Thursday, June 24, 2010

Join the D's Club at Captain D's and Get a Free Meal!

Captain D's Seafood restaurant at 4300 North R...Image via Wikipedia
Get a free fish or chicken dinner!  Click the title of this article, and go to the site.  You can fill out Captain D's short form, and they will email you a coupon for a free two piece fish or chicken dinner.   I did, and I got my free meal.  Yum! 

Afterwards, they will send you other coupon offers via email periodically.  If you enjoy a good, yet inexpensive seafood meal as much as I do, you might take advantage of the discount meal coupons too. 

As an example, the one I got in my email today was a shrimp and fish dinner with two sides for $5+.  Heads up! 

Malinda (...who is always up for a free meal out) - LOL
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In Memory of my brother, Guy Roger Winkle, Please Don't Drink and Drive

This coming Saturday would have been my brother's 57th birthday.  But, 40 years ago, at age 17, he was killed by a drunk driver on his way home from a date.  I was 14 at the time and my entire family was devastated, as you can imagine. 

He was a good kid who had gone out with his church youth group the previous week to visit an alcoholic and encourage him in his recovery.  Then, the same week, he became a victim of a woman who was leaving the Post Time Lounge on 17-92 at Dog Track Road in Longwood, Florida

The drunk woman crossed both lanes of traffic headed south, then crossed the median and rammed into the side of his car after crossing another two lanes of traffic which were headed north.  That's pretty looped.   

It is sad to know that the woman who killed my brother had killed two previous people from driving drunk.  She managed to get off scott free.  While she has walked away free, to repeat her bad choice and potentially to ruin the lives of countless others, our family has suffered a great loss that has never gone away. 

Please, don't drive drunk.  And, if you can help it, don't let your friends drive drunk either.  Save a life. 
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Monday, June 21, 2010

Become a Follower of This Blog

Welcome!  I hope you are enjoying the variety of posts so far.  To follow this blog, all you have to do is click on the "Follow" button in the right-hand margin.  When my posts go up on this blog, a notice will be sent to your dashboard.   Then, you can read it if/when you are ready to see what's up on this end of things.  Enjoy!  And, please feel free to leave comments on all my posts.  I would love some feedback. 


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Public School System in Crisis

The National Education Association headquarter...Image via Wikipedia
The educator in me has been biting my tongue for nearly 20 years now. But, at this juncture, I am now on the very cusp of graduating my youngest son from homeschool high school and I can hold my tongue no longer. In my opinion, Americans in the last couple generations have been seriously "dumbed down" by a public school system with a very scary agenda.

If you dare, take a peek at the National Education Association's long term goals over the last decade. Or, if that is too frightening, read this article commenting on some of the actions taken by the NEA.

Some, as the above article states, go so far as to say they are attempting to "sexualize and indoctrinate your children in public school". If you take the time to read the facts, you may agree with them. That is a concern.

But, what about the fact that we are graduating illiterate students? What about the fact that test scores continue to drop? What about the higher drop-out rates? What about the taxes we pay for these shoddy results? ...and the organized gambling that is ruining lives all across America in the name of improving education? Does any of this bother you? Where will the politics stop and the remaking of our public school system begin in earnest?

As a business major, we were taught when things are working well to change nothing. But, if things are not working, change something. I say it is time to make major changes to the way our public schools function. 

Paying teachers according to students' test scores? You have got to be kidding! Teaching to the test rather than teaching the students a well-rounded education? That is an abomination. Just about everyone you bump into would agree; yet, nationwide, we continue to follow this path. 

I believe the product our nation is churning out by the thousands at the end of each school year is just another flock of sheep. Sheep who, for the most part, have been taught to blindly follow the government, who, they have been taught, knows what is best for all of us. They question little to nothing and understand even less about the workings of government, about civics, about economics, about our history. Do we even want to talk about their reading and writing abilities? Oh, me..

The result? The vast majority of our nation have gone dumb (can't speak up about things anymore) and gone blind (can't see the big picture right before their eyes), can't think of a way to stop the snowball from consuming the next generation.

Our nation has a very serious shortage of intelligent young up-and-comers. Instead, we have trended towards a shocking number of students entering community colleges who must start their first semester with a full slate of remedial courses before they will be "ready" for college-level work in math and/or reading. Why? They graduated high school without learning the fundamentals, for goodness sake. Heaven help them!

Where I used to teach in the community college system, I was told that our average students who were entering public service majors (firemen, law enforcement and such) tested at the 10th grade level AFTER graduating from high school. Does this send up any red flag for anyone? This doesn’t mean our public service applicants are backwards. It means our education system has failed them.

Years ago, when we homeschoolers discovered, to our amazement and delight, that the average homeschooled student tested at the 75th percentile while the average student nationwide tested in the 50th percentile, we patted ourselves roundly on the backs and proceeded with confidence that we were doing the best thing for our kids. And, in my humble opinion, we were, for the most part. But, rather than seeing this as a measure of what a great job homeschoolers are doing, (and most of them are, by the way), consider the flip side.

Instead, this should say something about the public school the public school system is failing miserably. They teach in state of the art buildings, with state of the art computers with teacher degreed in very specific formats. They have nearly limitless funds for curriculum, supplies, furniture, and transportation compared to the average homeschool family who must survive on a single income. They have educators and administrators with all the right credentials. Yet, with all these advantages, there is something wrong when they can't equate the results of homeschool moms everywhere.

These are moms who, in some states, don't have to graduate from high school, college OR have an education degree of any kind to teach their own children at home. Yet, these moms are teaching circles around the public school system as I write this piece. Did you know that research shows that even children being taught at home by a mother who never graduated from high school does as well as other homeschoolers?

What do we learn here? We learn it is not about buildings, equipment, and degrees. It's about teaching them well. It's about focusing on what is important.

I'll give you a hint: What's not important are the test scores. What's important is whether the child learns and whether the child eventually attains the skills to educate themselves.

Let's do something before the whole nation crumbles.


Public school teachers, in your opinion, what obstacles do you face in teaching well in the public school system?
What specifics prevent your success in the public school arena?
What makes the successful education of America's youth so elusive?
What changes would improve the quality of the graduates whose lives you are helping to shape?
Do we need longer school days? Grade 13? Saturday school? What?
How can parents help make public school more successful?
If we throw out our present "teach-to-the-test" approach to education, do you think that would help?
Any ideas? Suggestions? Corrections?

Disclaimer: I do not claim to be an expert - just a citizen who cares and wants to see change - and not the Obama version of change.

I would like to encourage any thoughtful comments along these lines from others, like me, who care about the next generation of Americans. Please share your ideas for their betterment.

Other resources on this topic: - for quick basics/background information

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Saturday, June 12, 2010

Free Microsoft Certification Classes

Closeup of a stone sign bearing the Microsoft ...Image via Wikipedia
One of the reasons unemployment is so extended during this recession is because many who have been laid off from their jobs have not just lost their job.  They have lost their career.  Their entire industry is shut down indefinitely and, for some, it is shut down permanently. 

In this case, we must begin working towards a new career with different skills in industries that have not come to a screeching halt. Of course, this usually takes time and money.  While the unemployed have plenty of time in one sense, money is not necessarily available to cover the cost of retraining or for going without income for an extended period of time while doing the needed retraining.  The bills just keep rolling into the mailbox, don't they? 

Here is the good news!  With our nation facing a real challenge in retooling so many Americans with skills that will get them back to work, Microsoft has come up with an offer that is hard to refuse.  They are trying to help some people toward that goal of re-employment.  Even better, they are offering this free of charge.  All you have to do is ask.  If you are willing to do the work, they will foot the bill.  (In some cases,you must pay for your exams, but I was pleasantly surprised when they sent me a free exam voucher too boot.) 

A number of states have already begun to work in conjunction with Microsoft in offering free classes in a very long list of Microsoft courses.  Some are full certification programs with multiples courses.  Many of these certifications, which ultimately result in highly-regarded credentials, will qualify you for work in the Internet technology field, programming, web development or any number of other computer-related positions--even if you did not work in IT in the past. 

Other of the free programs teach you the basics, such as how to use the computer or how to use the Office Suite of products such as Word, Powerpoint, Excel and several others that predominate almost all workplaces you enter in today's world.

Microsoft even has online tools to help you figure out what work best suits you, and they offer online details about various training paths to get you to your chosen goals.  To see if your state is participating in Microsoft's Elevate America program, go to .  If they are, applying is very quick and easy. 

While I used these remote features while teaching elementary school students how to use the Office Suite of products, this is a whole new way of using these tools - to solve tech problems.  By the way, you have never lived until you have walked a classroom full of 20 fourth graders through a 30-minute lesson using your master computer to lead them through a series of steps to do something like how to create a database - lol  But, they learned and they learned amazingly well. 

I am presently working on the Microsoft Certified Technician Specialist (MCTS) learning how to use troubleshooting tools such as remote desktop and remote administration to solve problems with malfunctioning computers that could be halfway around the world.  For instance, a customer or employee calls in with a computer issue.  The technician gets permission to take control of their computer remotely, make the fix, and get them up and running again.  Wah - la! 

My program includes 10 courses and a prerequisite or two.  I have almost completed the first course and I find my curriculum to be top drawer.  I highly recommend them.  It is clear, easy to follow and effective in teaching you new skills if you are willing to do the work online. 

Check it out!  It never hurts to expand or update your skills in any area.  But, I think it is safe to assume computers are not going away anytime soon.  So, let's learn how to work with them and tool ourselves to be able to put them to their best use.

Thank you, Microsoft!
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Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Malinda Zellman Receives an Invite from

One of the administrative folks at the new fashion site called came across my blog and liked it, emailing me the following comments:

"...Just visited your "Malinda Zellman" blog and I was super impressed by its design and content. We just opened up our site Lookville for beta testing. It's a place for people to have discussions, share tips, and ask questions about fashion. Currently, memberships are by invitation only and I would love to have you on it!"

Wow!  What a nice surprise.  I feel so honored to have been invited into this fine company of fashion experts... and what fun I am having on this site!  While I don't consider myself a fashion expert, I do consider myself a jewelry fashion expert.  I have written articles about jewelry trends in the past.  This approach is very fresh, however.  What a wonderful way to get a sense of current trends, hot accessory ideas, popular colors for spring and summer and so much more. 

This site has been in the news the last week or so.  If you haven't already heard about Lookville, they allow you to upload a picture of yourself in a certain outfit you are trying to pull together and let others participating on Lookville share their ideas about which shoes, what hairstyle, what accessories, or for whatever assistance you have requested.  Some of the participants are very good at giving advice. 

It works in much the same way as a social networking site.  You can follow certain people and their comments if you like them.  I already have my first follower after only two short posts.  I will let you know when Lookville goes public.  I feel confident you ladies would enjoy a visit while surfing the net one afternoon. 

At the present time, I find the site a little slow, but that is not surprising considering they are new and getting lots of press as well as traffic to their site.  The site is presently reacting to feedback from those of us they have invited to help them get off the ground. 

I think the idea is ripe for something like this and, personally, I am enjoying offering a tip here and there about what jewelry and accessories work with certain outfits.  After so many years selling natural gemstone jewelry online, this is right up my alley.  You can rethink your "look" at Lookville.

Malinda Zellman

I am adding new classic jewelry pieces to my eBay shop this week (like these classic pearl earrings in 24 kt plated yellow gold for under $10) in addition to the Laura Paige designer rings I listed last week (see sample photos in previous article below).  Check it out when you have the time:

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Thursday, June 3, 2010

"The Mighty Mali" in Photographs - Better Known as a Classic 1979 Chevrolet Malibu for Sale

Today I am uploading samples of photos I shot yesterday for someone preparing to sell his classic 1979 Malibu.  Here is a sneak peak.  Take a stroll back in time with this one...  It rumbles!  The car runs fine and draws attention everywhere he takes it.  For information on the engine, price or other condition details, you can reach Christopher, the owner, at (352) 308-2651 or (407) 699-0869.

Please contact me if you need help with a commercial photography project.  I can be reached at (352) 360-5480 to discuss your needs.  I enjoy shooting projects large and small - from shooting a single object you want to list for sale (like "The Mighty Mali" above) to photographing your entire business inventory (like my new collection of Laura Paige designer rings in the article below), I can create the photos you need for either print advertising or for your website/online marketplace.  Working with me is a snap! 

The end.
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