Things I Know

 

  • I would have thought an organ grinder was a machine to destroy musical instruments or a device used to make pate, instead of being a street performer with a pet monkey.

  • Harold Camping, the wing nut who told us the Rapture would occur a week ago Saturday has recalculated.  He now says the world will end on October 21st.  My wedding anniversary (and my wife’s too) is October 24th.  Notwithstanding what Mr. Camping has predicted, I think I’ll buy my wife an anniversary present.

  • We’re remodeling again.  This time, we’re doing more rewiring than in the past.  To accomplish that, the electricians need access to the attic.  Really, they have to pull up part of the attic floor because it’s easier to repair than cutting into the bedroom ceilings.  I’’ve climbed the stairs dozens of times and my feet hurt, but in doing so, I found the pocket knife my dad carried for many years and gave to me when I was about ten.  I thought I lost it at summer camp in Rhode Island years ago when I was a Scoutmaster, but it’’s been sitting in a box in my attic for almost twenty years.

  • A lot of stores have paint on sale over Memorial Day Weekend.

  • One good thing that happened while we were in California:  at home, our crape myrtle awoke from its winter of slumber.  They’’re pretty, but they start growing later than any other plant on my property.

  • Reading the Sky Mall catalogue on a recent cross-country flight led me to wonder if the website www.uselesscrap.com was available.  It is, but you can’t just register it for a couple of bucks; someone’s trying to sell it at a premium.

  • It’s rained so much on Long Island this spring that my lawn goes to seed in about four days which is more often than I mow it.

  • The night we arrived in San Francisco and the night before we left, we stayed at a hotel called the Inn at Oyster Point.  It’s a beautiful location overlooking a marina on San Francisco Bay and it has a fireplace in every room.  But the staff is its greatest asset.  Staff members are friendly and eager to help.  I lost the battery cover off a small radio I carry around.  I called the hotel the day after I checked out; they found it and mailed it back to me.  So kudos to Nicole and anyone else involved in that recovery.

  • I bought my wife an iPad for her birthday.  I had a hard time connecting it to my home wireless network, but finally figured that out; my password is complicated enough it’’s difficult to type on a touch pad .  One thing I don’t like; it takes a long time to synch my music collection, especially since it’’s already on there.

 

Things I Want (Or Need) To Know

  • The sign in my doctor’’s office says, “”Please refrain from cell phone use.””  But you can only see the sign as you’’re leaving the office, so does that mean the doctor only wants me to use a cell phone while in his office, and nowhere else?

  • Should I plant tomatoes this year?  My back yard is fungus central and it’’s rained so much I wonder if it’’s worth it or if they’’ll come up covered in black spots and die as soon as they rise out of the ground.  It’’s also been a cool spring which is why I haven’’t planted them yet.  Tomatoes like the soil to be warm.  I have some tomatoes growing from fruit that fell off the plants last year, but they’’re plum tomatoes I planted by mistake.  Plum tomatoes are good for sauce, but I wanted to plant cherry or grape tomatoes which are better for eating right off the vine.

  • Tumultuous.  Is there another word in the English language that uses the letter “u” four times?  I can’t think of one, can you?

  • On the front passenger seat back of an empty minivan in McDonald’’s parking lot today, there was a woman’’s blouse with a bra on top.  I’’m pretty sure there’’s a question I should ask here and I have no idea what it might be.

  • Not only did the Lincoln Town Car I rented recently have an obsolete radio, Ford doesn’’t offer a built in GPS for it either.  I know Ford is phasing this car out, but putting an up-to-date radio and a GPS in the hole in the dash requires no engineering at all.  They could use the head unit from another Ford product or get one from an after-market radio maker.  I can’’t understand why they don’’t do that, especially since a lot of Lincoln Town Cars are sold to car services and their drivers would probably enjoy a better head unit and find a GPS very useful as well.

Things I Know

  •  I am not making deliberate and frequent changes to the typeface in this blog.  The software the blog publisher uses seems to be doing that unbidden by me.  If I figure out how to stop doing it, I will stop, even though I didn’’t start.
  • We’’re returning home from vacation in the morning.  The weather in San Francisco and Sacramento wasn’’t too nice this time, or last time either.  Next time, I think we’’ll make a point to travel to sunny California, instead of the California we’’ve been visiting.
  • During our vacation, both my wife and I were under the weather.  It seems strange to me that when we’’re fully recovered, we won’’t be over the weather.
  • If you are renting a car in San Francisco, please be advised that gasoline at the stations nearest San Francisco International Airport costs almost fifty cents a gallon more than gasoline a mile or two away.  My mama told me, “you’’d better shop around.”
  • To me, the worst thing about California is that I can’’t stay here long enough to get used to the three hour time difference between here and where I live.  I hate waking up at 3:00 AM and there aren’’t many places open for breakfast in Sacramento at that hour.  I know one place on 16th Street that’’s open all night, but I tried it for breakfast once and didn’’t care much for it.
  • Note to TV news directors in Sacramento:  when I’’m watching the local weather forecast, I’’d also like to know what the outdoor temperature is now.  Even if the forecast is recorded, you could display it as a graphic on the screen.
  • On this trip, I learned that there’s no proof Mark Twain ever said, ““The coldest winter I ever spent was one summer in San Francisco.””  It’s funny and it’’s true, so that’’s probably why people think Twain said it, but he didn’’t publish it, so there’’s no proof that he did.
  • This week, that bogus quote is also true in Sacramento, which is particularly startling to me since I was here three years ago at this time of year and it was over 100 degrees.
  • Traffic in Sacramento is weird because streets switch from one way to two way or the other way around.  I could drive to where my son lives by heading west on H Street, until H Street becomes one way headed east.  A lot of streets in Sacramento are like that.
  • Toddlers never try to avoid tripping you; they depend on you to avoid stepping on them.  It seems a dubious survival strategy to me, but you have to admit it has been largely successful for millions of years so far.  
  • The power seat in the Lincoln I’’m renting slides as far back as it will go when I shut the car off.  I suppose the people who designed that feature did so to make it easier to enter and exit the vehicle, but I don’’t like it and wish I could disable it.
  • The original platform on which the Lincoln Town Car is based has been updated, but it started 32 years ago.  I’’ve only rented one twice and each time, I did it because I needed a sedan with a cavernous trunk.  It seems to me the interior hasn’’t been updated very much since the last time I rented one which was probably more than 20 years ago.  On this one, some of the buttons on the dash board are concealed by the steering wheel and the bottom of the dash is way too close to my knees.  Those are two things I think they could have fixed in all that time.
  • Our son is considering relocating from Sacramento.  I like the area, but I’’ve seen all the local tourist attractions because we’’ve visited him here several times, so maybe that’’s a good thing.
  • From the “stating-what-should-be-obvious department” comes the sign on the wall next to the hot tub at the hotel where we’’re staying:  it says, “”Danger.  No diving.””  There’s another sign too.  It warns that there are, “No lifeguards on duty.”  I said it’’s a hot tub, not a pool, didn’’t I?
  • We had a cute and EXTREMELY PERKY waitress at the restaurant Saturday night.  As an aside, hello Kayla.  But because of my bad head cold, I was really in no mood for EXTREMELY PERKY.
  • The hotel I’’m using near San Francisco International Airport overlooks a marina on San Francisco Bay.  It’’s very nice, but with a little more attention to detail, it could easily replace Rice-A-Roni as the San Francisco treat.
  • The desk clerk at one hotel told me the newspaper in the lobby was complementary.  I read the entire thing and it didn’’t say anything nice about me or my wife.  I’’d say that’’s one problem with homonyms, but one definition of homonym I read said that they sound the same AND ARE SPELLED THE SAME, but mean different things (I thought they just had to sound the same).  By that definition, complimentary and complementary aren’’t homonyms, are they?  I wish they were, because any time I want to use either one, I have to look it up to remember which spelling carries which definition.

Things I Want (Or Need) To Know

  •  When I graduated from high school, the last name of the last person who walked across the stage to receive a diploma began with the letters “Zw.”  Clearly, the order was alphabedical.  I attended a law school graduation on Saturday and I have no idea how they determined the order in which they called the grads, but it certainly wasn’’t from A to Z.
  • I know Ford is planning to discontinue the Lincoln Town Car after this year and after it has been in production on a similar chassis for roughly 32 years.  Still, couldn’’t they update a few things without a major investment in engineering or tools?  Ford does make a transmission with more than four gears for that engine.  Using it would improve the vehicle’s mileage.  And it wouldn’’t take any engineering at all to substitute a more sophisticated radio in that hole in the dash, would it?  I mean, the only way to listen to an MP3 in that so-called luxury car is with ear phones on the MP3 player you bring with you.
  • Do you need a lawyer with an LLM in transnational business and some experience in China?   I’’d be happy to pass along your inquiry to the lawyer I watched receive that degree on Saturday.  Comments in this blog are moderated, so your contact information won’t become public if you contact the Sisyphus Project in regard to this matter.
  • The curb strip in front of my house is 45 inches wide.  Most if not all of the curb strips in my town are about the same width.  My power mower cuts a 21-inch swath; that’’s fairly common for a home lawnmower.  A 45-inch wide curb strip doesn’’t take 2.14 passes with the mower to cut, it takes 3 passes.  How much imported oil could we save if all the curb strips took only two passes to keep tidy?
  • By the way, shouldn’’t a power mower cut power and not grass?
  • During remodeling currently taking place at my house, we’’ve discovered some knob and tube wiring.  The house is over 100 years old.  Almost any knob and tube wiring still in service is heavily overloaded.  For that and other reasons, it’’s a fire hazard and I’’m replacing it.  To do so, I have to give the electrician access to part of the attic.  The question is exactly how much of the junk in my attic do I have to move out of the attic to replace the wiring?
  • There are two other questions as well.  Will my wife and children let me throw some of that stuff out?  And if I can dispose of enough junk will the house stay on its foundation or will it float off like a giant hot-air balloon?
  • Does anyone here have an effective strategy for quickly adjusting to a three-hour time zone change?  I find myself going to bed very early by California standards, waking up for a few hours about three hours after I hit the hay, then going back to sleep until 6 or 7 in the morning.  It kind of works, but not effectively, and I’’m in California just long enough that while I haven’’t adjusted completely to the time zone shift, I will have to do some adjusting again when I get back to New York.

Things I Know

  •  The Delta Airlines terminal at Kennedy Airport is enormous.   It’’s actually two or three terminal buildings linked together.  It’’s a good thing I brought my backpack; we must have hiked half a mile from the curbside check in to the gate where we caught our plane.
  • The food places that appealed most to me aren’’t in the highest traffic areas of the Delta terminal.  That said, in my opinion, no place that sells pre-made sandwiches in cellophane or plastic wrap can be considered “gourmet.”
  • It’’s bad enough that some restaurants and restaurant chains limit themselves to Coke or Pepsi, but not both.  If they sell Pepsi at the Delta terminal in Kennedy airport, I couldn’’t find any.  They don’’t have it on the planes either and the Coke they do have comes in cans you don’’t have to take back for deposit.
  • They’’ve remodeled Delta Gate 22 since the last time I was there.  Lots of the seats are now at desks that have iPads and power outlets available for passenger use.  Tha’’s fine, except there aren’’t nearly enough seats for passengers waiting to board planes and there isn’’t room around most of the seats so you can hold on to your luggage.
  • Delta boarded our flight from the front to the back.  Since airlines (not just Delta) started charging for checked baggage, people have been bringing as much stuff as possible into the cabin and stuffing as much as possible into the overhead bins.  Our seats were in row 30.  My backpack went into the overhead in Row 42.  So, I suggest they board flights from back to front.  That way, when they run out of space over your seat, the extra stuff has to go toward the front of the plane.  If you make it to the back to get your stuff, you won’’t make it back to your seat until people in front of you exit the plane.
  • The lead cabin attendant said he was being assisted by three other “absolutely fabulous cabin attendants.”  So, he was implying that he’’s “absolutely fabulous too,” right?  If you don’’t blow your own horn, you won’’t be violating any municipal noise ordinances, I always say.
  •   I could be wrong, but it seems to me you don’’t have to walk nearly as far at SFO as you do at JFK.  However the car rental center at SFO may possibly be in Nevada.  It’’s really, really far from the terminal.  At least the train ride over there is free.
  • I guess Alamo and National are the same company now.  I rented a car from Alamo and got one from National.  Once again, I got an ““or similar.””  I don’’t recall ever getting the car the rental car company advertises.  This time, I reserved a Cadillac DTS or similar because I wanted a sedan with a cavernous trunk.  My wife and I are on vacation and we’re picking up our son who’s been overseas for three months. 
  • The ““or similar”” turned out to be a Lincoln Town Car.  It’’s okay; it has the three-Hoffa trunk that I need, but Ford’’s phasing that model out and it’’s technologically behind the times in even simple ways.  Ford has a sophisticated entertainment system in Fords, but this Lincoln didn’’t have it and the owner’’s manual doesn’’t say it’’s even an option.  It doesn’’t play MP3 CD’s or have an auxiliary input for an iPhone or a Droid.  I’’ve got thousands of songs on my phone, but I can’’t play them in my rental Lincoln.
  • I have more trouble than I should finding my way around the San Francisco peninsula.  We’’re staying at a very nice place on the bay, near the airport, but it wasn’’t easy for me to find it.
  • I call our airport car service guy my almost cousin because his uncle dated my mother in high school.  Taking a car service to the airport is a luxury, but not really that expensive if you are going to be away for a week or more.  It costs me about twice as much as driving to the airport and putting my car in long-term parking and the extra convenience is well worth it.
  • More, as the trip continues.

Things I Know

  • The USA should have filed an environmental impact statement before dumping Osama Bin Laden into the ocean.

  • I read that Ford Motor Company sold fewer than eight thousand Lincolns in March.  When at the NY Auto Show, last month, it occurred to me that Lincoln has gone the way of Mercury and you know what happened to Mercury (they don’’t make them anymore).  All the Lincolns I saw at the Auto Show were obviously badge-engineered.  They are clearly based on Fords.  They mostly look like Fords with different grilles and fancier interiors. 

  • Lincoln has manufactured some of the most beautiful and some of the ugliest cars ever made (in my opinion of course).  I hope they find their niche again and become something more than uber-Fords.  If not, I fear that Lincoln will be out of business within a few years.
  • We’’re doing some repairs and interior remodeling in our house.  Nobody should live in a house while it’’s under construction and this is the second time we’’ve done it, so you’’d think we already knew that.
  • We’’ve lived in this house for 20 years and neither the home inspection we had before we bought it nor any of the electricians who’’ve been in since found any active knob and tube wiring in it.  But the electrician who is here now did and we probably have to rewire the entire second floor.  Expensive, sure, but it is a fire hazard so it has to go.
  • In addition to the construction, my wife and I are getting ready for a trip to California next week.
  • One of my favorite ways to relax is to soak in the bathtub while listening to the radio and reading a book.  Last week, I knocked my 13-year-old portable radio into the tub.  I dried it out with a hair drier and then my wife left it in the sun for a couple of days.  It works again!  Mostly.  Although you can’’t get this particular model anymore and I was wrong when I bought it to think  I’’d listen to a lot of shortwave, I’’m hereby impressed with my Grundig Yachtboy 400 and even more impressed with the fact that I don’’t have to buy another radio.
  • On May 1, I may have found the most expensive 87 octane gasoline in New Jersey.  In case that’s what you’re looking for, it was in Hibernia, just off I-80.