The numbers are in: After only two weeks and a day, last Tuesday we hit 100,000 pageviews here at your new favourite local news source. This and some other figures have greatly pleased the team, and exceeded expectations by a considerable margin. The “open rate” on our daily newsletter is also far higher than anticipated, although to be candid I’m not all that surprised. Pelham residents are highly engaged, and want to stay informed. If you haven’t already subscribed to our free newsletter—which goes out every day at 3 PM with a summary of the day’s stories—getting cracking at it here ...Letters get attention: I’m able to track the readership numbers for all items we post on the site, and I’m happy to say that letters to the editor often get as many and sometime more views than some stories. You want to get your opinion out there? This is a great platform, just as the Voice was before, but with far greater reach. [email protected], or click the Letter link that appears at the bottom of every single story. Today, reader Bill Eluchok has municipal water tower design on his mind, and I have to say he’s not wrong. Fonthill’s current water tower (which was featured as yesterday’s Good Morning photo) resembles a giant, thick golf tee, or maybe an immersion blender upside down. I have not yet seen the design for the much larger tank set to replace it soon, but hold faint hope for improvement.
Grocery savings tip: Somewhere around age 11 or 12 I tagged along on a run to the grocery store with a friend and his mother. The mom put almost no name-brand items in the trolley, opting instead for the store’s house brands. At the time I felt sorry for my pal—“Cola” brand cola instead of Pepsi? “Fig Biscuits” instead of Fig Newtons? The horror, the horror. Flash-forward a couple of decades and as an adult (and long before the current inflationary run-up) I sensibly realized in most cases that store brands do the job just fine, and half the time are probably packaged by the name-brand companies anyway. Yet I’ve stubbornly held out on a couple of items, including Kellogg’s Raisin Bran cereal—you know, with the smiley sun on the package, holding two scoops of the grapes he’s mercilessly shrivelled? Well, those scoops seem to have been getting smaller lately, and there’s always been the perpetual problem of no raisins at the top of the box and many raisins at the bottom. So when ambling down the aisle at Zehrs a few days ago, and seeing the latest price increase for this particular product, I said right, time to try something else. If you like raisin bran, you’ll be glad you’ve stayed with me on this long journey since we now reach the point: President’s Choice “Loads of Raisins” is the best raisin bran ever. Crispy large bran flakes, and raisins that are magically distributed properly through the entire box—and, as the not-terribly-creative name has it, there are indeed loads of them, tons, heaps of raisins. And of course the price is less than the name brands. You’re welcome!
What we’re watching: There’s an outstanding documentary series on Netflix that is saddled with an unfortunately tabloidy title, Madoff: The Monster of Wall Street. In fact, the name put us off until I ran across a good review and decided to give it a go. I’m glad we did because it’s absolutely riveting. As you’ll remember, the Wall Street trader Bernie Madoff was exposed as running a Ponzi scheme back in 2008, when the global financial crisis hit and he was unable to pay out panicked investors. It remains, at some $64 billion dollars, the biggest Ponzi scheme in world history. What’s equally fascinating and enraging—and captivatingly told over four episodes—is how Madoff got away with it for so long (despite the SEC being hounded to investigate him), and how so few people were convicted and sent to prison as a result. Wall Street trading firms, the banks, the regulators, it’s one big insider’s club, the commoners be damned. If you have any inclination to eat the rich to start with, as I do, this will whet your appetite. (There are also some clever production touches—as Madoff is gradually exposed so too is the audience shown the artifice behind the documentary.)...What will the rodent see? Thursday is Groundhog Day. (Just once I’d like to see Bill Murray step out of that Flossie suit.) Join the fun if you’re inclined at Centennial Park this Thursday at 10 AM to witness whether the giant critter sees his/her (we make no assumptions) shadow...The deep freeze is coming: Bundle up! See you next time.