Things I Know

  • If I had a life that resembled in any way the life that Charlie Sheen reportedly lives, I’d like to live it for a long time, rather than all at once.

  • You never have to shovel a heat wave.

  • We’ve had so much snow around here that I ran out of chocolate chips and couldn’t bake homemade cookies during the latest storm.

  • Where I live, they start selling Girl Scout Cookies next week!

  • We’re a little over two weeks to pitchers and catchers.

  • The Mets signed another sub-.200 career hitter.

  • It was only a matter of time.  Someone turned up nude photos of Betty White.  About 70-years old!  The photos are about 70 years old; they aren’t nude photos of Betty when she was 70 years old.  If you want to see them, they’re all over the Internet.

Things I Want (Or Need) To Know

  • Where I live, they sell Girl Scout Cookies in February, but Girl Scouts don’t go door to door, their parents sell them at work; so how are all the retired or  jobless people around here going to get their Girl Scout Cookie fix?

  • Is it too late to plant bulbs?

  • Could I just get the certificate of authenticity and skip all the authentic crap infomercials sell along with the certificates?

  • How come the abbreviation TV is capitalized, even when the word television isn’t?

  • Could we possibly make the Golden Globe awards as irrelevant as the Miss America pageant has become?

Things I Know

  • Barrett-Jackson, the car auction company, sold a Pontiac ambulance from the early 1960’s at its Scottsdale AZ auction on Saturday for $120,000.  Why so much?  It’s alleged to be the ambulance that carried President Kennedy’s body after he was assassinated.  Why so little?  The vehicle’s provenance is disputed.  There’s credible evidence it’s not the same ambulance and that the real one was destroyed.  Someone, commenting on the website, discussing signs of wear on the paint wrote “petunia,” when they should have written “patina.”

  • Lying face-down on the floor doesn’t give you cancer, so its prostate cancer, not prostrate cancer.  Even the spell checker in MS Word knows that, and I heard the error on TV last night.  Notwithstanding that, if you Google “prostrate” the first entry is about elevated PSA and all the ads relate to prostate cancer, not worshipful adoration.

  • In case I’m too subtle for any of my readers, whenever I use the phrase, “Our beloved mayor,” in this blog I’m being sarcastic.  If that changes, I’ll let you know.

  • My recovery from shoulder surgery must be going great.  The surgeon just postponed my most recent follow-up visits for the second time. 

  • It wasn’t intentional and I just noticed it today, but on December 17, in this blog, I used the words two, too and to in the same sentence.

Parking Ticket Redux

Remember this?  I had almost forgotten because it’s kind of insignificant and kind of long ago too, but I was reminded today.  How?  I got a letter from a collection agency hired by the municipality in which I reside.  The collection letter said our beloved mayor had created an amnesty program for people with unpaid tickets.  Our beloved mayor’s name goes on all municipal letters, as if everything was his idea.  As an aside, I think he’s carrying this advantage of incumbency thing too far. 

For your information, “Parking-ticket amnesty program” is government speak for, “Hey, we’re really getting desperate for money around here.”  The letter said if I paid right now, I could get a 40-percent discount.  But wait!  There’s more!  It said if I didn’t pay, my car could be immobilized with what used to be called a Denver boot.  The letter didn’t say “Denver” though, so maybe “Denver Boot” is a trademark.

First reaction:  hey, if they’re giving a 40-percent discount on illegal parking, maybe I should take advantage of it and go park illegally.  That’s the proper reaction to a sale, isn’t it?  Instead, I got in my car and went right to the courthouse.  Why?  I was annoyed because the letter implied to me that I had ignored the parking ticket, but I didn’t; I blogged about it.  I also returned it with my not guilty plea in June.  I appeared for my calendar call on September 8th too.  After that appearance, I predicted that I would have to decide what I wanted for my birthday and for Christmas before they called me back for a trial.  I even said getting a trial date would take so long I might die before the trial of the century.  I was right about birthday and Christmas presents, and I did well on both occasions, thanks.  I hope I was wrong about dying before the case comes to trial.  I don’t know yet, because the case hasn’t been scheduled yet. 

I went to the courthouse because I thought maybe they sent out a trial notice, I didn’t get it and therefore I actually was a scofflaw, although an inadvertent one.  Nope.  They’re so desperate for money that they’re offering amnesty to people whose tickets are still going through the system.  How about speeding up the process a little?  That would bring in some revenue too and maybe without a discount.  I got the ticket in early June and it’s now late January of the following year.  Plus, when I went to court in September, they already knew I plead not guilty.  So it would have saved time if someone was empowered to deal with the ticket then.   If I lost then, I would have paid then.  I have no plans to appeal the case to the U.S. Supreme Court.

If the case develops further, dear readers, you will be the second to know.  After all, if I don’t learn about it first, I can’t write about it and post it here.

Things I Know

  • Steve Jobs of Apple Inc. has had more than his share of talent, success, and medical problems.  He announced Monday that he’s taking another medical leave, his third.  Mr. Jobs has a right to medical privacy, but he’s such an integral part of Apple’s success, I believe he should be as open as possible with his stockholders.

  • Fewer than four weeks to pitchers and catchers now.  If the Jets hadn’t beaten the Patriots on Sunday, sports-talk radio could move on to discussing what star pitchers the Yankees should acquire in order to achieve their God-given entitlement to another World Series championship.

  • At this point, it doesn’t look like there’s any real purpose to talking about the Mets’ prospects for the 2011 season.  They do seem to be cornering the market on reclamation projects, but that’s about it.

  • To answer my own question, we don’t have two kinds of mini USB plugs.  One of them is called a micro USB plug.  Nevertheless, the only reason I can see for having both is to sell more cell-phone chargers and connecting cables.

  • Rep. Giffords, while still in the ICU, reportedly gave her husband a neck rub.  Please join me in praying that her recovery continues to be amazing and goes on to become complete.

  • Sometimes we learn things on TV that probably shouldn’t be general knowledge.  I learned, for instance, that if you’re going to shoot someone in the head, you have a better chance of killing them or causing devastating brain damage if you shoot from side to side rather than from the front or back.

  • When I wrote speeches for local government officials, I wrote short ones.  To my mind, almost all speeches by government officials (The Gettysburg Address is an exception) are too long.  That said, the only thing wrong with President Obama’s speech in Tucson is that it was too long.  I did think the audience hooting and cheering to all elements in the program including the Presidents speech was more appropriate to a pep rally than to a memorial service though.

  •  Clearly bad people as well as good people die too young, so while I like the song, Billy Joel was wrong about that.  Still, former Newsday columnist Ed Lowe died on Sunday at age 64 which was far too young.  And he went through medical hell before it died, including a massive stroke and liver cancer.  Many people loved Ed, respected him, considered him a great talent, or some combination of the three.  I didn’t know him well enough to love him, but I fit comfortably into the other two categories.  The only thing I can think of that’s good about what happened is hundreds, if not thousands of people took the time to let him know they fell into some or all of those three groups before he left us.

  • I have created a closed loop, and hope I can eventually extract myself from it.  Like everyone else on the planet, I have a gmail account.  Unlike many of them, I never used it.  So, in case anyone ever figured out my correct gmail address, and wanted or needed to contact me, I set it up to forward to an email account I do use.  Then, I bought a Droid phone.  For the uninitiated, Droid phones link most easily to gmail accounts.  So, I set up the other account to forward to my gmail address so I could see my email on my phone.  Now, I have to delete things constantly to stay on top of the two email accounts endlessly forwarding everything to each other.

  • I’m looking for a reliable way to convert movies and TV shows to MP4 files so I can watch them on my new Droid X phone.  If anyone reading this has a good method, please feel free to let me know what it is.   If it’s free or if the trial version is free, even better.

  • I’m also looking for a better way to handle podcasts on the phone.  If I use the built-in music app, I have to use proprietary software to load the files, or re-sync the SD card.  Since I have four thousand songs on the phone, re-syncing takes a while.  If I use a file manager to play the podcasts, it calls up the music app to do it, but I can’t then do something else (such as look at a map), and have the podcast keep playing. 

  • I’ve had the fancy head unit in my truck since July, and still haven’t figured out how to turn it entirely off without using the ignition key to do it.  I know it always has to draw a little power to preserve the memory.  I’m talking about turning it off to the extent of no sound and no video.

  • I’ve been leaning against a heating pad for two weeks, and my back still hurts.

Things I Want (Or Need) To Know

  • Do the people who wrote the contact app for Android phones also have a white-pages phone book in which all the entries are sorted only by first name?

  • There are a few apps on my new phone including one video game that I don’t want, but don’t seem to be able to delete.  Any suggestions?

  • I’m admittedly late to the party with this one, but I do wonder why Elizabeth Edwards leaving her cheating husband, John, out of her will was considered news?  To me, it would have been news if she left him in the will.

  • Hugh Heffner, and Crystal Harris?  A friend of mine once got divorced because her husband was cheating with a woman half their age.  She asked at the time, and I think the same question is relevant here, “What do they talk about afterwards?” If my math skills haven’t deteriorated too much, he’s more than three times her age, closer to four!

Things I Know

  • Since I haven’t mentioned it before, in addition to previous copyright notices, this blog is copyrighted 2011 too.

  • You can thank me for the iPhone on Verizon.  I bought a Droid from them last week.

  • My new cell phone came with a Kindle app.  So I was looking around this morning for things I could download for free.  I started on, of course, because they sell Kindles.  So that’s how I came to know you can download the federal budget to your Kindle.  And, it’s free!  Manufacturer of sleeping pills will of course be devastated.

  • Brian Williams isn’t very funny on the NBC Nightly News, but on the late-night talk shows, he’s hysterical.

  • As long as I’m being a TV critic, I think Lester Holt’s on camera persona is as good as or better than anyone at NBC.

  • Stop the presses.  Bret Favre, the Vikings’ quarterback has announced his retirement.

  • For the fourth time! 

  • I would have thought an NFL quarterback has enough women hitting on him that he never has to hit on anyone, especially women who work with or for his team.

  • Even if you thought they were jokes, if nobody laughs, you explain them, and still, nobody laughs, then they weren’t jokes after all.

  • After January 6th, it’s appropriate to take down your Christmas decorations.  In fact, it’s recommended everywhere, and may be required in certain home-owners’ associations. 

  • February 13th is the day pitchers and catchers report to spring training this year.  March 31st is opening day.  So far this off season, the Mets haven’t done much to make me excited about either date.

Rep. Giffords: My Two Cents

Comedian Ron White has a routine in which he says you can’t fix stupid. Despite advances in medical science, there’s a lot of crazy you can’t fix either. So Jared Loughner is under arrest, Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords is in critical condition, in a medically induced coma after undergoing radical brain surgery, a federal judge, a beautiful little girl who was interested in government, and four other people are dead. One of the victims, 76-year-old Dorwin Stoddard, died shielding his wife. Obviously, he embodied the cliché, and loved her more than life itself. I bet she felt the same way about him, and that right now, she wishes she was killed to spare him. I’d like to think that my wife, and I would try to shield each other in an event like that, but I’m a lot bigger than she is, and she couldn’t win the fight to get between me and danger no matter how hard she tried.

The massacre saddens me, and so do the reports of people in government, politics, and media falling all over themselves to blame everyone in the world except Mr. Loughner.

One of the dead people is Gabe Zimmerman, thirty-years old, and engaged to be married. He was the community outreach director for Rep. Giffords. That strikes home for me because when I was 30, I had a job very much like his. I did community relations, and community outreach for a member of the House of Representatives. I did it for five years.

Was it dangerous when I did it? No and I’m betting that getting killed on the job was the last thing that Gabe Zimmerman ever thought might happen when he worked for Congress. In fact, it may have been the very last thing he ever thought of at all. The only time in five years that I thought my job with Congress was dangerous was when a guy came into the district office about a problem he had while working for the post office. One of the reasons he had a problem with the postal service is he threatened to bomb the place. After speaking to him, I recommended that we never bring a guy who threatened to bomb anyplace into the office again.

I used to bring my pre-school son with me to events sponsored by my boss. Being there began his interest in government. An adult now, he worked for the courts for some years, and is now a lawyer in California, enrolled in a Master’s of Law program and planning to take an internship at a law firm in Shanghai, China in the spring.

Did you see nine-year-old Christina Green’s father on TV? She became interested in government during the last Presidential campaign. She was recently elected to the student council at her elementary school, and went to the event on Saturday to meet Rep. Giffords. Because President Obama sparked her interest in government, her father said through tears that he took some comfort in the fact that the President mentioned her by name in his initial statement. Just how remarkable is the human spirit that a man can find any comfort at all after his nine-year-old child has been senselessly murdered? How can your heart not go out to that family, and the others who suffered in this tragedy?

The rush to politicize this awful thing by some people on the left, and some on the right too, troubles me a lot. Rep. Giffords is a Democrat. President George H.W. Bush appointed federal judge John Roll who was killed. Presumably Judge Roll was a Republican. I think we can all agree that Jared Loughner is a troubled wack-job, but apparently a non-partisan troubled wack-job. There’s proof, if we needed any, that non-partisan doesn’t necessarily mean good.

Some of the things that pass for news coverage have to strike you as odd if you think about them, such as wall-to-wall cable news coverage of a minute of silence. I think we all know what a minute of silence is like. And here’s my advice to the two members of Congress who said they will carry concealed handguns from now on: shut up!

I don’t own a handgun. I haven’t carried one at work since I left the Military Police. When I did carry one at work, I never had any desire to shoot anyone, and never drew the weapon from my holster except for target practice or to lock it up. That said, if I did have a concealed handgun, that’s what it would be, concealed. You would never see it or hear about it until just before I shot you. Since I have no desire to shoot you (or anyone else for that matter), you will never see the gun I don’t own. Handguns are tools, and the specific purpose of a handgun is not to demonstrate how macho you are.

This doesn’t seem to be a political event, so let’s stop politicizing it. It does seem to be the demented act of someone who gave lots of warning that he was at the very least troubled. You hear that a lot. You heard it about the two kids at Columbine. You heard it about the shooter on the college campus in Virginia, and the one at the Army base in Texas. So, instead of playing the blame game, maybe someone could give some thought to identifying, and helping some of these troubled people to cut down the chance of stuff like this happening again.

And, let’s pray for Representative Giffords, for the other people who survived, for the innocent people who were killed, as well as for the families, friends, and loved ones of all of the above. It couldn’t hurt and it might help.

Things I Want (Or Need) To Know

  • New governors are taking office all over the country.  There’s Brown in California, Cuomo in New York, and Scott in Florida, just to name  three.  The election in November was called a gubernatorial election, so why are the new officials called governors, not gubernators?

  • I got a new cell phone, one with a touch screen.  Now, where do I get some inhumanly skinny fingers so I can type accurately on it?

  • Other than to promote the sale of cell phone chargers and USB cables, why do we have more than one kind of mini USB plug?

  • They’ve agreed to go forward with a universal cell-phone charger in Europe.  How come we can’t have the same thing here?

  • I know what caused five-thousand birds to fall out of the sky in Arkansas:  gravity.  The real question is why they died.  Plus, I’m more worried about what happened to the hundred thousand fishes now sleeping with the fishes.

  • While I’m at it, why do they spell Arkansas that way, and since it ends in “S” is there another one? And since they spell and pronounce Arkansas the way they do, how come they do pronounce the last “S” in Kansas?

  • “S” is the most common consonant in the English language.  Consequently, the “S” key on a computer keyboard frequently wears out before anything else.  You can get a new keyboard for a desktop very inexpensively, but how old does a laptop have to be before fixing that problem doesn’t make any sense?

  • A man in North Fort Myers, FL was arrested after he threatened his neighbors with a club when they looked at his Christmas lights.  Then why put up the Christmas lights if you don’t want anyone to look at them?  And would it surprise you if I told you that law enforcement officials said alcohol was involved?

  • When the National Weather Service issues a blizzard warning, what are they warning the blizzard about?