Monday, April 30, 2012
The Lame Claim
1:12 pm edt
I love going to New York City. I read
the New York Post every day to keep up with the latest news and events. I enjoy studying the history of this great city.
I disagree with their claim that One World Trade Center will be the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere. That
is a very week argument based on their rationale.
The new tower will be 1,368 feet with 104 stories. They
will add a tall antenna to bring the structure to a symbolic 1,776 feet.
However, the Sears Tower in Chicago, now
known as the Willis Tower is 1,451 feet with 108 stories. There is no antenna added to squeeze out a few more feet.
If NYC wants to lay claim to the tallest building, they should have added more floors. Tacking on a big antenna is a lame
reason for having the tallest building. They should have an asterisk after that one.
At least, it is the tallest
building in the Big Apple.
Sunday, April 29, 2012
Off By 5mm
12:05 pm edt
I have worn a size nine shoe since high
school. I always try shoes on before buying them because you never know with ones made overseas. I do it all the time when
I buy my NIKE running shoes.
I have been involved with a shoe testing program with NIKE since 1983. They have a
large cadre of testers based on sex, age, height, weight, weekly mileage and training/racing pace.
have not sent me any shoes for about two years. Prior to that, I tested on a fairly consistent basis. When they do a test,
they look for a certain type of runner.
I received an email asking me to update my personal information. They asked
me to trace the outline of my foot with socks on. They wanted the length and width measured in millimeters. I followed their
instructions to get my results.
After the first measurements, I discovered that my left foot was 5mm shorter and
5mm wider than my right foot. I was shocked to see that and repeated the measurements with the same results.
always thought my feet were the same same. I guess I was wrong. Maybe they have changed their shape and size from all of the
pounding on the surfaces I have run on.
It's nothing out of the ordinary to have a change in foot structure
after 43 years of running. I just wonder when the change first started to occur.
Saturday, April 28, 2012
No Buds For Me
10:59 am edt
When I was at the Boston Marathon Expo,
I saw a booth for shake-proof, wireless earbuds. If you could dislodge
them from your ears by shaking your head, they were free to keep. I didn't take them up on their offer.
I never wear ear buds. I don't like putting things in my ears. Years ago, I had a hands-free boom microphone headset
for my cell phone. I enjoyed using it, but it required a plastic piece to be inserted into my ear canal. I never liked the
feeling and eventually stopped using it.
I will never understand why people wear headphones while running or walking.
I think it becomes a safety issue when you are unable to hear the sounds around you.
It's a matter of
preference. I tried using a SONY Walkman once, but it did nothing for me.
Friday, April 27, 2012
Issue of Coverage
4:57 pm edt
I wish the temperature would stabilize,
but that is only wishful thinking. The weather is so crazy. There is such a range in temperatures. It's difficult to have
the right covers on at night.
A few weeks ago, I washed my three blankets. Two have been put away until fall, but
I keep the third on my bed. There are nights when I sleep wearing my sweat pants and long sleeve shirt. Sometimes, I wake
up hot because of too many covers.
The blanket will stay with me for a few more weeks. You never know. I might
need it on a cold night in June. I don't doubt anything when it comes to this weather.
Thursday, April 26, 2012
A Useless Ban
5:44 pm edt
A local community is trying to
ban the sale of water in plastic bottles. This appears to be a bit of a reach. There is no doubt that landfills across America
are inundated with millions of bottles. Very few states have them covered in their bottle redemption laws. The amount
of petroleum used to make them is astounding.
However, I don't agree with the ban. This is government micro-managing
the lives of its people. If anything, it should be done on a state level. There doesn't appear to be too much political will
for that. The bottle water industry has a very powerful lobby.
I don't see how this ban could hold up in court.
If you ban water bottles, what will be next? I think communities are politically grandstanding when they take sides on an
issues such as this. It's a way to get on the news for some.
Wednesday, April 25, 2012
A Deal To Turn Down
11:30 am edt
You can get some great deals with coupons.
A couple of months ago, I needed some razor blades. I used a coupon to buy one package and get one free. It worked out great.
I now have 15 blades for the future.
I had a chance to get the same deal the other day, but decided to pass on
it. My blades last an average of five months. I have enough coverage for the next 75 months. That's over six years. I'll be
pushing 65 before I need any more blades.
I think I will wait until then and buy more blades when I turn 65. It
will be a great birthday gift for myself. I assume Gillette will be making the razor then.
Tuesday, April 24, 2012
The Tank Lever
7:32 pm edt
I was awake for 10 minutes this morning
when the handle on my toilet snapped. After 27 years, the plastic tank lever broke at its most vulnerable spot where it connects
with the handle.
It's a very cheap part, only $6 that I installed. I thought of calling my landlord, but it might
need to wait until tomorrow. The procedure was very simple.
It works well now. It beats lifting off
the tank lid and pulling on the chain to start the process. Nobody ever wants to do that. At least, I got it fixed and learned
Monday, April 23, 2012
One For the Birds
5:58 pm edt
It felt good to get back to the weight
machines at my health club today. It has been almost two weeks. I cut back before the marathon and took last week off.
I was stretching on the mats when I heard a weird sound. I looked up and there was a bird flying towards the large
mirrors along the wall. It looked very disoriented because it kept flying into the mirror. It must have flown in through a
vent. It attracted a great deal of attention from the club members.
Before I knew it, the bird was gone. It's the
first time I have seen that since I joined the club in 1993. I wonder if the bird made it out alive.
no idea what type it was. I don't know my birds.
Sunday, April 22, 2012
5:52 pm edt
It's 46 degrees outside,That is so much
more normal for this time of the year. We are also having a classic "April shower" today. I love days like these.
They feel so relaxing. I had a hard time staying awake in my recliner while doing some reading
There are all sorts
of projects I could do on a rainy day. At this point, there are a few thigs I plan to doing.
I need to clean my
running from last weeks Boston Marathon. They are encrusted with dry bits of paper cups that were on the streets. Some of
it is stuck on like glue. I plan to get the shoes wet and hope this stuff comes off.
I'll walk through some grass.
That should start the process. If I need to go through a puddle, I plan to do it.
These shoes are finished with
running. I only wore them because I was not happy with the way my new shoes were breaking in.
I donate my old shoes
to a local store involved in a program that sends used shoes to Africa. I assume they make it to some Third World nation.
I want to feel that way.
In the end, it's only a pair of sneakers, but I want somene to get some additional use
out of them.
Saturday, April 21, 2012
8:36 pm edt
It is suppose to rain on Sunday at
some point. They said it will be a "southeaster" storm. I'm not sure what that means. We are scheduled for "a
lot of rain" and cool temperatures. I'm certainly ok with that.
I hope this weather change will alleviate
the stuffy head I have been dealing with for the last few days. My throat feels a little different for the last few days.
I took a ZICAM capsule earlier. It's a great over-the-counter product to fight cold symptoms.
I sneezed a couple
of times earlier. That helped me so much. I wish I could sneeze more. My head always feels better after doing it.
People don't need to say "Bless you" to me. I'm the one being thankful for sneezing.
Friday, April 20, 2012
Heat Or No Heat
10:52 pm edt
has been more than a week since I shut my heat off. I'm saving money by not having the pilot lit on my gas heater in my apartment.
This is one of the earliest times I have ever shut it down. It didn't make any sense to have the pilots on the last week.
I don't need heat right now.
I'm not sure if I can say that for the next month. It's no big deal to light
the pilot again. I just wonder if I can get into May without doing it.
We are scheduled for rain on Sunday. It
will be much cooler. I have my blankets ready for tonight.
Thursday, April 19, 2012
Avoiding The Cold
10:25 am edt
It has been three days since I ran in the
Boston Marathon. My recovery has been normal so far. There has been the usual stiffness and body aches, but nothing out of
the ordinary. I continue to work on fluid replacement. My sleep has been interrupted by waking up from being stiff.
One thing I want to avoid is catching a cold. I seem to do this on a regular basis after running a marathon. My immune system
must get weakened to a certain degree.
This morning, I woke up with a stuffy head. The temperatures have fluctuated
too much around here. It was almost 90 degrees on race day. This morning, it was in the 40's when I woke up shivering.
The temperature changes can really raise havoc. I wish it could stay in one range so that we could all adjust our
body temperatures. It was too warm too soon. I will continue to say that this type of weather is not healthy for people.
My short term goal is to avoid cacthing a cold from this point forward.
Wednesday, April 18, 2012
The Games Are Coming
6:40 pm edt
Someone mentioned that it is only
100 days to the Summer Olympics in London. I was unaware of the exact amount of days left. I have a problem getting psyched
for the Games. They are so commercialized.
I think some of the ceremonies go over the top. I understand their
part, but I'm not into all of the pageantry.
They have been politicized forever. Countries have their own
agenda, but the games do serve a purpose. I just won't be glued to the screen.
Tuesday, April 17, 2012
1:03 pm edt
The MBTA is a textbook case study of
a public transportation agency that tries to serve its constituency, but loses tons of money in the process. As a result,
taxpayers must subsidize the losses. Customers are effected by service cuts and delays.
A story on the news today
said the agency loses a large amount of revenue from customers who don't pay for their rides. Apparently, they enter the trolley
cars from the rear side doors. The operator of the car is unable to collect the fare from them. People boarding in the front
pay their expected cost.
The MBTA should realize that some people will try to beat them for a ride. For many of
them, money is a huge factor.The agency should realize they are not a charity and take appropriate steps to collect from everyone.
One of the problems is that passengers disembark from the rear doors. Not only do the trolleys travel slowly,
they are operated very inefficiently. It will be interestng to see how they address the problem.
Monday, April 16, 2012
The Passing of the Race
10:57 pm edt
The late George Harrison sang "All
Things Must Pass". He certainly had in right when talking about life. The Boston Marathon came and went today. The race
for 2012 is in the books forever. It was the 40th time I have finished the race.
The temperatures were pushing
90 today. It wasn't easy for the runners out there. I went into the race with a specific plan to get me to the finish line.
I finished the race in a time of 6:22. Based on the weather conditions, I thought I would do a time like that.
have run this race since I was 18. It has been a constant in my life no matter what. It's hard to believe that it's all a
memory now. Eventually, the race in 2013 will be on the horizon. You never know what might happen between now and then.
I have often told people that the hardest thing about doing this is making it to the starting line every year. There
is no guarantee on that for any of us. My plan is to be there next year. I will do everything possible to get myself there.
Sunday, April 15, 2012
Getting Ready For A New Chapter
7:50 pm edt
Tomorrow is the Boston Marathon. I need to be up at 4am and leave shortly after 5. It will be a long day.
The weather conditions looks pretty bad, with temperatures in the high 80's. I plan to walk and jog the course. My goal is
to finish it for the 40th time.
It hard to believe that it will all be over at this point tomorrow. The
race will be history. Another chapter in my running career will be written.
I have no idea how this will end. My
mileage has not been great, but I was very consistent in getting out there almost every day.
It's always hard to
go to bed the night before. I plan to call it a night by 10. It's never easy falling asleep. I'm sure I'll wake up several
times. When the alarm goes off, it will be the start of the journey.
I have been doing this since I was 18. I
never want to stop doing this, but nothing lasts forever. It never gets any easier. I plan to run the race very cautiously.
The key is to finish it in one piece.
Saturday, April 14, 2012
Not Big On the Weather
4:38 pm edt
People can't seem to get enough of this
warm spring weather. The temperatures for the Boston Marathon will be pushing 90 degrees. This could be a nightmare for many
Dry conditions have created a huge fire hazard in wooded areas. Public drinking reservoirs are at low
levels. We need rain very badly.
There is a severe weather watch for the central part of the country.
Tornados have a way of ruining the lives of people in their path of destruction.
Meanwhile, there are those who
think this is awesome. They have no clue of how it impacts everyone. It's nice to have sunny spring days, but this comes
at a price.
It would be pointless to try and explain this to them. They would be too busy running around
in shorts and flip-flops. They just want to go to the beach in February.
Friday, April 13, 2012
Clueless to the Big Picture
4:15 pm edt
local high school recently had a Human Rights day where they had several speakers talking about various genocides. Included
were survivors from the atrocities in Bosnia and Rwanda during the early 1990's. Students expressed shock over the stories
and said they were enlightened to what happened.
I think it was a good idea to educate these students, but
I find it unacceptable that they had never heard of these situations. I wonder what they teach in history classes now. Obviously,
there is no focus on recent current events. Very few kids read a newspaper. They get whatever news on-line.
that it's not a priority for most adults. A majority of people cannot find Afghanistan or Iraq on a map. Their knowledge of
American geography is pathetic. There are people who think New England is a state.
I think this lack of knowledge
contributes to a culture where atrocities and genocides are condoned because people don't realize they are going on. They
just need to look at the news and see what is happening.
I don't imagine any of these kids had a clue about what
is going on in Sudan. That's why this stuff happens.
Thursday, April 12, 2012
11:17 am edt
I don't like to make long range plans.
So many things can happen between now and then. Sometimes you have no choice for whatever reason.
This is the case
for my travel plans in November to New York City for the marathon. I made my hotel reservation today. The rates have been
the same since I started looking back in February. It was reaching a point where I might get shut out of a hotel if I waited
I have my credit card set up to debit my balance from my checking account every month. I hate to pay
for this seven months ahead of time, but there isn't much choice. This is costly enough without paying a finance charge. There
is nothing cheap about traveling to New York City.
Wednesday, April 11, 2012
Wearing Out Together
10:13 am edt
A couple of years ago, I bought twelve
pairs of NIKE athletic socks. I use them for running and casual wear. Each pair was worn and washed a couple of hundred
days, I have noticed that many of them are developing small holes. Last night, I took a pair out of the rotation because of
a hole in the area for my big toe. Another pair also had a problem.
Many of these socks will not make it through
the summer. I have a marking sytem to match them up with their mates. Some socks will be getting a new partner.
seems like the natural evolution for socks. First, they come fresh out of the bag. They get worn and washed. The cycle is
repeated so often that eventually you get "thread fatigue", resulting in small holes.
The holes get bigger
to the point where the sock gets taken out of circulation. It gets one last use as a cleaning rag. It looks like my
rag supply will be growing soon.
Tuesday, April 10, 2012
10:26 am edt
It has always been my opinion that tax
laws are written by the rich and for the rich. The Internal Revenue Code is very complex. It fills thousands of pages with
provisions for many special interests.
So many people need assistance in preparing their annual tax return.
This provides job security for accountants and tax preparers.
More people continue to final electronically. There
are numerous software programs out there to assist people. I still prepare my own forms the old fashion way. First, I do a
rough version on blank forms from the local library.
Then I go to the IRS website and download their version of
the form. I enter my numbers, save the form and print it out. They are ready to be mailed today.
I plan to
stop filing paper tax returns when they no longer allow it. Until then, I'll keep mailing in my paper tax forms. It might
be old-school, but I prefer to do it that way.
Monday, April 9, 2012
The Driest Town
6:31 pm edt
There are many ways you can describe
Rockport, Mass. It's charming, quaint, bucolic and on the water with their shops and restaurants. Until five years ago,
liquor was not sold in the town. Eateries were unable to serve their patrons a drink.
In this day and age, you
need to accommodate everyone. The town meeting approved the sale only to patrons in restaurants. If a citizen wanted
to purchase alcohol for personal use, they needed to leave town.
This practice is so outdated and a throwback
to the Puritan era and "Blue Laws" which tried to regulate social behavior.
The town must decide
whether they want to allow the sale in grocery stores. That seems like a no-brainer. The only problem is the town has no grocery
store, no place to buy food on a retail basis.
As a sort of enticement, town officials feel that thy could lure
a market to town if they allowed the sale of booze.
All of a sudden the tables turned. They can't have it
both ways. On the other hand, Rockport needs to move into the social mainstream of 2012.
Sunday, April 8, 2012
The Lottery Wins
8:55 pm edt
The Massachusetts State Lottery announced
that they had a profit of $888 million last year. This was a few million from their best year. All of this money is returned
to the cities and towns of Massachusetts. Since 1972, the lottery has returned $19 billion.
Lotteries can be controversial.
In a way, they are nothing more than a users' tax. The only ones that pay are the players. I rarely buy a ticket so my
impact is minimal.
Critics say that many players are paying a tax they can't afford. It's their right
to make their own decisions. Let them play if they want to.
I remember one time reading a critic who said "all
the state does with the lottery is make money for the state". I thought that was the whole idea. At this point, they
are doing a very good job at it.
Saturday, April 7, 2012
7:37 pm edt
I'm one of those people who does their
taxes in April. I was working on them today. I realized that I needed to look at my 2010 form. I though I knew where it was.
I searched all over, but could not find it.
I have been doing some cleaning, but wondered where I could have placed
it. I went out to do an errand, thinking that I might remember where I put it.
I searched a file cabinet that
I had not looked at. I realized that I had placed several files there back in the summer.
It's good to have it,
but I must admit that I spent about 90 minutes looking for it. I found a bunch of other things before I found it.
Friday, April 6, 2012
Up On the Roof
6:57 pm edt
There are many ways of making a living
that can involve risk and potential danger. I spent my career at a desk and later in a cubicle. The physical danger was largely
confined to potential office accidents.
One of the most dangerous professions must be roofers. I have been watching
a crew for the last week as they rip off the old shingles and replace them. The house is a classic American Four Square with
a very steep roof and dormers.
The workers negotiate the ladders and roof as if they were on the ground. Just looking
at their staging makes me nervous. I can't imagine climbing those ladders and doing their job, but it seems like second nature
I think they welcome working outside and not being confined to an office. I can't imagine these guys changing
to a cubicle life.
Thursday, April 5, 2012
Small Town Living
4:34 pm edt
I never had a desire to live in a rural
area or small town. I was in Milford, NH the other night when I heard the sound of a loud horn. It must have been for
the volunteer fire department.
I would hate to have my home on fire and then wait while the firefighters
drove to the fire house. They are dedicated people and do their best, but the results can be rather disastrous. Time is so
important when your house is burning.
I also never wanted my mailbox outside on the street. In some instances,
they are clustered and the home owner needs to cross the street to get their mail. Boxes like these are an open invitation
to vandals to destroy them or to steal mail.
Rural areas looks nice during the daylight, but at night they
get so dark that it gets a bit creepy. I would have a hard time falling asleep at night with all of the sounds outside.
Wednesday, April 4, 2012
1:15 am edt
the price of gasoline increased by 33% overnight, there would be outrage from the public. The same would hold true for some
other consumer goods.
When I bought the Boston Globe on Monday, the price had increased from $1.50 to $2. That
is way out of line. They are charging the new price outside of the Boston metropolitan area. They can blame the
cost of fuel, but a 33% price increase is too much.
I prefer to buy the paper at the store because home delivery
isn't feasible where I live. The Globe, like most newspapers, has seen its sales drop over the last few years. More people
are going on-line for their news.
For the cost of the paper in a year, I could buy an Ipad and a newspaper on-line
subscription. I prefer to read the paper in its present form. I don't want to read it on-line. I think it would take a lot
more time. However, when I look at the cost, I need to give it some thought.
For six days, the paper will cost
$12, with another $4 on Sunday. That comes out to $832 over the year. This is getting crazy.
Tuesday, April 3, 2012
The New Shoes
11:30 am edt
Running shoes seem to have a short life
to them. The outer-soles wear rather poorly. NIKE makes them like that to ensure that customers replace them on a regular
Last summer, I bought two pairs of shoes. I wore the first ones in the New York City Marathon. I continued
training with them through the winter.
I finally decided that I need to wear my second pair in the Boston Marathon.
Shoes get broken in pretty easily these days. They will take a beating during the race as my running gets reduced to a shuffle.
I drag my feet along the pavement which increases the wear.
I plan to use this pair into the summer. I'll pick
up another pair and wear them in New York in November. It's a cycle that I repeat every year.
store I buy my shoes from has a program to recycle them. They send them to Third World nations. That is so much better than
throwing them out. I'm one of those people that doesn't toss out things.
One day last year, I brought in about
15 pairs to get recycled. The clerk in the store thought I only had a couple.
Monday, April 2, 2012
Application For Hysteria
2:47 pm edt
You never see kids walking to school.
Everyone seems to ride the bus. They don't even wait at the bus stop without a parent present. Today, I saw a bus pick up
a kid on a side street. The bus stopped in front of the house and the mother watched her child board it.
are crazy stories out there about parental kidnappings. There are people who want to harm children, but parents can get to
the point where they don't let their kids do anything.
There is a commercial on the radio about a phone application
that gives updated Amber Alerts. It attempts to create a sense of hysteria on behalf of parents.
In this commercial
, there is a voice over painting a scene where a mother is at a playground with her child. She turns her head for a moment
and someone takes the child. It happened in a matter of seconds.
This scenario seems rather extreme. I have no
doubt that kids get abducted at playgrounds, but this scenario is so over the top that you have to question why the mother
is bringing her child to a place like this.
If it's that bad, they should never go there. The playground seems
more dangerous that some cities in the Middel East.
Sunday, April 1, 2012
Seeing the Changes
1:05 pm edt
New technology is changing our lives
so quickly. Kids growing up are seeing things that we could only imagine. Some are very simple.
I was reading the
cartoon strip today called "The Family Circus". One of the kids was lamenting about their mother having to lick
postage stamps when she was younger.
Some kids have no recollection of those types of stamps. I think self-adhering
stamps are a great improvement. The glue on the old one always tasted terrible, but we thought nothing of licking them.
I wonder what types of changes we will see in the future. I should stop by the Verizon store and check out their new
phones. My DROID is two years old and so outdated. It's hard to believe that it was over the top two years ago. Showing
someone a picture takes forever.
I could buy a new phone today and it too will be outdated down the road. That's
how it goes these days.