Habitually carrying around a pen and small reporter's notebook often makes for interesting reading when it's time to review a few days worth of notes. During one such recent review it was decided something should be done with some of the more abstract notations collected. Though not necessarily fodder for full-blown essays, they seemed worthy of something other than being crossed out and eventually hitting the bottom of the paper-recycling bin; or worse, the unretrievable finality of the dreaded shredder.

"Overheard, observed, or otherwise witnessed" offers these mental snapshots put to notebook page, possibly with some commentary, should the feeling move me. Enjoy.

Quick Maneuver Links

First Amendment in action

Spelling matters, take eleven

Wording matters, take one

There's no place like home

Nevah seen that befowah, ayuh

Just trying to help

Vending machine mystery

First 2022 fishing jaunt

The importance of touch

Memo to Yellen ...

February fish

Twilight's last gleaming

Modern day quality entertainment

Bison; not buffalo

To err is human ... to forgive is preposterous

Jail Break at the Mustang Corral

Prophylactic Paradox

Tick Tock

Not quite Aricebo

Them's the brakes

Thinking fishing

Spelling matters, take ten

SNAP goes the diet

Thinking camping already

Thinking spring already

Neoadvertising 2020

Thank you notes and muscle cars

That oughta hold it

Snowflake safe zone

From here to there

NBA Dumbass Alert

Only in Winsted, take five

Spelling matters, take nine

A brush with fame

Ass on display

Spelling matters, take eight

Breakfast of champions

Food for thought

No joking matter

Spelling matters, take seven

I hate meeces to pieces

Only in Winsted,take four

Siri-ous stupidity

Spelling matters, take six

Only in Winsted, take three

Spelling matters, take five

Any questions?

Memo to CT DMV

Turd propelled by gas

If a penny gets your thoughts...

Only in Winsted, take two

Presidential Accomplishments

Rules are Rules

Lost in the translation

Only in Winsted, take one

Death knocks three times

When is a brick not a brick?

Spelling matters, take four

Spelling matters, take three

Welcome to Winsted

Wrong turn turns right turn

Spelling matters, take two

Spelling matters, take one

Northwest Connecticut newspaper sales plummet

Re-improbably re-repurposing

Purity Test v2.0

Urban Pig Sty

Once in a lifetime, take two

Chumming the NSA

Once in a lifetime

Just Cause...

This is only a test

The Eagles before they sucked

An example of irony

Life's a gas

Donuts on the Dashboard

Winsted Diner closes


RIP Phoebe Snow

MORE proof NCAA sucks

Lost in the Translation

Proof UCONN and NCAA both suck

Radio gaffs, take one

Accidental Truth in Advertising

Rock Fan goes Postal

Profusion of Poop



Only in Winsted

Gem Uncovered on IRC

Real life To Tell the Truth

Al Gore's Coprolitic Truth

Presidential Peculiarities


What was fair for Bush...

A Brief History of Time


Another WTIC foible

Urban, but not urbane, SUV

Glenn Frey's Opportunistic Whoredom

Hidden Gems

Orwell's 1984 Merges with Weather Channel

Come again?

On Gorebull Warming

Kennedy Eyes Hillary's Slot

Bose blows

Google: the new Microsoft?

Where e'er thou be

Half empty or half full

HELP WANTED: Caption Writer

Diabetic Hypnosis?

Eye in the Sky

Black Friday Earns Its Name

Big Brother Blackout

Defy the Robo-shier

DHS renamed DHI

Cutting Irony

This is NOT news

Urban Search and Rescue goes Rural

Confirmed! Snow Causes Insanity

Sandal in a Sandy Snowbank

Step Down, Gashole!

Still Not Fonda (Hanoi) Jane

May We Never Forget

Yo, No Props, Zero Cred

Improbable Store Tenant Change

Hoodwinked by Hanawa

On Doing One's Part for Ecology

Clinton Daughter Breaks Cameras

Curse? What Curse?

Camera Assaults Photographer

Not the Usual Watered Down Entry

GM Drops Cadallac for Nonchalant

Separated at Birth?

Technologically Advanced, My Ass

A (hopefully) Brief Experiment in Torture

Irony Meets Karma in California

Banking on the Obvious

Don't Talk to Me in that Tone of Hand

Radio Devolution is Airwave Pollution

Voice Memo Dump

Protocol or Unorthodox Expedient

Something You Don't See Every Day

Looking into the Future

Schlosser Stuck on Stupid

Let He Who is without Sin ...

Hartford Hosts Miracle

What's in a Name

Nice Dress, Sissy Boy

Marquette to UCONN ...

Faulty Aiming of Fear Factor

Boston to Damon: Good Riddance ... Asshole

Northwest CT Latest Global Warming Victim

Poop Patrol Protects Perfect Paws

Broadcast Babe Boasts Batty Behavior

Pass the Pepto Bismol, Pierre

Winsted Diner Destroyed by Fire

English, Motherfucker, Take Two

Perfect Paws Prompts Pregnant Pause

Nice Hat, Sissy Boy - Take Two

A Scam by Any Other Name ...

WTIC Bests Stern in Gutter Speak

Don't Hog My Airtime, Biatch

Bill Bonk Bonked by Polling - Ouch!

Note to Eco-Activists: Global Warming My Ass!

No Dress Code but Gas Mask Optional

Crows Before They Sucked

English, Motherfucker! Do You Speak It?

Memo to Hunter S. Thompson

Commercial Profanity in the Northwest Hills

Brush with Fame

Störung ist Verboten

Humanity Rears Its Ugly Head

CVS Goes Goth in Ye Olde New England

CT DOT Alerts Drivers to The Obvious

Warnings of The Obvious

Nice Hat, Sissy Boy


NORFOLK CT, March 9, 2023 - ... as the New England farmer quips in numerous regional jokes. On an ill fated banking run to Norfolk, I decided to try to make the trip not a complete loss, so I headed up Route 272 to see if the Mountain View Inn - a place where I worked summers as a teen - was still in business. When navigating the triangular town green something unusual caught my eye next to the Church of Christ Congregational.


However, it wasn't the church signage that caught my eye.

This is!


Of particular note, see how the steeple is seemingly hovering above ground level by virtue of the steel superstructure base.

Apparently there was some concern for the structural integrity of the church steeple - at least that's my take on things based on seeing the multiple threaded rods through each of the pillars.


A closer view shows a bell. I didn't see if this was a solo act or if there were other bells. Perhaps I'll do so on another visit.


Here's the proper home for the steeple. I'll have to make a point to revisit the Norfolk green to see what progress has been made with this displaced steeple.


And speaking of "green" ...

... almost forgot. The Mountain View Inn buildings are still there, but there is no sign out by the roadside. A brief Internet search revealed the Inn was recently bought and converted to a "Green Retreat" (read fancy schmancy, possibly "woke" bed and breakfast). The lack of a roadside sign hints at either being "fairer weather" seasonal only or no longer in business.


TORRINGTON CT, date unrecorded - During the first wave of the COVIDiocy and the Great Toilet Paper Shortages, I was shopping at ALDI and overheard a woman who was obviously in some panic and distress:

"There's no toilet paper left!", she exclaimed.

Being the helpful type, I said to her "I have the answer."

She cocked her head and replied, "Excuse me?"

"Simple! Paper towels! The answer is paper towels.", I quipped while pointing to an abundant stock for sale.

She looked at me as if I had suggested she wipe her delicate nether regions with a rusty Brillo pad, then abruptly turned and rushed off.

I still chuckle about that encounter.


WEST HARTLAND CT, May 1, 2022 - Before I bore you with the details, I offer you this quote from a wise man for your consideration:

"Many men go fishing all of their lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after." - Henry David Thoreau

Sunday was rapidly fading into late afternoon when I decided to stop wasting precious time. I had planned to inventory and ready my fishing gear before embarking on the first fishing trip of the year, but we all know how "plans" sometimes go. So casting prudent preparation and good judgment aside (See what I did there?), I strapped on my Leatherman, grabbed my hat, and took off for Howells Pond.

Being only about 10 miles from home, I got there about 6pm with the Sun still well above the western horizon and the temperature a very comfortable 65 degrees. There was only one other vehicle in the parking lot that I assumed was the property of the guy in the kayak across the pond. Good, good! A bit of privacy, peace, and quiet. I prefer all three.

Of course the fishing gear was in exactly the same condition is was left in back in the fall. Fashioned up the go to rod with my go to swim bait lure, a Fat Albert grub, and hit the shoreline. Aside from snagging a log or rock, a dozen or so casts yielded no strikes, so I changed up to a basic Mepps spinner. After about the same amount of time and casts, all the Mepps caught was some pond weed. Undeterred, I switched bait to a brown and gold Rapala - another go to lure that rates right up there with the Fat Albert. However, like the first two selections, the Rapala failed to garner the curiosity of any potentially interested parties.

All was not lost, as there was a back up plan. One the way to Howells I picked up a dozen dillies - mini night crawlers. I generally eschew live bait thinking it's "cheating", but on this outing I swallowed my pride and bought the wigglers. And they worked. I managed to pull in a sunfish and bluegill, so all was not lost.

I even drew the attention of a couple of beavers who seemed disturbed with my antics. Out came the cellphone!

My photographic proof is rather lame, due to the limited capability of the camera in my inexpensive flip phone:




The return trip home on Route 20 passes by several vernal waterbodies, as well as some ponds formed by beaver dams. Even travelling at 45 MPH with wind and tire noise, I heard a familiar sound of spring: the profusion of male frogs frantically calling out inviting females for some fun, froggy fornication. Yep. Spring peepers! I pulled over to the roadside and turned off the engine so to hear the clamor without competing audible distraction. It was quite the racket. And I even remembered my inexpensive flip phone has a voice recorder, so I captured the audio for folks unfamiliar with this springtime phenomenon. Here's the audio recording for you!

Upon settling in back home, I started to feel the effects of overdosing on fresh air and a bump up in physical activity. So I hit the rack early and slept deep and well! There's a message there.

To return to the Thoreau quote which opened this entry, though this was a fishing trip that yielded only two, small, catch and release fish, it was a glorious outing nevertheless. I never expected the beaver encounter or the return of the spring peepers. They were true bonuses - even gifts - to what one normally expects from "going fishing."

And if the Thoreau quote was a bit too philosophical for you, perhaps there's one you'll like here: 101 Fishing Quotes


WINSTED CT, March 13, 2022 - An important thought for the day:

Over the past two years plus, how many elderly were deprived of this due to local, state, and government COVID restrictions? How many died isolated in elder care facilities before exer experiencing that joy ever again?

Remember this on voting day.


WINSTED CT, February 24, 2022 - ...and the memo reads: STOP THE LYING!

I'll grant you that this particular entry is long past its "Best before" date, as I note the original scribble dated September 30, 2021. That was way back when Yellen, Congress critters, and Main Street media talking heads were all spouting off about the critical need to "raise" the debt "ceiling." Yellen even went as far as to offer support for the effort to remove the debt "ceiling" altogether!

I bet I'm not the only American who wants to beat all of them about the head with a massive clue bat and SCREAM:

STOP THE LYING! IT'S NOT A "CEILING" - IT'S A PIT! A FINANCIAL HOLE IN THE ECONOMY! THERE'S NOTHING BEING "RAISED" - THE NATION'S INDEBTEDNESS IS BEING INCREASED! There's nothing "uplifting" about "raising" the Nation's national debt "limit." None. Zero. Zip. Nada. To refer to a pit as a ceiling in this particular arena is nothing shy of blatent lying. And it's no stretch to say it's propaganda and psyop.

Sadly, many have been anesthetized and conditioned to blindly accept such debt - some innocently, others not-so-innocently. Were a common citizen to mismanage their personal or business finances to the point of no return to solvency and started printing money to pay their bills, they'd be thrown in Federal prison.

Yet that's exactly what many politicians in concert with bankers are doing. And prison is exactly where many politicians and bankers belong for their malfeasance.


WEST HARTLAND CT, event August 13, 2021 / posting here February 27, 2022 - It was a rather somber day that introduced me to Howells Pond back in mid-August, 2021. First was the gravesite services following my mother's passing and interment of both Mom's and Day's ashes. Then came a family gathering at my sister's house. And finally it was off to pay my respects at the gravesite of a former girlfriend who had also recently passed away. She and I shared the same month and day portions of "MMDDYYYY" for our birthdays - though separated by a year. Her family's services were the on the same day and time as our family's, so I was the lone, late "attendee."

After that last visit I didn't quite know what to do with myself, as it had been a rather emotionally complicated day. Considering being out in Barkhamsted, I decided to drive north on Route 20 to check out the Barkhamsted Reservoir and perhaps do some exploring. I stopped at a scenic overlook "from days of yore" when friends and I would visit and marvel at the reservoir below. My memory says there was a church steeple poking out of the water when the level was low, but recent history searching and reading says that all structures in the village displaced by the reservoir were razed. Regardless, the view remains amazing. Drove down to the northern terminus of the reservoir, then turned around to head home.

When driving through the village of West Hartland I noticed a state sign with a boat launch icon, so I decided to investigate. A couple miles off the beaten track of Route 20 I found the mostly hidden gem, Howells Pond.

Today's visit was long overdue. I had visited a few months ago, but really wanted to see the pond in all its winter, iced in glory. I was not disappointed and even got a special surprise when viewing the outlet by the dam. It was cold and breezy, in stark contrast to a recent February thaw. As much as I wanted to venture out on the ice and check out the far end of the pond, I didn't trust the ice. Fighting off hypothermia can be a life threatening situation, so in a rare display of better judgment, I opted to remain on terra firma.

Here is the pond's ice/water line at the dam and spillway:


While gazing down at the ice/water line, some movement in the water between the log and ice line caught my attention. It was a fish swimming around! It then plucked something from the water surface and returned back under the ice. After a while another fish (or the same one - heh) appeared and did the same thing. Then after a little time, another fish did the feeding ritual! They looked like trout and roughly a foot in length!

In the next photo I tried to catch one of the culprits in the act, but apparently I was slow with the shutter finger:


So that was the special surprise I had hinted at: seeing fish in a natural body of "open" water in a New England February! I very well may have to wet a line here come April.

Perhaps part of the mysterious magnetism that draws me to this otherwise obscure little pond, besides the dramatic (for Connecticut) topography of the area and the pond's relative remoteness, is that there's a view from the dam and launch area of a little peninsula jutting out into the pond that disguises the rest of the pond. Here's what it looks like:


Now that particular view, at least to me, is strikingly similar to a view from my favorite Adirondack campsite. It also features a penisula that juts out and disguises a cove to the right hand side and ultimately a swampy stream connecting Seventh and Eighth Lakes. Here's that view:


And in closing, all I have to add is this: COME ON ICE-OUT 2022!


WINSTED CT, February 22, 2022 - I started noticing something nearly a month ago - 'round Groundhog Day to be more specific - and was going to write about it. Didn't then, so I'll do so now.

But first a confession: I rue the days of the sun dipping below the hill just west of the apartment at 3 in the afternoon. Long shadows mid-afternoon with cooler weather means winter is rapidly approaching. Though I enjoy the change of seasons and four distinct seasons, the extremes of both winter and summer aren't my favorite type of weather. I'll vacate the confessional now.

My shift at work starts at 6 p.m. and my "commute", if you can call it that, is a whopping 7/10 of a mile which goes up that very hill just west of the apartment. When I pull into the parking lot at work, I can see Platt Hill on the horizon to the west.

Lately I've been seeing much more than just the lights on the communications tower atop Platt Hill. There's an actual silhouette of Platt Hill and adjacent hills! And it's not pitch black yet - there are remnants of the waning day's light - twilight - above the hills. It's quite remarkable to see and wonderful to experience. And as expected but nevertheless delightful, with each passing day it's all the more prevalent.

It's 3 in the afternoon as I type this very line of text. And the sun is well above the aforementioned hill just west of the apartment. Happy days! Spring is "just around the corner" - even though there's 3-6" of snow forecast for tomorrow night!


WINSTED CT, February 1, 2022 - I recently spent an very enjoyable two hours on YouTube watching a father and his sons build and camp in a rustic shelter out in the woods. It's one of many fun, quality videos on the Outdoor Boys video channel. The father appears to be a classic big kid who not only loves his family but is fortunate enough to be able to spend a lot of time with them.

The shared exuberance is not only entertaining, but transcends just being heartwarming - it touches the soul.

Do yourself a favor and set aside some uninterruptable time. You won't be disappointed. Lord knows there are worse ways to spend a couple of hours on the Internet...

...so do I. You do, too.

1 Year in Log Cabin Survival Shelter (Building, Camping, Repairing Bushcraft Shelter)

What a wonderful childhood this father is giving his sons - not to mention all the memories and experiences they'll get to carry on and share for the rest of their lives! Perhaps even with their own sons.

And this particular video proves that "simpler times" do not necessarily have to reside in yesteryear. Simpler times can be, and often should be NOW!


GOSHEN CT, October 17, 2021 - Came down with a case of cabin fever, so took the proverbial Sunday drive (yeah, I know - I'm turning into my grandfather). No real destination - just winged it and stopped here and there.

Highlight of the journey was to be literally face-to-face with a bison in Goshen! The star of the photoshoot was kind enough to walk right over to me. At one point, our faces were less than a foot apart. It was an interesting experience, to say the least.

They are majestic and imposing creatures!

Here are some cell phone cam photos I took at Mohawk Bison - they can be clicked to enlarge. FMI Mohawk Bison





Winsted CT, August 18, 2020 - While walking into a store at Ledgebrook Plaza a week or so ago, I noticed this marking out the fire lane adjacent to the sidewalk out front:


Afterwards I thought it was an unfortunate "oops" that might make an interesting addition to this web page. Then that idea was quickly forgotten - until ...

... a late evening trip to Stop and Shop at the same shopping plaza. There in front, yet well around the corner and a goodly distance from the other store originally visited, I was greeted by the same parking warning signage!

I can see making this mistake once. I can kinda/sorta see making this mistake a couple times before noticing the obvious problem at hand. But the entire plaza's fire lane demarcation?

This WTF inspiring signage SNAFU doesn't necessitate the most discerning eye and attention to detail to catch. It will be interesting to see if the signage remains as is, or if it's corrected, how long it takes.

Stay tuned.


Winsted CT, August 7, 2020 - When visiting Dollar Store, I couldn't resist peeking into the Lombard Ford Mustang Corral - a place I wrote about earlier in Thank you notes and Muscle Cars.

Much to my surprise and shock, the entire stock of cars was gone! Not a single Mustang was to be seen - just hundreds of square feet of vacant floor space - in stark contrast to the scores of cars shoe-horned in there the last time I checked.

I'm going to have to snoop around and try to find out what the story is here.


Winsted CT, August 4, 2020 - Is it just me or is it foolhardy on the part of the U.S. government, specifically the FDA, to trust the integrity of imported PPE face masks from the same people who irresponsibly unleashed COVID-19 on the world? You know, our "friends in trade", the Chinese?

For details on this bureaucratic bumbling, check out this Wall Street Journal article:

FDA's Shifting Standards For Chinese Face Masks Fuel Confusion

And don't forget to "mask up", Sheeple of the World:

It's just a mask

Pleasant dreams, America...


WINSTED CT, July 20, 2020 - Years ago - actually decades ago - while chatting with a friend about computer technology's continuous intrusion into our human, day to day existence, I quipped about imagining a woman with a DB25 socket in the middle of her forehead. In an attempt at clever wordsmanship, I called this imagined interface an "RS-232 in-her-face".

Then just last week in some correspondence - electronic, of course, via email - my sister commented that "it's perfectly fine to not be tethered to a computer", or other electronic gadgetry - "especially during these glorious summer months." Sadly, that comment is obvious to far-too-few in 2020.

A few days later, this news story hit the Internet:

Elon Musk claims his Neuralink chip will allow you to stream music directly to your brain

Innocent enough, eh? Bypass speakers, headphones, earbuds, ear canal, tympanic membrane, stapes, and cochlea! How efficient. Tap directly into the human central nervous system. No physical tether! What could possibly go wrong?

The article's subtitle offers a clue to answer that question: "Brain-computer interface could also give 'enhanced abilities'". Then a bit into the article, "...Neuralink could help control hormone levels and use them to our advantage (enhanced abilities and reasoning, anxiety relief, etc.)."

It's that "etc." part that bothers me - it's a bit too open ended, thank you very much.

Call me a paranoid Luddite, but this particular technology has all the trappings of some very dangerous, potential evildoing. The devil is always in the details, eh? What do you think about this?


WINSTED CT, April 14, 2020 - They, whoever "they" are, say "necessity is the mother of invention." They also say "imitation is the sincerest form of flattery."

Those sayings oddly melded in something I saw sticking out of an apartment window on Main Street here in town. Here it is in all its duct taped, coat hangered glory:


Here's another guy's low budget method of snaring those elusive HDTV signals from the ether and directing them to his flat screen's circuitry:

Make an HDTV Antenna and Get Free Channels

Being an amateur radio operator for over 50 years, I'm no stranger to what we hams call "homebrew" projects - some copying existing circuits, antennas, or computer programs. So I get a kick out of seeing non-ham citizens take on DIY projects. DIY can be a lot of fun!

* Arecibo Observatory


BARKHAMSTED CT, January 8, 2020 - While traveling to visit my mother, I spotted a truck parked at the Brass Horse Cafe in Barkhamsted. The truck itself was a rather nondescript Toyota Tacoma pickup, but the pile of firewood in the bed caught my attention. Then something else caught my attention and I wanted to take a picture of it. I was already running late, so I just kept driving.

I wondered if the truck would still be at the ginmill on my return trip. I doubted it would and planned on a simple text-only entry about it for the website.

A couple hours or so later on the way home, as the ginmill came into view I was surprised to see that the truck was still there! I stopped, took a quick picture, and returned to the road.

Check out the impromptu parking brake:


Pretty ingenious, eh? Make do with what you have, and all that good stuff.

I'd venture to say that many red blooded American guys have employed similar "fixes" to get by until a suitable repair could be made. I know that I have. Mine was a brick I kept stashed under the driver's seat of my 1963 Plymouth Belvedere. Said brick remained my impromptu parking brake for longer than I care to admit publically. My only excuse for this was that I was attending technical college full time and though working, too, I wasn't exactly spending my limited resources where they should have been.

Meanwhile, back in the present, I'll share some things I was thinking about on the drive to Farmington and on the trip home between initially spotting and then actually photographing the truck.

I didn't check to see if the truck had an automatic or manual transmission, but my guess is a manual. I've never heard of an automatic transmission slipping out of PARK, though I suppose it is possible. However, I have seen situations where cars with manual transmissions mysteriously slip or chug down from a parking spot on an incline. So I wondered just how strong the clutch or the state of the engine compression was in this truck. Inquiring minds want to know!

Then I drifted off into absurdity mode. What if the load of firewood in the bed wasn't firewood at all? Could it be the truck owner was just over prepared and wanted to make sure he had spare "parking brakes" in the event of the applied parking brake failed? What if the truck owner was delivering a fresh load of recently manufactured "parking brakes"?

Sometimes it's best not to let one's mind enter the State of Absurdia ...


PINE MEADOW CT, January 8, 2020 - Spotted a fisherman walking along the side of the road all geared up with hip waders, rod, reel, and net. This in itself isn't unusual, as the roadway runs parallel to the west branch of the Farmington River, which is renowned for its trophy trout fishing.

A quick check of the thermometer on board my faithful Ford Explorer Eddie Bauer Edition revealed an outside air temperature of 34 degrees - not exactly warm. And the wind was uncomfortably blustery. It takes some kind of devotion to the sport to go wading out into the river, time casting between wind gusts, and contantly have to clear iced up rod line eyelets in the weather du jour!

I somewhat ashamedly admit to not possessing that level of devotion.


BRISTOL CT, January 7, 2020 - My department manager at work, Bob, is well aware of my penchant for pointing out misspelled words and sometimes mocking he who wields the pen or keyboard. Bob recently stopped by Good Friends Diner on Route 6 in Bristol, CT for a meal and spotted this beauty on their menu:


Photo courtesy of Bob Czekierda

Bob was kind enough to take a picture and forward it to me, as if my obsession for this sort of thing needs feeding. heh. In his email he quipped, "That word was so misspelled, I got sidetracked looking for other errors and forgot to make a food decision." Yep! That would be me, too!

In any event, Bone appetight, eh?


Winsted CT, December 30, 2019 - After adding a couple items to this page, I noticed some scraps of ideas in what HTML coders call a "commented out" area. One such scrap is dated May 2, 2015 (!) and included a couple of photos I had taken, so I decided to get to work on it. Better late than never, eh?

While perusing the isles of our local CVS store, this shelve sign caught my attention.


Call me naive or old. I don't care. I had an idea what EBT meant - electronic banking transfer, or something like that. But SNAP may as well have been written in a foreign language.

A closer look provided the necessary whack of the clue bat:


Ah! Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program - the old Food Stamp Program. A well meaning government program that continues to be fraught with problems. Replace the embarrassment of being spotted using physical food stamps with an otherwise anonymous plastic card to swipe through a reader. Got it.

But since when is bagged candy "nutritional?" The close up picture of the sign shows a (probably expensive) logo of a shopping bag holding a dozen eggs, a quart of milk, a loaf of bread, some green vegetable, and an apple. Yep, the logo projects nutrition.

A SNAP sign on a shelf loaded with candy does NOT project nutrition.


WINSTED CT, December 30, 2019 - Seeing campfires during my little Farmington River expedition, I got to thinking about camping next year.

Back in early December, after much consideration and some not-so-gentle nudging from my good friend Sharie, I reserved a campsite for two weeks in September 2020. Better yet, it's my old, favorite campsite 114A at Eighth Lake campground!

I had some, ahem ... reservations about making reservations for next year. Back in October I had a bit of a medical surprise - a femoral artery bypass operation. Long story short, I have another couple of dates with the scapel in the spring. I wasn't sure there would be enough rehab time to be up to the tasks involved with my annual ADK camping. Sharie convinced me to reserve the site, be positive, and deal with September in September.

And I'm glad she did, as I've been psyched ever since reserving good old 114A!

Since then I watched a YouTube video titled Bog River Flow to Oswagatchie Traverse Adirondack Canoe Camping Trip. It's a good video, though I wish there was more commentary and less music. That aside, the best quote I grabbed from the video was while camp grub was being prepared:

"Hunger is the best spice!"

Maybe you have to be a camper to fully appreciate that, but isn't that great?

Enjoy down-to-Earth camping and fishing escapades? If so, I highly recommend Joe Robinet's Adventures in the Outdoors videos on YouTube. There are no pretenses - Joe's a regular guy with a wife, kids, and a crazy dog named Tripper. And Joe loves camping, fishing, and being outdoors.

If you like dogs, you'll get a charge out of some of Tripper's antics, too.


BURLINGTON CT, December 29, 2019 - Though we've only had a couple of real winter snowstorms so far this season, recent thaws make tramping about the woods much easier. I had some free time today to check out a potential fishing spot in Burlington. It's the Farmington River where Route 4 turns west and Route 179 northbound starts.

Riverside view looking north:


Walking downstream revealed a long run of calm river between rapids with plenty of deep pools. There were a couple of campfires and a bit of litter, though not terrible. I grabbed a few discarded beverage "empties" for proper disposal later.

Posted signage courtesy of Connecticut's former Department of Environmental Protection - now Department of Energy and Environmental Protection - shows how to distinguish both trout and salmon! Those signs are a, ahem ... good sign for some exciting fishing come warmer weather.


The only river I've fished is the Connecticut River. My father and I fished a few annual shad runs from a boat back in the 1960s, and I did some very limited, half-assed shoreline fishing in the early 1980s. So I'm still pretty much a complete newcomer to shoreline fishing.

Coincidentally, after scoping out the Burlington site and driving up into New Hartford, I spotted a guy with waders out in the middle of the river! Hearty soul there, as the temperature was barely 40 degrees!


WINSTED CT, December 28, 2019 - While sorting bills in my wallet, I discovered a user modified Grant. Apparently someone has taken a cue from the popular Where's George avocation as a vehicle to promote a 2020 Presidential candidate!


Brilliant! My only suggestion would be to apply the rubber stamp to lower denomination bills to reach the masses. I'm guessing more folks are carrying around Washingtons and Jacksons than Grants.


WINSTED CT, September 26, 2019 - The day after Christmas generally features deep discounts on holiday related items in the retail world. As I ran out of thank you notes before the task was completed, I decided to run down to a local dollar store and replenish my depleted supply. I like to keep them in stock here in my hovel and not just to express thanks for a physical gift. Gifts frequently take on other forms - a kind word, a surprise phone call, or help with a task. I contend that even as we rapidly approach 2020 in this now not-so-new millennium, people still like to receive physical, old fashion "snail" mail - especially notes with hand written messages and a signature.

I scored mightily in the post holiday discount arena: two 8-packs of thank you notes and two 14-packs of Christmas cards cost me a whopping $3.19!

While leaving the store, I moseyed down the covered sidewalk past a storefront that once housed a Sears and Robuck outlet. "And what to my wondering eyes should appear, but" the store jam packed with Ford Mustangs! (see what I did there? Clement Clarke Moore, anyone?)


Lombard Ford's dealership is directly across Route 44 from the Mallory Brook Plaza where the dollar store is located. From what I've been able to find out, Lombard used to rent a storage facility far from the dealership for overstock and pricey toys like the Mustangs. Apparent the location proved inconvenient for arranging appointments for customers to shop inventory there, so they rented the former Sears space.

To say "jam packed" wasn't an exaggeration, either. These cars were in rows side by side and bumper to bumper. My head started to spin when trying to imagine how they shoe horned all those cars into the space available, and spun more when trying to estimate the inventory investment inside there. Whew!

I doubt similar savings would be experienced had I been shopping for something from the corral.


SOMEWHERE IN CT, date unknown - In-a-pinch fixes are meant to be temporary. You know ... just enough to hold things together until you can get home or the shop where a real repair can be made.

Here's an example of how NOT to fix a recalcitrant, damaged truck bed tailgate. Rube Goldberg isn't rolling around in his grave; he's just shaking his head in disbelief:


Vehicle owner's name, license plate number, and other specifics withheld to protect the guilty from further embarrassment. However, I did make a meme picture of this and posted it on the There, I fixed it website.


WINSTED CT, March 21, 2019 - This coming Saturday will mark eight weeks without a cigarette for me. I'm cheating, though, as I decided to use a Sol vape pen to deliver nicotine for a while before I take the big plunge and quit for real. I'm giving myself until the end of the year to dump the vape - hopefully a LOT sooner than that.

On another walk while running chores around town, I noticed this sign at one of our our local community college's buildings:


It appears that the petty, busybody bastards who define and enforce decency have determined to not only protect their precious snowflakes from smoking, but vaping, too...the further pussification of America.


WINSTED CT, March 17, 2019 - A hankering for a couple of Dunkin Donuts got me out on the sidewalk early this morning. It's probably all of 1/2 to 3/4 of mile trip, so I couldn't justify the car for such a trivial trip.

On the west corner of the Methodist Church property sits this very old mileage marker stone:


If you're having trouble reading it, allow me to decypher/clarify: 26-1/2 miles to Hartford; 67 miles to Albany, NY. This stone probably dates back to horse and buggy days. I didn't think of it at the time, but now I wonder if there's any date mark on the rear of this stone. I'll have to remember to check the next time I'm walking that way.

Perhaps our town's Historical Society has some info on this. I just might pay them a visit.


WINSTED CT, Wednesday, January 2, 2019 - I'll cut to the chase here: LeBron James is a racist and anti-Semite

Supporting links:

LeBron James: NFL Owners 'Old White Men' with 'Slave Mentality' Toward Players

LeBron James Apologizes for 'Jewish Money' Instagram Story

Here's how those "old white men" with "slave mentality" towards players actually pay their "slaves":

Average NFL Salary By Team

I'm having a little trouble feeling any sympathy for James...

Lebron James 2018/19 Salary

...though I'm having no trouble at all feeling nothing but disdain for him.

It just goes to show that one doesn't have to possess much of an IQ or brain cell count to make tens of millions of dollars a year.


Tuesday, November 13, 2018 - I ran across this story recently while reading the Register Citizen newspaper's online site. Though I had known about the existence of this tunnel, that was about the extent of it. This article fills in some historical blanks. Instead of benevolently paraphrasing (or outright plagiarizing) the article, I offer the link instead:

Unusual waterway travels beneath Winsted's Hinsdale School

It seemed to fit in with the other "Only in Winsted" entries on this page. My only suggestion to the Register Citizen staff would be the addition of a sub-title to the article - specifically "- what could possibly go wrong?"


Thursday, November 8, 2018 - A new computer monitor was recently added at work and situated, oddly enough, under a whiteboard. Communication tools old and new. When I walked by it to start my shift the other night, there was a computer generated, printed paper sign taped to the whiteboard above the monitor. Why the printed out message wasn't just written on the whiteboard remains a mystery, but that's another matter. It's the content of the message that I found troublesome in a number of ways. To wit:


1) Though I appreciate the benefits of surveillance video in certain situations, I feel differently about its use in many workplaces. My feelings are this: if you don't trust me, you shouldn't have hired me in the first place. And if you feel the need to electronically surveil me, then I'll leave.

2) If you can't spell worth a hoot and refuse to use a dictionary or spell checking software, then you shouldn't be making and posting signs.

As it turned out, the camera in the computer monitor wasn't active and the sign was someone's idea of a "joke." I wasn't laughing nor were a number of others.

Somewhat privacy related, for your viewing pleasure and intellectual discomfort: The Twisted Truth

A BRUSH WITH FAME - realized 55 years later

Thursday, October 18, 2018 - When I was growing up, every now and then my buddy, Allen Dubiel, would be able to get his father to come out and throw a football to us. Mr. Dubiel would stand out in the road in front of his house and direct us kids to go way down the road - impossibly way down the road. And then he'd throw what, to us kids at least, were the longest passes in the world!

I remember my Dad mentioning that "Walt used to play professional baseball", but that, of course, was long before there was the Internet.

This morning I was in a chat room talking up last night's Red Sox game with a buddy. He posted a link for some historical football player, and that triggered my memory of Walt Dubiel. So off I went and struck pay dirt. To wit:

Monk Dubiel

Little did I realize that a good neighbor and friend's father had played some real baseball!

And it also explained some of how he could throw that football so far down Lake Garda Drive in Unionville, CT!


WINSTED CT, September 1, 2018 - On a number of websites, there's a controversy brewing about whether former President Bill Clinton was scoping out Adrianna Grande's ass at the funeral of Aretha Franklin. Oddly enough, there's very little controversy over the attire Grande chose for such a venue, which is rather sad.

Here's a picture of Grande's, uh, performance at the funeral and your humble reporter's caption:


Farrakhan: "I'd hit that."

Sharpton: "I'd hit that."

Jackson: "I'd hit that. Would you hit that, Bill?

Clinton: "I already did. Twice!"


WINSTED CT, July 30, 2018 - This sign posted on a door at work is just wrong in so many ways. It's a rather sad example of the lack of basic communication skills possessed by graduates of our institutes of learning.


I'm still trying to figure out how to call Allen with a key. Normally I'd just use a telephone...


WINSTED CT, July 17, 2018 - Allow me to explain that title. First, I did have this meal for breakfast - that is, the first meal of the day. It's just that due to working third shift, when I get home from a long night on the factory floor, I'm in the mood for a real meal; not a bowl of cereal or a couple of eggs and toast.

I bought this 12 ounce package of Atlantic salmon at ALDI for $5.99 - not bad for fresh salmon, at least around here. I stuck the two fillets in a bath of olive oil in a baking pan and under the oven broiler for 7 minutes. They came out perfect. In the interest of diet balance, contrasting presentation colors, and yumminess, I steamed up some halved Brussel sprouts, gave 'em a topping of butter, salt, pepper, and a dash of grated Parmesan cheese.



And it was so yummy, I ate both fillets. No guilt. No shame.

N.B. - the Clausthaler is NA beer, so don't give me any guff about drinking before noon!


WINSTED CT, July 11, 2018 - Every so often, and not often enough, I can get around The Guilt of spending $10 for a single slab of beef to cook and devour in one sitting. Ten bucks buys a lot meals worth of chicken or ground beef!

I got around The Guilt recently, but a problem arose: where and how to cook said slab of beef - a reasonably well marbled, one pound, boneless rib eye steak.

My preferred method has always been to grill outdoors over coals, but living in an apartment rules that out. I've had terrible results broiling in the electric oven and didn't want to sentence this particular steak to such an inglorious demise.

A quick search on the Internet provided a cooking method I never would have come up with myself. And an added bonus was its simplicity: you basically season the steak, sear both sides in a bath of butter in a cast iron fry pan, stick the pan in the oven, then let is "rest" for a few minutes before serving! It's a real "guy's recipe." Here's the link:

Perfect easy ribeye steak

Directions were reasonably followed - no sea salt here, so used regular salt from the shaker. Same for rosemary - no fresh, so used some crushed that was on hand. Tinkered the sear/cook times a smidge. The end result was the absolutely BEST oven cooked steak I've ever had! Due to my own tinkering, it was just slightly less rare than I prefer, but wasn't overcooked. It was juicy, tender, and delicious. And for the presentation freaks out there, it looked pretty damn good, too!


Another excellent recipe I recently tried came from an unlikely source: the back of a box of Reggano angel hair pasta from ALDI. It's called Mediterranean style angel hair pasta.

I was a bit hesitant on this one. The picture on the box looked good, but in my world, angel hair, other spaghettis and pastas, and pizza have tomato sauce and pork or beef. This recipe calls for fresh, halved, grape tomatoes; not sauce. It also calls for chicken chunks; not beef or pork. But I took a leap of faith.

And I was glad I did! This was a hearty meal that was not only delicious, but also far more healthy than my normal fare. It's the kind of meal where after filling the tummy and then some, you lean back, smile, and think "Now that was a good feed!"

An added bonus was how good it looked! Judge for yourself:


I couldn't find this particular meal recipe on ALDI's pasta recipes webpage, so you'll have to spring for a box of their angel hair pasta for it. It's well worth the buck or two for the pasta. Trust me.


BARKHAMSTED CT, June 13, 2018 - Saw this bumper sticker in the Tractor Supply parking lot and just had to take a picture of it. The political leanings of the owner of this car certainly aren't a mystery.


Nor are the political leanings of this car's owner, recently spotted at the Goshen (CT) Hamfest:



WINSTED CT, June 12, 2018 - The education requirements for the person whose job it is to make signs like this mandates a college degree of some sort - probably social services related. Apparently any proficiency in spelling, or at least knowledge and use of spell check software isn't required:


Oh yes - if a door must be closed at all times, doesn't that imply that it should never be open? If so, why not just forgo the signage and simply lock the door? Or better yet, remove the door, stud out the doorway and sheetrock the damn thing?


WINSTED CT, July 5, 2018 - My sister asked me to look at her Toro riding mower. The battery had been recently replaced, but though it would now turn over, it wouldn't start.

Remembering one of many valuable lessons of my father, I thought "fuel-compression-spark": the three things necessary for an engine to start. After checking the fuel tank gas level, I removed the air filter cover and gave the filter a few quick wipes to clean it. Turning the engine over revealed that gas was getting into to carb, but the engine wouldn't fire. A spritz or two of starting fluid didn't ignite, either. Or is that ether ...

It's extremely rare to have loss of compression, so I went to #3 of the necessities: spark. When I pulled the plug wire off the spark plug, the damned thing pulled completely out of the top engine housing! Well! That settles that. Found the reason for no spark! But why did the wire pull free from the ignition coil?

Upon removing the top engine housing, I was greeted with this:


That "clump of junk" is a mouse nest. Removal and dissection of said nest revealed a long deceased mouse and baby blue jay. Also revealed was the chewed through spark plug wire stub going into the ignition coil and another chewed through wire. Apparently wire insulation tastes good - at least to mice.

I was immediately transported back in time to August 2017 and a visit to Ace Marine in Torrington. There was an outboard motor very similar to mine sitting on a stand that during storage had been transformed into a mouse hotel. I was so amazed, I took a couple of pictures and even saved them!

First the inside of the lid, then the motor:



A new ignition coil is on order for the Toro. I'm reasonably sure it's installation will return the Toro to full operation and my sister can give the push mower - and her body - a bit of a rest.


WINSTED CT, May 14, 2018 - If The Green Turd, the "classic" Camry, or eyelashes on a VW (see earlier posts) didn't quite do it for you, try this bit of automotive pretentiousness:


Someone is very proud that they're saving the planet with their Nissan Leaf. I got curious and came up with the following for a 2018 model:

Average range on a charge: 150 miles

Time for quick charging: 17 hours

So say you're going on a 150 mile trip. You get on the highway and cruise at 50 MPH, thinking that at that steady speed you'll get a bit over the average 150 mile range and safely reach your destination. However, you didn't anticipate the hills or gusty head winds from a weather front. As a result you find yourself 15 miles shy of your destination with a dead battery. A "quick" recharge, once you get towed to a power source, is going to take 17 hours - as you wait a mere 15 miles from your destination.

Maybe it's just me, but that sure doesn't sound like reliable transportation.

Assume that 50 MPG is the most efficient speed for said model. That would mean the longest time you can use your vehicle between charges is 3 hours - then you can't use the vehicle for at least 17 hours while it's "quick" recharging. And "quick" recharging isn't suggested to be done on a regular basis - doing so will ultimately shorten the lifetime of the battery.

Oh yes ... and when the battery life is exceeded, it's going to cost your north of $5,000 to replace the battery.

This dinosaur thinks he's going to just stick with liquid, fossil fuel powered vehicles, thank you very much!


WINSTED CT, April 16, 2018 - In this age of "smart" phones being commonplace, I defiantly cling to the past with the comparative simplicity of a $6 LG44OG flip phone. Yep, $6. It was on sale at 50% off at a Family Dollar store. Of all my "stupid" phone's comparatively limited features, I only use a thin slice of 'em.

That said, I'm frequently either amused or bemused when witnessing someone playing with this-or-that app or feature of a "smart" phone. One such incident recently occurred at work.

Upon arrival the other night while hanging up my coat, the second shift lead man and one of his underlings went rushing by and into the tool room giggling like a couple of retards on nitrous oxide. "Wonder what this is all about?" I mused.

I walked into the tool room to drop some things off and there was the second shift lead man, "smart" phone in-hand saying "Just watch this! to his underling.

"Siri - what's the difference between Ice, Ice Baby and Under Pressure?"

Apparently there are a number of ways users can "trick" Siri into providing oddball or otherwise funny replies.

"Now that's great use of advanced AI technology!", I mused.

I believe I'll stay stupid and stick with my stupid phone, thank you very much.


WINSTED CT, April 6, 2018 - Following a typically contentious brouhaha at work concerning the maximum speed a particular machine should be allowed to run, immediate preventative action was required. It was determined that the maximum speed should be posted on the machine controller. And so it was:


Looks like someone was running the label maker machine too fast, too ...


WINSTED CT, November 13, 2017 - Here's someone's insufferably contrived automotive accoutrement:


Okay, I suppose it's "cute" in an odd sort of way. Apparently the owner of the car thinks so. I was going to hang around to see what the owner of the car looked like, but thought that might categorize me as, uh ... a creep, so left that grand idea die.


WINSTED CT, November 13, 2017 - Spotted this sign when pulling out of a local gas/convenience store - Ghandi Mart, to be specific. Realized I didn't have my cellphone with me, so couldn't take a picture of it. Not wanting to miss the opportunity before the sign got corrected, I went back home, grabbed the cellphone, and returned to snap this:


Well, at least they tried. I suppose we should give cridit where cridit is due, eh?


WINSTED CT, August 4, 2017 - On an otherwise uneventful stop at a local convenience store, on the way back to my car a couple of stickers on the rear window of an SUV caught my attention. Fortunately I was packing (my cellphone), so was able to, ahem ... take a couple of shots. Here you go:


And underneath it was this absolute GEM!


While I wholeheartedly agree with the vehicle owner's political leanings both on the Second Amendment and Governor Malloy, I believe I'll stick with my seemingly innocent Adirondack Mountains related stickers and amateur call sign marker plate on my vehicle. Heaven forbid, but if the shit does eventually hit the fan, I don't want to advertise what I may or may not be packing or have stowed in my car.



WINSTED CT, July 12, 2017 - Here in the Nutmeg State, the DMV offers a variety of marker plate designs for your car - one being the "Classic Vehicle" plate.

Upon returning home from work, I noticed this sitting in the parking lot:


Memo to CT DVM:

PLEASE consider tightening the qualifications for Classic Vehicle plates. In my world, Thunderbirds, '57 Chevys, and the like are classic vehicles.

A Toyota Camry is NOT!


WINSTED CT, June 8, 2017 - So I'm innocently filling up the Ford at the gas station and this is what pulls up on the other side of the pump island:


What the heck? Am I a weirdness magnet or something?

For the inquisitive, the car was an old Saturn wagon with Pennsylvania marker plates. It had undergone one of those unnecessary (and stupid) suspension drops and sported cheesy, gold-trimmed wheels. The driver was a 20-something hipster.

I was going to ask him what the back story to the window adornment was all about, but better judgment prevailed and just got the heck out of there instead.


WINSTED CT, APRIL 9, 2017 - Young love. Remember it? I sure hope so! That new relationship that was it. The one you thought was the real deal. The one you just couldn't wait for the one year mark to celebrate, so you celebrated months instead?

On my weekly bank visit (yes, I shun direct deposit and request a real, paper, promissory note from my employer) I frequently clean out the bank of two dollar bills. They're a curiosity to many and it's fun to confuse young cashiers with them: "I'll have to check with my manager to see if we take these..."

Here's one I recently received (and passed along to a collector of sorts) with some additional print on the face:


Note the bill was from either from the 1976 or 1978 mint. Considering its age, this bill is in very good condition. One of the celebrants probably had it squirreled away for quite some time.

Flipping the bill over revealed the two celebrants met in June of 1978. This got me thinking about what I was doing 'round that time. How about you?


And here's a one dollar bill recently received in the change for a twenty:


Now how about you? Ever violate 18 U.S.C. Title 18 PART I CHAPTER Sec. 333" like Diane did?


WINSTED CT, June 1, 2016 - On the corner of East Lake Street and East Wakefield Boulevard there's a stop sign out in the rather wide expanse of roadway which has a robust concrete base. There's another similar to it at the corner of Prospect and Bridge streets. When I approached this sign recently, I noticed someone had stenciled something on the base. As it turns out, the perp stenciled all four sides of the bases at both locations.

And apparently this thoroughness implies the perp has an agenda. Click on the image to see what this ad hoc promoter is hawking.



WINSTED CT, May 28, 2016 - Weary of CT taxes and the general cost of living here, my cousin recently moved down south. We've been staying in touch via email. He sent me the following gem he spotted and captured on his iPad:


Another wonderful addition to the list of dubious "accomplishments" of the current administration in DC.


WINSTED CT, May 28, 2016 - It's very rare for me to hit a diner for breakfast, but that's just what I did this morning at McGrane's on the Green. Whilst partaking in my Uncle Bob's classic diner breakfast sandwich, a BLT on rye toast - heavy on the mayo, I spotted this over the pick up window:


As stated before on this website, New Englanders and Winsted folk take their sports seriously!


WINSTED CT, April 24, 2016 - One night at work I spotted a safety placard rivited to one of the German made presses. After reading it and some contemplation, I found it particularly amusing that the intended message on the placard was negated by the "second 'not'".

Apparently this press not only was made in Germany, but intended for sale and use in the United States. Perhaps by some law, safety pacards may have been mandatory for import, so the Germans did the translation, printed up the placard, and affixed to the press.

And it looks like something got lost in the translation ...


Now the sad part.

I showed the placard to a couple of co-workers and asked them to read it, which they did. And without any reaction other than looking at me quizzically saying "Yeah?" and "So?"

So much for attention to detail, eh? I guess reading skills aren't part of ISO.


Winsted CT, April 23, 2016 - One never knows when something is going to present itself, seemingly to scream "TAKE A MY PICTURE!" Such a moment occured during a recent visit to our State's much maligned (and deservedly so) Department of Motor Vehicles. And though I generally abhor most modern cell phone gadgetry, the camera function on my el cheapo $6 LG flip phone affords me a tool for capturing such imagery.

Having stood in the information line for well over an hour to aquire the necessary paperwork to sell my faithful PT Cruiser, register a "new used" Ford Exporer (Eddie Bauer Edition!), and transfer my amateur radio call sign vanity plates from the PT to the Explorer, I settled back into the car. Parked directly in front of me was a Kia with a vanity plate screaming to be photographed! And here it is:


I've heard that various DMV's frequently reject requests for certain vanity license plates. In light of all the work MADD has done in driver awareness, I'm very surprised Connecticut DMV approved this particular plate.


WINSTED CT, January January 19, 2016 - Superstitions are weird. I don't know if the "(bad) things happen in threes" superstition is a variant of the "three on a match" superstition, but I digress from finishing this entry. Moving right along ...

First it was David Bowie. Having read numerous reports about his heart attacks and seeing some recent photos and video of him, his death wasn't a complete shock. He looked pretty well worn out, even for his relatively young age. The surprise was The Cancer.

Second was a co-worker of about the same age as Bowie. She had some ongoing circulatory issues that, even with vigorous treatment, were getting worse instead of better. She cherished her privacy, so I'll just say I'll miss hearing her snide remarks and laugh.

Then came Frey. This one was a blind-sided shocker. I knew he had colitis, but as in his professional life, he always seemed to bounce back and keep going strong as ever.

When The Eagles exploded onto the music scene, I was in my late teens/early 20's and was a huge fan. Huge. Saw them live twice: first was the original quartet at a wonderful, pot smoke filled, 2,500 seater called The Palace Theater in Waterbury, CT, where they were "test driving" tunes that would ultimately end up on their On The Border album; then a few years later ('77?) with Don Felder in the beer and vomit drenched Springfield, MA, Civic Center.

Guess which show was the better of the two.

"My" Eagles started to fall apart when Bernie Leadon left. Next was the departure of Randy Meissner. "The Eagles" turned into the corporate partnership duo of Frey and Henley. Felder, Schmit, and Walsh were more hired guns than Eagles. Much has been written about the politics of that partnership and resultant management of the corporation into which The Eagles devolved.

That's all history, though, and now Glenn Frey is dead. So I'm going to try to bury the hatchet that freelance writers/music critics frequently and feverishly swing with wild abandon.

Frey was a talented singer, musician, performer, and prolific songwriter. When the band first fell apart, he didn't rest on his laurels (presumably in Laurel Canyon) and squander royalty checks. He kept working, enjoyed some moderately successful solo work in the music business, and even dabbled in acting - most notably on Miami Vice. And he eventually put pieces of The Eagles back together for several reincarnation tours. One of those tours was in support of their Long Road out of Eden release, which was solely retailed by Walmart - a clever and business saavy move. Frey was no slouch.

So with that, it's sad to hear the news of his death. And it's a reminder that regardless of the wealth and fame, mortality catches up with all of us. It's not a question of if; it's a question of when. One can't buy good health.

RIP, Glenn. Now you can take it easy.


WINSTED CT, August 10, 2015 - Give up? Easy answer: when it's NOT a brick. And I have evidence:

This is the faux brick sidewalk trim across the street from the Winsted IGA. You see, it's not brick at all. It's concrete with some brick-red dye brushed or rolled into it. Both the faux brick work and the concrete sidewalk are deteriorating rather dramatically, considering it's probably less than five years old. Rather sad. This was a part of the gentrification and spiff up project of the central Main Street area of town.

Were my father or grandfather still alive, with one look either one of them would be able to identify the reason for the premature concrete failure.

I wonder how the material/workmanship guarantee part of the contract reads? I feel an email to Town Hall coming on ...


And this is some plastic, vinyl, or fiberglass faux brick facade work on the storefront at the corner of Union and Main Streets. At one time, the show window had been smashed and replaced. Apparently whoever did the replacement work didn't bother cleaning up all the bits of broken glass. Again, rather sad.

There are some other "issues" with this particular property that I won't go into at this time - other than to say that the landlord doesn't appear to care too much about maintenance.

One thing is certain: fake is fake.



WINSTED CT, July 9, 2015 - In less than a week's time, another one misspelling to add to Winsted's endemic problem:


Bating? Is that like 'bating? If so, do they supply lube?

Photo credit and a tip of the hat to: Don Feliciano


WINSTED CT, July 3, 2015 - Whilst travelling across town on errands I spotted this beauty of a SNAFU:


I can't imagine this sign was fabricated, let alone installed, innocently without notice of the misspelling. At the risk of seeming overly negative, I suspect the misspelling was noticed only to be responded to with an apathetic, "Aw, fuck it!"

After all, it's only a sign, right?

This most recent SNAFU leads me to believe that either misspelling or apathy - or BOTH - are endemic 'round these here parts ...


WINSTED CT, July 2, 2015 - Here's a once in a lifetime and strangely satisfying experience. Let me explain.

I had been staying at a cottage during the month of June and although there was "cable" run from the street to the cottage, it wasn't hooked up. When my sister moves in - this year in early July - she has the cable hooked up for her stay - well into autumn. An appointment had been made for the Charter guy to come out and hook things back up.

The guy shows up, does his thing up on the utility pole, then comes into the cottage with the magical cable boxes for TV, Internet, and wifi. However, things didn't go so well with the installation hook up. Using one of those "walkie talkie" type cell phones, he calls some secret number for tech support for field techs. Then it happened ...

Over the walkie talkie type cell phone, I heard the call ringing, then a robotic, automated "receptionist" inform the tech that all the tech support agents are busy helping other field techs.

This was guilty pleasure. The tech was a pleasant, regular guy, so I felt a little bad that he had to suffer being put on what feels like terminal hold with his company's own field tech life line. At least he got a taste of what we mere consumers frequently get when calling Charter support.

What's that old joke? "Suicide hotline. Please hold."

P.S. To give credit where and when credit is due ... though the installation/hook up didn't go well on Thursday, the tech came back on Saturday, July 4 (!) to straighten things out. Now that's above and beyond!


WINSTED CT, April 25, 2015 - In an effort to improve the image of Winsted, this sign now greets folks driving into town from the north on Route 8:


Nice sign, right? Actually it's a very nice sign and probably fairly costly, too. It even has artwork signifying Winsted being "The Laurel City." The signage is great; its placement should have been a bit more carefully chosen, though. I'll zoom out a bit. Anyone care to guess what's in the background?


Got it? No? Well here's the first "business" to greet travelers from the north upon entering Winsted:


You know what? Contracting consultants to ultimately improve the town's image is fine. However, signage placement like this is simply stupid. And consultants can't fix stupid, no matter how much money you throw at them.


HARWINTON, CT, April 18, 2015 - On a return trip home I took a wrong turn - well down the road by the time I realized it. Turning around wouldn't have been prudent. So I took an alternate route to get back towards where I had intended on going. It was on this alternative route where a surprise gift awaited me.

Being as warm as it was, all the windows of the faithful PT Cruiser were open. As I approached and passed a swampy pond, vernal or otherwise, on the left side of the road, a clamor of male spring peepers insistently calling for some illicit frog nookie filled the air. It was quite the racket!

I couldn't pass this opportunity by, so I stopped, backed up, parked, and got out of the car so I could record the concert. For the curious, turn on your audio system, turn up the volume, click the link, and enjoy the serenade: peepers.mp3


WINSTED CT, April 21, 2011 - You know what? You can do all manner of work to secure and maintain ISO certification. You can conduct CI (Continual Improvement) meetings until you're blue in the face and participants scream "ENOUGH ALREADY!" But neither ISO nor CI seem to address The Basics.

Take this signage, for example. Can you spot the word that doesn't exist in the English language?


And when you bring something like this to the attention of the powers that be, more often than not the reaction is something like, "Oh. The spelling." And you wait. And the sign never gets changed.

Note that the creator of this sign ran out of "N" stencils, so just trimmed some from the extra "M's" he had on hand. Classy, huh?"


WINSTED CT, April 17, 2011 - This beaut was in full display for all to see on the outdoor town notices board in front of Winsted Town Hall.


Lets make a list! From the top:

1) "Business" shouldn't be capitalized
2) Jason's surname is "Giulietti" NOT "Giuletti"
3) There should be a comma after Jason's surname
4) There should be a period after Commerce
5) It's "attendance" NOT "attendence"
6) It's "input" NOT "imput"
7) It's "Selectmen" NOT "Selectman"
8) There should be a period after Selectmen

Though whoever wrote this sort of got the Who, What, and Why of The Five W's, there's no mention of where and when to meet with Jason!

So much for attention to detail, eh?

And to add insult to injury, even the asshats at the Register-Citizen, though consistent, didn't get it right. Check it out:

Winchester merchants share ideas for spurring economic activity.

I was going to check to see if the error got caught before the paper went to print, but never checked a newprint copy, as I grow more and more weary of this sort of thing from the Register-Citizen.


WINSTED CT, February 24, 2015 - A brisk walk to CVS revealed something startling. Apparently the barrage of winter storms and mass dumping of snow - all caused by Gorebull warming - has caused newspaper sales in northwest Connecticut to plummet.

"Bullshit!" scream the Koolaid drinking, libtarded progessives. Well, A View from the Fringe doesn't make claims like that without some serious, real world investigative due diligence.

Here's your photographic proof:


And yes, your faithful reporter bravely scaled mounds of snow to find that the Republican-American in the coin box's display window is dated February 9, 2015. That said, it's safe to assume our continuous well below freezing temperatures have failed to keep that paper's news fresh ...


NEWINGTON CT, January 15, 2015 - On the way home from an expensive trip to purchase a new pair of shoes, I drove by a commercial property which was mentioned on this very webpage back in November of 2006. To use an au courant word which I personally dislike, the property had undergone a most improbable repurposing from a Krispy Kreme shop to Citibank branch.

Since 2006, it has happened again! This time, the change is to an immediate care facility - specifically Premier Urgent Care.

Given enough time, 2909 Berlin Turnpike in Newington, CT could very easily kinda/sorta come full circle and be home for another Dunkin Donuts shop. As they say, time will tell.


WINSTED CT, June 20, 2014 - My sometimes benevolent employer rolls out a cooler full of iced beverages when the temperature and humidity deem the factory more than the usual sweat house it normally is. The standards are Gatorade, water, and some sickly, over-the-top sugary poison.

After grabbing a water and emptying the contents into my gullet, I checked the label to see if it was a redeemable return bottle, which it was. For whatever reason, I started reading the label: Sam's Choice Purified Drinking Water...

Purified? Grade school science class taught me that water was two parts hydrogen and one part oxygen. What could be more pure than that? So I read on.


Hmmm. If the container already has "purified" water in it, why the additives? Seems to this non-chemist that adding anything to something pure would render it impure.

If you're interested, here are links to what the General Standards for Food Additives folks have to say about magnesium sulfate, potassium bicarbonate, and potassium chloride.

Now drink up!


WINSTED CT, Memorial Day - Monday, May 26, 2014 - While on my way to retrieving my parked car after Winsted's 2014 Memorial Day parade, I was greeted by the abandoned remnants of someone's cold, refreshing beverage. There it sat all by its lonesome, in the middle of the sidewalk in front of Bank of America. I provide photographic evidence:


What struck me as particularly wrong was that this litter sat 85 feet from the trash dumpster in the back corner of Bank of America's parking lot and a mere 56 feet from a trash dumpster in IGA's parking lot. Neither hike would have been strenuous or time consuming.

And what strikes me as very disturbing is that someone nonchalantly placed this litter down without any guilt - apparently not giving a thought to the fact that someone would eventually have to pick up after them. Or worse yet, knowing full well that someone else would pick up after them and not giving a flying fuck about it.

Many people are pigs, and Winsted has more than its fair share of 'em.


WINSTED CT, March 9, 2014 - While on a visit to one of our Ghandi Marts for some tobacco products (in case NSA is scanning this, I was the proxy purchaser of said items), I witnessed something between my car and the entrance door that was something to behold. Some guy had pulled his car up to the gas pumps and was cleaning the windshield of his car with the requisite squeegee that such establishments provide. "Yeah, so what's the big deal with that?" you wonder?

The guy was cleaning the inside surface of the windshield, that's what. Squeegee in hand, body in a contorted position, he was slathering that glass like a maniac. All manner of the cleaning fluid was dripping down all over the dashboard of the car, too. It was well beyond odd.

After paying for the tobacco products, I noticed the cashier was keeping an eye on the guy in the car. I asked, "Is he doing what I think he's doing?" The cashier confirmed what I thought I had seen, shook his head from side to side, adding "It's the guys that only buy $5 worth of gas that you have to keep an eye on."

On the trip back to my car, SqueegeeMan was balling up handfuls of paper towels and put the finishing touches on the inside surface of the windshield - and mopping up the mess that had dripped onto the existing mess that was on his dashboard.

Never see that again ...


WINSTED CT, May 28, 2012 - Whether you found out about it from a link on the Drudge Report or elsewhere, it appears dataminers/examiners extraordinaire at NSA are busy scanning and scrutinizing emails, text messages, blog posts, and websites for their latest bad words.

Lets see how long it takes for some federal agencies to show up on alienjeff.net's server log. Again.

Assassination Attack Domestic security Drill Exercise Cops Law enforcement Authorities Disaster assistance Disaster management DNDO (Domestic Nuclear Detection Office) National preparedness Mitigation Prevention Response Recovery Dirty bomb Domestic nuclear detection Emergency management Emergency response First responder Homeland security Maritime domain awareness (MDA) National preparedness initiative Militia Shooting Shots fired Evacuation Deaths Hostage Explosion (explosive) Police Disaster medical assistance team (DMAT) Organized crime Gangs National security State of emergency Security Breach Threat Standoff SWAT Screening Lockdown Bomb (squad or threat) Crash Looting Riot Emergency Landing Pipe bomb Incident Facility Hazmat Nuclear Chemical spill Suspicious package/device Toxic National laboratory Nuclear facility Nuclear threat Cloud Plume Radiation Radioactive Leak Biological infection (or event) Chemical Chemical burn Biological Epidemic Hazardous Hazardous material incident Industrial spill Infection Powder (white) Gas Spillover Anthrax Blister agent Chemical agent Exposure Burn Nerve agent Ricin Sarin North Korea Outbreak Contamination Exposure Virus Evacuation Bacteria Recall Ebola Food Poisoning Foot and Mouth (FMD) H5N1 Avian Flu Strain Quarantine H1N1 Vaccine Salmonella Small Pox Plague Human to human Human to Animal Influenza Center for Disease Control (CDC) Drug Administration (FDA) Public Health Toxic Agro Terror Tuberculosis (TB) Tamiflu Norvo Virus Epidemic Agriculture Listeria Symptoms Mutation Resistant Antiviral Wave Pandemic Infection Water/air borne Sick Swine Pork World Health Organization (WHO) (and components) Viral Hemorrhagic Fever E. Coli Infrastructure Security AirportCIKR (Critical Infrastructure & Key Resources) AMTRAK Collapse Computer infrastructure Communications infrastructure Telecommunications Critical infrastructure National infrastructure Metro WMATA Airplane (and derivatives) Chemical fire Subway BART MARTA Port Authority NBIC (National Biosurveillance Integration Center) Transportation security Grid Power Smart Body scanner Electric Failure or outage Black out Brown out Port Dock Bridge Cancelled Delays Service disruption Power lines Drug cartel Violence Gang Drug Narcotics Cocaine Marijuana Heroin Border Mexico Cartel Southwest Juarez Sinaloa Tijuana Torreon Yuma Tucson Decapitated U.S. Consulate Consular El Paso Fort Hancock San Diego Ciudad Juarez Nogales Sonora Colombia Mara salvatrucha MS13 or MS-13 Drug war Mexican army Methamphetamine Cartel de Golfo Gulf Cartel La Familia Reynosa Nuevo Leon Narcos Narco banners (Spanish equivalents) Los Zetas Shootout Execution Gunfight Trafficking Kidnap Calderon Reyosa Bust Tamaulipas Meth Lab Drug trade Illegal immigrants Smuggling (smugglers) Matamoros Michoacana Guzman Arellano-Felix Beltran-Leyva Barrio Azteca Artistic Assassins Mexicles New Federation Terrorism Al Qaeda (all spellings) Terror Attack Iraq Afghanistan Iran Pakistan Agro Environmental terrorist Eco terrorism Conventional weapon Target Weapons grade Dirty bomb Enriched Nuclear Chemical weapon Biological weapon Ammonium nitrate Improvised explosive device IED (Improvised Explosive Device) Abu Sayyaf Hamas FARC (Armed Revolutionary Forces Colombia) IRA (Irish Republican Army) ETA (Euskadi ta Askatasuna) Basque Separatists Hezbollah Tamil Tigers PLF (Palestine Liberation Front) PLO (Palestine Liberation Organization) Car bomb Jihad Taliban Weapons cache Suicide bomber Suicide attack Suspicious substance AQAP (AL Qaeda Arabian Peninsula) AQIM (Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb) TTP (Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan) Yemen Pirates Extremism Somalia Nigeria Radicals Al-Shabaab Home grown Plot Nationalist Recruitment Fundamentalism Islamist Weather/Disaster/Emergency Emergency Hurricane Tornado Twister Tsunami Earthquake Tremor Flood Storm Crest Temblor Extreme weather Forest fire Brush fire Ice Stranded/Stuck Help Hail Wildfire Tsunami Warning Center Magnitude Avalanche Typhoon Shelter-in-place Disaster Snow Blizzard Sleet Mud slide or Mudslide Erosion Power outage Brown out Warning Watch Lightening Aid Relief Closure Interstate Burst Emergency Broadcast System Cyber security Botnet DDOS (dedicated denial of service) Denial of service Malware Virus Trojan Keylogger Cyber Command 2600 Spammer Phishing Rootkit Phreaking Cain and abel Brute forcing Mysql injection Cyber attack Cyber terror Hacker China Conficker Worm Scammers Social media

Note that the federal employee/dolt in charge of proofreading the document doesn't know the difference between "lightening" and "lightning." Your tax dollars at work.


WINSTED CT, May 11, 2012 - After overhearing something said yesterday, my first reaction was a belly laugh. But then I pondered what I had overheard and came to an interesting conclusion: I'll NEVER hear that, or an approximation thereof, ever again.

It was that odd. And the acquired by stealth comment?

"Well if she wasn't always sucking on her deaf boyfriend's cock all the time, shit like this wouldn't happen."

Nope. Never hear that one again ... deaf or not!


WINSTED CT, April 1, 2012 - Though the organization itself isn't responsible for the actions of others, it's yearly grab for media cash is a trigger. Here's yet another reason to discontinue the NCAA's March Madness, or at least suspend the event for one year.


WINSTED CT, December 30, 2011 - How old is your brain? This is interesting! See if your brain is as old as your body, or (perish the thought) OLDER! Read the following instructions since the game is in Japanese:

Procedure of Flash Fabrica Game:

1) Touch 'start'

2) Wait for a 3, 2, 1

3) Memorize the number's position on the screen, then click the circles from the SMALLEST number to the BIGGEST

4) At the end of game, the computer will tell you the age of your brain

Good luck! Here's the link: Brain Age Test 01

P.S. - After playing the game, I sent off a quick email to the sender, stating: Chronologically, I'm 60. According to Flash Fabrica, my brain is 35. Does this constitute mental retardation? Please advise.


WINSTED CT, November 12, 2011 - Though I've railed at what the Eagles have devolved to, I still hold their earliest offerings in high regard. Their material prior to the departures of Bernie Leadon and Randy Meisner is the best, as far as I'm concerned.

I recently stumbled upon a wonderful site which has some great downloads of the original quartet's live performances in mp3, wmv, and mpg formats. Don't waste your time with the wmvs if an mpg is available. Though larger in file size and download time, it's worth it.

Of particular interest, at least to me, are the videos from a 1973 venue in Holland where new material from their sophomore effort, Desperado, was being "test driven". In my not-so-humble opinion, Desperado was their finest album. Sadly, the masses (and not coincidentally the rock press) disagreed, panning it as a cowboy album, of all things.

Enough "me" and "history". Here are the links. Do enjoy!

Home page


Holland show


WINSTED CT, September 12, 2011 - An interesting venue to raise money for cancer research.


WINSTED CT, September 11, 2011 - On my walk home from work the other day -- leaving no carbon footprints, I might add -- I spotted a Subaru with some "green" logo on the back hatch door and something like "NZEV - nearly zero emissions vehicle". Upon arriving home, I did some surfing the 'net to see what "nearly zero emissions" meant quantitavely. However, my search was, ahem ... stalled by the plethora of acronym silliness. Think I'm kidding?

It's no coincidence that model name of the Government Motors Corporation's (GMC) zero emissions vehicle, the Volt, rhymes with dolt.

And speaking of zero emissions, it seems the PC Police are clamping down on the U.S. Marines in Afghanistan. Catch the comments. Some are priceless!

I said it before and I'll say it again - at least while I still can: "...though the nanny state protectors of purity may legislate where I smoke, it's reassuring to know I CAN STILL FART WHEREVER THE FUCK I PLEASE!"



PLYMOUTH, August 12, 2011 - This story is a lot of things: sad, hilarious, unbelievable, bizarre. Add your own adjective(s). From Waterbury's paper, the Republican American:

Driver eludes police following brief chase in Plymouth

PLYMOUTH - A man sped off in a red Honda Element on Thursday evening as police approached his car, which was stopped in the middle of Lane Hill Road, according to radio reports.

A brief chase ensued and the driver, a white man in his early 20s, eluded police.

He may have fled into Bristol, according to radio reports. Police over the radio said the man seemed "tweaked out."

Way to go, Plymouth PD. You just made Frank Bullit and Harry Callahan break down and cry.

Now would someone please explain how a Honda Element can outrun and outmaneuver the measurably superior police cruiser?


WINSTED CT, May 16, 2011 - Sad but true, a few weeks back while walking home from work, I noticed this on the door of the Winsted Diner:

diner_closed, jpg

Whether due to the economy or other factors, the little diner with the checkered past is now closed. And it's always sad to see a small business someone put their heart and soul into close up shop.


WINSTED CT, May 16, 2011 - Why? How 'bout these two recent news stories?

Cramming it in where it doesn't belong: UK schools introduce gay math, geography and science


Archie Comics introduces first gay character

A couple more cogs in the worldwide gay agenda wheel gear, yet the gay community disavows the existence of any such agenda.

Memo to the LGBT community: those two news stories prove otherwise.

And please don't get me started on this crap.


WINSTED CT, May 1, 2011 - Last week I was saddened to read that Phoebe Snow had passed away. It was either at the Bushnell Auditorium in Hartford or Woolsey Hall in New Haven where I had "accidentally" seen her in concert; she being the opening act for Jackson Browne. This was in the early 70s and just before Snow's Poetry Man turned hot and climbed the charts.

What little I remember about that show is that her unique voice and astounding five octave range were simply warm and soothing to listen to. It was like how a dear ex-girlfriend described the Chuck Mangione concert we attended: "It just makes your ears feel good" - a quirky and almost childlike description, yet true to its core. There aren't many concerts where one can lean back with eyes closed, and luxuriate in "just" the sound.

It was with even more sadness I read about Snow's life after Poetry Man became yesterday's hit. She gave birth to a child with severe brain damage (hydrocephalus) and left the spotlight and touring to personally care for daughter Valerie. Snow said in 1998, "I really made the only choice I could under the circumstances."

After Valerie passed in 2007, Snow had her own medical problems to deal with. Complications from a debilitating stroke in early 2010 finally took Snow's life on Tuesday.

Here's Poetry Man performed in 1989. And here's It's In His Kiss performed by Phoebe Snow and Linda Rondstadt on Saturday Night Live, way back in the mid 70s. If you pay attention at the 01:43 and 02:21 marks of the second clip, you can catch a glimpse of Paul Shaffer, bandleader on the David Letterman Show, back when both Shaffer and Letterman had more hair...


WINSTED CT, April 13, 2011 - If the earlier piece taking a shot at the NCAA didn't convince you, perhaps this will:

NCAA, FBI investigating hoop gambling ring.

I rest my case. For now...


WINSTED CT, March 20, 2011 - While doing some housekeeping here in the compound, I came across a menu from a new take out place that recently opened up in town. How a New England town of approximately 11,000 can support three Chinese food joints is beyond me, but that's for a different post.

I was staring at a photo of ten galloping horses which the Ocean Garden Chinese Restaurant included on the menu and pondered the possible implications. I suppose it was, ahem ... a more tasteful choice than a photo of a collection of stray cats and dogs..."

But then what really caught my eye simply blew me away: something on the convenient map provided just below the picture of the horsies. It showed the Ocean Garden being directly across the street from Saint James "Eplscapal Chunch".

Apparently the folks who put the menu together - Sino Graphic Inc. - utilize the same proofreaders the Torrington Register-Citizen does: NONE.

And in the event any readers suspect this yarn (or yarn meister) to be of dubious repute, here's photographic proof.

See you in chunch next Sunday?


WINSTED CT, March 5, 2011 - Does that headline appear a little harsh to you? Horse hockey, I say! Here's proof:

Innocently turning on the radio today, I was greeted with WTIC-AM 1080's Joe D'Ambrosio doing a post-game interview with someone named Kevin. Having tuned in mid-interview, I didn't catch Kevin's last name, but considering the venue and chatter, it's more than safe to assume Kevin was UCONN men's basketball coach Kevin Ollie.

It was painful listening to Ollie answering questions saying "They was" and "We was" and "We is". How the heck did he manage to graduate from high school, let alone college?

Perhaps he just considers keepin' it real more important than proper English grammar.

It's a sad day when someone makes Joe D'Ambrosio sound like a Rhodes scholar, but Ollie did just that. And Lord knows Joe D'Ambrosio is just an arrogant, screaming jock sniffer; but certainly no Rhodes scholar...

There's my proof that both UCONN and NCAA suck. And so does D'Ambrosio, for that matter.


WINSTED CT, March 5, 2011 - While listening to radio program host Mary Jones interviewing a guest, I couldn't quite believe the gaff she dropped for all to hear:

"Obesity is a huge problem in this country."

Love that live radio!


WINSTED CT, October 13, 2010 - Last night while driving down Main Street on my way to do some fishing, I noticed something odd on the front of our town's token pawn shop. As daylight was waning with many large fish waiting to ignore every lure presented, I didn't stop to take a picture, though I should have. Let me explain.


The weather was changing with intermittent gusts of wind. Driving by the store, I was at just the right angle when the wind folded over the bottom left corner of the sign to display "WE BUY CRAP GOLD". As luck, or lack thereof, would have it, the next day when I went back to take the picture, there wasn't even the slightest hint of wind.

My inner-vandal is tempting me to mischieviously cover the "s" in "scrap" and the entire word "gold" with white tape. About the only thing keeping me from carrying out that mission is that I'd probably get caught, arrested, and prosecuted. And I don't like the thought of some judge asking me, "Aren't you a little too old to be doing this sort of thing?"


TORRINGTON CT, September 23, 2010 - In what has to be one of the more peculiar ways to display one's idolization of a rock star, a Torrington homeowner gets his own stage right here to display his unique form of artistic plagiarism:


I think it's safe to assume that the homeowner doesn't believe that Clapton is God.

I can almost hear The Clueless muttering, "Come on, Jeff. Gimme a break." So for those Clueless, here are, ahem, two hints: One break -- comin' up


WINSTED CT, August 22, 2010 - As the old saying (and advertising blurb) goes, when it rains, it pours. So it stands to reason that when there's a shitrain, it pours, too. Disturbing visual aside, let me explain.

The initial idea was to tie in two recent news stories which I found the timing to be simply too funny to pass up. These consisted of an announcement that beaches were being closed for swimming at Martha's Vineyard due to the water being contaminated by fecal bacteria. This was just days before the anticipated arrival of the Muslim, alien POTUS Obama, black Queen FLOTUS Michelle, and their two charming Princesses.

Before I could jump on those two stories and tie them together, two reporters for the Boston Herald beat me to the punch.

Then I accidentally stumbled upon a story on Fox News which set the gears in motion for this update to Overheard. I'll let you read the story instead of describing it. However, I will lead in with this:

You be the judge, but it seems to me that Michael Cline doesn't appear to be the least bit remorseful.

Bet that story brings a sentimental tear to the eye of Carl Spackler...

And in keeping on this generally shitty theme, J.D. Salinger is rolling over in his grave, and his ghost is going to be very, very busy.


WINSTED CT, June 22, 2010 - Now the state government is getting in the act. Fortunately the visit was innocent enough, having been directed to this page after searching for "gerri griswold" on Google. However, this is getting ridiculous seeing state and federal government IP addresses showing up in the server's Apache logs.


WINSTED CT, June 10, 2010 - Shadowing visits by both DHS and DoJ, now the United States Department of Defense has visited this curious little website. For whatever reasons some human or robot at the DoD Network Information Center decided to request two pages from my server at 12:48 A.M. on June 9.

With all the lunacy going on in the world today, one would think the United States Department of Defense would have more important things to do than snoop around A View From the Fringe in the wee hours of the morning.

One would think ...

... the DoD apparently doesn't.


WINSTED CT, May 6, 2010 - Whether it's caused by something in the air or the overpriced, over-chlorinated city water, there seems to be an abundance of weirdness in Winsted. It's virtually everywhere, or so it seems, like a pervasive weirditude.

Here's my most recent report, though I feel a brief preface is necessary:

When you've been on the planet for over half a century as I have, "firsts" seem to occur less frequently. You see something new and that old expression "I've seen it all" gets blown all to Hell. Then you have to emphatically preface it with the word "Now." Such was the case last week.

While walking through a parking lot, I spied my most recent "first" in the back of a pick-up truck, which elicited not only a classic, comical double take, but also "Now I've seen it all."

Next to a homemade hand truck was what appeared to be a hand "crafted" casket. It was a rather crude affair made with roughly hewn wood. An odd feature was the inclusion of three hinges which deemed what would otherwise be considered a lid to be a door.

Perhaps it's only a temporary or transport model ...

There are probably some naysayers out there. I can almost hear them mumbling "bullshit" under their breath. That's to be expected, I suppose. So for non-believing, non-resident naysayers, here's photographic evidence number one and two.

And you thought I was making this all up ...

The casket could be a stage prop for a school play, I suppose. Or it could be a Halloween lawn "ornament," though we're six months either side of Halloween. The thought crossed my mind to wait around to meet and talk with the truck owner and get the back story on the casket, though I ultimately decided to leave well enough alone. Just seeing this cargo was quite enough for one day.

For the newcomers to this site, or regulars who may have missed them, here are some previously documented cases of Winsted weirditude:


A Sign of the (Mad) Times, and

More Signs of the (mad) Times.

Now back to the possible causes for Winsted weirditude. As long as I live here, there's very little I can do about the air I breathe. However, there is an alternative to the city water -- in the event it's the cause of the Winsted weirdness.

I think I'll continue treks up the hill to retrieve my drinking and cooking water from here.


WINSTED CT, April 23, 2010 - A confession: I spend far too much time on IRC (Internet Relay Chat). If analysed, this time sink is even more insidious when one considers the majority of that chit chat is just that: chat chat. However, every once in a while there's the proverbial beam of light which, by apparent providence, drills through the haze to illuminate and enlighten. Today there was one such occurence.

Good friend Andrew in Texas mentioned he was also in another channel debating the Gorebull warming hoax, and noted:

"I told them to watch this, then come back and debate. Otherwise, STFU."


Part One (of six)

It's wonderful linkage I strongly recommend you to watch the entire presentation as I did.


WINSTED CT, March 28, 2010 - Though I generally abhor Google, I do use their Google Alerts "service" to keep track of some things of interest to me. One recent alert was quite an eye (and ear) opener, as it seems I have a famous namesake out there:

Listen to the audio proof and check out the website page where the audio clip is from.

Interesting, eh?

And to think I was wrenching in bay #1 at Northwest Auto Sales when all of that was occurring.

* To Tell the Truth television show


WINSTED CT, March 18, 2010 - It's about time! With all the Gorebull warming hoopla, the movie based on fiction, bait and switch to Gorebull climate change when the warming was deemed imaginary, and the College of East Anglia debacle, we all could use some convenient truth.

A View from the Fringe has uncovered a clip with the straight poop - the real deal - of Al Gore's plaintive, alarmist bleatings. Here's a clip from the video:


The bottom line is that Gore is a fat-assed, narcissistic, bullshit artist, snake oil saleman/carpetbagger who stands to cash in HUGE on his carbon credit smoke and mirrors scheme. Anyone who invests in that farce deserves to lose their money.


WINSTED CT, March 2, 2010 - We've all been hammered with and bored to tears by news reports of Obama's recent medical exam and related nonsense. It's as if these news organizations actually believe that the citizenry gives a damn about Obama's health.

Don't they read their own polls?

But what the, ahem ... mainstream media HASN'T reported is that Obama admitted to his doctors of being an advocate and practitioner of urine therapy.

And yesterday's Drudge Report provides photo proof!



WINSTED CT, February 17, 2010 - Just over a month after this site was visited by the DHS, there has been another United States government entry on the website server logs. This time is was the Department of Justice.

Actually there were three visits of interest that showed up on the website server logs for February 4, 2010. The first was this one:

wdcsun26.usdoj.gov United States Washington 1 1 18.03 KB 04 Feb 2010 - 14:35

Next, coincidentally with the same bandwidth and time stamp, was this:

somehost254.bluecoat.com Unknown Unknown 1 1 18.03 KB 04 Feb 2010 - 14:35

Then 20-minutes later with nearly the identical bandwidth was this: United States Unknown 2 2 18.91 KB 04 Feb 2010 - 14:55

(the "1 1" and "2 2" signify "pages" and "hits")

The "bluecoat.com" of "somehost254.bluecoat.com" turns out to be Blue Coat Systems, a software tech company out of Sunnyvale, CA.

And resolves to none other than Microsoft Corporation.

For the life of me, I can't understand why the tribes of Janet Napolitano and Eric Holder, after having scoured the vast reaches of the Internet, decided to visit this website. That is, unless DHS flagged something here they deemed worthy of DOJ to peruse.

And all of a sudden running an otherwise innocuous little personal website has become exciting, intriguing; yet a bit unsettling.

Welcome to 2010, eh?


WINSTED CT, February 10, 2010 - I already have a reserved seat in Hell, so here goes.

From our Politically Incorrect Department:

Is it possible that these two could have been separated at birth?


Coincidentally, on the drive home tonight, I was listening to a cassette of Utopia's album/CD Swing To The Right. When it got around to the song Shinola, some lyrics stood out and reminded me of this "separated at birth" juxtaposition. So it just seemed appropriate to add these lyrics to this arguably inappropriate post:

"This is the jabber of a chimpanzee
The motion of your mouth looks much the same to me
The differentiation might be hard to see,
But this is crapola, this is shinola"


WINSTED CT, January 11, 2010 - With winter settling in hard here in northwestern Connecticut and scant work around, it's easy to fall into hibernation-mode. There was some guilt in hibernating when I noticed the outside temperature had crept a degree or two above freezing, so I decided to force myself outdoors for a bit of a walk.

While putting on a vest and coat, I uncharacteristically reached for my little-used wrist watch. "Been a while since wearing this," I thought to myself, and strapped it on. Then it was time for a jaunt.

At one point of the urban meander, I was curious of the time. While instictively fumbling for my cell phone, I remembered putting on the wrist watch before leaving the apartment. Pulling up my coat sleeve, I noted the time being 5:23 P.M., and thought it interesting how daylight was stretching longer into the afternoon, even though we're less than a month past the beginning of winter.

It then occurred to me that we're not far enough away from the winter solstice for it to be as bright as it was. Something was clearly amiss.

That was when I realized that I hadn't worn the wrist watch since before the switch from EDST to EST back on November 1, 2009(!), and instantly reminding me of the old Cheech and Chong skit where Tommy Chong was asked by a street slick if he wanted to buy a watch. Chong replied in classic stoner fashion, "Oh no, man. I'm not into time."

Guess I'm not into time either ... or at least don't like being constantly reminded of it.

Related (rare: grab it while it's still online) Time Fades Away (live) by Neil Young.

* apologies to Stephen Hawkings


WINSTED CT, January 8, 2010 - Yes, that's right, friends: your United States Department of Homeland Security visited this very website on January 7, 2009 at 11:31 A.M. - apparently all in the interest of making the homeland safer for you and me.

Whether human or robot, "the DHS" first searched Google for "Jeff's alien website" and landed on the homepage. That page provided them with the Obama/Joker poster, as well as the Obama/Chimp pictures. heh.

This visit makes me wonder if I pissed off someone on IRC to the point of them dropping a dime on me and the site. A friend suggested such thinking as paranoid, though I'm not so sure. How would you feel knowing the DHS came a knocking on your e-door?

For a brief moment I considered running a battery of nmap scans on their ip addy, but quickly came to my senses.

However, I also wonder if this visitation was just some fat assed government dolt with too much time on his hands.

Do you feel more secure now? I don't ...


WINSTED CT, June 11, 2009 - During afternoon drive time on WTIC-AM 1080, the traffic announcer was talking about an area highway that was blocked due to a tractor trailer rollover. Besides the rapidfire spitting out his report like some meth-crazed motor mouth, he actually closed his report with, "So steer clear of that TT rollover."

Excuse me? TT?

WTIC used to hide this type of low rent announcer in the relative obscurity of the midnight to 5 A.M. shift. Now these recently graduated interns pollute the daytime shift at 'TIC - as Bob Steele rolls over in his grave.



TORRINGTON CT, June 1, 2009 - I knew the former General Motors, now known as Government Motors, was going down the proverbial shitter when they introduced the Cadillac Escalade. The name Escalade alone exudes pious pretentiousness.

There was once a time when Detroit made real SUVs, such as the original Ford Bronco. Since then, and sadly so, the pussification of SUVs has tracked in sync with the pussification of the populace. If you doubt this pussification theory, stick a kid in front of an analog clock, rotary telephone, or in a car with manual crank windows. Then witness the cripple you believed was your little genius.

On a recent visit to WalMart to restock (the shopping list rarely changes), I noticed a shiny, white Cadillac Escalade sitting in the parking lot. An owner of an Escalade shopping at WalMart is funny enough, but it gets better.

This "SUV" was blinged out with all manner of chrome bullshit: gawdy rims for the low profile tires, brush guards over the head and tail lights, off road bumper and grill guard, fog lights, skid plate, and overhead bar with high intensity, off road lights.

"More money than brains or taste" was my comment made to no one in particular as I fought off waves of nausea. That Escalade was typical all show and no go.

And it was the first time in quite a while that I really wanted to set a car on fire. If the owner was sitting in it, I just might have ...


WINSTED CT, May 14, 2009 - So I'm listening to the Michael Savage Show on the radio and he cuts to a commercial break. The usual parade of ads fly by. Being a regular listener and fan of Savage, I know when it's getting near showtime again. But instead of the usual re-intro music, I hear the opening bars to the 1972 classic, Take It Easy. Then the unthinkable happens.

On comes Glenn Frey talking about travelling and adhering to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) rules. However, this is nothing new for Frey, nor for What The Eagles Have Devolved To.

That's right. I said what was once a band called The Eagles is now known as What The Eagles Have Devolved To. My site. My rules. Don't like it? Tough luck.

It was just a few short years ago when Frey and Henley jumped in bed with WalMart. After several nights of wild soiling of the sheets and an accelerated gestation period, this "strategic marketing partnership" was born. And with that birth, more bits of artistic and musical integrity died.

Now it's more adulterous shenanigans with CBP and WHTI linen being soiled. If you haven't heard it yet, get a vomit vessel at-the-ready, turn up the volume, and listen to the public service announcement.

And here's the official press release: The Eagles' Glenn Frey Lends Voice to CBP.

By the way, on the press release page, there's a note to "Report Suspicious Activity to 1-800-BE-ALERT." Wouldn't it be hilarious if the hotline were to be deluged with calls reporting suspicious advertising and whoredom activities of one Glenn Frey? There was once a time when you could get away with such a prank. Nowadays such a call would probably get you stuck in a detention center for domestic terrorists ...

The bottom line, at least in my not-so-honorable opinion, is fuck Glenn Frey and fuck What The Eagles Have Devolved To. I think I'll just listen to this guy instead. You should, too.


WINSTED CT, April 20, 2009 - In case there is any doubt that New Englanders take their sports very seriously, I saw the following on a car bumper sticker today:

Take your 26 rings and stick 'em up your ass!

For the uninitiated, the bumper sticker was a Boston Red Sox fan's answer to the oft heard bragging by Yankees fans about their team's 26 World Series wins. The next time you hear a Yankees fan bragging about that, ask "How many World Series wins in this millenium?"

We New Englandahs do take owah sports seriously, ayuh.

And hit ah homah, Youk!


WINSTED CT, March 12, 2009 - The timing of the following two Associated Press news stories has to be more than just a coincidence.

First, on December 23, 2008, they announced:

Homeland Security turns reality TV star on ABC

Then on December 25, 2009, it was:

Homeland Security forecasts 5-year terror threats

The skeptical amongst us now wonder whether this is all actually reality or trumped up "forecasts" to petrify the citizenry into blind faith submission to DHS dictates. I almost anticipated holiday PSAs being broadcast by the DHS with a festively dressed Michael Chertoff wishing all Americans a merry and secure Christmas.


TORRINGTON CT, December 23, 2008 - While visiting a friend in the hospital, a nurse comes into the room with chart in hand and starts with the vitals check and record. During this ritual she sticks something in John's ear, removes the device, takes a reading and records it.

"What's that for?" John asks.

She replied, "Just checking your temperature. This is how we do it these days."

I commented, "I'd hate to see how you check someone's hearing these days."

She didn't laugh, though John did. Apparently his hearing is just fine.

... which reminds me of an old joke. If memory serves, my father told me this one many years ago:

Having concluded an examination, a doctor goes to write a prescription for the patient. Reaching to his breast pocket he pulls out a thermometer, momentarily stares at it, and says, "Damn. Some asshole has my pen."

... and one more for the road. This time a riddle:

QUESTION: What's the difference between an oral and rectal thermometer?



WINSTED CT, December 22, 2008 - I love listening to Michael Savage on the radio. He's certainly not for everyone, but he does speak his truth and minces no words. Tonight's classic:

You ever notice how Al Gore disappears when the weather gets cold? He's like the groundhog of the political world.

My take? How about an example of, ahem ... polar opposites:

Gore's movie/scam: An Inconvenient Truth.

Gore's disappearing act? A Convenient Absence.

KENNEDY EYES HILLARY'S SLOT - a promiscuous political pursuit

WINSTED CT, December 16, 2008 - In what can only be characterized as blatant, entitlement-driven opportunism, Caroline Kennedy has been a busy little socialite in anticipation of a U.S. Senate seat in the state of New York soon becoming vacant. Kennedy is calling all the right people and rubbing important elbows to ensure Governor Blind Melon Paterson chooses her to fill the seat so torturously punished by the expansive hips and gluteous maximus of one Hillary Rodham Clinton.

And if that isn't bad enough, philanderer, adulterer, and disbarred lawyer, former President Bill Clinton has aspirations for daughter Chelsea's political future.

After the Bush and Clinton years, two decades worth in the Presidency alone, perhaps it's time for the American people to stand up and demand a Constitutional Amendment prohibiting such dynasties to exist in the political world.

Neither Mary Jo Kopeckne, Marilyn Monroe, nor Rosemary Kennedy were available for comment.


WINSTED CT, December 8, 2008 - Whilst perusing some long misplaced text files, the one named bose.txt sparked a bit of an attitude. For the uninitiated, Bose manufactures radios. In a commercial broadcast way back in January, the Bose ad men proclaimed:

"no confusing dial to adjust"

It was only a matter of time. With L-C controlled tuners fading into yesteryear and virtually everything electronic having an inexpensive digital readout, there's an entire generation of people who don't know how to read an analog clock, let alone read and interpolate a radio frequency on a dial.

It's just another step in the dumbing of America under the guise of progress.


WINSTED CT, December 3, 2008 - It's 3:57 A.M. as I'm typing this entry. My sleep schedule is AFU. I've just turned off Coast to Coast AM, as Noory's guest is a low rent, fear mongering kook. A visit to the Drudge Report hasn't provided any counterbalance to Coast to Coast AM. Sadly. Let me explain.

Once upon a time I really liked Google. It provided links related to search terms I entered. This was good. But since those days, Google got into the lucrative world of advertising. Fair enough, I guess. Utilities to run server farms aren't free. But then Google morphed into hardcore information harvesting and making strange bedfellows along the way.

Larry Page and Sergey Brin buy jets but need a place to store them. So they jump in bed with NASA and negotiate a sweetheart deal for VIP treatment at Moffett Federal Airfield - an airport run by NASA that is generally closed to private aircraft.

Then I read that Page and Brin had jumped in bed with the CDC.

And just today is was reported that they're cavorting about with Zicam/Matrixx.

Am I the only person on this planet that find this trend rather troubling?


Winsted CT, December 3, 2008 - In doing some digital housecleaning I've uncovered a note made on Christmas Day of 2005. I must have been on my way to my sister's house for day two of our family's Christmas festivities, as the note takes umbrage with our local Citgo station charging 75-cents to use their air machine.

There was once a time in America, and it wasn't that long ago, when a gas station attendant not only pumped your gas, but also cleaned your windshield, checked your oil level and offered to check tire pressures.

Which conveniently brings us back to air and a poem:

Where e'er thou be,
let thy wind blow free.
In church or chapel,
let it rattle!

Reference: http://www.davidpbrown.co.uk/poetry/grandad.html

Adherents of the Church of Political Correctness may want to pass on the following:

Do you know why Jews noses are so big?

Because air is free.

Let the deluge of hate mail commence ...


WINSTED CT, December 3, 2008 - The following was recently unearthed in some notes I had made about an early morning fishing excursion up to Highland Lake in late July. I thought this was already up on the site somewhere, but I can't seem to find it. So here goes ...

After tossing and turning through a night of insomnia, I decided to hit the lake early and see if anything interesting could be extracted from its depths. After a half hour of peaceful, ease into the day fishing, a woman a few houses down the way decided it was perfectly neighborly to fire up an electric leaf blower at 6:30 in the morning and carry on some sort of OCD flamed, ritualistic de-pollenization of her deck. The early morning tranquility had been shattered.

After nearly fifteen minutes of that insanity, the racket finally stopped. Then a kayak silently rounded the bend and I had a brief yet enjoyable chat with the woman piloting said craft. She was also appalled with the leaf blower cacophony, and quipped, "It takes all kinds, doesn't it?" And altogether too soon she paddled off to take on the rest of her day.

However, unbeknownst to her, she had helped return the tranquility by neutralizing some negativity that had crept into my psyche. Some negativity that untreated would have probably prevented me from noticing three fellow "fisherman" in for forms of osprey, American bald eagle, and great blue heron!

So it turned out to be a most glorious start of the day after all.


WINSTED CT, December 2, 2008 - Here's a beaut linked to from the Drudge Report. It's on msnbc.com and appears to be a SNAFU courtesy of the Washington Post. I've underlined the offending portion of the photo's caption for the clueless.

For the profoundly clueless, which apparently includes the Washington Post's photo caption editor, red is a higher level of alert than orange ...


So much for attention to detail in the world of journalism, eh?

Memo to the Washington Post: Nice job, asshats.


WINSTED CT, November 29, 2008 - There's a store front office on Main Street that has two different business's signage displayed. One is the Northwest CT Diabetes Center. It's run by a Rph, CDE. Don't feel bad: I didn't know what that acronym soup meant, either, until it was Google to the rescue. Rph is Registered Pharmacist, and CDE is Certified Diabetes Educator. Fine so far, right?

The other business is a hypnosis center and is run by the Rph, CDE.

Am I the only one here that find that a, ahem ... peculiar combination?


WINSTED CT, November 29, 2008 - For the next few days, what appear to be two bright stars are low in the southwest sky in the early evening. I've seen them the past few nights, knew they were planets and not stars, but couldn't remember which planets. It was the Internet to the rescue.

The answer, and so much more, can be found reading The "Venus & Jupiter" Show , courtesy of Sky and Telescope's website. Of particular interest, at least to this very amateur sky viewer, is the information the article conveys about distances from Earth and comparative sizes of these planets.

For instance, consider this: light travels at approximately 186,000 miles per second. Venus and Jupiter are far, far away, so the light you see when looking at them is what I'll call "old" or "past tense" light. The light you see from Venus was being emitted approximately 8.4 minutes prior to you seeing it. For Jupiter, the emission took place 42 minutes prior!

Heady stuff, indeed.

Keep an eye in the early evening sky on December 1 when the Moon, Venus, and Jupiter appear very close together. Remember that "close" is an illusion.

And show Venus and Jupiter to a kid. Spark some curiosity. Help feed a brain.


WINSTED CT, November 29, 2008 - "Black Friday" shoppers driven by greed and lust are responsible for the death of a 34 year old man at a Valley Stream, NY, Walmart store. It's all over the news, so I won't bother to rehash details of the tragedy.

However, I do propose that police should carefully review security camera video of the event and do a mass arrest. Shoppers who can be identified as having trampled the victim should be charged with involuntary manslaughter. Shoppers who tore the doors off hinges should be charged appropriately as well. Fill the courts with the bastards, try them, convict them, and let them carry some official guilt for the rest of their lives.

And you know what? It's not Walmart's fault, either. People are greedy fucking animals. They were intoxicated with Christmas shopping and cheap, Chinese electronics goods.

This crowd ill-behavior is nothing new, though. On December 3, 1979, eleven concert goers were killed during a stampede for seats before a Who concert at Riverfront Coliseum in Cincinnati, OH.

Frenzy. Me. Mine. More. Now.

Two quotes are particularly worthy of note here:

Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it. - George Santayana

We learn from history that we learn nothing from history. - George Bernard Shaw

One thing is for certain: this isn't going to be a merry Christmas for friends and family of Jimmy Damour.


WINSTED CT, October 24, 2008 - WTIC-1080 news announced that a portion of Interstate 95 had been shut down due to some sort of police activity in the area. The announcer then added, "All DOT cameras have been turned off."

It's interesting how the police can have those cameras turned off at will, as if to say:

"We don't want this publically documented. You'll get the news OUR way, or no way."

It was later reported that the incident involved an armed standoff and cameras were turned off due to the potential for gunfire. Apparently they didn't want the citizenship to witness that sort of thing real time in the real world. I guess it's okay if it's on TV during prime time and is "only a movie" or "series."

I don't know any other way to read it ...


WINSTED CT, October 8, 2008 - A friend both near and dear sent me an email suggesting I read Robots Ate My Check Out Lady. I did so and a resonant chord was struck.

Instead of pontificating on and agreeing with what article author Peter Kay wrote, I'll share the reply to my friend.

heh ... kindred spirit. I've actually sassed back at robotic cashiers at Home Depot, Walmart and Price Chopper - much to the amusement of fellow shoppers.

I've since given up on the "roboshiers." When approached by a carbon life form employee suggesting I use the self-check out line, I ask "What is the discount for using self-check out?" That question is usually met with disbelief and suspicion.

I've also asked said carbon life forms "When are you going to have customers stock the shelves for you as well?"

Sometimes I just hate "modern."


WINSTED CT, September 18, 2008 - That's right, folks. The Department of Homeland Security will now be known as the Department of Homeland Idiocy. Though the renaming has yet to be publically announced, the foundation has been laid.

And the only reason why Jim Henson isn't rolling in his grave is because he was cremated.


WINSTED CT, August 25, 2008 - "Bless this house, oh Lord we pray. Make it safe by night and day." That was the text adorning the facing surface of a wall mountable knife holder in the window of a local antique store. Makes sense. Knives can afford a certain degree of safety, provided enough of them are spread around the house in strategic locations. The problem is they're a close range device, unless they happen to be the throwing variety and the dweller is skilled in the art thereof.

Better yet would be that same quote decoratively inscribed on the barrels of a sawed off, 12-gauge, double barrel shotgun ... or three. A couple-three of those suckers around the house would sure make it safe both night and day!

A compromise that affords the luxury of the best of both worlds is my preference: the baseball bat. It's not quite as close range a device as the knife, but it packs a serious punch all it's own. And unlike the shotgun, there usually aren't body parts and massive amounts of blood splattered all over the place. One could also load 'em like the cheaters in Major League Baseball do, except with lead instead of cork.

I prefer the baseball bat because there's that ever important tactile feedback. When the bat hits the target, you actually feel the affect of the strike all the way up the handle. It's quite intoxicating ...

And perhaps the best part is, besides being multi-purpose devices, they're also free of governance by the ATF Federales.

Batter up!


WINSTED CT, July 24, 2008 - Excuse me, but what the fuck is up with this shit:

George Michael's tip for Obama -- run with Clinton

I found that via a Drudge Report tickler link which was up only briefly, I can't find it in their archives, so Drudge is temporarily off the hook. Reuters isn't. I'm boycotting Reuters and encourage you to do so, too.

I chastised Drudge before. Now it's Reuter's turn.

Dear Reuters,
I DON'T GIVE A FLYING FUCK WHAT GEORGE MICHAEL, BOY GEORGE, OR ANY OTHER EURO FAG (OR STRAIGHT) THINKS ABOUT AMERICAN POLITICS. Knock off the bullshit and fluff and report some real news, for fuck's sake.

And while I'm at it ...

Memo to George Michael,
You're not a political commentator, so please stick to what you do best: giving blow jobs to complete strangers in public rest rooms.

I feel much better now ...


Winsted CT, June 9, 2008 - I'm really trying to avoid being consumed by thoughts instigated by conspiracy theorists such as Alex Jones and others whom are frequent guests on Coast to Coast AM. And though I've downloaded and watched Zeitgeist, I only buy into a portion of what is presented. However, a recent event has me wondering about such things.

During what otherwise would have been a typical night in Winsted, CT, a rather large and brand-new-spiffy looking box truck came rolling down Main Street, U.S. Route 44, heading east. Though I'm not positive, I seem to remember it even being a tri-axle, which would indicate it being able to carry some significant weight. I can't remember if it was a Kenworth, Volvo, or whatever, but it was a big-ass diesel powered beast - all painted up in official State of Connecticut blue, the state seal, and all manner of serious business print on the sides.

What I did remember was seeing Urban Search and Rescue on the side. A quick search on the Internet revealed that this vehicle is part of the State of Connecticut Department of Emergency Management and Homeland Security's (DEMHS) Urban Search and Rescue branch.

Unless this truck was being delivered, I can't imagine what it was doing up in Winsted, as this isn't exactly urban. There's nothing urban either north or west of us in the northwest corner. And there weren't any catastrophic emergencies up here that day, either.

Never fear, though. It's a government vehicle and a part of DEMHS, so all is well, right?

Oh yes: pleasant dreams ...


WINSTED CT, March 19, 2008 - Many of you thought I had really gone over the edge in February 2003 with my brash proclaimation Study Finds Snow Responsible For Insanity. The related news story out of Philadelphia told of a girl getting hit in the face with a snowball, her enraged father getting in an altercation eventually broken up by police, and him returning later to shoot a gun at the original perpetrators, only to leave an innocent 10-year old with permanent brain damage (originally reported dead, apparently erroneously).

Then late last month history repeated itself and in Philadelphia, PA again! So much for the "City of Brotherly Love," eh? In a story dated February 27, 2008, CBS Channel 3 reported Arrest Warrant Issued In Snowball Shooting. Police were after 24-year old Jose Mendez to personally deliver an arrest warrant and quite possible offer "three hots and a cot."

A scant two weeks later on March 12, 2008, Reuters reported Guns and fists as "snow rage" erupts. Quebec City police spokeswoman Catherine Viel said snow-related fights were unusually common. Though a worrisome story, it's at least some relief knowing that the United States of America, and more specifically Philadelphia, PA don't command a monopoly on "snow rage."

Now in the consideration of the original and two recent news stories, I pose the following three questions:

    1) What the in Hell is wrong with the Philadelphia municipal drinking water suppy?

    2) Isn't the use of guns to settle snowball fights, snow removal and parking spaces insane behavior? And,

    3) In retrospect, isn't the original brash proclamation, ahem ... dead nuts on-target?

And now I rest my case.


WINSTED CT, March 10, 2008 - I frequent the sidewalk. Living on the main drag through town means that a variety of businesses are within comfortable walking distance from where I reside. A sometimes interesting side benefit to walking is that one can feed one's eyes and imagination without the burden of driving and concentrating on traffic and suicidal, jay-walking pedestrians.

I first spotted the sandal sticking out of what a snow plow had left on the side of the road by the curb. It looked sad, or was it me who was sad? Or were we both sad? Neither of us had mates by our sides, though the sandal at least had a mate somewhere.


In keeping with the sadness thread, it's threads are blue. There are some stitched patterns on it that appear to be Oriental. It almost looks like a slipper and not a sandal at all. Now that I think about it some more, it very well may be a slipper. But "Slipper in a Slippery Snowbank" doesn't have much of a ring to it, does it?

As time wore on and a few days of thaw warmed an otherwise cold town, the sandy snowbank on which the sandal was precariously perched slowy declined in stature - as if to have resigned itself to the inevitability of spring approaching.

And just tonight I noticed that the snowbank is gone. The sandal sits patiently in the sand seemingly unaffected by its plight - defiantly waiting against all odds for the reunion.

My high school English teacher was right: there's always something to write about.

Now want to take a quick peek inside my mind? I just envisioned the owner of said sandal hopping around on their left foot in a frantic search for the one missing from the pair. And that's just a snippet of the insanity that I have to deal with day to day.

And yes, I did note which foot the abandoned sandal was for ...


WETHERSFIELD CT, March 10, 2008 - The gauge read just below 1/4 full. Though alone in the vehicle and the radio was off, I could hear my father's voice saying "Never, ever let your car's gas level go below 1/4 of a tank." Not wanting to tempt falling prey to the fate of an ill-behaving gas gauge, I pulled into the nearest filling station. I may be insane, but I'm no fool. Were I to run out of gas somewhere in the wilds of Montana, let alone Wethersfield, my father would find out about it. I don't know how and don't care. It's just the way it is. I accept it.

To paraphrase Jeff Kay of the West Virginia Surf Report, "So I'm 56 years old and my father is 81. What of if?"

Once fueling had commenced, I noticed across the way from me an attractive 30-something woman oozing "yuppie." She had the requisite UberSUV with a Cape Cod sticker in the rear window, requisite ballcap with her ponytail pulled through the size-adjustment cutout on the back, and requisite stylish sweatpants and requisite hoodie pull-over. But it wasn't all that exterior nonsense that initially caught my attention.

At first I thought she either had to pee in a serious way or had been doing meth. However after brief thought, I determined she was just maniacally doing aerobic step exercise right there on the raised concrete island which the pumps are mounted upon. I'm not kidding about the maniacal part - she appeared Hell-bent on wearing the white paint right off that pump island pedestal!

Now for two confessions:

1) I have never struck a woman, and

2) I really wanted to walk up to this step maniac, slap her across the face and yell "STOP IT! THIS IS A GAS STATION, NOT THE GYM!"

There! I feel better now.


WINSTED CT, March 10, 2008 - It has been just shy of one month since Jane Fonda unashamedly dropped the C-bomb on NBC's Good Morning America. Not only has the story gone nearly stone cold, but it appears that NBC and FCC executives rock from heel to toe, hands deep in their pockets, nervously whistling while scanning the ceiling as if nothing of the sort ever occured in the first place.

Anyone remember Don Imus? He was as much as drawn and quartered after merely saying "That's some nappy-headed hos there." That quip, and make no mistake about, that's exactly all it was, cost Imus dearly. Which makes one wonder ...

... could it possibly be that starting in 2008 it's completely acceptable for a woman to drop the C-bomb on nationwide daytime television? How about blacks calling other blacks niggers or nappy headed hos? What about one man calling another 'an insufferable prick?'

I need some fucking answers here! Get my lawyer on the phone.

Back to the topic, ahem ... at hand: is it too much of a stretch of the imagination that Fonda's estranged sugar daddy may have padded the wallets of NBC and FCC executives to kill this story? Lord knows the King of Atlanta has the means ...fondaj.jpg

Until more is officially revealed in the Great C-bomb Controversy, I'll have to continue petitioning Webster's, Funk and Wagnel's and Merriam to add the following into their 2009 Editions, complete with an image as an example:

cunt \cunt\, n.
1. The female pudenda; specifically the vagina. [vulgar slang]
2. A woman; -- usually used derogatorily and considered obscene.

NOTICE: The following five entries, although out of chronological order, are added here as they are new pieces. They are the result of a recent cellphone voice memo purge.


NORTH OF ALBANY NY, September 11, 2007 - It's with increasing frequency that I'm reminded what a good friend once said: "There are no such things as coincidences." That statement rings especially true with regard to this entry.

I was returning home from a most glorious week of camping in the Adirondack Preserve in northern New York State. I had turned the radio off a few miles back, as some station had played a recording of a cellphone call made from inside one of the collapsing WTC towers. Anniversary remembrance aside, the emotion in the voice on that recording was just too haunting to bear. So instead, I travelled in silence.

Just north of the state capital, a city that must have been very busy on this day six years earlier, I noticed a tiny, little cemetery a few hundred feet off the right hand side of the highway. It was perhaps 100 by 100 feet in size and appeared to be a very old family plot.

A white fence bordered this hallowed property that sat within a much larger plot of cleared land. But what struck me as peculiar was the position of a beautiful shade tree. It grew out of what appeared to be close to the very center of the cemetery. I wondered if this tree, now quite mature, was there by way of human design or virtue of natural happenstance.

Memories rushed through my mind of planting trees as a child during Arbor Day ceremonies behind Union Elementary School in Unionville, Connecticut. A quote of Alexander Smith rang in my ears: "A man does not plant a tree for himself, he plants it for posterity." And all this on the sixth anniversary of 9/11 ...

My hastily and probably highly illegal cellphone voice memo was made while barreling down the Adirondack Northway at 65 MPH. In it was reference to "mile marker 2.6 north of Albany." Though I really wanted to include an aerial image with this entry, a couple of hours seaching with both MapQuest and Google Maps proved fruitless. I'll keep at it, though in hindsight it would have been nice to have noted some landmark.

Aerial imagery or not, let us never forget the events of September 11, 2001.


FARMINGTON CT, December 30, 2006 - True story. This black guy walks into Dunkin Donuts. Style? Baseball cap "bill back" and bandana underneath. Need I say more? Says to clerk "Hi. Joo got blueberry?" Upon hearing a reply to the, ahem ... affirmative, he orders a blueberry coffee, whatever the heck that is, with three(!) Sweet and Lows. Oh yes. All that sweetitude just wouldn't be the same without half a dozen Dunkin Munchkins, which he also ordered.

I nearly developed spontaneous diabetes just standing next to this guy. Sheesh!


NEWINGTON CT, November 21, 2006 - From the Things You Don't See Everyday Department, the initially much heralded and uber-popular Krispy Kreme donut emporium has moved out of a building that is now home to Citibank. Go figure.


WINSTED CT, November 16, 2006 - Spotted a pick up truck in front of me when waiting for a light to change. It was a Nissan Frontier - yet another Americanization of a Japanese brand. And oddly enough, this took place in a town that once was home to a dealership for a domestic automobile manufacturer.

The name of the dealership? How does the name Frontier Ford grab you? Sad, isn't it?

* Yoshikazu Hanawa, either President or CEO of Nissan in 1997 - the first year of the Nissan Frontier's production.


AVON CT, December 23, 2005 - Two days before Christmas is not the best time to be shopping, though more often than not, that's when I find myself in last minute panic/guilt mode. It was during such time that I came to the startling realization that significant chunks of otherwise pedestrian-friendly real estate are hopelessly isolated by very pedestrian-unfriendly roadways.

Having parked my car at a strip mall on Route 44 in Avon, I casually purchased some items at Strawberry's Records. The next planned stops of my mission were a few hundred feet away at the Bushy Hill Mall across the highway. Thinking it foolish to start the car up, drive through a circuitous maze of parking lot islands, traffic lights and even more parking lot islands, only to park and turn off the car five minutes after starting it, I opted to make the journey on foot.

Silly me.

I stood at the edge of Route 44 just a couple-three hundred feet east of an intersection with a traffic light, and barely 100 feet east of another light - but although operating in concert, they didn't afford me enough time to jog across the highway. I waited. And waited some more. Then counted the lanes. Six! What has happened to the Albany Turnpike? Trying to cross this road at 3:30 P.M. would be sheer lunacy. And I wouldn't want to commit suicide this way if my life depended on it. heh.

I remember years ago telling people "it's only a matter of time before Route 44 through Avon and Canton becomes just like the Berlin Turnpike. It's more than likely, though, that I was repeating something I had heard my father say. Regardless of who made the prediction, it was accurate and has become reality - all except for the motels.

Ultimately, the highway and uncivil engineering won. I returned to my car, started it, drove through a circuitous maze of parking lot islands, traffic lights, even more parking lot islands, parked my car and turned off the ignition. You try to think conservation. You try to live it. You try to practice it ...


WINSTED CT, February 19, 2008 - In a December 30, 2007 AP news story, reporter Beth Fouhy stated, "Tall and attractive, Chelsea cuts an impressive figure on the campaign trail..."

Uh, Beth? I'm having problems with that quote.

Tall? Perhaps. More data is needed, though I'm willing to let it slide. That is, unless you're a midget or dwarf with the expected differing point of reference.

Attractive? It's said that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. And again there's the matter of a point of reference. Here are some recent press photos of Shrillary the Shill and Slick Willy's spawn. I'll let website visitors decide ...

chelsea1.jpg chelsea2.jpg chelsea3.jpg chelsea3.jpg

Impressive? Most certainly, but in my mind not favorably so.

Kind of makes you glad the WJC/Lewinski tryst was just for a blow job. Can you imagine ... ?

Memo to Beth Fouhy: you're overdue for your bi-annual eye exam.


WINSTED CT, October 29, 2007



WINSTED CT, July 28, 2007 - News headline writers at the Drudge Report, Yahoo, and the Daily Mail really dropped the ball on a recent story. Not me, though. And not A View from the Fringe, either. Very, very sad this apparent lack of attention by "established" media for not cashing in on a sitting duck of an otherwise humorous potential headline.

To wit: Britney's son gets hit in Las Vegas brawl and Britney's anger after child is hurt in fight with photographer


BARKHAMSTED CT, July 24, 2007 - Perusing a community bulletin board in the lobby area of a bank netted a rare find in these parts: a business card for a local dowser. The standard fare for such boards usually consists used car, boat or motorcycles for sale, various more pedestrian business cards of realtors, plumbers, carpenters, painters, landscapers, babysitters and day care providers. As you can imagine, this dowser's card stuck out like the proverbial sore thumb.

The business owner, apparently not satisfied with being in a rather small, niche vocation, seemed to find it necessary to further distance himself from an already small field by noting "Specializing in Energies." Also noted on the card were geopathic clearing, intuitive dowsing and labyrinth layout services. Do you notice a pungent hint of "new age?"

Less than 10-minutes of web surfing confirmed my suspicions, so I'll share my findings - all strictly in the interest of consumer awareness and the mockery of new age shenanigans of legerdemain.

No Energizer Rabbits here - only pendulum.

Note the dream catcher on this geopathic clearing page.

See what a Man in the Cosmos has to say about intuitive dowsing.

Take a walk on the wild side once your labyrinth layout has been completed.

And authors of books like this don't help to stockpile dowser credibility to the skeptics amongst us.

Now where in the Hell are my sage and incense?


WINSTED CT, July 23, 2007 - Okay, okay. That's not entirely true. The Cadillac has been dropped and the Nonchalant has been introduced, though not by General Motors, but by Joe Castiglione. Let me explain ...

Joe is THE voice of the WEEI Red Sox Radio Network. A long-time baseball fan and broadcaster, Joe is now the senior announcer for BoSox games throughout the northeast on the network. What Joe's voice lacks in resonance and polish, he more than makes for with intellect, wit, and knowledge of and passion for the game. While listening to Joe call a game, you can see him jump out of his seat in the excitement of a close play. He's that good.

I was listening to a game last Friday night when a player casually moved under a fly ball - a sure out - and one-handed it, only to drop the ball. Joe's description was that the outfielder "nonchalanted" the play. The "verbing of nouns" is very commonplace today, much to the dismay of educators trying to teach proper English. However, I don't recall hearing anyone "verb an adjective" before. More surprising was Joe's apparent abandonment of both more familiar and now classic terminology for such a play. Were this the 2006 season, he would have painted the picture as "that would have been an out if he didn't Cadillac that play."

A necessary aside: Castiglione doesn't slaughter the King's English. Quite the contrary, Joe has a BA from Colgate, an MFA from Syracuse University, and is more than articulate.

Standard dictionaries won't shed much light on these new verbs, to Cadillac and to nonchalant, though the classic definition of nonchalant is sufficient to extrapolate the transition from adjective to verb. With the Internet and the new resources it has spawned, a quick trip to Urban Dictionary revealed the, ahem ... official definition thereof. To wit:

Cadillac - verb. To chill out; Cool it; Take one's time. "You're tryin' too hard man, just cadillac."

The inevitable question, at least for me, is this: why did "Cadillac" fall from grace, only to be mysteriously replaced by "nonchalant"? Here's my guess ...

It's probably a case of the Politically Correct Police over-reacting to protect imagined victims with imagined sensitivity to imagined pejorative association to imagined Cadillac prejudice. Both groups - the politically correct crew and all those suffering from hyper-sensitivity and acute victimitis - should all grow some callous, fur and gonads. And if they don't like it, they can STFU or GTFO.

Long live the Cadillac, both on the road and in openly spoken slang. Now lets play ball!


WINSTED CT, July 22, 2007 - I'm no authority on the neo-classic separated at birth Internet genre, but have probably checked out more such sites than the average surfer. So it's with a hefty bit of dubious expertise that I say the following two people from the world of arts and entertainment haven't been prominently featured on any separated at birth sites. Ahem ...

The impetus for this entry was rather interesting and the path circuitous. While lurking in the #phreadom Libertarian channel on the Freenode IRC network, user Largo posted a link about a conspiracy theory professing NASA had doctored colors of photos sent back from Mars. Reading from the linked web page reminded me of a music CD title and cover art. While image searching for a suitable reciprocal photo link to send to Largo, I stumbled across a photo that vaguely reminded me of another photo I saw quite a few years ago, which instigated another search. This is the way my life goes and there's no relief in sight ...

My attraction to and fascination with Orson Welles started with reading about his infamous hookwinking radio listeners on Halloween night, 1938, with The Mercury Theater radio rendition of H.G. Wells's War of the Worlds. I'm sad to report that I've never seen the movie Citizen Kane. And I only managed to get through about one-third of a torturously boring biography of this most exciting personality. I should probably give another bio author a try. For now, the bulk of my Welles info spelunking takes place on the Internet.

The music of Matthew Sweet smoothed out otherwise jagged and ragged playlists on Alternative Rock FM stations in the 1990s. Though altogether too often stations would only play "Sick of Myself" from the "100% Fun" CD. It's a great tune destined to be a second tier pop classic, but there's so much more to Sweet. Contrary to popular belief, he can kick ass and rock. Too bad FM stations of the era, both corporate and independent, and most jocks were so short-sighted with playlists.

Now it's time for you to decide: were Orson Welles and Matthew Sweet separated at birth?

orsonwelles.jpg    matthewsweet.jpg

For the ininitiated, Welles is on the left and Sweet on the right.


WINSTED CT, February 18, 2007 - This is somewhat misplaced, as it was garnered from a news report on December 18, 2006. It strikes me as inconceivable that a full seven years after the Great Y2K Scare that something like the following would be freely and apparently shamelessly admitted by our friends at NASA. Here's the quip:

"NASA wants Discovery back from its 12-day mission by New Year's Eve because shuttle computers are not designed to make the change from the 365th day of the old year to the first day of the new year while in flight. The agency has developed a fix, but would prefer not to try it."


comfy.jpgWINSTED CT, February 14, 2007 - Tell me I'm not the only one who has occasionally seen pictures such as this in print and electronic advertising media. It always seems to be some cute, young woman computing away on the floor as if this were the most normal position for such activity. Just look at the woman in the picture: she looks so happy tapping away at the keyboard of that laptop!

I decided to conduct a little experiment to either confirm or debunk my preconcieved notions on this position for computing. The laptop computer was put on the floor with a text editor patiently awaiting my input. I laid down in the same position as the cutie in the picture and hit the date/timestamp hotkey. The display spat back "11/30 @ 21:46:45" and I began to do some simple offline tasks. The first thing I noticed was discomfort in my, uh ... pubic bone region: it was as much as mashing into the floor. And it wasn't the type of carpet I'd prefer to be mashing that part of my body into ...

Then it was time to type some text, but this was torture, too, most noticable in my elbows. By this time the muscles in my lower back began to scream at me, but I kept at it, strictly in the interest of science.

After what my body thought was an eternity, I finally gave up and again hit the date/timestamp hotkey, fully expecting something other than what was to be displayed.

"11/30 @ 21:49:21" - a mere 2-1/2 minutes. So there you have it. Experiment results show that it's either an incredibly un-natural and foolish position for computing, or I'm getting old and out of shape ... or both.

Now doesn't "laptop" suggest the preferred placement for the electronic device be on, uh ... the lap?


WINSTED CT, January 31, 2007 - The Feds recently cracked the whip in Orange County, California, according to this story garnered from the Drudge Report. Coincidental or not, the AP writer is one Jeremiah Marquez.

Of particular note was the plight of one of the detainees:

Erik Omar Galindo-Vazquez, a Mexican national taken in during the sweeps in Orange County, was charged with illegal re-entry to the United States after felony deportation _ a federal crime that can carry up to 20 years in prison.

ICE officials said Galindo-Vazquez was deported in October 2005 after being detained in Arizona and was convicted six years earlier in Orange County for assault with a deadly weapon, a felony charge.

While federal law makes it a crime to enter the country illegally, only a fraction of the tens of thousands of illegal immigrants caught every year are ever prosecuted under criminal laws. There just aren't enough agents, prosecutors and prison space.

So authorities go after serious offenders such as Galindo-Vazquez, whose wrap sheets combine past deportations with convictions for crimes such as assault, murder and drug trafficking.

So not only is Galindo-Vazquez a "serious offender," but apparently he's also a slow learner.

It looks like Erik Oman Galindo-Vazquez may very well get his wish of residing in the USA, however la casa in which he will reside is a going to be a far cry from what he had expected. At least he'll have plenty of time to bone up for the citizenship exam - considering he's a slow learner and all ...


BURLINGTON CT, May 4, 2006 @ 1:20 P.M. - I pull into the parking lot at Torrington Saving Bank's Burlington branch and slip the Explorer into the spot next to the handicap slot. While getting out of my vehicle, I notice a sign attached under the requisite "HANDICAP PARKING - STATE PERMIT REQUIRED" sign. It warned:


Memo to the legal department of Torrington Savings Bank: having a physical handicap does not necessarily include stupidity.


BRISTOL CT, October 4, 2006 @ 1:04 P.M. - This was a first for me: witnessing two deaf people arguing. During what would have otherwise been a very boring lunch break, I noticed a very animated couple having what appeared to be an extremely heated argument; and all in what I assume was American sign.

Though I don't know what they were arguing about, it was obvious that the man was making some sort of impassioned plea to the woman; not an uncommon occurrence in relationships - hearing impaired or not.

After a while of "overhearing" their "conversation," it got a bit depressing and I didn't know whether to laugh or cry. So I ordered two dogs with the works instead ...


WINSTED CT, Saturday, June 3, 2006 - Though not in the least bit nervous or phobic, the instant I heard WTIC's weather clown Joe Furey announced there was "a back door cold front that's trying to push its way in right now," my sphincter clenched up tighter than a vault door at Fort Knox.

Is "back door cold front" a bona fide meteorological term? Inquiring minds want to know. A quick web search revealed that the terminology in question has been blessed by the American Meteorological Society. Ahem.

Okay, so it's official. It still sounds both silly and almost perverse; at least to me. Apparently there has been a move afoot to liven up weather forecasts with catchy phrases and such. However, I long for the days when after hearing a weather forecast you could actually remember what the forecast was. Today's weather announcers spit out so much nonsense in the interest of being clever that the forecast - the meat of the matter - gets completely lost in all that silly cleverness.

And if I ever hear Joe Furey and Angela Dias joke on-the-air calling each other "Joe Joe" and "Ang" like I did a few weeks ago, I'm going to be more than tempted to drive down to Farmington, burst into the studio and commandeer the broadcast facilities - I shit you not!

Another one of WTIC's weather types is Bob Cox, whom isn't nearly as pretentious as Furey, though has a few quirks of his own that contribute to the devolution of radio broadcasting. To wit, Cox has recently taken to speaking abbreviations such as "accum, precip" and "temps" as if they were real words. Ugh.

He also constantly breaks a long established rule of broadcasting - the station ID - with the lazy pronunciation of the letter "W" as "dubba-u" instead of the proper and standard "double-u." I fear Bob Steele may not be resting in peace, but instead rolling in his grave ...

I suppose getting all worked up over this is silly. Pity is more appropriate than criticism. After all, can you imagine going through life having your career zenith be pulling a four-hour shift on the Weather Channel?

Me neither.

Saturday morning program host Stan Simpson was recently interviewing a guest; an entertainment industry attorney. During the course of the interview, this attorney used the expression "non-gay." It sounded as if, or implied that being "straight" was the exception rather than the rule and that perhaps "straight" was politically incorrect terminology. WTF is up with that?

I'd bet a dollar-to-a-dime that if you were to hear someone refer to gays as "non-straight" there would be an uproar from the gay community charging straights with "orientation prejudice" or some such ACLUese garbage.

And please don't tell me that we "straights" are supposed to accept being referred to as "non-gay."

During an excursion into Radio Terra Incognita, I was tuned in and listening to a Hartford-area, uhm ... R&B/Hip Hop station, and one of their station-produced commercials caught my attention. The commercial was for a local college and the "non-Caucasian", "non-male" announcer proclaimed that institute of higher learning was "...offering more opportunity than you can emagine."

Well, shit, yo. Welcome to the new world of ethnic commercial voice-over in the year 2006. Emagine that!

I guess I'll just have to patiently wait for an R&B or Hip Hop cover of John Lennon's classic Emagine to be released.

Let the hate mail begin ...


WINSTED CT, Tuesday, March 21, 2006 - One of the few cell phone ancillary functions that I do use from time to time is the voice memo feature. Instead of fumbling around for a pencil and paper to note something of dubious interest that has been observed, I'll fumble around for my cell phone and stumble all over the tiny keypad. Ah, modern technology's "conveniences" and "progress."

A while ago when trying to record a memo, I found that the memory was chock-full. So to avoid this from happening again and having some rare free time this morning, I decided to clear out the voice memo bank. Here's what was uncovered:

PROTOCOL OR UNORTHODOX EXPEDIENT: The Simpsons program has perpetuated the rumor of law enforcement officers lust for donuts and the use of lights and sirens to lubricate the aquisition and delivery of such deep fried pastry. Now I'm not exactly certain whether the following was a real life Simpsons moment or simply an ironic and coincidental twist of fate. Until more investigating can be done, I'll let you decide.

Traffic snarls heading east out of Winsted on Main Street where two lanes merge to one in front of McDonalds and Dunkin Donuts. It was there that I saw an ambulance trying to get out of McDonalds and into the westbound lane - a true effort in patience and sometimes futility. Suddenly all manner of strobe lighting got turned on, traffic stopped and the ambulance pulled out through the newly formed void in vehicular congestion.

I was too preoccupied with traffic to notice if the lights remained on once the vehicle was safely in the westbound lane, though no siren was used. Were they on-call or not? I'll try to follow-up on this, so stay tuned. -Thursday, March 9, 2006 @ 7:32 A.M., Winsted, CT

SOMETHING YOU DON'T SEE EVERY DAY: While driving on Route 44 eastbound, my vehicle was passed by a new, silver-grey hearse sporting dealer plates. I don't think this was an omen. Had the hearse incessantly followed behind me for any appreciable distance, there would have been reason for worry. I hesitantly add a guarded "heheh" to this entry. - Tuesday, February 28, 2006 @ 11:52 A.M., Barkhamsted, CT

LOOKING INTO THE FUTURE: In a last minute Saturday morning run to the bank, I was standing in line as an elderly man was apparently wrestling with a transaction. Obviously frustrated with the process, he said to the teller, "You sure make things awful complicated." Then came muffled snickering from some customers standing in line.

Some people either forget or simply refuse to accept that if fate treats them favorably that they'll be old someday, too. - Saturday, February 18, 2006 @ 12:02 P.M., Torrington, CT

SCHLOSSER STUCK ON STUPID: Joseph Schlosser, the unworthy replacement for Howard Stern on Hartford, Connecticut FM radio, just displayed his lack of knowledge of '60s music. Schlosser, otherwise known as Sebastian, has been around radio and pop music for a long time, so there's no excuse for him incorrectly crediting Jimi Hendrix for writing All Along The Watchtower. Although Hendrix did perform and record the song, it was Bob Dylan who wrote it.

And to the Fringe Faithful that are about to take me to task for listening to Schlosser when I proclaimed in an essay that I wouldn't do so; I'm sorry. It was purely in the interest of investigative reporting. My beliefs have been confirmed: Schlosser is a low talent fucktard. -Friday, January 27, 2006 @ 7:24 A.M., New Hartford, CT


WINSTED CT, February 14, 2006 - According to a link on the Drudge Report, congressional Democrats have their panties all bunched up over Vice President Cheney's apparent foot dragging in releasing news of his recent hunting accident.

Mary Jo Kopeckne was unavailable for comment ...


WINSTED CT, Janaury 30, 2006 - I honestly thought I'd never see the day that I'd openly admit to having a renewed faith in mankind, let alone this revelation occuring in Hartford's bustling south end during the tail end of lunch hour. Let me explain ...

While working in the city last week on a new construction project, a run to the hardware store was necessary and I was elected gopher. Having already fought a traffic jam on I-84 on the way in to work from the boonies and hearing that a huge electrical transformer had caught fire at Bulkley High School, I wasn't looking forward to trying to navigate through the the city's south end. All the TV news helicopters circling overhead were an omen. Or so it seemed.

Off I went and about half way to the store the busy intersection of Airport Road and Wethersfield Avenue greeted me with a line of cars, a dead traffic control light and a bunch of those old "portable" stop signs. It was one of those times when you want to see a cop, yet none was anywhere near the intersection. It was every driver for himself ...

I feared that I was in for a long, long wait to make my left hand turn at the intersection. If you scroll down to the August 12, 2005 entry, HUMANITY REARS ITS UGLY HEAD, you'll realize the memory that was playing through my head. But although drama was about to occur, it was not the drama I expected.

Traffic was actually moving. Slowly. Deliberately. Cautiously. But moving, nevertheless. Drivers were actually reading the situation and being courteous. What could have been a clusterfuck of selfish driving behavior had instead somehow evolved falling into a graceful rhythm. And it was a gift.

Coincidentally, I was reading from bukowski.net the other day and stumbled upon this interview response to a question regarding "conventional morality:"

"There may not be a hell, but those who judge may create one. I think people are over-taught. They are over-taught everything. You have to find out by what happens to you, how you will react. I'll have to use a strange term here..."good." I don't know where it comes from, but I feel that there's an ultimate strain of goodness born in each of us. I don't believe in God, but I believe in this "goodness" like a tube running through our bodies. It can be nurtured. It's always magic, when on a freeway packed with traffic, a stranger makes room for you to change lanes...it gives you hope."

Leave it to Bukowski to aim the shot across my bow "warning" me of an impending miracle.


WINSTED CT, January 30, 2006 - Lets face it: like it or not, we're all drowning is a sea of acronyms. In an earlier penned screed, I listed a few of them. However, some acronyms have deceptively disguised origins.

Unless you've been living in a cave (or Wyoming), you've been a target hit by the marketeers of GEICO insurance. Clever ad men have cloaked The Truth by diverting our curiosity and attention from the company "name" to their mascot: that foolish, sometimes animated gecko lizard. Then came that tired "I just saved a bunch of money on my car insurance" campaign. One can't even open up a piece of commercial mail without it containing an insert sporting the GEICO gecko.

And it was when I opened my most recent Internet access bill from Charter Communications that I was enlightened. There amongst a plethora of advertising inserts was one from GEICO. Before ripping it up, curiosity got the best of me, so I checked it out. That's when I noticed in very small print the words "Government Employees Insurance Company."

My initial reaction was suspicion and probably based on some genetic hardwiring that red-flags anything with a wiff of government about it. Further research alleviated most of my suspicion, though not entirely. There's more snooping for me to do ...

If you're interested, check out the GEICO version of the company's history. And this friendly authored bio of mogul Warren Buffet is a good read.


WINSTED CT, January 29, 2006 - The supposed King of Pop recently made an appearance at a Bahrain mall dressed in the manner women of that country. With children in tow in their usual disguises, Jackson sashayed about hiding his hideously disfigured face behind a veil, donned an abaya and black gloves. Such modesty and desire for privacy certainly is contrary to his otherwise Attention Whore behavior.

This news follows a November report of Jackson entering a shopping mall ladies room in the United Arabs Emirates. According to local newspapers, he was applying makeup, though Jackson's host dismissed the makeup story as a rumor. You can decide for yourselves.

Jackson's trips to Bahrain as the guest of the son of Bahrain's king reportedly revolve around negotiating a consulting gig with a Bahrain-based entertainment and education outfit. Yeah, okay. Some say Jackson is planning on setting up residence in Bahrain. I've got a different take on these junkets.

From what I remembered of geography studies in school, that general area of the globe doesn't have a hell of a lot going for it other than oil and religious fanaticism. I mean, people aren't exactly flocking to Bahrain, Saudi Arabia or Kuait. This left me with a question gnawing at my brain. Of all the beautiful places on this planet, why the hell would anyone pick Bahrain? So I decided to refresh my memory and took advantage of what one government agency's website had to report about Bahrain.

It didn't take long to confirm my suspicions: Bahrain does not have an extraditon agreement with the United States. Could it possibly be that Michael Jackson is checking out real estate only in nations that would provide a safe haven from further stateside-based litigation?


WINSTED CT, January 3, 2006 - Major League Baseball is about the only sport that I follow with any degree of consistency, and the Boston Red Sox are my team. I only casually follow football and the New England Patriots my faves. What the heck: the BoSox and Pats are our "local" teams, but that's where any local or regional loyalty ends.

Around here, rooting against the UCONN basketball teams is risky behavior at best and usually only for the foolhardy or suicidal. Be that as it may, I despise UCONN's mens and womens basketball programs, including the pompous coaches Calhoun and Auriemma. So it was with this long established loathing that led me to listen to the men's game tonight.

And what a game it was. UCONN simply couldn't get their act together and Marquette took full advantage of every Husky foul up. It was simply delightful listening to the jock strap sniffing Joe D'Ambrosio doing the game call while obviously in pain watching his team lose. The most delicious moment, aside from the final score, was when rabid Marquette fans starting the chant, "OVER-RATED! OVER-RATED!" I just about shit myself laughing.

Tonight the hammer came down, and it came down hard. In Marquette's debut game in the Big East conference, they beat the living shit out of the UCONN Huskies, 94-79, a sound and just beating. The post-game wrap up was more ear-candy as apologist broadcasters tried in vain to justify UCONN's poor showing. The only disappointment for me was not hearing the press conference with coach Jim Calhoun after the game. Whether not broadcast or I missed it when stepping out for a bit, it would have been simply excellent listening to Calhoun cry like a school girl.

A particularly annoying promo that is running on WTIC-AM 1080 is for the UCONN basketball program includes a clip of a woman exclaiming "I thought they had great ball movement tonight." Some fucktard engineer at WTIC even ran the promo after the game broadcast. To the woman in the promo, I politely reply, "Sorry honey, you can't be talking about UCONN.

And I not-so-politely proclaim "UCONN sucks." They are over-rated.


WINSTED CT, January 1, 2006 - First site entry for 2006. By the way, happy new year.

A couple of weeks ago I was standing in line at our local IGA supermarket getting some groceries checked out. The guy in line behind me happened to be a rather well known personality, as he's the area's most prominent bail bondsman who happens to be the brother-in-law of a good friend of mine. In this neck of the woods, and Winsted in particular, he has plenty of business.

For the uninitiated, a bail bondsman is basically an insurance agent who guarantees to the court that defendants show up for cases. Please don't ask me how I know this ...heh.

Meanwhile, back at the check out counter, this bondsman was giving me what I felt was the evil eye, so I innocently (heh) said "hello" to him. He sharply responded, "You better get your ass up to court. They're looking for you, you know."

To say this "greeting" was alarming would be an understatement. My brain went into turbo-scan mode in search of some clue as to why The Court was interested in my attendance. Was there some stupid traffic or parking ticket that got lost in the madness and transformed into a warrant? Had I forgotten to keep various folks supplied with an up-to-date residence and mailing address? Had I developed schitzophrenia and "the other Jeff" committed some sort of crime? The search came up "no files found."

All I could come up with for a response was "Unless there's a terribly old warrant floating around I'm not aware of, could you be mistaking me for someone else?" The bondsman's facial expression dropped from stern to what appeared to be troubled concern. "What's your name?", he asked.

I identified myself and this guy's puffed up macho melted and he profusely apologized, saying that I'm a dead ringer for some local miscreant who has been pulling no-shows for court dates. My reply was something like "So I've got a clone running around, eh? Poor bastard walking around with a face like mine, huh."

Like I said, this was a couple of weeks ago, and though initially relieved, in restrospect I'm a little perturbed about this case of mistaken identity. There were others besides the cashier who overheard all or only part of the exchange. I think this is the first time I've faced being slandered in public and it doesn't feel good.

It is kind of funny, though, in a sick kind of way.


WINSTED CT, December 21, 2005 - While listening to the call-in portion of Sports Talk on WTIC-AM tonight, a caller brought up what has to be the hot story for New England sports fans: specifically, the recent defection by Johnny Damon to archenemy New York Yankees. The caller was obviously repulsed by Damon's move to the Evil Empire and the program host rhetorically asked what kind of reception Damon will get in his first 2006 season game in Fenway wearing the gray pinstripes.

His reply? "I'm going to boo him 'til my eyes pop out of my head!" heheh. Gotta love the Boston fans!

On a personal note just for the record: Jeter sucks; A-Rod swallows; Steinbrenner sucks; Yankees suck; and now Johnny Damon sucks.

I trust that clarifies what side of the Beantown-NY rivalry I'm on.


WINSTED CT, December 15, 2005 - One of my rituals is to check the temperature on my outside thermometer before heading out for work. Living in New England with its wild "mood" swings, one can never bank on the weather, other than on its unpredictable nature. I was greeted with quite the surprise this morning.

I'll initially put the media spin on this. Today's temperature was TWICE as high as it was yesterday at the same hour. Sounds incredible, no? Well, remember this is New England and it's December.

Yes, this morning it was a balmy 10-degrees Fahrenheit: twice the numberical reading of yesterday. I'm ready for Spring ...


WEST HARTFORD CT, December 13, 2005 - Spoiler warning: if you haven't read it yet, scroll down four entries and peruse PERFECT PAWS PROMPT PREGNANT PAUSE. This update is built upon that posting.

Today's work found me back at the upscale neighborhood where the friendly Perfect Paws van makes its rounds. While on a coffee break, my brother-in-law was gazing out a window and exclaimed, "Jeff! Come here QUICK! You're going to LOVE this!"

A van had pulled up in front of the house we were working in. Four, uh ... special citizens (sounds better than 'tards) disembarked as well as a some sort of supervisor. WTF now? This crew walked up into the yard and the challenged citizens (also sounds better than 'tards) started picking up dog shit with small shovels and "dropped the droppings" into the bucket the supervisor was carrying around.

Three minutes later they all piled back into the van and were off, apparently to another turd strewn yard. And the donut I was eating, an unpowdered cruller, didn't quite taste the same. Neither did my coffee.

As the van drove off down the road, I was left with two gnawing questions -- one of which is rhetorical.

1) Other than carrying the bucket, what else does the supervisor do: insure that her wards didn't mistake small sticks or the unlikely cigar butt or pipe heel for turds?

2) What did the inside of the van smell like with that uncovered bucket stowed aboard?

And that's all I have to report at this time ...


WINSTED CT, December 12, 2005 - Our local AM radio powerhouse, WTIC 1080, features a "Traffic Control" segment mornings and afternoons, apparently for the benefit of commuters. Though the moniker "Traffic Control" is both dillusional and arrogant, as much as I'd like to, I won't go into that right now. What I will report is hearing Traffic Contol's Gerri Griswold recently warning motorists of "a deer strike" on an entrance ramp to I-84 in Southington.

Hello? Politically Correct Police? I suppose it was more prudent than exclaiming "another Bambi has been bopped by a Bronco ..."

Meanwhile, back to this "deer strike" proclamation. Perhaps my brain chemistry is all out of kilter, but when I heard this on the radio my mind's eye painted a picture of a herd of deer blocking the entrance ramp, walking around on their hind legs and holding signs proclaiming "Deer are pedestrians, too!" and "Think of Bambi."

Oddly enough, announcer Gerri Griswold is from my current home town of Winsted. She is also known as Geri Greb-Lasky and Gerri Griswold Greb-Lasky. I wish these effen people would settle on one name, dammit! Besides being an announcer on the radio, Gerri Geri Griswold Greb-Lasky is also a state licensed wildlife rehabilitator specializing in, now get this ... bats.

An odd aside: she's got a peculiar yet strangly familiar laugh when engaging in what sounds like uncomfortable banter with morning show hosts Ray "Dunaway" Goldsich and Diane Smith. It took a while to make the connection, but the bat lady sounds just like Lily Tomlin's character Ernestine.


WINSTED CT, December 5, 2005 - Clicking on a link on the Drudge Report brought me to a story with the headline "Deadly bacteria spreading through US hospitals." As I read on, one rather concise paragraph struck me as odd. It stated:

"Symptoms include watery, malodorous diarrhea and cramps."

Malodorous diarrhea, eh? Is that opposed to the more olfactory-friendly fragrant variety of diarrhea?

No Coincidence Department: the original story is copyright Agence France-Presse. Now it makes sense, as everyone knows the French think their shit doesn't smell ...


WINSTED CT, December 4, 2005 - The distinct smell of burning wood faintly drifted through the building a couple of hours ago. After checking out the three floors of our building, I went outside see what was burning. Lo and behold, less than 100-feet away a long time landmark, the Winsted Diner, was burning.

Of course the Winsted Fire Department had all manner of apparatus on the scene to combat a relatively small blaze. Better too much equipment than not enough, I suppose. But this town has a penchant for municipal overkill, and tonight's display underscores some of the silliness of it all. You'd have thought a whole block of buildings was ablaze. Typical Winsted.

Meanwhile, back to the diner: it has been a tough go of it the past few years. First the owner's wife passed away, then he took ill, passing the reins over to the daughter and son. Then just last month the son died unexpectedly. Now this. Hell of a holiday season for that family, huh?

I remember morning visits to the Winsted Diner to dowse the gastric flames of the previous night's abuses. First up was the famous 32-ounce mug of chocolate milk. Then came black coffee, eggs, homefries and toast. The pancakes were awesome. Order pancakes and you got one cake: a 12-incher that took up all the real estate on the serving plate! And those cakes were thick, too.

The diner has been for sale for years now, so the fire marshall and insurance people will probably be sniffing all over the place for the next week. It will be interesting to see what happens with that odd shaped piece of real estate.


WINSTED CT, November 28, 2005 - Just heard a neighbor out in the hall say: Where y'all at?"

So I cranked up the volume on the audio system and played this.

Ten times ...

Repetition for emphasis.


WEST HARTFORD CT, November 27, 2005 - Recently while working on an upscale neighborhood association property, I noticed an odd looking van driving down the street. The vehicle had one of those extended roofs like a camper; what appeared to be exhaust ventilation ducting; and an outboard air conditioner. It turned out to be a mobile pet grooming van for a business going by the name of "Perfect Paws."

A brief search on the web revealed a franchise operation going by the same name based in Australia, a few domestic outfits, and a listing for Perfect Paws in Bloomfield, which is adjacent to West Hartford.

The more I thought about this business, the more ridiculous it seemed: more accurately, the need for such a service. I suppose I shouldn't be surprised. A lot of the people who call Perfect Paws are too busy with their careers and hire domestics to clean their houses and nannies or au pairs to care for the children. Parents too wrapped up in themselves to wash and care for their own children certainly can't be expected to provide basic care for their pets.

By coincidence or fate, I ended up stepping in some dog shit from one of the property owner's pets. I guess the Dog Shit Removal service was running a little late that day ...


WINSTED CT, November 23, 2005 - It was the flash of color in my peripheral vision that caught my eye: brash, fluorescent orange, to be specific. Having never witnessed that color while tapping away at the keyboard, I got up to look out the window.

There was my neighbor in a fluorescent orange jacket of some sort and streamlined safety helmet reclining on a recumbent tadpole tricycle; complete with a "watch out for me" safety whip adorned with not one, not two, but three fluorescent flags. The hell?

Now these recumbent trikes provide an incredibly low center of gravity. Couple that with the fact that they're inherently more stable than their two-wheeled cousins, and I ask "why the freaking helmet, sissy boy?"

Aren't we going a little overboard on the personal safety accoutrements?

This sighting provided an innocent target at which to take a cheap shot from the relative anonymity of this web site. However, in working on this entry I had to check out some sites dedicated to recumbent bikes and learn some of the terminology so I wouldn't come across as a complete idiot. These cycles are peculiar in a number of ways and, well, interesting.

I've included a couple of good starting links for The Curious. Here's a decent overview of recumbent trikes and here's a manufacturer's site.

Enjoy your recumbent edification ...


WINSTED CT, November 23, 2005 - If a deal seems too good to be true, then chances are it's simply too good to be true. Such is the case with two recent advertisements I've been subjected to.

The first was on the inside front cover of a TigerDirect catalog received in the mail. "Two Incredible Deals!" as much as shouted out at me: a complete home computer system for $199.98 and a fully-loaded notebook pc system for $399.99 -- with no rebates required. Both sport decent specs and Intel Celeron processors. The home system even includes a printer.

The second was a radio ad for CompUSA. They're having an oft used "midnight madness sale" are hawking computers at an incredibly low prices. I checked their web site and noted the super "deal" to be a home computer for $89.99, though qualified with the ominous "after savings & rebate."

A plethora of disclaimer fine print items adorned ads from both outlets, of course. And as is the case with most deals that seem too good to be true, the devil is in the details.

The devil in both of these advertisements is this: the price is only good if you're willing to commit to 12-months of AOL membership at $23.90 a month. That's $286.80 for the year. All of a sudden these "deals" don't seem so seductive, do they?

Something I found particularly funny in the TigerDirect ad was the quip "The AOL™ Optimized PC." You've heard the expression "understatement of the century?" Well, "The AOL™ Optimized PC" has got to be the "conflict of terms of the century."


UCONN STORRS CAMPUS CT, November 12, 2005 - It started innocently enough: listening to the UCONN girls basketball game on the radio while dinner was cooking. Baby faced and normally mild-mannered WTIC-AM sports announcer Bob Joyce was doing the play-by-play with his irritating, high-pitched, pre-adolescent voice. However, this seemingly innocuous broadcast took a rapid and decidedly suggestive nose dive into the toilet.

UCONN was driving down court and Joyce announced to the world: "... Turner goes to the hole ..."

Excuse me? I couldn't help but wonder if Joyce was aware of what he just said. It's not exactly news that womens sports teams are frequently suspected of being elaborate covers for rampant lesbianism. With that one remark, Joyce added a few logs to that fire of suspicion.

I listened closer. Minutes later Turner was charged with an offensive foul. heh. Well that made sense. Going for the hole without the consent of the owner of said hole is certainly both foul and offensive behavior. Justice had been served, at least for the moment.

Joyce went on with some other beauts, such as "a backdoor move," so-and-so "penetrates," and so-and-so "dribbles down court." That last one did it for me. I was about to sit down to dinner, thank you very much. I don't care to defile my taste buds with thoughts of ANY player leaking bodily fluids (or solids, for that matter) all over a basket ball court. That's not a visual image I want trapped in my head as I'm gazing down at a bowl of steaming, hot chili.

Wonder if anyone is going to call the FCC and report this open-and-shut case of broadcasting indecent content?


WINSTED CT, November 9, 2005 @ 2:50 P.M. - My cell phone just rang and a flip of the lid let the display inform me that it was my brother-in-law calling. Not normally being one to hide using caller ID, I broke tradition and let the call go to voice mail. Call it sick retribution or revenge, but I can't tell you how many times I've called his house, a long distance charge, only to be stuck talking to a machine. When confronting him on this, I'm drowned with a plethora of excuses, so I don't feel bad about sending him to voice mail.

I called my voice mailbox as soon as I got the prompt, and was greeted by what had to have been 2-minutes worth of Verizon advertising. "That's new," I mused. They were telling me about this new voice mail call back feature in altogether too much detail, being something that could certainly have waited and been included with their monthly billing statement.

My feeling is this was an advertisement, though I'm sure Verizon would call it an announcement of a new, free feature. Well, attention Verizon: those were my prime airtime minutes you just gobbled up. Stay the fuck out of my voice mail or I'll put a caller block on your fucking ass.

It's bad enough having to repeatedly listen to my brother-in-law's frantic gibberish in order to decypher it into something vaguely resembling English ...


UNIONVILLE CT, November 3, 2005 @ 11:49 A.M. - It's election time and one such placard caught my eye by announcing, "Bill Bonk for Town Council," or something like that. Some surfing on the Internet proved there is, in fact, a town council candidate Bill Bonk. A call to the Farmington Town Clerk's office revealed very close election results for that position and Bonk did not come out on the top of the heap. A recount is in the works.

The reason for this entry has little to do with politics, though. I saw that placard and couldn't help what it must have been like to go through life with Bonk as a last name. In our neck of the woods, the word "bonk" is frequently used as a verb synonymous with bang, tap, drill, bop, stab, hit, nail, and jump -- all slang for a physical activity resulting in the carnal knowledge of another human being. Therefore, life on the old school bus must have been challenging for Bill Bonk.

This "bonk" matter reminded me of an excellent joke, though I can't remember the whole thing, dammit. What I do remember is an avian character of the joke delivering the punchline with the parrot saying, "Bonk, bonk, bonk!"

If someone starts telling you a joke where this fits into the storyline, please feel free to cut the joke teller just short of the punchline and proudly say, "Bonk, bonk, bonk!" It will deprive the joke teller of the tactile feedback of laughter he or she so desperately seeks, and might quite possibly ruin his or her day.

Then drop me an e-mail and fill me in on the joke. I hate it when I can only remember part of a joke!

I just got a sinking feeling that the actual punchline was "Bop, bop, bop!" and not "Bonk, bonk, bonk!" Oh well, what's a little wasted hard drive space and Internet bandwidth?


WINSTED CT, November 3, 2005 @ 6:30 A.M. - Cyclical planetary alignment be damned: today marks the first day of winter, as far as I'm concerned. It's the first day I've had to scrap any appreciable amount of frost off the windshield of my truck before heading out on my appointed rounds. This is not a good thing ...


MANCHESTER CT, October 29, 2005 - When working in the construction trades, it's not unusual for several tradesmen to be working in a relatively small area. Such was the case today, with five of us in a 12 by 20 foot room. Working in such close quarters requires more than an average amount of patience and it doesn't take much to rock the good ship Tranquility.

One trademan's dinner from the previous night was becoming problematic for the rest of the crew. Though there was no audible warning, it was painfully obvious that the air in the room was rapidly becoming more and more befouled with hydrogen sulfide, mercaptans and methane. After a half dozen or so silent but voluminous expulsions, the general contractor had apparently had quite enough.

Mustering up all the scant eloquence in his possession, he emphatically implored, "I'd really appreciate it if the person responsible for the air quality in here would just get it over with and go take a fucking shit."

Well seeing how you asked so nicely ...


WINSTED CT, October 28, 2005 - My upstairs neighbor is making far too much noise tonight. Again. She's not just "stuck on stupid;" she's incredibly selfish and doesn't give a flying fuck about her neighbors. The world revolves around her, or so she seems to think. I'm still formulating a plan to resolve this matter that is both legal and spiritual -- a huge challenge for me on both fronts.

If I ever needed an excuse to fire up a CD, tonight's the night. And tonight's choice is the Counting Crows' 1996 release, Recovering the Satellites. Without getting into a lot of history and the bloody details, this CD came into my life at a most appropriate time. Many hours were logged on this one -- an insane number of hours. As a result, a lot of memories are rushing into my head as it plays away: some good, some bad. Melancholy baby, baby. However, even the bad memories are good. Funny how time heals.

God how I love listening to Adam Duritz masterpieces before he got fat, happy and successful. Anything I've heard after the Crow's Live on a Wire CD has sucked HUGE.

I feel the same way about James Taylor material. His Flying Machine and Sweet Baby James albums were incredibly real. Then he bedded down Carly Simon (or she bedded him down), they got married, and the music went to hell. If you need proof, one spin of Mocking Bird ought to drive my point home.

It's almost as if the very marrow of artistic creativity is neutralized when one is getting laid on a regular basis, thus lending new meaning to being "tapped" or "drained." Imagine, if you will, the copious amounts of creative juices dribbling down thighs or being absorbed in motel room bedspreads, Kleenix tissues, undergarments and carpet fiber.


WINSTED CT, October 19, 2005 @ 10:03 A.M. - I just heard a radio interview on WTIC-AM 1080 of some Hartford community leader, who repeatedly referred to the city's north end as the "nor-then."

The United States Coast Guard is running a recruitment ad on the radio with similar slacker English, such as "we ah (are) the she-el (shield) ah (of) freedom" and "join the Unied (United) Stays (States) Cose (Coast) Gar (Guard). Infuriating, no?

And if you really want to hear some seriously-stuck-on-stupid, listen to the latest radio ad for Bank North, featuring New England Patriot wide receiver Troy Brown. Brown wears the number "80" for the Pats; a number which, from the sound of the radio ads, may very well be his I.Q. Whoever made the decision to have Brown read ad copy should be kicked soundly in the nuts.

Is it any wonder why corporate board rooms across the country aren't exactly overflowing with bruthas an sistas?


WINSTED CT, October 15, 2005 @ 2:00 A.M. - A very rainy night drifted into Saturday morning while I busied myself with some mundane computer tasks. The popular late night program Coast to Coast AM was playing on the radio, providing the usual background for such late night/early morning hacking. Little did I realize that abject wierdness was lurking around the corner.

Program host George Norry was interviewing Ryan Reynolds, a self-proclaimed expert on budgies: small parakeets that are formally known as budgerigars. A quick check of the Coast to Coast AM website tipped me off to the potential for fun with this tickler: First Hour: Researcher Ryan Reynolds will be sharing some of his talking parrots' predictions concerning earthquakes and the end of times.

But it got way more weird than that.

I forgot the exact exchanges, but the interview drifted into religion. Norry asked Reynolds what the budgies had to say about the coming of Christ.


Without missing much of a beat, Reynolds replied that his budgies tell him that "Jesus will return soon."

That was all I needed to hear. I shut down the radio and stared out the window. How the hell is anyone going to top that? It's a new High Mark in Weird for Norry and Coast to Coast AM. I'm marking my calendar "The Day Sanity on the Radio Evaporated."

If you have a local AM radio station that runs Coast to Coast AM and they are anything like our local station, you'll hear a repeat of this particular program sooner or later. Should you stumble across it, please listen in. It's about an hour long excerpt with a few interesting parts, but the vast majority is simply a riot. Check it out if you can!

Oh yes - nearly forgot. Reynolds' website is budgieresearch.homestead.com. Check it out if you dare.


BARKHAMSTED CT, September 16, 2005 @ 10:30 P.M. - A late evening milk and bread run found me passing on a stop at our local Cumberland Farms store. The parking lot was its usual Friday night freak show and there was a long line at the checkout counter with only one cashier on duty. The visualization of getting stuck in line behind some dolt buying lottery tickets consumed me, so instead of flirting with the distinct possibility of being arrested for aggrevated assault, I opted for "door number two."

Ledgebrook Plaza's Stop and Shop supermarket is a place I generally avoid as the store's prices are rarely competitive unless one "cherry picks" for items on sale. Besides the higher prices, I simply don't like the way the store "feels," as silly as that may sound.

While waiting in the check out line, I noticed that Stop and Shop had jumped the gun at the Christmas advertising starting blocks with a large, inflatable display encapsulating Santa Claus and a snowman (presumably Frosty) in a faux snowstorm.

What the effin' fawk? It's only mid-September, for goodness sake. The kids have been back in school for only two weeks. The autumnal equinox is still a week away. There is still two weeks of regular season baseball, let alone wildcard play, pennant races and the World Series. Halloween is over a month away; Thanksgiving more than two. Is it really necessary for Stop and Shop to start the Christmas blitz this early in the year?

Could it possibly be that someone in the advertising department at Stop and Shop Corporate Hq believes that inflating that otherwise innocuous display in mid-September is going to give Stop and Shop any perceivable edge on consumer holiday grocery purchases?

Stop and Shop just lost my holiday grocery dollars. And future late evening milk and bread run dollars.


WINSTED CT, September 11, 2005 @ 12:28 P.M. - I shared the previous entry, STÖRUNG IST VERBOTEN, via e-mail with Jim MacPherson, host of WTIC-AM 1080's "Car Doctor" talk show. Lo and behold, Jim was kind enough to write back and shared this:

"The most distressed owner of a broken down car that I ever recall seeing was the driver of a Rolls Royce. She was very young, but looked very mad as she stood by her car with the hood raised on the Massachusetts Turnpike."

"Trust me. Every brand gets towed."

Thanks Jim!


HARTFORD CT, August 19, 2005 @ 1:41 P.M. - The Alien experienced a "first" today. While merging onto Route 5/15 South from Route 2 West, I spied a dead Mercedes-Benz up on the tapering traffic island. I honestly can't remember ever seeing a Mercedes dead on the road, hooked to the back of a tow vehicle or on a flatbed hauler. It really looked quite odd ...

I'll grant you that there are many more Fords, Chevys, Hondas and Toyotas on the road than Mercedes and Lexus, so the chances of seeing a luxury vehicle broken down on the side of the road are pretty slim. Math is math and odds are odds.

Devotees of Mercedes Benz automobiles or all things German engineered will no doubt scoff at this entry and counter that operator error had to be the reason for this breakdown. Automotive purists will decry the Daimler Chrysler merger and blame "the American connection."

Others, like me, drive by this inoperable vehicle in our Fords and though we don't wish automotive ill will on anyone, are still slightly bemused. And I'm German!

* Malfunction is forbidden


FARMINGTON CT, August 12, 2005 @ 3:14 P.M. - My commute home today brought me off I-84 West and onto Route 6: usually a faster, albeit longer and more serpentine path back to the northwest hills. This "short cut" to circumnavigate the bowel blockage of Farmington center is the route du jour for those like me whom would rather add a few miles to their commute in a moving vehicle than to crawl along like snails with palsy on the most direct route.

However, today my plan was foiled. The following transcript of the voice memo I recorded on my cell phone pretty much says it all:

"The lights are out at the intersection of U.S. Route 6, Fienemann and Bird's Eye Roads. If you really want to see the collective intelligence of a mass of humanity, turn off the traffic lights at an intersection of a highway and you'll see greed and a total disregard for, or oblivion to just doing the right thing."


WINSTED CT, August 7, 2005 @ 12:52 A.M. - I rarely go looking for trouble or things to piss and moan about. Honest! The vast majority of the time these things just present themselves, as if by some sort of divine intervention or perhaps fate. The fodder for this entry presented itself while I was staring out the window of my car waiting for a traffic light to change.

Winsted has a CVS "drug store," though CVS sells a lot more things than just drugs. It's not quite what one would consider a department store; that's a more appropriate label for WalMart, Target, Caldors and Ames.

Meanwhile, back at the traffic light, I noticed that there is block letter signage on the side of this modern design CVS building that spells out "Food Shoppe."

What's with this faux Olde English spelling "Shop" as "Shoppe?" If it's an attempt at being cute or clever, it fails. It's simply stupid.

Just for the record, for readers who feel my reaction to this signage is hypercritical or inappropriately negative, I hasten to add that a quick Google search reveals that there's at least one other soul on planet Earth who shares my feelings.

Now for a rare positive spin: for the curious seeking personal edification, here's a link to a BBC webpage about Anglo-Saxon (Old English).Consider the link my gyldan to you for visiting and reading from my website.


WEST HARTFORD CT, February 21, 2005 @ 12:14 P.M.- Now before some benevolent ad hoc editor/proofreader gets a huge, raging, blood engorged woody over spotting the next few items being out-of-order, let me explain. I'm cleaning out the voice memo cache on my cellphone. If I were to weave these items into this webpage chronologically, there's a good chance that "regulars" checking for new additions might miss these items altogether. So I've decided to bunch these relics right here. Dig? Here we go ...

Mad Magazine used to have a page or two with comics depicting the contrast of what people say and what they really mean. I don't know if this feature is still something they run, as I haven't bought a Mad Magazine in years. But this "what they say" vs "what they really mean" seems worthy of reference when considering the message on this sign on the interstate.

Hanging above the highway in all its technological splendor, this illuminated sign warned drivers:


Is it safe to assume that were we experiencing perfectly dry conditions it would be fine to forgo driving with caution?


COLLINSVILLE CT, July 30, 2004 @ 11:05 A.M.- I don't know about the rest of the country, but walking and bicycle paths are all over the place in Connecticut. "Paths" is actually a misnomer in many cases, as a lot of these supposed paths are paved, thus elevating their stature to something loftier than being mere paths. But I digress.

The "path" through Collinsville intersects Route 179 in the center of town. It was at that intersection that I noticed there were scaled down stop signs on either side of Route 179 warning walkers and bicyclists of the obvious danger of not stopping there. Duh! And to add a little more to this Pile of Obvious, in the center of the "path" were painted lane divider lines. Again, duh!

Two things come to mind immediately. One is that apparently the "traffic" on these "paths" has gotten great enough to become problematic, thus necessitating the addition of lane divider markings be painted on the paved surface of these "paths." And two, have we all become so mentally lame that we can't even take a stroll along a scenic walkway or ride down a bike path that we have to be constantly reminded of basic safety matters by such signage and markings?

Or perhaps it's the towns being overly cautious in this litigious world we live in.


Here the extreme measures some state, county or town's powers-that-be enacted to ensure safety on a walk/bike "path." My guess is California ...


ROUTE 44, AVON CT, June 7, 2005 @ 1:42 P.M. - I spotted two guys, framers, working on a construction site. A concrete foundation had been poured, floor beams and joists installed a while ago. These guys were laying down a plywood sub-floor over the joists. Got the picture?

This had to be a union job, as progress at this particular site has been barely keeping up with a snail's pace. Another hint that it was a union job was that both these framers were wearing hard hats.

Don't get me wrong. I work in the construction trades and occasionally don my hard hat. However, there has to be good reason for doing so besides anally-retentive OSHA laws, union stipulations or contractual strong-arming. Apparently OSHA, unions and contract writers aren't familiar with physics and the basic concept of gravity. Though not a physics major nor scientist of any sort, I'm fairly certain that the chances are pretty slim that one of those sheets of plywood could come flying up from the joists and then come down on the workmen's heads. Someone correct me if I'm wrong.

On a psychotic flip side to this entry, I recently stumbled across a rather gruesome, fatal accident scene photo on the Internet. A motorcyclist had been, er ... torn in two at the waist. The caption to the photo was "Thank God he was wearing a helmet."

Sure enough, upon closer examination of the photo, it was noted the biker was, in fact, wearing a helmet. Ride safe, dude ...

WHAT: More questionable signage
WHEN: June 7, 2005 @ 1:40 P.M.
WHERE: Avon Old Farms Inn, Avon CT

My commute home brought me down Avon Mountain on Route 44. As luck would have it, the traffic light at the bottom of the "hill" was red, and I stopped right next to the Avon Old Farms Inn; a high-brow restaurant where VIPs and celebrities are sometimes seen. There is a small paved area for a vehicle to pull off Route 44 close to the building, but not large enough for parking. That's where I saw a sign instructing drivers:

Handicap discharge only

For whatever reason, I imagined a collection of urine-filled plastic soda bottles and "loaded" Depends® underpants unceremoniously adorning the pavement.

There has to be a better way to word that particular sign ...

WHAT: contestable quote
WHEN: Wednesday, April 13, 2005
WHERE: today's Cato Daily Dispatch e-mail

"We are driving people into the high-cost and high-risk cash economy where criminals have easy pickings while, in fact, good public policy should be directed toward making it easy for everybody to get into the digital economy using digital money."

Searching the Cato website for a link to reply to the author or publisher was an aggrevating effort in futility. The Cato Institute apparently isn't interested in hearing the opinions of others, instead choosing the locked-in-transmit modus operandi.

WHAT: questionable signage
WHEN: Tuesday, March 29, 2005 around noon
WHERE: Farmington, CT

It was exploration time: I had some time to kill as a job for the day didn't pan out. The Pequabuck River was very high as a result of the recent few days of heavy rain. As I was checking the flooding out, there was a sign on the side of the footpath that struck me as rather peculiar. It said:

Wild Flower Test Area
Please do not pick.

Isn't that odd? This planet has been around for a long time. A search on Google netted a whole range of figures, but suffice to say it has been a while. During a significant amount of the time our planet has been around, wild flowers have peppered many a landscape -- and quite successfully.

Isn't it odd that Man's arrogance has deemed it necessary to set up a test area for wild flowers?

I didn't bother checking to see if there was an "End of Wildflower Testing Area - trample at will" sign ...

WHAT: an answer to my Schiavo morphine drip question
WHEN: Tuesday, March 29, 2005 @ 1:42 P.M.
WHERE: my e-mail inbox

Leave it to Warren -- friend, former co-worker and walking encyclopedia -- to set me straight on the question I ended the previous posting with. To wit:

"The reason they gave Schiavo morphine sulfate (or anyone else in that condition) is that it regulates the breathing -- you take long, slow, regular breaths.

This is less stressful to the person breathing, and less stressful to the people around them -- for otherwise, especially when they're not hydrated, et al, they can seem as if they're struggling for breath, or they'll have very irregular breathing. When the breathing stops, everything stops.

Although this nightmare will continue, I'm sure Terri Schiavo won't be dead and cold before her parents file a suit for wrongful death."

For the uninitiated, Warren and I used to be enslaved in involuntary servitude for the same "employer" years ago. He and I, as well as a number of others, eventually moved on after the HR department decided to violently shake the Staff Etch-a-Sketch clean. Although Warren resides on the Left Coast, he's Right Thinking.

Thanks for the clarification, Warren!

WHAT: news update on Terri Schiavo
WHEN: 11:30 P.M. broadcast, Saturday, March 26, 2005
WHERE: WTIC-AM 1080 radio

It was just reported that Terri Schiavo is now being administered morphine.

Morphine? Sister Morphine?

During the past week's legal chicanery to defend Michael Schiavo's decision to starve and dehydrate Terri to death, medical professionals testified that Terri's brain damage rendered her incapable of feeling pain. Apparently this was to somehow justify the starvation and dehydration death sentence imposed on her.

That said, someone please explain to me why a woman incapable of feeling pain would be administered a pain killer such as morphine.

I smell several rats ...

WHAT: a dark thought
WHERE: while sitting in front of the computer
WHEN: Friday night, March 25, 2005

I initially sent this out to a single, special e-mail recipient whom I thought would appreciate the dark irony of the thought. Then it occured to me that there were a number of such souls in my e-addy book. Here's what was sent:

"An Alien prediction ... either by Divine design or conspiracy, Terri Schiavo and the Pope will die on the same day. Just wanted this on the record somewhere.

And Heaven help us all should they both die on Easter Sunday."

WHAT: a rude and ironic awakening
WHERE: home sweet efficiency
WHEN: about 7:15 P.M., Tuesday, March 15, 2005

I don't know if this has happened to any of you, but it's something I found incredibly funny. While relaxing on my bed I was disturbed by incredibly loud snoring. "Who the hell is snoring so freaking loud?", I thought to myself. Oddly enough it was me!

Relaxation had become sleep and I had woken myself up with my own snoring. Inasmuch as I live alone, I really can't justify picking up Breathe Right® strips. However, should this evolve from a humorous incident into an ongoing problem ...

WHAT: a vaguely familiar melody
WHERE: radio station WTIC-AM 1080
WHEN: Sunday, March 6, 2005

During a UCONN v Syracuse basketball game, in the background audio one of the college bands was playing a song that sounded vaguely familiar. Tuning out the announcer and concentrating on the background music revealed the unimaginable: Ozzie Ozbourne's Crazy Train.

Note to Hunter S. Thompson: it's almost weird enough.

WHAT: yoga going to the dogs
WHERE: afternoon news on a local NPR station
WHEN: Friday, October 22, 2004 - 4:47 P.M.

It had to be on NPR - a news item about some place that "partners yoga for people and their dogs. That's right: dogs."

I've always been suspicious of yoga types. Altogether too many of them seem to be granola crunching, tree hugging, aroma-theraputic, pallid vegan malcontents on some weird quest for Nirvana via the most unorthodox paths. And now they're dragging their dogs along with them.

This dog yoga stuff just further supports my suspicion of anything "new age." Mean spirited as this may seem, I hope there is a rash of dog bites at these Yoga for Dogs events.

WHAT: the slow decay of quality broadcasting
WHERE: 104.1 MHz FM in Hartford, CT
WHEN: forgot when, sorry

Utilizing the scan button on my car radio accidentally confirmed something I had caught wind of but had yet to personally witness: the format change of the station occupying 104.1 MHz. From carrying "modern" rock (aka "alternative" rock) to "new" rock under the call sign WMRQ, 104.1 had become a refuge for music fans tired of the same-old-same-old. Station owner Clear Channel Communications apparently wasn't seeing enough market share or ROI (return on investment) from WMRQ, so in September of 2003 abruptly changed the format to "urban." What has followed has been the rapid decay of quality broadcasting, at least on this particular spot of the FM radio dial.

Under the call sign WPPH and moniker "Power 104.1," the station DJs spew out slack jaw, urban-speak, ghetto "gangsta" trash talk; all under the not-so-mindful oversight of general manager Manuel Rodriguez. Most of the on-air personalities and those doing commercials exhibit the type of linguistic handicap that virtually sentences urban hipsters to a lifelong career of either flipping burgers at McDonald's, pimping, whoring, hustling, selling drugs, or some combination thereof.

It amazes me that this station is closing in on celebrating its third "birfday" ...

WHAT: sensationalist headline baiting of readers
WHERE: Jerusalem Post - online version
WHEN: Monday, August 9, 2004

While checking out the latest on the Drudge Report website, the headline "JEWISH STUDENTS ATTACKED AT AUSCHWITZ" jumped at me from the computer monitor screen.

It was only after the hook of the headline had pierced the skin and its barb prevented the unwary reader from shaking loose, did the truth come out after reading the entire linked article. To wit:

"While on a tour of the museum at the Auschwitz death camp in Poland on Sunday, a group of around 50 Jewish university students from Israel, the U.S. and Poland were verbally attacked by a three-member gang of French male tourists."

Let me get this right, okay? Fifty Jewish university students were "attacked" by "a three-member gang of French male tourists?" Note that the word "gang" was used to describe the "attackers." I don't know about your dictionary, but mine shows that the word "gang" is a more accurate description of the fifty Jewish university students.

Well whoopty-fucking-doo. Three against fifty. Those students must have been scared shitless! And the poor, defenseless bastards were verbally attacked. Oh, the fucking horror!

If those fifty students didn't have the collective gonadal fortitute to kick the living shit out of the "three-member gang," then they deserve the insults thrown at them.

I can understand the Jerusalem Post running the headline, but as for the the Drudge Report website carrying the headline word for word: shame on you, Matt.

WHAT: two recent news stories
WHERE: the Internet
WHEN: Friday, July 30, and Saturday, July 31, 2004

The Drudge Report website carried a story by Amos Harel, a Haaretz correspondent, that announced "Israel and the United States on Thursday held a successful test of the Arrow anti-ballistic missile system" and "Since the last Gulf War, Israel - with U.S. financial backing - has developed the Arrow anti-missile missile."

Less than 24-hours later, the New York Times ran an article reporting "Coordinated bomb attacks struck the perimeters of the American and Israeli embassies on Friday in Tashkent, the capital of Uzbekistan, killing at least two people and wounding several more ... " and "The blasts, one of which was described by officials as the work of a suicide bomber, carried potent political symbolism."

Like it or not, American financial and military cross-breeding with Israel carries a significant price tag of its own. Can you say "cause and effect?"

I wonder what kind of oil reserves sit under Israli soil and if the Israelis would mind if we'd tap into said reserves?

WHAT: abject automotive idiocy
WHERE: Route 44, West Hartford, CT
WHEN: Thursday, July 29, 2004

Commuting provides otherwise monotonous time with glimpses of humanity that are sometimes enlightening, other times disturbing, but always entertaining. My commute du jour took me from Winsted to Hartford, Connecticut, on Route 44, aka the Albany Turnpike. Part of this journey involves a torturous climb up the west side of Avon Mountain, an abbreviated breather at the summit, and a serpentine descent down to Mountain Road. It was on the serpentine descent where I witnessed something I had never seen before.

I'm from the "keep right except to pass" school and stick pretty close to the posted speed limit, so I'll frequently see the same cars and occupants as they pass me, get stuck behind someone making a left turn - only to pass me again. One of these drivers maniacally intent on getting to the next stop light first was a "first" in commute-time people watching for me. To wit:

She was a middle aged woman driving a silver-blue, late model Mercedes Benz convertible. Never mind that the temperature was in the mid-80s, dew point rising and resultant humidity unbearable, but this woman had the top up and windows closed, presummably subjecting her nipples to frostbite from the turbo-charged, German engineered air conditioner cranking away. She probably didn't want to mess up her $250 style and permed "do." Go figure.

But it wasn't the sleek car, salon coif or erect nipples that commanded my attention. She was talking on a cell phone, which in and of itself certainly isn't uncommon. Altogether too many people use their cell phones while driving. However, this woman displayed a new twist in the sometimes dangerous world of multi-tasking. With cell phone firmly held to her head with her right hand, she repeatedly removed her left hand from the steering wheel (!) to make different hand gestures - apparently to emphasize specific points of her conversation. It was a palm up, palm down, index finger pointing, clenched fist plethora of hand signs, with steering the sporty $60,000 two-seater taking a non-existent backseat to these gestures.

Descending Avon Mountain in traffic is treacherous enough without pulling the kind of stunt this woman was doing. It's no wonder the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has and continues to take long, hard looks at the distractions that contribute to "accidents."

Now consider this: all the hand gestures were wasted, as the person at the other end of the cell phone conversations wasn't able to see them!

WHAT: roadside store signage
WHERE: Dutchess County, NY
WHEN: Friday, July 2, 2004

As far as I'm concerned, there are far too many ostentatious and pretentious names for businesses. The latest on my hit list was spied while driving through Dutchess County in Eastern New York state. I didn't recall what town it was in, due in large part to the fact that the towns kind of blend together and form one long, boring string of sterile antique stores and upscale cafes and restaurants. But with a little help of the Internet, I found the town to be Pine Plains. The sign by the roadside read:

crumpets - a country cafe

Well isn't that special? A word or two, sometimes a hyphen, and a brief description. And in all lower-case print! If you're a business owner and you think this type of thing is cute, then you should get your fucking head examined, because there's something seriously wrong with you.

Am I the only person on planet Earth who is completely fed up with such nonsense? Whatever happened to "Joe's Lunch" or "Main Hardware?"

I pray that sooner or later someone will start up or rename a business in the "crumpets spirit" and have a HUGE advertising budget that will allow them to proclaim:

shit suckers
a septic system waste removal service

WHAT: an item on a grocery store receipt
WHERE: from Price Rite, Torrington, CT
WHEN: Monday, June 28, 2004

It was right there on the itemized cash register receipt: PLASTIC BAG PURCHASE  $ .03 T

"They're charging me for a plastic shopping bag in which to stuff groceries that I bought from them?" I fumed. I cursed. I swore. Fortunately, I was at home. Had I noticed this line item in the store, I may have made an embarrassing scene for which an apology would have ultimately been necessary. Let me explain.

Though initially outraged upon finding that Price Rite had the audacity to charge 3-cents for a plastic bag, the more I thought this one out, the more I liked the idea. There's some printing on the bag itself that states: "Reduce, Re-Use, Recycle" and "RE-USE THIS BAG FOR 2-CENTS CREDIT The Next Time You Shop!" So the actual cost of the bag, after rebate, if you will, is only 1-cent. By itemizing the cost of the bag on the register receipt and offering credit, as printed on the bag, Price Rite isn't just hiding the cost of these bags (which must be a significant number in total) by adding it to the cost of every item in their stores.

Not only that, but it reminded me of one of my yet-to-be fulfilled promises: to start bringing back some of those "paper in plastic" grocery bags that are so neatly folded in a pile under the sink and actually re-use them when I go shopping.

There's nothing wrong with raising the ecological awareness of one's customer base, not to mention provide a round-about lesson in the cost of doing business. Thank you, Shop Rite!

Food for thought ...

WHAT: a poster in a child's room
WHERE: the affluent town of West Hartford, Connecticut
WHEN: some time ago ...

Work this one day found me installing a slide-away keyboard system on a desk in a child's bedroom.  The walls of the room were festooned with an odd collection of posters, but one in particular caught my attention: the one of Kobe Bryant. I wonder if, and if so, how the parents of the child explain what "accused rapist" means.

The fact that the poster remains on the wall after so much publicity of Kobe's current legal dilemma makes me wonder. However, this is the land of "innocent until proven guilty," unless you've been pegged as an "enemy combatant" ...

WHAT: a Nutmeg State cowboy
WHERE: Torrington, Texas - ah, Connecticut
WHEN: Monday night, March 29, 2004

I'm the last person in the world who should be critical of how other people choose to spend their free time. Seldom do I choose contructive activities to fill idle time. I won't bore you (or embarass myself) listing my favorite time killers. Meanwhile, back to the observation ...

On the way to a grocery store after meeting with some friends tonight, I was stopped at a traffic light across the street from a Knights of Columbus hall when something briefly appeared in a window of the KoC building. It returned to view and turned out being some guy wearing a black cowboy hat. Then he disappeared and returned to view seeming to be walking backwards.

Ah, square dancing! Yup, that's it. The good Catholics of Torrington had apparently rented out a room in their hall to someone conducting country dancing. While watching a few cycles of the particular step or dance they were practicing, the traffic light had turned green. Bemused with "Black Bart's" antics, I didn't see this. A car horn blared out one, long honk that shook me from this odd hypnosis. I didn't check my rear view mirror to see whether I was in front of some ever-alert and impatient Johnny-on-the-spot driver or someone had suffered a heart attack and slumped over the steering wheel and onto the car horn accuator.

Cowboy hats aren't real big here in Connecticut, so whenever I see someone wearing one I make a point of greeting them with a loud "Howdy!" It's my abbreviated (and safer) way of saying "Hello Mister All-Hat-No-Cattle" or "You look like an asshole in that hat." I suppose it's only a matter of time before such a greeting is going to cause a problem ...

WHAT: advertising on grocery carts
WHERE: in front of Stop and Shop, Barkhamstead, CT
WHEN: May 17, 2004

Perhaps it's a "man thing" or simply poor planning, but I don't grab a grocery cart when I hit the supermarket, instead opting for one of those hideous baskets that hold only 2/3 of what ultimately ends up being bought. So I can't remember when the last time I used a grocery cart.

While killing some time while my vehicle was getting an oil change, I walked by our local Stop and Shop supermarket. It was there where I spotted a grocery cart and for the first time noticed the advertising placards. We have to eat, so we have to shop. Can't we even push a grocery cart around without this insidious advertising staring us in the face?

Apparently not ...

Click here to see the Smart Source Marketing carts webpage.

WHAT: ABS taking control
WHERE: a parking lot in Winsted, Connecticut
WHEN: March 18, 2004

Snow has been falling on and off everyday for nearly a week, which is uncharacteristic for Connecticut and even more so considering that tomorrow is the first day of Spring! With the snow comes slippery driving. Having many Winters under my belt, I'm no stranger to the white stuff, however this year I feel like a new driver all over again.

My "new" pre-owned SUV, a 1993 Ford Explorer XLT, is equipped with ABS (automatic braking system) - seven years newer than my now-retired 1986 Bronco II (yes, I have a thing for Fords). While negotiating some slippery pavement, I apparently applied too much brake pressure and started to skid. Before I even had a chance to correct this error by gently pumping the brake pedal, the ABS kicked in, taking "control" of the situation at hand, or rather, the situation at foot. Although a bit unnerving. I'll get used to this seemingly obnoxious monitoring and questioning of, and ultimately infringement on my driving skills.

This got me to thinking about what would happen when a driver wanted to power-brake a vehicle equipped with ATC (automatic traction control) and ABS. There would have to be instants of time when the control systems' computers would be fighting one another due to conflicting input data - dueling computers, if you will.

And that reminded me of an old line of comedian and king of deadpan, Steven Wright:

"For my birthday I got a humidifier and a dehumidifier. I put them in the same room and let them fight it out."

WHAT: an odd road hazard
WHERE: westbound lane of Route 44 between Canton and Satan's Kingdom
WHEN: Saturday, February 28, 2004

As I rounded the curve on the crest of a hill, I spied a HUGE rock that had broken away from the roadside ledge. This mass of rock came to rest in the middle of the westbound lane of the highway and apparently someone had reported this hazard to the police, as there was not just one, but two state police cruisers at the scene: one on each side of the rock.

This seemed like overkill to me, as only westbound traffic needed to be warned of the hazard. Perhaps the first responder had previous experiences with such matters and called in for back-up. With two of them there, they could box the obstacle in, thus preventing the offender from escaping ...

WHAT: signage in front of health facilities
WHERE: Dutchess County, New York state
WHEN: February 4, 2004

I'm not certain whether it's a manifestation of "kinder, gentler" or "political correctness" but two signs recently viewed are symbolic of something that has swept across the land like a plague of locusts. One read "Dutchess Country Department of Mental Hygiene. Mental hygiene? Whatever happened to simple, mental health? Apparently using the term "mental health" to describe a facility conjures up negative images akin to those derived from reading the Kesey novel One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest or watching the video thereof. I don't know about you, but hygiene sounds more foreboding than health, at least to my ears.

The other sign read "Dutchess Center for Medical Arts. Tell me something: exactly when did medicine change from a science to an art? Are medical school courses a part of colleges' art departments?

WHAT: news blurb
WHEN: Sunday, December 21, 2003

The UCONN women were playing basketball and WTIC was covering the game live. During a lull in the action, the board operator back at the station ran a news tickler announcing "Terrorist Alert raised to Orange; details after the game." To add insult to injury, or at least potential injury, after the game the station switched to the Clark Howard Show in-progress, apparently saving the Terrorist Alert news story for the next regularly scheduled news broadcast "on the half hour."

I don't know about you, but in my world, new of the Terrorist Alert system being raised takes presidence over ANY basketball game, college or professional. This judgment call on the part of WTIC further confirms my feelings of how short a memory span the vast majority of Americans have.

WHAT: Ad for Mercedes Benz
WHERE: Most frequently on WTIC-AM 1080
WHEN: Altogether too often

Disclaimers read at 1,700 word per minute at the end of already obnoxious commercials seriously piss me off. My target du jour is the tag end to a commercial I've heard far too many times on WTIC-AM 1080 of late.

This German automobile manufacturer, taking advantage of people's fear of driving in the rapidly approaching New England winter, is pushing their "four-matic" four wheel drive system. Fair enough. But are automobile consumers so stupid and/or litigious that Mercedes finds it necessary to add to the disclaimer that "best performance on snow and ice obtained with winter tires"?

One wants to believe that anyone with enough money to buy a new Mercedes equipped with four-matic four wheel drive has enough brains to already have the tire selection issue figured out. However, there's that old saying "more money than brains" ...

WHAT: A roadside sign
WHERE: Torrington, Connecticut
WHEN: Tuesday, November 4, 2003

It seemed like a simple and innocent enough shopping trip: swinging by the auto parts store to pick up some oil and a filter for a slightly past due oil change on my 1986 Ford Bronco II. Weirdness in the new millennium sneaks up on us everywhere, or so it seems.

Shopping completed and loading said oil and filter into my trusty steed, I noticed a few temporary signs by the roadside with the Advance Autoparts logo on them. Never one to want to miss a special, closeout or bargain, I checked out the signs only to find they were hawking "Jumbo Cashews $4.88 full pound."

Cashews on sale at an auto parts store? Maybe I'm slow, but I don't get it. Hey, I'm all for product line diversification, but shouldn't there be some kind of connection between lines than "working on your car can be hard work, so keep your energy level up with some high protein cashews?"

So be it known that the Torrington franchise of Advance Auto Parts not only carries lug nuts, Tinnerman nuts and acorn nylock nuts, but cashew nuts, too! I wonder who the nut was that came up with that marketing idea ...

WHAT: signage in a store front window
WHERE: West Hartford, Connecticut
WHEN: Monday, October 27, 2003

Can someone please tell me why Farmington Avenue Pizza, a small, hole in the wall generic pizza joint, considers it necessary to have, let alone promote with signage, their own website, fapizza.com?

Oh, what the hell. I suppose there are some asking why I need my website. When I'm pointing a finger someone else's way, there are three fingers pointing back ...

WHAT: Robert Whitley
WHERE: The Travel Show on WSNG-AM 610
WHEN: Saturday, October 4, 2003

While talking about the recent demise of a number of tour operators and the resultant travelers stranded abroad, Robert Whitley, of the U.S. Tour Operators Association, kept referring to some Mediterranean country by the name of "Itly."

I'll grant you that Whitley isn't necessarily a broadcast professional, but more probably just an association representative willing to be interviewed on a radio program. However, by dropping the middle letter/syllable from the spoken word "Italy." he doesn't exactly strike me as being terribly professional, let alone literate.

Or perhaps Whitley is a graduate of the G.W. Bush School of Enunciation...

WHAT: a guest on the Ernst and Young radio program
WHEN: Sunday, August 31, 2003 at about 6:40 P.M.

An attorney from the law firm Wiggins and Dana was being interviewed on the program. This man made reference to "experienced lawyering."

Attention lawyers: lawyer is a noun. If you're going to charge $120 per hour or more, you should at least exhibit superior command of the English language. To conveniently start "verbing nouns" does nothing to support your hourly rate or retainer fees.

Practice law, not Slacker's English.

WHAT: Poor sportsmanship at UCONN football game
WHERE: Renschler Field, East Hartford CT
WHEN: Saturday, August 30, 2003

A wall of sound consisting in large part of boos was what greeted the visiting team as they took to the field on the opening day to this new venue - "home" to the UCONN Husky football team. It's funny how their "home" field is 20 miles or more off campus.

Times have brought changes, some of which aren't for the good. When I was brought up, we were taught to say please and thank you. We held doors open for women to pass. Applause was acceptable, but booing was considered ill behavior and poor sportsmanship.

Yet at this high profile, local sporting event, supposedly educated fans in the stands welcomed its visitors with boos.

For shame!

And no, I wasn't at the game. As a matter of fact, I wouldn't attend a game at Renschler even if I were given free tickets for primo seating. In my opinion, there’s entirely too much attention, time and money devoted to collegiate sports, including UCONN. The poor sportsmanship exhibited by sports fans at Renschler’s very first game further solidifies my resolve.

WHAT: Three power outages and one brownout
WHERE: 480 Main Street, Winsted CT
WHEN: Saturday morning and afternoon, August 30, 2003

With the recent big power outage freshly burned into memory, my thoughts immediately toggled into paranoia mode. Then came the questions. How widespread was the power interruption? Was this just a problem in the building where I was or had the entire neighborhood been affected? Could it be town wide? Statewide? Regional?

Or was it simply another squirrel scampering across a high voltage insulator somewhere on the Ohio power grid causing the majority of the northeast quadrant of the United States to be plunged into forced energy conservation?

Yeah, that’s it: just another suicidal squirrel that had coincidentally found a critical weak point of our power grid. It's the truth. I have a witness: the Easter Bunny saw the whole thing and Santa Claus will corraborate.

WHAT: A sign on a store entrance door
WHERE: Ledgebrook Plaza, Winsted, CT
WHEN: August 28, 2003 around 3 P.M.

We've all seen them before: signs warning, "Shoplifters will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law." Fine. I understand. The stuff on the shelves is for sale, not free. Got it!

However, the sign and its familiar message were different. This particular sign was affixed to the door a mere 18-inches up from ground level, so just whom were the storeowners warning?

I'm 6'6" tall, so this sign definitely wasn't directed at me. Toddlers or babies can't read, so it wasn't targeting them. So one can only assume that it was the Little People who were in the sights of the storeowners in the interest of striking fear in the hearts of dwarfs, midgets or otherwise vertically challenged citizens afflicted with kleptomania.

In this kinder, gentler, politically correct day and age, it's only a matter of time before some national association of little people comes to Winsted to boycott this store. They'll be in for a surprise, though, as the store has been unoccupied for some time and is undergoing renovations.

WHAT: A hyperlink that read "Advertorial"
WHERE: The New York Times web site
WHEN: August 28, 2003

I didn't even bother to click the hyperlink, as I suspected it was going to lead me to an editorial written by some commercial interest. Over the course of any given day, I'm subjected to too many advertisements as it is, and don't need to be hit broadside by a New York Times advertiser.

This is yet another freshly invented word where some editor commands a word processor's spell checker to ignore the misspelling and add this new word to the program's dictionary. It's similar to how diseases spread.

WHAT: Quotes worthy of note
WHERE: The WEEI Red Sox Radio Network
WHEN: During some of pro baseball's 2003 season games

I know, I know. Yes, I'm a Red Sox fan. I don't believe in The Curse. Miracles do happen. But I digress ...

Over the past baseball season I've heard a few interesting things on the radio broadcasts originated by the WEEI Red Sox Radio Network, aired by our local station, WTIC-AM 1080. These broadcasts include a collection of "crowd noise" mixed into the background of the show from several microphones placed around the stadium. And sometimes funny things are heard during these live broadcasts.

To wit, on August 31 during game three of a Sox/Yanks series, bottom of the 8th inning when White of the Yankees was on the pitcher's mound, a female Red Sox fan could clearly be heard yelling out "White, you ain't got shit!" Apparently the engineer in charge of mixing the remote was too wrapped up in the game to hear this, as it went on for the better part of the inning before another crowd microphone was chosen for background noise.

Common in Yankees versus Red Sox games is that ever familiar "Yankees Suck!" chant. This particular chant is difficult to mix out of the broadcast, because nearly every Red Sox fan in the crowd yells this.

And perhaps one of my all time favorites is how WEEI broadcasters describe when a batter "fouls" a pitched ball and it hits the catcher: "That one was fouled off the catcher's equipment. I hope I'm not the only listener that wonders if this is a polite way of saying that the catcher just took a foul ball in the nuts. Gotta watch out for your equipment, you know ...

WHAT: A segment on the news
WHERE: Somewhere on the radio dial
WHEN: August 2003, exact date unrecorded

I heard this one during a news broadcast on the radio, so it had to be either WTIC AM 1080 or one of the NPR stations on FM. The report said:

"A certain percentage of 'clinically infected horses' would fall prey to the equine strain of the West Nile virus."

I'll grant you that it has been quite a few years since I sat down to a boring 44-minute class of senior English in high school, but doesn't (or couldn't) that news blurb imply that the horses were infected while in clinics?