Posts Tagged ‘America’

 

Now Casting For Weathermen

Wednesday, December 17th, 2014

weather contest

I just got an email from… well, I’ll let her tell you.

Hey There!

My name is Mandi Rogers and I am a casting producer seeking America’s next meteorologist for a major network television show!

Are you a meteorologist with a big personality? Do you think you have what it takes to be “America’s Next Weatherman?” Emmy award winning production company is now casting weathermen and women for a major network! Are you a passionate climatolgist? Do you love everything about the weather and ready for your big debut? This could be your chance to For more details submit yourself now with a breif bio, location, website (if applicable), contact number and photo.

I have attached a flier for more information on how to apply and would love if you could help us get the word out to your weathercaster family, co-workers, interns and social media following. Feel free to share on Facebook, Twitter, E-mail or just hang up a flier.

***If you have the personality and bravery to report in any climate, then we want you!

“I’ll show you how to stalk,” Stef offered. She then followed the breadcrumbs until we found the show’s producer. “I’ve sent emails like this.” She has.

Email like mine are sent early in the development process. Usually things stall. Not always. This show might hit the air.

Not with me.

Next Stop Milwaukee, Hopefully

Thursday, October 2nd, 2014

harold-and-bettyWe’re attempting our Milwaukee trip again. We leave from LAX this time (drive 40 miles save 50%), but again change in Phoenix. Please, no more shootouts/car chases from Tempe!

Lots of folks wrote me after I mentioned my mom in the blog. There were lots of suggestions, all different, some mutually exclusive. Still, the one thing that everyone seemed to agree on was being an advocate for mom.

That’s a nice way of saying keep an eye on the nursing facility.

There is no Marcus Welby medical care in America. It’s sad for patients. It’s sad for docs too. Lots of physicians want to do medicine that way, but it’s not practical in the 21st Century.

There was a meeting this afternoon at my mom’s current facility. Social worker, nurse, speech therapist, my dad, sister and brother-in-law plus me on the phone.

The physical therapist was a no-show. As explained, this person with the most insight to help us answer questions left work early. FML! Trudi and Jeff were justifiably furious.

As best I can tell my mom is making some progress. None of this comes easy or without effort and pain. She is frail. I can’t put myself in her shoes. We’re hoping she can reach the benchmarks that have been set.

roxie floorStef, who’s coming, drove down from H’wood with Roxie. Roxie and Doppler will be watched by Dop’s sitter who Roxie met today for the first time.

In the past Stef told me how Roxie responds as they exit the freeway. It’s a romantic story where Roxie basically comes to attention as they pull down the exit ramp to the light. She stays on guard for the next 5-6 minutes to our house.

On the way back today, in my car, I watched Roxie stand at attention as we passed that same spot! Crazy. Totally different experience, different car and length of trip. She still knew.

wpid-wp-1411080785006.jpegOf course there’s also good news in our trip. We’re lodging with my niece Melissa, her husband Mark and Charlotte who has promised to stay tiny for us, though the shot on the left now qualifies for “file photo” status.

Two full days on the ground. We’ll be busy

Where We Live

Wednesday, June 25th, 2014

IMG_0771_5228

This week marks a year since our hectic first week in Irvine. This is a totally different world. Nothing’s the same, right down to the side of the street that borders the ocean!

As the wheels began to turn and moving became more-and-more certain, we made a few house hunting trips to Orange County. Our cousins are nearby. That was a huge draw. Stef is close, but not too close. No winter.

Helaine likes new. For us that’s the right call. There’s lots new here.

Irvine is a rapidly growing suburb in Southern Orange County. We are inland from Laguna Beach and Newport Beach. To our north and east are foothills, then the Santa Ana Mountains, mainly wilderness.

This is unlike our former New England home in nearly every way. We lived in a town that grew organically. Our property line was not a rectangle.

Here, everything is by design. Each house is different, but in the same sense identical twins have differences. Irvine is a medley of your favorites in the beige family.

Housing developments pack the homes in then leave lots of common space with parks, pools and trails. That’s part of the deal for being allowed to build here. We have a city block sized common area with pool, basketball and tennis courts and large dog friendly lawn. It’s a minute’s walk away. There are kid playgrounds within a few blocks in every direction.

We saw a model and bought a house to-be-built. I walked in the door and sighed. Helaine asked what was wrong. I said we’d found the house. We were looking for this layout. Three bedrooms, two and a half baths, on two floors with around 1,900 square feet of living space.

We knew most, not all of what we were getting. Houses are different when they’re alongside their neighbors. As it turns out we chose well and got lucky. We’re very happy the way things turned out.

Our goal was a great kitchen for Helaine and great office for me. She is amazing in the kitchen, especially baking, and deserves to have a suitable space. My office is more about what’s in it than what it is. It began life as a third bedroom. It’s currently messy, but otherwise perfect.

We are very surprised by our utility bills. Because we have neighbors north and south we get morning and afternoon sun, but are shaded during the day. Our electric bill averages in the low $50 range. There’s also $15 for gas and $30 for water. All seem constant year round.

We seldom use the air conditioner. Low humidity is a big deal. We sleep with windows open 350 nights a year–maybe more. I leave a laptop on the patio and sit out there every night.

This is a community with lots of immigrants, most from Asia. Not all speak English. I often say hello and am met with a pleasant, but perplexed, smile.

I have a Chinese family on one side and a California raised Korean family on the other. I know one family well, the other not at all.

The Chinese family is multi-generational, living together. Some housing developments sell models specifically designed for that.

At Halloween one neighborhood father explained his young daughter didn’t speak English. She’d only been here a week. Welcome to America. Let’s go door-to-door and beg for candy.

I love this neighborhood because of the vitality I see. Young families on the move. If the American dream has disappeared, word hasn’t gotten to the people living here.

We got very lucky.

Rain Coming And Folks Are Excited

Monday, February 24th, 2014

gfs-bufkit

“It will be good for the state.” Those were Helaine’s words a few minutes ago. We were talking about the threat of rain in SoCal. We’ve had hardly any since last year’s rainy season–also a dud.

The image above is a screengrab from the afternoon GFS, using BUFKIT. If you want to know what kind of person I am, I find it fascinating. I like charts, graphs and numbers. They like me back!

I’m not going to be a whiner. Drought sounds and is bad. However, our infrastructure was designed knowing we get droughts. It needs much less than normal rain to work properly. No one is being forced to conserve.

We will finally end the fire season. That will be a relief to many. California has a tendency to burn.

Our first rain comes Wednesday evening. A cold front off a low hitting the California Coast near the Oregon border is the trigger. Not a lot. The GFS says around a quarter inch.

Meteorologists are lucky here. I’ve read and seen all sorts of quantitative precipitation forecasts (QPF). It’s our least accurate prediction. They’ll all be wrong, but unlike snow, no one will check up on them.

The rain (and snow) should be significantly heavier farther north, including the Sierra Mountains. They are our sponge! Snowfall in the mountains is slowly released through early summer. Much of what would run to the ocean now flows toward the Southland.

Water from the Sierras is California’s lifeline. It’s how we house people and grow crops in the desert! Like so many other spots in America, we have overcome nature to tame a place not naturally suited for any of what now happens on it.

The second wave of rain arrives Friday morning. The GFS shows three inch range, much more than this area can easily perc. Flooded intersections and slow traffic will follow. Thunderstorms, less frequent here than back east, are possible with heavy embedded downpours.

NEXRAD is pretty bad here. Too much topography. There are lots of holes using individual radars. This is one place where composites help.

During these storms our temperature will stay in the 60s.

Friday’s deluge will taper to showers then some scattered drizzle under cloudy skies through Sunday. People here are looking forward to this brief change. I will miss my friend, the blue sky.

They’ve Ruined Times Square

Tuesday, January 26th, 2010

times-square-daytime-empty.jpgNew York City has ruined Times Square! Is that blunt enough? They have changed the entire complexion of the “Crossroads of America” by removing vehicular traffic–and it sucks!

I’m a Times Square guy. I’ve been going there since I was a little kid. I remember when it was a scuzzy strip of sleaze. No regrets from me those days are over. The family friendly, advertising overgrown, garishly bright Times Square that replaced the sleaze was magical.

No more.

The secret of Times Square was you were walking through a city in perpetual motion. The traffic on Broadway and 7th Avenue just reinforced that ‘heart of the city’ feel. The lights from the cars and trucks and the sound of their horns performed as an underscore does in a movie.

times-square-empty-at-night.jpgGone! It’s gone. New York City has closed off Times Square and turned it into a pedestrian mall. The excitement is gone.

When we were in New York last week I originally thought we’d picked a dead night. Nope.

With broad spaces of the square open the feeling of the crowd is gone! Every night feels like a dead night. There is too much space in a city which prides itself on the optimum use of too little.

I’m sure there are good reasons for this move, but they’re lost on me. Times Square has now been fully “Disneyized!’ It’s disappointing.

ruby-red-staircase-times-square.jpgThis blog entry could easily end right here, but there is one thing that was done right–the rebuilding of the TKTS facility in the northern end of Times Square. A ruby red staircase has been placed over TKTS stretching toward the statue of Father Duffy.

This wide open access staircase was constantly full of tourists with cameras during my trips through the area. It’s a great vantage point from which to view the surroundings.

It would be better with traffic flowing around it.

looking-south-into-times-square-from-stairs.jpg

Janet Napolitano Gives The Wrong Answer

Monday, December 28th, 2009

I really didn’t want to write about security and the Delta Detroit incident but then Janet Napolitano, secretary of Homeland Security, appeared on Sunday morning TV. She delivered one of the most stupefyingly insipid comments I’ve ever heard–an insult to America.

This week’s suicidal crazy used the same chemical, PETN, shoe bomber Richard Reid used!. That led David Gregory on Meet The Press to ask if this was a security failure. Napolitano answered:

SEC’Y JANET NAPOLITANO: Well, I think we don’t know enough to say one way or the other in that respect. The forensics are still being done, the investigation is still underway. I think the important point here is that once the incident occurred, everybody reacted the way they should; the passengers did, the flight crew did. And literally, within an hour, additional measures had been instituted not only on the ground here in the United States, but abroad and, indeed, on the 128 flights that were already in the air from Europe.

No! The correct answer is, “Yes, this was a failure. We shouldn’t be letting known threats carrying explosives on airplanes. I am very upset. This will be fixed immediately.”

We got none of my answer.

We are trying to protect targets when it seems more manageable to find threats.

A Vegas Night Out For Fabulous Food

Monday, November 30th, 2009

This blog entry is dedicated to my daughter Stefanie–fashionista and now tour guide. It was her idea to have dinner outside on Las Vegas Blvd. That is so touristy. It was perfect! Maybe there’s a lesson here. Just because tourists do it doesn’t make it wrong.

We set out with my cousins (it was after all their car) to Paris, midway down the Strip. From there we walked to the Planet Hollywood Casino.

planet-hollywood-entrance.jpgPlanet Hollywood is a great example of rebranding. Previously known as the Aladdin and with a Middle Eastern theme, it had a mid range target. As with many of those immense hotels Aladdin had a mall. The Desert Passage was a long, circular affair. The few times I was in it was empty.

Now Planet Hollywood has turned this closer to a ‘mall’ mall than the upscale shops at Caesars or Venetian. There were people roaming last night.

Two quick notes:

1) Jerry Springer is a headliner at Planet Hollywood! He emcees the America’s Got Talent stage show.

Who knew?

2) There’s a fat guy with a beard dressed over-the-top as a woman who stands on the street outside the PH. He takes photos with tourists working solely on tips. He might be the richest man in Vegas. He was crazily busy last night.

Considering the weather, he was also very cold!

We headed back to Paris and into Mon Ami Gabi&#185, a French bistro attached to the Paris Hotel on Las Vegas Boulevard.

bellagio-fountains-from-paris.jpgWe wanted to sit outside on the patio… and did at Table 138. We were right on Las Vegas Blvd with a great view for people watching and to see the fountain show across the street at the Bellagio.

At one point my Cousin Michael asked if the propane heater could be moved closer to the table. Fire regs–it could not. But about five minutes later another heater was hoisted from the street and placed adjacent to our table.

paris-and-eiffel-tower-las-vegas.jpgScore one for the waitress and manager who made that magic happen. That was an above-and-beyond move. I’d recommend this place just for that–but there’s more.

The menu had some French flare but it was obviously designed for American audiences. Before the meal we were brought hot baugets. Not warm–hot!

There was a lot on the menu to choose from. Stef said her French onion soup was the best she’d ever had. I enjoyed my potato and leek soup.

For dinner I had a brie cheeseburger. It was excellent on a tasty bun. The french fries were plentiful, though so thinly cut there was little substance. Helaine had a hanger steak. No complaints on the main course.

entrance-to-paris-hotel-las-vegas.jpgThis is Vegas and a tourist destination, but the prices seemed reasonable. We are non-drinkers all, so that kept the check in check. As it was this was an anniversary treat from our cousins. That was very sweet though totally unnecessary.

We were too full for desert! In fact the past two night’s meals will probably affect what we eat for the rest of the trip. It’s easy to have too much–and we have.

&#185We had pronounced Gabi, “Gabby.” The waitress pronounced it “Gah-bee” with the accent on the second syllable. I never did well in French.

Is This Really What America’s Clamoring For?

Monday, November 16th, 2009

grilled cheese to go.jpgI went to the mall with Helaine and Stef on a shopping expedition. I wish it wasn’t, but clothes buying is always a painful experience for me. I don’t know why? Stef and Helaine try their best to make me presentable. I grateful for that even if it isn’t obvious in real time.

While in the mall I spied this sign for a new store on its way to fill empty stomachs everywhere–Grilled Cheese To Go! I am not making this up.

Seriously, did someone do research and find grilled cheese sandwiches were a little too difficult for 21st Century Americans to make on their own?

I will be curious to see how this fares. Undoubtedly I’ll be wrong and it will be an immense hit.

What I Don’t Understand About Filibustering

Wednesday, October 7th, 2009

Embedded in the tumult over healthcare insurance reform is the promise if Democrats try to bring a bill to the Senate floor without 60 votes Republicans will filibuster!

Ooooh–filibuster. It’s the boogie man of Roberts Rules. Anyway, we’re not exactly seeing an insta-Congress now.

OK–I’m sort of slow on this. I’m sure I’m missing something. The last filibuster I remember seeing was delivered by Jimmy Stewart in “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.” Good scene. He collapsed convincingly.

I assume the modern version would be a tag-team filibuster with individual Republicans and conservative Democrats taking turns yapping.

Again, I’m sort of slow on this, but why not? Seriously. Why wouldn’t the Democrats want the Republicans to do this?

The latest polls show the vast majority of Americans want insurance reform including a public option. The Republicans may not be scared of the Democrats, but aren’t they scared of the voters? Do they really want to throw a monkey wrench in the works while America stares at them?

A filibuster would open them to all sorts of accusations they currently avoid. It would make them seem smarmy in a much more visible way.

Let them filibuster!

Again, I know I’m missing something here… or maybe everyone else is too damned scared for their own good.

Where Was Plum Island’s Security?

Sunday, September 27th, 2009

anthraxresearcher.jpgWhy is no one else disturbed about the recent Plum Island incident? The boater that washed ashore on Plum Island last week may have saved his own ass while also showing how lax security is on a most mysterious and hazardous island!

I hear your question. Why should I care about Plum Island?

Plum Island is located off the North Fork of Long Island. It’s less than 10 miles from Connecticut. It used to be run by the Department of Agriculture. It’s a scary place.

We’re proud of our role as America’s first line of defense against foreign animal diseases.

We’re equally proud of our safety record. Not once in our nearly 50 years of operation has an animal pathogen escaped from the island.

The island houses labs performing dangerous research often with live diseased animals! They publish papers with titles like, “Swine Genomics and Biodefense Countermeasures Discovery ” Some tests are performed on genetically engineered cloned swine–so called “knockout pigs.”

No wonder Plum Island needs “state-of-the-art biosafety practices and procedures to prevent a disease organism from escaping into the environment.”

In case you weren’t already convinced of this place’s importance, “Land, buildings and other facilities of the Plum Island Animal Disease Center were transferred to the Department of Homeland Security in June 2003.” You know them–the shoe people from the airport.

Basically you would expect this place to be protected in the manner of a James Bond villain’s lair! High tech security. Constant diligence. Massive law enforcement presence. Actually that’s close to what Plum Island claims.

Restricted access to authorized employees and approved visitors. Trained security professionals and surveillance systems guard the island, laboratory and storage areas 24/7. All employees have pass security clearances.

Last week an unlucky boater drifted across the Sound, landed on Plum Island and walked a few miles across it before being found… but only because he’d stumbled upon the security facility and waited!

New Haven Register: “Security personnel had been away from the office to look for Young and found him upon their return, according to John Olsen, Coast Guard operations controller.”

Just a guess, but had this been a real emergency I don’t think he would have walked to the office and waited, right?

I don’t know everything on Plum Island and probably don’t want to. Even with the little I know this undetected incursion scares the crap out of me.

Has DHS come to the same conclusion I have? God, I hope so.