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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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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

  

                                                            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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Sunday, March 31, 2013

The Day The Tree Died

 

The tree grew on my street for many years. I remember when it was alive, but it died several years ago. It always stood out in the summer because it had no leaves. During the winter, it blended in with all of the other bare trees.

A few years ago, the the city cut it down, but left a 20 foot tall stump. It looked horrible. Some neighborhood kids attached a basketball backboard to it, but eventually the rim got bent and was no longer used.

I would run by the tree several times a week. It was a sad thing to see, a once tall and majestic tree being relegated to a broken basketball hoop.

When I drove by today, the tree stump had been cut down to the level of the sidewalk. The saw dust was still there. If they remove the stump, it will leave a gaping hole in the sidewalk.They will probably leave it for now.

Maybe another tree will be planted in its place at some pont, but I won't hold my breath.

 

2:37 pm edt 

Saturday, March 30, 2013

How Many Cans?

 

The local market had tomato soup on sale. It was buy one, get one free. So far, I have 16 cans. That should last for a fair amount of time.

I don't have that much room to store things. I recently did the same for toilet paper. If I had an extra room, garage or cellar, I could hoard a lot more items.

You reach a point when you wonder, how much is enough. I could keep buying cans of soup, but I wouldn't have room to move.

7:34 pm edt 

Friday, March 29, 2013

Not Always Cheaper

 

I love pistachio nuts. They are my favorite late night snack and are also very healthy. I always buy the same size package.

Last week, I decided to do something different. I bought a two pound bag. Based on the price of the 10 oz. size, it was like getting  one free. It made a lot of sense financially.

However, the more you have of them, the more you eat. I think three 10 oz bags would last longer than a two pound bag.

When I buy my next bag, I'll need to have a better system of rationing them. I eat them too fast because they taste so good.

12:47 am edt 

Thursday, March 28, 2013

The Deal On The Tables

 

I wonder what the "over and under" date is for opening casinos in Massachusetts. The public has heard many plans by developers, but no decisions have been made. That hasn't stopped entrepreneurs from trying to cash in leading up to it.

A school has started for training people to be card dealers in the future casinos. They learn all aspects of shuffling cards and casino table protocol. It's a great idea for these businessmen. A number of individuals have taken the course and look forward to the opening day.

The only problem is when will it happen? How do you keep your skills without a job? There is only so much time you can practice on your own.

Even if things get on the fast track, I don't think any place will open before 2015. That's a long time to practice while waiting for a job.

 

 

 

3:00 pm edt 

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Put The Ball Down Now

 

We continue to see examples of the "Nanny State" daily. The latest involves a local school district that has banned kids from playing dodge-ball because they feel it promotes bullying and targets individuals.

What will be next on the list, playing tag? The kids were using foam balls, not the red ones that were the staple of gym class and recess for so many years.

It's easy to see why kids don't engage in play activities like they did in the past. It's so regulated by parents and officials that everyone is afraid to do anything.

 

4:01 pm edt 

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

All In The Dumpster

 

I feel good about recycling my newspapers and magazines to local churches who set up dumpsters for them. The churches are paid by the amount of pounds left by donors.

When I put some stuff in tonight, it was really full. I had been by on Sunday and it was just as bad. I wonder what the pickup schedule is like. Does someone from the church visually observe the level of the dumpster and then place a call to the container company or are they on a set time?

Can you imagine calling the rectory and asking this question? They would wonder what was wrong.

It's one of those things you get curious about. 

8:20 pm edt 

Monday, March 25, 2013

Don't Go Fishing

 

Animal-rights groups have an important role in creating awareness of the problems related to the treatment of animals. They can get carried away at times with their zealousness. We have seen many stories about PETA over the years.

They made the news recently for protesting a program in Vermont that teaches young people and their families how to fish. They feel that fishing is cruel and encourages violence. I'm not sure how they arrived at that conclusion.

I think people who fish need to treat their catch properly. If they do "catch and release" they need to ensure that they don't do anything harmful to the fish that might hurt or kill them.

Some of these groups appear to protest just to get publicity. If that's the case, they are doing a good job at it. 

3:10 pm edt 

Sunday, March 24, 2013

The Show That Wasn't

 

Everyone makes mistakes. They happen daily to all of us. Some are minor and nothing happens. Others can be catastrophic and potentially fatal. Hopefully, we learn from mistakes, but that doesn't always happen.

I'm still tyring to figure out how I messed up on the date for a comedy gig. I thought it was next Saturday, but it was last night. I found that out earlier today when I got a text from the woman running the show. She was wondering why I never showed up last night. 

I went back to our email exchange and my definition of "next Saturday" wasn't the same. I aslo never mentioned the date. If I had, I would have found my mistake.

It wasn't he end of the world. I was looking forward to the show, but I guess it will never happen.

7:53 pm edt 

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Feeling Hungry

 

I did a 14 hour fast to prepare for some routine blood work. It's not a big deal when you can have a nice meal before you begin and something to eat once it's over.

However, that is not the case for millions of children and adults around the world. They go to bed hungry and wake up feeling worse. They might be lucky and get something to put into their stomach. It's not always the most nutritional food, but it's all they can get.

Hunger is a way of life for so many people. Here is America, we live in a society where tons of food get tossed out daily. Restaurants and  markets fill their dumpsters with food not eaten by customers and items past their expiration date. There are people who would fight over this stuff, but we just cart it away. 

We are so wasteful when it comes to food.

12:54 pm edt 

Friday, March 22, 2013

Make Room For The Avocado

 

I never mind food shopping. I would like it even more if I didn't need to spend money, but that won't happen. Last evening was quite interesting.

I bought my first avocado and ate it. I'm not sure why I never bought them before. They taste rather bland, but that works for me. Their health benefits can never be disregarded.

While looking at cereal, I saw that they finally brought back "Kashi 7 Whole Grain Puffs". It had been off the market for a couple of years. It was nowhere to be found, even on-line. When they finally brought it back, they jacked up the price and made the box so much smaller.

It made sense to buy the two pound bag of pistachio nuts. Previously, I was buying them in a ten ounce package. For the price of two pounds, it was a significant savings. I just need to be careful not to eat them too quickly.

There are several new fruits and vegetables that I plan to try, but it's one step at a time. The avocado was a big one.

10:43 am edt 

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Fussy Eaters

 

The federal government has many ideas that begin with great intentions, but they don't always work the way they were hoping for. There is an obvious obesity problem in today's children as well as adults.

Recent changes to the public school hot lunch program were met with great skepticism by everyone. Kids are growing up on junk food filled with empty calories and saturated fat.

Schools must now use whole wheat bread and offer four ounces of fruit and vegetables to kids. What has been the net result? Kids are eating their burgers and sandwich meat, but tossing out the bun. Fruits and vegetables are untouched in many cases. So much foods is being thrown away.

Local school districts have been conducting focus groups with kids to determine where they can reach a happy medium on the menu. It's a very difficult task because kids can be very fussy eaters. I was one of them. When I look back, it's a wonder that I didn't waste away from being so thin.

I never ate fruit or vegetables growing up. When I went away to UMass, I started to change, but it has been a lifelong process to get to where I am today nutritionally.

Some of the fast food options are so atrocious. It's easy to see why we have such a weight problem in this country.

4:26 pm edt 

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Fresh vs Frozen

 

I don't think that I will ever get to the point where I eat enough fruit. I started eating blueberries with my yogurt. Overall, I need to eat more servings. I do very well with my vegetables. I had six different ones yesterday.

One of the challenges with buying fruit is keeping it fresh. I decided to try frozen raspberries. I thawed them out for one hour and then mixed them in yogurt. They tasted ok, although they still had a bit of a frozen feeling to them.

I think vegetables handle freezing better than fruit. I keep a regular supply of frozen spinach leaves, broccoli and cauliflower.Their taste never seems to get compromised. I'll see how it goes with the fruit. 

12:28 am edt 

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Saving Smoke

 

Smoking cigarettes is very expensive for those who do. At almost $10 per pack, it comes out to about 50 cents per butt. It's easy to see why people don't always toss them out before they go inside.

I saw that today at the local market. A guy had a fresh one going as he walked towards the entrance. In one quick motion, he took the cigarette out of his mouth and extinguished it against his fingers. He placed it in his coat pocket.

I can understand why he did it. He didn't want to throw 50 cents away. He acted like he does this on a regular basis.

4:28 pm edt 

Monday, March 18, 2013

Winter Done

 

This could be the last snow storm of the winter. We have heard all sorts of crazy snow levels predicted from 1-3 inches to 6-12. Nobody really knows at this point.

I find it quite remarkable that people vent their frustrations over one more winter srorm. Facebook has been inundated by people grousing about the weather. Why do they do this? They should know about New England in the winter. 

Spring is less than two days away. If it snows, warm weather and rain will melt it quickly. Winter is over.

9:19 pm edt 

Sunday, March 17, 2013

America's Dark Side

 

How does government contain the cost of social problems that start with great intentions, but spiral out of control in cost? New York City is facing this with their homeless population.

The city does the honorable thing by guaranteeing shelter to any individual or families that request it. The amount of homeless in the city is staggering. There is really no accurate total other than the count in shelters. There are thousands out on the street, vacant buildings and subway tunnels on any given night.

The shelter population is up to 50,000, including 21,000 children. Last year, the city spent $723 million to house them, with a projected cost of $819 million for 2013. All of this money could be used to build permanent housing, but that's not how the system works. You could certainly construct a lot of housing units for the $1.5 billion spent in the last two years.

Homelessness in America is a deep social problem. There is no easy solution for it. The cost is enormous in terms of dollars and human suffering.

11:59 am edt 

Saturday, March 16, 2013

The Freshest Nonsense

 

Businesses often make dubious claims in their ads. Some of them can never be verified. Consumers are on their own when deciding what to believe.

I saw a good example of that today. There is a local guy who has been selling fish from a truck in a convenience store parking lot. He has a big sign next to his vehicle that says: "The freshest fish within 35 miles of Boston".

How can he say that? What is it based on? Is he comparing himself to other fish trucks or does he include retail outlets? There is no way to measure freshness.

He also had a boastful claim about being inspected by the Board of Health. That's stating the obvious. I would never buy fish from a truck, but I hope that the health inspectors would be checking this guy out for cleanliness and health code violations.

10:09 am edt 

Friday, March 15, 2013

Back To The 1300's

 

It's not that hard to stumble across old burial grounds when doing construction. It happened in New York City recently during the building of high-rise condos in lower Manhattan.

It was very interesting to read about the recent discovery in the Farringdon section of London. A mass burial ground of up to 50,000 bodies was discovered during construction of the  $24 billion Cross Rail Project.

What makes this so unique is that most of the victims are likely from the Black plague back in 1348. The area had a reputation of being a burial ground. Construction workers unearthed 13 skeletons less than eight feet below ground. They were sent for forensic study.

I hope great care is taken to preserve the dignity of the bodies buried there. No indication was given about how many bodies might need to be moved in the future. It's probably going to be a lot.

8:13 pm edt 

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Stuck With The Cups

 

Mayor Michael Bloomberg of New York City has never been shy about steering his great city towards a "Nanny State", especially with his ban on soft drinks in cups over 20 ounces.

Everything was in place for the new cup size  until the Manhattan Supreme Court struck down Bloomberg's plan. The city said it will appeal the decision.

That's fine for many and doesn't matter for some, but what about the places that ordered smaller cups for their customers? Nobody thought about some of these businesses. One store owner said he will swallow the cost of 100,000 cups for $19,000 because he had his store's name printed on them. He will go back to the 20 ounce cup size until he is told otherwise.

One of the problems with social legislation is the hidden cost on businesses. Some can return their cups for bigger sizes, but some are stuck with them.

I still have issues with this ban. The Mayor is certainly right about the dangers of drinks with too much sugar. The bigger issue becomes how much should government do to prevent people from hurting their health. They are taking the freedom of choice away.

It's a very complex issue.

6:38 pm edt 

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Too Old For Santa

 

I read a nice story about a soldier and how his deployment to Afghanistan has effected his family. He said his kids are handling it well, especially his 11 year old. He said she has a firm grasp of the situation.

I beg to differ on that. He said his wife talked about their daughter asking Santa Claus to watch over him while he was overseas. I respect the daughter asking Santa, but why is she still talking to him at 11 years old? She is too old for that stuff.

Her father is going to a war zone. What does she think he is doing there? Kids are pampered so much these days that they lose their concept of reality. I was ok with the story until I read she still believes in Santa Claus. There is a serious disconnect here. At some point she needs to give it up.

3:38 pm edt 

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Caffeine At Night

 

We go through life not trying to make the same mistakes. You live and you learn, but sometimes, you never really learn.

It's not a great decision when I drink tea in the evening unless I want to stay up real late. I drank about  12 ounces last night at a comedy show and finally went to bed at 3am. I should have stayed up longer because I couldn't fall asleep.

I usually drink only one cup of tea in the morning. My other caffeine comes from about 8 oz. of Pepsi daily. If I go to a show, I have Diet Pepsi which seems to have less caffeine.

No matter what, I should try and stick with water. It seems like I buy a diet soda just so I don't look cheap by not buying something at the bar.

When I buy my soda, I give at least a  30% tip, but it ends up being only one or two dollars.

 

9:50 pm edt 

Monday, March 11, 2013

Weighing In On BMI

 

Body Mass Index (BMI) is a controversial measurement that factors in weight, height, age and sex to determine whether an individual has an issue with obesity.

America has a weight problem. We can see it with kids in school. Many show signs of being overweight at an early age. School districts around the country have been monitoring the height and weight of kids by measuring their BMI. Parents are notified when there might be a potential problem. Over 41% of the districts do this.

It's not without controversy becasue many parents don't feel it's a good indictor of someone being overweight. I find it flawed because it factors in age as one of the criteria.

The bigger question is whether schools should even be involved in this practice. Should this be an educational issue or one left for the family doctor? Many feel that kids get labeled as being overweight once a letter is sent to the parent.

I think the practice has good intent, but like many other things, gets messed up along the way.

 

2:59 pm edt 

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Cleaning House

 

It was very unfortunate for those on Plum Island who had their homes destroyed by the recent storm. They have been fighting a losing battle against nature for the last several years. A barrier island is no match for the ravages of the ocean.

Residents saw homes fall into the water over the last few years. They must have known their time was coming. It was inevitable. I hoped they removed personal and family items from their homes before disaster struck.

Several more residences will be torn down before they are washed out to sea. It was foolish to build there in the first place. I hope they don't allow any future construction. It's just another disaster waiting to happen. We are starting to see this scenario repeat at Salisbury Beach.

It might take a year or 10 years, but the ocean will eventually claim some of the homes along the shore.

12:48 pm edt 

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Playing Games With The Games

 

It was inevitable that there would be some talk about Boston putting in a bid to host the 2024 Olympic Games. A private group has been formed to gage interest in the endeavor. They face an uphill battle against the odds to submit an application.

Boston doesn't even qualify to be a host city because they are 5,000 hotel rooms short of the 40,000 required. They also don't have a "first rate" public transportation system unless you consider the MBTA's Green Line to be state of the art. They would need an Olympic Village to house 16,500 athletes and technical support for 15,000 media. We don't even want to talk about the lack of sporting venues.

It will cost untold billions to bring the Games to Boston. I'm sure there will be some level of political support. Boston wants to think it can compete with the cities of the world. However, I think the politicians will let this idea die a slow death.

I agree with them. I don't think this is a good idea unless it can be funded 100% privatively. That won't ever happen.

5:22 pm est 

Friday, March 8, 2013

Just Bring Your Knife

 

I think the TSA is making a huge mistake with their new regulations which allow airline passengers to carries knives less then 2.36 inches onto planes. It's a recipe for disaster. Officials claim that TSA employees should focus their attention on looking for bomb making components during their screening of passengers. Box cutter and razor blades would still be prohibited.

The changes have drawn a firestorm of protest from pilot and flight attendant groups. I support them in the outrage. The American public has been lulled into an attitude of complacency since 9/11. I think we have been letting our guard down because no disaster has happened.

People have complained about the long lines when trying to board planes, but they also want to feel safe. They can't have it both ways in this day and age. It will be interesting to see if this rule gets changed. I think it's a lame excuse to say that the change will allow compliance with International passenger screening standards.

1:01 am est 

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Lighting Up The Bridge

 

The San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge has always played second fiddle to the Golden Gate Bridge. It was considered an engineering marvel in it's time and is bigger and carries more traffic than its famous mate.

It was in the news for its controversial LED lighting display. The bridge was bathed in 50,000 lights. It has gotten rave reviews and officials hope that it will stimulate tourism. It was funded with $8 million in private donations to cover the costs for the next two years.

Some will complain about using this money to light up a bridge, but I feel otherwise. I think it's a good idea to promote public art like this. The fact that it was paid for with private donations should silence any critics.

5:15 pm est 

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

No More Rolling Down

 

Technology and lifestyle changes are making some expressions obsolete. When I was young, I heard the term "Saturday night bath" all the time. In fact, I never lived in a house with a shower until I was 10.

I saw a reference to the dying expression "roll down the window". Kids are growing up without ever hearing it or actually rolling down a car window. Just about every car has electric windows. I never had them until 2004.

The other day, someone was talking about using a dot matrix printer for various forms. I still have a small ream of paper from one. Pretty soon, that stuff will be hard to find.

The hot technology of today becomes outdated very quickly. It's hard to keep up with it. I bought my desktop computer back in 2006. I upgraded several aspects of it, but now it's quite old and should be replaced at some point.

4:34 pm est 

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

ClimbingThe Wall

 

I think kids have too many supervised activities these days. They never play spontaneously. Everything is choreographed by the parents from swim lessons to soccer and dancing. The list of activities goes on and on.

I saw a story the other day that was over the top. It was a rock wall climbing class for five and six year olds. I've heard all of the stories about the benefits of group activities and so on. No kid makes a decision to take climbing lessons. It's made by the parents.

Eventually, the kids will become bored and move onto something else. I think they have too many options, but they don't do the choosing. The parents make all of the decisions. We have become such a society of "helicopter" parents.

2:09 pm est 

Monday, March 4, 2013

Tax Up In Smoke

 

New Hampshire is debating whether to raise their cigarette tax by 30 cents per pack. It would reap millions for the state coffers. However, many are questioning the wisdom of this. Stores along the Massachusetts border get a huge amount of business from residents looking for cheap smokes. They don't want it to hurt sales.

As harmful as smoking might be, governments get money from taxes on them. If you eliminate cigarettes, you lose a revenue stream. Some of that money could be saved in health care costs for smokers. 

Bean counters are always looking at the bottom line. Will a tax increase hurt sales? It a chance that New Hampshire might not be willing to take. 

7:15 pm est 

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Beating The Odds

 

We always hear stories about people being at the wrong place at the wrong time. It can have dire consequences. I often wonder how people get to that point to where fate crosses their path.

We saw that with the man who was swallowed up by a sink hole in Florida. One moment he was in his bedroom and then the floor gave out beneath him. The massive hole has made the house unstable. First responders have been unable to retrieve his body due to the potential danger. The hole continues to get bigger.

Sink holes happen daily around the country. There is a small one in my neighborhood that continues to cause a portion of the street to buckle and sink inward. It seems to be caused by deteriorating water and sewer lines.

I hope they are able to recover the man's body in Florida. That was a terrible way to die.  You never know when something like this might happen. The odds are great, but it happens. 

 

10:51 am est 

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Don't Tear Down That Wall

 

I'm a big believer in historic preservation. Once something is lost, it's gone forever. History needs to be preserved for future generations.

We are seeing that in Germany where there is controversy about one of the last remaining sections of the Berlin Wall.

The barrier came down in 1989 after the fall of the Soviet Union. It stood as a symbol to oppression and the world of Communism. Many people died trying to get their freedom to West Berlin. Parts of the wall are in museums, including the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library.

A protest has broken out over a 3/4 mile section. A developer is trying to remove 19 concrete slabs, each four feet wide, in order to build an access road for a housing development. All of the proper permits are in place.

There is a hard-core group of citizens who want to preserve this symbol of the Cold War. I agree with their stance. As painful as it is for some, I think this section should continue to stand for future generations to see. It's a part of German history that should not be forgotten.

11:56 am est 

Friday, March 1, 2013

Not Dogging It

 

I'm not a big fan of the dog run park planned for Boston Common. The proposal doesn't sound that good to me. It will be located near the bottom of Joy St. which is a busy area of the park with many pedestrians.

To avoid excessive wear of the grass, the location will be rotated among a few other spots in the park. Dogs will be off their leashes, but under the supervision of their owners. They will also be required to clean up after them.

As much as I like dogs, I think this plan will probably fail. The Boston Common is a bad location for a dog park. It's certainly convenient for a lot of dog owners, but the place is too busy.

I'm sure there will be complaints about dogs running wild and leaving their calling cards behind. The dog lobby has been able to push their agenda through. It looks like this plan will get a shot. I don't think the rest of the public will embrace it.

It will be a great example of "I told you so".

1:18 am est 


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