iPod, since it’s not a phone!  That was really weird.  So now, I can join the ranks of those who keep their phones with them at all times, just in case they get notifications or calls.  Mine will stay pretty silent, since, unlike most others, I am not on social media, which is the source of most notifications for everyone else.  I am looking forward to being able to surf the Web in the doctor or dentist’s waiting room (so I don’t have to read 3-year old magazines).  And the phone uses WiFi when available, thus saving those valuable Data Bytes you have to pay for.  Actually, I have a very reasonable phone plan from the folks that used to be AAA Cellular.  I pay $36 a month for unlimited talk and text, and 2Gb of data.

I am getting better pictures of our owner, since the phone is by my bed and by my desk when I’m there.  Kitty likes to curl up on the bed with me, so I can get her in her unguarded moments.

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She is sitting on a little tote bag I got from my oral surgeon.  Can you resist that face?

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Waiting while the sheets are in the laundry, she just takes over!

I think the phone camera takes excellent pictures, and I discovered, much to my delight, that what the camera takes is a tiny movie, and if you hold down your finger on the screen, the subject moves!  That really surprised me the first time I saw it.

So, the learning begins.  Just shows you that we old ladies can learn new technology!

Springtime in the Skagit Valley of Washington State

See the header picture on my blog?  That was taken a few years ago in the tulip fields of the Skagit Valley in Washington State.  Hubby and I took a drive up there this afternoon, and it was a perfect day for it.  Sunny, but with beautiful clouds in the sky, and temps in the low 60s.  All of these pictures were taken out the window of the car where I was a passenger.  There were fields that were plowed and ready for planting.

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We saw some beautiful barns, no two exactly alike.  We Washingtonians tend to be free thinkers and idiosyncratic.

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Given that it is the last week of the annual Tulip Festival, there were the roads, with cars parked along every side.

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And this is what everyone was looking at, and taking pictures of.

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We are so fortunate to live in such a beautiful part of the country, and to have these farms and fields so close to our suburban home.  It never gets old, ever.

And life flows on, within you and without you…On turning 70

And life flows on, within you and without you…On turning 70

And still being a productive member of society.  Today is my 70th birthday, and I don’t feel a day over 69!  Today was a day much like any other.  Wake up at 5:10AM, dress, eat breakfast (after feeding the owner), leave for work and arrive at 6:00 on the dot.  Do my normal job, fend off dozens of emails, place some orders…  We have a “birthday meeting” in our department, and the birthday person gets their choice of sweets.  We had my favorite pineapple, and 2-bite cupcakes.  And nobody sang Happy Birthday.  Well, not until after work, when we went to a great local Chinese restaurant for Happy (birthday) Hour.  That was fun, and my boss, and her boss both came.

I simply can’t imagine being retired, and not earning my keep.  I love my work, and I learn something every day.  I help solve problems, and keep the company running.  It just feels great to be valued.  I don’t want to stop working, and have to live off others, even if I’ve earned it.  I like making my own decisions, and having something to get up for in the morning.  I’m on the Clint Eastwood Retirement Plan.  He is over 90, and still working at his trade, directing and starring in movies.  When he retires, maybe I’ll think about it.

[Edit] Silly me! I forgot the one duty I have that especially keeps me going! That would be the monthly task of compiling the ISM-Western Washington Report on Business, which I have been doing for 20 years, since 1999. In all those 20 years, I have only missed one month. Yep, just one; that was June of 2006, when my husband and I spent two weeks in New York, after I played Carnegie Hall with the Everett Symphony. I have made new friends, contributed to my chapter (which won the ISM Chapter of the Year this year), and performed a vital service to ISM and the business and financial communities. If I am late sending out results, I receive emails from recipients wondering why they have not received them. It is very gratifying to be able to contribute to the Chapter and to National. Even after I retire, I plan to continue compiling the Survey.

So I think I’ll just continue on the Rabbi Daniel Lapin Retirement Program.  Don’t.

Are you worried about how Facebook and Google use data they collect about you?

Are you worried about how Facebook and Google use data they collect about you?

That will seem like elementary school, compared to the new tie-up between two financial-data providers.  Be afraid, be VERY afraid.  You voluntarily sign up for a Facebook account, and you make a conscious decision to use Google products, like internet search, Gmail, and YouTube.  You can decline to use Facebook, and there are alternate search engines (I only use DuckDuckGo now).

But you, as a consumer, have NO say in how your bank, credit union, or credit card companies report your intimate financial data to the Big Three Credit Bureaus.  In fact, I’d hazard a guess that most Americans don’t even know that there are three, or what their names are.  I’d also hazard a guess that most people paid very little attention to the huge data-breach at one of those credit bureaus a couple of years ago.  Unbeknownst to most of the victims whose financial data were stolen, Equifax mostly notified big financial institutions, and did not suffer much reputational damage.  I read the Wall Street Journal religiously, so I was able to follow the story closely.  I’ll bet you didn’t.

Every time you apply for any kind of credit, from a department store, to an oil company or credit card company; to a bank for a mortgage or auto loan; those companies pull your “credit report” from one or all three of the big credit bureaus (Equifax, TransUnion, or Experian).  And do they ask you if you want them to pull your report?  Or do they tell you that your information is provided to the bureaus, and retrieved from them, without your knowledge or consent?  Of course they don’t.

Those three companies are the biggest repositories of data about you, that you have never heard of, and probably don’t pay much attention to.  Well, just recently, two companies, Equifax and Fair-Isaac (the company that invented the FICO score, which determines credit-worthiness), have teamed up to SELL CONSUMER DATA TO BANKS.  Yes, that is you that they are selling to banks.  And did they bother to ask you if you wanted them to sell you?  Nope.

Because you are not their customer.  You aren’t even the end user.  You are just the product.  Now, do you have any information about the security of all this data they are selling about you?  Are you aware of any protections they offer, for your valuable financial data?  Nope, because they don’t offer any.  In this age of constant exposure of you, your family, your friends, and your accounts on social media, most people don’t give any thought to the potential repercussions from cyber-thieves getting ahold of all this information about you.  After the big Equifax breach in 2017, the company offered free “credit-watch” services for awhile, but didn’t contact everyone whose data were stolen, and the worst effect they suffered was their CEO finally resigned, months later.  Personally, I am alarmed at the offhanded way these companies play fast and loose with your data, and make lots of money off of selling you to all their real customers.  Why should I have to go through all the conniptions to freeze my credit files, and all the effort to correct errors in a file I had NO say in at all?

So it might behoove you to get more informed about who has your data, and why.  Ask who determines your fitness to be granted credit, and how.  Ask what data your bank reports to the credit bureaus, and if you can see it.  Pull your own credit score from EACH of the big three at least once a year, and make them correct any errors you find.  Just keep your eyes open, and take care with your credit, because no one else will.