Things I Know

  • Rick Lazio has backed out of the Conservative Party nomination for governor of New York.  It now appears that Carl Paladino will get the Conservative as well as the Republican line.  If that happens, I think the Conservative Party will get the fifty thousand votes it needs to survive.  There’s always a chance, but Paladino still looks unlikely to wrestle the governorship from Andrew Cuomo.

  • Just so we’re clear, I think selling two-dollar bills two for ten dollars plus shipping and handling is a great idea.  I also think buying two-dollar bills two for ten dollars plus shipping and handling is absolutely moronic!

  • A po’ boy sandwich at Citi Field costs $14.00.  I didn’t have one, so I don’t know if that’s delicious irony, or just plain old ordinary irony.

  • My shoulder is getting better.  I started physical therapy today.

  • I am not sure the surgeon really is a doctor.  He is very good at being on time for appointments in his office.  I had a 10 AM appointment recently.  When I got back into my car, the clock said 10:13.  Remarkable!  Plus, my next appointment is on a Wednesday and I thought all doctors were required to play golf on Wednesday.

  • Just for the sake of closure, Winnie Cooper did give birth to a healthy baby boy and she didn’t name him Kevin.

  • Upon watching “Dancing With the Stars” it occurred to me that most radio programmers would think a lot of the music on that show is too old to play on their radio stations.

  • The prospect of genetically engineered salmon must certainly lead to genetically engineered bagels too.

  • I’ve read lots of personal ads, chiefly from women, saying they like long walks on the beach.  I’ve also been to the beach, and there aren’t as many people walking at the beach as you might think.

  • I paid extra money for extra legroom on a flight my wife and I’ll be taking soon and now I’m questioning whether I should have done that since neither one of us has any extra legs. 

New York’s Silly Season In Full Swing

Is Ed Cox the Manchurian Candidate?  After reviewing the results from New York’s Republican primaries, you’d have to at least wonder if Cox, who is the Chairman of the New York State Republican Party, is a secret agent of the Democrats.  Consider the following.

Cox backed Democrat Steve Levy for the Republican nomination for Governor.  The state GOP convention ended with Rick Lazio as the party’s designee.  Then Buffalo real estate developer Carl Palidino mounted a primary and Carl won the  nomination by an almost two-to-one margin.  To make the Republicans’ prospects for a November win even less likely, Lazio did hold on to the Conservative nomination and the Democrats named Andrew Cuomo as their candidate.  Cuomo is the popular State Attorney General.  Since his father was governor, he has an important political name.  He also reportedly has a $25 million bankroll ready to spend on his candidacy.

Not only are the Republicans chances of winning the governor’s mansion slim, but the Conservative Party has to pull fifty-thousand votes for governor to continue to have a place on the ballot.  After being in existence since 1962, the Conservative Party may soon cease to exist in New York.  Is it any wonder the Conservatives paid for commercials endorsing Lazio in his Republican primary race against Paladino? 

Similarly, the Republicans gave their party designation for the US Senate seat currently held by appointed Senator Kirsten Gillibrand to Bruce Blakeman, a Manhattan lawyer and the former presiding officer of the Nassau County legislature.  Blakeman finished third in the primary to Joe DioGuardi.  Gillibrand was an unpopular choice within her own party when Governor David Patterson (who also wasn’t elected to the position he now holds) appointed her last year to fill Hillary Clinton’s Senate seat when Clinton was named US Secretary of State. 

DioGuardi seems like a fine guy and his daughter was a judge on American Idol, but he is 70-years old, he last served as a Congressman in 1989 and he’s run several unsuccessful campaigns for Congress since then.  Despite national polls that suggest President Obama is unpopular and Republicans will probably score gains in both the House and Senate, if Mr. DioGuardi wins in November that will be counted as an upset too, a huge and very unlikely upset.

State GOP Chairman Cox couldn’t even deliver the Republican nomination for Congress on Long Island’s east end to his son, Christopher.  Chris Cox finished third in a three-way race.

Democrats did cleanse themselves of two stains on their party’s ethical record.  Hiram Monserat, expelled from the State Senate after being convicted of assaulting his girlfriend, and Pedro Espada, whose health-care clinic is under investigation, both failed in their efforts to get on Row A for the November election, but Cox and the Republicans didn’t have anything to do with that and the GOP is very unlikely to win those seats in November. 

Congressman Charlie Rangel was renominated in New York City though, despite the fact that he faces trial in the House of Representatives on ethics violations.  That should come as no surprise.  Unless you are a North Korean Army veteran about Charlie’s age, if you’ve met the man, he has charmed you on a personal level.  I know he charmed me when I met him many years ago.  Plus, his opponents couldn’t agree, so five of them split the anti-Charlie vote, such as it is.

The economy is in the toilet.  Most Americans think President Obama isn’t doing a good job of taking care of that.  New York State Democrats had several scandals over the last two years too.  National polls indicate Republicans will gain seats in both houses of the Congress, but on the state level in New York, this year looks pretty dismal for the GOP.  And it’s worse than that. 

Unless Republicans can retake the New York State Senate, now barely controlled by the Dems, one-party control in New York will extend not only to the state government, but also to the process of redistricting Assembly, State Senate, and Congressional seats.  That redistricting will take place next year and if the Republicans in New York have no voice in that, they will have no voice in much of anything else in the Empire State for at least ten years.

Here are two possible scenarios that are ugly for someone.  If Rick Lazio doesn’t actively campaign for governor and the Conservative Party doesn’t garner fifty-thousand votes in the gubernatorial election, no more Conservative Party.  If Carl Paladino says something so outrageous that his campaign explodes or implodes, it’s at least theoretically possible that the Conservatives would finish second and the Republicans third.  If that happens I’m sure the GOP will pull fifty-thousand votes and continue to be a political party, but if that happens, the party will also be relegated to line C rather than line B on voting machines statewide.  Moreover, if the Republicans are no longer the second vote getters in New York’s governor’s race, they will no longer get any patronage from local boards of election throughout the state.

Is Ed Cox responsible for all of that?  Certainly not.  I don’t mean to imply it’s all his fault, but he can’t be held accountable for his role in it either.  You see, the State Chairman of the Republican Party serves for a fixed term.  So despite the disaster that is the New York GOP this year, unless Mr. Cox wants to leave office early, nobody can force him out until the end of his term.

Things I Want (Or Need) To Know

  • Did Bristol Palin really dance to the song “Mamma Told Me Not To Come?”

  • Why do sidewalks exist?  In my neighborhood, everyone walks in the middle of the street.

  • Why do we even have the term “correctional facility?”  It’s eight syllables instead of one or two.  How ambiguous are the words “jail” and “prison?”

  • The sign in the window of the Frederick’s of Hollywood store in the nearby shopping mall said, “Take an additional 50% off.”  I thought, “I’m in favor of that.”  Then I wondered, “Don’t you think that would be a great slogan to put on a T-shirt?”

  • According to their commercial, the New England Mint is selling two-dollar bills, two for ten dollars, plus shipping and handling.  Why didn’t I think of that?

  • President Obama said recently that Republicans are treating him like a dog.  What’s wrong with that?  Do you treat your dog well or poorly?  Many people treat their dogs better than they treat any person, don’t they?

  • Criminally annoying?  I have no doubt that Snooki is annoying, perhaps even to the point of criminality, but the idea of criminally annoying seems very vague to me.  Where exactly is the line you have to cross to be criminally annoying?

Things I Know

  • Attention politicians:  in Tuesday’s primaries in New York, I’m not going to vote for anyone whose campaign robocalls me this weekend, or Monday or Tuesday.  I know campaigns are exempt from the federal no-call statute, but if I went to the trouble of getting on the federal no-call list, it means unsolicited telephone sales calls annoy me.  And as soon as I realize I’m receiving one of those annoyance calls, I hang up.

  • I found our wills and some other important papers that were missing and I told my wife she has to be much more careful about putting those papers at risk by doing things like letting me touch them.

  • A while back, I made reference to a man from Jensen Beach FL. charged with child pornography who claimed in his defense that his cat downloaded the images without his knowledge by walking across his computer keyboard.  To update, he gave up that ridiculous defense and pleaded no contest.  According to the report I read, he was sentenced to more than 12-years in prison.

  • The Orange County FL Sheriff’s office blew up a toy pony found near the Waterbridge Elementary School in the Orlando vicinity because the pony was deemed suspicious.  If you are aware of your surroundings, you probably saw the video.  It was a false alarm.  I’d much rather have a false alarm than have a law enforcement officer injured or killed by a real explosive device.  Still, I would have been amused if the toy pony was stuffed with Trojan condoms.

Freedom of Speech

Terry Jones, that pastor with the bad moustache and roughly fifty followers in Florida who wants to burn copies of the Quran over the weekend isn’t important enough to get the attention he’s receiving.  He’s heard from the President, the Secretary of State, the commanding general in Afghanistan, the Pope, the President of Pakistan and who knows how many other world figures.  It’s gotten so bad that if he doesn’t burn the books, some idiot attention whore will. 

Some Muslim organization (I didn’t hear which one) announced that if he burns 200 Qurans, they’ll give away 200,000 copies.  That’s an appropriate response, a good way to counter this idiocy.  Completely ignoring the guy would be better.

There’s no question his proposed action is protected by the US Constitution; the federal government can’t interfere.  But there was a time when burning books was associated with censorship, not freedom of speech.  Nazis did it, for instance.  It’s fiction, of course, but read “Fahrenheit 451.” 

Many people don’t understand the First Amendment.  It keeps the government and nobody else from interfering with your right to speak out.  If you say something your boss doesn’t like, unless you have a contract or there’s a union involved, the boss can fire you for it. 

One of the people who doesn’t understand our US Constitution is the Interior Minister of Pakistan, A. Rehman Malik.  First, the USA isn’t in Pakistan so he doesn’t have any jurisdiction, but he asked INTERPOL to prevent Terry Jones from burning the Quran.  On the other hand, perhaps Mr. Malik does understand and just said what he said to score political points in Pakistan.  Maybe he learned to do that from watching US politicians cavort on cable TV news.  Obviously, INTERPOL doesn’t have any jurisdiction when a US Citizen does something in the US, but when did the Interior Minister of Pakistan last get news coverage in media all over the United States?

In grade school and in high school, students hear that the USA is a democracy and that means the majority rules.  It isn’t so though.  First, the USA isn’t a democracy, it’s a representative republic.  Moreover, the US Constitution with its bill of rights, is meant to ensure that the majority doesn’t run roughshod over minorities.  So, let’s all try to remember that the only kind of speech that needs the protection of the First Amendment is unpopular speech.

The Parking Ticket

I got a parking ticket last June for an expired parking meter at the library closest to my house.  I’m fighting it–on a technicality.  It takes a long time to fight a ticket here and it’s a colossal waste of time.  I suppose it’s a colossal waste of money too, but except for the share of my tax bill that goes to supporting the court, it’s not my money.  If I have to pay the fine, of course, it will be my money.  They could, if they wanted to, make it take less time and cost less money, but I suspect a lot of people pay unjust and/or invalid tickets rather than going through the process because it takes too long and costs them missed time from work to boot. 

It just occurred to me that if they posted a list of what various infractions cost, they might get even more people to choose saving time over saving money.

I was able to plead not guilty by mail, but one indication of how long it takes is the calendar call was this morning.  June, July, August, September.  See what I mean?  By the time this landmark case is adjudicated, I’ll certainly have to decide what I want for my birthday and for Christmas and, who knows, I might even die by then!     If I win and if I could do a cost-benefit analysis, it might be a Pyrrhic victory, but I don’t have anything better to do and I do feel like being pedantic.  I almost always feel like being pedantic though, so that’s nothing new.

This ticket was issued literally behind my back.  I went to the library to talk to someone who works there.  When I arrived, he was standing in the parking lot.  I parked the truck in a stall, got out and talked him for about three minutes, maybe four.  I was going to say I leapt out of the truck, but I don’t want to exaggerate here.  While I was standing maybe three parking spaces away from the truck, the parking agent came by and left me a ticket. 

I know it’s hard to judge intent, but for all she knew, I might have been asking my friend for change.  Even if I went inside to get change, I would have gotten a ticket by the time I came back out to feed the meter. 

One thing I hate about parking meters where I live is that they still require coins.  There are places where the parking meters take paper money and even credit cards.  Every night when I empty my pockets, I put my change in a jar on my dresser. I’m sure a lot of people do that.  Right now, I have over $100 in that jar.  I don’t like the weight of the coins in my pocket and it takes longer to dig change out of my pocket than it does to get change from a cash register.  I suppose I could dig the change out when I was waiting to pay, but I live in New York, where the sales-tax rate was apparently chosen to make the tax due impossible for a taxpayer to calculate in his or her head.

The court already knew I plead not guilty, so I thought I could take care of this today.  Wrong!  The attorney representing the municipality called my name and asked me what I wanted to do.  I said I wanted the ticket dismissed because it was defective on its face (I have lawyers in the family).  The ticket was issued to a “Suburban;” I have a truck.  Everywhere in the country, a Suburban is a hulking, enormous passenger vehicle from Chevrolet.  In New York, it is also a class of vehicles characterized by seats or removable seats (fold-down seats count too) in the rear.   All station wagons used to be registered as Suburban in New York, but I honestly can’t remember the last time I saw a vehicle with Suburban plates on it.  No seats, no place to install seats, so I have a truck.  I also have a DMV title and a picture that show it’s a truck.  I showed them to the municipal lawyer.

All that the attorney said was he would schedule me for a trial.  I’ll get a letter.  Based on the time between the ticket and the calendar call, notice of my trial date may come in the form of a Christmas card.  Will my ploy work?  Who knows, but it’s like I said:  I don’t have anything better to do and I do feel like being pedantic.

Things I Know

  • Labor Day can only be one day later than it is this year.  People usually don’t get interested in elections until after Labor Day.  The NY State primaries are a week from tomorrow.  With eight days to go, I predict very little interest in these primary elections.  Part of that is the calendar, part of it is the only interesting race for Democrats is the race for the Attorney General Nomination.  Part is the only statewide office Republicans seem to have any chance of capturing is Comptroller.

  • I couldn’t believe it.  On the Friday before Labor Day and the TV show “Extra” was billboarding a story on what Jerry Lewis’ next project is.  Next, they’ll be telling us the sky is blue and water is wet.

  • When I was young, lots and lots of people watched Jerry Lewis’ Labor Day telethon and it wasn’t the only telethon around.  Now, I find that hard to explain.  Jerry and his telethon have raised millions and millions of dollars for worthy causes, but the show is very inexpensively produced, full of mistakes since it’s live (or at least large parts of it are), and I find it boring.

  • I think a woman tried to pick me up at the beach the other day.  Nobody tries very often, so I’m not sure.  She came over and said she wanted to say hello because she came there often and saw me there frequently too.  It was my second time ever at that beach, but I didn’t want to embarrass her, so I didn’t tell her that.  I’m both too heavy and too married for someone to pick me up easily though, so I spoke with her for a minute or two and then I left.

  • Nude beaches need, but don’t have, editors.  I wasn’t at a nude beach, but that thought occurred to me because I was at a beach.

  • On a beautiful, sunny afternoon at the beach, I miss listening to Dan Ingram on the radio more than I do the rest of the time.

  • Talk about a guy being trapped.  They held a prayer vigil for those miners trapped in Chile and one of the trapped miners wives showed up.  So did his mistress.

  • My wife usually finds the things I lose.  But she lost my keys to one of our cars.  However, she didn’t lose any points doing that, because she found them too.  They were in the tote bag she carried when we went to the hospital to get my shoulder fixed.  I drove there and she drove home which is why we had my keys as well as hers on that trip. 

Things I Want (Or Need) To Know

  • Once it becomes apparent that a storm (hurricane or blizzard) isn’t going to be as bad as we thought it might be, could we please, please cut back a little on the TV news coverage?

  •  So now there’s a TV show about a guy who eats nothing but cheeseburgers?

  • And how can his wife possibly not know that the guy doesn’t eat anything else but cheeseburgers?

  • The History International cable TV channel broadcasts one hour on weekday mornings in a language other than English.  The language is Spanish, but that’s not material to the conversation.  First, why one hour a day?  Second, how come the commercials during that hour are all in English?

  • What do they do with half a billion eggs recalled because they might be contaminated with salmonella?  I’m sure they don’t put them back in the chickens.

  • Is there a US Post Office anywhere in the country that was built with adequate customer parking?

  • Do you suppose that the guy in the maroon Maserati convertible with NY plate “PP DOC” is a urologist?  I guess a supporter of one of many deposed Haitian presidents is also a possibility, but it’s a bigger stretch, don’t you think?

  • How come sleep apnea is in my spell checker, but Maserati isn’t?

  • The sign on the door to the men’s locker room at my local pool says, “All patrons must be fully dressed before leaving the locker room.”  Is this really a problem?  I mean seriously?