Saturday, February 28, 2015

Attention-Parents (and grand parents)

You know all that effort you've been putting into screening TV programs for safe viewing for your children?  Well, don't think once you've approved the program you're safe.  Now you need to worry about  the commercials.

For example consider the new reality TV program I saw advertised recently on a so-called safe program.  Fortunately none of my grand children were here to see it.  It's called 'Sex Box'.  It's a program that deals with solving couples' marital problems by putting them in an area where they...well, you can guess.

Can you believe it?  The program itself is on another station but the commercial for it is bad enough.

Best bet?  Sign on to Netflix or Amazon Prime or some other streaming service where you can stream safe, commercial free programs.

Here's an even better idea:  turn off the TV.

What happened to good old Mr. Ed and cornflakes commercials??

Monday, February 23, 2015

Birthday greetings-To Me

Today I turn 72 years old.  Herewith a couple of short reflections on this auspicious occasion:

First, I feel great-probably better than ever.  I have an active, productive life and for the most part enjoy everything I do.  And in spite of a few bumps in the road, I am in good health.

Second, because of all those things listed first, I realize every day how lucky I am for everything I have-and don't have.

Were you looking for a few sage words of wisdom by which you can live your own life?  Sorry, you're on your own.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Clever Observation

Someone shared a really good post on Facebook the other day.  It went something like this:
If there were record low gas prices, lowest unemployment in over 6 years, record stock market prices, health care for millions for whom it was previously denied,  and a dead Bin Laden during a republican president's administration, he'd already have his face on Mt Rushmore and his picture on a coin.

What does that tell you about the real motivations behind much of the criticism President Obama is receiving?  We have a very long way to go in this country.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

True Confessions

 As anyone knows who reads this blog on a regular or even semi regular basis, I do a lot of reading.  I like adventure books, historical fiction and even a little quasi sci fi like the stuff Dean Koontz writes. 

Until recently I frankly used to avoid female authors.  Very often the stuff they wrote just didn't seem to appeal to me.  But then as I reflected on this, I realized that wasn't true.  I've actually read tons of books by women. 

I would guess the first or at least one of the first would be To Kill A Mocking Bird by Harper Lee. Then from there the list just gets longer with the most recent discoveries being Maeve Binchy, Helen Simonson and  J.K. Rowling of Harry Potter fame.  I'll soon be starting book 4 of that series.

You may have noticed the three I just mentioned are all British.  I find  their character development and sense of humor very appealing. 

The other series of books I've enjoyed by a woman author is the Kay Scarpetta series by Patricia Cornwell.  There's a lot of science as well as action in her books. 

Part of what inspired me to mention this about women authors is my older grand daughter loves to write.  I've read a lot of her stuff and she has a great imagination so I hope she pursues it as she gets older and I would never want to discourage her from writing more.  

There are good authors and there are bad authors.  Their particular gender is not the issue. 

Friday, February 13, 2015


News item:  Connecticut legislators debate strategies for reducing the use of hand-held mobile devices while driving. 

Seriously?  As mentioned in this place on more than one occasion, the solution is easy.  Instead of fining people $150 for talking/texting on a cell phone in their vehicles, hit them where it hurts-their bank accounts.  How about fines in excess of $1000 and increasing by 100% for each additional offense?  Over the top?  Not if you're serious.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Brian Williams to be suspended

Brian Williams suspended for 6 months for misrepresenting something that happened 12 years ago. Now if every Congressman was suspended for the same reason, Capitol Hill would be a ghost town! That in itself may not be such a bad thing.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

A Word About Some Books I've Read

I just finished reading a book entitled A Week in Winter.  I enjoyed it very much.  The book was filled with interesting characters and typical British humor. The author who is British is Maeve Binchy.  Unfortunately she recently passed away. 

I mention she's a British writer  because over the past several months I have read several books by English authors and I find I really enjoy them.

My first introduction to British literature was  when I was a boy reading Dickens.  Also as a boy I read Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame which I loved.

Then much later came college where I read many British poets which I didn't like so much.  I'm definitely a novel person.

It wasn't until recently that I returned to British authors.  First, The Clifton Chronicles by Jeffrey Archer. That's a series of what's going to be a total of 7 books.  I've read four.  The fifth is due out soon.

Then there was Major Pettigrew's Last Stand by Helen Simonson.

All of these were great reads and when I'm done with a couple of other books I have waiting, I'm going to return to Maeve Binchy.

By the way, Maeve Binchy and Helen Simonson are women authors which is a blog in itself. 

There's always a good book out there.  Discovering new authors to read can be a fun adventure.


Thursday, February 5, 2015

Thanks, Punxsutawney Phil

I spent the afternoon in my grandson's kindergarten class.  We were talking about how animals adapt to winter weather.  Somehow during the course of the discussion, the topic of Groundhog day came up.  Today is the 4th and Groundhog Day was the 2nd so somehow it fell in line with the other stuff. 

At any rate I stupidly decided to take the opportunity to help kids understand the difference between custom and real science.  I was trying to get them to realize that a rodent can't predict weather.  It was just an interesting custom that somehow arose and there really wasn't any solid science behind a woodchuck being able to tell us how much more winter we're going to get.

The discussion seemed to be going fairly well and we eventually moved on.  I was feeling pretty good that something had gotten through to this group of inquisitive kindergartners.

Later that day, after school, I  got the boys off the bus and wouldn't you know Nicholas announces there's going to be six more weeks of winter.  I asked him if he remembered the discussion we had in his class about groundhogs not being able to predict the weather.  It was at this point his 7-year-old brother chimed in and  I knew I was in trouble. 

Cole was very indignant.  He wanted to know why someone would make up a story like that just to fool kids. He didn't think it was very nice.  I continued trying to get them to understand the difference between science and some of the things people do out of tradition.

After several more questions and comments they eventually started getting it.  But Nicholas was still a skeptic.  He wanted to believe that silly rodent.

It's always something different with kids. 

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Measles? Seriously?

Just heard on NBC news that the measles outbreak has spread to as many as 14 states. Seriously?  Are people stupid?  Are you not vaccinating your kids?

Part of the problem is that some years ago there was an article in the British medical journal Lancet that proposed that vaccinations contributed to autism.  A significant number of American parents panicked and denied their kids vaccinations.

However the information contained in that  article was found to be made up by the doctor who wrote it. It was completely false and the journal apologized for printing it.  So why aren't people returning to vaccinations for their kids?  It's simple.  They're stupid. And as Ron White has told us, "There's no fixing stupid."