Monday, August 23, 2010


In New Jersey people like to go to the shore during the summer. They love to sit in bumper to bumper traffic to go to their favorite shore resort. On a hot humid day in Wildwood you can really experience the Americana that the Jersey shore provides. Thousands of people lining the boardwalk, trying their luck at the pinball machines, eating pizza and having Polish ices.
I got to take the shuttle and saw lots of Wildwood, home of do wop architecture. Sitting on the seat, wishing I had remembered my suntan lotion, we went to the end of the line in North Wildwood and retreated to the hotel bar at the Montego Bay. It had the coldest and most delicious beer I ever had. One of the group wanted to go indoors to see the waterpark. It was incredibly hot and humid at the waterpark. Reminded me of what a class B hotel in Miami would be like. Still it has a great bar.

Friday, August 20, 2010

The flush up toilet

When I was growing up I lived in a house with only one bathroom. In emergencies, I could always use the slop sink in the basement for no. 1 if not for no. 2. My father, when he was thinking of selling the house, decided to put a flush up toilet in the basement. Why did he wait so long? At any rate, because it was below the sewer line, the mechanism had to move the refuse up to the pipe. Home from graduate school and jobless, my father saw an opportunity for us to have a little home project. My father and myself sawed lumber and built a little enclosure. We even built a little exhaust fan. Then he ordered a flush up toilet from an ad he saw in the paper.

One day my mother got a call that the flush up toilet was ready. It was waiting at the Greyhound Station on Polifly Road. I was volunteered to pick up the thing. Sons are handy in that way.

After hours of work, the flush up toilet was installed in a cute little room. My mother did the decorating. Postcards from various family trips graced the walls.

One afternoon my father had some of his golf buddies over. I decided to smoke a j---t in the new bathroom I was just about to light it when my father started banging on the door. I managed to hide the j and chatted with the golfers about all the work I had done on the flush up toilet. We were all happy. Another minute and this story might have had a different ending.

Many young people are living at home now and I suppose similar stories can be told across this great land.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

The air conditioning theory

I have a new theory on how globalization affects the United States. You can think of the world as a giant house in summer where the owner can only afford to air condition one room. The rest of the house is hot, humid, and full of mold except for the one room that has an air conditioner. The room with the air conditioner is the developed world. The United States, Canada, western Europe, Australia are relatively comfortable and (until recently) prosperous.
If you open the doors of that room you have the world economy under globalization. The outer reaches of the house get a slight increase in comfort. Most noticeable, however is the one room that had air conditioning. It's conditions deteriorate rapidly.