Is This the End of the World?

I believe I’ve mentioned before that I’ve been going to one particular doctor for something like 14 years and during that period he’s never been on time.  That’s still true, but this morning he was early.  By using the phrase:  “He’s never been on time,” I’ve always meant:  “He has always been late.”  I can still say he’s never been on time  and be accurate, but I can’t mean he’s always been late anymore.

I’m not certain I can adjust to this new reality.  I won’t be making any plans for tomorrow until I’m sure there is a tomorrow.  By being early this morning said doctor has created such an imbalance in the universe that it may end within the next 24  hours.  I won’t keep you posted.  If the world or the universe ends within the next 24 hours, I won’t have to tell you.  Someone else will, or you’ll be able to figure it out for yourself.

At Random

There’s an expression: You’d lose your head if it wasn’t attached! I actually have forgotten my head on three or four occasions. I also forgot my wife, or at least didn’t notice her, the first and second times we met. I tease my wife that she takes my things and hides them, then finds them so I will consider her essential. That’s silly. I would consider her essential even if I knew the location of everything I own.

I’ve been conducting scientific research on losing stuff. I wondered how many utility knives and how many retractable metal tape measures you need to own before you will know where at least one of them is at all times. My current operating hypothesis is four. Right now, I know where two utility knives and one tape measure are. But I only own two hammers and know where both of them are.

At our house, we’re renovating both bathrooms and the kitchen. It’s confusing.  It would probably help a lot if we had all the things we need for the job on hand before we started, but to do that, we’d need another house to live in while this one is under construction, or we’d need another building to keep the stuff in. Tile guy is coming tomorrow. That means our full bath ought to be usable sometime early next week.

Air conditioning and I don’t seem to be on good terms this summer. Our whole family went to Sacramento CA in May to attend our son’s law school graduation. It was over 100 degrees there and the air conditioning in our hotel room stopped working. Management at the hotel moved my wife and me into the other hotel they owned next door. They also moved our adult daughter into the next door hotel although there was nothing wrong with her room. The second hotel was more expensive than the first, but we paid the rate from the first one. Mistakes happen and problems occur. The test is what you do when bad stuff happens and you’re responsible for it. Do you own the problem and fix it? I was very pleased with the management of those two hotels. This week, I’m having a lot of trouble with the air conditioning in my car. Tomorrow is the third day in a week my car has been in the shop. I hope tomorrow it gets fixed.

I was less pleased with a plumbing supply house that messed up my order and took a week to fix it.

Getting older means explaining stuff to adults. This morning, while entering the building which contains my office, I met a colleague. She said to me, “You don’t look happy.” I replied, “Wrong dwarf, I’m Sleepy!” Then I realized there are adults who wouldn’t get the Snow White reference.


The Blizzard of the Month at Dairy Queen has Girl Scout Thin Mint Cookies in it. I found this out from a TV commercial. There aren’t any Dairy Queens near where I live. Considering what it costs to drive around the NY Metropolitan area these days, I may have to forego that treat. Why couldn’t the Thin Mint Blizzard have been the June Blizzard of the Month? I was in Colorado Springs CO early in June where the nearest Dairy Queen is down the street in the local mall.

Thank God for the Internet! I have to go to Rhode Island next week and it turns out there are several Dairy Queens near I-95 in Connecticut. Thin Mints and ice cream:  there must be something better, but I can’t think of it right now.

Speaking of desert, have you noticed that things we know are no good for us have nutrition labels on them? Oreo cookies have a nutrition label right there on the package. And the Oreos’ nutrition label says three of them constitute a serving. Ridiculous! The number of Oreos in a serving depends on how much milk you have in the house.

Again in a nutritional vein, the NY Daily News reported last week that some foods for sale in NY restaurants don’t meet NY City’s new requirement to reduce or eliminate trans-fats.  Trans-fats are bad for you. One of the foods that doesn’t meet the new standard is Junior’s cheesecake. I don’t care for cheesecake, but I defy you to produce even one adult who believes cheesecake is a healthy alternative to anything.

We don’t need nutrition labels on food. There’s a simple and nearly foolproof test to determine whether a particular food is good for you. Does it taste good? Yes? Then, it isn’t good for you. The only exception I can think of off the top of my head is fresh, ripe peaches


I used to be a reporter and I used to work in the public relations field too.  I understand the news business a little better than the average bear. There’s a saying in news and PR:  Never screw up on a slow news day.   It’s okay to die on a slow news day, but don’t screw up on one. The reason is TV and radio have to fill up their newscasts and news-entertainment hybrid shows whether anything happens or not.  And if it’s a slow news day the CBS Evening News (or NBC or ABC) will still be half an hour long.  CNN and Fox News Channel will still broadcast 24 hours a day.  Newspapers can print papers with fewer pages within limits.  They do have to leave room for all the ads they’ve sold.  TV and radio can’t broadcast shorter hours.

The esteemed TV journalist Tim Russert died on a Friday afternoon during what most people think of as the summer although technically it was still spring.  This helps to explain the astonishing coverage his death received.  Spontaneous news is the kind that happens most often on Friday afternoon.  Unless its really bad news, manufactured news doesn’t.  People go away or at least outside on Friday afternoon and Saturday so PR people don’t manufacture good news then because very few people will watch it, but they do manufacture bad news then for the same reason. Very few people will read about it either.  Saturday newspapers have lower circulation than any other day of the week.

All of this is preamble to my observations brought about by this morning’s news coverage.  Yesterday was a really slow news day around here.  The Today Show (which is only partially a news show, I know that) had a report to warn viewers that running a little kid over with a power lawn mower will hurt or kill them.  Now it was a terrible tragedy for the family of the little boy the Today Show focused on, but was it news?  The only reason you wouldn’t think that running someone over with a power lawn mower was bad is if you never considered that possibility at all.

Then, because I’m old fashioned and used to be in the business, I went out and bought three newspapers.  Well, maybe two, if you don’t consider the New York Post a real newspaper, and I know some people don’t.  I once had a job where I was paid to read six papers every day.  The entire front page of today’s New York Daily News was taken up with a big picture of the NY Mets new manager Jerry Manuel and a headline indicating that Mr. Manuel said the Mets are the #2 baseball team in NY.  Lots of the paper’s sports section was taken up with elaborating on the “story.”

I’m a Met fan, but duh!  If the Mets aspire to being the #1 baseball team in New York, it would help if they would win something.  When I started in the news business, I was told that the obvious isn’t news.  Does Jerry Manuel saying something obvious make it news?  I hope not. Now man bites dog, that’s a story!