Write Lightning is a blog from writer Deb Thompson.
Everyone is welcome here.
(Some links or topics may not be completely kid-appropriate.)

Fri, Aug 29 2008

Labor Day break

I'll be taking a blog break until Tuesday, September 2. I hope everyone has a pleasant Labor Day weekend and I also hope that Hurricane Gustav doesn't create chaos for those living in the Southern states.

posted at: 12:54 | category: /Miscellaneous | link to this entry

Thu, Aug 28 2008

(Not) Dead, but not forgotten

How would you like to wake up and read your own obituary? It seems as though that's what happened to Steve Jobs.

I suppose this is the way it has to be now, so that when a well-known person dies the news can be instant and thorough at the same time. Still, it seems a bit sad that journalism has come to the point where one has to think ahead to death as a way to stay on top of business. And doesn't this get in the way of someone who would like to write his or her own obituary? I guess people can't even get the jump on word of their own demise anymore...

posted at: 11:24 | category: /Writing Life | link to this entry

Wed, Aug 27 2008

New Deb's Monthly Review available online

The September 2008 issue of Deb's Monthly Review has been uploaded. It's full of festivals and other fun you'll enjoy for the month of September.

posted at: 19:28 | category: /Writing Life | link to this entry

Tue, Aug 26 2008

Water availablity, salt-water intrusion and agricultural practices create California drama

It's frustrating to follow the money when the money meets itself coming back. And since American taxpayer money pays for all those subsidies and grants, Americans are now smack in the middle of the issue whether they live in California or somewhere else.

"You got pork in my water."
"Yeah? Well, you got water in my pork."

I used to wonder about us sending aid to countries, but I'm beginning to see that we owe help to everyone else because we are often a large part of the reason for their need of help. I suppose I'll just have to go tongue in cheek and label it as environmental outsourcing by our government.

posted at: 08:47 | category: /Politics | link to this entry

Mon, Aug 25 2008

On taxing non-traditional forms of communication and information

Well, if Dusty Horwitt is serious in his piece from the Washington Post, it does explain why I always had trouble with book banning. I've learned that any time someone wants to force other people to limit what they read or write, if you follow them long enough, they invariably have some other real agenda to promote.

And if the likes of blogging on the internet brings printed newspapers to their editorial knees, maybe there was a sound societal reason for it. Society is obviously beginning to move toward many other vehicles for information. We've known for a long time that most printed publications get the majority of their revenue from advertising and not from subscribers. If subscribers move toward the internet because the papers are working more to please advertisers than subscribers, that's a good thing for those seeking information and truth. And eventually advertisers will catch on and move along with the crowd. The internet itself might be just a fad, but even if it is, cell phones or some other device will no doubt come along and steal attention from it. And so it goes. We may never go back to having printed publications as a standard for disseminating information. We can whine over it or we can find ways to make it work for us as a society. If the internet is part of a bigger problem then maybe it can also be part of a bigger solution. Why rush to tax knowledge that is becoming more open to people? What is Dusty Horwitt seriously really afraid of? That is, if he's even serious at all.

posted at: 18:42 | category: /Writing Life | link to this entry

Fri, Aug 22 2008

Joan, meet Joan

Am I the only one who thinks the mysterious "Joan" on the John McCain campaign video (that mocks Barak Obama as a celebrity) sounds a great deal like actress Joan Allen, whose film Death Race opens this weekend? Maybe it's just that their accents are similar along with their first names, but I did a bit of a double-take when I saw and heard the trailer for the upcoming film.

posted at: 07:39 | category: /Politics | link to this entry

Thu, Aug 21 2008

IT: Chief cook and bottle washer, in many cases

ZDNet has a good piece on what "your IT staff wants to address but is afraid to tell you". I'm sure these things are relevant in large companies, but in smaller companies the IT staff is often a lone guy or gal who got thrust into their position because they were the only one who could locate the phone jacks and who knew where the power button on a computer was. The concept of Web 2.0 isn't going to be on their company's horizon for years to come. I'm not knocking anyone's situation. It's just the way it is. I do dare to say that there are a lot more companies with a lone IT person than companies with a sizeable IT department.

posted at: 14:59 | category: /Miscellaneous | link to this entry

Wed, Aug 20 2008

Turning the tables on restaurant robbers

The robbers targeting Oakland and San Francisco restaurants are forgetting that some restaurant owners might have guns of their own. And they'd be surprise to know that some diners have a permit to carry a concealed weapon. One of these days a robbery is going to turn bad for the criminals (and maybe bystanders) when someone decides to put a stop to the crimes, especially if the armed diner is accosted before he she has had a chance to enjoy their dinner and is packing a gun and fighting low blood sugar at the same time.

posted at: 10:21 | category: /Food | link to this entry

Tue, Aug 19 2008

There's enough lack of responsibility to go around

Assemblywoman Nicole Parra had to pack up and vacate her office in the California Capitol and move in with staff across the street, after she refused to vote on the state's budget. I suppose they have a lot of fun with this sort of thing, but how much of our time, which they've already wasted (along with Republicans), and how much money, which they can't get a handle on as it is, did the Democrats squander on this silly little squeeze-out manuveur? We're not playing musical chairs here, folks. You've all been elected to do a job for the people of California. How about checking the pouting and revenge at the door and getting down to making the California budget a priority? It isn't as though coming up with a budget is a last-minute surprise. You all knew it had to be done from the moment you were elected. Please grow up and handle yourselves with the dignity we were daft enough to think you actually had when we gave up taxes to pay your salaries. You're on our nickel, so stop thinking partisanship and start thinking partnership.

posted at: 11:15 | category: /Politics | link to this entry

Mon, Aug 18 2008

(Don't) honk if you love the sermon

I really enjoyed a story from Christian Science Monitor that focused on a Marietta, Georgia church that offers a drive-in worship service. I can't tell you how many times we've been encumbered with some sort of social/medical/community emergency or other situation on a Sabbath morning and would have "stopped in" at a a Seventh-day Adventist Church service if we weren't wearing grubby clothes.

In fact, I think I'd like the idea of a "drop-in" church even more than a drive-in church. Driving up to the church and listening to a sermon is fine, but I'd really miss having a song service. Still, if Pastor Hopkins is getting several people to come to church each week and sit in their cars while he gives a sermon, he's meeting a need that no one else is meeting. Kudos to him for being willing to meet people where they are in our fast-paced world.

posted at: 08:16 | category: /Religious and Spiritual | link to this entry

Fri, Aug 15 2008

Tasty warm-overs

Most of us have done it. We've made a pot of stew or chili and found it to be even tastier when reheated on another day. My spouse always asks me to freeze a bit of chili for thawing and reheating later, because he likes the taste. Some folks have tried to explain why we like things better the next day. I have no wisdom to add to their musings, but I do know that there is an already-cooked enchilada casserole that has been plucked from the refrigerator and popped into the oven to be heated for tonight's dinner. I can hardly wait. Sometimes anticipation is half the fun.

posted at: 17:55 | category: /Food | link to this entry

Thu, Aug 14 2008

Should we vote for politicians to lead us when they've failed in other areas?

I suppose it had to happen. A lot of our political leaders seem to have trouble being true to their spouses. And the chain often goes back to a spouse cheating on a spouse, who cheated on an earlier spouse...

It's very difficult, when one gets to the voting booth, to decide how all these things might play out if the accused person gets into a high office, even if they have been in office before. Politics, by its very nature, tends to attract a high percentage of people who are narcissistic and in need of attention, either by one individual or by a crowd. Sometimes I wonder if the attention-getting behavior is like that of a child. If they can't get noticed by being good, then they'll get attention by being bad, and they'll expect you to forgive their bad deeds as quickly as you would praise their good deeds. The ego seems to be so damaged and amorphous in these folks that they demand attention any way they can get it and they actually think they'll still be able to keep your trust and support. I feel sorry for them in an odd sort of way. But should feeling sorry for a politician translate into a vote for him or her?

posted at: 09:47 | category: /Politics | link to this entry

Wed, Aug 13 2008

I-10 is not near Monterey

I stopped short when reading about the motorists trying to pick up money that was spilling out onto Interstate 10. The basic premise of the story, the money spilling, is true. But the incident did not happen in Monterey, California. It happened in Monterey Park, California. Interstate 10 runs nowhere near Monterey. We'll forgive the UK Press Association, since they don't live here. After all, many of us who do live in California still mix up the towns of Maricopa and Mariposa.

posted at: 08:57 | category: /Miscellaneous | link to this entry

Tue, Aug 12 2008

Ten of many money blogs

I visited several interesting blogs that focus on money, personal finance, saving, investing, budgeting and frugality. In case you'd like to take some time doing the same, here are the links:

Enough Wealth
Living Almost Large
My Dollar Plan
The Big Picture
Everybody Loves Your Money
My Money Blog
Money Crashers

That should keep you busy for awhile and should also give you plenty of ideas for handling your own money.

posted at: 15:25 | category: /Miscellaneous | link to this entry

Fri, Aug 08 2008

Confronted with spyware and convinced it's like shaking hands with politicians who lie

I've been busy checking to be sure some spyware, disguised as anti-spyware, did not make its way onto my computer. The scans are complete and all seems well. Power-Antivirus 2009 seems to have not gotten its way this time, though it managed to get one sneaky pop-up through my software and tried to tell me my system was at risk and needed its services, for a price. It's a shame people choose to make money by trying to trick people and lying to potential customers. I suppose some of them learned their bad behavior by watching senators and other folks we sometimes vote into office as though we had good sense. There's definitely a valid reason for referring to politics as the world's second-oldest profession.

posted at: 15:25 | category: /Politics | link to this entry

Thu, Aug 07 2008

Local berries shipped to China for Olympic athletes

Local Watsonville strawberries have arrived in Beijing. They'll satisfy Olympic participants' craving for the fresh treats. California Giant and Driscoll's both arranged for berries to be shipped to the waiting athletes.

It sounds as though Beijing is not looking like its regular self as we come up to the Olympic games. Things may go back to the regular grind once the hoopla is over, but I wonder. Once the young people there have feasted on tasty strawberries from the California Central Coast, life in Beijing may never be quite the same again.

posted at: 08:03 | category: /Food | link to this entry

Wed, Aug 06 2008

Suspects corraled after escape

We worry about plane safety, rail safety and government building safety, but we usually don't worry about historic places. So when a dozen suspects hungry for some new territory got past the first line of security at Fort Wadsworth in New York, officials were a bit surprised. Luckily, the only thing the stealthy suspects wanted was a bit of variety in their salad mix.

posted at: 07:50 | category: /Playing | link to this entry

Tue, Aug 05 2008

Morgan Freeman recovering after accident

I heard last night about actor Morgan Freeman's auto accident and it does sound as though he's doing well. I have enjoyed his work over the years and I do wish him a speedy recovery.

posted at: 14:53 | category: /Arts and Entertainment | link to this entry

Mon, Aug 04 2008

Houses are waiting, if buyers are able

We walked through an Open House on Sunday for a home in our neighborhood and were surprised to find that it's former price of over $700,000 had dropped to less than $400,000 as it has become a bank property in the foreclosure process. I suppose if someone doesn't buy it soon it will be a candidate for auction. Ouch. And they're telling us that the current mortgage mess probably won't end with sub-prime loans.

posted at: 16:12 | category: /Miscellaneous | link to this entry

Fri, Aug 01 2008

Wages go up, wages go down, but wages of legislators? Well...

Reuters says that the White House is unhappy with the mixed jobless report. If the White House thinks they're unhappy they should talk to some of us on the front line. I don't know exactly how and where the wages increased by 3.4 per cent over the last year, but this certainly wasn't true with anyone I've talked to recently, except perhaps with a few professionals in specialized positions.

Meanwhile, California state employees face lay-offs or minimum wage paychecks. I suppose that's fair in a time of economic stress, but only if the legislative folks take the same hit. AFter all, it's not Mary or George at the DMV who is holding up the works on a state budget.

posted at: 11:47 | category: /Politics | link to this entry

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I do not believe that sheer suffering teaches. If suffering alone taught, all the world would be wise, since everyone suffers. To suffering must be added mourning, understanding, patience, love, openness and the willingness to remain vulnerable.
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Stealin' copy is as bad as horse-thievin'
and cattle rustlin'! Lightning may strike
such varmints when they least expect it!