Thursday, December 06, 2007

Happy Hanukkah!

From Two Wheeled Texans Forum:
Funny latke story:

Howard was to participate in a holiday party for his office the first year he moved to Texas, so he elected to bring latkes as he wanted to introduce his officemates to something other than the usual Christmas stuff. He got up super early to grind potatoes and fry the latkes fresh so they'd be hot and tasty when he got to work.

I called him later that day and asked how folks liked 'em, and he burst out laughing. Seems his latkes were snapped up pretty quickly, and when he commented on it, one of the larger African-American ladies patted him kindly and said, "Honey, this is Texas--it don't matter if it is Jewish, so long as it's fried!"

Happy Hanukkah to all my Jewish friends out there. And a special shoutout to Talia Klein who went to Westbury with me!

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Teddy Bear Terrorist

Here's a link to CNN's compilation of news articles on Gillian Gibbons and the teddy bear named "Mohammad". Her classroom use of the bear, sending it home each night with a child to write a story and share it with the class the next day, is a learning tool that my daughter's first grade teacher did too.

I'm glad that the punishment isn't nearly as bad as it could have been. With only 15 days, the government saves faces by actually setting her free instead of having talks with the UN and other nations to try to get her out of prison years from now. I'm thanking God for this small miracle.

However, this teacher will always live in fear of her life now. Some crazy jihadist believing in her guilt may try to offer her blood as a sacrifice to please his cannibalistic god. I pray that the Lord will give her peace throughout her life.

I'll also pray for all the former school workers who lost their jobs when they had to shut down the whole school over this debacle.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Beautiful Lady

The Elissa, a 100+ year old tall ship anchored in Galveston, is sailing in a race from Corpus Christi to Port Aransas. Y'all that haven't been blessed to live in Texas will remember her from the Statue of Liberty celebration parade of tall ships back in 1986. The officials couldn't let her be first; that honor went to the Constitution. She sailed in last, the oldest ship there in full glory, a sight worth waiting for as they passed the Statue of Liberty. Here's a video of her recently shot for the race.

Or you can look at this photo gallery.

Wow! I love looking at her, especially under full sail. I'm just too far away from Galveston right now to justify the gas money. Taking the kids out of school to let them see her under full sail - yeah, I can justify that! They did get to tour her this past summer though on vacation. The tour includes almost the whole ship and they even let you crawl up into the sleeping quarters. Boy, the ship has gotten a lot smaller from when I was a kid and toured it.

If my brother had been born a girl, my parents were going to name him Elissa after the ship. Not that my parents are somehow connected to the ship, but my dad is a history nut and the Elissa is romantic history alive today.

Good luck Elissa!

Friday, October 19, 2007

I'm Smarter than a California 8th grader!

Thanks to D-Ed Reckoning, I found a state exam from California consisting of questions from their 7th and 8th grade math, reading, science, and social studies test. I'm glad to be able to say that I passed all sections with a 100%.

Overall, I don't think the test was bad. I can definitely say that there's no way to measure a student's knowledge over the year with this few of questions. There were two questions in social studies concerning the pyramids that seemed to contradict each other. I had to think a bit about the physics questions. All the math I was able to do in my head or logically eliminate the other possible answers.

Take it for yourself!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Texas Aggies in the News

Aggies with Meningitis

There are two Aggies who contracted Meningitis recently. The good news is that one of them went home yesterday. Our prayers are with you both!

Aggies in the Supreme Court

The Supreme Court decided not to hear an appeal concerning the school and and school officials' liability from the Bonfire Collapse of '99. A lower court ruled that the school and officials cannot be held liable. The whole case revolved around some new concept of law called "state created danger."

Aggies Being Insulted

A fraternity from Texas Tech has managed to insult Vick fans, Texas Aggies and, the scariest of them all, animal rights activists. Yeah, the shirt is nasty and degrading but I don't think they should be banned from selling it.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Is the HPV Vaccine a Failure?

If the data from this article is correct, the new HPV vaccine is a complete failure, a total disaster that needs to be pulled from the market immediately for further testing. It has been available just one year in a limited market capacity and already there are eleven deaths.


US Death Toll Associated with HPV Vaccine Jumps to 11 with 3779 Adverse Reactions Reported

WASHINGTON, DC, October 5, 2007 ( - Judicial Watch, the public interest group that investigates and prosecutes government corruption, yesterday released new documents obtained from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) under the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act, detailing a total of as many as eleven deaths related to Merck's HPV vaccine Gardasil. Those deaths resulted between June 8, 2006 - when the vaccine received approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) - and August 2007 when the latest data was available.

The adverse reports coming from the HPV vaccine are increasing daily at an alarming rate. A report which scanned a publicly available database of adverse affects coming from the HPV vaccine found 3,137 adverse effects reported on September 28, 2007. Today the US Government's Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) lists 3,779 adverse effects. 52 of the cases were deemed "life threatening" and 119 required hospitalization.

The article continues by highlighting two cases, one teenager found dead and another that experienced paralysis and lesions on her optic nerve. The reports obtained by Judicial Watch from the FDA can be viewed in their entirety. I admit I don't know why vaccines can cause such a wide range of side effects but it seems to be the case for many vaccines, not just this one.

My heart goes out to those parents.

Monday, October 08, 2007

What Texas Really Thinks

From Fox News:

WASHINGTON — President Bush, who presided over 152 executions as governor of Texas, wants to halt the state's execution of a Mexican national for the brutal killing of two teenage girls.

The case of Jose Ernesto Medellin has become a confusing test of presidential power that the U.S. Supreme Court, which hears the case this week, ultimately will sort out.

The president wants to enforce a decision by the International Court of Justice that found the convictions of Medellin and 50 other Mexican-born prisoners violated their rights to legal help as outlined in the 1963 Vienna Convention.

That is the same court Bush has since said he plans to ignore if it makes similar decisions affecting state criminal laws.

"The president does not agree with the ICJ's interpretation of the Vienna Convention," the administration said in arguments filed with the court. This time, though, the U.S. agreed to abide by the international court's decision because ignoring it would harm American interests abroad, the government said.

Texas argues that neither the international court nor Bush has any say in Medellin's case.

Now, this Press Release from the Govenor's Office does not directly relate to this case, but it gives you a pretty good idea of how we Texans REALLY feel.

From Governor Perry's Office on August 21, 2007:

Statement by Robert Black, spokesman for Texas Governor Rick Perry, concerning the European Union’s appeal that Texas enact a moratorium on the death penalty:

“230 years ago, our forefathers fought a war to throw off the yoke of a European monarch and gain the freedom of self-determination. Texans long ago decided that the death penalty is a just and appropriate punishment for the most horrible crimes committed against our citizens. While we respect our friends in Europe, welcome their investment in our state and appreciate their interest in our laws, Texans are doing just fine governing Texas.”

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Needed: A large vacuum

I'm rather glad to know that, had I been in a situation like this, my husband would pick me up and walk us both out of there. In fact, had Mr. Peloski done just that, I'm sure he would have scored big points with the independent voters floating around right now. A "real man" earns a certain level of respect from society, even today.

From the Washington Post:

Whoopi Goldberg: Pelosi Admirer Extraordinaire

Sure, politicians always appreciate a warm welcome when they appear on daytime TV talk shows. But the welcome House Speaker Nancy Pelosi got today on ABC's chick TV show "The View" was more than warm - it was downright steamy.

Even before Pelosi walked on stage to take her seat at the round table, the show's moderator, Whoopi Goldberg, and its co-hosts - with former news anchor Barbara Walters leading the pack - started flirting with the speaker's husband, Paul, who was seated in the front row.

"You wanna take a look at Nancy Pelosi's handsome husband?" Walters asked the audience.

Yes, came the answer in the form of whooping and hollering. Poor guy was actually blushing. Then the show's hosts asked him how long he and Madame Speaker have been married.

"Forty-four years," Mr. Pelosi managed between pained glances in the direction of a blanket, a paper bag, anything to hide under.

Whoopi got the pleasure of introducing Speaker Pelosi, who she noted is the first woman speaker of the House who, somewhere along the way, managed to raise five children.

But Walters was still stuck on Mr. Pelosi, unfortunately for Mr. Pelosi. And this is where a little blushing turned to a Code Red alert, four-alarm fire.

Trying to shout over Whoopi and her other gabbing co-hosts and excited audience members, Barbara turned to Guest Pelosi and said she has heard Whoopi say before that she'd "do Paul Newman."

"And I think she'd like to do your husband as well," Walters deadpanned in that quintessential accent that made her the subject of late-night lampooning over the decades.

Of course, Whoopi being Whoopi, she couldn't let that one go, which is where the
speaker begins blushing.

Yes, Whoopi implicitly acknowledged, she'd like to do Mr. Pelosi - but she might take his wife while she's at it. "I would do her as well. But we should wait on that because you're still in office, I don't want to cause a problem."

Oh dear, would this were not live TV.

As you might expect, Speaker Pelosi remained silent underneath her signature permanent smile. And her press office later remained predictably mum on the specter of Whoopi-on-Speaker action.

You might also want to check out the comments left on this story. Quite a few of them are downright funny.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Life as a Hygienist

To work is good. Glad to be among the productive in our society. Now I only need to make twice as much money so I can hurry up and pay off school loans.

I am working in an office about 9 miles from the house. Friends have asked if we would move since my job was on the other side of town. (Sad isn't it?) No, we will not be moving. I like having a commute which takes long enough to get my engine warmed up and through a proper heat cycle.

The practice is bustling with activity and has a large staff despite only one dentist practicing in the office. I do my part as a hygienist. They do all their parts. I want to learn all their parts. There really is a lot going on that I don't see, even though I am as behind-the-scenes as it gets.

The patients I see now have a different perspective on their oral health from the ones who sought out the school clinic. Most who come to the school don't ever brush or floss. Many have never been to a dentist. Some may have never owned a toothbrush. They are willing to learn about what is bothering them because things got so bad.

Patients who come to a regular dental office have a high opinion of their oral habits, regardless of the true state of things in there. They take for granted their visits to the dentist twice per year. They must feel as though through association they will acquire some immunity or protection from oral problems.

People! You have to floss! Don't tell me you don't have any plaque in there. There's a ledge of tartar on your lower teeth that you can see whenever you smile! It's so big I could drive tent stakes into it!

Sorry, I get caught up sometimes. The point is, everyone needs to floss and brush. PROPERLY. If using the correct technique, there will be significantly less plaque accumulation, better health in your gums and bone structure, and little tartar to speak of.

I will need to describe such techniques in a future post.

Happy Labor Day! I am thankful I can say I have more work to do tomorrow!

Monday, May 21, 2007

Knockabout pt.2


The few weeks prior to the exam led to a flurry of activity, seeking patients high and low, hoping for someone who fit the bill. Phones rang. Flyers were made, posted, and passed around. Stores and malls were staked out. The local community clinics were approached. Internet forums were solicited. Heck, even an ad on Craigslist. Suitable patients were not to be found.

Did I say "patients?" Yep. It turns out that I was not the only one seeking a patient. Classmate 1 was not confident with her patient when he showed up for a check the week before the exam. She was afraid there was insufficient calculus and wanted to find a back-up.

Classmate 2 was in a similar situation, also seeking a back-up patient.

Classmate 3 was without a patient altogether, though she tried to get one of the patients who went to an earlier exam. She was not successful in enticing him to be a WREB patient a second time.

Classmate 4 was one who took an earlier exam and was helping out in locating patients for the rest of us. What a saint.

Classmates 3 & 4 worked together, 2 worked with me, and 1 just worked. (She got a job as an assisstant until her license comes in.) We covered about a 100 mile spread physically and much further with the aid of the internet. Alas, not much came about. Lots of hits for folks willing to volunteer, but none who qualified.

Two days before the exam, Classmate 2 and I met a lady about 70 miles from home. She had arranged for us to meet with several friends and co-workers of her husband. That night, at about 9:30 pm, I found a woman who seemed to fit the criteria. I would not know for certain until I got her in the clinic and got x-rays, but there was a beam of light shining through.

That did not last long, as the woman, was afraid to leave her children with someone for the day. She is illegally in the country and fears for her family. I cannot say that I blame her, but Classmate 2 (originally from Mexico but is here legally) recommends against using her as a primary due to the possibility of complications with her family. We left, not having failed, but without the ring of great success.

As we headed up the road, I got a call from Classmate 3 who was seeing people 60 miles from us that night. She declared that success was with us afterall as she found two patients! They could be at the clinic the next day.

I continued with my plan to see patients who called in from the flyers and such, but with no success. More calls were made, and in the process, I made an interesting discovery. The guy who had been a previous WREB patient claimed he had been planning to go with Classmate 3 all along. I let Classmate 3 know that she needed to get in contact with this guy quick to confirm.

By the time one of Classmate 3's newly identified patients showed up, she had confirmed that she did have a patient in this other guy afterall. I had a patient. The other two who were looking for back-ups had decided to stick with who they already had.

Life was good, even though it was the day before the exam when I found my patient.

What A Knockabout Of Pure Fun That Was! pt. 1


As a recent dental hygiene graduate, I hope to practice soon. Practicing requires getting a license in that state. Getting a license requires taking the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam , which is a written exam, and a regional clinical exam where your performance in cleaning a patient's teeth is scored. The Western Regional Examining Board administers those clinical exams for several states.

Some of my classmates took the exam in Dallas in April. Others took in in San Antonio at the start of May. I took it last Friday.

The exam itself is pretty basic. You clean a quarter of a mouth in 2.5 hours. Sounds simple, right? Well, it would be if I could hang on to a patient.

The patient requirements for the WREB exam are pretty tight. The patient must have heavy subgingival (below the gumline) calculus (tartar) deposits. Twelve is the magic number. 12. As in twelve large pieces of subgingival calculus in one quadrant of the mouth, or up to one quadrant plus four teeth anywhere else in the mouth.

I found my WREB patient early on. I was the first one in my class to have a WREB patient. I was excited, especially since it was our good friend and neighbor. I brought her in again in February to begin planning for my exam. I was rather upset to find out that she had brushed and flossed every day since the last appointment a couple of months earlier, diminishing the size and quantity of the deposits, and no longer qualified as a WREB patient. Good for her, bad for me.

I began to search again. It took another two and a half months to find another suitable candidate. She is a nurse in a retirement home. She said that she understood what it was like to have such big exams for getting a license to practice and agreed to do whatever she could to help, including go with me to my exam in Houston. Sadly, that was the last time I saw her. She has not returned any of my calls or messages since.

Which brings us to about three weeks before the exam. I have no WREB patient and no prospects.

It is the last week of school and I need a Class IV (a particularly difficult class of patient) to complete the semester and graduate. I have nobody on the list, and the clinic has not screened a Class IV since November. She walks in off the street one afternoon. I get her back in for two consecutive days to finish her periodontal treatment just in time for the semester to close out. Frustratingly, she would have been pretty good for WREB, except for the part where had I not completed her treatment, I wouldn't have been able to graduate, and therefore would not have been allowed to sit for the WREB exam.

The semester closes out without success at finding a WREB patient.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Ultimate Bed (for sleeping)

Is it worth it?

From Fox News:
The $50,000 Bed: Could It Possibly Be Worth It?

Everyone loves to turn off the alarm and hop back into bed ... but would snoozing be any sweeter if you shelled out $50,000 or more for a place to sleep?

A small but growing number of Americans are purchasing beds from Hollandia, an Israeli company that offers “off-the-shelf” beds from $10,000 to $50,000.
My husband can barely get me out of bed in the morning as it is. I never want to go to bed and I never want to get out of bed!

Hollandia was founded 25 years ago by Israeli artichoke farmer Isaac Barssessat, who was inspired to start his company after a trip to the Netherlands led him to a bed that helped relieve his chronic back pain.

“The idea is that people spend 50, 60, 70, $100,000 for an automobile they're proud of, but if they're in it for more than two hours a day, they complain they were in the car all day and their back hurts,” said David Ashe, CEO of Hollandia International U.S.
Farmers always have that different outlook on life that just makes way too much sense sometimes.

Yes, I would buy it... if I won the lottery or something...

You give Unions a bad name

A rather revolting look at what our society has become:

From the Houston Chronicle:
Ninety-nine HISD teachers who received performance bonuses are being told this week they have to pay back an average of $745 because the district accidentally overpaid them.


Although this affects less than 1 percent of HISD's 12,500 teachers, the error should not have been made," HISD spokesman Terry Abbott said in a written statement. "We regret it and apologize to those instructional staff members."

The head of the HISD's largest teachers union, however, is advising her members to keep the money.

"If it's the district's error, then the district should bear the loss," said Gayle Fallon, whose Houston Federation of Teachers represents about 6,500 employees.

"If you tell someone they deserve money and put it in their bank account, you've got a helluva nerve taking it back."

Fallon said she is encouraging teachers not to sign the form authorizing the district to deduct the money from their paycheck. Without the signed form, the district can't take back the money, Fallon said.

"And if they direct them to sign it, we'll see them in court," she added.

Asked to respond to Fallon's comments, Abbott said simply, "The money will need to be returned.
Good, honest, and for fairness for all doesn't describe unions anymore. In fact, it hasn't for a while. If a mistake was made, then I would encourage the people to pay it back, if at all possible. I know that it may be impossible for a couple of people but I would definitely encourage them to try.

And I'm not just preaching like a hypocrite. I'm sure that's the first thought that many people will have as they read this post. I had the opportunity last week to return a check to Walmart that the cashier had rung up improperly. I could have kept the money. After all, it's just Walmart, another global coorporation without a face already rich beyond comparison, that isn't going to miss my hundred bucks. But there was a great amount of thanks in the face of the manager and I'm sure that the cashier, who I found out was just out of training, is thankful too. She was a nice girl but she messed up. There are in fact, many faces in a global coorporation.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Texas AG issues order, screws up

What, you've never heard of an Attorney General messing up? Well Greg Abbot pulled a fast one last week and brought Texas Courthouses to an almost complete standstill. This may be one for the history books. Have there been any other decisions that brought everything to a standstill like this? Okay, there probably have.

District and county clerks from across the Brazos Valley hovered in a state of chaos for the second day in a row Tuesday as elected officials scrambled to protect them from possible arrest if they're unable to comply with an old law that has new implications.

Clerks in the Brazos Valley, just like those from every other Texas county, have been in a frenzy for several days following the release of a legal opinion from Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott that requires Social Security numbers to be removed from open records before the documents can be made public.

The law on which the opinion was based is designed to protect Texans' personal information from identity theft.

The issue is privacy. The AG issued a new opinion on an old law that is already in effect stating now that absolutely no documents should be made public with social security information on them. Currently, the clerks offer that as an option to customers. Well, absolutely no document includes a lot of documents. A lot of documents. This order he made would require every single document that is filed to be re-examined and a duplicate copy made available to the public with the privacy information redacted.

But today the AG suspended that order with a 60-day reprive to analyze the effect. Oh yeah, I can personally tell Mr. Abbott how difficult is it to continue a courtcase when you can't get copies of the files you need.

I don't think the real issue is privacy. I think the real problem is that credit agencies are willing to sign over thousands of dollars in credit and product to people without proper proof of identification. They are also too willing to just ignore the problem and eat the cost of theft as a "just doing business" expense. Then they pass these costs onto their good consumers and you and I wind up eating it. Stop the problem there and then we won't have to pay millions to re-do our state's county and district clerks.

Order that paralyzed clerks' offices suspended
Brazos Valley adjusts to AG opinion

Tuna Alert

If you're into buying cheap, then you might want to stock up on those little cans of tuna. From this report, we can conclude that prices are going to go up...again.
EU Announces Cuts to Tuna Quotas

(AFP) - The European Commission on Tuesday published reduced quotas for the fishing of tuna for 2007, part of a global agreement to prevent the immensely popular fish from being hunted to extinction.

The total blue-fin tuna catch for the EU as a whole was set at 16,779.55 tonnes for the year, down from 18,301 tonnes in 2006.

The move follows a decision by an international commission to cut the total hunt of bluefin tuna in the Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean by 20 percent by 2010.

The article fails to mention what increase in population of tuna they expect in 15 years and predictions of expected tonnage of harvest will be under these future ideal conditions.