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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

  

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Sun, Mar 31       Pinata's Mexican Restaurant

                         251 Main St.  Tewksbury, Mass  7:30pm 

  Random Thoughts About Things

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Saturday, June 30, 2012

The Works

With this being Fourth of July weekend, there will be fireworks the next several days. With the 4th coming next Wednesday, people are gearing up for a long celebration.

I have never been fan of fireworks. I never went out of my way to watch them. Maybe, it's because I never saw them as a kid, but they do nothing for me now.

Unfortunately, people will be lighting them off in neighborhoods and bothering people. You really can't do anything about it unless it gets totally out of hand.

I don't like to be woken up by it during the night. Fireworks add nothing to the quality of life in neighborhoods.
5:22 pm edt 

Friday, June 29, 2012

Riders On The Streets

The bike lane program in New York City continues to have mixed results. The city has been very aggressive in setting up bike lanes all over Manhattan and the other boroughs. The mixture of bikes, cars and pedestrians is not the greatest combination for safety.

During the first three months of this year, there were 755 bikers injured from accidents and three fatalities. These numbers are crazy and don't make the bike program look good.
 
I have witnessed the riders during my trips to the city. Some of them drive too fast and weave through traffic. Most are good. It's easy to see why there have been so many accidents.

The city with be providing more opportunities to rent bikes. More riders will be on the streets with or without helmets.

I never really gave riding in the city much of a thought. I always see the riders in Central Park. I just never thought of renting a bike. I have no plans to do so in the future. It would be too crazy out there for me.
6:18 pm edt 

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Good Morning Today

There are big changes coming to the "Today Show" with the reassignment of Anne Curry. This will be viewed as major news to many viewers, but doesn't really mean anything to me.
 
I never watched the show over the years. I don't think I have seen more than three hours of it in my life. I never watch television during the day. When I was working, I always listened to the radio while I was getting ready at home.

I have seen about one hour of "Good Morning America". Both shows have been around forever and are big money makers for their respective networks. I never had any interest to watch them. I still prefer the radio when I'm at home.

I never watch the noon-time news on tv. In fact, I would rather read a newspaper or book than sit in front of the screen.
 
2:50 pm edt 

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Calling The Bulding Ugly

A publication from California has determined that Boston City Hall is one of the ugliest buildings in America and should be torn down, along with a host of others. This is nothing new in recent years. Many have called for changes with the building that is viewed as cold and with a great deal of wasted space.

I have been in the building once. No doubt that space is wasted. When it was built in the late 1960's, it won numerous architectural awards for its cutting edge design.
 
The concrete design is outdated, but why should it be torn down? If that's the case, cities across America are filled with ugly buildings.
Critics have never offered any solid ideas on how to improve it. This same type of attitude was prevalent in the 1960's during the urban renewal era.
 
It lead to the destruction of the West End and Scollay Square. There are numerous buildings in both neighborhoods that would be preserved by today's standards. Back then, it was in vogue to tear down the old and build new.

People can talk forever about Boston City Hall, but the likelihood of tearing it down is slim to none.

3:03 pm edt 

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Strike One

 

I don't believe in restaurant reviews. I don't think they really tell you anything unless the place is atrocious and a waste of money. It's always the opinion of the writer.

I had a chance today to check out a new Indian luncheon buffet. I love that stuff. The restaurant had moved to a new location. I ate there once before. I was anxious to check out their new locale.

My concerns about the place have nothing to do with the quality of the food. It was the lack of it. They also had a very poor buffet set-up. They made you reach for items in a few instances.

You should never be scraping the bowls for the chicken. They ran low on Nan bread. That is the ultimate example of a place with a problem. You can't run low on Nan.

I plan to go back in the future to give it one more try. If they ever run low on food again, I'll never go back. They made no effort at replenishing some of the items. It was 2pm. The serve the buffet until 3:30. I realize they don't want to waste any food, but put some out for me.

I won't deny that I'm giving this place a second chance because it's one of the few Indian restaurants around, but it's two strikes and out.

 

 

8:06 pm edt 

Monday, June 25, 2012

The Interview

A journalism professor from my alma mater UMass sspoke to students about the importance of conducting interviews with people either in person or over the phone. He was not an advocate of sending emails.

It's hard to believe that we have reached this point where human contact is no longer needed to conduct a conversation. I agree with the professor's comments. Interviews should only be done in person or over the phone. Email should be the absolute last resort.

It's fascinating to see where human interaction is going. Years ago, websites didn't exist. Any writings of mine would have been done in a notebook that nobody would read.
 
The internet allows anyone to have their own forum without actually seeing or talking to others. It will continue to have a huge impact on human communication, both in a positive and negative way.
 
Sometimes, I think of setting up a Twitter account. That might be interesting, but so much of the stuff posted is nonsense.
5:48 pm edt 

Sunday, June 24, 2012

A Tall Story

It's that time of the year for those running for political office to sendout material to voters promoting themselves. I got something the other day that really struck me. It was a picture of a local candidate with his wife. It was obviously a staged photo, but I think they made a mistake.

The plan must have been to make him look taller than his wife. He was probably standing on something to make him appear taller than he is. I have seen him in person. He is under six feet. The picture made him appear to tower about two feet over his wife. I know his wife isn't that short.

I thought it was a very odd photo. I'm sure it was scrutinized and reviewed before they printed copies for distribution. It was their call to make, but I still think it looks strange. The photo makes him look about seven feet tall and a very imposing candidate.
3:07 pm edt 

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Here Comes The Train

 

The New York Subway system is a great way to travel around the city. I use it a great deal when I'm there. I try to be very careful when I'm below ground. I don't ride it after 8pm because the city is different after dark.

The MTA is conducting a public safety campaign advising riders to stay away from the tracks. It's very common for people to step to the edge of the platform to look down the tracks for trains. I think everyone has done it at least once.

Last year, there were 146 people struck by trains resulting in 47 fatalities. The MTA didn't break down the number between accidental strikes and suicides, but it comes out to one almost fatality per week and three strikes.

I knew there was a problem, but didn't realize the extent. The numbers were no better in 2010 with 146 strikes and 47 fatalities.

At this point, the goal should be to prevent the accidental strikes. If someone plans to jump in front of a train, there is nothing anyone can do to prevent it. When the eight car trains come barreling into the station, they are a massive force that will clear anything in their path.

 

2:03 pm edt 

Friday, June 22, 2012

Social Ice

It's important to be hydrated during this heatwave. I drink water and Gatorade from bottles in my refrigerator. I drink from the bottle, but use a glass if the container is larger than 16 ounces. One thing I never add is ice. The drinks are cold enough for me. I never use ice cubes. In fact, I don't have any in my freezer.

Some people insist on adding ice to a drink. It's a matter of preference. When I'm at someone's house, I usually decline ice unless I feel that it might create an awkward situation. In that case, I add ice "socially". Sometimes it's easier to take it and keep everyone happy.
4:50 pm edt 

Thursday, June 21, 2012

A Nice Side Job

There are many strange laws in the state of Massachusetts. Apparently, the City Clerk and other designated officials in town and city halls are able to keep the fee charged to marry couples in their office during work hours.

As a former government employee, I find this to be a conflict of interest. I understand the law has been written to allow this, but why should employees profit from doing their job during their normal tour of duty?

This story made the news when Boston decided to add a $15 processing fee to the cost of getting married in the City Clerk's office. One employee made $60,000 in extra income in one year performing this task during her regular work hours.

This is a classic case of a law being written for a special interest group. I believe that any fee charged for a marriage should go into the town or city's general funds. Employees should not be able to earn extra income for just doing their job.
 
I could see paying them if the ceremony was performed after their shift ended, but that's not the case.

12:24 pm edt 

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The Start of Summer

Today is the first day of summer and the beginning of a two day heat wave. No doubt this will be hyped to death. It's summertime. It's going to get hot and humid. That doesn't keep the media from making this into a huge story. Once it gets into the mid 90's, it becomes the headline.

There will be people complaining about the heat and wishing for cooler temperatures. They should not worry. After today, the days start to get shorter. Pretty soon, it will be cool and they will be yearning for summer. It happens every year.
5:30 am edt 

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Getting On the Bus

Time passes too quickly these days. It's a little over 19 weeks until the New York City Marathon. I have my hotel room all paid for. It's never cheap to stay there.

Today, I got an email from the race committee asking me to select my mode of transportation to the starting line. The last few years, they have incorporated the Staten Island ferry into the day. I have never chosen that option. It allows for a later departure to the starting line.

I have always taken the race buses from in front of the New York City Public Library on Fifth Ave. It has always work out for me. At this point, I'm not interested in trying anything new. I'll let the newcomers take the ferry.
6:53 pm edt 

Monday, June 18, 2012

No Match For Trucks

 

We are starting to see more Smart Cars as they get more popular. They get tremendous gas mileage and are cheaper than a conventional sedan. However, they can present some safety issues. I would not want to be driving one in a collision.

When I saw this particular car, I also noticed a couple of full-size Ford and Chevy pick-up trucks also in the parking lot. They were so huge compared to the Smart Car. Their difference in size is scary.

If you hit one of these trucks head-on, there is no doubt that the results would probably be fatal. Some of the American trucks are so huge. They are no match for any car, especially a Smart Car.

I think they have their limitations in popularity.

11:29 am edt 

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Helmets On

Motorcycle Week is wrapping up in New Hampshire. I saw many of them during my trip to Mt Washington yesterday. Very few wore a helmet. They are not required in the state.

Many of the bikers were from out of state where helmets are required. It appeared that many riders were glad to remove them and have the wind blowing in their face.

I have only had one motorcycle ride in my life. I don't ever plan to get on one again. I believe in wearing a helmet. It makes a lot of sense.
 
New Hampshire had four fatalities yesterday. Each accident was different. Would a helmet have made a difference? That's hard to say, but you stand a better chance if you wear one.
11:28 am edt 

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Facing It Today

I ran in the race today up Mt Washington. I like to think that I plan these things thoroughly. I'm always concerned about overlooking something. I prepare for any type of weather and bring a lot of stuff I don't end up using.

The race went very well for me. I felt good throughout the time I was on the mountain, but I'm quite disappointed that I forget to bring my sunscreen. My face got quite a burn. This is how you cause problems for yourself.

I made a mental note last night to pack it and still forgot. I should keep some in my car, but it's too late for today. I was smart enough tonight to put some moisturizing lotion on my face. I got some great color today, but this was no way to do it. This is a great way to cause skin damage and more problems.

8:02 pm edt 

Friday, June 15, 2012

Bessie Doesn't Live Here

I belong to the National Trust For Historic Preservation. For $15 annually, I get their monthly magazine which keeps me updated on historic preservation issues. I also get solicitations from them, usually involving some type of boat cruise.

Today, I got one for "The Treasures of The Mississippi & The Gulf Coast", but I have no interest to go on a twelve day cruise on a ship with 138 cabins.
 
It struck me odd that it was not addressed to me correctly. They had the correct last name, but the first name was Ms Bessie. Was this some type of marketing ploy related to Southern hospitality? Isn't Bessie a stereotypical Southern name? They never did this before. I found it rather odd.
8:40 pm edt 

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Great For the Shower

I read an article about Flip Flops becoming acceptable at work and other places. Many people wear them in public. You see them everywhere. I have never worn them outside as an adult. I don't like walking in them, but use them all the time in the shower and bathroom. 

I have two pairs that I replace periodically when the bottoms get smoother. It's best to buy them this time of year. Stores tend to have fewer in the winter months.
5:39 pm edt 

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Reasons Not To Buy

Condo ownership can be a good deal assuming there are no major repairs to be done to the building. Assessments can be very painful financially. I have been seeing a good example of that at a place I run by on a daily basis.

The units are in a former nursing home built in the early 1960's. It was converted to about ten units back in 2003. I attended the open-house back then to look at them. They looked very nice in the renovated building.

Since then, it must be a nightmare for the owners. Last year, the entire roof was replaced after only nine years. Over the last couple of weeks, workers have excavated around the concrete foundation down to the footing. It appears that the building has a problem with water in the basement. The lawn has all been ripped up.

It looks like a very expensive job. I'm sure the owners are being hit hard with an assessment. At this point, they probably wished they never bought their unit.

Stories like this keep me from having an interest in ever buying one.
12:21 am edt 

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Timing Was Everything

I think there is some truth about fate in our life. Today was a good example for me. I encountered someone who I had not seen in over ten years. He moved away to Arizona back in 2003 andwas visiting here for a few days to see his kids and grandchildren. I was out for a run when he drove by. He pulled over and we talked for about five minutes.

I was running a little later than I had planned. Procrastination does that to you. If I had left my place five minutes earlier, I never would have seen him. The same goes for him. It was a real "chance encounter".
2:41 pm edt 

Monday, June 11, 2012

Little Things Cause Big Problems

Mistakes happen, but sometimes they have huge consequences. A freezer malfunctioned at MaClean Hospital containing 150 human brains for Autism research. The remains are no longer useful. Scientists fear it might set research back ten years.

How did this happen? Was there a back-up device to ensure uninterrupted power? This seems bizarre in this day and age. It could happen again somewhere else. 

I'm sure an investigation will be conducted. In the end, it will probably be something simple that caused the catastrophe. Two weeks ago, a US Navy submarine suffered extensive damage from a fire while in dry-dock because of a malfunction with an industrial vacuum cleaner.

It's always the litle things that get you.
11:46 am edt 

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Cold Market

I always enjoy shopping for groceries. The new Market Basket store is so awesome. It is also very cold when you go inside to shop. It was in the 80's today, but so cold in the store. I just wanted to get out after going in.

I was in there yesterday and wore a huge sweat shirt on a hot day. Those places are so cold.
11:59 pm edt 

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Passing of the Battery

I have thought of upgrading my Droid phone after three years of use. It's slow compared to other phones I see. I got a little closer today when the battery died. Naturally, the Verizon store doesn't carry it because they no longer make that model of the phone.

It's available on-line. I assume the problem is with the battery since it will no longer hold a charge. I'm using an old flip-phone that I have as a back-up.

It has become more imperative to download all of the audio-files I have on my Droid. They cannot be transferred if I upgrade. I should have done that a long time ago, but I procrastinated. Now, the phone doesn't work.
10:09 pm edt 

Friday, June 8, 2012

The Drastic Cut

It was a drastic step to take against one of my house plants, but it was either that or toss it out. All of the leaves were drooping. The plant had no sign of life. I decided to cut the leaves off to the stems.

It remains to be seen what will happen. The last time I tried this, the plant eventually ended up in the trash. I wonder what caused the leaves to wilt.
11:41 am edt 

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Course of the Rain

I never listen to the "Five Day Forecast". It's so hard to predict weather. When I went golfing today, the clouds were huge and puffy. There was some dark grey threatening sky, but it looked ok.

About one hour into our round, the sky darkened very quickly and there was a rumble of thunder. It was raining before then, but once the thunder came, they blew the horn and forced all players to return to the shelter of the clubhouse. That is always a good idea.

They opened the course again after 55 minutes. I  remember saying "I think we will make it", but I was wrong. After the 14th hole, I had great doubt because the sky was so dark. We teed off on the 16th, but the sky opened up. We decided to call it a day as the rain didn't look like it would let up soon.

They gave us a rain prorated rain check for $10. I bet the next time we go back there, they won't have the special they had today.
9:00 pm edt 

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Those Leaf Blowers

I have no problem with leaf blowers. I have had the opportunity to use one to blow leaves. They do such a great job.

Recently, a Boston suburb wanted to eliminate their use between May 15th and October 15th. I don't understand why. 

They make noise, but I never thought it was that loud. My biggest issue with leaf blowers was whether they blew lawn clippings out into the street. I have a real problem with that.

When it comes to leaves, what is the best way to remove them?
11:40 pm edt 

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Pulling Up the Blanket

When we had the warm days back in March and April, I predicted that we would get cold temperatures in June. Those days are here. Last night it was around 50 degrees. It was cold and raw with the drizzle.

When I went to bed, I wore sweat pants and a long sleeve t-shirt. I also pulled a blanket out of the draw. I thought I was done with blankets until at least September. I guess I was wrong.

The cool temperatures will be with us for the next few days. I wasn't ready to go to the beach in March, but I'm ready now. I just don't know when the weather will cooperate.

It probably won't be for another couple of weeks at this point.
12:34 pm edt 

Monday, June 4, 2012

Saving the Plant

It seem like a good idea for my plant. In the last week, the leaves shriveled up and were drooping. I thought it needed more sunlight. I placed the plant on a windowsill in my bathroom.

Earlier this week, the weather was warm and sunny. Things were headed in the right direction.

Unfortunately, the plant was exposed to the cool temeratures of the last few days. When I examined it today, it looked bad. I trimmed a few leaves and placed it back in my living room.

The next few days will be very crucial for the plant's survival. I'm not sure what will happen at this point.
11:01 am edt 

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Even On a Cloudy Day

Most people don't wear any type of sun screen to protect their skin. I count myself among them. I'm very good at applying it when I play golf, but just can't remember when I run.

Today was a good example. I ran a 5k race with the temperatures in the 50's and a little drizzle. I would never think to use it on a day like today.

However, after showering and shaving, I noticed my face was wind-burned. The skin looks a bit irritated. I need to start putting some cream on. I have some good stuff with a moisturizer. It would be a smart thing to do.

I saw a dermatologist a few days ago for a regular exam. He said the same thing. I don't know why this is so difficult to do.
4:55 pm edt 

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Fearless On Bicycles

There was a fatal bicycle accident last night in Boston. It was a terrible tragedy for a woman who was struck by a bus before she crashed.

I was in Boston and Cambridge two evenings this week. They were both warm and beautiful nights. Cyclists were out in full force, even after 11pm.

I saw numerous male and female cyclists riding without helmets and reflectors. Cambridge and Boston both have bike lanes, but they still compete with cars. I parked my car on Mass Ave in Cambridge and almost didn't see a cyclist when I opened my door to get out.

Cyclists are careful overall, but there are some who really push the envelope. They ride as if they were a car trying to keep up with the traffic.

Bikes are here to stay. More dedicated lanes are being created for them.They need to coexist with cars, but that can be a real challenge at times.

I don't think I would ever be brave enough to ride a bike in the city at night. Some people have no option, but it's a tough way to get around at times.
3:18 pm edt 

Friday, June 1, 2012

Boozing On Prom Night

High school proms are very important to those who attend them. However, the cost has spiraled out of control for an evening of fun.

Over the years, great steps have been taken to ensure kids are not killed as a result of drinking and driving. Some schools resort to controlling the entire night with their after-prom party.

Every year you read a story of a school that has a mandatory breathalyser test for all who attend. Some say it's a way to protect the kids. However, some of them will enlist in the military and could end up in Iraq and Afghanistan by this time next year.

I'm all in favor of safety, but if you need to administer a mandatory breathalyser to everyone, why even have the event. It just doesn't seem like the whole thing is worth it.
4:59 pm edt 


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