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Insects Love Global Warming

The unusually warm winter was a Godsend after last year’s heavy snowfall and biting cold, but no good turn comes without a price. This spring has seen more bugs than ever, and word is, this summer could be like the days of the Locust, literally, we’re talking Biblical proportions.

It already started at my house. Over the weekend I had a burst of carpenter ants, hundreds and hundreds in the bedroom skylight. I used RAID to knock them out, but they came back the next day, so I called a professional.

According to the exterminator, the chemicals he uses are much less toxic than RAID. He said RAID is nasty stuff and contains wax, and so when you breathe it in, it sticks to your lungs.

He has a gel that goes on like caulk and it is designed to attract the ants like food so that they’ll come out, eat and then go back to the nest and share. Then the chemical kicks in and wipes them all out – nasty stuff.

RAID kills on contact but often the nest is twenty feet from where you’re seeing them so you never get to the center of the problem.

There … Read the rest

Gas @ 27 cents/gallon with Green Stamps to boot!

There’s one gas station in Westport that’s 5-10 cents cheaper than any other in town (if you pay cash). It’s an off-brand corner site with a convenience store crammed with cigarettes, lottery tickets and five-hour energy drinks.

For the past year I’ve driven past this station and virtually every week the gas price has gone up. There have been times when the price changed several times in a day. But last week, for the first time in ages, the price dropped.

I heard on the news that gas dropped nationally 15 cents. Not here. The price at my place is $4.03, down from a high of $4.09. Plenty of stations in the area are still north of $4.10.

I remember my dad filling up for 27 cents a gallon. A fill-up also got you green stamps or a gift. I remember collecting glasses with baseball team logos on them. Does anyone remember the Green Stamp Redemption Center?

It costs me over sixty bucks to fill my tank nowadays and there’s no gift or stamps. Fortunately, I don’t have to drive far these days, but how do families on tight budgets afford it?

And yet, because I always pay cash to … Read the rest

The Good ‘ole Days as a Suffering Philly Fan Return

The 2012 Phillies team has plummeted back to earth after four high-flying years. I’ve followed them since the late ‘60s and a .500 win/loss percentage in April used to be acceptable since the team was typically out of it before school was out, but I’m spoiled by the victories, the free agent signings, and that one World Series victory.

And to think, at one point, I thought this group had a shot at being one of the great teams in history, a multiple World Series winner with the game’s most devastating pitching line-up, but alas, that group of Halladay, Lee, Oswalt and Hamels is no more.

So far this year, making the play-offs looks like a stretch.

I know it’s early and the team has injuries, but last year’s final pitch still haunts me. Howard’s Achilles snapping on the last out of the year, falling to the ground in agony as he tried to run to first base on a dropped strike three ball. I was in my own agony, coming to grips with the impossible, Halladay losing to the Cardinals, a team that wasn’t even headed for the playoffs, and there was Howard on the ground writhing in pain.… Read the rest

The Tale of the Train Clipper and the Sauna Flosser

I was on the commuter train into Manhattan and the guy next to me started clipping his nails. Usually I’m not shy about saying something when a person violates such a social norm, but the last time I came across someone conducting personal grooming in public, it almost exploded into a fist fight.

I was at the gym. I’d just completed a great workout and I walked into the steam room for a few minutes of heat and relaxation. What transpired next, occurred in a flash of discord, a sequence of emotional reactions.

My gym has a cozy steam, it’s tight when four people are in there. An older man sat just a few feet away, flossing. The steam blurs everything and at first I assumed I had it wrong, but no, he was a Sauna Flosser.

I shut my eyes and tried to ignore him, but the sound of floss sawing between teeth was too loud.

I wanted to say something, but what do you say? Instead, I shook my head and walked out mumbling, “This is unbelievable.”

As the door shut behind me, I heard the guy cry out, “Asshole.”

Anger bubbled inside my belly. I could not … Read the rest