Monday, December 31, 2007


Toxic Note: The story of D.B. Cooper is one that caught the attention of the nation way back when. There have been books, websites, and even songs about the infamous Cooper. It's an unsolved mystery from 1971 that gets harder and harder to solve as years go by. Chances are someday someone will come across some bones in the wilderness and they'll identify them as Cooper. Although even that scenario is a stretch. If he died in the wilderness the animals would have scavenged his bones. They'd be scattered and virtually impossible to find. Here's the new story from the FBI, plus some links to read more if you're so inclined (one is a 2007 story in NY Magazine saying the mystery may have been solved... the FBI must not agree as the following story was just released today):

On a cold November night 36 years ago, in the driving wind and rain, somewhere between southern Washington state and just north of Portland, Oregon, a man calling himself Dan Cooper parachuted out of a plane he’d just hijacked clutching a bag filled with $200,000 in stolen cash.
Who was Cooper? Did he survive the jump? And what happened to the loot, only a small part of which has ever surfaced?

It’s a mystery, frankly. We’ve run down thousands of leads and considered all sorts of scenarios. And amateur sleuths have put forward plenty of their own theories. Yet the case remains unsolved.

Would we still like to get our man? Absolutely. And we have reignited the case—thanks to a Seattle case agent named Larry Carr and new technologies like DNA testing.
You can help. We’re providing here, for the first time, a series of pictures and information on the case. Please look it all over carefully to see if it triggers a memory or if you can provide any useful information.

A few things to keep in mind, according to Special Agent Carr:

Cooper was no expert skydiver. “We originally thought Cooper was an experienced jumper, perhaps even a paratrooper,” says Special Agent Carr. “We concluded after a few years this was simply not true. No experienced parachutist would have jumped in the pitch-black night, in the rain, with a 200-mile-an-hour wind in his face, wearing loafers and a trench coat. It was simply too risky. He also missed that his reserve chute was only for training and had been sewn shut—something a skilled skydiver would have checked.”

The hijacker had no help on the ground, either. To have utilized an accomplice, Cooper would’ve needed to coordinate closely with the flight crew so he could jump at just the right moment and hit the right drop zone. But Cooper simply said, "Fly to Mexico," and he had no idea where he was when he jumped. There was also no visibility of the ground due to cloud cover at 5,000 feet.
We have a solid physical description of Cooper. “The two flight attendants who spent the most time with him on the plane were interviewed separately the same night in separate cities and gave nearly identical descriptions,” says Carr. “They both said he was about 5'10" to 6', 170 to 180 pounds, in his mid-40s, with brown eyes. People on the ground who came into contact with him also gave very similar descriptions.”

And what of some of the names pegged as Cooper? None have panned out. Duane Weber, who claimed to be Cooper on his deathbed, was ruled out by DNA testing (we lifted a DNA sample from Cooper’s tie in 2001). Kenneth Christiansen, named in a recent magazine article, didn’t match the physical description and was a skilled paratrooper. Richard McCoy, who died in 1974, also didn’t match the description and was at home the day after the hijacking having Thanksgiving dinner with his family in Utah, an unlikely scenario unless he had help.

As many agents before him, Carr thinks it highly unlikely that Cooper survived the jump. “Diving into the wilderness without a plan, without the right equipment, in such terrible conditions, he probably never even got his chute open.”

Still, we’d all like to know for sure, and Carr thinks you can help.

“Maybe a hydrologist can use the latest technology to trace the $5,800 in ransom money found in 1980 to where Cooper landed upstream. Or maybe someone just remembers that odd uncle.”

If you have any information: please e-mail our Seattle field office at

If you'd like to see pictures go to the original story on the FBI site:

More background:

FBI Archives:

Crime Library:

Here's a story where they say the case MAY be solved, published October 22, 2007:

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Calif. man tries to out-trash me... fails...

I can honestly admit that we don't own enough house or property to hold all the trash I generate in a year.

I remember hearing a story from someone, I think it was my sister and husband, about some visitors from another country that they had staying at their house. My sis and family would put stuff in the trash, the visitor would pull all or some of it out. In their country the things my sister tossed would have been valued and re-used in some form or fashion.

In this country, the things they pulled out of the trash wouldn't have been accepted by a large majority of our poorest.

We are a spoiled nation and I'm right up there at the top of the spoiled heap.

When I feel like I'm losing control, like life is pushing me in directions I don't care to go, I clean. I fill up trash bags. I toss things. It makes me feel like I'm doing something, like I have at least a little control. I don't go wacko about it, but I do like the feeling I get when I fill up a bag of trash. The more bags, the better.

Yes, I know it might be strange. I'm sure there's some psycho-babble term someone has coined for the sense of satisfaction a person might get from cleaning, organizing and tossing.

I know we in America generate a lot of trash. A lot of the stuff we consider trash isn't anything more than stuff we've grown tired of having. We're too lazy to take it to the local Salvation Army.

By the way, that reminds me... I almost said take it to the Goodwill store. I thought Goodwill was a charity, a thrift store with money going to the needy. Not so. It's a for-profit store! I was surprised when I read that little tidbit!

OK, back to trash....

I haven't finished reading the article about the guy who saved his trash for a year but I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I could out-trash him. That's not necessarily something to brag about, but it's true.

We need to be better at recycling. We need to be better about buying what we need and not buying something that will just end up being tossed 'cause we're tired of it. We need to be a lot of things we're not.

As with all things, there isn't a simple solution. We've all read stories of the rip-offs in recycling. There has to be a market and it has to be cost effective.

If we stop buying frivolous things, if we stop filling up trash cans, how will that affect industry? Jobs?

I'm sure if I thought more I could come up with other areas that would be detrimentally affected if we changed out buying habits to decrease the amount of trash we generate.

Oh man, just glanced down and noticed my office trash needs to go out... see ya... here's the article:

Calif. man saves year's-worth of trash
BERKELEY, Calif. - Ari Derfel leads a trashy life. He just wants to remind everyone else that they do, too. The 35-year-old Berkeley caterer said he has saved every piece of trash he has generated over the past year to see how much garbage one person creates...

Violent Border Smugglers Scare U.S. Scientists

Reading a title about violent border smugglers, the first thing I'd think was there were problems in any part of the world but the United States. But no, this article is about our southern border with Mexico. It's hard to imagine trucks full of gun-toting smugglers coming easily across our borders. Reading the article below brought home the seriousness of the problem in ways that none of the other articles I've read have done thus far.

We have a huge problem. Our politicians seem to be making token attempts to placate those who raise a fuss about illegal aliens, drug smuggling and the potential for terrorists to walk across our border. The louder the up swell of our discontent the more token bandaids they plaster. The problem is we don't need bandaids, we need serious surgery along with heavy antibiotics.

I understand it's another one of those huge, complicated problems that could have been solved easily years back. Now it's grown to be such a monster that any solution is going to hurt someone somewhere. Somehow we've got to figure out a way for the business faction, the various political factions and any other factions involved to see the big picture.

Violent Border Smugglers Scare U.S. Scientists
Fox News / PHOENIX — Biologist Karen Krebbs used to study bats in Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument on the Arizona-Mexico border. Then, she got tired of dodging drug smugglers all night.

"I use night-vision goggles, and you could see them very clearly" — caravans of men with guns and huge backpacks full of drugs, trudging through the desert, Krebbs said. After her 10th or 11th time hiding in bushes and behind rocks, she abandoned her research.,2933,319028,00.html

Saturday, December 29, 2007

FDA Warns Consumers Not to Eat Raw Oysters Harvested from the West Karako Bay Section of Growing Area 3 in Louisiana

Toxic Note: This is not a warning I'll have to heed as never in a bazillion years would you catch me letting one of these slimy buggers slither down my throat. If I were stranded on a desert island and that was it, I'd wait a few days to see if a fish wouldn't flop up onto the beach. I understand that there are those who love these critter, raw, stewed, fried or however else they might come. So to those who will be heading out to their favorite haunt to slurp a few, read on:

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is warning consumers not to eat raw oysters harvested from West Karako Bay, a section of Growing Area 3 in Louisiana. These oysters, harvested from Dec. 3 through Dec. 21, may be contaminated with norovirus.

Symptoms of norovirus infection include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and stomach cramping. Affected individuals often experience low-grade fever, chills, headache, muscle aches, and a general sense of tiredness. Most people show symptoms within 48 hours of exposure to the virus, with the illness lasting one to two days. However, the illness can become serious for the very young, the elderly and people with weakened immune systems.

Consumers who ate raw oysters on or after Dec. 3 and experienced these symptoms are encouraged to contact their health care providers and local health departments. Consumers concerned about the origin of oysters they have recently purchased should contact the place of purchase to determine if the oysters were harvested from the identified area during the Dec. 3-21 period.

FDA has received reports of norovirus infection in seven individuals who ate raw oysters on Dec. 13 at a restaurant in Chattanooga, Tenn. The Tennessee Department of Health's test results from two of the ill patients were positive for norovirus. FDA confirmed the presence of norovirus in shell oysters harvested from the West Karako Bay section of Growing Area 3 and were served at the restaurant. Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals closed the affected growing area on Dec. 21. FDA is working with the states involved to determine if any additional actions may be necessary to ensure public health protection.

The original shipper of the oysters is Prestige Oyster Company of Theriot, La. The company shipped the oysters to Bon Secour Fisheries in Bon Secour, Ala. Bon Secour Fisheries, in turn, shipped the oysters to the restaurant in Chattanooga. Considering the shelf-life of the product, it is possible that suspect oysters from the designated area are still available in other retail and food service settings.

Persons with weakened immune systems, including those affected by AIDS, and persons with chronic alcohol abuse, liver, stomach or blood disorders, cancer, diabetes or kidney disease should avoid raw oyster consumption altogether, regardless of where the oysters are harvested.
Cooking destroys the virus, eliminating the risk of illness for both healthy and immunocompromised individuals. FDA advises that it's always best to cook seafood thoroughly to minimize the risk of foodborne illness. Consumers can continue to enjoy oysters in many cooked preparations by following this advice:

At Restaurants and other Foodservice Establishments:

Order oysters fully cooked.

In the Shell:

Purchase oysters with the shells closed. Throw away any oysters with shells already opened.
To prepare oysters for eating, choose one of the following methods:
Boil oysters until the shells open. Once open, boil for an additional 3-5 minutes.
Steamer - add oysters to water that are already steaming and cook live oysters until the shells open; once open steam for another 4-9 minutes.

Use smaller pots to boil or steam oysters. Using larger pots, or cooking too many oysters at one time, may cause uneven heat distribution, which may cause the oysters in the middle to not get fully cooked.

Discard any oysters that do not open during cooking.
Shucked Oysters:

To prepare oysters for eating, choose one of the following methods:
Boil or simmer shucked oysters for at least 3 minutes or until the edges curl.
Fry at 375 degrees for at least 3 minutes.
Broil 3 inches from heat for 3 minutes.
Bake at 450 degrees for 10 minutes.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Oh crud, now they're going after caffeine...

Toxic Note: I hate posting this one. However, I am now heading off to search for some way to increase my serotonin (aside from exercising) so I can keep imbibing my caffeine. At least I now have an excuse for gaining weight. It's not 'cause I sit in front of the computer for most of the day, it's because I'm chugging caffeine while I'm sitting. I am a very happy person, not depressed in the least. Therefore, I declare the following partially bunk. Caffeine as an excuse for weight gain I can live with...

Caffeine Plays Critical Role in Obesity and Depression, Says Researcher Phoenix Gilman

ATLANTA, Dec. 20 /PRNewswire/ -- The #1 most socially accepted, legalized drug is caffeine. Both young and old consume it daily - and at an alarming rate - be it in their lattes, energy drinks, ice teas, sodas, etc. Yet caffeine is highly addictive and it drastically depletes serotonin, a major neurotransmitter that governs critical aspects of the brain's ability to function properly.
Obesity is a frightening epidemic. Antidepressants are the most prescribed pharmaceutical drug. As such, researcher and international author Phoenix Gilman is urgently trying to inform others, through her book and interviews nationwide, that caffeine is contributing significantly to our health crisis.

Gilman says, "Caffeine, along with many other things, depletes serotonin. Side effects of low serotonin are numerous, ranging from carbohydrate cravings, binge eating, obesity, to anxiety, ADD, depression, alcoholism and suicidal behavior - not forgetting, insomnia, PMS, migraines, increased risks for type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and certain cancers. Shockingly, no one in the media is talking about this clinically proven research, research that has the potential to help millions live healthier. And though I'm thrilled to hear CA is considering labeling caffeine as a toxic substance, the awareness needs to go far beyond that."

About the author: Entrepreneur Phoenix Gilman is an internationally respected author and weight loss/wellness expert with 30 years of experience, from personal trainer and sports nutritionist, to researcher, product developer, consumer activist and speaker. Fed up with the misinformation and marketing scams running rampant within the diet, food and pharmaceutical industries, she vowed to make a difference. Her book, "DIET FAILURE ... THE NAKED TRUTH: The Brain Chemistry Key to Losing Weight and Achieving Extraordinary Health" is the result.

Her research has been recognized by many, including the Centers for Disease Control,, Focus Atlanta (CW television network), Citizens Commission on Human Rights and best-selling authors Michael Murray, ND, co- author of the Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine, and Diana Schwarzbein, MD, author of The Schwarzbein Principle. Phoenix has done over 200 interviews nationwide, from radio, print, to TV.

DEWALT Recalls Cordless Drills due to Fire Hazard

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with the firm named below, today announced a voluntary recall of the following consumer product. Consumers should stop using recalled products immediately unless otherwise instructed.

Name of Product: DEWALT Cordless Drills
Units: About 346,000
Manufacturer: DEWALT Industrial Tool Company, of Towson, Md.
Hazard: The trigger switch of the cordless drill can overheat, posing a fire hazard to consumers.
Incidents/Injuries: DEWALT has received 11 reports of trigger switches overheating. No injuries or property damage have been reported.
Description: This recall involves DEWALT individual cordless drills listed below:

Model Number
Date Codes

DC920 Heavy-Duty XRP(tm) 1/2" (13mm) 18 Volt Cordless Drill/Driver 200723 through 200742
DC930 Heavy-Duty XRP(tm) 1/2" (13mm) 14.4 Volt Cordless Drill/Driver 200625 through 200746
DC935 Heavy-Duty XRP(tm) 1/2" (13mm) 14.4 Volt Cordless Hammerdrill/Drill/Driver 200627 through 200746
DC936 Heavy-Duty XRP(tm) 1/2" (13mm) 14.4 Volt Cordless Hammerdrill/Drill/Driver 200635 through 200746
DC940 Heavy-Duty XRP(tm) 1/2" (13mm) 12 Volt Cordless Drill/Driver 200635 through 200746

The model number is printed on a sticker on the side of the unit. The date code is embossed on the bottom of the unit. Units stamped with an "M" following the date code have been repaired and are not included in this recall. The packaging of repaired drills has a green dot sticker near the UPC label.
Sold at: Wholesale distributors and retailers from about June 2006 through December 2007 for between $180 and $280.
Manufactured in: Mexico
Remedy: Consumers should stop using the drills immediately and contact DEWALT for the location of the nearest service center to receive a free inspection and, if necessary, free repair.
Consumer Contact: Call DEWALT toll-free at (888) 742-9168 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. ET Monday through Friday or visit firm's Web site at

Shopping Channel HSN Agrees to Pay $875,000 Civil Penalty

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) announced today that HSN LP (previously known as Home Shopping Network), of St. Petersburg, Fla., has agreed (pdf) to pay a civil penalty of $875,000. The civil penalty settles allegations that HSN LP failed to report in a timely manner, as required by federal law, serious injuries and hazards with the Welbilt Electronic Pressure Cookers.

CPSC alleged that from September 2001 through about October 2004, HSN received at least 25 reports from consumers indicating that the pressure cookers contained a defect that could create a substantial product hazard or that the pressure cookers created an unreasonable risk of serious injury. CPSC alleged that HSN failed to immediately report this information as required by federal law.

HSN LP finally reported information to CPSC in February 2005.

In June and October 2005, these pressure cookers were the subject of a recall. Under the Consumer Product Safety Act, manufacturers, distributors and retailers are required to immediately report to CPSC information about products that could create a substantial risk of injury to the public or that create an unreasonable risk of serious injury or death. In agreeing to settle this matter, HSN denied CPSC's allegations that it violated the CPSA.

To see this press release on CPSC's web site, including a picture of the product involved and links to the agreement and recall, please go to:

Gap Outlet Recalls Boys' Jackets; Drawstring at Waist Poses EntrapmentHazard

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with the firm named below, today announced a voluntaryrecall of the following consumer product. Consumers should stop using recalled products immediately unless otherwise instructed.

Name of Product: "Warmest Jacket" Boys' Jackets
Units: About 16,200
Retailer: Gap Outlet, operated by Gap Inc., of San Francisco, Calif.
Hazard: The jackets have a waist drawstring with a toggle that could become snagged or caught in small spaces or doorways, which can pose an entrapment hazard to children. In February 1996, CPSC issued guidelines (pdf) to help prevent children from getting entangled at the waist by drawstrings in upper garments, such as jackets and sweatshirts.
Incidents/Injuries: None reported.
Description: The jackets are hooded, zip in front, and have a drawstring at the waist. They were sold in navy and gray in multiple children's sizes. "Gap Outlet" is printed on a label at the neck. Style number 513573 is printed on a white label sewn behind the size and product care label near the neckline.
Sold exclusively at: Gap Outlet stores nationwide from September 2007 through December 2007 for about $50.
Manufactured in: Indonesia
Remedy: Consumers should stop wearing the jacket immediately and return it to any Gap Outlet store for a full refund. Consumers who return the jacket before April 30, 2008, will also receive a $5 appreciation card. Consumers choosing to keep the jacket should immediately remove the drawstring to eliminate the hazard.
Consumer Contact: For additional information, contact the company toll-free at (888) 747-3704 between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. ET Monday through Friday, Saturday 12 p.m. through 7 p.m. ET, and Sunday 12 p.m. through 6p.m., or visit the firm's Web site at

North American Breaker Co. Recalls Counterfeit Circuit Breakers Due to Fire Hazard

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with the firm named below, today announced a voluntary recall of the following consumer product. Consumers should stop using recalled products immediately unless otherwise instructed.

Name of Product: Counterfeit Circuit Breakers labeled as "Square D"
Units: About 50,000
Distributor/Retailer: North American Breaker Co. Inc. (NABCO), of Burbank, Calif.
Hazard: The recalled circuit breakers labeled "Square D" have been determined by Square D to be counterfeit and can fail to trip when they are overloaded, posing a fire hazard to consumers.
Incidents/Injuries: None reported.
Description: The counterfeit circuit breakers are black and are labeled as Square D QO-series models 110, 115, 120, 130, 210, 215, 220, 225, 230, 235, 240, 250, 260, 280, 1515, 1520, 2020, 2125, 315, 340, 350, 360, and 3100. Actual Square D circuit breakers have (a) the amp rating written on the handle in white paint on the front of the breaker; (b) the Square D insignia molded onto the breaker side, and; (c) a yellow chromate mounting clip with half of the top of the clip visible. If your breaker, labeled as Square D, does not match this description, it could be counterfeit.
Sold by: NABCO, electrical distributors, and retailers nationwide from March 2003 through April 2006 for between $3 and $85.
Manufactured in: China
Remedy: Consumers should contact NABCO to determine if the breaker they have is counterfeit and to arrange for a free inspection and replacement or refund if necessary.
Consumer Contact: For additional information, contact NABCO at (866) 505-5851 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. PT, email the firm at, or visit the firm's Web site - this is not a Square D Company recall.

Tot Tower Blocks Recalled by eeBoo Corp.; Children's Toy Can PoseChoking Hazard

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with the firm named below, today announced a voluntary recall of the following consumer product.

Consumers should stop using recalled products immediately unless otherwise instructed.

Name of Product: Tot Tower toy blocks
Units: About 170,000
Importer: eeBoo Corp., of New York, N.Y.
Hazard: The plastic covering on the toy blocks can detach, posing a choking hazard to children.
Incidents/Injuries: The firm has received two reports of the plastic covering detaching from the blocks and being mouthed by young children.
No injuries have been reported.
Description: The recalled Tot Tower blocks are sold in sets of 10 blocks ranging from 6 x 6 inches to 1.5 x 1.5 inches. The cardboard blocks are covered in a plastic laminate film. The blocks have various images and themes including Things I Know New; Garden Fairies; Hardware Store; Around the Land; Read-To-Me; Animal Sounds; Animal Alphabet; ABC; and Nursery Friends. "Tot Towers" and "eeBoo Corporation" are printed on the product's packaging.
Sold at: Specialty and gift shops nationwide from January 2003 through September 2007 for about $20.
Manufactured in: China
Remedy: Consumers should immediately take the recalled toy away from children, and return it to the place of purchase for a full refund, or contact eeBoo Corp. directly to receive a replacement toy.
Consumer Contact: For additional information, contact eeBoo Corp. at (800) 791-5619 between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. ET Monday through Friday, or visit the firm's Web site at

FDA Warns Consumers Not to Use Super Shangai, Strong Testis, Shangai Ultra, Shangai Ultra X, Lady Shangai, and Shangai Regular (also known as Shangai

Toxic Note: I know that none of OUR readers would EVER buy or use any of these products, you're too smart to try unregulated drugs off the Internet without checking 'em out first. But, just on the off-chance someone out there is considering it (after all, someone must be buying it or they wouldn't be making it to sell...), here's the info from the FDA:

These products are illegal drugs and contain undeclared active ingredients in prescription erectile dysfunction drugs

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is advising consumers not to buy or use Super Shangai, Strong Testis, Shangai Ultra, Shangai Ultra X, Lady Shangai, and Shangai Regular, also marketed as Shangai Chaojimengnan, products.

These products, which originate in China, are being marketed for the treatment of erectile dysfunction (ED) and for sexual enhancement. Although labeled as dietary supplements, these products do not qualify as dietary supplements because they contain undeclared active ingredients of FDA-approved prescription drugs for erectile dysfunction. The products are thus drugs that are illegal because they lack FDA approval.

The undeclared ingredients in these products may interact with nitrates found in some prescription drugs (such as nitroglycerin) and can lower blood pressure to dangerous levels. Consumers with diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or heart disease often take nitrates. ED is a common problem in men with these medical conditions. Because they may have been advised against taking ED drugs, they may seek out products like these because they are marketed as "all natural" or as not containing the active ingredients in approved, prescribed ED drugs. Additionally, because the manufacturing source of the active ingredients in these products is unknown, consumers should be aware that the safety, efficacy, and purity of these ingredients can not be validated.

"Products like these put consumers at considerable risk because they contain undeclared active ingredients in FDA approved drugs that require a prescription to obtain," said Janet Woodcock, M.D., FDA's deputy commissioner for scientific and medical programs, chief medical officer, and acting director of the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER). "An unsuspecting consumer with underlying medical issues may buy and take these products without knowing that they can cause serious drug interactions."

FDA performed chemical testing of the products that revealed that Super Shangai, Strong Testis, Shangai Ultra, Shangai Ultra X, and Lady Shangai contain sildenafil, the active ingredient in Viagra, an FDA-approved drug for erectile dysfunction. Shangai Regular, also marketed as Shangai Chaojimengnan, contains an unapproved substance with a structure similar to sildenafil that may cause similar side effects and drug interactions. Neither sildenafil nor the analog of sildenafil is listed as an ingredient on the label of any of these products.

FDA advises consumers who have used any of these products to discontinue use and consult their health care providers if they have experienced any adverse events that they feel are related to the use of these products. Consumers and health care professionals can report adverse events to FDA's MedWatch program at 800-FDA-1088 or online at FDA recommends that consumers should talk to their health care provider about FDA-approved treatments for erectile dysfunction. FDA may take further regulatory actions to protect consumers from these illegal products.

The products are packaged and distributed by Shangai Distributor, Inc. of Coamo, Puerto Rico.

Veeeerrrryyy Interesting

The Fayette Front Page put number trackers on all of their blogs (along with the ability for people to sign up for email notification when blogs are updated). Then they put a bunch of the blogs across the top of the page to let their readers know about the blogs.

This one is topping the charts.

I think it's the title.

But here's the question: Is it because it's a catchy title or is it because people are drawn to the negative?

Next in line numbers-wise are State and National Election News (SNEN) and The Barefoot Photographer.

Now the numbers include people from anywhere who hit on the blogs, not just people coming from my current home, Fayette County, GA. I can see that with all the interest in the Presidential elections that the SNEN column would be getting a lot of pings given the number of candidates that it's keeping up with.

The Barefoot Photographer is a great blog for those who enjoy photography. The writer, Donna Rosser, has a photography club at the Fayette Art Center and Gallery, plus she teaches. Love her work.

Back to the question of human nature. Because that's what my original question was really about. Are we drawn to the negative? Is it human nature or have we been trained by the media, the movies, the television programs, the news?

Or, do you simply like the title?

Me, I love the title.

Thursday, December 27, 2007 Update

Well, been "communicating" with They send an email saying their sorry, will I give them another chance. I send one back saying nope. They send one saying will I give them another chance.

So far I've had an email from Prakash, Monica, Subhrajit, and Vipin Sai. I will say that the first paragraph shows they kinda-sorta read part of my email. Kinda-sorta. The rest is canned.

I finally told 'em I didn't want anymore canned emails, not to bother to respond. I received a response saying (again) that they were truly sorry, they hoped I'd give them a second chance, but if I wanted to write anything else it needed to go to their general questions complaint site.

Hmmm... do ya think they're tired of me answering their canned responses?

There's a perverse part of my nature that thinks I could keep this going until they got tired of hearing from me.... How long would it be before they blocked my email? Closed my account?

I'm heading over to the site now to see if there's some way to cancel it myself. I'm tired of playing and they're obviously not very interested in one little peon customer. Oh, I guess I shouldn't say that, they want me to give them one more chance, give them one more chance, give them one more chance, give them one more chance...

Caffiend Alert for Caffeine Lovers!

Yours truly has one major addiction... caffeine. I am truly a caffiend. Can't stand coffee, so I have to get my false energy from other substances. Hot tea is my favorite, drink at least one to four cups a day.

Energy drinks are great, too, although I'm trying to cut back on the fizzy stuff. Bad for your calcium retention. The doc explained to me that when you drink soda's your body counteracts the carbonation by zapping calcium to your stomach. Hence you're leeching calcium from your system. I know that is an over-simplification of what happens, but that's the general gist.

Here's the point of this blog... If you love caffeine, check out Swiss Miss Hot Chocolate. They have a new one (or at least this is the first time I've ever noticed it) on the shelf: "Pick-Me-Up" with ADDED CAFFEINE. Love hot chocolate? love caffeine? What a great combo.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Hard lesson learned re: Amazon

My husband has surgery earlier this month and was still unable to be left alone for long periods of time. I have shopped on-line before, love having packages just show up on my front porch. When Greg's daughter-in-law sent a list for the grandkids with the suggestion that I shop on Amazon I thought it was a GREAT idea!

I popped over, found the things we wanted and ordered. Voila, done without any hassle. They guaranteed arrival before Christmas, we had 8 full days so there was a fudge factor allowance in case there was a glitch.

One of the books arrived on the 20th. Checked email and found a note saying that they'd split the shipment, the rest would arrive by the 24th. Cutting it close as that's Christmas Eve and that's when the grandkids were coming, but they promised.

On the 22nd I called as it hadn't arrived. On-line tracker showed only that the carrier had been notified to pick up. I was starting to do a mini-panic.

The person I talked to (from India I believe based on accent), was rather abrupt. He said they were getting a lot of calls and that my shipment was like everyone else's and it would arrive by Christmas. The carriers were very busy and they were not all scanning the items thus it was not showing on their tracker that it been picked up but it would arrive. Basically he said I was wasting his time calling. Frustrating as it seemed he didn't even bother to check anything, just spouted his standard lines.

Christmas eve day... no packages. But the mail was running behind, we saw trucks zipping up and down the road delivering packages and knew they worked late to make sure the packages arrived.

The kids came. The kids left. No Christmas presents from Amazon. The grandkids were so good about it (probably because the parents had warned them on the way over that their Christmas presents might not have made it to our doorstep). Disappointed but good. I was so frustrated. We must have sneaked outside 20 times to see if maybe the packages had been delivered.

What a rip. That is the last time I will order presents on-line from Amazon. I know that only allowing a week for delivery at Christmas is a risky proposition. However, I think if when I called their so-called help line someone should have done some cursory checking. It they had followed up, the presents would have been found and delivered. I used to manage an area where we dealt with similar situations. I am well aware of what COULD have been done.

I'm not giving up on ordering on-line. I just won't be shopping Amazon anymore. If it hadn't been for my recovering husband, I wouldn't have allowed Christmas to sneak up so quickly. I'll know in the future to shop earlier...

I sent Amazon an email, not yelling, not nasty, but definitely to the point, regarding the shipment. It's been 12 hours. I haven't heard back from them yet. They're going further and further in the dog house with me.

Friday, December 21, 2007

FDA Develops New Tools to Further Improve the Security of Food and Cosmetics

Effort part of Food Protection Plan for ensuring the safety of domestic and imported foods eaten by American consumers

As part of the FDA’s comprehensive Food Protection Plan initiative, the agency today released self-assessment tools for industry to minimize the risk of intentional contamination of food and cosmetics. The tools are companion pieces designed to make previously issued industry guidance documents more user-friendly and practical.

Food protection is one of FDA’s top priorities and that means guarding against both intentional and unintentional contamination of foods. “The tools FDA is providing will help members of the food and cosmetic industry identify opportunities to better guard against intentional contamination of their products,” said CFSAN Acting Center Director David Acheson.

In 2003, FDA issued a set of Food and Cosmetic Security Preventive Measures Guidance documents. These documents are aimed at operators of food and cosmetic establishments, as well as businesses that produce, process, store, repack, relabel, distribute, sell or transport foods, food ingredients, and cosmetics to help them minimize the risk of malicious, criminal, or terrorist actions involving products under their control.

The guidance documents are:

Food Producers, Processors, and Transporters: Food Security Preventive Measures Guidance
Importers and Filers: Food Security Preventive Measures Guidance
Retail Food Stores and Food Service Establishments: Food Security Preventive Measures Guidance
Cosmetics Processors and Transporters: Cosmetics Security Preventive Measures Guidance
Dairy Farms, Bulk Milk Transporters, Bulk Milk Transfer Stations and Fluid Milk Processors
Food Security Preventive Measures Guidance

Using feedback from industry, the FDA repackaged the information found in the guidance documents and created a corresponding self-assessment tool for each document. By using the tools, industry members can get a quick and detailed assessment of the measures they currently have in place to protect against intentional contamination of their products. With this consolidated information, it will be easy for them to see where meaningful improvements to their current practices can be made.

The self-assessment tool asks the participant to mark the presence of a variety of food protection measures with a Y (Yes), N (No), N/A (Not Applicable), or Don't Know for each item. Examples of measures addressed by the self-assessment tools include the possibility of product tampering; identification of security procedures and responsibilities; and evaluation of response strategies in the event of product tampering or other intentional contamination.

For more information

The Food and Cosmetic Security Preventive Measures Guidance documents and self assessment tools

The Food Protection Plan

Whole Foods Market Expands Allergy Alert on 365 Organic Everyday Value Swiss Chocolate Bars to All Varieties and Lots (Dec. 21)

Whole Foods Market is expanding the recall of the 365 Organic Everyday Value Swiss Milk Chocolate Bars with Rice Crisps with a Best If Used By date of 11/21/07, to include all varieties and all lots of chocolate bars with a Best If Used By date prior to 11/08/09.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Hooker Furniture Announces Voluntary Bunk Bed Recall

Business Wire - In cooperation with the Consumer Product Safety Commission, Hooker Furniture (NASDAQ-GS:HOFT) is issuing a voluntary recall on bunk beds from its Albany Park, Swedish Accents, Mariner's Landing and Chelsea's Place youth bedroom groups. A joint press release with the CPSC was issued on December 13, 2007. To see a copy of the joint press release, please go to

Names of Products: Bunk beds in the Albany Park, Swedish Accents, Mariner's Landing and Chelsea's Place youth bedroom groups.

Units: About 1,300

Importer: Hooker Furniture Corporation of Martinsville, Va.

Hazard: The bunk beds have gaps between parts of the upper bunk exceeding the space allowed by the federal bunk bed safety standard, posing a potential entrapment or strangulation hazard.

Incidents/Injuries: None reported.

Description: The recalled bunk beds come in twin-over-twin, twin-over-full and loft beds in the group names of Albany Park, Swedish Accents, Mariner's Landing and Chelsea's Place. The bunk beds come in natural, cherry, white and black finishes. Some of the bunk beds are also made of metal.

Sold at: Hooker Furniture retailers nationwide from August 2005 through August 2007, for about $1,000.

Manufactured in: Malaysia and Vietnam.

Remedy: Consumers should not allow children to use the recalled bunk beds and contact the retailers where purchased to schedule a free, in-home repair.

Consumer contact: For additional information, contact Hooker Furniture toll-free at (877) 705-8408 between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. ET daily Monday through Friday, or go to the "Contact Us" section of this Website,

While no incidents or injuries have been reported, Hooker Furniture has learned that the size of the openings in some areas of the upper bunk exceeds the space allowed by the federal bunk bed safety standard, posing a potential entrapment or strangulation hazard.

Consumers have been instructed to contact the retailer where they originally purchased the bunk bed to schedule a free, in-home repair.

The affected bunk bed designs have been corrected for future shipments, which will comply with applicable safety regulations and standards.

For additional information, contact Hooker Furniture toll-free at (877) 705-8408 between 8 am. and 4:30 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday, or visit the "Contact Us" section of the firm's Website at

Ranked among the nation's top 10 largest publicly traded furniture sources based on 2006 shipments to U.S. retailers, Hooker Furniture Corporation is an 83-year old residential wood, metal and upholstered furniture resource. The Company's principal customers are home furnishings retailers who are broadly dispersed throughout North America. Major wood furniture product categories include home entertainment, home office, accent, dining, bedroom and bath furniture. Hooker's residential upholstered seating companies include Cherryville, N.C.-based Bradington-Young LLC, a specialist in upscale motion and stationary leather furniture, and Bedford, Va.-based Sam Moore Furniture LLC, a specialist in upscale occasional chairs with an emphasis on fabric-to-frame customization. Please visit our websites at, and

Nearly One in Five Americans Say They Can't Afford Needed Health Care

Nearly one in five U.S. adults - more than 40 million people - report they do not have adequate access to the health care they need, according to the annual report on the nation's health released today by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The report, "Health, United States, 2007," is a compilation of more than 150 health tables prepared by CDC's National Center for Health Statistics.

The report also contains a special section focusing on access to care, which shows that nearly 20 percent of adults reported that they needed and did not receive one or more of these services in the past year - medical care, prescription medicines, mental health care, dental care, or eyeglasses - because they could not afford them.

"There has been important progress made in many areas of health such as increased life expectancy and decreases in deaths from leading killers such as heart disease and cancer. But this report shows that access to health care is still an issue where we need improvement," said CDC Director Julie Gerberding, M.D., M.P.H.

In 2005, nearly one in 10 people between the ages of 18 and 64 said they were unable to get necessary prescription drugs during the past 12 months due to cost. Nearly 10 percent said they delayed receiving needed medical care. This report did not study the relationship between access to health care services and health outcomes.

Other major findings of the report include:

* Young adults 18-24 years of age were more likely than children or older adults to lack a usual source of care and to be uninsured. About 30 percent of these young adults did not have a usual source of health care, and an equal percentage were uninsured.
* One in 10 adults ages 45-64 years did not have a usual source of health care, and more than 5 percent of adults in this age group who had diagnosed high blood pressure, serious heart conditions, or diabetes reported not having a usual source of medical care.
* In 2005, one out of five people under the age of 65 reported being uninsured for at least part of the 12 months prior to being interviewed. The majority of this group reported being uninsured for more than 12 months.
* One in 10 women aged 45-64 years with income below the poverty level reported delaying medical care due to lack of transportation.
* About one-third of all children living below the poverty level did not have a recent dental visit in 2005, compared with less than one-fifth of children with higher income.

The report features data on virtually every health topic from all stages of life, and does show a number of important gains:

* In 2006, 87 percent of children age 19-35 months received three or more doses of pneumococcal conjugate vaccine, an increase from 41 percent in 2002.
* In 2001-2004, the age-adjusted percentage of adults with high blood cholesterol was 17 percent down from 21 percent in 1988-94.
* In 2001-2004 about 25 percent of adults 20-64 years of age had untreated cavities, down from nearly 50 percent in 1971-74.

The full Health, United States: 2007 is available at For more information about the latest Department of Health and Human Services initiatives proposed to provide affordable health care coverage to every American visit for more information.