Monday, April 30, 2007

How to Find the Right Ambulance Service

Some ambulance companies are businesses just like McDonalds and Target stores others are tax based (municipal) or volunteer. With that being said this blog entry will teach you how to find the right commercial ambulance service for your medical transport needs.

First there is a difference between emergency transport and non-emergency transport. Emergency transport is simply defined the usage of an ambulance in cases where life or limb is being threatened. Non emergency transport is simply where life or limb isn’t threatened. Regardless if you have a toothache, a hemorrhoid, or a sore throat these ailments are classified as non-emergency, some ambulance companies won’t even bother billing your insurance they will just bill you directly.

Secondly if you need to go to a scheduled doctor’s appointment or you need to transport a loved one from one facility to another, you should call at least two weeks in advance. In this two week period you can either get approval or disapproval for your appointment. If you get declined ask for the cash price. And if there is more than one ambulance service in your area (or within 30 miles) you should call all of them. The lowest bidder wins.

Lastly, remember you get what you pay for. Some smaller companies offer the best price but the worse service and some larger companies will treat you like a number. It is best you do your homework. Calling local doctor’s offices, dialysis centers or ever emergency rooms to find out what service they recommend isn’t illegal. Having worked on an ambulance for 20 years I have heard my fair share of, “That other company sucked” or my favorite, “I should have called you guys first.” So look around and if you have any questions please don’t hesitate to leave them in the comments section. I will respond.


Thursday, April 26, 2007

Operation Iraqi Freedom

I have not been asleep for the past 4 years. I have watching from the sidelines and silent complainer of events during Operation Iraqi Freedom. However there are Republican politicians who chose to treat the American public preschool children. I think not! When we (guilt by association) first pointed our war finger towards Iraq, when our target was clearly a man named Osama bin Laden (who admitted to his direct involvement in September 11th) I knew someone was not manning the helm correctly. When Saddam said he had no weapons of mass destruction and allowed UN inspectors to try and find them (back when his streets did not have IED’s) I knew that somebody dropped the glass ball. And when the four contractors were killed, mutilated, burned and strung from the Euphrates River Bridge, I knew those deaths were the start of something ominous.

The entire political shift from a Republican to Democratic controlled House and Senate was due entirely to a loss of faith in the Republicans Party mainly because of Operation Iraqi Freedom. In my opinion there is no other significant achievement that could have stopped their loss. It is this lack of Republican control that will bring our sons, daughters, wives, and husbands back home. I often catch glimpses of Republicans grandstanding and proselytizing on their shaky positions as to why we should stay in Iraq and I wonder how much marijuana do you have to smoke to ignore the obvious. Vice President Dick Cheney was even personally angered at the, “defeatist attitude” of the Democrats.

In the Republican’s myopic point of view, any act of opposition (verbal or written) to the continued death and dismemberment of our young and middle aged troops makes you a terrorist. My question is, “What makes me an American?”

Is it un-American to want to stop the IED’s from generating military funerals? Is it un-American to want our troops back home mentally sound? Is it un-American to disagree with changing war plans, troop increases and deployment extensions? Or Is it un-American to set a date for withdrawal from a useless operation? Staying the course is making matters worse. And in my opinion Iran is waiting to cross the border en masse to assist their neighbors in getting back on track…once we leave. Let them. We can chalk Operation Iraqi Freedom up to, “Things we should have not done” right next to New Coke, Yugo cars and Vietnam. Hey lets face it every country needs a McDonald’s. And I understand the relevance of creating a peaceful environment so that Democracy can flourish. Unfortunately to create this peace will take about a million troops, a really scary man with a black heart and stone face, and about ten years of unabashed violence on our part. And that is just not our style of governing. It is time to let it go.

I welcome your feedback.


Monday, April 23, 2007

How To Start Your Own Business

Starting your own business can be as simple as brushing your own teeth or as frightening as stepping off of a cliff into the unknown. How to start your own business is not as important as to why you are starting one in the first place. If you are starting one to keep up with the Joneses prepare to fall on your face. If you want financial independence or just a little extra income you might just make it.

Making the wrong choice in choosing a business to start is expensive. Finding a business niche is one of the places where you should spend a lot of your intellectual time and energy. Entrepreneur Magazine gives you a host of business options to choose from. Some of their options can be a little pricey. But it is left up to you to look around. I have found that what you know about the most is what you know about the best.

"A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step."
-- Confucius

Now before you get disgruntled because you think it takes hundreds of thousands or millions to start a business remember it takes more determination that it does cash to start a business. Our country has the best business incubator in the world known as the Small Business Administration and best of all it is free. The SBA has an online resource guide for small business owners that tells you how to start your business from A to Z. Here is also the link to the Alabama Business Resource. Also there are small business mentors like Score willing to assist you if you have questions.

Once you are armed with the information and planning phase then it is time to start with your business identity. Your business identity is simply: your name and mission statement, what products you sell or services you perform, who you are as a business, and your tax structure under the watchful eye of the IRS. You can control your cost by bidding out your design work through Elance where thousands of companies bid on your business needs or through online companies like Vista Printing that offers free or discounted business supplies. Controlling your cost is essential to the survival to any business.

If you are looking for something to sell, EBay has a wholesale market. There are also independent liquidation companies that have plenty to offer. Have you ever wondered were stores like Dollar General and Family Dollar got their supplies click here? If you are thinking about international trade Alibaba has a great site where you can solicit bids from all around the world. Here is a link for finding international trade law. There is no limit to what you can sell or supplies you can find to make your business a dream. The first step is yours.


Friday, April 20, 2007

Video of John Edwards 400 Dollar Haircut

Personally... I see a Presidential Candidate trying to make sure he is presentable in the public eye.However the conservatives will ride this video into the ground just like they did...


Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Virginia Tech Massacre

I hovered patiently until the Blog universe’s chatter about Virginia Tech had slowed until I gave my own take of what happened during the Virginia Tech massacre. I understand that the Virginia Tech assassin was a disillusioned South Korean English major by the name of Cho Seung-Hui. He is described by the people that knew of him as “strange” and “depressed.” Being strange and depressed describes a lot of American college students. According to CNN he spent time in a mental institute for being suicidal in 2005. He is described by some of his teachers as being mean as well as weird by old college roommates.

Being in public safety for over 20 years I have seen a lot of homicides. I understand the difference between blind rage and methodically attacking your victim. Lovers kill in blind, passionate rage, Serial Killers are methodical. Get the picture? This young man studied his targets, probed and then executed 34 students and faculty with prudence and when he made his point he committed suicide. I am in no way glorifying his brutal actions. I am offering a rational view, my view, of what happened. I feel a true deep sadness for all those kids killed because one young man was sad.

On April 15, 2007 Cho was one of a thousand other disillusioned young people headed to Prozac lane. On April 16, 2007 he took a detour and became a monster. Now the media wants to point a finger at the staff of Virginia Tech for not being able to see through Cho’s angst and stop him before he killed. What they don’t realize there is no crystal ball. There wasn’t one for Columbine, Nickel Mines or Red Lake. And we have learned from those school tragedies placing the blame does not raise the dead. Placing the blame only kills careers.

Virginia Tech as well as the local Law Enforcement did one of the most fantastic jobs in keeping its students alive. I bet you a dollar to a huge bucket of doughnuts their survival plan was not written down. There wasn't a “In Case of Angry Asian Guy Attack Plan.” I applaud the faculty for what they did as well as the students who survived to help others. And I hope from this incident there is not a knee jerk response to arm our college students or ostracize those people whom we deem unfit.


Monday, April 16, 2007

How to Change Internet Browsers

If you have been using a computer for any length of time you must realize that there are pop-ups, viruses, spyware, malware and a host of mutant toolbars waiting to infect your machine in cyberspace. Internet Explorer however has a perpetual flaw that allows these wayward items to exploit your computer. (Not due to poor design but time in service) However during this blog entry I will show you how to change internet browsers in a flash and offer you some suggestions on which ones to try. The most popular browser on the net besides I.E is the one I currently use is Mozilla Firefox.

Mozilla Firefox is an open source program that allows you the user to customize the browser for your usage and best of all it is free. This browser comes with a pop up blocker, about forty different themes or skins to change the look of your browser as well as a host of utilities that allows you trick out your browser. The first thing you have to do is download the browser package and then install it. After you install Firefox it will ask you do you want to make Firefox your default browser check “Yes.” It is just that simple.

Opera is also a free web browser that is not as interactive as Mozilla Firefox but better than Microsoft’s Internet Explorer. It is of straight forward design with it tabbed browsing, pop-up blocker, zoom detail for tiny characters on websites and it can be skinned like Firefox. However Opera is limited to what utilities, if any, can be added to its browser and it free just like Firefox. Its download and installation process is just as simple as following the prompts and BAM you are up and running.

There are a host of free web browsers out there but Firefox and Opera are the two main ones The Apocalypse Papers recommends on its “How to” Monday. If you have any suggestions or comments about a free web browser please don’t hesitate to leave it in the comments section of this blog entry. And please don’t forget to subscribe to The Apocalypse Papers.


Thursday, April 12, 2007

Rutgers Women's Basketball Team

After a “slip” of the tongue the news network summarily beheaded Don Imus’s television career. Imus hadn’t a chance in hell in reversing what he said about the Rutgers Women’s Basketball Team or apologizing to the public by taking a verbal asswhooping from Al Sharpton. Don Imus’s on air racist remark was not an isolated event. It was the last remark in a long line of sexist, homophobic and racist remarks that cost him his job.

Rutgers University has a long history of proud alums with James Gandolfini AKA “Tony Soprano” (B.A. 1983) being one of them. Regardless of the team’s racial makeup and the condition of their hair they are prospering students. Rutgers takes pride in their Scarlet Knights event thought they lost to Tennessee. These young women have their futures ahead of them and deserved better treatment that what was given by Don Imus. It is obvious that MSNBC and CBS thought so also.

With things that are so screwy going on in the world right now I am pleased to see a swift response to a serious problem that was not wishy-washy. Now if we could do something about the N-word in rap music things would be a whole lot better for my kids.


Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Larry Birkhead

I am pleased that the mystery of Dannielynn’s actual father has been solved with the help of high tech DNA testing just like a Scooby mystery. There was a CNN breaking news alert when the results were announced. A big red bar was splashed across the CNN website as if Osama himself walked into a Hardees restaurant. Personally I am glad to see this mess over with. There are other pressing world issues at hand I’m sorry. I caught a glimpse of Mr. Larry Birkhead with his arms extended obviously happy that he was the father. I quickly turned the channel opting for a paid advertisement for the Ab Lounger.

Frankly one of the first things Mr. Larry Birkhead should do after all of these proceedings is to get tested for HIV and any other STD that might be out there. Because at last count there were four potential fathers that means four unprotected partners and so forth and so on. But I am sure that is of no concern of his because if you look at the picture you notice his arms are up in exaltation not as if he has custody of a motherless child nay, but the fact Mr. Birkhead hit the proverbial jackpot.


Monday, April 09, 2007

How to Find a Free Virus Scanner

If you are like me you spend a lot of time on the internet and as we all know the internet is full of viral land mines. These viruses can either be a real nuisance or do major damage to your files. This blog entry will show you how to find a free virus scanner.

There are two types of free virus scanners available on the internet. The first is an online scanner. This type of scanner will enable you to scan your computer from its website. However the drawback is if you have a slow connection or heavens forbid a dial up connection this online scanner is not for you. This is a great option if you think you have a virus and your current virus scanner is not picking it up. (Just remember to disable your active virus scanner when choosing to scan online) Whenever I am repairing computers and need a good online scanner I typically use Pandasoft or Kaspersky. However you can run across other online virus scan sites but beware these sites can sometimes scan your computer and the charge you to remove the viruses. Don’t fall for those.

The second type of scanner is a free home licensing scanner. That means you don’t not have to buy this scanner just download and install. In my opinion the two best free scanners in the industry is Grisoft’s AVG Scanner and Avast’s free download version. I like AVG because it updates smoothly and constantly scans your computer. I like Avast because it does the same thing as AVG but it has a siren and a visual warning bar that will pop up you if your computer gets a virus. These scanners typically have a trial period then you have to send them an email to get the unlock key. But hey it is better than paying. If you are like me you like anything free that works. So every Monday I will be posting a “How To…” blog entry that will spotlight free things on the internet. And don’t forget to subscribe to The Apocalypse Papers rss feed. Thanks.


Friday, April 06, 2007

Alabama Legislature "Goat Hill Seven"

I never thought I would see the day when a politician or in Alabama’s case, seven politicians would refuse the one motivating factor of their office…money. All seven of them are Republican and somehow decided that this pay raise was not in line with what was best for the Alabama people. Mind you this action did not come as a pre-election stunt to get more voters especially with the next election being held in 2010. I feel this move was genuine and a true measure of what politicians should be like. As I said in one of my previous blog entries,there are so many full time state employees that could benefit from raises it is almost a slap in the face to ignore them. These seven choose not to ignore them or the people they serve.

Senators Ben Brooks (R - Mobile), Del Marsh (R - Anniston), Harri Anne Smith (R - Slocomb), and Rep. Paul DeMarco (R - Homewood) Senators Bradley Byrne (R - Fairhope), Hank Erwin (R -Montevallo), and Larry Dixon (R - Montgomery)

Let me clarify something, I am not against a fair and equitable raise for our legislators. I believe our lawmakers and community spokespersons should be able to vote in comfort, eat, and resided in decent surrounding while doing work for us, the people. I believe they should be well dressed (not Armani suits or Dolomite shoes) because of their need to interact with the media as well as public. However I am against a raise that is so far out in left field that is almost laughable …a 61 percent raise of laughability. These seven thought it was laughable also that is why they filed the required paperwork refusing the raise and continued on their merry way.

Being a staunch independent (because no single party has all the right stuff) I applaud these lawmakers. I am saddened by the fact that not one Dem mingles among them or even decided to donate part of their ill gotten salary to charitable organizations (even as silly as that seems). I will be watching as one by one (hopefully) as lawmaker after lawmaker begrudgingly files those papers to keep their same salary. Then when it is all said and done those communities represented by the greedy will know who to exactly vote out of office.


P.S This is my 50th post…


Wednesday, April 04, 2007

13 Days of Captivity Ends Nicely

Diplomacy and “old timey” politics work. President Ahmadinejad in an act of “kindness” released the 15 captives, unharmed, un-beheaded, un-molested back into the arms of the British people. He asked on behalf of his captives that they NOT be punished for their statements made during their captivity. He also was critical of the fact that a mother (Turney) was sent to the Gulf in service of the Queen. He asked in Farsi, “…Why don’t they respect family values in the west?” He is also stated as returning the captives as a gift in celebration of Muhammad’s birthday (March 30) and the passing and resurrection of Christ (Easter April 8th). Read entire Yahoo article HERE

Now with all respect to the President of Iran I can truly say someone has to be the bigger man. Ahmadinejad had the right to put his captives on trial; he had the right to execute them one by one to the uproar of the entire world. But he did not exercise his right. He used his Presidential powers and with the flair of a master politician swayed the entire British nation to his side. He did not have to impress America all he had to do was impress America’s allies and create a doubt (however small) about our mission in the Middle East and who the Iranians are as a people.

The funny side to this entire crisis that there are Iranian bloggers who say this move is typical of Iranian politics. As well as American bloggers who wanted to open a nice frosty can of whoop ass on the Iranian people for actions against British people. I made it clear in my previous blog entry there is no room for a conventional war across the Iranian border. Our military is stretched so thin that diplomacy is the only option for any other crisis that may occur. Even British Prime Minister Tony Blair says he has no ill will towards Iran. President Ahmadinejad’s move to release his captives was a transparent one however I say “old timey” back slapping, glad handing and back room politics is a hellava lot better than servicemen with missing legs and grave markers.


Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Coming Full Circle

Diplomacy isn’t dead. It is hidden under the folds of sheer aggression and testosterone. Learning to listen is just as important as understanding WHAT is being said. Looking at the Iranian Hostage Crisis (version 2.0) it is obvious that the Iranians want something in return for the British Marines. This is a trying and sensitive time for both sides. But it is at this meeting table I am pleased there are Brits and Iranians. Because I am sure my beloved America would have not negotiated (at least not publicly). We would have simply let our soldiers be slaughtered then requested more funds for the war effort. And honestly there is no way in a purple-colored hell we could fight Iran.

This scenario has played out before in the Carter and Regan years. Sadly I am old enough to remember our own hostage crisis (version 1.0). The captives were paraded around blindfolded as anti-American chants filled the air. President Carter always looked stressed as he answered question after question daily pertaining to the hostages. Looking back, it was almost if his sole term practically consisted of dealing with Iranian hostage takers. I remember in elementary school I had to write a report on this event and wondered why people had to be so mean (Ah, to be naïve again).

Well gentle reader you know the rest of our hostage story: the hostages were released on the first night of Presidents Regan’s watch, Iran-Contra, Oliver North, yada, yada, yada. Well at least we did have a proverbial “Ace” in the hole. At the same time Iranian students and followers of the new Islamic regime had hostages there was a war going on. It was during this war our friend and ally was provided with the best technology America could create, just so we didn’t have to get our hands dirty, a sort of payback if you will. If you couldn’t figure it our friend was Saddam Hussein and our ally was Iraq. Now that we are out of the loop we have to sit back and watch to see what happens next.