Alabama Tornadoes

This has been a bad day in the deep south. Especially hard hit is my home state of Alabama. Tuscaloosa, home of the University of Alabama, was hit particularly hard today. Right now, just a couple of hours after the massive, mile-wide tornado struck Tuscaloosa, there is untold damage and deaths. Many people are trapped inside their homes and buildings. Early reports are that this was the biggest of them all; an F-5 tornado. It is highly unusual for a tornado of this magnitude to hit a populated city. This tornado stayed on the ground and hit Birmingham, about a 40 minute drive from Tuscaloosa. Both towns have been particularly hard hit. A fire station in Birmingham was wiped out. Major buildings throughout both cities have crumbled.

Also, at this time, there are at least six reported deaths in Arab, Alabama. Arab has been hit twice by dangerous weather today. In fact, towns in Mississippi, Arkansas, Texas and Alabama have been hard hit today by tornadoes. It just seems it hit Alabama worse today. I'm not sure how many people have been left homeless due to these tornadoes in Alabama today. I worry about these people, especially the elderly and very young that were in harm's way today. It's days like today when you realize just how quickly your life can turn around. I am sure a lot of people did not wake up this morning thinking the weather would be as bad as it was today. Sure, they knew bad weather was on the way. They took proper precautions. But, precautions are all you can do with tornadoes. They will go and do what they please on this earth. All we can do is get out of the way. I home those of you reading this entry today will join with me in praying or, at least, give a moment of thought to the people throughout the south who are hurt, injured or homeless today. Pray for the familes of those who have been killed.

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Holly Bobo - Missing Tennessee Woman

I rarely discuss current events since I came back to this blog in February. But, I feel this is what one of those times I deem it necessary. As most know, Holly Bobo of Tennessee, is missing and feared abducted. She was dragged from her home by a man dressed in camouflage. Holly Bobo is 5 feet 3 inches tall and weighs 110 pounds. She was seen around 7:30 a.m. wearing a pink shirt and light blue jeans. $5K has been added to the reward amount. It is up to $80K. As yet, there are no suspects. However, authorities are not ruling out anyone.

What is puzzling to me is that there are reports Bobo was dragged from her home by this man in camouflage. But, her 25-year-old brother reports she was "led" into the woods by a man he assumed was her boyfriend. Something doesn't pass the smell test here. Wouldn't he know her boyfriend or if the guy was just a casual acquaintance? I'm not saying her brother had anything to do with his sister's disappearance. But, if that was my sister being led into the woods and I didn't know the guy, I think I would have inquired as to who this man was by following them. It doesn't make sense to me.

Anyone with any information about Holly Bobo's disappearance is urged to call Tennessee law enforcement at 1-800-824-3463.

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Golden Gate Bridge Suicides

In one of the rare survival stories of the Golden Gate Brige suicides, a 16-year old girl survived an apparent suicide attempt. I say "apparent" because initially officials were not sure it was a suicide attempt. But, now, they are confident the distraught teenager was attempting to end her life. Amazingly, the teen girl was conscious when she was rescued from the water. This is the second attempt this year by a teen to end their life by jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge which has gruesomely always attracted those who wish to end their lives. A 17-year old boy survived just last month with minor injuries. But, this teenage boy was not attempting suicide. He stated he did it "for kicks." He might need a serious mental evaluation. That is a 250 foot drop. He and the girl are both lucky to be alive today.

The Golden Gate Bridge has long been a site for suicides. I'm not sure why that is, to be honest. It may have more to do with the fact it is romanticized somewhat in song and movies. No, no one that I know of speaks about it being a "great place to end it all." But, I tend to believe that is part of the attraction. Last year, there were thirty-two suicides. That is a bit over the average of twenty-five a year. There was a documentary I watched on the subject of Golden Gate Bridge Suicides. I believe the name of it was "The Bridge." It was a fascinating and sad documentary all at once. I encourage anyone who harbors any thoughts of suicide to seek help locally. You can hit this link, Suicide Prevention, for help.

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Old Computers Disposal

We covered how to dispose of old cell phones earlier this week. Now, let's explore the ways to get rid of those old computers, accessories, and parts. One way for an old computers disposal is by donating it to a local school. However, since technology, in computer hardware and software, changes so rapidly, most schools won't take a computer over five years old. A lot of old computers can still be used for parts as a donation. So, if your old computer is over five years old, see if they will accept it as parts. I donated an old Dell Dimension 8100 (ten years old) in January to a local school. The IT instructor said he couldn't use it as a lab computer. But, he thought he might be able to use the parts, such as the Western Digital Hard Drive.

Another way for old computers disposal is by checking out the Environmental Protection Agency's web site. You can find a variety of ways to donate the old computers in your home. It has quite a few different options and programs you can utilize to get rid of the old computers. One of the programs it mentions is Best Buy's Recycle program. However, what I don't like about this is that you not only have to bring the computer to Best Buy, but you have to pay them a fee ($10.00) for the honor of having them get rid of your old computer hardware. There is a site called UsedComputers.com that has a laundry list of nonprofit programs that will gladly take that old computer, printer and monitor off your hands. One program mentioned is The PEP National Directory of Computer Recycling Programs.

If your computer is not cost effective to repair due to age or is outside the five year window, this site, Computer Hope, may just be the place for you. It provides many links on how to get rid of the old computers, how to dismantle them, and what to do with them once you dismantle the old computers. You would be amazed how many computer companies such as Apple, Gateway and Dell have recycling programs that are listed at this site.

Finally, one other option is the local mission in your area. I'm talking about nonprofit organizations such as Mission of Hope and the Salvation Army. Normally, these organizations take clothing, old furniture, used vehicles and cash donations. However, the possibility does exist that they may take old computers off your hands as well. It all depends on what their current needs are at the time you call. The Mission of Hope is the more likely of the two to take an old computer, printer or possibly a computer monitor from you. All you have to do is either call them or contact them via email at one of the links I gave above.

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What To Do With Old Cell Phones

Like most cell phone users (certainly not all), I turn in my old cell for a new one after my mandatory two-year agreement is up. I always opt for a new, up to date cell phone. But, what has become a continual problem for me is what to do with the old one. Now, the cell phone provider I use will "gladly" take it off my hands if I mail it back to them at my expense. Of course, that isn't going to happen. I could drop it off at a local cell phone provider store. I tried that once and was told I would have to come back the next day because the person who handles that was not at work. Of course, that sounded like complete nonsense to me. I never went back.

What I have discovered is that you can turn in those cell phones and make a little extra cash. Some sites say they will give up up to $400. I'm a little skeptical of that. But, I suppose I could try it and see. Some will even pay for shipping. A couple of years ago, you could turn in your old cell phone and get an Amazon Gift Card. But, I don't think they are doing that any longer. You could also recycle them to be refurbished and given to the poor in this country (USA) and in developing countries.

However, what seems to be the most popular idea (and one that I'm going to choose personally) is send them to U.S. troops serving overseas. There is a site called "Cell Phones for Soldiers." You can send them to be recycled, refurbished and resold so U.S troops can make free calls via prepaid calling cards. AT&T has a site dedicated to troops overseas. This site also mentions how AT&T has donated $8 million worth of prepaid calling cards for U.S. troops overseas. I don't care much for AT&T. But, this is a very worthwhile endeavor by this company.

So, basically, you have your choice of what to do with old cell phones. No longer do you have to think "what to do with old cell phones." You can sell them for cash, have them recycled, send them to the poor and, of course, send them to U.S. troops serving our country abroad.

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Blog Content Usage

Google is a wonderful thing. It reveals so much information, you can't possibly take it all in at one time. Google is also a wonderful research tool. I have discovered this little blog is becoming more popular. Blog content usage of David's Musings is not something that bothers me a whole lot. But, it is nice if I am asked if my content off this blog can be used. I have an email link (above my pic and profile), I have comments link. you can use to contact me. Ordinarily, all you have to do is ask me to use my content to your blog or site and I will usually say yes. All I ask is you provide a link back to this blog in return. Some sites that have used my content have not even provided a link back. I will be contacting them very soon about this. You can save me the trouble by contacting me as soon as this blog post is posted.

I'm flattered that so many sites want to use my ramblings and rants as content for their respective sites. But, there is a thing called "common courtesy" that can be used also. You can at least provide a link back to my site. Many are not doing this. I have pulled my full feed on my RSS subscription until further notice. It will now be a short feed until I can get some things finalized with site owners. Please contact me by one of the methods listed. Thank you.

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Sleep Apnea Death

Sleep Apnea death is something that appears to be on the rise despite warnings from the medical community about this deadly disease. Sleep apnea (or obstructive sleep apnea which is what I have) itself is "...caused by a narrowing or collapse of throat tissues during sleep. People actually stop breathing from 30 to 90 times an hours. The time period they stop is usually just a few seconds. But, this is repeated dozens of times per hour. Think what that does to your brain or the strain it puts on your heart. Of course, this leads to heart disease, diabetes, and pregnancy complications. It is a disease that most people don't realize they even have. Most people think it is people who are overweight or over the age of 40 that get sleep apnea. That is not true. There are slim, trim teenagers who have sleep apnea, although this is rare.

Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder in which I have done a lot of searching on the internet since I was diagnosed with this disease nine years ago. Right now, a CPAP is what's used to treat sleep apnea patients. But, these masks they use are usually uncomfortable for the most part. Many people give up on them to their detriment. Such was the case with an old friend of mine in January.

My friend had obstructive sleep apnea like I do. He had tried for six months to sleep with the CPAP/mask and simply could not sleep with it. He did try very hard. His sleep apnea had given him high blood pressure. In January of this year, he did not wake up as was customary for him to at 7AM to take his dogs walking. He had suffered a major attack and died in his sleep. Doctors said that sleep apnea was a major contributor to his fatal heart attack. Sleep apnea is a killer, a silent killer. If you have sleep apnea, use that CPAP. It could save your life.

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Divorce After Retirement

Divorce after retirement is not something most married couples even think about. You spend most of your life together and expect to enjoy the golden years of retirement. You made plans to enjoy that nest egg you built during your working years. But, unfortunately, divorce after you retire is more commonplace than you would think. It seems after a one or both in a marriage retire, they find they have too much time on their hands. They also start spending too much time together. Believe it or not, even with the strongest marriages, spending so much time together can cause arguments. Most marriages after retirement grow stronger. But, those marriages were strong throughout the working years. If a marriage is on shaky ground, as you approach retirement, problems can arise. I learned this the hard way. I also learned about this during divorce counseling after my retirement and subsequent divorce. It didn't make a lot of sense to me at first. Why would a marriage be headed for divorce just because you reach the end of the rainbow (retirement)? It's baffling. But, it does happen.

I retired from the federal government in November of 2003. My marriage was, admittedly, on shaky ground. We both argued, we both raised hell about what we each expected from the other. Things just sort of boiled beneath the surface for a long time. But, we did spend a lot more time together. A lot more time. I think we both discovered, my wife and I, that we didn't have as much in common as we once did. She loved to fish. You probably are thinking, "Well, you're a man. All men like to fish." Not this one. I had other hobbies. I got wrapped up in computing. Pretty soon that hobby developed into a passion. I turned that passion into doing minor maintenance to make a little extra cash. I also got involved in what is my biggest passion; writing. Ever since I was a little boy, I loved to read and write stories. I wanted to be a writer. Alas, Vietnam got in the way of that goal. I never got the desire to pursue writing as a career after I got out of the military. My wife didn't care for my hobbies. I didn't care for her hobbies. We sort of...drifted apart.

Finally, one night, she informed me she planned to file for a divorce. This was in April of 2005. Our marriage did not survive even 18 months after I retired. It was like someone punched me in the stomach with their fist. But, if a woman doesn't want me, I make it a point to get out of her life as quickly as possible. I have that much pride in me. For about two weeks after we broke up, I was homeless. I wasn't homeless in the traditional sense that I was living on the streets. I lived with relatives for a while. That was eye opening for me as well. I just never considered my wife and I would get a divorce, especially after I retired. But, that was the end result. Divorce anytime is very painful and heartbreaking for most. Divorce after retirement is not something I would wish on my worst enemy, even if I had one. ;-)

My advice to anyone approaching retirement; have a good long talk with your spouse. Acknowledge what your differences are and how they can get worse with spending more time together. Talk about how little things can get blown out of proportion by being together so much. Many think being together is great and maybe they are right. I wish someone would have advised me of all this before I retired. My wife and I might have been able to come to terms with my retirement. I'm not willing to say retirement caused our divorce 100%. But, it was a big factor in my opinion. I even offered to go to counseling with my wife in an attempt to save our marriage. But, she astutely observed it would not make any difference. Any love or affection I had for her, from that moment, completely left me. Divorce after retirement is very, very difficult. But, I am living proof you can recover.

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