Saturday, November 6, 2010

Don’t forget

to reset your clocks.

One extra hour of drinking tonight.

Say goodbye to this guy

I shot this photo through my window looking north a couple days ago. Stink bugs have been around all Summer. They’ve done real damage in the upstate apple regions.

According to this morning’s weather, we are approaching our first seasonal “killing” frost, as they are finally happening upstate. If you have not seen any of these critters this season, count your blessings. And if you have?
Say goodbye to this guy. Until next year.
From the Associated Press:
More than 29 States in North America have reported high-level of infestation. New Jersey, Pennsylvania and New York are the worst affected by these bugs.
Stink bugs are not new to America as the country has been dealing with them for last 10 years. These bugs are known to be native Asian bugs and have entered the country from Asia when goods were imported from Asian countries. Since the bugs are not Native American bugs they don’t have any natural predator which has resulted in an alarming increase in their population. Stink bugs has caused a loss of 35 percent of Orchard Corps in the North Eastern Region.
Even though these bugs are harmless they release foul smelling liquid to save themselves from predators. If you have a bug at home, don’t release it outside as they multiply fast. Instead, flash them down the toilet as it prevents them from multiplying.

Friday, November 5, 2010

The HomeDepotization of our Airlines

Another day, another near air disaster. On Thursday a big chunk of an a380 engine fell off Quantas flight 32. Tomorrow? 
Who knows.
Flying was once a real event. We dressed in our Sunday best and spoke in hushed, near-reverent tones about the brilliant technology around us while we sat in large, comfortable seats with lots of space between them. The degree of intelligent discourse and polite conduct onboard was a source of self-respect and pride. And we ate excellent, in-flight meals with limitless top shelf drinks and first run movies.
True, flying was more expensive in those days but our planes were spotless, the drinks were free and everything was included in the cost of the flight. There was even a second or third jet to roll out in the event of a mechanical mishap. No more.
Today we are no longer willing to pay for such good service so all that remains is First Class and the equivalent of a flying subway. We have required our airlines to join a race to the bottom sacrificing our comfort, good service and even reliability. 
And soon, I expect, our safety.
The airlines are beset with the same rising fuel and labor costs as any business, even terrorism. So what is our response? We use an internet search for the cheapest possible fare and then bitch to anyone who will listen that what we got is the cheapest possible service.
If our culture ever returns to a respect for quality then flying will improve. But until then we are responsible for the perilous state of this industry and everyone complaining should just be quiet and count the money saved and take what we’ve insisted the airlines sell to us. 
Because if we keep this up, someday, inevitably, we’ll endure a safety-related air disaster we could have avoided if we as a culture had only been willing to pay what it actually costs to provide a safer, quality flight.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The basics that interested me

The Democrats held the Senate, but only by a seat or two. Tea party candidates won Senate races in Kentucky, Florida, Utah, and Pennsylvania.
National Senate

The Republicans swept the House. No more “Speaker Pelosi”. Get used to hearing “Speaker John Boehner.” (R-OH)
National House

The Republicans picked up new Governors in Wyoming, New Mexico, Kansas, Oklahoma, Iowa, Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, Tennessee, and Pennsylvania.

John McCain held on to his Arizona Senate seat with 59% of the vote.
Rand Paul, son of Republican Congressman and former presidential candidate Ron Paul of Texas and despite fairly radical Tea Party views, won a Senate seat in Kentucky 56% to 44%.
Jerry Brown (D) returned to the California Governorship defeating Meg Whitman, (R) (President and Chief Executive Officer of eBay from 1998 to 2008.) Whitman spent about $150 Million of her own money... to lose.
Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) kept her seat in a harsh race against Carly Fiorina (R) (chief executive officer of Hewlett Packard from 1999 to 2005)
Also in California, Prop. 19, which would have legalized marijuana, failed, getting only 46% of the vote.

“I am not a witch” Christine O’Donnell (R) lost to Chris Coons 57% to 40% in Delaware. Coons now fills Vice President Joe Bidens old Senate seat.
In the Connecticut Senate race, Richard Blumenthal (caught lying about his Vietnam service record) defeated Linda McMahon, famous for her career managing World Wrestling Entertainment 53% to 45%.
Senator Harry Reid of Nevada defeated Sharron Angle of the Tea Party 50% to 45%, retaining the Senate seat he’s held since 1986.
In a very unusual Alaskan Senate race, Independent Lisa Murkowski leads at 39% against Democrat Scott McAdams at 25% and Joe Miller at 34%. What makes this so unusual is that Murkowski isn’t actually on the ballot and had to be handwritten in.
Kirsten Gillibrand and Chuck Schumer easily defeated their opponents in New York’s Senate race.
New York Senate

New York House

And finally, in the New York Governors race Andrew Cuomo (D) followed his father Mario into the New York Governorship by defeating Carl “I’m gonna take you out” Paladino (R) 62% to 34%, which means...

No more David Paterson impressions on Saturday Night Live.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Stand up for your right

It’s not everyday the NYPD canvasses local opinion about the state of our homes and our neighborhood but I’ve been told that tomorrow night offers this chance to be informed and to also have our say.
Organized by our own 40th precinct and hosted at the LINCOLN Hospital, I strongly suggest all ClockTowerTenants make the time to get up, stand up, be counted and be heard. 

Let’s meet in our lobby tomorrow evening, Wednesday, November 3rd at 5:30pm, with a departure planned for 5:35pm sharp. We’ll walk up to Lincoln Hospital at 248 East 149th Street together-- about a 15 minute walk-- in time for the 6pm meeting in Meeting Room #4 on the first floor. 
I enjoy living in the ClockTower and I will be there. 
I hope you will be, too. 

But I like it (like it)

Everybody knows that buildings need foundations, right? So how did the World Trade Towers come to be built right on the water? Wasn’t the sandy ground by the water too soft?
No. It isn’t sandy ground. Manhattan is essentially a giant rock poking up above sealevel, a stone called Mica Schist. The engineers just bolted the buildings to the rock and went straight up.

The red areas in the map on the right show that Manhattan is largely mica schist, (or Manhattan Schist, in that borough) but if you look at the Bronx the red runs right up under the ClockTower in a narrow red strip all the way to the Cross Bronx Expressway. The map on the left indicates 172nd and Third Avenue. See? It falls right in that narrow red strip of mica schist.

This old photo above from Google street view shows that very intersection with giant outcroppings of the mica schist dominating the corner lot, all part of that red strip on the map. No wonder nothing was built there at first. The cost to dynamite, chip out and haul that rock would be enormous, but the city needed the lot for low income housing. Now compare this empty lot photo with the very first photo at the top. Same intersection, even the light post and the hydrant have not moved.
The solution? Just leave the rock in place and build over it. You can see the same yellow bodega below in the photo above.

The architects poured the concrete all around it…..

...and sometimes set the building right on it.

The brick has to work around it.

Pieces of the stone chip off and litter the sidewalk so I brought a small chip home and photographed it. 

That’s it on the right. The chip on the left is an internet photo of mica schist I found on this geologists site:

These rocks are pretty big. I rolled my bicycle into the picture for a sense of scale. 

I know, it’s only rock and roll but I like it,
 (like it) yes I do!

Monday, November 1, 2010

I’ve wasted my life

But my house is clean!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween!

Our annual pumpkin carving bash--- fueled by Pumpkin Barrel Ale and Selina’s spaghetti and meatballs, pumpkin pie and an amazing maple creme brulĂ©e with praline topping--- came off without a hitch! 

Batman arrived under cover of darkness 
and claimed an early victim.

And then the knives came out. It wasn’t pretty. lol

This colorful carnage is hard work!

Perhaps pumpkins can breathe easy again….. for now.

But just wait ‘til next year!