Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Pierce Bros Memorial Park

My friend Nasser who's been driving me for years in LA suggested that I check out Pierce Brothers Memorial Park and Mortuary in Westwood, LA. It's located about a block from my hotel and it's one of the most surreal places I have ever seen. I went for a walk there early this am and it was just me - and Marilyn Monroe. And Jack Lemmon. And Rodney Dangerfield. And Armand Hammer. Also Truman Capote. Walter Matthau. Roy Orbison. And Farrah Fawcett. And the list goes on and on.

Not sure what was cooler; how small (maybe an 1/8 of a mile in area space in total?) and secluded it was (an oasis in the desert just yards off of Wilshire Blvd) or the fact that it was completely non-denominational; celebrities intermingled with regular folks; muslims next to Jews.

Anyway, a very cool spot that I am glad I checked out.

Monday, February 27, 2012

iPad 3

A lot of folks have been asking me if I plan to get an iPad 3 (I suspect the announcement will occur no later than March 15th. I am also guessing that it will be available immediately post announcement).

I want to say that I won't; I think my iPad 2 is just fine. In fact, I could still be using my iPad 1 (which belongs to the Wife) and don't think I'd have any major complaints. I use iPad primarily for media consumption; mostly while watching TV or lying in bed. I use it primarily to check email, Facebook, Twitter and to read via the Kindle app. When travelling, I might use it to watch a movie for two. I don't think a retina display or an eight megapixel camera is going to be enough ( I have literally never once taken a picture with my iPad).

That being said, I think Apple gets consumers like me, and I expect some unecpected, Siri-like surprise that will raise the stakes significantly in the tablet space. What that surprise might be is anybody's guess, but I'd be disappointed if it's only a minor spec iteration.

Should be interesting to see. Life's been too quiet lately on the Apple front.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Swim Meet Part XVII

Yesterday was a - yes, you guessed it - another swim meet. This one was in Vallejo, at the home pool of Natalie Coughlin. Vallejo is a little sketch, but I do like their pool. The two kids swam seven events between them (four for the girl, three for the boy) and they both recorded best times in all events. I guess that's as good as you can ask for.

My favorite part of the day though, came in the girl's last event, the 50 breast. The Little Boy has actually turned into a very good breaststroker and he surpassed her time last week, very much to her chagrin. Breast stroke is her weakness but she came CHARGING out of the gate and it was clear that there was only one thing on her mind. It was pretty funny; she wasn't racing against anyone but her brother. In the end, she missed his mark by 1.5 seconds, but in the process beat her previous best time by two seconds, and just missed qualifying for junior olympics by a second.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012


I'm late to the game with this post given that Linsanity is bordering on the insane, but I'm not quite tired of it yet. Not by a longshot. I think that in certain respects it's the best sports story we've seen in a long, long while.

It's everything we hope and dream that sports can be and it can't be happening to a seemingly nicer kid. The fact that it's happening in New York, of all cities, is taking this to an entirely new level. It's converted my son and I am sure countless other kids) into a basketball fan and it's offered hope that a skinny, brainiac kid can transform input an overnight, superstar sensation. I sincerely hope that this kid keeps it going all season - and for reasons I can't explain, I think that he will.

Linsanity, baby. In the age of LeBron James and the insufferable superstar, the timing simply couldn't be better. Makes me wonder if David Stern didn't sell his soul to the devil at some point in time.

Monday, February 20, 2012

LA - Day Two

Another nice day in Los Angeles. Woke up early and went for a four mile run through Venice without my weak ass brother. Quick breakfast and then a three mile family hike at Rustic Canyon (thanks for the recommendation, Amy). After, a drive to Hollywood including Grauman's Chinese Theater and Kodak Theater. Then Umani Burger, Fred Segal's and Santa Monica Pier, which is where I'm typing this post from. Kids are on the roller coaster for ten millionth time.

Family and great sites aside, I think the highlight of the trip was randomly running into my girl Amy and my friend Bard and their respective families. May be most random occurrence ever. Made my trip though.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Greetings from LA

We are in LA with my brother Neil and his family. A great time is being had by all. Just a few moments ago we passed by a memorial to Whitney Houston, outside the Beverly Hilton, where she died.

This morning I was walking to breakfast and Arnold Schwartznegger walked by. I stuck my hand out and shook his - that was cool.

More later. My lunch has arrived - at Nate and Al's.

Friday, February 17, 2012

New York, NY

Well, back from New YOrk. What a killer of a week.

This post may not be the most popular in the world, but I have to say it: I can't help but think that NYC is a tad bit overrated.

I can say this because I am and always will be a New Yorker. I get it: restaurants like no other place, culture, theater, the City that never sleeps, blah, blah, blah. But still.

I walked each day about nine blocks to and from my hotel to my office. Over the course of 2 1/2 days, I'm really not sure I saw one happy person. Saw plenty that looked and acted miserable. Saw plenty that were yelling at others for no good reason whatsoever. And the old excuse that that's "New Yorkers being New Yorkers" just doesn't cut it in my book. More often than not, it's an asshole being an asshole. There is something to be said about civilized behavior.

The other thing: constant honking of car horns and drivers yelling at one another. I know this because I heard it all night from my hotel room. What's the point of this? It just causes unnecessary stress. In California we do not use the car horn unless it is necessary. It took me a long time to get my head around this, but now it's welcomed. If you think I am making this up, pay attention during your next trip here; it's uncanny.

Also - the weather. It was pissing light rain the entire time (granted, it's winter and a seemingly mild one at that on the East Coast). But I'm home now and it's a beautiful, breezy 65 degrees.

Again, I love NYC. It's the home of my Yankees, Knicks, Jets and my family. It can be fun as hell, for sure. I lived the most fun years of my life there. But - it ain't all that.

It just isn't.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Big Week of Travel

Gearing up for a pretty gnarly week of trade. I was in San Diego all day today; am headed to NYC for 2.5 days tomorrow and then head to Los Angeles early Saturday. At least the LA part is fun though the fact is that three flight sin a week is tiring.

The past weekend was devoted entirely to .. wait for it - a swim meet! Two days in Santa Rosa, CA. Was actually a lot of fun. The Little Girl was only fair (the heater in the pool was broken and she claimed to be too cold in the water to swim fast. The logic of a nine year old) but the Little Boy was terrific. He swam four event and did four best times. And that's what youth swimming is all about; having fun and getting best times.

Here he is swimming 50 breast. As you can see, he's starting to get there.  I think the breast stroke comes naturally to him.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Me and Lance

Earlier today I sent out the following tweet:

@howardsol: anyone know if @lancearmstrong is racing Panama this weekend as an amateur or pro?

Imagine my surprise when I not five minutes later I got this:

@lancearmstrong: @howardsol pro

Can you believe it? A direct response from the man himself? It's like we are best friends now! I wonder what time he's going to come over for dinner next week?

In an effort to be cool, calm and dignified, I responded with the following:

@howardsol: @lancearmstrong get after it! I'm predicting a 4:08 #fromonesurvivortoanother #holyshitlancejustrespondedtome!

Good thing I'm not a fanboy or anything.

Still waiting on his response, btw.


Thursday, February 9, 2012

The Sport of Fitness Has Arrived

Trying not to be a complete CrossFit homer here, but can't help it. Not sure if you all have seen this ad or not, but it's a complete stoke.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Must Read: Maybe the Greatest Post Ever

This is my 75 year old fathers acceptance speech for salesman of the month by his company.  It actually was his company  but he sold several years ago and remained as a salesman at the new owners request.

In his very own words, the Great Man writes:

Ladies and gentlemen of the jury.

I don,t know why I am up here for this prestigious award but I think the AARP must have something to do with it.
Not too long ago I  promised myself that if I were nominated for the salesman of the month award I would not accept and if given to my  I would not serve. Yet  here I am standing before you with this award in hand ….so now you know how good my word is.

I honestly don’t know why I got this thing. Probably because it is only plastic and didn’t matter that much to waste one. I do know that many of you are better salesmen than i.   better preparation,, better product knowledge,better presentation and more energy. But I also know that few can top me for honesty and consistency with my customers . These 2 attributes  will cover a multitude of sins, such as slightly higher prices. 

Among the people I would like to thank are my boy scout leaders for not molesting me,my Hebrew school teacher who discouraged me from continuing my study since it was hopeless and the college admissions office who accepted me to the u. of Michigan right before his nervous breakdown

And a final Thank you to our management who I think is top notch –with the following exceptions….. Just kidding…maybe.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Go Giants

That was a spectacularly entertaining Super Bowl last night. I like the Giants enough to to root hard for them - especially against an opponent as reviled as the Patriots - but not enough to go completely mental, ala is the case when I'm watching Michigan football or a Yankees playoff/World Series game. So from that perspective it was fun and it was also a well played game.

But what I liked about it most is that it was one of those games where questions are answered, which is somewhat of a rarity in the world of sports.

The question existed: is Eli a Tier 1 quarterback? That question was definitively answered. In fact, I think he wrote his ticket to the Hall of Fame last night. Is Coughlin a great coach? That question too was answered, without doubt. And another one: are the Giants in the conversation for all time great football franchises? That one you could probably still argue out among Steelers and Green Bay fans - but the Giants are very much in the discussion.

My other favorite part of the game is two of the three best players on the field last night were Wolverines. Word up, Mario Manningham. You will make no finer catch in your career.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Swim Meet

The Kids swam a meet yesterday and both did really well.

The Little Boy swam two best times and took eight seconds off his IM time. He's really coming around as a swimmer and I could not be more proud of him. He works real hard and it's starting to pay off.

The Girl is a rock star and had a great meet -- she took two firsts and two third and might have been the top nine year old girl. She also had three best times, which is always the main objective.

All in all a good day which was made even better by the 77 degree weather.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Holistic remedies

As I get older, I'm finding that I am becoming increasingly more open to holistic, herbal and eastern remedies. As I just wrote on Facebook, I think my transformation to Californian is near complete.

But seriously, I never would have considered massage, ART, herbal tea, acupuncture and other remedies as a panacea for what ails me. Now, I'll practically try anything and I believe many of these things actually work quite well

Case in point: while waiting for my family at our local pizza place earlier this week, I walked next door to our homeopathic pharmacy and had a long conversation with the hippie "pharmacist". This is the place that turned me on to "Kick Ass Immune" as a means of avoiding colds and I swear by this stuff like no other. It tastes like crap, is completely herbal and can kill a cold overnight.

Anyway, I talked to them about my hip and they suggested I try MSM (recommended for osteoarthritis).  I didn't know a thing about it but figured for eight dollars, what the hell. I'm only on my third day taking it and I swear - my hip feels much better. Could be a placebo affect, I'll state as much upfront, but I do know that I ran 3.5 miles last night and 4 this am with minimal pain - first time I've been able to say as much in months.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Books: Behind the Beautiful Forevers

I'm always on the lookout for new book recommendations, so if you have something noteworthy, do let me know.

In the meantime, if you are looking for something new and interesting be sure to check out this review by Janet Maslin of the New York Times; I'm not sure I've ever seen her so effusive in her praise. For sure I'll be purchasing this when it comes out next week.

Any other recommendations?

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Deadspin Blood Week

Well, for the second time - I think this has got to be some sort of record - I made Deadspin's Blood Week. You can check out the link here but be forewarned about the graphic picture. Not sure whether I should cry or take perverse pride in this sordid "accomplishment".

Here's to hoping that there is no encore performance.

The Hardy Boys

In pretty much every sense of the word, I'd categorize myself as a bit of a modernist. As you all know by now, I tend to orient towards the "latest and greatest" be it in the world of technology, literature or music. But I've disovered that sometimes it's fun to take a bit of a step back in time and revisit a classic(s).

The Little Girl of all people came to me the other day with a library book; it was the first Hardy Boy's book. A little strange for a little girl, perhaps, but she's been having a hard time finding books that appeal to her and I was stoked. She asked me if I'd read it to her and being that they were my favorite books of my childhood, I happily obliged. We were two pages into it when I heard the Little Boy silently enter her room and sit on the floor. This was amusing, as I've been trying for years to cajole him into reading the series.

They sat at rapt attention, which is a rarity in my house, most especially during evenings. Every time I got to the next chapter they kept yelling for me to go on. This morning, the Little Girl climbed into bed with me at 6:45 am, and immediately went into a recitation of everything that happened in Book 1 as well as her working theory as to who stole the yellow jalopy.

First thing the Little Boy asked this am is what time I was going to be home form work and how many chapters could we read tonight.

How awesome is that? The freaking Hard Boys. First published in 1927.

Classics are classic for good reason.