Tuesday, May 31, 2011
Life In a Vacuum
12:38 pm edt
There are things in life that you can
never keep up with in spite of your best effort. There are many things on my list including reading everything I want to read.
One of the bigger things for me is laundry, dishes and vacuuming. Whenever I get caught up, it's only for a moment.
I'm already half-way to another load of laundry. I'm cooking lunch right now with a sink of dishes to follow.
just ran my vacuum for 20 minutes. That got the stuff I could see. Getting behind furniture is another story. There is a lot
of stuff there. I've seen glimpses of it. That is a project for another day.
Monday, May 30, 2011
9:17 am edt
I went to the market last
night, five minutes before it closed. It's always a good feeling to get into the store before they lock the door. Time becomes
compressed. There was a sense of urgency in rounding up my purchases.
I lost a little bit of time buying fish as it was all put away for the night. Several more
items went into the cart.
manager stood by the door as each customer left. Ultimately when I got home, there was one thing I forgot to buy. I'll make
a return trip today.
Sunday, May 29, 2011
11:57 pm edt
I enjoyed this day a lot. I had a very
satisfying performance in a 5M race. You never know how these things work out.
I don't think I will ever
hydrate properly when it matters. I took a lot of water during the race today. I drank a lot of fluids after. I think I still
might be low on fluids.
Saturday, May 28, 2011
Need To Check It Out
11:12 am edt
After ordering some new checks from
my bank, I should give consideration to paying some of my bills on-line. I still have not embraced that concept yet. I have
a couple of direct debits made monthly because I would incur an additional charge otherwise.
It cost me $27.34
for 150 checks, plus $9.95 for mailing and $2.33 for state sales tax. That comes up to $39.62 or 26.4 cents for each check.
If I factor in the cost of a stamp, it would cost about 70 cents for each check I write.
I should look at on-line
payments for my utilities. That would include electricity, gas heat, land line and cell phone. I could save about $2.80 per
month or $33 annually. It starts to add up.
Friday, May 27, 2011
A Bridge Not Needed
3:39 pm edt
Many newspapers provide a forum where
readers can call a number and comment about some story or event. I enjoy reading the one in my local paper. Some people come
up with very crazy ideas and comments.
For example, a railroad bridge over the Merrimack River needs to be replaced
at a cost of $110 million. State transportation officials attempted to secure federal funding to replace the 90 year old structurally
deficient span. Unfortunately, it didn't work out.
The span is needed for commuter rail traffic to Boston. It also
carries several freight trains and the Boston to Portland, ME commuter route.
This particular caller said the bridge
replacement was not necessary. All they need to do is eliminate one of the commuter stops in Haverhill.
like a simple solution, but she failed to consider the trains going to Portland and the daily freight traffic. This might
have been too much for them to consider. Some people never let the facts and reality get in the way of their opinions.
I would like to see this person's ideas on balancing the federal budget. They must have some "bright" ideas.
Thursday, May 26, 2011
Didn't Catch It
12:30 am edt
Oprah Winfey is certainly a media icon.
The final episode of her show attracted a great degree of attention. She will move onto other projects and will make a lot
She had a very loyal group of followers who watched her show faithfully. I have watched her show
over the years. However in its 25 year run, I never saw one show from start to finish. I don't watch daytime television. I
think the times I saw it, I was in a hotel room somewhere.
Wednesday, May 25, 2011
Send Something My Way
5:35 pm edt
I recently bought a set of
four cartridges for my printer. They cost $41 after a $12 coupon. Today, I received an email from the manufacturer asking
me to participate in a survey about their product.
I deleted the message for a couple of reasons. If I respond, they will inundate me with emails for
the rest of my life. They also did not offer me any incentive such as a discount coupon for future purchases.
If they want my comments, they need to make it worthwhile
for me to give them my time. This is a two way street.
Tuesday, May 24, 2011
No End In Sight
11:23 am edt
I still get a great deal of mail daily.
Most of it is from charities looking for money. They are all worthy causes, but I can't give to all of them.
I get a good feeling when I give to my favorites.
I just wish they wouldn't sell my name to other groups. Two categories I have problems with are veterans and environmental
I give to the DVA, BVA and PVA. They do incredible work for disabled, blinded and paralyzed veterans. I
get solicitations from groups providing occupational therapy and care packages for those troops overseas.
the Redwoods League has been around since 1913. Their only purpose is to buy land with redwood trees in California. I have
visited some of their purchases. They do great work. However, I get solicitations from every group trying to save something.
It's too much at times. Long after I'm gone, this mail will continue to be sent to me. It will take forever to stop
Sunday, May 22, 2011
Eating On the Sidewalk
11:25 pm edt
Many cities encourage restaurants to
have outdoor dining on sidewalk tables. It's popular with their customers, but that is not always the case with those
who need to traverse the walkways.
New York City has seen a 20% increase in outdoor permits since 2006. On the
surface, it does not appear to be a big issue, but many establishments are taking advantage by not leaving an eight foot clearance
on the sidewalk. Some servers are even using part of the sidewalk as their work area.
I have eaten outside on several
occasions. All of the places were in compliance. I never thought it was anything special to dine like this, especially on
Saturday, May 21, 2011
Munching At the Market
8:56 am edt
I often see people at the market sampling
grapes and cherries in the produce section. I don't think it's a proper thing to do. I also think it's potentially unhealthy
to eat unwashed produce.
I was in the market today shopping for a few items. While getting ready to put some asparagus
in my cart, the guy next to me broke the tips of a few stalks and made a little snack for himself.
he felt entitled to do that. Unfortunately, nobody wants to by asparagus with missing tips. Some people could care less what
they do in the market. I constantly see people opening packages of cookies and soft drinks. At least they are buying the stuff,
but why can't they wait until they get outside?
The other day, I saw a woman in the deli line ask the clerk for
a slice of cheese for her kid. Why didn't she ask for a couple slices of meet also? She could have opened some bread and made
Friday, May 20, 2011
4:05 pm edt
The news is not always pleasant. There
are many terrible things happening all around us. I especially feel bad for those effected by natural disasters. The recent
tornadoes in the South and the flooding of the Mississippi River have changed the lives of many people forever.
are very lucky around here. The worst we have seen this month is a series of cool, cloudy and drizzily days. This week has
been noted for the lack of sunshine.
In spite of all of the bad stories, the newspapers and electronic media feel
it's important to interview people who complain about a few rainy days.
Nobody likes to have their plans effected
by the weather. I was at a Red Sox game last night that was played on a cool night with a slight drizzle. It would have been
nicer on a beautiful spring night.
I can't believe that people complain about something they have no control over.
If a few days of rain is the worst we see, then we are very lucky. Everyone should be thankful that their homes have not been
flattened by tornadoes or submerged by floods.
This happens every spring around here with people complaining. They
will do it again this summer when the temperature is pushing 100 and in the winter when we get a big amount of snow.
Thursday, May 19, 2011
Make Way For Lax
10:54 am edt
Kids don't seem to play baseball anymore.
Everyone is into soccer. If you drive by athletic fields on the weekends, the parking lots filled with SUV's and
kids kicking the ball around, but not keeping score.
The ironic thing about youth socccer is that very few kids play into high school. I
think parents look sit as a safe activity where everyone can play. I'm fine with that.
What cracks me up is how
soccer is part of a family lifestyle. I constantly hear a commercial about a parent who tries to juggle their kids time between
"theatre, karate and soccer practice". We even have the politically wired group of "soccer moms".
Lacrosse is now emerging as the spring sport of choice among high schoolers. I heard a commercial the other day for a financial
company that said there are few certainties in your life including "whether your son's team will will the lacrosse tournament".
It's only a matter of time before the lacrosse parents are labelled as a special interest group. What will they be
Wednesday, May 18, 2011
One For the Parent
5:52 pm edt
Whenever you hear a story about a young
kid running a business, charity or some special cause there is sure to be a parent looking over their shoulder. Parents love
to come up with big ideas and push them onto their children. It makes the child look like some type of prodigy.
read a story of a fourth grader who is "leading" a movement to remove drinking straws from beverage servers
and force customers to pay for them.
According to the drinking straw industry, there are 500 million used
daily. They end up in landfills and are rarely recycled. I doubt the validity of this number because that would allow for
every American to use a straw daily.
The story had some comments from the kid about protecting the environment.
I don't doubt his sincerity, but I'm sure there is a parent behind all of this.
Tuesday, May 17, 2011
Jerry Reaches the End
12:51 pm edt
Nothing lasts forever, although we try
to prolong things in many cases. Jerry Lewis announced that he is leaving his annual Labor Day telethon for MDA after hosting
it since 1966. He has been chairman of the organization the 1950's, a position he will continue to hold.
recent years, Lewis has shifted a great amount of the hosting to others. After the death of side-kick Ed MacMahon, the show
was never the same. They had such great chemistry together.
He will appear at the end to sing his signature song.
"You'll Never Walk Alone". The show will go on, with or without him. It just won't be the same. You can't replace
someone like him.
Monday, May 16, 2011
Hanging the Portrait
4:45 pm edt
Politicians love to honor themselves,
especially with "official" portraits. There was a story in the news about the former Massachusetts Senate president
who finally unveiled his likeness. He originally declined the offer for a portrait, but decided to do so after seeing his
former predecessors follow the tradition.
The final price tag was $30,000. Fortunately, no tax dollars were
used for this. Instead, six unions paid the cost to honor a politican who was a friend of labor.
appear as a conflict of interest, but others say this is normal procedure in this day and age.
Sunday, May 15, 2011
It's All About the Cartridges
8:16 pm edt
you buy a printer, you make a commitment to buy ink cartridges forever. I have a very nice HP Officejet All-in One. Unfortunately,
it takes four ink cartridges. They all seem to use their ink at a different rate. It costs $54 for all of them.
has a smart policy of giving a $2 credit for turning in used cartridges. I was able to get $12 off. Only $42 for the set.
The printer cost almost $300 five years ago. I bet I've spent over $200 in cartridges. The color ones don't last long.
I'm suppose to get some type of reward points for this. I can use them to buy more cartridges.
Saturday, May 14, 2011
7:40 pm edt
I'm neglectful at times about using
sun screen. I can't seem to remember to put it on before I go running, but I use it when I golf.
got a free sample of SPF-30 that was on a roll-on stick. It looked very efficient and convenient to use.
used it a few times. It is very greasy. It smeared the screen on my cell phone from contact with my skin.
I should go back to a lotion. It worked fine, other than getting it on my hands. At least it wasn't greasy.
Friday, May 13, 2011
It's How You Say It
10:16 am edt
Government departments and agencies
are quick to react to any negative comments in the media. Today, I heard a story about the state Department of Transportation.
A spokesperson denied that a number of managers had received salary increases as much as 18%.
Instead, the pay
increases were referred to as "salary bumps". The extra money was due to increased responsibilities taken on by
In government, it's all how you say it. When in doubt, go on the "spin" cycle.
Thursday, May 12, 2011
Stop the Presses
1:46 pm edt
Newspapers are an endangered
species in these times. I don't think they will be around forever. So much content is moving on-line. I will keep buying newspapers
until they stop printing.
two local papers in Boston, the Globe and Herald, are talking about a co-operative effort. The plan calls for the Globe to
print and distribute most of the editions of the Herald. This will save them a great deal of money and provide the Globe with
a bold move, but done out of necessity. Newspapers face an uncertain future. It would be bad if Boston became a one newspaper
town. We need both of these papers to survive.
Right now, they are fighting for their lives.
Wednesday, May 11, 2011
Driving It Overseas
2:14 pm edt
We always hear that we should buy American
made products. It's a lot of rhetoric in the end. It all comes down to value and cost.
New York City announced
that all 13,000 taxi cabs will be replaced by one made by Nissan Motors. They beat Ford and Karsan, a company from Turkey.
The new cab is much roomier and energy efficient. They will offer a number of frills including USB ports and large
screen television monitors. The $29,000 vehicles will debut in 2013. Plans call for the fleet to be all electric by 2017.
The $1 billion contract raised much controversy. In the end, they could not keep the jobs in America. So much for
Tuesday, May 10, 2011
Unleashing the Dogs
1:00 pm edt
Small businesses don't always succeed.
There is a huge failure rate during the first year for a variety of different reasons.
A local couple is
opening an indoor dog park which will allow pets to run around unleashed. They plan to charge $40 per month or $480 annually to
let your dog run wild. People walk their dogs in public parks, although they face a fine if the pet is unleashed.
The business will use a 18,000 square foot building located in an industrial park. They will offer other services
including training and dog health seminars.
I'm sure the owners have developed a good business plan,
but this sounds like something from a MBA project.
All businesses have fixed costs. This one is no exception. They
will need a large number of dogs and owners with disposable income for this venture to be successful. I don't see how this
can work out. Time will tell.
Monday, May 9, 2011
Need Any Light Bulbs?
2:35 pm edt
The Empire State Building celebrated
its 80th birthday on May 1. It was a remarkable engineering feat in its day. It was built in only 18 months during the Depression.
That schedule is unheard of in this day and age of regulations, public hearings and union issues.
In recent years,
the building has been undergoing a $550 million renovation to make it more energy and technology efficient. Over the last
decade, tenants have vacated to move to more desirable buildings.
The owners are replacing the 3,194,547 light
bulbs with energy efficient ones. What happens to all of those light bulbs? Are they tossed into a landfill and buried? I
don't think they are given away to charities.
Sunday, May 8, 2011
The Power of the Tide
8:21 pm edt
I took a walk along the shore line of
the Merrimack River where it meets the mouth of the Atlantic Ocean. The river is effected by the tide and was receding from
its high point.
All of the seaweed and drift wood shows up there from the ebb and flow of the tide. However, it
also brings an astonishing amount of trash.
There were bottles, cans, wrappers, plastic jugs and so many
other things. I also spotted the filter disks that were released 40 miles upstream when a sewage treatment plant overflowed
and released 8-10 million of then into the river. I saw a few hundred in the stretch I walked.
These disks have
shown up in Maine and all along the Massachusetts coast. I think they will be around for a few years.
pales into comparison when you hear stories of parts of towns floating in the Pacific Ocean as a result of their recent tsunami.
Saturday, May 7, 2011
Too Many Homeless
3:36 pm edt
The problem of homeless Americans is
a national disgrace. It is very difficult to get the exact number of those out there. Many cities, such as Boston, attempt
to do an annual census. This involves counting people in shelters as well as looking for those who sleep outside. The latter
group is the most difficult one to count.
New York City announced a drop in their homeless population by 8% since
2009. There are now 113,553 people in the city who have no place to call home. This figure is the size of a major U.S.
Having been to New York Cty many times, I doubt the accuracy of this number. There are so many people who
decide to sleep outside on their own. I have run in Central Park at 7AM. There are people sleeping on park benches and behind
There are several thousand who live in the rail and subway tunnels. I recently read a phenomenal book documenting
their existence. This group does everything possible to avoid detection . Their exact number can only be guessed.
The government puts a great effort in trying to determine the correct number. It's a shame that more is not done to address
this horrible social problem. Our country is better than that. People should not live and die on the streets. We are
not a Third World nation.
Friday, May 6, 2011
Not Opening the Roof
9:19 pm edt
We had some nice weather this
week. The temperatures got close to 70 degrees on a couple of days, but it can change real fast around here.
I still overdress when I run. It also happened again
today on the golf course. I would rather have too many clothes than not enough. I don't like feeling cold.
It felt nice to drive with the windows open. One
thing I never do is open the sun roof. I bought this car in January 2009. I have opened it less than 10 times. It gets too
noisy in the car. It was also poorly designed because the sun shines down on the back of my glasses. It works better on a
opened it at night probably three times. This is one item in a car that I think is over-rated. If I had a choice, I would
not have one. Many cars have them as standard equipment.
One thing I will never own is a convertible. It looks strange when you see people drive with
their top down, but with the windows up. The wind gets to be too much and you can't hear anything.
Thursday, May 5, 2011
Nannies In the Salons
4:22 pm edt
I believe there is a purpose for government
regulations on various services and industries. A problem arises when government interferes too much in our lives. We continue
to head towards a "nanny state" where government decides what is best for you.
There is a bill in the
New York State Legislature to prohibit minors from using indoor tanning salons. The facilities get a spike in business this
time of year from youths because of the prom season.
I don't believe in using these salons or baking on the beach in order to tan. I am a big
advocate of passive sunlight. There is a benefit in being outdoors, but skin care should be taken into account.
don't think artifical tanning looks good on everyone. However, I think it should be a choice whether to go that
way or not.
I bet the lobbyists for the tanning salon industry will be able to defeat this bill. People do things
that are bad for them throughout their life. How does government pick and choose what is best for its citizens?
have been runing for 42 years. One can certainly make an arguement that running over a long period of time can lead to bone
and muscle injuries. I don't deny that, but I don't think the government should tell us how far we should run. It's a matter
of personal choice.
Wednesday, May 4, 2011
No Pictures For Now
2:48 pm edt
There was no easy way to determine whether
to release photos of Osama Bin Laden. The White House will sit on them for now. They don't want to make him a martyr or enrage
the Muslim world.
On the one hand, it's a good idea. There would probably be attacks on Americans around the world
resulting in deaths.
are people who are convinced that we did not kill Bin Laden. They want the photos. There will be conspiracy theories out there
forever. Even if they released the photos, some will claim they were doctored to look like him.
There are people
out there who believe 9/11 was planned by the U.S. government. I have watched videos of the collapse of the World Trade Center
towers on websites that claim they were controlled explosions caused by the government.
Everyone will not be happy
with Obama's decision. We will never know if it saved lives. We only need to look at the recent burning of the Koran
by a Florida minister to see the results of enraging emotions.
Hopefully, they don't show up in the news all of
Tuesday, May 3, 2011
Pass the Lobster Roll
10:30 am edt
I never realized that passengers
are no longer allowed to hit golf balls from cruise ships into the ocean. It seems that they were included in an agreement
that was meant to eliminate the dumping of plastics into open water.
Considering how much trash gets thrown into the ocean, I don't see the harm in a few golf
balls that sink to the ocean floor.
company has proposed a bio-degradable golf ball made from the shell of lobsters. They say it will have no impact on the environment
because of its design. If it ever gets to the retail market, will the users be required to wear a bib like in restaurants?
Monday, May 2, 2011
News On May 1
6:24 pm edt
It was quite a news day with the story
of the killing of Osama Bin Laden in Pakistan. I think the American public never thought this day would happen. They tried
to get him back in 1998 during a missile strike in Afghanistan. Somehow he always eluded capture or death.
demise does not end the War on Terror. I hope the American public does not kid itself into believing that things are
The next few days should be interesting. Hopefully, there are no further attacks on America. Only time
Ironically, Adolph Hitler and Osama Bin Laden were both declared dead on May 1st. That is a strange
coincidence for two men who had such a profound effect on world history.
Sunday, May 1, 2011
5:29 pm edt
I had an enjoyable round of golf the
other day. The course was in perfect shape. They do a great job in keeping the Canadian Geese away from their water holes.
When I returned to the parking lot, I noticed the hood and roof of my car had been "hit" by many birds.
I took it to the car wash today where they have a high pressure hose. Even that was not good enough. I had to scrub
some of them with a rag.
I counted 17 strikes. Those birds must eat a lot of fiber.