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OVER 10,000 Apple Apps and Counting!
Did you know, that in the first 142 days since Apple first started accepting new iPhone/iPod Touch Apps, there have been over 10,000 Apps added to the iTunes App Store?

My grandson told me that he has downloaded five pages of Apps onto his new iPod Touch. My Touch holds twice as much as his and I have only five Apps in toto: Facebook, Crazy Candle (came in handy for a candle-less birthday), Stanza (love it for reading ebooks), Twitterific and DataCase. Actually I have only four, as DataCase, the most expensive of all of them, didn’t work, so I deleted it.

So, thanks to Grandson’s enthusiasm, I went to the Apple Apps Store and downloaded many of the recommended ones at this link: “Top 15 iPhone Apps of 2008,” except for the games, plus a few others I found. Games bore me. I only downloaded the “FREE” Apps, as I know from experience that the Apps that charge oftentimes do not work, and there is little if any chance of getting a refund. Then I went to bed and before falling off to sleep I tried figuring out what I had done. Imagine this – I now have 160,000 recipes on my iPod, the complete works of Shakespeare plus some that scholars are not sure he wrote, Pandora radio, Urbanspoons restaurants, and two more lights, in case I need to see where I’m going at night. Now I need to find time to sync these to my new iPhone.

I am here to report that the favorite of all that I downloaded has got to be Pandora. It works perfectly. I now have my own custom made radio on this little device. It is like the old “Bluegrass Country” at WAMU has come back to life. WAMU kicked “Bluegrass Country” over to HD radio and the Internet, so they could have more “BORING, BORING” talk on WAMU. I’ve not listened to them since. Who needs them anyway? I’ve got an iPod Touch with all my favorite music on it. But I do miss Ray Davis.

The Shakespeare App is incredible, except it is not easy to read. I am used to reading books on my iPod Touch with STANZA, and I feel certain that I can download Shakespeare’s plays from STANZA for reading. But this Shakespeare App is nice for impressing my friends with my “new found” erudition. See, I carry ALL of the Bard’s works in my purse. If there are any quotations that they cannot remember, I can find them all right here on my iPod.

One of the lights was really not worth the price – FREE. I am going to delete that as I cannot figure what it is suppose to do, except click off and on. I like the Flashlight, as it could come in handy at the theater or when trying to find something at the bottom of my black bag (my purse). I’ve not tried the WordPress App yet.

Most of these Apps need WiFI to work, which in the past would have been a problem for me, as the iPod Touch is not always connected. That is probably why I had not downloaded so many Apps to it. Like the Google Maps are great, but I don’t usually need them at home where I have computers and Internet. I need them when I’m away from home – like on the streets of DC where they don’t work on the iPod Touch. Now my iPod Touch stays home and I go abroad with my new iPhone, where I will always be 100% connected to the real world – the Internet.

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The poem “Ingratitude,” by William Shakespeare (1564-1616), is a lesson from the ages. It should be a part of the education of every child to learn to be grateful. Unfortunately, in America, few parents read Shakespeare and it seems that few parents understand the importance of teaching graciousness to their children. In fact, it is obvious that many American parents actually teach their children “ingratitude” as a “refined” vice. Perhaps for this reason Shakespeare’s poem “Ingratitude” was included in Mary E. Burt’s 1904 anthology entitled “Poems Every Child Should Know,” (#16). Does your child know any of the included poems, such as this one from Shakespeare?

Blow, blow, thou winter wind,

Thou are not so unkind

As man’s ingratitude;

Thy tooth is not so keen

Because thou are not seen,

Although thy breath be rude.

Freeze, freeze, thou bitter sky,

Thou dost not bite so nigh

As benefits forgot;

Though thou the waters warp,

Thy sting is not so sharp

As friend remembered not.

~~William Shakespeare (1564-1616)

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When I arose to greet this last morning of the lucky 2007th year, I was charmed by a visitor come to feed just outside of my kitchen window. It was a brilliantly feathered flicker that delighted me with my first glimpse of my last day of the year. He was gone in an instant, and just as soon flew in three drearily brown English sparrows, hunkering round about the bird feeder all in a line just as though they belonged there. Well, they don’t I tell you!

No, those wicked little beasts don’t belong near my kitchen window nor anywhere else in all of North America. Same goes for their distant cousins, the dreadful starlings. I am sure that in their native land, they are considered quite beautiful, as they truly are, however, this is not their place. They roam here only because of the long ago meddling of some do-gooder environmentalist who believed it his righteous duty to recreate Shakespeare’s England in our new land.

When I first came to this place ten years ago, it was a most welcome discovery to find NO English sparrows in my garden. I had been at war forever, it seemed, with those foreign occupiers, and finally I was free! My last battle with the English was when I attempted to provide lodging for purple martins at my former home, just one mile away. The brown sparrow brigade barged forth, like the Tory soldiers of long ago, and commandeered the martin house for their own nefarious activities – such as breeding. They stood constant guard and waged war with any purple martins who tried to enter their own rightful domicile. The martins wished only to soar free as birds whilst devouring pesky mosquitoes and other harmful insects, but the Tory sparrows spared no quarter. The fearsome Brits won that war, so I know better than try a go at them again.

What is the old proverb – “nothing good ever lasts?” It must be true. Now the English sparrows have invaded my new garden. It won’t be long before they will overpower the lovely native birds that come visiting and for whom I provide seeds and fruit and winter coverings – the finches, the wrens, chickadees, mourning doves and titmouses*. Or are they “titmice?” Whatever they are, their days are numbered, as the English pirates steal their food and commit all the evil attrocities that the bloodthirsty are wont to commit against the good and trueborn of our land.

*My spellchecker tells me it is “titmice.”

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