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Showing posts from October, 2014

When did Halloween traffic become so awful in our area?

When did this whole Halloween traffic-thing begin? I didn't notice this "phenomenon " until I moved to the Atlanta metro area more than a quarter century ago. Through the years, it's become worse as a whole. Certain years have been worse than others, but overall, the experience of attempting to negotiate our surface streets and highways has been more than challenging.
Still, I'm wondering: When did this madness begin? Cami says that adults have been getting in on the Halloween fun more over the years thus, parents are driving their kids to houses and more importantly, Halloween house parties. I agree, but I add that parents have become more than engaged in their children's lives, perhaps a bit too engaged. Maybe that's a bit of a harsh assessment, but many - not all- parents are clogging up the roads racing from work to get back and get involved in Halloween.
OK, parents have every right to get into the Halloween spirit, but maybe for many, it's bec…

Election Day 2014

Do you realize that Tuesday, November 4 is Election Day? If not, then you’re what is known as a “low-propensity voter.” I heard this term the other day emanating from the television. I’m not sure who said it, but I suppose that person means that you’re somewhat aware of current events, but you’re not aware enough to know about the upcoming Election Day. No one is insulting the low-propensity voters’ intelligence. Hey, we all get busy and forget important dates and events. Many of us forget certain things we learned in school. The thing to remember is that voting is important and all of us need to exercise that right.
“Well, we’re not voting for president, so why vote?” a low-propensity voter might say.
Indeed that low-propensity voter is correct about November 4 being a non-presidential election, but it ends there. The upcoming elections impact the average citizen this upcoming year -- more so than voting for a president. Your county commissioner, state senator, state representative …

Your kitchen towels could be incredibly disgusting

Attention! You might not realize it, but your dish towels are most likely dirtier than you will ever realize. In a study by Food Protection Trends, the majority of towels tested positive for coliform bacteria. That’s right. About 89 percent of those towels carried coliform bacteria and 25 percent of the batch proved to have E. coli.
Apparently when we’re using and re-using kitchen towels on pots, pans, dishes and glassware to accelerate drying them off after hand-washing, we’re introducing a lot of bacteria. I’m not sure about you, but does it seem that those of us who operate in kitchens cannot win? Here we’re all trying to do the right thing by cleaning what we use in our eating areas. What’s the answer? Researchers with Food Protection Trends recommend frequent replacement of towels or, “decontamination of kitchen towels.”
What exactly is “decontamination of kitchen towels?” The answer is to soak your towels in bleach for two minutes to kill as much bacteria as possible. Yes, soa…

Are you ready for some fall time?

Fall is finally here in our grip, or so we think. I'm not sure if we'll hit the '80s any time soon, but if we do, it could be a good respite from many days of chill. So far, it's been pleasant excluding Tuesday, October 14 which was a gully washer. I braved the storm to get into work thinking that I crushed a lone tree branch, worrying that I did some tire damage. All looked well before and after work. When I was driving that afternoon, something else happened: a flat tire on the worst place to be the victim of a flat tire aside from Germany's Autobahn. I did my best to wave down the departing HERO unit (one of those folks who help stranded motorists) from a nearby location, but guess what: no dice. The HERO driver clearly ignored me. As Joe Walsh sings, "City streets don't have much pity." Well in this case, that massive super highway 'don't have much pity.' Anyway, I experienced quite a douzy getting the spare on and replacing the tire.…

It's Columbus Day, y'all

For those who are employed by financial institutions, the U.S. Postal Service, schools or are at home DVR-ing Charles in Charge, you’re most likely “celebrating” Columbus Day in many states today. Actually, for most of you with the day off, you might not realize why you have the day free. So, I will break it to some of you for the first time: it’s Columbus Day! For the rest of us, today is known as Monday.

I don’t mean to insult anyone who forgot that it was Columbus Day. The day seems to pass over most of us. Poor ole Columbus Day, the Ishtar of holidays. Let me fill you on the comparison: Ishtar is a disaster of a film well over 30 years old starring Dustin Hoffman. Ishtar briefly played in theaters and then it vanished. Actually the movie never vanished because it will live on forever in some form whether on film or some website. I’m sure Mr. Hoffman would like the film to permanently go away, but it will remain on this planet just like every Keeping up with the Kardashians episodes…

Something funny happened on the way to living large

Are you not exactly thrilled with your August electric bill or February gas bill each year? Certainly poor insulation, drafty windows and doors are to blame, but there’s a bigger culprit. The size of your home is most likely the biggest factor for those high energy bills. A recent Financial Times article says that the average size of a new single family home in the United States grew from 1,780 square feet in 1978 to 2,479 square feet in 2007. This increase occurred while family sizes decreased over the years. Indeed there’s nothing wrong with living in a spacious dream house. If that’s what one enjoys, then that’s the individuals’ or families’ choices. It’s a free nation and those choices ought to be respected. How did we get here? Over the past 30 years, many folks got into bigger, more affordable homes for many reasons, most of which, will not be debated in this space. But, something funny happened on the way to living large. During tough energy times - whether through market forc…

International Walk to School Day 2014

Have you been noticing those low-to-the-ground signs asking drivers to be aware of pedestrians over the past few days near certain schools? That's because this Wednesday, October 8 is International Walk to School Day. Yes, we have a day dedicated to getting students to walk to school. Remember walking to school? I do, but it wasn't always five miles in waist-deep snow. Even during my school days, my parents drove me back and forth plenty. But, walking to school has become a foreign concept for many (no, not all) over the years due to way too many factors to list here. Actually the whole month of October is all about getting students to walk to their schools. It's a tall order here in metro Atlanta. With a haphazard road layout, impatient drivers (who sometimes drive on the sidewalks) and inconsistent sidewalks, paths and/or trails, it's no wonder that this community is far too "car-centric."
The idea to promote walking to school was hatched overseas in Great B…

Falling into October

It's that time of year in metro Atlanta when the late days of summer flirt with autumn. One day we're reaching a high in the mid-80s and the next, it's the lower 70s as a high. It's no wonder some of us can be "under the weather" with that type of meteorological roller coaster. Fall is indeed "teasing us" with crisp, dew-soaked, bird-chirping, sunshiny mornings giving way to afternoons that are bit more mild. No matter where the high ends up for the day, me and I'm sure thousands of others appreciate the absence of humidity in the mornings. Finally, I'm not as soaked on those morning runs. I shouldn't complain - before one knows it, we'll be seeing temps that are actually a bit too cool for morning runs. For now, I'll take those morning lows for the runs.
Speaking of those morning runs, there are those days when vehicle exhaust feels like it's filling up my lungs. Sometimes I wonder if I'm simply sensitive to the exhaust…