Monday, January 31, 2011

Bergen County, New Jersey turns to Pickle Juice to Melt Snow

Way to go, Bergen County! ;)

If there ever was a sign that we've had more than enough snow this winter, here it is. Bergen County, New Jersey administrators found themselves in quite a pickle this winter. With their plowing budget quickly running dry, they've come up with a juicy solution.

Bergen County is just across the Hudson from New York – and despite being among the wealthiest counties in the nation, this winter has busted their budget for snow removal. Road salt comes at a hefty premium, and being only halfway through winter, they've invested in a new, and much cheaper, snow melter: pickle juice.

While it's unclear if the mixture ever once contained the delectable deli snack, it's a green salty liquid that executives say melts snow and ice just as well as solid salt. And the price can't be beat: the briny mixture costs just 7 cents a gallon, compared to $63 a ton for salt. Quick math works the pickle juice out to roughly $16 per ton, a substantial savings (though commenters on CBS's story seem to think the math is a bit more complicated).

“We actually pre-spray the properties, the sidewalks, the parking lots as a preventative before the snow is uncontrollable,” Bergen County Public Works Director Joe Crifasi told CBS. Bergen County has already used up $3 million of its $4 million snow budget, so hopefully the salty mixture can help them trudge through the rest of winter.

And with all the delis in New Jersey, we're sure they'll have no shortage of their secret snow-melting weapon.

Monday, January 24, 2011

"The Last of the Lions" a film by Dereck and Beverly Joubert

Please pause playlist at bottom of page to hear/watch video.

Many of us are so detached from nature and unaware of the dire consequences of these majestic animals relative to us and earth's ecosystems . When the last few of these wild cats are gone, will we feel indifferent, or worse yet, sad, when it's too late?

Earth is our home. We must love it as its guardian as well as its inhabitants.

Monday, January 17, 2011

We must accept finite disappointment, but we must never lose infinite hope.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Congratulations to the Golden Globe Awards' Winners

And the Golden Globe Award goes to...
Congratulations, winners!

For me, a few special highlights of the show were:

Robert de Niro receiving the Cecile B. DeMille Award. He was his hilarious self!

Claire Danes for Best Actress in a Motion Picture made for Television, HERE'S LOOKING AT YOU KID. She was outstanding as Temple Grandin, a woman who overcame the prejudices and misperceptions of autism about which she continues to educate.

Colin Firth for Best Actor in the British film, THE KING'S SPEECH.

Natalie Portman for Best Actress in THE BLACK SWAN.
p.s. Michael Douglas looks wonderful, now in remission after his struggle with cancer.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Please pause playlist at bottom of page to hear/watch video.

For those struck by the tsunami and torrential rain in Australia and in Brazil...

Monday, January 10, 2011

Electric Car Rentals Begin in Manhattan, San Francisco, Washington D.C., and London.

ELECTRIC CAR RENTALS START by Jim Motavalli, New York Times contributor who blogs about green transportation.

Green with Envy: Tesla's EV at the Hertz Party (Photo by Jim Motavalli)

TIMES SQUARE — Everybody wants me to drive their electric cars these days. Pouring rain kept me away from a nice ride-and-drive opportunity with the New York Power Authority which wanted to showcase a healthy and growing fleet, and Monday I made it down to Times Square to take a spin in the green cars that, as of next week will be available in the Connect by Hertz car-sharing fleets. That’s right. Next week. Electric car rentals — first in New York, followed by Washington and San Francisco. (London and maybe Beijing will be next in line.)
Please pause playlist at bottom of page to hear/watch video.

Company reps hand me the keys as if I’m about to have the thrill of a lifetime, but of course I’ve driven every electric vehicle by now, many of them multiple times. The Tesla Roadster I’ve driven probably five times, and on more than one coast. (I did a video about one Tesla drive in Manhattan.) But it’s always great fun to drive this $109,000 high-voltage shock wagon. I love the Tesla, even in Times Square, where instead of dodging prostitutes, you try to avoid out-of-town Broadway patrons and the Charmin bear. (More on that below.)

In big traffic, the Tesla is stop-start: You find a miraculously clear avenue and sprint down it, only to jam on the brakes a few seconds later, but it’s exhilarating. Hertz is going to make the Tesla Roadster (and presumably the Model S) available only to prestige-collection rental customers for $100 a day.

The Nissan Leaf will be $7 an hour in the car-sharing program, according to Hertz Global EV Leader Jack Hidary. I’ve driven the Leaf in Manhattan before, courtesy of Nissan — a memorable fast run through Central Park. This time I took it through the theater district, turning heads all the way. The Leaf is impressive, quiet, comfortable, sophisticated, and bristling with high-tech aids to help with charging and plug-in connectivity. It handles excellently, as I found out when I was steering around rickshaws and bicycle messengers.

I’ve driven Coda sedans on both coasts, too, and this one was resplendent in two-tone white and black. The Coda, which has been delayed until the second half of 2011, is still a work in progress, meaning that the company hasn’t gotten through crash testing yet. Spokesman Matt Sloustcher said Coda is going for a four- or five-star New Car Assessment Program (NCAP) rating, which it plans to have in place by next year.

The Coda isn’t as cutting-edge cool as the Leaf, though it does look good with the black wheels that Sloustcher said customers preferred in a survey. It’s also more expensive than the $32,790 Leaf at nearly $44,000. Its two selling points are an extended battery range of 120 miles rather than 100, and onboard battery heating and cooling, which should extend the life of the pack.

Coda has been doing fairly well with fleet sales, since the Hertz deal complements another with Enterprise Rent-a-Car, and Sloustcher told me that 30 to 50 percent of sales could be to corporations and governments. (The first charging station in my hometown of Norwalk, Conn., is in a municipal parking garage — put in not by a homeowner but by the town.)

I had a quick spin in the Coda, and it accelerates well, although it's a bit noisier than the Leaf. Coda has added two-tone leather seats, which is a nice touch to an interior that needed brightening up.

Hertz has a pair of charging stations at Connect offices in Manhattan, and is partnering with Starwood Hotels, which is installing stations at the snazzy new Element Times Square hotel, and soon at other Starwood Aloft, Element and Four Points by Sheraton hotels. The idea is that you’ll stay at an Element, suddenly need a car for a night out, and there will be the cutting-edge electric cars available for a first-time trial.
Absolutely wonderful news!! Looking forward to my first electric car rental!

Monday, January 3, 2011

For those holiday hangovers or any day, try "Seven Metals: Singing Bowls of Tibet"

I kid you not when I say that by listening to the sounds or "vibrations" of the singing bowls, a cleansing of one's body is taking place. While meditating, reading, writing, or performing chores, singing bowls playing in the b/g is working its magic.

This is how it works, quoting Benjamin Iobst, the creator of this particular version of the Tibetan singing bowls phenomenon:

"A scientific explanation would be quite involved and, at best, insufficient. I would, however, like to say the following. Since all life and matter is composed of atoms vibrating at various rates we are, in effect, sound. And our vibratory and fluid (we are mostly water) nature leaves us sensitive to sound as well. Since the bowls are "untuned" or not artificially altered, they are more in tune with the nature that is us.

The twenty-five singing bowls on this recording come from the Himalayan countries of Tibet, Nepal, and Bhutan. Ranging in size from 4 1/2" to 11 1/2" in diameter, each is capable of producing several tones at once with oscillations that interface and synergize with those of other bowls. Seven metals (gold, silver, mercury, copper, iron, tin, and lead) are melted together, poured and cooled as plates and formed into bowls with hundreds of hammer blows. This traditional process stopped about 1950. The origin and use of these bowls is shrouded in mystery and speculation with references to the shamanistic Bon religion and to Buddhist ritual and meditation.

Listening suggestions:

The best effect may be from room speakers rather than headphones (or, if you like headphones, leave the speakers on as well). The vibrations emanating from the speakers will move air in the room as the bowls do and you will receive a "sound bath" as well as auditory treat.



I had never experienced anything like the "singing bowls." At first I was skeptical of its ability to do more than offer pleasure while meditating or yoga, etc. But outside these environs, and while listening to them during writing or computing, I felt this amazing sense of well being, nearing euphoria. The only change in the environ was playing The Seven Metals singing bowls.

When I shared this experience with friends, they thought I was a bit overzealous. Most wouldn't even consider buying the CD, so nearly ten years ago, each has received SEVEN METALS as a gift, and they too have experienced its ability to not only relax, but experience its holistic "sound bath."

If you're looking for an alternative for those hangovers, consider SEVEN METALS: Singing Bowls of Tibet by Benjamin Iobst. The worst that can happen is a wonderous experience or a good night's sleep. ;)

A Happy and Healthy New Year! xo