Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Our Present State of Affairs

Its now going to 5:30 am and I did some reading. I read an article on Yahoo that the US middle class is shrinking at a rapid rate. American workers are competing against countries with low wages and no benefits. Meanwhile the top 1% are gaining wealth. I saw a good website on the Tea Party and the Constitution. You know how some Conservatives come off like THEY own the US Constitution. I think they ought to read this article Strange Brew: The Constitution According to the Tea Party. I really like the piece refuting the charge that health care reform bill is unconstitutional. Its about time someone challenges them and other Conservatives that again think they know everything about the US Constitution. I say keep up the good work!
Just think, we are going to elect MORE of these right-wingers to Congress. I love it when the middle class votes against its own economic self-interest
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Fortesque Sunset

After Sunday's massive thunderstorm we saw a beautiful sunset. More photos can be seen here on my photo album.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Great Millville Thunderstorm July 25

As I was finishing my paint scraping and sanding, the clouds rolled in. Before I knew it I was scrambling to clean up when a great rain and wind came from the heavens. The wind was blowing the rain sideways and stuff was flying by and trash cans and debris were floating. It was a hurricane outside. At 4:05pm we had a blackout and did not have power for over 24 hours. Millville was hit HARDEST by this huge thunderstorm which had winds up to 70 MPH. The damage was seen all around and there were tree limbs everywhere. It was one hell of a storm that's for sure! Here is my video during the storm.

The damage was extensive when I woke up in the dark yesterday morning. We just got our power back yesterday late afternoon. Our food made it! Carl Johnson reports on the damage in Millville several blocks away!

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Saturday, July 24, 2010

Home Repair on a Hot July Day

Well, I wrote up a nice long entry and then Internet Explorer froze up and then deleted all the text and blogger auto-saved the blank page. I think it the program Zemanta that seems to make Internet Explorer freeze up but this is the first time an ENTIRE entry got wiped out. What a pain in the butt!!
Ok, now to the real reason I am writing. Today I took on a home repair job that needed to  be taken care of. The roof and the area at our side door need work. There is a small leak which has compromised the paint and in some areas the wood as well.
I started with the job of patching the roof. This roof will need replacing but hopefully this will hold out. I started sometime between 10:30 and 11am this morning to try to avoid the hottest part of the day. I tried one window to avoid having to turn off the AC in the other window but it was a bit too hairy so I had to put every thing back and removed the AC anyway.  I covered the creases and some bad looking areas of the roof. Just when I finished, the sun started to shine on me and boy did it start getting really broiling with all that roof tar that surrounded me. I managed not to get the tar all over the place and I just had enough paint thinner to get the tar off my hands which was cool.
Next project was scraping the old paint that was starting to peel off. As you can see from the photos and the movie, the paint was in real bad shape and some of the wood is starting to rot. I used a professional -grad paint scraper that Steve lent me. This thing really did a nice job in getting the paint off. I could not for the life of me find a tarp to cover up the cement. I was attempting to avoid a real mess of tiny paint chips. I ended up using a poncho, a discarded fitted sheet and two large plastic bags. They worked pretty well but there was still a lot of stuff on the ground and I then decided to use the vaccum cleaner. That was an inpired idea since the nozzle sucked up all the bits that fell intto the cracks. I then put things back and took a nice cold clean shower.
We may go to Bogart's Books and see Adelante tonite. If we do, I will record it as long a s I have permission from the band.
Well, as for pet sitting, we are competiting with 12 year old kids. I lost some work I just heard from an industrious neighborhood kid. Man cutthought capitolism...
My sister is due to arrive in Phlly tomorrow. I have not heard from anybody as of 7pm today about what the arraingments. I made calls and nobody answered. Carolyne is not home from her yoga training and its 7pm. None of her classes have ever gone overtime. Have not heard from her either. Well, frankly I am tired of the flaky way the browser is acting, so I am gonna stop now.
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This Week in Philly and Millville

Well, I was in Philly Weds and Thursday nites trying to stay cool. Went over to Mike's house Thursday night with Pat and saw a Quentin Tarantino movie called Inglourious Basterds. It was a pretty cool movie I must say. Mike has a nice big TV and it felt like I was at the movies. The AC was pretty good too.
Inglourious BasterdsImage via Wikipedia
I did alot of errands and some pet sitting.  I did miss Carl's Artists nite on Thursday and the Millville City Commission Meeting held this past Tuesday. Commissioner Quinn proposed that the Municipal elections be held in November instead of May. This move could save up to 59,000. Now in this economy, this is really a no-brainier. I think the school board elections should be moved to November as well. This would increase voter turnout AND save $$. As Quinn noted at the meeting:
"We also have a problem with voter turnout," Quinn said. "This council was elected with 24 percent turnout. Maybe we get lost in the shuffle; maybe people don't care. It's time to move it to November, when you have state, congressional and freeholder elections. I'd like to see people come out and vote."
Also at this meeting, the city had to allocate $30,240 more to Dean Enterprises Inc., out of Tabernacle, for the Millville Gardens Demolition and Site Restoration project. Commissioner Vanaman pointed out that the city engineering department made an incorrect estimate of how much filler was needed. As the News of Cumberland County reports this exchange:
Resident Bob Tesoroni said he was concerned this decision would set a precedent that would allow for companies to offer the low bid, then come back and ask for more money after being awarded the bid.

"We need to do more with contracts to make sure the taxpayer is protected," he said.

"I understand your concern, but that isn't what happened here," Mayor Tim Shannon said. "The contractor didn't make the error (when offering the bid). We made the mistake."
Way to go Mayor Shannon for setting the record straight!!
Well, today is supposed to hit 100 and I am preparing to put some roof tar on the small side roof that has a bad leak. Eventually I have to scape and paint the the wood. Well, got get started before its too hot to start. That photo is at the PATCO train station in Camden on the weather for today, tomorrow and Monday. HOT..HOT...HOT

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Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Tuesday Thoughts: Ogrens, Rain and USA as a Police State

Today is Tuesday which means time to take out the garbage. It seems now at 7:37am not as hot as the past few days. Yesterday, Philadelphia had 2 downpours. I just missed getting caught in it. I was taking the bus and train and got in 15 minutes before the storm hit. You can see the clouds looming right near the welfare office I work at located at 57th and Market Streets.
I drive in today. I have 3 dogs to walk and a cat to visit. The first dog walk is this morning, so I have to keep this fairly short.
I see the Ogren Family is a big deal here in Cumberland County. Ogren Constriction of Vineland New Jersey is constructing the Levoy Theatre. I have been taking photos as the work progress. A friend very involved with the theatre project mentioned a group called Runner Runner on her facebook page. Ryan Ogren is the front man.She and her friends were raving about them. Now I know why!! Today I read about them in the AC Press and how they are going to be on the Jimmy Kimmmel show tonite. I am sure it will be tweeted and discussed on Facebook. Those Ogrens show know how to get around!
I want to read the Washington Post special report on Top Secret America. It reports on how since September 11th, a growing national security apparatus has grown and how its out of sight from most Americans and how pervasive it is. Does the state in 20-40 years from now. I will be pretty old in 40 years so I would not really feel its harsh effects but our children and grandchildren will pay in the loss of freedom we take for granted today. Soon guilt by association will be the norm not just in New Jersey Play to pay and nepotism in awarding contracts. Privatizationwill be the norm. Think about it. Its pretty scary
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Privatization: A Bill of Goods!

US_Attorney_Chris_Christie.jpg‎ cropped as squ...Image via Wikipedia
Today I am going to comment on the news of the day. I can find my camera adapter and its very early in the morning.
I read that NJ is going to end motor vehicle safety inspectionsand just do emissions testing. Are we going to see savings in taxes? Where is the 17 Million our money going to go to?? A good point  to be made is  the cost of auto maintenance. Folks who barley can afford their cars are going to skimp on repairs and guess what drive on OUR streets. Oh yes, watch the insurance companies hike rates. Yup, penny-wise and pound foolish I say.
The Christie Administration wants to privatize more state servicesto save 210 million.
A New Jersey task force created by Gov. Chris Christie said Friday the state could save at least $210 million a year by privatizing motor vehicle inspections, turnpike toll booths, preschools, state parks and some services at state prisons.

The five-member task force, commissioned in March to examine the potential savings of privatization, submitted a 57-page report to the governor. The group is made up of lobbyists and business interests.
Now, we seem to hear the wonderful savings and efficiencies that come with privatization. Note the quote above mentions that the group charged with writing the report is made up of LOBBYISTS and BUSINESS INTERESTS! They stand to gain big time on any privatization scheme that passes. We all remember what happened when Governor Christie Whitman did this in 1998 with motor vehicle
inspections and the whole plan had to be scrapped due to cost overruns that cost the TAXPAYER millions. This report by the State of New Jersey Commission of Investigation shows what does happen when privatization goes wrong. The proposed "savings" will line the pockets of the business lobbyists and the any savings will cease to exist due to lax oversight. This is a history of poor results with privatization. Another blogger explains it quite nicely:

But doing it “right” does not mean firing state workers and employing a private company to do the same job with lower-paid (and most likely less qualified) employees while the politically-connected contractor skims off a handsome profit at the taxpayers’ expense. Since the contractor is accountable to shareholders and not voters, steps must be taken to ensure that the taxpayers’ interests are being addressed appropriately. This requires oversight and insight by qualified and empowered state employees. That cost must be included in the equation when considering privatization.
The New Jersey Legislature MUST take a steely-eyed look at ANY proposal to follow though on these recommendations. They are the folks with the obligation to watch our tax dollars and not sell out to the highest bidder.
The recent decision on emission is short-sighted and so is the Governor's proposals.

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Monday, July 19, 2010

Stuff on Sunday July 19

Yesterday, besides going to Bogarts Books to listen to some good music, I took care of some business. I walked the dogs and saw some faulty sprinklersthe Millville Riverfront.
I do plan to email the Millville City Commission concerning this. I think the city is paying a maintenance contract. I am not absolutely sure but that is what I believe. On the way home from walking the dogs, I took some photos of a Monarch Butterfly near the RRCA. Speaking of the RRCA, I had heard that the Director Amy Sullivan was goinng to resignn. It appears that that job which is a 3 person job was getting to her. Man, I could have told her that. Well,the latest is that she will be staying on the job. I then went home to make a large amount of vegetable soup.  I chopped a bunch of vegetables and
along with organic vegetable broth put in a crockpot. I later added cumin, gran marsala, white beans, and some Indian food. It came out pretty good. Carolyne stated it was slightly undercooked but she enjoyed it very much. It was cooking for almost 4 hours.
Well, now its Monday and petsitting and Welfare start all over again. Today and tomorrow I have a lunch-time walk, which sucks since I do not have the car and it going to be HOT out again. Well, its a bit of $$ so its not all that bad. Man July 2010 is going fast!
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Sunday, July 18, 2010

Bogart's Poetry on High

Today was the monthly event at Bogarts Books in Millvile NJ. This is held the Sunday after 3rd Friday in the Glasstown Arts District. There were more musicians then poets this time around. Some the musicians were impressive. I really liked Rebecca Nell and her band Etherial. You can go to my YouTube Page and see for youself here here, and here I hope you can make it next month. Here is a video for ya!

Faulty Sprinklers

Its hot out and I took the dogs for a walk this AM to the riverfront. The sprinklers were on which was good new but the bad news is that some area do not work. Here is a video of sprinklers. Hope someone can go out and fix them. Also some fools busted  a few of the lamps.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

3rd Friday and The Day After

Yesterday was 3rd Friday but before that, I went to work with the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare. I work in the Office of Income Maintenance and it was fairly busy as usual. Phone calls, reports etc. One of the things I find myself doing is fixing paper jams on the Xerox copier that is near my desk. The part on the photo gets VERY HOT and paper gets stuck in this cartridge and 2 other places. A person will just leave it like that. I guess its under my job description as "other related duties". We would be crippled with out these copiers. We now can scan documents to the computer so I do need to file. Its kind of cool to be able to fix this problem since I can work and so can others without waiting for the office manager to stop by and fix it.
Well, after I earned my keep, I did errands like going  pick up some scrips for a friend and stop by another friend and get some items for the weekend.
When I got to Millville, I walked my dog Jesus and visited Bogart's Books in the Millville Arts District and saw some friends and a creepy dude who carries his pistol. It was getting pretty hot for the dog and I so I went home and did not get out for the rest of the evening. A band was setting up and folks were hanging out in front. Bogart's was the place to be on this 3rd Friday unlike last year when the Fithian House Gallery had nice gathering for its 3rd Friday. The band The Great Unknown played outside our hometo the enjoyment of all who were there. Today, I am going to deliver some Fithan House items that someone bought using a gift certificate she got last year and she found 2 items that she liked.
This morning I went to Bogarts with Jesus and he relaxed on the floor while the store was getting ready for a new day. I saw the book "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" displayed on the table I was sitting. Its part of a trilogy written by Stieg Larsson who died right as he finished his 3 books. I saw a woman on the train reading it and I might want to check it out. Anyone with a review of the book, please make a comment or go to my Facebook page and let me know what you think. Man, I dig technology but I am glad it was not around when I was in high school or college. I have mellowed out (a bit) and I do not fall in to traps like having embarrassing moments for employees to google me. Kids are being busted for sexting nowadays which some say is easier the photocopying your butt.
Well the New Jersey Motorsports Park continues to elicit hot rhetoric about the noise problem. Most are content to ignore the problem or just complain in the newspapers or on blogs. The person in the paper at least had a suggestion which is a start. The blogger also does explain his pointswith detail which is more then I can say for most pro or con! When I get time one day, I just need to go to a house nearby and videotape the sound myself, then visit the park and have a normal adult conversation about the status of the place and what the plans are for the future and how they are going to answer the critics. Failure is REALLY not an option for Millvile or myself. I do know some want failure and I really do not have anything to help those poor souls.
Well, time to get some stuff done before 3pm besides blogging.

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SEPTA Nomenclature

I was reading my email at work with Pa DPW when I ran across this email from the University City Listserv. It discribes some changes to come soon to SEPTA Trollies in West Philly
SEPTA has announced it will terminate the "Green Line" on Jul. 25.
Fortunately for people who rely on this system, it is the name alone which is being eliminated.
This is part of a complex name-changing operation which, in SEPTA's words, "is eliminating the confusing 'R' and numbers and rebranding Regional Rail using the current end destination names. This change is an important, customer friendly effort to promote the use of public transit in our region and reduce the confusion and travel inconvenience our current system of duplicate R’s and line numbers creates for new riders and visitors and tourists unfamiliar with SEPTA Regional Rail. This will not change train service – only the way we refer to individual lines on timetables, signs for cars and stations, maps, and customer announcements."
SEPTA has issued a guide to the new, customer-friendly trolley terminology which spells it out plainly:

"What Things Should be Called: Trolley Lines (Routes 10, 11, 13,15,34,36)
What Things Should NOT be Called: Subway-Surface, Subway-Surface Trolleys, Green Line"
For customers who cling to customer-unfriendly terminology, bear in mind there are transit police.
All SEPTA trolleys will now use green as their Line color. So Girard Ave.'s Rte. 15, which crosses Lancaster Ave.'s Rte 10, is as green as ours.
So now that they have uniformly given all trolleys the color green,
they are getting rid of the name 'green line' :-)
This is all a part of changes that will take place on July 25. According to the website called Plan Philly, these include the renaming of the Regional Rail lines. Some of the other changes include:
The regional rail numbering change is only one part of a larger SEPTA effort to make the system more rider-friendly. The authority is also consulting with local elected officials about renaming several stations on the suburban trolley lines to tie the station names into local streets or geographic markers. The final decision on those name changes should be made in the next month.
And while SEPTA updated automated announcements on the Market-Frankford El several months ago, the authority is in the process of recording new messages on the Broad Street Line that will take into account changes in area attractions.
Mintz also said the infamous “doors closing” announcement will be re-recorded. The announcement was digitally shortened by SEPTA after it was recorded, leading to the strange intonation
Well, hope that was informitive. Next a report on 3rd Friday in Millville. Its late and tomorrow I have got to be alert and help out. I will cook some veggie in the crock pot. Stay cool everyone.
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Friday, July 16, 2010

Third Friday Thoughts

Today is 3rd Friday in Millville.We plan to go to the Amethyst gallery on High Street in the Glasstown Arts District in Millville New Jersey. Two nights ago Fred Kramer invited us for a Hawaiian feast for the senses. Wish I could name all the tasty delights that we had. We go to see his new art which uses discarded glass and other items. You have to see it to believe it!  He is going to Hawaii for 3 weeks. I bet he is going to have a blast.
Congress just passed  a  Financial Overhaul Bill that will put new regulations on the big banks. It creates an agency that will  protect consumers. If it were not for New England Republicans Scott Brown, Olympia  Snowe and Susan Collins, this bill would have been done in by a Republican-led fillabuster!! I say thank you to all 3 of you. You looked out for the long term and NOT just for the midterm( elections)! The Conservative Michael Krull states on   Twitter that this bill will hurt the farmers in the Midwest. Of course he complains that Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae are not in the bill. Republicans LOVE to
Image of Michael Krull from FacebookImage of Michael Krull
bash Frannie and Freddie since its a way to blame the Clinton Administration for the financial crisisthat exploded in October of 2008. Umm, I think Bill Clinton left office in January 2001. Correct??
I was on Twitter and saw an entry by Philadelphia Inquirer writer Monica Yant Kenny. She got an award and got me to look at a website called mostly for professionals in the field It has some interesting articles. One was about a new place to write a blog. Its called Posterous. I might want to check it out.
I read that Governor Chris Christie wants to cap superintendents' salaries. The Daily Journal article states he does not need Legislative approval  to impliement this. I say it could be helpful if done in a careful manner. Some of the upper-level saleries in public education cause folks to be cynical of the NJEA when they say "Its for the children" Also it makes it look like that teachers are overpaid. Teachers have to work hard to teach, satify parents and their overpaid administrative bosses.
To your left is Kevin. He has opened the Philadelphia Suzuki Piano Academy. It is where the Carrot Cake Man used to be at 47th and Cedar Aves in West Philadelphia. There will be a grand opening sometime in August. It will be on a Saturday. Well, got to get on Facebook and Twitter, then off to see a cat and go to work. Have a good weekend everyone.
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Thursday, July 15, 2010

Motorcycles Etc

Catching up. The other day July 13, I stayed overnight in Philly. Mike came by on his motorcycle which used to be Pat's. Took some photos of them with their bikes.
Pat and I then went to our friend Sue's house for a little visit. She played some groovey such as Bananarama and their song about a cruel Summer. This was all inbetween all the rain we have had. This did not solve the heat and humidity that we have witnessed. The rain was sorely needed. I was realived when I dicovered that I did  not lose one of my sets of keys. Work at the Pa Department of Welfare has been quite busy. The woman next to me will be rotated out of my unit. I found out that this singer Usher sings that stupid "Where is my Baby" song on WDAS in Philladelphia. Man, they must play that song 4 times a day.
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Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Moving Along in July

Its Tuesday and well, I took the bus for the first time this entire month. The NJ Transit Route 408 was OK. I then, took SEPTA from 8th Street to 49th and Baltimore Ave to check on a cat that I have been pet sitting for over the past 2 weeks. Her first check just showed up. It took 2 weeks to be delivered from Arkansas. I saw a friend while taking the route 34 Trolley. He just bought a home in Ventnor. I asked him for a mutual friend to call me sometime. He seems way to buzy running a company called New Revenna which make really cool mosac tiles that I could NEVER afford. Well, the New Jerse Motorsports Park is the subject of much debate about the noise. A fellow blogger Robert Owens calls out the park in a blog entry called Quid Pro Quo But for Whom?   He states that if the track can do something about the noise, the city of Millville will allow the ATV Track to be built. Don't take my word for it. Lets see what Mr. Owens has to say
There you go. Do something about the noise to get the taxpayers voters off our backs and we’ll grant you the right to build the ATV track on the land you already own.

Of course, Millville loses in this deal. We won’t get the money from the sale of land that was already agreed to. That land was further away from the town’s residences.

And what faith can taxpayers/voters have that this committee will negotiate anything good? The first round got us a track that has negatively affected our homes. Local politicians are no match for the corporate track owners and their lawyers.
He lives near the park and states he does not want it shut down. Again I say that there does not seem to be communication that is constructive. This committee does not have have plain old Millville residents. I guess that the city figured that the issue is too polarizing. I would have like to be asked to be on that committee. I support the track and I would like to find a middle ground. WoW!! Did I just say that? Must be the coffee kicking in again. It would be tough being on that committee since I would piss off someone. I think that is why they have committees to take the heat off and to find SOME KIND of resolution to the noise issue. TrackRacket has sued the city and that is not very constructive and the racetrack folks have not come out and say in public that they understand what some reasonible folks are saying. I am not including folks who want to just make political hay for themselves like Millville First.

U.S. Census Bureau map of Millville, New JerseyImage via Wikipedia

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Monday, July 12, 2010

Sports Sunday

Well, I watched the FIFA World Cup Final yesterday. It was Spain vs Netherlands. It was a long game going into extra time. Spain won 1-0. Meanwhile, the Phillies swept the Cincinnati Reds  by the same score of 1-0. Cole Hamels looked pretty good in his start and Jimmy Rollins for the second game in a row, got the game-winning hit.  I was watching both at the same time at the Oar House in Millville. They had a lower price for Yuengling. It was only $2.50. Horray for recession prices!!
I did some stuff around the house and visited the Artists Consortium on High Street in Millville NJ. It was good to get out and it was not so hot outside. Saw Rita and Steve. Rita is getting folks together for the Philly Fringe Festival which is held every year. It seems to get bigger every year. Its promoted HEAVYLY by the City Paper and Philadelphia Weekly. Steve said he was going play some tunes. Maybe I will get to see him play
We then of couse took our 2 dogs June and Jesus for a short walk. As you see, they got a good workout and then they were fed. They are cooling off in this photo

Cole Hamels pitching a complete game shutout v...Image via Wikipedia
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