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31
Dec

2011 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The Louvre Museum has 8.5 million visitors per year. This blog was viewed about 130,000 times in 2011. If it were an exhibit at the Louvre Museum, it would take about 6 days for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

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30
Dec

Weekly Photo Challenge: Winter

Oh my!  Old Man Winter hardly stops in South Florida – my neck of the woods.

When South Florida’s temps reach 60 degrees during the day, that’s cold!  (And beautiful!)

There are rare South Florida days when the High-Temperature will get down to the 40’s or the 50’s.  Alas, they are few and far between, but memorable.  It’s pretty common to catch a whiff of moth balls on those very cold South Florida days.  You’ll smell them well before you see them – furs are the usual suspects.  When the furs come out, with the fine scent of moth-balls, you know it’s got to be below 60 degrees outside.

Anyway, this photo challenge is going to be a challenge, I thought at first.  Then I remembered that I’d taken pictures of trees in Orlando that lost their leaves and seemed so brittle and old without them.  Those pictures were a bit depressing and cold in the wrong way.  Winter isn’t necessarily barren – there’s a lot of life happening in the winter, right?

Then, I looked at my bird photographs and saw this!  It felt and looked like it could be winter, if you didn’t know it wasn’t!  Well, I shot it during the winter months in Florida, anyway!

Can you feel the winter in it, too?

A Jamaican Streamertail Hummingbird; Shot in Ft Lauderdale FL at Butterfly World by Andrea O’Connell
29
Dec

for the love of a dog

I’m out of gas today, and so is Jazz.  Like me, he didn’t want to get out of bed this morning.

But, I had to get up – he didn’t have to get up until he was ready, and he slept for nearly 30 minutes after I was up!

Anyway, I’ve been working on the computer most of the day.  I was also doing a little blog-browsing – looking at animal photos, and came across an article on the No Dog About it Blog, with the I Am a Forever Dog, Not an Until Dog, photo (below), and I liked the message.  I really liked the blog, too.  Here’s a link to the blog:  No Dog About It Blog.

The article on the blog has to do with adopting dogs for someone’s Christmas present.  Or, getting a puppy “from Santa” to make kiddos happy, but not having a plan to deal with the rest of the dog’s life.  That happens more often than not, and we’ve all probably heard the horror stories.  People have the greatest of intentions but don’t realize how much care and attention a dog requires.  Cats are easy, not so with dogs.  There is a lot of work associated with having a dog.  It’s a big responsibility, and they can be very expensive.

When I was young, we had a little Chihuahua that we named Pedro.  He lived a good long time and we had him for many years. The black and white photo (below) was my brother feeding Pedro his bottle.  That was 1967!

One Christmas, while we still had Pedro, when my brothers and I were very young, Mom and Dad (Santa), bought us an adorable little chocolate-brown Poodle.  We named him Honey Bear.  We were crazy about him.

We’d had Honey Bear only two weeks when one day my folks called the three of us kids out to the patio to have “a talk.”   The first thing we all wanted to know was when will Honey Bear be home, he’d gone to the vet the day before and we missed him like crazy.   Well, my Father broke the news to us – while my mom sat silent and tried to hide that she was crying.  (Mom never cried.)   Then it became a family crying-fest. We all cried and cried and cried.

My brother giving Pedro a bottle, 1967

Honey Bear had been very sick, my Father gently told us,  and would not be coming home.  Honey Bear had Encephalitis. The vet put him down.

After that we never had another dog but Pedro.  It was too upsetting for every one.  It must have upset me a lot because my memory of that time is very detailed, and I was only about 8 at the time.

I never had my own dog until I got Jazz, my 10 pound Chihuahua, when he was 9 weeks old.

One of the reasons I’d wanted to have a dog was to get out and walk more as I was just getting over two painful knee replacement surgeries.  Getting a dog, I thought, would be great therapy to strengthen my legs.  And it was.

However, before I decided to adopt Jazz, I had to look at my life to be certain I could give him the attention he needed.  He barely weighed two pounds, was so small he required four feedings a day to sustain his little body.

I lived close to where I worked so it was easy to come home every day at lunch and feed him.  I also had neighbors looking in on him during the day, too.   He was so small and I was ultra-concerned about making sure he was okay.

That was 7 years ago.

Today, my life revolves around my animals schedules ( I also have a cat.)  I plan my social life around my dog’s feeding and walking-times, as if he were a child.   In turn, he is the perfect dog – so happy and fun and wonderful.

If you have a dog, you know what a responsibility it is.  Just like a child – you’ve got to care for it, train it, love it.   When you love a dog, they repay in kind, but give back so much more.  A dog will change your life.

So, I really liked the message from the German Shepard Dog Community on Facebook (below).

No dog about it Blog

Written by Shandell Dugdale and used with the permission of The Calgary Humane Society.

28
Dec

looking back

English: Casey Anthony has been booked into th...

Image via Wikipedia

2011 is coming to an end.  The year has flown by.  Every year don’t we all say, “My, this year has really flown by?!”  And the years do go by pretty quickly, especially as we age.

Time seemed to crawl when I was young.  Was it like that for you, too?

This year flew, though it seemed to stand still, too, at times.

I wrote a blog post every single day in 2011.  To date, I have 608 posts. This one will make 609.

I never thought I’d actually write something every day for an entire year, but I did.  In fact, I wrote a post every day in December 2010 so this is month 13 of my Post-a-day challenge.

It was pretty easy, really.   The Casey Anthony saga gave me so much material!  There were the lawyers on the defense team – how bizarre they were.  The defense attorney’s gave me a lot of colorful content.  And, the Anthony family, Cindy and George and their antics, provided all kinds of fanciful copy as well.

I was very critical of the Anthony defense team, especially Jose Baez, because he deserved it. His courtroom antics were gross and demeaned the legal profession, at least in my opinion.  However, as far as George and Cindy Anthony go – I was too hard on them, at times.  Most bloggers were.

The mainstream media helped sensationalize the situation, as did the overflow of documentation made possible by Florida’s Sunshine law.  Still, bloggers had a field day with the Anthony’s.  I did too.

I am sorry I jumped on the bandwagon and made hay out of the George and Cindy stories – the discovery that was released in the case.  I feel badly, looking back at the last three years of this case, that I judged and criticized them too often, as I know I did.

I think, in hindsight, that I forgot they were real people.  They are hardly perfect and as capable of making stupid mistakes as I am.  I think that comes from being human.

I have never lived under a microscope, I have never had a daughter or a granddaughter, I have never known anyone who either committed or was a victim of murder, not to mention a murder as heinous as Caylee’s was.

During the trial, I felt sorry for both Anthony’s.  In hindsight I realize they only ever wanted to do the right thing for a daughter they doted on.  As despicable as her acts were, the Anthony’s loved her.  She is their daughter.  She destroyed them and they allowed it to happen because they thought that was love.  They thought they were loving and perfect parents.  I think all parents believe they are.

I did some research and reading about how parents – whose children were murderers, behaved and learned that the Anthony’s were not so unusual after all.

Some parents will protect their children no matter what the cost.  Even the most law-abiding people will convince themselves their son/daughter couldn’t possibly be guilty, despite solid evidence that says otherwise. Parents will usually ride a ship called denial across the Nile river for the rest of their lives, if that’s what it takes to maintain their sanity and their love for their child.

It’s easy to believe I’d be different from the Anthony’s, but until I’ve walked in their shoes, how can I know?

Having seen George brought to his knees by his own daughter during the trial makes me feel badly that I judged him.  Watching Cindy Anthony literally crumble on the stand as she relived the pain of loosing both her daughter and Caylee, makes me feel very badly to have judged her at all.

Weren’t the Anthony’s just ordinary people who were thrown into an extraordinary Orlando firestorm?    I think so.

All the crazy proselytizing Cindy did in the media to make Casey into a saint and a good mother helped to make the Anthony’s seem all the more dysfunctional.   Little did they know they were inadvertently putting themselves in front of their own daughter’s version of a firing squad.

The video tapes we saw of the Anthony’s were of them at their most vulnerable.   George and Cindy Anthony seemed to take a wrong turn and make the wrong decision constantly, and we saw it unfold, moment to moment.

I’d like to think I would have acted totally differently in every regard.  But then again, I’ve never been in the lion’s den for three years, let alone three minutes.

The Anthony’s were living their lives as best they could.

27
Dec

Casey Anthony – can we give her the not guilty verdict, finally?

As my Orlando vacation nears its end (I’m heading home tomorrow morning), I suppose it’s fitting to discuss the Casey Anthony saga, which like the Energizer Bunny, just keeps going and going and going….

Since the story began, in 2008, I was enthralled with it.  Anxious to know the truth about how and why the darling Caylee Anthony, just two years old, could have been murdered, I read nearly everything about the case.  I even signed up for daily Google emails that provided links to the bigger stories related to the case.  I still receive the Google daily emails since there continues to be plenty of stories about the Casey Anthony saga in the news.

Today my Google email contained a link to Hal Boedeker’s blog, in the Orlando Sentinel.  Hal is the “TV GUY,” and regularly writes about the Casey Anthony coverage on TV.  I always enjoy what he has to say.  He never fails to deliver the goods.

And then there was a story from “The Examiner dot com,” which is a local online news outlet.  The Examiner is kind of like a big blog that delivers news stories that don’t usually make it to the big media outlets.

The Examiner’s Casey Anthony story today makes the claim that Casey Anthony took “The Fifth” in her recent deposition for the Zenaida Gonsalez civil law suit, because she may fear Federal charges.

It is amazing that a news outlet would even proffer that idea!  Perhaps the Examiner simply wants to stir up their audience.  As most news media know, the Casey Anthony story continues to sell. So, milk it, milk it, milk it!

The facts, however, remain.  Federal charges are just not going to happen in this case.  Clearly some followers of the trial in which Casey Anthony was found Not Guilty, desperately want Casey Anthony to pay for a crime she is believed to have committed.

The Examiner was wrong to write such a story without providing details and facts. Instead, they say:

Anthony’s decision may have less to do with financial repercussions resulting from pending law suits and more to do with the very real possibility that Anthony may be tried in Federal court for her role in the child’s death.

Since Anthony’s acquittal, numerous petitions have been brought forth by angry members of the public demanding that justice be served. Petitions filed include those directed at the United States Attorney General, seeking federal charges against Anthony.  Link to story here.

The Examiner provides a link to the petition, but fails to report that the petition is no longer active.

Not Guilty means Not Guilty

The Casey Anthony verdict was very upsetting, there is no denying that.  However, the verdict was final.   There is nothing anyone can do to Casey Anthony about the murder of Caylee now.

Casey Anthony is NOT guilty.  She’s free, physically, but hardly free in any other sense.

She will be looking over her shoulder for the rest of her life, afraid of the nut-cases in the world who would like to do her harm.  And, that is very, very sad.

I will take flack for saying this, but I have some compassion for her situation.  She is legally free – our system let her go.  She should be able to have a normal life, but she never will. Well, perhaps when she’s an old woman, has changed her name, and moved well away from Florida she may experience the freedom the legal system handed to her.

And so, the Examiner story is not only misleading, it’s also not credible.  For Casey Anthony to face Federal charges would be double jeopardy under our legal system.

There are plenty of bloggers who disagree with me, and tell me as much when I write about this topic.   People like to bring up a law called “Dual Sovernity.”   These bloggers contend that the FBI and the Federal government should prosecute.  Our system doesn’t work that way.  Without going into a long description of dual sovernity – Here’s a big-picture definition: It affords the US government certain rights, allowing them to retry certain aspects of a case, even when a defendant was found not guilty.  I believe it’s a law rarely used.

The important fact to remember, in the Anthony criminal case, the Federal government had no jurisdiction whatsoever – they still don’t.  Plus it is the State who brings the charges in a criminal matter.

The argument I hear people make is, “Well, Casey Anthony lied to the FBI.”

No, she did not lie to the FBI. She was never interviewed by them.

The day Casey was indicted, when the two FBI Agents spoke to her (which we all saw on video), she was protected by the US Constitution, particularly, by her Sixth Amendment right to counsel and her Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.  (This is commonly a protection that people use when they “Plead the Fifth,” which Casey Anthony has done in the law suit brought by Zenaida Gonzalez.)

So, when the FBI talked with Casey the day she was indicted, she had already invoked her right to counsel, therefore, anything she said could not be used in a court of law against her.  Period.

This is how our US Constitution protects us – you and me and Casey Anthony, too.  Be happy about that.

If the Federal government were able to press charges against Casey Anthony, that would mean the government would have absolute power over the citizens of this country.

Without the protections of our US Constitution, although I am not an expert on it, we would be nothing more than slaves to another entity, a government or a dictatorship, or a King…..etc.

So, give Casey Anthony her Not Guilty verdict.  She has earned it. Sad it is, but she is not responsible, under the law, for the death of her daughter.

For all of these reasons, I find it profoundly sad that any media representative would hint at Federal charges in this case.

Smarmy!

The other story I wanted to talk briefly about was Hal Boedeker’s article about what Jeff Ashton said on HLN with Vinnie Politan, about Jose Baez.  Ashton called Baez “smarmy.”  I nearly choked on the yogurt I was enjoying as I read that!

Oh how most of us agree!

According to Hal Boedeker, Ashton also discussed the “lies” (Ashton’s words) told by Jose Baez during the trial!  Holy Cow…. Oh Golly, Miss Molly!  He actually said THAT?  Yeap!

You’ll just have to read it the Boedeker piece!  It’s too good to miss.  Here’s the link.

I heart Jeff Ashton – big time!

26
Dec

Creative Whack # 13: Look to Nature

Maybe it’s a result of being on vacation, but I’ve had to drag myself from off the couch to open my laptop.  I’m being very lazy.  But, it’s rather nice. It’s plenty nice!

I’m not even keeping track of the news this week…. My brother gets the New York Times every day.  I opened it only once this week.

I needed a break from all the bad news anyway.

Tonight we were watching old re-runs of 60 Minutes, and after about an hour, or so of watching, I got very depressed.  It was painful to be reminded of how horrible the economy is; how gloomy the job-market has looked – though it’s getting better.   But hearing all the sad stories of people without any money, no jobs, being foreclosed on…..  Although it is always upsetting to hear these heartbreaking stories, it was especially very upsetting tonight.

Even though I am not worried about finding work, it’s very unnerving to hear the stories of people who have been laid-off for over a year and still have no work.  And I actually RESIGNED from a job!

I thought for a moment tonight: Am I nuts?  And I answered myself: Well yes, just a little!

Seriously, I’m not really nuts.  And it was not nutty to resign from the horrible job I had!  Truly, that job would send me to the grave earlier than necessary had I stayed one day longer.  Either that, or I fought the system via the EEOC.  I really didn’t want to do that.

I couldn’t pretend to be happy working there anymore.  Just because it’s a job, is not enough for me I can’t just have a “job” for the sake of a job.  Why should I spend my working hours being miserable, working with people who are miserable – and with people who are just miserable period?  It felt dishonest and it felt like I was purposely hurting myself.

A lot of people hate work.  I want to love my work.  I have always loved my work, and I still do.  I was allowing the environment – the negative and demeaning environment – to cause me to hate my work, and to not want to give my best.  I began to resent giving them my best work, when I realized that I knew I had to get out of there.

Too many people stay at a job because they think they have no choice but to stay.  I understand that, but I cannot do it.  It goes against my nature.  And, if I don’t care about my well-being, who will?

So, that leads me to Creative Whack 13, Look to Nature.  These Creative Whacks, you may recall, were

Designed by Roger von Oech

created by Roger von Oech, who has a few wonderful products that stimulate creative thinking.  I love his Creative Whack Pack and plan to discuss all 64 of them here, eventually.

So, what does look to nature mean?  To me, it means many things.  Most importantly it means, not denying or defying your own nature and instincts.

“Let nature by your guide,” is the first sentence on the card.  It’s taken me a while, but I understand now that I must follow my instincts.  When I don’t follow my instincts I get into trouble.

It’s not easy to allow nature or intuition be the guide.  I certainly don’t always make the right decisions or take the right road, that’s for sure.  And, I can be impulsive.  I always work on that.

My decision to leave a job that was making me so unhappy was something I had to do despite all the risks. I had to ask myself if I was being impulsive.  I truly can say: No, I was not. I’ve spent the last four and a half years being miserable – too long.

What I need help with is strength.  Staying strong.  Staying the course without undermining my success with fear of the unknown; or maybe, fear of success?

In order for nature to help, it’s important to clarify what the problem is.

I do need to think with a bit more clarity about what problem I need to solve.   I’m pretty sure it’s going to be strength to get me to my next job – my next big thing.

The roots of trees say strength to me.  I love trees, especially the big, old ones

The root systems that support the great Cypress trees and support all the things that live within the branches of the tree:  The birds.  The bird nests.  The leaves.  The squirrels that make the tree home.  The animals and the insects that trust the tree.  That is a good model  for me.

Trust.

Now, there’s something I need…..

25
Dec

and so this is christmas ….. and so this is chanukah….

And this day, like so many other December 25’s in Florida, is HOT!

Merry Christmas to those who observe it, and best wishes for a happy 6th (I think) day of Chanukah, too.

It’s a very quiet morning.  Relaxing.  Nice.

Well, Jazz is having a bad morning.  My brother’s dog, the gigantic puppy, Buster, as usual, relentlessly pursues Jazz, egging him on with a push of his paw and a little nip on the rear end.  When that doesn’t move Jazz, Buster jumps in the air in a “U” shape – his four legs straight up from the ground – go up and over Jazz, only to land and have his legs nipped at by Jazz’s jaws…. snapping, snapping, snapping…  Buster is too fast and Jazz’s snapping isn’t precisely aimed but sometimes he manages to get a hold of some part of Buster’s skin.  Jazz’s snapping jaws, though they aim at Buster in rapid-fire snaps like a machine gun gone ballistic, don’t do any harm to him though.

It’s hilarious to see them.  I can’t decide if Jazz is playing or if he’s petrified because his tail wags but his eyes roll back in his head and his lips stay permanently in place, over his gums.  Buster is absolutely playing, that’s clear…. The verdict is still out on Jazz’s level of enjoyment.

This morning the grass was dewy and Jazz refused to step out on the big-grass-john in the backyard. So I picked him up and walked him out further in the grass, getting my fuzzy slippers nice and wet – I put him down on the grass, but he immediately tip-toed away, gingerly in the grass like a ballet dancer with a broken toe, back to the patio and dry ground.  He tiptoed, broken-toed style, through the screen door and to the pool area where he proceeded to do you know what right by the pool.

The morning is quiet. Mom and my brother are reading the paper – the New York Times.  And a John Wayne movie is on the TV, in the background.

Last night we watched the Oldie Goldie movie “Margie.”  It was shot in 1946, and shows a grown-up Margie reminiscing about her high school years in the 1920’s, to her teen-aged daughter.

The setting was 1928 and a young Margie, a senior in high school, keeps losing her “bloomers” to great dramatic effect.  Seriously, the elastic in her bloomers broke three times in the movie!  It wasn’t really a theme – ha! Or any sub-plot, per se, but each loss of one of her errant bloomers did push the plot ahead.  One especially “dramatic” bloomer loosening happened on the ice-skating rink.  To cover the embarrassment of losing her bloomers, Margie feigns fainting.

Oh Fiddlesticks! was Margie’s refrain when things were confusing or got out of hand –  or when one’s bloomers were unruly.

Of course today it would be, “Oh, isn’t this a farting-fuck!  Shit, I lost my thong,” purposely  getting as many swear words into the sentence as possible then publicly pronouncing and publishing the event all over Facebook.  Whereas Margie, humiliated, horrified, is overcome with tears at her bloomer bust.

Anyway, the movie was very sweet.  Haddie McDaniel played the housekeeper.  Jeanne Crain, was Margie. Haddie McDaniel, you may remember, won the Academy Award for her performance as “Mammy” in Gone with the Wind.

I’m not sure what is in store for the rest of the day.  I know the dog-park is on our agenda and my brother is cooking us a nice lunch….kind of scary, to be honest.  He’ll probably need an editor.  Well mom is here – thankfully, I’m hardly a cook and proud of it!

Anyway, that’s a piece of my 2011 Christmas.  I’d like to share the funniest story, written by my niece, about her plane trip from New York to Tallahassee.  It’s so damn funny – brilliant humor, and I am not being prejudiced, you’ll see:

Meaghan O’Connell:

So I’m on this flight from NYC to Charlotte today, it’s super-delayed on the tarmac and I’m sitting next to two people about my age who did not know each other but talked so loud that I shared that ugh i know ARE THEY EVEN HUMAN? look about them with two separate people. I would give some examples of their conversation but it would be too painful for me to revisit. Okay wait I can’t help but remember: the girl kept joking about us being in the exit row and DYING and when there was turbulence she was like, “Am I going to have to pull this lever?” (to open the door!) and I had just read that fucking, fucking article about the french guys crashing the plane in the Atlantic and it was all I could think about (this plane crashing) meanwhile this unstable woman with a extra large coolatta was making jokes about pulling open the goddamn emergency exit.

Anyway so halfway through I really have to pee and I’m telling myself stuff like, “Okay, as soon as you finish this chapter, you can pee.” (along with musing about how I’d react if I found out the plane was going down) Then I realized I could pee when I wanted because I am an adult human so I put my book away and started sheepishly assessing the situation. See, the seatbelt light was on but I always forget if that means Don’t move around or, Fine move around but if you’re sitting down, put on your seatbelt. I figured it was the latter because that’s what I wanted so I found a way to justify it. Then I looked right and left. No one was up and about to reassure me I wouldn’t get “in trouble.” I craned my neck to see what the fight attendi were doing. They buckled in in the back, but I decided to LIVE ON THE EDGE and then to go to the bathroom in the front since it was closer and there was some turbulence but fuck it right? I’m an adult.

So I got up half-expecting to get yelled at (as always) but creeped on forward in my newish boots and then stopped and stood frozen under the glowing green bathroom sign when I couldn’t find the fucking door to push in and crawl inside. Ahhh. I felt the eyes of every human on the plane on me while I squinted into dark corners and wondered if I was about to walk into the cockpit . but was like whatever guys, I can do this. Then a flight attendant from the back GRABS THE MIC and says in a fluster, JUST A REMINDER THAT THE FIRST CLASS LAVATORIES ARE RESERVED FOR FIRST CLASS PASSENGERS ONLY.

Cut to me wandering around first class like a lost puppy. This lady is basically telling me, from the back of the plane, over the loudspeaker to get the fuck out of the first class section. WHAT? So I SPIN around on my heels (rather amazingly I might add) to face THE ENTIRE PLANE, shrug dramatically and say SORRY EVERYONE! in the most teenage, sarcastic tone of voice. I don’t even know where this audacity came from. But I saw this sea of faces staring at me and rolling their eyes at the situation and laughing with me and literally like, making little comments of solidarity as I walked past. Like I just committed this brave act, crossing enemy lines to pee into a little toilet vacuum. I mean people were truly making eye contact and saying like, “Come ON!” and, “Oh like they are all just LINED UP up there waiting to get into the bathroom!” And I just nodded and shrugged and wanted to like, high five everyone as I cruised by, but instead made some kind of bad kid in the back of the class type of dramatic exhalations then sauntered, victoriously, all the way to the back of the godforsaken plane, where the flight attendants would not look at me, and peed in my proletariat toilet (proletoilet).

Anyway there was total class warfare going on in the sky somewhere over, I dunno, Virginia, today and it was amazing.

Link to above:  http://meaghano.com/post/14595368874/impt

24
Dec

don’t let the bed bugs bite!

There’s a wonderful boat tour in Winter Park that traverses Lake Osceola and some of the little canals that finger off of it.  The canals wind around some of the beautiful estates and the boat-houses that go with them.

We were all over the lake and it was a perfect day to be on the water –  sunny, with just a bit of a cool wind.  It was lovely.

I was particularly looking forward to photographing the flora and the fauna, the magnificent trees, and the abundant variety of birds that populate the lake.

Unfortunately, I forgot to change my camera lens for the trip.  I had the macro lens on the camera, but needed a zoom.  I still got some fairly good pictures, but not many.  Soooooo if there is time, I will simply have to go back and do the trip all over again!

When I have a chance to go back, hopefully on Monday, I’ll share pictures of the lovely trees that are just covered with Spanish Moss.  I did get one good one of the Spanish Moss, below.

Isn’t it amazing?  The tour guide on our boat told us that the term “Don’t let the bed-bugs bite,” literally resulted from using Spanish Moss to stuff mattresses!   Back then, apparently, the moss was not cleaned before it was stuffed in mattresses and pillows.  The items were sold bugs and all.

Ford Motor company stuffed their car seats with the Spanish Moss, too.  When an entire fleet of Ford autos were recalled as a result of customers complaining of bugs and bug-bites, the slogan, “Itching to drive a Ford” was born!

I’m sending you a Christmas tree.  Well, a wannabe Christmas Tree, I suppose!  It’s really a Cypress tree standing in the middle of the lake.  Someone has attached ornaments to it and I can’t resist sharing it and wishing everyone a joyous holiday.

Sending you warm wishes for a merry Christmas and a happy fifth day of Chanukah!

A holiday Cypress

23
Dec

Weekly photo challenge: Between

The WordPress photo challenge this week is to post a photo that says “between.”

This afternoon I was heading out to the Morse Museum, in Winter Park – which is a lovely museum, by the way – and my dog went nuts.  This was the third time I’d left today with out him, and he was really upset!  He’s not usually so crazed when I go out, but we’re in Orlando, at my brother’s house, where there is another dog.  Jazz only likes people and cats, he has no time for other dogs because I love other dogs and that sends him into a perfect tizzy.

Anyway, I took this photo today as I was leaving – without him, for the third time.  He was pretty mad that door was between he and I.   He was crying and carrying on and tried to jump out of this little section of the door that leads from the laundry room into the garage.  It’s missing a piece of jalousy glass at the bottom of the door. He tried and tried to  jump up and escape through it, but it’s too high, thankfully.

He’s looking quite rejected here because I am standing in the garage, and he’s not.

I hate it when he cries – just breaks my heart.  But, he had a good day, too.  I did take him to the dog park and he also got a new leash and a whole bag of delicious bones.  So, eventually he was a happy camper today.

22
Dec

Tonight from Orlando.

I was going to forget about writing a blog post tonight and went to bed at 11:00 (after falling asleep on the couch at about 9:30.)

Sometimes, I surprise myself at my own sheer stubbornness. I made a promise to blog every day in 2011 and by hook or by nook, I will do it. And the iPhone makes that easy – I’m lying in bed blogging on the phone!

I am pretty darn tired after the drive to Orlando. It’s not a difficult drive, but it’s 3.5 hours of driving, and that tires me out completely.

So, I’m in Orlando! It’s interesting to be here, post the Casey Anthony saga. I still don’t want to visit the site where little Caylee was thrown away like trash, because it’s so near the Anthony home. I think they need to left alone – they have been through enough and people driving by out of curiosity doesn’t seem right – for me, I mean. I would feel like a busy body, I guess.

There’s a new story out today that the former defense team wants a judge to hold former prosecutor, Jeff Ashton in contempt for what he (Jeff) revealed about sealed Psychiatric interviews in his book. I am anxious to write about this one and will tomorrow. As the wonderful Judge Stickland once wrote, “The irony is rich.”

Indeed.

21
Dec

random casey anthony news

It’s almost midnight and I’m not finished with this blog post! Plus, I still have to do some online banking, finish my photography gallery, and pack for Orlando.  Hah!  I was also going to make brownies.  I don’t think so!

So, I’m heading out to Orlando to visit my brother (I hope it’s cold there, it’s HOT in South Florida), for about a week.  While I’m there I plan to meet Dave Knechel, aka Marinade Dave.  What a super nice guy he is! He and I have chatted on the phone, but we haven’t yet had a chance to meet.   I am looking forward to hearing all his stories about the Anthony case.  I am so looking forward to meeting you, Dave!

And, I’m going to meet another blogger, Susan, who often comments here, and who followed the Casey Anthony trial with the rest of us. That’s going to be fun!

And, speaking of the Anthony saga, I hear that Roy Kronk, the angel who discovered Caylee Anthony’s remains in December of 2008, is definitely going forward with his lawsuit.  I’m not a fan of lawsuits, personally, but if anyone deserves to be compensated for the horrible lies the defense spread about him, Roy Kronk deserves his due and his day in court.

The way I understand it, he’s suing Casey Anthony herself, not her defense team. It was the Anthony defense team, namely her lawyer, Jose Baez, who did a job maligning Roy Kronk.

Mr. Kronk was accused of every evil deed imaginable via the Anthony defense.   It’s horrible that a man can be dragged by his ear through the mud and muck by a sneaky, snarly and salacious lawyer.

What the heck!  You would think a lawyer would have to have some kind of proof before he casts such stones and throws mud on a poor little guy, right?

According to Anthony Colarossi, Orlando Sentinel reporter, the crux of Kronk’s lawsuit against Casey Anthony, goes like this:

“If Casey Anthony’s story is true that Caylee Anthony drowned in the family swimming pool on June 16, 2008, then she knew that the statements she authorized and permitted her agents to publish were false,” the Kronk suit states.

“In an attempt to find someone other than herself to blame for the tragic death of her child, Casey Anthony authorized and permitted her attorneys, as her agents, to make false and malicious statements against Kronk, and to portray him as the murderer of her child,” the complaint adds.

The lawsuit also says Anthony, through her attorneys, refused to retract the damaging statements about Kronk.  Read the story.

If Zenaida Gonzalez, who also has a lawsuit against Anthony, was treated like Mr. Kronk was treated, she might have a real lawsuit, too!  What happened to her was like first-grade bullying compared to the out-and-out “Destroy Roy Kronk campaign.”  

The sad thing about the Roy Kronk lawsuit?  He has to get in line and wait with the other plaintiffs. He, and the other plaintiffs, have to wait until Casey Anthony’s gravy train comes (which is likely to be never), before he’s made whole.

The only way Casey could earn any money to pay off the lawsuits is to score a TV or book deal.   But that won’t work, I don’t think as there’s not a television network anywhere in the vicinity of the United States who wants to touch an interview with Anthony.   The public would turn on any network faster than you could say “Exorcist.”   And that horror story, by the way, is better suited to rerun than any Baez/Anthony interview.

Any one have pea soup for dinner?

Okay, it’s after midnight now.  Before I go, I wanted to say that there was another odd story out today in the Anthony saga.

This story has to do with Dr. Keith Ablow’s, the forensic psychiatrist who recently published a book about his take on Casey Anthony’s pathology, titled “Inside the Mind Of Casey Anthony.”  I believe this book was released around the same time as former prosecutor Jeff Ashton’s book “Imperfect Justice” was released.

According to Anthony Colarassi, of the Orlando Sentinel, Dr. Ablow was approached about working a book with Casey Anthony while giving her psychological treatment.  Now if that isn’t a nutty idea!

Dr. Ablow declined the opportunity to get reeled into a book.  Though, Ablow countered their offer and suggested he treat Casey at no charge, to help her recover.  They said, No.

It’s too bad.  It was good of Dr. Ablow to offer (I bet he’d write another book, too!  Hah, that would really frost them!)

Seriously, Casey Anthony should get the help she needs.  Sadly though it sounds like the Anthony “team” have their priorities backwards.  It sounds like they are focusing on money first, health later.

Never a very good idea.

Oh nooooooo!

So, now it’s well past midnight, and I still have finish this blog post, do my banking, finish my photography gallery, and pack for Orlando.

See you soon Dave & Susan!

20
Dec

where it ends it begins and other angles

I am looking at things in different ways.  different angles. necks don’t always stick out but they should, sometimes. maybe. for others. yes. and then again.  no.  but usually.  yes.   sticking my neck out.  wondering.  in shades like salmon.  feathered. weathered. but fine. so happy.

See more here:  http://fineartamerica.com/profiles/andrea-oconnell.html

Where it ends, it begins!

(Photo taken at Flamingo Gardens,  by Andrea O’Connell, all rights reserved.)

19
Dec

looking for the listing of the listing of the most-Googled list in 2011? Here it is

Google knows what we searched for in 2011.  There are surprises on the list.  And then there are the expected topics…. Can you guess who number 4 is, Orlando?  Hmmm?  Having trouble guessing?  Of course not!  Why, it’s the infamous, oft maligned Casey Anthony.  “Surprise, surprise.”

Something tells me Jose Baez is jealous.

I could be wrong, but doesn’t nearly everyone have a 2011 most Googled list?

When I Googled to find the Top 2011 Google List, there were a lot of top 10 lists.  (I bet the most Googled list will be among the top-ten of next year’s most Googled list.)   Everyone has a list.  The TV news stations in my area have lists.

Heck, my website has a list.

The number one top search topic on my site is disappointing.  People searched over 1700 times for “Caylee Anthony remains.”  Of course I never had any pictures or articles describing the remains….

Anyway, Caylee Anthony is above her mother on my list.

Below is a screen shot of the breakdown of searches on only dreamin’.

only dreamin’ most Googled in 2011 list

But.  Here’s the thing; I have never heard of half the people or things on the Google list.

Maybe I’ve been living under a rock.

Have I?

I’m referring to the second graphic, below, with the Top 8 most Googled topics for 2011.

I have never heard of 1) Rebecca Black, 3) Ryan Dunn, 5) Battlefield 3 (assuming it’s a movie), and 7) Adele.  I have never heard of these people, or this movie!!!

What’s going on?  Either I live under a rock, or these topics are mostly tabloid news, which I don’t pay attention to?

Regarding number 8), (which I didn’t recognize at first since it’s written in Japanese) it refers to Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster.  I do remember that disastrous meltdown of the nuclear plant, which occurred in March of this year.  The meltdown was the result of the horrible tsunami and earthquake.   The Japan plant meltdown, in terms of its seriousness to people’s lives and the environment, is second only to the Chernobyl disaster.

It’s really something that the iPhone 5 is number 6 on the list.  This is a testament to the marketing genius of Apple.  They succeeded in creating a buzz about a phone that doesn’t even exist in the market yet.  Apple, instead of releasing iPhone 5, released a new and improved iPhone 4 (which needed to happen – too many flaws in the first iPhone 4). The buzz and the curiosity continues to be strong with regards to when iPhone 5 is due to be released.

Now, about the others on this list….   So, who’s Rebecca Black?  Ryan Dunn?  Adele?

Maybe I was too busy writing about the 2011 Casey Anthony trial to notice what was happening in the world of pop-culture.

No doubt Casey Anthony wonders why she’s number 4 and not number 1.

I wish it was Caylee Anthony, and not her mother, on that list, don’t you?

Click the image to enlarge.

Graphic Credit: Tomsguide.com

17
Dec

sell sell sell!

It was an out of the blue, spur of the moment thing when I opened my Amazon store this past Thursday.

I have to give it to Amazon – they are great marketers – so clever. They know how to sell; they do it so well, they make you look like a seller, too.

How I happened to open my own little store was simple.   As I was browsing through the book section, Amazon displayed books that I’d previously purchased from them and suggested I sell those purchases as an Amazon seller.

Hmmm…. I thought… I do like that idea.  (It’s brilliant how they market.)

When you go to the Amazon site, they recognize your IP address and automatically bring up suggestions for future purchases (based on your purchase history thus far) and they also show you what you’ve previously purchased.  It’s Customer Relationship Marketing, and they do it really well.

I mainly buy books at Amazon, and they presented a bunch of books that I could sell with my own Amazon store.  And I thought some more about it and I again said, “Hmmm.”  It sounds pretty darn interesting!

I took about an hour and figured out how to create a store and sell things and that was that.  I gave my store a name, and bingo!  I’m selling like mad with over 16 sales a;ready and have made over $400 dollars, too!  Amazon does most of the work – the only thing I have to do is pack and ship.

The majority of my sales have been Wii video games.  I had a dozen, or so, Wii games that I had never used; little did I know how popular those games were.  Literally one hour after I opened my “store” I had already sold 3 games.  Since then, I’ve sold four books, too.  The total items I’ve sold so far: 16.

I put a couple of watches I’d purchased but never wear, in my Amazon store, too.   I got the watches at a really good price and hopefully will make a little profit reselling them.  Maybe.  If they sell….

If you need to make a little extra holiday money, or you should you want to start your own e-business, it is a snap to do it!

My little Amazon store is:  Andrea’s Book Nook

If you ever thought about trying to sell on Amazon, but are unsure how to begin, do it anyway!  It’s fun!  Amazon has made it pretty easy for people to set up a business.  And, if you needed any tips or help, let me know – I’ll be happy to help.

It’s going to be a God-send after all the holiday bills!

16
Dec

Weekly Photo Challenge: Self Portrait

This week’s photo challenge is “Self Portrait.”   I took this crazy picture of myself recently while I was under an incredibly hot hair dryer.

I’m not as fan of being under that thing, can you tell?!!   To me, it’s almost as painful as a root-canal.

Putting people under those things is a miserable practice, it’s torture.  The heat made my eyes feel and look swollen!  My hair looked very pretty after all that, and I looked nothing like this after all was said and done!

It is probably the most God-awful picture of me on record!  My own Mother wouldn’t recognize me in this picture!

I have to say, though, it’s so ugly it’s funny!

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