Tuesday, January 31, 2012
They Want It All
11:23 am est
My mailbox always has junk mail from
charities looking for more money. I contribute to several of my favorites. They give my name away to the world. The requests
Yesterday, I had two requests from groups I have never given to. They sent me the usual address
labels and writing pads. I have so many writing pads. I'll never use them all. I should give them away.
groups asked me to remember them in my will. They want me to make plans now to give them some money through estate planning.
That's all fine and good, but I wish they would back-off on this.
They could at least personalize this request
a bit more. It won't make a difference, but will make them look better to me. At least they have not come knocking at the
Monday, January 30, 2012
Brush from Afar
7:21 pm est
I had a six month dental cleaning and
check-up today. Everything looks good at this point. I think flossing makes a big difference. The hygienist gave me the complimentary
tooth brush. Naturally, it was made in China and distributed by a company here.
I often look at things to see where
they are made. Not much gets made here anymore. Why would I expect tooth brushes to be American? We don't build stuff. We
just have American companies make it in China and we do the distribution.
I doubt the workers in the factories
have any unions or eight hour work days.
Sunday, January 29, 2012
The Story of Shirts
7:21 pm est
New Year's resolutions don't usually
last a long time. Last year, I wanted to see if I could wear every t-shirt I own at least once, whether it was for a workout
or just casual. That didn't last long. I used a group of 30 shirts throughout the year. The others sat in Rubbermaid containers.
I now have a system in place that will allow me to rotate the shirts and work from a container. A shirt will get used
once, laundered, folded and put away.
Every shirt has a story behind it. Most are from my races or trips I've taken.
There might be about 600. I'm not sure at this point. Maybe, I can count them on a snowy day if we get one
have about 60 shirts in each container. I compacted them to get more in. Some of them won't fit and can go to a charity.
It might take two months to wear all the stuff in the first container. This is a long term project with an open-ended
completion date, but every shirt has its own story.
Saturday, January 28, 2012
Not Making the Cut
11:35 am est
Over the years, people seem to dress
more casually at work. Some employers attempt to have some type of dress code because their work-site looks like a slumber
The Disney Corporation has announced that it will allow male employees to sport facial hair at their
theme parks in Florida and California. Previously, they were allowed to grow a mustache while on vacation. In other words,
they couldn't grow it while on work time. That doesn't make any sense.
This seems rather Draconian, but Disney
has always tried to control their employees with a host of rules and regulations. Being a private employer allows them
to exercise some control, but where do you draw the line?
On the other hand, I will never get to witness this new
change in person. I have no plans to ever go to a Disney theme park. I went to Disney World years ago and that was enough
for me. I just wasn't into the place.
Friday, January 27, 2012
A Joint Venture
1:54 pm est
We seem to hear stories of daily about
someone getting arrested for stealing and selling things to scrap metal dealers. Thieves are swiping manhole covers, copper
piping and brass cemetery markings at an alarming rate.
The latest thing has been removing catalytic converters
from parked cars. Police recently arrested a pair who were cutting the parts from cars at a train station parking lot.
People who resort to this are usually desperate for money, but I think the real problem are the unscrupulous
scrap yards who are buying this stuff with no questions asked.
There are only so many scrap yards around. Thieves
must be seen as repeat customers, but the dealers choose to look the other way.
The same can be said for pawn shops.
I think many of the items are stolen. It's the classic case of "don't ask too many questions about where it comes from".
Thursday, January 26, 2012
Sing It Live
1:14 pm est
It seems like there is criticism for
anyone who sings the National Anthem at a sporting event. Steven Tyler is the latest victim with his rendition at the recent
NFL AFC Championship game at Gillette Stadium.
The reviews have been negative, based on comments in a "sound
off" column in my local newspaper. Forums like these allow people to make anonymous comments on anything, no matter if
they make any sense. The column is always filled with references to by-gone eras such as newspapers and cups of coffee for
Naturally, there was a comment saying that teams should play a recording by Kate Smith. She could
sing with the best of them, but she has been deceased for several years.
I'm in favor of live music no matter
how it comes out. The Star Spangled Banner is a difficult song for anyone who performs it. If you
auditioned 100 singers, they would all do it differently.
Wednesday, January 25, 2012
Not Running On This Stuff
11:43 am est
Advertisers attempt to convince us that
we cannot live without a certain product or service. They want us to all fall in line and buy their stuff. If we don't, we
are not part of the mainstream and our lives are worse for it.
As a rule, I like ad campaigns. Some are very creative
and entertaining. I really enjoy the commercials during the Super Bowl every year. However, there are some ads that I don't
embrace, especially the ones for Dunkin Donuts.
I dislike the slogan " America runs on Dunkins". It assumes
my life would be better if I ate their unhealthy donuts and drank coffee. I have not eaten a donut since 1989 and have consumed
less than 10 cups of coffee in my lifetime. My last cup of coffee was about 15 years ago. I have never purchased one. Instead,
I drink tea.
The popularity of Dunkins is reflective of the hectic American life. People eat junk food and ply
themselves with caffeine to stay alert during the day.
I have purchased their bagels and breakfast sandwiches.
Those are decent products, but if America really runs on Dunkins, there are a lot of people out there with "coffee breath".
Tuesday, January 24, 2012
A Matter of Degrees
1:18 am est
was rainy pretty hard when I drove to Concord, NH last night. The temperature was 38 degrees when I left. The roads were rather
slick. I was concerned that the rain would change to snow by the time I got there, but the temperature stayed above 32.
It was the same for the trip home. There was a steady rain, but the temperature kept from freezing. This was very
critical in keeping the roads from becoming icy. It had all the makings for a rough trip home, but it turned out to be uneventful.
A few degress less would have caused some real problems out on the roads, but I lucked out this time. The puddles
on the road would have turned to black ice. That stuff is really hard to drive on.
Monday, January 23, 2012
Not In the Cards
2:44 pm est
"experts" say that laugher is a very therapeutic emotion. It certainly makes sense, but I think laughter needs to
be genuine. I have always been skeptical of laughter yoga. My beliefs were confirmed after watching some videos on Youtube.
The participants seem to be into it, but it looked rather contrived to me. You get a room full of people and start
laughing spontaneously. I guess it's suppose to be contagious, causing the rest of the room to erupt in laughter.
After watching the video for a few minutes, I concluded that a session of laughter yoga is not in the cards for me.
Not even on the "bucket list".
Sunday, January 22, 2012
Holding Out the Cup
1:30 pm est
The federal budget is a very complex
process. Appropriations don't always get made in a timely manner. Congress said that it would pay half of the $15 million
to repair the damage done to the Washington Monument during the recent earthquake.
A private citizen stepped up
and donated the remaining $7.5 million to the National Park Service. This is a very admirable thing to do. Not everyone can
do something like this.
However, why is Congress depending on fund raising to repair this historical monument?
No doubt, the federal deficit is out of control, but when you make a 50% appropriation and depend on contributions for the
rest, it's sending a statement to the public that the nation is in a very dire financial situation.
Saturday, January 21, 2012
Keeping the Boots
12:35 am est
I took my GORTEX LL Bean boots to a
cobbler today to see if he could put on new Vibram outer-souls. If anyone could do it, this was the guy.
are the best boots I've ever own. They are great in the snow, wet, and cold. However, the outer-souls wore down faster than
I thought they should. I bought a new pair last year.
I called LL Bean and spoke to a customer service rep. She suggested
going to a cobbler as they didn't do that type of repair in Freeport. They would reimburse me for the cost or I could sent
them back for a credit. I didn't want to lose the boots. I used them last year when I went snow-shoeing. They were the best.
I finally made a decision today after we got a few inches of snow. My new boots were slightly damp when I had to go
out again. I took my old ones and wore them tonight. I'll keep them as a back-up.
These boots will be excellent
in the back-up role.
Friday, January 20, 2012
Moving the Campus
1:41 am est
It has been 33 years since I graduated
from Suffolk University where I went part-time at night for a master's degree. I got a great education there. The faculty
was excellent. I can only say positive things about my time there.
I enjoyed the campus on Beacon Hill. I found
it very quaint for an urban school, the way it was mixed into the narrow streets and brownstone buildings. I enjoyed exploring
the neighborhood, especially on nice evenings.
Over the years, the campus has grown and spread into a couple of
other buildings on Beacon Hill, Tremont Street and Downtown Crossing where they finally have dormitory space.
Now, there are plans to take over the former site of Border's Books or the vacant Filene's development site. I think
this would be the perfect thing for the downtown.
The university would eventually sell some of its real estate
on Beacon Hill once the campus migrates to downtown, creating a number of housing units.
The influx of foot
traffic would be great for retail sales, but also inject some life into that part of the city after working hours. A
city can only be vibrant if there are people out on the streets at night and a reason for them to be there.
move of Emerson College to lower Tremont Street has created additional private development. It's a perfect combination for
Thursday, January 19, 2012
Kudos For the Post Office
2:08 am est
recently mailed a t-shirt to someone on Long Island. I sent it via first-class. I decided to purchase the tracking option.
It arrived at the person's house in only three days. It took an interesting journey after I mailed it.
was sent to a mail sorting facility the same day. It left Boston after 24 hours for another sorting facility in New York.
It was processed out of that place at 3:13am two days later. It got to the destination post office that morning and was ready
for delivery by 9:04am. It made it to the house at 12:57pm.
Several people handled this package before it got to
its destination. Overall, the postal service did a fine job at a reasonable cost. They do good work,but their expenses and
overhead are driving them into the ground.
Wednesday, January 18, 2012
The Tasteless Tomato
6:23 pm est
It's so difficult to get fresh produce
this time of the year. You really need to wonder where some of this stuff comes from. We import a great deal of produce from
South America. The summer squash I bought today has probably been in cold storage before shipment to the market.
One casualty of winter is fresh tomatoes. I had one of the worst ones tonight with my supper. It looked good at the market.
I let it ripen for two days, but it bordered on being dry.
If this keeps up, it might be until
spring before I buy another one. The cluster-vine ones, grown in a greenhouse, seem to be the best bet
for the rest of the winter.
Tuesday, January 17, 2012
10:00 pm est
It must have been so frightening to
be aboard the British Airways flight that accidentally played a message to the passengers that the plane was going to crash.
Flight staff immediately went up and down the aisles to tell everyone that it was all a mistake. Several passengers
mentioned that for a moment they felt like they were going to die. I can't imagine what it must have felt like to hear that
I'm a nervous flyer and that message would have been over the top for me. I have flown on some really
bad flights. I don't like turbulence or bad weather.
Unfortunately, you can't pick the weather when you fly.
Monday, January 16, 2012
The Art of the Visit
11:16 am est
Boston has many great attractions, especially
art museums. The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum is opening a huge new addition this week. The city also boasts the Museum
of Fine Arts and the Institute of Contemporary Art.
I can't say that I have ever visited any of these fine places.
I have thought about it in the past, but never did anything else. The same goes for my trips to New York City. I visited the
Guggenheim about 20 years ago, but that is the only one.
We always think of doing things, but sometimes they never
happen. Maybe it's becasue we don't really want them to or the will is not there.
My time in NYC is always short.
I never do everything I want to. I guess that's why I bypass the art museums. On the other hand, I have a hard time accepting
some of this stuff as "art".
Sunday, January 15, 2012
11:13 am est
It was quite a tragedy concerning
the Italian cruise ship Costa Concordia which ran aground yesterday. Several people were killed and some are still missing.
It reaffirmed my belief that I will never go on
a cruise ship in my lifetime. The desire has never been there for me. I don't see any benefits in going on a cruise. I don't
like motion rides and would feel uncomfortable if the ship was rocking back and forth because of weather.
Passengers on a ship always believe that everything
will go well. You can't worry about the ship sinking or becoming another Titanic, but yesterday changed everything.
I wonder how this will effect the cruise industry.
I'm sure they will lose some of the marginal passengers, but on the other hand, there are die-hard fanatics who will continue
to climb on-board. It's just not for me.
Saturday, January 14, 2012
Time Passing TIME
7:35 pm est
I have read TIME magazine since
1966. I was always a faithful subscriber. In recent years, the issue grew smaller in pages and content. In fact, I'm rather
disappointed in its current format.
I finally decided not to renew my subscription. By their standards, they offered
me a "reduced" rate, but its not enough to entice me to renew.
The need to come down in price big-time
for me to consider. I don't need any of their lame gifts they give when you renew. They once gave me a plastic 35mm camera
which was a piece of junk. If it was any good, they never would never give it away.
I got two letters in the
mail today from TIME. One was an offer which lowered the price from $89 to $72. That's not good enough. It's not an issue
of money. It's more of paying for a product that is worth its price.
Maybe TIME is on its last days. The era of
weekly news magazines is going by the wayside.
Friday, January 13, 2012
A Sport With A Lifespan
9:49 am est
I was reading a story about high school
gymnastics. That is definitely one sport that has a lifespan to its participants. You can jog and play golf your entire life.
Adult soccer and hockey leagues are around. Ballfields are filled with older folks playing softball who don't want to put
the ball and bat down.
However, gymnastics is another story. Many start when they are very young. It's hard to
have a career after high school unless you participate on the college level.
You never hear of a "Senior Tour"
for gymnasts. Nobody really has a long career. If you are 25 in this sport, you are ancient by its standards. You just don't
see grey hair on gymnasts.
As athletes get older, some of those falls never allow them to get up.
Thursday, January 12, 2012
Dodging the Snow
4:17 pm est
It was very messy out on the roads today.
We got a slight covering over snow during the night. It was enough to cover my car. When I went outside, I realized I still
didn't have my brush in the trunk. Instead, I pushed the snow away with my scraper.
It might not be that easy the
next time. I think it's time to also put the shovel in the trunk. It's better to do it now that when it becomes critical.
If all of this rain today was snow, we would have been buried with the stuff.
Wednesday, January 11, 2012
The Nanny Strikes Again
6:19 pm est
Mayor Michael Bloomberg of NYC continues
his city's journey towards a "nanny" sate. He announced a plan to lower the number of places that sell alcohol.
This includes restaurants, liquor stores and corner delis. He feels that there is too much binge drinking among the residents.
That fact has been supported in some studies.
I find the mayor's plan to be very noble and good intentioned, but
he is trying to run peoples lives. It was a great idea to ban public smoking because it effected others. Drinking can also
effect others, but I see these two as different issues.
Bloomberg has not said how he plans to decrease the amount
of alcohol servers. Maybe it could be through attrition as places go out of business. I think it would be heavy-handed to
pull a license on a viable business.
With only two years left in his term, he still has time for additional social
engineering and more bike lanes.
Tuesday, January 10, 2012
No Sign of Snow
4:39 pm est
There has not been any snow around here
so far this winter. Nobody seems to be complaining about it. Last year at this time, we were inundated with it. I went out
and bought a pair of snowshoes.
Communities are saving money by not incurring coast for snow removal. School systems
will not be holding classes late into June.
It could all change at a moment's notice. The first time we hear of
a storm, the markets will be filled with people buying everything because they think they are going to be stranded for a month.
Things will get real crazy with the first storm.
Monday, January 9, 2012
The First To Depart
6:37 pm est
I marvel at the technology around us.
I want to learn everything about it, but know I never will. It's so hard to keep up with it all. My Droid phone should be
updated. It's slow compared to what is out there now. The best of today's products become obsolete in no time.
We live in a world where 24/7 information is part of our lives. The growth of Facebook has been exponential.
received an email today from a former co-worker about the passing of another former colleague.
to get out information is amazing. It got out so fast that no other details were available. I'm sure I will hear soon.
Ironically, I was "friends" with her on Facebook. I guess it had to happen eventually that one of my "friends"
would pass away. It's a strange feeling. She was a nice person who I knew for many years at work.
Sunday, January 8, 2012
Sales Are Down
10:50 pm est
could stay up all night
and still never come up with a good reason why I never sold stuff on ebay in 2011. I have books, magazines and other items
to sell. I've sold books before. It worked out ok.
I always talked about selling books on amazon. I know the whole
process. It's not a big deal. It works out if you sell your books at a higher price.
I really need to set up my
account with amazon.
Saturday, January 7, 2012
Real or Electronic?
7:52 pm est
The number of World War II veterans
is decreasing every day with their deaths. Veterans are entitled to a flag draped coffin, "Taps" played by a bugler
and a presentation of the flag to the family. It is always a very touching ceremony.
With so many veteran funerals,
the VA is having a hard time keeping up with the amount of requests for buglers. Some retired veterans volunteer to play the
bugle on their own time. They are kept very busy.
In recent years, a controversy has risen over the use of "electronic"
bugles. The person doesn't actually play it, but presses the keys down like they are. Some criticize it for not being the
"real deal", but the VA says it has no other alternative
I was at a funeral today for friend's father.
He was a WWII veteran and got the full treatment. An Honor Code of two showed up. One played the bugle and they folded and
presented the flag.
I saw the same pair at another verteran's funeral back in the spring. The bugler played with
her back to the crowd in both instances. Her playing was flawless. The notes were so crisp and clear.
the "real deal"? I had doubts the last time about the bugler. I think this was an "electronic" one. That's
I don't have a problem with the VA doing this. It's not done out of lack of respect. We are losing
too many veterans for them to keep up with it.
Friday, January 6, 2012
A Sign of Pollution
3:52 pm est
I'll be glad after next Tuesday when
the New Hampshire presidential primary is over. The ads have been over the top with their negativity. There seems to be no
end to them.
One of the worst things about the campaign is the proliferation of signs. I can see having a few at
strategic locations, but what I saw last night in Manchester, NH was ridiculous.
As I sat in traffic on Rt 28,
I noticed the grass medians were filled with Romney signs. How many do you need to get your point across? Why should these
signs be on public roadways?
I have no problems with whatever people do on private property, but traffic
medians are not a place for the signs.
Thursday, January 5, 2012
One Time Wonder
6:19 pm est
It happens this time of year. We see
Christmas trees by the curbside waiting to be disposed of. I wish more people would use artificial ones. Thankfully, many
of these trees are grown on farms with the eventual goal of being in someone's house.
It takes several years
for them to mature. It's a shame that all of that growth ends after they are cut down and displayed for only a week.
The farms take a little sting out of seeing all of these trees tossed out. I think it's a bigger shame when people go into
the woods and chop down a perfectly healthy tree. So many of these trees end up in the landfill. The recycling of them leave
a lot to be desired.
Every year, I see trees out by the dumpster on the day after Christmas. I guess people want
to move on.
Wednesday, January 4, 2012
Less Calories, Less Taste
1:03 pm est
There are hidden calories in many of
the foods we consume. I read all of the labels. It's a constant battle to eliminate saturated fats and sugars in my diet.
I recently tried some reduced calorie orange juice. I must admit that it reminds me of TANG. It has half the
calories and carbohydrates as regular juice. I tend to drink about 16 ounces every morning. Drinking this stuff would be a
way to cut calories and sugars. I did the same thing when I switched to G2 Gatorade.
It would be even better if
this stuff tasted like the real thing. Maybe I'll get use to it. I have never been able to do that with diet soda. I drink
it when I go out, but the taste just isn't there.
Tuesday, January 3, 2012
Not Fare To Do
6:30 pm est
I have only taken the train
to Boston four times. It was always to a Boston Bruins hockey game the day after Thanksgiving. If I had to take it every day
for work or something else, I think it would be a real hassle.
Today, the MBTA announced potential drastic changes in service. They propose a fare hike
but plan to eliminate commuter rail on the weekends and curtail service by 10pm during the week. This would severly impact
people who travel at night in and out of the city.
The MBTA is an agency drowning in debt. Their operating costs
are out of control. The price of service is very expensive. Fares don't cover the cost of running the system. It continues
to survive by taxpayer subsidies. It seems inevitable that service will be cut in some places.
try to keep service going at night. "Public transportation" means providing a service to the public within normal
and reasonable hours. Evening operation is at the core of their business principles.
Monday, January 2, 2012
The Curtain Rises
4:13 pm est
One of the things that I'm starting
off with in 2012 is a new shower curtain and dish rack. The shower curtains last several months before they start to pick-up
mildew. I buy them at Walmart where they cost about $9 each. This should get me into the summer before I need to replace them.
It's also a good idea to start with a new dish rack. I picked one up today at the market for $2.50. I'll see how long
this one lasts before it starts to build up soap film.
Before I hang the curtain, I need to scrub my tub
with TILEX. I think I'll wait until tomorrow morning. Whenever I use that stuff, I need to open the windows to get some air.
The stuff works very well, but it's difficult to be around.
No matter how often you clean the bathroom, it's almost
impossbile to keep up with it.
Sunday, January 1, 2012
A New Year
2:02 am est
The new year is two hours old
as I write this. There is something very symbolic about the passage to the new year. It gives people an opportunity for self-introspection.They
can assess the completed year and see what they hope to do in 2012.
Many people make resolutions about variious things. Fitness clubs will be full for the the next two
weeks as many get on the healthy lifestyle band wagon. Some will quit smoking for a few days. Resolutions are hard to keep.
I know that first-hand. I keep telling myself that I'm going to lose 8-10 pounds. It would be a healthy thing to do.
Although I run, my pace is slower than in the past and my distances shorter.
I weighed 173 as the year ended. Back
in 1998, I remember being outraged as my weight hit 165. That has now become my target goal. I have not weighed that since
the first six months of 2009 when I first retired.
I'll try again this year. It will be interesting to see what
I weigh at the end of the year, but then again, all you can ever hope for in the new year is for good health and to be here
at this time next year. I'll try my best with the weight.