I got hacked: versus.php

14 Jul

I just realized that my website marga.org has been hacked for over two years!  There was a file on my main directory named versus.php  which served up pages with information on how to buy drugs like viagra.  Yuck!  The pages were in a directory called “1″, which had been created within another preexisting directory.

Mike thinks the hack must come through an old, vulnerable version of WordPress.  The thing is that I didn’t notice it until I did a search for “Greece” on marga.org – suddenly most of the Google results were for drugs.

I daresay that the hack made me lose quite a bit of page ranking, but it’s my bad for not noticing it before.

I’m writing this in case someone comes across the same file in their website.

Tags: ,

On Toe Corns and Hangers

21 Apr

hangerI am a pretty intelligent person, all in all. I have degrees from top universities, kids called me the brain in school and only the truly dumb have ever accused me of being dumb.  But I have pretty much no practical abilities.  I don’t pay attention to the world around me, and therefore I don’t really know how it works.  This became clear to me today when i was hanging clothing to dry.

Our drier is broken.  Rather than try to figure out how to fix it – like any other intelligent person would do -, and tired of bugging my husband to take a look, I decided to start hanging the clothing to dry in the backyard.  So far, so good. I managed to install the cloth line between two trees without any major problems (though I keep having to re-tie it, as it becomes lower and lower).  But one cloth line is not enough for a whole load of laundry, so I’ve been hanging shirts on hangers from the branches of trees.  Trouble is, many of my t-shirts have wide necks and fall off the hangers.  I’d been hanging wet t-shirts on hangers from about a week, when I finally figured out what the purpose of those little loops of fabric under the sleeves is: to hook them into the little hooks in the hangers, to prevent the garment from falling.  Did I mention how I am 45 years old and I only figured this out now?

But here is a better one.   Today, still 45, I figured out that you can use those little hooks in the hanger to trap the shirts and make sure they don’t fall.  All these years I could have been preventing my shirts from falling off the hammers in my closet – if I had just spent a couple of minutes paying attention to the structure of the hanger!

And just now, before I started this blog article, I’ve had another revelation.  A couple of years ago I noticed I had developed ugly corns on the toes of one of my feet.  I might have had them for years before, of course.  The corns did puzzle me and I tried to figure out why I had them.  The most likely explanation – shoes that were rubbing and creating the calluses – didn’t really work, and the shoes I wear specifically do not rub that area.  Plus I started noticing that the corns remained year round no matter what type of shoes I wore.

Well, I think I finally figured out their cause.  When I sit at my computer, I just realized, I actually curl my toes on that foot and rest my foot on the ground, on those toes – just where the corns are.  I don’t know how often I do this, but clearly often enough to create those corns.  Now it’s time to test my theory. I’ll try to remove them and then be conscious to not curl my toes on the ground and see if they come back.

Tags: , ,

Poisonous Beetles

13 Apr

Lytta-vesicatoriaand the Democratic party

The blister beetle or Spanish fly is a marvelous creature.  It secretes a substance called cantharidin which causes chemical burns and blisters.  They can be extremely painful. The substance is secreted by the male and gifted to the female, who uses it to coat her eggs.  When it was discovered in the 18th century, it was considered one of the strongest poisons, on par with strychnine.  But the poisonous cantharidin has important medical applications: it kills warts.

Last year, my 11-year old daughter developed a painful case of plantar warts.  These are caused by the HPV virus and they are extremely difficult to treat.  Mika had two removed surgically, but as long as the virus is present, they can keep coming back.  For that reason, when she developed a third one, the doctor finally recommended trying cantharidin.

The application itself wasn’t too bad but within hours it started acting out.  Even though Mika had taken a pain killer, the pain in her foot was excruciating.  She begged me to stop it, but it was inside her, so there was nothing we could do.

The cantharidin was forming a blister underneath the wart, killing both the skin and the wart.  Interestingly, the surface of the skin never blistered much.  We didn’t go back to the doctor to have the wart removed either – Mika didn’t want to have anything to do with doctors anymore -, but eventually the pain stopped and the wart was gone.  It’s been many months, and she’s wart-free so far.

I thought about blister beetles and cantharidin when I read a quote from an anonymous colleague of mine at the Alameda County Democratic Central Committee (ACDCC) calling me “poisonous”.  Sometimes political bodies, just like organisms, can get a virus and develop a wart.  In the case of the ACDCC, it has to do with conflicts-of-interest and a lack of commitment to transparency.   I can only hope that my “poison” will be as effective here, as beetle poison was for my daughter.

 

Tags: , , ,

How to remove lipstick from a build-a-bear

6 Apr

buildabear“Mommy, how do you get lipstick from a build-a-bear,”? my daughter asked one evening.  Being the clueless homemaker that I am, I told her I didn’t know, and to look it up online.

She found another girl with the same problem but no actual answers.  So she used her ingenuity. Lipstick is make-up, she figured, so why not use makeup remover?  OK, the only one she could find was Maybelline Expert Eyes Moisturizing Eye Makeup Remover, but she gave it a try and IT WORKED!  The bear is as good as new, and moisturized!

So now you know, if your stuffed animal gets makeup, try makeup remover.

Tags: , , , ,

Love Toast Shower Crème – Review

27 Feb

lovetoastI got a couple of  Love & Toast  body washes (or, as the bottle calls them, shower crèmes) at Grocery Outlet, as they were on sale for $2 for the the 8.2 fl oz bottle.  Usually, they retail for around $12!

The reason is that in addition to a bunch of unpronounceable chemicals, they have a bunch of natural oils and extracts.  Dew Blossom, for example, has minute amounts of pollen, honeysuckle, apricot, and matricaria extracts.   They also don’t have parabens and other things that may be bad for you.

As a body wash, they seem to work pretty well.  They have a nice lather and a good, neither too thick or thin consistency.  The bottle could be a little easier to squeeze, but it’s attractive and takes little room.

So far, Ive used the Dew Blossom and the Salt & Sea.  A reviewer described Dew Blossom as smelling like play-dough, and I can actually understand the comparison.  It’s basically a powdery, sweetish scent.  It reminds me of the perfumed powder my grandmother might have had, but it’s very light.  Salt & Sea smells of citrus and salt.  Basically, like a margarita would smell.  It’s a little bit strange because you don’t necessarily feel like you are cleaning yourself, when you  smell salty, but overall I like it.  I probably wouldn’t get more dew blossom, but might get another bottle of salt & sea.

I haven’t tried the body lotions, also available at Grocery Outlet for $2, but I might get one today before they are all gone. Update: I smelled the lotions, they’re all too citrusy for me.

Tags:

DealFlicks Twitter Follower Spam

23 Feb

Twitter spam is just as annoying as regular spam – perhaps even more so, as it trades on your good will and desire to play by the rules.  The way it works is simple: a would be spammer starts following you, banking that you will follow them back as a courtesy.  A smart spammer will then mix random tweets with once advertising its product, hoping you’ll mistake the ads for real tweets.

DealFlicks goes an extra step.  It apparently either hires interns, or, just as likely, creates them with the purpose of setting up twitter accounts.  The accounts include stylish photos of attractive young women with generic names like “Sophia Smith” or “Abigail Davis”.  It’s the description of each “intern” which alerted me to their spammines.  They are all along the same lines, e.g.  “Film geek. Avid movie aficionado. Explorer. Student. Social media nerd. Closet organizer. DealFlicks intern. #FollowBack #F4F#TeamFollowback.”  The hashtags are those used by spammers trying to get followers.     I’ve had three Dealflick interns follow me in the last couple of days, and I expect more, as they seem to have a legion of these accounts.

If you are curious as to why you’re being followed by multiple people with identical descriptions, like I was, you may google DealFlicks and find out that it’s a website for discount movie tickets.  An unethical, spammy website that doesn’t deserve anyone’s patronage.  Now you know to avoid them.

 

Tags: , ,

Bill Cosby Should Not Get Away with Rape

17 Feb

billcosbyLike seemingly everyone else, I used to have a lot of respect for Bill Cosby. I wasn’t the biggest fan of The Cosby Show – though I watched it off and on for years – but its spinoff A Different World, about students at a black college, started during my freshman year in college and I was an instant fan.

Somehow I missed the news in 2006 that fourteen women had accused Bill Cosby of drugging them and raping them.  He was being sued for sexual assault by the former Director of Operations of Temple University’s Women Basketball Program.  They had met through her job, they’d become friends and she saw him as a mentor.  One evening, he called her and invited her over to his house to discuss her desire to change careers.  When she told him how stressed she was about changing jobs, he offered her some “herbal medicine”, which she took.  Next thing she knew, she was dizzy, couldn’t walk and Cosby was helping her lie down on his couch, and then he was sexually assaulting her.  She lost consciousness and woke up feeling raw in her vaginal area.

After the woman came out with her story, the Cosby team proceeded to demonize her in the media.  But that caused other women to come forward with their own similar experiences .  In all, thirteen women said they would testify to being drugged and raped by Cosby.  Other women reached out to the victims also with similar stories, but were not willing to risk the public opprobrium that came with testifying.  At the end, they didn’t have to.  Cosby settled for an undisclosed amount.  None of the other women sued him.  The story resurfaced again when Cosby announced he’d star in a new show playing a wise family patriarch.

This is the kind of story that I don’t want to believe. As one commentator suggested, who wants to live in a world where Dr. Huxtable is a serial rapist? But Dr. Huxtable was a character as is the Bill Cosby we know from the media, whose image was undoubtedly carefully crafted by public relations agents and managers. The reality is that when thirteen women who have nothing to gain, put their careers and reputations at stake to speak their truth about a powerful man, I believe them. I’m disgusted at Bill Cosby.

I’m also disgusted that he’s given a pass. Brian Copeland, a local comedian whom I consider a friend, proudly posted a photo of himself next to Cosby on his Facebook page. I commented with links to interviews with two of the women whom Cosby raped, Tamara Green and Barbara Bowman.  Brian deleted them, as he deleted other comments about Cosby’s sexual assaults, arguing that “Bill Cosby is a friend”.  If someone is famous enough, rich enough, or is your friend, the fact that he drugs and rapes women apparently is of no consequence. It’s of even of less consequence to NBC and anyone else who hopes to make money from him.

The impunity that Bill Cosby enjoys does nothing but encourage other  would-be-rapists to act on their drives.  People who support Woody Allen, have argued that his daughter’s allegations that he molested her as a child are not credible because other children have not come out with similar allegations.  In this case, fourteen women tell similar stories, showing a pattern that spanned decades.   But if you like Bill Cosby, it’s easy enough to dismiss them, make up reasons why they don’t deserve to be believed.  By doing so, of course, you help support the culture of rape in which we live.

Sexual assault is different from other crimes in that it most often happens in private, without witnesses.  When the rapist and his victim know each other, it usually becomes a “she says/he says” scenario, with consent as the main issue.  Indeed, Cosby did claim that he had consensual sex with the woman who sued him.  Whatever physical evidence there is, can, after all, only prove sex – even bruises can be argued to come from consensual “rough sex“.   So-called “date rape drugs” dissipate from the body so quickly, that prosecutions in those cases are extremely difficult.   

Bill Cosby is a rapist.  Fourteen women have said so, and there is no reason whatsoever why they shouldn’t be believed.  He will not go to jail for what he did – and, given due process considerations, he probably shouldn’t -,  but he should at least suffer the same social opprobrium that he subjected his victims to.

 

(This article has been modified for grammar).

Tags: , , , ,

Witch Hazel for Yeast Infections

12 Nov

witchhazelIf you have large breasts, it’s not unusual to get the occasional yeast infection underneath them.  It’s an area particularly hard to keep dry (though deodorants do work).

Yeast infections ban be extremely itchy and painful.  They respond well to over-the-counter creams, but these are pretty expensive and not always available. So the last time I had a yeast infections, I wondered what else I had at home that I could use to treat it.

Witch hazel seemed like a good choice as it can be very drying.  I looked it up and others have used it successfully.  If nothing else, it promised relief.

Indeed, I got both. It made the infected area feel much better immediately, and by the next day most of the infection was gone.  I did have to reapply a couple of times, and it won’t prevent the yeast from coming back, but it did just as good a job as the creams would have.

Tags: ,

Horsin’ Around Adventures – Sedona, AZ – Review

24 Oct

Last summer we visited Sedona and, of course, that meant organizing a horse ride for the kids.  I’ve ridden a horse once in my life and that was enough to know I don’t want to do it again.

Most of the Sedona-based companies seem to get fairly good reviews, but Horsin’ Around Adventures seemed particularly friendly.  Plus they were OK with doing a last minute dusk trip.

The girls had a GREAT time.  In their word, the ride was “awesome”.  They had a 90-minute ride and, for the girls, it was not nearly enough.  For my husband, whose horse-riding muscles are not commonly exercised, the last half hour was painful.

The scenery was beautiful, I’m told, even though it was sprinkling and the tour guide very nice.

Horsin’ Around Adventures
2650 N. Dancing Apache Rd
Cornville, AZ
800-403-1690
http://horsinaroundsedona.com/

Tags: , ,

Open Letter to Judge Marco Roldan

20 Oct

Missouri Court Cites Woman for Bringing Breastfeeding Baby to Jury Duty

A Missouri judge has actually cited a breastfeeding mother for bringing her baby with her to jury duty!  This is the letter I sent him about it.

Judge Marco Roldan

Judge Marco Roldan 

Dear Judge Roldan,

 Like many other women across the nation I’ve learned about your mistreatment of a breastfeeding mother that was called for jury duty under you.  The woman, like any other breastfeeding mother in her situation, brought the baby with her.  Your response was to criminally cite her.
I don’t know you, so I don’t know if your actions are based in a complete disregard for mothers, for breastfeeding, for babies or for women.  It’s difficult to believe that you did not realize that the options that you offered the juror were not realistic and that they would put the baby in danger.
You suggested that the mother leave her baby at home or bring someone with her to take the baby and feed it during breaks.  Leaving aside the question of where the mother could find a babysitter to do this job and how she could pay her, which is not a trivial matter for a stay at home mom, these suggestions show a complete lack of understanding and concerns for the needs of breastfeeding babies.
First of all, breastfed babies are often fed on demand.  The baby cries or behaves in a distinctive way letting the mom know she’s hungry, and then mom picks her up and feeds her.  How often this happens depends on the baby, some do it every half an hour, some every 2 or 3, but the idea of letting a baby cry itself out and be hungry until the mom is ready to feed him has been proven to be cruel and traumatic for babies.
Your suggestion that the mother “pump” is equally ignorant.  Pumping is not something that breastfeeding women, in particular first-time mothers, can casually do. Pumping is an extremely inefficient way of getting milk out.  I was fairly good at it and it would take me 20 minutes hooked to a hospital-grade pump to get 4 oz of milk. If I used an electric one-breast pump, I’d be lucky to get 1 oz in 20 minutes.  That is definitely not enough for a baby.  And it takes time to learn how to pump efficiently.  A mom who has never done it, is unlikely to take on to it immediately.  I did not read that you offered her the services of a lactation consultant or to buy her a state of the art pump so she could serve.
Even if she could pump (and assuming that she would have stayed up the night before to pump so she could leave the milk for the baby), how do you know that the baby in question would take a bottle? Many breastfed babies don’t. It’s either breastfeeding or going hungry.  Do you actually believe it’s OK to let a baby go hungry?
Frankly, your lack of concern for this mother is deeply troubling.  If you treat a woman who is trying to fulfill her civic duty – she actually showed up to jury duty! — with so much contempt, how do you treat criminal defendants? How do you treat any other woman that comes before you?
As an outsider, I cannot believe that you can possibly be a fair judge.  Your lack of concern and humanity prevents that.
Honestly, I think you should resign and find a career where you cannot so easily harm others.
Sincerely,
Margarita Lacabe
a mom

Tags: , , , ,

Bad Behavior has blocked 318 access attempts in the last 7 days.