Wednesday, November 30, 2011
10:35 pm est
A few years ago, the federal Bureau
of Prisons decided that they needed additional facilities. Three were built, including one in Berlin, NH. It was not cheap
at $276 million.
Whenever these facilities are built, some members of Congress line up to steer it to
their district. The move to northern New Hampshire was seen as an economic boom for the area. The prison will employ 320,
of which 192 will be transfers from other areas. That still leaves 128 jobs for the people in the area.
there is a starting age limit of 37, the jobs offer good benefits and a federal retirement plan. The people in the host communities
of the other two prisons look for similar economic benefits.
However, it has not happened up to this point.
The prisons never opened because the salaries for the employees were not funded in any prior budget.
appropriated $6.5 billion for the Bureau of Prisons that includes funding for the positions.
It makes you wonder
how many unused facilities there are out there.
Tuesday, November 29, 2011
1:24 pm est
Since I started paying some of my bills
on-line, my volume of mail has not decreased. I keep getting all sorts of stuff from charities and groups looking for
Yesterday, I had a large envelope folded and squashed in my mailbox. It was from an environmental group
asking me to sign a petition for the Endangered Species Act. They wanted me to send it to Senators Kerry and Brown.
I support the act and belive it does a great deal of good. I'm concerned that if I sign the petition, it will open the floodgates
for even more junk mail. It's hard to keep up with what I get now.
At least I recycle of of the paper I get from
this. They also sent me a pen to sign the petition. I'll add it to all of the other pens I get.
I already recylced
19 calendars for 2012.
Monday, November 28, 2011
10:15 pm est
admit that I could have done a better job watering my house plant of the last 4+ years. This plant has set all types of longevity
records, but scares me at times.
I recently over-watered it to the point having mold start to grow on the soil. I'm
not sure if this plant is in it for the long run. So much of it is gone.
When I trimmed it back, I thought it would grow
back faster than it has. It has been so slow, but I know that this plant will make a return.
Sunday, November 27, 2011
Where Was This?
4:06 pm est
Dreams always fascinate me. The sub-conscious
mind is a marvel that we can never really understand. They say every dream means something.
I was lying in bed and then dosed off. I had a very vivid dream of being in Boston with a coupe of friends trying to
get to the Orange subway line. The buildings I saw didn't match up anything I have seen in town. We got on a bus and went
through a neighborhood of vacant homes. The images were so clear.
Where was this? Why was this picture so clear
in my mind? I remember making a statement about the issue of homelessness in America and how people should be living in the
Was this from another lifetime? It was too vivid to arbitrarily make it up.
Saturday, November 26, 2011
5:43 pm est
Black Friday has become part of the
Thanksgiving holiday experience. It might help the economy, but critics claim that it takes away from the "shared family
experience" of the day. Many workers have no option, but to show up at their designated time.
there are stories about people being trampled when stores open.
Yesterday, the two craziest stories
were the people who broke down the doors of a Hollister store in New York City. They proceeded to loot the store in front
The other involved the woman in a Walmart store who pepper sprayed a group of customers as
they all tried to X-Box games.
What type of society do we live in when behavior gets to this point?
Friday, November 25, 2011
No Way To Cut Waste
9:54 am est
The so-called Super Committee
from Congress was unable to agree on budget cuts. That is not surprising as members are greatly influenced by special
This will trigger automatic cuts across the board for federal departments and agencies. The Pentagon
will need to cut $1 trillion over the next 10 years.
Defense accounts for $926 billion in this year's budget. One
proposal is to eliminate the Navy's Blue Angels precision flight team. Their annual budget is $37 million. This is the typical
"nickel and dime" approach that is always made when trying to cut spending and eliminate waste.
The Blue Angels serve as a great marketing
tool for the military to recruit their future members. Last year, they staged 70 performances in 35 cities. They are very popular wherever they go.
Some point out that this is a waste of money in tough economic times. The Navy looks at it as a way to enhance recruitment.
Whoever proposes the cuts will face a firestorm of protest from their constituents. Whenever Congress attempts to
trim the budget, it always ends up being for something that is popular as well as useful.
Defense contracts are
too closely tied to Congressional districts. Nobody in Congress is about to cut money targeted for their voters.
You will always hear that the "pain" must be shared equally, but nobody is willing to take the first step because
they know the political consequences.
These mandatory budget cuts sholw produce some great political theater.
Thursday, November 24, 2011
Paying For Their Ads
10:39 am est
There is way too much hype associated
with Black Friday. I would never go to a store at 4am for anything. I feel bad for employees who are forced to work those
crazy hours because some executives in a board room thought those hours would be good for the company's bottom line.
When I bought my newspapers today, I was shocked to see how big they were. There were so many circulars from different stores.
That's ok. I just pull the out and recycle them.
I thought it was rather sleazy that the papers charged the same
price as they do on Sunday. The format was no different than a weekday. The papers were stuffed with ads and we were forced
to pay for them. They know that people will buy the paper today for the fliers. I just don't believe that they needed to make
the customer pay for them. What a ripoff!
Wednesday, November 23, 2011
Give Them Backs
12:58 pm est
Most professional sports teams raise
their ticket prices during the off-season. It's inevitable as the salaries of players continue to spiral out of control.
The New York Yankees announced a series of price increases for their "cheaper" seats, especially the bleachers.
I find it very puzzling that a stadium which cost over $1 billion to build, would have bench style seats
in some sections.
The stadium was built at a cost that exceeded all estimations. However, once the price got over
$1 billion, what difference would it have made if they spent another $10 or 20 million to put backs on those seats?
If fans are going to pay outrageous prices for a seat, it should at least have a back on it. Bench style seats should
only be in museum displays.
Tuesday, November 22, 2011
Down With the Windows
6:17 pm est
obvious that winter is on our doorstep just by looking at the trees and feeling the temperature. All of my summer and fall
stuff has been put away. The sweaters have come out. I have been using my heat and burning up money doing so.
finally pulled my storm windows down. I waited to the end, but it was cold in my bedroom last night. I sleep with the heat
off because I hate a warm and stuffy room.
I have a window in my living room about ten inches wide. I never pull down that storm one
because I want to get some fresh air in my apartment. Circulating the air can be a real challenge in the winter. It's very
easy for it to get stale without opening the window periodically.
Monday, November 21, 2011
It's All About the Toes
1:47 pm est
I'm going to Gillette Stadium for the
football game tonight between the New England Patriots and the Kansas City Chiefs. Temperatures should be in the 40's with
a low in the 30's. I plan to dress in a number of layers.
Once the sun goes down, it seems a lot colder. Hopefully,
there is no wind. We are lucking out with the weather as rain is in the forecast in the next day or so.
is to keep the feet warm. Once the toes get cold, it's all over. My insulated socks should do the trick. I don't drink alcohol
at games. I'll need to stay warm the "natural" way.
Sunday, November 20, 2011
Changing of the Blade
10:57 pm est
Nothing in this world lasts forever. I proved that with my razor blade after
using it for five months and six days. I decided to change it. It still had some life in it, but was not shaving as close
as it once did.
I started using this blade on June 8th. I almost made it into December. It was a long run. I think
I can do better with this new blade.
I want to be shaving with this on the first day of spring. I should use it
when I prepare for the Boston Marathon. That would be in five months.
These are Gillette Quatro blades made in
America. They make a long lasting product.
Big Time Move
11:04 pm est
went to a football game at UMass Amherst today. I met up with a friend from my days there. It was the last game of the season
and the final game in the stadium for at least five years as the team moves to Gillette Stadium.
Playing home games
there is part of their bid to play Division 1-A football. It's a big change for everyone. The games at Gillette will draw
alumnae from the greater Boston area. Students will get buses from Amherst. The real losers are the loyal fan base out in
The crowd in Amherst has a lot of people from the area who enjoy college football at a reasonable
price. The team needs to play in Gillette in order to meet a stadium size requirement of Division 1-A.
I'm in favor
of this move to "big time" football. It's way for the school to get exposure. At the same time, they can never compromise
their academic mission.
Friday, November 18, 2011
Some Bright Ideas From Readers
4:56 pm est
With more newspapers moving to on-line
editions, their format is also changing. Even the hard copy editions encourage readers to provide comments on stories
by going to the paper's website.
Recently, the Loews store in my community closed on short notice. City officials
are looking for a retailer to fill the space. In these economic times, that might prove to be a big challenge.
article solicited reader's comments on the story. Everyone agrees that the space should be filled, but some of the suggestions
were a little off base.
Barnes and Noble was mentioned, but retail book stores are becoming dinosaurs
across the country.
Several grocers were mentioned. That was an interesting idea, but there are three markets in
town and another few nearby.
Any of the big box stores are made of basic construction. They serve their purpose,
but it's easier to tear them down and use the land for something else.
Thursday, November 17, 2011
Nobody Gives It Away
3:42 pm est
Many national retailers use some type
of card to give their customers reward or bonus points after making purchases. I have a card with CVS that I have used quite
successfully. I often get a coupon for 20% off any purchases over $20. It's a way for the store to get you to spend money.
I'm ok with that since I make a number of purchases there.
I recently had a problem with my razor and was forced
to by a new one. Naturally, CVS did not have any coupons or discounts available for my purchase. I bought a couple of other
item resulting in a $26 purchase.
Today, I got an email from CVS informing me that I could save 20% on any purchases
by he end of 11/19. That leaves a little over two days to take advantage of the savings.
I plan to use it
to stock up on a couple of items. If I had it yesterday, I would have spent more money. I have a rewards card from my VISA
account. If I spend about $10,000, I will qualify for some item that I don't want in the first place. I might also get a gas
card if I'm lucky.
Wednesday, November 16, 2011
Finally A Decsion Made
4:09 pm est
Life is full of procrastination.
We are all guilty of it. Sometimes, it takes forever to finally make a decision.
Today, I finally changed my primary care physician. I have
been talking about it for a long time. I was not satisfied with the one I have now. He was not thorough enough in his exams,
but that's a whole other story.
Finding another doctor is a challenge. You just end up calling someone randomly.
The person I found has a back ground in sports medicine. That intrigued me, but I know nothing else about this guy.
I wanted to make a follow-up appointment for the episode of gout I had back in the summer. When I called his
office, his receptionist said I would need to wait until after Christmas for an appointment. After pleading my case
she "found" a spot for me on November 29th.
I have no idea how this relationship will work out. I was
at the point where I had to do something and get another doctor. I'll see how it goes.
Tuesday, November 15, 2011
A Tale of My Two Schools
10:40 pm est
I donate to UMass Amherst. It's a great
school. I loved going there. I have so many UMass t-shirts, a few glasses and cups, sweat shirts, polo shirts,
ball caps, but no jacket.
I always donate when I get called by the student telethon. I enjoy talking
to the students and share my love and passion for the school and my time there.
I also received a Master's degree
from Suffolk University where I went part time at night for 3 1/2 years. It was a long process, but worth it in the end. I
will always have it and be part of the Suffolk University family.
They called me tonight to donate money. I talked
to the student for about 20 moniutes about my time there. I mentioned about UMass and all the stuff I have from there, but
I only have a Suffolk ball cap and coffee mug. I never had a t-shirt.
It's only been 32 years since I left
the place. Maybe I will get a shirt. The last time I went to their store, I bought the hat and cup, but their shirts were
lousy. They need to get a better grey athletic t-shirt.
I'll try it one more time.
Monday, November 14, 2011
The Controversial Test
6:10 pm est
A controversial study has recommended
that children between the ages of 9 and 11 be screened for elevated rates of cholesterol. Many adults had elevated levels
when they were younger.
Critics point out that those with high levels might be placed on medications instead
of addressing the problem through diet and exercise.
Childhood obesity is at record levels. People eat too many
fast food meals. The problem is starting at an early age.
I think the idea to screen has a lot of positive points.
Children need to be taught the importance of proper nutrition and exercise. I would hate to see any kid put on medication
unless the readings were extremely high.
Medications help control the problem, but do not address the root cause.
Sunday, November 13, 2011
Don't Call Back
7:43 pm est
I accidentally turned down the volume
of the ring tone on my phone. I missed a call by a couple of seconds. Although the number's name did not come up on
Caller ID, it looked familiar. I called the number back.
That was a bad idea. It was from a public research firm
that keeps calling me . I miss most of the calls and hang up if I answer them.
The fact that I called back gives
them an indication that it's ok to keep calling me. I need to be more careful on this stuff. I expect more calls.
Saturday, November 12, 2011
The Kernal Digs In
1:59 am est
Pop corn is healthy for you as long
as butter and salt are not added. I only have it on rare occasions as something always seems to get stuck under my gums.
I'm very careful when I chew it, using only my front teeth.
I had some at a restaurant last night. Everything was
going well until I chewed a little past one of my canine teeth. I immediately got a piece stuck under my gums.
finally was able to remove it when I got home. It didn't come out that easily. I guess I'll stay away from it for a while.
I always say that, but end up eating some when the opportunity presents itself.
My teeth were certainly well flossed
when I went to bed.
Friday, November 11, 2011
The Horn Section
2:39 pm est
New York City has done a lot to address
"quality of life" issues. That started with cracking down on street crimes and homeless people. In my years of going
there, I have noticed the change.
They recently announced an ordinance that would fine cab drivers $350 for blowing
their horn unnecessarily. This is a huge problem 24 hours a day. Now, they are only allowed to use their horn to prevent an
accident. It's used too often when traffic gets stalled.
Last year, I had a room facing Times Square. It seems
like I heard the horns all night. It never stopped. They city allows for discretion on the enforcement. All cab drivers have
received notice that fines could be given out.
Hopefully, this helps the problem. Now if they could only address
the problem of loose excavation plates and manhole covers. Street are always being dug up and having those gigantic steel
plates covered over the hole. Often, they never get properly secured and make a rattling noise every time a car travels over
them. The same for the manhole covers. I guess it's all part of being in New York City.
Thursday, November 10, 2011
That Stuffy Feeling
2:18 pm est
I made it through the marathon without
any physical issues. I have been tired for the last few days. It probably didn't help that I stayed an extra day in New York
and walked myself ragged trying to squeeze the last moment out of my time there.
When I awoke on Monday morning,
my hotel room was very hot and dry. I had no control over the heat. My head was very stuffy after that and my nose has been
I now it's not a cold or allergy, but the dry heat really effected my sinuses. The way I feel today reminds
me of why I never get a flu shot after running the marathon. I think it would make things worse.
Wednesday, November 9, 2011
Fastest Time Ever
2:27 pm est
Whenever I drive to New York City, it's
a guess as to how long it will take. I usually stop two or three times to get out of the car. It's too far of a drive to do
without a break.
When I drove last week, it took me 5:09. Anything under five hours is great time for me. I took
the Triborough Bridge instead of the Cross-Bronx Expressway. It involved a $6.50 toll, but the expressway was a huge traffic
jam. Back in August, I spent over one hour to travel about four miles.
When I departed yesterday, I made my best
time ever. It took 4:05. Very few trips have taken less than five hours.
The key was the lack of traffic backups.
I took the Cross-Bronx Expressway. I never saw it flow so smoothly as I headed north. The traffic headed to the George Washington
Bridge was a nightmare in the other direction.
It flowed smoothly all the way home. It was a very unique
ride that might take a long time to replicate.
Tuesday, November 8, 2011
10:00 pm est
website has been up for over 2 1/2 years. I try to write every day. There is nothing worse than a website that has old
and outdated content. This site does not have a lot of bells and whistles as far as graphics and color. I'm more concerned
about the topics I write about.
I must admit that I am really behind the times with some technology. I just own
a desk top pc. Therefore, I can't update this website when I'm out of town. I just returned today after five days from New
York City where I ran the marathon.
I used my DROID phone to check my email and Facebook, but you really can't
update a website using a smart phone.
I need to seriously think about getting a laptop or something that has portability
and large enough to view.
I don't travel that often, but I could have written some interesting thoughts about my
time in New York City if I had a laptop.
Life is full of missed opportunities and decisions not made. Maybe, I
will address this situation at some point when I travel again.
Wednesday, November 2, 2011
Don't Cry For Kim
10:53 pm edt
Kardashian and her husband Kris Humphries announced they are ending their marriage after only 72 days. Many fans are expressing
shock that it is over so soon. It looked like a "fairy tale" wedding at first.
What her fans got was
a charade scripted for her reality show on E! Network. The wedding cost $10 million, but the couple received almost all services
for free. They also were paid another $17 million for two television specials about their wedding.
Fans can't see
through this nonsense. Kim is laughing all the way to the bank. I'm not sure what the finanancial split was with her husband,
but she played everyone to be a fool and made a bundle of money.
She just can't try this again. People are
wise to her act. When you make $17 million, it's time to try something else.
Tuesday, November 1, 2011
Problem With the Server
10:20 pm edt
When I came back from my run today,
I had no connection to the internet. I thought it was on my end. I kept checking my DSL connections. I kept getting error
messages when I tried to login. Further research showed it might be a server problem.
I finally called my internet
provider. I got a recorded message about a serve problem in the area. When I got home tonight, I was back on-line.
I wonder what happened. Was it related to the storm? It's probably one of those things about the internet that we will never