Monday, October 07, 2013

General Hospital, Havre de Grace, and What's for Dinner?


It’s the eternal unanswerable question.  At one time I paid a website to furnish me with weekly menus and shopping lists.  It was designed for moms with little kids.  I had three grownups and a teen but  I didn’t tell them.

Friday, October 04, 2013

Congress: "Trash Dust" and Do Something Useful

I Hate Dusting!

Perhaps “hate” is not the best word.  How about “abhor,” “despise,” or just “dusting, like, really, really sucks.”

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Newport Police and Aaron Alexis- Lost Opportunity?

No one has yet asked Newport police why they did not take Aaron Alexis to the hospital yet thought the incident merited informing the Navy police regarding his behavior.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Chuck Todd- It Ain't me, Babe!

Chuck Todd's (past Hopkins' U. lecturer) assertion that it's not his job to correct misinformation (in this case about the Affordable Healthcare Act) recently gives rise two questions- well then, whose job is it and what is yours?

Friday, September 20, 2013

Geo Listening in California Schools- Spying, Monitoring, and Who are They?

The Glendale, California school district recently spent $40,500 to "monitor and report on 14,000 middle and high school students' posts on Twitter, Facebook and other social media for one year."  This in effort to improve student safety.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Review of PBS' Foyles' War Season VII

"Foyles' War" begins a new season after being gone for a few years on PBS. The first episode "The Eternity Ring" ran Sunday night. Last time we met Chief Superintendent Foyle he was on his way after retiring to America. Five years have passed and it's now 1946 post-war Britain and he's in London (makes for easy back-drops). Many aren't aware but food shortages and rationing are still ongoing. They're discussing Social Security and a national health service. His driver, Sam, is back but things have changed. It's a much darker era and everything is serious (thank God for Sam who contributes to some lightheartedness.  MI-5 is recruiting Foyle and it's a different world order- "The Cold War."

Monday, September 16, 2013

JLens- Big Brother Comes to D.C., Md. & Eastern U.S.

It's the "Big Brother" Pentagon project you haven't heard that much about except for short articles in the Baltimore Sun & The Boston Globe.This is a joint project from defense contractor Raytheon (hello, Portsmouth, RI, although this is worked on in Mass, et al and the Pentagon.

While we've been distracted with surveillance problems with the FBI, CIA, and Congress, this very expensive and ongoing project has been ignored by most of the mainstream press. JLENS is the "Joint Land Attack Cruise Missile Defense Elevated Netted Sensor System" (go ahead, I dare you to say that quickly five times). In plain English this is a highly sophisticated radar system consisting of two blimp-like devices (each about as large as a football field) which are tethered to a mooring and a processing center. They can track vehicles (include any kind of boat or airplane) above/below water) along most of the eastern U.S. (N.C. to Can. & W. Va. to R.I.) One devices "sees" and the other translates in real time. They remain airborne for about one month before they need to be hauled down and refilled with helium. These aerostats (aka "blimps") float no higher than 10,000- 15,000 feet- migrating birds fly at this height.

Originally this was to be a much larger project but sequestration and tough times seem to have slowed things down. Right now the Army at Aberdeen Proving Grounds (15 min. from where I live) is getting ready to test this system to see if they wish to purchase it outright from Raytheon. I would know Aberdeen was nearby even if I did not know the distance involved because I hear the booms and feel the vibrations frequently.

This is all part of a missile defense system first proposed in 1983 by Pres. Ronald Reagaon and dubbed "Star Wars." It died in 1984 when the "Cold War" ended. Its current phase it's being touted as providing protection to Wash., D.C. I'm approximating two billion dollars has already been spent by us for development of this project, but there are conflicting numbers due to its secretive nature & current budget boondoggle. It's to begin a three year evaluation here this Spring.  The next step is actual standardized use.

What does all this blah-blah mean? Raytheon touts it as cost-efficient and effective. The military also loves it for the same reasons. Heads-up criticism or shortcomings are mighty hard to find, but this may be due to the very quiet publicity this project has received. Wildlife, privacy and safety concerns all come to mind, not to mention costs. The project at Aberdeen has been budgeted, but will it hold?

Friday, September 13, 2013

Movie Review- "The Life of Pi"

I watched “Life of Pi” last night on Starz . It wasn’t a plan and I did miss the first ten minutes, but it was on the “Maybe You Should See this Movie” list. My only hesitancy in actually seeing it when it was released was- it’s got an animal in it as a major character and this is likely not a good sign. It was also referred to at the time as "allegorical"- turn off!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Davinci's Raspberry Syrup- Trajedy Averted

I am mildly addicted to this stuff which I now buy at Walmart's- 4 to 5 bottles at a time because sometimes they don't have it and I live in fear that they may no longer carry it (a la "Marshall"s & T.J. Maxx).  Course, I'm nuts about raspberries (alas, season just ended).
Check out their web page for the latest flavors & recipes.  "Pumpkin Pie" is sounding pretty tasty!  And "Peanut Butter" (I had the most delicious p.b. coffee iced in a small shop recently) and "Chocolate Peanut Butter."
Mix it with o.j. or any juice, coffee, as topping on ice cream, in soda, whatever you can come up with.  You could make it, but why?  I wish it came with regular sugar, but I've not found it here.
I almost lost it before I found it at Walmart's- relief!

It's the little things in life that matter... right?  And raspberry syrup makes everything better.  Like chocolate.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

First Generation Low Flow Toilets- Bad!

I have three (yes, 3) toilets.  Do I need three?  I do not; although sometimes... it's darn handy.  Two down and one up.  I live in a rented condo so I have a landlord- let's refer to him as Mr. Big Wig (as opposed to "Big Wig" who is my son), not to be confused with the local rag which is "The Whig." 
The bad thing is- the title did give you a hint, right- they are ALL first generation low flow toilets.  You can pretty much bet with confidence that any toilet in the U.S. was installed in the late 80's and early 90's.  Our family business installed plenty of these babies because there really was no choice no matter who  the manufacturer was (yeah, yeah, I know- revenge is sweet).  Mass. in 1989 required it, and it was federally mandated in 1992.  Manufacturers saw the future and in effect mandated them even earlier.  ("Hey, you want a working toilet that's not low flow- I can get you one- from Canada."  Seriously).