Several months ago Amazon announced they planned to open a second corporate headquarters in either the United States or Canada. They named this new venture HQ2, not to be confused with the old school television shopping channels HSN and QVC. (2-3 weeks for delivery? How quaint!) Metropolitan areas were invited to pitch their “Pick Me!” stories. 238 proposals were received. Amazon promptly placed them in the “Save for Later” section of their shopping cart and continued their hugely successful mission to keep cardboard manufacturers busy.

Well, “later” has arrived. Sorta. The top 20 finalists were announced today. It is an understandably exciting time for these hopefuls. Amazon projects Read the rest of this entry »

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Rapperswil is part of a municipality in northeast Switzerland. It is *not* a questionable brand of bathtub gin marketed to struggling rap artists. You may think offering that lame pun in a local tavern will elicit good-natured laughter, but the only thing you’ll receive is the dreaded Swiss death stare. It is exactly the same look you get when you kid about money with a wealth manager from Credit Suisse. Switzerland may be famously neutral and their knives more functional than deadly, but their aloof contemplation can be withering. So do yourself a favor. Resist the urge to make a bad Rapperswil joke, especially while in Rapperswil. Don’t be the Ugly American.

Rapperswil was settled many centuries ago and for a long, long time was its own thing. Oh sure, an occasional power struggle erupted to keep things interesting, but Read the rest of this entry »

New Jersey, along with a large portion of the eastern United States, is in the midst of a “bomb cyclone.” Bomb cyclone grabs your attention, doesn’t it? It commands a serious and dramatic response. It also sounds like a new film by Roland Emmerich or an especially potent libation at “The Bunker”, the Pentagon’s underground officer’s lounge. Naturally, real meteorologists don’t call it this. They prefer “explosive cyclogenesis.” For them explosive cyclogenesis more concisely explains what it is happening while simultaneously justifying debt incurred through years of graduate and post-graduate study.

Weather events like these are very technical, but a winning topic of conversation among attendees of the annual meeting of the American Meteorological Society. Those folks Read the rest of this entry »


Tom Petty has been gone for three months, but it still doesn’t feel real. Since the mid-70’s he has always been there doing his thing without much fanfare, like bedrock. His songs, especially the earlier ones, routinely pop up on classic rock stations. Whenever that happens the volume gets boosted a bit. Part of the reason is the songs are solid; the other is they offer warm familiarity. This may be true of all music you enjoyed as a kid, but not of all that music endures. Petty endures, like bedrock.

I was never a superfan, but I like a lot of his work – and love some of it. I saw him live for the first and only time in 1979. Back then huge video screens did not flank the stage, so unless Read the rest of this entry »

Man, the years keep on keeping on, don’t they? It seems like just yesterday when 2016 exploded into 2017 and the prospect of the new year brought with it an impending sense of doom which lurked just around the corner of January and 20th. We use “impending” as a harbinger, a warning that it is time to prepare for bad, bad juju because it will soon be spewing from every crevice and pore. One does not think of an impending ice cream cone or an impending night out at the cinema. No sir. Impending is saved for the serious shit – an impending Read the rest of this entry »

Chest thumps spreading just like wildfire
An imaginary war grows
Yule-tide ornaments hang from every wire
But the outraged see only foes

Everybody knows that it’s Christmastime Read the rest of this entry »

Not so very long ago Americans knew who Charles Whitman was. On August 1, 1966, Charles Whitman shot 46 people from the 27th floor of the University of Texas Tower in Austin. Fifteen died. It shocked the country. The following week the cover of Life magazine was a sobering photograph of the UT Tower through a window with two bullet holes. The shooting was so horrifying and unique that the two major wire news organizations Read the rest of this entry »

Many years ago, I was traveling from Dallas, Texas to Norman, Oklahoma. It was the familiar interstate route, a straight shot north. It was also dull and repetitive, so I decided to hop onto the local roads and find my way across the state border at a new unknown spot, a pioneer in a Plymouth Fury. The Texas blacktop led me through small cow towns where experience told me my New Jersey accent would not be an asset. I double-checked my fuel gauge to ensure I could make it into Oklahoma without Read the rest of this entry »

shorts: 15

Posted: November 20, 2016 in Arts
Tags: , , , ,

Movies are an escape. Now is a good time for a little film diversion, dontcha think? And there are plenty more where these come from.

Words, The (2012) – This mildly interesting tale of plagiarism gone horribly wrong is unnecessarily multi-layered. (2) – 11/20/16

Stranger Than Fiction (2006) – Will Ferrell shines in this quiet gem exploring the weird cosmic connection between an everyman and neurotic novelist. (4) – 11/20/16

Age of Adaline, The (2015) – Harmless fluff about Read the rest of this entry »

Holy shit, nobody saw that coming. Forget about the blindsided pundits and the humiliated pollsters. You know the president-elect, his advisors, family, and many ardent supporters were also shocked. Let’s face it, you don’t froth at the mouth about a rigged election before the actual election if you expect to win. It is interesting to wonder what thoughts lumbered through Donald Trump’s head last Tuesday night as the results poured in. On a purely instinctive level he must have been elated; he had to be. Seriously, what better way to Read the rest of this entry »