Leslie's Omnibus


When Chicago's Hull House announced that it was closing, there was a great hue and cry about it being such an icon and providing vital human services.  But, as Dennis Byrne says,
Wait, let me start again. No one more deserves sympathy in these troubled times than the clients these charities serve — the starving, sick, homeless, addicted, despairing and destitute.

I rephrased that because I'm not so sure that the various charities, nonprofits and tax-exempt organizations should escape scrutiny for how well or poorly they do their jobs. The popular assumption is that they are the epitome of goodness and kindness, so just lay off with the scrutiny stuff.

I disagree. They spend our money, whether our contributions (in cash and in kind) or our taxes. They have an obligation, to their clients and us, to operate effectively and efficiently, and not in the shadows created by cloaked financial reporting and apathetic or overly trusting boards of directors, all while blessing themselves with munificent salaries and benefits.
As one who sits on the Board of a 501(c)(3) organization, I completely agree with him.  Go read the whole thing, then be asking questions before you donate your time, goods or money to any philanthropic organization.  Even mine.

Jimbo of the farookin' great hair and rockin' guitar gets the willies from crocs and gatorsI get the willies at just the description alone of Krokodil:
It is a drug for the poor, and its effects are horrific. It was given its reptilian name because its poisonous ingredients quickly turn the skin scaly. Worse follows. Oleg and Sasha have not been using for long, but Oleg has rotting sores on the back of his neck.

"If you miss the vein, that's an abscess straight away," says Sasha. Essentially, they are injecting poison directly into their flesh. One of their friends, in a neighbouring apartment block, is further down the line.

"She won't go to hospital, she just keeps injecting. Her flesh is falling off and she can hardly move anymore," says Sasha. Photographs of late-stage krokodil addicts are disturbing in the extreme. Flesh goes grey and peels away to leave bones exposed. People literally rot to death.
If that doesn't make your skin crawl, nothing will.

While I'm on the subject of things that'll give me nightmares for days, there's this news:
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and National Jewish Health in Colorado both have issued a warning about nasal washes after two people have died from using tap water to do their sinus rinse.

Health experts say it’s safe to use nasal washes. It’s not about the rinse, it’s about the water. They warn that a mixture from a faucet could be fatal.
And just what kind of fatal?
Fornof says not to use tap water. It’s because of a brain-eating amoeba called Naegleria fowleri. It’s common in warm rivers and lakes, but if it travels up the nose to the brain it’s usually deadly
.Ooooo! Squicky, squicky, squicky!

Not only does Siri have problems with thick Scottish accents, apparently she also struggles with Engrish:

And Siri is not the only iPhone app with language issues:
An autocorrected text message, accidentally sent to the wrong number, was the catalyst to a lockdown Wednesday at West Hall middle and high schools.

Just before noon, law enforcement and school officials issued the lockdown after a West Hall community member reported a threatening text message.

The text, saying "gunman be at west hall today," was received and reported to police around 11:30 a.m. But after police tracked the number, they learned the autocorrect feature on the new cellphone changed "gunna" to "gunman."

Quote of the Day:
There was no damage to the building, the spokeswoman added.
Thank goodness for small blessings, eh?

According to Glenn Reynolds, today is "Blogger Appreciation Day."  To all my blogging pals out there, I do appreciate you.  I really do!

Quick Stops

Giggle of the Day:


Three simple steps... to delete your Google browsing history.  Just do it.

Ear Worm of the Day:

Yep. I've still got the Statler Brothers stuck between my ears... but it's Friday, and Jihad Gene once again exhorts us, "Let's Dance!"  Alrighty then.

World Tour

Mongolia -- that's a new one!

Did you know...
At 1,564,116 square kilometres (603,909 sq mi), Mongolia is the 19th largest and the most sparsely populated independent country in the world, with a population of around 2.75 million people. It is also the world's second-largest landlocked country after Kazakhstan. The country contains very little arable land, as much of its area is covered by steppes, with mountains to the north and west and the Gobi Desert to the south. Approximately 30% of the population are nomadic or semi-nomadic. The predominant religion in Mongolia is Tibetan Buddhism, and the majority of the state's citizens are of the Mongol ethnicity, though Kazakhs, Tuvans, and other minorities also live in the country, especially in the west. About 20% of the population live on less than US$1.25 per day.
Here's a form of music you're not likely to run across in the States -- Mongolian Throat-Singing:

(There's a droning quality about it that reminds me of dulcimers and bagpipes.)


Hah! Google has backed down on tracking your data if you don't want them to:
Google Inc. (GOOG) will allow a “do-not-track” button to be embedded in its Web browser, letting users restrict the amount of data that can be collected about them.
Be on the lookout for this new button, as it's not out yet.

Ear Worm of the Day:

Embedded in my ear since 8:50 a.m. Argh!

Miss Nancy is a vile, wicked temptress!


Got a Kindle and want to remove books from the archive permanently?  Here's how.  Good to know!

I'm currently reading...

... so I found this column by Eric Zorn of great interest:
The schools are public. The funds to be spent are public. On one side of the table is a public body. Why shouldn't the public have a seat at that table, if only to listen in through the media to the offers and counter-offers?

Negotiating a contract of this dimension is a major governmental act — far more significant than many of the twists of the statutory knob that must, by law, be performed by legislative bodies at open meetings.

Closed doors are antithetical to democracy. Our traditions tell us that public oversight and input not only help keep officials honest, but also aid them in their quest to represent the will of the people (assuming that is their quest).

In the case of teachers union negotiations, parents are major stakeholders — even more so than most taxpayers — yet are totally shut out of the process until the parties emerge from marathon bargaining sessions brandishing a settlement.
I don't always see eye-to-eye with Zorn, but on this topic he's bang on the money.  Go read the whole thing.  And then go buy this book.  It's guaranteed to set your hair on fire!

Giggle of the Day:


Ear Worm of the Day:



Luminous Field was breathtaking!

I wish they had kept this going for more than a mere 10 days.


This is the second trip in a row where my friend's pants have imploded within hours of arriving in Chicago.  Don't know if it's more of a knock on the quality of Levi's these days (he bought them last trip down, which was only a couple of months ago)... or he's just happy to see me...

What I Did On My Day Off?

I had lunch with my one of favorite visiting tourists at Jimmy's Restaurant.

Then we had a date with Zombie Jimmy...

... at Illinois Gun Works.

A big ol' smoocheroo to my favorite Norwegian from the North Woods for gun safety orientation and range instruction.  I made him proud by: 1) not doing anything stupid; 2) striking exactly where I was aiming; and, 3) stopping ol' Zombie Jimmy dead in his tracks.  Weapon of choice?  9 mm Walther PPQ.

Now I need more practice, damn it.

Whoa, Nelly!

One of my friends accepted my invitation to Fab.com, and I got a little spending money from Fab as a result. I tripped across an offering from a trio of handmade sea salt caramels (original, dark chocolate and cabernet) from Sea + Cane Sweets and I couldn't resist -- especially since it cost me little more than the shipping to indulge.

Oh. Mah. Freakin'. Gawd.

Ooey, gooey, melt-in-your-mouth perfection, every dad-blamed one of them!

I like 'em all, but these Dark Chocolate beauties...

... really should be declared illegal because they're so addictive.

How good?  So darned good that I looked up Sea + Cane Sweets on the intertubes, only to find out that they're right in my own back yard.

I'm of the belief that Valentine's Day is over-hyped and overrated.  If you really want your sweetie to know you love him or her, do something special on any of the 364 other days of the year.  And these sinful confections from Sea + Cane Sweets would be an awful special gift indeed.

(And if you want an invite to Fab, email me at omnibus - dot - driver - at - gmail - dot - com.  They've got cool, very contemporary stuff, and they ship within a short amount of time, unlike some of the other online discount luxury goods sites.)

Hold the Bus!

Fancy underpants are a debatable topic?  Really?
There's a subtle line between liking to wear fancy panties ... and needing to see others drool over your bottom before you can feel worthwhile. One is powerful; the other's an eating disorder in waiting. One is finding power in enjoying yourself and your body in a mature and confident way ... and the other is a degraded manipulation of self by instincts out of whack and in thrall to others. Sometimes, of course, both are at work at once.
The planets must be aligned in such a way that it's underpants karma week.

(BTW -- If you haven't taken my wildly scientific survey yet, why not? Click here to take the survey.)


Giggle of the Day, Part the First:


Want a novel way to speed date?
On a snowy Wednesday evening, in a back meeting room at the main branch of the Free Library of Philadelphia, 15 women sat at 15 different tables. Fourteen men sat down with each, briefly, for a micro-date.

As any single woman in a city will tell you, the dating scene is lopsided. Speed-dating sessions at the public library are no different. There were supposed to be 15 guys, but the library had a hard time filling those seats. They had to turn away 25 women.

Because it is a library, they brought books as ice breakers.
I actually think this is a great idea.  I'd probably bring 911 and Home by Mark D. Paulson.  Having a first edition, signed by the author, with a mention in the credits?  A guaranteed conversation starter.

What book would you bring to the table?

If you've left me a voicemail message in the past few weeks and didn't hear back from me... I got a new smart phone that's WAY smarter than me.  Glad to see that I'm not the only one that feels that way.

Have patience.

I'm getting there.  (It only took me a month to figure out how to retrieve emails.  Sheesh.)

If this is true...
The speed someone walks may predict the likelihood of developing dementia later in life, according to researchers in the US.
... then I'm going to be sharp as a tack well into my old age.

And if this is true...
They also told a conference that grip strength in middle-age was linked to the chance of a stroke.
... I'm going to have the ticker of a teenager for the rest of my born days.

Go read the whole thing here.

Given my history with Chicago cabs, this is very good news indeed:
[C]ity officials are focusing on a new ordinance — it's set to go into effect this summer — they say will be easier to enforce and finally hold cab companies accountable for repeat offenders they let behind the wheel.

"One of the reasons why we took on the challenge of rewriting the ordinance is because we needed it to be clear, crisp and easy to enforce," said Rosemary Krimbel, commissioner of the Business Affairs and Consumer Protection department.
This can't happen fast enough to suit me.

Giggle of the Day, Part the Second:



When you laugh in the face of the Fates...
Diner suffers cardiac arrest while eating a Triple Bypass Burger in restaurant called the Heart Attack Grill
... the one named Karma can be the biggest bitch of all.

So that's why I re-read my faves over and over again:
The first time people read - or watch - through, they are focused on events and stories.

The second time through, the repeated experience reignites the emotions caused by the book or film, and allows people to savour those emotions at leisure.
George R.R. Martin, Nancy Atherton, Jacqueline Carey, Karen Miller, Gary Jennings, Janet Evanovich (books 1-10, anyway), and many, many more are all old and dear friends of mine.

Today's Chicago Tribune advocates discussing problems with your neighbors before calling in the police: 
Calling the cops almost has become a default solution, one that's not especially productive.

"No one likes having the police called on them," said Will Reimers, a neighborhood contact officer with the Boise (Idaho) Police Department. "Oftentimes that makes things worse, when suddenly police show up and start talking to you. People resent that. So it's not the best first step."

What is the best first step? Try talking to each other.
"It seems today that talking to your neighbors is something that has fallen out of fashion," Reimers said. "It's just not done as much anymore. But it's an old technique that should be resurrected."
Which all sounds good until you realize that today's Daily Mail illustrates the flip side of that solution:
Franklin Santana, 47, allegedly went to his neighbour's home in the Tacony region of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to complain about his dogs.

The neighbour, Tyrirk Harris, 27, was licensed to carry a gun and had it in a holster as the two talked on the front porch on Tuesday, police said.

‘I (saw) them arguing, then from there a little scuffle,’ neighbour Miguel Rivera told the Philadelphia Daily News. ‘Then I heard the shots.’

Mr Santana was found dead outside the Torresdale Avenue home after confronting Harris about the mess constantly left by his dogs, police said.
I'd say you really need to pick your battles -- and you might want to let the police handle the ones that involve an armed and angry neighbor after all.


Cloud Gate (a/k/a "The Bean") + animated light show = Omnibabe needs to recharge the batteries for her camera and get her butt down to see Luminous Field before it closes!

If you haven't already seen this viral video of a pissed off papa's response to his darling daughter's humdinger of a Facebook post dissing her parents, give it a gander:

Apparently some helpful folks figured that the local authorities ought to be called in.
The former Marine wrote on his Facebook page that Child Protective Services officials came to his home in Stanly Co. on Saturday and interviewed him and his daughter — separately — after viewers of the video called with concerns about his actions.
He said the police also stopped by.
And what happened next?  (Not what you think!)
“The police by the way said ‘Kudos, sir,’ ” Jordan wrote. "I actually had a "thank you" from an entire detectives squad. And another police officer is using it in a positive manner in his presentation for the school system.
Is he at all repentant?
In the Saturday Facebook post, Jordan said he does not regret making the video and stands by his decision to post it.
Here's my favorite bit:
Jordan's post also said if he had to do it again he would, "Not be smoking a cigarette ... not have used the word "ass" in my comment directed at my daughter ... would have worn my Silverbelly Stetson, not my Tilley hat if I'd known that image was going to follow me the rest of my life and I'd probably have cleaned my boots."
That's my kind of guy!

Seeing this article about a woman who collected so many salt & pepper shaker sets that she had to open a museum to house them reminded me of The Princess Mom.

TPM loved to meander through junk resale shops, yard sales, rummage sales and flea markets in search of the perfect salt & pepper set for my sister and I for Christmas gifts -- on top of the dolls and other collectibles (anything with a cat (for me) or Cairn Terrier (for my sister) in it, on it or for it, whether it was to our taste or not) she was already buying for us.

After I got out of college I had no room to display this unwanted collection, but every year another set popped up in my stocking. 

Shortly after I got married I casually mentioned to TPM that I really didn't have any place to display the S&P collection, and that I would rather not receive them as gifts any more.

I completely forgot that the fastest way to get TPM to dig in her heels and do her best imitation of a mule was to tell her you didn't want something she wanted you to have.

Yes, I got another set for Christmas.  And the Christmas after that.

And the Christmas after that

I started re-gifting those S&P shakers right back to her.

It only took three more Christmases for her to finally give up the battle... and I still have most of the original collection.

Yes, I could sell them on ebay... but then I wouldn't have this goofy connection to her, now would I?

World Tour

Jeepers!  I start blogging again, and the world sits up and takes notice:

21 countries and the great unknown, and all by noon.

What, you may ask, drove all those people here?

Search Keywords
funny pictures
 - 22

funny pics
 - 7

redneck nom nom -
5 [???]

funny crap pictures
 - 4

funny cute cat pics with caption -

the dark crystal trailer
 - 4

bloody monday cheezburger cat -
3 [3 X ??? = WTF?]

funny fighting animals
 - 3

funny photos
 - 3

i am bitch before and after coffee [Yes, I am, actually]
Who knew?


Have you ever done so much laundry in one day that your whole house smells like fabric softener?

Have you ever been gobsmacked by the sheer numbers of socks you have?

Do you have enough pairs of knickers to last you for over a month?

Your Lucky Underwear is Orange

You have an intense personality and crave extreme emotional experiences. And your lucky orange underwear will help you take it to a whole new level.

Adventure and danger don't phase you - in fact you enjoy dicey situations. You're the first to take a risk, and the first to get the payoff.

And while your risks sometimes result in great rewards, they also sometimes result in devastating failures.

If you want to have intense moments without always risking all you have, put on your orange underpants. They'll help you experience life with rich emotions, no matter what you're doing.

(By the way -- have you taken my survey yet? No? Click here to take survey.)

I do simple memes.  Om Keesie, on the other hand, occasionally serves up a doozy:
Now be honest
Answer if you dare!

The Westminster Kennel Club show finals start tomorrow.  Yahoo!

Listen to Steve Dale interview David Frei, who is the cohost and analyst for USA Network's airing of the show, about which dogs are the current favorites and what new breeds to look for tomorrow night here.

How much do I love the Westminster?

funny dog pictures - Ai haz teh debilmaykare nawtakareintehwurld fulluvzim ebbrefingisritewiftehwurld happies!
see more dog and puppy pictures

One more silly meme?

You Are Innovative

You're the type of person who is always putting a new spin on things. You are very creative.
You sometimes feel like you are a square peg trying to fit into a round hole, but that's okay! You'll build your own square hole.

You are cutting edge to the point of being avant-garde. You are extremely inventive.
You can't help but be original. You love to experiment and try new things.


Saturday Ramblings

Now I've heard everything:
Winner's attorneys argued that punishment was too harsh, according to court papers.

Winner's attorneys also asked that his emotional problems and difficult childhood, including physical and psychological abuse at his father's hands, be taken into consideration, court papers show.
And what exactly is he guilty of?
An Illinois man was sentenced Friday by a federal judge in Rhode Island to more than three years in prison for shipping unwanted penis enlargers to diabetes patients as part of a larger fraud scheme that prosecutors say bilked $2.2 million from Medicare over four years.
He's a real winner all right.

Looking for another place to get designer-looking prescription specs at a fantastic price?  Try Warby Parker. Not only will you be getting a great value, you'll be doing a good deed, as well.

(I like the look of these, and at only $95 for frames and lenses, I just might have to get them!)

6 tips for avoiding speeding tickets -- besides not speeding in the first place, that is.

An unexpected consequence of the current economy?  The ruin of the current generation.

Giggle of the Day:



For those who recently dropped me notes of sympathy, really the teeth in, teeth out routine isn't that bad.  What does suck about the whole thing?

So there.

Oh, sure... Fabulous at 50! You have fewer colds, less sensitive teeth and are better at sex

I have less sensitive teeth... because I don't have real ones any more.  The rest, well... that's for me to know and you to find out.

Valentine's Day is coming.  How to you define love?

A survey has revealed than an astonishing 43 per cent of women carry around a pair of sexy pants in their handbags... just in case.

I find that astonishing.  In fact, I've put together a little survey of my own to see just how true that is.  Click here to take survey

"Is my kid entitled?"  If you have to ask, the answer is more than likely YES.  This is one of the most sensible reads for parents that I've seen in a long time.

I did know this -- "Cut flowers prefer a cool, humid environment and should be kept out of bright light and away from heating vents."
Good to know!

I recently spent an evening in the company of a delightful soccer coach from Glasgow, Scotland.  Given that I couldn't understand over a third of what he said (though the accent was delightfully piquant), Siri has my sympathy and this article had me in hysterics.  


Hello??? Is This Thing On???

Sorry I've been so silent of late.  I've been off in search of my blogging mojo, which seems to have done a runner.

I'm blaming the whole radio silence thing on my lack of permanent choppers.  I was de-fanged both literally and metaphorically, it seems.  It's very weird, but being very self-conscious about speaking really has made me self-conscious about blogging as well. 

Fortunately, I should have the white, shiny, pretty new teeth within the next week or so. Then look out, world!

In the meantime, here are a few more things they don't tell you at the beginning of this whole adventure in replacing every tooth in your mouth at once:
  • They can put your temporary teeth in the same day that they take your real ones out.
  • You'll have your temporaries put in and taken out at least four times, on the other hand, before you get your permanents:
    • Your oral surgeon will take them out to make sure your implants have bonded properly.  He'll take another set of x-rays at that time.  You'll feel like just like this guy:

      Actually, you do look just like him.
    • Your regular dentist (or the good folks at the implant clinic if you go that route) will take your teeth out to take a preliminary set of impressions to start in on making your permanent bridges. Once again, you'll feel lovely:

    • Your dentist will have you back in to take the temporaries out and put in the bases for the permanent bridges.  He/she will build a Mini Cooper in your mouth, plaster it in Bondo and yank it out again.  You will look like Jaws from The Spy Who Loved Me and probably could chew through cables for a couple of hours, anyway.

    • Your dentist will ask you to come back in again, wherein one thing will happen if your last Bondo job (set of impressions) went well or two things will happen if it didn't (and you can guess, with my luck, which was my fate).  First, teeth come out and they build a moped in your mouth.  No, it's not as big as the Mini Cooper, but it comes with some seriously scary spikes and you're not allowed to shut your mouth for fear of impaling your gums on the damned things.  More Bondo is involved.  Second (or first if your prior Bondo job was successfull), they yank the motor works and insert a concept car so they can adjust the carburetor and kick the tires a few times.  The concept car is comprised of your pretty, permanent porcelain teeth set in a wax mold.  ( You'd better hope like hell that they work faster than a pit crew or the wax will start melting.)  More tinkering ensues, then the concept car is sent back to the laboratory for more work.
    • Here's the good part -- you finally get your shiny new teeth.  I, of course, am not there yet... but SOON.
  • Remind your dentist to take the bottom bridge out before taking the top bridge out.  It gives 'em more room to work and and doesn't make you feel like your jaw should be hinged so that they could just flip your head wide open.
  • Remind your dentist to use the longer screwdriver.  Just trust me on this.  It's the longer screwdriver that will make the job go faster.
  • None of this, of course, happens in a day -- it takes months.  Months after you've healed. 
  • If having unwieldy temporary teeth makes eating difficult, even more so it shoots the hell right out of your love life.  Yes, I look pretty, but I'm not comfortable with the concept of making out with a mouth full of acrylic. 
Here are the temporaries:

More pix to follow when I finally sport the permanent pearlies, and I hope my blogging mojo is reinstalled at the same time!