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Monday, December 31, 2012

Just a quick note to wish everyone a very Happy New Year.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

ANNIVERSARY

Time flies when you're having fun.

I did some checking this morning and found that I have been blogging for six years.  It just doesn't seem that long.  I hope that my writing has gotten better.  At least, I have been expressing my thoughts much more freely lately.

Here's to another six years, at least.  Hope it's been as much fun to read as it has been to write.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Just a very short post today.  I want to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and thank you for stopping by and reading, both my rants and happy posts.

MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Architecture

I haven't posted about Friday's tragedy in Connecticut, there's nothing to say really.  All we can do is pray for the families and surviving children from that school.

I'll leave any discussions about guns to the professionals, although I heard on the radio today that Connecticut has an assault weapons ban, but the shooter's mother's gun was grandfathered in since she evidently had the gun before the ban went into effect.

I'll also leave any mental health discussions to the professionals.  My only comment is that there should be more consideration of the safety of society at large and less for the "rights" of mentally disturbed people.

I started thinking this evening about my school, St. Sylvester's in Brooklyn.  Unfortunately, that school has now closed.  That school had thick metal doors, probably brass.  I suspect the doors were kept locked, and could only be opened from the inside.  There were no classrooms on the first floor.  The principal's office, the nurse's office and two 1st grade classrooms were on the second floor and the higher grades on the third and fourth floors.  The classroom doors were wood and I think the top half had glass, but six small panes.  The school was built in the mid '30's. 

It's too bad that so many new schools are not built the same way.  There are too many windows in the doors, it's so easy to break the glass and open the door.  The classrooms for the younger children are right on the first floor, street level.  That makes it so easy for the children to be victimized.

I see now how safe and lucky we were to have been children in such a time.  No one could have broken in.  If they had, there would have been enough noise and warning for the children and staff on the upper floors.  Maybe, in the future, schools will be built like mine was.  By building up and not sprawling, they also take up less room.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Marketing

Last week our community had its annual trip into NYC to see the Christmas lights and have a nice dinner in Little Italy.  It was a wonderful trip.  There's nothing like New York at any time, but particularly at Christmas. 

We drove past the Rockefeller Center tree twice.  We couldn't stop and get off, but we did stop later at Lord & Taylor.  Their windows are always beautiful.  We saw all the stores along Fifth Avenue from the comfort of our bus.  We also stopped at the Time Warner Building to see their colored stars.  The show wasn't as good as previous years, so I did some shopping.

I made the mistake of wandering into the Godiva shop.  Did you know they have a chocolate of the month club?  If you join, you are eligible to receive one free piece of chocolate every month.  That's just what I need.  Of course, not being one to pass up a free piece of chocolate, I joined.  Unfortunately, I couldn't stop with one piece, and I guess that's how they get you.   I had to buy a small box and a salted caramel chocolate bar.  If you've never had salted caramels, you don't know what you're missing.  They are delicious.

I'm bragging now. I haven't had any of the chocolate I bought.  I think that will change tonight.  The one good thing about Godiva chocolate is that it is so good that you take the time to savor each piece.  I usually try to eat only one piece a day.  I once worked for a man who would give me a box of Godiva chocolates each Christmas.  I savored each piece and the box lasted the whole Christmas season.  Now I have to buy my own chocolate.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Toys

The Men's Club in our community along with the Marines are holding the annual Toys for Tots drive.
Today I decided to make a contribution.  I went to the local Target store and started looking around.  I love shopping for toys, I guess it brings back memories of when my boys were children.

What I found is most distressing, but not surprising.  Practically everything I looked at was made in China, even such American icons as Barbie, Fisher Price, Playskool and Disney.  I don't want to support another country, particularly a communist country, when we are in such bad shape.

Finally, I found some jigsaw puzzles that were made in the USA.  There were some Lego sets that are made in Europe.  I also checked out the Matchbox and Hot Wheels.  They're made in Thailand, but at least it's not China.

I know it's not much, but if everyone were more observant and rejected products made in China, maybe we could bring some manufacturing back to our country, that is, if the unions don't demand any unreasonable rules like they did with Hostess Baking.  We all know how that ended.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Procrastination

This morning I reminded myself of a child who keeps putting off doing his homework because there are a million other things he'd rather be doing.

It's time to start decorating for Christmas.  Christmas is my favorite time of year, I love the decorations.  I enjoy it so much that just about every room in the house has some kind of decoration.  It's time to bring the tree in from the garage.  It's not a real tree, it's a real artificial tree and looks great when it's set up.

I'd really love to have a real tree, but with Burnie...He'd probably climb the tree.  I once had a cat who loved to climb the artificial tree.  Thankfully I had an early warning system, a glass bell that jingled everytime the tree moved.

But I digress.  About the procrastination.  First, I had to check my emails, then do some finishing work on our paper, then send emails for additional information,.

Then I had to take the polish off my nails so they could "breathe", then hand cream.  Then I had to put the cans of cat food bought yesterday away.

I had to move the laundry basket so I could drag the tree through the laundry room.  Then I had to stop and write this.

I just had a thought.  The lottery is expected to be 425 million dollars this week.  What would I do with about $200 million after taxes?  I think, one thing would be to hire someone to bring the Christmas tree into the house and set it up.

Well, enough fantasizing, it's time to start work.  The tree won't walk into the house by itself.  But first, maybe I'll have another cup of coffee.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

The Books are Done

Now that the election is over and the president has another four years, the chefs in the Labor Department have come out with more accurate first time unemployment numbers.  Isn't it strange that first time claims are now 439,000, up from the rosy figures we were given the past few weeks (before the election).  Last week they were 361,000.

I suspected this would happen, so I'm not surprised.  I wonder if any of those people who voted for the president are.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Late News

Why are we finding out about this only now?

Last week, before the election, the Iranians fired on an unmanned and unarmed drone that was flying over international waters.  As far as I know, there was no damage.

The only damage was to the truth.  This information should have been released to the public immediately.  This is another case of the president covering up what should have been public knowledge in order to help his campaign.

I guess his campaign chant, "Four more years" really means four more years of incompetance and cover-ups.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Snow

I love snow.  I get very excited when it snows.  It's snowing now, and sticking to the grassy areas around the house. 

But, I must be mellowing in my old age.  I can't get excited about it.  All I can think about are all the people still without power and heat since last week.  I've heard reports that it can take up to another week to months to fully restore gas and electric to the affected areas.

They are in our prayers.

Post Election Thoughts

It's a sad day for America.  The "Gimme Generation" has won.  Now there will be handouts for everyone who does not feel the need to work and produce for society.

Now that the election is over, I wonder if the president will finally give us the answers we deserve on a number of events. 

I'm talking about the Benghazi attack on September 11, Fast and Furious gunrunning.  Will he be willing to at least speak with the Republicans?

Will the director of the infamous video who was arrested on a probation violation and imprisoned for exercising his 1st Amendment rights be released and allowed to give interviews?

Will all the states now submit their information so that we can have an accurate reading of the unemployment rate?

Will the Ft. Hood massacre finally be classified as the terrorist attack that it was and not workplace violence so that our brave military can receive the benefits they deserve? 

I have many more questions, but that's enough for today.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Shades of the 70's

I'm sure by now, everyone has heard about the gas shortages here in the NY Metropolitan area.  We in NJ are having the same problem.

On Saturday, a friend called me to let me know about a gas station that was open, although it had a long line.  She had waited about 1/2 hour, but was able to fill up.  The next day I set out to fill my tank, especially since I heard we may get another storm on Wednesday.  I lucked out, only had to wait 15 minutes.

It reminded me of the 70's when we had much longer waits for gas.  We also had the odd/even rationing.  We made it through then, and we'll make it through now.

It also reminded me of my, then, 3 year old son's favorite game.  After hearing about the lines from us and the TV, he would line up his cars and trucks and play "gas line".  Who says TV doesn't influence children?

Saturday, November 3, 2012

The Way It Should Be

I am so proud of my former neighborhood of Woodhaven, Queens, NY.  They have been collecting food and clothing for the residents of Breezy Point, Rockaway, Broad Channel and Howard Beach, Queens.

The people in those areas have lost so much to Sandy.  What was not flooded and destroyed by the ocean were burned to the ground.  I don't know about loss of life in this area, I do know that most of the residents followed the evacuation orders.

The Woodhaven Residents Block Association has made numerous trips to the affected areas with these donations.  This all-volunteer organization is still collecting food, warm clothing, blankets, etc.  They didn't wait for the government (taxpayers) to bring those supplies, they just got together and donated whatever they could spare for their neighbors.  It's the American way, neighbors helping neighbors.

There is a place for the government in a tragedy like this.  They should make sure that everyone is safe, that all downed wires are no longer "live" and that trees and debris are removed to avoid the danger of accidents.  They should make sure that power is restored so that the clean-up can be done. They should also make sure that gasoline is available for first responders, cars,  private generators and that the local towns have enough gas for the fire engines and police cars.  I've heard that some places have only a 2 day reserve.

I saw an interview with a man on Staten Island (another borough that suffered major destruction) who lost his restaurant and his home.  He ended the interview by expressing his concern and prayers for those who had lost family members.  He felt blessed that at least everyone in his family was alive.

I was one of the lucky ones.  I only lost power for 2 1/2 days and experienced no flooding, just some discomfort, but I hear that the surrounding area is devastated.  There are so many downed trees that some roads are closed.

All we can do for now is pray for those who have lost their homes and that while they are rebuilding,  they can find some place to live as the colder weather arrives.

Monday, October 22, 2012

The Debate

I've just finished watching the last (thankfully) debate of this presidential campaign.

I just have a few thoughts.  I felt that the president was mocking Governor Romney when he spoke about the size of the military saying that we had fewer ships than in years past, but we also have fewer horses.  He also said that we have something called aircraft carriers where airplanes can land and take off.  I felt that this was uncalled for.  It's not necessary to speak down to, or mock, your opponent to get your point across.

After the first debate the president was criticized for not looking Romney in the eye.  I think he overdid it this time, he just stared or at times, it seemed like he glared.

I am a little disappointed in Governor Romney.  During the discussion about jobs being shipped to China, he should have mentioned that Jeffrey Imelt, the head of GE and also head of the president's jobs council, has sent one of GE's divisions' manufacturing jobs to China.  I guess that's because he didn't ask my advice.  I am glad though that he mentioned Solyndra and two car battery companies that received loans from us and are not producing.  That was money wasted.

Now all we have to do is get through the next two weeks and while I would like to see our unemployment rate go down, I'd like to see it reported honestly by all states, not like the last time.

I wonder what the "October Surprise" will be.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

I admit that I am a "news junkie".  I like to know what's going on, even though it is sometimes disturbing like the report I heard yesterday.

It seems that there has been a delay in some states in getting the absentee ballots to our military in the middle east and other places.  In fact, our own department of justice is SUING the state of Ohio because Ohio wants to give our military an extra 3 days to vote.  The pentagon has had over 3 years to set up offices in the middle east so that these absentee ballots can be collected and returned home for counting.  They have not done so, resulting in some of our military to not have their vote counted.

This is so wrong.  If anything, the votes of military personnel should be counted before those of civilians.  They are out there working to preserve our way of life, including our right to vote and yet, they may lose their vote.

The military favors Gov. Romney by a wide margin.  Could this be the reason for their not getting their ballots in time to make their vote count?  I hate to think this may be true, but is there any other reason why our own justice department is suing  Ohio because Ohio wants to give our military 3 extra days to vote?  The way things are going, I'm tempted to believe this is true.  What do you think?

Friday, October 12, 2012

The Vice Presidential Debate

Last night I went out to dinner with some friends and so missed most of the debate.  I've been listening to some of the comments on Fox News this morning and had get up to voice my comments.

I caught the last 15 minutes and was quite surprised by the childishness of Joe Biden after Paul Ryan gave his closing statement.  Biden pointed out that he expected to get as much time as Paul Ryan.

Now to the comments on parts I missed.  It has been said that Biden was smirking and laughing during Paul Ryan's time to speak.  This should not surprise anyone.  It seems to be a democrat response.  I have seen this many times when Fox News is presenting both sides of a story.  The democrat spokesperson laughs at the republican/conservative point of view.  This is so offensive, and so common.

I am so looking forward to next week's presidential debate to see how the president will behave.  Will he continue the childish behavior of the vice president?  Or will he behave as a mature professional and stick to the facts?  We'll find out soon.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Crash

This morning as I was reading the various blogs I follow, Crash came into the room.  She was pushing for attention and I couldn't understand why.  She had been fed, had her treats and we had even played the game where I try to pick her up and she runs away.  We usually do this several times before I win and pick her up.

She had had all this attention.  I finally asked her what she wanted and I think she understood me.  She got up to leave the room, then looked around to see if I was following her.  I decided to follow and see what she was up to.

Several times she turned around to see if I was still following.  She finally went into the bathroom and sat before her water dish.  She looked from me to the dish to the faucet, then back to the dish.  I took the hint and gave her fresh water which she promptly drank.

It looks like she's getting smart in her old age (11 years), either that or she's got me trained.  I don't know which.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Inflation

I've been hearing for quite a while that we are in an inflationary period and that we shoud be prepared for higher prices for food.  I must admit that my food bills have not gone up over the last two years.

I did notice, however, that I really am getting less and less for my money.  Last week I found a sale on chunk lite tuna packed in water, which I always buy.  The cost was 10 cans for $10.  That seemed reasonable, until I picked up a can.  It seemed smaller, then I looked more carefully.  The net weight used to be 6 oz and a fraction.  Now it's 5 oz.  Same price, smaller can.  A few months ago, I noticed that there was more water and less tuna in a can.

Today I was melting some chocolate wafers to mold into candy.  I didn't get as much as I usually do.  I wondered if I had done something wrong until I checked the bag.  In the past the  bag contained 14 oz.  Now it contains 12 oz.  The price is the same.

I wonder how many other products are being packaged in smaller containers that are made to look like the old size.  That's just dishonest.  I really hate being lied to. 

Whether we realize it or not, inflation is here.  Just check the groceries in your pantry.  You may be paying the same price you've always paid, but you're getting less for your money.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Back to Seattle

 
During my trip to Seattle last month, my son asked what I wanted to do.  I told him I'd like to take a trip to see Mt. St. Helens.  Even though it was a three hour drive each way, he willingly took me.  It was a long ride, but seeing all those mountains made it seem to go fast, for me anyway.  I wasn't driving, but he didn't complain.
 
 
As we neared the mountain, I kept seeing these white things along the side of the mountain.  They looked like tombstones, but I didn't think they were.  As we got closer, I could see that they were the stumps of trees that had been knocked down by the force of the volcano.
 
 
 
They show up as white dots on the above photo and you can see some white lines that are the trees that had been knocked down.
 
 
When we got to the Johnson Ridge Observatory and parked the car, this is what welcomed us.  They look like sentries guarding the area.
 
 

 
The first thing we did when we got to the observatory was see a short film of the eruption and its aftermath.  And I'm so glad we did.  It was quite informative.  When the film was over, the curtains behind the screen opened and this is what we saw, but it looked much closer than this.

 
My son had been here before and he commented that the lava dome looked larger since the last time.
 
 
I got some good shots of the devastation and the recovery.  



The vegetation is coming back.






It looked to me like the mountain is burping some steam.


I never cease to be amazed at the force of nature and the way part of the mountain has been sliced off.

 
Yet, the forces of nature are bringing about a regrowth.

 
There was even some wildlife.

 
On the way back we stopped at this little restaurant, the only one we saw on the road.  They had a wraparound deck for outdoor dining, but there was no room.  We ate inside where I had an elkburger (my first).  It was delicious, very moist even though it was not as rare as I like it.  For dessert we had cobbler.  I had a peach which was also delicious.

It was a wonderful day.

Now I have to start thinking of places to see on my trip next year.  I think I'll try to fine something closer to the city limits and not push my luck that he will always be so willing to take me where I want to go.

We did some other things, but that's for another day.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Middle East Riots

I've been watching the news coverage of the riots in Cairo and Libya and am disgusted, not only by the riots, but also by the lame excuses given for this behavior. 

The CLAIM is that a little known movie about mohammed sparked the "outrage" by members of this religion of peace.  This movie has been available for viewing for about six months, but they only became outraged by it on September 11.  Isn't that interesting?

Why are we hearing apologies for someone's exercising his freedom of speech instead of what we Catholics hear when we are offended, "It's art".

A few years ago  an "artist" had his depiction of our Holy Virgin Mary depicted as a black madonna (no problem there) who was surrounded by images from blaxploitation movies and close-ups of femal private parts cut from porn magazines and elephant dung attached to the painting (big problem there) had his painting exhibited at the Brooklyn Museum.  Catholics protested, but there were no riots and no apologies.  We were told this was art to be appreciated.

This same Brooklyn Museum had a video depicting ants crawling over the body of a stylized Jesus.  Again, no riots and no apologies.  It's just art, freedom of expression.

There is a movie being planned which is based on a book Jesus of Nazareth which was written in 2010.  This movie depicts Jesus, not as the son of God, but as a politician who was the product of a rape of Mary by a Roman Soldier.  There were no riots about the book and I'm sure there will be none about the movie.

It's time to face the fact that the residents of the Middle East DO NOT LIKE US and no matter how much we apologize to them or give them things, they never will like us.  We shouldn't strive to be liked, we should strive to be RESPECTED.

To use the phrase that Christians hear when we find movies and paintings offensive, "Get over it, it's art".

My prayers are with the families of the four killed by Libyan savages.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Schedules

The temperature here has cooled down a bit and I couldn't be happier.  I don't like the heat of summer.  I've also recently discovered that even though it's been many, many years since I went to school, I seem to plan my activities around school days.

Summer has always seemed to be such an unstructured season.  While I loved having my sons home during the summer and enjoyed their company, I was so happy when they returned to school.  It meant that everyone got up at the same time, had meals at the same time, etc.

Now that I'm retired, I miss that structure.  I still try to get up at the same time each day and have my meals at the same time, but, I find that I don't accomplish much else during the day.  I think I'm going to have to make a schedule for myself.  One day for laundry, one day for shopping and meal planning, etc.

There are so many things I want to do - I want to finish my German lessons.  I had been very good in the beginning.  Everyday at 3:00 PM I would sit down and study until at least 4:00 PM.  I should also schedule an hour of reading every day.  There are so many projects I want to do or have done around the house too.

The week is almost over and, of course, the weekend is free time (no homework), I think I'll start on Monday morning with my German lessons, then move on to reading.  Sounds like a plan.

Once I get that routine settled, I can start on some of the other projects, like cleaning my office and garage.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Today is the 11th anniversary of that horrible day of the attacks on our World Trade Center, Pentagon and the heroics of the passengers on flight 93 who brought the plane down in a field and did not allow the terrorists to inflict further damage.

We all remember where we were on that day.  Since I had gotten into the city early that day, I had to decide whether to look at books in the World Trade Center or try to buy a pair of shoes at the Easy Spirit store a few blocks from the Trade Center.  To this day, I thank God that I made the decision to buy shoes. 

I know that I would have physically survived that day, but I don't know how I would have gotten through it mentally if I had actually been in the building.  Being a few blocks away and then feeling my building on the other side of Manhattan shake when the second plane hit was traumatic enough.  I still look up when I hear a low flying plane.

That day has changed so many lives.  We all know someone, either directly or indirectly, who was killed by the terrorists.

Let's say a prayer for the deceased and ill from that day.

We should also never forget what happened and vow to never let it happen again.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

 
 
Yesterday I mentioned our trip to the Evergreen State Fair and the animals we saw.  While we were at the building with the goats, we saw a crowd around these young kids.  There was a gate covering an opening in the fence.  One of the kids squeezed through the holes in the gate and trapped himself.  He couldn't turn around.  I remembered my camera and took these two videos.  Hope you enjoy them.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
I'm new at this, hope you can access them.

Friday, August 31, 2012

 
Last week I took a trip to Seattle to spend a few days with my son.  He's so good to me, when he met me at the airport, he immediately asked what I wanted to do.  There were two things on my list, a trip to Mt. St. Helens and sushi.  I'll cover those another day.
 
 
This city girl went to her very first state fair, the Evergreen State Fair in Washington.  We saw many different animals.  The first we saw were the chickens.  There are so many varieties, but I only took a picture of one.  I guess I was distracted because they are a noisy bunch.
 
 
 
Then we went to see the guinea pigs or hamsters.  I thought this sign was interesting, maybe even redundant.

 
 
Then it was off to the building with the cows.  My first question when we entered was, "Are they tethered to something?"  My son assured me they were.  I've seen cows when I'm driving past their farms and they don't look that big.  They were huge, even if some of them were lying down.  Here, two girls were giving a demonstration on grooming your cow.

 
 
One of the highlights, was the collection of kids.  This little one had squeezed through a part of the fence that had a large hole.  The area was too narrow and he couldn't turn around, so he had to keep walking backward.  I did get a video and am in the process of uploading it to my computer, so we'll have that story another day.


I'll leave you with this snapshot of two cows.  Either they're talking to each other, or kissing.  You be the judge.


Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Four Down

And forty to go.

It all started six years ago on my drive out west.  While I was in Missouri and passing through Independence I saw a sign for the Truman Library.  I did something very unusual for me.  I changed my plans and visited the Library.  It was very impressive, a good history lesson.  I was quite young during the Truman years and didn't pay much attention to politics.

After the Library, I continued on my way.  But something stuck in my mind and I had a new goal.  I had to visit all the presidential libraries.  Since many of our earlier presidents did not have libraries, I've added homes to the plan.

A few years ago I visited the Kennedy Library and the Kennedy Memorial in Massachusetts, so far this is the biggest I've seen.

Last November, while I was visiting my niece and a friend, I stopped Oyster Bay on Long Island for a tour of Sagamore Hill, the home of Theodore Roosevelt.


I was just in time, since they closed the home the following week for two years for renovations and updating of the electrical.  This was a simple home, filled with his hunting trophies.  There were many animal heads and skins.  Theodore Roosevelt is the only president to receive the Congressional Medal of Honor.  It was awarded to him posthumously.

Last week I went to Gettysburg, PA and toured the battlefield.  I also took a short tour of the Eisenhower Farm.




These are pictures of the sunroom, or what we would now call the family room and living room which was filled with much memorabilia from the White House years.  When Ike was at the putting green, Mamie would sit in the family room and watch him.  It was a very interesting tour.

Eisenhower raised black angus cattle and showed them.  He won many blue ribbons and awards.  Of course, who would tell the president his cattle wasn't the best?

I can't decide where to go next.  I'm leaning toward Hyde Park, FDR's home.  I could combine that with lunch at the Culinary Institute.

I have to work out a schedule for future visits.  I think a trip to Texas for LBJ and the two Bush's, then in California I could visit Reagan and Nixon. I guess Mount Vernon (Washington) and Monticello (Jefferson) would probably be close enough to visit on one trip.

All I have to do now is locate the rest of the presidents and then live to be 100 so I can get to them all.  The only problem is that every four years, there will be another one.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Chick-fil-A

Today I made my first purchase at a local Chick-fil-A.  I've been wanting to visit one of the restaurants since all this condemnation of free speech began, but I couldn't find the time to wander over to the mall where it is located.

The service was very good and very friendly.  It took me a while to order since I'm really not a fast-food fan.  I do enjoy a nice juicy burger, but they don't carry them.  I finally ordered a chicken salad sandwich on wheat bread with a side order of carrot raisen salad (my favorite).  It was good, but I could probably do a better job at home.

I may go back to support the company's policies and their right to speak freely on their beliefs and to support those beliefs. 

Those people supporting a boycott hoping to put this company out of business are not thinking of the many employees who would be out of a job were it not for this company and the future employees if this company were able to expand.

Whatever happened to the right of our citizenry to speak out on their beliefs, to contribute to causes that support those beliefs without fear of retaliation?  Why is it wrong not to follow the crowd?

Now if I could just find an Amway distributor to counter that proposed boycott.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Chick-fil-A

The TV lately has been filled with stories about this company.  The COO of this company only expressed his personal views on Gay Marriage.  As soon as these comments became public, several mayors of major cities came forward and threatened to prohibit or make it difficult for this company to open restaurants in their cities.

The one comment that struck me as odd was Rahm Emmanuel.  He said that Chick-fil-A's values were not Chicago's values and the company would not be welcome in Chicago.  All I can say in answer to that is "Thank God".  Chicago does not have a reputation as a very law-abiding town.

At the present time, their murder rate is soaring with gang wars.  Maybe if the citizens of Chicago adopted some of Chick-fil-A's values, they would be much better off.

Friday, July 27, 2012

They're All Alike

Today I travelled up to Queens for "the works".  That includes a trim, touch-up and highlighting. Today, it also included a new style since I got tired of the old one.  I've been going to Connie for about 20 years since she rescued me from a gentle home perm which left my hair in a wild mess of tight kinky curls. 

Connie gave me a good cut and I've been going to her ever since.  I now travel 70 miles each way, but it's well worth it.  Just the other day one of my neighbors complimented me on my hair and wanted to know where I went.  When I told her, she decided she liked her own hair.

Anyway, Connie and I were talking with another hairdresser, Stella, whose husband owns the shop.  When Connie mentioned that her husband is working the 4 to midnight shift, Stella's eyes lit up with envy.  All three of us agreed that that was a wonderful shift.  It actually gave us some time on our own to do whatever.

It seems that all husbands, no matter their nationality (Stella's - Russian, Conie's - Italian and mine - Irish) just seem to want their wives to sit with them when they are watching TV.  It's not enough to be in the same room, we have to be doing the same thing - watching TV.  Of course, if we wanted company and they wanted to go out or work on a project, they would do what they wanted to do.

I'm just so glad to know that I wasn't the only one.

As I was leaving the shop, two of Connie's customers came in.  They both commented on how wonderful my hair looked.  That made me feel good because I needed a change and it was a good one..

Monday, July 16, 2012

Efficiency Makes You Fat

I've never believed people who said that as you get older your metabolism begins to slow down and you gain weight.  There were times in my 50s when I was much more active than when I was in my 20s and yet I had trouble keeping my weight down.  No, I think (besides the obvious that you may eat more) that you gain weight because you're more efficient.

Think about it, you're older, you're wiser.  You may have more to do, so you plan your time better.  Instead of, say filing one piece of paper, you wait until you have several.  Then you pull a chair over to your cabinet and file your papers.  If you were filing one piece at a time, think of the walking you could be doing.

When I lived in Queens, I had a two story house.  I did what all the "experts" said to do.  Instead of making several trips upstairs to put things away, I stacked them on the stairs and brought a bunch up at once, thereby saving several trips and not burning calories.

It's even worse here with everything on one floor.  I empty the trash baskets all at the same time and bring it to the garage all at once.  How much more exercise would I get if I emptied one basket at a time and brought it to the garage.

Hmm, I think I'll try this.  How many calories will I burn by hanging my clothes in the closet, one piece at a time?

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Brownies

I am so proud of myself.

Back in the middle of June I wrote that I had baked some brownies and froze most of them, two to a baggie.  Last week I ate the last of them.

I must say they were delicious.  I realize that instead of slicing off a bit whenever I passed them, I was able to actually sit down and savor the deliciousness of the chocolate chips.  I would take them out of the freezer, let them thaw a little.  Then I poured myself a cup of coffee and took the time to really taste them.

They were so good and now that I know I can control myself by freezing them, I think I'll bake some more.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Taxes

I just heard a  bit of the president's speech in which he claimed to have cut taxes for the middle class.  I don't know about that, I haven't seen any tax cut.  I did fine one humorous spot.  When the president claimed to reduce taxes on the middle class there was silence from the audience.  He had to repeat that claim and I guess then the "applause" sign went up.

My one question to the Republicans is this.  When are you going to counter the president's claim that we had a surplus during the Clinton administration?  Yes, we did have a surplus then, but that was also a time of Republican controlled congress and the Contract with America which cut costs, including some entitlement programs.  They MUST put the emphasis on that.

It was during the Bush administration's last two years under a Democraticall controlled congress that our deficit got much higher.

Let's see - Republican congress = deficit reduction, Democrat controlled congress = deficit increase.

Which is better?

Saturday, July 7, 2012

The Epitome of Laziness

The other day I thought Crash and Burn needed more exercise.  One of the problems I have with them when they play is that they spend a lot of time stalking a toy and I don't have the patience to hold or move a toy for them.  While I was picking up some food for them, I saw a toy could be used automatically.  All it needed was some batteries and I could set the timer for it to move for up to two hours.

Of course, the day I brought it home they practically ignored it, but today I caught Crash playing with it.  I turned it on and watched her.  Of course, I also had to take a video of her playing.  This is how she gets her exercise.


I had trouble downloading the video, but you can follow this link and see it.




ENJOY!


Friday, July 6, 2012

Blame President Truman

That's where it started.  About 6 years ago when I took my cross-country drive, I found myself in Missouri, Independence to be exact.  I thought to myself, since I'm so close, I should visit President Truman's library.  That started my obsession/interest in presidential homes and libraries.

So far, I've only visited two others - the Kennedy Library in Massachusetts and Sagamore Hill, the home of Teddy Roosevelt.  They have been interesting trips and I've learned a few things.

In the next few weeks I hope to visit Gettysburg and the Eisenhower Farm.  That will make four homes or libraries.  I'm trying to  put a few days together to visit Hyde Park, the home of FDR.

When I was in high school, I visited Mount Vernon, George Washington's home.  I really can't count that since I was very young at the time and didn't fully appreciate the history.

I've got to get a list of nearby presidential homes in the east so I can make a good historical road trip.  Maybe next year I'll plan a trip to California for the Reagan and Nixon Libraries and then to Texas for three libraries - LBJ and the two presidents Bush.

Does anyone out there know of any other presidential homes or libraries?

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Cats

This is something only a cat lover/owner would understand.

To begin, last year because of my back problems, I treated myself to a sleep number bed.  It's been very good, I can now sleep without pain.  Getting up is another thing.  But I digress.

One day, a few weeks ago, I felt my bed getting softer and I heard the clicking that happens when you let out the air.  After I got up and loosened all those tight joints I moved my bed and checked all the connections.  Everything was in place, I couldn't find anything wrong.  So I just readjusted my numbers and went about my day.

This morning I woke up to the sound of my bed getting firmer.  This time, I was more observant.  There was Crash sitting on the remote.  Apparently this remote is very sensitive.  I always keep it control side down on my end table since many years ago another cat, Midnight, used to turn the TV on in the middle of the night by walking/sitting on the remote.

I guess if I want to sleep undisturbed I'll have to put the remote in the drawer at night.  I can't ban the cats from my bedroom because they would want in at 3:00 am and would cry and scratch the door until I let them in.

They're not too spoiled.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Supreme Court Ruling

I'm still trying to make sense of yesterday's Supreme Court ruling on Obamacare.  According to the chief justice, what makes this law constitutional is the fact that the mandate is a tax.  How can that be?  The president, himself, said that this was not a tax and he's always been straight with us.  Hasn't he?

So, the mandate is a tax.  Will middle class people making under $250,000 a year who choose not to have insurance pay a tax.  Won't this increase taxes on the middle class?  I thought the middle class wouldn't see their taxes increase.  Even if they have insurance, their taxes will increase in the form of small "nuisance" taxes like the tax on tanning beds, the tax on over the counter medicines, etc.  I guess the Affordable Care Act (the real name of Obamacare) isn't so affordable after all.

Obama has a problem.  In order for his Affordable Care Act to be deemed constitutional, taxes have to be raised on everyone, even those making under $250,000.  If he accepts this ruling, he breaks his campaign promise regarding taxes, if he doesn't then the last 2 1/2 years have been wasted.

How's that working out for all you Obama supporters out there?

Thursday, June 28, 2012

The War on Fat

I recently heard about a man who lost custody of his two young sons because in the eyes of the judge, he was too fat to be a good parent.  In the past year, this man had lost 150 pounds and now weighs 360 pounds.  That is fat, but he is in the process of losing weight.  Instead of letting this father have his children while he loses more weight, they will be put up for adoption.  The mother isn't in the picture.

Every day we hear about another assault on the overweight or obese.  I actually heard one commentator who was discussing possible vice presidential candidates say that Governor Christie is not fit to be vice president because he's too fat.  That was the only reason.  I don't want him to run for vice president, because I want him to stay in New Jersey where he's doing a great job.

Mayor Bloomberg of New York City is trying to ban the sale of sweetened drinks that are larger than 16 oz.  That's the latest thing he has tried to ban.  Previously he has come out against too much salt, trans fats, etc.  But, he wants to eliminate the criminality of carrying a small amount of marijuana.

Schools have stopped having fundraising cake sales while at the same time there are vending machines that have sweetened snacks.

What will they ban next?  Whole milk?  Beef? 

I hope the War on Fat will be as successful as the War on Drugs.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

A Day of Surprises

Today I took the QVC Studio Tour with a friend from my community and two of her friends.  It was a fun day.

At lunch, we started talking about jobs and I mentioned that my company had been taken over by CNA.  That rang a bell with one of the women.  She said that I must have worked for Continental.  I said yes in the reinsurance department.  It seems that her husband also worked for Continental and also in reinsurance.  The name was familiar, but I couldn't place him.

Later on, we were talking about the neighborhoods where we grew up.  We grew up just miles apart.  That might not sound too strange, but we both live in New Jersey now and grew up in Queens New York.

After the tour, we went to the QVC Outlet Store, which I never knew they had.  While I was looking around, I saw a pair of winter white slacks which I have been looking for.  There was only one pair and it was in my size.  Of course I grabbed it up.  The price tag said $38.79 or something like that.  When I was at the register, the woman gave me the price and it sounded like $8.59.  I just thought I misheard her until I checked my receipt.  I was shocked.  The pants were 75% off and the final price was $8.59.  What a bargain!  That just made my day.

It was a wonderful day - good friends, new friends and a bargain.  You couldn't ask for anything more.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Self Control & Baking

I'm so proud of myself.

I love to bake.  There's nothing better than taking those ingredients, mixing them together then putting them into the oven and after about 1/2 hour or so smelling the delicious cake or cookie that you've made.

Today I had an craving for brownies.  I cheated and used a mix and added chocolate chips.  They were wonderful.  Now here's why I'm so proud.

Usually when I bake, I take small pieces whenever I pass by the kitchen.  Before I know it, the cake or whatever is gone and I've eaten it all, probably in a day or two.  Tonight, after I had two brownies, I packed them in small plastic bags, two to a bag.  Then I did a really mature thing.  I put them in the freezer.

Now I have brownies whenever I want and I can't overdo it.  It's the grown-up thing to do.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Sex Preference Abortion

I just heard that the house voted to defeat the bill which would ban abortions on the basis of sex preference.  That is just wrong.

Have we gone so far in wanting the "perfect" life that we would kill an expected baby simply because it is the "wrong" sex?  What is wrong with people?
In my opinion, abortion is wrong even when there is a suspiscion that the child will have health problems, but this is over the line.

Our society has taken a giant step backward and I doubt we will ever recover.

Ding, Ding,Ding

Or how I learned to love penny machines.

Yesterday some of us took a ride to Atlantic City.  It was a long ride because a tractor trailer had overturned on the Parkway.  We heard about this because several people on the bus were able to check conditions on their cell phones, which was very helpful.  There's nothing worse than being stuck in traffic and not knowing why.  But I digress.

I have always said that I won't play the penny slots because I don't understand the winning combinations.  Sometimes it seems that what wins one time, doesn't the second time.  I went first to the quarter machines, using the bonus that the casino gave us.  That money went very quickly.

Then, I thought I'd try the penny machines.  After all, so many people seem to win on them.  I sat down at the first one, played 20 lines and played three credits.  This amounted to only 60 cents.  After a while I started winning, then I got bonus free spins and the pennies began mounting up.  All of a sudden I had 6950 pennies or $69.50.  Time to cash out and put the coupon in my purse.  Then I started all over.

Soon there were many more free spins and the pennies added up, this time to 13840 or $138.40.  Time to cash out again.  This went on for most of the day and I wound up winning $200.00.  All on pennies.

I still don't understand the machines, or how I win, but I like it.  Penny machines are my new best friends.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Today on the TV I heard a story about a little girl, if I remember right, about 8 years old.  It seems that her teacher gave her an award for being the best at making excuses for not doing homework.  Her mother was incensed that the teacher should do that.  She felt that the teacher was bullying her little darling.

That story reminded me that when I was in first grade, whenever the class acted up Sister Julia would threaten to leave us.  That always triggered my tears and soon I had a new name, "Woodhaven Waterworks".  I don't ever remember feeling bullied, in fact I wore the title proudly.

Years later, my son had a teacher in 2nd grade who would sing the theme from the Twilight Zone whenever someone  was caught not paying attention.  Eventually, the whole class caught on and chimed in.  It almost seemed to be a badge of honor to be sung to.  As far as I know all those children turned out OK.

I think this child's mother is doing more harm than good by calling attention to this "award".  Give the teacher credit, she found something that the child is good at.  If this child is not getting her homework done on time, some of the blame belongs to the mother who should be checking her daughter's homework.

Things have gone too far.

Monday, May 28, 2012

13 and Counting

Strawberries that is.

Last year I planted a few strawberry plants in a container.  I watched and watered them faithfully and was delighted with the blossoms.  Soon those blossoms turned into actual berries.  There were 7.  When I last saw them, they were almost ripe.  They needed one day more, then I would cut them into my breakfast.

The next morning they were missing.  A few days later I saw a rabbit on my patio.  He must have been the one who ate all my berries. 

After that, I must admit I ignored the plants and even left them in their container on the patio all winter.  I guess because we had a very mild winter here in NJ, they survived and even multiplied.

There have been several blossoms and so far I have harvested 13.  There are still a few unripe ones and several blossoms. 

I've learned my lesson; I take them before they are fully ripe.  I know it's mean, but I don't intend to feed any rabbit this year.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Tonight while I was enjoying Jeopardy, the show was interrupted for breaking news.  Usually, this "important" news is something minimal and can wait until the end of the show.  I was annoyed.

Then I heard what it was all about.  It seems that after 33 years, the NYPD have made an arrest in the case of a missing 7 year old child Etan Patz who was walking alone to the school bus stop for the very first time..  This child was only a year younger than my son who also had just started walking to school alone.

I don't remember any story of this type that has affected me so much.  I felt so sorry for his parents and couldn't imagine how they must have felt.

Over the years, this case came to the media's attention, but there was never a definite answer.  There is one child molester who is in prison on another case who was a suspect and about a month ago, the NYPD searched a basement in the neighborhood, but found nothing.

Until today that is.  The suspect lived in the neighborhood when he was 19.  Evidently, the police received a tip from someone who said that the suspect has told people that he did a bad thing, he killed a child in New York.  Apparently, he said this a few times over the years.  I wonder why no one has come forward with this information.

According to his confession, he strangled the child, wrapped the body in plastic and put it in the trash.  What a horrible end for this little boy.

It must be somewhat of a relief for the parents to know for certain what happened, but that doesn't bring their child back.

I always hoped that some day he would be found and there would be a happy homecoming.  All I can do now is pray for his parents and hope they can find some peace now.

As an aside, he was one of the first missing children who's photo appeared on a milk carton.

Good work NYPD!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Luck

Two weeks ago I got caught up in the excitement and hype of the Facebook Initial Public Offering (IPO) and asked my broker if I could get a few shares.

Many years ago I worked on Wall Street in the department that handled IPOs, so I had an idea of how it worked, but since my broker's company was one of the major underwriters I thought I might have a chance.  He sent me some paperwork to be signed and returned.

As luck would have it, the post office was a little slow that week and my paperwork didn't arrive in time.  I was disappointed, I thought it would be fun to get into a stock at the beginning of its public "life". 

That is, until Friday when it started trading.  There was no spectacular movement of the stock on Friday, and today it was off about $5.00 from its initial price of $38/share.  I  lucked out on that, I really can't afford another loser stock.

But, I'll keep my eye on it and maybe in a week or so I can get a bargain.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

I made someone's day today.

I went to the supermarket this morning to pick up a few things for a dinner I'm planning.  While I was wandering through the aisles, I saw a woman looking for something on the lowest shelf.  I'd guess she was in her late forties or early fifties.  She was squatting in a deep knee bend and in the middle of the aisle.  There wasn't room for me to pass, so I excused myself and she stood up.  She apologized for being in the way.

I answered that it was OK and that she was probably just showing off how well she could still do a deep knee bend without losing her balance.  She laughed and thanked me.

I can't remember the last time I was able to do a deep knee bend.  Ah, those were the good old days.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Lost and Found

What was lost has been found.

A few weeks ago I had an attack of neat and cleaned and organized my closet.  I switched to lighter weight clothes and shoes.  I put my boots away and took out my sandals.  It was then that I realized that my shoe shopping had gotten out of hand.  I have far too many shoes to mention.

While organizing and cleaning I threw out several empty shoe boxes, without checking which is something I never do.  A day or two later I remembered that I had ordered and received a pair of denim penny loafer type shoes.  I looked all over the closet but couldn't find them.  I hated to admit it to myself but I must have thrown them out in one of the boxes which I never checked.

Yesterday, I was trying to find a pair of shoes in the brown/tan family.  I picked up one pair and discovered the new denim shoes.  I had been looking for a pair of denim shoes and didn't realize that the ones I thought had been thrown out had a tan trim on the heel and the denim wasn't visible on the shelf.

I wore them and they fit perfectly.  I had been so embarrassed by my foolishness that I didn't tell anyone about the missing shoes.

There's a lesson to be learned here.  Never throw out a box or bag without checking to see that it really is empty.

Friday, May 11, 2012

The Race is On

I guess by now you've all heard about the article in the Washington Post about Mitt Romney and his alleged bullying and haircut of a classmate way, way back when he was in high school.  If they have to go that far back in history to find something that Romney has done wrong, I guess he'd make a very good president.

I'd like to know why the media doesn't dwell as much on the past of President Obama.  They haven't made too much of his younger days when he used drugs.  I wonder why.

Is self admitted drugging less serious than alleged bullying? 

All I can say, and I think this would make a good campaign slogan, is this,

"I'D RATHER HAVE A PRESIDENT WHO WAS A BULLY THAN ONE WHO WAS A DRUGGIE."

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Mixed Message

For at least the past 30 years we've been hearing that marriage is not necessary, that it's just a piece of paper and that it is commitment to each other that keeps partners together.

Now, it is urgent that gay and lesbian people be allowed to marry and the president agrees.  So too, do the many heterosexual Hollywood couples  who do not believe it is necessary to marry and have that piece of paper that proves their commitment.

Could someone please explain to me why it is necessary that gay and lesbian couples marry while it is not necessary for heterosexual couples? 

We're definitely getting mixed messages.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Distractions

I swear sometimes I have the attention span of a gnat, or maybe I just don't want to wade through all the filing and papers piled up on my desk.

I started out with all good intentions.  I actually filed a few pieces of paper, then my troubles started.  I found a print-out of what I call my "memoirs".  Actually, it's just a collection of family history and my childhood through the present time.  After my mother died a while back, I realized I had so many questions about the family history and that now there was no one to answer them.  So I decided to start writing my memories and impressions.

Now, back to my original problem.  When I found this print-out I had to sit down and read it.  Then I saw errors and had more thoughts, so I had to start writing.  That was well over an hour ago, and the papers keep piling up.

Guess I better go back to work.

Monday, May 7, 2012

IT'S SOAPBOX TIME

I've spent a lot of time thinking about two tragedies this past week and how I could talk about them without seeming cruel.

Last weekend, there was a horrific traffic accident in the Bronx.  According to news reports, an SUV went out of control on the highway, went through the guardrail and fell several feet to the ground, killing 7 people in the car.  I know it's all about semantics, but the wording bothers me.

The car didn't go out of control, the driver lost control, possibly because of excessive speed.  Then, all the reporters went on and on about the "dangerous" road.  Granted, there are some curves and there have been several accidents, but roads aren't inherently dangerous, it's the drivers who are the danger.  Now, there's a push to increase the height of the guardrails to prevent an out of control car/driver from going off the road and onto the road below.

My sympathies go out to the families of those killed, but it's not the fault of the car or the road or the guardrails, it's simply the fault of the driver who, for whatever reason, lost control of the car and went through the guardrail.

The other tragedy that got my attention last week was the suicide of a former football player, Junior Seau.  According to reports, he had been a star linebacker in the NFL.  This has resulted in calls for investigations into the head injuries received by football players, although this particular player had no record of concussions.  Is it possible that after being told he was special, a wonderful player and a star probably since his early teens that he just couldn't adjust to becoming just another face in the crowd?

If any field warrants an investigation into concussions, I believe it should be boxing.  Those men take a lot of head hits, and they don't wear helmets.

Time to get off the soapbox, but I want to reiterate that I don't mean to be cruel and I feel sorry for these families' losses, but, let's stop blaming outside influences and look more closely at the facts.

Monday, April 30, 2012

NEWS FLASH

I have finally accepted that there is indeed man-made temperature increases.

Yes, according to recent studies, the wind turbines that are supposed to provide cheap, clean energy are believed to be responsible for the increase in temperatures in areas near four Texas wind farms.

A Professor Liming Zhou from the State University of New York examined conditions around these wind farms and reported in the journal Nature Climate Change that the temperature increased up to 0.72 degrees Celsius per decade at the wind farm locations compared to nearby areas.  It is believed that this change was caused by air turbulence generated by the turbines' rotor blades. 

The professor said that a large enough wind farm could affect local and regional weather and climate.  Unfortunately, he still believes that the impact of carbon dioxide emissions has a global effect rather than just a local one.  However, if we had more wind farms, wouldn't that have a more widespread effect?

I still believe the changes in the earth's temperature are cyclical.  Remember, back in the 70's, scientists were predicting another ice age.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Because it was so warm here on Monday, I've been in the process of switching my clothes from winter to summer wear and organizing my closets.  I've made many discoveries about myself.

First, I have too many clothes.  I've always liked clothes and rationalized that if I had a lot so that I wouldn't have to do laundry quite as often, but I seem to have gone overboard.  Every year I buy a few new things, but I don't seem to throw anything out.  I still have clothes from the early '90s.  Some fit, some I hope to get back into, but I like them so much they have to stay.  I have one top that is nice and loose and so comfortable, but it looks so bad that I only wear it when I know I won't see anyone.

I also have too many shoes.  I think this goes back to my childhood.  As a young girl, my feet grew and have continued to grow.  I remember walking along the avenue stopping in one of the many shoe stores trying to find something suitable for a 10 year old in a size 5 or 6.   As a result, now whenever I find a pair or two of shoes in my size, I scoop them up, sometimes the same style in different colors.  I can't remember the last time I bought only one pair.

Let's not even mention the pocketbooks.  I've been on a new pocketbook kick and now have several in different colors, again several the same style. 

I'm out of control!  This shopping has got to stop.  Although, I guess I have been helping the economy in my little way.

This has also made me realize how disorganized I've been.  I found summer clothes and summer shoes that I forgot I had.

This work on my closet has spread to my bathroom.  Again, thanks to my disorganization, I found several bottles of shampoo and conditioner that I didn't realize I had.  I won't have to shop for months, which should help my budget.

I feel so good when I look at my closets now.  I think I'll tackle the kitchen next, that closet is looking a little messy.  I may even find some ingredients for a good dinner or dessert.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Crash Speaks


Crash here.  I haven't posted in a very long time, I've been very busy.

Last year, mom hurt her back.  It's gotten a lot better even though she doesn't do her exercises.  I got tired of her complaints so I made up a game to get her to exercise.

Whenever she's on the computer, I come into the room and meow.  If she doesn't pay any attention to me, then I try to climb up her leg.  This really gets her attention.  Then, she offers to pick me up.  I pretend that I don't want to be picked up, so I run away.  As soon as she gets settled, I try to climb up her leg so she can bend over to pick me up.  I run away again.  I do this about 5 or 6 times so she can stretch her back, then I let her pick me up and I purr and purr.  All that stretching seems to be helping, she doesn't complain as much.

I also heard that it can be very dangerous to take a shower, although I can't imagine what you humans think is so great about having water poured all over your body.  Then you have to use that noisy thing to dry your hair.  But I digress.  To keep mom safe, I sit right next to the shower while she's washing.  As soon as the water is off, I leave.

I don't know what I would do if she fell.  Maybe Burnie could help me call 911 for help.

As you can see, I'm a very helpful and caring cat.  Don't believe everything you hear about us cats.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The Buffett Rule

I see that in his campaign speech today, the president is again, or still, pushing for passage of "The Buffett Rule" which will increase taxes on millionaires.  This rule came about because Warren Buffett said it wasn't fair that his secretary paid more taxes than he did.

What he probably didn't mention was that he pays a lower rate because he lives on income from his investments, capital gains and dividends.  This money is indeed taxed at a lower rate which is fair since capital gains and dividends are the result of investing income which has already been taxed at a much higher rate.  We don't hear much about that though, do we.

Raising taxes on millionaires really won't do much for the deficit, it's just a drop in the bucket.

If Warren Buffett really wants to pay his fair share, he should make sure that his company, Berkshire Hathaway, pays the approximately $1 billion dollars in back taxes.

I'd like to remind Warren Buffett and anyone else who thinks it's fair to pay more taxes that the IRS will not object if they were to pay additional taxes, or maybe they should just not take advantage of the loopholes.

Isn't it strange that two of the president's friends' companies (GE and Berkshire Hathaway) don't seem to pay taxes. 

This idea of increasing taxes on millionaires who are the job creators is just another example of the current trend of punishing the successful and rewarding the mediocre.  There's just something backward about that.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Book Review - UNBROKEN by Laura Hillenbrand

I love to read.  I have stacks of books that I want to read, that I've read and that I am, or should be, reading.  My favorite stories are biographies.

I just finished Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand. This is the story of Louis Zamperini, an Olympic runner in 1936 and a member of Army Air Force and prisoner of war in World War II.  It took me quite a while to get into this book because in his younger days, Louis was known to steal, a lot.  It bothered me that such a young child would steal.

Once I started reading about his racing prowess, he ran the mile in 4 min. 21 sec.(the fastest at the time), I was hooked.  Eventually, he enlisted in the Army Air Force and served in the Pacific.  His plane was shot down and he and two other members of his crew drifted 2000 miles in a life raft in the shark-infested waters of the Pacific, until he was "rescued" by the Japanese and sent to a prisoner of war camp.

The story covers all the indignities, starvation and beatings he and his fellow prisoners suffered at the hands of their captors.  After the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaka early in August 1945, their lives were spared.  Orders had been given to kill all the prisoners on August 22, 1945.
 
All the while he was in prison, his family thought he was dead, although they wouldn't accept the fact.  When he returned home, he couldn't forget the horrors of his internment and the most cruel guard who they had named "the bird".  He was so haunted by those memories that he tried to drown them in alcohol.  Eventually, after hearing Billy Graham speak, he gave up the alcohol and turned his life around.

This is a wonderful book and I strongly recommend it, if you can bear to hear about the torture our boys suffered at the hands of their captors.  It's also a wonderful story of survival, recovery and forgiveness.

I was reading this book on a bus ride to Atlantic City and was so engrossed in it that I was surprised at how quickly we got there.  I also thought about forgetting about the slots so I could read, but when I saw those machines and heard the bells, I decided to play and read later which I did.  I continued reading when I got home and didn't put it down until I finished it.

Those who served during WWII were truly the "Greatest Generation".

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Reunion

Today I went to an all year reunion of my high school.  I attended an all-girl Catholic school in Brooklyn, The Bishop McDonnell Memorial High School, and graduated 55 years ago. 


Almost 40 years ago, they closed the school and the building is now used for a school for the deaf, but every year they let us hold our reunion there.  When I first walked in and saw everyone, my first thought was, "Who are all these grey haired women".  Then I realized, they are all my classmates.  We had a wonderful day starting with a small reception, followed by Mass and then dinner.


This school was very strict.  Here is our dress code, we didn't have to wear uniforms.  The issue of the stockings made some of the girls very imaginative.  Of course, we didn't have air conditioning, and nylon stockings were very uncomfortable in the warm weather.  Some of the girls would use their eybrow pencil and draw a line up the backs of their legs to simulate the seam of the stocking.  After a while, the nuns caught on.



As you can see by these rules, they were teaching us to be ladies, 50's style.  Today I was a rebel, I wore dangling earrings and a pullover top.  It's a reminder how far we've come.  I saw several pictures of our class trip to Washington, DC (which we took by train).  We all wore hats and gloves.


I also entered the school by the center doors which were restricted to clergy, faculty and special visitors.  Today, we were the special visitors.


When I saw that the program called for our reception being in the gymnasium, which was on the 4th floor and I was on the first floor, I hesitated for a moment.  But, things have changed, we were now allowed to take the elevator.  I guess they didn't want all those old ladies climbing 4 flights of stairs.


It was a good day although I didn't see many of the "girls" I knew, but that shouldn't have surprised me because I didn't make many friends there.  It was a very large school, there were at least 300 in our graduating class and I was very shy in my teens.


There will be a special reunion for my class in September which I'll attend, maybe I'll see more people I know.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Obama Campaign

Have you seen the latest t-shirt offered for sale by the Obama Campaign?  I have and I think it is utterly classless. 

I know that standards have been very relaxed lately, too relaxed in my opinion.  You hear vulgar language all over now, but I would think that the president of the United States would know better than to advertise that his office has no control over their speech.

In case you haven't seen it, his new slogan is, "HEALTH REFORM STILL A BFD.  We all know what that means.

Since the president has been mentioning his girls in speeches lately, I wonder if they will be proudly wearing these shirts, or they only for the common people.  Those ignorant enough to support him.

How can we expect anyone to respect the office of the president, or even our country when he resorts to such common street language.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Gossip

You know that old stereotype about ladies gossiping while getting their hair done?  I think it's just a rumor.  I've never heard any good gossip, but I have heard some other good stuff.

Yesterday, I travelled up to Queens to my usual hairdresser.  I know I should get someone here in NJ, but she's so good and I like to see the old neighborhood.  She was telling me about her day working in a nursing home where she takes care of the patients' hair.

While she was there, she met a woman who was visiting a friend who was a patient.  The visitor mentioned that she was 84 years old and still drives and EVEN skis, something she only started doing when she was 46.  Remarkable, I hope I'll be as active when I'm that old.

We also got to talking about sleep.  The customer after me mentioned that she doesn't sleep much.  She only sleeps about 3 hours, then gets up and usually has something to eat like a sandwich.  Then she'll get another 3 hours sleep.  This woman only weighs about 100 pounds.  Maybe I should try her way of doing things.

While we were on the subject of sleep, I mentioned my FITBIT and how I'm able to track my sleep and my exercise.  Suddenly, everyone wanted to see this great little toy.  They all wanted to know where to get it.

Then we went on to talk about other meaningful things like cats and dogs and helpful neighbors, but there was no juicy gossip.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Food Police

Mayor Bloombers of the once great city of New York strikes again.

It appears that he is very concerned about the homeless and their diets.  For years a local synagogue has been donating freshly cooked foods to city shelters.  Now the mayor has decreed that these shelters shall no longer accept food without a nutritional label.  He's very concerned that the homeless receive the correct portion size and limit the salt contained in the food.  The food served in the shelters should only be provided by the city.

It looks like the mayor is more concerned with limiting fat and salt from the diets of homeless people than with accepting good food from volunteers.  OR is this a way to expand the nanny state by making more people dependent on the services of Big Brother?  I don't like the way this is going.

There were good people donating to and working in homeless shelters on a volunteer basis and at no cost to the city.  You'd think in these times of tight budgets he'd welcome the donations.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Guilt


I feel just awful.  When I moved in my home six years ago, I bought a very nice white, upholstered chair for my bedroom.  It had a nice scale, a little smaller than the usual chair and it rocked.  It fit just perfectly by the bay windows.

Unfortunately, Crash and Burn also loved the chair, Burnie particularly.  Since I keep them in the bedroom at night, the chair had a lot of wear and tear with the emphasis on tear.  No matter how hard I tried to teach him, Burnie just wouldn't climb in the chair the usual way, from the front.  All he had to do was stretch his front paws on the seat cushion and pull himself up.  He either couldn't or wouldn't do it right.


He insisted on climbing up the back of the chair and then going over the back to land on the seat cushion.  As a result, the chair looks like this.

 

I decided the chair has to go.  We're having a bulk pickup tomorrow and yesterday I moved the chair out of the bedroom, near the front door.  A few minutes later I passed the chair and saw this.  I guess this is  Burnie's way of telling me that it's his chair and I can't take it.


 Today when I passed the chair, I saw this.

They're ganging up on me.  They hardly ever get this close to each other.  I feel guilty, but the chair has to go.

When I was moving it into the garage, I could hear them crying behind the closed door.  It's now outside, there's no turning back, but I suppose I'll have to get another chair.  Only this new one will not be upholstered, no more scratching and tearing of furniture.