Things I Know

All of a sudden today, I noticed orange links in my blog, links that were also underlined in orange. They were ad links. At first I thought they were put up by my web host, but that’s not the case and the links probably didn’t appear in your browser becaues they were put up by an application that wound up on my computer. The application is from Don’t know where it came from, but at least it uninstalled relatively easily.

Latest rumor I’ve heard is that Ann Curry is being paid $10,000,000 to leave the Today show. She’s supposedly owed $20,000,000 on the remainder of her contract, so they’re still talking. I’ve never been paid anywhere near $10,000,000 to go away, and I believe I’m a lot more annoying than Ann Curry. I’m not even sure Ann Curry is annoying at all.

Government geeks like me know that initiative and referendum is a process whereby voters can petition to have a direct vote on certain matters the legislature either didn’t pass or wouldn’t consider. Under this procedure, decisions are often based on emotion rather than fact. That’s why I’m proud of the citizens of North Dakota who voted this month not to make property taxes unconstitutional. North Dakota’s economy is thriving right now, so they don’t really need property taxes that much at present, but the responsible citizens of North Dakota know they might need them in the future, so they didn’t outlaw them.

On Cable TV, the Speed Channel is rerunning a show called “101 Cars You Must Drive.” The show”s about four or five years old. Some of the cars are interesting, but you really don’t learn much about any of them. One of the cars on the list is GM chief stylist Harley Earls 1950 Buick LeSabre concept car. The name was used on later production Buicks and some style elements of that car were seen in later GM production cars too, but there’s nothing special about the way it drives, and they didn’t drive it.

The dermatologist I go to has an aesthetician attached to his practice. I know it’s not, but I can’t help thinking thats a person who’s licensed to tell me what’s pretty, and what isn’t.

I learned this week that someone I know is related to Ponzi schemer Bernie Madoff. We’re not close. I didn’t know about the relationship when I saw them recently, so we didn’t talk about it. And, I don’t want to say anymore because I don’t want to identify them. But it is a small world.

I would pay an insignificant amount of money for legal DVDs or on-line streaming of Hoppity Hooper cartoons.

You would think that streets named First Street would be more common than streets named Second or Third Street. According to the National League of Cities, you’d be wrong about that.

Things I Want (Or Need) to Know

What does the monster in the bedroom closet have nightmares about?

Why do they have a sign at the eastbound entrance to the Verrazano Bridge saying how long it’s going to take to get across? First, the sign isn’t correct. Last time I crossed it said 9 minutes and it took 24. Second, once you get to the sign, there’s really nothing you can do about it but go across the bridge anyway.

If they want a sign telling you how long it takes to cross the Verrazano Bridge, shouldn’t it be on the Jersey Turnpike west of the Goethals Bridge so you can make a meaningful decision?

Don’t you just love it when you get to the head of a traffic jam and there doesn’t seem to have been anything causing it?

How come New York City radio station traffic reporters ignore Staten Island?

Why do they even bother to have speed limit signs on the New Jersey Turnpike? As far as I can tell, most traffic goes about 75 mph whenever traffic conditions permit, no matter whether the limit is 65, 55, or even in work zones where it’s 45.

Has anyone ever pawned anything on the TV show Pawn Stars?

Did you know that if you have a Facebook account, you also have an email address ending in “”?

Did you ever use your email address ending in “”?

Do you know anyone else who uses such an email address?

If someone is running a robocall operation, can they tell if the people they call always hang up on them? Do they know what percentage of the people they call listen to the entire message? Do they cull their call lists based on that information? Do they even care?

Father’s Day

Nobody’s perfect, not even mom and dad, but I believe every child deserves two parents who never do anything they believe in advance will hurt their children. I had one parent like that, my wife had two, and I believe my kids have two as well.

I told you my favorite Father’s Day story three years ago, but I’m going to repeat it right now.

It’s an image that my daughter gave me a while ago. She said that when she was a toddler, she thought she was very strong because she could push open some really heavy doors. She learned later that I was standing behind her and reaching over her head to help her push.

That’s what daddies do, isn’t it? We help our children to do what they have to do. Sometimes we do it out in the open and sometimes, as in opening those big, heavy doors, we do it behind their backs, or over their heads, or both. Sometimes, we have to resist the temptation to do it for them. We have to let them do it for themselves, so they can grow up.

My dad was a very smart, and very uneducated man. Why was he uneducated? Obligation. It seems to me his whole life was about obligation. I know he sacrificed his childhood for his mom, brothers and sisters. He quit school to support them after eighth grade because his father died three years earlier. He didn’t marry until he was 38 years old and when he did, he and my mom continued to support and live with his mother. I never knew my dad’s mother and she only knew I existed, but never saw me. She died three days after I was born.

He retired as a police officer as soon as he was eligible to, in order to please my mother, not himself. He took real pride in being a cop. He kept his uniforms in a wardrobe in the attic until he died. We threw them out after that. My son has his police night stick, the one made of teak wood so it won’t float. It won’t break if you hit something with it either. My son also has his police tie clasp. My sister gave it to him, and he wore it when he was admitted to the bar.

He sacrificed a lot for his kids too, including sending me money that he needed himself when I was a freshman in college. This grade-school graduate had two kids. Both of them have master’s degrees, but he died before either of us graduated from college. He never met any of his four grandchildren. When it looked like my son would be left-handed, it made me pine for my dad who was a lefty too. He liked little children a whole lot more than he liked most adults. His grandchildren all went to college too. One of them has a post-doctoral education.

My dad has been gone for a long, long time. Sometimes I miss him a lot more than you would think after all these years.

My father-in-law was a special guy too. Virtually every teenage boy is interested in one of only two things, and I don’t give a damn about football.  He welcomed me into his home and was nice to me when I took an interest in his seventeen-year-old daughter who would one day be canonized as Saint Karen (she has to be a saint to put up with me). If all my in-laws ever did for me was allow me to date their daughter, I could never repay them. They did so much more and wouldn’t let us even give them gifts, let alone try to repay them. They welcomed me into their family and were far nicer to me than most of my blood relatives.

Both my father and my father-in-law are dead, but I remember them and I remember that I was blessed in the father department.

Things I Know

Ithaca NY is still gorges, as the T-shirts say, but because of a rash of suicides on campus more than a year ago, Cornell installed high fences on all the bridges over the two gorges that border the university’s main campus. Plus, the gorges themselves are fenced and locked because trails that used to allow hikers to descend into the gorges haven’t been maintained and have become dangerous. If I lived there, instead of just visiting as I was last weekend, I’d be happy to join a volunteer trail maintenance crew. The gorges are still gorgeous! In local stores you can still buy a lot of beautiful photos shot in Fall Creek and Cascadilla Gorge, but you can’t go into the gorges to take your own pictures anymore, at least I couldn’t find a way to do so from the Cornell campus.

The steepest path up Libe Slope on the Cornell Campus is the one that tops the hill behind Morrill Hall. I was reminded of that because I took that path on Saturday. I didn’t like climbing that hill as a freshman. At my age, I am happy I still can climb it.

I was watching a documentary about dinosaurs on the cable Science Channel and in my opinion, anyone who narrates a TV documentary in English ought to be required to pronounce the word “Arctic” as if it had two “c’s” in it because it does. Similarly, such a narrator ought to be required to pronounce the word “Antarctic” as if it had both two “c”s” and two “t’s” because it does and neither pronunciation is that hard, really.

Anthony Bourdain has announced that he’s moving from the Travel Channel to CNN. Good, because I sometimes watch the Travel Channel.

There’s a TV commercial for Netflix. It features a beaver with a British accent. Instead of compelling me to sign up for Netflix, it impelled me to ask whether beavers are native to Great Britain. Ten, or even eight, years ago, the answer would have been no. The ones that were native became extinct some time ago. However, since 2005, there have been a handful of efforts to repopulate Great Britain with small colonies of Eurasian beavers. I wasn’t interested enough to try to find out whether those efforts are successful.

I generally don’t use apps on Facebook because they allow the owner of the app a lot of access to your data. There’s one called profile view. When you sign up, it requests permission to access your data. There are two choices: allow; and disallow. If you click the disallow button, it just brings you back to the choices. It doesn’t take you back to your Facebook home page.

Barbara Streisand has scheduled two shows in Brooklyn in mid-October. The first one reportedly sold out in minutes, hence a second. Nothing against Ms. Streisand, but I think nobody should buy tickets to any performer’s show once that performer has concluded his or her farewell tour.

In commenting on the Zuckerberg-Chan wedding recently, I joked that they apparently waited until they were sure they could afford it. I am not a lawyer, but someone on TV suggested that they may have waited until he was a multi-billionaire and she was an MD so that neither her degree nor his billions would be community property.

Note to the guy in the navy blue Honda sedan: If you keep driving ten miles under the speed limit on the Wantagh Parkway, you’re going to be rear-ended and possibly killed. Also, navy blue is a nice looking color on a car, but you don’t see them very often.

And note to the woman in the gold Honda Odyssey at the Ramapo Service Area on the NY State Thruway around 4:30 PM Sunday. Stopping your minivan so that you made it hard for other cars to get past you while, at the same time, blocking two handicapped parking spaces was the most boneheaded driving event I saw while traveling from Thursday to Sunday.

Things I Want (Or Need) To Know

Since it’s Queen Elizabeth’s diamond jubilee, shouldn’t she be all sparkly? I mean, cherries jubilee is full of cherries, isn’t it?

Do you ever wonder if the British media are as excited over Queen Elizabeth’s diamond jubilee as Katie Couric was during her ABC 20/20 special on the event?

If MS Word’s spelling and grammar checker can’t determine any proper use of the contractions it’s and its’, why do they flag them all as wrong?