Friday, February 21, 2020

Let's talk about, what else?, the weather

Today is Thursday, Feb. 20, 2020.  It is a partly cloudy day and the temperature is currently 34º in my location of Newtown, CT at 3:30 P.M. There is a slight breeze thus producing a windchill factor making it feel in the upper 20s.

 I mention this because this past fall I got my annual Old Farmer's Almanac.  The OFA is a magazine that's been around since the late 1700s.  It's famous for its long range weather forecasts and since I'm a bit of a weather nut, I find it very appealing.  Every year it looks back on the previous year to determine how close they were.  As it turns out, they're pretty darn good-like about a 90% accuracy for temperatures and precipitation for our area.

At about the time I get my new almanac I also get a PocketPal Calendar  notebook from my wife's office.  In the past I've never known what to do with it because I use an electronic calendar on my computer but this year I decided to keep a daily weather journal.  Then at the end of the year I can compare it to the Old Farmer's Almanac and check it for accuracy.

So far, the Almanac is right on the money-milder winter, less precipitation.

Keep in mind this applies to our region.  I'm not comparing it on a national level.  We'll see how the rest of the year goes and I'll report back.  

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

And we're off....albeit, a little stumble out of the gate.

 Well, the primary season is here-for the Democrats at least since the republicans seem to think they're going to be OK with their pig...oops, I mean guy.

The primaries have definitely gotten off to a rough start with the fiasco in Iowa but for what it's worth the Iowa caucus is over rated anyway.  New Hampshire went much more smoothly but there again it's over rated. 

It's not until Super Tuesday that we'll have a much better idea who the candidate will be.  I just hope the dems can keep it together.  They are a pesky bunch and they have a nasty habit of making a mess out of the political process.  But this one is important-maybe the most important election this nation has ever had.  Trump is an unmitigated disaster and he has got to go so don't blow it, guys-or gals. 

Friday, February 7, 2020

Back to Kindergarten

A couple of weeks ago I ran into a bunch of former colleagues at a small function.  One of them-a kindergarten teacher-asked me to come to her classroom to do a science lesson.  I happily agreed.

It's been a while since I worked with kinders, as they're called.  My last contact with them was when my younger grandson was a kinder.  He's now in fifth grade so I was a little rusty. 

Yesterday was the day of the lesson and it seems I haven't lost my touch.  The kids were great and the lesson went very well.  So well, in fact, it seems the teacher will be asking her colleagues if they'd like me to do it for their classes.  Of course I will be happy to comply.

I've been retired from full time teaching for 16 years but for a few years after that I subbed and then volunteered in my grandsons' classes.  This year I haven't done much until now and it felt good to get back in there.  I hope there will be more to come.

As they say-Once a teacher, always a teacher.

Thursday, February 6, 2020

What is a Presidential Medal of Freedom now worth?

First, a disclaimer-I did not watch the SOTU address.  I did see two particular parts of it on the news-Trump snubbing Nancy Pelosi's offer to shake hands and her tearing up his speech.  Then I heard that Rush Limbaugh had been awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom-the highest award a civilian can receive. 

Rush Limbaugh is of course a conservative radio personality known for his long, bombastic diatribes against anything even remotely progressive or liberal.  He's especially hard on democrats.  For all these reasons far right nut-jobs love him.

Well, he recently announced he has stage 4 lung cancer.  In spite of his obnoxious and arrogant demeanor I wish him the very best medical care he can get.  And while he's getting that care I hope he thinks about the millions of people who don't have that level of care available to them due in part to his constant preaching against government provided affordable health care options.

So the question is this-does a guy like Limbaugh deserve such a prestigious medal?  Seriously?  I know it seems crass to pick on him while he's facing such a serious illness but were it not for that would anyone really think he's worthy of such an honor?

The answer is simply no.  Be well, Rush, but give back the medal so it doesn't become a joke!

Saturday, February 1, 2020

Fifty one republican traitors

Sometime late last night 51 republican senators decided to betray their country by siding with the most corrupt, unethical coward to ever occupy the White House. 

This travesty must be corrected in November.  Vote...for anyone but Trump.  And while we're at it, let's turn the Senate, shall we? 

Our country depends on it!

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

A Clever Take on the Truth

First, I have to confess, this isn't mine.  I wish it was but alas I'm not that clever.  I saw it on Facebook.  It pretty much sums up the current situation in the impeachment proceedings.


ALL THE WITNESSES: Ok we all agree. This is what happened.
REPUBLICANS: None of you were in the room!
BOLTON: *raises hand* Well I was in the...
REPUBLICANS: Who asked you?! Shut up! You’re a liberal pawn!
BOLTON: Um... I’m actually I’m a lifelong Republican and I was literally Trump’s national security advi...
REPUBLICANS: Shut your mustache! Somebody bring back the first national security advisor.
FLYNN: *in orange jumpsuit* Hey sorry guys I’m in jail lol.
FLYNN: For lying to the FBI about the Russia investigation.
REPUBLICANS: Well what idiot told you to do that?!
FLYNN: The Pres...
REPUBLICANS: Shut up! No one believes either of you!
KELLY: *raises hand* I believe them. And I was Trump’s Chief of sta...
REPUBLICANS: Shut up! Let’s talk to the current chief of staff. Who is he?
MULVANEY: *raises hand* It’s me. Sort of. Well, I'm the act...
REPUBLICANS: Shit. Never mind.
PARNAS: *raises hand* I was also in the room. In fact, here’s a cell phone video of the President saying that...
REPUBLICANS: Wait what?! How in hell did you sneak a cell phone into a meeting with the President?
PARNAS: It was easy I just walked right in and...
REPUBLICANS: Shut up! You’re a criminal!
PARNAS: Correct. So I just walked right into...
TRUMP: I don’t know him.
PARNAS: And here’s 500 pictures of me with the President because we’re besties.
REPUBLICANS: Wait... What idiot introduced you to the President??
PARNAS: His personal lawyer.
COHEN: *also in orange jumpsuit* Hey no sorry guys I’m in jail too. Oops.
COHEN: For campaign finance violations.
REPUBLICANS: Who’s campaign?
COHEN: The Pres...
REPUBLICANS: Shut up! Who was the campaign chair??
MANAFORT: *also in orange jumpsuit* Yeah. Me. Also in jail. Heyyyy.
PARNAS: It was Giuliani.
YOVANOVITCH: Giuliani! That’s the guy who had me fired from my job!
REPUBLICANS: Who are you??
YOVANOVITCH: I was the ambassador to Ukraine.
REPUBLICANS: Wait, you had her fired? Do you work for the government??
GIULIANI: Nope. But I figured no one really follows any rules around here so...
REPUBLICANS: Well who is the ambassador to the European Union??
SONDLAND: *raises hand* It's me. I was also in the roo...
PUTIN: *rubs his bare chest*

Monday, January 20, 2020

Book Recommendation

I just finished the book you see here.  It's been around awhile so you may have already read it.  It's a fictionalized account of a true story set in the 1930s south.  It's about an adoption scheme that tore children away from their families so they could be adopted.  Local police & other powerful people were involved so no enforcement was taken for many years.  Read the book to find out what it's all about.  It's extremely well written. 

Monday, January 13, 2020

Back to the world

Since Dec. 26th we have been at our condo in FL.  We got home yesterday evening.  With the exception of some chilly weather now and then the weather was generally beautiful.  Some of the time was spent with our daughter and her family and the rest of the time with friends who are just arriving so we were able to keep busy.

Usually we fly JetBlue to and from FT Myers but due to JetBlue scheduling changes we chose to fly Southwest.  In case you don't know it, Southwest has a different boarding procedure than the other airlines.  Instead of selecting your seats when you book your ticket, you're assigned a group letter (A, B or C) and a number.  When it comes time to board you need to go up when your group is called and then you need to find your place in line according to the number you've been assigned.  If you check in early (24 hours) you can pay extra to get into a group that boards sooner than later.  Otherwise you're going to end up in a middle seat at the back of the plane between two fat people who like to talk! 

Needless to say, we opted for the pay extra and get better choices approach. But that seems wrong to me.  That increased the overall amount of our ticket enough to make it even more expensive to fly. On top of that the seats are narrow and the 'snacks' you're served are laughable.  

Fortunately JetBlue apparently got the message and tweaked their schedule so we can return to flying them.  Their snacks suck just as much but no one flies for snacks.  At least we don't.  Put peanut butter and crackers in your carry-on bag or whatever you like and the heck with what the airline gives you. 

So here we are, back in CT for the rest of the winter.  As the grand kids get older and less and less interested in hanging with old people, we'll probably extend our stays down there but we'll see how that goes.  We're still at the point where we can tolerate winters and Sandi still has a couple of years to work, albeit a reduced schedule.  But after that, who knows?

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Happy New Year

The picture you see here is the last sunset of 2019 as seen from Naples, Fl.  Here's wishing you a happy, healthy 2020 and my sincere hope the coming year sees us begin to free ourselves from the grip of hatred, intolerance and hostility that we've been experiencing for the past 3 years. 

Friday, December 20, 2019

Odds & Ends

1.  I am thoroughly disgusted with Senate republicans who have shown blatant disregard for the country in general and the Constitution in particular.  Their loyalty to the Republican party far exceeds their concern for anything else.  They are pathetic hypocrites.  The real tragedy is the number of ignorant fools who support them.

2.  This blast of cold weather is putting unusual demands on my wood supply.  I thought I had enough on hand for 3 winters.  It's now looking like I'll need more after next season.  The good news is there is wood available around my yard and the furnace has not been running much.

3.  My wife is having anxiety attacks because she doesn't think our spending for the grand children this Christmas has been equal.   I argue that we got them plenty of stuff that they will enjoy so we shouldn't worry.

4. A couple of weeks ago I took a chance and put the bird feeders out.  Sure enough a bear got to them.  He didn't break the feeders or bend the mast they were mounted on though.  All he did was  take the suet.  I put everything back in place and now I put the feeders out in the morning and take them in at night.  Seems to be working well.

5.  I had some work done recently to my truck and was told I need extensive front end work including brakes.  Apparently it isn't unusual for four wheel drive pick ups to experience this.  The estimate for everything was around $3000.  I'm getting a second opinion when we get back from Florida.  The truck is a 2008 with 66 thousand miles on it. It hasn't had a single major problem in all that time so it owes me nothing.  And it's a lot cheaper to fix than a new truck so we'll see.

6.  My 4 year-old three stage Cub Cadet snow blower remains problematical.  The engine is great and when it's working, it does a terrific job.  The problem is with the drive wheels.  I can be going along smoothly only to have it abruptly stop.  I keep trying different speed selections and eventually it continues-but slowly.  Newtown Power Equipment has not been helpful.

That's all for now.  Have a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.  Next stop: Naples, FL. with my daughter and her family.  Back home January 12th in time for tax season. I'll post another piece from Florida.

Saturday, December 14, 2019

A Day to Remember

In every person's life-especially people like me who are looking down the barrel of 77-there are a few things that happen that leave an indelible memory.  You know exactly where you were, what you were doing and the time it happened.  Today is one of those days.

Exactly 7 years ago today-practically to the hour I write this-a deranged lunatic entered Sandy Hook Elementary School and murdered 26 people-20 of whom were children.  As I look back I wonder how much progress has been made in 1)identifying individuals who commit things like this and 2)efforts to keep guns out of the hands of crazy people.

I regret to report there has been sadly little progress.  To the contrary, since Sandy Hook there have been more school shootings and many, many more shootings involving other venues. 

The pro-gun politicians will do nothing but utter "thoughts and prayers" and collect their blood money from the NRA.  The gun control people have little recourse but to continue to lobby law makers for change. 

It is a sad scenario.  In the meantime all we can do is the best we can. 
Peace to you and yours in this holiday season.

Saturday, December 7, 2019

A historical day

Being the history buff I am, I can hardly let the day pass without mentioning that today is Pearl Harbor Day.  On this day 78 years ago, the Empire of Japan launched an assault on Pearl Harbor causing over 3000 casualties and destroying several ships in the U.S. naval fleet, among them the Arizona, which can still be seen at the memorial established for it. 

This singular event thrust the U.S. into World War II.  Remember Pearl Harbor.

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

FedEx vs UPS

We're approaching that time of year when we'll be seeing more and more delivery service trucks on the road.  Part time drivers are being hired and people are sending more than the usual number of parcels around the country. 

This leads me to make an observation about the two leading companies: FedEx and UPS.  Many people would say one is much like the other.  The difference may be in price.  Not me.  I say there's a vast difference in the quality of service and the skills of the drivers.

Many times I've been traveling on a narrow country road only to be passed by a FedEx truck.  I find UPS drivers generally much more skilled.  I also find UPS drivers to be far more considerate of their customers.  My house is situated at the top of a long, steep driveway.  Very often FedEx drivers leave parcels on the ground somewhere by the road.  Not so UPS.  They always come up or if the driveway hasn't been cleared yet, they park and walk up.  You will never see a FedEx driver doing that.  Also, even if the FedEx driver drives up, he leaves the box in the driveway instead of putting it on the front porch like the UPS driver does. 

The latest example of this was when I recently rec'd a large order from Omaha Steaks.  The box was big and on the heavy side. Usually UPS delivers these parcels but this time it was FedEx.  The driver saw me standing on the front porch but instead of bringing it up to me he left it in the driveway.  I emailed Omaha Steaks and complained and they replied that  from now on they would label all boxes to be left on the porch.  We'll see.  My next step is to contact FedEx customer service and complain to them.  I'm sure it will go nowhere but maybe I'll feel a little better!

Monday, November 18, 2019

Book recommendation

I just finished a very good book that others might like also-especially if you liked Where the Crawdads Sing.  The title is This Tender Land by William Kent Krueger.  Generally it's about 4 children who escape a cruel existence in an orphanage to make their way to a place that they think they might be able to call home.  You can read more about it on  The character development is excellent.  Give it a try.

Monday, November 11, 2019

Veterans Day 2019

Today is Veterans Day.  Thank you to all who served.  When I was a young man it was expected that all young men having reached the age of 18 will register for the draft and providing they are not deferred for some reason, be drafted into the U.S. Army. 

At that time the draft required two years of active duty and six years of inactive duty at which time you could be recalled for any reason.

I was drafted in 1964 at the age of 21 and like hundreds of thousands of others we did not run and hide, moan and groan or appeal to our rich daddies to buy a doctor to get us out of it.  No, we did the honorable thing.  We went, did our duty and hoped for the best.

Pity we can't say the same for some others.

Happy Veterans Day.  And thank you.

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Election Day 2019

Today is Election Day for municipalities.  Voters elect local officials throughout the state.  In Newtown where I live the top candidates for the executive branch are running unopposed.  All the other local positions have choices.

After today the political signs that appear on people's lawns will be replaced by signs for national candidates so don't think you're going to escape that particular kind of litter.  It also means there's one more year of intense politics, political commentary, nastiness, mud throwing, animosity, and generally awful behavior.  That in combination with all the impeachment talks is making for a situation where people are afraid to watch the news or even look at social media.  It's times like this when I'm very thankful for streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime.  And one mustn't forget books.  Lots and lots of reading.  In fact before too long I'll have a recommendation for a book I'm reading now.  So stay tuned and stay calm.  The year will go by fast-or not!

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

The first of the class pictures 2019-2020

It's that time of year when class pictures begin to roll in.  The first two of four in our family have arrived.  In looking at them it's amazing to see how quickly the time goes by.  Brooke on the left is a sophomore in high school and Courtney is in 8th grade.  It seems like just yesterday they were little girls sitting at our island counter in our kitchen playing 'scientist'. 

This should serve as a reminder to parents and grand parents to enjoy your  kids because before you know it they'll be up and out!

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Life is one, big cliché!

I remember reading somewhere  someone wrote life is just one, big cliché, i.e a very overused expression. 

Here are a few examples:
  • All that glitters isn't gold.
  • Don't get your knickers in a twist.
  • All for one, and one for all.
  • Kiss and make up.
  • He has his tail between his legs.
  • And they all lived happily ever after.
  • Cat got your tongue?
The one I hear more and more these days is "it is what it is"!  Talk about illogical!  Of course it is what it is.  How could it not be?  Obviously it's meant to mean what ever it is that has happened it's done.  Move on.

The most recent place I hear this is at the end of every episode of People's Court, a show I sometimes watch in late afternoon if I have nothing else to do.  On People's Court the parties are interviewed by the host after the case.   Every single time the losers can be heard lamenting it is what it is. 

I suppose it's only natural that we use clichés so much.  They get the point across and it saves us from having to think of something original to say.  And there are certainly worse things to worry about. I guess we'll just have to get used to them.  They'll never go away. It is what it is.

Friday, October 18, 2019


I just read a blog written by a friend of mine ( that shows perfectly the difference between average writing and beautiful, creative writing.  Mine, in case you didn't know, is the average writing.  I make sure I'm grammatically correct and that everything is spelled correctly.  I also explain myself fairly clearly and thoroughly.  I guess you could say I write more like a journalist than a novelist.  In fact I used to write a weekly column for an on-line news website called Patch. 

I enjoy blogging because it gives me a chance to share ideas or put a smile on someone's face or just plain vent so my blogs cover a wide range of topics. 

Someone somewhere is reading them because my hit counter is approaching the fifty thousand mark and that certainly isn't just me checking my hit counter.  Sometimes I even get comments but the person commenting seldom identifies him/herself.  Most of the comments follow blogs of a sensitive nature like politics or gun control.  I have never received a nasty or threatening response.

The blog I linked above deals with the amount of time people spend staring at the screens of their cellphones.  It is not at all critical or snarky.  Read it and you'll see what I mean.  Then remember where you read it and return to that blog from time to time.  You won't regret it.

Friday, October 11, 2019

Happy birthday, Cole

Today is grandson Cole's 12th birthday.  The time is flying by.  We are already talking about how  grand daughter Brooke who will be 16 in January will be driving soon.  Nicholas is looking down the barrel of 11 and Courtney just turned 13.  We celebrated Sandi's 72nd birthday exactly one week ago.  And me?  I lost count. 

Happy birthday everyone.

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

The evidence speaks for itself

So now the Trump administration has officially refused to cooperate with efforts to impeach him.  From where I sit, it doesn't matter.  Trump's own statements convict him.  The House doesn't need anything else.  I say Move One.  He's toast.

Friday, September 27, 2019


Several months ago I wrote a blog arguing against impeachment.  Basically it said since the republican Senate would never go along there was no sense doing it.  Let's just wait for the election.

With recent events continuing to unfold, I've changed my mind. I like to keep things simple so here's the really simple explanation of what happened:  A person-aka whistle blower-overheard Trump tell the president of Ukrain that unless he investigated Joe Biden, his foreign aid would dry up.  Trump then went on to suggest that if he ever found out who the main source is, they're as good as dead.  That's it.  So we have a president using a foreign power to further his own political aims.  Completely illegal not to mention unbelievably immoral.  And now we have a republican senate who seems to be OK with this.  Can you imagine if Obama pulled a stunt like that?

Impeach him and let the chips fall where they may.  If the republicans don't go along with it, they can explain to their constituency why they support a criminal.  Of course a good part of the republican base will take the same attitude as the senate but many won't-maybe enough to make a difference.

Do the right thing, democrats.  You'll be stronger for it.

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Chalk it up to old age!

My last post was a few days ago-the 16th to be exact-and it was about a silly pet peeve regarding people's lack of accuracy when sending emails and other kinds of messages.

It just occurred to me that I completely neglected three important family events that happened during that time period.

First, on September 14th our family welcomed it's newest teenager-grand daughter Courtney turned 13.  That leaves Cole & Nicholas yet to achieve that dubious milestone. 

Second & Third-September 16th two wedding anniversaries to acknowledge.  Sandi & I became a rare breed with 52 years married-to the same person no less.  Then in the same year Courtney was born-2006-our son Peter & his wife Jen got married making 13 years for them.

So happy birthday and anniversary and my apologies to anyone I missed.

Monday, September 16, 2019

Proofread, proofread, proofread!

I know I've written about this before but I think it warrants a revisit.  I see a lot of text messages, Facebook messages and emails and I continue to be amazed at how careless people are about simple grammar and spelling. 

Very often I get a message or email that is utterly incomprehensible.  I always respond with something like "What the hell are you talking about?"  The sender invariably replies with an apology and the excuse that auto correct is to blame to which I respond,  BULL!

What happened to the tedious but necessary art of proofreading BEFORE hitting the send button?  Apparently gone by the wayside.  The fact is no one really cares.  Big deal. A typo. The recipient will figure it out. 

Oh well. I will continue my crusade to bring pride and accuracy back to the written word. 

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

A Day to Remember

  In everyone's life there are certain events, the circumstances of which,  will stay lodged in your memory for ever.  When the anniversary of that event occurs you will immediately recall where you were, what you were doing and any other details of the time.

My first such event was the assassination of John F. Kennedy.  There have been others, equally unpleasant.  The most recent is the terrorist attach of Sept. 11, 2001, eighteen years ago.  The question that many will want to know is could it happen again.  Well, I suppose it's conceivable but I highly doubt it.  Security measures that are obvious and that we don't even know about have been put in place to prevent such a thing.  Osama Bin Laden, the master mind of the attacks,  is gone but there will always be someone to take his place.  We simply-or not so simply-need to cut him off at the pass so to speak.

In the mean time it's important to remain alert and not let complacency overtake us.  Never forget.

Monday, September 9, 2019

The Wings of Freedom

I recently took grandsons Cole & Nicholas to Waterbury/Oxford Airport to see the Wings of Freedom tour.  On display were fighters and bombers from World War II.  The lines were very long so we only got to go through one but it was the best in my opinion.  It was a B17.

I think the boys got a better appreciation for the conditions men had to endure flying and crewing these planes.  So many were shot down but many went on to help win the war.

It was a great afternoon.

To see pictures, click here

Monday, September 2, 2019

New updates to web site

Check out the photo gallery of my web site.  Several pictures have been added.

Sunday, September 1, 2019

Sunday morning, Midland, TX

"Thoughts and Prayers"
"Our Hearts go out"
"Such a tragedy"

Trump, Pence, Republican Congress and NRA: "When's breakfast?"

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Another hurricane headed our way

Owning a condo in Florida is a two-edged sword.  On the upside we're lucky enough to have a place for us and the family to go to pretty much when ever we want to enjoy-usually-beautiful weather and beaches.

The downside is of course in the news as we speak.  The threat of a hurricane.  The last storm to impact us directly was Irma and as hurricanes go it could have been a lot worse.  Our condo association is still dealing with carport issues even after 3 years but our condo in particular sustained very little damage which I was able to fix myself.

Now it's wait and see for Dorian which is expected to hit land as a cat 4 storm.  That's very serious but with any luck at all,  for us at least,  it's track seems to be taking a northerly route thereby pretty much missing the Naples area on the west coast.  But who knows? 

More on this Monday when much more will be known.

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Tear them down or keep them? That is the question.

In the last post I told you about a controversial issue of a somewhat local nature.  Well, here's another on a national level. 

Actually this one has been around for some time but recently flared up in the news again.  It involves the issue of whether or not confederate monuments should be left standing or torn down.

The tear-down proponents argue that the monuments represent a time when the nation had slavery and by erecting these things we are approving that particular institution. The let-them-be proponents argue that for good or ill they are as much a part of the nation's history as any other.  So they should remain a part of the story.

The reason this has come up is because we are now living in a time of significant intolerance, hatred and racism.  Never since the race riots of the 60s has it been so bad.  What could be the cause of that?  I think you know where I'm going with this.  The answer is that we have the great misfortune to be led by the chief racist and white supremacist of all time-Donald Trump.

Trump has spent the last 3 years going around the country talking, tweeting and ranting thereby inspiring his base to commit unbelievable acts of violence and hatred but, hay, that's just Donny being Donny.

Anyway, as soon as the nation dumps Trump things will settle down until the next round of arguments.

I'm not sure where I stand on the issue.  Both sides have some merit to what they're saying.  Let's see how it plays out.