Tuesday, October 30, 2012


Well the big storm is over. Power is back. Luckily I had power during the evening hours last night. It was interesting going to the ACME this morning. They only sold cans and dry goods and the lights were real dim like it was being powered by a generator. The conveyor belts and electric doors didn't work. It felt like a scene from Foyle's War.

During a storm like this that gets a lot of media coverage, out of town friends and kinfolk are concerned. "Oh we were so worried. I hope you're all right!"

I can be truthful and say I got two days off from work and learned to read Agatha Christie by sunlight. Of course there is always the temptation to avoid disappointing your interrogators.

"Oh you wouldn't believe it. I was in the living room and the plaster fell off the ceiling and the basement flooded ten feet and the cat died. Remember the big oak in the back yard? It's now sticking out of my deck. And the roof of the car caved in." Makes for a better story.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Gasoline prices

Sometimes it's better to be lucky than right. The day after Romney was talking about how gas has gone from under $2 (I think that lasted a day) to now going above $4. The next day I went out in the car and noticed that gasoline had gone down ten cents a gallon. It was almost like the gas stations wanted to boost up the president's standing.

 I somehow got the impression that both men were a little sketchy in their appraisals of gas prices at the pump. I am sure  that they both go places in cars that have already been gassed up by one of their underlings. The president hinted that if cars are more energy efficient, the price of gas is offset by miles per gallon. He didn't have the courage to say that, but he hinted at it.

I remember in 1973 when there were long gas lines. My father said, "They'll raise the price of gas to a buck fifty and then everybody will have gas". Father was right on that one. Gasoline is a funny thing. It's much higher in Pennsylvania and New York than New Jersey, and those states allow people to pump their own gas. I suspect that gas will stay under $4 until the end of the year. Then there will be a rapid increase as President Romney readies America for invasions of Syrian and Iran.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

the Poconos

At some point in my youth, my parents discovered the Poconos. They found a resort called Mo No Mo Nock and got in the habit of going there for a few days every summer, often with Dad's golf buddies. Occasionally the kids went with them. I remember playing skittles, hanging out at the pool, and I remember they had a social director who engineered events like square dance night. I actually spent Woodstock weekend as an unhappy youth at Mo No Mo Nock.

I was sitting by the pool one day when I was almost kidnapped. A couple came up to me with their two daughters and asked if I'd like to spend the day exploring with them. My mother headed them off at the pass.
The last thing she needed was for poor Mr. Mustache to get involved with a strange family on what was supposed to be a family vacation. Later Mother said, "What is this, the Catskills?"

Mount Airy Lodge was the more expensive cousin of Mo No Mo Nock. Although my parents were too cheap to stay there, I remember my mother telling me they went there for lunch (I was in college by then). "Oh the clothes!" my mother commented on what she saw at Mount Airy Lodge. Apparently she was impressed by the ostentatious apparel worn by the diners.

Today, after forty three years, I finally went back to the Poconos. Route 611 is rather tacky and commercialized now. Driving up to Mount Airy Lodge to lose a few quarters, I came upon a Spanish diner. I ordered pollo guisado. The lady asked if I wanted plain rice or the bean laden rice next to it. I said "con frijoles". I am always happy to impress people with my high school Spanish.

Mount Airy Lodge is very pretty in a rustic parkish way, however I doubt my mother would comment on "the clothes" today. We live in a more informal time and people with real money don't go to the Poconos, unless, perhaps, they are skiing in the winter. The denizens of the casino were mostly seniors who apparently arrive by bus. I lost twenty dollars and went home. I stopped on the way at the outlet mall and bought a pair of leather gloves. This time I promise I won't lose them.

So the Poconos survive but it's different than the good olde days. Anyone up for a game of skittles?

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Pennsylvania voter ID laws

It's very significant that in Pennsylvania, Id's will not be required to vote. This should help the Democrats since they are less likely to have appropriate identifications or are too disorganized to produce one at the polls.

Mary Republican has a maid to watch the kids when she is at bible studies. On the way home she can vote and produce a driver's license and a passport.

Under the voter ID law:
Mary Democrat arrives at the polls five minutes before the polls close. Her kids are left in her car and are making a lot of noise. Mary Democrat gets distracted and  leaves her pocketbook in the car. It has all her identification and by the time she realizes she doesn't have it she can't vote because the polls are closed.
With the new ruling:
Mary Democrat can vote because the won't ask for ID.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

The Presidential debates

One of the nice things about the Presidential debates is that, because they are live and unscripted, you get a look at what the candidates are like in real life. Judging from the recent debates I now have the personalities of the two men figured out. 

Romney is the pushy guy who bawls out his caddy when he's at the golf course. At the 19th hole he complains because they put too many onions on his sandwich. He's not a generous tipper. 

At the debate Obama reminded me of a high school history teacher telling the students that class participation is 25% of the grade. As a teacher he is liked by the students, partly because he also coaches basketball.  He is a tough grader, but he can be dissuaded by a vociferous parent to up the grade of a taciturn student. He is a good tipper when he remembers. 

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Smart phone use

Half of all adults in the United States have smart phones or tablets. I am not one of them. I have fallen behind. I also don't have HDTV, text on my phone or have a flat screen TV. I used to keep lists of things that one needed in order to be a successful American. Here is a synopsis by year:
1970: A phone, a stereo, a car, a television set.
1980: Add a VCR, a microwave oven and a cassette player.
1990: Add a CD player and a computer.
2000: Add a DVD player, a notebook computer, a kayak, a cellphone and a house.
2010: Add  HDTV television and a GPS.
2012: Add a tablet and a smart phone. Scratch the cassette player.

Golly, you never catch up.