Saturday, June 21, 2008


I was quite surprised when the (non-cash) contents of the wallet I lost to a Barcelona pickpocket showed up in the mail a few months later, forwarded from the U.S. consulate there. But I'm flabbergasted that my wife's wallet (minus its cash), which she lost to a pickpocket in Granada a few days after I lost mine, has now also been returned, courtesy of the embassy in Madrid. Our visit to Spain was in May of 2006!

Channel Thirteen blames the computer

I recently got a membership expiration notice from Channel Thirteen, the main NYC public television station. I thought I had renewed recently, so I checked my records. I had renewed in February. I sent them a message and they replied that my February payment had been applied as an an "additional contribution" because their computer didn't recognize it as a renewal--it was too soon. My membership didn't expire until May.

This ticked me off for 2 reasons.
  • First, I can't imagine that I would have sent them anything in February if I hadn't gotten a membership renewal notice then. Are they deliberately sending these things out too soon, in the hope that some people will pay quickly, and then not remember that they had already paid when their membership really expires? I think this might be the case, because I checked my records for several years, and found that I have renewed my membership eight times since October 2002.

  • Second, I thought we had gotten past blaming things on computers a long time ago. People used to act as if computers were some independent, uncontrollable entity that they could not be responsible for. But I don't remember hearing that excuse for at least a decade. People now know that a computer only does what its owner programs it to do (or what the software its owner installs is programmed to do). It may be programmed incorrectly, but that is fault of the programmer or the people writing the specifications for the programmer--not the computer itself.

Semi-random thoughts

I really haven't felt like blogging much lately. I don't know why. And I haven't seen any good license plates in a while either.

● When my zillion year old electric drill started showing serious signs of wear (the teeth on the chuck were getting flat and it was slipping when I tried to tighten it) I bought a nice new Black and Decker cordless one. But it's really become semi-useless because of the battery. There's no way to tell how charged it is, and if you overcharge it, as I did with the original, it dies. But the charge doesn't last forever. Since I only use it occasionally, it's sometimes dead when I need it.

WQXR gets its newscasts from the New York Times, which owns the station. During the daytime they used to have someone in the Times newsroom do a brief report at the top of the hour, just reading a few sentences on a handful of the top stories. Recently, though, they have added audio clips from Times reporters, and once I heard them include a sentence or two of a speech by the President. It's a nice addition (well, maybe not having to hear Bush).

● I really wish the Clinton for President die-hards would get over their loss. I don't expect them to love Obama, but at least they could stop saying bad things about him.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Why am I not surprised?

John McCain graduated 894th in his class at the Naval Academy--out of 899.

Thanks to Paul Soglin's blog for this tidbit.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Living with coyotes XI

Rabies Warning Issued in Westchester after Coyote Attacks 2 Dogs

My week in review

Tuesday: attended a fundraiser for the Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund at the Ritz Bar.

Thursday: went to the New York Philharmonic's performance of Tosca in concert--excellent. This was preceded by a very nice (though noisy) dinner at Bar Boulud.

Friday: saw Sex and the City (great clothes, tolerable plot), followed by a nice Mexican dinner at Maz Mezcal.

Saturday: saw Indiana Jones and Kingdom of the Crystal Skull--fun.