Attu Sees All
Res Ipsa Loquitur
Rachel Lucas (on hiatus)
a small victory
Curmudgeonly & Skeptical
The Laughing Wolf
Not Quite Tea and Crumpets
On The Third Hand
Right We Are (Closed)
The Country Store
Single Southern Guy
The Spoons Experience
Jay Solo's Verbosity
Sketches of Strain (Closed)
In Sheeps Clothing
The Accidental Jedi (on hiatus)
Straignt White Guy
The Cheese Stands Alone
Trying to Grok
~ Saturday, May 31, 2003
Blogspot Blues Redux.
Now, a bunch of archives have vanished. I am too aggravated to mess with it now.
I see that, at this moment, Blogspot is only publishing three days worth of posts and leaving large no-text expanses on the page. Sheesh!
Hey Google Guys!! Fix this crap, PLEASE!!!!!!
A Chip (or is it "Chipette"?) off the Old Block.
It warmed the cockles of my heart (albeit that I do not know anatomically where my heart's "cockles" are) to see how "well" TJ tolerates certain sounds and to see that we have about the same amount of expertise at making high-tech hardware fixes.
That's my girl!
Note: Because the permalink is not working, to read the actual May 30, 2003 post, you will have to scroll down to the entry entitled "The Sound & The Fury: My New Career as a Technical Consultant." This annoyance is brought to you, courtesy of Blogspot.
Another Reading Suggestion.
In browsing through my referral logs a while ago, I came across Not Quite Tea and Crumpets. The author is an American-British hybrid (What’s not to like?), who has an interesting and often humorous take on things. Give it a look.
~ Thursday, May 29, 2003
I went to work early and got home very late. I find that I am actually nodding off at the computer. Dumb. So, with that, I will leave you with this this story about a Canadian, who really, really, REALLY didn't want a DWI.
More later or tomorrow.
~ Wednesday, May 28, 2003
Good Idea Department.
A colleague passed this along to me the other day. I like the idea. Maybe you will too.
Since the Palestinians want a homeland and it doesn't seem like a good idea to chop Israel up even smaller than it already is, here is a satisfactory solution: Let's give France to the Palestinians! The French have already stated that nothing is worth fighting for. Besides, France has better irrigation and soil than the West Bank and Gaza strip. It's perfect. The French won't even fight back. And how about a new name for this Franco-Palestine?
How about Frankenstine?
Early this morning, at 1:45 a.m. EDT, this place got its 10,000th visit. Number 10,000 was a reader in the Pacific Time Zone coming in via www.charter.com. Color me amazed and most flattered. For some, 10,000 visits may be small change, but it knocks my socks off.
Thank you to all who, for one reason or another, stop by here. I suppose I should thank Master Sergeant John “Jack” Steele for a good deal of that traffic. Now, if Life 101 would just deliver unto me the island of time necessary to commit the next installment to “paper,” I would be able to thank him mo’ better.
Thanks again from the house by the Parkway.
~ Tuesday, May 27, 2003
Atlantic City – Twenty-Five Years and Still Raising the Stakes.
This week marks the 25th anniversary of legalized casino gambling in Atlantic City, New Jersey (here, referred to most often merely as “A.C.”). It is perhaps fitting that this week the New Jersey Casino Commission has announced preliminary approval of slot machines that will cost a whopping $1,000 per pull.
It is interesting to note that back in 1978, the backers of casino gambling promised state’s voters that slot machines would not be permitted in the casinos, urging that New Jersey’s casinos would have a “Monte Carlo” image. This, of course, turned out to be pure baloney, as the very first legal casino in Jersey (Resorts International) opened with lines of people formed in front of each of the hundreds of slot machines in the place (the most expensive of which cost $1.00 per pull). So much for the Monte Carlo image. Now slot machines account for approximately 70% of the casinos’ revenue.
The general consensus seems to be that gambling in New Jersey has brought with it mixed blessings. However, exactly what kind of blessings and exactly how they are mixed depends on who you ask.
True, the industry has produced more than 45,000 jobs, but it has done little to lessen the unemployment rate in Atlantic City itself, which hovers around 11.4%, which is more than twice that statewide average. It has been reported that the industry has pumped $7 billion of capital investment into the city (e.g. new high school and police station), but it is fair to say that the industry’s capital infusions have not had any effect on Atlantic City that is obvious to most people who visit.
What one finds in Atlantic City are a dozen self-contained, huge pleasure palaces, one more gaudy and glitzy than the next. Unfortunately, the portions of the city that lie between these gambling palaces remain, quite frankly, a dump. The reason for this is that there is absolutely no incentive for hotel developers to make it attractive for patrons to wander out of the hotels and, heaven forbid, actually spend some of their money elsewhere in the city. Indeed wandering outside the casinos can be downright dangerous, as, contrary to the predictions of the pro-gambling lobby 25 years ago, the crime rate in the city has risen over the years.
So, in my view, the mixed blessings shake out as follows:
If you like to gamble, and you can comfortably afford to do so, legalized casino gambling has been a big plus for you. Hell, if you gamble enough, most of the hotels will give you a free room.
If you are one of the 45,000 people who work in the casino industry, or you are one of those employed in related industries, such as food or linen vendors, good for you.
If you are a purse-snatcher, business is great.
If you are a member of organized crime, well, …...who knows for sure (said with tongue planted firmly in cheek)..
If, however, you are just a regular tax-paying schnook in the Garden State, and you don’t much care about gambling, the benefits of casino gambling to the state, while palpable (e.g. casino taxes helped pay for a prescription drug discount program for senior citizens, some low-income housing and day care centers), they are not nearly what the citizens could reasonably have expected after 25 years of booming success in the gaming industry, making people like Donald Trump even wealthier.
If you’re an Atlantic City resident, chances are legalized gambling hasn’t done much at all to improve your daily life.
Finally, if you are William Bennett, those $1,000 slots are just sooooo sweet.
~ Saturday, May 24, 2003
Check out The Laughing Wolf. I have been reading and enjoying his site for some time now. I think you will be glad you stopped by.
Jersey Shore Memories.
Cousin Jack offers up remembrances of summers at the Jersey Shore in the well-known, well-partied town of Belmar. He also shares some of the goings-on at a genuine Parkway Rest Stop. Reading it made me think about those carefree and not just a little bit wild summers "down the shore," which, in turn made me smile inside. Don't miss it.
Flying – Pricing Up - Paring Down.
The big news stories about the state of the airline industry are impossible to miss. These include the regular news items about heightened security, its cost and the inevitable inconvenience to travelers. The other big story is the general reduction in air travel and resultant revenues, which are driving some carriers into bankruptcy.
Having recently flown between Newark and Fort Myers, Florida on Continental Airlines I noticed some of the small changes that aren’t big news stories, but they are certainly noticeable to travelers. Here are a few examples:
Three years ago, on a morning flight between Florida and Newark, the airline served each passenger a hot breakfast, with a choice of pancakes or eggs with bacon or sausage. It also came with a piece of fruit, and, as I recall, a muffin of some sort. Last year, the breakfast consisted of a box of dry cereal, a container of milk, and a banana. This year, “breakfast” consisted of a muffin that was approximately one and one-half times the size of a golf ball. That was it.
One might say, who cares? After all, people don’t fly to eat; they fly to get someplace. However, I imagine that the reduction in food service will result in travelers eating more before they board the plane, spending many of their travel dollars in the pricey airport eateries. I suppose it could also result in passengers bringing food aboard the aircraft. Imagine what a treat it would be to be stuck in the middle seat between two people eating greasy, drippy sandwiches brought from home. Seems kinda third-world to me.
Pillows and Blankets.
Last year, each seat came with one of each. This year, a few were placed randomly on seats. If you wanted a blanket or pillow and you happened to be assigned to one of “pillowed and blanketed” seats, you’d be a winner. Otherwise, as they say in Russia, “Tough shitsky.”
Newspapers and Magazines.
In prior years, the flight attendants offered both, and there always seemed to be enough to go around. This year, if you didn’t bring something aboard to read (I did), you could enjoy the Continental Airlines Magazine, with interesting articles about things like springtime in Bora Bora. Oh yeah, each person also had access to the “Shop from the Plane” catalog. Does anyone ever buy anything from that thing?
So, my advice is BYOB (bring your own book).
For me, a cocktail on the plane is a must, particularly since September 11th. Two years ago, drinks were $3.00. Last year, they were $4.00, and for the price the traveler received one of those little bottles of booze, a short glass filled with ice, and an entire can of mixer. This worked out well, because by pouring half the liquor over the ice and then filling the short glass with a portion of the mixer, there was enough of each to make two drinks.
Now, the price is $5.00 (a 25% increase) and, for that, one receives the little bottle of liquor and the short glass already three quarters filled with mixer. Adding the entire contents of the liquor bottle to the glass makes for one stiff drink. I suppose that if I would have asked for the whole can of mixer, I would have gotten it, but I didn’t ask (stiff drinks happen to work fine for me). I will, however, ask next time.
The complimentary soft drinks are still complimentary. I wonder if that will be the case next year.
Clearly, the airlines are constantly rearranging their flights so as to minimize the number of flights that are not filled to capacity. Two years ago, there were several available flights, and the one we chose ended up being than half full. Last year the flight that was booked six months in advance was canceled, thereby ensuring that the flight between Newark and Fort Myers to which we were assigned was filled to capacity. This year it was the same. I was notified approximately a month ago that the flight that I had booked eight months earlier was being changed to a different time, and again, the plane was filled to capacity.
Ever fly any distance in the center seat? ‘Nuf said.
Obviously the loss of these amenities is not earthshaking, and if the money saved by serving me a mini-muffin instead of eggs is paying for increased security, I’m fine with it. Having said that, if in the future, you find yourself cold, in need of a pillow, hungry and smooshed between two fat guys eating garlic sandwiches they brought from home, you can thank the terrorist shitheels who made it all possible.
Oh, by the way, there still is no charge for using the john. Next year, I’m bringing quarters – just in case.
~ Friday, May 23, 2003
Back Home Again.
Just returned from a week in Fort Myers Beach, Florida. The only thing more beautiful than the weather there was the unfailingly pleasant disposition of the people who live and work in the area. Not surprisingly, leaving Southwest Florida and arriving in New Jersey (at the beautiful Newark Airport), with temperatures in the low fifties, drizzle, surly residents, and lunatic drivers has me somewhat bent out of shape at the moment. I will probably have a bit more to say this weekend about the trip, but for now, I think I’ll catch up on what others have been writing about while I was away.
~ Friday, May 16, 2003
I will be taking a bit of badly needed R&R. In the meantime, please enjoy the stuff written by the terrific bloggers who appear on the left side of the screen. Also have a go at the archives, if the friggin’ things are working.
I’ll see you on or about the 23rd of May.
The Smoking Ban – The Californication of New York City.
I received this e-mail from a reader in San Jose, California who describes how things went when that state banned smoking in restaurants and saloons a decade or so ago.
We went through that [the smoking ban] out here in California 10 or 15 years ago. And yes, business at restaurants dropped off 20-50% initially. Smokers would come into a restaurant and threaten to beat the manager up. Of course some people came in, ate their meals, lit up, and when admonished, used it as an excuse to leave without paying.
And we went through a period of time when people went through all kinds of expense to set up private smoking rooms, etc. to bypass the laws.
To be honest, I had little sympathy. I smoke a pipe, and I had been non-legislatively banned from smoking it in public smoking areas at least 5-10 years before that.
Business in most restaurants and bars returned to normal within 3 to 9 months. A restaurant or bar which did not have a place outside where their customers could smoke in a somewhat sheltered space remained in trouble. Many of them defied the law for years. Many went out of business, or moved.
But some of them used the law to force their landlords and or their cities to allow them to have a couple of cafe tables and umbrellas on the sidewalk in front. Two small tables, four small chairs and two umbrellas, plus an unwritten law that says 1) smokers have priority, and 2) nobody is allowed to monopolize them. If the sidewalk is wide enough, they can even put a railing up and the smokers can bring their drinks out with them.
After these years have gone by, the most lasting result, other than the ban itself, is that anyone looking to open a restaurant or bar will insist on sheltered patio space, even if it is just an awning, some gas heaters, and space.
This is a very big plus to me. Pre smoking ban, the cost of a patio space compared to enclosed space was such that more and more places didn't bother to serve on patios anymore (San Jose, CA BTW). Patio dining was one of the pluses of California living, and it was going away, because it cost 5-15% more (extra bussers, extra cleanup (to prevent insect swarms around spills), outdoor heaters, canopies, umbrellas, just general extra.
Today, patio dining is back. Hooray! Because of the smoking ban.
Of course, given there is at least one city trying to ban even outdoor smoking, it may go away again.
Patio dining in California can be a twelve-month affair, but it won’t be a big hit in New York City in January, methinks.
Some of the local saloons on the boundaries of New York City are being particularly hard hit by the no-smoking law. They are losing many of their customers to the bars across the street. This is because the street marks the boundary between New York City and Yonkers, a city without a smoking ban.
This all seems nuts to me, and it could not have come at a worse time for New York City, which has had to cut services to the bone and lay off thousands of municipal workers due to crippling deficits. However, I really should not be surprised by New York’s beautiful people backing a dumb idea. After all, they voted overwhelmingly for Hillary.
Christopher Hitchens, a damned fine Brit who enjoys a cocktail and a smoke, has written an interesting article on the New York City smoking ban. via My So-Called Blog.
In Northern Jersey, smoking is generally not allowed in a great many, if not most, of the better restaurants. However, this is not mandated by law, but rather is a choice made by individual restaurant owners, which presumably is dictated by the economics of it all. That’s the way it should be. Restaurant patrons in Jersey have become accustomed to either not smoking or stepping outside for a smoke -- even in January. I think it is fair to say that most smokers do not have a huge problem with no-smoking restaurants. No-smoking bars are another story. I do not know of any no-smoking bars in New Jersey. Again, this has nothing to do with law, but everything to do with the free-market. That's the way it should be.
Got a light?
~ Wednesday, May 14, 2003
Badgers in the News.
Venomous Kate reports on the badger that seriously injured several people in England. I’m really not surprised.
Badgers can be serious ass-kicking animals and really should not be kept as pets. The “terrorist badger” in the story linked to by Kate was “hand-reared and hand-fed.”
Badger fur makes the best shaving brushes. I have had one for more years than I care to think about. It is indestructible.
Read all about badgers here.
Badgers make me think of dachshunds. That is because dachshunds were originally bred to hunt badgers. In German, the word dachshund means “badger dog” (Dachs = badger and Hund = dog). The dachshund’s long, slender body, short powerful legs, strong jaws, and stubborn refusal to let go once it gets a grip on something makes the breed well-suited to go after badgers in their setts (the underground multi-entrance holes where badgers live) and drag them out.
I once played tug-of-war with a dachshund using an old sock. His grip was so tight on the sock that I could lift him off the ground. And, once off the ground, he still did not give up the sock. Rather, he thrashed back and forth and bounced his body up and down in mid-air, trying to get the sock from my hand. Here we say that a stubborn person is “as stubborn as a mule.” In Germany, one is as “stubborn as a Dachshund.”
O.K. I’m done now. There will not be a quiz.
~ Tuesday, May 13, 2003
New York’s Smoking Ban Redux
Even though New York City’s ban on smoking in saloons has kicked in, there is still plenty of fire. Recently, the New York Post published the results of a survey showing that many establishments are reporting losses as a result of the ban, some as much as fifty percent. Acidman has posted in this issue here and here, as has Ravenwood, and Hanlonvision. I stuck my finger in the pie a while back, and this seems like a pretty good time to drag that post from the archives.
The Smoking Lamp is lit in the house by the Parkway. Smoke ‘em if ya got ‘em.
~ Monday, May 12, 2003
Back Scratch, Anyone?
File this one under “Huh?” It is a site devoted to the admiration of men with long fingernails. It has lots of pictures, video clips and even a message board!
Wait!! This just in!! There are five new pictures of “Jay,” and eight new pictures of “Sebastian.” So, get moving, already.
via The Ultimate Insult
Punch a Clown – You’ll Feel Better.
As I have said before, I hate clowns. For those who are like-minded, this site is a must.
via The Presurfer
~ Sunday, May 11, 2003
Well said, Mate.
Please read Tony Parsons’ piece, entitled French Dissing in the U.S.A. (You may have to scroll up from the comments section), as posted on May 8, 2003 in A Little More to the Right. Mr. Parsons is a popular British columnist and author. His British perspective on American attitudes should be required reading for Europeans. Link via Acidman.
~ Saturday, May 10, 2003
Military Wisdom/Common Sense Rules
A colleague sent this to me via e-mail. I have not verified the accuracy of the quotes or their attribution. Whether true or not, they are funny.
1. "Sometimes I think war is God's way of teaching us geography." (Paul Rodriguez)
2. "A slipping gear could let your M203 grenade launcher fire when you least expect it. That would make you quite unpopular in what's left of your unit" – (Army's Magazine of Preventive Maintenance).
3. "Aim towards the Enemy" – (Instruction printed on US Rocket Launcher) [I know that this legend appears on the business-side of a Claymore Mine – J]
4. “When the pin is pulled, Mr. Grenade is not our friend.” (U.S. MarineCorps)
5. “Cluster bombing from B-52s is very, very accurate. The bombs always hit the ground.” (U.S. Air Force)
6. “If the enemy is in range, so are you.” (Infantry Journal)
7. “It is generally inadvisable to eject directly over the area you just bombed.” (U.S. Air Force Manual)
8. “Whoever said the pen is mightier than the sword obviously never encountered automatic weapons.” (Gen. MacArthur)
9. “Try to look unimportant; they may be low on ammo.” (Infantry Journal)
10. “You, you, and you . . . Panic. The rest of you, come with me. (U.S. Marine Corp Gunnery Sgt.)
11. “Tracers work both ways.” (U.S. Army Ordnance Manual)
12. “Five second fuses only last three seconds.” (Infantry Journal.)
13. “Don't ever be the first, don't ever be the last, and don't ever volunteer to do anything.” (U. S Navy Swabbie)
14. “Bravery is being the only one who knows you're afraid." (David Hackworth)
15. “If your attack is going too well, you have walked into an ambush.” (Infantry Journal)
16. “No combat ready unit has ever passed inspection.” (Joe Gay)
17. “Any ship can be a minesweeper ... .. . once.” (Admiral Hornblower)
18. “Never tell the Platoon Sergeant you have nothing to do.” (Unknown Marine Recruit)
19. “Don't draw fire; it irritates the people around you.” (Your Buddies.)
20. “Mines are equal opportunity weapons.” (Saddam Hussein)
21. “If you find yourself in a fair fight, you didn't plan your mission
properly.” (David Hackworth)
~ Friday, May 09, 2003
Tiger Lady UPDATE.
I received an inquiry from a reader who expressed interest in making a contribution to the non-profit Wild Animal Orphanage that will be taking in the big cats. The organization's website is here.
~ Thursday, May 08, 2003
The Tiger Lady.
Joan Byron-Marasek, who refers to herself as “The Tiger Lady,” lost her three-year battle in the New Jersey courts to keep her collection of 24 tigers in Jackson Township, New Jersey (hardly the wide-open spaces here in the most densely populated state in the union). Ms. Byron-Marasek came to the attention of the local police and the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife in 1999 when they received reports of a 431-pound Bengal tiger wandering loose in a nearby residential neighborhood. The Tiger Lady, presumably managing to keep a straight face, denied that the animal belonged to her. (Sounds reasonable to me. We all keep least a couple of Bengal tigers as pets here in the Garden State.)
The state authorities claimed that The Tiger Lady’s keeping two dozen tigers in her 12-acre Ocean County compound violated applicable state regulations. Ultimately, the matter was thought to be have been settled, when a non-profit wild animal orphanage in Texas agreed to take the big cats. However, the deal fell through, and the Texas animal orphanage declined to take the animals (at considerable cost) when the Tiger Lady insisted on retaining ownership of the animals, with an eye toward possibly reclaiming them at a later date.
The court’s ruling today stripped the Tiger Lady of ownership of the tigers. The court held that her failure over the past three years to make satisfactory arrangements for the animals permitted the state to take control over the tigers. Unfortunately, during that three-year period, the estimated costs to transport the animals and to house them in Texas rose from the original estimate of $140,000 to $250,000. The orphanage will pay one half of the costs, and New Jersey taxpayers will pick up the tab for the balance.
I can only imagine what the three-year battle with this Nutbar has cost New Jersey taxpayers and what a toll it must have taken on the nearby residents who have to go about their daily lives having two dozen tigers for neighbors, and knowing that, on at least one occasion, one of them has gotten loose.
Jersey. Ya gotta love it. Badda-Bing!!!
~ Tuesday, May 06, 2003
Hawaii. We think of a beautiful island paradise, tropical breezes, tropical drinks, wonderful Hawaiian customs, and ukulele music. We don’t think of SPAM, and yet Hawaii is the world’s SPAM capital. Hawaiians eat 6.7 million cans of the stuff per year. They love it. In fact, last month was the Hawaii “SPAM Jam,” with SPAM cook offs by famous Hawaiian chefs. They wrap it in seaweed and they eat it on sandwiches with eggs and mayonnaise. One can even buy a cookbook full of Hawaiian SPAM recipes. Hell, there are so many recipes they needed a second book.
I first learned of this from an old friend who has lived on Maui for more than thirty years. I thought he was joking, until he rattled off about a half dozen of his favorite SPAM recipes. I still don’t get it.
Some speculate that SPAM, which was “invented” in 1937, became popular in Hawaii during World War II as a result of its wide availability to servicemen stationed in the Islands. Who knows?
After listening to my friend talk about it several months ago, I bought a can of the stuff, determined to slice it thin, fry it and eat it with eggs, as he suggested. However, it is still sitting in the kitchen cabinet. Every time I think about trying it, I lose my nerve.
Besides, if you’re from Jersey, there is nothing – repeat – NOTHING like Taylor Ham (a/k/a Taylor Pork Roll), a Garden State staple. People in Jersey like Taylor Ham so much that some enterprising person has set up a website where people from Jersey who move away can buy Taylor Ham online. Great with Eggs, it also makes a terrific sandwich on a hard roll (called a “Kaiser Roll” by dweebs not from here), on rye or on a bagel with cheese.
SPAM? Nah. Make mine Taylor Ham.
~ Monday, May 05, 2003
I don’t have anything particularly interesting or amusing to say right now, although I can tell you that the next installment of Sgt. Steele is taking shape in my cruller. In the meantime, talk amongst yourselves. When you’re finished talking, I think you might enjoy these sites:
Check out how popular your first name is, based on the 1990 US Census (I’m number 1!). Then you can see how your last name ranks among the 55,000 most common surnames in the US (I’m number 458). via The Ultimate Insult.
I also found the site about celebrity tippers to be interesting. Don’t miss the Jesse (spelled “Jessie” in the piece) Jackson horror story. via Attu Sees All.
~ Saturday, May 03, 2003
Weekend Time Waster.
I admit it. I actually enjoyed playing a couple games of Battleships.
via The Presurfer
I Took the Test....
Congratulations! You're a Slutertarian. You believe
in Democracy, Sexy, and Whiskey. And you really
Are You A Slutertarian?
brought to you by Quizilla
via Venomous Kate
I had planned to write something last night, although I’m not sure exactly what. However, it was a long and busy week, so after having survived the customary Friday traffic mess, I decided to treat myself to a drink from one of the bottles of excellent single barrel bourbon my daughter and new son-in-law bought for me. (They also bought me a bottle of this and this. Nicely done!!) The one before dinner was so good, after dinner I enjoyed two more.
I was then ready to set about writing, but first, I thought, I would make myself comfortable in the recliner for “a half hour or so” while I thought about what I might write.
Six hours later, I awoke up in the middle of the night. So much for writing.
I needed that.
~ Thursday, May 01, 2003
Shiite Liberals. Who are they? They are the wackadoos who would place a linguistic burqua over textbooks by expunging words like “Founding Fathers” and “snowman” because they are sexist. (Try singing “Frosty the Snowperson.”)
They are the Hollywood dipshits who run their mouths at will, only to plead victimization when those who disagree also speak up or decide not to spend money on their Hollywares. Then they remove any doubt about their stupidity by claiming that all this amounts to a violation of their First Amendment Rights. When Tim Robbins is arrested for the dumb things he says, I will be among the first to take his side. Until then, he can blather on, but he’ll have to be prepared to take his lumps.
They are the hateful bastards who would happily support American troops if they would only shoot their officers.
They are the tiresome, pathetic boobs who prefer to remain in a dream world where Al Gore really won the presidency.
They are the ones who think Maureen Dowd and Hillary are just swell.
They are the ones who make my hair hurt.
Yesterday, I listed some of the nasties that we New Jersey drivers have to contend with, even though we don’t have to pump our own gas. Today, Craig, over at mtpolitics, answers the “Why Montana?” question by pointing to an excellent description of what it is like to be one of the everyday Jersey Road Warriors. Take a read through Susanna’s description of a leisurely drive in the Garden State, but be sure to fasten your seatbelt. Craig may have to pump his own gas, but maybe he’s got it right, and maybe he can teach Susanna and me how to work those damned pumps.