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