Hard-Ass Keglers

IMG_3420The firm Carmen Salvino bowling tournament was tonight, at Wayne Webb’s Columbus Bowl Lanes on South High Street.  Our team may not have been the finest bowlers, but we definitely sported the most headband accessories and displayed the most compelling hard-ass look.

Oh, and the Buckeyes won their first NCAA Tournament game, too.

The Hills In The ‘Hood

Our downtown neighborhood has welcomed a notable new arrival.  The Hills Market has set up shop near the corner of Gay Street and Grant, across from the Columbus College of Art & Design.

IMG_1158Today the Bus-Riding Conservative and I walked down to The Hills to check out their store, and the place was buzzing.  The BRC had read that the market was sponsoring a Friday fish fry, so we decided to check it out.  Although the market itself was impressive — chock full of locally sourced food, an extensive area where you can get meals ready to eat, and a decent wine selection — the fish fry was disappointing.  We got one piece of battered and fried fish that was indistinguishable from an Arthur Treacher’s offering and a bag of chips for $8.99.  $8.99?  C’mon, Hills . . . we expect more neighborly treatment than that!

Even though the fish fry offering should have been beached, I’m glad The Hills has decided to open a downtown outlet.  More and more people are moving to downtown Columbus, and we need a grocery store that can service the new residents.  The Hills fills a huge void, and I’m hoping it will be a big step toward a more residential, crowded downtown area.

Now, if they could just work on their lunch pricing . . . .

Our One-Cent Bill From The Great White North

Guess what?  American bureaucracies aren’t the only ones that are ridiculous.

IMG_3407Last October I went to Lake Temagami in northern Ontario, Canada for a wonderful few days of fishing.  To get there, I drove on the Express Toll Route.  Rather than simply paying the toll as you pass through, the ETR takes a picture of your car, figures out where you live, and then sends you a bill.

A few weeks after my trip ended, I received a bill.  We paid it in full.  Then, some time later, we got another bill — for four cents.  Why the four-cent differential?  I’m not sure, but I’m guessing the U.S. dollar-Canadian dollar exchange rate might be responsible.  In any case, we wrote a check for 4 cents and sent that off.  Obviously, the cost of postage and the cost of processing the check on both ends far outstripped the 4-cent payment.  But, so be it!  We are interested in maintaining friendly relations with our Neighbors to the North, and if I ever am invited back to Lake Temagami I don’t want to be hauled away as a scofflaw and tossed into debtors’ prison by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

Then we received the bill above, demanding a balance due of . . . one cent.  One cent!  I’m blaming the exchange rate again, because the bottom of the bill says, under “amount paid,” “Canadian funds.”  Of course, there is no way I can write a check on my American bank for one cent, Canadian.  The letter specifically says that I can’t send cash.  And if you think I’m going to risk giving my credit card information, on-line, to bureaucrats who are trying to chase down people who have paid, in full, twice already, you’ve got another think coming.  So, my only choice is to write a check for 5 cents, American, and hope that it accounts for the exchange rate and is finally accepted as payment in full by the ETR collectors.

I’ve never really thought much about toll booths before, or fully appreciated the schmoes working inside.  Now, I do.  The next time I toss 75 cents into the collection bin, I’ll relish that I can simply drive on, free from care that I’ve just become mired forever in an endless sea of red tape.