Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Emergency Dispatch Calls and High School Kids

Erroll Le Vant has posed a question that I think is tough to answer.

He says that in Houston, high schoolers from the magnet school training law enforcement officers are being used to answer emergency calls (not 911). The post asks what we think, so I figured I'd throw in my two cents worth (if I have that much).

Seems to me that the only way to get ready to do the hard job of emergency dispatch is to get some on the job training, so I have no problem with trainees answering the calls, under supervision. What concerns me is the age of the kids. It could be hard, and even traumatic, for the kid if things went badly. It is the sort of thing that sets the kid up for big-time failure if anything went very badly. So far, thankfully, it has not.

I don't know how closely the kids are being supervised, though. If there is a very competent person on hand all the time while the student is answering calls, then I think it is good. I don't just mean competent in answering the calls, but a competent trainer who will recognize immediately when it is time to take over, if the situation warranted it. If that is the case, then I think it is a good program to continue. But I am a little wary about that. I guess we all know that there are times that trainers are either not as competent or not as committed as they should be. I would hope (and expect) that in a magnet school situation that this would not be the case.



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Mailing Lists

Martin Worldwide is one of the world's most trusted list brokers, offering customers excellent results from their groundbreaking ResponseCom program. ResponseCom is the result of decades of development, according to Chip Matthews, Client Relationship Manager for Martin Worldwide. It is a compilation of information gleaned from tracking, compiling, and optimizing data. All of that was merged into one vast database filled only with proven direct mail responders.

Within this database, the user will find only the most responsive and active prospects. This makes for a very cost effective type of advertising, and very targeted.

For more information on Martin Worldwide and its direct marketing products and services, please call (888)- 267-3545.
Contact: Chip Matthews, Client Relations Manager chip@martinworldwide.net

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Monday, July 30, 2007

Goth Dating

One of the cool things about living in today's world is that you can find a niche for just about anything, and it will be a niche that spans the world. The online dating scene has taken niche interests into consideration, and run with it.

If you are interested in the goth dating, then I can point you to just the right place to mix and mingle with others who have the same interests as you.

There are plenty of gothic guys and gothic girls moving about in the forums there, and you'll find lots of profiles to browse through. Take a look and see how it suits you.

I've got a friend who is going to be really glad I found this place. I'm happy I've run across it so that I can email the link to him.



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Saturday, July 28, 2007

Just Say No to Page Rank

Join the  bloggers who are saying “no” to PageRank and “yes” to life!


All you have to do is copy the info below, and put it into your site/blog. Then email  contact@deanhunt.com and he will update the list with your website/blog link.


As this spreads your site will be mentioned on hundreds, perhaps even thousands of sites.


Step 1: Highlight the links below, right click, then click “View selection source”

Step 2: Paste the “Say No To Pagerank” list into your blog or site

Step 3: email me at: contact@deanhunt.com

Step 4: Get a mention and link here at DeanHunt.com and every other site that plays the game

Step 5: Update your list daily to reflect the new websites and blogs that join in


***

SAY NO TO PAGERANK, YES TO LIFE WEBMASTERS LIST
***


Buzz Marketing Blog

Young Entrepreneurs Blog

No Nonsense Business Advice

Sell your blog

CS Developer

Aplliance Journal

Madkane Humor Blog

Find New Leads

PHPied

UK SEO Directory

Bikinifigur: Abnehmen ohne Hunger

Bob Meets World

BlueJar Webmasters Guide

All Sux Dot Com

CodingPad

The Next Post

Tech Blog

Reality Wired

Tom Wilson Google Blog

Price Filter

a few loose screws

Clickon Web Design

Woody Maxim

Crystals Quest

What Simply Works

Affiliate profit center

Internet Marketing Blueprints

Cash 4 blogging

Hits USA

Wendy Haney

Sheterk Marketing

How To Build a website blog

The Block Party

Ezinet Global Marketing

Best Online Earning Strategies

Online Security Authority

1nf0rmat10n.com

Alternative Healing

That’s what i’m talking about

Web Urbanist Media and Art

Fundraising Ideas

Chatsquatch

Money Spinning

Blogging at Flixya

Blogging Tips

He Said What

Things That Are Fun

Wii Contests

Classic Rock News

Elee Marketing Guide

Viral and Buzz

Azzfan - Make Extra Money

Shadow Scope

The App

Travel Blog


Your favorite blogger

Master Resell Rights

Entrepreneur Wannabe

Adsense Track

TonNet

The Online Business Blog

Net Frontier Marketing

Jean Ghalo Blog

Dott Com

GadgetTastic

Design Creatology

Affiliate Master Tools

4mostTip

The Day of a Mum

MonoMom

InterSites

Homeschool Diva

CyberCa$hology

Conservatory TV

Get Ahead in business


Tech Reviews
Showintale
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***List Ends Here** - UPADTED DAILY *** Please update your lists



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Sleeping Beauty in Melbourne

I was introduced to some of Australia's legendary rockers by a fellow blogger who lives in Sydney. I was pleased to read this article about some of those names I've come to know and their involvement in playing Sleeping Beauty onstage in Melbourne.

The article is insightful in how it intertwines mytholgy (particularly Campbell's take on it all) with contemporary culture and some very good books. Stop by and have a look. It's worth the read.

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Friday, July 27, 2007

Barry Bonds, tarnishing the name hero?

The whole notion of heroism is one that is of interest to me. I found this discussion about Barry Bonds to be very intriguing, in light of that.

And I must say that I couldn't agree with this more than I do. It is indeed a shame to think of him holding this most honored of records.

I can hardly wait for A-Rod to make him a memory that will fade into the shadows.






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Debt Free Living

Debt free living is a goal many people have, and it is a good goal. I know. I got into some big debt at one point in my life, and it took a lot of work to clear it up. Since then, I've managed to remain debt free.

Whether it is student loans, a mortgage, a car payment, or just a bunch of credit card bills that have somehow managed to pile up on you, having a debt hanging over you is a stressful way to live. My sponsors at Bills.com have some plans to help you change that lifestyle and begin living debt free today. It is with their permission that I post this press release here for you to get some info on how to live debt free.




Press Release:

End the Vicious Cycle of Debt: Bills.com Provides Steps to Achieve Financial Freedom

SAN MATEO, Calif., July 25, 2007 – American consumers who are bold enough to take a mid-summer pulse of their personal finances may find more debt than ever before. American families owed a total of $895 billion on credit cards at the end of May (Source: Federal Reserve) -- and Bills.com co-founder and co-CEO Brad Stroh reports that Americans must take steps now to end the vicious cycle of debt.

"Debt has become a growing problem, and many Americans need to find a solution. With uncertainty about the future of housing prices, the high cost of oil, and record hikes in health care and higher education costs, many people are on the precipice of financial disaster. Americans are playing with fire by maintaining an average credit card debt load of nearly $10,000 per household (Source: CardData.com)," Stroh said. "At the same time, the stock market is at record levels, but most Americans cannot benefit from this potential prosperity because they are crippled with debt. For those with debt, the time to tackle it is now."

Money Smarts Slump
With an estimated eight billion credit card offers going to mailboxes to lure Americans into debt last year ((Source: CardWeb.com), consumers are managing their money less responsibly than ever before:

• U.S. consumers racked up an estimated $51 billion worth of fast food on their personal credit and debit cards in 2006, compared to $33.2 billion in 2005. (Source: CardData.com)
• Just 18 percent of credit card debt is paid off each month. (Source: CardData.com)
• Since the early 1980s, personal saving as a share of disposable personal income has dropped from a range of 8 to 10 percent to a negative 1.3 percent over the past year. (Source: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research)
• The U.S. personal savings rate has been negative for eight consecutive quarters, reaching a 73-year low. This means Americans are dipping into their savings to make ends meet, rather than accumulating savings. (Source: U.S. Department of Commerce)
• At the same time, personal spending in the United States jumped in December 2006 by the highest amount in five months. (Source: U.S. Department of Commerce)

"The great news is that no matter how serious the situation – no matter how much an individual owes or why – it is possible to achieve freedom from debt," said Stroh. "Eliminating debt can be very challenging, but it changes people's lives forever. By ending the vicious cycle of debt, people truly become free and in control of their lives."

Managing the Big Four
For most consumers, ongoing debt falls into one or more of four categories: mortgage, credit card, tax, and student loan. While mortgage debt and student loan debt can be considered “healthy” debt -- securing an investment (home) or helping to build a better future (student loans) -- keeping the debts in control and paid in an on-time, systematic manner can make the difference between financial freedom and financial disaster. Stroh's company, Bills.com (http://www.bills.com), is a free online consumer portal that provides personal finance education and resources to help individuals manage their finances. To control debt, Stroh suggests individuals take these actions:

1. Manage the mortgage. Consumers are in the strongest financial position when they pay secured debt, such as the home mortgage, first. Secured debt is a loan for a tangible object such as a home or car. If individuals do not pay these bills, they risk losing the object through foreclosure or repossession, with a major impact on their finances and on their lives. Also, consumers with costly home loans might be paying far more than is necessary. With rates still low, refinancing an expensive -- or dangerously increasing -- mortgage can be a smart move. Visit https://www.bills.com/homeloan/mortgage_refinance/?rbc=2564 to learn about options.

2. Curb the credit cards. Half of credit card holders pay only their minimum monthly payments (Source: Experian-Gallup Personal Credit Index survey), which means that a purchase of a few hundred dollars can easily end up costing a few thousand dollars with interest. To slash repayment time – and total costs – make more than the minimum payment. Stroh advises making the highest payment on the credit card or loan with the highest interest rate. When that debt is repaid, add the higher payment to the next-highest-rate debt until that loan is paid off. "At first, the process can feel slow, but eventually you will see exciting progress," Stroh said. For more on cutting debts by 50 percent, and a debt savings quote, see https://www.bills.com/debthelp/debt/?rbc=2564.

3. Study up on student loans. Two-thirds of college graduates have student loan debts. They have an average $19,237 in loans (Source: FinAid). Defaulting on student loans can cripple a credit history for years to come. The right repayment plan -- including options such as consolidation -- can make loans manageable. Learn all about it at https://www.bills.com/studentloan/loan/?rbc=2564.

4. Tame the taxes. The IRS had almost 6.5 million delinquent accounts in 2006, and the number climbs every year. Worse, every late tax payment constantly accrues interest and penalties. For those with serious tax debt -- usually more than $10,000 -- experts can help work with the IRS to find a payable solution. See options at https://www.bills.com/debthelp/tax_debt/?rbc=2564.


No matter where a consumer is in the process of combating debt, three key steps will pave the way to a better financial future, stressed Stroh:

1. Learn the basics of personal finance. Everybody can find a style and a system of personal financial management that suits them. The Internet (at sites like www.bills.com) is loaded with free information.

2. Make a spending plan. Bills.com offers a free guide to personal finance that details how to create a spending plan. The guide is available for free at http://www.bills.com/guide. "Each month, plan how you will spend every dollar you earn," Stroh suggested. A budget is a great way to gain the freedom of knowing you are in control."

3. Seek help. For those with serious debt that they can't pay, help is available, especially if the situation was caused by a short-term problem such as a medical emergency. According to Demos, 29 percent of low and middle-income households with credit card debt reported that medical expenses contributed to their current balances. If support is needed, seek out a trustworthy debt resolution advisor about ethical, legitimate options. For more ideas about debt consultation, visit https://www.bills.com/debthelp/debt/?rbc=2564.

Based in San Mateo, Calif., Bills.com is a free one-stop online portal where consumers can educate themselves about complex personal finance issues and comparison shop for products and services including credit cards, debt relief assistance, insurance, mortgages and other loans. The company blogs about consumer finance issues at http://www.bills.com/blog. Since 2002, Bills.com and its partner company, Freedom Financial Network, have served more than 15,000 customers nationwide while managing more than $350 million in consumer debt. The company's co-founders and CEOs, Andrew Housser and Brad Stroh, were named Northern California finalists in Ernst & Young's 2006 Entrepreneur of the Year Awards.
###

This is a sponsored post; if you'd like to get paid to blog, click this tab


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Thursday, July 26, 2007

iCalvyn

Calvyn and I have agreed to exchange reviews of one another's blogs via the service offered by ReviewBack. It's a great place to get to meet other bloggers.

iCalvyn is giving away a free domain to any blogger who reviews his blog. It's a great deal, if you ask me. Visit his site and have a look at the excellent offer from Calvyn. He's an IT officer, and knows what he's doing with his blog. I think you'll find lots of good tips around there.

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Interracial Dating

Interracial Romance is the interracial dating website for women and men seeking partners from races other than their own. It is an easy to use interface, where you can sign up quickly and conveniently. You then just put in the "criteria" that you seek, your ZiP code, and let your search begin.

If you would like to put up a blurb of your own, or would like to browse through the interracial personal listings you'll find there, then you should visit the site today. It's quick, it's easy, and it can be lots of fun. And really, who knows... it could end up being something more too.

If you like mixing with people from other races, you'll find lots of people from all walks of life at this site. Stop in and join the fun!




This is a sponsored post; if you'd like to write sponsored posts clickthis tab
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Gift Baskets

What's the occasion?

Maybe a new baby?
A need for sympathy?
Or to say thanks, perhaps?
Or maybe congratulations?
Maybe you've got something to say to that special guy or that special girl.

Or maybe you're just hungry for some good Texas food, or good Italian food. Or how about a little chocolate or some sweets? Or maybe you'd like to send some snacks along to friends, family, or coworkers.

Whatever it is, you can find a wide range of gift baskets for everyone and every event. Gourmet Gift Baskets has it all, and is always ready to prepare and ship the gift basket where you need it -- all wrapped nice and neat. The pristine condition in which it will arrive is sure to delight and impress.

Gourmet Gift Baskets is a family owned business, and they have been doing this since 1940. If you are looking for just the right gift to say just the right thing, visit them and have a look at their wide range today.

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Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Some more reflections

I am still waiting for my friends to finish the new Harry Potter book, so for now, the only place I can share my reflections on the story without spoiling the fun for those who don't want to know is here on my blog. If you don't won't spoilers, stop reading here.

OK, so here's something else that's come to mind since I read the book. I found another thread that I thought was left a little too loosely tied. It is related to the whole reunification of the magical world. Not only were the Slytherins left a little out of the loop, but I thought there was not sufficient integration of the various magical races. I mean, yes, we see the giants and gobblins and house elves and centaurs all participating in the final battle. But then, what happens thereafter? We get the "19 years later" chapter, but without mention of any better/closer relations between the races.

Particularly in the case of the house elves, I felt this left a major thread hanging. Remember the attention given to the whole issue in Goblet of Fire? Doesn't that seem excessive, in light of the eventual resolution? Dobby, to the end (even to the point of his death), is a double for Harry in his neglected-but-heroic status. But, while we see Kreacher in a leadership role during the battle, what happens thereafter? I would have, for instance, preferred to see Harry free him before he took the role he did. Wouldn't that have ultimately been more effective? Harry was Dobby's "saviour," but how about his own house elf?

I think the whole thing was so nicely done, so this is something of a minor criticism, I know. But I do feel that one of the themes that kept coming up in all of the books since the 4th was left dangling -- that being the unity of the magical world. Without a better integration of the races, and of Slytherin house, I felt this wasn't brought to a satisfactory conclusion. It's one of the things I felt detracts from the overall effect of the series.

That said, I know I couldn't do half as well as Rowling has. Perhaps that should lead me to keep my mouth shut.
But when have I ever been that smart?

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Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (some spoilers)

I made some predictions on my other blog about how I thought the 7th Harry Potter book should go to wrap things up, and so here I am to discuss how close or far from the mark my predictions hit.

The one that I felt I hit spot on was Snape. I knew it had to go this way, but I have to give Rowling a whole lot of credit for keeping the suspense going as long as she could on this question. It was, in my estimation, the best handled of the 3 things I'd made predictions on. The whole ending to the Snape thread of the story was very, very well done. I had not thought of the use of the Patronus or the Pensieve, but they were both perfect touches. I liked the name of the 2nd son too. Nice.

I was a little off the mark with the does-Harry-die question, but also sort of on the mark too. I said he had to die (and he did), but also that I didn't think and author would quite dare to depart from the Hollywood ending these days (and she didn't). For me, this was a bit disappointing. I liked it all the way up to the 19 years later. I mean, for all that I liked the name of the 2nd son, I'd rather not have seen the whole tidy, suburban family ending. Though I suspect I know a couple of boys who are going to find great satisfaction in this ending when they are old enough to read the story themselves. I think I will let that be the thing that makes the ending satisfying for me. Otherwise, it was an anticlimax and, in that sense, disappointing.

Where Rowling never disappoints is that she makes you care about the characters. She just has a knack for that, and is an incredible story teller. You even have a bit of a soft spot for the Malfoys, at last, don't you? I would still, though, liked to have seen my version of the ending. I thought that Draco might get to play a part in destroying the diadem, thus uniting the houses. I still think incorporating him in the saving the day would've helped to make for a less polarized world, which I thought was part of the goal all along. But this seemed to be overlooked in the writing altogether, and is probably the point that disappointed me most. I would've liked that to be a part of it.

But, when all is said and done, I have enjoyed the series immensely. Watching the unfolding of the story has been great fun. I don't know when I have ever looked forward to a book's release with quite the same sort of innocent anticipation as I have with this one. And, even though I've used the word "disappointed" above, I really wasn't. It's been a fun read.



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Thursday, July 12, 2007

Dressed to Kill


Wouldn't it be great to be in Monte Carlo for the TV Film Festival? It isn't so much that I am a huge TV fan, but I sure would like to go to Monte Carlo.

Just kidding!
The festivities look like they'd be a ball to be a part of. Wouldn't it be grand?

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Wednesday, July 11, 2007

AlwaysHD

There are so many uses for HD stock footage that I can think of. Documentaries. Advertising video. Inde films. Filler between scenes. The list, really, is endless.

Why doesn't somebody get together a place where the folks who like to make these sorts of video clips can sell it to those who would like to buy it? I'm sure advertising agencies, broadcast television studios, documentary producers, independent filmmakers, and cinema studios would all be clamouring for a place like that.

Wait a second... there is exactly such a place. It's AlwaysHD. AlwaysHD focuses exclusively on the sale of High Definition (and emerging 2K / 4K formats), which is bringing lots of satisfied customers right back to see us when they need more stock footage in high definition.

All stock footage at AlwaysHD is royalty free.

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Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Tzveten Todorov, the Fantastic

The recent discussion with my friend about what constitutes a fantasy book (as opposed to some other genre) reminded me of Todorov's book The Fantastic. It's been some years since I read it, but it has stayed with me.

It is a very structure-oriented book, which I liked. I think, in fact, that structuralism offers something very useful to genre studies. In many ways, I suppose, the two are intertwined.

It's interesting to think about. And, if you are looking for good studies of the genre, don't overlook Todorov.



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What Makes Fantasy?

I've been thinking about the question of what makes fantasy, fantasy? How do we define the genre?

I know there are some things that immediately mark a text as fantasy. Talking animals would be one good example of that. Or fairy godmothers, that sort of thing. But what else goes into shaping the genre? Earthsea is, but is it more because of the magic, or because of the otherworld setting? (Oh yeah, there's another marker or two.)

It is interesting to contemplate what goes into formulating a genre, and what marks it for us so that we can say to a friend, "I've been reading this great fantasy book..."

(These thoughts came up when a friend and I were discussing whether or not Jasper Fforde's work should be labeled fantasy.)

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Monday, July 09, 2007

Podcast

I am just beginning to get the hang of this whole podcasting thing. I know, I know... I should've figured it out long ago, but I just never quite got around to doing so. But podcasts really are a great bit of technology, and I am excited about those I've started engaging with.

Inside Online Education has figured out the benefits of podcasting. You can listen to their press release aboutCapella University, exploring the whole study online experience. It is interesting to hear what they have to say about this institution, with its 14 year history of providing high-quality online educational options for students from all over the world. I think you'll enjoy hearing more about this school, especially if you are considering studying for a bachelor's or postgraduate degree. They have numerous programs available, and are well worth checking out.

Give a listen to the podcast and see what you think.

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Sunday, July 08, 2007

Surf's Up

I wasn't much looking forward to seeing Surf's Up, but my nephews wanted to. They, as always, won... and so we went.

It turned out to be better than I thought. While I don't think it is nearly as good a film as Cars, I do find it interesting that it sends a similar message. At the end of the day, winning is less important to both Cody and Lightning than something else. For Cody, it is friendship. For McQueen it is respect for the tradition. For Z (in Surf's Up), it is just having fun.

I like this message. I don't mean to say I don't appreciate competitive sports, but just that winning really isn't everything.

It's interesting to see how this keeps coming up in kids' movies. I guess it is a good match for YMCA-style leagues where everyone's a winner.

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Saturday, July 07, 2007

Kids' Talk: The First?

I was fixing hot dogs for breakfeast for my nephews yesterday. The youngest, not normally a big eater, loves hot dogs, so I asked him if he wanted one or two. He said, "After I eat the 1th,* I'll let you know if I need another."



* 1th or oneth --> it rhymes with month.


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Gold, silver, and all that

Gold. Silver. Jewels. Precious metals.

Aren't these the words that set our minds thinking about wealth, riches, and all that glitzy stuff?

But what about this thought -- can't gold or silver be a wise investment for "real" folks like you and me too? Does it have to be all reserved for the rich and famous?

Not at Monex Deposit Comany. They'll help anyone who wants to set themselves up with an investment with gold, silver, and other precious metals. They help with everything -- from the purchase, to the storage, or to the transport of the investment if you prefer to keep it at a different depository of your own choosing.

It's easy as can be, and then you can just wait while your investment's value grows and grows.

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Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Fandom

I like the Simpsons and all, but this really takes fandom to a new level!


What's the craziest thing you've ever seen in fandom? Or better yet, what's the craziest thing you've done?

For me, I think the craziest thing I have done is loaded up shelves with books and DVDs from my favorites. But then, I suppose I have done my share of standing in long lines for a ticket... things like that. Nothing really off the wall, though.

How about you? Have you ever gone a little crazy in your love of some celebrity?

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Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Remember this guy?

Remember when I reposted an entry from my old blog about Jasper Fforde? Well, I've started rereading some of the Thursday Next books. I'm posting more of my thoughts on my newer reading blog, but found it worth mentioning that I've started rereading that series again. It really is a good one.

If I had to choose a book that I might predict to be used as an example of what a "postmodern" book looks like, this series might just top that list.

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