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Saturday, June 30, 2007

Racial Quotas

In an historic decision, the Supreme Court ruled that race may not be used to decide which public-school kids attend. Chief Justice Roberts wrote, "The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race".

This decision will greatly effect an 11 year old girl Nikita Rau in New York who was recently denied admission to the Mark Twain School in Brooklyn. That school, as a result of a 1974 court order must have a student body which is 60 percent white and 40 percent minority. This really shouldn't apply since blacks and Latinos now make up two-thirds of the city's enrollment.

The school also requires different grades for whites and minorities. For two of the specialized programs, white kids must score higher on exams than minorities as part of a quota system, for nine programs, minorities must score higher. This does not seem fair.

Back in 1954 when the court ruled in Brown vs. Board of Education things were very different. Such a ruling was necessary. Now with the opportunities afforded to everyone and the various laws that have been passed, I believe quotas are wrong and unfair.

If race were not entered on applications, students could be judged on their abilities. After all, aren't we all really just one race - the human race.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Corzine's Accident

As predicted back in April, Gov. Corzine's driver is being blamed for the accident.

The reason given as the cause of the accident is excessive speed (91 mph) and unnecessary use of lights and sirens which caused the red pick-up truck to change into the right lane and back to cause the accident.

I may be wrong, but doesn't a member of the State Police take orders from the Governor. I'm sure the driver didn't decide to use the lights and sirens at 91 mph, and even if he did, the Governor had the responsibility to make his driver comply with the rules.

I have heard that the policeman is still driving, probably the governor is taking some responsibility for this accident. There is no reason why this driver should be punished for following orders.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Seniors Strike Back

Let's hear it for the seniors again.

A pickpocket thought he had an easy target in a 72 year old man, Bill Barnes. Unfortunately for the pickpocket, Mr. Barnes is a former Marine and Golden Gloves runner-up. He pummeled Jesse Daniel Rae who was then arrested on robery charges. Mr. Barnes said he wouldn't want his wife to give him hell for letting that guy get his money.

That reminds me of the time several years ago when someone tried to mug my father who was probably around 68 at the time. The "mugger" asked for a match, when my father took it from his pocket, the mugger tried to grab my father's money. Instead, my father, also an ex-boxer, just swung his arm and sent the mugger flying.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Dog on Bail

Have you heard the story of Spartacus? No, not Spartacus the slave, Spartacus the mastiff.

He's owned by a New Jersey man who had parked his truck in Queens on May 28 with Spartacus inside. That was his first mistake. Someone broke into his truck and Spartacus got away. His owner got in touch with the cops who told him that the 110 pound dog was at the Animal Care and Control Center in Brooklyn.

When Mr. Georgoutsos went to pick up his dog, he learned that Spartacus had been shot with five tranquilizer darts and that a city law requires that stray animals be spayed or neutered before being released from shelters. Mr. Georgoutsos refused the operation. The shelter would not release the dog.

Mr. Georgoutsos went to court which declared the City Council had not intended the law to apply to cases like this. The city appealed, arguing that the dog was picked up wandering city streets and thus fell under the law's provisions.

Finally, the dog was released when his owner paid $10,000 in cash (bail?) while he and the city's lawyers continue their fight over whether Spartacus should be neutered. He also had a microchip implanted to make sure he doesn't get away.

There are a couple of things wrong with the city's argument. First, this dog was not a stray. Second, he would never have been roaming the streets if a crime had not been committed, i.e., the break-in of the truck.

You can't punish a dog or his owner if you can't control crime and the population that breaks into legally parked trucks.

Monday, June 25, 2007

UNFAIR REPORTING, PART II

About a week or so ago I reported on what I believe is unfair reporting on auto accidents. I've been checking reports and here are some headlines:

Out-of-Control Car Smashes into House - ABC News - Chicago - No identity or age given for driver

Cop's Pop Dies in One of Three Brooklyn Crashes - NEW YORK POST - A 58 year old man from East New York; a 20 year old passenger on a motorcycle - no age for the driver; a livery cab jumped a curb and left two teenagers in critical condition - no age given for the driver.

Daredevil Doc Killed on L.I.E. - NEW YORK POST -64 year old man. About a mile away a 48 year old man was killed when the left side of his car was smashed by a dump truck that had gone through a red light - no age given for dump truck driver.

Toddler Mowed Down by Driver, 84 - NEW YORK POST - An 18 month old was killed when the driver backed out of her driveway.

Flatiron Taxi Terror - NEW YORK POST - A runaway cab jumped the curb and drove into a rush-hour crowd, no age given for driver.

Brooklyn Gatecrasher - NEW YORK POST - This time a Honda went out of control and smashed through the brick and wrought iron fence of a house, no age given for driver.

Aside from the fact that there is danger on the road, the reporters fail to mention the age of the driver, unless that driver is over 55. This kind of reporting leads people to think that drivers over 55 are all bad drivers and lose control of their cars. The truth is, any driver has the potential to lose control. More emphasis should be on driver ability and less on age. I admit, some elderly people should not drive, and there are also some young people who should have not gotten a license. No group has a monopoly on driver ability and safety.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Cooking

About 10 years ago I decided to take cooking lessons. I had heard about an organization called Cooking by the Book in the City. The idea was to make a meal using recipes from a chef's cookbook and then, of course, to sell the book. I enjoyed those lessons and learned quite a few things. I also tried foods I would have never thought to try.

Today, I felt like being creative and because my basil crop is doing quite well, I looked through my collection of cookbooks for a recipe. I found Pesto with Scallops and Sun Dried Tomatoes in NELLA CUCINA by Mary Ann Esposito. I made the dish and it was delicious.

I met Mary Ann Esposito at Cooking by the Book. She is the nicest lady, very helpful. She was one of the friendliest of the authors I met.

Unfortunately, a couple of years ago, Cooking by the Book stopped working with authors and now conducts team-building events for corporations using the same concept of making a dinner together and then sitting down to eat.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Shuttle Landing

I was very glad to hear about the successful landing of the shuttle Atlantis yesterday in California. There were so many problems on this trip that I was concerned about them.

Hearing about this landing, I was reminded of an earlier shuttle landing. I don't remember whether it was in California or Florida, but it was early in the morning, before dawn. Here's a picture of that landing.




This is Crash watching the shuttle land. Doesn't she look intelligent?

Friday, June 22, 2007

Road Trip

I was running some errands the other day. It was a bright, sunshiney day, the kind of day when you just want to get in the car and ride.

It doesn't matter that I just returned from a trip to Cape Cod, but I'm feeling restless again. I think it's time for a road trip. This should be a short trip, maybe just a visit with some friends on Long Island, or an overnight in Atlantic City, or even a day or two in Gettysburg. I've been wanting to visit the Eisenhower Farm and the battlefield. After all, what is retirement for but to travel and see some sights.

I'll have to give this some thought.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Water

I've been doing a lot of complaining about the state of the world lately, but now it's time for something lighter.

For as long as I can remember, I've been afraid of the water. I don't know when it started because until I was about eight I often "swam" in a lake in an inner tube. I signed up for an exercise class because it was 45 minutes of aerobics and didn't include any floating. About two weeks ago, the instructor changed the format to include floating with "noodles". I don't know where I got the nerve, but I complained that that wasn't what I signed on for.

A week later, she gave me her home phone number and volunteered to help me get over my fear. I've gotten better, but when my feet are off the bottom of the pool for more than 10 seconds, I panic. She seems to think she can help me.

We start next week, I hope it works. It sounds strange, but I would really like to be able to float, and maybe learn to swim. After all, it looks so easy.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

2008

I've just heard that Mayor Bloomberg has left the Republican party to become an Independent. What a surprise!

There has been speculation lately that he would run for President in 2008 as an Independent. Of course, he has denied that he has any such intention. I see this change to become an Independent as his way of testing his chances. He now joins Hillary Clinton as someone who lied to become elected to their position. Both said they would serve their complete term if elected.

I would hate to see him become President. He has a superior attitude - I know what's good for you, you don't know anything. I don't see that life in NYC has gotten any better lately, I have noticed, even though I don't have any statistics, that crime seems to be increasing.

It would be interesting to see the ballot in 2008 - Democrat Hillary Clinton vs. Republican Rudy Guiliani vs. Independent Michael Bloomberg. Stranger things have happened. Who would win?

Monday, June 18, 2007

Who's the Boss

The Center for Science in the Public Interest and the Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood as a way to stop childhood obesity, threatened a lawsuit against Kellogg and Nickelodeon for marketing junk food to children. They claim that children are vulnerable to slick advertising. Their campaign against sugared cereals resulted in Kellogg's announcement that it would stop using licensed characters for marketing unless the food in question meets certain nutrition requirements for sugar, fat and calories.

They're completely missing the mark. The fault lies not in sugared cereals but in the parent who purchases and serves those cereals. Children are not influenced to buy the items that are advertised in commercials, they are influenced to want them. It is up to the parents to decide whether or not they are good for the children. Most parents are afraid to say, "no" to their children. You see it in their eating habits and their behavior.

The problems of childhood obesity will not go away until parents start setting rules for their children. Here are some ways parents can help their kids, (1) Stop buying all the junk food, if it's not in the house, the kids won't eat it, (2) Start encouraging the kids to play instead of sitting in front of the TV. I know that kids can't have the same freedom we had as children, there are more risks now, but, maybe if parents walked their children to school or friends' houses, that would encourage exercise.

Parents are in charge, not the kids. Parents are the adults and make the decisions on what foods to buy and prepare. Stop letting others make those decisions.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Language Flap

I see that Governor Schwarzenegger got in trouble for speaking the truth and also not being politically correct. Good for him!

The National Hispanic Media Coalition felt that the Governor was wrong and naive for suggesting that Hispanic students would have a better chance of success if they turned off the Hispanic tv stations.

I've always felt that foreign language stations, no matter the language, kept people from learning English. I even told that to my father when he was listening to a German radio station. If you can get all the information you need in your native language, why try to learn English.

It's wonderful to keep your background, but, as they say, "When in Rome do as the Romans do". I have more respect for a person with an accent than I do for one who won't speak English.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

A very dear friend has a son who was an undercover detective for the NYPD. As the towers were collapsing on 9/11, he was there and worked there for three months. Now he has B-cell lymphoma which has been traced to that time there.


He and his partner are profiled in THE NEW YORK TIMES New Jersey Section There is a video available online, along with an article on them, www.nytimes.com/intheregion.


I know it's been hard on my friend, but she's taking it one day at a time and making the most of their time. It must be very hard knowing that there's nothing you, as a mother, can do to make everything OK again.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Downtown Manhattan

Yesterday I went into the City for dinner. Because I'm fanatical about being on time, I was early. I took that time to wander around downtown.

It's so hard to believe that it's only 3 1/2 years since I retired. The area has changed so much. All my favorite stores have either closed or moved. Formans the place where I got such great bargains is gone. I wanted to buy a greeting card, but the store is gone. Even the bank is gone. Of course, the World Trade Center is gone, there were so many shops there too. As far as I can see, downtown is no longer a great place to shop.

So many office buildings have gone residential. For only $4000/month you can get a small one bedroom - sounds tempting doesn't it?

I know change is inevitable, but I miss some of those old stores.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Dinner

I just got back from a wonderful dinner in the City with friends from my old job.

We had reservations, but the restaurant had a private party and wanted to stick us at a table in the bar. We left there and found another restaurant not too far away.

The meal was very good, much better than we would have had in the first restaurant. Sometimes, what seems like bad luck, turns out to be good luck.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Ruffian

Last week I watched a movie called "RUFFIAN". It was about the match race between Ruffian and Foolish Pleasure in 1975. The movie delves into the history of these two horses.

There is also a lot of emphasis on male vs. female. The sport of horse racing was also going through a rough time, people were losing interest. In an attempt to revive racing, a reporter pushed for this match race.

Ruffian was a natural racer, but she also had had hairline fractures in her rear legs. Her trainer was reluctant to have this race, but eventually gave in. And the rest is history.

People again became interested in racing and there was a huge turnout for this race. It was a time of competition between men and women, so it seemed natural to pit a male horse against a female horse to see who was better.

To paraphrase the words of the movie "KING KONG", it was greed that killed Ruffian.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

UNFAIR REPORTING

This morning there was an article in the NEW YORK POST, "Gran Rams into Bank".


Why do reporters always seem to think it necessary to specify the age when a driver involved in an accident is over the age of 60. If the driver is over 60, the headline invariably reads, "60, or 70, or 80 year old runs into crowd". If the driver is under 60, the headline reads, "Driver runs into crowd", unless of course, the car is an SUV. Then the headline reads, SUV crashes into crowd. Somehow, sedans or sports cars never go out of control, unless they're driven by the elderly.


Last week a car sideswiped another car and landed in a restaurant. There was no mention of the driver's age or the make of car. There are far more out of control cars with younger drivers than there are of older drivers.


Monday, June 11, 2007

Weired but True

Here are some more Weird but True stories from the NEW YORK POST.

An elderly Chinese woman says her cat grew wings because he was sexually harassed. "A month ago many female cats in heat came to harass him and then the wings started to grow", said Granny Feng of Shaanxi province. Experts say the bony appendages are likely the result of a gene mutation.

Two inebriated Virginia residents trying not to drink and drive chose to ride their horses home instead, but they still got busted. Police were tipped off when they heard the saddled and soused pair shouting and slurring.

A British couple learned they are not legally married because the groom's name was misspelled on the marriage certificate. Mike Goodhall and Heidi Loader went to the Dominican Republic to get married, but a clerk there spelled his last name as Goodhael. The couple sent back the certificate for corrections, but it got lost and now Loader has been unable to get a passport and credit card with her new name.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Vacations

I love vacations, it's the coming home that's rough. I hate unpacking, that to me signals the end of the vacation. Then, there's all the mail and newspapers to go through.

And the cats. I think they suffered some separation anxiety even though a friend came in every day to feed them. They have followed me all around the house the past two days. At one point today I was sitting in a chair made for one That didn't stop Crash. She's not normally a lap cat, but today there was no room next to me, so she sat on my lap. She had to be that close. I really feel sorry for them, but not enough to give up vacations.

I love to travel and see new sights. But there's nothing like my own home and my own bed.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Today we went to Provincetown, or as it's known to the natives "P-Town". We lucked out again with the weather. Our drive was under the clouds, but as soon as we left the bus, the sun came out. I think someone in our group has connections.

We also visited the JFK museum. My goal is to visit every presidential library. So far I've visited - one. Does a museum count the same as a library? Or do I have to make a special trip to Boston?

It's been a fun trip and surprisingly I didn't get my third "crankies", my mood has continued to be good. Of course, I have no idea what day this is.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Martha's Vineyard

Today we went from Hyanis to Martha's Vineyard. We had a rough trip both ways, but the return was the worst. Several of the passengers were ill. We were lucky because, as soon as we docked, the sun came out.

We had a wonderful tour and even though I have been here before, I saw places I didn't realize existed. There are some very nice wooded areas on the island, and of course, some lovely homes. The gingerbread on these homes was very intricate and labor intensive. The town of Edgartown is quaint.

It's a nice place to visit, but I wouldn't like to live there. I'd feel too isolated, having to depend on the ferry whenever I wanted to go on a road trip.

Monday, June 4, 2007

Vacation

Well, here I am in Cape Cod. We had a full bus and then "Barry" decided to join us. We had his rain the whole trip. It took about an hour longer than anticipated.

Our rooms are nice and I have internet connection. I'd be lost if I couldn't communicate. I've become very dependent on my laptop, can't leave home without it.

Only a few short years ago, I had no cell phone, no Palm and no computer, much less a laptop. These are exciting times, you can leave home and not really leave home.

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Vacation

Tomorrow I'm leaving for Cape Cod. I checked the weather there and it will be rainy or cloudy the rest of the week.

I've arranged for a cat sitter, but my cats aren't exactly thrilled that I'm leaving them. They started this morning by not eating their food. I warned the sitter that they might not eat, she should just make sure they have some dry food available. They've been pretty finicky about their canned food since just before the news came out about the bad food.

When I started to pack, I left the case unzipped for a while. Later that day, I saw that Burnie had crawled into the bag and gone to sleep. Cats just love boxes. Now it stays zipped, I don't need to take a cat along for the ride.

Saturday, June 2, 2007

SECRETS OF NEW YORK

I've found an interesting show. It's called SECRETS OF NEW YORK with Kelly Choi. It's mainly broadcast on the New York City channel, but I think it's syndicated around the country.

The premise centers on little known facts about NY. Tonight's search was for the oldest thing in NY. We visited the Highbridge Aqueduct and the Morris Jumel House which is the oldest house in NY, built in 1765. The house was owned by Eliza Jumel who inherited it from her husband who died mysteriously. After he died, she married Aaron Burr. It's believed that Eliza was the first golddigger in NY.

I also learned that the NY Philharmonic was established in 1842 and is the oldest orchestra in the nation. The NY Historical Society was founded in 1804 and is the oldest museum in the City. I'll have to make a visit there.

I can't wait for the next time. I've learned a few things about NY.