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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

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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

  

                                                            Comedy Shows

 

 

 

Tues, July 23  Winner's Circle 

                       211 Elm St.  Salisbury, Mass  8pm 

Thurs, Aug 8    Fody's Tavern

                         16 Clinton St.  Nashua, NH  8pm 

  Random Thoughts About Things

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Monday, December 31, 2012

The Annual Mantra

 

It's hard to believe that this is the last day of 2012. Another year will soon become history. I think we all have our own ideas about changes we can make in our lives. Some people make drastic resolutions to start the new year. It's hard to stay with them for various reasons.

I get a kick out of those who feel that 2013 is like pushing a reset button. It's not that easy to change one's habits or beliefs.

People who want to give good riddance to 2012 said the same thing about 2011. We might have a new year, but we also have many of the same behaviors. That's true for all of us.

12:45 pm est 

Sunday, December 30, 2012

The Sounds of Winter

 

It never seems like winter is here unless there is snow on the ground. Warm weather in February doesn't make nay sense. I think we have experienced some type of climate change in recent years.

Last night, we had a forecast for 4-8 inches. We ended up with about 6. When I looked out the window this morning, everything was covered with a coating of snow.

The sound of the plow on the pavement outside got my attention from a deep sleep. You always know there is snow when you hear that sound of metal on asphalt. It's a very unique sound of winter that we only hear for a few months.

 

6:03 pm est 

Saturday, December 29, 2012

The Ocean of Doom

 

It's becoming an annual event. Homes on Plum Island are on the verge of being badly damaged or swept out to sea because of beach erosion.

I feel bad for the people who are effected. On the other hand, they are probably fighting a losing battle against nature.

Earlier this year, I drove around the island to check things out. People have built homes too close to the water. They are on a barrier island to begin with. Those who live here do so because of their love of the ocean. There is nothing wrong with that.

The reality is trying to deal with nature. I have no idea of how to save those homes from future destruction. The financial costs of some plans are prohibitive. Who should pay for it?

I would never get myself in a situation like this because I would never own a home so close to impending doom. If I did, I would also have another place to run to when the water gets too close for comfort.

12:49 pm est 

Friday, December 28, 2012

A Special Place For Them

 

We have heard many nice stories about people helping one another after the devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy. Parts of New York and New Jersey were forever altered by the damage caused by the storm.

One of the most disheartening stories involves those who are going into damaged homes and stealing scrap metal from them. They are breaking into someone's house and helping themselves to whatever  they can find.

They have no regard for the people who lived there. They only care about themselves. They might be desperate, but what type of person does this? They would probably rifle through someone's pockets if they saw they unconscious on the ground.

There is already a spot in hell reserved for these guys.

11:17 am est 

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Film On Fat

 

I don't think plastic containers are the best things for storing leftovers. I never use them because I eat everything on my plate. 

The other day I got a container filled with Italian Wedding soup. I microwaved it last night. It was delicious. However, the container had a film left by the coagulated fat. I soaked it overnight, but this morning, it was still greasy. I had to wipe the container down to get the film off.

A regular plate or bowl would have been easier to clean. The film from the fat made me realize that the soup might not have been the healthiest thing to eat.

11:26 am est 

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Storm Hype

 

By this evening, the media will be in full blown storm mode as we are facing a few inches of snow. We seem to be on the border for getting 3-6 inches or 6-12. Naturally, that doesn't tell you anything.

However, it will send people out to the market to start their panic shopping for their bread and milk. They assume they will be stranded forever with no hope of getting out.

The media likes to stoke the hype whenever there is a storm. This is their day and hour.

12:53 pm est 

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Gasping For Air

 

It could have been a disaster, but I think it will be ok. I woke up this morning to my computer making a loud noise. It sounded like it was struggling for air. When I rebooted, I saw a screen message about the fans be blocked.

I opened up the tower to see a huge dust problem. I was very careful with the vacuum cleaner wand. I also had a can of compressed air. It took about 20 minutes, but things appear to be ok now.

This is something I have been putting off. I should have done it sooner. The dust could have cooked the mother board by blocking the fan.

There is bigger problem behind the table the pc is on. I need to move everything and do some serious cleaning. There is so much dust there.

That is a project for tomorrow.

11:46 am est 

Monday, December 24, 2012

No Way To Stop

 

It seems hard to imagine that the MBTA Green Line doesn't have an automated system in place to monitor and control trains in order to prevent collisions and derailments. There have been seven derailments since 2000, as well as a few accidents resulting in fatalities and extensive damage to trains.

MBTA officials say that it would cost between $645 and $721 million to design, install and test a modern system for the Green Line. The cost is staggering enough, but they say it would also take nine years to implement.

This whole scenario doesn't make any sense. It took almost that many years to put an astronaut on the moon. Where do they come up with the figures of $645 and $721 million? That seems like a very odd amount.

If the system takes that long to implement, there is no way the cost estimates will stay within bounds. It will probably be over $1 billion. Based on that alone, the discussion and debate will continue.

Meanwhile, there will be more accidents and perhaps some fatalities. When that happens, there will be more finger pointing and assignment of blame.

This is a great example of government inaction, not government in action.

4:09 pm est 

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Two More Days

 

We all deal with Christmas in our own way. I think it's too commercialized these days. It has been non-stop since the beginning of November. People have lost the sense of what the day is all about.

I'll be the first to say that I'll be glad when it's all over. I never want to sound cold or impersonal, but things have been over the top with people. I would hate to be a parent these days. I don't think you could buy enough stuff to keep a kid happy. That's not what it's about, but stores want you to spend yourself into oblivion. People are spending money they don't have.

It's disheartening to think that we will be inundated with after-Christmas sales. When does it all end?

2:32 pm est 

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Hart In New York

 

I read a very fascinating story about Hart's Island. It's part of the Bronx in the great city of New York. Throughout it's history, it's been a potter's field for indigents and others. Nobody has ever lived there.

Today, there are at least 850,000 buried there according to published reports. Who are they? Officials admit that burial records are incomplete for many years. Some have been lost to fire.

Nobody should be buried in anonymity. They have mass burials there in trenches, but at least some record should be kept of who is there.

It's the right thing to do.

 

10:34 pm est 

Friday, December 21, 2012

Don't Make A Resevation Yet

 

Although Massachusetts approved casino gambling, nothing has happened other than several proposals that have gone nowhere. We keep hearing different ideas. They all sound wonderful for the most part.

I don't see how the state can support three facilities. It would be nice to have one within a short drive, but there will be too much competition for limited dollars. Most of the proposals are destination style resorts. They will need a constant flow of people coming through the doors.

Will it divert dollars from the state lottery? Many questions remain unanswered. I'm not overly concerned because it will be years before anything gets built, if ever.

1:51 pm est 

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Last Is First

 

People don't send holiday cards like they did in the past. The cost of mailing hasn't helped. People are too busy to take the time to write them out.

Some like to have them pre-printed and with address labels. I wouldn't do that myself, but others have no problem with it. I got a card today that was rather impersonal. It was pre-printed and had an address label. However, they did the alpha sort by last name, first name.

I think it's more personal when they put your first name first, but what do I know.

3:56 pm est 

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Waiting Too Long

 

I never had a desire to buy stamps on-line. I don't use that many because most of my bills are paid by my debit card. I received an offer from USPS last year to create an account. The offer included a digital scale and $5 worth of supplies. They never said what the supplies included.

Time passed and I never did anything about it. I was looking at the contents today that included a CD to get started.

Apparently, the offer expired on Sept 30, 2011. That was also was the end of the fiscal year. It's a moot point now. The CD ended up in the trash and the rest got recycled.

If you procrastinate long enough, the issue can become irrelevant in some instances.

 

1:26 pm est 

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Tires Not Wanted

 

Illegal dumping of trash is a problem everywhere. People leave things on the side of the road with the assumption that someone else will remove it.

I saw a good example today of how extreme this issue can get. I dropped off some newspapers at a local church bin for recycling. Next to it was one for used clothing with a large sign that said no appliances, books, furniture, tires or mattresses. To leave one of these is purely selfish on the part of someone.

They will just dump it some place else.

4:18 pm est 

Monday, December 17, 2012

Nothing In The Box

 

I think it's very easy to have your email in-box filled with messages. At one point, I had over 180, but now I have none. Everything has been read, placed in a folder or deleted. It's much more organized now. I want to keep it that way from this point forward.

On a typical day, I get about 80 messages. Most of them come unsolicited. I don't think you can ever stop them. I need to stay on top and delete them as they arrive. It could get out of hand very easily again.

11:37 am est 

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Money For The Black Hole

 

You can always count on Congress to take a special appropriation bill and tack on all sorts of spending items. They can't help it. They love to bring money back to their district. Nobody likes "pork" spending unless it benefits their constituents.

The bill has $60.4 billion for Hurricane Sandy, but contains many other goodies. There is $150 million for the Alaskan fishing industry, $2 million for the Smithsonian Institute to repair roofs, $8 million to buy cars and equipment for the Department of Homeland Security and countless other items.

Much of this is worthwhile spending, but Congress creates a terrible perception with the way they add stuff. One item that is sure to create waste is the $13 billion for "mitigation projects" to prevent damage from future storms. That is a black hole in the making. No matter how much they appropriate, $13 billion will never be enough for a project that has not even been defined.

12:45 pm est 

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Toll Talk

 

State government can actually come up with ideas that makes sense. Massachusetts is looking into replacing their 400 toll collectors with an electronic system using transponders and cameras.

I think it's a good idea that will improve traffic flow. The toll collectors would get offered early retirement, buyouts or training for another state job.

The initial cost is estimated at $100 million. Advocates feel that it would pay for itself in 2-3 years. States with this sytem have a higher rate of transponder use. Cameras would record all license plate tags. Bills would be sent to the owner of record. Compliance has been good in those states.

I don't use a transponder. I thought about getting one, but never followed up on it. I'll probably wait until they force my hand.

I don't want to write a check for a 50 cent toll.

5:50 pm est 

What A Dance

 

A local affluent community is considering administering a blood alcohol breath test at high school dances. This seems rather Draconian and another example of the "nanny state".

There is no doubt that alcohol can be a problem with kids, but this has been going on forever. Nobody ever wants to see tragic accidents.

I feel the alcohol test is very intrusive. Do students surrender their rights going to the dance? Should they even have dances when it gets to this point?

Too bad they can't hold the dance in some type of protective bubble where nothing bad will ever happen.

 

11:19 pm est 

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Not On The Same Page

 

Newspapers are fighting to stay alive. Revenues have decreased because of on-line publications. Selling ads is a vital source of revenue. Some papers have no problem running them on the front page.

I wish papers would keep all obituaries on a dedicated page instead of having them all over the place. Families pay for them. They should at least be treated with dignity and not like another paid ad.

Yesterday's edition of my local had them on three different pages. It wasn't because of the number of them, but rather the placement of some other ads. There was one on the sports pages in the upper right hand corner. The family should be outraged over this. I'm sure there are people who missed it because they don't look at the sports page.

I wonder if newspapers will survive for another ten years.

 

11:56 am est 

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Don't Mention PTSD

 

Returning soldiers from Iraq and Afghanistan must deal with the issue of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. It's a huge problem in the military. The Veteran's Administration is overwhelmed with cases. A huge backlog has resulted causing delays in getting financial benefits and counseling.

Many soldiers are afraid to come forward and seek counseling because they fear a stigma. They could be right to a degree. According to the NYPD, 80% of veterans who apply for a police job are rejected because of admitted cases of PTSD.

The NYPD said it reviews each case individually, but PTSD is something that they feel must be looked at. It's easy to see why some veterans choose to fool themselves and others into thinking they are ok. To admit to PTSD is a career killer in some instances.

1:18 am est 

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Fixing It Again

 

Last August when I was in New York City, I used the subway at the South Ferry station. It was rebuilt after 9/11 at a cost of $568 million and completed only three years ago. The inside was a stellar example of what a subway station could be with its bright lighting and pristine appearance.

It was also a few hundred yards from the Hudson River. The station was flooded to the ceiling during Superstorm Sandy. It now lies in ruins and will take almost the same amount of money to fix it. It will be a few years before it opens again.

New York City could get another storm like Sandy. That part of the city is sitting in the cross-hairs of potential disaster. There is talk about spending $10-20 billion on flood control. It will be years before anything is done. In the meantime, the station could get flooded again. Lower Manhattan is a disaster waiting to happen.

 

2:35 pm est 

Monday, December 10, 2012

The Gig Is Up

 

I think kids are spoiled these days. Their parents shelter them from the realities of the world. I saw a great example today from a letter in "Dear Abby".

A mother was concerned that her 12 year old daughter no longer believes in Santa Claus. The daughter refuses to write a letter to Santa and has told her mother that she knows he doesn't exist.

Rather than acknowledge her daughter, she is concerned that the young girl will think her parents lie to her about other things.

Is this woman for real? Just give the Santa thing up. The kid knows the story. She won't hold it against her parents. How longer does she think this could on? A kid who believes in Santa at 12 will probably have some issues down the road.  

7:24 pm est 

Sunday, December 9, 2012

No Appreciation

 

I will forever be associated with UMass Amherst. That is my school that I love so much. So many great memories there. I donate money, but they will never name a building after me. Over the years, they could have done a better job in getting donations from alumnae.

It gets worse with Suffolk University where I received a Master's degree in 1979. Only 5% of the graduates donate. That is so pathetic. The school is going through a transition from it's location on Beacon Hill to downtown. There are so many needs.

Schools need to make donors feel that their money is appreciated . It doesn't always happen. The important thing is to donate. It doesn't matter how much, although schools have a way of making alumnae not feel warm and fuzzy.

9:36 pm est 

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Five Too Many

 

Boston and Cambridge have seen a huge increase in the number of cyclists on their streets. Bike sharing stations and dedicated lanes have facilitated the growth.

I think they make a very bad marriage with pedestrians and cars. Earlier this week, a college student was killed after being struck by a truck. He was the 5th fatality this year for cyclists. Accidents happen all the time, but this figure needs to be dealt with.

I have no idea how you could make cycling safer without getting a great degree of opposition. I never like driving near them.

 

9:03 pm est 

Friday, December 7, 2012

Not Jumping In

 

It seems like more people are taking a dip in the ocean on New Year's Day. A local road race I ran in for many years has that option. It never appealed to me. It's one of the last things that I would ever do. Those who do it say that it's very invigorating. I'm sure it is, but it must be a real shock to one's body.

I recently got an email from the club promoting the race. It had a series of pictures of runners emerging from the cold water. One guy was wearing a wetsuit. Does that really count? I would probably do the same thing if I had to jump into the water.

However, I think a wetsuit compromises the "spirit" of the ocean dip on New Year's Day. It doesn't matter to me. It's not on my "bucket list" of things I want to do. In fact, it's on the list of things I never plan to do.

6:25 am est 

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Price Is No Object

 

I love when government projects have prices and time-frames quoted because they soon become unrealistic. We are seeing that with the unveiling of the designs of the new Tappan Zee bridge in New York.

As the political process crawls at a snail's pace, the cost continues to rise. The latest design has a price tag of $3.14 billion and a five year completion time. There is also another $600-$800 million for contingencies.

The most popular design is also the cheapest. The designs vary in cost by almost $1 billion. I like the favored design that incorporates a partial suspension bridge. The New York Thruway Authority will choose the winner on December 17th.

No matter what happens, construction will never start on time. The state of New York should run a contest for citizens to predict the final cost. I have no doubt that it will surpass $5 billion. That's a conservative estimate, based on the actual starting time.

2:21 pm est 

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Room With a Lousy View

 

A local non-profit is building a group home along Main St. They designed it to blend in with the other historical buildings around it. It should be very beautiful when finished. There are plenty of windows for the rooms.

Unfortunately, one side of the building abuts the rear cinder block wall of a laundromat. Anyone on that side of the home will be looking at a concrete wall a few feet away.

Maybe they will plant some tall shrubs to enhnace the view. The laundromat isn't going any place. 

5:23 pm est 

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Betting Against The T

 

You can always count on transportation projects to be delayed and completed way over budget. We are seeing a text book case with the plans by the MBTA to close and renovate the Government Center station.

The facility needs to be upgraded to conform with ADA guidelines among other things. The T is adamant on closing the station because a partial shutdown would add over a year in construction and cost $16 million more.

The plan is to close the station for two years and complete the project for $90 million. I would bet any amount of money that it takes longer and costs more. They still have not decided on the date to close the stop. It could be late summer or early autumn next year.

This doesn't sound like a well planned project . If it was, they would have a firm shutdown date. Government projects are never completed timely and within budget. Why would this one be the exception? The federal government is covering 80% of the cost. That tells you something about the viability of it being done within the estimate.

 

2:43 pm est 

Monday, December 3, 2012

See You Next Year

 

I might have sounded a bit foolish today at the doctor's office when the receptionist asked me if I wanted to make another appointment for a physical next year. At first I said no. I told her that I have problems making plans that far in advance.

After thinking for a moment, I decided to go forward and make an appointment for next year at this time. So many things can happen between now and then. I feel like I'm going out on the limb, but I guess we need to assume that we will be here.

3:09 pm est 

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Let's Dump Asphalt

 

Whenever they pave a street or a highway, it never seems to last very long. They are always paving on the highway. It only lasts for a few years. It gets worse on the bridges.

They did some work in my neighborhood recently. It looks nice, but I wonder how long it will last. Asphalt has a tough time in the winter.

I jog on a portion of a street on a regular basis. After awhile, you know every detail about the street and sidewalk.

I noticed a catch basin was filled with dirt and a light coating of asphalt. Dumping excess asphalt down the catch basin is not the best option.

That stuff should have been hauled away by the contractor. What type of corporate culture makes illegal dumping normal behavior?

9:17 pm est 

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Waiting For The Lawsuit

 

I just saw a horrible story on the news about an arson fire that destroyed a church. The suspect was considered to have "mental health issues" and had been in and out of various facilities over the years.

Where does this leave the congregation? The 25 year old church is a total loss. As the suspect winds his way through the judicial system, we will watch how much of a farce the process can be at times.

It's so crazy that I would never doubt the suspect filing a lawsuit against the church for allowing him the necessary access needed to burn the place down.

6:13 pm est 


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