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Ovation: #WakeUpCall – The New Ice Bucket Challenge.

WakeUpCall Jemima KhanSummer is over and the age of the Ice Bucket Challenge appears to be behind us.  Replacing it on social media, however, appears to be a new viral charity effort known as the #WakeUpCall campaign.

Spearheaded by UK socialite and UNICEF ambassador Jemima Khan, the campaign nominates users on social media to take a photograph of themselves when they first wake up on the morning (not looking their best with what many of us call “bed head”) and post it online before nominating others to do the same.

Much like the Ice Bucket Challenge helped to raise money and awareness for ALS, photos posted for the #WakeUpCall campaign area accompanied by a donation to UNICEF in order to aid people affected by the war in Syria, particularly the estimated 6.5 million children displaced by the conflict.

Money raised by the campaign will be earmarked for refugees in the Zaatari refugee camp near the Jordanian border, which currently houses 80,000 people fleeing from conflict areas in Syria.

WakeUpCall Stephen FryCelebrities including British TV host Stephen Fry, supermodel Naomi Campbell and celebrity chef Nigella Lawson were early participants in the campaign.

“I considered asking friends to donate money not to have to attend another dreary charity dinner, but have decided that the quickest way to raise money is through a social medial campaign – to try to replicate the astonishing success of the Ice Bucket Challenge.” – Jemima Khan in an article for the New Statesman magazine.

WakeUpCall Nigella LawsonUNICEF hopes the campaign will be as successful as the Ice Bucket Challenge which raised more than £7 million in the UK along making it, possibly, the biggest online charity campaign of all time.  Other internet campaigns such as #nomakeupselfie, wich raised millions for cancer research, have also been quite successful at raising money for charity.

#WakeUpCall, however, might be the first time we can donate to charity without having to get out of bed.

What do you think of social media charity campaigns? Will you take a #WakeUpCall selfie if you’re challenged?


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Copyright © 2014

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Diatribe: Women Of Texas, Your Silence Equals Consent And Agreement.

Texas Abortion LawYesterday, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals gave the State of Texas permission to fully enforce a sweeping abortion law signed by Republican Governor Rick Perry last year that effectively closes all but seven of the remaining twenty-one abortion clinics in Texas beginning this morning.  The court decided that the law’s requirement for abortions to take place in expensive surgical centers did not impose an “undue burden” on women seeking abortions, even though these centers are only found in major cities.

Two years ago, Texas, the nation’s second-most populous state, had more than forty abortion facilities.  This morning there are only seven facilities that meet all of the law’s requirements all of which are concentrated around the major cities of Houston, Austin, San Antonio, Dallas and Fort Worth.  Many clinics had already closed under a part of the law requiring doctors who perform abortions to obtain hospital admitting privileges.

Today’s change is estimated to leave as many as 750,000 women of reproductive age, many in the Rio Grande Valley, as far as 300 miles away from the nearest abortion facility.  Surely, this could result in unwanted and unplanned children who may become a burden on the state’s economy.

A spokesman for state Attorney General Greg Abbott, who is running for governor, called the decision a “vindication of the careful deliberation by the Texas Legislature to craft a law to protect the health and safety of Texas women.”


I will never understand why so many people who don’t have a uterus think they get to make all the rules for the people who do have a uterus.

“Today’s ruling has gutted Texas women’s constitutional rights and access to critical reproductive health care and stands to make safe, legal abortion essentially disappear overnight.” – Nancy Northup, President and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights.

I absolutely believe that state governments should regulate and closely monitor medical facilities and those who practice medicine within their borders regardless of the procedures that are performed.  I do not believe that politicians are qualified to make medical decisions and I am disgusted by the fact that twenty-first-century men think they know what’s best for their “womenfolk”.

Your Body Your RulesFurthermore, I think it’s preposterous that the women of Texas have allowed this to happen.  Are they living in a different time?  Are they sincerely frightened of the men?  Do they truly believe they are the weaker sex?  Have they been brainwashed into believing that the men know better?

Healthcare decisions are very personal decisions that should be carefully made under the advice of our physicians, after much reflection, conversations with loved ones and, if so inclined prayer and meditation.  Extremely emotional, and potentially morally exhausting healthcare decisions that affect one’s entire family and remain in one’s heart for a lifetime should certainly not be exacerbated by the inclusion older white career politician men.

It is my sincere hope that every woman in the state of Texas take her uterus to the polls this November to vote against each incumbent on the ballot.  Women of Texas, your silence equals consent and agreement.


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Copyright © 2014

Ovation: Are Passengers Who Don’t Wear Seat Belts Are Partly Responsible For Their Injuries In The Event Of An Accident?

Walmart MorganThis morning I woke to find an email asking me to sign a petition telling WalMart “How dare you blame the victims for the crash your driver caused”.  It made me do a lot of thinking.

You may recall that last June, actor/comedian Tracy Morgan was critically injured in a six-car pile-up on the New Jersey Turnpike when a truck driven by Walmart employee Kevin Roper collided with the rear of a limo that was carrying Morgan and four others.  A preliminary report by the National Transporation Safety Board said that Roper was traveling 20 mph over the speed limit and that he was almost at his drive time limit.  The wreck left Morgan, 45, with broken ribs, a broken nose and a broken leg.  His friend, comedian James McNair, was killed, and two others were injured.  Roper pleaded not guilty to criminal charges that include vehicular homicide and assault by auto.  The following month, Morgan filed suit against Walmart saying the company was negligent for not knowing that Roper had been awake for more than twenty-four hours at the time of the accident.

Last Monday, the company responded in a court filing by saying that the actor’s injuries were caused, in whole or in part, by his failure to wear a seat belt and that he and his friends had “acted unreasonably and in disregard of (their) own best interests.”  Walmart’s filing also noted the possibility that the injuries may have been caused by third parties over whom it had no control.

Seat Belts Save LivesFrankly, I have to agree that Morgan should shoulder some of the responsibility for his injuries if he chose to not wear a seat belt while a passenger on the New Jersey Turnpike.  (In fact, New Jersey’s Seat Belt Law (NJS 39:3-76.2f) was amended to require all occupants to buckle up regardless of their seating position in a vehicle so he may have been breaking local law.)   It seems common sense to me that we all should wear seat belts on the highways all of the time.  Seat belts save lives.

On Tuesday of this week, the company released a statement that included less legalese and appeared to be softer than the earlier court filing.

“Walmart is committed to working to resolve all of the remaining issues as a result of the accident.  As part of the ordinary course of legal proceedings, Walmart filed an initial response yesterday to the lawsuit that included facts and defenses that may impact the case moving forward.  While we were required to respond to the lawsuit, we have also taken steps to encourage settlement discussions.  Our thoughts continue to go out to everyone involved, and we remain committed to doing what’s right.”

I’m not a fan of WalMart and I haven’t been a fan of Tracy Morgan since his 2011 declaration during a Nashville stand-up performance that he would stab his son to death if he told him he was gay so I really don’t care who wins this lawsuit.  I do, however, think it’s unfair to overlook the fact that these injured parties aren’t taking any responsibility for their own lack of common sense and I’d hate to see people stop wearing seat belts because of any example Morgan might be setting.

When Misti Risner killed Clyde and Carnie Newton it was “just another traffic accident”.  Was this just an accident, too?

“I want to thank my fans for sticking with me during this difficult time. I love you all. I’m fighting hard every day to get back.” – Tracy Morgan, who has not specified the amount of damages he is seeking from Walmart, in a message to his fans.

I didn’t sign the petition this morning because I don’t think Walmart is really blaming the victims for the crash.  I think everyone can agree that they, clearly, didn’t cause the crash.  I do, however, think that Morgan and his friends should share in the responsibility for their injuries if they were not wearing seat belts.

What do you think?  Is Walmart “blaming the victim” or should the passengers who didn’t wear seat belts be held partly responsible for their injuries?

Diatribe: Melissa Klein Was Not “Forced” To Close Her Bakery.


Melissa Klein

In my hometown, there was a family-run clothing store on one of the old downtown streets that had been there for many years.  It had survived many changes to the local economy and I never understood how it could compete with larger department stores.  I imagine the family that owned it had deeply held religious convictions and did their best to run their business in accordance with their beliefs.  I’m also quite certain that they obeyed the laws of the village, the county and the state.

The Civil Rights Act of 1964 outlawed discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex or national origin and applied to schools, workplaces and facilities that served the general public known as “public accommodations”.  The Oregon Equality Act of 2007 extended these protections to include gays, lesbians, bisexual and transgender citizens in the state.

In January 2013, Sweet Cakes By Melissa refused service to a lesbian couple looking for a wedding cake.  The subsequent fallout included national media attention and a state investigation for anti-gay discrimination which were perpetuated by Klein’s continued actions including baking cakes for an “ex-gay” group.

Klein and her husband, Aaron, are now fighting a $150,000 lawsuit from the state that made her break into tears while discussing her passion for wedding cakes during a September 26th appearance at the recent Values Voter Summit.  She told the audience that the couple was driven out of their small town business after they said it would “violate their religious beliefs” to do business with lesbian couple Rachel Cryer and Laurel Bowman.

Despite the fact that the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries said there is strong evidence that the couple broke the law, they claim they were “forced” to shut down their bakery.

“I mean quite frankly, they didn’t just harass us, they harassed the other wedding vendors that we did business with.  It cut off our referral system.  We had to shut the shop down.  It’s horrible to see your own government doing this to you.” – Aaron Klein

The fact is Melissa and Aaron Klein were not forced to close Sweet Cakes By Melissa.  They broke the law and, consequently, chose to stop providing services in her community rather than follow the laws obeyed by competitors.  In the time since their refusal of service, the Kleins have become martyrs and marketing tools for the anti-gay agenda and those opposed to marriage equality.  They, and their radical supporters, ridiculously believe that their Constitutional right to freely exercise their religion is being violated.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  A few things to consider.

  1. The Kleins are free to believe whatever they want.
  2. There’s no law that says they have to run a bakery.
  3. It’s against state law to discriminate if they choose to do so.

Here’s a video of Melissa’s September 26th performance.  Enjoy the well-timed applause.  I think she put on quite a show.

Poor, poor, Melissa.  Poor crying, sobbing, blithering Melissa.  She can’t be part of any more “amazing special days” because she discriminates against same-sex couples and it’s against the law.  Maybe she should’ve baked Rachel and Laurel’s cake.  Maybe she should’ve been nicer instead of making a federal case.  Maybe she should rethink her religion … the one she’s got now cost her $150k.

Of course, she’ll probably make plenty of bank on her book tour.


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Copyright © 2014

Ovation: Bringing New Light To The Sistine Chapel.

Vatican Pope Conclave RulesWe have some unique artwork displayed on the walls of our home.  We try to decorate with art from local artists or family photos in unusual frames.  We’ve bought a couple pieces at auction and we’ve hung other pieces that were given to us as gifts.  But one of our favorite ways to collect art is to scour antique stores.  Finding just the right piece of vintage art can be a rewarding adventure when redecorating.  Sometimes the old frames themselves are architectural masterpieces and can pose as art on their own.

Last weekend we took one of our finds to a local hobby shop to have it worked on.  It is a beautiful watercolor, an original painting on a parchment paper that had been glued and taped to a board and mounted matted inside a simple frame and underneath a very old piece of glass.  The matt around the beautiful scene had at some time in the painting’s history suffered a bit of water damage.  The painting was not harmed and the beautiful old wavy glass that covered it was not harmed in any way.

As the man at the custom framing counter carefully took our find apart and removed the old matt, we discovered that the original watercolor painting had faded quite a bit over the years.  He patiently helped us select a new matt to replace the old one, trying not to update the look and feel of the original work but to restore it to what it must have looked like when the artist or former owner originally hung it on their wall to enjoy in their home.  We selected a frame that is a bit larger and more substantial than the simple frame we had purchased from the antique store but chose the same basic color and style.  All the while we talked about the quality of the painting and how the fact that the colors had faded didn’t detract from its beauty.  In fact, had we not removed the old matt, we would never have known the colors had even faded.

Birth Of The Universe BeliefsMichelangelo’s work in the Sistine Chapel of Rome have been protected from fading for more than five hundred years, shielded from the elements and protected from millions of visitors each year.  His masterpiece has proven highly resilient and only one small piece is missing … part of the sky in the ceiling panel depicting Noah’s escape from the great biblical flood.  This section of painted plaster fell to the floor following an explosion at a nearby gunpowder factory in 1797.

Recently, the Wall Street Journal reported that the ceiling and walls of the Sistine Chapel will be illuminated by 7,000 LED lights because visitors have been complaining that current lighting is so bad they can’t make out details of the artwork.  Technicians have spent a year testing the new lights, which will be about five times brighter, to make sure they won’t damage Michelangelo’s work.  The new lighting system will cost about $2.4 million, but the Vatican estimates it will be up to eighty times more efficient.

An average increase of 500,000 visitors per year since 2011 is being attributed to the “Francis effect” of the popular new pope.  And, since the Sistine Chapel is the most popular tourist attraction in Vatican City, keeping all those folks happy is good for business.  The one thing the new lights won’t help, however, is all the extra bacteria the additional people bring with them which can damage the artwork.  So a more powerful air-conditioning system is also in the works.

A comparison of our old watercolor and High Renaissance masterpiece by Michelangelo is ludicrous.  Still, although we have no way of knowing for certain, without engaging the services of an art historian or appraiser, the age or value of our old water color, with its new matt and frame we’ll hang it proudly on our wall.  And we’ll have a marvelous story to tell about how we discovered it, restored it and made it our own.  It’s not the Sistine Chapel, but it’s our own little art restoration project and we intend to enjoy it for a long time to come.


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Copyright © 2014

Diatribe: logoBoomers like me remember a time when people left their cars in the driveway without locking the doors.  It was a time when communities were composed of neighborhoods in which everyone knew each other.  Men shared tools, women shared recipes and children shared toys.  We had block parties and cook-outs and we looked out for each other.  Many people didn’t even lock the doors to their houses.  Those who did choose to lock their doors would often leave a key hidden nearby for emergencies.

Of course, the keys were never hidden very well.  Most would guess to look for a key underneath a welcome mat, a potted plant or on a nearby ledge above the door jamb so as time wore on specialty hiding places were developed specifically to hide keys outdoors.  Artificial stones with hidden compartments and metal boxes with magnets became popular so that spare keys could be left, hidden for those who inadvertently locked themselves out.

key under welcome matNowadays, few of us leave home without locking our doors.  In fact, newer homes often have elaborate security systems that are constantly monitored with motion sensors, cameras and other electronics that alert the authorities if unauthorized access to the home occurs.  But, at the end of the day, it all boils down to the safety and security of one’s house key.

And now it doesn’t appear that they’re as secure as we might think they are. is making headlines for demonstrating how simple it is to make a copy of a key to any house, condo or other property using only a smart phone.  By visiting the website on a mobile device, users can take a photo of the front and back of a key, enter a credit card number and have a duplicate key mailed to them in a matter of days.  While the service might be a convenient way for homeowners to order extra keys, it seems to me like a security breach waiting to happen.

Think about all the opportunities during the day for someone to take a photograph of your house keys.  Do you leave them on your desk at the office?  Do they dangle on the side of your purse as you stand in line at the supermarket?  Is it in the console of your car?  Did you give it to the valet at the restaurant last night?  Who else has a copy?  Where do they keep it?  Is it safe? is careful to explain that they take extreme precautions to ensure the security of their customers’ keys and personal information.

From Keysduplicated


They also offer some good advice and commonsense rules than can help prevent unauthorized duplication of your keys.  For example:

  • Keep your keys in a pocket, purse or anywhere else out of sight that you would keep a credit card.
  • Don’t leave your keys unattended.  You don’t leave your credit cards layering around, right?
  • Consider high security locks on your doors with keys that are harder to duplicate.  (If you don’t have a security system, it might be time to get one.)
  • Don’t share pictures of your keys on social media.  Ever.

Our homes are our castles.  They are our refuges and we need to feel safe there.  Our children count on us to make them feel safe there.  Our homes are where the heart is and we have to maintain control of who gets in.

“A house is just a place to keep your stuff while you go out and get more stuff.” – George Carlin

Keep up with your house keys.  Treat all of your keys like you would an online password.  Many vehicle keys can be copied, too.

Would you use a smart phone app to order duplicate keys?


Like this post? Follow the blog and get involved in discussions! Find “Follow via Email” on the right side of the page.  There’s also an opportunity to follow on Twitter and/or LIKE our page on Facebook so you won’t miss a daily post.  Click on buttons at the end of each post to share on other social media sites, too!  Thanks for reading!

Copyright © 2014


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