Sunday, September 21, 2014

Big Week-End in New York

Wow, we had a big week-end.  We did a lot, here are some highlights....
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First we went and saw It's Only A Play, which isn't opened yet technically, but I will review it later.  I will say with an amazing cast (Nathan Lane, Stockard Channing, Megan Mullally, Matthew Brodrick, F. Murray Abraham and a new cutie).  It was very funny in parts.  A bit too insider-y, but a lot of fun.
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We also saw Hedwig and the Angry Inch again, this time with Andrew Rannels.  It was a lot of fun and very different than when Neil Patrick Harris was in it.
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There was a huge march about Climate Change in New York that has a zillion people.  That was in front of our building.
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Bollywood Singer
Last night we stopped in Time Square for a little Diwali celebration.  If you don't know what Diwalli is, then you don't work in technology.  It is the Indian Celebration of lights.  It is huge in India and work with a lot of folks for whom it is a big deal.  It was pretty party.
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Way Busy in Little Italy

Then today there was San Geranno festival.  That isn't including the Broadway Flea Market to raise money, the Central Park Horse show.  Or...
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Add caption

our afternoon Saturday at Oakley when we were in the middle of getting some prescription sunnies when we were evacuated for a bomb threat.

Friday, September 19, 2014

New York Times Cannot Spell

In the crossword section today #61 across is "A dish you might sprinkle cheese on". Four letters. 
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FOUR letters?  I am married to a Wisconsinite, and therefor I know the answer is "everything". It has more than four letters!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Never Underestimate the Arrogance of David Brooks

David Brooks is, supposedly, one of the "good" conservative columnists.  I would add, he is a good joke.
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Today he writes about the government's lack of preparation for terrorism, Ebola outbreak, etc.  He starts this with this great analogy.
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Imagine two cities. In City A, town leaders notice that every few weeks a house catches on fire. So they create a fire department — a group of professionals with prepositioned firefighting equipment and special expertise. In City B, town leaders don’t create a fire department. When there’s a fire, they hurriedly cobble together some people and equipment to fight it.
We are City B. We are particularly slow to build institutions to combat long-running problems.
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He then goes on to bemoan that our "city" hasn't funded the fire department enough.  Terrorism, illness.  No shit.
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People like him have spent decades telling us that there is no role for government.  That anything they do is done better by private business.  That government shouldn't support clean air, clean water, or basically anything.  Government is, according to him , the problem.
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To turn around now and pretend that government is doing nothing and "gee golly why?" is disingenuous.
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Miami Architecture

Yes, the sea is going to swallow this in 10 years...  But until then it is pretty. 

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Back in Miami

Work has brought me back down to Miami.  
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I don't really like Miami.  I am not old enough to enjoy its coffin-like warmth and humidity.  Nor am I young enough to participate in the Bachinal like party scene.  It leaves me feeling oddly way too old and way too young simultaniously.
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I am at the Intercontinetal again.  A hotel whose sole positive feature seems to be its proximity to the offices.  Today they sent to a room that has been set up for someone else.  Including a welcome letter, and a plat of cheeses and that horrible uncooked ham.
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So I call the front desk to explain this.  14 rings, no answer.  So I call the concierge, and they put me through to the hotel manager.  She doesn't understand why I went to the wrong room.  On the 3rd attempt, she gets it and will call "right back".
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I do not unpack.  Because they might change my room.
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I wait
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I wait.
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I call and it goes unanswered again.  
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I go down to the front desk, where the clerk apolgises, and goes to see what is up with the manager.  The manager comes out and apologizes.  She has checked and I can just stay in that room.  But she couldn't call me back becasue she didn't know the number.  The number of the room she had "just" checked?  She invited me to enjoy the ammenities and someone would come up and get the letters.
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Yes, I will love the now-crusty proscitto and dead cheese.  I go back up and leave to get ice.
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There is no ice on this floor, I am informed by the nice man who I see who is getting the letters from my room.  I ask him if the designers of this hotel knew it was going to be in Miami, a city with the charming climate of sweaty armpits?  A city where, after a long day, someone might want some ice?  And to relax in their room without rancid uncooked ham?
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This hotel also makes me a little worried by the size of the walls.  I am on the 23rd floor, and look at the window.  It is set back massively into the wall.  I have only seen walls this thick when made of adobe.  I am worried I am in an adobe highrise, where Ms. M******ski will barge in later tonight demand her bed and her proscitto while a hurricane bears down on my mud hut.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Scott (almost) Goes to Law School

Once upon a time, I wanted to go to Law School.  Well, not really, but I didn’t know what I wanted to do, so I took the LSAT and scored out of this world (99th percentile) and so I thought, what the heck.
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Bullocks Wilshire - saved from the wrecking ball by Southwestern School of Law
Now, I couldn’t get into UCLA – I convinced myself it was because they didn’t want Alumni from the school, not my 2.93 GPA.  I got into South Western Law School – which I liked because they were in the old Bullocks-Wilshire building.  Not the Bullocks on Wilshire – but the actual, beautiful Bullocks Wilshire!
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I also applied and got into Loyola Marymount School of Law.  They had just opened their new Law School designed by Frank Gehry.  It was one of his first big designs and it was (34 years ago) sooo cutting edge.
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In fact, my LSATs were so good, after I applied I got a wonderful phone call from Loyola saying, “We think you made a mistake and sent us a draft of your essay.  It has so many mistakes it cannot be your final essay.”  I apologized profusely and had a friend do an edit on my essay and sent in the edited copy.  (Remember children, this was back before spell check and word processing.  I had to t-y-p-e it on a typewriter – which was a machine that you physically hit keys and they would make a permanent mark on the page.)
Yes Virginia , we once "typed" on these.
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I also got into USC – but that was totally my safety school and I had no desire (and not enough funds) to attend.
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“So Scooter,” I hear you ask, “why didn’t you go?”
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Well, I worked for a summer at Manatt, Phelps, Rothenberg and Tunney.  At the time, the Democratic law firm in the West (Charles Manatt was head of the Democratic party, Stuart Rothenberg is now a leading political strategist and John Tunney was the ex-Senator from California).  It was a fine summer of work and very interesting, but I got this great advice from one of the lawyers.  She pulled me aside and said, “Don’t go.  You are smart enough to make it through Law School, but you don’t really WANT to be a lawyer.  I am the same.  I finished, have a great job here, work 80 hours a week and hate this job every day I am here.   If you are dying to be a lawyer, do it.  If you aren’t, then find something else.  Anything else.”
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So I didn’t, and regretted it for a while.  A short while.  I think I am much happier now.  I don’t have the killer instinct you need.  And I don’t like being around people that do.
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Also, when you choose what Law School to attend based on architecture, that is probably a bad idea.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Interesting Groupings

A Rookery of Penguins...
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A Prickle of Porcupines...

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A Mob of Kangaroos...

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A Nattering Nabob of Nincompoops..

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Bible Quiz

Sure, everyone knows about the flood, and the gays, but how much do you know?  Which of the following should be put to death (according to the Bible - mainly Leviticus - but spread out in other places as well).
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1)      Neil Patrick Harris
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2)      Angelina Jolie

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3)      Red Lobster’s All-You-Can-Eat CrabFest
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4)      Bacon Cheeseburger (eaters)
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5)      Cheeseburger (eaters)
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6)      Hamburger (eaters)
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7)      This Garden (planter)
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8)      This Haircut (recipient)
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9)      This Dress (designer and producer)
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10)   Brigham Young
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11)   Toyota-Thon
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12)   This Slave Master
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13)   This Girl (reliable church goer)
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14)   This Woman (reliable church goer) 

15)   This Man (Adam Levine)

ANSWERS

Big Day in Just Over a Week


So next Thursday is the day Scotland votes for or against independence.  Although Americans tend to ignore foreign affairs, let me explain why this might actually portend a MASSIVE change the United States.

Scotland is trying to leave the “United Kingdom” and yet maintain membership in two key clubs. 

First, Scotland would like to be granted immediate membership in the European Union.  There will be a lot of whinging about this, because it would be a bad precedent for Spain (where Basque and Catalan both want to leave) and Italy (where the North and South each feel the itch to hightail it out every now and then).  However, since Scotland would be a benefit to the EU, and is already larger (physically and economically) than many members, they will come up with something to keep them in.

Second, Scotland wants to keep the British Pound (it’s not called the English Pound).  That is both easier and harder.  Easier, because they can use whatever they want (Ecuador and Panama both use the US Dollar).  Keeping the Pound is easy.  Harder because not have a voice in your currency sucks.  It probably means the movement of most banking to London where the government would stay the ultimate backstop for the currency.  Imagine a 2008 type banking crash.  The United States bailed out American Banks – would we have bailed out Ecuadorian banks?


Either way, something will be worked out on both these fronts, IF Scotland goes it alone.

Now let’s look at the impact in the United States.  Huge.  If Scotland can escape, the idea will go, then why not the South (or Texas)?  Sure, the civil war happened once, but I wouldn’t fight to keep the South in the Country.  Let them go.

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“But Scott,” you explain, “this isn’t new.  Quebec voted, Czech and Slovakia spilt.  Croatia, Slovenia and Serbia broke up.  Why is this different?”
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Ah.. because Americans understand Scotland and England are like states (they aren’t but reality is so much less important that image).  
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Americans didn’t care Quebec wanted to leave Canada.  It was the French, and we Americans know the French are weird.  

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Ask an American about the Czechoslovakia spilt and over 80% will think it is the new desert from 31 Flavors.  And most will think  Slovenia and Serbia are trick questions.  You could as easily ask about Slobia and Freedonia.
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No.  If Scotland can go alone, many states will say their GNP would be greater than Scotland’s (in order, California, Texas, New York, Florida, Pennsylvania, Ohio, New Jersey. Georgia, North Carolina, Virginia, Michigan, Massachusetts, Washington and Minnesota) why can’t they go it alone.
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Now it is easy for me to say, go safely.  But not just me, I think a lot of people in our massively polarized country would give the heave ho to half (or 2/3s) of the country.

So yeah, big day next Thursday.

Walking in this city is fun

So, on Sunday I had brunch with some friends.  It was over on Lexington and 48th.  I took the Subway “Shuttle” to Grand Central and then walked up to the restaurant.
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I have to say, for a guy like me, that loves architectural details – this is an amazing city.
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First I had to stop for a great shot of the Grand Central Clock and windows.
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Leaving the Terminal at the North end, I exited onto the back of the Helmsley Hotel.  It has an old canopy hanging that would be a wonder in most any other place.

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The details at the canopy supports, the window-grate and the figures are just so cool.
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Farther up on Lex, I saw another Hotel with wonderful creatures seat about the entrance

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On the way back, I walked by the front of the Hotel and this time I was stopped by the clock.  I love the decorative details of the place.  I posted some of these to Instagram – but I wanted to share.