Random Thoughts

Tweet • I’m starting to root for the zombies in “The Walking Dead.” Unlike the unsatisfactory endings for “The Sopranos” and “Boardwalk Empire,” I know how this one should end. Slurp. • Remember when we were going to have $5 per gallon gas prices? The price is under $3 in many places now. • Imagine if 10% off all funds raised for these mid-term elections had to be donated to disease research and cure? • Only in America can we …


The Commuting Conundrum

Tweet I’m sitting in my New York hotel catching up on email and writing with the TV on in the background at 8 am. Bear in mind that I am originally a New Yorker and I’m here very often. I know the place well and thrive here. Few things surprise me. The TV traffic reporter is noting matter-of-factly that the delays at the George Washington bridge are 30 minutes, the Holland Tunnel 20 minutes, and the Lincoln Tunnel 40 minutes. …


Questions

Tweet Some nagging questions that go unanswered: • Why are so many people globally trying to learn English while so many people in the US aren’t bothering? • Why would a restaurant hire a woman with no personality whatsoever and make her the hostess? • Why do only 10% of the drivers in Rhode Island know how to parallel park? (Some have to take a cab from where they leave their car to the curb.) • Who buys a condo …


Why I Love London

Tweet • The cabs are clean, can hold 5-6 people comfortably, and the drivers know where everything is. You’re lucky if you get a cab driver in New York who knows where the Empire State Building is, and the cab will stink while he yaks in a foreign language on a cell phone. • No one honks car horns. The city is bustling, streets are crowded, but the noise level is very low. • Harrods. • Tipping is not an …


I Spy

Tweet Now there’s a kerfluffle about our spying on our good friend and ally, Germany. I would imagine we “spy” on a lot of people, just as a lot of people spy on us, including our allies. All countries operate in their own self-interest, and gathering intelligence seems like a necessity. (For example, are the Germans providing the means for their companies to make money by breaking the embargo against Iran? I have no idea, but our government probably feels …


California Dreaming

Tweet Remember the Momas and the Papas? California Dreamin’ was one of their best efforts. I”ve been here for the week, in Beverly Hills, probably in one of the best suites in one of the best hotels—The Peninsula. We’ve wined and dined lavishly, and here are my current reflections on the California Dream: • The place is so over-regulated it makes Obama look like a hands-off guy. There are warnings and rules and laws about everything. This morning, a formal …


The Esteem Regime

Tweet “Democracy demands that all of its citizens begin the race even. Egalitarians insist that they all finish even.” — Roger Price (Class)   Recently, a school nearby had to reverse its decision to discontinue awards night for academic achievement, because parents—to their credit—were overwhelmingly in favor of acknowledging those whose performance was laudable. (School authorities are still thinking about whether they should hold the athletic achievements awards night.) The original decision was based on the belief that those who …


People Who Won’t Go Away

Tweet I saw a clip of the latest person who never seems to go away, Jill Abramson, fired by the New York Times, making a commencement address at Wake Forest. She was utterly without gravitas, spoke in a squeaky voice reading her notes verbatim, and came across as highly unimpressive. Years ago at my club, the woman who was then president of the Times spoke, and she was dreadful—a canned speech from index cards with no regard for where she …


Flash: London No Longer Capital of England

Tweet I’ve been coming to London since (I’m mortified to admit) the 60s. I’ve been there perhaps 20 times. It’s one of my five top cities in the world (New York, Hong Kong, Venice, San Francisco), I’ve belonged to a gambling club there for 30 years, and I know the place well.   And it has metamorphosed.   This is no longer the capital of England. It is the meeting place and juncture for the world’s great wealth. The money …


The Good Old Days

Tweet One is immediately ostracized for suggesting that the “old days” were better in some way. You are portrayed as an “old timer” who just doesn’t understand the modern sophistication of, say, Lady GaGa or Jon Stuart or raves.   Yeah, well.   I love the modern, with all the latest technology, speed, instant gratification, and all that jazz. But some olio that includes extinct past practices might improve all our lots. Specifically:   • People used to dress up …