Saturday, May 30, 2009

Drying clothes

An article in today's New York Times on people using clotheslines mentions that the recession and ecological considerations have brought back the treasured art of using solar clothing dryers. My mother always had clothes on the line in Hackensack when I was a tot. Today it is fashionable again.

I have a sweater dryer (above) in my bedroom to avoid using my electric dryer. I was warned by the Sears guy that my dryer was warped and I should only use small loads. The passive dryer seems to work well for small items. Because I have hard water though, the clothes are crunchy after they dry. The towels are quite invigorating in the morning.

Those of us who are veterans of putting quarters in laundry machines can relate to the clothesline I had strung in my former apartment living room. It looked like the one Lucy used for comic purpose in I Love Lucy. It always impressed my guests. I guess the revival of clotheslines is a sign of the times. Sort of like Twitter.
Editor's note: Other blogs have smiling faces, followers, on their blogs. Mine have none. If you would like to be a follower (you get a link to your own blog) don't be shy.

Friday, May 29, 2009

After the test

A few days before a cholesterol test I stop drinking liquor, stop eating red meat, exercise, and eat brown rice and carrots. After the test I go to a bar, have tomato pies with the works, accompanied by buckets of beer. I know someone in Weight Watchers and she runs out after being weighed on the scale and has cheese steaks, fries and gallons of Pinot Grigiot. Before a civil service test we cram for the exam, take the test and forget everything the next day.

That's why all tests should be random and unexpected. They should measure us as we really are, not as we pretend to be. As unexpected as a fire alarm on a cold morning, and as welcome.

2AM on a Sunday morning, the fire truck drives up to the house. The tester knocks on the door. The would-be fireman appears in his underwear, full of beer. He then goes up on the ladders and demonstrates his prowess with a hose. Tuesday night at 9PM someone from LabCorp shows up at your door step and takes a blood sample. He measures you as you really live.

Random testing brings accurate results. Like the surprise quizzes in high school that brought C's to everybody, including the Honor Club crowd.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Grocery auctions

I guess it's a sign of the times, but the latest event to grace our cultural landscape is the grocery auction. I'm used to speeding through the aisles at the supermercado and this would be a change of pace for me. To sit in a chair and bid on pickels, bread, tomatoes, garbanzo beans.
"Rupiheliodeboboooladieorupdihidebob two dollars for a pint of tomatoes. Do I hear two and a quarter...Going once...going twice. Sold to the sweet lady in the front row."
Paper or plastic?


Editor's note: I have a new entry in the balcony tomatoes blog. The things one can do on one's furlough.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Employment situation

I work in a library where one of my jobs is to print out and place on economists' desks reports like the Consumer Price Index, the Employment Situation, Consumer Confidence Survey, etc. Yes I know I could e mail them but people above a certain pay grade like their documents in paper.

I've been surprised how emotional economists can be. "Dammit, you're killing me" I get some mornings when I give them some unpleasant numbers. "Gimme a break, will ya?" I've also gotten sometimes. Today the latest report is bad but not as bad as things have been. I didn't get a kiss on the cheek but I'm waiting for rosier numbers for that. I'll have to remember to shave that day.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Depression era music

When I was a youth I sometimes ventured over to New York and took the subway to Greenwich Village. There you could often hear folk singers in Washington Square Park. I remember groups with beards, banjos and washboards who didn't look like they were too familiar with Lifebuoy. The Felice Brothers sort of remind me of that type of group. Getting popular now, I heard them on WXPN in Philadelphia. Sort of a cross between Tom Waitts and an Irish fiddle band, their music is fun even though they sing about death allot. They got a good review recently in the New York Times.
Editor's note: The next blog will be on the economy. I promise.

Saturday, May 2, 2009


They say when other stories push the financial news off of the front page, that it's a sure sign the economy is getting better. Now the latest news is the high class sneakers Michelle Obama is sporting. Note the slits in the pants too. The sneakers look like an old pair of Keds that someone dollied up with a red magic marker. Guess I'm getting old. Why in my day...