Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Off to Aruba

We are headed to Aruba tomorrow morning with my son's family and several other couples who are friends of theirs.   We'll be back in a week at which time our standby generator will be installed, hooked up, tested and ready to go.

Look for pictures to appear in the form of a slide show on my web site-to be announced. 

Friday, April 5, 2019

Recommended Reading

I've read a lot of books about history.  Most of them are historical fiction.  The two major areas of interest are the American civil war and World War II.  Many of the books I've read are from the stand point of military strategy and battle descriptions.  But over the past few years I discovered a collection of books-mostly dealing with World War II-that take another point of view entirely.  Some are from the stand point of German citizens who many people don't realize suffered more than Americans who were safely protected by the Atlantic Ocean.  Others are from the point of view of British citizens and others still from Polish citizens.

All of those nonmilitary people suffered terribly.  So it's important to read about all sides of a war to really understand it.

Here are some of the titles I would strongly recommend for a rounded understanding. They are listed in the order I read them-NOT best to worst:

All the Light We Cannot See-Doerr
The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
The Summer Before the War-Helen Simonson
In Farleigh Field: A novel of WWII
Lilac Girls: A Novel (about WWII)
Beneath A Scarlet Sky-Mark Sullivan
Winter Garden-Kristen Hannah (WWII) 
The Ragged Edge of Night-Olivia Hawker
The Zookeeper’s Wife-Diane Ackerman
The Tuscan Child-Rhys Bowen
We Were the Lucky Ones-WW II-Georgia Hunter 

Even if you're not interest in history, these books are great reads.   Worst case scenario, at least you'll be entertained.  Best case scenario, you'll come away with a deep understanding of the suffering and courage of so many people-certainly not just soldiers.

Monday, March 25, 2019

Another Victim

 One more victim has been added to the list of people in the 12/14/12 tragedy at Sandy Hook School. The father of one of the victims took his own life at Edmund Town Hall in Newtown this morning.  The town is understandably reeling at the news with hundreds-perhaps thousands- of reactions on social media  and the local newspapers and television.

This latest victim was a man who 'seemed' to be dealing with his loss constructively.  He started a foundation in his daughter's name-The Avielle Foundation-and he was an active, inspirational speaker for the cause of mental health.  It is a very sad reminder that no one really knows what kind of pain people may be in-at least not until they seek help. Sometimes, as in this case, it is too much to bear. In my view there is nothing worse than losing a child. Nothing. Sure losing a spouse, a parent, sibling, etc is traumatic but losing a child is in a whole other category to me.  Frankly, it's a wonder to me that there aren't more suicides when this kind of thing happens.

But for now all one can do is be kind, be patient and try to be perceptive-and be there for anyone who shows signs of severe depression. You don't have to be a specialist but know how to get the person the help they need. 

Another sad day in Newtown.

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

For Whom the Tolls Toll

 There's a controversy raging in the state of Connecticut at the moment.  Gov. Ned Lamont has pledged to dramatically improve the state's crumbling infrastructure and in order to pay for that he's proposed installing electronic tolls on the interstate highways that pass through the state.  Thus the controversy.

Nearly all legislative republicans, some democrats and a significant number of residents oppose tolls.  The main reason is because they cite CT as the most taxed state in the country and tolls are just one more burden on an already overburdened tax payer.   Then they go on to list a long litany of others.

Frankly, one has to sympathize with these howls of pain.  We are over taxed.  But let's face it.  The state's infrastructure is a mess.  Everyone agrees on that.  The problem is how to pay for it's repair.

Toll booth opponents maintain with appropriate cost-cutting practices, the money would be there without tolls.

I know what they mean by cost-cutting.  They mean continue to screw state employees and the teacher's retirement fund.  The state has been doing that for years. What's the problem?  Those people are over compensated as it is.  It doesn't matter that the state is contractually obligated to support the pension funds of these two groups and for years they've been underfunded.  Abiding by legal contracts is apparently not an issue for many. 

So what to do?  What are some other solutions?  One that I've heard is to put up the tolls but give CT residents a significant tax break.  Let out of state motorists bear the burden.  They are using the roads so it's only fair they help maintain them. 

Thursday, March 14, 2019

A nation of privilege

You know how the great American dream use to be work hard, get an education, be honest, treat others as you would like to be treated and the American dream can be all yours?  Remember that?

In light of recent events, i.e. the college admissions scandal, it would seem that's a load of bull.

Consider this. If you were lucky enough to be born into wealth you are entitled to the following:
An education where ever you want to go.
Quality health care.
Easy passage through the legal system if the long arm of the law finds you.
Excused from serving your country.
Good jobs and appointments to high places (maybe even the Supreme Court!).
This is just to name a few!

The good news is that with the latest incident receiving so much attention, maybe the public will start to be more selective in their elective choices.  Let's face it, the democratic party has been far more sympathetic and responsive to this problem than republicans.  Let's remember that next year.

Sunday, March 10, 2019

Take a tour of the International Space Station

I'm posting a link to a 25 minute YouTube video of the International Space Station.  It's a little long but well worth it.  A fascinating look at how the ISS works.  If you're into that sort of thing, check it out.

Saturday, March 9, 2019

Daylight Savings Time for more daylight, right?

 It's daylight savings time.  Tonight we'll all go around setting our clocks ahead one hour (unless you forget in which case you'll be running around tomorrow morning doing it) in the mistaken belief the days will get longer.  Obviously adjusting a clock has no bearing whatever on how much daylight we are going to get.  What we're doing is simply making the day longer at night but shorter in the morning under the belief that it's more desirable to have more light at night.

This tradition started as an energy saving strategy during World War I and for the most part continues to now.  There are some places that don't observe DST thus confusing things a little.  For example I remember some time ago my brother-in-law lived in a state that didn't observe it and whenever he called at night it would always be after we had gone to bed because he would forget about the time difference.

Anyway, there's a movement under way to leave the clocks alone.  In fact I think I heard or read somewhere that some senator has introduced a bill to change things to Standard Time and leave it at that.

I for one don't much care although I do feel bad for kids who have to get early school buses.  Very often they're waiting in the dark.  This can make for a dangerous situation.

Maybe we should leave the clocks the way they are going to be after tonight, i.e. DST.  Then we could just call that Standard Time from now on.

All I know is whatever we do it will take me an inordinate length of time to adjust.  I'll be tired one way or the other.

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

A few thoughts about Facebook

Are you on one or more social networking sites?  I signed on to Facebook several years ago when it was quite popular and from what I read with over a billion users I guess it's still going strong.  Although others are gaining fast with Instagram for example at about 100 million and growing.  Instagram is apparently the favorite among the younger crowd or so I've heard.  My two teenage grand daughters use that. 

I got on Facebook because I wanted to keep in touch with distant relatives.  Then I posted a bunch of class pictures from my 32 year career as a teacher and before you know it former students, now young men and women, jumped on board and friended me.  It was a lot of fun seeing what they were doing now and how well they were.  I'm also friends with a lot of former colleagues who I otherwise would lose touch with. 

Then there are high school classmates and finally "real" friends-not the acquaintances we call friends. 

Even with all that I only have about 145 friends.  I see where other people have 5, 6, even 7 hundred 'friends'.  Many people haven't a clue who their friends are.  They just keep friending people for the high numbers. I get tons of friend requests from people I don't know.  I of course ignore them.

Another thing is it amazes me to see the various things people post.  Anywhere from political commentary to jokes to math puzzles and riddles (one of my favorites to post) to romance problems to requests for advice as to what to buy or who to buy it from.  I read recently where one lady posted a description of two houses  she and her husband were down to to purchase and she wanted to know which one they should buy since they couldn't decide!  There's a lot of other stuff there too but it seems to me that a lot of those things are pretty personal.  Do you really care what a bunch of strangers think?  After all, as I pointed out, even though you call them 'friends' they're not really. 

Anyway, I'll keep using it for the time being.  Whenever I encounter someone I find annoying, I simply block their posts without necessarily unfriending them.  That way they don't know I can't see their obnoxious posts. 

Bye for now, friend!

Friday, March 1, 2019

Happy March

As I write this it's snowing.  More is coming tomorrow morning and even more Sunday night into Monday.  Happy March anyway.  Spring is right around the corner.
To learn more interesting things about March, click here:

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Pet Peeve # (I forgot)....

I, like most people, have no problem stopping for school buses with flashing red lights.  Taking a few minutes to help keep school children safe is really a no-brainer.  But my pet peeve is to the (almost always) mother who has to stand there and chat up the bus driver while a long line of cars builds up behind the bus.  I mean really.  Let me help you out, ladies.

1. No, the driver doesn't know whether or not there's going to be an early dismissal because of possible bad weather.  You'll be notified by school officials.
2. No, the driver doesn't know if there's going to be a delayed opening tomorrow.  It will be on TV as early as 4 A.M. the next morning.
3. Yes, she remembers the notes you've been giving her all week telling her there will be a sitter there at drop off-not you.
4. Yes, she spoke to the little boy/girl who's been picking on your little boy/girl.  She told you about it yesterday, remember?
5. Yes, I'll drive carefully.  Now get the f--- out of the way.

Saturday, February 23, 2019

Another Birthday rolls around

It's my 76th birthday today and there's good news all around.  
It's another year and I'm still here to acknowledge it. 
I got up under my own power this morning with no more or less than the usual aches and pains.
I feel good and am still able to do most of the things I want to do.
I, like many others, have my share of health issues but nothing I can't handle.
I'm having a great life and there's a lot more to look forward to.
So onward we go.  Year number 77.  Who knows what adventures await me.

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Here's a REAL national emergency for you, Trump.

Headline: Shooter in deadly Illinois rampage.

Donald Trump recently side-stepped the United States Constitution by declaring a fake national emergence in order to secure the funds he needs to build his useless, promised border wall.  Rather than face the fact that this wall will do nothing to limit the transport of drugs by motor vehicles into the U.S. he insists he needs to keep his promise to his base although he lied about Mexico paying for it.  But then we shouldn't be surprised.  We all know he's a compulsive liar.

Anyway, Trump apparently thinks he needs to listen to the ignorant rabble he calls a base instead of the other 80% percent of the nation. 

If he is that concerned about national emergencies, I suggest he focus on the latest of a national tragedy-too many guns in the hands of the wrong people. And what is he and his republican cohorts doing about it?  Continuing to collect obscene sums of blood money from the NRA, that's what!


Thursday, February 14, 2019

Happy Valentine's Day

All you husbands out there. Remember to get a card, flowers, candy, whatever or you'll be in trouble!  Here are some Valentine's Day statistics for you to ponder:

1 in 2 Americans plan to celebrated Valentine's Day
Americans will spend a total of 19.7 billion.
The average American spends $166.
25-34 year olds spend the most money.
35% of Valentine's Day shopping takes place at a department store; specialty store=19%; florist=20%.

For the record, I did not spend $166 but that's OK because I'm way beyond the 25-34 year old group of big spenders.

Suggested card for older married men:

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

The State of the Union: What SHOULD be said vs. what WILL be said

As required by the Constitution of the United States the disgusting human being (barely) we call a president will deliver the State of the Union Address.

Herewith is my view of what should be said vs what will be said.

What he SHOULD say

Good evening ladies and gentlemen and honored guests.  It is with great pleasure that I stand before you to deliver the State of the Union Address.

Ladies and gentlemen, I have looked back over the past two years of my service to this great country and I have reflected deeply on my performance.  What I've seen is not pretty.  I have spent an inordinate amount of time issuing nonsensical tweets, preaching hatred, bigotry and intolerance.  I have royally screwed up congressionally mandated legislation by setting the environmental movement back 60 years, destroying the foundation of  public education, creating confusion and hardship with an incomprehensible trade policy, thoroughly embarrassing our great country with our allies, utterly destroying a flawed but workable affordable health care system and laying waste to an already broken immigration policy. 

I am so deeply ashamed that there is only one thing left for me to do.  I hereby resign my presidency and hand the mantle of leadership to (God help us all) Vice President Pence.  With any luck at all, he'll realize he's utterly unfit for the job and resign along with me. 

At that time we can begin the healing process.  That is all. God bless you and the United States of America.

What he WILL say (or a close rendition thereof)
Hay, hay, hay.  Has this been a ride or what? Am I not the greatest president of all time, ever, in the history of our wonderful country.  Oh, sure. There have been a few minor bumps in the road but that's to be expected given the task left to me.  In view of my very, very enormous success I would like to announce Executive Order No. 600,023 whereby I rename the United States Capitol building The Donald Trump Monument to Himself.  I will then order a pre-approved likeness of me etched into the dome of the building for future generations to admire (at this point Congressional republicans stand up enmasse and cheer wildly for 20 minutes).  I will then immediately issue another executive order requiring every single news agency in the country present to me for approval what they intend to say for that day's news.  By God I'll have no more fake news in my country.

So the good news is you have 2 more years of this unless of course our corrupt democratic House and the phony witch hunt investigation of  Mueller somehow get me impeached but I'll deal with that later.


Friday, February 1, 2019

Are you an 'anti-vaxxer'?

Do you know what a 'vaxxer' is? If so, then you of course know what an 'anti-vaxxer' is.  I ran across this term for the first time on a Facebook post.  Someone wanted to know what steps they could take to help their children avoid catching common-place childhood diseases such as measles, mumps, etc.   They were seeking this information because they didn't believe in vaccinations, hence the term vaxxer, or in this case, antivaxxer.

The responses to this person's post ranged from raw sarcasm to severe scolding.  After all, who in their right mind wouldn't want to vaccinate their kids?  Well, as it happens there are a fair number of people who feel that way.  Some of them have religious beliefs that prohibit medical treatment like vaccinations but the overwhelming majority feel that way because of an article published  some time ago  in the British medical journal, Lancet.  The author, a prominent physician, linked vaccinations to the onset of autism.

It wasn't until some time later that the claims made in the article were completely debunked and the physician was kicked out of the British Medical Society as a quack.  Unfortunately the belief persists.  Parents are worried that their children if vaccinated will develop autism.  That belief is completely and absolutely false.

So what happens when kids don't get immunized?  They just get sick and move on, right?  Lots of people my age had childhood diseases like measles and mumps and here we are.  But there are also a lot of people walking around with complications from those diseases.  And that's the least of it.  Sick children also pose a threat to other's-especially pregnant women.  Women who are exposed to many of these diseases in the early stages of pregnancy risk developmental issues for their unborn babies.

There are other consequences too but the point is people who avoid vaccinating their kids are in my view negligent, irresponsible and, well, just plain stupid.

That was pretty much what most people told that lady who put that post on Facebook.

There's no law saying you have to vaccinate your kids but I hope you're prepared to home school them because unless they've been vaccinated they're not going to a public school.

Be a 'vaxxer'!

Sunday, January 27, 2019

35 days wasted

Thirty five days later we're back to square one.  Exactly where both sides of Congress had agreed on to begin with. Then Trump reneged on his promise to sign the budget and shut down government for over a month.  Unfortunately our republican congress did not have the backbone to stand up to him-until it became obvious the democrats were not going to cave.  It was then that republican congressional leaders somehow managed to get Trump to back down-for 3 weeks. 

Many  of his base are calling him a 'caver'.  They stupidly wanted him to stick to his guns.  Well, he'll have a second chance three weeks from now when it starts all over again. 

There's much talk about Trump declaring a national emergency and pretty much stealing the $5.8 billion from somewhere else.  I hope it's challenged in court because the only national emergency is of his own making. 

On and on it goes.  A rogue, lunatic president running the country into the ground while a republican led congress stands by.   That's the national emergency!

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Hello, Winter

Winter is finally here in earnest.  Snow to rain to ice and bitter cold Sunday the 20th leading to power out at 2:30 P.M. but back on at 11:30 P.M.  Fortunately we have a wood burning stove and a portable generator that powers all essential appliances i.e. furnace, pump, refrigerators and freezers and some lights.  We were even able to which recorded TV shows even though we didn't have cable or Internet service.  Cooking needs to be done on the wood stove or our gas grill.  We didn't hook up our electric range  since it draws too much power.

We ran the generator for 7 solid hours but when it isn't running,  the wood stove keeps the house comfortable.   We bought it 7 years ago and it sat unused for 5 years.  But for the past two years we have used it for 3 prolonged periods of outages.    Power outages are a pain but without the generator it would have been much worse.

Now we're considering the possibility of switching to a propane run whole-house unit that would power everything.  There is significant cost involved in doing that but it saves me going through a big hassle of having to move the car, pull out the generator, hooking it up, starting it and then going downstairs to switch from 'line' to 'generator.   Every time  we're done with it for the day or to refuel, we have to reverse the process.   Not a major deal but a bit of an inconvenience and if anything ever happens to me where I can't do it, my wife would be helpless.  Anyway it's a thought.

In the meantime it's normal New England weather. 

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Happy birthday

Sure the news has been dismal, i.e. government shut down, miserable weather on our doorstep, other stuff but the good news is today is our awesome grand daughter Brooke's 15 birthday.

Where did the time go??

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Anatomy of a temper tantrum

Donald Trump is a 300 lb two-year-old having a temper tantrum and holding the nation hostage.  And where the HELL is Congress in this.  Just over-ride his veto, pass a budget  and move on.  What a pathetic bunch of losers. 

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year

For those of you who celebrate Christmas, I hope it was a good one.  Happy New Year to one and all.

Be sure to check out several updates on

It's back to Florida soon for a couple of weeks.  My next blog will be from there.

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

A bit of truth from children

DECIDING WHO TO MARRY:  (written by kids)

1   . You got to find somebody who likes the same stuff.  Like, if you like sports, she should like it that you like sports, and she should keep the chips and dip coming.   --  Alan, age 10

No person really decides before they grow up who they're going to marry.   God decides it all way before, and you get to find out later who you're stuck with.   --  Kristen, age 10
Twenty-three is the best age because you know the person FOREVER by then.   --  Camille, age 10
You might have to guess, based on whether they seem to be yelling at the same kids.   --  Derrick, age 8
Both don't want any more kids.   --  Lori, age 8
Dates are for having fun, and people should use them to get to know each other.  Even boys have something to say if you listen long enough.   --  Lynnette, age 8   

On the first date, they just tell each other lies and that usually gets them interested enough to go for a second date.   --  Martin, age 10
When they're rich.   --  Pam, age 7  

The law says you have to be eighteen, so I wouldn't want to mess with that.   -- Curt, age 7

The rule goes like this: If you kiss someone, then you should marry them and have kids with them.  It's the right thing to do.    -- Howard, age 8
It's better for girls to be single but not for boys. Boys need someone to clean up after them.   --  Anita, age 9

Sunday, December 9, 2018


It's amazing to me that White House Chief of Staff John Kelley took the job to begin with never mind lasting as long as he did.  Consider: Kelley is a retired career marine corps general.  He's as "gung ho" as they get.  Then he's offered a job by a draft-dodging scum bag and instead of walking away in disgust, he takes it.  I guess it's true that high level officers become political after a while.  Oh well. Better late than never, Kelley.  You finally realized the mistake you made. 

Friday, December 7, 2018

Remember Pearl Harbor Day

Ask kids today if they know what Pearl Harbor is.  Ask them how the U.S. got into World War II.  The responses will probably sadden you.

Today is Pearl Harbor Day.  Seventy seven years ago the Japanese bombed U.S. naval forces at Pearl Harbor thus our entry into World War II.  The rest, as they say, is history.  I wonder if anyone is studying it any more.

Saturday, December 1, 2018

George H.W. Bush

Rest in Peace, President Bush.  President Bush passed away last night.  Although representing the opposite side of the political spectrum of me he was a man of honor, dignity and class who courageously served his country.  He has earned mine and the entire country's respect.

He stands diametrically opposed to the individual currently holding his former post.  All's the pity!

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Some observations

It's been a while since my last post.  We are at our condo in Fl now and Thanksgiving has come and gone.  The weather here has been very nice as you may expect while the weather at home has been cold.  In fact we left the morning of a very big snow storm.

We've been to the beach nearly every day and here are some observations:
1. It's amazing how much stuff people-including us-lug to the beach.  Coolers, toys, umbrellas, chairs, towels, etc.  We finally broke down and got one of those beach carts with the big wheels for pushing in the sand.  Works pretty well.

2. On that note I think it funny that people want so much to spend a day in the sun only to erect all manner of shelters to get out of the very sun they claim to worship.  Umbrellas, half tents, and canvas structures of all kinds-some of which go flying on a windy day.  Strange creatures, we humans.

3.  One final observation about bathing suits. There are all together too many people who have been fooled into thinking they actually look good in the bathing suits they choose to wear.  They need a reality check.  Their presence on the beach ranges from comical to disgusting. 

It's back home Tuesday where the weather has apparently moderated.  We'll be back down in January. 


Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Redesigned photogallery page

Just a reminder to check out and click on photo gallery link.  All slide shows have been formatted so that they can be accessed by those using iOS, Android, Macs and PCs.  This was not the case previously. 

Check it out.  You'll see some neat pictures.

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Can you manage a forest?

Did you hear the latest?  According to Smokey the Trump the fires California is dealing with are due to poor forest management!

Can you believe it?  What a complete fool.  He doesn't know a thing about forest management strategies.  He is a complete fraud.  But don't try to tell that to his base.  What idiots!!

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

The Mid-terms

Today is election day-the midterms to be exact.  Donald Trump's name does not appear on a single ballot anywhere but this election is as much about him as it is about the various candidates who are on the ballot.

The republican candidates, like it or not, represent Trump's brand of politics and leadership.  At first this may not appear to be fair but then again I don't hear any of them attempting to distance themselves from his harsh, hateful rhetoric.

For the democrats it's a chance for America to reject all those things Trump stands for: hatred, intolerance, bigotry, racism and violence. 

I voted at noon and I've never seen the polling place where I vote so packed so there's no question there's a great deal of feeling all around about the outcome. 

Political pundits are saying they think the dems will take back the house but  the GOP will keep the senate.  I'm hoping for a clean sweep.  A resounding rejection of all that has gone on for the past two years.

The truth I'm sure will lie somewhere in between.  If in fact the democrats do take Congress back I hope there's no gloating.  After all we'll still be stuck with Trump for the next two years!

Saturday, November 3, 2018

Website update

Check out the photo gallery page of my website  You will see a new link to a slide show of a butterfly museum we recently visited.  There are other links to other interesting things as well.   Thanks for stopping by.

Saturday, October 27, 2018

What is an "assault" rifle?

This question comes up every time there's a tragedy like the one that happened today at the synagogue in Pittsburgh.  The shooter in this most recent of attacks used an AR15.  The AR in this case stands for ArmaLite, the name of the company that makes the weapon. Gun rights advocates insists it is not an assault rifle. To be an actual assault rifle it has to be used on full automatic which it is not.  Full auto weapons are indeed illegal.  Therefore that is not the issue.  Gun control advocates say BULL. So it's not used on full auto.  For pete's sake look at it. Compare it to the military M14.  There's practically no distinction.  Furthermore if the AR15 is not an assault rifle, then it must be a hunting rifle but any hunter will tell you they would never use one on any kind of game.  It's purpose is to hurt or kill people whether or not it is automatic or semiautomatic. 

So the issue is hotly debated.  One thing I know.  When these types of weapons were banned under the Brady Bill, there were few if any mass shootings.  When a republican congress voted down the Brady Bill thus allowing the sale of AR15 type weapons, mass shootings increased dramatically. 

What are your thoughts on this?