Moving my Blog

by Tom in Meta Blog

I have been using to host and my blog for several years. Service has been going steadily downhill for the past year and it seems like we are down just about every other day. So I signed up a package with dotster and moved Random Thinking there to see if things are better. If everything goes well, then I will move as well. That will be a much bigger job as we have about 400meg of data in the database. I will have to shut down the site for a weekend in order to do the move.

Updating the nameserver takes a while to percolate through the internet so you may be at the old site or at the new site. If the URL in your address bar is either or then you are at the new site. If the address is then you are at the old site.

Mikey Stimming

by Tom in Down Syndrome, Random Life Events

This is about 30 seconds of video showing Mikey’s stimming behavior. Now you know how he stays so thin!

My beautiful daughter

by Tom in Random Life Events

Beth 2007 School Picture

We just got Beth’s 2007 school picture.

The Girls in the Waiting Room

by Tom in Down Syndrome, Random Life Events

When Beth was younger and Mikey was just a toddler, I used to take Beth to a local college to participate in a support group for children with disabled siblings. The group would meet in the early evening for about 30 minutes and would discuss whatever they wanted. As it turned out, Beth was the oldest kid in the group so the things she wanted to talk about never matched up with the things the other kids wanted to talk about so we eventually gave up on the group.

As the parent, I wasn’t allowed to sit in the sessions so I had to sit in the waiting room for the half hour. On most days there were four young women in their early 20’s who attended some earlier session and then sat together waiting for a ride. These young women all had Down syndrome and lived together in a group home. We would make small talk and then I would sit and read a book while they chatted together. They almost always talked about boys. One day, one of the young ladies said, with a smile and a mischievous tone in her voice, “Kathy likes you. She thinks you’re cute.” So I said, “Well, I think Kathy is very cute, too,” which started a round of incessant giggling, quickly followed by chants from the other three, “Kathy has a boyfriend! Kathy has a boyfriend!”

We all started laughing. It was all so normal. These four young ladies with Down syndrome were good friends and could poke fun at each other. It made me feel better about Mikey’s future.



Free Burma

by Tom in Politics

Yesterday was International Blogger Day For Burma and I missed it. But I will try to make up for it now. For those who haven’t been paying attention, the military rulers in Burma (also called Myanmar) have been cracking down on pro-Democracy protesters. The military has fired into crowds killing at least 10 people and perhaps as many as 200. Thousands have been arrested for opposing the dictatorship. Myanmar has been ground down by poverty while the military junta enriches itself on oil exports sold through a Chevron owned oil pipeline.


Tags: , , ,

Blacks and the Disabled to the Back of the Bus

by Tom in Politics

First, all the Republican candidates for president refused to attend an event sponsored by PBS and hosted by Tavis Smiley to discuss issues of importance to African-Americans. They all claimed scheduling conflicts event though they had more than six months to work out their schedules to attend. Now, every Republican candidate has refused to attend a debate in New Hampshire to discuss issues of importance to the disabled. A questionnaire was sent out and they all refused to even do as little as fill out the questionnaire. The event is scheduled for November 2nd and is sponsored by 23 different organizations for the disabled. Every Democratic candidate has filled out the questionnaire.

Jay Leno: “Oh, and last night — last night, PBS host Tavis Smiley — he was the moderator at the Republican debate on minority issues at Morgan State University. But not one of the four leading Republican candidates, Giuliani, Thompson, McCain or Romney, not one showed up for the debate on black issues. Now, how are you going to going to stand up to terrorists when you’re afraid of a guy named Tavis Smiley?”

Tags: , , ,

The Amazon Vine Program

by Tom in Books, Random Stuff

Back in August I was invited to join The Amazon Vine™ Program. The program is described by Amazon:

Amazon Vine™ is a program that enables a select group of Amazon customers to post opinions about new and pre-release items to help their fellow customers make educated purchase decisions. Customers are invited to become Amazon Vine™ Voices based on the trust they have earned in the Amazon community for writing accurate and insightful reviews. Amazon provides Amazon Vine™ members with free copies of products that have been submitted to the program by vendors. Amazon does not influence the opinions of Amazon Vine™ members, nor do we modify or edit their reviews.

In other words, vendors send Amazon a bunch of free stuff and then Amazon sends it to reviewers who have received lots of helpful votes. I missed the free stuff in August because you have to be fast before everything is gone because reviewers are like vultures on a Water Buffalo carcass when it comes to free stuff. But I did manage to get three things for September. I was able to grab the book Run, the DVD of A Christmas Carol, and the web camera. I have now completed reviewing those items which means theoretically I can get more free stuff. But the only things left are some women’s anti-perspirant, a copy of the Washington Redskins Encyclopedia, and some chick-lit about a Pakistani family living in London.

When you submit a review for the Vine™ program, Amazon sticks the text below in front of it so everyone will know that you got the product for free.

Customer review from the Amazon Vine™ Program

Instead of that text, I am going to put this image along with a link back to this blog entry.

When I started reviewing I never actually thought I would get anything for it but I have scored a couple of hundred dollars worth of free stuff in just the last couple of weeks. Sweet!


Tags: , ,

Review - A Christmas Carol DVD (1951)

by Tom in Book Reviews

A Christmas Carol DVD (1951)
A Christmas Carol DVD (1951)
Starring: Alastair Sim, Jack Warner
5.0 Stars

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens is the perfect Christmas story. The 1951 version of the story starring Alastair Sim as the miserly Scrooge is the perfect version of the book. And now thanks to advanced restoration technology, we have the perfect version of the movie.

This has always been a Christmas favorite in our house. Every year as my wife and I help Santa put the presents under the tree, we watch the ghosts show the miserly Scrooge his past and how he has allowed the evils of the world to turn his heart, the present and how the joys of Christmas are for all people no matter how poor, and the future and how what we leave behind depends on how we lived. Alastair Sim is perfect in the role showing us that Scrooge isn’t evil but rather that Scrooge hates all men, no less himself, because of the suffering and death he has endured. When Scrooge changes, and no actor does a better job of changing from “bad Scrooge” to “good Scrooge”, we cheer that the good man who was always in him has been allowed to burst free.

This DVD has been restored using the original masters of the film and advanced computer technology. Nearly perfect, it makes the earlier versions look muddy which we can see in the short comparison of the two provided as an extra. The extras themselves are worth the price. An audio commentary is provided by Robert Cole who played the young Scrooge in the film. Cole actually lived with Sim when Cole was an up and coming actor and has many stories to share. Richard Gordon (who provided the funding for the film) relates the interesting story of how the movie was created in the short about George Minter and Renown Pictures. The package also includes as a bonus, the colorized (but not restored) version of the movie (which I will never watch) and the 1935 movie, “Scrooge” starring Sir Seymour Hicks in what is a fairly good version of the book.

There are a few Christmas movies that must be watched each year and this version of A Christmas Carol is absolutely one of them. And now that it is available in restored form it is even more of a must-see version. No movie version is closer to the work of Charles Dickens and no team of actors does a better job of bringing Victorian England to life on the screen. This is not to be missed. Merry Christmas!


Tags: , ,


Canadians and their Valuable Money

by Tom in Politics

For the first time in about 30 years, the Canadian Dollar is worth more than the US Dollar. At the moment it is barely higher but the predictions are that the Canadian Dollar will be up to US$1.10 within a year. How did this happen? Some of it is just good planning and good luck on the Canadian side. Exports of oil and minerals from Canada has increased markedly over the last couple of years. But part of it is poor US fiscal policy under George W. Bush. The US government is spending money that it doesn’t have to pay for the war in Iraq and Bush refuses to increase taxes to cover the cost of the war. When the government borrows money, it devalues the currency. The good side of this is that it makes US exports more attractive. The bad side is that it makes US companies cheaper for Canadian companies to buy.


Tags: ,

It’s BAFAB week!

by Tom in Books

buyafriendabook.comIt’s Buy A Friend A Book (BAFAB) Week again. The first week of January, April, July, and October of each year is BAFAB Week so it is time to run out and buy a book for a friend for no particular reason other than that it is BAFAB week. What better way to say hi to a friend you haven’t spoken with in awhile than with a book?

Our buddy Debra Hamel over at The-Deblog came up with the idea. You can read all about it at her BAFAB site. So, do you BAFAB?

Tags: , ,