my name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die."


December 23rd

To all who celebrate this day I wish you a HAPPY FESTIVUS; a holiday for the rest of us, created by Frank Constanza. So, celebrate around the aluminum pole, enjoy the airing of grievances and participate in the feats of strength.

And on a somewhat related topic, if I haven't given anyone reading this a present for the holidays, this is for you.


Random Act of Kindness

Yesterday we witnessed an act of kindness between strangers. We were coming up the highway and I was in the extreme right hand exit lane for the jughandle to go across the highway. A car ahead of us pulled into the large island area of the jughandle, and I wondered aloud where did she think she was going. As we made the turn and waited for the light to cross, I saw her get out of her car and approach an elderly woman who had just crossed the highway pushing a shopping cart. It was obvious they were strangers because the elderly woman was pointing down the road in the direction she was walking. Then the driver took the woman's groceries to her car, and helped the woman over to her car so she could drive her the rest of the way home. What seems amazing to me is that it wasn't after the woman driver had stopped at the light that she made the decision, it was as she was driving and saw the woman crossing up ahead.



Many years ago, probably twenty (I could go back and look in my old check ledgers to find the payment, but because it was before computers it would take me a while), I had a problem with the sewer system in the house. There was a cleanout plug in the basement that was never sealed tightly and when the water began to back up in the main line it came into the cutout in the concrete floor. No damage to anything, but an alert that there was a clog of some sort. At first it would only back up if two toilets flushed at the same time, otherwise there was enough time for the water to trickle by the clog to the street line. But eventually a cleanout by RotoRooter was needed and a small amount of roots were found. Leap ahead twenty years. As I do on an irregular yearly basis, I checked the flow of the line a couple weeks ago by filling up the sinks, then running through the house flushing both toilets and pulling the drain on the sinks and running downstairs to check the flow. There was some backup but not that much, but I knew it would only be a matter of time that someone used too much paper and it clogged more, so I called RotoRooter again. He came out. I ran water for him. He listened. Then he said he didn't see any reason to clean it out because he could hear the water emptying into the main street line. I said, no, I would like it cleaned out anyway. So, he did. During the cleanout I stood there and he said it seemed clear as the motorized snake went in and didn't hesitate at all. I knew that I was doing it for my peace of mind so I didn't care. Then he pulled the snake all the way out and as the shearing end of the snake came out of the cleanout hole I tried to figure out when I had flushed a shirt down the toilet. What came out is what is in the accompanied picture. ROOTS. He was as amazed as I was. It was disgusting. But now I am worry free, at least for a few more years.


At least it wasn't The Tropic of Cancer

With Pat retiring next year it will become necessary to curtail some extravagant expenditures. One of those items will be the purchase of books. In the past I have read on average, about thirty books a year. With an average price of ten dollars a book that is three hundred dollars a year. The solution? Join the library; which I recently did and have just completed reading my first library book. I returned it on time so I wouldn't have to face Bookman.

"Let me tell you something, funny boy... You know that little stamp? The one that says New York Public Library? Well, that may not mean anything to you, but that means a lot to me. One whole helluva lot. Sure, go ahead, laugh if you want to. I've seen your type before -- flashy, making the scene, flaunting convention. Yeah, I know what you're thinking... Why's this guy making such a big stink about old library books? Let me give you a hint, junior. Maybe we can live without libraries, people like you and me.... Maybe. Sure, we're too old to change the world. What about that kid, sitting down, opening a book right now in a branch of the local library and finding pictures of pee-pees and wee-wees in The Cat in the Hat and The Five Chinese Brothers. Doesn't he deserve better? Look, if you think this is about overdue fines and missing books, you'd better think again. This is about that kid's right to read a book without getting his mind warped. Or maybe that turns you on, Seinfeld... Maybe that's how you get your kicks... You and your goodtime buddies... I've got a flash for you, joy boy. Partytime is over."


Tryptophan a myth

A day after Turkey Day and I think it necessary to debunk the belief that turkey causes you to fall asleep after a Thanksgiving dinner. NOT TRUE. Without going into the scientific details, which you can read on many different sites, including these .... one ..... two. Bottom line, it is not the turkey which does contain the sleep inducing tryptophan, but rather the starches and sugar, not to mention the alcohol. So, don't blame the turkey.


Please don't squeeze the Charmin

It is only fitting that we stop and take note of the passing of an icon. Yes, Dick Wilson, more affectionately known as Mr. Whipple has passed away at the age of 91 at the Motion Picture & Television Hospital in Woodland Hills, CA. Even though his commercials were most annoying, he became a household name and amazingly appeared in over five hundred commercials over a twenty one year span. Egads. Of course he had other credits, but who cares about them. I just wonder if there will be a roll put in his casket with him. Inquiring minds want to know.
Watch him here.



Yes, this is a post about nothing. I feel like Jerry and George going to NBC. I know I should have a lot to post about being able to choose from a myriad of topics. Our trip to LA to see K&T&K&Q, or the flight home where they replaced an engine on the plane, then my aching ears when landing, or the three brothers' trip to Cooperstown and the wonderful dinner we had with local flavor, or my not being able to get rid of this cold which has prevented me from visiting the NJ grandsons, or I could write my thoughts on Barry Bonds, or A-Rod, or about the Chinese woman who had a 33 pound tumor removed from her abdomen, or that in Australia Santas can't say "HO, HO, HO" because it is offensive to women. Yes there are a lot of things to write about, but I am not. Maybe next time.


Concerned neighbor, but duh

Saturday, around 4pm. I am at the den window looking out onto the street when I notice something along the opposite curb. I ask Pat to come and look because it appears to be leaves or something burning along the curb. She agrees and with it appearing that there is noone home across the street, I go put some shoes on, get a bucket and put some water in it from the kitchen sink. Pat is telling me to stop wasting time and to just go out there. After I have a little water in the bucket I go out the front door and rethink the amount of water I have. Not enough, based on the size of the pile of leaves that are smoldering. So I stop at the spigot in front of the house and fill the bucket up about three quarters full. I then walk down the driveway and get halfway across the street with my bucket of water. No one is around so it is up to me to douse this smoldering pile of leaves. Halfway across the street, as I get closer to the fire I smile, check to make sure no one has seen me, and then come back to our yard, empty the bucket on the lawn and go into the house. I am laughing to myself and then I explain to Pat why. As I got closer to the curb I saw it wasn't leaves with flickering flames at all. Nope. It was some Halloween garland that was laying by the curb with the shiny sections looking like flickering flames. Pat asked me why I didn't pick it up to throw in the garbage. I said I just wanted to get back inside before anyone saw me with a bucket of water in the middle of the street. Here is a close up pic.


Four readers for my mystery

Well, it has been ten days, a long enough time I would think, to see how many people are reading this blog. FOUR!!! Or is it that there are many more and they refused my request to make a comment. Has blogging been a fad? For me as well as for others? For the present I will continue, if not every day, at least intermittently. And so this entry is about one of life's many mysteries, in which I am now partaking. What is it you ask? Hair. First we must ask why we have hair. It seems logical that early man needed hair to keep warm as he evolved from early primates. [please, no comments about evolution vs. creationism] But as man evolved, even after thousands and thousands of years, we still have hair in the most unlikely of places. Why do we need hair under our arms? Why do we need hair anywhere? And now I have entered that time of life when I ask the question, Why do older men get hair on and in their ears? Why? I have googled this question and their is no definitive answer. It is one of life's mysteries. And it is confounding that rogue hairs pop up on the ears edge and seemingly have grown a quarter or an inch overnight. A mystery. And as I ponder this mystery, another works its way into my thoughts. Why do men have nipples?


Are you out there?

I don't have anything to write about. But I shouldn't be concerned because my readership is so small that I don't hear the clamoring for more. My guess is that despite the visitor counter on this blog, I have been read by no more than ten people. How sad is that? So, I have a request. I would like everyone who reads this posting to please post a comment. Consider it an experiment. It really doesn't have to be a long comment. A simple "I'm reading" will suffice. And please no more than one comment. Don't try to make me feel good by making numerous comments under aliases. Had to stop that right up front. And thanks for taking part in this experiment.


Free October

No, not a giveaway of Octobers. Nor is it a demonstration to free October from November's clutches. Nope. With the Mets loss it is now a free month where I will no longer be watching baseball. Well, maybe a game or two, but no real interest unless some story line develops like the Cubs with a chance to finally win one. Otherwise, I am free to do other things, watch other things, and not stress anymore over wins and losses, sloppy play, and bad pitching And with the way the area football teams are going, of which I have watched zero games, I will also have a lot of free Sundays the rest of the year.


Half full or half empty?

I have come to realize lately that I am a "half empty" person. Is it genetic, or is it my upbringing? Have I always been this way, or is it something that has manifested itself only recently due to life's circumstances or experiences? I had never really given it serious consideration before, but then over the past week, in watching the Mets squander away chances to win their division, it has become apparent that I am definitely a "half empty" person. The Mets will get men on first and second, one out, and I will be thinking "No way they will score. Double play, or a strikeout and a popup to end the inning." Instead of hoping for a positive outcome, I am predicting the worst. And if the opposition has the men on with one out, there is no doubt in my mind that they will score. Is it just rational thinking, knowing the Mets are going in the toilet, (see, pessimism is rampant), or am I viewing it that way because of my "half empty" mentality? And the more important question is, how did I get this way? And if it is genetic, did I pass it on to my children and grandsons? I must ponder this more.


No Big Deal

Well, only a few hours since I posted and said my life was uneventful and now I have something to write about. I went to have lunch with my grandsons today. Well, only two of my grandsons because the other two grandsons are a bit too far away for a lunch visit. After watching the Backyardigans with Dylan and watching Aidan run around non-stop, it was time for lunch. Before Dylan had his PB&J, sans crust, I checked his glucose levels which I have done before. But then came the task at hand. I had been telling Lauren that one lunchtime visit I would give Dylan his insulin shot but I kept putting it off. Not today. Lauren walked me through the setup procedure, which I probably will remember if I don't wait too long til the next time, and then came the moment of truth. He gets his shot while eating, so I went over to the table where he was eating, and with Lauren's supervision of course, I prepared for the big moment. She didn't think it was any monumental thing, but from my perspective I would beg to differ. "No big deal Grandpa", Dylan had said the last time when I had chickened out. He made no such comment this time. I followed Lauren's instructions, cleaning the arm, waiting for it to dry, dialing up the insulin in the pen, and then it was time. I had practiced at home on a tomato and a roll just to feel the needle go into something, but this was skin. This was my grandson. Oh boy. I held his arm in one hand, and the pen in the other. Lauren told me to just go ahead and poke him with it. I hesitated. And hesitated. Finally I knew I had to do it, so I just moved the pen's needle to his arm and put it into the skin. I held it there for a count of ten, took it out and I was done. Piece of cake. LOL! Not a sound from Dylan so I must have done okay. Now I am experienced at giving insulin shots. No turning back from now on. Every time I am there for lunch I will do it. As Dylan says, "No big deal Grandpa."

Stepping out....

onto the ledge again. Or maybe I should choose the "head in the oven" option. Just making emotional preparations for the worst case scenario. And you would think I would have had another entry somewhere in between this and the last, but alas, my life isn't full of anecdotes or special events. So then you can see why I am out on the ledge again.


Back from the ledge

Just want to let everyone know I have moved back from the ledge. This is in reference to my posting two days ago. Since then the Mets have swept the Braves and are now back to four ahead of the Phillies. Whew!



No, not an accident, or food poisoning. This time I refer to the disaster in Philly. I will soon be taking the magic number counter on this page down because it will be irrelevant. Oh, the pain. Four games. Four losses. And to add to the pain of this short period is the sweep of the Sox by the Yanks. This season could turn into a nightmare for Mets fans. Oh, the pain.

Finally.... and Accident Clarity

In a posting I made on June 30th I mentioned the slow pace of bridge reconstruction in Union Beach. Well, lo and behold, in the past two weeks both bridges have been completed. Apparently they read my blog and were shamed into a speedy conclusion of their work.

Also in a previous posting I detailed my accident as much as I could recall, but my last ride put me on the same road and I wasn't paying attention and hit the same hole. It isn't a regular pothole with clearly defined edges, but more of a paved dent in the road. This time I didn't kiss the asphalt because as soon as I sensed it I grabbed the bars tight. And that is when I learned the cause of my crash. One or two seconds after hitting the first hole I hit a second one. Being aware this time saved me, but last time I would have recovered if not for the second hole. Mystery solved.


New pics

I have posted some of the pics of our trip to LA earlier this month. Click here to see them.

Procrastination and Consideration

Well I started this posting a couple days ago and never posted it. I always start out with good intentions but let it go and then one day blends into another and soon I have forgotten about it totally. But now I will post it. Not that there are more than three or four people who ever read this blog anyway.

Yesterday [Aug. 22] Pat and I went out to dinner for our 37th anniversary. That is probably a topic for another posting. We went to Julia's (owned by one time Red Sox and Met player John Valentin) in the Highlands, not to be confused with Atlantic Highlands, because it was a restaurant we had never been to, and it sounded like a good place for an anniversary dinner. You would think that Atlantic Highlands would be the town nearer the "Atlantic", but NOOOO, it is the other way around, and the way I remember which is which is that Atlantic Highlands is home of the Atlantic Cinema. But I digress, which is not unusual. The interior of Julia's has a bar along one wall, then a half wall separating it from the dining area which has tables running along the half wall and the other wall of the room. We were seated on the outside wall, with me with my back to the wall. There were two other occupied tables which was par for a Wednesday night at most restaurants. After we had chosen our wine, and placed our orders, and toasted our 37th, I looked toward the door to see a young couple come in with a little girl about two. Uh-oh. They were seated opposite us and the little girl was a little loud, not whining or anything, but just loud. The acoustics of the place lend itself to echoing, and I imagine when all the tables are filled it is a bit noisy. But that was not yesterday. I saw them placed their order for wine, and the little girl was constantly being loud, and in the quiet it was very disconcerting. Not a way we wanted to spend a nice romantic dinner. But then a very strange thing happened. I saw the couple talking seriously, the father got up and went toward the back of the restaurant, came back to the table and the three of them got up and left, saying something to the hostess as they left. I did hear the mother say that she didn't think it was as fancy a place as it was. I almost wanted to go up to them to thank them for being so considerate of other the other diners. It was very refreshing to see that. I hope they had a nice dinner with their daughter somewhere else that evening.


Back in the saddle

Yesterday I stopped by the stable/blacksmith to pick up my trusty steed. Newly shoed she was ready to go, and today I decided to go for a ride. At first I was a little nervous being thrown off during my last ride seventeen days ago, but they say you should get right back on the horse after being thrown, so that was what I intended. With a little gentle talking I eased her out onto the road. She was a little skittish at first, as was I, but we settled into a nice ride. Each small bump we hit I held the reins a little tighter, fearing a recurrence of my last ride. But eventually I regained the confidence of letting her go and we had a very nice ride, going twenty-one miles in an hour and twenty minutes. Putting my steed away after the ride, I knew we were once again simpatico.


One shower a day is enough

Monday evening after dinner Kevin wanted to take a ride up into the hills north of here to take some photos of the valley at night. I went along to "watch his back" while he took pictures because it is an area with gated communities and he didn't want to be focused on his camera and have a security guard sneak up behind him. As we were to make the final turn to go up into the area we were waiting at a light when three fire trucks crossed the intersection and went up the hill ahead of us. About a mile up the road they were at another intersection and heading up a side road, so we continued on while trying to see if we could see any fires anywhere. Driving down to the end of the road we noticed helicopters overhead and thought they were news copters covering the fire. We turned around, looking for a place to park where Kevin could get his shots of the valley. Drving back along the ridge road one of the helicopters was coming in low and was landing nearby. At this time we were passing a small parking lot for a park and pulled in. Sprinklers were on so we had to park where we wouldn't get wet if we got out. The camera was taken out and set on a tripod waiting for the helicopter to leave, but it stayed. The zoom lens revealed that the lettering on the side of the copter was LAFD, so it was related to the fire on the other side of the hill. So we waited and watched, not really seeing much in the darkness. Another helicopter was circling the area and when the first one finally took off the second one landed. It was then that we concluded that they were taking on water for a drop over the fire. As the second one was loading up the first one returned and set down nearby, waiting for its turn again. After they had both left the sprinklers went off and we decided to walk toward where they had landed to get a better shot of the valley. Kevin bent down to find the grass dry and worried that sprinklers might come on in the area. As we were walking we heard one of the helicopters returning. The searchlight was moving across the ground and lit us up as we walked. I felt like Richard Kimball. Then I looked toward the landing area which was also illuminated by the light and pointed out to Kevin that the sprinklers had come on in that area and I was concerned that where we were could be next. Ready to turn back as the helicopter flew overhead we watched as it dumped what water it had left. Had he done it a few seconds sooner we would have gotten a good drenching. At that point we headed back to the car without a shot of the valley's lights, but lucky to be dry.


Baseball for breakfast

After getting up and discussing the earthquake with the household I poured myself a cup of coffee, put some cereal in a bowl and had breakfast. After finishing I went back to the couch and at 9:00 turned on the television to watch BASEBALL. Nine o'clock in the morning and I am watching the Mets vs. Braves. By lunch the game is over, and disappointing because the Mets lost despite a ninth inning comeback falling one run short. I don't know if I could ever get used to watching sports so early in the day. Very difficult.

Shake, rattle and roll

This is our eighth trip to the left coast to visit the Riepls of California and we have finally experienced the true essence of living here. 4.5 on the Richter Scale. The earthquake was centered in Chatsworth which isn't too far from here and occurred at 12:58 last night. I went to bed at eleven and was sound asleep at the time, but was awakened by the house shaking. It only lasted for a couple seconds and then I went right back to sleep. There were no pictures falling off the wall or pipes exploding, just a rumbling and shaking. In the morning Kevin said that it was the most severe one they have experienced in the nearly six years out here. From looking at the site which lists recent earthquakes in CA, it appears that there were some aftershocks, but we all must have slept through them. We have another five or six days here and hopefully they will be shake free.

List of quakes


Food Poisoning or Virus?

Wouldn't wish either on my worst enemy ..... violent intestinal pain ...... wet and clammy ..... bent over pain ..... saliva filled mouth ..... severe painful cramps ..... nearly vomiting ..... unbearable painful cramps ..... laying on the bathroom floor ..... cramps ..... pain ..... getting up numerous times during the night ..... did I mention the pain? ..... and wishing it would somehow all just end.


Expensive crash

I took my bent and twisted bike to the shop this morning. Howie, the owner, was amazed by looking at the bike that I wasn't more seriously hurt. For that matter so was I. He looked the bike over and it turns out that the rear wheel is also bent so both have to be replaced. New wheels and a tuneup would have cost me $475, but he will just buy the rims and build the wheels himself which will bring the total down to $345. I just hope he doesn't find anything else bent or broken when he tunes it up. As it is it will take a while and I hope it is ready when we return from CA.
My abrasions are scabbing over but in the morning I discovered I must have injured my right shoulder too, because it is very sore. Lucky I didn't break my collarbone which is the most common injury in cycling accidents.


I think it's supposed to be round

So I went for a ride today. Normally on a day where the weather was predicted to be in the nineties I would have gone in the morning, but I stayed up late to watch the Mets lose, so I decided to go in the afternoon around 3:30. It was near ninety when I started out but not too humid and breezy so it was bearable. I had chosen my route to stay near the shore, heading out to Port Monmouth and back, a ride of about 21 miles. So, there I was, a little more than seven and a half miles into my ride, enjoying the warm summer afternoon, when BAM! I found myself laying on the asphalt. It really happened that fast. One second I am on the bike and the next I am laying on the road, looking around to see if anyone saw me go down. Not to get help, but because it was embarrassing. I picked myself up, checked for broken bones first, then looked to discover scrapes on my right leg and arm. I got up without a problem and picked up the bike which revealed the odd shape of my front wheel. Not a good shape. Because the wheel wouldn't turn, I dragged the bike to the side of the road, up onto the sidewalk, and onto a lawn. (A very nice lawn, plush and green, I might add) With the shape of the wheel it was immediately obvious that I wasn't riding home, so I sat down on the lawn, pulled my cell out of my right rear pocket, hoping it was still working, and called Pat. Now, I was only fifteen minutes from home, but Pat wasn't home, being at a friend's house a half hour from our house. I asked her to come and get me and then sat back to wait. The owner of the house I was in front of came home a few minutes later and came over to check on me, and then later a guy in a truck stopped to see if I needed help. It was nice to see strangers reaching out, despite a State Trooper who was so busy on his cell phone he drove right past. I waited forty minutes and then Pat was there and I loaded the bike in the car and went home to shower, medicate, and ice my wounds.

Now, what happened? As I was sitting on the lawn I tried to reconstruct it in my mind and this is what I think happened. I was riding with my hands resting on the handlebars, and not really gripping them, which isn't really that unusual for riders to do. I then hit a medium size pothole which I didn't see, and this caused my hands to jump up off the bars. With nothing to prevent me from going forward, that is what I did. I recall trying to steer with my forearms on the handlebars as I went forward, but it didn't work, and then the wheel went sharply left, and I was skidding along the asphalt. I don't know if the wheel was bent by the pothole, hitting the curb, or just being so sharply turned and stopped.

It could have been a lot worse. My helmet's outer shell is cracked, my hip is bruised and sore, and I have numerous "strawberries" on my body. There was no car behind me, I didn't break any bones, and I will ride again. So it could have been a lot worse.

Tomorrow morning I will shlep my bike to the bike shop to have the wheel replaced and the rest of the bike checked out.


But they're high in protein

Interesting and noteworthy ride yesterday. I went out around three in the afternoon, thus avoiding the main cancerous rays of the sun. Usually I go out in the morning and am back by ten, but it looked like rain so I put it off until after the Mets noon time game. It turned out not to have rained in the morning, but was more like a marine layer from LA. Anyway, I went out at three with a planned route but not sure how long it would be figuring around one and a half hours or about twenty miles.

Two things of note on the ride. First, the finished ride was 21.2 miles which put my total for the year at 1112.5. What makes this noteworthy for me is that last year my total for the year was only 1097. This was due to the many days of not riding or riding low mileage because of back pain. In 2005 my total was 1898.2 and I hope to top that without a problem, but the 3049.8 of 2004 will remain out of reach.

Along the ride I saw that someone had put a small upright organ out at the curb for garbage pickup. It was not in good shape, but as I passed it I thought of things that might be done with it if I were a crafty person, like taking the keys and making something out of them, or using them as accents on a small piece of furniture. But soon my thoughts turned back to avoiding potholes and inconsiderate drivers. That will be a rant for another posting. About twenty minutes later I looked up ahead and there by the curb, believe it or not, was another upright organ, almost exactly the same as the first one. I marveled at the coincidence, first unique to see one, but then a second one on the same ride.

Then a bug flew in my mouth and gagged me.


Vegetable Garden (or is it?)

My garden this year is smaller than in previous years, consisting of cucumbers, string beans, eggplant, japanese eggplant and cherry, big boy, and early girl tomatoes. Eggplant and cuke plants have been producing very well. String beans started out good, but have slacked off greatly and I think they may be done. As for the tomatoes, they haven't started producing yet, except for seven cherries. I counted over forty large green ones on the other two plants and they seem to be preparing to all come at once.

The title of this post might seem puzzling, so allow me to explain. The tomato is a fruit, not a vegetable. Many of you probably have heard that argument before, but it isn't only the tomato. The eggplant and cucumber are also fruits. If it weren't for the beans I would have a fruit garden instead of a vegetable garden. What? You say hooey. For anyone who does, or is puzzled by this, or disagrees with me just because they feel like it, here is what sciencebob.com says...

The big question to ask is, DOES IT HAVE SEEDS? If the answer is yes, then technically, you have a FRUIT. This, of course, makes your tomato a fruit. It also makes cucumbers, squash, green beans and walnuts all fruits as well. VEGETABLES such as, radishes, celery, carrots, and lettuce do NOT have seeds (that are part of what we eat) and so they are grouped as vegetables.”

And then there is this from the Oxford Dictionary....

The confusion about 'fruit' and 'vegetable' arises because of the differences in usage between scientists and cooks. Scientifically speaking, a tomato is definitely a fruit. True fruits are developed from the ovary in the base of the flower, and contain the seeds of the plant (though cultivated forms may be seedless). Blueberries, raspberries, and oranges are true fruits, and so are many kinds of nut. Some plants have a soft part which supports the seeds and is also called a 'fruit', though it is not developed from the ovary: the strawberry is an example. As far as cooking is concerned, some things which are strictly fruits may be called 'vegetables' because they are used in savoury rather than sweet cooking. The tomato, though technically a fruit, is often used as a vegetable, and a bean pod is also technically a fruit. The term 'vegetable' is more generally used of other edible parts of plants, such as cabbage leaves, celery stalks, and potato tubers, which are not strictly the fruit of the plant from which they come. Occasionally the term 'fruit' may be used to refer to a part of a plant which is not a fruit, but which is used in sweet cooking: rhubarb, for example. So a tomato is the fruit of the tomato plant, but can be used as a vegetable in cooking.

So now that you are totally confused I will take my leave to go putter around in my fruit garden.


A sad change

It dawned on me recently that a place of significance in Pat's and my past is now changed forever. In her mother's house, when they converted the garage into a larger kitchen and family room, that place of significance disappeared. That would be the garage itself. There are two events that took place in that place that may have changed our lives forever. The first occurred in high school when we were sixteen. Mike Williams and I walked her home either after school, or after a school event (I can't recall details). He waited in the driveway or on the sidewalk while I walked Pat into the garage to say goodbye. I remember her leaning against the wall near the door to the kitchen saying goodbye and then hesitantly moving in to steal my first kiss from her. It was the first time I had kissed anyone and I can't brag that I was good at it, but walking away from the house I was feeling really good. The second event, and even more notable, happened on Christmas Eve in 1968. It was after returning from midnight mass with Pat's family. Her father had backed the car into the garage as he always did, and we all exited the car to go into the house through the kitchen. I asked Pat to stay behind a minute because I had something to tell her. Later she would tell me she thought I was going to break up with her because we had broken up a number of times before and she thought this was going to be one of those times. But in almost the exact same spot that I stole that kiss, I took out a ring and asked her to marry me. Not the most romantic gesture; surely not like putting it on a scoreboard or having it written in the sky, but it did the job. So, I lament the disappearance of that garage.


Could I care less?

Okay, this isn't a big deal, but why do people always say it incorrectly? It is "I couldn't care less", not "I could care less". The phrase means that it is the least you could care about a subject, so you can't care less, thus the former is the only phrase that makes sense. I hear people using it all the time, even people in the news business on television or radio. And it obviously irks me.

And while on the subject of word usage, let me address one that makes me cringe when I hear it. That would be "so fun", as in This party is so fun. First of all anyone who knows a little of grammar and speech should recognize that it just doesn't sound correct. Bells and whistles should go off in your head. What makes this incorrect is that "fun" is a noun and "so" is an adverb and adverbs don't modify nouns. Here is a link for an article that delves into this topic a bit more. http://www.editpros.com/news0501.html



Grandson number two, Aidan, celebrated his first birthday yesterday. Here are just thirty of the over one hundred pictures I took of the day.



Time on my hands

I have too much time on my hands obviously. I wanted to try a short slide show and chose my life in pics.


My attempt at posting from a widget.

Just trying to keep up with my ubergeek son.


I've got nothing

I want to post something but life is dull and there is nothing to write about. Weather? Cool and rainy for the 4th and today. Sports? Mets suck right now. Nothing else. Oh well.



Not an observation as defined by Webster, but just something I saw today. While out on my bike ride this morning I saw a snake. That's it, a snake. I would say a little over a foot long and slithering across the road in Middletown. I would guess that before I had gone another quarter mile he was road kill.

But what ever happened to toads. We used to call them hoptoads. There was a time when they were flattened on every road you went down, but not anymore. Rarely do you see one, either alive or flattened. And no longer is there a concern when mowing the lawn that you may fillet one. Nope, they seem to be gone. Pesticides?


Modern Technology Rules

I went for a bike ride today, going out through Keyport and Union Beach as I normally do. Living where we do it limits me to the beginning of rides as to where I can go. North is out of the question because of the problem with water; northwest is out because I would have to ride on 35, which even at five in the morning on a weekend would be dangerous; so I either go out through Keyport, or cross 35 at Cliffwood Avenue. But that is not why I am posting this entry. For the past year I have had to alter my route through Union Beach because of bridge repair. It is actually bridge replacement. The two spots are on Stone Road and Union Avenue, which is really irrelevant. What I am totally puzzled about is why is it taking so long to replace a bridge? It is 2007 and with modern construction equipment it should be quicker than fifty five years ago. I say fifty five years ago because the construction of the New Jersey Turnpike from conceptualization to opening took a mere 25 months. Yes, only just over two years. THE WHOLE TURNPIKE! The ground breaking was in January 1950. The first 44-mile-long stretch, from EXIT 1 in Carneys Point Township north to EXIT 5 in Westampton Township, opened on November 5, 1951. A second 49-mile-long stretch from EXIT 5 north to EXIT 11 in Woodbridge opened on November 30, 1951, followed by a third 16-mile-long stretch from EXIT 11 north to EXIT 15E in Newark on December 20, 1951. The fourth and final nine-mile-long stretch, from EXIT 15E north to EXIT 18 in Ridgefield, opened on January 15, 1952. Frigging amazing. So why is taking nearly that long to replace two small bridges? Just boggles the mind.


Second entry

Well, it looks like the first entry wasn't the last after all. Nothing to add since last time except things for me to ponder. How do I write in the blog? I mean to whom am I writing? Do I address it to the general population, or express myself as if I am talking to my children, or do I write as if it is a personal journal that no one is expected to see? Well we can eliminate that last option right away. If I were take that option I would be putting personal thoughts and feelings here that I have kept to myself or only shared with my loving spouse. So, that is out. And associated with these questions is who do I let know that I even have a blog? Right now it is just Pat and my children and spouses. Oh of course there are others who might stumble on it by accident, but I don't really care about them, or even think they would return to see my blog again. So, those things are what I need to address.

Today has been another hot day in NJ. The three H's are here again. Another inside day. No work today after working four days straight. I do have to go in tomorrow, but another day or two and I will once again be on call instead of having to work every day. Rick, (my brother Rick), (Uncle Rick)........you can see why I need to decide to whom I will write this blog...... stopped by after visiting Mom, (my mother), (Grandma). We had lunch and watched the DVD that Bob, (my brother Bob), (Uncle Bob) had put on DVD. Originally Ron, (my brother Ron), (Uncle Ron) had taken all the old home movies from 8mm and Super 8mm and had put on VHS. But now they are on DVD. I am sure in the future they will have to be transferred again to the next media advancement. We spent the afternoon, three hours, watching and having some good laughs. In the near future I will be taking all our home movies and have them put on DVD also.


Looks like I am just a lemming

Okay, so I am not an original person and am following my children into blogging. Of course they will have much more to offer on their blogs than I will because their lives are much more active due to their children. For Pat and myself one day is much like its predecessor so many entries may be very boring. Or all of them may be boring, much like this one.

Beginning this blog makes me consider what to do about my website. I haven't updated in a while except for books and biking miles, and wonder if it is worth keeping up just for those two things? Decisions to be made in the future since it is paid up through December. And in case you have never seen it, the link is http://www.rayriepl.com

And that ends this first entry. Will it also be the last entry? Only time will tell.