August is for autumn

Next week is the PGA golf tournament in Charlotte North Carolina. Massive crowds are expected

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60 Responses to August is for autumn

  1. Fred Stiening says:

    Personal update. I’m back in the hospital. My routine low risk procedure didn’t work as planned. The semi-emergency backup plan failed. Open surgery is looking extremely likely.

    • Fred Stiening says:

      Back home. Thank God for Obamacare.

      • TheChairman says:

        Fate and destiny often travel together but arrive separately. You encountered fate, Countess was your destiny. Get out there and make the most of your time together. Maybe post your travels via the blog. SRG has been my online ‘safe harbor’ for many years. You’re in our thoughts and prayers. Godspeed to both of you.

      • Fred Stiening says:

        My comment wasn’t as sarcastic as it might have sounded. While the Blue Cross plan was essentially the only choice, I’ve met the yearly maximum out of pocket limit, so decisions will be made based on the medical priorities, not financial worries.

        This year was the year we decided to assess my health, acknowledging the possibility that Republicans might try to return individual health insurance based on risk underwriting. Chaos in the insurance and medical care business could affect me very personally. My issue is not the premiums as much as the ability to buy coverage and being protected from cost shifting. I hold out hope for the 50+ Medicare buyin for early retirees. Clearly Republicans have failed – a majority of Republicans now want the Senate to quit the Repeal of Obamacare.

        • TheChairman says:

          Actually, I knew you were being quite literal. Except my view is the RINO establishment monkey-wrenched the repeal and replace agenda, and continues to obstruct. As I pointed out to my wife, if this were the Democrats, they would be in lock-step (else one ‘ends it’ in Marcy Park). Please forgive my absence and drive-by posts, as I’ve been preoccupied with my elderly dad (79) who has Alzheimer’s… in his case, we will apply for Medicaid for his long term care, as nothing else will cover the cost.

  2. countess robini says:

    dear friends: please pray for us.

  3. briand75 says:

    Dear Lord – We believe that Fred will heal and recover and will be better than ever. We believe that he will be with Countess in health for many years to come. We thank you, Lord for your abundance of energy and provision of power to heal Fred in this time of need. Please hold Fred gently in the palm of your hand. Amen.

  4. Fred Stiening says:

    Thank you for being there and caring…

    So far, the doctor thinks we will be okay to travel to New York (state) for a honeymoon of sorts. That is contingent on a successful outcome on Tuesday.

    For those who know about the guy on YouTube, we decided to order a his and hers Crazy Russian Hacker and Boom! T-shirt, but we won’t have them in time for our trip.

    • TheChairman says:

      Our thoughts will be with you tomorrow Fred, we’ll be awaiting good news.

    • Fred Stiening says:

      Well, things didn’t work out as planned. After flying to Buffalo, spending one night at Chautauqua, we decided to return home ASAP and arrived home about 10 PM last night. American Airlines was especially helpful with rebooking us and helping me through the airports. There is not a health issue involved, but it began to sink in how vulnerable we were if there was

      • TheChairman says:

        Sorry… I didn’t think you were heading up to NY until September.

      • countess robini says:

        indeed, american airlines did well by us. sent employees to help us at every step of the way. much assistance in both the charlotte and buffalo airports, plus early boarding to make things easier for fred. they also waived the $200 per person rebooking fee when we explained we had to get home quickly.

        kudos, too, to giorgio’s limo service in new york. after an early (very early) morning call, they moved up our return trip date and got us on a shuttle from chautauqua to the buffalo airport in time for the flight home.

        • TheChairman says:

          Hopefully you can return to enjoy the area at a later date, after you’ve had time to recuperate, recharge, and relax. Were you planning to see Niagra Falls during your stay?

          • countess robini says:

            dear chairman: love the alliteration! we’re doing all the “r” stuff right now.

            yes, we had planned initially to go to niagara falls (anybody else remember the movie with marilyn monroe?) after chautauqua. goal was to meet up with my beautiful-and-talented sister and salt-of-the-earth brother-in-law so they could spend some time with fred. but we nixed it a few weeks ago when things started getting dicey.

  5. Fred Stiening says:

    The PGA championship is one of the four major golf events, but confusingly is put on by the PGA, but not organized by the separate PGA Tour™. The PGA Championship is open to the pros that work in golf courses as well as the pro tour members and past winners of major events.

    Monday and Tuesday are just practice rounds and VIPs schmoozing with the golfers. While our uber drivers have had some PGA related business, it won’t get intense until the weekend.

  6. Fred Stiening says:

    Homicide #57 of 2017

    Virtually all involved a black person – either as the dead person or the killer

  7. Parrott says:

    Hey Countess,, Hope all is well, I have a question ( s) for you
    Have you been to ‘Bala Cynwyd’ ? ( of course you have)
    Do you pronounce it like it is sort of spelled ? Wonder who named it ?
    Doesn’t sound quaker.
    I get to go with my wife to a conference in Philadelphia. Its at the convention center downtown, but we get to stay at the Marriott down there. Its an ok area ?
    Says the hotel is a mile from the train station. Were taking the train up from Lynchburg VA. ( really starting to like this riding train bit Fred) did the autotrain in March to FLA, Train to DC two weeks ago, now all the way to Philadelphia ( Business class) . Uh Huh, yeah Thats what I am talking about.
    Is it ok to walk or should we take that trolly or Uber ? which do you recommend ?
    I have never been to Philadelphia, but I do want to go see the Rocky statue : )
    I am getting a Philly cheese-steak sandwich. ( I am going to break my vegetarian-ism and pray for forgiveness afterwards.)
    They have a lot of Mini coopers in Bala-Cynwyd. Might be time for new car. Sold the QX56 last year, the Lexus is 11 years old, but still fast. so we may go by and look, while there.
    Any advice I sure would appreciate it,

    • CC1s121LrBGT says:

      Get there as quickly as you can, Mr Parrott. The tolerant anti-fascists are toppling statues faster than the Taliban ever did.

      β€œDon’t let this letter dishearten anybody and never take no cutoffs and hurry along as fast as you can.” – 14 year old Virginia Reed in 1847

      BTW (and speaking of Virginia), The best Philly Cheese steaks are near you at The Hub in Rocky Mount, VA.

    • countess robini says:

      dear parrott: what fun! you and your wife get to go to philly!

      here’s the deal:
      bala cynwyd is prounounced bow-lah kin-wood. (that’s bow, like you’d do on stage.) it’s welsh.

      bala cynwyd is on the famous main line of philly. where philly ends, bala cynwyd begins. (dividing line is a big street called city avenue.)

      very wealthy area — lots of old philly money, and new as well. many tall office buildings since lots of businesses wanted to get out of the city to avoid paying the outrageous taxes and putting up with the typical big-city nonsense. employees are usually happy with the move because they escape paying the ridiculous city wage tax. (many of the tv and radio stations moved to bala over the years for these reasons.) it’s a safe, low-crime area.

      30th street station, where you’ll get off the train, will be fascinating to you because you’re a train lover. lots of trains, lots of tracks. to an ordinary person like me, it’s a big and noisy place with a crazy traffic pattern and lousy parking. but there is a gorgeous sculpture inside the station called “winged victory” that’s a joy to behold. (and despite witness, the harrison ford movie, not many guys get bumped off in the men’s room.)

      there are all sorts of ways different train routes connect around philly and one of the places of connection is at 30th street station. but i’m dreadful at logistics. i’d think uber would work great to get you from the station to the hotel in bala cynwyd.

      when the convention center was built, they managed to save the reading terminal market, which is right next door. it’s a philly institution and a real working market, not some gussied-up tourist thing. regular people shop there for food and other necessities. the amish come in from lancaster county and sell produce, meat, baked goods and other items. there are also restaurants right inside the market — not frou-frou or trendy but good. very convenient for you since you’ll be at the convention center.

      the rocky statue is now back at the base of art museum steps. its was there initially (after the movie made the steps famous) but then the culture vultures kicked up a fuss saying it was junk art for the masses. (which it is.) so they moved it down to south philly, near the sports stadiums. then the city realized that was a mistake so now it’s back at the museum. kinda off in a little area near the steps but it IS there. and great fun to see.

      btw, the art museum really is one of the great museums of the world. it’s huge and exhausting but magnificent.

      another museum if you have time: the university museum (of the university of pennsylvania) is in west philly and absolutely first-class, especially for egyptology. penn got in early on the egyptian stuff (many digs) and it shows. big but not overwhelming.

      if time is short for sightseeing and you want to stay in center city, you can just walk around old city and see things like independence hall and the liberty bell. yeah, it’s touristy but it never failed: driving past independence hall at night coming hone from some press event, i’d think, “this is where they INVENTED america.” and then i’d think, “Yay for us.”

      sadly, the house where thomas jefferson wrote the declaration of independence is long gone — replaced by the strawbridge and clothier department store building, which was a philadelphia institution and is likewise gone. but the strawbridge building is still there and i remember a plaque on the exterior marking the spot where tom wrote that remarkable piece of prose so important in the history of the western world. you can stand there and reflect. (it’s around 8th and market streets.)

      on the cheesesteak thing: there’s a place down on south street (yes, the same place as in the song — where all the hippies meet) called jim’s steaks. it’s around third and south street. bright, busy place — nothing fancy. people love it. but if you go to south street for this or other dining/shopping — GO EARLY AND GET OUT BEFORE NIGHT FALLS. there have been ongoing problems on south street with teenagers — rich white kids from the burbs who come to south street to get drunk/high and behave badly. also poor black kids who walk over from the projects to do the same. south street is groovey during the day BUT NOT AT NIGHT.

      you can still get good italian food in south philly (especially around the italian market area, which was also featured in the rocky movie) but the neighborhood has changed much — now you will also find lots of good vietnamese restaurants. (be careful. in the old days, south philly was safe and you always felt welcome there. you could relax. now it’s different.)

      best bet for scoping out restaurants to try: philadelphia magazine and craig laban’s stories in the philadelphia inquirer. (he’s the restaurant reviewer and food writer — been doing it since the ancient israelites were inventing new ways to enjoy manna. like forever.) web site for the inquirer is

      give me a bit of time and i’ll post some ideas for things mrs. parrott might like to do while you’re off conventioneering.

      • CC1s121LrBGT says:

        Excellent write up, Countess. It prompted me to remember a couple additional items for Mr and Mrs Parrott to consider:

        For breakfast, consider trying scrapple, you can’t find it outside Philadelphia and it is probably available everywhere, including the Reading Terminal. On day two, instead get a “pork roll” breakfast sandwich. They are most popular across the river in Jersey, but people in Philly eat them too. They are both meat products, so you may wish to wash them down with a Frank’s soda, but buy it in Bala Cynwyd rather than Philadelphia due to the new Philadelphia soft drink tax. (BTW, just north of Bala Cynwyd is a town called “North Wales”.)

        A good snack would be any of the Tastykakes, or a Philly soft pretzel with the mandatory mustard topping.

        And now for the important stuff- You will have to hear Chris Plante on the web as no Philly station carries his show. I noticed he calls Ditch Mitch with the nickname “The Turtle”. lol The good news is that will be close enough to the Comcast HQ to throw a stink bomb at the people that own MSNBC. πŸ˜‰

        Enjoy your trip!

        • countess robini says:

          right, cc — tastycakes are quintessential philly junk food. (just last week butterscotch krimpets came up in a conversation i had with my sister.) back when i was a kid, the best friend to have was one with a dad who worked for tastycake. or campbell soup (headquartered in camden, n.j.) or rca (also based in camden.) they could buy rca products for next to nothing in what the company called “the family store.”

          and don’t forget, parrott — there are wawas everywhere, including center city and out in bala cynwyd.

          • CC1s121LrBGT says:

            “Made with milk, butter, and eggs” those krimpets were. πŸ˜‰

            Interesting. My father used to work for RCA in Camden, Cherry Hill, and Moorestown. Rather than getting a kid’s record player, I got a real one from the RCA family store and the Monkee’s LPs as they came out. Still have those LPs in a box.

            Speaking of companies, talk radio is flooded with commercials from a company that calls itself “Home Advisors”. They don’t say where their HQ is, but I suspect it is on or near South Street, or at least in South Philly. I can tell from the working where they say that they provide their service so that “it is free to yous”. πŸ˜‰

        • Parrott says:

          CC : I cannot eat a “pork Roll’ breakfast, Thats sounds like a two day affair ? Maybe ol’ Mitch McConnell could use a pork roll ?
          Yes pretzels, glad you reminded me,
          I will have to take my laptop computer with VLC so I can listen to Chris then. I use to listen to a salem radio station there, so I know how to say ‘Skool-kil’ Schuylkill.
          : )

    • countess robini says:

      dear mrs. parrott: here are some suggestions for you.

      both the museums i mentioned would be fun, even if you have to go alone .

      the art museum is right in center city philadelphia. sits up high on a hill at the end of the benjamin franklin parkway, a euro-style boulevard that’s lovely. it’s a safe area. i went with friends for an afternoon at the art museum a few years ago and the museum restaurant was excellent. gift shop very large and has beautiful, museum-gift-shop-type things. museum is closed mondays, i think.

      the university museum is smaller and funkier. if archaeology is your thing, it’s a treasure trove. it used to have a decent restaurant right in the museum. the museum shop is smallish but with lots of unusual items from around the world. the museum is on the campus of the university of pennsylvania in west philly. safe area with lots of people around during the day. just don’t wander off the penn campus. west philly is a tough neighborhood.

      there are two other museums right on ben franklin parkway you might be interested in visiting. the rodin museum is world-famous and way smaller than the art museum and the university museum. it’s in an intimate setting and is a low-key place. tickets are a bargain — around $8, i think.

      about a block away from the rodin museum, still right on the parkway, is the barnes museum. it’s new (opened maybe seven or eight years ago.) building is ugly but the barnes foundation art collection is inside. there was a big fight about moving the stuff from its location in merion (just outside the city) into a new building on the parkway. i could see the way the battle was going years ago so i went to see the collection in its original setting, which dr. barnes had designed and built. it was a magical place, quiet and elegant and tucked away in a lush suburban locale. now, the fabulous collection of impressionist paintings and other items (very quirky) that dr. barnes collected are still available for viewing, just in a very different — very urban — place. there’s a restaurant in the new location and (i think) an outdoor dining area.

      by the way, if gardening is one of your interests, the property where the barnes collection was housed for decades is still open to the public as an arboretum. it’s in merion, which is very close to bala cynwyd. merion is a safe, upscale town.

      another gardening attraction is bartram’s garden in philadelphia. they do clever, innovation exhibitions. free admission. ok area but you wouldn’t want to go exploring the neighborhood on foot.

      if you just want to have some quiet time for yourself, there’s no better choice than the rittenhouse square area of center city. rittenhouse square itself is a gem of a city park, not too big, not too small. big old trees, sculptures, lots of room to stroll or sit down and people-watch. very safe ; much foot traffic day and early evening. rittenhouse square is rimmed by very expensive high-rise residential buildings and plenty of boutique-y shops and restaurants on the street level. i was there last summer to check out the rittenhouse square farmer’s market (which was sort of small and disappointing) but had lunch in a great place: parc, a french cafe which sits right on the corner of rittenhouse square. it’s stunning inside, with exquisite detailing and furnishings. i had quiche with a mixed greens side salad and it was delicious. (it was a beautiful day so they had opened the huge sliding windows that face out onto the street. i was able to chat with some diners seated at the outdoor tables — it was glorious!) friendly, efficient service. a little pricey but truly memorable.

      i hope your time in philly will be one of the most enjoyable trips you and parrott have ever had.


      p.s.: if you want to visit south street, my admonition in the first post stands: please go during the day. there are interesting little storefront shops and many neat restaurants (south street souvlaki was one of my favorites — it’s been there for decades.) south street can make for a fun afternoon. but don’t tarry into evening.

      • Parrott says:

        Thank you so much Countess, I sure do appreciate all this travel info! So good. I do apologize for not responding earlier with thanks. They have been keeping me busy at work this summer. The company is not doing very well. we had two strategic employees leave and I fear this is something that we won’t be able to overcome. You see our management team are ‘grasshoppers’ and winter is coming. They love the Ivory Tower and listening to themselves talk.
        eh, couldn’t last forever, but I digress.

        I am looking forward to going on our trip to philly, here in the fall. Actually, I am on the leisure side of this trip.
        Mrs Parrott is the one going to the conference. She may have some down time and I’ll try to get her to skip a session or two, since you have provided and excellent menu of places to visit and see. I am the logistics advisor/entertainment/gopher & security on this trip.
        We truly have the inside guide to all the best things to see while in Philly! Excellent idea for art museum there in downtown, its a must do. Thank you so much!
        I do plan to watch what I eat while I am there, I have to. I don’t know what ‘CC’ is trying to do to me, –> ‘Pork Roll’ ? Really ? Thats a heart attack waiting to happen !
        I have printed out your advice. ( and CC’s ‘except the port roll part’ )
        Sure do appreciate it, I got a month and a half to plan so this is great. I owe you.
        Best regards

        • countess robini says:

          dear parrott: it was my pleasure to give you a few ideas for your philly trip. friends help friends.

          • haiti222 says:

            Yes, thanks for mentioning the Barnes Foundation. The founder hated and felt unaccepted by the big wigs in Philly, and after he was long passed away, the politicians did everything they could to move the museum to downtown, which was totally against what he wanted. The documentary Art of the Steal, which I think is still on Netflix showed the machinations to steal away the museum and move it.

            • countess robini says:

              so glad to hear from you, haiti222!

              i watched the fight over the barnes collection play out over many years in page one pieces in the philadelphia inquirer. and you’re right — dr. barnes loathed the philadelphia art museum crowd. he saw them as “old money” types who had a stranglehold on the arts and cultural institutions of philadelphia.

              just before i left philly, there was a story in the inquirer re the new museum raising prices (substantially.) the guys-in-three-piece-suits tap-danced around the reason but it was basically that they had under-estimated how much more it would cost for security in the new location (in center city.)

              they swore when they moved the place that the public would still be able to view the art in the same way dr. barnes had originally arranged the collection, which was VERY, VERY close to the paintings, in intimate mini-galleries. On the day i visited the old location, i was amazed at the layout and at how respectful the visitors were of the rules. (but it was a quiet, cultured, art-loving crowd — including many people from foreign countries — who appreciated what a gem the barnes was.) for security reasons (and to give visitors the chance to truly savor the art), the original location drastically limited the number of visitors admitted each hour. still, there were numerous security guards and they kept a very watchful eye on everybody.

              i can only imagine what a nightmare security must be now, and how expensive. so they raised the ticket price.

              and, yes, “the art of the steal” is certainly worth watching for background info before visiting the barnes. (i think i got it from netflix, too.)

              please stay in touch. i missed you.

    • haiti222 says:

      Thanks, my two world traveller daughters have been looking at the $350 tickets to Europe with a free stopover in Iceland. You get no bags at all for that price, just a personal item. Also, no food or water or entertainment.

  8. Fred Stiening says:

    Carla’s husband is dead…

    “cheers” actor and SiriusXM talk show host Jay Thomas has died

  9. Parrott says:

    and in Houston:
    KHOU TV 11 Houston is evacuating the station due to flooding. Two feet of water in the station. They are off the air.

    • CC1s121LrBGT says:

      It is not clear that the station had stopped broadcasting. KHOU is a CBS station. I had thought it was O/O’ed (owned and operated) by CBS, but I am not sure. They did first move to the second floor and then shut down the studio.

      KHOU had reporters all over the Houston metro area and they were uplinking their feeds and to WFAA TV 8 in Dallas, an ABC affiliate. That Dallas station had offered its whetherman and one of its reporters to run a live feed back to Houston. I watched a bit of it as it was also streamed live on youtube.

      The WFAA anchor in Dallas would mispronounce neighborhood names and street names in Houston. He would also greet the KHOU reporters and tell them not to speak to him but to speak directly to the people of Houston. My assumption was that WFAA was getting the signal back to the Houston KHOU transmitter and to all the KHOU cable feeds. What was not clear was what was going over the air in Dallas. As this was basically a one man Houston-centric show in the Dallas studio, I suspect Dallas viewers had normal programming or programming intended for Dallas.

      I saw a similar situation in 1977 during the NYC electrical blackout. I could watch the WNBC TV 4 people who had moved to the floor with the NBC network operations and were doing a similar emergency broadcast. In the background, I could hear the network people talking about commercials for the Tonight show and on KYW in Philadelphia, the NBC affiliate at that time, I could see the result of their work when the commercials interrupted the programming.

      • CC1s121LrBGT says:

        Found it on youtube. The first few minutes are the introduction and may be of interest to people that like “behinds the scenes” logistics of radio and TV.

      • Parrott says:

        Ah thanks CC. Yeah my information is repeated hearsay, supposedly from a message board, and my sister in Mississippi was communicating with a friend in Sugarland Texas mentioned it to her. ( Imperial sugar, Fred)
        Union Pacific had been working for a week to pull out freight cars from yards in the Houston, Pasadena, Galveston Metroplex area, sending them west for storage.

    • Fred Stiening says:

      There may be a tropical storm (Irma) headed this way by midweek. I blame Jefferson Davis.

  10. Fred Stiening says:

    WSJS-AM in Winston Salem North Carolina is a venerable AM radio station similar to WBT-AM in Charlotte, albeit with less power and a dying Community of license since the tobacco industry was snuffed out by Congress. The station went on the air in 1930 – the call letters stood for Winston Salem Journal Sentinal, the daily newspapers at the time. Many of the pioneer radio stations were owned by newspapers.

    The station is owned today by (Don) Curtis Media, who seems to own about half of the radio stations in North Carolina (outside the big cities).

    Word arrived today via Tom Taylor that WSJS-AM is throwing in their locker towels and going to an all sporks format – because America loves sporks. This morning was the last morning show. Fox Sporks will start Friday.

    • Parrott says:

      Killer, ole WSJS. They played good music back in the day,
      Piedmont Airlines use to have their headquarters in Winston, ( N&W) owned a lot of their stock.
      Now RJR is a mere shadow of itself. Dell had set up shop in Winston in the 80’s – through the 90’s. It was a treat to go through there when I was a kid and see ‘Southern’ locomotives there.


  11. Fred Stiening says:

    SPLC in the news…

    Non-profit with money stashed in offshore bank accounts? ORLY?

    • countess robini says:

      this is scandalous.

      the last 12 years i worked i was employed by an (allegedly faith-based) charity to handle media (print, tv, radio), write grant proposals, do corporate fundraising and work on special events. the organization was a cell pool of nepotism, double-dealing , incompetence and circumvention of even basic ethical standards. (this was at the top — the rank-and-file employees were dedicated and honorable people. the volunteers were awe-inspiring in their compassion and willingness to do god’s work.)

      charity navigator is a good place to start investigating before giving any money to a charity. there’s also something called guidestar where you can view 990 tax forms. that’s where the bodies are buried.

      trust but verify.

  12. Fred Stiening says:

    Harvey has caused the shutdown of the Colonial pipeline from the Houston area to Washington DC (Via Charlotte)

    Perhaps they will use the down time for much overdue inspections and repairs…

  13. Fred Stiening says:

    0Β°F is the lowest temperature that can be achieved combining ice, water, and salt

    • CC1s121LrBGT says:

      Interesting. I didn’t know that about the origin of the 0 point on the Fahrenheit scale.

      The article also says, ” The difference between the air temperature and the freezing point of salt water is bigger than the difference between the air temperature and the freezing point of freshwater. This makes the ice with salt on it melt faster.” I think that is a false statement.

      On the surface of the ice, any ice, there are liquid water molecules. At the molecular level, they change state back and forth. With the addition of salt, they are less likely to change back to solid once they become liquid and that causes the ice to slowly melt.

      Similarly, with the air temperature constantly below 32 degrees F, white snow will disappear over time. Most of the liquid water molecules will return to solid ice, but some will evaporate. It does not take 212 degrees F to cause water to evaporate and more than it takes 32 degrees for ice to melt.

      • Fred Stiening says:

        Wikipedia has a longer explanation. At the top end, he wanted 96Β°F to be the normal human body temperature in order to create a thermometer by bisecting it into 32 markings, each of which was 3Β°.

        However, the brine he measured for 0Β° was not accurate, so the scale was tweaked later on, hence 98.6Β° instead of 96

        • CC1s121LrBGT says:

          Wow. I would have never guessed that. Interesting that he chose a power of 2 to be the divisor. Many older currency divisions were also powers of two, including the US quarter, the US fifty cent piece, the two dollar bill, and the British Hay (half) penny… and the “Shave and a haircut, two bits”, where each bit is 12.5Β’ (half of a quarter).

          The metric system was adopted to make math easier so that you would have less need for a slide rule. Calculators and then computers made it less necessary. Computers as well as people thing in terms of powers of two rather than powers of 10.

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