Wednesday, June 10, 2009

MicheleT and the Winners

There's a lot of reasons to like Michele Tune, and not just because she hands out free stuff on a regular basis. She's a prolific writer, top-notch blogger, and has the enviable position of always been passionate on whatever subject she's writing about, a true gift for anyone making their living via keyboard. She's survived domestic abuse, obesity, and recent family tragedies to become a strong woman who espouses healthy living and doing the right thing for yourself and others. After being through so much in her life, Michele retains a heartening innocence and charm that makes me want to shield her eyes from the nightly news. She also loves arranging contests on her blogs, so consider this a blatant plug.

Her blogs Healing With Juices and Writing the Cyber Highway always display a positive, sunny yet realistic outlook on life, the universe and everything, but at the same time, her writing is professional and jam-packed with information. She also writes for Raw People and is featured in the new Uncle John's Certified Organic Bathroom Reader. In addition to all that, she offers freelance writing services as well. If my abs were as strong as her work ethic, I'd be wearing belly shirts all year long.

She's on every social network under the sun, quite an accomplishment for someone who lives on an Amish farm. You want 'green' information and news? She's the real thing, baby. Check her out today, network with her, learn from her. You may not win a contest, but you'll definitely win a friend.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Agog over the end of analog TV

A few years ago, we were riding the bottom loop of life's roller coaster and had to give up several luxuries, including satellite TV. Our digital set wouldn't pick up stations off the antenna, so we hauled an old Montgomery Ward set out of storage and hooked it up. With some coaxing, it pulled in one station; an NBC affiliate that I hadn't watched since I was a kid and getting three stations on your TV was the norm. The picture was fuzzy, but we had TV! I remember how much I looked forward to the earthquake miniseries, '10.5,' that year because it offered a brief respite from the endless Law & Order and Dateline episodes. Having that old analog set was also valuable because we had several close calls with tornadoes that year and seeing up-to-date radar maps kept me calm through many bad storms. We could use that set because with an old tuner, you can inch through a signal and receive something. With our digital set, it's all or nothing; you either have a digital lock on the station, or you don't. I kept the old set up and running even after we subscribed to satellite again, because we still couldn't receive local stations.

That's why I have more compassion for the three million people who haven't made the switch to digital TV. June 12th is fast approaching, and I've seen so many impatient, rude comments on forums like the Consumerist about these affected people. According to the latest survey, most of the sets due to go black on June 12th are owned by the elderly and the underprivileged. Far-flung rural areas and jam-packed urban areas will both be affected. Yes, there's been a non-stop campaign of information for more than a year. There are commercials by the government, plus spots by cable and satellite TV companies which seem to tout their own wares as a solution. There are coupons, true; there's also been coupon shortages, converter box shortages, and people taking advantage of the situation by selling folks equipment they don't need. That's a lot of confusion for people who have depended on the same basic technology in the same basic format since the 1950s or 1960s.

Here's what I'm asking from all those tech-savvy complainers who insist that the remaining three million are morons or just lazy: get off your own butt, use your own smarts, and help. Ask your elderly neighbors if they're ready for the digital switch, and explain exactly what they do--or don't--need. Help them set it up. Check with local senior centers, food banks and community centers to see if anyone needs assistance in getting a converter box. Television provides news, weather and even company to a lot of solitary souls out there, and I can tell you from experience that it can give you a much-needed diversion from your problems.

Have some compassion, make a difference and be part of a positive solution.

(And thanks to my Plurk buddy RS for making me think--and act--on this matter. A mental poke with a sharp stick is sometimes what we all need!)