The Coliseum: Thumbs Up Or Down?

I don’t know what to tell you about the vote tomorrow to allow the County of Nassau in suburban New York to borrow up to $400 million to build a new Nassau Coliseum as home for the NY Islanders, concerts, trade shows, etc.  I doubt if I’ll make up my mind until I’m in the voting booth.

First, the vote is advisory.  There are an awful lot of details that haven’t been worked out.  Revenue projections look pretty rosy to me.  We’ll get around 800 new and badly needed construction jobs, but the county is laying off civil-service workers and they need jobs too.  The bond issue, if approved, will raise County taxes more than the two percent allowable under a new state law.  The Nassau Interim Finance Agency is skeptical too because, frankly, Nassau County government is broke.

I don’t buy the argument that a new arena will make the Islanders a better team.  The place wasn’t run down in 1984 when they stopped winning Stanley Cups and they haven’t won one since.  Plus, a new arena hasn’t helped the Mets much, has it?  Of all the major professional sports, hockey draws the fewest people and when the NHL locked out its players in the 2004-2005 season, I’m told Coliseum revenues hardly noticed it.

They say we’ll lose 2,000 jobs if the Islanders leave and the Coliseum closes.  Most of them are part-time and low-paying yet a job’s a job, especially with the economy the way it is now.  I’d hate to lose any.  They say we’ll have 3,000 permanent new jobs at a new arena, but that includes the 2,000 jobs they have now and is based on a projection that the Islanders will come close to selling out every home game.  I don’t know if they ever did that, even when they were winning those four straight Stanley Cups.   

I don’t care about hockey.  The only sport I follow is baseball:  I’ve been there for other things, but I haven’t been inside the Nassau Coliseum for any sporting event since the Chinese ping pong team was there almost forty years ago.  I would like a place nearby to go for home shows, auto shows, concerts and other big shows. 

I think our taxes will go up whichever way the vote goes.  Building a new arena will cost us and so will closing down the existing Coliseum and not replacing it.  So, I guess I’m sitting on the fence (which is uncomfortable) and when I jump off tomorrow, whichever side I land on will be uncomfortable too.  Sometimes if you’re hurting either emotionally or economically you go out and spend some money you don’t have on a treat for yourself in an effort to feel better.  Maybe that’’s the mindset that will decide the question.

Polls are open from 6 AM to 9 PM.  The date was selected to ensure a low voter turnout in the hope that special interests (or stake holders, depending on whether you agree with them or not) will decide the issue.  If you’’re neither a special interest nor a stake holder and you vote anyway, perhaps the people will actually decide the outcome.  I know I’ll vote; I just don’t know how yet.

Things I Want (Or Need) To Know

  • Have you seen the promo on NBC for its upcoming series “Prime Suspect?”  The reason it caught my attention is the music in the promo is the song “Mr. Sandman” as sung by the Chordettes.  That song was published and recorded by the Chordettes in 1954.  Not just the song, but that version of the song, is almost sixty years old!  TV is advertiser driven.  Most advertisers want their ads to appeal to people under 54 years old because of the belief that older people are not swayed very much by commercials.  So, why does the promo for “Prime Suspect” use music designed to appeal to people who are about 70 years old?
  • The way TV news went overboard about the recent heat wave makes me wonder if people really tune into the networks’ evening newscasts to find out that it’s hot.
  • Is it autumn already, or did the extreme temperatures last week cause all the sycamore trees around here to turn yellow and start dropping their leaves?
  • The word “elderly” ends in “ly” so why isn’t it an adverb?
  • Now that the last one has landed for the final time, I know all the NASA space shuttles are going to museums, but where are the giant crawlers that take the shuttle and its rocket from the assembly building to the launch pad going?  Wherever it is, I’m sure they’re going there slowly.  I mean, they’re called crawlers, not runners, right?

Things I Know

  • A paper from the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology has concluded that time travel is impossible.  That’s going to put a damper on a lot of my recreational reading.  Actually, fiction about time travel has changed over the years.  It used to focus on the grandfather paradox and now it focuses on what’s called alternate-universe theory.  My very favorite paradoxical time travel story is one called “All of You Zombies,” by Robert Heinlein, one of the greatest science fiction writers ever.  I also love “The Immortal Bard,” by Isaac Asimov, because I came across it when I was in ninth grade.  It’s not paradoxical, but I love it because it pokes fun at English teachers, and my ninth grade English teacher read more into other people’s writings than I was (and still am) quite sure they ever intended to put there.
  • Roberto Alomar didn’t get into the Baseball Hall of Fame because he was a NY Met.  When he came to the Mets, he got old, all of a sudden.  But before that, he was a great second baseman and based on his record before he got to NY, he does deserve to be in Cooperstown.
  • Shutting down the manned space flight program will do bad things to the economy in certain parts of Florida and Texas, but I’ll bet you our taxes don’t go down at all, unless we’re the people who wind up without jobs because of it.
  • It’s too late for what already exists, but I propose going forward that the color of all clothing be descriptive.  I get that sage is green and khaki can come in different shades of tan.  All of that is fine, but the people who make Under Armor clothing make shorts in a color called “bureau.”  I don’t know what that is, and I bet the only people who do work for Under Armor.
  • I hadn’t seen it before, but here’s another way to make the payments on a car lease look much smaller than they actually are.  No money down and X amount per month, let’s say $69 for example for a compact car.  But there’s a 25-cents-per-mile charge for each mile driven.  Twelve thousand miles a year, which is about average, would make the lease cost an additional $250 a month.
  • My dermatologist gave me a simple suggestion on how to decide whether I need sunscreen.  If my shadow is taller than I am, it’s okay to go without.
  • You never ever need to shovel two feet of 100 degrees, so I will deal with this and not complain until it’s cold enough to snow.
  • I got a Groupon offer for up to 88 percent off on laser hair removal.  It didn’t seem like much of a bargain to me since I’m at least 88 percent bald already.
  • has a recommendation feature.  Sometimes it’s ingenious and sometimes it’s annoying.  One annoying thing is that when you sign in it asks if you want to see your recommendations.  If you say yes, it shows you some of them and you have to click on another link to see them all.  If I want to see my recommendations, I want to see all  of them.  Second, it sometimes recommends what I just bought.  For example, I just ordered supplies for my ink jet printer and Amazon’s recommendations now include ink for my printer, starting with recommendation #2.  I don’t need it because I haven’t run out yet, and I won’t order any at least until the ink I ordered Friday arrives.

Things I Know

  • A ten-year-old boy, Patrick Hannon, from Huntington, NY, died last Saturday at Camp Yawgoog, a big Boy Scout Camp in Rhode Island.  There was no foul play suspected.  Patrick, who had only been a Boy Scout for a few months, apparently died in his sleep, perhaps of an undiagnosed heart condition.  One week at a time, I’ve probably spent close to six months at that camp.  My heart and my prayers go out to Patrick, his family, everyone who loved him, the other Scouts in his troop, and the adult leaders.  I’m sure the boys, leaders, camp personnel, camp medical staff, and emergency responders from Hopkinton RI did everything they could to save him.  His parents, whose grief I can only imagine, asked that instead of flowers, people send donations to the Catholic Home Bureau, or the Boy Scouts.  Nobody expects a ten-year-old boy to die, and in the face of such tragedy, I can’t help thinking what incredibly gracious people his parents must be to honor their son’s life by asking for donations to charity.
  • Even if you think Casey Anthony got away with murder or manslaughter or negligent homicide, that doesn’t give you the right to threaten her life.  Prosecutors failed to prove their case.  She wasn’t found innocent; she was found not guilty.  If anyone takes matters into their own hands, they will be just as guilty as they think Casey Anthony is. 

  • Today on Today, a report that told us men like women’s breasts.  No, really?  Today, and for the rest of the week on Today, reports that it’s hot outside.  It gets this hot every year; get over it!  Next week on Today, a series that concludes water is wet.

  • Over the years, newspaper comic strips have gotten smaller, and smaller, making them difficult to read in the papers.  I read a lot of newspapers from around the country on line and very few of them even bother to link to comic strips on the Internet.

  • I already knew what to do if I win the lottery during the winter; I’ll turn up the heat in my house.  If I win in the summer, I decided this week that I’ll buy a good seat to a Met or Yankee game.  I went to see the Mets play last Friday night.  I sat in the upper deck and it cost me over $80.  I went by myself, so I couldn’t average the $19 parking fee over a bunch of people.  One reason it cost so much was I was thirsty.  I bought three large sodas, and they cost $5.50 each.  I like to go once or twice a year, but I fear I’ll be priced out within the next few years.

Things I Want (Or Need) To Know

  •  What’s with all the back to school ads and sales?  Where I come from, summer vacation isn’t half over.  School got out at the end of June and doesn’t start again until the Wednesday after Labor Day.  It isn’t even the end of July yet.
  • Prunes come from plums, right?  So how come pruning and plumbing have nothing to do with each other?

  • If the cat’s got your tongue, who’s got your brisket and your pastrami?

  • Returning to the word shebang, have you ever seen more than one shebang or is there only one in God’s creation?  If I’m more interested in shebangs than you are, though.  My blog isn’t ratings dependent or advertiser supported and it is, to refer to the beginning of this sentence, my blog, so I have editorial control.

  • I asked before if shebangs were indivisible:  I wonder now if they’re visible.

  • If there is more than one, do shebangs exist in various sizes or are they standardized? 

  • If they aren’t standardized, do you suppose that somewhere, there’s a physicist working on the big shebang theory?

  • You can find a treatise on the phrase whole shebang here.

  • Somebody who is reading this blog must know more about poetry than I do.  I know Ogden Nash wrote a book called “You Can’t Get There from Here.”   I swear he also wrote a poem that started like that, but I can’t find one in either of the Nash anthologies I own.  Can anyone reading this point me in the right direction, or assure me that I’m wrong in remembering the poem?

HHR Road Test

While my truck was in the body shop, I rented a Chevy HHR.  It’s supposed to look like an early Chevy Suburban, only much smaller.  It was okay, but I wouldn’t buy one.  The A-pillars are too thick and the windshield is too low.  It’s peppy enough and I suppose it gets decent, although not great gas mileage, at least compared with my Nissan Frontier. 

It’s interesting to look at, but form doesn’t really follow function in this case.  I own the Frontier, and a Chrysler minivan.  I chose the HHR, in part, because it looked like it could carry a lot of stuff like my other vehicles can, but the HHR only seats four and it really can’t carry nearly as much stuff as even the minivan.

The thick A-pillars make it hard to see left and right.  The too-low windshield is bad for star gazing, and at an intersection if you pull up too close to a stoplight, it’s very hard to see the light change.  You can’t see either end of an HHR from the driver’s seat either.  As you drive, and park it, you will get used to how big the vehicle is, but if you rent a car, you’d like it to be something you don’t have to get used to.

Many cars today have air dams under or as part of the front bumper.  These are often so close to the ground that they scrape on curbs and on those concrete barriers that stop you from driving too far into the parking space in front of the one you’re in.  The HHR is that low to the ground in front too.  Low air dams are supposed to improve mileage a little at highway speed.  In addition to scraping, the HHR’s low front end is body colored, in the case of my rental, white, so it’s easy to get it all scraped up and when it is all scraped up, it looks it.

The center console isn’t very useful.  It does have cup holders in it, but they are too far back to reach comfortably if you’re the driver and they’re too shallow.  If I had something in the cup holder, I worried that it would spill.

I had to read the owner’s manual to figure out how to open up the hatch.  The release is hidden under the trim over the light that shines on the rear license plate.  And the owner’s manual doesn’t explain that very well either. 

A lot of people who rent cars are business travelers, even if I’m not.  A lot of them own smart phones or some other kind of MP3 player, and so do I.  If I ran a rental car company every one of the cars would have a radio that let you play your own music on it.  Maybe they don’t get a lot of complaints about that, but it did bug me that I couldn’t listen to the music I always carry with me.  I’d rather have that ability than a trip computer which my car did have.

My collision insurance paid for part of the rental.  I agreed to pay an additional $7.07 a day.  I had the car for 11 days.  They wanted to charge me $77.79!  Where did the extra two cents come from?   They didn’t know, but they did adjust it when I pointed it out.

So that’s my review of the Chevy HHR.  And there’s one thing strikes me about the review:  Except for the visibility problem, nothing that diminished my appreciation of the vehicle had anything to do with driving it.

Thngs I Know

  •  Happy Bastille Day everyone.
  • A Marine Sergeant made a Youtube video inviting actress Mila Kunis to the Marine Corps Ball.  She said on TV that she would go.  Then Billy Bush reported on his show that she apparently  has a conflict because of the shooting schedule of two movies.  Going would be excellent publicity for Ms. Kunis, so I predict she will manage to adjust her shooting schedule.  After all, Marines have shooting schedules too, in places like Iraq and Afghanistan, but some of them manage to attend the Corps’ annual birthday bash.
  • A  large portion of the home improvement we’re doing has now been completed.  A large portion of the painting has  only just begun.  That part is my responsibility.
  • I mentioned a short while ago that we were disputing who caused the accident in which I was involved last month.  That’s not really accurate.  I don’t think it was anyone’s fault.  If it was someone’s fault, it would be a deliberate, not an accident.
  • Phone Apps must be profitable. suggests more apps to me than it does music, and I buy more music, a lot more music.
  • I don’t know if it was someone from the company, a cold-calling broker or a scammer, but despite the fact that I’m on the federal no call list, a telemarketer tried to sell me stock this week in Spectrum Blue Steel Corp.  It’s a Philippines-based green energy and waste management company trading on the German stock exchange.  I don’t know anything about the company, so I passed.
  • Still, I may not be the best person to give investment advice.  I am the guy who asked a couple of years ago if gold is such a good investment, why were companies spending so  much money on TV advertising to sell the gold they have to you and me.  Gold is probably double what it was when I said that.

That Ball

There are no Major League baseball games on the afternoon after the All-Star game, so let’s talk about the baseball that took place last weekend.  Let’s talk about the baseball that represents Derek Jeter’s 3,000th hit. 

How much money Christian Lopez would have realized if he sold the baseball Derek Jeter sent into the stands with his 3,000th hit is speculation.  However, it would have been in cash and he could have used some of the cash to pay the taxes on the part he got to keep.  He also could have used some of the cash for anything he wanted, not just for going to more Yankee games.  Considering what the Yankees charge for tickets, the season tickets for the rest of the year that they gave him could wind up costing him something like $15,000 in taxes.  But that’s also speculation, depending on how much money he makes and what deductions he’s entitled to.

I’ve said before that the only thing I know about Economics is that I went to high school with a man who grew up to be a prominent Economist.  That’s not quite true.  I know about marginal cost too.  That’s the cost to make one more of something, once the fixed costs of making any of them are out of the way.  So, since the Yankees aren’t selling all their tickets, if they give a few they didn’t sell to someone like Christian Lopez, the marginal cost may be less than zero.  I say that because if Mr. Lopez and/or his friends and family do use the tickets, he and they will probably visit the concession stands, and buy some things the Yankees can sell to a free seat, but not to an empty one.  Yet, Mr. Lopez will have to pay taxes on the retail price of the tickets.

So, the seats are worth something, but they are probably worth less than the ball would be worth on the memorabilia market, and Mr. Lopez will be penalized for his altruism by our tax code.  Similarly, the ball is worth something to Derek Jeter, but I’m guessing it is worth less to him than it would be to someone who can’t do what Jeter did, but can pay for memorabilia.

What I don’t understand is the idiots calling sports-talk radio stations insisting that Lopez is a chump, and that Jeter should cut the guy a six-figure check.  The ball may be worth six figures to Joe Schlub who is rich, but would rather be one of the biggest stars in baseball (in which case, he’d still be rich, maybe richer, but he’d also be famous, own a huge waterfront house in Tampa and be dating actress Minka Kelly).   Mr. Schlub can’t be Jeter, but he can own a small piece of the man’s achievements if he pays enough money.  Not only can Derek Jeter be Derek Jeter, there’s nothing Schlub or anyone else can do at this point to keep him from being the Yankees’ star shortstop. 

Jeter might like having the ball, but if it were on the market for six figures, I’d be awfully surprised if Jeter wanted it that much.  Christian Lopez did something nice for Derek Jeter.  People do nice things for celebrities all the time.  So, even if you do think Christian Lopez is a chump for giving the ball that represents Derek Jeter’s 3,000th hit to Jeter, don’t beat Lopez up for it.  The IRS will take care of that for you.  Your taxpayer dollars at work.”

Things I Want (Or Need) To Know

  • Have you ever seen something less than a whole shebang?  I’m talking about a partial shebang or a segment of a shebang or are shebangs indivisible?
  • The boys who were signed up to go to Boy Scout Camp with our troop next week cancelled out.  How long do you think it would take the camp to notice if the scoutmaster, and I went anyway, without any kids?

  • Do you need a lot of upper body strength to run fast?  I only ask because world-class sprinters, and hurdlers all seem to have heavily muscled chests and arms.

  • How many cable TV channels would go begging for programming if Bill Kurtis (who narrates a huge number of documentary and true-crime shows) ever decided to retire?

  • The strawberry ice cream we bought last week contains “strawberry swirl” rather than strawberries.  I’m guessing strawberry swirl is cheaper than strawberries, even now, when fresh strawberries are in season.  My question is why are they allowed to call it strawberry ice cream if it doesn’t have any strawberries in it?

  • I have an ice cream freezer.  Does anyone have a good recipe for homemade strawberry ice cream?

  • When did they stop calling them grammar schools?  I think they stopped calling them that because they stopped teaching grammar in them.  I received an email note from my beloved niece yesterday.  In the note she used the words “I” and “me” consistently wrong.  And she’s not in grammar school.  She’s going to graduate from a storied Ivy League institution in December.  If you have the same problem, I is a subject, me is an object.  I did something.  Something happened to me.  Easy, see?

Things I Know

  • I think Casey Anthony might make a living after she gets out of prison by doing porn, but my son suggests a nationwide chain of Casey Anthony Day Care Centers. 
  • I have ethics and journalistic principles:  Nancy Grace has a TV show plus lots and lots of money.  Let that be a lesson to you.
  • In Indiana earlier this week, a guy spent $85,000 on a never-titled 1979 Pontiac Trans Am with only 6.7 original miles on the odometer.  It was sold from a family-owned dealership that closed after 80 years in business.  I’m betting GM is happy that its new car warranties are for a certain mileage or a certain period of time, not whichever one is greater.  Otherwise, they’d have to honor a warranty on a 32-year-old new car.
  • If you want to see a brand-new 32-year-old car, hop on down to your local Lincoln dealer and get a salesman to show you a new, 2011 Town Car.
  • I’ll call my new rock band, “Flu-like symptoms.”  I figure I’ll get a lot of free advertising from TV commercials for prescription drugs.
  • I’m just about the only person who knows that my initial impulse is always to have a terrible temper and a terrible tantrum too.  I want to yell and scream at people, and I do yell both very, very loud and extremely rarely, mostly when it’s time to make a lot of noise at a Cub Scout meeting.  I don’t do it elsewhere because I grew up in a family where lots of adults were more than willing to give me “something to cry about.”  I had a calm, rational discussion with the contractor remodeling my house today.  Monday will begin the twelfth week of our three-week project.  I’m responsible for one week delay when I was on vacation and unplanned, but necessary electrical work probably extended the project by two weeks.  Still, the contractor is way behind.  Calm, and rational discussions usually work better, and since I’m not a dentist, pulling teeth to get the thing done seems out of the question.  Besides, if calm, and rational doesn’t work, I can always scream and yell later.  But it’s kind of hard to back down from yelling and screaming if that’s where you started.
  • The calm, rational discussion is having some good effect.  The contractor sent someone around on Friday who worked diligently all day and made some significant progress on the small things still needing attention.  I hope we finish this phase Monday.
  • On the Tonight Show, Jay Leno was going over some funny pictures, ads and errors from newspapers in a feature he calls Headlines.  One was a picture of a guy making chili in a toilet bowl.  I thought, that’s eliminating the middle man!

The Extremely Important Call

I had a car accident.  I’m not going to discuss whether it was my fault or the other guy’s.  That’s in dispute.  Nobody was hurt, both cars were damaged, but the air bags didn’t go off.  Neither vehicle was totaled, but mine cost around $2,000 to repair. 

The other guy’s insurance company sent me a letter asking that I call them.  I did, last Friday.  I learned that my call is extremely important to them.  It wasn’t important enough to hire enough people to answer promptly, but it was important.  They wanted me to talk to their adjuster, but there wasn’t one available, so they said one would call me back.  One didn’t.  I waited until Wednesday to call them back, because I didn’t expect them to call me over the holiday and I wanted to give them the chance to call Tuesday.  They didn’t.

When I called back on Wednesday, that call was important to them too, but still not important enough to hire enough people to answer it promptly.  I was shocked when I selected the menu choice to leave a message and I got a real person, not voice mail.  She still didn’t have an adjuster available, but said one would call me back.  One hasn’t.

I don’t really want to talk to them; they want to talk to me.  Nevertheless, I have made two good-faith efforts to call them back.  Both of my efforts were extremely important to them, but not important enough to answer the phone promptly and not important enough to have someone call me back, even though they said they would.  The call was their idea; I’m helping them out by calling and they’ve assured me twice that it’s extremely important to them.  I have tried (twice) and I’m not calling them again unless, of course, they return the call when I’m not here.  I mean, after all, their call isn’t extremely important to me.

Casey at the Bar of Justice

“Casey Anthony did not murder Caylee,” her attorney, Jose Baez, said after the jury returned a verdict of not guilty of the main charges against the 25-year-old single mother.  If I have to explain who Casey is, and who Caylee was, you stopped reading before you got this far.  We all have to accept the verdict, but the most plausible explanation of what happened is that Casey did kill her daughter.

None of the jurors would talk to the media, and only one alternate juror did.  He said the prosecutors didn’t prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt.  I guess that’s what all the jurors thought because there was no long holdout.  The verdict came back in relatively short order. 

I didn’t follow the trial closely, and I only watched Nancy Grace’s show on Headline News last night to see if her head would explode.  It didn’t, but if Casey Anthony didn’t murder Caylee, why is Caylee dead?  Since there is a difference between murdering, and killing, did Casey kill her, or will she be following in the tradition of O.J. Simpson, and spend the rest of her days looking for the real killer?  The theory that the defense put forth, that Caylee drowned and her grandfather staged the event to look like a murder rather than an accident, falls somewhere between improbable, and impossible.  Let’s settle for pretty far-fetched, shall we?  Then, there is the fact that the defense didn’t provide any evidence that its theory might be true. 

The jury didn’t say Casey was innocent; it said she wasn’t guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.  Casey cried and hugged her lawyers.  George and Cindy, her parents, and Caylee’s grandparents, did not rush to embrace their daughter though.  They gathered themselves together, and left the courtroom.  George, at least, knows whether he staged an accident to look like a murder, and if I was a juror who saw George, and Cindy’s reaction after the verdict was announced, I might wish that there was such a thing as a do over.

Things I Know

  • America is celebrating the Fourth of July with the traditional Twilight Zone marathon.  In case you’ve been away since the middle of the last century, ““To Serve Man”” is a cookbook.
  • It was 118 degrees in Phoenix AZ on Saturday, a record-breaking temperature for July 2.  I’’ve never been too hot, but I’’ve never been THAT hot either and THAT hot might do it for me.  However, it is a dry heat!
  • I saw an episode of ““Animal Cops Houston”” where they were sedating a full-grown tiger.  The announcer said they wanted to make sure the tiger wasn’’t playing possum.  Uh, no.  You wanted to make sure the tiger wasn’’t playing tiger!  Possums aren’’t entirely harmless, but playing possum would be a lot less dangerous than playing tiger.
  • State Farm Insurance Company’’s Parsippany Auto Claims Central has a mailing address in Ballston Spa NY.  Why does this amuse me?  Ballston Spa NY and Parsippany NJ are about 150 miles apart.  Lots of companies name businesses or offices for the place they’’re located.  This doesn’’t work out really well after the business or office moves. 
  • I make one exception to this principle.  If I had a business, I’’d like to open an office in the Village of The Branch, NY (it’s east of Smithtown), for obvious reasons.  There’’s no post office for Branch NY, but you could still call it your Branch office, even if it was your only office.
  • There was a heart-warming story on the news about a special welcome home ceremony at Islip’’s MacArthur Airport for a soldier returning from Afghanistan or Iraq.  It reminded me of when I returned home, not from a war zone, but from basic training.   I lost something like forty pounds in basic, so when I got off the train in Hicksville, in uniform, my girlfriend of nearly two years (now my wife for many times that long) didn’’t recognize me, and walked right past me.

Things I Know

  • If you fly an American flag this Fourth of July weekend, please do it right.  If you fly various flags, including an American flag, Old Glory should be on the left as you look at them.  If you hang the flag, either horizontally or vertically, the field (blue part) should be on the left too as most people look at it.  A lot of people display a hanging flag incorrectly.
  • William C. Routenberg was arrested in Florida and charged with murder after police dug up his girlfriend from a shallow grave in his backyard.  On the one hand, murderers should realize that if  a body is found in your backyard, you are the first, and most likely suspect.  On the other hand, Mr. Routenberg, 35, has a 21-year record of horrible, criminal behavior including raping three minors that suggests there should have been a way to lock him up permanently long before this.

  • With all the promotion its stars, Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts are doing, I suspected that cranberry sauce and giblet gravy might be required to watch the movie, “Larry Crowne.”  The reviews I’ve seen range from mediocre to bad; I haven’t seen even one that raves about it.  I like Hanks and Roberts though, so I’ll probably watch it when it comes to cable.

  • I was wrong.  It is possible to have too much money.  At the recent Barrett-Jackson auction in Orange County CA, someone paid $198,000 (plus a 10% commission) for a 1963 VW bus!  It was a 23-window bus, but still.

  • I doubt that Hugh Hefner of Playboy magazine fame is going to imbue yachting caps with cool by wearing one frequently when he’s photographed.  His cap looks silly to me.  I live in a boating community and nobody I know has both a boat, and one of those white or light blue hats with the image of a life preserver on the front.

  • It was widely reported as news that Kim Kardashian had her ass x-rayed to prove it’s not enhanced with surgical implants.  I find that a profoundly sad commentary on the state of journalism today.

  • The school year is over, so I’m going outside to play for the next ten weeks, unless of course I find something more profitable to do.