Archive for the ‘stories for Christmas’ Category

A Christmas Story – Ralphie Beats Up Bully

Tuesday, August 7th, 2012

Ralphie, from A Christmas Story, Beats Up Farkus, the neighborhood bully, in a tirade of obscenities. Watch more here:

Duration : 0:2:12


The Pros and Cons of Blogging: – Your Career Direction and Path

Tuesday, August 7th, 2012

Blogging has become an impulsive contemporary art for careerists. Should you develop your own blog or shouldn’t you. Will it help or hurt your career? Let me present this canvas to you as a primer of sorts to think about this issue.
Much of my career practice and coaching involves an organizing thought: It’s your worklife mission, your vision. For years I coached and, some would say, admonished my clients to take ownership of their career paths as they work for someone else. When you do not own the business, one of the greatest ways you can help or hurt your career centers around your own online and offline reputation. With so many choices and so much information at the click of a computer key we may feel information overload no matter what our career field might be. We may also feel empowered to create or destroy.
What’s easy can be fun or dangerous. In a matter of minutes you can set up your Blogger, WordPress, Typepad or related blog site. And the minute you post? Your words can be accessed by billions of people around the world. No Web designer needs to be hired. No technical guru at x dollars an hour has to listen to and potentially kill your ideas. You own this medium. You have freedom. You can say or site anything. There’s no waste of time and no need to white-board everyone else’s ideas.
It’s so easy but don’t let the impulsive ease of blogging let you forget about the eyes that watch your art, your views, your passions, protests, observations and objections.
How might this medium help – or hurt – your career direction and path?
How it can help:
1. You have an audience. Keep it positive.
Blogging may add to the company’s brand and your position as an authority or subject matter expert within your company or your field. Jane S. worked at a powerful, regional advertising company. She cleared her personal blog through her boss, her boss’ boss and her company human resources department. They said she didn’t have to but with my advice she did. During a recession she has received two promotions and her blog has since been incorporated into the main site of the corporation because of its powerful, business development prowess. She says, Now 40 percent of my time is incorporating my personal brand or blog into the company’s brand with the complete blessing of the executive team.
2. Paint the right picture. Drive customer confidence.
As you cite critical sources and make intelligent, important observations your personal blog augments your position within your company and promotes your company. You never bash your company. You can be yourself and be authentic. James P., a salesman, asked for permission from his company to comment on his business travels and business adventures as a technology sales consultant Customers love the funny, idiosyncratic stories. James says, My blog has been a business generator for the company and earned me four speaking engagements on behalf of the company and four speaking engagements locally that were sponsored by local sales networking organizations. I can’t believe it. It’s made me kind of recession-proof in my career. His first book is being self-published and his company uses him to teach and train all new sales personnel.
3. Get a raise and a promotion. Defend the faith.
Blogging helps you document and publish your ideas while associating with great people. Again, Alice P. published her blog under a pseudonym two years ago. Today she has kept the quirky observations about life, travel, art and kids quite eclectic. Her blogging has incorporated funny observations about office life without offending anyone at work. It’s been serialized by the company and referred to. The CEO thought her site should be commented on, featured and linked to by the company to help with esprit de corps. Alice states, “Now I have an in-house company editor who helps me promote and publish my blog. We’ve added videos and more fun stuff. The company pays me monthly. She keeps her comments happy, funny and still personal.
How blogs can hurt:
1. One small step. Negative posts can be fatal.
Blogging can open you up for many legal, liability and employment questions, problems or crises. Last year, Jim C. came to me after he had posted a rather nasty post on his Top Ten Worst Retailers in the World blog. His company did business with two of those retailers and as nosy or highly sensitive corporate personnel found out about his lambaste it caused a rift at the company. According to Jim, This year for other reasons I was let go. It was not the economy. I crossed the line.
2. Pictures tell a thousand stories.
Larry seemed to pipe up at work a lot about things that bothered him. So he decided to publish a seemingly anonymous blog. As a techy he posted hundreds of comments on political ideas, people he thought should be impeached and railed against what he considered bad taste and fashion. He did this anonymously under a lot of different names. But when he decided to take pictures at the year end Christmas party and publish captions that offended nearly everyone, he was, well, suspended without pay forever (fired).
3. Beautiful art can be destroyed.
Craig became disillusioned after an 18-year career. Nearing retirement, his company had promoted three people younger than him to the technology director level. Years ago he had engineered their Web presence. Knowing that having no blog presence left his company vulnerable, he found it increasingly interesting and titillating when he created a blog presence, added negative comments to company products and dumped a list of customer complaints onto the proverbial, anonymous, the site a former employee developed to stick it to the man. Under pressure, the author faced legal entanglements and gave up Craig’s name as a blogger. Now Craig is in litigation. It’s not looking good.
Imagine you’re an artist like Michelangelo dipping brush to paint; a seemingly limitless creative well. You’re halfway done with your masterpiece, the signature of your worklife and rather spiritual mission. As you take your impossible position on the scaffold to paint more of the Sistine Chapel you have a thought. Imagine you could destroy your Sistine Chapel with one strike of the match. Like the great artist, blogging can help you take ownership of your career and worklife vision. Of course, it can also be just for fun too. But let’s also realize you, like the great artist, have the power to create or destroy your career future with just a few strokes or decisions.
Make sure you know your audience and you understand the potential impact of your newly minted blog posts. It could make a lasting impression and a permanently positive or negative impact on your career picture. Paint yours. Paint it well.


A Christmas Story: Tounge Stuck to a Flag Pole

Tuesday, July 31st, 2012

Scene From the movie A Christmas Story where Flick gets his tounge stuck to a flag pole.

Sry about the dumb unregistered thing in the middle.

Duration : 0:2:12


Any humorous, expressive Nativity Christmas stories?

Tuesday, July 31st, 2012

I am looking for a humorous, expressive story that I can read at our church’s Christmas Eve Service. Any suggestions?
Ok, maybe I wasn’t clear on the whole NATIVITY and CHURCH aspect of the Christmas story that I’m looking for. Basically, a story of the nativity but from a different angle, or something like that. Once I read the story from the donkey’s perspective!

What about the three little pigs and instead of the wolf coming down the chimney they accidently cook up santa in the pot

Looking Back – 2008 Data Breaches

Tuesday, July 31st, 2012

Hurray, another end of the year list. This one though (from Bank Info Security) is not reviewing the top movies, songs, celebrities but, the miserable failures in data security of 2008. With nine more days until the end of 2008, this post could be pre-mature. Data breach threats show no regard for end of the year holiday parties and frivolities.

The data breach incidents of 2008 include the old stand-bys of lost tapes and data due to mistake and theft but also reveals an increased use of break in technologies to steal information from data bases. Numerous “hacking” incidences and infected computer systems not only resulted in millions of dollars in cost to businesses but exposed large numbers of consumers to fraud. Stolen data has to go some where and can be held in reserve for use at a later time, possibly changing hands often before reaching a perpetrator. Data is a commodity. After all, identity theft is a business – suppliers, middle men and end users are the norm, just like in any business.

At least one of these breaches began in 2007 and continued into 2008 due to law enforcement action. Last year’s breaches while not lacking of hacking incidents, were focused more on missing data. For comparison purposes, below the top 10 list find links to stories looking back on 2007 and a link to a comprehensive multi-year listing. APRPEH is currently taking predictions of data loss stories for the end of 2009.

For accuracy purposes, it is important to recognize the difference between lost back up tapes or disks and stolen computers, hard drives or data devices and must be further differentiated from data lost due to hacking, viruses, malware – any active invasion of data storage systems for the purpose of stealing information. It is this last category with its obviously pernicious intent to steal data (vis a vis hardware) which represents a greater threat equation for consumers. The ‘how was it stolen’ question makes a huge difference in predicting whether or not consumers are likely or unlikely to become victims of identity theft.

Top 10 Security Breaches of 2008 – Bank Info Security
Ghost of Christmas Past (TJX) Still Casts Specter on Present and Future
Linda McGlasson, Managing Editor
December 22, 2008

From Hannaford to Countrywide to the Bank of New York Mellon, 2008 has been a year of high-profile security breaches in or impacting the financial services industry. Here’s our list of the top 10 – and lessons that should be learned, so we aren’t back revisiting these issues in ’09.

1. TJX Case Winds Up, Arrests Made

Earlier this year, The TJX Companies (parent of retailer TJ Maxx) settled in federal court and paid out millions to its federal regulator, the Federal Trade Commission, banking institutions, credit card companies and consumers to bring to a close the court cases that had threatened to overwhelm the company.

The August arrest of 11 alleged hackers accused of stealing more than 40 million credit and debit cards brings law enforcement closer to closing what is still the largest hack ever. The U.S. Department of Justice brought charges against 11 alleged hackers from around the globe. Some of the hacking gang were nabbed and brought to the U.S. to face trial alongside three U.S.-based defendants. Two of the defendants, Christopher Scott and Damon Patrick Toey, have already pled guilty in the case. Others including the ringleader, Alberto Gonzalez, await trial.

Lesson Learned: The wide-range of the perpetrators brings to light something that those in the cyber intelligence realm have known for some time: Criminal hackers are part of a very mature and multi-billion dollar industry that reaches around the world. No organization is immune to the threat.

2. Bank of New York Mellon

An unencrypted backup tape with 4.5 million customers of the Bank of New York Mellon went missing on Feb. 27, after it was sent to a storage facility. The missing tape contains social security numbers and bank account information on 4.5 million customers – including several hundred thousand depositors and investors of People’s United Bank of Connecticut, which had given Bank of New York Mellon the information so it could offer those consumers an investment opportunity.

Lesson Learned: For Bank of New York Mellon, know that when data is released to a third-party that their security is as good or better than yours. Encryption isn’t just something that is good for the data held at an institution; it’s also something to consider for data that leaves the institution.

3. Hannaford Data Breach

In March, the Maine-based Hannaford Brothers grocery store chain announced that 4.2 million customer card transactions had been compromised by the hackers. More than 1800 credit card numbers were immediately used for fraudulent transactions.

The affected banks and credit unions were forced to reissue the credit and debit cards. Within two days of the breach announcement, two class action suits had been filed on behalf of customers against the retailer. The retailer claims its systems were PCI-compliant and had passed a PCI assessment shortly before the hack was discovered.

Lesson Learned: The case is still open, and forensic reports by security investigators brought in by Hannaford have not been made public. The PCI Security Council has pledged that if the PCI requirements are found to be wanting in light of the report, they will make changes to tighten the requirements. Cases such as Hannaford may be the impetus behind legislation to require prompt notification of a data security breach.

4. Countrywide Insider Theft

In August, a former Countrywide Financial Corp. senior financial analyst, Rene Rebollo, was arrested and charged by the FBI for stealing and selling sensitive personal information of an estimated 2 million mortgage loan applicants. How he did it over a two-year period was to download about 20,000 customer profiles each week onto flash drives, working on Sunday nights, when no one else was in the office. Rebollo then took the excel spreadsheets to business center stores to email to buyers.

Countrywide, now owned by Bank of America, was already facing money and reputation issues because of the subprime loan meltdown before it faced the insider threat of Rebollo.

Lesson Learned: While Countrywide and Bank of America now know firsthand what a rogue insider can do, other institutions need to do a better job of monitoring their employees and creating asset controls. As the economy continues to produce layoffs, this threat may become even more so, as fearful employees look to cash in on their trusted status and take data just in case they face unemployment.

5. GE Money Backup Tape Goes AWOL

Early in January, Iron Mountain said it could not find a backup tape that belonged to GE Money, containing information on J.C. Penney customers and 100 other retailers.

The tape was stored in an Iron Mountain vault, says an Iron Mountain statement issued about the loss, and had been requested by GE Money in October 2007. The tape contained the personal information of about 650,000 J.C. Penney customers and the other 100 retailers. GE Money processes credit cards for those retailers. As a records and archive company that specializes in records management, Iron Mountain was at a loss to explain the tape’s whereabouts.

Iron Mountain said it was an unfortunate case of a misplaced tape, but asserts that there was no evidence that the information was obtained and used by unauthorized persons. The missing tape also included about 150,000 social security numbers.

Lesson Learned: While GE Money paid for credit monitoring for the 650,000 credit card holders, Iron Mountain may have learned to better monitor where media is located. For the rest of companies that hold information of a personally identifiable nature, there is another reason to keep it safe from prying eyes. The cost of an average data breach can hit a company’s bottom line. According to a study conducted by the Ponemon Institute, an independent information security and privacy research group, data breaches are costing businesses an average of $197 per customer record, up from $182 in 2006.

6. RSA Report: Half-Million Banking ID’s Stolen

In November, security vendor RSA said it found a single Trojan that had taken more than 500,000 online banking accounts credentials, credit cards and other resources. The company’s Fraud Action Research Team added that the hacking gang behind the Trojan may have been operating for as long as three years. The compromised data came from hundreds of financial institutions around the world.

Lesson Learned: The Trojan Sinowal is so tricky that the average institution or customer would not even know that they are infected with it. Taking a professional, defense-in-depth approach to protecting a network and customers is the best remedy.

7. Compass Bank Hard Drive Stolen, 1 Million Accounts Taken

At the sentencing of a former bank programmer at Compass Bank in Birmingham, AL. in March, it was revealed that the accused had stolen a hard drive with 1 million customer records and used it to commit debit-card fraud. James Kevin Real is now serving a 42-month sentence and was ordered to pay back the more than $32,000 that he and an accomplice withdrew from Compass Bank customer accounts. The bank claimed that the customer records contained limited information, but Real was able to create 250 counterfeit debit cards. He used 45 of them to access and withdraw cash before being arrested.

At the time of Real’s sentencing, Alabama was one of 11 states that didn’t require companies to automatically notify customers of data breaches.

Lesson Learned: Compass Bank dodged a bullet in terms of cost on this breach. It would have had to notify all 1 million customers of the compromise of their data had the hard drive theft been in a state that requires notification. Other than the 250 customers that Real took money from, no other customers were notified of the data loss. That means that 999,750 of the other 1 million customers weren’t notified of the potential risk.

8. Ski Resort Okemo Suffers Hannaford-Like Data Breach

In an attack similar to what hit Hannaford Brothers in March, the Okemo Ski Resort in Vermont said in April it had been hit by hackers that installed malicious software to capture credit card data as it was being processed at the resort. Law enforcement officials at the time said they were investigating as many as 50 other similar incidents in the Northeast.

Lesson Learned: PCI compliance is like a driver’s license — it may mean that a retailer has passed the test for compliance, but doesn’t necessarily mean it is in compliance.

9. Retailer Montgomery Ward

Six months after a breach happened at the parent company of the Montgomery Ward website, the company Direct Marketing Services finally began notifying customers that their credit card information was stolen in the hack. At least 51,000 records were stolen out of a database in December, 2007.

Direct Marketing said it had promptly contacted its payment processor and Visa and MasterCard, and it also notified the U.S. Secret Service.

Lesson Learned: Direct Marketing Services was forced into contacting the customers after the company CardCops, an investigative firm that tracks credit card thefts for the financial services industry, found more than 200,000 payment cards being offered for sale on an Internet chat room often visited by card thieves. Better to take the public relations role and confess the breach than possibly face data breach notification lawsuits by consumers and state attorney generals.

10. More Than $5 Million Taken By ATM Capers

The Automatic Teller Machine capers are hitting everywhere. In June, two men were charged with making hundreds of withdrawals from New York City ATMs, grabbing $750,000 in the process, using stolen information from a previous computer intrusion into a Citibank server that processes ATM withdrawals. One of the same accused also allegedly took $5 million in withdrawals from iWire prepaid MasterCard accounts.

Lesson Learned: While Citibank denied the indictment’s charge that their server had been breached and blames a third-party transaction processor for the compromise, it still meant it had to notify and reissue new debit cards to those customers that the bank believed were exposed to increased risk.

The Top 10 Data Breaches of 2007 – CSO Online


Soldier, Home for R&R, Surprises His Kids for Christmas 2011

Tuesday, July 24th, 2012 – Military homecoming videos, pictures & stories!

“My husband had been deployed for 8 months. All my kids wanted for Christmas was their dad to come home. We knew he would get his R&R around Christmas and kept it a surprise. On Dec 23, 2011 I told them I was going to the dentist when really I went to the airport to pick up their dad. They were playing in the basement when we got home so I called them up and told them I had a surprise for them. Their reaction is priceless, and my son said it perfectly… ‘Best Christmas present EVER!!’ My husband has since returned for the rest of his deployment, but I think they will ALWAYS remember this Christmas. Thank you for letting us share these special moments.”

-Becky R.

Video sent in via the “Submit” page on If you are the owner of this video and it was submitted by a third-party without your permission (and you would like it removed), send a message at

Duration : 0:1:6


More Powerful Than the Strongest Weapon

Tuesday, July 24th, 2012

Most Christians consider prayer to be an important part of their faith lives, but do we ever think of the magnitude of the power of prayer? Newspapers or magazines oftentimes do stories on the “power of prayer,” which is usually accompanied by a miraculous healing story that cannot be explained. It’s easy to get desensitized by the many stories that float in and out of the news media and even through our church circles. The power of prayer goes beyond the flashy miracles of this world. The power of prayer is found in our daily lives.

The power of prayer can be found within our families. When we pray for our children, speaking words of love, we may be able to see a change in them in the way they act or treat their siblings. When we use prayer to give us strength in a situation unique to us, we may come out of that experience stronger and more faithful then before. When we use the power of prayer to change our hearts during the holiday season, we may feel an abundance of God’s grace on Christmas morning.

Miracles happen every day through prayer. When we pray, we concentrate on love and the positive things that can come out of our lives no matter how bleak our situation. Christ’s grace flows through this channel of communication, and we bring His unique and powerful love into the world in this way. The words of love we express in prayer may also appear in our daily interactions with our family and friends. Using positive and uplifting words can make the difference in the life of a peer or a child. Prayer can help us reach that.

During the holiday season, we have the opportunity to recommit our lives to prayer. Christ’s entry into this world represents the greatest miracle in history, and we can honor His presence in this world by continually offering up our fears, desires and hopes to Him. We all have unique lives, but we all have the opportunity to serve Christ and our world by being a light for others. Prayer allows us to live a life of love that will in turn positively impact the lives of those around us.

Stop for a moment right now and say a prayer for your spouse or your children or a co-worker. The impact, whether you see it or not, is beyond our comprehension but you must believe it is having a positive impact.

Mark Arens

I need some good Christmas Stories! Ignore the question mark at the end..?

Tuesday, July 24th, 2012

Hey, I need some really good Christmas Stories, but pretty short. I have an idea of hanging some stories around the house.. just writing them on paper for people to see and read at the party I am going to have. If you would like to make up one, or if you already have one, please post it here! Also, if you find a good website, please post them here also. Thanks so much for your time!

Hope that helps! :]

Outstanding Examples of Quality Guest Service For Restaurant Managers

Wednesday, July 18th, 2012

Here, I’d like to offer a more personal piece. We’re going to learn about how to give quality guest service by examining customers-eye views of outstanding examples. these are various incidents encountered in all varieties of establishments, from both sides of the counter, over the years. they’re incidents that stick in the mind.

You want your business to stick in a customer’s mind, after all. That’s the kind of business we dream of – when a customer remembers your experience years later. The kind of great service that a happy patron can relate years later, as an example of service above and beyond the call of duty.

The Emergency Check-Out
My wife and I were in the first years of our marriage, with the kids still in the toddler stage. We had gotten away on one of our short weekend vacations from the kids, much-needed rest for both of us, and had booked a room at a casino in Laughlin, which was only one city away. This was only to be for one night and one day. We opted for in-home babysitting, split up into shifts between two teens. The one had been our baby-sitter for years and was a trusted family friend, but the other we’d hired out of the paper and we didn’t know too much about her.

Anyway, we’d stayed at the hotel overnight and arose the next morning and the first thing we did was call in at home to check. The more experienced sitter answered, and informed us that she had arrived early and witnessed the other sitter being abusive with the kids. One of them was sporting a mark. If your heart just skipped a beat, you are a parent who can empathize with how we felt. Even though we had the room for the rest of the day, we immediately crammed our belongings into our luggage and ran down stairs to check out.

There was a huge crowd checking out at the exact same time. Only one check-out clerk was working the desk, with a line of about 20 people milling about. My wife and I skimmed the scene and then button-holed a passing clerk and explained our situation.

This saint of a clerk immediately sprang into action, opening another window just for us at the check-out desk and speeding us through the minimum motions required to get us on our way. We had another day paid for that we didn’t use, but we didn’t care – they could keep the money, we just wanted a fast exit – and out the door we got. All eventually ended well when we got home, but we returned to that hotel later to personally thank the staff.

the Best Date Ever
This was when my future wife and I were dating. We had discovered a gem of an Italian restaurant tucked away in a downtown area, and this was the most memorable place we’d been to. It was huge and quirky, with two stories and a basement. The furnishings were incredible; a “monster gallery” was set up in the basement sharing space with a wine cellar, the restaurant proper was a practical museum of artwork, and the second story was a maze of balconies looking out over the floor.

We showed up at an odd hour, and since the place wasn’t too busy, we got the full service treatment. First we got an interesting guided tour, then were offered our choice of seating anywhere we liked. We picked a cozy alcove, and our meal spanned a couple of hours, during which time every single waiter, server, and somelier appeared out of nowhere right on cue, performed their duties, and left us with some alone time. The food and beverages were so excellent, we still talk about that place fondly even ten years later.

Towards the end, a little band of musicians assembled on stage, mainly to get set up for the expected crowds later that evening, but seeing just us, they improvised a little musical number just for us. I think the whole restaurant staff could tell a young couple of sweethearts when they saw one, and I swear there was a coordinated effort behind the scenes to give us a night to remember.

the Best People Skills
We were at a large inn in a tourist location. It was a very popular and busy place, and the rest of us had grown noticeably uncomfortable waiting for our tables in the lobby, all because of one loud and unruly man. He seemed very emotional, was definitely intoxicated, and was hostile and abusive with the hostess and the headwaiter. Finally one of them paged for the security guard, who arrived to handle the situation.

This guard had to be a psychiatrist moon-lighting as a security guard! Where others might have been brisk, stiff, and formal ushering the guest out of the building with his loud protests and making a scene, this officer was the most respectful and personal professional I’d ever seen. He talked to the guest, listening to what he had to say. The guest rambled on, babbling about this grievance and that, but the guard had a quieting effect on him.

The guard listened and nodded a lot, saying “I understand.” and phrasing a lot of the conversation with sentences starting with “So you feel…”. In ten minutes, the guest was calmed down, his anger averted, and the guard actually persuaded him to leave on his own, which he meekly did. We were in awe. I hope that guard later got a job as an international diplomat.

the Cheerful Waitress
I was traveling on business, and of all things found myself stuck in a strange city on Christmas Day. What’s more, my whole family was several states away, and as if missing my loved ones dearly on that day weren’t enough, the whole trip had been a series of annoying mishaps, with not even the business part going as I’d hoped. I’d completely forgotten to eat, on awakening late Christmas morning, and had stepped outside to find some food only to be confronted by a city mostly deserted, as it seemed nearly every business was closed with its staff home enjoying the holiday while I shuffled through the streets alone and hungry.

You can imagine when I did eventually find a restaurant after walking for blocks, I wasn’t in the best of spirits. I got in and ordered a table, and noticed that the whole place was busy, probably the only restaurant open for miles, and the rest of the crowd was in groups and families. In the middle of all this, the waitress, who had to have been almost too busy to bother, noticed my low spirits as I ordered and stayed to talk to me.

She was incredible, handling orders for about ten tables with large families at each one, yet I got equal time. When she asked why I looked so down and I related the situation, she said, “We’ve all been there once.” I kept my order simple, but even though I didn’t want to be any trouble she made extra time for me, taking time to talk to me and visit, making it clear that just because I was one person in a wall-to-wall crowd that it didn’t mean I was any less important.

This small bit of personal thoughtfulness alone made my holiday. It was such a small thing but by the end of the day it was all that mattered.

Josh Stone

A Christmas Story Chinese Restaurant Scene

Tuesday, July 17th, 2012

This is the Complete Christmas Story Chinese Restaurant scene. All the other here on Youtube cut out the best part of the video. The comment section has been suspended due to comments getting out of hand.

Duration : 0:2:1