Sunday, September 29, 2013
The Rail Issue
6:15 pm edt
Trains were once
the major mode of transportation throughout America. They still play a vital role in moving freight and passengers.
Every town and city has abandoned rail routes. Some are overgrown
with brush while others can still be seen through it all.
A number of preservation groups have worked to transform abandoned routes into recreational
trails. The ones I have seen are outstanding. There are so many more to work on. The legal logistics are daunting concerning
ownership of the tracks and right of way.
checked out a small section of a local one today that stopped being used over 30 years ago. Portions of the track have been
paved over in spots. Some back yards of homes have covered them over with their lawns.
Plans are in place to make this stretch a recreation
trial. It's easy to see why it's so difficult in some cases. This one will present many challenges.
Saturday, September 28, 2013
Two Bad Ideas
5:06 pm edt
I think it's a bad idea to
allow horse drawn carriages on the streets of New York City. There was another accident yesterday when a horse got spooked,
sped up and flipped the carriage over. The driver was slightly injured, but at least he didn't have any passengers.
These carriages should be restricted to Central
Park. They are a menace when driven in the streets. The same goes for pedi-cabs. Both have a reputation for over charging
passengers, especially tourists from out of town.
You couldn't pay me enought to ride in a carriage or pedi-cab. I think they are both vastly overrated.
There are many ways to spend time in New York City. These are two of the worst ways.
Friday, September 27, 2013
All In The Numbers
1:07 am edt
Whenever we see a
poll or survey, we are lead to believe that it has scientific validity based on a small population sample. There is always
a margin of error factored in.
recent survey indicated that 15% of Americans don't use the Internet. I think that might be a valid number, but I have concerns
on how they came up with it.
survey was done with 2,252 adults via landlines and mobile phones. Just about everyone who wants to access the Internet has
the capability, although 8% of those not on-line wish they had access.
The old dial-up connection is down to 3%. I find this puzzling because there
are stretches of rural America where residents don't have a broadband connection.
If 44% of those over 65 are not on-line, why isn't the overall figure
of 15% higher. The study examined a number of demographic groups and crunched a lot of numbers. I think there is plenty of
room for error in this survey.
Thursday, September 26, 2013
11:34 pm edt
Cemeteries are sacred places
and should be treated as such. However, the level of care and maintenance can vary by who runs it. You never know with a public
one or those run by private groups or churches.
There is a local cemetery that is privately run, but in total disrepair. The lawn hasn't been cut
this year. It's a frequent target of vandals and illegal dumping. Volunteers are trying to clean the place up. The city has
offered to maintain the portion where over 400 Civil War veterans are buried.
It's one of the older cemeteries in the city and has a rich history. Unfortunately, it ran
out of money over the years and barely functions.
It will take a great deal of work just to get the place looking respectable. What happens after that?
It could revert to being what it is now. Hopefully, it is moving in a positive direction. Time will tell.
Wednesday, September 25, 2013
Better At Room Temperature
2:12 pm edt
I'm making a very concerted
effort to drink more water. The benefits are well know to all of us. I've been buying a case of 16 ounce bottles that end
costing about 15 cents each.
have not consumed tap water from my apartment faucets in almost 20 years. I use it only for showers and cooking because
the pipes are old.
preference is to drink it at room temperature. It goes down easier than when it's cold. Ice cubes are never an option.
I try to keep a couple of bottles on my kitchen
counter at all times.
Tuesday, September 24, 2013
Too Liberal For Me
8:05 pm edt
When you buy AA-type
batteries, the smallest package has four as I found out today. I bought one in spite of having six left from an 8-pack bought
over a year ago. They had an expiration date of April 2016, but none of them could power a wall clock.
All six failed to do the job. I used two of them in my TV clicker
which needed to be refreshed. I guess I need to wait until one of my other clickers can use them.
The clock now has a new battery and is keeping good time so far. I wonder
why they failed with over two years left on them.
feel the expiration dates on batteries are too liberal. The batteries should have been able to run the clock. They were just
sitting in a draw.
Monday, September 23, 2013
You Had To Be There
3:02 pm edt
We all mark the years of our
life by certain events. Some are personal while others are historical. The two biggest news events in my life were the assassination
of President Kennedy and 9/11.
time passes, fewer people will have been around for those events. You would need to be at least 80 to remember Pearl Harbor
Day. Nobody under 55 has a recollection of the events on November 22, 1963 when JFK was killed.
Last Saturday was the 75th anniversary of a Category
3 hurricane that tore through New England killing almost 600 people. The list is short for those who remember that one.
Very few kids in grades K-12 have any recollection
of 9/11. They would need to be at least 15.
The events in the world happen daily. Some day, there won't be anyone around who was alive on 9/11.
Sunday, September 22, 2013
Adding To The Loss
5:20 pm edt
While watching the
NFL today, I noticed commercials by the U.S. Postal Service. They were the warm and fuzzy type that showed a few of the faces
behind the USPS.
Days are tough for them. Mail delivery is a fraction
of what it use to be. They are running a $15.9 billion deficit this fiscal year. It will only get worse in future years. The
agency is spiraling out of control. Congress is unable to reign it in because of its powerful union and clout.
I wonder what the television networks are charging to broadcast their
commercials. They don't give it away. It's not cheap, but if you're losing $15.9 billion, you might as well run a few
"pat ourselves on the back" commercials. It's only money.
Saturday, September 21, 2013
8:06 am edt
Earning interest on checking
and savings accounts is something from the past. When I was younger, you could earn 5% on a savings account.
My bank sent me an update on their interest rates.
Less than $2,500 in a checking account will earn 0%. Many people don't even have that much and live check to check. Having
up to $250,000 will earn the customer 0.05%.
People can ht the jackpot if they have over that amount. An account of 250G's will earn a whopping
0.10%. That should make the rich richer.
Friday, September 20, 2013
Don't Bet On It
9:51 pm edt
We are destined to have casinos
in Massachusetts. The financial numbers we hear are so optimistic and unrealistic. Does Boston need a casino? Should
it be approved by the residents of the city or by those who live in East Boston?
If all three casinos open as well as the slot parlor, there will be too much competition
for the finite amount of gambling dollars.
What is the over and under for when they get built? How long will it be before one of them
has a financial problem?
Thursday, September 19, 2013
No Card Needed
4:29 pm edt
Printed material found in
libraries might become extinct in 20 years if current trends continue. Nobody can really predict how technology will evolve
of over that time. We have seen the Internet grow from nothing to where it is now over that same amount of time.
San Antonio, Texas just opened its "BiblioTech
Library". It features 10,000 free e-books for patrons as well as 600 e-readers, 48 computer stations, 10 laptops and
this the future of public libraries? I hate to see the day when books are no longer printed. I think the day will come in
the future when printed books are rare. How soon will it be? A lot depends on technology and what people embrace.
Wednesday, September 18, 2013
More Pages To Print
11:03 am edt
I've had my printer for seven
years now. It seems like people spend more on ink cartridges than on the actual printer. I finally replaced my back cartridge.
I kept bypassing the low ink indicator until the printer finally shut down.
When I bought my new cartridge at Staples, I decided to try the "high capacity"
one. When I got home and removed it from the packaging, I thought they had sold me the wrong one. Upon closer examination,
I never knew my printer was designed to take such a wide cartridge. The slot for the black cartridge is extra wide.
Everything is working fine. When will one of my
three other cartrdiges need to be replaced?
Tuesday, September 17, 2013
4:45 pm edt
Massachusetts is one of 11
states that still has a maximum speed limit of 65 mph on interstate highways. A bill before the legislature is trying to change
the speed to 70 mph on certain parts of the Mass Turnpike, I-91 and I-95.
Most states have limits of 70 or 75. A section of a road in Texas allows for up to 85. I
think it's a bad idea. People drive too fast as it is. Almost everyone goes 10 mph over the speed limit. Raising it would
increase many vehicle speeds to 85. Motor vehicle accidents would get much worse.
People need to slow down on the highway. A limit of 65 keeps people at 75. It's safer for
Monday, September 16, 2013
8:27 pm edt
I didn't like the media's
coverage about the mice problem in the Massachusetts State House building. Numerous outlets tried to put a humorous spin on
nothing funny about a rodent problem.They can greatly effect the quality of life for many people. In this case, the problem
was caused by legislators leaving food in their desks. It drew the mice to a food source.
Rodents have been around that building for ages. They can
exterminate them, but they eventually come back. I have no room for rodents at any time. They need to do a better job with
their elimination. Monitoring needs to be better.
Sunday, September 15, 2013
Your Name Here
11:22 am edt
Local, state and
federal government all have numerous examples of wasteful spending. When budget cuts are made, it's usually for a program
that has a purpose or positive impact.
A few years ago, the Massachusetts RMV stopped sending out reminder notices
for driver license renewals. People were left on their own to keep abreast of the expiration date. Naturally, many people
forgot and were driving around on expired licenses.
The RMV is bringing back the renewal notices. Their elimination saved
the state $1 million annually, a small sum in the overall scheme of things. They have partnered with a private company which
will cover the cost in return for allowing advertisement on the renewal notice.
I think this is a good idea as long as it's in good taste
and appropriate. However, where do you draw the line? It's like selling the naming rights for train and bus stops. What
is appropriate and who defines it?
Saturday, September 14, 2013
Is It Too Soon To Expire?
12:37 pm edt
Two years ago, I bought a
package of eight AA batteries with a "best by" date of Jan 2016. I have four left and recently installed one in
a wall clock in my living room. After one day, I noticed it lost about 20 minutes of time. I replaced it with another one
and had the same problem.
pointless to keep using them in the clock. However, I won't toss them out. They can still power a flashlight, clicker or some
other home item. The clock was the real test of their viability.
I never trust expiration dates, especially on food. I think they are too generous. This was
a great example.
Friday, September 13, 2013
Not That EZ
12:32 am edt
I'm getting closer to getting
an EZ Pass transponder when travelling toll roads after my latest journey through New Hampshire.
The traffic was light, but there was a ten car backup
at the cash-only lanes. I sat and watched as numerous cars whizzed by me as I waited to pay my $2 toll.
They will never eliminate the cash lanes, but I
need to get with the times and get a transponder. If traffic was heavy, I would have been waiting for a long time.
Thursday, September 12, 2013
Wait Until 10 PM
2:17 pm edt
It looks like the weather
people will be salivating on the evening news. The hot and humid weather has created a "Severe Thunderstorm Watch"
for most of Massachusetts. It's not a warning, but a watch. I'm not sure what the difference is other than the probability
of it happening.
we don't get any severe weather. It's important to know about it, especially if people have outdoor plans. It seems like we
are getting more of these notices about the weather.
I get a kick out of when they give the exact time for the notice to expire. Apparently, everything
will be ok after 10 pm. It might get dicey at 9:55pm. By10:05, everything will be fine.
Wednesday, September 11, 2013
Back To The 90's
5:53 pm edt
Another hot and humid day
was inevitable. Summer is over in 10 days, but isn't leaving quietly. We were teased by a July type of day. Rain is in the
forecast for tomorrow. Temperatures will plunge and get back into the 60's by Saturday.
It's hot in my apartment right now. The fan is trying to circulate the air. Windows have
been wide open for a couple of months.
only a matter of time before they start to get closed. I almost felt like using a blanket the other night. The season is definitely
Tuesday, September 10, 2013
Another Two Years of Use
5:30 pm edt
Batteries last for different
amounts of time depending on their use. I just replaced the one in my living room wall clock. It was installed it on April
23, 2011. I know this because I wrote it down.
This battery lasted almost two years and five months. It sounds like I got a lot of life out of it.
In the last few days, my clock lost about 20 minutes. I knew it was time for a change.
If this battery has the same amount of life, it will bring me into 2016.
Monday, September 9, 2013
Not TIME Now
11:16 am edt
I still have a subscription
to TIME magazine. It's nothing like it was years ago. There are fewer pages and more pictures and graphics, but they gave
me a great deal for $20 annually.
subscription expires next April. That means another seven months of issues. They are already sending me notices to renew.
I think it's much too early for that.
will continue to bother me until I make a decision. I have no intentions on renewing early. In fact, if I let my subscrition
expire, they will probably offer me a better deal to get me back.
It's too bad they can't inprove the quality of the publication.
Sunday, September 8, 2013
Nice Sun Burn
11:33 pm edt
I'll never understand why
I didn't put sunscreen on at the football game yesterday. My face got burned. It has a nice red look, but that's not good.
I was out in the sun today and used lotion.
We need to respect sunlight. It can destroy our skin while giving us color. I never had this issue
when I was a kid.
Saturday, September 7, 2013
South To North
7:59 pm edt
I never lost that feeling
of excitement of seeing the Boston skyline while driving south on Rt 93. My first road trip was to Boston after I got
my license back in 1970. It was always a thrill to park at Leechmere or go directly to Harvard Square.
You first catch a glimpse of the skyline driving south through
Medford. The Pru and Hancock Towers always stood apart and framed it.
Driving through Boston on the former Southeast Expressway was a great way to see part of the city.
Now, it's all underground.
I had a chance to approach the city from the south after I left a football game at Gillette Stadium. I made the decision to
go north through the city via Rt 93, rather than take Rt 95 to Rts 3 and 495.
You see so much more of the skyline coming from the south. The ride up the Expressway is a litany
of places I've heard on traffic reports forever: East Milton Square, Neponset, Granite Ave, Morrissey Blvd, the Zipper Lane
and so many others.
it from the south never gets old. I prefer to take that route if the traffic flow allows it. You never know.
Friday, September 6, 2013
The Calendar & Thermometer
10:49 am edt
There are still two weeks
left to the summer with some warm beach days coming up. However, they will be far and few. Nights are also getting cooler
as the temperatures drop into the 40's.
took a jacket with me last night when I went out. I needed it, especially on the way home. I even put the car's heater on.
Hopefully, it wil be a few more weeks before I turn the heat on in my apartment.
Summer isn't over according to the calendar, but the thermometer says otherwise.
Thursday, September 5, 2013
5:25 pm edt
You never know when glass is going to break. I have several souvenir glasses that I've broken over the years
when I dropped them while doing my dishes. In some instances they shattered. Other times, I was able to pick them up and wash
Today, I dropped a new jar of pickles on the floor. They fell about four feet, but nothing broke. The only
thing that happened was the lid was loosened and some juice got on the floor. If I tried that again, it would probably shatter.
all about the angle of contact with the surface. Sometimes, it works out fine, but not always.
Wednesday, September 4, 2013
The Big Cat
10:45 am edt
People try to keep exotic
animals as pets. It works fine when they are young and small, but many outgrow their residence. Some owners bring their pets
to shelters while others just discard them to the street or wherever is convenient.
A bobcat recently appeared on Cape Cod. They have not been seen there since the late 1700's.
How did it get there? Did it cross one of the bridges or swim across the canal? In all likelihood, someone had it as a pet
until they realized they couldn't take care of it any longer.
It must now fend for itself. It will be forced to interact with the public which could have
disastrous results for the animal. There is also the issue of dodging cars.
I'll never understand why people keep pets like this. They are cute when they are young,
but eventually the owners can no longer take care of them. The animal gets punished because of this.
Tuesday, September 3, 2013
Staying Up Two Nights
2:43 pm edt
There were many impressive
things about the historic 110 mile swim of Diana Nyad from Cuba to the Florida Keys. The 64 year old completed the grueling
feat on her fifth career attempt.
35 member support team was critical to her success. They fended off sharks as Nyad swam without a protective cage. They were
there to provide nourishment and water.
was most impressed by her ability to complete it over the course of 53 hours without any sleep. The longest I've ever been
awake was about 30 hours. I was ready for bed by then. To swim for 53 hours without a break is a remarkable accomplishment.
Monday, September 2, 2013
The Unimpressive Car
8:25 pm edt
I drove and repaired crappy
cars until my first new one when I turned 40. Cars are such a bad investment. They lose money from day one.
I never understood why people drive sports car.
If you have disposable income, that's one thing. Some people go into great debt to drive a fancy or souped up car. Why?
As I drove on Rt 213 the other day, a low riding
sports car was weaving in and out of traffic. It was a menace to the road. The car also had loud exhaust which kept
do anything for me. It was so obnoxious. The car must cost the owner a small fortune to stay on the road. I hope he is able
to afford it.
it's not me.
Sunday, September 1, 2013
40 Mile Weather
4:58 pm edt
The weather people on television
and radio like to use the term "pop-up" showers or storms. We hear it all the time. They say there is a "slight
chance" to cover themselves.
had a "pop-up" today. It's been sunny here all day, but they had torrential rain and flooded roads 40 miles from
here. Rt 95 got impassible under one overpass. The Red Sox game had a rain delay, but never a drop of rain here.
Weather is very unpredictable, especially small
storms like this. We were close, but it was a very concentrated one.