Wednesday, August 31, 2011
Violence In Music
9:36 pm edt
Political correctness can get way out
of hand these days. There are many examples of going to the extreme.
Gosha College, a Mennonite Church-affiliated
school in Indiana, has stopped playing the National Anthem because they feel the lyrics are "too violent".
Instead, they play "America the Beautiful". They felt that Francis Scott Key's lyrics mentioning "bombs bursting
in air" were inappropriate.
Key stayed away from any mention of religion. "America the Beautiful"
has "God shed his grace on thee". I guess Goshen chose the song because they are a religious school, but it's probably
why Congress could never change the National Anthem to it.
People are trying to take it off our coins.
Tuesday, August 30, 2011
A Bad Date
5:41 pm edt
Many food markets have their shelves
stocked by vendors. I see it all the time where I shop. It seems especially true for products like bread, cookies and soda.
The other day, I wanted to buy some Syrian bread. The shelves were depleted because of the impending storm. I noticed
that a number of packages were already three weeks pass their "sell by" date. A few were up to four weeks. How could
Don't they take out the old stock before putting in the new?
When I went today, everything had been
cleaned out and restocked with appropriate dates. That was a good thing. I still wonder how something could have stayed on
the shelf three weeks pass its date.
Was the regular guy on vacation? You never know what goes on behind the scene
in food preparation and handling.
Monday, August 29, 2011
Into the Fourth Quarter
7:08 pm edt
Hurricane Irene was mostly wind and
rain around here. Some trees came down. I saw one across the street that had been planted last year and was upended at its
My car was covered in a thick film that I was able to wipe off with my finger. I took it to the usual
do-it-yourself car wash. It's a good deal for three dollars. Sometimes, I need an extra quarter that gives another 20 seconds
on the rinse.
Today, I needed all four quarters to get all of the soap off. This was like cleaning a car in the
middle of winter.
The rain from the sky also brought a pile of other stuff with it. It was deposited on everyone's
car. It seems like a car is always dirtier after it rains.
Sunday, August 28, 2011
The Write Stuff
10:50 am edt
Public schools no longer devote much
time to teaching the cursive writing style. When I was in school, emphasis was put on proper penmanship. We spent time
every week practicing on our upper and lower case letters, as well as numbers.
The use of computers has
relegated penmanship to a bygone era. When I see the writing of students today, it's almost impossible to read. I still have
papers and final exams from college that I wrote in the cursive style. They were very easy to read.
So many adults
have signatures that are illegible. They don't appear to write their entire name. One store clerk recently complimented me
on the fact that my signature was readable on the back of my credit card.
I still admire good penmanship. Whenever
you get a form letter in the mail, you can never read the person's signature. We need to get back to teaching people how to
In the end, this is wishful thinking. There are more priorities in schools.
Saturday, August 27, 2011
The Big Apple Rides the Storm
4:01 pm edt
In a move that I thought
was a little over the top, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg ordered the "mandatory" evacuation of 250,000 residents
who live in low lying parts of the city. On the island of Manhattan, there are several problem areas, including near Ground
The subways and trains stopped running at noon today. Critics claim this evacuation order is in response
to the negative publicity around Bloomberg's handling of a major snowstorm last winter.
While people may be in
danger, I don't see how you can force people to evacuate a place like lower Manhattan. There could be some real problems if
computer models of flooding pan out. It remains to be seen.
I can't imagine what a Saturday afternoon in August
must be like without trains and buses running.
Thursday, August 25, 2011
12:29 am edt
I spent some time in Harvard Square
last night. The university maintains a huge footprint on the city of Cambridge. Their influence can be seen everywhere.
The school has such a huge endowment. They can do almost anything they want.
As I walked along Mass Ave, I couldn't
help but notice the close proximity some of the dorms were to the street. The opened windows in the rooms are about 20 feet
from the sidewalk. It must get quite noisy with all of the traffic.
One might think that parents would have
a fit over where their kid's dorm room was located. However, these are old buildings, at least 75 years old. Putting up with
the noise and traffic is nothing new. In fact, it must be a Harvard tradition.
Wednesday, August 24, 2011
Money For Kim
1:16 pm edt
The Kardashian family seems to have
a licence to print money. Lead by Kim and her lack of any talent, they rake in millions from their reality television
show, product endorsements and personal appearances.
Kim's recent wedding is rumored to have cost $10 million.
Most of the services were provided for free or at a steep discount. She even got her $15,000 wedding cake and $10,000 in wedding
invitations for free.
Perhaps her biggest catch was the $15 million she will receive for the four-hour, two-part
wedding special on the E Network. For pocket change, she picked up $2.5 million from People magazine for her exclusive wedding
photos. The publication also gave her $300,000 for engagement photos. She was paid $50,000 for her bacherlorette party in
I have no idea how the Kardashians will do when they get older, but right now they are making money
like it was going out of style.
Tuesday, August 23, 2011
Storms & Earthquakes
7:06 pm edt
The earthquake in Virginia today reminded
us that anything can happen at any moment. I went to a wake today for a person I knew from grammar school. He had a sudden
heart attack and died at the age of 56.
Who would think that we would ever feel an earthquake around here? In geological
time, we are due for one. They have rocked us in the past. Three hundred years in geological time is nothing.
I was thinking about this weekend. Then, I heard about Hurricane Irene which might give us very heavy rain and effect the
plans of everyone.
You just never know what might happen.
Monday, August 22, 2011
No Big Loss For the Cities
7:36 pm edt
The U.S. Olympic Committee announced
today that they have no plans to submit a bid to host the 2020 Summer Olympics or 2022 Winter Games.
from interested cities were due in September, but the Committee decided to make their announcement today. They cited some
of the revenue sharing issues with the International Olympic Committee.
Potential cities included New York,
Los Angeles, Dallas, Chicago, Minneapolis and Tulsa. Chicago was turned down for the 2016 Games, as was New York for 2012.
None of these cities should feel like they are missing anything. The Olympics are a huge financial drain for the host
site. Profits are non-existent. A great deal of infrastructure is often needed. There are countless stories of the financial
The Committee should make it a permanent decision to never submit a bid again to host.
Sunday, August 21, 2011
Not Ready For a Shot
11:27 pm edt
We are down to the final weeks of summer,
but nobody needs to be told that. It won't be long before we see Holiday specials.
It struck me odd to see
a local pharmacy advertising their flu shot clinic. Are they rushing the season? I never heard of it being this early.
I took my last flu shot in 1980 and got very sick. I have no intentions of ever taking one again. I usually get
the flu one way or the other. I don't think you can avoid it.
Saturday, August 20, 2011
The Fall of Summer
1:14 pm edt
Summer seems to be a short season around
here. It's the end of August and two weeks from Labor Day. The best days of summer are over. It's only going to get cooler
with the shorter days.
I noticed it the other morning when I was out at 6am. You could feel a touch of autumn
in the air. It was more apparent this morning as I was jogging. Some leaves have already taken to the ground in advance
of others. i always wonder what makes them the first to fall.
From this point forward, they will all come down.
It will take until mid-November for most of them to come down around here. At that point, we will be staring at winter. Time
passes so quickly.
Thursday, August 18, 2011
10:01 pm edt
Professional sports teams try to give
the fan the "total game day experience". To that end, they go out of the way to use the Jumbo-tron. Every arena
and stadium flashes the faces of the crowd for all to see.
Like most teams, the New England Patriots offer fans
the chance to post a 50-character message on the videoboard during the first time-out in the 3rd quarter.
mere $200, you can wish birthday greetings, say hello or propose for marriage.
I always wonder if any
guys ever get turned down after popping the question on the board for all to see. It must be quite embarrassing if she says
Wednesday, August 17, 2011
11:54 pm edt
I always enjoy reading the New York
Post. I have so much respect and admiration for the people who write the headlines of their stories. It doesn't matter if
it's on page 1 or 22.
A couple of days ago, they had a catchy headline of a guy who was found dead in a smokestack.
It was at an old Louisiana bank building that was being torn down.
The bodies DNAbelonged to a person who dissappered
in 1984 when he was 22. His family must have wondered where he was the last 27 years.
He certainly contributed
to his own demise, but his family and friends must take consolation that his body has been recovered.
many questions that might never get answered.
Tuesday, August 16, 2011
More Cartridges Please
3:50 pm edt
I went to Staples today to
use $13 in Rewards points. Many companies use these as an incentive to get customers through the door. My points were earned
after returning ink cartridges.
you buy a printer, you start on the road to eventually paying more for the ink than what the printer cost. The ones on a color
copier go even faster. My printer takes four different ones.
I used my Rewards point for the most logical purchase. I bought a black cartridge. It's just
a matter of time before I need to replace it. These guys don't come cheap at $23 a pop.
Friday, August 12, 2011
The Start of Transition
6:02 am edt
There are still six weeks left to summer.
We will have more hot weather, but you can feel the change in the morning air.
I was out early this morning. It
was 61 degrees. It should be in the low 80's today, but the feeling in the air felt like the early stages of autumn.
It's a gradual transition to the next season, but today seems like the start.
Thursday, August 11, 2011
Not Embracing the Geese
10:47 pm edt
Canadian Geese have a bad reputation.
Some of it is deserved. They tend to hang around grassy areas that have water. It's difficult to keep them away from golf
courses. They make a terrible mess.
For the last few months, I have seen a big gaggle camped out on a lawn by my
city's primary source of drinking water. There are signs not to feed them, but they are hanging out there for some reason.
People have not been complaining in the newspaper, but they are a threat to fouling the water supply.
is a big problem in New York City near the airports. Officials have taken measures to eliminate them in a humane way.
Animal rights activists have threatened to use themselves as human shields in protest.
These people obviously
never played on a golf course where the birds can make a fairway almost unplayable with their droppings.
Wednesday, August 10, 2011
Walking By the Cantaloupe
8:42 pm edt
I always get a kick out of going to
Walmart. It's a very interesting store. They are also the nation's largest employer and the biggest seller of Chinese goods.
I like to call it the "China Outlet" because of the vast inventory an low prices. Very little is American made.
Walmart plans to offer groceries in many of its stores. This store had several aisles of various items in cans, bottles,
and plastic packaging. All had nice prices.
What really struck me was the cantaloupe out in the open. They touted
"grown in America", but it would have been nice to see this stuff in a refrigerator or cooler room. How long
has it been out for?
Roadside farm stands have their produce in open bins, but they have a quick turnover
in their inventory. These cantaloupes looked like they were here for long haul.
It was rather disheartening to
see the water melon in a big box and displayed like they were a special on microwave ovens.
Tuesday, August 9, 2011
The Blast of the Horn
3:08 pm edt
People do things that effect the quality
of life in any neighborhood. I turn a deaf ear when I hear car alarms go off. I find them very obnoxious. Does anyone ever
call the police when they hear them?
I think people who lean on car horns are very inconsiderate. One toot should
be sufficient. Maybe one more if the person doesn't come out of their house. Why do people lean on the horn? Don't they realize
they are bothering others?
Many people think the world revolves around them. I guess it doesn't really phase them,
but it does effect the quality of life for others.
Monday, August 8, 2011
Cold In Store
2:51 pm edt
I don't mind hot weather. It's the air
conditioning that I have a problem with. I just use fans at home. I use the A/C in my car sometimes, although it's a challenge
to properly regulate the temperature.
My biggest problem is the frigid air in many stores. This morning, I got
caught in a heavy downpour and got soaked just getting through the door at the local market.
I'm glad I was only
buying a couple of items. I could not wait to get out of the store. It was so cold. That's one thing about summer I won't
Saturday, August 6, 2011
A Work in Progress
12:32 am edt
Whenever I go to New York City, I visit
St Patrick's Cathedral. It's an amazing structure. It's hard to believe that something like that was built without the use
of power tools or the technology of today.
Another great building is the Cathedral of St John the Divine. Construction
started in 1892. It's been a functioning church since the early 20th century and is a great example of cathedral construction
Some of the stone work is very rough and unfinished. The traditional transepts that reach out from
the crossing have only been partially built. The towers are only a concept. Some estimates say it would cost $100 million
to finish the job and take decades. Most of the great cathedrals in Europe took centuries to finish.
see it ever being done in my lifetime. It's too bad that it's so expensive. Another issue is the lack of skilled stone cutters.
The finished work is so intricate and painfully slow to complete.
Friday, August 5, 2011
A Problem Painting
2:18 pm edt
It's always difficult for people in
a city or town to agree upon naming something after one of their citizens. With so many people moving around, it's a challenge
for residents to be current on their local history. Often, people are only aware of contemporary times.
I have been observing a local development.
A non-profit group plans to paint a large mural on the side of a three story brick building in the local historical district.
This sounds like a good idea, but with a few drawbacks.
I question how they came up with the final list of
residents to be portrayed. They even ran a lottery where local residents could enter and get a spot in the mural. Some of
the selected people were not that worthy, in my opinion.
Nobody has said how they plan to address the problem of
chipping paint in the future. The mural is being painted on panels that will be attached to the side of the building. Eventually,
the paint will start to chip. It might take a long time, but once it starts to chip, it will be on its way to becoming an
I don't think there is a fair way to recognize citizens of distinction without neglecting others. They
should have painted something that addressed local history without having anyone in it.
Thursday, August 4, 2011
A Very Expensive Building
3:56 pm edt
The host countries that are the "winners"
for events like the Olympics and World Cup soccer are not always financial success stories. Governments spend a great deal
of money that is never recouped.
The country of Qatar is the latest example of extreme extravagance. They plan
to build a 67,500 seat soccer stadium to host the World Cup in 2022 at a cost of $5 billion. It will be a domed structure
because of the desert heat. It will also be able to be turned into a 10,000 seat amphitheatre.
All of this is wonderful,
but the cost is way out of line. If the structure is slated to cost $5 billion nine years from now, there is no doubt that
the price will spiral out of control. The final cost will be anyone's guess.
Wednesday, August 3, 2011
Can't Forget It
10:31 am edt
I have an appointment to have my
car serviced today. It would be difficult to forget to show up. Yesterday, I had a reminder email that showed up at 8am. I
got another two hours later. Shortly after that, I got an automated phone call asking me to confirm my appointment.
I wonder what would have happened if I didn't respond
to the email or phone call. Would they have sent someone to knock on my door? Hopefully, I won't waste my entire afternoon
waiting to get routine service.
put customers through a lot of nonsense by trying to convince us that we are important.
Monday, August 1, 2011
Not That Urgent
5:17 pm edt
I get a great deal of junk mail. It
will continue to come long after I'm gone. There is no way to stop it.
Being a member of AARP requires me to get
many solicitations that I have no interest in. One came today marked "URGENT". It was for "any Americans born
between 1926 and 1966". Naturally, it was for life insurance. I put it with the papers I recycle.
is quite clever. They help sponsor one of the US Olympic teams. They have a logo on the back of the envelope showing their
partnerships. They even gave me 18 "Patriotic" address labels. What a company! I just wish they would take me off
their mailing list.