"Sometimes the Truth is Ugly and Hurtful."
My judgments on a variety of topics; most are politically incorrect. Click on the underlined text to go to that section. The remaining sections are not complete.
Government, Creeping Socialism, and the Lifestyle Police
Have you ever received an e-mail like this one?
Possible virus warning
Someone is sending out a very desirable screen-saver, the Budweiser Frogs - "BUDDYLST.ZIP". If you download it, you will lose everything!!! Your hard drive will crash and someone from the Internet will get your screen name and password! DO NOT DOWNLOAD THIS UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES!!! IT JUST WENT INTO circulation yesterday, as far as we know. Please distribute/inform this message. This is a new, very malicious virus and not many people know about it.
This information was announced yesterday morning from Microsoft. Please share it with everyone that might access the Internet. Once again, pass this along to EVERYONE in your address book so that this may be stopped.
Also do not open or even look at any mail
that says "RETURNED OR UNABLE TO DELIVER". This virus will attach itself
to your computer components and render them
useless. IMMEDIATELY DELETE mail items that say this. AOL has said that this
is a very dangerous virus and that there is NO remedy for it at this time. Please practice cautionary measures and forward this to all your on-line friends ASAP.
Or how about this one?VIRUS WARNING !!!!!!!
If you receive an email titled "It Takes Guts to Say Jesus" , DO NOT open it. It will erase everything on your hard drive. Forward this letter out to as many people as you can. This is a new, very malicious virus and not many people know about it. This information was announced yesterday morning from IBM; please share it with everyone that might access the internet. Once again, pass this along to EVERYONE in your address book so that this may be stopped. Also, do not open or even look at any mail that says RETURNED OR UNABLE TO DELIVER." This virus will attach itself to your computer components and render them useless. Immediately delete any mail items that say this. AOL has said that this is a very dangerous virus and that there is NO remedy for it at this time. Please practice cautionary measures and forward this to all your online friends ASAP.
Please. These are actual e-mails I have received. Do you see a pattern here? 1) Don't open an e-mail titled "ABC123XYZ"; 2)The message is a malicious virus; 3) This is new and not many people know about it; 4) Some credible source has made an announcement, usually Microsoft, IBM, AOL, or even CNN; 5) Please forward this message as far and wide as you can; 6) Please forward this message as far and wide as you can; and finally 7) Please forward this message as far and wide as you can.
Okay here's some facts:
Opening an e-mail will not give your computer a virus, with the exception of the Bubbleboy virus. See
You CAN get a virus from opening an e-mail ATTACHMENT if it is an executable file, in other words, a computer program. They are recognizable by their file extensions: filename.exe, filename.com, filename.bat, filename.avi.
You CAN get a virus from opening a Microsoft Word or Excel file attached to an e-mail because the Word or Excel file may contain macros that execute on opening the file. Default Word and Excel extensions are filename.doc and filename.xls, respectively.
If the Windows operating system on your machine does not recognize the file extension as executable, it will bring up the Open With dialog box. At this point I think twice about opening the attachment. If the attachment is a Word or Excel file with an extension other than the default filename.doc or filename.xls, filename.xlt, or filename.xlw, it won't recognize the files as Word or Excel and it will bring up the Open With dialog box.
So, what can you do?
Spend the $50 or less it takes to buy virus detection software. Norton makes AntiVirus. I use McAfee VirusScan 4.0. Update your .dat files once a week.
Set your Microsoft Word and Excel programs to ask before opening a file with macros. To do this in Word and Excel go to Tools/Options from the menu, click on the General Tab and make sure the Macro Virus Protection box is checked.
Don't open executable files or Word or Excel files containing macros from someone you don't know and trust. Remember too that someone you trust could unknowingly pass along a virus infected file.
Don't use the preview pane in Microsoft Outlook. Even though the email shows as "not read", Outlook opens it to display it in the Preview pane.
Check out the e-mail's claim. If it says Microsoft made an announcement, go to www.microsoft.com and search the site with the title of the alleged virus. If they made an announcement, you will find it there.
Check out the alleged virus at reputable web sites:
Norton AntiVirus http://www.symantec.com/avcenter/hoax.html. This is probably the most complete one I have seen.
To check out real virus threats
You've heard someone say it before. You've probably said it before. I know I have: "I would like ...." How about "I would say it is ...." The word "would" means the statement is dependent on something else. For example, "If it is nice weather, I would go to the lake." In other words, "going" is something that will happen only if something else is true. There are times when this is an accurate way to express oneself, but that's not how it is commonly used.
Suppose your boss tells you "I would like you to go to Los Angeles and do a presentation for customer X." What does this mean? What has to be true for you to go to Los Angeles? Is it that you have to agree? I bet not. What s/he is really saying is "I want you to go to Los Angeles..." Or the even more direct, "Go to Los Angeles..." So why not be more direct? I think it's because the indirect way (you have to agree) is more palatable to people.
An even better example of the indirect way people talk is "I would say it is..." You WOULD say? What has to happen before you say what you think? I like to call 'em the way I see 'em. Why are people afraid to say what they think? I think a major part of it is so as not to offend someone. Leave that little margin for error. If someone hears "what you would say" and objects, you can still back out. After all, you haven't said it yet!
"I'm sorry, but..." I know a woman who used to say this one often. Once after she said it I asked her "Are you?" She responded, "Am I what?" I said, "Are you sorry about it?" She said no. I didn't think so.
Or how about "He was like all upset." Like? Please just tell me what he was, not what he was like.
WOULDN'T we all be better off IF we used the direct approach? :)
With only a few notable exceptions, every speed limit I've seen is 10 mph too low. Let's start with my neighborhood: the posted limit on the arterial street which no one's house faces is 30 mph. The residential streets on which everyone lives are posted for 30 mph. Does this make sense to you? The limit is the same for streets children play on as it is for streets no children play on!
How about freeways? We have plenty of them in Houston. Generally, inside Loop 610 freeway limits are 60 mph. On those segments between 610 and the Sam Houston Tollway, it's 65. Outside the Tollway it's 70. On Loop 610 it's 60. On the Tollway it's 70. What's different about each of these places? Nothing. It has more to do with revenue collection on the part of the City of Houston. Too bad for the good ole City, there are significant chunks of the day where traffic makes it impossible to do even 20 mph.
We Texans are "blessed" with a state law that says that the maximum legal speed on all public roadways is 70 mph daytime and 65 night time. I say "blessed" because it's a mixed blessing. If local officials believe that's too fast, it comes down. It results in some two lane farm to market roads being posted at 70, but more than 65 at night is too fast anywhere ...even on urban freeways with continuous street lighting. I know, it has to do with the stopping distance from 70 and the distance light can be projected from your headlights. But this law was passed in the 1960's. Both brakes and headlights are better now than they were then. Not only that, but is it less dark at night in Louisiana which allows 70 at night? It must really be lighter in Colorado, which allows 75 at night.
And speaking of that, why is 75 too fast in Texas, but not in Colorado or New Mexico? The real reason has to do with: 1) revenue raising on the part of state and local governments and by the insurance industry; and 2) poorly trained drivers. See Crappy Drivers below.
I see it every day: Drivers going down the road as though their head is up their ass. Some are talking on their cell phone. Some are putting on makeup. Some are reading! Worse, these people are usually in the left lane, getting in the way of others who treat driving with the seriousness it deserves.
Then there are those who seem to have missed their calling to be police officers. These folks (often members of the AARP crowd) think that no one should exceed the almighty speed limit, and they want to get in the way to make sure that doesn't happen.
The sad fact is that in this country we don't train drivers well, turn them loose onto the road, and try to compensate by lowering speed limits and adding safety equipment. Then somehow people get the idea that driving is a God given right, not a privilege. Not a pretty picture, is it?
Last Revision 10/28/06 11:54 PM, ET.