Wednesday, August 3, 2011


Tax free weekend has surfaced with its usual attendant list of just exactly qualifies. I noted our illustrious members up “On The Hill” went full bore to get this done much the same as they went full bore to raise the sales tax.

If they wish a real sales tax holiday extend it to big ticket items.

New Hampshire does not have tax free holidays since every day is a tax free holiday.

On a recent trip to the Midwest we spent much time on the Eastern Time Zone cusp of the great divide. Loved the idea that the sun was setting a bit past 9PM as I’d take that trade off versus a early sun rise.

The Enterprise has raised their prices and my wife - The Lovely Cynthia - refuses to scuttle this worthless mess that Gatehouse created. Alice does a wonderful job covering local news but as a regional daily the Enterprise now relies on wire stories and is just symptomatic of what one sees in the news biz.

As weeklies go the Gazette is still top notch. I love to get local weeklies when I travel since they are a find mix of local kitsch, hard news, hilarious letters and some quite pointed editorials. I would say over the years I have seen at least a hundred weeklies and the Gazette is right up with the very, very best.

On news stories I have noticed a migration through the years where opinions now surface in hard news reporting. This was once a big no no and a guarantee to have the news editor get all over you. No more. I have no idea if this represents a “policy” shift?

Rupert Murdock is getting some heat over the excesses of his tabloids. This seems to be motivated more for political payback than anything else especially with the weepy eyed liberal set tired of getting their philosophical clocks cleaned by FOX.

Ohio seems to really “get it” with building a trail system or at least the Miami River area does. This area is about the size of Southeastern Massachusetts but has 283 miles of paved trails and about 3,000 miles of hiking trails within the various Metro Parks. Now these trails are in pristine condition in that they are scenic, well drained, are well marked, have rest areas and bridges where applicable. Many are handicapped accessible.

Now in Michigan they do the same. Along I-275 and I-70 there were paved bikeways next to the highway. In the latest issue of Rails To Trails magazine they highlight the Michigan trail system. As with Ohio many of the systems interconnect and there seems to be a concerted effort by the state, local government and private organizations to make this happen.

In Massachusetts we have some marvelous trail systems for both hiking and biking but often large swatches are not connected. On the sidebar of this blog I do have a list of sites which detail some of the trails and as an ardent runner/explorer I have become quite adept at searching them out. I use to use old railroad maps, power line systems and equestrian places but with the internet you have an explosion of information provided by bikes (motorized and manual), hikers and just plain nature lovers.

On out trip we finished it off with a visit to the Columbus, Ohio zoo. Now I have some real issues with animal servitude and have heard all the pluses many, many times but still find something repulsive about the whole concept. That said I have visited zoos of all sizes just about everywhere I have traveled and this one may be on the top of my list.

First off is the price. Quite reasonable. Then you have a nice layout that is easy to follow. The food is good by zoo standards and quite reasonable. We had a salad and small drink combo (16 ounces) for $5.99. The place is clean and well maintained and best of all a great place to take kids. Much of the area is really kid oriented with hands on activities. Plenty of parking, too, and at $5.

What really set this zoo apart is they have a water park complete with several kids rides. Interesting concept.

The zoo also has many kids employed who would fit into the category of developmentally delayed and they usually partner up with other kids and are assigned to areas such as the various petting zoo areas which litter the place.

TSA is always a wonder to me regarding just how the agents interact with the public. TSA at Columbus was exceptionally professional and I have found the same at Fortress Logan in Boston. But I could make a very long list - too long - of places where any reasonable manager focused on customer service would probably can the lot of them.

Water rates going up in Middleboro. Does this mean we are getting hosed?

This July I have noticed a proliferation of weeds in our garden. July is usually relatively weed free but not this year. We have managed to stay ahead of the onslaught - for now.

The battle my son has had with the woodchuck appears over with the woodchuck being victorious. My wife - the you know who - was petrified about some of the measures he was contemplating regarding possible ways to have a demise of the woodchuck. Her solution was to fence in crops, plant things it does not want and even plant on the periphery of the garden its own buffet. Wonderful. What a kind lady.

OK….Mr. Woodchuck burrowed under multiple fences including all that had deep rock emplacement and snacked on her beets, squash and a few other items. My how the perspective changes when it gets personal.

I usually use a hoe (the manual tool - LOL) to weed in areas that are fairly open. I also use a smaller spade shaped hoe to get close to the plants. To my wife this is just the very last thing you do. I guess you could say she is a non hoe? Anyways at Greenfield Village in Dearborn Michigan is replica farms. On one farm set in the 1885 time period they were in the fields with - you guessed it - hoes! I ask “Excuse me sir, is that instrument you are using called a hoe? Is it specifically designed to removed weeds with breaking ones back?” His reply “Yes, it is. It makes the task easier and saves a lot of labor.” Now an experienced male would not have turned to his wife and said “I told you so” and I didn’t. I merely turned and smiled and listened to her blabber on about why the period farmer was wrong.

Now this visit was also before the woodchuck devastated her garden so I asked another “farmer” how they handled that situation? He didn’t come right out and give a direct answer but said they handle it the same way farmers have handled varmints since the first seeds were planted 10,000 or so years ago.

Certain local bloggers enjoy various diatribes at the pension system of pubic employees. Well the COLA just came through for the teachers and it is what it always is an increase of 3% on the first $12,000. Over the years this will certainly erode benefits so even those on the public you know what need a 401(K). But that is better than my Social Security COLA that amounted to zero.

IMO the “Concessions” will be minimal from the fire department union. Their main focus is job security and protection of wages and benefits. The safety concerns that have been highlighted at the various public forums and most pronounced by firefighters are accurate but if you wish to do the walk give some real serious wage concessions - otherwise it is just a way of expanding union presence.

Marc Pacheco is suppose to or has endorsed Roger, Jr. Look for the union label on this one. Pacheco is the number one water boy for public service unions in this state so that is no surprise. Pacheco is also an avid proponent for expanded gaming so I would think that could be another reason. Nothing like going to all those union boys and girls who were panting after casino jobs and telling them that Allin was an active mover in the anti movement.


sm867 said...

Today is a great day to check the old 401k statement. Give the nitwit in charge the new credit card to stop all the bad stuff from happening in the markets, then the next day he borrows 239 BILLION dollars, then the next day (today) the markets drop between 1 and 5 % (dow drops 512 points a 4.3% drop) Must be George Bush and the Halliburton hurricane machine in action again.

bogofree said...

In 15 months Palin will get elected. Romney will get elected. Bugs Bunny will get elected. Hannibal Lector will get elected. But Obama will not get elected if on election morning the mood is close to what it is today.

This economy is tanking again and nothing Obama has done has stopped the bleeding. They can toss accurate facts out to diminish his culpability or twist stats anyway they want the bottom line is he owns it now and when voters are looking for a fall guy he will be the presidential version of 2010.

The PEW poll had Congress with an 87% unfavorable rating so there will be significant turnover there except, of course, for our lock-step Massachusetts delegation.

bogofree said...
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North Slope Rigger said...


sm867 said...

Now it is the tea party's fault! It is hard to be around people that are so fixed in their beliefs that they can't see the light of day. The Feds have not cut a dime out of the budget, just borrowed 239 Billion more and left town, but it's the tea party's fault the credit rating of the US has been cut! Too bad the dim wits don't know what the tea party stands for. Hope they are happy with their lost 401k balances. Actually they probably don't have a 401k.

bogofree said...

The TP fairly well toed their philosophical line on the recent debate. Our spendaholic mentality will eventually have the same as anyone living beyond their means.

Family Guy said...

Issue number one is out of control spending and that is also just about every other issue.

The Tea Party is now a serious movement and there will certainly be factions within the TP itself.

They did a commendable job in the recent budget debates.