Posts

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The Difference Between History and a News Item.....
What makes the difference between a major historical event and just a news item? What turns a news item into a major historical event? Maybe it's just luck. Fate. Who knows. That sounds like a question for Forrest Gump to ponder.

We have had a heck of a week in the news. Republican terrorist Cesar Sayoc was arrested for mailing 13 letter bombs to opponents of President Trump. The list included 2 former Presidents, a former Secretary of State, members of Congress, and a millionaire trying to lead an effort to impeach the President.

First, imagine the time and effort it takes to make 13 bombs. He acquired all the material needed. He found the addresses to mail them to, applied postage and sent them off. But he just wasn't a very good bomb maker. They didn't work. They had all the right components. They just weren't assembled correctly.

But what if he did? The bombs might have gone off anywhere. In a post office, in a c…
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Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes.....
There are big changes coming in my life. And therefore there are changes coming for this blog too. I've got a new job. My last day at my old job was yesterday.

When I started this job I had a bad attitude, and was sort of a bitterman. My previous career was as an account manager. I enjoyed it. It was a challenge because I got to use my creativity and make a plan for my accounts. There was definitely pressure because of sales quotas. But I was sorta good at it. Even winning prizes and awards.

But the economy went south, and I got older at the same time. My accounts, like Pontiac dealers had turned into parking lots. Nobody wanted to take a chance on some oldish sales guy. Not when there were  plenty of younger ones available. I even applied to work at Verizon because you can make decent money in that industry. I had maybe the greatest interview of my life with them. The manager seemed sad when he told me the job had gone to somebody else. You just don't s…
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The Death of the CD.....
In  1877 Thomas Edison invented the recording industry, and the phonograph. He recited "Mary had a little lamb", and recorded it to a cylinder. It was an instant hit. Ever since then, there has been an effort to improve recording. Over the years, sometimes slowly, and sometimes quickly, the changes have been made to the way we listen to recordings, and particularly our favorite music.

Originally vinyl records were the king of the hill. Only the speed at which they revolved changed. In the early to mid 20th century 78 rpm recordings were popular. But the fidelity was poor, and they spun around so fast, the recordings weren't very long. In the 50's 45 rpm records became popular. The records were smaller, but had only one song per side. The "hit single" record was born. Eventually the standard became the 33 rpm recording. The sound was good, and you could get plenty of songs on each side. The album was born.

But vinyl records have a f…
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Stupid Supreme Court Decisions.....
Recently, the news has been all about the United States Supreme Court. But not about a court case or a decision. It has been about nominating and approving a new Justice to the Court. The process involves the President nominating a Justice, and  then being voted on and approved by the Senate.

The new Justice had a controversial process. He had a detractor that knew him from his college days. She said he sexually attacked her. He said he didn't. He was approved and today he is the newest Justice tot the United States Supreme Court.

On election days, I hate voting for judges myself. Since I am neither a criminal, nor a lawyer, I have no idea who these people are. It's crazy. Look, these's an Irish name. Hey, there's an Italian!

A Supreme Court Justice is a very unique job. Once approved, you serve for the rest of your life. There are no re-elections or term limits. You are beholden to no one. But the mistake is to think that these are…
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Happy Birthday,,,,,
Yesterday was my birthday.Not just any birthday. It was the birthday where you officially become a senior. I'm not too happy about that. But there's no fighting it. I'm reminded of my age almost every time I get the mail. I get junk mail from cemeteries and other age-related "benefits".

Most of my birthdays are nothing special. This year I got a couple of surprises. First, my daughter surprised me by driving in from Buffalo for a visit. Secondly, my wife planned a surprise party by inviting my buddy Mike and his family. Very nice.

If you haven't guessed, I struggle with my age. Not just recently. I remember I struggled turning 40. "OMG I'm 40!" I thought. "I guess that makes me officially middle-aged." Maybe I struggle with age because I remember how much fun it was to be young. Most young people don't have to worry about bills. They have an opportunity for plenty of jobs. There's plenty of laughs to laugh …
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A Tale of Two Islands: Similar - But Way Different.....
During my recent cruise I got to visit some foreign countries. That's good, because it's always good to expand your horizons. I only got to visit them for a few hours in a tourist port, so it's not like I'm an expert in their culture or politics. But it was long enough to draw some conclusions. Sometimes the differences are striking.

Jamaica and the Cayman Islands are both tropical islands in the Caribbean. They are only 272 miles apart. They are both in a beautiful part of the world. But after visiting, I'm left wondering how things got so different.

Jamaica is a large, lush, extremely beautiful place. There are the Green Mountains for growing highly regarded coffee. Tropical forests and plants are all over. Waterfalls and water features just seem to spring up everywhere. Streams are so clean you could drink out of them. The hummingbird, that I got to see for the first time in my life, is the national bird.

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Cruisin' - Part 1: The Boat.....
I just got back from my Caribbean cruise yesterday. So I've got to tell you about it. But too much to say in one blog. So I'll break it up. But how was it? Great , beyond my expectations. How am I? Whipped. Parts of my body are badly sunburned. Also, the stereotype about getting sick on a boat?  That's true. I'm coughing and hacking frequently. But let me start telling you about the trip.

As regular readers will remember, my wife and I planned a cruise last year for our 40th anniversary. But Hurricane Irma came, and the trip was cancelled. So we decided on trying it again this year.

After shopping for a cruise line we decided on a new comer to the American cruising market, MSC Cruise lines. MSC is based in Italy. They are one of the largest cargo shippers in the world. A while back they entered the cruising market, and only a few years ago decided to enter the American market with Caribbean cruises. Their calling cards are elegant, …