Tuesday, September 10, 2013


UPDATED :  September 10, 2013
OLd time  phone booth in Vegas at hotel
 near CES confernces

Read the fine print and don’t sigh -- a sigh of relief -- just yet because you’ve put your phone number and address on the FCC Do Not Call or Do Not Send lists. Indeed a generous offer, but, most of the incessant number of calls coming into our smart phone cannot all be traced by the FCC.  Scammers are usually one step ahead.   But I've got some news too.  

I found out, even your carrier cannot successfully weed out ALL the chaf from the wheat -- when it comes to unwanted calls. Carrier are more in the business of  sales and commissions, so be one step ahead. INFORMED.  

OK, Houston, copy that! (Again)

Scammers: What is new? And what can you do about it? 

There was one app (I found out later), hiding in plain site, but, it would take some time to discover it, without the help of big phone carrier business.  I refer to   the app to ‘get rid of’ my  I-phone caller stalkers who have harassed me (and many of you). Do they get paid to keep calling to sell us some "scam?"  You can be somewhat pro-active, but, it's not 100% ... so, just don't answer, for openers! 
For extra protection, I’ve added my name, address and phone number on the DO NOT CALL list, however, the same weird calls keep ringing off the hook, although a less frequently.  Once upon a time the calls came up to  5x a the most inopportune times . 

Numbers like 306/1002/212 102, etc. and the usual area codes where I know no one.  

 ATT,is a little behind on their “how to dump caller-stalkers” suggestion box (unless you want to pay them -- but they can't delete every single call!  Although like certain call blocker websites, once again, you'll pay for their service.  This may reduce calls to a minimum.  

Recently I got an email from a friend about scammer area codes and how it MIGHT cost YOU .. read it on the ATT link below. You might be surprised . Yes, you can be billed, so be careful with unknown numbers. 

Let's go to the cost of your device now and your monthly bills. 

How much is too much for a "smart" phone?  Let us not be stupid and give away hard earned money.  Here's a tip before you sign that next contract. 

 Your devices can cost you around $650 or  you can get  a NOT SO GREAT deal 2 year contract.  As of this week (September, 2013), you can buy a new I phone -- features galore, for $650 or sign a contract for 2 years for a small fee of $200 .. Sounds good for more bells and whistles?  Got the latest AD on TV today, September 10, 2013.  Take it easy and look at what it will cost you to pay for that phone. 

Check a little further to see if the carrier hasn't got yet more fees upfront in that already bulky bill you're paying now . Maybe a little extra for the cool phone which comes in new colors and dazzles you .. extra extra extra .. read all about it . 

...  The teller at my bank tells me she is paying $180 monthly for 3 I phone-5s! OMG, I thought --  I could purchase a new car for that monthly fee. And, she said she got a deal.  

Try this:  Our two phones, last year's models, have been switched by my wise son who saw an opportunity to save us phone bucks .. Net 10 now has us unlimited EVERYTHING, and, the cost you ask?  Try $85 for two phones -- no contracts with two still cool Apple I-phones purchased two years ago.  Got plenty of features for now for this writer. NOW, compare $85 vs $180 ..!! 

Do your shopping folks .. you can save a bundle without a bundle. 

 Your carrier can sell the sky, but can they offer you any GOOD deals? Will your new "fancy" phone know who's who of scammers? No.  Will you salary go down as your carrier phone bill goes up? Yes .    
  • Take matters into your own hands, literally, and look for the features on your smart phone -- you know, the one you bought a couple of years ago on that contract? You might surprised how much is "high tech" that you never knew you had.  So, why sign a new contract?  Can you afford new phones for the family? 
 Here are the options phone carriers and the FCC offers their consumers with smart phones: and cells need to know:
  • ·        Pay a website they refer you to for the cost of around $8 per month, which can only reduce some of the incoming calls;  

  • ·        Put your name on the “Do Not Call” lists (as if any of us haven’t figured that one out yet). Or, last but not least,

  • ·        Pay them  an extra $5 a month to “reduce” the calls. 
  • OR, pay less for an unlimited everything phone. Here's some tips from my two sources. 
    OK, time to call in the real expert,  the top device-surgeon  I know who gets me up to speed on my gadgets and the smart phone -- my son,  Casey Julian, an electronics consultant genius who attended  CES in January 2013 as an affiliate with me, the writer. His guidance was key to organizing this expedition into a compettve market of the latest technology and all the glamour and glitz your future wallet is ready to buy.

 Did he have any  other suggestions to contribute to this article? YES, most of them.

  Start by researching carrier companies offering the most bang for your "talk and media time" .. Get the best deal. for your family,  Net-10 runs off AT&T, and it was the decision without a contract and the unlimited which got Casey to choose this carrier from Walmart, of all places.  Compare and research.  

Casey stays ahead and checks all  electronics and gadgets deals. His customers know the Be "in the know" and save save save!  

Casey teaches Ipad to Aunt
 My next expert, whose article I found on CES’ LinkedIn pages, Andrew Burger, writes for Telecompetitor.  His artcle,  “Smart Phone Apps Save Money,”  confirms the plus in owning one. But you don't have to pay an arm and leg to buy one. Here is an excerpt: 
·        The 97% of U.S. smartphone owners who make use of mobile apps are saving lots of time, and that translates into saving lots of money, according to a survey conducted by ClickSoftware.    U.S. smartphone owners who use mobile apps save up to 88 minutes per day, as much as 22 days’ worth of free time per year, according to reported survey results. That could yield as much as $12,000 in savings as compared to the average $174 smartphone owner surveyed paid for their devices, according to a press release. 

In conclusion,  No fee monthly to reduce strange calls,  never have to worry about going over my limits on using internet, phone, or messaging and media.   

Who knows?  Might just buy a new car this coming year with the savings from my new smart phone bill!  

Are you a smart consumer who uses all the features your gadgets have to offer you?  Please write your comments below . What has been your experience?

ATT Links to Scammer area codes:

Link to Andrew Burger article:

For the latest FCC information see the video at this link YOU SIGN YOUR NEXT SMART PHONE CONTRACT: DON'T BE STUPID

Sunday, August 4, 2013


Arthritis is the leading cause of disability in the nation. Could you have Arthritis and not know it?
According to the Arthritis Foundation, arthritis is a complex “family” of musculoskeletal disorders consisting of more than 100 different diseases or conditions that can affect people of all ages, races and genders.   

In my state of Alabama (you can find your state on the arthritis website), arthritis has impacted the lives of 1.2 million adults and an estimated 5,000 children.   In the United States 50 million American adults (that’s one in five), have doctor-diagnosed arthritis as well as 300,000 children under the age of 18.  And, two-thirds of people with arthritis are younger than 65 years old. So, you can see that this isn’t just an “old age” disease.

And, statistics add up to billions of reasons why we must improve our understanding of Arthritis and spread the word.  Be responsible for our own care, or others,  by   sharing information with those we know and love.  The already “glum” reality of healthcare costs rising as our economy is stammering to stabilize  The Arthritis Foundation is treating this -- – as a serious health related issue, with lots of silver linings if one can learn ways to improve and manage this condition. The sooner , the better.   
Arthtis Exercise Program Participants
  • ·         By the year 2030, an estimated 67 million American adults will have arthritis.
  • ·         Arthritis and related conditions cost the U.S. economy $128 billion per year in medical care and indirect expenses, including lost wages and productivity.

If you ask yourself if there is anything one can do about it – the answer is yes!  Under the Evidence Based Health Programs and the Older Americans Act (OAA) of 1965, seniors over 60 may find classes offered in their community given for a small fee, or free. 
At any age, research shows that exercise has proven to reduce pain, maintain a healthier lifestyle and manage chronic conditions. And, with Arthritis, this is also true. You can certainly start with walking – any time you walk, there’s more than one benefit.  If you are looking for a more structured exercise program,   there are numerous health, prevention and wellness programs for all ages.  Check with your local colleges or Area Aging for those over 50.  DVDs specific to people with arthritis are also helpful if you can’t get out.   (See references for suggestions.)

I began my journey as an arthritis instructor with a simple definition but the entire picture is much more complicating.  I got the definitions of Osteoarthritis, Osteoporosis, Rheumatoid Arthritis and had  no idea that Fibromyalgia, for example, is a related condition, which does not affect the joints.

 Arthritis means “joint inflammation.”  First, look at the structure of a joint.  A Joint allows movement however, sometimes, for example, through an injury, one of the sections of a joint, may suffer damage.  Inflammation is a natural response to the injury and other condiitons, and it is involved in many types of arthritis, not only through an obvious injury.

The participants in my class at a local senior complex all “knew” they had some type of arthritis but many had not been diagnosed.  Those who were diagnosed and who may have had joint surgery knew exactly what exercises may be harmful or those which may beneficial. 

As an instructor, I knew I had to remind them to “go at their pace,” and “listen to their body,” before, during and after class.  I studiously prepare each class based on the instructions provided me during a long intensive workshop and a number of lessons before becoming fully certified.

Week after week   class participants return  at the senior complex where I taught (ages from 60 to over 90 years old), eager to “work out.”   Their life stories are as fascinating as they are vibrant and beautiful.  Many have already noticed a difference in how much better they feel and many walk in between days they are not in class.  Their age was not a deterrent to successfully complete the lessons. 

I can confirm that the results after around the 6th class, participants began to feel better by doing the special arthritis class exercises. A few even told me that were taking less over the counter medication and feeling less pain.  Good News!

These participants in the photo  are a sampling of – the real faces of arthritis – which the Arthritis Foundation refers to in their website.   The Foundation is  doing some work and raising awareness with all the good information and solid research.  You'll find nutrition and exercise hand in hand. 

The Arthritis Foundation’s aim is to reduce the impact of arthritis by 20 percent by 2030.  Are you be informed enough to know more arthritis, help a friend,  perhaps help a child get diagnosed, walk for the cause, attend an exercise class, volunteer your time or donate.   --

Ask your family doctor if you might be a person with arthritis? You could be a person with arthritis and not know,it --  but why not find out early so the condition can be treated.

To learn more about these vital organizations, their missions and the programs and/or services they provide and the many ways you can volunteer or donate. 

 Or, if you wish to improve your overall health, please visit the websites listed below.  (The Arthritis Foundation: Information, tips, Exercise DVDs)   (The Arthritis Foundation Magazine)

*Information obtained through The Arthritis Foundation Workshop and the website.

 Carolyn M. Rhodes is a certified Arthritis Exercise Instructor and presently a volunteer at the Presbyterian Apartments in Northport, Alabama.


Wednesday, February 13, 2013

A Valentine's Day Tribute to the Emails I once loved

  I love to get the "Happy Valentine's Day" call from my friends Michelle and Irv. They know it is indeed my favorite holiday -- whether or not I am in love, out of love, happy or sad, they remind me that I am a "romantic." I have to rethink it every year -- what does it means to me and why do I love celebrating love. It’s simple. Human beings fall in love with sunrises, sunsets, memories, their pets, family and friends, art, movies, good books, God. And, last but not least - the divinity of romantic love.
A mystery of the mind when it comes to who we love.
Where can one find all of the above? On and off the internet, we are here, there and everywhere. We choose the “Alice in Wonderland” trip with compass in hand, guiding us through the forest of unfamiliar places where flawed strangers and knights in shining armor share the spotlight. As each new dating service emerges in cyberspace, there’s a ton of dollar bills banked by websites with little more than photos and questionable bios leaving you to judge the candidates. Perhaps it is wiser to meet through your friends, family and church. Two different routes, the superhighway and in our own backyards, love is up for grabs.

It was about 10 years ago I reconnected with my high school friends and that was nothing short of "romantic" I had my childhood pals back and with the click of a button, we were communicating via AOL’s email. In those days, the email box had your main contacts and work colleagues. It was manageable and the greatest invention of the late 20th century. So, who isn’t grateful for what we had for a short time?

“You’ve got mail,” was the “envelope” we received at the speed of light. In a New York minute we traded our memoirs over the decades. Our childhood memories flooded my psyche with immeasurable pleasure. We never wanted this “quick” messaging back and forth to ever change. These instant connections comforted us, invited us, and loved us when we blue. But, everything changes and along with it went the excitement of “newness” of instant connecting.

Nowadays, our inboxes are full of ads, news, sales pitches, porn, scammers, and hackers. Frantically, we work to delete most of them. No time for little romantic notes and watching our Ps and Qs, checking for good grammar. An entirely new shorthand has taken over as we are move faster, we may forget those we already love and who love us on Valentine’s Day. Love never grows old.

Emails today come to us in waves. Every second, a new email message pops up, like it or not... Ten years later, and into the 21st century, it seems that the romance of  good email writing has taken a detour.  Those cherished emails, the very first ones we couldn't wait to read  -- now gobbled up into cyberspace, someplace.

Theresa Milo Mitchell, My Mom,  Joe's girl.
However, nothing could  “top” the love letters of my parent’s generation, perfumed and neatly filed into a decorative box, to be read and re-read, touched and held close to the heart of a loved one.  It's the old memories I'm in love with -- and the newer ones.

Emails I once loved to read and write, like the love letters of years ago, aren't totally lost.  
Home is where the heart is -- the superhighway of my mind.