Meet the Kitchen Knife Laser Beam app!

laser beamNo more kitchen knives for smart phone users – now, there’s an app for that! iPhone and Android users can download the Laser Beam app and slice or dice tomatoes and just about any other vegetable with it.

The downside:

  • You will need a special cutting board that the laser can’t penetrate. Otherwise, you’ll end up with bits of plastic or wood fused to your veggies and fruits – and they’re no good for your teeth. The board will be expensive but in deference to national security rules, vendors cannot yet tell you how much it will cost.
  • Courts have already ruled that to get into government buildings, smart phone users must now prove they DO NOT have this app installed. Can’t prove it but need to get in to a court appointment or something? No problem: you can always relinquish your phone. Unfortunately, you can’t get it back.
  • Smart phone users within laser beam reach of any aircraft that experiences flight difficulties will be arrested, and will remain indefinitely detained while their NSA phone records, EZPass toll history and cellphone use for the preceding 90 days is exhaustively investigated.
  • read more

    Where does Google Voice fit into the privacy spectrum these days?

    Google - do not disturbBeing gifted a spectacular MotoX Adroid phone from my brother saddled me with the obligation to sort through privacy options I had avoided confronting until now by staying away from smart phones and as much as possible, the public observation grid. I use a client-side email application connected to a private email service, which means my mail isn’t being stored on Yahoo or Google’s servers or monitored by them (as most people’s e-correspondence is). And I use a client-side calendar as well NOT synched via the cloud, which is another layer of privacy protection I’ve got that many people gave up a long time ago. read more

    Does this guy look like a budding farmer or what?

    Ivan Wei with late fall crop

    Here’s Ivan Wei with a late summer crop of veggies from our community garden plot. He’s holding Swiss Chard, tomatoes, basil (for rooting indoors), a few hot peppers and broccoli. Yummmmm! His Swiss Chard is off the hook, I’m going to cook it up right now with some chicken sausage and mushrooms.

    Ivan Wei with late fall crop

    Have we become a society of grandmotherly news clippers?

    news clipping

    news clippingMy grandmother and aunt used to read several newspapers each day and clip out articles they wished to share with friends and other family members. I would occasionally open up an envelope delivered by the postal service and find an article inside with a very brief note written on or paper-clipped to it …

    “Isn’t this a fascinating development? Love, Aunt June” or “Thought this would interest you. Love, Nana”.

    This morning, I realized that the internet and social media have turned us into a society of article-clipping grannies and aunts. The cost and ease of tech enables article sharing on a scale and volume that neither Nana or Aunt June dreamed possible. I do this myself, many times every day. Wouldn’t they have loved Facebook and Twitter? read more

    English Muffin with butter & jam

    fork split english muffinI want to make sure all my friends know that English Muffins must get split with a fork (or another tined object) but never a knife. The point is to preserve the nooks and crannies which after all, is an important aspect of every good American’s civic duty.
    English Muffin with butter & jam
    Then you toast the muffin. English Muffins must always be well toasted. Apply jam, butter or cream cheese and munch happily away. My sainted mother passed these traditions along to me when I was a girl, and now you know too. Enjoy! read more

    Friend and iconic politician Jack Drakeford dies at age 75

    I just learned that the man who came very close to being my stepfather when I was a girl, passed away early this morning (Aug 2) at Holy Name Hospital in Teaneck. No wonder all day long I’ve felt a powerful sense of loss all that I wasn’t able to shake off. In all the world, Jack Drakeford is one of the people whose presence in my life has most touched me, and whose friendship I have most valued.

    Who was the towering man with soulful eyes and a huge bear hug always ready for his favorite friends? Jack Drakeford was champion of the new Jersey Black community, friend and mentor of young people preparing to take flight into the world, lover of iHop, speaker of truth, formidable politician and a man possessed of an extraordinary grasp of the struggle for racial and social justice in the United States and what it takes to build the rights that make equality happen. And an amazing friend. read more

    Kimi’s disappearing coffee cup

    Oh, this is a riot. Look what happened to me: the other day I got a waitress at the Golden Grill all confused. I interrupted a very intense conversation with my breakfast mates about ways to get more Latinos and Blacks involved in Englewood Public library activities, to point out to the waitress that I still wanted more coffee, but someone had already removed my cup. It wasn’t sitting on the table near my right hand, where I had last seen it.

    “Why is this lady looking at me so strange,” I wondered to myself. And she was motionless, just standing there with the coffee pot in her right hand, kind of frozen almost. She asked me a couple of time what I meant, and then I wasn’t sure what to do. Suddenly I became afraid that maybe she was having a stroke and had lost her power of comprehension. Finally, the waitress pointed at the coffee cup sitting right in front of me – the one practically touching the front of my shirt – and she asked me gently, “Could you be talking about that coffee cup, maybe?” read more

    The Wei Family loves World Happy Day

    When I’ve been praying for something happens and my prayers are suddenly answered in the most offbeat way imaginable, I see the breath of G-d moving through my life. That was the case yesterday. Rachel Wieland posted that she was headed to the city to watch a screening of The Happy Movie yesterday on World Happy Day. Wow! This sounded like a fabulous idea so I dived onto the site to look for place to see it with my sons Ivan and Ari.

    This was around 3pm. I found one screening in New Jersey and two in New York which had taken place at 11am yesterday morning and one way up in New York State and then one more – in Astoria, Queens at a social club, which was scheduled for 5pm. If the boys made it home early enough from Chinese school, we could just make it! So I loaded up my EZpass card, took a shower, got ready and when their ride pulled up I ran downstairs and told them to come on, we were going to see this crazy movie about happiness. I knew Ari wouldn’t want to go because he’s a high school junior and wants to do as little as possible with his family. It surprised me that Ivan didn’t want to go either. So I pulled the mother card out of my pocket and checked. Yep, it still says, Mom has the last word – I showed it to my sons and we headed to the car and New York City. On the way, we grabbed some Wendy’s for the boys. It was dinner time and they were hungry! read more

    Congressman Payne, we’re praying for you!

    One of my family’s favorite pols has colon cancer. Congressman Donald Payne is also the first – and remains the only – African-American to serve New Jersey in our nation’s House of Representatives. We hope friends everywhere will join Ari, Ivan and I in wishing you a complete and speedy recovery, Congressman. We look forward to a future with you standing front and center in New Jersey and national politics. Here are some success stories that will give you encouragement to stand strong! read more

    Early Lessons In Justice and Economics – at Foodtown

    When I was a pretty young kid growing up in Englewood, New Jersey, Foodtown supermarket was the store that my mom used one day to teach me about a few important life issues. Mom always kept a shopping list going in the kitchen. One of the times her list had gotten pretty long and we were out running other errands in town, Mom stopped by the Foodtown which was located about a mile from our home and asked me to run in and purchase a couple of items for her. “I forgot there was a grocery store so near our home, Mom. We always shop somewhere else. Why don’t you park and we can go buy all of the items on your list?” I wanted to know. read more

    Lessig’s Conference About a Constitutional Convention 9/23-25 in Boston

    My family is going to be a roving video interview team at Lawrence Lessig’s Conversation About A Constitutional Convention in Boston September 23-25 2011, and we’d love to see our friends there as well. It turns out that the people’s will can actually trump congressional law – given that enough states and individuals come together and vote their will at a constitutional convention. Who would have thought?

    Fortunately, as a professor of law at Harvard – Lessig looked into this possibility and he has invited concerned citizens, and the Tea Party leader, to discuss the prospect of such a convention. Lessig says that it’s important to include the opposition in discussions about process for determining social change, and that process is something that can – and should – be agreed upon by all parties even when opposing factions have their own views about what direction it is that society should move in. read more

    Jorge and Chris get scholarships!

    My son, Jorge Ivan, received a Hamm Family Scholarship at Bergen Community College this week. Thanks, Hamm Family!

    And our friend Yulie’s boyfriend, Chris McCourt, received a different scholarship. In all, about 200 meritorious and deserving students received scholarships from various organizations at the ceremony.