Monday, November 11, 2019

Veterans Day 2019

Today is Veterans Day.  Thank you to all who served.  When I was a young man it was expected that all young men having reached the age of 18 will register for the draft and providing they are not deferred for some reason, be drafted into the U.S. Army. 

At that time the draft required two years of active duty and six years of inactive duty at which time you could be recalled for any reason.

I was drafted in 1964 at the age of 21 and like hundreds of thousands of others we did not run and hide, moan and groan or appeal to our rich daddies to buy a doctor to get us out of it.  No, we did the honorable thing.  We went, did our duty and hoped for the best.

Pity we can't say the same for some others.

Happy Veterans Day.  And thank you.


Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Election Day 2019

Today is Election Day for municipalities.  Voters elect local officials throughout the state.  In Newtown where I live the top candidates for the executive branch are running unopposed.  All the other local positions have choices.

After today the political signs that appear on people's lawns will be replaced by signs for national candidates so don't think you're going to escape that particular kind of litter.  It also means there's one more year of intense politics, political commentary, nastiness, mud throwing, animosity, and generally awful behavior.  That in combination with all the impeachment talks is making for a situation where people are afraid to watch the news or even look at social media.  It's times like this when I'm very thankful for streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime.  And one mustn't forget books.  Lots and lots of reading.  In fact before too long I'll have a recommendation for a book I'm reading now.  So stay tuned and stay calm.  The year will go by fast-or not!

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

The first of the class pictures 2019-2020

It's that time of year when class pictures begin to roll in.  The first two of four in our family have arrived.  In looking at them it's amazing to see how quickly the time goes by.  Brooke on the left is a sophomore in high school and Courtney is in 8th grade.  It seems like just yesterday they were little girls sitting at our island counter in our kitchen playing 'scientist'. 

This should serve as a reminder to parents and grand parents to enjoy your  kids because before you know it they'll be up and out!



Thursday, October 24, 2019

Life is one, big cliché!

I remember reading somewhere  someone wrote life is just one, big cliché, i.e a very overused expression. 

Here are a few examples:
  • All that glitters isn't gold.
  • Don't get your knickers in a twist.
  • All for one, and one for all.
  • Kiss and make up.
  • He has his tail between his legs.
  • And they all lived happily ever after.
  • Cat got your tongue?
The one I hear more and more these days is "it is what it is"!  Talk about illogical!  Of course it is what it is.  How could it not be?  Obviously it's meant to mean what ever it is that has happened it's done.  Move on.

The most recent place I hear this is at the end of every episode of People's Court, a show I sometimes watch in late afternoon if I have nothing else to do.  On People's Court the parties are interviewed by the host after the case.   Every single time the losers can be heard lamenting it is what it is. 

I suppose it's only natural that we use clichés so much.  They get the point across and it saves us from having to think of something original to say.  And there are certainly worse things to worry about. I guess we'll just have to get used to them.  They'll never go away. It is what it is.

Friday, October 18, 2019

Blogging

I just read a blog written by a friend of mine (http://gaellynch.blogspot.com/?spref=fb) that shows perfectly the difference between average writing and beautiful, creative writing.  Mine, in case you didn't know, is the average writing.  I make sure I'm grammatically correct and that everything is spelled correctly.  I also explain myself fairly clearly and thoroughly.  I guess you could say I write more like a journalist than a novelist.  In fact I used to write a weekly column for an on-line news website called Patch. 

I enjoy blogging because it gives me a chance to share ideas or put a smile on someone's face or just plain vent so my blogs cover a wide range of topics. 

Someone somewhere is reading them because my hit counter is approaching the fifty thousand mark and that certainly isn't just me checking my hit counter.  Sometimes I even get comments but the person commenting seldom identifies him/herself.  Most of the comments follow blogs of a sensitive nature like politics or gun control.  I have never received a nasty or threatening response.

The blog I linked above deals with the amount of time people spend staring at the screens of their cellphones.  It is not at all critical or snarky.  Read it and you'll see what I mean.  Then remember where you read it and return to that blog from time to time.  You won't regret it.

Friday, October 11, 2019

Happy birthday, Cole

Today is grandson Cole's 12th birthday.  The time is flying by.  We are already talking about how  grand daughter Brooke who will be 16 in January will be driving soon.  Nicholas is looking down the barrel of 11 and Courtney just turned 13.  We celebrated Sandi's 72nd birthday exactly one week ago.  And me?  I lost count. 

Happy birthday everyone.

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

The evidence speaks for itself

So now the Trump administration has officially refused to cooperate with efforts to impeach him.  From where I sit, it doesn't matter.  Trump's own statements convict him.  The House doesn't need anything else.  I say Move One.  He's toast.

Friday, September 27, 2019

Impeach!

Several months ago I wrote a blog arguing against impeachment.  Basically it said since the republican Senate would never go along there was no sense doing it.  Let's just wait for the election.

With recent events continuing to unfold, I've changed my mind. I like to keep things simple so here's the really simple explanation of what happened:  A person-aka whistle blower-overheard Trump tell the president of Ukrain that unless he investigated Joe Biden, his foreign aid would dry up.  Trump then went on to suggest that if he ever found out who the main source is, they're as good as dead.  That's it.  So we have a president using a foreign power to further his own political aims.  Completely illegal not to mention unbelievably immoral.  And now we have a republican senate who seems to be OK with this.  Can you imagine if Obama pulled a stunt like that?

Impeach him and let the chips fall where they may.  If the republicans don't go along with it, they can explain to their constituency why they support a criminal.  Of course a good part of the republican base will take the same attitude as the senate but many won't-maybe enough to make a difference.

Do the right thing, democrats.  You'll be stronger for it.

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Chalk it up to old age!

My last post was a few days ago-the 16th to be exact-and it was about a silly pet peeve regarding people's lack of accuracy when sending emails and other kinds of messages.

It just occurred to me that I completely neglected three important family events that happened during that time period.

First, on September 14th our family welcomed it's newest teenager-grand daughter Courtney turned 13.  That leaves Cole & Nicholas yet to achieve that dubious milestone. 

Second & Third-September 16th two wedding anniversaries to acknowledge.  Sandi & I became a rare breed with 52 years married-to the same person no less.  Then in the same year Courtney was born-2006-our son Peter & his wife Jen got married making 13 years for them.

So happy birthday and anniversary and my apologies to anyone I missed.

Monday, September 16, 2019

Proofread, proofread, proofread!

I know I've written about this before but I think it warrants a revisit.  I see a lot of text messages, Facebook messages and emails and I continue to be amazed at how careless people are about simple grammar and spelling. 

Very often I get a message or email that is utterly incomprehensible.  I always respond with something like "What the hell are you talking about?"  The sender invariably replies with an apology and the excuse that auto correct is to blame to which I respond,  BULL!

What happened to the tedious but necessary art of proofreading BEFORE hitting the send button?  Apparently gone by the wayside.  The fact is no one really cares.  Big deal. A typo. The recipient will figure it out. 

Oh well. I will continue my crusade to bring pride and accuracy back to the written word. 

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

A Day to Remember

  In everyone's life there are certain events, the circumstances of which,  will stay lodged in your memory for ever.  When the anniversary of that event occurs you will immediately recall where you were, what you were doing and any other details of the time.

My first such event was the assassination of John F. Kennedy.  There have been others, equally unpleasant.  The most recent is the terrorist attach of Sept. 11, 2001, eighteen years ago.  The question that many will want to know is could it happen again.  Well, I suppose it's conceivable but I highly doubt it.  Security measures that are obvious and that we don't even know about have been put in place to prevent such a thing.  Osama Bin Laden, the master mind of the attacks,  is gone but there will always be someone to take his place.  We simply-or not so simply-need to cut him off at the pass so to speak.

In the mean time it's important to remain alert and not let complacency overtake us.  Never forget.

Monday, September 9, 2019

The Wings of Freedom

I recently took grandsons Cole & Nicholas to Waterbury/Oxford Airport to see the Wings of Freedom tour.  On display were fighters and bombers from World War II.  The lines were very long so we only got to go through one but it was the best in my opinion.  It was a B17.

I think the boys got a better appreciation for the conditions men had to endure flying and crewing these planes.  So many were shot down but many went on to help win the war.

It was a great afternoon.

To see pictures, click here georgeswebpage.com

Monday, September 2, 2019

New updates to web site

Check out the photo gallery of my web site.  Several pictures have been added.
georgeswebpage.com

Sunday, September 1, 2019

Sunday morning, Midland, TX

"Thoughts and Prayers"
"Our Hearts go out"
"Such a tragedy"

Trump, Pence, Republican Congress and NRA: "When's breakfast?"

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Another hurricane headed our way

Owning a condo in Florida is a two-edged sword.  On the upside we're lucky enough to have a place for us and the family to go to pretty much when ever we want to enjoy-usually-beautiful weather and beaches.

The downside is of course in the news as we speak.  The threat of a hurricane.  The last storm to impact us directly was Irma and as hurricanes go it could have been a lot worse.  Our condo association is still dealing with carport issues even after 3 years but our condo in particular sustained very little damage which I was able to fix myself.

Now it's wait and see for Dorian which is expected to hit land as a cat 4 storm.  That's very serious but with any luck at all,  for us at least,  it's track seems to be taking a northerly route thereby pretty much missing the Naples area on the west coast.  But who knows? 

More on this Monday when much more will be known.

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Tear them down or keep them? That is the question.

In the last post I told you about a controversial issue of a somewhat local nature.  Well, here's another on a national level. 

Actually this one has been around for some time but recently flared up in the news again.  It involves the issue of whether or not confederate monuments should be left standing or torn down.

The tear-down proponents argue that the monuments represent a time when the nation had slavery and by erecting these things we are approving that particular institution. The let-them-be proponents argue that for good or ill they are as much a part of the nation's history as any other.  So they should remain a part of the story.

The reason this has come up is because we are now living in a time of significant intolerance, hatred and racism.  Never since the race riots of the 60s has it been so bad.  What could be the cause of that?  I think you know where I'm going with this.  The answer is that we have the great misfortune to be led by the chief racist and white supremacist of all time-Donald Trump.

Trump has spent the last 3 years going around the country talking, tweeting and ranting thereby inspiring his base to commit unbelievable acts of violence and hatred but, hay, that's just Donny being Donny.

Anyway, as soon as the nation dumps Trump things will settle down until the next round of arguments.

I'm not sure where I stand on the issue.  Both sides have some merit to what they're saying.  Let's see how it plays out.


Thursday, August 15, 2019

No man is an island entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main;

Newtown is like any other small town in the U.S.  Aside from concerns with international and national politics, we have our share of local issues to fret about.

For example here in Newtown and actually the state of Connecticut there's a whirlpool of discussion regarding the use of plastic bags in grocery stores.  Most stores in Newtown have stopped using plastic although you can still get plastic bags at some groceries but you have to pay extra for them. People are encouraged to get permanent cloth bags.

A few days ago, in an effort to keep this going, someone posted on Facebook a picture of a sea bird caught in a plastic bag that had been left at a beach somewhere along the CT shore of Long Island Sound.  The point they were trying to make was obviously that we need to eliminate the use of plastic as much as possible.

Someone from the other side chimed in with the comment "What on earth does that have to do with Newtown?"  Hence the title of this post.

I don't usually involve myself in these local skirmishes.  It tends to bring the craziness out in people but in this case I couldn't help myself.  I responded that it has everything to do with Newtown!  After all we don't live in a vacuum.  We're part of a larger community.  For example when people go to the beach, they often shop for snacks and drinks to bring along. They then proceed to toss those bags into the car along with towels and whatever else people take to the beach.  Once there, they get everything out, kids start eating, the now empty plastic bag gets away in the breeze and, well, you know the rest.

I wasn't the only only to respond.  A whole bunch of other people said I was right and started with their own comments-some of which were a tad harsh-which is why I avoid getting involved.  Anyway, the guy who made the original comment wisely cried uncle and the whole thing eventually died down.  But the original point still holds.  Everything we do affects others in one way or another.  Let's try to make it a good effect, shall we?

OK, go ahead and respond!!

Sunday, August 11, 2019

An addition to your 'must read' list

Buy or borrow this book and read it.  You will thank me a thousand times over.

Monday, August 5, 2019

The death toll rises!

Two more mass shootings in less than 24 hours.  The public reacts with outrage and demands that something be done.  Politicians send thoughts and prayers and Donald Trump, according to the Washington Post, offers a solution:
 

"Trump calls for ‘strong background checks’ after massacres, suggests pairing gun legislation with immigration reform."

He just can't help himself can he.  By linking gun control to immigration reform he suggests the root cause is immigration related.  No matter that the shooters were young, white lunatics who openly profess racism. 

I did a little research into the gun laws from one state to the next.  The inconsistencies are incredible.  You go from several states like Delaware with very strict gun laws to several others that have virtually none.  Take Wyoming, Idaho and Arizona for example.  They are wide open.  By a hand gun or anything else you want, walk out of the store, strap it on and you're good to go. 

I think that's a good place to start.  Enact federal laws that cover all states.  Breaking those laws would then be a federal crime regardless of what the states do.  That would be a start.

In the meantime it would seem our thoughts and prayers aren't getting it done.

Thursday, August 1, 2019

Happy August

Hello, August.
To learn more about the month of August, click here georgeswebpage.com.


Wednesday, July 31, 2019

It's not just about the doctor.

Yesterday my wife got up early and left to have blood work done.  She returned very quickly.  It seems the doctor's office neglected to send the order for blood work to the lab.  My wife had asked for a paper scrip but they assured her she didn't need one.  That's happened before to her and several times to me. 

What this means is that when choosing a doctor, there's more to just finding out if the doctor is going to be a good fit for you.  The efficiency of the doctor's office is important too.  I don't take any chances any more.  I insist on a paper scrip to hand to the lady at the lab.  If the doctor's nurse or office clerk resist I remind them that there is nothing more annoying than going to the trouble of driving early in the morning to a lab only to be told they have no doctor's orders for lab work.    I have two doctors who prescribe lab work routinely and they always hand me a piece of paper now.

The same thing applies to the promise to return phone calls.  Here's a tip for you: they never do.  I make a thorough pest out of myself until I'm talking to the person I called.  It's all about the squeaky wheel!

If you're in the market for a new doctor, keep this in mind before you commit to anything. You'll save yourself a lot of aggravation.

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Splashdown!

Exactly 50 years ago today three astronauts returned from their successful, historic mission to the moon.  The year was 1969.

If you've been around as long as me or if you've studied history you know at least four things about 1969:
1. The country was embroiled in a highly controversial war in Viet Nam.
2. The president was the highly controversial Richard Nixon (affectionately known as "Tricky Dick").
3. The recent assassinations of Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Jr were fresh in everyone's minds.
4. Racial tensions were at an all-time high.

Now let's compare.  Here we are, 2019, and it's amazing how little we have learned,  isn't it? Consider:
1. The country is embroiled in a prolonged conflict in the Middle East.
2. The president is the corrupt, immoral, racist and bigoted Donald Trump.
3. Thanks to No. 2 racial tensions are very high.

The exceptions are fortunately there have been no recent assassinations and thanks to the policies put in place by Barack Obama, the economy is relatively strong. But in retrospect it doesn't look like we've learned much in 50 years. 

Maybe 2069 will be different but someone else will have to report on it. 


Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Happy Anniversary

On this day exactly 50 years ago I, along with many other people,  gathered in the cafeteria of the company where I worked and watched Apollo 11 with three men on board blast off for the moon.  The company I worked for manufactured parts that were contained in the rocket. 

It was a historic day for our country and the world or-as Neil Armstrong noted-for all mankind.  Four days later man walked on the moon.

PBS is running many good programs about the Apollo moon launch.  Be sure to watch one.


Thursday, July 11, 2019

A few thoughts about medical care

Yesterday we had to take our grandson to a dermatologist to have a minor procedure performed.  We had a 2:45 appointment.  We checked in about 5 minutes early, filled out a bunch of papers and waited.  Then the glitch.  Apparently my daughter-in-law's insurance company required a referral from the boy's pediatrician.  Of course we didn't have one so the dermatolgist's office staff had to contact the pediatrician for verbal contact.  After about 45 minutes we were given approval to proceed.  We finally finished and arrived back home at around 5 P.M.  Two and a half hours for a 20 minute drive and a 10 minute procedure. 

All's well that ends well I guess but the whole thing made me realize how lucky I am to have medicare.  With medicare you never have to worry about hassles with insurance companies or HMOs.  I'm sure there are people who have had different experiences but everyone I know has the same story to tell.

All of this got me to thinking.  Why can't everyone have medicare?  Sure, it would be hugely expensive but people were required to contribute according to their ability to pay, I think it could be doable. 

I know there are those who call this socialized medicine and for that reason reject it, but it isn't really socialized medicine.  The patient would still choose his/her doctor, treatments, medicines and hospitals.  There would simply be a single payer. 

Food for thought, democrats.  Notice I don't include republicans because anything remotely beneficial to the 'masses' is anathema to conservatives but I bet if this were well thought out and presented logically to people, republicans would be out voted. 

I think I'll listen to Bernie Sanders and little more closely from now on.

Thursday, July 4, 2019

Happy Independence Day

Happy July 4th.  Did you hear the news?  Trump is throwing the mother of all celebrations.  Tanks, fly-overs, soldiers sweating their asses off, the works!  He claims it's just a show of patriotism.  We know he's full of it.  It's really a tax payer funded rally for the fat load we call a President.  For example if it's a nonpartisan celebration, why are only republican dignitaries being invited to special events.  Enough said! This is a pathetic farce. One more year of this jerk.  I can't wait!

Have you been following the fuss being made about Nike's new sneaker design.  It's shown below.  Apparently the flag on the back is offensive to some so Nike pulled it.  The way I look at it the flag is simply the one that existed at the time we became an independent country.  I certainly don't see it as a symbol of slavery.  What am I missing?

Anyway, have a great day.


Monday, July 1, 2019

Happy July tidbits.

1. July already.  The dog days of summer.  Do you know the origin of that expression?  It doesn't really have too much to do with dogs.  It centers on a bit of Greek mythology as do so many astronomical expressions.  The dog days or dog days of summer are the hot, sultry days of summer. They were historically the period following the heliacal rising of the star system Sirius, which Greek and Roman astrology connected with heat, drought, sudden thunderstorms, lethargy, fever, mad dogs, and bad luck.   So now you know. Have a great summer and stay cool.

 2. I was finally, FINALLY, getting to the point where the last of the wood from the May 2018 storm was cut, split and stacked.  Then the other morning I awakened to another mess in my back yard.  Back to square one!!  There were so many years when I scrambled around scouting out sources of firewood so I would have to buy any and now I'm up to my eyeballs in the stuff.  When all is said and done I'll have three years worth stockpiled at which time I will be very nearly 80.  Seems like a good time to put my wood-burning days behind me and convert my wood burning fireplace to a gas fireplace.  I'm all set up for gas for our new whole house generator so it won't be difficult.  
We'll see. 


Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Summer is here with a vengence!

It seems like we have gone from a wet, cool spring to a hot, humid summer. Yuk! And I still have a lot of outdoor work to do.  I hate working in hot, humid weather.  In fact I can't really do it anymore.  I confine heavy work to mornings and light activity to afternoons.  That's that pattern for the rest of the summer.  While we do have a condo in Naples, FL, there's no way I could spend a summer there.  And by summer I mean May through September.   Definitely a winter month location for me.


Wednesday, June 19, 2019

And so it begins

Well....it's kind of like it never really ended but now it's official. The start of the campaign season that is.  With the official announcement of Trump's intention to run for a second term the loooooong, looooong, process of getting to election day now starts-at least officially. 

There's one consolation.  The republican side is decided.  All you have to do is turn off Trump every time you see his fat face on TV.  The bad news is there are lots and lots of democrats throwing their hats in the ring. 

Hang on. It's going to be a rough ride from now to November 2020. 

Thursday, June 13, 2019

It's graduation time

I've noted with interest many K-3 teachers posing with former students who are now graduating from high school. It occurred to me that the students I had in my first five years of teaching can all be members of AARP!  The students I had in my first class of 4th graders are 55 now.  I'm still in touch with many of them on Facebook so that's at least one positive thing about social media.

Saturday, June 8, 2019

Back to school for two days

I spent two mornings and a partial afternoon at Sandy Hook School recently.  I was working with the 3rd and 4th graders.  Years ago-1978 to be exact-when I was a 5th year teacher at Sandy Hook a member of the board of education arranged to have two slabs of shale rock trucked to the school.  Each slab contained dinosaur fossils.  Those slabs survived the reconstruction of the school and were placed in front of it. 

A parent saw the rocks last year and used Facebook to ask what they were and if anyone knew anything about them.  I chimed in with the answer to her questions and she asked if I could tell the rest of the school about them since I apparently was pretty much the only one around at that time who knew their history.

From there I contacted the math/science specialist and she thought it would be a great idea to tell kids and staff what I know since the study of fossils are in the third grade science curriculum.

We were going to do it last year but the weather conspired against us so this year we made it happen.

It was good getting back in the 'teaching mode' again.  Especially when kids are interested in something and what kid doesn't like dinosaurs?  Even the teachers hadn't really noticed them so they were interested too.  It was my third time this year working with kids at Sandy Hook. Grandson Nicholas will be leaving the school to go on to Reed next year so as I posted in a previous piece this brings to a close a 46 year run having a connection to a place where I spent so much time. But I still know people there so maybe I'll be back for other things in the future.  Otherwise maybe Reed Intermediate will have some use for me from time to time.  We'll see.