Linswritings

Archive for October 2010

Recently, there has been a rash of thefts of catalytic converters in the Denver, Colorado area. Thieves are stealing these converters and selling them for scrap metal. The converters are located at the bottom of the vehicles and thieves use saws to cut them off.

These thieves are targeting 1995 to 2000 Toyota 4Runners because these models’ converters are made with precious metals such as platinum, palladium and rhodium. These metals bring in a lot of cash for the thieves.

If your converter is stolen, replacing it is very costly. It can cost you $160 to $1,800 to replace. But you can have markers placed on your converter that will track it if it is stolen. Or you can buy cages that can enclose the converters and secure them to your vehicle.

Who would have thought catalytic converters would be such a hot commodity but the price of precious metals has been rising quickly.

Tough economic times call for many people to do desperate things. Recently, the incidents of skimming has been on the rise.

Skimming is when a criminal attaches a device onto a gas pump or ATM that records the information off your card when you swipe it. These criminals can retrieve the information wirelessly by text message. Then the criminals steal money from your account especially when you use your debit card at the gas station or ATM.

The Better Business Bureau is offering the following tips to help you not be a victim of skimming.

First of all try to use your credit card at the gas pump instead of your debit card. This way, if you become victimized you haven’t lost the money directly. You can contact your credit card company and they will get the fraudulent charges removed. If money is stolen directly from your bank account, this could have much worse consequences for you and getting the money replaced could take quite some time.

Avoid using ATMs that are not located at a bank. These ATMs are often less secured so thieves have more opportunity to tamper with them.

Look closely at the machine you are putting your card into. If it appears compromised in any way, (i.e. plastic sticking out, anything out of the ordinary attached) do not use it.

If your card gets stuck in machine, do not leave the area. Call your bank right away and report the issue.

Monitor your accounts daily for any fraudulent activity. The sooner you detect fraud; the better off you will be at resolving it quickly and keeping it from continuing.

By being vigilant about your surroundings and what is happening, you can be the first line of defense against criminals who use skimming to steal from you.

Starting today, the Transportation Security Administration is changing the way they screen passengers .  

Gone are the good old days of just waving a wand around your body. Now the new rules say that if you set off a metal detector you have only two options. One is a full body scan and the other is an intense pat down. The pat down involves an agent running his or her hand up and down along your body including the inside of your leg. Of course this type of search involves the same gender officers and you can request a private screening at any time in the screening process.

But that isn’t all the rule changes. Now the TSA will start enforcing a program meant to better match terrorists with a formal watch list.

Here is how it works. The new TSA rule requires airlines to collect a traveler’s fun name, birth date and gender at booking. You need to provide this information at least 72 hours before a flight otherwise the airline will not issue you a boarding pass. In addition, your name on the ticket must match your name listed on your government issued ID – exactly! For example, if your first name is on your driver’s license but you go by our middle name, which may be on your ticket, you may not be able to board a plane.

Will all of this make us any safer? Will granny and grandpa need to get patted down as well as little Johnny and Susie? It seems that common sense may be eluding us right now but as you know we live in a country that is politically correct and doesn’t care who it may offend.

Many home builders know that thieves target copper from new homes, but some low-life criminals decided to go to a condo complex where people were living to steal copper. As a result, residents in an Aurora, Colorado condo complex are now without water and heat.

The thieves went to the laundry room, boiler room and sprinkler system of the condo area and stole twenty foot lengths of copper pipe weighing around 20 to 30 pounds. There are 50 condo units in the building with some units unoccupied. But the residents living there have been without water and heat for at least three days.

The management company has plumbers working on the problem and hopes to have everything restored soon. The cost of replacing and repairing is $4,500.

Police have tracked down the copper pipe to a local recycler. Colorado State Law requires recyclers to keep documentation of people selling metals. As a result, the police hope to find these thieves and arrest them.

Last night’s Results Show on Dancing with the Stars was a real surprise. At the very beginning the lowest scorers, Bristol Palin and Kyle Massey were safe but the top performers were in jeopardy. When all was said and done Audrina Patridge was eliminated. A shock? No not really, she was technically good but had no performance in her dances. Her dance partner Tony did everything he could to make her look good, but in the end she was the one who lost it.

It was nice to see the judges showcase Bristol Palin and Mark’s Tango. It was very good and this time Bristol showed some personality in it. She really has a pretty smile and should smile more because it lights up her face.

Brooke’s dress was pretty. It was black, leather looking dress with a modest front. Like I said, she finally has found someone who can dress her up to look stunning and keep her within the parameters of a prime time show. Keep it up Brooke, I love to see those beautiful gowns on you.

Next week will be the 200th show of Dancing with the Stars. There will be lots of guests as well as former stars who will be judging the current stars’ dances. Maybe we will get fair scoring now. Hopefully, the judges will loosen up and start giving out great scores.

There are now only six left – Kurt Warner, Rick Fox, Kyle Massey, Bristol Palin, Brandy Norwood and Jennifer Grey – three guys and three gals.

I’ll make my prediction next week of who I think the top four stars should be.

Until next time,

Linda

Last night’s Dancing with the Stars theme was Rock week. But I don’t think it was really rocking at all. In fact, what were the judges watching last night that they gave poor scores to really good dances to some of the performances?

First of all, let’s all rock and roll to the Paso Dobla and the Tango. Huh? I would think the Jive would have been more appropriate.  

How could the judges score Aurdina Patridge (24) higher in her Paso Dobla than Kurt Warner’s Paso (18)? Her performance was lightweight and I did not see any intensity in her dance. Kurt Warner’s performance reminded me of a James Dean attitude. I thought it was a great performance by Kurt. Heck Bret Michaels gave him few tips on being a rock and roll king and it worked. I think Kurt must have made a remark about the judges because he is now losing favor with the judges. Kurt, you keep on dancing and performing as you are, you are doing a great job. Let the fans keep you in the show.

Rick Fox’s Tango seemed stiff to me but he got a score of 24. I really enjoyed Bristol Palin’s Tango, it showed a lot of improvement and she scored a 23. Kyle Massey’s Tango was good but not a score of 23 good. I just can’t relate to his performances, must be me.

Then there was Brandy Norwood’s Tango that seemed too intense for me. I would think that type of intensity should be left to the Paso Dobla and not to the Tango. The judges loved it and gave her a score of 26. You know she is a real basket case. She hangs on every word of the judges and seems to stress over everything. I hope she doesn’t get a nervous breakdown before the end of the show.

Speaking of a nervous breakdown, did you see Jennifer Grey’s performance last night? The judges gave her a 20 which is pretty low. It seems as though the pressure has gotten to her. At times she was intense with her Paso Dobla and at times she was out of control. She was giggling afterwards and I think she too may lose it soon.

Loved Brooke Burke’s gown last night. At first I thought they forgot some fabric on the dress because her right thigh was exposed. But then I realized that was the style of the dress. A nice black off the shoulder embroider dress that once again made her look very nice as a host of a show.

So who will be eliminated tonight? Right now I have no idea. Last night’s show was so out of whack with the judges’ scores and the audiences’ approval, I really can’t tell you who will be eliminated. Just have to watch tonight to find out.

Until next time,

Linda

When many states approved legalizing medical marijuana they also approved taxing the sale of medical marijuana. It seems that the tax on marijuana has proven to be a boom for revenue for many small communities.

For example, in Colorado Springs, Colorado, tax revenue from the sale of medical marijuana has risen to about $50,000 per month. With this new found revenue, the city is planning to pay for three detectives and a code enforcement officer for a new medical marijuana team to be created in 2011. The team will be part of the Metro Vice, Narcotics and Intelligence Task Force.

Cities and towns are finding that this new industry calls for measures to make sure everything is done safely and not have an impact on the quality of life in the community. What better place to ensure this by growing law enforcement.

I’m not a big proponent of medical marijuana however I do agree that if a community allows medical marijuana shops it should also provide enforcement and protection. Some crimes have been involved with these shops and it is only right that the shop owners as well as the community need to be protected.

Last night’s episode of Under Cover Boss featured the Chief Marketing Officer, Steve Phelps, of NASCAR. NASCAR was founded in 1947 and today they employ more than 10,000 people throughout the U.S.

Because of the recession, sales have been down 18% and it seems that people are opting out of watching the car races. As a result, Mr. Phelps wanted to see what the employees and fans want from NASCAR.

He went undercover as part of a pit crew. There he found that it takes great physical strength to change the 75 pound tires on a race car. Unfortunately, he didn’t do very well and it seems all he was good for is being a water boy for the driver.

At many of the speedways, families come in RVs and spend the weekend. He decided to see how that felt and stayed in an RV while he was working as a facilities manager in Daytona Beach, Florida.  There he was painting the road signs. It is hot and tough work but he met a man whose son has leukemia and was touched by his story. He then worked as a volunteer at one of the concession stands and found the couple to be upbeat and friendly. This couple works at the speedway as a fund raiser for their daughter’s cheerleading. They receive 10% of the proceeds.

Then he worked with a tire specialist and found that even though it isn’t rocket science it is complicated to make sure that all the tires for the race cars are calibrated correctly for the race cars. A tire bill for one race car can run $24K to $27K per month, so it is important that all the tires are calibrated correctly.

What this episode showed was that all the people working for NASCAR are not red-necks but just good hardworking people who love to be part of the sport of race cars. It is a clean and fun sport that you can take the whole family to watch.

This episode was another feel good show with no surprising outcomes. Mr. Phelps helped out the people he met with money and good intentions. Once again this was a nice episode that you and your kids can watch.

Next week, the Chiquita Banana Company will be highlighted. I love bananas!

Until next time,

Linda

Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and Myspace have grown into a social media network visited by millions of people. But when you think you know who you can friend on these networks, a new twist has been added.

According to a Baltimore Sun  story, debt collectors are now using sneaky techniques by requesting invitations to be your friend. The Consolidate Credit Counseling Services are warning people that if you befriend someone you don’t really know it just may be a debt collector trying to get personal information about you in their pursuit of payment.

The debt collectors are doing everything they can to spy on consumers who owe money. They are using information posted on these social network sites to contact your family or friends. One important tip is never boast about your income, purchases, tax windfalls or anything else that may reveal your financial situation. The debt collectors could claim you are spending money that should be going to them or your creditors.

Debt collectors will use fake names on social networking sites, so be sure you know the person you are friending or following you. Finally, be careful about what you post. Debt collectors will be looking at these sites to find clues about where you live and work.

If you ever had debt collectors calling you with harassing calls, you know how aggressive they can be. Whatever you do, don’t give them another avenue to get into your personal life.

“Sleep tight; don’t let the bed bugs bite.” This used to be a sweet little saying you would say to your kids when putting them to bed. But now bed bugs have become a major problem that has been exploding throughout the country.

If you have bed bugs it doesn’t mean that you are a lousy housekeeper, it means that these little buggers have invaded your home  through no fault of your own. You can get bed bugs from movie theatres, department stores and even airplane seats. Of course the best place you may find bed bugs are in hotels.

So if you are staying in a hotel, here is how you can check to make sure your room doesn’t have them. Check under the bed covers, sheets, the mattress cover and the mattress itself. Look in the corners to make sure no bugs are hiding there.

Don’t use the hotel dresser or hang clothes in the closet. Use the luggage rack by placing your suitcase on the rack and place the rack away from the walls. Don’t forget to keep your luggage zipped up.

The reason why the bed bugs have gotten worse according to the Environmental Protection Agency because pesticides once used to control bed bugs have been outlawed. It doesn’t matter where you may live; these little buggers have been found everywhere.

The top 10 cities for bed bugs are Los Angeles, California, Washington, D.C., Dayton, Ohio, Columbus, Ohio, Denver, Colorado, Chicago, Illinois, Cincinnati, Ohio, Detroit, Michigan, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and New York, New York.