Things I Want (Or Need) To Know

Let me get this straight:  The pirates on that ship full of Russian tanks in the Indian Ocean have a spokesman?  Then I guess both journalism and public relations are dead.

By the way, would you call a ship full of Russian tanks a tanker?  Just wondering.

I have more thumb drives than I have thumbs.  Is that going to be a problem?

Has anybody considered that maybe Heather Locklear wasn’t DUI?  Maybe she slid across the hood of the police officer’s patrol car and he was too young to remember that.

Why do the people who make sneakers make them with shoe laces that are too long? 

Shouldn’t the word “synonym” have at least one synonym?

Where did 2-million people go when they evacuated New Orleans for Hurricane Gustav?   I didn’t see anything about that on the news.  Did you?

Is there anything that doesn’t make the price of oil and gasoline go up and the major stock market indexes go down?

Things I Know

There’s no “a” in definitely.  There’s no “e” in Manhattan either.   Thanks to computerized spell checking, I no longer have to remember whether there’s an “e” in truly.  Good thing too, because I used to forget between the time I looked up and the time I went to write it down.  Do you have something that won’t stick in your memory?  That’s mine.

My wife and I are remodeling our kitchen and both bathrooms.  It seems to me that it takes between four and five months to complete a five-week construction project.

She’s in charge of stuff like whether we’re going to remodel, what kind of cabinets, appliances, floor covering, counters and wall color. 

I’m in charge of stuff like how deep is the bathtub, and whether the medicine cabinet will be surface mounted or recessed into the wall.  I decided surface-mounted and then I changed my mind.

In the same remodeling vein, I know that most toilets get moved only twice, when they are installed and when they are removed, but it would still be nice if there was an easy way to carry the damned things.

It doesn’t take much longer, but it does takes longer to cook rice in a microwave oven than it does to cook it on the top of a regulation stove and you still have to put it in water to do it.

Those hard things at the ends of shoe laces are called aglets, but they aren’t called that very often because most people don’t know what they’re called.

Growing older means having to explain stuff to adults.

If you live long enough, you reach a point where all prices are ridiculous.

Choice Hotels is running radio spots where they say if you stay with them, it relieves you of worry so you can worry about important things like why sheep don’t shrink in the rain.  Lanolin!  I learned that in grade school.  Now, I’ve relieved you of worry too!  And you don’t have to stay with me either, in case you were worried about that.

The aroma wafting out of a pizza shop when pies are in the oven is pretty special.  Come to think of it, the aroma of any kind of pie baking is one of life’s pleasant experiences.

National Energy Policy

I heard earlier this week that oil was under $100 a barrel.  The price of gasoline and home heating oil has not declined in direct proportion.  You didn’t expect it to, did you?  Good!  Then you weren’t disappointed.

There’s been a lot of talk about an energy policy for the United States.  If we could power our nation on talk about an energy policy, we would certainly be free of dependency on imported oil.  Obama wants to conserve oil.  McCain wants to drill for more.  Paris Hilton says, “Do both!”  It’s sad, disturbing and surprising that Paris Hilton makes more sense than either major party candidate for President of the United States.  I hope it was the first and last time that happens.

Someday if oil becomes rare enough burning it will be illegal, because the petrochemical industry will be much more important.  Even if you think about it, you probably have no idea how many things you use every day are made from petroleum.  I’ve seen public service announcements recently urging people to eschew bottled water because it’s environmentally unfriendly.  All those plastic bottles are made of oil folks.  And they take almost forever to decompose in landfills, so drinking your water from a glass or some other reusable container seems like a good idea.  Here’s another one.

As I said I would be, I was back in Lake Placid this week.  Nice place:  As long as it isn’t winter, I recommend it.  I almost stayed there too long though.  It was 33 degrees, but still technically summer when I got up on Friday morning.  If you like skiing or other cold-weather sports, you may disregard my recommendation and go there in the winter too. 

While there, I stopped in a supermarket.  There’s only one in Lake Placid, so you could figure out it was a Price Chopper, even if I didn’t tell you.  There, I bought travel-sized toothpaste and travel-sized shaving cream.  In addition to coming in a tube and an aerosol can respectively, each of them came in a blister pack.

I know the advantages of blister packs.  They make it easy to hang the cans and tubes on display racks.  They also make small items hard to put in your pocket and therefore, hard to shoplift.  We all know some of the disadvantages.  I hate packages that require tools to open, especially packages of hand tools that require power tools to open.  And if what you bought turns out not to be what you thought you needed, you destroyed the package to find that out, making most stores unwilling to take your purchase back and refund your money. 

But those PSA’s about bottled water made me realize, that blister packs, since they are unnecessary and made of plastic, waste oil too.  So I hereby join the ranks of McCain, Obama and Hilton in attempting to define what our national energy policy should be. 

Prevent blister packs and save oil.

Non-Global Warming

You know it’s serious when the National Weather Service tells people in Texas to evacuate from the path of Hurricane Ike or die.  Given those two choices, I know what I’d do.  A storm that covers 40 percent of the Gulf of Mexico certainly has my respect.

I live within four blocks of an arm of the Great South Bay on Long Island, so when Hurricane Hanna started churning up the Atlantic I did what any person similarly situated would do:  I started paying attention.  When my area was placed under a tropical storm watch, I moved a lot of stuff from my back yard into my garage.  I also turned my picnic table upside down on the ground so it would not go airborne.  Then I climbed on the roof of the garage.  One could argue whether that’s sensible, but I did it to drive some more special screws into the corrugated metal roof.

As usual, we escaped the worst.  We got some wind and a lot of rain, but no damage.  So, I enjoyed the beautiful weather that always follows a big storm, returned to painting my kitchen, and forgot about it until two days after Hanna passed.   Then I noticed that I had forgotten to turn the picnic table upright.  If the grass had spent that much time under an opaque table, it would not be happy, but it would recover.  However, our picnic table has a translucent glass top.  The green house effect kicked in.  We experienced non-global warming (only under the tabletop) and the grass (only under the tabletop and in the shape of the table) died, except a small percentage of the grass sought shelter in the shadows of the table legs and survived.  I was left wondering what to do. 

In the meantime, I pay a company to apply chemicals to my lawn to make the grass grow better so I’ll have to mow it more.  One could question whether that’s sensible too, I suppose.  But they came by this week.  In addition to doing what I pay them to do, they left me about a pound of grass seed.  So, now I know what to do.  Plus, I feel good about the lawn service because I got something more than I paid for.   Not a lot more, but anything more is a good thing.

For the rest of the hurricane season, I’ll continue to follow my hurricane preparedness plan.  I watch the Weather Channel, find out where Jim Cantore is, and make sure I’m somewhere else!

Nuculer Non-Proliferation

So, they had to spell “nuclear” phonetically to get Sarah Palin to pronounce it correctly last Wednesday in St. Paul.  I thought it was already spelled phonetically, but they got her to say it right within five days.  They’ve never gotten George W. Bush to say it right and they never got Jimmy Carter to say it right either.  Carter, by the way, should have known better:  after all, before he became President, he was a naval officer on a “nuculer” submarine.

Spelling words wrong so you’ll say them right is an old broadcaster’s trick and Sarah Palin was once a broadcaster.  When I was on the air in Richmond, VA, I always spelled Staunton, a city in Western VA, along I-81, incorrectly in my copy, so I’d say it right.  The correct pronunciation, by the way, is Stanton.  And as a child of the New York metropolitan area, I always spelled Powhatan wrong too.   You can probably imagine how I sight-read that one if I didn’t leave out the “h”.  I didn’t have to spell Monticello differently in copy if I meant Jefferson’s home or the race track in New York.  For some reason, the difference in pronunciation of those two places is something I could always remember.  I’m not bragging, that’s just something that sticks in my head.  I never could figure a way that worked for me to keep from messing up the different pronunciation of Lima, Ohio and Lima, Peru.

If we have any hope of continuing to call what passes for electioneering these days “political discourse,” can we please stop criticizing the 7-year-old in public?  My mom used to moisten a Kleenex with saliva and use it to wipe my face when I was a toddler.  I know Kleenex is a trade name, but mom always used Kleenex as opposed to Marcal, Scots, or some other brand.  And I remember it because even when I was a toddler, I thought my thirty-something mother was doing something gross.   Someone will eventually teach seven-year-old Piper Palin not to use spit hair tonic on her baby brother.  In the meantime, I say cut the kid a little slack.   

Short take

Sarah Palin meets at least one qualification for high federal office:  she mispronounces “nuclear” too!  I say we just change the spelling to “nuculer” and give up.