7 Best Black Friday Specials

Shoppers, start clicking those keys. It's Black Friday!

This is the day we do most of our Christmas shopping.

I find myself buying more convenience items, safety things, techie stuff, and time savers every year.

I've got some things that I think are pretty neat so I'll share them with you. Maybe you'll like them too.

Before I get to the techie things, be sure to check into all the ebook specials, blog giveaways like the one on Romance Gems that starts Sunday, Dec. 1.

There are hundreds of ebooks at bargain prices in December and special events on many group blogs so enter all those giveaways and discover new authors.

In fact, if you're a voracious reader, try a subscription to Kindle Unlimited for yourself. (Most of my books are on Kindle Unlimited.) You get unlimited reading and music on any device. By the way, this makes a great gift for a friend.


The products below were listed at the prices I posted, but those deals may have expired. Check the price before you checkout in case it has re-priced. Make sure the price showing on the product is one you're willing to pay before you check out.

My Black Friday Selection of great Deals

RFID Blocking Travel Passport Holder Neck Pouch Wallet for Men & Women

If you have someone who travels internationally, this passport holder on a neck strap is just the thing—especially since it's also RFID Blocking.

It's lightweight breathable, and water-resistant, and it provides a safe and secure way to manage your valuables, bank cards, passport, ID cards, etc.

I know there have been plenty of times I could have used something like this. It's only $9.99 and comes in 7 colors.

Car Jump Starter, officially called GOOLOO 800A Peak 18000mAh SuperSafe Car Jump Starter with USB Quick Charge 3.0 (Up to 7.0L Gas or 5.5L Diesel Engine), 12V Portable Power Pack Auto Battery Booster Phone Charger Built-in LED Light

OMG! I have had some times in my life when I wish I'd had this device. It seems if a battery fails here in Texas, it's always on the hottest day of the year and when you're miles from a repair shop!

Unbelievably, this device has enough power to jump start most 12 volt vehicles on the road—gasoline or diesel—cars, motorcycles, watercrafts, ATVs, UTVs, SUVs, lawn mowers, yachts, boat, pickup,snowmobiles, etc. Fully charges in 5 hours and can hold a charge for more than 3 months.

Read all details on the charger's webpage. Charging is fast and efficient – helping you save time.

When I shopped this item was $44.99 with the regular price being $69.99. It's a fast-moving deal so make sure you're willing to pay whatever price is shown.

Photo and Video Printer for iPhone and Android.

A professional photographer once told me that future generations won't have albums of old photographs to show their children and grandchildren because everyone takes pictures with cell phones and most don't back them up on computer and rarely print them.

I realized she was right. This Photo and Video Printer for cell phones is amazing. It's like magic which is why it's branded a Harry Potter Magic Photo and Video Printer for iPhone and Android.

Harry Potter fans will love this. 3 x 3 sticky backed, zero Ink film, and all photos are ‘sticky backed’ so you can decorate your room or schoolbooks with your most cherished memories. 
Choose your own House too. Details on the product page, and it's a Black Friday price of $49.99 when I looked at it. Your Photos Come to Life Like Magic!

Amazon Fire TV Sticks

These little devices are priceless.

Cut the cable and the satellite dishes and go to online streaming with a Fire TV Stick. It's the easiest device I've ever connected.

You can download tons of free apps from your local tv stations websites to Amazon Prime Music, Pandora Music, Spotify, Prime Video Streaming, Hulu, Cheddar, and probably hundreds more.

You can get one with Alexa remote for only $19.99. I'll confess. We actually have 5 (we have a house in the country and one in Houston), but you can buy just one and move it from TV to TV.

Better yet, you can take it with you when you travel, plug it into the TV in your hotel room, login to your favorite apps, and watch what you choose to watch without paying an extra dime.

All-new Kindle - Now with a Built-in Front Light - Black - Includes Special Offers (That means ads appear when you power it on.)

This is a great deal. Kindles are my choice for reading. Yes, I can do it on my cell phone, but you can't see a cell phone in bright sunlight. You can read a Kindle at the beach! Sunshine doesn't wash it out. Carry hundreds of books in a Kindle. My first one lasted 8 years before dying. I dropped it on cement. I immediately bought another.

It's just easier to read on a Kindle, especially in bed when your spouse is trying to sleep. The built-in light doesn't have to be re-positioned constantly the way a book light on a print book requires. No sound of pages turning either. Black Friday price is only $59.99. Normally $89.99.

There are bundled items like Ring Doorbells and Echo Dots, Echo Shows and Smart Plugs, or just Smart Plugs alone would be great gifts.  (Some use WiFi; some don't. Some work with Alexa and others with the Google device.)

 I would be remiss if I didn't mention a kitchen appliance. I've given electric pressure cookers to all the kids, but I'll list one here in case you don't have one yet. They're such bargains on Black Friday.

6 Quart Instant Pot for only $89.99. Instant Pot Smart WiFi 8-in-1 Electric Pressure Cooker, Slow Cooker, Rice Cooker, Steamer, Saute, Yogurt Maker, Cake Maker, and Warmer|6 Quart|13 One-Touch Programs

I have an Instant Pot, and I use it about 3 times a week. In my opinion, it's the perfect kitchen appliance because it takes the place of a slow cooker, a steamer, a rice cooker, a yogurt maker, etc.

(Yes, I make my own yogurt because then I know it hasn't got a bunch of gelatin, thickeners, and flavorings I don't want.)

Sunbeam Programmable Bread Machine

I've bought 2 of these for myself—1 for our house in the country and 1 for our house in town. I've also given the kids a bread machine. Our oldest bread machine is more than 10 years old. Our newest is 3 years old.

We make at least 1 loaf a week, sometimes 2-3 depending on whether we have company. The bread is absolutely delicious. Making bread is easy with a bread machine. Just follow the instructions, and you get a beautiful, aromatic loaf of the best bread you've ever eaten.

We haven't bought a loaf of bread in over 3 years because we watched a documentary on bread. Homemade bread has 6 ingredients. Commercial bread bought at a store has 32 ingredients, only 6 of which are what is needed to make bread. The other 26 ingredients are chemicals I don't want in what I eat.

Currently they are $49.59, reduced from $77.55. Check price before you checkout in case they've changed the price.

Takeaway Truth

Have fun shopping!

Food for Thought at Thanksgiving

Wherever you are today, give thanks for:
  • all those you love
  • all those who love you
  • the blessings of liberty
  • your health even if you have some problems, you're still above ground
  • your spouse or significant other
  • your children if you're lucky enough to have some
  • your pets who love you unconditionally
  • your job even though it may suck at times
  • the roof over your head
  • the vehicle you drive
  • the warm clothes you have for winter
  • the heat in your home
  • and so many other things you take for granted.
Takeaway Truth

So many in our world are homeless and without the means of caring for themselves and others. Many have lost hope.

Tomorrow on Black Friday when you're trolling the malls or online, take a moment to make a charitable contribution to help someone in need.

Thanksgiving Share: Cranberry-Orange Relish

The marathon of cooking and baking has started for tomorrow is our annual feast day that we call Thanksgiving.

A lot of people give thanks for Tums, Gaviscon, etc. after indulging in the annual turkey, dressing, ham, yams, and more side dishes than should be legal.

And I haven't even mentioned desserts!

Every year I make a fresh cranberry and orange relish instead of buying the stuff in a can.

Cranberries-957583_1920, by Alexey Hulsov, Pixabay
The family loves this relish—I do too—and it's super easy to make. The tartness of the cranberries and the citrus scent and taste of the navel orange which is used skin and all make this almost like a palate cleanser. It's refreshing.

Joan's Cranberry-Orange Relish

1 large navel orange, do not peel
1 12-ounce bag of fresh cranberries
1/2 to 1 cup of sugar

(1) Wash the cranberries, picking out any squishy ones.
(2) Place in a colander and shake out excess water.
(3) Wash and dry the navel orange.
(4) Cut the orange into cubes and place in a food processor
(5) Pulse on high until it's cut into tiny pieces. Add 1/2 cup of sugar and pulse again.
Image by S. Hermann & F. Richter, Pixabay
(6) Add all of the cranberries and pulse until it looks like ground nuts. Add 1/4 cup of sugar, pulse, and taste.
(7) If it's sweet enough, stop now. If the cranberries and orange were really tart, you may have to add another 1/4 cup of sugar. If you do, pulse to combine all.
(8) Place in a covered container and refrigerate.

That's all there is to this super easy, fresh fruit relish.

Takeaway Truth

If you have any left over, use it to make Cranberry Orange Muffins! Absolutely delicious.

Why Thanksgiving Is a National Holiday

Yes, the Pilgrims gave thanks for surviving in the New World, but without Sarah Josepha Hale, a writer and editor, that first Thanksgiving would probably just a footnote in history.

Sarah Hale was the woman who convinced President Abraham Lincoln to officially declare Thanksgiving as a national holiday every year.

She had lobbied for years to have the sitting president declare a national holiday of Thanksgiving. She wrote numerous articles and letters to persuade the president to make Thanksgiving a federal holiday. She thought it would unify the Northern and Southern states before tensions and divisiveness became war.

Unfortunately, war did break out, but that didn't stop her from continuing to write letters to the president. Her last letter was written in 1863, and a week later, President Lincoln wrote a proclamation declaring Thanksgiving a national holiday.

We all owe a debt of gratitude to Sarah Josepha Hale for persisting in her belief that a day of thanksgiving would be a good thing for a country divided.

Mrs. Hale who founded the American Ladies Magazine, a periodical that promoted women's issues long before the suffrage movement, contributed a piece of writing that most children have learned for the last couple of hundred years.

She was the author of the children's poem, Mary Had a Little Lamb.

Takeaway Truth

Thank you, Sarah Josepha Hale, for both of your contributions to our country.

Defeat Porch Pirates

The holidays are just around the corner. Time to get ready for the porch pirates!

I was chatting with someone in a nearby subdivision that has become the happy hunting ground for porch pirates.

She had an expensive item go missing and was furious because tracking showed it as delivered.

When the post office told her it had been delivered, she thought the delivery person had stolen it. Everyone who commented on her post held the same opinion. It was delivery personnel but porch pirates. Unfortunately, her subdivision with its huge, beautifully-landscaped lots is perfect for stealing something without being seen by the homeowner or the neighbors.

I suggested she get a Ring Doorbell. My daughter has one. It's motion activated and chimes loudly without anyone actually pressing the doorbell.

There are many versions available, and they can connect to an Alexa device if you have one.

They're a relatively low-cost way to monitor what's happening at your front door. I like that my daughter can talk to someone at the door by simply saying, "Alexa, talk to the front door."

You don't have to have an Alexa. You can do the same thing with your phone, a tablet, or a computer.

It works on any home, with or without existing doorbell wires, and you can monitor your home in HD video with infrared night vision.

No matter where you might be, you can check on your property with Live View on-demand video.

I didn't know this, but it includes Lifetime Theft Protection. If your Ring Doorbell gets stolen, they'll replace it for free.

Takeaway Truth

Fortunately, I live in a gated community so that has not become a problem here, and I hope it doesn't. If it is a problem where you live, one of the Ring Doorbells is probably the best low-cost, effective solution.

Travel Insurance Is a Must

Last night on the 6 o'clock news, I saw a segment about a man who became ill while on a cruise to Mexico.

He and his wife disembarked and were taken to a local hospital where he was diagnosed with diabetes and treated for a kidney infection too.

Fast forward to his being well enough to be discharged. He was asked to pay his hospital bill so they could discharge him.

The only problem was that the bill was $14,000.00! Obviously, he didn't have that in his wallet or available on a credit card.

The man's story had a happy ending. The actor Tyler Perry heard about his plight and paid his hospital bill so he could go home to the U.S.

His wife summed up the experience by saying that anyone traveling should purchase Travel Insurance.

How To Get Travel Insurance

With that thought in mind, I looked into this issue. Obviously one of the problems is that the insurance contract is full of legalese that's so dense as to be impossible to understand. So how do you know what to buy and what it will cost?

Let's cut through the terminology and legalese.

1. Contact your health insurance provider and ask if you're covered for international medical bills. For instance, Medicare does not cover health problems if you're traveling outside the U.S. but some of the Medicare Advantage and Medigap policies do. You just have to ask them so you'll know.

2. If you find out your insurance doesn't cover you, then buy a travel policy that includes travel health coverage.

I found one source that recommended $100,000.00 in emergency medical coverage. If you're very conservative, you might want to up that to $300,000.00 in coverage so it would pay for a medical evacuation.

3. If you have a preexisting condition such as diabetes, joint problems, of some other chronic condition, be sure you get a preexisting condition waiver.

There is a bit of good news. If you're medically fit to travel when you buy your travel policy and you purchase the insurance with 2-3 weeks of making your first payment on the trip, the preexisting waiver is included.

4. Another good thing to get is Trip Cancellation Insurance.

Takeaway Truth

One never knows what might happen. Even the S.E.A.L. teams say that something always goes wrong with Plan A. Make the right kind of insurance your Plan B.

Saturday Share: Plan Your Thanksgiving Feast

Yep, you just learned your new in-laws are coming to Thanksgiving at your house!

Or maybe it's your uber critical mom or your boss or your hubby's boss—or both!

Don't panic.

There's a way to deal with the high-stress situation of providing a Thanksgiving feast that will amaze and delight everyone.

It's called Planning, and here's a step-by-step guide that you'll realize is just common sense and not something on the scale of the WWII D-Day invasion.

How to Plan a Great Thanksgiving Dinner
Sharing a Recipe for Success for Thanksgiving Dinner

1. Make an Event Planner on which you'll write down everything that must be done, step by step. This will be detailed in the steps that follow. Every day you will review your Event Planner.

2. Decide whether you're going to cook or order a ready-to-eat dinner from a restaurant or excellent supermarket. Or if you'll do a combination of both.

Who says a Thanksgiving Feast must be home-cooked? Not I. What's important is enjoying the day, and that means the food and the guests. So discuss it with your spouse/sig other and figure out what works for you.

If it's ordering everything or some things, then follow the next step.

3. Decide on the menu from appetizer to dessert to beverages. Write it out. Beside each item you list, make a note of how far in advance you can prepare and store the dish.

4. (a) If you're ordering some or all, place your order immediately. On your Event Planner, notate the day and time you must pick up the dishes and/or meal.

4. (b) If you're cooking some of dishes, add your Prep/Cook Schedule to the Event Planner so you know when you'll be prepping foods, cooking, and serving.

Decide on who will fill the water, tea, or wine glasses.

Refresh your memory of the recipe and start a Shopping List as you read.

If you're trying something new, make sure you know how to do the required procedures.

Make sure you write down the prep time and the cooking time for every dish so you can coordinate all dishes to be ready to serve at the same time.

If you're doing a turkey, know when you'll put it in a brine solution and what you must have for that. Plan for where you'll place it in the refrigerator or in an ice chest that's replenished regularly with ice.

5. Get your grocery shopping done as soon as possible, keeping in mind that you must have refrigerator shelf space available for storing produce and cold goods.

6. When will you clean the house and make the guest rooms ready? Add that to your Event Planner.

7. How will you serve your guests? Buffet? From dishes on the table? Set it up now, even to setting the dining table. Use place cards to avoid the, "where do I sit" conundrum. Cover everything with a king-size sheet to keep the dishes dust free.

8. Who will help you with your Event? Spouse? Children? Guests? Plan this in advance with specific tasks for each.

Always have something the guests can do because most people, especially women, will ask, "Is there anything I can do?"

9. Set out the serving dishes and platter on the kitchen table or long counter with the serving fork or spoon too.

Place a note that tells what goes in each dish so others won't be asking you where to put the gravy or the green beans.

10. When the turkey is resting before carving, you should be finishing up everything else. That's when you take a 10-15 minute break, all by yourself. This will give you a chance to check your Event Plan one last time and make sure you covered everything. Touch up your makeup, check your hairstyle, change clothes if necessary, and return to the kitchen.

11. Have the dishes and platters filled and carried to the sideboard or table. Have the glasses filled.

12. Be seated and indulge in a Thanksgiving tradition of holding hands around the table and saying grace and/or each person saying something for which they're grateful.

Takeaway Truth

Most of all, enjoy the day and the people who gather with you. Happy Thanksgiving.

Why Keep Writing?

Beginning a couple of weeks ago, I started questioning whether I wanted to throw in the towel, pull the pin, or any of those other phrases that describe retiring.

Darling Hubby is retired now, and I know he'd like me to do the same plus there are other considerations, which I won't share at this time, that make retirement seem inevitable.

Book royalties seem to keep declining, and authors everywhere are bemoaning the minuscule royalties most are earning.

Wisdom of Wiser Authors

I turned to what other authors had ti say about the pros and cons.

Norman Mailer said, "Writers don’t have lifestyles. They sit in little rooms and write."

That's true. I might be able to have a normal lifestyle if I didn't write.

Jim Murray said, "Learn to write. Never mind the damn statistics. If you like statistics, become a CPA."

I've usually ignored the depressing stats on book sales and who's making or not making a living wage.

I think your reality is what you make it to a great extent. If you think you'll be above the norm, then you probably will be.

Kingsley Amis said, "If you can't annoy somebody, there's little point in writing."

*G* Yes, there are definitely some benefits in writing and making people who have "done you wrong" in some way the villain in a book. You, the author, may be the only one who knows, but that's a way of dealing with your own emotional baggage that helps.

Jessamyn West said, "Writing is so difficult that I often feel that writers, having had their hell on earth, will escape all punishment thereafter."

Hey, a "get out of jail free" card. Cool.

Of course, the bottom line is that I write because it brings me satisfaction and happiness.

It fulfills me on an elemental level. I've never been in it for the money because it's all a crap shoot. 

Takeaway Truth

My decision is easy. I'll retire when I don't have the desire to tell stories any more or when it doesn't "complete me."

Thursday3Some: 3 Cooking Gadgets for Thanksgiving

Good news for the Thanksgiving Chef of the household!

There are some great new gadgets to help you manage the preparation and cooking of your Thanksgiving Dinner this year.

Also good news—you still have plenty of time to order these gadgets and use them on the big cooking day ahead.

Here are 3 that I think are particularly appealing.

1. Norpro Reusable Turkey/Poultry Timer, only $14.95, Amazon Prime Free Delivery and Free Returns

For many cooks, knowing when a turkey is done is a difficult skill to master. This timer eliminates the guesswork and gives you the peace of mind of knowing you're not serving raw poultry!

he legs spring up when the internal temperature reaches a certain point that means the turkey is ready to serve.

This timer can be reused 300+ times. Just follow the instructions.

2. Dishwasher Magnet Clean Dirty Sign [Upgraded Metal Design]. $13.99. Amazon Prime and Free Returns.

This isn't precisely a cooking gadget, but it is used in the kitchen, and it addresses one of my pet peeves. Like all recent dishwashers, mine displays a "CLEAN" light when the cycle has finished. As soon as someone opens the dishwasher door to get something out then shuts the door, that "CLEAN" cycle light goes off. If the dishes stay inside the washer all day, there have been many times when my husband or I open it and play the guessing game of, "are they clean or dirty?"

Years ago, everyone had little magnets on the dishwasher doors. One side said clean and one side said dirty. Flip it over, and you know what the dishes inside were. Well, someone finally came out with a Sliding Indicator Reminder that's adhesive since so many of the so-called stainless steel dishwasher doors are really aluminum. Magnets won't stick, but Sticky Tab Adhesion works great.

3. OXO Good Grips Swivel Peeler, $9.99. Amazon Prime and Free Returns.

I have one of these, and it really does take the work out of peeling potatoes, carrots, or any other vegetable. I hate peeling potatoes. That was one of my chores when I was a kid. I bet I've peeled bushels, and I had to do it with a paring knife.

It's amazing how a simple kitchen tool can take away the drudgery of prep work.

Takeaway Truth

Do you have your menu planned and the order of cooking listed? I'll give some tips on that Saturday along with a recipe.

Christmas Shopping? Techie Gift Ideas

If you're already Christmas shopping, are you looking for something a little different?

Maybe your kids or grandchildren are part of the on-the-go tech generation. They want gadgets and a way to power them.

Check out some of these devices that are extremely useful, desirable, and affordable.

Forget gift cards or writing a check. Give something they actually want and can use.

Try this selection of Gift Ideas that today's techie on-the-go generation will love.

1. mophie Wireless Charge Pad, Apple Optimized, 7.5W Qi Wireless Technology for Apple Iphone 11, Pro, Max, XR, XS Max, X/
XS, 8 and 8 Plus. Black. $29.99, and it's the Deal of the Day today on Amazon since it usually sells for more than $54.00!

4 hours left to grab it. Offers free returns if you don't like it. Be sure the price is still $29.99 because the clock is ticking.

2. Duracell Rechargeable Powerbank 10050 mAh - 3 day portable charge.

This device can deliver 3 extra charges to your cell phone, and it has safety features to keep it from over-charging, over-discharge, and over-heating.

$33.43, and it's Amazon Prime so if you're a subscriber, it's free shipping to you or your gift recipient.

3. FIXD OBD2 Professional Bluetooth Scan Tool & Code Reader for iPhone and Android.

At $59.99, this vehicle diagnostic code reader is a bit more expensive, but if you have a car, you'll want this. It works with iPhone and/or Android.

Darling Hubby received one last year—he's a car guy who likes to know what's wrong with his car before he takes it in for service!

This reads the computer code in your vehicle when that Check Engine Light goes on. He's used it on 2 of our vehicles and on 2 neighbors' vehicles. He loves it, and he's a guy who's hard to buy gifts for.

4. Dodow - Sleep Aid Device - More Than 500.000 Users are Falling Asleep Faster with Dodow!

I'll probably order this for myself. I'm the kind of person described in the product information. My mind is full of ideas, and I can't turn it off! I have such trouble falling asleep at night.

Dodow is a bit pricey at $59.80, but if it works, it's worth it. It's Amazon Prime which means, as a subscriber, I can return it (free returns!) if it doesn't help me fall asleep.

Takeaway Truth

Time is already slipping away. Better start shopping!

Review: The Great Raid

I've been waking up very early every morning. Not because I want to, but because I suddenly wake and lay there thinking about too many problems that have no ready solutions.

So I get up, turn on the coffee maker, grab a cup, and go upstairs to the media room.

I cruise around Netflix and Amazon Prime, looking for something interesting to watch because 3am is far too early to start writing.

On Netflix, I came across The Great Raid starring Benjamin Bratt and James Franco, directed by John Dahl, and released in 2005.

(If you're not a Netflix subscriber, you can rent or buy The Great Raid from Amazon.)

Even though I'd never seen the movie before, I knew it was about the famous rescue mission the American forces undertook to save the remaining prisoners of war who had survived the Bataan Death March.

In early 1945, as World War II is nearing its end, Gen. Douglas MacArthur selects Lt. Col. Henry Mucci (Benjamin Bratt) to command a bold rescue mission in the Philippines. There, in the city of Cabanauan, more than 500 American soldiers are being held captive in a brutal prisoner-of-war camp. With the assistance of Capt. Prince (James Franco), Mucci will lead the valiant soldiers of the 6th Ranger Battalion in one of the boldest POW rescues in American history.

The movie was as compelling and tension-filled as any action movie. The actors were believable, and the story was thrilling.

While watching, hoping they managed to rescue the POW's, I found myself forgetting that the story was finished long before I was born.

Why The Movie Resonated With Me

I found the movie especially stirring because I've visited the Philippines and lived in Japan, many years after WWII when the Japanese had become our "friends."

I also remember a long ago day when I lived in Japan and was window shopping along Moromi Street in Koza.

An ancient old woman walked up to me, rattled off several sentences in Japanese then spit on me.

As she ambled away, a gift shop owner I knew came out of her shop, wringing her hands. She'd witnessed the saliva assault. She apologized, saying, "She lost her sons in war."

I was shocked, but not traumatized. I felt sorry for the old woman who carried such hatred inside her.

In Asia, people have long memories...like the old woman demonstrated. By the same token, when I went to South Korea all those years ago, many shop owners in the Itaewon District disdained the Japanese tourists.

I saw an old man refuse to wait on the Japanese. The salesman waiting on me said, "Japan treat Korea bad in war."

I understood what he meant just as I understood about the old Japanese woman and the desperate attempt to rescue the survivors in the Philippines.

I guess it helps knowing World History which isn't taught to a great extent in American schools any longer.

Takeaway Truth

Watch The Great Raid. It's an amazing action movie, and it's the kind of story everyone should know.

Remember if you don't have Netflix, you can get The Great Raid from Amazon.

RFID Tutorial: Defeat Hackers

Darling Hubby and I recently bought new wallets with RFID protection.

I thought I'd give a little tutorial about why this is important. Like most new things in today's world, it's to defeat the bad guys out to steal your private information.

What Is RFID?

RFID is the acronym for Radio Frequency Identification which is used for communicating or transferring information over short distances. All that is needed is the RFID chip, an electronic reader, and close proximity of the chip and the reader.

There are two main types of RFID chips.

(1) Passive Tags which require a radio signal to be emitted from the receiver in order for the information to be read. That means they can operate only in a small distance from each other. Therefore, they can’t transmit a lot of data. This kind of RFID chip is in your credit cards.

(2) Active Tags which contain on-board batteries and can transmit data over a larger distance. That also means they can transmit a much larger amount of data than a passive tag. This kind of active tag is in your toll pass device, mounted somewhere on your vehicle, probably on the windshield.

RFID Hackers

Unfortunately, it's easy for RFID chips to be hacked. Everything needed to make an RFID reader can be bought online, and instructions for hacking RFID chips are also posted online.

Hackers can even gain access to the embedded information on something you have and edit that information!

So what's the average consumer with RFID chips embedded in credit cards, toll tags, door passes, and more supposed to do?

Solutions range from the simple to the complex. Because metal and water are the only things that defeat RFID hacking, many people wrap their RFID chip embedded credit cards in aluminum foil.

That's not a great solution. It just means the hacker with the hidden device must get very close to you in order to steal your data. If you want the cheap solution of aluminum foil, then line the bill compartment of your wallet with foil. That's a bit better.

Better than foil is the RFID Blocking Wallet Sleeve. They come in packages, but they wear out and have to be replaced frequently.

The best solution is to buy a new wallet with RFID protection built in. The one my husband bought is like this.

There are many styles so look around. The important thing was to find one that was similar to what he already carried.

For women, it's easier since you drop it into your purse, but for me, it's more difficult since most carry a wallet in their hip pocket.

Many RFID wallets for men are thicker because of the metal so they may not be comfortable. Buy something that can be returned free.

The most effective are those that use a Faraday Cage with a leather exterior. Look for RFID wallets that say, "Electromagnetically Opaque."

For more on wallets like this, read the MakeUseOf article: RFID Wallets.

Takeaway Truth

It becomes annoying and difficult to stay one step ahead of the bad guys, but it's necessary to protect yourself.

What to Know About Military Honors

Veterans Day: In honor of my Dad who was part of the World War II D-Day invasion.

Thank you, Veterans, for your service and sacrifices.

I honor you and the active duty personnel (and all first responders too) who are serving as I write this.

Once, long ago, just about everyone in the United States had a relative or friend who served in the military.

I don't think that's true now. Perhaps it's because our armed forces are now made up entirely of volunteers.

Not very many people are familiar with the various awards bestowed upon members of the armed forces. Sure, everyone's heard of the Purple Heart and the Medal of Honor, but do you know why they're given? How often their give? What the criteria are for a person to receive one of these or any of the several other medals? I hope this post will enlighten.

What is the highest honor awarded for bravery to a member of the military?

Congressional Medal of Honor
The Congressional Medal of Honor.

There are 3 versions: Army, Air Force, Navy and Marines. Most often, it's given posthumously.

There are 71 living recipients of this award for bravery above and beyond.

A few months ago, President Donald Trump awarded the Medal of Honor to David Bellavia, the first living Iraq War recipient.

What are the top military medals awarded?

The Purple Heart is probably best known and is awarded to soldiers who are wounded during battle.

For the United States Army, the Distinguished Service Cross is awarded for extreme acts of heroism for soldiers who act valiantly but don’t quite earn a Medal of Honor.

The Navy Cross is the honor most likely to have been awarded to servicemen present during the Pearl Harbor attack and is identical to the Distinguished Service Cross and carries the same eligibility criteria.

Like the Navy Cross, the Air Force Distinguished Service Cross has the same requirements.

The Silver Star, the third-highest honor awarded to military personnel, is presented to a member of the United States military who exhibits a level of bravery not meeting the criteria for a Medal of Honor or Service Cross.

Who can be buried with full military honors?

Those who are eligible for military funerals and full honors in the United States include: Active duty or Selected Reserve in the U. S. Armed Forces and former active duty or Selected Reserve who departed under conditions other than dishonorable in the U. S. Armed Forces.

What is a 21-gun salute?

At most military funerals, many mistake a 21-gun salute for the 3 volleys fired from their rifles by an honor guard team. The origin of this is from traditional battle ceasefires where each side would clear the dead. The firing of three volleys indicate the dead were cleared and properly cared for.

Who receives a flag at a military funeral?

A U.S. flag is provided, at no cost, to drape over the casket or to accompany the urn of a deceased veteran who served honorably in the military. The flag is given to the next-of-kin after its use during the funeral service.

Who should salute during a military funeral?

Only those who are in the military or are are veterans of the military salute. Civilians do not, but it is proper to place your hat or your hand over your heart during those times.

To view these medals and learn more about them, visit Military Awards for Valor.

Takeaway Truth

We owe our freedom to those who guard it and protect us.

Review: Spitfire

Spitfire, The Plane That Saved the World, is a 2018 documentary, made in commemoration of the Royal Air Force's centenary. It's an amazing history of the Spitfire airplane and the fighter pilots who helped win World War II's Battle of Britain.

Directed by David Fairhead and Anthony Palmer with Music composed by Chris Roe, the Cinematography by John Collins is breathtaking.

Darling Hubby and I once owned our own plane so anything about planes and flying appeals to us, but this documentary is stirring and emotional.

You truly grasp the importance of the contribution made by the outnumbered pilots who flew the Spitfire.

Outnumbered and outgunned by the Nazi air fleet, the pilots of the Spitfire managed to save England.

Charles Dance, most recently known for his role as Tywin Lannister in HBO's Game of Thrones, narrated the documentary.

(Executive Producers were Keith Haviland, Trevor Beattie, Christian Eisenbeiss, Mark Stewart, and Patrick Mills.

Of particular interest in the documentary is Mary Ellis who was a woman pilot in WWII. Like her counterparts in the U.S.A. during WWII, she wasn't allowed to fly combat missions.

Instead Ms. Ellis and all the other women pilots who served during the Second World War, flew the planes from factories to air bases or ferried them as needed from base to base.

Now 100 years old and in good health, Ms. Ellis told of signing her name on the last Spitfire she flew from the factory, just on a whim.

Her signature can still be seen on that plane, one of three that is still flown. The pilot in the documentary asked her to sign it again on camera, and she did.

This documentary is the best kind of history lesson. With actual newsreel footage from the era, the story is told in such a dramatic and personal way that it's gripping and compelling.

We watched Spitfire on Amazon Prime since it was a new release. If you're not a subscriber, you can rent it from Amazon. It's certainly worth the time, and it costs less than a dollar.

Takeaway Truth

The film is exciting and character-driven as much as it is a history of a remarkable aircraft. Definitely watch it. You'll be amazed at the plane, and the men and women who won the Battle of Britain.

Thursday3Some: 3 Ways to Protect Your Vision

Image by skeeze,  from Pixabay
Today I had an eye exam. My vision is of the utmost importance to me—just as yours is to you, I'm sure.

Because the leading causes of blindness and low vision are age-related diseases such as macular degeneration, cataract, diabetic retinopathy and glaucoma, I thought I'd pass along 3 tips about protecting your vision as you age.

Unfortunately, most of us tend to ignore our health, including our vision, and don't take note of subtle signals that something is wrong or different.

1. The very first thing you should do is know your family's health history.

Does anyone in your family suffer from diabetes, artery diseases, or have a history of high blood pressure? If so, then that increases your risk for vision problems. Be sure to have regular physical exams for diabetes and high blood pressure as well as an annual vision exam.

Untreated, diabetes and high blood pressure can lead to vision loss from diabetic retinopathy, macular degeneration, and eye strokes which occur when arteries or veins in the retina are blocked. Eye strokes cause vision loss. The severity of the loss depends on the extent and location of the blockages and loss of blood flow. Your eye also may suffer damage when vital structures such as the retina and optic nerve are cut off from nutrients and oxygen flowing through your blood.

2. Always look for warning signs of changes in your vision.

If you notice changes in your vision, like double vision, hazy vision, or difficulty seeing in low light conditions, contact your eye doctor.

Safety goggles
There are other eye conditions that have the potential to develop into serious eye problems, such as red eyes, flashes of light, "floaters," eye pain, and swelling.

3. Practice the same good health habits that benefit your entire body.

Always wear Safety Goggles like the ones shown at right, fit over prescription glasses, and they're not expensive. Make wearing safety goggles a practice when working with tools or chemicals.

Don't smoke. It's bad for so many aspects of your health including your eyes.

Eat a diet high in vegetables, fruits, antioxidants, and fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids benefit your eyes too.

Exercise frequently, like brisk walking, and wear sunglasses with UV filters.

Safety Glasses
If you target shoot, eye protection for the gun range is also affordable. No legitimate gun range will allow you to target shoot without safety glasses. Darling Hubby and I have the Safety Glasses shown at left.

It's better to have your own safety glasses than to wear the ones provided by the range because they don't fit that well, they're dirty, and heaven knows how many germs are on them. *LOL*

Takeaway Truth

Do all you can to protect your vision.

Don't Trust Cell Phone Calller ID

Did you know there are apps like (I'm not going to name them) for iPhone and Android that allow a user to fake their cell phone identity?

Even worse, these apps  are sold on the Apple and Android app stores.

Unbelievable? Yes, but it's true. These apps were created for legitimate uses such as police shielding their identity or a salesman for a national company who wants to appear locally-based.

Of course, crooks grabbed hold of this immediately. It works like this. You download the app, enter the number you want to call then put in the number you want to appear on the recipient's caller ID. That fake number could be someone's bank, a credit card company, the IRS, Medicare, or any number that might seem legit.

The Truth in Caller ID Act of 2009 makes it legal to spoof caller ID unless the intent is to defraud, cause harm or wrongfully obtain anything of value. Proving that is as difficult as you can imagine.


Beware of any phone call you receive that claims to be a company you might do business with. Never give any information to anyone who calls even if the Caller ID is a name you recognize. Tell them you'll call back then do so with a number you obtain from the back of your credit card or a number you know is correct.

Takeaway Truth

There are more fakes, scams, and crooks out there than you can possibly imagine. Beware and take care.