Archive for October, 2010

Cutler Racks Up Endorsements

Wednesday, October 27th, 2010

Two more!

I won’t turn this into a political blog, I promise, I just find it interesting that now both the Lewiston Sun-Journal and Bangor Daily News have endorsed Eliot Cutler for governor: “Maine needs a statesman, not an antagonist” and “Eliot Cutler for Governor“.

The Sun-Journal:

LePage is correct on the issues, but his bare-knuckle style and bully tactics will not produce the change Mainers so desperately need. In fact, his combative stance will further entrench Maine’s woes.

We need a practiced executive in the Blaine House, a person who has the skills and experience to be an administrator of progress. A person determined to improve our schools, reduce our taxes, fix our roads and vastly shrink government spending.

Cutler is that person.

And from the Daily News:

Maine has a rare opportunity to remake its government. State finances demand it. The public, increasingly aware that big changes are needed for the state to prosper, wants it.

Only one candidate for governor – Eliot Cutler – has the skills, vision and detailed plans to lead this work.

So now the Sun-Journal, the Daily News, the Press Herald, the Portland Phoenix, the York Weekly, the York County Coast Star, the Portsmouth Herald, the Times Record and the USM Free Press have all endorsed Cutler.


Dubai Real Estate

Wednesday, October 27th, 2010

Did you see this article in Time Magazine? “The Rent Too Damn High in Dubai? Not So Much“.

Apparently 825 of the Burj Khalifa’s 900 ultra-luxury apartments remain unoccupied. (I assume that’s since the January opening).

Key quote:

But it’s the units that will be completed that are looming as a problem. The Dubai economy must still digest a flood of housing units coming on line or soon to be opened, which will further dampen prices. Through September, 27,000 residential units have been put on the market, and another 9,000 are expected to be completed by the end of the year, according to real estate firm Jones Lang LaSalle. For 2011, the firm forecasts that about 30,000 new units will come on line.

This is a whole new economic crisis!

New Chicago Apple Store

Wednesday, October 27th, 2010

Check these out: “Photos from the opening of the Chicago Lincoln Park Apple Store“.

Here’s the best one:

It’s Apple’s newest “Significant Store”, and it’s on the site of a former gas station.


Eliot Cutler for Governor

Monday, October 25th, 2010

Not that I’m fond of the Portland Press Herald, but this is pretty big: “Our endorsement for governor: Eliot Cutler the best choice to lead Maine forward“.

University of Southern Maine’s Free Press also endorsed him today: “Eliot Cutler for Governor“.

I have a good Cutler story from last week. I was leaving my class at USM on Thursday night, and I saw Cutler and his wife in the parking garage. I accosted them, told him that I was interested in voting for him, but had concerns about his education platform (I had recently read a blurb about his wanting to increase classroom sizes). He shifted into politician-mode about some mailer from the MEA about teacher layoffs, which I quickly brushed aside – I just wanted to know the facts of his platform.

He went into his prepared remarks about 11.3 students for every teacher and Maine having the second-highest student-teacher ratio, and by increasing it to 13.5 it’d save something like $140 million.

I said that I’d look into it some more, but that I was still 90% sure I’d vote for him.

And then he did something classy.

He said, “Josh, if you don’t vote for me, please email me and let me know why.”

Now shoot, will I really email him if I don’t vote for him? Will he really read it if I really mail him? Will he care why?

But still, I thought it was classy.

Quite honestly I’m going to vote after my Tuesday night USM class, at around 7 pm, and I’ll see where bat-shit crazy Tea Partier Paul LePage is in the standings, and then vote accordingly.

I’m all for independents, but not if elect a nutball (cough) George W. Bush (cough).

Anyway, I ended by saying how I was attending Jon Stewart’s Rally to Restore Sanity this weekend, and I was contemplating wearing a Cutler tee shirt. His wife thought that was a good idea.

So even if I don’t vote for him, I think I’ll wear a shirt.

Death in Dubai

Monday, October 25th, 2010

Tragic, and avoidable: “Fellow competitor blames heat, safety lapses in death of swimmer Fran Crippen“.

Key quote:

An American swimmer blamed the blazing heat, unusually warm surf and lack of medical and safety personnel on the course for the death of former University of Virginia swimmer Fran Crippen, 26, in an open-water race Saturday in the United Arab Emirates.

Unfortunately, that sounds all too much like the Dubai I know …

Oooh one of them fancy dates!

Wednesday, October 20th, 2010

In the rest of the world today, 20/10/2010 must be a special day …

Apple’s Number 1!

Tuesday, October 19th, 2010

The other day I mentioned that Apple is now the third largest computer seller in the States.

Then I saw this: “Apple Is No. 1 Computer Seller – If You Count iPads“.

Wow, how about that?

Happy Birthday, Mom!

Monday, October 18th, 2010

Today’s my Mom’s birthday.

Wish her happy birthday with me!

Happy Birthday, Mom!

A Little Bit of Dubai in Portland

Sunday, October 17th, 2010

On the drive to South Portland this morning to get bagels (I love you 158 Pickett Street Cafe), I saw a surprising oil tanker in port – the Dubai Star!

You might recall that Portland is the largest oil port on the East Coast (thank you Portland–Montreal Pipe Line).

When I got home I did a little research on the tanker, I guess it’s bad PR when the first article one finds is “Oil spills into S.F. Bay south of Bay Bridge.”

Then I found this photo:

Boats gather oil spilled by the Dubai Star oil tanker, background, off the coast of San Francisco on Friday, Oct. 30, 2009. The Panamanian-flagged ship began leaking bunker fuel during a fuel transfer Friday morning. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)


So yeah, that’s what’s in Casco Bay right now.

BU, Globe Rip Off Students

Friday, October 15th, 2010

And the winner of the most interesting use of college students as skilled labor without being called that and probably not being paid, thus replacing skilled laborers in their own field goes to … Boston University and the Boston Globe’s ‘Your Town’ sites!

Man, I am so glad I am not a journalist right now.

Apple’s Number 3!

Friday, October 15th, 2010

Did you see this the other day? “Apple now third-largest PC seller in U.S.

How about that?

Apparently after the last quarter, the numbers stand at:

24.3% – Hewlett-Packard
23.1% – Dell
10.6% – Apple

I’m sure neither HP or Dell are really shaking in their boots, but still, it’s impressive from last year’s 7-something %.

Another Purple Basil

Wednesday, October 13th, 2010

On my quest for Purple Pesto I found another purple basil plant – the Basil Red Rubin:

Cordoba House Parallels

Tuesday, October 12th, 2010

I guess I haven’t talked about the Cordoba House Islamic Center at 51 Park Place on Manhattan for some time, but the other day I ran across a fantastic article in the New York Times that mentions it.

Check out: “In Fierce Opposition to a Muslim Center, Echoes of an Old Fight.”

The opening is killer:

Many New Yorkers were suspicious of the newcomers’ plans to build a house of worship in Manhattan. Some feared the project was being underwritten by foreigners. Others said the strangers’ beliefs were incompatible with democratic principles.

Concerned residents staged demonstrations, some of which turned bitter.

But cooler heads eventually prevailed; the project proceeded to completion. And this week, St. Peter’s Roman Catholic Church in Lower Manhattan — the locus of all that controversy two centuries ago and now the oldest Catholic church in New York State — is celebrating the 225th anniversary of the laying of its cornerstone.


Anyone who doesn’t think history moves in cycles is a fool.

New Language

Tuesday, October 12th, 2010

Did you see this article last week? I thought it was pretty interesting: “Undocumented Language Found Hidden In India.”

Key quote:

Previously undocumented languages are “noticed from time to time” Harrison said, so such a discovery is not rare. But at the same time linguists estimate that a language “dies” about every two weeks with the loss of its last speakers.

Apparently there are 6,910 documented languages in the world, so by my math we still have 265 years before we’re all speaking Chinese.

Cambridge Schools Celebrate Muslim Holidays

Monday, October 11th, 2010

Wow, Cambridge, Massachusetts’ public schools are closing for Eid al-Fitr in the 2011-2012 school year.

Check out this article from Sunday’s Boston Globe: “School system to get Muslim holiday.”

“At a time when I think the Muslim population is being characterized with a broad brush in a negative way, I think it’s important for us to say we’re not going to do that here,” [Cambridge School Committee member Marc] McGovern said.

Cambridge schools already close for some Christian and Jewish holidays, and McGovern said he believes Muslims should be treated equally.

“The issue that sort of came up was should we celebrate any religious holidays, but there was not the will to take away Good Friday or one of the Jewish holidays,” he said. “So I said, if that is the case, I think we have an obligation to celebrate one of the Muslim holidays, as well.”

I kind of want to move to Cambridge, now. Wow.

The last line is fantastic: “Can’t please everybody,” he said. “You have to do what you think is right.”

Purple Pesto

Monday, October 11th, 2010

Besides tomatoes, this year I successfully grew basil as well, and have made a few batches of pesto from my bounty.

I was looking at seed websites last week, as now I fancy myself a farmer, and I found something fantastic – purple Basil Osmin.

Yes, I plan on making purple pesto in 2011 …

M:I Arba’a

Wednesday, October 6th, 2010

Oh yeah: “‘Mission Impossible’ filming starts in Dubai soon“.

Reminds me of a statement I made four years ago (see James Bond in Dubai):

I bet you that at some point in the next two James Bond movies (#22 or #23) James Bond will visit to Dubai.

Now, maybe he won’t be cruising down Sheikh Zayed Road in some crazy-fancy car, or swinging from a crane onto one of the Emirates Towers, or ski racing the bad guys at Ski Dubai, but I could see him cruising around the Palm Jumeirah in some huge yacht. Maybe having a meeting (and drinks, if they have a bar?) at the Burj al-Arab hotel, too.

I know James Bond is a snobby south of France / Bahamas kind of guy, but Dubai is getting pretty big and pretty global.

Just a thought.

*If I’m wrong on this, maybe Dubai will feature in the next Mission: Impossible movie instead, which I hope they make with Brad Pitt instead of Tom “Crazypants” Cruise.

Bond #23 might be “suspended indefinitely” but damn was I right about Mission: Impossible 4.

Well, not the Brad Pitt part, but the Dubai part.

The Reds and the Red Sox?

Wednesday, October 6th, 2010

Apparently the owners of the Boston Red Sox, New England Sports Ventures, has put in a bid to buy Liverpool FC of the English Premier League?

Now that’s called diversifying! They own the Sox, Fenway Park, 80 percent of NESN, 50 percent of NASCAR’s Roush Fenway Racing, and now a British football club?

Taxpayer Receipt

Monday, October 4th, 2010

This is pretty clever: “Should Taxpayers Get Receipts?

Check out this sample:

If this is accurate, it’s fascinating.

Yankees and Rays

Sunday, October 3rd, 2010

One of the reasons that I love baseball is the statistical element.

Today’s the final game of the season for my Boston Red Sox, after having been statistically eliminated from the post season last week. Both the New York Yankees and Tampa Bay Devil Rays are mathematically guaranteed to make the playoffs; one team will be the American League East champions and one will be the wild card.

Today’s game of the Sox versus the Yankees, isn’t going to shake out like Major League Baseball’s wanted, with baseball’s most storied rivalry to end the season. But it is still key to the Yankees winning the AL East title, as opposed to the less prestigious wild card; the Yankees and Devil Rays are tied for the lead in the AL East, so the Yankees need to win today, and have the Rays lose, to win the AL East.

Every other scenario gives the division to Tampa Bay.

Interesting, isn’t it?