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This site is created by Jim Laprel; avid runner, comic and blogger. See my schedule below for my latest comedy appearances. Click on my blogs to see my latest thoughts on the New England Patriots and the NFL, as well as other aspects of life.

"The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step"
                          Lao-tzu Chinese philosopher ( 604-531 B.C. )

New York City Marathon

Nov 4, 2018 at the 22 mile mark 

Doing a set at Strange Brew Tavern Nov 26, 2018

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Here is an interview I did with a local newspaper about my running.

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My blog: "All Pats Talk". Read the latest on the three time Super Bowl Champions and the rest of the NFL. Get an "outsiders" viewpoint. (click here)

 

  

                                                            Comedy Shows

 

 

 

Thurs, Sept 26    Strange Brew Tavern

                             16 Market St.  Manchester, NH  9pm 

Thurs, Nov 21   Soho Restaurant

                          89 Lowell Rd.. Hudson, NH   7:30pm 

  Random Thoughts About Things

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Saturday, December 31, 2011

Moving the Flock

We continue to read stories about wildlife creatures encroaching upon neighborhoods. Bears are in the suburbs. Even New York City had a coyote walking along the West Side earlier this year. Most of the times, they are a nuisance, but it can get dangerous.

A local community has a problem with wild turkies hanging out at a busy intersection along a state highway causing cars to stop suddenly. Nobody wants to run them over.

The local newspaper portrayed it as a humerous story, but something should be done before someone gets hurt. Animal rights activists will be the first to protest, but how long do you wait?

It's similar to the Canadian Geese issue at the New york City airports. They already brought down one plane. Numerous bird strikes happen on a regular basis. When officials tried to eliminate them in a humane way, there was a large outcry from the activists who sought to protect the geese.
 
I like the geese too, but they not live next to an airport or public drinking water supply.
  
4:24 pm est 

Mike In the Cab

Mayor Bloomberg has been criticized for being a "nanny" at times with some of the regulations and programs he has championed. It comes across as a lecture at times, but I thought he made a good point the other day.

He stars in a video being shown in all NYC cabs advising people to wear their seat-belt. According to NYC officials only 65% of cab riders comply. Nation-wide there is a rate of 90% for the general population.

The seat-belt controversy will never end. How do you force someone to wear it? I believe in the right to decide. I also think  they save lives.

The mayor has never been afraid to support his pet causes no matter what it pertains to. I have enjoyed watching him run the city for the last ten years. It's hard to believe he is entering his last two years in office.

I still don't know what to think of the pedestian plaza he created on Broadway, Time Square and Herald Square. It was a bold move to close major streets to vehicular traffic. It certainly makes it a challenge to drive in that part of the city.

I wonder if this plan will continue to exist during the next mayoral administration. I assume it wasn't meant to be forever.

11:13 pm est 

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Food Delivery

Many people work in low paying jobs. They can be very demanding on the employees. I have a great deal of respect for people who deliver food from take-out restaurants.

They go out into the night never knowing what's on the other end of the delivery. You read about the workers getting assaulted and robbed on a regular basis. There have been senseless murders.

I'm sure the danger varies by community and neighborhood, but it can happen anywhere.

I wouldn't want to do that job under any circumstance. It's a bit like driving a cab.
7:05 pm est 

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

They Deliver Anywhere

I don't like to order things on-line because of the way they are shipped. I have no problem with something that fits in my mailbox, but I thought it was crazy the way UPS handled holiday deliveries. They left packages on the front steps of homes in clear view. It was like free shopping for potential thieves.

I realize they don't always need to get a signature, but there is absolutely no security in the process. The same goes for a UPS pick-up. They assume that if you leave the package outside, nobody will steal it.

Newspaper deliveries are not much better. I saw one today that never made it to the front steps of the house. It was in a plastic bag on the sidewalk. That's the primary reason why I don't get home deliver. I could save money, but it's not worth the hassle and aggravation
7:25 pm est 

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Street Crossing 101

I never like being a pedestrian. It's tough to walk legally  on a cross-walk, especially at night. People don't stop for you until the last minute. They try to make you the problem.

Sometimes, it might have been better to J-walk further up the street. It's never a good idea to cross a street at night. Nobody can see you. I proved that tonight.

You don't want to be the guy that presses the walk light and grinds things to a halt while trying to cross the street, but it might come down to that.

Drivers make it so difficult to cross the street. They never want to give an inch. Everyone is in a hurry.
10:20 pm est 

Monday, December 26, 2011

Never After Sunday

 

Massachusetts liquor sellers will be able to be open on the day after Christmas for the first time because of the repeal of one of the "Blue Laws". The old regulation prohibited sales on the day after Christmas if the 26th is a Monday.

Retailers said it would help their businesses, provide a service  and keep people from going to New Hampshire to buy alcohol. This all sounds good.

The other day, I was buying some beer and asked the two part-time employees at the register what they thought of it. Both of them had a full-time job and no desire to work the day after Christmas. They wanted the owner to open for shorter "Sunday" hours or work in their place.They were looking forward to their day off.

Today will be an insane day at the mall as many peple will flock there to make returns. The retail workers will be forced to work the hours asigned to them. It won't be a vacation day for them. 

 

 

1:17 am est 

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Good For the Economy

Pope Benedict mentioned that Christmas has too much "glitz" and not enough about the true meaning of the day. He really stated the obvious on this one. All you need to look at Black Friday and the absurd behavior of people in the last few weeks.

While reading some Facebook postings, I noticed some that were very self-centered. One person gave a listing of everything they got. Who really cares? They probably complained about the stuff they didn' get.

I think the holidays are a good time to get together with people, but I'm ready to move on. The craziness continues tomorrow with people running to stores to exchange things they got, but really don't want.
9:55 am est 

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Filling the Dumpster

The dumpster outside is already filled up. That's because people keep throwing boxes in without crushing them first. Don't they realize that they take up too much room?

I had a small box that I tossed in, but I broke it down into a thin pile. After tomorrow,the dumpster will be overflowing. I hope they pick it up on Monday. People will be tossing trees out by then. It happens every year.
8:00 pm est 

Friday, December 23, 2011

The Shoe Stampede

There is never a shortage of stupid behavior this time of year. The holidays really seem to bring it out. I thought Black Friday was over the top, but there was some crazy stuff going on in several cities after customers stampeded stores to be the first to by the new NIKE Air Jordan sneakers.

The shoes cost $190 and were quickly scooped up by customers. I'm fine with that, but there was chaos in some stores and a couple of gunshots around the country.

Many of the shoes are going back on the market via ebay. People seem to be in desperate times. I have no issue with reselling the shoes. This is the American way.
 
The crowd behavior, in some instances, shows how uncivilized we are at times. Some people seem to have no clue about the meaning of Christmas.
 
8:11 pm est 

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Debit Card Gambling

The Massachusetts State Lottery announced plans to accept debit cards for lottery related purchases. This idea has received a mixed reaction. It certainly makes it easier to play. Critics point out that it makes it too easy to spend money that some people can't afford.

I never play the lottery. I think the odds are really stacked against you. I can't see dropping $5 for a ticket that eventually takes your money.

The lottery tries to trick its players by having so many games. With a couple of exceptions, they are all the same. They just look different in appearance.

I assume it will never get to the point where credit cards can be used. That would be over the top and a bad move for a lot of people.

10:45 am est 

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

How Tall Is the Child?

The latest issue of PARADE magazine came up with a review of 2011. They had a list of "this year's burning questions". Included was one that asked what the future child of Prince William and Kate Middleton would look like.

The response came from an associate professor at Penn State who studies the genetics of facial features. He really went out on the limb with his answers which were based on the analysis of facial features of Kate and William's family members.

The hair will be brown like Kate's or blonde like William when he was a kid. It might be red like brother Harry. A boy could have a potential for the baldness that William is developing, but Kate has a full head of hair. Eyes could be green or hazel, but could also be blue like William.

No matter what, the child should be tall because William is 6'2' and Kate is 5'8".

This guy from Penn State should be a politician. He didn't say anything specific. Anyone could have come up with this. I hope PARADE magazine didn't pay him for this enlightenment.

He is probably laughing on the way to the bank.
11:48 am est 

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Can't Get the Final Count

After more than eight years, American troops are finally leaving Iraq. While I was reading a story about the departure, the radio had a similar story.

The newspaper indicated 4,487 troops had died. The radio said 4,474. They were doing a story about the "last" American soldier to die. That individual died from a bomb explosion in November. He was indeed the last one to die there.

However, soldiers will continue to die from the war related injuries. The count will increase over the years. The news accounts could not agree on the count. Was it 4,487 or 4,474?
 
In the end , it won't change anything. The count will continue to change. There will never be a final tally.
10:35 am est 

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Playing Possum

PETA has the interests of animals as their primary concern, but sometimes they get carried away. They are objecting to the planned actions on New Year's Eve by the owner of a bar in a small town in North Carolina.

Apparently, a live possum will be placed in a transparent cage and lowered at mid-night to mimic the ceremony in Times Square. This has been going on for 18 years, but PETA sent a letter to the state's Wildlfe Resource Commission objecting to the event.

They claim the act is inhumane and cruel, pointing out that the bar owner does not have a permit to possess wild animals.

They might be right about the permit, but at least the owner doesn't plan to cook the possum after.
6:06 pm est 

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Getting the Count Right

The issue of homelessness in America is a problem that seems to get worse with the economy. It's especially disheartening to see so many homeless veterans on the streets. The Department of Veterans Affairs claims that their ranks decreased by 12% during 2010.

This figure is based on a one-night head count in January 2010 done in 400 communities across the country. Volunteers fanned out to spots where homeless were known to congregate. They counted 67,495, down from the previous year's total of 76,329.

The VA has made significant efforts to help veterans, but I find fault in how they did their count. Many homeless hide themselves during the night. They were only counted in 400 communities. Did they make an assumption that there are no homeless in the other locales?

In New york City alone, there are an estimated 1,500-2,000 people who live below ground in the city's subways tunnels. I doubt if anyone searched for veterans among this group.

Like most numbers, the VA's total  should only be an estimate. How do you come up with the correct number. You can only count the people you can find.
11:22 am est 

Friday, December 16, 2011

What Do You Do With $10M?
 
We can always depend upon the  government to spend money in odd ways. There is a railroad bridge in town that needs to be replaced at a cost of $98 million. The span was built in 1919 and has reached the end of its useful life. Engineers and local politicians are divided as to its safety, but trains are forced to reduce their speed to a crawl when they cross it.

The federal government announced a grant of $10 million towards the bridge. What do you do with that? It's still about $88 million short. Money has been spent on safety improvements in recent years, Some feel the same should be done with this money until the bridge is replaced. How long do you wait before replacing it? Does an accident need to happen?
 
The state recently received a grant of $20 million to improve a 10 mile section of track which has always been one-way. This will be a great improvement, but what about the infrastructure? Without safe bridges, it doesn't matter how fast the trains can travel.
5:11 pm est 

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Keeping the Fee

There are old and archaic laws and regulations that add expense to government. I was surprised to see that town and city clerks in Massachusetts are allowed to keep the fees charged by their office to conduct a wedding during normal business hours.

A very old law allows public employees to pocket the money. This seems absurd, but it happens. Boston is trying to change the regulation, but it effects other employees in the office besides the city clerk. It faces a struggle for passage since it would be unique to Boston only.

There are many rules and regulations that don't make any sense. This is a great example and needs to be changed.
11:06 am est 

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

What Do They Really Sell?

The corner grocery store and quick-marts at gas stations serve the purpose when you need something on the fly and don't want to go to the big store.

Most of them survive by selling beer, wine, cigarettes, newspapers and lottery tickets. They don't sell too many jars of mustard or cans of tuna fish.

That was clear the other day when I was in one of them. The cans on the shelves needed a serious dusting. When was the last time anyone purchased some of this stuff?
 
Items in cans have a very long shelf life, but they might want to start looking at the expiration dates.

I suppose they stock their shelves with products that don't sell just so they look like a "complete" store.

That is such a charade because they don't really sell anything if you take away their lottery tickets, alcohol and cigarettes.
12:00 pm est 

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Disrespecting Chester

We keep hearing that dollar coins are the way of the future. We should get rid of the one dollar bill and replace it with the metal  coin.

Nobody wants to use these coins. You only get them in a vending machine or at the bank upon request. They minted $1.4 billion of a series of Presidential commemorative dollar coins. Everyone thought the American public would gravitate to them.

It costs the federal government $50 million annually just to store them. Banks don't want them. They only move a few, mostly to collectors.
 
Vice-President Joe Biden thought it worthy enough to poke fun at the coin for Chester Arthur, our 21st President. He said there was not a big demand for his coin. He might be right, but I thought he was disrespectful of the administration of Chester Arthur. He said he was just kidding, but people always say that after the fact.

He made a good point about a potential wasteful government program that didn't really do anything, but cost a lot of money.

At least it kept the jobs of workers at the U.S Mint. They need to be doing something. The coins gave them a purpose and a future.

I'm sure they will come up with some better projects in the future.

10:29 pm est 

Monday, December 12, 2011

Playing the Correct Tunes

There is always background music playing at my fitness club. Over the years, it's been done various ways from radio stations to CD's to the latest and greatest.

Music selection throughout the years has been a topic with the club's "complaint board" where members can ask questions and get responses from the staff.

Today, they were playing holiday music. There really seems to be a difference between holiday and Christmas music.

You never hear the Christian songs being played. It's more of the generic ones where nobody can get offended.

Political correctness plays a big part in whatever the staff of the club decides to do with the music. I'm sure they put a lot of thought into it.
8:03 pm est 

Sunday, December 11, 2011

The Authority To Raise Cash
I never have an issue with employees being paid overtime. It often helps a company from not having to hire more employees and keeps their costs down by not paying benefits to new ones.

However, there always seems to be abuses with toll collecting at bridges and tunnels. I don't have a problem with paying a toll, but there must be a more efficient way of collecting tolls for those who don't have an EZ-Pass.

Many of these bridges and tunnels become "authorities" which seem to exist only to collect tolls and raise money. It is always done with the assumption that the tolls will pay for future maintenance and improvements. When you read about overtime payments, it makes you wonder whether these authorities exist to do do anything other than pay salaries, overtime and benefits to their employees.

Improvements and upgrades are often funded through long term bonds which the authority has the ability to sell. It becomes a self-perpetuating cycle.

Many bridges, tunnels and roads have already been paid for, but the authority to collect tolls lasts forever. It's a good deal for those who have one of those plum jobs. It's quite a racket.
2:48 pm est 

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Making the Call

I think we all procrastinate at times. I'm really good at it. I keep thinking that I will update the pictures on this website more frequently. I really should do that.

I should also finally call Verizon about upgrading my modem. I have had it almost six years. I paid extra to upgrade the speed to 1.2 Ghz. I'm sure it's much faster now.

I plan to do this on Monday. I will try not to put it off until Tuesday. After that, it never gets done.
5:27 pm est 

Friday, December 9, 2011

What Good Old Days?

I read a poem in a local weekly newspaper that romanticized the life of growing up in the 1950's. The writer seem to imply that everything in life was better back then, especially the feeling of community and family values. He made several good points.

I must take exception to his verse that said "censorship was our protector". I don't see censorship and denying First Amendment rights as being anything positive.

Things were "censored" back then. The Catholic church use to publish a list of movies that hey felt were objectionable, based on content and theme. I don't look at that as being the "good old days".

People tend to look back and focus on all of the things positive. They forget some of the real social issues of the time.

His next poem will probably lament the demise of the 10 cent cup of coffee.
5:41 pm est 

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Seeing It From the Tracks

When I was seven years old, I saw a natural land depression in my neighborhood. It was known as the "Sugar Bowl" because it was contoured like one. I never saw it again as we moved to another part of town several months later.

In the past year, a line of abandoned train tracks was removed. A path with crush stone was built as part of a future walking trail.

I jogged along the path today and saw the backside of the "Sugar Bowl". Fifty years of tree growth, brush and fallen leaves made it look so different from when I last saw it 50 years ago.

My childhood image is so different from the reality of today.
6:33 pm est 

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

A Self-serving Commercial

There is a commercial on tv promoting tourism for the Gulf Coast states of Florida, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana. They all have their praises sung as a destination point. The commercial is well done and clearly makes it point.

It appears that the states are having their tourism bureaus work together on a joint promotion. At the end of the commercial, we see the real force behind it. All of a sudden a logo for British Petroleum appears on the screen.

After causing billions of dollars of damage during their monumental oil spill, they are trying to score some public relations points by sponsoring a commercial promoting tourism in an area they helped pollute.

This seems very disingenuous, but was probably discussed in great detail during BP board meetings before it was ever carried out. BP can run a few public relations ads, but they can never repay the damage they did with their oil spill.
3:46 pm est 

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

More Junk Mail Today

I never like to be critical of the unsolicited "gifts" I receive from charities. I have donated to some of them while others have found my name on mailinmg lists with namess of the "live" ones.
 
This morning, I mailed two separate checks to different veteran's groups I support. They are among three I donate to on a regular basis.

I received a large envelope from one of them today. Inside was a pair of fleece gloves. They sent the same ones last year. I used them throughout the winter. Here I am with another pair. I won't send another check.

I got four other envelopes from groups I have never donated to. I hate to do this, but I might need to start collecting all of these envelopes and bring them down to the post office and mark "refused" on them. I don't know what else to do. I don't want this stuff and never asked for it.

It takes some of the enjoyment out of giving when I know that my donation will result in a glut of junk mail that I can't seem to stop.
6:14 pm est 

Monday, December 5, 2011

Stop the Catalogues

There are not many things I buy on-line. I prefer to shop in person, but sometimes you have no choice.

I just received my third LL Bean catalogue in the last few weeks. This one promotes "last minute shopping". If we still have three weeks left, will I get another one?

LL Bean likes to promote itself as a "warm and fuzzy" corporation looking out for the environment. I will recycle my catalogue along with one from another company I never heard of. Most of these usually end up in the landfill.

I have no problem with junk mail as long as it gets recycled. That does not always happen with everyone else.
6:28 pm est 

Sunday, December 4, 2011

The Small Stuff

I'm never surprised by what I see posted on Facebook. Some people really rant or pour out their emotions. Some of it is just nonsense. It always amazes me about people who complain about doing the mundane things in life such as grocery shopping or doing laundry. They make it sound like they are getting tortured.

Maybe they will be in a nursing home someday and won't need to be concerned about cooking their meals or having their laundry done.

I never mind doing laundry or food shopping. I get a sense of satisfaction out of it, especially when all the laundry is folded and put away. I like preparing my meals. I want to do this stuff as long as possible.
5:14 pm est 

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Building Too Many

There is a story in the news about a proposal to build a resort type casino on land across the street from Gillette Stadium in Foxborough. This sounds like a good idea. The location is good and central to a large population to draw from.

Massachusetts just approved licenses for three casinos and one slot parlor. Everyone seems to think that gambling is the way to improve our fiscal condition in the state.

One or perhaps two casinos might work, but to have four facilities is just too much. There is already competition from Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun in Connecticut. There are only so many gambling dollars to go around. People spend too much on the lottery as it stands now.

It will be years before anyting is built, but I don't think we will ever see all four facilities open. If they do, they will have a short life. There will be too much of a supply and not enough demand.
 
12:11 pm est 

Friday, December 2, 2011

Longer Days Ahead

It's hard to believe the "holiday" is three weeks away. Four weeks to the end of the year. It doesn't seem possible, but here we are. Winter is also three weeks away.

One good thing is that days also start to get longer from Dec 21st forward. You gotta love that. I wish it lasted longer in June and the summer. The best days of the year have a decrease of sun light. It doesn't make sense.

I'm all for the Winter Solstace and Daylight Savings Time in March. It will be here before we know it.
8:57 pm est 

Thursday, December 1, 2011

New Man on the Job

I listened to parts of the press conference of Bobby Valentine who was selected as the new manager of the Boston Red Sox. He said all of the right things. It was like a young couple on their first date with nothing but the future ahead of them.

We all know how it ends for a manger in Boston. You either get fired or leave on a mutual agreement. Terry Francona didn't get fired, but it was a stretch to say that he left on his own accord.

Nobody knows what the future holds for Valentine and the team. If they don't win, he will be the first to take the criticism. It's going to be an interesting season in 2012.

What is the over and under for the month and year he gets fired?
5:45 pm est 


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