Monday, February 28

Just In Case You Weren't Feeling 'Old Enough' Today ♥

  • The people who are going to college this year were born in 1993.
  • They are too young to remember the space shuttle blowing up.
  • Their lifetime has always included AIDS.
  • The CD was introduced four years before they were born.
  • They have always had an answering machine.
  • They have always had cable.
  • They couldn't imagine life without their cell phones.
  • Jay Leno has always been on the Tonight Show.
  • They have never been without microwaves and can't cook without them.
  • They never took a swim and thought about Jaws.
  • They don't know who Mork was or where he was from.
  • They never heard; "Where's the Beef?", "I'd walk a mile for a Camel. ", or "de plane Boss, de plane."
  • McDonald's never came in Styrofoam containers.
  • They don't have a clue as to how to use a typewriter.
  • They use calculators, computers and the Internet in college to do all of their lessons.
  • They have always had 'personal' computers.
  • Search Engines have taken the place of a set of good Encyclopedias.
  • Email and texting has taken the place of writing personal letters and mailing them.
  • Notice the larger type? That's for those of us who have trouble reading cause we're getting 'old.'

P.S. Save the earth. It's the only planet with chocolate.

Keep On Bloggin'!

Friday, February 25

What Is Up With The DMV?

Just in case anyone thought I was ignoring them this week that wasn't the case! I was really busy with some legal problems for my upcoming trial and I'm FINALLY done with the incompetent DMV about my drivers license.

Of course it's not just the DMV, the whole government is a horrible mess and along with our backward economy it's hard to keep up and keep your rights at the same time. In this cause I was trying after 41 years of having a good driving record with the DMV to keep my record and driving privileges after being taken to the hospital last July.

It should of been easy, at the time they had thought I had a seizure on the way to the hospital. (I was fighting for my life for God's sake!) After finding no reasons for me having seizures or any other problems before they released me they did tell me that for legal purposes they had to tell the DMV I had a seizure.

If things would of worked out the way they were suppose to, when I got the papers filled out by my doctor for the DMV it should of been over with. The Safety Division of the DMV didn't think that was good enough so they required me to have an eye and physical driving test. What’s funny is I had never had a driving test proper. I took Health & Safety in high school and Indiana didn’t require a physical driving test if you took and passed that class.

I went for the test and got a very young Asian man as my tester. He wasn't very friendly and made me nervous. Then I made the ONE stupid mistake I could of to fail the test immediately. When I made a left hand turn onto a street that was one way on one side my car tire went over the bumps on the yellow straight lines for a second. It was enough and he failed me.

No problem, I was told I could reschedule another. So I called and did so for Dec. 9th (which was the next week) so I thought I was lucky to be getting such an early appointment. I had called the DMV at their number like I was told so was I surprised! I went for the new drivers test and waited forever and finally they told me it wasn't in the computer so I didn't have a test to take.

I was so angry I had my roommate film me ranting about it in front of the DMV. I was going to get them. Gosh I was mad. They were careful not to say I was lying to them about calling the DMV for this, yet they WERE calling me a liar because they said I didn't speak to anyone or it would be in the computer. OMG!

Then I got another test date after that in the mail telling me to show up in Daly City which isn't the DMV I go to which is right by my house. I don't even know my way around Daly City. With that test date they also restricted my drivers license (which I was told wouldn't happen) to only being able to drive with someone over 24 years of age and only during the daylight. So I had to call and tell them I needed an appointment for San Mateo.

So I got my appointment in the mail for San Mateo but it wasn't until Feb. 24th at 8:45am, a long time to wait! This paperwork said my license was not restricted like I was told in the first place. Can you believe, much less follow this mess?

I was still driving my car and it's lucky I didn't get stopped because then I would of had to explain the DMV's paperwork to a cop. I can imagine how that would of went trying to explain the inefficacy of an agency that they have to back.

I am now ecstatic because yesterday I got up and took my test and passed it. They also said there were no restrictions on my license. (Hey, they are suppose to know.) Also I did really well! You can get up to 20 things wrong (unless it's a huge mistake) and my score was a low 5! I really am an excellent driver after all.

Before my test I was driving around the neighborhood and I was going through an intersection with two stop signs and two through streets. I had the right of way (it was sprinkling rain too) and a huge pick up truck (for any of you who read my dream blog) ran his stop sign and we almost had an accident. Luckily I put on my brakes gently (because it was slick) and I stopped right before I hit him. All he did was shrug his shoulders, laugh and take off. Leaving me to contemplate my upcoming drivers test and what would of happened to my test today if we had gotten in an accident.

I'm just glad this week is over and I'm done with anyone questioning me about driving my beloved car where ever I wish, anytime I wish! Our freedom to drive is only contingent to what the state we live in has to say about it and they are underfunded and understaffed. And most of them are idols besides.

It was a hectic experience but I'm done with it now and things should be back to normal with me still being able to drive legally.

DMV = Dumb Men and women, hassling you about your Vehical.

Keep On Bloggin'!

Migraines And Migraine Art Drawn By Patients

By Sarah Chapman

Those of you that have experienced real migraines know that the terrible side effects can make normal functioning in daily life hard, if not impossible to deal with.

Classic migraines start with a warning sign called an aura. The aura often changes the way you see things. You may see flashing lights, or temporarily lose some of your vision, such as your side vision.

This is what an aura is like to one migraine sufferer.

You may also feel muscle weakness on one side of your body. You may have trouble talking or feel depressed and irritable. You could feel restless.

Auras last about 15 to 30 minutes and may occur after, before or even overlap the pain of a migraine itself. The head pain of a migraine may occur on one side of the head or both sides.

Common migraines don't start with an aura. They last longer and interfere with daily activities more than classic migraines. Usually, these are on one side of the head. The pain can last from 4 to 72 hours.

A person having a migraine may have trouble eating normal foods they usually like or keeping food down during an attack. Light and sound bother them. If you want to know more Migraine Action is a good place to start and get help if you need it.

Lewis Carroll, who wrote Alice In Wonderland had classic migraines. He also had a syndrome named after him because he suffered from a very rare type of migraine aura called Alice In Wonderland Syndrome.

Now doctors are finding out that by looking at drawings done by patients having classic migraines they can learn a lot about these terrible headaches and get an insight into what migraines might be like to each patient. These stunning pictures are from different artists who experience migraines.


Classic migraine art takes place during the aura which changes the way a patient see's and feels things. Doctors are continuing to study this type of art to better understand migraines and how patients feel when they have one. This way new and better migraine medicines are being made to relieve the side effects of auras and migraines.

Only 1% of us escape headaches altogether. 16 to 17% of people get a migraine headache sometime in their lives. There are over 20 million migraine attacks happening every day. Some migraines are mistaken for sinus headaches. (These numbers change each year.) 

People with migraines will look at these pictures with recognition, as they know how they suffer. I hope migraine patients get some relief from these studies that are being done. New therapies are being discovered every day.

I find the art troubling yet it's beautiful too. One can pick out similar threads that each patient feels in the artwork.

I am lucky to be in the small percentage of people who don't have headaches often and I've never had a migraine that I know of. When I do have one it makes me miserable. Mine are usually from my sinuses.

The holidays are here and there's no escaping them so I hope no one is having headaches of any kind right now! Enjoy your Friday!

One more example of aura's from a patient's point of view.

Understanding My Coma

Sometimes someone is so ill they are put into a coma to save their lives. That is what happened to me. They said I had two seizures before getting to the hospital (one in the ambulance) and my left lung was filled with vomit and had collapsed. I was spiking a high fever and phenomena was setting in. The Doctor's decided that a coma was the best way to save my life. I was put into a drug induced coma. Luckily I never needed a ventilator after they cleared my lung out. The important thing is the fact that I was put into a Coma and how it helped and effected me.

Someone who is in a coma is unconscious and will not respond to voices, loud sounds, or any sort of activity going on. Not even intense pain will bring forth a response. The person is still alive but the parts of the brain is functioning at a low level. It is working to keep your organs going and such. (Fingers crossed.)

I can tell you from first hand experience that you can't hear people when in a coma like some believe you can. Reading to someone in a coma from a book is just for your own comfort not theirs. All I remember from being in my coma was my never ending, very strange dream that I had.

My dream was unlike any other dream I ever had while sleeping normally at night. The dream was probably based on my brain reacting to the seizures, fever and trauma. It was very eerie, not unlike being in Wonderland itself. I would of never known I had passed away nor that I had a had somewhere to go back to. I dreamed about people in my life, and some that weren't yet or at all. I wish I could of recorded the imagery it was very spacy kind of creepy yet very comforting. Then I woke up. I was totally freaked out until I realized I was awake.

My dream drove me to question what really happens when you die? If I would of passed away would I have dreamed until the very last brain cell gave out? And then what? For me, being so close to death was not an empty time where I couldn't remember and ever since then it's caused me to rethink my prior beliefs. But to what?

Then there's the way I have felt since being out of the coma and hospital. As soon as I came out of the coma and the doctors started telling me what happened it was hard to believe it was so serious because even with the tubes sticking out of every orifice and then some I felt surprisingly well. I even left the hospital faster then they wanted me to. I really shocked my doctors especially since they still can't find out what caused all this to happen!

I remember reading stories about coma patients who claimed that being in a coma 'reset' their brains and bodies in a new way that hadn't been expected. I felt this way too and after having people who knew me well tell me I was like a 'new person' I decided to look into this. Unfortunately for me I couldn't find much. Most of the articles were just about comas and were all very similar. People awaking from comas did not feel this way, often having to relearn even the most basic of functions. I had been extremely lucky!

People may emerge from a coma with a combination of physical, intellectual and psychological difficulties that need special attention. Recovery usually occurs gradually....patients acquire more and more ability to respond. Some patients never progress beyond very basic responses, but some can recover full awareness. Regaining consciousness is not instant: in the first days, patients are only awake for a few minutes, and duration of that time awake gradually increases. In reality, the coma patient awakes sometimes in a profound state of confusion, not knowing how they got there and sometimes suffering from the inability to articulate any speech, and with many other disabilities.

This is unlike the situation in my life where I awoke from my coma and was instantly able to continue my normal life. When I woke up I was up for good and didn't relapse back into unconsciousness. I was very blessed and haven't doubted that for a second since. I was anxious to walk, speak and do everything I could to go home from the hospital. The doctors where very surprised at my state after being on death's door. I was not confused in the beginning but I couldn't remember anything that happened to me and had to be told what transpired that week and why I was at the hospital.

This is a statistic that really freaked me out! The most common cause of death for a person in a vegetative state is secondary infection such as pneumonia which can occur in patients who lie still for extended periods. For me I got pneumonia right away from swallowing my vomit and an ultra high fever so I was very lucky I had the best staff working on me at Kaiser. They saved my life.

So what I did find out after researching this is that I'm a lucky person to have come out of it like I did. It was very hard on my body and I took a month to recover from all of it fully. Even the day after I came home I felt so much better than I had in years! I couldn't put my finger on it but when other's noticed it too it confirmed what I had thought had happened. I was somehow a new person! I even looked better and I couldn't believe it.! A lot of my old pain was gone and my wrist I pinched a nerve in before had healed! The numbness was gone and I could touch type again. It was like a miracle! I felt so well that I was being more active than ever before this happened to me! What a great feeling!

From what I could tell the odds had been stacked against me. The fact that I didn't go into a coma on my own and they induced one is like arguing apples and oranges. A coma is a coma and they are very dangerous. I had several medical problems that alone could of killed me, but no. I had my dream during these goings on that helped me out a great deal. I think it helped several things for me. I know that the coma reset my brain not unlike an electrical circuit can be reset and in this case it helped me. Everyone knows the brain runs on electrical impulses. I can guess that shock therapy probably works on the brain this way as well. I do feel the two day Coma helped send me to a time before some of my injuries, before I felt so bad, it went back to a happier mental pattern in my life and all I can say is I'm super lucky and it's very awesome! I am thankful to God that I'm not learning how to tie my shoes again or walk. I am truly blessed and will not squander this new chance I have been given!

Keep On Bloggin'!

Thursday, February 24

Internet Addiction Quiz

Do you feel tethered to your computer? Do you feel like you just can't pull away and unplug? Has your time on the Internet come to replace things or relationships you once loved? If you feel like your Internet use is affecting your health and overall well-being, take this quiz. Learn the warning signs of Internet addiction.

A Growing Epidemic

Studies on Internet addiction originated in the US by Dr. Kimberly Young, who presented the first research on Internet addiction in 1996 at the American Psychological Association’s annual conference held in Toronto in her paper Internet Addiction: The Emergence of a New Disorder. Since then, studies have documented Internet addiction in a growing number of countries such as Italy, Pakistan, Iran, Germany, and the Czech Republic. Reports also indicate that Internet addiction has become a serious public health concern in China, Korea, and Taiwan.

Treatment centers have emerged across the US and abroad. Dr. Kimberly Young has likened Internet addiction to addictive syndromes similar to impulse-control disorders not unlike drug addiction. She developed the Internet Addiction Diagnostic Questionnaire (IADQ) to diagnose the disorder. Meeting five of the following symptoms were considered necessary to be diagnosed.

Internet Addiction Quiz

1. Do you feel preoccupied with the Internet, think about a previous online activity or anticipate the next online session?

2. Do you feel the need to use the Internet with increasing amounts of time in order to achieve satisfaction?

3. Have you repeatedly made unsuccessful efforts to control, cut back, or stop Internet use?

4. Do you feel restless, moody, depressed, or irritable when attempting to cut down or stop Internet use?

5. Do you stay online longer than originally intended?

6. Have you jeopardized or risked the loss of a significant relationship, job, educational or career opportunity because of the Internet?

7. Have you lied to family members, therapist, or others to conceal the extent of involvement with the Internet?

8. Do you use the Internet as a way of escaping from problems or of relieving a dysphoric mood (like feelings of helplessness, guilt, anxiety or depression?)

Other Symptoms Include

• Failed attempts to control behavior

• Heightened sense of euphoria while involved in computer and Internet activities

• Neglecting friends and family

• Neglecting sleep to stay online

• Being dishonest with others

• Feeling guilty, ashamed, anxious, or depressed as a result of online behavior

• Physical changes such as weight gain or loss, backaches, headaches, carpal tunnel syndrome

• Withdrawing from other pleasurable activities

I know I'm in trouble when it comes to Internet Addiction! Especially the part about neglecting sleep to stay online. What about you?

Keep On Bloggin'!

Sunday, February 20

Famous Last Words

No matter how long we live, we must all die at some point in our lives. Since I had my brush with death I have often thought about what would be on my mind when my time comes and what (if anything) I'd have a chance to think or say about it.

As I was thinking about last words I decided to do the next best thing and do a search for some last words from famous people to see what they had to say about death and dying.

Famous Last Words

1." And now in keeping with Channel 40's policy of always bringing you the latest in blood and guts in living color; you're about to see another first--an attempted suicide." Chris Hubbock, who shot herself during a live broadcast.

2. "What we know is not much. What we don't know is enormous."---Pierre Simon de Laplace, French Astronomer.

3. "Give back everything to...."---Peter The Great, Tsar Of Russia.

4. "Why not, why not, why not.Why not?" and "Yeah."---Timothy Leary.

5. "Goodbye. I am leaving because I am bored."---George Saunders.

6. "Crito, I owe a cock to Asclepius; will you remember to pay the debt?"---Socrates.

7. "Don't disarrange my circles!"---Archimedes.

8. "Why yes, a bulletproof vest."---James Rodges, murderer, on his final request before the firing squad.

9. "Go away...I'm alright."---H. G. Wells. (Probably would be MY last words because when I'm in trouble I always end up saying it. Lol!)

10. "I must go in...the fog is rising."---Emily Dickinson.

11. "Now comes the mystery."---Henry Ward Beecher.

12. "Friends applaud, the comedy is over."---Ludwig von Beethoven.

13. "Drink to me."---Pablo Picasso.

14. "And now, I am dying beyond my means."---Oscar Wilde, sipping champagne on his deathbed.

15. "Show my head to the people it is worth seeing."---Georges Danton, to his executioner.

16. "Don't worry! It's not loaded."---Terry Kath rock musician playing Russian roulette.

17. "Where did all these damn Indians come from?"---General Custer.

18. "Such is life."---Ned Kelly.

19. "We are born crying, live complaining and die disappointed."---The Optimist.

20. "Go on, get out. Last words are for fools who haven't said enough."---Karl Marx.

21. "I had a lovers quarrel with the world."---Robert Frost.

22. "I'm too young to die!"---A grandfather, age 94.

23. "My work here is done, why wait?"---Eastman's (founder of Kodak) last words before he killed himself.

24. "Dying is easy...comedy is hard."---Marcel Marceau.

25. "The rest is silence."---Shakespeare.

26. "I'd hate to die twice. It's so boring."---Richard Feynman.

27. "So are you a cannibal?"---Priyanka Bomb.

28. "More light!"---Goethe.

29. "What is the answer?...(Silence.)...In that case, what is the question?"---Gertrude Stein.

30. "God will pardon me, it's his trade."---Heinrich Heine.

31. "Waiting are they? Well, let 'em wait!"---General Mad Anthony Wayne, when told by doctors the angels were waiting for him.

32. "I know you are here to kill me. Shoot, coward, you are only going to kill a man."---Che Guevara, facing his assassin.

33. "I wonder why he shot me?"---Huey P. Long, governor in Louisiana who was murdered.

34. "Nothing but death."---Jane Austin when asked by her sister if there was anything she wanted.

35. "Codeine...bourbon."---Tallulah Bankhead.

36. "I can't sleep."---James M. Barrie.

37. "Now I shall go to sleep. Goodnight."---Lord George Byron.

38. "Beautiful."---Elizabeth Browning when her husband asked her how she felt.

39. "I'm bored with it all."---Winston Churchill.

40. "I am not the least afraid to die."---Charles Darwin.

41. "I've never felt better."---Douglas Fairbanks Sr.

42. "I've had a hell of a lot of fun and I've enjoyed ever minute of it."---Errol Flynn.

43. "A dying man can do nothing easy."---Benjamin Franklin.

44. "I have a terrific headache."---Franklin Roosevelt, before dying of a cerebral hemorrhage.

45. "It is very beautiful over there."---Thomas Edison.

46. "All my possessions for a moment of time."---Queen Elizabeth One, of England.

47. "Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit."---Jesus Christ.

Whether real or written in history isn't it amazing what is on someone's mind and comes out of people's mouths when they are at death's door! I never really thought about it before doing the research for this post. It turned out to be an eye-opener in a lot of ways and if anything it's important to remember that BEFORE we die you better have lived all you can. Get every last tasty bit of life before it's your turn.

Remember, none of us are born with an expiration date stamped on us!

Keep On Bloggin'!

Sunday, February 13

What A Dream I Had Last Night

I often stay up late at night or all night. If I go to bed at a decent time I'm usually an early riser. After all, I am an adult now and my cats don't seem to mind my strange hours as long as they get fed on time. Anyway, I had stayed up for a night and late the next night. When I finally went to bed I had a dream right out of Sigmund Freud's Interpretation of Dreams!

(Warning. This is a dream so it won't necessarily make sense.) 

I was driving my sports car (named Blue) with the top down and as usual it was shinning and we were both looking hot. I pulled into a parking lot that seemed very deserted for the time of day it was and I go into the store to get a few things. When I come out there was a pick up truck parked right next to my car, too close for comfort. I look at my car and it had a big dent in it from the pick up trucks door and I start to freak out! Then the guy comes out and gets in his truck. The first thing I notice is he's a fox! So I go up to his window and nicely ask him why he wasn't more careful about parking his truck. He smiles an awesome smile that makes me melt and tells me to; "Fuck off!" Taken aback, I tell him I still want his insurance information and added that he was an ass and to fuck off himself. As I started to get back into my car I see him start his humongous gas guzzling, 4 wheel drive, truck and pull out of the spot; still not giving me his insurance information. I scream; "You can't leave, it's your fault and I need your insurance info to fix my car!" He looks at me and gives me a big smile revving his eight-cylinder truck engine. All of a sudden he drives his truck into the front of my car. Awestruck, I figure I just have to fix my front bumper and the dent so I ask him to stop this madness and please let us exchange insurance info. He revs his engine and hits my car on the side. I am getting really mad but no one is around to help. I frantically try to dial 911 but my cell phone won't work. As I'm doing this he is still smiling that damn smile like he thinks he's Fabio or something and drives over my car as he continues destroying it. I stand in front of my car pleading with him to stop but I can tell he isn't going to and I get out of the way at the last minute. He almost hits me! This just makes him start laughing as if he's enjoying it. All of a sudden his truck is a convertible and I throw myself on him, hugging him and begging him to stop. Of course he throws me off and continues until my car is nothing but a blue pile of metal trash. So I beg him again to exchange insurance info so I can get my car fixed. He was covered but he just grins, then gives me the finger and takes off in his truck. I can see as he's leaving that only his front bumper is messed up. I try 911 again but my cell phone is useless. By then I am getting so upset I'm feeling crazy. Even though my cell never worked the police show up. I am now so upset that I'm screaming at the police about the guy and I can tell they just think I'm crazy and of course he is nowhere to be found. They don't believe me and as I turn around there’s my car with nothing wrong with it. I get handcuffed and taken to jail. By then I am totally angry at the police, spitting at them and flipping out. They end up putting me in one of those bad behavior chairs with a spit guard on my head. I am trying my best to make them believe me but they won't so I have a total meltdown. They don't believe there was another person and it just makes things worse! My court date comes up and the guy shows up with his girlfriend in tow and of course he and his girlfriend (who wasn't even there) say I'm crazy and did it all myself because I wanted to go out with him and he turned me down. I am so angry I get taken out in restraints while I watch the guy and his girlfriend smiling at each other and laughing. They start making out in the courtroom as the judge states I'm to be put into a mental hospital and treated until I come to terms with reality. I can't believe this is happening and all I have in my head is the mental image of my car flattened into a blue metal mess and that couple making out. I scream at the judge on the way out. When I get to the mental hospital I really get violent and bang my head on the wall. They give me a knock out shot. When I wake up I'm in the mental hospital in a straight jacket. The male nurse takes me in to see the psychiatrist and he asks me why I think I'm in there. When I tell him the truth he says I'm delusional and I'm put on a suicide watch and force-fed heavy duty med's. I fight against them and get put in a straight jacket and thrown into a padded room. I am so upset because no one will believe my side of the story and I've lost my wonderful car on top of it all! When they let me free I throw feces and spit on the doctors and nurses. I also abuse my time with the doctor and it doesn't make things any better for me. The guy and his girlfriend visit me at the hospital making like they're sorry that I have to be in there but they just have sex in front of me and laugh at how clever they are. After their visit, I try to escape and get caught. I am so sedated I have trouble following things. As a last resort, they schedule me for shock treatment. I feel the coldness of the conducting gel as they apply it. It feels nice. As they are strapping me in for the shock treatment I burst open with the frustration, the fear, and anger. But everything is so blurry. Then I woke up because I was talking in my sleep and heard myself calling out.

Lol! What a dream huh? Almost textbook in so many ways. Also, it's an extremely personal dream showing me many paths. Like I said earlier Freud would have had a hay day with this one, as I can see some of his ideas in my twisted dream.

When I told my roommate that morning he actually went outside and checked my car. Of course, it was still there with no damage! It still made me laugh that he did that but he has had dreams like that and it must have touched a nerve in his psyche.

I wouldn't want to lose my beloved Miata, I own it and enjoy driving it so much. All I can say is thank God it was a dream! Glad I woke up too! The weirdest thing of all is when I woke up, my temples had some kind of gel on them......

Have a good Sunday my friends and I hope you have some great plans for tomorrow!

Keep On Bloggin'!

Saturday, February 12

Ten Worst Places To Live In America

Times are tough right now and everyone is feeling the pinch. The housing market is still weak and families that can't afford a home are stuck living in one bedroom apartments if they're even that fortunate. Unemployment remains high and the amount of people who have never owned a home keeps rising. Dabbling in the stock market is not for the weak of heart and most people are using their meager earnings just to put food on the table. You don't need the U.S. *Misery Index to tell you that things are bad in the U.S. with some very real indicators that we are heading toward a double-dip recession. But you can thank your lucky stars because things could be worse if you live in one of these 10 cities, which face the highest unemployment in the country, corrupt money grabbing city officials and sky-high foreclosure rates. Although this is an unofficial list of the 10 worst cities to live in, you will see why these cities were picked as you read on.

1. El Centro, California-Population: 41,241

Lose your job in El Centro and it may be quite some time before you find another one. One in four people here are out of work and the city holds the not-so-distinguished honor of having the highest unemployment rate --27.5%-- in the country (close behind is Yuma, ., with 27.2% unemployment). The desert city, which is located in Imperial County just across the border from Mexicali, has a jobless rate triple the national average of 9.5% thanks to the seasonal fluctuations of field laborers. Fieldwork is the county's third-largest employment sector after government, transportation, and utilities. "Its location across the border from a much larger Mexican city means that there is a large floating labor force," Jim Gerber, an economics professor and director of the international business program at San Diego State University, told AOL News. "The data for Imperial County is skewed by this, such that the layoffs and out-of-work laborers are not actually counted correctly." Even with the ebb and flow of its working population, things are still pretty bleak in El Centro. Last year, the city's cemetery went into foreclosure.

2. Cleveland, Ohio-Population: 431,363

LeBron James isn't the only person leaving Cleveland. The U.S. Census estimated that 2,658 people left the city in 2009, the largest numerical drop among America's major cities. Forbes also put Cleveland atop its list of most miserable U.S. cities, factoring in its high unemployment (although at 9.1% it's below the national average), high taxes, lousy weather, political corruption and lousy sports teams -- and that was before LeBron decided to leave. Weather is a big factor. Located on the south shore of Lake Erie, Cleveland gets hit by lake-effect snow, averaging almost 60 inches of the stuff every winter. Its frigid winters help produce an average annual temperature of only 50 degrees, 10 degrees below the average of the 50 cities measured by Forbes. Nicknamed the "Mistake by the Lake," Cleveland ranked near the bottom when looking at corruption on the Forbes list. "Northern Ohio has seen 309 public officials convicted of crimes over the past 10 years," according to the Forbes story, which cites data from the Justice Department. "A current FBI investigation of public officials in Cuyahoga County (where Cleveland is located) has ensnared more than two dozen government employees and businessmen on charges including bribery, fraud and tax evasion." Cleveland also ranks in the top third of all metro areas for foreclosure rates. The city has thousands of abandoned homes, in part because it provided down payments through the federally-funded Afford-a-Home program to many people who could not afford their mortgage payments.

3. Detroit, Michigan-Population: 871,121

Detroit is America's most dangerous city, with 1,220 violent crimes per 100,000 people, according to violent crime statistics from the FBI's latest uniform crime report, issued in 2008. Its heavy reliance on the stumbling auto industry hasn't helped matters much. Motown also boasts high foreclosure and unemployment rates. As a result home prices have nosedived. Just last year you could buy a home in Detroit for $10,000. Foreclosures in metro Detroit were up 35% in the first six months of this year, compared to the same time in 2009. Vacant homes and blight are so bad that the city recently imposed a new ordinance requiring banks and homeowners to register their property with the city for a $25 annual fee. Even the city's office vacancy rate is high, with a 30% rate that leads the nation. While Forbes names the Detroit metro area (which has a 13.7% unemployment rate) as one of the worst spots to find employment, job growth is expected to rebound as the auto industry starts to recover. Finally, some good news for the people of Detroit.....if anyone is left.

4. Las Vegas, Nevada-Population: 552,539

Las Vegas was one of the hardest hit cities when the housing bubble burst. In fact, the metro area was at the epicenter of the mess, with the highest foreclosure rate in the country in 2009, according to a report by RealtyTrac. So many homes are empty that some neighborhoods either have no one around or one lone resident. That doesn't make for much of a neighborhood block party. Nationwide, 2.21% of housing units received a foreclosure filing in 2009, compared to 12% in Las Vegas. Those who have hung onto their homes are likely underwater on their mortgages; meaning their mortgages are worth more than their homes. During the first quarter of 2010, home prices in Las Vegas continued to fall. Prices in the metro area have fallen more than 50% from their peak in August 2006.

5. Oklahoma City, Oklahoma-Population: 560,332

Oklahoma City is the unhealthiest city in the country, as measured by the American College of Sports Medicine's annual fitness index. The index looks at 30 fitness indicators, including obesity and exercise rates, the death rate from cardiovascular disease, acres of parkland, number of primary care physicians per capita and percentage of residents who bicycle or walk to work. The index compares the 50 largest metro areas on a 100-point scale; Oklahoma City received a score of 24.3, making it the most sluggish city in the U.S. The obesity rate is 30.2%, four points above average. It has an exercise rate of 71% and has half as many baseball diamonds, recreation centers, and dog parks in most cities. Detroit and Las Vegas also performed poorly on the fitness index.

6. Los Angeles, California-Population: 3,849,378

If you don't really care about breathing, Los Angeles is a great place. The metro area that stretches from Long Beach to Riverside has the worst ozone pollution in the country, according to the American Lung Association's State of the Air report for 2010. Along with being tops in ozone pollution, L.A. is ranked third in year-round particle pollution, and fourth in short-term particle pollution. Ozone is the byproduct of pollutants released by cars, chemical plants, refineries, and other sources. It exists naturally in the upper atmosphere of the Earth, but when emitted at ground level, it's considered a harmful outdoor pollutant. Inhaling ozone can cause wheezing, coughing, chest pain, throat irritation, congestion, and can make people more susceptible to respiratory illnesses such as bronchitis and pneumonia, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Think about that next time you drive in Los Angeles, which also lays claim the worst traffic in the country.

7. Phoenix, Arizona-Population: 1,512,986

If Arizona's tough immigration laws get through the courts, Phoenix is going to be a much more difficult place for immigrants (or really anyone of Latino origin) to live in. The law would allow police officers to ask people for proof of their legal status when stopping them for another violation. Charges of racial profiling and discrimination can quickly turn a city into one of the worst places to live and it's already sparking huge protests and impacting Arizona's already-fragile economy. Beyond the controversial immigration measure, Arizona's housing market still remains a mess. According to RealtyTrac's latest foreclosure report, Phoenix and its surrounding area remain among the top 10 worst metro markets when it comes to foreclosures. However, in May, foreclosure activity in the city was down 9% from May 2009, offering a tiny sliver of hope. Phoenix also ranks poorly among metro areas in per capita income growth. Between 2007 and 2008, the city's income growth shrank 1.4%, the nation's worst one-year loss. And let's not forget about being able to breathe in Phoenix. For year-round particle pollution from freeways, power plants and other sources, Phoenix is the worst city in the country.

8. Newark, New Jersey-Population: 281,402

Where to start for one of the worst cities in America? Newark has been likened to Detroit, but with its own political and social dysfunction. More than a quarter of its population lives below the poverty line, the state has the most Superfund toxic-waste sites in the nation, and Newark Mayor Cory Booker is trying to close a $70 million budget deficit by cutting items like toilet paper. Non-uniformed city workers will soon start working four-day workweeks, which won't make it the first city to cut employee hours, but at least Booker has said he won't raise taxes. Booker has brought the city a long way since being elected in 2007, but he still has a long way to go. While crime in the city has been reduced, it still remains a major issue. A recent spate of shootings has reminded residents of the city's long history of violent crime.

9. Miami, Florida-Population: 362,470

Detroit is listed by Children's Health magazine as being the worst place to raise a family, but right behind it is Miami. If a city isn't a good place to raise a family, that likely means its also a terrible place to live. Factors the magazine used to come to its conclusions, included crime and safety, education, economics, housing, cultural attractions, and health. According to RealtyTrac, Miami has seen close to 40,000 foreclosures, making it one of the most active markets when it comes to people abandoning their homes. Crime is also a problem. Neighborhood Scout reports that Miami has one of the highest crime rates in the country, with a one in twelve chance that a resident will become a victim of a property or violent crime. Making things even worse, the city not only has some of the worst drivers in the country, but it also has some of the worst commuting times.

10. Memphis, Tennessee-Population: 670,100

Memphis has one of the worst violent crime rates in the country and was ranked third by Forbes in its list of miserable cities for corruption by city officials. According to stats released by the Federal Bureau of Investigations, the city had the second-worst rate of violent crime. NeighborhoodScout, which tracks crime and other factors in various cities and neighborhoods said "One's chance of becoming a victim of either violent or property crime here is one in 10. Within Tennessee, more than 90% of the communities have a lower crime rate than Memphis." As for political corruption, reportedly nearly one public official per month over the last decade has been charged with public corruption. Recently, a former city administrator used a city account that was supposed to be for auto parts to buy big screen televisions.

No matter where you live or what your job is (if you're lucky enough to have either,) it's not exactly a picnic these days is it? My roommate who works for Sony in Foster City, California told me his Boss owns a home and from outward appearances looks like his family has an upscale lifestyle. Yet just the other day his boss confided to him that he is now going without cable TV or an Internet connection in an attempt to make ends meet.

No Internet? I'd rather be homeless! Tee hee! All kidding aside though, it has gotten to the point where you can't go to any city in America and not see an increase of these types of problems. Unfortunately, the people who were voted into public office by us to deal with these issues are more interested in voting themselves pay raises and job security rather than tackling the problems we all must face if we are ever to get a handle on this. If you do happen to live in one of the 10 cities mentioned I'd love to hear your comments on living there and what you think your situation is like.

* The misery index was initiated by economist Arthur Okun, an adviser to President Lyndon Johnson in the 1960's. It is simply the unemployment rate added to the inflation rate. It is assumed that both a higher rate of unemployment and a worsening of inflation both create economic and social costs for a country. A combination of rising inflation and more people out of work implies a deterioration in economic performance and a rise in the misery index.

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