Sunday, July 31, 2011

Take on the coexist bumper sticker

There really is nothing that makes me want to run somebody off the road than when I see a car with one of those righgeous and pompous coexist bumper sticker.  What the hell are you trying to prove with your statement here, that you are above religion?   Guess what the rest of the world isn't and unlike you they are willing to die for their cause while you are only willing to ruin a perfectly good paint job on your Subaru. I feel like they give these things out free when you buy a Forester or a Prius, it's the equivalent of having the guy who fixed your roof putting his sign on your lawn for a few months. 
Now I have nothing against electric cars or equal hate of all religions but I do have something against people thinking that a small sentiment will make any difference what-so-ever but at the end of the day nothing screams I'm both a sock with slippers wearing soccer dad and also a pacifist quite like one of these stickers..  

Saturday, July 30, 2011

take on the Wiliamsburg Hipsters

this might not qualify as a very original thought but driving around Williamsburg today it struck me how it is possible that such a collection of ugly people have all decided to congregate right in one part of Brooklyn.   It's like that area is made to attract a specific group of people whether it is the Hasidic sect with their full beards, ridiculous saturday hats and all black gear or this incredibly ugly collection of hipsters. The funny thing is that I'm not talking about the mustaches, tight jeans or neon shirts but the average hipster seems to be connected through a deep sense of ugliness.    Obviously their choice of dress isn't helping very much but it seems that it goes past that, it's almost like they are called to a special area where they can all sort of let their ugliness hang out.     I drove through a section today and there are swarms of kids who look like they are competing in a costume competition with the least attractive person winning first prize and everybody entered.      Here I always thought that these kids were just all sort of social outcasts -or wannabes-   but they all look like there faces are sort of deformed.  

Friday, July 29, 2011

take on the NFL lockout

now obviously this is a little the lockout ended earlier this week but I have to say that one thing is for sure.   When the NFL does something, they usually do it right.   So unlike the MLB lockout from a few years which alienated fans who only came back after records started falling to juiced up players with gigantic heads.  The NHL was already suffering from low-interest and probably lost the casual non Canadian in the process.  The NBA lost a lot of pizazz when Ewing negotiated that last terrible labor deal.  The one thing that all the other leagues did (and the NFL did in the 80's as well) is lose games which is the one thing that the NFL guys did not let it get to.  
So we lost a few off-season workout sessions, there were a few less media speculation about where Kevin Kolb was going but at the end of the day they settled and they set themselves up for the most exciting week of offseason ever.  Everytime I log onto my computer there is another major free-agent signing, a restructured contract or a surprising veteran cut..    Now the product on the field may very well suffer this year and I'm sure there are a lot of negatives to this whole thing from an organizational standpoint when it comes to integrating rookies and free-agents but for the average fan we sit around and thing..   We didn't lose a single regular season game, we still got the NFL draft, we're going to get an almost complete training camp and the only thing we 'lost' was the Hall of Fame game which I'd be happy to sacrifice to end any labor strife.   The NFL and the networks must be thrilled because for example in a week when the Mets trade Beltran, we had near record temperatures in NY, the debt ceiling thing is still a mess, TOR is bitching about cell-service the only thing anybody seems to care about is involves where Nnamdi is going to play next year.
So I say... the NFL should forget about their old system and adopt this one.     Have free-agent signing period begin like 2 days before training camps open, I'm sure you can get a ton of sponsorship on your affiliates just dying to fill up time during a sleepy summer.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

take on the 'this accessory is not optimized for this IPhone' message

For the last four days I've been getting this persistent message on my IPhone which says 'this accessory is not optimized for your IPhone' .   I keep trying to figure out what crazy thing I downloaded when I was trolling around on YouPorn or something and have been frantically going through my apps to see if there is something there that I don't recognize.   The problem is that this message pops up 30 times per hour so you can't do anything at all because when the message stops you have to actively click 'dismiss' as it shuts down any program you have running at the time.
After a long search it looks like this is a much more common phenomenon than some kind of weird Trojan Horse which is mostly caused by some kind of obstruction in the plug port.   I guess the IPhone believes something in plugged in when it actually isn't and the thought that a grain of sand got into this hole is not very far fetched considering I've been sitting on the beach for almost a week.
Anyway the home remedy for this issue is to blow out the plug hole.   Now I'm stuck on an island with no cell-phone service so where the hell am I going to get an air-can so I'm stuck blowing in this thing.  So in 20 years we have not made any progress what soever because this was the same thing I was doing for my Nintendo cartridges in 1991.  

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Taking on the rustic vacation

Explain to me why somebody would go on a vacation to a place which is only accessible by ferry, infested with Mosquitos, without air-conditioning and with only one store charging $5 for a half gallon of milk. As miserable as that sounds it actually is kind of fun, it feels more like camping than beaching but I can embrace that. What I have a harder time embracing is being stuck on an island with almost no cell-phone service at all.
What the hell are people thinking when they call something a vacation when I have to hop on one foot in one specific corner of the house to get my IPhone to show one bar. I have been trying to download a picture for 3 days already and I haven't had my Tyler Durden fix because I'm afraid my entire phone is going to shatter because of the amount of energy it is consuming. I can't make it 4 hours without having to recharge cause it is constantly searching for a signal.
So the next time I go on vacation if there is any chance for me to relax make sure I am able to mainline my Internet.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

taking on Medicaid

I will be the first to admit that I know nothing about the efficiencies of Medicaid, that I am clueless to the types of services that Medicaid offers or how well they are distributed and my knowledge of how it compares to traditional medical services is limited.
what gets me is that when a friend got injured a few years ago and they went through the entire process of receiving Social Security Disability (SSD) the entire process of a large federal run program's inefficiency hit me across the face like a 2 by 4.   See  when you apply for disability they automatically enroll you into Medicaid which if you need it would be fantastic but if you are not in need makes for a nightmare.   See my friend has their own private insurance through their spouse which has been covering them well for the last decade but what they didn't know was that applying for SSD -and in effect Medicaid- it would mean that the way their entire method of delivering payment for medical procedures would change. 
without realizing it, they were booted from their main private insurance and told that they would only be used as secondary insurance and now without realizing it they were put into a typical example of a bureaucratic roller-coaster.  
now i can't really blame the insurance company as their main business is making money but what gets me is that the entire Social Security system seems to have no rhyme or reason to the way they operate.   First of all, why wouldn't their employees be trained to make sure people who sign up for SSD know that unless they actively opt-out of Medicaid that they will lose their insurance company as their primary insurer.  You basically take somebody who is obviously not in the right place to search the many  documents and read the fine-print.  But even this is typical of how things run.   What gets me is why the hell is Social Security so happy to add people to their already bloated rolls..   
Why -in this day and age of growing debts with cuts imminent in entitlement programs- the Federal government decides that they should be relieving insurance companies of their stated duties is beyond socialistic stupidity.    A company sets up with their stated goal to collect fees for a service and when they have a chance to get out it the Federal Government doesn't regulate it to stop it, but instead facilitates it..


Monday, July 25, 2011

taking on the 50-50 raffle scam

There is no bigger scam in this world than those charity 50-50 raffles.. I'm all for donations but when it's put under the guise of a 'lottery' I get leery.    First of all, who the hell is counting that money to make sure that the charity is really getting a fair 50% stake?  I remember that they ran these things during our pee-wee football and the guys handling the money all had names that ended in a vowel and then was farmed out to a bunch of dudes who worked in the DPW.   You hardly trusted these guys to handle your garbage and now you were going to assume they were going to be honest with a few hundred bucks of basically undocumented and untraceable money.    Honestly I doubt there is any auditing going on to make sure the amount of little pull off-tickets is equal to the total pot but even if you counted tickets they always have these completely ludicrous buy-in amounts like $1 per ticket, $5 for 15 tickets and $10 for 50.  These buy-ins are so designed so that there is virtually no way to track how much money went into the pot..  I remember during high-school football games would announce the pot amount sometime in the third quarter and they would always come up with some round number like $250.    I was always skeptical because I was sitting in the stands and would see groups of families shelling out $20's like they were napkins and old ladies signing over social security checks.    I can't say I've ever counted but I'm sure they were collecting a thousand bucks per game

but even if you can get past the unscrupulous behavior of a few of those ticket collectors and their gambling ring what really gets me is that you can't win.   I'm not talking about a cynical 'house always winning' mentality but when you win a charity 50-50 there is a ridiculous amount of pressure to donate your winnings back to the charity.     If you don't give back to the charity you look like some kind of scrooge eventhough it is supposed to be a win-win situation for both the participants and the organization.   So I'm not participating anymore

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Taking on the beach

I have friends and family members who will disagree but honestly I hate the beach. It's not that I hate the surf or the waves but the reason the beach and I aren't friends comes down to three main reasons: the sand, the sun and the suntan lotion.

I don't care what anybody says but sand everywhere is just miserable, I hate the feeling of sand caked on my body. until they invent a sandless beach I won't be happy.

The other thing i just can't stand is the heat pounding down on me. After 10 minutes it becomes completely unbearable and to go to the beach to plant myself under an umbrella just seems silly. How somebody can suntan in beyond me, if the rays don't kill you the boredom will.

The sun and lack of coverage is miserable and the sand in my shorts, hair or in my eyes is completely unpleasant but there is nothing worse than as a pasty white dude I need to apply lotion by the gallon. With all that sand everywhere it is just an awful experience. And to make matters worse for years I would go to the beach with buddies who being a bunch of mid twenties dudes refused to apply lotion on a friend's back. The story was always the same, they refused to lather me up without the use of a mop and having no chicks in our circle it would mean my chest and arms would be covered in white while I would manage to cover my back with a couple of criss cross lines as I contoured my body to try to get as much coverage as i could I then find myself laying on the beach for 3 hours while my small sections of my back morphed into the color of a bottom dwelling shell-fish. I could literally feel the cancer burning into my skin and then I'd be forced to bathe in aloe for a week.
So I still hate the beach because although I can probably convince my wife to make sure my skin stays a nice shade of white, the sun has gotten worse and the sand in my crack means the tacos from last night are going to feel like I'm polishing my ahole with 220 grit sand paper.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Take on the summer vacation schlep

When going away for vacation I always struggle with knowing I need the time to unwind and recharge the battery and hating the schlep of traveling. Over the last few years I had accumulated 200,000+ miles on Delta but now I am suck with them as I have zero interest in using them.
I travel somewhere in the vicinity of 45 days per year so the thought of packing a suitcase, hailing a cab, waiting on line to take my shoes at the airport and then sitting on an airplane for 3 hours has no appeal to me
I need my vacation to be schlep-free so when we decided to go to the beach I thought I had won the great schlep free vacation. That was until I realize I need beach chairs, towels, cribs, food, coolers, toys, clothes and a ton o other crap. So here I am driving 4 hours in bumper to bumper traffic with my car packed like the cargo section of a 747

Kill me

Friday, July 22, 2011

Taking on the work outfit

When the heat hits triple digits in NYC most people dream of staying in their apartments avoiding the soup they'd find outside. It sucks for everybody but it sucks for dudes more. You always hear about how difficult it is for a woman to get dressed for work while most guys get away with throwing on a button down, putting on a pair of pants and making sure their belt matches their shoes. It doesn't make for a lot of interesting looks but I'm fine with that and for 10 months of the year don't envy them as I can be dressed within 2 minutes any morning. But during these stifling hot days being a dude going to work sucks. Most jobs aren't cool with shorts and flip-flops and most dudes aren't about to don a kilt, we're all stuck wearing pants, socks and shoes even on the most brutal days while the chicks in corporate america are prancing around in skirts, thin tops and flip-flops. I am not complaining about hot chicks in very little clothing, I am just jealous of them Honestly it must make it 10 times more bearable to make it through a 100 degree day when you are wearing a skirt.

So chicks just realize that although there might be a thousand things stacked against you in the corporate world, take solace in the fact you can walk into any office wearing a sun-dress..... Just don't wear one with closed-toe flats

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Taking on NYT version 3.0

With all the complaints about the new paywall set up by the Times, I have found the issue which is most damming for it as a IPhone app. Right before the new paywall went up, the NYT launched a new app which was supposed to be faster and easier. Of course as is usually the case in scenarios like this the new app has had everybody longing for the old one. Although you now pay for the content, you can no longer search easily or save them. The revamped favorite section is clumsy and the 'top news' feels like it is never updated. Granted the original app was always buggy but the new app bombards you with full screen ads which after you are already shelling out $15 per month seems excessive.

But what really gets me is the latest 3.0 update, I recently downloaded it and was miffed when I found out that it requires you to be in 3G or WiFi to even open the application. How the hell does this make sense??? The beauty of the app was always that you could download the entire paper before stepping into a subway station or a flight and read it at your leisure but all of a sudden it had become nothing better than an app which just launches a specific website.

After some digging, I found that there is a default setting the new app uses which does NOT allow for offline reading. Why this is the default setting is beyond comprehension

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Take on kids who write on subway ads

There was an article in the Times this week about the increase in graffiti that communities are dealing with even as their budgets for removal have shrunk. You can make an argument for graffiti as an expression of urban frustration and a generation's ability to reach a wider audience. But what bothers me is that 99% of what you see today is nothing more than pollution whether it is the tags on the signs above the BQE which only say "Rambo" or "Pony Boy", the scratchffiti or the 'commentary' written on the signs of the subway walls, i am surrounded by pointless noise. This is not art, it is not a valid form of expression it is nothing more than vandalism.

I hear of great graffiti artists whose work now hangs in galleries as opposed to the outside walls and I can appreciate it even if it means the grittiness is gone The problem with all of this is that it has inspired a new generation to vandalize buildings cloaked in the concept of art while truly only participating in vandalism.
But nothing shows how stupid our kid's have become as when you see the typical vandalism of the subway ads
Today I walk down the stairs to see an advertisement about immigration and assimilation of a Filipino women with the phrase "asian hore low class" scribbled underneath it.

Now I am sure this is just can be written off as kids being kids and we'll avoid any commentary involving the irony of a critic of an immigrant with gross misspellings but when some snot-nosed kid completes his social commentary by defacing her picture or plight by calling a woman a prostitute with the phrase "low class" you just had to snicker.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Taking on window AC's

Scene. A New Yorkers in his mid 30's climbs the stairs out of a subway station. The air is thick, the temperature approaching a boiling point and the stench of garbage everywhere. Just making it up the steps was a chore and now that he is finally on street level he's shocked to find that there somehow is less relief than there even was on the platform. He walks slowly hopin to keep the sweat to a minimum as he hopes to wear his button down shirt at least two more times before it had to be dry-cleaned because of course he is wearing a Hanes tagless unshirt. He walks around the corner and can't stop but think of the summers of his youth when these days were spent running under sprinklers. He rounds the corner and as if the God's in heaven saw his plight he feels a drop of precipitation hit his face. It should feel like a relief but somehow the cold sprinkler from his memory has turned into a warm drop of AC sweat from his reality

I hate New York in the summer

Monday, July 18, 2011

Take on the Facebook survey

I just ran an article on CNN which screamed  'majority of parents use Facebook to spy on their children.' and in related news water is wet..      As I read this thing I wonder to myself, was it really necessary to invest money for a study like this, they are proving something that everybody in the world knows is true..   The entire facebook concept is set up to be nothing more than a tattle-tale site anyway.   Let's be completely honest, everybody in the world knows that Facebook is nothing more than a stalker site at this point.    I got rid of 50% of my 'friends' leaving me only with immediate family members, true friends, a couple of coworkers and one or two hot chicks I went to high-school with.   I haven't posted a 'status update' in about a year, I won't post any pictures of myself or my family and have about as much interest in having somebody write on my wall as I would have in them literally coming to my house and drawing on my wall with crayons.

So here we are.. technology has once again hit the tipping point, where the only people who have any interest in it are the ones who actually think hush-puppies look good.    So I'd give Mark Zuckerberg one recommendation.. sell it all NOW.   Have you noticed that people who are using your website is dropping on a daily basis.  I have exactly one friend and one family member who posts regularly, everybody else has given up.   Nobody is going to have any interest in a website that is fodder for dirty old men and grouchy mothers.

I guess it's time to get one of those wacky Google Plus accounts.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Taking on those stickers in the rear windows of an SUV

Years ago there was the "baby on board" window hang tag but somehow those just did not feel permanent enough so apparently in the suburban mom's answer to the Puerto Rican RIP rear window paint came the stickers of a full family and maybe a dog.
It's as if these are the markings of a new fraternity but instead of getting scarred with a branding iron, the new "thing" is to try to make sure every one on the road knows you are the worst part of every character in The Office
Add that bumper buddy and I expect the driver to walk out of the car wearing a full body condom.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Taking on mobile blogging

So we have come across another major drawback to not having a Blackberry and this one is pretty idiotic. For years we have been able to post blogs by sending an email with the picture and content directly to blogspot. It works from a laptop, from my work computer and from my Blackberry but somehow when sending the email from the IPhone it only posts a picture (see 7/15 post). Since blogger is a google app and the IPhone runs on IOS4 I thought there might be a conflict but our issue isn't on that we can find as a common problem when searching online.
So for those TOR readers with some technical knowledge, I you want accompanying pictures with your blogs... I need som help

Friday, July 15, 2011

Taking on the end of an era

After more than eight years, more than 200,000 emails and more than a few bouts with carpal tunnel we took a leap of faith this week and finally shut off our Blackberry service and Verizon wireless for good. Now that is not to say we are ready to go back into the ice ages as we still carry an IPhone but for the first time we will not have a physical qwerty keyboard at our fingertips and I have to admit the concept is a bit scary. Now we know that we can work, communicate and blog with the IPhone and we've been getting ready for this exact moment for a year but we've always had the BB sitting bedside for those loner emails or blogs and quite frankly it is frightening
We will miss the physical keyboard, We will miss the reliability but most of all we will mis the functionality. What we won't miss is the terrible camera, the ridiculous font which BB uses when you see a message on a computer screen. We will also miss BBM which is absolutely great for reasons I cannot ever properly express. I mean it isn't that different than stringed texts and there are apps like KIK which are admirable clones but somehow there is nothing that matches BBM.

I will be glad to carry around only one device and after Verizon tried to maul me with their $20.48 per megabyte international data plan vs AT&T's roughly $1.10 per megabyte international plan I am glad to not have to worry about accidentally turning my BB on for fear of incurring a $1000 phone bill

I am going to have to get use to this stupid autocorrect thing though. Just the other day I sent an email about some chick and the autocorrect confused 'NJ' and 'BJ' when referring to her as the queen of that category.

Sent from my IPhone using my huge man thumbs

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Taking on the neighborhood ahole

Sometimes my own stupidity even shocks me. Two days ago on my way back from the supermarket I dropped one of the bags as I tried to move it from one hand to another. The bag fell to the ground and as is my luck the bag contained a bottle of olive oil which at impacted shattered. I look down miffed since the bag still has a bunch of other groceries and I walk back feeling like an ahole because that bottle probably cost me $25 and now my $20 shoes are covered in grease

The next day as I walk home, the super from the building next to mine pulls me aside as I am walking home and confronts me about the stains all over the sidewalk. My gut instinct is to deny-deny-deny but as I look down the sidewalk the evidence is damming. There is a Hansel and Grettle trail which leads from the scene of the crime and leads directly to my door.

Anyway the super goes off and I beg for forgiveness and admit to my carelessness and stupidity. He is not having any of it and calls the act sociopathic. A few more apologies later, I promise to meet him that night with some Internet solutions after he explains he spent 2 hours scrubbing a 2 foot long patch with WD40 and only barely got anything out. I just know the Internet must have something but as I look down the sidewalk and see the trail extends the length of a football field I realize this is not going to be easy.

I feel terrible, this poor guy has to go and scrub this entire sidewalk or the owner of his building will have his head so I tell him I'll do everything I can to make it right.

We agree to meet after dinner after I have had a chance to do some research. Now obviously there aren't a lot of online examples quite as ridiculous as this but with all the oil leaks and spills in people's garages there are options. The issue is that most of the options are for small private spaces like pouring gasoline on the spot or using some kind of harsh chemicals which on a city block with kids and dogs playing would be sociopathic

Anyway I get some recommendation one of which is sprinkling powdered detergent and letting it sit to absorb the grease. I buy 4 boxes of the strongest crap I can get and sprinkle it the length of the block. Now i am hoping it works cause My block looks like the longest line of coke you could imagine

The super helps and an hour later after letting it set we try to hard-scrub it.
It is now 11pm and there on the sidewalk two immigrants are on hand and knees feverously scrubbing the sidewalk like we are washing away evidence of a murder. With the rain falling the entire street looks like a pool of white foam and dirt although I do take solace in the thought we might win cleanest sidewalk in New York.
But as we scrub and the rain starts washing away the suds we look down and find that the stains are still visible although we both convince each other that it looks a bit better. It is nearing midnight and we throw in the towel for the day. He tells me that he'll try power washing it tomorrow with some chemicals and we both walk home tired and dejected. I toss and turn all night feeling like I put this endless chore on this poor dude and vow to make it right

But at least I did learn a valuable lesson: had I known the evidence would be so obvious I would have broken a couple more bottles and trailed them to various other houses around the neighborhood

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Take on the nonexistent recycling cans

I am an adamant recycler, I separate at home and at work and have often carried a crumpled up newspaper in my jacket so that it can be properly discarded.
The issue i have is that unless I have a bag it is completely inconvenient to lug a bunch of cans or bottles around but in a city which sees itself as progressive, NYC still often acts as if it is stuck in the 50's. Although our residents are required by law to recycle in their homes, there are no such laws for pedestrians as any corner trash can -if you can even find one anymore- is heaping with food wrappers, copies of AM New York, half eaten sandwiches, fliers for $11 haircuts and a ton of cans and bottles

So I would often stand there wry the dilemma of either throwing my soda can in the trash or forced to carry it around all day because there just isn't a good recycling option.

The reality is that when I do bring it back recycle it at home in Brooklyn that my blue recycling bags will get rummaged through by those crazy Chinese elders who walk up and down the streets collecting bottle and cans for the $0.05 redemption fee. Now they are generally clean but sometimes they leave our sidewalk looking like Fresh Kills with seagulls hovering overhead

It got me to thinking. Why the hell am I going trough all this trouble lugging these things back and forth if they are just going to get fished out of my trash anyway. I figure since I bought the can in Manhattan, the local economy (if you can call it that) should benefit. I am sure Manhattan has their fair share of crazy garbage can scavengers, so why should I not help them out

They make a couple of bucks and I can be reasonably sure my cans are being properly recycled. It is a win-win for everybody.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Take on the Hampton Bay Criminal

As the loyal TOR readers know, we have been involved in a year long dispute pinning good versus evil.   The good represent all that is true and honest in this world the small people who act accordingly and respectfully of others.  The evil comes in the form of an Irish lady who rented us a house for 5 days last summer in the Hampton Bays.
I did not then and will not now complain about the accommodations as the house was lovely and the negotiated price reasonable.  Our  problem came a few weeks later when Ms Flanagan started what would become an endless tale of lies, dishonesty and deceit.
See there is a basic concept about a business transaction which apparently they don't adhere to in her nestled privileged life.  This concept is that when a vacationer departs the house and leaves it in good standing that the deposit is to be returned as is contractually obligated.  The problem when you deal with unscrupulous people is that they piss on common decency and defy state law.  See instead of returning the $500 unprompted, I had to first track Ms Flanagan down and after a few days she when I did she told me the check was is the mail. I guess I should have smelled something funny but I usually take people at their word but in the world of the unground Ms. Flanagan's 'check is in the mail' was code for 'you are never getting your money'.  
Anyway a few days pass and when the promissed check didn't appear I called and she said it would be sent when she returned from the Hamptons.  Funny how that happens, first you say it is in the mail and then you say it will be sent soon, this was the first of many times Ms. Flanagan proved to be dishonest. 
Well anybody who has any sense knows what basically happens next.    Ms Flanagan and I go through a complicated tango which involves me calling to ask for my money and her coming up with one excuse or another for not sending it.    I asked a lawyer friend to get involved and they too were promised quick no avail

At some point, she probably decided that she was running out of excuses and she just started ignoring my emails and phone calls.  Every once in a while she would accidentally answer her call probably without checking her caller ID but she would hang up on me as soon as she realized who was on the other side of the line. 

We realized that this wasn't going to get resolved through normal conversation and prodding so after 5 months of misery we took her to small claims court.. As you can imagine she didn't show.up for that either.   Since the evidence was overwhelming we won judgment easily but once again Ms Flanagan did not do what was right as she defied the court and to this day still has not paid.  
See in Linda Flanagan's world everybody is beneath her.  Her actions prove that she does not believe in common courtesy, sound business practice or even court judgement so after we felt we exhausted all reasonable avenues we took to the airwaves and voiced our grievances online.
The good news was that this was like sending out a bat-symbol for the untrustworthy and dishonest because after months of chasing Ms  Flanagan she finally called us.  She said she was sorry for putting our family through this yet offered no explanation for her delinquency or downright obnoxious behavior including hanging up on my wife.   She told us her husband was going to 'have you arrested for slander' but she convinced him otherwise as she didn't want to embarass herself any further than she had already (if you only knew Ms. Flanagan you are a walking embarrasment)
I didn't have the heart to tell her that not only can you not be 'arrested' for slander but if everything you say is true than there wouldn't be any grounds for it anyway.   Of course Ms Flanagan has proven time and time again that she believes that she is above the laws of both this country but above the rules of common decency so I guess you cannot expect her to feel like a little thing called 'facts' would ever get in her way.  

Anyway she promised to resolve the matter by sending our money and assured me it would be in the mail that day.....that was 12 days ago.
I will give you one guess to whether or not she kept her word.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Take on the BQE

There are many times when you scratch your head when it comes to decisions made by governments when it comes to roads-and-highways.  Whether it's renaming the Queensboro bridge after Mayor Koch, the Tri-Borough after RFK or some two lane road in the middle of Queens to 'honor' Jackie Robinson.   Well all that is strange but I guess there are political points to win but something that never made sense is probably a legacy of Robert Moses which to this day has done nothing but confuse half of the city and probably left him laughing in his grave.

The BQE has to be one of the most ridiculously named highways around, not because the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway is in-itself a bad name but because for some reason somebody gave it a the federal highway number 278 which means that –at least in theory- it runs East-West.    Anybody who has ever driven on this road knows that it surely feels a lot more like North-South road than an East-West.   I am sure that I'm not the only one who has gotten into Brooklyn and nearly killed myself as I was trying to picture the entire road in my head when asked to make a quick decision.  For example when you get off the Williamsburg Bridge and you are heading to South Brooklyn you see two signs: BQE East and BQE West with nothing else on them to give you sense of your place so it becomes a game of Russian Roulette.  
 And they wonder why there have been so many accidents off the Queensboro bridge in the last few years, there are probably cars so damn confused trying to make a BQE decision.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Take on government waste

There are thousands of conversation today about how to cut, control, curtail, cost-save and confront the size of government and at some point in the near future one-way-or-another we will have to decide the role of government.
But what everybody basically does agree with is that there must be ways to limit government inefficiencies and reduce redundancy and honestly some of the worst cases are ones that stare you in the face on a daily basis.
I'm driving down Houston Street yesterday and see the following scene. Seven guys working on some street construction project. I can't say I know what the reason is so for argument sake I'll say that there is good reason for this work. My problem is that out of the seven guys there are two literally standing in place holding signs saying 'slow'. I thought they were directing traffic but upon further review they were describing the scene.

Two guys paid $20+ and hour to hold signs, two guys paid $40+ and hour standing at the railing supervising and smoking butts. one guy paid $20+ and hour sitting in the bulldozer and two dudes paid $20+ and hour sawing concrete.
Why the hell we need two guys to hold signs is idiotic? Can't we just get scarecrows to do the same thing, it seems to work for birds. Only in a construction job do you have seven dudes doing the work of two. I know that at my job if somebody is done doing his or her task they are expected to take on another but in construction the one dude sitting in the bulldozer literally didn't touch the controls of the machine for the entire 15 minutes I looked at this scene. What prevents this dude from a shovel and moving some cement to help the two guys actually working?
Then the two dudes just 'supervising' are a complete travesty, maybe they could spend less time smoking and more time actually making sure there guys are actually doing something.
As if this wasn't inefficient enough on top of this it was Saturday and these guys are probably making time and a half
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Saturday, July 9, 2011

Taking on the 20-20

I am not sure if this was an officially announced change bit I am loving this new thing 1050 does with doing their updates on the hour and half hour vs every 20 minutes. They would for years derive their entire programing hour around three Sportscenter breaks which are often bumpered with commercials but I always thought that with the internet, iphones etc there is no reason for 20-20 updates anymore. I'm sure this was revolutionary 20 years ago when the 24 sportsradio format was invented but enough is enough.
Honestly who the hell is listening to Bill Daughtery and wondering. 'I wonder who is winning that Capitals Flyers regular season game". If you cared you'd be watching that game, viewing the 'play-by-play' on the Gamecenter or monitoring the score on your phone. Basically in this day and age the reason for the 20-20 is dead and unlike WFAN. ESPN Radio understands it.
The issue is even more idiotic in the middle of the day when during the summer there might be one baseball game being played but during the winter there are zero sporting events on any given weekday. If there is true 'breaking' news the host could cut into his normal monologue because if is that big in terms of news, the fans will need to hear about it and would like his opinion. Between commercials, sportsbreaks and live reads a show like Mike'd Up is quite literally less than a half hour of actual sports-talk for every hour it's on.

But even the mid-day 20-20 is less idiotic than the overnight ones. What the hell is the point at 4AM to warrant an update every 20 minutes except to give some no-talent hack 2 minutes of airtime?
So I applaud ESPN Radio for finally taking a stand and realizing that people listen to sportstalk to hear......sportstalk and nobody gives a crap about anything else.

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Friday, July 8, 2011

Take on inconsistent shoe breakdown

Throughout my travels I never find time to check out the scenery but that's not to say I'm not feeling the ground, sometimes quite literally. Over the past few months whenever I'd walk specifically over some kind of testers footing like pebbles or gravel, I'd feel like the bottom of my foot was being massaged by individual stones. I couldn't figure it out especially since it was really only happening on one foot until I put on munis this morning and quite literally pop a hole right through the sole. I look at the bottom of my two shoes and one look quite literally like a piece of black Swiss cheese

My issues here are two folds: One is that I hope I make it home before the skies open up and the rain comes poring down although I am already deeply afraid of the wet spots left on the subway by the homeless. My second issue is that for the countless time I have worn out one shoe while the other is in pretty decent condition. Now i realize it is probably caused by having one longer leg but that doesn't quite help my situation as it had not yet gotten to the point where I would look for medical intervention. But I do have an option I think needs to be explored as I know this is a very common occurrence

My idea is a shoe-coop where two people with a similar shoe size would go in together to buy 3 pairs of identical shoes. Of course we'd have to match up a long right legged dude with a log left legged dude but the idea would be to give one guy an extra left shoe and the other would get an extra right shoe.

Each guy in the shoe coop would then wear the shoe which wears out leas quickly every day and then switch the other shoe on a regular basis kind of like having a platoon in left field so that you can use the the single shoe's for an entire cycle.

Just think of the cost savings for all us uneven legged dudes

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Thursday, July 7, 2011

Taking on The Map

Have you ever spent any time looking over those inflight magazines while you ignore the stewardess (not sure why they aren't called this anymore) tries to explain how you have to put on a life vest. Well as I thumb through the Delta one last week I noticed the handy map they give you with all the routes that Delta flies. The problem is that with all the consolidations and mergers this flight map looks like a bowl of cold spaghetti. I mean what kind of psychopath could actually make sense if this thing, it's like one of those bizarro kid games you find on diner paper placemats where you have to find the cartoon kid to his cup using a bunch of tied up drawn drinking straws.
As I'm trying to find out if Delta flies from Pittsburgh to Milwaukee I get a craving for a milk shake and fries and a desire to figure out how many trips it would take to get 5 peaceful pilgrims across a river with a boat manned by 2 savage Indians knowing that the unsuspecting blancos should never be outnumbers or they will be savagely beaten (and possibly eaten) by their red-skinned friends

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

take on bad tattoos

I've spent two days in the last week at places where people take their shirts off routinely and I'm not thrilled by what we've seen.   I'm not taking solely about the fact that people are generally disgusting and should be adding layers of clothing to cover up their obesity not shedding layers but we are discussing the terrible decisions people make when they decide to permanently mark their bodies.
Last week at a water-park I saw a collection of body-art which can only be compared to Picasso Lite.    I'm not sure if you can attribute it to bodies which have gotten soft over the years or inexpensive tattoo parlors but a lot of it looks like it was done in the back of a dune-buggy a la Steve O.   I'm  not even discussing the ones where there are misspellings or gross mistakes but the ones that are just not thought out real well.   I don't have any body art but I would imagine that deciding on a tattoo parlor would involve some research to make sure he's got more experience with a needle than a new heroin addict and a hand as steady as Michael J Fox.  
The thing that completely baffles me is the direction people go with when it comes to the subject of their body graffiti.   I am a person who felt deeply affected by 9/11 for example but I'm not sure that a full frontal image of two planes crashing into the World Trade Center is the best memorial I've seen especially when ground-zero looks like it's located on the back of a whale.    I've also seen a ton of RIP tattoos which also seem like a weird honor but at least there is a personal attachment but the ones that get me are the tattoos of living people although it feels a lot like those jackasses who put the decals on the back of their souped up CRX's with the RIP Uncle Richie on them.   
But as much as those tattoos meant to honor a dead person creep me out it's even more awkward when I saw some dude with a big tattoo of some kid with the name Mark Joseph underneath it, he was holding the hand of a slightly older Mark Joseph.   I get that you love your kid but what happens if your the Octamom, do you get a tattoo on each arm, two on your gut, one on each calf and then a montage of the rest on your back?
Then you have the group of people who believe honoring Christ is by showing a praying Jesus right underneath their gang-signs or topless women which seems more than slightly ironic,.
I'm also seeing more kids who look like they are more than just a few weeks shy of 18 with gross body tattoos including full sleeves, rosary beads and crosses which look totally awful especially considering that except for a random Chinese kid, most people will have a radically different body type by the time they hit their mid 30s which will only mean a Joey Chestnut version of a praying Jesus.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Take on the personal fireworks

There is nothing more obnoxious than the aholes who decide that they need to shoot of personal fire-works inside of a city of town. Last night at 11PM a bunch of imbeciles decided that it was the ideal time to try to create Bombs over Baghdad. using my neighborhood as Sadr City.
Not only are fire-works illegal but it's the kind of illegal activity which seems easy to track. But that isn't what is most annoying about it, the fact that these jackasses seem to throw decency out the window in order see their little personal explosions. At 11pm kids are asleep and when an M80 goes off 30 feet from her window and she feels like she's being taken out by Viet Cong, it's a bit difficult to explain..
So here is to hoping the emergency rooms were packed with decapitated white trash.

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Monday, July 4, 2011

Taking on gluttony

There is nothing more American than gluttony and there is nothing more gluttonous than an eating competition so in turn there cannot be anything more American than an eating competition. Years ago I would wake up early to get to the ESPN Zone to make sure I had front row seats for the show of debauchery. Granted getting up early meant rolling out of bed at 11AM after I had my own consumption competition the night before when I feasted on hops, wheat and heavyweights. I loved these events especially when during the days of Kobayashi vs Chestnut whose rivalry matched that of only Frazier and Ali or Hulk Hogan and Andre the Giant. But now it seems like less WorldSeries and more of a barnstorming event with Joey Chestnut playing the roll of the Bambino or the Ultimate Warrior with no real rival.

What we need is a Rocky IV moment to bring back all the pride in our greatest American Pastime with Chestnut taking on Wladimir Klitschko
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Sunday, July 3, 2011

Take on a Larry David moment

There are always times after I have shoved my foot way into my mouth that I want to hide my head in the sand. Last week as I'm at the playground watching my little girl climbing to the top of some cork cave mountain and slide down the other side. As I stand there watching her shimmy up along with a couple of other kids I just stand there in amazement, seeing how quickly she's developed. I turn to the guy standing next to me whose staring at his own two kids climbing up and comment to him 'it's amazing how quickly they learn and how well they climb, they are like a bunch of monkeys". Immediately I realize that I have stuck my foot deep into my mouth again as the dude -who happens to be black- looks at me like I have three heads . I immediately go into damage control mode as I clumsily try to explain what I meant which only makes me look like a bigger bigot. The problem is the more you say, the bigger deal you make out of it and the more it looks like you are covering something up.

The dude finally walks away in disgust and I'm left standing there holding this big matza ball.
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Saturday, July 2, 2011

Taking on the car-pool ez pass option

There is a little know secret cash saver the MTA announced a few years ago with little fanfare when the MTA introduced a discount for EZ-Pass members when riding in a car pool when crossing from NJ into NYC. This applied to all the Hudson River crossings including the GWB, Lincoln Tunnel, Holland Tunnel and Goethals Bridge and discounts the rate from $8 down to $2 if you are in a car with 3 or more people.
What sounds like a good piece of legislation to encourage car-pooling has been completely hidden within the MTA pricing plans and must be applied for separately for each EZ Pass tag as it doesn't just come with the EZPass account. That in itself is ridiculous enough being that it actually makes it difficult to car-pool and you have to find it hidden on their website and register your tag. So a program to encourage energy conservation is not advertised and then actually signing up for it is difficult but that isn't the biggest complaint about this program. The biggest issue is what comes after you have specifically registered you tag and you got to try to use in practice. See in order to use it to get the discount you must go to the cash lane, roll down your window and tell the attendant that you intend to use the carpool fare and then he or she must verify that you indeed have three or more people in your car. So in other words, although you have an EZ pass to avoid traffic congestion you can't use the EZ Pass lanes when you are trying to carpool to avoid traffic congestion.

Only in America do they deign two programs to cut carbon emission which completely contradict each other in practice.
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Friday, July 1, 2011

take on the Garmin traffic option

With all the advances in GPS technology including true turn by turn directions, brighter screens and actual drawings of the exits, I keep thinking that there is nothing they can do to improve it.    Right now they are super slim, come preloaded with all the maps the screens are nice and big, they run on battery if necessary, they can be used in other countries and come with various voices so Miss GPS doesn't become a nag.    When they started to introduce the traffic option I thought my head would explode and when I started using it, it just seemed beyond revolutionary.. the problem I find though is that these machines are very good at telling you that there is traffic only when you are already sitting in traffic.   

I get on the road yesterday for a 100 mile drive home from Philadelphia to Brooklyn and the GPS tells me the entire trip should take an hour and twenty minutes.   Within 10 minutes I'm sitting in bumper-to-bumper traffic and an hour later I've gone a total of 15 miles.   This is the problem, the GPS doesn't tell you that there is upcoming traffic and doesn't steer your away from it but instead turns the little green-car icon into a red-car icon right as you hit the traffic.  Thanks Garmin, I didn't actually see the bumper of the Ford Focus three feet in-front of mine.

So although I don't have any idea what they can do to improve the GPS in anything other than improving the way this traffic concept works because I was thisclose to throwing that $125 machine out the window yesterday as the little red icon taunted me 15 minutes too late.