My Review of Iridescent 3/4-length stadium coat by Weather Solutions&#174

Originally submitted at WomanWithin

Iridescent 3/4-length stadium coat makes it fashionable to stay warm. The best price and fit on women's plus size coats and plus size jackets.

  • Lustrous fabric is feminine and wind stopping
  • Detachable hood with faux-fur trim
  • Easy snap front pla…

This coat is warm!

By crazedwriter from Indianapolis IN on 12/12/2011


4out of 5

Sizing: Feels true to size

Length: Feels true to length

Sleeve Length: Feels true to length

Pros: Nice Color, Blocks Wind, Warm, Comfortable

Cons: Zipper is difficult low quality

Best Uses: Casual Wear, Wear to School, Date Night/Night Out, Wear To Work

Describe Yourself: Casual Dresser

Was this a gift?: No

Just arrived today. The coat fits well, and is of good length which is my biggest fit challenge. I wore it outside this morning and it’s almost too warm for mid-30’s. I’ll wear this when it’s REALLY cold, like way below freezing.
My only complaint is the zipper. I tried many times to get it to “catch” — A minor problem if I’m rushed in the morning. Finally got it to work, with much effort.


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Munroe only echoes what teachers say behind closed doors

I’m sure nearly every K-12 teacher in the country knows about Natalie Munroe, her blog and subsequent firing.

When I read the newspaper article, taking in her sentiments on today’s students, I thought, “Hey, I’ve heard the same in the teacher’s lounge — Far too many times!”
Only those opinions on students and parents (and administrators) uttered during lunch and prep period seldom go beyond four walls.

What Munroe wrote about her lazy, unmotivated whiners is tame compared to what I’ve heard in the K-12 public schools in which I work. “Lazy whiners” is nothing compared to “ghetto tramps”, “trailer whores”, “rednecks”, “gangbangers”, “mother hoes”, “white trash of white trash”, “bottom feeders”, and far worse than I dare repeat. And these unfortunate labels know no color line; such are uttered by both Black and White teachers about their Black and White students. Because I work in a district whose student population is predominately poor (Black, White, and Latino), maybe those middle class faculty members find it easy to vent — in private — their frustrations trying to reach poor, uncultured, unmotivated, crime-prone children.
“We can’t save them all,” I recall one teacher saying, and that attitude unfortunately goes right to the upper administration. Even the average inner-city taxpayer grows restive in wake of poor test scores, high dropout rates, and less that 50% graduation rates. They’re chomping at the bit, waiting for the state to take over what is a failing, dying school district.

But I’m digressing a bit. Natalie Munroe’s observations on her students, compared to situations when she was in high school, only drives home what I’ve believed all along: Public officials and education “experts” are putting the blame on the wrong parties. When Munroe and I were high school students, the burden of responsibility was on us. no the teacher, not Mommy or Daddy. Missing an assignment? How about several? Didn’t get the “A” you wanted on that essay because of all the blatant grammatical errors and misspelled words? Got less that 65% on the math test? Hey, don’t blame the teacher! We blamed ourselves for poor study habits and just plain laziness. When I was in high school, any paper — book report, short composition, or ten-page research paper — that had more than three gross errors (misspelled words, subject/verb, fragments, run-ons, dangling modifiers, etc.) earned an automatic “F”. The teacher didn’t take in account the many hours research, how well organized the thoughts. Hey, it’s unreadable; it deserved a failing grade. No one but the student is to blame. The kid dared not to run to mommy, saying the teacher is a big bad bully who hates kids. I tried it; it didn’t work. All I got the first time I earned less than perfect marks that freshman year was, “You better get busy!”

Maybe Munroe’s students, and all K-12 students across the country — and their families — need to get busy. Public school woes don’t wholly rest on teachers’ shoulders, and I wish the politicos and high-level administrators get busy and lay off teachers’ backs. After all, unlike our medical and legal counterparts, we didn’t learn how to teach from masters of the field. Try education professors who’ve never set foot in a public K-12 classroom let alone earn a license to teach. Ask that guy who taught general methods who was long-term sub teacher for a high school class. He didn’t last two weeks into the fall semester.

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The Continuing Saga of 250Free

Well friends, I’m sad to report that “preliminary” deal posted on 250Free’s home page fell through. Why Brian Salisbury has yet to update that fact escapes me. Read all about it on the webhostingtalk’s forum.

Even harder to imagine that Mr Salisbury is still taking automated payments from his 250Free Platinum and 250Host customers, each paying from $3.95 to $10.05 per month. He hasn’t disclosed how many of that 300,000+ client are paying customers. Even if only 1% of that total pay the monthly or quarterly fee, that’s still garners enough to pay his LiquidWeb bill. So what did he do with the money collected ever since 250Free’s servers were shut off?

Any paying 250Free members reading this should really contact the BBB, the Nevada state attorney general (and that of their state), maybe get the press involved.

All I know is when and if 250Free is back online, everyone will grab their data and run to the nearest, more reliable web host, and Brian Salisbury can count on no more business deals with the cyberworld set.

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38th Street Eyesore

Of the many times I walk this route I keep asking myself, “How long before someone falls through? When will the flimsy plywood covering finally give way, causing serious injury to a hapless pedestrian?”

The building on southwest quadrant of East 38th Street and College Avenue are among the few still standing since I’ve moved here in 1965. One of those buildings in the old Maco Cleaners, long abandoned back in the 1980’s. Since then the building — with unclaimed dry cleaning and equipment still inside — remained unoccupied. By the 1990’s the contents were finally removed, the windows partially boarded but not enough to ward off vandals. Many times, on my daily walk from College to Meridian, I passed this unsightly relic, the front plastered with handbills and posters touting the latest local hip-hop sensation or ghetto throwdown. It would remain like this until spring 2007 when the front was enshrouded in plywood and once again the target of “music” promoters.

The plywood shroud makes foot travel difficult for some people, as you can see in this photo I took last year. 38thSidewalk. Due to the limited walking space, the Route 39 stop had to be moved to the southeast corner. Many a time I exited the bus only to keep myself from smacking into the shrouded building. Since then I’ve stopped walking on that side of the street, but other people do, and in doing so one has to step aside so others can pass. Step aside to what? Into ever-busy East 38the Street? So a pedestrian is to take a chance not to get hit by a car or, Heaven forbid, a full-sized Indygo bus which will surely kill even at 35 mph.

The sidewalk on this side is also covered in plywood, a condition left over from the Maple Road restoration project. Since then the covering remains; the refinished pavement and “beautifying” planter have yet to show. In November, before Thanksgiving, I sent Star Watch this same photo and a description of the situation. So far nothing has happened. The partially demolished building is still there as is its plywood shroud and the covered sidewalk. It is only a matter of time before someone falls through, resulting in serious injury. Perhaps the threat of a costly lawsuit will make those in charge take action. This eyesore has remained standing long enough!

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How many at 250Free?

During all this drama with 250Free and Brain Salisbury, I got curious. Just how many members does 250Free have? I ran the base URL through the Wayback Machine. As of August 2008, 250Free claimed 334,765 satisfied customers. That’s quite a large client base for a mom & pop web hosting company. How many of that number are paying customers, the ones who pay anywhere from $4 to $11 per month, not including domain name registration fees. How many are free members? How many of those on the free plan were thinking of upgrading to premium? Boy are they glad they didn’t!
Hmm…334,765 customres as of summer 2008. I’ll bet all those generously offering to take the business off Salisbury’s hands are reconsidering. Stay tuned as this sorry Internet soap opera continues.

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The Death of

If you have a personal site with 250Free or a business site with 250Host, you’re obviously aware of the hosts’ offlline status since Christmas 2010. At first most 250free members thought it was a minor server glitch; it couldn’t have been a lapsed domain name renewal as Brian Salisbury, 250Free’s proprietor and manager, renewed the domain names November 2010. Obviously he wanted to continue the business, but I suspected bad money issues. I was so right about this when someone in a WebTV/MSNTV newsgroup passed along an interesting link. Here is Brian Salisbury’s real “reason”. I won’t rehash Brian’s four-month debt or that a seemingly profitable business (Takes in approximately $1000 per month) is now broke. Once the bills are paid, what does he do with the profit? Not improve the business as most reputable web hosts do. No file backups in the event the entire works go belly up, like it almost did a few years ago. I was primarily on WebTV at the time thus had no way to back up my data unless I made at least one or two mirrors. Thank goodness I salvaged what few pages I made via Google’s cache, copy the HTML then transfer each and every page to Tripod and Domania. Unfortunately I didn’t mirror what few files I had left at 250Free, one being a circa 1925 photo of my dad and uncles. Again, thank goodness for taking a copy to my WebTV scrapbook days before I uploaded the photo to 250Free.

250Free’s been offline nearly a month. No one can access the site other than that personal note from Brian dated January 13 explaining this fiasco. That means everyone’s site is down, no one can login to the file manager, files cannot be accessed, even most pages cannot be retrieved via the Wayback Machine. However, those who are on premium plans are still being billed for services (non-existent services now!). That’s right, credit and debit cards are being charged as I write this.

Brian is getting several offers from various web hosts, but he seems to take his time. The longer 250Free remains shut off, the slimmer the chances of salvaging any files, but he’s sure collecting all that monthly dues from his customers. I know of no other web host who, if things go bad, continues to take the customers’ money but offers not one explanation why the service is offline. One host I use,Webbywarehouse has one proprietor and manager; that is, he does it all by himself. The same day 250Free went down, WWH had a minor server glitch. This was the Sunday after Christmas, and Brian Abbott, spending the weekend with his folks, drove back home, late at night, on a mountain road, through snow and rain. He promised to have the problem fixed by midnight his time; WWH was back online a hour earlier. How wonderful that this Brian is not at all like the other Brian. He does not vanish when the service goes haywire, does not clam up when things go wrong or how long before it’s right, all the while taking the clients’ money. I can say the same for many web hosts, some of which I patronized during my WebTV-only days, hosts that actually had the set-top browser crowd in mind. Ask any WebTV user from back in the day, and mostly likely you’ll hear praise for hosts such as WTV-Zone, Domania, and the previously mentioned WWH. You’ll also hear horror stories about a similar situation that almost mirrors 250Free’s. Owner sets up web host. Owner promotes his service via the WebTV newsgroups and mailing lists. He takes clients’ money and promises utmost uptime and reliability. All’s well until the server dies too many times. Data is not backed up. Clients are growing frustrated. Owner simply walks away. Files lost forever, clients seething and damning the owner for days. Okay, Webbies, sounds like the old Dreamserver fiasco during the early 2000’s.

All I know is if and when Brian Salisbury gets 250Free turned back on, his clients, paying and free (which by the way, runs into the six figures) will grab any and all surviving files and run to a more reputable web host. I wouldn’t doubt, and I’m surprised no one has mentioned it, that the paying clients whose credit and debit cards are still being charged for non-existent service have contacted the Nevada state attorney general and Better Business Bureau, even looked into filling criminal charges.

Yes, I foresee numerous complaints filed against Mr. Salisbury ranging from embezzlement to fraud to theft. Even those who are generously offering to take over the business sense something not quite right about the man. Is he really looking for a way out of a messy situation and truly is sorry how he screwed his customers, or is he out for a quick buck off the misery of others? Stay tuned as this sorry drama unfolds.

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Enough with Weather Histrionics!

The following was on my old blog a couple years ago. It’s been updated but the essence is the same: Hey, TV weather people! Quit getting all melodramatic over two flakes of snow!

I live in Indiana, and we get the occasional heavy snow though Indiana is not really considered a Snow Belt state, not counting the far northern regions near Lake Michigan. South Bend and all that “lake effect” snow…Come on, it happens when one lives near a large lake.

I can live with a few inches of snow, bitter cold, and a sprinkling of ice. As long as it doesn’t slow me down or seriously impede my daily routine, I don’t have a problem with it. The problem is the TV weather people overly hyping how much we’re expecting, and making it seem worse than it is or ever will be. Oh my goodness, three to five inches of snow tomorrow. It’s the end of the world as we know it!

They’re constantly in our faces with “Wind chills well below zero.” I know what wind chill is, just tell me the air temperature. That’s what determines if what falls from the clouds ends up as sleet, snow, or freezing rain, not the wind chill. Besides, the wind chill is how one perceives the cold. If the air temperature is in the 20’s and the wind is blowing 20+ MPH, then your body will think it’s minus zero. But some people have different reactions to the cold. I know how really cold temperatures effect me. I get headaches if I’m out in cold too long. My fingers, though well protected with heavy mittens, will get numb if I stand out in the bitter cold too long, as do my toes despite the heavy socks and shoes. I’ve seen folks outside, air temps below freezing or lower, and these guys are hardly bundled up – no heavy coat, no hat, no scarf. They seem to take it well. I know one guy who will go out in his shirt sleeves because he claims his body runs to the hot side. It has to get really cold – like way below zero – before he puts on a warmer coat and hat.

So now instead of listening to the weather hype on TV, I go to or NOAA’s site. I can read a weather map, gauge how a system is moving, interpret the predictions, then make my own decisions on how I’ll conduct my business the next day. Will I get by with the lighter all-weather coat or do I have to wear that heavier “bed quilt” that keeps me warm no matter what? Will I have to leave the house a little earlier to make the usual three to five-minute trek to the bus stop because of icy sidewalks or thick fog? Just give me tomorrow morning’s air temperature, whether it’s icy or raining or foggy, and I’ll take it from there. Just don’t scare me with “dangerous conditions” when it’s not all that dangerous. I think people can judge for themselves how to dress and take precautions when the weather turns nasty.

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War on the LGBT Community?

I’ve always abhorred bullying, as I was a victim in both grade school and junior high. With me it was mostly about my weight, then as in junior and into high school, the barbs were more pointed at my personality. I’m quiet and introverted by nature, prefer reading and “high brow” pursuits to the latest pop culture sensation. Then there has always been the question about my sexual orientation. I’m bisexual but prefer to be with women. I know they whispered behind my back, but I was listening. Sadly, it didn’t stop with my peers; my own family picked on me relentlessly on everything from my weight to my tendency to be “too quiet” to “why don’t you have a boyfriend? Oh yeah, you’re too fat and square.” Yes, there were times when I wanted to do myself in, remove myself from the presence of my tormentors. I was sure I wouldn’t be missed, so why stick around to face more of their insidious, hateful words. Somehow I’ve managed to survive but it still hurts when the people who supposedly “love” me carry on as if they don’t give a damn. Too bad with some folks the light is never realized until it is too late.

Now, after decades of striving for acceptance, the LGBT community reels again in wake of several high profile gay teen suicides. Then there was a recent drama in Indianapolis concerning a college gay youth group wanting to order custom cookies for National Coming Out Day. The bakery refused, citing a clash of ideology. This is a family business, the owner told the group, and we don’t believe in what you stand for, therefore we can’t fill your order. Gee, wonder what would happen if I, some time in February, walked in Just Cookies and wanted a custom order. Assorted cookies decorated with black, green, and red sprinkles. For Black History Month. Wonder what the answer would be? “We don’t do custom orders” or “We don’t want our business attached to something we don’t believe in”?

Anyway. the LGBT youth group filed discrimination charges. The bakery, located in the City Market (owned by the city of Indianapolis), was in danger of losing its lease. Wouldn’t you know that in the heart of Hoosier Hospitality, Just Cookies saw a huge surge in business. Seems there are more homophobes in this town than previously known. No wonder some gay workers, transferred here from more open and affirming environs, are reluctant to relocate. They think everyone here hates LGBT’s. This, dear readers, does not show off our city’s best to the rest of the world. Yes, the world knows our business, thanks to the Internet and WWW. No longer is Indianapolis sleepy little “NapTown” as back in the day when very few knew we were here, and Hoosiers preferred it that way. Thanks to God, those days are gone!

You know something, I wouldn’t be surprised if those gay bashers work for gays, or that some of their employers’ most lucrative contracts come from the LGBT community. Maybe someone who’s LGBT signs their paychecks, cleans their offices, delivers their mail, drives their kids’ school bus…You get the picture.

For once I’d like to encounter a shy, quiet kid not being bullied and teased for being “different.” Apparently being introverted, creative, artistic, quiet, even a bit bookish earns the “fag” or “dyke” label. Oh, I get it. Just because those who don’t party hearty and immerse themselves in books (fantasy & sci-fi are my faves) and music (classical, punk, jazz, blues, folk, alternative. Never rap, hip-hop, anything commercial), are instantly labeled. It’s got to stop. Already we have several children dead because of people’s tremendous thoughtlessness and gross disrespect.

Kids aren’t born bullies. They aren’t born to hate or to drive a kid to suicide. Such nasty traits are learned from the adults in charge. A serious attitude adjustment is in order for the hard-headed, hard-hearted, self-righteous lot who could care less. They don’t realize their actions and sentiments hurt far more than the targets of their hate and misguided “goodness.” Such affects an entire city, much to its detriment.

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GoogleTV: What WebTV should have been

What fools the idiots in charge of Microsoft are! When MSN bought WebTV back in the late 90’s, I sensed, “Oh joy, MSN bought WebTV only to squelch it.” I was right, and it seems the House that Bill Built is not as invincible as believed. Fast forward to today. The last MSNTV2 unit was sold September 2007; no more will be manufactured. The service will continue, but already MSNTV users are seeing serious slippage in performance and customer service. Many features WebTV’ers relied on are either working erratically or completely non-existent. Oh, the SPAM problem is still with us. I made pointed and timely commentary a few weeks ago on my old blog. Apparently someone at MSN noticed that post. As of now there is less SPAM but it’s still a headache for other users. I really don’t know how this post will be received by the MSN head people, but the clock is ticking on how long MSN will let service continue for the set-top crowd. While most who started online life on WebTV moved on to computer, others have not, preferring to cling to the outdated Little Black Box. I can understand the elderly, disabled, and fixed income folks who need something to keep in touch with family and friends, but web technology marched forward. MSN kept WebTV hopelessly (and purposefully, in my opinion) stuck in 1999.

Now comes GoogleTV which promises to be everything MSNTV refused to be and more. I just came from Games4TV Blog, and after reading the entry on Google TV, I came away wagging a virtual finger at Microsoft. “See? What could have been, but you guys blew it!” Sure, when WebTV Plus debuted, with its expanded TV listings, PiP, faster processor, and much larger memory, there was hope that Bill’s guys were on to something. Maybe they’ve finally seen the light and will give us a decent souped up WebTV. No more of these dribbling “updates” and “upgrades”, stuff we really didn’t need such as the “green dot” for email messages from known senders. MSNTV still lacks a junk mail folder, a standard feature on other decent email providers. They could have upgraded the browser to at least IE 6 but that would be too much of a stretch. They assume most WebTV users are poor, undereducated if not at all, illiterate..Why cater to people whose only online joys are making email sigs and hiding behind MSNTV’s firewalled alt.discuss groups. Hey, Microsoft, all WebTV users do not fit your convenient stereotype. You’ve got some LBB users with advanced degrees, who’ve traveled extensively, who actually read more than TV Guide, who are professionals. People who’ve, myself included, used that Little Black Box for work related tasks.

Maybe when Google TV hits the market, we’ll see how much of a WebTV killer it is, which I’m sure will deliver the final death blow after 14 years of what was an innovative product but now is the laughingstock of the Internet. At least with the new set-top box, the Web will look just it does on my PC, not scrunched up and Osterized to fit WebTV’s paltry screen resolution. When I design a web page (Yes, I expect to log in to Angelfire and Domania to update my pages), I won’t have to worry “Does it look good on the Little Black Box?”

I won’t rush to order my Google TV yet as I still have to dump my old analog TV, buy a decent 19′ to 22′ HDTV for my room, then get U-Verse hooked up to that. For now I’ll let things gel for a while; I have to save the $$$ for this thing! Surprisingly, Logitiech’s Revue (first to manufacture the set-top) retails for $299.99, the very same I paid for the original Philips WebTV Classic in 1997. What a difference 14 years makes! Let’s hope the service is as good, better than, those promotional videos.

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Here’s a kid who’s ready for school

Meet Ella, my niece. Is she a cutie or what?


She’s 3 years and nine months old, and already she’s light years ahead of of several kindergarten and first-grade children I encounter in my local school district. Before she turned three she could recognize and recite numbers up to 20, almost all her letters, basic shapes, and everyday objects in and out of the house. Now she can identify and recognize all U.S. Presidents, the flag, almost all the planets, and various well-known contemporary people. I mean folks like our current President, our current governor Mitch Daniels, and Queen Elizabeth II. She even knows, courtesy of her Auntie Pammie, a few select opera arias.

A genius? Okay, so the kid may be a few IQ points above average, but she is only three, and I don’t think she’ll be tested any time soon. She is a late bloomer as far as walking and potty training goes. Walking didn’t fully come until 17 months, and toilet training wasn’t accomplished until a few months ago. The latter is not in full fruition but it’s coming along.

As most early childhood educators would acknowledge, it’s the parents and other adults in the child’s life who are the first teachers. They set the stage for whether a child is ready for school or not. Their actions, or inaction, determine whether the child succeeds or fails.

In Ella’s case, her parents began rearing her long before she emerged from the womb. It was a given that despite she’s “just an infant,” the kid would get the experiences and exposure necessary for school readiness. Basic things like talking to her, in plain standard English. No baby talk! That also meant censoring themselves — Yes they uttered the occasional potty mouth word but not s much to “cuss like a sailor” proportions. They had to monitor what played on TV and radio, and while not hip-hop and rap fans, they knew even “clean” sounding popular songs are not all that age-appropriate.

TV? That had to be censored, too. No more adult-themed programs whenever she’s awake and noticing what’s on television. Oh, when she started toddling, Ella loved (still loves) shows such as Dancing with the Stars and some of the awards shows. It’s the music and dancing that command her attention, but in a good way. Otherwise it’s a steady diet of age-appropriate TV — Sesame Street, Yo Gabba Gabba, Dora, Word World,

If only some families were this conscientious about getting their kids ready for school and life. After reading the Indianapolis Star’s first of a special series on School #61’s kindergarten, and that some of those students had to be taught how to hold a crayon, I hit upon an idea. Instead of Indy’s Concerned Clergy finding fault with city leaders every time one of our kids runs afoul with the law (It seems never the kid’s fault after all), why don’t these guys pair a new mother in need with a mom who’s reared several children, each and every one successful and well-educated. Why not help new parents, especially those who can’t afford trips to the zoo or museums, give their children the experiences and exposure necessary. Why not drive home that it’s not acceptable or cute for a two-year old to recite X-rated rap lyrics verbatim (profanity and sexual content) but not know the ABC’s or numbers. Take these kids to library to sign up for cards. Have reading circles during Sunday school. Treat kids to wholesome entertainment (an Elmo DVD would work) rather than the steady diet of profanity, heavy sexual content, violence, and deviant behavior that permeates the TV shows and movies made to attract an urban audience.

One doesn’t have to live in Carmel or Fishers or any other affluent part of town to give a youngster a developmental boost. It doesn’t cost much, just time, patience and love to turn around persistent low achievement and a rampant drop-out rate.

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