Saturday, December 31, 2011

take on the New Years resolution

I gotta say that the overhearing a bunch of folks discussing their New Years resolutions over coffee at the diner today was quite depressing..  Mainly because you just know the resolutions i.e. lose weight, stop smoking etc was exactly what these four discussed last year over a double cheesburger before walking outside for a couple of buts.   Now I get that it is difficult to change people so days like New Years allows people to make the drastic changes in their lives which they know they need to but because it's such a played out event, it just becomes an empty threat which is actually more harmful than helpful because it gives people this false sense of doing something.

Somehow people have been convinced that the hardest step in a journey is the first..but when it comes to these self-improvement steps the first step when really it's the next 20 that are the hardest..  this is the reason you see a thousand people join NYSC on January 2nd  (and see people like me quit in anticipation of that on December 29th).. because joining is easy.. it just costs money...actually sustaining a workout regiment is hard and people are inherently lazy and content ..

So this year my New Year's resolution is to tell anybody they have a New Year's resolution that they are a bunch of idiots who just wasted $89 per month for a membership they'll be too embarrassed to cancel..

Friday, December 30, 2011

take on the gym membership cancellation

A few years ago when a friend had a terrible accident, I volunteered to help consolidate and close a bunch of things in her name including credit cards, payroll stuff, retailer cards, drivers license renewals etc.    It was all pretty straight forward for the most part except when it came to canceling her gym membership which was nearly impossible.    I needed doctor's letters, proof of hospitalization, report of the accident and more... it almost got to the point where I was expecting them to ask me to bring in a body.  
Fast Forward 10 years and off to another gym membership own.   After 7 or 8 years with NYSC, I made the conscious decision earlier this week to cancel my membership after having made the unconscious decision not to use it about 6 months earlier.    It's not that I won't work out, it's just that I hate the treadmill with a passion, I don't ever see myself pumping iron and I find all those machines completely irritating and thus prefer to work out by running on the hard pavement of NYC.  
I call up NYSC and am told that I can only cancel in person which is a complete scam designed to only prolong your membership especially in this case when I did not have a contract which I was going to break.    I'm sure if you throw enough hurdles up, it will dissuade people from canceling just to avoid the nuisance.

Well if having to physically get there wasn't a big enough pain in the ass, they then put the full court press on you.     I walk in and ask to speak to somebody about canceling and the guy at the desk tries to shoo me away by 'warning' me that it's busy and that maybe I should come back later.. now realize it's Wednesday Night at 6:30 the week between Christmas and New Years.. there isn't a soul in the place. 
Finally one of their reps meets me and the conversation goes something like this

Righetti:   I need to cancel my membership
NYSC guy:   sure no problem.. can i ask why
Righetti:    I haven't used the gym in 6 months..preferring to run outside
NYSC guy:   gotcha.   let me just get to a screen
Righetti:   thanks
NYSC guy..   so am I correct to state in this cancellation sheet that you have decided against being healthy
Righetti... well not exactly
NYSC guy..  no problem.. they just need to me to fill something out.. so I guess you are fine to by a lazy slob for the rest of your life
Righetti...  well.
NYSC guy..  gotcha.. I see here you have a family and young child... please sign here stating that you do not have any intention of seeing her grow up
Righetti..  that's not really what I'm saying
NYSC guy.. ok no problem.. we'll just say that you are happy gaining 2 to 3 pounds a year which will mean that you will be 250 pounds by the time you are 65
Righetti.. i'm not quite sure that's what I came in here to say
NYSC guy.. ok just sign here.. hope your fat fingers can hold the pencil


Thursday, December 29, 2011

Take on the Video Rental Awards

There are times when I really don't get people.   Just this week the first annual Lifetime Achievement award for Video Rentals was given out and the award winner was…. Kevin James.   Now I have nothing against the Fat Man but having him win any kind of movie award is akin to having Mark Sanchez win the NFL MVP.   

My first thought was obviously who the hell is his competition, obviously these award shows are all whores for publicity and my guess is that James was the only one who returned their call so.   I guess he beat out were probably Ray Romano, Andy Dick and David Spade.   If Redbox (the host) had to be honest you'd have to think that a guy like Will Ferrell or Adam Sandberg who were probably too busy doign anything else.. although they could go the publicity stunt route and give it posthumously to Chris Farley.

The second thought is.. do we really need a Video Rental Awards show?    Nobody watches any of these crappy award-shows anymore, shit the Grammy's just eliminated about 40% of the awards nobody cared about to try to keep eye-balls on the screen and the Oscars went away from all their 'best postproduction award for a Foreign film" categories a while ago..  I am all too happy when we consolidate these kinds of things not expand them..

Then you have to think why they are even putting this award show on.. video-rentals are a dying breed.  There isn't a videostore left in America, Netflix is imploding and even the smut shops on 42nd street have all shut down.   I only watch movies in four places:  On an airplane, On-Demand at home, Streaming   directly from Amazon using Prime or download from the Android store for my Touchdroid..  I haven't take a survey but I have to imagine that I'm in the majority when it comes to actually ordering a video or I'm not exactly sure who they are trying to appeal to

But the real thought I have is.. will that jackass wear that idiotic hat when he accepts the award..  I guarantee that I will NOT be watching so I'll have to catch the award show when they release it on video.


Wednesday, December 28, 2011

take on the printer cartridge racket

Forget the Gambino crime family, the biggest racket in this country is the printing business and more specifically the printer cartridge industry.     Just look at the way they run their operation.   You buy a new cartridge for about $75 which last you for a few months, they you buy a new one and they give you a UPS label and ask you to return your old cartridge back to the factory.    They put it under the guise of recycling and a greener earth but honestly it costs them about $5 in UPS Ground charges and they can refill that printer cartridge for about $2 worth of ink and then resell it back to me for another $75.  No wonder there is this huge underground market for off-market ink for these things, it's absolutely ridiculous how big a rip-off it is and now they've compounded the rip-off with them convincing us to give these cartridges back for nothing.. think about it this get $0.05 for a returned glass bottle but get nothing at all back for this hump of plastic other than some environmentally feel good hue.  

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Take on redemption

111.11 to 110.26. Only .85 points separate two teams after 16 weeks
of battle but for the first time the one on the losing end wasn't me.
10 years, hundreds of hours watching meaningless games to the bitter
end, thousands of hours of research and analysis, sleepless nights,
restless days, arguments with my family and so much more. Nobody
ever said we weren't capable it was just that when the games got late,
the scores got tight or the pressure high we always found a way to
find the most excruciating way to lose. Whether it was Tiki Barber
going off in a week 17 Monday night football game to stick the nail in
the coffin or the Redskin drive three years ago which stalled just a
few Fred Davis yards short of victory not to mention the years
depending on Jermaine Wiggins, Brad Hoover or The Whizzanator or
having our heart ripped out with another fumble by Sweaty Arms Ahman

Because although there weren't that
many these few failures always obstructed the successes but not this
year. This year I can finally sleep knowing that finally it has all
come together for the Silly Putty Sacks who as a charter franchise in
the SecondHand Fantasy Football League was one of 3 teams who had not
had the pleasure of heaving the DCup up over our heads in victory.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Take on cheap shoes

A few months ago I got what seemed like a great deal, a pair of
standard black work shoes for $29.99 at Overstock. Three months later
I walk up the stairs at Penn Station and just about kill myself when
my foot gives out. I do some investigative work and find that the
glue that keeps the sole attached to the shoe has completely come off.
I get that a cheap pair of shoes is not going to have the comfort or
life of a better pair but to completely disintegrate is another story.
I am not saying that every pair must pass the same rigorous QC step
but at least all should pass a basic one that tells you it will last
for more than a few months

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Take on the heartbreak

I am nice to old people, I donate to charity, I believe I am a good
father, I work hard, I don't overindulge yet still the fat man in the
red coat hates me. I play by the rules but sometimes it just doesn't
feel like that's enough I don't know what I need to do but whatever
I am doing isn't working.

Once again I have been Romofied, my entire fantasy season gone in the
blink of an eye (or a Jason Babin stunt) and for the second time in
two years as the Cowboys QB was carted of the field, my season was
carted off to the morgue.

I am just not very good at this game

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Take on the butchered wrapping job

Some people wake up on Christmas morning looking forward to a ton of
presents, I wake up to see the wrapping job people have done and rank
the best and worst. Now I can't blame anybody as that paper has the
tensile strength of water but there is something kind of ridiculous
about spending 3 hours finding a gift, spending hard earned money on
it and then wrapping it like it looks like you threw up all over the

So if you insist on force feeding me a gift at least have the decency
to not wrap it like you are wearing ray-bans

Friday, December 23, 2011

take on the gmail 2 step verification

I recently signed up for the new 2-step verification for GMAIL to give me some security.   It basically means that when you sign into a computer from a machine which you don't usually use, that you need to enter a second password which gets sent to you as a text similar to the way many people in corporate America use the toggles. It's a great concept and would give you some feeling of security knowing it would be much more difficult to hack your account but here is a scenario which I think GMAIL has overlooked . 

 You and your new bride are travelling in Costa Rica spending nights in fancy hotels overlooking the cloud-forest, Volcano Arenal and the hot springs.   Everything is going swimmingly when all of a sudden you realize that you can't find your bag which included your wallet, your passport and your brand new white IPhone 4s after a night of heavy booze and marathon sex.     You need to get in touch with your friends in Staten Island to help you get back to the States but without a phone you can't call, text or email.    You search high and low and finally find an internet café, go to and log-on.   The problem is they ask you for the 2nd verification code which of course was sent to your brand-new white IPhone 4s and now there is no way to log onto your account and thus no-way to get in touch with your friend with too much chest-hair, too little humility and too much weight around his midsection.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

take on McJesus

A buddy of mine driving through fly-over country comes across a manger in front of a McDonalds the power of which immediately forces him to take out his camera, snap a picture and send it around to all his buddies describing it as 'real america'     The beauty of it is that it combines the two great loves of America, Jesus and Big Macs and shows how inseparable the two are. 

I have spent a 100 nights in 'real america', have been in the company of some of the biggest religious fanatics who have screamed at me that this is a 'Christian country'  and have seen more crosses, mangers, Rudolph's and virgin mary's in public places than I care for so I realize the importance of the Baby Jesus to an incredible percentage of this population.     Of course I could argue that this country was founded on the concept of a separation of Religion and State but when you hear God's name invoked after every presidential address, spoken by every elementary school kid before class, during every 7th inning stretch at Yankee Stadium and after every NFL victory you realize that there is no doubt that you can never truly separate the two especially when you see that the American Muslim program gets pulled off the air. 

But what made this so striking was that it was located on the property of a McDonalds a company which you would think would keep its nose out of anything potentially controversial, I can't imagine any 300lb American passing up a Happy Meal because there wasn't a Nativity scene in front of the double wide doors.  

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

taking on what the untouchable police force

know this is going to come across as somewhat tone-deaf but I'm really starting to believe it, but in very sad way the memory of 9/11 has become the worst thing that has happened to the accountability of the  average cop walking the beat because when it comes to any form of criticism they have become completely untouchable.   There are thousands of great cops out there but there are also a ton of them who see protecting the lives of the citizens of this city as secondary to killing green-pigs or playing words with friends.

 I lived through 9/11 and obviously don't mean to imply it is at all a good thing but what the memory of it has done is that these cops walk around completely untouchable when it comes to their individual personal behavior.   I've lived in NYC for 10 years but it's getting completely ridiculous how they walk around now with this air of entitlement.  Every day I walk on the street, stand on a subway platform, wait in line at a restaurant and see a cop putzing around on his cellphone.    Today I saw a guy on the corner of Times Square playing Cut-The-Rope, yesterday I was almost run over by a cop driving his patrol car while on his cell-phone and every day I see a group of them congregate on one side of a subway platform shooting the shit..    I don't know another profession where it seems completely acceptable to spend most of your working day completely distracted.   I've said it before but you don't see a girl working at McDonalds on her phone her entire shift, I never catch the postman standing around reading a magazine and I don't see an elevator operator playing angry-birds and none of these guys have the responsibility to make sure that the citizens are safe.

But even if you accept that cops are a different animal, what gets me is that you can't say anything about it because you'll come across as unappreciative or unpatriotic even if the criticism is completely acceptable.   Take that ticket-fixing scandal which broke a few months ago.   The immediately response was not that of shame but was a bunch of cops wrapping themselves in their flag to defend heroic behavior on days like 9/11 to try to diffuse the fact that they were breaking the law. 

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

take on the Iphone earbuds

I am often shocked with how incredibly stupid people are and even that statement shocks me.. 
Take today as an example, I am walking to work and see some dude standing on the sidewalk using their white earbuds thing to talk on their IPhone.  Now this in itself isn't that crazy but what is ridiculous is that this dude was still putting his phone right up to their mouth.. what exactly is the point to having to wear those earbuds if you are just going to give yourself an arm cramp by holding the phone mic right to your face.  
This is similar to the people you see driving using the speaker-phone option on their phone but still holding the phone in their hands.    Somebody please explain to me how anybody could consider this 'hands free'

Monday, December 19, 2011

Take on the original gift

Somebody asked me what the hardest thing was about being married or in another relationship. I have hears people say that it's money, kids, philosophical differences or life style but after being married for 5+ years (and having been together for almost 9 years) I have to say the single hardest thing is to come up with an original gift. For somebody like me who will only try to present a well thought out gift, all these holidays, anniversaries, birthdays etc are impossible. Just do the math

Just do the math and your head starts to spin
You have four gift giving days per year (Birthday, anniversary, Christmas and Valentines Day) x 8 years and before you know it you are approaching three dozen 'well though out' gifts

No wonder I have gone to the massage about 10 times already

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Take on the 'never drinking again'

There are mornings when you feel like
you missed out and there are mornings you are glad you did. Years ago i made it a point to always get my money's worth at a party with open bar but when I woke up this morning and it did not feel like there was a contractor drilling in the inside of my head I felt like I wanted to drop to my knees and thank god. So many mornings I have spend vowing to never drink again but today was a morning where I had that feeling without being hungover and just glad I didn't feel like hell

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Take in church parking

Whatever happened to separating church from state? In a city where there always seem to be one parking spot for every two cars, our city still insists on kissing Christian ass with their no-parking in front of a church signs. I don't know what the reasoning is or why it's been this way for ever but there seems to be no rhyme or reason because mist churches seem to be closed most of the week. It can't be a 'religious' thing as mosques, synagogs and temples aren't afforded the same luxury but somehow thousands of perfectly good spots are eliminated all over this city to accommodate a few

Forge everything else we need a commission to find more parking spots an eliminating these no parking zones should be step 1

Friday, December 16, 2011

take on the subway flood

Is there anything less efficient than the NYC subway turnstiles?   I'm not talking about the fact that there seems to an inverse relationship with the amount of time before the train departs and the amount of swipes it takes to get through but instead talking about how ridiculous it is that during rush hour you can't get to the turnstile to enter the station because there is a flood of people coming up the stairs.   I have lost hours of my life when I missed a train because it took 5 minutes before I could even get anywhere near the turnstile because getting to the swipe spot feels like you are swimming upstream

Here is a novel ideal how about you devoted lanes for entering and exiting cause when you get to the Holland Tunnel it isn't a free-for-all with cars using the same lanes at the same time for inbound and outbound traffic

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Take on the small hair

Everyone knows the TOR position on public restrooms but sometimes even we are appalled by what we find. Today in a standard NYc office building bathroom we are met with what I can only believe is an ass hair on the seat. Now I know some of the TOR readers of Slavic and Mediterranean descent will tell me that excess body hair is something they must deal with but is there really nothing you can do to not flake ones that have come out of your ahole onto my seat??

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

take on the mastercard gift-card

A few years ago, I received a Mastercard giftcard as a present from an aunt.    It was a nice gift but somehow it never made it out of the birthday-card it came in.   Fast-forward 3 years when I'm going through a spring-cleaning and find the birthday card with the Mastercard giftcard still sitting inside.     This felt like finding a $20 in the pocket of your jeans while doing the laundry.. so here I am sitting with essentially found money and decide to splurge by using it to go out to eat, except in this case my pocket has a huge hole in it...because the card gets declined when we decide to use it to pay for the meal.   We call the company who issued the card and are told that they charge a $2.50 monthly convenience fee..   Can somebody explain what the hell convenience it is to me to steal $2.50 from me on a monthly basis.   This card was paid for in cash at a premium (it costs more than $25 to get a $25 card), somebody collects interest on this $25.   So they are charging me 10% per month so that they can make 2.5% when they throw it in a standard savings account, how is that for 'convenience'?

Forget rallying against the 1%ers.. I'm rallying against the 10%ers

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

take on loud commercials

We spend about 360 days out of the year complaining about something but today we're going to commend some very brave people who complained loud enough to actually get something done.   After a couple of years, a bill finally passed Congress that would force commercials to have to lower their volume to the same level as that of the TV stations.    For years we have complained (mostly Mrs TOR) that we have to reach for my remote 3 times per half-hour so that I don't blow my eardrums out when New Girl or Fringe goes into commercials.  Now granted watching any of those shows should make me wish my eardrums were popped out by sharp but finally I can make that decision based purely on the merits of the show and not the volume of the sponsors.

Now we all know that advertisers and marketers will find someway to grab our attention and it wouldn't surprise me if they find some way to circumvent the rules although I wouldn't complain at all if instead of trumpeting volume they spliced in clips of the Lindsay Lohan playboy photoshoot.

Monday, December 12, 2011

take on the All American Muslim

I opened up today to find out that Lowes has cut its advertising on some TLC show called All American Muslim after pressure from a bunch of radicals down in Florida who said this show was a guise for sleeper-cells..    I'm sure All American Muslim is about as entertaining as American Dad or American Chopper or American Idol so I can't imagine the entire show getting pulled will be any great loss but what it does show how the crazies are running the asylum..

This is what America is all about apparently, casting a large spell on an entire group of people, religious group or race.  Depending on where you look Muslims make up somewhere between 1/2 and 2.5% of the entire US population and I would venture to guess that the percentage of those Muslims who are nuts is probably about the same as the percentage of crazies who are card-carrying members of some Christian church.    In 225 years we're still the same bigoted group we were when we were shipping groups of Africans by boat to work our farms.    How this Florida group isn't offended by Jersey Shore, Joe and Kate plus 8 or the horrible singing on the X-Factor is the real travesty.

But this is who we are and nothing is more apparent than a conversation I had with somebody the other day about Mitt Romney, where they told me that they wouldn't trust him because he was a Mormon.   Now mind you that this was the same person who told me 4 years ago that all of this Richard Ayers-Revered Wright-secret muslim-Obama stuff was incendiary but now they throw the exact same argument against a Republican. 

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Take in airplane rules

I will not use TOR to defend Alec Baldwin but would like to shine some light on a practice which airlines participate in which makes absolutely no sense. Baldwin got kicked off a flight for refusing to out away his smartphone so he can continue playing Words with Friends which I get because that game is incredibly annoying.
I get airlines need rules and need ge ability to enforce them in this age but honestly I have asked this question before: Airlines say that phones must be turned off when the door is closed prior to pulling away from the gate yet you are allowed to use your phone the second the wheels touch the ground upon landing. I just ask for consistency
In both cases the door is closed, in both cases you could e interfering with radar and yet in one of the cases you are getting kicked off a flight while the other you are applauded.

Sent from my iPhone

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Take on the House Blend

I am embarrassed by my country. It's not because of foreign policy, it is my because we allow the banks and special interests to run Washington and it is not because David Stern runs his league like some overzealous fantasty football commish
I am embarrassed because when I walk into a coffee shop and get a cup it tastes like I am drinking watered down pool water. For a country who claims to go big or go home, we are a bunch of pussies when it comes to coffee. Turkish coffee, Arabian coffee, Italian coffee, Brazilian coffee all tastes like you are chewing on coffee beans while the typical American house blend might as well be called House bland. Not only is our coffee weak and tasteless, nowhere else do they numb the taste with sugar and milk to drown out the flavor of dirty socks

If America thinks it can still be a force, it might want to start by growing a pair

Friday, December 9, 2011

take on the natural laxative

Sometimes the biggest scientific breakthroughs are the ones we find out in some convoluted way.

There are many out there who have issues of being so plugged up that they can't go for days at a time which people combat using enemas, stool softeners, prunes and even a table spoon of olive-oil but honestly there is nothing which can unclog your bowels than a night of beer and sushi.

It's as if the combination of tuna, wasabi and Sapporo is the perfect combination to offset the body's ability to bind its excrement because like clock-work, 10 hours after my last bite of maccrel I'm sitting on the can..   Now i'm not saying it's an uncomforable setting but instead a fairly easy way to relieve y ourself    
I'm sure the local Japanese restaurants can't wait for Phizer to start marketing it to all those poor plugged up folks

Thursday, December 8, 2011

take on the 'leaving money on the table' argument

There is a sports argument that I cannot exactly wrap my head around, it has to do when people compare contracts for players.   This happens often but the conversation recently has been about Chris Paul who has been making a not so quiet plea to get out of the NBA Siberia of New Orleans to move to the NBA version of the Addams family in New York. With the new collective bargaining agreement the NBA continued its attempt to keep home-grown players on their original team by giving them a financial incentive to stay.   Although nobody is quite sure it sounds like the Knicks could sign Paul to a 4 year-$74 million dollar deal next summer while he could earn $100 million for 5 years if he stays put.    Even on a per-year basis there is no denying that that the Knick offer of $18.5million per year would be less than the New Orleans offer of $20 million per year but it's probably not a far fetch to think that he can make up at least a part of the difference in endorsements playing in NY although that really isn't the point

The point is about the argument which goes something like this..    'Chris Paul is leaving $25 million on the table if he goes to the Knicks'    The problem is that a lot of that is based on the value of the contract but doesn't take into consideration the amount of years of said contract.

Now I get that there is a $25 million dollar difference here but there is also a difference of one year.    In the NFL that might be a big difference but in the NBA where career ending injuries are very uncommon, The entire argument of 'leaving $25million on the table' is rubbish because it assumes he makes $0 in 2016 and it would be almost impossible to fathom that Paul would not at least get a decent one-year contract in 5 years.    In that fifth year he'll only be 32 and should still be able to garner an offer of $10-$15 on a one year contract if not significantly more. 

Look at the 2009-2010 salaries for point guards Jason Kidd $21 million, Marbury $21 million , Bibby $15 million, Arenas $15 million, Nash $15 million… most of these guys are well past 32 and most are bad.  I have to imagine that unless he completely falls apart there is no reason to think he wouldn't get at least something from one of the 32 teams.
So all of a sudden the amount he's leaving on the table is maybe $10 million which still is nothing to sneeze at but it's not $25 million either.
now i've also thought of the following..  Why doesn't a player sign a one year deal with a new NBA team and then immediately sign an extension since he is then officially under contract of that team.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

take on the Groupon deal

I read an article today about a cupcake shop across the pond who was basically put out of business because of a Groupon deal they had advertised when 8500 people showed up demanding a dozen cupcakes at a 75% discount.  

I get this new concept and we have participated in a couple of these things but I find that the vast majority to Groupons, living social buys and the one from Amazon we buy are an almost complete waste.    I walk into a take-out restaurant the other day with a $30 Groupon but was informed I had to use the entire amount in one sitting or the balance on the account would get cancelled.   You can't possibly buy $30 worth of food in one of these places even if you order two extra smoothies, a second bag of fries and three bottles of overpriced water.   

But that's not the worst of it, I find that ever deal I have ever bought was one of those  'yeah I've been meaning to get back into shape' moments as I signed up for 10 classes of boot-camp for $50.   Problem is that I'm now getting daily reminders that my Groupon is about to expire and I have about as much interest in Boot Camp as I would in eating 102,000 cupcakes..

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Take on hotel WiiFi

Staying at a five star resort you think you should get it all. With your valet parking, turning of your beds, bellhops and room charge cards you figure they have all the 'conveniences' covered but when you get into your room an notice no WiFi signal you realize how much they are missing out on.
Granted there is broadband service available but in a day and time when most people carry IPhones and IPads a wired cable doesn't do you much good. I will never understand why hotels in today's age are not fully WiFi enabled. It can't be the cost of the wireless routers which even for a big hotel would only run you a few thousand dollars, it can't be based on lack of infrastructure as the beauty of it is that it doesn't take more than a box with a couple of antennas so the only thing it can be is disconnect

I have spent 5 days and nights with no ability to stream movies or videos, to download books or newspapers or to as much as surf online on my TouchPad. Now my complaints to the front desk obviously were not going to immediately resolve a complaint but I would say that it makes for a pretty disappointing part of out stay to not be able to fire up my HP touchpad and get much done unless I'm sitting in the lobby.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Take on the handicap bathroom

After a chicken quesadilla, two Bud Lites and some wingers I had one of those moments where it is man vs time as i rushed to find the closest -and most discreet- piece of porcelain real-estate. I decide not to punish my family by using our hotel room bathroom and instead rushed to the one in the fitness center. I walk in and head straight to the completely empty locker-room. I survey the options and see two stalls, the normal stall and the handicap one. Since I figured that this would be one of those instances where the less confined air space the better, I opt for the larger of the two options.
5 minutes later I emerge victoriously out of the bathroom and as I walk out I meet eyes with some dude who is combing his hair and he looks at me like I just pissed in his coffee. Now my first inclination was that he was already eating my stench but as it wasn't a prototypical stall as it was completely enclosed, I quickly figures the stench couldn't have travelled that quickly
I then realized he was giving me the stink-eye because i had used the handicap stall.
To be clear a handicap bathroom is only somewhat similar to a handicap stall in the sense there is a little more room but unlike the parking spot there is no rule (written or unwritten) that limits fully able people from using it. A public place is require to have one, not make it an exclusive use one

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Take on the resort fee

Obviously I am not highbrow and nothing is more apparent that i don't belong as when you put me in a resort. I basically have no idea what I'm doing in a situation like this and find myself stumbling all over myself when it comes to etiquette
Take this place with their $20 resort fee which should make part of it easier but instead makes it much more difficult

I get it as a concept as I am never sure how much to tip, when to do it and how much us appropriate. It ruins an entire vacation for me as I spend every waking moment questioning myself and in theory this resort fee should make that easier but for those of us with no knowledge about it, it winds up costing you more
But what should make is easier actually makes it more difficult because nobody can explain who and when to tip.
Take yesterday when the bellhop brings my bags up and then spends 10 minutes explaining everything about the resort As he gets ready to leave my room I reach into my pocket and only see a $5. Now it seems like this is too much but I feel completely weird about asking for change and the guy is obviously stalling for something
I bite the bullet and hand him the finsky. He smiles and thanks me and then tells me that the resort fee covers incidental tips. The problem is that he already has the five-spot and I can't exactly ask for it back. So now I feel like I'm screwed twice. First for overtipping and them for not knowing what the resort fee is supposed to cover. I have to say that this is the kind of thing the front desk should make abundantly clear when you check in

Now my buddy the Bump who has worked in the service industry for most of his life and thus throws around singles at a hotel like Righetti at a strip club, probably doesn't find himself in that spot First of all like a trip to FD'a he probably walks in with a 6 inch stack of singles so even if he didn't know about a resort fee he'd only lose a couple.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Take on a terrible look

I have been known to dress like I don't own a light bulb but I will say that overall I get away with not having to put too much energy into the way I look by keeping it incredibly simple. For work I wear black or gray pants with a white or blue button down matched with black shoes and either gray or black socks. On the weekends I wear tshirts and jeans for most of the year and in general I don't deviate from what works. Well today I did the indefensible by going in kakhi shorts paired with socks and sneakers. If I didn't already look like the prototypical American dad, I broke that today. Terrible just terrible

Sent from my iPhone

Friday, December 2, 2011

Take on valet parking

I pull into my hotel yesterday and notice there is no option to park, I pull to the front and get whisked away and before i know it they've tacked on an additional unadvertised $150+ for my five day vacation. In my opionion there is nothing more irritating than forced valet parking. I get that certain people feel special when given white-globe service but I find it to be a gigantic waste of time. It always takes forever to get your car and for the (in)convenience for having to wait they bang you for $26 per day. Not only that but you gotta throw the dude a couple of bucks each time he gets the car for you so all of a sudden you think twice about going to CVS because what should be a painless 5 minute trip now turns into a total show

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Take on the thru-streets

There is nothing more stressful than having to catch a plane, jumping in a cab ad all of a sudden be confronted with the equivalent of the parking lot at Metlife stadium. I realize NYC traffic is a pain in the ass but it seems that it shouldn't be entirely unpredictable but that hasn't stopped my cabby from systematically choosing the most crowded streets throughout manhattan
It has assured me of one important fact. That there is no way that those thru-streets are even slightly more effective of getting traffic across town
I am convinced those are designed to allow taxis from jacking riders for all they're worth

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Take on the left side gas tank

We seem to be able to adjust to most thing even if the old English system the Americans use is antiquated. We buy milk in gallons, soda in liters, we count football fields in yards but the premier event in the Olympics is measured in meters

But one thing that gets me is that my informal study has shown is that 75% of all cars have their gas tank on the left driver side. This is convenient when the drier has to pump gas but it makes for a cluster at the pump. I pull into a station yesterday and find that there is a huge line for gas on one side of the pump while the other side was as clear as day. Now I am impatient so obviously i swing around, make a three point turn and pull in facing the opposite way as everybody else I get my gas and then have to reverse out, do a backwards pony turn, wait for the other ahold doing the same thing before I am back on the highway. Now obviously you can't force GM, Chrystler and Ford to do anything but the next time one of them comes hand in hat looking for some tax payer handout we tell them that we would on the condition that they make their fleet right side gas pump accessible.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Take on the NJ transit ticket machine

I feel for anybody who has ever had the misfortune of having to commute to the Garden State out of either Penn Station or Port Authority. I don't feel for them because of what can only be described as one of the least pleasant commutes in America with the overcrowding in these two mass transit hubs. I din't even feel for them considering when they complete this hellish commute they end up in some non descript jersey towns with about as much personality of a wet fart
Why I feel bad is that these commuters have to deal with the slowest ticket machines known to man. What should be a transaction which takes about the same amount of time as an ATM withdrawal easily takes 60 seconds. Now that may not sound like a lot but when you want to catch a 5:35 train to Manalapan it seems like an eternity
It's like they have a homing pigeon in the back of those suckers which has to literally fly back to the base station in Rahway to complete your transaction

Monday, November 28, 2011

Take on snail pace

Most of the time I find myself in a rush. I'm rushing to and from work. I rush through lunch, schedule short vacations, multitask constantly and hardly take a break so I realize that there is more than just a bit of irony in the fact I hate being rushed at a restaurant. I get that these places need turnover in order to survive but there is nothing more frustrating than having lunch and feeling like you are on the clock. I hate food not coming out together, I hate being given a check before I've finished my coffee and although I don't like sitting in front of an empty plate k hate having a waiter start to collect the place-settings, napkins and salt and pepper shakers before I am through. If I am going to drop $25 for brunch, at least allow me the dignity of not feeling like I'm being herded like a cow
So here is a big thumb-up for any restaurant which gets the snail-pace approval

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Take on the gift of booze

When my sister in law opened her presents for her super sweet 16 (x1.875) birthday party this weekend it shocked me to see how many people brought her booze. Not because she's not a fan of alcohol but because who the hell ia ever going to drink all of this. I unofficially counted 7 different bottles which if it had been a house party might seem logical but for as a present was more than a bit weird I get the idea behind a good bottle of wine or a beer of the month club but to give somebody a cheap bottle of chardonnay, a fifth of Wild Turkey, a two liter of vodka just seems odd. This kind of gift just screams regift.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Take on the tipping point

Malcolm Gladwell's book The Tipping Point speaks about the masses following the innovators when it comes to popular culture. The coolest bands are discovered in small murky clubs, the best authors start out as guys who write for a small audience and Hush Puppies are cool only when they are not.
I believe in The Tipping Point concept and feel like most things Jump the Shark pretty much as they get 'discovered' by everybody. The one exception seems to be Facebook. I was speaking with a 20 something the other day and she admitted to checking Facebook at least 20 times per day, she posts, she lurks an she comments and asking her to get off of it for 24 hours is akin to asking her to chop off her left arm
The funny thing is that unlike a traditional Tipping Point, she was part of the original Facebook army having gotten her account with her .edu email address but the irony is that she like all the other early adopters never left Facebook when it got lame while basically everybody in my generation who joined late also saw how incredibly lame it was.

Although FB claims to capture about 25% of te world population it really only gets three demographic groups. Do a quick search of who is an active Facebook person and I am sure it is overwhelmingly women in their 60's, new (or wanna be new) mothers and the original FB kids crowd who are now in their mid to late twenties. Out of all my male friends I only know two guys who actively post and comment. Basically everybody in
My generation left in a Moses like mass exodus but the people who stayed are very much the original members.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Take on Friday bloody Friday

My three favorite days of the year are Thanksgiving, The 4th of July and Black Friday because these are true American Holidays and in all three times you can catch fire works. Either because your aunt doesn't like your uncle's new young wife, because some nutjon is setting off M80's in his backyard or because American shoppers are psychos I have never been one of these crazies that stands online at a BestBuy at 2AM hoping to get a BluRay player for 50% off but I love watching the news that night to see people get trampled or shot as they fight over a Tickle Me Elmo doll. This is America at it's worst/best anyway you get it, people so infuriated with the man (in front of them) they take out a gun.
This year is mo different as there are already reports of a few injuries including some chick who started to pepperspray anybody who tried to come near the tablets in the electronic division at a Wall Mart
You gotta love it

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Take on the Thanksgiving game

The three things you can count on during the fourth Thursday in November is indigestion, tryptophan and people complaining about the Lions. Every year everybody complains that teams other than the Cowboys and Lions should be afforded the national exposure which they say isn't fair to other teams but really it comes down to people being annoyed that they are forced to watch a team that has sucked since I was in high School. This year is the first time in about two decades that people didn't complain the Lions were on TV and it's not because they finally started to believe in tradition. It is only because the Lions finally don't suck

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Taking on the cab to the sticks

Yesterday as I jumped into a cab in the pouring rain and told the driver to take me to the last stop in Brooklyn he -like many before him- groaned. Anybody who has lived in the boroughs has had this happened to them with cabbies acting annoyed for having to comply with the law because they will say that they will not get a return fare. Now first of all this is crap because there are plenty of people in Bensonhurst, Riverdale and Flushing who would use a yellow can but because they are like the bald eagle seem to be completely extinct

But forget servicing all the boroughs, I think long trips are actually a great deal for these guys, especially at 10pm on a Tuesday. Our entire ride did not take more than 25 minutes and after a generous tip the guy put nearly $35 in his pocket. So even if it takes him another 20 minutes to get back into lower manhattan, he has already made $35 for the hour plus he has 15 more minutes to shuttle a couple people between wall-street and TriBeCa. This dude probably made $45 during the hour he had me in a car, I'd guess that $45 is more than he sees in an hour cruising Manhattan.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

taking on the power of a win

I have a friend whose life seems to be turned upside down lately.    His wife went up and moved out of NYC to some Midwest town, his hairline went up and moved about 3 inches up his scalp, his gumline is creeping into his mustache and for the last few months he has been in total depression.   I called him a few weeks ago and felt like I was talking to somebody taking a call in a library, his voice so soft it was barely audible and honestly I am getting a bit worried.     He's a good guy with a ton of life but he also goes through these episodes where things don't seem right.   I check with mutual friends and honestly nobody has heard from him in 3 months eventhough he's got more time on his hands than anybody.   The last time I saw him was at a wedding when he looked like he was ready to plunge either his unit or his fist into the first thing that moved.    He used to be a pretty regular member of a small online forum and chat-room but even that has stopped…until

Out of the blue with a combination of Jay Cutler firepower, a resurgent Larry Fitzgerald, the transformer named Eric Decker Nelson and some dude named Helu the world has opened up again for my friend.   I can't say that it was a total points onslaught but it was enough because all of a sudden as if some divine intervention birds were chirping, romances were rekindled, pens were being sold and broadband was being used..  it didn't take much (and it usually doesn't when you you are competing in back to back weeks against the likes of Reggie Bush, Marquez Colston, Braylon Edwards, Brandon Jacobs and some dude named Baldwin.)   but like the first time a 11 year old boy beats entire world was (re)discovered.  
See from those who have never devoted their lives to something as important as a team there will always be snickers but what they don't realize is that by shutting themselves out of the new American pastime, they are shutting themselves out of America.   Of course there are days when it doesn't feel fair like when Adrian Peterson goes down with a high-ankle sprain early in the first half, when Peyton Manning's injury makes Reggie Wayne and Dallas Clark's values moot or when you look down and see you have a team filled with Buffalo Bills but that is all part of the game.   So for those who don't quite know, there is a love out there that a man will have that is greater than that of their mother or wife, it's an addiction worse than the best Smack and it's a high better than three hours at FD's with somebody else's black-card and when things are rolling it's like nothing in the world but when you are on a three game losing streak the pain is unbearable but all it takes is one win 

Monday, November 21, 2011

Take on the Indian guy

I was talking with an acquaintance the other day about this great HP touchpad I got for $99 as part of that HP closeout sale and mentioned that i was thinking about upgrading it to the Android Honeycomb operating system. I wasn't doing it because I dislike WebOS as it's actually kind of cool but was doing it because the HP app-store is a total graveyard and with them shutting down the production of these things nobody believes that any developers have any long term plans to create software for it
Long story short is that when I was discussing it, one guy mentions that the IT guy at work could do it for me. I say "oh the indian guy Jinesh" the third guy we were talking to looked at us like we had two heads each I know he was seething and was just dying to say something like 'not all IT guys are Indian you bigot'
Except for the fact that this guy is in fact an Indian. I have known him for 10 years, seen pictures of his kids and wish him a happy Diwali so although my acquaintance thinks I paint with too broad a brush I actually just being descriptive
If I said the Russian ballerina nobody looks twice, the Japanese sushi chef is completely acceptable Now tell me why you can't refer to the Indian IT guy or the Jewish Lawyer.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Take on the Kindle app

Last week before flying out to China, I downloaded the kindle app hoping to be able to catch up on some reading I've been putting off for too long. I've schleped around too many books that I've not actually had time to read in the fear that I would be stuck somewhere with nothin to do but stare at a wall but with virtual books I could alleviate the fear without having to break my back. Sounds like a great concept except when you click on your kindle-app it doesn't actually let you download books. The way this app is set up is that you can pull any book you hbe previously bought from the Cloud but doesn't actually let you purchase a new book. For that you have to log onto amazon, buy and E-book and then log back into your kindle-app to download it from the cloud which obviously could not be less convenient

So here I am sitting in an airport waiting to take off and what should be a 2 click process becomes a complete ordeal

Thanks Kindle

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Take on the running late vendor

When we made arrangements with some event we booked on Groupon with the vendor, I knew we were in for a mess. Not because the Groupon was a rip-off but because the lady said that she'd be there at 10am as arranges as long as she didn't hit traffic. She called at 9:55 surprise surprise saying she was stuck in traffic somewhere in the Bronx Now I fully understand traffic but when you are already predicting it a week before wouldn't it make some sense to leave a bit earlier. I am not the kind of person who says that when you are being paid to be somewhere that you should be giving yourself a bit of a buffer and calling somebody 5 minutes before you are to be there saying you are in the Bronx really means you didn't leave early enough. Now if we had asked her to come at 5AM maybe you would say that being early is uncalled for and completely inconvenient but this is 10AM in Brooklyn. Worse comes to worse you get a cup of coffee and hang out for 20 minutes but when your entire thing revolves around JIT you know it won't ever really work

Friday, November 18, 2011

take on the airplane stub snub

Considering how often I fly, it's surprising how infrequently I have a problem with my SkyMiles.  100,000 miles in per year and Delta accounts for almost all of them… the problem is that they never seem to capture all  of them which is a bit tricky.    Last month I flew from Bucharest to Brussels on Brussels Air which is a SkyMile partner, before I boarded I gave them my frequent flyer number and never thought about it again.
Fast forward a month as I check out the miles I have accrued recently and I noticed that these miles are conspicuously missing..   I called up Delta to get them added and they told me that I would need to submit the ticket number, date of travel and a copy of my boarding pass.     Now getting a ticket number and date of travel is easy enough but how the hell am I to keep a boarding pass.  I fly on 50 flights per year, and most of the time I toss that little ticket the second I get on the plane.
Why in today's age do we still have to present a physical boarding pass.  Can't these airlines look into their fancy computers to see that I was on the flight. 
And what the hell does a boarding pass mean, who cares if I even flew on the flight because I paid for it.. and really it doesn't prove you actually flew it just proved that you checked in and got a boarding pass and left the airport which is really no different than showing my initial bill for the ticket which also doesn't prove I flew but does prove I paid you $500

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Take on Occupy Subway

There are rumors that the Occupy Wall Street idiots have decided to try to block the subways tonight at 5PM right when the entire city is getting ready to go home.   I really hope they are planning on protesting the $5 footlong because if they really try to shut the subway down any chance of getting public support is gone... 
My prediction is this..  they will get noticed, they will get press and they will NOT get any public sympathy.  
The nice irony of this is that the big-1%ers on wall-street aren’t taking the R train home tonight, they are probably taking a black-car service home while they are getting serviced by some exotic chick with fake out to their McMansions on the North Shore overlooking the LI Sound or to their McMansions on the south shore of Connecticut overlooking the LI Sound.      No the people who are going to be affected here are the 99%ers who are the normal hard-working blue-collar guys who just want to get home after busting their ass at some shitty job to MAKE A LIVING!!!!
Listen if you want to go and protest, more power to you but don’t fucking interfere with my commute home..   I’ve been in China for 10 days and haven’t seen my family but now your selfish crap is going to cost me an evening with my daughter..  I don’t come to your shitty tent and piss on it, leave my little world alone.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

take on the 'you'll never guess where I'm at' guy

As a seasoned traveler, I have long given up any hope of any of my friends or family members giving a crap where I am at any given time.  It's not that they don't care but when you add 100,000 miles to your total every year, there just isn't much to say about the place you go especially when you are going to the same few places over and over again and at some point it all becomes routine.   Well as I'm sitting in the Delta lounge in Tokyo today there is a dude who is on Skype on his laptop and had to call every single person in his Rolodex and started every conversation with the same "you'll NEVER guess where I am?"  

From the responses he was getting it didn't seem like anybody gave a crap especially when you consider the guy wasn't exactly calling from downtown Tokyo at at Sumo wresting event or at some awesome temple but was calling as he was waiting for a connection in the terminal.   

Each conversation went something like this

Fat Jerry"hey Jenny, you'll never guess where I am"
Disinterested Jenny  "I don't know Jerry, in Columbus?"
Fat Jerry  "I'm in Tokyo..  at the airport"
Disinterested Jenny  "wow"
Fat Jerry  "crazy right.. I'm waiting for a connection to Seoul"
Disinterested Jenny  "oh"
Fat Jerry  "log onto the webthing. so we can see each other on the computer"
Disinterested Jenny  "Jerry it is like 11pm here, I got to go to bed"
Fat Jerry  "alright..catch you on the other side of the international date line"

wash, rinse, repeat 10 times over again.

like they say to a young wide-receiver when he catches a touchdown, act like you've been there before.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

take on Penn State

I know this is like two weeks late but I have to get something off my chest..   This entire Penn State thing is absolutely ridiculous and the fact that this was allowed to go on for as long as it did just tells you once and for all that these systemic cover-ups by church and state are what are the real levels of depravity in this society.   Whether it's the Catholic Church or the Church of JoePa, there does not seem to be any accountability when the top levels are looking down a barrel of having to publicly admit that this kind of behavior happened on your watch.

What really gets me is that this boy is 10 years old..   NOT 17 but 10..  and had it NOT been a boy but instead a young girl might there have been more action taken against Dirty Sandusky?   

well today Sandusky says he was just 'horsing' around with the boys in the shower as if this admonishes him from all evil because I know there were a number of times that I've horsed around with a bunch of prepubescent boys in a shower..  This type of behavior is sickening but what is almost more disgusting are the THON loving PennState fans who spent the last week overthrowing cars not because they wanted to show disappointment in their university's inaction but rather the fact that they finally took action.    They claim that firing JoePa was criminal while the fact that JoePa didn't walk over to the Sand man and knock him out is when he learned of this is what is really criminal.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Take on French water

Maybe it's the pink label, maybe it's the French snobbiness or maybe it's the price tag but there is nothing I dislike more than Evian. I never quite understood paying money for bottles water. I get that sink water may have some residual pipe flavor which you want to eliminate but to pay $3 for a bottle of H2O seems beyond idiotic. Well unless you are in a country where the water isn't exactly clean.
But out of all the water our there the one I least like is Evian. This stuff tastes stale and lifeless and drinking it makes me feel like I'm breathing air in Denver as there just seems to be something missing and the best way to describe it is that it has a flavor like it was filtered through my running socks

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Take on food

You get homesick when you travel for work. There are sleepless nights, endless days and countless hours lost because of delays. Maybe it's the adrenaline that keeps you going, maybe it's the knowledge it's only a limited amount of time or maybe it's the fear of being stuck in a bathroom afraid to move further than 40 feet at any given time
5 days in China for the second time in six months is always a challenge and although the country is interesting, the people are nice and the business is solid you realize very quickly that there is more to it than just that. See most everything is done around meals which means you do nothing but eat. You wonder how the hell these people stay so skinny if they constantly eat. It's not like the food (or anything else) in China is healthy. Everything is fried or at minimum doused in oil. There are never salads or true greens although because it hasn't been cooked you would have a hard time eating it anyway. But this is always the problem. Even when you go to some 5 star hotel you don't want to take take and it is torture as there are thousands of items that look very enticing to eat but as you want to avoid anything that is not cooked or cooked thoroughly you have to pass on salads, fruits, oysters, sashimi etc and you fill your stomach with tons of fried noodles and white rice at $50 per meal

Oh how i wish to be at home with a Big Mac in front of me

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Take in the master switch

In foreign hotels you will often have these system where one light-switch located right by the door controls the power in the entire room. It allows you to turn all the power off in your room as you walk out with a single switch and I am sure there are great advantages in terms of energy savings. The problem is that building designers and architects obviously are completely capable of working in the dark.
For example the hotel I am staying at uses this system which i'm all for except for the slight design flaw which is that the hallway light doesn't have a light of its own so the only way to turn it off is to kill all the electricity in the room. Now that doesn't bother you much while sleeping except it also means you cannot turn on your bedside light. Now even if that is something you can live with what I can't is that it also means you cannot charge your cellphone or computer at night which I found out the hard way when I grabbed my phone off the plug this morning to find it was 29% charged