Archive for the ‘Ramblings’ Category

Please sign this petition for United Airlines to improve the safety of its unaccompanied minors program

Thursday, August 16th, 2012

Annie and Perry Klebahn had a horrible experience sending their unaccompanied minor daughter on United, very similar to the experience my wife and I had sending our daughter on Continental three years ago (before Continental and United merged). Just like I did, they are trying to agitate for change, to make things better in the future for parents who need to put their kids on flights without them. Please help them out by signing their petition on!

Massachusetts Solar Renewal Energy Credit (SREC) self-serve selling how-to

Monday, April 16th, 2012

The solar photovoltaic (PV) electrical generation system on our house, i.e., our solar panels, “went live” on December 29, 2011. We are now happily generating solar electricity. This is great for the environment now, and in a few years when the system breaks even, it’ll be great for our finances as well. Our electric bill last month was $1.27. Our system has generated 117% of the electricity we’ve consumed so far in April and 76% of our usage for all of 2012.

The savings on our electricity bill is significant, but just as important to our finances is the Massachusetts Solar Renewal Energy Credit (SREC) market. State law requires electric utilities to produce a certain percentage of their power from renewable energy. If they don’t produce enough renewable energy, they have to pay the state what is essentially a fine, proportional to their renewable energy shortfall.


“Keeping the Boston Herald honest” department

Monday, December 13th, 2010

I had another letter printed in the Herald a few days ago. Here’s what I originally sent them, showing what they edited out:

Subject: Scareconomics

To the editor:

Absent from the Herald’s article about the Pike’s loss of ad revenue (“‘EZ’ Go: Pike to Lose $500G”, Dec. 5) was any concrete discussion of the net gain resulting from the merger. In fact, the merger eliminates redundant positions whose cost far exceeds that of the lost ad revenue.

Furthermore, the article states misleadingly in the fourth paragraph that the merger is forcing the Pike to replace its signs, while burying at the end of the 14th paragraph the fact that the signs are due for replacement anyway.

The Herald advocated for years for the Pike and the Highway Department to be merged to eliminate waste. No Republican governor endorsed by the Herald was ever able to pull it off, but Deval Patrick finally made it happen. If you insist on using facts taken out of context to score political points, the least you could do is try to be a little less obvious about it.


Jonathan Kamens

Trip to Revere from hell

Friday, July 30th, 2010

PayFlex complaint letter

Friday, July 23rd, 2010

July 23, 2010

PayFlex Systems USA, Inc.
10802 Farnam Drive, Suite 100
Omaha, NE 68154

To whom it may concern:

I am very pleased with your administration of my medical FSA for my employer, Advent Software, Inc. Your Web site works well, I love being able to upload receipts as PDF files, and your debit-card system seems to work quite well. My PayFlex FSA is the best administered of any I’ve had.

However, one recent experience with it was not positive. I am writing to you in the hope that you can improve your processes to make similar experiences less unpleasant for me and others in the future.


At least Delta handled it better than Continental did

Wednesday, June 9th, 2010

WOIO TV reports that Delta Airlines accidentally put a girl bound for Cleveland on a Boston flight last night, and stuck a boy bound for Boston on a Cleveland plane.”

“The situation is a very serious one,” said Delta Airlines spokesman Paul Skrbec.  Yes!  Somebody actually gets that what parents want when something like this happens is for someone from the airline to at least pretend that the situation is serious!

Ignorance on parade in today’s Herald

Tuesday, June 1st, 2010

In a letter to the editor in today’s Boston Herald, Harry Shuris of Winchester mocked the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission for forcing a recall of a novelty chair decorated with lead paint.  His letter ended as follows:

Message to the USCPSC: Pencils contain “excessive amounts of lead.” I would venture to say that at any given time there are more kids chewing on pencils than on basketball-shaped chairs.

Everybody who knows what’s wrong with this picture, raise your hands.

Here’s the letter I sent to the Herald in response:

Lead poisoning is a serious problem for children in our country. Any household items with exposed lead paint increase the risk of poisoning, not necessarily because kids chew on them (although they do), but also because the paint flakes off, and the flakes are eaten by babies or even inhaled into the lungs.
Recalling such items is not useless make-work as Harry Shuris suggests (“Agency’s ‘busy’ work”, June 1), but rather is critical to consumer safety.
I’m sure Mr. Shuris thought he was being particularly clever when he asked why the Consumer Products Safety Commission hasn’t recalled lead pencils as well. That would be a reasonable question to ask were it not for the fact that lead pencils don’t actually contain any lead.

Banning the burka

Tuesday, May 4th, 2010

Belgian woman wearing burqaMovements are underway all over the world to ban the wearing in public of the burqa, the niqab, and other garments worn by some Muslim women.  Most recently, the lower house of Belgium’s parliament has just passed a burqa ban, although it will not become law unless / until it is also passed by the upper house.

Well-intentioned or not, these efforts are misguided and extremely dangerous, and Jews should be especially concerned about them.


Lindsay Lohan is an egotistical, boozed-up tart

Wednesday, March 10th, 2010


By now, most of you have probably seen the new E*Trade commercial in their talking baby series, “Baby – Girlfriend”.  If not, go watch it now and then keep reading.

I watched the ad when it first came out, and I’ve watched it several times since then, and it makes me laugh every time.  It’s definitely one of the best ads in the series.

Apparently, not everyone thinks so.  The Boston Herald reported today that Lindsay Lohan has filed a $100 million suit against E*Trade, alleging that “a ditzy toddler appearing in [the ad] is modeled after her and improperly invokes her ‘likeness, name, characterization and personality without permission.’”

When asked for comment, the company that produced the ad said they “just used a popular baby name that happened to be the name of someone on the account team.”

Hey, Lindsay: How about we go back ten years or so to when you were cute and lovable, and just pretend that the intervening years of drug and alcohol abuse, humiliating public behavior, promiscuity, and unbelievable narcissism never happened, eh?

I’m hoping that this is all just some sort of misguided publicity stunt.  The alternative, that Lohan actually believes that she has exclusive rights to the use of the name “Lindsay” in entertainment, is just too painful too contemplate.


Review of My First Big Book: Jack and the Beanstalk

Sunday, February 14th, 2010

My First Big Book: Jack and the Beanstalk
By Jeff Macon, Michelle Macon, and Monica Chang
23 pp. Allen Chao/Innovage $20
ISBN 1-58805-807-7

One cannot help but admire the courage of any author who strives to follow in the footsteps of Tabart and Jacobs by reinterpreting this timeless classic.  Jeff Macon, Michelle Macon, and Monica Chang apparently could each muster up only a third of the requisite fortitude.  Although their combined courage may be admirable, the fruit of their efforts is not.