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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. )

New York City Marathon

Nov 4, 2018 at the 22 mile mark 

Doing a set at Strange Brew Tavern Nov 26, 2018

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

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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)

 

  

                                                            Comedy Shows

 

 

 

Thurs, Sept 26    Strange Brew Tavern

                             16 Market St.  Manchester, NH  9pm 

Thurs, Nov 21   Soho Restaurant

                          89 Lowell Rd.. Hudson, NH   7:30pm 

  Random Thoughts About Things

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Monday, July 30, 2012

The Empty House

 

The Olympics were made for televised coverage. NBC has gone to great extremes to bring every moment of programming to viewers. You could never possibly watch all of it.

The venues at the Games have been noted for huge blocks of empty seats. Apparently, many of the corporate sponsors are not using their complimentary tickets. As a result, athletes are performing in front of empty seats in the biggest moment of their athletic career.

Olympic officals have tried to be creative by having volunteers and security officials sit in the seats. No matter how they try and fix it, they cannot deny the fact that many of the venues are only partially filled.

The Olympics cost too much to stage and lose money right from the start.

 

1:42 pm edt 

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Put Down the Bottle

 

I have always been a big fan of Mayor Michael Bloomberg, but I wish he would stop turning New York City into the ultimate Nanny state. His stance on breast-feeding by new mothers is more of a social agenda. It has nothing to do with running America's biggest city

He has worked with city hospitals to get them away from a bottle formula philosophy. They have stopped giving sway bags to new mothers from companies that make the product.

I never had children of my own. I really can't give an argument about the benefits of one over the other. I just don't understand why the mayor gets involved in these items.

On the other hand, all of the alarms he set off about cancer since gaining office has produced positive results. The cancer rate in New York City has gone down in recent years. Lives have been saved. It was one of his agenda items.

8:14 pm edt 

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Look At the Logo

 

Life is full of anonymous faces that we see everywhere. We might know some people, but we have random encounters with strangers all day. Sometimes, there is a commonality that people can share. You never know what it might be.

Earlier this evening, I encountered a young couple as I exited a convenience store. The guy recognized my UMass t-shirt and said "Go UMass". I stopped and asked if he was a graduate. He said he was entering his senior year.

Sometimes, I encounter people who when they say UMass, they mean one of the affiliated UMass campuses in the state college system. I was always against having a multiple UMass system. It was done for political reasons and "cost savings".

He agreed that there can be confusion about the school. It was interesting to talk to him. In retrospect, I should have known he went to the Amherst campus because he recognized the school's logo. All of the schools do their own thing.

 

 

 

 

9:38 pm edt 

Friday, July 27, 2012

Always Thinking

 

You can always count on the "letters to the editor" for some brilliant comments by the informed. There has been a recent controversy over public utilities cutting trees and brush around high-voltage power lines. The utility's right-of-way gives it the legal authority to remove vegetation that it feels might cause a power outage.

The current policy is to clear-cut any tress and bushes under the wires. Some of the abutters feel they have gone too far. They think trimming the trees would be more appropriate. It's difficult to satisfy everyone. People want their trees and uninterrupted power.

One genius proposed burying all power lines. He said the cost would be covered by the savings in tree trimming. I think this guy needs to go back and look at his numbers. The cost to do this would be prohibitive and would be passed onto consumers in the form of higher bills.

People love to throw ideas out there without thinking them through.  That guy probably has a great idea about reducing the federal deficit.

 

9:40 am edt 

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Playing Games

 

It looks like the Olympics are here. We will be inundated with a media blitz like we have never seen before. As technology evolves, so will the viewing habits of the Games by the public. NBC and its affiliated networks have a ridiculous amount of coverage. You could never watch it all.

I have mixed emotions about the Games. I can't get excited about so many of the sports. Historically, there have been many political issues involved with the Games. Hopefully, this will be a safe time in this crazy era.

I might be more concerned with the start of NFL training camp and the New England Patriots. The Boston Red Sox are on the verge of having the season implode.

We all have different tastes, but the Games have been around in modern times since 1896. They are so much bigger than all of us. They were here way before I was and they will outlast me without question.

We get to watch the history of these Games be written. I'm sure there will be some legendary stories in the end.

9:13 pm edt 

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Learning To Weed

 

I think weed-whackers have their role in landscaping. They do a great job trimming along fences and stone walls. However, some weeds must be pulled up by hand. I think it's only a temporary solution to cut the weeds in the cracks of sidewalks because they eventually grow back.

Today, I saw a kid trying to get rid of weeds along a wooden fence. He was pulling them up by hand, but if they broke, he left the roots in the ground. Doesn't he know that they will grow back?

You could never say anything to him without looking a jerk. However, I know how to get rid of weeds and he was doing a lousy job at it. The stuff will grow back in a few weeks.

 

 

2:04 pm edt 

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The Useless Forum

 

The local newspaper has an on-line forum where readers can post anonymous comments about stories. I wonder if anyone from the paper monitors it.

Last night five people were shot locally, resulting in two deaths. Information is limited, but that has not stopped people from posting some pretty vicious comments.

When people are anonymous, the truth can get distorted. I often question the value of these forums. I don't think they serve any purpose. People might be venting, but some are doing it in a hateful manner.

9:15 am edt 

Monday, July 23, 2012

Need More Bricks

 

I enjoy watching the construction of sidewalks on a major road where I live. They are also upgrading water and sewer mains. The road has been a mess. It gets torn up and then patched over, but the sidewalks are coming along very well.

I love looking at recently installed granite curbing and freshly poured cement. The next day they remove the forms and use them again.

The project will drag into next year. State projects are like that. There is no contractual incentive to get it done early. This project is about five years behind schedule. There is no rush.

This is a great example of how money should be spent to rebuild the infrastructure of America cities and towns. I fully support it.

I wonder what they will do will a 50 foot section of brick sidewalk in front of a building from the mid-1800's. It would be a travesty to rip it up, but state contracts often remove everything is the way. Bricks can get a little tricky, especially if the sidewalk starts to bulge. It happens in Boston all the time.

There are brick sidewalks in my neighborhood that need repair. It won't happen anytime soon. There are other portions that have been paved over with asphalt. It's too bad we can't preserve this work. The men who built the sidewalks did an awesome job for them to last this long. 

8:07 pm edt 

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Infrequent Trips

Every day, I hear a commercial on the radio about the special license plates issued by the RMV for fans of the Cape & Islands. They mention that "you can show your friends what you think about this special place".

I have always been a fan of the Cape & Islands, although I never went there until I was 23. I ran the Falmouth Road Race for 10 years. I visited Martha's Vineyard and once spent ten days on Nantucket. However, my last trip was 25 years ago this September.

I guess they can't consider me a frequent visitor. Every summer I have goal of getting there, but it never happens.
 
2:43 pm edt 

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Unwanted Visitor

They say there is a place for everything. That includes insects. They fit into the ecosystem and serve a big role. They just don't have any purpose in my apartment.

A couple of times a year, I get an insect either in my kitchen or bathroom. I had one last month in my bath tub. Today, there was a huge one on my bathroom floor. I immediately stepped on it.

I reviewed some websites for identification purposes. It might have been a centipede. It was huge and gross looking.

Where did it come from? Did it travel through a drain? Did it crawl under my door? Will I get more?

If I see another one, I'll use the classic movie line of "Terminate with extreme prejudice".
9:27 pm edt 

Friday, July 20, 2012

The Pricey Lobster

We are seeing drastic drop in the price of fresh lobster. Those who make their living with their lobster traps are barely covering their expenses, while the consumer is basking in low prices.

I always thought lobster was over-priced and over-rated. I have only cracked three lobsters in my lifetime. I did my first one at a golf tournament when I was 25. I thought it took too much effort to eat a meal that way. It was also messy and produced a lot of waste just to get the meat.

I acquired a taste for lobster rolls, but you can never get them cheaply. I'll take one of them any day, but I think they are such a rip-off no matter the price of wholesale lobster.

I have no idea when I might have my next lobster. My recent lobster roll was about four years after my previous one. Don't hold your breath on this one.
11:04 am edt 

Thursday, July 19, 2012

A Trip To the RMV

You always hear about the nightmares of trips to the Registry of Motor Vehicles. Nobody ever says anything positive. When I went today, the two employees were swamped with business. Everyone had to take a number and wait. I knew it would take time, so I brought a newspaper to read.

After about 30 minutes, my number was called. The clerk was very courteous and I was done in no time. I engaged in a short conversation with her. I remarked how busy the place was and the lack of help. She agreed with everything.

Her co-worker excused herself to go to the bathroom. It's easy to see that they don't just get up and go. It was getting closer to lunch when I left. I was concerned that I would be left top the mercy of one employee with about 10 people waiting.

Overall, it went well. I hope it's like that the next time I go.
2:50 pm edt 

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Geo Time

Hot days like this bring out the discussion about climate change. It also happens during the winter, especially last year when we didn't get any snow.

I believe there is a climate change going on, but it's happening more in the sense of geological time. The Ice Age lasted for thousands of years. Our time here is just a blip on the geological time line.

I think that in the last 300 years, mankind has accelerated the climate change by wrecking the environment with pollutants. Scientists have drilled into the cores of glaciers and have seen evidence of temperature changes.

How much are we contributing to it? Was it natural that a 46 square mile ice sheet broke away from Greenland the other day? Did we do anything with the atmosphere to accelerate the process? I never doubt that we have.
 
I think temperatures will continue to rise in all seasons.
3:52 pm edt 

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

No More Stuffy Room

 

We are in the middle of a summer heat wave. You can't help but notice with all of the drama put forth by the media. A local radio station even had a daily poll asking listeners if they preferred this type of weather over January. Where do they come up with this stuff?

Last year, I got rid of my air conditioner after getting another sore throat. It was nice to have a cool room to sleep in, but I was always waking up with a stuffy head. Now, I'm waking up because I'm so hot and sweaty.

That should only last another day or so, but I'm sure we will get another heat wave. It's not even August. The only time I miss the air conditioning is when I'm in my living room. It could be cooler, but the fans help out.  It's better than breathing stale air and getting a sore throat. 

4:44 pm edt 

Monday, July 16, 2012

The Bad Swim

Last night, a man died while trying to swim across the Merrimack River in Haverhill. He was described as "homeless" and "under the influence". It was a foolish decision on his part to jump into the river after 10pm and try to swim about 400 yards against a strong current. He paid the ultimate price.

I wonder how he got to this point. He was described as in his 50's. What was his background? Did he have a family? How did he get to the point where he used such bad judgement in his last moment.

He made the front page, but his story will fade away because he was homeless and only a few people cared.
7:35 pm edt 

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Losing At The Sands

I think every effort should be made to prevent beach erosion. In some instances, people can no longer fight nature. We are seeing that with the battle against the ocean by some houses on Plum Island. 

Beach erosion has been a problem there for decades and has claimed a few houses. There are others facing imminent disaster unless something is done. This usually involved depositing sand to build up the beach and dunes.

At what point do officals say enough is enough? I support fixing the jetty which is considered as one of the problems. Naturally, the plan is years behind schedule and estimated now to cost $10 million.

Last spring, I took a ride to check out the situation. I saw a rather striking scene. As a few houses teetered on the edge of being lost to the ocean, another structure was being built as if nothing was going on. This one had steel beams being pounded into the ground for additional support. I doubt if they are being driven to the bedrock. In the end, the building's foundation will fail at some point.

I just don't understand how officials can allow houses to be built on such unstable land. It doesn't make any sense.
2:50 pm edt 

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Cheaper Overseas

Leave it to politicians to jump on the band wagon when there is a high-profile issue that they can gain political capital from. We are seeing that with the outrage over the clothes to be worn by the US Olympic team.

The design is controversial enough with their Ralph Lauren duds looking like they should be at a regatta in Newport, RI. Now, everyone is outraged that the clothing was made by an American company in China. One politician called on for the clothing to be burned. It's a little late in the game for that now with the Olympics two weeks away. 

Where do they expect this stuff to be made? It's well known that the American textile industry has been decimated by cheap imports and outsourcing of manufacturing to foreign countries. Nobody should be surprised at that. Even my LL Bean winter boots are made in China.

There is a call for the 2014 Winter Olympics uniforms to be made in America. That means they will cost three to four times more. Everyone complains about stuff being made in China. Some of the quality is questionable, but nobody ever complains about the cheap prices. That's how the China Outlet (Walmart) stays in business.

Where was all of the outrage about jobs being moved overseas prior to this? Segments of the American economy continue to be crippled by our trade policy. We don't make anything these days other than military items. It won't change down the road. 
10:53 am edt 

Friday, July 13, 2012

The Ride To The Black Hole

I think the economic stimulus program has produced mixed results. It didn't create too many jobs. Instead, it kept public employees on the payroll and avoided layoffs. I view this as a bailout rather than a stimulus. It's good that people didn't lose their job.

It also provided huge amounts of money for projects of dubious value. Providing high-speed rail transportation between Los Angeles and San Francisco is a big waste of money. Everyone drives in California. Planners think they can change that culture by providing an alternative, but they are sadly mistaken.

The government dangled $3.5 billion in stimulus money to start the project. The state approved $9.95 billion in bonds as their share. Now, they want to start on a 130 mile segment between Madera and Bakersfield. It doesn't matter that this is in the middle of nowhere. Who will ride the train?

If the segment ever gets built, it won't be ready until 2020. The complete cost cannot even be estimated. They have thrown out figures of between $40-$120 billion, with a completion date of 2035.

This is a great example of government out of control. They should pull the plug on this project before they pour too many billions down a black hole. This will become the ultimate white elephant, although it will take so long that we may never see the completion of it in our lifetime.
10:01 am edt 

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Changing Socks

I got a blister on my right foot over the last two days. It's about the size of a quarter. I wonder if my running socks are causing it. I like my NIKE ankle socks, but I've had blisters in the past. It happens even when the socks are new.

I'm careful about he socks I run in. I make sure they don't show any wear. I never walk barefoot, especially at home. There might be an issue with sweat. My socks are always damp after I run. My feet get warm. It always feels good to take my shoes and socks off.

I think I have a problem with the socks. It's so difficult to find socks with the right composition of fibers and provide a good fit. It might be time to look at other socks.
 
4:59 pm edt 

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Don't Quote The Price

You can always count on government to be incorrect when it comes to giving estimations to build or procure anything. We see that with countless examples around us. The Big Dig in Boston is the classic case.

It originally had a price tag of $2.5 billion back when it was proposed in the 1980's. It eventually went up to $8 billion and finally about $15 billion. When you reach that level, the price is never final.

The constructions was funded through long term bonds with a maturity date of 2038. As a result, the final price tag including interest is now $24.3 billion. By then, the concrete in the tunnels will have eroded significantly to need reconstruction in some areas. Additional debt will be added. 

This will be one of those projects that will never have a final cost. Just keep the money coming.

 
3:35 pm edt 

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Uploading Success

I was finally able to upload a video to Youtube. I made many mistakes along the way due to my inability to fully understand the process. I thought I could just upload it from my Droid phone, but it was much more than that. I didn't get the part about needing a Wifi connection.

A couple of previous attempts had ended in failure due to a poor Wifi connection. Today, I was having my car serviced. That's when I got the idea to try it again because the dealership had Wifi for its customers waiting for their cars.

It took about 20 minutes to upload a three minute video. I was concerned that my car would be ready before the video finished. If I had left, I would have lost the connection and had to start over.

I plan to upload another video soon. This time, I'll go to the local library and try it from there. At least, I won't feel rushed and not be concerned about losing the connection.
12:03 am edt 

Monday, July 9, 2012

Saying No To Mow

Many states have stopped cutting the grass on the medians and shoulders of interstate highways. This can result in the roads having a ragged and unkempt look to them. In some areas, the states have planted wildflowers which seem to fit in nicely with their bright colors.

I have no problems with grass not being mowed as long as it doesn't interfere with the sight lines of drivers. In many instances, grass has been mowed in those cases. The same is true for the shoulders of the road.

If states want to cutback, that's fine as long as drivers can see clearly and don't encounter any interference. Maybe the tall grass can hide some of the litter.
3:36 pm edt 

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Enjoy the Wait

It's been a great time for people to travel and enjoy the warm days of summer. Traffic can always be an issue, but it can get extreme, especially if you get caught in it. There are always construction projects to slow things down.

If you really want to make it difficult for drivers, just slow down traffic by having not enough tool booths. A traffic report indicated that there is a five mile back-up at the toll booths on the Maine Turnpike south. What a way to end a weekend for the people stuck in that traffic.

I never have a problem paying a toll for a bridge or tunnel, but it goes against the spirit of the Interstate Highway System mission statement to charge for a surface road. Congress approved it years ago.

They are just slowing traffic to a crawl because they are trying to collect a user's tax in the form of a toll.
5:21 pm edt 

Saturday, July 7, 2012

No Transfers Allowed

Political correctness can get carried to the extreme. It seems that we have changes in the terminology of things that have been around us forever. Today, I heard the use of "transfer station".

Everyone knows this is just another term for the town dump. Some communities don't offer trash removal as a municipal service. Residents must take their trash to a spot that was always called the town dump.

I'm not sure why it needed to be changed to the transfer station. Did people feel it was beneath their dignity to be at the dump?The transfer station makes it sound like a better place, but it's a dump no matter how you say it.

The land underneath any dump or transfer station has been contaminated by poisons and carcinogens for the next hundreds of years. Some of the plastic and man-made objects will never break-down.

Maybe in a thousand years, people will call the place an archaeological dig and a great opportunity to study life in the 21st century.
11:36 am edt 

Friday, July 6, 2012

Need A Velodrome?

The Olympics Games in London open in three weeks. An estimated $15-20 billion has been spent getting ready. Most is infrastructure, but there are some very expensive venues. The stadium cost $764 million. The other white elephants include a $324 million aquatics center and a $150 million velodrome.

Does the host country ever recoup the money spent getting ready to host? The 2008 Games in Beijing cost $40 billion. China spared no expense, including a $300 million open day ceremony.

New York City and Paris were among the finalists to host the 2012 Games. They are the winners. They saved a lot of money.The site on the West Side of Manhattan would have eliminated several neighborhoods by eminent domain.

East London has been the beneficiary of infrastructure improvements to host the Games. The 72,000 seat stadium will be downsized to 25,000. The aquatics center has removal sections to make it more for the community. The 12,000 seat arena will be dismantled and possibly used at the 2016 Games games in Rio de Janeiro.

What happens to the velodrome? I don't know where another one is. Who races bicycles indoors? You never hear about it except for the Olympics.
 
5:28 pm edt 

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Answering the Call

I get too many unsolicited phone calls at home. They are mostly from charities, public opinion surveys and lower interest rates on credit cards. Caller ID allows me to ignore them, but I answered a call from Comcast.

I only have my cable television plan with them. The salesman offered their typical bundled package. It would save me money at first, but the monthly price would eventually increase.

Two things bother me about this. I don't like having all of this with one provider. I have been accidentally disconnected by a Comcast technician in the past and lost my tv for several hours. I would hate to lose cable, internet and phone.

I have another concern about my television and computer working properly after hooking up to the new Comcast modem. My tv is about 17 years old. It should be ok. My computer if six years old. I paid extra back then to greatly increase the RAM.

I probably should just upgrade everything, but I don't feel like spending the money at this point. That's the problem with electronics. The stuff I have does the job, but could be a lot quicker.
 
If I bought anything, it would be outdated in five years.
4:20 pm edt 

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Paid Admin

It seems like someone is being placed on "administrative leave" daily. For the person involved, it keeps their salary flowing.

When I looked at the newspaper yesterday, a local college athletic director had gone that route. The story didn't mention the reason. That's the problem with the entire process.

This person got a front page story. It looks like something is wrong, but nobody will say anything. It could be something minor, but when you place someone on paid administrative leave, it raises a red flag. In this case it was called a "personnel matter", which could be almost anything.

Unfortunately, people start chirping with their comments and before you know it, the story takes a different direction.
11:06 am edt 

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Tales of Traffic

Whenever you travel, you never really know how the traffic conditions will be. That was very evident yesterday, two days before the 4th. A bad accident on the Mass Turnpike caused a back-up that went from 8 miles to ultimately 14. It must have been a total nightmare for travelers trying to go anywhere over the holiday.

This is the route I take to New York City. Route 95 always has construction. You can't help but get delayed at some spots. The clock burns very fast when you don't move. The goal is to get back to highway speed.


We can all have the greatest intentions on having a fun trip, but traffic can change everything no matter where you go. The time of day doesn't matter . It's 24/7 now.



8:02 pm edt 

Monday, July 2, 2012

Coasting To A Stop

The Cyclone roller coaster at Coney Island in Brooklyn is turing 85 and still going strong. I have visited there, but never thought of riding it.
 
I had two roller coaster rides in my life. The first was at Salisbury Beach in 1970. The wooden coaster looked very rickety and unsafe. It was the first time I experienced the drops of a coaster. I didn't like it then. The ride burned down about 10 years later.

I waited another 12 years before I went on another. When I was at Disney World, I made the bad decision to ride Space Mountain. I never thought I would get off that thing alive. My head was spinning when I stepped off. I promised myself that I would never ride one again. 

I have been to Las Vegas and seen their crazy coasters, but after thirty years, I have no intentions of ever having another ride.
9:19 am edt 

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Inside the Dusty Boxes

I always thought being an archivist would have been an interesting job, especially researching through old documents. You never know what you might find in a box buried on a shelf.

Apparently, a researcher found a report written by the first doctor who treated President Abraham Lincoln when he was fatally shot in 1865. The report by Dr Charles Leale was written a few hours after he treated Lincoln. It was filed and never seen again for another 147 years.

It was found in a box of letters from the office of the US Surgeon General. It was with letters from April 1865 and filed under "L' for Leale.

I'm always impressed what is kept for posterity. I was at a Federal Record Center a few years ago to do some family genealogy research. Documents listing a ship's passengers come to life as if they were compiled today.

At my local city hall, I was able to get a copy of a document which showed that my mother changed her name from Helen to Helena. She did it on her own when she was in her 20's, but her birth record shows that she was born as Helen.
4:02 pm edt 


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