If you don’t care about your own safety, think of others

These thoughts came to me while I was tweeting with @SherriWrites at about 4a; after Hurricane Irene moved through my area.

There was a time in human history where technology wasn’t available to predict the destructive paths of natural disasters.

With meteorological advances, however, there are some things we don’t have to do anymore:

  • We don’t have to stand outside with a moist finger in the air trying to decide whether we should move to higher, or lower, ground because bad weather is coming.
  • We don’t have to depend on Grandpa’s bad knee from his second World War wound to start aching before we head off to the supermarket for non-perishable items for the bomb shelter.
  • We don’t have to pay a fortune in gold to the Oracle to gyrate and sputter to let us know that the ground will be shaking and rumbling soon.

All we have to do now is turn on the television, surf over to The Weather Channel‘s website and/or download an application for our smartphone to know days in advance that we’re most likely in harm’s way and we probably need to move.

If you can’t get out of harm’s way, that’s one thing. Sometimes a storm will come on so suddenly that there’s no time to evacuate. Even with all the meteorological advances in the world, Mother Nature doesn’t show us her terrific and terrible majesty all the time.

If you can get out of harm’s way, and you choose not to, then you put other people’s lives at risk.

For the most part, the good portion of humankind values life. There are those among us who will risk life and limb to rescue a cat or dog before s/he’ll watch even someone else’s pet perish because of some natural or man-made disaster.

When people refuse to evacuate, especially when they’ve got ample time and have been given sufficient warnings to do so, they create the possibility that some Emergency Service employee could lose his/her life trying to rescue people who wouldn’t have needed rescuing had they listened to the warnings and moved to safer space prior to the disaster.

In the end, the material possessions are ruined, anyway, and their staying doesn’t change that. In our human condition, not even our strong wills are going to deter the wrath of nature, and we’ve put ourselves and others at risk for nothing.

The time Emergency service personnel could be spending to help those who did move to safer space find food/water, clothing and shelter, is consumed by those who left themselves in dangerous situations and have to be rescued. Valuable resources are diverted from those who listened and tried to do the right thing to those who decided their wants/needs were more important than anyone else’s.

Think about it.

Once it’s found out that someone who wouldn’t evacuate is trapped on his/her roof barefoot in shorts and a tshirt, clinging to his/her laptop and laser printer, the Emergency Service personnel aren’t going to say, “Oh, well. It’s too bad. S/he should have listened to us and got out before it got bad.”

No, their supervisor is going to send them out to rescue that person and his/her few possessions. And while the Emergency Service personnel are trying to concentrate on getting this person safely off his/her roof, s/he’ll be barking orders like, “Be careful of my laptop and printer. I’m going to hand them to you first. Don’t drop them. Watch the cables!”

It’s troubling, to say the least, that there are people who put more value on stuff than they place on their own lives and/or the lives of those who’ll be on the hook for trying to get them to safety once the storm/tornado/hurricane/fire passes through their area.

When are we going to learn?

Sigh.

Another sleepless night

The plan was to go to bed early and then get up at 5a to go to the gym, but that didn’t work.

I found myself wide awake at 11pm, and I still can’t sleep.

I had an itch on my back, and when I went to scratch it I discovered that my entire back is covered with small bumps. I’ve never had hives, so I don’t know if that’s what it is. I know they weren’t there the day before the earthquake.

I really need to get over it.

Right now, though, I’m not over it.

Sigh.

I guess I better get some work done since I’m awake.

That earthquake really shook me up

…no pun intended.

Yesterday, a 5.8-magnitude earthquake started in Richmond, VA, and shook the earth all the way up the East Coast.

I live about an hour and a half away from Richmond, so imagine my terror when my bed starting shaking during my nap.

At first, I thought I was dreaming that the bed was shaking, but when I woke up and saw things falling off my dresser, and  the books on the desk sliding to a slant, I thought maybe my landlady had someone working on the house and she didn’t tell me they were coming by.

I got out of bed and looked out the windows, but I didn’t see anyone. I thought maybe I couldn’t see them from the top floor, so I descended the stairs and looked out the ground floor windows.

No one.

As I came back up the stairs, the ceiling fan was making a very weird noise, so I turned it off and the shaking stopped.

Keep in mind, at this point I still had no idea there had been an earthquake.

I mean, I’ve been in this area since 2003, and there’s never been any earthquakes. I went to school in DC from 1990 to 1995, and there were no earthquakes then either. Why would I think it was an earthquake?

My heart was racing, because I was wondering if maybe a squirrel in the attic had bitten into a wire or something and damaged the electrical system, which is what caused the whole top floor of the house to shake.

I sat on my bed, wondering if the top of my house was going to fall in on me and if I should leave.

About this point, a friend of mine called to check on me, and that’s when I found out I wasn’t crazy, that turning off the ceiling fan hadn’t stopped the house from shaking and that I had indeed been shaken out of my sleep by a powerful earthquake.

Now it’s almost 2a, and I’m terrified to go to sleep. I’ve been in bed since about 11p, and I can’t sleep. The thought of having another earthquake shake me out of my sleep scares me silly.

But you know what I think about when I’m lying here unable to sleep?

Haiti, Japan, India and all those other places rocked by natural and man-made disasters where the infrastructure isn’t as solid as America’s and when the shaking stops there are miles and miles of homes and businesses razed to the ground.

Yesterday’s earthquake lasted for about 40 seconds of my life, and I can’t go to sleep.

Can you imagine spending the next 40 years rebuilding your life, community, city, state, country?

I’m scared, but I know I’m fortunate to live in a place where a 5.8-magnitude earthquake shakes me up but doesn’t tear me down. My heart goes out to all those who don’t live in a place where they can say that.

This is why I take my Help for Humanity campaign so seriously.

Casey Anthony: not guilty and not innocent

I was asked on Twitter, prior to the Casey Anthony verdict, what my opinion was on what it would be.

My reply was that I had no opinion on the verdict.

I’ll explain why I had no opinion on the verdict:

Casey Anthony wasn’t found innocent of the killing of Caylee Anthony. Innocence was not proven or on trial.

Casey Anthony was found not guilty of the charges as worded by the entity who brought and secured the indictments.

When you start applying the nuances of the law and the spirit of the law to whether a person should be punished for a crime, then you have to take into account that anything is possible.

Now…

Had I been asked my opinion on whether I—personally—think Casey Anthony is guilty of the 2008 murder of Caylee Anthony, my answer is yes.

See…

There are too many things to consider when “the rule of law” is applied to a situation.

The bottom line is this:

No one yet has been held accountable for the death of Caylee Anthony. Are we going to now focus on that, or will Caylee’s death, like so many others, become yesterday’s buzz phrase as we move on to the tragic death of another child?

And for those of  you who want to pull the race card from the deck, I’m going to respectfully ask you to remember O.J. Simpson before you slam that card down on the table. Thank you.

President Obama will never be effective

Don’t get me wrong.

The title of this post is “President Obama will never be effective,” not “President Obama cannot be effective” or “President Obama hasn’t tried to be effective.”

I could make this a long and drawn-out post, itemizing all the ways President Obama will never be effective, but when you boil it all down to starch there’s really only one thing that affects his ability to be effective: his skin color.

President Obama will never be effective, because too many people don’t want to work with him so he can be effective.

Maybe only Rush Limbaugh said it out loud, but there are so many others like Rush who want to see the President fail. They don’t want him to be as effective as he could possibly be, because that would obliterate the myth that people of color have the intestinal fortitude and the intellect to lead just as effectively as anyone else.

What’s ironic is that these same people who want the President to fail don’t realize that his failure is the country’s failure. While President Obama is meeting with all this opposition from people who could help him help America succeed, it is actually Americans who are suffering.

I was watching the news yesterday, and the anchor was making the point that the Republicans want to approve $6 trillion in loans and President Obama wanted to approve $7 trillion in loans to help stimulate the American economy. Am I the only sane person who sees that that’s not really a huge leap?

I mean, if the Republicans were saying we could do it with only $3.5 trillion and the President was saying we had to have $7 trillion, then I could see there being this major push-back from Republicans. However, based on a difference of one step up in cost, Republicans have deemed President Obama’s plan too costly.

This is the kind of nonsense that is being played out in America today. It’s almost like the Republicans are simply playing devil’s advocate so nothing can be done to move America forward.

The bottom line…

Regardless of whether anyone comes right out to say, “We’re not going to help him because he’s a black,” their actions are speaking much louder than their wordlessness.

A clean compromise

OK, so with five days invested in my house-clean-up-and-out project, there is one room that’s totally clean.

Woo-hoo!

That may not seem like a lot to you, but when I show you the before and after images, you’ll understand my excitement.

I have dubbed my helper the “Room Whisperer,” because he goes through each room to decide what needs to be done next.

On that note, we hit a bit of a snag…just a bit. However, since my Room Whisperer was willing to compromise with me, we’re good now.

His suggestion was that we clean up two rooms on the top level, but I wanted to clean up/out another room on the middle level; the room next to the totally-clean room. Tomorrow is trash day, and I know that room has a lot of paper that can be shredded and put out for the truck to pick up.

My Room Whisperer didn’t see the value of that, so I explained to him my reasoning, and we decided on a compromise.

Instead of trying to clean out and up the two rooms on the top level, we’re going to clean out all three rooms.

What that means is we’re going to simply go through everything in all three rooms and only concentrate on things that need to be thrown away or shredded. We’re not going to worry about anything that stays, should be donated or should be sold. We’re only focusing on trash and papers to shred.

This way, we accomplish a lot and I get to have a say in how things are done, even though the Room Whisperer has the ultimate veto.

I also got him to agree that we don’t have totally clean one room before starting on another, because there are going to be little odds and ends that can’t be decided on right away. That’s why it took five days to do one room; because there were odds and ends to deal with.

Anyway, I wanted to make sure you all don’t get the impression that my Room Whisperer is a total tyrant. Haha.

On that note, let me get back to the task at hand before the not-so-total tyrant starts ty-ranting all over me. 🙂

Ramping down the repeat tweets

I get asked all the time why I repeat the same tweets over and over.

What I’ve learned about Twitter I already knew from teaching eighth graders…

People see (hear) the same thing typed (said) over and over at their own time.

There are different people on the grid at different times all throughout the day and night.

Even when I’m off the grid, Twitter never sleeps. When it’s night in my neck of the woods, it’s day somewhere else in the world.

Because of this, I repeat my content over and over so that anyone and everyone who’s interested in knowing what’s going on in my world has an opportunity to see it without having to go to my timeline and scroll through a bunch of updates they’re not really interested in.

Again, different people see different tweets at different times throughout the day and night. I know of times that I’ve tweeted the same update every hour, on the hour for at least three or four days and someone will tweet me saying they saw it for the first time on the third day. With hundreds of updates going by on your timeline, it’s easy to miss a lot, not just the things I’m tweeting or repeat tweeting.

Anyway, I have a lot going on over here in my neck of the woods, so I have a lot of updates going out regularly on Twitter.

The repeat tweets help to spread the word, but I know there are a lot of them. If I continue with the repeat tweets, there are going to be many more, because I’m creating more and more content every day.

So I had the bright idea of creating a list of all my Twitter accounts and setting up a repeating tweet about the list.

This will significantly curtail the number of tweets that go out from all my Twitter accounts, but it will still allow me to share all my information with those who are interested in it.

The list is called The Faydra Deon’s Digest.

This method will keep my tweets from filling up your timeline, and I think this is really great solution.

I mean, if they’d do that to my Jesus…

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been a reader of Holocaust literature. I also watch as many documentaries and/or true-to-life movies on the subject as I can find.

Other human-upon-human tragedies that have captured my attention, and have me reading and watching everything I can get my hands on, are the two civil wars in Liberia, the genocides in Rwanda and the ethnic cleansing in Bosnia and Sudan, just to name a few.

In all that I read and watch, there is a common thread of consensus that many who have survived and/or lived through these horrific situations seem to agree on…

Over and over I read or hear them say, and I’m paraphrasing (of course), “I just didn’t think that humans had the capacity to do such terrible things to other human beings!”

That idea always amazes me. I wonder to myself, “Have you not been paying attention to human history?”

Don’t get me wrong, I do not in any way blame victims for being victimized; not at all whatsoever.

That’s not what I’m saying.

I would never, ever fault anyone for wanting to believe the best of humanity.

It’s that believing the best of humanity, however, that lulls so many into a false sense of security.

For me, as a follower of Christ, who studies and meditates on the Word, I don’t put anything past people!

I mean, if they’d crucify my Jesus just for wanting to bring back the abundant life that Adam and Eve forfeited for us in the Garden of Eden, why wouldn’t they burn babies alive or chop children with machetes or rape righteous little girls or torture teenagers trying to protect their mothers?

On this Resurrection Day, when I remember the stripes Jesus bore for my sins, so that I can have eternal life, I also remember the other victims of human tragedies and pray for humanity.

For more information on Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection, read Matthew 26:1 – Matthew 28:20.

Taking the Password Plunge!

For years, I’ve used essentially the same combination of passwords for all my accounts. There have been variations here and there so as not to be so predictable, but if a hacker got one of my passwords, s/he could probably get into about 10% of all my accounts.

Not anymore!

I have now taken the password plunge, and about 85% (and counting) of my accounts have totally different passwords.

This is no small feat, since I’m steadily joining more and more social media sites each day, but it’s necessary if I want to stay protected online. I can’t say I like it, and I definitely don’t love it, but I know it’s necessary, so I may as well put on my grown-up-girl panties and make it happen.

Now you know I’m not going to be able to keep all these passwords straight, so thank goodness for applications, like eWallet, that allow me to store my passwords on my computer and my mobile phone.

Eventually, I will get to know all of them, but then it will be time to change them once more! 🙂

Book Review: Satan’s Sisters by Star Jones, Esq.

Buy the book by clicking the cover.

The great thing about having a Kindle is that you can get books the first day they premiere, and that’s exactly what I did on 22 March 2011 when Star Jones‘ book, Satan’s Sisters, hit the stores.

I would have finished the book in one day had it not been for other things I had to get done. When a client wants his/her website finished, s/he’s not going to want to hear me say, “See. What had happened, right…”

When I first turned on my Kindle to start reading Satan’s Sisters, I was about to take a nap. I was so ready to get started with the book that I said to myself, “I’ll just read it until I start to nod, and then I’ll come back to it later.”

Child, please!

The book was so good from word one, I almost forgot I was supposed to be taking a nap! 😆

I had to force myself to put it down and get my nap out, so I could get back to work. I was on chapter four by the time I made myself stop.

Star doesn’t waste any time getting right into the heart of the action. You are drawn into the story from the first sentence.

Satan’s Sisters is a book about a book.

Before I go any further, let me give you a bit of advice: Do NOT try to replace the two words, Satan’s Sisters, with the two words, The View.

While it’s only natural that Star may have gleaned some descriptive material from her double decades in television, working on different shows, Satan’s Sisters stands on its own merit, and it is a brilliant work of fiction by a brilliant writer.

If you start reading the book, trying to match the book’s characters with real-life people, you not only do a disservice to Star’s stellar writing, but you’re also going to be hard-pressed to make the preconceived connections you think exist in the book.

Having said that, let me give you a brief overview of what you’re in store for.

Satan’s Sisters is centered around a day-time television show co-hosted by five women. A former co-host, who was forced off the show, has written a tell-all book about why she left the show and all the dirt she was privy to when she was on the show. As you can imagine, this sends everyone connected with the show into a tizzy about what’s in this book. All those who think they may be affected are trying to do damage control before the damage hits the fan. The people most vulnerable are the five ladies who now sit “on the couch” and talk about politics, current events and the mess in other people’s lives.

So who’s on the couch?

There’s Maxine, the lead host, who’s worked her way to the top of television royalty by kicking much butt and taking many names. She’s a long way from her family’s sharecropping past, but she’s got to do some serious legwork to keep it that way.

Then there’s Whitney, a well-respected journalist, the mother of four and the wife to a husband who’s getting his salacious sexual needs met in a way that no wife wants to come face-to-face with.

Shelly is a former wild-child, super-model with an Ivy League MBA, a taste for the night life and the sense to know that common sense and intelligence are more of an asset to her than her bangin’ body and phat bank account.

Dara, the double-degreed Latina, is the baby of the bunch, but she will be no less affected if her biggest secret is revealed before she has the opportunity to reveal it herself.

Funny woman Molly, is the comedienne on the couch, but what she’s dealing with in her life is no laughing matter whatsoever.

The rub? The former co-host with the tell-all book knows all their business, and she has some unfinished business of her own to deal with.

The strength of Satan’s Sisters is that even the sub-characters have substance. While all the ladies on the couch have their own dramas to deal with, Callie, Josh, Riley, William, Ginny, Eric, Channing, Lizette and Karen are vital to rounding out the plot, sub-plots and sub-sub-plots. 🙂

Overall, I’d say Satan’s Sisters boils down to the most amazing quote from the book:

“You have to be the author of the only dictionary that defines you. You can’t allow anyone else to write that definition because when it changes—and believe me it always does—you won’t know who you are.”

Satan’s Sisters gets Faydra Deon’s 5-star “Beyond the Bomb!” rating.