Sunday, December 23, 2007
Tuesday, November 06, 2007
I have a lot to say about Bruce, as he helped me live one of my dreams. But that will have to wait for later.
Saturday, October 27, 2007
Megan Bagdonas of the Daily Breeze talked with me about the situation yesterday. Here are quotes from her article:
“The chances of a fertile female finding a fertile male is extremely small once there’s hundreds of thousands of these sterile males flying around,” said Ken Pellman, spokesman for the county Agriculture Commissioner’s Office.
Adult Medflies are not harmful, but the eggs they lay inside fruits and vegetables hatch into hungry larvae that destroy agricultural crops. Officials say they don’t know where the South Bay invaders came from.[SNIP}
“We have inspectors at the airport and the port that examine for pests, but it’s possible they got through when a cargo door was opened,” Pellman said. “That’s why we tell people traveling not to bring in fruits or vegetables, especially from Hawaii,” which has a Medfly infestation..
“If this fly gets a foothold in the state, prices of fruit and vegetables will skyrocket and organic farmers, especially, will have a lot more crop loss,” Pellman said. “An ounce of prevention is cheaper than a pound of cure.”
Thursday, October 25, 2007
Here's my section...
Even in Los Angeles County, where agriculture has been pushed to the margins by decades of development, small farms that linger among Malibu's million-dollar homes are reporting losses, said Ken Pellman, a spokesman for the county's agriculture commissioner.
One ranch in the hills above Pepperdine University lost 80 percent of the avocados grown on a three-acre plot, five trucks and all 52 goats they kept to abate weeds and prevent the spread of fire.
Friday, October 19, 2007
If I married and had kids and really didn't want to, I'd be making a lot of people unhappy.
If I really did want that life, but didn't go out and get it, I'd end up unhappy.
So, for my own happiness...
If I really didn't want that life, I needed to avoid it.
If I did want that life, I needed to take the steps to get there.
I came down on the side of wanting a wife and kids, knowing that it would completely change my life - a life that with which I wasn't dissatisfied. I had seen how the lives of others were changed. I saw the tradeoffs as far as freedom, time, money, and energy, but I figured having a family and the husband-wife and parent-child relationships was worth it.
There must be some sort of brain chemistry that changes when a man becomes a father, especially if he did it intentionally. I think back to finding out we were expecting, and the ultrasounds, and feeling Keelie kicking. I'm still shocked over the profound feelings I had during the delivery and seeing Keelie for the first time. And now, as she isn't so fussy, as she straddles my leg and watches football (she really seems to like football) and makes soft babbles, I realize that I too have been hit by the magic crazy parent spell, where I'm not getting anything else done and not going out anywhere and I'm spending money all over the place... and I don't mind so much because I have this little expensive attention-hungry dependent poop machine in my arms, warming my heart. I would die for her.
I would die for her mother, too – the woman who carried her and gave birth to her, and takes care of her around the clock. I’d heard how much this experience would boost my awe of and love for my wife, and that didn’t seem possible before. Yet, that’s exactly what has happened.
Friday, October 12, 2007
I hope they're up and running again ASAP. I love that place. Have you been there? Their menu is huge, and if you don't see something on the menu, you can probably order it anyway. It's been too long. We need to go back.
Saturday, September 29, 2007
I spit it out into the bathroom sink and quickly gargled with mouthwash.
Maybe we need to keep a large spider as a pet.
Thursday, September 27, 2007
A coworker mine caught two more Oriental Fruit Flies close to each other, this time northwest of downtown L.A., so that meant more news media work. You may have caught me on KNX AM 1070 (where my childhood classmate Ms. Reyes does traffic!) or saw me on the KNBC-TV Channel 4 News.
Also, I was in today's San Gabriel Valley Tribune, talkin' 'bout a weed abatement issue. You see, Fire departments make sure that property owners with houses or businesses or some other structure on their property do proper brush clearance on their property. My coworkers enforce brush clearance on "unimproved" (unoccupied) parcels.
Brittle Brush Beautiful, Dangerous
By Bethania Palma, Staff Writer
San Gabriel Valley Tribune
"Our people have been working with the residents," said Ken Pellman,
spokesman for the L.A. County Agricultural Commissioner. "It's ongoing."
He added that the county commissioner's office has "no dispute" with the state Fish and Game department.
Pellman said the threat of fire is mitigated by a paved emergency access road that separates the weeds from homes.
"It's not what we consider a real high fire hazard," he said. "It could burn, but it's not the highest priority."
Sunday, September 23, 2007
Friday, September 07, 2007
Here is a quote from the Daily Breeze, based on a wire report prompted by our press release.
The fruit flies were found in county traps between Sept. 4-6 in the unincorporated Harbor City area and the city of Rolling Hills Estates. The Oriental Fruit Fly “is one of the world’s most destructive insect pests,” Ken Pellman of the County of Los Angeles Department of Agriculture Commissioner/Weights and Measures said in a
“A potential breeding population is indicated by the very limited time and distance between these detections,” Pellman said, adding that the California Department of Food and Agriculture would conduct the spraying, or “squirting.”
The spraying could start even earlier if more of the fruit flies are found. The “male eradication” program will entail squirting fruit fly “bait” on utility poles, trees and light poles. The bait contains a small amount of Naled pesticide that will kill the flies, Pellman said.
The story is also covered already here and here.
Wednesday, August 29, 2007
Yesterday, KFWB AM 980 and KNX AM 1070 both recorded phone interviews with me, and I heard some of my quotes on KFWB today.
Today, I did on-camera interviews with KTTV Channel 11, KNBC-TV Channel 4, and KABC-TV Channel 7. KABC has the video on their website. I haven't seen myself on KNBC, and KTTV's news airs in about half an hour.
I was also quoted on the KCAL-TV 9/KCBS-TV 2 news website:
"People can go about their daily lives without concern," said Ken Pellman, public information officer for the Department of Agricultural Commissioner/Weights and Measures.
I was also quoted in the Glendale News-Press:
Two Oriental fruit flies — which as larvae are among the most destructive insects to fruits and vegetables — turned up Aug. 21 and Friday in insect traps, which are used to monitor pest activity, said Ken Pellman, spokesman for the L.A. County agricultural commissioner.
In response, the department will conduct a large-scale eradication effort, applying pesticide-laced bait 6 to 8 feet up tree trunks and utility poles, covering about 600 spots per square mile, Pellman said.
The agent is designed to kill male fruit flies and is not harmful to humans, he added.
“It’s a really effective method we find,” he said. “Oriental fruit flies have been found before, but these eradication efforts have been very successful in the past, so that they don’t become established and get a foothold in the area.”
A wild fruit fly population could threaten agricultural crops, as well as vegetable and fruit trees in private yards, Pellman said.
“Hopefully, these were the only two, and that’s entirely possible because we do set up traps — there are traps everywhere — and we keep checking them for these pests, and quite often they don’t show up again,” he said.
Though Glendale has little agriculture, the pests can pose problems for plant nurseries, which could have controls put on their shipments if the area were to be quarantined over a fruit fly scare, Pellman said.
The Oriental fruit fly reportedly has the potential to wreak more havoc than the infamous Oriental fruit flies, which are native to Southeast Asia and are found in Hawaii and other Pacific islands, can be brought in by travelers transporting fruits and vegetables into the continental United States, as well as in goods shipped into the country, Pellman said.
“There’s no way to know for sure, but with transportation being what it is, people travel, and they’ll bring back fruits and vegetables,” he said.
“Or relatives or friends from their country of origin will send them as gifts, or they could just stow away in cargo holds of airplanes.”
Inspections at shipping ports and airports are designed to keep harmful insects from migrating into the United States via produce, he added.
“We do have efforts to check at ports and airports and shipping to check for pests on shipment that’s entering, whether it’s fruits, vegetables or ornamental plants,” he said.
“It’s possible they can get through that way too, but we do have pretty good inspectors in that regard.”
Tuesday, August 28, 2007
Anyway, the news program is unusually quiet for some reason. The other channels aren't that quiet. The commercial breaks aren't that quiet. So I don't think it is a Time Warner Cable problem. I think someone at KNBC wants people to fall asleep watching Coleen Williams (which is a nice way to go) and then be jolted awake by the commercials.
Speaking of commercials, the bright spot in this half hour are commercials for Tito's Tacos. From the commercial, it looks like there is just one - in Culver City. Now, I've never eaten there, but I like Mexican food - real Mexican food or "trying to be" Mexican food. Okay, who am I fooling... I like food. But I really like Mexican food. And I like this commercial. It uses a catchy song (click on the like to hear it) and still images with graphics. It is an example of a good local commercial, unlike those cheesy ones you tend to see with the poor audio/video and atrocious acting.
I'm hungry now.
Sunday, August 12, 2007
I’m sure I’m not the only one to notice that cable channel branding has lost its meaning. ABC Family running “Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery”? And wasn’t AMC supposed to be for American Movie Classics? A lot of those films ain’t classic. TLC? A&E?, E!? The programming seems to be so similar for so many of the channels, with the only thing distinguishing them to the audience is the little logo in the corner of the screen. How many more shows featuring the following subjects do we really need?
-Cooking (maybe we wouldn’t need so many weight loss shows if we weren’t watching food preparation on TV all of the time)
-Follow a celebrity around as he/she does nothing in particular
-Follow a (former) celebrity around who is trying to revive his/her career and/or is looking for “love”
-Watch a bunch of young attention addicts party and hook up and sometimes live together.
Lets just get it over with. Let’s simply have one show that repeats episodes over and over again: A team of celebrities vs. a team of nobodies compete for weight loss and career success while undergoing plastic surgery, dealing with addiction, preparing food, living together in a house they are renovating, and partying. It will be great to see the tension between the chefs and the dieters, the partiers and the people trying to keep the house in good condition.
I was prompted to write this because I’m exposed to a lot more basic cable programming right now, with the baby keeping us home and keeping us awake.
Tuesday, August 07, 2007
The latest edition of my Kenversations(TM) column was posted today at http://www.LaughingPlace.com.
In this column, I lament the closure of the Disney Gallery by sharing my Disney Gallery memories from the past 20 years.
Check out the column and tell me what you think by using the feedback form at the end of the column. You can also talk about the column with others by following the link at the end of the column to the discussion boards.
Remember - I also contribute to The Disney Blog at http://www.TheDisneyBlog.com.
Tuesday, July 24, 2007
Although I had looked forward to being married to Kori and getting to be with her all of the time, I hadn’t looked forward to the “boring” thing of settling down with a real job, the home, and living with someone else for the rest of my life. It wasn’t like I was dreading that - I just hadn’t been looking forward to it in the forefront of my thinking. I just looked at it like a necessity that went along with being married, like having to stop at the gas station in order to go on a road trip... only much more serious and deep than that.
Yet, once I found myself in that position of being the married man going off to work in my tie and returning to a shared home at the end of the work day– standing at that front door - I felt such a feeling of belonging and accomplishment, as if this was the way things were supposed to be.
That feeling was renewed with the pregnancy and birth.
Now that I’m a father, it just seems like “of course... this is the way it is supposed to be” as if it was a given all along – as if the uncertainty if whether or not I would get married and become a father never existed. Of course I would get married and become a father. After all, here I am now.
I’ve agreed out loud many times over the last ten months, and especially the last five weeks, that it is one thing to know something on an intellectual level, but quite a different thing to actually experience it. You can read all of the books and hear all of the stories from friends and family, but you don’t really feel it to the fullest until you experience it.
It is one thing to have a wife – a capable grown woman who has proven to be able to take care of herself - voluntarily changer her life to rely on me. It is quite different to voluntarily bring a baby into the world who now relies on both of us for love, for food, for shelter, for clothing, for health care, for protection, for cleaning, for affection, for teaching her how to survive and thrive in the world, and for her role models.
It is life events like this that cause me feel a deeper connection to my own parents, my sister who has two children with her husband, and other parents in my life. The emotions and perspectives shift. The contemplation of various life issues comes up in the daily thinking. I know studies show the brains of people are literally change when they become parents, and I can believe it, because I have experienced changes.
Suddenly, there is a tangible living legacy and I’m no longer the end of the line, but rather a link in a beautiful chain that I may live to see get even longer. It's a spiritual experience.
If you aren’t a parent (yet), you can understand the words I write. If you are a parent, you’ve probably experienced what I’m saying.
I'm so blessed to have both of these ladies in my life, and so thankful that our families and friends have surrounded us to share in the joy and to assist.
Saturday, July 21, 2007
This time, I'm quoted in the Capital Press in a piece by Elizabeth Larson and Bob Krauter.
Southern California agricultural officials are on high alert after the discovery of a light brown apple moth in the northwest area of Los Angeles County.
The California Department of Food and Agriculture confirmed the L.A. find Monday and also the discovery of the moth in Solano County, bringing to 11
the total number of counties where the pest has been found.
Ken Pellman, a spokesman for the Los Angeles County agricultural commissioner, said the single moth was picked up in a trap June 28 in Sherman Oaks.
"We're hoping that this was a one and only. We have traps out everywhere and we hope this is not indicative of an on-going problem," Pellman said.
County officials have placed an additional 25 traps per square mile in a nine-mile radius around the Sherman Oaks discovery to determine if more moths are in the area.
The Sherman Oaks find marks the first discovery in Southern California. The invasive pest, which damages hundreds of plants and fruits, had most recently been found in Napa County at the start of May. State agricultural officials reported that a single moth was trapped recently in Vallejo in Solano County. As of Wednesday, no additional moths had been discovered.
This is a foreign pest that destroys a wide range of crops and ornamental plants. We don't want it to get a foothold in the County of Los Angeles.
Sunday, July 15, 2007
At the concerts, I’d cut loose and go hoarse with cheering.
Saturday, July 07, 2007
We still haven't settled in to a "new normal" yet.
In case you didn't know, you can see the latest pictures of Keelie and keep up with what we're up to over here at our "family" blog.
Anyway, the title of this entry was inspired by a former coworker who left an comment on the other blog. Unfortunately, I'm not sure I have his e-mail address. I'm not too hard to find if you know how to use a search feature. My name is not all that common. Oh, there are other guys out there with the name "Ken Pellman", but I'm not into the Amish lifestyle, eastern music, or lumber, so it really isn't all that hard to find ME. I'm the guy who has been a Public Information Officer for the County of Los Angeles for many years now, worked as a Disneyland cast member for "a long time", grew up in South Pasadena, California, graduated from Cal State Fullerton, is a "Weird Al" Yankovic fan, writes for LaughingPlace.com, blogs on TheDisneyBlog.com, follows most things Disney, and has long had a serious interest in theme park design. I like to make funny voices and even impersonations. I got married in December 2004 and we just had our first baby.
That's me. So, if it isn't clear that I have your current e-mail address, please give it to me - sfh[at]flash[dot]net. That is, unless you don't care to hear from me. If I don't have your e-mail address, I can't thank you for your nice comments. And please keep me updated on what you're up to. We're homebodies and we have a newborn, so it isn't like we're getting out and about a lot.
Saturday, June 16, 2007
I have lived longer since that day than I did before that day.
Thursday, June 14, 2007
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Now, in theory, I could opt out of these e-mails. But I find them...entertaining. I'm still holding out for an offer where they actually pay me to subscribe.
Saturday, June 02, 2007
Another birthday has come and gone. Birthdays weren’t so much a big deal in my family of origin – don’t get me wrong, we got nice gifts – but in Kori’s family of origin they have traditionally been a big deal. So, it is a great time to pack on extra pounds with celebratory meals. I was treated to a meal out at work, and then there’s the monthly birthday cake. Kendra and Steve took us out to Amazon Brazilian BBQ. That’s one of those places where you have to show up very hungry. I love the alligator. Kori and I had previously gotten together with my mother, Chris, Kim, Mike, Blaine, and Macon to celebrate Mother’s Day, Chris’ birthday, and my birthday together. Kori’s parents also had us over to celebrate my birthday, along with Troy and Toby. Finally, Kori and I went to have some green corn tamales with my dad and Kathleen. It’s nice to be treated so well!
My birthday used to depress me, but ever since I proposed to Kori on my birthday, it can no longer depress me. Good move on my part.
Let’s see… Life is in transition mode as we prepare for Keelie. Typically, four days a week, it seems like all I can do once I get home from work is eat dinner and get ready for bed, and maybe watch a little television. You’d think three days a week off would be enough to catch up on everything, but it hasn’t worked out that way. I purposely moved my 30-minutes-a-day of exercising to the morning, and that has made my days better, even though it has meant getting up half an hour earlier on workdays.
One to two of my days off is/are typically taken up with honey-dos, errands/shopping, appointments, phone calls, and weekly reading. Half of another is taken up with church stuff. No complaints, though – this is a good life.
No complaints are far as having a lot to do, that is. I have plenty of complaints about getting the new desktop computer the way we want it. We’ve had plenty of problems with this thing, which came with Vista, including the machine not being able to get out of sleep mode, and Outlook (or Windows Mail, for that matter) not being able to send messages through AT and T. Even if Mail would work, I can’t transfer all of our contacts to it for some reason. After researching some of the problems myself and not being able to fix them, I spent a lot of time one weekend dealing with the store that sold us the system with Vista loaded (since they have a service for this kind of thing), and then the manufacturer, and then AT and T. In the end, we were referred to Microsoft. Haven’t contacted them yet.
Then there is the migration from our old machines to the new one. I did manage to backup the stuff on the 95 machine on zip disks. Can someone please tell me why Microsoft wants us to keep changing e-mail programs? Internet Mail, Outlook, Windows Mail… pick a program and stick with it, Microsoft!
And why can't I use the ampersand symbol on blogger? Grrr! That meanst I have to write it as "AT and T"
Okay, on to television.
First, a technical complaint. We have Time Warner Cable, which took over for Adelphia in a deal with Comcast after Adelphia went kaput. Some of the channels on our main television get choppy or just one come in at all. We’ve had someone to repair it at least twice, but the problem is still here. I got a call the other day while I was exercising from someone from Time Warner Cable looking to sell me something. Before he could, though, I told him we were unhappy with our service and told him why. There’s no glitch with them charging us every month, though. Imagine that. I have no idea why the guy was calling, because he didn’t bother to tell me after I calmly suggested we might want to switch to AT and T’s new television service. He did ask if the neighbors are having the same sorts of problems. I answered honestly – I don’t know, because I don’t speak Spanish.
Okay, now on to content.
Unlike a lot of the other people, we did watch The Apprentice this past season. If they come back for another season, that show needs an actor to be a mole on each team. Think about it – Trump and his kids could know who the moles are, and thus avoid firing them until late in the game, but nobody else would know (except the audience) that there are even moles on the show. They can use the justification that in the business world, you sometimes have to work with jerks. The actors can be offered a bonus if nobody ever figures it out or accuses them of being a mole. We also still watch each season of Survivor. I think it is time they amped that show up… maybe pit a tribe of law enforcement people up against ex-cons, or some other groups with known rivalries/animosities. Palestinians against Israelis? Democrats vs. Republicans? East Coast vs. West Coast? Americans-since-birth vs. naturalized Americans? North Americans vs. Europeans?
We also still watch American Idol, but it got boring this past season after that VoteFortheWorst candidate got the boot.
The Soup is a guilty pleasure that always makes me laugh.
Law and Order SVU is addicting, even when it plays to religious or political stereotypes. The writers must get tired, as evidenced when a bunch of the characters are sitting around in a room discussing a crime and they sound like they are delivering a monologue, only the lines have been distributed amongst them. Hey, I’m not throwing stones - it isn’t like I have anything on TV. But once… just once… I’d like Stabler to answer his cell phone while Benson talks to someone and NOT have the call conveniently have something to do with the case they are working on that moves them on to the next location.
Benson: “What was that call about? Is the DNA a match?”
Stable: “What? Oh, uh no. I’m supposed to meet up with one of
the kids to sign some paperwork.”
Oh well… television airtime is valuable.
Speaking of Special Victims, I catch some of those Dateline NBC episodes that are all about predators who use the Internet to set up meetings with decoys they think are 13-year-olds. That’s fascinating stuff, I don’t care how edited it is. Some people cite ethical problems with the production of the show, other people are upset that predators are being lured to their neighborhoods. Controversial stuff, to be sure.
Kori and I also watch Identity, 1 vs. 100, Jeopardy, and reruns of The Simpsons. Kori watches more TV than I do, programs such as Heroes, The Amazing Race, American’s Next Top Model, Dancing with the Stars, The People’s Court, and Dr. Phil.
Kori also seems to watch a lot of those true-crime show that take a whole hour detailing how one spouse killed the other, went on trial, and was convicted. What do you think - should I be worried?
It will be interesting to see how our viewing habits change after Keelie is born. Everything is supposed to change, right? Parents tell expectant parents that their how life will change, that everything gets more complicated, that everything is much more a hassle, that time, energy, money, and sleep will be short, and all sorts of other downsides... yet they also tell us "It's the best thing in the world!" Let me get this straight... we'll be frustrated, depressed zombies with no money and no lives, but it's a good thing anyway. Hmmm. That can only mean one thing... kids really are gifts with amazing powers.
In all seriousness, we expect life to be completely different. We made the decision to become parents consciously, and while no set of books or seeing siblings and friends with their own kids could really prepare us, we know we volunteered for this life change.
That’s all for now. Keep me updated on what you are up to.
Friday, May 18, 2007
A visit to Thailand by Bill Gates has inspired the construction of a man-made island off the resort of Phuket, so the world's richest man and other billionaires can moor their huge yachts. Hoping to build an Asian playground for the rich and famous to rival the French Riviera and the Caribbean, cordless telephone tycoon Gulu Lalvani plans to build a doughnut-shaped island of 30 to 40 luxury villas and a hotel around a marina.
"Bill Gates was there last month with his wife on a 54 metre (177 foot) yacht and he loved it so much," Lalvani, founder of phone maker Binatone told Reuters in an interview.
"We sat on the beach together and he said it was one of the best holidays he'd had, and he would come back every year if only he had somewhere for his mega yacht."
The latest edition of Kenversations(TM) was posted today at http://www.LaughingPlace.com.
In this column, I advocate closing and tearing down the Disneyland Resort! Well, kinda sorta. I also offer an alternative plan for making the Disneyland Resort, and thus the Anaheim Resort and Anaheim in general an even better worldwide draw, while appeasing some Anaheim residents and politicians.
Check it out NOW!
Monday, May 14, 2007
While the Bay Area is experiencing an abnormally dry year, with many agencies calling for water conservation and restrictions, Los Angeles and many parts of Southern California are suffering through their driest year since record-keeping began in 1872. And beyond the dramatic proof of the danger of fire, more subtle signs of drought are everywhere.
It was nice to see Adam Walden from DPW quoted (and in a picture). I worked with Adam and I've met his mother when she came over for dinner at my father & his wife's place through some relation to Kathleen. Turns out it is a small world after all.
The rainy season isn't over yet, but "unless we get some kind of storms on the caliber of biblical in nature, this will be the driest year on record," said Adam Walden, a senior civil engineer in the water resources division of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Works. For the first time, Los Angeles has received what is normal rainfall for Death Valley.And here comes my little contribution.
Drive beyond the city center, and you'll see sheep grazing on barren pastures. Deer looking for water in nearly empty reservoirs. And, in some places, bees. Lots of bees.
Two years ago, when there were record high rains, bees established colonies in outlying areas that had been less hospitable before. Now that they're dry again, the bees are looking for water in Los Angeles' suburbs.
Bees are a problem
The bees, including the aggressive Africanized honeybee, are going "where people have swimming pools, where they're watering their lawns," said Ken Pellman, a
spokesman for the Los Angeles County agricultural commissioner.
Wednesday, May 09, 2007
The relentlessly dry weather has made this a spring like no other across the region, wreaking havoc on the ecosystem.And, of course, we have had the fires underway already. We had a lot of rainfall just two years ago, when the storms destroyed roads in the canyons and hills.
Downtown Los Angeles has recorded less than 4 inches of rain since July 1 — less than a quarter of normal. The region was hit Monday with another round of high heat, low humidity and dry winds, prompting officials to issue a red flag warning for brush fires.
In urban areas, bees are becoming more of a nuisance as they try to find additional sources of water. Los Angeles County agricultural officials have detected a spike in complaints about beehives in buildings. There was even a report of a swarm forming inside a sidewalk water main in Highland Park.
"Once natural sources of water in the hills or mountains are dried up, there's so many backyard swimming pools and people watering their lawns, forming puddles — it's attractive," said Ken Pellman, spokesman for the agricultural commissioner.
Saturday, May 05, 2007
I want to respond. Full disclosure: I’m happily married to a woman I met via eHarmony.com.
EHarmony.com isn’t for everyone. First of all, the guy who started it has made no secret that he’s trying to lower the divorce rate. Just read the book he wrote around the time he launched the service. How do lower the divorce rate with your customers? 1. Only take on individuals who stand a good chance of staying married. 2) Only match people to someone to whom they’d have a chance of staying married (do not match incompatible people, even if they are sexually attracted to each other). 3) Offer tools to help them stay married. 4) Encourage people who are not currently marriage material but want to be to get some help.
It is not really meant as a place for find a casual lay or a hook-up. It’s there for matchmaking for marriage.
The Huffington Post, promoting a sister business, offers criticism of eHarmony.com below.
Did you know that behind those eHarmony commercials that are hosted by their avuncular, relentlessly upbeat founder -- and that promise a lifetime of soul mate bliss -- is a company run by someone with an unabashed religious and social
Oh no! Someone who takes their religion seriously? Dr. Neil Clark Warren has made no secret of wanting to reduce the rate of divorce and increase marital happiness. What a horrible man, right?
A company that by its own admission has rejected over a million people for reasons that range from not being "happy enough" (on a happy-meter they handily provide) to being divorced too many times, to being gay.Who wants to marry a depressed person? Being divorced multiple times before makes you a bad candidate for continuing to be married. I don’t know if eHarmony.com actually bans someone for being gay, but if you are looking to be matched with someone of the same sex, then no, eHarmony.com is not for you. Warren has offered advice to people seeking to set up same-sex matchmaking services, but his own professional practice involved marital counseling involving husbands and wives. In case you haven’t noticed, men and women are different. (If they weren’t, I guess there would be no such thing as “straight” and “gay”, now would there?) The dynamics between a husband and wife are different than the dynamics of any other relationship.
Dr. Neil Clark Warren, the evangelical-Christian-turned-entrepreneur who started eHarmony by leveraging the distribution power of Reverent Dobson's media network and his "Focus on the Family" organization, has been very clear about what he wants to accomplish, despite the recent and expedient secularization of his brand.Whatever you think of Dobson or Focus on the Family, one of their main goals has been strengthening marriages and making them more enjoyable, so I guess that’s a natural fit for Warren, no? Evangelical Christians officially promote marriage over unmarried cohabitation and sexually-active bachelorhood/bachelorettehood, while much of society today encourages cohabitation and sex before marriage. So again, it was natural for Warren to start with that subset of society and expand to the larger society from there. It is a smart business model.
Actually, eHarmony isn't just a brand; it's an ideological vessel, a brandologue. As the first line of its Wikipedia entry states, "eHarmony is a Christian-founded, marriage-oriented matchmaking website." There's nothing wrong with that, it's absolutely legitimate for eHarmony to seek to accomplish its goals of encouraging faith and marriage via marketing. And I would defend their right to say it in a Voltaire-lite fashion, meaning I'm not so sure about the "to the death" part.
That’s very kind and tolerant of you.
But it's also equally legitimate for a competitor to call eHarmony out on its agenda, to shine a light onto who they are and what they believe so consumers can make informed choices, and to trigger a healthy debate over what
constitutes a productive and healthy relationship, straight or gay.
Sure, why not?
And that's just what's happening. This week, our agency launched an advertising campaign for our client Chemistry.com that takes on eHarmony boldly andI’m sure this has nothing to do with how successful eHarmony.com has been.
There are TV commercials and print ads that challenge eHarmony's agenda and restrictiveness, and that invite women and men who are seeking a relationship on their own terms to join Chemistry.com.Sometimes, restrictiveness is good. Sometimes, restrictions are part of what makes something work. For instance, what if a Jewish Community Center was run primarily by gentile Christians? How effective would it be as a JCC?
It’s up to people to inform themselves and then make decisions based on that. How many people get jobs that require them to be members of unions that spend their dues money on causes they don’t support? Most people buy services and products from companies that support things they don’t, or whose shareholders do, or whose executives do. If eHarmony.com works for you, do you really care what Warren thinks? I have no idea or the politics or social views or even the lifestyle of my doctor. I know he has kids. That’s about it. He’s a good doctor. Now, he if he told me the best way for me to lose weight would be for me to eat Double-Doubles every meal, I’d look for another doctor. But I wouldn’t if I found out he supports a political candidate I oppose.
Meanwhile, hundreds of thousands of people have joined eHarmony, and paid them dutifully each month, without knowing where eHarmony stands and what it believes. That's simply wrong.
Not surprisingly, eHarmony has been clever enough to recognize that increasingly, consumers are putting their choices under a microscope. So as the company grew into a mass consumer brand, they began keep their agenda quiet and cut any ties that could restrict their growth. In fact, Warren ditched his close association with Reverend Dobson and "Focus on Family." In his own words, Warren admitted that the link would be a "killer." I'd actually have more respect for them if they didn't go through this convoluted distancing process, and had the courage to stand behind Dobson. But it seems to me that Warren, seduced by Mammon in the archetypal faith vs. greed struggle, decided to grow his business at the expense of his values. (I'm sure the venture capitalists that plowed more than $100 million into his business -- the fourth largest investment of 2004 according to Wikipedia -- had something to say about it, too.)Huh? There’s nothing wrong with pursuing a strong, honest, legitimate business model. Making money isn’t a bad thing, and the Bible certainly doesn’t teach that making money is bad. Staying with Focus on the Family would mean reaching a segment of Christendom. Expanding beyond that means reaching out to Jews, Buddhists, atheists, and anyone else looking to get married. It’s a legitimate thing for a Christian to provide a helpful service – for profit or otherwise – to everyone, not just someone of the same exact religion. Isn't that a sign of inclusiveness? Warren need not repudiate Dobson, either, even though it sounds like something you'd like to see.
It's also clear that eHarmony's agenda pervades every aspect of its product.
You mean their agenda to match people for the long term? How evil.
Preferably conservative? Only if you mean that getting married and staying married are “conservative”, but it would be absurd to say that conservatives have a monopoly, or even a handle, on that. It’s a good thing to match up compatible people. For example, if you’re going to be married, then unless you have a very extensive prenuptial agreement, you’re going to be sharing finances. If one spouse wants to donate to the NRA and the other wants to donate the same money to PETA, how exactly is that going to work?
Their emphasis on "compatibility" and their "compatibility" profile that leads to people getting matched on what's called homogamy (or sameness) are all part of their philosophical approach: people who share the same values --
preferably conservative -- belong together.
I believe that what Chemistry.com has pioneered is the beginning of the next wave of marketing, as companies and brands define themselves in the competitive marketplace by not just how they perform, but their values and belief systems.Wait, didn’t you just poke eHarmony.com or doing that? Your marketing is nothing new. This has been going on ever since Burger King bashed market leader McDonald’s by name in a commercial back in the 1980s with little Sarah Michelle Gellar.
Okay, well, here are some of the other general complaints I’ve come across:
I was sent too many matches! While this doesn’t sound like a bad thing, some people do feel overwhelmed. I tended to have a lot of matches. Some of them “closed” on me immediately or early on, or were just checking out the service temporarily and so never responded to me. But the trick when you have a lot of matches is to be ruthless in closing them. The site has told you a lot about yourself and what you should look for. I came to the site with a narrow profile of what I was looking for already. The moment I realized I would be less than thrilled with someone, I closed that match. You only need to find ONE person you can spend the rest of your life with. Unless you’re a polygamist. There’s probably a different service for that. I ended up dating three matches, one of them twice. One declined further dates with me, another I declined to date again, and the third match I dated was the charm.
I was sent too few matches! The service can’t match you up with people who don’t use it. This is why the service has expanded its outreach. The more people using it, the better for the customers. If eHarmony.com had only stuck with the Focus on the Family crowd, then only people in that crowd would be finding matches.
The sign-up process is too long. It’s a long process, but it is worth it if it pays off. Think of how many hours you spend doing taxes, or filling out loan applications, or employment applications. Shouldn’t you be willing to put some time into finding a person you plan to spend the rest of your life with?
I want to look for people on my own, not be restricted to the people I’m matched up with. You're not compatible with the people you're not matched up with. You are probably not compatible with all of your matches, but at least there's not an immediate glaring incompatibility. Anyway, if you were so good at finding "matches" on your own, wouldn’t you have already found someone to spend the rest of your life with? I used eHarmony.com because I was working a full-time job, a part-time job, and freelancing, so for me it was a matter of time. Actually, I was trying to prove that the right woman for me to marry didn’t exist, and it backfired. But I digress. My point is that you don’t have to be totally bad at picking people… online services are also good for finding people who don’t live in your neighborhood or who keep odd hours. The problem is, some people are horrible at picking people out of a crowd who are compatible with them and good for them. How many women do you know who keep picking abusive jerks? Or guys that keep picking women who drive them to insanity? EHarmony.com matches people based on things that make them compatible for a lifetime together – and those sorts of things are very hard to tell from a picture and what someone says about themselves. So, eHarmony.com matches you based on who you are and the limits you have set, and doesn’t allow you to search on your own. There are plenty of other services for doing that. The bottom line is, this complaint is like going to McDonald’s and complaining about how they prepare their burgers. There are dozens of other places to get a burger.
Some of my matches were liars. That’s one reason the application process is so long. They are trying to catch and exclude liars. However, a service of this size can’t investigate each user in person and make sure they are being honest. There are very expensive services that attempt to do just that. This complaint is really about the match – the individual, a complaint that has existed since the beginning of time, long before the Internet. It’s not eHarmony.com’s fault. In fact, you can report dishonest matches to the service.
Some of my matches were losers. You’re not obligated to keep dating these people. If every single person you’re matched up with a “loser”, then perhaps it is time for some therapy to figure out why you are compatible with losers. As a guy, though, I can tell you this... If you are a middle-aged overweight woman with three kids living with you and a mountain of debt, you’re probably not going to land a wealthy, gorgeous, romantic lawyer (unless he's a pedophile).
I was rejected for still being married. EHarmony.com doesn’t match married people. There are other services for that.
The site reveals height, but not weight. Okay, this is one complaint (mostly by men) that I can see as legit. Warren has said before that women have been angry being matched up to shorter men. Most women marry a man taller than themselves. So, eHarmony.com lists your height. Men are often chided as being “shallow” for wanting to know a woman’s weight, but the truth is, men are visual creatures, and if a man isn’t stimulated by what he sees, it is going to be awfully unlikely that he is going to pursue a woman and marry her - at least for the right reasons. What I suggest to a guy who is concerned about this is to make sure his matches send him some current full-body shots. Such shots should be easy for a woman to get, so there should be no excuse. Simply do not bother to spend time on a match if she hesitates. If she refuses, close the match. She's not confident about herself.
EHarmony.com’s matchmaking business isn’t for everyone. It doesn’t do everything for you. I liken it to being a better place to meet someone than in a bar or on a street corner, where you know very little about them and by the time you find out you couldn’t possibly end up with them, you’ve already spent time, money, and energy on them. Using the service well help you to find a needle in a haystack by not matching you up with someone you are fundamentally incompatible with, no matter how cute.
It is up to you, once you get to open communication with that match, to figure out if the person is truly right for you. Keep talking, keep doing things together, and if there are any red flags or any other signs that this person wouldn’t be the right person for you, move on. It’s really not that complicated.
The service worked well for me, and has worked well for many others. It helps to already have a good idea of what you want out of a relationship, and what you need, and what you could not live with. The service does help with some of that, too.
Thankfully, if eHarmony.com isn’t right for you, there are many other options.
Once of the things ACWM does is "Weed Abatement" - brush clearance. Owners of developed properties are contacted by the Fire Department and told what they have to do as far as brush clearance, and we contact the owners of "unimproved" parcels (vacant lots). This is done every year to help prevent fires from spreading and destroying structures and killing people.
Jason Wells of the Glendale News-Press (an affiliate of the Los Angeles Times) wrote about the efforts currently underway in the Glendale area.
Fire officials are calling on property owners to clear out brush from around buildings that could later become fuel for what is shaping up to be one
of the area's driest fire seasons on record. Glendale firefighters will be
patrolling neighborhoods through July that are at a high risk for brush fires to
make sure residents are complying with guidelines for creating 100-foot barriers
of cleared brush around buildings and other landscape maintenance, said Doug
Nickels, fire prevention coordinator for the fire department.
County officials will also be combing through the areas this month
to make sure owners of vacant lots have complied with notices ordering them to
clear out dry vegetation, said Ken Pellman, spokesman for the Los Angeles County
Weed Hazard and Pest Management Bureau. There is unusual urgency behind the
weed abatement programs this year because of record rain shortfalls for Glendale
and La Crescenta that resulted in a landscape of dry vegetation that would offer
little resistance to flames, officials said.
A report by the National Interagency Fire Center also warned that the potential for fires this season would be above normal in Southern California due to a dry winter and spring. "This year we are being more stringent because of the dry
conditions," Pellman said.
The lack of rain this year may have cut down on that growth, but it has also made the vegetation highly flammable and able to quickly transfer flames from one lot to the next, Pellman said.
"That's where the problem comes in," he said. "If there's enough to be flammable, it's too much."
Owners of vacant property who have failed to heed county notices to clear vegetation will have to pay the tab for county workers who do it for them
starting on May 16, he said.
Friday, May 04, 2007
I remember the numerous, increasingly desperate reminders to renew my subscription, and now there have have been several attempts, via phone, e-mail, and mail to get me to resubscribe.
While it is nice to be missed, it is getting ridiculous. Now they are offering 40 issues for a total $10. That's if I have them bill me later. If I pay now, I can get 57 issues for $10, a whopping 94% off the cover price.
I'm holding out for them to offer to pay me to resubscribe. That can't be far off. Guess those ciruclations numbers are really, really important for ad revenue.
I do like keeping up on entertainment news. There are, however, several reasons I let my subsciption lapse.
1. I got married, which meant less time to actually read the magazine and a tighter budget. I found that I wasn't getting very far through one week's issue when the next issue would arrive.
2. I am notorious for not being able to discard "information" such as magazines, and we need less clutter in our home, not more. I still have a bunch of old EWs that I need to throw out. There are some I will save, depending on the issue.
3. When I got married, I moved in to my wife's condo. She was a cable subscriber. There is cable programming that provides me with content akin to what I used to read in EW.
4. Likewise, there are many websites and online tools that provide me with the content I want, for free.
5. I thought that EW could have covered more kinds of entertainment - especially radio and theme parks.
6. EW often had a political tone that I found unnecessary. I didn't read it to get a writer's thoughts on a politician, political issue, or social - whether I agreed or not. I was reading to get information about what is going on in entertainment - period. (See, I put the period at the end of the sentance.)
Now that Keelie is on the way, I'm going to have even less time and money.
So, like I said... if they were willing to pay me to subscribe... I just might. Otherwise, it ain't going to happen. Sorry, EW.
Friday, April 20, 2007
Can someone, maybe from Microsoft, explain why the @#%! we can't install the drivers for our HP Photosmart 2610xi on Vista? Why does Vista screw everything up?!? This is just the latest in the line of gripes we have about Windows Vista. Please MS... tell us what's up. The operating system came installed with the new system we purchased. Vista doesn't work with AT&T e-mail servers, either. Thanks Microsoft.
Friday, March 09, 2007
We hear over and over again from the judges that Americal Idol "is a singing competition."
It isn't. If it was, it would be on the radio. Instead, it is on television, a visual medium. Once it gets to the stage where the viewers are voting, it is a contest to see who can inspire, by whatever means, enough people to vote repeatedly for them. In addition to singing, the voters clearly take into account appearance, personality, background, stage presence, genre preference, and possibly some other factors.
What if someone was a really, really good singer, but just stood there at the mic, not moving and not even looking into the camera, had a huge, crooked nose and bad teeth, and came across as arrogant in the interviews? Would that person win? I rest my case.
Tuesday, February 20, 2007
Part one is here - It is about major changes within the Disney Company in the last few years, and in the feature film industry, and animation.
Part two is here - It is about major changes over the last few years in cinemas, home viewing of feature films, DVDs, cable television, telecom, broadcast television networks, radio, and record companies.
Friday, February 16, 2007
A mother died but her 10-month-old boy strapped into the rear seat of the car survived Thursday when the vehicle flew off the Riverside (91) Freeway before it plunged nearly 100 feet, officers said.It's sad, but at least the child wasn't physically harmed.
Natalie Cantón, 21, of Chino died at the scene. Her baby, Aiden Koch, secured in a rear-facing car seat, survived virtually unharmed, California Highway Patrol officers reported.
At 2:06 p.m., CHP dispatchers got a call about a single-car crash.You do get very high off the ground on this transition.
Officers said Cantón drove a black Acura Integra about 80 mph on the fly-over carpool lane on the eastbound 91 Freeway to the northbound Orange (57) Freeway. For unclear reasons, she stepped on the brake and lost control of the car before it went airborne to the right side of the road, officers said.
Hink said the car seat most likely saved the child's life.
"Car safety seats are made for high-impact crashes," Hink said. "When the seat is secured correctly, the car seat becomes a part of the car. The child cannot move."
Wednesday, February 14, 2007
Monday, February 12, 2007
In this three-part column, Ken examines the big changes both inside Disney and around Disney over the last few years - in media, entertainment, communications, and theme parks.
Check out the column and tell Ken what you think by using the feedback form at the end of the column. Talk about the column with others by following the link at the end of the column to the discussion boards. Then, spread the word. Don't forget to check back for the second and third parts!
(Cross-posted just about everywhere.)
Friday, February 09, 2007
The endangered concrete species in Vincent Lugo Park's sandy lagoon will likely soon have protected status.I lived close to two parks, one just two blocks away, but this place, which was further away, always stuck out in my mind.
City officials said they plan to conserve La Laguna de San Gabriel, known colloquially as Dinosaur Park for its statues of imaginary sea creatures, after a local group made the case the play area is a cultural and historic landmark.
The Laguna was built in the mid-1960s by Latino folk artist Benjamin Dominguez. His handmade creations dot playgrounds in Garden Grove and Whittier Narrows, as well as in Texas and Nevada.
Laguna supporters have said that while playground items made of steel and concrete are not conventional art forms, they represent the unique vision and endeavors an immigrant man made in tribute to his adopted homeland.
Saturday, January 27, 2007
"At farmers markets, people should expect prices to go up if they are going there for oranges, avocados or strawberries," said Ken Pellman, spokesman with the county's agricultural department.
It's my first quote since I transfered.