Saturday, July 31, 2010

Before you send that email....

I received this in an email today and enjoyed it, so I did a little research to find its origin. I also thought it might make a fun blog entry. So I did several google searches and came up with a blog entry from a law firm and a snopes entry. Snopes tells all, so I would not forward an email with this in it, although it is a good story. I'm surprised that the law firm bought into it and ran it in their blog January of this year. The story follows, however, my Bits n' Bytes wisdom is to check things out first before you send that email!

A New Orleans lawyer sought an FHA loan for a client. He was told the loan would be granted if he could prove satisfactory title to a parcel of property being offered as collateral. The title to the property dated back to 1803, which took the lawyer three months to track down. After sending the information to the FHA, he received the following reply.

(Actual reply from FHA):

"Upon review of your letter adjoining your client's loan application, we note that the request is supported by an Abstract of Title. While we compliment the able manner in which you have prepared and presented the application, we must point out that you have only cleared title to the proposed collateral property back to 1803. Before final approval can be accorded, it will be necessary to clear the title back to its origin."

Annoyed, the lawyer responded as follows:
(Actual response):

"Your letter regarding title in Case No.189156 has been received. I note that you wish to have title extended further than the 206 years covered by the present application. I was unaware that any educated person in this country, particularly those working in the property area, would not know that Louisiana was purchased by the United States from France in 1803, the year of origin identified in our application. For the edification of uninformed FHA bureaucrats, the title to the land prior to U.S. ownership was obtained from France , which had acquired it by Right of Conquest from Spain . The land came into the possession of Spain by Right of Discovery made in the year 1492 by a sea captain named Christopher Columbus, who had been granted the privilege of seeking a new route to India by the Spanish monarch, Queen Isabella. The good Queen Isabella, being a pious woman and almost as careful about titles as the FHA, took the precaution of securing the blessing of the Pope before she sold her jewels to finance Columbus's expedition. Now the Pope, as I'm sure you may know, is the emissary of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and God, it is commonly accepted, created this world. Therefore, I believe it is safe to presume that God also made that part of the world called Louisiana . God, therefore, would be the owner of origin and His origins date back to before the beginning of time, the world as we know it, and the FHA. I hope you find God's original claim to be satisfactory. Now, may we have our damn loan?"

The loan was immediately approved.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Make A Difference

Volunteerism in the United States is alive and well. According the the Bureau of Labor statistics, "both the number of volunteers and the volunteer rate rose over the year ended in September 2009, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported in January 2010. About 63.4 million people, or 26.8 percent of the population, volunteered through or for an organization at least once between September 2008 and September 2009. In 2008, the volunteer rate was 26.4 percent."

Another perspective presented by Independent Sector is that "the estimated dollar value of volunteer time for 2009 is $20.85 per hour."

The estimate helps acknowledge the millions of individuals who dedicate their time, talents, and energy to making a difference. Charitable organizations can use this estimate to quantify the enormous value volunteers provide.

According to the Corporation for National and Community Service, "about 63.4 million Americans, or 26.8 percent of the adult population, gave 8.1 billion hours of volunteer service worth $169 billion in 2009."

Statistics are wonderful, but it's the actual volunteers that tell the story.

In my neighborhood, a gated community, we have a volunteer committee and in particular, one homeowner who is very good with tools and can fix anything. Jim has saved the association thousands of dollars just because he is handy and is willing to give his time to the community. He has made a difference for over fifteen years!

Another friend of mine has spent months revamping a manual of procedures for the organization to operate properly. Keith wants to ensure that the organization can grow effectively and achieve the mission to help Christians at risk in the holy land. Keith volunteers much more of his time in other ways, but revamping the manual will make a difference now!

Just think of all the service organizations that could not survive without member volunteers. I'll get off my soap box now - go out and make a difference! It will be personally satisfying to you and will help others in the process.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Perseverance Pays Off

For several months, since acquiring Photoshop, a desired effect to create on photos is the "drop shadow frame". This effect was used on every photo on the St. Paul's Episcopal Church website and when new photos needed to be added, the effect also needed to be added.

Try as I might, it could not be done! Now, I know my way around software and the keyboard, so another software product (Snagit) was used as a substitute until I could figure Photoshop out. This morning was the turning point - determined, I sat down to try once again (this was to be probably my tenth go-round).

Now, those of you who KNOW how to do it are probably laughing because it is easy, as I found out just now. Thanks to I now know how to add the desired effect to photos.

So what made the difference? It must be that I set out to learn as opposed to an urgent need. Needless to say, I have a copy of the instructions in order to repeat the process on other work!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Soccer - Not for me!!!!

I'm afraid to admit this: I do not like to watch soccer on TV! Admittedly, I checked in a couple of times during the recent FIFA World Cup to watch the Americans, but quickly switched the channel to more pleasing viewing.

Why is there always a humming sound that emanates when soccer is on? Maybe it is just me, but that humming is annoying. I have always wondered if the fans are given something to make the sound and they use it!

Well, according to an FIFA soccer trivia site, I'm definitely in the minority. They say "With nearly half of the world’s population expected to tune in during the 2010 FIFA World Cup championship, interest in the sport is at an all time high".

Personally, give me a good bowling tournament to watch and I'm there!