Saturday, March 31, 2012
The New Fridge In Town
1:12 am edt
I got a new refrigerator yesterday from
my landlord. My old one was on its last legs. I had it for 36 years, but it was probably about 50 years old.
worked until the last moment, but there seal on the door was hopelessly gone. There was no way to repair it. The freezer still
needed to be defrosted about every six weeks. During the summer, it was about every two. It became a hassle, but I put up
I knew getting another one in my apartment would be an ordeal. That certainly proved to be the case. I
had to move a lot of stuff to get this one to my kitchen. On the other hand, it has given me a chance to really clean this
I could clean this place forever and there would still be something that needed to be done. The old refrigerator
had not been moved since 1985. I probably should have worn a mask around all of that dust.
The new fridge is quite
a toy. The freezer is enormous. I never keep that much frozen meat. I'm always concerned about losing my power and having
to throw out everything. I probably worry for nothing because I have only lost power a few times in the last 36 years.
Friday, March 30, 2012
Making A Path
11:56 pm edt
Peopletend to try and find the shortest
route when they are walking. You see it all the time on college campuses where students blaze their own trials across
manicured lawns. Sometimes, it would be easier to pave the grass strip over rather than have a muddy area when it rains.
Today, I noticed that a local market had done their spring landscaping. They put black mulch around their shrubs and
cleaned up the dirt from the winter. One thing they left alone was a worn path going to the sidewalk where there is a
Customers have cut their own path over the years. It saves them about 100 yards of walking.
It would make sense to pave it over, but there are many tree roots in the way. It's a tough situation either way. People are
walking over the roots, but in order to pave, they would need to did up the tree roots.
I guess they will leave
it like it is. It suffers from erosion when it rains. There are many rocks exposed. It's a safety hazard to some degree. It
has been like that for many years. I don't think they have plans to fix it. It detracts from the nice job they did with the mulch.
Thursday, March 29, 2012
Forget The Beach
5:06 pm edt
For the last several days, the temperatures
have been more normal around here. Last week we saw the thermometer pushing 90 degrees. That is too warm for this time of
year. It is also unhealthy.
We have seen stories of plants popping through the soil way too early. When the temperature
got down to the 20's the other night, a local apple orchard almost lost their entire crop. They made it through without any
It appears that many people have no understanding of the climate and its implications for all of us. All
they see is beach weather in March. Everyone likes a warm day, but it can reach a point where there are repercussions.
People are more concerned about going to the beach and walking around in t-shirts and shorts. You hear some say, "I
could love this year round".
If we had that situation here in New England, we would have a major problem.
People wouldn't have time to go to the beach because the environmental implications would trump that.
Wednesday, March 28, 2012
Not Playing Saturday
5:33 pm edt
They always say that you can't win the
lottery unless you play. They got that right. I never play at all except if someone gives me a free ticket.
The lottery does a great job with their marketing by convincing people they can win. They also entice them with huge jackpots.
Last night's Mega-millions was for $363 Million. Without a winner, it will jump to $500 million on Saturday.
That is too much money for a person to win. It's almost the GNP for a Third world Nation.
I get a kick out of people
who post on Facebook thinking they could win. It could happen, but you could also get struck by lightning.
think people waste too much time dreaming about things that have a infinitesimal chance of happening.
I know two people who each won a jackpot for over $40 million. It happens.
Tuesday, March 27, 2012
The Toll On The Employees
1:36 am edt
I have never been a big fan of paying
tolls on a road that is part of the Interstate Highway System. Toll collectors are part of a bureaucracy that is often
filled with patronage. The jobs pay pretty well and usually have quite a bit of overtime.
On the other hand,
there is nothing glamorous about the job. The employees must stand during their shift and often face the weather elements.
When I passed through a booth last tonight, the worker was exposed to the cold and wind.
To make matters worse,
they are constantly breathing exhaust fumes. That seems to be an accepted part of the job. I wonder if toll collectors
have a higher rate of respiratory ailments than the rest of the population. The air must get real bad on hot summer days when
the traffic is backed up for miles.
Monday, March 26, 2012
Squatting In The Big Apple
2:41 pm edt
Leave it to New York City to send $240,000
in taxpayer money to a homeless advocacy group that instructs people on how to break-in and squat in abandoned
public housing units.
Homelessness is a huge problem in the city. There are also too many abandoned public buildings.
Unfortunately, there is not a system in place to have the homeless occupy these units legally.
Instead, the units
get damaged by illegal entry. Pipes are stripped away for scrap metal. The units become useless and bring blight to a neighborhood.
There is no simple solution to the homeless problem. I recently read a book about people who live in the vast array
of train tunnels below the streets. The number is thought to be at least 3,000.
There are mile of abandoned tunnels
under the streets. This is a problem you never hear about. Even the police are reluctant to patrol the tunnels.
of these people have substances abuse problems as well as mental health issues. The problem is not going away soon.
Sunday, March 25, 2012
Stirring It Up
3:51 pm edt
My recent purchase of a smaller
frying pan has encouraged me to do more stir frying. The pan I was using before was too big and heated the empty area too
fast. This new one works well, but needs to be attended to at all times.
My local market has chicken and beef tenders.
I was surprised at the cooking time with it taking 30 minutes for either. I like my meat cooked thoroughly. I tried cooking
at a higher temperature, but the pan heated up.
I have a paranoia about under-cooked food. I thnk I take it to
the extreme where it gets a little dry, but I like it that way. When I go to the market today, pork tenders will be coming
home with me.
Saturday, March 24, 2012
Saving the House
11:00 pm edt
The three unit homes known as triple-deckers
are an institution in Boston. Many were built in the 1890's and were considered a status symbol for immigrant families who
were able to move out of tenements.
Their style is unique to Boston. Today's building codes would prevent them
from being built due to their close proximity to one another.
A few weeks ago, I traveled along Centre St in Dorchester,
Jamaica Plain and Hyde Park and got to see some of the best collection of these homes.
The city of Boston has developed
a program that will assist home owners in restoring them to their former glory. They need a great deal of upkeep due
to their wooden construction. Many have been lost over the years due to "neighborhood improvements" and other local
I applaud this prgram. Every city is identified through its architecture. Without it, the city is
just another collection of buildings.
I strongly believe in preserving older buildings. Too many have been
lost over the years.
New York City has done a great job in land-marking and preserving neighborhoods. Every year
when I run the New York City Marathon, I marvel at a block of row house in Harlem that have been rehabilitated.
In years past, these houses looked like they should be torn down. They were very blighted and became an eyesore for the
neighborhood, but I always thought they were beautiful buildings.
In the end, it took many years and a great deal
of money, but now these row houses are very stately and preserve the character of the neighborhood.
Friday, March 23, 2012
9:36 pm edt
It's very hard to keep a black car clean.
I do my best to do it to my car. I always wanted a black car.
I took my car to the do-it-yourself car wash
today. It was very dirty. I was able to make it look clean again to some degree.
My car was hit by some bird strikes.
They got it real hard. The high-pressure hose could not wash it off my windshield. I had to wipe spots by hand. There
was no other way.
I had to rub the spots one by one. It was a very big hit to my car.
Thursday, March 22, 2012
Send The Rain
12:51 pm edt
The heat wave continues. I'm getting
ready to go for a run. It's 75 degrees outside and 82 in my living room. This weather is too nice for this time of year. I
would like a couple of rainy days with the temperatures in the 50's to make it feel like spring.
The Boston Marathon
is in three weeks. A day like today would make it more difficult to do. It takes time to acclimate your body to this type
I might be ahead of the game, but I washed two of my blankets today. I plan to put them away until November.
It's hard to believe that we could ever have cool weather again.
When I was younger, we still had snow on the ground.
The long range forecast calls for a warm spring. This can only have bad consequences. The weather is so far out of the norm.
There is a great danger of brush fires due to the dryness. Lawns will be brown by May.
We need some rain now. A
couple of those long soaking days would bring people back to reality.
Wednesday, March 21, 2012
The Mayor Strikes Again
5:13 pm edt
I have been a fan of Mayor Michael Bloomberg
during his three terms in New York City. He has a tendency to get involved in things that are not necessarily the role of
He has been in a high-profile campaign to improve the nutrition in public schools and city
restaurants with his stands on trans fat and salt.
He raised it to another level with his prohibition of giving
away surplus food to homeless shelters. Many organizations find themselves with good quality food after their events. In the
past, they have delivered it to shelters.
Now, the mayor said that the food cannot be certified for its nutritional
value. He is concerned about the level of salt in the food. He has a valid point, but this food is going to a group that
lives on the fringes of society.
They deserve quality food, but this stuff is coming from worthwhile groups that
feed it to its own members. It can't be that bad.
Tuesday, March 20, 2012
Turn Off the Heat
9:13 pm edt
I have not been a big lover of this
heat wave. It was 85 degrees today. At 7pm, it was 72. My apartment is 78 and humid. The windows are open.
I awoke this morning, my head was slightly stuffy. It has been like that all day. I keep saying that this type of weather
is not healthy.
It should be in the 50's. That would be more normal. Now I'm hearing that it could be a warm spring.
They had the A/C on at my fitness club today.
The forecast for Sunday is in the 40's and maybe a shower. I'm looking
forward to that at this point.
Monday, March 19, 2012
9:11 pm edt
NBC reported that texting
is the preferred method of communication between the youth of America. They have forsaken the telephone as well as email.
This could have some profound effects down the road as this group ages.
Nobody can predict the future of technology. I do some texting. I send out emails. I still
like to talk on the phone. I don't write letters via snail mail.
My DROID phone will be two years old in April. It is so outdated compared to the products
I could replace this one with. I need to do this eventually.
I still have a wall phone which I only use to make local calls. I also run my 1.2 Ghz DSL
connection to my desktop pc which is now six years old. This connection is so slow in comparison to what I could have if I
switched to COMCAST. I'm not ready for that yet.
Sunday, March 18, 2012
The End of Winter
5:57 pm edt
The weather continues to be
unseasonably warm. It was almost 80 degrees today. I overdressed when I ran a few miles earlier. It was the same when I went
out to do a few errands.
had my car windows down. It would be absurd to turn on my car's A/C. I would rather have the fresh air coming in.
When I got home, I pulled up two more storms windows.
I know we will have some cold days, but I need to get some fresh air in my apartment.
Winter is over with the first day of spring this week. I never took my snow shovel out of
my storage bin. My ice scraper is still on the floor of my front seat.
A few days ago, I washed a couple of my winter jackets. I don't plan on wearing them again.
I also put my hat and gloves away.
hard to believe that winter is over, but I need to realize that. I don't want to be the most overdressed person around, but
I usually am.
Saturday, March 17, 2012
The Mob Product
5:55 pm edt
It's probably a sign of the times that
mobs show up whenever NIKE unveils their newest expensive sneaker or Apple has one of its updated products.
Apple store had 1,000 people show up before 5am for the new Ipad. Paid detail policemen at the store summoned for extra help.
Ten officers had to respond to prevent the crowd from going into the mall entrance before opening time.
couple of weeks ago NIKE created disturbances all around with their latest high end shoe that every sneaker connoisseur must
have. So many people showed up at various stores that they created a public safety hazard.
These are very popular
products. People have a right to buy them. It's unfortunate that a "mob mentailty" forms and social order goes out
It's rather apologetic to say that this is a product of our time, but this type of behavior happens
much too often.
It's so typical that these products of American companies are made in China and Viet Nam.
The manufacturing jobs go overseas. We are left with the service industry ones in the distribution and sales.
Friday, March 16, 2012
Nice Try, Turnip
5:26 pm edt
Some vegetables have their moment of
prominence with a holiday. We see that at Thanksgiving with butternut squash and pumpkins. I never acquired a taste for either
one of them.
Tomorrow is St Patrick's Day. Cabbage, carrots and turnips have their day in the sun. I
rarely eat cabbage other than in cole slaw. I have been eating steamed carrot sticks for the last month. I find them bland,
but tasty. I know they are good for me so I have been eating them. They were on sale this week along with turnips.
I have not eaten turnip in about 15 years. I bought one the other day. It was a bargain at only 59 cents. I cut
a portion of it and steamed it along with my carrots. It was very bland, but the taste was ok. I still have quite a bit
left, but I'm not sure if I will eat it.
Turnips will never compete with my other favorites. Give me brocolli,
asparagus, zuccinni and tomatos any day. I love them all. I just don't think I will have a long term relationship with turnips.
They also smell strange once you cut and peel them.
Thursday, March 15, 2012
Not On The Wagon
5:47 pm edt
Not everyone is a sports fan. It's no
big deal if they don't follow their local team or professional league. I get a kick out of people who jump on the band wagon
whenever a team is doing good. I roll my eyes over non-fans who all of a sudden watch the Super Bowl, World Series, Stanley
Cup or NBA finals.
These people don't want to be left out of conversations. All of a sudden, they feel the
need to watch the games whether they have any clue or not. The television networks are happy because it helps with the ad
One thing I will never watch is March Madness. College basketball to me is a joke because it borders on
being professional. The networks and the NCAA decided to come up with this tournament involving too many teams in order to
decide a "National Championship".
We hear stories of the enormous amount of hours wasted in the American
work place as employees talk about their brackets and attempt to watch games on-line.
So many people who never
watch college basketball are suddenly in ofice pools. I guess it helps bring people together over a common event, but I find
the whole thing to be phony. You are either a fan or not.
I have listened to dumb comments for so many years that
it gets tiring. I have never filled out a bracket or been involved with an office pool. I follow UMass in basketball,
but that is my extent on the college level.
You won't hear me talking nonsense about upsets or who might move onto
the Sweet 16 or Final Four.
Wednesday, March 14, 2012
Getting More Calcium
1:36 am edt
I like to consider myself a fanatic
about my diet. I have been able to lose a few pounds. I was quite pleased to have my body fat measured yesterday at 8.6%.
That is the lowest it has ever been. There are things that still could be done better.
I need to eat more fruit.
I purchased some strawberries yesterday. They were very tasty. My only concern is that they can go bad fast in the store or
at home. They need to be examined very carefully to ensure that there is no fuzz growing on them because that is a complete
Since I stopped drinking milk in 1993, I need to be careful with my calcium. I drink 12 ounces of orange
juice every morning and have skim milk with my tea and cereal. I use Olivio margarine spread. I get additional calcium through
other foods and a daily 550 mg supplement.
The other day, I decided to experiment with yogurt. I bought OIKOS
organic Greek yogurt. The contents on the label were very inviting. The strawberry flavor tasted very good.
I found something to give me a little more calcium. Plus it's healthy and tasty.
Tuesday, March 13, 2012
Crazy Weather In March
5:25 pm edt
The weather the last few days has been
bizarre with temperatures in the 70's. It's not even spring yet. The winter has been mild in temperature with virtually no
snow. People were out there today in shorts and t-shirts.
Many people are being delusional into thinking that it
will be a beautiful spring. I don't believe that for one moment. I predict there will be a great deal of rain and cooler temperatures.
A few years ago, we had a relatively mild winter and then got over 10 inches of rain during the "Mother's Day
Once the weather starts to turn, we will start to hear people whine. It happens all of the time.
People think that because it's been a warm March, there is some type of entitlement to a beautiful spring.
me crazy when people complain about the weather. If they want to avoid winter, they should move to a warmer climate.
I'm not getting my hopes up about a beautiful spring. It can be very unpredictable to say the least.
Monday, March 12, 2012
9:32 pm edt
One thing that never lasts as long as
advertised is a light bulb. I still have some of the incandescents that are suppose to last for 1,000 hours, but that is total
nonsense. It seems like I just replaced the bulb in my living room and already it's out.
It's worse for those new
corkscrew bulbs. They have a life in the thousands of hours. I had one die after several months. They come with a warranty,
but who saves the receipt for a light bulb? It's not worth the hassle.
I tossed out the receipt because I felt
they would live up to their hype, but they are no better than the incandescents. They are also very difficult to dispose of.
Sunday, March 11, 2012
Can't Say the Real Name
8:38 pm edt
There are things we own that can almost
last forever. Others have a shelf life to them. We replace them on a periodic basis. Such is the case with my "bathroom
It's called by that name for marketing purpose. Manufacturers don't want to call it a toilet
bowl brush. That's why toilet paper is called bath tissue. It's all about the name.
This brush came from Walmart,
also known as the China Outlet. It has one of those interesting designs to hide it inside a tube. You never actually see the
brush in your bathroom.
These brushes last for a long time, but you need to know when to part with them.
Saturday, March 10, 2012
Not Break Time
7:50 pm est
Accidents can happen at any moment in
spite of our best efforts. There are things we can do in order to avoid them, but I think fate can be a factor.
other day, I dropped one of my cups while trying to put it away. It hit the floor hard, but on the handle which broke into
I will attempt to use super glue to put it back together. The cup is from Tom's Restaurant
in New York City. The store's marque is featured on the Seinfeld.
Today, I knocked over a glass and another cup.
They both hit the floor, but survived. Previous situations with my New York City Marathon glasses have not been good.
Over the years , I broke two of them. I don't use them any more.
I have broken a couple of my UMass glasses.
I was able to replace them during trips to the campus. I dropped one of them last year without breaking it.
It's strange how they break and don't break. You just never know. I dodged one today, but the next time might not have the
same result. I try to be careful when I do my dishes, but I can only go so far.
Friday, March 9, 2012
Just Pump It
1:48 pm est
Once upon a time, you could drive your
car into a gas station and they would fill your tank up and check your oil. You can really date yourself if you remember that.
Gas prices fluctuate daily, especially if something happens in the Middle East. Prices can vary from station
I filled up today for $3.65 a gallon. A quarter mile away, the price was $3.77. If you wanted it pumped
by the attendant, it was $3.91.
Not everyone is able to pump their own gas, but you can save quite a bit of money
if you can. There was a price difference of almost 25 cents per gallon between the two stations for doing it yourself or having
someone else do it. If you have a 20 gallon tank, that comes down to $5.
The way gas prices are, it's only a matter
of time before these prices will be considered a bargain.
Thursday, March 8, 2012
Never Really Caught Up
1:31 am est
When we complete a task, there is a
sense of accomplishment, but it doesn't always last long. Maybe it's because that task needs to be completed again at a later
date. Such is the case with cleaning my bath tub.
A couple of weeks ago, I cleaned it with TILEX. It looked very
nice when finished. I noticed that the soap film is building up again. I'm the only one using it, but it's hard to keep up
with. It looks like it's ready for another cleaning.
There are too things in life that we will never be caught
up with: house cleaning and laundry. No matter how much laundry I do, there is always one item to start building a new load.
I just did a load of darks the other day. I had too many to fit into the machine. I'm just about ready to load it up again.
My rugs need to be vacummed again. It seems like I just did it. At least when I went to bed last night, my dishes
were all done.
Wednesday, March 7, 2012
Sqeezing To The End
5:56 pm est
Aerosol cans make it easy to let you
know when they are empty. It happened to my shaving cream when nothing came out. I got the last shave out of the can. With
toothpaste, it's a different story.
The tube I have been using is almost empty. I flatten it every day with my
tooth brush to get one more use. I have several more left.
The final step will be to cut the tube at the bottom.
At that point, I can insert my brush and scoop out about three more uses.
I can't do this forever because tooth
paste hardens if you let it sit out in the open too long. In the end, I will toss it out, knowing I got its maximum use.
Tuesday, March 6, 2012
Profit In the Ground
3:22 pm est
When you sell something for a low price,
you need to sell in large volumes to make any profit. I purchased a one pound bag of carrots today for 69 cents. The bag contained six
sticks or about 11 cents for each one.
It seems impossible to make a profit on this at any level when you consider
growing, processing and transportation costs. I did some research on-line to see how any farm could make money growing them.
It turns out that Grimmway Farm is the largest producer of carrots in the world. Of the 75,000 acres in California
devoted to carrots, Grimmway has 40,000 of them. They process 10 million pounds of carrots daily.
When you start
doing the math, it's easy to see how they can return a profit to themselves. It's all about volume.
Monday, March 5, 2012
Yes To Stores
7:13 pm est
There are those who think that government
controls too much of our lives.That is a good point of debate. The state of New Hampshire plans to fight a bill in the legislature
introduced to allow alcohol to be sold in supermarkets and convenience stores.
The state controls the sale of hard
liquor. This is rather Draconian and seems like something from another era. Retailers say that it will be good for the economy
and stimulate sales in their stores.
The state feels it will lose revenue. They also cite the problem of sales
to underage kids. Stores are making sales now with beer and wine.
The are 77 state operated liquor stores. They
raise a significant amount of revenue for the state and also have their own bureaucracy with their patronage jobs.
Every state has their "sin" taxes on alcohol and tobacco products. They raise large amounts of revenue. I think
it's a good idea to have this stream.
I just don't feel that the state has any role in controlling the
distribution on liquor.
Sunday, March 4, 2012
The View From the Rear
5:14 pm est
There are many things out there that
could be done to save lives, but they cost money. Businesses are not willing to absorb the cost and usually pass it onto the
consumer. Some justify not doing things because of the cost and the minimal amount of people effected.
in 2014, new cars will be required to have a rear-view camera installed. This is expected to cost about $160-$200 per care.
Advocates say that it could save around 100 lives annually and prevent 8,000 injuries.
This sounds like a great
idea. Naturally, the cost will be reflected in the price of the car. The auto industry is not about to eat the cost. They
are not a charity. Consumers pay for it in the end.
Saturday, March 3, 2012
The Last Stand For Winter
7:12 pm est
We got about seven inches of snow the
other day. It was the first of the winter. We had three inches about a month ago, but it was really nothing.
was warm today and rained off and on until early afternoon. I waited until then to go for a run. The next few days should
melt the rest of the snow. Sprig is two weeks away. The clocks get turned an hour ahead next Saturday.
only get better with warmer temperatures and more daylight. I wonder what type of spring it will be. Will we get a lot
of rain? We have not had much precipitation this winter. It was strange compared to last winter.
We never know
about the weather. Look what happened to the people in Kentucky yesterday. The weather can really have an impact on your
life. People around here should not complain when it rains or snows.
Friday, March 2, 2012
Get Rid of the Brush
6:45 pm est
There are signs all around that tell
us what to do and provide information. Some are very useful and vital to our safety. Stop signs are there for a reason.
My fitness club has its share of signs all over the place. They recently placed a "Please Flush" sign over
each toilet. Members have a hard time doing this. Some people can't understand the one above the blue recycling bucket. In
spite of saying "Cans and Bottles Only", some need to throw in paper towels and cups.
I saw the best
one today outside of the sauna in the men's locker room. It listed about a dozen things not to do, including wearing jewelry.
I was surprised to see the one saying not to brush your teeth in the sauna. I didn't know it was a problem.
I never use the sauna. It's too hot and stifling.
Thursday, March 1, 2012
Rinsing the Dishes
12:17 am est
you don't have a dish washer, it becomes a challenge to keep up with them. At least you can hide them in the dish washer.
I prepare my own meals and always end up with many dishes, glasses and pans.
I always say that if you don't do the dishes, at least rinse them off. Some food particles harden to the surfaces.
I see this especially for tuna fish and cereal. When I mix my tuna with mayo, I rinse the bowl out immediately. On several
occasions, I let the dish sit in the sink overnight. It was very difficult to wash the tuna particles off. The same
happened with my cereal.
I sometimes wonder about sticking particles. If they are so hard to clean off a dish,
what do they look like as they travel through your body? Hopefully, they don't get stuck along the way.