Sunday, April 30, 2017

Boutique Air

We just wish Boutique Air flew to more places (you can see it's national map below ... note how they fly out of major airports like Sky Harbor, BWI, DFW, LAX, PIA, SLC) because it's got sleek planes (including, a modern fleet of Swiss-built Pilatus PC-12 aircraft) that are extremely comfortable. Indeed, for those of you who don't own your own plane or at least a time-share on one, and our heart goes out to you, flying Boutique Air is the closest thing to flying your own private plane. And their prices are terrific. Link to Boutique Air Website




Saturday, April 29, 2017

Crazy Jim's vs. George's Kitchen (Phoenix)

It was a sad day in Central Phoenix when Cypress Pita Grill shuttered its doors. But, at least we still have Crazy Jim's (CJ) (on 15th Avenue, not the fake CJ downtown one by the same name but different ownership) and George's Kitchen (GK). They have similar menus and are close on many criteria, but differ slightly as well. Here is the skinny:

Ease of Getting a Table: Getting into CJ is often impossible for lunch during the week and it can be crowded on Saturday's as well. GK generally always has a table.

Parking: Both good except if CJ is overflowing, parking will be a problem.

Noise Level: Both have issues. Tables much closer together at CJ.

Food: Both very good; CJ slightly better on comparable dishes and pita bread and more generous on salad dressing. CJ slightly less expensive.

Service: CJ has full table service and it's very good. At GK, you order at the counter and table service thereafter is irrelevant (you go to the fountain dispenser to refill your drink, even if water). Obviously, your tip will be greater at CJ.

Clientele: At CJ, there is a greater chance of encountering people who are on their way to or from the State Fair whether or not the State Fair is running at the time, as well as people who should use a knife and fork for things that really aren't finger foods.

T Cook's (Phoenix): The Lusty Month of May

T Cook's used to be a favorite restaurant for dinner and a most favorite restaurant for Sunday brunch. A couple of years ago, they changed chefs and menus and raised prices and lost some loyal customers. But a dinner promotion that runs through May just might be worth a try: For $20 (plus tax and tip), you get a focaccia and pesto starter; an entree choice of Maine lobster tortellini with baby artichokes and some greens or Valencia paella; and creme brulee for dessert. Don't go on May 9 though, because that marks some anniversary of theirs and whatever they're serving costs $59 per person, but May 5 might be a perfect night when everyone else is out celebrating Cinco de Mayo. Ole!

Link to T. Cook's Menus

Link to Camelot's Lusty Month of May

Friday, April 28, 2017

Outlook Hangs on Send/Receive

We cannot promise that any of these will help, but if your Outlook mail client hangs on send/receive, beside closing and re-opening Outlook (which works but is annoying if the problem repeats with any significant frequency), here are three things to try:

1. Go to Control Panel/Programs/Outlook and right-click and choose Repair.

2. Disable any Add-Ins.

3. One of the common reasons for auto Send/Receive to stop working has to do with a group Send/Receive group in Outlook. Here’s how to fix the problem with the corrupt Send/Receive group.

  1. In Outlook 2016, go to File -> Options -> Advanced -> Send/Receive.
  2. Create a new Send/Receive Group in Outlook 2016, or create a copy of the All Accounts group. Configure this group by checking the following two boxes:
    – Include this group in send/receive (F9)
    – Schedule an automatic send/receive every X minutes (where X is the time in minutes).
    You must enable both of these options or else Outlook 2016 will not do an automatic Send/Receive. You may also be interested in selecting the option for Send/Receive when Outlook is offline.
  3. Once you have the new group configured, disable the built-in All Accountsgroup because that’s the group that is potentially corrupted and you must deactivate it. You can disable the All Accounts group by unchecking every single box, as shown below.
  4. Restart Outlook. 

Grilling Hamburgers vs. Steaks

[Prefatory Note 1: Our Health and Fitness Awareness Section (HAFAS) recommends that you cut down your intake of red meat]

[Prefatory Note 2: Our Culinary Office Wizard (COW) did extensive research on The Google and the suggestions reported here appear to be quite widely accepted]

When preparing hamburgers, make sure the beef is well-chilled and use cool, wet hands to make the patties. This prevents the fat from melting before the meat hits the grill, which can make the burger tough. In sharp contrast, when it comes to steaks, you want your meat to cook evenly from edge to center. Therefore, the closer it is to its final eating temperature, the more evenly it will cook. Letting it sit on the counter for 20 to 30 minutes will bring the steak up to room temperature—a good 20 to 25°F closer to your final serving.

Catastrophe Season 3 (2017)

Season 3 of Catastrophe is now available on Amazon Prime. If it's as good as Seasons 1 and 2, it's definitely worth watching. Even if it's not, given the dry spell we're in (although American Crime gets better with each episode), it's likely worth watching. 

Thursday, April 27, 2017

It's Not You, It's Them (iPhones Sending Duplicate Emails)

Necessary Prefatory One-Minute Note: Link to It's Not You, It's Me

If you find you are getting duplicate emails from particular senders, more often than not, the sender has an iPhone, and two linked accounts, which causes every email sent to go out in duplicate. You might bring this to the sender's attention, but experience shows that iPhone users often are hesitant to take ownership of a problem or make even simple setting changes to resolve the problem. Rest assured, there's nothing wrong with your computer or smart device ... it's them, not you. 

Best and Worst Days to Gas Up Your Car and How to Find the Cheapest Gas

GasBuddy is an app that lets you search for the cheapest gas in your area. If you're still driving a gas-powered car or even a hybrid, it is meet to note that GasBuddy published a study finding that, so far in 2017, Monday has been the best day of the week to buy gas (in 23 states). GasBuddy estimates that, if every American driver fueled up on Thursday for an entire year, they’d spend an extra $1.1 billion compared with buying gas on Monday. 

Another Reason to Choose Southwest Airlines

The CEO of Southwest Airlines (SWA) announced today that very soon SWA will stop overbooking. We cannot take certain credit for this, but it too often is a mistake to mis-underestimate our persuasive powers. Whether or not other airlines will follow suit remains to be seen.

Norman (2016)

Haven't seen Norman (it's only in theaters which won't pause the film to allow for snack or bathroom breaks), but am told by a very reliable source who is on our staff (although not in any management capacity) that it's very good.

IMDb Link to Norman

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

How to Score a Vacation Home in Kauai Essentially for Free

Hanalei Bay and the surrounding areas North is considered by many to be the most beautiful place in the world and the best place ever to vacation. Think Puff the Magic Dragon, South Pacific, Jurassic Park, Bali Hai, Napali Coast, Julia Roberts, Bette Midler. Unfortunately, even modest houses cost millions. Indeed, a house that would cost $500K in a good North Central Phoenix area could cost $15M there. So, when a $725K house comes up, while that's still out of your price range, a little thinking makes it doable. More than doable, doable at virtually no cost. Here's how, which works even better splitting it with a friend, and here is how to pitch it:

Aloha my friend. This looks to be the deal of a lifetime. If we bought this even at the asking price of $725K and put down $145K, that would leave a mortgage of $580K, which would work out to be monthly mortgage payments of under $1,500@ and they would be deductible tax-wise. So, the yearly cost for each of us would be just $18,000. Given that houses to rent on Hanalei Beach or the beach you typically stay at run about $600/day now, after using the place for 30 days, putting aside the incidental costs, the rest of the days are in effect free, and each of us could have it for 180 days. Also, we could Airbnb it and likely defray a lot of the cost (e.g., renting it at $300/night would result in its wiping out the full year's mortgage with 120 rental days). And we could use it on Home Exchange for free vacations elsewhere. Mahalo.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Cox Communications: Two Tips (re internet plans and price negotiation)

Tip 1: Cox is running a promotion whereby you can upgrade your internet service plan for $5/month for six months (the un-discounted delta would $10/month). Most people use Cox Preferred and hence would be upgrading to Cox Premier. Whether upgrading would make any difference to your internet experience (speed) depends on factors endemic to the number of connected devices you have and the type of internet usage you engage in. Here generally is the comparison between Preferred (on the left) and Premier (on the right):

Tip 2: One reason you might not upgrade is that you do not want to pay an even larger monthly bill. So, if you are contemplating this upgrade (or some other change or nothing at all), ask to be transferred to the Loyalty Department. You might compliment the rep on how pleased you've been lately with Cox, in stark contrast to frustrations you've had in the past, and that your only concern now is the total cost you're paying each month, and then ask if there's anything  that can be done to lower your bill. You then might be offered to have your maintenance agreement slashed in half, which will mean your internet plan upgrade will cost you only $1.50/month and, if you change your mind on that upgrade, your monthly bill will have been reduced by $3.50/month for a year. Be sure to mark the 1-year expiration date on your calendar so you can call and ask to have it extended or replaced with a different discount. 

Monday, April 24, 2017

American Crime (Netflix and ABC)

The first season was in 2015, and the third season is now running on ABC. The first two seasons are on Netflix, and based on the first two episodes of Season 1 and one episode of Season 3, it's VERY good. There is nothing predictable about what's going to happen next. The characters are engaging albeit some are likeable and others detestable. The cast is fantastic, although if William H. Macy watches the first season, he might not be pleased with what an awful person his wife, Felicity Huffman, is in character (long way from Sports Night and Aaron Sorkin). What's really cool about the series, I am told, is that the story is different each season, but the cast is the same, but good guys in one season become villains in the next. That's cool! Even if it runs counter to the notion that what you see on screen in actors is how they actually are in real life. In all events, it's a refreshing series, even if it has it's quite unpleasant, albeit exceedingly well done, moments.  

IMDb Link to American Crime

SRP Time-of-Use Change

SRP sent out an email alerting electric customers to the upcoming change in times for time-of-use customers, which for most people and for the environment, is the better plan to be on. That email had a mistaken stop date of June 30. The actual stop date will be October 30. Trying to report the mistake by phone ran into SRP's new answering system asking the caller to speak in complete sentences. Don't bother. Just hit "0" (without the quotes). Here is an email exchange on the matter:

From: []
Sent: Monday, April 24, 2017 11:05 AM
To: [customer name excised]
Subject: SRP eNote: Time-of-Use hours change on May 1

SRP® eNote

Dear [Customer Name Excised]
This is a courtesy reminder that summer Time-of-Use hours begin May 1 and will continue in effect through June 30.
SRP's Time-of-Use™ Price Plan residential on-peak hours are from 1-8 p.m., Monday through Friday. All other hours are off-peak, including all Saturdays and Sundays. Memorial Day is also an off-peak day. Please be sure to adjust any pool pump and water heater timers, and programmable thermostats for these summer hours.
The more usage you shift to the summer off-peak hours, the more money you can save!
Thank you for being a valued SRP customer.
We are here for you 24 hours a day, seven days a week at (602) 236-8888.

SRP Customer Experience Services

RE: SRP eNote: Time-of-Use hours change on May 1
To: ''

1. Your email is NOT CORRECT. The change is not through June 30 as stated in the email. It’s through October 30.

2. Your new telephone answering options “to speak in complete sentences” is a step backward. It just makes things impossible. What was I supposed to say in a complete when I called to report this issue?

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Android Cleaner

Our Android Maintenance Program (AMP) has found CCleaner and Avast Cleaner increasingly annoying and confusing. After looking at other possibilities, we have settled on Systweak Android Cleaner which is easy to use and seems to have all the cleaning/boosting features one might like, including a 1-click Optimizer.

Cover art

Free High-End Photo-Editing Mobil App: Snapseed

Nik Software has made an impressive progress in the world of professional digital photography. One of their products, Snapseed, wins Apple's iPad App of the Year 2011 and TIPA Award for Best Mobile Photo App 2012. Snapseed used to cost $4.99 in Apple's App Store but it's now offered free by Google after it acquired Nik Software back in September 2012. While it's a valuable app for the iOS platform, Google has also made it available for Android users and it's also free, of course. Use this capable and powerful app to enjoy photographic editing at your fingertips and share your enhanced photos with friends and family. 

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Amanda Knox (Netflix Original Documentary)

Although only 1.5h, it seems like 5 hours or longer. It's tedious. But it does highlight the reckless, arrogant incompetency of the prosecutor (who in true Catch 22 terms is promoted at the end) and the ridiculousness of the press (especially the Daily Mail) and even Donald Trump shows up in this. The convictions clearly were improper. Italy does look like a beautiful country, though, and likely is truly enjoyable if you stay out of its criminal justice system or visit it in 1971 on a trip from Hell. If you want to see a great movie that invokes the Knox name, watch Local Hero with Peter Riegert, which involves Knox Oil & Gas, for it truly is one of the 5 best movies ever!

IMDb Link to Local Hero

You Tube Link to "Knox Oil and Gas"

Girl Boss (2017 Netflix Original Series)

Can one properly judge a series based on the first 7 minutes of Episode 1 of Season 1? The answer is our Critical Acclaim Team (CAT) can. And it stopped watching and deleted it from our Watch List. It might be hard to bore the audience in just 7 minutes, but Girl Boss does. Plus it's stupid. 

Fuel Efficiency vs. Consumption: A Curvilinear Relationship

[Courtesy of the WSJ]

Americans are used to judging cars by mpg. The bigger the number, the better.
But miles per gallon is a measure of fuel efficiency, not consumption, and confusing the two causes drivers and policy makers to overlook—or even pass up—big savings available from modest improvements to the fuel economy of gas gluttons.
Why? Because mpg conceals consumption’s diminishing returns.
Intuitively, it might seem that improving the mileage of any car by 10 mpg would reduce fuel consumption by a constant amount. It doesn’t. Improving from 10 to 20 mpg saves five gallons of fuel over 100 miles. Improving from 40 to 50 mpg saves only half a gallon.
In geeky terms, the relationship is curvilinear, an unexpected bend in fuel consumption that leads people to undervalue improvements to gas guzzlers and overrate improvements to gas sippers.
Take the Lincoln Navigator, a luxury SUV that essentially huffs gas, and the Toyota Prius, a hybrid prized for its fuel economy. Between 2007 and 2017, the Navigator improved from 14 to 17 mpg, saving 1.26 gallons of gas over 100 miles. At the same time, the Prius improved from 46 to 52 mpg, saving only a quarter of a gallon of gas over the same distance.
Two Duke University professors call this the mpg illusion. Demystifying it may be particularly valuable given President Donald Trump’s plans to review, and possibly roll back, fuel-economy standards requiring auto makers to deliver a fleet average of 54.5 mpg by 2025.
The professors, who teach at Duke’s Fuqua School of Business, noticed the illusion while carpooling to work.
Inspired by his hybrid’s minute-by-minute mpg display, Jack B. Soll posed this puzzler to his colleague Richard P. Larrick: Suppose you drive uphill for 100 miles and get 10 mpg, then turn around and drive downhill the same distance and get 100 mpg. What’s the average mpg? 
“It feels like it should be 50, but it’s more like 20,” Dr. Larrick said. “We were playing with numbers and realizing it was hard to do the right math.”
Around the same time, Dr. Larrick and his family were deciding which of two cars they should trade in.
“We could trade a minivan that got 18 mpg for a wagon that got 28 mpg, or we could trade a sedan that got 30 mpg for a hybrid sedan that got 50 mpg,” he said. “It felt like moving from 30 to 50 mpg had to save more gas.”
Instead, he figured out that upgrading from 18 to 28 mpg saved about 50% more fuel. The family opted for the wagon.
Of course, retiring all gas hogs in favor of the most efficient vehicles would produce the greatest fuel savings.
Short of that, the Duke professors argue that substantial savings can be had by replacing the worst vehicles on the road with models that get moderately good mileage.
“You want to pull vehicles out of the teens and into the high 20s,” Dr. Larrick said. “Right around 30 mpg is the sweet spot. Things get really flat after that.”
He and Dr. Soll aren’t the first people to point out the value of modest fuel savings, but during the recession, the approach attracted yawns or, worse, scorn.
U.S. Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R., Wis.) pushed legislation to fund the development of hybrid medium- and heavy-duty trucks, noting that as few as 10,000 could reduce diesel fuel use by 7.2 million gallons a year. At the time, heavy-duty trucks averaged about 6.5 mpg, and there were 2.2 million on the road. The bill expired without consideration in the Senate.
Former President Barack Obama, while still a U.S. senator, was mocked for observing that properly inflated tires and regular tuneups could save as much oil as new offshore drilling would produce.
Cash for Clunkers, a $3 billion government program to encourage spending on fuel-efficient vehicles, was derided in part because clunkers averaging 15.8 mpg were traded for replacements that averaged just 24.9 mpg.
Drs. Larrick and Soll, who believe improving a gas hog by even 2 mpg is significant, said the confusion over improvements in fuel economy could be eliminated by dropping miles per gallon as the preferred metric in favor of gallons per 100 miles. Such a move would be similar to the standard used in Canada, which list liters per 100 kilometers on the fuel consumption labels of new vehicles.
The latest U.S. fuel economy label includes both pieces of information. The largest and boldest figure is still mpg. But just below it, in smaller print, is gallons per 100 miles—a straight forward solution for handling the curve.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Tiger Woods

Mr. Woods underwent disc surgery this week (involving L5, which we have an affinity for since our laminectomy on in 1989) and is out for the year. Many loyal subscribers have written in asking what his eligibility in major and other significant events look like for 2018 and beyond. Here is the answer:

US Open: Can play in 2018. USGA could grant him an exemption in 2019 because it's at Pebble Beach. After that, unless he's ranked 60 or better in the world, he'd have to qualify. 
Masters: As a past winner, Woods can play the Masters for as long as he likes.
British Open: As a past champ, he's welcome until he's 60.
PGA Championship: Same as the Masters -- he's good for life.
The Players: As the 2013 winner, he's exempt for five years, through 2018.
WGC-Cadillac: Tiger's out. To make the invite list, he'd need to be among the world top 50, or top 10 in FedEx Cup points before the event.
WGC-Match Play: Out. He'd need to be inside the top 64 in the world.
WGC-Bridgestone: Out. Bridgestone takes the top 50 in the world, plus winners of a PGA Tour event in the previous year
WGC-HSBC: Yep, out again. This one's for the top 50.
PGA Tour membership: No worries here, TW! Anyone with 20 or more wins is granted lifetime membership.

Last Call on the Condor

Condor still has flights to Europe for $200, but you need to book by April 23.

Link to Condor Website

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Enlightenment re Night Lighting

[It has been suggested in our neighborhood that one should keep one's indoor lights on all night to deter burglars. That didn't make intuitive sense to our world-renowned Crime Prevention Research (CPR) team, so we had them canvas the literature on the subject. Having light timers to mimic human activity does help. Leaving lights on all night is not the thing to do. Here, courtesy of NPR, is the reasoning]:

Leaving your lights on at night might not be effective at deterring crime if there is no one around to see it, research shows.
TongRo Images/Corbis
You're about to go to bed. You flip off the light switch. It's pitch dark. As you stumble your way through the living room, you glance at your neighbor's house where light is peeking through the windows.
You stop in your tracks and wonder: Would a burglar choose to break into your dark house or your neighbor's brightly lit house?
Scouring through online forums will give you two contradictory answers: Leave your lights on, and burglars will think someone is home; turn your lights off, then burglars won't be able to see what they're doing.
"Then they also say if you keep your lights on you will stick out....Stick out because I can afford the $8 to keep my lights on? Does that mean I have more valuable items....or does it mean I am smarter than my neighbor?" a user asked in a City-Data forum regarding his porch lights.
Using Lights To Mimic Human Activity
Some studies have shown that less crime occurs along well-lit streets. Motion-detecting lights are also intended to add a layer of security.
But having security lights, as it turns out, is only marginally effective unless it comes with specific strategies — and in the end, the most effective home burglary deterrent might just be a good relationship with your neighbors.
"People who leave their lights on during the day and they're on 24 hours a day actually attract attention from burglars," says Samantha Nolan, a Citywide Neighborhood Watch trainer for Washington, D.C.'s Metropolitan Police Department. "Because if you're home, you're going to turn the lights off and it signals there's somebody home."
Nolan also recommends installing timers with your indoor and outdoor lights so they mimic human activity.
For example, outdoor lights should go on at night and turn off in the day, while lights indoors should go on and off in different rooms as if there is someone moving around, she says. If someone is away on vacation, these timers play an even more important role.
"Many people do it ... my neighbor across the street had their TV on late at night and I knew that they were away. ... I called them and I said, 'I think somebody's in your house because the TV is blasting!' " Nolan says. "They said 'No, we've got it on a timer.' "
Sometimes It's Better To Leave Lights Off
But all this lighting is useless if there's no one around to witness or report a crime, says Marcus Felson, a professor at Texas State University and an expert in criminal justice. The lights would only help robbers see their actions, he says.
Felson says indoor lights can deter burglars from breaking in, but they often break in anyway after knocking on the door to see if anyone answers. Outdoor security lighting is effective if there are people — neighbors, pedestrians or police — to actually see suspicious activity.
"If you're in a rural area, you're basically in a secluded area — you're better off turning off because the lights would help an intruder actually see," Felson says. "Motion detectors are the best, but again the question is guardianship — are there people around who are likely to see or would the offender think he will likely be seen?"
A good way to reduce home burglaries, according to Felson, is to introduce yourself to your neighbors so they'll be familiar with who goes in and out of the house. You can also tell them if you're out on vacation so they can look out for you, like Nolan did.
According to FBI statistics, most residential crime actually occurs in daylight. But most people are not aware of this and turn off their burglar alarm systems in the day, Felson says. This is when your neighbors come into play — particularly retired folks who stay at home, Felson finds in his studies.

Tips For Keeping Your Home Safe

  • During the day, turn off your outdoor lights and leave your alarm system on.
  • Install motion-detecting lights.
  • Set timers for your lights, TVs and radios to mimic human activity.
  • Get to know your neighbors.
  • Turn off your lights if there is no one around to see them.
  • Establish a neighborhood watch.
"If your neighbors are retired and you know them, that's the real good way," Felson says.
Drew Schneider, an 11-year resident of Petworth, a neighborhood in Washington, D.C., says his neighborhood council is trying to restart community walks and establish block captains who look out for neighbors.
It hasn't materialized yet, and Nolan says according to her experience, most people only become more interested in crime prevention when there is a spike in crime. Participation falls when the crime rate drops.
Schneider says he's has had all the security gear — motion-detecting lights, webcams, door locks — ever since moving to D.C. from a suburb in Texas.
"I turn my [indoor] lights off. I'm not going to waste my electricity," he says. "There is definitely the case for prudence and common sense, but there is not a case for paranoia."
Whether it's a waste of electricity depends on how effective the lights are in deterring crime. The nationwide average cost of electricity is about 10 cents per kWh. Multiply that by the rating of your light bulb and the hours you leave it on, to calculate how much you're spending on your lights. Or you can use this website by the group Sensible and Efficient Lighting to Enhance the Nighttime Environment. It even estimates your lighting's carbon footprint.

Two Tips re Southwest Airlines

1. One of the great things about Southwest Airlines (SWA) is that there is no charge to change a reservation, or more precisely, to cancel one reservation and book another one. This is true even if the re-booking is for the same flight(s) as the original booking. So, after you book but before you fly, it can pay to check on whether the price of your intended flight has been lowered, e.g., if a sale has been launched after your original booking. And here's a really cool thing: If there has been a price drop, before going through the rigmarole of canceling and re-booking, call SWA and ask for the equivalent price reduction refund. Usually, SWA will give it to you. Lastly, SWA does everything it can to avoid having its prices tracked by third-parties, going so far as to shut down one website that tried and denying access to its prices on Google flights and such. 

2. If you're flying cross-country on SWA, here is a nifty way to virtually assure your getting an Exit Row seat or, if not, the best next seat(s) available: Instead of booking a non-stop flight, book a direct flight, i.e., a flight with one stop but no change of planes. Then, when the plane stops at the intermediary airport, do not get off the plane, and move to the best seat you can find.

[Note: Many people use the terms "non-stop flight" and "direct flight" as if they were synonyms. They are not. "Non-stop flights" have NO stops between your point of embarkation and your point of disembarkation. "Direct flights" have at least one stop and could have more between your point of embarkation and your point of disembarkation, but there is no change of planes required.]    

Riposte for All Seasons

For centuries, people have been stumped as to how to reply to the proverbial Jewish mother's query: "What am I, chopped liver?" Our Riposte Answering Team (RAT) has just discovered it: "No, you're a Trader Joe's potsticker! 😘😘"

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Moral Quandry re Internet Rating Update

We received a massive and near unanimous response to our query as to the morality of not posting a good review re a place one has stayed: One must post a positive review. And so we did. As it turns out, beside further securing our cherished place on the extreme correct end of the evil-virtue continuum, it got us a favorable review as a guest. Of course, if we had realized we would be showered with such public praise, we would have done our review, as we do all our charitable works, on an anonymous basis. See Link to Larry David's CYE "Commentary" on Anonymous Giving

The New Binkley's Restaurant (Phoenix)

First, and most important: The New Binkley's Restaurant (NBR) has adequate parking and takes reservations. There is no menu on the website so prepare your taste buds for a series of surprises over the at least 3-hours dinner will take in the one 24-person seating on the four days (Thurs-Sun) NBR is open each week. When you make your reservation, your credit card will be charged the non-refundable whether or not you show up prix fixe of $160 per person plus 22% gratuity plus 8+% tax, but you won't have to pay for your $130-190 wine pairings until you do show up and dine. If you make a reservation and don't show up, don't bother thinking about the fallacy of the sunk cost, because it doesn't apply--unless you are comped for some meal elsewhere. If you make a reservation and decide not to keep it, you can transfer it. Should anyone make such a transfer to our Culinary Utopia Department (CUD), we will be delighted to write a blog post review based on actually having eaten there, although we've never lasted three hours for a meal so it might not cover the latter courses and dessert. 

Link to The New Binkley's Restaurant Website

Blocking Pop-Up Notifications

If you subscribe to a service (like the Washington Post) that sends desktop alerts, but you would prefer not to get them, they are easy to turn off. In Chrome, go to Settings/Advanced Settings/Privacy/Content Settings/Notifications/Manage Exceptions and choose Allow for any notifications you want to receive and Block for any you do not want to receive. Other browsers likely have some similar setting. Table and Phone apps do as well. 

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Moral Quandry re Internet Ratings

Say you find a fantastic getaway place online, with a perfect beach setting, a fabulous rental right on the beach, and all this at a great price. After your stay, you are asked to submit a review. If you do an honest review, it will have the effect of making the place known and attractive to people who otherwise might never have heard of it or considered it. The effect of that, of course, is to tend to make reservations more difficult to get and a rise in prices. If you pan the place, which just might be in your self-interest, provided you don’t drive the place out of business, that’s just not honest. So, perhaps doing no review at all is the escape from the conundrum. But is it a moral out?