Sunday, March 24, 2013

Grand Central Diner - Sunrise, Florida

Is it fair to rate a restaurant partly on its customers? I believe so if they affect your dining experience. I walked in just before noon and was invited to take a seat anywhere. The front of restaurant was kind of full so I moved towards the back. I didn't see nor did I hear the lady sitting in the next aisle with a cell phone. Her side of the conversation consisted mostly of, "Whaaaaat? I can't heaaar you. What did you saaaaay?" I wanted to take the phone away from her and turn up the volume. Instead, I said in a loud enough voice that her table mate could hear me over her that I was moving because she was to loud and annoying for me to sit near. Then the guy at the table right behind her pulled out his cell phone and started yakking loud enough to drown her out. And I hadn't even ordered yet.

The waitress, whose name I regrettably didn't get, brought me a menu and told me about the daily specials. Then another waitress found it necessary to yell out to her coworkers to bring her coffee and other things, contributing to the general noise level.

If food can make up for bad company, then this food did. I ordered the Rueben sandwich, which thankfully came quickly. While waiting I looked around and noticed that other diners had ordered various things. The portions looked large and enticing. And I was not disappointed. If there is a such a thing as a perfect Rueben, this was it. Piled high with meat between two very fresh slices of rye bread and topped with a pickle that couldn't have been crisper and tastier.

The sauerkraut was tasty with out being overwhelming. On the side was some dressing and a small cup of coleslaw. Very good without being too spicy.

A great sandwich at better price than McDonald's, surrounded by people who like to think the cliché of New Yorkers is cute and charming. It's not. Loud, self-centered and obnoxious yes. Charming? Hardly.

Parking is good and plentiful. The place is very clean and popular. The food, and this is my second time there, is superb and that's not an exaggeration. Really, really good and the service was great.
Visited March 2013

Update: June 4,2013 - Went back and the experience was much better. No people on cell phones and the staff was attentive and didn't contribute to annoyance level. Had the spaghetti and meatballs. More than I could eat. Very nice experience.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Hurricane Warning

Hurricanes. If you live along the South or East coasts of the United States, you are fully aware of hurricanes. They are a part of our seasonal weather patterns. A month in advance, our teeth are set on edge as warnings from local weather people get us ready for the coming season. Predictions are made, revised and then ignored.

People start laying in supplies that keep well. Bottled water, dry goods, soups, propane, batteries and they tune up their generators if they are lucky enough to have them. And then we wait. The beginning of the season is usually slow and then builds as the summer rolls along. Every eye is glued to the coast of Africa or the Caribbean basin.

We see graphics showing warm water temperatures, the fuel for the storms, the winds aloft, the steering currents and other data that most people ignore. They shouldn’t. Why?  What can the average person do with this information? Well, for one thing, they could get a good night’s rest.

How?  Use the information that is right in front of your eyes. Why should take the time to do this? Because you are systematically and purposely lied to. By whom? The weather service through the local parrots that pretend to be weather people. Yes, some are meteorologists and some are not. Does it matter? Not really. They take all their leads from other sources such as the National Weather Service, NOAA and other quasi-government entities. You would think that with the resources available to them they would do a much better job of being able to tell where the storms are going next. And they can, but they sure are not going to tell you. No profit in that. They purposely try to keep you on edge so you won’t change channels to watch something that makes sense. Like Fear Factor.

Being a certifed meterologist is like being certified to give blow jobs. You can suck at your job and still be considered wonderful.

Max Mayfield, former Director of the National Hurricane Center , once remarked on air that he couldn’t understand why people were ignoring all of their warnings. As a friend of mine, Deb, from Pennsylvania pointed out, it the “boy who cried wolf” factor. People for the most part have stopped listening because every set of clouds would send the weather guys into fits.  Instead of watching their own maps, satellite photos and other information, like sea buoys, they immediately jump on the air calling for evacuations and for everyone to kiss their loved ones goodbye. Another sore point is how they report winds speeds. They report the highest wind speeds they can find. Like the ones at a flight level of 10,000 feet. That’s OK, but the wind speeds on the ground are slower. That’s why they tell you it’s more dangerous the higher you are in a building the higher up you go in floors. So until my condo is at 10,000 feet, I’ll look at the reports of surface wind speeds to see what I need to be worried about.

Evacuations are expensive.

The  Keys lose hundreds of millions of dollars every time they call for mandatory evacuations. No one is disputing that the Keys are a low-lying archipelago that could easily be washed over in major hurricane. But, and this is important, not every hurricane that roars through the Caribbean is going to destroy the Keys. When Gustav came through, and it was a big storm, this from Wikipedia: ” Hurricane Gustav was the second most destructive hurricane of the 2008 Atlantic hurricane season. The storm was the seventh tropical cyclone, third hurricane, and second major hurricane of the season.” Now that is nothing to mess with, but the storm wasn’t going to hit the Keys. It came through riding to the West on a ridge of high pressure that it couldn’t push out of the way. But the weather service called for mandatory evacuations of the Upper Keys, then the middle Keys, then the Lower Keys, while everyone with a brain could see the high pressure was flattening the leading edge of the storm out and keeping it well south of the island chain. Examples like this are everywhere, and that’s why people don’t listen to the weather service. They look at the maps and they see what somehow is not apparent to the weather people. 

I would never like to see a person hurt by a storm, but we know it happens. However, there is no legitimate reason to disrupt to the point of instilling fear into people by PURPOSELY ignoring your own data just to play it the way they do. Everyone now adays thinks that reality TV shows are the way to pump up the public. They actually enjoy it. Remember when Channel 7 (Fox News) had the rep that if “it bleeds, it leads.” That same psychology is dangerous and actually down right stupid when it comes to the weather.

Al Roker said on the morning news about a week ago, that the European models were far more accurate in predicting weather system tracks than the US model. Their weather modeling computers sample the data 114 times a day. The US models? 84 times. Big difference especially when you get closer to land and the storm picks up forward speed. The good thing he said is that “we all share the data.” The bad thing that everyone else knows is that they don’t USE that data. They, the US Weather Service would rather use their own data even if it is not as correct. Super Storm Sandy is the most recent example of the Euro models getting it correct and the US systems not.

I know weather prediction is not an exact science, but we would better served by people bringing us info if they actually paid attention. I have no access to anything other than what can be found online, but my prediction rate is far higher than the local weather services.

Do yourself a favor and learn how to look at weather map and follow it for several days.

In the meantime, I’m getting ready to evacuate.