Sunday, February 28, 2010

No time

In this world there are winners and losers which we were confronted with for two weeks during the Vancouver Olympics but in reality is something we all deal with on a day-to-day basis. Some people when they show up at an emergency room knowing it will likely bankrupt them, other's when their jobs are shipped overseas and some of us when we go running and sustain an injury.
There are many aches and pains for a runner including twisted ankles, stubbed toes, pulled hamstrings and chafing. I thought I have faced them all but yesterday I sustained the kind of injury which would keep from ever wanting to participate in the sport again. This injury is the equivalent of a down-hill skier, a running back or high-jumper blowing out their ACL. You know when you are playing a sport you have to trust your knee or legs or arms will hold up because we all know the athlete has a very fragile confidence.
We'll I suffered the equivalent yesterday when during an easy Saturday Morning run I was stung by an injury worse than an ACL or a torn rotator cuff:. Don't ask how, why or when because I don't know but I do know that when I took my running shorts off my boxers looked like I had just gone through a menstrual cycle.
Apparently I chafed a cut into the head of my winkie. I'm not talking a gash but imagine a paper-cut on your stuff. thought the fact that my sword is kept in its sheath would have helped and maybe it could have been worse but let me tell you if you didn't know already..MLIA
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Saturday, February 27, 2010

Some people are taking this no-booze TOR rant a little bit too literally

I'm all for the Olympic competition even if 3/4 of the events seem like they have been invented by the Olympic committee to fill airtime but when I hear the criticism that the Canadian women's Hockey Team got after winning gold earlier this week, I get sick.    The criticism came first from the media and then the IOC and centered around the Canadian women, many of whom are 18 to 22 years old having to elaborate a celebration.  These amateur teenage and college-aged kids were criticized for being.....teenage amateurs.   The big to-do revolved around them for posing with a bottle of champagne at center-ice or riding the Zamboni with a beer in hand after capturing gold.  The heat from the media got so intense that the Canadian Olympic committee had to make some kind of lame apology because there were those who found their celebratory acts not within the Olympic spirit.
First of all what kind of testosterone-limited sucker are you when you start complaining about a bunch of hot-CoEd's boozing but you have to allow the athlete to soak in the moment even if it means that they may be soaked in alcohol.    See unlike their male-counterparts, these women are NOT professionals and for most of them this will be the culmination in their careers since there aren't exactly lucrative contracts and mainstream women's hockey leagues vying for their services. .
Other athletes have been criticized the same things in these olympics including a US Snowboarder who was pictured with a woman who was kissing his bronze metal.    How ludicrous is this media who begs the athletes for their stories but then buries personalities, if you can't let a kid whose worked her entire life enjoy the moment we should all pack up and move to Burma
 We live in a hyper-sensitive world if we get bent-out of shape when a 20 year old kid gets drunk and does something every-one of us was doing at 20.    This is why this 24 news cycle has to go, we gotta get out of the bedrooms, board-rooms, and restrooms of everybody.    This is why our athletes come across as Robotic in public (Jeter, Tiger, Kobe) because they know that their image is everything and when their transgressions hit the main-stream they know that the feeding frenzy will be like throwing a piece of Fillet Mignon into a shark-pool.
The best thing about the olympics is the triumphs and defeats even if the events are kooky.   The worst thing are the 50 year old fuddy-duddy's bitching and moaning about it.
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Friday, February 26, 2010

What the hell are up with these ridiculously obscure WinterOlympic Sports.

I get the speed skating thing, I get figure skating, slalom skiing and hockey but the Ski aerials???

How the he'll do they know that they have the best in the world competing at an event that 95% of the world has never even heard of? I get that in any-sport there is a huge level of luck and in many cases money for coaches, lessons, travel etc needed to compete to become a world class athlete but at least in the Summer Games the events are mostly ones that anybody has at least tried as a child.

I was afforded the opportunity to try most everything a little kid wanted to try. I played baseball (badly), I played football (badly), I tried out for Basketball, acted in the Theater, ran track, played the Tuba but spent most of my teenage years devoted to my Rock & Roll band and co-editing a fanzine. I would say that I had little to no talent in most endeavors but the opportunities were afforded me.
What I never got to try was skiing down a hill and shooting a rifle at a target or doing thirty flips in the air after a ski-jump or pushing a large stone across a pond of ice to try to shuffle-board it as close to a large circle as possible. Not only did I not try them, I don't live in a cold enough place that I could even reasonably be expected to train at them.

If I was never afforded the chance to do this stuff, how do I know that I could not have been an olympic caliber athlete at that exact sport (chances are I wouldn't be as my mother pointed out) but whose to say that Alex Rodriguez or Kobe Bryant couldn't have competed in the bobsled? The only reason he isn't because where the hell was he going to find a place to even learn this thing?

Look at the ski-jump, please tell me where somebody could even start to learn this thing which I am sure you have to start practicing when you are 5 years old.

Any sport where you need to have a dedicated 2 mile track is not one which can honestly be considered a World Champion event to find the best in the world as you can only come up with a trophy to award to the best at the sport. You are competing against such a small percentage of the world that calling somebody a world champion in the Biathalon is doing a disservice to the winner of the Olympic gold in the 100 meter dash.
The athletes we see may very well be the best of who play these winter events but I have to imagine the total amount of people who have even heard of (let alone tried) the Nordic Combine event is surely less than the amount of people running the loop in Central Park on any given Sunday in NYC alone.

So congratulations to the winners of the Biathalon, Nordic Combine and the Ski Jump you have beaten all comers and you can go back to your lives of anonymity.

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Thursday, February 25, 2010

Somebody end the madness

The internet is cluttered enough, there are thousands of parallel websites in our parallel universe and most everything we find online majorly sucks.  .
I spend hours per week online and honestly I cannot fathom finding some of the crap others find even remotely entertaining.  There is so much crap clogging up the internet that the amount of fried brain-cells it causes on an hourly basis blows away the total soldiers lost in every war ever fought.
--As you can tell saving bandwidth is the latest TOR soap-box issue which I realize is more than just a bit ironic--

But there is no bigger waste of bandwidth than Farmville.   I would say that at any given time 50% of all the feeds in my NewsFeed are Farmville related and if you ask me what exactly this is all about I would say that except for the fact I'm confronted by this thing 10-15x per day, I have absolutely no idea what this is and I am convinced that I am better off not knowing because I am already down enough brain-cells from ChatRoulette/YouPorn/PicturesThatMayOrMaynotRule.

What I do know is that Farmville is like a computer virus which has apparently infected many otherwise sane people.   For those blessed to live in a cave, this is basically some online game where you grow a virtual garden and you offer people virtual vegetables.    I would personally like somebody to give a big virtual and not-so-virtual kick in the ass of anybody who clutters up my life with this stuff.

As occasional TOR reader and even less occasional blogger The Native-American Prince says  "I hope every Farmville has a crop killing drought" and suggests otherwise we should salt the earth.

This is the kind of hatred we need, we must band together and root out this virus and like most things venom we must start by chopping off its food source and that food source is apparently the stupidity of the masses.

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Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The Chocolate Thunder of the Morning Rush

Nothing frustrates me more than people who speak at a high pitch, when somebody speaks at a pitch approaching the High-C.  Coversation at this pitch makes me literally cringe as it pains my ears.

My life has revolved around many things but never have I felt like it revolves around finding a way to shove my shoe in somebody's mouth when their pitch starts approaching levels only dogs should hear. Let me explain.

Standing on an overcrowded train on route to work, a time when 99% of the other working-stiffs stand silently in the train as they realize it will be the last few minutes of peace they will have that day but across the way a girl in her 20's is yapping away like she's at a baseball game. Now I'm all for freedom of speech but I'm also for freedom-to-have-silence.. Why some people believe that the entire world has to come to a halt when they talk is beyond me. Now I am a gossip-hound and have been known to eavesdrop but that loses all the fun when some chick decides to make her business the sound-track for the entire commute.

I find it particularly frustrating when their tone is Russian Harsh or the language plain ghetto but the worst part is when the pitch gets so high I'm afraid the windows on the train are going to break like a Darryl Dawkins did to those backboards.

But more than anything, I beg you.. if you are going to disrespect everybody's private space and peacefull mornings at least make it intresting about a one-night-stand you had last night or a bunch of coke you did off a guy's ass in a night-club

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Tuesday, February 23, 2010

No Drinking

Although I have often embarrassed myself while drinking and often feel like hell the day-after since my body just cannot recover like it used to, I have never threatened to never drink again.
I know booze is in my blood (literally most nights) and quite frankly I enjoy it too much too much to ever give up. What I do find interesting is most everybody (including my own) attitude when going on a booze-sabbatical.

Most people will tell you that when they are off the booze that they feel so much better physically, are better rested, feel more fit and more sharp mentally and will swear that they don't miss it and are having just as much fun without it. I have heard this story a thousand times and a thousand times you look at that same person six months later and they are hitting the bottle as hard as they ever have

Why if everybody feels better does everybody go back again??

I have gone one a couple of booze-breaks and always try to convince myself and everybody else that I am just as happy without it but deep in my heart I know the first time that sweet taste hits my lips it's GO time and I'm diving in garbage and ripping off my shirt at some wedding..

Now I believe that alcohol affects so many more people than let on; we all have some addiction to it but for some the addiction is physical and their pull comes from a craving while the rest of us it's a mental addiction. Where some people fall into a spiral the majority of people can be described as functional alcoholics. I think it's the fact that nobody ever really gives it up which makes me believe the pull is stronger for the average person than we ever let on.

Or maybe it's like TOR reader Mrs Lad says "think about the most memorable night of your life, I bet you were hammered in just about every one of them"

It's just more fun to drink
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Monday, February 22, 2010

So the newest craze on the interwebs is and of course as a connoisseur of anything internet/porn I just had to check it out and report back to the TOR readership. This combines two things that Americans love: anonymous voyeurism and the internet, if you like speed-dating and chat rooms this is for you.

The concept is pretty simple: a ton of people with webcams get randomly paired up together and hilarity ensues. The website is just two webcam boxes: one for you and one for your random guest, a chat box and some reported 50,000 users.

Like an unexpected house-guest they drop in quickly but unlike said house-guest you can instantly drop them when you're bored. Click NEXT to give yourself another victim and within 10 minutes you will have easily seen 300 people. Of course they can drop you just as quickly and when you are a droopy eyed hung-over Dutchman this seems to happen a LOT.

So those are the good parts, now for the not so good. ChatRoulette is basically an avenue for gay-men voyeurism, in 30 clicks I saw more man-junk than the NYSC locker-room. A dude I know saw some 300lb guy having sex with a stuffed animal and another guy saw a dude popping different color ping-pong balls out of his five-hole.

all in all I while trolling the site I caught 3 naked guys, one dude holding his hands across his neck, one empty chair and about 25 random dudes hoping to catch a topless chick.  I was never paired with anybody for more than 10 seconds as usually I was felt like puking or I got axed by the other party.

If this is the future of Social Networking you may as well cash in your chips and go home because there is really nothing to see. I think there has to be some pleasure in this and maybe this is where it’s all going in the future with people trading in their real-lives for their second-lives but this thing is beyond bizarre.

I know Twitter sucks but on this thing you can catch a guy sucking another dude's twitter so it's got about as much chance of becoming ingrained into the real social-fiber of this country as rifle porn.

Sunday, February 21, 2010


There probably is no better way to describe getting shit-faced than saying you got hammered. When the night goes long, the booze keeps flowing and my mouth goes running I know that the next morning it will feel like somebody took a hammer to my skull.
Today is one of those unfortunate mornings but as I never feel bad for anybody else who is hung-over, I cannot in good conscious ask anybody else to feel for me.
Years ago, I was blessed with the bounce-back ability of a night of drinking like a an NBA 22 year old could come back after a double-overtime game one night to drop 30 the next day. Sadly those days are now long gone and the pounding in my head feels like somebody is jack-hammering a hole through my eye-ball
I used to recover in a few hours, now it takes me a full week.
Then as the details of the night before become more clear you realize that you became 'that guy'.
The one who pees on the street during a drunken stumble home and that was probably the least embarrassing thing you did since you probably said enough shit to wedge your foot so far into your mouth you kicked yourself in the ass.

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Saturday, February 20, 2010

The unsophisticated palate

I am an efficient eater, I don't dilly-dally during meal time or play with my food instead when a plate is put in front of me I do what comes natural and eat the food on it. I eat so quickly that most people are jaw-dropped to see my empty plate before they have picked up their fork. It's not that I don't enjoy food or that I'm constantly in a rush but somehow it upsets most of everybody I eat with. What they see as haste, I see as efficiency
What I never understand is why it bothers somebody else at what rate I chew, I understand there are many out there who can savor every bite and I don't criticize them for their slow-pace.
I don't eat fast to get the meal as I am very rarely in a rush to leave the dinner table. I eat fast to get on with the next thing, I love dinner conversation because of the intimacy of sitting face-to-face with friends without the distractions of TV's, text-messaging or computers. I eat quickly but never rush anybody else yet somehow it bothers others when the completion on a meal isn't a synchronized event.
Now I believe the criticism is warranted when sharing dishes like appetizers or tapas but when I have my own plate I cannot get the hate.

I feel like this eating efficiency stems from the fact that in order to keep my 6'1" frame well nutritioned when growing up in a family which always served small portions you had to learn to fight for what you get; you eat fast when you aren't sure if you'll get another bite..

But more than that maybe I just have an unsophisticated palate. There are many people out there who can dissect each bite and analyze it for taste, texture and type with the proficiency that I can analyze the hotness of a chick's outfit. They are able to spot a hint of basil in a sauce or a touch of honey in a pastry like I can tell a woman isn't wearing a bra from a quarter mile away. The problem I encounter though is that people mistake the sophisticated palate for sophistication which is like calling color-blindness a character flaw.

So I am cursed with the inability to be able to pair a red-curry sauce with a proper vegetable but at least I can hold a conversation and the more I think of it maybe I eat fast in order to be able to steer the dinner conversation away from things that bore me. How is that for sophistication!!
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Friday, February 19, 2010

The BetaMax of coffee machines

A few years ago, on the advice of Don Imus, I bought the Tassimo hot-beverage system, a wonderful little coffee machine which uses pods and has the ability to make a cup of coffee, espresso, latte, cappuccino, chai and even standard tea and hot-chocolate. I’ve been happy with it and it stands in my kitchen as one of my favorite wedding gifts up until I realized that I might be the only person in the entire world to actually have this.

Apparently a few years ago there was a bit of all-in-one coffee-machine war for single-serving coffee types pinning the likes of the Tassimo machine vs. the Nespresso. Both machines are based on a single coffee serving where you put a small plastic pod into the machine to get a single serving allowing everybody in the household or office to enjoy their personal favorite.

Both machines have their strong points with the Tassimo being much more versatile but the Nespresso offering a sleeker design and superior coffee but the issue isn’t really in the individual taste of me the consumer. Well in the time I’ve been away, Tassimo has gotten smoked and nobody I know has one while every-place I look there is somebody flaunting their wonderful Nespresso apparatus.

I’m sure it was pretty close for a while and they were neck-and-neck when I put the Tassimo on my register but apparently there isn’t enough room in this world for both machines and the public has spoken. The message is loud and clear the Nespresso machine has won, which leaves the Tassimo owners stuck in one nasty spot, the BetaMax of Coffee machines. In a country of 300 million people you would figure there is room for two single-serving coffee machines but apparently there isn’t; while you can find the Nespresso pods in every major supermarket, the Tassimo pods are now sold like fat chick-porn, almost exclusively online. In order to dilute the shipping costs of the pods when ordered online I am always forced to buy a ton more coffee so that I’m not paying $5 a cup for coffee I’m making at home. What this basically means is that I place a COSCO size order which when it gets delivered forces me to dedicate an entire shelf in my small kitchen to hold them

So here I am, sitting with my less-than-stellar machine, drinking less-than-stellar coffee which I can’t buy anywhere but at least Don Imus approves….

On No he doesn’t, he got off the Tassimo bandwagon about a week after I got mine and now hawks Nespresso


Thursday, February 18, 2010

When do we Tip the Scales back into my favor

I have always abided by the understanding and knowledge that the service industry lives on the generosity of its patrons in regards to tipping and for years there were hard-and-fast rules to follow

When I grew up a tip at restaurants 15-20% was standard

You threw the barber $2 or $3 depending on how quickly he got you out of that chair

And the newspaper guy got a 5 spot during Christmas time,

Some of the tipping rules are still somewhat standard but many of them have lost all sense of balance. When there is an established rule I do really well but I find myself so often torn in less obvious situations pinning my cheap self versus my desperate need to be liked.

The reason I pick up food instead of getting it delivered is because I find the entire food delivery-tipping thing incredibly difficult. For food deliveries I never know what to tip and find it ridiculous that you tip based on a percentage as it is the exact same effort for a Chinese Delivery guy to deliver one wonton soup as it would be to deliver three lo-miens, one fish-head soup, a couple of eggrolls and a Beef with Broccoli.

The uppity do-good NYC community has become a society which now grossly over-tips and the actions of some have now basically given the service industry the impression that this is now standard. Look at a restaurant where even for complete ho-hum service a 20% gratuity is the minimum anybody gives.

Take a cab ride which before credit cards cabs had a very simple unwritten tipping rule that in a ride under $8 you round to the next dollar unless the total was very close to the next dollar in which case you would round up to the dollar and add another one. It wasn't exactly fair but in a world of cash it was simple and more than adequate.

Now with the addition of the credit card machines which offer either 15, 20 or god-forbid 25% as their standards all normal tipping rules are gone to hell. Last week when I got out of a cab from the airport and added $4.80 to a $35.20 ride the guy looked at me like I had kicked a poodle.

So if you tip by percentage, you first have to decide which percentage to use but then also decided at where your ceiling or floor is, if you tip based on service you risk looking like an a-hole when you under-tip the standard.

The worst part is bars where for years you gave the bartender a buck Why somebody deserves $1 for reaching into a fridge and pulling out a Miller Lite is already lunacy especially if you relate it to other service industries where the effort he puts in to deliver 3 beers is substantially less than what a barber does when he gives you a cut.

But it's NOT the dollar for the beer which tips the scale it's what 20% on a $5 beer means.

See if it has been established that a miller-lite warrants 20% so you look like a schmuck when you pay for a fancy chick-drinks (which are $10 or $12) and tip only a dollar.

and this doesn't even take into consideration the bars which charge more for a beer, for example some fance joint that charges you $8 beer probably expects $2 for the exact same beer you bought at the other bar for $4.00?   Not only do you get ripped off on the price of the beer you now also get ripped off by the price of the tip

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Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Here is a novel idea!!!

What is more annoying than the morning rush? Most everybody has some kind of battle-scar from the morning commute and I am no different. In NYC where just about everybody takes some form of mass-transportation, I believe we have it worse than most because although 80% (no idea if that number is true) of us use mass-transit we have about the oldest and worst run systems in the world.. It's not just the crowded, hot, smelly trains as much as the people you deal with. In the 10 years as a NYC resident, there has been a lot of talk of improved services, new lines, electronic boards but I still stand on the same un-airconditioned platforms, waiting for the same over-crowded trains on the same rat-infested tracks and the only thing we are told is that our fares will go up AND our services cut.

You know TOR has rallied against many parts of the subway but today we offer the MTA a suggestion we have put forth before.
Why not put some Metro-card machines on the platform? How often do your passengers run down the stairs as a train pulls into the station and when they swipe their card and see the message 'insufficient funds'. There is no way to refill the card in time to catch that train so obviously in that situation you have little choice but the issue isn't that particular ride but the one before that.
What happens to me often is the time I am made aware that my card is low is the time I swipe it and see a balance of less than $2.25 but the issue of course is that I am now on the platform while the metrocard machine sits goading me behind the metal-bars. By the time I get off the train, I have long forgotten the whole low balance thing which means that the next time I rush down the stairs I'll get the daunting insufficient funds message

Since there is so much time to kill waiting for a train, this is the ideal time to give passengers a chance to refill their cards including the complex mathematics necessary to refill the card to a total divisible by $2.25.

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Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Take on the Olympics

I love the olympics, I love the stories, the athletes, the pomp and circumstance and the medals. I love the action, the anguish and the euphoria which comes along with the competition, I love the dedication these athletes have often times in sports that you hear about once in four years and I most love the fact that they play your country's national anthem when you win.
What I don't particularly like is NBC and their forced coverage of these events making each athlete's story a tear-jerker. Am I to believe that I should cheer less for somebody who just got up every morning and practiced their craft because they haven't lost their mother in the last 6 months?

Although I like the Olympics, I don't particularly like the winter-olympics because all the events feel like the kind of thing families do leisurely and dub I a world-class event. I understand the X-games have glorified these sports already and I am not saying these are not world-class athletes but the olympics is already kooky enough, do you have to add the half-pipe? You don't see the summer olympics adding the BMX jump thing or skateboarding.

I like simplicity in my sports, in general I like sports that challenge one guy vs another to measure supremacy. I much less like the judged sports but understand the need of it in gymnastics and figure skating but I hate the ones that try to incorporate both. I hate the ski thing with the jump in the middle, I hate any event where you get extra points for form.

What I really find irritating is that some of the 'sports' sound like they were invented by a few guys looking for drinking games:

OK you ski down this mountain then you shoot these four targets with a shotgun, you then chug a beer and dive into a pond and find a coin.

I swear my buddies invented the curling thing during a bachelor party except we added another layer of difficulty by having to chug a beer each time your stone fell off the table. ..

I also don't like the symbol which looks like a fat-woman in a jogging-suit
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Monday, February 15, 2010

Status Update replies

Day Three of the Social Networking TOR's.

I have a lot of complaints about lame status updates by people who have nothing of real value to add to the forum but what is more irritating are the fact that when you comment on a status update you now get a copy of every person who replies to that status update. It has gotten so irritating that sometimes I will not comment to a status update solely for reason that I don't want to get stuck in some endless loop of facebook dribble.

Just the other day I responded to some update  about some minor event that happened to an acquaintance and for  because I have the mobile application my phone then proceeds to vibrates incessantly for three hours alerting me that i have a new message.   Each of these messages was actually a reply to that same original Status Update  which each time winds up being a some lame comment or response.   For thee house I got messages like "wish I was there" from some guy you don't know to somebody you wish you didn't

When my innocent comment leads to a complete bombardment of mundane responses, the only thought I have is how fast can remove my comment so I am no longer privy to this waste of bandwidth.
People's responses can be kind of cool if they are witty or there is banter going back and forth between friends of yours but its painfully brutal when it involves a bunch of jackasses wishing people a happy birthday.

It's typical of Facebook where they try so hard to over involve their community which feels like they are trying to recreate the Edward Scissorhands neighborhood and obviously don't realize that reading this kind of stupidity makes me wish I was Righetti Icepickhands so I can stab myself in the urethra the next time I get one of these lame comments to a lame comment to a lame Status Update.

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Sunday, February 14, 2010

What the hell is that Buzzing???

In my weekend long Take on social-networking sites today we take on the newest and potentially most annoying one: Buzz.
As any of the 100 million gmail users has found out, with or without their consent they now find themselves stuck on some lame Facebook status-update esque site in a community with every person they may have ever contacted from their gmail account. Google thought they were doing their members a favor by intergrading their BUZZ accounts directly with their email account but they didn't take into account that there are some major privacy issues here. A BUZZ circle was created using Google Artificial I Intelligence by automatically starting out with the 20 most contacted people in somebody's gmail account. This seems innocent enough if you are a Righetti and it means your FantasyFootball mates and a few TOR readers are now in your circle but then again we write a daily blog about our miserable lives
There was a great article in the Times about the public being up-in-arms as people's circles were exposed to the world without their permission which was an huge black eye for Google who prides itself on it's privacy settings and encryption techniques. The article went on about complaints from activists whose entire list of followers were all of a sudden made public and about businesses whose suppliers and customers were now out there for all to see. The best one though was a complaint from some chick engaged in a secret extramarital affair whose husband now got wind of it because some dude he thought was some innocent acquaintance was in his wife's top 20 circle.
Of course this entire social-networking thing (Facebook, Twitter, Friendster, MySpace, AsianAvenue, Buzz) has already broken down the walls of privacy by allowing people to bombard their social circles with pictures, stories and posts but in those cases the user has actively opened their lives up.
Google apparently didn't realize that a dude who is twiddling his secretary might not be thrilled to have said secretary appear on his Google Buzz list. With Facebook there is an 'accept' requirement for new people, with Buzz people are already there and the only way is to goto your settings, search through your Buzzmates and figure out who you can quietly drop without coming across as a self righteous ahole. .
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Saturday, February 13, 2010


One of the things we don't like here at TOR and a few things we do like.
Recently we were introduced to Google Buzz which tries to emulate the best parts of Facebook (the funny personalized status updates) while hopefully limiting the most annoying parts (all those stupid updates from Bejeweled, the farm thing etc.). We realize the cultural significance and communication importance which Facebook has brought to our lives but there are a number of issues we have with the setup.

My main complaint is this feature where they ask you to reconnect with people who are already your FB friends. Basically there is some program that tells FB that Righetti hasn't been in contact with Joe Schmo over Facebook so wants to encourage you to 'reconnect' with them. Honestly I don't need anybody to remind me to connect with anybody else, this is not a reminder it's an annoyance.

There are two reason's I have not recently connected with over Facebook: I don't give a crap or I see them often in real life.

Facebook is cool for certain things but when I got a message to reconnect with some jackass from High-school who I don't even remember adding as a friend, the only thought I get is ' I should drop that guy as a FB friend'.
Facebook is already the main portal to the internet for many people, it doesn't also have to be the social police like being 13 and your mom asking why you don't hang out with the bucktoothed kid anymore.

I connect with who I want to connect with and any nudging nudges me towards disconnecting from Facebook

Maybe more ridiculous is when you get a reminder to reconnect with a FB friend who you see all the time. Just last week I got a facebook reminder nudge to reconnect with my mom, I got this message as I was sitting on the couch at my mom's house while we were watching the Biggest Loser together.
I'm connecting with her just fine without your help Facebook.

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Friday, February 12, 2010

A snow bundy

Well here we are again, after yet another 'storm of the century' warning we got a big fat dud. It's like a chick going on a blind-date with a guy who is described as a mysterious former semi-professional soccer player from England with a great personality and when she shows up he looks like he's a dude with a funny accent who looks like he is hiding a soccer-ball under his shirt

I will say this, these storms are never as bad as the hype they get and whenever I see a news-report I always wait to see who the sponsor is during the commercial break with the expectation it's going to be Shop Rite or the Big Y because although these storms hardly ever produce any real snow but they do force a storm of people upon the produce aisle.
I went shopping on Tuesday night and it felt like Toys R Us a week before Christmas. The shelves were empty and the floors of aisles were scattered with the remnants of what looked like a crazy night of sexual deviants with bottles of whip-cream and half-eaten boxes of banana cream pie.
So for all the hype and the 24 hour notice on school closing, the storm did nothing except give a little business to the supermarkets and an elevator conversation fodder for your coworkers but gave us not enough snow to make a mock snowman of the British KingKongBundy.
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Thursday, February 11, 2010

The Smart Phone

Our world very much revolves around being available 24-7 which is why the invention and popularization of the smart-phone with QWERTY keyboard is so incredibly important. For one the keypad has made typing a breeze, still a sticking point for the IPhone users whose typing keypads are still nowhere near as easy as the BlackBerry ones.

I find the Blackberry -in general- very easy and user friendly even if it does not offer the fun factor the IPhone and it's IPhone Killer counterparts have. I do have one complaint (well actually two).

In addition to the fact the SHIFT and CAP keys are reversed-look at a CPU keyboard then at your BB's- there is one other issue which is less of a nuisance but can almost cripple you when you are in a pinch.
Let me explain
In many cases ads for phone numbers use their phone equivalent letters to help people remember them. So if your number was 1-900-909-JEFF you would dial 1-900-909-5333 which is brilliant marketing IF everybody has the alphanumeric combination listed on their phone.
The question of course is if you are going to build Hardware with a full keyboard, why then also list the phone-pad letters above their corresponding number?
Well I tell you why, because if you use a BlackBerry and you see an ad in the subway which gives a phone number of 1-800-MARGARITA (believe it or not but that is an actual phone # in a subway ad for some Spanish Speaking law-firm) and you wanted to call to sue a Mexican Restaurant for food poisoning you would have a shit-hard time because try to dial that when your keypad doesn't have the letters above it.
A four letter word is manageable, especially if it was something like 1212-555-ABBA but a seven-letter word like 1-800-MIX A LOT with letters at the end of the alphabet is torture.
So BB people, I implore you to look at your short-coming and attack the market with products which are both 'smart' and intuitive.
And while you are at it, improve the camera, my BB supposedly has a 3.2MB camera but every picture I take looks like it was taken through a film of grey.

Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Another reason to hate people

Is there anything more self-serving than people who inadvertently drop little tidbits into their normal conversation to make themselves seem more altruistic.

"I was on my way making an anonymous donation when I came across a funny shop which sold wine-fridges and I thought of you"
the fact that you were going to make a donation has nothing to do with the wine-fridge but people tend to squeez in little details which make my stomach turn.

Nobody does this better/worse than the rich upper-east side yuppies who write letters to the NY Times for their Metropolitan Diary section

Here is another gem from some jackass who probably hurt themselves in the gymnastics it requred to pat themselves so firmly on their own backs

On the Monday before Thanksgiving, I took a cab home to the Upper East Side from Harlem, where I was doing some friends a favor — throwing out their trash while they were on vacation.

While in the cab, I kept hearing this weird electronic music repeating. So I looked down and, in the corner of the seat, there was the lighted screen of a really nice cellphone. It rang again, so I answered it. It turned out this man left his cellphone in the cab and wanted to know where I was.

He was a little rude, but I told him my general direction. Since it was not anywhere near him, we arranged for a time for him to pick it up near where I work.

I was still in the same cab when I felt my rear end vibrate. And it was not me.

I checked my own phones and the new one I found, but the vibrating was not coming from any of those. So I dug around in the corner of the seat again and I found a second cellphone! The second one was even nicer than the first. And it vibrated again!

So I answered it, and it was a man whose girlfriend had left it there. Luckily she lived near me, so I left the phone with the doormen so she could pick it up, which she did.

Isn’t that weird? Karma is a funny lady.

Michelle Park
Not only is this not interesting this is not Karma, but what it is is self-serving bullshit.  This is a perfect example of what the Metropolitan Diary is apparantly published for: to give somebody who hasn't gotten enough attention in their lives a forum to take a bow for the smallest bit of human sacrifice.    

Not only was this entire story about returning cell-phones all over town loaded with self-rigeous tones but the biggest bit of pomposity may have to do with the first part of the letter which described how the writer was on route from helping a friend.   Would this story have been any worse if you just mentioned you were sitting in a taxi or was it completely neccessary to point out the fact that you were on your way to do another good deed.  Next time preface it with something about you donating blood for poor kids in Africa.
We get it, you are a great person and you help tons of people by returning their cell-phones and throwing out their garbage and you have now taken your bows (in a very public forum).. next time a little humility may actually lead to somebody giving a crap.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

I remember when 'moving an armoire" was a euphemism for having sex

There is nothing that I dread more than being asked for a favor. It’s not that I don’t want to help or don’t have the ability to, it’s that I don’t want to help. I don’t want to spend my Saturday morning setting up a satellite dish on your roof, I don’t want to help you try to pick out a couch and I sure as shit don’t want to help you move.

Seinfeld covered this topic well, so there is really no need to explain the nuisance which accompanies the request to help somebody move. I’ve helped many people move in my life and I’ve had friends help me move each time I’ve changed apartments, so it is not specifically the physical act of moving boxes which annoys me. What annoys me is that in my mid-thirties with a four month old daughter, a mortgage, a job for which I travel often and even when I’m not on the road one which basically requires that I’m reachable 24 hours per day, a (dying) social-life not to mention the normal responsibilities and errands that people still have the gall to ask you for help to move especially those who can easily afford the services of a moving company.

Just this week I was asked- by somebody who will remain nameless- to help him move a bunch of stuff from his house in some stuffy CT town to his new home in the same stuff CT town. The email wasn’t even sent to me but my help was requested/demanded through an intermediary.

 It may have started innocent enough about having a lot to do and being so excited about moving into their new place but then came the kicker I knew I should have expected:

We will have most if not all of the small things moved this weekend and we will just need help for a few items. That armoire, the dining room table, refrigerator

Fuck me.. what the hell did I do to deserve this, I’ve been on the road for three weeks in a row, I taxi back and forth to drop my baby-girl off to my mom’s house, I serve on my Co-Op board and the Board of my work's Industry Association, I give to the homeless, I recycle, I don’t take up two seats on the subway but still I get this kind of nut-kick

“That armoire” is easily 1000 pounds; it is 10 feet high and 6 feet deep made from Oak and is the kind of thing that if it toppled over would instantly kill you. On top of that it is absolutely hideous looking and looks like the kind of thing they probably found on the side of the road covered in dog-pee and homeless stench. For some reason they brought it home with them but now they have to realize it doesn’t HAVE to move with them, this thing is a relic and not a good one.

It’s the kind of piece you throw in when you sell the house because it has permanently dented the flooring. It’s the opposite of a nice rug which has the ability to tie a room together in that it is big enough to warrant its own room but you move out of the house and you leave it for the next schmucks to move. 1000 pounds of awfulness and the worst part is that it’s gonna have to be moved on my back

You own two houses worth 2.5 million dollars, it wouldn’t kill you to hire a couple of movers for $300 and not put your family through this.

and if you are going to break my back, at least have the guts to ask me myself

Monday, February 8, 2010

somebody two-hand touch me where it hurts

I’ve been playing touch football with my buddies for 10 years; we almost always break up into the same teams for our three-on-three battle and have rules that have been established years ago. Two feet inbound for a reception, 1 blitz for per four downs, 7 Mississippi for the rush, 2 hands touch to down the offensive player, first team to 7 wins.

We’ve played it on little-league fields; on park turf must most often we play it in the street. It’s amongst friends, so although it does get heated it never gets violent and in 10 years nobody has ever seriously gotten hurt except the time that both the balding Chinese speed receiver and the chubby tight-end with the golden-hands both pulled a nut on the same play.

For years playing with the same guys with the same rules you start to notice tendencies. Maybe one guy can’t throw more than 15 or 20 yards, another guy may play you back so as not to get beat long, there might be another one who shouldn’t be covered deep because his hands are like stones. Well you would think that being a combination of a fairly bright guy and a guy who runs 20+ miles per week so my stamina is better than most of the slobs I play with and although I’m an un-athletic loser there are still a few occasions when I can get deep enough to score a TD. Maybe it’s the lack of sleep, maybe the lack of athletic gifts or maybe the lack of concentration but I spent a full hour in 20 degree temperatures wearing a thin sweatshirt and basically wasted everybody’s time out there.

Final Score

My Team 0 points

Other team 7 points

My line

0 touchdowns,

8 receptions

3 drops

0 interceptions

3 TD’s given up

1 sore groin

1 painful heel

1 bruised ego.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Like a high speed conversation on dial-up.

You know TOR is an equal opportunity hater, finding flaws in fat people, badly dressed ones, Russians, people who give bad wedding gifts, Baptists, chicks who wear flats with dresses, guys who wear the full LanceArmstrog gear when going biking, Republicans, Democrats etc.

But what really gets in my craw are slow-talkers as they hijack the pace of a normal conversation. There is nothing I dread more than watching the world pass you by as when you are caught in a conversation with somebody speaking at dial-up pace who can't get a coherent thought past his lips.
Just yesterday at dinner, the waiter came out to read the specials and spoke so slowly I was afraid the appetizers would get cold. The speech pattern is so forced that the patrons next to us-with a different waiter- were chowing down on banana cream pie before our main-dishes arrived.

There are people I will literally avoid at parties because I feel like poking myself in my nutsack out with an ice pick when they get caught up in a sentence. I always feel like I'm stuck in a spider's web as I frantically rack my brain to come up with some-how to pull myself out looking for any possible out of the trap.
Forget real brains this is an issue of social intelligence. I see this inability to keep a conversation moving akin to torture.

I realize that in NYC our speech pattern maybe a bit faster than the rest of the country and people will blame it on a cultural or a geographical thing but the slow-talkers pattern trumps them all.

Mind control is one scary concept but lack of personal mind-to-mouth control has brutal consequences.
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Boiling over

If somebody graphs the downfall of human civilization I would bet the jump-the-shark moment occurred the day the customer service representative was replaced by an automated computer answering service.
Now I know I can sometimes mumble but generally I don't feel like I cannot be understood in my normal life. That is until I need to access a bank account of book a flight online or ask about my bank account.

The "conversation" inevitably degenerates to me repeating myself so many times that I curse into the phone demanding I speak with an operator. It's not that I am against technology but there has to be something in the technology which gets us from point A to B more quickly or easily for us to want to use it.

You are trying to ask a simple question and instead of getting to an operator they put you through some touch-tone lambada. The biggest issue is that whenever they ask you to speak your answers the voice recognition programs mis-hear you leaving you to have to constantly repeat yourself which only boils the blood even more. This leaves you from a simple errand to a something which feels like a life's undertaking.

See these voice recognition programs aren't getting us any closer to artificial intelligence but instead pulling us from civility. I don't know what kind of speech-pattern you need to be understood but apparently the Dutch accent mixed with Jersey slang wasn't properly vetted in this approach.

Next time just patch me into an Indian technician and be done with it.
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Friday, February 5, 2010

PF Changs

TOR usually doesn't do food reviews leaving that to people who have a real passion for these things on blogs like but when I have a really bad experience I tend to vent. In Vegas one night, I drop in and sit barside. Now this alone should be enough for a decent time: I love asian fusion and I love sitting bellied up to a bar. Sadly within 30 seconds I was already disappointed. The TV's were 32" which even in a living-room looks small today so watching the end of some Hockey game was near impossible. The beer selection was a choice between PBR on tap and Sam Adams both of which basically suck. I like PBR when served in a can, not when propped up at $6 a pint and Sam Adams has really started to taste like Jim Cook vomited in it.
Now I know chain restaurants aren't everybody's cup of tea but I don't mind them because the food is usually consistent.
Now as if the beer selection wasn't limited enough, the topped it off with a selection of MSG riddled glorified chinese dishes at steak-house prices. The Ahi Tuna was actually pretty decent and the salt-and-pepper shrimp was deep fried but spicy so even that was OK but the main courses where dreadful.
We got one dish of kung-pao chicken which tasted like it had been in the deep-fry since the Ming dynasty and one spicy beef which honestly was worse than what you get at those ghetto chinese restaurants with the white awnings and the pictures of the food as their menu.
This was complete rat-meat, served on a bed of dried lettuce and bamboo spouts all for $18 or something.

All in all, when you go Chinese you have to go authentic cause the chain restaurant version has all the taste of the floor of a subway car at cab prices.
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Leaving Las Vegas

SinCity does nothing for me, I have been here 6 times and find very little solace in the place. I know people think I'm crazy when I say it but the stench of desperation in this city is as thick as the smog in LA.

But I did get a laugh about the uproar there was in this city (and on FOXNews) about Obama's comments about this place.
I heard them reporting that Obama slammed Las Vegas because he said that in this tough economic climate people will have to tighten their belts and probably not bet away a whole bunch of money in Vegas
So FOXNews is screaming that Obama is hurting small businesses and average workers like the card-dealers and waiters by his proclamation. I spoke with a cab-driver who said he won't ever vote for Obama again because of these comments saying they will keep people from spending money here.

First of all his comments aren't exactly groundbreaking; who the hell goes to Vegas thinking it's a good idea anyway when they can't afford their mortgages or when they have been out of work for a month?
And more importantly, like an NFL QB, the president gets too much credit and takes too much blame. I can't imagine planning a trip to Vegas and then hearing some soundclip about not betting the mortgage payment and all of a sudden thinking 'he's right, I shouldn't put $5000 down on RED right now'

I didn't see Obama's comments as a knock to Vegas as much as it was just lame advice like saying to somebody 'get home safe' when they leave a party.
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

the only way to fly

I have rallied against many of the nuisances of business travel including the difficulty in the airports to get through security, the endless delays, the chain-restaurants and the low shower heads in Holiday Inn.

but today I will give credit where it's due.   See I have often thought that the JetBlue model of Satellite TV and pay as you go food was something the American public would embrace because who the hell wants to stare at the back of the airplane seat for 5 hours and eat food which tastes like tarmac rubber.

Well if you offer better food and give me TV to keep me from wanting to poke my eyeballs out, you have basically won my business for life.     Of course the issue with JetBlue is that if you are not flying to Rochester or Daytona it doesn't go where I have to go (China, Europe, Detroit, Chicago, Cleveland etc.) so although it sounds like a great idea it has obvious limitations.

But what I have to say has revolutionized travel is not what the upstarts have done but what the old hacks are doing..    I am presently 10,000 feet above Cleveland in a Delta flight on an aircraft which is  WiFi enabled.   Now it's not that I need to be connected at every hour of the day, but it sure is pleasant knowing I'm not stuck picking pieces of lint out of my belly button for entertainment.    See they do nickel-and-dime you with $2 headsets or $5 pillows which is annoying since I think you should just incorporate normal things into the price of the flight but I have no issue to pay for something extraordinary.

If I can get an edible egg-salad sandwich for $7 or an $8 frozen margarita this seems reasonable in this economic climate although I may not actually spend my money to buy it.   What I would easily pay for is $13 for WiFi connection, I would prefer it to be rolled into the price but I realize that the best things in life aren't free, this is a small price to pay for sanity.
  Now I was on a flight back from Europe last week and the WiFi option wasn't available, so it's not like Delta is doing this on every flight but I think this should be one of the options Expedia mentions when you are booking a flight

you can either take a United flight to Vegas which leaves at 7AM for $249 or a Delta flight which leaves at 7:15AM for $289 but it has WiFi..   My decision would be made immediately.

how Delta isn't putting out 10 commercials at the SuperBowl is lunacy to me.   Forget safety, price or one-time arrivals, if I can stream the Daily Show i'm rocking.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Renewable Arguments

What I did like about the State of The Union is that Obama realizes it's time to change the discussion on renewable fuel.
See I am all about finding new forms of renewable energy but really feel like the proponents of finding sources outside of traditional oil are constantly forced to defend the position of Global Warming.

I have three questions for those who shape their argument against renewable energy about trying to discredit global-warming.

- you are probably an avid fisherman, hunter or at least drive a truck because your house is on 5 acres of farmland, so tell me do you also discredit pollution? Who cares if it burns a hole in the atmosphere but do you like inhaling black smoke and seeing your forests, plains and farmland get corroded?

- Why continue to buy oil from countries which traditionally don't like us. This is a national security issue because if a strategic material is held only in the hands of others you are vulnerable (see oil embargo early 1980's). If you are as Hawkish about national security as you claim to be, why isn't this on the top of your list.

- jobs. You scream about jobs but if the US committed themselves to green-energy you could see thousands of jobs for people making windmills, dams, nuclear fuel, solar panels etc. Why put this is the hands of China as a front page article in the NYT explains yesterday which said that in 2008 China added 1.2 million green jobs.
(end thomas Friedman rant).

Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Monday, February 1, 2010

Take on the State of the Union

I haven't given the official TOR take on the State of the Union yet, in part because I wasn't nearly as impressed as the liberal media was because at the end of the day for a guy who is about hope this felt a little too much like W bashing. Now don't get me wrong W is to blame for most everything (Iraq, economy, deficit, global warming, Jets losing in the playoffs) but after 365 days the American public doesn't want to hear it. Just like nobody should give Donnie Walsh a pass a couple of years later just because Isiah Thomas ruined the Knicks. You get a pass for a little while but as soon as you put your stamp on the team or country it's your baby.

I did like him taking the Senate to task for their ineptitude and honestly this 60 to 40 supermajority necessary for ANY progress is a bigger hindrance to democracy not getting rid of Patrick Ewing that final year. Isn't democracy supposed to be 'majority rules'? The Dems are chicken-shit and afraid to fight and the GOP has decided it's patriotic to try to sink the ocean-liner with 300 million people on-board. It's criminal that we are all held hostage by these people.

The Dems problem is that their leadership feels like that of the Garden in the 90's

Harry Reid is a guy who should be sitting on a porch talking about the old days while chewing on hay. Pelosi looks like she's sending messages to another planet with that incessant blinking and Biden looks like he is having his brain fried through the solar panels on the caps of his teeth.

Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry