Sunday, July 31, 2011
11:00 am edt
I don't believe that people should kill
wildlife illegally. The states regulate hunting to prevent indiscriminate killing of species. Sometimes, things go to the
A recent news story indicated that homeless people are killing animals in various parks in New york
City. Critics are complaining that the city is not cracking down because most of the hunting is being done in poor neighborhood.
This points to a bigger problem. There are thousands who have declined to be part of the homeless bureaucracy. Instead,
they live in parks, under bridges and in subway tunnels. Many charities offer soup kitchens and free meals, but they don't
The illegal hunting being done is more of a sign of desperation and indicative of a severe disconnect
between the homeless and the mainstream.
Saturday, July 30, 2011
Don't Crash It
7:22 pm edt
The International Space Station grabbed
some headlines this week when Russia announced that they intend to crash it into the Pacific Ocean if it becomes abandoned
in 2020. They feel it is too dangerous to let it become a big piece of space junk.
NASA has provided funding through
that year. It was originally scheduled to run out in 2013, but the Obama administration made it a priority for NASA.
All funding is scheduled to stop after that date. A conference is scheduled to determine what the future should be for the
We have achieved many benefits from it so far. It would be a travesty to stop scientific exploration
in space and a colossal waste of $100 billion if we just crash it into the ocean.
Friday, July 29, 2011
12:19 am edt
Last night I drove to the comedy show
in Nashua. The trip always includes a 12 mile stretch of Rt 111 heading west.
At this time of year, you can't
help but drive into the bright sun. I remember thinking how many times I have driven this route during other times of
the year when it's dark. This was a chance to see all of the bright colors of summer.
The return trip home featured
a dark, lonely road. It's not divided. People drive too fast. I'm always glad when I get to Rt 93.
different at night. I think you miss a lot when it's dark. I prefer to drive during the day.
Pulling the Plug
11:33 am edt
Sometimes you need to know
when to give up on something. We all get stubborn. It can take a long time to make a decision, but I finally made one about
my air conditioner.
I put it in ten days ago, I have experienced a stuffy head and nasal drip. I had a sore throat for several days. I have not
used it at night because of the air blowing on me.
I finally removed it from the window today. I have no plans to ever use it again. I'll try and give
it to someone.
lived here for 35 years. I didn't have A/C for the first 30. I can live without it. I'll be healthier without it.
Wednesday, July 27, 2011
Not Ready To Cycle
11:00 pm edt
Every big city in America must embrace
bike paths. New york City has gone to great extremes to accommodate cyclists. I'm not sure if it's always the best combination
with big city traffic.
I was in Boston today and drove along the bike path on Beacon Street into Brookline. Along
the way, there were delivery trucks and cars obstructing safe passage. I had to pay close attention to cyclists who navigated
the streets like they were in Singapore.
I have not been on a bike in 22 years. I have two rides in the last 35.
I'm not a good candidate to ride a bike in Boston or NYC. It looks like fun, but it should stay away from it.
Tuesday, July 26, 2011
Third Becomes First
5:56 pm edt
I'm a big supporter of public
works projects that address the infrastructure of our cities and towns. It would take forever to address all of our nation's
needs. This causes prioritization and delay.
Most public projects get started long after planned and rarely come in at budget. The work to improve
South Main St in my community is no exception.
Construction finally started after a several year delay on a three
mile stretch of road that will include new water pipes, improved drainage, sidewalks, and road resurfacing. There will also
be plenty of trees.
The work will continue into next year. Since funding is by the the state and federal government,
nobody makes a big deal that the project is late and causing disruption.
The excavation has removed pavement in
a number of spots. As I drove over it today, I thought this must be what it's like in a third world nation.
However, the condition of this road now would be considered first rate in a third world nation.
Monday, July 25, 2011
The Last Voyage
11:18 am edt
U.S. Navy ships have a life span of
20-30 years before they are sold to foreign countries or salvaged for scrap metal. The Navy has several hundred decommissioned
ships in boatyards around the country waiting for their ultimate fate.
A plan in recent years has allowed
them to be sunk off the coast in an attempt to create an artificial reef for marine wildlife. This has been successful
in my instances. It draws controversy because most ships contain toxic metals and chemicals.
The latest sinking
involves the 565 foot USS Radford. This is the second ship to carry the name of Arthur Radford (1896-1973), a Navy admiral
who later became the first Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
The first USS Radford saw action during World
War II, Korea and Viet Nam. The current one was launched in 1977 and decommissioned in 2003.
Ships are a lot
like cars. From the moment they roll into the water, they are on a destination that will eventually take them to the scrap
heap. There is no getting around that. The car I'm driving today will ultimately end up in the crusher some day.
Sunday, July 24, 2011
Who Is Worse?
2:30 pm edt
These are desperate economic
times for some people. We are witnessing an extraordinary amount of theft involving scrap metal. Manhole covers are disappearing
from the street. Anything with copper, especially downspouts and wiring, is being stripped from buildings.
A recent news story was more disheartening. Someone
has been stealing the copper and brass medallions from the flag holders on veterans graves. They cost about $23 to replace
and yield about $3 at the salvage yard.
I feel that the salvage yards are more to blame. Don't they ever question anyone about where this stuff comes from? Veteran
medallions are not something that get tossed out by cemeteries. Manhole covers don't wear out.
These yards are suppose to be reputable businesses,
but they enable thieves because they create a market for the disposal of their goods. They are just as guilty.
Saturday, July 23, 2011
Trying New Things
2:22 pm edt
There is a first time for everything.
Today is one of those days for me. I bought some fresh blueberries for the first time ever.
I have eaten them before,
although not on too many occasions. I had some last night and enjoyed their taste. They have a tremendous reputation as far
as being a healthy food. They are full of anti-oxidants.
I'm not sure why I have not had them in the past.
Maybe it was the serving size when you buy them. I don't like to keep vegetables and fruit longer than two days. I'll see
how this goes.
However, I'm not ready to eat a banana. I have never had one in my 57 years. I don't like their
smell or taste. I tried one before, although I was only five years old. I thnk they still taste the same.
Friday, July 22, 2011
3:45 pm edt
People often go to great extremes
to prove their point. Wars have been fought over the preceding centuries as a matter of right or wrong. The government of
Nepal is taking it further with its attempt to measure the height of Mt Everest, the tallest mountain in the world.
Over the next two years, they will use advanced satellite GPS technology to determine the height. Back in 1865, it was measured
to be 8,839.8 meters. A team from China and Italy determined the height to be 8,848.6 meters in 1992. Another team from the
U.S. found it to be 8,849.9 meters in 1999.
After this new team releases the results, controversy will
remain over its height. It's one of those things that may never get resolved.
The fact that the British had
such an accurate height in 1865 is most impressive considering the technology of the time and nobody was able to climb it
to almost 100 years later.
Thursday, July 21, 2011
An Evening at the Beach
12:36 am edt
I'm glad I had the opportunity to do
comedy at Salisbury Beach last night. It has changed a lot since my high school days of 40 years ago. The rides and roller
coaster are gone. Several buildings have been replaced.
At times, it looks like it has seen better days.
Maybe it has, but what I saw tonight was something that you see all across America in beach towns.
are run down, but others are fighting to change their direction. So many of the buildings are old, but they contain
businesses that provide jobs.
One of the last remaining game arcades claims family ownership since 1916.
I thought that was rather impressive.
I'm not sure where the beach is headed as far as commercial development.
There is some very prime real estate that is not being used for the best economic return.
In the end,
like anything else, the economics will drive the decision and direction of the beach front.
5:33 pm edt
I don't like to pay for parking, especially
in a garage where they rip you off with outrageous fees. I don't mind feeding a parking meter when you can find them.
Tonight, I'm doing comedy at Salisbury Beach. There is no free parking anywhere. There is a municipal lot that requires
a fee until 11 pm. They charge 25 cents for 10 minutes or $1.50 per hour. That's reasonable, but there is a two hour time
I already put 20 quarters in my car, in addition to the ones I have. I'll feed the meter and avoid the $10
charge in the lots around town. A meter is always a reasonable concession to avoid paying a garage.
there is no free parking.
Tuesday, July 19, 2011
Returning the Statue
11:21 am edt
I have not been a frequent visitor to
art museums. I have visited galleries in New York City as well as the Guggenheim, but I have never been to the Museum of Fine
Arts in Boston.
Some of these institutions are under scrutiny over how they obtained some of their holdings. It's
no secret that many items were pillaged and stolen from archaeological sites around the world. In recent years, works of art
have been linked to thefts during World War II by both sides.
I thought MOFA did the right thing in sending
part of a sculpture back to Turkey. It was the upper torso of a statue dating back to 400 B.C. Turkey claimed the art was
illegally obtained by foreigners. The statue had a long chain of custody before it ended up at MOFA.
All of these
issues are decided on a case by case basis, but there is no doubt that a significant portion of museum collections were obtained
under murky circumstances.
Monday, July 18, 2011
Stamping Out Offices
10:19 am edt
The US Postal Service is considering
closing a branch office where I live. This would inconvenience many people who would need to travel to the main branch and
wait in line. I usually go to the smaller branch where it's easier to park. There is never a line.
the Post Office is fighting for survival after losing billions of dollars over the years. The internet has taken a big bite
out of its customer base.
Last year the Post Office handled 170 billion pieces of mail down from the 213
billion in 2006. This is a very significant drop that continues downward.
The number of employees has shrunk from
792,000 in 1998 to 583,000 today. There have been no layoffs. Jobs have been lost through attrition and retirements.
Every locale facing a closure will involve their Congressional delegation in an effort to keep the doors open. Closings
make financial sense, but nobody wants it done to them.
Back in 1900 when the population was 100 million, we had
71,000 post offices. Now, we have 300 million people serviced by 32,000 branches. The numbers don't make any sense. Something
has to give one way or the other.
Sunday, July 17, 2011
Turning It On In 2011
9:56 am edt
I finally installed my air conditioner
today. The countdown begins for its removal on Labor Day. It comes out then day no matter what the temperature is.
The humidity is certainly lower in my apartment. It feels quite comfortable. I still have the issue about sleeping with
it on. I turned it off before I went to bed. When I awoke, my head was a bit stuffy. This is what I hate about air conditioning.
I turned the dehumidifier on early this morning. The unit makes a humming noise which I actually find soothing
and easy to fall asleep to.
Saturday, July 16, 2011
Lighning Strikes Twice
12:46 am edt
there such a thing as fate? How does one end up in certain situations. Why does it happen to one and not the other.
A story in the paper told of a New
Jersey man whose father was killed by a lightning strike 48 years ago.
The son, now 54, was attending a backyard
cookout on July 3 when a storm broke out. He advised his family and friends not to worry as he felt that lightning could not
strike a family twice.
Those would be the last words he ever said as he smoked a cigar with a cousin. Lightning
struck the ground and injured him so badly that he died five days later.
The odds of being struck by lightning
are minuscule. For a father and son to die the same way is remarkable in light of the odds.
Was that fate?
A Heavy Story
4:15 pm edt
When I first saw the story,I disregarded
it. We are inundated with so much news that we need to have some sort of filter. After seeing it again today, I decided to
check it out.
A New Jersey woman is earning $100,000 annually by webcasting her effort to become the heaviest woman
in the world. She weighs over 700 pounds and is aiming for another 300 pounds to grab the Guiness World record.
go to great extremes for notoriety, fame and money.This appears to be a bit over the top, but is it? Who are we to judge?
She wants to get the record. That is her choice.
I think it would be easy to say that what she is doing is
very unhealthy and might lead to an earlier death.
It's her decision in the end, but I don't think she is making
the best lifestyle choice.
Thursday, July 14, 2011
Still Going To the Window
1:48 am edt
I got a coupon from the maker of my
printer to order stamps and supplies on-line. Many people personalize their postage, especially for events like weddings.
I have seen the results and they look very good.
However, I'm not ready to eliminate my trips to the post office.
I never found it to be inconvenient. I go to a small branch office where there are no lines.
I still don't know
why they removed the stamp vending machine from the lobby. They were very useful, but out of service periodically.
I'm sure the employees didn't like them as they took the place of the clerk at the window.
Wednesday, July 13, 2011
Say No To Loans
2:04 pm edt
I don't believe state or local governments
should get involved with the funding of sports stadiums or arenas. They are a losing financial venture. We have numerous examples
over the last 30 years.
Voters in Nassau County on Long Island are being asked to approve a loan of $400 million
to fund a sports complex that will include a minor league baseball team.
I fully support any effort to bring minor
league teams to any location, but this project should be paid for with private funds.
I don't have an issue with
tax dollars being spent for infrastructure improvements such as roads and traffic signals. There is an economic benefit to
be gained by that.
Taxpayers should never be held hostage by a team owner who threatens to move the team unless
they get a new stadium or arena.
Tuesday, July 12, 2011
12:34 pm edt
It's easy to be concerned about the
food we eat. It doesn't matter what it is. Trying to eat healthy can have its challenges.
We constantly hear about
the benefits of eating fish. It's suppose to be so good for you. However, its popularity has resulted in a greater percentage
of the fish food being produced on "fish farms". Reading stories about this process can be disheartening. Salmon
is injected with an artificial dye to give it a healthy pink color. Otherwise, the meat would be grey.
I only buy
"ocean fresh" fish. I must assume that the label is correct. You never know sometimes. Canned tuna can have its
Fruits and vegetables often have pesticides. Beef and poultry can be suspect. You get to the point
where you never know what is healthy to eat.
Even drinking bottled water has its own controversy with all of the
I try to make the best decisions possible, but in the end, I can never be certain.
Monday, July 11, 2011
All About Inclusion
1:31 pm edt
The baseball All-Star game is being
played on Tuesday. I don't have any plans to watch it. The game is a farce. It takes forever to play after an endless round
of player and coach introductions.
Fan voting has ruined the game. Players often get selected based on their popularity,
especially in the larger media markets. We could talk on and on about the merits of some of the starters.
makes it worse is that each team must be represented. This sounds like the typical policy of "inclusion" that
is around us all of the time.
Every team needs to have a representative. It doesn't matter of he is a "star".
The selection of these players is at the expense of some other worthy candidate.
Fan voting is here to stay. I think the process
is deeply flawed.
Sunday, July 10, 2011
The Bad Nails
7:10 pm edt
There is trash around us no
matter where we are. Sidewalks and parking lots are littered with paper, cigarette butts, bottles and cans.
Some people even throw their pennies on the ground.
I always pick them up if I see them. I'll never be too rich to walk past money on the ground. I picked up two pennies today.
Later, it was a dime.
The most important find was a small rusty nail. It was waiting to give someone a flat tire. We have all had that happen to
I'm glad I was able
to "take it off the street". Road hazards are everywhere.
Saturday, July 9, 2011
Paying to Park
12:11 pm edt
I always enjoy trips to New York City.
I wish it was closer for a day trip. I did it twice. It makes for a very long day without that much time to spend in the city.
Everything about NYC is expensive. Hotel prices are atrocious.
A recent report indicated that midtown and downtown
Manhattan are the two most expensive places to park in America. Prices have risen again this year. There is also a hidden
18% parking surcharge which brings the daily rate to over $50.
I plan to be there for five nights in November when
I run the marathon. Parking will cost $250. I should consider alternative transportation, but planes and trains are just as
expensive when you factor in the parking cost at their garages.
If I drive, it takes about five hours. Planes and
trains don't save much time. In fact, the train turns it into a seven hour trip if you factor in the time needed to get to
the station to avoid missing the train.
I'm still not ready to consider one of those $15 bargain bus trips. Their
safety record is a bit spotty. My goal is to get there in one piece. I just wish it was cheaper.
Friday, July 8, 2011
The Great Underground
10:58 pm edt
The infrastructure of American cities needs untold
billions of dollars of work,. There are so many bridges and roads that need to be rebuilt or replaced. Under all of the roads
is a vast network of sewers, water and utility lines.
That was quite apparent to me today when I drove over a one mile stretch of road where the top layer
of pavement had been scraped away for resurfacing.
All of the exposed man-hole covers and storm drains had been painted with fluorescent red
to inform drivers of their potential hazard.
It was amazing how many covers there were in such a short stretch. You never notice them under normal
conditions. They become part of the road.
mains and sewers are often approaching 100 years old. This is typical in many cities. There is so much work to be done. Most
of it never gets started until there is an emergency.
Our nation could employ an enormous workforce to attack this problem if they could streamline
the supporting bureaucracy.
It would be interesting to examine the bureaucracy of the WPA era. They certainly put a lot of people to work and built many
useful things. I wonder how many bean-counters they had.
Thursday, July 7, 2011
The Last Flight
6:13 pm edt
The final space shuttle launch is expected
tomorrow with the flight of Atlantis. After this is over, the US space program will no longer be able to launch our astronauts
to the International Space Station. Instead, we will rely on the Russian government to get them there aboard one of their
space capsules.The even charge $63 million for each astronaut.
It's bad enough we can no longer launch astronauts,
but Atlantis will only carry a crew of four instead of six. In a dire emergency, the astronauts would need to evacuate
the spcae using by using the Russian Soyez capsule as a life boat.
Since only three can fly in the craft,
the rescue would require multiple launches from Russia to get the astronauts back, one at a time.
We had a lot
of time to get a replacement space craft designed and built. A great deal of mmoney was spent before President Obama
pulled the plug on the program.
This would have been a good way to spend economic stimulus money. It would have
created and preserved jobs in the aero-space industry. Instead, workers are getting laid off.
Wednesday, July 6, 2011
No Big Bang
4:21 pm edt
I'm not a big fan of fireworks. They
are a big part of the 4th of July, but I have never gone out of my way to see them. Some cities and towns do a better job
than others in their display.
There was too much of it in my neighborhood the last few nights. I could never see
what fascinated people about lighting them off.
There was a lot of it in the parking lot where I live. My car
was covered with residue from the explosions. I was never into it as a kid and don't care about them now.
Tuesday, July 5, 2011
1:22 pm edt
Doctors will never tell you to cut down
on the amount of fruit eaten daily. I could do a better job in this phase of my diet.
When I was at the market
today, the strawberries and raspberries were in full stock. This is their time of the year. I was all set to buy some of each.
As I looked at them in their transparent plastic containers, I noticed that some had white fuzz on them. It was the
obvious beginning of mold and spoilage.
Maybe they just wash it off in a restaurant, but I could not bring myself
to buy any of this stuff. It looked bad.
Monday, July 4, 2011
Looking at 2012
11:49 am edt
It's the 4th of July. The year is more
than half over. It can only mean one thing. I have now started to receive 2012 calendars from the charities that bombard me
with stuff throughout the year.
So far, the count is up to three. I have no idea how many I'll receive, but I bet
it's closer to 20. My name is on so many lists for veteran and environmental groups. I never heard of some of them.
I would love to donate to them all, but my name would be out there with more charities. I get so many address labels and
pads of paper. I can't use them all. There is no way to stop it.
Saturday, July 2, 2011
Keeping It Down
10:40 pm edt
It was a road trip to the casino at
Mohegan Sun today. I played Craps and Blackjack with little success on either end.
The cards helped me keep
the losses low compared to the dice and slot machines. My best time spent was with Blackjack.
All you can ever
do is to lose less money. Nobody ever goes home winning on a regular basis.
Friday, July 1, 2011
Low On Taste
1:57 pm edt
When foods are labelled as
"organic", there can always be questions raised. I recently bought some organic lemonade. I thought it would be
a good idea to try it.
product has been around since the 1970's. Their label said that they are a "Green-e" certified company that buys
renewable energy for their production. They also recycle over 95% of their waste. Apparently, some stuff still goes to a landfill.
Unfortunately, this product was very low on taste.
It was so bad that I drank about half a glass and poured the rest down the drain.
I hope they don't come out with an organic cola. I'm sure that would taste just as bad.