December 31, 2008

UPS Service Seems to Be Going Downhill

Used to be that I trusted UPS more than the Post Office. I would send all my packages UPS. Lately, I've been sending most of them through the USPS. UPS has become more expensive and not as reliable. It's bad enough that they said the delivered two packages on December 16th. Two packages that we cannot find. Three people were home that day, along with our psycho dogs, who recognize the sound of the UPS truck. But also, there were two Amazon boxes on the porch from the USPS that day. It would be strange if some thief came up and took the two UPS boxes, but not the ones from Amazon. My latest complaint is the above. It was supposed to be delivered today. I know it says, "estimated" arrival. Usually, though, when packages are scanned into Gardena at 6:30am, they are on the truck and out for delivery that same day. So now, it's the 31st and it's still not out for delivery. The UPS truck came by and dropped a parcel on the neighbor's porch at about 1:45pm, so I doubt they will be back. Hopefully, it will be sent out on Friday.

Update: Just checked the UPS site and it's now saying that my parcel will be delivered on the 2nd. *sigh*

Posted by Valkyre at 03:47 PM | Comments (0)

December 29, 2008

She Still Believes in Santa Claus

I always worried about the little girl. The little eight year old girl who opened to door on Christmas Eve in Covina, California. On the other side was a man dressed as Santa Clause. He opened fire and shot her in the face. Then he proceeded to shoot nine of her relatives and then burnt the house down. If there's anything fortunate in all of this, his handmade device, that sprayed racing fuel all over, was set off by a pilot light, or candle and ignited. He got burned. Third degree. So, he drove to his brother's house and took the cowardly way out and shot himself. He had planned to escape. He left thirteen children as orphans. In all of this, I worried about the eight year old girl. I don't know if the following quote is from her. It could be from one of the other children who were there. I hope it is the girl, the poor girl who pulled open the door that night:

One young girl who survived the massacre said that "I will still believe in Santa Claus, but I won't open the door to anyone.

Checks for the family can be made to the Ortega Family Fund, care of the Law Offices of Scott J. Nord, 500 N. Brand Blvd., Suite 550, Glendale, Calif. 91203

The family is not able to accept non-monetary donations. Nord suggests anyone wanting to make such donations should make them to charity in the name of the family.

"Santa" Killer Was Headed to Iowa, Minnesota

Updated 9:00 PM PST, Mon, Dec 29, 2008
Related Topics: Bruce Jeffrey Pardo

COVINA, Calif. -- The Santa-clad gunman who fatally shot nine members of his ex-wife's family before touching off an explosion that leveled the house had a ticket for a flight to Minnesota, a police lieutenant said Monday.

Bruce Jeffrey Pardo had a ticket for a flight on a Canadian airline from Los Angeles International Airport to Minnesota with a connecting flight to Iowa where he may have planned on visiting a friend, Covina police Lt. Pat Buchanan said before a community meeting to discuss the Christmas Eve massacre.

A comment last week by Covina Police Department Chief Kim Raney that Pardo had a plane ticket for a Christmas morning flight to Canada was "a little incorrect," Buchanan said.

Buchanan said finding a map of Mexico in a second vehicle Pardo rented indicated that he may also have planned on fleeing south of the border.

The community meeting was called so police could offer "an overview" and "explain to people the services that are available," Buchanan said.

Pardo's body was found with $17,000 in cash "Saran-wrapped to his legs or concealed inside of a girdle that he was wearing," Raney said last week.

Pardo's mother, Nancy Windsor, told the Los Angeles Times that she wanted to put the money in a fund for the victims.

"Anything that our family realized from Bruce's vehicle, from the money on him, whenever that's released, everything is going to my grandchildren. I want it for my grandchildren," Windsor, 72, said.

The killings left as many as 13 children orphaned by the attack, Buchanan said.

Checks for the family can be made to the Ortega Family Fund, care of the Law Offices of Scott J. Nord, 500 N. Brand Blvd., Suite 550, Glendale, Calif. 91203, Nord announced Monday.

The family is not able to accept non-monetary donations. Nord suggests anyone wanting to make such donations should make them to charity in the name of the family.

Nord also asked that the privacy of the family be respected to give them a chance to grieve.

One young girl who survived the massacre said that "I will still believe in Santa Claus, but I won't open the door to anyone.

Pardo, who lost his job in July and whose divorce was finalized about a week before Christmas, started shooting almost immediately after walking through the front door of the two-story home at 1129 E. Knollcrest Drive Christmas Eve.

With one of four semiautomatic handguns, Pardo shot an 8-year-girl in the face, then continued firing on the annual holiday gathering of about 25 members of the Ortega family. Once emptying the guns, he used a sort of homemade flame-thrower to set the house on fire.

Pardo changed into street clothes, then drove a rented car to his brother's home in Sylmar, where he committed suicide.

Among those believed to have been killed were the 45-year-old gunman's 43-year-old ex-wife, Sylvia Ortega, and her parents, Joseph Ortega, 80, and his wife Alicia, 70.

Covina police believe that three of Sylvia's four siblings, James Ortega, 52; Charles Ortega, 50; and Alicia Ortiz, 46, were killed, together with James' wife, Teresa Ortega, 51; Charles' wife, Cheri Ortega, 45; and Alicia's son, Michael Ortiz, 17.

Coroner's investigators are working to positively identify the remains via dental records, since the bodies were badly burned.

Police were baffled by the intensity of the violence. Pardo apparently had no criminal record. Attorneys who represented the ex-couple in their divorce said Sylvia Ortega did not express any fears that her husband might turn violent.

Posted by Valkyre at 10:39 PM | Comments (0)

December 26, 2008

Yet Another Addiction

So the girls have been playing this. I decided to give it a try and now I'm hooked. It's the first Animal Crossing game I've played. My daughters are veterans of the Animal Crossing games. They have various ones on different game platforms. I've been playing every day, since I created my account. Today, I played until I paid off the initial "mortgage" on my house. So, now they are adding an addition, which will be ready tomorrow I can't wait to see it!

Posted by Valkyre at 11:21 PM | Comments (0)

December 25, 2008

Shoplifting Dog

This is so cute. A dog went into a store and helped himself to a Christmas gift:

Video Courtesy of

Article here

Furry thief grabs Christmas present out of grocery store aisle

December 24th, 2008 @ 5:11pm
By John Hollenhorst

Murray, Utah -- Some people just can't wait to open their Christmas presents. That apparently was the case with a short and very fast thief who went to a store in Murray, grabbed a present and made a clean getaway on all fours.

At Smith's Food & Drug in Murray, a popular place these days is the manager's office, where they have the surveillance video. "You had to see to believe it, but it happened. So, it's crazy," said Tracy Jacobson, with Smith's Food & Drug.

A suspicious character entered through the front door. "I've never seen him shop in here before; brand new customer, didn't even have his Fresh Value card," store manager Roger Adamson said.

What happened next is already becoming legend. "I mean, how likely is that? For a dog to walk into a store, go down the pet aisle, get his bone and walk out?" Jacobson said.

Let's reconstruct the crime a step at a time: Entering at the checkout area, the dog approached a young girl. "He just kind of sniffed the customer up, and then headed down the aisle," Adamson said.

At that point, he had a decision to make: Left? No dog food. Right? Dog food. He turned right and went straight to aisle 16, the dog food aisle.

There are so many fun Christmas presents he could have picked, but he seemed to know exactly what he was after. He grabbed a rawhide bone and headed down the aisle, only to be confronted by the manager.

"I looked at him. I said, ‘Drop it!'" Adamson said. "I decided I wanted to keep all my fingers, so I didn't try to take it from him. He looked at me, and I looked at him, and he ran for the door and away he went, right out the front door."

Marshall Tanner with Alpha Dog Training says the culprit's sense of smell is 100,000 times better than the typical crook.

"[He] smelled the rawhide bone, grabbed it and walked out of the store, thereby being a shoplifting dog!" Tanner said.

At last word, the dog was still at large, presumably enjoying his Christmas gift. "He's enjoying the heck out of it," Tanner said.

The value of that bone is $2.79. Merry Christmas, Balto, wherever you are!

Posted by Valkyre at 09:55 PM | Comments (0)

December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas!

I thought I would post this cute picture and also post a heartwarming story that shows what the whole Christmas Spirit is really about.

Layaway Angel Saves Christmas

Posted By: George Warren

CITRUS HEIGHTS, CA - While Santa Claus gets most of the credit for delivering toys at Christmas, three young children in Citrus Heights can thank a "layaway angel."

Mike and Liberty Gawthorne put their children's toys on layaway at Sears last month hoping they'd find the money to pay for them by Christmas.

But as the December 23rd payment deadline approached, Liberty Gawthorne was ready to return to the Sunrise Mall store to pick up her cash deposit instead of the toys.

"One of our biggest issues was our groceries," Gawthorne explained. "We don't even have anything for our Christmas dinner."

In the meantime, a man approached store employees offering to pay one family's layaway balance. The staff chose the Gawthorne family without knowing the extent of their financial troubles.

After a 19-year hiatus, Sears reintroduced the layaway plan this holiday season to help shoppers struggling with tight budgets. Sears said anonymous benefactors have contacted a handful of stores offering to pay off layaway balances. One store manager coined the term "layaway angels."

Sunrise Mall Sears manager Kathy Nichols said the Citrus Heights layaway angel, like the others, wished to remain anonymous. She said the layoff balance he paid was just over $100.

Liberty Gawthorne said she was shocked when Sears called on Saturday telling her she could pick up the layaway toys.

Gawthorne contacted News10 in an attempt to thank the layaway angel.

"It was a present to us to be able to give to our kids," she said. "It was a present to have somebody be so thoughtful."


Have a Safe and Merry Christmas!

Posted by Valkyre at 09:03 PM | Comments (0)

December 22, 2008

Trucking Duck

This is really cute:

Posted by Valkyre at 12:38 PM | Comments (0)

December 21, 2008

Our Tax Dollars at Work

The sad thing is, I'm not even surprised by this. Disgusted!? Yes! Surprised!? No.

Article here

AP study finds $1.6B went to bailed-out bank execs

By FRANK BASS and RITA BEAMISH, Associated Press Writers Frank Bass And Rita Beamish, Associated Press Writers – 2 hrs 1 min ago

Banks that are getting taxpayer bailouts awarded their top executives nearly $1.6 billion in salaries, bonuses, and other benefits in the calendar year 2007, an Associated Press analysis reveals.

The rewards came even at banks where poor results last year foretold the economic crisis that sent them to Washington for a government rescue. Some trimmed their executive compensation due to lagging bank performance, but still forked over multimillion-dollar executive pay packages.

Benefits included cash bonuses, stock options, personal use of company jets and chauffeurs, home security, country club memberships and professional money management, the AP review of federal securities documents found.

The total amount given to nearly 600 executives would cover bailout costs for 53 of the 116 banks that have so far accepted tax dollars to boost their bottom lines.

Rep. Barney Frank, chairman of the House Financial Services committee and a long-standing critic of executive largesse, said the bonuses tallied by the AP review amount to a bribe "to get them to do the jobs for which they are well paid in the first place.

"Most of us sign on to do jobs and we do them best we can," said Frank, a Massachusetts Democrat. "We're told that some of the most highly paid people in executive positions are different. They need extra money to be motivated!"

The AP compiled total compensation based on annual reports that the banks file with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The 116 banks have so far received $188 billion in taxpayer help. Among the findings:

_The average paid to each of the banks' top executives was $2.6 million in salary, bonuses and benefits.

_Lloyd Blankfein, president and chief executive officer of Goldman Sachs, took home nearly $54 million in compensation last year. The company's top five executives received a total of $242 million.

This year, Goldman will forgo cash and stock bonuses for its seven top-paid executives. They will work for their base salaries of $600,000, the company said. Facing increasing concern by its own shareholders on executive payments, the company described its pay plan last spring as essential to retain and motivate executives "whose efforts and judgments are vital to our continued success, by setting their compensation at appropriate and competitive levels." Goldman spokesman Ed Canaday declined to comment beyond that written report.

The New York-based company on Dec. 16 reported its first quarterly loss since it went public in 1999. It received $10 billion in taxpayer money on Oct. 28.

_Even where banks cut back on pay, some executives were left with seven- or eight-figure compensation that most people can only dream about. Richard D. Fairbank, the chairman of Capital One Financial Corp., took a $1 million hit in compensation after his company had a disappointing year, but still got $17 million in stock options. The McLean, Va.-based company received $3.56 billion in bailout money on Nov. 14.

_John A. Thain, chief executive officer of Merrill Lynch, topped all corporate bank bosses with $83 million in earnings last year. Thain, a former chief operating officer for Goldman Sachs, took the reins of the company in December 2007, avoiding the blame for a year in which Merrill lost $7.8 billion. Since he began work late in the year, he earned $57,692 in salary, a $15 million signing bonus and an additional $68 million in stock options.

Like Goldman, Merrill got $10 billion from taxpayers on Oct. 28.

The AP review comes amid sharp questions about the banks' commitment to the goals of the Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP), a law designed to buy bad mortgages and other troubled assets. Last month, the Bush administration changed the program's goals, instructing the Treasury Department to pump tax dollars directly into banks in a bid to prevent wholesale economic collapse.

The program set restrictions on some executive compensation for participating banks, but did not limit salaries and bonuses unless they had the effect of encouraging excessive risk to the institution. Banks were barred from giving golden parachutes to departing executives and deducting some executive pay for tax purposes.

Banks that got bailout funds also paid out millions for home security systems, private chauffeured cars, and club dues. Some banks even paid for financial advisers. Wells Fargo of San Francisco, which took $25 billion in taxpayer bailout money, gave its top executives up to $20,000 each to pay personal financial planners.

At Bank of New York Mellon Corp., chief executive Robert P. Kelly's stipend for financial planning services came to $66,748, on top of his $975,000 salary and $7.5 million bonus. His car and driver cost $178,879. Kelly also received $846,000 in relocation expenses, including help selling his home in Pittsburgh and purchasing one in Manhattan, the company said.

Goldman Sachs' tab for leased cars and drivers ran as high as $233,000 per executive. The firm told its shareholders this year that financial counseling and chauffeurs are important in giving executives more time to focus on their jobs.

JPMorgan Chase chairman James Dimon ran up a $211,182 private jet travel tab last year when his family lived in Chicago and he was commuting to New York. The company got $25 billion in bailout funds.

Banks cite security to justify personal use of company aircraft for some executives. But Rep. Brad Sherman, D-Calif., questioned that rationale, saying executives visit many locations more vulnerable than the nation's security-conscious commercial air terminals.

Sherman, a member of the House Financial Services Committee, said pay excesses undermine development of good bank economic policies and promote an escalating pay spiral among competing financial institutions — something particularly hard to take when banks then ask for rescue money.

He wants them to come before Congress, like the automakers did, and spell out their spending plans for bailout funds.

"The tougher we are on the executives that come to Washington, the fewer will come for a bailout," he said.


On the Net:

SEC Filings & Forms:

Emergency Economic Stabilization Act:

Posted by Valkyre at 09:14 PM | Comments (0)

December 19, 2008

Remains are Caylee Anthony's

I never felt that she was alive, unfortunately.

Article here

Remains identified as missing toddler Caylee Anthony

Two-year-old Caylee Anthony had been missing for five months.

Amy L. Edwards, Sarah Lundy and Walter Pacheco | Sentinel Staff Writers
9:33 PM EST, December 19, 2008

We may never know exactly how Caylee Marie Anthony was killed. But Orange County's medical examiner is confident that the brown-haired toddler was a victim of a homicide.

On Friday, Dr. Jan Garavaglia confirmed "with regret" that the skeletal remains found Dec. 11 in woods just blocks away from the home Caylee shared with her family belong to the 2-year-old who disappeared in June.

Garavaglia said the FBI forensic lab in Virginia matched DNA from the bones to Caylee's known DNA, but none of the skeleton showed any sign of injury that might indicate what killed her.

Toxicology testing still needs to be completed on bone and hair, but Garavaglia held out little hope that the chemical analysis would prove to be helpful. She saw no reason to delay a death certificate.

"The manner of death in this case is homicide," she said. "The cause of death will be listed as homicide by undetermined means. Should other pertinent information become available, the cause of death may be revisited."

Crime-scene investigators continued their work Friday at the scene on Suburban Drive, a few miles north of Orlando International Airport.

Garavaglia lauded the technicians, who have worked on their hands and knees to recover bones as small as a pebble from the soil and vegetation.

She gave few details about the skeleton beyond saying that, against the odds, a large portion of it had been recovered.

Other than the identification, little new information emerged from the afternoon news conference, which featured more than a dozen local, state and federal law-enforcement officials who have worked on the case.

Sheriff Kevin Beary called the case "a police chief's or a sheriff's nightmare" but said putting a name to the remains was a step forward.

"I think there has been an open wound in the community, and I believe we can start putting some closure to those open wounds," he said.

The sheriff began to choke up when asked how Caylee's case has affected him.

"I've raised two girls, goodness gracious," he said. "The bottom line is, folks, no child should have to go through this."

Caylee's mother, 22-year-old Casey Anthony, learned about the identification at the Orange County Jail, where she is awaiting trial on a first-degree murder charge in her daughter's death. A jail chaplain informed her about 15 minutes before the official announcement. Her reaction was not released.

Jail officials said she turned down a visit with her pastor, Shane Stutzman, who arrived while she was meeting with attorney José García.

Her lead attorney, José Baez, told television crews outside the jail that he would not disclose how his client reacted to the news.

"This is her private moment," he said. "This is what she is going through."

Anthony and her family have insisted that Caylee was kidnapped by a baby sitter. Detectives say the sitter does not exist.

Baez said his client still maintains she is innocent.

"You really do not know half of this story. You don't," Baez said. "And you will find out in court."

The toddler's grandparents -- George and Cindy Anthony -- received the news at their home on Hopespring Drive. Their son, Lee Anthony, arrived at the house to be with them.

Several hours later, the Anthonys' attorney, Brad Conway, read a statement asking people to pray for Caylee and for other families that have missing children.

"The Anthony family did not give up hope that Caylee was still alive until we were notified by the Orange County Sheriff's Office at approximately 1:30 today," Conway said. "They now know that their precious granddaughter is safe and hope that she will serve as the angel that protects thousands of missing children and their families."

He said the family wants the same answers as law enforcement and pledged to make themselves available to investigators.

Caylee's disappearance touched people around the world, becoming an Internet and television sensation. Hundreds helped search for her across Orange County, thousands provided tips to law enforcement and hundreds of thousands followed daily developments.

Ian Simmonds of Palm Beach Gardens took Friday off from work when he heard a "major announcement" was going to be made in the case.

He had followed the case closely since the beginning and wanted to witness things first-hand. The 46-year-old pest-control salesman drove nearly three hours to see the news conference at the Sheriff's Office, take pictures near the crime scene and stop by the Anthony family home.

"The body being found so close to the home is shocking," Simmonds said. "She was just around the corner the whole time."

He left before 6 p.m. so he could be home in time to hear commentary about the case on the Nancy Grace show on CNN Headline News.

Dozens of spectators and news crews kept vigil outside the Anthony home Friday evening, as they have for months.

Ann Ferrante, an Orlando accountant who had spent days searching for the toddler, said she returned to the neighborhood because she wanted to hear from the family.

Ferrante, 51, watched the news conference live while at work and cried when she heard that the remains were Caylee's.

"It was like we lost one of our own children," she said. "She was the community's child."

Some of the spectators wore T-shirts that said "JUSTICE FOR CAYLEE."

One of the shirts said, "My Mommy did it."

Suspicion fell quickly on Caylee's mother in mid-July after the toddler was reported missing. Caylee was last seen in mid-June.

Investigators found traces of chloroform in Anthony's Pontiac Sunfire, which was abandoned next to a dumpster at a check-cashing store. The car also had a pungent odor when Anthony's parents retrieved it from a wrecker yard.

Recently released court documents showed that months before Caylee disappeared, someone searched on Google the phrases "neck breaking," "household weapons," and "shovel" on the family computer. Someone also searched online for "death," "chloroform" and "inhalation."

Investigators disclosed that they found dirt, a hair and a mysterious stain in the trunk of the Sunfire.

But until an Orange County utilities worker found a skull in the woods Dec. 11, detectives did not have a body.

Texas EquuSearch founder Tim Miller, who led several volunteer searches for Caylee through east Orange County, said he was convinced "there was no chance of Caylee being found alive."

When Miller called off the most recent search in November, he thought her body might never be found.

"I felt as though Caylee was really going to be one of these who would remain missing from now on. I'm so glad I was wrong with that," he said.

Now, Miller said he hopes Caylee will receive a public funeral.

"I said early on the most that we could ever hope for is to one day go to a funeral for little Caylee," he said. "And now it looks like we're there."

Posted by Valkyre at 11:32 PM | Comments (0)

December 18, 2008

I Wish More Parents Would Do This

(Scott Smeltzer/Staff Photographer)

A local father made his son wear a sandwich board confessing to his crimes. Then, he made him walk around in public near two major intersections. Most of the people commenting on it are supporting the father and wish more parents would do this. This might make his son think twice before committing any crime, in the future.

Article here

Dad punishes son for vandalism by making him advertise his offense

By Pamela Hale-Burns, Staff Writer
Article Launched: 12/16/2008 09:33:49 PM PST

Cruel and unusual punishment or just good, old-fashioned discipline?

Dennis Baltimore Jr. was caught vandalizing school property at Long Beach's Wilson Classical High School.

He was sentenced by his dad to walk the streets of Long Beach and Signal Hill on Tuesday for five hours in two locations wearing a sign saying, "I am a juvenile delinquent who should be punished. I have wasted your tax money with dumb acts of vandalism in the public schools."

When Dennis Baltimore Sr.'s phone rang Monday, he didn't know the call from his son's school would cost $875, the price of the vandalism.

"In a time of this uncertain economy, I'm sure the public is not going to like it," he said. "So one way I am going to discipline him is to have him walking around with a sign stating his crime."

Baltimore Sr., who works in the engineering department of DirecTV, moved to California a few years ago from Washington, D.C., where he worked for CNN and Fox News. He has a three-day assignment to do video for Fox News for the presidential inauguration in January.

The father got the sign idea from a news story of an unemployed man in New York who recently advertised his resume on a board and walked the streets in search of a job.

"I didn't come up with this idea myself. I want to thank the guy in New York," he said. "When I saw that, I went to the store, bought the supplies and made the sign."

According to his dad, the 10th-grader was trying to get attention when he painted graffiti of a fictitious gang on school property.

"I was thinking about being a gangbanger, but once I saw what the punishment was, I was like, no," Baltimore Jr. said.

The 16-year-old also cringed from the attention his punishment drew as onlookers laughed, pointed and took pictures while reading the sign.

"I want him to feel all of those things because I want him to always question himself before he makes a decision," his father said. "You have to make conscious decisions. He's a good son; he just made a bad decision, and he has to pay for it."

Baltimore Sr. encourages other parents to take the steps to make a positive difference in their children's lives.

"I'm a concerned parent. I'm frustrated, and I'm sure I'm not alone," he said. "I'm sure there are some other parents who want to take actions like this and I encourage them to do it."

The father knows there will be those who will disagree with the discipline, but he feels that it will change his son's view of responsibility.

"I'm doing what I have to do to make him a man. That's my job," he said. "This is nothing compared to what could happen to him. He could get shot in the streets for something he thinks is minor."

Onlookers agreed.

"It's not harsh; I think it's pretty decent," said Ted Ybarra. "It's a way of disciplining him, for him to be embarrassed and show people what he did wrong."

Baltimore Jr. was suspended for four days, and as part of the school's punishment, he will spend several days of his holiday vacation doing community service at Wilson. He will be painting over graffiti and doing other chores assigned by the school.

"He has to understand that there are consequences and reactions," his father said. "This is a negative reaction."

Another passerby, Adrian Paxton - released from prison in October - believes the punishment will help keep the younger Baltimore out of even worse trouble.

"He won't want to do that again," he said. "And it's better than his dad putting his hands on him and beating him."

Something as simple as a father's involvement could make a major difference in a child's life, Paxton said.

"If my dad had did something like that to me when I was doing my thing, it probably would have helped me," he said.

Spectators' responses helped drive home the father's point.

"He looked embarrassed," said Briana McCoy. "I think he's learned his lesson."

And they just may be right.

"Right now I feel dumb and I regret everything I've done," Baltimore Jr. said. "I know my little sister is going to follow me and I'm going to tell her no."

"I want him to realize this is a crime and he had to answer to that," Baltimore Sr. said. "I want kids to know that what they do, even if they think it's small, there are consequences. This is a felony crime in California."

Although it wasn't his first time vandalizing, the teen said it will definitely be his last.

"I'm really mad, confused and I feel dumb at the same time, but I understand what my dad is saying," he said. "I know he wants me to learn how to be a man and step up to my mistakes and learn by being punished. I did it, but I'm going to do better now. It's not worth it.

"I'm done."

Posted by Valkyre at 02:47 PM | Comments (0)

It's Christmas!

And they are airing my favorite commercial. I've blogged about this in the past. This time I found it on youtube. I just love this commercial. It's the only one that makes me really want to buy the product. Too bad Chanel No. 5 is so expensive, though.

Posted by Valkyre at 12:20 AM | Comments (0)

December 11, 2008

A Possible Breakthrough in the Caylee Anthony Case!?

Seems that the remains of a small child were found near the home of Caylee Anthony's Grandparents. They are being sent to the FBI lab in Quantico, Virginia.

Article here

Sheriff: Anthony home may be a crime scene

ORLANDO, Florida (CNN) -- Authorities cordoned off the home of missing toddler Caylee Anthony's grandparents on Thursday, hours after the remains of a small child were found nearby.

The sheriff's office in Orange County, Florida, said it is seeking a warrant to search the home of George and Cindy Anthony.

Sheriff Kevin Beary said the home has been secured "pending more investigation." The house has the "possibility of being more of a crime scene later," he added.

A child's skull was found at about 9:30 a.m. by a utility meter reader who alerted authorities, sheriff's spokesman Jim Solomons said. Investigators, including those from the Anthony case, rushed to the scene, he added. Watch investigators swarm the scene »

CNN affiliate WFTV reported that the meter reader picked up a plastic bag at the site and a skull fell out. The remains have been removed by the medical examiner and will be sent to the FBI lab at Quantico, Virginia, Sheriff Beary said.

The agency has told its lab analysts that the case is top priority, Beary added. "If they have to work through the weekend, they'll work through the weekend."

"Bottom line, it's real simple, folks," Beary said. "We've recovered this human skull, it appears to be that of a small child, and now the investigation continues. We've got a lot of lab work to do, a lot of DNA work to do, a lot of crime scene work to do. We could be here all night." Watch the sheriff talk about what needs to be done »

Prosecutors have asked police not to disclose many details surrounding the discovery, Beary said.

Caylee Anthony, 3, has been missing since June in a case that has received national attention. Casey Anthony, the child's 22-year-old mother, was charged last month with murder and other offenses. She is being held at the Orange County Jail.

The area where the remains were found had been searched as part of the investigation into Caylee's disappearance, he said. But the precise spot where a county meter reader found them -- "45, 50, 60 feet back" from the street -- was flooded at the time of the search.

No clothes were found with the remains, Beary said.

Asked whether the remains could belong to another child, Beary said, "Not that we know of, but that's always a possibility, and that's why we've got a lot of work to do on this case still."

Earlier, authorities said the Anthony family had been notified of the discovery. The remains were found "in very close proximity" to the Anthony home, Solomons said.

An attorney for Casey Anthony filed legal papers Thursday afternoon seeking a court order to preserve all evidence collected, and to permit the defense to conduct its own forensic testing. A hearing has been scheduled for Friday morning.

In a court hearing earlier Thursday, 9th Circuit Judge Stan Strickland postponed Casey Anthony's trial at the request of defense attorney Jose Baez. The attorney said he had not received all the evidence due him from prosecutors and was not ready to proceed with the January 5 trial.

Baez asked Strickland whether the trial could be delayed until March. The judge scheduled a hearing January 15 to consider a new trial date as well as a possible change of venue.

Casey Anthony remains in protective custody and has no contact with other inmates, corrections officials said.

"She has been seen by a Corrections Health Services psychologist and her status was reviewed," officials said in a statement, adding Anthony was under psychological observation -- which is not the same as suicide watch.

Baez arrived at the jail just before noon Thursday and stayed about an hour and a half, officials said.

Prosecutors said this month that they would not seek the death penalty against Casey Anthony. If convicted of murder, she could be sentenced to life in prison.

Authorities have said Casey Anthony waited about a month before telling her family that Caylee was gone. Cindy Anthony -- Caylee's grandmother and Casey Anthony's mother -- called the Orange County sheriff's office July 15, saying her daughter would not tell her where Caylee was.

When questioned, Casey Anthony gave conflicting statements to police, including some that were later disproved, according to hundreds of documents and investigative reports released in the case.

She claimed that she dropped Caylee off with a baby-sitter, but when police checked out her story, they learned that the address Casey Anthony supplied belonged to an apartment that had been vacant for weeks. The woman Casey Anthony named as her baby-sitter told police she did not know her.

Investigators have said that cadaver dogs picked up the scent of death in Anthony's car, as well as in her parents' backyard. They also said air quality tests conducted by the FBI found evidence consistent with human decomposition and chloroform in the car's trunk. A neighbor told police Anthony had asked to borrow a shovel.

Also, an analysis of Anthony's computer found that she had visited Web sites discussing chloroform and had done Internet searches on missing children, according to information released in the case.

"There isn't a motive, and they haven't found a motive," Cindy Anthony said Wednesday night on CNN's "Larry King Live." Watch Cindy Anthony insist her daughter is innocent »

She added, "They told us they thought it was an accident, and she's scared and tried to cover it up. They don't feel there's a motive."

Cindy Anthony stressed that five searches for the girl's body have "come up with nothing. There's nothing that they have found that, you know, has given them any evidence that Caylee is no longer with us."

The Anthonys said they believe that the girl is still alive and that someone has her, noting several reports of sightings.

Last month, Strickland denied prosecutors' request to impose a gag order in Anthony's case, saying he could not state that continued publicity would pose a threat to her trial or even that a gag order would stem the flood of media attention.

CNN's John Couwels and "Nancy Grace" producer Natisha Lance contributed to this story.

Posted by Valkyre at 10:42 PM | Comments (0)

December 06, 2008

Children of Men

This is one of the best movies I have seen in quite awhile. It's one of those types that leave you feeling that this could happen in the future. Since I'm not too good at describing movies, I will quote this review from Amazon:

n 2027, as humankind faces the likelihood of its own extinction, a disillusioned government agent agrees to help transport and protect a miraculously pregnant woman to a sanctuary at sea where her child's birth may help scientists to save the future of mankind. Written by IMDb Editors

The world's youngest citizen has just died at 18, and humankind is facing the likelihood of its own extinction. Set in and around a dystopian London fractious with violence and warring nationalistic sects, Children of Men follows the unexpected discovery of a lone pregnant woman and the desperate journey to deliver her to safety and restore faith for a future beyond those presently on Earth. Written by Production

Set in 2027, when no child has been born for 18 years and science is at loss to explain the reason, African and East European societies collapse and their dwindling populations migrate to England and other wealthy nations. In a climate of nationalistic violence, a London peace activist turned bureaucrat Theo Faron, joins forces with his revolutionary ex-wife Julian in order to save mankind by protecting a woman who has mysteriously became pregnant. Written by Ryan Devlin

"Children of Men" envisages a world one generation from now that has fallen into chaos on the heels of an infertility defect in the population. The world's youngest citizen has just died at 18, and humankind is facing the likelihood of its own extinction. Set against a backdrop of London torn apart by violence and warring nationalistic sects, "Children of Men" follows an unlikely champion of Earth's survival: Theo, a disillusioned ex-activist turned bureaucrat, who is forced to face his own demons and protect the planet's last remaining hope. Written by Anonymous

World divisions, chaos and anarchy, these are the ways the world and the last remaining inhabitants are checking out. No child has been born for eighteen years. Human life and its moral self is eroding into extinction. Set in Britain in the year 2027, this is Theodore Faron finding his ghosts coming back to haunt his fruitless life, in the form of an underground band of rebels The Fishes. Unwittingly drawn into their plight, learning who can be trusted, who can be dependable, and how he must hold the most precious secret the Human race has been so longing to hear, the miracle that can change the course of Humanity; the first pregnant woman in eighteen years. On the run, he, Kee and Miriam must travel cross-country, on the run, terrified and helpless to the safe haven of the Human Project. With the help of aging hippie Jasper Palmer this horrific, dark, unconventional and uncompromising road movie is all that is left between the demise of the Human race and the birth of a new drawn. Written by Cinema_Fan

With this dystopian world ravished by war, paranoia and the frustrations of Man the Orwellian vision of Nineteen Eighty-Four, the totalitarian future is now complete and amongst us. With female fertility becoming obsolete, Man cannot reproduce, and no child has been born on the face of the planet for eighteen years. Man, and his future, is dying. Soon he shall be extinct. Theo, the beaten, downtrodden and middle-aged ex-political activist will, unwittingly, become involved in a war of an underground revolt. Here he is active once more, in the perilous journey across England's Home Counties, with a young girl, Kee, who, to Theo's bewilderment is pregnant. The first pregnant woman for more than eighteen years. This secret must be protected, at all cost, and mother and child must flee to the mysterious and enigmatic Human Project, across the seas. Their flight is a constant fight for survival. Who can be trusted? Who can keep a secret? Written by Cinema_Fan

Posted by Valkyre at 12:24 AM | Comments (0)

December 02, 2008

Think They'll Comply?

Hah! Seems the FTC has come out with new rules concerning those pesky robocalls. You know, the ones where the phone rings, you pick it up and a pre-recorded voice tells you that you can get the carpets cleaned in your home for $15.00. If they are already ignoring the Do Not Call list, what makes them think they will obey these rules?

Article here

FTC puts smackdown on telemarketing calls

10:01 AM, December 1, 2008

Telemarketing As of today, you have a new weapon against telemarketers. Federal Trade Commission rules that just took effect say that telemarketing calls that are recorded in advance -- also known as robocalls -- from businesses or charities must include ways to opt out of future calls.

You're already supposed to be protected from unsolicited commercial calls if you're on the national Do Not Call registry, but calls from businesses with which you have a relationship (you've bought something from them, inquired about their products or services, etc.) were permitted. Also, calls from legitimate charities were allowed.

They still are. But under the new rules, a prerecorded message has to give the consumer a way to cut off the business or charity call -- and ban future calls from the same source -- by pressing a particular number or saying a word.

According to FTC, there is no universal number or word that all telemarketers must use, but the opt-out information must be stated early in the call. According to the rule, a call must begin with, in this order, the identity of the caller, the purpose of the call and instructions for opting out.

Consumers can report telemarketers that violate the new rules by visiting the FTC's Complaint Assistant website or calling 877-FTC-HELP.

If the recorded call is left on an answering machine, the message must include a toll-free number the consumer can use to stop future calls.

The new rule applies only to residential numbers -- you can still be bugged by commercial or charity calls at the office. Also, robocalls for political purposes are still permitted to all landline phones and are not restricted by the new rules. Thank goodness we can still get those calls from out-of-work politicians pushing their candidates.

-- David Colker

Posted by Valkyre at 08:47 AM | Comments (0)