Things I Want (Or Need) To Know

  • Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab.  Instead of turning him over to the FBI, why didn’t they turn him over to a Detroit street gang?

  • So now, we have to worry about weapons-grade tighty the usual expression is whiteys, but those were kind of yellow weren’t they?  Come to think of it, my underwear would probably be yellow too if it was on fire either deliberately or by accident.  It would, of course, become yellow in an effort to douse the fire.

  • If he had donned his underpants backwards, would they have become a weapon of ass destruction?

  •  My father read the NY Daily News from back to front.  Sports and comics, then news, if there was any.  I do too.  In fact, do you know anyone who reads the NY Daily News from front to back?

  • What’s the point of newspaper comic strips if they’re too small to read easily?

  • What did you return after Christmas?

Things I Want (Or Need) To Know

  • Do you know what you’re getting for Christmas yet?

  • What do you want for Christmas?  I’m good right now.  My son passed the bar exam, I bought myself a good, new camera, and my wife made Swiss steak for dinner last night.  Swiss steak is one of my very favorite meals, although I do wonder why there are no holes in it.  I told my wife I would be happy if my Christmas present is a cupcake or something equally extravagant.

  • What did you get other people for Christmas?

  • May we please have our next big snow storm on Sunday night?

  • What do you get as a present for someone who’s just become a lawyer?  My wife and I got our son the family heirloom pocket watch (it belonged to my late father) and we also bought him two Internet domain names for his fledgling law practice.

  • I just saw “Vince” demonstrating the Slap-Chop on TV for the nine-billionth time and I don’t know why this didn’t occur to me before:  why do I need two Slap Chops?

  • When I sign on to and it says I have recommendations, why do I have to click two different things to see all the recommendations?

  • Who would have thought a TV show about Helvetica type would be an hour long?  Or interesting?  What’s Helvetica?  It’s a ubiquitous type face.  You see it on highway signs and almost everywhere else.  And if you haven’t seen Helvetica, youve seen Arial on your computer because Microsoft uses Arial widely and Arial is very similar to Helvetica.

  • Have I ever written two blog items in one day before?  I don’t think so.

Merriest Christmas?

My wife and I got engaged on Christmas Eve.  It wasn’t exactly a surprise.  I don’t remember if she was with me when I picked out the ring (update–she says she wasn’t), but we did go looking at them together.  We had dated for four years at that time, since about halfway through her senior year in high school.  I sat her down in a chair in her parents’ living room, got down on one knee (I’m very traditional and anyway, it’s getting back up that’s the trick) and presented the ring.  I’m so smart that in all the years before and since I’ve never tried to dissuade her from her silly idea that I’m someone special.

If you are very lucky and extremely observant, you may have seen someone as happy as that, but I guarantee you’ve never seen anyone happier.

We went to midnight mass and, in church, she kept holding her hand out, catching the light with the diamond and watching it sparkle, enthralled.  I watched her being happy, also enthralled. It was a good omen.  In my life, she’s made most of the good stuff happen, and she’s made most of the bad stuff bearable.

As long as I mentioned midnight mass, I heard on the news this morning that Pope Benedict XVI rescheduled the traditional midnight mass at St. Peter’s for 10:00 PM.  I know the Pope’s supposed to be infallible about some things, but I don’t believe that’s one of them.

Things I Know

  • Today is the first day of winter.  Therefore, I can now look forward to spring.  I think it’s unseemly to look forward to a season before the season immediately preceding it arrives. 

  • We have a beautiful illuminated angel ornament for the top of our Christmas tree.  My daughter remembers going shopping for it with me when she was a pre-teen.  She’s an adult now.  She found one she could afford at Wal*Mart.  I took her to a more expensive store, where we bought a nicer one and I made up the difference.  She observed that if a kid goes shopping with one parent to buy a present for the other parent, often the kid’s budget expands in magical ways.  I told her that in the case of that particular angel, the reason for that is Daddy loves both Mommy and the kid.

  • If you are exiting a limited-access highway, slow down in the deceleration lane, not the traffic lane.  If you slow down in the traffic lane, you make everyone behind you slow down too.

  • When it snows a lot, the people who plow parking lots have to put the snow someplace.  They put it in some of the parking spaces.  So, it’s more, not less important to avoid blocking other people’s passage through the parking lot after it snows.

  • We got about a foot of snow overnight on Saturday into Sunday.  When we know snow is coming, we back both cars into our driveway.  That way, we can drive straight out of the driveway and we don’t have quite so much driveway to shovel because the part under the cars isn’t that bad.  It also lets the snow plow get closer to the curb.

  • We don’t put the cars in the garage when it snows.  We have a 120-foot-long driveway and since both cars will start in this weather, using the garage would make shoveling a lot harder.

  • When my house was built, it was illegal to have the garage attached to the house.  Two reasons:  cars were much more likely to catch fire back then; and horses smell.

  • With snow and Christmas lights, I wanted to buy a star filter for my new camera.  A lot of camera stores in my area have closed down over the last few years.  I’ve never had a bad customer service experience at Best Buy, but I want to tell Google that Best Buy is a store that sells cameras.  It isn’t a camera store.

  • After I got done hiring two kids from my Boy Scout troop to shovel my walks, a neighbor showed up with a snow blower, offering to do it for free. 

  • In the area where I live, you order Girl Scout cookies in February, so the only things I regard as good about winter are Christmas and Thin Mints.

Things I Know

  • I have 24 versions of “Silent Night” in my music collection.  That’s not including the one in German.  I don’t know how many versions of “The Christmas Song” I have in my collection because only Nat King Cole’s version counts, as far as I’m concerned.  Even Mel Torme, who wrote it, didn’t sing it as well as Nat did.

  • The latest Brookstone catalog arrived at my house in today’s mail.  For just under $150 you can get a machine to wind your self-winding watch.  That’s not something high on my letter to Santa.

  • You’d think a nationwide chain of restaurants would have the same menu nationwide, but no, at least not Outback Steakhouses.  Where I live, they used to have a side dish of apples cooked with cinnamon and caramel.  They also had a desert called cinnamon oblivion which was that apple dish with vanilla ice cream and pecans.  They dropped both a few years ago.  But they still have the desert at the Outback on Howe Avenue in Sacramento CA.  So I got a dish of those apples when I was in Sacramento last week and I didn’t get any when I took my wife to the Outback nearest to our house this week.

  • Speaking of both restaurants and Sacramento, my family and I had a very nice lunch at McCormick & Schmick on the day my son officially became a lawyer.  The food was good.  The restaurant looked nice.  They gave us a large, curtained off booth and staff went out of their way to be nice to us.  I would go there again, but I chose it mostly by chance and because it was close to the courthouse.

  • To me, in order for it to be a hotel suite, it has to have at least two rooms (other than the bathroom) and each bedroom must be separated from the rest of the suite by a door.  This is a good arrangement if we’re traveling with either or both of our adult children.  It’s also good if we’re by ourselves because I’m an insomniac and if I can’t sleep I like to get up so I won’t disturb my wife.  Unfortunately, that’s not what most hotels mean when they call a place to sleep a suite these days.

  • If I bought the collision damage waiver when I rented a car, I’d insist on getting my money’s worth.  And then, I don’t think they’d want to sell it to me again.

  • When I rented a car in San Francisco recently, I reserved a “Toyota Camry or similar.”  They gave me an “Or Similar.”  In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever gotten the advertised car that I reserved.  The “Or Similar” wasn’t similar to the car I own though.  There’s nothing sporty about it, but it has bucket seats and a floor shift.  There’s nothing sporty about mine either and it has a column shift.  I had the rental just long enough that when I got back into mine, I reached for the non-existent floor shift.

  • I splurged and  bought myself that camera I wanted.  I got a good price, but it still cost about $700.  So far, I like it a lot.  It takes very good pictures.

Things I Know

  • It hasn’t snowed in the Sacramento area in seven years.  However, people from Sacramento who want to see snow in the winter don’t have to drive that far on Interstate 80 eastbound, to see more snow than anyone could reasonably want.  So, wall-to-wall, team coverage on Sacramento TV stations of snow flurries seems a little excessive to me.

  • The problem with the BCS college football championship is that the two best teams could be in one conference.  But Florida didn’t make too much of an argument about that over the weekend, did they?

  • My son was admitted to practice law in California on Friday.  If you are me, the correct team won the SEC champion ship this weekend.  There is much correct with the world right now.

  • A cross-country trip in an airplane is surprisingly comfortable if the plane is one-third full.

  • The Sacramento CA History Museum has a small display about local Boy Scouts among its exhibits.  Within that exhibit, there’s one Boy Scout patch from 1984.  I have at least one Boy Scout patch older than that on my red jacket and I didn’t join Scouting until I was an adult.  I hate it when I have older stuff than they have in the museum and I’m still using it.

  • Cops don’t seem to like the word suspect anymore.  I don’t know why.  But if you hear that the police investigating a crime want to question you as a “person of interest,” it means they think you probably did it.  Police in Washington State tracked down a person of interest in the murder of four other police officers.  They were alert enough that he didn’t kill any more cops; they killed him.

  • Bob Sheppard isn’t coming back to be Yankees public address announcer.  It’s not a surprise really.  Mr. Sheppard is 99 years old and he started announcing at Yankee Stadium in 1951.  Mr. Sheppard spent his working life going to sporting events to earn a living, Giants football games in the winter and Yankees baseball games in the summer.  I hope he doesn’t have to go to an office from 9 to 5, five days a week now that he’s retired.

  • Bobby Bowden must think that’s how it works.  When the 80-year-old legendary football coach from FSU was forced to announce his retirement at the end of this season, Bowden said he would have to find a real job now.

  • When someone says, “One thing lead to another,” often “another” means “sex.”

  • Cogent advice from Click and Clack, the guys on National Public Radio’s Car Talk program:  “You don’t want a car that’s smaller than the elk.”

  • If I get one of those much sought after Zhu Zhu pets for Christmas, I’m going to call it Petals.

  • Note to the grammar checker in MS Word 2007:  All you need in order to have a sentence is a noun and a verb.  I remember that from grammar school, and I went to grammar school so long ago they attempted to teach me grammar; hence the name.  So, “I am,” is a sentence.  Therefore, “I’m sorry,” is also a sentence, not a sentence fragment.

  • Here’s something unnecessarily complicated.  I want to buy a new camera.  Canon makes good ones so I checked whether they have the manual for the camera I’m interested in available on line.   They do, so I started reading it.  I liked what I was reading so I wanted to download it and go over it at my leisure.  The way Canon has its PDF reader configured, I couldn’t find a way to download the manual.  I did find a way to e-mail it to myself and that works.  But it’s an extra and unnecessary step.

Things I Want (Or Need) To Know

  • How many times did the word “Pasadena” appear in the Sunday Tuscaloosa Times this week?  And since my son is an alumnus, Roll Tide!

  • Flying across the United States, I noticed on one of those progress maps on the TV screen in front of me a place called “Atlantic City Wyoming.”  Of course I wondered why anyone would name a place in Wyoming, “Atlantic City.”  The next thing I wondered is whether it has a boardwalk.  I got the answers to those questions.  It’s Atlantic City because it was founded as a mining community and it’s near the Atlantic Lode.  It doesn’t have a boardwalk.  It’s kind of a ghost town.  Fewer than 50 people live there and it’s only accessible over land on a gravel road.  So now, my only question about Atlantic City is, why is a place like that even on the GPS map the airlines show for your in-cabin entertainment when you’re flying cross country?  While I’m at it, why is the Atlantic Lode called that when it’s in Wyoming?

  • Have you or anyone else you know ever stayed in a hotel with a quiet HVAC system?

  • Why do car rental companies even bother to tell you what kind of car they rent?  I’ve never gotten the car they said, have you?  Historically, you got a better car if they couldn’t deliver what they promised.  A few times recently, I was offered a lesser car for the same price.   That should open them up to charges of false advertising, don’t you think?

Full Disclosure

According to Federal Trade Commission regulations, bloggers who receive freebies, or payola for favorable mention of products and services have to disclose those things starting today.  For the record, I’m not getting any of that stuff for any of those things.

If that changes, I’ll be surprised, but I’ll try to remember to let you know too.

Things I Want (Or Need) To Know

  • What was Tiger Woods doing at 2:25 AM when he had an auto accident while backing his car out of his driveway?  My daughter suggests he was leaving early to sign up for a good tee time at a nearby public course.

  • I’m going to San Francisco, and with apologies to Scott McKenzie, I’m not going to wear some flowers in my hair.  Is that alright?  I would wear the flowers, but I don’t have any hair.

  • I bought a boxed set of Simon & Garfunkel CD’s.  You’d think a big music company like Columbia would know better.  The set contains 5 CD’s with slip cases (not jewel boxes) that are replicas of the original vinyl album covers.  I don’t mind the lack of jewel cases so much (and who called them that anyway?).  I don’t even mind that the type on the slip cases is too small for a Simon & Garfunkel fan to read.  After all, the slip cases are mini-replicas of the actual 12-inch vinyl record covers.  But Simon & Garfunkel fans are likely to range from over 40 to over 60, so why did they make the type in the booklet that’s included with the set too small for fans to read too?

  • And as long as I’m on the subject of Simon & Garfunkel, by mistake, I typed it here as “Garfunkle,” but you can add Garfunkel to the list of names MS Word knows how to spell along with others such as Asimov and Mandelbrot.

  • A lot of the things we say when we’re cursing don’t make any sense.  If you really were a son of a bitch, you’d be a puppy, right?  How is that bad?