Friday, January 28, 2011

More Rambling Of Assorted Thoughts

Congress has just started up and already the talk is of the elections of 2012. With an improving economy I’m sure the Republicans in Congress will benefit as they claim success for any turn around. Naturally Obama will claim credit for any turn around as it happened on his watch and he’ll use that for a second term run where he just may be successful as he drifts more towards a centrist position. Nice to know the new campaign starts just about three months after the previous one ended.

The Dow Average continues to creep up to 12,000 or pre 2008 disaster levels.

Airlines are becoming profitable again thanks to eliminating flights and increasing fares.

According to various reports companies will not rehire at significant rates simply because they are use to operating now on leaner staffs. I’m sure that being in the dreaded private sector means many 50+ hour work weeks and a diminishing benefit structure. I would never want to be in the position of operating a small business and have to deal with the day to day myriad of requirements by various government agencies while trying to best make a reasonable bottom line for my employees and my own well being.

The Daily Beast has rated Massachusetts children as the smartest in the nation based on various test results. This is rather common knowledge and a good portion of the “success” is based on MCAS which does have rigor that exceeds that of national requirements. Do teachers teach to the test? Of course you have to do that since you are required to follow the frameworks and the frameworks are represented in MCAS testing. For the last several years I have tutored students who have failed MCAS - usually multiple times - and the retesting rate of passing is significant. Most of it is just having a formulated approach to the tests and improving test taking skills.

School curriculum is usually designed to meet the requirements of the frameworks so that the material that you present in the classroom will be found somewhere on MCAS. This is what the curriculum developers do and by that I mean those who sell the books and programs to schools. This is a highly competitive business and one that have often left me wondering. In the school system I retired from they had three different math programs while I was there. Students and staff would get use to say Connected Math only to have it pulled in favor of say Chicago Math. Experienced teachers - meaning those with over 20 years of service - would often “hide” some of the older textbooks that they could use to supplement with the newer. This practice was often frowned upon by administration but some would realize that some of those old methods were quite successful but did not have all the glitz of the newer material.

Several years ago one of my jobs for a few years was actually teaching teachers but most of it was in the area of behavior or classroom management. This would occasionally require me to participate in team teaching since I felt it was necessary to integrate myself into the daily routine within the building. There was one class where a teacher with a few years experience was attempting to show how to multiply and divide fractions using some newer math concepts as divined from the Gods of Curriculum. The kids were lost so I asked if I could teach a lesson on it and did so my using the methods that taught me less - of course - the threat of physical violence. Within thirty minutes the kids understood exactly how to handle division and multiplication of fractions. No great skill on my part but just pushing forward how it was taught to me by Mrs. Nash back in the 50s.

I have an algebra book that dates back to 1949. It was a book I had in school and there is nothing colorful about it. No multi-colored pages. No little gnomes or other creatures with cheery faces. No real gimmicks of any sort. Just a real basic approach. Much of that book I have used in the classroom and in tutoring. I have had other teachers copy sections of it. I hate to degrade the new stuff with “back in my day” logic but from my own experience the material that was used to teach me was damn good.

Cumberland Farms is experimenting with a drive-thru. That should be simple - smokes, lottery tickets and milk. At the Cumby’s I frequent the other day someone came in and was buying laundry detergent, about ten cans of cat food and some canned goods. The expense of these items at a Cumby’s is astronomical compared with a jaunt down the street to Hannaford’s. This was early afternoon and I just could not believe running up a $30 tab over stuff that would cost $10 at a super market. They also left in a Hyundai and not an Audi or a Mercedes.

Bill Belichick and Tom Brady are now poseurs compared to what they once were. Is this the curse of the Eli after losing to the Giants in the SB? Brady has been outplayed and BB out coached in their last three playoff games - games in which they were favorites to win. To me the Patriots are now in that same territory that fans of a certain NY baseball team are - anything less than a World Series or Super Bowl win for the Pats is a failure and Brady and BB have failed.

Where will be the next resting spot for the Tribe? Middleboro and Fall River have failed so they are now on the hunt again. Where oh where will they land?

Gambling will be on the agenda for the next session in the Massachusetts House. Supposedly Patrick and DeLeo have some type of compromise in the works so that not only will the state grab your bucks but so will a casino.

It’s the little things. Wastewater is being treated in Middleboro for plant use. Savings of about $10,000 a year.

Saw an article on Cougars - the ones that go after younger men in the ten to twenty years younger range. That means any Cougar chasing Bogo would be in her 80s. Guess I’ll have to hang out around Island Terrace.

Chuck Turner of the Boston City Council got three years but the collection of former felon House Speakers have nary a day in jail. His crime was a $1,000 bribe but the real crime was two fold - the first was his arrogance in court and the second was being Black.

All those snow days mean no school days and that translates to an extended school year as the days are made up in June. Many school systems have half days built into the school calendar and that is classified as a full day. Usually “professional days.”

BB is doing another show at the Flatiron CafĂ©. Hopefully more of the singing chores will be taken over by his wife who has quite a nice voice. Now if Marese can only play the guitar then BB can go around carrying the instruments while she entertains. Hey…maybe she can try her hand at writing a newspaper column?

David Merrill had a wonderful column a few weeks ago in The Enterprise regarding cable companies and his was rant specific - Comcast or as I prefer to call them - Comacast. His complaint is an old one and one that just drives me off the very deep end and that is the inability of the consumer to actually select the channels they want without having to purchase a package that may contain a few channels they actually watch. I have questioned Comacast many times on this issue and the response is always the technology cannot do it. Total 100% BS and they know it.

I have a friend who is representing himself in court and that is a daunting task. It is their playground meaning the judges, lawyers, hacks from probation and assorted others. They know the process so that makes it difficult since they have so many linguistic twists and turns coupled with procedural roadblocks. Representing yourself is like going into a casino and playing slots - difficult to win. I have used small claims many times but that process is simplified compared to the other legal arenas. I am really cynical of the legal process as I have seen first hand a level of incompetence, lack of common sense, questionable character and on and on from lawyers and judges. Politicians have replaced corporate CEO’s as the least respected profession with Congress on top of that list. Most represented profession in Congress? Lawyers. Case closed.

Republican Jeff Perry lost out on his gig to go to Congress but that just opened up another employment opportunity since the Republican sheriff - after a nation wide search - found him a nice $110,000 slot - one in which the previous occupant received $57,000.

I read a nice headline on the State Of The Union address - Long On Rhetoric and Short On Facts. About sums it up for President WOW.

Another two-bit Chicago hack was also in the news as Rahm Emanuel - formerly of the WOW Administration - has failed residency requirements to run for Mayor of Chicago. The case will now be bumped up to the state SC for review. If it is a Daley court he’s a lock to get the go ahead kiss.

And speaking of Chicago it is one of my favorite places to visit. This is a great city that IMO far surpasses NYC.

One stock I have liked in the last two years has been Boeing Aircraft (BA) but at times it is a roller coaster ride. Right now it has taken about a 3% dive in the last few days over profit erosion and Dream liner delays. Still at around $70 a share it is a great buy. IMO it will be at $90 within six months.

Taco Bell is in the news about some of the contents of their products especially the not quite 100% beef taco. As someone noted “At least we now know what happened to the “Chihuahua.”

Now for awful chain restaurants just step right up Red Lobster! There are no Red Lobster restaurants in New England as far as I know and for good reason - we know sea food and have some - if not the best - in this area. I had an “experience” with RL out in California a few years ago where I ordered a seafood platter that consisted of a few pieces of tilapia, some clams, a few shrimps that looked out of a can and some things that I was no sure about. I rarely complain about food but when the waitress asked me about my meal I said “It was the worse seafood I have ever experienced in my life.” The manager had a long talk with me and was willing to comp my meal but I refused saying it was obviously standard to their menus and I was use to my homespun version of seafood. Since he had spent some considerable time in Portsmouth, NH he had to agree. I also noted that their tank containing “Maine Lobsters” had “Product of Canada” attached to the claws.

Not sure of the current status of the Green School but I assume work has been limited by the weather. I also assume that the project may qualify for CPA funds.

Ocean State Job Lot has started selling garden items.

Bristol Palin gets between $20,000-30,000 plus expenses for a personal appearance. Why would anyone want to see or listen to Bristol Palin?

Woe is me time is hitting the Middleboro budget for the annual deficit circus that this time has a tab of $1,500,000 according to the TM. The big crunch is the health care and that can be controlled a wee bit by having GIC.

“We have a major malfunction.” Those were the words utter by flight control when the Challenger shuttle broke up. My son had just returned from Kindergarten and watched the break up - not and explosion - and the impact obviously didn’t leave any scars regarding flight since he became a commercial pilot. The shuttle will now be retired.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Let It Snow Post

What is the HFPA? That is the Hollywood Foreign Press Association that distributes the yearly Golden Globe Awards to movies and TV. The “Association” has exactly eighty-two members many of which have questionable connections to any legitimate news agency. For example the president of the organizations, Phillip Burk, lists his associations as “Australia” and “Malaysia.” For the sham awards the “Association” received $26,000,000 from NBC. Members are often transported around the world on junkets that would make any politician envious just so that some may vote for the right movie, TV show or entertainer. In another day and age this was known as payola. The organization is also a non profit and has quite a substantial record of questionable practices that go into the exclusiveness that they protect by routine rejection of credentials of some rather legitimate foreign news sources.

President WOW has poor marks on handling the economy so he has decided to put his efforts into “overdrive.” Then why the Clark did he waste so much time, effort and political chits on a health care program that is being both skewered and now - finally - seriously being “adjusted.” It’s the economy, stupid….to quote a famous American.

Governor Deval “Second Time Around Is Better” Patrick is turning into a Republican! Now in the target of the Gov is Massport another hack infested dumping ground loaded with six figure salaries for paper pushing. The state is loaded with agencies and quasi agencies that seem to have the main purpose of providing “employment” for the connected rather than services for the taxpayers.

The Herald had an interesting editorial on the dreaded private sector providing sick pay to employees. This is a rather convoluted issue since some companies have a firm and generous policy while others have none. Sick you lose. Where my daughter works sick days are deducted from your vacation days. Now the legislation proposed is to have one hour of sick time accumulate for every thirty hours worked up to a maximum of seven days. That seems like a rather decent approach but The Herald - like Bogo - feels the primary reason is to take the focus off the excessive sick leave and numerous other benefits that are available in the public sector.

My own personal experience was that in my last year of teaching I had not taken a sick day in the system I worked in. I could accumulate these up to a maximum of 180 days. I could also contribute three days a year to a sick bank which I did. In my last year I suffered an Achilles rupture followed by surgery and then during rehabilitation another rupture an a total reconstruction. The building I worked in was not handicapped accessible so a jaunt up four floors was not in the picture. So I had my sick days and managed to take 138 of them at full pay. That is why they refer to the other side of the fence as “The dreaded private sector.”

The system I was in also had a buy back for sick days. If you worked for at least fifteen years in the system you would be entitled to $30 for each unused sick day up to a maximum of 120 days. I would have lost my days since I only worked thirteen years in the system. Now administrators were essentially contracted labor and many had contracts that called for full pay buy backs with no service requirements. Many other public service unions have these same conditions with tweaks for their members. The buy back is significantly better for say the MTA, police and fire.

I had a certain perverse pleasure in purchasing The New York Post on Monday and giving it to my wife - The Lovely Cynthia - so she could read all about what NY thinks of her Patriots. I certainly would have loved a smack down of the Jets but some things just don’t go as expected. I figure this depression will last out the week but it will never match the one when my NY Football Giants (via NJ) beat the locals in the SB. At least that one eliminated all talk of how I could react so emotionally to the Red Sox.

Allin Frawley will now run for the BOS so that is now down to two replacements for the current members up for re-election. Anyone who reads this blog - all four of you - know that I really don’t care to have Marsha and MiMi around for another term. Marsha has consistently demonstrated bad judgment in her latest tenure from her “defense” of the IT Director to that abysmal performance on attempting to limit speech before the BOS. As far as I can determine MiMi does little beyond planting flowers and mimicking Marsha. As I said - the political version of an appendix. I hope neither candidate announced for their run will run against the incumbents but more as own their own merits as that 10% or so of us who will actually vote are well aware of the actions of the BOS.

Many years ago my wife purchased a Hyundai Elantra station wagon. The car was decent and the price was quite affordable. Nothing special but a car that was serviceable for us for many years. The Elantra represented just about the top of the line except for an under $20,000 faux sports car Hyundai manufactured. How times have changed. First came the Sonata that matched up with the mid market cars of the United States and Japan and now comes the Equus that has an MSRP that starts at $58,000. I’ve read the reviews and it obviously matches up rather well with the higher priced European and Asian imports at considerably less money.

Now my car of choice would be a new Bentley Mulsanne that costs about as much as a home in Middleboro. $300,000 or more for an off the shelf model that is all hand made with such excesses as leather from cows especially raised for the use in the car - no barbed wire marks. I remember seeing a great looking Bentley many years ago at Peaceful Meadows Ice Cream in Whitman. A family dressed like they stepped out of The Great Gatsby but what caught my eye was the Bentley had a small bumper sticker that read “My other car is a Yugo.”

Now if you want a real bargain I’d suggest the Indian made Tata Nano which translates to something like “A total piece of crap that you will probably die in.” This $2,500 mistake sits in many a depot in India unsold. Seems it is a bit risky to drive with the occasional explosion and the fact a good wind can crush it. If you like power than this 30HP “car” will generate about as much as a riding lawnmower.

The great gin mill debate will now surface with the new sitting legislature. Just how will this eventually pan out? Seems “The People” want some sort of means to piss away more money on gaming besides the lucrative scratch tickets. An improving economy will have various members of the pinky ring set coming forth with cash in hand, in bags. Stuffing it in bras and all sorts of great coin to get their gin mills up and running. I look at the investment potential in say neon. Neon will be big…big….big! I know some hate the term inevitable but that is what it is. Where the potential for tax dollars exists to feed the hack machine then onward with gin mills.

Now I really don’t mind the gin mills as I know exactly what to expect. As an entertainment option they are fine with great dining and quality entertainment. I will do what I usually do and plunk down my $20 for the $1 slots and get that out of the way. Maybe “I’ll get luck” and walk away with a princely sum of say $50? Just maybe the state will siphon off some of the money and problems that are going to R.I. And Ct. Maybe Clark from Connecticut can inform us all of the hazards? I for one do not intend to attempt to legislate personal choices.

In Middleboro the specter of a Tribal gin mill still exists but only if they can find a tribe that doesn’t remind one of the Keystone Kops. Being a NIMBY I would be surprised if anything is ever even attempted after the on and off again multiple times fiasco that has taken place. I’m sure the various investors involved in backing up or propping up The Tribe are looking for more viable alternatives. I doubt even the most ardent of pro casino folks are feed up with the circus that surrounds this whole mess.

I still harken back to that casual meeting I had with some various tribal elders at the Crazy Horse Memorial out in SD several years ago. Three different tribes and all involved in gaming and all with the same view: Watch out for the investors. Take as much control as possible. Get them out ASAP. Have your own people take an active role as possible.

The Pawn Stars is a reality TV show that takes place in a pawn shop in Las Vegas. Some of the items that have a value placed on them can be quite expensive. I saw one show in which a George Washington signed lottery ticket was appraised and the appraiser said he would expect it to go for $15,000-20,000 at auction. The why sell it to the pawn guy for $8,000? Need cash that quickly? Degenerate gambler? Makes no sense to sell it to a pawn shop when consignment to an auction house will bring you more.

Many “experts” in finance are touting a massive “Bull Run” on the stock markets. Just what one needs to hear is more predictions regarding the direction and solvency of our world wide financial institutions. One bold predictor even marked 9/4/2013 as the day that would represent the S&P having doubled. I don’t know if that will be accurate since according to the Mayan business we all will have been vaporized by then.

A few weeks ago on the sidebar I listed the salary of Joe Kennedy as far in excess of 500K a year for running a non profit and this is not unusual. Where my daughter works as a teacher is a non profit specializing in Autism and the salaries and benefits are just not that substantial yet a Herald article in the summer had the director pulling in over 500K a year. This is actually not that unusual as many charitable organizations will list 100% of their money raised going “to the cause” but that also includes costs and a big portion of those costs can be some rather inflated salaries. Little research can point out just what percentage actually goes to the charity.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Local Elections And Other Garbage

Patriots will win and will cover.

MiMi Duphily has announced that she will run for a second term on the BOS. Based on her display on Monday’s my simpleton opinion is MiMi is the appendix of local politics. The appendix has no apparent value and can be removed without damaging the body.

Why is it MiMi and not Mimi?

Brian Giovanoni has announced a run for the School Committee. Brian and I were on opposite ends of the casino issue but Brian has put in some valuable time on those committee’s no one hears of. And would certainly apply himself to a job on the SC. That will be an interesting contest if the incumbents reup.

Ben Quelle has announced for BOS and that gives me one option to vote for and I am sure another will pop up. I cannot vote for either MiMi or Marsha. Marsha for her attempt to quelle (pun intended) free speech and MiMi for being MiMi.

The lowest of the low is the Westboro Baptist Church most notable for demonstrating at military funerals. The few members of the church have made it known that they planning on demonstrating at the funerals in Arizona and the response from the far right, left, Republicans, Democrats and Tea Party is to pass some type of legislation to prevent this or severely limit it. What an abomination! Typical knee jerk reaction. I can see this matter being handled similar to abortion clinics but this situation seems more restrictive.

Managed to get out around noon time on the day of the storm and the roads were in great shape. The DPW may not pick up trees but they did a very good job on my street which is a side street. Route 28 was down to the pavement. Trouble is we had some more snow during the night and that did cause a bit of an accumulation on the side streets. In The Boston Herald Ray Flynn, the former mayor of Boston, had an article on how he use to drive around with the plow drivers to make sure things were getting done. Unlike Mayor Bloomberg in NYC (and some members of the BOS) he realized it is the little things. Bloomberg got the message and had full force during the latest NY storm.

I read that all this snow is a result of global warming. I had also read that the warmer weather in the summer is the result of global warming. Nice to frame a science debate where no matter what evidence is presented backs up a position.

Evergreen in Massachusetts is dead. Eight hundred jobs gone and a bundle of taxpayer dollars thanks to Deval “Almost One and Out” Patrick. I understand that their Chinese operation is still going and, of course, their CEO got a nice bonus despite the company going down the tubes. The governor stated something about at least having jobs for four years. Such leadership! Good for going green.

Gambling will be on the agenda in Massachusetts for 2011 and will surface in one form or another in the wonderful world of extravagant gin mills. The Tribe seems to be out of this play so far but one never knows.

My wife - The Lovely Cynthia - enjoys shoving snow and who am I to discourage such a wonderful pastime. I even purchased a few additional shovels that are actually capable of hacking away at the ice. I do participate in this joyful activity but it is frustrating since I am constantly directed to “avoid throwing snow on the birdbath” or “Not near those bushes” as snow has to be piled in certain specific areas. Her primary goal every storm is to clear an area in the back yard so that her feral welfare cats will have access to the multiple feedings they receive each day. If any Haitian hurricane victims knew just what was available at the feeding trough they would head north and stay under the picnic table in the back yard.

My daughter managed to find some news that was not on her primary news focus in life - TMZ - that had a story about the elderly dropping from heart attacks while shoveling snow. When this storm rolled around she actually had a plow come over and plow us out. She even commandeered her brother to come over and participate in some sibling shoveling activity. That has not stopped my wife who has made twice daily treks to clean off melted ice or provide pristine pathways to bird feeders.

The CL had an interesting posted comment on a prominent anti casino site that had “data” pronouncing how many potential suicides are possible with a casino in Massachusetts. The information was so blatantly false as to be laughable. Do these folks ever realize that just a modicum of research will fill that BS full of holes? Find to be anti this or that but when the attitude is the ends justifies the means it is just plain wrong. Becomes much to common place in too many issues. The old repeat a lie often enough it becomes a truth.

Commercials that advertise we’ll beat our competitors price or the item such as a car or floor will be free is just plain idiotic. Does anyone really think about the stupidity of that statement?

Another one is car dealers putting a sticker on a car that is just ADM or additional dealer markup for a car on which there has been nothing added on. Just a negotiation ploy. A few weeks ago I was at a dealership where I saw think in full court press mode with a client with limited English skills. While the salesman was off - probably illegally checking credit without permission - I explained the situation to the customer and then left. Hopefully he did not pay MSRP and the additional useless thousands.

I came across a great book via email called “Disorder In American Courts” that uses actually court room testimony. For example:

ATTORNEY:  The youngest son, the 20-year-old, how old is he?
WITNESS:      He's 20, much like your IQ. 

I will avoid any connections to any local attorney’s.

Patrice Tierney - wife of Representative John Tierney - has been sent to a to be determined Club Fed for thirty days thanks to her involvement with a money laundering scheme connected to her brother. Her husband had no knowledge of this according to his own statement and I can understand that. If my wife started to toss around thousands of dollars and buy a new car I’d not say a thing. That means the rep is either a liar or an idiot.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Start Of The New Year Post

Tom Brady made the GQ list for best dresses males and the Bogo missing from the issue was an oversight I am sure. I know that BB was represented in the torn and stained flannel shirt section. Special note was given for his ability to wear a shirt three sizes too small and appear - and I quote GQ “Like a Bumpkin.”

In NYC the big story has been the lack of snow and garbage removal thanks to a blizzard. This story has been going on for ten days and is reflective of how the little things get to folks. Heads have already rolled and more are expected to follow. I was in NYC for three days and trust me the locals are really pissed. NYC also picks up Christmas trees - probably buried under the trash.

NYC is the epee center for the nanny state nutrition police and it is displayed up front in calorie counts on the menu. My wife - the Lovely Cynthia - loved the idea of seeing this since she is in a perpetual state of diet. I could care less and it seems most of the population is the same.

To get to NYC we took the train so when you go Middleboro to South Station and then South Station to Penn Station it is about five and a half hours on the train but certainly beats the traffic crap shoot with the bus. The trains were comfortable, clean, on time and with a rather spiffy clientele. For us an advanced purchase one way ticket was $49 each.

As the train went zipping along I just stared out at the large number of abandoned buildings - mostly factories and warehouses - that were along the route. Amazing how much manufacturing has been lost. Maybe Suo will give some insights from the trenches since I have little knowledge about it.

I did notice many buildings converted for other use primarily into housing. Be nice if the obstructionist can be mollified so that Starr Mill can be reused.

The train stopped in New London and I have not been there for many years. A few years ago Limo had proposed a trip to the gin mills and a tour of the area including New London. I jumped on that offer but I don’t think any other anti like moi or pro did. Now I’ll have to go down in the summer and look around as the waterfront area seemed quaint and dynamic.

Now the classic Huck Finn is being sanitized to remove potentially offensive language. I’m sure I’m next on the list for that treatment.

Barney Frank accepts all the science of global warming. Now BF is enraged because a federal agency has refused to expanding fishing - hurting New Bedford - since there is no science to support it. BF refuses to accept their science but gleefully accepts the science of Al Gore. Go figure.

The Massachusetts Parole Board is an upfront example of exactly what is wrong with this state. This collection of connected hacks averages out to about a 100K a year for scrutinizing the prison records of offenders. It appears that once one “finds God” or completes an extension course they have been rehabilitated and can return to society. The public outcry will soon dissipate and it will be back to business as usual. Find it interesting that in New Hampshire they get a $100 a day for being a board member and meet only a few days a month.

The Legislature and governor have managed to make the ultimate fiscal sacrifice and get their pay about one half of one percent.

Middleboro is now raising fees since according to the TM they have not been raised in twenty-two years. If that is true - and after 50 Xmas trees I wonder - then they are making up for lost time as the raises are substantial.

One poster on the 4,677th best blog in Middleboro claimed that since she has an artificial tree she is subsidizing the removal of mine. What a silly argument. No doubt this same “visionary” also supports not paying real estate taxes if you have no children in school or have ever had children. Government is not a menu picking one item from column A and one from columns B and C.

It has to be a slow news day when the annual plunge of the L Street Brownies takes place and it ends up as a prominent news story. Why is that even news worthy? Right up there with the annual St. Patrick’s dinner when the criminals ….I mean the politicians - make inane “jokes” about each other. At least the yearly Brownie adventure now has some charitable connections. I also understand there are a few of these polar bear types are even in picturesque Newport. If folks need inane and idiotic foolishness just read the blogs of BB or the Confirmed Liar. Naturally my blog is exempt from being classified as inane or foolish.

And as far as career criminals it was nice to see the warm welcome in The House for the return of two convicted felons and former speakers - Sal DiMasi and Tom Finneran. This happened about the same time Diane Wilkerson (D-Maidenform) picked up a three and a half year vacation as a guest of the Commonwealth. Maybe the parole board can let her out?

Rodney Dangerfield was one of my favorite comedians and he had a great line regarding the neighborhood he grew up in: “I was fifteen years old before I realized the cops also got paid by the city.”

There is one thing I have discovered even more obnoxious than Bogo and that is that idiotic Kars For Kids commercial.

The next commercial I can do without is the yearly idiocy of Toyotathon that has convinced me to buy any other car but.

On the other end I love the “I pick things up and put them down” commercial by Planet Fitness.

Professional computer folks are IMHO compliant in an incredible display of intrusion on our own privacy in that they are either employed by or contract out their services to companies that track your online movements via cookies or just target you with specific pop ups. I would love to see some type of frivolous legal action (hello, AB!) take place to put a head lock on what they do and the companies they work for. Maybe a $1,000 fine for every unwarranted popup?

Can you bet on the Apocalypse? Sure can. Where disaster awaits so does profit in the wonderful world of cat or catastrophe bonds depending upon the circumstances. Virtually all bonds have a limited yield (2% to 14%) if no earthquake, hurricane or 100 megaton blast takes place during a specific time but if it does your investment can be vaporized. The investment is really part of the insurance market and say the disaster you are linked with such as Bogo writing a coherent blog results in getting paid. No disaster you score! I’m going with the Mayan calendar on this one.

In other financial news the IPO of Facebook may take place in 2011. This is expected to be valued at more than 50B. Investors are all thinking another Google.

The Republicans are in office two days and unemployment drops from 9.8% to 9.4%. Boy those Tea Party folks are sharp.

Shelf Plus Pricing. I had never heard of this until Mouse Print published a post on its use by Avanza Supermarkets. What it does is add a specific percentage to your order for each or certain items. The advertisement will read something like $3.29 a pound and then in mouse print “An additional 10% will be added on at the register.” This was not exactly a new concept and has been used by other businesses.

Locally I enjoy Hannaford’s. I scan that meat section constantly for discounted items which seem in abundance compared to other markets. Right after New Year’s I got a nice prime rib discounted almost $3 a pound. Their specialty market has some great cuts but most are also available in the meat department. The fish department is rather small and can be pricy compared to Market Basket but they usually have a few specials each week that make it more reasonable. Bakery is also a regular stop. Hannaford’s has it all over Stop & Shop and Shaw’s. For seafood Larry Carver is also worth a visit but can be a wee bit expensive for certain cuts but the quality and freshness can’t be beat.

A friend of mine - which being a friend of mine shows a certain lack of selective standards - used the term polymath - a phrase I have not heard in decades. The first time I ever heard it was in graduate school at B.C. and it was spoken by a professor named Andrew Buni. He used the term to describe the budding historians that populated his class and asked that we all be polymathic or renaissance men and women. I hope the others in that class did better than I did at achieving that goal.