Spring Break

Well, the state department doesn't mince words if you are a student planning to go to Mexico this Spring Break:

Over 100,000 American teenagers and young adults travel to resort areas throughout Mexico over Spring Break each year.  While the vast majority enjoys their vacation without incident, several may die, hundreds will be arrested, and still more will make mistakes that could affect them for the rest of their lives.

More news

"NEW YORK -Fifty years after debuting with "Goodbye, Columbus," Philip Roth is as prolific as ever.
Publisher Houghton Mifflin Harcourt announced Wednesday that the Pulitzer Prize-winning author will have a novel out this fall, titled "The Humbling," about an aging stage performer. Next year, he'll have another book, "Nemesis," set during a polio epidemic in 1944.
Roth, who turns 76 next month, has been averaging a book a year for the past few years.
His works include "Portnoy's Complaint," "American Pastoral" and "The Human Stain."

What? How does he know they won't be rejected?
In the news today:

"Feb 26th 2009 By Susan Johnston
If you wake up the morning after a one-night stand with a little something more than a hangover, should you able to sue the person who slapped you with that nasty case of crotch cooties? A 56-year-old woman in Riverside County, Calif., was recently awarded over $7 million after contracting genital herpes from a partner, a 77-year-old man who had genital herpes for over 25 years and failed to mention it.
The man also failed to use a condom, so now the woman has genital herpes, too, and said she was denied health insurance after contracting the sexually transmitted disease."

My comment on this:

I'm glad she won. He should have said something to her before they had sex. Willingly passing on a disease is criminal. She probably thought he was safe because he was 77. What a (shriveled old) d---.
He might have gone on to infect half of Florida if not for this!



Got this in my e-mail:

I am interested in purchasing some of your products, I will like to know if you can ship directly to NEW ZEALAND , I also want you to know my mode of payment for this order is via Credit Card. Get back to me if you can ship to that destination and also if you accept the payment type I indicated.
Kindly return this email with your price list of your products..
I await your quick response.
Kind Regards.
Walter J. Sperko


I'm sending them by spaceship. Look into the sky!


So far, no response.


Liz Smith has been fired from the NY Post

Geez, newspapers really are in bad financial shape.  Not that I really care about her column, but if they can fire a virtual legend over money, it's not a good sign.


Response about Toddle Inn

Michael Bates of Batesline blog writes:

I'm fascinated by old roadside architecture (I live about a mile from Route 66) and was intrigued by your photos of the Toddle Inn Tourist sign, so I did some digging. Google found an eBay item labeled "Toddle Inn Tourists Home, Ridgefield NJ, 1930s" that sold back in October on eBay for $15.95 -- a postcard presumably. Unfortunately, the listing has expired. 

The site is on US 1/US 9 near the intersection with US 46, so it would have been a prime location for catching the attention of passing motorists. I wonder whether the house was the entire hotel or whether there were tourist "cabins" surrounding it. Before the advent of motel chains, someone with a farm or largish piece of land along a highway could make some extra money by building a few simple houses -- bed and bath -- around or next to the main house. (This postcard of the White Elk Motor Court is a good example.) There are still a couple of these still standing, but closed for business, along old 66 in east Tulsa. It's possible that the Toddle Inn had a few such cabins which were torn down when the inn closed.

Thanks, Michael, for reading my blog, and thanks for the insight!   Very interesting.  I guess that sign goes back to the 1930s or more!

I love stuff like that.
Let this be a lesson to dog owners



Since there are still between 3 and 11 people who check this once in a while, here is one of my 
favorite '80s fads.  Oddly soothing to watch.  Probably high-anxiety to set up.


For official use only



I never got into this trend of mushing all your breakfasts together.  I do not want my egg sandwich to have a waffle on the top and bottom, or a fast food sandwich with eggs and pancakes on it, or ham on my French toast.

Why don't you just mush your eggs and pancakes into our cereal, huh?  And then why don't you put it all on a bagel!  Huh?  Do you like that?  Do ya?  Huh??!?!?



'Facebook Fatigue'

Last night, I thought about how I don't check Facebook that much anymore, leading me to come up with the term "Facebook Fatigue." I knew from experience that there were probably also a million other people who thought of it and posted it on the internet already, but I figured there's always hope.

Of course, I just Googled it and there are 9,000 references on the web. TIME even did a story last April. Ha, I'm really ahead of the pack, not!

Just saw this on the fresh concrete near my office
Looks like someone is overcompensating.


Thoughts that may just go nowhere

There are so many people who need help in the world that if you thought about all of them, you'd go batty.  By the time I'm done writing this blog entry, thousands of kids in other countries will have died from starving, governmental atrocities, diseases that could be easily treated if they were in the U.S.
But I do want to focus on one kind of news story I read about every once in a while.
Every once in a while, there's a story about a brave kid who's usually under 10, who is dying, and he does something completely unselfish.  A few months ago it was a kid who had a week to live because of Leukemia, and he wanted to make sure the homeless people in his town were fed.
I wonder why these kids get these diseases and not me.  I'm not half the person they are.  If I found out even today that I had a few months to live, I don't know if I'd be able to focus on people outside of my family.  In fact, I think I'd largely stop communicating with outsiders.  I'd be a pretty miserable person - not brave or unselfish.
I feel guilty.  There's no reason I should live comfortably in America - there's nothing special I did.  Certainly no more than some 8-year-old whose last wish is to feed the poor.
What's my point?  I don't know.  Maybe that I don't ask for anything anymore, because I got all the things I need.  Even though it happens to people every day that they find love, it's still a miracle that it happened to me.
Publishing a book is kind of the same thing.  It's something I really wanted, and a near-miracle that someone paid me for my silly words on paper, so I can't really ask for more after that.  It was a lifelong dream.  It came true.
More importantly, there were the times my dog got sick and I prayed for her to get better, and she did.  My family would have been devastated if she hadn't survived the operations she had at 8 and 10.  (Those of you who are not pet lovers may scoff at this, but she really meant a lot to my mom and brother, who had very little at the time.)  She ended up living a long life suitable for any great dog.
So in terms of the big things that I need to be happy, I got pretty much what I wanted now.  It's fun to dream of more, but I could never ask for it.
I'm not saying that life has been a bowl of cherries, because it isn't that way for anyone.  I could tell you some terrible things about my childhood, but I'm sure you could tell me the same.  And some of you couldn't - that's fine, too.
I guess I'm still not getting to a point.  I guess my point is, reading about some little kid who is dying makes me not want to take anything for granted, not want to get angry, not feel like I'm a worthwhile person, because I couldn't hold a candle to a person like that.  I'd like to be a better person, we all would (well, most of us), but I don't think I 'deserve' any more than I have, even the things I strive for. 


A man who takes your money

He's a lot different from most salesmen.  Because when this guy tells you you need something for $1,000, or maybe even $2,000 or more...you trust him.

Really, you don't want to fork over that money without thinking about it, consulting other people, looking at other prices.  But this person has spent time with you, and you want to trust him.

Plus in this kind of situation, it's really hard to ask around.  In order to get other estimates, you have to go through it all again, forge a new relationship, or at least do a one-time thing for $100 or more.

So you put your trust in this person, paying thousands of dollars just on his word and his demeanor.

Who'm I talking about?  A dentist.  For the kind of money we pay, there should be an easy way to get a second opinion.  But to go into another office, take another round of x-rays, pay money, seems so hard.  You can, of course, bring your x-rays from your original dentist, but then if you go back to him, he may now know you've been shopping around.  And he's going to put his sharp tools in your mouth.  You want there to be some trust.

If someone opened a dentist's office that catered to people looking for a second opinion, they could make a fortune.  It's such a pain to get a second dental opinion, but we DO pay these guys a fortune.  We wouldn't willingly fork over $1,ooo or more to any other professional without doing some research.

There really isn't a lot of research you can do on your own mouth, though.  If you go on the internet and try to see what procedures cost, it won't necessarily apply to your situation.  

A lot of times, a dentist will tell you that you don't need the surgery that the other dentist said you did.  So this new one earns your trust.  But how are you to know if next year he'll say you need the same thing?

Just something I was thinking about today.  (And no, it's not because I'm facing this situation right now.  I actually have already forked over plenty to my dentists.  Sigh.)

Maybe there should be a rate-my-dentist dot com.  There probably is, but it hasn't reached critical mass.  


Up with chuck

I saw this last week when I was walking to the dentist's office.  (Even in the city, I pass woods occasionally.)  I guess the little feller was a week early.  I don't think he saw his shadow.


Who could ask for anything more?

I get up, we put our laundry in, walk two blocks to the Italian deli where all the young men in town get their huge hoagies before the big game every Sunday.  This deli has been featured in Esquire for its sandwiches and fresh wet mutz.  I told my hubby about it when we were dating, and his eyes lit up.  Today, it's a bigger game, so in the deli, they're slicing up fresh wet mozzarella, slinging sundried tomatoes, slicing bread more than ever.  They tell a customer that it's a quieter vibe this year because the Giants aren't in it.

I pick up a couple sandwiches, some frozen lobster ravioli for later, and a little cheese to melt over the stuffed mushrooms I'm going to attempt tonight.  Then I come home and we finish with the laundry.  We have to walk downtown to Barnes & Noble later and do some errands, then come back to our apartment to eat the hors d'ouerves and watch the game.

It's nice to be young and in the city.