Sunday, December 31, 2006
Saturday, December 30, 2006
Thursday, December 28, 2006
Tuesday, December 26, 2006
...in going to Christmas dinner at my wife's cousins' in Connecticut:
- It is very expensive to rent a car for Christmas...and almost all the rental locations in Manhattan are closed on Christmas day.
- They charge $4.95 extra to buy a $25 American Express gift card in the supermarket.
- It is possible to gain five pounds in a single day.
Saturday, December 23, 2006
- I was skinny until I was seven years old. Then I discovered food was good.
- I earned eleven merit badges when I was Boy Scout.
- I have never had a stitch in my body.
- The middle toe on my left foot is shorter than it should be.
- I hate peanut butter.
Thursday, December 21, 2006
Payton's death makes me sad, even beyond the loss of someone who helped me learn to like rock 'n' roll. He died of cancer at 63--just the same as my father. And it won't be that long before I'm 63. It's a bit scary, actually.
Tuesday, December 19, 2006
Monday, December 18, 2006
But I have had one concern about my new card. My credit limit was lower--only 71% of my Discover limit. This could be a problem: I have about 7.5 weeks' charges outstanding when I usually pay my bill (electronically, always in full), two business days before it's due. I knew I had been using it a lot lately, so I went online to check my balance. Sure enough, I had used up well over half my limit, and there were still two weeks to go before I had to pay my bill. It was probably OK, but I didn't want to take a chance on going over--so I figured I'd make a partial payment now.
Then I noticed a link on the screen: "Request a credit increase." I went there, and they asked only two things: What limit did I want, and what is my household income. I asked for a 50% increase (making it a bit higher than I had with Discover), and put in the income figure (actually, I had to go and check my tax return, and adjusted it to only include the money we'll be getting in the future--there were some large non-recurring items last year). Then I hit enter, and got a confirmation page. The figures were what I wanted, so I clicked the submit button.
I expected to get a message saying they'd consider it and let me know. Instead, they said my request was approved, and my new limit would be available for use within 15 minutes! Now that's good service.
Sunday, December 17, 2006
Saturday, December 16, 2006
India: Bear Mothers Boy, Killed by Villagers
Wisconsin: The Bear Facts: sparked by the unusual sighting of a lone bear cub in the city limits
North Carolina: Bear worries Stanly County residents
Friday, December 15, 2006
But I guess it's my own fault for blogging about it.
Wednesday, December 13, 2006
Tuesday, December 12, 2006
Of course, many people were outraged. A lot were angry at the rabbi, but he never asked for the trees to be taken down. All he wanted was that a menorah be added. Now the rabbi has agreed not to sue, and the trees will be returned. They will work on a real policy for next year.
I'm not exactly a big fan of religion, atheist that I am. But let's be sensible. Most Americans celebrate something this time of year. The courts have ruled that government has to be neutral when it comes to religion, not completely secular. It's not that difficult to put up seasonal decorations that recognize all religions, without violating the Constitution. I'm glad some people out in Seattle have decided to act reasonably.
Sunday, December 10, 2006
Saturday, December 09, 2006
Friday, December 08, 2006
Tuesday, December 05, 2006
Well now apparently there is a way to see what Clayelle looks like. She and some of the other WQXR announcers are going to be reading Dickens' A Christmas Carol at the Strand Bookstore on December 16.
I suggest getting there early if you want to get a seat.
Sunday, December 03, 2006
Florida: Bear puts schools on lockdown
Colorado: Bear burglarizes store, Bear suspected as purse snatcher
Tennessee: Bear caught in South Blount County to be relocated, Bear caught near Gatlinburg garbage collection center
Pennsylvania: Man vs. big bear: Both lose, Bear becomes more than nuisance
California: Bear Wandering In Neighborhood Tranquilized And Killed
Nevada: Biologist gives bear the bum's rush
Kashmir: Bear menace plagues villages
Arizona: Game and Fish officers kill bear, upset neighbors
Saturday, December 02, 2006
Physician: What can you tell me about this X-ray?
Student: It's a male pelvis with two fractures.
Physician: It's shaped like a male pelvis, but it's not.
Student: How can you tell?
Physician: The lack of a penis outline on the X-ray helps.
Emergency Room, University of Kansas Hospital
Kansas City, Kansas
Overheard by: Stifling the Laugh
via Overheard in the Office, Dec 1, 2006
Friday, December 01, 2006
Even worse, they transmit their diseases to the firms' customers. I try to avoid flying on Continental Airlines whenever possible, because of its Perfect Attendance Program. They trumpet it in their Annual Report. Among other incentives to come into work sick, Continental employees who have no absences are entered into a drawing for a Ford Explorer. Just what I don't want: to be sealed into an airplane with sick people. It's even worse that I might be getting my drinks and snacks from sick crew-members trying to win a car.
My mother flew Continental when she visited me in October. Four days later she had pneumonia, and died shortly after that. Did Continental kill my mother?
Thursday, November 30, 2006
• Bush, al-Maliki Agree Not to Divide Iraq
Some other people may have a say in this.
• Panel Reaches Deal on U.S.-Iraq Policy
A deal only among themselves. It will be politely ignored by Bush.
• Radiation Found on 2 Jets in Spy Probe
2 jets? This is getting worse and worse.
• 7M in U.S. Jails, on Probation or Parole
We're not going to solve the drug problem in this country just by locking everyone up.
• Preacher Arrested in Alleged Murder Plot
Doesn't the Ten Commandments have something to say about murder?
• Army Scammed Into Buying Golf Balls
Are people so stupid they think this kind of stuff won't be noticed eventually?
• Killer Whale Attacks Trainer at SeaWorld
So? It's a killer whale. The guy was lucky.
• Ford Says 38,000 Accepted Buyout Offers
That's an awful lot of people. I wonder where the ones who aren't retiring will find jobs, even with the education benefits.
Wednesday, November 29, 2006
MICHIGAN, N.D. (AP) - When Carmen Erickson dropped a deer with a single shot in a cattail slough south of here, he thought he'd downed a nice buck. Unlike his shot, he was a little off. The deer was a doe.
"It's got no male utilities," said Erickson, who lives in Minot. "It has teats ... it was pretty unusual."
Six hunting partners with Erickson witnessed the doe with a 4-by-4 rack.
"I'm sure this story will be around for 10 years," he said. "At least in our group."
Erickson notified the state Game and Fish Department and received a voice mail from a biologist who said these types of deer often are bucks whose testicles haven't descended or for some reason are castrated. Erickson said that is not the case with his deer, however.
"We couldn't find any male genitals on the deer," he said.
"We turned it over, and I got a lot of heat over that. Like I was supposed to know," Erickson joked.
Gary Rankin, district game warden in Larimore, said he has seen a couple of antlered does over the years, but for a doe to have a well-developed rack is unusual.
It is not the first antlered doe to be reported in the region this year. A conservation officer for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources reported seeing a 10-point antlered doe shot near Robbin, Minn., during that state's firearms deer season. DNR conservation officers in other parts of Minnesota also reported a handful of antlered does.
Erickson said the antlered doe is a first for his crew, which has been hunting together for 25 years.
"It definitely was a keeper, he said.
Monday, November 27, 2006
Sunday, November 26, 2006
Saturday, November 25, 2006
Friday, November 24, 2006
Paul's blog is left-leaning, well-written and rant-free, a combination I have come across all too seldom. I'm adding it to my "things-to-read" list.
How I stumbled upon it is a bit curious. Somebody did a search for "crossdress columbus ohio restaurant." Paul's blog was 49th on the list. Mine was down at 63rd.
Wednesday, November 22, 2006
Tuesday, November 21, 2006
Sunday, November 19, 2006
• At Least 112 Die in Attacks Across Iraq
It's a civil war. A lot more will die.
• Bush Opens Stock Exchange in Vietnam
and all of the stocks immediately went down.
• Kissinger: Iraq Military Win Impossible
I guess he learned something from Vietnam.
• House Democrat Wants Draft Reinstated
• British Police Probe Ex-Spy's Poisoning
Is this the synopsis of the next Mystery! show on PBS?
• More College Heads Earning $50G or More
That should be $500G.
• Mass. Governor Wants Gay Wedding Vote
People shouldn't be voting on human rights.
• 'Never-Ending Kiss' Caps TomKat Wedding
It's really sad people are so interested in this.
Saturday, November 18, 2006
Friday, November 17, 2006
I actually saw a raccoon in front of my apartment building here in Manhattan last year. Once it was in the tiny garden we have, and a day or two later it was up in a tree across the street. It must have come from Central Park--I have seen a couple of them there. I wonder how it managed to get across Fifth Avenue. Well, I suppose it could have waited for the light to change.
Wednesday, November 15, 2006
I've also been thinking a bit about what happened in Cleveland. My mom's funeral (Sunday) went well. My brother had arranged things with the funeral home just fine. Roughly 40-50 people were there, not including the 5 of us. A few came to express their condolences before the service--mainly those who would not be coming to the house afterwards. The rabbi did a rather good job of summing up her life, based solely on one conversation with my brother. The whole thing lasted maybe 20 minutes (the funeral home later sent over a CD with a recording of it, but I'm really not ready to listen to it again at this point). I cried a lot.
Then we drove over to the cemetery, maybe 10 minutes away. Interestingly, it's only three blocks from the house my mom grew up in. There was a brief ceremony in the mausoleum rotunda, or whatever it's called, with a recitation of the Kaddish. They didn't take the casket downstairs to the actual vault, because the elevator was out of order. The family did go down there afterwards, though. The double vault was covered by a little curtain. The cemetery had removed the marble cover and sent it out to have my mom's name added. We peeked inside, and saw my father's side covered with a piece of styrofoam, with his name scrawled on it. We laughed about that.
This was the first time I had been there since my father's funeral, nearly 25 years ago. I wonder if I'll ever be back--I know some people do like to visit their deceased relatives in the cemetery, but I'm not one of them. Maybe I got that from mom. The only time she went there was to attend funerals. She would stay afterwards to visit my dad and her parents, who are also buried there, but she never made a special trip.
After a few minutes there, we got back into the limousine and they took us home. We sat at the dining table and ate lunch. The rest of the afternoon, into the evening, we talked with the people who came to help us get through the mourning period. But it wasn't particularly somber. The Browns' game quietly played on the TV in the corner. (They actually won!) There was a lot of reminiscing about happy times with mom. A lot of people did express their surprise at the suddenness of her death--they all said things like, "I just saw her 4 weeks ago, and she was fine." But no one was surprised that she had refused medical treatment that might have given her body the time to fight off the infection. They knew how stubborn she was--and how much she did not want to be an invalid, dependent on other people, much less dependent on life support machines. She wanted no part of a breathing tube that might, or might not, be temporary.
Monday we just had visits from a couple who were unable to come to the funeral, and one repeater from Sunday. I took the time to gather a few old things of mine that I wanted to keep, including my high school yearbook and the stuffed bear that was given to me when I was born. It still growls when you turn it over, if only weakly.
Tuesday morning my siblings and I went out to the lawyer's office to set things up for handling the estate. I'm not the executor, so my direct role will be pretty small. I will have to wind up the trust from my father's estate, where I'm the trustee.
I think I'm in pretty good shape now about mom's death. But I wasn't as close to her as my siblings, or my sister-in-law for that matter. I talked to her every couple of weeks, and saw her for a few days two or three times a year. I always knew she was there for me, but she never wanted to intrude in my life--particularly after I got married. She spent more time with my sister and sister-in-law, both on the phone and in person. I know her death has really shaken them up. And as for my brother, he lived with her for the large part of his life, save for his 20's. Then for nearly 25 years it was just the two of them in the house. Now he'll be alone. I hope he'll be OK.
I'm very tired. Last night I didn't sleep much, for some reason, and I had to get up early to go and see the lawyer with my siblings. Tomorrow I'll start on the big pile of snail-mail.
Saturday, November 11, 2006
We keep busy. It helps.
Friday, November 10, 2006
Thursday, November 09, 2006
She went out her way, stubborn to the end. She wanted no tracheal tube, and when the heavy mask breathing assister became unbearable, she demanded it be taken off. The doctors said she might not last 24 hours without it, but she was quite clear in her decision, and we had to honor it. I called my siblings to tell them to come to NY as fast as possible.
A doctor did convince her to allow them to put the big mask thing on for 15 minutes, if things really got bad, and I think they did that about 9 pm, but it wasn't enough. Meanwhile my sister and sister-in-law arrived from Massachusetts. My wife and I took a little break, but they soon called us back to the hospital. My brother arrived from Cleveland in time for my mother's last few waking moments.
They made her as comfortable as possible, and she stopped breathing at 3a.m., with all her family around her.
Tuesday, November 07, 2006
The best part of the day, though, was when the physical therapist came. She got my mom to walk around the foot of the bed, from one side to the other. It was slow, aided by her cane, and it did exhaust her--she took a nap after her little trip. But it was so good to see her up and moving.
My mom can't take most of the food they give her. Breakfast is OK, cereal, banana and cottage cheese. But most of the rest just turns her off. She ordered cottage cheese for dinner once, and what came was a cottage cheese salad that was way too dry. She just ate some of the vegatables accompanying it. They do give her a nutritional supplement drink especially formulated for diabetics. She likes that, particularly when they chill it first.
Tonight though, we solved the dinner problem. I went out and bought her a container of cottage cheese. She ate part of that, with the fruit cocktail that came with her otherwise untouched meal. I also got her some pudding and jello cups, but she was too full. I'll bring them back tomorrow.
Sunday, November 05, 2006
I'll be going over to visit her in a little while--I just have to figure out how to get across the route of the NYC Marathon.
Sorry, guys, you won't find anything about kicking testicles here.
Saturday, November 04, 2006
At the moment, I don't know where she is exactly. Yesterday afternoon, they told her space in the pulmonary unit had opened up, and she could move down there if she wanted (and they might move her even if she didn't want it). Since her favorite nurse is off this weekend, she decided to transfer.
They said it could be as late as 7:30 that she would actually go. At 7:00 they said they were cleaning her new room. Then nothing. I asked and asked. I wanted to see where she would be, but at 11:00pm we were still waiting. I'm going to get on the phone now and try to find her.
Friday, November 03, 2006
The doctor said the IV anti-biotics would continue though the weekend, so my mom will definitely be in the hospital that long--not that I think she will be strong enough to leave for a while anyhow. They want her eating reasonably normally and walking before they will discharge her. Now she has no appetite, and only eats a fraction of her meals--though she says she does a good job on the cottage cheese and banana for breakfast. They gave her a unit of blood yesterday to help make up for this.
The biggest concern at this point is her heart. Her blood pressure is somewhat high, though the rate and oxygen levels are pretty good. It is the arhythmia that has been noted that has most of the doctors' attention. They said that fluid retention, as evidenced by the swelling of her feet and ankles, is not a large concern, unless it's in her lungs.
My meeting the NYCLA LGBT Issues Committee last night was postponed, so I didn't have to worry about that. My sister-in-law went back to Massachusetts, as she has to work today, but my sister is trying to arrange things so she can come down.
Thursday, November 02, 2006
Last night I was able to attend the board meeting of the LGBT Law Assn Foundation, of which I'm treasurer. I've got a meeting of the NY County Lawyers Assn LGBT Issues Committee this evening--I'll see if I'm able to go to that. My sister-in-law has to go back home this afternoon.
Wednesday, November 01, 2006
My sister-in-law got in. She's a much better care-giver than I am--she can anticipate my mom's needs much better, so she's proactive, whereas I'm mainly reactive. With her here I was able to take a little break yesterday evening for a small, late, Halloween observance (a weird "burlesque" show--which on Halloween at least is an excuse for young women to do a strip tease (more strip, less tease, for most of them), and pour fake blood on themselves). It was good to get out--I hadn't presented as a woman in over 2 weeks.
Tuesday, October 31, 2006
Meanwhile, my sister-in-law is coming in for a couple days. With her here I'll be able to spend a little less time in the hospital, and I think I'll be able to get out tonight for Halloween a bit.
Sunday, October 29, 2006
She's still very sick, of course, and there are side effects of her treatment that that have to be monitored and managed. But she seems to be going in the right direction--which is a relief for me.
Friday, October 27, 2006
They said she'd be in the hospital at least through the weekend. I'm guessing it'll be a bit longer than that.
Finally yesterday she was so bad I called my doctor, who advised a trip to the emergency room. The paramedics came, gave her oxygen and I think an injection of something, and she improved immediately. Then we all went to the hospital. It was the first time I ever rode in an ambulance--though they didn't use the siren except at one corner.
Anyhow, in the emergency room they checked her over, and over and over and over. A total of four exams by two residents (or whatever they're calling them these days), the attending physician, and my doctor, who came a bit later. All asked the same questions, and came up with the same diagnosis--some pneumonia in one lung. They eventually did a chest x-ray, though I never heard the results. They admitted her, and gave her anti-biotics.
The only problem is, they don't have any available beds. So she's stuck on a gurney in the aisle in the emergency room. She was sleeping on and off, even amid the noise. Hopefully in the morning they'll find a real place for her.
Altogether I spent about 7 hours at the hospital, mostly in the emergency room, except for a couple times when they shooed all the visitors out to the waiting area. There were all sorts of interesting things going on, in both places. But that will have wait for another post.
Get well fast, mom.
Thursday, October 26, 2006
Wednesday, October 25, 2006
Well, folks, guess what--if you think there's a problem with Congress, your representatives are probably part of the problem, too. And it seems to me that the largest group of these problem politicians are Republicans--the party seems to attract more than its share of influence peddlers, perjurers, and, er, guys with an unhealthy interest in Congressional pages.
But if you are still inclined to return a Republican to Washington, take a look at this list on my friend Betty's blog. See if your representative or senator is on it, and click to see what he or she has been up to. To be sure, not all of them have been accused of crimes--some are just servants of the wealthy, or just plain senile. Read all about it. Then, on election day, send someone else to Washington.
Tuesday, October 24, 2006
Well, maybe if they didn't return change in dollar coins people would use them more. Or if they sold useful items, like "additional ounce" stamps--currently 24¢. Instead it's usually books of 20 first class stamps--$7.80 at the current rate. Which means if you don't have exact change, or $8 in bills, you get the hated dollar coins back. If they sold books of 7, people could just put in $3, which I think a lot more people carry around--$5 bills seem to be used a lot less than tens and ones.
The post office is increasing its use of automated postal centers, though, which is a good thing. They take credit cards, as well as cash. It would help to have more of them. The last time I went to the post office, two people were monopolizing the single automated machine, with a huge stack of envelopes they were mailing out, apparently from where they worked. Each envelope had to be done separately, with the zipcode manually keyed in, and the requested services entered (there is no "same as previous" option, apparently). So I had to wait on the line (long, of course) to see a clerk.
The thing in this article that REALLY ANNOYS ME is that the postal service is reducing the number of free-standing blue mailboxes. They have done that a little in my neighborhood already. I used to have one right at my corner, but it's gone now--though there is another only a block away, so it's not a big deal. What is a big deal is that they have reduced the number of pickups from that box to one a day. If I don't get my mail in by 11:00 a.m., it will sit there to the next day. To me, this just tells me they don't care about giving us good service.
Monday, October 23, 2006
Thanks again, all.
Sunday, October 22, 2006
This is sad.
Saturday, October 21, 2006
All of the performances are good to excellent, Helen Mirren will certainly get an Oscar nomination for her title role, and Michael Sheen as Blair should garner one also.
Friday, October 20, 2006
Thursday, October 19, 2006
Tuesday, October 17, 2006
Sunday, October 15, 2006
Saturday, October 14, 2006
But he has not resigned his seat in the House of Representatives just yet, much to the embarrassment of the Republicans. The last thing they need is a walking, talking reminder of the moral bankruptcy of so many in their party. If they aren't taking extravagant "gifts" from lobbyists, they're sending sexually suggestive messages to teenaged Congressional pages--or covering up the sending of the messages.
White House Press Secretary Tony Snow said that Ney's crimes are "not a reflection of the Republican Party." Maybe they're not a reflection of the Republican Party--I'm pretty sure bribe-taking isn't an official plank in their platform. But it is a reflection of the Republicans--the fact is, their party does seem to attract an awful lot of miscreants.
More good times for the Democrats.
Thursday, October 12, 2006
Monday, October 09, 2006
Saturday and today we spent at The Holocaust Memorial. We didn't get to see more than a fraction, just the small but informative exhibit on the fraudulent Protocols of the Elders of Zion, and the beginning of the Permanent Exhibition. It might take twelve hours to fully view the latter, maybe more. In about 4½ hours over the two days we might have gotten through a third of it, it's so huge.
I'm not going to post a full review, even of the part I did see. I will say that it is extremely well done, going into just the right amount of detail in most areas. Here and there I came across some things that were new to me, for instance, how the Nazis defined what a Jew was. This was something they never had to really do until it became a crime for a non-Jew to marry or have sexual relations with a Jew.
There are some interesting artifacts on display. I certainly noticed a pair of early tabulating machines the Nazis used to process the data concerning people's race--early examples of a card punch and a card sorter. The logo of the manufacturer was quite evident: IBM--they were manufactured by its German subsidiary.
The Museum building itself is also remarkable. It's reminiscent of a prison and a factory--a lot of plain brick, metal, rivet-studded doors and baseboards, skylights. It is respectful of the subject matter, but not pretty. There was one other thing I thought was excellent--most of the people visiting the museum were not Jewish. Jews tend to know a lot about the holocaust, but others may not. Today when we arrived there was group of young men in uniform about to leave after their visit. Their speech confirmed what I surmised from their garb--they were German, perhaps cadets at the German version of West Point.
Eventually we'll go back to see the rest of it. It will probably take another two trips.
Sunday we went to the National Gallery to see Henri Rousseau: Jungles in Paris. This exhibition has only one more week to run. The enigmatic artist's work is extensively shown. But was he really as naive as many of his paintings, and his statements, would suggest? Or was this just his strategy to use his limited, self-taught technique to eke out a meager living? I don't think we'll ever really know. I do know that Rousseau's work is fascinating, not beautiful by any stretch, but haunting, emanating an air of mystery unlike any other artist's that I can think of.
Thursday, October 05, 2006
Wednesday, October 04, 2006
Tuesday, October 03, 2006
Thursday, September 28, 2006
Tuesday, September 26, 2006
WQXR general manager Tom Bartunek called Moss "slightly mischievous." That he is. He sometimes can get into a bit of a banter with the news announcers. It can only be for a few seconds at the beginning or the end of a newscast, but somehow he manages.
My favorite part of his mischief, though, is his wordplay. Puns are not beneath him. My favorite example was the day after Mother's Day, when he talked about Yo Yo's Ma, Anne-Sophie's Mutter, Ricardo's Muti, and Debussy's La Mer. I think there was one, maybe even two more that I can't remember.
I'll miss him.
Monday, September 25, 2006
Saturday, September 23, 2006
"Purging," where a CD throws out all of the crossdressing items, is very common, but almost always replacements are obtained, sooner or later. Some CDs do this time after time after futile time, but they always return to crossdressing.
Of course, now there is something here about "breaking crossdressing habit"--basically, forget about it.
Connecticut: Black bear spotted on Sugarloaf Drive Monday
Japan: Rampaging bear attacks schoolboy
Pennsylvania: Black bear mauls pit bull
Florida: Altamonte Resident Finds Bear Close To Home
Friday, September 22, 2006
Thursday, September 21, 2006
Tuesday, September 19, 2006
Now someone should be telling me to stop blogging and go to bed.
Monday, September 18, 2006
Sunday, September 17, 2006
Canada: Bear Sightings and Break And Enters, Bear empties fridge in home
Kentucky: Bear Put Down After Approaching Person At Apartment Complex
Wisconsin: Waupaca, Waushara Co. bear sightings increase
North Carolina: Another Bear Sighting Reported In Greensboro
Arizona: Bear makes for quite an afternoon in Sierra Vista
Saturday, September 16, 2006
Friday, September 15, 2006
I love to see these former high officials heading off to jail--especially when they're Republicans.
Wednesday, September 13, 2006
But recently I discovered (ha ha) that the American Express Blue Cash card has a better rebate program: 1.5% above $6,500 in annual purchases. They also have 5% rebates, though no gift card program. Still, at my level of credit card usage, I should do better with the Amex card.
The Discover 5% rebates are limited: only at certain merchants, up to certain amounts, during certain times of the year, and they make you sign up for it each time--the whole thing is too much to keep track of. Amex gives 5% for all supermarket, gas station and drug store purchases, all the time, no limits, no signups, once you pass the $6,500 mark.
Discover's gift card program is not terribly useful. The number of merchants that offer double have dwindled to a handful of places I don't particularly want to shop at (it was great when Borders offered double). Most now just give a 25% bonus, so it's like getting a 1.25% rebate. And it's also just a hassle--you have to order them, and remember to take them to the store. It can be a pocketful, as most only come in $25 denominations.
There are a couple other reasons why I want to switch to Amex. The Discover card still isn't accepted at as many places as American Express. So my rebates will be higher for that reason alone. Finally, I am sick and tired of the huge number of calls I get from the Discover fraud prevention department. I have gotten so many messages from them on my answering machine that I have their number on my speed dial. If they were calling about unusual activity on my card, or about large purchases, I would understand it. In fact, I would welcome it--who wants their account to be used fraudulently? But that's seldom what prompts these calls. Most of them are about small, normal purchases at places I use the card all the time. Apparently the algorithm for generating these calls is largely based on the frequency of use. The more you use the card, the more calls you get. I wonder what the Discover marketing department would have to say about that.
So it's goodbye Discover, hello Blue Cash. Coincidentally, I am switching my brokerage accounts from Morgan Stanley to Merrill Lynch, because my stock broker is switching. Morgan Stanley owns the Discover Card. They're losing me as a customer twice.
Tuesday, September 12, 2006
Monday, September 11, 2006
In the first one, 1992 I think, I marched down 67 flights of a dark, smokey stairwell from my office in 2 World Trade. Fortunately I had a little flashlight in my briefcase.
On 9/11, though, I had a different job, and I was working across the street from 7 World Trade. I don't need any memorials, let alone bogus docu-dramas, to remind me of what happened. What I saw was too horrible to forget.
Personally, I fared pretty well, though. We were evacuated between the two towers coming down, and I wasn't caught in either dust cloud. Despite having worked in the Trade Center until 1998, I didn't know anyone who was killed there. My old company got just about everyone out safely, and all the rest of the people I knew who worked in the Trade Center also got out. Afterwards I got to work from home for a few weeks (which I liked), and then in a temporary office in midtown for several months more. Eventually my company returned downtown, to the same building. It was always weird going down there, with the towers gone and so many businesses closed.
A recent poll found that a majority of Americans thought 9/11 was more significant to the country than Pearl Harbor--which means a majority of Americans know little of history. As the article pointed out, there was a generation gap here--voters 18-34 were the most ignorant. But I guess it's understandable--people want to think what they are going through is the most important time in history. But heightened security for air travel, and for getting into buildings, is nothing compared to what happened after Pearl Harbor. The "War on Terror," as the Bushites like to call it, will never have more than a tiny percentage of the casualties of World War II--even if you include Bush's War of the Saddam Obsession. We don't even have a draft now, let alone the rationing of meat, gasoline, and I think sugar, that Americans experienced then.
But getting back to today, I'll be avoiding all the memorial TV shows, movies, newspaper and internet articles. I don't need them to remember--as much as I would like to forget.
Sunday, September 10, 2006
Friday, September 08, 2006
Thursday, September 07, 2006
I know I'll be on the Association board because I'm one of the 11 people running for the 11 positions on it.
One of the more interesting facets of this election is that the bylaws require there to be a minimum of three men and three women on the board. Both minimums were met this time without counting me. But I wonder how I'd be classified.
Tuesday, September 05, 2006
Monday, September 04, 2006
A while ago Agassi announced the Open would be his last tournament. When the draw was announced people saw that he could meet Andy Roddick in the fourth round, and were looking forward to the confrontation. But his aching back prevented that, despite a cortisone shot and three anti-inflammatory injections over the last few days.
Frankly, I never liked Agassi, and I won't miss seeing him on the tour. I certainly won't miss his blowing kisses to the stands after every match--a particularly annoying bit of pandering to the crowd as far as I'm concerned. He may have gone from the young "image is everything" rebel to the elder statesman of tennis (or at least of men's tennis), but he always seemed to me to be nothing more than a one-dimensional tennis machine. Well, maybe he expanded to one and half dimensions after he became a father.
Basically, I always thought he was a little dumb, and certainly uneducated. He did manage to get a high school diploma, after years of correspondence courses. Lack of formal education is not unusual on the tennis circuit, especially among the top players, but some manage to compensate for that by being smart--smart enough read and educate themselves a bit. I never noticed any of that with Agassi.
His committment to playing Davis Cup waned over the years--he played all of one Cup match after 2000. This made me like him even less.
In anticipation of his looming retirement, Sports Illustrated ran a long piece on him in July. It basically just confirmed what I already thought. Agassi is an overly-competitive, impulsive, rather self-centered guy. One may say that this is common among top athletes, and maybe it is, but it's not necessary--I can think of plenty who aren't that way.
Andre Agassi is someone I'd probably hate to spend any time with. That's my test of whether I'm going to be a fan of any particular athlete. Agassi gets an F in my grade book in that subject.
Sunday, September 03, 2006
Saturday, September 02, 2006
Friday, September 01, 2006
Canada: Bear Sightings In Downtown Area, Bear reports keep coming in here
New York: Bear saunters in to check out Fishkill road
Massachusetts: The bear facts
New Mexico: Mama bear, three cubs crash birthday party in park
Thursday, August 31, 2006
Wednesday, August 30, 2006
Monday, August 28, 2006
Sunday, August 27, 2006
Now someone has reached my blog searching for mary carillo lesbian. Oy.
No, Mary is not lesbian either. She's married to a man. End of that story also.