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Saturday, December 31, 2011

Last Sunset 2011


Some may look back and be unimpressed with 2011.  I on the other hand am impressed with some things this year.  Firstly, Sue started working for SACHEM CENTRAL SCHOOL district at time when it seemed next to impossible to find full time employment.  Gavin started his college career at Hartwick where he feels very much at home, and on top of it all, is running cross-country, formed a club, and pulled a 3.8+ index.   Kyle made the varsity soccer team, and helped the Sachem East Varsity Soccer win the league one title, scoring the winning goal against rival Brentwood.  Luke overcame a couple of injuries (hand and heel), and is back to playing soccer for Sachem Golden Knights.  And I started working on my health and fitness, lost 20 lbs., and ran my first 5K.

So, even in the midst of high unemployment, high cost of living, inflation, dismal consumer confidence, foreclosures, unprecedented national debt, and a recession, the Jenkins Family is thankful that we are doing well, and hopefully will continue to do so in 2012 and beyond.   I can only wish all of my friends and family the same, and those less fortunate, the hope that 2012 will be even brighter.

This day in history “Edison demonstrates incandescent light”  http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/edison-demonstrates-incandescent-light
In the first public demonstration of his incandescent lightbulb, American inventor Thomas Alva Edison lights up a street in Menlo Park, New Jersey. The Pennsylvania Railroad Company ran special trains to Menlo Park on the day of the demonstration in response to public enthusiasm over the event.
Although the first incandescent lamp had been produced 40 years earlier, no inventor had been able to come up with a practical design until Edison embraced the challenge in the late 1870s. After countless tests, he developed a high-resistance carbon-thread filament that burned steadily for hours and an electric generator sophisticated enough to power a large lighting system.


Times Square is now illuminated by large LED screens.  Gone are the incandescent and neon of yesteryear.  Anyone who has been there at night knows that it is almost as bright at night as it is during the day.

Millions watch the Times Square Ball drop every New Year's Eve. Not many realize just how much that ball has changed since the party started in 1907.

A century ago, the ball was a 5-foot diameter, 700-pound sphere covered in 100 light bulbs and made of wood and iron. At the time, the big ball represented relatively new technology in lighting. But in the 1920s it with one made of iron, and in 1955 it was changed to aluminum. The traditional lights weren’t radically altered until 1995, when a computer was added to control the strobe lights. The only years the ball wasn't lit were 1942 and 1943, when the lights in New York were “dimmed out” during World War II.
The new one is twice the size –- 12 feet across –- and weighs 11,875 pounds. The roof of the building that houses it has had to be reinforced a few times over the years. Instead of the original 25-watt bulbs used overall, the ball now has light emitting diodes. There are a total of 32,256 LEDs in red, blue, green and white. That allows for all kinds of colors and patterns, and is a lot more energy efficient than the 1907 version. Philips Lighting, the company that makes the LEDs, says the bulbs use 140,000 kilowatt hours of energy, 80 percent less than the old ones, which at up 1.1 million kilowatt-hours.

So, like millions of others, we will pause the celebration, this year at home with Luke, as Kyle and Gavin are going to parties, to watch the ‘ball drop’. 

Photo of the day “Last Sunset 2011”

Friday, December 30, 2011

Salmon Teriyaki


Another day, another dollar as the saying goes.  Not sure where that one came into being, and it must have been when the daily wage was around one US dollar.  Today, we can count on having 20-30% of our wages eaten up by Federal, State, FICA, Medicare, Local, Real Estate, Sales, etc. taxes.  Who am I kidding, it’s probably more like 30-40%. 

Anyway, the markets traded their last stocks of the year, and From 8% up to 12% down, the S&P finished 2011 with a change of just 0.003%.  So why has my 401K been treading water or seemingly in an up, down gyration that seems to be almost even at the end of a year even though I am adding 12%.  Guess some were fortunate to buy, sell, trade in between and walk away with some of it.  Occupy what ?!  

If you get bored, take a look to see where your dollar came from….

The website wheresgeorge.com invites its users to enter the serial numbers of their US dollar bills and track them across America and beyond. Why? "For fun and because it had not been done yet", they say. But the dataset accumulated since December 1998 has provided the ideal raw material to test the mathematical laws underlying human travel, and that has important implications for the epidemiology of infectious diseases. Analysis of the trajectories of over half a million dollar bills shows that human dispersal is described by a 'two-parameter continuous-time random walk' model: our travel habits conform to a type of random proliferation known as 'superdiffusion'. And with that much established, it should soon be possible to develop a new class of models to account for the spread of human disease.

Today was family movie day, and we ALL went to go see Sherlock Holmes. Can’t remember the last time all of us agreed to, and made it to a first run movie at the theatre.  Life is good.   It was a good movie, although the consensus is that the first one was better.   I thought it was good enough to watch again when it comes out on Netflix next year.

This day in history “USSR Established”  http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history
In post-revolutionary Russia, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) is established, comprising a confederation of Russia, Belorussia, Ukraine, and the Transcaucasian Federation (divided in 1936 into the Georgian, Azerbaijan, and Armenian republics). Also known as the Soviet Union, the new communist state was the successor to the Russian Empire and the first country in the world to be based on Marxist socialism.
In the decades after it was established, the Russian-dominated Soviet Union grew into one of the world's most powerful and influential states and eventually encompassed 15 republics--Russia, Ukraine, Georgia, Belorussia, Uzbekistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia. In 1991, the Soviet Union was dissolved following the collapse of its communist government.

Believe it or not, the Jenkins clan is at least partially Belorussia as Uncle Steven tells us that the great grandparent came from Belorussia.   As the world gets ready to party, I would like to wish everyone a safe, happy, healthy, and prosperous New Year.
 
Last pun for 2011…. In America you go to parties, in Soviet Russia, party goes to you !

Photo of the day “Salmon Teriyaki ”

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Cold War


Today was the first day that it felt like winter when I went outside to get the newspaper.   Even though we had a frost a few times already, I don’t remember the temps being in the teens.   Nothing like that first cup of coffee and a seat near the fire, morning paper in hand.  The news of the day, at least according to Newsday, was downright uninteresting.

Another bag of Country Boy White Lightening pellets in the hopper this afternoon as the pellet stove has been running most of the day.  Sure beats the oil burner with #2 Heating oil averaging $3.75 gallon.  Even with my locked in price of $3.09 (which expires soon), a delivery of 200 gallons can set you back over $600.  It was the summer of 2008 that had me running scared, the heating oil prices over $4.00 and the price of crude oil near or at $140 barrel.  I was the leader, and a couple of friends at work took the plunge as well and purchased Pellet Stoves or Inserts….

So as I see it, I am helping the planet, the local economy, and keeping those American Dollars in this country.  Pellet Stoves are clean burning, efficient, and are a green choice as they burn a renewable resource.  I purchase my pellets by the ton, from a local proprietor, who gets the pellets from a mill in Kentucky that is in the hardwood floor business.  They used to have to pay to get rid of the saw dust, or have it go to a landfill, until they started to recycle the saw dust into biofuel pellets.

So, for the past four years, I have supplemented my heat demand with wood pellets.  It may be one of my best investments.  This is the year that the cost of the stove, installation, etc. has all been recouped.  I may save $1200 - $1500 again on my heating bill, and at the same time help support the local economy, and reduce CO2 emissions.  I am one in a million. 

There are numerous benefits achieved by utilizing pellet fuel, including economical and environmental. Pellet fuel is utilized in a varied settings and applications, such as home heating appliances and large scale boilers in commercial operations.

There are an estimated 1,000,000 residences/businesses in the U.S. currently heating with pellets.
  • A typical homeowner uses 3 tons of pellets per heating season at a cost of about $825. At an average retail price of $250/ton, pellets offer a fuel cost per million BTU of $19.05. To offer a fuel cost of $19.05 per million BTU, # 2 fuel oil and propane would have to be priced at $2.05/gal and $1.36/gal, respectively! (Fuel Value Calculator, USFS, 2008)
  • One ton of wood pellets has the energy equivalency of 2.8 barrels of #2 fuel oil. (Energy Information Administration)
  • Direct thermal conversion of 3 million tons of wood pellets displaces the equivalent of almost 8.5 million barrels of #2 fuel oil. That is 356 million gallons! (Energy Information Administration)
  • Direct thermal conversion of pellets has an efficiency level of approximately 80%.
  • Pellet stoves have extremely low particulate emissions due to their high burn efficiency and the density of the fuel (<1 gm/hr). (Environmental Protection Agency)
  • Every ton of pellets used vs. oil reduces CO2 emissions by about 1.5 tons. Total emissions offset this year will be nearly 4.5 million tons of CO2.
  • Pellet distribution costs less than the cost of distributing wood chips.
  • Wood pellets have a fossil energy ratio (net energy output/fossil energy used) of 12:1. (Net Energy Value Study, University of Wisconsin Green Bay)
  • As of 2009, pellet manufacturing directly employs approximately 2,300 people in the U.S. and supports thousands of industry-related jobs in fields such as transportation and logging. (North America’s Wood Pellet Sector, Spelter & Toth, 2009)

This day in history “United States prepares new strategic plan for Middle East”.  This was listed under Cold War.  I am fighting a sort of Cold War myself (pellet stove).


Just days before an official announcement is to be issued by the Eisenhower administration, the New York Times leaks the news that the United States is preparing a major policy statement on the Middle East. In the wake of heightened tensions in the area caused by the French-British-Israeli invasion of Egypt in November, the announcement was greeted with caution both at home and abroad.
According to the newspaper, Secretary of State John Foster Dulles was set to appear before Congress and ask for two things. First, Congressional support of a declaration by the Eisenhower administration that the United States would oppose any Soviet military intervention in the Middle East. Since the outbreak of hostilities between Egypt and the alliance of France, Britain, and Israel in November, the Soviets had been threatening the use of military force in support of Egypt.

Funny, Unites States prepares new strategic plan for middle east, back in 1959…..seems history has a way of repeating itself.

Photo of the day “Cold War”


Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Dave & Busters


Another day off and it is getting easy to be lazy.  Slept until 830 and then went about my usual routine.  This afternoon we decided to go to Dave & Busters.  Gavin, his friend Shane, and his two friends joined us.  Kyle is at his girlfriend Gia’s sweet sixteen.  So, Luke, Sue, Uncle Gerard and I stuck together while the others went their own way. 

Hard to believe that we celebrated Sue’s 40th birthday at D&B , um, a few years back J  and had to get a sitter for the boys.  Now they can watch themselves for a few hours.

This day in history, the world’s first commercial movie screening, and entertainment has never been the same.   We all have a favorite movie or two, and I am no exception, except it is hard to choose a favorite.   Is it Goonies, Star Wars, an action thriller, suspense, or even chick flick.  Angles and Demons is a good one too….

On this day in 1895, the world's first commercial movie screening takes place at the Grand Cafe in Paris. The film was made by Louis and Auguste Lumiere, two French brothers who developed a camera-projector called the Cinematographe. The Lumiere brothers unveiled their invention to the public in March 1895 with a brief film showing workers leaving the Lumiere factory. On December 28, the entrepreneurial siblings screened a series of short scenes from everyday French life and charged admission for the first time.

http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history

Speaking of Star Wars…..Scientists predicted that fast-moving charged particles could spawn minor or moderate geomagnetic storms at high altitudes, creating colorful aurora bursts among the so-called Northern Lights.

http://www.boiseweekly.com/CityDesk/archives/2011/12/28/star-wars-solar-bursts-supercharge-earths-atmosphere

"There's a 20-40 percent chance of geomagnetic storms!" tweeted NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory team today. "If you live at a high latitude, look out for #auroras today."
The sun's recent eruptions have become more of a pattern. After remaining quiet from 2005 through 2010, the sun has spouted off numerous flares and CMEs in 2011. Experts expect such outbursts to continue over the next few years. Solar activity waxes and wanes on an 11-year cycle. The current cycle is known as Solar Cycle 24.

Photo of the day “Dave & Busters”

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Over the hill and through the woods


Over the hill and through the woods to grandmother’s house we go.   That’s right, during the holiday season we typically make the visit to Brooklyn even if we just saw Grandma at our house for Christmas.  Today we went to grandma Peggy in Brooklyn and got to hang out for a few hours with Sues brothers, Brian, Gerard, Don, and their families.  With heavy traffic on the Belt Parkway, we arrived just in time (late) for lunch.

It was a nice visit with good eats, desserts, and time to just sit and chat.  The return trip was even more painful than the ride into Brooklyn.   Heavy rain and traffic had the Belt looking like a parking lot.  Sue decided to swing by the old neighborhood, Marine Park and we pointed out some landmarks as we made our way down Ave. U and over to Flatbush Ave.  The boys seemed somewhat interested that their mom grew up there.  I was hoping the traffic would be better as we past the old Jahn’s Ice Cream Parlor on Ave U.  That was the last time that corner property seemed to be busy or open for that matter.  We reminisced about the kitchen sink.

Jahn’s is most celebrated for its Kitchen Sink sundae, which was large enough to serve six.  Sue remembers going to her Janh’s in Gerritsen Beach, and I to the one in Flushing.  An unfortunate sign of the new millennium is that these type of mom and pop shops just don’t exist anymore.

This day in history Radio City Music Hall opens (1932).

At the height of the Great Depression, thousands turn out for the opening of Radio City Music Hall, a magnificent Art Deco theater in New York City. Radio City Music Hall was designed as a palace for the people, a place of beauty where ordinary people could see high-quality entertainment. Since its 1932 opening, more than 300 million people have gone to Radio City to enjoy movies, stage shows, concerts, and special events.


Radio City continues to entertain.  I remember seeing some special shows there.  Thomson Twins back when Sue and I were dating and more recently MGMT with Gavin. It was the year we got married, 1987 that Sue and I saw Thomson Twins and their 2nd encore was Hold Me Now.  It still brings chills when I hear that song on the radio.


Photo of the day “Over the hill and through the woods”

Monday, December 26, 2011

Fried ice cream

Today was a lazy day for the Jenkins family, as it probably was for most of us that are off work and school.  Aside from cleaning up some pots and pans this morning from Christmas Dinner, nothing much got done.  Kyle is still playing with his new iPhone, Luke with his T-Pain Effect mic, and some music, Gavin just chillin, and me, I was content to just read the paper, listen to some tunes on a hand-me-down ipod.

Today is ‘Boxing Day’, not to be confused with watching boxing matches, it was a day of gift giving. 
According to Wikipedia:  Boxing Day is traditionally a day following Christmas when wealthy people and homeowners in the United Kingdom would give a box containing a gift to their servants.


Today, Boxing Day is better known as a bank or public holiday that occurs on December 26, or the first or second weekday after Christmas Day, depending on national or regional laws. It is observed in Great Britain, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and some other Commonwealth nations.

Well, I always thought it was a the day that folks used to go back to the stores, and malls and return the gifts (boxes) they received but did not really want.  I stand corrected.

Since everyone in the family is home on vacation, we decided to go out for lunch.  Sushi was chosen because Luke says we hardly ever get Sushi anymore.  Majority ruled going to Sushi in Oakdale as opposed to the perennial favorite in Ronkonkoma.  I personally like Sushi in Oakdale for a couple of reasons.  1 – Lunch special includes soup and salad, 2- The atmosphere is nicer (Sushi chefs that prepare free appetizers, and waitresses that are just better, 3- Better assortment of rolls, and I think the sushi is a little bit better.  Today I tried a Bento box with Salmon Teriyaki.  Luke tried it and said that next time I cook Salmon I should make it that way.  As a special treat, Luke ordered a fried ice cream…again something he asked me if I can make at home.  It is possible, but I don’t think it will look like the one at the sushi place.

Even though the days are supposedly getting longer already, it still seems that we lose daylight very early.  Christmas lights popped on thanks to those sensors built in the outdoor extension cords…doesn’t seem that long ago that I had to run outside in all kinds of weather to plug in or unplug the lights.  Technology is a good thing. 

This day in history “Tsunami devastates Indian Ocean coast”.  A powerful earthquake off the coast of Sumatra, Indonesia, on this day in 2004 sets off a tsunami that wreaks death and devastation across the Indian Ocean coastline. The quake was the second strongest ever recorded and the estimated 230,000 dead made this disaster one of the 10 worst of all time.

I won’t dwell on that piece of doom and gloom, but it does reveal that the planet and its inhabitants are susceptible to natural disasters.  Hope there is a never a repeat of this widespread devastation.  Living on the Atlantic Coast, we are more susceptible to hurricanes.  If the Volcano in the Canary islands ever really blows its stack, we can experience a mega tsunami on the east coast of the US.

It is time for leftover Turkey and Ham. 

Photo of the day “Fried ice cream”

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Joy


Christmas day started in the usual way, except a little later than usual.  As I have been saying, the boys are getting older, and we negotiated a raid of the presents and stockings at 9am.  Well, Luke and Kyle woke up first, and Kyle decided to take a shower while Luke quietly went thru his stocking.   Grandma sleeping on the chaise lounge in the living pretended not to notice.  Faithfully at 9am, Luke comes into the room to make sure that Sue and I are awake and getting ready for the festivities.

Seems everyone got the gifts they wanted and maybe a surprise or two mixed in along the way.  Opening presents make you hungry, so I ventured into the kitchen to make Christmas breakfast.  This year that consisted of bacon, sausage, eggs, and pancakes.  I love to cook.

Since I got a Garmin sports watch with heart rate monitor and distance and time monitoring, I was itching to try it out.  Gavin and I went to the track at Seneca Middle School.  Each of us ran a quick 2 miles, Gavin in around 13 min, and me in 18 min.  It was a nice cool morning for an easy run.

Back home, after a quick shower, it was time to get the turkey in the oven.  A ham, roasted potatoes, stuffing, yams with marshmallows, green beans, crescent rolls, pineapple, cranberry sauce, and a couple of bottles of wine rounded out the meal.  Oh wait, a couple of pies, cookies, coffee, etc. and we were all ready for a nap.  I love to cook.

Sue’s brother Dan, Angel, and Saskia arrived just in time for dinner and as I always say, the more the merrier.

This day in history – Jesus Christ was born

Photo of the day “Joy”

Recipe secret revealed.  Green Beans have fresh chopped toasted walnuts and blue cheese mixed in at the last minute of steaming.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas

While out on a last minute trip to the supermarket to pick up the ingredients for Christmas Eve Dinner, I noticed the Toys R Us parking lot filled to capacity.  Since my boys are getting older, Toys R Us is not on the list of stores anymore.

Sue’s mom, Peggy Walsh and her brother Gerard are staying over tonight so we have a full house.  Sue is busy wrapping presents, the football game on in the background and it is already 430 and time to head to church.

The Seafood Fra Diavlo was really good if I say so myself.  Is nice to have the family sitting around the table and shooting the breeze..

Luke really , really, really wants to open a present tonight.  

Ironic how this day in history has the lighting of the first national Christmas Tree, and  now it seems that too many jurisdictions want everything made into ‘holiday celebrations’.  Merry Christmas.


On this day in 1923, President Calvin Coolidge touches a button and lights up the first national Christmas tree to grace the White House grounds.
Not only was this the first White House "community" Christmas tree, but it was the first to be decorated with electric lights--a strand of 2,500 red, white and green bulbs. The balsam fir came from Coolidge's home state of Vermont and stood 48 feet tall. Several musical groups performed at the tree-lighting ceremony, including the Epiphany Church choir and the U.S. Marine Band. Later that evening, President Coolidge and first lady Grace were treated to carols sung by members of Washington D.C.'s First Congregational Church.


I really like Christmas, and can’t get TSO off my mind.  Was a great early Christmas present.  Is that odd as I was Bar Mitzvah in 1975 ?

Trans Siberian Orchestra – Christmas Canon


This night
We pray
Our lives will show

This dream he had
Each child
Still knows

We are waiting
We have not forgotten

On this night
On this night
On this night
On this very Christmas night

Photo of the day “Merry Christmas”

P.S. Peace on earth.  Warm wishes for a Merry Christmas 



Friday, December 23, 2011

The rings of time

I can now see why people are happy when they retire from working.  The past few days of waking up when my body says to, and not living on a schedule turned out to be very relaxing.  This morning for instance, I got up around 730 and as a creature of habit proceeded downstairs to make coffee.   A single real egg (watching my cholesterol)  and some eggbeaters in the pan, and a minute later I was sitting down to my typical breakfast.   Instead of rushing to work though, I sat and read the newspaper, checked some email, and got ready to go to the gym.

Not worried about time, I popped the skull candy into my ears, plugged into my Blackberry, and started up my Pandora app.  10 minutes on the recumbent bike listening to some Pink Floyd, moved onto the treadmill and switched over to Alternative.  25 minutes of treadmill, and boredom started to kick in, so onto the elliptical I went.  No rush to be anywhere, so I eased into some station called 140 BPM, a mix of Techno/Trance.  A lot of you are probably wondering about my musical choices, but the 140 Beats Per Minute (BPM) station is a great way for me to get my cardio workout done and have another 20 minutes slip by.   A few machines for upper body workout, and a 10 minute stretch, and it was time to head home.  Like I said, what a great feeling not having a schedule or time constraint…with some luck, I have 13 more years until early retirement.

This day in history did not thrill me in the least.  Who cares that Van Gogh chops off a piece of his ear in 1888.  Far more interesting was this little tidbit from 1999 “Bubble Boy” parents sentenced in Colorado.  Unless you live in a bubble, you have to remember that hoax where the dumbass dad and mom had the media and police scrambling to save his son who allegedly was in a weather balloon careening out of control. 
 
The so-called “Balloon Boy” saga riveted viewers around the globe two months earlier, on October 15, when it played out on live television. At around 11 a.m. that day, Richard Heene, a handyman, amateur scientist and father of three boys, called the Federal Aviation Administration to report that a large balloon in his family’s Fort Collins backyard had become untethered, and it was believed his son Falcon had crawled aboard the craft before it took flight. Minutes later, Heene phoned a local TV station, requesting a helicopter to track the balloon. A short time afterward, Mayumi Heene called 911.


Luke decided to help me cook dinner tonight.  Unlike the Nimrod who hid his son during his media hoax, I decided to let Luke gain some valuable skills.  Meatballs and Rotini, no spaghetti in the house, hence the pasta alternate.  Was nice cooking with Luke, who usually wants me to make my Meat Squares, or as I call them, “Bruce’s Square Balls”. Several good reasons to have them be square.  They are easier to brown in the frying pan, they won’t roll off your plate, and will ship more compactly when I market them in Asia.  More on that another day.   I have even received a nickname by a friend Mary Anne Fileccia-Mitchell
SBJ = Square Balls Jenkins…don’t ask.

Anyway, speaking of retirement, I noticed some tinsel when I was combing my hair this morning.  Only this tinsel was not on the tree but on my head.  While not the first grey hair, there seems to be a few more of them today.   Another grey hair and a day closer to retirement, maybe they are multiplying and getting ready for Christmas and wanted me to look festive.  Since it was a mostly cloudy day, and sort of grey outside, it inspired me to go grey scale for the photo of the day.
 
Photo of the day “The rings of time”

P.P.S - Still no Doom and Gloom - I think they took off for the Holidays :-)

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Hot Cocoa

First, let me tell you what happened yesterday after I posted my blog.  Sue asked me to go to the movies, and since I am on vacation, why not.  So after dinner, she said we were leaving at 630 to catch the new Sherlock Holmes movie.  We get into the car, and since Sue listens to the “Christmas all the time station” , it was nice to hear some Trans Siberian Orchestra (TSO ) come on.  I immediately said that TSO was playing at the coliseum, and they had two shows today…one at 4pm and another at 8pm.  Before we even got to the main avenue, Sue told me that she bought me tickets to see them.  I said, “your joking”…she said, “no, really”.  As we approached the end of Maria Ct.,  expecting her to turn right to go to the movie theatre, she turns left instead.  The rest is history and a moment that was meant to be.  The show was awesome.


Today being the first day of winter, one would expect the weather to be cold in the northeast.  We had very mild weather, over 50 degrees, mostly sunny.  I even went for a run this morning on my way home from the dropping off Sue’s car at the shop (no surprise REMOTE STARTER for Christmas).  Instead of drinking hot cocoa when I got back from a winter run, it was a glass of cold water.

On this day in 1900, the first car to be produced under the "Mercedes" name is delivered to its buyer: Emil Jellinek, the Austrian car racer, auto dealer to the rich and famous, and bon vivant. Jellinek had commissioned the Mercedes car from the German company Daimler-Motoren-Gesellschaft. It was faster, lighter, and sleeker than any car the company had ever made before.


I know Sue wishes she had a Mercedes Benz, with heated seats, and all the bells and whistles.  The Honda Pilot is so much more practical, and these days, who can afford a Mercedes Benz ?  Guess that remote starter counts as the “bells and whistles” for us.  If we hit the lottery or something, I will get her the Mercedes she has always wanted.  Christmas is only a 3 days away, and I find myself reflecting more, and am happy with what we have
While reflecting, I can’t help think about my Dad who passed away 15 years ago.  It does not seem that 15 years has slipped by, but it has.  Like sands thru the hourglass, so are the days of our lives.   My dad loved hot cocoa.  As a kid I could remember him asking me to make hot cocoa during the winter, he said I made the best hot cocoa out of anyone in the house.  Since I liked to cook at an early age, all I needed was some encouragement, and off I went to prepare some of the best hot cocoa in Queens.  You have to add some milk and mini marshmallows so it is just right.  It wasn’t until my 30th birthday that dad came clean, and told me that he was just too lazy to get up to make his own hot cocoa, so he came up with a method to have me keep making it.  I didn’t mind, and still don’t.

Another interesting “this day in history” was the birth of Nora Kanarkiewicz.  Happy Birthday Nora !  Nora, my niece is 19 years old today and like me, listens to Pink Floyd, and may even get to see Roger Waters when he comes to Albany.  I wear one of the tie dye tee shirts made as a bed shirt.  Sue says not to wear it outside....haha, I was out this morning in it when no one was looking....  All I can say, is that Nora, Joan, and Karen K should make more shirts this summer J

Photo of the day is “Reflections”

P.S. doom and gloom monitor at zero........

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Cat's In the Cradle

The final year begins December 21, 2011 at the start of the Winter Solstice.    I started thinking about writing this blog during the summer when the days were long and the smells of salt air and sunscreen were still ever present.  I like all the seasons, the change that they bring, but to be honest, winter is becoming my least favorite.   For all of Earth’s creatures, nothing is so fundamental as the length of daylight.   After all, the sun is the ultimate source of all light and warmth on Earth.  After the winter solstice, the days will get longer. Celebration time!  Now, with the winter solstice upon us, a sharp contrast to summer, the smell of freshly cut pine in the house.  We decided for the first time in a long time to go downtown and pick out a fresh cut tree as opposed to putting up the fake one.  Bet that is Made in America.   Whatever the season, I will be trying to record and preserve the events of the day, or at least something that is of interest.

Some of you may know that I love music, especially eclectic bands like Pink Floyd, and almost anything Alternative.   Outside of a few Ludacris or Eminem recordings, Rap and Hip Hop find themselves on the bottom the heap along with Opera.  Thanks to having three sons, there is never a shortage of new music to sample.   Skrillex,  and others like that have caught my attention with their highly technology driven sounds and melodies reminiscent of the days when pioneers like Kraftwerk starting experimenting with synthesizers.   Oddly enough, I am finding Dubstep, and Techno (trance) are starting to grow on me these days, especially while at the gym running on the treadmill, or elliptical.

On this day in 1974, Harry Chapin earned his one and only #1 pop hit when his bittersweet story-song "Cat's In The Cradle" reached the top of the Billboard Hot 100.

Music to me is like a placeholder in time….most classic songs almost instantaneously bring me back to a time and place, an experience.   Those of you that are my age or close to it, will likely remember "Cat's In The Cradle", and its’ clear message about the passage of time.  I am very fortunate to have my health, and have always had plenty of time to spend with family….no regrets.
  
The legacy of Harry Chapin lives on, and a local charity, Long Island Cares, the Harry Chapin Food Bank is a great place to make a donation.  I donated a vehicle to them a few years ago.

Being on vacation, my plan was to sleep late, then take Sue’s (wife) car for an oil change, and new wiper blades.  Being a light sleeper, I was up early listening to the sounds of morning showers and breakfasts. Before getting out for the day, Luke (youngest son) calls from the school saying he is sick… so I go to Sequoya Middle School to sign him out.  Once he is back home and settled on the couch, remote in hand, I can restart my day.   I go to Jiffy Lube, then swing around to Costco to pick up a Christmas Turkey and Ham.  You can’t go to Costco for just two things (trust me)….turned out to be a half full cart by the time I made it to the checkout.   While putting away the frozen items, Edamame is spotted by Luke, who is feeling better already.  So after he finishes a plate of Edamame he says he wants to go back to school.  Back to school it is then.  Back home around noon to discover that Gavin (oldest son) and his friend Dan, decided to make pumpkin muffins.  Both just finished their first semester at college.   Kyle (middle son) went to his girlfriends house after school.  Wonder what time he is going to call to get picked up ?  Sue is home from work and heading to Sayville with Luke for some last minute Christmas shopping.  Not really last minute as there are 4 more days till Christmas.
  
As you can see, no doom or gloom this day.  Photo of the day "A different perspective"

Friday, December 9, 2011

From Manic Monday to Frazzled Friday

Seems the world isn't coming to an end anytime soon, or my workload for that matter.  This week started out with it's ups and downs from the weekend.  As the year end approaches, things are supposed to get quieter.  A time to unwind, do some shopping, wrap some presents, and get the house ready for company.  Are we having Christmas dinner at the house this year, or are we going to drive to grandmas house in Brooklyn.  Either way, it's all good now that Friday is here.  Luke is back to playing some soccer, Kyle is going to go to his girl friends house and then out later for half price apps....that's not Ipad or Itune, or Iphone apps...The real kinda apps, Appetizers at Applebees.   So, one more week until I go on vacation, and really start to report on whats going on each day during the final year.  I am gonna have to explore adding pictures, videos, etc. to this Blogger.com thing.  Maybe I need my own webpage and domain.  Link to a picture of the day coming soon.  Stay thirsty my friends......

Friday, December 2, 2011

The Final Year - Its coming !

Some of you have heard me say that I want to start a blog of sorts to record on a daily basis the year leading up to Dec 21, 2012.  As a child I recall being very interested in all sorts of things.  I guess as I got older, a part of me remained as that child, as I am still interested in all sorts of things.  Some of my favourite shows the past couple of years have been Ancient Aliens, Fringe, and The Big Bang Theory.  I watch cable TV, History Channel, NatGeo, Nova, etc.   I did say that I am interested in all sorts of things.  While I am not convinced that the world will be coming to an end as the Mayan Calendar comes to an end, I am convinced that we are about to enter a new Age.....I remember having the World Book Encyclopedia printed version on the bookshelf.  It included a book of fables.  Henny Penny some may recall as famously saying, "The sky is Falling Down, the sky is falling down"  The phrase The sky is falling! features prominently in the story, and has passed into the English language as a common idiom indicating a hysterical or mistaken belief that disaster is imminent.  Yeah, I know, the sky really isn't falling down, but the world we live in is changing faster than ever.  Does anyone still have printed encyclopedias or reference in their homes ?  You can get everything you want on the internet...Have you heard of Global Warming ?  Have you read about other natural disasters in recent years ?  I will explore thru photos, video, clips from various sources, as well as some of my favourite recipes, quotes, etc. a collection if you will of "The Final Year".  I am excited.  How about you ?  More to follow starting Dec 21, 2011.