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I’m donating My Two Cents to National Public Radio, and nothing more. Here’s Why

nprDear National Public Radio,

It is late October and that means it is fall pledge drive around the country at local public radio stations, asking us to support their thorough, balanced in-depth reporting.

All summer, I listened to NPR’s reporting of Gaza’s war with Israel. Funny how, in the weeks leading up to the drive, hardly any stories have come out from NPR’s Jerusalem bureau. Really, NPR, did you think your listeners and long-time donors have such a short-term memory on how you cover Israel?

I know, I know, without the rockets firing from Gaza or the IDF shooting them down, there is really nothing coming out of Israel that is worth taking up precious air-time.

What with the Ebola epidemic (which Israel has sent a team of doctors in West Africa trying to save lives, and back in Israel, medical researchers are racing to find treatments and cures), and the increasing power of ISIS (which, many of ISIS’ Syrian civilian victims are being treated in Israeli hospitals), the story of the Middle East’s only modern, democratic country fighting for its life has slipped off the radar.

But your coverage of Israel, and your under-reporting of the rise of Jew hatred, in part by your coverage, has not slipped the minds of many of your donors, myself included.

So, in spite of my love of Car Talk, and Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me, and in spite of all the wisdom Michigan Radio has given me about my new home state, here are several reasons why I am no longer donating or picking up my phone:

  1. Coverage of the conflict is reduced to a perverted basketball game, where NPR kept score of the deaths of Palestinians and Israelis, as if there was some moral equivalence. It went under reported that the impetus of this summer’s conflict was the kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teen-aged boys, and the fact that Hamas puts out handbooks to its population on how to kidnap Israelis. That you didn’t report.
  2. Gaza fires missiles into Israel for days or even weeks without NPR coverage. I know this is true because my Israeli friends, and an Israeli-Invented app called Red Alert tells me whenever a Quasam rocket is fired. It is only when Israel retaliated in self-defense, that NPR picks up the story, which continually makes Israel appear to be  the aggressor.
  3. NPR failed each time to report that it was Hamas that broke all 11 cease-fire arrangements in this summer’s conflict, prolonging the war and causing only more deaths to Palestinian civilians.
  4. NPR attributed the number of the deaths to “Palestinian sources,” which, in the Gaza strip, is Hamas, a terrorist organization which looks to inflate civilian deaths by using people as human shields to further perpetuate their cause.
  5. Let’s look at Hamas’ ultimate cause, which NPR time and time again failed to truly investigate, or question, when it so graciously interviews a Hamas official: If brought to negotiation table (negotiation with Israel, as stated in Hamas’ charter, is a non-starter, because Hamas states it refuses to negotiate with Israel) NPR reported this summer that Hamas’ goal is to lift Israel’s occupation and blockade around the Gaza strip and open up the waters to fishing boats. NPR fails to press on to really report what Hamas wants: the ultimate destruction of Israel and to murder all Jews. It is printed clear and simple in the Hamas Charter, yet those highly skilled NPR reporters somehow don’t have the time to do any in-depth reporting on this document.
  6. NPR’s failure to question the Palestinians on how they educate their children, which is pretty much clear brainwashing bent on fostering hatred towards Jews. Such education is administered through Hamas-sponsored children’s programming, and schooling conducted in schools monitored by the United Nations.
  7. Throughout this summer, and into the fall, there has been an uptick of Anti-Semitism. Jews being murdered in places like Miami. Brooklyn. Swastikas appearing on college campuses as fast as they can be erased. A rabbi’s car set on fire in the parking lot of a synagogue on Rosh Hashana.  All this has gone under reported by National Public Radio.
  8. Rosh Hashana came and went. Did NPR go to the Israeli towns in southern Israel for a follow-up story on how Israelis are celebrating the New Year, in what could have been a massacre delivered through Hamas’ terror tunnels? No. That would place Israelis in too human a light.
  9. Once again, money is being poured into Gaza to rebuild. Has NPR ever investigated how much money Gaza has received in the past, and how much of that money went into building terror tunnels instead of: schools, pharmacies, libraries, theatres, homes, etc? No.
  10. A virulent Anti-Semitic glorification of terrorism in the form of an opera is now being staged by the Metropolitan Opera amid protests led by Jews and prominent politicians like former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani. No coverage.

I know I can name more reasons I am no longer giving to NPR. Now, don’t get me wrong. Oh yes, I’ll still listen. All day long. I’m just not paying for it anymore. Because paying for this kind of coverage is akin to weaving the rope that will be used for the gallows for my people and the Jewish state, thanks in part  to your incomplete reporting.

Tell the truth on Israel and the Middle East. Report the truth of what Hamas really wants. Then maybe I’ll meet your dollar for dollar challenge.

Pothole City

pothole“She’s been training for this for years, and this course is as difficult as they come.”

“Wow, look how she swerves and still can maintain that SPEED and control!!”

“Oh, she is really fighting to stay on the course as she goes around that curve, it’s so difficult but she makes it look so easy.”

Have I just returned from Sochi, competing in the giant slalom?

No.

I’ve just returned from grocery shopping.  In suburban Detroit. And there is a pothole that could accommodate  a baby elephant on the road between my house and the dairy aisle.

To say that Michigan’s roads have a pothole problem is an understatement.  We don’t really have roads here anymore. Neglect of Michigan’s roads have been decades in the making and it’s more like Michigan has miles of potholes with some bits of road holding them together.

Now, I know many of you living in other states also have pothole bragging rights. But  a recent article in the March issue of HOUR Detroit Magazine offered the following factoids to set the record straight: when it comes to a pothole problem, Michigan wins, hands down:

  • At $124, Michigan spends the least amount on roads per person per year than any other state. Yes, we have low taxes, but the cost of maintaining a car on these roads – (an average of $320 per year per motorist) – makes up for the low taxes.
  • 29% of Michigan’s major roads are in poor or mediocre condition.
  • 35% of Detroit’s paved roads are rated in poor condition
  • The average additional vehicle operating cost for Detroit’s roads is $536 per motorist
  • Michigan drivers lose a total of $7.7 billion annually because of deteriorated, traffic congested roads.

Cross into neighboring states dealing with the same rough winters the roads are much better. That’s because Ohio invests in its roads $234 per motorist and in Wisconsin, $231 per motorist. In these states, politicians did the right thing and raised taxes to fix their roads. Now, in an election year, Michigan politicians hoping to be re-elected most likely will not want to be associated with any sort of tax increase, even to fix the road they drive on to get to work. Or maybe they have special  smooth roads for politicians.

You get what you pay for. Or you don’t get what you don’t pay for, but in the end, you pay for it anyway.

Between the bumpy rides in the back seat and no one to take care of him at school when he complained of pink eye – because Michigan politicians also doesn’t want to waste taxpayer dollars on school nurses –  my youngest child said he actually wants to move to a state with higher taxes when he grows up.

Last night, as I was driving my kids home, my daughter thought she could give me instructions about my driving technique. After all, she has been a driver’s ed student for about 2 1/2 weeks.

“Mom, why are you going over so much to the right?

Mom, don’t you see that pothole coming up? Why are you headed straight for it?”

It’s because, my dear, that pothole is in the very same place of where the road should be. To avoid one of these potholes, I would have had to cross over a double yellow line into oncoming traffic, or drive straight through the even more potholed and gravelly shoulder.

Sometimes, there is no choice but to go through a pothole and just pray you make it to the other side.

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Two Karmic Tales from the Polar Vortex

AAATwo true tales from the coldest winters we’ve seen in decades. One an example of how to treat others. The other, an example of how not to treat others. I hope that someday, both givers of kindness and meanness will receive their Karmic justice in this life or the ones to come.

First tale, as retold by my mother-in-law on an incident that happened to the grown children and grandchildren of their longtime friends:

In December, two families from suburban Long Island, each with two or three children with the oldest of age 12, followed each other caravan-style north to a ski vacation rental in Vermont.  There was a winter storm warning and, thinking they could push through, the families drove into the night. Main highways became impassible so the families decided to take alternative routes on local roads.

As the roads began to ice over, one family’s car swerved to avoid another car, slid and became stuck in an embankment.

Witnessing what happened to the first car, the second car in the traveling party pulled over to see if they could be of assistance. In trying to help, the second car also then became dangerously stuck in a snow embankment. On a strange rural street. In the dark. In the cold. In the storm.

All the while, the two stranded families were unaware that a family living on the property was watching them. They approached the families who were stranded on their property – a group of about 12 complete strangers – four adults and their children – invited them in for the night, and gave them dinner and a place to sleep, and shelter until their vehicles could be dug out the next day.

To that angelic New England family who opened their doors to strangers on a stormy winter night, they will most certainly receive good Karma in this life or the next.

Next story. My story. 

Funny how appearances change of buildings and streets in the snow. Especially in suburban Detroit neighborhoods you think you’ve gotten to know pretty well in the six months I’ve lived here.

I was on my way over to a good friend’s house to pick up my son from an extended play date. I was not sure of the exact address, and I didn’t feel like punching it into my GPS system. After all, I had been there several times in the summer and fall, to press cider and just enjoy the company of our new friends. I thought I knew my way and knew the house.

But like I said, something very disorienting happens in the low light and snowy landscape of winter. So disorienting that I pulled up the curvy, snow-covered driveway of the wrong house. Just one identical looking wrong house away were my friends, their daughter and son, and my son, happily playing.

Just one house away, I was catching some bad Karma.

I realized my mistake, and started to attempt to back down the driveway. Only, because of the curve and the snow, I missed it, and backed up into a soft, snowy part of the front lawn.

Funny how one can still use the word “lawn” in a polar vortex winter. Because no one has seen their lawn here since November.

So, there I was, on a lawn. If I just eased the car back and forth – Reverse, Drive, Reverse, Drive – I’d be on my way.

No luck.

Instead, my wheels spun and whirred deeper into the lawn.

A man living next door saw my plight. He bundled up (it was 9 degrees) came out with two shovels, and we both set to work trying to dig me out. He even offered to get some chains and hooks from his car to drag my car out. I thanked him, but turned down his offer, afraid of the damage either of our vehicles might incur.

Finally, after 20 minutes of this, she came out.

A thin, blond woman.

She was not helpful.

She was mad.

“What the hell do you think you are doing to my lawn???”

“I’m sorry, ma’am… I was going to pick up my son at your neighbor’s house and I mixed up the houses and – ”
“WHAT ARE  YOU DOING ON MY LAWN? WHO IS GOING TO PAY FOR THIS??” She went on and on about her poor lawn and the damage I was doing to it. She did not ask if I was okay, if I had called for help, if I was cold, needed a cup of hot coffee.

In suburban Detroit,  some people care about their lawns – even in the winter – more than they care about people.

Angry and embarrassed, I left my car and ran to my friends’ house. I’m not surprised that the two neighbors don’t even know one another. Usually, nice people don’t tend to socialize with mean people.

My car was eventually towed out by AAA, and my friend, her husband, and my husband came to my aid.

But not the mean blond lady, who actually took a photograph of my license plate as I was on my hands and knees trying to dig away the snow to free my car.

Mean blond lady, your lawn will be just fine. I’ll even come over with a bag of dirt and seed in the spring to fix your precious lawn. Because I said I was sorry 10 times. Because I’m that fucking nice.

Mean blond lady, you will also get your Karmic justice. It’s coming.

Has old  man winter been a bitch to you? If so, rant away and please SHARE!

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Some Unsolicited Advice on Eye Wear Down by the Riverside

One thing I’m learning fast about Michigan is that it is full of lakes. And I’m not talking about the big ones, like Lake Michigan or Lake Huron.

In West Bloomfield alone – that’s my new hometown – 12 percent of the entire township of 31 square miles is water. From my own experiences, while driving around and getting my bearings accompanied by my new best friend – my GARMIN GPS system – most roads ride alongside a body of blue.

Now, most of these lakes in my new home town are private – meaning, any long-lasting view of a lake is obscured by these incredibly huge lakefront mansions. So when the common folk like me want to see a lake, we go to a public park, one of many in Michigan’s vast park system.

(Don’t worry, people, I’m getting to the eyeglasses part).

This weekend, only our second in town, we ventured to Proud Lake, a state park with hiking, canoeing, and swimming.

We came to this lovely swimming hole along the Huron River.  Others who kayaked and canoed stopped here to take a break and swim. Teens and tweens frolicked in the gentle current.

We were having a great time until….

A woman in her late forties in a fuchsia printed bathing suit drinking out of a metal Coors canister on a dock, in spite of the “alcoholic beverages prohibited” sign, summoned me.

“Excuse me… can you get…”

And here I am thinking she was pointing to the teen in the leopard bathing suit behind me, thinking it was her daughter.

“Oh sure,” I willingly replied, tapping the girl on the shoulder.

But it wasn’t the teen she wanted. She wanted my husband.

This was getting interesting. i told you it was getting interesting.

“Hey, I may come off as very bold

or very drunk

but I have to tell you, those sunglasses have to go. And I mean this in the kindest way. But there are all sorts of new eyewear technology, I mean, there are transition lenses, and magnetic sunglasses that snap on to your lenses…. but those sunglasses – what are they COCOONS?? They are really ridiculous and geeky, sorry just sayin’ as I work in sales for an eyeglasses store in Ann Arbor.”

Now, I’m standing there; chest deep in the Huron River, just taking this all in. A woman, who we never met before, who knows us from – NOWHERE –  is sipping a beer insulting my husband’s choice in sunglasses.

The inner Staten Island girl in me would immediately retort:

“Yo BITCH! Who the FUCK do you think you are disrespecting my MAN and his dorky sunglasses? Step off that dock I’ll drag your ass under!”

But that was never me. But many an Island girl would have spoken like that, really.

I did say to her “Gee, WOW! you do have a lot of nerve, and yes, maybe his glasses are dorky but he is a GOOD man!”

I did, and I can’t believe I did, stand there in the water and make chit-chat with her for about 10 more minutes before I swam away, to learn that she was just this dumb, racist white trash woman who in no way reflected most of the good people I am so far meeting in Michigan.

Image

In the end, I did deep down inside agree that those sunglasses are a bit dorky. But what’s it to her? The man behind those sunglasses is the man I love.

In the end, I later apologized to my husband for not rightly defending his honor and his right to wear dorky sunglasses.

In the end, eyeglass saleswoman on the shore had her canister of Coors taken away from her by an interceding park ranger.

In the end, I came away with a funny blog post to share with you.

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A Woman’s Mad Mad Thoughts within a Hot Hot Housing Market

Last night, in a frenzied attempt to make me fall in love with a house he saw in Michigan, my husband tried to email me a video of a property he walked through yesterday.

He wants me to fall in love with this house, because by the time I get to Michigan next week to begin our house hunting  in earnest, this house, with the right square footage in the right neighborhood in the right school district, may already be sold.

After the video failed to arrive in my email inbox, and our Skype call kept freezing because of a poor connection, we gave up and said good-night.

I shut my laptop. As I tried to get to sleep alone again, against my yoga teacher’s teachings, some thoughts entered my head.

Pizza dough.

I have to use up the flour in my cabinet before Passover.

I also have to use up that jar of tomato sauce so making Pizza for tomorrow night’s dinner would be the perfect way to use up both flour and sauce.

But that means I will have to mess up the perfect feng shui of my empty kitchen counters.

Kitchen counters usually littered with – appliances like toasters and electric can openers, of all things, and a FRUIT BOWL.

And now I want to clutter the pristine emptiness of my vast kitchen counter space with a

BREAD MAKER

of all things?

I mean, who keeps things on their kitchen counters?

Everyone, unless you are selling your house.

Who makes their beds each an every single morning??

No one! Unless you are trying to sell your house.

(And my mom.)

Today, if the sun stays behind the clouds, as it does on most Rochester days, my realtor is coming to take photos for the listing.

But, after the National Public Radio report I heard this morning – the first thing that entered my ears after waking from my fitful sleep — I’m wondering how hard we really have to work at this house selling thing after all.

To sum up the report – houses are selling insanely fast. So fast that if you want to find that house, you may find yourself checking your Zillow alerts at 2 a.m.

Guilty as charged.

Oh yeah, spring has sprung today and that means it is the very beginning of house hunting season. This year, the spring house buying/selling frenzy started weeks before the calender heralded the March 21 arrival of spring, even as the snow keeps falling.

I write this as I wait for my realtor to come take those fantastic photos of my house that has floor-to-ceiling 1920’s charm.

I write this as I wonder if I am going to find a house in Detroit that will speak to me, that will make me fall in love with it hook line and sinker as I did with the house I am dwelling in right now.

Or, am I going to have to settle. Because it is in the right school district. Because it was all that was on the market. Because, unlike the casual looker who is looking for a bigger house in their same town, we HAVE to move.

Tonight, I am going to try my hardest to listen to the sage advice of my yoga teacher and let my breath be louder than my thoughts.

October’s perfect storm

Where did October go?

October is my favorite month. Not only because it contains my birthday and the birthday of some of my favorite people, but it’s the season itself I love to celebrate.

Not so much this October. Not since October 5.

Let’s back up a bit if you don’t know my family situation.

After living in Rochester for 13 years, after being brought here crying and screaming from my NY/NJ metro area roots, my family and I finally feel

PLANTED.

Then came October 5. My husband, along with around 300 other workers were given the news. Their facility would be closing in Rochester. There will be some jobs that will be moved to Detroit.

Employees, not contractors, not administrative workers, were given a choice.

Sign on for a severance package and then, only then receive employment counseling for local opportunities.

Sign on a relocation agreement that says you are willing to accept a position in Detroit.

Make this decision for yourself for your family.

By October 31.

So, my friends, my family, for all I meet out and about at the JCC or in the cereal aisle at Wegmans, for the sake of me not having to repeat this story over and over, and thank you so much for all your love and support this month, that’s where it stands.

We have about two days to decide, and we’re still no closer.

So where did October go?

Instead of mulling mugs of hot apple cider, we have been mulling over different scenarios and some very hard choices.

I know, at least we have choices.

Instead of wandering through a corn maze, we have navigated the mazes of Detroit’s  and Boston’s suburbia, twisting and turning through the weight of property taxes, housing values per square foot, ratings of school districts.

No pumpkins have been carved.

No leaves have been raked.

Not a fake spider web have I stretched for the oncoming trick-or-treaters.

October hauntings?

Certainly. We’ve had plenty. Every night, the ghosts and goblins of relocation and uncertainty rattle our beds and keep us awake.

Each morning, I look in the mirror to find reflecting back at me a zombie, the go-where-you-can-make-a-living dead.

Do we live comfortably but far far away from our family? Do we sacrifice square footage and all our retirement to live still on the east coast? A vibrant city or a crumbling one that any day is supposed to have its comeback?

Sandy, you perfect storm of our lifetime, you are just the cherry on top of this perfectly imperfect month.

I already cannot wait until next October. Or, even November 2.

My Life as Cosmo Kramer: Day seven of living with No Refrigerator

Kramer loved his life with no refrigerator. But he didn’t have three children to feed


“Kramer: Ahh, no, no, no. You got me all wrong buddy. I am loving this no refrigerator. You know what I discovered? I really like depriving myself of things. It’s fun. Very monastic. 

George: Well what do you eat? 

Kramer: It’s all fresh. Fresh fish, fresh foul, fresh fruit. I buy it, I omniga nominga, I eat it.”

Remember that episode? It was funny. But to live a life in the 21st Century with nowhere to put your milk and eggs and cheese, that’s another story.

Thanks to the wonderful folks at Sears, again, I wait for the refrigerator repairman.

For the third time. The right parts, this time, have also been waiting in my entryway for the past two days.

But still, no repairman.

I’ve gotten pretty good at working out a system though.

Every day, I buy the smallest possible container of milk.

Instead of stocking up for a whole week, I buy a maximum of 10 pieces of fruit.

It’s a good thing I live up north, because the weekend’s snowfall provided me with cold stuff to pack into my cooler.

I plot out every meal plus snacks like cheese and yogurt for the kids to take in their lunches.

I have learned that most sources of protein and calcium  require refrigeration. I go buy these in small quantities each day as well.

I keep all my produce outside in my cooler. Like this:

Think about this:

How many times  a day you go to your refrigerator to eat a piece of fruit, drink a glass of milk or prepare a meal?

Every time I need to do this, I need to put  on my boots first and let in the cold air.

But even the Rochester cold is not cold enough to keep my strawberries from rotting or my milk from going sour after a day.

So, it’s almost 11 a.m. now. I’ve been waiting six days and .. three hours for refrigeration. It’s like waiting for Godot.

Sears, do you really think you are doing a good job by letting your customers, those who paid extra for a service contract, to live with no refrigeration for seven days?

Thank goodness  red wine does not need to be chilled.

Come see the Sorry Side of SEARS: A woeful tale of customer disservice

Tailgating? No.

I should have been a SEARS repairman.

You tell a customer to wait around for you for four hours.

You show up even an hour later than the time window said you would be there.

No mere mortal customer can get in touch with you.

You can charge $250 for 30 minutes of work.

I get paid less than that after I’ve filed two weeks’ worth of columns.

And, as a SEARS repairman, you get paid hand over fist for your incompetency. And then, no mere mortal customer can reach you directly afterwards to complain. Man, I’m in the wrong line of work!

And  the work the customer waited around for doesn’t even fix the problem.

AND, you are not even obligated to leave the customer a reachable phone number to get you back the same day. That woeful customer (that would be … me) must once again be thrown into the 1-800-MYSEARS abyss.

Because I purchased – for extra money – a SEARS Home Appliance Service Contract, my family is plunged back to the 19th Century and we have lived without refrigeration for four, going on five days. Most of my food has gone bad. Some of it is in deep freezer storage thanks to the kindness of my neighbors. The squirrels in my yard are fighting over the rest.

1-800-MY-SEARS???

My Sears? Well, you can kiss my ……

The Netnanny Diaries, or How to Keep your Teens Safe Online

if you don't want to disable your computer, DO NOT buy this product

This time of year, Americans everywhere are shopping and carefully wrapping gifts picked out for those special someones in our lives.  Odds are, if that special someone is a teenager, that Christmas or Chanukkah gift, I’m talking the big-ticket item, will come with a screen.

Last year, my husband and I bit the bullet and begrudgingly gave our adolescent children a laptop. We rationalized that the laptop was a necessity for homework. Our children get assignments that have to be completed at online websites like Pearson’s Successnet.  We further rationalized that the children would want to send the occasional email to a friend.  Furthermore, we told our children the laptop was to be used in a common room like the kitchen.

But, laptops being what they are, and teens being who they are, my kids inevitably used their gift to chat with friends in the privacy of their rooms behind closed doors.

There are many pros and cons to this virtual social life. Through Facebook and Skype, my kids share their daily minutia with faraway friends without running up my phone bill. They will never know what it was like to have to wait until late at night for the phone rates to go down to place that long distance call.

Just one generation ago, having a phone line in one’s own room caused concerns for parents.  Remember hiding under the covers with the phone?

Now, the Internet is the place where parents of teens feel like they are losing control. Will they become vulnerable to online bullying if they are not savvy to the nuances of social networking? Will one wrong click result in viewing inappropriate web content?

In a last-gasp effort to maintain some control of my kids’ online activities, I hired Netnanny.  This is a content monitoring software program that allows parents to use customizable filters to monitor where kids can go online.

  •  parents can customize the program as they wish to limit or completely block sites containing violence, sexual or hateful language or images
  • Parents can limit or completely block websites to games or sites that support online gambling
  • parents can monitor posts or conversations on social networking sites like Faceboook
  • Parents can also use Netnanny to put limits on Internet time. You can set how many hours a child can use the Internet, and what times of day these hours are to take place. If you don’t want your kids on the Internet after 10 on a school night, Netnanny shuts off Internet capabilities after 10 p.m.

Sounds great, right? Perhaps there are parents who use this program with success. However, our situation wrote itself out like a bad reality TV show that could have been called “Netnannies Gone Wild.”

My daughter’s Netnanny woes:

  • One day, she wanted to go online to search for ski equipment on Dicks  Sporting Goods’ website.  Netnanny blocked her because the retailer also sold guns for hunting. Reason for blocking: possible violent content.
  • When she wanted to do some online window shopping for some bathing suits on Landsend.com, Netnanny again pulled her back by the apron strings. This time: risqué sexual content.  On Land’s End. Sure.
  • When she needed to research a paper for social studies about racism, she could not enter certain sites because they contained “hateful language.” or images of swastikas.
  • Finally, Netnanny blocked my daughter from Skyping with a friend in Israel. Perhaps the program detected a Middle Eastern ISP address and determined it was thwarting some kind of terror plot.

I did find Netnanny’s monitoring reports useful in terms of tracking what she and her Facebook friends were chatting about. However, Netnanny was a bit too overprotective when she deemed that “Hiya Hon, Luv ya” written by one of her BFFs was considered sexually explicit language.

My son had his own woes with Miss Netnanny

  • He could play no games on miniclips.com. Wait, that was my intention. Miniclips always spread viruses on my computer and I find these games to be a complete waste of time.
  • But, in an attempt to play an innocent game of solitaire, my son was blocked. Why? The game involved the use of cards: potential for online gambling. In my defense, I did block video games, but barring a game of solitaire was going a bit too far.
  • My son is an avid guitar player. Often, he looks guitar tabs up to play the latest song he hears on the radio. But Netnanny blocked guitar tab websites. The reason: Music and entertainment, may have explicit language.

After a few months, Netnanny disabled and corrupted all of the laptop’s Internet capabilities. I needed outside help and turned to Microworx, a Brighton information technology company that specializes in computer troubleshooting.

It took several days and about $200 to free my computer from Netnanny’s clutches. When I called the company to ask for a refund, Content Watch, the maker of Netnanny, refused because the software’s warranty had expired. In the end, there is no substitute for giving your teens a good lesson in common sense, social networking etiquette and harsh warnings about not trying to search for anything illicit before you let them go online.

Excuse me, Content Watch, if I was not a fortune teller and could not predict your crappy software would cause my computer such problems.

In the end, we fired Netnanny.  In the New Year, and the years to come, raising teens will come with many challenges. Now, it is navigating the information superhighway. Soon, it will be learning to drive on a real highway.

The best I can do is to offer my guidance and always let them know that if they need me, I will always be on the other side of that closed door.

Will there ever be peace in the Middle East?

I thought about writing some long diatribe about how many times Israel holds out the olive branch and how the Arabs never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity to make peace with Israel.

Then, this fell into my newly revamped Facebook feed. Enjoy. If it wasn’t so funny, it would be sad…

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