Monday, June 1, 2020

Happy June

The Month of June
·  Birthstone: Pearl
·  Flower: Rose

Flag Day
Fathers Day
Paul Bunyan Day
National Rose Month
National Dairy Month
African-American Music Month
National Ice Tea Month
National Candy Month

Noteworthy Dates
  • June 5 is World Environment Day—a day meant to raise environmental awareness across the globe.
  • June 14 is Flag Day (U.S.). Be sure to raise the flag! Learn about the U.S. Flag Code, which provides guidelines for displaying the American flag properly.
  • June 20 is the summer solstice, which heralds the start of summer in the Northern Hemisphere. It’s the day with the most hours of daylight, so enjoy! In the Southern Hemisphere, winter begins at this time.
  • June 21 is Father’s Day. Find activity ideas and learn about the history of Father’s Day here.
  • June 21 is also National Indigenous Peoples Day (Canada).
  • June 24 brings Midsummer Day, traditionally the midpoint of the growing season, halfway between planting and harvesting.
“Just for Fun” Days
·       June 1: Say Something Nice Day
June 3: Chimborazo Day
June 6: National Yo-Yo Day
June 8: Upsy Daisy Day
June 21: Go Skateboarding Day
June 30: Asteroid Day

Friday, May 29, 2020

Chinese user manuals

I recently rec'd a barber kit from Amazon. It was, of course, made in China.  As always, I peruse the user manual before I start using anything I buy-especial Chinese products-which is just about everything.

Anyway, I'm used to a certain amount of confusion but the mistakes are usually pretty minor.  Then I saw what you see below.  It is the most garbled set of directions I've ever seen.  The mistakes range from "before use & after suing" to "way of waste battery disposal recharge".  There's more- a lot more.

Someone needs to improve their editing skills.  I hope I'm asked by Amazon to review the product.  I have a few things to tell them!

Saturday, May 23, 2020

King Donald

The president recently ordered governors to allow churches to open.  He said if they didn't then he'd override them and order it himself.  His rationale was that people needed to pray.

First, Trump doesn't have the authority to override governors on this issue.  Second, I thought it was possible to pray just about anywhere.  Why can't people go to a quiet place in their yard or if they don't have a yard just quietly sit in a chair in their homes?  Does God really care where you go to talk to Him (Her? It?).   Worship does not have to be confined to a particular location.  After all, plenty of soldiers prayed long and hard in a foxhole!

So what's this all about?  Well, you know as well as I do.  Did you notice Trump was surrounded by evangelical leaders while he posed as king?  They all looked dutifully somber and supportive.  The reason is because with their churches closed, the flow of cash stopped.  Pure and simple.  It's about the money, gang.  We all know that.  Trump needs those evangelicals to encourage their flocks to support him.  His base is shriveling by the minute. 

Some governors will cave to him for the same reasons but there will be plenty of others who will tell him to go pound sand, i.e. Cuomo of NY and Lamont of CT for starters.

You need to pray?  No problem.  Stop talking, close your eyes and pray away!

Friday, May 15, 2020

At last-my web site is ready.

Well, it took a while but I finally finished transitioning my website to a new format.  I've streamlined it somewhat because data has shown that there were certain high maintenance features that were not being viewed so I've made some adjustments.

The site now consists of pictures I have taken-all nature pictures.  There's also a link to my grand daughter's photography efforts. 

That means I will no longer be posting pictures in this space so go to to see some pretty neat stuff.

There's also a contact me link so let me know what you think.  Thanks.

Thursday, May 14, 2020

A Blast from the Past

May 14, 1964-exactly 56 years ago today I, along with many other men, boarded a train in Bridgeport, CT bound for Fort Dix, New Jersey.  It was the first day of our 2 year commitment in the U.S. Army.  We had been drafted.

Talk to kids today and they haven't a clue what the draft meant to young men in those days but to people my age it was almost a rite of passage.  When you turn 18 you must register for the draft (that still exists).  Then in a couple of years, if you're healthy and not married or a student, you can expect to be drafted.  The requirement is 2 years active duty, 2 years reserve and 2 years inactive reserve-a six year commitment. 

When I was in I didn't have to do the 2 years reserve duty because there were so many men joining the reserve thinking it would get them out of Viet Nam so they let me off the hook since I did 2 years active.

As I think back to that day, I recall we were pretty glum because we were leaving home to an unknown adventure but no one really complained or felt victimized.  It was simply something we had to do.  We certainly weren't heroes.  It was just something everyone did-unless of course you're a cowardly little rich boy who went whining to your  daddy to get  out of it but off hand I can only think of one person who did that.  The rest of us just went.  Personally  it did me a lot of good.

Sunday, May 10, 2020

Happy Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day to all you great moms out there.  A special shout out to the three pictured here: my wife, Sandi; my daughter, Becky; and my daughter-in-law, Jen.   Have a great day.

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Two welcome sights

Spring continues to be marked by blooms and the return of our feathered friends.  First picture our pretty old flowering crabapple tree.  Second picture the return of the hummers.

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Welcome May!

 Hello May
While the month of April has only 30 days, it seemed more like 300 this year so May is more than welcome.  Let's hope things return to normal very quickly.  At least the weather will be conducive to more outdoor activities. 
Here are some fast facts about the month of May.

May Day
Cinco de Mayo
National Teacher Day
Mothers Day
Victoria Day
Memorial Day
National Physical Fitness and Sports Month
Asian American Heritage Month
Jewish American Heritage Month
Skin Cancer Awareness Month
National Bike Month

Symbols of May
  • Birthstone: Emerald
  • Flower: Lily of the Valley
  • Zodiac signs: Taurus and Gemini

The month of May was named for the Greek goddess Maia. She was the goddess of fertility. The Romans had a similar goddess named Bona Dea. They held the festival for Bona Dea during the month of May.

The Romans called the month Maius. The name changed over the years. It was first called May in the 1400s near the end of the Middle Ages.

Historical Names:
  • Roman: Maius
  • Saxon: Thrimilci
  • Germanic: Wonne-mond
Fun Facts about May
  • It is the third and last month of the season of spring.
  • The birthstone of May, the emerald, symbolizes success and love.
  • May in the Northern Hemisphere is similar to November in the Southern Hemisphere.
  • May was once considered a bad luck month to get married. There is a poem that says "Marry in May and you'll rue the day".
  • In Old English May is called the "month of three milkings" referring to a time when the cows could be milked three times a day.
  • The Indianapolis 500 car race is held each year during this month. The Kentucky Derby, the world's most famous horse race, is also held on the second Saturday of this month.
  • The month of May is devoted to the Virgin Mary in the Catholic Church.
  • The United Kingdom celebrates May as the National Smile Month.
  • The last week of May is Library and Information Week.

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

An Observation and An FYI

First, an observation:
It's occurred to me that all those morons out there protesting against stay-at-home rules put in place by many governors are all of a sudden pro choice.  Their argument is that government is interfering with their rights.  Never mind the possibility that when they mingle in public they could be endangering others.  That doesn't count.  Idiots all of them...and surprise, surprise.  Ninety nine percent of them are Trump supports!

That was my rant for the day.  Now on to a word about my web site

It seems the software I used to create and update the site is so old it will no longer operate on my computer. I am therefore in the process if switching to a new procedure.  This will take time as I have to learn how to do a few things.  The site is still up but I haven't updated it since February. 

Since then I've taken several cool pictures.  I'll post some of them here until my new site is up and running.  Then I'll switch back.

Here's the first.  I took this one morning last week.  It's a barred owl and it's perched in a Kousa dogwood tree about 20 feet from my house. I hear them in the woods all the time but it's the first one I've actually seen in my yard and we've been here 34 years.

Friday, April 10, 2020

Home Schooling

The governor of Connecticut, Ned Lamont, has declared that the soonest public schools can open is now May 20th.  At that time a decision will be made about the rest of the year.

Schools have been closed for about a month.  Parents have had to homeschool.  The good news is there are  numerous resources at their disposal to help them and many school systems have made arrangements for teachers to stream lessons. 

The bad news is that even with all the support available, it's still a burden for parents.  The curriculum and methodology today has changed dramatically since the time parents were in school.  This is especially true where teaching math is concerned.  And picture yourself a parent of a high school student taking a math class like trigonometry or calculus or one of the sciences, i.e. earth science, biology, chemistry or physics.   It would be virtually impossible for most parents to effectively teach those subjects. 

As I mentioned in a previous post it's during times like these when you have a new appreciation for the Internet.

Being a retired teacher I am familiar with the challenges parents face.  Many parents don't even know how to begin. 

One thing is very true and I've heard experts say it over and over.  Routine is important.  Establish a routine.  Kids will get used to it and things will go more smoothly.  Be organized and consistent.  Those are important suggestions. 

Unfortunately I can't even offer assistance to my grand children because we are quarantined.  But everyone in my family at least seems to be doing very well.

And here's a final observation.  This is an ideal time for the federal government to be a tremendous asset during these difficult times.   Have you heard anything from Betsy DeVos, the Secretary of Education?  Me neither.  Pathetic disgrace. 

Remember all this in November.

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Greetings April

Hello April
Birthstone: Diamond
Flower: Daisy or Sweet Pea

·       April Fools' Day
Autism Awareness Day
Earth Day
Arbor Day
National Poetry Month
National Arab American Heritage Month
Teacher Appreciation Week
Jazz Appreciation Month
Alcohol Awareness Month
Cancer Control Month

Fun Facts about April
  • It is the second month of spring. It is a time of planting and spring cleaning.
  • In the Southern Hemisphere, April is the same as October in the Northern Hemisphere.
  • The diamond of April symbolizes innocence.
  • The Boston Marathon is held during April.
  • In Ancient Rome the month of April was sacred to the goddess Venus.
  • The Japanese fiscal year for most businesses starts on April 1st.
  • In England there are many cuckoo festivals. The arrival of the cuckoo bird in April is a signal that spring has arrived.
  • April is the month when the professional baseball season begins in the United States.

Monday, March 30, 2020

Odds & Ends

1.)  Every time he opens his mouth he manages to make himself look like an even bigger fool than the time before.  I am of course talking about our "con-man in chief" Donald Trump.  Hurry up, November.

2.)  What are you doing to spend the time during this period of quarantine?  Here are a few things I've been doing:
I still make dump runs.  Very little if any human contact there.
I confess to spending quite a bit of time in front of my computer or playing games with others on my iPad.  Words With Friends is the primary game.  I post a lot on Facebook.  Mostly funny stuff to lighten things up.
I workout every morning for 30-40 minutes.
We have a big yard so I've been getting outside as much as I can.  This should pick up as the weather improves. Along with that, we'll begin taking walks around the neighborhood or on hiking trails somewhere away from people.
I read a lot.  I'm on my 7th book since the start of the year.
There's always something that needs to be done around the house.  Now it's getting done.
I like doing crosswords, word jumbles and sudokus.  I usually start doing them around 11 A.M. up to lunch time.
That's about it.

3.) I just got off the phone with a good friend of mine from the Pittsburgh area of PA.  Her go-to activity is jigsaw puzzles.  She said before she knows it, four hours has gone by.  That's a long time.  I don't know if I can focus for that long.  Sandi likes them so maybe we'll give it a try.

4.)  It's almost the end of wood burning season.  So far for the heating season of 2019-2020 I've burned just about 3 cords.  I have about 5 cords on hand for next year.  Should be plenty although I usually like 2 years supply.  By the time I'm done with what I currently have I'll be very close to 80.  Will I still feel like working up a supply of wood every year after that?  Maybe not.  We were thinking of converting our fireplace where the wood stove is into a gas burning fireplace.  We already have a 500 gallon propane tank we installed for our whole house generator.  We could use that same supply for the fireplace.  Of course it defeats the purpose of free heat but it is efficient, clean and very convenient. I'll get back to you on that in 2 years.

5.) One thing that I've known all along but has been reinforced even more since the start of our self-imposed isolation-day time network TV is dreadful.  If you must watch, join Netflix or Amazon Prime and stream something.  There's lots of good stuff out there.  I especially recommend British TV.  You'll find the better ones on Acorn TV or BritBox.

6.)  One final observation.  I mentioned above that I was spending a lot of time in front of a computer.  It's during times like this that the computer really proves its value.  I'm thinking about its use in distant learning. Think about it.  Schools are closed yet schooling continues.  Many teachers and all parents are on line either teaching or providing resources.  School districts across the country are scrambling to ensure that all students have access to this tool.  I cringe at the thought of how much would be lost without the computer or the internet. 

That's enough rambling for today.  Stay healthy.

Friday, March 20, 2020

Covid19 Part Two

The coronavirus is a legitimate concern.  Most people who catch it will make a normal recovery without requiring hospitalization but the usual at risk groups need to exercise caution.  Having said that, I have been monitoring the level of hysteria on Facebook and I think a lot of people need to step back, take a breath and exercise common sense. 

I've seen posts that range from calling for martial law to cleaning out stores and hoarding.  All ridiculous. 

Social isolation is indeed important but there are times when you simply need to get out, i.e. grocery shopping, doctor's appointments, dump runs, etc.    Just don't go anywhere where there's more than a few people assembled.

Then there's the other extreme such as college spring breakers who ignore all warnings and assemble by the dozens or even hundreds not much caring about the consequences.  They are a menace and need to get a grip on reality.  Human contact is what spreads this virus.  Common sense says stay away from people as much as possible until it passes.

For now I plan to stay off of Facebook before I say something to someone that I might regret later!

Friday, March 13, 2020

Coronavirus AKA Covid19

So here we are.  The range of emotions in the general public goes from skepticism to panic.  Schools, sporting events, entertainment venues and anything else that would ordinarily attract large numbers of people have been cancelled.  The stock market has tanked and there's a general shortage of test kits.

So that's where we stand. 

Here's what I know:
1. There are more cases out there than we realize.
2. Most of the people who catch it will experience mild to moderate symptoms and eventually fully recover.
3. Take a common  sense course of action-wash hands, keep hands away from face, etc. etc. You've heard it all.
4. Elderly (like me!), children and those with a compromised immunity system are at most risk.
5. There is no vaccine for it-yet.  And there won't be one this year.

That's all I know.  But it sounds a lot like what I've been hearing about the flu which so far has impacted far more people.

The big question is how many people are going to get it. Estimates I've heard are that it could affect as many as 80% of the population.  That's a very big number.  I'm not sure what it's based on but even if it's close it's still a lot.

So I guess the lesson is don't panic.  Live your life.  Avoid crowds. Wash up. And see what happens.

Saturday, March 7, 2020

A few odds and ends

1. Saw this on Facebook.  It's perfect!

If it turns out to be Biden — as disappointed as many folks might be — please remember:
1. You're not just voting for President.
2. You're voting for who replaces RBG on the Supreme Court.
3. You're voting for the next Secretary of Education.
4. You're voting for federal judges.
5. You're voting for the rule of law.
6. You're voting for saving national parks.
7. You're voting for letting kids out of cages.
8. You're voting for clean air and clean water.
9. You're voting for scientists to be allowed to speak about climate change.
10. You're voting for what a President says and does on Twitter.
11. You're voting for housing rights.
12. You're voting for LGBTQ people to be treated with dignity.
13. You're voting for non-Christians to be able to adopt and to feel like full citizens.
14. You're voting for Dreamers.
15. You're voting so that there will be Social Security and Medicare when you retire.
16. You're voting for veterans to get the care they deserve.
17. You're voting for rural hospitals.
18. You're voting so that someone else can have health insurance.
19. You're voting for the preservation of PBS.
20. You're voting to have a President who doesn't embarrass this country every time she or he attends an international meeting.
21. And you're voting against allowing the USA to become yet another authoritarian regime.
22. You're voting for sensible gun laws.
23. You are voting for a woman’s right to choose!
No Democrat is perfect.
Your first AND second choices may have dropped out. Your third might. But the nominee, no matter who she or he is, won't be perfect. They won't pass your purity test. And yet every single one of them will be better than four more years of Trump!!!
Please be reasonable.
2. The idea of Trump & Pence gagging the scientific community and taking charge of the Coronavirus pandemic is so absurdly laughable it boggles the mind.    They're both a pair of ignoramuses who don't know a virus from a loaf of bread.  What to do about it?  Reread No. 1 above!

3. I just got an oil fill up.  Took 200 gallons and paid $1.93 per.  Last fill up was September 2019 and I paid $2.34 per.  Two reasons for such a difference.  First, this has been an unusually mild winter so far.  Second, I supplement our furnace with a wood burning stove.  By the end of the year I will have used about 400 gallons and the reason that's as high as it is is because our domestic hot water is heated by oil.  I began the year with what I thought would be enough wood for 3 years.  It's looking like I'll only have enough for next year and part of a third year.  I do have quite a bit on my property but getting it to the wood pile is always a problem.  I may have our spring cleanup people work on it.

4.  The software I use to create my website is no longer supported by my computer's operating system so I have to redesign my website using templates supplied by the company that hosts it.  Still working on it.  I'm finding it to be somewhat more difficult that I thought.  I have two months to get it done.  Updating the software is financially prohibitive.

5.  The bears are back.  I have to take the bird feeders in at night and put them back out in the morning.  When it really warms up, I'll stop feeding them altogether until next winter.

6.  It's looking more and more like Biden (Byedon) is going to be the guy for the dems.  That's fine with me.  I'd vote for a ham sandwich before I voted for Don the Con.

That's it for now. 

Saturday, February 29, 2020

Happy March. 
Here's some stuff you simply have to know about the month.

Birthstone: Aquamarine
Flower: Daffodil
Full Moon March 9th

American Dietetic Association National Nutrition Month
American Red Cross Month
Caffeine Awareness Month
National Craft Month
Epilepsy Awareness Month
Flour Month
Fresh Celery Month
Frozen Food Month
Irish-American Month
Music in our Schools Month
Noodle Month
National Nutrition Month
Flour Month
Nutrition Month
Peanut Month
Professional Social Work Month
Sauce Month
Women's History Month
Youth Art Month
March Holidays

Spring Equinox March 19th
Women's History Month
National Nutrition Month
American Red Cross Month
Fire Prevention Month

Monday, February 24, 2020

Another year rolls by

Yesterday was my 77th birthday.  Twice a year I set aside a few minutes to reflect on how things have been going-my birthday and New Year's Eve.  The two events are fairly close so nothing much changes.

It's hard to believe I'm edging closer and closer to what in my mind is the magic number for OLD-80!  All things considered I'd say I'm in pretty good shape.  I have a great family who are all doing well; we are financially secure; and in spite of some bumps in the road I'm in fairly decent health.   Not much to complain about there, is there? 

So onward I go,  head-long into the late 70s.  I'll keep doing what I've been doing and hope the future is good to me.  That's all one can do.

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!