Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Having Said That...

This time, I'm going to reprint an article in its entirety. Because of dealing with extraordinary problems due to my own extreme perfume allergy, I was heartened to see this verdict. I don't expect it will stand, at least not in the amount awarded, since we have litigation caps in place almost everywhere now (contrary to popular belief).

I do hope it will make people think twice about things like wearing perfume to the workplace. It's not like you're out on a date. And if someone deliberately and knowingly, spitefully, wears the stuff around an allergic person, I believe they do deserve punitive damages. I've had people do that to me -- back in the days when I still kept trying to work, beating my head against the wall, as those folks sneered at my real and serious health problems. I never faulted most people, who simply could not understand, but tried. I do fault those very few who decided to take malicious actions on purpose. By the way - they're still able to work today.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Radio DJ wins $10.6 million in stink over perfume

WYCD personality claims she was fired after co-worker's scent made her sick.
By David Shepardson / The Detroit News

DETROIT -- A former top-ranked radio host, who claims she was sickened by a colleague's use of a perfume described as "romantic, sensual, emotional," won $10.6 million in a federal court lawsuit Monday.

Erin Weber, who was on the air at WYCD-FM (99.5), contends in her suit that she was fired in 2001 after she complained about being exposed to Tresor perfume, which sells for $45.50 a bottle and is described by Lancome as a combination of ingredients such as rose and lilac. She said she was sickened by the fumes, a condition that began when a co-worker exposed her to spilled nail-polish remover in the country music station's Southfield studio.

The perfume was worn, her suit said, by another radio personality, Linda Lee, whose legal surname is Bullock.

"I'm thankful that the jury took so much time to come to the right conclusion," Weber, 43, of Cleveland, said after the verdict. "It's a great day."

The verdict awarded her $7 million in punitive damages, $2 million in mental anguish and emotional distress and $1.6 million for past and future compensation after a six-woman jury in U.S. District Court in Detroit spent eight days deliberating.

Weber claimed exposure to Tresor caused her to lose her voice and take lengthy absences from work. She also said she once "felt an electric shock quell through my entire body" and required heavy medication to combat the effects.

Weber says she been unable to get another job in radio since she was fired in 2001 and claims Infinity Broadcasting "blacklisted her" -- a claim the company rejects. She now works as a freelance voiceover specialist and can be heard on thousands of Otis elevators all over the country, announcing the number of each floor.

Weber, who began work in March 1999, claimed that soon afterward, co-workers spilled "toxic chemicals" in the radio studio and she suffered "raw chemical burns to her airways and sinuses." Her doctor, Martin Charles, "warned (Weber) that further exposure to perfume could even result in death," a brief from her lawyers said.

Her doctor said Weber shouldn't be exposed to co-worker Lee's Tresor perfume.

Weber claimed Lee, who is co-host of the Edwards & Lee afternoon show, intentionally exposed her to her perfume. WYCD said it specifically required Lee to stop wearing any perfume in response to Weber's complaints. The station said in its response that it modified Weber's schedule so they wouldn't come into conduct during shift changes.

In a May 2001 e-mail to the station manager, presented as evidence, Weber said Lee's perfume caused her to lose her voice and that Lee intentionally walked by her at the Downtown Detroit Hoedown -- a popular annual country music festival. "Linda nearly brushed past me and a cloud of perfume trailed behind me," Weber wrote.

"To have brought the perfume with her suggests forward planning. This appears to be a premeditated attack which was entirely unprovoked by me in anyway," Weber wrote. "Please tell me what steps you plan to take to ensure my safety."

Lee did not return a telephone message seeking comment left at the radio station.

Weber's lawyer, Raymond Sterling, said his client doesn't have problems with "natural smells" but does with the chemical basis of the perfume -- a fact he says was confirmed by three doctors at the weeklong civil trial.

"The real reason she was fired is that management didn't make her stop wearing the perfume," Sterling, a Troy lawyer, said. "There are co-workers in all walks of life that don't get along for one reason or another, but it's up to management to handle the situation."

Weber was fired in September 2001.

The station is owned by Infinity Broadcasting. Infinity lawyer Daniel Tukel said in a court filing that the toxic chemicals in the studio were Glade Air Freshener and acetone, used once for manicures during a morning-show "bit."

In October 2000, Weber took a three-month medical leave and returned to work in January 2001.

A spokeswoman for Infinity said the company planned to appeal. "We're disappointed in the verdict and intend to make all the appropriate post-trial motions," said Karen L. Mateo.

Mateo also said the company's lawyers believe the $7 million punitive damages verdict will be reduced to $300,000. Federal law generally caps punitive damages at $300,000 for the claims that Weber brought.

Weber's lawyer said that's likely, but they will try to convince the judge to uphold the full verdict. Weber's lawyer also said they will ask the judge to order Infinity to pay Weber's legal bills, which could hike the verdict.

Weber, who was a 26-year radio veteran, also claimed the station paid her far less than her male co-workers. She was nominated five times for the Country Music Assocation's Personality of the Year award.

The station manager, Lisa Rodman, said in a deposition that Weber "always gave top-level professional work to the station."

Weber previously worked in Cleveland at top-rated WGAR. The station admitted that "(Weber) had both the highest revenues and highest profits of all of WYCD's shows" in 2000, Weber's last full year at the station.

In 2001, frustrated with the "glass ceiling" at the station, Weber said she filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The station then retaliated, she said, by taking away an endorsement deal, removing her e-mail account and assigning her a new shift.

You can reach David Shepardson at (313) 222-2028 or dshepardson@ detnews.com.


All nice and clean.

Are the articles still around? Will new ones be posted, to amuse and entertain you - your heart, your soul, your funnybone, your brain?

Of course!

Check 'em out at http://www.ksquestnews.blogspot.com/. Pretty much every day, and often more than once a day.

Just a little housekeeping thing. I like it better this way. Hope you do too.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

I Don't Like Clutter

But I love to read. And I love to write.

I love to rehab, too.

Good thing, because all hell's broken loose around here.

We've finally applied for our refi. We're starting with the holder of our first mortgage, and will shop it a bit after we hear what terms they're talking about.

The house isn't really ready yet, but there's no more time. Our commercial creditors are losing patience - and who can blame them? - but what really matters to me is the humans we owe: my parents, a friend. They need their money back.

So here in the middle of one of the worst parts of the allergy year, I rehab away during the night, and sleep through the pollen hours of daylight.

Since our credit's poor, two things drive the refi: Walter's income, and the equity in the house. (My Social Security income helps, but it's certainly not enough.) Walter's back at work, making regular pay instead of (diminished) Worker's Comp. Good. Since truckers are paid by the mile, not hourly or by salary, he needs a couple of paychecks under his belt to prove what he normally makes. That's done.

Beside that, getting the appraised value as high as possible is critical. Fortunately, the house is worth about 5 times what we paid for it in 1996, so we're awash in equity. Unrehabbed. I may be taking this rehab bit farther than I need.

But it's fun. And frankly, I want it finished for my own sake. Nicely.

First I'm decluttering. I love my man, truly and deeply, but he clutters. I can't stand it. I can't work with it cluttered. Now that he's back at work and out on the road, out of the house, if I clean up the mess, it won't get instantly messed up again. Joy and happiness!!!

And I'm almost done.

Boy oh boy.

And in the interest of continued decluttering, I've been pondering what to do with my blog.

See, I do love to read, and to write. And sometimes I like to write about what I'm reading. But putting articles on my blog clutters it up more than I can stand.

It seems I'd have to learn html in order to put the articles on a separate part of the blog from the original material. That alone is enough to send this phobe running for cover. I know I need to learn it. But during All Hell's Broken Loose is certainly not a good time.

So I believe I'll simply bifurcate myself, and have one blog called ksquest and another called, say, ksquestnews. Then on ksquest I can write about what I read, but put what I actually read on ksquestnews. Uncluttered, each by the other.

Bear with me, folks. I'll get there.

And maybe, just maybe, by this time tomorrow I'll be done decluttering and cleaning, and instead will be mudding my joints in a nice open (slightly unfinished) house. Drywall first, yes. Walter put up almost all the remaining drywall we need; what's left is just patch work. My job. I'm also the mudder-and-taper. And painter, and mason, and...

I love to mud, too. Lucky for me.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

More Penis Day: Whizz Takes the Fifth

Well! Our intrepid friend has had his day on the Hill.

It seems likely the Hill got wind of the Whizz after this athlete got caught with one at the airport.

Smith back on field after 'Whizzinator' incident

Which quite possibly pissed off lots of would-be whizzers out there. The word got out in a big way. Not so easy to sneak your Whizzinator about now, is it?

But our Original Founder and Company Owner - may I call him Mr. Whizz? - stood firm! Stood tall and proud! And pled the Fifth!

Whereupon he whizzed right out of the House, onto his plane, and back to California. I mean, the man made tracks. Grinning all the way.

The Whizzinator: A House Panel's No. 1 Priority

The Washington Post found some humor in all this. But The Star Tribune, Minneapolis, didn't seem to. They spent more time reporting on the Whizz's serious dangers than the Post did. Like nuclear worries, and such.

Sellers of Whizzinator kits take the Fifth

Not that all penis fans - or penises - want to remain mute. Some prefer to exercise their First Amendment rights loud and clear, and leave the Fifth behind.

Five year old talking penis case to appeal…

Here's a good judge who understands that Freedom of Speech includes art. This one put me in mind of a naughty email pic a female friend sent me. It was a bouquet, a cornucopia of penises in all their infinite variety and splendor, every size, shape, color you can imagine...

Prosecutor drops obscenity charges

Which reminded me that a couple days back, I myself really didn't honor Penis ("The Beautiful") Day the way our upstanding friend deserves. Fell down on the job, I did. Time to make up for that. (Besides, my bioparents are in Germany, and I'd sure like to get this posted before they come back and read it.)

So I surfed. A small surf. To my sorrow, I saw way too much material on...***sigh***...that sad refrain called I Don't Think Mine's Big Enough. And I Don't Care What You Say.

I mean, there's even a magazine devoted to nothing but penis enlargement! Website and all!

Many of us ladies know better. For some of us, even your average 6"-er can be painful. If you're not built to handle it why is it supposed to be better??? Dick contests aren't for chicks, they're between guys. OW!

Even The Look matters more when it comes to attractiveness. And that's no body parts at all, really; it ain't nothing but touching with the eyes.

Sizing Up That 'Look of Love'

This is for real: It ain't the meat, it's the motion. And those few guys who actually do fall below that 6" business? I'm here to tell you, on "average," they're far better lovers than that average. They know what to do with our complicated parts.

And hearts.

Since, in the wise words of this Thai official:

"Sex satisfaction does not depend on penis size, but it involves love and mutual understanding," the ministry said.
Size-obsessed Thai men warned on penis injections

As our Thai friend probably knows, honesty is good, too.

Impotent ex-husband must pay damages

OTOH, we ourselves ought to watch it if we get a bit overexcited. Lest we hear, you BROKE it!

This ruling leaves lover more than broken hearted

That poor guy may have been safer if he'd read this first.

6 Ways To Get Her To Go Down On You More Often

Since we're on the subject of the Proper Care and Feeding...including grooming, IMO...They really do grow up fast, and this one may take a while to forgive his dad spreading the word. You think those buck-naked on a blanket baby pix the parents take to humiliate us are bad?


Just when I was thinking, "Gee, that was nice; there's not so much lighthearted penis stuff out there. I mean, whatever happened to Mr. Happy?," I realized that that selfsame penis enlargement magazine had a special section that's right up my alley. A bonanza! Lovely fun penis stuff left and right!


Naturally, I chose to duplicate the list of links. What's a good quest without sharing one's finds? Freely. Easily. I know you could go to the site, but now you can just click here instead. Or simply admire this fine collection of titles.

Indian Doctor Loses Job Over Penis Enlargement
Man Gets 13 Million for Fried Penis
Penis Piercing Parents Face Up to 10 Years in Prison
Blowjobs in the Name of the Law
Peruvian Man Cuts Off Testicle
German Penises Can't Fill the Average Condom
Man Finds Human Penis in Bottle of Fruit Punch
Teenager Grows New Penis on Arm
Woman Helps Take a Bite Out of Crime
India Moves to Measure Its Average Penis Size
Girl Sticks It To Her Boyfriend
Penis Puppeteers Wanted
Earwigs Possess "Standby" Penis
Bogus Penis Enlargement Surgery in Thailand
Dutch Penis Blooms After 13 Years
Martial Experts Demonstrate Kung Fu Penis
Wedding Reception Bites for Bridegroom
Man's Penis Was Spellbound by Witch's Presence
Florida Men Arrested for "Discussing" Penile Implant
Is That a Hamster in Your Pocket?
Man Severs Penis in Bizarre Religious Movement
How Much Is Your Penis Worth?
Penis Ice Sculpture Gets a Rise Out of Residents
Up the Creek With a Paddle and Two Buoys
Archeologists Expose "Drinking Penis" at Museum
Man Charged With De-Stiffing Stiff
Wall Street Journal Interviewee Boasts of His Penis Enlargment
An Ovary is Worth a Testicle
Russian Woman Blows Chance for Breakfast in Bed
Penis Show Has Swansea People Scared Stiff
Man Accuses Surgeon of Improper Penile Implant Installation
Man's Dream of a Bigger Penis is a Bit of a Stretch
Severed Penises... An Art Form?
Fraternity Hazing Results in Testical Removal
Testicle Removal for Minor Felons?
Navy Vet Receives Taxpayer-Funded Penile Implant
A Gay "Lorena Bobbitt"?
Sometimes You Feel Like a Nut, Sometimes You Don't
Angry Mother-in-Law Goes For the Scrotum
Judge Rules that Scrotum is a "Sex Organ"
Man Suffers Nasty Scrotum Injury in Industrial "Accident"
Student "Salutes" School With Screensaver
Coffin Maker Puts Penis a Cut Above the Rest
Hard Times Fall Upon Rocking Horse in Norway
Truck Driver Files Lawsuit for Defective Penile Implant
Penis Re-Attachment is Big in Thailand
Germ Could Give Men a G'Day With Their Mate
A Strong Warning Against Drinking and Gambling
Just Call Him "Stumpy"
More Tales From the Fake Penis Front
Scratching Himself in Contempt

And finally - last, but absolutely not least - I didn't want to make Her feel left out. Ever. Since girls just want to have fun.

On the origin of orgasms in women
Not evolution -- 'for fun,' expert says

Monday, May 16, 2005

The Whizzinator

I'm fond of various body parts. I hope we all are. So you may lift an eyebrow at this, but hey. Instead of trying to explain I have lots of OTHER favorites, I'll just let time convince all y'all down the road.

And enjoy a Penis Day while The Whizzinator's in the news.

I've had The Whizzinator's link for years now, http://www.thewhizzinator.com/whiz2.htm. It's a cute site. Pretty businesslike, too. It gets to the point and tells you how it does the job, and what products they sell. And right off, they display: ATTENTION LADIES! PLEASE CLICK HERE

I also like the side-by-side comparison:

This article, http://story.news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20050512/od_nm/health_drugtests_dc, made me think of my old friend The Whizzinator again. Seems they're all bothered about it on Capitol Hill, and intent on stomping it out for good. It's not that I can't see their point. It's just that I've never, ever warmed to this real intrusion on our privacy called the Urine Test for Substances.

I've heard good arguments for it, mostly regarding safety concerns for pilots and such. Maybe those would carry more weight with me if the big problem of pilots drinking required a urine test instead of a breathalyzer.

And if its real life use weren't so very focused on non-safety things like desk jobs, and so very rarely on use for true safety concerns.

But Capitol Hill doesn't see it my way.

"'These companies seek through deception to make a buck by violating our trust and compromising our security,' said Rep. Ed Whitfield, a Kentucky Republican who chairs the House Energy and Commerce Committee's oversight and investigations panel...'It is a risk we simply cannot tolerate. This panel will uncover how widespread these products are and recommend the necessary steps to end their use.'

"A congressional subcommittee voted to subpoena the owner of Puck Technology of Signal Hill, California, the company that makes the Whizzinator. The panel also voted to subpoena the owners of Health Choice of New York City and Spectrum Labs of Cincinnati, two companies that lawmakers said also were suspected of selling products aimed at circumventing workplace drug tests...The owners were required to provide financial and operational records by Monday and to appear at a congressional hearing on Tuesday...company officials had previously declined to testify and provided little information, a committee statement said."

They seem pretty serious about this, so the Whizzinator may fall by the wayside. I better check out the LADIES! box before the site goes down, just to see what's there. It's not that I'd ever use it myself. My life is squeaky clean both by choice and necessity; and even if it weren't, stooping to this would violate my personal sovereignty even worse than the Substance Tests do.

Besides, the article tells us about Tom Sizemore's travails: he was caught using the Whizzinator, and jailed after using a similar device and failing a drug test. So maybe they aren't such effective devices after all.

But if it goes? I'll miss it.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Little Miss Attila

My friend Miss Attila is more than that. She's also my blogmom, just as Desert Cat is my blogdad.

As a digitally challenged newbie, I'm a babe in the woods in this brave new forum of blogging. So much so, in fact, that I haven't quite figured out yet how to do such a thing as a blogroll. No matter how much I'd like to put them on it.

But I'll get there. Baby steps.

No one could ask for a better blogmom and blogdad. I am so honored to be able to claim them. I hope to do them proud.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Following Along

I can't think of a polite way to say this.

My poor old cat has the shits.

It's that nasty runny stinky stuff. He does this every couple of years. Either it passes, or I squirt some vet-prescribed Pepto Bismol down his throat, and then it passes. The vet has some fun name for this. Methane Madness, or something.

Usually I can't figure out what set him off. This time, he may have been eating too much extra-cheap canned cat food. But he really likes the stuff, he just gobbles it down.

Or could it be...See, I'm sitting here with this laptop on my lap. The monitor of the house computer is sitting to my right on the workstation. His pillow is next to the monitor. The way it's all situated, he couldn't really see the big old monitor's screen before.

But now he's got more room to walk, and I mostly use the laptop, and he sat next to me looking at the laptop screen as I giggled my way through this poop story http://neanderpundit.com/archives/000362.html via Desert Cat, http://desertcat.blogspot.com/2005/05/og-make-sides-ache-take-2.html.

That poor guy had a lovely dinner at an Indian restaurant. He liked the food and happily gobbled it up, secure in his innocence. Then he paid the price the next day with the morning-after shits. Really, really dreadful ones.


Babycat surely didn't need any inspiration. I mean, he's always carried this off just fine on his own, before.

I don't really think he can read, either.

But on the other hand...I got my suspicions.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005


I'm going through whirlwind cycles of rehab, then those semicomatose allergic fatigue sleeps. I can deal with the sleeps just fine these days, so that's all right. Makes the cat happy as can be. And he deserves it.

The progress inside the house has me holding my breath, not just against the dust, but out of silent hopeful elation.

So much of what I'm doing right now has that aura of finality about it. Moving crates of, say, certain building supplies to where they'll be used up and gone in short order.

In my office, Walter swapped my old monitor for a "new" used one, $10 at Faith Farm. This tube has me actually seeing Desert Cat's photos clear and bright on the home computer, not just the laptop.

So the old monitor gets shuffled off to Walter's room to deal with as he sees fit.

After I remove my decorations, that is.

That's my Chinese fortune cookie fortunes, collected and taped onto the monitor over the years.

I've always liked to save them. These were collected just since we bought the house. Inspiring! Thought-provoking! Encouraging! Flattering! As follows:

Now is the time to try something new.
A good time to finish up old tasks.
You have a keen sense of humor and love a good time.
Your happiness is intertwined with your outlook on life.
Your home is a pleasant place from which you draw happiness.
Avert misunderstanding by calm, poise and balance.
Good news will come to you by mail.
Your home is a pleasant place from which you draw happiness.
All your hard work will soon pay off.

The "home is a pleasant place" one is duplicated above because I peeled two of 'em off the monitor. Didn't know there were two up there. I must have been especially attached to that sentiment.

And now - it's time to move on.

I'll put new ones up, I bet.

But they won't be the same.

They'll be new, for a new time in my life. They'll be even better.

I'll read them not just with hope for the future, but with that quiet elation for how far we've already come.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Sandhill Crane Family

My niece, desertsand, has gone back home. I so rarely get to have her all to myself for a visit. We talked and talked and talked. Now that she's gone I have so many things left unsaid, running through my head.

--but wait! --and--!!! and then... oh and I almost forgot...

It was a short visit with a couple days of rain. But we got out too. Headed off to Bone Valley, we saw a pair of sandhill cranes with a chick, browsing about by the side of the road. They let us get pretty close for a bit while desertsand took their pictures.

Then they decided they'd had enough. They hopped over a fence and went down a limerock drive. They showed us their backs and a "No Trespassing" sign for good measure.
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Monday, May 09, 2005


A couple of the articles below are especially fun. Click on:

Man Carves Runaway Bride on Piece of Toast

The toast, you see, is being sold on ebay.

Man Keeps Florida Skunk Ape Legend Alive

Another wondrous Florida oddity.

Saturday, May 07, 2005


Visits from my niece and nephew are up there with the highest points of my life. My niece is here, and I'm having a blast.

We just finished up a day of errands and tight-budget shopping with an evening of cooking and talking and cooking and talking. We made:

Bread - 4 loaves
Cinnamon rolls - Several dozen
Artichokes - 6
Pan roasted chicken in white wine with rosemary and garlic - about a dozen thighs, 2 heads of garlic, 4 huge rosemary sprigs
Basmati rice - Lots, on which we put that chicken in wine gravy

Having found ourselves shockingly low on cheese, we supplied up with 2 pounds of Land o' Lakes Extra Sharp Cheddar, 3 chunks of Frigo parmesan, and a nice big wedge of Jarlesberg, $3.88/# at Sam's.

Hopefully, next time we do this, we can really stock up on cheese. It's difficult to limit oneself on the most important necessities this way.

Tomorrow, we'll be ready to bring excellent cheese sandwiches on superb homemade bread, perhaps some cold chicken, and Sin Rolls for dessert, as we head through Bone Valley in our never-ending quest for more megalodon teeth.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Meanwhile, back in Trenton...

Posted by Hello One thing I like about the Suwannee Valley Quilt Shoppe building is that it looks to be an old Coca-Cola building. You can see the Coca-Cola sign imprinted in concrete in the right, just under the roofline.

Swannee Valley Quilt Shoppe, side view

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Gilchrist County Court House, full view

Actually, it's the Gilchrist Covnty Covrt Hovse.

GCCH, front entrance

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GCCH, front view, upper brick details

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GCCH, roofline brick details

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GCCH side view

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GCCH, roofline elevation Posted by Hello
Gilchrist County Board of County Commissioners Meeting Facility, side view Posted by Hello

All About Articles

I like articles.

No surprise there.

Sometimes maintaining a good mix of different news stories is a bit tricky. The usual (often grim) fare is more digestible for me when cut with science news and the offbeat - what's called fringe news, or "odd" items. I look for a good story, well told, and the best reports on any given subject. Humor, too.

The more widely reported stories are so well covered I tend to leave them alone, except for interesting tangents, or back story bits that address factual questions floating about in, say, the blogosphere.

I love information for its own sake, because the world and the people in it fascinate me. Opinions are good, too, but they're more interesting when debaters - solo or group - have good facts under their belts. So any tiny thing I can do to help get information disseminated a bit more widely feels good.

You'll always see lots of news stories on ksquest. If you're not interested in them, you can just skip by, right? Just like a little newspaper. Do, please, take control of your exposure; that's how to prevent information overload.

For myself, I read much more news than I post.

That's mostly because, due to the internet, I can.

For many years, I could not.

Being allergic to virtually everything has a universe of unusual consequences. Being allergic to newsprint ink, to the papers used, to special dyes in the ads sections means newspapers and magazines are simply out of bounds. Little tricks folks use like, Open your newspaper up and spread all the pages around for a few days to air out-- just didn't cut it.

I mean, picture it. First, if you're housebound, the allergens are simply dispersing into your breathing air. Dumb. Second, what a mess. Papers everywhere. Third, you're getting lots of exposure simply handling the stuff to spread it around, got to glove and mask up then take a big bath after, just to do that. Yuck.

Television is scant fare for someone who wants information and detail, and loves to read too.

So for a very long time, years and years, this information junkie had to turn her back on the news of the world.

Walter would get a bit frustrated with me: --I can't talk to you about anything! You have no idea what's going on!

Sure. True. Perfectly valid complaint. A wonderful part of our relationship is how we love to talk to each other. The poor man wasn't getting any. Me either, of course.

And then one fine day, Walter finally talked this phobe into going on the internet. Scared me half to death. But I did it. And guess what I found out there!

I started reading newspapers again.

Heaven. Better access than anything I'd ever had back in my dead tree news days. Better than working at the post office and borrowing all those interesting mailed newspapers and magazines and journals to read on break. Online versions of the best and the worst, from all over America and all over the world.

And another very fine day, not long down that road, an excellent friend said, Look at the Drudge Report. http://drudgereport.com/

Which opened up another whole new world. Links to so very many newspapers and other news sources, all in one place. User friendly to such phobes as myself, so as not to run away all scared. And best of all: the AP Breaking News link. http://ap.tbo.com/ap/breaking/index.htm

Information is perishable. I like mine fresh off the vine. Many of the articles I read are run on TV news and even online newspapers 1-2 days, or sometimes weeks, after I first read them.

Back in my active days, I loved being "in the know" before others were. Forgive me a bit of ego grat there. What mattered more was that by the time folks were ready to discuss some interesting occurrence or what have you, I'd had time to mull it over, think, explore, wonder. In discussing that event with others, I got a lot more out of their thoughts simply because of that lead time.

Walter still complains sometimes. But now it's because, when he's unearthed some intriguing news tidbit and starts to tell me about it, I usually already know. I can rudely finish his sentences for him, or worse, tell him details he hasn't heard yet. So he'll say, I can't tell you anything new, you always already heard it!

Ever so much better than k knowing nothing of what's happening in the world. We'll take it.

Articles posted on ksquest won't be quite as timely as where I got them from, since I line 'em up and post a chunk all at once. But you'll still get lots of news before it hits TV and Radioland, dead tree newspapers, and even online newspapers. If you, too, like your info fresh, it'll usually taste better from here.

As time goes by and I get more proficient with blog format techniques, I'll find a way to post the articles in their own place rather than mixing them with the rest of my posts. Other than that, there probably won't be many changes to the Articles business here. I hope you'll always see lots and lots of interesting links, nice and fresh.

And I vet for quality. Every single article I post has been read, first, by me.

Because - due to the internet - I can.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Cave Time

It's that time of year: the extreme-level allergies are knocking me off my feet. Nothing out of the ordinary, and I had a really good February this year, so I don't want to complain.

But - just to explain, which is a different matter - I'll be even slower than usual, so please bear with any slowpokey responses from me back to you. There may be fewer posts, or more Articles vs. original material.

My sleep patterns will be all over the place for a while, but I'll be mostly nocturnal. For whatever reason, sleeping through the high-pollen daylight hours helps hugely; I've seen this work for other superallergic people too.

I'm trying to stabilize it - maybe sleep noon until midnight, maybe hold it down to 12 hours sleep/day - but we'll see how far those good intentions take me. I pick my battles carefully. Long experience has taught me that the need to treat this profound immunological reaction with all the sleep it wants, whenever it wants, is not a productive thing to fight. On this one, I go with the flow.

I don't really mind so much. I've got lots of great pics of the outside world to keep me busy for a good long time, and I still have lots of inside rehab to do. Fun stuff, the best kind. When I stop trying to fight the fatigue and switch to night owl life, I actually get a great deal accomplished. Much better than trying to drag myself through my day feeling Zombie.

It's cave time too. Being in North Florida 3 times in April did me a world of good. Sometimes changing the local pollen environment can make a big improvement, and the contrast in my level of function in North Florida vs. SE Florida was pronounced. For now, back home, I'm shut in during daylight hours. Thank heaven for the 24-hour Walmart, where I did my grocery shopping at 4:00 this morning. And picked up whatever I missed there at Publix at 7AM, then skedaddled home, bearing the fruits of foraging around in dangerous (outdoors) territory. Whee! Victory is mine!

One thing I've learned over these long years of illness is to remember to be patient: with myself, my beat-up body's needs in sleep and pollen avoidance, all that. Since I'm not a naturally willing patient this part's been a little hard. Of course I'd rather be gardening or bricklaying or hunting shark's teeth. Acceptance of the things I cannot change is important to me. In this arena, I try to prevent emergencies rather than have to deal with them. Still, I can't avoid having some battles to fight.

But together with picking my battles, I can choose my attitude. I can choose to be joyous in the fight itself - win or lose - or allow myself to stay depressed about having to fight in the first place. I say, Not everyone has the opportunity to face challenges serious enough that they bring out the best you have to give.

You probably figured out which choice I made.

Monday, May 02, 2005

Leaving Trenton

I drive and get tired and lay over near Tampa at the Flying J truck stop. I looked for a place to plug into a local phone line to transmit this. It really would make my cutting edge road trip blog complete.

But the phones at the tables in the restaurant can't make outgoing calls except to 800 numbers. I know some tables have internet access phones but they're all occupied. The waitresses are a little confused about all this, that I want to eat my dinner with my computer plugged in. I ask if the driver's lounge has these hookups, and they think yes.

So I just eat instead.

Later I found that you call those accesses "data ports" - but they charge to use them. So I wouldn't have transmitted anyway.

Meaning the morning is now shark's teeth time! As bad as I want to go home, I can't just pass Bone Valley by.

I usually go only on Sundays. The miners are very nice about looking the other way as I wander about in the shark's teeth quest, but why push it? This time, I go to my favorite place, and the big fossil parking lot is empty of the big mining vehicles. They're all off in the moonscape, mining away.

And I see new piles of debris, chock full of neat stuff.

As I move down the road toward the parking lot I see a couple of guys working on a vehicle. I'm surprised. Finally I just say, Hi. They stare a minute and touch their hats to me and continue working. Seems they'd rather look the other way. So I take my cue, and although a couple more vehicles go by during the day - driving close by me - I don't do more than look up. Everyone seems fine with this.

Oh, neat stuff.

Finally I'm tired and thirsty and head on back out. I make my way through the countryside to the Duette Country Store and see two long lines of migrant workers at the registers. I sit back in the car, wait for the lines to die down, buy a 2-liter coke.

It's a tiny place. They kindly look away from my muddy bare feet. I see a snakeskin on the wall, tacked up like a stuffed fish. A big Eastern Diamondback rattler. There's a picture of the snake, alive, swimming around in the borrow pit behind the store. A cashier tells me, They had to kill her, she was living back there okay for a while but then she started chasing customers around.

Not good for business.

I get back in the car. It won't start.

Uh-oh. I sense the beginning of a Car Broke Down adventure.

Tree and wildflowers, Trenton Posted by Hello
It's Just Sitting There Posted by Hello
US Post Office, by a field of wild phlox, Trenton Posted by Hello
Suwannee Valley Quilt Shoppe Posted by Hello

Turn Around

Gilchrist County Court House Posted by Hello

4/28/05, evening

He's off. I may not see Walter again for a couple of months or more.

OTOH, I'm heading through some of my favorite Florida countryside. Beautiful scenery, oranges, shark's teeth. What more can one ask for?

I head through Trenton, taking pictures. This is a county seat, and so, spent for some extra frills on brickwork back in the day. Beautiful buildings. You don't see many older buildings in Florida. Huge old oaks draped in Spanish moss. Big beautiful magnolias, showing their huge white flowers. I want to come back here and take more pictures, another day, when I can really devote my full attention to it.

Now it's time to go home.
Gilchrist County Board of County Commissioners Meeting Facility, Trenton, FL Posted by Hello

Sunday, May 01, 2005

The Rest of Ft. Lonesome Posted by Hello

In the center of the photo is the Ft. Lonesome Grocery. To the left is another little storefront.

That's it.

I've read that Ft. Lonesome is where they grow a certain kind of tomato called, if I remember right, UglyRipe. They're grown by a guy who says the flavor should matter more than the looks. Most of our tomatoes are now "Christmas tree ornament" types, perfectly round and red and pretty looking. Not so much taste, but hey.

UglyRipes are the tomato of my childhood. They may be funny-looking, lumpy, with weird stripes and twists, but they sure taste tomatoey.

Mr. UglyRipe was recently barred from selling his tomatoes outside the state of Florida by the tomato grower's association. They're outraged at the negative impression created by selling non-Christmas tree ornament tomatoes.

We can still get them within the state, but since many of our residents are snowbird-type transients, and can't get their UglyRipes in New Jersey now, there's been something of an uproar about all this. Your average UglyRipe customer is pretty fierce in their loyalty.

Car to Truck

Pick Up Truck Posted by Hello

April 28, 2005

We're heading to North Florida in the Saturn, going to Old Town to pick up a big rig. It's sitting in someone's yard, in a cul-de-sac at the end of a curvy dirt road. How it got there, I don't know.

But I can say, it's going to Oklahoma. And taking my man Walter with it.

He's been home for over a year with a shoulder injury, unable to work. He blew his shoulder out moving the axles on a trailer. The tendon running over his shoulder blade got "impingement syndrome." The injury and inflammation and scar tissue make the hole where the tendon passes through too small. They go in and cut away bone or something from three different directions to enlarge the opening again.

That hurts.

But he's finally better now, and was even able to do some rehab work on the house. Not better enough, maybe, because he's certainly paying the price for doing that. It hurts.

The good news is, he also wasn't able to finish the phone line we'd need to get me off his laptop and back onto the house computer.

End result? The laptop is mine. Mine all mine. For now.

So I sit here riding down the road blogging from a laptop plugged into a 300-watt cigarette lighter converter. It gives us all the power we want - two electrical sockets - and the battery won't run down, so long as there's gas in the car. I'm writing in email offline.

Blogging from a moving car.

I look up from time to time, don't want to miss the sights on this road trip. I have to remember to look up. I'm not an experienced shotgun blogger.

We're on the Florida Turnpike at a toll plaza now. I can't see the elderly toll worker's face from my seat. I call out, You see this? I'm writing on a computer in a car. I never thought I would see the day.

He says nothing in return.

At the last pit stop, someone had a huge black long-haired dog near the entrance, red bandana around its neck. It looked a bit like a straight-haired Newfoundland, with the head of a chow. A Newfoundland-Chow mix? what would you call that, a NewFoundChow? a ChowFoundLand?

We make good time. The directions are full of landmarks like, Then go over the Suwannee River and pretty soon you come to a red light, and there's a Citgo on one corner and a BP on the other...That truck really was as advertised, down a curvy dirt road. Walter had to back it out. He did good.

The woman says, Here's how it got there:

Her husband worked for the same trucking company as Walter. Husband got pissed off at company over getting too few miles (meaning less pay), and what he viewed as an inflexible layover policy: after a delivery in the middle of nowhere, he waited for a new load for 30 hours. To add insult, they wouldn't let him drive down the road a few miles to a different truck stop which had the benefit of showers. The wife was outraged. From Sunday to Wednesday not one single shower!!!

And she didn't even have to smell him.

So, good old boy he looks to be, he told them, I quit. I'm going home. You want your truck back, come and get it.

We got it.

One of the landmark gas stations had a few truck parking spaces out back, and we meet up there.

Walter notifies the trucking company. He waits for instructions and loads his things from the Saturn to the rig. I make us each a PBJ.

Feels like a last supper.

He's supposed to pick up some trailers, they'll be loaded on the flatbed. No! Changed their minds. He'll deadhead, drive with the flatbed but no load back to Oklahoma. Even better. Same pay, less hassle, quicker ride, get the next job faster, so a bigger paycheck.

And now he's gone. And me, I feel lonesome and blue.

Heading home, alone.