Monday, June 08, 2009

Question of the Day

Here's an interesting question;  what do all these groups have in common?






Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers


American Academy of Family Physicians


American Academy of Pediatrics


American Association of Community Colleges


American Association of State Colleges and Universities


American Cancer Society


American College of Cardiology


American College of Emergency Physicians


American College of Nurse Midwives


American College of Surgeons


American Council on Education


American Dental Education Association


American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), AFL-CIO


American Federation of Television and Radio Artists


American Federation of Teachers


American Heart Association


American Legacy Foundation


American Lung Association


Association of American Medical Colleges, Coucil on Teaching Hospitals and Health Systems


Association of American Universities


Breast Cancer Network of Strength




California Public Employees' Retirement System (CalPERS)


California State Teachers' Retirement System (CalSTRS)


Children's Defense Fund




Colorado Public Employee Retirement Association


Common Cause


Communications Workers of America, AFL-CIO


Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities


Consumers Union


Duke Energy


Duke University Medical Center


Easter Seals


The Episcopal Church


Exelon Corporation


Giant Food, Inc.


Gross Electric, Inc.


Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund


International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, AFL-CIO


International Brotherhood of Teamsters Union


International Federation of Professional & Technical Engineers, AFL-CIO


International Foundation for Employee Benefit Plans


Iowa Farm Bureau Federation


Japanese American Citizens League


Johns Hopkins Medicine


League of Women Voters


Maternity Center Association


Michigan Health & Hospital Association


Motion Picture Association of America


National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP)


National Association of Chain Drug Stores


National Association of Childbearing Centers


National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities


National Community Action Foundation


National Conference of Public Employee Retirement Systems


National Consumers League


National Coordinating Committee for Multi-Employer Plans


National Council of Churches of Christ in the U.S.A.


National Council on Teacher Retirement


National Education Association


National Multiple Sclerosis Society


New York State Teachers' Retirement System


Organization of Chinese Americans


Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)


Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism


Salvation Army


Sheet Metal Workers' International Union, AFL-CIO


Small Business Majority


Stop & Shop, Inc.


Union for Reform Judaism


United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, AFL-CIO


United Methodist Church - General Board of Church and Society


United States Conference of Catholic Bishops




Thursday, May 07, 2009

The long road to . . . .

Ain't that a pretty road?  I wonder if it might be the road not taken?

Today we have a few idioms to get out of the way before we delve into a fairly serious and depressing subject tomorrow or the next day.  

As many of y'all know I very much believe that EVERYTHING IS CONNECTED.  Not in some paranoid government conspiracy sort of way (although my mind is open on that subject) but in a more general way.   I believe that the the World Wide Web is nothing more or less than a map of the Human Brain.  And the Human Brain is a map to the Universe.   Maybe.

What is another term for the WWW?  The Information Superhighway!  Here at Walk Stars HQ we like highways.

And now a joke:

There once was a rich man who was near death. He was very grieved because he had worked so hard for his money and he wanted to be able to take it with him to heaven. So he began to pray that he might be able to take some of his wealth with him.

An angel hears his plea and appears to him. "Sorry, but you can't take your wealth with you." The man implores the angel to speak to God to see if He might bend the rules.

The man continues to pray that his wealth could follow him. The angel reappears and informs the man that God has decided to allow him to take one suitcase with him. Overjoyed, the man gathers his largest suitcase and fills it with pure gold bars and places it beside his bed.

Soon afterward the man dies and shows up at the Gates of Heaven to greet St. Peter. St. Peter seeing the suitcase says, "Hold on, you can't bring that in here!"

But, the man explains to St. Peter that he has permission and asks him to verify his story with the Lord. Sure enough, St. Peter checks and comes back saying, "You're right. You are allowed one carry-on bag, but I'm supposed to check its contents before letting it through."

St. Peter opens the suitcase to inspect the worldly items that the man found too precious to leave behind and exclaims, "You brought pavement?!!!"

Sooooo........ we have a picture that may or may not be worth a thousand words.  We have a music video and we have a cute little joke.  We're discussing idioms today,  so I imagine some of y'all have already figured out that the top picture is a street paved with gold. 

And gold is the original money.  Well, I think that might actually have been salt - but pretty much from the beginning of money until the Nixon administration gold and money have been synonymous. 

Now we know that money is the root of all evil.  Well not actually.  The King James version quotes Paul in 1 Timothy 6:10 as saying:

 For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows

Some translations claim it is 'A' root rather than 'THE' root.  Not that it matters all that much.   

So if love of money is a root of evil; why are the streets of heaven paved with it?  And why is the road to hell paved with good intentions?????

We'll answer these questions and ask others tomorrow or the next day. 

Have a wonderful day.  And as the Irish say;  may the road rise up to meet you.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Killer App

As anyone who has followed us here from Our Ladies of Perpetual H.O.P.E.  knows, although I am not the oldest Walk Star, I am the most 'old ladyish' of us all!  I am computer literate but beyond that I sometimes sound like a librarian from the 50's tsk-tsking about the young people and their vulgar habits!   My middle son and our friend, Cat, tease me about being "jiggy with the lingo".

I have (she says with an embarrassed shrug) recently learned to text.  But since I still haven't learned how to drive and talk on a cell phone at the same time I don't see myself texting while driving.  And I certainly don't see myself sexting!   

And since I am not a twit, I do not tweet.  

When I talk about MySpace, I mean my half of the bed!  Facebook?  Well that's another long story I'll bore you with another day.

Today we are going to discuss a killer app for your blackberry.   Or maybe your iphone.  Or both - who knows.  When I first discovered the site in question there were no iphones!  It's a walking site called mapmywalk.  

It's pretty cool as just a website; you can route out different walks and find mileage.  You can see where other people in your neighborhood enjoy walking.  Here is one of our favorite places to walk:


It's the Tempe ASU Research center. I don't know if they do any actual research there or just rent out office space but it's nice.  I had not known until I started going to Map My Walk that the research park is deliberately shaped like the double helix.  I like that.  I understand there is an entire neighborhood in Milwaukee that is shaped like a Prussian helmet.  I'll have to look that up and we can discuss it another day!

Back to Tempe. . . . . When we first started going to Map My Walk there was something on the site about meeting other people to walk with.  Which sounds great but the old lady in me said, "sounds like a good way to get stalked!" 

 I know that, unlike the Walk Stars, most walkers do not walk around armed - but there are always dangers.  There have been stalkers and other varieties of psychopaths in the world for as long as there have been humans.  [Neanderthals didn't stalk; not because they were more moral but because they couldn't be quiet and because they smelled rather rank.]    

Technology seems to make the business of stalking easier in many ways but it also offers foils such as cctv cameras, cell phone cameras, cell phones, and tasers.  I'm guessing it's a wash.  

So back to the site in question. . . . 

If I understand correctly (a pretty big "if" given my limited tech skills and my ever decreasing attention span) one can download something onto their iphone which talks to the map my walk site and allows one to get routes on their phones.  And then it sends your route to the site and keeps track of your mileage, any changes to your route, your speed and whatnot.  It also claims to record the calories you burn.  

Ha!  The only way it can make even a rough estimate is to know how much you weigh.  Like I'm going to tell my phone that?  One little burst of static electricity and my phone would be sending my weight to everyone in my phone book and to the Internets!  I haven't even activated the gps map thingy on my phone yet because I don't want Verizon and the satellites telling that odd phone man from TV and the million people he has milling around him where I am!  I'm sure he's a nice guy but I hate crowds.   

But I digress. . . . 

Here is the list of imapwalkphonewhateveritiscalled features:

  • Total Time
  • Total Distance (in miles or kilometers)
  • Pace (minutes per km/mile) or current speed
  • Average Speed / Pace (km/mile)
  • View your running maps directly on your iPhone
  • Training Log including Distance, Calories Burned, Time, and Date
  • Add Your Workout to Twitter

  • Add my workout to Twitter?  Oh yeah,  I'd have followers galore just waiting for updates about my latest aches and pains, my thoughts about people who don't clean up after their dogs,  my wondering if I'm having a heart attack or if I'm just out of breath, my sudden understanding  that maybe the entire world is correct and smoking is not healthy, my amazement and delight that I made it to mile 2 without collapse, my sudden fear at the realization that there are no public restrooms within three miles, my internal debates about whether that is a stick in the path or a sleeping venomous snake, and of course my panic when I see a balloon in a storm grate!  

    So for now I will just use the online map-my-walk features and leave the killer app for when I have killer abs.  But if any of the other walk stars decide to twit or tweet or twitch about their walks I'll let you know so you can follow them.  (just not in person cuz that would be stalking!)  

    Tuesday, April 28, 2009

    Three Day Walk ~ Team Total

    The Walk Stars recently participated in the Gilbert Relay for Life ; 
    benefiting the American Cancer Society.

    Our team raised $2829.00

    The grand total for the Gilbert event was $180,000

    We will bring you pictures as soon as possible!  

    We are looking for our next event, but until then we will share some of our Walk Star stories.  (We may even have a few old Team H.O.P.E. that I swore I would never tell but now that we are a new team. . . . . .)

    Sarah Carmichael

    Most of my female relatives hail from my mom's side of the family. They are of Swedish descent; fair skinned and rather shy. Nice people, great cooks, sweet tempered and good natured. Also a bit reserved. In my family the only sin greater than putting someone out or being a bother was calling  attention to yourself.   Bragging was verboten - as was accepting a compliment, as that might mean you agree with the person offering the compliment and that would be bragging.  We also  didn't complain or air our dirty laundry in public.  Yes, it was somewhat repressive - but none of us ever went on Jerry Springer so I'm thinking there are worse ways to live your life.  

    My mom and her relatives were not necessarily meek, and they certainly weren't cowardly, they just didn't make waves unecessarily.  Nor would they ever make an entrance.  

    My dad's family was Scottish.  (Again with the fair skin!) Except for one uncle they were even quieter than my moms family.   I'm not sure why - they didn't have the same inhibitions, they were just quiet.  Their trucks were loud, their Johnny Cash 8-track tapes were loud, their guns were loud, they just didn't talk much.  

    I was not a quiet child.  

    I tried.  I really and truly did.  But I had so much to say.  And I had a song in my heart that needed singing.  And life was so funny I just had to laugh out loud.  

    My uncle Johnny (no relation to Johnny Cash, sadly) was married to a woman named Sarah.  She was neither Swedish nor Scottich.  She referred to herself as Indian - so it seems odd to me to call her a 'Native American'.   She had deep dark skin at a time when all the white girls were basting in baby oil in the sun.   Her hair was not only dark but long and unrestrained.  

    And she was loud.  She had the same fears and insecurities we all have (plus a few extra from growing up poor and orphaned on a reservation) but she hid hers beneth a bravada that was awe inspiring.   

    My mom and her female relatives kept their fingernails trimmed to an 'appropriate' length and either left them bare or polished them with pinks and taupes.  Sarah didn't just paint her nails; she laquered them in bright fire engine red.  And let them grow long- long enough that when people saw her using a typewriter they would stop and stare because it just didn't seem possible.  

    Sarah always seemed fearless.  She wore brightly colored swimsuits.  She drove too fast.  She waterskied and jet skied.  She drove dune buggies and ATV's.  She hung out at the river drinking and dancing all night.  

    As an adult I've met many fearless (acting) women but as a child there was only Sarah.  The best part for me was that Sarah was a plus sized woman.    I was already learning  that not wearing horizontal stripes was just the first of many prohibitions for large women.   Then Sarah would visit and I would think all manner of things were possible!

    Sarah taught me not to apologize for how much space I take up on the planet - if you don't get what I mean,  ask your favorite overweight friend to explain!  

    Sarah died of Liver Cancer shortly before her long awaited first grandchild was born. 

     A friend of mine lost his mother, who was roughly the same age, to liver cancer.  No known cause, no treatment.  Supposedly a very rare form of cancer but I know two people who have died from it and don't know anyone who has died from Breast Cancer.

    I'm mighty grateful I'm not in charge of how research time and money and brain power  gets divided up.  

    Here is a quick quiz:   What do 
    Janet Wood, Bailey Quarters, and Sabrina Duncan 
    all have in common?  

    Joyce Dewitt, Jan Smithers, and Kate Jackson.  80's television.  The smart ones.  The ones with short hair and normal sized breasts.  Not sexy.  Not forceful or brave or funny or anything else very interesting.

    Those of us who were teenagers in the 70's and 80's and knew we would never in a million years (or for a million dollars) be able to look like Loni Anderson or one of Charlie's Angels had those three role models to choose from.  

    And then there's Maude.  

    Not intended to be a role model for teenagers she nonetheless impressed me.  Tall and fearless and smart and assertive.  

    Maude was not sexy - but she also wasn't anybody's side kick. 

    I'll never be tall.  I'll never have mahagony skin or raven hair.  I'll never water ski.  But I have on occaision fooled people into thinking I'm fearless.  I have acted confidently.  I have even been truly confident in asserting my intelligence and my qualifications.  (once or twice) 

    So if at times you find me a bit brash and bold you can thank (as I do) Sarah Carmichael and Bea Arthur.     

    Sunday, April 26, 2009

    Bea Arthur and Sarah Carmichael

    This blog has been sitting empty for several months now. We put it up when we signed up to do the Gilbert Relay For Life to raise money for the American Cancer Society. Then the ACS did something that irritated me and I didn't want to bash them while trying to raise money for them but I also was lacking my usual no-holds-barred enthusiasm. (And I was busy with other Walk Star business. Things don't just bedazzle themselves, you know!) Then in the paper this morning was the notice of the death (due to cancer) of Bea Arthur.

    Lots of folks die from cancer (one of the reasons folks like us try to raise money for cancer research!) but Bea Arthur's death reminded me that it was time to get back to doing what I love. . . . being the official blogger and Logistics Lady for the Walk Stars.

    Why Bea Arthur? Who is Sarah Carmichael?

    It has not escaped my notice that EVERYTHING IS CONNECTED! (It has also not escaped my notice that most of the folks who truly get the interconnectedness of all tend to turn into conspiracy theorist whack jobs! But don't worry about me - I have a tight grasp on reality!)

    I'll explain the connection tomorrow or the next day. For now just enjoy the video clip and please feel free to sing along with one of the greatest theme songs of all time!

    Tuesday, January 06, 2009

    Purple is the New Pink!

    It's true!  Team H.O.P.E. and Simply the Breast have merged and metamorphed into the Walk Stars!  We are participating in the American Cancer Society's Relay for life on Friday, April 17, 2009 from 6 p.m.-6 a.m

    Join us here for regular updates regarding our fun raising!

    And no, that was not a typo!