Things I Want (or Need) to Know

Right now, my daughter is watching an MTV show. As far as I can tell, it’s called “Ridiculousness.” It’s a show consisting of lots of clips of people hurting themselves while doing dumb things. There’s also a small panel, members of which laugh at the clips. Why is this funny?

If eight hours is considered a healthy night’s sleep, why don’t I ever sleep more than six, no matter how tired I am or how late it is when I go to bed?

Don’t banks make money on the float anymore? The bank that holds our mortgage paid our school taxes three or four weeks before the due date. If I were a stockholder, I’d object to paying early.

Don’t you just love it when you pull up in the left lane behind a car stopped at a red light, and after the light turns green the jerk driving puts on his left turn signal? I know I do.

Why do they call it “rush hour” when it’s anything but?

Did you ever clean the lint filter in your clothes dryer? Yeah, me too. So, why don’t your clothes eventually disappear if you always put them in the dryer?

Let’s say someone calls me on my Google Voice phone number, and I have it set to forward calls to my cell phone. If I don’t answer, which voice mail service does it actuate, Google Voice, or the cell phone? Here’s one I’ll find out soon. If someone texts me on my Google Voice number, and that number is set to forward to my cell phone, will the cell phone provider charge me for receiving the forwarded message? I don’t like texting because it costs the recipient money, so I don’t have a texting plan.

Things I Know

President Obama appeared early Wednesday morning on a special Jimmy Fallon show at the University of North Carolina to jawbone Congress because if Congress doesn’t act, the interest on many student loans will double in July. Especially with interest rates on just about all other kinds of loans at record lows, this makes sense. What nobody mentioned on the show is that this is one issue on which Mr. Obama and his Republican opponent in the November election, Mitt Romney, agree.

I’d say this no matter what candidate or office holder appeared. When President Nixon appeared on “Laugh In” saying, “Sock it to me,” it was entertainment even though it may have benefitted his campaign by making Nixon seem more human. When President Obama or any other official or candidate appears on an entertainment show to campaign on issues almost no entertainer is equipped to do anything but a softball interview. That serves the official’s purpose, but it doesn’t contribute much if anything to advance public dialogue.

According to the Associated Press today, “President Obama will headline his first re-election rallies next week, marking an important turning point in the race for the White House, as Republican nominee-in-waiting Mitt Romney intensified efforts to unite his party, and raise money for the battle ahead.

“The president will hit the campaign trail with back-to-back rallies May 5, in Ohio and Virginia, according to an Obama campaign official who requested anonymity to speak ahead of the campaign’s formal announcement.”

His appearance on Jimmy Fallon’s show at the University of North Carolina and a number of his earlier appearances have sure seemed like campaign appearances to me.

Pete Fornatale died this week. I’m told he had a brain aneurism. He was a pioneer in the area of free-form rock FM radio in NY. I only met Mr. Fornatale once. My impression and the impressions of others who actually knew him was that he was a decent man dedicated to his craft and someone his friends and family will miss.

Bob Allen died this month too of pulmonary fibrosis. He lived in the shadow of the World Trade Center when it came down, and Bob blamed the debris plume for his disease, although he was also a heavy smoker for much of his life. Bob was a news broadcaster in Albany NY, on Long Island, and elsewhere. Unless you get to the top, doing that is a tough way to make a living. Like many who practice that trade or profession, Bob went into political and governmental public relations to better support himself and his family. Funeral arrangements, if any, were private so his family didn’t hear from the many people whose lives and careers he affected in a positive way. I’m one of those people. He was associated either directly or indirectly with almost every full-time job I’ve had since I met him, and I miss him.

It’s too bad we can’t find a cure for natural causes. A lot of people die from that every day.

Things I Know

Happy birthday to our son (it’s tomorrow). He’s visiting for the weekend with his girlfriend. It’s the first time we’ve met this young woman, and she seems very nice.

I fixed the toilet in my upstairs bathroom this week. I’m no expert, but every home toilet I’ve ever seen was designed to be repaired by someone who’s left-handed. If a manufacturer comes up with a toilet whose riser tube goes into the bottom of the tank on the right side as you look at it, I’ll be their customer for life.

You can buy a replacement fill valve for this toilet from the toilet manufacturer’s website for just under $20.00. The part, however, isn’t made by the toilet manufacturer. It’s made by a company called Fluidmaster which makes lots of replacement parts for toilets. A Fluidmaster fill valve costs less than half that from Lowes, Home Depot or your local plumbing supply house. I didn’t shop extensively for mine, but I did shop and I paid $8.00 for the one I bought. I got the “Pro Series” valve. I think they call it that because there are no instructions provided with it. But, it’s an easy repair so if you pay attention to the way the old one was installed, the new one should not cause you any problems.

Before Dick Clark became synonymous with New Years Eve, big band leader Guy Lombardo had the most popular annual New Year’s Eve TV special. When Guy Lombardo died, New Year’s Eve survived. If the Mayans were right about December 21st of this year, then Dick Clark’s death is the first step toward fulfilling the Mayan prophecy that the world will end before next New Year’s Eve. RIP Dick.

The best quote I’ve heard lately comes from conservative radio talk show host Mark Levin. Speaking on Don Imus’ radio and TV show, Levin said, “I’m annoyed at most people.” If you’ve ever listened to Mr. Levin’s show, you find that statement completely plausible.

If you need a lift, try this: go to Youtube and search there for the phrase “baby giggles.” That ought to help.

And speaking of giggles, Merle, and Patricia Butler, a retired couple from Illinois were identified recently as having purchased one of three winning tickets in March’s $656 million Mega Millions lottery. The amount of that lottery jackpot seems to change every time I read or hear about it. Merle said that when he told his wife they won, she giggled for about four hours. Seems reasonable to me. You haven’t heard who the other winners were because some states don’t require you to make your identity public in order to claim the prize, so the other two winners didn’t. That seems reasonable to me too. I’d much rather be rich than rich and famous. Just being famous would be awful because if you’re famous, you need some money with which to buy privacy.

Things I Want (or Need) to Know

Have you seen Time Magazine’s list of the world’s 100 most influential people? Not a very serious list, is it?

Fifty years ago, you’d see stretched passenger cars or station wagons like this, called airport limos, around big airports and certain resorts.

airport limo

This one is a 1960 Chevy. The website where I first saw the photo said the car is rated to carry 18 passengers, but eight doors implies four bench seats which would mean it holds only 12. That is, of course, unless the station wagon before it was stretched had a third row seat. If that’s the case it probably holds 14 people. Still, that made me wonder, how many clowns do you suppose it would hold?

Do your kids take “English Language Arts” in school? What the heck is up with that? Is it an effort on the part of schools to give teaching English a higher status? To me English Language Arts is just poor English. The term doesn’t do anything more to describe the subject than the term English does. So, English Language Arts lends obfuscation to the subject, not clarity.

Which came first, the refrigerator or the magnet?

Would noise-cancelling headphones do anything for my tinnitus?

The expression “head over heels in love” has recently come to bother me. If by “over” you mean above, then my head is almost always over my heels, except while I’m sleeping. So, is there really anything special about being “head over heels in love?”

Have we really sunk so low as a society that the question of whether and/or how Kim Kardasian acquired a hickey is worthy of network TV news stories? Yeah, we have.

During the run up to last month’s $640 million Mega Millions prize drawing, I kept hearing how much worse the odds were of winning the lottery than say being struck by lightning or eaten by a shark. This led me to ask, what are the odds of being struck by lightning while being eaten by a shark?

Things I Know

Yes, the Titanic sank 100-years ago today, and it’s one of those rare instances when practically unlimited wealth didn’t save everyone. More poor people died than rich ones, but not everyone rich survived. The richest person to die was John Jacob Astor IV. Isador Straus, one of the founders of Macy’s Department Store also died on the Titanic, as did his wife, Ida, who reportedly refused to get aboard the lifeboat without her husband, saying they had lived together, and would die together.

I believe I’ve mentioned before that my great aunt won a newspaper essay contest years later with a first-person account of being on the Carpathia, the first ship to arrive on the scene and rescue survivors. She did come to the USA on the Carpathia, just not on that voyage.

All the news today is about the anniversary of the Titanic disaster, but do you know what else happened on this date? Abe Lincoln stopped breathing. He was probably brain dead as soon as he was shot the night before, but he was declared dead after sunrise the next morning.

The guest room is getting closer to being ready for guests, which is good because we’re getting guests on Thursday. It’s painted now. I’m putting things back where they belong. I’ve moved most of the furniture, but the bed gets reinstalled last. I even got a new TV to replace the one that fell off the bed where I put it while I was moving the furniture it usually stands on. The old TV weighed 73 pounds: the new one, 11.

Update: I wound up taking the TV to the dump because nobody stole it from the back of my truck, even when I left the truck parked at the railroad station all day.

I saw this phrase elsewhere, liked it and hereby appropriate it for my own: I am a reluctant adult.

Things I Know

Rick Santorum has dropped out of the quest for the Republican nomination for President. We should all resist the temptation to say he aborted his campaign.

The Today Show touted a new, revolutionary treatment for cellulite. When I heard that, I couldn’t help thinking it involved spinning the patient around, but I was wrong.

It costs $15 to get into the New York International Auto Show. It cost a lot less when I first started going, but when I first started going I was 12.

I usually think that Geico Insurance’s TV ads are clever, but neither the insurance taste test nor the pig does it for me. BTW, if you type the word Geico into MS Word, the spellchecker thinks it’s wrong however; one of the things it suggests you might mean is gecko. I swear! Try it!

I’ve been told that those wild onions that grow like weeds in your yard (because they are weeds in your yard) aren’t edible. That seems like a terrible waste to me.

Tom Bergeron, or someone who writes scripts for “Dancing With the Stars” watches “Doctor Who.” How do I know? On last Tuesday’s show, Tom allowed that, “Fezzes are cool.”

When the Message Isn’t the Message

A long time ago, a smart man named Marshall McLuhan became well known when he said, “The medium is the message.” Maybe the medium is the message, but I’m quite certain that, at least in once case, the message isn’t the message. Facebook wants me (and you too, if you have an account) to get an email address that has the suffix They sent me a message telling me that. I can skip the message, but I can’t delete it. Same thing for text messaging: they want me to turn it on, but while I can skip the message I can’t delete it.

I think the fact that I can’t delete one or the other of these messages is the reason that my phone alerts me that I have a new message on Facebook whenever I pick it up and turn it on. I don’t really need alerts from my phone telling me I have new messages on Facebook when I don’t. It’s kind of like when the phone rings and you pick it up, but there’s nobody there: annoying. Usually, when the phone rings, and there’s nobody on the line someone is using a computer to make a massive number of calls, and the computer guesses both how long the caller will be talking to the person before you and how long it will take you to answer the phone. If it guesses wrong on either point, when you answer the phone you get a dead line.

You may ask why I don’t turn on text messaging in Facebook, and why I don’t get a Facebook email address. I just don’t want to. The only text messaging service I use (and I use it infrequently) is the one that goes with Google Voice. Why? It’s free to the person who receives the message. Text messaging costs your cell phone company virtually nothing, but they charge you to get the message, not to send it. Yes, I could get cell phone service with unlimited texting, but I don’t like typing with my thumbs, and I don’t see any need for something faster than email.

I don’t need a Facebook email address because I already have too many email addresses. I have two from my ISP, two from Gmail, one from Yahoo, and one from work. I suppose I could have one from at least one of the colleges I’ve graduated from too. I also have too many more to count. Why is that? I own three domain names. The hosting company allows me 5,000 discrete email addresses for each of those. Among the three domains, I’ve assigned four email addresses, two to me, one to another member of my family and one to someone unrelated to us. So, I have 14,996 discrete email addresses left to assign. If I assign them all to me and if I’ve counted correctly, I can have 15,004 email addresses without accepting Facebook’s offer, or hitting up any other free email provider. Can you say “” boys and girls? If 15,004 email addresses aren’t enough for me, I actually have an infinite number of unassigned email addresses. Any email sent to any of my domain names that isn’t already assigned gets forwarded to the existing account I’ve designated.

I don’t object to Facebook offering me an email address, but once I’ve ignored or skipped that message, I do object to Facebook nagging me about it.

Things I Know

It’s a good thing I didn’t win the Mega Millions lottery drawing on Friday. If I had won, I planned to deposit the check through the ATM at my local bank in an effort to figure out the largest transaction an ATM will handle. I’ve since learned that the huge check they present at the award ceremony is too wide to go into the little slot in the ATM, and if you fold it up it’s too thick to go in.

Three winning tickets were sold so the $640 million prize will be divided into three parts, one for each ticket. If any of the winning tickets came from office pools, those parts of the prize will be divided even further. That division is the first time I can remember the word only applied to the phrase “$213 million.”

According to Yahoo News a guy in Kansas named Bill Isles was struck by lightning last Thursday while buying tickets for the record Mega Millions jackpot, or shortly after buying them. Reports vary. Bill didn’t win so I guess the old adage is proven: You stand a better chance of being hit by lightning than winning the lottery jackpot. At least in Kansas you do.

I forgot something in my plans to win a big lottery jackpot. If I win, I will stop buying lottery tickets. It really is a sucker bet.

Without the Internet, I’d know that the CRT TV I dropped and broke the other day is heavy. Thanks to the Internet, I know it weighs 73 pounds. It’s in the truck and I’m taking it to the dump later this week, unless someone sees it and steals it for me.

Form really does follow function sometimes. When you look at a tiger, nobody needs to tell you it’s a predator.