Saturday, February 28, 2015

Bad Internetting

So a friend comes over, puts his feet up on my Ottoman, I notice his nice socks and say, “Hey, those are nice socks.” He says, “They’re SmartWool socks.” 

So I go to and a window pops up, promising me $10 off my purchase if I enter my email address. So I do, and get an email with the discount code HEECFO4. Then I put a pair of socks in my cart, but when I attempt to check out, I am told I must choose a color and size, which I’ve already done. Turns out they don’t have the socks I want in the color and size I want. But instead of telling me they are out of stock, they tell me I’ve made a mistake in the color and size I’ve chosen. Nice. So I choose a different color, which is in stock. Then when I try to check out, I am told my discount code (HEECFO4) is not valid. Bad Internetting, SmartWool!

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Miracle Memories

Today (Feb. 22) is the 35th anniversary of the Miracle on Ice (the historic US defeat of the USSR hockey team in the 1980 Olympics). I remember watching the game on TV... but I already knew the final score. ABC tape-delayed the afternoon game until prime time. In those ancient, pre-Internet days, my 13-year-old self was forced to listen for hourly updates in real time on the CBS Radio newscasts (on KYW 1060 AM in Philadelphia). And now the Miracle on Ice is closer to World War II than to today. Time flies, as they say.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Presidents Day

I occasionally get asked, “Which president is your favorite?” The short answer is all of them. We’ve had some bad ones (I’m talkin’ about you, Franklin Pierce), but even the worst have had redeeming qualities. (Pierce was a party animal, for example.) The point is, we’ve never had a president hellbent on destroying the country (despite what the incumbent’s critics say). Each president did his best. Faint praise in some cases. But lots of other countries have had truly evil leaders. In 239 years, we’ve not had one. Make me wonder how long we can keep dodging that particular bullet.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Order forms

I miss the order forms that used to come with mail-order catalogs. I know it’s easier to order on a website. But the order forms appealed to my anal-retentive nature. Carefully filling out each block: item number, description, color, size. Calculating the total cost (including shipping). It made the transaction more personal. No impulse buying when you had to fill out a form. And there was a kind of art to designing good order forms. I especially liked the ones that were attached to an envelope to mail in the form. Order forms, victim of the modern age.

Tuesday, January 06, 2015

Only two Steagles survive

Allie Sherman died on Saturday, January 3, 2015. He was 91. With his passing, only two members of the 1943 Phil-Pitt Steagles are still alive: Ray Graves (96) and Al Wistert (94).

Monday, October 27, 2014

Five Months to 24 Hours...

Today (Oct. 27) is Allyson's first day of Portuguese language training at the Foreign Service Institute. It's also my first day of training for a 24-hour race that will take place on March 27, exactly five months from today. Since Pedestrianism came out I've been asked several times whether I've ever taken part in a long-distance walking match. I haven't. The longest race I've ever run was a 5K. Then I got an email from a reader who's an endurance athlete--he runs 100-mile races--and he really encouraged me to sign up for an endurance race. He gave me the encouragement I needed. If all goes well, five months from today I will be in Idaho, taking part in the Pickled Feet 24-Hour Race.  I don't intend to run, actually; I plan to walk "fair heel and toe" in the style of the old pedestrians. But I plan to take it seriously. I've signed up for a distance training program, and I'm really determined to make a good score. I will keep you posted on my progress...