Damm Spam!

I get 100s of emails a day, from Bernadine Burnette, Preston Moss, Mercan Modry and Benny Cummings. I also hear from BFFs Lois, Burt and Mae. My favorites are from Chris Biggtent. These so called Best Friends, Doctors and Colleagues promise me everything from 100 count Vicodin at the low, low price of $19.95 to a better love life with my new and improved peennie… That one always gets me because why do I want a bigger one? I don’t have one to begin so why would I contact Chris Biggtent to get one?

Spam emails. Hate them or are amused by them, they are definitely a scourge on my wide world web experience. They clog up our emails, harass us daily and even go so far as to capture our email address and send me mail that has the name of a legitimate friend as the sender. Argh!! How obnoxious is that!

I thought I would dig to see if there are any statistics out there that dissect spam emails and found this bit of information on http://www.spam-filter-review.toptenreviews.com

Email considered Spam 40% of all email
Daily Spam emails sent 12.4 billion
Daily Spam received per person 6
Annual Spam received per person 2,200
Spam cost to all non-corp Internet users $255 million
Spam cost to all U.S. Corporations $8.9 billion
States with Anti-Spam Laws 26
Email address changes due to Spam 16%

And only 8% of the population that has access to email even buys from these spammers! Wow! Only 8% determines that companies should spam and that this is good business practice. I want to find that 8% and smack them!
What makes these spam companies think in their wildest dreams that I would ever buy from them? Do they think that “If I harass her enough she will purchase?” And some of them are respected companies like Edward Jones Investments, Procter & Gamble, Hearst Communications and even Dell!

So how do you fight back? Most of us feel that if we ignore them they will go away but they still attack your email inbox daily no matter how many Spam Fighter programs you have installed they arrive in the 100s maybe in the thousands to email inboxes all day long!

By ignoring them does not solve nor does it bring to justice those evil doers of emails. You can do something. I found several sites that I have listed below.

uce@ftc.gov - The Federal Trade Commission monitors spamming trends and catching the bigger infiltrators of spam
ing enforcement@sec.gov - Forward all stock-related scams to the Securities and Exchange Commission

Internal Revenue Service takes tax fraud and avoidance very seriously
The United States Postal Inspection Service is always interested in chain letters, pyramid schemes, or other illegal scams that involve US Postal addresses. Also, you can forward such spams to fraud@uspis.gov

419.fcd@usss.treas.gov If you receive one of the "Nigerian bank" fraudulent emails (someone claims to have millions of dollars in a bank and they need your help

Food and Drug Administration is interested in health-related spams, like "herbal viagra", "enlarge your penis", "lose weight", etc.

otcfraud@cder.fda.gov is a good site for over the counter drugs that claim big results.
So here you go. Try to do your part at least once a day if you can. I am sending Chris Biggtent to the Big house someday. At least I hope I can.

Happy Spam Battling!


Hey God???

Hey God? I have a question for you. Why is there an increase in shootings right now? How come our neighbors, our students, our children are becoming an ever increasing tally of bloody victims?

My niece Rose attends Northern Illinois University in Dekalb. I was able to get through to her tonight. The first words out of my mouth was “Thank God you are alright!”. I know tonight that friends and families all over this area and throughout the United States are uttering that same verbal prayer. How close our family came to being not just a spectator of this tragedy but a part of it.

Tonight 6 families are crying out, looking for answers. 5 families of students that were no more than 19 years of age and one anguished family with the knowledge that their son, their brother was the finger that pulled the trigger.

Is February 2008 to become the black eye of history with the NIU shootings to be the fourth school shooting in a month? Baton Rouge, Louisiana, a women shot and killed two fellow students then took her own life; Memphis, Tennessee a 17 year old shot and wounded a fellow student; Oxnard, California a 15 year old has now been declared brain dead; and now DeKalb, Illinois 22 shot, 6 dead.

I don’t have any answers here. No glib or profound reasoning here to share. I am glad my Rose is okay; I am at a loss at what to say.

So God, I know you are busy tonight but can you answer why?


To Serve

She is tired now picking her black kick pleat skirt off the floor of her bedroom while gazing at a bed she seems to use no more than 4 hours a night. Tucking her white men’s shirt into the waist of her panty hose that has seen too many days and too many soup spills while slipping the noose of her daffy duck embellished tie around her aching neck, she is ready.

She is tense wrapping the too big white expanse of heavy linen around her waist where the hem causes a contrast between the black skirt skimming her thighs and the rounded knobs of her creaking knees. She shoves a plastic leather ticket book into the deep pocket that she hopes will bear the fruit of her nightly torture. She scrounges in her fake leopard purse that has seen too many days and constantly smells of the grease of where it hides beneath an ancient and decrepit shove-it-all table that is tattooed with cigarette burns of many a weary soul. She finds the two pens that will be guarded over as if a pit bull has invaded her soul.

She winks at the small figure of maleness who stares from his perch of overturned milk crates at the scraping and slicing of the prep from hell. She knows that all too soon this little person will soon venture out to make his own hell but for the moment she indulges his hero worship of a monster in checks that can terrorize and beat down the strongest. She warns him of the evil one from the front of the house. The commandant of the kitchen promises he will teach.

She plates the never ending supply of ready to go grasses and ferns. Over and over she plunges her pained hands into the icy depths that contain the work of the prep-devil. Her freezing fingertips scream with two more trays to go. She gasps moving the cart that makes moving a leather couch a breeze to roll it into its place of honor awaiting the grabbing hands that will drown its occupant in creamy decadence.

She sighs as she scurries to bread the quadruple sats at the never-ending fourtops. She moves with the speed of a cougar and wrestles the stacked baskets of calm-em-down delectables with the hard and icy grease that the perps of her pain will spread on their crusty morsels.

She passes the smirking head of his kingdom knowing that he sat 16 at her charge to test her and to punish her for her audacity to ask for a night away. Ticket after ticket will spit towards the commandant in checks. Order up will taunt her for the next six hours. Artfully arranging the hot and scalding plates that continuously scar her hands, she hoists the circular burden and raises her leg to kick at the offensive swinging door leading her to perps of their own personal pleasure. A smile claws at her jaws while she nods and hustles.

She bears the brunt of all that is wrong this night of hard knocks. She smiles, she entertains, she fakes it, all the while the slurping mandibles clack around her. Her mind tabulates the insult of the 5% that is deigned to her from the perp that entertained himself while rolling his nicotined stained fingertip along her ass all while complaining that she was not fast enough, not happy enough, not good enough to be in his presence other than to serve.

Her head bows while the steam rolls across her cheeks and stings her teary eyes. She receives a smile, a nod, a moment of recognition as a fellow soldier in this nightly battle of routines. She knows that the screams and shouts, the commandant orders and broken crockery will result in the one joy of the night.

She drags on that joy. A long inhale of the first cigarette of the night, while sitting on the oil coated back stoop with the one in checks , who takes long tokes on his own form of relaxation, he who yelled the loudest but is teaching her son all he knows. She relishes in the fact that all is well. And that she forgot to eat.

She is tired now. She pats the full pocket that is to be transferred into the expense envelopes of her life. She picks up the sleeping sweaty figure that did not take his eyes off the commandant in checks and walks to her car. See you tomorrow – we’ll do it all over again.

She is weary because she knows its true.

* * * * * *

I worked as a waitress for many years while holding down other jobs. My son Steve was the little figure and he hid in the corner of the restaurant where I worked. He idolized the chef and Peter was very kind to him. Now he is a chef as well.

Being a waitress is one of the hardest and sometimes most emotionally demanding job. Be kind to your server.


Letter to Me at 17

There is a country song on the airwaves called Letter to Myself at 17 by Brad Paisley that is very sweet and lovely recalling himself at the age of 17 and that got me thinking. What if you could write yourself a letter and somehow through the cosmo waves the letter appeared mysteriously at that crossroads age? So I thought I would take a stab and try not to wax too poetic.

Dear Chooch:

What do I say to you that you don’t think you know already? I guess I have to prove that I really am you so I will let you know something I know that you obsess about. Stop reading Gone with the Wind already! You have read it 15 times and your copy is falling apart. Branch out to the classics and tell the librarian that you don’t give a rat's ass about the Boston Banned Books and you want to read Forever Amber!

High School is not the be all end all. These are people you probably will never see again and most likely won’t care about. Stop trying so hard to impress the "in" crowd, they are not very nice and there are 10 other people you should pay more attention to. You are not going to marry that cute football player and that wrestler that breaks up with you 2 weeks before prom? Don’t sweat it. You really did not like him that much but for God Sakes do not date that motorcycle dude from Carol Stream. He is way too creepy for you and you have nothing to prove to yourself.

You are making that decision about college so here is some advice. Go ahead to Clarke College but don’t be swayed by Victoria, she really does not have your best interests at heart and you don’t need her friendship kid. Also, when Sister Carol gets all nasty, instead of quitting the theater department, report her! It will difficult but worth it in the end. Plus the other two directors love you. Be confident and don’t back down.

Trust me when I say this corduroys are not flattering ever! Don’t let Mom talk you into these. In fact don’t buy any clothes until you get to Dubuque. You are going to lose about 15lbs and won’t fit into anything anyway and plus you will discover that there are pants that fit your 34 length leg. So no more floods kiddoo.

While we are at it. Branch out from the Danskin look. Sure you will be one hullava disco queen but there are much better looks there and when you do go Studio 54 you won’t look like such a dancin’ robot. Stand out from the crowd! When you are 24 you will definitely stand out in your black leather pants with the silver sparkle tube top and the boy hair cut. While everyone else is sporting the Madonna craze, you are one cute little cowgirl.

When that director in HS gives you the consolation prize of Assistant Director for Oliver don’t take it. You go ahead and take the lead at Albright Theater. Better crowd and much better experience. Also, when making the crucial decision to quit acting when the boys are little, don’t do that either. Waiting 20 years to get back in professional theater is a long time and you will have lost a lot of opportunities.

Stay away from that absolutely gorgeous guy from the steak place. Sure he is one hunky guy but trust me on this one, things get a little sticky there and it will start your quest to procreate for the Catholic Faith. But if you can’t resist, then stick to your guns and don’t go it alone child. Oh and when your sons try to terrorize you, get a shrink fast. It will save you a lot of heartache in the end.

And your nickname - Chooch. You are going to find that means little asshole in Italian. Really lets just pretend that Dad didn’t mean it that way. Your knickers don’t need to be all bunched up. Celebrate the fact that you are somewhat bitchy and move on.

Oh one last thing. Try to find a guy named Tom from West Chicago. It will save you a lot of heartache in future. Believe me on this one.

I could on and on but I can say that you need to believe in yourself. You grow to be one great gal and no one can put you under.

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