Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Yuppy Guilt

I got the best get-rich scheme ever. Find a yuppy neighborhood with lots of kids and start selling any standard kid's item 25% over everything in the store. You may have to jazz up the appearance or throw a few 'organic' logos on it but I am convinced that parents will easily spend 25% more on the same item because of guilt.
See working parents all walk around with this huge burden of guilt as they shuttle their kids back and forth to day-care that when they feel like they have some control they inevitably try to make up for their lack of face time.
Just walk into a CVS and see how many types of wipes they offer. $8 gets you 500 generic CVS brand ones, $12 gets you the standard Pamper brand, $14 gets you the aloe infused Pamper brand, $15 gets you the aloe infused, super sensitive brand, $16 gets you the aloe infused, super-sensitive, organic made ones, for $18 they are rinsed in natural spring water from a well deep within Maine and for $20 an illegal day-laborer will mow your lawn.
Forget the environmental issues, parents want to feel good about themselves and if that can happened by shelling out an extra $3 for wipes than that's a small price to pay. We all work too hard and don't see our kids enough but the way we feel we make up for it is just ridiculous..
Everybody wants to do what is best for your kid, even if you know you are 99% sure you are being swindled. You are paying a premium for your guilt first, the marketing second, the brand-name third while the difference of an actual items value languished somewhere near the bottom.

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Monday, August 30, 2010

you're on the clock

There is nothing I detest more than the slow talker.  Maybe it's the fact that I'm always in a rush and that I have no patience for anything but when a guy starts talking and it takes him more that 5 seconds to get the words out of his mouth, I'm already zoned out. You can't expect to succeed when you are a Sunday driver especially if you want to compete in the big city so it's not surprising that the slow-talker usually gets relegated to some kind of office position in a company and is often the guy people forget  to invite for drinks during happy-hour

Maybe it's a sign of a rushed society but whenever I encounter a slow talker, I immediately wonder if he's mentally handicapped.    The dude could be the second coming of Einstein but the fact that he's so deliberate in his speech pattern makes me think he's missing three chromosomes.

Yeah I know it sounds horrible but admit it; when the slow talk begins, the words immediately mean less.   I have a friend who has this affliction and hanging with his is painful.   The entire time he talks I daydream about taking a giant ice-pick and jabbing him through his eye-balls.   This guy could be giving me tomorrow's lottery numbers with no strings attached and I'd miss them because I'm zoned out because of the rhythm of his speech.     It's sad really but in a world where we multitask from morning till night, I just don't have time to waste listening to a guy trying to come up with the next word in a sentence.  


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Sunday, August 29, 2010

Tool Time

On one part it keeps the entire IKEA store from falling apart and on another it leaves an incompetent 34 year old male scratching his head.. Although it reinvented the toolbox because of its simplicity -and ability to not strip it's screw head-it's also ridiculous because of the fact there are seemingly hundreds of different sized ones.
Is it just me or are other people with me when it comes to how ridiculous it is that I have a bag full of allen wrenches and none of them are compatible. Why is it that my TV stand needs one size, my bed another size and the high-chair a completely different one. Why can't they just make the wrench-hole universal and just make the thickness of the screw different. I know there are two types of 'normal' screw drivers but basically any phillips head will fit into a plus-sign screw, unless it's wrist-watch tiny or holding up the joint on the Intrepid but when it comes to allen wrenches the variety feels like you walked into a ladies shoe store.
Now granted you get one with every furniture purchase but I'm about simplicity as much as I'm about convenience. It's like having a set of keys which you don't recognize anymore,I have a bag full of them siting in my tool-chest and I'm afraid to throw any of them out because I don't know which will unlock the cabinet in the bedroom or the kitchen cupboard so I just hold onto all of them just in case.
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Saturday, August 28, 2010

subway express

 Riding the subway everyday really makes you have to give in a lot.  Whether its dealing with steaming platforms or rising rates you learn to deal.   You also learn to give up on the notion of personal space and realize your expectations of other people's hygiene might be unrealistic  but when you can't get a seat because a dude's carrying a pooch, that's ridiculous.  I've had a big issue with the lack of seat-policing that goes on by MTA cops, there are often dudes sitting legs spread with that 'fuck off' look on their face just daring you to start with them.  They know you won't so it's their little way to get even with the world, they take up two seats while pregnant women stand and kids cling to their mother's legs.  This type of anti-social behavior should be what the MTA polices, not having 10 cops stand on a platform chit-chatting.     
As if the subway's don't suck enough, yesterday I saw a pregnant woman standing on the subway denied a seat because some dude was using the seat next to him for his dog in a purse.   Now I've got nothing against dudes who carry dogs in their purses (well maybe I do) but when they start to take up seats on the train it gets ridiculous.   If you are a dude you should offer up your seat for a pregnant woman, if you are going to carry a purse than put it on your lap, if you are going to have a dog keep him on the floor and if you insist on carrying said-dog in said purse maybe it's time to jump in front of said train.


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Friday, August 27, 2010

Facebook Hiatus

So at about the same time I started my real vacation I also decided to take a similar vacation from Facebook.  Now I'm not 'anti-facebook' but honestly not being connected to ever schmuck I went to high-school with or every friend of my mother's was really very pleasant.  It wasn't meant as a forever thing but I have gone 2 1/2 weeks without logging in once and it's been great and I can't see myself back on there on a daily basis..  
I have probably missed a couple of Farmville updates, a few lame links and a bunch of idiots wishing their Facebook friends Happy Birthday but I'm no lesser a man for it.   
An article in yesterday's Times about the physical effects of always being connected showed that having no-downtime leads to many physical ailments as the brain needs time to unwind also.  I'm not about to give up my Blackberry but I'm thrilled to have one less thing to use it for.

It's not that Facebook sucks (well it kind of does) but more that there is just too much information.  I am happy to hear that some dude who lived on my floor during my freshman year is doing well but I don't need to hear his take on life 5 times per day.   Out of 200 FB friends, my newsfeed is filled up by the mundane musings of about 20 of them.

I've also realized that the people who post the most often believe that people genuinely care when they wish their Facebook friends a 'good morning' and often seem to post so often only to never fall off anybody's scroll.  It's self-serving and pathetic but mostly I notice that the most frequent updaters aren't my friends in real-life, they are all peripheral acquaintances or people I knew in High School but haven't spoken with in a decade.

In the meatnime I've asked my friends to email me pictures of their vacations and kids and to text me their funny comments and I'm more than happy to not get bombarded with it all at once.

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Thursday, August 26, 2010

the buffet line

There is probably nothing more disgusting than the concept of a buffet line.   People always worry about the double-dip but in this case you have people sticking their forks and hands into trays of food all while taste-testing their way to a $10 lunch..   
What I don't understand is that people in restaurants who are handling food are supposed to wash their hands and wear hats or hair netting except if the people handling the food are the very patrons of the restaurant.  This isnt' a big deal if you don't mind the fact that your food has the fingerprints of every other customer all over it.
I was standing there today, piling my plastic container to the brim and saw three different people pick something up and put it back in to a tray, now they were using the tongs but they took something from their container and put it back in, but there is still a contamination issue.    What is even more disgusting is I'm pretty sure that l the trays of hot food are kept at the ideal temperature for larvae to hatch add to that the fact that people are sneezing all over the place and you got yourself the perfect petri dish.   You want to stop the next Avian Swine-Bird Flu then the best thing you can do is close the unlimited pasta bar over at the Olive Garden. 
The only security the restaurants give you are with those plexiglass sneeze guards which works well if you are 5'6" and taller so i guess the assumption is that short people are less likely to sneeze on the shrimp fra diavolo or that they are less likely to say-it not spray-it so i'd avoid any restaurant of the 5"0 and under club.   
At the end of the day the only way to be somewhat safe is to limit yourself only to the cold stuff even if it means having to chow down on frozen mucus and snot...

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Taking on Modern Design

So in response to the recent TOR rants against new construction including the terrible look and the inconvenience added to the neighborhood we have gotten a number of responses via the TOR site, that terrible BUZZ thing and over email.

One such message I recently received was from an informed reader who is one of the first to really Take on Righetti

So I read your weekend blogs on new construction and renovation. Awful. You mistakenly lump shoddy work in with modern design. They are not one in the same. In fact, modern design preaches efficient uses of space and demands quality, but economical use of work. When done right, modern design is liberating and uplifting to its inhabitants and users. Your cited examples sound nothing like this and do not sound truly modern nor well built. FWIW, I've seen far more examples of shoddy faux-classic construction in recent years than with modern projects. (And no, bowl sinks are more gimmick than modern.)

Zed takes this stuff seriously.

I think there are three issues at play here

- the writer has been known to dance around bars with his pants around his ankles screaming "have you met Mickey Mouse yet?"

-with that said I think I may have overstated new construction as it relates to the entire country and should have kept the discussion centered around the urban setting as I honestly know nothing about a new house built in Arizona or a condo Florida.
One of the issues you see in NYC is that square footage is at a much higher premium than in probably 99% of the rest of the country. See developers in NYC are often dealing with a finite amount of space to build upon while a house built in the suburbs has much more of an opportunity to expand its design whether vertically or by creeping into yard space. Now obviously there will be zoning issues regardless but you will never find a house, townhouse or condo anywhere in the country which doesn't have at least adequate closet space and decent size bedrooms with an average of one bathroom per bedroom. In NYC where the real-estate is sky-high and the amount of space developers can reasonably expect to recuperate in terms of dollars paid is limited so what they are forced to do is put more things into the same footprint in order to get their best return on investment. See a 700 square foot 1 bedroom apartment will sell for less than a 700 square foot two bedroom apartment even if that means both bedrooms are basically walk-in closets. Developers know this and in NYC you will often find apartments with virtually no closet space or completely misshapen or puny living rooms.

- as per the shoddy work, I probably generalized a bit but I have walked into many building recently built (whether they are modern or faux-classic) and find the workmanship despicable. I can't comment for the rest of the country but I have a friend living in a building which was converted into condos a few years ago and the place is falling apart. The contractors took many short cuts and cut-corners and now there is tons of water damage, faulty elevator shafts, major facade work all to be paid for by the condo owners while the developer is well on his way out of town. In addition to this I have seen much more minor issues but when a guy uses a 6" screw to adhere two pieces of 2x2 and you have 2" sticking out of the back, this is sad and unacceptable. Now I don't see this kind of obvious corner cutting in older buildings but maybe I'm not looking hard enough or maybe it says something about the kind of pride people take in their work in 2010 vs 1930 for example.

The other thing is the entire concept of modern, I appreciate buildings that are eco-friendly where the design has a purpose, I don't personally appreciate an apartment with fixtures which make it look like a trendy mid-town hotel. Again personal preference here but I do find that developers who use modern fixtures are also ones who seem to be covering up shoddy work by adding the equivalent of a fresh coat of paint. My feeling here is that if you design modern for curb-appeal you probably aren't concerned about long-term and that in itself might lead to shoddy work.
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Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The Open Air Rip-Off

I hate getting ripped off more than just about anything in this entire free-world.

Today I pull into the parking lot I've used once per week for the last few months, it's an outdoor lot with a reasonable price and nice service but today my impression of the whole operation changed.     The lot has a large $12 for the day sign up which I've happily paid.    Add in $1 as a tip and I'm in-and-out for less than it costs for 2 Miller Lites at Yankee Stadium

But today the parking-lot attendant told me that because I was in an SUV the price would be $15.. now I've been going to the same place for months and always paid the same as a passenger car but out of the blue he's jacked my price up 25%.     Now I'm not driving a Hummer or even an Escalade, I'm pulling up in a Ford Escape.  

I've never understood the logic behind this, my Ford Escape has a smaller footprint as a Ford Mustang (with a smaller carbon-footprint I might add) but I'm getting charged a premium.    Now in a covered lot there might be a thought about cubic-feet but this is obviously not the case in an open parking lot without lifts.  So my car is taking up no extra space yet I'm paying a premium anyway.    It doesn't take any extra work to park my car (I'd actually argue it takes less at it is more comfortable to drive up high) but they charge you anyway.

So once again I feel ripped off by the man, I'm planning on peeling out when I leave today covering this a-hole in chunks of asphalt and bio-diesel fumes.

Monday, August 23, 2010

We need to invade

There is a country with one of the most powerful military forces is the world where on any given day, its citizens fill stadiums where all 50,000 people in attendance stand in unison and silence to pay tribute to their country. This country has its school children saluting the flag and reciting lyrical poems to it every morning. On the streets of most towns you will see neatly manicured lawns sitting in front of rows of identical brick stone building each displaying flags from their porches. This country talks about being a 'democracy' but there are only two choices on any ballot. They talk about freedom of speech but most people repeat the lines that are fed to them over their 8pm 'news' commentary. They claim to have religious freedom but protest when a religious temple would be built in neighborhoods they deem sacred. They help fund the most radical views by consuming vasts amount of fuel mostly harvested in places with self-righteous ideologies. This country invades countries on obviously faulty premises dragging hundreds of thousands of soldiers through wars based on imperial machismo while funneling money through back-doors to fuel the very same people they are trying to 'defeat'. They try to put laws on the books which take away freedoms because those freedoms conflict with what their religious leaders tell them is moral and right.

Sadly this isn't an oppressive society like Iran or North Korea but rather our very own US of A.

Nobody is a bigger Patriot than me, I love this country and the freedoms it affords us. I love the fact that my gay friends can by gay, straight friends can be miserable and the Religious Right is all bent out of shape about it. I also appreciate small-town values even if they aren't always aligned with my own.
But what has always gotten me was the thought that you have to wear a flag on your lapel to be considered a true patriot, as if a $2 memento tells you anything about sacrifice.

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Sunday, August 22, 2010

The Modern Bathroom

This is kind of a continuation of yesterday but it's my blog so there

A few weeks ago when a real-estate agent asked me if I'd be open to look at a new development it kind of floored me. Not specifically because she was putting an entirely different neighborhood out there but more that she thought I'd seriously consider it.
I guess she wasn't exactly sure as she did phrase it very carefully. See in NYC there are two types of home buyers: ones who like classic detail and the small community feel and those who have no taste.
The beauty of the New Development is that...well it's new. You won't have to deal with any pre-existing leaks or the angry spirits of dead people but then again you also don't get character and when I look for a place to live I need character. Now character is found in original crown molding or bay windows not on a 1 foot by 1 foot 'smoker's terrace'.
New Developments always have the same issue, the cram 3 bedrooms and 2 bath's into 700 square feet which means your kid's are sleeping in closets and your closet doubles as your bathroom. Any apartment where they give you the slick bathroom decor with the bowl sink, the rain faucet or the mismatched tiles basically means you'll have the equivalent of an 80's teal and pink fully mirrored bathroom in five years.
But what bothers me most is that the new construction is so often so shoddy. You so often see that the developer cut corners, made sacrifices or just did bad work.
Everytime I walk in I just expect a door that leads into a wall or a living room shaped like a U. Those are all design flaws but what is worse is shoddy work, the last place I saw used 12" screws for a door hinge meaning that 6" was sticking out the backside kind of like John Holmes banging Tia Tequila

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Saturday, August 21, 2010

new condos

In a city of 8 million people and about 1000 parking spots it's not hard to believe that people are often frustrated.   As the city OK's new developments they never seem to take into consideration the effects it will have on other things like parking spots, subway crowding and room in playgrounds etc.  It's always just about new bigger and better buildings, never about quality of life.   
There has been construction in the building next to my office for 4 years.   I'm not saying 4 months but 4 long years as they've put up some fancy hotel-condo combination.    The sidewalk has been closed for 2 years and was diverted through some scaffolding tunnel for the other 2 with construction workers shooing everybody away.   

I'm sure the developers of the building have gotten some major tax exemptions from the city and at some point Bloomberg will come out and christen it with a couple of the tabloids taking pictures.    The issue is that this new building has done nothing but aggravate the neighbors with the insistent noise of jackhammers, saws and hammers as well as the street closings and other inconveniences.   But at the end of the day the people who have had to deal with all of this will get no benefit, it's not as if they will invite us into their lobby for shrimp and crackers on the grand opening or as if they build a public park alongside the building for the enjoyments of the neighborhood.   The developers will sell out the condos at a healthy profit and rent out the hotel rooms for $400 a night and the only thing we'll get are tourists stopping us on the street asking for directions.  
What it will do for the city, nobody knows.  Maybe it will drive tourism or more business travelers onto 45th street which presumably will help out some of the local businesses but as everybody knows the stores in and around 6th avenue and 45th street aren't even open on weekends as they do almost all their business during the workweek and I highly doubt that adding one hotel will change that landscape all that much.
This is the same thing in our residential neighborhood where new buildings prop up every few months, they are usually big monstrosities with no regard to neighborhood feel and have somehow been able to get away with ridiculous sizes by greasing the palms of the city-planners   This is the beauty of living in an overdeveloped city, the people in the neighborhood have to deal with all the construction nuisance while the people buying into the new development will never have to deal with any of it, they will come in and think that everything is just dandy as they refrigerate their produce in Sub-Zero appliances and wash their hands in those idiotic bowl sinks tops, they'll immediately think that they fit right into their neighborhood obviously oblivious to the fact that their building stands 20 stories higher than anything else on their street.  
But even this which is palatable if it also didn't mean that they took away our parking spots.

Friday, August 20, 2010

subway karma

I've mentioned it in regards to flying but it applies even more to a more regular method of transportation for me.

See whenever I take a subway I have this internal tic.  See I can't get myself to walk against the direction I will eventually be going even if there is a station closer than the one I wind up going to.

For example  if I'm heading to downtown on the 6 train and find myself standing on 39th street I will inevitably walk the 6 blocks to 33rd street as opposed to 3 blocks to the Grand Central station.  I have always rationalized that there is a better chance that I catch a train if I walk in the same direction but more than anything it has to do with karma..

But if you take the average person it might not work really work out.

Assume it is 5:25pm and the average New Yorker is standing at 39th street.   The average New Yorker can walk down the 6 blocks in 6 minutes plus a minute to swipe and get down to the station so in this case they can be on the platform at 5:32pm.  Now the same New Yorker can also walk the three blocks uptown to 42nd street with a total commute time of 4 minutes getting me on the platform at 5:29pm.

Now I figure it takes the train 2  minutes to travel the same 9 blocks, so assuming there is a train at  42nd at 5:29 it gets to 33rd at 5:31 -or one minute before the average New Yorker will get down to the platform.

But all of this assumes the average New Yorker who walks 6 blocks in 6 minutes, a Righetti wo can walk that in 5 minutes and all of a suddent the math all changes.   See if I'm the person standing on 39th street at 5:25, I can be down on the platform at 5:31 exactly in time to catch that same train but there is a second reason and it has less to do with karma and more to do with the reality of the crappy subways.  
See if the train were to get to 42nd street at 5:28 instead of 5:29 then I will have obviously missed it as I still couldn't get up to that station until 5:28:30 and assuming there are no delays it would get to 33rd street at 5:30 which also ensures he would also have missed it there also BUT if there is a delay between 42nd and 33rd there is a chance to catch it still on 33rd street while he would have missed it on 42nd.

But even if the math isn't really in only slightly in my favor- I see it as bad-karma to walk backwards and you should always strive to be on the same side as karma.
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Thursday, August 19, 2010

I'm literally going to kill somebody

I'm in no way a spelling or grammar snob, as I have a terrible grasp of the English Language so realize that in order to annoy me you have to really butcher it.     Now I've been known to use to instead of too –although I really know the difference and there have been many occasions where I've changed the word I'm about to write because I don't know how to spell it (thank you Eddie Ift for that joke as it applies directly to me).   I realize that I'm a complete hypocrite when it comes to people who abuse the English language, often thinking less of somebody's intelligence if they cannot properly form a sentence.  I see a misspelling and I immediately think less of the person who wrote it even if I know them personally.    I have even made a (poor) case for trying to add an extra b to the word bum as I think that if dumb is spelled with a b so should bumb.

But the thing that annoys me more than anything is when somebody says something like

"I literally died laughing when I read TOR last week'
 Now unless you are literally dead there is no way that you literally meant to use literally.     Now you hear it everywhere, in common conversation, in news reports, on TV shows in writer word.   People tend to use literally incorrectly when they are trying desperately to make a point but the way I see it by using literally when you meant figuratively only takes away from the point you were trying to make.    The problem is that this word is so often misused that it has almost become correct in the minds of people, it's as if we've committed to the lowest common denominator .
now i expect you clowns to rip apart this blog entry for grammatical and spelling mistakes


Wednesday, August 18, 2010

World's Smartest Man

Forget MIT or Harvard, forget Einstein, Stephen Hawking or even Bobby Fisher, TOR has identified the smartest person alive and he isn't a quantum physicist, he probably can't even spell it. See a couple of mornings per week I go to this cart to get a cup of joe and an egg-and-cheese which is absolutely delicious but that's not what's impressive. See I order the egg-and-cheese on whole-wheat toast with hot-sauce and the guy starts preparing it for me as he sees me walking up. I only had to order it a few times but now he just knows. But that's not the crazy part, this dude working in the equivalent of a 3x3 foot sardine can with a steaming hot griddle, two hot coffee machines and more danishes, donuts and bagels that you can shake a stick at is able to remember everybody's order.

The fat dude with the funny ties gets two bowties and a large coffee with four sugars
The black lady gets a light-and-sweet and a bagel with butter
The guy in the suit with the bluetooth on takes an iced coffee and two eggs over easy on a roll.
The Asian dude takes a glazed donut and an orange juice

It's like a perfectly choreographed dance with no words exchanged and the only sounds being a few good morning grunts.

He must have the orders of 500 people committed to memory, he. Never makes a mistake and is able to give everybody exact change and their coffee just right..

It's like I'm dealing with a combination of the Iron Chef and Rain Man

So I hereby nominate the dude on the NorthEast corner of 43rd and 6th as the world's smartest man......or the winner of the biggest game of memory.
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Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The summer that won't end

The year 2010 will undoubtedly go down as the most miserable one of most of our lifetimes. The weather -mostly the humidity- has been relentless and the economic climate has kept an already tense city on the edge of it's seat for months now.
I haven't looked at the numbers but it would not at all surprise me if crime numbers are up this year for no other reason that between the heat, the angst and the misery of everybody in the city will combine to have a Summer of Sam like feel. Never before have I spoken with so many people who are just dying for the days to drop off the calendar and never before have you seen so many people who are feeling such economic plight.
See the rebound in the economy is not something that the average person is seeing. American's 10% of whom are unemployed and countless other under-employed are suffering. Most people I speak with have scaled back vacations as the double-dip seems more real the more the unemployment numbers see to be unaffected by any government plan or lack of one. The stench this summer comes from the rotting garbage but also from the desperation or lack of it.
I have to take Obama to task here, just like Donnie Walsh now has to take responsibility so does Obama and he has really done very little to give us confidence in a true recovery and less in terms of job-creation. I know that we keep throwing money at unemployment plans but as people start hitting triple-digit weeks of unemployment you have to think differently. There is a lot of blame to go around here from Obama , to businesses, to consumers and to workers

If you can't find work in 100 weeks than you just aren't looking hard enough. I'm sorry that this sounds harsh or maybe unrealistic but this is becoming ghetto-queen mentality. I have to think that paying people to not work is similar to paying farmers to not farm. There are plenty of projects which need to be done -albeit probably not very glamorous ones. If you collect unemployment than I want you spending 20 hours per week volunteering with kids, cleaning up parks, building homes in destitute places, working in soup-kitchens etc.

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Monday, August 16, 2010

The Mosque

So late last week Obama stepped squarely in the center of the WTC mosque controversy which I'm sure have only helped restart the calls of his secret Muslim life.    Now I'm not the biggest State-Right advocate thinking the Constitution is actually antiquated when it comes to all these rights for States as I don't think a 'state' should have rights as this should only be reserved for people but what I do believe is that there are certain issues which should be left for local referendum and any politician especially the POTUS sticking his nose in it will just make everybody smell weird.

But when it comes to issues like Religious Rights and Persecution, I think the Constitution is right on, we have freedom of Religion and our armed forced defend that freedom and nowhere does it say that they defend only Christian Religious Freedom.   Like I've said before, the way I see it we should see this Mosque like buying insurance.   If you build Mecca II on the 103rd floor of the Freedom Tower, I bet you have a lot less to worry about.

But at the end of the day I'm not for anybody telling anybody where and where to put a house of worship, I don't go to any of them and honestly don't care if they are there or not much in the same way that a new movie-theater doesn't quite excite me except how it may directly impact me.  See I don't particularly care for the fact that there are a hundred churches in my neighborhood which eliminates a ton of parking spots since parking in front of a church is prohibited (this coincidentally is not the case for parking in front of a mosque) but I don't have much say over this as it doesn't exactly cause me any real harm.

In the same respect a mosque or a religious sight which is a ten minute walk away from Ground Zero might leave some with a bad-taste but I honestly don't give a crap.  The terrorist have already won when you can't carry a tube of toothpaste onto a plane so that argument is moot.   We need the government to step OUT of issues not into them.   This is not a government issue; it's a private one and one that is protected by the Constitution.

Now the NY Daily News had it best today when they covered a bunch of the houses of ill-refute all of which are located in the shadow of Ground Zero.  

 So until somebody can explain to me that having a place where you can get a $20 lap-dance is not an insult to the 3000+ lives lost but a house of worship is that would be helpful.   

I'll hang up and listen.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

parallel universe

I was once a great parallel parker, I'm not talking good but I'm talking Wide World of Sports great. I could parallel park a Geo Prism, a Jeep Wrangler, a Chevy Blazer with my eyes closed. I never hit the curb, never grazed the bumper of another car and was always inches from the sidewalk. I am not nearly as good as I was, I guess old age, bad knees and lack of practice will do that to even the best in the game but I'm still pretty good which is convenient especially when you live in NYC and you have to street park. I never saw parallel parking as a contact sport, although I must admit that today sometimes I do touch-and-go.
I have never been intimidated by the thought or by observers but I do have one situation which years ago I would have mastered but today is very intimidating. Parking when you are trying to squeeze into a spot which is flanked by a motorcycle especially a Harley.
Now the concept isn't very different than parking in between an AMG Hammer and a 5 series but somehow the fear of knocking over some dude's Harley becomes almost reason to pass on the spot all together. Now it'll would probably serve the ahole right being he probably woke up my entire family the night before as he roared down the street at 1000 decibels but the thought of confrontation is not something I relish at nearly 35. I never saw parallel parking as a contact sport, although I must admit that today sometimes I do touch-and-go.

Now if I'm trying to squeeze a Hummer in between 2 Vespas' I just let her rip.
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Saturday, August 14, 2010

hydrate yourself

For years the only way I hydrated myself was with Lite Beer and Coffee, there were honestly five or six years there where I probably didn't drink more than 10 sodas, 15 juices and 100 glasses of water in a year. Now this is surprising to some, especially being that the two forms of liquid I was hydrating with are both major diuretics but except for my neon-colored piss and my eggplant colored crap, it seemed to agree with me.
See I probably can't win too many awards but I'm sure if hold my own in two: a straight speed eating competition and a not drinking any liquid competition. See I have just never felt like I my body needs to drink anything -other than beer.
But as I've gotten older any my beer intake has decreased to 1/20th of what it was I'm fiending for liquid for the first time in my life as having a beer five times in a day seems a bit out of place especially if you are pushing a stroller.
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Friday, August 13, 2010

The N Word

Now I'm not talking about that show on the Showtime which I've yet to see and know that I'll be bitterly disappointed in but rather the word Dr. Laura threw out a number of times on her show this week.

Now Dr. Laura's point was that 'black guys use it all the time' and asked rhetorically if the caller who had brought up the point in the first place had ever heard a black comedian.   Now granted Dr. Laura is probably the whitest looking chick in the entire world so she might be better off avoiding all words that sound like it although she'd have a hard time doing her job if somebody calls about their gold-digger wife who is complaining about the rigor of him not being bigger and has threatened to pull the trigger with tons of vigor.

 Now I'm sure we've all had this discussion with friends and acquaintances and I had a friend in college explain that if it ended in "gger" it was offensive but if it ended in "gga" it was sort of acceptable.   Now granted this friend was black so I'm not exactly sure he was talking about being comfortable with me using either version and when I tried in vain at a short-lived hip-hop career I have to admit that I used the 2nd version a few times.      I would say that in college I had no interest in using the 'gger' version and only mild interest in using the 'gga' version so except for sending raps to my idiot friends it's really was no skin off my back.  Now I also realize it's a double standard and being OK with one race using it but not another stings off racism in itself but this is the kind of society we live in and I'm too old and too lazy to cause much of a fuss.

But my issue has always been the following:  what happens if you are trying to quote a movie or lyrics in some crappy hip-hop song what the hell are you supposed to do?  

For example if I'm quoting Samuel L. Jackson in any Tarantino flick what am I supposed to do?  Just substitute it for another non-offensive word like peppercorn or salt-shaker or have that uncomfortable silence during that word like I'm bleeping something out or when quoting something it can be acceptable

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Sometimes enough-is-enough.

I'm sure you've all heard the story of the JetBlue flight attendant who told the world to go f themselves and then shot himself down the emergency slide onto the tarmac and ran for glory.    For his crime he served a night in prison and will have to go to court where I'm sure his crime will get plead down to some lame misdemeanor while he's selling his story to Steven Spielberg.

I can see it now, they get Mel Gibson to play the part of Steven Slater as he screams 'I've had it, that's it..NOW GIVE ME A BLOWJOB"

You know that we at TOR despise pretty much everything which has to do with the airlines, from the crappy food, the shitty service, the delays, the NSA personnel, lack of leg room and the ridiculous fees so we can't blame anybody for going out with guns blazing especially somebody who has been stuck having to deal with herds of idiot passengers who do nothing but bitch, moan and complain about the crappy food, shitty service, delays, NSA personnel, lack of leg room and those ridiculous fees.

See not too long ago I was on a flight to Europe and I saw one passenger walk up to his seat during boarding.   He noticed that there was a bag in the overhead bin above his seat.   He takes it out of the bin and puts it right in the middle of the aisle and then put his own bag in the space.   This dude believed the storage bin above his seat was part of his personal space, allotted just for him.    I can't say I've ever seen this happened before but what was easy to believe is what happened next.

As the plane continued to board and passengers are forced to climb over this wayward bag sitting in the middle of the aisle.   When everybody is finally seated the stewardess notices this bag sitting in the middle of the aisle and they make an announcement about a black-bag in the aisle and of course nobody claims it since the owner of the bag would have no way to know that his bag has been moved by Joey Vigilante.    Of course after some further announcements I can see the action happening amongst the flight-crew as they probably consider deplaning because there is an unclaimed bag.

At this point I get up and tattle on the original guy because he caused this entire commotion (and delay) for no real reason other than feeling like the space above him belonged to him.  It took them about 10 minutes to figure out whose non-descript black bag it was and tried to reprimand the ahole who just closed his eyes dismissively and snuggled up against his boyfriend as the flight attendant.  I can see how having to deal with situations like this could make anybody nuts

Now I'm no hero, I'm just a guy who wants to get the flight into the air but honestly if the flight attendant had bonked this dude in the head and kicked his ass down the slide nobody would have complained.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Courtesy Parking

Another courtesy issue I've come across is the following

Living in NYC with a car there is a miserable musical chairs routine which happens a few days per week as you try to find parking on alternate side of the street parking days.
The issue is basically that there just aren't enough spaces for the amount of cars and the situation just never gets better as new high-rises seem to spring up like bunny rabbits with additional residents without adding any new spaces. NYC adds to the misery as they turn free street parking spots into metered parking not to mention the fact that all the fire hydrants are on the north side of the street so when the south side has street sweeping you 'lose' about 6 spots per block.

But through all of this I have a dilemma which unless you know the agony of circling the block to find a spot you'll have a hard time relating too.

There is one day per week (Mondays) when I leave before street regulations start so it doesn't really matter where I park but sometimes I'll see two spots available on Sunday night: one which would have to be moved the next morning and one which is safe for a few days.
Now although I plan to leave the next morning AND realize how hard it is for the next guy to find parking, I still take the safe spot.

I figure the following
- in such a competitive parking market, somebody will grab the spot the next morning as soon as I get out so it's not like the good spot goes to waste, it just gets gifted to a morning guy vs an afternoon guy. I know I'm rewarding the procrastinator but in the unlikely event I oversleep I am protecting myself from another NYC ticket.
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Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Standing Room Only

Although I am a notorious ahole, I always worry about courtesy.   Obviously there is an inherent conflict here but when you are a Righetti you always teeter on the verge of a complete train wreck.

See I have come across  a couple of recent scenarios which have me scratching my gigantic head which we'll delve into over the next few days.

-scenario #1
Taking the bus from Port Authority (AKA Hell on Earth)
If you've ever had the misfortune of leaving out of PA during rush-hour you know the endless lines that snake through the terminal as people crawl through the station to get to such hell forsaking places like West Orange, East Rutherford or Fort Lee.   The good thing is that the buses are decently organized in terms of seat assignments basically it's first come-first served and if as the bus meets seating capacity the driver will tell you that it's standing room only.    Now there is nothing wrong with this set up except when an old lady gets on when a 34 year old guy has some moral obligation to give up his seat.   The problem arises after the bus hits its seating limit and a woman gets on knowing she has to stand.   Now I feel like I have to give up my seat although had this lady waited we both would have gotten seats.

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Monday, August 9, 2010

Building up the immune system


I had the following argument the other day about immune systems and what it takes to keep a strong one.

My theory is that the immune system is like a muscle which has to be trained so that it can grow and become more powerful like training to fight Mike Tyson.  The more you train the better your chances are  the counterargument went something like the immune system has a limited amount of fighting power and like in Mike Tyson's punch-out once it is sucked down there is almost no way to get it back up again.

Now I have no medical knowledge of anything but I do know my own situation which is that I've never been squeamish about anything.  I don't worry about touching the subway poles, I don't freak out if somebody drinks from my glass, I don't worry about shaking hands and I don't wear flip-flops in the gym and except for the occasional bout with Athletes Foot I really never get anything.      Now obviously this isn't a fool proof system as I realize germs can spread and I wouldn't go and start sticking my unit in a bunch of smacked out whores sans condom – actually I wouldn't stick my unit in a bunch of heroin using whores ever – but I do believe that you if you are never exposed to a couple of germs that the first time you see them you're in for a major bed-ridden illness..

I always look at the situation of all those tribes of Indians who got wiped out by small-pox when Columbus and his hooligans started showing up.    These poor feather wearing people were taken out quicker than Stalone took out the Vietcong in First Blood part 2.    Just look at the people in your life who suffer from some kind of OCD and you'll find they are some of the sickliest people you know.  

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Socks and Sandals

I thought that I wouldn't have to waste valuable time discussing this but being away from NYC for a week really makes you appreciate how well dressed we are and how fashion illiterate the rest of the country. Apparently the memo about not wearing slippers with socks never made it out to Connecticut because there are tons of culprits roaming these streets with their Nike sandals on while rocking tube socks. The most disturbing thing is that it spreads over generations and nobody seems immune. This was a look which was originally limited to old farts but now I see kids in parks and in shops around the country rocking it.
Now granted you can't totally blame Connecticuters as this is a state without a professional sports scene unless you count the WWE and also doesn't have any open container laws for automobiles so obviously they are both deprived and depraved. But I'm afraid this is not a phenomenon limited to the Constitution State as I've seen this look in other places as well. but bad fashion is a right of passage when women go to bars wearing khakis and dudes think they are dressed up when rocking Ed Hardy.
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Saturday, August 7, 2010

Satisfaction (not) guaranteed

There was a recent editorial piece -which I'll probably plagiarize- which spoke about Facebook now basically becoming a utility. It has gotten so big and so popular that it has almost become akin to electricity company in the sense that you can't live without it. This happened to email also but the difference is that there are tons of choices (gmail, yahoo!, hotmail) which are all compatible which is not the case with FB.
In a recent poll, Facebook ranked right along with utility companies in terms of satisfaction, think about that for a second. People basically rank their cable-service or phone service the same way they rank this free and completely voluntary internet application. Think about that for a second, people genuinely hate their cable companies, I mean HATE them. I guess it is because they feel they have no other choice and are forced into something they have no control over.. For example in my building we have a choice between Time Warner which sucks and over-the-air which is limited to a grainy channel 7 which basically means you have no choice. Time Warner has a complete monopoly (no FIOS in sight and no dishes allowed on the roof) and thus everybody complains about them especially as rates continue to climb and programing continues to suck.
Well Facebook is seen the same way even if it doesn't cost anything. Between the constant security lapses, privacy setting changes and getting poked by people and updated on their Farmville status it has become an albatross in terms of happiness but there isn't a viable alternative, and people feel it's now just a necessary evil. Advertisers flock because people spend more time on FB than just about anywhere else yet Facebook doesn't have to pay for any content.. Unlike most other websites like CNN or ESPN, Facebook gets away with getting basically all their content for free. So it's a great business model, make an item that people can't live without, trap them into a growing social web, don't pay for any content and let the advertisers bank-roll the whole thing.

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Friday, August 6, 2010

Bailout central

But as much a I hate the banks, the greedy credit-card companies, the stupid people the ones who I feel should be scrubbing the bottom of the hot-tub of hell are the fly-by-night credit-card relief companies.
Is it just me or is every commercial on the radio an advertisement for some kind of credit-card relief consolidation, tax relief, bankruptcy avoidance or debt elimination? It's as if normal companies selling cars, beers or cleaning supplies have completely eliminated their radio advertisement budgets. We are bombarded with one commercial after another claiming that some company with a name like "federal relief fund of america" or "national debt elimination hotline" can wipe all your accumulated debt, credit card bills and your general indiscretion away by paying pennies on the dollar.
Now I have to think the US Attorney General's gotta be looking into this as there is just no way that people could -or more importantly should- be able to walk away from mountains of debt just because. The way I see it, this was the biggest downfall with the bank-bailouts, the car company government assisted bailouts and the rest of the TARP money. It made everybody else feel the need to stick their hand out. Now I do feel for the guy who bought a house at the top of the market within his income range and then saw his life savings swept away because the housing market crashed and his modest home is now worth less than he paid for it.
I don't feel bad with the guy who bought a house outside of his means who took a million dollar mortgage with his $40,000 job. I also don't feel bad for the guy who refinanced his house three times to go on vacations or buy a boat. These people should lose their houses if for no other reason than because they are stupid and stupidity should never pay.
There shouldn't be a market for debt relief because we shouldn't have made it so easy on the corporations when they had their hands out. When Lehman and Bear Sterns and AIG and GM were begging we should have played bookie. We should have put the odds in our favor-not theirs and this is what we should be doing now for every joe-dick and Harry who is hoping Roni Deutsch is gonna save their bacon.

I give you some credit-card relief, cut up your cards and start spending within your means...not real complicated
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Thursday, August 5, 2010

Blinded by the date

Setting somebody up has probably never been harder as communication is supposed to have gotten easier.  If you tried to hook somebody up with a guy from work now, your friend would first have you show her a picture which probably was happening a decade ago too, but now you'll be expected to pull one up immediately from your IPhone.   But it gets worse because no chick in her right mind is going to go out with a totally random dude and since everybody is on Facebook both sides of a blind date are only separated by the match-maker.     So before you even have a chance to make a first impression, you've made a lifetime of them with every terrible drunken picture, stupid status-update or addition to your Farmville.   

With everybody having camera-phones whose pictures are constantly tagged there will never be a time when two people will meet in a bar and have to describe what they are wearing so that they'll be recognized. There's nothing wrong with it but just another sign of the times but it's kind of sad that there will never be a guy who gets stood up because when a chick walks into the bar she realizes that he's 50 pound heavier and 10 years balder than she was led to believe.    I know it's cruel but basically this could be the end for ugly people to ever get a chance to make a first impression... thank god i'm married

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Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Walking contradiction

The NorthEast liberals are really a lame bunch, they all live in this constant state of conflict of pretending they are Pacific Northwest celebrities libs while sunbathing in the Hamptons.

Liberals are a walking contradiction

They shop at Whole Foods with our gas-guzzling SUV's buying mass produced items

They claim to be environmentalists yet buy Poland Spring bottles three cases at a time.

We say we're all about energy conservation while jet-setting across the world

They embrace being post-racial cause we vote for Obama while moving into completely gentrified neighborhoods.

They talk about saving the rain-forest over late's at Starbucks

They rally against corporate profits while online for the Iphone4

They try to eat Organic but buy it from a chain-supermarket

They buy bags made from recycled plastic but won't ever consider non bleached and perfumed toilet paper

They donate to save the whales while eating over-fished sashimi

They try to conserve water all the while making sure our vegetable garden's are well hydrated

They are all about equal rights but find the sex scene in Brokeback disturbing

They support the schools but spend more money to try to get their kids into only Brooklyn Tech, Bronx Science or Stuyvesant

They love Indie Music especially if they can see it at Mastercard sponsored Lolapalooza

And sadly I am probably the biggest culprit

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Tuesday, August 3, 2010

You can lead a Righetti to a vacation but can't force him to relax

When you are always wound up and stressed it takes time to unwind and relax. For some people vacationing is easy while for others it's extremely difficult. That might seem ridiculous for those of you who vacation often but like an addiction to diet-soda, it seems like a foreign concept to those not afflicted by this pain.
There is an art to relaxing which I have yet to figure out, to allow yourself to hang out and just watch the surf... Then I find out that there are two places which now cannot be Righetti vacation spots: the UAE and Saudi Arabia.
I just heard that they are considering banning Blackberry service in those countries. Now there are some people who will say this is a great way to spend vacation -with limited connection to the outside world- but for a Righetti this is no vacation at all. This is hell on earth.

How can I relax if I can't check my email, can't keep tabs at work, can't update the Jeter hit-count, can't check in to www.WWTDD.com, that is no vacation.  So unless they are ready to reverse this curse they will not get a penny of my hard-earned cash (except for all of it they get every time I hit the pump)
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Monday, August 2, 2010

who wore it better

So we all know I'm kind of a chick and sadly not a very attractive one.

Between the training bra I wear when going running, the fat chafing thighs, the emotional outbursts,obsession about weight, the love of Brad Pitt movies and my affinity for gossip I'm probably more woman than most of you chicks..   But NOTHING says it better than the fact that I love US Weekly.   Now in my defense, it's not as if i'm reading it for the articles of how Heidi Montag was able to lose 15 pounds using a low-carb diet or how Kate Gosslin was able to navigate a minefield of reporters as she shopped for ice-cream with one of her daughters.

What I do love is seeing chicks in hot-dresses and I love conflict so there is no better section in any magazine than the Who Wore it Better which you can find in any decent celebrity rag, be it US Weekly, OK!, People etc.  What obviously the concept is to find two pictures in a vast library of red-carpet events of two different celebrities wearing the same dress and pin them against each other to see who pulled it of best.

I have two observations
-  who is in charge of locating an old picture of say Carmen Electra wearing a Gucci tube-top dress, or more importantly who the hell even remembers that she wore it 3 years ago at the screening of Just Friends?  What kind of library do they have of pictures and more importantly how is the card-catalog arranged?    I mean there are thousands of pictures taken daily of thousands of chicks.   How the hell do they store all this information?  is it stored by dress type? celebrity? designer or what/    
I kind of envision some guy playing a huge game of memory.

- it's really almost cruel to see how hot one chick looks while her competition always looks dumpy.    It does seem like there is an unfair advantage to the taller girl in this competition where they are almost always the hotter chick (unless they are stick-figures).   But even when they get two chicks who are roughly the same height there is an obvious bias with the angle of the picture because get Kim Kardashian with curves banging wearing a skin tight dress next to some fuggly chick picture of Sarah Jessica Parker from an above shot looking like a wet dog in a poncho.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Life is a Beach

One thing which I have always hated about the US mentality are the Puritan roots which leads to such garbage conservative attitudes forcing little girls into bathing suits.
Sitting on the beach blogging today, there are hundreds of little kids who are probably otherwise indistinguishable along gender lines except that the 2 year old girls are all in full bathing suits while the 2 year old boy are all dressed in board shorts. Somebody will have to explain what exactly these little girls are covering up but it proves again that this country is a disaster when it comes to sexuality and nudity. Look at the fact that the Western country where there is the most beach coverup necessary is the same country which 2 girls 1 cup (don't google that unless you've abstained from Lunch). Does nobody see the conflict in the fact we have a world-class porn industry while not allowing a woman to sunbathe without her top on.
I see this in the same way as the 'war on drugs' a complete federal nightmare fueled mostly by the fact that they have romanticized drug use by Nancy Reagan.
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