Are you planning to travel at Thanksgiving or during the Christmas break? Remember, you should NEVER discuss or even mention your travel plans plans on social media web sites until you are back home from your trip. If you want to tell your friends
about your trip to Acapulco or Paris on Facebook or Twitter, do it after you return, not
before you go or while you are there! Professional burglars are constantly scouring the internet looking for houses to rob! No
foolin.’ They really do that! Criminals have software that allow them to identify people who are traveling or who will be traveling soon and then identifying where they live. And Yes, people actually do get burglarized this way. Lots of people. Also, remember that many burglars look for houses to rob the old-fashioned way, by driving around and looking for houses with obvious signs that nobody is home. (Did you see ‘Home Alone’?) Before you travel, arrange to have someone check your porch regularly for signs that nobody is there, like parcels sitting on the porch or an overstuffed mailbox.
(P.S. – If you did see ‘Home Alone’, remember that a 10 year old Macauley Culkin look-alike cannot protect your home from burglars.)
My father used to use the expression, ‘the dead fish look’. I think he invented this expression because I have never heard anyone else use it. My father used this term to describe a look of feigned surprise. The dead fish look is looking at someone with your eyes and mouth very wide open, pretending to be surprised. If you’ve ever seen dead fish, they actually do look like that. When people pretended to be surprised in this way, my father would say: “Oh, don’t give me the dead fish look. You know what I’m talking about.” I hadn’t thought about this expression in perhaps 30 years; however, Rudy Giuliani has refreshed my memory. Giuliani does this quite often, and he is not convincing when he does it. When he is asked a tough question, Giuliani frequently goes into ‘the dead fish look.’ He looks away from the interviewer with his eyebrows up, his eyes bulging in their sockets, and with his mouth wide open, and sucking in air. Then he says something like: “Well, I never heard that before!” It’ is painfully obvious that he is just pretending to be surprised, and he is terrible at this! Really terrible! Look at the photos below. These photos have not been photoshopped. These are actual photos of Rudy Giuliani pretending to be surprised by a question. I think he looks ridiculous. Don’t you? The next time you see a dead fish, look at the expression on its face.
I just ran across something that I wrote in 2010 for an American history class I was teaching at that time. Here is what I wrote: “In 1973, at the start of the impeachment investigation by the House of Representatives, President Nixon relied on a 3-point defense strategy, which he repeated often. 1. The Watergate investigation is a witch hunt. (A witch hunt is defined as a search for or harassment of a person or persons with unpopular views or opinions.) 2. The press has a liberal bias and is out to destroy me, led by the Washington Post and the New York Times.3. I am not a crook. The real criminals are the leakers.” Hmmmm. This sounds vaguely familiar, doesn’t it? In 1973, the Washington Post reported that Richard Nixon was going around the White House telling people that the Watergate investigation was just a ‘witch hunt by the Democrats and the Washington Post, who he claimed were trying to overturn the results of the 1972 election. Of course, the Watergate investigation proved to be more than just a witch hunt, but Nixon was right in his belief that leakers in the White House were doing great damage to his presidency. The 2 leakers who did the most damage to Nixon were the anonymous ‘Deep Throat’ and Martha Mitchell, the wife of Nixon’s Attorney General, John Mitchell. Martha Mitchell was an alcoholic, and when she got drunk, she would call reporters on the phone in the middle of the night and tell them about crimes being committed by President Nixon and her husband. Although she was drunk, her calls were surprisingly detailed and verifiable. John Mitchell went to prison as a result of his wife’s drunken phone calls. (Not surprisingly, John Mitchell divorced Martha.) After Nixon resigned as president, he said in a TV interview that: “Without Martha Mitchell, there would have been no Watergate.
A lot of people (including a few landlords I know) hire unlicensed plumbers and handymen to do plumbing work that really should be done by professionals. People do this for the obvious reason – to save money. Licensed, insured plumbers are expensive. I know mine is! However, here is what happens when amateur plumbers fix things. Many of the things pictured below are actually very common plumbing mistakes.
1. Attaching a grounding wire to a plastic pipe. Although this plumber used the right clamps and wire, apparently he didn’t know that plastic pipe does not conduct electricity. I have seen this a number of times. I have also a pipe with a grounding wire clamped onto it that was connected to another section of that same pipe. I am often surprised at the number of people who do not seem to understand the most basic principle of electrical wiring – that electricity flows though a wire. If there is no place for the electricity to go, it can’t just pile up inside the wire. 2. Vent pipes that go down and then up. This is actually very common. It can be dangerous. 3. Leaving in place old worn-out plumbing fixtures. People do this to save money on hauling and dump fees. This guy left the old water heater in place and just attached a new water heater to it. 4. Using inappropriate materials to make plumbing connections. I am very suspicious of flexible drain pipes, even when they are done properly and with the right materials. 5. Not thinking about where you are placing things in a bathroom. Look at where the toilet paper holder is mounted. How would you use it? I have also seen toilets placed in a bathroom in a way that prevents the door from opening or closing. 6. Bad judgment by tenants. This isn’t the plumber’s fault. The tenants in this apartment left candles on a plastic toilet tank unattended. Something like this once happened to me. A group of U.C. college students rented the house next door to me. They placed a bunch of candles on the top of the wall furnace in their living room. Then they turned on the furnace. The candles melted, the wax flowed into the hot furnace, the wax erupted into a ball of fire, and that set the living room on fire. After the fire was out, one of the tenants said to me: “There is something wrong with your furnace.” Fortunately for them, I never yell at people, so I didn’t tell them what I thought of that explanation.