Saturday, April 30, 2011
The Morning Sounds
10:23 am edt
Spring really brings out the chirping
birds in the morning. They are like an alarm clock. I don't know my species of birds well, but there is one who sounds like
the beeping sound of a truck backing up.
It's amazing when you see how small these birds are and how much noise
they can make. They can really turn up the volume in proportion to their size. If they were people, there sound would be deafening.
Friday, April 29, 2011
Teeing It Up
1:00 pm edt
The marathon came and went. It's in
the rear-view mirror as we wrap up April. Spring is definitely here. The flowers and trees continue to change on a daily basis.
I'm going golfing for the first time this season. It's a beautiful day out there. In all likelihood, I will overdress.
I think it's too soon for shorts. I also think I need something more than a polo shirt.
In the end, I will probably
realize I have too much on. It's 73 degrees. I still plan to pack a warm-up jacket. It might get colder as the day goes on.
Thursday, April 28, 2011
The Heat Is Off
3:44 pm edt
There are signs of spring all around
us. Flowers are sprouting through the ground. The buds of leaves are appearing on trees. I'm starting to realize that I can
dress lighter when I run.
I shut the heat off in my apartment today. I turned the gas pilot off on the heater.
Right now, the indoor temperature is showing 82. That seems a bit high.
The pilot threw off some heat. Maybe this
place will cool off a bit. I hope I don't turn the heat on again until autumn. Sometimes we get those cold, raw rainy days
in May and June when a little heat is needed. We shall see.
Tuesday, April 26, 2011
Too Many Checked Out
10:16 am edt
I know that I will never read all of
the books I want to read in my lifetime. My local library has an excellent selection. I just realized that I need to renew
three books I never opened since I checked them out three weeks ago.
I currently have eight items on loan. I need
to return two that I have finished. I hope I can go there without taking out any more books.
I am building
up a backlog of stuff that I will never get to. I wish I could read faster. That would help solve part of the problem.
Sunday, April 24, 2011
9:51 pm edt
I think you can definitely purchase
too much of one item in the interest of saving money. We always hear of the "buy get one free" specials that are
I recently needed to buy one AA battery for a wall clock. Nobody sells just one battery. I bought a
package of 10 on sale and got another one free. After replacing the battery of my clock, I was left with 19.
will last me to a point where these batteries might lose their shelf life. This will be a good test. I'm all set for AA's
for a long time. It's the AAA's that I have none of.
Saturday, April 23, 2011
One Food - Two Contests
5:04 pm edt
We always hear about "inclusion".
Nobody can ever be left out. Every special interest group needs to be accommodated in the sense of fairness. We see it everywhere.
It just happened to the hot dog eating contest at Coney Island on the 4th of July. There will now be a separate division
for women. I think this is a good idea. Until now, women competed against men.
This seems unfair right up front.
Ironically, one of the female competitors at Coney Island holds numerous world records for other foods done in contests against
men. She only weighs 105 pounds.
Friday, April 22, 2011
If He Builds It
8:47 am edt
Donald Trump has been making a broad
range of statements on various topics as he toys with running against President Obama. He recently called out the White House
for not having a formal ballroom to hold state dinners and receptions.
He criticized the standard practice of setting
up a tent on the White House lawn. He said the country deserved a dginified venue to conduct these affairs.
claims he could build a facility for $100 million. That seems rather expensive. He didn't get into details. He threw it out
there to see what the reaction would be.
I think he felt safe in making his statement because he knows this thing
will never get built.
Thursday, April 21, 2011
11:56 pm edt
I bought the "Expandable
Cabinet Shelf" at Walmart today for the low price of $7.24. It was made in China which kept the cost down. This might
have been sold in Home Depot or Lowe's, but it would have cost a lot more.
in China are so much cheaper when they are sold here. They seem to own the American market. It is so hard to compete with
is our biggest trading partner, although we have a great trade deficit with them.
We import too many Chinese goods to ever have any trade
balance. It won't happen in my life.
Wednesday, April 20, 2011
Pears From China
3:39 pm edt
Products from China seem to be all around
us. We only need to look at Walmart which I call the "China Outlet".
The Boston Marathon is no
exception to the rule. I received a nice warm-up jacket for doing some volunteering a week before the race. It still
had the price tag of $65. Since it came from Indonesia, the people making it must have been paid poorly and worked long hours.
The retail markup must be off the chart.
The finish line refreshments included "Dole Diced Pears".
They were vacumm sealed in a platic cup. No refrigeration needed. I can only imagine how long they had been around for.
The pears were from China and were packaged in Thailand. One would think that we could have been given American grown
pears, but I assume they were too expensive.
No wonder we have such a large trade deficit.
Monday, April 18, 2011
Two Fields, Two Cities
11:47 pm edt
As I ran the Boston Marathon course
today, I could not help but notice the striking contrasts between the two courses. The Boston Marathon goes through some
affluent towns while New York can get quite gritty.
As I ran through Wellesley, I was struck by the condition of
one of their baseball fields. It had brick dugouts with arched windows that reminded me of Camden Yard. There is
a group of ballfields in Queens that are all asphalt. There are no dugouts. It's also very dangerous to slide.
Wellesley made it a point to post a sign that mentioned that no public water is used to water the fields. The fields in Queens require no water.
Sunday, April 17, 2011
The Wrong Lady
10:00 am edt
decisions get made at all levels of government. Sometimes, it's hard to understand how they get made. The U.S. Postal Service
is a great example.
They recently announced a new "forever" stamp featuring a picture of the head-shot
of the Statue of Liberty. Over 3 billion stamps were printed.
Apparently, the image of Lady Liberty is not from
the statue in New York Harbor, but rather from a fake one at the New York-New York Hotel Casino in Las Vegas.
on the stamp has more clearly defined facial features such as eyes, eyebrows and eyelids. The hair is different between the
The situation is referred to as a "mistake" in a press release, but someone must have known about
the images during the design approval process. I don't think it's a big deal, but I wonder why they didn't feel comfortable
using the real statue. It had been used on more than 20 previous stamps.
Saturday, April 16, 2011
Time In The City
10:32 pm edt
It was a great day to be in Boston today.
I never spend enough time there. I went to the Marathon Expo. I parked in Cambridge by M.I.T and had a 20 minute walk to the
Hynes Auditorium. The walk across the Mass Ave Bridge was very cold and windy.
The Back Bay is so beautiful in
the spring. The buildings are so stately with their contrast in architectural styles.
I will plan to spend more
afternoons in the city. The only problem is that time goes by so fast now. Weekends come and go. Every day just evaporates.
When I was working, days would drag by. Now that I'm retired and doing what I want, life is going by too fast.
Friday, April 15, 2011
10:03 pm edt
It's hard to believe that it's late
Friday evening into Marathon weekend. This race will come and go so quickly. Monday is so close.
You wait so long
for this race, but it's right here now. I'm looking forward to the chance to do this. It's never gets any easier. I have no
idea how this will turn out.
This is what I want to be doing right now. I keep trying to do this year to year.
I want it to last forever, but I know it never will.
Thursday, April 14, 2011
The Need To Build It
12:07 pm edt
Washington D.C. is a great place
to visit. Every American should go there at some point. There are monuments to everything. Many of them are quite inspirational.
I would like to see the recently built one for World War II. There are plans for future monuments to prior Presidents and
One monument severly lacking is for World War I. It appears that most new monuments get built because
they have advocates for their group. Unfortunately, there are no longer any survivors of the was. There are no veteran groups
with enough clout to pick up the cause and get it built.
Periodically, we hear calls for a monument, but nothing
is happening to remember a war that cost hundreds of thousands of lives. This is just wrong.
Wednesday, April 13, 2011
It Took No Time
2:36 pm edt
A trip to the phone store at the local
mall can always be an exercise in waiting. I needed to go there to update a contract I have on a second cell phone. I use
a pre-paid one year plan for a phone I take with me sometimes when I run or go to the beach.
I was expecting this
to take quite a bit of time, in site of going there late in the morning. I was totally shocked when it took less than five
minutes. The technician was very helpful. All it took was telling him what I wanted and taking out my credit card.
There are not too many things in life that are this simple.
Tuesday, April 12, 2011
Moving the Trains
11:18 pm edt
There is a railroad bridge crossing
the Merrimack River in Haverhill that needs to be replaced. It's about 90 years old and considered at the end of its functional
life. Trains are forced to a crawl over the span to reduce vibration.
Everyone agrees that the span should be at
the top of the list for replacement. How will the construction be done? A temporary span isn't feasible. The bridge is on
the route of Amtrak's Downeaster train and carries a great deal of freight traffic.
This should prove to be quite
an engineering challenge to keep the trains moving during construction. Nobody has said how this will be done.
Monday, April 11, 2011
A Trip Down The Lane
11:34 pm edt
Tonight, I drove to Newburyport
to do comedy. The city has a great bike lane going down High Street. They have a dedicated lane on both sides of the street
and still accommodate on-street parking.
have not been on a bike since 1989. I'm not in a rush to ride now. The bike lane was too close to the auto traffic, in my
opinion. I would not feel comfortable riding in a lane like that. I know everyone else does.
The bike lane caused quite a controversy when it
was opened up a few years ago. Now the lanes need to be repainted. The white lines look really bad. It's not good for tourism.
Sunday, April 10, 2011
Comic Strips Keep On
11:20 pm edt
The Sunday newspaper will eventually
disappear. Fewer copies are being sold because it costs too much to buy it. I enjoy my newspapers. I buy the Globe, Eagle
Tribune and New York Post every day.
The Sunday Boston Globe recently changed its comic strip part. Not too many
people read this stuff nowadays. The panels are smaller and laid out differently. It looks like they saved a page of paper
at the cost of appearance.
It doesn't matter. I still enjoy reading the strips. They are very creative and funny.
Saturday, April 9, 2011
Let It Register
6:27 pm edt
I belong to the National Trust
for Historic Preservation. Anyone can join for $25 annually. I believe in keeping old buildings and structures that define
our culture. The organization works hand in hand with the National Historical Register.
Recently, a group in my community said that they wanted to add their structure to the register.
It was a mansion built in 1820 which underwent major changes in 1911. Another floor was added and a three story brick addition
was attached to hold a function hall and office space. The building has needed repairs for many years. It's not an eyesore,
but could be headed that way.
saw a picture of the building as it appeared back in the 1800's. It looks nothing like the one today. It's hard to believe
they are the same structure.
support any group that wants to save old buildings. I would like to see what they propose for changes. It will take a great
deal of money and effort to get this place looking like it did once. When the renovations were done 90 years ago, the building
was considered state of the art. I can't say that holds true now.
Friday, April 8, 2011
Not Drinking To It
5:55 pm edt
Medical studies are often contradictory.
Researchers can get results in either direction. I saw a strange story about the effects of beer and hydration after exercise.
A study at Grenada University in Spain examined two groups that did a workout in a 104 degree temperature. One group
got water and the other beer.
The researchers said the beer bubbles quenched thirst better and also provided
carbohydrates to restore energy levels.
I totally disagree with the results. I never drink beer after running or
working out. I would rather have Gatorade or soda.
I'm sure the results will be embraced by beer drinkers, but
I think the study was flawed.
Thursday, April 7, 2011
The Sugar Police
2:38 pm edt
I believe there is a purpose for government
regulations, especially when it comes to food and product safety. There are many things done to protect the consumer. It makes
sense to have building codes to prevent haphazard construction.
In recent years, there has been criticism that
we have entered a "nanny state" with government trying to control too many aspects of our lives.
the recent executive order signed by Mayor Thomas Menino of Boston is a great example. He has banned the sale of drinks on
public property that contain sugar. Everyone recognizes that America has a problem with obesity, starting with our youth.
This ban includes sales during athletic contests. Players will not be able to buy Gatorade. I think this is very heavy
handed. Everyone needs to eat healthier, but I don't think this is the way to go.
What will be the next step?
Wednesday, April 6, 2011
7:42 pm edt
It looks like the federal budget crisis
will come down to the final hours. Congress has been unable to agree on a temporary spending plan. This crisis is nothing
new. As a former federal employee, I remember this from the 1980's. It has become a tradition that happens much too often.
As much as people yell and scream about this, it will happen again in the future. The tradition will live on.
Tuesday, April 5, 2011
No Weather Concerns Yet
12:30 pm edt
I don't believe in long range weather
forecasts. They always give the five day one on the daily news. They can be wrong in most cases. I saw one today that gave
one for the Boston Marathon in 13 days.
They said it would be cool, cloudy and occassional showers. They might
be right, but who knows. I think it's a waste of time to be even concerned about it at this point. That is too far in the
future to accurately predict.
I will pay attention five days before the race, but that has its limitations. The
weather can influence a lot of the race day preparation, especially for running apparel. I just think it's too early
to be concerned about at this point.
Monday, April 4, 2011
Things Left Undone
10:01 am edt
We always hear the cliche about death
and taxes being the only two certain things in life. I would like to add dirty dishes and laundry to that list.
I had a great dinner last night, but woke up to
a pile of pans, dishes and glasses in the sink. It's hard to believe what one person leaves behind them.
The same holds for my laundry. I have a big load
of whites that need to be done. I'm building another of darks, A few dress shirts are waiting their turn.
It seems like one big cycle at time. I still have
some socks that need to be matched up and put away.
Sunday, April 3, 2011
11:05 pm edt
I always enjoy the delicious cluster-stem
tomatoes from Mexico. They are so tasty, especially when marinated. Today, I bought some "Greenhouse" tomatoes from
Canada.They are very tasty and so healthy for us.
In this global economy, stuff comes from every place. Last night,
my Kiwi Fruit was from Italy. Nothing comes from America any more.
Food handling is so important for all of us.
Saturday, April 2, 2011
Seeing the Sky
8:08 pm edt
It has been almost eleven
years since, my last plane trip. I would be considered a "nervous flier". This happened for several reasons, especially
turbulence. The recent episode of a flight of Southwest Airlines doesn't make it any better.
A Boeing 737-300 developed a gash it the top of the fuselage at an altitude of 34,000 feet.
Passengers could see the sky through the two foot long opening. The pilot dropped 25,000 feet in five minutes before making
an emergency landing.
is taking its 170 planes of that model out of service for inspections. Officials are looking to see if metal fatigue was involved.
So many of the
planes in the sky are getting up there in years. The U.S. military is flying stuff from the 1960's. Eventually, you end up
with problems. I just don't want to be on one of those flights. It must have been horrible for the passengers.
Friday, April 1, 2011
Clarence Meets the Droid
3:56 pm edt
As I was getting into my car today,
I encountered a man who started talking rag-time to me. He asked if I had ever heard of "Clarence the Cross-Eyed Lion".
Although he sounded rather intoxicated, he was impressed when I said the show was on Sunday nights back in 1965.
I got into my car and drove to a store. While in the parking lot, I did a voice search on Google using my Droid phone. I
forgot that "Clarence" was a movie made in 1965. A spin-off television show called "Daktari" ran from
1966-1969. I remember the movie and show although I didn't watch either.
Under normal circumastances, I could have
pulled out my Droid phone when I encountered the guy and done a quick search on the Internet. However, this person was very
drunk. He didn't appear to be potentially harmful, but I was shocked when he said he was 51. He looked much older.
I wonder how the rest of his day went. Based on his state of drunkenness, I don't think he was not going to make it
into the evening without passing out.