Things I Know

My wife’s high school reunion is coming up in August. We’re going. I sent in the check and it cleared. We went to the same high school, two years apart, so unlike some married couples, there will be people I know at her reunion. In fact, there will be women I dated in high school at her reunion. Before the story I often tell about how I met my wife and noticed, by being a volunteer chauffer at a high school play rehearsal, we were introduced (and I didn’t notice) by one of my girlfriends. I like high school reunions, because I get to see some people I liked in high school and, because it’s not high school anymore, I get to like some people I didn’t like in high school too.

There was a very cute and outgoing toddler in the supermarket the other day. I remarked to his mom that all cute little kids had to step up their game thanks to Reilly Curry.

Another example of fail on the part of’s search function, this one particularly egregious: I searched for Samsung blu ray player and sorted it by price, lowest to highest. I wanted a Samsung because I bought a Samsung TV and think the Samsung remote will probably work well with both of them. The first Samsung blu ray player I turned up in that search was on page 255 of 291 pages of search results. I imagine it would have turned up sooner if I sorted by relevance, but I wanted to find the cheapest one and thought that would be an effective way to search. It wasn’t.

I saw a list recently on the Internet that purports to contain the top ten professions for psychopaths. There was no attribution, so I have no idea how accurate it was. However, I have held four of those ten jobs, so maybe it’s right on target.

Things I Know

Ronald Nelson, an 18-year-old high school senior from Tennessee, turned down all eight Ivy League colleges to attend the University of Alabama this fall. Nothing against the Crimson Tide, they do have a great football program, an honors college and their alma mater is the same tune as Cornell’s. Plus, my son and one of my nieces are grads. Still, the reason he said he chose Alabama is he got more financial aid and didn’t want to accumulate a huge student-loan debt. Maybe it was a sensible decision. One that wasn’t: the article I read suggested he applied to at least 14 colleges. That costs a pretty penny too.

Proms have changed a lot since I was a kid. Mine was held in the high school gym. Today, where I live, a prom must be held in a catering hall. I took my date and another couple to the prom in my car. Today, a limo is de rigueur. One school in Connecticut raised the ire of parents and students when it announced it is enforcing a dress code, but announced it a week before the prom, which is long after all the girls have purchased their dresses. The dresses are different too. Many are backless or have slits exposing a leg.

Invitations are different as well. One guy created a fictional crime scene with himself as a corpse and said he was dying to go to the prom with his girl. Another baked his prospective prom date a fancy cake with the word “Prom” on it. One more posted a video of himself skydiving, carrying a sign with the same word. At least the fad of seniors inviting celebrities to the prom seems to have passed its peak of popularity.

I attended high school shortly after the earth cooled and early in my senior year, I experienced a bad break up, so I stopped dating for a while. I wanted to go to prom, so I started again, dating two girls at the same time which was unusual for me. I asked one of them, a junior, to the prom and she said yes, but then called me and told me her parents would not let her go.

So, I asked the other, a sophomore. Did you know that the roots of the word sophomore are Greek and essentially mean wise fool? Neither invitation was elaborate. Both, in fact, were phone calls. When I asked the second girl she said, “Well, it’s about time. How many other girls did you ask before you asked me?” Since she asked, I told her, “Only one.” I have an excuse for my boorish behavior; I was a 17-year-old boy.

I don’t think a senior prom is a life-altering event, but maybe mine was. From that point, I dated my prom date exclusively for seven or eight months. During that time, she introduced me to a classmate who eventually became my wife, Saint Karen, who must be a saint to put up with me. I’ve told a different story about how I met my wife and both are actually true, because when my prom date introduced us, Saint K made no impression on me at all, but when she finally did impress me, the other girl who introduced us was also a friend I met through my prom date.

I bought my wife, Saint Karen (who has to be a saint to put up with me), a big TV for the living room. It’s a combination birthday and Mother’s Day present. Every once in a while, her birthday and Mother’s Day coincide, but not this year. Still, I don’t usually buy combo presents. But, it’s a REALLY big and therefore expensive TV. I’m considering mounting the TV on the wall, or buying a piece of furniture to put it on. Since we often watch TV in a reclining chair, the furniture would ideally be tall enough so that it appears above my big feet when I’m reclining in said recliner. If you haven’t tried to find something like that on line, you’d probably be surprised at how hard it is to find out how tall a piece of furniture is on a sellers website. Kudos to Raymour and Flanigan, a big furniture retailer in my area. You can filter their selections using a range of heights and a range of widths too.


Newspapers reported over the weekend and this morning that Dean Skelos, indicted Majority Leader of the New York State Senate, would be ousted today from his position of power. This, after Skelos received a vote of confidence from the Senate’s Republican conference just last week.

There is, unfortunately, a lot of history with regard to indicted legislative leaders in New York, and that history suggests that Skelos’ ouster following his indictment was bound to happen. So, one has to wonder why he sought the confidence vote last week, when he had to know he would face the end of his leadership very shortly. The confidence vote just prolonged the agony and the bad publicity.

There are a couple of other things one has to wonder as well. First, why doesn’t the New York State Senate have a rule governing what happens when the Senate Majority Leader is indicted? There should be a rule. Skelos is the fifth Senate Majority Leader in a row to be indcited while in office. And, second, since five New York State Senate Majority Leaders in a row have been indicted, why would anyone want to succeed Skelos? Why are at least two people vying for the position?

Things I Know

According to several newspaper reports about the soon to be released documentary “I Am Big Bird,” Caroll Spinney, the puppeteer who plays Big Bird, was supposed to be on the Challenger space shuttle that exploded killing its entire crew back in 1986. Some PR genius thought it would spark children’s interest in the US space program if Big Bird flew on the Challenger. It was only after NASA determined that the costume would not fit on the shuttle that the idea was dropped and Spinney’s place was taken by teacher Christa McAuliffe. The Challenger explosion was a disastrous setback for the space program and a tragedy for those killed and their families. Not to diminish the impact of those deaths in any way, but can you imagine the space program even continuing if millions of kindergarten kids had watched Big Bird explode, live on TV? Sometimes a PR stunt that would be good if it worked would be so bad if it failed that it just shouldn’t be considered at all.

I want to buy my wife a new TV for her birthday, but figuring out which one isn’t easy.

When I’m in the market for a hat to keep the sun off my head and face, as I am now, I’d like to know how wide the brim is and what kind of sweatband it has. Both of those things are missing from the description of most hats I see on line. I want to know about the sweatband because if it’s stiff, wearing the hat for a while will give me a headache.

Honestly people, go to the DMV, get the driver’s license booklet and review the correct way to make a left turn. If you’re in the left lane when you start your turn, you’re supposed to be in the left lane when you finish. Similarly, if you’re in the right lane when you start, you should be in the right lane when you’ve finished. If you didn’t do that on your driver’s test, that’s why you flunked.

Yesterday, I was at the intersection of two four-lane roads. The one I was on had two left-turn lanes. I was in the right-most of the two because I wanted to get all the way over to the right soon after turning. The SUV to my left made its left-hand turn across four lanes of traffic, cutting me off and all without signaling! What’s more common and what I experienced earlier in the week, was someone making a right turn across three lanes of traffic and winding up in the left lane. Again, cutting me off as I tried to make a left at the same intersection, but headed in the other direction.

Most people do this wrong. It’s wrong because the intersection can handle cars heading in opposite directions turning at the same time if it’s done correctly. But it’s done wrong many more times than it’s done correctly. In fact, I assume (and you should too) that all drivers are going to make these turns much wider than they’re supposed to. If you assume everyone is going to do it wrong, you’ll save a lot of money on collision insurance.