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 georgeswebpage.com.  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?

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Two more things

1. Some time ago I posted a rhetorical question (actually not rhetorical since I really wanted an answer to it). The question was "Hey, you republican gubernatorial candidates for CT governor, who do you plan to hurt when you slash or even eliminate the state income tax?

I didn't hear from anyone of course but since then Stefanowski has secured the nomination and I know the answer to the question: everyone-expecially state employees and retired teachers.

Since I'm a retired teacher, I take strong issue with his on-the-record position, to wit "Oh, gee, CT teachers.  Even though for years and years and years the state has cannibalized your pension found, you expect me to do the right thing and honor my obligation???  TOUGH!

So there you have it.  Just one more republican scum bag shafting who ever gets in his way.

Lamont gets my vote.

2.  Today it was revealed that bombs have been sent to the homes of former presidents and some democratic candidates.  Some people are blaming Trump.  Are they right?  Is that fair?  Yes and yes.  Trump has from day one fostered a climate of hatred and intolerance.  He is indirectly but absolutely responsible for things like this.  Impeach him-now.  Failing that VOTE!

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Two Things

1. Grandson Cole is 11 years old today.  Can't believe how fast they're growing. Seems like just yesterday that oldest grand child, Brooke, was born. She's now 14.

Happy birthday, Cole.

2. It was bound to happen again.  Yesterday I took a tumble in the yard and sprained my right ankle.  It's better today but still pretty sore.  Great. At exactly the wrong time of year. So much to do outside.  Oh well.  This is about the 10th time I've sprained an ankle.  Some worse than others.  This fortunately is not the worst.  When it first happened I maxed out the pain score at 10 but within an hour and plenty of ice it went down to a 4.  Now it just hurts when I bend my foot too much. 


Sunday, October 7, 2018

An open letter to Republican Senators of the United States

Dear Republican Senators,
Well, congratulations boys-and precious few ladies.  You got Trump's guy in.  In spite of very compelling testimony by Dr. Ford and some rather troubling veiled threats and angry outbursts by Mr. Kavanaugh you've chosen to confirm.  I hope you, and more importantly, the nation can live with it.

Remember, this man along with the rest of the court is going to be making some very important decisions that will affect women directly.  How do you think that's going to go?

I sincerely hope that those of you who have daughters don't ever experience that moment when she returns home some night and tearfully reports having been abused.  Are you going to tell her to suck it up and deal with it? Boys will be boys.  And if for some odd reason a case of this nature makes it to the Supreme Court, well, now you know how that's going to go, don't you.

Let's hope that never happens.

One more thing: Just a reminder-it's OK to embrace the conservative agenda but firmly reject Trumpism.  The Make America Hate Again mantra doesn't have to be yours.  Do you think you can do that?  Me neither.

Oh, well. Onward we go.  Dr. Ford's experience is not to be in vain.  I think she's poured fuel on the flames of change.  We'll know more in November, won't we?

That's it for now.

Sincerely,
etc. etc. etc.

Monday, October 1, 2018

Happy October

Happy October.  A lot can happen in October ranging from beautiful autumn weather, cool evenings, warm days, beautiful colors all the way to hurricanes and snow storms.  Enjoy!

To learn more about the month of October, click here georgeswebpage.com/almanac


Tuesday, September 25, 2018

"All boys that age do it at one time or another."

So says a group of middle aged republican women being interviewed somewhere in Florida.  They were talking about how awful it is that supreme court nominee Brett Kavanaugh is being put in the hot seat for such a little, meaningless thing.  Except for the woman (or women) he molested or exposed himself to it is not so meaningless.

And let's set the record straight: Not all boys that age are going to do things like that.  I sure didn't. Neither did my friends nor did my son nor did his friends nor did my son-in-law nor did his friends and it is absolutely NOT expected that our sons will do such things. 

This attitude among so many women of all people is appalling. Look at the message it sends. Boys will be boys.  Girls?? C'mon, ladies. Suck it up. Deal with it.  That's life. 

Yet more evidence of Trump's culture of bigotry and misogyny.  "Make America Hate Again" 

Midterms are coming folks.  Get these guys out of there!


Saturday, September 22, 2018

Welcome Autumn

Welcome autumn...and a whole new round of yard chores. After a long and very hot summer the weather has finally moderated to the point where yard work is possible. 

Mowing continues, pruning will begin soon and I still have a ton of wood to cut up from the May storm.  The snow blower goes in Oct. 15 to be serviced with the promise of getting it back soon thereafter.  Not that I'm expecting plowable snow by then but who knows?

Acorns have already begun to fill up the driveway from the many oak trees over and around it.  And then who can forget leaves.  Not the pretty colors we all look forward to but after that when the leaves dry up, fall from the trees and cover everything. 

I'm not as fussy about the leaves as I used to be.  I hire someone to get rid of them in the spring but I do have to blow them out of the gutter as well as keep them off the driveway. 

Well, that's the drill.  Beautiful colors, mild days, cool nights making fall a very nice season.  Then, after that, well, you know. 

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Betsy vs Hope

Do you know Hope Brown?  How about Betsy Devos?  One is a public high school teacher from Kentucky.  The other-Ms Devos-is the secretary of education.

Hope Brown appears on the front of TIME magazine this week.  Under her picture it says "I have a master's degree, 16 years of experience, work two extra jobs and donate blood plasma to pay my bills."  Betsy Devos is a billionaire who has barely two years on the job.

And here we have a very clear picture of the state of culture in the United States today.  It is obvious what the Trump administration's priorities are.  Unfortunately many fine professional educators and their students are suffering for his arrogance and ignorance.

Let's change things in November.

Friday, September 14, 2018

A Word About Hurricane Florence & Individual Responsibility


Hurricane's are dangerous.  The wind of course is damaging but most of the damage and danger is from massive amounts of water.  So when the governors of coastal states warn residents to leave, why don't they?  There's always a certain percentage (up to 25%) who elect to stay. 

What's wrong with that?  Well, first they put themselves at great risk.  But in addition to that they put the first responders who are expected to rescue their sorry butts at risk as well. 

If I were the governor I'd tell those people if they elect to ignore advice and stay, fine.  But don't expect anyone to risk their necks helping them when it hits. They're on their own.

It's time we made irresponsible people step up and be accountable.  We do that raising children, right?  (Well, most people do anyway). 

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Off to Florida

It's off to our condo in Naples, FL tomorrow.  One hurricane just past over the area and headed out to the gulf while others are looming in the Atlantic.  They could interfere with our return next week. 

This has been a difficult summer.  Hot, humid and stormy.  I haven't been able to get much accomplished outside.  I will have numerous chores awaiting me when it cools off: finishing cleaning up the mess from May's storm, tons of wood to split, routine pruning, back porch repair work, etc.  On and on the list goes. 

Soon the chimney will be cleaned and I still have a little work to do on the snow blower before declaring that ready for what lies ahead.  Speaking of which.  There are two almanacs out there: Old Farmer's Almanac and Farmer's Almanac.  The first calls for a relatively mild, dry winter while the second predicts the complete opposite-very cold and snowy.  Guess one I'll be rooting for!

Next up: a report on how work turned out in our condo.

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Reflections on NOT going back to school

   Our grand kids are back to school.  9th, 7th, 5th & 4th grades.  They're growing so fast. It's unbelievable.  What's equally unbelievable is that this is the 14th year I am NOT returning to school in whatever capacity I may be serving-either classroom teacher, lead teacher or math/science specialist.

So,  you may logically ask what exactly have I accomplished in 14 years?   Hmmmm...I wish I could just list tick off one item after another of all the great things I've been doing but, well, I just can't.  It seems to have changed from one year to the next.  For example when I first retired I was on jury duty and actually got on a case, then there was my first born grand daughter who I watched a couple of days a week, then we were undergoing an addition on the house that took some time.  Then after that I started subbing back at school and volunteering.  Interspersed in all of this were more grand children, volunteering in assisted living facilities & the schools, yard projects and on and on it goes with each year changing slightly.

Now here I am 14 years down the road, the kids are all older and in school and need less of my time. But I still volunteer, we still live on a big piece of property, I golf with friends, and I just seem to find ways to fill up the days. 

Now my wife is nearing retirement and she's facing the same challenges.  What to do?  It's hard going from working full time to not.  I was lucky.  Things just seemed to come along naturally and I'd go with it.  My wife will have more difficulty.  Sure, she has interests but there's still a lot of time to fill.  But she'll figure it out.  Things will come along, routines will be established and the next thing you know we'll wonder how she had time to work!  That's always what happens.

Here's some free advice: don't wait until your last day of work to think about this.  Start a few months in advance.  Have a plan-maybe a loose one-but a plan nevertheless.  That should help.

Monday, August 27, 2018

Good Bye, John McCain

 Senator John McCain (R, AZ) lost his battle with cancer over this past weekend.

I agreed with very little of John McCain’s politics but I had great respect for the man’s patriotism and heroism.  I also admired his willingness to reach across the aisle for the good of the country.  If he thought something was right, he supported it regardless of party politics. He was a great American


McCain stands in stark contrast to the slug currently occupying the White House who is as we all know a coward and a traitor. I hope the nation is taking notice.  But of course his base being the ignorant fools that they are will pass it off as nothing more than Trump being Trump. Sad days. 

We need to reject "Make America Hate Again" and take our country back!

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Apple Corporation

So I'm half listening to the morning news while checking emails and Facebook and I hear that Apple Corporation now enjoys the highest valuation of any corporation in the world-over a trillion dollars.

I think I know at least one reason why.  I just upgraded my 10-yr-old iPad mini to a new one.  The new one has the latest iOS and 64 bit architecture.  I was no longer able to get new apps or use many features on the old one because it was so dated.  Anyway, usually setting up new gadgets can sometimes be a pain.  You have to enter passwords, pair it to your WiFi network, download apps from cloud, etc.

Not so the new iPad.  All I had to do was hold my iPhone 7 next to it and PRESTO everything was moved over.  No muss, no fuss.  Nice.  Easy and user friendly.  That's always been Apple's approach to technology.  Very smart. I feel almost as smart as my grand children.

Monday, August 20, 2018

Odds & Ends & Bits & Pieces

Here's another edition of random thoughts and observations.
1. There's been a huge outbreak of drug overdoses in New Haven lately. Within a week or so there were over 100 overdoses of a drug that was a mix of marijuana and something else (I forgot what it was). Together they're called K2.  Wasn't it nice when K2 was just the second highest mountain in the world?

2. What don't people get about the danger of leaving children and animals locked in parked cars during the summer?  There isn't a day that goes by when you don't hear about a tragedy or near tragedy because someone left a child or animal in a car.  And their excuse is always, "Gosh, I just went in the store for a minute!"

3.  Summer time brings lots of fun things to do.  It also brings tragedies such as pool drownings.  The other day yet another 2-year-old was found floating on the bottom of  a backyard pool.  People need to realize that kids need constant supervision.  It doesn't take long for a little one to squirt out and get him/herself into trouble.  I even saw a video recently of a toddler managing to crawl into an above ground pool even with the ladder up supposedly making it safe.  Watch your kids.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

If you're a member of a political party, VOTE

Today is primary day. If you're a republican or democrat you can vote in the appropriate primary.  If you're a republican, don't bother. If you're a democrat, vote for Ned Lamont for governor.  Ganim ran a dirty campaign and is a crook anyway.  Go for Lamont.

As for the 5th congressional district, it doesn't much matter.  Hayes and Glassman are very close on the issues so pick one so long as they're elected in November. That part is very important.  The republicans have got to go. They are systematically destroying the country for ordinary people like you and me.  Beginning with the head coward (Donny boy) and on down to the
Cowardly Ryan they have made it clear we don't matter.  Get them out of there.

Next blog-no politics.  Promise.

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Your chance to be heard

If you are a registered democrat or republican, you have an opportunity to weigh in on who you think the candidate should be for upcoming elections.  There are a couple of choices for the 5th congressional district being vacated by Rep. Esty and several choices for governor. 

If you're an independent, unfortunately you won't be able to vote in any of the primaries.

So republicans or democrats, get out there. Be heard.  And no matter who you are, when November rolls around, VOTE!

Saturday, August 4, 2018

Beware the promises

Tis the season.  Campaign season, that is, for upcoming midterm elections including the governor of CT.  From now until election day in November we're going to be bombarded with TV ads and robocalls extolling the virtues of a given candidate while they reveal the mortal sins of their opponents.  And of course along with that come the promises. 

This year there are two democrats vying for the governorship and a whole host of republicans.  The republicans smell blood because outgoing democrat Malloy is one of the most unpopular governors in recent memory so they're expecting a voter backlash.

One of the many promises coming from the republican side is to phase out the state income tax.  That will certainly have broad appeal.  After all, who likes paying taxes?  But I hope voters think it through carefully.  The income tax represents a significant source of revenue.  If that's eventually eliminated, obviously services will also be eliminated.  I hope someone asks the candidates who they plan to hurt when they do this because someone is definitely going to be hurt.  In fact one particular candidate has already put a bull's eye on state employee unions so we know where he's coming from but what about the others?  Police services? Highway maintenance? Teachers' pension/health fund (we've already taken several hits here)? The poor?  Education assistance to towns? All of the above? 

Find out before you jump on the no income tax band wagon.  You might be one of the victims.

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Welcome August

Welcome to the dog days of August.  To learn more about the month of August, click here georgeswebpage.com/almanac

Monday, July 30, 2018

Amendment to last post

The link I provided for my Hawaii slide show may not work for those using an iPad.  If you are trying to access the slide show with an iPad or an iPhone use this link georgeswebpage.com/hawaiiipad

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Pictures of Hawaii & San Francisco

I prepared a 30 picture slide show of our recent trip.  Click below to see it. Wait for it to load and then press the play button.  We took literally hundreds and hundreds of pictures but that would be too many to post on my website so these are a representative sampling.

georgeswebpage.com/hawaii

Monday, July 23, 2018

More observations about Hawaii

There are a couple of other things about Hawaii that have recently come to mind.  They have nothing to do with the beautiful flora and geography of the state. Rather they have to do with the states attitude toward energy conservation, recycling and its general approach to the environment.

Consider:
1. Solar panels in abundance.  Both residential and commercial buildings are covered with them.
2. No plastic containers.  In fact when you go into a store you are not given a bag.  You have to bring your own reusable container for your purchases.
3. Luggage is screened at airports separately from TSA screening the purpose of which is to make sure no harmful plants or foods are brought in or taken out.
4. They are very fussy about leaving wildlife undisturbed both on land and in the sea. For example it's illegal to touch any of the many large turtles that will be within reach when you snorkel.
5. You may not remove chunks of lava however small from the beach.  Look at it but leave it alone.
6. Littering fines are very high.  Well into the hundreds of dollars.
7. Admiring the flora is of course fine.  Picking wild flowers is not.  Leave them be.

On an unrelated note-even though you often see signs saying Private Beach, they are in fact all public.  The signs are put there by locals who don't want tourists tramping all over.  Also, there are cautionary signs posted at all overlooks and beaches.  None of the beaches has lifeguards. So you're on your own.  As far as the overlooks go, proceed with caution.  Use common sense. Get too close and you're in trouble. 

There are probably a few I have missed but as you can see Hawaii is determined to protect itself from the damage that some tourists can cause and from themselves.


Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Back to the world

We're back and here's what the past 16 days  looked like:
July 2-Pick up and drop off at hotel at JFK. One night.
July 3-6:30 A.M. flight to San Francisco.  One night.
July 4-Flight from San Francisco to Maui.
July 9-Flight to Kauai. Late arrival. Two days there.
July 12-Back to Maui
July 15-Back to San Francisco. Two days there.
July 17- Return to JFK and home. 
July 18-Arrive home 3 A.M. after weather related 3 hr delay.

It was an amazing trip.  Hawaii was a geographic marvel.  It had everything.  Snorkeling, swimming, hiking, mountains, waterfalls, lava flows, etc.  We even went on a helicopter ride in Kauai.

San Francisco was also an interesting place.  Fisherman's wharf, Muir Woods and a ferry boat ride across the bay with a close pass to Alcatraz.  One downside to SF was the high number of homeless people. 

So now back to the world-mowing, yard clean up from the microburst a month ago, and deck painting.  Always something. 

Next trip: a short one to some friends in PA in late August and another short one to our condo in FL in early September.

I'll be posting a slide show of numerous pictures of our trip on my website.  I'll tell you when it's ready.

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Welcome July and other odds and ends....

Welcome July-the start of those summer "dog days".  Do you know how "dog days of summer" originated? Here's a hint. It has nothing to do with dogs roaming around panting.

To learn more about the month of July, click here georgeswebpage.com/almanac

Next: a few odds and ends
I'll be taking a break from the political scene for a while both here and on Facebook (I'm sure you're thinking, "Good, it's about time")  It's too depressing to dwell on so best to simply ignore it and hope for the best. Grumbling and griping aren't helping.

On that note I am reading a book now called "The Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen".  Hendrik Groen is an 83 year old inhabitant of a nursing home in the Netherlands.  He set out to keep a daily journal of various thoughts and events.  It's a great book and being only 8 years away from his age and I can fully relate to much of what it says.  Pick up a copy and read it. 

I've been busy getting the yard in shape because I won't be getting back to it for the next couple of weeks. Nor will I be posting here until the middle or so of July.  We're going on a trip with my daughter's family so I'll be busy doing other things.  When we do get back, however, I'll have tons of great pictures to show you which you'll be able to get on my web site (see above-just remove the 'almanac' suffix).

That's it for now.  Don't forget to check out the July almanac page.




Friday, June 22, 2018

In the mean time.....

The news for the past few weeks has been preoccupied with the issues of separation of children from parents and North Korea.  But in the mean time something else of significance should have our attention. That is the recent rulings by the Supreme Court.

The most recent for example gave states power to charge sales tax on internet purchases whether or not those purchases were filled in the state of the buyer.

This is important because it continues a pattern established by this very conservative court.  The power of the individual shrinks more and more with every decision.  Corporate and government entities on the other hand have growing power.

I am not a constitutional scholar but I have read in numerous places that the founding fathers meant for individual rights to supersede corporate and government rights.  What's happening now  is a very unfortunate turn.  We need very badly to put in place a president and congress who will return the court to a position intended by the founders. 

Keep this in mind on election day.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Reflections of Father's Day-2 days late

  Lots of things shape the way people turn out.  Their parents, socio/economic status, extended family, friends, health, etc.  As a father and grand parent I am part of that process.  Sunday I looked around at a Father's Day family gathering and realized how lucky I was to be able to say I had at least some influence on how great a bunch of people were around me. 

I put this situation in the context of what's happening in Texas with refugee families entering the country, watching children be removed from their families and I realize the extent of Trump's crimes against humanity.  Will those children ever recover?  Maybe, if the policy is reversed quickly enough. Otherwise, who knows?

What have we become?  At lease the situation is drawing the attention it deserves but there doesn't seem to be any move to correct it.  In fact Trump and his trolls simply double down. 

Impeach now. It's the only solution.

Friday, June 15, 2018

We've reached a new new low

I thought Donald Trump hit bottom at Charlottesville, VA where he legitimized Nazis, the KKK and white supremacy.  I was wrong.  His endorsement of the separation of children from their parents at detention centers in Brownsville Texas sets a new standard for evil.

How is it the press is not screaming headlines every day at this disgusting situation?  Is it possible people accept it?  Have we become that bad?

I don't care that the parents of these children entered the country illegally.  If that's the case, send them ALL back across the border. But to separate families is profoundly unacceptable. 

Wake up, America.  Trump simply has to go.  Period.

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Discrimination at the checkout

I do most of the grocery shopping for my wife and me.  I've noticed something interesting.  When there's a lady-especially a pretty one-checking out,  male baggers are falling all over themselves to bag for her.  The minute she's gone and it's my turn, they disappear leaving me to bag my own stuff. 

Coincidence?  I think not.  I demand action. Stay tuned to learn the outcome of my campaign to stop discriminating against old men!