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Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Drink More Coffee

There's good news tonight!

Dr. Allan Conney of Rutgers University has found that the combination of exercise and caffeine increased the destruction of precancerous cells that had damaged by the sun's ultraviolet-B radiation. So far the study has only involved mice and still has to be tested on humans.

In the meantime, fill your water bottle with coffee and go jogging.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Rent-A-Pet

Starting in September it will be possible for New Yorkers to lease a dog. A California woman is bringing her rent-a-dog business to the city. Marlena Cervantes, who runs FlexPetz, says members will pay either annual, monthly or per-visit fees for their chance to spend time with a dog. This is for people who realize that full-time ownership is not an option and would be unfair to a dog. It prevents dogs from being adopted and returned to a shelter because the owners realize it isn't a good fit.

It soulds like a good way to find out if you really like, or have room for, a particular breed.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Cell Phones

I got my first cell phone a little over 10 years ago. I got it because I do a lot of driving, much of it at night and I wanted the security of being able to get help if necessary.

I've never used it much, but I kept upgrading and I must be on my third or fourth now. Last year, shortly after I got my latest phone, I was in my car listening to the radio when I heard some musical interference on the radio. After a while it stopped and I guessed I was out of range. The next day, I was going in the opposite direction when I heard the same interference. Then it dawned on my - it was my phone.

Last week I turned the phone off when I went to church. I forgot the phone was off until today when we had a power failure and I decided to take the phone out and use it as a back-up. After I turned it on, I discovered two messages inviting me to a party on the north shore of Long Island next weekend.

I'm so glad we had the mini power failure, if we hadn't, I probably would not have turned my phone on and I would have missed the party.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Commercials

A few weeks ago I wrote about my favorite commercials. Tonight, it's time to mention my least favorite.

They have various beginnings such as a trial with a witness talking about the evidence being all over the floor. In another, a private detective talks about seeing them all over, even in front of the window, and in another, a mother is telling her grown daughter that she deserves better by pointing out the mess left behind.

Can you guess the product? The camera then usually pans to show some cleaning supplies such as a feather duster or mop. They are trying to sell the Swiffer. I find these commercials so annoying and dumb that I just change the channel when they appear. They certainly don't inspire me to buy a Swiffer.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Summer TV

It seems odd to say that the thing I like best about summer TV is the re-runs. Because of them, I've taken to channel surfing and I've found some very good shows.

One of them is on the Travel Channel. John Ratzenberger, formerly of CHEERS, travels around our country visiting companies who make their products in the United States. The name of the program is Made in America. I've only caught a couple of shows, but I saw the All Clad factory, the Ball Corp., maker of mason jars used in home canning and my favorite the New England Confectionary Company, commonly known as NECCO.

Did you know that those little candy hearts with sayings that we see only on Valentines Day are made year round by NECCO? That means that those candies are about a year old when they are sold. But they're are still tasty. Remember those NECCO wafers? I always enjoyed eating them, they were such a treat when I was growing up.

If you get a chance, try this show. You might enjoy it.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

He did it again!

A few weeks ago Mayor Bloomberg joined the "green" bandwagon by complaining about the amount of bottled water consumed. He felt that the amount of plastic being used for those bottles was putting a drain on the ecology. He then said New Yorkers should drink more tap water, it's the best. On that I agree with him, tap water in New York is very good. However, about a week later the news came out that the City was thinking about raising the water rates.

For the last two weeks, he's been pushing his congestion pricing plan to discourage citizens from driving into the City during the day. His plan is to charge around $8.00 for each car coming in. His answer to critics is that those drivers should use mass transit. The transit system in NYC is able to handle all the increased ridership. He even said his train is not too crowded. On that I disagree with him. Now, there is talk that the MTA is threatening to raise fares again.

Does the mayor think that New Yorkers have minds like a sieve and they don't remember what he says from one week to the next, or does he think they're just too dumb to realize what he's doing? One week he wants us to drink more tap water and take mass transit and the next he's planning on raising water rates and transit fares.

And this is the man who is being suggested as a possible independent candidate for president.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Restless Leg Syndrom

For years I would often feel that my legs were so uncomfortable that I would often be crossing and uncrossing my legs, or stretching them. Fortunately, this never interfered with my sleep. I think I had restless leg syndrome. The symptoms seemed to match what was listed in the various drug commercials.

I noticed the other day that my legs have been very calm in the evening. I can't remember the last time my legs were restless. I think that my new daily regimen of treadmill walking and pool walking have helped. It certainly hasn't hurt.

I'm so glad I never went to a doctor about this. He probably would have just prescribed pills. All it took was some exercise to make my legs as tired as the rest of me.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Don't Buy Cheap

A few years ago I bought a cheap bathing suit because I was going on vacation and you should have a bathing suit when you go to a resort. But I never wore it.

Now, I'm conquering my fear of water and going to the pool every day. Last week I started noticing that there was an unusual number of small black flies in the water, but I was the only one who noticed. This went on for a few days until I noticed that my cheap suit was wearing out. There weren't a lot of small black flies in the water, there were a lot of small black threads from my suit.

I went out and bought a new, more expensive suit and, surprise, no more small black flies floating around me.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Crash & Burn

Here is a picture of how my cats spend the greater part of their day. Burn is the black & white, Crash is the other. Crash is 6 years old, Burn is 5 years old. Obviously, they are not very energetic.




I think that Burn is the epitome of laziness. He won't even stand to use his scratching post.






Friday, July 20, 2007

Sports Heroes or Sports Criminals

This week the media and the sports world were shocked by the charges against Michael Vick of the Atlanta Falcons. He is charged, among other things, of sponsoring a dogfighting operation.

Is this what it took to focus attention on the criminal behavior of some NFL players? For years, these players have had run-ins with the law and charges of sodomy, rape, assault, drug possession and trafficking and dui's. They were crimes against people, now they are accused of crimes against animals.

Back in 1998, Jeff Benedict and Don Yaeger wrote a book entitled PROS AND CONS The Criminals Who Play in the NFL. They go into detail on Patrick Bates who was charged with aggravated assault and false imprisonment, but pled to reduced charges. Then there was Willie Beamon who was convicted of assault. Cornelius Bennett was charged with rape, sodomy, unlawful imprisonment and sexual abuse, but pled to reduced charges.

There are many other stories in this book. Evidently, they didn't get the coverage that Michael Vicks did.

I don't like pit bulls, but what those dogs allegedly went through was terrible. I can't understand why anyone would enjoy watching and betting on a fight that will end in death to one of the participants. I hope that everyone involved, if found guilty, will receive the full punishment possible.

Maybe now there will be more media attention on all criminal activity by professional sports players. Too many of them are held up as heroes.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

DJIA Record

The Dow closed today at 14,000.41. This index has been playing with 14,000 for about a week now, sometimes going over, but always coming back down. Today was the first time it closed this high.

To quote Larry Kudlow, this is, "The greatest story never told". Our economy has been doing quite well lately, unemployment and inflation are now low. And the stock market is high.

I do expect there will be a few days when it will close lower, but I am an optomist.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Telemarketers

Today I had an interesting call from a telemarketer. She wanted to add daily delivery to the weekend edition of the newspaper. Hoping to discourage her, I told her that the only reasons I get the paper are for the crossword puzzle in the magazine and the book review section. I also added that I don't have time to read the newspaper I do get and my book.

We then discussed the crossword puzzle which I said is my weekly exercise in humility. She also does crossword puzzles. Then we started discussing our favorite authors, Steve Berry, James Patterson, Linda Fairstein, etc. It was like talking to an old friend.

It was a nice conversation, but I didn't take daily delivery.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Summer TV

TV in the summer has always left much to be desired. Before cable, we were left with re-runs of our favorite shows. Now, with cable, we have re-runs of our favorite shows or reality shows.

This summer, when I turn on the TV I hope to see some of my favorite commercials. Yes, commercials are getting better than the programs. I particularly enjoy the Verizon VIOS ads which feature a young boy. I think he's about five years old. In the first one, he thinks the Verizon installer is the cable guy, then he hears all about VIOS. The commercial ends with this boy seemingly unimpressed by Verizon, but impressed with the truck. On the follow-up, he explains all about VIOS to his father. The child is amazing. He must have a fantastic memory to be able to repeat the information on VIOS. He still likes the truck though.

There is another commercial for a luxury car, Mercedes I think. It shows a young boy with his toy ride-in car. He's riding, then washing it. That child is also adorable. It looks like a home movie, but it probably cost thousands to produce.

Of course, the commercials with animals are always amusing. I enjoy watching Duke on the Bush's Baked Beans commercial. He's always scheming to sell the secret recipe. If only I could teach the cats to act, I'd make a fortune.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Lady Bird Johnson

Lady Bird Johnson died last week.

Among the many stories about her, I found this one most interesting, particularly when you remember all she did to beautify the highways of America. Surely she had to give many speeches as First Lady and in her retirement.

When she was graduating, she was chosen to be Valedictorian of her class, but she turned it down -- she was too shy to give a speech. How much she changed as she matured.

I also heard someone say that she died, not from a stroke, not from cancer, not from a heart attack, but that she was 94 years old. How wonderful to have had such a long, healthy life.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Wild Life in the City

Yesterday while I was watching TV, they had a promo about the 11:00 pm news. The catchy phrase was, Elephants wander around suburban neighborhood. My immediate thought was, oh no, not again.

About 12 years ago, when the Cole Bros. circus was performing in Forest Park in Queens, NY one elephant bumped into another elephant who seemed to take offense and the two of them stormed out of the tent and went running along the road in the Park. Naturally, the audience was frightened and tried to get out of their way. About a dozen people were treated for minor injuries. The two elephants were then retired to Florida.

Evidently this circus is not too careful with their animals. Back in 2004, again in Forest Park, a 450 pound rare, white Bengal tiger slipped out of his cage and headed out of the park around 1:00 pm. The tiger caused panic by prancing by a picnic, then roamed toward the Jackie Robinson Parkway. He caused two collisions involving a total of five cars before jumping on the hood of a car and exiting the parkway. He was finally lured back into his cage by a large piece of raw meat about a mile from the park.

Five people were seriously hurt in the tiger episode.

The elephants in yesterday's story were in Toronto and I don't believe they were part of that circus. Evidently their stroll was during the night and all they did was damage a garden. They probably just wanted a midnight snack.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Where Were You When.....

...the lights went out. Unfortunately, there are three answers to that question. Today I'm going to discuss the NYC blackout on July 13-14, 1977.

I was bowling in the basement of our local school. We couldn't see anything, so one of the men in our group used the headlights of his car to help us exit the building. There wasn't much traffic, probably because the Mets were playing at home and Jerry Koosman was on his way to making a strikeout record. He had struck out 11 Chicago Cubs through six innings giving him a chance at the then nine-inning record of 19. It was not to be.

When I got home, my 2 1/2 year old was crying because when he woke up, he couldn't see his hand in front of his face. I had to shine a flashlight to prove to him that he was OK, we just lost all our lights in the house and in the street.

Unfortunately, in certain sections of the city, the residents saw this as an opportunity to replace TV's, take new sneakers, or even get a new car. The police were powerless to stop the looters. Even the fire department, responding to false alarms, were pelted with rocks. Three police precincts were under siege by people who wanted to divert attention from the looting.

That year, 1977, was a trying one for the City, but survive we did. New York came back, some think better than ever.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Pets

I spent today visiting with an old friend. We had a very good time and a lot of laughs. One of her friends came by and we got to talking about pets.



Like everyone else, we've all had an assortment of pets. Also, like everyone else, some of our pets have had unusual deaths. I remembered that when I was growing up, we had tropical fish. One of the fish had babies and since it was winter, my mother wanted to keep them warm. She thought she was doing the right thing so she put the tank on the radiator. Unfortunately, the heat came up and cooked the fish.



At the other extreme, my friend's friend was concerned about the cost of heating, so she kept her house temperature very low and wore sweaters. Unfortunately, she didn't have any warm clothing for her two tropical birds. They froze to death.



The strangest death, I think, was my parakeet "Pete". I had had him for a few years and he seemed happy and healthy. One night we were watching a movie on TV and when it was over, we went to check on Pete. There was Pete laying on the bottom of his cage - dead. The movie? The Birds. I guess it frightened him.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

My Big Mouth

Me and my big mouth.

I have been taking a water aerobics class that was strictly aerobics. I took this class because I just wanted exercise without using weights or noodles. One day, the instructor introduced weights and noodles into the class. Of course, bigmouth complained and explained that I have a fear of water and don't like taking both feet off the bottom of the pool. Since that day, the instructor has given me special exercises to build both muscle control and confidence. She also said I'm to go to the pool every day to practice.

The other day I mentioned to the activities director of our community that since our webmaster is in the hospital, there is no one to provide website access to the new members of our community. The activities director has now asked me to be the new assistant webmaster following a little training.

I think I should stop making suggestions and heed the advice of that old saying, "Even a fish wouldn't get caught if it kept its mouth shut"

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

TV Controls

I've just seen a commercial that gives a novel way to control children's exposure to sex and violence on TV without government censorship or interference.

It's called "Be the boss of what you watch". The commercials are catchy and encourage parental involvement by blocking offensive programming. After all, isn't it the job of a parent to protect the children by making the final decision on which programs enter the home?

Monday, July 9, 2007

America's Loss

Last week, Beverly Sills died of lung cancer. She never smoked.

She had a wonderful voice which because of a cruel twist of fate was never heard by her daughter. Unfortunately, her daughter who had a prfound loss of hearing. It's so sad that her daughter could never be comforted by that beautiful voice. Her son was significantly mentally retarded and possibly autistic. Again, so sad that he could not be comforted by that warm woman.

She was a Brooklyn girl, born to immigrant parents. She was an American opera singer, having made her reputation in the States long before performing in Europe.

I don't think I ever saw her perform live, but I did see her on TV many times. Along with her wonderful voice, she had a lovely personality and certainly did deserve her nickname - "Bubbles".

I just read a quote from her reflecting on her life and career, "Man plans and God laughs". She also said, "I have often said I've never considered myself a happy woman. How could I, with all that's happened to me. But I'm a cheerful woman. Work kept me going."

She will be missed.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Commutation or Pardon -Which is Worse

Both Bill and Hillary Clinton spoke out this week against President Bush's commutation of Scooter Libbey's sentence for perjury. Someone should tell them there is a difference between a pardon and a commutation. With a commutation, there is still a fine to be paid and a reputation as a felon with all that implies.

Hillary Clinton said it showed cronyism in the Bush White House. What does she have to say about the pardons given by Bill Clinton. There were at least 27 pardons given to residents of Arkansas. They were also given to people convicted of drug charges, bribery, obstruction of justice, perjury, armed bank robbery, income tax evasion, and trading with Iran in violation of the trade embargo. Bill Clinton even pardoned his brother for conspiracy and distribution of cocaine.

I think before Hillary Clinton says anything else, she should look at the record of her and Bill's co-presidency.

This is a case of the pot calling the kettle black.

Friday, July 6, 2007

Memorabilia

Today I was going through some old papers trying to decide which to keep and which to throw out when I came across a program for Carnegie Hall in October 1994. I wondered why I had decided to keep it.

That was a difficult time, my husband has just died and my company was in transition. Then my boss called with an extra ticket to Carnegie Hall and invited me to accompany her. The Montreal Symphony was performing pieces from Hindemith, Sibelius and Schumann. There was also a 12 year old violin prodigy, Sarah Chang. She was wonderful. She seemed to enjoy performing, you could see it in her face. I wonder if she's still performing, I hope so.

After I read the program which brought back such good memories, I now know why I kept it. I guess that's why we hold on to "things". It's not the object so much as the memories and thoughts they trigger that make us happy.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Co-Presidency

I heard an interesting thought on the radio the other day. If the speaker and I remembered correctly, back in 1992 when Bill Clinton was running for president, one of his talking points was that he and Hillary were a team. We would get two for the vote for one.

Now, Hillary is running on, "Our" record, taking credit for all the good of the Clinton administration.

I know it's a stretch, but if we had a co-presidency from 1992 to 2000, doesn't that mean that Hillary has already served two terms, and isn't there a constitutional amendment barring a president from serving more than two terms?

It's just a thought and I wonder how she would react if someone dared to question her about this.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

HAPPY BIRTHDAY AMERICA!

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Homeland Security Money

USA TODAY recently ran a story telling us that most of the money earmarked for security has not been spent. New York has only spent 47% of its total, while it's senators and representatives are complaining that our money has been cut.

One of the radio personalities contacted the offices of these elected officials for comment and no one commented, nor did anyone return the calls. It's no surprise that Senator Schumer did not comment, there was no TV camera involved, only a microphone.

Possibly the reason that this money has not been touched is that deliveries of needed materials have not yet been made, but it would have been common sense to go before a microphone and explain the situation. Mayor Bloomberg did attempt this explanation on Friday.

Monday, July 2, 2007

Indian Lions

About a week ago I saw an article in THE WALL STREET JOURNAL about the Gir Forest part of India. This is the only part of the world where the rare Asiatic lion still survives. About 350 lions live in this small part of India's Gujarat state.

The problem is that the farmers have become more prosperous and numerous. As India's economy keeps expanding, the benefits of development such as state supplied electricity have trickled into this remote corner. As a result an agricultural revolution is underway in the villages. Traditionally, villagers have relied on the monsoon rains for their crops, however, now those who can afford it dig wells on their properties and irrigate their crops with an electric pump. Most of the farmers can only afford to dig the well and install the pump. They cannot afford to build a wall around the well.

At night the lions chase their prey - wild boars, deer and blue boars - and fall into the well, sometimes they just get curious and fall down.

What struck me most about this article was one quote from Bharat Patak, the top forestry official in charge of the Gir forest. He said, "Livestock is also falling, human beings are also falling into open wells, but the lion is more important."

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Crowded Subway

A few days ago the MTA announced that some subway lines are operating over 100% of capacity.

Mayor Bloomberg disputed that fact and said that he takes the Lexington Ave. line most days and it's not that crowded. I think he wants to downplay the train crowding so that his congestion pricing plan will go through. Imagine the subways if even half of the people driving into the city decided to take the subway.

When I worked, I took the Lexington Ave. line. Some days the station was so crowded, I felt it was unsafe. The lines waiting for a train are usually five deep and you usually have to let one or two trains go by, then you have to hope the crowd behind you doesn't start pushing and that you land on the tracks.

Obviously, the mayor doesn't ride the subway between 8:30 am and 9:00 am. That's when it's most packed, and of course again at 5:00 pm. Or maybe he has a private subway car.