Things I Know

In case you’re wondering why TCM is running the movies it is today, it’s Doris Day’s birthday.  She’s 96.  In honor of the day, please don’t eat any daisies. 

Christine Shawcroft is a member of the British Parliament and was, until recently a member of the executive committee of the Labour Party, the largest out-of-power party in the UK.  She resigned from the executive committee recently over a controversy where she supported a local Labour Party candidate who had previously written a holocaust denial article.  The British Labour Party has been troubled because some members have been accused of anti-Semitism.  Ms. Shawcroft has been replaced in her leadership position by comedian Eddie Izzard. 

Saint Karen (who must be a saint to put up with me) and I have only spent a few days in England in our lives, but we approve of this substitution.  Worldwide, we believe, there are way too many clowns in politics, so we view comedians as a step in the right direction.

My local bagel store was open on Sunday, so it didn’t surprise me that they wished me Happy Easter.  For those who don’t understand the joke, bagels are ethnic food associated with Jewish people.  Easter Sunday was two days after the first night of Passover.  Observant Jews are prohibited by religious dietary laws from eating leavened bread during Passover.  Therefore, on this Easter Sunday, it was very unlikely for the owners, staff, or customers at the bagel store to be Jewish.

Things I Know

It’s hard for me to believe I’ve been writing this nonsense for ten years now.

I had a colonoscopy recently.  They put you to sleep for the procedure, but the anesthesiologist laughed, and conceded I had a point when I told him they should give anesthesia during preparation for the test.  The protocol my doctor told me to follow to prepare involved taking two-weeks’ worth of laxatives in two hours.  Ugh.

Lesson learned:  ethylene glycol is poison, but polyethylene glycol is a laxative.

Still, I’d rather have a colonoscopy than colon cancer, so I took the test as an outpatient at the local hospital.  Two days later, I got a clean bill of health, and a thank you note.  Who sends a thank you note to a patient who just had a colonoscopy?  New management I guess.  My wife had inpatient surgery at that hospital in 2016 and 2017.  We got bills for those, but no thank you notes.

I never thought the comic strip Beetle Bailey was funny before I served in the Army.  Once I did, I became a fan.  I just learned that Mort Walker, Beetle’s creator, died in January at the age of 94.  RIP Mort Walker.  Did anyone play Taps?

We’re going through a nor’easter here.  Not the worst one we’ve seen.  Concurrently, they’re going absolutely nuts about the “Beast from the East” over in the United Kingdom.  I heard that -10 C is the coldest it’s been in Wales at this time of year since 2001.  For our friends in Minnesota, that’s 23 F, plus 23!  Someplace, I believe in Scotland, got half-a-meter of snow.  For our friends in Oswego NY, and Truckee CA, that’s about 20 inches.

Look it up on a map.  You’ll be surprised how far north London is.  They say Britain doesn’t usually experience that kind of weather because it’s warmed by the Gulf Stream.  Fine.  But Long Island is warmed by the Gulf Stream before England is, and we got 15 inches earlier this year.  While that kind of snow doesn’t happen every year on the US East Coast, it’s hardly unusual.

Our son found a postcard on line that includes a picture of our home, circa 1915.  The house has changed surprisingly little.  103 years ago, the road was unpaved, the trees looked just planted, and there were no utility poles.  When the weather eases up, I’m going to try to take another picture from the same vantage point.

 

Things I Know

A couple of lessons learned. 

Review your home and car insurance occasionally.  When my car insurance renewal arrived with a 7.5% increase, I asked my broker about both my auto and my homeowner’s policies.  They requoted, and between the two saved me around $2,500 annually.  If your current broker can’t help you, get another estimate.  The savings could be very substantial.  Conclusion:  review these more often that I’ve  been doing.

I expected to receive a new camera body for Christmas, and I did.  So, I should have bought a spare battery and charger for it, before it arrived.  That way, when I opened the present, I would have a fully-charged battery, so I could use the new camera right away.  And, if I didn’t get the new camera, I could always have return the extra battery and charger.  No harm, no foul.

Kudos to Biddeford, the people who make electric blankets.  I have a dual control model that’s four or five years old.  One of the controls broke.  I called Biddeford about buying a new control.  Instead, they sent me a new one, free of charge.  They told me it would take up to three weeks to get here, but it didn’t.  It only took 11 days.

Democrats have been in charge of the top offices in New York’s Nassau County and the Town of Hempstead, for a month now.  So far, nothing terrible has happened, and I don’t expect anything will.

On the petty side, the newly elected Town Clerk arrived to find her office stripped of furniture and computer equipment.  A town-owned car was also missing.  That situation, which never should have happened, has been corrected.

An employee of the Town of Hempstead was riding an elevator at Town Hall, recently.  Another passenger in the elevator asked him what he did for the town.  His answer: “As little as possible.” Even Especially a smart ass should probably take the time to learn what the newly-elected Town Supervisor looks like.

Supervisor, Laura Gillen, says she’ll have a performance audit of snow removal during the recent storm.  Makes sense for the new management to see how things are going and whether they can be improved.

Things I Know

In addition to being copyrighted 2009-2017, sisyphusproject.org is also copyright 2018.  Happy New Year.

Here’s how to think about what a long life 94 years is.  Rose Marie, the singer, comedian and actress probably best known for her role as a comedy writer on the Dick Van Dyke Show, died recently at the age of 94.  She started her career as a child in vaudeville as a singer.  She sang for three U.S. Presidents, the first of whom was Calvin Coolidge.

Between the two of them tonight’s Mega Million drawing and tomorrow’s Powerball will total at least $801 million.  If you’re wondering what you’ll do if you should happen to win both, you probably don’t have to concern yourself.  The odds of two events happening is calculated by multiplying together the odds of wining each of them.  So, the odds of winning Mega Millions tonight and Powerball tomorrow night are roughly one in 85,800,000,000,000,000.  That’s one in 85.8 quadrillion to one against.

If I should win both, I will still jump on my bed.

Things I Know

At Christmas time, remember, it’s not the gift, it’s the thought that counts.  We’re getting a new water heater for Christmas.  I didn’t think about that.

BTW, the phrase “Hot-water heater” is redundant.  If the water was already hot, why would you need to heat it.

Last night, a couple of hours after I ate, I went into the kitchen to clean up.  My wife had already put away the half a tomato I didn’t use when I made my sandwich.  I told her that’s one reason I love her, and one reason she wants to murder me in my sleep.  She laughed.  As long as she laughs when I say something like that, I figure I’m still safe.

Also, last night, I ordered something for her from LL Bean.  Their website told me it would arrive on January 2.  No problem.  I didn’t order it until Christmas Eve eve.  Retail workers and package delivery workers deserve holiday time too.  But, the same website told me that if I paid an additional $15 for express delivery, the package would come on January 2 instead.  Hmmmmm.  What would you do?

There’s a tv commercial for Optimum Cable showing soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo, accidentally locking himself out of a hotel room.  Then a female housekeeper shows up to let him back in, takes a picture of him in his underwear, posts it on social media, and the pic goes viral.  Funny, I suppose, but in real life a hotel housekeeper who posted a photo of a famous guest in his or her underwear would be fired.

It was funny to hear Democratic Senators complain about not having time to read the Republican tax reform plan.  Funny because the Republicans made the same complaint about the Affordable Care Act years ago when the Democrats rammed that through Congress without giving anyone time to read the bill.  What’s sad is both complaints were accurate.

It looks like I shouldn’t vote for a Republican or a Democrat.  My income taxes went up substantially to pay for Obamacare.  I live in a high-tax state, so my federal income taxes will also go up because of the limit on state and local tax deductions contained in the new tax reform bill.

My wife told my daughter the other day that my mother called her when I was first in the Army to tell her (my girlfriend at the time) my address.  Saint Karen (who must be a saint to put up with me), told my mom that she would number the letters she had already written each day since I went in (this was pre-email in case you’re wondering).  I asked Saint Karen how it was that I told my mother my address before I told her.  She said I did tell her first. 

That’s just one reason why Saint Karen should have been the public relations person in our family.  Instead, I did PR for 20 years or so.  Another reason she should have done it is because she’s a genius at not answering the question you ask her.  I, on the other hand, will answer you directly if you ask the right question. 

What do I mean by not answering the question?  Q:  Do you want to go out to dinner?  A:  I’m tired.  Okay, but that doesn’t tell me whether you’re willing to go out to eat, does it?   

Things I Know

The first time my wife complained she was getting older, I told her, “That’s good.”  When she asked why I said that, I replied, “Because if you were still seventeen, you wouldn’t have anything to do with me.”  With the recent news about Alabama senate candidate Roy Moore, I realize there’s another reason why it’s good she’s getting older.  If she were still seventeen, I wouldn’t have anything to do with her either.  I was interested in a 14-year-old girl once myself.  Until 32 days after my 16th birthday when she turned 15.  In my opinion, 14 and 32 don’t add up to anything but creepy.

A t-shirt I saw recently read, “I have CDO.  It’s like OCD, except the letters are in alphabetical order, like they should be.”  At first, I thought that was funny.  Then I realized it ought to say, “as they should be.”

I tried Uber on a recent trip to Boston.  I do wish they used bigger cars.  We had a Toyota Corolla and a Mazda 3.  I don’t know about elsewhere, but if you call for an Uber in Boston, you’d better be ready to go.  The two times I used them, they showed up in a minute or two. The only glitch was the first time, their computer told my phone that Pedro was showing up in a Honda Odyssey, so when Jing showed up in the Mazda 3, I didn’t realize it was for me.

I’m happy for Mavis Wanczyk, the Massachusetts woman who won more than $750 million in the Powerball lottery in August.  But, by coming forward right away, she didn’t follow the recommended procedure of getting financial, and legal advice before claiming the prize.  I hope she manages that new-found wealth prudently, using it to benefit herself, and whatever good causes she believes in.  She does seem to have achieved the privacy I’d certainly want if I won.  There doesn’t seem to be anything else in the news about her since then.

I couldn’t stop the robocall urgent public-service announcements about my current electric bill, so I switched land-line phone carriers from Verizon to Altice.  Why?  Verizon wanted to charge me about $15 a month extra for caller ID while Altice reduced my cable and Internet bill by $10 a month when I signed up for phone service too.  Maybe I could get a similar deal if I switched to FIOS for cable and internet, but there are several reasons I want to keep Altice, including News 12, and retaining my email address.

Saint Karen, who must be a saint to put up with me, just asked our daughter if she wanted to split some zucchini sticks.  It’s okay.  After all this time, she knows I don’t like zucchini.  Joking around, I told her that if she split them they’d cook faster.  Then, I said, “I’m clever that way.”  She laughed, and said she married me because I’m clever.  I told her I married her because I’m clever too.

The other day, I saw a BMW headed north on Long Island’s Meadowbrook Parkway, doing the speed limit in the left lane.  I’ve never seen something like that before.  I always imagined that if a person in a BMW was observed driving at or below the speed limit, someone from Stuttgart would show up and confiscate their car.

Things I Know

Lesson learned: 

If your birdbath falls over, check as soon as you notice to see if something made it turn over, because recently deceased racoon is a lot more pleasant to clean up than racoon that’s been dead, in hot weather, for most of a week.  I’ll spare you pictures. I spared me pictures too because I didn’t take any.

Theories you’d think are true confirmed to be true:

Rotten racoon doesn’t smell very good.

As you might expect, Raid for flying insects doesn’t kill maggots.

Maggots can’t swim in water heavily laced with chlorine bleach.

Things I Know

In solidarity with all the dogs in my neighborhood, I’m planning to spend tonight hiding under the bed, thankful that except for licensed professional displays, all forms of fireworks are illegal where I live.  Just imagine how noisy the evening of the Fourth of July would be if anyone could buy firecrackers.

I’ve read on a couple of internet forums that certain Nissan Frontier trucks have a known problem.  They have a transmission cooler inside the radiator.  As the trucks age, some of those coolers leak, allowing engine coolant into the transmission.  That requires an expensive transmission rebuild.  Concerned, I checked my aging truck.  It has an external transmission cooler.  That means a leaking cooler won’t brick my transmission, and I don’t have to add an external cooler, because my truck already has one.  Money saved!

Things I Know

Sometimes, you just can’t win.  I took my old GPS unit with me when I went on a 500-mile trip two weeks ago.  On the way home, it took me 14 miles out of my way because I hadn’t updated its maps in about three years.  So, this week, before I went on a 300-mile trip, and in preparation, I tried updating the GPS.  The update failed, and in the process bricked the GPS.

Yes, I can use my phone as a GPS, but the display is uncomfortably small, and the phone eats batteries when used that way, plus it gets really hot.  I have to decide whether to get a new car that has GPS, buy another GPS unit, or confine myself to going places I already know how to get to.

I went to the Barrett-Jackson car auction in Connecticut this week.  I like old cars.  I could pay for some, but far from all the ones for sale there, but I have no place to keep one, so I just look, and take pictures of them.  I like taking pictures too.   But about half the cars at the auction are displayed in a parking garage at the Mohegan Sun casino, and resort.  That garage is brighter than it was last year, but it’s still a difficult place to photograph cars.  Frankly, it’s not a great place to examine cars you might want to buy either.  If I go back next year, I must remember to bring my big-boy Speedlite.

Driving from Uncasville CT to New York the other day, traffic was really bad.  So, I found myself wondering if people who live in Connecticut have jobs, homes, and families like the rest of us, or if they just drive aimlessly on I-95, and the Merritt Parkway.

If you haven’t been to Connecticut recently (as I hadn’t), you may be as surprised as I was to learn that they have finished I-95 east of New Haven.  I went to Binghamton NY two weeks ago, and was not surprised that they haven’t finished NY Rte 17.  I’ve been driving that road since I was 17, and I’ll probably die before it’s completed, if it ever is.

Earlier this month, I played radio dj for two hours.  It’s been a long time.  My first dj stint since college.  When I was paid to be on the air, I was doing news.  I’d say playing music on the radio is easier than it used to be.  The records are longer, the bathroom is much closer to the studio than it was at the last place I worked, and you don’t get to talk as much.  Still, I don’t think it’s as much fun.

Things I Know

For a long while now, the pop-up flash on my camera wouldn’t pop up.  I finally figured out why and fixed it.  I noticed that there appeared to be something in the crack between the camera body and the flash.  I cleaned it out with an Exacto knife and a little alcohol on a swab.  Then, the flash did open, and fire.  What was keeping the flash stuck closed?  Best guess is a drip from a chocolate ice cream cone.  New rule:  don’t eat a chocolate ice cream cone while your camera is hanging around your neck.

It’s larynx, not larnyx.  For some strange reason, the name of an organ we use to produce speech is among the most mispronounced words in the English language.

When the Colgate toothpaste TV commercial says, “80% of bacteria aren’t even on teeth,” it’s trying to make the point that bacteria lodge elsewhere in your mouth too.  But all I can think is that’s true.  A lot of the bacteria are in sewage treatment plants.

City fathers in Seaside Heights NJ have banned smoking on the beach.  Good.  I don’t smoke.  Second-hand smoke bothers me, but for me that’s not the real problem at the beach because the beach is outdoors, and it is a breezy place.  What bugs me is too many beaches look like the ashtrays that look like butt-filled cans of sand you often see outside elevators.  Cigarette butts are litter.

I’ve seen this word misused so many times, most recently earlier this month on the website of a major newspaper.  Your kids are your descendants.  They are not your ancestors.  Relatives who came before you are ancestors, not the ones who came afterwards.

If you’ve seen the current TV commercial for Pennington grass seed, you may wonder what the music behind the spot is.  It’s a song called “Tall Cool One,” by a group called the Wailers.  Not the Robert Plant song and not the Bob Marley Wailers either.  It was popular, but not a huge hit.  It reached #36 in the Billboard top 100 way back in 1959.  Whenever someone makes a TV commercial using a song that’s too old to play on the radio, I wonder why.  Are they trying to sell to people old enough to remember the song?  If that’s the case, it didn’t work for me.  I recognized “Tall Cool One” immediately, but instead of deciding to buy some grass seed, I went to my reference books to find out if it was whalers, or Wailers.  It was the second.

Things I Know

It’s Palm Sunday, and I know what that means. I have one week to clear away all the stuff I have stored on the dining room table, and put the Christmas tablecloth away.

My friend, Richard (not Feder) and no longer of New Jersey, let alone Fort Lee has resumed blogging.  His blog is recommended by my blog.  You’ll find a link to the Riklblog below and to the right. I’m happy to see he has resumed writing it. 

I’ve complained previously that the audiologist I visit has no regard for punctuality.  Six days after my last visit, I received a post card telling me it was time for me to come in for a checkup.  Why did it come six days after my visit?  Because it was mailed three days after my visit.

I had two teeth pulled on Monday.  If I think of something that having teeth pulled is better than, I’ll let you know.  The oral surgeon gave me antibiotics to stave off infection.  But the pills are the biggest I’ve ever had.  I think they kill germs by crushing them to death.

If my daughter was right that the tooth fairy brings people my age dentures instead of money when we lose teeth, then she is late—very late.

The new principal at Harrisburg HS in Harrisburg PA reportedly suspended almost half the student body recently because those suspended had at least five unexcused absences in a nine-week period.  She has a point.  Going to school is important for learning.  It’s also an important discipline to learn because only showing up for a job when you feel like it will get you fired in the real world.  Public schools don’t have a lot of options for disciplining students either.  Still, if I understand correctly, the punishment for not going to school is not being allowed to go to school.  A lot of those kids are probably thinking, “Great!”

Things I Know

Keith Palmer is the British police officer who was killed in a terrorist attack on Westminster Bridge, and the British Parliament.  I know that British police have a tradition of going unarmed, but as the world is today, I’m surprised that all the police at a likely terrorist target such as the British Parliament are not armed.  Some are, but Palmer wasn’t.  If he had a gun, he might be alive today.  Arming all members of the security detail at Parliament is now being discussed.  It’s a smart move.

I think all terrorist attacks are awful, but Wednesday’s attack on the British Parliament was a little more personal for my wife and me than others we’ve heard of.  Three years ago, Saint Karen (she must be a saint to put up with me) and I were at the very location where the attack took place.

To be clear, the Republican proposal to repeal, and replace Obamacare didn’t fail because it cut too many benefits for American taxpayers.  It failed because members of the conservative, Republican, Freedom Caucus wanted more cuts. 

Considering that House Republicans has voted to repeal Obamacare multiple times a year for years, I was surprised that they didn’t have a workable alternative they could agree on ready to go back in January. 

Now, there’s talk of moderate Republicans in Congress trying to work with moderate Democrats instead of with the right wing of their own party.  I worked for Congress many years ago.  It would be nice to return to a time when Republicans and Democrats were people who disagreed with one another, not mortal enemies who must be battled to the death.  I don’t know how that stance evolved, but it’s not good for the country, and as far as I can see, it’s not good for Republicans or Democrats either.

My wife wanted me to put gas in her car, but I had to check whether I won the lottery first.  I told her if I was super rich, I might get a different car that already had gas in it instead.  I did win the lottery, but only a dollar, so I filled her car up with gas as she asked.

My daughter has a plan to show appreciation to her friends, and relatives if she wins a multi-million-dollar lottery.  She says she’ll gift those people with a nicely framed photo of her with the giant check.  I told her she didn’t really need to have the pictures framed, but she insists she’s a class act.

I’m sure Staples, the office supply store, knows what items make the most profit per square foot of retail space.  Still, it seems odd to me that there are dozens of office chairs in every Staples store I visit, but no desks.  I’d rather not buy a desk on line because I can’t tell how sturdy it is and if I find parts broken as I try to assemble it, repacking it to return to an on-line seller is a huge pain.

www.pseudodictionary.com is a website that contains words people have made up over its years in existence.  You must spell out the word, provide a definition, and use it in a sentence, just like vocabulary homework in high school.  I discovered the website recently and contributed three words I’ve made up, and used in this blog.  I used my real name in submitting these words, so if you can figure out which words, you can unmask me.

Occasionally, when I’m bored, I use the internet to look for people I used to know.  Unless they are or were very important in my life, I don’t try to reconnect.  I’m still good at being nosy, but need to practice to retain proficiency.

I’ve mentioned a few times here that I remember one high school girlfriend not because she was important to my life, but because I managed to humiliate myself in her presence more than I usually did with girls I dated.  The last time I wrote about her was last Christmas Eve when baking cookies reminded me that she sent me a care package of cookies during my Freshman year in college.

At that time, I hoped she and her husband were well and happy.  In my nosy, bored searches, I’ve since learned that her husband, Bill, passed away about two years ago.  Bill was a high school friend too, and we attended the same college.  My wife and I haven’t seen them in decades, but I’m still sorry to learn that he died.  I hope enough time has passed that Leslie’s memories of him are mostly of the good times, not of the grief she must have felt as he slipped away.  Even though I now know where she lives, I’ve changed my mind, and won’t be sending her any homemade cookies.

Maybe I’ll stop looking for people that way because sometimes I learn things I really don’t want to know.

I’m having a couple of teeth pulled tomorrow, so I wondered aloud at the dinner table whether the tooth fairy brings money to people my age.  My daughter said she didn’t.  According to my daughter, people  my age who lose teeth receive dentures from the tooth fairy, not cash.  She must get it from her mother, because God knows I’m completely normal.

Things I Know

If, like me, you are Irish-American, diabetic, and planning to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, be advised that corned beef and cabbage won’t do bad things to your blood-sugar level.  Potatoes and soda bread are another matter.

I saw a commercial for Scott’s Turf Builder lawn fertilizer.  The ad said now is the time to apply Turf Builder to my lawn.  I went outside to do just that, but I can’t find the lawn right now.

From prior to the recent snowfall, I’ve never seen this before, and I bet you haven’t either.  It’s a legally parked UPS truck.

Things I Know

This just in, the minority leader of the U.S. Senate, New York Senator Charles Schumer, has called for a special prosecutor to investigate Russian Dressing.

I should have mentioned this much sooner.  I apologize.  Alan Colmes, the liberal political commentator, passed away recently from cancer at the age of 66.  Best known for the Fox News TV show, “Hannity and Colmes,” among the many places Alan hung his hat was talk radio station WABC, where he was called Alan B. Colmes.  His middle initial wasn’t B, it was S.  Early in both of our careers, I was the newsman on his Sunday music show on a now defunct Long Island radio station.  “Nice,” is a word anyone who ever knew him, including me, would use to describe him.  He was also kind and gracious to those of us he passed on his way up.  Condolences to his family and RIP Alan S. Colmes.

There are lots of local elections coming up for villages in New York State later this month.  Some New York villages vote at other times though, so if you live in a New York village, call village hall and ask.  I know there are people who only vote in national elections and people who don’t vote at all, but your vote counts most in the smallest jurisdictions because each vote is a larger part of the total in a more local election.

The League of Women Voters has accomplished a lot toward civic awareness even beyond its initial purpose of encouraging American women to participate once they could vote.  Because village elections are coming up, I attended a League of Women Voters candidate forum last night.  If I could bet every man, woman and child in the United States that I’ve attended more League of Woman Voters forums than they have, I’d win more than I’d lose, a lot more.  Still, nobody runs a more boring forum than the League of Women Voters.

It was meant to be.  I collect popular music.  Mine is a medium-sized collection of around 8,000 songs.  Joel Whitburn’s “Top Pop Singles” is a reference book that lists every song that made the Billboard top 100 charts.  My copy is a paperback and covers 1955-1993.  I’ve used it a lot over the last 24 years, and a paperback book that’s 24 years old is likely to be falling apart.  To nobody’s surprise, mine is.  So, I looked on line and found a hardcover version that covers 1955 through 2012.  It’s not the latest edition and it was on sale for $48.94, including tax and shipping.  I happened to have an Amazon gift card with a balance of guess how much?  $48.94!  I ordered the book.

Baseball causes warm weather.  I’ve told you that before.  So, when your team’s games are on the radio, please put the game on in your car and drive around with the windows down.  It will do a lot more toward making the weather warmer than waking up some dumb groundhog in early February in Pennsylvania.

Things I Know

I seem to be late mentioning this most years, but material posted to Sisyphusproject.org is copyright 2008 – 2017.  All rights reserved.

This isn’t a complaint, by any means, but I have noticed that the lady on the cover of Sports Illustrated’s 2017 swimsuit issue isn’t wearing a whole swimsuit.

The Powerball jackpot this Saturday night is $349,000,000!  And, since Monday is a holiday, if any of us win, we can’t collect until Tuesday.  Just in time, I have a new plan.  If I win, I will jump on the bed, but that won’t be the first thing I do.  First, I’ll giggle all day Sunday, and all day Monday as well.

Black Sabbath recently performed its “Final Concert” in the pioneer heavy-metal band’s hometown of Birmingham, UK.  So many performers have had much-ballyhooed final appearances, and then continued appearing, that I hereby propose a new law:  Once you’ve charged extra for a final appearance, you are no longer allowed to charge admission to any other shows you give for the rest of your life.  Maybe Black Sabbath will never do another concert, who knows?

I don’t want to stamp out live shows.  I want to do away with faux final appearances.  For example, I don’t know how many final appearances Barbra Streisand has made so far, but she’s got at least nine shows scheduled in 2017.

My wife and daughter both have jobs meeting the public.  I don’t.  I got a flu shot.  They didn’t.  All three of us got the flu.  But between Tamiflu and the fact that I got a flu shot, I was only sick for 48 hours.  They were sick for a week or more.  Flu shots and Tamiflu are both great stuff.  I recommend them highly.  My wife told me that if she doesn’t get a flu shot on her own this fall, I should drag her by the hair to get one.  I want her to get a flu shot, but me dragging her by the hair is never going to happen.

Congratulations to our son, and our daughter-in-law.  They are in contract to purchase their first house.

It might change in the future, but for now, I’m making a conscious effort not to discuss President Trump too much.  I didn’t vote for him, but he did win the election.  I do hope he calms down.  If he’s going to be the leader of the free world, he’s way too sensitive to criticism and way too defensive.

Things I Know

Sally Yates, acting U.S. Attorney General, instructed the Justice Department not to defend President Trump’s executive order restricting entry of people coming from seven predominantly Muslim countries.  She must have anticipated she’d be fired, and she would have been out of a job soon anyway.  So, as an action, it wasn’t very effective, but as a statement it was.  Being fired for not doing what the boss wants is pretty standard.  There are lots of jobs where being right is no excuse.  I’ve had more than one of those myself, although nowhere near as high profile.

For an added perspective on the President’s immigration restrictions, try listening to talk radio from  overseas.  LBC from London is an interesting one and they’ve been discussing this a lot lately.

If the restrictions were have even a pretense of making sense, shouldn’t they at least include Pakistan, Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia? 

Almost everyone now agrees it was wrong for the US Government to confine Japanese Americans to internment camps during World War II.  The fact that so many people do agree with the President’s ban on people entering the US from those seven countries makes it easier to understand why a lot of people agreed with locking Japanese Americans away something like 75 years ago.

Bernard Baruch, James Schlesinger and Daniel Moynihan, among others have observed something I’m paraphrasing because I can’t quote all three.  You’re entitled to your opinions.  You’re not entitled to your own facts.  Kelly Ann Conway talked about alternate facts on ABC last week.  There’s no such thing.  You can put forth different facts to support different sides of an argument, but you can’t cite different facts about how many people attended President Trump’s inauguration.  Crowd figures are estimates, so different sources can have different numbers, but the fact that fewer people attended President Trump’s inauguration than President Obama’s first inauguration is indisputable.  There are photos that show the later crowd was much smaller.  And the President of the United States has more important things to worry about anyway.

President Trump moved into 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, aka The Trump House, on January 20th.  I’m kind of surprised he hasn’t had it painted gold yet.

If you hate some of your friends ranting endlessly about President Trump on Facebook, I recommend an add-in for the Internet Browser Chrome called Social Fixer.  It enables you to filter Facebook content so you don’t have to read all that stuff.  I don’t object to, or argue with anyone about, their political views. Everyone is entitled to them. What I hate is the same people telling me, and all their other friends how much they approve/love/dislike/hate Donald Trump multiple times a day, every day since last year in June.

For the record, I didn’t vote for him either. I also objected to the people who did that with respect to Secretary Clinton, but they have mostly stopped. By now I know what my political-rant Facebook friends think of President Trump. Whether they admire or despise him, it’s equally annoying. I also believe they aren’t changing anyone’s mind.

If the same people express the same views to the same audience repeatedly, and endlessly, it becomes annoying, even if I agree. Admittedly the political issues are more important, but if you told me multiple times every day for the last eight months that you hate asparagus, I’d be annoyed with you and I’d want Social Fixer to include an asparagus filter, although I hate asparagus too.

On an entirely different and much lighter subject, two weeks to pitchers and catchers.

Things I Know

My sister is an elementary school teacher.  Recently, they had an active shooter drill at her school.  The kids were worried that it was real, not a drill, so she told them that if it was real, the principal had special code words to use to alert the staff to that.  She also told the kids she has a baseball bat she calls “Duke” for anyone who attacks the school. 

You may think Duke is no match for a school shooter.  Don’t be so sure.  During her years on earth, my sister, even without Duke, has mugged two muggers, and beat up a guy who tried to rob the ice cream store she used to work at as a teenager.  She punched one mugger in the face, and pushed the other one down the stairs in a New York City subway station.

What’s at least as scary as my sister is that kids that young understand, and ask intelligent questions about school shootings.  Even one school shooting was too many, but we’ve had so many that little kids are aware of them.

My local TV news told us about a new study that says any amount of exercise will “lower your risk of dying.”  Sorry, nope.  Exercise may increase your chance of living longer, but you will still die eventually, so your risk of dying remains the same:  100%.

I stayed a Boy Scout leader long after my son reached his 18th birthday.  Consequently, I have more technical outdoor gear than a lot of people my age.  This weekend, with temperatures under 20 degrees and more than 8 inches of snow on the ground, I got dressed to go shovel it.  As I did so, I noticed that one set of my thermal base layer was made in Honduras.  Don’t know why I never noticed it before, but when I did, I asked myself what people in Honduras know about the need to keep warm.  I didn’t have an answer, so I selected a different thermal base layer.

New word department.  If someone is acting so stupid that it’s really funny, they’re being imbisilly.

Here’s an example of why I say my wife, Saint Karen, must be a saint to put up with me.  We both battling a nasty virus for two weeks after Christmas.  It gives us stuffed noses, chest congestion, and a really awful, hacking cough.  Immediately after I failed at an extended effort to cough up a lung or two, she started coughing.  When she was finished, I looked at her, feigned annoyance and asked, “Why must you repeat everything I say?”

Our department of unnecessary detail hears from the NY Post which recently wrote a headline, “Columbia Professor Found Dead After Writing Suicide Notes.”  Well, he could not have died first, could he?

Things I Know

Our not the smartest thief department has read the news reports of a robbery at the Walgreen’s drug store nearest my home.  The thief reportedly escaped with 15 tubes of toothpaste, brand not specified.

Note to the UPS driver blocking my street the Thursday before Christmas:  I know UPS requires its drivers to always park illegally, still, if you’ve got to talk to my neighbor for several minutes, blocking both my driveway and the street while doing so, I have a problem with it.  In the future, if you park at the curb in front of my house so I can get by, I promise I won’t report you to your supervisor.

In case you encounter a moose while wandering around Alberta Canada, here’s the official government advice.  

Phone companies have the technology to block robocallers.  I don’t know what percentage of phone company revenue comes from robocallers, but I’m guessing the money is why the providers of telephone service don’t allow land-line customers to block them.  So, here’s a suggestion.  If you cancel your land line, tell the telephone company that their refusal to provide a tool to block robocallers is the reason.  If enough people do that, maybe it will move the companies to help us block them.  It’s a thought, and a hope, anyway.

It would be wrong, but reasonable to assume that everyone’s nether regions are in the Netherlands. 

I have a lot of problems dealing with CVS Caremark with respect to mail-order prescriptions.  It seems to me that every error that they make is in their favor too.  Here’s one thought to improve their customer service:  Calls I make typically take an hour or more, including being placed on hold several times for prolonged periods.  So, I suggest they get a second piece of hold music.

Actor Alan Thicke passed away in mid December, after suffering a heart attack while playing ice hockey.  My daughter commented that if you must die, many Canadians would prefer to die playing hockey.

According to all the supermarket tabloids, Tarek and Christina’s marriage appears to be at an end, so maybe HGTV should change the promos it’s currently running for their show, Flip or Flop.

Things I Know

The NY Post reported on Sunday that Melania Trump and ten-year-old Baron Trump will not be moving to the White House in late January, so that Baron won’t have to change schools during the school year.  That’s kind of common when someone takes a new job during their child’s school year.  Still, if the report is true, it would not be a good idea to assume that the Secret Service and the NYPD are delighted.

I got 43 comments on my “Not My President” blog item.  All of them were trying to sell us Cialis or Viagra, so I spared you.  Comments are welcomed.  Spam isn’t.

My daughter voted for Hillary.  Her reaction to Trump’s election, “But you need two years of experience to be a receptionist.”

I get so many snail-mail ads for Verizon FIOS TV that my phone bill occasionally slips through the cracks.

One of the silliest Christmas gifts I’ve seen on sale this year is a down-insulated skirt.  I can see how that might make it a little warmer to sit down on a cold surface, but all skirts are open on the bottom, which is what makes them skirts after all.  And, because they’re open on the bottom, I don’t see how the skirt being insulated does much to insulate the person wearing it.

Things I Know

Over the weekend, every Democrat on the national political scene called FBI Director James Comey’s letter to Congress, “unprecedented.”  What may have happened is unprecedented.  The FBI exposes crimes, and possible crimes all the time.

Comey is in a damned if you do, and damned if you don’t situation.  He revealed the possible existence of new, previously concealed emails from Hillary Clinton.  Remember, that’s possible existence, not existence, or at least not existence yet.  If there’s nothing there, he’ll possibly have influenced the Presidential election.  If he didn’t reveal them, and they prove to be something, he would be excoriated for a cover up. Remember too, nothing that’s covered up ever stays covered up.

I know that Huma Abedin and Anthony Weiner are both public figures, but how can anyone, even two anyones, have 650-thousand emails on one laptop computer, and why would two high-level government officials share one laptop for work?

To be clear, I am a person who always votes.  I once voted by absentee ballot in a school board election, but I’m so appalled by the choices we face next week that I may not cast a vote for President this year.

There will be baseball in Cleveland on Tuesday.  I’d like to see the Cubs win the World Series, but more than that, I would have hated to see the Indians win it at Wrigley Field.

Dos Equis beer has a new most interesting man in the world.  He can tie one hand behind his back with one hand tied behind his back.  I guess a new most interesting man makes sense; they shot the old one into space a while ago.

I am astonished that Ammon and Ryan Bundy, and their cohort were acquitted recently on charges stemming from their occupation of federal land in Oregon last year.  I can’t fathom what the jury could possibly have been thinking, or whether they were thinking at all.

Things I Know

Last week, I was observing to my wife that even though the election was only three weeks away (and now less than two), we hadn’t heard a word from either New York Senator Charles Schumer, or his opponent, Wendy Long.  The thought was hardly out of my mouth when a deluge of commercials began for Senator Schumer, including one featuring a guy I used to work with, Jeff Veatch.

Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano and Oyster Bay Supervisor John Venditto were indicted last week on federal corruption charges.  If they did what they’re charged with doing they may have thrown the Republicans running in Nassau County, NY under the bus.  More than that, they may swing the majority in the New York State Legislature from Republican to Democratic too.  Republicans only hold the majority because of a coalition with some rebellious Democrats.  Only one or two seats changing hands could repaint the entire picture.  Damage is done even if they’re both acquitted because their trials will take place long after the election.

Five women I went to high school with wished my wife and me a happy wedding anniversary recently on Facebook.  Saint Karen (she must be a saint to put up with me) and I have similar senses of humor.  We each thought perhaps they were all thinking, “Better her than me.”

A year ago, around this time, I complained about how much the Nissan dealer charged me to replace tire pressure monitors.  I replaced two of them in two months.  At least one more has failed, but I haven’t replaced it.  I’ve decided to live with the warning light lit up.  After all, I have two tire gauges and the two of them together are much less expensive than the inflated (Sorry.  I couldn’t help myself) price the dealer charges for one TPMS replacement sensor.  But, I probably will replace the two remaining sensors soon, when I need new tires on the truck.

I’ve been informed that the idea of having Charlie Sheen throw out the first pitch in a Cleveland World Series Game was widely discussed on sports talk radio in Cleveland.  The consensus was that Sheen’s antics as the character Ricky Vaughn in the movie “Major League” were funny.  Sheen’s antics in real life, much less so.  I just thought it would be funny.  I also think it would be funny to have Bob Uecker in the broadcast booth for a little while during a game.  Uecker was the Cleveland play-by-play announcer in the same movie. Uecker is 81 and retired, so I don’t know if he would be interested, or able to do that, but it would also be amusing.

Things I Know

When all the accusations emerged about Donald Trump and sexual misconduct, because there were so many, at first I thought most if not all of them must be true.  Then, I thought it could be the best orchestrated last-minute smear in political campaign history.  But, those two things are not mutually exclusive, are they?

If the accusations are true, and I have no way of knowing, it would have been useful to know these things during the primary season.

Polls still indicate that both Trump and Hillary have unfavorable ratings over 50%.  Those poll results seem entirely reasonable to me.

It is amazing to me that the leaks of Hillary’s email haven’t gained more traction, but the Trump campaign has made so many mistakes he might even lose if he were running unopposed.

I bought an auto mechanic’s creeper seat the other day and used it to paint the foundation of my house, by wheeling it along the driveway and patio.  I thought it might be great for interior painting too, but I used it on the porch.   The wheels are designed for hard surfaces, so they left an impression in my porch’s pine decking.  If I want to paint baseboards with it, I’ll probably have to put different casters on it.

Back to our family vacation.  The US Department of Defense runs a resort at Disney World for active duty and retired military personnel.  It’s called “Shades of Green.”  If you visited Disney a long time ago, it used to be the Disney Golf Resort.  Twice a year, in September and January, they make it available to anyone who served in the military and was honorably discharged.  I fit in that category, so my wife and I were honored to be able to stay there.  It’s very nice.  And, it’s self-sufficient.  It doesn’t cost the taxpayers anything to run it.

Our daughter-in-law, when she travels, takes quite a few photos at night.  I like them a lot, so I’ve started doing the same thing.  I got a Halloween-theme picture of Mickey on Main Street in the Magic Kingdom.

main-street-at-night_edited-1

After the Orlando theme parks, we spent a couple of days at Siesta Key on Florida’s west coast.  It’s the nicest beach I’ve ever been to.  I wanted to swim in the Gulf of Mexico and take sunset pictures.  No gulf swimming because of red tide, but I did capture a few pictures of sunset.

siesta-sunset_edited-1

Finally, we headed back to Orlando and flew home a week before Matthew hit.  We had a lovely time.   As winter looms, I find myself wanting to move to Florida.

Things I Know

I’ve been away and I’m going to fill you in or bore you to death.  Your choice.  But first, I’d like to deal with a couple of events that happened while I was gone.

And speaking of gone, I don’t think baseball will be quite the same with Vin Scully gone.

When John Stumpf, CEO of Wells Fargo bank testified before Congress, I found myself guessing that many employees didn’t come up with the idea of opening fraudulent accounts without some boss, or bosses pushing them toward it.

The Presidential debate didn’t change my mind.  I still don’t like either of them.

Gary Johnson is never going to be elected President running on the Libertarian Party ticket, but he sure didn’t help getting his ideas out there with his recent foreign policy goofs.   East Korea Gary?  Really?

Saint Karen (who has to be a saint to put up with me) and I have been vacationing in Florida.  I’d like to move there, but our vacation has made me reexamine things.  Saint Karen thinks Florida is too hot.  That’s nonsense.  Our house in the New York metropolitan area isn’t air conditioned.  It’s hard to find a house in Florida that isn’t air conditioned.  So, if we moved there, she’d enjoy AC and I’d be cold all the time because she turns it down and I turn it up.  Something to bicker about.  Not something new, because we generally don’t bicker now.

New theory:  Florida is so much warmer than a lot of other places because they have fire-breathing dragons there.

dragon-fire_edited-1

We spent three nights at the Portofino Bay Resort Hotel in Orlando, FL.  It’s one of the hotels associated with Universal Studios Florida theme park.  It’s nice, but it’s expensive.  A few minor things went wrong, but the hotel stepped up to fix them just fine.  Things always go wrong from time to time, so isn’t how things get fixed the real test?

Lindsay at the concierge desk was able to switch my reservation for the Blue Man Group show from Thursday night to Friday night, with no extra charge to me.   I was hoping to take a nap before a Thursday night show, but we had a late check in and without a nap, I was too tired to go.  So, kudos to Lindsay.  The late check in, by the way, is one of the things the hotel stepped up to make amends for.

The Blue Man Group was very good, but extremely noisy.  Before the show, they tell you to turn off all electronic devices.  In case you’re wondering, unless you’re profoundly deaf, you can include hearing aids in that.

This isn’t a complaint about this hotel, but about the hotel industry in general.  Services that are common at lesser hotels frequently carry additional fees at full-service ones.  I have never heard of a hotel where the rooms cost over $200 a night that provided a free continental breakfast.  And, honestly, luxury hotels, free WiFi is almost a basic human right by now.  You don’t charge for cable TV anymore, so stop charging for high-speed internet.  Less expensive hotels don’t, and your Internet isn’t any better than theirs.

We’re on vacation to lift my wife’s spirits.  She had surgery recently.  But, because of the surgery, she didn’t think it wise to ride the roller coasters.  If you’re not going to ride roller coasters, I’d say there isn’t a lot for you at the Universal theme parks.  Also, in late September, the hours are short and they have a separate Hallowe’en event with separate admission after the day’s attendees are turned out.  Admission to the theme parks is costly too and I didn’t like that separate second admission at all.

More on our travels next time.

Things I Know

During the Olympics, I keep wondering when Michael Phelps is going to forget and dive into that pool still wearing his headphones.

The AP reported on August 11, that 70 prominent Republicans had signed a letter to the Republican National Committee asking it to stop helping Donald Trump.  We should also see a letter asking Donald Trump to stop helping Hillary Clinton.

A man in Georgia was arrested recently because he lost his temper at his wife.  In doing so, he yelled at her, spit on her and prevented her and their daughter from calling 911.  According to the wife, he had a history of violence against her.  What set him off?  She made a grilled cheese sandwich with three slices of cheese, when he wanted two.

“A man you can bait with a tweet is not a man you can trust with nuclear weapons.”  That’s Hillary Clinton’s strongest argument against a Trump presidency. Trump’s impulsiveness is a big concern to a lot of people.

Have you seen the TV ad the Clinton campaign is running?  The one that features Donald Trump saying nice things about her, including that he thought she’d be a good president.  If I were her, I am not certain I’d run any other.

I don’t think Mrs. Clinton succeeded in redefining herself at the Democratic National Convention and I don’t think Trump has tried to redefine himself.  I don’t think either of them can.  These are probably the two best known and least liked major party candidates ever to seek election to the US presidency as non-incumbents.  Also the oldest.  Whichever of the two is elected President will be older than any previous US President beginning his or her first term.

I’d really like to return to the political system where we didn’t hear much from the major-party presidential candidates between the conventions and Labor Day.

Last year, my phone company, let’s call it Horizon, okay? Anyway, Horizon wouldn’t repair my copper, land-line phone service, so I was forced to switch to Horizon’s fiber-optic service, or switch to my cable system’s phones which are also fiber-optic.  I am aware of the benefits of fiber, but I didn’t want to switch because of the main disadvantage:  fiber-optic phones depend on the electric utility for power while copper phones have independent power.  I lived through Sandy and had no outside power for four days, but my phone still worked.  I’m not complaining about the power, by the way.  The local electric company worked round-the-clock to fix things, and a lot of people suffered much worse damage than I did.  Some of those houses are still uninhabitable.  Last month, my phone’s battery died.  It’s not a little one.  The battery would probably start my lawn mower.  I was not happy.  Horizon sent me a new battery for free and sent it overnight.  I was happy about that, because sometimes the best description for Horizon service of its equipment in customers’ homes is “glacial.”  But, this battery is supposed to be serviced by the customer, and since that’s true, it would be nice if the wires connecting the battery were a little longer, the battery compartment was a little bigger and the battery cover was easy to put back on.  I finally got the battery connected. I had to grow a third hand to do it, but I haven’t figured out how to reattach the cover yet.

Things I Know

Donald Trump urging the Russians to try to find Hillary’s missing thirty-thousand emails.  It was funny, it got Hillary’s emails into the news again, and the Russians didn’t need Trump to suggest it.

The Democrats blaming the Russians for the DNC email leaks.  If the Russians were responsible, that was wrong.  Foreign nationals and foreign governments are not supposed to try to influence US elections.  But, blaming the Russians was an attempt to change the focus of the story.  Nobody denied the facts revealed in the DNC email leaks.  Bernie always wants to be left, but he was right that the DNC was against him.

Bill and Hillary Clinton each get paid a lot of money to make speeches.  Still, I bet they did their speeches this week in Philadelphia for free.

Rep.  Debbie Wasserman Schultz seems to have been fired from her job as Chairperson of the Democratic National Committee.  So, she resigned, effective at the end of this week.  When I was in radio, we used to call that leaving by mutual consent:  the boss said, “you’re fired,” and you said, “If that’s the way you feel about it, I don’t want to work here anymore.”

It’s fun to see that both the Republicans and the Democrats have party unity issues.

Protestors at the Democratic convention seem to me to be louder than the ones at the Republican convention.  What do you think?

In order to appeal to younger voters, my daughter suggests the Republicans call their 2020 convention “Republicon.”  She’s trying to tack con onto the word Democrat too, but hasn’t come up with a euphonic way to achieve that.  Democon would work, but it could also mean a convention of pollsters.

With the recent departure of Roger Ailes from Fox News, and reports that he’s being paid some $40 million to depart, I’m reminded once again that the highest paid job in network TV appears to be leaving your job.

I can tell you from first-hand experience that leaving your job in local radio is more likely to cost you money than to make you any.

Sprinkles (or if you prefer, Jimmies) come in different colors, but they’re all the same flavor.

If you’re going to pull off to the side of the road, pull off to the side of the road.  Don’t park with the rear end of your car stuck so far out into traffic that you choke two lanes of traffic down to one.

It’s one thing to run a red light.  It’s quite another thing to get angry at me and the other driver who just managed to avoid hitting you when you ran the red light.

If a road crew fills a pothole, it would be good if someone, maybe a supervisor, came by later to see if the thing sank and needs to be filled some more.

If they don’t repave Main Street in Hempstead NY, south of Front Street pretty soon, I’m going to stop driving on it until someone else agrees to pay for the damage to the suspension on my car.

The spell checker I use now says ginormous is a real word.  Egantic, though, still isn’t.

Things I Know

It was hard for me to believe, but Trevor Noah said something funny the other day.  I’m not in the demographic the Comedy Channel is targeting with the Daily Show, so they probably don’t care, but I just don’t find Mr. Noah. Funny.  YMMV.  But the other night, he was joking about breaking into Donald Trump’s house.  He said it was easy to defeat the alarm system because the password was TRUMP.

I told Saint Karen (who has to be a saint to put up with me) a terrible joke.  Those are the best kind.  I think it was, what do you call a patronizing criminal who is going downstairs?  You know, a condescending con descending.  She made a face, that face.  Before she could say a word, I said, “You knew long before you married me.”  She admitted that’s true, and that’s one of the reasons I love her.

This morning, while we were both looking for my wallet, she said I was driving her crazy.  I told her I’m pretty sure she’s immune.  After all, it has never taken me this long to make anyone else nuts.

I recorded CBS Sunday Morning on my DVR.  I started watching it 18 minutes after it began.  By fast forwarding through the teases and the commercials, it took me 41 minutes to catch up. 

We need to try again to understand the meaning of the word “after.”  NY Post headline: “Man injured after suicide attempt at mall.”  I’m just guessing here, but the suicide attempt is probably what caused him to be injured.  Man injured by suicide attempt at mall, would be more accurate. 

I’m disappointed.  While I came up with the pun “electile dysfunction” all by myself, I Googled it afterwards and found lots of other people came up with it both independently and before I did.

Things I Know

There are a little over 6,600 commercial, FM radio stations in the United States.  Tonight, between 10 PM and midnight, I’m going to be on one of them.  Which one is up to you to figure out.

In California this week, two judges were reelected and the fact that they were makes you question democracy.  One was the judge in Santa Clara who recently sentenced a rapist and star athlete at Stanford to six months in jail.  The other, in Orange County, was reelected despite having admitted to having sex in the office with an intern and with an attorney who had cases before his court.  I call both of these events electile dysfunction.

A man in England, Richard Huckle, has been sentenced to 22 life sentences for raping children in Malaysia.  I’m okay with that.  The article I read said he’ll have to serve a minimum of 25 years in jail.  25 years for 22 life sentences?  I’m not sure which, but if one of those is right, I have to think the other is wrong.

My Daughter has a good idea.  Have you ever watched the TLC TV show “Cake Boss?”  They have several shops in the New York area.  One of them is a few miles from our house.  My daughter wants to go in there and find out if they can make her a cake that looks like a cake.

These days, my wife usually hits the hay around 10:00 PM.  I usually go to bed around 1:00 AM.  When we started dating as teens, she would let me hang out at her house, sometimes until 1:00 or 2:00 AM.  It just occurred to me that she married me so she could get some sleep.

I’m not necessarily claiming credit here, but the most recent TV spot for Burger King’s nuggets does tell you what in them.

66 SS 4 Sale 2

I’m trying to convince my wife, Saint Karen, that I’m a saint too because I didn’t bring this car home from a local cruise night.  It’s for sale and it’s a ’66 Chevy Impala SS with a 396 cubic inch engine.  Not buying it, though, didn’t take as much willpower as she thinks:  it’s an automatic.

When I was a Freshman in college, her parents allowed my then 16-year-old girlfriend to travel 250 miles to visit me for a weekend.  I was surprised all those years ago, but astonished recently when I learned they did not let her go on her high school senior trip a year later.  Her parents really liked and trusted me.

I keep a few packets of duck sauce, soy sauce, ketchup, and mustard around the house.  You know, the ones you get with your take-out food orders.  But I never keep extra Arby’s Sauce around.  If I ask for five please give me five, but if I ask for one and you give me five, four of them are going in the garbage. 

 

Things I Know

It’s been cooler than usual in April and May where I live.  I’m going to plant tomatoes this weekend.  The danger of frost is past, but the ground may still be a little cool for tomato plants to thrive.

I guess Mother’s Day was also breast-cancer awareness day for major league baseball.  I’m against breast cancer and in favor of breast-cancer awareness.  Still, the uniforms in the Mets-Padres game were ugly.  They made me pine for the Padres’ old brown ones.

I don’t begrudge breast cancer research a dime.  I have contributed myself from time to time, but from the publicity it gets you’d think breast cancer was the number one cause of death among women.  It isn’t.  Lung cancer and heart disease cause more deaths than breast cancer does.

I may need to get a new doctor.  My test results came back and now this doctor is trying to tell me I’m completely normal.

Over the years, I’ve asked lots of questions here, some of them serious, and some meant as jokes.  One of the serious ones came four years ago when I wondered whether noise-cancelling headphones would help with my tinnitus.  Since the last time I looked into it, sound therapy has become helpful, but not a cure for tinnitus.  Certain frequencies generated by special hearing aids help cancel out the annoying ringing of tinnitus.  So, while noise-cancelling headphones won’t help, there are now hearing aids that supposedly will.  I can hear without hearing aids, but because of the tinnitus, and because of some high-frequency hearing loss, I don’t hear people well if there’s a lot of background noise.  I’ve ordered a pair of hearing aids designed to help with both.  If they work well, I may review then here in the future.

Here’s an update on my Panasonic bathroom fan.  I have replaced it, with another Panasonic fan.  So, I’ve bought three of them in eight years.  The one in my upstairs bathroom still works.  I have mixed feelings about the fans.  They’re high quality, very quiet, and Panasonic makes more than one fan that will fit in my existing opening which is a little over ten inches square.  On the other hand, they’re very expensive, the light kit on mine (not the bulb, the fixture) failed after eight years.  The ballast for the light isn’t easily replaceable and neither the ballast nor the light fixture is available from Panasonic anymore.

The light in my new fan is bright enough that I can probably grow tomatoes in there now.  But, I won’t.

I have a compressed disc in my neck, and I tore both rotator cuffs for the second time after I’d already had surgery to repair each one.  I guess what I’m saying is working over my head is painful.  So, I didn’t replace the fan in the ceiling myself.  It annoys me to pay someone else to do something for me that I know how to do.  Still, the electrician did a bang-up job, took about half an hour and cleaned up after himself.  Good job there.

Things I Know

The masthead photo here changes from time to time.  The end of April and beginning of May is time for cherry blossoms at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden.  It’s a really beautiful exhibit.  If you’re in the area, you should go.

Austin Texas school officials have decided to rename Robert E. Lee Elementary School.  They opened the renaming process to public suggestions.  After Boatie McBoatface was shot down even though it was the popular choice for the name of a new and expensive British research ship, you’d think everyone knew this is a bad idea, but nooooooooooooooooooo!!!!!!!!  In the race to rename the school in Austin, Donald Trump came in first and Robert E. Lee came in second.  Adolf Hitler got eight votes.  A commenter on the website Deadspin.com came up with the cleverest thing I’ve heard on the topic.  Someone who identifies as Yusuf-Darba chimed in with, “Say what you will about Adolf Hitler, but he did kill Hitler.”  And, here I’d lived my entire life until today thinking nobody could say anything good about Hitler.  How wrong was I?

I’ve mentioned before that it’s a bad idea to screw up on a slow news day, but it’s okay to die on one.  I should have pointed out that if you’re famous, you shouldn’t die on the same day as someone who is substantially more famous.  Since I didn’t point that out before, I’m doing it now.  If you don’t believe me, just ask Lonnie Mack or Joanie Laurer.  RIP to Joanie, Lonnie, and Prince as well.  Yes, Prince was a great talent and an important cultural icon.  But I have to question whether his death deserved over a third of the NBC Nightly News.

Speaking of Prince, he apparently died without a will.  Nobody is happier about this than the tax man.  Even if you don’t have hundreds of millions of dollars, if you expect to have anything left over when you die, a will is a very good idea.

This blog doesn’t have a copy editor.  It could use one.  Most writing would be improved by copy editing, certainly mine.  I am incapable of catching all my own mistakes, although I’m good at catching those of other people.  I occasionally catch a mistake I made in this blog a long time ago, and when I do, I correct it.  Yet copy editors are laid off at news and publishing organizations more than any other people involved in the process of publishing.  People argue that correct grammar and spelling don’t equal intelligence.  That’s true.  What they indicate is attention to detail and if someone doesn’t care enough to get them right, what’s their attitude toward facts?

I’ve recently started paying attention to radio talk shows and TV news from outside the US.  BBC TV news is easy to find on cable.  Lots of radio stations stream.  Today, I listened to stations in Dublin, Ireland, London, UK, and Sydney Australia.  Their perspectives are considerably different from ours.  It’s educational.

Things I Know

Happy birthday, April 21st, to our son, and to Britain’s Queen Elizabeth.  Even though they share the same birthday, and you’ve never seen them together, they are not the same person.

In the European Union, Google has been hit with anti-trust charges in part because it requires Google apps to be installed on all Android phones.  What gripes me about Android phones is all the apps that come with the phone, and can’t be uninstalled.

When Ted Cruz criticized New York values back in Iowa, I’m sure he thought (as most of us did) that the New York primary wouldn’t be important.  He finished third statewide.  In at least one CD, New York’s 16th in Westchester, he finished fourth, behind Ben Carson.  Didn’t Carson drop out of the race?  Yes, he did, but he dropped out too late to be removed from the New York ballot.

Big shout out and many thanks to Deputy Inspector Christopher Ikone, NYPD.  I had a nice chat with Inspector Ikone at the NYPD exhibit at this year’s NY Auto Show.  I mentioned to him that my dad was a cop, showed him a picture and asked if he knew what the collar brass, BHS, stood for.  He didn’t, but said he’d look into it for me.  In less than a week, I received an email and a phone call from the Inspector.  He had found a few things about my father, and enclosed scans of them with the email.  He apologized that there wasn’t a lot about my dad in NYPD records, but Dad was a cop a long, long time ago so that’s okay, and certainly no fault of the very helpful Inspector.   I was absolutely delighted with what Inspector Ikone sent me.  I thanked him both profusely, and privately.  I just wanted to mention it again in public.  Incidentally, all those years ago, BHS stood for borough headquarters squad.

From the Daily News website on Saturday, April 2, 2016:  “Shane Thompson, 43, a Navy veteran deep-sea diver, was exploring the treacherous cavern underneath the Blue Hole, a popular diving spot known for its crystal clear waters off the coast of New Mexico.”  Not to diminish Mr. Thompson’s death or his life, but what coast of New Mexico?  Doesn’t anyone edit, or fact-check anything anymore?  New Mexico, as most people know, is landlocked.  Thompson actually drowned in a cave in a lake.  At least the article didn’t make the same mistake.

The early bird may get the worm, but it’s the second mouse that gets the cheese.

Effective in June, the word internet will no longer be capitalized, according to the new edition of the Associated Press style book.  I hereby jump the gun.

600

“Half a league, half a league, half a league onward.  Into the valley of death rode the 600.” –Alfred, Lord Tennyson

This is the 600th blog entry to the Sisyphus Project. That’s 600 in roughly 8.1 years.  I think we’re pretty much on target.   I started this to entertain myself, and it does that.  I sometimes try to inform, and also to make occasional jokes that other people find funny.  You’re the judge of whether I achieve those goals.  I said I’d write about my frustrations, but also about other stuff.  I’m still doing both. Perhaps I’m not quite as frustrated as I used to be because I don’t have THAT job anymore.  One thing that has surprised me is I don’t write as frequently as when I was employed full-time.  Since I have more time, I thought I would pontificate more.  But I just don’t.

Usually, my posts consist of random assertions, and/or questions.  When I rant on a single topic, it’s most frequently about politics, and/or government.  Still, I’m trying to go light on the 2016 Presidential contest.  Is this really the best that the USA can come up with in the way of major-party candidates?

I was recently able to restore some of the format elements of the blog, including a title picture I’ll change once in a while, and the list of three blogs I endorse.  One caveat on the recommended blog list: my friend Richard’s blog is still entertaining, and well worth your attention.  He just doesn’t post in it very often anymore.

Going forward, I’d like to propose a holiday this year.  It will be one day (or preferably a three-day weekend) when no media in the United States mention Donald Trump, or any member of the Kardashian/Jenner tribe.  It’s a desirable goal, and an achievable one as  well.  After all, we don’t hear about everything Paris Hilton or Charlie Sheen does anymore.  I suggest we do it in August.  We could all use a three-day weekend in August.  Let’s work on that, shall we?

I’m the kind of person who can’t help doing math in his head.    Because of that, this sign caught my attention. 

Parking

It’s at a parking lot on 34th Street in Manhattan, just east of Ninth Avenue.  No, I don’t know why an hour of parking costs more than two half hours.  That’s the thing about the sign that caught my attention in the first place.  There was nobody around I could ask.  My best guess is this particular parking lot has hours that contain more than 60 minutes each.

On TV news last night, I heard that the majority leader of the New York State Senate, “. . . prides himself on being open and transparent.”  I pride myself on being opaque.  I feel very strongly that if I were transparent, that would be disgusting.

I can’t wait for the baseball season to begin.  Tomorrow, I won’t have to. I had hoped to attend Baseball Spring Training, and catch a few games in March, but my wife felt she had to work.  I’d rather be with her than at a ballgame, but that’s about the only thing I’d rather do.

I still haven’t hit the lottery, so I have yet to hire an editor or proof reader.  I go back from time to time, to correct past mistakes I’ve made.  Lately I’ve been working on apostrophes, and Oxford commas.  If you should find a mistake, you’re more than welcomed to keep it to yourself.

Things I Know

March 22 is National Goof Off Day.  Who decides these things anyway?  I looked it up on Google and one of the links was to a list of 28 things to do on National Goof Off Day.  Doesn’t that miss the whole point of the day?  Should there even be 28 things to do?  Well, I clicked on the link and it doesn’t work anymore.  That is more like it!

I have an older, expensive Panasonic bathroom light and fan.  That’s kind of redundant because all Panasonic bathroom fans are expensive, but they’re premium fans, very quiet and made of quality materials.  The light stopped working.  It’s the fixture, not the bulbs.  The fixture is modular.  It would be simple to get the old one out and plug in a new one.  Except, the part is no longer available.  If I was the Tsar of building supplies, I’d make the ceiling opening for bathroom fans in standard sizes, the way the openings for various electric boxes are standard sizes.  I dread replacing the whole fan because the openings aren’t standardized and because a lot of them aren’t easy to install without access from above and mine is in a first-floor bathroom of a two-story house.  Sometimes, replacing a bathroom ceiling fan involves replacing the bathroom ceiling too.

Also, you can’t read the model number of this bathroom fan unless you remove the light, and even then, it’s not easy to read.  The location of that all-important model number is a bad design, Panasonic.

I’ve been telling my kids since they were kids that if what they’re doing isn’t working, they ought to try something else.  So, I approve of President Obama easing diplomatic and trade relations with Cuba. Of course, Cuba’s record on human rights isn’t good, but the US has imposed restrictions of one sort or another on Cuba since October of 1960.  Clearly they haven’t worked to get Cuba to do some of what we want in more than 55 years, so we might as well try something else.

The automatic ice maker in our freezer stopped working.  There was ice in it.  The machine just wouldn’t push the ice into the bin below it.  I messed with it without success.  My wife tried to pry the ice loose too, also with  no immediate results.  But, about an hour later, it worked. For the first time in two days, it dropped the ice into the tray.  Ninety minutes later, it did it again.   Maybe the ice maker was just constipated.

If for no other reason than to clean it, there should be an easy way to get the sliding-drawer freezer out of the larger combination refrigerator-freezer.  There isn’t.  Being easy to remove the drawer would also make it easier to replace the ice maker if that should be necessary.  There still isn’t.

It’s nice that my wife, Saint Karen (who must be a saint to put up with me), takes my word that I’m a prince.  After all, I wasn’t a frog the first time she kissed me.

Every time I go back over the blog items I’ve written since I started this blog in 2008, I find at least one typographical error.  When I find ’em, I fix ’em, but I find new ones every time.  To be fair to me, some of them were caused when my Internet host changed the software and messed up a lot of the apostrophes.  To be fair to the Internet host, the software change didn’t cause all of them, by any means.

Things I Know

We’ve already got Spring Training and now we have a crocus.  I’m pretty sure it’ll be warm before long.

First Crocus

With an ad premiering tomorrow night, Dos Equis beer is abandoning Jonathan Goldsmith in his role as the most interesting man in the world and taking its advertising in a new direction.  I’m guessing the ads are being changed because Dos Equis thinks the public has lost interest.

New research seems to indicate that certain carbohydrates, such as  bagels and pretzels increase your risk of getting lung cancer.  I have been  known to inhale pretzels,  but even I know you’re not supposed to do that, and now I guess I’ll stop in the interest of health.

Other new research indicates that dying significantly reduces your risk of getting cancer.

Things I Know

It’s not a big deal, but it was a pleasant surprise.  The reclining handle on my old La-Z Boy recliner broke last week.  I contacted the nearest dealer and they’re sending me a new handle, for free.  The recliner is easily 10 and maybe as much as 15 years old.

The weather forecast for this week and next shows daily high temperatures in the New York area over 50 degrees.  The heather is already in bloom:  time to keep an eye out for the first crocus of 2016. 

It must have been Doris Day’s birthday over the weekend or something.  TCM ran the old movie “Send Me No Flowers.”I came home while my wife was watching it.  In case you’re unfamiliar, Doris’ husband, played by Rock Hudson of course, is a hypochondriac.  He thinks he’s going to die and sets about trying to find an ideal second husband for her.  I told Saint Karen (who has to be a saint to put up with me)  that if I should die before her and if she decides to remarry, I won’t try to pick out a second husband for her.  Why?  Because she did such a spectacular job picking a first husband that I figure she’s up to the task. 

We’re way overdoing Presidential debates.  The candidates probably agree, scheduling them to attract the smallest audiences.  This week, the Democrats had one opposite the final episode of “Downton Abbey.” Still, all the personal attacks aren’t really helping me to decide who to vote for in November.

With all the proper nouns MS Word’s spell checker knows, I’m kind of surprised it doesn’t know Downton.

 In addition to being a saint for putting up with me, Saint Karen is a saint for other reasons as well.  Last week, I asked her if she knew where the tickets we had left over from our last visit to Disney World are.  We were there in 2005.  She knew. Each pass has three days left.  I want to go back.  I’d like to go right after Easter, but Saint Karen doesn’t know if she can get off work then.  I’m not sure it’s the happiest place on earth, but it is fun and since we have three days of prepaid admission, I’m ready.

The jar I keep loose change in is almost full.  That means about $200.  I’m thinking of adding another $100 and buying a wide-angle lens for my camera.

A few years back, during one of my rants about doctors who are perpetually late, I noted that someone owned the web domain www.punctualdoctor.com.  At the time, I said they hadn’t figured out how to use it yet.  Apparently they never did.  When I checked a week or two ago, you could have bought it for ten bucks.

Things I Know

I complained here back in October about how expensive tire pressure monitoring sensors for my 2008 Nissan Frontier pickup truck are.  They are expensive, but it turns out it’s worse than that.  The dealer I had repair the truck marked up the parts by something like 30-35% over what the same dealer charges at retail for the same part at their parts counter in the same building.  I told the service manager that’s the reason I will never do business with them again.

If I go to a local garage, they mark up the parts above what I can buy them for.  It makes sense.  They can’t carry a lot of parts for every vehicle they might have to repair.  They have to pay someone to order them.  They have to deal with a parts supplier who will deliver them the same day, and there are a couple of other reasons as well.  But if I go to a parts store and buy the part myself, they don’t charge me more than retail.  For an auto dealer parts department, the ancillary costs are built into what they sell the parts for at retail.  So, for me anyway, a dealer service department charging me 30-35% for walking back and forth to the parts counter is outrageous.  I won’t pay it again.

I was right about Ben Carson’s chances of becoming the Republican Party’s nominee for President this year.  It looks like I was wrong, very wrong, about Donald Trump’s prospects though.

Nominations to the US Supreme Court are very political.  Depending on who’s confirmed, the current vacancy can turn the majority on the court from relatively conservative to much more liberal.  I don’t think it’s right to obstruct any president’s nominations for the U.S. Supreme Court, not a Democratic president and not a Republican president either.  But what’s going on now over a replacement for Justice Scalia isn’t new.  In fact, a previous Republican president’s nominee who was scuttled by a Democratic majority in the Senate had his last name turned into a word in the dictionary.  Three lefts make a right.  Two wrongs don’t.

As I write this, I’m watching a Spring Training baseball game on TV.  You should watch or listen to baseball in March as often as possible.  Baseball causes warm weather and observing it here in the north will help to warm things up.  Just wait and see.

Things I Know

He’s wrong, but it may help Ted Cruz to criticize New York in the rest of the country and it doesn’t hurt him in New York.  There’s no way in hell Cruz will win the New York Republican primary and if he does get the GOP nomination, there is also no way in hell he will carry New York in November.

I believe it was so windy this morning because I put my light-weight, plastic garbage can at the curb last night.  I’m sorry.  And, many thanks to my wife, Saint Karen, who has to be a saint to put up with me.  She got up before me this morning and managed to chase the can down before it disappeared from the neighborhood.

My daughter has an idea for a new TV show.  She says TLC should have a show about people trying to recover from eating disorders, gain weight and live healthy lives.  She calls it, “My 60-Pound Life.”  She must get it from her mother, because God knows I’m completely normal.

I had an idea for a reality TV show too.  I suggested one about a family that sits around in their family room, watching TV.  My daughter tells me there has already been a show like that.

Don’t schedule an appointment with your diabetes doctor right after the holidays.  If you do, your blood tests will reveal an A1C level higher than what you usually get.  I’ve learned my lesson.

I found out what happens if you accidentally put too much milk in your scrambled eggs.  Try not to do that.

During the recently passed holiday shopping season, I purchased all gifts on line from our living room couch.  I haven’t been to a shopping mall in a months.

Just once, on a TV real estate show, when the prospective house buyers say they want space in which to entertain, I’d like them to say it needs a stage, professional lighting, a killer sound system, lots of parking and a satellite uplink.

Things I Know

My wife and I usually celebrate five-year-incremental wedding anniversaries by taking a trip.  Five years ago we went to Las Vegas and ten years ago, to Disney World.  Our daughter-in-law has to be in Washington next week for a conference.  Our son flew here a couple of days early to visit.  So, instead of a more elaborate trip, my wife and I will join our daughter, our son and his wife in Washington on Saturday night for a family dinner.  On the day our son called and told us he was coming, I was looking into taking my wife to London for a week.  So, even though a weekend in D.C. isn’t cheap, this is saving me a ton of money.

My wife usually drives our new Hyundai.  Most people get less than the EPA estimate for around-town gas mileage.  So does she.  I’ll be driving it to Washington and I’ll be interested in seeing what kind of gas mileage it gets on the highway.

Silver, gold, ruby, sapphire, diamond?  Why are there no traditional wedding anniversary presents for guys?

Last night, I found an anniversary card that tells the woman recipient that marrying her is the smartest thing her husband ever did.  Of course, I bought it.  I’ve been saying that to so many people for so long now that even Hallmark knows.

While our son is here, I’m going to get him to help me carry two old, metal radiator covers out to my truck so I can recycle them.  I never liked them and I recently replaced them with wooden covers I built myself.  I stained them to match the wood trim in the house and they look much nicer than the old ones.

It now appears that Paul Ryan will be the next Speaker of the House of Representatives.  It’s hard to imagine why he wants it.  The Republican caucus in Congress is fractured.  A sub-group, the Freedom Caucus, is very conservative and disinclined to compromise, so being Speaker is a job that is a lot like herding kittens.  Plus, since he ran for Vice President in 2012, it’s reasonable to surmise that Ryan has designs on the White House.  The last Speaker of the House to become President was James K. Polk who was President from 1845 to 1849.  Polk was, in fact, the only Speaker to go on to be President.  It’s an awfully high ranking dead-end job, but if Ryan becomes Speaker and wants to be President, his most likely way to achieve the Presidency is if both the President and Vice President die.  It’s relatively little known that the Speaker is next in line to the Presidency after the Vice President.

If California Congressman Kevin McCarthy withdrew from the race to become the next Speaker of the House of Representatives to keep rumors of an extra-marital affair from becoming widely known, that didn’t work very well at all.  For the record, I read those rumors in the newspapers, as most people did, and have no idea whether they’re true.

Verizon wants you to update the software on your computer that interacts with your Verizon cell phone.  So, they send updates, a lot of updates.  And, in the lower right-hand corner of your screen, a little dialogue box appears urging you to install software that’s been downloaded.  The box doesn’t tell you what software or carry a Verizon logo.  Until I found out what it was, I would never touch it, even though it nagged me.  I did update once, but it’s still nagging me.  I can tell it to install later, and it asks me again multiple times a day.  Eliminating the nagging is more important to me than updating the software.  If Verizon doesn’t change its ways soon, I’ll just uninstall the software to end the annoyance.

I used to think I had made two mistakes in high school:  I thought I was the only person that awkward; and I thought I’d get over it.  Turns out I made three.  I also thought I’d eventually be too old for pimples.

Things I Know

It should go without saying around here, but let’s go Mets.  Okay?

I’ve got a solution to the California drought.  All we need to do is get everyone in the state to wash and wax their cars on the same day.

A deranged young man shot up a community college in Oregon.  Nine dead, not including him.  In Tennessee, an 11-year-old boy got his father’s shotgun from an unlocked closet and murdered his 8-year-old neighbor because she wouldn’t let him play with her puppy.  I don’t pretend to know the answer.  I hope someone smarter than me knows what to do to make this situation better.  But I do know what I’ve told my kids since they were little:  If what you’re doing isn’t working, try something else.  More mental health initiatives might help.  Holding gun owners responsible if they don’t secure their guns from their kids might help too.

From the latest Arby’s TV commercial:  “Bacon is a present pigs give you when you’re good.”  I never thought of it that way before, but, yeah.

It’s hard to imagine living a better life than baseball great Yogi Berra who passed away last month at age 90.  He served in the Navy during World War II, aboard one of the small rocket boats that bombarded the French coast on D-Day.  He was one of the best catchers ever to play the game, a fabled bad-ball hitter, tremendously clutch, managed both the Yankees and the Mets to the World Series, played and coached in more World Series than anyone else, was married for over 60 years, was successful in business too.  Although his funeral was in Montclair, NJ, Timothy Cardinal Dolan traveled from Manhattan to celebrate Yogi’s funeral mass.  Considering what baseball players make these days, it’s astonishing to realize that Berra was never paid more than $65,000 as one of the best players around.  And the unintentionally funny way he twisted the language kept him in the public eye even after he retired from baseball.

It probably helps Garmin technical support to reply automatically to emails, based on key words.  But, their replies would be more useful if they had some human read the requests before answering.  I got a lengthy answer from Garmin recently.  Lovely.  It contained lots of information, except it didn’t answer either of my questions.

Also, a suggestion for Garmin:  If someone is trying to get to Washington, D.C., I think it would be good if the software would accept that, as well as “District of Columbia” when it asks for state or province.  It took me a while to figure that out when looking for directions on my next trip.  I know how to get to D.C., but I don’t go very often, so I still need help navigating around once I get there.

I recently bought a lightly used 2014 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport.  The Sport has five seats.  The Santa Fe minus the sport has seven.  So far, I like it just fine and my wife likes it too.  She drives it more than I do.  But, if you’re an obsessive-compulsive type who needs to make sure locks are locked, you might not.  The front doors have a button and a handle.  If you have the proximity key with you, the button locks and unlocks the car, while the handle unlatches the doors.  The hatch just has a button that locks, unlocks and opens the hatch.  So, if you close it, lock it and want to be sure it’s locked, touching the button to try to open the hatch unlocks and opens it, provided of course the proximity key is in your pocket or purse.

The car came with a free trial of Sirius/XM radio.  I’m not sure how many channels it has, but I basically listen to two.  I like it, but don’t spend enough time in the car to justify paying what it costs to subscribe.

I’ve gotten pretty used to the proximity key to unlock, start, and lock the car.  However, when I leave the car, I still try to pull the non-existent physical key out of the ignition.

Do you know what a counter-balanced hood is?  It’s a car hood that uses springs to hold it open, instead of propping it up with a rod or stick.  The Hyundai has a counter-balanced hood.  I don’t remember if I bought the last car I owned with a counter-balanced hood in 1987 or 1980.

My 2008 Nissan Frontier has generally been reliable, but when it hasn’t been, the dealer has been good, but the parts that have broken are expensive.  While it was still under warranty (thank God!) a seatbelt sensor failed.  To replace that, you have to replace the whole seat assembly.  That just reeks of poor design to me. You ought to be able to fix something without replacing other, expensive things that don’t need fixing.  In the past two months, I’ve had two tire pressure sensors fail.  The dealer charged me $115 each for the sensors.  And the dealer’s shop manual says it takes an hour to replace one.  I didn’t stand and watch, but I doubt it does.  I’m not sure if that’s the going rate for sensors.  I couldn’t find any OEM sensors, but I found some in the range of what they cost for other cars, around $40 each, and the most expensive one I found outside my dealer’s shop was about $80.  I know tire pressure sensors have been required on new cars for more than a decade, but it just doesn’t make sense to me.  Each one (and a car has four) is a lot more expensive than a tire gauge (and you only need one of those).  Plus, even with the sensors, you still need a tire gauge to tell you whether the tire is actually low on air or if one or more of the sensors is broken.

If the tire pressure sensors on my Nissan truck continue to fail at the rate of one every two months, I’ll be selling it and getting something else before the end of this year.  I hate buying cars and generally keep each one way longer than the average driver does, so if I buy two cars in one year, that will be a record for me.  One a decade is more typical behavior on my part.

Things I Know

If you want to run for Congress in New York, next year, you should probably declare by next month at the latest, in other words, a month before this year’s election.  Why?  Because nominating petitions go out in March and party primaries are in June.  So, the Presidency is no longer the only office you have to start campaigning for prior to the year you hope to be elected.

If you’re 45 minutes late when you call to tell me you’re going to be late, I already know that.

Just one guy’s opinion, but if I had Mavis Staples on my new TV show (and I don’t have her on and don’t have a new TV show or an old one either) I wouldn’t put her on as a cameo and last. I could certainly have her close the show, but if I did that it would be as a featured act and she would get billing.

I enjoyed Stephen Colbert on Comedy Central’s Colbert Report.  I thought the first two nights of his new Late Show on CBS were kind of shaky though.  Too much of what was supposed to be funny wasn’t funny to me.  That’s to be expected.  I think I’ll give him a couple of weeks to settle in before I watch again.

If you answer the phone after one or two rings and nobody is there, it’s a robocaller that guessed wrong on how long it would take you to get to the phone.  When that happens, my warped mind thinks they’re selling quiet.  Since I used to be on the radio, I don’t want any dead air.  My sister is a librarian.  They should call her.  Librarians can always use a little more silence.

Things I Know

Rowan County KY clerk Kim Davis isn’t having her religious beliefs violated. She is in charge of issuing marriage licenses in that area and says her religious beliefs forbid her to sanction gay marriage. Fine, but the law requires her to issue the licenses, so she should do that or quit her job. If I had a job that required me to work on the Sabbath and my religious beliefs forbade that, I could quit my job. That’s what she should do if that’s what she believes.

GOP presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee is going all out to support Ms. Davis, urging her release from jail where she’s being held for contempt of court.  Huckabee says you should obey laws if they’re right.  In the past, civil disobedience meant violating a law you thought unjust and willingly accepting the consequences.  I’m kind of torn,  Should I vote for Huckabee because he thinks we should ignore laws we disagree with and suffer no consequences, or should I vote for anyone but Huckabee because he thinks we should ignore laws we disagree with and suffer no consequences?

No matter what the weather maven on TV is telling you, today is not the last day of summer.  There are still about two weeks left.  Don’t let them rob you of the beach.  If your schedule permits, for instance if you’re not stuck in school, keep going to the beach until the weather is too cool for you.

I should know better than to upgrade iTunes without reading reviews. I hadn’t updated that software in a long time, and this summer, I installed version 12.2.0.145. I like the list view and the ability to sort by any of the columns on display that existed in the version I was using.   I didn’t note what version I was using before. I found how to restore the list view for all my music, but either that view is missing from playlists or I can’t find it. So, I officially hate iTunes version 12.2.0.145. I rolled it back, but not to the exact same version I was using.  Can any of you readers suggest another good program I can use to play music on my computer? I have Media Monkey too and I’m not really happy with it either.

If anyone reads this with any regularity, they know I call my wife Saint Karen because I figure she must be a saint to put up with me. She just walked into the living room and asked me if I put new light bulbs in the range hood over the stove. I told her I had placed my hands on the hood and said, “Heal.” Then I said, “Worship me, or at least put up with me.” She said she could put up with me for a little while longer, so I guess we’re still good.

The lovely Saint Karen and I took a ride out east on Long Island at the end of June and again in August. We went to Montauk and had lunch at Gosman’s Restaurant which is on the west side of the entrance to Lake Montauk. By the way, Lake Montauk isn’t a lake, it’s a harbor. It’s been years since we’ve been there, too many years. The cuisine is simple, fresh and mostly seafood. On our first visit, we had a lovely waitress from Ireland. The check indicated her name is Anna. It’s more expensive than it used to be (lunch for the two of us was $66 plus tax and tip), but on a sunny summer day, there’s really no place I like to be more than sitting outside at Gosman’s under an umbrella, watching boats go in and out of the harbor, and enjoying lunch with my wife.

The problem is that it now takes about three hours on a weekday to drive from where I live to Montauk.  Since it’s Labor Day and still warm, maybe we’ll make another attempt in a week or two.  I know there’s no really good solution to traffic on Long Island’s south fork, but it would help if they widened State Rte 27 to four lanes for a mile or two after it merges with 27A by the diner just east of Southampton Village.  The two roads come together and merge into one two-lane highway.  Big bottleneck!

Last month, Citibank cancelled my Master Card because I hadn’t used it in a long time. Fair enough. No complaint here about that. But, four weeks later, they sent me a mailing inviting me to apply for another Master Card with a special, introductory rate.

Things I Know

The Daily News website on Friday announced that Jimmy Fallon was hospitalized after surgery. I’m just guessing here, but he was probably hospitalized for surgery and then remained hospitalized afterward. Get well Jimmy.

I hope this doesn’t happen to you. I installed the Chrome browser on a computer at work. Then I signed in to my personal Google account to gain access to my list of favorites. To be clear, a lot of those favorites have to do with my work. When I was done, I signed out of my Google account and erased my browsing history before closing Chrome, but not uninstalling it, and signing off the computer. Next time I used Chrome on that computer, without signing into my Google account, I was alarmed to see that all of my favorites, not just the business-related ones, were shown in the browser. Don’t know if I did something wrong or if Chrome is programmed to act like that, but it’s something to keep an eye out for.

“It’s a free country, which is why we should take down the flag that says it isn’t.”–Larry Wilmore.

On the other hand, when Apple removed a game from its app store because it contained a Confederate battle flag, I think they went a little overboard because it was a Civil War game. By the way, that flag which is now so controversial was not the official flag of the Confederate States of America. It wasn’t even the battle flag of all the Confederate troops. It was the battle flag for the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia, in other words, General Lee’s army.

Here’s a map of all the states I’ve been in, courtesy of maploco.com. I think it’s pretty impressive, considering that I’ve never had a job which required me to travel extensively. I’ve been a couple of miles from Mississippi, Michigan, and Wisconsin, but I didn’t go out of my way to cross those borders just to say I’d been there.


Create Your Own Visited States Map

Things I Know

Donald Trump for president will at least be interesting. I’m actually surprised he declared since he has flirted with running both for the presidency and for NY governor before. Mr. Trump certainly has name recognition, although a lot of it is negative. He may be too brash and too blunt for politics and the way he goes on the attack when anyone criticizes him suggests he may have too thin a skin. For now, I think he has very little chance of getting the nomination, but he has accomplished an awful lot being him, so I’ll wait and see what develops.

All the news from Dannemora NY about two convicted murderers escaping from the Clinton Correctional Facility reminds me of a story. Back when I was a radio reporter a convicted murderer was brought from Dannemora to NY Supreme Court in Riverhead to testify in someone else’s trial. Another radio reporter, not me, I swear, walked up to said murderer, stuck a microphone in his face and sang out a question: “How are things in Dannemora?” He sang it, of course to the tune of the Irish ballad, “How are things in Glocca Mora?” from the Broadway show “Finian’s Rainbow.” I don’t think he got any kind of answer other than a scowl and you can’t show a scowl on the radio, but we all thought it was funny.

Clinton, by the way, at 170 years old, but it is only the third oldest prison still in use in New York State. Auburn and Ossining (popularly known as Sing Sing) are older. The first state prison in New York, Newgate, built in the 18th century, was north of New York city in Greenwich Village, so being sent there was called being sent up the river. Thus the origin of that phrase. Sing Sing was built to replace Newgate, which no longer exists.

From the NY Daily News’ website a while back:

“Thomas Brennan, 25, and his girlfriend face an array of charges in connection with the death of Scott Stephen Bernheisel last month. A man and his girlfriend were arrested Sunday night in connection with the alleged murder of a man whose rotting body was discovered in a leather suitcase near Philadelphia International Airport last month, according to reports.”

They are alleged murderers, but it’s not an alleged murder: The corpse had been bludgeoned and stabbed. I know the first commandment of journalism is, “Though shall always remember the allegedly.” Still, in my opinion, the Daily News overuses the word.

Rachael Dolezal: It would be great if what race we were never mattered, but we’re not really there yet, are we?

I like old cars and occasionally go to local show and shine events. On Friday, driving home from one, I was behind a ’57 Chevy. They don’t build ’em like they used to. Compared with modern cars, the taillights on a shoe-box Chevy are tiny, and dim. Plus, the high-mounted center brake light on newer cars does make a difference. ’57 Chevy convertibles are pretty valuable cars. If I owned one, after what I saw on Friday, I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t drive it at night.

Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) sure doesn’t sound like he’s from New England.

Things I Know

Bob Schieffer retired last weekend. He’s 78 and said he wanted to go while he could still do the job. And since he can, he’s moving on to a fellowship at Harvard for the next three semesters. I hope I don’t have to tell you who Bob Schieffer is, but in case I do, he was a reporter, anchor and host of Face the Nation since beginning at CBS in 1969. Did you know how he came to national attention? He was a newspaper reporter in Dallas TX when President Kennedy was killed and it was Schieffer who interviewed Lee Harvey Oswald’s mother and drove her to the police station where her son was being held.

We’ve lost a lot of TV programs recently. Chelsea Handler, Craig Ferguson, Don Imus, Dave Letterman, Bob Scheiffer and soon John Stewart. Steven Colbert is gone too, but he’s coming back as Letterman’s replacement. Scheiffer may not have been the most entertaining, but he was the most informative and probably the most informed too.

They’re removing all the padlocks, some 45 tons of them, from the Pont des Arts bridge in Paris. About a decade ago, people started putting locks on the bridge’s railings to symbolize their love. Last year part of the bridge railing collapsed, causing authorities to decide to remove them and to revamp the bridge so they can’t be put back.

When I was in London last year, there were a few padlocks on the Millennium pedestrian bridge across the Thames too. I wondered why they were there, because I hadn’t heard of the Paris tradition. Now, I know.

Former NY governor George Pataki is never going to be President of the United States. He’s never going to be the Republican nominee for President either, despite declaring his candidacy last week.

Donald Trump isn’t either. In fact, Trump has flirted with entering politics as a presidential or gubernatorial candidate enough times that nobody should consider taking him seriously in that regard unless and until he actually does go through the process of officially declaring his candidacy.

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 Amazon.com’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.

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.

Things I Know

It didn’t occur to me until I saw a picture of the US Capitol being used as a backdrop on the news set at CNN, but there’s scaffolding all around the Capitol Dome and CNN hasn’t bothered to use an up to date picture. Since I noticed that, I’ve seen a lot of other articles in print and on the Internet use an older picture, sans scaffolding. The scaffolding is there because the dome is undergoing a multi-million dollar restoration that will be completed sometime next year.

My lawnmower has an electric starter with a rechargeable battery. The battery has worn out, so I opened the case to get a part number. On the battery it says BP3-12. I trotted off to the Toro dealer to buy a new one and he said he couldn’t tell what battery it needed unless I knew the model number of the mower. I don’t know where on the mower that’s hidden, but I do know it’s hidden. So, I went on line and found any number of replacement batteries based on the number printed on the battery. Instead of installing a new battery this afternoon, I have to wait till it’s delivered on Friday.

I understand that manufacturers use parts created by subcontractors, but they ought to be able to provide a replacement part based on the part itself, rather than the piece of equipment the part belongs to. I had a similar problem with an Andersen window. Took the sash balance into an Andersen dealer who told me he needed the sash, not the part. Again, I was able to order it on line based on the part.

I understand needing the VIN on a car (not VIN number, the n stands for number). Cars have lots of options and sometimes changes occur during a model year. But you ought to be able to find a replacement part for a lawn mower or a window if you have the part. You can too, you just can’t get it from a dealer.

The Catholic Diocese of Rockville Centre NY has a religious TV channel called Telecare that can be found on channel 29 of my cable system. The other day, while switching from TLC to HGTV, I came across what is probably the single most boring show on TV. They had a priest reciting the rosary. I have nothing against praying, but I don’t think someone reciting the rosary is compelling television.

A 26-year-old guy from Oregon communicated on-line for two years with a 24-yaer-old Alabama woman, then moved across country to meet her for the first time and live with her. She led him outside, had him sit at a table and close his eyes, then fractured his skull with a baseball bat. She said she did it because she didn’t want to be his girlfriend.

When I was in high school, I dated a girl once or twice. I liked her, but apparently it wasn’t mutual, so when I called for a date, she had her mom tell me that she’d gone to some exotic locale with her airline-pilot father for the weekend. This happened several times before I caught on.

Either of these women could have just said no. I know I would have accepted that and I suspect the poor guy from Oregon with the fractured skull would have too.

Things I Know

Editing just isn’t what it used to be. On its website this morning, the NY Daily News describes the Arizona cop who hit an armed felon with his patrol car as “a former NYPD veteran.” I guess the article cleared the redundancy desk at the paper, but got lost between there and the copy desk.

As you may have sumarized based on the occasional mistake I make, this website doesn’t have a copy editor, but I hope the Daily News still does. If you send me too much money, I promise I’ll use some of it to hire one.

I have to assume that Bruce Jenner wants his personal life all over TV and supermarket tabloid rags, because if he’d like to keep his private life private, he’s doing it wrong.

Northeastern University in Boston needs to find a bigger venue for its graduation ceremonies. When my nephew graduates on May 8th, he only gets four tickets for family and friends. So if a graduate has even one sibling and his mother and father have both remarried, all of their immediate family can’t see their achievement celebrated in person. On the other hand, I don’t really need an excuse to visit Boston for a weekend. I can do that anytime I want. And this proud uncle doesn’t have to sit through another two-and-a-half hours of boring speeches. There is that.

Brits are right. Americans should call soccer “football” and find another name for American football. “Running into people” is too long for a name, but I’m sure the NFL could come up with something, maybe even something starting with “F” so they don’t have to change their initials as well. After all, kicking is a very small part of American football and an integral part of what we call soccer.

There’s an ugly statue of the late TV star Lucille Ball in her hometown in upstate New York. Citizens of the town are correct that it doesn’t look anything like her. There’s a campaign on to replace it or to at least replace the head. But why now? The statue has been there for six years.

I stumbled across a website that discusses the meaning of people’s names. It said that the name Thomas means twin. My daughter said she already knew that, but what she couldn’t find is a name that means other twin. So, she thinks if you have male twins they should both be named Thomas.

Things I Know

Happy Passover to my Jewish friends and Happy Easter to my Christian friends. If you celebrate something else at this time of year, I hope you enjoy that too. In fact, I hope you enjoy them whether we’re friends or not.

With all the controversy lately, especially in Arkansas and Indiana, over how to protect a mythical baker from providing a wedding cake to Adam and Steve, there’s one thing I don’t believe anyone has mentioned. As far as I know, baking a cake doesn’t violate anyone’s religious beliefs except possibly if you’re Jewish and it’s Passover.

You’ve no doubt heard the expression, “Dirt cheap.” Lately, not so much. Amazon.com informed me recently that I can buy from them a 15-pound bag of earthworm castings (that’s worm manure to you Bunkie) for roughly $20 including shipping. I think I’ll pass.

l can’t help doing math in my head. Sometimes, this makes me notice something almost nobody else would notice. I was browsing on line to find a place I can rent next March so I can go to baseball Spring Training. One place I located rented for $149 a night or $1,100 a week. Since 9 times 7 is 63, I know the answer has to end in 3, but the question is how much am I saving at $1,100 a week? Nothing. A week costs $57 extra although I have no idea why. Seven times $149 is $1,043. Don’t think I’ll rent that one.

The warranty on any car you own is longer for certain pollution controls and safety items than it is for other things. The check engine light was aglow on my truck and after pulling the code, I took it to the dealer because it was part of the emission system. I had to sit around an uncomfortable waiting room for over three hours, but the repair was free.

In case the New York International Auto Show was expecting me today (I go almost every year, usually on opening day), I’m still coming, but the easiest way for me to get from Penn Station to the Javits Center is to walk and it’s supposed to rain. Expect me Monday when it’s not supposed to rain instead.

And speaking of rain, if April showers bring May flowers, by the end of next week, we should be ready for more flowers than you can shake a stick at. I’m not 100 percent sold on the idea that April showers do bring May flowers anyway. In my experience, April showers tend to bring mildew and black mold.

Things I Know

On this, the last day of the month, I would certainly like to see the lamb that March is supposed to go out like. But snow is predicted today in some parts of the NY Metropolitan area.

I don’t think it’s too late to snow around here once Spring rolls around because I remember it did snow during the Mets’ home opener in 1996. I should know. My daughter and I were there and we left in the second inning.

The controversy over Indiana’s new religious freedom law baffles me. Mr. or Ms. Baker, gay couple doesn’t want you to marry either one of them, they just want you to make them a cake and they’ll pay for it too. So, don’t get hitched to either of them if you don’t want to, but if you’re business is selling cakes to the public, gay people are public too.

My to do list has some things on it that are going on five years old. So, today, I’m starting a don’t do list, if I get around to it.

I hope you had a happy St. Patrick’s Day. Did you try my recipe for Irish coffee? I have it black with no coffee.

I just streamed the movie “Mr. Sherman and Peabody” on Netflix. In case you’re wondering, Mr. Peabody’s first name is Hector. It was never mentioned in the cartoons or in the movie, but it was revealed once in a promo.

Rumer Willis, Charlotte McKinney, and Michael Sam are on the new season of the TV show Dancing With the Stars, but they haven’t changed the name of the show to eliminate the word “stars.” I don’t watch it, so I don’t know if any of them have been voted off yet.

After all the negative publicity (and all the former-ness) former Congressman Anthony Weiner achieved from texting a woman named Sydney Leathers a while back, you’d think that no politician would ever contact Ms. Leathers over the Internet again. You’d be wrong about that. Just ask Indiana State Representative Justin Moed, otherwise known to Ms. Leathers as “bitchboy.”

I think Winthrop University Hospital is a bad name for a good hospital because the hospital isn’t affiliated with Winthrop University, but rather with Stony Brook University. I couldn’t find it on their website, but I presume the “Winthrop” part is the name of someone who donated a considerable amount of money toward the hospital. While the school has been around since the 1860’s, in the hospital’s defense, the school changed its name to “Winthrop University” in 1992, after the hospital assumed its present name. So, there is that.

You’re not supposed to make cell phone calls while driving, unless hands-free (the calls not the driving), I know that. But you’re not supposed to park in the right-turn lane at the exit to Home Depot to make a phone call either, even if you put your flashers on.

In most villages in New York State, the real property tax assessment roll becomes final tomorrow. That’s an April Fool’s joke if I ever heard one.

Things I Know

Amazon.com’s recommendation algorithm never ceases to amaze me. You’d be amazed too if, like me, you had purchased AC Delco 24ACD Clear Vision Wiper Blade with Wear Indicator. I usually run down to the auto parts store for those, but they were on sale. Since I bought them, among many odd things, Amazon.com has suggested that because I did, I should also purchase toilet paper (several brands), moisturizer, cleaning wipes, and gummi bears, among other things. Some of them I can understand if the algorithm picked up the word “wiper” without any context, but some of the ones I haven’t written down are beyond my comprehension.

While listening to the Moth Podcast, I learned that there is such a thing as the Astronaut Hall of Fame. It seems unnecessary to me because I think they should all be in it.

Lesson in writing from the NY Daily News website on recently: “An overweight arsonist who said his clothes were allegedly stolen at Riker’s Island is headed to prison after being sentenced Monday.” The first commandment of journalism is, “Thou should always remember the allegedly,” however, here, it’s unnecessary. As long as the man actually said that, “alleged” is redundant. I, on the other hand, tend to over-use parenthetical phrases.

Department of all-too-common mispronunciations: it’s pundit, not pundint; there’s only one a in masonry; repeat after me – – double-u, not dubba-ya; there are two c’s in Arctic and Antarctic and there are also two t’s in Antarctic; jewelry, not jew-la-ry; and of course nuclear isn’t Nuc-U-lar either. I’ve given up on February because Feb-U-Ary has been going on for so long that it’s now considered a second acceptable pronunciation. The NBC Handbook of Pronunciation has been out of print for decades, but you can still find one, even a new one. Surprisingly, right now on Amazon, a new one in paperback is much more expensive than a new one in hard cover.

And as long as I’m examining pedantry in a pedantic manner, MS Word’s spell checker thinks Antarctic should be capitalized, but doesn’t particularly care if I capitalize Arctic.

The popularity of streaming services, downloadable MP3 files and file sharing have reduced the market for music CD’s. If anyone’s wondering whether streaming has or will substantially reduce the market for movies on DVD, just check the catalogue of Oscar winner Julianne Moore. Hardly an overnight success, Ms. Moore has been in lots of movies. a few aren’t even available as DVD’s, but very few are available to stream on Netflix. So, there’s still a big market for DVD’s, especially since lots of people would rather watch a movie at home than go to a theater to see one.

I don’t usually sign Internet petitions, but I signed this one.

I suppose some Presidents’ Day sales offered substantial savings, but we only got $30 off the new sofa we bought. I’m happy for my wife though. She was satisfied with a sofa we saw at the first store we stopped in. Usually, she has to visit multiple stores before making up her mind.

I was unable to add a date to a photo I put up on Facebook because the photo is older than I am.

Disillusionment has set in because I learned that most of Munich Germany’s famous Oktoberfest is in September. Since I spelled October the German way, I would spell September the German way too, except September is both the English and the German way, although it’s pronounced differently in the two languages. Of course, March Madness lasts well into April, so I guess there’s a precedent of sorts.

I’ve been saying for years that if I should win one of those big lotteries, you know, Powerball or Mega Millions, I’d jump on the bed. I found out watching Nancy Giles’ CBS Sunday Morning report last month that there are people at a mattress factory in San Francisco who are actually paid to do that. I don’t know about you, but being paid to do it would take a lot of fun out of it for me.

Things I Know

If you’re off TV for six months, network executives expect the audience to forget you. I’d be more surprised than ever if Brian Williams returns to TV in his former role as sole anchor of the NBC Nightly News after his six-month suspension is up in August.

Otto Von Bismark, the first Chancellor of Germany in the late 19th century, once said, “Laws are like sausages — it is best not to see them being made,” except, of course he said it in German. Still, I was in a market the other day that was selling sausage at $13.99 a pound and I do wonder what the hell is in that.

I’ve arrived at a new way to think of one of my pet peeves, the phrase “Very unique.” To repeat myself, unique doesn’t mean rare, it means only. So, if something is unique means there’s only one, then it follows that if something is very unique it doesn’t exist at all.

If your mechanic gets a Ferrari before you do, it’s time for a new mechanic.

Montana State Representative David Moore of Missoula made national news when he tried to get the state of Montana to outlaw yoga pants, claiming they’re too revealing. His effort failed and Matt Lauer on the Today Show said it was kind of a stretch.

An editorial in the Long Island newspaper Newsday called recently to make the New York State Legislature full-time, increase legislators salary and bar outside income as a way to fight corruption. New York State legislators salaries were last raised in the 1990’s and something needs to be done to fight corruption. Since former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver was criminally charged, former Senate Majority Leader Malcolm Smith (a Democrat) was convicted of trying to bribe his way into being the Republican candidate for Mayor of New York. Still, Newsday’s editorial board should know, but didn’t mention, that giving the New York State Legislature a raise can only be done for the next session. In other words, legislators elected last year can raise the salaries of legislators elected in 2016, but not before that. New York’s state constitution mandates that, so while it could be changed, a constitutional amendment can only pass the legislature in two consecutive sessions. Therefore, amending the State Constitution to give legislators a raise or to bar them from making outside income, would take longer.

You may have read newspaper or Internet reports or heard on TV or radio that a house trailer in Amagansett, Long Island, is for sale for $1.1 million. That’s misleading, deliberately misleading in my view. What’s for sale is the land the trailer sits on which is roughly .4 acres. The land is worth what a buildable lot in Amagansett close to the ocean is worth. It’s worth that, plus what it costs to remove the trailer. You can build a 4,000-square-foot house on that parcel. If you want the trailer, and who would, you can probably have it for free as long as you get it off the lot.

My shoulders hurt, as usual. I was wondering if I could blame the nuns I had in Catholic grade school instead of myself, but I decided not. First, they hit me with a ruler on the hands, not on the shoulders and second, I was talking.

He never worked under just one name, as some other singers have, but if you look up the name “Waylon” in Google, you get over seven million hits. The first nine, and lots of the rest, refer to Waylon Jennings. In case you didn’t know, Waylon was a protégé of Buddy Holly and was on the Winter Dance Party tour with Buddy in February 1959. Buddy and Waylon chartered a light plane from Clear Lake, Iowa to the next tour stop. Waylon agreed to give up his seat on the plane to J.P. Richardson (the Big Bopper). Buddy told Waylon he hoped he would freeze on the tour bus and Waylon told Buddy that he hoped the plane crashed. It did, in the pre-dawn hours of February 3rd, killing Buddy, J.P. and Richie Valens as well as their pilot. Years later, Don McLean wrote a song about it and called it “The Day the Music Died.” Because of his off-handed remark, Waylon felt responsible for the crash for years. He even gave up performing for a while because of it.

Things I Know

I neglected to mention this earlier, so pardon me, but the Sisyphus Project is copyright 2015, as well as 2008-2014.

It also contains material that may be unsuitable for adults or other people with a modicum of maturity. I should probably have warned you about that years ago.

I want to like Comedy Central’s new Nightly Show with Larry Wllmore, but whether it’s a live audience or a laugh track, they find it a lot funnier than I do.

If you are responsible for making the payments on more than one student loan through Navient, the company’s bill collector tells me it cannot split a payment. If you’re on the hook for four years of loans, and using your bank’s on-line bill pay feature, I’m told you have to send four separate payments. I berated their computer programmers and suggested they switch to Quicken, which can handle split payments. BTW, four years ago, Navient’s predecessor, Sallie Mae, could handle split payments. Progress, I guess.

Sheldon Silver is out as Speaker of the NY State Assembly and Governor Cuomo was “shocked” to learn of the charges of corruption against him. There have been questions and rumors about Speaker Silver’s possible ethical lapses and involvement in outside law firms for years. U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara now says he has proof Silver accepted bribes and kickbacks. It remains to be seen whether Bharara’s proof will stand up in court, but Governor Cuomo being shocked reminds me of Captain Renault in the movie “Casablanca” being shocked that there was gambling going on in Rick’s Place.

If the reports I’ve read about the terrible train accident in Valhalla NY a week ago on Tuesday night that killed six people are true, it was entirely avoidable, and having not been avoided, the woman driver whose car the train plowed into could at least have saved herself. First, you can drive over railroad tracks, but you should never drive on to them. In other words, don’t get on the railroad tracks if you can’t proceed across the tracks without stopping. Second, if you do get stuck on railroad tracks and there is a train coming, you exit your car and run toward the train. Why? Because when the train hits your car, both the train and the car will hurl in the direction the train is going. If you run to where the train just was, at least you won’t get hit by flying debris from the collision.

In addition to the Super Bowl, Sunday’s TV programs included the Puppy Bowl, the Kitten Bowl, the Lingerie Bowl, and the Fish Bowl. My next genius idea for TV programming is the Cereal Bowl. I figure we’ll have a bowl of corn flakes getting soggy and a bowl of Rice Krispies making that noise compete against each other.

The recorded voice on the phone said, “Hello. This is not a sales call.” I can’t tell you what kind of call it was though, because that’s when I hung up.

If you are a telemarketer or a survey operator, it’s bad enough from my perspective that you’re calling me at all, but when you call, at least be prepared to talk to me. If I say to you, “You called me. Talk,” you’d better have something I want to hear and say it fast or I’ll hang up.

Things I Know

I have a part-time job. Most part-time jobs are a few hours a week. Mine is a few weeks a year, and a few hours from time to time otherwise. I just finished the few weeks a year, so I’m back.

Ernie Banks has passed away. Mr. Cub was the embodiment of those things we’d like to believe are right about baseball. In his honor, let’s play two.

Bullying is pretty much constantly in the news these days. Out of curiosity, I recently Googled the guy who bullied me in high school. One day, for no apparent reason, he chased me through the halls of the school. When I got around a corner, I stopped and when he rounded the same corner, he found me with my hands clenched together. He was running full-speed ahead when I hit him hard in the stomach, as if I were batting right handed. He didn’t bother me a lot after that. Unless there are two of him (and his last name is unusual), he couldn’t attend his class’s 10th high school reunion because he was doing time for selling a little marijuana–two tons of it!

My car insurance covers damage to rental cars. So does the insurance most people carry on their own cars. The only reason I can think of why you would want to buy the insurance they sell at the car rental counter is if you intended to trash the car. Last time someone asked me if I wanted to buy rental car insurance, I told the woman that if I bought it, I’d really, REALLY use it.

It’s really kind of frightening how little privacy there is in the world. Every once in a while, I try to locate someone I knew in the past. I recently located the second girl I ever dated. Women are harder to find than men, because most of them still change their last names when and if they marry. Not to narrow it down too much, Shirley is married and lives in Connecticut. I’m just proving something to myself and I’m not going to look her up. If I were ever to run into her, my only thought is I’d say I was sorry for acting like a jerk in the way I broke up with her. My only defense for acting like a jerk then is (and you have to admit it is a good defense) I was a 15-year-old boy.

A recent survey by the Oklahoma State University department of agricultural economics found that more than 80% of respondents favor a government-required label on all food containing DNA. Every living thing contains DNA. I’m telling you this because based on the result of that survey, a lot of people don’t know it.

I like the Barrett-Jackson collector car auctions. I try to watch them when televised and I’ve even been to one a few years ago. Since Speed Channel went out of business, I don’t like the TV show as much as I used to. First, having different parts of it on different channels is a pain, especially when I don’t receive all the channels. I’ve always thought it could be a better TV show if they had a few features about special cars, but they’re more likely to highlight bidders than delve deeply into a car. And recent trends toward emphasizing social media and hiring people who don’t know much about the cars for the telecast are bad. I don’t have any research to prove this, but I think people who watch this on TV are mostly interested in the cars.

You can’t tell it from shopping where I live, but you can still buy Lifesavers roll candy. Around here, they only sell the pouches of big, individually wrapped Lifesavers. If you want the rolls, you may have to order them on line.

I am not one of the 100,000,000 Americans suffering from . . .whatever: I’m one of the 300,000,000 Americans suffering from robocalls.

Things I Know

I don’t want to be Debbie Downer here, but if you file quarterly estimated federal income taxes, today is the deadline for your fourth quarter filing. I’ve already mailed mine. Have you?

We visited the Library of Congress in Washington DC over the weekend to see the copy of the Magna Carta from Lincoln Cathedral on display. This is one of the four copies dating from 1215 known to still exist. It’s amazing to see a written document, 800 years old. It’s displayed to protect it, but the way it’s displayed makes it hard to read and hard to photograph. Can’t read it anyway. It’s in Latin and the writing is surprisingly small.
The Jefferson Building of the Library is amazingly ornate and beautiful. It also hosted an exhibit on the Civil Rights Act of 1964 which was extremely informative as well. The Magna Carta exhibit closes on January 19th.

Sunday, January 11th, was a day when some New Yorkers took to the subway, wearing no pants. They did wear underwear, just no pants. I’ve been living for two weeks in this climate with no winter coat, making do with layers and a windbreaker. If I were going to ride the New York City subway sans pants, I’d pick a much warmer day for it.

I’ve never met the writer Larry Doyle. Among other things, he used to write a blog in Huffington Post, but I don’t read the Huffington Post regularly. I came across one piece of his work on a recent rebroadcast of the NPR show, “This American Life.” The episode is called, “It’s Never Over.” If you’ve ever been dumped by someone you dated and thought of as the love of your life, download this podcast, or go to Larrydoyle.com, find and read the piece he wrote in 1990 called, “Life Without Leann.” I’m sure it won’t appeal to everyone, but I found it hysterical! I found out that Larry did finally discover love with someone else. I have too.

I hate to say anything nice about Navient, but at least this month, they didn’t call me before the end of the grace period. And, perhaps, if they knew the maker of the loan was not going to pay in December, calling me before the end of the grace period was a way of alerting me so I wouldn’t pay late fees. That would probably be a good idea, but the call sounded too bill-collector for my tastes and for the fact that I wasn’t late.

Update on my jacket. The good folks at the sportswear company have agreed to send me a warranty replacement for the jacket that suffered unusual wear on the right sleeve. Mistakes happen. A reliable company deals with mistakes and stands behind its merchandise. If this one follows through (and I believe they will), I’ll let you know which company it is when I receive the new jacket.

Since it’s going to take another five to ten business days to get the coat, I am doing without a winter coat for essentially the entire month of January. Let that be a lesson to me. If another coat ever needs warranty replacement after one season of wear, I should return it in the summer, not after Christmas.

Things I Know

You can stop the automated “courtesy calls” from CVS drug stores by calling 1-800-SHOPCVS. I did it today and I only hope it works. After one, or MAYBE two calls, it crosses the line from courtesy to harassment. You have to listen to the whole top-level menu and then select other choices, but the option is in there.

One reason car dealers and manufacturers advertise so heavily that you should give someone a car for Christmas is that December is a slow month for buying cars, since people usually spend their money on less expensive presents.

If you got a fruitcake for Christmas, I didn’t give it to you. So, please don’t give it back to me next year.

Speaking of cake, in case you’ve ever wondered, bakers wear white because it doesn’t show flour stains. It does, however, show chocolate.

I recently made two roundtrips to Manhattan by automobile, a distance of 28 miles each way. One leg into Manhattan took about 45 minutes. The other three legs, one in and two out, took roughly one hour and 45 minutes each. I have driven to Manhattan twice in the last week. Also twice in the last 20 years. If I had to go every day, I wouldn’t consider driving.

Here’s a money-saving tip: If you have two cars and one EZ Pass, make sure you don’t leave the EZ Pass at home if you should drive to Manhattan. A roundtrip through the Queens Midtown Tunnel carries a $15.00 charge for tolls if you don’t have an EZ Pass. I hope I don’t have to explain how I know that.

We took my daughter to Manhattan to consult with a prominent neurosurgeon, Doctor Jeffrey Wisoff, at NYU. It’s easy to see why he’s prominent. He was very professional, spent almost an hour with us, went over her condition with us in great detail, and in language we could all understand. If I needed brain or spinal surgery, I would certainly want Dr. Wisoff on the list of doctors to consider engaging to do it. Our visit was frustrating, however, because our daughter’s neurologist thought her symptoms could be addressed by an operation and while nobody wants to have that kind of surgery, we were hoping Dr. Wisoff could help and he said her symptoms aren’t caused by something he can address. Now, we have to explore other avenues to try to figure out what’s wrong.

One great thing about living in the New York metropolitan area is access to some of the world’s outstanding hospitals, not one, some. You’ve got Weill Cornell, Columbia Presbyterian, NYU Langone, Memorial Sloan Kettering, Hospital for Special Surgery and many more. There are superior hospitals in other places as well, but I think New York has the highest concentration of them in the entire country, maybe the world.

Speaking of health care, my mother was the kind of person who would cancel a doctor’s appointment because she didn’t feel well.

Things I Know

Christmas is better with little kids around. I have adult children and no grandchildren, so if kids are here at Christmas, I have to wait for them to wake up. When I first became a father, I never thought that day would come, and now that it’s here, I’m honestly not crazy about it.

I don’t really need anything for Christmas and anything I really want costs more than the people who love me can afford to give. My camera equipment is Canon and while I don’t really have a need for the $16 thousand lens, all Canon stuff is pricey.

I love my wife, Saint Karen (who has to be a saint to put up with me), more than anything and she’s in the same boat I am. Neither one of us is big on spending extravagantly on gifts. For less modest gifts, frankly, I have bought enough of them over the years that I’m really out of ideas.

Since I have adult children and no grandchildren, one thing I could use for Christmas is a new Christmas tradition.

Just for the record, when I said I wanted a Vette for Christmas, I meant Corvette, not Chevette.

I paid Navient before the penalty date and they didn’t call me again, so I didn’t call them as I said I might either, because I don’t like to be frustrated, so why should I talk to Navient if I don’t have to?

Here, by the way, is my advice to Navient, not that they asked for it. If I were the maker of a loan and the cosigner was paying that loan, on time as required, I’d send the cosigner a monthly statement to make sure those payments continued apace.

My friend and former colleague, Wes Richards, had a nice turn of phrase in his blog last week. He said the Long Island newspaper, Newsday, is a shadow of its former shadow.

Things I Know

Today’s Patti’s birthday. We dated for a while in high school and I still have a soft spot in my heart (or maybe it’s my head) for her. Even though she hasn’t done anything influential in my life since she was 17 and I didn’t appreciate it then, she really was a big influence on me and how I grew up. Neither of us wants to drop our spouse and run off together, but I do wish her well and like to hear that she’s doing okay. I didn’t remember her date of birth from when we were kids, but I asked her years ago when we reconnected as adults. She told me, but said she would not tell me how old she was. She’s roughly 13 months younger than I am. If I could subtract one from 16 to get her age when we were dating, I can subtract one from my current age to figure out how old she is now. But I promised her I wouldn’t tell her unless she asked. She hasn’t asked, so I won’t tell. Still, happy birthday Patti, and many more.

I’m on the federal do not call list. I didn’t put myself on the list because I’m gullible and want to avoid buying anything someone calls me up and offers to sell me. I did it as a favor to myself because I find telemarketing annoying. That’s true. But I also did it as a favor to telemarketers, since there is no way in hell, and no way on God’s green earth that I will every buy something from a telemarketer, so why should I waste their time either?
Peter called me tonight to try to sell me solar panels. I told him that if he could tell me exactly how many times I had asked his company to never call me again this year, I’d listen to his pitch. He didn’t even try to guess. I didn’t bother telling him that I don’t believe his name is Peter, but I don’t believe it.

I know charities are exempt from the list, but I don’t give to charities that call me for donations either. I don’t because for the most part, I don’t know if the people who are calling me are who they say they are and I don’t know whether their charities are legitimate either.

If I want to donate to charity, I research it first to see if the charity is putting my money to a use that I approve of. Mostly, the ones that do the most telemarketing spend most of their money on more fund raising. That’s not a use I approve of.

I like Baskin Robins ice cream, but the store in my neighborhood isn’t very good at making milk shakes and despite the sign behind the counter, they don’t make malteds at all. The last milk shake I bought at that store will be the last milk shake I buy at that store, but they were good about giving me my money back when I took one sip and complained.

Things I Know

Former New York Governor George Pataki is testing the waters for a Presidential run in 2016. It’s the fourth time in the past five election cycles that Pataki has done this. He sat out 2008 when George Bush ran for reelection. In my political opinion, Governor Pataki has absolutely zero chance of gaining the GOP nomination, but his chance of becoming the Republican vice-presidential nominee are about ten times greater than that.

In case you’re wondering, I do know what ten times zero is.

The Bath Bus Company in Great Britain is running an experimental bus on bio-methane, made from decomposing human feces and food waste. I’m sorry, but that gives me a mental picture of a bus in which all the seats are toilets.

If you weigh yourself on the kind of scale they have in a doctor’s office, the kind where the weights slide across a beam, you may thing the scale is accurate, but maybe it isn’t. First, when it’s set to zero, the beam has to be adjusted so it balances. Second, the post has to be plumb and the base of the beam has to be level. The scale can’t be on a carpeted surface either. The scale in my doctor’s office said I gained seven pounds in the last two weeks. To do that, I’d have to eat an additional 1,500 calories for each of those 14 days. I know Thanksgiving was in there, but still I can’t see how that’s possible. But then, I noticed from my seat on the examination table that the scale isn’t plumb and level. I probably put on two or three pounds, but not seven!

I’m starting another effort to change American culture. Let’s all get behind it. Beginning when you reach the age of 70, instead of receiving your birthday cake at a party or a special dinner, everyone should be entitled to birthday cake for breakfast. After all, 70 is getting up there and life is short so, as the saying goes, eat desert first.

I get a kick out of seeing someplace I’ve been on TV. When the “Dark Water” episode of “Doctor Who” aired recently, showing Cybermen bursting out of the doors of St. Paul’s Cathedral in London and head south along Sermon Lane toward the Millennium Bridge was one of those times. I understand that scene is also an homage to another time Cybermen marched down Sermon Lane during a previous invasion when Patrick Troughton played The Doctor.

Now that they have legalized pot in Washington DC, the Congress has a better excuse than it has had previously.

Vaunted Ivy League institution, the University of Pennsylvania (no not Penn State, that’s a different school) will soon offer a course entitled “wasting Time on the Internet.” Surprisingly, to me anyway. I can’t find the course available for download so it can be studied at your home or in your place of business.

Amazon.com has a new feature for members of its paid Prime service. In addition to two-day shipping, free videos and a kindle lending library, they now offer free, on-line storage for an unlimited number of still photographs. Since I have around 500 GB of pictures, I decided to try it as a backup. It’s a good deal, but I don’t like the execution. I like the large thumbnails used to display the pics, but uploading is kind of slow. Plus in Amazon’s cloud storage, the pictures are displayed by date taken or date uploaded. Nothing else. I have organized my pictures mostly by subject or event. If I could display my file storage tree on Amazon’s cloud, I’d like it better. I have a lot of pics of friends and family and I’d like to be able to locate that folder in the cloud. You can upload pictures to Flickr too (also slow) but on Flickr, you can create sets of pictures which is better. But I use Flickr for pictures I want to share, not for general storage.

Things I Know

A zoo in the Philippines is allowing visitors to be massaged by some big pythons. The snakes are supposedly not aggressive and the zoo management says doing this will help zoo patrons learn more about the snakes. I think I’ll just read a book, watch a documentary, or check out a couple of websites if it’s okay with you.

Two female school teachers in Louisiana are the latest I’ve read about in a disturbingly long line of teachers having sex with students. There was another one, this one male, in Brooklyn in September. Are these things happening more often or being reported more often? For the record, the most any of my high school teachers did for me in the romance department was introduce me to a Sophomore girl in his homeroom who I took to my senior prom.

Sophomore, in case nobody else has told you has Greek roots and basically it means wise fool.

The Yankees aren’t in the post season for the second year in a row. The Mets didn’t make the post season for what? I think it’s the third two-years in a row in a row. The Mets won-lost record was slightly better this year than last, five games better. But that’s nowhere near the ninety games GM Sandy Alderson said they could win this season. They didn’t fall off a cliff in the second half either and I suppose that’s a small step forward. They played mediocre baseball almost all season. They finished tied with the Braves for second place, but that’s 17 games back of the Nationals and nothing to brag about either. Some baseball pundits are saying they’re only two players away from contending. I don’t believe that, but they could break 500 next year. Hope does spring eternal.

What do we know so far that the Mets are planning to help improve next year? They’re going to move the outfield fences in again (second time since the stadium opened) to help Curtis Granderson hit seven more homeruns.

The Department of Great Lines hears from Jon Stewart and the Daily Show. When the NFL’s biggest sponsor, a brewery, said the NFL needed to be more active in combatting domestic violence and child abuse, and the NFL said it is formulating new measures, Stewart said the NFL “succumbed to beer pressure.”

My memory isn’t quite as good as it once was, but if “Don’t touch my Dart” isn’t the stupidest advertising campaign I’ve ever heard or seen, it’s got to be second.

I’m building new radiator covers for my 100-year old house. I bought a pneumatic nail gun to help with the construction. I finally got around to trying it. By using it, I figured out a couple of things the instructions didn’t tell me, but I didn’t make any major mistakes. It works, and I didn’t nail myself to anything. One tip: to make attaching moldings around the edges of the opening you cut in the plywood, you used to make the cabinet, it helps to make the opening big enough to fit the nail gun into.

Things I Know

Ray Rice, a professional football player, is bigger and stronger not only than the average woman, but than most above-average women too. An average man is bigger and stronger than an average woman. An average man could probably beat up an average woman anytime he wanted to. Beating someone up, man or woman, doesn’t prove who’s right or wrong: It proves who’s stronger which usually isn’t in dispute. So, a man beating up a woman is a particularly despicable form of bullying. The good thing is most men don’t only not want to beat up a female companion, they can’t want to.

I agree with the people who say the NFL didn’t take domestic violence seriously enough, but it looks like the NFL has learned its lesson. I certainly hope so.

LRD. I have named a disease that’s existed for centuries, but never had a name before. LRD of course stands for Liverwurst Reflux Disorder.

So, now NATO is going to have a rapid response force. I hope the powers that be are bright enough to figure out a path somewhere between the over-zealous mutual-defense pacts that started WWI and the appeasement that started WWII, in order to avoid WWIII.

I keep hearing that Labor Day is the unofficial end of summer. It hasn’t been warm enough this summer for it to end, so I’m not going to accept its unofficial end. In fact, I may not accept its official end either. I know I’m still wearing white shoes.

After the news reports of hackers making nude photos of celebrities public, David Letterman asked his audience if they spend a lot of time taking nude selfies. If you’re not already glad there are no nude photos of me on the Internet, you should be. I know I am. I don’t take nude selfies because I have a mirror and I wouldn’t share them if I did.

Things I Know

President Obama is neither my favorite nor my least favorite president. Criticizing him for announcing that he doesn’t have a plan to deal with ISIS is fair. Criticizing him for wearing a tan suit is ridiculous!

Newsmax TV is running a radio ad for a poll it’s conducting. It asks, “Can Doctor Ben Carson win back the White House from OBama?” First, President OBama won’t be running in the next presidential election. Second, While Doctor Carson has taken up writing and politics after a distinguished career as a neurosurgeon, I don’t think he has a snowball’s chance in hell of getting nominated, let alone elected president.

We have so many people in jail in this country that we really should make both mental illness and non-violent drug crimes public health problems rather than criminal justice problems. I suppose locking up a few of those people is justified, but not all of them.

While out for a drive this week, I encountered my dad’s ghost. The guy who was in front of me in traffic had his left-turn signal on for about three miles and he hadn’t turned left by the time I got around him. Wrong kind of car, but definitely my dad’s driving style.

So the fraud guy from alleged Microsoft Support (which is a scam and has nothing to do with Microsoft), called again tonight. I advised him to take a stool softener. You can probably figure out why I said that. I also told him not to call again, and didn’t say please, but I still think he will.

I know this isn’t going to stop the calls, but just to be clear, I don’t buy anything from telemarketers. Doing so would only encourage a practice that needs no encouragement. I also don’t donate to any telemarketers who call alleging that they represent charities. First, like the sales calls, it only encourages a practice that needs no encouragement, but there are other reasons too. If you call me out of the blue, I have no idea if you are who you say you are and I usually have no background on the charity. I’m not that responsive to political telemarketers or people I’m already doing business with who try to sell me more stuff over the phone. I have no trouble saying no. I just took the trouble to get on the federal no-call list because I find all these calls annoying.

Classmates.com is a little nuts in the way it markets its service. I just received an email from them asking me about a guy who started in my high school after I graduated. Don’t know and don’t care. I suspect most guys don’t know or care about guys who weren’t even in school with them. If I were running their marketing campaign, I’d ask girls about guys who graduated up to two or even three years before they did and I’d ask guys about women who graduated up to two or three years after them. If I weren’t happily married, I might be very interested in some women who graduated from high school a year or two after I did.

According to several stories I read on the Internet (so it must be true) Jell-O sales fell by 19 percent between 2009 and 2013. I bet people don’t buy a lot of Junket anymore either. In fact, I was surprised to learn they still make that.

Ray Dean, recently retired police chief in the small Long Island village of Westhampton Beach received a retirement bonus of something like $400,000. It was for accumulated, unused vacation and sick time over his 15 years in the job. He’s been criticized for that and I don’t know why. The Village mayor and trustees who entered into the contract that required these payments deserve the criticism. If someone wanted to give me an overly-generous employment contract, I’d accept it, wouldn’t you. Current mayor, Maria Moore, to her credit, says the she and the present board of trustees will make sure the next chief’s contract isn’t anywhere near as generous.

By the way, did you know that according to New York State law, if a municipality gives its police a raise, it must also raise the salary of its police chief by at least as much as the dollar amount of the highest raise given to any of the policemen? According to one interpretation of that law, you can’t pay a new police chief less than you paid his or her predecessor either. That, to use the applicable technical term, is nuts.

Attention Geico Gecko: Bullwinkle’s last name isn’t “Winkle.” It’s “Moose.” Full name, Bullwinkle J. Moose. If I ever knew what the J stands for, I’ve long-since forgotten.

Things I Know

Don Pardo died. He was 96. Absolutely a household voice, although not a household name. Still, if you know anything at all about media, you didn’t just ask, “Don who?”

Arcadia publishing has made a success of publishing trade paperback books consisting mostly of photos of local areas. The series is called “Images of America.” The newest one is “Ithaca Radio” by Peter King Steinhaus and Rick Sommers Steinhaus with an introduction by Keith Olbermann. Ithaca NY is home of a highly regarded college curriculum in broadcasting at Ithaca College’s school of communications and one of the most professional college radio stations you’ll ever hear at Cornell’s student-owned and run WVBR. Because of that, a lot more successful broadcasters have passed through Ithaca than most radio markets of its size. I passed through Ithaca radio myself and I bought the book when it came out last week. If you worked in Ithaca radio or if you just follow the medium, I think you’ll like the book and, no, you won’t find a picture of me in it.

Two young Amish girls were kidnapped last week near Oswegatchie, NY. Fortunately, the girls’ abductors were arrested and the girls returned to their families. If like me, you’ve lived in New York most of your life and never heard of Oswegatchie, you may wonder what it’s near. It isn’t near anything.

If you’re interested in cars, as I am, you probably agree with me that the Woodward Dream Cruise and the Pebble Beach Concours D’Elegance should never take place on the same weekend.

A 1962 Ferrari 250 GT which was expected to bring a record price last week sold for only $38 million. A record price for a Ferrari 250 GT, in case you’re thinking of getting one for yourself or a friend, would be somewhere north of $52 million.

Things I Know

“Never wear sandals on a farm.” –Robin Williams. RIP Robin Williams. You made everyone laugh.

Frankly both Israel and Hamas are wrong in the current Middle East conflict. I’m not going to get into which side is more wrong, but with respect to the current issue, if you’re going to sit around firing rockets at someone, you should expect them to shoot back.

James Brady, President Regan’s press secretary, died on August 4th, at the age of 73. He was gravely wounded when John Hinckley tried to assassinate Regan. Bullets fired by Hinckley hit both Regan and Brady. Brady’s injuries were permanent. I didn’t know Mr. Brady, but I did talk to him on the phone a couple of times when I worked in the House of Representatives and he worked for Senator Roth of Delaware. After his shooting, Brady worked hard for and became a living symbol in efforts to pass stricter gun control laws. RIP James Brady.

There’s a radio commercial for B&H Photo, a huge camera and electronic store in New York. In it, his co-workers are planning a “surprise retirement party” for Bob. This suggests, at least to me that in addition to the party being a surprise to Bob, his retirement is also a surprise to him.

I was watching a rebroadcast of the 2010 Mark Twain Award ceremony, the one that gave the prize to Tina Fey. Jennifer Hudson is really talented singer. Still, In my opinion, nobody but Aretha should sing “Respect.”

Things I Know

Two 19-year-old junior hockey players for the US Hockey League’s Lincoln Stars were arrested because they allegedly had sex with a 15-year-old girl in a hotel room in Morehead MN, recorded event and then shared the recording. Here’s advice you may not get anywhere else. If you do commit a felony, make sure to record it and share it with as many people as possible. Be certain to post it on the Internet too. That will make it so much easier for the police to catch and prosecute you. Since I mentioned the team’s name, I should point out that the team has quite properly suspended the two players indefinitely.

It’s a sad commentary on the state of the world that when Orlando Bloom swung on Justin Bieber in Ibiza, Spain, it was international news. Because of his age and his past public behavior, I don’t expect Justin Bieber to behave like an adult, but Orlando Bloom is in his late 30’s, almost twice Bieber’s age.

So, I was looking through a bunch of books and I came across one by a professor, a woman with a very unusual first name. How unusual? I’ve only met or heard of one person in my entire life with that name. We went to school together from third to sixth grade. So, I Googled the author. Then, I Googled the first name. The first nine results for the name were the author. One of those turned up an email address. I dropped her a line. She answered. Yup, it’s her. I doubt we’ll ever get together, but it’s nice to know that one of my old classmates has had a successful career in academia.

Based on my experience riding in cars, both as a parent and as a child, “Don’t make me come back there,” is among the very best advice I’ve ever received or given.

Saint Karen (my wife who must be a saint to put up with me) received a mailing from Barclay’s Bank, offering her a black Visa card. Said Black Visa Card is made of stainless steel (patent pending, believe it or not). Since most cards are now swiped or used on line and not imprinted, I don’t know how important that is. I do know if I were a merchant, the black one wouldn’t impress me. It has some benefits that are good if you travel a lot and have a lot of problems while traveling, a lot. But the interest rate is nothing special and it has an annual fee of $495! So, thanks, but no thanks.

The nice thing about getting robocalls on my cell phone is that I can (and do) hang up on them without even answering them.

Some wag on TV said there’s a new word, precrastination, that means getting something done too early. Procrastination never made me any money, so I’m coining another new word: amateurcrastination.

Things I Know

The phrase “The Fourth of July,” and the phrase “Independence Day” have the same number of syllables. If we could get everyone to call it Independence Day, we could change it to always have a three day weekend out of it.

At the end of June, General Motors announced another 7.6 million cars. The General has now recalled 28 million vehicles since January 1 of this year. That’s more cars than it sold in the past seven years combined. If this trend continues much longer, the General will run out of cars to recall that it manufactured. I predict when that happens, General Motors will start recalling Fords and Chryslers too.

Gold dust plants are susceptible to fungus. I didn’t know that until all the ones in my back yard started turning black while I was in Europe.

I’ve been listening to downloads of an old-time radio called “Broadway Is My Beat.” I don’t know why I like it. I’ll give it a slight break because the show, from the early 1950s predated the Miranda decision, but there’s almost no correct police procedure in it, beginning with the fact that before NYPD headquarters was at 1 Police Plaza, it was on Centre Street which is way downtown, not on Broadway between Times Square and Columbus Circle. Plus, very few people in New York used florid language like that in New York City in the early 1950s and I’m pretty sure not a single one who did was a police detective lieutenant like the lead character in the show, Danny Clover.

Twitter, with its 140 character limit, gave me the idea for a website where everything had to be a haiku. But someone else had an idea for haiku.com before I did. It’s not exactly restricted to haikus, but it’s similar to that.

Now that July is here, I suppose it’s time for end of summer and back to school sales.

The Mets are now 10 or 11 games under .500. And while we’re contemplating that, let’s remember that they usually fade in the second-half of the season.

Things I Know

I get in trouble for nothing a lot. Since it happens frequently, I’m going to try to figure out how to get paid for it.

Insomniac that I am, I often go to bed hours after my lovely wife. This means I occasionally change for bed in the dark and Saint Karen (who has to be a saint to put up with me) leaves my night clothes on my pillow. Since I only need my glasses to find my glasses, I usually put them in the same place every night, on top of my armoire. Recently, I couldn’t find my glasses and Saint Karen found them in our bed. That means I took my glasses off while changing, laid them on the mattress and didn’t put them where they belong. It also means I was lucky I didn’t crush them in my sleep. More importantly than either of those things, it clearly means I shouldn’t go to bed when I’m tired.

I wondered why Bruce Blakeman is running TV ads for New York’s fourth Congressional District so far away from the general election. Then, I realized, voters in the 4th CD, NY are looking forward to the rarest of rare events, a Republican primary. It’s tomorrow, June 24th.

“All dictators should know a rigged election should be like a pleasant spring day — high 60’s, low 70’s.” –John Oliver

I have a scar a couple of inches long on my forehead. It’s there because the doctor cut off something else that used to be there. But when anyone asks me what the scar is from, I tell them it’s from my lobotomy.

I was unable to stifle ambition, so I dragged out my step ladder and changed the two burned out bulbs in the overhead fixture of our upstairs bathroom. Each bulb costs $7. Hopefully they’ll last a while. Now, it’s a lot easier to read in the bathtub than it was yesterday. It’s still difficult to read in the shower, but not because it’s dark in there. It’s not.

Going to the gym is good for something. A few years ago, I couldn’t lift my biggest room air conditioner, the one for the master bedroom into the window. Now, I can.

The community in which I live stopped paying to allow residents to carry their own trash to the local dump. I used to like to dispose of building debris from my remodeling projects that way, but now that I can’t, so I should probably sell my pickup truck.

Things I Know

Rarely will an incumbent politician run attack ads against his or her opponent, especially very early in the campaign. It helps the challenger gain name recognition and implies that the incumbent takes them seriously. Some PAC is running ads attacking Rob Astorino, the Republican nominee to face Andrew Cuomo, the Democratic incumbent governor of New York. And it’s even stranger because Astorino is about 30 points behind Cuomo in recent polls.

it was really bush league for Yankee fans to boo Robinson Cano roundly during every plate appearance of his first trip back to the Bronx since signing with the Seattle Mariners. The Yankees weren’t willing to match what the Mariners paid Cano. The difference between the two offers was in eight figures. Even if you were as rich as a Major League Baseball star, you wouldn’t leave that much cash on the table either.

It’s hard to keep the story of the racist owner of the LA Clippers basketball team straight when the owner and the NBA commissioner are named Sterling and Silver respectively.

Talk about disillusioned, according to this this, Murphy didn’t formulate Murphy’s Law.

Kudos to the NY State Department of Taxation and Finance. I got my state tax refund in fewer than two weeks after I filed. The IRS is no slouch either. I received my federal refund before the end of April as well.

When I drive a car regularly, after a while I cut a hole in the driver’s side floor mat because of the way I move my feet while working the gas and brake pedal. You can’t buy just one floor mat though, so if I want mine to match, I have to buy two for the front and one for the rear. That can cost $150 or more. Being cheap, I took the mat to an upholstery shop and they’re sewing a heel pad on just the driver’s side mat. They’re doing it for a lot less than $150 too.

If I call my bank with questions about my accounts, they ask me a bunch of security questions. All of the security questions except one would be available to someone who found or stole my wallet. The one that isn’t is, “What’s your mother’s maiden name?” They have my wife’s maiden name wrong.

When CD players were first introduced, many of the early ones had a random play feature. Consumers didn’t like that because a random selection could play the same song more than once before all of them had been played. Really random is hard to achieve, but that’s beside the point in this instance. CD makers retooled and came up with a shuffle program. It would play all the songs in a different order each time, but it wouldn’t repeat any of the songs until all of them had played. I have a 10 CD player in my old minivan. It plays all the songs before it repeats, even if you shut the car off from time to time. To get it to reset, you have to play all the songs or remove and reinsert the CD magazine. I bring this up because iTunes shuffle button seems to play some songs more than once before playing all of them. ITunes says shuffle, but appears to means random. It would be both nice and not much of a software problem if you could choose between random and shuffle.

I recently had minor surgery on my forehead under local anesthetic. My wife, the lovely Saint Karen (she has to be a saint to put up with me) told the women she works with that on the occasion of that surgery she felt comfortable calling me a numb skull.

The doctor’s office had a lot of storage compartments labeled with what they contained. One of the compartments was labeled Xylocaine. That reminded me of two things: I’d still wonder how they come up with names for all these drugs; and I did once meet famous jazz musician Lionel Hampton.

Things I Know

Since the final four is nigh, perhaps this is the best time to remind readers you can’t go swimming in a basketball pool.

If you eat too much comfort food, it’ll make you uncomfortable.

I was really disappointed when I found out eating Thin Mints won’t make you thin. I ate them all anyway.

The phone rang. I answered it. The recording said, “Hello, this is a courtesy call from CVS Pharmacy. To continue, press any key.” I pressed the disconnect button and it didn’t continue, so that wasn’t true.

We keep our money in a big bank. Let’s call it “Bank of a Huge and Powerful Country” shall we? That’s BHPC for short. In reading Internet articles, I sometimes see stories of bad customer service involving them, but I’m usually quite satisfied, especially with my local branch. However, the credit card division is a little wonky. My pet peeve is that I can go to the grocery or the Home Depot twice in one day and charge both trips on my credit card, but I can’t buy gas for both of my cars on one day at the station nearest my house. I have to use different credit card accounts for that.

Anyway, I’m going out of the country soon, so I called BHPC and asked if they had cards that work out of the country and don’t charge a foreign exchange fee. They do. They said they’d send me one and told me when. I said I’d buy the tickets from here to out of the country before that with my other card. Then I did that and BHPC turned down the charge. Ticket broker sent me an email instructing me to call them and straighten it out. The email didn’t include that company’s hours of operation, so naturally I called three minutes after they closed.

Spring is here and glaciers have receded from around my Long Island home. When they did, I found two home-delivered newspapers, one from February 3rd and one from the 13th. The snow blower found another one, so I have no idea what the date was on that one.

I am in favor of instant gratification in certain circumstances. I’m even willing to pay a reasonable premium for it. The “right-now fee” for USB cables is too high though. I went to several stores on Friday and Saturday. They all asked for about $20 for one USB cable. You can buy one for two dollars or less from monoprice.com. I decided I could wait.

On “Face the Nation” recently, US Secretary of State John Kerry used a great word I’d never heard before, kleptocracy. I knew what it meant the moment I heard it (which is what makes it a great word); government of thieves. He used it to refer to the recently ousted government of Ukraine. And it’s not new word either. The dictionary I consulted said it was first used in 1819.

On an episode of “Ask This Old House” I saw a month or two ago, Tom Silva showed a homeowner how to get an over-sized box spring upstairs. He cut the bottom frame of the spring in half and folded it. I prefer the method I used in my first apartment on the second floor of an old house. We took out a second floor window and brought it in over the porch roof.

I am suggesting a new medicine. Since everyone now talks about flu-like symptoms instead of the flu, we should have flu-like shots instead of (or in addition to)flu shots. I had it all last week and now I feel like I should get a refund for my flu shot. I still have a cough so bad that I pulled a couple of muscles coughing. The rest of my symptoms have gone, but I still have to cough, only now it hurts, a lot. If you’re going to pull a muscle coughing, pull a back muscle. You can lean against a wall when you cough and that helps some. Quite naturally, I pulled a front muscle and I haven’t discovered anything to ease the pain of that.

Things I Know

Two of the nation’s largest cable providers are merging when Comcast acquires Time Warner. A company spokesman will come to your house to explain the deal a week from Tuesday, sometime between 9 AM and 7 PM.

US Olympic skier Gus Kenworthy found five stray puppies at the Sochi Winter Olympics. He’s trying to arranging to take them home to Colorado with him. You may have heard that Olympic organizers were euthanizing Sochi’s stray dogs. Instead, they should have just given one to each Olympic athlete.

Let’s say you get a phone call and there’s nobody on the end of the line, but if you wait 10 or 15 seconds, someone picks up. A computer is calling your phone number because it anticipates that the person who’s making all these annoying telemarketing calls is about to finish with his or her previous victim. It improves there efficiency and allows them to annoy more people per hour. If a telemarketer calls me before they’re ready to talk to me, I hang up, This is actually more efficient, because if they call me when they’re ready to talk to me, I have to wait for them to talk before I hang up.

Not only does the groundhog always see his shadow because of TV lights, but it’s cold around here for more than six weeks after groundhog day. It’s cold in Pennsylvania where the official groundhog is located longer than that too.

I believe gossamer toilet paper in public rest rooms is a bad thing. Ultra narrow toilet paper is something else we should all band together to battle to the death.

An important new medical study has proven that eating a lot eggs does not increase your risk of heart disease. But, all the bacon you eat with those eggs will do you in.

Sometimes luck trumps stupidity more than once in the same driving situation. Last summer, I was headed south on a two-lane road. An idiot kid on a bicycle was headed north in the middle of the southbound land. I slowed to a crawl. At the last minute, he turned to his left and rode by my passenger-side door, while flashing me a gang sign. He sure showed me, didn’t he? At the same time, the guy in the Chevy Suburban following me sped past me on the right shoulder. I wasn’t signaling a left turn: there wasn’t any place to turn left. Both the kid and the driver were lucky they didn’t create a kid and bike sandwich on two trucks with no mayo. If somebody slows down in front of you for no apparent reason, perhaps there is a reason and you just can’t see it.

Snow plows are typically wider than the trucks they’re installed on. I was reminded of this last week when I was almost hit head on by a snow plow. The truck was in its lane, but the plow was considerably over the double yellow line.

“Procrastinate now, don’t put it off.” Ellen DeGeneres said that in a recently rebroadcast TV special and it’s still good advice.

Things I Know

We’ll have six more weeks of winter. The groundhog always sees his shadow because of TV lights.

I hope you know that the people who phone you claiming to be from Microsoft Support are really scam artists. You have my permission to hang up on them. Anyway, Gary from the so-called Microsoft Support called last week. I told him I was glad he called because it gave me the chance to ask if he had accepted the Lord, Jesus Christ as his personal God and Savior. He asked me what I was talking about. If he doesn’t know, I sure don’t, so I hung up on him.

Since I’m not a football fan, I’ll be so glad when the Super Bowl is over.

Justin Bieber should be embarrassed for his recent run in with the law in Miami. First off, you should never drink and drive. You might spill it. Second, street racing is very dangerous and you shouldn’t ever do that either. But if I ever get picked up for speeding in a Lamborghini, you can bet I’ll be driving a hell of a lot faster than the 60 mph the Bieb was accused of driving in Miami.

If you buy a Dell computer from any other company but Dell, the first thing you should do is register it on line and check when the warranty expires. I recently bought two Dell computers. The first one broke in three weeks. That happens, but it was both new and out of warranty. I sent it back to Amazon.com and they were great about it, so great that I bought another Dell from an Amazon seller and the warranty on that one started three weeks before I bought it. Dell customer support adjusted it for me, but Dell ought to find a way that it doesn’t need adjusting. Either that, or it should stop selling computers through third parties.

I’ve got to say this computer came with less bloatware than I’m used to seeing on new PC’s.

However, attention Dell: I know I plugged in the headphones. Stop warning me about it.

Also, attention Microsoft: I stopped some programs in the start menu from launching when they want to; Windows didn’t. So, warning me about that way too many times is annoying, not helpful. And that’s an annoyance Microsoft has gone back and added to versions of Windows earlier than 8.1 I’m not sure how many earlier versions, but as far back as Vista anyway. At least give me a check box that says don’t show this to me again.

I’m getting used to Windows 8.1. It boots a lot faster than Vista did, that’s for sure. I know there’s a screen with all the apps on it, but I’d still like the restored start menu to contain a list of installed programs. I know I can get rid of the lock screen too and I plan to look up how to do that soon. This is not a telephone, it’s a laptop.

Microsoft will let you remove software like Office from one computer and install it on another, but the third computer, they don’t like so much. Understandable. So, when my first new computer lasted less than a month, I had to call them to install Office on my replacement. They let me. They let me with so little hassle that they didn’t even ask me why. So, if they’re not going to ask you why, I don’t think they should make you call at all.

A company called Cyberlink has a media suite that wound up on my new laptop. It might be good. I don’t know. But it bothers me to buy it frequently during my free trial period. It was doing that every time I booted my laptop. So, I went into my startup menu and found five Cyberlink programs set to start every time the computer does. I disabled them all. If it still finds a way to annoy me every time I start the computer, I’ll uninstall them all. Aggressive sales tactics like that can be self-defeating. They certainly are if you try them on me.

Things I Konw

Speaking of Clarence and Dudley as I was yesterday, the same child actress played the little girl in “the Bishop’s Wife” and Zuzu of petals fame in “It’s a Wonderful Life.”

The weatherman got our hopes up needlessly last night. It snowed for a little while, but just flurries. Nothing stuck. If you live on Long Island and want a White Christmas, my advice is, listen to the song. Drifters or Bing Crosby, doesn’t matter to me.

Dear Santa, when I said I’d like a couple of CD’s for Christmas, I meant the kind with money in them, not the kind with music on them.

CBS News’ Charles Osgood has a beautiful voice and an engaging on-air personality. He either is one himself or employs top-flight writers on both radio and TV as well. And occasionally he proves on CBS Sunday Morning that he can also play the piano. But with all that talent, he demonstrated once again on the Sunday before Christmas with his rendition of “The Christmas Song” that one thing he can’t do is sing.

Plus, “The Christmas Song” is the wrong thing for anyone to sing. Nat King Cole recorded it four times, so as far as I’m concerned, “The Christmas Song” by Nat King Cole is the fourth best Christmas record ever. And third, and second and first too.

Not being able to sing is the only thing I’m confident Mr. Osgood and I have in common.

While I wasn’t sure if yesterday was Seasons Eve or Holidays Eve, I am sure today is Christmas Day. So, if you’re British and you celebrate Christmas, have a happy one. If you’re not British and you celebrate Christmas, have a Merry one. If you don’t celebrate Christmas at all, or if you do, I also hope you have a happy and healthy New Year.

Things I Know

Our new daughter-in-law and our old son sent us a lovely Christmas centerpiece. We’ll have it on the table at Christmas dinner.

A Wal-Mart worker in Deerfield Beach Florida shot up the car of a second Wal-Mart worker when the second worker was chosen employee of the month. Either that explains why he wasn’t selected in the first place, or ensures he won’t be selected next month either: maybe both.

My wife has decided to establish a telephone call center here in America and have it specialize in making annoying telemarketing calls to people in India.

This led me to plan a directory of the names and addresses of local Jehovah’s Witnesses so the rest of us can go to their homes and knock on their doors at inconvenient times.

Here’s why non-Yankee fans don’t like Yankee fans. The Yankees offered Robinson Cano somewhere between $160 and $175 million depending on which source you read. The Seattle Mariners offered Cano $240 million. And some idiot Yankee fans calling sports talk radio stations criticizing Cano for not signing with the Yanks. How can he go wrong? He gets all that extra money and an extra month off since the Mariners don’t usually work in October.

An atheist doesn’t believe in God. A big box retail store doesn’t believe in closing, at least not during the Christmas season.

Since Hanukkah and Thanksgiving took place at the same time this year, a wag suggested that we should all eat latkes instead of turkey. Not possible. There’s no such thing at a leftover latke. Not even at my house and I’m not Jewish.

According to the Fort Myers News Press, the human cannonball with the Cole Brothers circus retired after his final performance on December 1st. In other words, he was fired and then he quit.

Things I Know

We have one more thing to be thankful for this Thanksgiving. Our son got married recently. We hope our son and our daughter-in-law remain thankful for each other for the rest of their lives together.

Thanksgiving and Hanukkah coincide this year. It won’t happen again in my lifetime and according to most sources I’ve seen, it won’t happen again in the lifetime of anyone on the planet. I’m glad that Thanksgiving and Yom Kippur never coincide. Imagine having to gorge yourself and fast at the same time.

No news is good news, unless you have to report the news on a holiday.

Andersen windows are a plus if you’re buying or selling a house. I have them in my house. Renewal by Andersen is the replacement company that specializes in installing them. I think the installation company is related to the manufacturer, but I’m not sure about that. They have a commercial running that says, and I’m paraphrasing here, that no matter where you live the temperature is unlikely to reach -20 degrees. Then it says the windows are tested from 180 to -20 degrees. But honestly, there are plenty of places in this country where the temperature does hit -20 degrees. I’ve been colder than that in upstate New York and in Chicago and believe me I’m never going to do it again. The record low temperature was recorded in Antarctica and it was -128.5 degrees! There is, however, no place where the outdoor temperature hits 180 degrees. Not even close. The recognized world record highest temperature is 134. There was a higher reading taken in 1922 in Libya, but it was later determined that the reading was inaccurate. So, while I’m convinced that Andersen windows are quality products, that commercial doesn’t convince me of anything.

The Google doodle for Thanksgiving is proof positive that there’s a lot more bandwidth than there used to be. It’s both animated and accompanied by a soundtrack. I didn’t time it, but it must be a minute or more long.

Big brother may not be watching me, but Google certainly is. On my birthday, the Google doodle on my computer (and I presume only on mine, not yours) was a birthday greeting to me.

Laptops are harder to repair or upgrade than desktop computers. On my laptop, the hard drive is nearly full, the CPU is frequently computing at or near its limit, there’s one balky key on the keyboard and the left mouse button went out yesterday. So, now I have to decide whether I get a new laptop on Black Friday or on Cyber Monday. I also have to decide what kind and that’s hard because various trade surveys disagree about which are the most reliable makes. And, I hope I still have my disks for MS Office.

Things I Know

There are two big historical events to remember next week, the 150th anniversary of Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address and the 50th Anniversary of President Kennedy’s assassination. I was going to call it “The Kennedy Assassination, but his brother Bobby was also killed by an assassin so there were two Kennedy assassinations.

If you get a call from a guy with an Indian accent who uses an Americanized name like Jack or Roger and he tells you he’s from Microsoft Windows Service Center, or some other official sounding group, it’s a scam. Don’t fall for it. I just put the words “windows phone scam” into Google and came up with 58.7 million hits. I told the latest one that if he knows what is happening with my computer he must be with the NSA and that I’m running Linux so leave me alone. Maybe that will stop the calls. Nothing else has.

If you head west across the George Washington Bridge and intend to pick up NJ Route 4 West, your Garmin Nuvi will tell you that exit 72A is on the left, even after it’s on the right. So watch out, or you’ll wind up in Oakland, California when all you want to do is go to Paramus, New Jersey.

Also, someone ought to tell the lady inside that little GPS on my dash that the “W” in New York State Route 9W doesn’t mean the road heads west. It means the road is on the west side of the Hudson River. So, its name is Route 9W, not Route 9 West.

If I were in charge of the world, the New York State Thruway and the Northway would be I-95 because they head north and south. The road that heads east and west through Connecticut would have another name, maybe I-80, since it doesn’t go north and south. It’s confusing because east-west interstate highways are supposed to end in zero, like I-40, I-80 and I-90. So, the phrase, “head west on I-95” if used for any extended period of time, ought to be an oxymoron, except there’s Connecticut and part of Rhode Island too.

Things I Know

My family drinks a lot of soda. We usually buy two-liter bottles of brand name soda (Saint Karen favors Coke and I like Pepsi, so we buy both) and we only buy it on sale. How much is a lot? We’re not going to drink all of it soon, but we currently have something like 21 gallons in the house.

In New York State, it’s a little known fact that it’s illegal to park within 15 feet of an intersection. I know this fact is little known because it may be the single most violated law in New York. One of the largest groups of offenders is school crossing guards where I live. Many of them park so close to the intersection that you can’t see around them to be sure it’s safe to go proceed.

When it comes to insomnia, I much prefer difficulty falling asleep to difficulty sleeping through the night.

The strangest license plate I’ve seen in quite a while was a white Cadillac CTS 4-door station wagon with the NY license plate “COUPE.”

Since I bought a GPS, I find myself driving around, not following its directions, to see if I can get it to lose its temper and start screaming at me. And speaking of a GPS, don’t store an address in yours under the name “Home.” If you do and someone steals it, they’ll think you probably have other valuable electronic devices and they’ll know where you live too.

Groupon stopped sending me email offering me discounted stuff. I don’t mind because they never sent me anything I wanted to use, but I didn’t even notice when they stopped. This leads me to believe that email isn’t a really good marketing tool, except for the fact that it’s virtually free.

Speaking of email marketing, I believe CVS drug stores should be allowed to give people six-foot-long register receipts or tons of emails, but not both. I also find courtesy robocalls from CVS to be annoying rather than courteous.

Things I Know

If you plan on going trick or treating this Thursday and taking your dog with you, please do me two favors. Don’t feed your dog chocolate. Believe it or not, chocolate is poisonous to dogs. If they get enough, it can make them very sick or even kill them. And also, please don’t dress your dog up in a costume. I can’t imagine they like that.

I used to live about 30 miles from where I live now and when I moved, I didn’t change dentists. If I drive from here to the dentist, I pass a lot of things named after dead people. On that particular route, I knew (or at least met) all the dead people stuff is named after. I view this as encouraging because I’m still here even though they’re not.

Attention Amazon.com: If I buy a bottle of oil specially designed to lubricate paper shredders, the most likely reason for that purchase is that I have a paper shredder, not that I think I might buy a shredder. Therefore, it isn’t really necessary for you to recommend about 50 different shredders to me. Please stop it.

I seem to be harping on Amazon searches and recommendations. I think I’ll restrain myself on those topics at least for a while.

Jet Blue has a new TV commercial. At least it’s new to me. It touts the fact that they give you a full can of soda, instead of pouring a half can into a plastic cup as so many other airlines do. Okay, but I’ve never been denied a full can on another airline if I ask for it. The last time I flew from San Francisco to New York I flew Delta and got two cans of soda. I don’t think any airline lets you keep the cans and turn them in for a deposit though.

I am so old I remember when headlight lenses were made of glass and you didn’t have to polish them from time to time so they’d be clean and/or transparent enough to let the light shine through. In fact, I’m so old I remember when replacing a headlight cost less than my local car wash charges to polish one for you.

I used to think and I’ve said on this blog previously that the monorail that takes you around San Francisco International Airport is free to users. It’s not. Last time I was there, I rented a car. Various taxes and fees on the car added an astounding 46% to my bill. Twenty dollars of that went to pay for the monorail.

While I was on vacation, I splurged and bought a GPS. I certainly don’t need one where I live because I know the area as well as anyone, but on the West Coast, it was a Godsend. When I fly into SFO if I head north, I’ll come to the Golden Gate Bridge eventually. With the GPS, I arrived at the Golden Gate directly. Big difference! It’s not perfect, but it is surprisingly accurate. One thing I noticed though is there must be some margin of error for the altitude readings. Government flood maps say my house is 15 feet above sea level. The GPS says 28. Out west they occasionally have an altitude sign along the highway. The GPS didn’t agree with any of them, but was never off by more than one or two-hundred feet. And, of course the biggest advantage of a GPS over a map is you never have to re-fold the GPS.

Things I Know

We vacationed recently in California. We flew into San Francisco, rented a car and headed for South Lake Tahoe and the surrounding area. Yes, we hit Donner Pass and yes we crossed the border and visited Carson City NV.

In the area we traveled through, a majority of the people observe the speed limit pretty closely. This is unsettling to someone who’s used to driving in New York and New Jersey.

If I lived in a tourist area of California I wouldn’t trust the pedestrian in crosswalk laws as much as they do, because I’d assume there are too many out of state drivers for that.

Pretzels are more available in South Lake Tahoe than they are in Sacramento.

I couldn’t find rye Triscuits, Social Tea cookies or Good and Plenty candy in South Lake Tahoe. They have other kinds of Triscuits and the other things may be there, but I couldn’t find them.

Raley’s supermarket had some gorgeous looking fresh peaches, so I took a chance and tried them. But, it was late September, so they were mealy.

Every supermarket I’ve ever shopped at in California is nicer than any supermarket I’ve ever shopped at where I live.

The view of Emerald Bay from the overlook on Rte 89 is about as pretty as anything I’ve ever seen.

I told my daughter I had an idea to open a fast-food, Mexican restaurant in the area and call it Tahoe Bell. Someone thought of that joke before I did. A little way out of the town, headed toward Placerville, there is a place called the Tahoe Bell Grill.

Considering my destination, I thought it would be funny if the rental car company gave me a Chevy Tahoe, but they gave me a Ford Explorer. I liked it except for the MyFord Touch which is too complicated to use while driving if you’re not familiar with the car.

I’m not the only person who does this because at Taylor Creek Recreation Area near Lake Tahoe, I saw a woman wearing a t-shirt that said, “I put ketchup on my ketchup.” But it did make me realize that, in addition to putting ketchup on my ketchup, I also put ketchup on my t-shirts.

Back on the East Coast, it would cost me $169 plus tax to have Verizon visit my home to repair a telephone wiring problem inside my house. This was a powerful incentive for me to learn three things: Home Depot has the best price in my area for surface-mounted modular phone jacks; my house is old enough that the red and green wires are still line #1; and yes, I do remember how to do that myself after all.

On CBS Sunday Morning, they recently did a piece about the comic Billy Crystal. In it he said that if there is a heaven, when he dies, he and his wife will be the age when they first met, she will walk by in a bikini and they can start all over again. I like that. But I don’t know Billy Crystal’s wife, so I’ll be very happy to settle for mine.

Having someone come in to refinish the hardwood floors in your house is more work than moving. Why do I say that? In each case, you have to all the furniture out of the area. But when you move from one home to another, you have a moving van to put the furniture in. And when you’re done moving from one place to another, you don’t have to vacuum everything in the house, including the ceilings and the windows. But the floors do look nice.

Things I Know

We just booked a flight and a condo rental in California because our son is getting married to his fiancé (who else would he marry anyway?). The wedding is at the end of the month. Among the reasons I rented this condo is the on-line listing told me it has a king-sized bed and three televisions.

The first time I flew in a plane that offered extra legroom for a fee, it was Jet Blue and it cost $15 per seat. I’m tall while my wife and daughter aren’t. Still, for $45 for the three of us more comfort to me on a cross-country flight was worth it. This time, while searching for a flight, I checked both Delta and Jet Blue. The going rate seems to be around $90 per seat now. $270 for three of us so I can have extra legroom is more than I’m willing to pay.

I haven’t had enough summer yet! But while I may be in a distinct minority among American men, I have had more than enough football.

It’s already September, so eat fresh peaches while you still can.

I don’t know how long this has been true, but you can buy Ikea Swedish meatballs frozen in a pouch. Yet, the lingonberries and the cream sauce come separately and you have to put them together yourself.

From where and how much it hurt, I thought I had partially torn a tendon in my knee on Friday during the strenuous activity of stepping out of my truck. However, it’s getting better and tendons don’t do that, so I guess I just pulled a muscle.

The plural of man is men. Right? Anyone who has ever served in the U.S. Army, and I suspect in any other branch of the US Armed Forces as well, knows that the plural of “men” is “mens.”

I don’t like to bring up phlegm, but that’s another English word whose spelling needs to be revisited.

Things I Know

Anthony Weiner, in case you haven’t heard, is a candidate for Mayor of New York. Do you think that Sydney Leathers isn’t attractive enough to risk a career on? Do you believe Olivia Nuzzi, the former campaign intern who wrote a damaging article for the NY Daily News should have honored her non-disclosure agreement? Should Barbara Morgan have watched her mouth when talking to a reporter? Is Huma Abedin, Weiner’s wife, enabling his behavior? Do you believe Abedin should stand by her man or divorce him? Whatever your opinion is about Weiner sending pictures of his penis to women, both while he was in Congress and since he resigned after his behavior made him famous as the peter tweeter, let’s all try to remember that candidate Weiner’s behavior is the worst part of this scandal and that the women surrounding him don’t really deserve to be savaged by the media.

The newest TV commercial for Swiffer cleaning products is pretty insulting to older people if you ask me.

According to Buzz Aldrin (who should know) a Saturn V rocket’s mileage on takeoff was 7 inches per gallon. Since what made Mr. Aldrin an historic figure happened a long time ago, perhaps I should explain that Mr. Aldrin was the second human being to set foot on the moon.

Things I Know

It turns out I’m probably already eligible for sainthood. I thought you needed three miracles, but you only need two.

We already knew that Kim and Kanye named their child “North” to go with Kanye’s last name of “West.” So, I was hoping that Kate and William would name their new rugrat “Chrysler” to go with their last name of “Windsor.” For a future King of England, George is so unimaginative. He’ll eventually be George VII. Even King Corey or King Jody would be better in my opinion.

I had a remarkably unpleasant experience with the Bank of America’s World Points credit card reward program. When I complained, the program’s representatives didn’t help me, but promised to refer my problem to the bank for response within 48 hours. I didn’t get any response so I don’t know if the customer service rep that made the promise actually referred me as she said she would. A week later, I called the Bank of America’s customer service number (as opposed to their travel reward number) and a representative there named Claire was extremely helpful and resolved the issue to my satisfaction. There are two lessons to be learned here: check elsewhere to see if the reward deal your credit card is offering is actually a good deal; and if you are unsatisfied with the first response to your complaint, escalate.

Nobody goes to Boy Scout camp for the cuisine and I lost three pounds just by being there for five days last week.

It was very hot in Rhode Island last week. Sleeping wasn’t unbearable though, because I kept the windows open and the walls too. And also because I didn’t bring my zero-degree mummy bag to camp.

I suggest that Classmates.com revise the way it tries to drum up business. From time to time the website sends me emails about the activities of both men and women who graduated from high school before I did. I’m not interested. I might be interested in the activities of women who graduated from my high school a year or two after I did though. I’m not super-interested because I married one of those. And women might be interested in what’s up with men who graduated a year or two before they did. Maybe even three years would work.

If my suggestion on this or any other matter makes you money, post a comment here and I’ll get in touch to tell you how to send me money.

Things I Know

I sometimes marvel at the possible contacts Linked In comes up with. I haven’t even told Linkedin.com that I’m married, but the last time I looked, the business networking website suggested I might know my wife’s boss. I also received an invitation to connect from a guy I haven’t contacted since the mid-2000’s and before that we were both beginning our careers. Of course, I accepted. My very favorite recommendation was they thought I might know the woman I took to my high school senior prom.

A man in Somerset England robbed another man who installs security cameras for a living, with predictable results.

I don’t think I’ll go see the new Lone Ranger movie, but from the reviews I’ve read, it should be viewed with giblet gravy and cranberry sauce.

There’s a report today that Tom Seaver will throw out the ceremonial first pitch at next week’s All-Star game in Citi Field. Really? Was there another candidate?

Before balloting was closed off, I decided I would vote for my favorite players for the MLB All-Star Game which is now a week away. But they want way too much information about me at the MLB website, so I passed.

I can get my annual car inspection anytime during the month when the old sticker expires. However, if I want my health insurance to pay for an inspection of me (read a physical), I have to wait the entire 365 days.

I wish people on TV would stop saying it’s hot when it isn’t. It was humid on Sunday in NY, but the temperature was in the low 80’s. An overnight low of 99 in Death Valley is hot: a daytime high of 81 or 82 in New York isn’t.

I’ve never had a job where I got scheduled performance reviews. I think I’d like one though. Nobody likes criticism, but everyone needs to know where they stand. If a boss doesn’t like something about the job you’re doing, it’s difficult to correct it if you don’t know what it is.

Health insurance eligibility is now sufficiently complicated that even my health insurance carriers can’t tell their employees which one takes precedence.

I’m teaming up Coinstar and Amazon.com to painlessly fund my music collecting. If I get an Amazon gift e-card instead of cash, Coinstar doesn’t charge a fee for counting all the pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters in my jar. When the jar’s full, it’s always over $100. If I got a bigger jar, I’d have trouble carrying it. So, I got an Amazon e-card for redeeming my pocket change and spent some of the money on CD’s and some of it on camera accessories.

In the area where I live, various supermarkets frequently put small cans of tuna fish on sale. They never discount the big cans. So, if you buy tuna on sale, it’s always cheaper per unit to buy it in small cans. Also, your cell phone probably contains a calculator. Use it while grocery shopping.

Things I Know

I like to take pictures. Sometimes, I take good ones, like the one at the top of this blog. I took that. I’m trying to learn Photoshop Elements 11. I have the software and I have a book. I’ve looked up tutorials on youtube.com too, but I’d like to find a tutorial that would take you through the program while beginning at a place that will allow you to start editing photos right away. That way, you don’t forget the first thing you learned while picking up the seventh. I’m open to suggestions.

By the way, the biggest step you can take to gain a reputation as a good photographer is to not show anyone your bad pictures.

If you live on the west coast, the nearest Dunkin Donuts store is not in Missouri anymore. It’s in Salt Lake City Utah.

If I ever open a funeral home, I’ll call it Mammoth—that’s Mammoth Undertaking.

I didn’t watch the Discovery Channel while Nik Walenda was wire-walking across the Grand Canyon. It was a risk-reward thing for me, as it was for Mr. Walenda. Of course, for him, the potential for both risk and reward were much greater. I would have hated to see him die on live TV, but I would have been only mildly pleased to watch him succeed, so I didn’t watch. But one thing I did like: during the crossing, someone tweeted that not only did the video remind him he was afraid of heights, it also reminded him that he was afraid of widths.

I don’t follow professional hockey at all, but congratulations to the Chicago Blackhawks on their Stanley Cup victory. The NHL has the coolest sports trophy tradition ever, though. Each player on the winning team gets custody of the cup for a while. They can take it home, or take it out to parties, just to show it to their friends. I imagine you could score a free beer or two if you showed up at the local sports bar with the Stanley Cup.

There’s an old joke among IT workers that if you search Google for the search term “Google” something awful will happen. You’ll break the Internet or send Google into a programming loop from which it cannot exit, or get a screen of death in some color other than blue. None of those things will happen, but you will get over 10 billion hits, so don’t do it unless you’re looking for something to read for several lifetimes to come.

Speaking of the dreaded blue screen of death, it’s been about a year-and-a-half since I looked for the t-shirt on etsy.com and progress has been made. You can now buy on etsy, and maybe elsewhere too, “Blue Screen of Death” T-shirts in 18 colors (it used to be 14) but still only three (it used to be three) are shades of blue.

And, it’s been a lot more than 18 months since I’ve seen a real blue screen of death in its native habitat. Do you think they are extinct?

Remember when M&M candies advertised that they melt in your mouth, not in your hands? Well, now Hershey’s has a product called Air Delight and Hershey’s advertises that it melts fast while you’re eating it. I wish somebody would make up their mind.

Things I Know

If you think you can get a carpet cleaned, ripping one up after it’s been on the floor for years and years will convince you otherwise. Last one I ripped up had at least enough dirt under it to fill a good-sized flower pot.

I was looking at car rentals on Priceline.com, a company that could stand to update its website. According to Priceline, examples of a premium or luxury car in my neighborhood include Mercury Marquis, Lincoln Town Car and the ubiquitous “Or Similar.” Fine, except I can’t think of any other large, rear-wheel drive, American-made cars that haven’t been manufactured in two (Town Car) or three (Marquis) years.

So it has been proclaimed throughout the land that Kim Kardasian’s daughter is named North West. At least the child won’t grow up directionless. It has also been proclaimed that her nickname will be Nori. Perhaps that will be reconsidered since Nori is Japanese seaweed.

My wife, Saint Karen, who has to be a saint to put up with me, can blink, but she can’t wink. She can stick out her tongue too, but she can’t roll it.

I’ve seen Home Depot stores all over the country. Most of them have overhangs at the front of the store. Generally, the stores keep shopping carts and hand trucks under the overhang. Not the one where I usually shop. They keep gas grills, plants, sheds, etc., under there and they take up dozens of parking spaces in the lot storing the carts. They use enough of the parking spaces this way that it’s getting to be a hassle to shop there.

Flikr was recently revamped. I’d like to suggest another improvement. You can drag and drop pictures from your computer to your browser to upload them to Flickr. I’d love it if you could drag and drop pictures within Flickr to rearrange them both in your photostream and in your sets.

Things I Know

If you net $370.8 Million in the Powerball lottery the way Gloria MacKenzie did, I imagine it would be pretty hard to squander that much money. However, if you’re 84, as Gloria MacKenzie is, I think you should try hard to do so. Mrs. MacKenzie lives, or maybe used to live in Zephyrhills, FL, which is near Tampa. Her son is from Jacksonville, which isn’t near Tampa. Her new attorneys are also from Jacksonville. That leads me to speculate that she is probably relying at least in part on her son to help her plan for the money. I say more good luck to her and to anyone she chooses to be generous to as well.

When my wife heard that the winner is 84, she said, “I hope she has a lot of relatives.” I said, if she didn’t before, she probably does now.”

My daughter deserves to win the big prize in a lottery because she has a good answer to the news conference question, “What are you going to do with the money?” She says she’d reply, “Well, I was thinking about getting a pizza.”

News that the current director of the FBI is retiring soon lead me to wonder how much the FBI director earns. He is a public official, so his salary must be a public record, but in the few minutes I’ve spent looking for it, I couldn’t find it.

“Anyways” isn’t a word.

I get more and more junk mail, or if you prefer direct marketing mailers, that are too thick to put through even a pretty good shredder without opening them. I even got one recently that had two paper clips in it to prevent me from shredding it. Okay direct marketers, you win. I’ll open your junk mail before I shred it, but you still can’t make me read it.

I emailed Linked In, the business networking website, with a suggestion for change. I got two responses, one quickly and the other 13 days later. Neither one was anything more than generic and neither one gave me any confidence that the website will adopt my suggestion.

A guy came up to me in the library the other day and said hi. I had no idea who he was. I may have mentioned that I have a terrible memory for names. My wife tells me I learned her name the third time we met. Turns out the guy who said hi is the man I sold my old Chevy to something like 25 years ago. The car served him well until he wrecked it four years later. So, he didn’t remember me for doing something awful to him. I was flattered and said so.

Things I Know

You can freeze cream cheese, but I don’t recommend it because it louses up the texture.

While Spring cleaning and before you take everything in your attic and garage to the curb or to the dump, you should know that a working 1976 model Apple 1 computer was auctioned recently for 516,000 Euros which translates to about $668,000. My mom probably threw one of those out along with my comics and my Lionel trains.

Internet advice can be funny. I was reading camping forums to find out how to repair the netting on my tent. I left the tent in my garage over the winter and despite the fact that it doesn’t look like an acorn, squirrels nibbled on it. Someone on one of the forums suggested I could repair the holes in the netting by using small patches made out of squirrel pelts.

Because I went to a meeting on Wednesday morning, I wasn’t home when the Jehovah’s Witnesses stopped by. I respect their religious beliefs; I wish they respected mine and left me alone after a few polite no’s.

I hate to watch really dark movie scenes on TV. Generally when that happens I can’t see much.

A newly released scientific study proves conclusively that anything anyone enjoys is harmful either to the person who enjoys it, whoever provides it, or both. Moreover, having made that determination, no more scientific studies need be conducted ever.

I was going to start a Twitter account to promote this blog but the twitter handles Sisyphus and Sisyphusproject are taken although neither one is used very often (like in years). I can’t complain though. I have Twitter account I only use to sign into a couple of websites I visit frequently.

Amazon.com’s search function continues to puzzle me. I searched for Canon Lens under electronics, sorted them by price highest first, and the third item that came up was a Leica lens. I searched for a particular song with a two-word title under MP3 music. The first song title was the 107th item on the list. Amazon does many things amazingly well, but its search function continues to be weird and unsatisfying.

Things I Know

If you absolutely need to be miserable for three or four minutes, it’s really, really hard to beat a George Jones song. If you don’t like country music, that may not matter to you. If you do like country music, you already know they held his funeral at the Grand Old Opry, you could watch it live on more than one cable channel, stream it on the Internet, or listen on satellite radio. And the place was packed!

Evidently, the people who programmed MS Word aren’t big fans of country music. I say that because they think “Opry” is a misspelled word.

Don’t turn left off a busy main street into a side street if there’s no room to pull all the way out of the intersection.

If there’s a long line on the street waiting to turn right into a fast food drive-in window or a carwash, you have no business trying to turn left to cut that line.

If there’s a left turn lane on a ground-level street or a deceleration lane on a highway, please get all the way into it before turning. I just hate it when people hang the rear of their car out of those lanes so as to both occupy the turn or deceleration lane and also block the free flow of traffic.

Using the word magniloquent to describe someone’s speech or writing is in and of itself magniloquent.

Things I Know

If someone tells you this April 15th is the 100th anniversary of the federal income tax, that’s not exactly true. The feds have been collecting income taxes for the past 100 years, but first, there was also an income tax during the Civil War and second, in 1913, your federal income tax deadline was March 1st, not April 15th.

I understand that telling a prospective employer what you make on your current job us a stronger bargaining position than telling them what you made on your last job. Still, I went on a job interview recently where the salary offered was well below the pay grade of the responsibility of the job opening. So, I withdrew myself from consideration. I’m willing to work for less than I used to make, but not for less than what the job typically commands.

The NY Post website on Wednesday had an article headlined, “One-Third of Air Force Including Blue Angels Grounded by Sequester.” Okay, except the Blue Angels are the Navy’s aerobatics team. The Blue Angels have been cancelled too, but the Air Force’s aerobatics team is called the Thunderbirds, so the headline should have said something about the Thunderbirds and so should the article.

If you have a car with a keyless entry system, don’t lose your keys. At the dealer, the remote for my truck costs around $100 without programming. I’ll be searching on Ebay in the next few days for a cheaper solution. Not only the remote. The key also has a transponder and has to be programmed to the car by a dealer or a locksmith with a reasonably expensive piece of equipment to do the job.

How come Jay Leno calmed down about being replaced by Jimmy Fallon? Money is my guess.

Like a lot of people, my garage is full of junk and I can’t park a car there. So, I don’t go into it much in the winter time. I went in on Saturday. I knew the car wasn’t parked there. I didn’t know the dead squirrel was, but now I do.

Things I Know

I just figured out how to improve U.S. relations with the People’s Republic of North Korea. America should set up a good barber school in Pyongyang. Let’s face it, Little Kim’s haircut won’t win a prize anytime soon.

The actor Daniel Craig, famous for playing James Bond, made a seven-minute appearance at the NY International Auto Show during press previews on Wednesday. He arrived at the Javits Center in a Land Rover, on behalf of that company, stayed for 7 minutes and didn’t say a word. He was reportedly paid one million dollars. I could never do that. Nobody who knows me thinks I could possibly go seven minutes without uttering a word.

So I was watching a show called Prime Nine on the MLB cable channel and it was about what the show’s producers consider the nine best seasons of all times for individual pitchers. Of course, one of the nine was Sandy Koufax in 1965. The film clip they showed was of his perfect game in September and calling that game, 48 years ago, Vin Scully. Other than Koufax’s performance, what’s remarkable is Vin Scully. If you had gone back another fifteen years, a Dodger film clip might have had Vin Scully doing play by play. If you get one from next Monday or later, it might still be Vin Scully, but the chances are lower because Mr. Scully doesn’t do every game anymore. He still does home games and a few road games in states neighboring California. And, he is 85 years old!

Verizon wireless sent me an email suggesting I spend $4.99 on two cleaning wipes for my cell phone. That’s not going to happen.

Things I Know

50’s and 60’s singing idol Bobby Rydell was a no-show for his appearance at Dick Fox’s Doo Wop Extravaganza at the NYCB Theater in Westbury NY last night. Jay Black, former lead singer of Jay and the Americans filled in for him. According to the concert’s MC, Emil Stucchio (who is also lead singer of The Classics) Rydell had open-heart surgery earlier in the week. Rydell, who is 70 years old, had a double organ transplant last summer, receiving a liver and a kidney. I hope Bobby Rydell makes a complete and speedy recovery.

Note to doo wop singers: If you didn’t have THAT operation when you were nine years old (and aren’t you glad you didn’t?) you can’t sing falsetto at 70 or 60 or even 50. Hire a woman to sing the high notes.

Occasionally, someone says something extremely profound about something else that’s not profound at all. Case in point, Smokey Robinson, legendary lead singer of the Miracles on early group harmony: “When you learn a Moonglows’ record, you learn the background vocals before you learn the lead vocals.” Smokey said that on the recently rebroadcast PBS special “Doo Wop Discoveries.” True. I know when my son was a toddler, if he sang along with some music I was playing, he’d sing the harmony parts. And I also know I love me some Moonglows’ records.

“The National Association of Realtors supports maintaining homeowner tax incentives.” If this ad’s purpose is to convince Congress, or to convince the general public, I think it’s an awful ad. Do you know what they’re talking about? I don’t think many people do. “Homeowner tax incentives,” means you can deduct the interest you pay on your home mortgage from your income taxes. Whenever Congress talks about closing loopholes in the tax code, that’s one of the issues they’re addressing. Are you more interested now? I thought so. And you would have been more interested earlier if the ad explained that.

Every once in a while you run across some really strange pricing. Here are two examples.

First, if you ride a bus in Nassau County NY, you can pay with a lot of coins or you can pay with something called a Metro Card. The fare, in coins, is $2.25. On the card, it’s $2.50! I know that acquiring and carrying 18 quarters for a daily, round-trip commute is a bit of a burden, but I can’t see why anyone would use the card.

Second, we use a lot of ketchup in my house. My daughter puts ketchup on baked chicken and I put ketchup on ketchup. Since we use so much, we buy a lot. Recently, in the supermarket, a humongous bottle of brand-name ketchup (is there more than one brand name of ketchup?) cost $6.49. What do I mean by humongous? 1.43 kg. Strange pricing was in effect, so two humongous bottles held together by a white plastic thingy cost $5.99. Which should I buy, one for $6.49 or two for $5.99? Not $5.99 each, $5.99. Oh the stress of making decisions.

Things I Know

Happy to be back. Did you miss me? I did.

Apparently, the blog was down for the past couple of days because WordPress which supplies the software this blog uses, was updating its programs. I don’t know what happened to the old layout and I don’t have time to mess with a new one right now, but I will fix it soon, I promise.

Things I Know

Happy St. Patrick’’s Day. On the holy day, you may wish to try my recipe for Irish coffee. I recommend drinking it black, with no coffee.

Just to restate my Irish qualifications: My dad painted the first legal green line up Fifth Avenue for a St. Patrick’’s Day Parade. Before New York City took over, a bunch of guys got drunk and painted the line green on a voluntary basis. I once met one of the guys who used to do that too.

And I also wish our Irish president, Barak O’’Bama a happy St. Patrick’s Day.

I don’t believe I have any particular influence in local politics, but the Sisyphus Project hereby endorses Robert T. Kennedy for mayor of Freeport NY in the election to be held on March 19th. I recommend his running mates, the Unity-Home Rule candidates on Row B as well. As far as I know, most villages in New York State hold elections for mayor, trustee and village justice on the third Tuesday in March. So, if you live in a village in New York State and if your village is having an election on Tuesday, please vote. Turnout in these elections is usually low, so your vote means more in these elections than it does in Presidential elections.

I hope Pope Francis is successful in leading the Catholic Church more in the direction of helping the poor. I also hope he cracks down even further on child abuse among certain members of the clergy.

My wife made sauerbraten and potato pancakes for dinner. She told our daughter that if there were any potato pancakes left over, she’d freeze them. Our daughter replied, ““Mommy, you’re cute.”” She had a point. There weren’’t any potato pancakes left over. I’’ve never seen, or even heard of leftover potato pancakes, have you? And, if there’’s even a smidgen of justice in the world, there is no such thing as leftover potato pancakes. Nor, should there be! Actually, our daughter has two points: Mommy is cute too.

If the Girl Scouts find this out, they’ll probably raise the price of their cookies, but some commercially baked cookies sell for more in your supermarket than the Girl Scouts charge for their cookies. However, I think packages of grocery-store cookies generally weigh more than packages of Girl Scout cookies. If Social Teas weren’’t the most expensive cookies I like, I’’d probably eat a couple of boxes of them a day!

Speaking of Girl Scouts, they almost made a terrible mistake. They only tried to sell cookies to my wife, not to me. However, I tracked down a Girl Scout and managed to buy another five boxes of Thin Mints.

Dennis Rodman’’s trip to North Korea went exceptionally well since shortly after he returned to the USA North Korean dictator, Kim Jong Un, threatened a preemptive nuclear strike against the United States.

Things I Know

The TSA announced new rules about knives on planes. The new rules take effect on April 25th. Most of the reporting I’’ve read said it’’ll be okay to bring your Swiss Army knife on a plane after that date. However, if you read deeper into the articles they say the maximum length of a blade allowed will be 2.36 inches. I have a Swiss Army knife. If you measure only the sharp part of the blade, it’s about a tenth of an inch too long. If you measure the entire part that sticks out of the handle, it’s even longer. So be careful taking your Swiss Army knife on a plane, even after 4/25. Also, I wondered who has a tape measure you can use to measure 2.36 inches, but I’’ve decided they really mean 6 cm.

If you subscribe to Norton Internet Security, you may want to turn off the automatic renewal feature. Norton told me when my subscription was due to expire, but they charged me for a renewal more than two weeks before the expiration date. Also, shop around. You can get their product (which I have used for years and like) a lot more cheaply than the price they sell it to you for. If you should have a problem, Nathan, the chat guy on Norton’s website is a computer, not a person. I contacted the company through Facebook and their Facebook team consists of real people I found very helpful.

Obviously, the Dolan family that owns Cablevision is a lot more skilled at making money than I am. They’re worth billions of dollars because of the company Charles Dolan founded. However, the current TV commercial for Cablevision’s Optimum cable service is exceedingly dumb. If you don’t live in an area served by Cablevision, the commercial claims that Optimum’’s 800 number is so similar to the 800 number of singer Michael Bolton that Bolton is getting a lot of calls meant for them. Why would Bolton have an 800 number? Why would he make it public? And, why would he ever answer a publicly known 800 number himself?

I missed National Banana Cream Pie Day which was March 1st, but I have big plans to make up for that.

I’m glad I only learned that March 3rd was the date of the World Naked Bike Ride after it was too late to participate because it’’s way too cold for that in early March where I live.

In this economy, someone must have money. I was at the Garden State Mall in New Jersey and I know they’’re building a parking garage in part of the parking lot, but the rest of the lot was jammed, in the early afternoon on a weekday.

I believe it’’s true throughout New York State and know that on Long Island most village elections will be held on March 19th. There are fewer than two weeks to go. Vote early, vote often and vote for the candidate of my choice.

I haven’t done a blog item on things I want (or need) to know in quite a while. I have to work on that.

Things I Know

Today is the fifth anniversary of the Sisyphus Project. If, like my friend Richard (formerly from New Jersey) you have been with us from the beginning, or very near the beginning, then you may be a glutton for punishment, but you have my sympathy.

When a movie star on the red carpet at tonight’’s Oscar award ceremony is asked, ““Who are you wearing,”” just once, I’’d like her to say, “”It’’s from the sale rack at Kohl’’s”.” I didn’’t have that desire until Nancy Giles planted it in my mind when I watched her commentary on CBS Sunday Morning today.

I listen to the radio more than most people. I keep it on all night and listen on a pillow speaker when I’’m having trouble sleeping, which is most of the time. I just bought a new one; a Sangean CL-100. I’’ve only had it for a couple of nights, but so far, so good. I live in an area with lots of radio stations and it picks up the ones I like. On the first night, the display was too bright, but that’’s adjustable. I don’’t need the weather radio feature unless I move to Florida. That might happen if I can convince my wife, Saint Karen, who must be a saint to put up with me. I thought about buying a radio that would accept SDHC cards and play the music or podcasts on them. But this radio is less than half the price and it does have an auxiliary input, so I can make it play music from my MP3 player or my phone. The clock on mine doesn’’t seem terribly accurate, but it can reset itself from information broadcast by many radio stations. My biggest problem so far is that the display isn’’t large enough for me to read it in the middle of the night without my glasses.

The Sangean replaces a teenage Grundig Yachtboy 400. I like one thing better about the Sangean. It has a much lower center of gravity so it’’ll be harder to knock over at night. But if the Yachtboy was still being manufactured, I’’d buy another one. The Yachtboy is a good receiver and very sturdy. I’’ve owned it since around the turn of the 21st century. I’’ve dropped it several times. Two of those drops submerged it in water. After it dried out and I replaced the batteries, it worked just fine. It still works just fine except for one important thing: the earphone jack is now intermittent. So, if I want to listen to the radio all night, I can’t rely on a pillow speaker. Therefore, the Yachtboy gets retired to a secondary roll.

Things I Know

If you agree to sign a nominating petition to get some candidate on the ballot, please print your name legibly. I know nobody has a legible signature these days, but apparently the majority of people can’’t print legibly anymore either. If you attended the same grade school I did, I can assure you that Sister Mary Knucklebuster wouldn’t be pleased and neither would Atilla the Nun.

Got a call Friday night from a woman claiming to work with (not for) National Grid. She was intent on asking me if I heated my home with natural gas, so intent that she asked me again after I answered the question. The way she acted, I smelled scam, so I insisted she get to the point. She insisted on sticking to the script so I hung up. Sounded like a scam call to me and there are two I’’m aware of. In one, they ask for your social security number and bank routing number so they can enroll you in a program where the feds will pay your heating bill. In the other, they want to give you a new account number and a new place to send your payments. Don’’t fall for either. Never give personal information (especially personal financial information) to someone who calls you out of the blue and verify by contacting the company yourself if someone calls and wants you to send your money to a new place.

The recently-completed, much-publicized python hunt in the Florida Everglades yielded only 68 snakes. Either pythons are less of a problem in the Everglades than people thought, or they’’re very good at hiding.

Cable TV’s Biography Channel ran a show about Shirley MacLaine. I watched because she’’s the only movie star I’’ve ever talked to. I did that during Senator McGovern’’s campaign for President. She was an active supporter and sometimes campaigned with the candidate. The show said she’s 5′ ’7″” tall which surprised me so I looked it up and several other sources agree. When I met her, she struck me as tiny, but I guess I was so taken by her approachability and genuineness that I must not have noticed that she was standing lower down a slope than me, or maybe I was on a curb and she was on the driveway.

I stumbled upon an Internet list of the 16 most stressful airports in the USA. I’’ve flown in and out of 11 of them, so I guess I have some catching up to do.

I like my orange juice with pulp in it. I thought only kids who are picky eaters liked it strained, but I’’m almost certainly wrong. I base my judgment on the stock at local supermarkets. I was in one last week that only had strained juice. OJ with pulp wasn’’t even for sale. Of course, I prefer chocolate bars with no almonds in them and there, I’’m in the minority as well.

“Women have to grow up because guys need some kind of adult supervision.” Dick Summer said that and I think it’s kind of profound.

Things I Know

Another tremendous product idea to serve a desperate need: teeth blackener for snowmen.

Naming blizzards is lame, unless it’’s a Dairy Queen blizzard of the month. I have enough trouble remembering when the blizzard of ‘’78 happened. I’’ll never be able to remember when Nemo hit.

Whenever I see one of those cable shows about ancient aliens or aliens yet to come, I’’m reminded of the old “Twilight Zone” episode in which the pretty assistant runs up to the ramp where her boss, Mr. Chambers, is getting on a flying saucer and she tells him that the alien book, “To Serve Man,” is a cookbook.

On the other hand, we already know there is no intelligent life on this planet, so we might as well look for it elsewhere and consequences be damned.

Speaking of extraterrestrial life, there’’s an alien-invasion movie called “Battleship” all over cable this week. It came out last year and it’’s kind of fun. It’’s not great, or believable, but it’’s kind of fun. One of the viewer-reviewers on Netflix said the movie had great special effects and a script written by a six-year-old in crayon. That’’s pretty accurate. No explanation about faster-than-light travel or faster-than-light communication, or the aliens blocking some kinds of wireless communication, but not all, or getting here and planning to rely on our equipment rather than theirs to call home, or sending only five ships to conquer a planet, or how a screw-up who broke into a convenience store and got caught can join the Navy, become an officer, continue to screw up and still get promoted twice in a relatively short period and in peacetime. There’’s more to object to in the plot, but the special effects make the movie and in the end, the senior citizens come through, the humans win and the hero gets the girl so like I said, kind of fun. Let’’s call it two stars (out of five), okay?

I didn’t have any further problems with the old Toyota’s thermostat. I had my friendly neighborhood mechanic change it, so the only problem I have is paying the bill.

Oh, and saving the best for last, happy Valentine’s Day. I’m sure that as long as I continue celebrating them with my wife all of mine will be happy.

Things I Know

Ancestor doesn’t mean the same thing as descendant. They’re opposites, or antonyms. Your relatives who came before you, like your father and grandfather are your ancestors. Your relatives who come after you, like your children and grandchildren are your descendants. Lately, I’ve been seeing the word ancestor used to mean both far too often, especially with respect to the recently discovered remains of England’’s King Richard III.

If a TV show I’m watching comes out with another story about Manti Teo’s fake girlfriend, I change the channel. But this coverage has given me an idea. I’m going to keep a list of TV news stories that I don’t consider news. If the list gets long enough soon enough, I might even post it here. Stay tuned.

I thought there’d never be a harder car thermostat to change than the one in a 1986 Ford Taurus. It’s hard because it goes into the block horizontally so it’s hard to keep everything in place while you bolt it down. But there is at least one harder one and it’s on my 1991 Toyota Corolla. First the drain pug for the radiator is inaccessible: you have to remove a plastic cover in order to get at it. Second, it’s very hard to drain the radiator without getting antifreeze up your sleeve. Third, the housing for the thermostat is shaped so that you can’t get a 12 mm socket wrench to sit on it well enough to use a socket wrench to loosen the bolts and remove the housing. Then, I had to go get a haircut. So, if there are additional problems with the thermostat, I’ll let you know once the project resumes.

If you’re driving 30 mph slower than the flow of traffic in the middle lane of a limited access highway, you’re definitely causing a traffic jam and you might cause an accident. The accident you cause might even be fatal to you! Don’t just pull into the right lane, get off that road as soon as you can and drive on one where you’re more comfortable keeping up with traffic. That thought occurred to me when I nearly rear-ended the driver of a very slow-moving gray Toyota last week.

Things I Know

I know a lot of businesses were hurt very badly as a result of Hurricane Sandy. One company, however, is reaping lots of benefits: Pain-In-The-Ass Inc., makers of robocalls.

Some newspaper websites have links at the end of their articles. Some of the links are to other articles in their paper and some links are even sponsored. So that’’s how I noticed that there is a lifestyle website called mydailymoment.com. I suppose some people will find it interesting, but I didn’t. However, it did leave me wondering if there is a website called mydailymovement.com for people obsessed with their colons and GI tracts. Thankfully, no.

It should be obvious to any professional writer that I write this blog solo, with no independent editor. I make the occasional mistake and once in a while I repeat myself without realizing it. I also repeat myself deliberately. You try writing a blog for going on five years without ever quoting yourself. The reason I bring this up is if you use WordPress to produce a blog you can’’t edit the entries forever. I don’’t know how far back you can go, but I wasn’t able to correct a mistake I made in an entry from three or four years ago. An editor would have caught it when I wrote it, but it took me a while.

Hey, maybe if I hit a big lottery jackpot I’’ll hire an editor for my blog.

In New York State, most village elections are pretty sedate. Some candidates run unopposed. I think I remember a story about a guy who won because he wrote his own name in and nobody else bothered to vote. I’’m not sure that was in New York. However, the election on March 19th in New York’s second-largest Village, Freeport seems like it’’s already contentious. It’’s been in the newspapers and on TV already and nominating petitions don’’t have to be submitted for another week or more.

Barrett-Jackson did sell that 1953 Willys Jeepster at their auction in Scottsdale AZ. They never responded to my email claiming there is no such thing and I didn’t hear what they said about it on TV because I didn’t see it sold on TV. I’’m recording the auction so I can fast forward through the parts I don’’t care about. It saves a lot of time over watching all the extensive coverage in real time. If you like cars, you have to go to that auction at least once in your life.

If you can’’t fly around on a broomstick, but you play Quidditch anyway, you are definitely a nerd. Or, maybe not, if you’’re too stupid to be a nerd.

Things I Know

You’’re thinking Miss America shouldn’’t be from New York; she should be from some southern state. But it’’s okay. The new Miss America, formerly Miss New York, was raised in Alabama.

New York City may have the strictest handgun control laws in the entire USA, but cannon control is a different story.

I guess Barrett-Jackson isn’’t going to change the listing on lot 849 for their auction that starts today in Scottsdale AZ. It’’s for a 1953 Willys Jeepster and there isn’’t any such thing. They do have a picture of it up now and they didn’’t acknowledge my email about it. But on another auction site, the sellers explained that it was first sold and titled in 1953, hence the appellation. I don’’t know when the car will go across the block, but I’’d like to hear what they say about it on TV. Maybe I’’ll try to record the entire auction. I can’t sit there and watch it all as it happens. I went once, a few years ago, and had a great time. It took me two days to see what I did see and I could have stayed another day, but just going was one of the many things Saint Karen puts up with in order to be married to me. Putting up with me so well and for so long is what qualifies her for sainthood in my book.

I won’’t be hurried through my doctor’’s appointment because you’’re 15 minutes late for the first appointment of the day. I was on time and I didn’t overbook. So, don’t try to rush me through: I won’’t stand for it.

So, I went to the Hayden Planetarium in Manhattan the other day. Actress-comedian Whoopi Goldberg narrates the sky show these days. I wondered why. She reads fine, but she’’s not acting really and she’’s not funny in it. Maybe, because I was once air talent, I found myself distracted by the fact that she has an accent and a slight sibilant s (but I suppose the sibilant could be caused by the microphone). As much as I like her in other roles, I thought a more experienced narrator would be better at narration. My wife suggested that perhaps she was chosen because she played a character named Guinan in the Star Trek Next Generation TV series. Maybe.

If you go to the sky show at the Hayden Planetarium, you will be impressed, but don’’t sit in the front row unless you like having a crick in your neck. The visuals are spectacular, but I found the sound track too loud.

The planetarium is attached to the American Museum of Natural History. Mike, a security guard at the American Museum of Natural History is the most gregarious and friendly guy I’ve met in a long time. I enjoyed talking to him.

I have to imagine that when the Museum of Natural History was established museum exhibits were quite different. I say that because a different building would make it a lot easier to take pictures of the exhibits, especially the dinosaur skeletons.

I haven’’t been there in a long time and the T-Rex skeleton is now a lot less imposing in stalking mode than it was when they had it reared up at full height.

I go to Manhattan maybe once or twice a year, so I don’’t use the subway much. I expected that when I went up to street level at the 50th Street stop I’’d be at 50th Street, but I wasn’t. I was at 48th St.

More and more of the websites I visit have autoplay videos on them these days, and I HATE autoplay videos.

I have a great idea for a new reality show on the Travel Channel. I don’’t have a title for it, but the idea is you have a bunch of contestants cook for Andrew Zimmerman (the host of “Bizarre Foods”). Whichever contestant cooks food that Zimmerman eats the most of (or likes the best) gets eliminated, until the last contestant standing is the winner.

My blog received a nice comment from someone this week. I wasn’t certain what prompted it though because it was attached to a blog entry from over a year ago. If you have a comment, I’’d like to hear from you too.

Things I Know

I’’ve already alerted Barrett-Jackson about an error on their website for their upcoming Scottsdale AZ auction, but I thought I should alert you as well. To the best of my knowledge, there’’s no such thing as a 1953 Willys Jeepster. They have one listed as lot 849. That might explain why there’’s no picture of the vehicle on the website. So far, Barrett-Jackson has neither changed its website nor acknowledged my email. This particular car was sold at the Silver Car Auction in Reno NV last August where they also listed it as a 1953, but in the text of the ad, they also called it a ’48 and said they were calling it a ’53 because that’s when it was first sold. I still say fewer than 20,000 were made between 1949 and 1950 and the last ones were sold as ’51 models. I also still maintain there’s no such thing as a 1953 Willys Jeepster. I wonder if the owner is really selling this car at Barrett-Jackson in Scottsdale. There’’s no picture on the Barrett-Jackson website and the car is also listed for sale in another company’s auction in Palm Springs in February.

Since I’ve ranted in this space before about strange choices in music used to produce commercials, let me say here and now, if I made Cheez Whiz, I’’d hire Carla Thomas to sing in my ads.

I don’t know why I didn’t think of this before. The light switch just inside the door to my den has always been hard to locate in the dark. Today, I installed a switch with a little light inside of it. It’’s so easy now. Problem solved.

If I ran amazon.com, I wouldn’t know what I’’m doing, but in my opinion, whoever put together their search function doesn’’t either. I searched the recommendations they made for me for computers. I got only 15 items, one of which was a netbook. None of the other recommendations were computers of any kind and the netbook was #6.

Another issue with Amazon.com’s search function. I looked for electric can openers. I sorted the results by average customer review. Only one item on the first page was an electric can opener. Two of the first three listings wouldn’t open cans at all.

On the other hand, some Amazon.com customer reviews are absolutely priceless. You’’ve got to check these reviews out: hilarious!

Hormel, makers of Spam the meat (or is it meat byproduct?), has announced plans to buy Skippy peanut butter, not a jar, the whole company. That makes me afraid you’’ll soon be able to buy pre-made peanut butter and Spam sandwiches in your local supermarket.

You’’re not supposed to pay retail for camera equipment and hardly anybody ever does. Nevertheless, if you own even a semi-elaborate camera, you’’ll never have any trouble coming up with ways to drop several hundred dollars.

There’’s a running joke in my family about plot development. Saint Karen (who has to be a saint to put up with me) likes soap operas and I don’’t. Sometimes, we’’ll sit in the living room and she’’ll be watching a soap while I’’m ignoring the TV and surfing the Internet. Someone on the soap will ask another character in what some would call a very dramatic manner (but I call over-acting) why they did something. I’’ll look up from my computer screen and say, “”Plot development.”” Over the years, my whole family has come to give those two words as an answer to why lots of things are going on either in entertainment or in real life. One of the soaps did it again and I said, “”Plot development,”” again and then I said that just once I’’d like a character on a soap opera to say, “”Plot development,”” too right there on the TV screen, during the show and without breaking character. We both think that would be funny.

Things I Know

Happy New Year.

I’’m enjoying the special New Year’’s Eve programming on Speed Channel: a rerun marathon of last January’s Barrett-Jackson classic car auction.

When I wished Rachel from Card Holder Services would stop calling me, I should have been more specific. Apparently there’’s a new woman voicing the robocalls, and what I really meant was I wish nobody from Card Holder Services would ever call me again.

Former California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has a new, heavily advertised movie opening soon: It’’s called “”Last Stand.”” In it, he plays a sheriff. I can’’t be the only person who hopes there’’s a British guy somewhere in the movie who keeps calling him governor.

I had a problem with a Sansa Clip Zip. It started acting unpredictably with a micro SD card in it, differently depending on which card. The folks at Sansa were pretty good about taking it back and replacing it.

I’’m making a lot of progress: I used to just have trouble going to sleep, but now I also have trouble staying asleep.

Facebook recently suggested I might know Olivia Newton John: I don’’t. I understand that some of the recommendations are based on career or mutual friends, but I have no idea where that one came from. Maybe left field.

If you want to keep your sliced lemons and limes from turning brown, try rubbing the cut surfaces of the citrus with the freshly cut surface of an apple.

Things I Know

Click this link and scroll down the page past the wrist watch to see a mechanical worm made in 1820 which sold recently for about $415,000!

You should leave your Christmas lights up until the 12th day of Christmas. No cheating and taking them down this week or on New Years Day.

Some year, I’’ll put up my Christmas lights (or at least test them) in time to get replacements for the ones I discover aren’’t working well anymore.

One of the reasons I like the movie ““Miracle on 34th St.”” so much is that as a kid I wanted a fire truck that squirted real water too. I remember looking at one in a toy store, but I don’’t remember if I ever got one.

One of the reasons I dislike the colorized version of the movie ““Miracle on 34th St.”” is that the colors are too warm. Another is that there are places in the movie where the interior shot is in color, but you can see through the window that a black and white world exists outside.

I found out when I plugged in my Christmas lights that both electrical outlets on my front porch were dead. When I went to replace them, I also discovered that the circuit breaker labeled by my electrician as controlling the outside outlets doesn’t control them. I don’’t know what that one does, but the one labeled ““Living room ceiling fan” does control the outside outlets. It also controls the living room ceiling fan and frankly, that surprised me. So don’’t depend on the labels, test the circuit too.

If you are replacing GFCI outlets, you will probably need to reset them after you turn the power back on and before they start working. That bit of information may save you from a panic attack some day.

It would be nice if you could replace a light switch or an outlet using only one screw driver. I needed three different sizes for my GFCI’s.

As long as we’’re talking electricity, I had a three-way CFL bulb in the lamp where I usually sit to read. It’’s been crackling for a few minutes when I turn it on for months now. Today it stopped doing that when it burned out and tripped my #5 circuit breaker. That breaker also controls the TV in my living room, so I don’’t know if Ralphie shot his eye out this year or not.

Those CFL bulbs, by the way, don’t last in my house anywhere near as long as the literature suggests they should.

Patti celebrated her birthday a week ago today. She’’s one of two girlfriends I had in my youth whose birthday I recall. Well, I was 19 when I started dating my wife, so one of three. I remember Patti’’s because of difficulty. Her birthday is a week to the day before Christmas. When I was 16 years old, I had to come up with two presents for a 15-year-old girl in one week. Difficult!

Things I Know

On Saturday, December 15, 2012, I watched a TV commercial that informed me there are 12 shopping days left until Christmas.

I hate to disagree with Michael Jordan, but tags on my Hanes underwear never annoyed me.

Handel’’s Hallelujah Chorus isn’t a Christmas song, but it’’s played a lot around Christmas time. As a teenager, most of my friends were in the high school chorus, so I can’’t listen to it without hearing the following three words,” ““Brillo soap pads.””

Bumper sticker seen on a Cadillac Escalade: “”Support your local repo man, —miss 2 payments.””

Never one to go out of my way to catch the latest releases, I watched “‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows”’ (both parts) recently. I saw them on TV, not in a movie theater, but large parts of the movies were so dark that I couldn’t really see what was going on and might as well have listened to them on the radio. I guess I’’ll have to read the books if I want to understand what happened.

So, Billy uses his Dell Ultrabook to take a picture of the sky and sends Charlotte the jpeg as a present for the holidays. He also sends a recording of his voice saying, “Happy holidays Charlotte.” First, I know it’’s the thought, not the gift that counts, but sending your girlfriend a jpeg as a present is mighty cheap. Second, if you were dating Charlotte, wouldn’’t you know whether she celebrates Christmas, Hanukkah or Festivus?

Alabama did win the SEC football championship (of course), so the Crimson Tide will face the Fighting Irish in the BCS championship game on January 7 and my son was wrong, the Tide’s season didn’t end with the Texas A&M loss. This is a tough one. My grandmother was one of those Irish immigrants who rooted for Notre Dame even though she never went to college and didn’t even know anyone who went to Notre Dame. I do know two Notre Dame graduates, however, my son and one of my nieces are Alabama alumni, so Roll Tide.

Things I Know

I visited the Victoria’s Secret store at the local mall today. It’’s very economical to shop there because if I buy a present for my wife, it’’s also a present for me. They had Christmas music blaring in there. I complained twice to the young sales clerk waiting on me about how loud the music was, but I don’’t think she could hear me.

There must be a couple of new people here once in a while because the number of hits on the site is increasing slowly, but steadily. So, in case the newbies are wondering what the hell I was talking about in my most recent diatribe about Powerball, I’’ll explain. When lottery prizes get big a staple of TV news coverage is to interview people as they buy tickets and ask them what they plan to do with the money. Everyone has plans to give it away. Nobody should think about that because the odds of winning are so bad buying a ticket doesn’’t really improve your chances, unless, of course, you win. So, when a lottery prize gets huge, I think up silly stuff to do with the money if I win. Freeing the shopping carts is my latest silly idea; nothing more and nothing less.

I heard on the news today that your chances of winning the big Powerball prize are smaller you’re your chances of winning an Oscar. And you’’re not an actor, so those chances are remarkably slim.

Since Kansas State and Oregon both lost their football games two week ago, Alabama is #2 in the latest college football rankings, back from #4 when the Tide lost to Texas A&M three weeks ago. So, perhaps my son was wrong that the Alabama season was over (meaning they had no chance to play for the BCS championship. It depends on who wins the SEC championship game.

I’ve never seen it done, but I believe it’’s at least theoretically possible for someone to buy a week’’s worth of groceries in a supermarket without ever blocking an aisle or having their path through an aisle blocked.

They ought to make shoes for mowing the lawn that are absolutely smooth on the bottom. Then, if you stepped in something, you would just wipe it off instead of digging it out of the tread on the soles of your sneakers or work boots.

Hostess brands going out of business makes me a little sad. No more Twinkies, no more Hostess cupcakes (well, no new ones anyway. The ones that exist are rumored to last forever if nobody eats them) and no more Wonder Bread. And, no more jobs for over eighteen-thousand bakery workers. I never made them, but the only union I ever belonged to was the American Bakery & Confectionery Workers Union. There is so little about that Union on the Internet that I have to assume it went out of business a long time ago. That’s okay because I retired at age 19 and if I had to find my card so I could go back to work, I couldn’t if my life depended on it. It’’s hard work under bad conditions. I worked at it for one year and I can tell you, you don’’t ever want to catch bread coming out of the oven in five-loaf pans.

So, around my birthday, someone called from the life insurance company that holds my policy. She said it’’s been a long time since anyone has reviewed my policy with me and she’’d like to come by when it’’s convenient within the next couple of weeks. I said, “I’’m really not interested in a sales pitch unless it will save me money,” and she hung up.

I saw a TV documentary recently about prohibition. It struck me as extremely similar to our modern day drug wars and just as futile. According to CBS Sunday Morning, 100 million people in the USA admit having tried marijuana and in Colorado on Election Day, more people voted to legalize pot than voted to reelect President Obama.

Things I Know

I hope Paula doesn’t boil the bunny; Jill too.

One headline in Tuesday’’s Newsday, the Long Island newspaper, says, ““Fiscal Cliff Will Test GOP Resolve on Tax Hikes.”” No it won’’t. Stalling legislation will no longer work to stop any and all tax hikes because if nothing happens, everyone’’s taxes will go up in January. So now, some sort of compromise will have to happen so only somebody’’s taxes go up, not everyone’’s.

Hardly anyone has said something that should be obvious about the storm damage Sandy inflicted on Long Island. I don’’t care what happened. If 90 percent of your electric distribution goes down over an area as big as Long Island, there’’s something wrong with the way your distribution system is designed and built and it needs to be hardened. That’’s especially true since much more than half of it was repaired last year in August.

It will surprise me if any member of the LIPA board of directors survives this fiasco. The chief operating officer has already announced he’s leaving at the end of the year. Same thing for the long-term survival of LIPA itself. Sandy came 14 months after Irene and it doesn’t look like LIPA learned a damned thing.

My son is a University of Alabama alumnus. After Texas A&M’s football team beat the previously undefeated and previously #1 ranked Crimson Tide, he said, ““Our season is over.”” I thought to myself that it sounded like the typical attitude of a New York Yankee fan and then I remembered my son is a New York Yankee fan.

Things I Know

The Long Island Power Authority says if the predicted Nor’easter does hit the area on Wednesday there may be more power outages. I thought every tree on Long Island that could fall down did fall down during Sandy.

If there’s ever another storm as big as Sandy, maybe I will evacuate when a mandatory evacuation order is issued.

The storm made a lot of homes on Staten Island and in Long Beach and Freeport uninhabitable. If you can donate to a charity that is helping people in this predicament, please do so.

The fact that New York’s Holland, Midtown and Brooklyn Battery Tunnels all flooded does make a whole bunch of disaster movies a little more believable. I read that the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel was flooded with 43-million gallons of water. I wonder how they know that. I also wonder how much water the Holland and Midtown Tunnels hold. I also saw a report that the NY Subway was flooded with 400-million gallons and considering the size of the system, that seems like it might be low to me.

Although the community in which I live was clobbered, our beloved mayor sent out a robocall from the Emergency Management Director saying power would be restored by 10 AM Saturday. That was wrong. There are still lots of people without power. I live in a part of town that wasn’t flooded and consider myself fortunate that my power was out only 93 hours.

Years ago, radio comedians Bob & Ray had fake commercials for Quagmire Corporation, manufacturers of mud. I’’m starting a new fake company: Pain-In-The-Ass, Inc., manufacturers of robocalls.

I’’m on the federal no call list which, judging from the number of annoyance calls I receive, is toothless. These calls are apparently so cheap that it doesn’t pay Pain-In-The-Ass, Inc. (manufacturer of robocalls) to stop calling people who hang up on them every time, but hanging up is about all you can do to defend yourself.

Today I got a call in Spanish. I know a few words of Spanish, but the recording didn’t use any of those. At the end of the message a voice in English came on and said, “To repeat this message, press any key.” If I understood the message, I would be unlikely to understand the tag line and vice-versa, so that call made no sense at all to me.

If you follow this blog, you know that I call my wife Saint Karen because she must be a saint to put up with me. For our wedding anniversary, I bought her a sterling silver Saint Karen pendant. She laughed. I like the sound of her laughter.

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.

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.

Things I Know

Having recently returned from the American south, I’’m reminded that “y’’all” is not the plural of the singular “you.” As you know in English, “you” is both singular and plural. Unlike what some southerners claim, “y’’all” is the singular form. The plural of “y’’all” is “all y’’all.”

Here are a few things I didn’’t get around to posting earlier because I was on vacation.

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Returning home on Southwest Airlines, the flight attendant said that if there was anything she could do to make the flight more comfortable we should ask. So, I asked her to make the plane a few feet wider.

Twenty people were trapped for hours on a ride at Knott’’s berry Farm in California earlier this month. It was the second time in two weeks that the ride got stuck. If I ever get stuck on a ride like that for four hours, nobody better stand under the ride. That’s all I’’ve got to say.

Almost everyone who pays attention to world events has heard of the film, ““Innocence of Muslims”” because it supposedly supplied the spark that ignited riots in the Middle East, one of which resulted in the death of four US diplomats, including our ambassador to Libya. If it weren’’t for the riots, almost nobody would have heard of the film. I also find it too much of a coincidence to believe that the riots on 9/11 were inspired by a film nobody heard of.

Just because Mitt Romney’’s fund-raising letters are too thick to go through my shredder unopened is no reason I should read them after opening them and before shredding them.

It is a word, I’’ve never seen or heard it used before. Even if it didn’t exist, it is implied by the word impervious. The word is “pervious.” It means permeable, something that will absorb water or allow it to pass through. I saw it on tcpalm.com, a news website of Scripps newspapers covering the southeast Florida area known as the Treasure Coast.

Things I Know

I’ve heard that this is the first years there will be no political speeches at the September 11th memorial ceremony at Ground Zero. Good.

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I just learned that I once knew President Kennedy’’s Harvard roommate. I also learned that the man passed away eight years ago. I went to elementary school with his children and I knew him a little when I became both an adult and a broadcast reporter. He was active in local politics and government. He was always very gracious to me and the only problem I ever had with him (since I was his children’s contemporary) is that he called me Tommy on the air.

The most interesting man in the world has more than one Facebook page. Seriously! If you go on Facebook and look up that phrase, you come to a Facebook page and there’’s also a separate one under Dos Equis beer.

One-A-Day vitamins sells a product called Vita-Crave. It’’s a chewable gummy vitamin. The label recommends you take two a day, which I find somehow counterintuitive.

““A pedestrian is a man with two cars, a wife and two teenagers.”” –George Romney (Mitt’s father)

Cans of white, high-gloss enamel exterior paint are my new screwdrivers. I’’ve already told you I own dozens of screwdrivers. I discovered today that I have three gallons of white, high-gloss enamel exterior paint. I won’’t be buying anymore at least for a while.

By this weekend, I should be finished with a five-gallon bucket of tan paint I bought a while back. I’’m never buying another five-gallon bucket of paint. Yes, it is a little cheaper than buying five one-gallon cans, but five gallons of paint are too heavy to lug around comfortably.

Things I Know

I have been a fiscal conservative for all of my adult life. I believe there are more fiscal conservatives in the Republican than in the Democratic Party. I also believe there are more people who have no regard for science in the Republican than in the Democratic Party and that both disappoints and disturbs me. As the late New York Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan said, ““You are entitled to your own opinion. You are not entitled to your own facts.””

Thanks to MLB TV, I am reminded that Vin Scully still sounds great. Maybe he’s lost a step, but he is 84 years old.

Jerry Stiller is in a TV commercial for Capital One Bank. In it, he says, ““Instead of earning bupkus, your checking account could be earning five times the national average.”” Jerry, five times bupkus is still bupkus.

The latest TV commercials for Walgreens Drug Stores claim that Charles Walgreen invented the chocolate malted. Wow. To me that’’s a lot more impressive than creating a nationwide chain of drugstores. I wish I could be remembered for creating the chocolate malted, or even the coffee malted, which is also pretty damned great, as is the vanilla malted. I’’ll certainly be remembered for consuming more than my fair share of all three.

I also wish I had created reality TV. I mean, I said, “”Oh my God,”” many times before the phrase became a staple of television programming.

Some things bother me a little about home improvement TV shows. On the show “Hideous Houses,” I’’d suggest that the product placements from Sears are a little heavy handed. I lost count of how many times they mentioned Sears; beginning with the large, portable shade structure they erected to shade the work area. It says Sears on it in huge letters.

On the same show, the designer is painting without covering her long blonde hair or removing her dangling earrings. She’’s also painting in a nice sweater, good black slacks and knee-high, high-heeled boots. The clothes I wear when I paint are basically indistinguishable from paint.

On the other side of the coin, I saw a “Property Brothers” show in which the producers blurred out the Chevy bowtie emblem on the grille of the Chevy (I think it was a Traverse) belonging to the property owners. Once I noticed the bowtie blurred out, I paid attention to that instead of paying attention to the show. I don’’t know why they do that. Some for-profit college ran a commercial a while back that blurred out the Ford blue oval on the grille of an SUV and that also distracted me from the message of the commercial.

Things I Know

With Tropical Storm Isaac becoming stronger, churning in the Atlantic and headed first for Haiti and then for the GOP Presidential Convention, I’’ve said for years that the best way to survive a weather disaster is to watch the Weather Channel, find out where Jim Cantore is and be someplace else. Matt Hardigree, writing on the website Jalopnik.com, has a more nuanced approach, but ultimately agrees with me.

Roker-Cantore Coverage Scale

Some Local Reporter On National News — All is well, relax
Al Roker — Minor inconvenience, you’ll be fine
Jeff Morrow — Better start moving stuff off your porch
Stephanie Abrams — Things are getting serious
Mike Seidel — Uh oh…
Jim Cantore — Prepare your body for the Thunderdome

Just as I returned from the pizzeria and set foot on the porch, my daughter came downstairs and opened the front door lending credence to her claim that she’s gifted with P.S.P.: Pizza Sensory Perception!

Prince Harry should know (and so should you) that if you don’’t want naked pictures of yourself on the Internet, you shouldn’’t get naked when there’’s a camera (or phone which is the same thing) around. In fact, I would not be at all surprised if there are more pictures of naked people on the Internet than there are people.

I usually recommend removing one’’s foot from one’’s mouth before shooting one’’s self in the foot. In Representative Todd Akin’’s case, however, I’’ll consider amending my position. “Legitimate rape,” indeed. President Abraham Lincoln is widely regarded as one of our greatest presidents. He said a lot of smart things. This is one of them: ““Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.””

Things I Know

I have to take issue with what Brian Williams said on NBC Nightly News when Phyllis Diller died. There was nobody like her even after she came along.

In case you missed the news, eating eggs is bad for you again. I’’m beginning to think the Woody Allen movie “Sleeper” was more than satire when he woke up and everything that everyone thought was bad for you when he fell asleep was now considered good for you.

Soon, very soon, Nike will be selling LeBron James sneakers for $315 a pair. I believe that if I had that kind of money to burn, I’’d get more satisfaction from burning it.

Public Radio is apparently trying to attract younger listeners. While listening to “Car Talk” on Saturday, I heard a promo for a show called “WTF.”

I am totally disinterested in football, so it should come as no surprise that I’’m already really tired of news about football on radio, TV and in newspapers and we’’re still in preseason.

I really like baseball, but it should also come as no surprise that I’’m really tired of hearing about the Mets too. I suppose I should be satisfied with what the Mets achieved in the first half of the season, since everyone (me included) thought they’’d be awful all year. But, if we can only have one good half season, just once I’’d like to see them be good in the second half.

With all the seeds each sunflower produces, it’’s kind of amazing to me that sunflowers have’n’t taken over the universe.

I cheat during public TV pledge week. I DVR any pledge programming I’’m interested in and fast forward through all the pledges. One of the funniest things I’’ve ever seen on TV was when Oscar the Grouch from Sesame Street declared that pledge breaks were his absolutely favorite TV shows.

I’’m sure there are non-franchise carpet cleaners who do a good job and there are probably also franchise carpet cleaners who don’’t. But I had Stanley Steemer in to clean the carpet in the bedroom today. They showed up when they said they would, did a good job, did it quickly and left.

I saw a blog post criticizing GOP vice-presidential candidate Paul Ryan for calling Social Security a Ponzi scheme, while he also attended college using Social Security survivor’’s benefits. There are plenty of things to agree or disagree with Paul Ryan about without attacking straw men. He was entitled to those benefits because his father died when he was 15. Social Security was less of a Ponzi scheme 25 years ago than it is today. And there is one significant difference between Social Security and a Ponzi scheme: Social Security is legal. But anyone who thinks there’’s a Social Security Trust Fund is delusional. If you are retired now, you have probably already collected what you paid into the system. People who are working now are paying for people who are retired now. People are living longer, a lot of people are out of work right now, the general population isn’’t growing all that fast, but thanks to the post World War II baby boom, the population of retirees is. Sounds like a Ponzi scheme to me. Ask an actuary, if you can afford that. Actuaries are paid very well. There are lots of issues to talk about in the presidential campaign. Could we talk about those instead of doing this?

Things I Know

I hope my bank pays attention to this. I have Internet service. When I call you, I don’’t want to know my balance. I can get that on your website, or from any ATM. I don’’t want to pay you over the phone either. I can also do that on your website. Good website, by the way. When I call you, I have a problem I can’’t resolve that way and I need to talk to a person. Please put me through to a person, or at least let me talk to a banker.

A week or two ago, when the Powerball drawing was for a $212-million first prize, I won! I only won $4, but I’’m not going to let that ruin my life. I didn’’t win the $337 million drawing this week, so don’’t call me asking for money.

Clearly, the cost of doing business has nothing to do with the price of a car rental. As another part of looking into taking a vacation I found that a $20-thousand car costs about $25 a day where I want to go. A $40-thousand car costs more than four times as much. My problem with rental car companies is they don’’t guarantee the type of car. I might lay out the money for a Mustang convertible, but they think a Sebring convertible is similar and I think a Camaro is.

My doctor was less than a half hour late for my appointment today. That’’s not good, but it’’s not awful either. I contributed to him being later for patients who came after me. He was in the mood to talk about politics and I indulged him.

I wish I had my camera at the beach the other day because while walking along the waterline, I saw two young women in different locations wading in the surf while yakking away on their cell phones. It would be funny if they were talking to each other.

Here’’s a product recommendation. Nobody’s paying me for it and it doesn’’t do you any good because they don’t make it anymore. I have a Grundig Yachtboy 400 radio. Maybe it’’s 15-16 years old and it was a very expensive radio when I bought it. The company that now sells Grundig radios bought the brand when the company that used to make them went out of business, so I don’’t know whether current radios are as good. However, I’’ve dropped this thing several times and I’’ve managed to sink it in water twice, once in a bathtub and once in a pail of water. It still works.

If you drop any electronic device in the water, take it out right away, remove any batteries (they’’re ruined) and cover the device in uncooked white rice. Leave it alone for several days. The rice will absorb moisture and maybe it will help save the device. But maybe it won’’t.

Rambo III is a very weird movie when viewed today, considering what’s happened in Afghanistan since the movie came out 24 years ago.

Things I Know

I didn’’t watch the Olympic 200 meter butterfly on TV. I figured it would scare me because even Mothra wasn’’t that big.

Who wins an Olympic event or the most Olympic events has nothing to do with whether one country is better than another. The older I get the more homerism on the part of the TV coverage bothers me.

The eight badminton players who were expelled from the Olympics were trying to win the whole tournament. If the rules of a tournament make it advantageous to lose a game or match in quest of overall victory, there’’s something wrong with the rules, not with the players and coaches who understand the rules.

There’’s also something wrong with the rules for the overall title in gymnastics. If there are 24 spots in the finals, they should go to the 24 best performances leading up to the finals and not be limited to two people from any given country. If the preliminaries don’’t determine who’’s in the finals, why have preliminaries?

Chick-Fil-A. The guy who runs this company is against gay marriage. He’s entitled to his opinion, even though I don’’t care who you marry. People who disagree with his politics are entitled to spend their money elsewhere. They’’re also entitled to organize opposition if they wish and as long as it’’s peaceful. Likewise, people are entitled to organize support. But when government leaders say they’’re going to keep that or any other company from locating in their areas because of its owner’’s political beliefs, that’s wrong. Maybe it’’s not unconstitutional because the first amendment applies to the federal government, not local zoning boards, but it’’s still wrong and against everything America has always stood for. Love who you want, eat what you want is my position.

A tourist from Spain was brutally attacked this week by a man wielding a hammer while sitting in Manhattan’s City Hall Park at 3:00 AM. I can appreciate that someone from Spain, whose body clock is on Spanish time, would be wide awake at 3:00 AM New York time. However, if you are a tourist anywhere in the world, you should find out whether an area is safe before being out and about at 3:00 AM. I don’’t think I’’d walk around in my suburban neighborhood, let alone in a New York City park at 3:00 AM and very few good things happen anywhere in public places at 3:00 AM.

Things I Know

If you get a phone call and there’’s nobody on the other end of the line for several seconds, you’’re being called by an automatic dialing system that tries to anticipate when the human caller will be available to annoy talk to you. Unless you enjoy receiving telephone sales calls, you can probably hang up any time that happens.

Figuring out how to repair the flush valve on my toilet isn’’t satisfying for all the water I’’m saving. It’’s better because I didn’’t have to call and pay a plumber. To paraphrase the credit card ad, $7 to fix the toilet, priceless!

Nothing against plumbers though. I call a good one when what needs fixing is beyond my skills. And that good plumber is very odd. He returns phone calls and shows up pretty much when he says he will. He still charges a lot. I said he’’s very odd, not weird.

$6.90 for returning deposit soda bottles and cans: at five cents a pop, or soda, or beer, that’’s 138 cans and bottles. Either I have to take them back more often, or it’’s a good thing I own a truck.

The only attention I ever pay to professional or college football is when my son’’s alma mater wins a national championship (as in the last two years in a row, Roll Tide!). I played as a kid, but stopped when the other kids started getting as big as me. That being said, the NCAA penalties against Penn State hurt an awful lot of people who had nothing to do with the child sex abuse scandal at the University and nothing to do with covering it up either. The guy who did the crime is in jail. One of the cover-up guys (according to Louis Freeh’’s investigation) is dead. Others have lost their jobs. I don’’t know if they’’ll be indicted, but they probably will be sued and so will the university. As a result of the lawsuits, I hope the victims are compensated and I hope that compensation helps them. I approve of all that punishment, but what the NCAA did hurts the university, hurts students who play other sports that cost more than they earn, hurts other programs paid for from football profits and it hurts the local economy too because a lot of people who have been going to games won’’t go, won’’t stay overnight, won’’t eat in local restaurants. You get the idea.

And, while I’’m happy that my son’’s happy if Alabama wins, all of the SEC schools are among the colleges and universities I believe value football more than they should when compared with academics.

If your insomnia is as bad as mine, you may have seen the show ““Comics Unleashed.”” Judging from some of the topical jokes it’’s in reruns on Channel 2 in New York after Craig Ferguson’’s show. If you’’re looking for a good laugh, there’’s really no need to see it though.

I’’m kind of stoked that I could buy repair parts for an Andersen window more than twenty years old. Still, newer ones are a lot easier to take apart than that one is. I took it apart, fixed it and put it back together again, but if I took it apart another time or two, I’’m pretty sure I’’d break something. You expect product designs to improve and in the case of Andersen windows, they have. The old one I just fixed used balances and one of them broke after close to 25 years. The new ones don’’t use balances and it’’s a lot easier to remove the sashes than it used to be.

Twenty-one people were treated for burns on their feet after trying to walk on hot coals following a program by motivational speaker Tony Robbins. If twenty people ahead of me got burned trying to walk on burning coals, I would get out of the line myself. But that’’s just me. It probably wouldn’’t even take twenty.

I’’ve often wondered how kids survive between the time they stop being cute and the time they start being bigger than we are. This answer from the website jezebel.com may explain it. I believe a man named Doug Barry is the author although I’’m not entirely clear on that because the article I lifted the answer from is an aggregation of news items from elsewhere. ““. . . they say your brain releases crazy chemicals after you have kids to keep you from eating them when they get too heavy to carry and there aren’t any mastodons to hunt.”” I think that’s sarcasm, but it sounds like a real possibility to me as well.

Things I Know

Depending on whose count you believe, Republicans in the House have voted to repeal Obamacare 31 or 33 times. They know the bills they keep passing will not pass the Senate unless the next election changes the composition of the Senate. Whether you approve of Obamacare or not, the Republicans in the House of Representatives are not impressing me by taking over 30 votes on legislation they know won’t pass the Senate. I think they’’re turning off a lot more people than they’re impressing at this point, including people who agree with them about Obamacare.

You can buy malted milk powder on Amazon.com, either Carnation or Horlicks. Hell. You can subscribe to malted milk powder on Amazon.com, so you don’’t even have to remember to reorder it.

Now, if you could subscribe to chocolate ice cream through Amazon.com, you’’d really have something. What you’d probably have is chocolate soup, because the delivery company would most likely leave the ice cream to melt on the porch.

I’’ve talked before about the concept of a material difference in accounting. If you’re short a few pennies or even a few dollars (like three or four) on a very large amount of money, it’’s not a material difference, so it doesn’’t matter. Remember that two-billion-dollar trading loss J P Morgan reported a while back? Today the bank reported that the loss is actually $5.8 billion. That IS a material difference.

I don’’t have to go to a podiatrist often, which is good because when I go, it’’s usually for an ingrown toenail and the podiatrist pulls a sliver of my toenail out with a pair of pliers. The doctor does use a local anesthetic which is also good because it only leaves me thinking what an effective form of torture pulling your nails out would be, not experiencing it first-hand. Still it’’s bad because injections of local anesthesia are especially painfully for me.

Bob Kane was the artist who first drew the comic book hero Batman. I went to grade school with a girl who claimed she was related to Mr. Kane. I believed her because she knew who Bob Kane was even though she was a girl and because she had a pencil drawing of Robin signed by Bob Kane in her wallet.

I’’ve been calling my wife Saint Karen for quite some time now on the theory that she has to be a saint to put up with me. I don’’t know why I didn’’t think of this before, but you can buy a Saint Karen pendant or medal. I’’m going to do that, but not just yet. However, if you have need of a Saint Karen medal or pendant, please know that you should shop around. The price for what appears to be the same sterling silver item varies by a couple of hundred percent. The gold one costs about twenty times as much as the silver.

This is not a complaint about Andersen windows. It’s a complaint about a different guy. I like the windows enough to buy lots of them (I’m pretty sure I have 18) for the house I own that didn’t come equipped with them. However, I needed new balances for the oldest one I have. I think it’s the only one that uses balances. A local dealer gave me some hints for taking apart the window and told me he could order the necessary balances if I brought in the old ones or if I provided the information on the lower corner of the window pane, plus the size of the sash. Very helpful. I took the old balances in and talked to a different guy at the dealer. The different guy told me he could only order the balances if I brought in or measured the sash. That’s not what the helpful guy said and you can order them with the old balance’s part number if you know about the Internet. I told the different guy I could order them no problem on the Internet. He was not moved. So, that’s what I did. They cost less and came in only two days. I’m sorry helpful guy wasn’t there. I would have paid a little extra for that kind of customer service. But if you want to charge more, you can’t have different guy not doing what helpful guy said.

Things I Know

Ocean Home Magazine has just come out with what it calls the 25 most desirable oceanfront homes currently for sale in the USA. I do know a couple of people who might be able to afford one of the homes on the list, although certainly not the most expensive. One in East Hampton is two blocks from the ocean. Is that cheating? The one in Alaska overlooks Cook Inlet. Since I can’’t afford it, I don’’t even have to politely decline because I hate to be cold. I do like to look and if you don’’t mind drooling on your computer keyboard, you might like looking too.

Teva sandals stink! Otherwise, they’’re great. I’’ve been wearing rubber Tevas like the current Hurricane model at the beach and for other outdoor activities for years and years. The ones I have on now are about seven years old so they last a long time. I have plantar fasciitis, and my podiatrist thought I was crazy when I told him that my beach sandals are among my most comfortable shoes. But the rubber gives a little while still having good arch support. Teva advertizes that the sandals have a zinc-based anti-microbial technology. I thought the zinc stuff wore out and that’’s why the sandals stink, but I’’ve been reading up on it. Turns out you should wash them even scrub them much more often than I have. I’’m going to try that because other than the fact that they occasionally smell, I love Teva sandals. Don’’t throw them in the washing machine though.

On the 4th of July, two women in East Farmingdale NY were seriously burned when aerosol cans stored under their barbecues exploded. I wouldn’’t have been that concerned about aerosol cans, but the barbecue I own has a cabinet under the burners and by design, you’’re supposed to keep a 20 pound propane cylinder in there. I did that. Once! It gets really hot in that cabinet. Now, I don’t keep anything in it. In fact, when I buy my next barbecue, I’’m going to see if I can find one without a cabinet beneath the fire. The cabinet adds to the expense of the barbecue and I think it’’s too hot to use for storage of anything flammable.

On the evening of the 4th, a 34-foot cabin cruiser capsized in the Oyster Bay-Cold Spring Harbor area of Long Island’’s north shore. Three children trapped in the cabin drowned. Police say they’’re investigating whether the boat was overloaded. I’’m no expert, but with 27 people on a 34-foot boat, I imagine it must have been. Even if it was overloaded, other factors could also have contributed to the tragedy.

On the 20th, I’’m going to see my first Dodger game in 55 years when the Dodgers play the Mets at Citi Field. No, I don’’t think they’’re going to come back, but I do want to assure everyone that I won’’t root for them.

If you have a Facebook application on your smart phone, under certain circumstances, Facebook will populate your phone’’s address book with the names of your Facebook friends and with any contact information they’’ve supplied to Facebook. This is not necessarily a good thing since I almost butt-dialed someone who lives in Brazil the other day.

When my son was in China, I got a Google Voice phone number and used it to chat with him. Now, I use it less often and have it set to forward any incoming calls to my cell phone. That’’s why I was glad my cell phone was off when someone I’’ve never heard of called my Google Voice number the other day at 5:30 AM.

The city council in Houston TX recently passed a $5.00-per-person fee for patrons of strip clubs. Wags are calling it a pole tax. The money is being earmarked to clear a backlog of something like 4,000 unprocessed rape kits. Pursuing rapists is something police everywhere ought to have the resources to do, but I’’m unaware of any evidence that suggests strip clubs cause rape.

If my wife and I could learn to fight with each other often enough, we could probably stop paying for all the cable TV channels that run reality TV shows.

I have a solution for the programmers who work on MS Word’’s grammar & spelling checker as well as for speakers of English. MS Word can’’t discern a correct usage of the word its or the contraction it’’s. So, it almost always labels their use wrong, even when it’’s right. I suggest that all English speakers be like my Irish grandmother and use the contraction ‘t’is instead of it’’s. ‘T’is can’’t be confused with it’’s. Of course, the substitution would bring into common use the contraction ‘t’isn’’t, which is the only contraction I can think of that has two apostrophes in it.

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 yontoo.com. 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 Earl’’s 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 that’s a person who’’s licensed to tell me what’’s pretty, and what’s 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 DVD’s 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 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 Know

In his May 12th blog, my Internet friend Dick Summer tells a story he’’s told before about how his wife bought him a new pair of swim trunks because she didn’’t want to be seen in public with him anymore when he wore the Speedo he has had most of his life. It reminded me that I got a Speedo when I was 17. It was navy blue when I got it. It was kind of sun-faded brown when it disappeared from the pool locker room when I was 34. Did my wife, Saint Karen (who has to be a saint to put up with me) take matters into her own hands at the pool on that awful day that my Speedo disappeared?

We’ve only met once, but I consider Dick a kindred spirit because each of us has an off-beat sense of humor, each of us is very well aware that we’ve married above our station in life, and each of us is unabashedly in love with his wife.

I recommend that right-handed people buy sleeping bags with the zipper on the left and vice versa. I’’m right handed and it’’s easier for me to zip a bag whose zipper is on the left. I own four bags, not because I lose them but because I use them for different purposes. This past weekend, I used the only one I have with its zipper on the right and was reminded again of how much better I’’d like it if I remembered my recommendation when I bought it.

Among life’s frustrations, I’’ve never used the Blockbuster Video app on my Android phone, I can’’t delete it, and now it’’s bugging me every day because it needs an update.

Speaking of which, if you buy a new computer, and it comes loaded with bloatware, you can delete it. With an Android phone, it’’s not a question of “if.” Android phones do come loaded with bloatware,  a lot of which you cannot delete. Bad. For the uninitiated, bloatware is software you don’’t want, and didn’’t order that comes loaded on your new computer from the factory. It’’s there because the software publishers pay the computer manufacturers to put it there as a form of advertising.

I don’’t know or care whether the actor John Travolta is gay. Having said that, a lot of the reporting surrounding a lawsuit claiming damages because Travolta allegedly harassed men sexually while they provided massage services is deeply disturbing for its ignorance of proper English usage. Attention copy editors everywhere (professional writers too): There’s no such thing as a male masseuse and the phrase “male masseur” is redundant. By definition, a masseuse is female, a masseur is male. Plus, in either case, I believe the preferred phrase these days is massage therapist.

I don’’t think President Obama’s position on gay marriage has evolved over his presidency. He favored it as a State Senator. When he ran for President four years ago I believe he held off on saying so because he didn’’t want to alienate those people against gay marriage who would otherwise vote for him. I also believe that his recent announcement that he now favors gay marriage is a deliberate distraction from what should be the main issue. Let’s face it: The 2012 presidential election should hinge on the same issue the 1992 presidential election did: “It’’s the economy stupid,” or maybe that should be, It’s the stupid economy.

Just for the record, I think all governments should stay out of everyone’’s bedroom as long as what’’s going on in there is consensual. If two gay people want to get married, it doesn’’t bother me in the least.

Sometimes I just don’’t understand Amazon.com’s search function. I am considering purchasing a new laptop computer because a couple of keys on the one I have now have become unreliable.  Even if I fix the keyboard, my current laptop’’s hard drive is nearly full, and it only has 1 GB of RAM. I searched Amazon’s category “computers & accessories” for the word “laptop.” When sorted for average customer review, the first laptop computer was listed on page seven of the search results.

Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan got married over the weekend. They’ve been together a long time, but last week, she became a doctor, and he became a multi-billionaire, so I guess they waited to get married until they were sure they could afford it.

Things I Know

There’’s an old science fiction novel by Arthur C. Clarke called “”Childhood’’s End.”” It’’s about the human race evolving to another state, not about you and me reaching adulthood. Then, there’’s the news today that Maurice Sendak has died. Talk about the end of childhood.

One of the biggest problems with politics and government in America today is that people accept and excuse certain unacceptable or inexcusable behaviors depending on whether those behaviors come from a politician they agree with. If any office holder does something another office holder of a different political party also did while in office, one can’’t be wrong and the other right. In the same circumstances, they should both be judged the same way.

I will allow though, that if your public stance on any issue, when compared to your private behavior, makes you out to be a hypocrite, that makes whatever you’’re doing worse, whether your private behavior is legal or not.

A guy test driving a white Ferrari California worth about $200,000 and considering buying it launched it into San Francisco Bay on Saturday afternoon. Even though I’’m not a Scooby Doo fan, I’’m strangely compelled to say, “”Ruh oh!””

Every parent makes mistakes. It’’s one of the things that keep psychiatrists and psychologists in business. Every child deserves to have two parents who never do anything they know in advance will be bad for their child: We don’’t all get that. The reverse is true too, by the way. Parents deserve children, especially adult children, who don’’t deliberately hurt them either. In any event, I hope your relationship with your mom is good enough that you can sincerely wish her a happy Mother’’s Day on Sunday.

My wife, Saint Karen (she has to be a saint to put up with me) celebrates her birthday this week which means that there are times her birthday and Mother’’s Day occur on the same date. I learned when her birthday is shortly after we started dating, but it didn’’t occur to me that I’’d have to buy two presents very close together or on the same day until our first child was born. It doesn’’t matter though; she’’s worth it to me. So, officially and for the record, happy birthday Saint Karen. I’’ve said that on lots of occasions (all of them her birthday), but I’’ll never be able to say it enough times to suit me.

BTW, I call my wife Saint Karen as a tribute to her patience with me. Calling her that got me curious as to whether there was a real Saint Karen. I’’ve found several brief references saying there is a Saint Karen who is the patron saint of love and marriage. Although there’’s almost no detail on her life and with no feast day listed, I find it appropriate that Saint Karen would be the patron saint of love and marriage since I love my wife and I’’m married to her. I searched the website www.catholic.org and didn’’t find a Saint Karen listed. I know that the name Karen and the name Catherine or Katherine come from the same root and I know there’’s at least one Saint Catherine so I’’m not worried. And there’’s a website called www.saintkaren.com. It’’s related to a performance artist who goes by that name. That’’s a different Saint Karen though.

Things I Know

In a currently running Allstate TV commercial, Dennis Haysbert, the announcer, says, ““Emily’’s just starting out, and on a budget. It’’s like a ramen noodle every night budget.”” That’’s a really strict budget! Ramen noodles every night I could understand, but only one?

Mercedes Benz is running commercials on radio and TV featuring young children saying that when they grow up they will take over their parents’’ certified pre-owned (used, but with a warranty) Mercedes Benz. I guess Mercedes has data showing that owners keep the cars long enough to pass them to children, but it surprises me. I do keep cars until they die (one of my cars is 21 years old), but I would have guessed that someone who buys a used, late-model luxury car would be less likely than I am to keep that car until the bitter end.

I had to laugh at Speaker of the House John Boehner when he suggested President Obama was playing politics with a bill to keep interest on student loans low. He was right, because Republicans in the House and GOP presidential candidate Romney want to keep the loan interest low too. The difference is in how each party proposes to pay for it. The reason I had to laugh at Boehner’’s remark is he proposed paying for it in a very political way himself; by taking the money away from the President’’s health care program.

There’s a bill in Congress to allow people who borrowed money under student loan programs to get out of the loans if they declare bankruptcy. Students, don’t get your hopes up about that bill passing. However, if it does, you’’re still stuck if your parents cosigned the loan. If you go bankrupt, the maker of the loan will just go after your parents.

I’m reading a book called “Dewdroppers, Waldos and Slackers” by Rosemarie Ostler. It’s about slang in the 20th century and it’s also about 10 years old. Someone familiar with my interest in language bought it for me as a gift. Part of it is like a dictionary and part of it is narrative. No book fewer than 250 pages long can be comprehensive. I’m not finished with it, but so far I have two complaints. It doesn’t give the definition of “Waldo” I expected to see, a machine to manipulate objects as described in Robert Heinlein’s novel, “Waldo.” I wouldn’t complain about that except the word is in the title. And while it does mention the word “Funk,” it doesn’t include its definition as a kind of music. George Clinton would be disappointed. Speaking of Mr. Clinton, he’s bringing Parliament Funkadelic to Huntington, New York’s Paramount stage this weekend. If you like the funk, perhaps you should check it out.

Based on the recommendations it offers me, Amazon.com seems intent on selling me music that’s 10-20 years newer than the things I like best.

The makers of SDHC memory cards appear to be obfuscating how quickly they’’ll write data. First, they print the class information in very small type on the label or the package. Second, you can buy cards that claim to far exceed the spec. I bought a micro SDHC card that says it’’s class 6. That means it can write 6 MB/second. The package says it can write up to 30 MB/sec. Granted there are two asterisks after that figure, but I can’’t find the footnote they refer to. I know there isn’’t any class 30, but there is a class 10. If I manufactured cards that were better than class 6, I’’d call them something better than class 6 and charge more than a class 6 price for them.

There are lots of radios that offer docking and charging for Apple phones, and some that offer an external input jack so you can play your Android or Windows phone. There are even MP3 players and phones that will play external memory cards. I’’d certainly pay for a radio that would also accept and play an SDHC card. I could load it with music I like instead of the music they now play on the radio.

I bought a Sansa Clip Zip which is a very small MP3 player. I like it except for two things: It’’s so small I misplaced it within five days of buying it even though I got a red one; and you can’’t play it while it’’s recharging. So, I can’’t plug it into my car radio and recharge it while I’m driving and listening to my tunes.

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 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 week’s Tuesday’s show, Tom allowed that, “Fezzes are cool.”

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.

Things I Know

If every man, woman, and child in the United States was in one lottery pool for tonight’’s Mega Millions drawing, and if we won, we’’d each get a little over one dollar, before taxes! If I win, I’’m going to take the check to the ATM at my local bank branch. I’’ve always wondered what’s the largest dollar transaction those machines will handle.

Which reminds me, I was going to say ATM machine, but that would be redundant. The “M” in ATM stands for machine.

Actually, Mega Millions tonight is so much money that if you’re the only winner, you can have your newly-hired flunky ask that the president of your bank stop by your house, pick up the check, and deposit it for you.  He or she will probably do just that.

If you’’re ever down in the dumps, and need a little lift, go to Youtube and put the following three words, “dog,” “soldier,” and “reunion” in the search box. You’’ll get about a zillion videos. Or, for both dogs, and beloved family members, try www.welcomehomeblog.com. The videos may make you cry, but you’’ll feel a lot happier too.

Here’’s a disturbing trend. When I bought my current shredder, it was powerful enough to shred most credit card offers and other junk mail without me having to open the envelope. I’’ve had the shredder long enough for postal rates to go up substantially, but the credit card offers are getting thicker, and I now have to open most of them before shredding them.  I still don’’t read them though.

The people who hold my mortgage confused me this month. Confusing me is such a small challenge that I don’’t know why they bother. They sent me a statement telling me that my mortgage escrow was going up. I don’’t like that, but it’’s really no surprise. They also told me I have a shortage in my escrow account. That’’s an annual event too because they won’’t listen to me. I’’ve tried, believe me. They included the shortage in the new monthly payment, and in the same envelope included a bill for the shortage. The way the whole thing is worded, if I didn’’t pay attention I would have paid both. If I did pay both though, I probably wouldn’’t have an escrow shortage next year.

Things I Know

Tuesday, not the day pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training, is the real first day of Spring, so happy Spring everyone.

I was trying to figure out how to support the new chandelier for my dining room while I wire it, and attach it to the ceiling, so I did a Google search for instructions. The almost universal advice from all across the Internet was to get someone else to hold it. My problem is I’’m tall enough and strong enough to hold the chandelier, and I know how to wire it: my wife isn’’t, isn’’t, and doesn’’t. The bracket that comes with many ceiling fans has a hook on it that you can use to support the fan while wiring it, but the bracket that came with my chandelier doesn’’t. Maybe I’’ll buy a fan bracket, and see whether I can hang the chandelier on that while I wire it.

Speaking of brackets, for several years I’’ve noted that “March Madness” now spills over into April. I’’m going to take that trend even farther and set an example by being mad all year long. You may ask yourself if by mad I mean angry or crazy. The answer is both.

I agree with almost everyone else who said for Rush Limbaugh to personally attack law student Sandra Fluke was wrong. That being said, there is no constitutional right to go through life unoffended although a lot of people seem to think there is one.

I’’ve spoken before about how I buy a hand tool, lose it, buy another one, and then find the first one (and then rinse and repeat), so it came as no surprise to me that I now own at least 26 screwdrivers. That’’s not counting those little jewelers’ screwdrivers. I have two complete sets of those, one in a black case, and one in a red case.

The Mega Millions jackpot on March 20th is $241 million. I’ve read that many lottery winners squander their prize money. In the extremely unlikely event that I win $241 million, I’m going to try to squander it.

Things I Know

If you are an adult male wearing a tuxedo on stage at the Oscars or any other award show, and you wear a hat on an indoor stage, you are calling attention to your baldness, not disguising it.

My son got a job three months ago, so I can tell the economy is improving, but it isn’’t improving fast enough. Therefore, I’’m appalled that birth control has become a major campaign issue. I wish all the Republican candidates for President would take a page from former President Bill Clinton. Republican candidates, repeat after me (and after President Clinton too): It’’s the economy stupid.

Right after I commented that Congress hadn’’t dealt with the expiring payroll tax rate reduction, they did. I believe the two events are unrelated. I don’’t believe any member of Congress has read what I write since I stopped working for Congress during the second half of the twentieth century.

For various reasons I won’’t go into, painting the inside of my house is taking a lot longer than I anticipated. Except for minor touch ups, I have now finished the dining room. I have a little electrical work to do, mostly involving selecting and installing a light fixture.

Today the dining room: Tomorrow the guest room.

One thing I’’ve learned is that for a typical do-it-yourself paint job, buying paint in five-gallon buckets is a bad idea. Latex paint is heavier than water so, including the bucket, and the lid, I estimate five-gallon buckets of latex paint weigh 55-60 pounds. If you don’’t think that’’s heavy, try lifting one, and try pouring from one without spilling anything. Plus, if you don’’t use it up quickly, there’s more space inside the partially filled bucket for dry flakes of paint to form, then drop into the paint, and mess up your nice, smooth finish.

I don’‘t know for certain that the New York State Real Property Tax Law is the worst one in all the fifty states, but after working with it again last week, I find it hard to believe it isn’’t.

I wrote a lot of stuff about the Grammy Awards, but I didn’’t get around to posting it. It’’s no longer germane, so I won’’t post it. Once you die, your situation hardly ever changes, so I think that coverage of the death of an important celebrity, and Whitney Houston is just one example, is usually overblown, especially if said celebrity dies on what’s known in the business as a slow news day. It went so far, and was in such bad taste that I even saw an article that speculated on what actor would get the kind of publicity Whitney Houston’s death got if said actor died right before tonight’’s Oscar awards.

I’’m not terribly interested in the Oscars, because I believe the last movie I saw in a theater was about Rocky and Bullwinkle. I am, however, looking forward to Spring Training baseball games on the radio. Among the things I find most relaxing is washing, and waxing the car while listening to a baseball game on the radio. Once baseball games are on the radio you can hasten the change of seasons by driving around with your car windows down, and a game on. Spreading the baseball around helps spread the warm weather baseball causes around too.

Friday was the fourth anniversary of this blog, but I didn’’t have anything profound to say about it, so I didn’’t say anything about it. Perhaps, despite my best efforts, I am maturing at least a little. On Tuesday, I will probably not have anything profound to say about Leslie’s birthday, but I will pause, and remember. I can’’t remember people’s names, but humiliating moments in my life are easy to recall, no matter how long ago they happened.

Things I Know

I hope now we can start talking about baseball. Nine days to pitchers, and catchers.

If Jeremy Lin is going to insist on being the newest NBA sensation, he needs to learn to speak into the microphone at news conferences.

The Giants won the Superbowl.

I don’’t think they even have ticker tape anymore, so I recommend they change the name of ticker-tape parades.

Sir Paul McCartney has been one of the most famous people in the world for 48 years now. He got a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on February 9, 2012.

Attention State of California: Yes, I would like your 214-page vacation guide; no, I won’’t give you my phone number. You don’’t need it to send me the guide, but you won’’t send it to me if I don’’t supply it. I won’t supply it, hence no vacation guide for me.

We’’ve already established that I need five utility knives, and four retractable metal measuring tapes for me to know where at least one is at any given time. I recently established that I need two saws of the kind you use to cut holes in wall board to know where one of those is. Right now, I know where both of them are. I needed to cut a hole for an electrical box and couldn’’t find the first saw. No wonder. It was in a storage box in the attic, not on a pegboard in the basement where it belongs.

Here’’s another tip about what are called old-work electrical boxes. You need a level to cut the hole because you don’t want the box to be crooked on the wall. If it’’s new work, the wall studs should be plumb, and square.  You attach the boxes to the studs before you install wallboard, so you need a level to install the wall, but not to install the electrical boxes.

Repainting my dining room reinforces what I already knew: The people who lived here before we moved in couldn’’t mud wallboard very well. I don’’t know why, but I can’’t do it anywhere near as well as I once could either.

Actually, I don’’t think I’’ve ever found a home repair the former owners of my house did that was done correctly.

My cell phone only works from the battery. If the battery dies and you plug it in to recharge it, the phone still doesn’’t work until the battery has achieved a specific level of charge. It won’’t work if it’’s plugged in and the battery’s removed either.

Speaking of batteries, it wasn’’t a dead one of those that kept me from starting my Toyota. I couldn’’t jump it to start it either. When I get it to run, I’’m going to sell it. It’’s a low-mileage Corolla. But since it’s 21-years-old, the low mileage is 152 thousand.

Some battery chargers you can buy for cars won’’t charge the car’s battery if it’’s completely dead. It needs a little charge in it or some chargers won’’t work at all.

Last Saturday in this space, I mentioned that I hadn’’t heard of Congress discussing extending the reduced rate for social security payroll taxes again even though it’’s due to expire at the end of this month. I heard about it this week. Same story as last time.

Things I Know

As she resigns from Congress today, and we honor Rep. Giffords for her courageous battle to recover from the gunshot to her head, let’’s also take a moment to remember the other victims, the ones who died, like the little girl, the man who died shielding his wife, the young man from Rep. Giffords’’ staff, all of them.

I’’ve been to Las Vegas twice. I’’m not a big drinker, I don’’t gamble either, but I like the shows and the fancy hotels. One thing I like that surprised me is the fancy bathrooms in the nicest hotels. It’’s not that I spend a lot of time in them; it’’s just that the bathrooms in most hotels aren’’t all that nice at all so the ones in the large strip hotels look even more extravagant than they are by comparison.

My latest genius entrepreneurial idea is as follows: a service that will deliver prepared meals to people trapped in the waiting rooms of orthopedists.

I’’ve seen a couple of rants recently against touch screens in cars. This reminded me that I wanted to rant about the same thing. Why? Because you have to look at the touch screen to use it, and while you’re looking at the touch screen, you can’’t be looking at the road. I don’’t think the head unit in my truck could do quite as much if it had to rely on buttons, but I would like to return to buttons for radio presets.

Last weekend, a Boy Scout troop I’’m associated with went camping. When we returned to our cars, someone had written a racial epithet in the snow on the windshield. It doesn’’t matter what camp because I’’m sure that the camp staff didn’’t do it, and the council that runs the camp didn’’t condone it either. I emailed the camp’’s Scout Executive about the incident, and received an appropriate reply. The funny thing is when I first emailed the man through the Boy Scouts’ email server the software wouldn’’t even accept the complaint because I used the verboten word. So I had to complain a second time without being as specific about what happened.

I don’’t know if I like that or not because I’’m generally against censorship. I know the Boy Scouts of America don’’t approve of the word, and that’’s good, but they didn’’t use it and I only used it to complain about it.

It was such a hateful and ignorant thing to do that the only thing that encourages me about the person who actually did it is that he spelled the word right.

I read that Kim Kardashian has an Internet search alert that tells her whenever her name appears on the Internet. So, Kim honey, if you read this enjoy. It doesn’’t say anything bad about you. It doesn’’t say anything good either, but it doesn’’t say anything bad.

I have commented before on some of the surprising words that are included in MS Word’s dictionary, even proper nouns like Mandelbrot and Asimov. I’’m happy to report that MS Word doesn’’t recognize Kardashian as a word.

Things I Know

Have a happy New Year everyone: That’’s New Year, not New Years.

My dad retired from the New York City Police Department when I was six years old. Even at that young age, I knew he detested dealing with the drunks while he was on duty as a uniformed cop on New Year’’s Eve in Times Square. At that very young age, his hatred of New York City’s iconic New Year’’s Eve celebration impressed me so much that even when I was a teenager, I never wanted to be in Times Square on New Year’’s Eve to watch the ball drop from what used to be the NY Times building.

I occasionally comment on this blog about the correct way to handle crisis PR. If you want to see how to bring the entire Internet down on your head, then handle the crisis PR yourself and do it horribly wrong, Google either of the following two terms: “Paul Christoforo” or “Ocean Marketing.”

One thing that will happen in 2012 is the beginning of the end of incandescent light bulbs. They use a lot more energy to produce light than some newer technology does. On the other hand, they’’re a lot cheaper to buy than the new technology. It’’s not against the law to buy or use them, but it’s against the law to make certain wattage incandescent bulbs going forward.

Judging by what I’’ve seen this week on TV, we’’re going to have to deal with a lot of “documentaries” about the Mayan calendar that stops on December 21st, 2012. Lots of people have predicted the end of the world and nobody has been right so far. I predict that trend will continue, so when I take down my Christmas decorations next week, I’’m going to put them away, not throw them away.

If I can’’t figure out how to stop Google Music from launching when it wants instead of when I want, I’’m going to delete it from my computer sometime in January.

Even though the post office raised the first class postage rate to 45 cents, they raised the rate for post card stamps from 29 to 32 cents. This means that the post office remains one of the few American institutions that continue to push for the use of pennies.

I think we could do away with pennies, nickels and dimes. About the only thing I’’ve bought with a quarter recently was time at a parking meter.

There are two ways to be a successful broadcaster. Either learn the craft and do it better than anyone else, or do something compelling and entirely different from anyone else. In the second category was New York broadcaster Lynn Samuels. Lynn had a grating voice and a strong New York accent, both antithetical to the usual standard for broadcasters, and in a time of conservative talk radio she was a liberal with a decidedly independent stance. With that against her, she was smart, honest, funny, and well worth listening to. She once broadcast on WABC radio in New York, and was most recently heard on Sirius satellite radio. Lynn died unexpectedly on Christmas Eve, long before she ran out of things to say. Sad.

Things I Know

Christmas is great, but it’’s even better when there are young children around to enjoy it with.

I’’ve bought my wife, Saint Karen (she has to be a saint to put up with me), a lot of nice presents over the years, and a few silly ones. I told you about the chocolate turkeys I once got her for Valentine’’s Day, but Christmas reminds me of more. Once, I rented a present. I bought a VCR and rented the video tape of a movie she liked. I presented the rented movie wrapped up as a gift. When I bought a new garbage can at Christmas time, I put it next to the tree as a present for her. Of course, I put all of her other presents, nicely wrapped, inside. This year, for Christmas, I got her a new squeegee. She keeps one in the car to wipe dew off the windows when she goes out in the morning, but the one she has is old and grungy. So, I bought her a new one, and because she’’s short, I got her one with a longer handle. How do you gift-wrap a squeegee? I don’’t know, so I just put a red bow on it and put it under the tree. She laughed and making her laugh was my own present to myself.

By the way, I think the secret to our long, successful marriage is I don’’t leave and I don’’t let her leave either.

I have to apologize to my daughter. She got me what I asked for this Christmas, a lens hood for a new lens I bought for my camera. Unfortunately, I wrote down the wrong model and it doesn’’t fit the right model, so one of us will have to take it back and exchange it for the right one.

I read a few months ago that public schools in lots of states are no longer teaching cursive writing or script as it’’s sometimes called. The idea is that very few people use script for writing anymore. I think they’’re right. Except for signing my name, I think the last time I wrote in script was last year when I filled out Christmas cards. Hand writing them this year seemed strange and my handwriting has never won any prizes, but with lack of practice, it is getting worse.

Winter started the other day so it is now appropriate to look forward to both spring and baseball spring training: February 18th is the first day for pitchers and catchers to work out for at least two major league teams, the Twins and the Cardinals. That’’s fewer than two months, so let the countdown begin!

The wood inside the walls of my 103-year-old house (lath, beams, rafters, studs, headers, etc.) is so hard that I can’’t drive screws into it without pre-drilling them. I’’m painting the dining room and before applying the paint, I have to fix the nails that have popped out and repair any cracks too.

I’’m kind of out of practice at using Spackle or other wall repair compounds. If I was as good as I used to be, this would be going a lot faster.

When placing doors, windows, molding, etc., you should always leave yourself enough room to get the necessary finishing tools like wallboard knives, and paint brushes next to them to take care of the exposed walls. I already knew that, but I didn’’t do that.

For some places, like behind the toilet, the best way to protect what you don’t want to paint is plastic food wrap.

I have a ten-foot-tall holly at one corner of my house. I planted it there when it was a foot tall to become part of my Christmas decorations. I light it like a Christmas tree. I’’d post a picture, but I haven’t pruned it in the last couple of years and it’’s not very cone shaped right now. I have a 15-foot-tall holly in my back yard. I found that when it was tiny, growing as a weed under one of the shrubs next to my house. So, if there’s one thing I know how to do, apparently it’’s how to grow holly. I guess there’s a future waiting for me as a holly farmer if I choose to pursue it.

I’’ve mentioned before that the spelling and grammar checkers in Microsoft Word have no idea how to discern the correct use of the word “its” and the contraction “it’’s.” Today, I suggest that Microsoft programmers either get a clue about that or stop trying to make the distinction at all. To be of some help, ““it’’s”” is the possessive form and means belonging to “it” while “”its”” is the plural of “it.” That was my weak attempt at a joke. I know both of the definitions I just provided are wrong.

Things I Know

This is the ugliest carpet I’

I contend that the ugliest rugs in the world can be found in hotel hallways. I think it’s probably because a pattern like this will hide dirt, and stains pretty well.

I visited Cornell University over the weekend to see my niece graduate. I also picked up a new Cornell sweatshirt (I now have three, two reds, and a blue). My wife said I’’m not allowed to wear the new one while painting the house. I also picked up a new Cornell tie to replace the gravy-stained one. It would have been cheaper to order both over the Internet from the campus store, but I was proud to see my niece graduate, and we all had a nice time.

While we were in Ithaca, I took my wife to see the local Wegman’’s Supermarket. Now, she wants to move upstate, not to Ithaca, to Wegman’’s.

You’’ve lived with an interior paint job for years, and think it looks fine. They, you decide to repaint the room, just to change the color, of course. The walls are wrecked! I have a couple of days of Spackling to do in my dining room, and hope I can finish painting it before Christmas.

I capitalized “Spackling,” by the way, because it is a trade name, and it has so much of the market the company is probably in danger of losing the trademark. And, yes, I did use Spackle for my Spackling job.

I hate everyone who is more organized than I am. In other words, I hate almost everyone.

The lady in front of me in the express line at the supermarket must have had close to 100 items. For one thing, she practically bought out the canned cat food line. Hey, it was on sale. I know it doesn’’t work, but I still wish something awful would happen to people like that who abuse the limits in supermarket express checkout lines.

Usually, when someone says an investment lost money, they mean that the investment isn’’t worth what it once was. In the case of MF Global, apparently the now bankrupt investment firm really did lose $1.2 billion. My best guess: somebody or a bunch of somebodies stole it. I don’’t think you can have $1.2 billion in bad bookkeeping. If you have that kind of money, you’’d hire accountants who are too good to lose $1.2 billion, in other words, you’d hire virtually any accountants who hadn’’t done time for embezzlement.

If they really did lose the money, my wife is very good at finding my stuff, and I’’m sure she would be willing to look for the money for a percentage of what she finds.

Anne Coulter turned 50 recently. For those of you befuddled by Ms. Coulter, it helps to remember, she’’s not a political commentator; she’’s a performance artist.

If you are walking around the supermarket, and chatting a mile a minute with nobody near you, many people will think you’’re on the phone if you’re wearing a Bluetooth headset. However, I’’ll still think you’’re talking to yourself, and you’’re nuts.

Things I Know

I don’’t suppose it’’s national news, but there’’s a cheating scandal over SAT scores here on Lawn Guy Land. Some high school students supposedly paid some college students to take the exam for them. As I understand it, one of the fraudulent test takers received several hundred dollars to achieve a combined score of 1,920 out of 2,400 on the test. As I figure it, that’’s a solid B. I got 1,500 on the test when the highest possible score was 1,600. I’’d be happy to take the test for others except for two things: I’’m too old to pass for a high school student; and taking the SAT for someone else is a felony, at least where I live.

In the last item, MS Word’s grammar checker objected to my use of the contraction “it’’s,” but would have allowed me to substitute “it is.” Sometimes it tells me both “it’’s,” and “its” are wrong, but it has never told be both are correct.

It’’s a little early to conduct the voting, but the current TV commercial for Fruit of the Loom t-shirts has to be considered a front runner for stupidest commercial of the year.

Pillsbury is advertising its cinnamon rolls on TV as containing Cinnabon cinnamon. That’’s fine, but on those rare occasions that I go to Cinnabon, it’’s not for the cinnamon, it’’s for the gooey, sticky white icing.

Speaking of cinnamon, I’’ve been experimenting with adding it to my oatmeal. I got up to two heaping teaspoons full, and I could barely taste it. At that rate, I don’’t think I’’ll continue to raise the stakes.

Thinking I would like it, my daughter bought me a geek present from a vendor on Etsy.com. I do like it, so I was looking through the website for something else and found a “blue screen of death” t-shirt. As one more proof that there’’s always someone who doesn’’t get it, the shirt comes in 14 colors, and only three of them are blue.

Vacuum cleaner is a peculiar term, because a vacuum is clean by definition. However, vacuum cleaner or shop vacuum for home use is a very simple tool, usually easy to repair. My wife’’s family kept an upright Hoover going for 40 years or more. I had to clean the powered beater bar on the carpet attachment for our canister vac yesterday. Two things about repairing a vacuum: it’’s handy to have a second vacuum around so you can clean up the mess you find inside the one you’’re fixing, and keep that mess from getting all over the house; and if I didn’’t have the manual for mine, I would never have been able to take it apart without breaking it.

I usually lose paperwork, so when I buy any appliance, if it has a manual, I try to download it to my computer. I haven’’t lost the computer yet, and while I have had a couple of hard drive failures over the years, I back up pretty regularly, so it hasn’’t been a problem.

We don’t use our formal dining room a lot, but we used it for Thanksgiving dinner. It was the first time since I reupholstered the dining room chairs. I didn’’t just change the fabric; I also replaced the seat cushions with thicker, softer ones, and replaced the plywood base of one of the chairs. What an improvement! Not only are the chairs much more comfortable, but the new fabric looks really classy. Additionally, I treated the chairs with Scotchguard so they ought to be stain resistant as well.

Things I Know

Since Thanksgiving is only two days away, as a public service, I’’m republishing my recipe for roast turkey. Clean, wash and season the bird as usual. Stuff it with unpopped popcorn. Put the bird in the oven at 350 degrees. Baste every fifteen minutes with Wild Turkey bourbon. When the bird blows up, throw it away and drink the gravy.

Here’’s how I hung a shelf that has those keyhole things on the back to hang over screws driven into the walls. If the walls are made of wall board, you have to drive the screws into the studs or use wall anchors. I drew a level line on the wall with a pencil where the shelf goes and on that line, I put a mark showing where the center of the shelf will go. I put a wide piece of masking tape on the back of the shelf, covering the keyhole slots. I put a mark on the tape at the center of the shelf. I punched small holes in the masking tape where the screw heads go into the keyholes. Then, I removed the tape and put it on the wall along the level line with the center mark on the tape aligned with the center mark on the wall. I put screws through the holes, then after testing for fit, I tore off the tape and hung the shelf. You can’’t see the pencil lines I drew because they’’re behind the shelf. If you would see the pencil line, put masking tape on the wall and draw the lines on it, then remove it when you’re done. I do it that way because the holes that go over the screw heads tend not to be at an easy to measure distance from each other. On the shelf I measured today, the holes are 23 and 7/16 inches apart. If I made shelves to he hung over those keyhole things, I’’d put the keyhole things on 16 inch or 24 inch centers, so you could hang them on the studs.

Most people hang pictures too high on the wall. Having learned that lesson, I usually hang pictures half way between my eye level (I’’m tall) and my wife’s eye level (she’’s short). It works for us. However, if you hang a picture directly over the sofa, make sure you hang it high enough so nobody will hit their head on it. Unless you have really tall friends or an extremely tall couch, hanging the picture so the bottom of the frame is four feet from the floor ought to be plenty high enough. You might even be able to go a few inches lower than that.

I’’m so happy. I thought I had left the proprietary battery charger for my DSLR camera in some hotel room and was about to buy another, but before I did, I made one more sweep through the house and found it. The brand-name charger costs around $60.00 and while there are off-brand chargers that are much cheaper, the reviews say they are inferior.

I also ordered a new telephoto lens for my DSLR camera, although it hasn’’t come yet. It’’s a good thing the new lens has image stabilization because a 250 mm lens on a cropped-sensor digital camera is equivalent to a focal length of over 400 mm on a 35 mm film camera. That’’s a really long lens to try to hand hold. So, without image stabilization, you’’d either have to use a very fast shutter speed or a tripod to get pictures that aren’’t blurry.

Amazon.com comes up with some interesting suggestions of things for you to buy based on what you’’ve already bought from them. But their system isn’’t perfect. First, they sometimes recommend the same thing more than once. Second, they recommend something based on what you bought from Amazon and you don’’t need those things because you already bought them. One example: I bought my daughter a point-and-shoot camera before she went to China. Since then, Amazon has recommended a lot of point-and-shoot cameras. Third, I already know I want the things on my wish list; Amazon doesn’’t have to recommend those to me. And fourth, they tend to go overboard, especially on music, DVD’s and books. If I bought the Bear Family CD box set for a particular artist, they might recommend everything else the artist ever recorded. But if I bought the Bear Family boxed set, I already have everything they ever recorded. Bear Family CD collections are the most complete collections in the universe. Yesterday, I made the mistake of telling Amazon that I owned a couple of books they suggested by sci-fi legend Robert A. Heinlein. Today, they recommended I buy everything else by him. I did that, years ago. I have read everything I’’m aware of that he ever wrote.

I don’’t recommend wearing any kind of pants with text on the posterior. Especially avoid the word “ultimate.” Last week at the gym I saw a woman who wore pants that dubbed her glutes, ““Ultimate Style.”” In the first place, you’’re not ever going to be in a position to tell if your glutes are ultimate. That’’s up to someone standing or walking behind you to both observe and judge. In the second place, hers weren’’t. Mine aren’’t either and never will be. To be fair to her, she was exercising a lot harder than I was in order to try to reach ultimate style status.

I found a site that’’s supposed to tell you of other, similar sites. It’’s www.siteslike.com. I tried it on my blog and while I didn’’t go through all 595 it suggested, I found the few I did check baffling. I think it checks only for key words or key phrases.

I wear eye glasses. I’’m not crazy about them, but I don’’t see well and do get headaches if I don’’t wear them, so I do. Similarly, I see more doctors and take more medicine than I’’d really like to. I’m not crazy about that either. Whenever I go to a doctor, I bring a typewritten list of medicines. The list also helps me track changes in my meds since I save those lists on my computer. The doctor I went to this week has been accepting the lists for 15 years, but now he wants the list handwritten on a form of his design. He told me he couldn’’t read something I’’d written. I didn’’t snap back that nobody wanted the typed list.

You’’ve got to admit there’s a certain irony in a doctor complaining that he can’’t read your handwriting.

The doctor I went to this week also has a new form that asks, among other things, for your race. I didn’’t fill that in. The secretary who reviewed the form asked me if I wanted to. I said no for three reasons. First, it’’s nobody’s business what race I am. Second, they have choices on the form that aren’’t races: European isn’’t a race. And third, I have lots of freckles and polka dotted isn’’t a choice.

Things I Know

If you’’re looking for an extravagant Christmas gift for that special someone, I suggest a couple of pounds of lamb chops or veal cutlets. They’’re extravagant enough that you would hardly buy them for yourself, but as a gift, it’’s under $50, so not too bad. Of course, you can’’t mail them to someone overseas, but you could gift wrap them and take them to someone, telling them to either open them right away or put the package in the freezer until they are ready to open the gift.

I know it got good reviews on Amazon.com and average reviews on IMDB.com, but I hate the made-for-TV movie ““Single Santa Seeking Mrs. Claus.:” The plot is thin, and the lead actors, Steve Guttenberg, and Crystal Bernard, while good in other roles are horribly miscast in this story. Since the Hallmark Channel on cable is rushing the season a little, and running a lot of Christmas movies this weekend, I checked, and the good news for me is that this movie doesn’’t appear to be scheduled anywhere on broadcast or cable TV this Christmas season.

A Christmas movie I do like, ““Love Actually,”” is on the ABC Family Channel next weekend.

So, I was watching a TV documentary about the Roman invasion of Britain when the commercial break came up and on came an infomercial. Attention TV execs: When you do that, I change the channel and don’’t change it back.

Deep fried turkey was a fad a few years ago. If you’’re a little late on fads, look for some fried turkey video before you give it a shot. State Farm Insurance produced a couple of videos with William Shatner and there are a couple of videos on line from Alton Brown of the Food Network too. Brown goes so far as to rig a makeshift crane to lower the bird into the oil. Shatner, who has a good sense of humor about himself, takes the self-immolation route. If you deep fry a turkey wrong, there’’s a good chance you’’ll burn yourself or your house down.

I bought a couple of pairs of jeans today. I’’m at an awkward stage: I’’m losing weight and between sizes, but since the smaller size is still too small, I bought the larger ones. It’’s getting too close to my birthday and to Christmas for me to be buying myself a lot of other stuff.

Please contact your congressman civilly and ask him or her to oppose HR 3035. It’’s a bill that would allow people and companies to make a lot more annoying calls to your cell phone, including a lot more robocalls. If my congressman or anyone else’s congressman reads this, for what it’’s worth, I’’m against it and if it passes, I’’ll only be giving people my Google Voice number. My Google Voice account is already set to go directly to voicemail and then email me about it. I just won’’t respond to the emails from the robocalls.

I received a travel brochure for a 10-day trip to Ireland from a group affiliated with a college I once attended. It sounds lovely, but including airfare and incidentals, I figure it would cost around $8,000 and I don’’t want to spend that kind of money on a vacation unless, of course, I win the lottery.

Here’’s my latest idea for a good invention: a remote trouble sensor (blue tooth or wi-fi) for bottle deposit machines. The supermarket where I take most of my deposit bottles has machines that fill up with crushed bottles or just break too frequently. When it happens, I have to go into the market, find the person who takes care of that, and go back outside, frequently to the end of the line. It makes the three or four dollars I get from taking the bottles back totally not worth my time. A remote could be placed in the store where the person who’’s responsible could see it and respond appropriately.

Things I Know

If you’’ve read this blog for any time at all, you know I don’’t curse much. However, if you are the Jerry Sandusky who is the former defensive coordinator for Penn State football, and if you did what you are accused of doing to young boys, you are a sack of shit. If you did it because you are mentally ill, you are a sick sack of shit. If you are one of the university officials accused of perjury to cover these reprehensible deeds, and you did that, you are a lying sack of shit.

I may have to reconsider what I just said because it wasn’’t a very nice thing to say about shit.

I never thought I’’d say it, but hooray for Star Jones. On Today this morning, she criticized the graduate assistant who allegedly saw Sandusky raping a young boy and didn’’t do anything, but tell his boss. She’’s the first person on TV or radio I’’ve heard criticize that man’s actions, and the question she asked is exactly what I’’ve been wondering.

I’’d like to spend part of the winter in Florida. As I’’ve said before, I don’’t like to be cold. So, I’’ve been looking on line for vacation rentals, and becoming frustrated by the lack of pertinent information. I know about the communities I’’d like to visit or I can find out about them easily enough. I want to know about the property itself. Tell me where the property is located, what size the beds are, how many TV’s and what level of cable service, whether there’’s Internet service, whether there’’s a pool, and hot tub. A lot of that information isn’’t provided consistently. I want to see the property too, but don’’t put pictures on the website if the pictures are years old, and they say so. I saw one place with pictures dated 2004. Fail!

I went to college with a guy I know is a real estate broker in southwest Florida. Maybe I’’ll call, and ask him for advice even though we haven’’t kept in touch.

Hearing that Michelle Duggar is pregnant with her 20th child reminds me of the old nursery rhyme that I believe was first told by comedian Andrew Dice Clay:

There was an old woman
Who lived in a shoe
She had so many children
Her uterus fell out.

Things I Know

Happy birthday Chevrolet. The company was formed on November 3, 1911, so it’’s 100 years old now.

I’’m not a big college football fan, but as far as I’’m concerned the college national championship game (I know there isn’’t one) will be played in Tuscaloosa Alabama this Saturday. And while I’’m not going to be on the edge of my seat, enough members of my family went to Alabama that I hereby say, “Roll Tide.”

We celebrated our wedding anniversary recently. The day before, my wife, Saint Karen (She has to be a saint to put up with me) made my favorite meal which is Swiss steak prepared according to her recipe. The next leftover night I had the last of the Swiss steak while she ate some of the things left over from our dinner at a fancy restaurant we went to on our actual anniversary. She asked me to save the remaining sauce so she could freeze it. I was kidding, but I said I was planning to pour it over ice cream, because it is that good.

In addition to taking her to dinner, I gave her some lingerie in a hard-to-find style she likes. I also ordered a new flat-screen TV for her, but it came early and it was too big to hide, so I gave it to her last week. Nothing has changed in the past year: marrying Saint Karen is still the smartest thing I’’ve ever done.  The smartest thing she’s ever done is not say what the smartest thing she has ever done is.

I took my wife out to dinner twice last week, so she’’d better not expect a present on my birthday.

I have no serious complaints about Cablevision which supplies both cable and Internet to my home. It does cost a lot, but at some point in your life all prices become ridiculous. They do rely too much on automated phone attendants though. Overnight from Monday into Tuesday, something happened to our service. When I woke up Tuesday morning, all of my cable boxes were rebooting, and I wasn’’t connected to the Internet. I called them about the Internet, and got a phone attendant. The problem with that is the attendant basically walked me through the following: Unplug your router and your modem; plug them back in; if that doesn’’t work, call us back. The bigger problem is that one sentence of advice took more than five minutes to administer.

From the department of improved products comes Cabot acrylic deck stain. When my front porch was rebuilt, I used oil-based Cabot deck stain on it and liked it; so did “Consumer Reports.” Last time I repainted it I used Cabot acrylic deck stain and didn’’t like it. The color was the same, but the acrylic came out with a really glossy finish and it was slippery too. I repainted it again this week and used the acrylic again because to go back to the oil stain I’d have to sand off the acrylic. The acrylic stain has been reformulated. It didn’’t dry shiny this time so I like it much better than I did the first time I used it.

Things I Know

A Stony Brook University Professor, Fred Friedberg, has received a $600,000, two-year grant to study home-management techniques for chronic fatigue syndrome. When I was in college, I had a couple of professors who could alleviate chronic fatigue with their lectures which put people to sleep. But that’’s not a home-management technique, so I suppose it won’’t be covered in the study.

The word “microcosm” exists. So does the less-often used word “macrocosm.” But I’’ve been unable to find any use of “cosm” as a word. Strange. Using Google, you can find several places that use cosm as an acronym though.

I knew about East Orange, South Orange and West Orange, NJ, but until I went and looked it up, I was unaware that just plain old Orange NJ exists too. There isn’’t, however, a North Orange, NJ.

I’‘m very impressed with Sta-bil, the fuel stabilizer. Two years ago, I didn’’t run my pressure washer until it ran out of gas before storing it for the winter, but I did put Sta-bil in the gas tank. Even though I put pump antifreeze in the pressure washer, the pump went bad, but in the summer of 2010, I had it fixed. I didn’’t use it last year though because I had shoulder surgery and couldn’’t pull start it. This week, it started right up on two-year-old gasoline! I’’m sure there are other products like Sta-bil, but I’’ve tried this one, it works great and I’’m going to go buy more.

I have to buy more because there’s no Sta-bil preserver. According to the product label, Sta-bil expires two years after it’s opened.

The odds of winning either Powerball or Mega-Millions is in the range of 200 million to one. Your mileage may vary. Buying a ticket for every drawing, 104 tickets a year, doesn’’t improve your odds enough to notice. Buying a ticket for every drawing and living to be around 2,000,000 years old would improve them a lot more.

Having just done it, if you live in a house with lath and plaster walls, I don’’t recommend hanging your new flat-panel TV on the wall. The instructions say you have to attach the mount to a stud. Finding studs in lath and plaster isn’’t easy. Electronic stud finders are useless. I found mine with a drill. I had to drill about a dozen holes and probe those holes with a wire coat hanger to do so. But the TV is up now and it looks great.

There is a business in Bellmore NY called the Bare Naked Bakery and Café. I haven’’t been in there yet, but it does give me the mental picture of formerly naked people made by the health department to dress in head-to-toe hairnets. That image may be enough to keep me out of the place.

It’’s supposed to be nice for the next few days, so I’’ll probably be staining the floor of my porch.

Things I Want (Or Need) To Know

Threatening a country with military action is called saber rattling. So, is threatening to attack someone’s computer or internet connection or network infrastructure known as cyber rattling?

If, as reported on the news Monday, the Occupy Wall Street protesters have received $300,000 in donations, are they keeping it in a bank?

I bought a TV from Amazon.com. Now, when I sign in and look at my recommendations, the list contains a lot of TV sets. Is this normal? Does it work? The same thing happened when I bought a camera from them. It annoys me. Does it happen to you and if it does, what do you think about it?

So, I was in the store buying a lottery ticket (because I could use $124 million). The store also sells loose candy (a much better bet), and the guy in front of me ordered a small bag of jelly beans. That prompted me to ask if he could sing the “Jelly Beaner” song from Romper Room. He couldn’t, but the lady behind the counter looked at me as if I was weird. Can you sing it?

What will society be like in a few years if children who are watching reality TV now think “Jersey Shore,” “Bridezillas,” “Real Housewives,” and other shows of that ilk represent both normal behavior, and the way they should act?

Some years back, the word geek became common in the English language. I’ve always wondered if all the nerds who existed at the time were grandfathered in, and automatically became geeks too. Someone told me recently that the word “nerd” was created by Dr. Seuss. Did you know that? I didn’t.

Was the copywriter for the latest Dos Equis beer commercial on the track team at some point in his or her life? I think the writer is or was a shot putter and I’m not being politically correct here. Women do throw the shot put; it’s an Olympic sport for women. The reason I say that is the most interesting man in the world bowls overhand. That’s a shot putter’s joke, a really old shot putter’s joke.

Things I Know

Even more than “you know,” I wish everyone who is professional enough to be paid for being on TV, and/or radio would stop forever saying the word “like.” “Dancing with the Stars” is particularly egregious in this matter.

I don’’t usually watch that show, but I’’ve noticed that a lot of the music they use is too old to play on most radio stations.

All of the participants in the baseball league championship series are located in the central time zone. That certainly makes it easier for their fans to stay up long enough to see the end of the games.

If someone tells you they can’’t hear you, try this: cover your mouth with your hand, turn away from the person you’re talking to and speak more softly; you’ll find out as I have that doesn’’t work!

Blackberry email service had multiple outages in multiple places in the last week. First, for something so vital to the company, it amazes me that Blackberry doesn’’t run a completely redundant system so that if part of it fails they could activate a switch, and keep on keeping on. Second, if your company is thinking of switching to another device because of this system-wide failure, you should know this: The phone directory app that came with my Android phone only sorts entries by first name, not last name, and not company name. To me, this means I have to use the search function to find an entry for almost anyone whose first name isn’’t Abe. Very un-business like!

If you have an Android phone, and you are a geek, check out an app called LHSee. It allows you to view in real time what’s going on at the Large Hadron Collider over in Switzerland.

It used to be a lot easier to set up a TV set, but that’’s the trade off because today’’s sets can do a whole lot more than the old ones did. The one I just bought for my wife, Saint Karen (she has to be a saint to put up with me) is right now streaming Netflix. I’’m sure it can do a lot more too. Unless it dies prematurely, I’’m sure we’ll like it a lot.

Most people still work Monday to– Friday during the day. So, we have to go to bed on Sunday night early enough to be able to get up, and go to work on Monday. That’’s why it has always baffled me that late-night TV and radio shows generally broadcast overnight Monday-Tuesday thru overnight Friday-Saturday. Five in a row beginning on Sunday night-Monday morning makes more sense to me. There is at least one radio show that does follow that schedule. It’’s Red Eye Radio with host Doug McIntyre.

In my continuing quest to improve the English language, I propose that we change the word palindrome so that the word that means palindrome is a palindrome.

Things I Know

RIP Steve Jobs.

I am extremely saddened that the “establishment media” thought it important on Wednesday to discuss whether Nancy Grace farted on “Dancing With the Stars” Tuesday evening.

There is a movie about to go into theaters called “Real Steel.” It’s supposed to be about robots that fight each other. My daughter said it should be called “Rock ‘‘em Sock ’em Robots: the Movie”

If I ever get one of those Ford Raptor muscle pickup trucks, I’m going to check with DMV to see if the vanity license plate VELOCI is available.

When I was a child, people went to movie theaters to see movies (or to make out). You paid the adult admission price at 12 years old, but had to sit in the children’s section until you were 16. I always told the ushers that if I was adult enough to pay the adult admission price, I was also old enough to sit in the adult section. If that wasn’t good enough for them, I maintained, they could refund my ticket, and I would leave. They only made me leave once.

My wife, Saint Karen (she must be a saint to put up with me) likes TV a lot more than I do, and watches a lot more of it than I do too. I’m thinking of buying a high definition TV for her for our anniversary. And, no, I’m not buying it for me to watch football. I don’t watch football, and neither does she. Although, she will occasionally check the score on University of Alabama is playing football because our son is an alumnus.

If anyone has a more romantic suggestion for an anniversary present for Saint Karen, I’m open to it. Last Year, I bought her a ruby pendant and took her to Las Vegas for a week.

I think my daughter was kidding when she asked if I knew that the guy who does all those TV commercials, especially for Ford, is also a baseball shortstop.

I learned a new medical term today. The dentist told me I have an “incipient cavity.” That means he thinks one is forming, so he’ll look for it at my next regular check up.

I’d much rather go to the dentist than to the doctor. It hurts more, but the dentist is much better at being on time.

Things I Know

I’’ve got a great idea about what President Obama should do:  He should pick up the bullpen phone and bring Mariano into the game.

There are two reasons you can’’t let sleeping dogs lie, or tell the truth:  Dogs can’’t speak any language people can understand; and they’’re sleeping.

I’’ve had it with all the changes in Facebook.  I think they should slow the pace of their changes.

Andy Rooney wasn’’t on the season opener of 60 Minutes for the first time since 1978.  Now, CBS has announced that this Sunday will be Andy’’s final “regular” appearance on the show.  They didn’’t say he retired or that he was forced out, although either is a possibility since he is 92 years old and his act seems to appeal more to older rather than younger viewers.  Who knows?  Perhaps CBS has initiated a late retirement program and Andy decided to take advantage of it.

On the Smithsonian Channel’s program “Aerial America,” the narrator talked about a monastery near Carmel California that houses nuns.  Then it isn’’t a monastery, is it?  Monasteries house monks.  Nuns live in nunneries or convents.  These days, some also live in private residences, rather than communally.

Not that you asked, but here’’s another progress report on remodeling our house.  All the living room walls are now coated with one coat of beige paint.  My wife accepted my desire for beige.  You see, if we decide to sell this house before it needs to be painted again, I won’t have to paint it again if it’’s a nice neutral color.

If Warren Buffet thinks he doesn’’t pay enough taxes, there’’s nothing to prevent him from donating something to the government to make up the difference.

Occasionally, in the middle of the night, I dream that the door bell is ringing.  When that happens, it always wakes me up.

I have to laugh whenever I hear teachers’ unions talk about class size.  From first to third grade, I went to Catholic school.  We didn’’t have small classes.  We didn’’t have teacher’s’ aides.  We did have 65 kids in a class, one nun with a ruler establishing, and maintaining discipline.  Her name was Sister Mary Knucklebuster.

I had a crush on a pretty little blonde girl in my first-grade class.  She sat by the classroom door because her surname was near the beginning of the alphabet; I sat near the windows because my name was near the end of the alphabet, so we never met.

Here’’s to horticultural success.  Last fall, I bought a couple of pots of mums to put on my front stoop.  When the flowers fell off, I divided the plants into several pieces and planted them in the bed in front of my porch.  They survived and within the last few days, they’’ve started coming into bloom.

On the agriculture front, I had more limited success.  My crop of tomatoes tasted good, but a lot of them were ruined by blossom-end rot.  When I clean up the beds soon, I’’m going to till some gypsum into the soil.  I’’ll do it again in the spring before I plant and that ought to prevent the same thing from happening next year.  Maybe I’’ll plant some winter rye too.

One of my trellises broke this summer though, so I’’ll either have to fix it or try a different kind.

Next summer, I’’ll also have to be more vigilant because this year, the birds got to my blueberries before I could.

Things I Know

 

  • When I first heard that Tareq Salahi had reported to police that his wife, Michaele, might have been kidnapped, my initial reaction was the two of them were such publicity hounds that perhaps authorities ought to look for her on a balloon in Colorado.  But no, she just left him for another guy.

  • If beating a dead horse doesn’’t work, a typical reaction from many government types is to add more dead horses.  President Obama’’s jobs bill is pretty much more of the same as the stimulus cargo (it was too big to be a package) of a couple of years ago.  Plus the President wants to pay for it with new taxes, so one of two things is possible.  Either the President doesn’’t remember the battle over extending the national debt ceiling earlier this summer, or he’’s introduced the bill believing it will not pass the House and intending to campaign against the Republican majority as being against jobs.

  • I believe both parties want to create jobs, but each thinks that what they’’re doing is right, and what the other party is doing is counter-productive.  That’’s why it’’s so hard to get anyone to compromise on this issue.

  • Whether you approved of Bill Clinton as President, you’’ve got to admit he is, and was a master politician.  He ran once on the slogan, ““It’’s the economy stupid.””  So, on the theory that imitation is the sincerest form of imitation, a candidate for President, either Republican or Democrat may be able to win next year’’s election simply by running on the slogan, ““It’’s the jobs, stupid.””

  • I will now be cold, probably until sometime in late April, or early May.  I hate being cold!

  • I found another store, this one a supermarket, within a couple of miles of my house that sells Good & Plenty candy.  But the market only sells the six ounce boxes, not the eight ounce bag.  At least, if I had the box, I could pretend I’’m the engineer on a steam engine, like Choo Choo Charlie used to do.

  • In the same supermarket, a one-pound bag of pretzels costs $3.29.  I maintain that if you live long enough, all prices are ridiculous.  I don’’t think I’’m there yet, but I remember when steak cost less than that.

  • I’’m doing my part to increase consumer spending.  I rolled up all the coins in my change jar, cashed them in, and injected $85 into the local economy.

Things I Know

 

  • My wife, Saint Karen (she has to be a saint to put up with me), and I must be the only people for miles around who like Good & Plenty candy:  You know, the pink & white sugar coated licorice.  I say that because there’’s only one store within a couple of miles of my house that sells them,and when I buy the last package, it takes them a while to restock.

  • Whether you approve of Texas Governor Rick Perry or not, your Social Security taxes do not go into an account to pay for your retirement.  People working now are paying for the retirement benefits of people who are retired now, so in that sense, Governor Perry is correct that it is a sort of Ponzi scheme.

  • If President George W. Bush’s niece, Lauren, married designer Ralph Lauren’s son, Richard, she’’d be Lauren Lauren, and that’’s what she did.

  • If you are remodeling and staining rather than painting the woodwork, don’’t install (or let a contractor install) said woodwork before mudding and sanding the wallboard.  If you do, you’’ll only have to stain it a second time after it’’s installed.

  • My neighbor across the street has a large, beautiful crape myrtle.  It started blooming in mid August.  Because I like his so much, last year I bought one too.  Imitation is the sincerest form of imitation, I always say.  I believe mine is a slightly different variety because it burst into full bloom this past weekend.  My crape myrtle isn’’t as big as my neighbor’s is, but I am very satisfied with the way it looks and the way it’’s growing.

  • I heard that older women dress too young because they copy the way their daughters dress.  That’’s ridiculous!  My wife doesn’’t own even one black t-shirt with Rob Zombie’’s picture on it.  I do have one black t-shirt, but it has two big eyes in a yellow circle and says, “Moon equipped” on it.

  • I think I was wrong about how many utility knives I need to own before I can be sure I know where at least one of them is at all times.  I thought the number was four, but I recently discovered that I own two green ones, so now I think the number is five.

  • The Town of Smithtown Long Island has passed legislation to make residents contain bamboo on their property.  In case you’’re not aware, bamboo propagates with runners, is extremely hardy and difficult to contain or eliminate.  The Town of Islip is considering doing the same thing.  Maybe they should both get some pandas.

Things I Know

 

  • To all of the idiots out there (not just Michelle Bachman) who think that natural disasters like the eastern earthquake and Hurricane Irene are God’’s way of trying to tell us something:  God is more interesting than the “Most Interesting Man in the World” from those clever beer commercials.  If God wants to tell us something, and requests airtime from all the networks, He’’ll get it, when he wants it.  Plus, if God wants to tell us something, and get it across immediately, He can just tweet it.

  • First, President Obama decided to address a joint session of Congress at the same time as the next scheduled debate for Republican presidential candidates.  House Speaker Boehner suggested the following night.  Then President Obama agreed to the following night but reassured the nation that he will be done speaking before the first NFL football game of the season kicks off at 8:30 EDT.  Personally, I don’’t have a conflict since I don’’t plan to watch the debate, the speech, or the football game.

  • I’’ll become interested in the 2012 presidential race when one of two things happens:  when it becomes interesting; or when it becomes a whole lot closer.

  • During August, I attended two information sessions on New York State’s recently enacted two percent tax levy cap.  That thing is going to be a whole lot of fun!

  • My cable provider just started providing BBC America.  Good!  I’’m about as big a fan of the British sci-fi series “Doctor Who” as anyone who doesn’’t collect memorabilia, go to conventions, and dress up in costumes, but if BBC America is going to keep showing episodes three times a day, I don’’t think I’’m going to be able to keep up.

  • Doctor Who fans who do collect memorabilia, go to conventions and dress up in costume are generally called Whovians, but I think it would be funnier to call them Whoers.

  • I got another good idea for a business.  It’’s a combination coffee house and comedy club.  I’’m planning to call it “Brew Ha Ha.”

  • If you have any age on you at all, one thing that has improved a lot in your lifetime is adhesive or glue.  Why is it better?  A far greater degree of control over how well it sticks.  For example, toilet paper.  There was a time when the end of a roll of toilet paper was glued down so securely that freeing the end resulted in destroying a lot of the product.  Recently, preparing a roll of toilet paper for use has become much easier because the glue they use these days is nowhere near as sticky, but I encountered a retro roll today.

  • And speaking of toilet paper, softness is a very useful trait to have in toilet paper up to a point, after which it becomes a real problem.

 

Things I Know

 

  • I want one of those reverse 911 machines like the ones my local mayor and county executive used to annoy constituents through the long hurricane weekend.  After the recent hurricane, I have a list of people I want to telephone and order to get out of town.

  • We were ordered out of our home, but we didn’’t go and neither did any of our neighbors.  My house has been here for over 100 years.  I have checked the flood plain map.  We’’re not in the 100-year or the 500-year flood plain, and even if we were, we haven’’t lived here for 500 years, but we have lived here long enough to know that our storm drains don’t back up.  So we remained right here, unscathed.

  • Hurricane Irene, in all her fury, knocked a few twigs out of the 40-foot oak tree in front of my house.  Bully that she was she also knocked down a blueberry bush and a two-foot tall mountain laurel in my back yard.

  • We had it very easy in Irene, no flooding, no property damage, never without power, phone service, cable or the Internet.  If you are still without power, and will be for the rest of the week, or if your home was flooded or your boat is in someone else’s front yard, it’’s no laughing matter, I know.

  • One of my friends had both his blog and his personal website go down during the storm.

  • Since at least one of the supermarket tabloid gossip rags has a cover story every week about singer/actress Beyonce being with child, I suppose it was only a matter of time before at least one of those stories was true, even if being true was an accident, or the unintended consequence of making stuff up.

  • Congratulations to the impending parents, and I predict the baby will be named Babeyonce, or possibly Irene.

 

Things I Know

  • Where I live, public officials are using reverse 911 way too much.  That’’s the computer program that allows you to feed recorded information by telephone to people within a geographic area.  Where I live, they’’re using it beyond information dissemination to the point of self-promotion and dissemination of conflicting and even wrong information.

  • I predict a significant increase in the birth of girls named Irene on the east coast of the United States in late May of 2012.

  • As far as I know, this is serious as opposed to being a joke.

  • Don’’t make kissing your spouse or significant other routine.  Kiss them frequently of course, but put some passion into it at least once in a while.

  • I was in Queens, having lunch with an old friend from college when the earthquake hit on Tuesday.  We didn’’t feel a thing and we weren’’t even drinking.

  • I’’m pretty sure that someone could make a resealable package for bacon if they set their mind to it.

  • If you coat steel with zinc, you make the steel rust resistant.  However, if you leave a galvanized garbage can sitting in your compost pile for twenty years, the bottom of the garbage can will compost too.

  • In case you’’ve wondered how you can throw away a garbage can, I solved that one by taking it to the dump myself.

  • A hurricane is coming, so go to the store and stock up on milk and bread so you can pass the time making the traditional cream of bread soup.  That recipe isn’’t original with me.  I got it from the late and very much missed Newsday columnist Ed Lowe.

  • I really believe a hurricane is coming.  Otherwise, I wouldn’’t have been up on the corrugated metal roof of my garage adding screws to keep it in place after my wife got home from work Friday.  I don’’t like to crawl around on the garage roof when nobody else is around.  I’’d much rather have someone available to call 911 in case while falling off the roof I  break enough bones that I can’’t call 911 myself.

Things I Know

  • Anyone who knows me and is nice to one of my children because of it gets special thanks from me.  So, thanks the gentleman who took ninety minutes out of his busy day last Thursday to talk to my son and give him some career advice.  I always liked the guy and his family.  I like him even more now and because we live 3,000 miles apart, we haven’’t seen each other in many years, but I think I’’d better make a trip to correct that oversight.
  • The most brilliant marketing award for August and probably for the decade of the tens goes to Abercrombie and Fitch which issued a news release last Tuesday saying they have offered to pay Mike Sorrentino, known as “The Situation” on the TV show “Jersey Shore,” not to wear clothing from their company.  It’’s brilliant marketing because it got a lot more press than paying him to endorse their clothes would have.
  • Teddy Roosevelt’’s daughter, Alice, was famous for saying, “”If you haven’t got anything nice to say about anybody, come sit next to me.”  My grandmother would have said, ““If you haven’’t got anything nice to say about anyone, don’’t say anything at all.””  As of today, I’’m more inclined to follow my grandmother’s advice, but I bet Alice was a lot more fun than granny.
  • Because I’’ve been painting the inside of my house, I’’ve spent more time moving my hammock so I could mow under it this summer than I have relaxing in the hammock.
  • The philosopher George Santayana said, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to fulfill it.”  If that’’s true, then President Obama ought to study President Carter.   A good man, although misguided in some issues I think, Carter is widely regarded as a much better former President than President.  Why?  Because he wasn’’t a strong leader.
  • I told my wife that if she ever says to me:  ““Honey, I’’ve got something to tell you, but I can only tell it to you on the Jerry Springer Show,”” I’’m not going on the show with her.
  • Here’’s a way for a bike rider to get him or herself killed, but with the caveat that it’’s not 100 percent reliable.  I was headed south on Rte 111 in Islip.  A kid was riding his bike north in the southbound lane, not on the shoulder.  He flashed me what I assume was a gang sign and gave me the choice to stop or run him over.   I stopped, in traffic, on a state highway.  I already had an accident recently.  Having demonstrated his power over oncoming traffic, the kid swerved to pass me on the passenger side of my truck.  At the same time, the idiot in the Suburban behind me decided to pass me on my right.  The kid narrowly escaped becoming a bike-rider sandwich without mayo, mustard or ketchup—and when I say narrowly, that’’s exactly what I mean.
  • Here’’s proof some people have too much money.  It’’s a good TV show, but come on, $700?  And you thought I was going to complain about the 1957 250 Ferrari Testa Rossa prototype that sold for $16.39 million at the Pebble Beach auction Saturday night, including commission.  No, that seems perfectly reasonable to me.

 

Things I Know

  • I think of Fitch Ratings as #3 in the financial ratings business behind Standard & Poor’s and Moody’’s.  So it’’s no surprise to me that when Fitch maintained its rating of United States debt at AAA, it made a lot less news than when Standard and Poor’s dropped it a notch.
  • President Obama’’s bus tour:  perhaps he’’s planning to become a country singer rather than run for reelection.
  • If he’’s not embarking on a career in country music, I think the President’’s bus tour is wholly political.  I have read, however that it’s being billed to the taxpayers as an official government function.
  • Even though I’’m on the federal no-call list, I keep getting calls from a company that identifies itself over the phone as “Card Member Services.”  All I know about the company is that it wants information I wouldn’’t give over the phone to anyone who calls me cold (beginning with my outstanding credit card balance), it cares nothing for the federal no-call list and there are lots of websites carrying complaints about them calling despite being told not to.  Those things taken together make it sound suspicious to me.  Today I told their representative who identified himself as Sean not to call me again.  I also made a list starting with today of the date and time of the call and beginning with that notice, I’’m going to complain to the Federal Trade Commission every time they do call.  If you wish to do the same about this company or any other, the link is: 
  • https://complaints.donotcall.gov/complaint/complaintcheck.aspx
  • I don’’t have any stock, but I do have more CD titles in my house than Best Buy does at my nearest store.  Of course, CD’s are nearly obsolete by now, so that’’s almost like saying I have more vinyl titles than Best Buy does, which is also true.
  • Unsolicited email must be an effective marketing tool, and I know it costs hardly anything.  I can tell both of those things because of the huge quantity of unsolicited email I receive every day.  It just annoys me.  Case in point:  I bought a couple of good-quality faucets from an online retailer.  I get a lot of email from them.  I have five faucets in my home.  All of them are good quality and relatively new.  I doubt if I’’ll ever buy another faucet as long as I live here.  People who sell faucets probably don’’t do a lot of repeat business, except with plumbers and contractors.  Those emails don’’t convince me to do anything but delete them.
  • If I ever get a kitten, I believe I’ll name it Caboodle.
  • I mentioned a while ago that we got some strawberry ice cream that had strawberry swirl in it rather than whole strawberries or chunks of strawberry.  I have an ice cream maker so I looked up some recipes for strawberry (sans swirl) ice cream.  Lots of them recommend that you puree the strawberries and refrain from putting chunks of fruit in the ice cream because the berries will freeze and the texture will be unpleasant.  Having been raised on Breyer’s strawberry ice cream, I like the chunks.  But I thought strawberries must be getting expensive,and I was right.  The Breyer’s strawberry ice cream we had last week had almost no chunks of fruit in it.  My solution to strawberry ice cream with no pieces of strawberry in it is to have the ice cream with slices of fresh strawberries on top of it.  That works nicely, trust me.

Things I Know

  • Standard and Poor’s has reduced the United States’ credit rating from AAA to AA+.  That’s still pretty good unless your country’s currency is the standard for international trading, which the dollar is, but maybe not for a lot longer.
  • The rating company said part of the reason it made the rating reduction was the bickering and brinksmanship on the part of the White House, Senate and House.  So, naturally, reacting to this news, the Democrats and Republicans blamed each other.
    • Well, I answered my own question about what I considered premature back to school sales.  School started the first week in August at least in some parts of Georgia and it starts this week in Florida.

    • Encouraging news:  when I went to the store, a little boy was standing near his parents’ car and without being told, he got way out of my way as I pulled in to park.  On the other hand, three adults walked behind my truck as I was backing out. 

    • Summer is over.  On Friday, I was at Home Depot and they had a big rack of flowers for sale in front of the store; a big rack of mums!

    • While I was at Home Depot, the skies opened up and we had a cloudburst.  After I paid for the stuff I needed there were lots of people standing under the overhang at the front of the store.  But I’’m not water soluble, so I walked to my truck, and came home.   I wouldn’’t do that around here in February, but it is August so I might as well enjoy it.

    • I’’m pretty sure now that the format problems I’’ve encountered with this blog are due to the fact that I’’ve been posting to the blog using more than one Internet browser.

    • I know I’’m part of a very small minority of US men here, but I don’’t like football.  I understand it, I even played it badly as a kid, but I don’’t like it.

    • I don’’t like reality TV either, nor do I understand it.

    • I didn’’t have to empty the attic entirely to have the electricians do away with knob and tube wiring.  I did get most of the stuff out though.  Before we put anything back, my wife, daughter, and I have agreed to throw away a few more things that are still up there and to throw away some stuff rather than take it back upstairs.

    • Progress report on the remodeling:  I’’ve painted the ceilings in the hallway, foyer, one bedroom and the living room.  I’ve installed the pot lights in the hallway and the ceiling fan in the living room.  I had an electrical inspection, but have to be reinspected because I took down some of the ceiling fixtures so I could paint.  I’’ve put them back, so I’’m ready for another inspection.  I have also stained all the woodwork that needs staining, but I have to put urethane or varnish on it to finish the job.  Once that’’s done, I can paint the walls in every room except the kitchen and the two bathrooms.

    • We pulled up the carpet in the living room and found lovely, inlaid hardwood floors.  They’’re badly stained and need some minor repair though, so I’’m getting a floor finisher in to tell me if they can be saved.

    • The thing that’’s going to take the most effort is paying the electrician.  With all the knob and tube wiring we found and replaced, that bill comes to around $4,000!

    • The Lowe’’s I was in last week had a deal going where they would install overhead light fixtures throughout your whole house for $249.  That doesn’’t include the cost of any new wiring.  I have six overhead light fixtures in my house and I’’d replace them myself before I’’d pay anyone $249 to do it for me.

    • I love to go to the beach and I have a pass to get into the beach for free, but I’’ve only been once this year.  I’’m going to fix that this week.

    • You’’ve probably read that all-time record high temperatures were reported in various places across the USA something like 9,000 times in the month of July.  But I also read a story in the Las Vegas Review Journal kind of complaining that it hasn’’t reached 110 degrees in Las Vegas even once this summer.

Things I Know

  • Once upon a time, I could care less about hockey.  Then I realized the implications, so I did care less.  Now I couldn’’t care less about hockey, so I voted no on the $400 million bond issue to build a new Nassau Coliseum as home for the NY Islanders.
  • At Houlihan’’s restaurant in Westbury NY, there’s a sign pointing to “additional parking for Houlihan’’s” and that additional parking is closer to the entrance than any of the other spaces are.

  • There’’s an ad on TV, seeking plaintiffs for a lawsuit regarding surgery using trans-vaginal mesh.  The announcer says the phrase “trans-vaginal mesh” several times and each time he does, I can’’t help thinking of the musical round we used to sing when we were kids.  It went, “George Washington Bridge, the George Washington Washington Bridge.”

  • While painting the inside of my house, I’’ve been watching a lot of true crime stories on TV.  But I hate suspense, so as soon as they mention the murder victim’’s name, I put it into a search engine to see whether they’’ve caught the killer.

  • Here’s an update on my plans for a band called, “Flu-like Symptoms.”  We’’re going to be really, really bad.  That way, I can be the lead singer and that way, when someone says they’’re suffering from flu-like symptoms, everyone will think it’s us.

  • Glucose is not just a sugar, it’’s also a carbohydrate and all carbs are important to diabetics, not just glucose.  This is true because most other carbs convert to glucose to one degree or another in the body.  If you look at sugar-free foods, that can be misleading.  Many of them are higher in carbs than foods with sugar.  Some of them have sugars other than glucose in them.  I saw a sugar-free iced tea powder that was loaded with dextrose and dextrose is a sugar.  I got an ice cream freezer, thinking I’d make sugar free or lower sugar ice cream.  A lot of the so-called sugar-free recipes I found called for agave nectar and that has more fructose in it than high-fructose corn syrup does.

  • I think they still have push-to-talk cell phones, but I haven’’t seen one in a long, long time.

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.
  • Amazon.com 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.

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.  Amazon.com 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.

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!

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.

 

Things I Know

  •  If you’’re very good at paying your bills on time, make a mistake, and miss a payment, your credit card company may be willing to waive the interest and penalties if you ask nicely.  I just got that courtesy from one of my banks.  I don’’t know how often you can do that because I’’ve done it way less than once a year.
  • It’’s not a good thing if the people at the auto body collision shop remember your name.

  • My daughter bought a Kindle and I downloaded the Kindle application for my PC.  I’’ve used it to read a few books from the Guttenberg Project for free.  Kindles, Nooks and other ereaders, if successful, will put a big dent in the sale of book cases.  And that’s their biggest advantage.  You can store a lot of books in electronic form in a lot less space than paper requires.

  • There are a lot of ebooks available for free, but most of them aren’’t the kind I read.  I think most of the ones I do want to read are too expensive as ebooks.  If I can buy a 500-page paperback book for $8.00, an ebook should cost less than that.  But a lot of ebooks only cost a dollar or two less than the hard cover version.

  • The two biggest problems with electronic books:  books now require batteries or AC power; and if you like to read in the bathtub, as I do, it costs a lot more if you drop your ereader in the tub than if you drown an $8.00 paperback book.

  • I read that romance novels are about the most popular kind of ebooks because people can read them without the embarrassment of those lurid covers.  If that’’s true, perhaps Barnes & Noble should rename its ereader from Nook to Nookie.

  • The “Most Interesting Man in the World” commercials for Dos Equis beer are very clever.  Two of the traits of this man that particularly amuse me right now are:  both sides of his pillow are cool; and objects in his mirror appear exactly as they are.

  • We are about two months into a three-week remodeling project in my house.

  • An electrician who’’s also a carpenter would do less structural damage than an electrician who’s only an electrician, in an older house.  The electrician rewiring the second floor of my house carved up the attic floor with a reciprocating saw.  I asked him why he didn’’t use a circular saw.  He said he had a reciprocating saw.

  • The floor in my attic is ¾ inch plywood covered by ¼ inch luan plywood.  No, I don’’t know why they did that.  The carpenter said if they had cut away a good section of the luan and then a narrower section of the ¾ inch plywood, they could have reused most of the flooring instead of having to buy more to patch it.

  • While drilling through a sill plate to snake wires, the electrician accidentally drilled a hole in my roof.  To his credit, he did tell me about it and said his company would pay to repair it.  If you install a new roof on your house, save a few extra shingles in case you need to repair it later.

  • I saved a few pieces of siding too, but I’’m having a hard time storing the siding and may have to give that up.

  • I can’’t begin to calculate how much money my wife has saved us over the years by refusing to buy either Coke or Pepsi unless they’re on sale.  Sometimes the sales are up to 50% off, and where I live, one or the other is  on sale every week.  

Things I Know

  •  Crystal Harris, 25, and Playboy Magazine founder Hugh Hefner, 85, are no longer headed to the altar.  Hef tweeted that Crystal had a change of heart.  I would have thought Hef more likely to have a “change of heart” as in transplant.
  • The word “small” has 66 percent more letters than the word “big.”

  • If you waste any time at all browsing the Internet, you may have come across one or more of the websites purporting to be the last page of the Internet.  Some of them are funny, but I don’’t think anyone has it right.  I believe that if anyone does reach the real last page of the Internet, the results will be similar to the ending of Arthur C. Clarke’s Hugo Award-winning short story, ““The Nine Billion Names of God,”” which ends, ““Overhead, without any fuss, the stars were going out.””

  • If you haven’’t read this classic Clarke story, look it up.  The entire text is available on line.  You’’ll probably love the ending.   He wasn’’t kidding when he called it a “short story:”  It really is very short.  And the story is almost 60 years old, so a little historical perspective is needed.  When it was written, taking a computer to a monastery in Tibet involved enormously more work than stuffing it in your backpack and hopping a jet.

  • Rep. Anthony Weiner hasn’’t gone away yet, but I’’m still hoping.  On Sunday, new pictures were (okay, I can’’t resist a bad pun and there really isn’’t any point in any other kind) uncovered.  They depict a partially clothed Rep. Weiner standing in the House gym, grabbing his crotch.  Perhaps, in those pictures he’’s expressing a desire to become a big league baseball player.

Things I Know

  • It disturbs me when someone defends a public figure’s actions based on whether they agree with that public figure politically.  Some things are morally wrong and some things are factually incorrect, whether you are liberal or conservative.
  • House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee chair Steve Israel and Democratic National Committee chair Debbie Wasserman-Schultz all released statements (within minutes of each other on Saturday) exhorting Rep. Anthony Weiner to resign.   The statements came after Weiner announced he was asking for a leave from Congress to get treatment for his Internet escapades.  Said escapades have been so widely reported, I have no need to repeat them again.  I have no personal knowledge of these events, but I suspect Weiner decided to seek treatment after he learned that the statements from House Democratic leaders were coming.
  • I served on Congressional staff for five years and I’’ve never heard of a formal leave of absence from Congress.  There might, however, be such a thing.  I served there a long time ago.
  • I read a lot of science fiction and alternate history.  I like far fewer movies and TV shows in those genres than I do books.  However, I just saw ““The Man from Earth,”” written by Jerome Bixby.  I wasn’’t familiar with this movie or his books, but I liked the movie and I’’m going to become familiar with his books.  The movie is anything but action-packed; in fact it’’s basically a conversation lasting an hour and a half.  It’’s a movie that works if you buy into the premise.  There are holes in the script’s logic and devout Christians may very well find it offensive, but I found it thought provoking and I’’m going back to the Netflix website to give it three or four stars out of five.
  • June is when fresh strawberries abound.  That reminds me that when my son was a very small child, he knew that food grew on farms or in gardens and he had heard New Jersey called the “Garden State.”  He decided that when he grew up, he wanted to be a farmer in New Jersey.  I asked him what he would grow and he said “strawberry ice cream;” he became a lawyer instead.  If he had developed a plant that grew strawberry ice cream, you can bet I’’d have lots of them growing in my garden right now.

Things I Know

 

  • I’’m not catching up with the Times, the Times is catching up with me.  The NY Times recently reported that blister packs or clam-shell packaging is going out of favor because it wastes oil.  I suggested this should happen in this very blog  almost three years ago.

  • Yes, there is someone who enjoys the 90+ weather we’’ve had the last two days:  me!  I have arthritis and I don’’t ache as much in warm weather.  I call this warm rather than hot because I have been to the central valley of California.

  • I took advantage of the weather and went to the beach.  The water was cold and full of seaweed.  Several kinds of gulls were on hand, but the rest of the sea birds haven’’t turned up yet.  Or maybe they haven’’t terned up yet.

  • “”When I throw rocks at sea birds, I leave no tern unstoned.””  Ogden Nash.

  • If I were in charge of the beach I go to, I’’d build a bench or two where the boardwalk meets the sand, so you could sit down and brush the sand off your feet before donning your sandals.  That way, the combination of sand and sandal straps wouldn’’t irritate your feet and you wouldn’’t risk splinters by going barefoot on the boardwalk.

  • To me, the taller and thinner a young woman is the more flattering a bikini looks on her.  That surprises me a little since all other things being equal I find petite women the prettiest.

  • I don’’t care for tattoos at all, but judging from today’s sample at the beach a lot of young women do.  In fact, I believe I saw more tattoos on women than I did on men this afternoon.

  • I don’’t want to rush from here to August, but I did plant tomatoes in my garden.

  • I never want to rush past June because of fresh strawberries.  I bought three pounds yesterday.

  • I hereby declare my pea crop for this year a failure.  I sowed 36 plants.  Three came up and bugs got them.

  • Twenty people in a workplace pool recently won over $200 million in the Powerball lottery.  If you take the cash instead of the annuity and pay all the taxes, you net about a quarter of what the lottery says the jackpot is.  Therefore 20 people won $50 million or so, net after taxes.  In other words, they won $2.5 million apiece.  If some of the winners are relatively young, they can’’t stop working.  At today’’s interest rates, the younger ones shouldn’’t even do anything extravagant.

  • So you won $2.5 million and people think you won $200 million.  Still, if it happened to me, I wouldn’’t let it ruin my day.

  • This does demonstrate that you should join any office lottery pool.  In the extremely unlikely event that your coworkers win, you don’’t want to be the only one left on the job.

  • Sixteen-year-old Eduardo Vanegas-Fuentes fell into a cesspool in Farmingville NY recently.  His friend, Edgar Calderon-Castro, 19, bravely, futilely and fatally jumped in to try to save him.  You probably can’’t rescue someone from a cesspool without special equipment.  Here’’s why.  In addition to being filled with exactly what you think it’’s filled with, a cesspool almost certainly contains a high level of methane gas.  You can’’t breathe methane.  So, even if you can swim and think you can save your friend, tragedy for two is a likely result as it was in this case. 

 

Things I Know

 

  • I would have thought an organ grinder was a machine to destroy musical instruments or a device used to make pate, instead of being a street performer with a pet monkey.

  • Harold Camping, the wing nut who told us the Rapture would occur a week ago Saturday has recalculated.  He now says the world will end on October 21st.  My wedding anniversary (and my wife’s too) is October 24th.  Notwithstanding what Mr. Camping has predicted, I think I’ll buy my wife an anniversary present.

  • We’re remodeling again.  This time, we’re doing more rewiring than in the past.  To accomplish that, the electricians need access to the attic.  Really, they have to pull up part of the attic floor because it’s easier to repair than cutting into the bedroom ceilings.  I’’ve climbed the stairs dozens of times and my feet hurt, but in doing so, I found the pocket knife my dad carried for many years and gave to me when I was about ten.  I thought I lost it at summer camp in Rhode Island years ago when I was a Scoutmaster, but it’’s been sitting in a box in my attic for almost twenty years.

  • A lot of stores have paint on sale over Memorial Day Weekend.

  • One good thing that happened while we were in California:  at home, our crape myrtle awoke from its winter of slumber.  They’’re pretty, but they start growing later than any other plant on my property.

  • Reading the Sky Mall catalogue on a recent cross-country flight led me to wonder if the website www.uselesscrap.com was available.  It is, but you can’t just register it for a couple of bucks; someone’s trying to sell it at a premium.

  • It’s rained so much on Long Island this spring that my lawn goes to seed in about four days which is more often than I mow it.

  • The night we arrived in San Francisco and the night before we left, we stayed at a hotel called the Inn at Oyster Point.  It’s a beautiful location overlooking a marina on San Francisco Bay and it has a fireplace in every room.  But the staff is its greatest asset.  Staff members are friendly and eager to help.  I lost the battery cover off a small radio I carry around.  I called the hotel the day after I checked out; they found it and mailed it back to me.  So kudos to Nicole and anyone else involved in that recovery.

  • I bought my wife an iPad for her birthday.  I had a hard time connecting it to my home wireless network, but finally figured that out; my password is complicated enough it’’s difficult to type on a touch pad .  One thing I don’t like; it takes a long time to synch my music collection, especially since it’’s already on there.

 

Things I Know

  •  I am not making deliberate and frequent changes to the typeface in this blog.  The software the blog publisher uses seems to be doing that unbidden by me.  If I figure out how to stop doing it, I will stop, even though I didn’’t start.
  • We’’re returning home from vacation in the morning.  The weather in San Francisco and Sacramento wasn’’t too nice this time, or last time either.  Next time, I think we’’ll make a point to travel to sunny California, instead of the California we’’ve been visiting.
  • During our vacation, both my wife and I were under the weather.  It seems strange to me that when we’’re fully recovered, we won’’t be over the weather.
  • If you are renting a car in San Francisco, please be advised that gasoline at the stations nearest San Francisco International Airport costs almost fifty cents a gallon more than gasoline a mile or two away.  My mama told me, “you’’d better shop around.”
  • To me, the worst thing about California is that I can’’t stay here long enough to get used to the three hour time difference between here and where I live.  I hate waking up at 3:00 AM and there aren’’t many places open for breakfast in Sacramento at that hour.  I know one place on 16th Street that’’s open all night, but I tried it for breakfast once and didn’’t care much for it.
  • Note to TV news directors in Sacramento:  when I’’m watching the local weather forecast, I’’d also like to know what the outdoor temperature is now.  Even if the forecast is recorded, you could display it as a graphic on the screen.
  • On this trip, I learned that there’s no proof Mark Twain ever said, ““The coldest winter I ever spent was one summer in San Francisco.””  It’s funny and it’’s true, so that’’s probably why people think Twain said it, but he didn’’t publish it, so there’’s no proof that he did.
  • This week, that bogus quote is also true in Sacramento, which is particularly startling to me since I was here three years ago at this time of year and it was over 100 degrees.
  • Traffic in Sacramento is weird because streets switch from one way to two way or the other way around.  I could drive to where my son lives by heading west on H Street, until H Street becomes one way headed east.  A lot of streets in Sacramento are like that.
  • Toddlers never try to avoid tripping you; they depend on you to avoid stepping on them.  It seems a dubious survival strategy to me, but you have to admit it has been largely successful for millions of years so far.  
  • The power seat in the Lincoln I’’m renting slides as far back as it will go when I shut the car off.  I suppose the people who designed that feature did so to make it easier to enter and exit the vehicle, but I don’’t like it and wish I could disable it.
  • The original platform on which the Lincoln Town Car is based has been updated, but it started 32 years ago.  I’’ve only rented one twice and each time, I did it because I needed a sedan with a cavernous trunk.  It seems to me the interior hasn’’t been updated very much since the last time I rented one which was probably more than 20 years ago.  On this one, some of the buttons on the dash board are concealed by the steering wheel and the bottom of the dash is way too close to my knees.  Those are two things I think they could have fixed in all that time.
  • Our son is considering relocating from Sacramento.  I like the area, but I’’ve seen all the local tourist attractions because we’’ve visited him here several times, so maybe that’’s a good thing.
  • From the “stating-what-should-be-obvious department” comes the sign on the wall next to the hot tub at the hotel where we’’re staying:  it says, “”Danger.  No diving.””  There’s another sign too.  It warns that there are, “No lifeguards on duty.”  I said it’’s a hot tub, not a pool, didn’’t I?
  • We had a cute and EXTREMELY PERKY waitress at the restaurant Saturday night.  As an aside, hello Kayla.  But because of my bad head cold, I was really in no mood for EXTREMELY PERKY.
  • The hotel I’’m using near San Francisco International Airport overlooks a marina on San Francisco Bay.  It’’s very nice, but with a little more attention to detail, it could easily replace Rice-A-Roni as the San Francisco treat.
  • The desk clerk at one hotel told me the newspaper in the lobby was complementary.  I read the entire thing and it didn’’t say anything nice about me or my wife.  I’’d say that’’s one problem with homonyms, but one definition of homonym I read said that they sound the same AND ARE SPELLED THE SAME, but mean different things (I thought they just had to sound the same).  By that definition, complimentary and complementary aren’’t homonyms, are they?  I wish they were, because any time I want to use either one, I have to look it up to remember which spelling carries which definition.

Things I Know

  •  The Delta Airlines terminal at Kennedy Airport is enormous.   It’’s actually two or three terminal buildings linked together.  It’’s a good thing I brought my backpack; we must have hiked half a mile from the curbside check in to the gate where we caught our plane.
  • The food places that appealed most to me aren’’t in the highest traffic areas of the Delta terminal.  That said, in my opinion, no place that sells pre-made sandwiches in cellophane or plastic wrap can be considered “gourmet.”
  • It’’s bad enough that some restaurants and restaurant chains limit themselves to Coke or Pepsi, but not both.  If they sell Pepsi at the Delta terminal in Kennedy airport, I couldn’’t find any.  They don’’t have it on the planes either and the Coke they do have comes in cans you don’’t have to take back for deposit.
  • They’’ve remodeled Delta Gate 22 since the last time I was there.  Lots of the seats are now at desks that have iPads and power outlets available for passenger use.  Tha’’s fine, except there aren’’t nearly enough seats for passengers waiting to board planes and there isn’’t room around most of the seats so you can hold on to your luggage.
  • Delta boarded our flight from the front to the back.  Since airlines (not just Delta) started charging for checked baggage, people have been bringing as much stuff as possible into the cabin and stuffing as much as possible into the overhead bins.  Our seats were in row 30.  My backpack went into the overhead in Row 42.  So, I suggest they board flights from back to front.  That way, when they run out of space over your seat, the extra stuff has to go toward the front of the plane.  If you make it to the back to get your stuff, you won’’t make it back to your seat until people in front of you exit the plane.
  • The lead cabin attendant said he was being assisted by three other “absolutely fabulous cabin attendants.”  So, he was implying that he’’s “absolutely fabulous too,” right?  If you don’’t blow your own horn, you won’’t be violating any municipal noise ordinances, I always say.
  •   I could be wrong, but it seems to me you don’’t have to walk nearly as far at SFO as you do at JFK.  However the car rental center at SFO may possibly be in Nevada.  It’’s really, really far from the terminal.  At least the train ride over there is free.
  • I guess Alamo and National are the same company now.  I rented a car from Alamo and got one from National.  Once again, I got an ““or similar.””  I don’’t recall ever getting the car the rental car company advertises.  This time, I reserved a Cadillac DTS or similar because I wanted a sedan with a cavernous trunk.  My wife and I are on vacation and we’re picking up our son who’s been overseas for three months. 
  • The ““or similar”” turned out to be a Lincoln Town Car.  It’’s okay; it has the three-Hoffa trunk that I need, but Ford’’s phasing that model out and it’’s technologically behind the times in even simple ways.  Ford has a sophisticated entertainment system in Fords, but this Lincoln didn’’t have it and the owner’’s manual doesn’’t say it’’s even an option.  It doesn’’t play MP3 CD’s or have an auxiliary input for an iPhone or a Droid.  I’’ve got thousands of songs on my phone, but I can’’t play them in my rental Lincoln.
  • I have more trouble than I should finding my way around the San Francisco peninsula.  We’’re staying at a very nice place on the bay, near the airport, but it wasn’’t easy for me to find it.
  • I call our airport car service guy my almost cousin because his uncle dated my mother in high school.  Taking a car service to the airport is a luxury, but not really that expensive if you are going to be away for a week or more.  It costs me about twice as much as driving to the airport and putting my car in long-term parking and the extra convenience is well worth it.
  • More, as the trip continues.

Things I Know

  • The USA should have filed an environmental impact statement before dumping Osama Bin Laden into the ocean.

  • I read that Ford Motor Company sold fewer than eight thousand Lincolns in March.  When at the NY Auto Show, last month, it occurred to me that Lincoln has gone the way of Mercury and you know what happened to Mercury (they don’’t make them anymore).  All the Lincolns I saw at the Auto Show were obviously badge-engineered.  They are clearly based on Fords.  They mostly look like Fords with different grilles and fancier interiors. 

  • Lincoln has manufactured some of the most beautiful and some of the ugliest cars ever made (in my opinion of course).  I hope they find their niche again and become something more than uber-Fords.  If not, I fear that Lincoln will be out of business within a few years.
  • We’’re doing some repairs and interior remodeling in our house.  Nobody should live in a house while it’’s under construction and this is the second time we’’ve done it, so you’’d think we already knew that.
  • We’’ve lived in this house for 20 years and neither the home inspection we had before we bought it nor any of the electricians who’’ve been in since found any active knob and tube wiring in it.  But the electrician who is here now did and we probably have to rewire the entire second floor.  Expensive, sure, but it is a fire hazard so it has to go.
  • In addition to the construction, my wife and I are getting ready for a trip to California next week.
  • One of my favorite ways to relax is to soak in the bathtub while listening to the radio and reading a book.  Last week, I knocked my 13-year-old portable radio into the tub.  I dried it out with a hair drier and then my wife left it in the sun for a couple of days.  It works again!  Mostly.  Although you can’’t get this particular model anymore and I was wrong when I bought it to think  I’’d listen to a lot of shortwave, I’’m hereby impressed with my Grundig Yachtboy 400 and even more impressed with the fact that I don’’t have to buy another radio.
  • On May 1, I may have found the most expensive 87 octane gasoline in New Jersey.  In case that’s what you’re looking for, it was in Hibernia, just off I-80.

Things I Know

  • President Obama finally released his long-form birth certificate.  I never thought he wasn’’t born in Hawaii.  I believed he wasn’’t born at all.  But seriously, the President has nobody to blame but himself for keeping this non-issue alive for the last three years.

  • I know it’’s an odd notion, but I believe parts that must be replaced during the useful life of any machine ought to be reasonably easy to replace.  The most recent thing I encountered that doesn’’t meet that standard is the belt on my family’’s upright vacuum cleaner.  It’’s not easy to replace; it’’s barely possible to replace.

  • As is my habit, I went to the NY International Auto Show last Friday.   I didn’’t want anything I could afford and I couldn’’t afford anything I wanted. 

  • When I claim, as I do from time to time, that I know the worst joke in the world, not everyone asks me to tell it, but nobody I’’ve known for more than a few minutes argues that I can’’t possibly.

Things I Know

  •  I’’m beginning to think that President Obama wasn’’t born at all, let alone born in Hawaii.
  • Not only do you have to pay your income taxes by the middle of April (usually the 15th, but this year the 18th), but the middle of April is also when I have to start mowing my lawn.  Wild onions start growing prolifically long before that, which wouldn’’t be so bad except that they’’re not edible.
  • Sometimes, when you can’’t sleep, there’’s an unusually good movie on late-night TV.  Saturday night into Sunday morning, there was ““Bedazzled,”” the original with Dudley Moore and Peter Cook, not the awful remake.  If you haven’’t seen it, watch it.  If you have seen it, watch it again.  I’’ve seen it many times and I pick up something else funny every time I do.
  • Like many cell phones you can buy today, mine is also a powerful computer, a camera and several other things I can’’t think of right now.  I set it up to use my home Wi-Fi network.  The instructions say that using it that way shortens the time before your battery needs to be recharged.  They aren’’t kidding.  I should probably plug it in if I use it that way.
  • Diversity at work:  in my local Waldbaum’’s supermarket, the two African-American ladies in front of me in the checkout line bought two boxes of lasagna noodles and two boxes of matzos.
  • Notwithstanding what it says on the supermarket receipt, I remain unconvinced that I really saved $28 on only 16 items at the supermarket.
  • Speaking of supermarket receipts, I find them very confusing.  If soda is on sale for 99 cents a bottle, the market should ring it up for 99 cents, not for $1.89 with a 90-cent credit somewhere further down the bill. 

Things I Know

  • Now that it’’s April and the sun is getting stronger, I think it’’s time to tell everyone that when my daughter was a toddler, she called the unguent that one applies in order to avoid sunburn ““sun scream.””

  • As things begin to bloom around here, I wish I had enough room on my property to plant a magnolia tree.

  • Abner Doubleday is famous for something he didn’’t do.  He’’s alleged to have invented baseball.  But he did do something that went down in history.  Doubleday was the artillery officer at Fort Sumter SC 150 years ago, so he directed the first union shot of the Civil War.

  • Nine, possibly ten bodies have been found along Ocean Parkway in the area between Jones Beach and Gilgo.  And we thought that area was interesting when Robert Matheson was trying to save the OBI.

  • I spent most of last week in Albany, NY.  Well, Colonie, actually.  On the way there, I took a side trip to Cooperstown.  Yes, I visited the Baseball Hall of Fame.  I go there as often as I can.  I first went about six years ago and liked it so much I became a subscribing member.  But this time, I finally got to the Farmers’ Museum when it was open and I saw the Cardiff Giant.  The giant was a big hoax in the second half of the nineteenth century.  Uncovered in 1869, by 1870, it was such a successful hoax that famed showman P.T. Barnum had a replica made.   Then, Barnum displayed the replica and said his was the original and the original was a fake.  When the Cardiff Giant was uncovered, there were people who identified it as a fake right away.  Still, seeing it in the museum on RTE 80 in Cooperstown, it’’s hard to believe that anyone ever fell for it.

Things I Know

  • I’’m off to Albany NY for the rest of the week where I’’ll be doing one of the things I do best:  talking. And before anyone else says it, if the truth be known, I’’m a little bit off all the time.

  •  If the planets align properly, I’’ll visit Cooperstown on Tuesday too.  I really like the Baseball Hall of Fame and if I can get there Tuesday, it looks like I’’ll finally be able to visit the Farmers’ Museum.  Last time I was in Cooperstown the Farmers’ Museum was closed for the season, but it opens April 1st.  I’’ve wanted for as long as I can remember to see the Cardiff Giant.  I just like hoaxes, that’’s all, and the Cardiff Giant is an historical hoax.

  • Somebody has me on the wrong mailing list.  I keep getting offers to buy or rent property in the palm resort in Dubai, you know the one for rich people that’’s built on artificial islands that look like a palm tree when viewed from the air.

  • I’’m not saying anything about the awful accident and the young man who was hit and subsequently died was apparently a fine person.  Nevertheless, the website of the NY Post on Friday, April 2 around 9:30 PM said:  “Bronx High School Student Critically Injured After Being Struck By Train.”  Wrong!  Wouldn’’t “Bronx High School Student Critically Injured When Struck By Train,” be more correct?   I mean it would be really weird, if a train hit you, nothing happened, but after that you got seriously hurt.

  • Snooki, it was recently reported, was paid $32,000 to speak at Rutgers University.  Toni Morrison, a Nobel-prize-winning author will get $30,000 to speak at Rutgers next commencement.  Dean Wormer was wrong.  Not only can you go through life fat, drunk and stupid; you should.

Things I Know

  • Let’s all cheer!  It’’s opening day of the baseball season.  The weather is crummy in New York, so I don’’t know if they’’ll get the whole Yankee game in, but they’’ll try.  It did snow at Shea Stadium on opening day in 1996.  I left during the second inning.  I like baseball, but I’’m not stupid.
  • If you heard that Hailey Swindal, who sang the National Anthem at today’s Yankee game is George Steinbrenner’s granddaughter, you probably expected her to be an inadequate singer.  That’s what I expected, and I was wrong.
  • In case you need reminding, the last two words of the Star Spangled Banner are “Play Ball!”
  • March 31, is World Back Up Day.  It’’s supposed to encourage you to back up important files from your computer.  If your computer hard drive fails, it feels really good to know you have a complete back up of all your data including family pictures, music, financial data, work-from-home files, you name it.  I know firsthand because I had a computer hard drive fail during warranty so I didn’t replace it myself.  When the tech asked me what I wanted to do about it, I said, “”Whatever you want.  I have a complete back up from yesterday.””  Talk about smug!
  • March 31st is also Robert Bunsen’s birthday.  If the German chemist was still alive, he’d be 200 years old today.  Who is Robert Bunsen you ask?  Well, he invented the Bunsen cell which is a kind of battery.  He also discovered the elements cesium and rubidium and he lost an eye in a laboratory explosion.  But if you think the name sounds familiar, it’s most likely because he invented the Bunsen burner, probably still found in every high school and college chemistry lab.  And he didn’t patent it either.
  • Seven people won the $319 Million Mega Millions Lottery in an office pool.  Usually, there are eight people in the pool, but the eighth guy said he wasn’t feeling lucky that day and declined to participate.  Turns out he was right.  He wasn’t lucky that day.
  • If you’re buying portable audio video equipment, here’’s a suggestion:  what kind of battery the thing uses ought to help you decide which one to buy.  I have a four-year-old portable DVD player.  I just bought a new, proprietary battery for it.  The battery cost $90 and was very hard to find.  The whole device cost roughly $200 new, including the battery.  A high-capacity battery for my laptop computer is in the same price range.  If you can find something with a non-exclusive battery (and good luck doing that), it ought to be cheaper to replace.  If not, you may want to look up the cost of replacement batteries for the device you’’re considering and buy the device with the least expensive replacement batteries.
  • I just figured out something I should have discovered right after we got our first dishwasher.  If you eat bran flakes for breakfast (or at any time of day for that matter), you should rinse out the bowl and put it in the dishwasher or you should put it in the dishwasher right away and put it through its cycle right away too.  What you should not do is let that residue dry until it’s like concrete and then try to wash the bowl.
  • One of the great things about being an adult is that Gym isn’t a required subject for me anymore.
  • My daughter is leaving China to come home at 10:00 tonight our time, or 10:00 tomorrow morning in Shanghai.

Things I Know

  • I haven’’t heard from my kids since my daughter arrived in China on Wednesday to visit her brother.  I’’ve heard that there is trouble with email traffic between hear and China, so that’’s probably the reason.  I’’ve also heard that the Chinese government is deliberately slowing down such traffic, especially gmail traffic.  I don’’t know if that’’s true, but I do know my son is using a gmail account.
  • Mega Millions is $312 million (or so) tonight.  I know the odds are something like 175 million to one against, but I play anyway.  Why?  I pay taxes on some things that amuse me, but the lottery is the only tax I pay that amuses me all by itself.  Knowing better than most people how small my chance of winning is, I like to tease my wife about how cheap I’’d be if I won, and that running joke with my wife amuses me too.  A Mega Millions ticket is also cheaper than a lot of other things that amuse me.  If I buy a ticket in the upper deck, and go to a baseball game by myself it’’ll wind up costing me $60 for the ticket, parking and food as opposed to a buck for the lottery ticket.  My trip to Las Vegas last October cost a lot more than that; so did tickets to the shows, and restaurants we patronized while we were there.
  • And speaking of major league baseball, opening day is less than a week away
  • My wife, Saint Karen (she has to be a saint to put up with me), came home today and told me she had signed up for the office lottery pool.  This makes sense, because in the extremely unlikely event that they do win, why would she want to be the only one left in the office
  • I told Saint Karen that all she has to do to join my personal lottery pool is remain married to me.  So far, so good.
  • I absolutely hate people who make grand plans to give away huge sums of money before they win the huge lottery.  Because I know how little chance I have of winning, I have a much simpler plan.  If I win, I’’m going to keep it.
  • Anyone who bemoaned the passing of fifties music from commercial radio should take note that sixties music is also disappearing slowly from the airwaves.  It was inevitable.  The reason is that advertising professionals believe older people are less influenced by commercials.  Radio is funded by commercials, so the people who buy the commercials want to reach a younger audience they can easily convince to buy their products.
  • If you like music, you should collect what you like.  That way, it won’’t bother you a lot when the music you likes isn’’t played on the radio anymore.

Things I Know

  •  Tina Adovasio’s, bruised body was found last week in a wooded area near the Taconic Parkway in Westchester County, New York.  This week, police arrested her estranged husband for the murder.  According to the NY Post, she told her divorce lawyer that if something happened to her it was her husband who did it.  This isn’’t the first time a woman has turned up dead after telling people her husband might kill her.  If you think your husband might kill you, leave!  Maybe even leave, and hide.  If you leave, and you’’re wrong, no harm done; if you leave, and you’’re right, no harm done either.
  • One thing we learned from the earthquake, tsunami and subsequent nuclear accident in Japan is someone needs to make the biggest possible diesel generator that can be transported by helicopter and some of them need to be available to power cooling systems at nuclear plants in the event another one (or four or six) suffer(s) catastrophic failure.
  • My daughter is spending about three hours in Tokyo’s Narita airport on her way to Shanghai, China.  The plane from New York to Japan flew a great circle route that took it over Siberia.  The plane’s route was, however, careful to avoid North Korean airspace.  Smart!
  • Unless it’’s specially designed for that purpose, a photocopier generally doesn’’t copy photographs very well.
  • You can use duct tape for a lot of things, but you shouldn’’t use it to seal ductwork.  There’’s a special metal tape for that and it works much better.  Duct tape will dry out and become useless if you use it to tape ducts.

Things I Know

  • No blarney, honest:  You can look it up on Amazon.com or someplace else on the Internet if you don’’t believe me.  There’’s a CD called “The Best Bagpipe Moments Ever.”  I know you won’’t believe this part, but there are 35 songs on it!  I only bring it up because St. Patrick’s Day is Thursday.
  • In the old days on the old sod, fighting Irishmen (is there any other kind?) used a type of bagpipe called the Great Irish War Pipe to scare opponents on the battle field.  It worked then; it would still work today!
  • Since Lent started last Wednesday, I guess Easter-Bunny hunting season is officially under way.  You can get your Easter-Bunny hunting license at any chocolatier.
  • Here’’s how to make the NCAA basketball tournament finish faster, maybe even in March:  Make the Big East Tournament one of the brackets.
  • Until there were railroads, people used to have to live near rivers because they were the only reliable means of transportation.  However, if you move to Wayne New Jersey these days and are surprised when the area floods, you haven’’t been paying attention and it’’s your own damned fault.  Or maybe it’’s your dammed fault.  I don’’t know which.
  • Beware of spell checkers.  A landscaper with customers in our neighborhood passed out good looking, professionally printed cards looking for costumers.  I’’m pretty sure he doesn’’t want someone to dress his crew and him in fancy clothes.  Perhaps he’’s really looking for customers and relied too much on a computerized spell checker.
  • Our son will be in China on his birthday, so before he left, his mother gave him his birthday present.  Our daughter is going to China in less than two weeks to visit her brother and before she leaves, her mother is giving her a birthday present too, even though she’’ll be back home three months before her birthday.
  • And speaking of birthdays,’ March 15th is my oldest friend Jeff’’s birthday.  How old are Jeff and I?  I am not going to tell you, but I will say that neither of us can remember when we met and became friends.

Things I Know

  •  My oldest friend sent me an email about International Disturbed People’’s Day.  Somehow, I feel I should receive not an e-mail, but an invitation, —an engraved invitation.  The e-mail was funny, but I looked and couldn’’t find any agreement on the exact date on which the event is celebrated.  I find that disturbing.
  • Department of things I hope nobody buys:  The Kate Middleton doll being sold by the Franklin Mint for $195.00.
  • The Mets are apparently unfamiliar with Abbott & Costello.  They have a shortstop in their training camp named Hu.  Everyone who is familiar with Abbott & Costello knows Hu should be on first and I Don’’t Give A Darn should be the shortstop.
  • If you apply for a visa to visit China from the United States, the application asks for your marital status.  One of the choices they give you is “spinster.”
  • The government of China, from time to time, blocks access from within the country to certain Internet sites.  Facebook is one of them.  Expatriates call this action the great firewall of China.
  • My son reports that there are tons of restaurants in Shanghai that serve American takeout food, but none of them are staffed entirely with American waiters.
  • World traveler that my son is, he also reports that the McDonald’’s Restaurant in which he dined in Shanghai doesn’’t put salt on the French fries.
  • The five-second rule is bogus.  You know.  That’’s when you drop some food on the ground and eat it anyway because it wasn’’t on the ground very long.   Who says it’’s bogus?  Dr. Roy M. Gulick, chief of the division of infectious diseases at Weill Cornell Medical College.  As quoted in the NY Times on February 28th, he said, “”Eating dropped food poses a risk for ingestion of bacteria and subsequent gastrointestinal disease, and the time the food sits on the floor does not change the risk.””
  • When Duke Snider died, not only did Newsday publish a picture of the Duke in a right-handed batting stance (in an era of switch hitters, Duke was a devout lefty hitter), but the Daily News published an editorial cartoon of Duke in heaven in which he had a glove on his right hand while he was catching a ball.  In baseball shorthand, when he was playing, Duke would have been described as “bats left, throws right.”  In Duke’’s heyday, neither paper would have made either mistake, but the Dodgers have now been in LA longer than they were in Brooklyn, and Duke lived so long that nobody at either paper knew the answer without thinking about it.
  • I have a Canon Pixma MP980 printer.  It’’s a wonderful device, except that the ink is more expensive than even gasoline, and it uses a lot of ink quickly.  Since it cleans its heads every time you print anything, it will use all of your colored ink even if you only print in black and white.  Canon makes a combo pack of four of the six ink cartridges you need for this printer.  You also need a gray ink cartridge the same size and a larger black cartridge.  I always wondered why they didn’’t include the gray cartridge with the other four the same size and now I know.  There are Canon printers that use the four cartridges in the combo pack, but don’’t need the gray one.
  • My wife’’s latest theory is that light-weight, plastic garbage cans cause wind storms.

Things I Know

  • So Duke Snider died Sunday The Dodgers left Brooklyn so long ago and Duke lived to be 84, so very few people in this area cared very much.  And Newsday published a picture of the Duke, batting right handed for God’’s sake!
  • How has baseball changed?  Duke was #8 on the all-time homerun list when he retired, with 407.  He would have hit for more, but when the Dodgers moved to LA they played in the Coliseum which was 425 to center and 440 to right center.  The Duke wasn’’t a dead pull hitter, but even down the line in right, it was 395. 
  • Tuesday, March 1, is National Pancake Day, in honor of which IHOP is giving away a free short stack between 7 and 10 AM at participating restaurants.  But they are asking people to contribute some money to a worthy charity they’’ve designated.   Check a local IHOP for details.
  • #1 son has arrived safely in Shanghai China, found the studio apartment he rented, and started work on Monday morning.  He reports that the car horn is the official noise of the city.  Shanghai is ten hours ahead of where he lives, so he’s pretty jet lagged right now.  I understand that plum blossoms are considered very pretty in China in the spring; prune blossoms, not so much. 
  • Prunes, by the way, are among my very favorite foods.  This can be either a blessing or a curse, but never both at the same time.
  • In the news recently, there was a heart-warming story of an 82-year-old woman from Memphis TN, Jean Wilson, who had a pizza delivered to her home every day.  Ms. Wilson lived alone; she fell in her home, and couldn’’t help herself for three days.  She was rescued by a Domino’s Pizza delivery driver, because she ordered from Domino’s every day for three years, and the driver became concerned when she stopped.  My daughter works in a government office.  One of the clients there is an elderly woman who goes to church every day.  If that lady doesn’’t show up at church for any reason, the pastor goes to visit her.  So you could eat a more varied, and balanced diet than Ms. Wilson has, yet still have someone watching your back.
  • I doubt that anyone influential in US military policy or foreign policy on the east coast of Africa reads this blog.  However, in case someone does, please Google the following phrase:  “”Stephen Decatur, Jr.””  That should be all the guidance American foreign policy requires with regard to Somali pirates.
  • They had a mullet toss over the weekend in Matlacha Fl.  The fish, not the haircut.

Things I Know

  • You never see Charlie Chan movies anymore.  These are movies and before that books about a fictional, inscrutable Chinese-Hawaiian detective.  First, the movies are very old now and viewed in today’’s climate of awareness, their stereotype of Mr. Chan is no doubt offensive to many, many people.  I’’m reminded of them today because Chan referred to his oldest son as “#1 son,” and my #1 son leaves in the morning on a three-month internship for his Master’’s Degree in International Law.  Where’’s he going?  Shanghai, China. 
  • I preferred when Washington’’s and Lincoln’’s birthdays (except of course when I lived in Richmond VA where Lincoln’’s birthday wasn’’t celebrated) were observed to the current practice of a generic “President’s’ Day.”  In the first place, I’’d much rather have a three-day weekend in August than in February.  Additionally, on generic President’s’ Day, someone might celebrate William Henry Harrison, Warren G. Harding, Chester A. Arthur, Millard Fillmore, Andrew Johnson or U.S. Grant (as President, not as an army general) by mistake.  I may have left someone out, but my list isn’t designed to be all-inclusive.
  •  Arianna Huffington was paid something like $315 million by AOL for her Huffington Post website.  Many of the blogs on that website are written by bloggers who are not paid for their efforts.  I bet they’’re thrilled.
  • I hereby suggest that the NY Mets move the TV broadcasts of their games this year to the Oprah Winfrey Network.  Why?  The Mets stand a chance of becoming a win-free team this year.
  • Along the roads I normally drive, the last cars blocked in by the post-Christmas snow storm have finally melted out of their winter cocoons.  We did have more snow today and there’’s more scheduled overnight tonight too.
  • One of my thumb drives survived a trip through the washer and drier, but I don’’t think I’’ll try it again.
  • Natalie Munroe, a teacher in Bucks County PA, has been suspended and new reports suggest she’ll probably be fired because she wrote a blog called “Natalie’’s Hand Basket,” in which she complained about the students she taught.  But, she wrote it anonymously and she didn’t identify the students by name either.  However, and I can’’t stress this too much, people:  Anything you put on the Internet is public.  

Things I Know

  • Pitchers, and catchers are reporting all over Arizona, and all over Florida this week.  Spring training is here and spring is nigh.  Check your local listings for time and station.  The first game I’’m interested in is February 26th.  The games don’’t count, but you have to watch or listen, because baseball causes warm weather, and the broadcasts help the warm work its way north.
  • The latest Easter Sunday can possibly be is April 25th.  This year, it’’s the 24th.  So you still have some time to renew your license and get your equipment in order before Easter-Bunny hunting season starts.
  • Thirty days have September, April, June and November.  All the rest have 31 except February which has 417 or in leap year, 418.
  • When people retire, resign, or otherwise leave certain categories of job, they often say they are doing so to spend more time with their families.  I have learned that spending more time with your family is overrated.  My wife told me it is.
  • Let’’s see, we have Lincoln’’s Birthday, Valentine’’s Day, Washington’’s Birthday (both of them) and President’s’ Day.  I’’d gladly give up one or more February holiday in exchange for one in August.  In fact, I’’d gladly give up February in exchange for pretty much nothing at all.
  • Google isn’’t omnipresent yet.  In the short while I’’ve been using the Chrome Internet browser, I’’ve found a handful of sites that are incompatible with it.

Things I Know

  • It was cold enough the other day that I found myself wishing there was something called “longer johns” which would, of course, be warmer than long johns.
  • Facebook keeps telling me that two of my friends in particular have used its friend finder to locate people they know on Facebook.  First, there’’s no way I’’m going to turn Facebook loose on everyone in my e-mail list and second, one of the two friends Facebook is touting as actively using friend finder is also actively dead.
  • I’’m teaching a class soon.  To that end, I would buy a package of 4 x 6 file cards for my notes.  However, my local office supply store, “Paper Fasteners,” sells 4 x 6 file cards five packages of 100 wrapped together in one package of 500 and I don’t think I’’ll use 500 file cards during the rest of my life.
  • If you do use file cards to keep your notes, number the cards in case you drop them.
  • No matter what baseball team you root for, pitchers and catchers take the field one day next week.
  • Mets Spring Training games televised on SNY this year will be broadcast in HD.  Unfortunately, this year’’s Mets will still be playing in them.
  • In case you’’ve ever wondered why there’s a South Oyster Bay Road in Syosset and Plainview New York, but no Oyster Bay Road or North Oyster Bay Road, here’s the answer.  Many, many years ago, what’’s now Jackson Avenue in Syosset was called Oyster Bay Road.  I don’’t know when it changed or who the road is now named after, but that’s my story, and I’’m sticking to it.

Things I Know

  • It’’s Super Bowl Sunday, so I have to remind you of the following; please don’’t tell your daughters that all men are interested in only one thing.  It isn’’t true!  A very few of us don’’t give a dam about football.
  • I installed the Google Chrome Internet browser.  It’’s a lot faster than Internet Explorer.  It’’s a little different too.  One of the differences is I have to remember the sign-ons for any web sites that had cookies in my other browser.
  • A lot of people think some of software features, and code that developers have patented are silly, and I do too.  One example:  what are called “favorites” in IE are “bookmarks” in Chrome and a couple of other browsers I’’ve used too.  I can deal with that.  But the bookmarks are in the upper right hand corner of the screen and I’’m having trouble adjusting to that.
  • BTW, I think calling the new browser “Chrome” is very misleading.  It is neither shiny nor yellow!
  • My wife has ordered five boxes of Girl Scout cookies.  They ought to last a day or two.
  • It was Conan O’’Brien who recommended that if the government of Egypt wants people to stay home, and not do anything, Egypt should turn the Internet back on.
  • I keep hearing about the Muslim Brotherhood in connection with the current unrest in Egypt.  For some reason, anything called a “brotherhood” sounds sinister to me, probably because I read the comic strip ““The Phantom”” as a kid and the Phantom was always beset by the Singh Brotherhood, which was a fictitious, evil crime syndicate.

Things I Know

  • If I had a life that resembled in any way the life that Charlie Sheen reportedly lives, I’’d like to live it for a long time, rather than all at once.

  • You never have to shovel a heat wave.

  • We’’ve had so much snow around here that I ran out of chocolate chips and couldn’’t bake homemade cookies during the latest storm.

  • Where I live, they start selling Girl Scout Cookies next week!

  • We’’re a little over two weeks to pitchers and catchers.

  • The Mets signed another sub .200 career hitter.

  • It was only a matter of time.  Someone turned up nude photos of Betty White.  About 70-years old!  The photos are about 70 years old; they aren’’t nude photos of Betty when she was 70 years old.  If you want to see them, they’’re all over the Internet.

Things I Know

  • Barrett-Jackson, the car auction company, sold a Pontiac ambulance from the early 1960’s at its Scottsdale AZ auction on Saturday for $120,000.  Why so much?  It’’s alleged to be the ambulance that carried President Kennedy’s body after he was assassinated.  Why so little?  The vehicle’’s provenance is disputed.  There’’s credible evidence it’’s not the same ambulance and that the real one was destroyed.  Someone, commenting on the website Jalopnik.com, discussing signs of wear on the paint wrote “petunia,” when they should have written “patina.”

  • Lying face-down on the floor doesn’’t give you cancer, so it’s prostate cancer, not prostrate cancer.  Even the spell checker in MS Word knows that, and I heard the error on TV last night.  Notwithstanding that, if you Google “prostrate” the first entry is about elevated PSA and all the ads relate to prostate cancer, not worshipful adoration.

  • In case I’’m too subtle for any of my readers, whenever I use the phrase, ““Our beloved mayor,”” in this blog I’’m being sarcastic.  If that changes, I’’ll let you know.

  • My recovery from shoulder surgery must be going great.  The surgeon just postponed my most recent follow-up visits for the second time. 

  • It wasn’’t intentional and I just noticed it today, but on December 17, in this blog, I used the words two, too and to in the same sentence.

Things I Know

  • Steve Jobs of Apple Inc. has had more than his share of talent, success, and medical problems.  He announced Monday that he’’s taking another medical leave, his third.  Mr. Jobs has a right to medical privacy, but he’s such an integral part of Apple’s success, I believe he should be as open as possible with his stockholders.

  • Fewer than four weeks to pitchers and catchers now.  If the Jets hadn’’t beaten the Patriots on Sunday, sports-talk radio could move on to discussing what star pitchers the Yankees should acquire in order to achieve their God-given entitlement to another World Series championship.

  • At this point, it doesn’’t look like there’s any real purpose to talking about the Mets’’ prospects for the 2011 season.  They do seem to be cornering the market on reclamation projects, but that’’s about it.

  • To answer my own question, we don’’t have two kinds of mini USB plugs.  One of them is called a micro USB plug.  Nevertheless, the only reason I can see for having both is to sell more cell-phone chargers and connecting cables.

  • Rep. Giffords, while still in the ICU, reportedly gave her husband a neck rub.  Please join me in praying that her recovery continues to be amazing and goes on to become complete.

  • Sometimes we learn things on TV that probably shouldn’’t be general knowledge.  I learned, for instance, that if you’’re going to shoot someone in the head, you have a better chance of killing them or causing devastating brain damage if you shoot from side to side rather than from the front or back.

  • When I wrote speeches for local government officials, I wrote short ones.  To my mind, almost all speeches by government officials (The Gettysburg Address is an exception) are too long.  That said, the only thing wrong with President Obama’’s speech in Tucson is that it was too long.  I did think the audience hooting and cheering to all elements in the program including the President’s speech was more appropriate to a pep rally than to a memorial service though.

  •  Clearly bad people as well as good people die too young, so while I like the song, Billy Joel was wrong about that.  Still, former Newsday columnist Ed Lowe died on Sunday at age 64 which was far too young.  And he went through medical hell before it died, including a massive stroke and liver cancer.  Many people loved Ed, respected him, considered him a great talent, or some combination of the three.  I didn’’t know him well enough to love him, but I fit comfortably into the other two categories.  The only thing I can think of that’’s good about what happened is hundreds, if not thousands of people took the time to let him know they fell into some or all of those three groups before he left us.

  • I have created a closed loop, and hope I can eventually extract myself from it.  Like everyone else on the planet, I have a gmail account.  Unlike many of them, I never used it.  So, in case anyone ever figured out my correct gmail address, and wanted or needed to contact me, I set it up to forward to an email account I do use.  Then, I bought a Droid phone.  For the uninitiated, Droid phones link most easily to gmail accounts.  So, I set up the other account to forward to my gmail address so I could see my email on my phone.  Now, I have to delete things constantly to stay on top of the two email accounts endlessly forwarding everything to each other.

  • I’’m looking for a reliable way to convert movies and TV shows to MP4 files so I can watch them on my new Droid X phone.  If anyone reading this has a good method, please feel free to let me know what it is.   If it’’s free or if the trial version is free, even better.

  • I’’m also looking for a better way to handle podcasts on the phone.  If I use the built-in music app, I have to use proprietary software to load the files, or re-sync the SD card.  Since I have four thousand songs on the phone, re-syncing takes a while.  If I use a file manager to play the podcasts, it calls up the music app to do it, but I can’’t then do something else (such as look at a map), and have the podcast keep playing. 

  • I’’ve had the fancy head unit in my truck since July, and still haven’’t figured out how to turn it entirely off without using the ignition key to do it.  I know it always has to draw a little power to preserve the memory.  I’’m talking about turning it off to the extent of no sound and no video.

  • I’’ve been leaning against a heating pad for two weeks, and my back still hurts.

Things I Know

  • Since I haven’t mentioned it before, in addition to previous copyright notices, this blog is copyrighted 2011 too.

  • You can thank me for the iPhone on Verizon.  I bought a Droid from them last week.

  • My new cell phone came with a Kindle app.  So I was looking around this morning for things I could download for free.  I started on Amazon.com, of course, because they sell Kindles.  So that’s how I came to know you can download the federal budget to your Kindle.  And, it’s free!  Manufacturer of sleeping pills will of course be devastated.

  • Brian Williams isn’t very funny on the NBC Nightly News, but on the late-night talk shows, he’s hysterical.

  • As long as I’m being a TV critic, I think Lester Holt’s on camera persona is as good as or better than anyone at NBC.

  • Stop the presses.  Bret Favre, the Vikings’ quarterback has announced his retirement.

  • For the fourth time! 

  • I would have thought an NFL quarterback has enough women hitting on him that he never has to hit on anyone, especially women who work with or for his team.

  • Even if you thought they were jokes, if nobody laughs, you explain them, and still, nobody laughs, then they weren’t jokes after all.

  • After January 6th, it’s appropriate to take down your Christmas decorations.  In fact, it’s recommended everywhere, and may be required in certain home-owners’ associations. 

  • February 13th is the day pitchers and catchers report to spring training this year.  March 31st is opening day.  So far this off season, the Mets haven’t done much to make me excited about either date.

Things I Know

  • My father was a police officer in New York City.  He hated being on duty in Times Square on New Year’s Eve so much that I never felt any desire to go to the big event.

  • In case you’’re planning to miss the weekend “Twilight Zone” marathon on SyFy channel starting Friday, let me remind you (or inform you) that it’’s a cookbook.

  • December is National Tie Month.  Of course it is; twenty percent of all ties are given as Christmas gifts.

  • I’’m not on the selection committee, but I believe the person who invented the brownie sundae deserves a Nobel Prize, even if they have to come up with a new category.

  • A slow news day and an impending snow storm are a powerful combination.  So are a slow news day and the aftermath of a big snow storm.

  • Attention dogs:  I’’m so sure I would hate dragging my bare belly through the snow that I’’ve never tried it.

  • While I was snowbound, I decided to bake chocolate chocolate chip cookies.  I found a recipe on the Internet.  It was a good decision.

  • I’’m pretty sure my son the lawyer is joking.  He said he wants to sue the TV show “”Dog Whisperer”” because the guy never whispers to the dogs.

Things I Know

  • I’’d praise Congress for finally passing medical aid for first responders at the World Trade Center after 9/11 except for that one little word:  finally.  You see, 9/11 happened nine years, three months and almost two weeks ago.  Now to be fair to Congress, it didn’’t become obvious for several months that working on the pile that once was the World Trade Center was making people really sick.  Also to be fair to Congress, the date on which the Zadroga bill passed was 3,389 days after 9/11!  Disgraceful!  Michael Daly, writing in today’s New York Daily News, called the US Senate, “Last responders.”  That pretty much sums it up. 

  • My son took me on the behind-the-scenes tour of Citi Field last Sunday.  It was a disappointment.  They wouldn’’t show us the Francisco Rodriguez Memorial Holding Cell.

  • On the Sunday before Christmas, Charles Osgood performed “The Christmas Song” on his excellent TV show, ““Sunday Morning.””  We already knew he had a beautiful speaking voice and now we know he can play the piano.  I deliberately chose “performed” rather than sang, because as talented as Mr. Osgood is, he can’’t sing.  Neither can I.

  • By the way, if you aren’’t Nat King Cole (and he’s dead so nobody is), from my point of view there’’s no use singing that song.  It’’s already been sung as well as it can possibly be sung by Mr. Cole.

  • Former radio personality Dick Summer has a blog and a podcast.  The other day, Dick thanked his wife for not making him grow up.  I knew I hadn’’t grown up, but it never occurred to me to thank my wife for not making me, or at least not trying to make me.  Dick’’s right; thanks honey.

  • I found out that the kind of sleepwear my wife likes is called a sleep shirt.  A night shirt is a little different.  She likes them in silk and I also found out that the only place I could locate that sells them is out of stock until next June.

  • Country music star Shania Twain is engaged to be married.  Her former husband left her for another woman and Shania just became engaged to that woman’’s ex-husband.  Now, that’’s what I call a country song!

  • Snooki and JWoww of ““Jersey Shore”” fame are reportedly looking to buy a house in E. Setauket.  Whew!  I don’’t live in E. Setauket.

  • The loose cushions you often see on couches and chairs are called throw pillows.  It’s a great name for them because when I sit on a couch or chair that has a throw pillow on it, I throw it someplace else, or at someone.

 

Things I Know

  • You would think that since I don’’t have a job I’’d be able to get my Christmas cards in the mail in plenty of time.  If today counts as plenty of time, you’’d be right.

  • A while back, I mentioned that only one recipe for sugar plums I found on the Internet contained plums.  CBS “Sunday Morning” had a story about Christmas pudding which many people (including my grandmother) call plum pudding.  I couldn’’t find a recipe for that which contained plums either, but I did find an explanation.  When plum pudding was invented, “plum” is what they called a raisin.

  • My grandmother’’s presentation of a flaming plum pudding was considered a highlight of Christmas dinner at her house.  Personally, I can’’t stand it.  But I hate fruitcake too, and to me, the two seem closely related.

  • We must really have a messy house.  Our son is visiting from California and he took it upon himself to clean off our kitchen table.

  • I saw my next door neighbor run outside in her pajamas to deal with her dog.  I would never do that; it’’s not a good look for me.

  • I know I’’d enjoy a big Lego set for Christmas.  That’’s why my contribution to the Marine Corps Toys For Tots program this year was a Lego set.  Not as big as I’d like to have or to contribute, but I can’t afford a set that big.

  • They say bacon makes anything better, but Papa John’’s is advertising “double bacon pizza” on TV, so maybe not.

  • This morning, I saw on TV a commercial offering me a $200 value for just $19.99 plus shipping and handling.  I thought to myself, either the shipping and handling is a bitch, or somebody’’s not telling the truth.

  • We went to a wake last night for a man who’s related to some of my relatives, but not to me.  This led to a discussion of what we’d like our own funerals to be like.  I said I’d like to be buried in a Chevrolet Aveo and on that Aveo, I want a sign.  The sign should say, “I was wrong; I would be caught dead in this thing.”

Things I Know

  • I hope that Elizabeth Smart is as together as she appeared to be when she faced the media after her kidnapper and rapist, Brian Mitchell, was convicted last week in Utah.

  • The approach of Christmas reminds me that choir is another English word that ought to be either spelled or pronounced differently. 

  • If I had invented the language, the word for syllable would be only one syllable long.

  • In this holiday season, you’’ve probably heard someone extol the benefits of either keeping Christ in Christmas, or putting the Christ back in Christmas.  There is some logic in my daughter’’s thought process.  Not a lot, because she is related to me.  Since both Christmas and Easter contain elements unrelated to divinity, my daughter thinks we should take the Christ out of Christmas and out of Easter and have a holiday devoted to Christ and nothing else.  No Christmas trees, no gifts, no Easter Bunnies or bonnets.  I suggested we have that holiday in August.  We need at least one holiday in August and we really don’’t need more than one in either November or February.

  • Nothing makes me appreciate 40-degree weather more than 15-degree weather.

  • You have to feel sorry for Howie Rose who does play by play for both the Islanders and the Mets.

  • Back in July, I wrote that I consider it unlikely that I’’ll ever drive on I-95 through Nebraska again.  I know I-95 doesn’’t go through Nebraska.  I meant I-80, but my fingers weren’’t thinking when I typed that.

  • I don’’t think I’’d like to be a taxidermist, because if I was and someone told me to stuff it, I’’d have to do it.

Things I Know

 

  • Run for your life!  The Weather Channel’’s disaster guy on the spot, Jim Cantore, is at LaGuardia Airport tonight.  That’’s uncomfortably close to where I live and I’’ve always found it prudent to be somewhere Mr. Cantore isn’’t if I want to avoid storm damage. 

  • If anyone who reads this blog celebrates the festival of lights, Happy Hanukkah.

  • I read that the anchors and weatherman on the CBS morning news are being replaced.  Sometimes it’’s been a quality show, but it’’s never been a ratings success.  In fact, what CBS should have done decades ago was to admit the program was a mistake and bring back Captain Kangaroo.  But the captain has passed away and his audience has grown up, so that won’’t fix it now either. 

  • My friend Richard (not Feder) of New Jersey (not Fort Lee) has come up with a new word and until he came up with it, I didn’’t realize how much it was needed in the English language.  The word is chocolack.  Of course, that means a lack of chocolate.  In order to make sure that never happens, we need a word for it and Richard has provided it.

  • I found a bunch of recipes for sugar plums on the Internet.  There’’s no agreement on exactly what goes into them except for one thing:  only one of the recipes contains plums.

  • I was driving behind a Nissan Maxima over the Thanksgiving weekend with the license plate Phakakta.  That isn’’t the right way to spell it, which may be why it made it through the censorship computer at the New York DMV.  Either that or they don’’t employ enough landsmen at the DMV to catch it.

  • On Black Friday morning (but at 7:30, not at 3 or 5 AM), I shopped at my local Staples and my local Home Depot.  Each of them was very crowded with employees who were apparently on hand to help all the customers who hadn’’t show up yet.

  • Attention Coach Sabin:  a great defense doesn’’t blow a 24-point lead.  It pains me to say it, of course, but congratulations to Auburn for winning THE GAME.  Today, the NCAA said it can’t prove that Cam Newton knew his father was shopping him around, so he can play in the SEC championship game.

  • It may have been a rerun, I don’’t know, but on Sunday’’s edition of “America’s Funniest Home Videos,”  host Tom Bergeron mentioned that it was the program’’s 21st season.  Frankly, I’’m astonished that there are enough uninjured crotches left in the United States to sustain another season of that show.

  • Freeport High School’’s Red Devils won the Long Island Class I Championship football game over the weekend.  Freeport’’s good, but come on, William Floyd.  No championship game should be decided by 28 points.

 

Things I Know

  • George Pataki was on MSNBC this morning.  It sure sounded like the kickoff of his presidential campaign.  The man hasn’’t been Governor of New York for four years, but he can still dance around a question with the best of them.  In my opinion Governor Pataki is not nearly conservative enough to win early Republican presidential primaries.

  • Mike Barnacle, TV commentator and newspaper columnist, asked today if you’’d rather be felt up or blown up.  Well, the answer is obvious, but still, when I was a kid, Mike, neither one was a choice at the airport.  So, civilization is in decline.

  • The last time I took an airplane, I wanted to buy something useless from Sky Mall.  The next time will probably be because I’’m very, very lonely.

  • At the American Music Awards, Justin Bieber said “We’re all here because of Michael Jackson.”  Uh, no, Justin.  You may be here because of Michael Jackson, but my kids are here because of the Flamingos and the Moonglows.  I can’’t ask my folks, both of whom are deceased, but I believe I’’m here because of Vaughn Monroe.

  • I am now three years older than my father ever was.

  • One of my adult children bought me a Rat Fink T-shirt for my birthday.  I love it.  But the only place I ever get any reaction when I wear it is California.

  • I spent a good part of today raking leaves in my back yard.  I bet that even though I’’ve done that, next summer my backyard will still be fungus central for my roses and lilacs.

  • One of my friends had a colonoscopy.  I know it’’s a bad pun and I love bad puns, but I couldn’’t bring myself to ask him how everything came out.

  • While on vacation, we saw the Eiffel Tower in Las Vegas.  We’’ve also seen the Eiffel Tower at King’s Dominion amusement park in Virginia.  I hear there’s one in Paris France too.  Maybe it’’s a franchise.

Things I Know

  • The Rockettes’ annual Christmas Spectacular at Radio City Music Hall begins today.  I guess that really kicks off the holiday season.

  • The Aston Martin DB5 from the James Bond movies sold at auction for $4 million.  You know, it’’s the one with the ejector seat and all the cool weapons.  Since I don’’t have $4 million, I’’m trying to figure out how to install missiles and machine guns on my 1991 Corolla. 

  • I took two long airplane trips in the last week.  I didn’’t want to go anywhere, but I had an overwhelming desire to buy something useless from Sky Mall.  Then I found out that Sky Mall has a website.

  • They have Mexican Coca Cola that’s made with sugar, not corn syrup.  I knew that.  My son says he’s had some and he prefers it.  I learned in Las Vegas at an Albertson’s supermarket that they also have Mexican Pepsi like that.  The bottles are shaped differently too.  I just didn’’t try it.

  • The day they allow people to chat on cell phones while the airliners are in the air will be the same day that cell-phone suppositories come into universal use.

  • It seems odd to me that there’’s at least one reality TV show that takes place in Las Vegas.

  • I’’m not going to give away the ending, but in the “Cirque Du Soleil Zumanity” show, they have a contortionist who can do pushups while on his back.  Just watching the guy made me think I’’d need another shoulder operation and I’’ve already had three.

  • Somebody needs a dictionary.  The top ten floors in the hotel where I stayed are labeled penthouses.

  • To be tourist friendly, the Las Vegas strip area could stand a few more street signs.  One thing I’’d like to know is which streets cross Las Vegas Blvd at street level and which ones go over or under it.  Another, is that all the properties should have their building address displayed.  I can find the casinos without building numbers.  It’’s locating stores, restaurants, etc. that’’s a problem.

  • The big, destination resort casinos on the Las Vegas strip have so many things, but I couldn’’t find one with an indoor pool.

Things I Know

  • I said two or three years ago after visiting Lake Placid NY that my travels would be more enjoyable if Ben & Jerry’’s was open for breakfast.  I haven’’t revisited Lake Placid since then, but at the Jet Blue Terminal at Kennedy Airport on Thursday, Ben & Jerry’’s was open for breakfast!  Haagen Dazs in the MGM Grand in Las Vegas isn’’t though.

  • President Obama visited Las Vegas again today (third time) to stump for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.  I suppose the President and his advisors know that there is early voting in Nevada, so some of the people he hopes to convince have already voted.

  • According to news reports this week, Osama Bin Laden is living in relative comfort in a house in Pakistan.  If we can’’t blow him up with a predator drone, we should at least get his bank to foreclose on his mortgage.

  • I’’m in Las Vegas where I walked through the New York New York casino today.  In the place, they have a food stand called “Stadium Snacks.”  Comparing the prices there with the prices at Citi Field and Yankee Stadium, I have to say the prices at Stadium Snacks are nowhere near high enough, and Stadium Snacks is the only place I’’ve found in Las Vegas I can say that about.

  • I don’’t patronize pawn shops, but the only one I’’ve ever seen a line outside is Gold and Silver Pawn Shop on Las Vegas Boulevard.  That’’s the one the TV show ““Pawn Stars”” is about.  We didn’’t stop, get on line and go in.

  • You can’’t argue with the sign on a souvenir stand that says, ““If It’’s In Stock, We Have It.””  However, before I’’d agree that the particular store is the world’s largest souvenir stand, as another of its signs claims, I’’d want to measure South of the Border.

  • The economy in Las Vegas is among the worst in the country.  New unemployment figures say it’s 15% in Vegas.  Starbucks seems to be doing just fine though.  I’’ve seen more than one Starbucks in more than one of the casinos I’ve visited so far.

  • I’’ve been in communities with smaller populations than some of the big Vegas hotel-casinos.  I’’ve been in lots of communities like that.

  • For Halloween, I don’’t recommend going out as Lady Gaga in a raw meat dress.  There are probably dogs in your neighborhood and that could get ugly.  If you’’re flying someplace, I don’’t recommend bringing that dress on the plane as carrion luggage either.

  • If there’’s one thing we’’ve learned from Ginny Thomas, wife of US Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas this week, it’’s don’’t leave a voice mail message if you don’’t want that message plastered all over the news.

  • Texas wins.  If San Francisco wins too, we may never get Channel 5 back on Cablevision, or the Fox station in Philadelphia either (I think that one is Channel 29).

Things I Know

  • After watching paid political announcements for the last couple of weeks, I have the impression that the Albany Insiders are some kind of professional sports team.

  • Fodor’s “Las Vegas 2010” travel guidebook informs us that there are some gambling resorts with pools where topless sunbathing is permitted.  The book explains that these pools have cover charges and that just struck me as funny.

  • At 3:00 AM recently, the HUB cable channel broadcast the pilot episode of the early 90’s TV show, “”The Wonder Years.””  I DVR’d it and just got around to watching it.  In fact, they’’ve started running the whole series.  What an outstanding show, from the first episode to the penultimate one.  In the last episode, they graduated from high school, she moved to Paris to study art and they never saw each other again.  In real life, I think one of them would have pursued the other, even if it meant Kevin went to Paris to surprise her and found her with someone else.  The show that seemed so real to me for so long would have seemed more real if, at the end, it blew up and didn’’t fizzle out. 

  • I understand that people like iPhones because of all the cool things they can do, but judging by the trouble I have hearing my friends with iPhones when they call me, they aren’’t that good at making clear and uninterrupted telephone calls.

  • I don’’t know that anyone is right in the current dispute between Cablevision and Fox TV that will deprive me of National League playoff action until I go out of town, but I hate missing the games and I hate it when Cablevision changes my preferences on my cable box from their end and without my permission too.

Things I Know

  • An announcer on the NLDS Cincinnati – Philadelphia series was talking about a player who had some treatment from a man who is a masseuse.  Good luck with that.  A masseuse is, by definition a woman.  A masseur is a man who provides massage therapy.

  • I hope Conan O’’Brien’’s new show on TBS is funnier than the promos they’’re running for it during the baseball playoffs.

  • I went to a retirement party at a catering hall last week.  Two of the tables had signs on them that said, “Reserved.”  I didn’’t sit there because it was a party and I wanted to be boisterous.

  • I’’m sad to report that a talented man I’’ve known almost forever, but not very well, has cancer and the type of cancer he has, liver cancer, is never good news. 

  • I don’’t like to go to public places that consider themselves so fancy they need a men’’s room attendant.  There are lots of things I’’m happy to pay someone else to do for me because I don’’t know how, it’’s too hard for me, or I don’’t have time.  Getting myself a paper towel doesn’’t fit in any of those categories.

Things I Know

  • Rick Lazio has backed out of the Conservative Party nomination for governor of New York.  It now appears that Carl Paladino will get the Conservative as well as the Republican line.  If that happens, I think the Conservative Party will get the fifty thousand votes it needs to survive.  There’’s always a chance, but Paladino still looks unlikely to wrestle the governorship from Andrew Cuomo.

  • Just so we’’re clear, I think selling two-dollar bills two for ten dollars plus shipping and handling is a great idea.  I also think buying two-dollar bills two for ten dollars plus shipping and handling is absolutely moronic!

  • A po’ boy sandwich at Citi Field costs $14.00.  I didn’t have one, so I don’’t know if that’’s delicious irony, or just plain old ordinary irony.

  • My shoulder is getting better.  I started physical therapy today.

  • I am not sure the surgeon really is a doctor.  He is very good at being on time for appointments in his office.  I had a 10 AM appointment recently.  When I got back into my car, the clock said 10:13.  Remarkable!  Plus, my next appointment is on a Wednesday and I thought all doctors were required to play golf on Wednesday.

  • Just for the sake of closure, Winnie Cooper did give birth to a healthy baby boy and she didn’t name him Kevin.

  • Upon watching ““Dancing With the Stars”” it occurred to me that most radio programmers would think a lot of the music on that show is too old to play on their radio stations.

  • The prospect of genetically engineered salmon must certainly lead to genetically engineered bagels too.

  • I’’ve read lots of personal ads, chiefly from women, saying they like long walks on the beach.  I’’ve also been to the beach, and there aren’’t as many people walking at the beach as you might think.

  • I paid extra money for extra legroom on a flight my wife and I’ll be taking soon and now I’m questioning whether I should have done that since neither one of us has any extra legs. 

Things I Know

  • Attention politicians:  in Tuesday’s primaries in New York, I’’m not going to vote for anyone whose campaign robocalls me this weekend, or Monday or Tuesday.  I know campaigns are exempt from the federal no-call statute, but if I went to the trouble of getting on the federal no-call list, it means unsolicited telephone sales calls annoy me.  And as soon as I realize I’’m receiving one of those annoyance calls, I hang up.

  • I found our wills and some other important papers that were missing and I told my wife she has to be much more careful about putting those papers at risk by doing things like letting me touch them.

  • A while back, I made reference to a man from Jensen Beach FL. charged with child pornography who claimed in his defense that his cat downloaded the images without his knowledge by walking across his computer keyboard.  To update, he gave up that ridiculous defense and pleaded no contest.  According to the report I read, he was sentenced to more than 12 years in prison.

  • The Orange County FL Sheriff’s office blew up a toy pony found near the Waterbridge Elementary School in the Orlando vicinity because the pony was deemed suspicious.  If you are aware of your surroundings, you probably saw the video.  It was a false alarm.  I’’d much rather have a false alarm than have a law enforcement officer injured or killed by a real explosive device.  Still, I would have been amused if the toy pony was stuffed with Trojan condoms.

Things I Know

  • Labor Day can only be one day later than it is this year.  People usually don’’t get interested in elections until after Labor Day.  The NY State primaries are a week from tomorrow.  With eight days to go, I predict very little interest in these primary elections.  Part of that is the calendar, part of it is the only interesting race for Democrats is the race for the Attorney General Nomination.  Part is the only statewide office Republicans seem to have any chance of capturing is Comptroller.

  • I couldn’’t believe it.  On the Friday before Labor Day and the TV show “Extra” was billboarding a story on what Jerry Lewis’’ next project is.  Next, they’ll be telling us the sky is blue and water is wet.

  • When I was young, lots and lots of people watched Jerry Lewis’’ Labor Day telethon and it wasn’’t the only telethon around.  Now, I find that hard to explain.  Jerry and his telethon have raised millions and millions of dollars for worthy causes, but the show is very inexpensively produced, full of mistakes since it’’s live (or at least large parts of it are), and I find it boring.

  • I think a woman tried to pick me up at the beach the other day.  Nobody tries very often, so I’’m not sure.  She came over and said she wanted to say hello because she came there often and saw me there frequently too.  It was my second time ever at that beach, but I didn’’t want to embarrass her, so I didn’’t tell her that.  I’’m both too heavy and too married for someone to pick me up easily though, so I spoke with her for a minute or two and then I left.

  • Nude beaches need, but don’’t have, editors.  I wasn’t at a nude beach, but that thought occurred to me because I was at a beach.

  • On a beautiful, sunny afternoon at the beach, I miss listening to Dan Ingram on the radio more than I do the rest of the time.

  • Talk about a guy being trapped.  They held a prayer vigil for those miners trapped in Chile and one of the trapped miners’ wives showed up.  So did his mistress.

  • My wife usually finds the things I lose.  But she lost my keys to one of our cars.  However, she didn’’t lose any points doing that, because she found them too.  They were in the tote bag she carried when we went to the hospital to get my shoulder fixed.  I drove there and she drove home which is why we had my keys as well as hers on that trip. 

Things I Know

  • Hurricane Earl is churning up the Atlantic.  Current projections say it will be within 150 miles of where I live by Friday of Labor Day Weekend.  So, I’’m implementing my patented hurricane survival strategy:  I’’ll watch the Weather Channel, find out where Jim Cantore is, and if he shows up anywhere near me, I’’ll go somewhere else.

  • Roger Clemens was once a great major league pitcher, a starting pitcher.  He was indicted Monday for allegedly lying to Congress.  So, depending on the outcome of his trial, he may soon be headed for the pen.  Not the bullpen, the penitentiary.

  • I’’m not big on August because football starts up, buying good fresh peaches becomes a chancy thing and cold weather is nigh.  But it is over 90 again, I can still nap in my hammock, I believe I’’m going to be a guest lecturer in college once school us under way, and there are fresh tomatoes in my back yard.  So, it’’s not all bad by any means.

  •  “The obvious solution to that is heated scrubs.”  Attention MS Word’s grammar checker:  “solution” is the subject of the previous sentence.  As used in the sentence and despite ending in the letter “s”, “scrubs” isn’’t really a plural noun anymore than “pants” is.  So this sentence is correct.  Leave me alone.

  • I used more pain pills after this operation than I did in 2003, but the pain pills I got this time weren’’t as strong and I stopped using them 48 hours after the operation.

  • In case there are any second graders reading my blog, here’’s a hint.  I don’’t know why this is, but the tooth fairy usually pays better at grandma’’s house than at home.

  • Anesthesia makes it harder for a patient to urinate.  Pain medicine makes it harder for a patient to defecate.  Still, I suppose exploding is a very rare side effect of rotator cuff surgery.

  • I saw a TV commercial for ITT Tech, a private, for-profit college.  In the commercial, the guy who is telling what’’s supposed to be his story and his family (they may be actors for all I know) were hand-washing a late model Ford Edge.  The Ford blue oval on the car was blurred out.  Once I noticed that, I didn’’t pay any attention to another thing the commercial said.  I spent my time wondering why the commercial’s producers would do that.

  • Based on the theory that where there’s smoke, there’s cannabis, it may be inevitable that one day one of the drug-filled purses that seem to surround Paris Hilton may actually belong to her.

Things I Know

  • The meek will inherit the earth and one won the Democratic nomination for US Senate in Florida too.

  • ‘I’m still having trouble typing after shoulder surgery.  I hope to expand and expound on that experience shortly.

  • They have heated hospital gowns now.  I approve.

  • I think we’’ve probably already had our last 90 degree day around here for this year.

  • Imagine how many chickens there are in this country if the FDA recalled half a billion eggs and there are still eggs available.

  • This year the Mets are different.  Instead of an end-of-season collapse, they collapsed right in the middle of the season.

  • I went to the Mets game against the Phillies a week ago Friday.  They won, but they had three players with sub-.200 batting averages in the lineup, so it was no surprise they scored only one run.  I went with a college alumni group.  I didn’’t know anyone there, but still had a nice time.

  • However, parking is $19 and the food I had (not a lot of food and I don’’t drink beer) cost more than the ticket. 

  • In the Mets team store, you can buy a toaster that puts the Mets logo on your breakfast toast.  Seems redundant; the Mets are already toast.

  • If you don’’t stop breathing when you are asleep and snoring, you may not want to tell the hospital you snore during pre-surgery screening.  Sleep apnea is a serious problem.  For one thing, it increases your risk of strokes, but my wife says I don’’t stop breathing.  I told the pre-surgical screening I snore.  They sent me for a sleep apnea test which also said I don’’t have it.

  • By the time I’’m old enough for Willard Scott to wish me a happy birthday on TV, Willard will be too old to do it.

Things I Know

 

  • I’’ve passed my pre-surgery screening, so I’’ll be having rotator cuff surgery on Thursday.  And no, I won’’t be pitching in the majors next season.  I don’’t have a screwball; I am one.

  • Steven Slater:  Admit it, if your job had an inflatable emergency exit slide, you’’d probably have used it with a lot less provocation than he allegedly had.  The problems I have with Mr. Slater are:  he could have had the offending passenger arrested, instead of having himself fired and arrested; and it’s looking more and more as if the story he told wasn’t true.

  • I’’m not an Obama supporter, but I don’’t care where the first family vacations.  I don’’t even care whether they pay any part of the cost of the trip themselves, since their part is so much less than the actual cost because of who they are.  It’’s impossible for any member of the first family to travel anywhere without extreme security.  They can’’t fly commercially.  Mrs. Obama’’s first-class tickets to Spain would probably have cost between $5,000 and $10,000.  The plane they used costs more than that to operate per hour.  If they pay what the trip would cost a private citizen, that’’s still a small portion of the cost.  And the President and his family aren’’t elitist, no matter what they do.  They are the president of the United States and his family; they are elite. 

  • Which leads me to the Boy Scouts at their National Jamboree who booed a video message the President provided to be played as they gathered.  They booed because past presidents have showed up in person.  And they were wrong to do it.  A Scout is courteous and Obama is the President.   On the other hand, before the criticism of the Scouts gets too severe, let’’s remember that none of them were as old as 18.

  • Christine Romer leaving Washington as head of the President’’s Council of Economic Advisors gives me a chance to rant about something I hate.  I have no objection to gender-neutral titles such as “Chairperson,” but to me, a “Chair” will always be a piece of furniture.  We already have way more ambiguity in the English language than anyone needs.  I particularly object to that example because I can’’t think of a terrible pun that makes it worth keeping.

  •  If I had to rely on the smell of the plant’’s leaves to decide whether to eat a plant’’s fruit, I would never eat a tomato.

  • It wouldn’’t occur to me to eat microwave popcorn either based on the way it smells while it’’s cooking.

  • If stupidity had more consequences, we’’d have less stupidity, or at least it would manifest itself less often.

  • And speaking of that, the person who was appointed in my place to one of the jobs I was qualified for and did do, called me recently to ask me a question about something he should know.  I answered his question.  In trying to drum up a conversation with me (something I was not all that interested in having), he asked me if I’’m bored.  I’’ve known about sensitivity training for some time; now I know there must also be insensitivity training.

  • It also seems to me that people who’ve had insensitivity training include those who want to build a mosque in a building that was hit by debris when those two planes were crashed into the World Trade Center in 2001.  I know they have the right, and that unpopular actions are the only ones that need defending, but they could easily build someplace a little farther away from ground zero.

  • Here’’s another phrase that belongs in popular use:  Dust Rabbits.  A commenter who styles him or herself as “S” on the website consumerist.com, says Dust Rabbits are more feral and less cute than dust bunnies.  The phrase does fill a need.

 

Things I Know

  • Sidney Harmon bought Newsweek for a dollar.  Not one copy of the magazine, the whole company.  I know you can get a back issue for $8.95 and I think the newsstand price for a single copy is $5.95, but no newsstand in my neighborhood carries it.  That sounds like a much better deal than it is because the magazine is hemorrhaging money and in the deal, Mr. Harmon assumes the magazine’s debts too.  But he’’s a billionaire, so he probably knows something I don’’t.

  • I read this morning that there are 667 thousand millionaires in the State of New York.  That certainly makes me feel like a loser. 

  • I couldn’’t believe it.  During Shark Week on the Discovery Channel, they had a show called ““Great White Shark:  Uncaged.””  At the beginning of the show, they actually had a warning on the screen, ““Do Not Try This At Home.””  Don’’t worry; I’’m not even going to try it in the ocean.

  • You folks aren’’t doing your part.  I’’ve been trying to introduce a new phrase into the English language.  I’’ve asked you to help spread it around and I still haven’’t heard anyone else use it yet.  You know what A.S.A.P. means, right?  I’’m still trying to replace it with M.S.T.P., much sooner than possible, and I need your help.

  • I learned from seeing a picture of Chelsea Clinton walking down the aisle with her father that she’s considerably taller than I thought she was.

  • Ed Lowe, a man I used to see frequently when I was a reporter and a man whose work I still admire believes that being crazy isn’’t a problem; it’’s a solution to a problem.

  • It disturbs me more than a little that if I say ““Snooki,”” you probably know who I’’m talking about.  It disturbs me even more that when I say “”Snooki,”” I know who I’’m talking about.

  • I’’ve never met the woman, but it appears to me that the shirt Snooki was wearing last Friday when she was arrested is redundant.

  • Things were going so well, but now I’’m regretting that I have a ticket to the Mets-Phillies game a week from Friday at Citi Field. 

  • Some of the things I write here are expressions of frustration, hence the name of the blog.  Sometimes I’’m talking about what interests me.  A lot of the time, I’’m trying to be funny.  Sometimes I’’m just trying to get what’’s on my mind off my chest.

Things I Know

  • Weather people have been talking about relief from the hot weather.  Excuse me.  I consider the summer heat to be relief from the cold weather and the heat is just fine with me.  I’’m not going to paint the south side of a house black when it’’s 95 degrees and sunny, but I like the heat.  I won’t begin complaining about the weather until late September or early October.

  • People are occasionally confused (and so is my spell checker) about the proper use of the words “it’’s” and “its.”  Here’’s something you don’’t have to be confused about:  “its’’” isn’’t a word.

  • August is National Peach Month.  I find that peculiar because the peaches I buy in the market near the end of August tend to be mealy and very unappetizing to me.

  • It’s also National Goat Cheese Month.  I don’’t have any opinion on that one.

  • I’’m reading a biography of George Armstrong Custer, but there’’s not a lot of suspense in it.  I’’m getting near the part where Custer encounters Sitting Bull and all of his colleagues, but I don’’t find myself wondering what’’s going to happen.

  • Here’’s another useless fact I’’ll never forget:  By the time of the Battle of the Little Big Horn, Custer was going bald and he no longer wore his hair down to his shoulders.  Regardless of what you’’ve seen in the movies, Custer’’s hair was very short when he was killed.

  • If you’’d like to sleep soundly throughout the night, a two hour nap at 8:30 PM is probably not your best course of action.

  • The sign of our country’’s shrinking vocabulary is in the window of a deli in Great Neck, NY.  It says, ““No loitering or hanging out.””

Things I Know

  • The people of Bell, California had every right to be outraged at last night’’s city council meeting over the enormous salaries that the city manager, police chief and part-time city council were being paid.  However, there would be no need for outrage if the people of Bell, California had been properly vigilant in the first place.

  • Tony Hayward is out as head of BP, by “mutual consent” according to the announcement.  We had mutual consent when I was on the radio too; the boss said, “”You’’re fired,”” and I said, ““If that’’s the way you feel about it, I don’’t want to work here anymore.””

  • I used to think I was obnoxious, but nobody ever paid me anywhere near $18 million to get lost.  Not only would I have gone away for much less, I have.

  • The Wall Street Journal reported a list of the executives who earned the most money in the decade.  However, since there was no year zero, the decade isn’’t over until December 31 of this year.

  • I just got an e-mail from a concert venue in Florida, Ruth Eckerd Hall, telling me how to log on to my account.  Okay.  I went to Ruth Eckerd Hall once for a concert and I had a good time; my wife enjoyed it too.  But it was years and years ago, maybe nine. 

  • My nose isn’’t itching enough today, so I’’m going for an MRI.  If they’’ll play the music I bring, I pick Gregorian chant.  It’’s calming and soothing and the lack of any strong beat counters the awful racket the machine makes.

  • The last time I went for an MRI on my shoulder, the tech told me to stop moving.  I told him I was just breathing and if I didn’’t need to breathe, I wouldn’’t need the MRI either.

  • When the Mets lost seven of nine on their disastrous, just concluded road trip, I thought perhaps they had been assimilated by the Borg.  But then they lost two more and now I’’m not so sure.

Things I Know

  • Archaeologists have discovered the remains of a previously unknown henge monument near Stonehenge in Great Britain.  They haven’’t decided what to call it yet.  I’’m looking forward to the day when archaeologists discover a henge monument featuring movable panels that control movement between the pillars.  That one, I want to be the first to suggest, should be named Doorhenge.

  • Speaking of henge monuments, I consider it unlikely that I’ll drive on I-95 through western Nebraska again, so I’m disappointed that I didn’t go to Carhenge which is about 30 minutes north of that highway, when I had the chance.  But when I was there, I forgot it was nearby.

  • The Today Show informed me today that if I travel to Santa Barbara California, I can sleep in a tent starting at $135 a night.  It’’s a very fancy tent indeed, but come on!  I own a tent that cost less than that.

  • I’’m fairly sick of people running for high public office by claiming they’re not politicians.  Carl Paladino in New York and Linda McMahon in Connecticut are the two most recent egregious examples in the area where I live.  If you are running for Governor or US Senator or any other high office, you are, by definition, a politician.  If you’’ve never been elected, you’’re not yet a successful politician and you may be an outsider, but you are a politician.  Since politicians must build consensus, by the way, being an outsider hardly ever gets things done.

  • Carl Paladino’’s radio commercials, as he seeks to become New York’s Governor, are running too close together on some stations I listen to.  I assume he’s buying run of station spots which allow the station to schedule the commercials at its convenience.  You can buy commercials that run at fixed times or within certain parameters, but run of station is cheaper.  The Paladino campaign has bought enough of them on some stations to really annoy at least me if not everybody who listens.

  • To the rude woman driving the maroon Nissan Altima with Maryland plates:  if you had let me off the Southern State Parkway, instead of blowing your horn and cutting me off, there would have been more room for you to drive on the Southern State Parkway.

  • I know nobody goes to Boy Scout Camp for the cuisine, but this year was especially ridiculous; I lost about five pounds in five days at camp.  I have every confidence I’’ll find them again.

  • If I hadn’’t seen them both written out, I’’d think Crepe Suzette and Crape Myrtle were either both food or both plants, depending on which one I heard of first.

  • I am in favor of a federal law to require reality TV shows to contain at least five percent reality.

  • I’’m also in favor of a law that requires stores to sell things at list price at least five percent of the time before they can advertise that item as being reduced from its regular price.

  • I’’m no anthropologist, but I imagine that in ancient cultures where virgin sacrifice was in vogue, it encouraged premarital sex.

Things I Know

  • I’’m now up to about five thousand hits a month on this blog which would amaze me except that about 20 percent are from a Russian search engine and I have no idea why that is.

  • I bought a fancy new radio for my plain new truck.  Well, it’’s a lot more than a radio, but it fits in the hole my old radio left in the dash.  It’’ll play music off a flash drive or an SD memory card.  But it takes about three minutes to load either one which is a major pain. 

  • Fortunately, I got it in time for my annual sojourn in Rhode Island.  There isn’’t a lot I like on the radio between here and Rhode Island.

  • I have about 2,700 songs on one 8GB thumb drive, but I don’’t think I can listen to all of them between here and Rhode Island unless I make 21 round-trips.

  • It’’ll play DVD’s too.  The box calls it a DVD AV receiver.  I’’ve also heard them referred to as “head units.”

Things I Know

    • This morning, the TV weather guy was talking about temperatures in the “low 100’s.”  Now, I like hot weather more than the next person, but there aren’’t any low 100’s.

    • Kendra Wilkinson, Hugh Hefner’’s former girlfriend, and reality TV star was on the Today show today.  She was so inarticulate she said “you know” twice in the same sentence.  So, I turned it off even though I don’’t know.

    • I’’ve confirmed something I’’ve suspected since I bought it a month ago:  it would be easier for me to wash out the bed of my pickup truck if I had a hill on which to do it.  I can, however, get the water out by putting the tailgate down, backing up fast and then jamming on the brakes.

  • I recently heard a college president on TV refer to something as “very unique.”  The only thing that is very unique is my pet peeve.  Very Unique is its name.  Unique doesn’’t mean rare; it means only.  With the lone exception of my pet peeve, there’s no such thing as very unique.

  • I just entered the Bulwer-Lytton writing contest, you know, the one for awful writing.  I figured I had at least a fighting chance.  But I received an acknowledgement from the contest for my e-mail entry.  The acknowledgement said, “Your submission has arrived and will receive the treatment it deserves.”  I was afraid of that.

Things I Know

  • According to today’’s Ft. Myers News-Press, July is National Hot Dog Month, National Ice Cream Month and National Blueberry Month.  Of course it is.  According to my research on the Internet, it’’s also National Beer Month.  As far as I can find out, there isn’’t any National Soda Month, but National Iced Tea Month is June.  Today is National Ice Cream Soda Day, but so is July 20th.  Two national days is pretty impressive, but I say give ice cream sodas a whole month too.

  • I miscalculated.  I thought I had been in 30 of our United States, but a recount reveals I’’ve been in 31.  I’’ve never driven in Texas, but I have been there three times.  If I was willing to drive a half hour or so out of my way to say I’’d been in a state, I could also have visited Michigan, Wisconsin and Mississippi and I would have been to Colorado seven years earlier than I actually got there.

  • I knew a guy who drove all the way across the United States on Interstate 80 and forgot he was ever in Indiana during the trip.  I understand, completely.

  • The FDA has announced that airline food can make you sick.  Your tax dollars at work!

  • If you would like a free transcript of the Sisyphus Project, it’’s already written down; just cut and paste it.  In doing so, however, please keep in mind that the Sisyphus Project is copyrighted 2008, 2009 and 2010.

Things I Know

  • Can’t be late for my nephew’s high school graduation tonight.  He’s the fifth kid through the line.

  • On the NPR program “”All Things Considered”” last week, New York Governor David Patterson said that on Planet Albany there is no gravity and light bends around the capital.  To digress; I think, but am not sure I got every word right, so I didn’’t put quotes around what I believe is an accurate quote.  We now return to the point I was trying to make.  Huh?  Albany is a strange place and New York State government and politics are even stranger, but if I remember what I learned in Physics, the fact that light bends around something is proof that there is gravity.

  • Here’’s a solution to the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico that’’s so obvious, I wonder if it’’s already been suggested.  If it has, the following just demonstrates that great minds think alike and so do I.  The separate shipping and handling is going to cost a lot, because we have to send Vince with them, but I propose we send a whole bunch of Sham Wows to Louisiana and send Vince along with them to show those people from BP how to use them to mop up spills.

  • Okay, I’’ve given you my solution to the Gulf oil spill.  Here’’s comedian Lewis Black’’s:  he thinks the United States of America should invade BP.

  • My wife gave me a shopping list and asked me to go to the local Pathmark Supermarket.  I did.  When I got home, she said she was surprised I was able to read one particular item on the list.  So was I.

  • One reason I say the weeds are winning the battle of the back yard is that I have two one-foot-high weeds growing through a crack in the floor inside my garage.  I know I have to mow the lawn or hire someone to do it, but I draw the line at mowing the garage!

  • It’’s going to be a bad year for my blueberry crop.  I neglected the bushes last year and this season, they’’re infested with scale.  I have a few blueberries ripening now, but the plan is oil spray, fertilizer and wait until next year.  Maybe I’’ll buy some more bushes too; I only have seven.

  • One thing that will help blueberries thrive is don’’t let newly planted bushes bear fruit the first year.  Another is water them enough.  If the bushes are stressed for moisture, they take it from the berries and you don’’t want to eat blueberry raisins.  They are surely among the sourest things on earth.

  • I’’m going to the doctor this week for my physical for summer camp, but when I show up in his office in a t-shirt, shorts and sandals, and say, ““Hi, I’’m here for my physical for summer camp,”” nobody laughs anymore.  I have to find a different doctor so I can return to getting a laugh when I use that old joke. 

  • I saw a young woman the other day who had small, triangular patches of sunburn near her shoulders.  I wondered what she could have worn that allowed her to get sunburned like that and then it hit me:  not odd clothing, uneven application of sunscreen. 

Things I Know

  • In the battle of my back yard, the weeds are winning.

  • The other day, I saw a woman wearing a U.S. Polo Association polo shirt.  This didn’’t surprise me; I didn’’t expect members of that association to wear t-shirts.

  • A court in Ohio says a business in Ohio can sue someone who doesn’’t live in Ohio over comments made on the Internet.  It could get pretty expensive for the Internet poster if he or she has to go to Ohio to defend him or herself, especially if they go to Ohio on Interstate 80 and drive a little above the speed limit once they get there.

  • I enjoy riding around in boats.  I’’ll go for a boat ride with almost anyone, as long as they don’’t make me fish.

  • I build some new trellises to grow tomatoes.  They look purposeful.  I’’ll let you know how well they work.

  • I don’t like to climb into the bed of my new pickup truck to reach things that slid toward the front while I was driving.  Therefore, I’’m carrying a rake around in the bed of the truck.  The rake rattles as it slides around in there, so I’’m looking for a better solution.

  • I’’m cleaning out my basement, a process which may take years.  In the process, I found my wife’’s driver’s license from 14 years ago.  I guess it was there because we didn’’t own a shredder then.  When you see someone every day, you don’’t notice changes very often, but she has changed quite a bit.  I’’ve probably changed a lot more than she has and not for the better.  I still love her and fortunately for me, she still loves me too.

  • In case you’’ve never thought about it, hormones are clearly much stronger than the human race’’s instinctive fear of cooties.

  • If you don’’t want to know the answer to a question, don’’t ask.  If you’’re holding a public hearing (say before Congress or some important body) the general rule about not asking doesn’’t hold.  For public hearings, don’’t ask unless you already know the answer to the question.

Things I Know

  • I’’d probably buy more cars if I didn’’t have to deal with car dealers while doing so.

  • The man who styles himself Doctor Beach has declared Cooper’s’ Beach in the Hamptons the best beach in the country with Siesta Beach off Sarasota FL coming in at #2.  I live on Long Island and on a summer holiday weekend, I believe it would take me less time to get to Siesta Beach than it would to get to Cooper’s’ Beach.

  • I live on Long Island and I’’ve been to Siesta Beach many, many times, but I’’ve never been to Cooper’’s Beach.  There’’s always a first time.

  • At some point, they should have put another east-west road on the south fork of Long Island.

  • I’’ve owned my cell phone for two years so it’’s out of contract and that means it’’s cheaper for me to get a new cell phone than it is to get another battery for the one I already have and the one I already have works just fine, except the battery won’t hold a  charge anymore.

  • To the teenage girls who camped out in Rockefeller Center since Wednesday to see Justin Bieber perform Friday on the Today Show, if you haven’’t showered or bathed in two days, he’’s probably not interested in you.

  • Slaughter and laughter are two more words that should either rhyme or be spelled differently.

Things I Know

  • I’’ve said before that the smartest thing I’ve done was marry my wife, but I have no idea what the second smartest thing I’’ve ever done is.  Over the weekend, one of my friends suggested that’s because I’’ve only done one smart thing.  She could be right!

  • There is no better indication of just how true Murphy’s law is than the way the NY Mets are playing; not just true, profound.

  • It must be painful to be a NY Met right now too, but at least they’re paid well for it.

  • Once called “Little Orphan Annie,” the newspaper comic strip “Annie” is being cancelled by its syndicator, Tribune Media Services, effective June 13th.  In Annie the strip, Annie the character is currently tied up and gagged in the trunk of a stolen car driven by a professional killer.  I hope they don’’t kill her off when the kill off the strip.  Tribune Media Services handles fewer than two dozen comic strips.  I hereby nominate three more for them to cancel:  “Brenda Starr,” “Dick Tracy;” and especially “Gasoline Alley.”

  • My daughter told me that Miracle Gro™ is just dehydrated Miracle Whip™ dyed green.  Sometimes I worry about the child, but it struck me as funny, so sometimes I worry about me too.

  • I appear to have been wrong about one thing at least.  I said I’’d probably blog more while I’’m temporarily retired, but it was nine days between the two posts before this one. 

  • Here are two things I’’ve learned about having a job:  jobs do give some structure to your life and maintaining the structure requires more effort if you don’’t have one; and it’’s easier to be lonely if you aren’’t working and those around you are.

  • Suggestion:  Let’’s change the name of one of the patrols in my Boy Scout Troop.  They are currently the Eagle Patrol, but I think the Wander-Off Patrol would be much more appropriate. 

  • I have so many wild onions in my back yard, I’’m thinking of giving my yard a name:  Vidalia Farms.  That was supposed to be a joke.  I’m aware that the wild onions that grow in people’s yards around here aren’’t edible while Vidalia onions are delicious.  I’’m also aware that Vidalia Farms™ was registered as a U.S. trademark earlier this year.

  • I used to think the slowest elevator in the world was in the old Nassau County Executive Building in Mineola NY.  I may be wrong.  Evidence gathered last weekend suggests it’’s the elevator in TGI Friday’s in Times Square in Manhattan.

  • I’’m suffering from adult onset.  Not adult onset diabetes, just adult onset.

  • They now make at least two MP3 players with an AM radio in them.  I bought the less expensive of the two; it came on Wednesday.  So far I like it except for two things:  it doesn’’t handle play lists and it doesn’’t let you play your music in random order.   It’’ll do, but it could be much better.  On the plus side, it has a much better radio than any device I’’ve ever owned that is that small.

Things I Know

  • Most terrorists know this or I wouldn’’t point it out:  you’’re supposed to steal the vehicle you use to make a car bomb.

  • The Feds are investigating Wall Street at least in part because of the way complicated and risky financial instruments known as derivatives have been traded.  Derivatives have caused troubles before.  Orange County California went into Chapter 9 bankruptcy in the mid 1990’s because of its treasurer’s trading in derivatives and the treasurer went to jail.

  • There are so many geese on Long Island I don’’t see how we can legitimately call them Canada Geese anymore.

  • It’’s “moot point,” not “mute point.”

  • There is a service area on the New Jersey Turnpike named after the poet Joyce Kilmer.  It’’s in East Brunswick Township.  That’s in case you didn’’t get my blog item entitled “Nash, Kilmer and Me.”

  • Somebody I know told me the other day that somebody we both know had “”terrible gas.”  I suggested that there is no other kind.

  • I am less inclined to buy a Ford Ranger pickup truck than I once was.   I’’ve determined that in the state where I live (semi-conscious state) the vanity license plate “LONE” and the vanity license plate “KEMOSABE” are both taken.

  • Manholes are round so utility workers can’’t drop manhole covers into them by accident and so vandals can’’t do it on purpose.

  • It’’s chipotle, not chipolte, and I heard a chef say it wrong on TV last week.

Things I Know

  • As I travel through life, I occasionally learn that someone I’ve known for a long or short time is a much better friend than I ever thought they were.  It’s one of life’s nicest feelings and I felt it again this morning.

  • I made a mistake posting this and it made it to the Internet as a blog item entitled “Things I Know” with nothing under it.  I often feel as if I don’t know anything and when I feel like that, I may be correct.  But I restored the body of the text.

  • Flowering trees sure brighten up the landscape at this time of year.  Since I don’’t suffer from hay fever, I’’m in a better position to enjoy them than many people.  Cherry trees, pear trees and the magnolias are welcomed signs of spring.  I’’d like a magnolia tree, but they grow so big I have no place to put one on my property.

  • If you’’re in the New York area and want to see something beautiful, I recommend the cherry trees at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden.  I haven’’t gone in years, but if I recall correctly, they’’re at their peak around Mother’’s Day, maybe a little earlier this year because April has been so warm.

  • I went to Long Island Radio and TV day recently at C.W. Post College.  Saw a few people I haven’’t seen in years.  I enjoyed it a lot.

  • My daughter thinks Toyota would have fewer problems with sticking accelerator pedals if they didn’’t pack them in cotton candy to protect them during shipping.  My daughter is a little strange.  She must get it from her mother.  God knows I’’m completely normal.

  • I didn’’t lose my job exactly.  I know where it is, but if I go there, I don’’t have a key anymore to get in, and someone else is doing it.

  • The New York Society Library claims President George Washington never returned two books he borrowed and, therefore, owes about $300,000 in past-due fines.  I know, and the library should know, that there’s a statute of limitations on uncollected debts.  If that statute of limitations hasn,’t changed since President Washington borrowed those books, then the statute of limitations expired before General Washington did.

  • When I was in the Army, they asked me if I wanted to volunteer to go airborne.  I told them I would never jump out of a perfectly good airplane.  I still feel that way.

Things I Know

  • As I was walking out of the deli near my house, they were watching ““Good Morning America”” which was airing a story on orthorexia.  I had to go look it up because I didn’’t think it could possibly be an obsession with eating Ortho lawn care products.  I was right.  It isn’’t.

  • I was at the Baseball Hall of Fame last week.  I like it so much I’’m a subscribing member.  I recommend it if you can find it.  Cooperstown, NY is a pretty place, but it’’s not very easy to get to.  A bunch of people were standing around a TV laughing at Abbot & Costello doing their ““Who’’s on First”” routine.  Anything is new if you haven’’t seen it before.

  • If the people who run the Baseball Hall of Fame really believed that Abner Doubleday invented baseball, he would have a plaque in the Hall and he doesn’’t.

  • I want to see the Cardiff Giant.  I don’’t know why.  I just do.  But I’’m being thwarted.  It’’s at the Farmers’ Museum in Cooperstown.  Until last Friday, I never got to Cooperstown early enough in the day to see both the Hall of Fame, and the Farmers’’ Museum.  I always opted for the Hall of Fame.   Last week, I got there early enough to do both, but the Farmers’’ Museum was closed for the winter, and not scheduled to reopen until tomorrow.

  • The show “”Ghost Hunters” on cable’s SyFy Channel would be interesting if they’’d find Zuul or Gozer or something, but right now I find it boring and don’’t understand why anyone watches.

  • I saw what’’s supposed to be a ghost once.  I didn’’t get close, but I did see it.  It was a red light bobbing along railroad tracks in North Carolina.  It’’s supposed to be the ghost of a guy named Joe who was on a caboose and lost his head in a train wreck in the 1800’s.  The light is supposed to be Joe looking for his head.

  • The Mets #2, 3 and 4 pitchers all have high ERA’s and losing records in Spring Training.  I root for them and I hope I’’m wrong, but I don’’t foresee good things for them this year.  The baseball season starts for real Sunday night in Boston.

  • Element #112 has been officially named Copernicium, after the famous astronomer.  When Tom Lehrer wrote his famous Elements song, there were only 102.  I think it’’s time for an update, but Tom’’s going to be 82 on April 9th and he doesn’t perform anymore, so I doubt that an update is forthcoming. 

Things I Know

  • 13 days to baseball games that count.  Call me a reactionary, but I believe the first game of the major-league baseball season ought to be played in Cincinnati, on green grass, In the middle of the day, and the middle of April.  I’’m also a realist, and so I believe that will never happen again.

  • MS Word’s spell checker doesn’t include the word Cincinnati.

  • On This date in 1991, we moved into our house. 

  • On TV recently, I saw a commercial for the Dogpedic dog bed which is made of memory foam and has, according to the spot, a “custom, non-slip bottom.”  I found myself wishing I had one of those–not the dog bed—, the custom, non-slip bottom.

  • Andrew Cuomo is running for Governor of New York; he just hasn’t said so yet.
  • If you develop a reputation for sarcasm, you can say almost anything.
  • I told my friend Richard (not Feder) from New Jersey (not Ft. Lee) that I’’m having trouble thinking of things to be frustrated about.  This blog is, after all, the Sisyphus Project and I need some frustration to complain about in order to continue writing.  He suggested that I’’ve already found a really big and inexhaustible source of frustration:  I root for the Mets.

  • Once in a great while, I see another driver do something so stupid near me that I pull over, stop my car, get out, and check to see if my car is still visible.  So far, it always has been, but you never know.

Things I Know

  • This is National Procrastination Week.  Somebody’’s doing their job; I didn’’t find out until late Wednesday night. 

  • The website of “one of the country’s leading public relations and communications firms” (according to the firm itself on that very website) advises us that its training in public speaking can help people with their annunciation.  It really is a successful PR firm, so apparently they rely too heavily on computerized spell checking.  As far as I know, they mean enunciation.  Also as far as I know, the angel Gabriel is heaven and earth’’s only specialist in annunciation.  This firm couldn’’t have done PR for Gabriel.  It hasn’t been in business long enough for that.

  • The apple tree in back of my aunt’’s house was easy and fun to climb.  The pear tree in my back yard isn’’t.  If I was a lot younger, it still wouldn’’t be.

  • According to Garrison Keillor, March is the month designed by God to show people who don’’t drink what a hangover is like.

  • According to Rush Limbaugh, “Everybody should love baseball.”  If everybody did love baseball, I’’d have a hard time getting a seat for the game.

  • This morning on the Joe Scarborough radio show, one of his guests was Rafraf Barrak, an Iraqi woman whose story is told in a new book, Saved By Her Enemy.  She worked as an Iraqi-English translator for NBC news.  Since she is a native of Iraq, I expected her to speak English with a pronounced accent, but she sounds like a native speaker of English.  She even used the word “like” excessively, as if she were born in the United States within the last thirty or forty years.  I haven’’t read it, but based on the interview, the book sounds interesting.

  • In the classic book “1984”, George Orwell predicted the end of privacy, through interactive cable TV, although that medium had not been invented when he wrote the book.  I’’m sure Cablevision and WABC TV both have valid points and invalid ones too in their battle over fees and rights, but it really gripes me that Cablevision has reset my cable boxes so when I turn on the TV, I get their diatribe against WABC TV, even though I don’’t want it.  I set the boxes again so they turn on to whatever channel I was watching when I turned them off.  We’ll see if that sticks.

  • I was watching the closing ceremonies for the Winter Olympics.  I don’’t know why.  They were boring.  All of a sudden, the ceremonies were interrupted by this new show called ““Marriage Refs.””  After only a few minutes, I realized I didn’’t have enough giblet gravy or cranberry sauce to continue watching that turkey.

Things I Know

  • Today is the second anniversary of the Sisyphus Project.  If I’’ve ever said anything profound here, I assure you it was unintentional.  I can’’t guarantee profundity will continue to be unintentional, but that’’s my intent for now.

  • I threw out the bagels that were left over from the weekend.  It’’s rumored that David killed Goliath with a two-day-old bagel.

  • If I didn’’t like doo wop music, I might never have learned that sympathy is a five syllable word.

  • Sometimes I’’m unable to listen to Prairie Home Companion on NPR on Saturday at dinner time.  When that happens, I can catch it later at night if I stream a public radio station farther west.

  • Loving someone a lot more or a lot less than they love you is a recipe for disaster.  At least it was the two times I cooked it up.

  • Both of my shoulders have been surgically repaired.  I should have bought the extended warranty.  One of the repairs lasted about a year and I think I loused the other one up on Friday when I slipped on the ice and grabbed on to a car in a futile attempt to keep from falling.

  • If you can afford to donate 2 million Canadian dollars to charity so you can have lunch with Warren Buffet, you probably won’t benefit from Mr. Buffett’s advice as much as someone who doesn’t have that kind of money would.

  • Heads up for the gullible.  Besides this one, I own two other domain names that end in .org.  Today, I received an offer to buy one of them as a .com name for “only” $99.  I’’m not going to, but out of curiosity, I checked on line to see if I could buy the domain name for less.  There were lots of places I could find it.  Only checked one and they wanted $8.95 for a year.   So if someone tries to sell you a domain name, look elsewhere to see if their offer a good deal.

Things I Know

  • Tiger Woods didn’’t hold a press conference today.  He issued a statement and made a short video or a short film or both.

  • A woman I know has a much better idea than Sally Field for fighting osteoporosis.  She makes her Bloody Mary and her Screwdriver using calcium-fortified juice.

  • Spring Training is good for two related reasons.  Baseball causes warm weather’ and you can’t have Spring Training without spring.

  • Pitchers and catchers reported this week.  In the Mets case, maybe only one pitcher.  Okay, two pitchers.  They have one fine starter and one fine closer too.

  • I claim to know the worst joke in the world, but I won’’t tell it unless someone tells me one almost as bad that I haven’’t heard before.  However, when I assert that I know the worst joke in the world, nobody who knows me has ever said anything meaning, “”You couldn’t possibly know the worst joke in the world.”  Some of my friends have asked me, “”What is it?”” though. 

  • This is what I know about economics.  I went to high school with someone who grew up to be a prominent economist.  That’s it. 

  • I’’m not buying a new lens for my new camera if the lens costs more than both of my cars are worth.  I probably will, however, buy a flash that costs twice as much as I made in a week when I got married.  I just did buy a star filter.  It’’s one of those things that causes rays to emanate from bright lights in a picture.  I want to use it to take pictures at night after a snow storm, so even though I hate winter, I hope it snows again.  If it doesn’’t, I’’ll go to a night baseball game this summer and take pictures of the stadium lights using the filter.

  • I learned yesterday that I know someone who is related to the president of a major league baseball team.  I’’m trying to figure out a way to capitalize on that.  My cousin met Peter O’’Malley once, but that doesn’’t help much because I wouldn’’t root for the Dodgers if you paid me, O’’Malley doesn’’t own the Dodgers anymore, and my cousin told Mr. O’’Malley he wasn’t a Dodger fan because they abandoned him in New York when he was a little kid.  Good for my cousin!

  • It’’s almost the end of winter and I came up with an idea for a wintertime business.  When it snows and the owner of a parking lot doesn’’t get it cleaned out, the lot gets icy and the ice is bumpy.  How about if we buy a Zamboni ™ and use it to smooth out the ice in parking lots for a fee?  As an aside, when the ice surfacing machines at the Winter Olympics broke down, they were widely reported as Zambonis™ but they weren’’t.  In fact, Zamboni™ came to the rescue.  It’’s not any ice resurfacing machine, it’s the leading brand of ice resurfacing machine and they didn’’t start out using them at the Olympics, but they switched to Zambonis™ when the machines they were using couldn’’t do the job.

Things I Know

  • Here’s another free marketing idea, this one for Apple Corp.  They should take up medical research with the goal of developing artificial human organs.  They should develop a device to allow blind people to see.  They can call it the iEye.

  • Thursday night, around 9:45, the phone rang and my wife answered.  The caller said she was calling long distance conducting an opinion survey.  My wife said, “Do you know it’s 9:45 at night?”  The caller replied, ““What kind of question is that?”  First, it wasn’t a rhetorical question, lady.  And second, we’re taking a survey too.  You don’t have to get snippy about it.

  • So they are trucking snow into Vancouver for the Winter Olympics.  Can this be a surprise?  I mean Vancouver is hardly the snow capital of Canada.

  • St. Vincent’s Hospital in Greenwich Village was once one of New York City’’s premier hospitals.  My mom graduated from its nursing school.  It’s sad to think St. Vincent’s may go out of business.

  • A car is approaching you at a right angle and that car does not have a stop sign at the intersection where you are stopped because you do have a stop sign.  Do not proceed and cause the other car to jam on its brakes and screech to a stop.  The other car has the right of way.

  • I thought I had a job interview this week, but unless I blew the guy away, that’s not what it turned out to be.  His staff didn’t tell him why I was there and didnt give him the resume I sent in.

  • The TV show “Lost” doesn’t stretch credulity.  It smashes credulity into itsy bitsy, teeny, tiny pieces.

  • If anyone thinks money will solve all their problems, I offer two examples to prove it’s not so.  Abraham Shakespeare was murdered after winning $30-million in the Florida state lottery.  And Cameron Douglas, whose father and grandfather are world-famous movie stars, was sentenced to 10 years in prison for drug dealing.

  • I don’t think money would give me a problem-free life.  But most of my current problems are money related, and it would be nice to try some new problems for a change.

  • The word “February” has two r’s in it.

Things I Know

  • An aide to former Presidential candidate John Edwards reports in his new book that Edwards made a sex video with his mistress.  I’’m not the least bit surprised, or the least bit interested.

  • John Smoltz was once a great pitcher, but he’’s past his prime.  Once, and for many years he was the ace of the Atlanta Braves.  He was released by the Red Sox last year and caught on with the Cardinals who didn’’t offer him a contract for this year.  At 43 years of age he’’s likely to be injury prone.  So he’’s a perfect candidate for the Mets.

  • Twenty days to pitchers and catchers.

  • Since Groundhog Day is Tuesday, I thought I’’d point out that the Groundhog always sees his shadow because of TV lights.

  •  If Conan O’’Brien and Jay Leno had been as funny over the past seven months as they have been over the past few weeks, this whole mess would not have happened. 

  • I couldn’’t imagine this would turn out right, but I do admire the guy’’s optimism.  A man from Ft. Myers had a pen pal named Theresa Jones.  She’’s 49 and was a prisoner at the Lowell Correctional Institution in Ocala, Fl.  Why was she in jail?  Escaping.  According to published reports, she had done three other sentences for stuff like cocaine and prostitution.  Anyway, she was released.  He was waiting for her.  They went to a hotel.  Maybe they were looking forward to multiple channels of HBO, but I’’m just speculating.  After being there a while, Theresa said she was going to his car to bring in some beer.   Time passed; he went to look for her.  No Theresa, no beer, no car.  She did bring the car back the next day.  By then she had acquired a crack pipe, some cocaine, and still no beer.  Also by then, the man had called the police.  They sent her back to jail and mercifully didn’’t release his name to the news media.

  • I thought “orientated” wasn’’t a word, but it is.  It means the same thing as oriented.  In fact, in Britain, “orientated” is the preferred usage.

  • Producers of the History Channel TV series ““Life After People”” don’’t think Twinkies will last forever, but  they quote unnamed experts as estimating they’’d be edible for at least 25 years.  However, they don’’t say “Twinkies.”  They call them “snack cakes.”

  • I’’m thinking of buying a different car.  Either a new one or a late-model used car.  But to do so, I’’d have to deal with someone who sells cars and that’’s a major turn off.  I’’m sure there are some fine, and honest people who sell cars, but enough of them are anything but to stain the entire business.

  • In case it’s not obvious, the Sisyphus Project is copyrighted 2010 too.

Things I Know

  • I would leave my job for much less than the $32.5 million NBC is reportedly paying Conan O’’Brien to go away.  In fact, I’’m sure I know at least three people who have left NBC for less than they’re paying Conan O’’Brien to go away.

  • Anyone who has watched the Tonight Show or the Jay Leno Show in 2010, especially the Tonight Show, now knows why radio and TV companies usually don’’t let you back on the air once they’’ve fired you, even if they have to continue to pay you for a while.

  • Some talking heads on the TV this morning threw Martha Coakley under more than one bus.

  • Those  political pundits who think either President Obama or the Democratic Party is dead after this week’s Senate election in Massachusetts should remember, a lot of political pundits thought the GOP was dead 15 months ago.

  • Many of the people who voted for Scott Brown did it because he isn’’t a Democrat, not because he is a Republican, so I’’m not sure the Senate election in Massachusetts marks a turnaround for the Republicans either.

  • So, I walked into an office supply store that’s named after some sort of paper fastener, intending to buy a copy of Turbo Tax.  Except the floor display was marked with the wrong price and all the boxes in the display were display boxes (empty).  There was a sign on the display that directed prospective customers to see a sales associate for help.  But there weren’’t any sales associates around.  So I walked out of the office supply store named after some sort of paper fastener without buying a copy of Turbo Tax.

  • Correction:  For many years, the major league baseball uniform player agreement opened Spring Training for pitchers and catchers on February 15.  Apparently that was changed when I wasn’t paying attention.  According to the MLB Network, the date this year is February 18.  So, 29 days to pitchers and catchers.

  • I don’’t wish the NY Jets anything bad, but I don’’t care at all about football.  Therefore, I hope it’’s over soon so I don’’t have to listen to football talk on the local sports radio stations and we can move on to something important, like baseball.

Things I Know

  • I don’’t want in any way to diminish the tragedy of the earthquakes in Haiti this week.  They are a natural disaster of the highest order.  My prayers go out to those killed and injured and to their loved ones.  I hope yours do too.  That said, Haiti is on an Island.  It shares the island with another country, the Dominican Republic.  Lots of Dominicans live in the area where I do.  If I were in charge of news coverage, I would mention that the earthquakes were felt in the Dominican Republic, but damage was minor and nobody was killed.  Also, if you want to be pedantic, and I know I always do, since Haiti is part an island and not an island unto itself, the earthquake happened in Haiti, not on Haiti.

  •  I own a Canon Pixma MP980 printer.  It works well except for two things:  it takes a long time to buffer a print job; and it uses more ink than I’’d like, a lot more.  It even uses colored ink when it prints black and white.  If you have one of these and it tells you that you’re running low on ink, you can buy some more, but don’’t replace any of the cartridges until the printer won’’t work anymore.  You get the low ink warning quite a while before you run out.

  • When it’’s appropriate to be a little silly, I often pronounce the “c” in the word scissors as a mild protest of the ridiculous ways some English words are spelled.  And in similar circumstances, I pronounce the first “x” in Xerox as an “x” rather than as a “z” too.

  • As I count down the days to baseball spring training, I know all the teams don’’t report on February 15th.  In fact I’’m aware some report on the 16th or 17th.  But February 15th is the first day teams can require pitchers and catchers to report and that’’s why I use it as the benckmark.

Things I Know

  • I saw a woman shopping in Macy’s today.  The lower half of her body was covered only by a pair of shiny, magenta tights.  She was wearing shoes, but no skirt, no tunic, no leg warmers, just the tights.  It was not a good look for her.  Come to think of it, I can’’t imagine it being a good look for anyone.

  • It turns out drunk walking is dangerous too.

  • I saw the public TV broadcast of the 2009 Kennedy Center Honors recently.  One of the honorees was jazz musician Dave Brubeck.  On the show, they over-played “”Take Five”” to such an extent that I thought if that’’s why they’re honoring him, they’’re a little late.  Great song, but it came out almost 50 years ago.

  • There’’s a commercial on the radio about an improved thermometer for taking a child’’s temperature.  In the commercial the little kid says something like, “Mom, I hate when you stick that pointy thing in my ear.”  And I find myself thinking, “You’re sure lucky you weren’t a kid when I was.”

  • At least they’’re consistent.  The same people who thought mistakenly that the twentieth century and the millennium ended at midnight on December 31, 1999 also thought the decade ended on Thursday night, December 31st. 2009.  They are wrong, of course, because there was no year zero.  However, I believe this is one of those situations where being right is no excuse. 

  • We made it through the holiday season without any Pfeffernusse.  Perhaps it’’s because I don’t know how to spell Pfeffernusse.  Neither, by the way, does MS Word’s spell checker.

  • Effective Monday, six weeks to pitchers and catchers.  Of course, the Mets need both, but that’’s neither here nor there.

  • I understand that Gasoline Alley was the first comic strip to allow its characters to age at a more or less natural pace, but Walt’’s one of the world’s oldest people now and Skeezix is pushing 90.  Phyllis died in 2004.  It’’s time to let someone else go.  Plus, there’s a crying need for new characters.  In my opinion the strip hasn’’t been reliably funny in many years.

  • In newspapers, comics have been shrinking to the point now where they’’re hard to read.  I’’ve taken to reading some of them on the Internet.  Even there, they’re too small.  But at least on the web, you can zoom in and make them big enough to understand.

Merriest Christmas?

My wife and I got engaged on Christmas Eve.  It wasn’t exactly a surprise.  I don’’t remember if she was with me when I picked out the ring (update–she says she wasn’t), but we did go looking at them together.  We had dated for four years at that time, since about halfway through her senior year in high school.  I sat her down in a chair in her parents’ living room, got down on one knee (I’’m very traditional and anyway, it’’s getting back up that’’s the trick) and presented the ring.  I’m so smart that in all the years before and since I’ve never tried to dissuade her from her silly idea that I’m someone special.

If you are very lucky and extremely observant, you may have seen someone as happy as that, but I guarantee you’’ve never seen anyone happier.

We went to midnight mass and, in church, she kept holding her hand out, catching the light with the diamond and watching it sparkle, —enthralled.  I watched her being happy, also enthralled. It was a good omen.  In my life, she’’s made most of the good stuff happen, and she’’s made most of the bad stuff bearable.

As long as I mentioned midnight mass, I heard on the news this morning that Pope Benedict XVI rescheduled the traditional midnight mass at St. Peter’s for 10:00 PM.  I know the Pope’s supposed to be infallible about some things, but I don’t believe that’s one of them.

Things I Know

  • I have 24 versions of “Silent Night” in my music collection.  That’’s not including the one in German.  I don’’t know how many versions of “The Christmas Song” I have in my collection because only Nat King Cole’’s version counts, as far as I’’m concerned.  Even Mel Torme, who wrote it, didn’’t sing it as well as Nat did.

  • The latest Brookstone catalog arrived at my house in today’s mail.  For just under $150 you can get a machine to wind your self-winding watch.  That’’s not something high on my letter to Santa.

  • You’’d think a nationwide chain of restaurants would have the same menu nationwide, but no, at least not Outback Steakhouses.  Where I live, they used to have a side dish of apples cooked with cinnamon and caramel.  They also had a desert called cinnamon oblivion which was that apple dish with vanilla ice cream and pecans.  They dropped both a few years ago.  But they still have the desert at the Outback on Howe Avenue in Sacramento CA.  So I got a dish of those apples when I was in Sacramento last week and I didn’t get any when I took my wife to the Outback nearest to our house this week.

  • Speaking of both restaurants and Sacramento, my family and I had a very nice lunch at McCormick & Schmick on the day my son officially became a lawyer.  The food was good.  The restaurant looked nice.  They gave us a large, curtained off booth and staff went out of their way to be nice to us.  I would go there again, but I chose it mostly by chance and because it was close to the courthouse.

  • To me, in order for it to be a hotel suite, it has to have at least two rooms (other than the bathroom) and each bedroom must be separated from the rest of the suite by a door.  This is a good arrangement if we’re traveling with either or both of our adult children.  It’’s also good if we’re by ourselves because I’’m an insomniac and if I can’’t sleep I like to get up so I won’’t disturb my wife.  Unfortunately, that’s not what most hotels mean when they call a place to sleep a suite these days.

  • If I bought the collision damage waiver when I rented a car, I’’d insist on getting my money’’s worth.  And then, I don’’t think they’’d want to sell it to me again.

  • When I rented a car in San Francisco recently, I reserved a “Toyota Camry or similar.”  They gave me an “Or Similar.”  In fact, I don’’t think I’ve ever gotten the advertised car that I reserved.  The “Or Similar” wasn’’t similar to the car I own though.  There’’s nothing sporty about it, but it has bucket seats and a floor shift.  There’’s nothing sporty about mine either and it has a column shift.  I had the rental just long enough that when I got back into mine, I reached for the non-existent floor shift.

  • I splurged and  bought myself that camera I wanted.  I got a good price, but it still cost about $700.  So far, I like it a lot.  It takes very good pictures.

Things I Know

  • It hasn’’t snowed in the Sacramento area in seven years.  However, people from Sacramento who want to see snow in the winter don’’t have to drive that far on Interstate 80 eastbound, to see more snow than anyone could reasonably want.  So, wall-to-wall, team coverage on Sacramento TV stations of snow flurries seems a little excessive to me.

  • The problem with the BCS college football championship is that the two best teams could be in one conference.  But Florida didn’’t make too much of an argument about that over the weekend, did they?

  • My son was admitted to practice law in California on Friday.  If you are me, the correct team won the SEC champion ship this weekend.  There is much correct with the world right now.

  • A cross-country trip in an airplane is surprisingly comfortable if the plane is one-third full.

  • The Sacramento CA History Museum has a small display about local Boy Scouts among its exhibits.  Within that exhibit, there’’s one Boy Scout patch from 1984.  I have at least one Boy Scout patch older than that on my red jacket and I didn’’t join Scouting until I was an adult.  I hate it when I have older stuff than they have in the museum and I’’m still using it.

  • Cops don’’t seem to like the word suspect anymore.  I don’’t know why.  But if you hear that the police investigating a crime want to question you as a “person of interest,” it means they think you probably did it.  Police in Washington State tracked down a person of interest in the murder of four other police officers.  They were alert enough that he didn’’t kill any more cops; they killed him.

  • Bob Sheppard isn’’t coming back to be Yankees public address announcer.  It’’s not a surprise really.  Mr. Sheppard is 99 years old and he started announcing at Yankee Stadium in 1951.  Mr. Sheppard spent his working life going to sporting events to earn a living, Giants football games in the winter and Yankees baseball games in the summer.  I hope he doesn’’t have to go to an office from 9 to 5, five days a week now that he’’s retired.