Monday, December 28, 2009

Some Interesting Facts

Wrapping paper -

The global packaging market is worth $429 billion.

Nearly 1/3 of Americans' waste is packaging. Just 43% is recycled after use.

In 2007, Americans threw away 78.5 million tons of packaging - 520 pounds per person!

Between Thanksgiving and New Years, Americans produce more than 1 million tons of additional garbage per week.

If every family reused the wrapping from 3 gifts, it would save enough paper to cover 50,000 football fields.

Last year, clam shell-type packages sent more than 5,700 Americans to the ER.

Americans annually buy enough plastic wrap to cover Texas.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

A Daughter Holds On

This image breaks my heart. The soldiers were deploying and this little girl would not let go of her father's hand when it was time to line up. She was allowed to join him and held on until he had to go.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Bridge Woes

Talked to an engineer with the town today and, unless there is a miracle of money, the bridge will be completely out until sometime next spring. The town has started working on the steel frame, but the decking will not be put on until after April 15th of next year.

Yes, that means Patrick won't be able to walk over it to get to work. So now he will have to ride his bike over a mile in the dark both ways to work because of a 20 foot span.

I'm pissed about this. Finally, finally I had him in the perfect location. This took years and many moves and much money (mine, not his) and now he's back to riding his bike on dark windy roads with no lighting.

Tomorrow, I will go over and check this bridge situation out and see what the options are! There has to be a better, safer way for him to get to work besides me taking him and picking him up each day, which would be impossible to do on some days. Geez, I'm really pissed. Just about takes all the enjoyment out of the fact that we've had a dead end for months.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Bridge Work

I knew this day would come, but I was sure hoping it would be later.

They're fixing the bridge! The wonderful, broken bridge that has made my road a dead end since May 1st!!

When the bridge was first closed, I was upset. But after a day of realizing that barely any cars were coming down the road, I was in heaven.

I heard some noise from there today and thought that maybe work had started. Patrick confirmed it when he got home from work. He had to ride all the way around. Probably over a mile instead of just a few feet.

Let's hope now that they fix the bridge quickly so that Patrick won't have to ride the loooong way to and from work in the dark! Because, yes, of course, now that we've moved the clocks back it's dark in the morning when he goes into work and dark when he gets out of work.

And the whole reason for moving here was so that he would no longer have to ride his bike in the dark!! So much for the best laid plans.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

A Gun In The House

Here's the best reason I can think of to not have a gun in your home:

Friday, October 9, 2009

From Michael Moore

Friday, October 9th, 2009

Dear President Obama,

How outstanding that you've been recognized today as a man of peace. Your swift, early pronouncements -- you will close Guantanamo, you will bring the troops home from Iraq, you want a nuclear weapon-free world, you admitted to the Iranians that we overthrew their democratically-elected president in 1953, you made that great speech to the Islamic world in Cairo, you've eliminated that useless term "The War on Terror," you've put an end to torture -- these have all made us and the rest of the world feel a bit more safe considering the disaster of the past eight years.

In eight months you have done an about face and taken this country in a much more sane direction.


The irony that you have been awarded this prize on the 2nd day of the ninth year of our War in Afghanistan is not lost on anyone. You are truly at a crossroads now. You can listen to the generals and expand the war (only to result in a far-too-predictable defeat) or you can declare Bush's Wars over, and bring all the troops home. Now. That's what a true man of peace would do.

There is nothing wrong with you doing what the last guy failed to do -- capture the man or men responsible for the mass murder of 3,000 people on 9/11. BUT YOU CANNOT DO THAT WITH TANKS AND TROOPS. You are pursuing a criminal, not an army. You do not use a stick of dynamite to get rid of a mouse.

The Taliban is another matter. That is a problem for the people of Afghanistan to resolve -- just as we did in 1776, the French did in 1789, the Cubans did in 1959, the Nicaraguans did in 1979 and the people of East Berlin did in 1989. One thing is certain through all revolutions by people who wish to be free -- they ultimately have to bring about that freedom themselves. Others can be supportive, but freedom can not be delivered from the front seat of someone else's Humvee.

You have to end our involvement in Afghanistan now. If you don't, you'll have no choice but to return the prize to Oslo.

Michael Moore

Very well said. acdc


President Obama wins Nobel Peace Prize - that is something!

Monday, September 21, 2009


Being a news junkie (though I wish I weren't) I check the home pages of all the networks a few times a day. Listed on CNN's page tonight in the following order is:

Students can't name the first President

Kid scores 1,019,000 on Guitar Hero

You think maybe one has to do with the other?? Hmmm...

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Is This Less True Now?

I was watching VH1 Classics tonight, which is something that I do quite often. They show concerts and I watched a John Lennon concert from the early 70's.

One of the songs that he sang was his "Woman Is The N-word Of The World" and the audio cut out when he sang the N-word. He stated before he began to sing and play that "Yoko had said this to me in 1968 and it took me until 1970 to dig it" or something to that effect.

I honestly don't know what to think about that. It's such an awful word. I think I remember that the song was banned in some places...

Mostly I wondered what John Lennon would think of that? Would he be upset that his artistic message was changed by the omission? Or would he be glad that his song about women's subservience to men was still making people think, and who cares that it's been changed?

Either way, I thought many years ago that it was a song with a powerful message and I still feel the same way.

Woman is the Nigger of the World
John Lennon

Woman is the nigger of the world
Yes she is...think about it
Woman is the nigger of the world
Think about something about it

We make her paint her face and dance
If she won’t be slave, we say that she don’t love us
If she’s real, we say she’s trying to be a man
While putting her down we pretend that she is above us

Woman is the nigger of the world...yes she is
If you don’t belive me take a look to the one you’re with

Woman is the slaves of the slaves
Ah yeah...better scream about it
We make her bear and raise our children
And then we leave her flat for being a fat old mother then
We tell her home is the only place she would be
Then we complain that she’s too unworldly to be our friend

Woman is the nigger of the world...yes she is
If you don’t belive me take a look to the one you’re with
Woman is the slaves of the slaves
Yeah (think about it)

We insult her everyday on TV
And wonder why she has no guts or confidence
When she’s young we kill her will to be free
While telling her not to be so smart we put her down for being so dumb

Woman is the nigger of the world...yes she is
If you don’t belive me take a look to the one you’re with
Woman is the slaves of the slaves
Yes she is...if you belive me, you better scream about it.

We make her paint her face and dance
We make her paint her face and dance
We make her paint her face and dance

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Monday, August 31, 2009

Seasonal Flu

Here are some healthy habits that everyone can follow to avoid the spread of germs this flu season:

- Frequently wash hands with soap and water, or an alcohol-based cleanser

- Refrain from touching the eyes, nose or mouth - the virus can only be caught in the membranes of these body parts

- Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you sneeze and dispose it in the trash

- Cough into your elbow or tissue

- Avoid contact with people affected with cold and flu

- Use a germ-killing disinfectant to clean surfaces

- Stay home from school or work if you become infected with the flu

This info should also help to keep the H1N1 swine flu away.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Ted Kennedy

Driving through Warwick today, I was happy to see that flags were at half staff in honor of the life of Ted Kennedy. He deserves the fuss being made over his passing.
Rest in Peace, Teddy. You did more good than most.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

A Sad Loss For America

Sgt. Bill Cahir

As I have posted before, I am particularly fond of our military and veterans. One of my favorite bloggers is Jon Soltz, Co-Founder and Chair of, is a leader of the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans community and is originally from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

From May to September 2003, Soltz served as a Captain during Operation Iraqi Freedom, deploying logistics convoys with the 1st Armored Division. During 2005, Soltz was mobilized for 365 days at Fort Dix New Jersey, training soldiers for combat in Afghanistan and Iraq.

He also served his country with distinction in the Kosovo Campaign as a Tank Platoon Leader between June and December 2000. Soltz is a graduate of Washington & Jefferson College with dual degree in Political Science and History. He has completed graduate work at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public and International Affairs.

Here is some sad news from Jon:

This week brought tragic news that particularly hit hard for the family. Among the painful and heartbreaking losses of those Killed in Action was Bill Cahir, a Marine Sergeant, killed in Afghanistan.

Bill epitomized what is so great about so many who serve our nation in uniform. At the age of 34, he enlisted, motivated by the September 11th attacks. But, his first action wasn't taking on al Qaeda in Afghanistan. He was deployed twice to Iraq, from 2004-2005, and again from 2007-2008. If Bill, a political progressive, thought Iraq wasn't the war we should be in at the time, his willingness and readiness to go and stand by his men sure took precedence over his personal feelings. Then, this May, he was sent to Afghanistan, serving in the Helmand Province, which is one of the most violent areas in the region that very few Americans know about.

Between his time in Iraq and his service in Afghanistan, Bill ran for Congress. It would have been incredibly easy - and everyone would have said advisable - to come back and rest after two tours in Iraq. But Bill, whose line of work was journalism, saw that Capitol Hill needed more leadership. His own comfort took a backseat to his sense of responsibility.

The seriousness with which he took that responsibility is why PAC endorsed him in his primary race, which he ultimately lost.

And though he will never be able to make a run for office again, we at are not done talking about him, or the people like him all over America who are still alive, and mix patriotism, progressivism, and sense of duty. Continuing to remember Bill and what he stood for, and standing up for the people like him, is the best way to honor his memory.

It's essential that everyone know about people like Bill Cahir, whose overriding purpose in life was to help and defend others. That's why we were heartened to see Chris Matthews devoted a segment to Bill's memory on Hardball the other day.

We're hopeful that other news shows took notice, and remember that as we debate health care or energy or stimulus funds (all of which ostensibly are meant to improve America) there are real American lives being risked every day in Iraq and Afghanistan. They want to make America better, too. It doesn't take much for the news to put a talking heads segment aside for the day (including any that I might be called to do) to tell amazing stories like Bill's.

Note: Bill left unborn twin daughters and a wife. A memorial fund has been established to help provide an education to the daughters who will never be able to meet their amazing father. You can help by making checks payable to the "Bill Cahir Memorial Fund" and sending them to: Burk and Herbert Bank, c/o Mark Ragland, P.O. Box 268, Alexandria, Va., 22313.

Bill Cahir will be buried at Arlington Cemetery. Funeral plans at this time are incomplete.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Exxon Mobil Pleads Guilty

WASHINGTON (AP) — Exxon Mobil Corp. will pay about $7,000 each for dozens of birds killed at various company properties.

Exxon Mobil pleaded guilty to causing the deaths of approximately 85 protected migratory birds, most of whom died after exposure to natural gas well reserve pits and waste water storage facilities. Birds died in Colorado, Wyoming, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas between 2004 and 2009.

The firm will pay a fine of $600,000 and has also agreed to make changes to prevent such bird deaths in the future. The company says it has already spent $2.5 million in the effort.
Justice Department officials are discussing the case following a guilty plea by the corporation in federal court in Denver.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Stupid Is As Stupid Does

Bill Maher wrote a column for the Huffington Post that was right on target - all about just how stupid so many Americans are.

I know, I know, but as I've said many times; Stupidity Should Be Painful.

Funny, though maybe that's why I'm always in pain. HaH!

Just wish I didn't care so much and could get away from watching and living the news.

Here's the link:

Life Sucks

Fatty's wife Susan died on the 5th and he has written a beautiful tribute to her. She was very brave and spent over 5 years battling this awful disease called cancer.

With all of the truly awful and horrible people in the world, I have just one question. Why?

Why a nice woman with 4 young kids? Why not that guy in Pawtucket who is accused of raping his 4 month old daughter. Why can't cancer find him and make him suffer for 5 years or even 10 years?

I realize that I will never understand everything that happens, but it sure would be nice to know why every now and then.

You can find and read his blog in the column on the right of this page.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Dusting Or Huffing

Years ago, when working at Sonitrol, we had dispatched the Providence police to Harris Lumber which used to be located on Atwells Avenue for a break-in. We could hear that someone was in the building moving around. When the police arrived, they found a teenage girl inside the store sniffing paint. Seems she needed to get high so bad that she broke a window to get inside.

I have never forgotten that. It just seemed so sad. Nowadays, there is a newer way of getting high. It's called dusting or huffing and it's deadly. Compressed air to clean your computer is being inhaled and killing kids, many dying the first time they use it.

Here's a link to an article on Snopes about a 14 year old boy who died. It's tragically sad and I hope that people read about it and learn.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Take A Minute

On the right side of this posting you will see a list of blogs that I follow. I've never met most of these people, but because they blog, I know them.

Stop by for a minute, if you can, and visit with Fatty at Fat Cyclist. His wife is desperately ill with cancer and isn't going to be with him and their 4 kids for much longer. Any words of encouragement you can give him will surely help him to get through this unimaginable time.

If no words come, that's okay and certainly not unusual. At the very least your problems will pale in comparison, as mine do.


Hopefully she'll stay that way!

Today In Rhode Island History

Wow, I don't remember this at all!! At that time - 30 years ago - I was five years out of high school and obviously wasn't paying attention to what was going on around me. It's a little scary that the law needed to be changed to keep your name. - Maria Armental

It was 30 years ago today that women gained --- in the eyes of the law --- the right to decide what name when married to use in registering a car once they were married.

Until then, women had to take their husband's names.

Requiring married women to use their husbands' names, said the state registrar of motor vehicles at the time, Eugene Petit, "is in the best interest of the safety of the community. It will keep bad drivers off the road and give us better control of the registry." The safety of the community??? Holy smokes, this guy was completely out of touch!

Petit, whose comments were including in the landmark state Supreme Court case Traugott v. Petit, called the requirement "patriotic."

"Listen," Petit is quoted as saying, "I respect gals in every phase. I hope they just respect society in this." Gals??? Certainly doesn't show a lot of respect when he called women gals!

To the ACLU and the women --- and supportive men -- for whom they filed suit, the matter was a simple one: "The very least you can have in this damned life is your own name." That's how Sheila Cabral-Sousa, the volunteer lawyer who successfully litigated the case for the Rhode Island affiliate of the American Civil Liberties Union, summed up the case at the time. Damn right!

The ACLU issued a press release Monday recalling the anniversary, and adding: ""It is true that the past thirty years have seen many victories for women's rights. ... However, the struggle against gender-based discrimination continues to this day in the fight for equal pay for equal work and similar issues. A look at some of the comments made by public officials only 30 years ago in this case serves as a stark reminder that gains for women's rights remain of recent vintage and, therefore, remain far from complete." Sometimes, ya just gotta like and agree with the ACLU!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Walter Cronkite

I didn't grow up on CBS News - we were a NBC News family - goodnight Chet, goodnight David!

So I didn't really discover Walter Cronkite until after he retired. And that's when I realized what I'd missed all those years!
In 1996 he wrote his autobiography "A Reporter's Life" and it help cement my affection for a truly remarkable man and the impact he had on our lives. Even though I didn't really know him when he was the face of CBS, his impact did affect my life and I'm so grateful for him.
I know there are others who feel as I do; but, with all the media coverage, you'd have thought that MJ gave more to us than Walter Cronkite did, instead of the other way around.

Thursday, July 16, 2009


Remember this little guy? He was cute, that's for sure.

Of course he came from some pretty people.

And he grew up to be one of the most handsome of handsome men.

But looks don't mean everything. From everything I understand about him, JFK Jr. was a pretty nice guy also.
It's hard to believe that it's been 10 years since his death. It was a Saturday morning. As usual, I didn't have the TV on and I wasn't on the internet as much as I am nowadays. I drove to Warwick in the early afternoon to visit with Chelsea and Matthew. My sister-in-law Beverly opened the door and I knew that something was wrong. What's going on, I asked and she was surprised that I didn't know. We sat in front of the TV and were glued there for the rest of the day.
It's still hard to believe that he's gone. If I happen to see a photo or some TV coverage, it all comes rushing back and brings tears to my eyes. He had such potential and we'll never know what could have been. Just like with his dad.

One Small Step For Man, One Giant Leap For Mankind

I love the moon! I love it so much I always use it as my profile picture. I feel so connected to it and, as a kid, thought it was mine.

Forty years after America's launch of Apollo 11, the U.S. space program is at a different crossroads, challenged in recent years to return to the moon and to recapture the ambition that launched the space race in 1961. Back then, a dazzled nation heard the big dreams of a youthful Ivy League-educated, senator-turned president.

"I believe," President John F. Kennedy told Congress, "that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to Earth."

That was the same year Barack Obama was born. Forty-eight years later, Obama, a similarly youthful Ivy League-educated former senator is now in charge, and the nation wonders what his vision is for the U.S. space program.

Forty years ago this week was the Apollo 11 lift-off and, on July 20, the first landing on the moon! I can remember it so well. It was so exciting and I'm looking forward to the next time the US lands on the moon.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Monday, July 13, 2009

27,900 Counts Of Accessory To Murder

That number is kind of staggering, isn't it? Twenty seven thousand nine hundred deaths are attributed to a monster who came to the United States and hid behind a job as an auto worker after committing atrocities.

I'm not Jewish. I don't even know that many Jewish people. What I do know is that the Holocaust was wrong in every possible way. Too many people got away with murder, literally. How right it is that someone is being brought to justice, even all these years later.

"The effort to bring Demjanjuk to justice sends a very powerful message that the passage of time in no way diminishes the guilt of the perpetrator," says Efraim Zuroff, the top Nazi-hunter at the Simon Wiesenthal Center.

German prosecutors formally charged John Demjanjuk on Monday with 27,900 counts of being an accessory to murder at a Nazi death camp during World War II. He is accused of serving as a guard at the Sobibor camp in Nazi-occupied Poland during World War II. Being the sort of murderer he is, of course he denies it. He was a victim too, saying he was a prisoner of war.

But Nazi-era documents obtained by U.S. justice authorities and shared with German prosecutors include a photo ID identifying Demjanjuk as a guard at the Sobibor death camp and information that he was trained at an SS facility for Nazi guards at Trawniki, which was also in occupied-Poland.

"This is obviously an important step forward," Zuroff said by telephone from Jerusalem. "We hope that the trial itself will be expedited so that justice will be achieved and he can be given the appropriate punishment."

Charges of accessory to murder carry a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison in Germany. Even I can do that math 27,900 X 15 years each = a death sentence for a man who is 89 years old. I just hope he lives through the trial.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Vacation Over

Bob and Don have now arrived safely back home in NY and once they get over the 8+ hour ride home, I hope they have time to think about what a good time we all had. Bob drives a late model Cadillac and I got to drive several times over the past few days which was quite a change from my car, I can tell you.

When I bought the Volvo new it had quite a few bells and whistles on it. Since 1994, a lot more bells and whistles had been invented and Bob has them all in his car. There's a compass in the rear view mirror. A dinging bell to alert you if you've left the blinker on (which I think should be mandatory on all cars!) The passenger side mirror turns down towards the curb when you put the car in reverse. There's lots of others things, I just can't think of them now.

Here's Bob and Don outside my house last night. I caught them by surprise and got a good shot, I think. Don sure likes to read. He always had a book, newspaper or travel guide handy.

Much of their visit was spent driving around (when we weren't eating, that is) as there had been a lot of changes since Bob moved away in 1997. The entire downtown area had changed. The Westin, Prov Place Mall and, especially, the highways. There have even been a lot of changes since I was in the city on a regular basis just 3 years ago!
We took a ride by Bob's old house and I decided to post a picture of it to keep all this info together. This was a gorgeous fixer upper which Bob and Richard worked on for years. Had many a good time in that house, I can assure you. It's where I learned to use a mouse also.
Bob and Don had a day without me as I needed to stay home and sleep on Friday. They went to Newport and did a tour of The Elms and then went to Theater by the Sea for dinner and a show.
On July 4th, we headed to Narragansett to Iggy's for chowda and clamcakes, clam strips and fish and chips. It was a gorgeous day and the line wasn't bad at all. When we got back to my house we watched A Knights Tale, which was pretty good. They headed to Bugaboo Creek for dinner and I skipped dinner that night.

Yesterday was shopping and the ocean for the guys, then a return trip to Apsara's for dinner, a cruise through RW Park and back to my house for our goodbyes.
I had a really great time. I knew that I had missed Bob all those years and having him around reminded me of the great conversations that we've always had. Now that he's got his TMobile phone, we can talk free, so there are many more great conversations in our future!

Cute e-card

I don't know if this link will work far into the future, but for now, it's about the cutest e-card and I want to share it with whoever stops by for a visit.

I just love Bo! Enjoy!

Friday, July 3, 2009

Declaration Of Independence

Two-hundred and thirty-three years ago Saturday, church bells rang out over Philadelphia as the Continental Congress adopted Thomas Jefferson's draft of the Declaration of Independence.

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

— That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.

But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.

— Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government.

The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world. He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their Public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.

He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us: For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:

For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:

For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & Perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury.

A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people. Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us.

We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence.

They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare,

That these united Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; And that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do.

And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

Vacation Continues

My trust in human-kind has been restored.

Pete, the Volvo parts guy who I met through Craig's List, came through for me with the catalytic converter. Whew, is all I can say. I didn't think he would take the money and run and I was very glad that he didn't think of it either!

It is now being safely stored in the back hall of my house.

Our "gastrointestinal" tour of Rhode Island continued yesterday with Bob and his nephew Don. We went to Caserta Pizzeria for lunch - having had Wimpy's and a Pig in the Blanket. We also made a quick stop at Palmieri's Bakery so Bob could get his favorite pepper and wine biscuits.

We headed to Woonsocket to pick up the car part and on the way home stopped at Pearl's Candy and Nut shop in North Smithfield. OMG!!! My jaw hit the floor when we walked inside and it pretty much stayed there the entire time. Every kind of candy that you've ever had, loved or dreamt of is in that shop. All lined up so neatly literally from floor to ceiling. Bob found the pebble candy that he had wanted forever. I found the fruit nougat candies that I had been thinking of the for past several weeks (go figure) and we had a great time. Don was smart enough to stay in the car.

Bob brought some DVD's with him and when we got back to my house we watched PS I Love You which I very much enjoyed. Somewhat predictable, but very amusing and clever. Some of it was filmed in Ireland, which was just beautiful.

Last night for supper we went to Richard's Pub for calamari and a Reuben sandwich, which Bob is unable to get in the milquetoast food area of NY state where he lives.

Today, I was in a coma and didn't hear the phone when Bob called. I'm enjoying a quiet time home alone for now. Just too beat to think about going out! Having a great time though.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

The Longest Storm

What is with the weather? I think we must have gotten 4 or 5 inches of rain today. The puddles in my front yard got so big they merged into a single pond. Several times. And the thunder and lightning lasted from 7 am to after 3 pm.

I really wanted (and needed) to color my hair, but I couldn't even take a shower we had so much lightning - it just wouldn't stop long enough for even a quick shower.

Chelsea slept over, so it was nice to have her here. She couldn't get over the amount of rain either!

I had dropped my car off at the mechanic's on Monday. I have been picking up parts for the car; muffler and tailpipe, headlight, blinker and a few other parts that I don't need now, but will probably need in the future. Kevin was having trouble finding a catalytic converter at a decent price. He could find a new one for $815, but I really hated to spend that much money.

I called a couple of guys that I know in MA and one of them gave me a price of $450 so Chels and I got picked up by Veronica, went to Warwick to get my car, then off to Woonsocket to give a guy I barely know $500 to pick it up for me in Worcester!!! Of course, I had to have a little chat with him before I handed over the cash, just so he knew that he was going to have plenty of trouble from me if he just took the cash and didn't get the car part. I almost hate to say it here, but I don't think he's up to anything, he does seem like a decent guy. I've met some of his kids and his wife over the last few months as I've gotten other car parts from him. So, we'll see what happens.

I haven't even gotten to the most important and best part of the day. During all of this rain and running around, my friend Bob Stevens was driving to RI from upstate NY!! It's been 12 years since we've seen each other and once I was back in Warwick, I got a call from him that he and his nephew Don had just crossed into RI from CT!! I told him that instead of heading to my house, to go straight to the motel6 since I was just down the road.

I hung out with the kids for awhile and then headed to motel6. Bob and Don were waiting right out front for me! It was so great to see Bob. A little less hair and a lot more gray, but other than that, it was my old friend. I couldn't believe that it took me years to track him down, he called when he got my note 2 months ago, planned the vacation right then and here he was!!!

I got to drive his car - a 2 year old Cadillac! It was great, so smooth after my car. On the way I asked if they had heard about the man who was kidnapped from the motel6 a couple of days ago!! We had a good laugh over that. I couldn't believe that I recommended they stay at the same place where this happened!

We headed north to Providence to go to Apsara's, an Asian restaurant that Bob and I have been talking about for the past 2 months. The food was as good as we remembered and we had a nice little feast.

Then I took Bob and Don on a quick tour of downtown, which had drastically changed since 1997! And then back to the motel6. When we pulled in there was a police car roaming the parking lot and while in the room we saw him again. When Bob walked me out to my car a few minutes later, there he was again. I was very glad to see a police presence, though Bob had said that if anyone kidnapped him, they'd give him back. I agreed, Bob is such a curmudgeon.

Monday, June 29, 2009


Exxon to pay interest on Valdez oil spill damages

By MARY PEMBERTON, Associated Press Writer

ANCHORAGE, Alaska – Oil giant Exxon Mobil Corp. has decided not to appeal hundreds of millions of dollars in interest on punitive damages resulting from the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill.

The Irving, Texas-based company will pay about $470 million in interest on more than $507.5 million in punitive damages following the 11 million gallon spill of crude in Prince William Sound, company spokesman Tony Cudmore said Monday.

The company expects to make payment on the interest in the next few days, said plaintiffs' lawyer David Oesting. Exxon's decision was first reported Monday by the Anchorage Daily News.

The decision is a turnaround for the company. Exxon Mobil since the mid-1990s has appealed court rulings on punitive damages.

"I think they recognized they weren't going any further from a legal standpoint," Oesting said.

Earlier this month, Exxon Mobil was ordered to pay interest on the punitive damages. The ruling issued by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco nearly doubles the average payout of about $15,000 to 33,000 Alaska Natives, fishermen, business owners and others.

Numerous studies have found the region has not fully recovered from the disaster that fouled 1,200 miles of coastline in the nation's worst crude oil spill.

In June 2008, the U.S. Supreme Court set punitive damages at $507.5 million. But two months later, the high court declined to decide whether Exxon Mobil must pay interest on the punitive damages and instead sent it back to the appeals court.

Cudmore said he couldn't elaborate on why Exxon Mobil decided to pay interest, except to say the company felt it should adhere to the appeals court decision.

Exxon argued unsuccessfully that if interest had to be paid, it should be calculated from the date the punitive damages were set last by the Supreme Court. But the appeals court said interest on the $507.5 million judgment should run from 1996, when the original settlement was entered into court records, at a rate of 5.9 percent.

Legal battles over the Exxon Valdez spill have lasted years but now appear to be ending. The only remaining sum in dispute is $70 million in court fees, Cudmore said.

An Anchorage jury in 1994 awarded plaintiffs $5 billion. That was cut in half by the 9th Circuit. The Supreme Court in a split decision reduced the total to $507.5 million.

Oesting said the plaintiffs' have "clearly prevailed" in the case, even if the original $5 billion judgment was drastically reduced.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Give Me A Break

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – The country's smallest state has the longest official name: "State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations."

A push to drop "Providence Plantations" from that name advanced farther than ever on Thursday when House lawmakers voted 70-3 to let residents decide whether their home should simply be called the "State of Rhode Island." It's an encouraging sign for those who believe the formal name conjures up images of slavery, while opponents argue it's an unnecessary rewriting of history that ignores Rhode Island's tradition of religious liberty and tolerance.

The bill permitting a statewide referendum on the issue next year now heads to the state Senate.

"It's high time for us to recognize that slavery happened on plantations in Rhode Island and decide that we don't want that chapter of our history to be a proud part of our name," said Rep. Joseph Almeida, an African-American lawmaker who sponsored the bill.

Rhode Island's unwieldy name reflects its turbulent colonial history, a state that consisted of multiple and sometimes rival settlements populated by dissidents.

Banished from the Massachusetts Bay Colony for his unorthodox religious views, minister Roger Williams set out in 1636 and settled at the northern tip of Narragansett Bay, which he called Providence Plantations. Williams founded the first Baptist church in America and became famous for embracing the separation of church and state, a legal principle enshrined in the Bill of Rights a century later.

Other settlers made their homes in modern-day Portsmouth and Newport on Aquidneck Island, then known as the Isle of Rhodes.

In 1663, English King Charles II granted a royal charter joining all the settlements into a single colony called "The Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations." The name stuck. Rhode Island used that royal charter as its governing document until 1843.

Opponents of the name charge argue that "plantations" was used at the time to describe any farming settlements, regardless of slavery.

Rhode Island merchants did, however, make their fortunes off the slave trade. Slaves helped construct Brown University in Providence, and a prominent slave trader paid half the cost of its first library.

Still, Stanley Lemons, a professor emeritus of history at Rhode Island College, said changing the state's name ignores the accomplishments of Williams, whose government passed laws trying to prevent the permanent servitude of whites, blacks and American Indians.

"There are different meanings for this word," Lemons said. "To try to impose their experience on everyone else wipes out Roger Williams."

By RAY HENRY, Associated Press Writer Ray Henry, Associated Press Writer – Thu Jun 25, 2009

Morphing Of Michael

Then: Later:


I'm already tired of the love fest over Michael Jackson. There are probably others out there who feel as I do - good riddance to a totally screwed up pedophile.
Yeah, Thriller was a good album. Yeah, MJ had some moves. Doesn't make up for the total mental illness, emotional illness and eff-ed up way he led his life.
I feel bad for his kids - but I've felt bad for them all along.
I can only imagine that we're going to be Anna Nicole'd to death with this death. I gotta figure out how to escape it.
At least we might be hearing less about Jon and Kate. We can hope anyway.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


Two years ago today, my buddy Dawn married her Joe. I've written about it in the past (one of my best posts, in my humble opinion) but I never had a photo to post until I stole this one from her Facebook photo album. Didn't she look absolutely beautiful? Joe looked very handsome that day as well. What a cute couple, eh? So in the two years since the wedding, guess what they've been doing, er, look what they made...

This is their daughter Haley (I stole this photo from Dawn's Facebook page as well) and she looks to be one sweet, happy and gorgeous little girl.
I could not be happier for all three of them! Happy Anniversary Dawn and Joe. May you have many, many more happy years ahead.
Drive Safely
My own personal little anniversary today is that 15 years ago I picked up my brand new spanking clean and shiny Volvo at Auto Show. A mere 15 years later, that Volvo has seen better days, but I love it as much today as I did 15 years ago.
I haven't had a car payment in 11 years, which may be why I love it so much. Still gets me from point A to point B without too much worry.

Orbiting The Moon

As of just a few minutes ago, NASA successfully has a spacecraft orbiting the moon!! I don't know about anyone else, but I am extremely excited and interested in this.

While orbiting the moon, this craft will be mapping out the topography of the moon, which will ultimately help to get man (and women) back on the moon.

I guess I'm kind of a geek when it comes to space and our universe, as I love to watch NASA TV. Could be from growing up in the 50's and 60's and following the space program from it's infancy: the Apollo, Gemini and Mercury programs.

As a kid, I always thought the moon was there for me and was mine! Don't ask me why I thought this, but it may be that I never felt that others around me watched the moon as much as I did. Maybe they didn't. I know that most people don't look up at the stars nearly as much as I do nowadays.

Over the next few weeks, we will be able to watch the pictures sent back from this little moon orbiting craft. YOU can watch too, here's the link:

How amazing is it that we can watch space missions on our computers??!! I love it!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Father's Day


I'm not even sure I know why I'm posting today. I think it may be because just last night I came across a quote written by Anne Sexton:

"It doesn't matter who my father was; it matters who I remember he was.”

I don't have a relationship with my father and I'm okay with that. I saw him at a funeral several years ago. It was very strange to see him, and I remember thinking how nice his complexion was - go figure. Surprising, it was very unemotional for me.

At times, he could be the best father. But, mostly he wasn't.

I guess the best word to describe how I remember him would be disappointing.

And, I also wonder, just when do parents fall out of love with their kids? I've seen it repeatedly where a child is born and the parents are head over heels in love with their little bundle of joy.

Then the years pass and before you know it there's no longer respect for this child. They find it okay to spank (or worse) this little person. They use sarcastic tones when speaking to this little person. They forbid, with no explanation as to why.

Over time, the actions of the parent start to chip away at a child's confidence.

Parents should love their children more than anything else in the world. Anything and everything.

Saturday, June 13, 2009


Tim Russert

It was one year ago that Tim Russert of NBC news died. One of his favorite sayings was "What A Country" and what a year this country has had. I still feel sad after a year because of the impact he had on me. His demeanor, sense of humor and integrity was something I much admired and I miss. There's a lot of press on how the mainstream media has a 'love affair' with President Obama - if Tim were still here, and I so wish he were - he would be the one journalist who would treat our President the same as he treated everyone else, with respect. Tim's wife and son have shown remarkable composure in this past year and I admire them for that.

Julia Langello

This past Thursday, the 11th, was my birthday. As I do every morning, I was looking through the obituaries at and I saw a name that I knew I would be seeing before long. Many years ago, I met Julia Langello while I was working for ADT. My job was to place a 'I've fallen and I can't get up' type unit at her home. She was 91 years old at that time and was one of the nicest, sweetest women I had ever met. She lived with her daughter who worked full time and was concerned about her mother.
When I got to their house, Julia was waiting by the door for me. I knew the moment I saw her that there was something special about her, (really, look at her picture and tell me she isn't one of the cutest grandmother type women you've ever seen) and I was so very right (for once!)
Even though she was elderly, and had lost her right eye at some time, she was a spirited woman whose mind was as sharp as a tack. She wanted the unit placed in her bedroom because she spent much of her time in there. As we sat on her bed, we chatted a bit while I set the unit up.
She told me about her family, her late husband who had died quite some time ago, and her life as it was at that time. I explained the unit to her as I plugged it in and tested it. Unlike many other seniors, she understood how it worked right away and that left some time for us to visit before I had to leave.
She called me a couple of months later and I went back to her house and swapped out the unit because it was acting up. So, we had time for another visit while I was there. A few weeks later she called me as she was trying to reach her grandaughter Melissa, who worked for ADT in Florida. I tracked Melissa down and asked her to call her grandmother. And so it went. Julia and I spoke on the phone several times over the last few years and I enjoyed every minute of it.
Whether I was helping her or just chatting with her, she was just the sweetest woman. So, I was sad to see her obituary on Thursday. Last night I deleted her number from my cell phone. She was 96 years old. I'm sure her family will miss her dreadfully. I know I do.
Ann Grady
My first real boyfriend was Eddie Grady. I met him through my best friend Beverly Sardelli's then boyfriend, Bob something. This was 1972. Eddie had long wavy hair and boy did we like to make out. No matter where we were, we were always trying to get somewhere so we could kiss. One of our favorite places was under a big shrub on the grounds of the Aldrich mansion. We loved it there because no one ever knew we were there.

I don't recall why we stopped seeing each other, but we remained friends. We saw each other in school and for years after, he would come to our house each Christmas day for a visit. He wanted to be a fireman back then and today he is Deputy Chief of the Cranston Fire Dept..

In today's obituaries was the notice of his mother's passing. I had met her a few times and, of course, as a 15-16 year old, I was scared of her. She was a single mother as Eddie's father had died when he was younger and with two daughters as well as Eddie, she had her hands full.

I have a really clear memory of going to his house one day and we were up in his room. The walls were covered with posters and he had the black-light on, the windows were covered with aluminum foil (no idea why, but it seemed to make sense back then.) We were kissing, as usual, and his mother threw open the bedroom door making us both jump and his front tooth hit my front tooth which chipped. To this day, I often think of him when I run my tongue over my tooth chip.

Shortly after 9/11/01 I won at auction, a bid on two firefighter rememberance artwork in frames. I gave one to the EG fire department and the other I delivered to Eddie's (he's called Ed now) office in Cranston. He wasn't in, but I left it for him. I'm so very sorry for their loss.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Boy Hit By Meteorite

A 14-year old German boy was hit in the hand by a pea-sized meteorite that scared the bejeezus out of him and left a scar.

"When it hit me it knocked me flying and then was still going fast enough to bury itself into the road," Gerrit Blank said in a newspaper account. Astronomers have analyzed the object and conclude it was indeed a natural object from space, The Telegraph reports.

Most meteors vaporize in the atmosphere, creating "shooting stars," and never reach the ground. The few that do are typically made mostly of metals. Stony space rocks, even if they are big as a car, will usually break apart or explode as they crash through the atmosphere.

There are a handful of reports of homes and cars being struck by meteorites, and many cases of space rocks streaking to the surface and being found later.

But human strikes are rare. There are no known instances of humans being killed by space rocks.

According to a article on the topic a few years, back:

On November 30, 1954, Alabama housewife Ann Hodges was taking a nap on her couch when she was awakened by a 3-pound (1.4-kilogram) meteor that crashed through the roof of her house, bounced off a piece of furniture and struck her in the hip, causing a large bruise.

On October 9, 1992, a large fireball was seen streaking over the eastern United States, finally exploding into many pieces. In Peekskill, New York, one of the pieces struck a Chevrolet automobile owned by Michelle Knapp. Knapp was not in the car at the time.

On June 21, 1994, Jose Martin of Spain was driving with his wife near Madrid when a 3-pound (1.4-kilogram) meteor crashed through his windshield, bent the steering wheel and ended up in the back seat.

In 2004, a 2,000-pound space rock bigger than a refrigerator exploded in the late-night sky over Chicago, producing a large flash and a sound resembling a detonation that woke people up. Fragments rained down on that wild Chicago night, and many were collected by residents in a northern suburb.


Friday, June 5, 2009

Making History

How about that President of ours?

What a great job he did giving the speech in Egypt. No one else could have given that speech - could you imagine the Idiot Bush? The crowd would have been throwing more than shoes at him.

We are so lucky to have him as our President. And while I'm not happy with everything he has done, he's been pretty much on task, considering that much of what he is dealing with was not what he campaigned for. He certainly has my support and appreciation for all of his hard work.

NBC news did a 'Behind the scenes of the Obama White House' special this week which was fascinating to watch. It boggles the mind to think of everything they have going on there and Obama, man, he is the coolest guy.

I'm very impressed with him. And grateful too.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

A Sad Dad

A few months ago when John Travolta's son died, I blogged about how I thought that the John Travolta we knew was gone, that he really wouldn't be the same after losing his son.

Today there's an article that he is, in fact, having a tough time with his grief. So much so that he is unable to help promote "The Taking of Pelham 123," with Denzel Washington.

He's is such a sweet, sensitive man and that boy was his world. I'm hoping that he gets through Fathers Day and then, maybe, a little at a time, he can get beyond it as much as he possibly can.

Letter To Editor And Town Officials

May 11, 2009

I was dismayed, but not surprised, when the small bridge over the Hunts River on South Road was closed on May 1st because the surface of the bridge had dropped.

Living just one house away from the bridge, I have been constantly amazed at the amount of traffic on South Road since I moved here. On a daily basis there are assorted sizes of trucks traveling through the neighborhood, many of which far exceed the capacity weight of 12,000 pounds posted on the signs at either end of the road.

I would presume that the daily traffic has taken its toll on the bridge. However, the real culprits who caused the beginning of the end of the little bridge, in my opinion, are the logging trucks that National Grid used when removing hundreds of trees to make way for the power lines that were added in the fall of 2007. The logging company cut a wide swath of trees all the way down to South County for the high voltage wiring that was installed at the end of this massive project.

On a daily basis, once the tree cutting was started, empty logging trucks would travel over the bridge, line up on South Road, right in front of my house, and wait to be filled with the cut trees. Then, once their trucks were filled, they would then travel right back over that bridge. I can’t even imagine the weight of one of those logging trucks empty, never mind once they were loaded with trees.

During that same time, National Grid was also trucking in large railroad ties that were laid down in the marsh areas and used as temporary roads for the other heavy equipment that was used to install the huge stanchions that the wiring was eventually added to. These railroad ties looked to be approximately 12" x 12" and they were very long. I’m sure the weight of moving them in and then out again put much added stress on the bridge.

Now, having read the article in the Journal yesterday that stated the Town of East Greenwich would be financially responsible for the repair and/or replacement of this bridge, I’m pretty peeved that the taxpayers in the town would be required to cover the damage that National Grid no doubt caused, or, at the very least, contributed to.

The work on South Road by National Grid started during the last week of October, 2007 and continued through the end of January, 2008. The reason I know these dates is because I have a blog and I blogged about the activities that took place right outside my windows. I also took some before, during and after photos that I used in my blog postings.

You can see that there is no doubt in my mind that National Grid and the logging companies that they used should be responsible for some of the cost of the bridge repair. They ignored the posted weight restriction signs on a daily basis, and that, along with daily traffic, has now caused the bridge to fail.

I hope that the town has some success in getting National Grid to accept their responsibility in all of this.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Random Thoughts

Here's something that I never thought I'd ever say; I feel bad for Mike Tyson. His little 4 year old daughter died by accidental hanging and, no matter how I feel about him as a person, no parent should ever have to go through that kind of loss.

I love our (my) president. That's something else that would seem to be pretty foreign to me. Each and every day I watch the news, or read the internet, or just think about what President Obama has to deal with, how much he's already started to get done and how much work is still ahead. I like his choice for Supreme Court; a strong, smart woman who just happens to be a minority.

After having total diarrhea of the mouth lately, Dick Cheney seems to finally be shutting up. Let's hope it lasts. Even the GOP is turning against him.

Lil, Jason, Kyle, Chelsea and I had a seafood feast Saturday afternoon. Chels took a picture of the food which I will try to post soon.

Miserable cold and crappy cough since Saturday - thank you Mike for the germs. I'll try to return the favor sometime soon.

A 5 year old girl is missing in Michigan - how does this keep happening?

I love my dog.

Monday, May 25, 2009

The Lovely Little Hummingbird

Late spring signals the arrival of special spring visitors — those flighty little jewels called hummingbirds.

If you haven’t put your hummingbird feeder out yet, you may want to do it in the next few days, because those gorgeous birds will soon look for food and nesting sites.

Hummingbird experts recommend this recipe for your feeder: Use one part white cane sugar to four parts water. Some say boil the water, some say don’t boil the water, so take your pick.

Never use honey or artificial coloring, and store unused portions of your recipe in the refrigerator.

Always keep the feeder clean, not only replacing the sugar solution but washing all parts of the feeder every couple of days, because disease-causing mold appears quickly during hot, humid weather. (Would you eat food that had been left out for two days in summer heat?)

In addition to a feeder or two (a second one is needed if you have male hummingbirds engaging in territorial battles), fill your yard with plants that entice them. Although red flowers are supposed to attract them best, hummingbirds are enticed to many other colors, including blue, yellow and purple. Hummingbird flowers often have long tubes for their long bills and tongues.

Hummingbirds like to be around people and have no trouble flying close to where you sit, so put feeders and flowers close to where you can sit and enjoy them.

Their nests, on the other hand, are not easily seen, because they are so small and in out-of-the-way places like a small tree branch 10 to 20 feet tall. Shaped like an open cup, the nest of a ruby-throated hummingbird is fashioned from thistle and dandelion down, all secured with spider web and covered with lichens on the outside.

If you like to put out dryer lint, twine and other soft material for songbirds to use as nesting material, you may want to try the new Hummer Helper ready-made nesting material. One member of The Hummingbird Society testing it found 15 active hummingbirds nests within 100 feet of the bright-red wire frame holding the soft, fluffy stuff. You’ll find Hummer Helper and similar nesting products at local birding stores and online at sites such as

Butterfly bush
Chaste tree (vitex)
Glossy abelia
Hardy hibiscus
Bee balm
Black-eyed Susan
Butterfly weed
Cardinal flower
Coral bells
Flowering tobacco
Purple coneflower

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Four Forty AM

Every morning, exactly at 4:40 the birds start tweeting outside! Not at 4:39 or 4:41, but 4:40 right on the dot. It's almost like an alarm goes off somewhere in nature and wakes all the birds up.

I noticed this last year as well, and may have even blogged about it. Now that I'm on the 2nd floor I'm much closer to the tree tops and hear them even better. Thank goodness they don't get the birds inside started, they wait for sunrise.

Something to look forward to. Chirping and tweeting birds.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Dick Cheney - Just Shut Up

In the 8 torturous years that Cheney was VP to President Idiot, we heard him speak about a dozen times. Thank goodness!

Since he's been out of office, it's like he has diarrhea of the mouth. "Obama has made us less safe" seems to be one of his favorite lines.

My thinking is that when he opens his mouth and lets all that crap come out, it is so he can say "I told you so" if and when we have another terrorist attack.

What he doesn't realize is that he is making us less safe by opening his pie hole. As his buddy would say "You're either with us or with them!"

I rarely say the words SHUT UP, but it seems so appropriate now.

Shut the eff up, Cheney! Climb back into whatever hole you belong in.

Let Obama undo all the mistakes you reptilian republicans did, and leave him the eff alone.

Is that clear enough?

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Castle Looking For King, Queen or Princess

It's finally happened!

The Castle is now for sale, and I couldn't be more excited. Here's the link if you're interested:

It's listed for $120,000 which isn't much more than my father bought it for back in 1976.

However, it's not in move-in condition as it was then. This house needs some serious attention. The present owner hasn't lived there in a couple of years. The copper was stolen out of it not too long ago. Some of the walls and ceilings have fallen down. The kitchen is just as it was, along with some of the carpeting, when my father sold it in the late 1980's.

The good news is that the house is a one-of-a-kind dwelling that could again be a showplace. The built-in furniture and shelves are absolutely gorgeous and they would only need to be cleaned and polished once the other work had been completed.

I'm so glad that I can finally do something to help this house get into the hands of someone who will love it.

Monday, May 4, 2009

It's Not Delivery...

it's DiGiorno's!!!

Okay, you know those TV commercials, I'm sure you've seen them. I always wondered if it were true, but never tried one.

On Friday night Vanessa and Jae were here. Vanessa had been craving DiGiorno's for a few days, so her way here (to visit) Veronica picked up a supreme DiGiorno's pizza and we heated it up. O M G! That pizza is absolutely delicious. I mean really, really, really delicious. The veggies tasted really fresh. There was a good amount of toppings and the crust was as good as fresh dough.

DiGiorno's is so much better than the Domino's pizza's I've ordered lately, for sure. Vanessa said they were only about $7 which is a bargain if you've ordered a pizza from just about anywhere lately.

Today Patrick, Emilee, Matthew and I went to BJ's. Thank goodness Matthew remembered that I wanted to get DiGiorno's pizza while we were there, because I forgot to write it down. And if I forget to write something down, it certainly doesn't stay in my memory.

We got two 3-packs, so for about $25 I got 6 pizzas. Three supreme and three pepperoni. So the next time Vanessa and Jae are here, I will be able to offer them a choice of which DiGiorno's pizza they want to eat.

I will never order delivery pizza again. Really.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Buying Minutes = Contentment (for me at least)

I just spent a couple of hours on the phone talking with my friend Bob Stevens who I have found jst two weeks ago after losing track of him when he left Rhode Island and moved back to Pennsylvania in 1997.

We've had a few phone conversations in the past two weeks and I cannot explain how happy that makes me. We've lots to catch up on and each and every conversation covers a little more ground.

Bob doesn't have a house phone, just a cell. I'm not sure how it works, but he buys minutes to add to his cell account, and until I came along he was doing just fine. The other night he bought 900 minutes and I'm afraid our two conversations since then have used up most of those minutes. He may be broke before long if we keep talking!

After we hung up tonight, I was thinking that I should just buy another phone to add to my T-mobile account. It's just $10 per month with unlimited T-mobile phone to phone. I could give him the phone and then he wouldn't have to worry about buying any additional minutes. I'm going to have to mention this to him when we talk next!

Again, the words are hard to find to describe how I feel now that Bob is back in my life. Somehow it seems that my life is more complete now or just more correct, I'm not sure how to put it. All I know is now that I've found him I'm never going to lose track of him again!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

P's And Q's

There is a benefit, I find, to living on a road where the bridge is closed.

No cars!

Just a few times today did people drive down to go to the bridge. They then turned around and floored it to go back.

Other than that, it's been very, very quiet.

I like quiet.

Peace and quiet.

Friday, May 1, 2009

An Inconvenient Route

Town officials Friday afternoon shut down a 20-foot-long bridge on South Road just east of Route 2 after discovering that its support structure had rotted and its road surface had dropped two to three inches.

The state Department of Transportation inspected the bridge Friday afternoon and agreed to the town's decision to shut it down. Concrete blocks were placed at either end of the bridge by mid-afternoon Friday.

Public Works Director Joseph C. Duarte said the steel and concrete bridge, which goes over the Hunt River, will be closed indefinitely.

"It's got to be repaired, which will take months and months," he said. The bridge is on a town road, so the town will be responsible for fixing it, he said.

The town received a call just before noon that something seemed wrong with the bridge, which officials say is about 30 years old.

Town Manager William Sequino said the School Department and the bus company that busses local students had been notified.

South Road is just south of the intersection of Routes 2 and 4, near Richard's Pub. It feeds the Woodland Greens Golf Club.

Seeing that I live just one house down from this bridge and it is the route I take to get to the highway, it should be an inconvenience every time I go out. I knew this would happen after all of the trucks that were used to transport the hundreds of trees that were taken down last year by National Grid. I should have called the town and/or the state at that time so this problem could have been averted.
My plan is to write some letters and see what can be done to get National Grid to pay for some of the repair.

Pandemics In Perspective

This is the best article I have read regarding the H1N1 flu. acdc

How bad can a flu epidemic get? The raw numbers indicate that over the past 90 years, far more people have been killed by relatively run-of-the-mill seasonal flu viruses than by the exotic bugs that have grabbed most of the headlines - such as bird flu or the current strain of swine flu.

But to get a more useful perspective on a flu epidemic's potential impact, you have to go back to the mother of all pandemics: the "Spanish flu" of 1918.

Newly published research supports the view that the H1N1 virus behind the current outbreak is a distant cousin of the virus that sparked the infamous 1918 epidemic. But all the signs so far indicate that the 1918 flu was much more lethal. In fact, some researchers report that today's headline-making microbe lacks some of the molecular machinery that made past versions of the virus deadlier.

Citing such reports, the Los Angeles Times noted today that the current outbreak "may not even do as much damage as the run-of-the-mill flu outbreaks that occur each winter without much fanfare."

So far, the raw numbers bear that out. Typically, about 36,000 Americans die each year due to flu complications, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The worldwide toll is estimated at 250,000 to 500,000 annually. If you go back to the most recent officially recognized flu pandemic, the 1968-69 Hong Kong flu, the death toll is about the same: 34,000 in the U.S., 500,000 globally. The figures for the 1957-58 Asian flu pandemic are 70,000 U.S. deaths and 2 million deaths worldwide.

Even those figures pale in comparison with the 1918-19 flu pandemic: At least 550,000 people died in the United States alone. The worldwide death toll was estimated at 20 million to 40 million, or perhaps even as many as 100 million by some accounts. The flu killed more people than World War I (which may have contributed to its spread).

Compared to past pandemics, the current swine-flu outbreak is hardly a blip on the chart. (Speaking of charts, you can click onto a couple that show you mortality rates since 1900 and since 1950.) Last year, MIT researcher Peter Doshi pointed out that not all pandemics turn out to be as serious as the annual seasonal flu. And in its swine-flu FAQ, the Canadian government makes a similar point.

So does that mean the current outbreak is just a piddling pandemic? Not necessarily.
For one thing, it's far too early to assess how this outbreak will end up. For another thing, the pattern of the deaths so far is distressing. Both those caveats draw on the lessons learned from the 1918 flu.

The age factor
"The big difference between seasonal flu and pandemic flu is that when you move to pandemic flu, you get a pattern that the older people are not affected," said Lone Simonsen, an epidemiologist at George Washington University who is also the founder and president of SAGE Analytica. The age distribution curve for a typical seasonal flu looks like a "U," while the distribution pattern for the 1918 flu was more of a "W," as seen on this chart.

Experts worry that the distribution pattern for the current outbreak looks similar. Every death from the flu is a tragedy, but it's particularly tragic when a significant number of the fatalities come in the 20-to-50 age bracket rather than the over-85 bracket.

"That's a lot of life years lost," Simonsen said. "It has another flavor to it."

Simonsen and her colleagues are still trying to figure out why the 1918 flu hit people in the prime of their lives so hard. One hypothesis is that the virus could somehow push a healthy immune system into such a violent response that the body suffered irreparable damage. Another idea is that the older people had acquired immunity from a previous flu epidemic, while younger people missed out. Simonsen said a third possibility is that some sort of bacterial co-infection made the flu worse. Or it could have been a combination of factors.

Wave of the future
Even if the current outbreak turns out to be relatively mild, that's not necessarily the end of the story. "When you look at the past pandemics, you observe that they often come in waves," Simonsen said.

She said a review of the records from 1918 show that the year's first flu flare-up actually came in the spring and summer, in the form of a less lethal but highly transmissible infection. That appears to have been the precursor for the deadlier waves of influenza that swept across the world that fall.

If the current outbreak turns out to follow a similar pattern, that would be "good and bad news," Simonsen said. It's bad news because a worse outbreak could conceivably follow. But it's good news, she said, because we'd have "more time to defend ourselves," using all the defenses that have been developed since 1918.

Patrolling the pigs
In recent years, the biggest concern on the minds of epidemiologists has been avian flu, not swine flu - but the current outbreak is a sign that experts will have to pay attention to the pigs as well, said Juergen Richt, a veterinary researcher at Kansas State University.

He and his colleagues infected pigs with the 1918 "Spanish flu" virus, as well as a virus from 1930 that is thought to be a descendant of the 1918 strain, under Biosafety Level 4 lab conditions. The experiment, described in the May issue of the Journal of Virology, showed that the swine suffered mild respiratory disease but recovered from the infection.

"A virus which is lethal to monkeys, ferrets and mice, and was lethal to people [in 1918], is not lethal to pigs," Richt told me. That suggests that swine could have played a role in maintaining and spreading the 1918 flu, he said.

It also suggests that swine populations might have to be monitored more closely for evidence of potentially dangerous disease strains, perhaps through diagnostic screening. It's not enough to wait until pigs drop dead, he said.

Richt said swine-flu strains appear to be undergoing mutations more rapidly today than they did a decade ago. "Something happened 10 years ago, where the whole evolution of swine flu changed and became very dynamic," he said. Why? Richt said the reason is unknown, although it may have something to do with a genetic change enhancing the virus' ability to jump between pigs, birds and people.

Richt is a big advocate for research that bridges the gap between human medicine and veterinary medicine, and he told me the current flap over flu viruses just underscores the point.
"It's not only bird flu and swine flu," he said. "There are lots of zoonotic diseases - tuberculosis, Rift Valley fever, Lyme disease. ... We have to realize that only together can we solve these problems."

Alan Boyle covers the physical sciences, anthropology, technological innovation and space science and exploration for He is a winner of the AAAS Science Journalism Award, the NASW Science-in-Society Award and other honors; a contributor to "A Field Guide for Science Writers"; and a member of the board of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Flu Prevention

Avoid close contact.
Avoid close contact with people who are sick. When you are sick, keep your distance from others to protect them from getting sick too.

Stay home if sick.
If possible, stay home from work, school, and errands when you are sick. You will help prevent others from catching your illness.

Cover your mouth and nose.
Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. It may prevent those around you from getting sick.

Clean your hands.
Washing your hands often will help protect you from germs.

Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
Germs are often spread when a person touches something that is contaminated with germs and then touches his or her eyes, nose, or mouth.

Practice other good health habits.
Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious food.