January 25, 2007: My Dad’s House Is Older Than Your Country

I was talking to a friend in London the other day and we were discussing the differences between the US and the UK. It came up because in the states we use a single pronounciation for the word written as router regardless of whether we mean the wood working device that is similar to a drill that you approach from the side or if you are talking about the device that chooses the route of network data. In the Queen’s English they pronounce the two works differently which makes sense. The strange thing is that they are spelled the same. We started talking about the age of homes and the different approaches that our cultures take to structures. In the states we tend to tear down homes nearing one hundred years old and build anew while in the UK they tend to keep homes around forever. And the guy I was talking to pointed out that his father’s house was actually older than the United States!

Oreo and I got to sleep in today. He was so happy that he came up and shared my pillow while Dominica was getting ready for work. Oreo and I got up before Dominica left as I do have a lot of work to do today so no serious sleeping in for me, unfortunately.

Dominica is addicted to reading the news while at work and sent me news that a university has determined that microwaving a wet sponge for two minutes is enough to kill most dangerous stuff on the dirty sponge. But in releasing this simple information to the country we have determined that a large number of Americans are simply too ignorant of how everyday household appliances work to be able to use them safely. It isn’t like we are talking about some futuristic, computer controlled, complex appliance here with logic and hidden decision making going on. We are talking about a simple, everyday microwave. It turns on an “antennae” and shoot electromagnetic waves at the inside of the microwave oven to make food hot. You tell it how long to do so. This is nothing more than an extra powerful “easy bake oven” for children. Sure, easy bake ovens use a light bulb – but you can’t see it because it is enclosed. And microwaves use a totally different frequency of electromagnetic wave than that. But since you can see microwave transmissions it doesn’t matter – it is exactly like an easy bake oven to you. Both use unseen electromagnetic waves to heat items inside them and are controlled with a timer. What we have learned today is that there are far too many adults who cannot safely operate easy bake ovens!

Dick Cheney (our current Vice President for our foreign readers and those Americans who can’t use microwaves) was quoted today as saying that Bush’s credilbility was not on the line because of the situation in Iraq. News outlets relayed this as if Cheney was defending Bush’s credibility but, in reality, even Cheney can’t be that moronic and I think we can safely give him the benefit of the doubt that what he was implying was that Bush’s credibility is completely shot and the war in Iraq isn’t going to make it any worse than it already is. Bush’s saviour, in the historical sense, will be that he will just be “the other Bush” much like John Quincy Adams. John Quincy, being the son of the much more famous second President, was a major political figure in his own right but history has forgotten him and he will forever be just “the son of the second President” and George W. Bush will forever just be the son of George Bush. Right now he is a major blemish on the reputation of our country but, in time, he will likely be forgotten as one of those Presidents who have no particular identity – and this will be his saving grace.

Today was “slow” compared to the last few weeks. I actually got a little time to visit with Oreo on our Doggie – Daddy Day, but not much time. He spent the day sleeping on the futon next to me as I worked. At the last minute today I found out that I do not have to work the early morning shift tomorrow which is good, in a way, as I have a lot to do tonight but it is bad as I am already onto that schedule and it works out so well for Dominica and I.

Tonight is the official Grand Opening Gala for 1180 Raymond Boulevard here in downtown Newark, NJ. There are spotlights shining on the sides of the building and just about every single person who works in the building is on and working this evening. When Dominica got home she said that there are about ten valets working downstairs and they are parking on both sides of the building – Raymond and Commerce. There is a giant catering staff on in their black ties and all of the finishing touches have been put onto the building. There have been a lot of little things here and there that haven’t been done yet and living here has been a lot like living on a construction site but just about everything was cleared away last night and the place is looking really good.

Dominica got home and I had to work for a while before we could head out. She had managed to get a peek at the gala event going on and informed me that it was definitely time to put on a suit contrary to the “come as you are” instructions. We got all dressed up and headed down to the second floor to join the party.

We arrived at the party with an elevator full of visitors checking out the eighteenth floor. We stepped out into a very, very packed lobby full of people that we did not know. We attempted to make our way around the floor but there were far too many people and all of the local Newark “socialites” all seemed to know each other and this took on the flavour of a private party just for them. Any residents that we managed to find said the same thing – that this was really not a party for the people who live in the building.

We felt rather uncomfortable so Dominica and I walked over to Food for Life to get some dinner. Things were quiet over there so we were able to just relax and hang out. Everyone thought it was great that we were all dressed up. Some more really dressed up people were seated at the table next to us so we struck up a conversation assuming that they had been at the party at 1180 as well. It turned out that he was the general manager for the Savoy Grill which sits directly across the square from 1180 and where Dominica and I are planning on having dinner on Saturday night. We ended up talking to the couple for at least half an hour. We had a really good time.

After dinner we returned to 1180 and decided to give the now dwindling party another go. This time we found that most of the “Newark crowd” had dissipated and that there were a high percentage of residents now hanging around and enjoying the remains of the party. We ended up hanging out for several hours and having a really good time just hanging out with our neighbours. One of the guys who works in our building had gone over to Food for Life just about an hour before we did and while he was there he ran into Shaqille O’Neal! We can only guess that he was in the area to go to the party at 1180 and that we just missed him there (which is hard to do but we were only there for a minute.) How cool is it that Shaq eats at Food for Life when he is in town (Shaq lives in Newark part-time.) The party also drew a lot of other big names in the area like Newark’s Mayor and the head of the city council along with business leaders from Prudential and other downtown businesses.

I love Raymond Chen’s blog post on his finest hour. This makes me feel a lot better about constantly losing everything around the house.

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