Friday, August 31, 2012
For The Birds
8:15 pm edt
Whenever the federal government
builds or repairs something, you can count on the cost being totally out of control and taking forever to get done.
The Lincoln Memorial Tidal Pool was rehabilitated
at a cost of $34 million after being empty for over two years.
The repairs were very extensive because the last overhaul was done in the early 80's.
I actually saw it back then when I was in town as a tourist.
A story on NBC Nightly News talked about the reopening. Everything looked nice until I saw
the large amount of geese swimming in the water. If these birds keep hanging around, they will cause a big problem by fouling
the water and the surrounding lawn with their droppings.
Naturally, the government will cave into the animal lovers who insist that these birds should
be left alone. The birds have proven themselves to be a nuisance, especially at airports.
They hang around wherever there is water and grass. You see them on golf courses and corporate
park lawns. They ruin the grass just by being there.
This is going to be an interesting story as it unfolds. The geese just don't belong there.
Thursday, August 30, 2012
Talking Up The Library
1:49 am edt
Libraries across America are
looking to redefine their mission during the digital age. Many wonder if paper books will become a thing of the past. Many
libraries have extensive CD collections and video rentals. They provide a bank of computers to the public in space formerly
occupied by books.
I was at my local library yesterday, I noticed a number of these changes. One thing that really struck in contrast to the
past was the non-stop talking of some of the employees. A woman at the check-out desk would not shut up. She was talking so
loud that I could hear every word she said. It was hard to tune her out.
This is so different than in the past where there was a cone of silence over the entire library
and people only wispered. That is so far from today's reality.
Wednesday, August 29, 2012
Trying To Save Money
12:34 pm edt
I think kids of today are
pampered to death by their parents who mange every minute of their lives. Kids are not allowed to play unless they are supervised.
Youth sports are dominated by helicopter parents who attend every practice and game.
I'll never understand why they use aluminum bats in yourth baseball. There are countless
stories of kids getting badly injured by balls coming off the bat at excessive speed. Such was the case of a player in New
in a game, he was struck in the chest by a line drive. His heart was in between beats which caused him to go into cardiac
arrest. He survived, but suffered brain damage which will cause him to need around the clock care for the rest of his life.
His family reached
a $14 million settlement with the Little League, the bat manufacturer and the retailer who sold the bat. The money will go
towards providing care for him.
it comes to the bats, it's all about the cost. Aluminium bats never break unlike wooden ones which can cost over $20 each.
The $14 million in settlement costs would have purchased over 700,000 bats. That would have equipped every team for a long
bats are still being used. There is some player out there now who will be the next victim. Parents should figure a way to
raise the necessary money to have wooden bats in their leagues.
Tuesday, August 28, 2012
Eating Off The Table
5:36 pm edt
Places that serve food are
filled with potential for the spread of germs and illness. You never really know what goes on in the kitchen during food preparation.
The wait staff doesn't help either with some of the things they do.
I can't stand places that put your knife and fork on the table top without a napkin underneath.
This is like eating off the floor. The table might get wiped down after each diner, but the cloth they use probably
needs to be cleaned. It's even worse when they place your glass with the rim on the table. It's no different than licking
I ate at
one of those classic car diners last week. The place is from the 1950's. They feel obligated to place the eating untensils
without a napkin underneath. That table top must be full of germs.
Saturday, August 25, 2012
The Big Guy
4:28 am edt
I was moving a few things
in my bedroom when I noticed something on the floor. It didn't look good as it was a big dead insect. I know they have their
role in the eco-system, but they can't stay in my apartment under any circumstances. His next stop was a flush down the toilet
This guy was huge
and gross looking. I think it was a cricket, but I have no idea how he got in here or how long he had been there.
Friday, August 24, 2012
Buying Another In 2015
9:19 pm edt
I keep a bottle of sunblock
in my golf bag. I really try to use it on sunny days in the summer. I put some on today when I played because it was a very
It seem to
work well except for the area where I had my shirt open. I didn't put any there. I rubbed some on my ears, but they were a
always wonder how long you can keep creams like this. Everything has an expiration date. I never take any aspirins past their
date, but I make exceptions for lotions.
looked at the date on the bottle. It's been in my bag for a number of years. I only use it when I golf. The expiration date
was July 2003. This stuff still works, but it's getting rather old. Based on the volume I have remaining, I might need to
get a new bottle by 2015.
Thursday, August 23, 2012
All In The Trademark
8:13 pm edt
I always believe when they
say you learn something every day of your life. I found that out when I went to the dentist today. I never knew that Novocaine
was just the trademark name of the drug Procaine Hydrochloride.
You never hear of it referred to by any other name. It's amazing stuff that has been around
forever and certainly does the job when a tooth is being filled.
Wednesday, August 22, 2012
A Matter of Rank
3:44 pm edt
Newton, Mass came in 4th on
MONEY Magazine's list of the best 100 places to live in America. Rankings are based on job growth, family income, test
scores, crime rates, health care and housing prices.
I have travelled through Newton many times, including over five miles along the Boston Marathon
course. The homes are lovely and look very expensive. It certainly looks like a wonderful place to live.
I have a problem with surveys like this one. It's
somewhat arbitrary. I don't believe you can throw a pile of numbers into a computer program and come up with a ranking that
makes any sense.
a bit like the stat geeks who try to rank baseball players. You can come up with a list, but it isn't always right. It becomes
more of an opinion.
Tuesday, August 21, 2012
5:21 pm edt
The success of any downtown
depends upon drawing people to a wide range of shops, stores, restaurants and services. It's hard to find a city that
has the right combination. Sometimes there are too many bars and no stores or shops to go to after having dinner.
Locally, we lost a music store that is closing after
60 years. It certainly catered to a very specific clientele, but brought people downtown.
The owner blamed the internet and on-line shopping
for the store's demise. People can find what they need from the comfort of their home. No need to battle traffic and looking
for a parking space.
shopping patterns are changing. Along with this comes a decreased need for heading downtown. The store will soon be empty
and a statement to the times we live in.
are always evolving. If they become stagnant, they only get more empty spaces.
Monday, August 20, 2012
Twilight Of The Summer
9:51 pm edt
With a month to go, we are
in the twilight of summer. It gets dark so much earlier now. It will continue that way until December 21. I think people would
like summer to last forever, but it won't around here. The leaves will soon turn color.
Autumn can be long as we transition into winter.
I always enjoy October and November. We had some sweltering days the last few weeks, but the season is moving on.
I like being here for the four seasons. Warm climates
are nice, but I always like the weather here.
Sunday, August 19, 2012
An Open Invitation.
4:31 pm edt
I think people who drive convertibles
are pretentious. I never liked that style of car. My last vehicle had a sunroof, but I only opened it about five times during
my three years of ownership. The wind was always too noisy and I couldn't hear my radio.
Today, I saw a convertible in the parking lot of my fitness club. It was a high-end luxury
car. The top was down and waiting for someone to steal or vandalize it. The parking lot has experienced a problem with break-ins.
People often don't lock their cars or leave valuables in plain sight. This guy had an open invitation to anyone out there.
He wanted the world to see that he drives a very expensive car.
I would have laughed if we had a sudden rain shower and his car got soaked.
Saturday, August 18, 2012
The Worst Investment
1:47 pm edt
In my opinion, a car is nothing
but an expense for monthly transportation. It's one investment that decreases in value as soon as you drive it away. Some
people treat themselves to some form of luxury model, but in the end, their money is going out the window.
I'll never understand why someone would spend over
$25,000 on a car. I would be afraid to park it on the street because someone would either steal or vandalize it.
I drive a 2011 Toyota Corolla which I bought new
last year. It came with a service plan for the first 25,000 miles. I have a 1.9% car loan for five years, with a monthly
payment of about $320. The car is great on gas, averaging about 33mpg overall. On long trips, I get about 40 mpg.
Toyota has a great trade-in plan for cars less then
three years old. I plan to trade it next year at this time. When I did my deal back in October, I basically kept the same
payment and got a new car. I might always have a car payment, but with free service, I can keep my car expenses to a reasonable
If I wanted
luxury, this plan would go out the window along with a lot of money.
Friday, August 17, 2012
Stepping Up To The Plate
4:58 pm edt
I was recently told that my
license plates on my car might not pass annual inspection because the reflector paint was cracked and chipped. I ordered a
new pair from the RMV and received them today.
My old plates are over 20 years old. Since I have a low number plate that my father got back in 1963,
I have no plans to change my registration and will be using them for the foreseeable future.
I wonder how long these will last. If I keep them for another 20 years, I'll be 78 when I
get another set. That's a long time to ponder anything. Hopefully, I'll still be around and driving.
Thursday, August 16, 2012
Crawling Away From Home
12:50 am edt
As I turned the classified
ad pages of my local newspaper, something caught my attention. It was an ad for a missing "Box Turtle". I never
heard of them, but found their description on a couple of websites A family was making a desperate appeal to find their beloved
pet. You could tell by the ad how much they loved it.
Apparently the turtle is six inches in diameter, but is also 31 years old. They can certainly
live a long time. The family lives about thirty miles from my place. You could tell they had placed the ad in other papers.
How far can a turtle
get from one's home? It's not like a dog or cat. It would take a long time for a turtle to crawl one mile. I wonder where
this guy is. He could not have gone that far. I assume they turned their property upside down looking for it because I don't
think it went that far.
this story has a happy ending.
Wednesday, August 15, 2012
11:23 am edt
The United Nations is often
viewed as being powerless to stop the wars and carnage that goes on daily all around the world. Their "peace keeping"
forces in Africa have a dubious track record.
The UN is unmatched in its ability to squander and waste money. For years, there was talk about renovating
the 60 acre campus on the East River in New York City. The original price estimate was seen as $1.88 billion. Now, there is
at least another $400 million in extra costs. Officials admit that it could go higher, but nobody knows the exact figure.
When all is done, the roof will probably start leaking.
No doubt there will be litigation over the shoddy work being done.
Tuesday, August 14, 2012
Kicking The Deal
5:21 pm edt
I'm not a big advocate of
giving up public park land to a developer, but some proposals are worth considering. Many private developments never get off
the ground. Some don't make any sense because they will lose money in the end.
We are seeing that in New York City where a private developer wants to build a $300 million
soccer stadium for a Major League Soccer team next to Citi Field in Queens. Nine acres of Flushing Meadows Park will need
to be swapped for the deal to work. Another nine soccer fields, available for public use, will also be built.
Nobody has said where the other nine acres will
come from. The team that will use the stadium doesn't even exist. The stadium would get minimal use to justify the enormous
cost. If it costs $300 million now, what will the ultimate price be?
City officals should let this scenario play itself out. It looks like it's doomed to fail
and no park land will be lost.
Monday, August 13, 2012
9:17 am edt
It makes me laugh when I hear
people talk about having withdrawal from the Olympics. One person wondered what they would now do in the four hour block of
time they devoted to watching them.
I don't doubt that people enjoyed the coverage,
but do they really care about some of those sports? If they like swimming and gymnastics that much, they should also watch
the NCAA Championships. I doubt if they do.
Analysts say that Gabby Douglas might earn up to $90 million from her gold medal in gymnastics. I'm
sure she will inspire another group of parents who will force their children to compete in sports they don't really love.
Adult Olympians have their own motivations. Behind
every young athlete, there are parents who are relentless in their pursuit.
I worked with a woman who would talk non-stop about her daughter being a swimmer in future
Olympics. She was the ultimate "swim-mom". By the time her kid got to high school, she was just another member of
the varsity team. The only way she was going to the Olympics was as a spectator.
Sunday, August 12, 2012
3:52 pm edt
I got rid of my air conditioner
last year and went back to using fans. The results have been mixed. Right now, it's very hot and humid inside my apartment.
I need to address that in the future. Most of the hot and humid days are behind us.
I never liked sleeping with the a/c on. It was always blowing on me and making my head stufy.
Now, I wake up at night sweaty, especially on my neck.
I wouldn't mind looking into one of those portable units. I just don't want to buy something
that turns into a breeding ground for mold spores.
Saturday, August 11, 2012
Not Biting At It
11:38 am edt
The Olympics are almost over. I won't be sad to see them end. I have watched about one hour
of coverage. There are many things I don't like about the whole thing. It doesn't matter what I think because the Olympics
will outlast me.
thing I won't miss is the ridiculous image of Olympians biting their medal when posing for a picture. Can't they do anything
else? Kissing the medal is fine, but why do they bite it? Apparently the photographers tell them to, but I think it's so lame.
Thursday, August 9, 2012
Watch Out For Sharp Corners
11:41 pm edt
UPS drivers are noted for
their brown trucks and uniforms. Most drivers wear shorts even in cold weather. They also like to operate their vehicle with
the driver's door open.
I wonder if it's a company policy to help speed up deliveries and make employees more efficient. I never understood why they
do it. I never thought it was a good idea to drive with the door open.
This was very obvious today when I passed a UPS truck on the highway going about 60 m.p.h.
The driver was wearing his seatbelt, but what happens if he loses control going around a sharp turn?
This practice almost guarantees that the driver
will be ejected from the vehicle. Where is the company's concern for driver safety? They should make their driver's shut the
door at all times. It's so foolish what they do now, but it's all about the bottom line.
Parents Too Involved
4:55 pm edt
The Olympics provide a stage
for domineering parents who live through their children. Some have gone to great financial extremes for their kid to have
a shot at a gold medal. Youth sports are filled will parents who don't know when to back off.
I saw a great example this past weekend. There was
a one mile race in a local community. It's a flat course which allows runners to potentially run a fast time. As I read the
results, something jumped out at me
last finisher was a two year old who completed the mile in 15:10. I thought this was so ridiculous. The parents must have
run along side with him. I'm sure the parents are very proud. How could they do this to their child? I think this is too much
of a physical stress on someone that age. What were they thinking?
In their delusional state, they probably think their child has a shot at the Olympics or
at least a college scholarship.
Wednesday, August 8, 2012
Taken For A Ride
3:36 pm edt
There is a controversy in
New York City regarding price gouging by the operators of pedicabs. These guys operate them like rickshaws and prey on tourists.
They travel in traffic, putting themselves and their passengers in potential danger. They often disregard traffic laws, feeling
they are exempt.
have been some recent horror stories of tourists being charged hundreds of dollars to travel just a few blocks. The city is
trying to crack down on them, but it's very difficult.
I have never had a ride on one and never plan to do so.They should stay in Central Park and
compete with the horse drawn carriages. I find it irresponsible that some of the carriages travel through the streets. There
have been accidents in recent years resulting in death or injury to the horse.
There are any things for a tourist to do in the city. Pedicabs and carriage rides should
not be at the top of their list unless they want to flirt with danger and have money to burn.
Tuesday, August 7, 2012
Sauce Appreciation Day
10:27 am edt
I always enjoy cooking pasta
with steamed vegetables and tomato sauce. I was doing that last night when I went to grab my jar of sauce. It turned out to
be salsa. I thought I had more sauce, but I was wrong. I thought of using olive oil, but I didn't have any.
I sliced up a tomato and mixed it in with the pasta
and veggies. I was able to finish my bowl, but it has certainly tasted better in the past. Sauce really makes the difference
with pasta. You can try it other ways, but in the future, I think I'll buy two jars whenever I plan to buy one.
Monday, August 6, 2012
Butts and Bikes
12:40 pm edt
The media portrays motorcycles
to be the symbol of freedom with riders having the wind blowing in their face. I was in New Hampshire yesterday where they
don't require helmets. I was behind a biker and his female passenger. Both of them had no head protection. It didn't seem
to faze them. At a traffic light, he threw a cigarette butt into the street and then roared off.
Not only was he a litter bug, but he had no concern
for his safety or his passenger's. It seems like you are a sissy if you wear a helmet in New Hampshire. You don't see too
many of them. Even people from out of state, often remove them once they cross the state line.
In my opinion, if you are smoking a cigarette while
on a motorcycle, you might not be overly concerned about head protection. I can see why riders don't like being told what
to wear. The problem arises when there is an accident and injuries get worse than they should be.
Sunday, August 5, 2012
People Just Being Stupid
10:58 am edt
You can always count on people
to act foolish under any circumstance. We are seeing that with the frenzy going down on Cape Cod where sharks have been sighted
in the water. One swimmer was bitten and that garnered international headlines.
Sharks have been great for the Cape economy. People are traveling to the beaches to catch
a glimpse. Restaurants and motels have been helped by the excitement. I don't have an issue with that.
I just feel that people are treating the shark sightings
so lightly. The swimmer who was attacked got some bad bites in his legs, but will recover. Right now, it's all fun and games
and a big joke. What will the reaction be if someone dies, especially if it's a child? Will they still be selling the shark
me of people who get on top of seawalls in the middle of a hurricane just because they think it's a cool thing to do. Some
people love a good disaster as long as it doesn't come at their expense.
Saturday, August 4, 2012
Reasons To Stay Awake
11:01 am edt
It was business as usual for
a local landlord one week after his tenant was murdered in his apartment. He announced that the unit is available for rent.
Perspective tenants might be leery that it was the site of a double homicide, but it doesn't matter for some people.
When there is a trial, the jurors will probably
tour the crime scene. That might be disruptive for some people, but not everyone.
I remember back in the 1980's when I was involved in real estate, there was a house for sale
with a shady past. The owner had been strangled in his bedroom by a guest. There was a note in the listing to "Contact
the listing broker concerning the demise of the owner".
There is nothing like sleeping in a bedroom where someone was strangled. That might keep
anyone awake at night.
Friday, August 3, 2012
Not The Greatest
12:53 am edt
I have not been watching the
Olympics. I think some of the coverage could be a lot better. I'm not a fan of swimming or some of the other sports so why
would I watch them now? I more concerned with the upcoming NFL season.
ESPN went over the top when they proclaimed swimmer Michael Phelps to be the greatest athlete
in history after he won his 20th overall medal.
Trying to anoint someone as the greatest athlete is a waste of time. I have a real hard time with
his swimming. He may have won all of those medals, but he had so many opportunities. Athletes in other sports don't get that
many chances. He had the ability to qualify for the finals in each event. No doubt, he is a great athlete, but where do you
draw the line?
diminshes accomplishments. People were not around for other great feats. They use their own frame of reference. I have no
recollection of the Olympics prior to 1964. I can read about stuff about the 1948 London Olympics, but I wasn't around.
Michael Phelps is
the all-time Olympic medal leader. I'll leave it at that.
Wednesday, August 1, 2012
Loss Of Space
11:52 pm edt
There comes a point when I
need to give up finding a free parking space on the street. That leads to the dreaded parking garage and paying. It happened
last night in Cambridge.
left for my comedy show with plenty of time to spare. The plan was to look for a space on Mass Ave after Central Square, but
when I got to the intersection of Rt 128, traffic was at a crawl. I lost about 15 minutes going two miles. After I passed
an accident, the highway opened up for another two miles before there was total gridlock.
I decided to get off the exit and make my way through Medford. I picked up Mass Ave about
three miles from Harvard Squrae. The plan was to look for a space with about one mile to go. I saw one about 1.2 miles away.
I felt I could do better. All of a sudden, I came upon Cambridge Common. I took a spin around the block and saw two spaces
on the opposite side of the street.
lost time trying to make a u-turn. I missed them both by seconds. I tried to drive to Central Square and then reverse direction
while looking for a space.Time was running out. Someone bagged a nice spot seconds before I could. I ended up in a garage
I tried my
best, but I should not have been so greedy. You need to grab the space when it's available. You can try and get closer, but
it comes at the cost of losing a free legal space.
Too Close To The Edge
10:26 am edt
I live on a street that gets
very little vehicle traffic. It makes for a rather quiet neighborhood. That's fine with me. I can't imagine living on a busy
When I drive
around, I always take notice of old homes that were built along the road's edge. In some cases, the walls of the house are
less than ten feet from the street. I often wonder if the house has ever been hit by a car.
Some of these homes are over 200 years old. They were built long before cars. The only concern
was getting hit by a horse and wagon. I don't think I would sleep well at night if I lived in a place like this. I would always
be wondering if the house would get struck by a vehicle and get knocked off its foundation.