Monday, March 15, 2010


We had a severe wind and rain storm this past Saturday. They called it a Nor'easter, which is weather-speak for hold on to your toupee. Sheets of rain blowing sideways, sustained winds of 50 MPH and higher for six hours, trees down and power out all over Staten Island...I'd call it a freakin' hurricane. It began in earnest about 3 PM and lasted well into the night. As I sat watching TV (thankfully our power stayed on) I saw shingles from my neighbor's roof flying past my window. I had a Rhododendron bush planted in front of my house that blew up the block and was last seen crossing the state line into New Jersey. I kept expecting to see the Wicked Witch of the West fly by with little Toto in her bicycle basket! I've never been in a bad hurricane or tornado, but I can't imagine how much worse it can be. Am I eligible for federal handouts like our needy friends in New Orleans?

A couple of weeks ago we saw "Avitar" in 3-D at an I-Max theater. The movie was amazing and I'm glad we went. You still need the glasses to realize the 3-D effect, but the resemblance to the old 3-D movies ends there. In the old clunkers like "House of Wax" we wore those cheesy cardboard glasses; the 3-D scenes were blurry and the film colorization was terrible. For Avitar the glasses are now polarized, and the effects were spectacular, with no distortion whatsoever. We don't get to many movies because my wife is afraid I'll go into "shush" mode and embarrass her. I was sorry to see Avitar fare so poorly at the Oscars ceremony. The movie was outstanding and you should go, but be sure to see it in I-Max!

The other day in the NY Daily News, some letter-to-the-Editor writer was whining about his unemployment benefits not being extended. I hear others from the "Entitlement Generation" complain about reduced benefits, and how our society is going to hell in a handbasket. Let me see if I got this straight...I work and pay my exorbitant taxes so we can give people free money, and then I have to hear them bitch that it's not enough? Hello, it's FREE. Interestingly enough, in the same day's paper, there was an article that the Census Bureau can't fill the thousands of jobs open for census takers. What's wrong with this picture? Able bodied people would rather sit on the stoop drinking beer, or watch soap operas on the couch while shoveling Ring Dings into their pie holes that I paid for, instead of going out and working. The fact that we have created this entitlement mentality is why we're going to hell in a handbasket.

Not long ago my wife bought me a crock pot. It sat around the house for a while and finally we decided to try it. HELLO slow-cooked meats! This is the greatest invention since the TV remote. So far we've had a pork roast, a London broil, a pot roast and a chicken, and all were fantastic. Right now there's a corned beef simmering in that baby, with some potatoes and cabbage and I can't wait to get at it. There's something about slow cooking at low temperatures that gives meat a whole new flavor. Even less expensive cuts come out fork tender. We have cut way back on our meat consumption for health reasons, but now that this little appliance is sitting on the counter, we may have to step it up again.

Every day, Federal, State and City governments get scammed out of billions of dollars through tax evasion, Medicare fraud, welfare and Social Security schemes, government employees selling things like driver's licenses and green cards, and in a thousand other ways. Doesn't anybody check or follow up on anything? The problem is that it's so easy to give away other people's money. I'd bet the people who administer these programs and pay out these monies are a whole lot more careful with their own checkbooks than they are with the government's. It's time we put some money into auditing the recipients of these funds...start with the biggest payees and send people into the field to verify their claims. I'll bet things tighten up in a hurry as more crooks get fitted for orange jump suits. It's our money for crying out loud.


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Joseph Del Broccolo said...

I just took on a consulting job for a local university, that will pay me through state funding. I feel very obligated to estimate it at a fair rate, and to be sure that there are no questions. For me, it is practice what you preach time. I am really tired of hearing about the swindling of state and federal monies that goes on.

Jim Pantaleno said...

Good for you Joe. You won't get rich but you'll be able to sleep at night. (When you're not blogging that is.)