Thursday, December 31, 2009
Winning by Minimizing Losing
11:02 am est
Yesterday, I took a trip to Mohegan
Sun Casino in Connecticut. It was my first trip to a casino since 1997. I'm not exactly a big gambler. We had a great time
and were there for nine hours. My goal is to always have action, but minimize my losses.
I couldn't find $2 or
$5 tables so I stuck with the slots. I went up and down with them. I took a number of breaks to explore the cavernous confines
of the facility. It was quite busy. Time really flew by.
After a late dinner, I was down $80 on the slots. We made
one last attempt. I got on a small roll and cut my losses to $67. Not a bad price to pay for a lot of fun. I never go there
looking to win money. I thought I did great. These places are not in business to give away money!
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Can't Listen to Weather Forecasts
2:10 pm est
If I listened to the weather forecast,
I never would have run today. When I went out at 11am, it was 17 degrees with wind gusts of 40-50 mph making for a wind-chill
I decided to go out for a few miles. I dressed really warm with multiple layers and a hood. I had two
pairs of socks on. I've learned that once your fingers or toes get cold, it's all over.
It was actually quite
pleasant out there. The biggest problems were my watering eyes and fog on my sunglasses. People must have thought I was foolish,
but I felt great.
I'll never understand how football players are able to play in short sleeves on days like
today. Moving around keeps you warm, but once you stop it gets very cold.
On the other hand, we are half way to
Monday, December 28, 2009
A Nuitritional Spin
10:08 am est
USA WEEKEND had an article about the
benefits of eating popcorn. It's cover had the catchy headline: "Can popcorn prevent heart disease?"
article went on to say that popcorn is very high in fiber and anti-oxidants. Among whole-grain snack foods, it reigns at the
top. Everything is true up to this point.
What it fails to point out is that most people at movie theatres soak
it with butter. Once the butter goes on, the fiber stays, but the nutritional value is compromised with all of the saturated
This is the case with many foods. It's like eating broccoli smothered with melted cheese.
Saturday, December 26, 2009
Big Time College $port$
11:17 am est
Forbes magazine did a study of
the highest valued college football teams. The University of Texas and Notre Dame are the most financially successful programs with
annual profits of $58M and $38M respectively.
This is hard to fathom as my UMass Amherst struggles to afford
its Div 1-AA program. Northeastern University recently eliminated its program because of cost.
Bowl games are financial
windfalls for the participating schools. It's easy to see why so much emphasis is placed on winning at the expense of graduation
rates. Football covers the funding of other sports and closes budget gaps on some campuses.
I have a lot
of respect for Notre Dame which still has a decent graduation rate, although its record of 6-6 resulted in the firing
of Coach Charlie Weis. The school will eat the remaining $15M on his contract. No big deal for them.
Friday, December 25, 2009
I Guess I was Wrong
11:45 pm est
When I got home tonight I thought I
had done a good job exercising self control over the amount of food I ate today. i was especially happy over the fruit, veggies
and not going crazy with eating a large amount of ham. I had some soft drinks, quite a bit of spinach pie and no desserts.
I probably should not have weighed myself, but I had to. Since I woke up this morning, I have a five pound difference.
It will be interesting to see what I weigh tomorrow after I run. I thought I was doing good, but I guess I was kidding
Thursday, December 24, 2009
I Need To Do Better
10:59 am est
Life is often a series of missed opportunities
and unfilled promises. We are all part of that. There are so many things we could have done better. We usually have some
lame excuse for why things didn't work out.
I like to think that I make some right decisions when it come to diet
and nutrition. I'm proud of the fact that I've dropped 10 pounds this year and kept it off. It's helped me a lot, especially
with my blood lipid profile.
I give myself an "A" for eating vegetables. My line-up includes broccoli,
asparagus, zucchini, summer squash, lettuce and tomatoes. You can never eat enough veggies.
On the other hand,
I'll give myself an "F" for fruit consumption. I do a real lousy job. I'm determined more than ever to change
that. I like green grapes, cantaloupe, kiwi and granny smith apples. I don't know why I don't eat more.
really matter what my excuse is. I can come up with something lame if I think long enough. As 2010 approaches, I'm determined
to change a few things in my diet and drop another 5 pounds. Losing a few more pounds won't kill me.
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
Not All Products Are the Same
10:56 am est
Most pharmacies sell name brand
and generics. I'm taking about off the shelf products such as dental floss. I had a coupon the other day from CVS for big
savings on their brand of products. I got a brain storm and decided to purchase some of their waxed dental floss instead of
the one I usually get made by Crest. What a mistake that was. The CVS floss is quite inferior. Now I have 200 yards of the
One would think that floss is floss, but it isn't. CVS floss appears to be thinnner and more subject to
breaking. I've used other CVS products with good results, but this will be the last time in my life I ever buy their floss.
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
Looking on the Bright Side
6:43 pm est
It was cold today and the snow
covers the ground. Not great running conditions. I took the day off. I was out driving earlier and looked at my watch which
read 5:40pm. It might as well been 11pm. The differences between summer and winter in New England are extreme. If this were
a day in July, there would be endless possibilities about what to do tonight. Instead it's dark and cold.
was the first day of winter and the shortest day of the year for sunlight. That means it's only going to get better. Days
are getting longer now up until June 21. We still have another 91 days of winter with the worse to come.
now that winter is here, the clock is ticking towards the first day of spring.
Saturday, December 19, 2009
Sometimes Behind the Times
1:24 pm est
I'm trying my best to keep pace with
changing technology. I admit I'm behind for not owning a smart phone or an i-pod. I was at Walmart the other day buying some
blank VHS tapes. I still use a VCR. A young cashier said to me: "Do we still sell these?"
I joked to
her that I was behind the times and still owned a VCR. I made me think that in 2010 I should get an i-pod, smart phone and
a GPS. I need to get with it.
Friday, December 18, 2009
How Cold Is It?
10:24 am est
I don't complain about the cold weather.
I've made a choice to live here. Running in the cold isn't bad as long as you dress properly. I thought I did yesterday. I
waited until late in the afternoon to go out for a couple of miles. I had everything protected. Only my face was exposed under
my hooded sweatshirt and jacket.
I failed to realize that my NIKE shoes "breathe". My light cotton socks
were not a match for the cold. When I got home my feet were frozen. I stayed in the shower an extra long time, but that isn't
the was to dress properly or treat frost bite.
It's cold again today. I think I'll try an extra pair of socks.
I thought only old people did stuff like this.
Thursday, December 17, 2009
Messing Things Up
9:49 am est
I had a brainstorm that I would change
the appearance of this website. I would delete a few pictures and add some new ones. No big deal. I've done it before. So
far, I've been working for almost one hour and have nothing to show for it. In fact, I really messed things up. I finally
got it back to what it looks like now. I think I'll take a break and try later on before I waste the whole day doing this.
This site was designed using "do it yourself" software. They weren't kidding when they said that. Why did
I ever think that this would be a quick job? Nothing like making it more difficult.
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
How Did We Do It?
10:05 am est
night I was in a comedy show at a private social club. That means you can smoke there. I think people join these clubs for
that very reason. I was there a couple of months ago, but went better prepared this time.
I wore a
different jacket that needed to be thrown in the wash. No sweater. Just a dress shirt and a pair of jeans that had one more
wearing in them.
When I got home, I had to change everything. My eyes were burning a bit and I had the smell of
nicotine in my skin.
For about the first 25 years of my career, smoking was allowed at my former work place. Both
my parents smoked. I certainly inhaled a lifetime of second-hand smoke. It bothered me at work, but I was forced to put
up with it.
I think it takes a certain personality profile to be a smoker in this day and age.
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Too Much Bowling
2:25 pm est
I'm a huge fan of the NFL,
but I've never been into college football. I follow UMass and a few other teams. On NFL draft day in April, I often
have never heard of the players that the New England Patriots select.
On Saturday, December 19th, the first of 34 bowl games will
kick-off with Wyoming (6-6) and Fresno State (8-4) meeting in the New Mexico Bowl. Games will continue through the holidays
with five each on Jan 1st and 2nd. The culmination is on Jan 7th with a pair of undefeated teams: Alabama and Texas playing
for the "national championship".
Years ago, bowl games would only be played on Jan1st. With the dawning
of cable tv, more games started to appear on the radar. It's a financial windfall for the school involved. The only problem
is the competition is not always the greatest.
I must make a note to tune into the Insight Bowl on New Year's
Eve when 6-6 Minnesota plays 6-6 Iowa State. That should be a barn burner.
I wonder when these "student athletes"
find time to study.
Monday, December 14, 2009
It's a Rip-off
3:04 pm est
I was out of town earlier today
when I realized I needed to stop at an ATM machine. I didn't see one for my bank. This could only mean one thing. I would
have to pay the so-called "convenience fee". The bank charged me $2. This is total nonsense. They make so much
money on these types of transactions. What am I suppose to do?
No wonder banks have the ability to make bad loans
and not go under. They get it back on ATM charges.
Saturday, December 12, 2009
Missing in Action
3:51 pm est
Whenever you got out, the goal
is always to make it home. You never know what might happen. I did a comedy show last night and stopped to mail a few things
at the post office before heading home.
After dropping the items in the box, I realized I was missing one of my gloves.
I couldn't find it in my car or pockets. I had them on when I left the club.
I did another search of the car this
morning, but found nothing other than a pencil under my passenger seat. I don't mind losing the glove, but it was really strange
the way it happened. It seem to fall of the earth.
Sometimes you lose things for being careless. Last summer, I
lost a cover for one of my golf clubs because I placed it on the back of a golf cart before we drove away.
This glove thing is kind of weird.
Friday, December 11, 2009
I Knew it was Different
3:16 pm est
I took a semester of Spanish when I
was a senior at UMass. It's one thing I wish I had pursued further. It's an easy language to pick up. I never did anything further
with it. I often think of studying it.
One thing I noticed when I was taking the course was the difference between
the Spanish spoke in Spain and countries in the Western Hemisphere. There were some noticeable differences.
The Spanish Royal Academy and 21 sister organizations in Latin America and other Spanish speaking countries have released
the first Spanish grammar guidelines in the last 80 years.
I'll check this out as I always thought the grammar
was releatively easy to grasp, especially compared to the one semester of Polish I took.
Thursday, December 10, 2009
It Really Helped Sales
4:21 pm est
John Gribbin, an astronomy professor
at Sussex University in England authored a book called "Get a Grip on New Physics". It was meant to be a layman's
guide to physics and its relation to astronomy. It's been out of print for over four years and ranked 396,224th in sales on
When Tiger Woods crashed his car, a picture of the book appeared laying in the broken glass. Apparently,
Tiger was in the process of reading it.
As a result of the photo, the book is now ranked 2,268th on Amazon, a jump
of over 393,000 places in less than two weeks. Oprah's book club can't produce these type of results. Second hand copies are
going for $73.
One person's adversity is a financial boom to others. Internet gossip sites are reporting very heavy
traffic on stories related to Tiger. On the other hand, Gatorade has stopped production of the line of drinks marketed under
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
His Name Sounded Familiar
12:24 am est
During the summer I met a friend
of a guy who I golf with in my weekly league. I was in the clubhouse having a drink when this guy came in after playing.
He sat with us and and talked. I found out he was from Haverhill and his brother was in high school when I was there. I didn't
know his brother personally, but I knew who he was.
I was reading the paper late tonight when I saw his obituary.
He died suddenly at the age of 54. When I saw his name, I tried to make the connection. Once I read the obituary, I realized
it was the same guy I met in the clubhouse back in the summer. You never know when it will end.
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
Can't Know It All
1:29 pm est
I like to think that I know a lot
about a lot of different things. I have many interests. I love music and follow the entertainment industry, although I don't
watch many movies.
I saw that recording artist Taylor Swift sold out a concert scheduled for June 5, 2010 at Gillette
Stadium in 20 minutes. Swift has been nominated for 8 Grammy Awards and is expected to cash in on a few. I can't say I'm a
fan or a follower of Swift's music. I can't make an intelligent comment about the subject because I just saw a picture and
realized that Taylor Swift is a woman.
I'm not surer why I though she was a man. I guess I confused her with someone
else. I don't know everything.
Monday, December 7, 2009
No Longer Infamous
9:39 am est
Today is December 7th. It's always
been known as the "Day of Infamy" because of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941. Sadly, that day is slipping
into oblivion, much like other famous days in history. Back on November 22nd, the 47 year anniversary of the assassination
of President Kennedy barely registered.
Many days in history fall off the radar as time and generations pass. There
was once the cry of "Remember the Alamo" and "Remember the Maine". Both events lead America into
the Mexican War and Spanish-American War respectively.
Another generation will pass and people will forget about
September 11, 2001. It's just a matter of time.
Sunday, December 6, 2009
Still Optimistic About Golf
11:25 pm est
is almost over. It feels like winter in spite of the fact it was in the 60's last week. We had enough snow to plow this morning.
I had to spend time cleaning off my car.
The other day, I was making plans about playing one more round of golf.
It's suppose to be cold this week with heavy rain on Wednesday. I don't know if the snow will melt. Is this the end of the
golf season? You never know. A few years ago we played on December 31st. I'm trying to be optimistic about one more time.
I'm not ready to put the clubs away yet.
Saturday, December 5, 2009
Here We Go Again
3:12 pm est
December and should be cold outside. We are hearing the first reports of snow tonight and the infamous "possible accumulation
of 2-4 inches in the suburbs". I'm on my way to the market for my typical Saturday afternoon purchases. It's going to
be a madhouse there with everyone buying stuff in case they are stranded for weeks on end.
The weathermen are salivating
at this. You would think we have never been through this before. It drives me crazy when people moan about the snow. It's
almost winter. It should be snowing. People need to lighten up.
Nobody wants to be out on an icy road or stuck
in traffic with the possibility of accidents, but people stress about something they have no control over. Go for a walk when it's snowing. It's really neat.
Friday, December 4, 2009
A Little Too Pricey
12:27 am est
There was a story in the New
York Post about Boston Celtic player Ray Allen shopping in a shoe store on Madison Ave. Apparently, he saw a pair
of orange and green shoes he especially liked. The $1,695 price didn't scare him away. When the store didn't have his
size 14 in stock, the owner offered to have the shoes custom made. Allen gave it some thought and declined.
athletes are overpaid for what they do. So are the folks in Hollywood. People can do what they want with their money, but
paying $1,695 for a pair of shoes seems a bit extravagent. So many of these guys blow their money on cars, jewelry and cars.
No wonder they are broke after their playing days are over.
Thursday, December 3, 2009
Another Dumb Question
11:08 am est
I listen to news and talk radio
all the time. One local station has a daily poll. The one for today is a really stupid question: In light of the allegations against Tiger
Woods, are you more inclined not to use the products endorsed by him?
I think this question is absurd. His
two biggest endorsements are from Gatorade and NIKE. I started drinking Gatorade before Tiger was born and have run in NIKE
shoes since 1983. I'm not about to change now. I could care less which products he endorses. If someone paid me money, I would
hawk their product.
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
Some People Are Too Trusting
11:45 am est
I was working out at my fitness
club yesterday. It amazes me that men continue to put their stuff in lockers and don't use a lock. I opened several lockers
before finding an empty one. One contained a guy's car keys and cell phone. Either this person is very trusting or naive.
There have been a number of cars broken into over the years and items stolen from lockers. There is a sign in the lobby
reminding members to lock their cars in the parking lot. If you don't lock your locker, chances are you don't lock your car.
People wonder why there are breaks and thefts.
Smash and grabs happen, but if something is out of sight,
I think the chances are better for you.