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The Last Word
Thursday, June 8, 2023
Monday, June 5, 2023
About book banning
Recently our town was in significant turmoil over the issue of book banning. Several parents and members of the Board of Education recommended banning two books dealing with gender and sexual issues in teenagers.
There was a great deal of discussion about this issue. Much of it involved a good deal of very inappropriate name calling and hostility. In fact the behavior of many people distracted from the issue to such an extent that it very nearly overshadowed the main point of it all. In the end it was decided to allow the books to remain in Middle and High School libraries.
And all of this happened in little old Newtown, CT. But it's happening elsewhere in places like Florida, Texas, Arizona, Idaho, Wyoming, etc. Do you see a pattern here? Mark my words, if this country goes red in the next elections you're going to see more efforts to ban books someone somewhere decided your kids shouldn't read.
Look, the issue is simple to me. If you don't want your kid reading a certain book, fine. Don't let him/her/it. But you don't have the right to impose your view on others. Book banning to me is abhorrent. It's what the Nazis did to control its citizens. It can not be allowed to happen here. This is a free country-for everyone-not just the far right like nut jobs like Trump and DeSantis.
This issue is far from over in Newtown and the nation as a whole. I'm afraid it will divide us even more than we already are-if that's possible.
Wednesday, May 31, 2023
June’s full Moon, the full Strawberry Moon, occurs on Saturday, June 3.
June Holidays or Occasions
Paul Bunyan Day
National Rose Month
African-American Music Month
National Ice Tea Month
National Candy Month
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
Symbols of June
- Birthstone: Pearl
- Flower: Rose
- 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 18 is Father’s Day this year. Find activity ideas and learn about the history of Father’s Day.
- June 19 is Juneteenth (also known as Freedom Day or Emancipation Day). On this day in 1865, Union General Gordon Granger read the Emancipation Proclamation aloud in Galveston, Texas, effectively liberating enslaved people in the state, which had thus far been beyond control of the Union Army.
- June 21 is the summer solstice, which heralds the start of summer in the Northern Hemisphere. It’s the day with the most hours of daylight. In the Southern Hemisphere, winter begins at this time.
- In Canada, June 21 is National Indigenous Peoples Day (Canada), recognizing the contributions of the many First Nations, Métis, and Inuit peoples.
- June 24 brings Midsummer Day, also St. John the Baptist’s Feast Day. Traditionally, this was the midpoint of the growing season, halfway between planting and harvesting. It is celebrated in many cultures on the night of June 23, as Midsummer Eve! Learn all about Midsummer traditions.
- June 28 is the anniversary of the 1969 Stonewall Riots—a watershed moment for LGBT rights in the United States.
Monday, May 29, 2023
Happy Memorial Day. Let's take a minute to acknowledge the sacrifice made by so many for all of us.
There seems to be a little confusion about the difference between Memorial Day and Veterans Day. For example I hear on TV and I see posts on Facebook where people are thanking all veterans for their service. Being a veteran, I say you're welcome but I don't feel I've earned the right to be lumped in with Memorial Day veterans.
Veterans Day is for all who have served. But Memorial Day is for those who gave their lives in the service of their country. There's a very big difference.
It's certainly not an issue to start arguments over but I think the distinction is important.
Wednesday, May 24, 2023
This is an update on yesterday's post. My eye doctor has assured me that things will improve over time. And as of this morning there has indeed been a great improvement. I have another appointment next Tuesday at which time I expect even more improvement.
Tuesday, May 23, 2023
Not happy with cataract surgery
Yesterday morning I had cataract surgery on my right eye. My left eye is scheduled to be done June 12th. But I'm not happy with the results thus far. Granted it's been barely 24 hrs but from what my wife and friends have told me they had instant results.
For me, it's like sitting in a smoke filled room. A white vale and generally blurry images. Definitely not what I expected. I see the doctor this afternoon for a follow up so I'll learn more but if this is as good as it gets or even just a little better there's no way in hell anyone's touching my left eye. My vision in that eye isn't all that bad anyway.
I'll be back with a follow up to this situation.
Monday, May 15, 2023
Got something to sell? Try Facebook Market Place
Remember the good old days when if you had something to sell you simply ran an ad in the classified section of your local paper? Well, no one reads newspapers anymore so now what do you do? Simple. Try Facebook Market Place. I hear also that Craig's List is a good alternative but I've heard some negative things about it plus I don't have any actual experience with it so I'm confining my observations to Facebook Market.
I've either sold or given away 5 different things:
Wood burning stove: $750
Two single beds with frame and mattress: free
Antique Victorian Settee: $200
20 yr old log splitter: $600
Two gallons of hydraulic fluid: free
The process for listing these things is very easy and it doesn't cost anything. But like anything else you're selling at first you're likely to get a big response but much fewer actual visits to view the item.
I sold my stove in no time at all which leads me to believe I could have gotten more but that's the way it goes. On the other hand I valued my splitter at $800 but after two guys looked and passed on it and others weighed in with lower offers I finally had to come down a couple of hundred dollars but hey, that's gone too.
The messaging system on Facebook is convenient and you can always switch to private texting if you don't mind giving out your phone number.
One thing to watch for: people trying to get you to use various auto deposit apps like Venmo. I insisted on cash for everything. That way it's right there in your hands.
Thursday, May 4, 2023
Back from Florida...and what a trip it was!
Well, here we are, the first full day back from Florida. We left warm, sunny weather and arrive to chilly, overcast weather. Aside from that there is nothing good to say about our recent trip to our condo.
Our troubles all began when our limo driver never showed up to take us to the airport. I called the company to find out where he was and they said he had the wrong time. By then it was too late for them to pick us up so we cancelled. I was able to salvage a little bit of the day by booking a later flight from a different airport. Then we called a different limo service and in spite of the last minute we were able to arrange for transportation.
By the time we got to our condo it was really too late to do anything so we watched a little TV and went to bed. The next day I did a few chores on my list but was increasingly bothered with a bad cough and stuffy nose so I went to urgent care. I got some cough medicine and an antibiotic. By the time we got done there it was too late to get anything more accomplished on my list.
The next day we spent replacing burned out light bulbs and low batteries. It was also time to change the A/C filter. Things continued to go fairly smoothly until I heard my wife yell out a scream. There in the middle of our hallway was a 4 foot long snake. I think it must have slipped in when I was unloading stuff from the car. When we have several trips to make from the car to the condo we usually leave the front door open until we're done.
My wife gave me a blanket to throw over it and the plan was I would gather it up and toss it outside. As we approached our little friend he slithered into the front bedroom and hid under a bed. We decided to close the bedroom door and seal the bottom with duct tape. Then we called our property management company. They sent someone over but when we went back in the bedroom we couldn't find the snake.
Our next step was to call a company that specialized in removing wildlife from people's homes. They came over the next day and were able to locate it and get rid of it. That meant we had to spend the night with a snake trapped in one of our bedrooms. I slept fairly well but my wife was up off and on all night.
After that we were able to continue with our chores and prepare our condo for a long period of absence. But all in all it wasn't one of our more relaxing trips.
Saturday, April 29, 2023
About the month of May
is the 5th month of the year and has 31 days.
Season (Northern Hemisphere): Spring
Cinco de Mayo
National Teacher 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
month of May was named for the Greek
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.
Interesting 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.
Monday, April 10, 2023
The test of time
When I was 16 the only thing I was interested in was girls
When I was 30 I was interested in the career I started on and the start of our family.
When I was 60 I was looking forward to retirement and grandchildren.
Now that I'm 80 I'm most interested in my health.
There are two things that have prompted this walk down memory lane. One is my need for cataract surgery and the other is my need to plan for the possibility of kidney dialysis. I'm not quite there yet but it's damn close so it's prudent to plan and not be caught off guard.
And life marches on.
Friday, March 31, 2023
April Fools' Day
Autism Awareness Day
National Poetry Month
National Arab American Heritage Month
Teacher Appreciation Week
Jazz Appreciation Month
Alcohol Awareness Month
Cancer Control Month
Symbols of April
- Birthstone: Diamond
- Flower: Daisy and the sweet pea
Interesting 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.
Friday, March 24, 2023
Update to my website
I recently made some changes and updates to my web site. Take a look. Lots of good nature pictures.
Friday, March 17, 2023
Happy St. Patrick's Day
Here are a few things about St. Patrick that you may not have known.
1. He was actually born in Britain
2. He did not drive the snakes out of Ireland. There are no snakes in Ireland.
3. The shamrock is a sacred plant. My lawn is apparently full of sacred plants.
4. Corned beef and cabbage is American.
5. The first St. Patrick's Day parade was held in New York City.
Happy St. Patrick's Day. I'll leave you with my favorite Irish blessing.
Wednesday, March 8, 2023
Get tough with Mexico!
By now everyone has heard about the 4 people who were kidnapped in a border town in Mexico. Two of them were found dead, one injured and the other unharmed. It appears they were caught in the middle of a drug gang shootout.
Granted they should have heeded the state departments level 4 warning which says basically do not under any circumstances visit this area so the four people bear some of the responsibility but I wonder why the U.S. hasn't taken a tougher stance with Mexico about this issue along with people entering the U.S. illegally.
Is Mexico doing anything to help us with this issue or are they just looking the other way as more and more people pour through our borders? And what is Pres. Biden doing to address this problem? This whole issue is a major problem for him and his administration.
The issue of illegal immigration was supposed to be handled by VP Kamala Harris. When Biden and Harris were elected it was announced that that would be her primary responsibility. Someone was going to finally solve this problem. What happened? From where I sit I haven't seen, heard or read of any progress. In fact it's worse-to the extent that scumbag governors like Florida's Desantis and Texas' Abbott are randomly rounding up confused and helpless immigrants and shipping them like cattle to other states.
Get with it, democrats. You've got an opportunity here to solve a big problem and put yourselves in a better position for the upcoming elections.
Tuesday, February 28, 2023
About the Month of March
Full Moon March 7th
Read Across America Day (Dr. Seuss Birthday)
Saint Patrick's Day
Daylight Saving Day
Women's History Month
National Nutrition Month
American Red Cross Month
Fire Prevention Month
Symbols of March
- Birthstone: aquamarine and bloodstone
Interesting Facts about March
- It is the first month of Spring which begins between March 19-21.
- In the Southern Hemisphere, March is the same as September in the Northern Hemisphere.
- Each year March and June end on the same day of the week.
- It is the time of year when animals start to wake up from hibernation.
- March Madness is a basketball tournament played by the NCAA.
- Easter is sometimes celebrated in March.
Friday, February 24, 2023
The big EIGHT O.
Today marks my eightieth trip around the sun. Tons of people have reached out to me on Facebook, all the people in the nursing home where I volunteer gave me stuff and my family and many of my friends acknowledged the day with messages and emails. And they're not through. Apparently there's going to be some sort of celebration this coming weekend. All of this is a far cry from my childhood birthdays but that's a whole other story!
After 80 years one would logically wonder what words of wisdom I have accumulated for the benefit of younger folks but I regret to say the list is not that long.
I have come to realize that what I thought was important when I was younger has changed over time. That's to be expected as far as I'm concerned.
At one time my family, career and financial security were dominant. Today, it's just my family and financial security but added to that is my health. And that's true for all of my friends as well.
So my advice? Take care of yourselves. Yeah, yeah, we all know, life is short but that doesn't mean you should be stupid.
Saturday, February 11, 2023
Need something to read? Try this-Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus. This is a first novel for this author and it is a great one. There's a healthy dose of humor with a serious underlying message. Give it a try.
Wednesday, February 1, 2023
Chinese New Year
National Freedom Day
Black History Month
American Heart Month
Chocolate Lover's Month
National Bird Feeding Month
National Dental Month
Symbols of February:
- Birthstone: Amethyst
- Flower: Primrose
Feb. full moon-Feb. 5th
- February 2 is Groundhog Day—the day we find out whether winter will last six more weeks or call it quits early. How did this quirky tradition get started? Find out the meaning of Groundhog Day.
- February 12 is Abraham Lincoln’s Birthday. The 16th president of the United States was born in a one-room, 16x18-foot, log cabin with a dirt floor.
- February 14 is always Valentine’s Day. Heads up, lovebirds! Today, the holiday is celebrated with love, flowers, and chocolate, but how did this holiday get its start? Learn all about Valentine’s Day.
- February 15 is Susan B. Anthony’s Birthday. How much do you know about this women’s right leader?
- February 15 is also National Flag of Canada Day!
- February 20 brings Presidents’ Day, a federal holiday also known as Washington’s Birthday that is celebrated on the third Monday in February. (George Washington’s actual birthday is February 22!)
- February 21 is Mardi Gras, (aka “Fat Tuesday” or Shrove Tuesday), which is the final feasting day before the Christian tradition of Lent begins on the following day, Ash Wednesday.
- February 22 is Ash Wednesday, which marks the start of Lent.
- February 27 is Clean Monday. Also called Pure Monday, this day marks the beginning of Great Lent for followers of the Eastern Orthodox Christian Church. This day is similar to Ash Wednesday of the Western Church.
Tuesday, January 31, 2023
Are you ignorant?
Sometimes it seems like all I do is complain but I actually don't. But this time I do have one. I was watching the Today show while we were in Florida and Carson Daly was doing this bit with someone about something or other and the person he was with told him he needed to use 10 liters of water. Daly then asked how much is 10 liters?
I was amazed but I shouldn't have been. I'll bet there are a lot of people who can't mentally conceptualize about how much 10 liters is (for the record, it's roughly equivalent to 10 quarts).
I think that's indicative of a broader problem-ignorance-of just about everything. For example I read somewhere that for people under 25 yrs old only 40% actually know what the Holocaust is. Now that's pathetic.
Another thing that gets me is watching reporters or someone doing that man-on-the-street routine where they stop people (usually young people) and ask them random questions about things like history, geography or science. The unbelievable number of clueless people out there is amazing-especially when it comes to geography.
I remember back in the day when our four grand kids were little and I'd be baby sitting I'd take them downstairs where the finished part of our basement was set up like a classroom. They used to love to play school-especially if one of them could be the teacher! Anyway, I would have maps hung up all over the place of regions all over the world. I would get them from National Geographic and we'd play geography games. I did the same thing with my students during my teaching days. I can guarantee you that if that roving reporter were to stop one of my former students he'd get correct answers!
Monday, January 23, 2023
Odds & Ends
I just noticed it's been a while since I last posted. In all fairness I've been busy. Between illnesses and some traveling to our FL condo and other family duties there hasn't been much time.
Things have settled down fairly well now. Everyone is healthy for the moment and we have a little time to breathe.
Having said that, there isn't much to report. Things keep rolling along at their usual pace and with the exception of an occasional speed bump we're doing fine.
So far winter has been very tolerable-in spite of the dire forecasts in the Farmer's Almanac. Let's hope it stays that way.
I'll be back in about a week with a few observations.
Saturday, January 7, 2023
Happy Second Anniversary
Today is January 6, 2023. It is the second anniversary of the attempt to overthrow our government led by Donald Trump. I have a few observations regarding this:
1. Why hasn't Trump been held responsible for this? Is he above the law?
2. The people involved in this insurrection are domestic terrorists. It is good to see so many of them being sentenced to prison.
3. It is unbelievable that there are Congressmen who still insist the election was stolen and who refuse to condemn Trump and the others for their part in treason.
4. We are just now getting a Speaker of the House. This is indicative of the chaos within the republican party. I can only imagine what's in store for the country with these lunatics in the majority. Thank God we have a democratic senate.
Just think. In no time at all we'll be dealing with all of this all over again when the next election rolls around. Fun.
Sunday, January 1, 2023
New Years Day
Martin Luther King Jr. Day
National Book Month
Thank You Month
National Eye Care Month
National Volunteer Blood Donor Month
National Soup Month
Symbols of January:
- Birthstone: Garnet
- Flower: Carnation
January was named after the Roman god Janus. Janus is also the Roman word for door. The god Janus had two faces which allowed him to look forwards into the coming year and backwards into the past year.
The original Roman calendar only had 10 months. January and February were not included, but were added later.
Interesting Facts about January
- On average, it is the coldest month of the year in the Northern Hemisphere.
- It is the second month of winter.
- In the Southern Hemisphere January is a summer month the equivalent of July.
- Sometimes the Saxons called January the wolf month because hungry wolves would come into their towns searching for food this time of year.
- For a long period of European history, the start of the New Year occurred in March.
Saturday, December 31, 2022
Good bye, 2022
It has been quite a year. Some good, some not so good.
It began with illness in the form of COVID for both Sandi and me. I bounced back pretty quickly but Sandi struggled with it. In fact she's still dealing with some after effects. I'm positive that were it not for the vaccinations, she would have ended up in the hospital.
That pretty much describes the entire spring. But in July we had recovered enough to go to Hawaii for two weeks with out daughter and her family.
The rest of the summer was uneventful up to October at which time we went to Rome with my daughter's family again to not only visit Rome but to see our elder grand daughter who was a first semester college student there. While we had a great time. Sandi still struggled with a nagging cough. Remnants of COVID.
We returned from Rome and had a fairly uneventful fall except Sandi still needed to recover from her respiratory issues. December 1st we went to our condo in Florida for two weeks for some warmth. Then back home to finish out the year.
So you can see there were ups and downs but we're still here so there's that.
Wishing you all a very happy new year and a healthy, peaceful 2023. To bring this to a close, I have listed all of my new year's resolutions. Here they are:
Sunday, December 25, 2022
Merry Christmas 2022
Merry Christmas 2022.
Long gone are the days when we stayed up late putting together toys, getting everything out from hiding and putting it all under the tree and setting out the milk and cookies. Then it's up early the next morning, tearing down the stairs to see what Santa left.
Now it has become a family tradition to gather Christmas Eve and open a lot of stuff. And what do the grands get these days? Sports gear, video games, gift certificates, jewelry and makeup and lots and lots of clothing! But it's all good.
Merry Christmas to one and all. May 2023 be a year of good health and peace.
Wednesday, December 14, 2022
A sad day
Today is the 10th anniversary of what is most definitely the worst day in the lives of a great many people. At least it is for me.
It was 10 years ago that a deranged lunatic entered Sandy Hook Elementary School and killed 26 people. It was an act of immeasurable horror. Of those 26 people 20 were children. Unthinkable, and Newtown is still reeling from it all.
The worst part of all of this is that there are still people in schools being killed by guns. So how much progress have we made? None.
The town of Newtown and the community of Sandy Hook have a nice new memorial to commemorate the occasion. I haven't seen it yet but I will within the next couple of weeks.
Here's a picture of it.
Monday, November 28, 2022
Full Moon Dec. 7th
Pearl Harbor Day
Read a New Book Month
Human Rights Month
National Handwashing Awareness Week
National Fruit Cake Month
Symbols of December
- Birthstone: Turquoise, zircon, or tanzanite
- Flower: Narcissus or Holly
- Zodiac signs: Sagittarius or