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Three Questions to Ask

There are three questions you can ask someone that will open up their way of talking. Both their tone and patterning of their speech and the range of topics they are willing to talk to you about.

Have you ever come close to death? Have you ever been accused of something that you didn’t do? Do you know the circumstances of your birth?

That’s it. If you are ever somewhere having a conversation with someone that you are building a little rapor with, at some point try to ask one of these three things. If the person is warming up to talk to you, it will change things to bring one of these game changers to the table. What you hear from this person will be different. And this is regardless how they answer this question. The effect lasts well after you are past this part of the conversation.

Baseball Playoffs

The baseball playoff season is upon us. I like the sport, like to watch it, and am a Yankee fan. I have been paying attention to baseball all my life so I guess that makes me an all American guy.

I was glad to see the Red Sox lose their third game of their series today. The only other thing better than the Yankee’s winning is of course Boston losing. Now if NY can win they will face the Angels. It should be fun. What will really be interesting is if the Yank’s can make it all the way to the world series and the Dodgers are their opponent. Torre and LA against the Bronx Bombers. A lot of baseball to play before that might happen but it is no longer just a remote possibility.

Torre coaching against Girardi could lead to an intriguing series. The teacher, Torre, facing his student, Joe Girardi. I say bring it on but we have to see how things play out up to the World Series.

Bennington, Vermont

I recently took a trip to Bennington, Vermont and it was great. The weather was hot but none of the rain that threatened actually materialized.

We stayed at a really nice B&B, the Eddington Inn, in North Bennington. The owner, Patti, is a super hostess. She served a great breakfast and there are also some snacks out all day for guests to nibble on. When we arrived she showed us a few places we could go to eat for dinner and said she  would be happy to help us with anything we needed, anytime during our stay. The next morning she was full of sightseeing tips. It seems whatever any of her guests are up to Patti has some helpful advice to offer. Places to see in either North Bennington or Bennington, hiking trails around town or in the mountains, biking routes, places to shop or whatever. My wife and I were interesting in Bennington and a bit of hiking. We ended up with a few sets of directions to and from where we needed to go, and some copies of information about two different hiking trails that had trailheads just outside of town. We could get to and from Bennington along a nice scenic route, along a way that would take us through three covered bridges or another way that was just quick and easy. Two other guests that were eating breakfast with us were interested in biking. They ended up with a few suggested biking routes.

My wife and I would happily return to the Eddington House if we come to visit the Bennington area again. We will also recommend the place to anyone that wants to enjoy a nice, relaxing stay in a wonderful Bed and Breakfast.

Carver Bartow State Park

I did not grow up in the south and was never subjected to what now seems such insane racism that took place there, and all over this country. It is therefore hard to imagine all that went on in the not to distant past.

I just came across some information about segregation that was just something I had never thought about. I love to be outside, in nature, and have always appreciated that there are lots of public parks wherever I have lived.

Carver Bartow Park is located in Georgia, right near Red Top Mountain State Park. Both of these parks are found along the shores of Lake Allatoona. Apparently this park was originally developed to be a park for blacks. The nearby Red Top Mountain park was white only. The then newly created Carver Bartow Park was first opened in 1950 with its original name being George Washington Carver State Park. There were concerts and other events held there too, with the park playing host to quite a number of famous black performers and local families. It makes me glad that there was at least a park like this for people to go but it also breaks my heart to think about all that was denied, to so many people, for so long.

The park remains today as a place for people to visit, relax and enjoy time along the shores of Lake Allatoona

The park remains today as a place for people to visit, relax and enjoy time along the shores of Lake Allatoona

A view of Lake Allatoona from the porch of the large hall at Bartow Carver.

A view of Lake Allatoona from the porch of the large hall at Bartow Carver.

A hot day at Salisbury Beach

The main beach side street/walkway at Salisbury Beach

The main beach side street/walkway at Salisbury Beach

The end of summer looms near and it being a hot day I decided to take a drive to Salisbury Beach. One of the coolest things I like about being at the beach these days is the chance to play some pinball. Salisbury is pretty run down at this point in its history but they do have a few arcades. Each has a nice collection of pinball machines too!

The beach is actually not bad here either. The only problem is the cold, cold water. It is just a bit to much for me to hang with the temps of the Atlantic Ocean this far north up the North American coast.

The town of Salisbury is doing a lot to try and revive what has been a long decline in visitors. They are offering party nites where they have bands playing for free and there are a number of different annual events they have started offering. It does seem to be working to some extent but there is a lot more they might need to do in order to really get the crowds back with any regularity. Like get rid of their strip club that is at one end of the “bring the family to the beach” center. It just does not fit with things to have that kind of place. Arcades, pizza, the beach, restaurants — and a strip club?

Leaving aside my dislikes and observations about what Salisbury Beach is today, there were still plenty of people with young children around. They all seemed to be having a blast. I know, having spent my childhood summers at the beach, that it was just great to be a little kid at the beach. It seemed there was always something cool and fun to do. My mom said it was great because we would entertain ourselves most of the day, would wear ourselves out and all we typically wore were a pair of shorts. Meaning she had to do very little laundry while we were at the beach.

My final report from the beach is that the waves here today were pretty darn big. Hurricane Bill was on his way by this weekend. The hurricane was really producing some big surf.

That is my summertime Saturday report from Salisbury Beach. I hope you enjoyed reading about it as much as I enjoyed hanging out there.

Steroids and Baseball

Being I live around the Boston area and am a baseball fan, I of course heard about the recent David Ortiz press conference. He never knowingly took or tried to get steroids. He did though say that he was careless in taking vitamins and over the counter supplements. So what the heck is that supposed to mean?

How do you think this would go over if I was trying to say I was a drug addict?

Well, you see I never took or asked for mind altering drugs. I was a little careless with the cough syrup though, and I probably should not have been drinking whole bottles of it so I could get a buzz.

Technically it is not illegal to drink bottles of cough syrup. So that would mean I am not abusing drugs? I don’t think so.

HGH supplements are hawked all over the place but that does not make it right to take them. I am so tired of so many lame excuses by so many public people. I used to run around lying to people when I was a kid, and I am sure most people saw through most of my crap. Later on, I grew up.

Congress men and their infidelities, sports folks with their drug abuse (yes steroids are a drug problem, plain and simple), business men with their bullshit, and on and on.

Why couldn’t Ortiz say that he was trying to gain and advantage, like everyone else was.

Hollowing at the Moon

Today I visited Wolf Hollow in Ipswich, MA. The facility is designed to be a place to educate people about wolves and their role in the environment. I was not sure what to expect but thought it sounded like something that could be interesting and fun. It could also be quite bad too, as some of these types of “lets show wildlife to people for a fee” can sometimes end up.

We went on a Saturday to see the 1:30 “show.”

The show turned out to be a roughly 1 hour interactive lecture and it was pretty darn good. The audience (all of us) were seated in some bleachers and the wolves were in a fenced area that was mostly naturally vegetated. It was maybe a few acres on size. There were two wolves, a male and female. The educator stood about 10 feet from the fence. So he was with the wolves and about 15 – 20 feet from us. He talked about wolves in general and about the two wolves in the fenced area. This guy was great and kept asking for questions from the audience, while paying a lot of attention to the kids that were there.

The wolves were cool to see although they did not do too much. It was hot and they were just as happy to sit in the shade than stand around showing off. The educator interacted with them as much as was reasonable but this was not nor was it meant to be some kind of circus act where the wolves were performing tricks or anything.

The talk was very informative and covered a lot of details about the biology of wolves. Wolf Hollow is clearly doing what they say they are trying to do, educate the public about these animals.

There were a few other wolves at the place besides the male and female in the main fenced areas. An additional three wolves were off in two other pens just to the side of where we were sitting. We had an opportunity to see these other animals after the talk was over.

I thought this was a great educational presenatation and I give Wolf Hollow a gold star for their efforts.

The audience was allowed to try to get the wolves to hollow at the end of the presentation. They did not react to much, only responding with a few week replies. We were also informed that wolves do not actually hollow at the moon!

Here we Go

So this will be my first post. What will this be about? Anything and everything, as determined by me. I will not hold back and will let the chips fall where they may.

Get on your seatbelt. Here we go.