Monday, June 27, 2016


It's only June but not too early for football as any die-hard football fan will tell you.  That sentiment  spans all levels including the beginners which now include my two grandsons.

Cole & Nicholas just received their uniforms and practice is set to start July 1st.  (see my website photo gallery for their pictures  Junior football involves an enormous commitment. It's every night of the week!  Games don't actually begin until some time in late August.

I have mixed feelings about all of this. On one hand I like that the boys are interested in sports and willing to try anything but on the other hand I, like many others,  have been following the research and the issue of concussions is a very real concern. 

There are those who tend to poo poo it and say kids run all kinds of risks only one of which is football.  Then there's the other extreme that says football should be banned. Period.  Both extremes are, well, extreme. 

I tend to fall in the middle.  Yes, football is a sport and therefore inherently risky.  Consider for example the fact that soccer is often responsible for more concussions than football (thus the ban on heading the ball by some leagues).

But I'm a man of science.  I believe in research, evidence and facts regardless of  whether or not it flies in the face of a popular activity.  On this issue the research is on-going but it is getting clearer.  Thus the recommendation of the medical community: three concussions and you're out-forever.  No exceptions.

I believe my son and daughter-in-law are very aware of this and are taking a watch and wait attitude. If things proceed as planned, great.  The boys do something they enjoy (if in fact they do enjoy it. The jury is still out on that), they learn the skills and teamwork that goes with the sport.  If things start to get ugly, then it's on to something else. 

That works for me and seems to represent a very common sense approach to just about anything kids do.  Unfortunately not all parents possess common sense which could result in life-long health issues.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Happy first full day of summer & the start of a new feature

Today is the first full day of summer 2016.  Actually summer solstice officially occurred at 6:35 P.M. yesterday evening. 

I have  decided to intersperse my blog posts with items of a factual nature.  I hope you'll find them interesting and a refreshing change from my frequent gripes or tiresome bragging about grand children.

Herein is my first offer.  Twenty five interesting facts about summer.

1.     The word “summer” is from the Proto-Indo-European root *sam-, meaning summer. The root *sam is a variant from the Proto-Indo-European root *sem-, which means “together/one.”
2.     The “dog days of summer” refer to the weeks between July 3 and August 11 and are named after the Dog Star (Sirius) in the Canis Major constellation. The ancient Greeks blamed Sirius for the hot temperatures, drought, discomfort, and sickness that occurred during the summer.
3.     Summer is the by far the busiest time at movie theaters, and Hollywood always hopes to earn a significant portion of total annual ticket sales through summer blockbuster months. To date, the top 10 most famous summer blockbusters of all time are 1) Jaws, 2) Star Wars, 3) Jurassic Park, 4) The Dark Knight, 5) Raiders of the Lost Ark, 6) E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial, 7) Forrest Gump, 8) Ghostbusters, 9) Animal House, and 10) Terminator 2: Judgment Day.
4.     In the United States, over 650 million long-distance summer trips are made.
5.     In the United States, the top 5 most popular summer vacations are 1) beach/ocean (45%), 2) a famous city (42%), 3) national parks (21%), 4) a lake (17%), and 5) a resort (14%).
6.     The top 5 most popular summer vacation activities in the United States are 1) shopping (54%), 2) visiting historical sites (49%), 3) swimming/water sports (49%), 4) going to a park or national park (46%), and 5) sightseeing tours (46%).
7.     In the summer heat, the iron in France’s Eiffel Tower expands, making the tower grow more than 6 inches.
8.     The month of June was named after either Juniores, the lower branch of the roman Senate, or Juno, the wife of Jupiter.
9.     The word “solstice” is from the Latin solstitium, which is from sol (sun) and stitium (to stop) because it seems as if the sun stops at the solstice.n
10.  Both “equinox” and “solstice” refer to the path of the sun throughout the year. During a solstice, the sun is either at its northernmost point (Tropic of Cancer) or it is at its southernmost point (Tropic of Capricorn). An equinox is either of the two days each year when the sun crosses the equator and both day and night are equally long.
11.  Summer babies are more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD and are less likely to become CEOs. Because summer babies are typically the youngest children in each school class, their relative immaturity can affect the quality of their education.
12.  The word “season” is from the Old French season, which means “sowing/planting” or “seed time.”
13.  Ancient pagans celebrated midsummer with bonfires. It was believed that the crops would grow as high as a couple could jump across the fire. Additionally, bonfires would generate magic by boosting the sun’s powers.
14.  Warmer weather causes certain diseases to peak during the summer, such as Valley Fever, West Nile Lyme Disease, and food poisoning.
15.  While rare, the plague is more readily contracted and spread during the warm summer months, particularly in the western U.S. In 2012, for example, a Colorado girl contracted the disease when she touched a dead squirrel on a family camping trip.
16.  Leprosy is more readily contracted during the summer. Each year about 150 Americans contract leprosy, the same skin-disease that is mentioned in the Bible. In the United States, the source of leprosy is usually armadillos. The disease is transmitted when people, particularly in the southern U.S., hunt, kill, and eat infected armadillo.
17.  According to custom, in the United States, a person can wear white pants only during the summer, or between Memorial Day and Labor Day.
18.  A ubiquitous summer treat is watermelon. Watermelon is part of the cucumber, pumpkin, and squash family and consists of 92% water. On average, Americans consume 15 pounds of watermelon annually.
19.  Popsicles, a popular summer treat, was accidentally invented by an 11-year-old boy in San Francisco in 1905. He left a glass of soda sitting outside and by the next morning the soda had frozen. He began selling them at an amusement park in New Jersey. In the U.S., cherry is the number 1 flavor.
20.  July, the hottest summer month in the Northern Hemisphere, is National Ice Cream Month, not surprisingly. Americans eat an average 20 quarts of ice cream a year. Vanilla is the most popular flavor, with chocolate coming in a distant second.
21.  Contrary to popular belief, crime rates do not increase during the summer. However, the types of crimes change as the seasons change. For example, during the summer, bike thefts and items stolen from cars increase. During the winter, criminals are more likely to steal cars and Christmas presents left in cars.v
22.  The first Olympic Games in the modern era were the 1896 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the I Olympiad in Athens, Greece. The Games featured the Panathinaiko Stadium, the first giant stadium of the modern world that housed the largest crowd to ever watch a sporting event.
23.  According to Forbes, the top 9 most hazardous summer injuries are caused by 1) playground equipment; 2) skateboards; 3) trampolines; 4) lawn mowers; 5) amusement attractions; 6) non-powder guns, BBs pellets; 7) beach, picnic, camping equipment; 8) barbeque grills, stoves, equipment; and 9) trimmers, small garden tools.
24.  According to the CDC, children are more likely to gain weight over the summer because kids are less active, are more likely to have an inconsistent sleep schedule, and tend to eat more junk food.aa
25.  Before the Civil War, schools did not have summer vacation. In rural communities, kids had school off during the spring planting and fall harvest while urban schools were essentially year-round. The long summer holiday didn’t come about until the early 20th century.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Second thoughts-More on the alligator incident

Regarding my previous post on the horrible alligator incident in Orlando,  I more or less side with Disney World.  Briefly, I said everyone knows or should know that there are alligators around just about every body of water in Florida so due diligence is key.

After talking to some people and hearing what some have to say on the news I've pretty much done a 180 on the topic.

My son for example reports that he and his family were in an area of Disney World that was pretty much identical to the one where the boy was taken.  Apparently unlike many lakes around condos like mine, Disney made the surrounding shores look like beaches.  While there are 'no swimming' signs, many people assumed Disney would keep alligators clear of the areas.  Furthermore signs or no signs what do people do when they see an area resembling a beach?  The walk up to the water without necessarily swimming.

Consider this for example: if you have a pool in your yard without a fence and even though you have 'no swimming' signs plastered all over and a child wanders into that pool, you're libel.  Period.

On top of all of this are reports from previous visitors who can show copies of letters they've sent to Disney World management warning of having spotted numerous alligators.  In spite of that not much was done to warn people off much less fence off the area as they're doing now.  Well, you know what they say about locking the barn door....

So taken all of this into account I have to say Disney World at least shares some responsibility for what happened.  Having said that, let the law suits begin.

Friday, June 17, 2016

New content

Check this out.  New pictures have been added to grand daughter Brooke's web page.
See photo gallery for other new pictures as well.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

A word about the alligator incident

Orlando is certainly getting their fair share of bad things.  First the massacre in the night club and now at Disney World where a 2-year-old boy was snatched up by an alligator.  The little boy was playing with his father on the edge of one of the many bodies of water there.  An alligator appeared out of nowhere and took him away.  The boy's body was found yesterday.

Now many people are up in arms about there not being enough signs warning of the danger even though there were signs telling people to stay away.  It's just a matter of time before the law suits start.

That this is a horrible tragedy is of course obvious.  But when did we lose our collective common sense?  You're in Florida.  You're by a body of water.  What's known to live in such environments in Florida?  Why can't we just leave this as a horrible accident and hope others get the message?

Is this cold hearted?  I don't think so.  Just realistic.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Orlando-Update #4. Your moral dilemma for the day

It has been revealed that the Orlando shooter's wife was aware of his plans to commit an act of this nature.  The FBI has further stated that after investigating many of these shooting tragedies, someone in the family knew enough to head it off, i.e. Adam Lanza's mother in the Sandy Hook School massacre.

Here's the dilemma: To what extent, if at all, should family members who have not acted be held accountable?

Monday, June 13, 2016

The Orlando shooting-update #3

Trump criticizes the president for not mentioning that Omar Mateen is of the Islamic faith. Message to Trump: it's not about religion. It's about a nut-job who managed to get his hands on an assault rifle because of a negligent congress. Is Trump in the NRA's pocket too?

More on the Orlando shooting

Omar Mateen, the shooter who brought us the worst massacre ever on American soil, was on the FBI terrorist watch list, a victim of a mental disorder called bipolar personality (nee manic depressive) and a wife beater.  Yet he was able to legally purchase an AR 15 assault rifle  and a semi automatic 9MM hand gun.  Legally because Congress was unable to get the necessary majority of 60 votes to make the sale of fire arms illegal to anyone with his background.

I know I'm not the only one who sees something very, very wrong here but apparently there are enough U.S. Congressman in the pockets of the NRA who disagree.


Sunday, June 12, 2016

More violence

Another gun related massacre.  This time in Orlando, FL.  Early reports tell of over 20 dead and 40 injured.  The gunman had an assault rifle and a handgun. 

The assault rifle he had was once banned by the Brady Bill but congress did not renew it.  I wonder what it's going to take for this country-especially our republican congress-to come to grips with this problem.  Doesn't anyone have the guts to stand up to the NRA or are they so deep into their pockets that they simply don't care?

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Give it up, Bernie

This is the first post of a political nature since last year. That in itself is quite noteworthy. With this political season being one of the nastiest in this nation's history, I vowed to avoid the topic but now it's time to offer an opinion on the current state of the presidential race.

Bernie, get out! You made a valiant run at it; you gave democrats a choice but you never really offered a position on the issues much different from Hillary's except to say there should be 'free' medicare for all and 'free' public school college education for those who want it. 

Therein is where you are seriously flawed: there's no such thing as free.  Someone has to pay.  I fear it would be me!

Now it's time for you to humble yourself and throw your support to Hillary because it's absolutely vital to this nation's well-being that one of the most dangerous men on earth not become president of this great country.  So do the right thing.  Support Hillary.

Thus endth my rant.  Fair warning: there may be one-maybe two-posts of a political nature between now and the end of the year. 

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Rest in Peace, Joanne

I received word this morning that Joanne D. (aka "Sarge"), a very good friend of mine and former colleague from Sandy Hook School, passed away after a two week battle with leukemia.  Joanne had been retired barely a year when she was diagnosed. 

Joanne was the heart and soul of Sandy Hook School.  She knew every single student and their families, the classes they were in and their bus stops . 

As the school secretary not much was done  without her help and involvement. I worked with her on numerous projects including budgeting. 

Over the course of over 20 years we became good friends.  She will be greatly missed by many, many people.