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مدیر انجمن: شوراي نظارت

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Water Under the Sink (Part One)

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[align=left]Water Under the Sink (Part One)

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he 36-year-old bachelor ate his usual lunch at home. He had an apple, a ham sandwich with a sliced dill pickle, a bowl of chicken noodle soup with a couple of soda c r 4c k, and a small candy bar, all washed down with an eight-ounce glass of milk.

After he finished breakfast, Ed put everything in the sink, poured a little dishwashing soap onto a Teflon pad, and scrubbed the soup bowl, the sandwich plate, and the milk glass. Then he switched on the garbage disposal to grind up the few bits of food that he had scraped off his plate. He left the kitchen to go brush his teeth. But he felt something wet on his bare foot. Sure enough, he looked down and saw some water on the kitchen carpet. “What is this?” he said aloud.

Opening the cabinet door under the sink, he saw no dripping water. He went to the closet and got a flashlight. When he shined the light into the cabinet under the sink, he saw drops of water on the sides of the dark blue steel cylinder. It looked like he had a leaky garbage disposal. To test his theory, he turned on the switch, and a stream of water flowed out of a seam onto the cabinet floor and then onto the kitchen carpet. Ed had a problem, but he didn’t have time to fix it now. He had to run some errands. He put some tape over the switch so he couldn’t accidentally turn the disposal on again. 
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Water Under the Sink (Part Two)

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[align=left]Water Under the Sink (Part Two)

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Ed came home from his errands and put the groceries into the cupboard and the refrigerator. He grabbed a flathead screwdriver and a pair of pliers from his toolbox. In the kitchen, he got down on his hands and knees and turned on the flashlight. After a couple of minutes of looking, he decided what to do. He had never opened up a disposal before, but there is a first time for everything.

The cylindrical disposal was about 7 inches in diameter and had a horizontal seam dividing the top half from the bottom half. The halves were held together by three screws. Ed jiggled the bottom half of the disposal; it was loose because two of the three screws were corroded. Only one screw was still doing its duty. Ed unscrewed it.

The bottom half of the disposal was now lying on the cabinet floor. Ed thought for sure that it would be full of months-old food, but there was no food, only a hardened, torn, useless gasket. The next day Ed went to the hardware store to buy some screws and a new gasket. The employee told him that they did not carry those gaskets and suggested that he write to the manufacturer. Ed returned home. He created his own gasket by using gasket sealant that comes in a tube. He applied the sealant, screwed the two halves back together, and crossed his fingers.

The next day he turned on the water and switched on the disposal. When he saw the water pouring out of the seam, Ed knew one thing: it was time to buy a new disposal. The good thing was that new disposals started at $79. The bad thing was that it would have to be installed by a plumber. Plumber rates started at about $80 an hour. Ed decided that since the disposal used a lot of energy and the world needed to use less energy, from now on he would put his scraps into the kitchen garbage bag. He reminded himself to tell everyone at work tomorrow about how he was now helping to solve the world’s energy problems. 
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Theft Occurs Everywhere

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[align=left]Theft Occurs Everywhere

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An elderly woman told the police that, as she entered a restroom, she was jostled by a woman behind her. A few minutes later, as she was about to pay for a moustache remover at a nearby store, she discovered that her wallet was missing from her purse. Apparently the woman who had bumped into her had cleverly stolen her wallet. This type of theft is called pick-pocketing.

Perhaps an even more personal kind of theft is known as housebreaking, or burglary. After such an intrusion, the victims often report a feeling of violation. They seldom regain the comfort and security level they used to have in their home. They constantly feel like they are being watched; they feel that if they go out, the burglars will again come in. They feel uncomfortable when they are home, and they feel uncomfortable when they aren’t home.

Burglars get lucky or make their own luck. Sometimes homeowners forget to lock all their windows or doors. Sometimes burglars will break a window, cut through a screen door, or force open a side door.

Thieves have no shame. They will steal from anyone that they think is vulnerable. Of course, that means the elderly are their frequent victims. Some thieves are very clever; some are very lucky. All of them make an honest person’s life more difficult. It’s too bad that all of them can’t be caught and converted into honest people.

Imagine that: a world with no larceny, a world where you can park your bicycle unsecured on the sidewalk, or leave your purse unattended in your shopping cart. Is this only a dream? Some say that if you can dream about it, it can happen. 
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Eggs and a Bunny

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[align=left]Eggs and a Bunny

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Easter Sunday was a cloudy but festive day in Memorial Park for about 100 kids from local orphanages. An Easter egg hunt started at 10 a.m. when a fire engine blasted its horn. Boys and girls, ranging in age from 2 to 6, dashed throughout the park, yelling and screaming, walking and running, and quite often, falling down. One little girl, Amanda, found her first egg less than a minute after the horn blew. Instead of putting it into her basket and continuing to search for more, she sat down. Then she spent the next 10 minutes examining it, unwrapping it, and eating it piece by piece. When she finished, she put the wrapper into her basket, wiped her hands on her white dress, and went to hunt for another egg.

Meanwhile Jeff, one of the older boys, filled his basket to overflowing. He asked one of the firemen to hold it for him, and then took off running for more candy eggs. As soon as he found some, he put them into the basket of the child closest to him. Two little toddlers both saw a candy egg at the same time, and they both bent over to pick it up. They banged heads, and both of them sat down bawling. A couple of volunteer nurses picked them up and told them that everything was going to be all right.

By 11 a.m., the search was over. Most of the kids were studying their candy, exchanging it with others, or eating it. But then the fire engine horn blasted again, causing three-year-old Jenny to cry. A fireman on a bullhorn told everyone to gather around, because a special guest had arrived.

Once everyone was settled, the Easter Bunny climbed down out of the fire engine. The bunny was 6’6” tall. Most of the kids cheered and ran toward him. Even Jenny stopped crying for a moment. She stared at the bunny and at all the kids running toward the bunny; then she started crying even harder. The Easter Bunny hugged the kids, and they hugged him. Then the Easter Bunny sat on a fire engine step, and one by one the kids came up, sat on his lap, and got their pictures taken. After that, the older kids were allowed to explore the fire engine itself.

The festivities ended about 3 p.m., when the orphans climbed into the buses for the return trip home. Most of them said they had a fun time. Six-year-old Sara asked, “Can we do this every Sunday?” And more than one boy asked, “Can I drive the fire engine next time?” 
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Hotel Says Goodbye to Clean Couple

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[align=left]Hotel Says Goodbye to Clean Couple

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heodore, the manager of the Paradise Hotel, told a middle-aged couple that they would have to leave the hotel after just one night. The couple, visiting from Texas, had booked a room for eight nights.

“They wanted a sterile environment,” Theodore said. “They should have rented a room in a hospital, maybe an operating room. This hotel is clean, but it isn’t that clean.”

Theodore said that, on the very first day, the couple brought all the sheets, pillowcases, and bedspreads down to the main lobby and just dropped them next to the front desk. They stood there next to this pile of bedding while other guests looked, pointed, and murmured. The hotel got three cancellations within the hour from people who witnessed this strange event.

When Theodore asked the couple what the problem was, they said that their bedding was filthy and they wanted it replaced. The couple could not identify any specific “filth” on the bedding. The wife just said, “We’re paying good money to stay here. How dare you doubt us? We know the filth is there. That’s all the proof you need.” Theodore called room service, and the bedding was replaced immediately.

Early the next evening, however, the couple marched to the front desk again and demanded seven cans of spray disinfectant. “We need a can for each night. We have to spray the phone, the TV, all the door handles, the toilet handle, the shower stall, the faucet, the sink, and any hotel staff entering our room.”

Worried about what their demands might be in the following days, Theodore politely suggested that a hotel more suitable for them was just around the corner. He then called ahead to reserve a “very clean” room, and gave them free transportation in the hotel limousine.

“They seemed surprised that I suggested a different hotel, but they liked the idea that I didn’t charge them for the second day, and they really liked the limousine service,” said Theodore. 
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$100 Deposit

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[align=left]$100 Deposit

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The well-dressed, gray-haired woman was crying her eyes out. She had just been fined $100 by the judge because a month ago her dog made a mess on the front lawn of the courthouse.

“I just got out of the cab and I leashed Poopsie to the light pole. After I paid the fare and gave the driver a dollar tip, I turned around and saw that Poopsie had made a mess. I didn’t have any plastic bags, so I said, ‘Well, Poopsie, let’s go home. There’s nothing I can do about this now.’

“We were just starting home when I heard this voice out of nowhere: ‘Excuse me, ma’am. Is that your dog?’ I turned around. It was an officer of the law. Well, of course, it was my dog. ‘That dog just made an illegal deposit on the courthouse lawn. As its owner, it’s your responsibility to dispose of that deposit. See the sign over there? I’m going to have to write you a citation.’

“I asked him what sign he was talking about. He pointed all the way down to the end of the block. One little sign, a block away! How could anyone see that? I couldn’t see that sign with my best opera glasses. The officer said that I could fight the ticket. He said the judge was a nice old man who owned four dogs. So I said, ‘OK, thank you, I’ll fight the ticket.’

“So when I went to court, I dressed Poopsie up in his prettiest ribbons and made extra sure he did his business first. We were both so excited. I just knew the judge and Poopsie would hit it off.

“But do you know what happened when we got inside? They had a different judge, a judge who is allergic to dogs, and he immediately started sniffling, coughing, sneezing, and looking around. And then he yelled at me to get the dog out of the courtroom. He fined me $100 on the way out without even giving me a chance to talk about Poopsie’s chronic dyspepsia. It was terrible! I’m still upset.” 
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Books Don’t Grow on Trees

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[align=left]Books Don’t Grow on Trees

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A local community college professor decided to fight back. “The price of books for our students is just getting higher and higher and, combined with the rising cost of tuition, it’s killing these kids,” said Peter Jason, Ph.D. “Remember, students are one of the poorest groups of people in America. Almost half of them have at least one part-time job. In fact, one of my students has three jobs. She is a part-time sales clerk at a clothing store three days a week, then works three evenings a week as a pizza cook, and on weekends she does manicures at a beauty salon. And she still manages to have a high GPA and go to school full-time.”

Textbook prices are traditionally high. Adding to that problem, many college instructors change textbooks year after year; they either upgrade to a new edition or switch to an entirely different textbook. This further hurts students because if an instructor no longer uses a particular textbook, that book has no resale value.

Dr. Jason decided to make life a little easier and a lot cheaper for his students by writing his own book on public speaking. “Many books have an increased price because of bells and whistles: CD-ROMs, lots of color photographs, and lots of graphics. I talked to my students, and many of them, like me, prefer to keep things simple. So, during a sabbatical a few years ago, I wrote my own textbook. I made sure that it wasn’t long-winded. I called it Successful Public Speaking: How To Be Brief, Concise, and to the Point.

“Compared to most other public speaking primers, mine is half the number of pages, and one-third the price. That is, $30 instead of $90. Plus, it is published in a three-ring binder format. So, when I wrote a second edition last year, students only had to buy the 35 new pages and delete 35 of the original pages. For only $7.00, they had upgraded to the new edition. I’ve had great feedback from my students about this loose-leaf concept. Maybe the word will get out, and more writers and publishers will try it.” 
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A Murder-Suicide

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[align=left]A Murder-Suicide

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A man and a woman died in an apparent murder-suicide last night in Altadena. The man was 74-year-old Dominic Vittorio. The woman was his 70-year-old wife, Victoria. The couple had been married for 50 years. In fact, their 50th anniversary occurred just a month ago, according to their next-door neighbor, Mrs. Allen. The couple was childless and had no close friends. Mr. Vittorio was a retired carpenter who had emphysema and was blind in one eye because of a cataract. His wife was a diabetic who had already had one foot amputated because of complications from the disease. Her eyesight was almost completely gone.

“They were such a nice couple,” said Mrs. Allen. “I’ve lived next to them for the last 20 years or so. I’m widowed, and Dom always used to help me with things like changing light bulbs and fixing appliances. They had no kids, but they were always friendly to the neighborhood kids. Every Halloween they handed out tons of candy and fresh fruit. But about eight years ago Vicky came down with diabetes, and things just haven’t been the same for her or Dom. They used to be so friendly and full of life, and then they just seemed to get quieter and quieter.

“She used to come over to my place once or twice a week, and we would talk about all kinds of things and have the nicest time. But that happened less and less as she got sicker. So I would go over to her house about once a week and we would talk. But the conversations steadily got shorter, and she seemed to lose interest in listening and in talking. She didn’t say it, but you could tell she was in a lot of pain.”

Mrs. Allen said she hadn’t even talked to either of the Vittorios in almost a year. They never came out. Even food was delivered to them by a local agency. She said she heard two gunshots last night—“It scared me half to death!” She immediately called the police. “Such a sad ending for such nice people,” she said. “Together in sickness, but alone in the world.” 
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City Welcomes New Store and Its Owners

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[align=left]City Welcomes New Store and Its Owners

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The city of Armada opened its arms to a new business on Huntington Drive at First Street. The store, called Turtle Dove, is a pet shop specializing in two kinds of animals. The owners are two brothers, Bill and Bob Pidgin. They moved here from the northern California town of Santa Rosa, where they owned an ant farm store called Antimal House. That store was such a success that after five years they sold it for a big profit.

They took it easy for a couple of years, traveling throughout the states. “We visited almost every zoo in the country, partly because we love animals and partly because we were looking for inspiration for our next business,” said Bill. They finally decided on turtles and doves. “They’re easy to feed and care for, and both animals live a long time,” said Bob.

The store will be open from 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays. “We think those are hours that our customers will find very convenient. Plus, the three days off gives us a chance to go into the woods and find more critters. We never buy our animals; we always try to collect them from the wild. That way we can pass on huge savings to our customers. And, of course, by removing these animals from their natural habitat, we protect them from being devoured by their natural enemies. So our customers are happy, our animals are happy, and we’re happy. It’s a win-win for all of us.”
 
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Mayor Denies Hit-and-Run Charge

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[align=left]Mayor Denies Hit-and-Run Charge

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The mayor of Sacrapinto, J.K. Choi, 35, was charged with hit-and-run driving last night by the town sheriff. A freshly killed calf was discovered lying in the middle of Arlington Drive at about 10:00 p.m. A witness, 20-year-old Emily Parker, said she saw the car hit the calf and keep going. She didn’t see the driver but she did recognize the hood ornament on the car—a pair of bull horns.

“Oh, yes,” Emily said, “I know that’s the mayor’s car. It’s the only car in town with bull horns on the hood.” Asked how she could see the bull horns at night, she replied, “Oh, didn’t you know? A couple of months ago the mayor got his horns neonized, so they have this soft purple glow at night. They’re really cool-looking.”

The sheriff drove over to the mayor’s house, which is about five miles from city hall, and found the mayor washing his 1972 Kadillac. He asked why the mayor was washing his car so late at night. “Because that’s when there’s no hot sun that causes the car to dry so fast that you have sun streaks. Don’t you know anything, sheriff?”

The sheriff pointed out that one of the horns was broken at the tip. “When did that happen?” he asked. “When did what happen?” Choi asked. “Oh, good grief! I never even noticed that! Do you know how expensive these horns are? They don’t grow on trees, you know. I wonder if I can find the missing piece and superglue it back on.”

The sheriff then showed the mayor the tip of a bull horn. “Do you think this is the missing piece?” The mayor was astounded. He looked at it, turned it over in his hands, and then placed it on the horn, where it fit perfectly. “That’s fantastic, sheriff! Thank you so much! Where did you find it?”

“Where did I find it? It was next to Farmer Brown’s calf that you killed back there about an hour ago.” The mayor’s mouth dropped open. “Calf! What calf? What are you talking about? I had no idea. I thought I hit a speed bump. What was his calf doing out in the middle of the road in the middle of the night?

“We’ll settle this in court. I’m an innocent man. By the way, get that calf over to Lester’s butcher shop right now. We’ll have us a big barbecue tomorrow at city hall. And don’t forget to invite Farmer Brown. I know he’ll forgive me after he tastes Lester’s world-famous rib eye.” 
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Gasoline Prices Hit Record High

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[align=left]Gasoline Prices Hit Record High

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Residents of southern California are trying to get used to skyrocketing prices for gasoline. The average price for 87 octane economy gas is $2.22, almost 30 percent higher today than it was 12 months ago. The lowest gas price in the Southland right now is $2.09 a gallon at the Seashell station in Arcadia. The station manager, Everett, said the reason his gas is cheaper than elsewhere is that he bought a lot of gas two years ago at reduced prices, so he is passing his savings on to his customers.

The lines at the Seashell station often run 10 to 20 vehicles long. The police have been here several times because cars block traffic on Horsetrail Drive. Everett said, “I tell people in line that the Barco station a block away is only $2.14, but they’d rather wait and save 5 cents. It’s OK with me, of course. I don’t mind making money.”

A young man pumping gas said he had waited in line for 20 minutes. When asked why he didn’t go a block away where there were no lines, he said, “Every penny counts. When I bought this ’99 Bummer, gas was only $1 a gallon, which was pretty cheap. So, even though I only get eight miles per gallon, I wasn’t paying that much to fill my tank. But today’s prices are killing me. I drive to work, and I drive to the grocery store. That’s it. I used to drive around the neighborhood just to show off my wheels, but I can’t do that any more.” 
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A Festival of Books

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[align=left]A Festival of Books

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People joke that no one in Los Angeles reads; everyone watches TV, rents videos, or goes to the movies. The most popular reading material is comic books, movie magazines, and TV guides. City libraries have only 10 percent of the traffic that car washes have. But how do you explain this? An annual book festival in west Los Angeles is “sold out” year after year. People wait half an hour for a parking space to become available.

This outdoor festival, sponsored by a newspaper, occurs every April for one weekend. This year’s attendance was estimated at 70,000 on Saturday and 75,000 on Sunday. The festival featured 280 exhibitors. There were about 90 talks given by authors, with an audience question-and-answer period following each talk. Autograph seekers sought out more than 150 authors. A food court sold all kinds of popular and ethnic foods, from American hamburgers to Hawaiian shave ice drinks. Except for a $7 parking fee, the festival was free. Even so, some people avoided the food court prices by sneaking in their own sandwiches and drinks.

People came from all over California. One couple drove down from San Francisco. “This is our sixth year here now. We love it,” said the husband. “It’s just fantastic to be in the great outdoors, to be among so many books and authors, and to get some very good deals, too.”

The idea for the festival occurred years ago, but nobody knew if it would succeed. Although book festivals were already popular in other US cities, would Los Angeles residents embrace one? “Angelenos are very unpredictable,” said one of the festival founders. 
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