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etee's Blog

As the parent of a high school senior, the prospect of having to bail my offspring out of jail (or, even worse, having to identify him at the county morgue) after a post-graduation party gone wrong isn't particularly appealing. So, my ears perked up when I started hearing about something called "Pro-Grad".

Pro-Grad (Project Graduation) is designed to provide a safe, drug-free, alcohol-free event for graduating seniors on the night of their graduation. It is an "all-nighter" lock-in, where the graduates are able to celebrate this milestone in their lives with their peers, without some of the risks present in all-night parties with lots of teenagers present. Yes, it is chaperoned, and there are rules, and to that extent the graduates are not free to "do their own thing". However, they are free to have a good time, even more than if they were out on their own because they are free from the worry that something horrible may go wrong.

This type of activity doesn't come cheap. Costs for these events can exceed $50,000 in the larger schools. So, it is important that we (the parents and neighbors) support this activity. After all, every graduate at a Pro-Grad party is one less teenager on the streets, where they may fall victim to temptation and either hurt someone or get hurt themselves. It is certainly a worthy cause -- and a one-night lock-in is a whole lot cheaper than paying for years in the lock-up after they commit a crime. More fun, too, for everyone concerned.


Posted by etee on Monday, February 28 @ 05:30:00 CST (22 reads)
(comments? | Score: 0)

 Musings about Springtime

etee's Blog

Sometimes, I think it is a good idea to slow down, to get out of the fast lane for awhile, to stop and smell the roses (especially when they haven't been covered with a fresh load of fertilizer.)

As winter winds down and we approach the beginning of another spring, I like to think of things I can do to get off of the fast-track, to unwind, recharge, and recover from a rather hectic lifestyle. Maybe it is a sign I am getting older, but I am becoming less and less of a fan of the fast-paced rat race every day. I look forward to taking some time for a lazy drive through the countryside, looking at the spring wildflowers, stopping to take a picture or two (with a camera that isn't full auto-everything, to boot!) Then, find someplace to stop and eat lunch, preferably a mom-and-pop outfit where you get food that is good, not fast. And, in the evening, instead of sitting down at the tube or getting on the Internet, spend some quality time at the ham radio, and enjoy a rag-chew with someone I meet at random.

What a thought. I'll have to give it a try sometime soon.


Posted by etee on Friday, February 25 @ 12:05:00 CST (17 reads)
(comments? | Score: 0)

 ''Miss America'' -- Pageant, or Reality TV?

etee's Blog

There are reports that the Miss America pageant may be re-cast as a "reality TV" series. Once a very popular show, the last several years have seen it in decline. So, does turning it into another near-clone of "Surviror" or "The Apprentice" make sense?

Maybe so. Then, maybe not. It appears that reality TV may have already peaked, as several of the series are compressing their "season" into fewer episodes, and some of the newer ones are dropping like dead flies. However, if done well, this may be the wave of the future for such pageants, giving them a much-needed facelift.

So, what would "Miss America -- The Series" look like? Well, certainly we could see some cat-fighting and back-stabbing, which I am sure exists in the current format. But, the host and the production crew could just push a few buttons here and there to get things going, and have the cameras ready to show us the fun and fireworks. Maybe we could be allowed to vote contestants off the show after the various competitions. If you really wanted to try something new, hold the show in Hawaii, and then as a contestant is voted off, she goes into the volcano. And, you could even have a side contest, as people would compete to see who would sing the theme song as the new Miss America was crowned. Maybe we could have Willie Hung, Ashlee Simpson, and Rosanne Barr as the judges -- what do you think?


Posted by etee on Friday, February 25 @ 12:05:00 CST (58 reads)
(comments? | Score: 0)

 Partisan Politics; It's Time to Rodeo!; Casino Gambling in Texas?

etee's Blog

Recently, the head of the GOP in Harris County took Republican members of the Houston City Council to task for supporting the mayor (a Democrat) on some rather controversial issues. In response, the local newspaper and others have been taking him to task for trying to foment divisiveness and political partisanshop in the "non-partisan" Houston city government. Well, folks, guess what: the idea that Houston city government is "non-partisan" may still be true in a strictly legal sense (the mayoral candidates are not supposed to run on a party ticket), but ever since Mayor Lee Brown took office, partisanship has been working its way into City Hall. And, I am not sure that isn't a good thing. While potholes and sewers aren't a Democrat or Republican issue, there are other things about running a city the size of Houston that are, and the debate that occurs when partisan politics is involved is a Good Thing. Who knows, maybe if there had been more debate early on, the Safe Clear program wouldn't have had the "growing pains" it experienced, and it might not have annoyed some many of us drivers so much. Bill White has certainly been effective, but he also comes across as a "man on horseback" -- and I don't think that is necessarily a Good Thing.

On another topic, the Rodeo is in town! This week marks the beginning of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, an extravaganza as big as the Texas skies, with traditional rodeo stuff, along with music performances, and plenty of opportunity to shop and eat. While I don't find the Reliant Stadium an appealing venue for musical performances (the acoustics are awful), my family and I will be there this year. And, we hope to see y'all there too -- it is for a good cause! Yee-haw!

And, last but not least, there is an effort underway in Austin to legalize casino gambling in Texas. I know this will be a controversial topic, and there are points to be made both for and against. Gambling is a part of the entertainment / hospitality industry, which provides jobs in a variety of skill levels and brings in much-needed revenue. On the other hand, gambling is also an addictive activity, and far too many families have been left in ruins because one or more of the members gambled away the rent and grocery money. I don't know what the right answer is for everyone else, but I for one would be happy to spend my entertainment dollars in Texas, rather than having to go out-of-state all the time.


Posted by etee on Friday, February 25 @ 12:00:00 CST (25 reads)
(comments? | Score: 0)

 Windows XP Patch;''FBI'' spamm

etee's Blog

Last night, users of Windows Update who have Windows XP/SP2 running on their PC started noticing a patch ready to download/install. Since this isn't the second Tuesday of the month, what gives? The answer is pretty straightforward: when certain anti-virus or firewall programs are installed on the machine, there is a bug which causes Windows to fall over dead (the dreaded "Blue Screen of Death".) This patch provides a fix for that problem. Download it, install it, get on with life. If you want more information, you can check out this URL: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/887742.

Also today, the FBI issued a press release concerning an email purporting to be from them. This email tells you their "Internet Fraud Complaint Center" has monitored your computer use, and has noted you access "illegal web sites". You are then directed to open an attachment and answer the questions on it. Of course, the attachment contains a virus. Think about it, folks. If the FBI were to discover you were going to "illegal web sites", they wouldn't send you spamm about it - they would get a warrant (or not), kick your door in at 2:00 AM, take your PC, and perp-walk your butt out in front of a bunch of cameras to show they are tough on crime. Seriously, gentle readers, the folks at the FBI are professionals. They have procedures for handling this type of stuff. And spamming people ain't a part of them. To read the full text of the press release, go to this URL: http://www.fbi.gov/pressrel/pressrel05/022205.htm.


Posted by etee on Wednesday, February 23 @ 15:05:44 CST (50 reads)
(comments? | Score: 0)

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