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Showing posts from August, 2014

To Uber or not to Uber?

After I met up with an out-of-town visitor, I wondered how she was getting back to the airport.
"Oh, I'm using Uber," she said.
"A what?" I replied.
"Uber is this service where you can book a driver through this app and the driver shows up to where you are at," my Uber-using visitor said.
Suddenly she pulled out her smartphone, called up an app and scheduled a pick-up driver. 
OK, this is a great proactive revolutionary app, but is the use of it safe? Customers register with Uber ahead of time, use the customer's phone's GPS to locate the user and sends a picture text of the driver as he/she gets closer to the user. Still, does registration and texts of the driver make it all a safer experience? You decide. 
Users also have the convenience of inputting their credit card information when signing up, so no money changes hands when making a request/transaction. When it comes to cost, Uber can be quite pricey depending on the level of service users choo…

Does more blacktop equal more heat?

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Ah, the fresh smell of asphalt. There's nothing like that intense odor in summer time, NOT! OK, I'm grateful that my local government has paved my street with fresh blacktop. We were overdue for a new coating after 20 years what with cracks and minor potholes.
These days I wonder if there's an alternative to blacktop since the science community says that more blacktop  roads add to the summertime" heat island" in the metro. Really, more blacktop equals a more intense "heat island?"
The "more blacktop roads theory" is not exactly preposterous since we all should know that darker colors means more heat. This is why so many school districts put white roofs on school buses to cool off those vehicles and hopefully cool off the kids. Cooler kids means less bus trouble - or so that theory says.
But what exactly is this "heat island?" Apparently meteorologists inform us that metro areas like Atlanta produce this area of more intense heat t…

Remembering Robin Williams

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Chevy Chase and Robin Williams, spring 1982
File Courtesy: Chuck Fink Entertainment By the time you’re reading this, it’s already become history in our world of the never-ending news-cycle. Now that it’s history, where were you when you found out about Robin Williams’ death? I received the news via an alert on my mobile e-mail, just like I did about five years previous when I learned of pop star Michael Jackson’s death.
Indeed, I have seen scores of great performers pass over the years, but with Jackson and Williams, it hit me a little bit harder. I saw both Michael Jackson and Robin Williams perform live.
About 30 years ago I attended the Jackson family’s Victory concert on a cold evening on Ohio’s north coast. I felt the urge to witness a legend. To this day, I’m proud that I spent the funds - $30 at the time – to see an amazing show. It didn’t matter that it felt like I was miles away from the stage. I was a part of history.
A few years before the Jackson’s Victory Tour concert, I …

It's Meat Free Monday, y'all!

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A sweet birthday

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Those of us with kids are constantly provided with unsolicited advice and opinions from just about anyone and everyone. Some of that advice is filled with good intentions, some advice contains misinformation and some of it is helpful. What is most accurate among the mountains of advice is that time goes so fast. I don't think that one believes that piece of advice at first especially when one is "in the moment" being a first-time parent. It seems that when a child is born, one cannot imagine how everything will look decades into the future.

After all, when a child first enters one's life, everything is turned upside down for good reason. For me, my world changed for the better. Still, change happens and a child growing up happens so fast – faster than anyone can imagine.

Yes, the observations are obvious. That logical part of us knows about time. It's like a shuffling deck of cards. Once a routine is set for work, school or any other type of schedule, time …

FLASHBACK: Happy Birthday, Precious - August 2012

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It was a long day for me and the president in August 1998. I was waiting for my daughter to be born and the president was testifying to a grand jury for hours. We were worlds apart. President Clinton was perhaps having the worst day of his life and I was having the best. I felt like I was on top of the world just knowing that my precious little one was going to arrive on that hot August day.

She was induced on that day. I’m not sure if I would do that today, but it seemed like the right thing to do at that time. The Pitocin -- the medicine used to induce a baby --wasn’t “taking hold” in the morning. The doctor arrived quite early. We engaged in a wait-and-see approach with the Pitocin. The doctor arrived several hours later and announced to the staff, “Crank the Pit!” Mom was in tears – a combination of joy and fear – especially when a long needle was inserted into her spine to numb the oncoming pain. The staff and I yelled out to Mom, “Don’t look back! Don’t look back!” My Adidas w…

FLASHBACK: You'll always be a part of me - August 2013

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I was thinking of a song the other day that has had an impact on me lately, especially with its lyrics:"And deep inside this ancient heart/ You'll always be a part of me."Those lyrics are from the 20-year-old-plus Billy Joel song "Lullabye (Goodnight My Angel)" and it means much more to me every year on my daughter's birthday. I'm not sure what those lines exactly mean to the composer, but to me it strikes a personal chord. As each year goes by, my offspring is closer to flying out of the nest in a number of ways, yet she will always be a part of me. Those words help me get through this passage of time. Maybe those lines are just me trying to hold onto something whether it is memories, feelings or perhaps things that are more concrete like childhood objects that my daughter so cherished and maybe still cherishes.Do not get me wrong because I do not dread my daughter's birthdays. Birthdays are joyous occasions and I certainly welcome them in as I hel…

FLASHBACK: High School Musical 2 Party - August 2007

My daughter held her 9th birthday the other week. Every year I swear that we will have no more birthdays. Perhaps it’s the “uncaring male” in me or the fact that as a child, I wasn’t allowed to have parties after the age of 6.

We held a “High School Musical 2”-themed birthday party on premiere night. My daughter along with five of her buddies gathered about an hour and half before the TV movie started. I was ordered to prepare the pizza, slice the cake, pour the drinks and usher in our hired makeup artists for the evening.

“This is sweet,” an attendee gushed as the female “tweens” were getting their hair sprayed with what seemed like toxic paint. “If I wanted them to get spray-painted, I would’ve taken the girls over to I-85 and Jimmy Carter where a freelance graffiti artist would have done the job for free,” I remarked. “That’s not funny,” the attendee replied, as she coached the makeup artists who were literally transforming these young girls before my very eyes.

For the next hour, …

We know too much

So you cannot remember where you just left your car keys? Are you having trouble recalling when you last called your daughter? How about trying to come up with the name of some who you knew in college or high school? Do you think that you're losing your mental edge as you age? Think again. Researchers at Tubingen University in Germany have a good answer. You know too much! Yes, that's right. The real reason you might feel absent-minded or think that you're losing your mind is because you have a lot of information stored in your head. The researchers liken this finding to how a computer operates. The more data that is stored on a computer's hard drive, the tougher it is for the machine to call up the information. These findings were included in the Journal of Topics in Cognitive Science.Of course there is a difference between computers and humans. You can always add memory space to an existing computer - or you can rip out the existing computer's hard drive, scrap i…

No more cash

These days there seems to be a credit, debit or loyalty card for everything. That's tough for guys who prefer to carry a slim wallet. Admittedly there are guys who don't mind clutching a thick wallet or even some type of purse contraption, but I think we try to keep things simple.  Even for females, it's tough to carry all those cards and keep them organized in a purse.  Add in the smartphone, and there are days when all of us seem to be carrying around everything but the bathroom sink. That's right - "bathroom," because you already have the kitchen sink somewhere in that mess.Seriously, wouldn't it be nice to have all those cards' information in our smartphones? Recently there have been inroads into transforming that smartphone into an all-inclusive payment device. As of this writing there are a number of start-up companies getting in on the action so that you can pay with your smartphone just about everywhere.For those of us who wish to slim down ou…

Endless Summer

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About 40 years ago, Capitol Records released a Beach Boys compilation titled Endless Summer. The LP contains the pop group's early 1960s greatest hits including "Help Me, Rhonda," "California Girls," and of course the appropriately titled "All Summer Long." The idea of re-releasing Beach Boys hits in the early 1970s was a brilliant marketing move because this compilation became the band's second chart topping album and was certified 3x platinum.Perhaps the compilation title Endless Summer was conjured up by the band, but more likely, the title came from a record executive or a group of executives who were thinking about their teen years when they dreamed of an 'endless summer.' On a bit of a side note,  attention Beach Boys mavens, you may weigh in on this blog's  comments section to enlighten me about who came up with the LP's title.I think about the Endless Summer album because I recall seeing it and its contents for the first ti…

The PATH to Good Things

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photo from Daily Kos
With schools back in session comes increased traffic congestion. It's no secret that the addition of buses and more vehicles (mixing it up with truck traffic on the roads) shuttling students to school and extra-curricular activities adds to the Atlanta metro area's traffic headaches. This ritual occurs annually in early August.  Is it possible for this community to think about a reduction of vehicles on the road? Certainly carpooling helps, but it works for few people. Cycling is an excellent alternative to the automobile. Bicycles can get students to their destinations within reasonable times along with the benefits of exercise. 
Unfortunately, cycling in the 'burbs as well as the city is a challenge in the Atlanta metro area. Ask anyone - including me - who negotiates the roadways via bicycle. Certainly it's a tall order to get out there on the roads, but not impossible. Most cyclists and automobile operators obey the rules. Indeed the frustrations…

Imagine No Textbooks

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It's tough to believe that school is back in session in early August down South. The idea of going back to school several weeks before Labor Day was unimaginable years ago, but the concept of summer break these days is dwindling. I'm sure many educational professionals who have enjoyed these summer breaks are not cheering on this trend in many ways. Still, a lot of observers say that with progress and technology, it's unnecessary to have students take time off between Memorial Day and Labor Day. Many feel that the concept of a full summer off is too much time away from learning. I agree can with those observations since there is a lot more competing for students' attention in this culture from now cheaper handheld streaming devices to traditional over-the-air and cable television. Learning does take a "back-seat" for some students with so much noise in the air.
Certainly students ought to learn from an early to age to limit their time with multi-use mobile p…