Friday, June 24, 2005

The Mess in Aruba...

I know a little about tourist economies. The Island of Aruba has been in the news for the past three weeks. Yesterday the police arrested local judge, Peter Van Sloot, who is the father of the 17 year old Dutch youth being held in the missing persons case of Alabama teen Natalee Holloway. This make 5 locals arrested so far.Things couldn’t be worse for Aruba if the great white shark from "Jaws" took up permanent residence visibly offshore of the Island’s most popular beach.
There is a saying in PR that "it doesn’t matter what you say just get my name right"...not in this case. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that after the past two weeks the tourist business in Aruba is ruined for the foreseeable future, especially when local innkeepers are going to be keeping those reservation deposits from all those rooms which are being cancelled as I write this to meet their payrolls. And unless you own your own condo or timeshare unit there you won’t be going to Aruba any time soon. Too bad...unless Natalee herself turns up unharmed with some variation of "runaway bride" syndrome, Aruba’s tourist business is toast..

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Bye Bye Home Sweet Home...

Today the US Supreme Court made what I believe to be a bad decision. They ruled 5-4 that a local government has the right to seize an individual’s property through “eminent domain” for economic development purposes solely.
In the case of “Kelo et al versus the City of New London, Connecticut” the court ruled that seizure is appropriate if the government can demonstrate it will lead to an increase of jobs and tax revenues.
The concept of eminent domain has been around for decades and its primary use has been to acquire space for essential infrastructure improvements especially right of ways for roads and rails, hospitals, schools or the redevelopment of blighted areas. New York City’s modern commercial success today for example has been widely dependent on eminent domain actions on the part of the City and State Governments in the 40’s and 50’s when hundreds of thousands of residents were relocated to build a system of super highways.
Normally you would find me on the side of the commercial developers on a legal issue, but not this one. What this means is that if your home abuts the local Best Buy (God forbid) and Best Buy decides that it wants your property to expand its parking lot they can go to your local city commission or town council and force you to sell it to them.
That’s not right..

Friday, June 17, 2005

Rolling Down Recovery's Road...

I feel I’ve turned a major corner on my road to recovery this morning. I no longer have the intense pain on the bruised left side of my rib cage which characterized days 2,3, and 4. My right arm is about 85 % and some of the swelling in the elbow area has gone down. I had a larger right bicep/tricep than Mark McGuire on “roids” there for a couple of days and the massive bruise on the inside of the middle area of my right arm has started turning from deep purple toward that dull green I’ve so been looking forward to. My left arm has been able to lift itself up to the keyboard without assistance this morning although I would characterize its recovery at only about 45 %. I no longer feel I am single handedly contributing to the bottom line of McNeil - PPC, Inc., the makers of extended release Tylenol.A good thing too...after yesterday I only have 7 of those dime sized percosets left. I got through last night with just one.I tried to swim a little backstroke last evening at the club. It wasn’t pretty but I had almost full range of movement for both arms in the water. I was trying not to get my face wet while the cut above my lip is healing. The excess bonding substance came out of it on Thursday and peeled away like elmer’s glue on a child’s hand. The cut remained closed and doesn’t show any signs of I feel better!

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Congress Shorts Buck Rogers...

Every once in a while something comes along to remind me that I'm not half as smart as I think I am or as well informed. Today came the news that the "National Ignition Facility Project" was being shutdown by a cut in Federal Spending...Duhh(?)..
The NIF I learned for the first time today was an effort to simulate hydrogen fusion by focusing 192 powerful lasers on a single point creating a huge release in energy.
Now you would have thought that I would have heard of this "bad boy" before because my favorite Tom Clancey novel of all time was the "Cardinal of the Kremlin" and it was all about the race to develop a powerful laser weapon.
So far 4 of the 192 lasers have been built and installed at Livermore, California. The cutoff of funding ends the program right there. Detractors say that four lasers will be enough to do the experiments the project was meant to do. Supporters say the project is dead because without the additional lasers the project's main goal of "fusion ignition" cannot be reached.
Oh well..You can’t miss what you didn’t know you had...

Monday, June 13, 2005

Turkey 1 Mobil 0...

This morning as part of an 80 mile bike effort this week I set out on an 18 mile ride from Dawson to Perryopolis roundtrip along “the Yough”. Yesterday I had done an 11 mile trip from Dawson to Connellsville roundtrip, the first leg of which was the steepest grade on the trail.
By 9:00 am I had completed the first 9 miles and had turned around and was headed back toward Dawson. After about half a mile I encountered on the trail two large wild turkeys with two ‘baby turkeys”. As they moved to one side of the trail I left the limestone packed part of the trail on the opposite side to give them plenty of room. Just before I was even with them one of the adults became “airborne” and attacked, “beaking” me between my nose and mouth. Needless to say this led to my first 10 mph bike crash in about 48 years. Half dazed on the ground from the impact I realized that this bird of prey was coming at me again for a second taste and I started screaming and cursing...hoping to wring its damn neck if it came any closer but the fowl suddenly realized its advantage of surprise was now gone and retreated with its family over a nearby hill toward the river.
I looked around and tried to collect myself. I spied my nearby cellphone. The last thing I wanted to do was get on that thing and call for an emergency rescue. I could already picture myself becoming the laughing stock of Western Pennsylvania (“Tough Turkey Turns Tables on Poultry-fed Cyclist”). Still I was in pain and there was blood all over my shirt but I soon realized it was all coming from the wound beneath my nose. My legs seemed OK but both arms and my chest were hurting. The front wheel and the handlebars didn’t look good and I couldn’t tell about the rest of my cycle. Both water bottles had been knocked free but were within reach. I spent about 15 minutes on the arms didn’t seem to want to assist me in getting up. During this time I was able to determine the rear wheel had a clean spin to it, that the rearview "monocle mirror" on my helmet was destroyed forever and that my glasses had survived intact. After reassembling my belongings I finally got myself to my feet. I took the front wheel between my legs while gripping the handlebars with my hands and straightened it out the way we used to do when we were kids.
I got back on the bike, a little wobbly at first and started heading back toward Dawson. About a mile and a half down the trail I pulled off at a trailside picnic table and rested for a short time while drinking about 10 ounces of water. I decided I had about forty five more minutes of riding left. While I was stopped the first cyclists I had seen all day passed me on their way going South. I gave them a friendly wave.
I returned to the trail and going at about three quarter speed rode the rest of the way back to Dawson. I managed to get the bike apart and loaded in the back of my Malibu Maxx and then slipped myself into the front seat and pulled down the visor mirror to see what I had done to my relatively scar free face. I had acquired a ¾ inch laceration where the turkey had struck me which had stopped bleeding by then. Although using my arms was difficult and the seatbelt hurt on my chest I got on my way for the fifty minute ride home.
I stopped at home long enough to explain to mom why I wouldn’t be bringing lunch in today (we had leftover Pizza we would have eaten tomorrow) and headed over to my local ER.
Finally at the ER 5 + hours since my crash after a series of x-rays of my chest, left shoulder and right elbow it was determined that I hadn’t broken anything but that I was pretty badly bruised up (ribs and joints). They gave me a tetanus shot, a tramadol shot in the butt(which took the edge off some of the pain) and glued my above lip gash back together.
The Doctor also wrote me a prescription for 16 of the biggest percosets I’ve ever seen which he promised I’d be glad I had about 32 hours from now.
Did you know you can get pneumonia from something like this? I have to take 10 deep breaths every hour for the next week to prevent it.
Lesson from this..The next time I see “make way for ducklings” (or turkeys) I’m doing a u-turn and head in the opposite direction.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Daily Trebekking...

My mother and I have been watching “Jeopardy “ together most evenings since I returned home in 1995. I’m surprised at how well I do on the questions… of course the key to winning on the show when you have a knowledgeable background is the timing of your ringing in. I would say that generally speaking I know about sixty five percent of the answers.
One little “sub game” that my mother and I have developed since we started watching together is we each attempt “to divine” the answer to the final question from just knowing the “category” and not yet knowing what the question actually is. Believe it or not we each in any given year have been able to guess the final answer on more than one occasion.
Tonight the category was “notorious”. My mother immediately said “Al Capone” and I said “John Dillinger” before the show went to the last commercial break preceding the final question.
The final question was something like: This person in 1934 had painful plastic surgery which left him looking pretty much the same as he had shortly before his death.”
My mother and I both realized the answer couldn’t be Al Capone because he died in the 1950’s so she updated her final answer to “Pretty Boy Floyd”. I stuck with my John Dillinger.
The answer of course was John Dillinger which the ultimate winning contestant had written. The two losing contestants had written “Al Capone”.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Deepest Throat...

Can you imagine being the Chief Operating Officer of the most sophisticated crime fighting organization in the World and discovering that the reporters you had confided in had “labeled” you after an oral sex maneuver popularized by the most famous triple X movie of all time?..That’s the feeling W. Mark Felt must have had as the most famous ever informed source. No wonder it took so long to reveal his identify.
Actually according to John Feinstein, a Bob Woodward protégé, Felt told Woodward six years ago that it would be ok to reveal his identity.. but Woodward didn’t feel that Mark was in possession of all his mental faculties. Now with Felt reportedly on his deathbed his family hopes to cash in on his latent fame.
Such is the world we live in today.

Speakeasy Speed Test