The Ice-Man Has Cometh (and Gone)

Winter Storm 2014: Northern Kentucky

The “Ice” storm has come, dumped its delivery and left the greater Cincinnati area. I do not know how much snow and ice we accumulated, all I know is when going outside yesterday to clean off my car, I was walking on top of the snow and ice (not sinking in), was greeted with half-inch of ice on the windshield and windows and to top it off my doors were sealed with a thick layer of ice, making it difficult to start the motor with the key.

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Braving the Elements

I truly enjoy the four season here in Northern Kentucky and it helps me to keep my disposition by working from home and not being “forced” to go out into the elements just to get to work.  Simply put…If I don’t wish to leave the house…I stay put and view the world from my window (sometimes while still in my PJ’s.)

Unfortunately for me staying inside was not an option during this seasonal event.  The inclement weather hit our area around 6:00 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 4th and it was coming down fast and steady. I made the decision earlier in the day that should the weather become too wild, I would pick my dad (he’s 73 and still works full-time) up from work as he was scheduled to work until 9 p.m.  The Boy and I left the house around 7:35 p.m. to embark on the drive to dad.  It only took us roughly 30-minutes to make the 15-minute drive.

NightThe drive was a slip-sliding event as very little had been done to prepare the roadway surfaces since many municipalities in the area are conserving the last bit of salt they have. Finally, we arrived to pick up dad and a few minutes earlier his department was just informed they could leave early due to the weather.

We trekked back home, taking paths that were not steep and most likely would be on the “to be plowed” list.  Almost home and knowing my driveway (which has an ever so slight incline) was a sheet of ice and that I would have no traction once tires met ice, if I didn’t hit the gas just as I was turning into the drive, my car would not make it out of the street.

WHEW….it worked! The vehicle was safely parked and I turned to look at dad and he was white as the snow that covered the ground! Guess it was the ice-slide the car took just before coming to a stop that spooked him a bit.  smileicon  I didn’t ask, but now wonder if his life flashed before his eyes? 

All-in-all, we were home safe and would go back out the next day to retrieve dad’s car; which by the way was barricaded in by the snow/ice that was plowed overnight and took me 20-minutes to dig it out and clean off.

Not the End of the World
So in the end, the “be all and end all” (as referred to by some) Winter Storm of 2014 was not as bad as some meteorologists predicted it would (see my blog about it here). Yes people were inconvenienced, grocery stores were bombarded and food flew off the shelves, salt for treating roads and sidewalks was nowhere to be found and there were auto accidents, people slipping on sidewalks, and broken shovels; but after it was all said and done…we can say “we survived!”

How was your week?

Rant Alert: I’m cancelling, so NOW you want to offer me a discount?

cincyenquirer

Yesterday I decided to finally make the call I’ve meant to do for a few months. I cancelled my Thur-Sun paper delivery of the Cincinnati Enquirer as I felt paying nearly $20 a month for something I rarely made time to read (most of my news comes from online or during News broadcasts) and was too expensive for something I no longer found value.

Here’s the Rant

rant-alert11When asked during my cancellation call why I was stopping the paper delivery (not sure why it is really anybody’s business but mine), the customer service girl was informed that I was cutting unnecessary expenses and did not feel there was value in me receiving a physical copy of the daily news any longer. Customer service girl repeated that I was “cancelling my subscription because of finances.” NO! was my reply, that is not what was said and I repeated exactly what was stated the first time.

After customer service girl correctly restated the reason for my cancellation she replied with “I understand but wanted to make you aware of a really great price reduction offer that would allow you to retain your current delivery schedule at a substantial discount.” WHAT???  You mean, I can get exactly what I’ve been getting and NOW because I am calling to cancel you WANT to offer me a discount so that YOU can keep my business?  No can do! A day late and a penny foolish for The Cincinnati Enquirer.

My Rationale

Throughout most of my adult life I have been of the belief that if I am paying you for a service, and you now offer the exact service for a price lower than what I’ve been willingly paying you for who knows how long; I should automatically be offered the lower price as a gesture of thanks for my business!  Period!!

Wake Up Business Owners

Take Note: If you automatically offer give me a discount for a service/product I am already receiving from you and it is reflected in my monthly statement, Personally, I would: 1) be super stoked that my monthly expenses have been lowered and I did nothing to make it happen; and 2) feel a bit more loyalty when it comes to your company and services because you saved me money – all on your own – and nothing was required of me to make it happen!

Thoughts from a Consumer

I truly believe companies make it harder on themselves in “earning” and retaining those sometimes hard-earned customers.  Consumers are not stupid people who just throw dollars at you for your products/services. You mustcontinually” earn our business and demonstrate why we should maintain our “business relationship” with your organization.  When the time comes that we “the consumer” no longer feel your products/services are of value to us, we will move to a company, venue, or source where we will experience value in a business relationship. YES, paying a newspaper outlet for daily delivery IS A BUSINESS RELATIONSHIP; one which needs to be nurtured just like any other!

Sad truth, this who scenario has happen to me on several occasions, most recently when cancelling my auto insurance policy with one company to go with another. Why do companies not find the value in retaining customers while they have them instead of trying to keep an oily grip on them after the consumer made the decision to seek another to replace them?

In my opinion, perhaps companies should identify BMPs (best management practices) for their industry which would involve “managing” their company, and not just going along with poor business practices and or policies that do not work!  WAKE UP AMERICA!!!

You know you’re from Northern Kentucky when…

 

Northern Kentucky Counties

Northern Kentucky Counties

 

A little geography history about NKY

 

Northern Kentucky is composed of three major counties (Boone, Kenton, and Campbell) which sit directly south of Cincinnati, OH and are in a crevice that is surrounded by the Ohio River. In addition to the 3 major counties, some also include Grant and Pendleton as part of the Northern Kentucky area.

 

 So, with that said: You know you’re from Northern Kentucky when…

 

  1. You measure the distance in minutes.
  2. Up North to you means Ohio.
  3. You know a lot of people who have hit a deer.
  4. Your school classes were cancelled because of cold.
  5. You have had to switch from “heat” to “A/C” in the same day.
  6. You end your sentences with an unnecessary preposition. (Example:”Where’s my coat at?”)
  7. You think of the major four food groups as beef, pork, pop, and chili.
  8. You carry jumper cables in your car.
  9. You know what “cow tipping” or “opossum Kicking” is.
  10. You only own 4 spices: salt, pepper, cinnamon, and ketchup.
  11. Driving is better in the winter because the potholes are filled with snow.
  12. You find 10 degrees F “a little chilly” and wear shorts, flip flops and t-shirts until it gets below 50.
  13. You know all 4 seasons: Almost Winter, Winter, Still Winter, and Construction.
  14. You know what Ale-8 is.
  15. Your idea of a three-way is chili over spaghetti topped with shredded cheddar.
  16. You have been to California, Florence, Verona, and Over-the-Rhine in one day
  17. Indiana is about 20 miles away, but it takes about four hours to get there.
  18. It’s too cold in the winter, and too hot and humid in the summer to ever stay outside for very long.
  19. You have referred to someone as a cake eater or pig farmer.
  20. You have heard people say they don’t like crossing the river and they were talking about the Licking not the Ohio.
  21. Chocolate and cinnamon, not peppers and beans, are in your chili.
  22. You can drive 30 minutes in any direction to hear a different accent than your own.
  23. You can accurately judge people’s social status by which Kroger’s store they shop at more often.
  24. You can go to any church festival in any neighborhood on any weekend and see at least five people you either work with, went to school with, or dated.
  25. Any carbonated beverage is a “pop.”
  26. You honestly believe that Pete Rose should be in the Baseball Hall of Fame. (Okay, well some do.)
  27. You have more stadiums, Coliseum, and arenas than you know what to do with.
  28. Either you or someone you know went to school with Shaun Alexander, David Justice, or George Clooney.
  29. You know what a pony keg is.
  30. You have ever bought a crave case for a carload of drunk people at 4 in the morning at White Castle.
  31. An all-boys or all-girls school does not seem that odd to you.
  32. You know what cream ale is, and you think that cream soda should be bright red.
  33. You think Ohioans don’t take a test to get their driver’s license.
  34. You know that the Cincinnati airport is not even in OHIO! Also that the airport symbol (CVG) stands for Covington, KY and the airport is actually in Hebron, KY…not Cincinnati nor Covington,
  35. There are many tri-state areas across this great nation of ours but the one that always sticks in your mind is Kentucky, Ohio, and Indiana.
  36. 36. During a taste test you can tell the difference between the following chili’s: Skyline, Dixie, Empress, and Gold Star, and have almost been in a fist fight over which one is the best.
  37. You go to “Cookouts” not “BBQ’s”.
  38. Anytime anyone asks you where you graduated from, you answer (without hesitation) your high school, not your college.
  39. You take a leisurely summer drive through a suburban neighborhood and you see 5 or more corn hole games being played!
  40. You have had to take a different road because the one you were on was flooded.
  41. You have been at a Waffle House and watched someone put ketchup on their scrambled eggs and hash browns.
  42. You add an “s” to the end of grocery store names, such as Kroger(s), Meijer(s) & Wal*Mart(s).
  43. You can buy milk or beer by driving your automobile through a drive-through pole-barn.
  44. You refer to the animal shelter/dog pound as “the SPCA”, much to the bewilderment of people who have not lived in a city with this independent, non-government organization.
  45. You believe LaRosa’s is fine Italian dining (WITH GREAT SPAGHETTI SAUCE) and carry a “Buddy Card”.
  46. You know what brats, metts and goetta are.
  47. You have considered decorating your house in a UK theme, and know that a buckeye is a useless nut.
  48. A hoagie is a piece of cube steak with pizza sauce or mushroom sauce and cheese. Not a deli meat sandwich.
  49. When you say please in an attempt to get a person to repeat what they just said.
  50. When asked where you’re from, you say Northern Kentucky, instead of just plain old Kentucky.
  51. You can honestly say that Rodger Bingham lives only a half hour away from you at most.
  52. Only when you’re from there can you CORRECTLY pronounce Crittenden and Corinth.
  53. When you tell people you’re from Kentucky, and they don’t believe you due to your lack of an accent.
  54. There are about 20 malls in a 20-mile radius.
  55. You can drive 10 min. north and be downtown Cincinnati, or 10 min. south and be in farm country.
  56. You have a water tower that actually says “Y’all” on it. If someone asks where you live and you say, “You know where that water tower is…” and chances are, they know.
  57. You have million-dollar mansions less than a mile from acres of trailer parks.
  58. When there’s a yard sale every weekend…even when it’s cold.
  59. You got overly excited about the chance to drive 70 mph on the highway.
  60. You are able to use the term “Three Way” in a non sexual context.

 

– author unknown

 

 

 

Saving our future generation and innocent victims.

Texting while driving

Texting while driving (Photo credit: Mr. Jason Weaver)

The Research

A year ago I wrote a research paper on adolescent drivers and the factors which distract them and lead to deadly accidents.  My research paper Drivers of the Adolescent Brain is eye-opening with horrific statistics.

Just this last week alone this nation has lost 15 people (mostly children) in three vehicle accidents which were related to texting.  Please educate your children, nieces and nephews, grandchildren on the dangers of texting and driving as they cannot hear it enough.  We value their precious lives and the lives of innocent victims.

English: A sign that states "No Texting W...

English: A sign that states “No Texting While Driving” in West University Place, Texas (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today’s News Article

The article below can be found at http://www.cnn.com.

(CNN) — As Chance Bothe, then 21, was driving home from college last year into the southeast Texas city of Ganado, he was focused more on texting a friend than he was on the road.

“I need to stop before I have a wreck and kill myself” was the message he sent shortly before his truck tumbled down a 20-foot ravine, his father said.

Bobby Bothe, 57, got a call at Dow Chemical, where he works, and thus began what turned into a months-long, multimillion-dollar recuperation for his son.

At the hospital, he ran into a friend’s daughter, a nurse. “I told her, ‘I don’t know what to do,’ and she said, ‘You pray.’ ” He did.

Man plunges off cliff while texting

SUV flips into pond, killing 6 teens

5 teens die in fiery crash

His son had suffered a compound broken leg, broken ankles, broken ribs, a punctured lung, a broken sternum, a broken neck, a broken nose, crushed eye sockets, a crushed forehead and a fractured skull, Bothe said.

“They told us he wouldn’t make it, they said he’d be blind, he’d never walk again.”

After more than three weeks in a coma, Chance Bothe regained consciousness but initially recognized neither of his parents, Bothe said.

Bothe knows that many parents of young drivers are not so lucky. That was underscored by three crashes in three days this week in which 15 teenagers were killed.

In Illinois, four Chicago-area teenagers died Tuesday morning when their car plunged into a creek. They were students at Wilmington High School, the school superintendent said.

In Ohio on Sunday, a sport utility vehicle veered off a two-lane road into a pond, killing six of eight teenage occupants. The vehicle was meant to carry five people.

In Texas, an SUV carrying five teenagers collided with a gas tanker Sunday. All five young people were killed, and the tanker driver was seriously injured. The teen driver failed to stop at a stop sign, authorities said.

For survivors, recovery can be long. With such severe injuries, Chance Bothe was hospitalized for seven months. Now, the 22-year-old man has plastic eye sockets, metal rods in his legs and a rebuilt nose. “He’s a little bit slower than he was” but is working on a ranch, attending online classes from home and planning to take his message of survival to high schools around the state, Bobby Bothe said.

It’s a message the father supports. “I don’t want no parent to ever go through this,” he said. “You gotta know, my son is everything to me.”

6 teens killed, 2 injured when overcrowded SUV flips into pond

Teen tragedy: 5 die in fiery collision with tanker truck in Texas

Though traffic fatalities have seen a historic drop in recent decades, young drivers remain at highest risk.

Motor-vehicle crashes are the top cause of death for people ages 15 to 20, according to 2007 figures from the National Center for Health Statistics.

In 2010, crashes killed about 2,700 people ages 16 to 19 — more than seven per day — and resulted in nearly 282,000 others being treated for injuries, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

And drivers ages 16 to 19 are three times more likely than older drivers to be involved in a fatal crash, the agency says.

The weekend crashes in Ohio and Texas fit even higher-risk profiles:

— Both SUVs were packed with other teenagers, which in itself is a risk factor. The more teenage passengers, the more likely a crash will occur.

— None of the six teens who died in the Ohio wreck was wearing a seat belt. In 2011, 54% of high school students said they always wore seat belts, the lowest rate of any age group, according to the CDC.

— Failure to focus on the task at hand also may have played a role with the 19-year-old driver in Ohio. “The lady driving was playing around when she was driving,” said Asher C. Lewis, one of the two survivors of the crash, according to his account in the traffic crash report. “She was swaying and speeding. I think she was driving on purpose like that but I’m not sure why. It felt like she was driving like 80 mph.” Teen drivers are more likely than their older counterparts to speed, the CDC says.

— The Texas driver’s age — 16 — put him and his passengers at heightened risk. Accidents are more likely to occur during the first few months after a teenager has received a driver’s license.

— The Texas driver was male: In 2010, the death rate for male drivers and passengers ages 16 to 19 was nearly twice that of females.

— Both wrecks occurred on the weekend: More than half (55%) of teen deaths from motor-vehicle crashes occur on Friday, Saturday or Sunday, the CDC says.

Texas holds a dubious distinction related to crashes. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, young drivers were involved in 187 fatal crashes in 2010 in the Lone Star State; the next highest number was 113, in Florida. Ohio had 71.

Still, the trend for younger drivers — as with drivers overall — is toward safety. The 1,963 drivers ages 15 to 20 who died in motor-vehicle crashes in 2010 represented a 46% drop from the 3,617 who died in 2001, according to NHTSA.

There are proven ways to limit the carnage, according to the CDC. It cites graduated driver licensing systems in which teens’ abilities to drive are expanded over time from the initial stages, when driving is restricted to low-risk conditions.

Some parents are equipping their vehicles with tracking technology, which they can use to monitor their children’s driving habits in real time.

“Parents are very nervous,” Ken Muth, a spokesman for American Family Insurance, said in a telephone interview. “Our agents hear it every day. Putting a 16-year-old behind the wheel on their own is a very frightening thing for a parent.”

The company offers parents the option of installing a webcam on the rear-view mirror of the car used by new drivers.

The camera records what happens inside and outside the vehicle but saves the recording only when it senses a sudden movement such as hard braking or a sharp turn, Muth said.

The video is provided to the parents on a secure website, the equivalent of a driving report card for their kids, he said.

“They can sit and review what happened in that incident and use it as a learning tool,” said Muth. He noted that the service is free for a year, and the insurance company is not privy to the information collected.

Muth credited the program for reducing risky driving behavior and said teens tend to embrace the technology after using it. “They develop trust with their parents, become better drivers and get more driving privileges.”

Chris Mullen, director of technology research at State Farm, noted that the insurer set up a website last fall to aid beginning drivers and their parents. One of its programs — Road Aware — helps drivers learn to recognize and anticipate road hazards in front of a video screen rather than on the road.

“This is not a skill that’s automatic,” Mullen said in a telephone interview. “It has to be learned.”

Forty-three percent of teen driver crashes are due to a failure to recognize hazards, she said.

In another example of help from technology, a teenager can activate an app on his or her cellular phone and then put it in their vehicle’s cupholder, where it will score the driver’s abilities based on acceleration, cornering and braking, she said. “It gives you feedback on the drive you just took and allows you to score it,” she said.

Chance Bothe’s near-fatal texting is common, according to CDC statistics. In 2009, distracted driving was linked to more than 5,400 deaths and about 448,000 injuries. Cell phone use was cited as the major distraction in nearly 1,000 of the deaths and 24,000 injuries.

Nine percent of U.S. drivers said they texted or e-mailed “regularly or fairly often” while driving.

Not all of those messages may be worth sending.

“It was just a curve coming into town,” Bobby Bothe said. “And he never curved. Just kept going straight. If the creek would have had water in it, he would have drowned.

“Three of my buddies seen it happen; they went to him and they drug him out of the truck and the truck was on fire and it blew up as soon as they got him out,” he said.

Warped Music with a Good Cause Served on the Side

Warped (huh?)

For something that “apparently” has been in existence and roaming North America for some 18 summers, this is the first year I have ever heard the words “Warped Tour”; and find myself rather surprised my two older sons (28 & 30) have never mentioned this event to me before.

Since that first time hearing about the summer event several weeks ago when my 16-year-old asked if he could attend, the words Warped Tour, Warped Tour, Warped Tour have been repeatedly repeated in our house daily.   I have come to this conclusion…if I never hear those two words used together again, it will be too soon for me.  For that reason, I am happy today (Tuesday, July 31, 2012) has finally come and gone.  Woo hoo!!!

Band: Falling in Reverse

Warped Tour 2012 literally “screamed/slammed” into Cincinnati’s Riverbend Music Center for today’s outdoor concert(s), consisting of 9-1/2 hours of continuous aggressive music genres such as: punk rock, metal, screamo, pop punk, rockabilly (seriously…rockabilly?), alternative, hardcore, reggae (I like reggae), indie, goth, grunge, and rap music (yeah…really….that’s what they called it…music).

The boy arrived home this evening wet and stinky from a day of sweating and full of excitement and stories to tell about bands he loved and I never knew existed.  Some of those band names are: Cold Forty Three, Blood on the Dance Floor, Falling in Reverse, Hostage Calm (WTH???).  The boy said he went crowd surfing (I know what that is), was in the “pit” during a couple of sets, and watched other concert goers jump, sing, and “slam-dance”.  Go ahead, use your imagination on that last one…it IS exactly what you’re thinking and during the dance, injuries are common and the effects of said are clearly visible (well, red rather than clear, but still very visible).

Although I would not sum the day up as “one of the greatest ones…EVER,” that’s how the boy described his day.  In his defense, Luke comes by his enjoyment for a variety of music genres honestly as we have a line of generations who were (and some still are) multiple genre music enthusiasts.

Good Cause Side Dish

While up to my eye-lids in internet research about this “Warped Tour” thing, I found out that the concert organizers give free merchandise, backstage passes, jump the line passes, tour posters and much more to those who make canned-good or cash donations at the event’s “donation tent” which is set up at each location.  Those donations are then given to a local charity for community distribution.  WOW….what a fantastic way to promote a super cause by introducing and involving teenagers (typical “Warped” audience) in community service and helping others.  Thanks Vans Warped Tour organizers…..great forward thinking!!! 😀

Looking Forward

Not that I am looking forward to next summer and WT2013 (and hearing about it for weeks on end); I know at least a kid, three, or sixteen who will start surfing the web as soon as school is out next year, to see when their town pops up on the 19th year WT radar.  Maybe I’ll check out the Reggae bands and people watch next year; then again maybe I won’t…time shall tell (but don’t hold your breath).

Wake Up America…

…we’re not in the 1970’s anymore!