Monday, May 31, 2010
35 Years Ago
3:56 pm edt
It was 35 years ago today that I graduated
from UMass. It's hard to believe it has been that long. A lot has changed in the world over that time. I had a working
career of 32 years before I retired.
When I was in college, I use to wonder how life would turn out. I
didn't think that I would spend a career with the federal government.
It's hard to predict the future. How far
do you look down the road? The future is never guaranteed. Time passes quickly when you look at the past.
I don't even know if I'll be around in 35 years. I would be 91. Even with all of the medical enhancements, that does not
seem like a bright prospect.
I guess the key is to enjoy the present becasue we never know where life might take
Saturday, May 29, 2010
Replacing the Brush
10:49 pm edt
I have been using a Crest Oral-B electric
tooth brush for a couple of years. I think it does a great job. The detachable brush is meant to be replaced. It's a question
I was beginning to think it might be the time. When I used it this morning, the rotating head was a little
wobbly. It did not perform well.
When I brushed my teeth a few minutes ago, I realized that now is the time. These
brushes last over six months. The next time it will be replaced will be at the end of the year. What a way to end the year
and bring in 2011.
Friday, May 28, 2010
It Still Works
1:52 pm edt
A couple of years ago, I had a computer
die on me after having it for 13 months. It was one month out of warranty. It appears the mother board may have been overheated.
Since then, I have been aware of the importance of ensuring the cooling fan is not blocked by dust.
Using a vacuum
only does so much. About 18 months ago, I opened up my processor and vacuumed around the fan and several other areas. I was
shocked to see how the dust was caked upon the fan and the air outlet. The dust was removed. I repeated the process today.
When doing this, it become apparent that one mistake with the vacuum can lead to a dead computer. I was as careful
as I could be.
After reconnecting all of the wires, I was relieved to see that everything is working. I was puzzled
for a moment when I didn't have any Internet connectivity, but then I realized I had not plugged my DSL modem back in.
Thursday, May 27, 2010
Write It Right.
12:33 am edt
I was reading some letters to the editor
in the Boston Globe concerning the demise of writing skills among high school and college students. Many English teachers
make minimal correction for spelling and grammar. Some feel that too many corrections will stifle the student's creativity.
I am not impressed with the way people write. There has been a dumbing down of writing skills. Some of this results
from the internet and texting. I think schools could do a better job teaching basic writing skills.
I enjoy writing
this blog because it challenges my writing skills. I am very fussy about the content of my writing. I read everything several
times before I post it. I pay attention to grammar. Whenever I find an error after posting something, I want to find out how
I missed it the first time.
I have a really hard time not talking in a complete sentence when I text or write an
email. Maybe I'm old fashion, but I think it's important to write well.
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
Quicker Is Better
4:52 pm edt
GOOGLE announced that one of their business
strategies will be to make the internet quicker by having faster page downloads. They also want to have computers open their
browsers quicker from the initial booting up.
I'm all in favor of that. One of my frustrations with updating this
site is that it takes longer than it should. It took over two minutes to boot my system up and then another 75 seconds
to get to my website and to change to the "edit" mode.
This is not that much timer in the overall scheme
of life, but in the world of computers, faster is better. I strikes me that booting takes as long as it does. My page downloads
are quick. I would just like to get to my website a bit quicker.
It's interesting to think that this
can even be an issue. In the future, we will look back at two minute boots as something from another era. Even this computer
will be obsolete down the road. I love all of this technology. I just want to get better dealing with it and look forward
to the new products ahead.
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
Hearing From a Fan
7:37 pm edt
It was "hot" out there today.
I didn't mind it. A lot of people were complaining about the heat. Warm weather never bothers me. It never seems to get too
hot for me.
However, I turned on my fan today. It's going right now. I have no intention of putting my air conditioner
in until July. I went so many years without it. I don't like sleeping with it on.
I also wore shorts for the first
time. I've worn polo shirts to my last three shows. I think warmer weather is ahead.
The hot weather will come
and pass as do all of the seasons. The leaves will turn brown. No doubt about that.
Monday, May 24, 2010
Pounding the Keys
10:52 am edt
Public art displays can be very controversial and beneficial. New York City appears to be going the extra
yard this time.
From Jun 21 through July 5, there will be 60 upright pianos located
throughout the five boroughs available for playing by the public. The idea is the brainchild of British artist Luke
Jerram who calls his program; "Play me, I'm Yours".
Locations will include Battery Park, Rockefeller
Center, Times Square and the Bronx Zoo. The other 56 are not listed.
I think this is a great idea, but I wonder
where the others are. The Big Apple can be a very unforgiving city. I picture the pianos being vandalized or spray painted.
I assume a great deal of thought is being placed on their locations.
The city has come a long ways for improving
the quality of life. This would have been unimaginable in the 1980's.
I still have memories of the carcasses
of abandoned cars on the Cross Bronx Expressway. It was a terrible first-image of the city for tourists. You certainly never
wanted your car to break down because you would never see it again.
I hope things go well with the pianos.
Sunday, May 23, 2010
Never Used Mine
11:57 am edt
The federal government is notorious
for reacting slowly to a crisis or problem. Such was the case with Swine Flu/ H1N1. Once the pending epidemic was identified,
the government was slow to produce the necessary vaccine. Naturally, by the time the vaccine got to the public, the amount
of cases had peaked.
There are now 65 million doses of the vaccine that are unused or ready to expire. They will
be destroyed after the government spent an initial $1.6 billion for them. The latest numbers show that 61 million Americans
got the flu and 12,000 died. In Massachusetts, 2.3 million doses were administered and 1.5 million were unused. That includes
my dose. I don't believe in flu vaccinations. The last time I took one in 1980, I got very sick.
I had some type
of flu back in February for two weeks. It might have been that. Who knows?
Hopefully, all of the vaccines were
produced in labs in America. At least, it kept the jobs here.
Saturday, May 22, 2010
What Would Clay Say?
6:43 pm edt
The attempt to rename Mt. Clay to Mt.
Reagan in the New Hampshire White Mountain Presidential Range has hit a potential roadblock. Mt. Clay, named after U.S. Senate
titan Henry Clay was deemed by some to be the candidate for a name change to honor former President Ronald Reagan. Proponents
argue that Clay never served in the White House and all of the other mountains in the range are named after former Presidents.
The National Park Service has the final say as they control the land. Some say that this reflects the classic case
of the government making decisions that the states should make.
I think it should stay as is. Henry Clay
is a legend of the Senate. Any group could give a good argument for renaming another peak. There is also some undetermined
financial cost associated with a name change such as maps and signs.
After President Kennedy was assassinated in
1963, there was a great sentiment to name things after him. Naming things after people can become a very tricky proposition,
especially if you try to change things 150 years later.
Friday, May 21, 2010
Won't Be Around For It
11:27 pm edt
The National Archives maintains custody
of documents and other pertinent material associated with our country.They have warehouses across America containing numerous
I just read a story about the blood-stained pink dress worn by Jacqueline Kennedy on
the day President Kennedy was assassinated.
The garment is stored in a climate controlled room in a government
warehouse. Under an agreement with the Kennedy family, it will not be available for public viewing until the year 2103.
At this point, I don't think any of us will be around in 93 years. I like to think that we all have a future, but
2103 is a real stretch.
Thursday, May 20, 2010
Beyond Normal Limits
1:48 pm edt
People try to push themselves
past their limitations in various aspects of their life. Some are doable, while others really test oneself. I saw an intriguing
story of a motorcycle daredevil who will be attempting to leap over 22 cars. He tried the same stunt nine years ago and ended
up in a coma with many broken bones.
He has done stuff like this all of his life. In 1988, he broke Evil Knievel's
record by jumping 20 cars on his Harley Davidson. He has also jumped 15 buses. He does this for a living and has performed
numerous stunts over the years around the world. He claims 42 broken bones in the process.
People should challenege
themselves to their limitations, but not be foolhardy. I think he should give it his best effort and see what happens. I don't
believe in doing things that can potentially hurt yourself. There is always a fine line there.
in my own life, I like to think that running marathons is not a crazy thing to do. It's what I want to be doing. That being
said, I can totally understand why this guy is doing his thing.
I think I have less of a chance at being
hurt. I would rather have plantar fasciitis than some of his bone fractures.
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
A Close Call
11:39 pm edt
Auto accidents can happen at any time.
Distraction and not paying attention are among the two leading causes. I had a close call today that doesn't get much closer
thanks to a guy on a bicycle.
I saw the cyclist ahead of me as I passed him to make a right turn. I was concerned
of his location and that he would be staying on my right. All of that happened as I made the right turn.
quite concerned about where he was and was distracted for a moment. I then jammed on my brakes to avoid hitting a truck that
was also making the same turn from the opposite direction. We missed each other by only inches.
I don't think I
will ever get one any closer than that. I was lucky today. Somehow, it worked out. I'm still not happy with the cyclist who
was operating as if he was a car.
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
No Rush To Try Again
2:29 pm edt
I wanted to check it out. I was quite curious. I thought I would like it, but I guessed wrong.
In my attempt to try new food, I decided on a crab meat sandwich. I bought a 6 ounce can which turned out to be half water.
There was less meat than a 5 ounce can of tuna.
I was not overwhelmed by the taste. It was ok, but nothing that
will make me go out an buy another can. I'm glad I tried it. I was procrastinating for the last few weeks. I'm not sure why
I didn't buy it sooner.
I wonder when I'll start drinking the cranberry juice I bought.
Monday, May 17, 2010
6:28 pm edt
never mind shopping for food. I find it relaxing. I don't usually have a list. Sometimes I forget an item like I did yesterday.
I was eating a sandwich last night and really missed by petite carrots. I have been eating a package every few days. It has
taken me years to develop a liking of carrots.
When I had my tuna at lunch, I missed them again. I decided to make
a special trip so I would have them with my burger tonight. They sure tasted good and they are healthy!
Sunday, May 16, 2010
Not Lost on Jack
2:59 pm edt
There is a front page mention in today's
Boston Globe about the ending of the television shows "Lost" and "24". Both will end after six seasons.
"Lost" will have a 5 1/2 show next Sunday to culminate their run. That's longer than it takes to play the Super
A great deal has been written about both shows. Many fans are sad to see them end. I must admit that I have
never seen one minute of either show. I know nothing about "Lost". I know that "24" features Jack Bauer
played by Keefer Sutherland. After that, it gets very sketchy.
Regardless of what happens, I won't be spending
any time watching either show. They just never appealed to me.
Saturday, May 15, 2010
Watching History Being Made
4:19 pm edt
When the Boston Bruins lost the 7th
game of their playoff round last night, they became one of only four teams in professional sports to have lost a best of seven
series after wining the first three games. It has happened twice in hockey and once for baseball. The 2004 New York Yankees
lost to the Boston Red Sox after leading 3-0.
This is a very improbable feat. Everyone thought the Bruins
would make the Easter Conference Finals after being up 3-0 and only needing one win in four games. They even lead 3-0 last
night in the first period before losing 4-3.
Nobody likes to see their team lose, especially this way. But if you
are going to throw it all away, you might as well make history. The last hockey team to do this was the Pittsburgh Penguins
in 1975. It might take another 35 years. I would be 91. At least I got to witness history last night. It may never happen again in my lifetime.
Friday, May 14, 2010
Let's Keep It Going
3:49 pm edt
This afternoon I watched the live
launch of the space shuttle Atlantis on CNN. There are only two more shuttle flights scheduled before the fleet is grounded
because of budget cuts and a waning interest in the space program.
Any future Amercan astronauts will need to hitch
a ride aboard one of the space capsules sent up by Russia. I think it will be a sad day for Amercia if the flights end. There
was a time when any space launch received wall-to-wall coverage. Now, it's only a footnote in the news. Many younger people
fail to see the benefits of space exploration.
So much of today's technology is a by-product of the space program.
It is too vast to list here. There are fools out there who never believe we even went to the moon. I don't know how to address
I think our nation becomes weaker the day we stop taking the initiative in space exploration and manned flights.
Thursday, May 13, 2010
5:14 pm edt
I thought spring would bring a change.
The temperature has fluctuated quite bit. That probably has not helped. I still have chronically dry skin on my hands.
Right now, they look rather messy. It's time to put the hand creme on again.
I think I might need to do this for
a while. Every time I think my hands are ok, they get dry and cracked again. The knuckles are very cracked.
the brighter side, my legs were really good over the winter. I didn't have the regular itching like in the past. I'm not sure
what the difference was. Maybe it was not being at work. That can certainly cure a lot of ills.
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
12:29 am edt
Life is very unpredictable. We never
know what's going to happen. Things can change quickly. On Monday night, a family of four was watching a Stanley Cup playoff
game in their home outside of Montreal. All of a sudden, their home disappeared into a thirty foot sinkhole that measured
550 x 110 yards. They are still missing. The cause has not been determined.
We wake up in the morning and hope
to go to bed at night. This family was in the comfort of their home when they literally fell of the earth. This sounds like
being hit by a meteorite. What are the odds of that?
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
The Heat Is On
10:36 am edt
It was cold when I got home last night.
I didn't want to turn on the heat. I stayed up for an hour and kept my jacket on. I went to bed using three blankets.
When I awoke this morning it was 59 degrees in my living room. It also felt damp. That was enough. I turned on my heat full
blast to warm the place up. With a weather forecast of 50 and rainy tomorrow, it looks like the heat will be on at least for
I also won't be wearing short-sleeves when I go out tonight.
Monday, May 10, 2010
Not Worthy of Award
6:32 pm edt
I read a story about a middle-school
in southern New Hampshire that was awarded an "Excellence in Education" award by an educational group. The award
was based on a five page essay written by the principle. The group did a site visit on St Patrick's Day and got to see all
of the students dressed in green.
I don't know anything about the school, but the award seems to be a bit of a
stretch. The principle wrote up his own school. The final decision was not made on academic achievement or test scores. What
does everyone dressing in green have to do with the quality of education?
I would hate to see some of the schools
that didn't win.
Sunday, May 9, 2010
TIME Running Out
11:34 am edt
I have been a subscriber to TIME magazine
since 1966. That's a lot of issues.The magazine has changed a lot in recent years. Weekly news magazines have seen their future
threatened by on-line news. TIME has shrunk in size. My recent issue was only 56 pages. There are more "fluffy"
articles than in the past.
My subscription is running out in January. I have already received "early bird"
reminders to renew something that expires in seven months.
I wish they would put more effort in producing
a better magazine rather than trying to sell it to me.
Friday, May 7, 2010
Fog Rolling In
2:46 pm edt
During the last two weeks, I have noticed
that my new TIMEX Ironman sports-watch has fog under the crystal. This is rather odd as the watch is only two months old and
is warranted for water protection down to 200 meters.
I don't know how this happened. I never take it into the
pool or get it wet when I wash dishes.
Water and electronic devices are a bad combination. Somehow, I have
the feeling that I am going to have a short relationship with this watch. It's probably not a bad idea to get the warranty
paperwork out as I might need to send it back while it still works
Thursday, May 6, 2010
No Hurry To Return
5:59 pm edt
I enjoyed my trip to Portland last night.
I was very impressed with their old buildings in their downtown. Many have been rehabbed over the years into new uses.
I wasn't impressed with the fact that it cost me $10 in tolls to get there. It was $5 each way with New Hampshire
having their typical spot and Maine shaking me down twice. I don't have any issue with paying a toll on a bridge or tunnel,
but charging to travel on the National Defense Interstate Highway System is contrary to the purpose of the roads as originally
proposed by President Dwight Eisenhower in the 1950's.
I was planning to drive another 30 miles north to LL Bean
in Freeport, but felt I had paid enough in tolls for a night.
Wednesday, May 5, 2010
The Maine Event
3:06 pm edt
I will be doing a comedy show tonight
at a club in Portland,Maine. What makes this rather unique is that I have never been to downtown Portland. This will only
be the second time I have ever been in the city. Years ago, I ran a half-marathon on the outskirts of town. I have traveled
through on Rt 95, but never had the occasion to go there.
I have not made many trips to Maine in my life. I have
only gone as far as Waterville, although I headed north and drove to Quebec on two other occasions. One of the reasons for
doing this show is to get to Portland. If I didn't, it might take me another few years to get there.
Tuesday, May 4, 2010
A Different Shade
6:29 pm edt
Everybody procrastinates to a degree.
Some more so than others. There are always things we could do, but a lot of times we jut wait. Once we decide to do
something, we develop a singular focus. Such was the case in buyng a new window shade today.
I should have done
this last year, but I waited until now. The shade needed to be custom cut. I removed the old one and went to a local paint
& window covering store. Naturally, the "shade man" was on a day off ,but would be in tomorrow. It was getting
late. Even in New Hampshire, I faced the prospect of a 5pm closing.
I drove to the store and made it by 10 minutes.
The customcut shade fit perfect. I wonder how long I will own this shade. I had the other for over 10 years.
Monday, May 3, 2010
On the Road Again
4:59 pm edt
It has been two weeks since I finished
the Boston Marathon. After the race, I decided to take two weeks off to give my body a chance to recuperate and address a
couple of nagging injuries.
I finally got out again today. I must admit that I was a bit lethargic. It was only
a couple of miles, but it felt great to be back out there with the fresh air and sunshine.
It's time to start preparing
for the New York City Marathon on November 7th. It's only 188 days away and will be here before I know it. However, we still
have to get through summer. The best weather is ahead.
Sunday, May 2, 2010
The Last Ride
2:30 pm edt
We never know what is going to happen
in the course of any day of our life. We can make plans, but they can change in a moment due to circumstances beyond our control.
In a town in northern New Hampshire, a 16 year boy was killed by a falling tree while riding an ATV through the woods.
It was a very windy day last Friday. The wind knocked part of tree over into the oncoming path of the young rider.
He suffered a fatal injury.
He was definitely in the wrong place at the wrong time. What it fate that made him
decide to take a ride? The gospel says that we "never know the day or the hour". That is a very truthful statement.
Saturday, May 1, 2010
Too Much Regulating
2:38 pm edt
I believe that government can make intelligent
decisions at times on things that need regulations. That is the foundation of law. The town of Concord, Mass, took it to another
level when they decided to outlaw the sale of bottled water in their town.
No doubt, there are a lot of environmental
issues associated with bottled water. Too many empty containers end up as litter or in landfills. Many resources are
expended in their production and distribution.
But where does it end? Why not ban soda bottles and the sale of
cigarettes? Bottled water is an easy item to pile on. It's getting more and more controversial. I have no solution for the
problem other than more recycling of the empty containers. I do feel it's a waste producing an 8 ounce bottle.
have old plumbing in my residence and have not drank tap water for years. I have no plans to start now.