Things I Know

Don’t walk around outside in the hurricane-force winds of Hurricane Sandy or any other big storm. It’s not that the wind is blowing: It’s what the wind is blowing.

Advice for surviving the storm: You might be able to read a book by candlelight, but you can’t charge your Kindle with a candle.

Many years ago I made a parody radio commercial for an election campaign. It was a joke. We didn’t actually put it on the air. But I think people are running commercials just like it now, only for real. My parody said, “Vote for me because my opponent is a son of a bitch and I’m a really swell guy.” I worked in that field for many years, but I’ll be so glad when the election is over.

I don’t check the statistics on this blog often. In fact, I hardly ever do, but I’ve recently learned that I’m up to about seven-thousand visitors a month. That’s pretty good considering that I’ve never done anything to promote the Sisyphus Project. If anyone other than Richard cares to comment on anything we write here, commenting is encouraged.

At any given moment, lots of people who are in Washington D.C. are tourists. It’s reasonable to assume that most of those will probably want to leave sooner or later. In order to facilitate leaving, especially for those people headed north, I strongly suggest that a few additional signs directing drivers to the Baltimore-Washington Parkway would be most welcomed. There are a few signs on the road I was driving, but the signs ran out before I got to where I was supposed to turn.

Also for the tourists in DC, illuminating the exit signs in the I-395 tunnel and repainting whatever it used to say that was once painted on the roadway there would probably help the flow of traffic too.

I recently returned from Florida which I determined suffers from an over-abundance of traffic circles, or as they call them, “roundabouts.” However, traffic circles in Florida work the same way they do in most of the civilized world. In our nation’s capital, there is a traffic circle that interrupts the ride from Arlington National Cemetery to the Memorial Bridge and onward to the Lincoln Memorial. In that traffic circle, cars entering the circle have the right of way over those vehicles already in the circle.

My hypothesis that everybody drives 75-miles an hour on the New Jersey Turnpike whenever traffic conditions permit seems to have been bolstered. I was doing 75 in a 55 zone and a state trooper came up behind me with his red and blue lights on and then passed me. Being passed by a cop car when you’re speeding is one of the best feelings in the world.

I am every bit as ashamed of the Boy Scouts of America for covering up adult leaders suspected of child abuse as I was for the Catholic Church doing the same thing for priests. When confronted with evidence of child sex abuse, the correct response is to report it to the authorities and press for prosecution. I am concerned about the release of all these records though for one reason: perhaps a few of the allegations are unfounded.

Bad PR move on the part of Delta Airlines. Five passengers traveling from New York City to Albuquerque NM via Atlanta were late arriving at the gate for the Albuquerque flight because the flight from New York was late. The plane was still at the gate and Delta would not open the doors and let them board. Why was it a bad PR move? One of the five was famed author of books for teens, Judy Blume, who happens to have something like 75-thousand followers on Twitter.

I always say that if you live long enough all prices become ridiculous, but I don’t think that’s the reason I’m not looking at either of the $61,000 used cars currently for sale at the dealership nearest to my house.

One more thing about driving a convertible. For obvious reasons, the only tool you would need to steal something out of the passenger compartment is a utility knife to cut the top if it’s up. The Chrysler 200 convertible I rented recently had a trunk release button on the dashboard, no key needed. So if you don’t need a key to get into the trunk either, don’t leave anything of value in the car period.

On HBO the other day, I saw a documentary called “41.” It’s about former president George H.W. Bush. In the documentary, he seems like a very decent man. I had the pleasure of interviewing President Bush on TV for an hour before he was President, when he was Chairman of the National Republican Party. At that time, all those years ago, I got the same impression.

Steak bones splinter easily, so I carefully chew the meat off the steak bones myself instead of giving them to the dog. Hey, someone has to make the sacrifice.

Money laundering is illegal. Even so, I doubt that I’ll get in trouble for the 45 cents I mistakenly put through the washing machine this afternoon.

While in Viera, Florida a couple of weeks ago, I came across a car which was oddly decorated in red, white and blue, including a decorative plate where the front license plate would go if they had those in Florida. The plate said, “American Patriot.” Because the car was made in Korea, I found it ironic that the Mr. American Patriot’s car was a Hyundai.


Thoughts on Driving North on the Jersey Turnpike
With Apologies to Joyce Kilmer and Ogden Nash


I think that I shall never see
A service area lovely as a tree
Even if it’s named after me

EDITOR’S NOTE: I know I’ve put this poem in this blog before, but I didn’t have the picture then.

Things I Want (Or Need) To Know

Can anyone tell me when the Yankees were last swept in a post-season series? I don’t recall. It was probably the 1963 World Series which was worse because it was the World Series, not the ALCS. I’m actually quite surprised that even though he’s been dead for quite a while, we haven’t heard from George Steinbrenner about this. George must be spinning in his grave. Am I right?

You’ve cleaned out the lint filter on your clothes dryer, haven’t you? So, have you ever wondered why your clothes don’t eventually disappear if you put them in there often enough? And, since they don’t, where does all that lint come from anyway?

While watching the Washington Nationals and the St. Louis Cardinals play game five of their division series last Friday night, I thought of something I should have asked about years ago, many years ago. Why do the Cardinals’ road uniforms include blue hats? Have you ever seen a blue cardinal?

Why does Advair runs commercials in which the medicine to ease breathing difficulties talks about employing a bronchodialator? I know that’s the right word and I know it’s not missing a letter “i”, but whenever I hear it, I can’t help wondering why I would need medicine to make my horse open wider.

Things I Know

I like baseball more than the next guy, but baseball games from noon to almost 1:00 AM on Sunday, with one of the games starting at 9:00 AM local time for fans of the Oakland A’s is a bad job. I didn’t even realize that the noon game was being played. The other games overlapped each other too. Playoff games take longer than regular season games and both MLB and the TV programmers know that so Sunday’s schedule was terrible.

The schedule for the first round playoffs is also terrible. The team with the home-field advantage doesn’t get that advantage until what might be the deciding game at which point, to take advantage of the home-field advantage, they have to win three in a row. I’m guessing, however, that fans of the Oakland A’s are feeling better today about home-field advantage than they were on Sunday night.

I have another great idea for a new invention with no idea how to invent it: tomato slices that stick to bread, so they won’t slide out of my sandwich and on to my lap while I’m trying to eat my sandwich.

The cell phone company known as Sprint is offering handles as phone numbers. In addition to your number, you’ll soon be able to register a handle which will connect with you if someone dials ** and then your handle. So, for example, if your name is Catherine, you might be the first to register **Cathy. I’m sure that the handles **Maybe and **Ishmael will be among the first handles snapped up.

Eat bacon while you can still afford it.

Several towns on Long Island either have or are considering outlawing planting bamboo. It’s really very invasive, so that’s probably a good idea in a suburban setting. I wouldn’t mind if they outlawed Wisteria too. We were in Florida a couple of weeks ago and saw some things that would no doubt terrify those same Long Island town boards: bamboo plants that grow something like 20 feet tall.

Back from Florida, I’ll be happy not to see any traffic circles, or as they call them roundabouts, for a while.

My Google Voice number doesn’t play well with my cell phone. Why? Because when I forward a call to my cell phone, Google Voice wants me to press a number to receive the call or send it to voice mail and when my cell phone receives a call, it doesn’t bring up the dial pad.

I never argue with anyone about religion or politics. Here’s why. When I was sixteen-years old, I was madly in love with a 15-year-old girl. We argued a lot, mostly about religion. She didn’t convince me of anything: I convinced her to find a different boyfriend. There are a few things it’s extremely hard to change someone’s mind about. Politics and religion are two of them.

It’s a little over four months until pitchers and catchers for my Mets. Late in the 2012 season, they announced they would retain their manager and all of their coaches. I hope they do not also retain their entire major league roster.

Car Rental Again

I didn’t say it outright, but in my blog on September 28th, I implied that I’d consider a Camaro convertible more similar to a Mustang convertible than the Chrysler 200 I received when the rental car company said they offered Mustang convertibles or similar. I’ve educated myself a little more and while I don’t consider the Chrysler and the Mustang very similar, I can see one key factor that makes the rental car companies regard the Mustang and the Camaro convertible to be dissimilar. The Chrysler is a little less costly than the Mustang: the Camaro is more expensive than the Mustang. If you were the car rental company, which one would you consider similar to the Mustang? Yeah, if I was the car rental company, I would too.

I’ve got to say also that in that price range you can argue none of the few convertibles made are very similar to each other.

I didn’t single out the car company I rented from, because I consider the dissimilar-similar exchange an industry-wide problem. If you searched my blog for the term, “or similar,” you’d see I’ve ranted about that before. However, I did post on the rental-car company’s Facebook page that while there was nothing wrong with the Chrysler, I considered it inferior to the Mustang, not similar.

Did you know that if you post on a merchant’s Facebook page and they respond, you have to go back to look for the response? Facebook didn’t tell me that the company had responded, so it took me a while to realize it had. Their social media team invited me to email details which I did on Friday.

On Saturday, I heard from a manager for the company. We had a good phone conversation. I didn’t expect any refund or free ride the next time I travel. I did accept the car and drove it about a thousand miles in a week after all. He did agree with some of the points I made and also said that in the future if I’m dissatisfied with what I’m offered I should ask for a manager. He even gave me his contact information so I can ask for him if I travel to Orlando FL again.

My son has a different strategy with car rentals and he worked briefly for Enterprise some years ago. He says when he travels he reserves the least expensive car available. He calls it “four wheels and an air conditioner.” He figures they won’t have many of those and chances are they’ll have to give him a free upgrade.

While I didn’t single out the company that says Chrysler convertibles and Mustang convertibles are similar I was impressed with the way that company’s Facebook page works and with the way I was listened to and treated on the phone by that manager in Orlando. So, I should single out the company that performed the good customer service. It was Alamo. I don’t always rent from the same company, but I have rented from Alamo before in several locations across the country. With the kind of customer service I received this time, I will probably do so again.