Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Clean up the guts

If you’re an animal lover or get queasy pretty easily, stop reading now.

This morning I was on one of my semi-regular jogs out in Doyline when I stopped to stretch near a bridge over a little creek. That’s normal. The gross part is that when I peered over the bridge railing, I saw no fewer than three deer carcasses and their innards floating in what is normally a peaceful scene.

Now I’m not against hunting or fishing. I’ve caught and cleaned fish and helped tie up a shot deer in a tree to spray out its hide with a water hose. But there is no reason the guts in the creek couldn’t have been put in a trash bag and hauled to the dump. Or they could be in the woods near the hunter’s own house. But no one would want that foul smell or the buzzards and other scavengers crawling through their back yard, would they?

Whoever did that should have a little decency. Don’t dump your waste just off a public street. No one else should have to deal with your mess.

Check with Wildlife and Fisheries if you’re confused.

Enough already

OK, I'm convinced - Tom Cruise is the mole.

He's GOT to be the one leaking his own business to the paparazzi.

It's the only way to explain this.

I mean, I'm a self-admitted entertainment news junkie and all, but honestly, who CARES?

First of all, my issues with Tom go way back, (Yeah we go so far back that I can address him on a first-name basis.) to about a year ago when he did this.

I mean, just in general I have an extreme problem with men telling women anything about how to handle their bodies and women-related issues.

Until men have vaginas, I just really think their mouths should stay shut on that.

Of course, he finally came to his good senses and apologized recently.

But ever since he made those initial comments, he just rubbed me the wrong way. To me, he appears to have slowly evolved into something of a pathetic character, struggling to stay on top at any cost. And if that means saying stupid things or drawing attention to otherwise unimportant things, that's what he'll do.

And to me, this is just another one of his latest attempts.

Now, don't get me wrong, I don't hate Tom Cruise. In fact, I loved him in "Jerry Maguire." I just feel sorry for him and I think he needs to stop writing his own press releases and "leaking" them to media.

Come on Tom, we know it's you.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Sharing the road with the elderly

Hi. My name is Janelle and I’m a road rage-aholic.

No, I’m not the person that drives up on your bumper and I promise I won’t pull out a gun if you cut me off, though I might yell an expletive or two.

Ya’ll, nothing provokes or intensifies my road rage faster than elderly drivers.

Just yesterday I was in a parking lot and an elderly lady drives up in her large Buick. As she tries to turn down one of the lanes - slowly, oh so slowly – she runs onto the curb.

I stand there and watch as she does a 3-point turn to get down the lane and then some kind of 6-point turn to get into a parking space.

I won’t even get into the many drivers I get behind that are traveling 15 miles under the speed limit…in the fast lane!

I know that driving is a cornerstone of the elderly remaining independent through their golden years, but I don’t think an individual’s dependency issues should be put above public safety.

As we get older our vision, coordination skills and ability to react in a timely manner decline. Doesn’t it make sense that we should truthfully assess our ability to safely operate a motor vehicle?

I am such a proponent of testing the elderly every year on their driving skills.

There are too many studies available providing info on why driving gets more dangerous with age to ignore.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, drivers over 65, along with new teen-age drivers, have the highest accident rates per miles driven. One study found that the fatality rate for drivers 85 and over is nine times as high as the rate for drivers aged 25 – 69.

The number of licensed elderly drivers has been on the rise, a trend that will continue since it is estimated that by 2030 the elderly are expected to represent 20 percent of the population.

Today starts my campaign. My first step? A letter to my local congressman…

Weird, Louisiana smells

Is it just me or does everyone else in the city often get smacked in the face with a whiff of stink?

I can't be the only one.

Some days it smells like sewage. Other days the smell is so rank I can't identify its origin. Some people contribute the smell to a meat processing plant on North Market Street. I've heard other people say they don't smell it at all. Shreveport doesn't smell constantly, nor do I smell that infamous stink more than twice per day. But, it does exist.

What is it? Someone please fill me in.

Making a Difference

I thought I did a decent job of donating to charity, but I don't make tons of money, and there are all the student loans and other start-up costs of life. Well, Saturday, I felt like Scrooge.

I was invited to the Lifer's Association banquet at David Wade Correctional Center because of a story I wrote earlier this year. As the name implies, this self-help group at the prison is made up of men who have life sentences, who have decided to do something productive with their time. They make birdhouses that are sold to charities for silent auctions, perform skits for area youth, and raise money within the prison walls to donate to charity.

Saturday, for national Make a Difference Day, they held a walk-a-thon. At the banquet, they gave checks to the United Way of Northwest Louisiana, the Northwest Louisiana Sickle Cell Disease Association and the Boys and Girls Club of Claiborne Parish totalling $891.79. In addition, they presented two 20-inch TVs with DVD players to Providence House.

Let's do some math: most prisoners make 4 cents an hour (some make up to 20 cents an hour). Raising $891.79 means working 22,295 hours. 22,295 hours -- that's just over 557 weeks or 10 YEARS of income.

Where's my checkbook?

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Welcome to our world

Let's be honest, if you’re stopping by here for the first time, you were probably referred by one of us, or someone who knows us. Or maybe you just found us out of sheer boredom.

Either way, it’s cool of you to visit. And if our blog title and description weren’t clear enough, I’ll give you the Cliff Notes version of who we are and what this blog is all about.

Basically we’re a bunch of 20- and 30-somethings who happen to be journalists at The Times, living in the Shreveport-Bossier City area.

You’ve probably seen us out and about, or talked to us, and, if we’re lucky, you might have even read at least one of our stories.

Well, what you may not know about us is that we’re a very opinionated bunch with a wide range of ideas, beliefs and perceptions of the world around us.

And more times than not, we’re very vocal about those opinions and views among each other. In fact, our discussions have played out a many of times over everything from newsroom chats to lunch and dinner debates.

But at the end of the day, we’re just normal folks like everyone else, trying to figure out our way through this maze called life.

So we’ve decided to open up and share those experiences, thoughts, observations and perceptions with you all.

We hope you laugh, we hope you get mad and most of all, we hope you comment!

Perhaps the best news is that just about anything goes here. Whether you respond with an "Amen!" or a "Heck naw!" it's all good, we just want to know you're out there.

So, welcome to the daily chaos known as our lives.