Tuesday, December 31, 2013
The End of 2013
7:36 pm est
It's the final five hours
of 2013. A new year will dawn on us. At this time next year, 2014 will be going into history.
The present eventually becomes the future and then
the past. We live in the present, thinking about the past and future.
Nobody knows what 2014 will bring. It's a mystery that will get solved before our eyes,
for better or worse.
Monday, December 30, 2013
New Year, Same Stuff
9:02 pm est
New Year's Eve day will bring
some interesting postings to Facebook. People will be lamenting about 2013 and how things will be so different in 2014.
The new year holds the promise of a fresh opportunity
to make changes. People come up with all sorts of resolutions. Health clubs will be full of people who are determined
to get into shape, but that will last only a few weeks for most of them.
Those who complain about getting rid of 2013 are some of the same who complained about 2012.
A new year doesn't mean things are going to change. It takes more than that.
Sunday, December 29, 2013
Lack of Coverage
12:45 am est
technology has made amazing advances in the last ten years. Many things are common place now. However, there is still a problem
with reception no matter where you are.
was out in Amherst, Mass yesterday which is about 70 miles west of Boston. It's rural, but not in the middle of nowhere. On
my way home, I attempted to have a conversation while driving through the communities near the Quabbin Reservoir.
With the way it was going, you would think I was
out in Wyoming or some distant part of the world where a sattelite phone would be the best option.
Coverage will continue to get better,
but there are truly times when you cannot hear me.
Saturday, December 28, 2013
That Empty Feeling
10:18 am est
I'm heading out to UMass today
to meet up with a former classmate and attend a basketball game against Providence College. I get out there once or twice
a year to watch football and basketball. It's always fun walking around the campus.
Today will be the first time I have ever been out there during semester break. It's going
to feel real strange with the campus so empty of students. The team is playing very well, but I don't know how many people
will be attending.
usually pay to eat at one of the dining commons, but that won't be an option today. I hope some of the places in the Student
Union and Campus Center are open. Otherwise, we will be eating at the game.
Friday, December 27, 2013
12:22 pm est
UPS is facing a public relations
nightmare over their inability to deliver holiday packages timely. They are blaming it on the weather in certain parts of
the country and the enormous volume of packages.
Many people prefer to shop on-line. Some wait to the last minute. They share part of the blame with
UPS. Everyone can blame it on the weather, but it doesn't solve the problem.
I don't like to order on-line because of issues I've had with deliveries. Whenever I
use this method, I do it with great reluctance. It's not worth the aggravation it can cause.
Thursday, December 26, 2013
The First Tree
7:10 pm est
There is always a big build-up
to Christmas. It comes and goes so quickly just like any other event in life. Everyone handles it differently. It's not always
the happiest time of year for some.
As I drove down my street this afternoon, I saw
the first Christmas tree out in the trash. It didn't take that person long to discard the tree and move on. I wonder why they
took it down so fast. Why put it up in the first place? I think people do things out of habit or custom.
In the next few days, we will se many more trees
out by the curb.
Wednesday, December 25, 2013
The Big Plate
2:24 am est
The holiday certainly promotes
excessive eating and drinking. I stick to the food, but try so hard to watch what I eat. I thought I did pretty well last
night. I was trying not to eat like it was the last meal of my life. Today will be another big day of food.
It's easy for anyone to overeat. I often think
that if we put all the food we ate on one plate, we would be shocked. It goes down real easy.
Tuesday, December 24, 2013
Don't Light Up The Neighborhood
3:56 pm est
Holiday outdoor lighting displays
are nice to look at if they are tastefully done. What do you do about people who set up behemoth shows that attract large
crowds and cars?
some of these home owners are being selfish and inconsiderate of their neighbors. I just read a story of a home in Brooklyn,
NY that is causing a big ruckus because of the pedestrian and auto traffic. The neighbors are forced to deal with
You see fewer
homes lighting up these days. People who set up big displays of inflatable objects are inviting vandalism. It shouldn't happen,
but it does.
Monday, December 23, 2013
Don't Need To Bid
10:26 pm est
The local newspaper ran a
feature story about Boston's potential bid for the 2024 Summer Olympics and the use of area venues for athletic competition.
One of the basic requirements is the athletic village
that can house 16,000 and a dining area for 5,000. These athletes are not staying in local college dorms. That idea is absurd.
The article cited the Merrimack River for rowing
events and Salisbury Beach for volleyball. Some of the rural roads could be used for cycling.
The writer also interviewed a few members
from the committee formed to determine whether submitting a bid is a viable option.
This thing will unfold over the next year or two. I don't think it will happen.
Sunday, December 22, 2013
9:24 pm est
Tomorrow marks two days until
Christmas and one week until the end of 2013. It happened so fast. I remember a year ago when the potential of 2013 was unlimited.
Now, the year is almost over.
will get 2014 soon. It comes in with unlimited potential. That's how the future is, but it will eventually crash back to reality.
We just experienced the Winter Solstice. Days are
getting longer until June 21st.
There is nothing wrong with that.
Saturday, December 21, 2013
How Many On The Streets?
10:05 pm est
I don't think any city can
have a true count of their homeless population. There are many individuals and families in shelters and transitional housing
who can be accounted for. The missing link is the number of people out on the street.
No city can ever give an accurate count of how many sleep in parks, cars, under bridges,
abandoned buildings and anywhere else.
Boston conducted its 34th annual homeless count the other night. I commend them for doing that. They
counted 6,992 in shelters and 193 on the street.
I think the street figure is very weak. There are many more than that. It's tough to find
some people. It's winter and they don't sleep out in the open.
It's also a good idea politically to keep the numbers down.
Friday, December 20, 2013
The Big Spill
11:25 am est
They say that accidents can
be prevented, but sometimes they just happen no matter what we do. I saw it this morning when I opened a new box of Kashi
After I poured
some into a bowl, I thought I placed the opened box on the counter, but it was only partially there. It proceeded to tip over
and spill cereal onto the floor.
watched it for a split second before I grabbed the box. I lost about a third of it because it came out so fast. The worst
part was the moment of realization that the accident was happening.
It was only cereal, but some situations can become catastrophic with horrible results and
there is nothing you can do for that moment.
Thursday, December 19, 2013
They Might Never Build It
5:01 pm est
There are several groups who
want a monument built to honor those whose gave their life in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Raising the money and designing
has become the least of the problem.
Commemorative Works Act of 1986 was passed by Congress to address future memorials in Washington D.C. One of the stipulations was
the conflict must be over for at least ten years. American troops might by stationed in Afghanistan for another decade.
A bigger issue becomes who should be recognized.
Over 6,000 Americans have been killed in the conflicts, but should this monument be one to honor all those killed in the War
include those who died during Operation Desert Storm in 1991? What about the 19 GI's killed in the 1997 bombing of the Khobar
Towers in Saudi Arabia? The 241 marines killed in the 1983 suicide attack in Beirut, Lebanon should be recognized.
There are many bureaucratic issues to resolve. At
this point, Congress will need to ammend the law if they ever want to build a monument because the War On Terror will
Wednesday, December 18, 2013
Playing Games Again
1:11 pm est
I'm not a
fan of the Olympic Games whether they are the winter or summer. In several weeks, we will be forced to deal with them again.
Russia will be absorbing the astronomical cost of staging the Games.
The US Olympic Committee looks foolish again after taking a lot of heat previously for having
American athletes wear clothing made in China. They said it would not happen again.
Meanwhile, they are trying to raise funds by selling mittens in red, white and blue
that say "Go USA". They are cute and all that, but in the end, from China.
If they were made in America, they would probably
cost two or three times more.
Tuesday, December 17, 2013
Free Means Not Paying
11:28 am est
Facebook has grown exponentially
many times over. It's still free for the users. However, people complain because they see ads on their news-feed. They feel
it should be uncluttered.
are also being shortsighted. Facebook is free because of the ads. The company is in business to make money. They are not running
a charity. The same people probably complain about commercials on television. They need to get a better understanding
of how things work.
Monday, December 16, 2013
Signs of Selfishness
10:18 am est
a local community for their efforts to regulate the use of outdoor signs to advertise yard sales and other events. They have
popped up all over the place. I find them very unsightly and a form of visual pollution.
People have no problem stapling signs to utility
poles and leaving them there for someone else to remove. I especially find commercial signs to be offensive. One local
store thinks it's a good idea to advertise their sales wherever they see fit.
I think these signs are a form of selfishness, especially when they are placed on public
property. Nobody has a right to staple signs to utility poles. Non-profits try to bend the rules because they feel they can.
No matter what type of regulations they propose,
local officials will need to monitor them. Enforcement is a difficult task because it takes resources away from something
Sunday, December 15, 2013
10:27 pm est
We got about 10 inches of snow yesterday. Winter is definitely
here. The roads could have been plowed better, but we hear that every year. It was rather chaotic where I live because what
do you do with 32 cars in a parking lot?
Winter will officially be here next Saturday. What will it be like? Will we get a lot of snow? Maybe this
was the only snow of the season, but I doubt it. Winters have been getting stranger around here. We will probably have a day
in January when it gets up to 60 and then snow a few days later.
Saturday, December 14, 2013
400 Million Lame Stories
11:33 am est
I wish somebody had won the
$400 million MegaMillions lottery jackpot last night. Instead, it will roll over and get bigger.
The local newspaper found it newsworthy to go out
an interview buyers of the tickets to see what they would do if they won the money. Who really cares about their thoughts?
So many of these people already have plans on how they would spend the money.
Someone needs to tell them that they need to win the money first. Don't get ahead of yourself.
I never buy tickets. I think the lottery is a waste of time and a ripoff.
On the other hand, it's another form of a voluntary tax paid for by the users. States raise
millions through the lottery. It takes the burden off of those who don't play.
We need these folks to keep on paying that tax for us.
Friday, December 13, 2013
Put The Phone Down
1:29 am est
Cell phones are a part of
life, but not always in a positive way. We are forced to listen to the conversations of other people. Some talk too loud or
is studying a proposal to allow fliers to talk on their phones once the airplane is above 10,000 feet. A recent poll
showed that 52% are against it compared to 39% who want to talk.
I think it would be a bad idea to allow the use of phones. When people are flying, they are
already being held captive in a small area. They should not have to listen to the conversations of others. There are many
fliers who feel that they are important and cannot wait to land. I'm sure they can justify their reasons for wanting
the ban lifted.
FCC should keep its current policy and continue the ban.
Thursday, December 12, 2013
Time For The Storm Windows
11:50 pm est
The final week of autumn is
coming up. We are expecting 6-9 inches of snow on Saturday night going into Sunday. The first snow will start a panic
rush to the market to get bread and milk. People will be driving crazy.
was 14 degrees when I got home tonight. I need to pull my storm windows down. I've been procrastinating, but the time
has come. It's going to be cold when I do it. I'll try and be quick.
Wednesday, December 11, 2013
Fees = Taxes
5:34 pm est
New Hampshire likes to brag
about not having any personal state income tax. Instead, they have all sorts of user fees that are nothing more than a tax.
Local residents also pay very high property taxes.
who launch kayaks or row boats will now be hit with a $10 annual fee that will go to the Fish & Game Department.
The state funds the agency, but it has a yearly deficit. Rather than make it up with revenue, the state will extract
money from people who use the ponds, lakes and rivers for recreational purposes.
User fees are taxes. New Hampshire also charges people to drive on their roads. The state runs
the liquor industry with their stores. They are all taxes.
Eventually, the state will cave in and have some type of personal income tax. It's only
a matter of time.
Tuesday, December 10, 2013
A Bad Ad
5:23 pm est
The Massachusetts State Lottery
should be embarrassed by their latest holiday ad on the radio. In an effort to push season ticket sales their ad said, "It's
not the thought that counts, it's all about getting the right gift."
I find this to be in poor taste. There are enough things wrong with the holiday season.
People buy and give all sorts of useless stuff. It's their choice. That won't change.
It's wrong to have a state agency say such nonsense
on the radio. They need to do better.
Monday, December 9, 2013
The Sign Of The Season
10:57 pm est
I woke up to the sound of
a plow grinding the pavement to move very little snow. I brushed it off my car. It's the first snow of the season. Winter
no idea how this season will play out. Will we get a blizzard or no snow at all? Maybe, we will get torrential rain storms
because of the rising temperatures.
have no idea what might happen. At least the days will get longer soon.
Sunday, December 8, 2013
A Piercing Issue
10:20 pm est
Many feel that there are too
many government rules and regulations. What should be done on a federal, state and local level?
There is a bill before the Massachusetts legislature
to have the state regulate the tattoo and body piercing industry. Currently, it is controlled by the local Board of Health. The
state would set consistent standards for licensing and training, as well as various health requirements.
Is this a good idea? I think it is, but other
don't feel the same way. There is a concern about possible blood borne diseases caused by unregulated practitioners. At this
point, it becomes a public health issue.
Not all rules and regulations are bad. Some are for the good of all.
Saturday, December 7, 2013
Holiday For Thieves
11:43 am est
Many people prefer to shop
on-line during the holiday season. I rarely do it because it's a hassle to have packages delivered where I live.
This time of year brings a spike in the amount
of items stolen from the doorsteps of homes. I don't know why people allow deliveries without a signature. Leaving stuff on
your steps is an open invitation to thieves. It happens every year. It doesn't matter that it's the holiday season.
People go shopping and leave things in their cars.
Thieves prey on them. It truly is the holiday season for them. It never changes.
Friday, December 6, 2013
The Price Is High
3:08 pm est
in the arts live a life just above the poverty line. They don't always get paid what they are worth. Some celebrities generate
more income after their death.
great Norman Rockwell had many of his paintings on the Saturday Evening Post. He was paid on a commission basis. One
of his originals, "Saying Grace", was just sold at an auction for $46 million. It set a record for an American painting.
Too bad Rockwell isn't around to see this. When
he did the painting, he was paid $3,500 by the Post. I'm sure he thought it was a lot of money at the time.
Thursday, December 5, 2013
No Parking Their Butts
12:11 pm est
The Boston City Council passed
a local ordinance that will prohibit smoking in all city parks. Mayor Menino is expected to sign the bill.
Many see it as another example of government trying to control
the lives of people. I definitely see their point, but think litter is a bigger problem than the actual smell of smoke.
People are so careless when smoking. There are cigarette
butts all over the ground if there are smokers around. They think nothing of throwing them out their car window while
in a line of traffic. Beaches are littered with discarded ones from people who bury them in the sand, only to get exposed
at low tide.
wants to breathe smoke from others, but the trash issue is a big problem.
Wednesday, December 4, 2013
Losing The Edge
1:14 am est
It's a sorry state of affairs
for NASA when astronauts need to hitch a ride to the International Space Station aboard a Russian rocket. NASA pays big money
for the taxi service. It will be years before Americans fly their own crafts.
There was a time when America dominated in space. The retirement of the space shuttle fleet
brought it to a screeching halt. China just launched a rocket that will land a robotic rover on the moon. They have an aggressive
plan to build their own space station.
India launched a mission to Mars recently. Last Sunday, the craft left the Earth's orbit and
set its trajectory towards Mars to land a rover there.
It's a shame that the US last sent men to the moon in 1972. The Russians sent a
rover there in 1976. The Chinese will probably send men to the moon before we do. It's no longer important for NASA to
There is so
much to gain with space travel. In addition to providing jobs, it also stimulates research and technology. We have gained
so many benefits over the years.
Tuesday, December 3, 2013
11:55 am est
You can always
count on government to over-reach in trying to manage more aspects of life. Brookline, Mass will join a list of communities
that prohibit the use of plastic bags and polystyrene containers by retail stores and restaurants.
There is no doubt that these products stay in landfills
forever and often become trash along the streets. Many retailers and restaurants have tried alternatives, but most
people prefer plastic and polystyrene.
think actions like this are nothing but an attempt to garner attention and pander to the public. It's the same for communities
that prohibit the sale of water in plastic bottles.
Recycling is the answer. It needs to be more user-friendly. Prohibiting the use of these products
is one more way that government micro-manages all aspects of life.
Monday, December 2, 2013
The Clock Always Moves
8:16 pm est
to believe that New Year's Eve is four weeeks from tomorrow night. We will be in a new month and new year. January is the
heart of winter. February rates way up there, but there is always the hope that is March.
The Boston Marathon is 19 weeks from today.
That too shall come and pass. Everything seems to go by so fast. Time passes way too quickly.
Get ready for the post-holiday sales.
Sunday, December 1, 2013
The Paper-Free Paper
10:49 am est
I downloaded a copy of today's
Boston Globe to my Samsung Notebook. I recently bought a monthly e-subscription for $4. This one paper will pay for December.
The Globe has a pretty friendly format for reading the paper. I'll see if it's easy to work with.
I love my newspapers, but they are costly. If I
download enough of them, the Notebook will get paid for in savings.