Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Ice and Snow

I really like this guy Uncle Jay and his videos "Uncle Jay Explains." Here is his newest:

Last week was one of the longest, biggest, and maybe dumbest hockey fights I've ever seen. I've said before, I'm not a hockey fan and I don't understand why they allow fighting. Are there any other sports where the referees stand around and watch the players punch each other for a minute or two before deciding to break it up?

Anyway, this fight goes on and on. Even the goalies square off and then the coaches almost come to blows. Take a look:

Next up it a reporter coming to you live during a big snowstorm in Cleveland. I guess some people don't take the cold weather as seriously as others.

Finally, here's is some interesting ice that formed on Lake Superior. It's completely clear so you can see the rocks below the surface.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Some days. . .

Some days. . .

I spend at least four hours of my day dealing face-to-face with the patrons at the library.

Most of the time it is great. I have met a lot of great people through this job. Nearly every day I have at least one interesting conversation with a patron. I'll learn something new or find out that the patron and I have something in common that neither of us knew about. It is always interesting.

Unfortunately, there are also patrons who are moody, annoying, and sometimes plain old rude. I could go on and on about the crazy sights I see every day.

Actually, there are library blogs out there that do a better job explaining the weirdness that I see in the library than I could ever hope to. My favorite is the
Happyville Library.

Today's annoyance revolves around our patrons'
fear of snow.

We live in New England, so whether we like it or not, it's going to snow in the winter. This year we have had it incredibly easy- I don't think we've had 6 inches all season. The towns in our area also do a pretty good job of clearing the roads (of course they also dump about an inch think layer of salt at the same time so cars look great after every snow storm!). Typically, within a few hours after a snow storm, most of our roads are clear.

Nevertheless, all it takes is the threat of bad weather and our phone starts ringing with patrons asking what will happen if it snows and they can't get in to return their movies.

Now, if it really does snow, forget about it. The library waives any overdue fees when the weather is bad. We don't expect people to take any risks to return a couple of videos. We have a lot of senior citizens and parents with young children who use the library, and I wouldn't want them driving through the snow.

However, last night we received our
biggest snowfall this winter- about 3 inches. The snow was done by early this morning, the temperature rose to almost 40 degrees, and the roads were totally clear. And people were actually calling us claiming that they were unable to make it out of their houses.

Tomorrow, patrons will file in all day with a guilty look on their faces carrying a stack of DVDs. You know what's coming: "I'm sorry, they snow was really bad yesterday and I couldn't get in to return these."

Like I said, some members of the community shouldn't be expected to come out in bad weather. But these are young, healthy (I presume), active people. Am I supposed to believe, because of 3 inches of snow, they were afraid to "venture" out of their house? Somehow, I don't think so.

Of course, we simply waive the fines. It really isn't worth worrying about, but it does get old after awhile. I would love to lecture some of them. Tell them about taking some responsibility.

Speaking of lecturing, I found this video on the internet over the weekend. It makes me feel a little better.
Judge Judy really lets loose on an obnoxious defendant. Oh, I would love to act like this- just once- at the library!

Saturday, February 24, 2007


Alright, for those of you tired of listening to me hem and haw about buying my kayak, I have some good news. I finally hit the "buy" button and ordered the kayak tonight.

It's a hardshell inflatable (whatever that is!) made a company called
Advanced Elements. I bought the 13' long AdvanceFrame Expedition and can hold 450 pounds. It has received a lot of good reviews and I purchased it for a good price from an Ebay store.

I'll keep you updated.

To celebrate, here are some water related videos. The first one is about a huge disaster at a Lake Peigneur salt mine. Watch what happens:

And here's a cool waterfall video:

Finally, I spent hours this afternoon trying to get my web cam to stream video to the internet like I did at my brother's Super Bowl party. After a lot of reading and changing settings on my internet connection, here it is. Enjoy looking at my TV:

Thursday, February 22, 2007

New Edition (or New Kid on the Block)

Man, I really hated both of those bands.

In case anyone doesn't know yet, my brother Alex and his wife welcomed a new addition to their family the other night.

Eli Matthew was born on Tuesday at 11:06 PM and weighed in at 8 pounds 11 ounces.

Now I really can't wait to head out to see them!

Monday, February 19, 2007

News- Simply Sad

I'm all for simplifying the news and so is Uncle Jay, apparently:

He's pretty funny, actually. Or maybe it's just the news he is reporting that is so funny. I can't imagine watching the nightly network news with little kids. The questions they would ask!

Click here for more from Uncle Jay.

Uncle Jay brought up the death of Anna Nicole Smith. I was kind of bummed when I heard she died. There has been a ton of old videos posted of her (some I can post and some I can't), but this one is crazy:

Finally, speaking of
sad and crazy news, did you hear about the guy who died in his home on Long Island?

Well, he died more than a year ago, but people just found out about it recently.

Seventy year-old Vincenzo Ricardo's mummified body was found sitting in his chair with the TV still on, even though he has been dead for over a year. No one in his neighborhood noticed until a pipe recently burst in his house. His cable and heat were off but his electricity was still on. The post office stopped delivering his mail when they figured he just didn't live there anymore but left his mailbox overfilled with mail.

Sadly, the police contacted his son who told them that they were estranged. It looks like Ricardo requested that his family leave him alone. Oh, man.

Louis' Lunch

The good news this morning is that it is a bright and sunny and I have today off for Presidents' Day.

The bad news is the temperature is only 8 degrees and the wind is blowing at 25 to 35 miles per hour. Including the
wind chill, it feels like -15 or so.

On the bright side, the temperature was 6 degrees an hour ago, so it is rising- a little!

I had this past Friday off and Kevin and the two-Kathys met me at
Louis' Lunch in New Haven- the supposed inventor of the hamburger. Their website says that in 1900 a customer came in looking for a quick meal he could eat for lunch on the run. Louis Lassen, the luncheonette's owner, broiled a beef patty which he put between two slices of bread and sent him off with it.

first hamburger was served.

Today, Louis' grandson runs
the business where the burgers are broiled vertically in the original cast iron grill.

So we arrived at Louis' Lunch a few minutes before they opened and there were about 10 or 12 people already waiting outside. And let me tell you, the place is tiny! We had to stand outside for about 10 minutes after they opened before we could even get inside to wait in line.

We did find seats once we ordered (4 cheeseburgers with "the works" and 4 birch beers). I liked the guy behind the counter because he was wearing a Mariano Rivera shirt, but he acted like he was once tiny step away from tossing out anyone who wasn't abiding by
his rules- kind of soup-nazi-ish.

The cheeseburgers finally arrived but they were gone too fast. If I were to rate the burger, I would put it one notch below the
steamed cheeseburgers at Ted's Restaurant. The whole Louis' Lunch experience is great, however. It's noisy with lots of bantering back and forth between the customers and the people behind the counter and, did I mention it's small? You can hear it all.

From there I went to Ikea and then met everyone at
Archie Moore's for wings. I must have been off my game Friday because I could only eat about 10 wings. That was kind of a let down, but they are still the best wings in the world.

Speaking of being "off my game," I only counted about 10 "I"s in this post. I say this because a co-worker of mine tells me I'm only concerned with myself and that everything always has to be about me!

Well, Jayne, just so you know, I want this CD set for my birthday:

And, by the way, the temperature is still rocketing up- it's 10 degrees now!

Mystic Web Cam

Click below for three live Mystic, CT web cams.

You can control two of them.

Mystic CT Live Webcams

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Transportation Time Wasters

Supposedly the picture above is of the corporate jet traffic leaving Miami, Florida after the Super Bowl. I don't know if it's real or not but it looks cool.

Sticking with the transportation theme, click the picture below for an interesting site about the construction and abandonment of the Cincinnati subway system.

They began planning the system in 1912, no trains ever ran on the line, and the debt from the project was not paid off until 1966. Now, of course, the government is considering a
new light rail plan using the original subway's tunnels. Politicians at their finest!

Next, click below for a site that tracks all of the ships in the San Francisco Bay harbor. It shows where they are, the name and type of ship, speed, and destination in real-time. It will waste a minute or two of your time.

Finally, below is a video about a Kiwi who learns to "fly." Without ruining the movie for you, I'll say that it shows that, no matter how impossible it seems, any dream is attainable.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Happy Valentine's Day

Not much to report on my end.

It was very busy at the library tonight with the
"big" storm we're supposed to have later this evening and tomorrow. The threat of bad weather, brings all sorts of patrons to the library. Supermarkets see a big rush on bread and milk; the library is inundated with patrons searching out DVDs and videos.

We were also short one employee today as "Gloom" had another "accident" at work yesterday- more on that tomorrow.

Now let me just state, with the snowy/icy/rainy weather predicted for
Valentine's Day around here, some of the hoards of women who are probably planning to go out with me on this great holiday may have to take a rain check. I'm sure it will take me some time to get through the expected backlog of dates.

Yeah, right!

In honor of this being the holiday of love, here is an interesting site I found on the internet. It's called
Armed in America and they have a beautiful collection of photographs called "Portraits of Americans With Their Guns." What could be more romantic than that?

I know. I probably need some help with what I consider romantic.
I could try a dating service:

Maybe that's not such a great idea.
I could get some dating advice from an expert:

So much for that idea.
Wait, women like men who can dance, right? I could work on my dance moves:

Oh, I give up! Happy Valentine's Day!

Sunday, February 11, 2007

The Kevin and Joe Rule

I took Friday off from work and accompanied Kevin and Kathy on a trip through Rhode Island.

First of all, in case anyone is planning a trip to Rhode Island to hit the antique shops- don't do it! At least not on a freezing-cold day in winter. The wind off the water was bone-chilling, half the shops were closed, and those that were open were a waste of time.

Some of the strangeness we witnessed:

In the first shop we entered, we were followed around by an old lady shopkeeper who wouldn't leave us alone, looking over our shoulders as we shopped. Then she had us follow her outside the shop and around the corner to another shop she ran. She unlocked the front door and trailed us through a second shop.

Kevin saw one shop that looked promising on our map, but the door was locked. As we were walking away, the door was opened by the store owner so we walked back and went in. The owner was not the smartest guy I've ever met. The store was one big room and it was almost empty, except for some junk, a laptop computer (I'm sure their was some type of porn on the screen, probably involving barnyard animals), a motorcycle stuffed in the corner, and a hot dog stand. Kathy asked about the hot dog stand and the owner told us he sold vegetable burritos last summer. He lost money because the needed like 12 ingredients. This year he plans on keeping it simple and just selling hot dogs. Good luck!

We then watched a guy try to crank his boat onto his trailer. It probably would have been a simple process, except for all the ice that surround the boat and the trailer. I think the boater was crazy.

More strangeness occurred when we stopped for gas. I went in the little shop at the gas station to buy some waters and figured I'd use the bathroom while there. It was in a separate building so I asked the clerk if it was locked. He said no but handed me this big flashlight. I looked at it, then back to him, and he said, "No light." I said, "No thanks."

I told Kevin about it, but he decided to use the bathroom anyway. He walked in and asked the clerk for the flashlight, which he handed over without question. The only problem was that Kevin didn't know that bathroom was outside. So he takes the flashlight and starts walking around the store with it, going to the back rooms where all their supplies and the office was. And the clerk never said anything, he just let Kevin walk around the store with his flashlight.

I think Kathy was a little mad at me for my wise-ass comments throughout the trip, so I won't mention that she tried to kill Kevin and I three times with her driving. Nope, I'm not going to talk about the Jeep she almost pulled out in front of (this was leaving their driveway!). I won't bring up the fact that we hit something crossing one of the Newport bridges with no where to go except over the edge and in to the icy waters below. To protect my friendship with Kathy, I'm not going to talk about this.

We did make it back to Connecticut and met some other friends at
Hot Rod's in New London. They make great chicken wings and now have nine different flavors. Kevin and I get a little excited when we are there. They have wings, beer, and a framed photo of Anna Kournikova in the bathroom- does it get any better? I guess once we had 96 wings between three of us.

So we started ordering some wings and the waitress came over to explain a new rule they have at Hot Rod's. She told us the price of the wings has gone up. Now only the first 12 wings per person are at the happy hour price. If you eat more than 12 per person, you have to pay full price. She continued, "Normally, I don't have to tell people about this, but I know you
guys eat a lot of wings. So, I just wanted to be up front about the price." I think they should call this the "Kevin and Joe Rule."

I guess she's seen us eat wings before.

I should really look for an exercise program. Maybe something like this?

Friday, February 09, 2007

Spring Training

"Pitchers and catcher report next week for spring training."

Is there any better headline than that?

That one line signifies that the end of winter is in sight, spring is on the horizon, and baseball is coming soon.

Really. Think about it. What could be better?

I haven't watched a complete NBA game in years. The NHL is a joke. I'm not a UConn basketball fanatic like I used to be. I look forward to the football season but those games are only once a week.

Nope. Baseball is still far and away my favorite sport.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Back in the Day

My brother Dan told me a great story about himself and his car.

He was leaving the UConn campus the other night and rolled down his window while leaving the parking garage. Actually, he didn't roll down his window; the car has electric windows, so I guess he just "directed" the window to go down. As the window opened, he heard a strange "clunk" sound.

He has a VW Beetle (the new version) that he bought when they first came out. It's black and looks pretty sharp. It was even pictured on the company website. Well, I think his car still looks good- I recently heard that his wife ran over the front fender while backing a big dually Ford pickup up his driveway. I haven't seen the damage but I think it gave Dan a heart attack.

Anyway, his car is getting on in years (and miles) and, like I said, the window went down and sounded a little funny. As you can probably guess, the window was stuck. Dan decided to try to drive home with the window wide open. Needless to say, with the cold weather we've been having, he didn't make if very far. After he almost froze his hands and half of his face off, using a lot of muscle and some choice words, he pushed the window closed. Now, of course, he can't open it without fear of it never closing again.

Maybe he should experiment a little and do something like this to his car:

As you probably know, I have a story for everything and this is no exception. After hearing Dan's tale, I remembered at time when I was a junior in college and invited my little brother Alex up for a Kiss concert at the Worcester Centrum in Massachusetts (Listen to this lineup of bands:
Slaughter, Winger, and Kiss). This was a big event- his first weekend visit to UConn and his first big rock concert.

I picked him up and we went out to dinner at Woody's off campus. It was my favorite hang out at the time (they made the best sloe gin fizzes I've ever had). My friend Pete was our chauffeur that night. He had a black Camaro Z-28 with t-tops and a killer stereo. For some reason, even though it was the middle of winter, we decided to drive around with the tops off and the windows open that night.

Actually, when say "we" decided, I don't mean to imply that Alex had a vote. Pete and I decided it would be fun to stick my little brother in the back seat as we drove around the campus with the windows down, the tops off, and AC/DC cranked on the stereo so loud that we couldn't hear each other talk. Poor Alex. It couldn't have been easy to be my little brother back then. I remember him saying, "Guys, I'm really cold!" That just made us drive faster.

Other than the driving situation, Alex had a great time. The concert was great. Well, at least Kiss was. Slaughter and Winger couldn't compare to the show Kiss put on. And believe me, Kiss's claim to be the "Loudest Band in the World" couldn't be more true.

We got back to campus in the middle of the night and crashed for a few hours. Alex and I had to be up early the next morning because he had a cross country meet up near Hartford.

We were recently reliving this escapade when Alex told me something I hadn't heard before. When he lined up for his race in the morning, the starter's pistol went off and Alex didn't hear it at all. His ears were still ringing from the concert. He saw everyone else start running so he figured he better catch up.

Those were the days!

Speaking of cars and the stupid things that happen with them, check out this video. Paris Hilton runs out of gas and. . . well, watch it for yourself:

Monday, February 05, 2007

The Day After

It's Monday, the day after the Super Bowl and I wish I had taken today off from work.

With all the excitement yesterday, I forgot to post this video. I don't know why I like it. I'm not usually attracted to bands consisting of fat, white guys who need to buy some larger t-shirts (or lose weight), but this video makes me laugh.

Like I said, I meant to post it yesterday but, after working to get the web camera working, it slipped my mind.

Speaking of yesterday, my brother and his wife threw a great Super Bowl party. They worked very hard, the food was great, and it was an interesting mix of invitees, both family and friends. Their kids are a lot of fun to be around and I'm even becoming a little partial to their dog, Penny (I know, Penny, you pee on the floor when I show up because you love me!). And I (somewhat) enjoyed hanging out with my sister's new boyfriend Ryan. He made an extra effort to introduce himself to everyone and fit in well with the crowd, even thought he didn't know anyone previously. Also, his pizzas definitely tasted the best.

I think my idea of streaming a video of the party on the blog was fun, too. I don't know if my brother's friend has recovered after being told that her breasts were centered on the camera for about 5 minutes (the camera was there first and she moved in front of it- honest!). A bunch of us enjoyed hamming it up for the camera and even my dad tuned it from Italy.

I'm going to try using it again. One idea that popped in to my head was setting the camera up at the library one day (so you can feel just like you are there, working with side-by-side with "
Gloom"). Maybe I will stream from my kitchen one night so everyone who doubts that I actually cook for myself can witness it live. I'll see if any better ideas to use the stream come to me.

Other than that, I was very tired today and the patrons at the library were driving me crazy. I was going to rant about them tonight, but I decided not to. Instead, I'll end with this cool time-lapse video I found:

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Super Bowl Sunday

As you can see the party is really rockin' now. We had one girl puking all over the living room and in the tub in the bathroom! Woo hoo!

OK, the puking girl was Cayleigh, but still, it added to the party atmosphere.

Dan's been cranking out the homemade pizzas, the beer is ice cold, and, oh yeah, it's a good game so far!

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Wash Your Hands!

One of my co-workers is always telling me how bad it is to eat meat. Any meat. Beef, chicken, fish.

It's not so much that the meat is bad for you, but she doesn't like the killing of the animals. She has sent me a bunch of articles and videos about the cruelty that befalls animals raised for food. It is an eye-opener.

Of course, I (being a total believer in equal opportunity) have countered her emails with some strange ones of my own.
Here's one about a woman who trains piglets to play piano. Or this one about pork rinds where they actually have a "pork rind porn" section, including women who have a pork rind fetish.

I am going to make a big sacrifice during Lent this year. I have decided to give up all meat on Fridays. That's right. My co-worker will supply recipes (hopefully with samples) for me to make every Friday so I don't succumb to the devil's lure of meat. To celebrate, I had the "Hungry Man" at Exit 23 Restaurant this morning. It consists of 2 eggs, 2 bacon strips, 2 sausages, a hunk of ham, 2 pancakes, and 2 french toast! Oh, it was good.

Anyway, I came across this video today of an investigation at a fruit and vegetable distributor in California. Maybe we should reconsider how healthy it is to be a vegetarian:

Seeing the people who don't was their hands after using the bathroom reminded me of something that happened at the library this week.

At the circulation desk, I can see down the hallway to the public bathrooms. A woman and her 3ish-year-old daughter were coming out of the bathroom and in a loud voice (so we could all hear), the daughter says, "But, Mommy, we didn't wash our hands!" I tried not to laugh, but it was too funny!

I'm off to visit my brother Dan and his family on Sunday for a Super Bowl party. Some of their friends are coming over and they are making home-made pizza. And my sister is coming with her new boyfriend Ryan (I'll have to practice my "bone-crushing" handshake tonight). Unless it's a real close game, I'll probably leave at halftime and be home before the end of the game.

Have a happy Super Bowl Sunday!

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Pennies From Heaven

I called my brother in Ohio this evening. He has two great kids (written about here, here, here, and here) with a third due in a few weeks. He always has a great story about the kids to share that makes me laugh. Of course, I also get upset because I don't get out there very often (maybe the end of April?).

Tonight he told me about his son's piggy bank. Jacob is five years old and was "counting his pennies," as he calls it. He now has so much change that not another cent can fit in his piggy bank. My brother recommended that he open an account at the bank. He explained to Jacob how they will hold his money in his account and he can take it out if he needs it.

Jacob looked at him and asked, "But how will they keep track of which pennies are mine?"

Watch the video below for some more fun with