Sunday, November 28, 2010

One down. Two to go.

Two holidays to go. I enjoyed my Thanksgiving. The gathering was small compared to the past gatherings when there were cousins, grandchildren, grandparents. Some have moved away. Some have passed on. My day started by attending the local high school Thanksgiving day game. It's anywhere from the 3rd oldest to the 10th oldest high school rivalry in the country depending on where you check. I thought I was dressed warmly as it was about 30 degrees but by the 3rd quarter my legs were numb. It was time to leave. Besides we were getting squashed 21-0 in the 3rd quarter.  But it gave me an opportunity to try and take some action shots of the game.

Pregame  stretching. Notice the empty stands of the opposing team. We were the visiting team.

Well it's even colder as I sit and write this on Sunday morning. At the moment it's 28 degrees (f) though the sky is clear and the sun is bright. I have had the weekend off. This is a rare occurrence. I don't really care if I have Saturdays off but I love having Sundays off. I can still remember the days when everything was closed on Sunday save for small convience stores. We were the last state to allow big business to open on Sundays. That was in 1986 give or take a year or two. The only good thing about working Sundays is that all pay is overtime. I really did absolutely nothing yesterday except watched some television and started the latest book by Dan Brown (The DaVinci Code), The Lost Symbol. This guy knows how to write a page turner. I am not a particularly fast reader but I got 190 pages into it. Very entertaining so far. The week ahead looks to busy again. OK there's work and that's a given. I am fortunate as I have been invited out to dinner at yet another new restaurant opening and to my sisters for my birthday. I'm not pandering for happy birthday wishes here. It's just a statement of fact. Wednesday I am going to the lighting of the city Christmas tree and an exhibit of donated, decorated Christmas trees at city hall. They are supplied by local merchants and will be raffled off. I think I will take a shot and buy some tickets. I have not had a tree in the three years that I've lived here. Friday I'm going to the Auto Show. It's one of my favorites as I have always had a love affair with cars. I am looking to buy a new car next year and it will be a new one though I have had good luck with two year old cars. There have been a couple of turkeys. A 1970 Fiat. Which I owned for a grand total of one year. It was a nightmare. A 1995 Ford Taurus SHO (super high output) which I owned for 5 troublesome years. When it was running right it was a ball to drive. Very quick and the best handling car I ever owned. A poor mans BMW but it was prone to break down evey so often sucking my bank account nearly dry. After that I bought my present vehicle another Ford Taurus (1998) in December of 1999. It has served me well and been practically trouble free. The body and paint have held up well and it runs like a top. I will miss it when I replace it but I am going for a new one sometime next summer. At least those are my plans. It could be the last car I ever buy. Now there's a happy thought. Later this afternoon I will be dusting off my guitar, bass and amplifier and do some playing at my friends house. I do hope that we have a drummer. I guess I've taken up enough of your time. I will come visiting and see what's going on in the cyber universe. Until next time my friends...
I'm outta here.  

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Just a quick note...unless I keep thinking of things to write.

I haven't been around much lately. I have a pretty wacky work schedule. Wackier than usual. The holiday season is mostly the reason. In truth, Thanksgiving is the only Holiday I enjoy. There's no pressure of gift giving like there is with Christmas. Christmas has been hijacked by retail and marketing people. You are beaten to death with it. My store had Christmas candy displayed next to the Halloween candy. Then the endless music for 5 weeks straight, at least that's what it's like when you're in a supermarket for 9 hours a day. Two Christmas songs that I have grown to despise from repeated listenings are Paul McCartney's Wonderful Christmas Time and the most annoying Feliz Navidad by Jose Feliciano.  I don't mean to sound like a grinch, which is exactly what I sound like, it's that Thanksgiving is just a time to get together around a meal and be happy about it. And no Thanksgiving Carols! Except for you Carole!
For a change of pace and maybe just for myself, here is one of the prettiest Beatles songs. It doesn't get the recognition that some of there other tunes get and it's a bit on the teenage end of song writing concerning the lyrics but the melody and harmonies are first rate.

I just realized that the color I chose for the font above wasn't a wise choice so it's back to white on black. Hey I have a quick and easy solution for the TSA and all their problems with screening and groping passengers. Everybody fly naked.

An elderly woman came to the counter and ordered some ham. She was very nice and pleasant. I cut a slice and showed it to her to see if she wanted it thicker or thinner.
"How's this for your slice?"
She smiled. Paused a bit and replied, "That's funny!"
I looked at her for a couple of seconds an slowly turned back to finish her order. The wise guy in me wanted to say, "Would you like it sliced funnier or not so funny?" I didn't.  She  was a sweet old lady and I would never say that to anybody. Unless I knew them.

OK I realize this wasn't much of a blog but I wanted to sneak one in before Thanksgiving and wish everybody a happy Thanksgiving. Enjoy your family and friends because in the end that's all that really matters.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone.
I'm outta here.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

I suppose your wondering why I called you all here?.

I don't know where the time goes. I go to work and by the time I'm done with that there's something else to do. I know I'm not alone in this. I'm single. Working and having a family must be exhausting. Of course I could just be turning into a crabby old man. I know I'm not alone in that either. Time just swallows up your life.
Hey look. I'm just vamping here until I can remember what I was going to originally write about. Well maybe it will come to me.
Here's something for you Masterpiece Theater buffs. I found this video that featured a dramatic recreation of The Battle of Pearl Harbor. Great Theater! It was quite moving.
Maybe others have mentioned this as I have not been around for a bit, but you must be aware of the big fuss made over those airport scanners. The guy in San Diego left his video running on his phone as the TSA agent was going to give him a pat down. The pat downs now are very "hands on" as in hands on everything. This is tied in with the backlash to those airport scanners which essentially show you naked. We had a dust up very recently here in Boston where people were upset about a choice between getting groped or essentially standing naked in front of  a stranger. See normally groping would be considered a sexual assault, unless it's done by the government. Well suddenly yesterday The head of the TSA here in Boston said that the machines could be altered to make someones body appear as a stick figure. Anything hidden would stick out. There's a joke there. So let's see. They skipped the idea of using stick figures in the first place, and went with, "What the hell! lets look at 'em naked!" I have a friend who is a stick figure and he's very offended at the stick figure choice!
 In the meantime all cargo loaded on a passenger flight goes largely unchecked. In the meantime you as a citizen might be pulled aside because the scanner picked up a stick of gum you left in your pocket. We are spending more and more money on smaller and smaller risks not to mention the amount of aggravation it causes to citizens. To sum up. It seems the plan to protect us at airports offers two choices. Having a stranger look at you naked or, getting felt up by the government. It would make a good game show.
"Welcome to, NAKED! or GROPING! Here's your host...Charley Sheen!"
Maybe they could post a sign at the checkpoint. "Won't see London. Won't see France. Unless we see your underpants."

All of this naked talk dovetails with what I heard on the radio this morning. Fox Television is banning the butt of Homer Simpson. You will no longer have to endure the sight of Homers yellow hindquarters.. Now I honestly don't have the whole story in fact that's all I really have. This show has been on for 20 years. It's Fox's oldest show. I wasn't aware of any problems that can be linked to Homer's yellow ass.
What about other cartoon characters? Does Porky Pig wear pants? I can't remember. Mickey Mouse has pants but his buddy Donald Duck doesn't. Do we have to put pants on Donald Duck! And the same goes for Daffy Duck. No pants. Bugs Bunny. No pants. Did somebody complain about Homers butt? Was someone offended? It's a cartoon! Who knows? Maybe something really big was going down. Maybe the threat posed by Homer's butt would have caused a great disaster but it was caught in time, before it was too late. Maybe the truth will come out in 50 years.

Well I'm still not sure what I was originally going to write about and it's taken me  a couple of days to start and finish this. At least the news provided me with something. I'm done for now.
I'm outta here.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Happy who? Not me.

So it's Thursday, my sisters birthday. What's left of my family are gathering at the birthday girls house for a mini celebration. My other sister was picking up a tray (way too much) of Sicilian pizza for a simple but tasty supper. In case you don't know a Sicilian pizza consists of square thick pieces baked in a rectangular pan, with lots of sauce, not just a thin layer of sauce that's painted on, with the shredded cheese put on after the pizza comes out of the oven. In any event I arrived first. There was no cake so the birthday girl sends hubby out to buy a cake. I suppose it's unusual for the person who's birthday it is to be responsible for the cake but at this point in our lives it's more about getting together than it is to give gifts and making a big deal about someones birthday. We've all had many of them. As my brother in law is set to leave my sister reminds him to buy a card. I suppose it pretty sad when the person who's birthday it is has to remind their spouse to buy them a card but this is the way it is. Out he goes. In the mean time my sister and I are just sitting around talking waiting for our sister to arrive. She does with the pizza. 24 roughly, 5 by 5 inch, 1 inch thick pieces of pizza. It's an Italian thing. Make sure you have much too much food. In my family this probably comes from the people who  lived through World War Two and food became very important as you never knew when your next meal might occur. So after giving my sister the appropriate crap for buying too much pizza my brother in law arrives back with a cake but instead of a card he has a cooked chicken. I inquired if it was a Hallmark birthday cooked chicken. It is unknown if the fact that the words card and chicken both start with a C was what caused his confusion. He didn't even sign the chicken. So the three of us proceeded to give him the appropriate crap for substituting a cooked chicken for a birthday card. So after eating a simple supper of tasty pizza and salad the ladies go into the living room probably talking about their cats as they are wont to do. Jim and I are in the kitchen enjoying an adult beverage (OK we were drinking a Budweiser, well we each had our own can.) and my brother in law asks me how old I am. I tell him but a light goes on in my brain. I tell him that my birthday is in December.
"It's not your birthday!" Jim says with a puzzled look.
"No Jim. It's your wife's birthday!"
Now my sisters come back into the kitchen for it is time for cake! The cake is taken out of the refrigerator still in it's bag. My sister takes it out of the bag and places it on the table.
"Happy Birthday Paul!" she exclaims!
A Homer Simpson "DOH!" would have fit perfectly here. Time to dish out more crap! He got it from the 3 of us. All good natured of course.

So here it is a miserable Monday. It's rainy and windy. I'm off and I have no reason to go out so I won't. Later in the week I will be  taking part in a walk for one of my favorite charities, The Walk for Restless Leg Syndrome.
Here are some of my favorite fall photos from the last few years as the brilliant colors are pretty much done around here. I've posted these before but I did not get out this much this year so I feel compelled to post some more as I will have to wait another year and do more travelling especially out to Mt. Greylock in western Ma. It's not that much of a mountain as it is a large hill. We don't mountains here just lot's of hills but it's the highest one we have at about 3200'. Still western Ma. is especially beautiful in the fall with it's rolling hills and valleys in full color. Oh well there's always next year. Some of the shots here were taken in my hometown and the rest were taken in New Hampshire. The first group is from around here.
 These are from New Hampshire.

 Alright. I'm off and...
I'm outta here. 

Thursday, November 4, 2010

What's wrong with us? (Here in Massachusetts)

Ah politics in Massachusetts. It's up there with our devotion to professional sports. Sports is entertainment, politics is serious. We are the bluest of the blue states. There is no balance around here anymore. Up until 4 years ago at least we elected a republican governor. When Scott Brown won Ted Kennedy's seat it did set off the Tea Party movement. It looked like we set off another revolution across the country. It didn't last long around here. Of all the candidates running for state or federal office only one republican won. Everyone else was a democrat. There were two questions on the ballot. Recently (this passed summer) they put a tax on alcohol sales when there was already an excise (whatever that means) tax grouped in with the purchase price. They also raised the sales tax from 5% to 6.5%. The two questions on the ballot asked if you wanted to repeal the alcohol tax and cut the sales tax back to 3%. As an aside I remember back in 1962 when the sales tax began. It was then sold to us as "temporary". That was 48 years ago. The upshot is that we voted to repeal the alcohol tax but we voted to keep the higher sales tax. Why? What's wrong with having things cost a little less? What's wrong with having a little more money in your pocket? That's more money to spend. That can only help local business. Instead what it seems to be doing is sending people over the border to New Hampshire where there is no sales or alcohol tax. This really hurts all the businesses along the border. For me, I can be in New Hampshire in 20 minutes. Personally I enjoy an adult beverage every once and a while but I won't drive to New Hampshire for a six pack of beer when I can go 5 minutes from my house to any number of liquor stores but this is not about my drinking habits. This is questioning the people here and their reasoning. It seemed after Scott Brown things would change around here. The change has happened across the country, it started here but then 10 months later it's back to business as usual. In fact it's worse because the republican party here has all but disappeared. Now I have equal mistrust of both parties. As I have aged I have moved more to the center. I was more left leaning when I was younger. I don't like the extremes of either side. Don't get me wrong. As I have said many times I love where I live. It's a beautiful place steeped in tradition, history, innovation, education and many wonderful things to see and do. Few places can match what has happened in Massachusetts over the last 300 years or so but our politics are a different animal all together. It is full of corruption and patronage and the only people that we can blame are ourselves. Still the state is in better shape than most though there still is a buget deficit of a couple of billion dollars. I guess I'm just ticked off at the results of the elections. I wanted to see some change and all I got was more of the same. To quote the famous Pogo line again, "We have met the enemy and he is us."
  Ok rant over. Here are the rest of the pictures I took at the Mt. Auburn last week.
 Alright I'm off today but I have much to do. I'm off again tomorrow and I believe I will schedule a whole lot of nothing. I need it. For now...
I'm outta here.