Thursday, December 31, 2009

Lifetime Running Totals

Year Runs Miles Average
2004 149 668.535 4.48
2005 139 850.84 6.12
2006 122 635.57 5.35
2007 133 690.81 5.04
2008 136 684.38 5.03
2009 135 858.68 6.36
Total 410 4406.915 5.38

Thursday, December 24, 2009

What I'm currently reading

Here's what I'm currently reading...

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

CNN's list of the 50 best jobs in America

In 2010, I'm going to try to go with a blog theme or series of themes. One thing I'd like to do is create a book of lists---of what, I'm not sure, but in keeping with that theme, here's a post from CNN that lists the 50 best jobs in America

Friday, December 18, 2009

My best selling books

Have I mentioned that my best selling book are in the C# area?

Thursday, December 3, 2009

The Blessed Mother's Dream

This came home with some class material from my daughter's Catholic Elementary School---and I'm repeating it here.

It's important to remember the true meaning of Christmas.

I'll be doing that on Christmas morning at Mass while my neighbors, exhausted from decorating, climbing roofs and trees to place lights, shopping and other festive activities, are sleeping in.

The Blessed Mother's Dream

I had a dream Joesph.

I don't understand it, not really, but I think it was about a birthday celebration for our Son. I think that was what it was about.

The people had been preparing for it for about six weeks.

They had decorated the house and bought new clothes. They had gone shopping many times and bought elaborate gifts.

It was peculiar, though, because the presents weren't for our Son.

They wrapped them in beautiful paper and tied them with lovely bows and placed them under a tree.

Yes, a tree, Joseph, right in their house.

They had decorated the tree also. The branches were full of glowing balls and sparkling ornaments. There was a figure on top of the tree. It looked like an angel might look. Oh, it was beautiful.

Everyone was laughing and happy. They were all excited about the gifts.

They gave the gifts to each other, Joseph, not to our Son.

I don't even think they knew Him.

They never mentioned His name.

Doesn't it seem odd for people to celebrate someone's birthday if they don't know Him?

I had the strangest feeling that if our Son had gone to this celebration He would have been intruding.

Everything was so beautiful, Joseph, and everyone was so glad, but it made me want to cry.

How sad for Jesus---not to be wanted at His own birthday party.

I'm glad it was just a dream.

How terrible Joseph if it had been real.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Drexel University--thanks for the change in the Graduation Date

Drexel University is proud of having a calendar that is years ahead---almost since he was a Freshman, the 2010 Drexel University commencement has been scheduled for Saturday, June 12, 2010, which is wonderful since my daughter is graduating from 8th Grade on Friday, June 11, 2010.

Guess what?

My son just received this in an email dated November 25th.

2010 University City Main Campus Commencement Schedule

The schedule for 2010 University City Main Campus Commencement ceremonies has been announced by President C.R. "Chuck" Pennoni and Provost Mark Greenberg. Ceremonies will be held on Friday, June 11 and Saturday, June 12, 2010 at the Daskalakis Athletic Center (33rd and Market Streets).

The schedule is:

Friday, June 11

10 a.m.: College of Engineering and School of Biomedical Engineering, Science and Health Systems
1:30 p.m.: College of Nursing and Health Professions and School of Public Health

Saturday, June 12

9 a.m.: LeBow College of Business
12:30 p.m.: Westphal College of Media Arts & Design and College of Information Science and Technology
4:30 p.m.: College of Arts and Sciences and Goodwin College of Professional Studies (including the School of Education)

For more information about the 2009-10 academic calendar, visit

Approved under the authority of Philip Terranova, Vice President for University Relations

I feel like writing a letter, but what's the use? Is Drexel going to change the date just for me?

Now what are we going to do?

My son's graduation is 10AM, my daughter's 11AM, and they're about 15 miles apart.

There's no way we can attend both graduations.

Thanks Drexel!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Hand Warmers for Running in Cold weather

I mentioned Hand Warmers for stuffing into my Wells Lamont MechPro Gloves when I run in the morning.

I use a pair of Heatworks Air Activated Hand, Pocket & Glove Warmers. Open them up, and 2 minutes later they're warm--and they stay that way for about 6 hours. I love them.

They're produced by a company called AMMEX, in Tukwila, WA. Website is:

Their Product Code is HW1. Bar code reads

97383 92831

I ordered a box of 40 pair last year for $28.57 (includes $6 shipping) when I got tired of buying them piecemeal at the Army Navy Store.

I got them from a place called SurvivalCamping---here's their website

Washing Instructions---WELLS LAMONT MechPro Gloves

Washing Instructions are among my most popular blog postings....

I have a pair of Wells Lamont MechPro Insulated Gloves.

I use these gloves when I run in the morning--they're pretty warm, although when it's 20 degrees Fahrenheit or below, I will also stuff a heat pack inside.

At any rate, it's been over a year since I got them, and they need a good washing.

I just pulled out a magnifying glass, and found the washing instructions inside. Here they are:

Machine Wash Cold
Do Not Bleach
Hang Dry
Do Not Iron

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Have I mentioned why I hate the television program, the Biggest Loser?

Not the first time I've said it but...

I think the idea is wonderful, a group of overweight people trying to get healthy.

But as an exercise enthusiast, and someone who is always in training, the emphasis on this show is all wrong. Too much exercise, very little (to no) information on how many calories these people are consuming.

Some of these 'contestants' weigh over 400 pounds---a good diet could result in a loss of 10 pounds per week, something these contestants regularly do, but the producers make it appear it's a result of exercise--much of it coming during the 'last chance workout', something that when I see it literally makes me want to vomit.

This show is doing no one a favor my making exercise appear to be a punishment--a drill sergeant of a woman screaming over you and telling you to 'give me 2o more'.

My biggest hope--a contestant smacks that loud mouth right in her nose and cracks it.

Biggest Loser---do your fans a favor and show them what your contestants are consuming each week in calories, and give them a modest exercise program to follow.

And one more thing---knock off this elimination nonsense.

Let everyone stay 'in the game', and proclaim the contestant that loses the most weight (the winner---pounds or percentage, I guess it doesn't make a difference to me.

Top Ten---Pizza Parlors

I wanted to make mention of the fact that my family has been ordering a lot of pizza lately from Milanese Pizza in Riverton, NJ. The pizza is excellent, the staff (particularly Al) is very friendly. Parking is a bit tough around there though.

Tonight, as we picked up a pie for dinner, my wife found $12 on their step, and gave it to Al. He said if no one claimed it, he would give it to her next week when she stops by again. We'll see :)

This got me to thinking about some of my favorite, notable pizza parlors from the past, so I've compiled a list of my favorites.

1. John's Pizza Shack. Richmond St, Bridesburg section, Philadelphia PA. It was the first pizza I ever had. Not what most people would could their favorite, but it's still mine---I can still taste it. I used to eat it with my friend Dave on Friday night's when we were watching Astro Boy in the mid 60's (that was a long time ago)

2. Gearos on Bustleton Avenue in Philadelphia. I learned to drink beer there, as their peperoni pie was a bit spicy. I should say I learned to drink Genessee Cream Ale there. It was delicious.

3. New England on Bustleton Avenue in Philadelphia. My first 'English' Style pie. Delicious.

4. Napoli Village, Torresdale Avenue, Philadelphia. Very cheesey, very saucy. Very good.

5. Casa DiNapoli, Bustleton Avenue, Somerton Section of Philadelphia. Jack and his brother were great to me--I wrote a dBase III program for them to help them manage their shop. After we moved, I heard they moved to Atlantic City.

Some other great pies.

6. DeAngelos. Cinnaminson NJ.
7. Charlies on the Boulevard.
8. Celebres in South Philadelphia. This is distinctive. Nothing else quite like it.
9. Talianos. I believe this was the Adams avenue spot where we would occasionally visit after working at Sears. As I recall, it was very cheesy and saucy.
10. Tony's. Frankford Avenue in Philadelphia. It's a tomato pie (although you can order a pizza if you like.) The only problem with Tony's is that I can easily eat a pie and a half, and I'm in training.
11. Santucci's. Square Pizza. Juniata. A family favorite. The sauce is delicious. There are many locations.

Looking for more. I may refine my list.

iPhone Shortcomings

I bought my iPhone back in June. I really love it, but it's not perfect.

I've noticed some shortcomings, and I thought I would make a list.

It would be nice if...

1. I could sort Notes alphabetically
2. I could snyn my notes with my PC's Notepad application
3. I could do Internet Tethering, the way the online manual says I can
4. If there was Voice Recognition for texting
5. There were more ring tones

6. If I could designate special ring tones to certain senders of text messages
7. If there was a speed dial like there was with my Sony Erikson phone
8. If I could designate a group in my Address book

I'll think of more and update here...

Wow, if this guy is right, we're in for more trouble

Josh Kosman, a writer for the New York Post, has written a book talking about Private Equity Firms--basically, these are companies that have purchased some of the biggest non publicly traded companies in America.

Josh says that these companies were purchased with cheap money, and that in 1/3 of the cases, the debt on these payments can't be serviced. In other words, many of these companies will go bankrupt, default on their loans, and layout millions of people

Can you spell another financial meltdown.

I heard Josh last night on NPR, and he just appeared on CNBC.

If he's right, the gains we've seen in the economy this year will melt away and worse in 2011.

Check out his website here...

I'm not a market expert, but you might think about strategies for making money in a down market.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

My Life--what am I missing here?

What is this MyLife link that I am receiving emails for?

The site wants $1.99 a month for a 1 year subscription so that I can find out who is Googling me or searching MyLife for my name?

Most people searching for people these days go to Facebook I think...and that's free.

Let's see what I can find out MyLife that isn't unadulterated advertising...

Well BusinessWire did highlight it as one of the fastest 100 growing Private companies...

MyLife is a paid service---Twitter and Facebook are free and supported by advertising.

Marketing gurus say that Paid Services such as MyLife and LinkedIn (free, but with a premium membership available) are approaching the revenues of the advertising supported sites.

Facebook claims to have 300+ million subscribers---MyLife 67 million users on their database, but I don't know how many are paid. If I search their database in free mode, I can find all of my neighbors on there, including my 92 an 94 year old neighbors down the road, and I know they don't even own a computer. I guess MyLife can get these from the White Pages.

The bottom line--if you're looking to look up and old friend, I still think Facebook is the way to go---more and more of my High School Classmates are showing up there.

Runners and bicycles...

Last Monday, November 9th, I was running my normal route at around 5:30 in the morning.

It's a dark road, which doesn't worry me much, since I run with a reflector and since it's dark, I can easily see cars at that hour.

I was running with traffic on a pretty busy street that has a yellow divider line, just about to pass my neighbor's house for mile 2 of my 10 mile run.

My neighbor had a bunch of branches and leaves in his gutter, so I thought it might be a good time to switch street sides and go from right to left in preparation for a left turn about a quarter of a mile up the road.

I glanced quickly over my left shoulder, didn't see anything, didn't hear anything (although my ears have been congested lately) and veered left.

Just then, I heard someone yelling "yo yo yo". It was a man, whom I've seen before, peddling an old bicycle on his way to work on Church Road. His bike didn't have a headlight, which probably explains why he didn't see me or my reflector--that particular section of the street is without lights.

He veered a bit to his left, and flew by me---a very close call.

I yelled out "sorry"---it was more my fault than his. I had veered directly into his path. I'm glad he was paying attention and took diversionary tactics, or I would have been struck by his bike.

I thought about it a bit during the week and figured it would have been a minor collision. But considering that Force = Mass x Acceleration, and he and the bike probably weighed about 250 pounds versus my 150, and he was going 25MPH, it could have been a very bad collision. Most likely I would have wound up in the Emergency Room of Cooper University Hospital again (see my November 6, 2008 post regarding my broken nose).

Today's Sunday Philadelphia Inquirer has an article about bicyclists and pedestrian collisions. During the last year, 2 pedestrians have been killed and a jogger seriously injured in collisions. It's a growing problem with the number of bikers increasing, and in many cases, violating traffic regulations by riding on pavements, against traffic, and through lights and stop signs. Here's the link if you would like to read more...

All I can say is that tomorrow, when I venture out on my dark, mooring run, I'll be looking out for my friend on the bicycle.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Holy Cross High School--Update on my 4 questions

A few weeks ago I posted an entry on my blog concerning 4 questions I had about Holy Cross High School.

They were questions about
1) the Holy Cross Dress Code
2) Technology in the Classroom
3) Prosptective Financial Aid
4) Potential Future Teacher Strikes

I emailed the Director of Admissions, Kevin Esmond, and received a very cordial and prompt response to my questions. I didn't post his response, as I didn't get permission from him to post his answers here.

Independently, the Principal of the School heard about my blog questions and posted a comment
to my questions here. Prior to that, a parent also posted a comment in response to my blog posting.

I'm posting the Principal's response here--you can read it, and the parent's comment, attached to my original blog post.

Again, I want to say that my wife, daughter and I were very impressed with the High School during our tour---I just wish I could rest easy with this uniform issue.

So often these days, it seems like the kids are running the show. If there's a rule in place, I still think that it should be enforced. The parent comment stated "be a parent"---I spend a lot of time saying 'no' to my daughter. I just don't think I need to fight one more battle over something that isn't my rule but the High School's.

My wife can tell you that when she went to Little Flower High School, girls with short skits were sent home---of course, most of the Faculty were women. When I attended North Catholic, boys without suit coats or with hair touching the collar were either sent home or to detention.

Here's the Principal's comment--thanks!


Your blog was sent to me by a Holy Cross parent and I would like address your questions as the principal of Holy Cross High School.

1. There is a dress code and the skort length can be problematic. Male faculty will not address length and female faculty are doing the best they can.(50% male-50% female faculty makeup)The leadership team it trying to address the issue but I believe it is bigger then Holy Cross High School. (Please note: 99% college acceptance rate, +50% of the graduating class (2009) recieved grants and scholarships amounting to +14 million dollars. Lateness to school is minimal, only one fight over the last two years. Just to mention other parts of our discipline code)

2. Holy Cross views technology as a tool to engage and enhance our students learning. We are trying to replace the pencil/pen/chauk and give our students a tool to help in the learning process in a way that a pencil, etc. cannot. We are convinced that a "one to one" computing environment enhances our schedule. (72 minute classes) Mrs. Germano, associate principal, continues to research ways to infuse technology into our classrooms. Holy Cross has made a sizable investment to move the delivery of the cirriculum to the cutting edge. Our teachers have received training in many applications since 2002 when every teacher was given a laptop computer. We currently use tablet PC's with both teachers and students.

3. 27% of our students receive financial aid, many based on need. There are some merit scholarships but the majority of our financial aid awards are based on need. The "at cost" tuition for this school year is +$10K but tuition is $8350. Every student is subsidized by the free will giving of our many stakeholders. The Office of Institutional Advanvement continues to work finding alternate sources of funding.

4. Holy Cross is in the second year of a four year contract. Our teachers are members of the Association of Catholic School Teachers 1776. We have an excellent relationship and work hard to find common ground in our disagreements. We have excellent working relationships and labor harmony for the last 10 years.

I would be glad to answer any other questions you may have.

Fan Mail Letter of the Week (November 7, 2009)

I just received this very nice email from someone who read my C++ book--it's kind letters like this that keep me writing computer books.

Hello Prof,

My name is Lekhotla Khoboko and I’m a final year Computer Science student at the National University of Lesotho (NUL). I’m writing this email to reaaaally thank you for the confidence boost you have given me in my C++ programming skills! I have just finished following your book Learn To Program with C++. I took about six days to read through the book and I’m really happy with what I have learned.

As I said, I’m a final year student, and I had been feeling veery nervous and incompetent with my programming skills in C++. I have gone through about four courses in C++ in my study years, but C++ had still been a dreadful programming language to take up any project in (until today!)

I’ve very much enjoyed our class (your 18 pupils plus myself!). The lectures were clear and very easy to follow, and they kept me stuck to the book from beginning till now that I’m done reading it!

Just like Rhonda, topics like those on Pointers, Objects and Inheritance had been my worst nightmares! I tried several introductory books but they were still way advanced for my comprehension! But at last, I feel like a genius. None of the questions I used to have or had in the course of reading are unanswered – either Dave, Ward or any of those my colleagues would bring them up and before we passed the topic, I would be clear and ready for the next class!

I really want to appreciate what you have done for me (I truly wish I could follow on with the friends in that five weeks’ time when they would be beginning their intermediate course – I’m sure I was going to come out the more brilliant)!

Your teaching methodology is very great as I compare it my C++ instructors’. Programming courses and careers are feared today, also because of the way they are presented by lecturers. In fact, I feel I can make a very good C++ instructor myself, having gone through this material. And this book would be my very first and preferred recommendation to my students!

You’ve trained a C++ programmer in six days! CONGRADULATIONS and thanks, Thanks, THANKS


Lekhotla Khoboko
Mathematics and Computer Science Department
Faculty of Science and technology
National university of Lesotho Lesotho,
Southern Africa

Friday, October 30, 2009

Rest in peace Starbuck Casey

This obituary appeared in the October 25, 2009 Edition of the Burlington County Times.

There's just something unbelievable about it---particularly when I see that there's a little brother named Dunkin.

Services were supposedly done by the Sweney Funeral Home in Riverside---but their website shows no such service

At any rate, here's the Obituary...

Starbuck Casey died Thursday, Oct. 22, 2009.

Born in Visalia, Calif., on Nov. 20, 1998, he was named after his adopted father's outright passion for Starbucks coffee. Originally a native of Northern California, Starbuck came to the East Coast in 1999. He resided in Palmer, Pa., spent most of his years in Lumberton, N.J., and most recently lived in Nazareth, Pa.

Adopted at birth by Dan and Kolleen Casey, he is also survived by his doting brother, Connor, and his caring sister, Caroline. They cared for him and protected him. Over the years they learned how to take care of him by giving him his insulin when needed. Starbuck never winced, always taking his shots in stride. He is also survived by his menacing little brother, Dunkin, who was always by his side, a loyal companion to the end.

Sweeney Funeral Home,Riverside

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

No drinks---and with no apologies

I'm flabbergasted by the way I see people drink these days---I swear half the young people I know will be alcoholics by the time they're 30. This letter was written to Dear Abby in response to a column she wrote--it sums up the current drinking crisis among young people very well..

Dear Abby: I was thrilled to read "Sober in Scottsdale's" (July 28) letter about drinking. I'm a 21-year old college student who has also struggled with choosing to be sober amidst the majority of my drunken peers.

Most people my age drink only to get drunk and appear to be unable to have fun without the aid of alcohol. Every activity must be performed under the influence.

While at a nightclub, one friend asked me how I was able to "dance and have a good time without being drunk."

Abby, in your response to "Sober,", you said that drinkers should "mind their own business" because "there is usually a good reason why a person doesn't drink."

For me, there is no medical, metabolic or addiction problem that prevents me from consuming alcohol. but I have seen the effects it has on my peers---putting them in drunken stupors, using awful judgment, and being taken to the hospital after blacking out.

I left the college of my choice after one month because I could no longer stand hearing people in the bathroom vomiting all night long. Drinkers aren't ashamed of these displays. They brag about them to their friends the next day.

I sure hope this stage is one that will pass with age. I often long for the days when i was younger, when playing board games and sipping juice was considered a good time.

Signed----Not Drinking in New Jersey

Monday, October 19, 2009

Holy Cross High School

My wife and I are considering sending my daughter to Holy Cross High School in Delran starting in the Fall of 2009.

Tutition is not cheap (around $9,000 per year), so the decision is not an easy one.

We attended an open house there on Sunday, October 18th, and everyone affiliated with the school seemed very caring, concerned and motivated. The student representatives were great also.

I came away with just a few questions that I need answered, and I'll be working on that in the next few days:

1. Is there a dress code at the school. The school uniforms I saw on Sunday were way too short. One of the benefits of a Catholic School education has always been that parents do not have to argue with their children in the morning about the appropriateness of their attire (except on 'Dress Down' days. Having seen the mini-skirts that some of the girls wore on Sunday, I have to wonder if I won't be arguing with my daughter every morning.

2. Technology is a big buzzword at the school. Every incoming freshman will lease a tablet PC. As a college level teacher of technology, I'm not sold on this amount of technology in a High School. It's not that I don't think the kids can handle it, it's a matter of whether or not it can be properly incorporated into the classroom. For instance, what's easier, asking someone in Math class to come up to the board and, using chalk, write the equation on the board, or having a teacher snag it from a student's table PC, and display it on a smartboard in front of the class. I'm not absolutely sure of the answer myself, but if the teacher is not tech savy, that  operation could take longer than my chalkboard approach.

3. I meant to ask on Sunday the percentage of students who receive some kind of financial aid.

4. Finally, having heard this morning on the radio and TV about 3 Catholic Schools with teachers on strike, I'm wondering what union covers the Holy Cross teachers, and when their contract expires?

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Shut out of the Philadelphia Half Marathon

When I ran the Broad Street Run in May with my niece and nephew, I suggested that we run the Philadelphia Half Marathon in November (crazy idea, I know.)

I don't run well in the summer--the heat is too much for me, although I still run about 15 miles a week, 60 miles per month.

Once the weather gets cooler, I can run farther, and I get more ambitious.

With the Half Marathon slated for November 22nd, I didn't think it was a big deal NOT to have signed up already by September 20th---but that's when the available slots for both the Marathon (10,000 spots) and the Half Marathon (8,000 spots) filled up. The remaining 2,000 spots of the total of 20,000 go to the Rothman 8K, a race I've run several times, and is simply not worth it in my mind to deal with the mess of having to be in town by 5:30AM to get a parking spot.

It's a shame I'm shut of out the Half Marathon, since I'm really running well, and pretty far.

Monday mornings I get up at 4:30AM and run 10 to 11 miles---so I'm well on pace to be able to complete 13.1

Having seen the movie, Run, Fatboy, Run, I got the idea that I could possibly find a charity to run with.

I was right.

Two charities, Back on my Feet, and Run Philly Style, apparently pre-purchased 'spots', and I can buy them from them if I am willing to raise money for them.

Back on my Feet is a regional organization that tries to help homeless people by getting them interested in running.

Run Philly Style tries to get sedentary students into running to help them healthwise.

No big deal, I thought, I was a top fund raiser for the MS150 the 3 years I rode it back in the late 90's and early 2000's. I regularly raised $1,000 and up for them.

Only problem is Back on My Feet wants $1,800---and if I don't raise it, they'll bill my credit card. Run Philly Style wants $1,000--same deal.

I contacted Back on My Feet and offered to raise as much money as I can for them--but received a canned response with the details of joining them.

I didn't bother with Run Philly Style.

I received an email about a week ago indicating there were still 8  'spots' available from Back on My feet, but they were going fast. I just checked their website and it seems like they are all gone...

By the way, one runner can't transfer their registration to me. So for instance, if someone who is injured
would like to sell me their $100 'spot', they can't do do so. Well, I suppose they can illegally, but I would be running under their name. There are 'spots' being sold on Craigslist.

A friend of mine who has run the race says the 20,000 person limitation is reasonable--he said there are spots in the race where both Marathon and Half Marathon runners are traveling through some very tight areas--we don't want anyone hurt.

I can understand that--but the restriction on transferring a registration to another runner seems silly---why not charge a $10 fee to do so. Early on, I believe, they were charging a fee to change a registration from Half Marathon to Marathon and vice versa.

Of course, there's nothing to stop me from running my own Half Marathon one of these Monday mornings---maybe I'll even drop off a check to Back on My Feet and/or Run Philly Style after I'm done it.

It's been a while...

It's hard to get motiviated to maintain the blog when I realize so few people read it.

I know my wife reads it, but everything I blog about she hears about all day long anyway...

Still, my stats indicate that it's being visited, so I'll continue to try to post from time to time.

Since my daughter's soccer game has been cancelled for today, I'll try to do a bit of work on it before turning my attention to my long awaited Database Programming book.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Carpet Dimensions of Willingboro

We just had some work done by this company in our home.

The carpet installation was fine--but the carpet was delivered days past the promised date, the installers showed up 2 hours late, and the company (Mike, the salesman) refused to accept a $50 coupon that we presented to the installers. He told us to save it for next time.

"Oh, for $50, you're going to get mad."

You bet---$50 is $50. Shame we tipped the installers $20.

Nice customer relations.
 The foyer replacement job will go to someone (anyone) else---all for the sake of a $50 coupon that you refused to honor on the day of installation.

By the way, the last time we used this company 4 years ago, they laid carpet in our downstairs family room.

After arriving late for the job, they placed the contents of the family room (sofa, chairs, Big Screen Television) on our deck and proceeded to go to lunch.

It was quite a thrill to hear the sound of thunder in the background, and the installers managed to get there before the rain came.

No damage was done and I have no complaint with the installers---but this company needs to take a lesson about Customer Relations during a recession.

I'll bad mouth them to anyone and everyone who wants to listen to me for the next 2 weeks---and I have a big mouth, and a large audience.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Programming Projects that may light your fire

I've been meaning to put some additional programming projects on my website.

When I was taking my first programming class, some of these were pretty infectuous.

Let's start with just a couple and we'll see how we do---I have over 100 here...

1. Write a program that asks the user to enter 2 numbers, obtains the 2 numbers from the user, then displays the product of the 2 numbers.

2. Write a program that displays the numbers from 1 to 10. Do not use a loop.

3. Write a program that utilizes looping to display the numbers from 1 to 10.

4. Write a program that asks the user to enter 2 numbers, obtains the 2 numbers, then displays the larger of the two numbers. If the 2 numbers are equal, that display the message "These numbers are the same"

5. Write a program that utilizes looping to display the following table of values:

N 10 * N 100 * N 1000 * N 10000 * N
1 10 100 1000 10000
2 20 200 2000 20000
3 30 300 3000 30000
4 40 400 4000 40000
5 50 500 5000 50000
6 60 600 6000 60000
7 70 700 7000 70000
8 80 800 8000 80000
9 90 900 9000 90000
10 100 1000 10000 10000
11 110 1100 11000 110000

Excel 2003 can't open a Lotus 1-2-3 File

I tried to open an old Lotus 1-2-3 file in Excel 2003 and received this message

"You are attempting to open a file type that is blocked by your registry policy setting".

Isn't that a pain.

Microsoft has a fix on its website that will allow you to specify a folder containing Lotus 1-2-3 files you wish to open. Here's the link...

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Game Programming Site

Check out this site that one of my students recommended for Game Programming

Kids Programming

Here are a couple of great websites for kids wanted to learn how to program Microsoft products...

C# for Kids

Kids Corner

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Childhood Brain Tumor Foundation

Just got my quarterly newsletter from the Childhoold Brain Tumor Foundation, a charity to which I contribute.

It's full of stories, most of them heartbreaking.

This month

Remembering Ricky...

Jessica Catherine Randall. Forever 17.

and a hundred more on Page 6.

I wait until the house is empty before reading it so I can cry alone.

Consider contributing---you are bound to know someone with a brain tumor (if it isn't you) sometime in your life.

Hack Yourself

You should hack yourself before others do it...

Just this morning, I discovered residents of my small town listed on a new site I didn't know existed...well, I did, but I didn't consider it significant. Armed with a name, people can steal your identify. Try this one...

Monday, September 7, 2009

The 1964 Phillies

As the Phillies move towards losing their 4th game in a row to the Houston Astros, I thought I would revisit the 10 game losing streak that cost them the 1964 Pennant. As you can see, only a few of the games were close, and I had the good fortune to attend Loss #5, a 12 inning affair in which Dick Allen (then Richie) tied the game with a 2 out, 2 run Home Run over the roof in Center field to tie the score in the 10th inning (the Phils later would lose in the 12th). My thanks to my brother Joe for reminding me that he took me to the game---it was exciting, and heartbreaking, at the same time.

10 Game Losing Streak

Date Phils Score Opponent Score Comment

Sep 21 PHILS 0 CINCINNATI 1 (Game where Chico Ruiz stole home in the 6th inning).

Sep 25 PHILS 5 MILWAUKEE 7 (12 Innings) I was there.

Sep 28 PHILS 1 ST. LOUIS 5
Sep 29 PHILS 2 @ ST. LOUIS 4
Sep 30 PHILS 5 @ ST. LOUIS 8

The Phils ended the season by winning their final 2 games in Cincinatti.

A $1 Donation

Like many small business owners with a web presence, I have a button on my website

that solicits donations from people who find some of my free material/advice useful.

Most people donate a dollar, which is the default value displayed when they click on the Donation button.

Ordinarily, I'm happy to receive the donation, but wish it could have been more :)

A week ago, I received a $1 donation from a person in Pakistan, and after checking out the Relative Standard of Living in Pakistan versus the United States, came to the conclusion that this person's dollar was the equivalent of a $50 donation from a U.S. Citizen.

I just wanted to say thank you!

Tile by Bill Ness

Bill Ness, of Tile by Bill Ness, a Cinnaminson NJ company

recently did some tile work at my house.

If you'd like an appraisal of Bill's work, feel free to contact me via phone at


Thanks Megan

I wanted to thank Megan Duckett, CEO of Sew What? Inc for taking my phone call last Monday, August 31st, while I was discussing her company in a Case Study that appears in the McGraw Hill Textbook I use in my evening class, MIS 204 (Introduction to Management Information Systems).

I've tried calling Bill Gates (Microsoft) and Jeff Bezos ( before with no luck.

When I called I reach someone (Sylvia, I believe) who was polite and who actually took the time to see if Megan would talk with me and the class.

Megan was busy working on a project at the time, but told Sylvia to get my number and told me she would call me back in 5 minutes--and she did!

We had a nice 3 minute conversation, in which I explained that we were reading about her very successful company---a company, by the way, that prides itself on Customer Service!

That's not surprising if the CEO takes a cold phone call from a College Professor and spends valuable time offering advice to students in today's work environment.

Her advice--study hard. She said she didn't always follow this advice herself, and that she's had to work twice as hard to overcome it.

I think she's doing pretty well for herself.

Megan had just come from the Los Angeles Forum where she was meeting one of her clients---Myley Cyrus (who she describes as a nice person).

You can read more about Megan and her company here...

and here's a blog that Megan maintains...

Monday, August 31, 2009

The Common Cold

You would think after 54 years of living, I might have developed an immunity by now to the Common Cold.

It's my understanding that there are about 200 variants of the Common Cold, and I've probably had about 100.

For the last few years, I don't think I had any--but this last year, I think I've had about 3 or 4, and the last one hit me yesterday (Sunday), although I think I started to feel it on Saturday.

Right now, I'm sneezing, my nose is running, and my throat is sore. I had a restless night, and I'm doing my best not to infect my wife or my 92 year old mother who lives in a nursing home, and who suffers from COPD (bad lungs).

I don't really like drugs, but my nose is so bad, I bought some Day Quil at lunch.

Took it about 1PM, and I'm waiting for the symptoms to subside.

I'll keep you posted.

Customer Service--is it a thing of the past?

I remember when I worked at Sears, a man came to the store trying to return a pair of shoes that plainly said J.C. Penney inside of them.

The Customer Service Manager politely refused to issue a refund or exchange them---since obviously, they weren't Sears merchandise.

The man persisted, however, and eventually the Sears Store Vice President came down and issued him a refund. That's how important Customer Relations were in the 70's (not only for the JC Penney buyer, but for the throng of real Sears customers surrounding him.)

Yesterday, my wife noticed that the strap on her COACH bag had come apart.

She bought the bag on June 18th for $130 at a COACH store in Atlantic City---I believe the strip is called the Atlantic City Walk or some cute name like that.

My wife took the bag to a COACH store in one of our local malls---Cherry Hill or Moorestown, I can't remember.

Unfortunately, she can't find the receipt, but the transaction does show up on our American Express bill.

She asked if she could return, exchange or get a refund on the bag.

A simple 'no' would have done, but instead she was lectured by the sales person, who among other things complained that

--- she shouldn't buy from an outlet, she should buy 'retail' (hmm, I bet the Atlantic City store would love to hear that.)
--- she needs a receipt (OK)
--- it's last year's model (pardon us)
--- she needs to return it to the store she purchased it from

Eventually, my wife found the Coach website, contacted their Customer Service and received an email a few hours later indicating that she can return the bag for service, at the cost of $20.

Right now, she's looking for a cobbler or shoe repair person who may be able to stitch it up for less.

The bottom line---this particular Coach salesperson needs some training on customer interaction.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Route 130---Finally

I finally see some progress on the Route 130 re-paving effort through Cinnaminson.

As you know, the gullies on this road have been a big concern of mine, and it looks like there is finally some progress being made.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Le Bec-Fin in the news

This news just in from the Sunday Philadelphia Inquirer of July 12, 2009

Chef Georges Perrier is about two weeks into his summertime experiment of allwing some patronas at Le Bec-Fin to pay what they wish for dinner.

So far, he says, people have been dropping $50 and more a head for the privelege. One party of what he says were "three young gifrls" left $6 a person.

"An hour later, one of them came back and left more," he says.

The deal, Mondays through Thursdays for a 7 p.m. seating, is booked solid through August.

Personally, I wouldn't pay a $1 for a Le Bec-Fin meal.

If you want to know, check my archives.

I tell you, if you don't want to be bad mouthed for a lifetime, get your Customer Service right Georges.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Rest in Peace Albert Carlson

I was reading the Philadelphia Daily News obituaries when I saw that a classmate of mine from All Saints Elementary School in Bridesburg had died.

I remember Albert Carlson as a very nice kid---at least he was to me.

I also remember his situation being the saddest I had encountered up to that point in my life...I seem to remember one of his parents dying (his mother or father I can't remember) and then about a week later, the other one dying.

Imagine being left in that situation---how horrible.

Of course, my memory could be wrong, because I can swear the same tragedy befell another student in a grade behind me. I forget his name, but he was a nice guy also. I think we called him Sarge.

I see from his Obituary that Albert had two daughters, and also some grandchildren.

I haven't seen him since our 8th graduation.

I hope Albert had a great life, and that both parents were there to lead him to the pearly gates of heaven.

Rest in Peace.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Cinnaminson Five Guys to open soon

Five Guys in Cinnaminson looks like it's nearly ready to open.

It's located right next to the Hair Cuttery.

Sign says 'Opening Soon'

Jimmy Walsh Update

As those of you who follow my blog know, a St. Charles Borromeo 8th grader, Jimmy Walsh, was seriously injured on June 12th.

You can read about Jimmy's injuries, his road to recovery, and post a get well message, via this link which was published in the St. Charles Church Sunday Bulletin 2 weeks ago

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Letters to the Editor---Aggressive Driving

Saw this one on Sunday, June 21st in the Burlington County Times and was much amused. It's written by Noni Bookbinder Bell of Shamong.

I am constantly tailgated on Branch Pike in Cinnaminson while doing the 35 MPH posted speed limit as I head towards Moorestown. There's a good reason for that speed limit. It's a residential area, there's one school (St. Charles) on the road, and another one (Cinnaminson Middle School) just to the right.

By the way, what do you do if you are tailgated by a police car? Several months ago my wife and I were tailgated by a police car on Church Road headed towards Route 38. It's a 25MPH zone, and the police car was about 5 feet from our bumper. What's a person to do?

At any rate, here's Nono's letter.

Aggressive driving comes back to haunt

While driving down Bear Head-McKendimaen Road in Medford (as usual doing the speed limt), the driver of a big SUV began aggressively tailgating my tiny car. I double-checked that I was not driving under the 30-mph speed limit.

Just minutes before, on another Medford Road, another SUV had been riding my tail as I tooled along at the speed limit. I wondered, as I drive, "Why am I obligated to speed and why do I have to endure these antagonistic morons putting my life and others' in danger?" At this time of year, deer, small animals and --- oh yes --- children can run out suddenly into local residential streets and roads.

Obviously, it's important to be on guard for them, not to mention (for) distracted and careless drivers. I would think that's why lower speed limits are imposed on such roads.

After a minute or two of impatiently riding my tail (close enough to see the whites of his eyes) the driver sped up and blew past me.

In doing so, he just missed a head-on crash with a fully dressed (motorcycle) coming the other way.

At first, I just gaped at the averted tragedy. Next, I had to smile when I realized this was a motorcycle cop.

After the copy made an expert U-turn, the red and blue lights began to flash. I rounded a curve in the road, still chugging along at 30 mph. There, I observed the young man in the SUV pulled over and reaching for his credentials.

Sorry about the Schadenfreude, but I couldn't help gloating as I saw the office approaching the driver. The driver looked about the same age as the 19-year-old who caused my head-on crash in March.

Most of the days since then, when I am on the road driving the speed limit, I am returning from a medical appointment or a physical therapy session.

There's isn't too much else I can do since I was injured when that kid ran a stop sign on Route 306 on the icy night when all hell broke loose.

This is for the cop who pulled that aggressive driver over yesterday: Thanks.

I'm glad he didn't plow into you as he was whipping past me in annoyance.

Perhaps next time, that young driver may think twice before he lets his impatience and arrogance take over the wheel.

Noni Bookbinder Bell

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Cinnaminson Recycling Blue Buckets

It's been a while since I've had anything to say about the Burlington County New Jersey Blue Bucket Recycling plan.

I wrote about its introduction in the Cinnaminson area a few months ago, and everything has been running smoothly until...

Last night, my wife went out to the RecycleBank website

The website is a nice idea---you can accumulate reward points based on the amount of recycling that the recycling people pick up. Since every blue bucket has a unique RFID device (Radio Frequency Identification Device---that's redundant, I know) each household can earn credits. They can be used for gift cards to places like Acme

Strangely, when my wife signed into the website with out account information, the 2 pickups in June weren't showing up. So far, our totals look like this...

Pickup Date Pounds
5/20/2009 67.5 pounds
5/06/2009 55.0 pounds
4/22/2009 72.5 pounds
4/08/2009 75.0 pounds

I called their toll free support number (1-888-727-2978) a few minutes ago, and a very nice woman named Rowena asked for my account number, and the dates of my missing pickups, and told me she would credit me for 2 pickups using the average weight of the 4 pickups she had on record.

Together with a bonus of 40 points for registering with the website, that should give us close to 500 points, which can save us some money at Acme.

If anyone else in the area has noticed a problem with their transactions at, give them a call--they're very helpful.

Once again, their toll free number is:


Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Route 130 Road Paving in Cinnaminson to Begin In July

Just got this in the Township Newsletter---thank God!

I never got a definitive answer as to whether the area between Andover and New Albany would be re-paved.

CINNAMINSON - As the state Department of Transportation winds down rehabilitation work on Route 130 through several municipalities north of the township, preliminary work to repave the highway here has already begun.

As part of the $3 million project, about two miles of the six-lane highway will be resurfaced between Highland Avenue and New Albany Road, beginning today and continuing to September.
"Resurfacing Route 130 in Cinnaminson will improve safety and preserve the integrity of the roadway," DOT Commissioner Stephen Dilts said.

Shoulder work began last week. A single lane in each direction may be closed from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. Monday through Thursday and from 8 p.m. Friday to 6 a.m. Saturday, according to the DOT.

St. Charles accident of June 12th update

I had posted an entry last week concerning an accident that occurred on the grounds of St. Charles School in Cinnaminson on Friday, June 12th. I waited until I saw some official word on it before updating.

On Tuesday, June 16th, this information was posted on the website.

A teenage bicyclist was injured Friday after he was struck by a truck while riding on Branch Pike in Cinnaminson, police said.

According to investigators, the 14-year-old boy was riding near the intersection with Pamona(sic) Road at around 12:30 p.m. when the accident occurred.

The boy sustained serious leg injuries and was flown by helicopter to Cooper University Hospital in Camden for treatment, police said. The boy’s identity was not released and his condition was not available. Police described his injuries as not life-threatening.

The identity of the driver of the vehicle that struck the boy was not released. Police said the driver was not injured.

My note: It's my understanding he was struck by a Carnival truck

And more...

On the last day of school, Wednesday, June 17th, an end of year letter from the Principal of St. Charles, Diane Kinnevy, had this information.

As many of you know one of our 8th graders was hit by a truck on Friday. Jimmy is in Cooper's Pediatric Intensive Care Unit. His legs were severely injured. So far he has had two surgeries. He probably will need more.

Jimmy can be reached by email at

Jimmy missed his scheduled graduation. If he wants one later this summer Fr. PJ and I are more than willing to make sure he gets it. Please keep Jimmy Walsh and his family in your prayers.

Considering the condition of the bike when I drove by the scene that day, I think it's amazing the young man survived. I'm happy to hear that he did, and I will pray for his recovery. I hope anyone reading this does also.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Route 130 Paving project---uh oh, did they miss the worst section

A week ago I happily reported that Route 130 in Cinnaminson/Delran is being repaved. I was happy because it's a life threatening highway. I just caught this announcement this morning--it appears that my initial optimism is unfounded. This is from the Web Portion of the Burlington County times--here's the link...

and the tiny url...

The state Department of Transportation has kicked off a $2 million rehabilitation project on Route 130 that spans several Burlington County towns.

The project calls for crews to mill and pave most of the highway's northbound and southbound lanes in Burlington City, Willingboro, Edgewater Park, Delanco and Delran. Work began this week and is expected to be completed by June 19.

"NJ DOT's Route 130 Burlington County resurfacing project will improve safety and extend the life of the roadway," transportation Commissioner Stephen Dilts said.

The state-funded project will resurface all lanes of the roadway from north of Chestnut Hill Road near the Delran border to Bridgeboro Road in Delran and all northbound lanes from north of Bridgeboro Road to Levitt Parkway in Willingboro.

Portions of the three northbound lanes in Burlington City from Beverly Road to Wood Street will be resurfaced.

Also, portions of the three southbound lanes in Burlington City from Assiscunk Creek to Washington Avenue and in Edgewater Park and Delanco from south of Mount Holly Road to the Rancocas Creek will be resurfaced.

"Route 130 is critical for Burlington County residents and businesses," said U.S. Rep. John Adler, D-3rd of Cherry Hill, who, with Dilts, announced the Route 130 project after a local transportation roundtable in April. "Maintain-ing Route 130 will ensure the safety of families in our community. This is great news."

Lane closures may occur between 8 p.m. and 6 a.m. Monday through Friday. At least one lane will remain open in each direction at all times.

The state will use portable messaging signs to inform motorists of traffic pattern changes.

Construction information and real-time traffic updates will be available at


Hmmm...if I'm reading this correctly, I'm afraid the project has missed the worst section.
The Northbound lanes of Route 130 South of Chester are treacherous---there are literally gullies in the lanes.

Transportation Secretary Dilts and Representaive John Adler should drive North on Route 130 from the Dunkin Donuts in Cinnaminson and they will see that the repaving project is missing the worst section.

It's no coincidence that there have been a large number of fatal automobile accidents on that stretch of road in the last 5 years.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

I'm a little frustrated

I'm a little frustrated about the lack of news coverage of the accident that occurred in the St. Charles Borromeo school yard on Friday, June 12th at around 12:15.

I haven't seen anything in either the Philadelphia Daily Inquirer or the Burlington County Times.

I also don't see anything online in the Courier Post.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Some Goodwill Centers will accept old computer equipment

According to the Goodwill website, some Goodwill Centers will accept old computer equipment

The very helpful woman at the Cinnaminson Public Works was correct--thanks!

I'll keep you posted on this---I need to find a nearby center that will accept it.

20 minutes later....

Just found the number for the Goodwill Donation Center on Route 73 in Maple Shade.

The very pleasant man I spoke to on the phone said that they will accept any and all computer equipment you have---it doesn't have to work, and you can just bring in the parts. Here's the contact information

Goodwill Donation Center
2835 Route 73 Soute
Maple Shade, NJ - (856) 439-0174

Cinnaminson Township Ordinances are online

While I was navigating the Cinnaminson Township Website a few minutes ago, I was reminded that all of the Township's many ordinances are online.

You can find the forms here...

You can find the ordinances here...

You'll be directed to click on a link which previously opened an Adobe Acrobat Reader .pdf for you to read but which now takes you here...

There's a lot to it, but it's pretty interesting. For instance, you'll discover that walking a dog unleashed is a violation of the township code, and not very smart either. And, if noisy neighbors are a problem for you (my neighbors are very quiet, thank goodness), you can read about the Township's Noise Control Ordinance. Here's an example of what you may have to read, however, as you can see, it may be difficult to interpret.

Impulsive sound between 7:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m. shall not equal or exceed 80 decibels. Between 10:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m., impulsive sound which occurs less than four times in any hour shall not equal or exceed 80 decibels. Impulsive sound which repeats four or more times in any hour shall be measured as impulsive sound and shall meet the requirements as shown in N.J.A.C. 7:29-1.2.

Getting rid of old computer equipment in Cinnaminson

OK, I've had some old computer equipment (PC, Monitor, Ink Jet Printer) sitting in my garage for 2 years.

I tried to give the stuff away at my neighborhood yard sale last Saturday with no luck.

I put the stuff at curbside on trash pickup day this past Wednesday with a sign that said 'free' and no one picked it up.

I know that I can't just put this stuff in the trash---it's against the law because of the potentially environmental harmful components.

Let me check the Cinnaminson Website to see if there is a mention of what to do with it...

Let me call my friendly Cinnaminson Municipal number and see what happens...


takes me to the School District Website. I don't want that. But wait, there is a Cinnaminson Township link

Let's click on the Services menu...yes, there's another menu. How about Public Works? That takes me to another menu, but nothing about trash. Hmmm, it looks like everything I click on the Services menu takes me to the same menu, with Parks Highlighted. Must be something broken.

I take matters into my own hands and manipulate the url directly like so...

That takes me to what appears to be the correct window, but nothing specific about computer equipment (or for that matter the old paint I have).

I then called the number listed for Public Works


and within 2 rings, a very pleasant woman answered the phone. I explained I had some computer equipment and old paint.

She told me that I missed the computer equipment pickup which was May 16th (I missed the announcement) and suggested that Goodwill Centers might take it.

As far as paint, she told me that if it's less than half a gallon, I can mix it with kitty litter and put it out normally. Any more than half a gallon, I can drop it off at the Cinnaminson Department of Public Works...

Department of Public Works
1601 Union Landing Road
Cinnaminson, N. J. 08077

I'll let you know how I make out with the Goodwill Centers.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Saladworks Calculator is amiss

Hmmm...the Saladworks Online Calculator is a great idea, and it's a step in the right direction...

However, my wife noticed that if you compare the BLT salad with the Create-your-own having the same ingredients, the totals don't equal---they should :)

BLT 461.5 Calories, 33 grams of Total Fat
Create-your-own 308.5 Calories, 21 grams of Total Fat

I think the programmer needs to work on this.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Say it isn't so, Father Mike Figler is being transferred

I received this letter in the mail on Thursday---it's a letter from my pastor at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Riverton indicating that he's being transferred to another parish. Father Mike is a wonderful young priest, full of energy, a great sense of humor, and will be hard to replace.
Here's his letter.

Dear Friends,

On Monday, June 1st, Bishop Smith called me and said he had an emergency situation. He told me that because of the poor health of a fellow pastor, he needed me to be the pastor of the two churches and school that were left vacant. He explained that with the shortage of priests, he has no experienced pastors available for this very complicated situation. I was saddened by this news but I realized that the bishop has a difficult task trying to do so much with so few priests. For this reason, I knew I had to put my own preferences aside and agreed to help in this pressing task. He then named me pastor of St. Agnes in Atlantic Highlands, Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Highlands as well as Mother Teresa grade school. All three are in the northeast corner of the diocese.

I am writing this with a heavy heart, because I have been very happy here at Sacred Heart and I will miss all of you very much. You are the first parish in which I served as a pastor, and you will always be dear to me. I think of the words of Saint Paul to the Phillippians, when he said, "I give thanks to my God at every remembrance of you, praying always with joy in my every prayer for all of you, because of your partnership for the gospel from the first day until now. I am confident of this, that the one who began a good work in you will continue to complete it until the day of Christ Jesus."

I am sure that you are wondering who the new pastor will be and I am happy to say that one of the finest priests in the Diocese is coming here. His name is Fr. Michael J. Waites. I find him to be consistently pleasant, a real gentleman. Most importantly, he is a faith-filled priest and a tried and true shepherd. I am sure that you will welcome him just as warmly as you did me.

If you are upset or unsure, just remember that Jesus is the Shepherd of shepherds and after 130 years of His providence here, we can be sure that He will continue to provide for this wonderful parish community long into the future.

You will always remain in my thoughts and prayers,

Fr. Michael B. Figler

PS- If you would like to contact me, I can be reached at:

Fr. Michael Figler
Saint Agnes Church
103 Center Avenue
Atlantic Highlands, New Jersey 07716

Monday, June 1, 2009

Hallelujah---Route 130 in Delran to be paved

I'd love to think I had something to do with this, but I doubt it.

I was driving on Route 130 North last night around that bread place that runs out of soup every night (Panera Bread, I believe) when I saw a sign indicating that night paving will necessitate lane closures.

I've been complaining, writing, emailing about the appalling condition of this roadway for years---it literally has an 8 inch mound in the middle of each lane---I shudder to think of the number of collisions, injuries and deaths this roadbed has caused.

Thank goodness, and whomever else is responsible, for finally re-paving the road.

Let's hope that takes care of this mess.

Where have you gone Ron Martin

My thanks to Patricia S. Walker, Executive Editor of the New Jersey Burlington County times for promptly answering my email as to what happened to Ron Martin---he is no longer with the paper. I hope this is not a health issue, nor an issue arising out of the Mitch Williams soccer ejection last Fall.

My email...

Can you tell me what happened to Ron Martin, Executive Editor of the Burlington County Times?

I used to look forward to his front page shorts...I haven't seen anything from him for about a year.

John Smiley



Ron no longer is the editor of the paper. He left in October.

Patricia S. Walker
Executive Editor

Monday, May 25, 2009

New Jersey drivers---they're lethal

Having been nearly driven off the road on Friday evening on Haddonfield-Berlin Road by a Black Escalade (NJ Plate RHJ 51J), I thought I would reprint Nancy Muccolini's leter to the Editor that appeared in Thursday's Burlington County Times. All I can say is, I and my family carry Full Tort coverage---if one of you clowns or your kids so much as taps my bumper, you can count on losing your house. Slow down! By the way, the driver of the Escalade wasn't on a cell phone---just driving too fast.

Here's the letter.

Kudos to the valiant traffic police for issuing approximately 120,000 tickets to hand-held, cell-phone-using motorists since the New Jersey law went into effect.

Judging by the continued ignorance and disregard of both the law and public safety on the roads, I only wish the summers numbers were threefold.

While New Jersey has the dubious distinction of having one of the nation's highest property taxes, this state seems to be a "leader" in the number of moronic, self-absorbed drivers as well.

The dread of watching the clueless whiz by without lights on during darkened rainstorms or racing through obvious read lights, yield signs, pedestrian crossings and even stopped school buses, applying makeup or, the most incredulous of all, texting their equally oblivious friends has significantly increased.

Combined with drunken drivers who have multiple offenses and still continue to threaten the lives of law abiding motorists (on the level of pedophiles for criminal action) as they speed on our streets and high ways, it is imperative for our "officialdom", schools and responsible parents to instill in all of us the understanding that driving is a privilege and not a fundamental right.

Clueless driving is abhorent, criminal, and deserving of both financial and personal (jail time) punishment.

In the age of quasi-school reform and new curriculums, this state could use a return to some "old fashioned" driver's education in our public schools.

In the meantime, let's hope the police keep a watchful eye on the cell-phone yappers as they continue to place the rest of us in potential jeopardy whenever they turn on their vehicle ignition.

Nancy R. Muccolini

Email Letter of the week

Every few weeks I get an email that validates my work---here's the latest one...I am so pleased to hear that I had a small part to play in this young man's success :)


This is a long overdue thank-you note to you.

My son, Mike, took your Visual Basic course in 2001 when he was a high school sophomore. He passed VB6 and others exams and became an MCSD. I believe he was one of the youngest MCSDs at that time. He graduated from Brown University with a major in Computer Science in 2007 and is currently working at Microsoft in Redmond, WA.

He and his boss recorded a video a few weeks ago about what they are working on

I have no idea what they are talking about but I hope you enjoy watching it.

Again, thank you for allowing him to take your course for free.

Name withheld

Forklanding Road Cinnaminson bridge to close for repairs

Forklanding Road in Cinnaminson, between Route 73 and Lenola Road (County Route 608), will be closed indefinitely for bridge repairs, Burlington County officials announced Wednesday, May 20th.

The one-lane single-span steel bridge over the North Branch of Pennsauken Creek was constructed in 1988, is 62 feet long and has a 15-ton weight limit.

A detour route will be posted.

The detour is Route 73 to Route 130 to North Church Street to Lenola Road, officials said.

I'll keep you posted on further developments.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

I can't believe it's been so long

I can't believe it's been so long since I last posted---nothing in May.

It's not that I don't have a lot to say, but it would be mostly complaints.

People continuing to be incredibly rude with their driving...

People continuing to be incredibly rude in the movie theater, mainly through the very annoying practice of text messaging while the feature show is running...

Students who, except through the mercy of my second chance, would have failed my course complaining about a C+, and suggesting that they would have had a 'B' with another instructor. Come on now, are you kidding me?

Comcast pulling the plug indiscriminately on my Internet connections---I'm sure they can't notify the entire neighborhood, but can they reboot the neighborhood in the middle of the night? Well, come to think of it, they do that also.

Have a great day!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Bath and Body Works Shea Cashmere Body Lotion--defective bottle

My wife tried to return a defective bottle of Shea Cashmere Body Lotion to Bath and Body Works yesterday.

The bottle is transparent, with a push button dispenser cap. Somehow, the stem on the dispenser within the bottle snapped in half.

The response on the part of the Bath and Body Works store manager in the Moorestown Mall (Moorestown NJ) was to 'turn it upside down'.

Hardly a suitable response, don't you think? How about an offer to replace the item, or at least a store credit?

As to her suggested solution?

Guess what? That doesn't work. The lotion is so thick that it doesn't go anywhere when you turn it upside down. That's probably why there's a push button dispenser.

As the kids say, duh.

Also, as the kids say, Bath and Body Works sucks.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Retrofitness Moorestown

If you are planning on working out at Retrofitness in Moorestown today, watch out--it's about 100° degrees in there, and the air is 'not on'.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Ritz 16 in Vorhees---Incident on Saturday, April 25th

Well, despite our previous poor experience at the Ritz Vorhees 16 on April 18th, my wife and I ventured out there once again on April 25th---this time with the assurance from Mark Elson, City Manager for New Jersey and Pennsylvania, that there would be increased 'usher patrols' in place based on my email to him last week.

We went to a 9:35 showing of the Soloist. We got there early, stood in line, and were admitted to the theater (Theater #9 I believe) at approximately 9:00. We sat in the very last row of the theater, chatted a bit, and I ate my popcorn anxiously as the theater filled, anxiously awaiting the noisy, rude and inconsiderate patron who would undoubtedly sit right across from me.

At approximately 9;15, a man of about 25 and his girlfriend made their way a few rows to the right and down from us--he proceeded to serenade his girlfriend with some kind of romantic tune (I couldn't make it out), About 5 minutes later, 4 teenage boys made their way up to the last row, and somehow, I knew this would be the prize winning group.

I was right, as they chatted and texted before the lights went out, during the previews, and during the movies.

One of the young men, apparently not wishing to disturb the crooner and his girlfriend in front of him, decided to direct his cell phone to his left--thereby shining it into the eyes of a middle aged man on the aisle, who after a few minutes of this crap, suddenly snapped his fingers at the kid, and told him he was disturbing him and told him to shut it off. Amazingly, the kid did so--at least for the next hour.

Of course, no usher was ever seen in the theater, and I half expected one to come up and escort the man out, not the kids.

Once again, I implore the Ritz 16 to do something about this---an announcement prior to the movie that cell phone usage will not be tolerated would help. Having an usher come in once in a while (as promised by Mr. Elson) would also help.

As for me, I'm getting closer and closer to calling it quits.

My wife and I easily spend $1,500 at the Ritz each year ($18 per week x 52 weeks, plus $12 in snacks). A big screen TV with some theater chairs in our basement may be the next best thing for us.