Thursday, May 31, 2012
What Is The Next Ban?
12:08 pm edt
I have always been a fan of Mayor Michael
Bloomberg during his tenure in New York City. However, he has overstepped his boundaries in some instances. His latest plan
to ban the sale of large soft-drinks with sugar is way over the top.
Under his policy, the sale of soda and other
drinks over 20 fluid ounces would be prohibited. He feels they contribute too much to obesity and other health problems, especially
There is no doubt that sugar drinks and fast food are a problem in this country. Kids have horrible
diets at an early age. It sets the stage for obesity, diabetes and a host of other health issues later on.
the mayor's idea has good intentions, but it is another example of the move toward a "Nanny State". What will be
the next thing banned? Will exercise be mandated?
What should government's role be in advocating and protecting
the health of its citizens? What are the limitations?
Wednesday, May 30, 2012
Not Written Like a 10 Year Old
12:38 am edt
I always look at the letters to the
editor in the three newspapers I read daily. People express many interesting thoughts. The quality of the writing is generally
One letter today really captured my attention. It was allegedly written by a 10 year old baseball fan who
was commenting on the controversy surrounding baseball records and the use of performance enhancement drugs.
think it was too well written to be done by a 10 year old. Everything was perfect, including the apppropriate use of commas.
I would bet money that this kid's parent wrote the letter and had him sign it.
I just don't think too many 10 year
old kids have a good handle on the steroid issue in professional sports. Either that or this kid is a genius for his age.
Tuesday, May 29, 2012
2:13 pm edt
During the final weeks of the school
year, it becomes a challenge for teachers to keep the attention of their students. It is also the time for field trips. I
feel these are a complete waste of time and should be stopped.
Calling them "educational" is a stretch
in many cases. Everything that is wrong about field trips showed up with a group of Boston area high school students during
a recent visit to the Museum of Fine Arts.
Two kids, who were sophomores and old enough to know better, sat and
jumped on an antique bed on display causing it to collapse. The students were asked to leave. Since it was at the end
of the day, the entire group departed.
In this day and age, the museum was careful not to condemn the entire class.
They even invited them back. The behavior of the two students is totally unacceptable. The museum is demanding restitution
for the damage done to the bed.
I'm sure the parents of the kids will absolve them of any blame. Their precious
children would never do anything like that. In the end, they will blame the museum.
Monday, May 28, 2012
Keeping It Clean
8:45 pm edt
I have proven to myself that a black
car is difficult to keep clean. I have owned this one for eight months. Winter was a real challenge, but this spring has been
tougher with the pollen. It seems to coat the car with a layer of green film that builds up. Black cars also attract birds
who like to leave their calling card.
When the car is clean, it looks very sharp. However, it doesn't stay clean
very long. I go to a local do-it-yourself car-wash that has a high pressure hose. The car needs to be wiped down after
every wash. Otherwise, some of the dirt stays there.
It would be easier to go to a normal car-wash, but I had bad
experiences in the past with some minor scratches on cars.
The bottom line is that black cars don't hide the dirt.
Sunday, May 27, 2012
Can't Pull the Complaint Card
7:56 pm edt
I went to a Target store today to buy
a few storage containers. I like to keep books in them. I was surprised to see that they were made in America. I checked out
a bunch of different items, but they were all made in China.
As I walked by the greeting cards one of the Father's
Day cards caught my attention. It should a picture of President Obama with a witty saying inside the card. The punch-line
involved giving a worthless check as a gift.
Two things stand out about this card. I wonder if they are using the
image of the President inappropiately. On the other hand, the card was made in China which owns most of our bond debt along
with Japan. They do what ever they want in the market.
I guess we can't complain because we need to be nice to
them or they will squeeze our economy.
Saturday, May 26, 2012
No Time For Studying
1:45 pm edt
It seems like anyone can get a college
degree these days. I believe qualified students should have access and financial aid. Money should not be a factor in the
However, schools are competing for students. As a result, there has been a "dumbing down"
of the curriculum. Students are entering their freshman year lacking some of the basic skills needed to succeed academically.
A recent study shows that the average college student puts in about 12 hours of study each week. I find that to be
absurd. It's easy to see why American colleges are falling behind the rest of the world.
I studied at least 20
hours per week. Many times, it was more than that. Today's students are spoon-fed. Everything is done to accommodate them.
Their deficiencies show up when they enter the workforce. It's easy to see why there is such a high unemployment rate for
recent college graduates.
Friday, May 25, 2012
A Bridge To Cross
3:47 pm edt
Message boards on websites allow people
to make anonymous comments no matter how ridiculous they might be.They are able to shield their identity. I often read comments
in my local paper from their "sound-off" line.
A caller had a comments about a local bridge renovation
which shows their lack of understanding of the process.
The bridge will be limited in traffic for the next several
months. School buses will not be able to cross it. Detours will inconvenience people who use the bridge.
suggested that the state have the Army Corp of Engineers install a pontoon bridge so that traffic will not be effected. On
the surface, this sound like a good idea, but this person failed to realize that the bridge is on a "navigable"
Federal regulations would prohibit this installation because of its impact on boat traffic. It's no
big deal unless you have a boat. I'm sure the caller has an idea about how to handle boats. Maybe the Army Corp can install
a "draw-pontoon" bridge.
Thursday, May 24, 2012
Too Young To Play
3:35 pm edt
I try not be negative about youth sports
because you can never win an argument in these days of doing everything for the children.
I had a very bad
PAL baseball experience and stopped playing when I was 10, back in 1963. It was all about winning then. Nothing has changed
now, except that everyone gets to play.
I think kids start playing sports too early. Everyone thinks their kid
will either make the Olympics or get a college scholarship. They are delusional, but they have a right to feel that way.
I saw a story in the local newspaper that I thought was ridiculous. I didn't realize that a kid could be playing T-ball
when they were three years old. At that age, it's the parents calling the shots and making decisions. No three year old kid
asks their parents if they can sign-up.
Youth sports often become a social outlet for the parents. I watched my
nephews play youth hockey when they were young. When I went to the games, I saw people I knew from high school and other places.
When a kid is three years old, they are not making any decisions on their own. They don't even remember being three.
I have a recollection of turning four and one of being in a crib. Other than that, I was not bothering my parents about playing
Soccer is a story for another day. Nobody plays it once they get older, but parents think it's the greatest
Wednesday, May 23, 2012
Doing the Waive
12:46 pm edt
When I was in the sixth grade, we learned
about synonyms, homonyms and antonyms. They showed a very interesting aspect of the English language, especially for homonyms.
Not many languages have words that sound the same, but have a different spelling and meaning from one another.
used a verb incorrectly in an email today. I said that I "waived" to someone. That really doesn't make any sense,
unless I was planing to give them some type of exclusion or exemption. The correct verb is wave as in "I waved to her".
I'm not sure how I made that mistake. The two verbs sound the same, but certainly have a different meaning.
Tuesday, May 22, 2012
All In The Cards
2:49 pm edt
I heard a radio ad today talking about
a school that offers an eight week course to become qualified to work in a casino. They touted the potential 4,000 jobs that
will be here in Massachusetts when casinos open. The ad made it sound like this is about to happen very soon.
is so far from the truth. Developers have been unable to select any sites yet. No licenses have been awards. A state Gaming
Commission is just getting off the ground. It will be a long time before we see any concrete being poured for any facility.
I doubt we will see anyting start before 2014. Things like this take a long time to get going.
By the time a casino
finally opens its doors, the students who took this course will probably need a refresher. I never thought it would take eight
weeks to learn how to shuffle and deal cards. The whole thing sounds like a scam.
Monday, May 21, 2012
Not a Fan of Mickey
10:05 pm edt
People post a lot of stuff to
Facebook that is not worth looking at. They must spend their entire day going to various websites and "sharing"
them with others. There are some sites that are very informative, but most of the stuff is a waste of time.
"shared" a photo of a mouse in a coffee cup and eating a slice of Swiss cheese. I didn't see anything positive about
this photo. Why would you glamorous a mouse? I never want to see one. I will be very upset if I ever do.
was a nice clean white one. They never look like that. Nobody will ever be able to talk positive to me about mice. It won't
Sunday, May 20, 2012
Working Hard For The Song
10:34 am edt
Artistic creativity often happens at
the spur of the moment. Ideas come very quickly. You always hear stories about people who write songs in a matter of minutes
or sketch out ideas for a profound product on a napkin.
When I read the obituary of Donna Summer, it mentioned
how she wrote many of her own songs. She wrote one of her biggest hits "She Works Hard For The Money" after a trip
to the bathroom during a Grammy Awards party.
Apparently, she was very impressed by the cleaning lady in the room.
She literally wrote the song on pieces of toilet paper. She didn't have time to do a fancy job in a notebook.
ideas happen at any time. The key is to capture, develop and shape them into the finished product.
Saturday, May 19, 2012
1:00 am edt
I have some money in a stock account
with Ameritrade. They allow you to buy small amounts of stock on-line. I have not done anything in the past year with it.
The money is just sitting there and gaining no interest.
With the all of the trading hype for Facebook stock, I
decided to buy five shares. It's an order for $200. It's a relatively small risk if the stock takes a nose-dive.
My success with stocks has been mixed. Back in the .com era, I bought some stock in a company one day for $14.50 a share.
It never went up one penny. In fact, the company went bankrupt and the stock value went down to less than one cent.
Facebook is certainly a company with great market value. Nobody knows how the stock will do on Monday. It should be exciting
to see what happens.
In the worst case scenario, I will end up with a capital loss. Those are never good or welcomed.
It's a risk you take when you do this stuff.
Friday, May 18, 2012
Not A Good Contract
11:25 am edt
It seems like people are losing their
ability to write using proper grammar and sentence structure. When I write this blog, I am always hesitant to use contractions
and partial sentences.
As a kid, I was taught that every sentence must have a subject and verb. During my
government career, I was told that we should not use contractions when writing anything formal.
seem to have no problem using contractions. My local one appears to suffer from lack of editorial review with some of their
On a recent front page story, the writer used the contraction "he'd". It didn't seem to
make any sense why they did not say "he would". I have never seen that one used. I actually looked it up on a grammar
When I write this blog, I occasionally use some contractions such as "didn't", "don't"
and "I'm". I give thought to anyone I use. There are many I prefer not to use such as "would've", "could've" and
Many blogs have a nice flow to them even with their use of contractions and fragmented sentences.
Sometimes, I think my writing is too formal in structure. I feel like my tone sounds too administrative and bureaucratic.
Maybe if I grew up in today's time, I could get away with contractions and fragmented sentences. I have a huge problem
with the use of "your" and "you're", but that is a story for another day.
their role. In the end, I had to make a conscious effort not to use one during this writing.
Thursday, May 17, 2012
Changing Seasons & Clothing
10:51 am edt
I think one of the real challenges during
this time of year is to dress for the weather. When I went running yesterday, I wore warm-up pants and a long sleeve
shirt. It was in the 60's , but very humid. By the time I finished, I felt like I had too much on.
I went to get a haircut. I wore shorts and a polo shirt. I felt quite comfortable until I decided to go to Market Basket.
I noticed most people had a jacket on. It made me think back to the winter when I saw people dressed like myself going into
the store. They always looked like they were comfortable, but I was cold just looking at them.
Once I got inside,
it was a different story for me. My original plan was to explore the aisles of their new super-store. My plans were cut short
because I was freezing. I felt like I was in a refrigerator.
I love warm weather, but have a hard time going from
warm to cold. I don't want to be wearing a jacket when it's in the 80's, but I hate being cold. It seems like I do better
during the seasons when you need to wear a jacket.
Wednesday, May 16, 2012
A Record Shaved
4:02 pm edt
I keep track of how long I can
use one of my razor blades. I just changed to a new one after setting a new record of six months and one day. It beat
the old record by a few weeks.
I started using the old one last November 14th. At the time, I wondered how long
it would last. To get to six months, I would need to use it through the Boston Marathon.
In the end, I made
it plus four more weeks. I will admit that the shaves could have been better the last week. It was definitely time for a change.
The key to longevity for a blade is to shave after showering and rinse it under hot water. My face is always easier
to handle if I shower first.
With this new blade, I hope to make it through the New York City Marathon on November
4th. It will be an interesting journey.
Tuesday, May 15, 2012
Leave It To Beavers
10:37 am edt
I believe in wildlife protection and
conservation. We need to do a better job in not destroying all that is nature out there. We see confrontations these days
between people, coyotes, bears and other animals.
A local story about beavers shows how this can get out of hand.
Some of them have built a dam at a local golf course. When it rains, parts of the course get flooded and become unplayable.
This causes the course to close down for play and lose money.
Beavers are protected from being hunted or captured.
Getting a permit to trap them almost takes an act of Congress. Meanwhile, these critters continue to do their thing and impact
humans. A local neighborhood was flooded last year as a result of one of their dams.
I'm in favor of protecting
these animals, but where do you draw the line? At some point they become a nuisance. Usually, nothing gets done until someone
has suffered property damage or there is an eminent public safety issue.
People should be allowed to deal with
beaver dams on private property if there is a chance of their land being damaged.
Monday, May 14, 2012
4:24 pm edt
AARP is a very powerful lobbying group
when it comes to related issues before Congress. They certainly advocate for items effecting their membership which is for
those over age 50.
I joined a few years ago for only $12 annually. In return, they send you their monthly
magazine and bulletin. They also give your address to insurance companies and others who inundate you with offers you don't
Their publications border on being amusing. They motivate me to take care of myself and not get old and decrepit.
Their latest monthly bulletin had ideas on how to save on money when it comes to entertainment. One item that really
popped out discussed saving money by attending sporting events, concerts and plays at local schools.
no doubt that students are passionate about what they do, but we are talking about school sports, plays and concerts. This
is not exactly at the professional level. Most of the audience at these things are family and friends of those involved.
I went to my high school class senior play, but never had the desire to attend another one at that level. I'm
not about to start attending soccer games.
The funniest item suggested taking in free entertainment at local bars
and restaurants. I really don't know how many people are doing this. Usually you go to these places and stumble across the
AARP can keep sending the monthly magazine and bulletin to me. I find it entertaining without leaving
Sunday, May 13, 2012
11:29 am edt
In advertising, it's all about placing
your product in the best light possible. Appearance means everything. It's all about grabbing the consumer's attention right
I was watching a commercial for a couple local golf courses when I noticed that all of the scenes were from
autumn. There was a brilliant contrast of colors as the trees were in full color. It was a scene right from a post card.
It makes a great deal of sense to show the courses this way. It would have been a stark contrast if they showed them
during the peak of the summer when everything is green. It all blends in, but when you show all of the colors, the smallest
details stick out.
The places look so much better.
Saturday, May 12, 2012
Right On Target
3:17 pm edt
A story on the news last night mentioned
that Hollywood has the ability to start trends based on the content of their movies. Their latest is the increased interest
in archery because of the movie "Hunger Games". I have no interest or plans to see the movie, but one of the main
characters is an archer.
All of a sudden, everyone wants to grab a bow and arrow. Instructors report a huge spike
in lessons, but how long will this last? Naturally, parents will think this is their way for their precious one to get their
gold medal in the Olympics.
We see this in all of the traveling teams for youth sports. Everyone is hoping for
the college scholarship, if they don't make it to the pros. Parents are so delusional in their thinking. I worked with people
who actually thought their kid had a chance at the pros or Olympics.
A year from now, this whole archery hype
will have blown over. It will be like the fitness craze. Homes across America are filled with treadmills that get no use other
than for hanging clothes.
Friday, May 11, 2012
Everything, But Taste
8:35 pm edt
I finally tried the free sample I had
of Gatorade SERIES PRO Recover 03. It's a fancy name for a drink without much taste. I tried the orange flavor and never made
it past two sips. I poured it down the drain.
I probably should have consumed it back after the Boston Marathon
when I got it. At the time I didn't want to drink it.
It certainly packs a punch with 43 grams of carbohydrates
and 16 grams of protein. It's also loaded with sugar. Drinks like this are great to have after a strenuous workout. It just
doesn't make for a casual drink.
I don't think the other flavors would make any difference. It tasted so
differently from the Gatorade G2 I drink.
Thursday, May 10, 2012
The Slow Process
3:24 pm edt
I have an email account for my website,
but I don't check it as often as I should. I get very few emails on it. In the past, I saw no reason to check it every day.
I have the option of linking it to my AOL email, but I never took the next step. I probably should because checking
the website takes longer than it should.
I timed myself to see how long it would take. I got to my in-box in just
under 90 seconds. That seems a bit extreme and should be a lot quicker. That's one of the problems with the software I use
for my website.
No matter what task I do, speed was never built into the programming. I'm hesitant to do anything
at this point. I had a hard enough time getting this site up and running three years ago. I should probably enable the link
to my AOL mail.
Wednesday, May 9, 2012
The $29 Offer
12:17 pm edt
I didn't want to cancel my subscription
to Sports Illustrated. The annual price went up to $89. I felt it should be cheaper than that. In the past, I have found that
magazine publishers will eventually offer a better price if you keep throwing their solicitations away.
beginning of the year, I have discarded notices offering me a change to subscribe again. The other day, I received the price
I have been waiting for. They offered me an annual rate of $29. I wrote a check and send it to them.
Not only do
I get the magazine, they will also send me the NFL warm-up jacket that is always two sizes too big and cut to fit someone
who weighs 300 pounds. I'll donate it to a charity clothing box.
In the past, I did the same for their ugly
sweatshirt. They must get a real good deal on this stuff. That's why they give it away. Nobody would spend their money on
Tuesday, May 8, 2012
Too Busy To Get Back
4:53 pm edt
I think all of the social media has
caused people to have fewer conversations in person or over the telephone. Texting is the chosen form of communication for
young adults. Some people spend their entire day posting nonsense on Facebook.
I saw a classic illustration of
the demise of conversations the other day. A friend of mine of Facebook wrote on another person's wall asking them to call
and discuss something. About two hours later, the other person wrote on the first person's wall and said they were too busy
to text, but would get back to them later.
In the end, neither person spoke to the other about whatever issue they
were involved in. During the time they spent writing on each other's wall, they could have either texted or made a quick phone
They also let everyone on Facebook know that they were too busy to hold a simple conversation.
Monday, May 7, 2012
Not The Type
5:26 pm edt
I just finished reviewing 45 applications
for scholarships given out by my running club. There are eight awards up for grabs, each worth $1,000. The candidates are
required to complete a personal profile form and write an essay on "what running means to me".
application is pretty generic with biographical information, sports played, honors, awards, outside activities and future
plans. The club uses the same form every year. The essay should be about one page.
Apparently, none of the kids
have a parent who owns a typewriter. The essays were done in a WORD document format, but the profiles were painful to read.
I can't believe how poorly these kids print. Some were almost illegible. It doesn't put the reviewer of the application in
a positive frame of mind.
I guess it would have been unreasonable to expect clear printing by them. I realize they
don't teach cursive writing in schools, but the printing, for the most part, looked like it was from second graders.
I try not to bash the education system in this country, but I still believe in teaching some of the basics. I might be wrong,
but I think it's important in life to be able to at least print clearly when it really matters. They might have another
time in their life when they need to do it.
Sunday, May 6, 2012
A Ceremony For Everyone
12:28 am edt
I think graduation ceremonies have lost
much of their decorum over the years. Some speeches are too long and never make a point. Family members yell and cheer as
if their graduate was the most important one. Beech balls are tossed back and forth to the distraction of many.
I saw a picture in the paper today from the Northeastern University ceremony. Some girl had a large air horn that she felt
should be blown no matter what. I don't think it added anything positive to the ceremony, but she wanted everyone else to
I think one of the strangest trends is having a ceremony for pre-schoolers graduating to kindergarten.
This is done strictly for the parents and doesn't have any meaning for the kids.
The only think crazier than this are
the parents who buy the ad in the local paper congratulating their kid for graduating from kindergarten, eighth grade, high
school or college. What's the big deal about graduating from kindergarten? I never heard of anyone not doing it.
People think their kids are more special than someone else's. I don't get it, but then again, I don't have kids.
Saturday, May 5, 2012
House of No-Shows
11:46 am edt
The Boston Red Sox continue to claim
that they have a 724 consecutive streak of sell-outs at Fenway park. This is in spite of the thousands of empty seats that
can be seen during any telecast. I attended two games last season and witnessed this fiasco first-hand. There were numerous
rows of empty seats.
The Sox sell their surplus tickets to StubHub. For their records, the tickets are sold.
They are correct from that point. The paid attendance is a sell-out. It becomes an issue of how many people actually show
up to the game.
It doesn't matter to the Sox how many people sit in the stands. They are a business, only concerned
with the bottom line. The tickets sold result in revenue, whether or not people go to Fenway.
Friday, May 4, 2012
The Unexpected Ending
12:58 pm edt
We can never choose when our ending
comes for anything. We can have a target date, but circumstances are out of our hands. Fate is a strange partner in our life.
New York Yankees pitcher Mariano Rivera was hinting that he might retire after this season. At the age of 42, he was
still an All-Star relief pitcher and a first-ballot Hall of Fame candidate. He did just about everything he could in
He has been telling reporters that his decision was already made about whether or not to play next
year. He was being coy with them and seem to enjoy keeping them in suspense.
Everything changed yesterday during
the Yankees batting practice. Rivera tore the ACL in his right knee while shagging fly balls in the outfield. This was something
he had done his entire career. It was a freak injury.
Rivera's season is over and perhaps his career. He faces
a long rehabilitation just to get back to normal. Pitching for the Yankees is so up in the air right now.
ever thought it would end this way. I think we all pictured him making one last trip through the cities of the American League
to say farewell to his fans. Unfortunately, he will probably never get that chance.
Rivera seem like a freak of
nature who defied the aging process. Unfortunately, like many things in life, it all came crashing down one day.
You can never take tomorrow for granted. It might never happen.
Thursday, May 3, 2012
Their Daily Post
12:36 pm edt
You can always find some interesting
comments from people on Facebook. Some rant about almost anything. The rain over the last couple of days has brought out those
who can't tolerate it. They want to be some place where it is always sunny and 85 degrees. They will be the first to complain
when it is hot and humid in July.
Another person complains on a regular basis about how she wants to meet someone
to "take care of her". No wonder she got divorced the first time around. She is tired of "taking
care of others". A few weeks ago, she had a rant that was so over the top that she removed it after a couple of hours.
It was about trying to meet someone. Whoever she meets will have their hands filled with her.
I always get a kick
out of those who list everything they did in a day. They are very busy people and want everyone to know it.
a perfect world, I would find a way to block every game request I get. I have no desire to play games on Facebook. I have
never played and have no intention.
My favorite is from people who post to say they are bored. If they are bored,
they are probably boring people in the first place.
Wednesday, May 2, 2012
Buried In Concrete
4:36 pm edt
I'm always fascinated when I go to a
person's wake and see some of the things in their casket. I think it's very normal to bury personal effects with people when
they die. Some have jewelry buried with them. My mother had a ring and a bracelet with her. You always want to go with
the wishes of the decedent.
The late Whitney Houston raised a lot of eyebrows when she was buried with jewelry
worth over $800 thousand. Very few people fall into this category in terms of wealth.
Apparently, the family is
very concerned that her grave might be robbed. To address this issue, they plan to have her casket exhumed and reburied in
concrete. This should alleviate their fears.
Whitney may have wished that her jewels be buried with her, but I
wonder why she didn't leave them to her daughter. This is a substantial amount of money for anyone.
her daughter didn't want them, I'm sure they could have raised a considerable amount of money when auctioned off.
Tuesday, May 1, 2012
The Booze Train
1:39 am edt
Allowing alcohol consumption on late
night trains is never a good idea. This policy on the Long Island Railroad has been in effect for many years. Passengers traveling
to Long Island after a night on the town are allowed to drink their own alcohol on the train between the hours of 12am-5am.
This is a recipe for disaster.
After years of rowdy passengers, fights and people getting sick, the LIRR has decided
to pull the plug on drinking after May 15th.
This is long overdue. It doesn't make any sense to allow intoxicated
passengers to consume more booze after they are obviously drunk. I find it hard to believe that this was allowed for
such a long time.
There is nothing worse than being around rowdy people who are intoxicated. Their behavior becomes
boorish and can frighten innocent people. It's about time something was done to correct this problem.