Sunday, August 31, 2008

There’s a Wiki Online to Help Coordinate Information on Hurricane Gustav

Thanks to a tweet on Twitter by Beth Kanter ( – “a trainer, coach, and consultant to nonprofits in the area of effective technology use” – I learned the URL for the coordination of information on Hurricane Gustav – – that includes the need for volunteers to edit a page of the wiki.

The beginning of this wiki home page reads:

This is the wiki for information relating to Hurricane Gustav and its approach to the northern Gulf coast. It's intended to be centralized site for links to information everywhere else on the web; please publicize it far and wide. Information will be moved here as time progresses from the similar wiki built during and after Hurricane Katrina's landfall 3 years ago.

(Note: The definition of a wiki according to is a collection of web pages designed to enable anyone who accesses it to contribute or modify content.)

Please pass along this information wherever you can.

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Thursday, August 28, 2008

Buyer Beware: Exercise Caution When Getting Estate Planning/Tax Advice From a Newspaper (Even The Wall Street Journal)

I was pleased to see the article by Karen Blumenthal titled “It’s an Election Year: Is Your Will Updated?” on the front-page of the Personal Journal section of the August 27th Wall Street Journal.

My new company Miller Mosaic, LLC has just launched the website to help people avoid probate by explaining that a living trust is needed in addition to a will. Thus I was really pleased that the Journal was getting the word out about this important estate planning subject.

Can you imagine my surprise when I read the entire Journal article only to find no mention of a living trust? In other words, if you read the Journal article and did everything advised in the article, all you would have is a will.


The information in the Journal is WRONG because only having a will and thus making your estate go through probate can create major problems for your family. Don’t let this happen!

Check out the brief free video at to learn why you need a living trust in addition to a will to save your estate from going through probate.

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Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Blogging: A Potentially Potent Way to Change the World for the Better

Thanks to my younger daughter sending me the link to The Buzz Bin (the blog of Livingston Communications at, I read a post about blogs that promote good deeds:

“A year ago there were about 15 notable nonprofit and philanthropy bloggers. Today dozens of voices regularly discuss community and global change, often in relation to the role of the social Web,” this post noted.

There followed a link to the Chronicle of Philanthropy’s Give & Take roundup of blogs about the nonprofit world at

I thought the Livingston blog post rather academic in tone. (I’m reading NOW IS GONE – the book Geoff Livingston wrote with Brian Solis – and I have the same reaction to the writing in the book). Yet I thought some blog posts found on Give & Take were quite interesting – and the blog posts have info to help people who donate to charities as well as people who run charities.

Take a look at – you just may find yourself inspired to do good deeds.

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Monday, August 25, 2008

When Will Fashion Designers Stop Encouraging Anorexia?

Queen Latifah in a gown by designer Tadashi Shoji adorns the front-page of the Personal Journal section of the August 21st Wall Street Journal. The accompanying article by Christina Binkley titled “Dressing Women of a Certain Size” describes the opportunity Tadashi seized upon when he started offering versions of his fashion collection in sizes up to 24.

These large sizes, of course, are sacrilege in the designer community, where a “plus-size” model may wear a size 8 even though the average for American women is a size 14.

And it was particularly enjoyable to read about former model Paige Adams-Geller who had the audacity to suggest to high-end jeans manufacturers that they consider designing for women who wear a size 10. When the designers said they didn’t want someone that size wearing their brand, she started Paige Premium Denim – jeans for up to size 28 (4X).

In an August 14th Journal article titled “Slim Chance: an Aspiring Model’s Challenge,” Christina Binkley relates the story of 18-year-old Tatiana Stewart. Although Tatiana is a size 4 at 6’2” she is told at fashion-modeling auditions she must lose weight.

This fashion-industry insistence on stick-thin models is a gross injustice both to the models who are made to sometimes starve themselves to death as well as America’s young women who are constantly subjected to ads of super-thin models with the toll those ads take on the self-image of the young women.

What I don’t understand is why America’s mental health workers don’t form a national coalition to pressure Madison Avenue and the fashion designers to stop insisting on starvation-thin models. Now that would be a worthwhile mission.

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Sunday, August 24, 2008

What's Inside Your Inhaler? New Regulations Go Into Effect January 1st

According to Nancy Sander, president and founder of Allergy & Asthma Network Mothers of Asthmatics (AANMA), between now and December 31 of this year "millions of patients will need to obtain a new prescription for a non-CRC bronchodilator inhaler. They will need new instructions for using the inhaler that include inhalation technique, cleaning, priming and when to use it."

The AANMA is trying to get the word out that more than 50,000 new prescriptions must be written before the end of this year. And AANMA has asked that the above flier be printed out and placed in public places.

To learn more and to get copies of the flyer, go to

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Thursday, August 21, 2008

Holy Cow! Microsoft Doesn’t Know the Difference Between Young and Old

My younger daughter handed me the front-page of the August 21st Wall Street Journal and asked “What’s funny about this article?”

The article in question was “Microsoft Enlists Jerry Seinfeld In Its Ad Battle Against Apple” by Suzanne Vrancia and Robert A.Guth. It wasn’t the title that was funny; it was the lead paragraph:

Microsoft Corp., weary of being cast as a stodgy oldster by Apple Inc.’s advertising, is turning for help to Jerry Seinfeld.

I thought for a second and replied: “What’s funny is that Jerry Seinfeld is old. If Microsoft wanted a younger image, why not get a young up-and-coming comic?”

Exactly. And apparently Seinfeld will appear in ads with Microsoft chairman Bill Gates “and receive about $10 million for the work.”

I immediately looked up the ages of Seinfeld and Gates. Seinfeld turned 54 in April and Gates will turn 53 in October. Did Gates want someone his own age standing next to him so people wouldn’t wonder at the boy genius all grown-up? Or did the old stuffed shirts of Microsoft’s new advertising agency have no ideas for younger yet well-known comics?

Note to advertising agency: Spending $10 million for an aging comic is not the best use of Microsoft’s funds. How about $4 million for a younger yet well-known comic and let Microsoft spend the remaining $6 million on getting the Windows Vista system to work decently?

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Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The Usual Question of Why Top Business Schools Can’t Attract Enough Qualified Women

The headline of the August 20th Wall Street Journal article by Sue Shellenbarger “The Mommy M.B.A.: Schools Try to Attract More Women” annoyed me.

Same old, same old. I’m so tired of reading why top business schools can’t attract classes of close to 50% women. I’ve heard the reasons why and I agree with some of them. But this sentence in the article is just silly:

The alternative – seeking an M.B.A. at a younger age – means shouldering roughly $80,000 in M.B.A. expenses at a life stage when many are laden with student loans and aren’t making much money.

This sentence makes no sense (ignoring that young men have the same considerations), especially when compared with the article’s mention that “female enrollment in full-time M.B.A. programs has remained mired for years at a dismal 30%, compared with about 49% in medical schools and 47% in law schools.”

Hello, the expenses for law school (three years compared to two years for a full-time M.B.A.) and medical school (four years) are comparably more than for an M.B.A. program. And both a law degree and a medical degree are usually undertaken almost immediately after undergraduate college.

As I have previously written, I believe that business school is of less interest to women than law school or medical school for two main reasons:

  • Hollywood movies and television frequently portray women as lawyers or doctors and infrequently if at all portray women in high-powered business positions (LIPSTICK JUNGLE and CASHMERE MAFIA being the exceptions).

  • Young women are not exposed at an early age to the wide variety of careers in business as they are in elementary and secondary school to careers in science and engineering thanks to school programs sponsored by corporate America.

In 1977, when I told my mother that I planned to apply to an M.B.A. program, she repeated what she had told me before: she thought I could be a very good executive secretary. I asked her why I couldn’t be the executive. (I didn’t listen to my mother, and instead I graduated in 1980 with an M.B.A. from Wharton.)

I strongly maintain that, if more young women were exposed to varied business careers earlier in their lives, the problem of getting qualified female applicants for top business schools would be greatly solved.

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Monday, August 18, 2008 Is Featured on’s “Champagne Sundays”

I listened to an interview of my older daughter, founder of, as a featured guest on’s “Champagne Sundays” online radio show that aired live on August 17th.

If you’re interested in learning about’s innovative approach to the entertainment industry, click on the following link for the page to my daughter’s “Champagne Sundays” interview To hear just her interview – double click the play button below her picture.

Then later I talked with Lisa Smith, co-host of “Champagne Sundays,” as I’m scheduled to be on the show October 19th talking about my novel MRS. LIEUTENANT.

Lisa and I had a great time laughing about a new radio show Lisa is planning with her mother – a show about ranting. I told Lisa I was really up for such a radio show. Sign me up! I said.

And, in the meantime, check out This online magazine covers Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah and Mexico and features Southwest travel, music, food, events, history, fashion, news and more.

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Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Technology Has Its Dark Side

I’ve spent a great deal of time trying to figure out the steps for the Miller Mosaic site to utilize the functions of 1ShoppingCart.

Every single screen option in 1ShoppingCart has multiple decision choices and, while the support staff is quite helpful, the staff is not able to tell me which one of two choices is the better choice for me.

I even unsuccessfully tried to find an ebook to explain the decisions, although someone on Twitter did point me to YouTube videos that I’ll watch.

Why bother learning this new terrain? Because the technology when hooked up correctly will automatically fulfill functions that used to be done by hand. Thus, when I am eventually successful, this will be a tremendous system to have on

Meanwhile, after struggling with this new learning challenge, I participated in a call with MaryPat Kavanagh,, about utilizing the new Facebook layout. And, again, while there are all kinds of nifty things available, the things are only nifty if you can actually do them.

I understand how some people decide to totally stay out of the social media and ecommerce spaces on the internet. And sometimes, when my mind is exhausted by these new challenges, I wish I had never started.

Then I regain my energy and realize that this is the future. I’d rather be learning from the innovators than wait to be dragged screaming into this brave new world.

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Read About a Combat Veteran and Support Operation Soldier Care

If you usually don’t read my Mrs. Lieutenant blog posts, I urge you to read this one at It’s a compelling story of someone risking his life to “do good.”

And the post is also a request to help others who are “doing good” by being in harm’s way.

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Monday, August 11, 2008

Undiagnosed Learning Disability Is Subplot on Lifetime TV’s ARMY WIVES

I’m always on the look-out for learning disabilities that haven’t been diagnosed. A few years ago I diagnosed ADD in a 10th –grade friend of the family based on something he said to me. (“I don’t know why I didn’t study for my history exam – I love history.”)

The boy’s younger sister had already been diagnosed with ADD. But because he didn’t present the same as his sister, his went undetected until his parents had him tested after I gently suggested this to them.

Which is why I was pleased that, in episode 10 of Season 2 of Lifetime TV’s ARMY WIVES, Roxy was told by Roland, who’s teaching a GED course, the reason she failed the practice exam even though she knew the material. It was because she had a learning disability that interfered with transferring her knowledge to a written test. Roland told her she wasn’t dumb; in fact, she was smart. She just needed to take the test orally.

True, this reveal was not nearly as compelling as the reveal when fans of THE COSBY SHOW found out along with Theo, when he was already in college, that he had a learning disability that interfered with his test taking. (My tears flowed when Vanessa told her father he should be sorry for all the times he ragged on Theo about his grades.) Or in PUNKY BREWSTER when a 12-year-old couldn’t read the poison antidote instructions that could save her younger brother.

In case you believe that you may have an undiagnosed learning disability, there’s a book that may speak to you. Dr. Mel Levine’s A MIND AT A TIME is a treasure trove of explanations of numerous areas of the brain that can affect things that we do (or can’t do).

The author’s writing style is quite dense so you have to be determined to plow through the material and extract the relevant information. Yet the result may be worth the work, especially if you discover some thing or things that you may have been unfairly beating yourself up about all your life.

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Friday, August 8, 2008


August is in full force through the U.S. with record heat waves keeping people inside in front of their air conditioners.

Imagine, then, how hot and uncomfortable U.S. men and women serving in Iraq and Afghanistan must be! And also imagine how nice it would be for them to receive sun/skin care products that can make their lives a tad easier.

Thanks to Trish Forant of and Nancy Sutherland, sales director of Mary Kay, OPERATION SOLDIER CARE is providing sun/skin care products to deployed service members to help relieve the ravages of a desert combat tour.

What started as a smaller project has now grown to a larger one due to Nancy’s offer to match all contributions up to $5,000. This is, in effect, a 2-for-1 offer where every purchased Mary Kay gift set results in Nancy buying a matching second gift set.

Show support for our deployed troops by stepping up to the plate and buying Mary Kay gift sets. Click on this link to Nancy’s Mary Kay website to buy the gift sets of satin hand pampering -- After putting in the number of sets, put OPERATION SOLDIER CARE in the comment section at checkout and your gifts will be sent directly to the soldiers.

It’s that easy! So click on now because this troop support project ends August 18.

And to encourage you to buy multiple gift sets, the top five biggest individual donors will receive a copy of the new book MRS. LIEUTENANT: A SHARON GOLD NOVEL by Phyllis Zimbler Miller and an eMail Our Military 15-oz. ceramic coffee mug.

Why not consider this as a great summer project for scouts or camps to pitch in to help our troops? Let’s show them that we care!

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Wednesday, August 6, 2008 Offers Free Advice on Living Trusts and Other Estate Planning Matters

I’m announcing the website, which is the first of several online information product providers that my company Miller Mosaic, LLC is launching.

Yet the truth is that this concept all started from experiences my husband Mitch the tax lawyer had with people whose estate plans were not in order when they died. We wanted to “do good” by helping others prevent putting their loved ones through these horrible experiences.

You can listen to the two free videos at to learn what the consequences can be of not having everything in the best possible legal order.

At you can also get a free copy of 4 Important Questions You Should Ask About a Living Trust. And you can leave questions for Mitch to consider answering on the site at

And as of yesterday is offering a free special report prepared by Mitch about living trusts. While the report contains some very specific info for military personnel, there’s also a lot of good overall information on living trusts and why you need a living trust besides a will. You can get that report at

Monday, August 4, 2008

Reliving the 1970s with Derogatory Media Portrayals of Women and Limiting Reproductive Freedom

Last week on Twitter someone drew attention to a new BMW ad that would have been right at home in the mid-70s. That was the time when I taught newswriting classes at Temple University Center City and had a large collection of newspaper articles and ads that featured derogatory portrayals of women. I tweeted that I’d already been part of this battle. Did we really have to fight it again?

And then right on the heels of that throw-back to the un-liberated ‘70s comes the July 31st article by Stephanie Simon in The Wall Street Journal titled “Treating the Pill as Abortion, Draft Regulation Stirs Debate.”

Apparently there is a draft regulation circulating within the Department of Health and Human Services that “treats most birth-control pills and intrauterine devices as abortion because they can work by preventing fertilized eggs from implanting in the uterus. The regulation considers that destroying ‘the life of a human being.’”

I can’t even write about this topic because it makes me so angry. Again, the battle for women to have control over their reproductive organs has already been fought. Must it really be fought again?

On Sunday night I saw the new Batman movie THE DARK KNIGHT. Part-way through the endless violence sequences I asked myself what makes this movie so popular at the box office. Why do so many people want to see larger-than-life characters being brutally vicious to each other? And we call this entertainment.

I’ve just reviewed the military spouse winning essays of the “Tell-Your-Own-Story” contest that I co-sponsored with in connection with Lifetime TV’s ARMY WIVES series. Several of the essays described the difficulties when a spouse is deployed. And as I write this post I’m also in an email conversation with a deployed National Guard member.

The juxtaposition of fake violence and real violence seems surreal, as does returning to the ‘70s with its derogatory media portrayals of women and the limiting of reproductive freedom.

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