Saturday, December 31, 2011
Moving the Flock
4:24 pm est
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.
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.
Mike In the Cab
11:13 pm est
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.
Thursday, December 29, 2011
7:05 pm est
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.
Wednesday, December 28, 2011
They Deliver Anywhere
7:25 pm est
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
Tuesday, December 27, 2011
Street Crossing 101
10:20 pm est
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.
Monday, December 26, 2011
Never After Sunday
1:17 am est
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.
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.
Sunday, December 25, 2011
Good For the Economy
9:55 am est
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.
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.
Saturday, December 24, 2011
Filling the Dumpster
8:00 pm est
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
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.
Friday, December 23, 2011
The Shoe Stampede
8:11 pm est
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
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.
Thursday, December 22, 2011
Debit Card Gambling
10:45 am est
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.
play the lottery. I think the odds are really stacked against you. I can't see dropping $5 for a ticket that eventually takes
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.
Wednesday, December 21, 2011
How Tall Is the Child?
11:48 am est
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.
Tuesday, December 20, 2011
Can't Get the Final Count
10:35 am est
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.
Sunday, December 18, 2011
6:06 pm est
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.
Saturday, December 17, 2011
Getting the Count Right
11:22 am est
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.
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
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.
Friday, December 16, 2011
What Do You Do With $10M?
5:11 pm est
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.
Thursday, December 15, 2011
Keeping the Fee
11:06 am est
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.
are many rules and regulations that don't make any sense. This is a great example and needs to be changed.
Wednesday, December 14, 2011
What Do They Really Sell?
12:00 pm est
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.
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.
Tuesday, December 13, 2011
10:29 pm est
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.
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
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.
Monday, December 12, 2011
Playing the Correct Tunes
8:03 pm est
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.
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.
2:48 pm est
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.
Saturday, December 10, 2011
Making the Call
5:27 pm est
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
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.
Friday, December 9, 2011
What Good Old Days?
5:41 pm est
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
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.
Thursday, December 8, 2011
Seeing It From the Tracks
6:33 pm est
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
Wednesday, December 7, 2011
A Self-serving Commercial
3:46 pm est
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
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
Tuesday, December 6, 2011
More Junk Mail Today
6:14 pm est
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.
Monday, December 5, 2011
Stop the Catalogues
6:28 pm est
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
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
I have no problem with junk mail as long as it gets recycled. That does not always happen with everyone
Sunday, December 4, 2011
The Small Stuff
5:14 pm est
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
Saturday, December 3, 2011
Building Too Many
12:11 pm est
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
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.
Friday, December 2, 2011
Longer Days Ahead
8:57 pm est
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
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.
Thursday, December 1, 2011
New Man on the Job
5:45 pm est
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?