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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. )

Start of the New York City Marathon

Nov 1, 2015 

At the finish line

NYCMarathon2015startjpg.jpg

NYCMarathonfinish2015jpg.jpg

Listen to this interview I did on Big Sauce Radio about my marathon running and comedy.

Watch me work on my "Bucket List" in my Youtube debut. I'm eating the first banana in my lifetime.

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

Helmets.JPG

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)

Read about the lives of fascinating people in my blog: "They Wrote Their First Line" (click here) UPDATED 05/23/16

  

                                                            Comedy Shows

 

 

 

Tues, July 23  Winner's Circle 

                       211 Elm St.  Salisbury, Mass  8pm 

Thurs, Aug 8    Fody's Tavern

                         16 Clinton St.  Nashua, NH  8pm 

  Random Thoughts About Things

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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Cleaning the Cabinet

People don't clean their medicine cabinet very often. Many are filled with old and outdated products. I don't think I have cleaned my cabinet in at least 10 years. It's probably longer than that.

I took a drastic route last night when I grabbed a box and just threw everthing into it. I went through each item to determine if I should keep it. I tossed out a bunch of things, including creams and shampoos that were so old that they had solidified.

I kept a free sample of unopened sports cream, although its expiration date was May 1983. I have no intention of using it, but since I've had it for over 30 years, why toss it at this point? One of my problems is accumulating free samples over the years. A few months ago, I brought a bunch of unopened ones to a local shelter.

I actually have extra room now. I can begin filling it up with more stuff, but I won't wait 10 years to go through it again.
3:22 pm est 

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The Price Is Not Right

The reconstruction of the World Trade Center and transportation hub continues to spiral out of control. One casualty will probably be the 1,000 seat performing arts center.

It sounded like a good idea to bring something like this to the site. Lower Manhattan has gone through a renaissance since 9/11. Many residents have moved there into buildings that have been converted to residential use.

However, the price of the center is now a staggering $450 million. Naturally, the federal government was scheduled to be on the hook for $155 million, with the other $295 million being raised privately. It was wishful thinking to raise that amount.

The security restrictions of the site have contributed to the enormous inflated costs. It has reached a point where it doesn't make any sense to continue at this location.
 
At $450,000 per seat, it would be the most expensive ticket in town. They could build a 20,000 seat arena at another location for that money.

Nobody wants to be the one to pull the plug on this, but at what point do you realize that it's time to move on? The cost will continue to climb. They will never build it for $450 million.
1:47 am est 

Monday, February 27, 2012

Plant on the Ropes

House plants seem to have a finite life to them no matter what we do. I have one that is almost five years old. I never had one for that long. In the past year, it has struggled. Many of the leaves have died. I tried trimming it back to promote new growth, but without success.

The other day, I was doing some cleaning and knocked it over onto the floor. All of the soil spilled out of the pot creating a big mess. I scooped up the dirt and tried to put the remainder of the plant back into the pot. 

Two days later, some of the leaves have wilted. I'm not sure of the long term prognosis. Hopefully, it keeps growing.

We all try to rebound from adversity in life. Sometimes, it becomes a long road back. I think this will be the case for this plant. I'm not ready to toss it out yet. 
9:16 am est 

Sunday, February 26, 2012

The Annual Move

Sometimes when you do something once a year you realize why you only do it then. Such was the case of moving a bureau and cleaning under it. It's a big piece of furniture that has wooden molding on the bottom which interferes with getting a vacuum cleaner wand underneath it.

When I moved the bureau, I was shocked to see what was in front of me. I saw the usual collection of large dust balls which I swept up into a big pile. I also found twelves coins, three broken elastics, two pens, one magazine as well as about a dozen pistachio shells.

The bureau sits on a linoleum floor. When I drop things, they seem to have a way of rolling underneath and avoid my efforts to clean them up.

Yesterday's discovery was nothing new. I find coins, pens and shells every time I move it. After I wiggled it back into place, I can see why I only do this once a year. The thing is so heavy and awkward to work with.
12:32 am est 

Saturday, February 25, 2012

The Two Sides of Wind

It was raining last night as I drove home from dinner with some friends. There was that impending feeling of spring in the air as the rain pelted down.

This morning, the wind gusts were up to 50 mph. You could hear the wind swirling. It was so comforting to be wrapped up in my blankets as I lay in bed listening to it. I hit the snooze alarm a few times because it felt so comfortable.

Now, there are things to do. I plan to go running in a couple of hours. The wind is going to be fierce. It's not bad when it's against your back, but can rather vicious when you run into it. There is a feeling like it's going right through you.

I'll need to think how comfortable I felt in bed this morning. Days like this can certainly put some color in your face. 
10:14 am est 

Friday, February 24, 2012

Off By One Digit

It seems like nobody uses maps these days because of GPS and the website Mapquest. I was guilty of that today, resulting in me driving out of the way to my destination.

I was on my way to a comedy show in West Roxbury. My first mistake was typing in the incorrect street number for Mapquest and my GPS.
 
Instead of 2220, I typed in 220. This resulted in getting a much different route. I thought it was odd. When I looked at the directions on Mapquest, it looked like I was going to the most easterly end of West Roxbury.

As I drove towards Boston, my GPS was giving me a different route than Mapquest. Both were using the wrong street number. As I started to drive around Dudley Square in Roxbury, I thought something was amiss.

I pulled over and used my DROID phone to google the site where I was performing. I discovered my error immediately. It took awhile to realize that 2,000 street numbers equal about six miles. I must admit that I got quite a tour of some neighborhoods I had never been to. My destination was so far west that I was almost in Dedham.

When we thing of Boston, we think of the North End, Back Bay, Fenway, South End and all of the neighbourhoods associated with going into town. It's a big city with 48 square miles, but we tend to spend our time in a small area.

With my mistake today, I was able to follow Centre Street as it meandered it's way across Roxbury, Jamaica Plain, Hyde Park and West Roxbury. It was quite a tour.

I was especially proud of the fact that I didn't waste much time like I usually do when I'm lost. I pulled over right away and got myself back on the right course. That alone was a victory. I got there with plenty of time to spare.
10:53 pm est 

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Wear Is the End

There comes a time when every pair of socks has its final wearing. They start new out of the package, but eventually become thinner through constant wear and washing.

The other night it happened when I was going out. I grabbed a pair of socks and noticed a pea-sized hole in the bottom of the big toe. I thought I could get one more wearing. I wasn't planning on taking my shoes off or doing much walking.

Everything went well until I got home and took off my shoes. My big toe poked through the hole and made it bigger. The sock is finished and will now be a cleaning rag. The other sock is ok. I'll match it up with one of my socks that doesn't have a mate.

Upon further review, I discovered that I might have a few more socks meeting the same fate. I'll let nature take its course. I hate throwing things out that are still good. Charities don't want this type of stuff.
11:44 am est 

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Gas Pains

The cost of gasoline continues to spiral upward. It makes driving every mile more costly. Last year, I put about 14,000 miles on my car. Fortunately, I have a Toyota Corolla which gets great mileage. A recent highway trip netted me 37.4 miles per gallon. Overall, I average 33 for all types of driving.

Fuel economy is so critical these days. Based on my driving, I'll use about 425 gallons of gas this year. At today's price of $3.67, my annual fuel cost projects to be $1,560.

If my car got 25 mpg, it would use 560 gallons at an annual cost of $2,055. That's roughly $500 more.

I'm lucky that I don't need to drive great distances. I also avoid joy riding. Whenever I drive, I have a destination and purpose.

As it stands now, every mile I drive costs about 11.1 cents for fuel. It can add up real fast. I can't imagine driving a gas guzzling truck or SUV. Many people need these vehicles for their work or family.

Fuel costs are killing the American family and eroding any economic growth. It will only get worse. I never believe any politician who claims they have policies that will lower gas prices.
12:41 am est 

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Don't Flush It

Sometimes when I visit cemeteries, I wonder how they get the heavy equipment in to dig the graves. Space is tight in many instances. An accident can happen when they least expect it.

Today, I was jogging by a section that had stones that were flush with the ground. I'm not a big advocate of this type of marker because it can settle into the ground and eventually get swallowed up over time.

There were huge tire marks on the grass from bringing in the backhoe and truck. Unfortunately, the weight of them cracked one of the stones in half. It needs to be replaced. There is no way to fix it.

I wonder what the cemetery plans to do about it. Have they notified the family? Is there even anyone to notify?

This confirmed my feeling that a flush stone is not the way to go. Too many things can happen to them, especially the ones by the side of the road.
2:45 pm est 

Monday, February 20, 2012

An Unreasonable Request

Labor negotiations can get messy at times with both sides making unrealistic demands and unwilling to compromise. As a result, nothing happens and contract problems linger. This is the case in my city where firefighters have not had a new contract since 2006.

There is blame to share on both sides. The city has refused to fill all job vacancies. As a result, the department continues to spend large amounts of money on overtime to cover shifts.

The local newspaper published the salaries and overtime payments for each member. This always causes public outrage when people see how much money firefighters earn. Since they work a 24 hour shift, they are able to have a compressed work week which allows them to pursue another part-time occupation on the outside.

During negotiations, the city asked the union to supply copies of federal tax returns of each firefighter. I find this to be an outrageous request and a violation of privacy as many member file joint returns with their spouses.

It doesn't really matter how much money  someone earns on their own time. It has nothing to do with their job with the city. Negotiations should focus on salaries, benefits, overtime and working conditions.

Sometimes, I think publishing salaries of public employees is done to create outrage on the public's behalf.
12:15 pm est 

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Passionate Riders

People who ride recreational ATV's do it with a great degree of passion and enthusiasm. Some might say they operate their vehicles too fast at times.

I saw it first-hand today while running with a friend on a rural road. One two-seater emerged suddenly from around a corner. We had to get out of the way.They looked like kids out for a good time, but they should not be operating it on a public road.
 
On the other hand, drivers they often use private land without the permission of the owner. In some states, the laws allow it. That doesn't make sense to me.

A few hours later, I heard a story on the news about the same type of vehicle going through the ice on a like in New Hampshire. The two people were ok after getting rescued.

I think using a vehicle like this promote risky behavior by the operator. The weather has been so warm this winter and it's almost March. The ice on lakes is very bad. Nobody should have ever driven a vehicle across the ice today.

As they rode out onto the ice, I'm sure they did it with the passion and enthusiasm that motivates them to so this.
9:50 pm est 

Saturday, February 18, 2012

The Power of Trees

Many towns and cities have been planting trees to improve the quality of life in neighborhoods. I think it helps a great deal. They are very helpful for the environment.

Planners need to select the right trees for growing in cities. Some can't take cope with living in a tree box on a sidewalk. I often wonder how some of them ever get any water to their roots. My city has done a great deal of planting over the years. Unfortunately , they don't all live that long.

A street in my neighborhood had a new road surface and concrete sidewalks installed back in 1980. They planted trees that don't grow high. 

Although the trees are very healthy, their growth over the years have lifted up sections of the concrete sidewalk. I find this remarkable because the concrete panels are 4'x4' and are four inches thick. One tree lifted an entire section several inches without breaking it.

This has taken many years. I remember when the trees were small and the sidewalk was smooth. One part is so buckled that crews had to lay down asphalt to prevent people from tripping.

I don't think anyone ever anticipated the trees doing this. It's hard to fix things at this point without cutting them down. I hope they don't do that. Nobody ever walks on the sidewalk.
12:14 am est 

Friday, February 17, 2012

The Passage of a Career

 

Professional sports teaches us that nothing lasts forever. Players come and go. Some we remember very fondly. Others become a footnote in our lives. I must admit it was rather sad to hear that Red Sox pitcher Tim Wakefield will retire after 19 seasons at the age of 45.

It's a cliche to say that every career has a beginning, middle and an end. Everyone faces that. Very few athletes leave the game on their own terms.

Wakefield finally reached a point where the Red Sox didn't offer him a contact. He could have gone to the National League, but  decided to retire as a member of the Red Sox.

He came to Boston in 1995 and began a remarkable odessey as a knuckle-ball pitcher after begining his career as an infielder. He seem to defy the ravages of time and aging, continuing to be successful into his 40's.

I started to follow his career when I was 41 and now it ends when I'm 58. I'm sure he has known  that this day was on the horizon. I think we all wanted him to play forever.

The same is true for Tom Brady. He is way past the mid-point of his career. He would like to play until he is 40, but that decision is not all in his hands.

Nobody knows when Brady's career will end. Hopefully, it ends on his own terms. It's not going that way for Peyton Manning.

 

2:21 pm est 

Thursday, February 16, 2012

How To Ruin a Monument
The more people you get involved in making a decision, the greater the chance of something getting messed up. People go along with others in the chain of command. Some are afraid to speak out. In the end, the result can be a disaster. We are seeing that with the new $120 million Martin Luther King Memorial in Washington D.C.

Apparently, a group of historians selected the "appropriate" inscriptions to be carved into the monument's stone. Rather than use the entire quote from his famous "Drum Major Instinct" speech, they paraphrased some quotes and came up with a very awkward line of: "I was a drum major for justice, peace and righteousness".
 
He did say this, but they left out several vital sentences. Critics say the quote made King look arrogant.

The National Park Service announced that they will correct the inscription and include the missing lines. This seems quite simple, but it will entail cutting several inches into the granite and removing a block of stone. They will not be able to get a perfect match for the granite. Tourists will see where the mistake was made.

Why did this happen? There must have been numerous reviews along the way. Sometimes, for whatever reason, people are either afraid or reluctant to speak up even in the face of the obvious. It won't be the last time.
1:03 am est 

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Throwing In the Towel


Whenever I wash my car, I usually wipe it off with an old towel. The one I use is about 30 years old. It does a great job, but is starting to look like a rag. I got the bright of buying another one at an auto parts store.

This particular model was made for drying cars. It cost $8. After using it today, I'm convinced that it's useless. It does a lousy job of drying the car. It never absorbed the water and left streaks. I finished drying it with my old towel.

Since I already used it, I can't bring it back. It looks like I now have another bath towel. Hopefully, it drys my body better than a car. If that doesn't work, I'll use it on my golf bag to clean my clubs

5:56 pm est 

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Going Together

This is the biggest day of the year for chocolate. There are many self-described "chocoholics" out there. I have seen people eat ridiculous amounts of the stuff. I have not eaten any in the last three years.

I use to eat Hershey bars and Tootsie Rolls when I was a kid. I ate plain M&M's at work sometimes, but chocolate in boxes never did anything for me. I never like anything inside my chocolate. That goes for nuts in bars. I've only had a few in my life.

I just saw a picture of strawberries and chocolate. I guess that's the perfect Valentine Day's candy, but I would never eat it. I never understood why people eat chocolate with their fruit. I don't think I ever will.
6:20 pm est 

Monday, February 13, 2012

Who Stocks the Shelves?

I never mind food shopping. On the other hand, I'm only shopping for one. I don't particularly like spending my money and leaving it there, but I try to make the best of it.

I like to look at product displays. One market has some very creative pyramids of apples, oranges and other round fruit. I always wonder how they rotate the stock and keep it fresh.

One thing that puzzles me is who stocks the shelves. For most products, it gets done by store employees. Today, I saw an outsider stocking cookies and crackers. I saw it also for chips and other snack foods. The Syrian bread gets taken care of by an outsider.

What is the determining fator? It can't be product display. The cookies and crackers get a great deal of shelf space. The chips and snacks are near the ice cream and soda. I don't have the answer.

One of these days, I plan to ask one of the outsiders. I hope I ask the right person. I don't want them to think I'm an idiot.
6:01 pm est 

Sunday, February 12, 2012

The Dirt Collector

Two things that are consistent in New York City are yellow taxi cabs and the black car service. The latter are usually hired by the hour at a much higher cost than a cab. You see them all over town, especially near  hotels, restaurants and night clubs.
 
They are inevitably double-parked live, with the neatly dressed driver on his cell phone. They are usually Buicks or Lincoln Town cars, always shiny and never a bit of dirt on them. That is quite a feat considering the dirty streets of New York.

I recently purchased a new Toyota Corolla. Instead of the usual silver, I went to black so I could have my own black car. It looks sharp, but is so difficult to keep clean.
 
There is no snow on the ground or salt on the roads, but the car is covered with dirt. It looks bad after it rains. That shows you how polluted the rain water is.

I plan to take it to the do-it-yourself car wash today. It needs to be done on a weekly basis this time of year.The car must be wiped down after the rinse, otherwise some of the dirt is left behind and it looks worse.
12:16 am est 

Saturday, February 11, 2012

The House Loses

 

In Real Estate 101, we learn that a person never buys a home. Instead they buy "land with attachments". It's up to the individual owner to determine what is done with the land.

In recent years, we have seen a proliferation of land owners who have decided to knock down a perfectly good homes in order to build something bigger and grander. We have seen this with a number of celebrities who just have the bulldozers come through the front door.

The destruction of some homes has drawn criticism from preservationists and other groups. They have a valid point as once you knock, it down it's gone forever. Many view it as a waste of resources, especially with so many homeless people out there.

All of these are valid points, but I think ownership has the potential to trump it all. However, this isn't always a positive move. A townhouse from the 1850's was recently torn down in the East Village neighborhood of New York City because the owner wanted to build a more modern and bigger version.

Some communities need to consider "land-marking" or creating historical districts which have the potential to limit the destruction of these structures.

I am a strong advocate of historic preservation, but it should be done under close review to protect the rights of all.

7:51 am est 

Friday, February 10, 2012

Forget About Walking

I was listening to a story on the radio about the demise of kids walking to school. Nobody does it anymore. Even kids who live nearby get rides because of parental concern about them walking the streets.

There are a lot of crazy people out there, but it has gotten to the point where kids can't do anything on their own. You don't see too many young kids getting off a school bus without a parent waiting for them.

One suggestion in the story would be to have kids walk to school in a group under adult supervision. This seems a bit extreme. Are neighborhoods that unsafe that kids can't walk as a group? I can understand the concerns in urban areas, but it gets to the point where you have kids living in a bubble.

At what age can kids walk to school in a group without adult supervision? Hopefully, they can do it before going to high school.
11:07 am est 

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Short Yardage Situation

I went to the dentist last week for a six month check-up and cleaning. I have been fortunate with my teeth up to this point. One thing that has helped is flossing for over 30 years. I do it all the time. If I eat, I floss. I keep the stuff in my car and had it in my desk at work.

The hygienist gave me the free tooth brush and floss after the exam. The floss was the exact type I use. I was psyched about it because I needed to buy some on my way home. I thought this would last for a few weeks.

I didn't realize that because it was a free sample, it was only five yards in length, instead of the usual fifty. I finished it off yesterday. Now I need to buy more. I appreciate getting the five yards, but nobody gives away a package of floss that retails for $5. The laugh was on me.
 
1:03 am est 

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Out of Control Costs

If you want construction costs to spiral out of control make sure you have a government agency involved. The New York Port Authority is the classic example with the reconstruction of the World Trade Center.
 
The costs continue to soar up to a present cost of $14.8 billion. The NYPA increased its obligation by $3.8 billion to $7.7 billion. This will be passed onto commuters through toll and train fare hikes.

The costs are allegedly attributed to the rush to complete the 9/11 Memorial and insurance increases. I still don't understand how that can account for billions of dollars, but that happens with government agencies.

The real whopper will be the replacement of the 50 year old Tappan Zee bridge. Everyone agrees that it must be replaced after reaching the end of its 50 year functional life. As of now, the cost is $5.2 billion, but still in the planing stages. Politicians and others are debating whether to include public transportation lanes which could drive up the cost to over $14 billion.

This will be like Boston's Big Dig. When a project gets started, there is an estimated price tag for completion. No matter what happens, the final cost will never be that amount.
 
The same goes for the WTC. They will never bring it home for under $14.8 billion. They should have a few more billion ready at this stage of the game
4:01 pm est 

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Anyone Seen Snow?

Spring will be here in five weeks. It makes me wonder if we will see any snow this season. We had that freak storm at the end of October and then nothing after that.
 
A couple of weeks ago, we had three inches on a Saturday. I made an attempt to use my snow shoes. It was more like walking in the woods.

It was 45 degrees when I went running today. I saw several people walking around in t-shirts. That is nothing out of the ordinary these days. I don't know how people do it.

I wonder what spring will be like. Will it be one of those periods of non-stop rain? The weather around here has been too nice. Something needs to give. Our mild winter might give us a rainy spring. You never know.
4:13 pm est 

Monday, February 6, 2012

Losing the Chance

As a fan of the New England Patriots, I never wanted to see the game end the way it did. It was so eerie to 2007. Both times the team had a hard time in the first quarter and lost the game in the 4th.

It's so difficult to get to play in the Super Bowl. Ironically, we got a re-match of four years ago and still lost. That will forever be part of Tom Brady and Bill Belichick's legacy.

On the other hand, they made it to the Super Bowl. They might have lost game, but it's a nice feeling to know that the team won three championships, but lost the opportunity in four others.

I hope this ride continues. I just don't know at this point, but it has been a special time. No doubt about that.
10:03 pm est 

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Not Bagging It

 

I enjoyed eating the small baby carrots in a bag until I started to read some negative stores about their processing. I decided to switch to full-sized ones. They are very inexpensive.

Carrots can be tough to chew. I'm concerned about breaking a tooth. When I ate the baby ones, I chewed them with my back molars.

I decided to try steaming the big ones to soften them up. That worked out very well. They are now soft enough to chew with my front teeth. Today, I had two with my asparagus and zucchini. They were very tasteful. 

3:58 pm est 

Saturday, February 4, 2012

The Losing Shirt

In light of the Super Bowl tomorrow, it must be a challenge for companies to print the right amount of t-shirts and hats  of the winning team for stores. Modell's plans to open tomorrow night if the Patriots win. They must already have some of it in their stores.

Every year, the merchandie from the losing team gets sent to Third world nations. It's good to see that it gets used by someone that needs it. So much good stuff gets thrown away needlessly.

I wonder which team will not be selling their shirt at Modell's.
8:59 pm est 

Friday, February 3, 2012

Shaking the Juice

I have been drinking Tropicana 50 orange juice for about two months now. It allegedly has half of the sugars and calories of their regular stuff. It tastes like TANG, but I'm ok with it so far.

The juice is now sold in a plastic container. You buy a half gallon of juice and the container stays around for another 5,000 years in a land fill.
 
There must have been a great deal of thought in making the change from carton to plastic. It must be cheaper.

One thing that bothers me about he juice is that when you see it in the store, everthing  has settled to the bottom. It doesn't make a difference how much you shake this stuff. Today, I had less than a quart, but the stuff still settled to the bottom.

I bought another half gallon today and placed it on its side for at least two days. In the end, I think this juice needs to be shaken  every day.
10:16 pm est 

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Not a Good Place For It

 

Considering the number of self-serve gas stations, you don't hear of too many accidents that make the news. When they happen, it's usually a bad result.

Tonight, I saw a store clerk smoking outside the door within a short distance of the gas pumps. The likelihood of an accident is also zero. However, I don't think it's good idea to smoke in that location. They do it at other stores too where I buy my newspapers and gas.

I'm sure store management doesn't want them straying too far from the building. People want to smoke, but how does the owner of the business provide them reasonable accommodation?

 

8:18 pm est 

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Getting It Done

Living by myself all these years has made me realize that I might never be caught up on my dishes, laundry or vacuuming.
 
There is always something in the sink. Yesterday, I made the mistake of not doing the dishes and was left with a huge pile this morning. They all got done, but now there is glass in the sink.

I'm staring at two loads of laundry, colors and white, that will be ready to go tomorrow. I did some vacumming last wek and was really amazed at how much stuff there was when I emptied the bag.
The rug needs it again.

I guess there is never a point when you get caught up. It might happen, but it will last for just a fleeting moment.
8:37 pm est 


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