Best of This Week on Houzz.Com – Part I is one of my most favorite sites for home decorating, organizing, design and dreaming. You can make your own “books” of ideas from their pictures and information, for reference during future design projects. It is like Pinterest in the creation of personal boards, but the posts do not necessarily go public. Others can view your boards if they know to look for you. I love love LOVE this site. Here are some of the best boards of this week – and there are lots. Usually I like one or two per week, so this is fabulous.

Clutter vs. Keepers: A Guide to New Year’s Purging

Simple questions to get in touch with your clutter comfort level — and figure out what needs to go by Laura Gaskill

With a new year upon us and the resolution-making frenzy in full effect, many of us (myself included) will be casting aside clutter in an attempt to streamline our homes. But what, and how much, do you get rid of? What makes clutter, clutter? Where do you draw the line between an inspiring collection and a jumbled mess? And what about some of the styling tricks employed for photo shoots — creative or ridiculous? If you have ever walked into a friend’s home and found yourself wondering how they can live with all of that stuff, you know that we each have our own clutter comfort level.

So the questions become: What is clutter to you, and what can you do about it? Read on to find where you stand on the clutter comfort continuum, then use the questions that follow to examine your reasons for keeping (or tossing) just about anything in your home.

Get It Done: Attack the Coat Closet


With a concrete plan and a little elbow grease, you can tame your jumble of jackets in a single afternoon by Becky Harris

Sometimes there are so many things at home that need organizing that we don’t even know where to start; I know I don’t. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither was your mess.

Take it one project at a time. Sit down and make a list of all the areas of your home you’d love to see neat and organized. Hang it on the fridge or write it on a chalkboard wall, and make it a goal to finish one project per week until you are done. In fact, you can even get fancy and turn it into a Houzz ideabook like I did.

If the thought of making a list is overwhelming (I know the feeling), don’t fret. I’m going to make it easy for you by giving you one task per week that you can accomplish within a few hours. Make sure you have enough time to complete the task and take a shopping trip; otherwise you’ll end up with more of a mess.

We’re going to start with the coat closet.

Get It Done: Clean Out the Linen Closet


Organized bliss for your bedroom sheets and bathroom towels is just a few hours away by Becky Harris

The linen closet has become an elusive space. In fact, having one is a luxury in itself. It was once a home staple, usually placed in an upstairs hallway, but these days you may have to create your own “linen closet.” This could be a small closet or cabinet in a bathroom, an armoire in a bedroom, a hijacked guest room closet or some shelves in the laundry room. Where you place it may determine what you store there; what all of these spaces have in common is that it’s highly likely they could use a good clean-out. Let’s get started.



Get It Done: Organize Your Kitchen Cabinets


You deserve better than precarious piles of pots and toppling towers of lids. Give cabinet chaos the boot with these organizing strategies

by Becky Harris

How to Organize Your Kitchen Cabinets

Time: 2 to 3 hours

Materials needed: Cleaner, dust rags or paper towels, contact paper, sticky notes (such as Post-its), pen, donation box. Additional organizers are optional. This ideabook also includes ideas for some mini renovations that require more materials and time.

Tip: Take a before shot of your messiest cabinet so that you can feel extra satisfied when this is all over.


Freelance Writing/Ghostwriting Places


Freelance Writer Gigs


While I am off work due to injury, I am working on setting up a number of free lance writing gigs. Most are ghost writing articles for other blogs and websites, but I am also close to inking a deal to ghost write an entire book. Many of these sites need talented writers in specialty niches – automobile stuff, law, fashion, computer and IT stuff, and so forth. They don’t pay huge money but they do pay. The more work you do and the better quality work you do equals more money. Plus it is fun – for me anyway – to get back into the writing habit after millions of years of latency.    : Authors submit some writing samples and are rated by the TB editors for quality. They use AP style, so be warned. Based on your rating, you can then bid on writing jobs. Usually jobs pay either by the job or by the word. There are teams you can bid to join, as well, and these are more specialized. Writers who become recognized or popular within their niche can receive direct orders from clients who request them specifically.  They have an excellent blog, offering professional editor-type help as well as author-to-author help. Orders are paid as soon as they are accepted, and you can get a weekly payout through Paypal. Every article is checked by editors through Copyscape, and they have zero tolerance for plagiarism. Editors give you feedback on your articles and how to improve.

Logo         : Higher end site for authors to put in proposals to complete jobs posted by buyers. Some of the jobs are small – blog articles and posts. Some are huge – contracting for 30 articles per month indefinitely. Some are really huge – like my pending potential ghostwriting of a novel. Pay rates vary widely, as do the agreements on whether articles are published under your own name or that of the buyer. The buyer request must be very specific in this regard. Some of the job requests specify they may turn into full time offers if things go well, so that is unique.  There are also jobs for programming and IT services, consulting, marketing assistance, administrative assistance, engineering and legal contracts. It is worth checking out if you are wanting to pick up odds and ends, or to work on supplementing your resume. They currently list popular skills in demand as:  HTML (1028 available), WordPress (886), PHP (883), Marketing (825), Mobile (743), CSS (739), Database (695), English (675), Testing (638), Android (567), SQL (526), Sales (509). There are also many translating jobs advertised if you have those skills.


Elance – hire me online


          : I am new to this site and haven’t really seen much about how they work. They seem to be similar to Textbroker, but authors also peer-review articles. There seems to be a lot of networking type activity going on, more of a support group for writers. It appears you choose your own article topics and write the articles, posting them to the site. Other authors review them and click on them, building your popularity and entering you in contests. Article ideas/needs are also posted, and authors can claim them and write the article.  The unique thing about this site is authors publish under their own name, and many of the payments are for revenue sharing – the more clicks your article gets, the more you get paid, sort of like residuals on a book or TV spot.


Helium logo – Where Knowledge Rules



           : Anyone, not just writers, can post ads for things they will do for $5, called “gigs.”  I posted gigs to write short blog or website articles, or for promoting stuff here on this site. So far, I am getting a fair bit of business for the blog postings, and have gotten “promoted” to a Level 1 seller. This allows me to add extras into my gigs – for instance more words in the article for another $10, faster service/same day service for $20, and so forth. Some of the folks on this site do really neat stuff, other are just plain silly. However, if you are willing to do little bits of things for little bits of money that do add up, it is worth checking out.

Fiverr weird gig

I will creepily sing happy birthday for $5



        : Absolute clone of   I have a profile there, and gigs identical to, but have received zero orders. It appears very few people use the site in general, so I will probably be taking down my profile to focus on the others in which I am getting orders.


I will manage your Facebook account for 1 day for $5





In researching the freelance market, there are tons of other freelance writing sites out there. I have not had the energy or motivation to check them out, but here are there names and links if you are interested.

Write for  New Here? Read This. | All of Your Questions Answered Here | Forums

Write for   eHow | How to Videos, Articles & More – Discover the expert in you. |

Write for   Yahoo! Contributor Network –

Real Writing  Real Writing Jobs – Earn Extra Money Writing!    Premium Content Writing, Buy Articles, SEO Articles, Niche Review Articles, Buy Content, Unique SEO Articles   Buy Articles, Purchase Tutorials, Order Website Content | Unique SEO Articles | Search Engine Ready | Daily Article   Showing You How to Ignite Your WOW at

Instant Article Wizard  Instant Article Wizard – Write quality articles on any subject in minutes! Free Articles

Interact  Website Content Made Simple  SEO Article Writing Service | Crowdsource Content | Professional Online Copywriting |

Quality | All About High Quality Content

Cloud Crowd on Facebook   (14) CloudCrowd on Facebook   GetArticlesDone – Bulk Article Writing Service      EzineArticles Submission – Submit Your Best Quality Original Articles For Massive Exposure, Ezine Publishers Get 25 Free Article Reprints    Copywriters – SEO Copywriting Services – Freelance Copywriter    Articles for Sale

Ozio  Ozio Media | Copywriting, SEO Writing, Reports, Ebooks   WritingThoughts   Home – Professional Writing Services, web content, website pages, blogs, press releases, resumes – Express Writers   Blog Writing Service & Content Marketing Service for Small Business | WaterMyBlog    Triond – Publish Writing, Poetry, Music, Video & Content Online

Write for YahooVoices   Yahoo! Voices – Contributor's Guidelines    The world’s largest online workplace, oDesk is where savvy businesses and professional contractors go to work! – oDesk


Pet Stuff 1-6-2013

Interesting and amusing pet-related stuff dredged from the intarwebs this week.

Random cat pictures and lolcats found around the internet.

cat shit

Goddamn Snow. I got important cat shit to do.


© 2012 National Geographic


Poop-Sniffing Dog Tracks Predators


Poop Sniffing Dog Tracks Dangerous Wild Animals


December 3, 2012—A remarkable scat-sniffing dog helps a National Geographic explorer track jaguars and other predators through the remote forests of Argentina

Check out the video here on National Geographic.


Alcoholic Dog









I dare you not to laugh.

8 Ridiculous Animal Myths You Probably Believe

from the funsters at

praying mantis

Praying mantis – NSFW


Best Advice I’ve Seen In a While

Highly Recommended Reading…

5 Small Steps That Changed My Life in 2012

by Kimberlee on The Peaceful Mom

5 Small Steps That Changed My Life In 2012-One of my favorite things to do in January is to take a look at the previous year to evaluate what worked well and what areas I need to improve. As I reflected on this past year, I realized that there were five small changes that I made which truly improved my life, so I thought I would share them with you.

The Peaceful Mom

Maybe these particular steps won’t help you, but the idea is that by making small changes consistently over time, you can improve the quality of your life. This time next year, you will be able to look back and see how far you’ve come


posted with permission of the author


1/2/2013 – What the hell is up with people anyway?

I realize I am old, decrepit and otherwise un-hip in a plethora of ways. However I also realize that my kids were not raised to be disrespectful or to make inappropriate requests to anyone, much less someone their parents’ age or more. And my brother and I were certainly not raised like that either.   So why is it that when I sign on to a seemingly innocuous site like Meet Me in a moment of boredom while waiting in line at the movies, I am suddenly hit upon by all manner of trolls? It is even worse on so called “dating” sites like Plenty of Fish. I got lucky once on that site – had a decent relationship and lots of fun until things weren’t fun anymore. Other than that one guy, trolls!

bad date

Bad Date



Troll Variety 1: Younger guy hitting on older woman.  By this I mean much younger guy around my kids’ ages chatting up me. Flattering, sure, until it turns creepy. They start out asking about general stuff like any other contact. I ask them why they are chatting up an old broad, and the usual response is something like “I like older women. They are smarter, funnier, sexier, better in bed…”  All of which are undoubtedly true. I can’t really speak to that because I have never had sex with an older woman. However, these young guys quickly progress to asking for photos. Not just a head shot, but “send me pix of you in something sexy” requests. Quickly as in a matter of a couple of days and maybe three emails.  They pepper the email and the text with shirtless photos of themselves and in some cases pants-less. I just got one of a very nice looking young man in a towel. Seriously. An unsolicited towel picture to a woman old enough to be your mom.  That is an instant “See ya” from this older, smarter, funnier, sexier, better in bed lady.

guy in a towel

Unless this is really you in a towel, don’t send it to me unsolicited.


Troll Variety 1A: Younger and demanding guy hitting on older woman.

Similar to Troll 1 but with a twist, this young man pressures for “dates” early. And presses and presses.  They don’t seem to know how to take “no thanks” or “maybe some other time” for an answer. Nor do they take “how about a nice, well lit public place frequented by cops” as an answer. I suspect these guys are trying to set people up to get mugged, raped or worse, especially when they become somewhat verbally – or text-ally – abusive when turned down. Why do they think this tactic will work, and intimidate me into meeting them in a dark alley downtown or something?  I don’t care how hot their unsolicited towel pictures are, it isn’t happening.  And no, they cannot buy me a drink and roofie me on a first meeting, or a second. I prefer to stay sober and in control of my faculties when scoping people out. Intoxication with others requires a certain level of trust.  These fellows love love LOVE sending virtual gifts, especially the naked or near naked variety. I have a fairly good collection now of virtual breasts, butts, camel toes, vibrators and naughty French maid outfits. Also, please don’t start conversations on email or text with “Hey ya ho, how are you?” and don’t refer to women as “bitches” or “ho’s.” Bitches don’t like that.


Get back. Bitch you don’t know me like dat.









Troll Variety 2: Inconclusive Photos.

These guys – I assume they are guys, because their profiles say they are guys – post non-identifiable photos as their only profile shots. I’ve seen college logos, race cars, motorcycles, hot rods, the Rocky Horror Picture Show lips and record cover art on profiles with absolutely no picture of a live human being. These guys contact me and start to chat me up, say they like my photo – a head shot – and ask for more pictures. Standard protocol for me is to ask for photos of them first, before I start dumping my hard drive into their email box. Besides that, very few decent and recent photos of me exist. I tend to look like I have the crazy eye in a lot of pictures, probably because I have the crazy eye. I also look fat – the camera adds way more than 10 pounds. Ice cream adds 40 or so. Anyway, few photos and most of those are with family members.  When with family members I don’t wear lingerie and only lingerie, and I avoid wearing spike heels as a general rule. I might fall and break a hip. Usually my requests for real photos are ignored and met with more requests for photos of me.  I may be old but I know once something is on the internet it is there forever. I happen to not enjoy the though of me with too much skin showing on the internet. In fact I find it rather nauseating. It is also not great for job seekers. So guys, no, I will not send you an identifiable photo of me wearing nothing but a smile and a pair of heels.  I can send you pictures of Monica Bellucci in a corset for days, though, and that will likely make you happier anyway.

Bad profile pic

This photo tells me nothing


Troll Variety 3:  Mid-Life Crisis Guys.

These are the guys who have recently gotten divorced or who are just now getting back into the dating scene. They might be between 40 and 60, and usually are pretty decent guys. They have no social skills from being married for however long, but they are happy to show you their new truck, motorcycle, hot rod or photos of them doing some extreme sport. They are also prone to talking endlessly about their kids, and asking to meet a “good hearted, honest woman who doesn’t cheat.” That statement alone tells you about all you need to know about how their last marriage ended.  Hey guys, clue: Good hearted is a meaningless requirement. It is undefined. No one on the internet is going to claim to be a liar, so might as well not even ask. Just saying.  Dating hint for mid-life crisis guys: Develop some friendships with women about your own age, who will give you honest feedback and with whom you do not have a “want to date/bed” relationship. Develop your social skills, like having a conversation that does not involve moving back to your mom’s basement, buying your new motorcycle, or your unnatural relationship with your pet parrot/Chihuahua/chinchilla/whatever. I love my pets and kids, too, and will talk about them, but I have other interests and can speak about those. You should, too.  These guys are not so much trolls as desperately lonely souls, so I have more pity on them than most. I, too, am pitifully shy. That doesn’t seem to stop me from talking someone’s ear off once I get going.

Midlife crisis guy

Mid Life Crisis Guy


Troll Variety 3A: Mid-Life Crisis Guys Trying to Be Playahs.

These guys fit some of the variety 3 criteria, but like to post shirtless posing pictures of themselves in their profiles. I am thrilled you still work out at this age, and yes you do have nice biceps and still have a decent chest. Hooray. Put some damn clothes on, you’re not 25 anymore! Show me a picture of your degree, or your bank account, or your house (not the bathroom). Show me a picture of you smiling and doing something fun that doesn’t involve your bro-skis and some brew-skis. Show me a picture of you and your damn Chihuahua, you in clothes and the dog NOT in clothes thank you very much. Dogs in clothes on a man’s profile are weird, unless it is joke clothes for Halloween or for Dog Shaming.  Balance your profile with pictures of you in a suit, in casual clothes, in adventure or travel clothes, and maybe one swimsuit picture. And for Pete’s sake, ditch the Speedo and the thong bathing suits. No one is that hot unless they are on the Olympic swim team. I don’t need to be able to tell your religion by looking at your suit, know what I mean? These chaps send virtual “gifts” that tend to be romantic – roses, candlelit dinners, etc. – for about 2 days, then progress to “sex me up” type gifts. Delete, delete, delete. Send me a real gift, like cash or a good dinner out with good company.


Midlife Crisis Guy Trying to be a Playah


Troll Variety 4: Truckers, Rednecks, Good-Ole-Boys and Hillbillies.

Something about my presence online seems to act like a magnet to stereotypical truckers, rednecks, hillbillies and good-ole-boys. I am talking about the ones with the Confederate flag as their profile background, pictures of them in the cab of their big rig. Their profiles read like a right wing militia wet dream recruit. Mine reads like an ultra liberal progressive hippie chick who is also a cop because that’s what I am. I even put things like “must be liberal and progressive and also tolerate cops” to warn off Troll Variety 4. I tried putting “no truckers, rednecks, good-ole-boys or hillbillies need apply” as the subject line one time. Didn’t work. I’ve concluded these types either cannot or do not read, only look at the photo and click “DATE ME.” They are also fond of sending virtual “gifts” that flash, glitter or otherwise annoy and have wildly inappropriate messages on them. One I got recently had a woman’s bright shiny red lips around what appeared to be a flashing banana, and the words “lick me” on it in neon Broadway bulbs.  Classy.


Add some flashing neon lights and “lick me” caption, you’ll get the idea




Troll Variety 5: Hi, I’m married/it’s complicated/I’m in a relationship but wanna go have sex?

Really? How does your wife/partner/girlfriend/complicated relationship other feel about this? Might want to state up front “we are in an open relationship and looking for a third” or “we are in an open relationship, you are hot and I want to play around” or hell, just go with “I want to cheat, you look like you could do with some cheating, let’s hook up.” Some of these scenarios may be do-able, and you may be do-able, but as a rule I try not to be a home wrecker. It seems to be bad karma, as my own marital record will attest. Also, read my damn profile. It asks “what are you looking for,” and one of the options is “casual hookups.” Note I have not checked that one or added it to my profile. Their might just be a reason for that. Something to consider, gentlemen. Now, if you are single-single, hot, non-trollish, and put it right out there that you think I’m hot, here’s a pic and you are hot, and you want to casually hook up – say that and we can negotiate I guess. Maybe. Not in a dark alley downtown, though.

not a good pick up line

I can do you all night baby. I’m nocturnal.


Unclassified Variety: Getting Hit on by Women:

I can’t really speak to this, because it hasn’t happened much other than “let’s be friends.” Friends are cool. Friends with benefits are cool. Chicks are cool. I am not opposed to any of these options in particular, I just don’t have the experience to rant about it. Maybe I will get my chance one of these years.


Who could object to pretty girls kissing?








So, you might ask, what IS the ideal dating/meet up site profile in this woman’s opinion? And how to proceed once you have acquired a target?

1. Be honest. Just honest. If you’ve been married multiple times, say so. If you have PTSD, or only one eye, or an unnatural attachment to your Chihuahua, say so. Let me decide if I can deal with the real you before you spend any money or time on me.


Honesty is important.



2. Post real photos, preferrably ones taken in this century. Ones taken this year, at your current weight and hair style are good, too. Post a few – work attire, casual attire, dressed to the nines, goofing off. Let me see the real you shine in those pix.


I haven’t done anything interesting in 15 years






3. Complete your profile. Put enough information out there for me to determine whether I even want to talk to you. If I

don’t I won’t. If you don’t have enough information to even start a conversation, I won’t even try.  Make more money than me. This is really easy, because I have zero money and work really hard just to not go under water.

4. Read my profile before contacting me. If we don’t match well, move on. Just move on to the lady who wants a good ole country boy to call her own. If you can’t read, don’t join online sites that pretty much are based on …. reading.

This guy

Don’t be this guy

5. In your opening salvo, start with something witty like “Hey, I read on your profile that you like going to the Parade of Homes. I LOVE going there, too, and can’t wait for the one in the spring. What do you like most about it? I’m always looking for friends to go with, because it is not everyone’s cup of tea.” Or something that relates to the profile. I put plenty of information out there to make it easy for you to find something of mutual interest to remark upon. Promise. 

6. Start with non threatening emails or chats. Wait to see if there is a connection before asking for a phone number to text. Text a few days before ASKING “can I call you?”  Talk on the phone a few times, maybe starting to bring up meeting in person and working on making plans. Go slower than it seems necessary – I have made this mistake, and it ruined a perfectly decent relationship by moving too fast and pushing too hard.

7. Make your offer of a first meeting something tangible, like “Hey, would you like to meet up at Sheridan’s Unforked on 119th and Metcalf on Tuesday around 7:30? I’d love to meet you in person.”  As opposed to “So, can we meet sometime? What do you like? ” This implies it is all on me to set up the great ideas, and I may not have any. I can usually answer a yes or no question, and most days can even suggest an alternate if the first idea won’t work. “I can’t do Tuesday because I work, but how about Sunday instead? I love ice cream!” Understand I have zero money, so make it clear if you will be paying or not. If it’s a free thing, say “Hey, Free Admission night at the Nelson-Atkins! Let’s go!” or something.  Keep paying and being obvious that is what you are asking for (“Let me take you to dinner at this fabulous tapas restaurant”) or coming up with free ideas, so I don’t feel pressured to have to cough up money I don’t have to reciprocate.

8. Try to at least appear less awkward than I am, and less shy than I am feeling. I want you to be strong and outgoing and confident to some degree, and I am lazy enough not to want to do all the talking. Have a game plan of stuff to do or talk about, a path to lead me down as it were.  Long awkward pausesare long, and awkward, for both of us. I will try to do the same. Try to listen when I am talking instead of planning what you are going to say next. I’ll try to do the same. Make occasional eye contact, but don’t be all stare-y creepy. Dress appropriately to the setting. Bathe and brush your teeth – on a regular basis. Chew with your mouth closed. Don’t have previously undisclosed meth-mouth.

meth mouth

Don’t have meth mouth, or a spiderweb tat on the front of your mouth. Don’t me this guy.


9. Keep it to under an hour the first time, unless things are going really really well. This is why casual is good at first – easier to escape. If you think you might want to see me again, ask if you can call me in a day or two. If you think it is not a good match for heaven’s sake say something but be nice about it. “I really enjoyed meeting you and having ice cream. You seem like a really nice person, but I just don’t feel much chemistry. I’m sorry. But I am sure you will have good luck with finding someone. Would you like to keep in touch with an occasional email to see how each of us are doing in the market?” or something is better than nothing. I tend to text after a first meeting with “thanks for the ice cream, it was nice meeting you” and leave it open. Crickets in the night as a response is tacky. If you think things went great and say so, and I think not so much, I will say “I’m sorry, I’m just not feeling the chemistry, but I really appreciate meeting you. ” I generally try not to kick you in the balls for asking me out and not being the person of my dreams.

getting it in the nads

America’s Funniest Home Videos, summarized in one photo








10. Keep the PDA down until we are sure we are a “thing.” Asking “can I have a hug?” after the first – and possibly only- meeting is a bit pathetic. Diving in for tonsil wrestling is too forward. Either one will likely net you a spot on my blocked list.

public display of affection

Laying on one’s partner in public is considered too much PDA in some cultures


11. Deal wtih my cussing by cussing -lightly. Don’t worry, we can both cuss more as we get to know each other better.

Most of all, don’t be a troll, a bully, a jerk, a play-ah, a tease or an all around asshat. I will do my best to do the same.  

Don't be an asshat

Asshat. Don’t be one.







Anti-Westboro Petition Sets New Record on White House Site

Patriot Guard

Patriot Guard Riders Logo

First of all, before I get to the article from the KC Star, let me say GOOD!   Classify Westboro as a hate group. Go to this site to add your name to the White House petition. WE the PEOPLE need to stand up against hate. We have the RIGHT to petition the government for a redress of complaints.

Stop Hate

Stop Hate Here

The petition reads:   Legally recognize Westboro Baptist Church as a hate group.

This group has been recognized as a hate group by organizations, such as The Southern Poverty Law Center, and has repeatedly displayed the actions typical of hate groups.

Their actions have been directed at many groups, including homosexuals, military, Jewish people and even other Christians. They pose a threat to the welfare and treatment of others and will not improve without some form of imposed regulation.


Gay Black Jewish Klansmen for Tolerance and Understanding

No Hate

Hate is Not Welcome in Our School






Now, the article from the KC Star states more people (275,000) have signed the petition than ANY OTHER PETITION on the site. ADD YOUR NAME.

Anti-Westboro Petition Sets New Record on White House Site

The Kansas City Star

AP file

 A petition filed on the White House website seeking that the Westboro Baptist Church be legally recognized as a hate group surpassed 275,000 signatures this afternoon.

The petition, part of an effort called “We the People: Your Voice in Our Government,” is the most popular ever on the site, with more than twice as many signatures as any other.

The petition, which can be viewed here, was created Dec. 14. That was the day 26 people, including 20 students 6 and 7 years old, were killed in a mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. The Westboro group, which has gained infamy by carrying anti-gay pickets nearly anywhere a camera will see them, including military funerals, had planned to protest at the service for the murdered Sandy Hook principal. That plan was foiled by counter-protesters.

Patriot Guard 1

Patriot Guard Wall


Patriot Guard

Patriot Guard Riders Riding

Nobody knows more about flags than we do.


Bringing Your Home’s Color Scheme Together

From the very cool and useful blog Young House Love:

Young House Love

Final Pulled-Together Whole House Palette- by Young House Love

Paint can pretty much be chalked up to a learning experience around Casa Petersik. From painting all of our home’s trim with flat paint right after we moved in (baaad idea, use semi-gloss!) to picking a different color of the rainbow for each room (not the way to make a small house flow!) we’ve pretty much made every mistake in the book. And over the last almost-four years our walls have definitely “evolved” as we learned what we liked (and a whole lot of what we didn’t).

We decided to use a handy little floor plan (created thanks to Floorplanner) to demonstrate three “stages” of our home’s ever changing color scheme to show that homes don’t usually “magically come together” overnight. Sometimes it takes some experimentation and a bit of repainting (and repainting again) to get ‘er done. But with every little change that you make you’ll be inching towards the home of your dreams- and just like the right dress can theoretically make you look slimmer and bring out your eyes, the right wall color really can turn any house into a dream home (all for about $30 a room and an afternoon of your time).

Check out the rest of the very helpful article and resources here at Young House Love.


Boxing Day 12/26. What the Heck is Boxing Day?

Mental Floss explains the whys and wherefores of Boxing Day, December 26.


Boxing Day

Relax, Hallmark conspiracy theorists. Boxing Day isn’t some prank to confuse America—it’s a real holiday! Here’s how the world celebrates.

Boxing Day is observed every year on December 26. Before it took on its feistier name, the holiday was known as St. Stephen’s Day.
Many historians think the holiday’s name is derived from the church practice of opening alms boxes the day after Christmas and distributing money to the poor.
Historically, British employers followed the church’s lead by sliding workers and servants gifts or cash on December 26. Merchants tossed servants a few coins, too, for bringing in a household’s business.
Read the full text here:
–brought to you by mental_floss!


Islands Overrun By Animals – Non-native Animals, That Is

Posted on

Swamped: 7 Amazing Islands Overrun By Animals

Island ecosystems are easily unbalanced by the introduction, accidental or otherwise, of invasive species. The results can range from mildly amusing to full-fledged ecological disasters. These 7 amazing islands overrun by animals provide us with a wealth of environmental test cases offering valuable lessons for the human stewards of our rapidly shrinking Island Earth.


Island of the Cats

Cats – Tashirojima, Japan (photo by

Read about all 7 islands on


The Bloody Truth About Serbia’s Vampire – From National Geographic

Following a recent scare, experts shed light on the enduring myth of the undead (Sasha Ingber – National Geographic Daily News).

Vampire skeleton

Toothless “Vampire” Skeleton Unearthed in Bulgaria. Photograph by Nikolay Doychinov, AFP/Getty Images


Garlic sales are up. Wooden crosses are a hot commodity. That can only mean one thing: Vampire on the loose!

But this isn’t part of a movie script or book. It’s a real-life event in the Serbian town of Zarozje (map), where last month the local council issued a public health warning that the resident vampire, Sava Savanovic, may be on the prowl. (See “Pictures: Toothless ‘Vampire’ Skeleton Unearthed in Bulgaria.”)

The vampire scare was sparked by reports that an old mill where the vampire allegedly lived has collapsed. According to ABC News, the town’s mayor, Miodrag Vujetic, said: “People are worried, everybody knows the legend of this vampire and the thought that he is now homeless and looking for somewhere else [to live] and possibly other victims is terrifying … ”

Then again, how frightened should you be of a vampire who, as the story goes, can turn into a butterfly? To find out, we spoke with Mark Collins Jenkins, the author of Vampire Forensics, and forensic archeologist and anthropologist Matteo Borrini.

Catch the rest of this actually very fascinating article on National Geographic Daily News.

(Note that there is actually a “Vampire Forensics” book.  Also, I did not know whether to put this on the Science page, or on WTF-ery. I  tossed a coin. Science lost. )