Saturday, April 22, 2017

Another First

A few days ago I announced that I was going to do something I had never done before. That was hire a landscaping company to do my spring cleanup chores and spread mulch.  Four men showed up on time and spent the entire day doing the job.  It turned out great and was worth every penny. That's one more major chore I don't have to worry about.

Now I'm reporting another first.  This is much less significant but still a first.  After a run of very warm spring days, we recently ran into a string of chilly, rainy weather.  Normally I would start a fire in the wood stove but I had already cleaned the stove so instead I turned up the heat for a little shot of warmth.  Certainly not a big deal but maybe the start of a trend.  Am I getting soft and lazy or just deciding not to sweat the small stuff?  I prefer to think it's the latter.

It's off to Florida next week for about 10 days.  I don't think there will be any concerns about chilly weather  there.

Next blog will probably come from our condo in Florida.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Two Days in NYC

I spent this past weekend with my daughter's family.  Sandi was still involved with the end-of-tax season rush so they were nice enough to drag me along.

We visited Little Italy and China Town,  the site of the World Trade Center memorial and the new mall, the Empire State Building,  the NY public library and St. Patrick's Cathedral and St. Paul's Chapel among other things.

We did a tremendous amount of walking, riding subways and took Uber a couple of times.

It was a very nice trip and the girls got to see many different sites including a fair number of homeless people which intrigued them very much.  A pleasant outcome of this was the girls realized how lucky they were to have the quality of life they had.

Trips like this are important for kids and adults alike.  They need to see that there's far more to this country or world than their own little corner.  It's an important avenue to learning about and appreciating different cultures.  That in turn leads to tolerance and understanding.  As a nation I regret say many people are in short supply of those things.

To see a few pictures click here georgeswebpage.com


Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Announcing A First

Something is going to happen tomorrow that has never happened before.  A landscape company is showing up to do my spring cleanup.  With a trip to Florida coming up, I find I'm unable to do everything I want done in a timely manner. 

There will be plenty left for me to do i.e. prepare and plant the garden, repair stonewalls and do some waterproofing around our cellar doors.

I got a better than expected price for the job so I'm anxious to see how well they do.

Update: This is day 5 with my son's dog, Boomer.  Yesterday he got me up at 3:30 A.M. to go outside and then went back to sleep.  This morning he got me up at 5:20 A.M. to go out.  Then he has breakfast and plays for a while.  He's now sound asleep but it's too late for me to go back to bed so I'll be looking forward to a little nap later.

More updates to come.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Our house guest

Beginning today we will be hosting our new grand dog for a week.  Since Sandi is up to her eyeballs in tax returns, the lion's share of the care will come from me.

Boomer is my son's family's boxer  puppy who will be staying with us while they're in Florida for spring break.

I've done a lot of dog sitting over the years for both of my kids.  Becky and her family have a yellow lab.  But this is the first time I'll be in charge of a puppy who has yet to be house broken.

Among the instructions I rec'd are these:
Eats three times a day.
Goes in his cage at about 10 P.M. and is up by about 6:30 (I suspect this is rather optimistic).
Needs to go out every hour and rewarded with a treat when he's done.
Can not be walked in public places where other dogs are walked. He's still too young for vaccinations so he's at risk for parvo, et al.
Not mentioned but assumed is the usual stuff about plenty of exercise and guarding against chewing.

So it will be an interesting week.  When I do go out, he'll have to be caged.  Our house has too many ways for him to get into trouble since it's not really 'puppy-proofed'.

I'll keep you informed as to how things are going.

Cute little guy, isn't he?


Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Updated website

The photo gallery of my website has been updated with new pictures added. Check it out. georgeswebpage.com

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Happy April

Yes, it's April already and that's no joke.  Soon the trees will be leafing, flowers blooming and bright sunshine warming us up.

In spite of two big storms this past winter wasn't all that bad.  There have been far worse. 

To learn more about April, click here georgeswebpage.com/almanac


Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Two things

1. I just finished reading a book called A Man Named Ove by Swedish writer Fredrik Backman. It is absolutely one of the best books I've ever read.  I'm not going to tell you about it.  Read it. 

2. Have you ever written a letter or email to a Congressman?  I have. Over the years I have written senators and representatives about a variety of issues.  The latest messages were emails to two Senators.  Every congressman has a web site which makes it easy to tell them what you're thinking or ask them a question.

I wrote to Senators Blumenthal and Murphy of CT.  I expressed my outrage over Trump's recent executive order repealing what I considered to be important climate regulations.  

Usually what happens is that you get an auto response thanking you for your input. Whether or not the person it was supposed to go to has actually seen it is anyone's guess.  I did get two responses to the last message I sent to Sen. Chris Murphy before this one so we'll see. 

Still, does it do any good to complain to a congressman?  Especially if that congressman is a member of a minority party?  Probably not but I have to confess it did make me feel a tad better.  At least I got my two cents in. 


Friday, March 24, 2017

Observation

I've been watching the debate in Congress on the Affordable Care Act bill being pushed hard by Trump, Ryan et al.  The bill is a disaster and would be terrible for the poor and elderly.  Ironically, most democrats and many conservative republicans are on the same page on this although for different reasons.

Failure to pass this bill would be a huge defeat for the Trump administration.  Let's hope it doesn't pass.  Stay tuned.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Hello, Spring. Bring on the warmth!

In keeping with my goal of sharing pretty much useless information, here are some spring facts for your enjoyment.


·  The first day of spring is called the vernal equinox. The term vernal is Latin for “spring” and equinox is Latin for “equal night.”
·  According to a Facebook study, couples are most likely to break up in the spring and two weeks before Christmas. The lowest breakup time was Christmas Day and from August through October.
·  The fall and spring equinoxes are the only two times during the year when the sun rises due east and sets due west.
·  On the first day of spring, a person at the North Pole would see the sun skimming across the horizon, beginning six months of uninterrupted daylight. A person at the South Pole would see the sun skimming across the horizon, signaling the start of six months of darkness.
*Spring babies are at a greater risk of developing several ills
·  While springtime brings flowers and warmer weather, it may be the worst time for human babies to be born. A large-scale study found that babies born in the spring are more likely to develop schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, major depression, and anorexia.
·  Holidays that occur in spring include Easter, Passover, April Fool’s Day, Earth Day, Arbor Day, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Cinco De Mayo, and Holi (festival of colors in India).
·  One long-term study found that, at least in the Colorado Rocky Mountain region, spring begins, on average, about three weeks earlier than it did in the 1970s.
·  Easter always falls on the first Sunday after the first full moon after the spring equinox.
·  The first spring flowers are typically lilacs, irises, lilies, tulips, daffodils, and dandelions.
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·  The myth that it is possible to balance an egg on its end on the spring equinox is just that: a myth. Trying to balance an oval-shaped object on its end is no easier on the spring equinox than on any other day.
·  While some people prefer not to feed birds in spring and summer, during the spring migration, a feeder might be a useful source of food for traveling birds.
·  The term “spring fever” refers to a both psychological and physiological symptoms associated with the arrival of spring, including restlessness, daydreaming, and increased sexual appetite. While the exact cause is unclear, scientists believe that increased light, more exercise, and more bare skin influence hormone levels.
·  The word “season” is from the Latin sationem meaning “sowing” or “seed time.”
·  While December is the most popular time to get engaged, late spring (June) and fall (September) are the most popular months to get married.
·  According to the National Association of Realtors, spring is the most popular season to sell/buy a house. Buyers are usually hesitant to move during the winter when the weather is colder and kids are in school. So, while there are lots of houses to choose from in the spring, property prices are at their highest then.
·  A “spring tide” has nothing to do with the season of spring. Rather, it connotes a “springing forth.” Spring tides happen twice each lunar month all year long, regardless of the season.
·  Children actually grow faster in the spring than during other times of the year.
·  The early Egyptians built the Great Sphinx so that it points directly toward the rising sun on the spring equinox
·  Honeybees are more likely to swarm during the spring. They swarm as a way to start new colonies from successful ones. Surprisingly, swarming honeybees are very docile and the most friendly they will ever be all year.



Friday, March 17, 2017

How old is YOUR snow shovel?

Odd question, isn't it?  The reason I ask is because a few days ago we got hit by the largest snow storm of the year.  As usual, news crews went around talking to  merchants who sell snow shovels.  The common answer is "sold out."   I find this amazing.  Why do so many people need snow shovels?  Do they throw them away after every storm?  Do they get lost? How can you wear out a snow shovel?

I have three snow shovels.  Each one has a purpose.  My oldest shovel is made of metal and it's over 30 years old.  My second one is about 5 years old.  The one it replaced had a cracked wooden handle. It was about 15 years old.  The third one is about 3 years old. It's one of those designed for pushing the snow.  It replaces one that after about 10 years it was so worn down it did practically nothing.  So I suppose stuff does happen but to so many people so often?

Beats me. But this is how my mind sometimes works.  Silly things like this stick in my head so naturally I share it with you.  Now you can think about it too.

So Happy St. Patrick's Day one and all.  Now go find your shovel.  More snow is on the way!
 

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Solve all our problems. Send money.

I'll bet I get at least 5 emails a day that are actually for the purpose of raising my money.

Take for example the emails I get from politicians from all sides either criticizing Donald Trump or speaking out in support of his policies.

They usually begin with a headline blaring from the screen saying something like "join me in protesting this dreadful appointment to _________ (fill in the blank)."  Then it goes on to ask how much you're willing to send, be it a lowly $5 or a super supporter of $500. 

I've often wondered how giving them money is going to help.  Are they going to use it to fund a law suit?  Or maybe they're going to hire lobbyists.  Of course in reality, the money is going into their campaign coffers with the argument being if you help them  get re-elected they'll be able to continue the good fight.

Needless to say, I never donate.  But the emails keep coming. Every day.  And somehow they manage to avoid going in my spam folder.  I wonder how they do that.


Wednesday, March 8, 2017

My web site vs this blog

Every year about this time I have to make a decision as to whether or not I should continue paying for hosting services for my web site.  The blog you are reading now is a separate-and free-web presence. You can get to it from a link I embedded in the navigation bar of my web site or directly by using its own URL.

If you got here directly, you may want to know that my web site address is georgeswebpage.com.
If you got here through my web site you may want to know my blogspot URL
is gstockwell.blogspot.com.   The service is provided Google.

The two web sites serve different purposes.  My blog is 99% text.  As you can see if you've been following it, the purpose is to give me a forum for my opinions on a variety of topics.  My web site does three things.  The photo gallery is the biggest in content with pictures, slide shows and video.  Then there's a link to this blog and finally there's an almanac link wherein I post information on the current month.

My blog is quite a bit newer than my web site but the number of views is approaching my web site.  All of this tells me my blog is seen by more people than my web site.  The almanac link on my web site has very few views so I'm thinking of putting something else there or just eliminating it.

I will definitely keep going with my blog since it's free so now the question is should I continue my web site.  It costs me about $8 a month for the hosting service.  It's certainly not going to break the bank but it does require time and effort-although I have to admit I enjoy doing it. 

My web site gets about 20 views a week so someone somewhere is looking at it.  Recently, I've changed the direction of the photo gallery a little.  I still have family pictures but I've begun to post more nature oriented pictures as well.  This is especially true since I've developed an interest in photography. They are all pictures I've taken.  None are obtained from the internet. If I decide to continue my web site, I'll  continue this trend.

I always ask for suggestions or ideas as to how I could make my web site better.  Check it out and if you have an opinion, let me know.  There's a 'contact me' button in the nav bar.

Thanks.

Friday, March 3, 2017

Pet Peeve number...I've lost count

THE DEMISE OF PROOFREADING!

Proofreading was one of those writing skills we used to drum into our students' heads over and over again.  Reread what you've written.  Does it make sense?  Are there any spelling mistakes or misused words?  If so, FIX IT!  Eventually kids realized that if they didn't do it correctly, they were simply going to get it back to be redone. 

I wish I had a nickle for the number of emails,  text messages and Facebook messages I've received from a variety of people that are total nonsense.  Usually I try to puzzle it out or overlook it but sometimes I question the authors as to their meaning.  I generally get one or more of the following responses:

"You knew what I meant."
"I don't have time to go over everything with a fine-toothed comb.  Figure it out."
"It's not my fault. It's this darn phone. My autocorrect keeps doing it."
"Oops. Sorry, hit the wrong key. Hahaha."
"Well, excuse me, Mr. Perfect."

I'm no more perfect than the next person and I can understand an occasional error that falls through the cracks but the situation has become chronic.  When I've discovered a mistake I have to go back and fix it.  I can't let it stand.

I realize there's a whole new language that has sprung up on the internet.  Texting shorthand has become the norm. I think this is unfortunate.  I think there should be a law against incomplete sentences and misspelled and/or misused words (LOL. JK).  Well, maybe that's a little severe!  Let's just encourage proper usage and let it go at that. 

Buy the way, there's a mistake in this post somewhere.  Did you see it?

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Happy March

It's March already.  Spring is right around the corner but as we all know March weather can be full of surprises.  To learn more about the month of March, click here georgeswebpage.com/almanac


Monday, February 27, 2017

In case you're bored, ponder these.

Need a little pick-me-up.  Here you go:
How important does a person have to be before they are considered assassinated instead of just murdered?

Once you're in heaven, do you get stuck wearing the clothes you were buried in for eternity?

How is it that we put man on the moon before we figured out it would be a good idea to put wheels on luggage?

Why is it that people say they 'slept like a baby' when babies wake up every two hours?

Why do people pay to go up tall buildings and then put money in binoculars to look at things on the ground?

Why do doctors leave the room while you change? They're going to see you naked anyway...

Why is 'bra' singular and 'panties' plural?

Why do toasters always have a setting that burns the toast to a horrible crisp, which no decent human being would eat?

If Jimmy cracks corn and no one cares, why is there a stupid song about him?
Why does Goofy stand erect while Pluto remains on all fours? They're both dogs!

Do the Alphabet song and Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star have the same tune?

Why did you just try singing the two songs above?

Did you ever notice that when you blow in a dog's face, he gets mad at you, but when you take him for a car ride, he sticks his head out the window?

Why do we press harder on a remote control when we know the batteries are dying?
Why do banks charge a fee on 'insufficient funds' when they know there is not enough money?

Why does someone believe you when you say there are four billion stars, but check when you say the paint is wet?

 Why do they use sterilized needles for death by lethal injection?
Why doesn't Tarzan have a beard?

Why does Superman stop bullets with his chest, but ducks when you throw a revolver at him?
Why do Kamikaze pilots wear helmets?

If people evolved from apes, why are there still apes?
Why is it that no matter what color bubble bath you use the bubbles are always white?

Is there ever a day that mattresses are not on sale?
Why do people constantly return to the refrigerator with high hopes that something new to eat will have materialized?

Why do people keep running over a thread a dozen times with their vacuum cleaner, then reach down, pick it up, examine it, then put it down to give the vacuum one more chance?
Why is it that no plastic bag will open from the end on your first try?

How do those dead bugs get into those enclosed light fixtures?
Why is it that whenever you attempt to catch something that's falling off the table you always manage to knock something else over?

In winter, why do we try to keep the house as warm as it was in summer when we complained about the heat?
How come you never hear father-in-law jokes?

Friday, February 24, 2017

Odds & Ends

Herewith a few odds and ends.
First, yesterday I turned 74.  At my age I'm not big into birthdays.  Maybe a little reflection on things as they stand but not much.  I'm just happy I'm still able to get up under my own power and live life fairly normally.  I don't honestly feel that old.  I enjoy being around the grand kids, I have a great family, I'm still able to tend to the yard and work up a supply of fire wood so all in all in spite of a few health related bumps in the road things are going well. On to 75!

Second, for my birthday my wife and I went to a movie and out to dinner.  The movie was called "Hidden Figures".  It's about a group of black female mathematicians who played a crucial role in the early days of our space program.  It was fantastic.  It will make you mad as hell and then happy.  Go see it.

Third, given the political climate these days you'll probably end up at a lot of movies for the foreseeable future just to avoid thinking about the mess we're in with bozo the clown running the country.  

That's all for today. 


Monday, February 20, 2017

Happy President's Week

This is the week schools celebrate the births of two of our greatest presidents: George Washington and Abraham Lincoln.  Lincoln was actually born on the 12th and Washington the 22nd.

Most schools are off these two days or even the week but it's doubtful if any of the kids much less their parents are taking this as an opportunity to learn more about these two presidents so as a public service I hereby offer the following obscure information about each.

Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln was a licensed bartender.

Abraham Lincoln's son, Robert, was saved from a train accident by Edwin Booth, brother of his father's killer, John Wilkes Booth.

Lincoln was the first major leader in the U.S. to feel that women should be allowed to vote.

Abe Lincoln is enshrined in the Wrestling Hall of Fame, having lost just once in 300 matches.
assassinated.

Lincoln's dog, Fido, was also assassinated.

Abraham Lincoln, Walt Disney, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Henry Ford, Thomas Edison and Steve Jobs, all of them had no college degree.

Charles Darwin and Abraham Lincoln were born on the same day.

Abraham Lincoln dreamt of his assassination before it happened.

A secret message was engraved inside Abraham Lincoln's pocket watch by a jeweler, and it was not discovered until 2009.

An 11-Year-Old Girl Convinced Abraham Lincoln to Grow His Beard.

Abraham Lincoln has no confirmed living descendants. The last one, a great-grandson, died in 1985.

Robert Todd Lincoln, first son of Abraham Lincoln, was present or nearby the assassinations of his father, James Garfield, and William McKinley.
 
Poisoned milk killed Abraham Lincoln's mother when he was 9 years old.

Abraham Lincoln was the tallest U.S. President at 6-foot-4.

Abraham Lincoln was the first U.S. President born outside of the original 13 colonies.

Abraham Lincoln was the first U.S. President to be photographed at his inauguration

Washington

1. He didn't have a middle name.

2. He was not born on February 22, 1732.

3.That's his real hair, not a wig.
It looks white because he powdered it.

4. He was made an honorary citizen of France.

5. For a time, he was a non-president Commander-in-Chief (but didn't do much).

6. Nobody will ever rank higher than him in the U.S. Military.
In 1976 Washington was posthumously awarded the highest rank in the U.S. military, EVER.

When Washington died, he was a lieutenant general. But as the centuries passed, this three-star
rank did not seem commensurate with what he had accomplished. After all, Washington did more
than defeat the British in battle. Along the way he established the framework for how American
soldiers should organize themselves, how they should behave, and how they should relate to civilian
leaders. Almost every big decision he made set a precedent. He was the father of the US military as
well as the US itself.
So, a law was passed to make Washington the highest ranking U.S. officer of all time: General of the Armies of the
United States. Nobody will ever outrank him.

7. He had quite the salary.
According to the Christian Science Monitor, in 1789, his presidential salary was 2 percent of the total U.S. budget.

8. Even so, he had some cash flow problems.
He actually had to borrow money to attend his own first inauguration.

9. He was one of the sickest presidents in U.S. history.
Throughout his life, he suffered from a laundry list of ailments : diphtheria, tuberculosis, smallpox, dysentery, malaria,
quinsy (tonsillitis), carbuncle, pneumonia, and epiglottitis—to name a few.

10. He may or may not have died as a result of medical malpractice.
On the day he died, Washington was treated with four rounds of bloodletting, which removed 5 pints of blood from
his body. It seems that it proved to be too much. From the New York Times:
On Washington's fateful day, Albin Rawlins, one of his overseers and a bloodletter, was summoned.
Washington bared his arm. The overseer had brought his lancet and made an incision. Washington
said, ''Don't be afraid.'' That day, Rawlins drew 12 ounces of blood, then 18 ounces, another 18
ounces and a final 32 ounces into a porcelain bleeding bowl.
After the fourth bloodletting, the patient improved slightly and was able to swallow. By about 10 p.m.,
his condition deteriorated, but he was still rational enough to whisper burial instructions to Col. Tobias
Lear, his secretary.
At 10:20 p.m., Dr. James Craik, 69, an Edinburgh-trained physician who had served with Washington
in the French and Indian Wars, closed Washington's eyes. Another Edinburgh-trained physician, Dr.
Gustavus Richard Brown, 52, was also present. The third physician, Dr. Elisha Cullen Dick, 37, who
had been appointed coroner the previous year, stopped the clock in Washington's bedroom at that
moment.

11. He Might Have Been Infertile.
It is well-known that Washington had no children of his own. In 2007, John K. Amory of the University of Washington
School of Medicine proposed that Washington was infertile. Armory goes through a number of possible reasons for
Washington’s infertility, including an infection caused by his tuberculosis. “Classic studies of soldiers with
tuberculous pleurisy during World War II demonstrated that two thirds developed chronic organ tuberculosis within 5
years of their initial infection. Infection of the epididymis or testes is seen in 20% of these individuals and frequently
results in infertility.”

12. Washington’s body was almost buried in the Capitol.
He requested that he be buried at Mount Vernon, and his family upheld his request, despite repeated pleas by
Congress. They wanted to put his body underneath a marble statue in the Capitol.

13. He Was Not Very Religious.
According to Washington biographer Edward Lengel, "He was a very moral man. He was a very virtuous man, and
he watched carefully everything he did. But he certainly doesn't fit into our conception of a Christian evangelical or
somebody who read his Bible every day and lived by a particular Christian theology

14. He never chopped down that cherry tree.
Parson Weems, who wrote a myth-filled biography of Washington shortly after he died, made up the cherry tree
story. The Mount Vernon Digital Encyclopedia identifies that book, The Life of Washington, as " the point of origin for
many long-held myths about Washington."

 15. He was an inveterate letter-writer.
We don’t have an exact number, but the best estimates seem to put the number of letters he penned somewhere
between 18,000 and 20,000. If you wrote one letter a day, it would take you between 50 and 55 years to write that
many.

16. Before becoming the Father of the Nation, Washington was a master surveyor.
He spent the early part of his career as a professional surveyor. Here’s one of the earliest maps he created, of his
half brother Lawrence Washington’s turnip garden:
Over the course of his life, Washington created some 199 land surveys. Washington took this skill with him into his
role as a military leader.

17. Before fighting the British, he fought FOR the British.
At the age of 21, Washington was sent to lead a British colonial force against the French in Ohio. He lost, and this
helped spark the Seven Years War in North America.

18. He was a dog-lover.
Washington kept and bred many hunting hounds. He is known as the "Father of the American Foxhound," and kept
more than 30 of the dogs. According to his journals, three of the hounds' names were Drunkard, Tipler, and Tipsy.

19. He lost more battles than he won.
According to Joseph J. Ellis' His Excellency: George Washington, “he lost more battles than any victorious general
in modern history.”

20. He was lucky, but his coat wasn't.
In the Braddock disaster of 1755, Washington’s troops were caught in the crossfire between British and Native
American soldiers. Two horses were shot from under Washington, and his coat was pierced by four musket balls,
none of which hit his actual body.

21. He didn’t have wooden teeth.
But he did have teeth problems. When he attended his first inauguration, he only had one tooth left in his head.

22. He is the only president to actually go into battle while serving as president.
On September 19, 1794, George Washington became the only sitting U.S. President to personally lead
troops in the field when he led the militia on a nearly month-long march west over the Allegheny Mountains to the
town of Bedford.”

23. He fell in love with his best friend’s wife.
According to Joseph Ellis' His Excellency, several letters show that before he married Martha, Washington was in
love with Sally Fairfax, who was the wife of George William Fairfax.

24. He was widely criticized in the press in the later years of his presidency.
He was accused of having an overly monarchical style and was criticized for his declaration of neutrality in overseas
conflicts. Thomas Jefferson was among the most critical of Washington in the press, and John Adams recalled that
after the Jay Treaty, the presidential mansion “was surrounded by innumerable multitudes, from day to day buzzing,
demanding war against England, cursing Washington.”

25. He owned a whiskey distillery.
He installed it at Mount Vernon in 1798 and it was profitable. According to Julian Niemcewicz, a Polish visitor to the
estate, it distilled 12,000 gallons a year. In 1799, Washington wrote to his nephew: “Two hundred gallons of Whiskey
will be ready this day for your call, and the sooner it is taken the better, as the demand for this article (in these parts)
is brisk.”

 

 






Friday, February 17, 2017

Insanity defined....

Ever wonder what a truly insane person acts like?  Actually, you probably know plenty of nut jobs out there but one really convincing case recently appeared before us: Trump's news conference yesterday!

During that performance we saw him display some of the most common signs of insanity:
compulsive lying
delusional
paranoia
denial
hostility
egomania
neurosis/psychosis
narcissism

I could go on, but you get the idea.

Here's the thing. We've always known this about Trump so it's not really a shock.  But what concerns me is the unbelievable lack of backbone displayed by our congressional leaders.  The only ones we're hearing from are those from the minority party so their effectiveness is limited.

Take for example Congress's recent rollback of Pres. Obama's executive order barring the sale of firearms to those with a documented mental disorder.  After yesterday's congressional move, those people now have a right to own firearms.  Unbelievable.  You can't make this up. We're in such big trouble!

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Happy Valentine's Day

I hope all you husbands out there remembered a card and/or flowers minimum.  I remembered.
Now here's some interesting trivia about Valentine's Day:

Sixty two percent of adults say they celebrate V Day.
Men spend on average $150 and women $74.
About 8 billion Sweetheart candies are produced for the day.
Contrary to popular opinion it is not the most popular holiday for greeting cards. Christmas is.
Over two million marriages take place every year on Valentine's Day.
The tradition started with the Romans during their Lupercalia festival.
The traditional heart-shaped chocolate box was started in 1868 by the chocolatier Richard Cadbury.
A dozen long stem roses can cost 3 time their usual price on this day.

Happy Valentines Day

Thursday, February 9, 2017

SNOW!

The first serious snowfall of the year.  Up to 18" expected.
It's nine A.M. and this is the view from my garage to the road. Near whiteout.
See more pictures on georgeswebpage.com. Click on photo gallery.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

And on and on it goes....

With V.P. Mike Pence's tie-breaking vote, Betsy DeVos is the nation's new Sec'y of Education.  This is nothing short of a travesty.  This appointment will go a very long way to weakening our public school system.  Wake up America!

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Happy Groundhog Day

Today is Groundhog Day.  Groundhog Day day originated in Germany and subsequent settlers brought it over with them to Punxsutawney, PA.  Originally, the animal used  was a hedgehog.  Groundhogs are also known as woodchucks.  The one used for today's ceremony is named Phil.

The rule is if he sees his shadow, there will be six more weeks of winter.  If not, an early spring.  How they can tell whether or not he saw his shadow is a mystery to me but according to the folks in Punxsutawney, PA who conducted the ceremony this morning, he did in fact see his shadow-as if anyone had any doubt.

Obviously there is no science whatever involved in this silly tradition but I guess we should welcome any opportunity for a few people to have a little fun-especially during these trying times.

Anyway, happy Groundhog Day.


Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Happy February



Goodbye, January.  Hello, February.

Although it can be one of snowiest months of winter, there's a lot to like about February.  First of all it's loaded with family birthdays one of which is mine.  Second, the kids get a break from school in the middle of the month for Presidents' Weekend.  In my day we used to get the whole week off but most school systems have gone to a 4-day weekend instead to get kids out earlier in June.

Another thing I like about February is that tiny, little light at the end marking the approach of spring.  I can even remember Februarys that had a string of days with temperatures well into the 50s. Sure there have been record snowfalls too but with the sun getting ever higher in the sky, it melts quickly.

Yes, February is a good month-not my favorite but good.  So happy February, everyone.

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


Sunday, January 29, 2017

Two Observations

1. Remember the fuss the republicans put up when Pres. Obama issued those executive orders?  Well, guess what. Trump has written more in his first week in office than all of Obama's combined. Now where's the fuss.  They're such a bunch of hypocritical phonies.

2. The attacks on the press  by Trump,  his chief of staff and others is troubling.  Freedom of the press is the bedrock of a democracy.  So what can you do?  Write, call and email your senators and representatives. If enough people do it, you'll get results.

Thus endth my rants for the day.  More positive posts to follow.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

A Happy Ending

Some time ago I posted a piece describing my experience with Verizon.  The long and short of it was that I was getting charged a monthly fee for an account that was no longer active.

Representatives at my credit card company assigned a case number and assured me they'd look into it and have the charges discontinued.  They didn't and the charges kept appearing.

Today I called Verizon direct.  The individual I spoke to spoke clear, understandable English and understood the problem completely.  I was returned all the money I was charged and the account was closed. 

The whole thing took less than 5 minutes. 

So often in this spot I post stories of profound incompetence and frustration.  I'm happy to report a good outcome for a change. 


Saturday, January 21, 2017

Post Inauguration Observation

As you may or may not know I am on Facebook.  My daughter got me started several years ago.  Anyway, most of my 'friends' are former students & colleagues.  There's also a smattering of various relatives, i.e. nieces, nephews, cousins, children and their spouses and families, etc.  Very few are actual 'friends' in the traditional sense of the word.

So the other day one of my 'friends'-actually a woman about 45 years old who is a former student-posted a picture and accompanying comment celebrating Trump's inauguration.  Against my better judgement, I replied with the following question/comment:

"Interesting. So here's my question and I ask it at the risk of offending someone but here goes: How can ANY woman with an ounce of self respect support a pig like this who openly brags about sexually assaulting women? I admit I'm old fashioned because, well, I'm old. So help me out. What are you thinking...and I apologize in advance to anyone who's offended."

Well!  I sure opened a can of worms with this.  Not only did this person's friends attack me but her adult children did as well.  One person out of the many agreed with me but we were definitely in the minority.

My reply was an apology and the suggestion that we should probably forget the whole thing and move on.  I then blocked her from future news feed because I'm sure the bombardment will continue indefinitely. (Blocking is one way of hiding a person's posts without 'unfriending' them.  It's all very complicated and Facebooky stuff).

So what's to be learned here.  Well first and foremost something I've always known was proven once again: Human beings have a remarkable way of ignoring what doesn't fit with their belief system while letting in that which does.  In psychology it's formally called cognitive dissonance.  It works every time and I'm probably guilty of it from time to time myself.  

Anyway, I've decided to return to the mantra that has served me well for many years: Keep calm and carry on!   What could go wrong?

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Goodbye, President Obama, and thank you.

Goodbye, Mr. President, and thank you for your leadership for the past 8 years.  Over that time you have managed to overcome blatant hatred, bigotry and racism to help end one of the worst recessions in American history.  America now has the lowest unemployment rate in years and a recovering economy.  In addition to this you have kept us safe from foreign attack and you presented to the world an America who remembered its heritage of welcoming the persecuted and down trodden. The Affordable Care Act (an act that was never meant to be a finished product, rather a first step in the right direction) has enabled millions to obtain the health insurance they need.  (They will soon be at risk of losing it.)

In spite of having to deal with a Congress who vowed to resist every move you've made in spite of how good it may have been you managed to do all of this with unbelievable dignity, class and grace.   You have been a beacon of rationality and sanity in the face of hatred and exclusion.

And now we face four years (dare I hope not) of a level of  division, hatred, xenophobia, misogyny and bigotry that we have never seen before.  God help us.


Monday, January 16, 2017

Happy New Year

Although the year turned 17 days ago, here's a belated Happy New Year wish.
May the new year bring you happiness and health.

Now this for a little perspective:


THE YEAR IS 1917

The year is 1917 "One hundred years ago."
What a difference a century makes!
Here are some statistics for the Year 1917:
The average life expectancy for men was 47 years.
Fuel for cars was sold in drug stores only.
Only 14 percent of the homes had a bathtub.
Only 8 percent of the homes had a telephone.
The maximum speed limit in most cities was 10 mph.
The tallest structure in the world was the Eiffel Tower.
The average US wage in 1910 was 22 cents per hour.
The average US worker made between $200 and $400 per year.
A competent accountant could expect to earn $2000 per year.
A dentist $2,500 per year.
A veterinarian between $1,500 and $4,000 per year.
And, a mechanical engineer about $5,000 per year.
More than 95 percent of all births took place at home
Ninety percent of all Doctors had NO COLLEGE EDUCATION!
Instead, they attended so-called medical schools, many of which were condemned in the press AND the government as "substandard."
Sugar cost four cents a pound.
Eggs were fourteen cents a dozen.
Coffee was fifteen cents a pound.
Most women only washed their hair once a month,
And, used Borax or egg yolks for shampoo.
Canada passed a law that prohibited poor people from entering into their country for any reason.
The Five leading causes of death were:
1. Pneumonia and influenza
2. Tuberculosis
3. Diarrhea
4. Heart disease
5. Stroke
The American flag had 45 stars ...
The population of Las Vegas, Nevada was only 30.
Crossword puzzles, canned beer, and iced tea hadn't been invented yet.
There was neither a Mother's Day nor a Father's Day.
Two out of every 10 adults couldn't read or write.
And, only 6 percent of all Americans had graduated from high school.
Marijuana, heroin, and morphine were all available over the counter at local corner drugstores.
Back then pharmacists said, "Heroin clears the complexion, gives buoyancy to the mind, regulates
the stomach, bowels, and is, in fact, a perfect guardian of health!" (Shocking?)
Eighteen percent of households had at least one full-time servant or domestic help...
There were about 230 reported murders in the ENTIRE U.S.A. !
I am now going to forward this to someone else without typing it myself.
From there, it will be sent to others all over the WORLD all in a matter of seconds!

It is impossible to imagine what it may be like in another 100 years.