Wednesday, June 30, 2010
No Rail Available
7:23 pm edt
It would be interesting to know
how they determine where to install guard rails on interstate highways. There are large stretches of many roads that have
perilous drops if you lose control in the third lane.
As I drove up Rt 93 last night, I found several stretches
that needed them badly. Going off the road would cause the car to tumble and roll. I'm not sure why they don't install them
there. Other stretches had strips of guard rails dented and twisted from vehicles bouncing off like a pinball.
things save lives. They should install them. It would also keep workers employed.
Tuesday, June 29, 2010
Unfortunate Day At the Zoo
6:12 pm edt
Life changes in an instant. It is very
unpredictable and can have dire consequences. A young couple and their six month old daughter were visiting the Central Park
Zoo in New York City last weekend. It was a beautiful day weather-wise.
As mother and daughter posed for a photo,
a large limb fell from a tree killing the child and critically injuring the mother.The tree was healthy and had been
pruned in the spring. Officials are conducting a further review.
Whenever you leave your home, you always expect
to make it back. This was the furthest thing in their mind when they left their home in New Jersey for a day in the city.
You just never know when your time is up.
Monday, June 28, 2010
The No Name Bridge
5:57 pm edt
It's becoming an issue whenever a public
structure needs to be named after being built. It doesn't matter if it's a school, road, tunnel, bridge or any other public
edifice. Nobody is happy these days.
Some places have decided to designate generic names. In my home town, there
was quite a controversy when four new schools were built. Numerous names of prominent people were suggested, but everyone
had their own reason for opposition. The city finally went with generic geographic designations.
Now, we are faced
with another re-naming. A bridge is being built to replace a 60 year old structure named after a former Congressman, William
Bates. He has been out of office for almost 40 years. The bridge is mostly referred by its former name, the Groveland Bridge.
Already, names are being batted around. The community had the same problems a few years ago when another bridge
was replaced. A big controversy developed after some felt is should get a new name, replacing that of a former World war II
I believe this "new/replacement" bridge should keep its name. I can understand why some favor
generic names. Maybe we should be like New York City, where public school get a numeric designation such as P.S. 12.
There is no way you can make everyone happy, but I don't think the memory of the namesake should be dishonored.
Sunday, June 27, 2010
Fair Compensation Wanted
4:14 pm edt
Public works projects are notorious
for being delayed and over budget. A road reconstruction in my home town is a classic example. The $14.6 million project was
first approved in 1997. There have been numerous delays increasing the cost. It is funded by the state since the
road is part of a state highway. The road will be resurfaced, drainage improved and sidewalks will be constructed.
A story about the project caught my eye. The city actually requested that home owners give up small parcels of land
needed for the project or have it taken by eminent domain. About 180 residents agreed to donate their land. The others will
have it seized, but will be compensated. Most of the parcels are less than 100 square feet. Some are need for sidewalks while
other portions will be utilized temporarily during construction. Compensation ranges from $100-$2,500 per parcel.
I think it's very civic-minded for these people to donate their land, but what about someone who wants compensation? Are
they being greedy by exerting their rights as part of the eminent domain process?
I'm not a home owner, but I don't
think I would give up any of my land without some minimal compensation. Once you lose the land you never get it back. Your
yard is smaller, decreasing the overall property value.
Saturday, June 26, 2010
A Toast To Derek
5:41 pm edt
Today is the 36th birthday of Derek
Jeter. Here in Red Sox Nation, it's not considered cool to like him or his New York Yankees. He is our nemesis.
think this is so much nonsense. I'm a huge fan of Jeter. I have enjoyed watching his Hall of Fame career unfold before me.
He conducts himself with dignity and class and has lived a life void of scandel (so far or at least not reported).
It always puzzles me why "fans of the game" need to have such a dislike for him. I can understand the Boston/New
York rivalry, but I'll never figure out why people hate certain players. There are so many things to like about Derek Jeter
as a ballplayer. I wish he played for us.
Friday, June 25, 2010
Need To Save More
5:30 pm edt
One thing about computers is that you
live and learn. I was just about done typing a post to this blog when my system shut down. I lost the entire posting. This
happened one other time.
When I post to this blog, I have the option of saving my draft. It's an extra step because
I have to take two actions to get back to the edit mode.
Many times, I just type out my thoughts and then post
them. It rarely occurs to me that I should save my work.
So far, I have done it twice for this posting. I can't
believe that I lost my prior one. I think I'll try and do it again tomorrow. After losing it the first time, I thought I should
write about something else.
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
4:52 pm edt
I belong to the National Trust For Historic
Preservation. For $25 annually, I get a membership card, monthly magazine and their on-line newsletter.
big believer in historic preservation, especially buildings that are architecturally significant or bodies of land with historic
The latest newsletter presented two interesting controversies. A group wants to build a casino less than
one mile away from Gettysburg National Park in Pennsylvania. I cannot think of anything more repugnant other than a Walmart
moving into the neighborhood. Coincidently, Walmart has been trying to build near a Civil War battlefield in Virginia. Hopefully,
both of these projects get blocked.
The Department of Defense was looking into replacing the limestone monument
at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery. Cracks have appeared in the monument.
a repair project is ongoing with the monument after years of study. As much as there are people out there who want to preserve
things, there are others who would just as soon get rid of them.
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
The Cool Room
6:13 pm edt
I finally decided to put my air conditioner
in. I never look forward to doing this because it takes so long. I like my place being cool while I'm awake, but I have a
problem sleeping with it on. I will remove it right after Labor Day. I already noticed the difference in the temperature and
humidity. I'll probably also notice a significant rise in my electricity usage.
To motivate myself to do this,
I decided to time the procedure from start to finish. I had to move some stuff and prepare the window. I finally got it up
and running after 35 minutes. I think that's a new record. When I first installed it a few years ago, it took over an hour.
The way this is going, I'll be taking it out in 11 weeks.
Monday, June 21, 2010
The New Old Look
12:26 pm edt
I admit that the appearance of this
website could be better. I'm using some off the shelf software from my web host. I have about 80 different templates to chose
from. I'm still using the original one. I have been reluctant to make major changes as I am concerned that I will only make
I finally made an updated copy of my site which will allow me to try out different looks without
publishing them. I need to do something about the pictures on the site. There must be a way to format their size better. There
is a lot of wasted space on the page.
So far, I have tried a few different templates. I don't like the way they
look. I tried one that I thought would be an improvement. It turned out to be the one I have now. I'll keep looking.
Sunday, June 20, 2010
Sock It To Me
8:48 pm edt
I have blisters on the bottom of both
feet after running up Mt Washington yesterday. I have not had blisters in at least 10 years. This is real bizarre. I think
it may have been my NIKE socks.
I bought 12 pairs a couple of years ago. I rotate them, but they have been washed
many times. I think they are starting to wear thin. I thought of wearing my CHAMPION marathon socks for the race, but
I wanted to conserve them for future marathons. They are also tube socks which are so outdated. That's a whole other
I need to take a long hard look at what I'm wearing on my feet when I run. What happened yesterday
can never be acceptable. It hasn't happened in the past. There is no way it should happen in the future.
don't know what type of socks I'm going to end up with.
Saturday, June 19, 2010
Fools On The Hill
8:35 pm edt
Today, I ran a race up Mt Washington.
It's something I've been doing since I was 18. This was my 32 time. I missed a few over the years for various reasons. Every
race is different. The weather can present some real challenges.
It was a beautiful day today. It was one
of the best I've seen in years. The visiblity was great. I ran with some people from my runing club. We seem to
be around the same speed.
In the future, I should probably try and run with people I know when I race. It made
the time go by quicker. The race seemed a lot easier and I ran a decent time.
I ran off and on with someone in
the recent Boston Marthon. I think that's one of the reasons I was able to break six hours.
Thursday, June 17, 2010
Game 7 Show Time
8:50 pm edt
I'm writing this 15 minutes before
the tipoff of Games 7 between the Celtics and Lakers for the NBA Championship. It doesn't get any bigger than this. All of
the cliches apply. I don't know who is going to win or whether the Celtics will play well.
I do know that games
like this do not come around often. When will it happen again? Who knows? With the changes coming to the team, it could be
a long time. It's a very unique opportunity for the team and fans. This is a very big event going on around the world tonight,
much like World Cup Soccer .
Wednesday, June 16, 2010
No Frequent Flier Miles
5:53 pm edt
American, Japanese and Australian scientists
are excited now that a space probe sent to gather samples from an asteroid has returned to Earth.
was launched by Japan in 2003 and took a two year journey to the asteroid. It was expected to return in 2007, but technical
problems cause a two year delay due to the missing of the time window to properly coordinate with the Earth's orbit.
The probe traveled 4 billion miles before returning to a remote military zone in Australia. The samples collected
from the surface of the asteroid may shed light on the solar system's evolution and origin as well as the properties of the
This was a $200 million project which I believe is one of the many types of research that space venture
should be pursuing, in addition to manned flights. It can only produce positive results.
Tuesday, June 15, 2010
5:39 pm edt
Every six months, I go through the problem
of a clogged drain in my bath tub. It probably needs a plumber's snake to clean out the pipe as they are very old. I seem
to be able to open the drain with a bottle of DRAINO or LIQUID PLUMBER. Sometimes it takes two jugs to do it.
I bought the LIQUID PLUMBER today, there was a sticker that gave instructions to get my money back if the problem was not
resolved by the 32 ounce jug.
I used it all up and need to get another one. I've alwardy gone to their website
for the instructions to get my refund.
They want to know why it didn't work. The need some customer feedback.
I'll give them some, but it the end, I want my money back since I need to buy another jug.
It's interesting to
note that this is a limited time opportunity. They are only standing by their product for a short period of time. In the future,
I might save myself time if I just buy two jugs since using only one does not unclog the drain.
Monday, June 14, 2010
12:18 pm edt
It happens this time every year. The
feeling is still the same when I see the results of the annual "National Spelling Bee" for middle schoolers. It
reminds me of my bad attempt at wining the contest in my school when I was in the eight grade.
I always considered
myself to be a good speller. I double-check my writing and use "spell check" if on a computer. I thought I had a
good chance of winning. They didn't use words that we didn't know the meaning of. Every year, I see words in the contest that
I have no idea of their definition.
My first word was "subscription". I started spelling is as "
S U B C". All of a sudden I was cut off when the teacher said "The spelling is incorrect."
out on my first word. I never had a chance to move past the first round. I could have been a contender.
Sunday, June 13, 2010
5:34 pm edt
I have a few observations after watching
USA and England play to a 1-1 tie in the World Cup. The fans are very passionate. I'm beginning to like the vuvuzela horns
that are blown throughout the game. They sound like a swarm of bees.
Nobody an convince me that batting a ball
off your head is a good thing to do. Players are trained to use the top of the forehead, but I still don't think it's a good
Robert Green, the goal keeper for England, must have been vilified throughout the country after bobbling
an easy save and allowing the USA its only goal. If England doesn't advance deeply into the tournament, he has the potential
to be a soccer version of Bill Buckner.
Saturday, June 12, 2010
4:34 pm edt
should have dreams and aspirations, but sometimes people push the limits too far and it becomes foolhardy.
Abby Sunderland is a 16 year old from California who is attempting to be the youngest person to sail solo around the world.
Her 17 year old brother did it last year and currently holds the record.
A storm in the Indian Ocean broke the
mast of her boat. There was no contact with her for 24 hours. Officials picked up a signal from a distress beacon from her
boat in the Indian Ocean. A search plane has spotted the craft in stormy waters. A ship in the area is attempting to reach
During this time, Abby's father continues to say what a positive thing this is for her. He is proud of his
other son and has no doubt that Abby's two younger siblings might try this in the future.
I think it's a matter
of time before one of these ventures has a tragic consequence. A 13 year old recently climbed Mt Everest. How many of these
kids are really doing this on their own?
Behind every kid like this, there is a parent that continues to push them
to achieve their own agenda.
Friday, June 11, 2010
The Biggest Game
11:43 am edt
As a sports fan, I admit that I am not
overly excited by today's start of the World Cup Soccer tournament. It's the biggest event in the sports world with 32 teams
battling for the title in South Africa. All around the world, people will stop what they are doing when their nation plays.
Soccer is the most popular sport in the world. It has not taken off in America except with "Soccer Parents"
and their little ones. Nobody plays soccer when they get older. Sometimes, I think soccer is just a way for parents to socialize.
Tomorrow, the USA plays England in their opening match. I have not heard of anyone hosting a World Cup party. The
game does not make for great television as there are no commercial breaks.
The title game is on July 11. It will
draw the largest television audience in world history. In the USA, the game drew 16 million viewers in 2006. That was three
times more than in 2002.
Circle July 11 on your calendar. It could be a real big party day.
Thursday, June 10, 2010
A Special Purchase
12:57 am edt
I hadn't made a purchase like this in
quite a while. It's been a few years, but I finally had to my new laces for a pair of casual shoes. The laces never break
on my running shoes. The soles wear down before the laces.
However, one snapped on my black shoes the other day.
The other lace is in fine condition. When I bought the pair today, I wondered if I will ever use the other one before the
shoes get worn out. What caused one lace to wear out prematurely? When will I buy my next pair of laces?
are two questions I may never have an answer for.
Tuesday, June 8, 2010
How Much Do We Owe?
6:48 pm edt
It doesn't appear that we will ever
know the amount of oil flowing into the Gulf of Mexico. We get figures from B.P and the federal government. As a former career
federal employee, I have an appreciation of how the numbers get convoluted.
One only has to look at the federal
deficit. No doubt government spending is out of control, but the key is to try and figure out how much debt there is.
The National Debt Clock in New York City shows 13.05 trillion dollars. However, that does not include 15.58 billion for
the underfunding of Social Security or the potential 50-100 trillion for Medicare.
The debt is 13.05 trillion because
bean counters don't like to consider undefunded programs. Remember, it's all about having favorable numbers.
Monday, June 7, 2010
People Say Dumb Things
5:06 pm edt
People say things that they soon regret.
Sometimes you can apologize and move on. Other times, the results can be catastrophic. Such was the case with iconic news
reporter Helen Thomas who retired after being quoted as saying that Jews should get out of Palestine and go to Germany, Poland
or the United States.
Thomas made her comments during an on-line interview. In this day of 10 second sound-bites,
her comments travelled quickly. The final straw appeared when the White House mentioned that her comments were inappropriate.
Rather than resign, Ms Thomas retired.
She is 89 years old and has served as a news correspondent since 1943. She
has covered the White House beat since 1960. Her accomplsighments have been extraordinary and trail blazing for female reporters.
It appeared that she would die on the job, rather than retire. In the end, she forced it upon herself. It makes you
wonder why people say some of the things they do. What was she thinking? Didn't she realize that those comments would be incendiary?
Sunday, June 6, 2010
10:49 am edt
I kept procrastinating about it probably
because I couldn't believe it was happening. I bought a TIMEX sports watch back in April. Recently, fog and water drops have
appeared under the crystal. The watch is warrantied for water immersion to 200 feet. If I ever get that deep, I'll probably
However, the water drops have appeared while I have been running. I ran a 5K race this morning in a pouring
rain. More moisture formed under the crystal. The watch recorded my splits properly, but will not shut off or switch to another
I bought this thing for $35 at Walmart. It's under warranty. Sending it back to TIMEX is an option, but it
will take weeks to get it back. Either way, I won't be able to time myself unless I buy another watch.
I plan to
send it back, but I think I'll cut my losses for frustration and buy another one. Somehow, I have the feeling that dealing
with a warranty is not going to be any fun.
Friday, June 4, 2010
The Big Potato
10:40 pm edt
I went out to eat earlier with some
long time friends. The meal was great; broiled haddock, baked potato and a cup of veggies. The portions were huge. Naturally,
I ate everything on my plate.
That's one thing I've always done since I was a kid. Whatever is on my plate,
I consume. No leftovers for me. I like to start with a fresh meal each time.
I think the key to feeling full tonight
is the enormous baked potato I ate. I never buy them that big at the market. It's a good thing I don't put anything on it.
Thursday, June 3, 2010
No Expiration Date
2:50 pm edt
The horrors of war can linger for generations
even after a conflict ends. All around the world, there are unexploded bombs and land mines that continue to claim victims.
Such was the case in Goettinger, Germany last Tuesday.
Three bomb disposal experts were killed and six injured while
trying to disarm an unexploded 1,000 pound bomb left over from World War II. The device was found by a construction crew in
an empty lot 20 feet below ground where a sports arena was being built. Police had already evacuated 7,000 residents in the
immediate area when the explosion occurred.
Although World War II ended 65 years ago, there are still devices
being found all across Europe. This will continue to happen for an indefinite period. Throughout the Third World, Iraq and
Afghanistan these events will continue to happen long after we are all gone.
Wednesday, June 2, 2010
First In The Pool
4:46 pm edt
I wanted to use the outdoor pol at my
fitness club yesterday, but there were thunder storms during the afternoon. I finally went in today to aqua-jog for 30 minutes.
There was nobody else in the pool. A couple of kids came by later on with their mothers. They were jumping off the diving
board and going back in.
The water was quite comfortable, although the air temperature was 68 degrees. It felt
great being in the pool. My time was made more tolerable by the fact I wore a wet suit. It made all of the difference. Without
the suit, I would not have a story to tell about going into the pool.
Tuesday, June 1, 2010
Don't Drink It
1:00 pm edt
There is a great degree of controversy
over the role of government in our lives. Some laws are made to "protect" us. That is often open for interpretation.
I am somewhat troubled by a bill that was passed in the California Senate. It would prohibit the consumption of sports
drinks with electrolytes by those in grades 7-12. The drinks are already banned in public schools for those yonger.
The bill was sponsored by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger who is leading the battlle in his state against childhood obesity.
No doubt, it is a problem across America. It gets more difficult as we age. America is a country filled with overweight people.
Controlling weight is a struggle many of us face throughout our life. Many bad habits are developed in childhood and
continue into our adult years.
I have consumed sports drinks since my teen years. I have recently switched to a
lower calorie and carbohydrate drink. I watch other aspects of my diet. I don't need the government telling me what to eat
If they want to address child obesity, they should ban fast food restaurants. That is where the problem