Archive for October, 2010

There have been numerous reports of people spending entire days online, and that includes time on Facebook games such as Mafia Wars and Farmville.

Sadly, here’s a case of someone taking the games much too seriously. This story ran at

>>Jacksonville mom shakes baby for interrupting FarmVille, pleads guilty to murder

By David Hunt

A Jacksonville mother charged with shaking her baby to death has pleaded guilty to second-degree murder.

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It always makes me smile when scientists try to find physiological reasons for mental, including political, leanings.

Here’s a good example, from a story at the NBC affiliate in San Diego:

>>Scientists Find ‘Liberal Gene’

Researchers have determined that genetics could matter when it comes to some adults’ political leanings.

According to scientists at UC San Diego and Harvard University, “ideology is affected not just by social factors, but also by a dopamine receptor gene called DRD4.” That and how many friends you had during high school.

The study was led by UCSD’s James Fowler and focused on 2,000 subjects from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health. Scientists matched the subjects’ genetic information with “maps” of their social networks. According to researchers, they determined that people “with a specific variant of the DRD4 gene were more likely to be liberal as adults.” However, the, subjects were only more likely to have leanings to the left if they were also socially active during adolescence.

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As they used to say in Chicago, be sure to vote early … and often!

Already there are problems with voting machines in several areas across the country. I’m going to double-check everything I indicate when I vote, and I would recommend you do the same.

Here’s one story about this, from the Sun Journal in North Carolina:

>>Voter reports problem with ballot machine

Man said he voted straight-party ticket and got opposite results

October 23, 2010 4:00 PM

P. Christine Smith
Sun Journal Staff

A Craven County voter says he had a near miss at the polls on Thursday when an electronic voting machine completed his straight-party ticket for the opposite of what he intended.

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I know how close the bond can be between owner and pet. In our family, we pretty much always had at least one dog around, and we grew very close to each one.

That’s why I can feel on some level for this Oklahoma owner, who went to the limit for his dog. Here’s the story:

>>Hydro man lands in jail over poodle rescue

By Ann Kelley

HYDRO — A Hydro man sprung his poodle from the pound using a lawn tractor and bolt cutters, only to land himself behind bars with no one to rescue him. And while he was in jail, his dog was put back in the pound and euthanized.

Edwin Fry, 73, said he wasn’t going to let Buddy Tough rot in jail, but he didn’t intend to pay the $100 fine to free him.

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Some of us have been unhappy with what passes for education these days, but banning a teacher forever? For “being useless?”

That’s what happened recently in Great Britain, and not everyone is happy about it, of course. Here’s the story from The Daily Mail‘s website:

>>The first teacher banned for life for being useless

By Sarah Harris and Arthur Martin

A teacher who is judged to be incapable of ever improving his work has become the first to be banned for life from the classroom due to incompetence.

Nisar Ahmed will never reach ‘requisite standards’ of teaching and cannot work in state schools again, a panel ruled.

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I’ve heard the word “politics” defined this way: “poly” = many, and “tics” = blood-sucking parasites. I like that!

The story below caught my eye for several reasons: 1. The only thing that matters in politics seems to be winning, and whatever it takes to do that is considered “okay” by many, 2. The New York Times actually reported this!, and 3. Is this the “October surprise” everyone has been waiting for? It’s a little longer than the usual article, so please bear with that:

>>Democrats Back Third Party Candidates To Siphon Votes

By Jim Rutenberg

ORLANDO, Fla. — Seeking any advantage in their effort to retain control of Congress, Democrats are working behind the scenes in a number of tight races to bolster long-shot third-party candidates who have platforms at odds with the Democratic agenda but hold the promise of siphoning Republican votes.

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It’s too bad that Halloween has turned into a night of vandalism in so many communities.

I remember once when I was visiting my home town in Pennsylvania that several cars on the street where my family lived were “keyed” (someone ran their key through the paint on our cars, leaving cut marks behind). I was lucky in that I had an older car, so that didn’t matter to me, but some neighbors had brand new autos that were defaced really badly. All the police seemed to be able to do was shrug their shoulders and take everyone’s names.

It might be the result of similar events that has caused some towns to outlaw teenagers trick-or-treating. Here’s the story from the Associated Press via ABC News:

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One of the things that made the original Star Trek conventions so much fun was the showing of outtakes from all three seasons. People used to drive for hours just to see them!

Well, now a gag/outtakes reel for the reboot film has surfaced, and here it is:

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It seems to me that, more and more, children are being raised by the government and not by their parents.

Here’s a story from that makes me feel like that:

>>WASHINGTON – Getting kids to eat three healthy meals a day can be a challenge, especially if money is tight. But D.C. Public Schools have found a way to take some of that burden off parents. They are now serving dinner at school.

On the menu are things like salmon salad, a whole grain roll, orange juice, one percent milk and a corn and pepper relish.

“With positive feedback, the kids will enjoy the food,” Chef Edward Kwitowski said.

He is in charge of whipping up healthy dinners for D.C. school kids as part of this new program to provide three healthy meals a day at school.

“Our program is from scratch cooking with local produce,” said Kwitowski. “And definitely low fat cooking.”

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I know it is a little early to talk about Christmas and the holidays, but I used to sing in a choir, and that meant we had to start working on holiday music early. So very soon, I will be breaking out my favorite tunes and posting them on this blog, replacing the Summer ones I like so much. I hope to get to that this weekend!

But as someone who is involved in a podcast myself, I have been listening to other programs to learn from them on several levels. One of the first I came across is The Christmas Stocking, which has been releasing episodes for several years now. I had a chance to correspond with the person who makes the show, and he’s genuinely interested in Christmas and all associated with it just like I am.

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