Monday, January 31, 2011
Cooking the Numbers
10:46 am est
The producer of the movie "Avatar"
announced that sequels will be released in 2014 and 2015. I have not seen the flick and have no plans to see it in the future.
It has the highest
grossing box office sales in history. To me, this is a meaningless claim. Considering what a ticket costs, this is no major
accomplishment. What really counts is how many seats are sold. Why don't they release that number?
With the Wind" first came out, it was considered the most successful movie in history. Tickets cost 10 cents. When
I saw it in 1969, I think it cost $3.
The same holds true for sporting events and concerts. Tickets are so expensive that
it causes sales numbers to get skewed.
Inflation can make the numbers look better, but it's all about buying power.
Sunday, January 30, 2011
5:30 pm est
I went to a memorial mass today for
my brother at church we went to all of our lives. I thought I would dress up with slacks, white shirt and a tie with my long
Based on what I saw, I must have looked out of place. It's very casual now; more so than ever.
It seems like nobody dresses up for anything these days.
In the course of my work career, I went from wearing a
tie to taking it off because I looked like a dork. The place went casual every day for management and employees.
I guess I should have read the memo about this being Casual Sunday. I'll keep it in mind for the future.
Saturday, January 29, 2011
Marching Has Stopped
9:33 pm est
Politicians are famous for cutting programs
and then blaming others when thinks don't work according to plan. The local school committee is a great example of that.
They recently grilled the music director of the high school to determine why there is no longer a marching band. The
school offers a jazz band and instrument ensemble, but not the traditional band of years past
years ago, they cut the positions of music teachers in the middle schools. That ended the feeder system for the high school
band. In years past, the band would have 80 members. Now there are less than 20.
Marching bands are a thing of
the past. Our local high school has very poor attendance at the game by students and fans. There is not much interest
in supporting a marching band.
I thought the committee members were grandstanding with some of their comments.
If they were that concerned about the band, they should not have eliminated the middle school positions.
You can support
for the arts, but you still need to show the money.
Friday, January 28, 2011
The Cursed Machine.
5:16 pm est
I heard a story the other day on
the radio about a 62 year old man who was killed while riding a snowmobile in New Hampshire. He struck a rock, went off the
trail and hit a tree. The story ended after that.
When I read the same story in the newspaper, there was a sad
twist . Five years ago, his 19 year old son was killed while riding the same machine. He fell through the ice on Lake Winnipesaukee
and drowned. The snowmobile was recovered and repaired.
It seems hard to believe that the same machine would kill
a father and his son. They both died doing something they really enjoyed. I'm sure it meant a lot to the father to ride the
vehicle that had such a special place in his son's life.
I wonder if anyone will ever ride it again after two fatal
Thursday, January 27, 2011
A Little Bit Late
5:06 pm est
The Food and Drug Administration announced
the voluntary recall of some bagged salad products marketed under several different brand names in the Northeast.
There might be some bacterial contamination in the products produced on January 4th. The FDA said the salad bags had an
expiration date of January 15th.
I wonder why they are announcing this now. Who would eat bagged salad that is
already 12 days past its expiration date? I think that would definitely make you sick.
I never buy the stuff. I
think it's ridiculous to buy salad with a shelf life of eleven days. How fresh is it after one week?
Wednesday, January 26, 2011
First Time With the Shoes
12:14 pm est
I recently bought a pair of snow shoes
and finally tried them out yesterday. I thought of buying them in previous years, but there was never that much snow on the
The snow cover is the highest I've seen in many years. The cold weather has kept it from melting. There
has been no rain.
I went to a local park and walked some trails for about one hour. I think it makes a huge difference
when there is so much snow on the ground. All of the brush was covered. Trails were packed down by snow mobiles.
I enjoyed my hike and got a decent workout. I think it would have been a lot different if the snow cover was only a few
inches. You need a lot of snow to set the tone. If I keep doing this, I will eventually be walking on trails that have bare
It's probably much different when the temperatures are warm and the snow is slushy.
Tuesday, January 25, 2011
Don't Email Him
10:38 am est
I'm a big fan of Boston's mayor, Thomas
Menino. He enjoys a great approval rating among his constituency. After being in office for 18 years, there are grumblings
about his current state of health. He has been forced to work out of his home because of recent knee surgery.
maintains his hands-on approach through conference calls and meetings at his home. He continues to resist any attempt to get
him to use email. He also hates voice-mail.
I understand his point, but he really needs to embrace email in this
age. I know none of his predecessors ever had access to the technology, but it's a different time now.
approaches his job with a great degree of passion. I think he would be doing himself a favor if he at least gave it a trial.
Just don't send him any attachments to open.
Monday, January 24, 2011
More Dumb Poll Questions
12:58 pm est
WBZ radio runs a daily poll about
various issues. I always find the results interesting. Some people must have a lot of time on their hands to dial the station's
number and express their opinion on voice mail.
Today's question is a real winner: "What gets you more angry,
sub-zero temperatures or a blizzard"?
I understand the dangers from cold temperatures and blizzard conditions,
but in my opinion, it doesn't do any good to get angry over it. We can't control the weather. It's a waste of time and mental
energy to express anger over something that is totally out of our hands.
This poll question is as stupid as a recent
one which asked listeners whether Tom Brady looks good in long hair. Who really cares?
Sunday, January 23, 2011
3:00 pm est
The 2012 Olympics in London are
more than 18 months away and there is already a great deal of controversy around the stadium.
The 80,000 seat facility
will be finished at a cost of $853 million. Nobody can decide on its use after the games. It will be the site of the opening
and closing ceremonies, as well as track and field.
Some soccer teams have proposed demolishing it completely and
building a soccer facility without the running track. Others want to downsize it to 60,000.
In London's original
Olympic proposal, they advocated keeping the track as part of a showcase facility for the sport.
No matter what
decision is made, it will be another example of how much money is spent by the host city for an event than has dubious economic
New York City was one of the cities that "lost" out on the hosting of the 2012 games. Plans would
have leveled 20 blocks on the west side of Manhattan. In retrospect, the city was a winner.
Saturday, January 22, 2011
Burning the Files
5:14 pm est
My DROID phone has been very useful,
especially the voice recorder application which I use to tape my comedy sets. Until today, I have been frustrated in my efforts
to download them to my desktop and burn them to a CD.
I was always able to download the files successfully, but
they never had any sound. After about an hour of playing around, I identified the problem. It was a matter of switching my
So far, I have been able to burn three files to a CD. I have around 90 left. I have most of my sets
after April of last year on my DROID. If anything happens to my phone, they are history. Now that I know what I'm doing, I
can get it done.
On the other hand, I accidentally deleted my most recent set. There was no way of getting it back
since I deleted it from my DROID.
Hopefully, I can keep the mistakes to a minimum.
Friday, January 21, 2011
TIME To Call a Bluff
12:50 am est
I have been unhappy with my TIME magazine
subscription for the last few years. I've been reading it since 1966. It's changed dramatically over the years, especially
with the growth of the Internet and 24/7 news coverage.
I decided to let my subscription run out. I wrote "canceled"
on my latest statement. Today, I got one of those ridiculous letters telling me that I only have two issues left. They don't
want to have my service interrupted.
I appreciate their thought, but not at their asking price. If they want me
back, I need a much better subscription rate. I'm ready to walk. I tried this a few years ago with another magazine. After
a few weeks, they made me a better offer.
I still like the magazine. However, it's overpriced and with fewer pages
than in the past. The ball is in their court now.
Thursday, January 20, 2011
The Band Played On
2:06 pm est
Every year when I run the New York City
Marathon, I see the band from Bishop Loughlin High School playing music at the 8 mile mark in Brooklyn. They have a huge amount
of musicians. Many of the band alumnae join them that day to keep the music going. They perform a very stirring rendition
of "Rocky" and "New York New York". They only play those two songs for hours on end.
run up Lafayette Ave, the crowd is deep on both sides of the street. I always look around at the stately brownstones that
line the street. In recent years, the neighborhood has undergone gentrification, but the high-rise housing projects are still
As I read the New York Post this morning, a story jumped out at me. Last Friday night, a gunman opened fire
as a fans left a Loughlin basketball game against one of their arch rivals. Five youths were shot, but none of them had life
Since nobody died, this story has a happy ending. That might not be the case the next time,
given the state of senseless urban violence.
Over the years, I've always wondered what happened to the band
members as they got older. The school has been around for over 100 years. The band has a great tradition with the marathon.
I look forward to seeing them when I run there in November.
Wednesday, January 19, 2011
10:07 am est
I went running during yesterday's snow
storm. My street was plowed. I ran up and down the street for 30 minutes. There were no cars to deal with. It was not slippery.
I never thought it was a bad decision.
Today is much different. We had an ice storm last night. I went out last
night around 6pm to throw some trash in the dumpster. It was a challenge to get back inside because it was so slippery.
I'm going out shortly to do an errand. It does not look like a day for running outdoors. The view out the window is
Monday, January 17, 2011
11:32 am est
I have four house plants. One is almost
four years old and looking great. The others are younger and were doing fine until last week.
One of my ivy plants
looks to be in bad shape and may not make it. I'm not sure what happened. All of the plants get house light, but no direct
sun. That never seem to matter until now.
The leaves of the ivy plant are very limp. I don't want to toss it out,
but it doesn't look good. Maybe I should have cut it back more often. I won't give up until it's over, but I should think
about finding a replacement.
Sunday, January 16, 2011
Wasting Paper To Save Trees
10:45 am est
I guess I'm suppose to feel special
now that I have been selected by the Arbor Day Foundation to participate in the 2011 Massachusetts Tree Survey. The cover
letter mentions that I will receive "four free gifts with a donation of $10 or more". How are they free if I need
The survey has 18 questions. Not only is my name and address on the survey, but I also get a special
survey identification number. So much for anonymity. They even threw in some address labels.
One thing that
surprised me is the amount of paper they sent to me in this solicitation. Trees were sacrificed just to send out this request
to save trees. Something doesn't make sense here.
I will recycle all of their paperwork. If I reply to this survey
, they will sell my name to every charity related to the environment. I get so much junk mail now as it is. I think I get
stuff from almost every environmental cause known to mankind because I donate to a few.
Saturday, January 15, 2011
Band of Bad Ideas
11:40 am est
Scientist and researchers do some "interesting"
things when it comes to nature. They think nothing of disturbing an eagle's nest to examine the eggs or to put a band around
the ankle of the young chicks.
They may have gone overboard when it comes to a study of penguins. A group has been
studying the birds for 10 years using a small band attached to their flipper. They found that the banded birds have a shorter
life span and reproduce at a lower rate.
Some theorize the band causes a drag on the bird trying to swim.
They say the banded birds look older and more haggard than unbanded ones.
The whole idea of banding them was to
examine migration patterns related to global warming. As a result, the study data might be inaccurate. It also raises the
ethical question of whether birds and wildlife should be banded.
It does look odd when you see a picture of a coyote
or bear wearing a collar. I understand the purpose for doing this, but it reminds me of the expression during the war in Viet
Nam: "We had to destroy the village in order to save it".
Friday, January 14, 2011
Seaching For a Space
1:32 pm est
One of the things in life that gives
me satisfaction is getting a free parking space or a meter that can be fed with a reasonable amount of coins.
Last night, I went to Nashua to do comedy. With all
of the snow, I knew parking was going to be tough. The usual spots with the meters were unavailable due to the narrowing of
the road. There is also a small municipal lot which is always filled. I decided to check it out since there were not many
options other than parking on the street further away.
As I drove through the lot, someone was getting ready to
leave. I got the space and had a short walk to the show.
On the other hand, when I got home at mid-night,
there were no spaces in the parking lot behind my apartment building. I ended up on the street. There was no other option.
I'm not keen about parking on the street, especially with all of the snow still on the ground.
The car was in one
piece this morning when I went outside. You never know when you are going to get a space or end up on the street. It's like a roll of the dice.
Thursday, January 13, 2011
It's All About the Bread
5:58 pm est
I think veggie burgers get a bad rap
for being low on taste. Every time I have one, they have been delicious. Even Burger King has a decent veggie burger.
I bought some yesterday at the market. I microwaved one and had it on whole wheat bread. It just didn't taste the same.
Years ago, I had one on a bulkie roll during one of my trips to California. It tasted awesome.
I'm not sure
what Burger King does to dress up their version, but the one I had last night was like eating cardboard.
in the end, a good sandwich is all about the bread. I'll keep working on this.
Wednesday, January 12, 2011
Catching No Break
2:53 pm est
You always wonder why some things happen
the way they do. We often cross the line with fate. Things happen that surprise us.
I was washing dishes today
when I dropped a dinner plate on the floor. I did the same thing last month and shattered the plate into many pieces. This
time there was a loud crash, but no damage to the plate. I don't know why it didn't break.
If I tried it again,
the results might not be favorable. This plate is definitely on borrowed time. I'll try to be more careful, but you never
know what might happen.
Tuesday, January 11, 2011
Not Made In China
2:49 pm est
I was shopping at Walmart the other
day to purchase some products made in China. Walmart keeps their prices low because everything is made overseas these days.
It seems like you can't find any American made products.
I bought a pair of Wrangler jeans. I was surprised to
see they are not made in China. Instead they are made in Haiti. The label on the Wranglers points out that they are made with
It's a start. If they were made here, they would have cost $39.99 instead of the $14.99 I paid. American
companies like the cheap foreign labor. Pointing out the fabric is American-made is quite lame on their part.
Monday, January 10, 2011
Another Lame Storm
10:18 am est
Here we go again with another snow storm
in the forecast for Wednesday. The one over the weekend was a joke. We were suppose to get up to six inches, but it was just
a dusting. This one calls for 6-12 inches starting tomorrow night and going into Wednesday.
I just got a phone
call from the woman who cuts my hair. We wanted to change my appointment from Wednesday to tomorrow. She asked me if I had
been listening to the forecast. I didn't want to sound like a jerk, so I went along with her because she sounded quite
In the end, there will be another rush at the super markets from people who thnk they are going
to get stranded for days without hope. This is so crazy.
Sunday, January 9, 2011
4:03 pm est
I bought a package of eight razor blades
yesterday. Each blade lasts about four months. In fact, my most recent one was from early August.
Back then, I
wondered what would happen in my life over the next few months. The New York City Marathon was still in the future. I certainly
had some big changes!
This package of blades should last about 32 months. This will take me into 2013. I wonder
if I will still have one blade left when I turn 60 on November 25, 2013. It seems like a long way off. The key is to get to
Saturday, January 8, 2011
Not On the List
1:30 pm est
The Whaling Museum in New Bedford has
an action packed weekend scheduled. They are doing their 15th annual public reading of Herman Melville's classic "Moby
I must admit that I have never read the book or seen the movie. In fact, I can't offer any intelligent
comment about the book. Doe he get the whale in the end? What happens to the main character?
Maybe I should read
the Cliff Notes or get the summary on Wikipedia. Otherwise, I have no clue what I'm talking about.
on my reading list now or any time in the future.
Thursday, January 6, 2011
The Toll Is Not Good
11:41 pm est
I have no problem paying a toll to travel
on a bridge or through a tunnel. Most of these structures were built under a legislative authority with the accompanying bureaucratic
structure to raise money through tolls.
I have a problem with paying a toll to travel any mile of the Interstate
Highway System; also known as the National Defense Highway System as sponsored by President Dwight Eisenhower in 1956.
States have worked with the Federal Highway Administration to circumvent the process and initiate tolls. We do
it in Massachusetts with the Turnpike Authority operating Rt 90.
You can't travel to Florida without paying tolls
on Route 95. I think this goes against the spirit of the creation of the interstate highway system.
must admit that I am totally puzzled why the state of New Hampshire charges a toll on the Spaulding Turnpike which is only
a "state highway".
It's only 50 cents, but it seems like another tax to me.
Wednesday, January 5, 2011
Another Snow Watch
11:21 pm est
Whenever you hear the word "snow",
everyone around here looks up. Tonight, the word is official on the 11PM weather forecast.
Late Friday afternoon,
we will get snow "less than six inches" going into early Saturday.They seem to be certain on the snow depth. They
also said it would be getting colder.
I guess we are on another snow watch. The market might get crowded tomorrow.
Everyone needs their milk.
Tuesday, January 4, 2011
No Watching For Me
6:23 pm est
I always hear a dumb ad for Tourneau
watches on the radio. Their tag line is: "A watch can say a lot about you".
After stopping in their store
today at the mall, I think it says that you want to waste a lot of money on a high end watch that only tells time.
I checked out the store for laughs. I didn't get far as a sales associate swarmed over me. They must have thought
I wanted to make a statement by blowing a fortune on a piece of men's jewelry.
Maybe they should focus their marketing
on professional athletes and celebrities that spend their money frivolously.
When Charlie Sheen had his hotel
meltdown a few weeks ago in New York City, he reported a $50,000 watch missing. He didn't make a big deal of it. It was reported
that his watch collection is worth over $5 million.
It looks like his watches say a lot about him. He is an overpaid celebrity who acts like a jerk and
gets away with it.
Monday, January 3, 2011
Dollars For Einstein
5:50 pm est
The estate of Albert Einstein is involved
in a legal suit over the use of his likeness in a series of "Heroes in History" facial masks.
died in 1956, he left his personal papers and literary rights to Hebrew University. Lawyers for the school insist that Einstein's
facial image is included as part of his "intellectual property" over which they have control.
image is used in a broad range of print ads and endorsements. Last year, his estate earned $10 million in royalties.
This pales in comparison to the second place finish of Elvis Presley ($60 million) and Michael Jackson ($275 million).
I'm sure Einstein would be shocked over the income of his estate. Too bad it wasn't like that when he was alive.
Sunday, January 2, 2011
Battle of Mildew
10:15 am est
It's a battle you can't win, but rather
one that you can only hope for a stalemate. Such is life with bathroom mold and mildew.
After six months, my shower
curtain liner is being replaced. I buy cheap ones for $7 at Walmart. It takes about this amount of time before they show the
infamous mildew stains and some mold spots.
Almost as bad, is the struggle against soap stains in the bathtub.
I use TILEX in an effort to keep up with it. For a few days it looks good, but the soap stains come back.
I will leave this earth without my bathtub ever being completely clean in spite of my efforts.