Monday, February 28, 2011
The Big Virus
5:51 pm est
It happened so fast when the time came.
After 14 years of owning a computer, I got attacked by a major virus. There was no way to remove it in spite of my software
scans. After a considerable amount of research, I was left with only one option. I used my restoration disc.
seems to be fine now. I also installed Kaspersky anti-virus software. I lost some files that I was unable to back-up. There
was no other option. I hope I don't go through this again.
Friday, February 25, 2011
How Not To Dress
4:31 pm est
have been following the saga and drama of Lindsay Lohan as she deals with the legal system and her other personal problems.
She appears to be fighting addiction to various substances. Her parents and advisers are not helping her. In fact,
they are enablers through their actions.
During her last two court appearances, she wore outfits that were rather
revealing. They looked lovely on her, but were not appropriate for a courtroom setting.
Her outfits got her on
the news and featured in tabloids. If the goal of her handlers is to make Lindsay draw attention, they are doing a good job.
I don't understand why someone doesn't counsel her on the appropriate clothing for court. I don't think she is doing
herself any good by showing up dressed like she is going to an all-night party in Hollywood.
In my opinion, she
shows a lack of respect for the judicial system. She has a right to wear whatever she wants, but I would advise her to think
of her clothing decisions.
Thursday, February 24, 2011
Good-bye To Snow
1:41 pm est
Tomorrow should be quite a day with
the forecast of 1-2 inches of rain. That will certainly get rid of the snow, but will cause flooding in basements and for
those with leaky roofs. On the other hand, it would yield 10-20 inches of snow if it got colder. That would make a bad
situation even worse.
It will be good to see most of the snow gone when we wake up on Saturday. I think everyone
has had enough of winter. Now that the days are warmer and the roads are in better shape, I don't think about using my snow
shoes. The snow on the side of the road is so dirty now. Too bad we can't clean it.
During my years when I skied,
I never went in warm weather. The same holds true for the snow shoes. We are less than four weeks until spring. Golf is around
Wednesday, February 23, 2011
Trumping Other Bids
2:27 am est
Every time I run in Central Park in
New York City, I go by the flying horse carousel. It is a big tourist attraction, although I have never been on it.
A recent story reported that Donald Trump is seeking to extend his lease on the ride. He currently pays the city $90,000
annually to operate it. In return, he charges the riders $2. It looks like a good deal for him as the carousel grosses 250,000
His 10 year proposal calls for annual fees growing from $250K- 350K. No doubt there will be an
increase in price, but it still looks like a good deal for Trump.
He really knows how to turn a profit. He also
has his sights on taking over the shuttered Tavern On the Green restaurant.
Tuesday, February 22, 2011
Assembled In America
2:56 pm est
I read a recent story that America
still leads the world in manufacturing of goods. I find that hard to believe whenever I go to the local Walmart. It seems
that they are the "China Outlet".
We often see companies that tout "Made in the U.S.A." on their product. I saw this
the other day on a barrel in the laundry room where I live.
Behren Barrel Company has a large company logo on their
galvanized steel barrel proudly proclaiming they are American made. I checked their website. They certainly have a lot of
great products, including buckets, pails and trays. The barrel in the laundry room looks very well made.
was once a time when we didn't need to advertise that a product was American made. I often get skeptical because of
the term "Assembled in America". I think it's a lame attempt to claim that it was manufactured here.
golf clubs are a prime example. The head and shafts are made in China, but assembled here. Why didn't they just finish building
them there and keep the cost down?
Monday, February 21, 2011
Opening the Windows
6:14 pm est
One thing that is certain in life is
that my apartment will never be 100% clean. I have decided to take an extreme step and clean this place as throughly as possible.
I plan to wipe down everything with LYSOL.
I started by cleaning my bathtub and floor with TILEX. The instructions
say to use it with ventilation. They are not kidding! It might be 20 degrees outside, but I have my windows open.
Overall, it did a good job. I'm glad the LYSOL will be a lot more user friendly to work with. I don't think I could have
worked around this stuff for a living.
Sunday, February 20, 2011
The Day The Toaster Died
12:30 pm est
They always say that most accidents
happen at home. They can be a very freak occurrence. I certainly had one yesterday with my toaster.
I was trying
to clean my counter top. I had just finished the dishes and still had a sink full of water. Somehow, I knocked my toaster
into the sink. I quickly pulled it out as the water continued to drip from it.
Several hours later, I tested it
to see if it stilled worked. One of the coils no longer glows. There was also a strange smell coming from it. I took a pair
of scissors and cut the cord to ensure that I would never use it again.
Toasters are one of those items that seem
to last forever. I have lived here for 35 years and only had three. I wonder how long this next one will last.
Saturday, February 19, 2011
So Close Together
12:18 pm est
On this day in 1945, the invasion of
Iwo Jima started. Before the day was ended, 30,000 Marines would land on the beach. Their goal was to claim the island
being defended by 18,000 Japanese soldiers.
When the seige ended on March 26th, only 216 of the enemy force would
be taken prisoner. America paid a huge toll with 6,822 killed and 19,217 wounded.
My father's naval ship was involved
in combat support. They fired their guns at the island. Meanwhile, my father's brother was aboard another naval vessel getting
ready to storm the beach. He would later be wounded in the first waive.
Ironically, both brothers were almost 10,000
miles away from home, but they didn't realize that their ships were just miles apart in the Pacific Ocean.
Friday, February 18, 2011
Crossing the Equator
1:04 pm est
On this day in 1943, my father was serving
in the US Navy during World War II. His ship, the USS Massachusetts, had crossed through the Panama canal and was headed towards
the eventual epic naval battles in the Pacific Theatre.
That day was special for many sailors as it would be the
first time they would cross the Equator. This is an event that is deep in tradition. It's a bit like a hell night at
a college fraternity. Rank didn't matter as crew members went from being "Polliwogs" to "Shellbacks".
This would have been a fun day aboard the ship. It was three days before my father's 22nd birthday. I wonder what
thoughts went through his head. I wonder if he knew what awaited him over the next 30 months as his ship would be involved
in some of the worst naval battles of the war.
Thursday, February 17, 2011
Feeling Like George
4:02 pm est
I thought it would be a good idea to
wash the three blankets on my bed. I did them back in November, but I figured that they must get dusty. Everything else in
my residence picks up dust.
There is a laundry room in the basement where I live. It has two washers and dryers
that cost $1.25 to use. I put my blankets in and added my five quarters into their appropriate slots.
the bar and the coins fell into the container. After I hit "start", nothing happened. I checked the plug and the
I moved everything to the other dryer which worked. My blankets are clean and dry, but I still
hate it when a vending machine or anything else rips you off.
There is no recourse. I could check with my landlord,
but I would feel like a dope asking for my $1.25 back.
I can see why George Costanza went nutty in the Seinfeld
episode when they were at the car dealership and he didn't get his Twixt candy bar.
Wednesday, February 16, 2011
No Interest In Billing Fees
12:19 am est
Finance charges can doom a person to
being in debt forever. That's why I'm so glad my car insurance does not have a finance charge.
I looked at my statement
and saw no financial charge. I did notice a fee of $9.10 for the billing cycle. It looks and smells like a finance charge,
but in reality it's a "billing fee".
The statement show a 1.25% monthly percentage rate on the unpaid
balance. It also mentions an annual fee of 15%.
This "billing fee" is starting to sound like a finance
charge to me. They wouldn't be that disingenuous, would they?
No wonder my local agent sends me a calendar at the
end of the year. What a company!
Tuesday, February 15, 2011
A Primer For Losing Jobs
9:30 am est
President Obama has called upon businesses
to do more in creating jobs. He makes it sound so simple with his fiery rhetoric.
After reading a story, it's easy
to see why companies fold up shop and move overseas where costs are much cheaper.
One business in Massachusetts
wanted to add a clerical position at a salary of $40,000. Hidden costs include $12,500 for the employer's share of family
health coverage, $3,060 for Social Security/Medicare, $897 for Unemployment insurance and $560 for Workers' Compensation insurance.
After looking at these numbers, it's very easy to see why so many jobs are going overseas. Unlike the government sector,
private businesses need to make a profit in order to stay in business. They cannot run on deficit spending.
Monday, February 14, 2011
Just Say No to Surveys
7:37 pm est
I received two phone calls today so
far. Both were solicitations to participate in public opinion surveys.
I have no desire to participate today or
any other time. Once I give my opinion over the phone, I am no longer anonymous. That holds the same for the paper surveys
I get from Political Action Committees and environmental groups.
I get a kick out of the paper surveys when they
attempt to identify you by a code to ensure privacy.
I don't think so. I'll let someone else give their opinion.
Sunday, February 13, 2011
Boots On the Team
9:04 pm est
LL Bean makes great products and stands
behind them with a return guarantee, no matter how long you own them.
I bought a pair of Gortex hiking boots two
years ago. After one year, the Vibram outer-soles were showing significant wear. At the end of last winter, I thought about
getting them resoled.
Today, I went to the Burlington store and bought another pair. Unfortunately, they no longer
make my model. That happens a lot with them.
This is a tremendous shoe that performed so well at football games
in cold weather and my recent venture into snow shoeing
I need two pairs of boots as they always get wet when I
go out into the snow. I wonder if these soles will wear any better. I could be thinking about their poor wear a year from
We shall see. I hope these new ones work out as I like them right from the start.
Saturday, February 12, 2011
A Little Bit Too Close
4:36 pm est
There has been a two foot snow cover
on the ground for over two weeks. I don't have any major issues with that. In fact, it inspired me to try out my snowshoes.
I do have a problem with the narrow streets and high snow banks that obscure the view of traffic when entering
Everyone has probably experienced a close call when trying to make a turn. Today was a bit too
close for my comfort. I don't know how I dodged this one.
I hope my luck doesn't run out soon. I pay attention
and stay alert, but driving is very challenging for everyone these days.
Friday, February 11, 2011
Ready For Display
12:12 pm est
always wonder what happens to items recovered by insurance companies during settlements. The company owns the damaged goods,
but what do they do with them?
Such is the case with the remains of Flight1549, the US Airways aircraft that
Captain Chesley Sullenberger ditched into the Huson River on January 15, 2009.
The Charlotte based Carolinas Aviation
Museum has expressed interest in displaying the remains of the Airbus A320.
Ironically, the doomed flight
was bound for Charlotte before it crashed into the river.
Once the plane is displayed, I'm sure the t-shirts, key chains, plastic models and whatever else can be sold,
Thursday, February 10, 2011
The Little Train That Can't
1:06 am est
Whenever the federal government talks
about spending money on a program over a long period, it's going to end up costing far more. During the State of the Union
Address, President Obama spoke of his desire to increase high-speed rail service.
He is now proposing spending
$53 billion over the next six years on various rail projects. Vice-president Joe Biden is a big advocate of the Northeast
Corridor. He claims to have taken almost 8,000 round trips from Delaware to Washington D.C. during his political career.
Biden would like to get 17,000 miles of track upgraded so that trains could travel 220 m.p.h. The U.S. High Speed
Rail Association said the plan would cost $600 billion over the next 20 years. If that is today's cost, one can only imagine
the price tag in 20 years.
It looks like any work will be done in piece-meal. Anyone who has taken AMTRAK from
Boston to New York can testify that rail travel in this part of the country leaves a lot to be desired. At times you feel
you are taking the "local" with all of the stops along the way.
The speed of the train is painful at
times as it chugs its way to the Big Apple. It's a comfortable ride, but so slow.
Wednesday, February 9, 2011
Exploring the Neighborhood
The roads have been made narrow by the huge
piles of snow that continue to linger. I attempted to run to the post office yesterday. That was a bad decision as I was confined
to slush covered sidewalks. It was also dangerous to be on the road.
3:12 pm est
I had a better idea today. I confined my running
to the streets in my neighborhood. They get little traffic and the surface was scraped down to the pavement.
I saw a car coming, I had plenty of time to move to the side. I was able to run for 30 minutes. This should work out fine
until things get back to normal.
Although I have lived in my place for almost 35 years, I ran down a
street I had only driven on once before. We certainly get use to living our life in a pattern. It's tough to deviate.
Tuesday, February 8, 2011
Booking It Now
12:12 pm est
I don't like to make plans too far ahead.
I have always felt like that. You never know what might happen in the future, but sometimes you have no choice.
booked a room in New York City for the marathon in November. That's another nine months away. I got a "reasonable"
deal on-line, but they charge your credit card right away. I would rather pay for this in November, but that's not an option.
A lot can happen between now and then. At least I won't have a hotel bill to pay after the race. I just need to get
to the starting line, run the race and return home.
Monday, February 7, 2011
The 10 Week Countdown
7:22 pm est
People continue to complain about the
endless amount of snow on the streets. They should realize that spring is right around the corner in less than six weeks.
That means the Boston Marathon is on deck. Ten weeks from today is the race. At this point in ten weeks, I should
be finished with the race and relaxing.
I have always considered this period to be the most critical training
time for the race. Considering recent developments, this time is very critical.
In all likelihood, I will go in
this race poorly prepared. That has never stopped me in the past. Whatever I do between now and then, will be on the positive
Sunday, February 6, 2011
Losing the Space Race
NASA is struggling to get its final two launches
of the space shuttles off the ground. The fleet will be retired by the end of the year. We will be depending on the Russians
to ferry our astronauts back and forth to the International Space Station.The replacement vehicle for the shuttle is years
4:06 pm est
Meanwhile, China has ambitious space projects which will yield them big results. They launched their first
astronaut in 2003 and plan to send an unmanned rover to the moon in 2012 or 2013 with the eventual goal in 2020 of a manned
They are also developing their own global navigation system that will rival America's GPS. The Chinese
don't want to rely on American technology and are prepared to do their own thing.
The U.S. just sits back and watches
as China surpasses America in this technology.The dismantling of our space program will come back to haunt us some
Saturday, February 5, 2011
What Would Poe Say?
5:15 pm est
Cities all across America are looking
at drastic budget cuts. Some reductions don't make any sense in the big picture.
The city of Baltimore has always
boasted of its connection to the legendary Edgar Allen Poe. Since 1979, the city has run the Poe House and Museum at a yearly
cost of $80,000. The city has announced that the place will close in 2012 if it doesn't become self sufficient.
budget pays for one employee, utilities and any other supplies. This whole idea seems rather short-sighted. The city markets
itself with its connection to Poe. Even their NFL team is known as the "Ravens".
Poe lived there with
relatives from 1832-1835. This was before he became a successful writer. He moved out of the city, but later died there and
The city needs to find a creative way to fund the museum or set up a partnership with some corporation
or other organization. Once you start closing down tourist spots, the city no longer becomes a destination for anyone.
Friday, February 4, 2011
The Altruistic Bank
7:49 pm est
Banks like to run ads that portray them
to be some type of altruistic organization. They make absurd claims at time. Banking giant HSBC is no exception to the rule.
They have an ad that claims there is $1.6 billion hidden down the backs of sofa in America. How did they come up with
this amount? If there are 100,000,000 households in the US, that would come down to $16 in each sofa. There are not that many
households, so the $16 is really higher.
This claim makes no sense. I have found a couple of quarters on the floor
or under my car seat, but that's a far cry from $16.
The ad claims that our sofas are holding enough money
to change our lives. The bank says they have been helping customers for over 145 to uncover opportunities in the most unexpected
Everyone has spare change in their house, but not enough to alter one's life one way or the other.
Thursday, February 3, 2011
Hold the Furniture and Shopping Carts
9:51 am est
I support moves that protect the
environment, especially those involving clean air and water. There is a very controversial item right now because of
all of the recent snowfall. Communities are being overwhelmed at their snow dumps. There is no place left to put it.
The city of Boston wants to get a waiver from the E.P.A. that would allow them to dump snow into Boston harbor. This action
has created an outrage from environmental groups. They fear contaminants will be mixed in with the snow.
be pointed out that during extreme rain storms, partially treated waste water gets released in Boston harbor. It happened
once last year. I think this stuff is worse than dirty snow being dumped.
I don't think the snow will have a great
impact. One "expert" insisted that the snow be "clean". I guess that means no cans, bottles, shopping
carts or abandoned cars.
I think they also meant to include all of the furniture left behind on the streets
of South Boston used to claim shoveled out parking spaces.
Wednesday, February 2, 2011
Need George Jetson
11:58 am est
Yesterday, I got one of those robo-calls
from the mayor of Haverhill requesting public assistance with this recent amount of snow.
He decided to change
the even-odd system of on-street parking back to odd. If that wasn't bad enough, he requested that cars be removed from the
streets to assist in snow removal.
I think it's a great idea, but most people who park on the street have no other
place to put their car. The parking lot where I live has already lost several spaces due to snow piles. I had to leave my
car on the street one night last week because the lot was full.
Where are these cars suppose to go? We can't be
like George Jetson. He use to ride to work in his capsule and then press a button which would collapse the vehicle into a
small brief case.
It's not that easy.
Tuesday, February 1, 2011
His Last Hour
6:06 pm est
My father died on this day in 1968 of
a sudden heart attack at the age of 46. He was a very healthy person. He had no symptoms, although he had a stressful job
as a firefighter. I saw him two hours earlier that day before I left the house to catch the bus for high school.
He died at 9am at another firefighter's house after stopping there for morning coffee. He walked through the door, grabbed
his chest and was dead on the spot.
I often wonder what he thought of in that final hour of his life. How was he
feeling? Did he have any symptoms at that moment? As he exited his car and walked to the front door, did he feel or sense
anything? He left our house and never came back.
I often think of that when I leave my home. I always want to make
it back, but that is not promised to any of us.