A heavy dose of truth, humor, and political activism.

Location: Phila, Pennsylvania, United States

Thursday, November 30, 2006


I surf the web a lot. It has become the norm to require users to register with a site before being able to fully use it. This registration process usually requires inputting your email address. You can't use a fake email address because you have to confirm a link or send back a reply. I used to just have an email address through hotmail (and one through Yahoo) that I used for just such an occasion. The registration process for both hotmail and Yahoo took a little longer than I would have liked but after jumping through a few hoops, and getting my free account, I thought I’d be all set. I was wrong. Eventually, both in-box’s in my phantom accounts got so filled with spam that it was almost impossible to use them. I decided to look for something easier. I found it with 10 Minute Mail. 10 Minute Mail is a service that gives you an email address that only exists for ten minutes. There is no sign up, registration, or verification process. You just click a link on the site and you are assigned an email address that vanishes after 600 seconds. It’s that easy. You can use this fake email address to sign up for other websites, get their verification email, confirm, and then never receive any spam to your actual email address. If the ten minutes proves to be too short a time, you can reset the “self destruction” timer at anytime. If you’re sick of spam in your in-box or all the hassle of signing up for other free email addresses, I suggest you give this a try. http://10minutemail.com/
Tuesday in Washington DC, U.S. District Judge James Robertson said that the Treasury Department has violated the law, and ordered the government to come up with ways for the blind to tell bills apart. "Of the more than 180 countries that issue paper currency, only the United States prints bills that are identical in size and color in all their denominations," Robertson wrote. "More than 100 of the other issuers vary their bills in size according to denomination, and every other issuer includes at least some features that help the visually impaired." While Robertson stopped short of telling Treasury officials how to fix the problem, he did set a time-table of ten days for them to start working on the problem. The American Council of the Blind has proposed several solutions to the problem, including printing bills of differing sizes, adding embossed dots or foil to the paper or using raised ink. Sadly, I have never really considered how difficult it must be for a blind person to use our currency. On recent trips to Italy and Spain, I found myself in a bind when I couldn’t speak enough of the native language to always understand the cost of an item I wished to purchase. Often times I just had to pull out a few different bills (all different colors and sizes) and trust that the shop owner would take the proper amount. This must be what it’s like for a blind person every day in America. I applaud Judge Robertson for making this decision amidst argument from government attorneys that forcing the Treasury Department to alter the size of the bills or add texture would make it harder to prevent counterfeiting. He sited the use of these features in foreign currencies as a reasonable sign that such measures would work here. I agree. It doesn’t shock me that the government is more interested in making their own jobs easier than making things easier for disabled American citizens (as well as blind visitors from other countries). It just goes to show that they are blind to common decency.
Thanksgiving is supposed to be a holiday to reflect on the past year and to give thanks for all the things we often take for granted. How about a little thanks for Thanksgiving itself? We don’t get many four day weekends in this country but Thanksgiving is always there in November to provide us with a little extra R&R. If you’ve saved up a few days off and take off the three days before (Monday-Wednesday) you wind up with a full nine days off. I have used this time in the past to take trips to London, Amsterdam, and Italy. This year we decided to hang out at home in Philadelphia and enjoy seeing friends and family who were in from out of town (as well as some who live here that we don’t often get to see). Wednesday night before Thanksgiving is traditionally the biggest bar night of the year. Everyone is home; no one has work the next morning. This year the weather in Philadelphia was awful on Wednesday night. I went to the Flyers vs. Senators game with two of my buddies and then spent the rest of the night at home with the wife watching movies. Thursday we jus enjoyed relaxing around the house before catching a mid-afternoon train to my mother’s house to get a ride to the burbs for dinner. This was the last year to do dinner at my aunt Kaaren’s house (where we have done dinner every year that I can remember) before she sells her house and moves to center city. The food was excellent as it always is. There were many key absences this year including my brother, my cousins in California, and my aunt, uncle, and cousin in Montreal. They were missed.
After dinner we went to a friend’s apartment to see friends who were in town from Boston and California. It’s always nice to catch up. On Friday, I took the wife to the Natural History Museum to see the “Butterflies!” exhibit. It’s a large room (heated to about 85 degrees) filled with live butterflies. The look on her face alone (like a little kid on Christmas when she sees the stack of presents under the tree) when not one, but two butterflies landed on her was worth the price of admission alone. We spent the rest of the weekend relaxing, watched a few rented movies, and then watched the Eagles get their butts kicked by the Colts on Sunday night. I believe there should be one four-day holiday a month. What do you turkeys think?
Bill Clinton announced today that two Indian pharmaceutical companies had agreed to cut the prices of HIV and AIDS treatment for children, a move that will make the lifesaving drugs far more accessible worldwide. These companies will now supply drugs to children with HIV for as little as $60 a year. This will allow treatment for 100,000 more children in 2007 than was available in 2006. "This is a great day, but we have a long way to go. We have to make a new commitment that every child and adult would needs treatment should have access" to the drugs, Clinton said. "Though the world has made progress in expanding HIV/AIDS treatment to adults, children have been left behind. Only one in 10 children who needs treatment is getting it." Many countries (including Brazil, Chile, France, Britain and Norway) will provide $35 million and the Clinton Foundation HIV/AIDS Initiative will contribute another $15 million. With all of the wonderful work former Presidents Carter and Clinton have done (worldwide) since leaving office it will be very interesting to see how public a figure Dubya continues to be once he leaves office. Will he lend himself to humanitarian efforts, or will he continue to find new mediums to line the pockets of the rich and wreak havoc on impoverished parts of the world? I doubt very much if Bush will become a champion for the less fortunate. As far as Clinton goes, saving the lives of 100,000 needy children seems like it more than makes up for a few late night blow-jobs in the oval office.
Just another quick holiday reminder that you can get all sorts of great creative holiday gift items for that creative person in your life (or of course for yourself) by visiting www.mycmsite.com/juliajmiller. You’ll make my wife and me very happy if you do. Isn’t that what life is really all about, making me happy? Get on it! ;)
We are coming up on the one year anniversary of the Spoon, Full of Truth. I am hard at work on a special anniversary edition so stay tuned as that will be coming to a computer near you in the very near future. For now, enjoy the weekend as much as I hope you enjoyed this post. See you all next week for another truth-filled edition of the Spoon.


Anonymous The wife said...

Thanks for the promotions baby. When I am a rich scrapbook saleswoman, you can be my man of leisure. xo Good looks on the 10 minute email address-- I can see that coming in handy soon

November 30, 2006 2:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's about time that someone did something to make our money more blind-friendly!
I had no idea we were the only country that didn't do something already.
Thanks for that bit about the email addresses...I will certainly use that. It sounds like you had a great holiday. Philadelphia sounds like more fun than Seattle.
Happy Holidays Spoon!

November 30, 2006 2:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Glad to see the judge take the Treasury Department to task. However, knowing this administration, I am sure one of Dick Cheney's corporate buddies like Haliburton will get a lucrative no-bid contract to study this . Then get another no-bid contract to print some new $ with Dubya and Cheney's mugs on the new bills.

November 30, 2006 5:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ahem. You left a very sad butter sculpture from out-of-town out :(

December 01, 2006 10:48 AM  

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