Saturday, October 01, 2005

Random Act of Kindness

Submitted for your consideration: with the holidays coming up, how about starting a new tradition in your family, or even just for yourself? Commit a Act of Kindness (AoK) for another person.

We're seeing Acts of Kindness being done all through the Gulf Coast region. It's been going on for more than a month. People are going in person, sending food, water, clothing, and medical supplies. Others are helping the animals. Texans (and others) have opened their homes, hearts, and schools to people from the areas ravaged by Katrina. Some people haven't been able to help physically, but they've opened their wallets and written checks. All are acts of kindness.

There are two kinds of AoK. One is when the recipient knows you are doing it. Helping a Little Old Lady across the street is a great AoK. The other when the recipient doesn't know who was kind to them. An example is paying for a stranger's lunch. It's only good if you leave before the waitress/waiter tells the recipient. Paying a toll for the car behind you qualifies (if you don't know them). Putting a quarter in a parking meter that's about to run out definitely qualifies. If you choose to send money, get a money order and don't put your name and address on it (from "A Friend" and your city/town's name). It would be great sending flowers to someone who's having a rough time of some sort. Don't put your name on the card, or if it's a co-worker, send them from all their co-workers ("your friends in the office", or "the office gang") and wonder along with everyone else who really sent them. How about having lunch delivered (you'll arrange and pay for it earlier) and wonder along with everyone else who was so nice. Letting a car out of a driveway or side street qualifies, especially if you don't know them.

These are just a few ideas, and maybe not acceptable for your particular situation. You can choose your own AoK. The idea is giving from your heart without thought of thanks. And don't tell anyone what you did. This is something you do just for the feeling you get from doing it. If you do get thanked, tell them to do an AoK for someone else.

A Random Act of Kindness is a little different. Don't plan it. That's what makes it "random". Any AoK, random or planned, doesn't have to be done just during the holidays, this is something that can be done year round. if you do it right, you won't receive thanks or reward, but you'll know you did it.

I've always considered myself to be a lucky person. I believe it comes from being nice to other people. I do AoK because I believe what goes around comes around. I guess it's a "karma" thing. If I'm nice to others, others will be nice to me. If I do good things for others, good things will happen to me. When I do a kindness, whether it's known to the recipient or not, whether it's planned or not, I do it because I feel like I should or simply because I want to, not because someone else knows I did this thing. And I have to do it with an open heart. If I do it grudgingly, it's not an AoK for me. There's a little of the karma thing there, but I mostly do it because it makes me feel good.

I'm not patting myself on the back here, telling you what a great person I am because I do AoK's. You don't know me, and while I would like you to think well of me, when it comes down to truth, it doesn't really make a difference. I'm making a suggestion that works for me. Done with the right attitude, AoK can make a difference in your life. And it could make a big difference in someone else's life. You never know what a AoK can do for someone else.
What Calvin and Hobbes Character Are You?

I'm Hobbes! A fabulous feline if ever there was!

You are HOBBES! My personal favorite. You like to eat, sleep, and live a good life. Me too.

Which CALVIN & HOBBES character are YOU?

Found via A Cool Change

Supply and Demand

Let's look at why gas prices have shot up over the last couple of years, and more specifically, the last month. The United States has 149 refineries operating at maximum capacity. There have been no new refineries built since 1976. During that time, demand has risen over 25%. Think of all the homes that have been built in the last 29 years. Think of the cars that are on the road and the type of vehicles that are on the road. I'm thinking specifically of Hummers and SUV's. Now, I'm not going to put down those who buy those vehicles. If they can afford the purchase price, the insurance, and the cost of maintaining the vehicle, not to mention the price of gas, well, good for them! I refuse to tell someone else what they can drive and what they can't. I believe in freedom of choice. And that includes choosing what vehicle to drive. It's not only freedom of choice, it's supply and demand. Automakers won't build cars that don't make them money. If it's not in "demand" there won't be a supply.

The sad fact is that no matter what kind of vehicle is built, we have to remember there are more vehicles on the road (and more houses to heat) but we can't refine more oil to meet the demand. I read recently in the local paper that there are 200 new developments in the works for Manatee County. I think I can assume at least one car per household, and usually two or more. I can't do the exact math, because I don't know how many houses are planned for each development. But if there are only 100 houses in each development, that's 20,000 houses, at least 20,000 cars plus the electricity to operate each house. More housing means more business and industry. More business and industry means more houses, more people, and more oil needed for housing, businesses, and cars.

I'm just as concerned as the next person about the enviroment and the quality of air and the environment around us. I remember my mother talking about growing up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania during the glory days of the steel mills. She often talked about how the street lamps would come on at noon because of the pollution in the air. I remember visiting Pittsburgh after the environmental crowds started cleaning up the city. While it was much cleaner, I can still remember seeing the haze of smog surrounding the city. I remember the taste and smell of the smog. It's not something I want to relive. I don't want to see future generations enduring what people in Pittsburgh and other heavily industrialized cities did up to the latter part of the 20th century.

One of the things environementalists are failing to take into consideration is that there have been dramatic technological improvements made since the last refinerly was built. New refineries have been designed to emit less pollution than the refineries now in existance. They are designed with new scrubbers and design changes that reduce sulfur and other emissions. We also now have the ability to choose the best locations for new refineries that we have the least impact on people and the environment. Twenty-five percent of the present refineries are in the Texas-Louisiana area. The same area hit by hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Remember them? And how high gas prices shot up immediately after Katrina roared through Louisiana and Mississippi and closed down refineries for days and weeks? I don't pretend to know just where better locations might be found, I leave that up to the experts in that field.

New refineries, in an environmentally correct location, built to meet pollution standards, could actually bring jobs to economically deprived locations.

Link to Hawaii Reporter here.
October Holidays

Here's the list of holidays and observances for October.

Friday, September 30, 2005

Jenni Moreland

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Jenni is seventeen years old and is missing from Ruskin, Florida. Jenni has been missing for over a week. The news report I heard on Monday stated that foul play is not expected, but suicide has been suggested. Hopefully, Jenni has not taken that final step and someone knows where she is. If you know anything about Jenni's whereabout, please contact the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office (813) 247-8200) to help Jenni get home and get the help she needs.

Her family is offering a $25,000 reward for information leading to her safe return. She's described as 5 feet, 7 inches, slender with blond hair, blue eyes and glasses. Moreland is believed to frequent the Wimauma and Progress Village areas. If you see Morland, call the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office at (813) 247-8200.

Perhaps other Tampa area bloggers would like to feature Jenni on their blogs. The more people who know she's missing mean that many more eyes who might know where she is or recognize her.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Eeny, Meeny, Miney, Moe...

Matt Margolis, writing at Blogs for Bush, says this about the replacement for Justice O'Connor:

Sources tell me the "short list" for Sandra Day O'Connor's replacement (based on conversations with people of different groups that meet with the White House regularly) are as follows:


Priscilla Owen
Harriet Miers
Raoul G. Cantero III
Mel Martinez


Janice Rogers Brown
Karen Williams
Larry Thompson

Yeah! Four women in the list. I'm not really a "feminist", I prefer to think of myself as a "humanist." I'd love to see another woman on the Supreme Court, but it has to be someone who would follow the law, not be an activist. And isn't it funny, that liberals/Democrats don't want a conservative activist judge and conservative/Republicans don't want a liberal activist judge? Depends on which side of the fence you're sitting on as to whether a nominee is an activist or not.

And Mel Martinez? At least we'd get him out of the Senate. My reason for wanting him out? Even before he was elected to the Senate, I sent emails asking his stand on the FairTax issue. When I finally got an answer it was, well, Mel hasn't had a chance to familiarize himself with the FairTax. My radar went up (you know how passionate I am about getting the FairTax passed). Here was a man aspiring to the United States Senate and he wasn't familiar with the FairTax. To be fair, I have to admit that the FairTax wasn't the 400-pound gorilla it is today. So I waited.

After he took office, I began sending emails asking if he had familiarized himself with the legislation (HR25/S25). The reply I got was something to the effect that when it is introduced to the Senate, he would make a decision. My answer? Uh, Senator, it's been introduced, that's why it's marked S25. Since then, I've had basically the same reply.

Maybe he's just hedging his bets for the time being. Flying under the radar, so to speak (a position I have frequented myself on many occasion and a not necessarily bad place to be) and doesn't want to let his position be known. I'll give him the benefit of the doubt...for now. I'd prefer that to thinking he's too ignorant to know anything about the FairTax. Maybe he's really in line for a nomination to the SOCUS. It would be in his interest to keep his opinion to himself. Not give the "other side" more ammunion.

On the other hand, it would be sweet to have the first Hispanic judge be a Floridian. Too bad it can't be a black, Hispanic female from Tampa. Who could possibly find fault? Only a racist, sexist, maybe even ageist, Yankee. But then, I really try not to point fingers or call names.

Okay, of the list above, Tier 1 and 2, who do you think will be the nominee?

Monday, September 26, 2005

What Classy Dame Am I?

Luckily for me, one of my favorites...

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Myrna Loy
You scored 21% grit, 23% wit, 28% flair, and 35% class!

You are class itself, the calm, confident "perfect woman." Men turn and look at you admiringly as you walk down the street, and even your rivals have a grudging respect for you. You always know the right thing to say, do and, of course, wear. You can take charge of a situation when things get out of hand, and you're a great help to your partner even if they don't immediately see or know it. You are one classy dame. Your screen partners include William Powell and Cary Grant, you little simmerpot, you.

I wish I could say I look like Myrna, with those cool, sophisticated looks. Hey! It's my blog, I can say anything I like!

Find out what classy guy or gal you are.