Monday, June 28, 2010


I just finished reading an article about children's playgrounds in the New Yorker (not available on-line). This reminded me of the summer around kindergarten when my brother dragged me to Polifly Park in Hackensack almost every day. I remember making a lanyard and playing on the swing, see-saw, and climbing through the tunnels (actually leftover water-main pipes). I remember having a girlfriend at the park who was what we used to call "colored". Finally I remember the older kids nursing a sick bird. The next day they buried it.

I also remember the two hours I was in a playground in the Bronx. It was an experience quite noteworthy at the time. I was brought there there by my mother so she could go to my aunt's funeral. She left me with an old neighbor of hers she knew from her Bronx days. It was a nice day so we went to the park. I remember the park was real quiet and then suddenly hundreds of kids came running down Webster Avenue. Suddenly they took over all the swings and merry-go rounds. It was incredibly noisy. Then two boys approached me and started to talk. One was real friendly and the other kid wanted to slug me. I told them about Hackensack. They wanted to know if it had cows.

Soon my mother came to fetch me and take me back to New Jersey. Back to a slower paced life where you could be ignored in the playground. And milk in peace.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Men's day

I spent Father's day helping other people with their computer problems. "You have to find the Windows XP setup disc I explained over the phone." In the real world, fathers spent the day eating and opening boxes filled with ties and analog television adapters. I always gave my father a stick of Old Spice deodorant. More fun is what they do in Eastern Germany.

Here, according to Wikepedia, in Eastern Germany they call it "Men's day" and it's not limited to fathers. Here, the men all get drunk and ride around in wagons. (Go to section on Germany). Sounds like more fun than yelling into a phone, "No not the drivers disc, the setup disk!"

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Time wasters

The Internet is one of the world's greatest time wasters. It is better than television ever was in making potentially productive time unproductive and wasteful. Slate is a good way to kill an hour or two. The news, Dear Prudence, and the pod casts are entertaining and waste a lot of my time. I must admit I never miss reading Dear Prudence's insightful advice.

As trite as it is, I find myself wasting hours a week on Yahoo shine and omg. I am on Yahoo and suddenly I see "the world's best ice cream in Texas" and I'm reading about Peco Joe's cafe in Lufkin and ice cream I will never eat. I love to read movie reviews of films I will never see. Taking a virtual tour through the Hilton in Zimbabwe was a pleasant waste of an hour a few months back.

Facebook is a marvelous way to burn hours upon hours of valuable time. You can play the Farm or join an old girlfriend for a game of scrabble. Catching up with old faces from high school. It is fascinating to know one of the dunces of the class in the eighth grade owns a successful real estate company and has a summer place in Spain and has six cute children from three former marriages. I've decided the biggest time killer in Facebook is looking at pictures of your friend's trips. No wonder they block Facebook at work.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Why we are in Afghanistan

They have found a vast reserve of minerals in Afghanistan. These include gold, iron, and lithium (you have that in your camera battery). Now when you are discussing matters at your favorite tavern you can say, "They went into Iraq for the oil and they went into Afghanistan for the lithium".

Saturday, June 12, 2010

South Carolina

I've been to some of the notable sights of South Carolina. I have visited South of the Border, Myrtle Beach, Charleston I remember in Charleston the horses that give carriage rides to tourists wear diapers. (I have not been to Hilton Head). A nice, old South state where people sell boiled peanuts on the side of the road.

Now people are talking about the new victor in the Democratic primary for the Senate seat.

Alvin Greene. Seems he surprised everybody by winning the primary with no money and no campaigning. I say let him stay in the race. Who knows? He might win.

Editor's note: South of the Border has lots of fireworks this time of year.