Friday, September 30, 2011
10:49 pm edt
Michelle Obama has made child fitness
one of her priorities. A number of groups, including the NFL and Nickelodeon TV, are trying to promote one hour of play per
day for children.
That whole concept seems foreign to me. When I was a kid, we didn't have all of the electronic
distractions of today and did things to amuse ourselves.
As a sign of the times, the local Boys and Girls Club
had an electronics-free day. Kids were kept away from cell phones and video games and actually played kickball, basketball,
floor hockey and held a dance contest. The local newspaper wrote about it.
We have come a long ways when we
start writing stories about kids playing games. The way things are headed we will probaly have a Museum of Play in the future.
Thursday, September 29, 2011
Junk In the Trunk
7:34 pm edt
Many people use their cars for storing
things. The inside of my car has nothing, but I can't say that about the trunk. I went through the stuff today.
There were a few gardening tools I use at the cemeteries that I can store at home, but most of the other stuff needs to
stay. I have a special sports vest that I use for aqua-jogging. Do I keep it in the trunk or in my living room?
can't believe how much stuff people have in their cars. I never have any water bottles or cups hanging around. I constantly
throw things away.
Pretty soon, I'll be putting my snow shovel and scraper in the trunk. If I don't set the shovel
down properly, I can hear it rattle while I'm driving.
Wednesday, September 28, 2011
Paving the Square
5:34 pm edt
If Mayor Michael Bloomberg had his way,
there would be very few cars traveling the streets of New York City. He has lead the charge to create hundreds of miles of
bike lanes all around the five boroughs. He was behind the creation the pedestrian plaza on Broadway and Times Square.
I have seen it first hand. The city did a nice job with it, although it always looked like a temporary situation.
Yesterday, the city announced plans to spend $27 million to repave the area with brick and stone. The project will be completed
I'm sure it will look nice, but critics are complaining that the money could be spent on more important
things. I don't have a problem with spending the money, but that means Time Square will be a construction zone for almost
I think looks fine the way it is. I would support the project if the time-frame for completion had
a more reasonable date.
Tuesday, September 27, 2011
Finally Doing It
12:04 pm edt
Life is full of procrastination. We
all do it for various reasons. I have been thinking about paying my utility and cable bills on-line, but never did anything
about it until today.
It struck me odd recently that my cell phone bill from the prior month was still outstanding.
It turns out that I never got the bill in the mail. The charge showed delinquent on my new statement, but I thought the payment
crossed in the mail. After checking my records, the payment was never made.
I set my bills up to be paid either
with a credit card or debited from my checking account. Hopefully, I don't regret doing this, but I will save time writing
checks and avoid postage costs.
As it stands now, it was costing me about 80 cents to write and mail
a payment. This will save about $50 annually.
Monday, September 26, 2011
The Waiting Room
6:57 pm edt
I went to see a cardiologist today for
a routine six month appointment. When I got there, I think I was the youngest person there by 20 years. It was rather disheartening
to see the physical condition of some of the people there.
Aging is very cruel to people. Not everyone makes it
to the life span of those in the waiting room, but it was not a pretty sight.
None of us know how long we will
be here. We should all try and take care of ourselves to the best of out ability. It's not an easy thing to do.
some of these people gives me incentive to try on a daily basis.
Sunday, September 25, 2011
Looking Form Warmth
9:52 pm edt
It was pushing 80 degrees today,
but it was a bad day for anyone going to the beach. It's a matter of time before it's all over for getting some
October is next week. It doesn't get any warmer. We might have a couple of warm days, but it will be a real
roll of the dice for a warm one.
Any beach days from this point forward are rare.
Saturday, September 24, 2011
Call From the Platform
5:27 pm edt
It was inevitable that cell phone service
would be provided in New York City subway stations. A pilot program is outfitting several stations. Officials hope to have
have access for all 277 underground stations by 2016. Calling ability will be restricted to the station platform as tunnels
will not be wired.
I'm ok with this compromise. I don't think we want to hear the blather of phone conversations
while on the subway. There are enough strange looking people in every car. People that randomly talk to themselves make me
nervous at times.
The MTA will gain revenue from the providers, but I can't imagine trying to make a call
with all of the noise of the 42nd St station.
Although I never ride the system at night, a deserted subway platform
can be intimidating especially if there is someone ranting over a phone.
I'm sure that in future years, the entire
system will be accessible because of technology improvements.
Friday, September 23, 2011
Satellites Falling To Earth
4:44 pm edt
NASA has been downplaying the plummeting
of a six ton satellite. Nobody seems to know where or when it will strike. Various estimates have it falling just about any
place. Official are quick to point out that 75% of the Earth is water and most of the world's population lives on a small
percentage of the available land mass.
This type of thinking is fine as long as nobody gets hurt. If this thing
cause death or personal injury, there will be an outrage. There are over 20,000 pieces of space junk orbiting the Earth.
This satellite was launched in 1991 and is expected to break into 100 pieces upon its emergence into the Earth's
Satellites have some down in the past. The last was in 2002, but nobody got hurt. NASA will be
bringing down the International Space Station in a controlled descent after 2020. Let's hope nothing goes wrong with either
of these two.
Thursday, September 22, 2011
Avoiding the Cycle
7:16 am edt
Pedestrians, bicycles and cars are not
always the best combination in a city. Bike lanes have been constructed as an alternative to traffic congestion. I got to
see this mix first-hand last night when I was in Cambridge.
They certainly have more bike riders than I have seen
anywhere. Pedestrians are constantly in the cross-walks. Drivers need to pay close attention to everyone around them.
The biggest challenge is parking a car while keeping an eye on the cyclists. I was just about to open my car door last night
when I saw a rider coming up behind me in the bike lane. As I started to open my door, I heard him call out to me.
He got my attention and I waited for him to pass.
This is not the first time a rider has some up from behind me
as I attempted to exit my car. I'm sure other drivers face the same challenge. There must be accidents that we never hear
about. It's a bad combination.
Pedestrians have been around forever. Drivers are able to handle them, but the bikes
are another story. Some of them ride too fast. They proved that at 11pm. The tough part is that cities want to see more of
them and fewer cars.
In larger urban areas, I think it's a matter of time before there is a real tragedy with a
car and a bike.
Wednesday, September 21, 2011
5:30 pm edt
We should never judge a group because
of the actions of a few, but skate boarders sometimes push it to the limit. Many of them feel that private property should
be accessible to them. They show up at the most inappropriate places.
Last year, I saw some of them using the bench
at a Viet Nam memorial. You always want to give them the benefit of the doubt because they are kids.
Today, I saw
them using a memorial at a cemetery down the street from me. It was late in the afternoon. All of the help had gone home so
there was nobody to chase them away.
They were using the granite steps to their delight, oblivious to the fact
that they were disrespecting the family of the deceased.
It was pointless to say anything to them. They just
don't get it. Their parents
would probably defend their actions.
Tuesday, September 20, 2011
The Blanket Shows Up
12:05 pm edt
A week ago today it was in
the 80's. I took a walk along the beach for a couple of hours. I got some good color, especially on my back. Summer was making
one last appearance.
it's in the low 60's with off and on drizzle. The nights have been in the 40's. Last night was the third consecutive one I
used a blanket and wore my seat pants and long sleeve t-shirt to bed.
The storms windows remain up and the heat is off, but I wonder how much longer it will be
before I start increasing my monthly gas bill. The temperature inside my living room is 68.
I think I have taken my last trip to the beach.
It's a matter of time before the polo shirts get put away for the year.
Ironically, when I run the New York City Marathon in six weeks, we sometimes have an Indian
Summer. The last two years I left my heavy jacket behind because of the temperature. It was easier to dress in layers.
You never know what type of day you might get during
the first week of November.
Monday, September 19, 2011
No Change Avilable
6:24 pm edt
I think roadside farm stands offer the
best produce. It's too bad the season is short for them. At best, it will only be for a few more weeks.
stopped by one today that was selling fresh tomatoes and corn. Some of the tomatoes didn't look like I would want to buy and
eat them, but I found a really nice one. They were charging $3 per pound, with a hanging scale nearby to weigh them.
Payment was done by an honor system. Just drop dollars and coins through a slot. No change available. My tomato should have
cost 65 cents. I had dollars bills and two quarters. I put the coins into the slot. At some point, I owe them 5-10 cents.
I wonder how the honor system works at these places. Do people overpay or underpay?
Sunday, September 18, 2011
Making the Lower case
11:47 pm edt
Government agencies are known for wasting
money on ideas that get studied forever before it's realized that it was a bad idea. New York City is always a good place
to look to.
The federal government has dropped plans to force the city to change 250,900 street signs from all
caps to upper-and-lower case by 2018.
In the end , it will save the state $27.6 million. It's good to see savings,
but I'm sure another money wasting idea will come along soon.
Saturday, September 17, 2011
11:53 pm edt
Last night was the coldest
night since last spring. I woke up several times during the night when I got cold. I grabbed one of my blankets before I went
to bed. I closed my windows at bit more today. It was 64 degrees in my living room when I woke up this morning.
The day got warmer, but I thnk last night signaled
the trend toweard autumn and winter. We will have our "Indian Summer" days, but they will be limited in number.
It's only going to get colder from this point on.
Friday, September 16, 2011
12:25 am edt
I like to get mail. Most of it is either
bills, magazines or charities looking for money. I got 10 pieces today and decided to see what type of stuff I was getting.
I got an offer for a motorized scooter for elderly people, a magazine solicitation, one notice from my health insurance
company, a solicitation for extended vehicle warranty, one phone bill and four requests from environmental groups for money.
MADD sent me address labels, as well as a new and shiny nickel. In the end, I had a lot of paper to recycle. I cut
up the address labels and added the nickel to my change collection.
With the weekend here, I should be getting
my magazines either tomorrow or Saturday.
Whenever I have my mail held at the post office, it always amazes
me what I get over the course of four or five days.
Pants or Shorts
4:47 pm edt
You never know what type of weather
you will get day to day this time of the year. The last two days were in the 80's, sunny and humid. It rained off
and on today.
Tonight, the temperatures are going down to the low 40's. It will be 20 degrees cooler during the
I'm playing golf with some friends in the morning. I'm not sure if I'll wear shorts or long pants.
I don't have an issue of what to wear up top. I can do layers of different things.
I tend to think that I'll end
up in long pants tomorrow. I hate being cold when I play golf. I start thinking about it and it effects my game.
For that matter, just about anything can effect my game.
Wednesday, September 14, 2011
A Big Gamble
10:17 am edt
The Massachusetts state legislature
is debating a casino bill today. They want to license three resort type casinos and one slot parlor. I have mixed emotions
about legalized gambling. We already have a state lottery that has addicted many people on a daily basis.
residents leave over $1 billion in revenue at the two casinos in Connecticut. Proponents say why not leave this money in Massachusetts
and help our state. They certainly have a valid point.
Discussion has been going on for years with various proposals
that never seem to go anywhere. The economic conditions seems to be ripe for giving this a shot with the promise of job creation.
Little discussion is held about the social implications of state sponsored casino gambling.
I recommend going forward
with casino gambling, but I do so with great reservations. If three casinos and a slot parlor are approved, they will be in
direct competition with the two casinos in Connecticut. There is no way all of these facilities will survive over a long period
One merely needs to look at Atlantic City to see what happens at the saturation point. There are only
so many gambling dollars to go around.
Monday, September 12, 2011
Rushing the Season
10:47 pm edt
Time passes too quickly. We
can never slow it down. I can't believe that autumn starts next week. The holiday season will be here before we know. The
first signs are here.
the Sunday Boston Globe there was an ad for tickets to the Rockettes holiday show at the Wang Center. I guess it makes sense
to start selling tickets for an event that is 10 weeks away.
Once we hit October, we will see holiday specials in stores. It just seems a little early, but it's
getting earlier every year.
Sunday, September 11, 2011
9:27 pm edt
I always enjoy looking at the way engineers
carve ramps through layers of rock during construction of roads. There is always a lot of blasting involved. Sometimes,
you can see where the drilling was done through the rock. Enormous amounts of stone get hauled away to be turned into gravel.
The other day I saw a few Jersey barriers set up in a breakdown lane where some stones had fallen from the rock
wall of the hill. A couple of them were half the size of my car.They looked like they would so some serious damage upon contact.
Saturday, September 10, 2011
The End of a Fan
7:44 pm edt
We buy a lot of cheap appliances made
overseas. I just tossed out my oscillating fan that I've owned for the last ten years. It was working at only the lowest speed.
I recently got a couple of other fans after I got rid of my air conditioner. On the spur of the moment, I decided
to toss it into the dumpster. It's been sitting on the floor for the last few weeks waiting to go.
The moment finally
came. It frees up a little space.
Friday, September 9, 2011
10:30 pm edt
Nobody seems to dress up anymore. We
live in a casual world. Suits and dresses are a thing of the past. People at church look like they either just rolled out
of bed or they are heading to the beach.
I went to a funeral today. I think it's special when people show
up for the service. That is the most important thing. I was just kind of surprised when I saw the casual way of some.
I have a bad record in the past of wearing polo shirts and warm-up jackets. I wanted to be there, but never cared about
I wore a suit today because I now own two. This suit will forever be known as the funeral suit. On
the other hand, I got a real nice beige one with pleated and cuffed pants.
I must say that Men's Wearhouse does
an awesome job in fitting suits. When I consider what I paid for the suits, shirts, ties and shoes, I got a great deal.
It took until I was 57 to own a good suit as well as a second one.
Thursday, September 8, 2011
8:25 pm edt
Americans get a non-stop deluge of rhetoric
about how to create jobs and spark the economy. Tonight, we listened to President Obama outline his plan.
what we do, there are so many jobs that could be created by rebuilding roads, bridges and schools all across America. The
last economic stimulus plan didn't do this. Maybe it can never happen because of the overhead costs.
can't go back tot he WPA era of the 1930's where people were given jobs and things actually got built. There are so many examples
of WPA projects still around us.
I never want to sound pessimistic, but these proposals never go anywhere. In my
local community, they are rebuilding a bridge that will take another two years to finish. It's a $40 million job, but
when you drive past the site, you only see a handful of workers.
It's all about numbers in the end. Neither political
party has a plan to actually put a large amount of people back to work.
Wednesday, September 7, 2011
Where Have You Gone, Jerry Lewis?
5:21 pm edt
I always associated Labor Day
with the Muscular Dystrophy Telethon hosted by Jerry Lewis. As MDA chairman, Lewis hosted the show for the last 45 years,
raising over $1.66 billion. He always had an all-star cast of performers including the late Sammy Davis Jr. Jerry and his
side-kick Ed McMahon.
McMahon nd Davis passed away. Lewis continued hosting in spite of a slew of physical
ailments. He always hung on to sing his trademark song; "You'll Never walk Alone".
This year everything
changed in August when MDA announced that Lewis would no longer be the chairman of MDA or the host of the show. Lewis was
silent on the subject. Everyone expected him to make a live or taped appearance. It was disappointing to see the telethon
shortened from 21 hours to 6.
In the end, Lewis never made an appearance and left everyone wondering what happened.
We will probably never know the real story of how a 45 year legacy of devotion could end just like that.
Tuesday, September 6, 2011
A Drink Too Small
We are awash in a endless mountain of empty
plastic drink containers. America is becoming a very hydrated in society at the cost of mounting landfills. Many water bottles
never get recyled.
5:39 pm edt
I drink water from 16 ounce bottles. I feel they are appropriate in size. I recently
had a little bottle containing only 4 ounces. It was very easy to consume in one swig.
I'm sure researchers
realized that there is a market for these small servings, especially for children. It just seems like a waste to manufacture
a bottle for only 4 ounces of water.
Monday, September 5, 2011
Not Playing In the Traffic
5:35 pm edt
People still traveled distances over
this Labor Day weekend. Sometimes, you can't help encounter traffic delays, particularly if there are any construction projects
or cars on the side of the road.
Going and returning from Cape Cod can be a nightmare because of the bottleneck
that happens at the bridges. People know that when they go to the Cape.
People also know if they travel to the
white Mountains in New Hampshire or head up Rt 95, they will encounter toll booths. Unfortunately, they create massive back-ups.
Today was no exception as some lines were up to 12 miles long.
States use these tolls as a source of income, but
they should waive them on holiday weekends. Too many people are inconvenienced for the amount of money they collect.
This will never happen because money is money and there are special interest groups. I'm just glad I'm not stuck in
a long line of cars today. It's never fun when it happens.
Sunday, September 4, 2011
Can't Forget the Date
9:11 pm edt
I just got my 12th 2012 calendar in
the mail. As usual, it's either a charity I donate to or one who has found my name and thinks they can get me to send them
money. My charities fall under environmental groups, veterans and public safety employees.
I don't know the process
of getting my name around to other charities, but they do a great job. I get so many address labels and writing pads. Yesterday,
I had four pieces of junk mail. Some groups never let up.
On a positive note, I have been recycling my newspaper
and junk mail for the last few year. At least this stuff doesn't end up in the landfill. I leave that to my plastic water
Saturday, September 3, 2011
The Sharpest Cut
7:56 pm edt
TV always has those crazy commercials
where some amazing products are sold for $19.95. They do incredible things and look like the real deal.
they had the "Pivotrim" grass-edge trimmer. This thing can ready give you a great edge along a sidewalk or flower
bed. It cut through all sorts of weeds along a chain-link fence without damaging the nylon threads.
It seem like
such a great deal because they give you all this other stuff.
One thing that concerned me was the demonstration
about how it can cut through plywood and metal. I'm not sure what the thickness was of either of these items, but I wouldn't
want to use this thing without heavy boots on.
It looks like it could cut through sneakers very easily unless the
whole thing is a big hoax. I have never bought anything from an ad on TV and don't plan to start now.
Friday, September 2, 2011
The Quick Seasons
4:54 pm edt
It's hard to believe that we are at
Labor Day weekend. They always call it the "unofficial" end of summer, but it certainly feels like it. The days
are shorter and cooler at night and in the morning. Once September goes by, there is no turning back. Not only is autumn upon
us, but winter is staring us in the face.
I only have nine weeks of training left until the New York City Marathon.
That will go by in a flash. I wish there was a way to slow time down, but we can't.
I love the seasons, but summer
went by too fast. Maybe winter will make a shorter appearance this year.
Thursday, September 1, 2011
Needing a Ride
1:45 pm edt
I always thought it was a bad idea when
NASA retired the space shuttle fleet. We are now dependent upon Russia to hitch a ride aboard one of their rockets to the
International Space Station. The Russians are also providing the vehicles for supply flights.
One of these unmanned
flights ended catastrophically the other day when the rocket exploded and crashed in Siberia shortly after launch. What makes
this problem more complex is that the upper stage of the rocket is similar to the one used to launch astronauts to the
The launch of the next crew to the space station might need to be delayed while officals determine whether
the craft is safe to fly.
If this drags out too long, the astronauts there might need to stay on-board longer.
In a worst case scenario, they would need to abandon the space station.
No matter what NASA says, it will be
a long time before we launch any of our own space crafts. This program is in a real mess right now.