This Edition is Dedicated to Leslie Bennett

June18, 2010



It's not such a good year, this 2010


          So far this year, we have lost a great friend, a wonderful Aunt, and on top of that sad news, our car was totaled by some kid texting while he was driving on the freeway, it could have been worse, but the fact that it happened changed our lives.  I hope the bad stuff is over for the rest of the year.  We don't need any more bad news, or situations that make our lives miserable.  I hope the second half of 2010 will be better, and if nothing else happens, that will be good enough for me.




A Terrible Loss


          In our last newsletter, I talked about loosing our good friend Anne.  She died of Breast Cancer earlier this year.  Just a month and a half ago we lost another one in our lives from the same terrible thing.  Leslie Anne Bennett passed away on April 30th 2010, one of the saddest days of my life.  Leslie was more like a sister to me than an Aunt.  That is because my Uncle Ted, "Theo" as he is called was one of my mother's youngest brothers and she treated him more like a son than a brother.  Close to my brother Michael's age, Ted and Raymond, (the baby of the Bennett family) were around more than any of the other Bennett clan.  Leslie was also close to my mother, and to us all.  She was with us all during the time my mother was in the hospital, and when our mother passed away, Leslie was there.  I was not ready for Leslie to go, and I'm sure none of us was.  Teddy, we are thinking of you dear uncle.  It will be a long time before this feeling fades.


Rest in peace, our wonderful Aunt!


You will be greatly missed...



The McCann Family Reunion 2010


          We were unable to attend the reunion this year, mainly because of the accident Marisa was in, but also because Marisa was scheduled to work that Saturday as a mandatory overtime day.  I really wanted to go this year, and from the pictures I saw from the reunion, I missed seeing my Aunt Claudia who is getting older and I'm not sure how many more reunions she will want to go to.  We may have to start having them at her house.


          We were in the middle of purchasing the Beamer Replacement, (see story below) when Cousin Sharen called and asked us if we were going to make it.  I explained to her that we were prepared to make the drive, however Marisa was unable to get out of the overtime; her department was working STEP that week and she was scheduled to work it on Saturday night.


          Working in the Law Enforcement field, it is tough to make scheduled events like the reunion.  We are actually on vacation as I write this, the first 2 full weeks we have had off in several years.  It's not that we don't get the time off, it is just not that easy for us to schedule the time together.  This vacation was scheduled around Brandon's graduation, we were expecting to have a visitor from California, but he couldn't make it.  We will try to schedule some vacation time next year for the reunion, or even later this year if we decide to have an "End of Summer" reunion.  We will do everything we can to make that one...


Hope we see ya'll there!

Submit Your Own Story


          If you know of some family news, either on the Bennett side or the McCann side, or Malone, Taylor, Castleberry, Gibson, friends, etc., etc., or some guy you ran into on the street, and want it included in the next newsletter, send it to me.  You can submit it using the feedback form Here, or Email me the information.  Include some pictures if you have some.  Get the word out, inform the masses...


The more news I have, the more often I will send these out...



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Ted and Leslie Bennett





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The Graduate!


          On June 6th, at 12:00 PM, downtown Fort Worth at the Convention Center, Brandon's graduation ceremony started.  We were sitting about 5 rows from the side, but as it turned out, opposite the side where Brandon was sitting.  We did get some pictures of him walking to the stage, but we were not able to get anything of him receiving his diploma.  I did get some video, which I will post later on our Web Site.


What Now?


          Brandon is going to start college at TCC, (Tarrant County College), to get his required courses out of the way, and decide on his major later on.  He wants to continue his education within the Computer Science field of study, most likely software engineering and possibly in the gaming industry.  He will get a part time job which will allow him to attend school, (a flexible schedule), and we will help him find a car to drive.  He will spend the next 2 years at home, working and schooling and deciding, and most likely there will be some computer gaming during that time also.  Brandon's friends are going all different directions, however there are a few going to take the same train as Brandon.  And there are others that graduated last year that are still around here, so he will have a few friends to hang and party and do the college stuff with.  We are proud of Brandon, he has made it through school and he is only 17.  He has time to think about his future, and get his secondary education, which today is so important, as we are now competing with foreign countries for jobs and careers.


He's a good kid with a bright future ahead of him!


Brandon will be mailing out Thank You cards to those family and friends that sent him a card to congratulate him.


He really enjoyed all of the love and support!

The Beamer Bummer


          One Monday afternoon, Marisa had been working day shift trying to get one of the several property rooms at the department straightened out.  She was elected to take on the task because of her organization skills.  She called me letting me know she was on her way home when I heard a loud noise, then I lost the call.  I called her back and she told me she had been hit in the rear, the traffic had come to a stop and the car behind her didn't notice.  All she could do was hit her brakes and prepare for the hit, so she wouldn't hit the car in front of her.  Brandon and I headed out immediately.


          It turned out that the driver had been texting and dropped his iPhone, he bent down to pick it up and when his eyes came back to the road, there was Marisa.  He wanted to leave the scene because he knew he would be sited, but not for texting, (Marisa was not in uniform) but immediately identified herself as a police officer and said; "there is no way you are leaving, there is more than $1,000 damage to my car, and I am a police officer, either situation guarantees the local police department will work the accident".  He was sited for failure to control his speed, and released, (currently it is not against the law to text while driving).  His insurance was State Farm, and no one working at State Farm's claims division is very happy.  We were treated with no respect, everyone was rude, and acted as if they didn't care that our lives were turned upside down.  It's all about the money.




          What is so sad about this whole thing is that the insurance company doesn't care that the car was important to you, that there is no way you could replace what you had with what they are willing to pay you.  The car was totaled, because where the suspension in the rear mounts was crushed, and could not be properly repaired.  It could be replaced, however with all the other damage, it put the amount over the threshold which caused it to be totaled.  We could not find another 2003 BMW 325i with all the packages, with the same or near the same mileage, anywhere near the DFW area.  And even if we did, we have no way of knowing how good the previous owner took care of the vehicle, and with no more warranty, we couldn't take the chance.  We did find a 2007 Honda Accord will some warranty left.  It cost us more than $5k more than we got for the Beamer, but at least we have a car.  But we are no where near where we were before the accident.


If someone hits you, your life will change, and there is nothing you can do about it, no matter how hard you try...


          Of all the cars out there we could have chosen, the Accord was the best value.  We got a pretty good deal considering it was a certified used car from a Honda Dealer.  We have about 5 years left on the Mfg. warranty, and we were able to purchase extended coverage, and we have XM radio for 90 days FREE!


          The situation could have been worse.  Although Marisa was hit from behind, and she did sustain some injuries, so far they are minor and did not require her to go to the hospital.  She is going through some physical therapy to relieve some pain in the neck and back, but she is able to get around so in a sense, we were blessed.  No matter how safe of a driver you are, it's the other drivers that you need to look out for, and in Marisa's case, there wasn't anything she could do but prepare for the impact.


June 6th, 2010 Approximately 1:45 PM


The Killer


The Beamer Replacement


  Today's Computer Choices  

What will your next Computer be?

          Are you thinking about a new computer?  Maybe your old one is getting slow, or can't run some of the newer software, or you just want to upgrade or go mobile.  Today's choices are so vast that you really need to think about all the things you will want to do with your new computer, and unless you will be purchasing 2 machines, try to get something that will cover it all.  The choices are out there, you just have to look.

Desktop - Most powerful of all Windows Based or MAC Based computers.  Newer units are All-In-One's and Media Centers allowing you to stream video to your HDTV.  Usually comes with a high end video card or 2, mainly used for anything from business apps, to gaming.  With very fast processors and major storage, Desktops are more powerful and hold a lot of files.  Only drawback is it is not easy to take with you.

If you have a business, or are doing some heavy Photo or Video work, this is the one for you...

NetTop - The NetTop computer is as new as the NetBook computer.  The NetTop is build with cheap NetBook components and thus is slow, however they are cheap and are mainly made for working online.  The Internet has many free business sites today offering free online applications that work similar to MS Word and Excel.  Even Microsoft is getting into the Online Application game, offering purchaser's of the new Office 2010, free online applications that are close to the packaged product, but I haven't heard of anything truly free from Microsoft yet.

If you don't have a lot of money, and are just going to use the resources of the Internet, the NetTop computer may be for you...

Laptop - Portable computers available from ultra small units to large "Desktop Replacement" computers.  Some have screens as large or larger than 17.5 inches.  Laptops are good for taking your computer with you wherever you go, including down to the local Starbucks to take advantage of the free WiFi.  Around the same size as a Netbook, an Ultra Portable Laptop will usually run you around $2,000.  Laptops can have super fast processors, like the new Intel i7 processors.  They can also have large Hard Drives, 350 Gb is common.  They have built-in DVD burners, and WiFi.  My Toshiba has HDMI out to connect to an HDTV to watch my NetFlix, and Harman Kardon speakers.

If you want power close to that of a desktop, but you need to be mobile, this may be the right choice...

Netbook - Normally very small computers, about the same size as an ultra portable laptop with a 13" screen, however these units are normally very slow, with a cheap processor to save power and money, you can usually get one for around $300, but they have no DVD ROM drive, and may not even have Windows installed.  Made mostly to use on the Web, they are good for Internet based applications, and online storage.

If you want small and mobile, and speed or features are not important, freedom of the Internet is what you want, get a NetBook...

iPad - A very fun toy, can actually be used for some computing, however don't depend on it for major tasks like photo or video editing.  Way more fun than an iPod, but not as useful as an iPhone, the iPad is great for viewing photos, and watching movies, but the 3G connection will cost another $30 bucks a month.  Newer models will have much more features, so it may be a good idea to wait, I know I will.  One area that I think the iPad will rule is the eReader.  The iPad can display a book with easy to read text and color pictures.

Just a toy, and a very expensive one at that.  Wait for better features and apps in the near future...

MacBook - One thing I don't like about Apple products is the situation with the battery.  In most Apple products, you cannot change the battery, iPad included.  When the battery goes bad, you can pay a fee and get a refurbished unit replacement from Apple, that is if you have a warranty.  The MacBook is small like an ultra portable, although some screens are around 14".  The MacBook Pro is more my style, faster processor and larger screens.  The MacBook Air which runs around $1,800, has no internal DVD Drive and very few USB ports.

If you want an Apple, the MacBook or MacBook Pro may be for you.  Light weight and portable, and it's a Mac...

Apple iMac - All-In-One computers, the computer is stuffed into the monitor.  There are other units available like the Mac Mini and Mac Pro, but none are up-gradable, but the thing about an Apple Computer, why bother.  Just make sure you purchase all of the options you want now, and you will have all the up-grades available.

If you want a powerful Mac and don't care about portability, the iMac, Mac Mini or Mac Pro may be the right choice...

          Whatever you choose, a new computer is an investment.  Unless you have a lot of money to spend, you need to do some research and find the right computer for you.  Most Desktops run around $1,200 today, which would have cost you more like $1,500 a few years ago, so prices are still dropping.  A good Laptop is about the same, $1,200.  A cheap Netbook is around $299, and the Apple products are never on sale.  Whatever you choose, remember that in a few weeks there will be something better, with Apple, it is usually about every 6 months, but if you wait, you will never purchase anything.  Also, you should never purchase something that has just been released for the first time.  Give it a few months to find out what bugs are built in and how much trouble it will cause you, by then it will be easier to get and the bugs will be worked out.



Desktop Computers

NetTop Computer

Toshiba Laptop

Dell Netbook

Apple iPad

Mac Book Air



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          Don't forget about my Downloads Page on the Web Site.  I will try to place links to important programs and utilities from time to time for you to download.  I know some of you still have dial-up access so I will try to make things smaller to download faster to your machine.


          I have added some links that I think some of you will enjoy, if you haven't checked them out before, check them out now.  Especially check out Google Earth.  If you haven't seen what it is, download it and install it, you can zoom in on anyplace on earth.  It also includes Google Sky, which shows the night sky and all of the stars.  You can see what the sky looks like from your house, right on your screen.  My Links Page...  I found out recently that it also has a flight simulator which is hidden like an "Easter egg" (a small program or movie hidden in a program or utility).


          Missed a past edition of the newsletter?  You can view past issues on our Web Site.  Some are actually printable, you'll need Adobe Reader to download and print them.  Go Here to view past issues of our newsletters.



Gary McCann



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