Tarheeltalker

Waiting for Irene

As most of the country knows, we on the east coast are waiting for the arrival of Hurricane Irene. She has already stirred up things prior to her arrival here and so we wait with bated breath, I guess. The weather people, both on air and online have been talking for what seems like an eternity. Where will it go, how fast is it moving, has it changed directions and so on. There is a need for information and I  am thankful we have access to more of that commodity than in years past. But, at times I have  been like one of the people living on my mail route who told me she just had to get outside and get away from the near constant coverage. And, a memo to the  weather people , screaming and gesticulating about what may happen provided no better info than a calm, reasoned approach. The aim is to not create panic, is it?

We have just about completed our storm prep. The water and the batteries and appropriate food  have  been acquired. The cars have fuel and we have a bit of $ on hand, just in case. I am waiting to fill up the tub with water, trying to squeeze in one more shower.

It was interesting to note the ongoing preparations today as I went about  my duties. There are only a few businesses with boarded up windows, 10 that I saw, and almost no residences that took this approach. I guess the most interesting and almost amusing thing I learned was about coffee. When a power outage is anticipated, one should make a  pot of coffee the night before and then heat it one cup at a time by using a match. Great idea for coffee fans such as myself.

So, now we wait and as I do, a verse comes to mind that became meaningful to me in 2003, during Hurricane Isabel.

Thou dost rule the swelling of  the sea; When its waves rise, Thou dost still them.  Psalm 89:9

To all those in the projected path,

Shalom.

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August 26, 2011 Posted by | Weather | , , , , | 3 Comments

The greatest celebrity couple ever

… or they will be when, not if, they  get together.

Celebrities fascinate many of us. Even those of us, like myself, who profess not to be as interested, take notice from time to time. And, face it, they are important to the good of the country. After all, how would  People and Us magazines stay in business not to mention Entertainment Tonight, TMZ, the late night talk shows and innumerable blogs and websites.

Of course, our fascination is nothing new, but with the myriad ways to disseminate celebrity information it sure seems that way. So I  wonder in my weaker moments who are the greatest  celebrities? Bear in mind, this is totally unscientific and probably reflects some of my own biases( I know you are completely shocked by that!)  both pro and con.

For my purposes, I drew very random and  totally meaningless, almost, criteria. Who are the greatest celebrity couples? Well, there was Roy Rogers and Dale Evans, a childhood favorite. There was Marilyn Monroe and fill in the blank ( probably Joe DiMaggio). We have had Elizabeth  Taylor and Richard Burton and in the minds of many the elite of the elite, Mr Pitt and Ms Jolie.

But I believe that the Couple of  couples has yet to pair up, that is with each other. They are very famous of course and each has and still has, high-profile relationships. They are of course Jennifer Aniston and George Clooney. Each is beginning to age, he better than she, I think. Just think of the headlines and star power and she could finally have revenge on Brad Pitt for dumping her. Perfect! There is one minute problem. People Magazine has a picture portfolio of Ms Aniston  that numbers  504  images while Mr Clooney  has only 280. Perhaps, that would need to be addressed.

August 21, 2011 Posted by | Entertainment, Media | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Anonymity

I remember well a scene from the first Mission Impossible  movie in which Tom Cruise (aka Ethan Hunt) meets “Job”   wonderfully played by Vanessa Redgrave, and asks about the name Job. She  responds that ” anonymity … is like a  warm blanket.” Been  thinking about that quote a lot recently in the context of  blog/article comments made on the internet.

Most of the comments that I read are made by a person under a name other than their own. ( I know, so is my blog.) It is interesting to notice the screen names that people choose and speculate about why they were chosen. My thought has long been that these names are often used as a cover to make comments or observations that the person would never make using his/her own name. But, you might say that one uses a screen name to keep one’s identity from falling into the wrong hands, so to speak. I think that is only true in a minority of  instances. My reasoning goes thusly. The comments on polarizing figures or issues such as President Obama or Rush Limbaugh or Michele Bachmann or healthcare or any number of others are filled with such vitriol that one is almost embarrassed to one’ s self identified with them.

Even when I read comments that mirror my own, I am chagrined to note the level of anger that is involved. I can make comments ( and so can you)  about a political figure or issue without becoming tarred with my own brush and still be effective.

It is amusing to note that newspapers  and I suppose magazines have long-held to the policy of  rarely if ever publishing an anonymous comment and I like that. The few  times that I have written  in response to a newspaper article  were not situations where I  minded being identified.

In the wild, wild west of the internet the rules, such as they are much different. Makes me wonder if I need to rename my blog?

August 21, 2011 Posted by | Media | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The next Robert B Parker?

Perhaps that is overstating  a little and is probably not fair to  Ace Atkins. But when you are the guy chosen to continue the Spenser series, it is  a valid question. The answer to our question will have to wait until Spring, 2012 since that is the  release date for the book, Lullaby, book #40 in the Spenser series and the first to be written by Atkins.

When I  first read the article, it was with a mixture of hope and   uncertainty. The hope of course that the series could continue and the    apprehension that  perhaps the new guy could not hack it. But based on the April 29 press release my worries may well be unfounded. Joan Parker, who is the author’s  widow, is very excited about Mr Atkins  and the future for the series. Now the only problem is having to wait until next year to read the finished product.

In the interim, I will continue to work on my Spenser collection and wait for the  further adventures of Spenser and Hawk. Let us hope however that this example of a character outliving his author will be a good thing.

August 14, 2011 Posted by | Literature | , , | Leave a comment

You can learn amazing things from Good Housekeeping

I confess, from time to time when there are no viable options, I read Good Housekeeping magazine. That;s probably another reason for needing an IPhone. Just the other day I read an article that seemed rather innocuous. A lady is going about her day which is going great. So great that she is able to tuck in behind  a state trooper and just motor along at whatever speed he goes. No problem, right? Wrong! Said trooper manages to sneak in behind our unsuspecting motorist, pull her over and tell her that he has clocked her speeding; as high as 83 mph.

The lady is predictably astounded as I would be until she learns two( or is it one?) facts. The trooper asks if she knows he has 360 degree radar and can track her speed even she is behind him. When she protests that she was just driving the same speed as he, the big news comes. Said the trooper in so many words, I can go as fast as I want ( there was no emergency in the situation). But isn’t that entrapment she asked? Answer, a slightly enigmatic smile.

Amazingly I read several  different blog posts that commented on this issue and the civilian and police responses were about equally divided as to whether they can or cannot speed. Even better, some civilians defended the police and some police did not. Once again, I stand in awe of GH. They are much more than their institute.

August 6, 2011 Posted by | Media, Transportation | , , , , , | 1 Comment

What real estate slump?

Yes, housing starts are dismal along with virtually every other economic indicator. But, I believe I know a way to improve that, at least in housing starts. This is just a beginning , mind you but it  seems to have lots of potential.

I read a blurb in Sports Illustrated the other day about Philadelphia Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard. Mr Howard is by any estimation a baseball star and plays for what is probably the best team in baseball. For that he is well compensated. For purposes of this post, I make no comment about what Howard makes, except to say that it is enough to afford a nice home.

Mr Howard has plans in place to have a home constructed in the Tampa area that has  an estimated completion date of sometime in 2014. With a cost estimate of $23 million, that should be no surprise. The only catch is that the regs in that area require a maximum construction time of 24 months which has required  a bit of negotiation with local officials. While they are involved in that, they should not miss a great opportunity to boost the housing starts there and maybe even start a nationwide trend.

Here is my suggestion. Divide the  estimated construction cost by ten and voila , you have 10 housing starts. Numbers look better which is  really all that matters anyway, right? Besides an expensive home should count for more than a less expensive one. And the trend catches on, before you know it there is  a housing “boom” that inspires confidence and inspires companies to hire, consumers to spend etc. Bet the Obama Administration would love this plan. No need for thanks, just trying to do my part.

August 6, 2011 Posted by | economy | , , , , , , | Leave a comment