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spam
spam (Photo credit: Vince_Lamb)

Spammers are becoming more sneaky in their approach.  For example, I got this comment from someone who seems to be selling jewelry: "I had been wondering if your web host is OK? Not that I’m complaining, but slow loading instances times will often affect your placement in google and could damage your high-quality score if advertising and marketing with Adwords."

How very kind of you to worry about me and my website.  I can only hope that the host prevents you from getting to it at all in the future.  You're welcome.

And this, which not only spams, it's intended to send the site owner on a wild goose chase: "When I initially commented I clicked the “Notify me when new comments are added” checkbox and now each time a comment is added I get three emails with the same comment. Is there any way you can remove me from that service? Appreciate it!"  To which I say, "How's it feel, you douchenozzle?  You're welcome."  Interestingly enough I got the exact same comment from two entirely different people.  What are the odds?

And this one: "This web page does not show up appropriately on my i phone – you may want to try and repair that"  Dude, if you're using your iPhone to spam me, you're working WAY harder than you need to.  You're welcome.

If they ever actually read this blog they'd know that they're a constant source of amusement.  Sans the links to whatever they're selling, of course.

Off to empty the spam.  Have a good one.  You're welcome.

 

 

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4050 N Milwaukee Ave., Chicago, IL 60641 www.p...

4050 N Milwaukee Ave., Chicago, IL 60641 www.portagetheater.org/ (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Portage?  Well it’s still in danger.  Here’s the situation:  A church located a few miles from the theater has outgrown its current location.  When church reps found that the Portage was up for sale they jumped at the chance to buy it since the property is enormous.  They plan to use the auditorium space for their presentations, the storefronts and apartments for other church business and events.  They also plan to make significant alterations to the façade.

The alderman, John Arena, has been working with the church to try to find other, more suitable locations, but so far the church has refused to reconsider.  This is not a matter of keeping the building owner from selling; there are several other offers on the property including one from the people who run the theater.

I haven’t yet run across any local who likes the idea of an enormous store-front church spang in the middle of the Six Corners business district, an area which used to be a thriving shopping and entertainment district, but has in the past twenty or thirty years become very down-at-the-heels.  The re-opening of the theater has been a tremendous boost to pulling more business into the area.  There’s a theater group and a museum of veterans’ art slated to open almost across the street from the Portage, and several new bistros and cafes which have recently opened or are about to open.  The theater is an anchor for the neighborhood.  Without it, and in fact with the church in its place, the area would almost certainly lose its momentum.  The presence of a church (in the words of the group trying to save the theater) “would mean the eventual loss of a neighborhood favorite in the Portage Theater. The net effect would be a loss of tax revenue, economic revenue, economic engine that fuels activity in the corridor, and set insurmountable restrictions for businesses looking to open restaurants, bars and places of entertainment moving forward.”

Why does business matter?  Because this area has been a ghost town for too long.  When I was a child it was the central business district for all the neighborhoods around it.  Then people began to leave the city in the late sixties and early seventies and bit-by-bit neighborhoods came apart.  We need our neighborhoods.  We need places where independent businesses can grow and thrive, where we can shop, dine, and be entertained close to home.  Actual, physical involvement in a community is a deterrent to crime; it raises the bar for that community.  Everyone benefits.

Why am I saying all this?  Because the folks who want to save the Portage Theater have started a petition that they want to present at the final Zoning Board of Appeals hearing.  The church needs special zoning permissions and the neighborhood is against granting them.  They came to the last meeting unprepared, and were given a continuation.  The board has made it clear that they will not get another continuation, so this is a make-or-break moment for the campaign to save the Portage.  Please consider signing the petition.  You don’t really have to be a resident of the area, or even a Chicagoan; you just have to care about what will happen to the neighborhood if this wonderful old theater is lost.

Sign the petition to save the Portage Theater

Go here to send a letter to the City of Chicago showing your support for the theater.

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The SVG Facepalm v2.0

If you haven't already heard, the Romance Writers Ink chapter of the RWA (Romance Writers of America) are hosting a writing contest, and yay, go them, contests are a good thing, right?  But if you check the rules, you'll find that they specifically state: "MTM will no longer accept same-sex entries in any category."  Since I don't identify as a romance writer even through I write them or as a gay/lesbian writer even though I write m/m and f/f as well as m/f relationships, I don't have a horse in this race in terms of genre.  But I am offended on behalf of every writer of gay or lesbian romance.  I'm damn offended on behalf of those writers who I consider friends.

You might say "So what?  They're a chapter of a group that you don't really have a lot of interest in.  What's the big?  Gay romance is big, it's hot, it's happening.  So what if they want to be prissy little princesses about it?"   But the point isn't the contest, not really, not for me.  It isn't even really about the organization, though I think that if they're going to eliminate a big hunk of the human race from their romance arena, they really should be honest about it and call themselves "The Heterosexual Romance Writers of America."  Then both readers and writers could make an informed choice: Support bigots or support inclusiveness?  This contest should be about creativity, not about ghettoizing consenting adults.  (I sure hope nobody out there is getting ready to ask me: "Oh really?  You want them to accept stories about necrophiliacs, puppy fuckers or baby rapers?" because I will ask you what part of "consenting adults" you're simply not understanding.)  I don't have a stake in the contest, but I do have one in human decency.

How big an explosion do you  think you'd have heard if they'd written: MTM will no longer accept mixed-race entries in any category. or: MTM will no longer accept entries about non-whites in any category. or:  MTM will no longer accept entries with disabled characters in any category.?  But somehow the RWA seems to think it's different when it comes to same-sex love and romance, and I don't get that because  you can write a novel about how the hero rapes the heroine and she falls in love with him, and they are totally down with that.  But two guys falling in love and wanting to be together forever?  Two women going through hell to be together?  Nope, sorry, queers need not apply.  What's wrong with this picture?  What's wrong with people who think that sort of bigotry is okay?

It's not.

If you want to read more about this, try:

And if you want to add your name to a petition stating that the RWA shouldn't be in the business of discrimination, you can find it here

 

 
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I purchased a set of Cuisinart cookware a couple of years ago and I really have been happy with it.  The other day, though,  my 2-quart saucepan started bowing on the bottom, complete with some scary cartoon sound effects that made me wonder if one of the metal rivets had shot off the back of the pan.   Nope, it was just the pan bottom swelling up.  If you think that isn't a scary sight, let me tell you that the photo above was taken when the pan was cold.  When it's hot, it rolls around on the stove like a top, making cracking and popping noises.  No, I don't use it anymore; it'd be useless anyway since only a small part of the pan actually touches the cook top now.

So I contacted Cuisinart about this and received an email asking me to call them to set up an evaluation. Well, okay. It's supposed to be a lifetime warranty, but clearly they need to know if I went at it with a hammer or something, right? I mean people do that to their cookware all the time, don't they?  (Actually I fear some people do, but that's a whole 'nother rant.)  I phoned and got a decidedly casual response telling me to mail it in (I pay shipping... again okay, I suppose that's fair. A steel pot with a bottom that blows up like a balloon might be my fault, right?. /sarcasm) and to enclose a check for $10 for return shipping. If it's a manufacturer defect they'll replace it.

Whoa there, old hoss, sez I. I understand paying to ship it to you. I don't like the idea since I think you all should stand by your products 100%, but I understand it. However paying you to ship back a new one? I don't think so. If it's your fault, you pay the shipping. If it's not, and I want the pot back (I do not) then I'll happily pay you to ship it back. I don't think I should have to pay shipping on a new pot if the defect is your fault.

Not surprisingly this suggestion met with a less than favorable response. Even less surprisingly their response met with an even less favorable response on my part to the tune of, I think I'll just pass and buy from a different manufacturer in the future. The rep's reply "Okay," with a distinct note of "Whatevah, we already have your money."

So no, Cuisinart, I will not be paying to send it to you and get it, or a new pot back from you. I will be leaving it out for the metal scavengers, and in spite of the fact that I actually liked this set of pots and pans -- I've never had problems with things sticking or anything else -- my next cookware purchase will be from a company like Le Creuset which though pricier has always proved completely dependable. Thanks so much. Have a nice day.

 

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Tracy Rowan

August 2013

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