Saturday, May 30, 2009

New Feature to Website

If you arrived at this blog spot thru my website then you may have already noticed a new feature. If not, you can see it from the photo/videos link on my webpage:
The new page features children's work, be it words or pictures. This month marks the 4th anniversary of georgeswebpage so I thought it fitting to make some changes. I read somewhere that the one thing that never changes is that there's always change. As such, I'm always looking for ways to improve my website. There have been over 15000 views so far-no doubt many of them mine. Nevertheless, I think whoever is looking at it deserves something fun and interesting. Consequently, there's more to come. If you have any ideas for something that would add to its interest level, by all means let me know-keeping in mind that this is a family oriented site!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Recess Revisited

Today I subbed for the first time in a long time. It was in two 2nd grade classes. I was in one all morning and the other all afternoon. Whenever I sub there are several things I like to look for. I note how technology has taken over in some areas (i.e. no more chalk boards. Instead SMART Boards); kids clothing styles; changes in the curriculum; the behavior of kids; and finally what they're doing at recess. Today's two groups went from one extreme of very inattentive and chatty to very well behaved and relatively focused given that we're talking about 7 & 8 year old kids. The thing that interested me more than anything else was what they do during indoor recess. Back in the day when I was a classroom teacher the activities of choice ranged from board games to playing with baseball cards to drawing pictures. There was some of that today but not much. No baseball cards or board games at all. Instead here are some of the things they were doing: Marion Bros. video games, the card game Uno, playing with match box cars and trucks, drawing, Legos and finally, and most interesting, playing with stuffed animals-even the boys. I was really surprised at how many kids brought stuffed animals to school and were allowed to keep them at their desks. When someone was too preoccupied with his/her stuffed animal, I made him/her put it in their backpack. They were not happy campers when I did that but as I explained, I wasn't there to run a popularity contest-a line my subs used to use when I was a kid. The other thing that surprised me a great deal was that there was no interest in playing on the computer. When I sub for older kids, that's almost always a source of conflict. They try to go out of turn not realizing I didn't just fall off a turnip truck. Things have definitely changed in schools today as one would expect. I wonder what my grand children will be doing to pass the time during their indoor recess when they're in school.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day

Memorial Day was originally known as Decoration Day. It was established shortly after the Civil War to honor those soldiers who gave their lives in that great American tragedy. In the early 1960's the U.S. Congress officially renamed the day Memorial Day and expanded it to include those who gave their lives in ALL wars. Many people confuse it with Veteran's Day which honors all people who have served their country. People usually put their flags out on Memorial Day as they do on the 4th of July. So if you're driving around today and you happen to spot a flag somewhere, don't forget to quietly ponder (and thank) the millions of men and women who gave their lives so that you could live in freedom.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Bits & Pieces

This was a very busy week catching up on yard work that accumulated over 10 days of neglect so I have nothing profound to say except the following tidbits rattling around in my head.

Things that make me nervous:
A wife emerging from upstairs with a tape measure in her hand and a thoughtful expression on her face.

A grand child who having been left unattended for the briefest of moments yells at the other one "Now look what you've done!!!"

Unexplained wet spots.

Unexplained noises.

Phone calls from people I haven't heard from in ages that go something like this:
"Hey, George. Great to hear from you. It's been a while, huh? Hey, listen, you still have a pickup, right?"

Things I don't care about anymore:
Whether or not Pelosi knew about Bush/Cheney torture policy.
Whether or not the CIA lied to her.
Dick Cheney's fall into complete insanity.
The Republicans regaining control any time soon.

A nagging question:
Where did all that stimulus money go? What happened to all those 'shovel ready' projects the states said they'd start when they got all this money?

An interesting but unimportant piece of trivia:
President Obama's budget proposal for the coming year is large enough to buy everything made in Italy for the year. I don't know who figured it out but I thought it was kind of neat.

That's it until something else comes along and ticks me off.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

What Did Pelosi Know (Who Cares?)

Now what is the republican leadership whining about? Did Pelosi know about our torturing policy? Did the CIA lie to her? Is republican leadership justified in their call for an investigation? Is Newt Gingrich the guy to be calling for this? All good questions but the motives behind them are obvious. Pompous morons John Boehner (Republican House leader), Gingrich, Cheney, Rove, et al are so desperate for an issue to latch on to that they'll pursue just about anything. There's no question that Pelosi is a somewhat conniving person-to put it mildly. But when it comes right down to it, who cares what she knew? The fact is the US policy of torture, orchestrated by scumbag Dick Cheney, is a huge black mark on American ideals. It is simply not acceptable-period. It doesn't matter who knew what. All that is in the past now. Cheney is the one who needs to be held accountable. There needs to be an investigation into HIM-not Pelosi. We need to make things right and put the issue behind us, but as long as Cheney continues to appear on FOX (Un)News, shooting off his big mouth, it's going to stay in the headlines. Good. He'll be the one exposed for the dirt bag he is.

The 'Buddy System'

Brooke and Courtney have been encouraged to use the buddy system when swimming, i.e. never swim alone. I'm glad their parents are emphasizing safety!!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

The Wonders of Technology

There's no doubt about it, I love technology. My computers, iPod, portable GPS, DVD, DVR, digital cameras-they're all great. Take for example the situation I was in here in Florida. I realized I had forgotten the directions to our friend's house in Venice, FL. So I went on line to, found their address and phone number, plugged it into my Garmin Street Pilot and presto I'm on my way. Great, isn't it? Same thing with changing our flight itinerary. All done by computer (although I have some issues with JetBlue's website). Good old technology. Now, how come they can't make a car that gets 50 miles per gallon??

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Shark Warning!

As evidenced by this photo, we've been having a little problem with sharks here in Naples, FL. This is what's left of our precious little grand daughter!!

Monday, May 11, 2009

No Problems, Mate

Cheney running off at the mouth again.
As I write this Dow is down 150.
Military shake-up in Afghanistan.
Fires in California.
Economy still on the ropes.
None of it matters here in paradise! Sunny, 80s, nice breeze, beautiful beaches, family. Doesn't get better.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Florida-Day 1 (and Happy Mothers Day)

Well here we are. This is our first full day in Naples, Florida. We flew down yesterday and didn't get to the pool until about 2:30. Not bad considering the hassle traveling used to be. We can thank the internet for things being easier now-in spite of all the security stuff you have to go through. By using the internet we were able to get the plane tickets, book the car and print the boarding passes which made for a much easier time of it all. Driving to and from airports is still to me the worst part of the whole thing. So stay tuned for further posts from the Sunshine State.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Beware! We Are At Risk (from within)
There is a very disturbing video making the rounds on YouTube. It's had millions of views so far. It's narrated by a guy in a serious, somber tone who attempts to use statistics to prove that in a matter of 'a few short years' all of Europe and North America will be Muslim. It further supports this view by noting that a consortium of Islamic organizations met some time ago in Chicago to come up with strategies for spreading their ideas and beliefs. At the end of the video the viewer is told to take action now before it's too late. The video never really says what to do and there are no specific suggestions as to what actions you should take but the underlying meaning is very clear. Are you concerned? You should be-not because there might be even a little truth to the message. You should be concerned that there is such a hateful, fear mongering movement right here in America-never mind the Middle East. These people manifest cultural bigotry at its most intense level. They conveniently overlook the fact that we are in essence a nation of foreigners. They overlook the fact that the Christian right has been trying for years to influence every aspect of our lives: schools, government, your family, what you should believe, law, you name it. The producers of this video want you to be afraid so THEY can control you. Keep in mind that these are the very people who produced similar videos with all kinds of statistics not so long ago about how African Americans were 'taking over'. When they tired of that, they turned their attention to the Latin American community. Who's next? You? Me? They are absolutely more dangerous to our freedom than any other group of people in the world. Watch the video. Then watch out for those self proclaimed 'true Americans'. They're lunatics. Don't try to convince them. Don't try to offer rational thought. It won't work. They're crazy. Simply avoid them and mostly ignore them. Maybe they'll go away-maybe.

Monday, May 4, 2009

May It Please the Court

As anyone knows who’s a regular reader of this blog, the President calls me from time to time to discuss various ideas he has. (Truth be known, I was the one to suggest the economic stimulus package but I don’t take credit for it for the sake of the country). Anyway, his last call was to find out how I felt about Supreme Court Justice Souter’s impending retirement. Here’s what I told him. First of all forget all that Stare Decisis stuff. Stare Decisis is a legal term meaning ‘let it stand’. Roberts and Alito kept using it to try to suggest to democratic senators that they wouldn’t tamper with a woman’s right to choose. Bull! Get one thing straight. Supreme Court justices can do whatever they want. That crap about ‘let it stand’ is BS. If they have an opportunity to overturn what they consider to be a liberal ruling, they’ll do it in a heartbeat. And don’t believe that crap about having to pick someone who’s going to be ‘fair’ and honor the constitution. They don’t care. They do what they want. Period. The bottom line is pick someone with the same values as you. Now-on to what they should stand for. How’s this:

First, Reinstate Individual rights over government rights. For example there was a case recently right here in Connecticut that gave a municipality the right to take ownership of a person or persons’ house for the sake of commercial development. That was wrong. It needs to be overturned. It wasn’t like a road or hospital or school or something was being built. It was for a mall. That was a bad ruling.

Next, preserve a woman’s right to choose. Nothing else needs to be said. It’s not the government’s business what people do with their bodies.

Third, don’t make it so easy for the Executive branch of government to take power. You want proof this can be a serious problem? Here it is: George Bush & Dick Cheney.

Fourth, overturn the recent Washington D.C. ruling that basically liberalized gun control laws. It’s too easy for a lunatic to get a gun. Screw the NRA. The madness has to stop.

Fifth, overturn affirmative action. (sorry, my liberal friends). It’s not needed any more. Anyone can be anything they want if they’re willing to work hard enough. It’s as simple as that. Why should incompetent people get jobs for the sake of racial quotas?

That’s it for now. I look forward to learning who it’s going to be and watching the confirmation hearings.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

I'm Sick (of hearing about Swine Flu!)

It's official. I'm sick of hearing so much about Swine Flu. Doesn't it seem like they're making a whole lot out of what has yet to prove to be the terrifying 'pandemic' some predict? Sure, sure. I suppose it's easy to say since I'm not one of the people who isn't sick but there does seem to be quite a fuss over a disease that has infected only about 150 people out of 300 million. And, granted, it's spreading across the world but it doesn't seem to be worse than any other flu season. I know there's no vaccine for it, but it's like anything else. You stay in bed, drink plenty of liquids, take aspirin or whatever and eventually the vast majority of people get better. There have even been reports that here in the US this particular strain doesn't present in quite the intensity as elsewhere. This morning's paper has a piece about how those gauze masks are flying off of shelves. I just can't picture myself walking around with one of those things on. On top of that, the Centers for Disease Control has issued a statement that those masks don't really do a whole lot-except make you sneeze. Yuk. Picture that. A mask full snot-but not flu! I think everyone needs to relax. Stay out of Mexico, do what Joe Biden says and avoid airplanes and buses and trains, etc., wash your hands and hope for the best. In the meantime, carry on. Oink!

Friday, May 1, 2009

A Welcome Change-No Wait

I had an upper endoscopy today. It was my second one in as many years. This time they were investigating the minor thickening of my esophagus as it enters the stomach. With the alarming rise of esophageal cancer, my doctor urged me to have this done just as a precaution. As it happens, my esophagus is fine. However, he did find two small ulcers. Now I have to figure out who caused them. In the meantime I guess there's some medicine I can take to fix them. But the reason I'm posting this blog isn't necessarily to report this because when it comes right down to it, not many people give a hoot about my esophagus. The reason I found the whole experience note worthy is because, unlike previous experiences, I had no wait time. Usually, you start out by waiting in the waiting room. Then you go to another little room where you answer some questions, get an IV started and wait some more. Then they wheel you into the room where it's actually done...and wait some more. Not today. In one room, out, into the next, out, on the table and the next thing I knew the nurse was waking me. That's the way I like things to go. Zip, zip and out. I have to have this thing done again in three months. I hope it goes just as quickly.