Monday, March 31, 2014
5:48 pm edt
The Disney film "Frozen"
has just become the highest grossing animated flick ever when it passed the $1.072 billion mark in ticket sales.
This is complete nonsense. Movie prices continue
to climb every year. As a result, the box office gross is artificially inflated.
The real measure should be how many people went to see the movie. I would like to see future
rankings be adjusted for inflation. Eventually, a movie will pass "Frozen" because prices continue to increase.
Sunday, March 30, 2014
Nice Try Kid
12:41 am edt
The internet has an interesting
story about two high school kids who claim they can save the government over $370 million in printing costs. This would be
achieved by using a different type of font which would require less ink when printed.
This idea makes sense to a degree, but the kids failed to consider that certain fonts
are used for a reason. Some documents and other materials need to be printed that way.
I question how they came up with their financial savings. They looked at local,
state and the federal government.
In theory, they had a good idea, but it will never get off the ground. It will be just another science project by two
For The Birds
2:54 pm edt
Collisions between birds and
planes departing from airports happen more frequently. It's only a matter of time before there is a catastrophic disaster.
The other day, a plane was forced to divert to JFK
in New York City after striking a sea gull on take-off from Westchester County. The gull left a big dent in the nose
of the plane and was embedded.
rights groups have been outraged when authorities have attempted to cull birds and other forms of wildlife near airports.
It's very difficult for planes and animals to coexist. Groups will continue to complain after every bird hunt.
Every bird strike has the potential to bring
a plane down.
Friday, March 28, 2014
Never Enough Fruit
10:53 pm edt
I eat so much more fruit now
than I ever did. My prior history is really bad. The list of stuff I ate was real short.
I made a conscious effort to buy fruit. Tonight, I had had green grapes and blackberries.
I wanted to buy strawberries, but they didn't look right.
It can be a real challenge to buy fruit.
Thursday, March 27, 2014
Another Bad Contract
2:44 pm edt
It's not always a good idea to have government contracts
go to the lowest bidder. It can often cause more problems. We are seeing that with the MBTA.
Their $190 million contract with Hyundai Rotem of South
Korea for 75 subway cars is almost three years behind schedule. The ones already delivered have been filled with technical
glitches involving doors and signal software.
In spite of the problems and not having a manufacturing plant in America, the company plans to bid
on the $1 billion contract for replacement cars on the Orange and Blue Lines. This is another problem waiting to happen.
The public is the victim in the end with inferior products
and delayed service. This is just another example of why things don't get made in America. The cost is often out of control.
They end up going overseas to save money and get a bad product upon delivery. This won't be the last time it happens.
Wednesday, March 26, 2014
Trying To Bag It
5:22 pm edt
bags get used one time and then sent to the landfill. It's a problem all over the country. They are very convenient for merchants,
customers and are cheap to make.
York City is proposing a rather Draconian law to limit their use by charging a ten cent deposit for each bag. There would
be exceptions such as for restaurant take-out orders, but this is another example of government over-reaching.
Many stores offer customers the chance to recycle
their bags. I use them one more time for my trash.
There is no easy solution to this problem that will make everyone happy.
Tuesday, March 25, 2014
Don't Forget To Floss
1:28 pm edt
People complain about the
strangest things on Facebook. It gives them a forum to make themselves look like a fool.
One person went on about being told by their dentist to floss after eating. This was
very sound advice and should be taken seriously.
I know too many people my age who lost teeth or needed expensive gum surgery to address years
of neglect. My dentist once told me that if it came down to brushing or flossing, I would be better off by flossing.
I always believed him.
Monday, March 24, 2014
The Missing Plane
6:40 pm edt
It has been so bizarre over
the last two weeks with the missing Malaysian aircraft. It just fell off the earth with no trace. They still can't find it
in spite of the ships, planes and satellites searching for it.
Authorities think they may have found some of the wreckage today. It was so far off the original
course. They need to get to the plane's "black boxes". Will they be able to find anything? The mystery gets
deeper daily. What caused the plane to go down?
Sunday, March 23, 2014
10:39 pm edt
two house plants on January 2nd. They have done very well so far up until now. I touched the leaves of one today and five
of them fell off. The plant is now very barren. I hope it survives.
My other plant is doing very well and continues to show new growth. That is the most important
thing with any plant. Without new growth, there is no hope for it.
Saturday, March 22, 2014
Riding Red Ink
8:21 pm edt
I have followed the story
of the bike sharing system in New York City. Citi Bike has met with mixed results. It has been hugely popular with its users,
but nobody wants a bike docking station in their neighborhood.
Citi Bike is part of a private company, Alta Bicycle Share. Their mission statement mentioned
designing, deploying and management of bike sharing systems.
The initial roll-out was a bit rough with a few lawsuits thrown in. All of a sudden,
we are hearing of a dire financial picture from Citi Bike and huge amounts of red ink.
Mayor Bill DeBlasio flatly rejected any type of taxpayer aid. The company should seek some
type of partnership with the private sector.
This should get quite interesting and won't be going away anytime soon.
Friday, March 21, 2014
Never Too Late
2:58 pm edt
Wars from the past still claim
lives long after they are in the history books. Unexploded bombs and land mines continue to cause injuries and death.
Two construction workers at an industrial site in
Belgium paid the price the other day. The place was the scene of heavy fighting during World War I. The sudden explosion near
the workers also injured two others.
and unexploded ordinance continue to be found all over Europe. Most of the time, it gets handled without incident. A special
Belgium bomb squad had been working nearby on the destruction of 800 gas cannisters without incident.
There is no expiration on this stuff. It will
continue to claim lives 100 years from now at former battle sites.
Thursday, March 20, 2014
Saving The Moon
5:23 pm edt
People and nations have polluted our bodies of water and
the atmosphere. It's only getting worse. The problem isn't just on earth. It's in the upper atmosphere where
sub-orbital space flights take place.
There are 17,000 man-made objects in space that are
larger than a coffee cup and being tracked by NASA. Each object has the potential to destroy the International Space Station
or any other space vehicle. Future
space travel could be in jeopardy. There is no plan to address this problem.
It's probably a good idea that we never went back to the moon in the last 40 years. We would
have really messed it up with all the stuff left behind.
Wednesday, March 19, 2014
Building The Wrong Mountain
10:26 pm edt
a time when towns and cities had their own local trash dumps. Some also had incinerators, but most of the trash was burned
out in the open until the landfill process took over
Our local dump opened in 1930 and closed around 1981. The last thirty years have been spent
trying to cap the solid waste landfill. It has been a logistical and financial nightmare.
On the other side of town, they are now
creating another solid landfill mountain. I was shocked to see how high it was when I drove by the other day. It will only keep
land has been destroyed forever.
Tuesday, March 18, 2014
Bad Dirt In The City
12:57 pm edt
Most large cities have some
form of community gardens that allow residents to grow fresh produce for their table. I've seen them in various locations
in Boston and New York City.
never thought that soil contamination would be a problem, but that's the case in the Big Apple. State researchers found
toxic soil in 70% of the gardens. Lead levels above federal guidelines were found in 44% of them.
It doesn't sound like the produce should be eaten,
but I'm sure it gets consumed by people trying to save money.
The results don't surprise me. The air quality in New York City has never impressed me,
especially when I've gone running. I don't think it's the healthiest place to live.
Monday, March 17, 2014
Final Days of Winter
10:35 pm edt
Here we are in the final days
of winter. Spring will be here on Thursday. Warmer days are ahead. The snow is melting very slowly and might be there
at the end of the month.
could get a big rain storm and a few warm days and it will be all gone. It's only a matter of time before we see trash filled sand. The
streets need a good cleaning. There is so much to do.
Sunday, March 16, 2014
2:21 pm edt
Boston ranks near the bottom
for the recycling of trash by large cities with only 20% being saved from the landfill. The city announced a plan to make
that number 90% by 2040. That seems a long time from now. It shouldn't take 25 years to achieve that goal.
Municipalities need to make recycling easier. Some
offer single stream where residents don't need to separate their items. Nobody wants to hang onto their trash longer than
they need to.
my newspapers and magazines. I place them in plastic bags and bring them to bins located in church parking lots. We have a
dumpster where I live which is hauled away by a private company. I could keep bottles and cans in the trunk of my car for
a week before bringing them to the local recycling center, but I don't.
Some items can never get recycled. What do you do with an old couch?
Saturday, March 15, 2014
Under The Lights
8:48 pm edt
It was a great opportunity
to do an interview about the Boston Marathon for a local public tv show. The host was a guy I've known since high school.
He does a weekly show where he interviews various local older people.
I shared the interview time with my former high school track coach. It was really neat to
chat about the marathon and our experiences.
The show was only taped for thirty minutes. They kept a strict schedule. They had three cameras going.
The host does all his own editing. It will be interesting to see the final product. I'm
sure there is something that won't make the final cut.
Friday, March 14, 2014
Obsolete At Some Point
10:37 pm edt
My desktop computer and tablet
both run on Windows 8. It's not the easiest system to use with their tiles. I was surprised to see that only 10.7% of the
computers use it for their operating system. I used Vista from 2006 until last year, but it runs only 3.3% of the systems.
I found it very easy to use.
7 rolled out in 2009 and runs on 47.3%. Microsoft announced that they will stop technical support and updates for Windows
XP. This is quite shocking as it still runs on 29.5%. It has been a workhorse since 2001.
everything becomes technically obsolete whether it's software or hardware. CD's and DVD's are going by the wayside. Soon,
they will be like 8-track tapes and cassettes. It's so difficult to keep up with it all.
The PC I'm using tonight now will eventually get old and obsolete. Such is technology.
On the other hand, I still have my AM-FM radio from 1978 and it's going strong.
Thursday, March 13, 2014
The Unlikely Apartment
12:09 am edt
I always follow the redevelopment
process of old buildings. There are some incredible results. Money can do a lot.
A local building is finally getting its turn with a number of apartments going into the upper
three floors. The developer wants to have the option of putting a commercial tenant on the ground floor or renting it out
as an apartment.
think this is rather bizarre. You never see it done. Why would anyone want to live on the ground floor on a
main street? It would be like living in a fish bowl. If they get approval, I'm sure they will find someone to live there.
It seems so strange.
Nickel and Diming It
11:56 pm edt
I avoid fast
food places. They are not the healthiest menus. I stopped by McDonald's tonight for a grilled chicken wrap. It seem like a
reasonably healthy thing to eat. I also ordered a cup of ice water. They now charge for it as if you were buying a soda. I
declined the offer.
McDonald's is nickel and diming their customers
by charging them for a cup of water. I would be willing to pay up to a dime for the cup, but to charge the same price
as a soda is a rip-off.
Tuesday, March 11, 2014
The Two Day Forecast
5:52 pm edt
The temperature made it to
60 degrees today. We have a huge storm in the forecast for late tomorrow. It should be mostly rain, but the snow line is very
confusing. Northern New England could get almost two feet of snow. The temperatures will drop into the 20's on Thursday.
It has been a crazy winter that will continue. If
it rains, the snow pack will be greatly reduced. It remains to be seen what happens.
Monday, March 10, 2014
Staying Too Long
8:15 pm edt
has people who stay in their job forever. It hurts the development of younger employees to a certain degree. We are seeing
that with an issue involving the New York City Catholic Archdiocese.
Cardinal Timothy Dolan has decided to enforce a little known rule that was largely ignored
by his two predecessors. Priests will no longer be able to be pastors at a church once they turn 80. They will need to
move out of the rectory and find a new place to live. A younger priest will take his place and have his shot at leading a
church. Pastors will also be limited to spending twelve years at a parish before moving on.
The plan has created a great deal of talk. Some parishioners are outraged that their beloved
pastor will be forced out. The New York Post had a great story about an 83 year old pastor who will be forced out after being
at his post for 29 years.
an interesting issue for the church. There is a national shortage of priests. Parishes have been closed and consolidated because
of the lack of manpower. Younger priests don't want to wait forever to get their chance. Many of the older pastors die during
their tenure. The spot finally gets freed up.
Sunday, March 9, 2014
The Dark Road
10:29 pm edt
I went to a basketball game
today at UMass Amherst. It's always fun to walk around campus. It was a very pleasant drive like it usually is. I drove the
road so many times back and forth when I was going there.
The ride is a striking contrast of roads over 96 miles. I started off on Rt 495 before ending
up on the two lanes of Rt 2.
The last 31 miles of the ride are always a challenge. Rt 2 becomes undivided for the next seven miles and continues westward
like that. The road has been the scene of a number of fatal crashes.
Rt 202 is 17 miles of beautiful scenery leading up the vista of the Quabbin Reservoir. A seven
mile single lane road brings you into Amherst. These two roads were brutal for potholes. They need some serious repair once
the weather gets warmer.
ride home was so different. It's another world out there after sunset. It was a very dark and lonely ride to Rt 2. It's always
nicer during daylight hours.
Saturday, March 8, 2014
9:23 pm est
I'm a big supporter of Daylight
Saving Time. The changes in recent years have lead to eight and four month seasons. I'm ok with that. Daylight will get
longer tomorrow by manipulating the clock. It happens every year.
It use to be the last Saturday in April, but now it's the second one in March. People enjoy
the sun being out longer. It will only get warmer from this day forward.
Friday, March 7, 2014
Stuff For Sale
3:15 pm est
When a famous person or celebrity
dies, what happens to their stuff? People can spell out their wishes in a will, but that doesn't always work out.
The family of Martin Luther King Jr are fighting
over the potential sale of the Bible and Nobel Prize belonging to the late civil rights leader. It's being played out in the news.
Nobody looks good here.
two items will generate a great deal of cash if they are sold, but they should look at other ways to raise revenue. His estate
has been involved in legal squabbles over the years involving his kids. It never ends.
Thursday, March 6, 2014
Tuning Out The Radio
1:42 pm est
Radio Shack was once a strong business
back in the 1970's and 80's. Now, it's facing going on life support as the company will close 1,100 stores after a $400 million
loss in 2013.
look good for any company when you have a loss like that and shutter 20% of your stores. I wonder how they stay alive. Nobody
shops there anymore.
was in a store last November to make a $20 purchase. There was nobody else there. How does a corporation have long term survival
with daily revenue like that?
remember their great days. I use to buy my 8-track tapes from them. I even bought a player/recorder, but that was in another
era. They need to come up with a plan to be relevant again.
Wednesday, March 5, 2014
Somebody Left Behind
7:04 pm est
It's hard to grasp the magnitude
of the trash problem on Mt Everest, the world's highest mountain. An estimated 50 tons is left behind annually by hikers.
Items include oxygen and cooking gas cannisters, old tents, food packaging and human waste. Hikers have left behind the
bodies of those who perished in their attempt to scale the mountain.
officials will now require climbers to carry at least 18 pounds of trash as they descend the peak and return it to special
receptacles put there by the government.
It's hard to believe that humans would leave the
deceased behind, but they do when it comes to pursuing their own agenda.
Tuesday, March 4, 2014
A Different Ride
9:54 pm est
People in government always
come up with some crazy ideas to save money. School officials in Boston want to put 7th and 8th grade students on the
MBTA instead of busing them to school.
claim a potential savings of $8 million annually. A transit pass would could $225 for the school year compared to the
$3,323 average cost per pupil for busing.
are citing safety concerns as well as the location of the transit stops. Some kids will experience longer rides.
I think this is a bad idea and should be dropped.
I'm surprised that it's still on the table.
Monday, March 3, 2014
Too Early For The Slopes
11:55 am est
It never surprises me to see
the type of videos that go viral. Today there was one of a girl just over one year old snowboarding in California.
This might have looked cute to many, but I thought it was irresponsible on the part of the parents.
The girl was on a "bunny slope", but she
was still moving along pretty fast. She fell a few times and everyone laughed.
What is the appropriate age for kids to begin athletic activities? I think they should at
least be of the age where they would have some memory of doing it. At this young age, the parents are pushing
them to accomplish their own agenda.
Sunday, March 2, 2014
Don't Name That Line
7:36 pm est
The MBTA attempted to sell
the naming rights of their subway lines and selected stations. The response was very poor with only Jet Blue bidding
less than the $1.2 million asking price for the Blue Line.
The minimum bid was $2 million for the Green Line and $1.6 million for the Red Line.
For $1 million, you could rename either Airport, Downtown Crossing, Park, Back Bay, State, Boyalston, North and South
Station. They had no takers.
would be responsible for new signage, as well it complying with the Americans With Disabilities Act. This was thought
to scare away potential bidders.
idea was colossal failure and does not need to be revisited. They should scrap it and move on.
Saturday, March 1, 2014
10:22 am est
The lack of knowledge of basic
geography shows how ignorant some people are. There are some basics that people should know.
A TSA agent was a great example the other day. During the screening process, they asked
a traveler for their ID. The person showed them a driver's license from the District of Columbia. The agent said it wasn't
a proper form of ID and requested another one such as a passport. The traveler insisted that D.C. was valid. A supervisor
finally intervened and sent the traveler on their way.
I don't understand how the agency can let this type of employee interact with the public.
It looks bad on a number of fronts. TSA employees should have some basic grasp of geography in America or they should not