Friday, November 23, 2007

Giving Thanks

It is the day after Thanksgiving here in Massena. After a self imposed day off of the web I am sitting here in the afterglow of hot coffee and leftover pumpkin pie, what very well may be one of the best breakfasts ever.

While browsing all of my favorite blogs I came across a post on Elise's Simply Recipes that made me stop and think.

I have a lot to be thankful for.

My Red Sox took the pennant. For this I am happy (perhaps even giddy).

My Patriots are running over all of the other teams in the NFL. For this I am appreciative of thier overwhelming skill, determination and teamwork.

There are a large number of alternatively powered vehicles that will be hitting the showroom floors in the next couple of years. For this I am anticipating freeing the choke hold of the oil driven world.

But am I thankful for these? Well, sort of. But they really are not that important.

I am really thankful for my family, my health and the good graces thatGod has granted us over the years.

I hope that this holiday season finds you content in what you have, not too envious of what you don't and with a sense of inner peace in the world in which you live.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Take me out to the ballgame

After a long couple of months this Red Sox fan eagerly awaits tomorrow's opening game of the 2007 World Series. To see the BoSox take us this far has been a wild ride, capped off with 7 games on the edge of the seat while they sent the Tribe off to play golf in the off season.

I know that my faith has wavered a bit but my team has made it.

There are times that it just takes quite a bit to overcome decades of disappointment in being a New England sports fan.

For now I am in my glory.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Hoping, Dreaming, Praying

Autumn is a tough time to be a New England sports fan.

After watching the BoSox maintain thier lead through September I gleefully cheered them into the ALCS. Game 1 was a dream and my hopes built higher and higher.

Then came games 2, 3, and 4. The Tribe has proven to be strong this year. But there is still (at least) one more game to be played. One more chance for redemption.

I keep telling myself that they have been able to pull this off before. I guess we'll find out soon enough.

No matter what though, there is a happy ending. The Yankees are already playing Golf while the BoSox are playing ball.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Wired for Wireless

An open letter to the Federal Communications Commission:

To whom this may concern,

As a citizen, tax payer and consumer I have concerns over the upcoming auction of spectrum currently in use for analogue television.

In a nut shell, I want choices.

I am very concerned that a large carrier, such as Verizon, which already holds a virtual monopoly on a large portion of spectrum devoted to cell communications will end up holding valuable portions of this block of spectrum too and have the ability under the current rules to limit the third party usage of this valuable property.

As a taxpayer I am not concerned that the FCC garner top dollar for this spectrum. It seems to me that the rules that the large carriers would see in place over this spectrum which would enhance it's value to them, thereby driving up the potential auction value, will only hurt me in the end. This value that they would enjoy would end up being paid for by the consumer - me, many times over the money that the FCC would get from the auction.

As this spectrum is theoretically the property of the tax payer and is being auctioned off for the public good I implore the commision to keep the taxpayer, citizen and consumer in mind when proceeding with this auction.


Sunday, September 9, 2007

All is right

While normally I don't see there being too many days where I would post twice, today is the exception.

As a New England sports fan life is hard. You get to endure a lot of pain and agony, usually at the end of the season.

But today is different.

On the opening day for the NFL the Patriots won (and over the Jets too) which gives them a share of the lead (technically). At the same time in MLB, the BoSox are on top and still going strong with the best record in the league.

Both teams on top, at the same time... Life is good and all is right in my world.


The last several days have been hot and humid here. Very summer like. We really have not had that much summer like weather this year.

Last night though it was quite chilly in the house. With the windows opened and outside temperatures dipping into the 50's we hit that ever so perfect sleeping weather that signals the coming of Autumn.

Driving around town there are other hints in the air. Selected trees have started their annual change with colors starting to peek through. And if that were not enough, the air is just starting to get that 'fall' smell to it.

And now for the exciting part. As the weather starts to change, so does the menu.

There are a bunch of foods that we only eat once the weather chills. Most involve extended cooking times (and who wants a hot kitchen in the summer?) or simply have the connotation associated with them that they are only eaten when we can fully appreciate the spiritual (as well as bodily) warmth that can be derived from them.

Yesterday my wife came home with a nice corned beef that will be dinner in a day or two. Definitely this food falls into this category. And this morning, while lying in bed, before the children started stomping around, I found myself thinking Pot Roast ala Elise.

But, I am not ready to give up on Summer food quite yet. There will still be plenty of opportunities to BBQ and grill in the weeks to come. Chicken, ribs, burgers and dogs still will be visiting my back yard. Cole slaw, potato salad and fresh garden veggies are still to be enjoyed.

Because Autumn is still twelve days away.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Smokey, with no Bandit

Over the weekend my wife and sons surprised me with a Brinkmann Smoke'N Pit offset smoker cooker. What a surprise.

Over the last several years I have been patiently working to perfect my BBQing skills. In the process, I have burned out several 'R2D2' style water smokers and felt that it was time to try something a little different.

So, yesterday the unit was assembled and today I performed my first burn, to cure the smoker. What a lovely smell (at least once the oils and paints stopped emitting fumes) my yard had this afternoon!


I think that I may now be a 'real' blogger. Mary from Vermont is the proud winner of, well, nothing really. But she does have the distinction of being the first to leave a comment on my blog. Mary drove by the same wind turbines near Ellenburg, NY that I recently posted about. She then did a little research (I am assuming through Google) and found my little place here on the web.

So Mary, -thanks.

A very satisfying weekend all told.

Friday, August 31, 2007


Last weekend I drove over to Burlington, Vermont to run some errands. It was a great day for a drive - just a few clouds, mostly sunshine.

On this side of Ellenburg New York I was able to see one of the most stunning sights I have ever beheld. Tall, slender and graceful, soaring a couple of hundred feet into the air, a number of nearly completed wind turbines. Rather than engineering marvels they actually appeared as works of art leaping from the ridge line. As I entered Ellenburg village I soon spotted the sign for the office of the Marble River Wind Farm.

I have been reading and hearing accounts in the news, both locally as well as in North-Eastern Vermont of the uproar proposed wind farms can cause. Concerns of noise, spoiled views and such are the mainstay of the naysayers. I wonder how many of them have ever even seen one, from a distance or up close?

I did not find the turbines that obtrusive. Their neutral gray color caused them to blend into the background. It was only after looking closely that I even noticed units that were further away. They were not operating so I could not hear the noise impact they will make (though I plan to go over as soon as they start up to see, or should I say hear, for myself).

From the research I have done over the last week it does not sound like the noise will really be an issue. At the slow speeds that these units operate and with the efficient design of the turbine blades they will be magnitudes quieter than thier cousins of a decade or two ago. My guess is that neighboring land owners (only after they have turned off thier TVs, Internet, iPods and then also turned off their SUVs) will only notice the noise on only the quietest, stillest days. Even then, my guess is that what they can hear will soon blend in with the background noise they already contend with on a day to day basis.

I think that the main thread of the naysayers is that they are members of the NIMBY club. While they may talk the green talk in the open they do not want to have it be a real part of their local environment. Secretly I think that as long as the Coal, Oil, Gas and Nuclear plants are located somewhere where they cannot see them, thier industrial ugliness and their polution, that out of sight is out of mind.

I would like to see a wind farm in my back yard. I think that they represent one of the energy sources of the future that we will start needing to depend upon as the petroleum reserves start to fail and the rising cost (financial) of the fossil fuels makes them prohibitive to use.

We need to face it, the alternative fuel selections are thin. Most viable hydro sources have already been tapped. So, we cannot look into that direction to magically solve our future woes. That leaves us with nuclear, solar and wind power as our major widespread energy sources.

In this lattitude solar on the commercial level is really not feasible (though at the homeowner level I think that it has a future).

I think that Nuclear power will again become popular down the road, especially when the safety fear is assuaged by realization that modern reactor technology is much safer than that used in our country which is decades old.

Now wind is available in the majority of locations. Aside from the pollution generated as a by product of manufacture, once the turbine is in use there will be no emissions, no green house gasses. None of the negatives that we currently have with the fossil fuels. This really seems to be the direction we need to be going. And, due to the longevity expected from each turbine (a ~$2MM up front cost per unit) they should prove to be cost effective to operate which should relate to being a cost effective solution for the consumer.


The only place where wind does not seem to offer a solution is in the transportation sector. Or maybe I am wrong.

The two most promising alternatives for fueling our cars are electric (battery) or hydrogen (either fuel cell or internal combustion) based. Batteries and hydrogen have one thing in common - they are only storage mediums for energy. Batteries still need to be charged. Hydrogen still needs to be generated (through electrolysis).

On second thought, wind can power our transportation sector.


I think that time is on wind's side. When gas prices hit double or triple current levels and our electric bills grow by the same magnitude due to increased generation costs and when the goods and services that we purchase cost more from the impact of these, then (and probably only then) will the naysayers (not looking back) state 'why didn't we implement wind sooner'.

Copyright (c) 2007, Gary Novosel

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Voluntary Tax

What a buzz this weekend. Powerball was up to a high of $314MM. Quite a sum indeed. And now, one lucky winner will get to step forward to claim the loot.

It will not be me. I did not buy a ticket.

There is a Catholic Church a block away from my house. Two nights a week the parish hall swarms with the elderly, low income crowd, hoping to hit the big Bingo jackpot and reap a little joy.

It won't be me, I do not play.

Have you ever noticed that the voluntary tax always seems to be paid by those least likely to be able to afford it?

One of my favorite novels is "The Wrong Side of the Sky" by Gavin Lyall. In it there is one scene where the main character is laying on the bed of his cheap hotel room, staring at the ceiling, daydreaming the dream that is dreamt by many others in the same circumstances, in the same cheap hotel rooms around the world, of riches.

I don't ever expect to win the lottery.

But, I still do occasionally buy a Mega Millions ticket. Why? For the entertainment value.

Where else can you experience so many emotional ups and downs for a buck? The anticipation as you buy the ticket - knowing that you don't have a chance in hell of winning while at the same time having (statistically at least) the same chances as everyone else. The rush of checking the numbers to see if (just maybe) your payday has come in. The let down as you see that if hasn't. And then when you see that (more likely than not) noone else has won, the hope and dream that the next drawing (if you plunk down another buck) you can go through it all again.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007


While I like the 70's soft rock band of the same name, and have even been known to sing their tunes while driving long distances in my car, this post is about the more substantial, soul filling, warm feeling, baked loaf.

Last week I baked two cheater loafs of bread. They almost did not count as they started life as lifeless, frozen pucks which I had to wait several hours for before being able to bake them.

But you know, when they were baking, they really smelled good (or so I have been told - fodder for a post to follow). And, neither one lasted more than a couple of hours, being devoured by the kids and I while still warm and fresh.

It must be getting on towards autumn.

During the summer, fresh bread loses some of its appeal. Well, actually the baking process and hot kitchen makes it less appealing. But as the weather cools down there is nothing like fresh, home baked bread to make you feel all warm inside.

I'm thinking that I need to bake some more this fall. Previous efforts at making bread have resulted in mixed results. I can bake an Onion Lover's Twist that comes out reliably good. This is a recipe that I got from my Mom, who had picked it up from it's origin as a Pillsbury bake Off Winner. This is the ultimate bread for me - warm and tasty plus lots of memories from growing up.

It doesn't get any better than that.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Fair Time

The end of summer is drawing near as every student counting the days will be able to tell you. The corn is growing high with sweet corn stands starting to open here and there. Second cutting of hay is ongoing and gardens are ripening up nicely.

Time of the year for the fair.

Growing up in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont the end of summer heralded the Caledonia County Fair. Ah... memories of the Midway, the rides, the games, the food. As I grew older I ventured more around the fair grounds and discovered the livestock, floral hall, horse pulling. I also got to attend other area fairs. To the north was the Barton (Orleans County) Fair which was nearly a carbon copy of the Caledonia County Fair. Across the Connecticut river to the south was the North Haverhill Fair, one of my favorites just because of the emphasis on agriculture.

Since moving to Northern New York my fair going has bounced between the St. Lawrence County Fair and the Franklin County Fair, which happens to be going on this week.

But coming up next month is the one that I (currently) like the best - the Hammond 4-H and FFA Fair. What can I say, this fair is strictly a small town agriculture fair primarily devoted to the kids of agriculture. In other words - this is what fairs started out as, a celebration of agriculture and as well the end of another fruitful growing season.

I guess that I had better mention the food. The Caledonia County Fair is the best place to get Apple Crisp. All of the other fairs offer up the same fare that we all look forward too, sausage and peppers, fries, fried dough. (sigh).

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Hot, Damn Hot

Adrian Cronauer (as played by Robin Williams, not the real deal) stated it best in "Good Morning Vietnam" - Hot, Damn Hot! Well, actually it was Cronhauer as played by Williams improvising made up character "Roosevelt E. Roosevelt". Confused yet?

Anyhow - it is hot and damp in Massena today. Not really unseasonably so, just a lot hotter and damper than it has been all summer.

An absolute nightmare for those working in manufacturing facilities. This is the type of weather that when combined with hard work can bring the strongest to thier knees. Time to keep your fluid input up to an appropriate amount to stave off all sorts of heat related maladies such as Heat Exhaustian and Heat Stroke.

At the plant where I work we had a worker go down last Friday who spent the weekend in the hospital recovering. It was a near thing, it very well could have been a funeral the worker was attending - thier own.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Take Me Out...

While I am a Yankee, I am not a Yankees fan.

As a lifelong New England sports fan I have had my share of disappointing seasons. Luckily, that has changed in the last decade as first the Patriots got their stuff together followed by the Red Sox.

But still,...

Now that July is practically behind us with August bearing down and Autumn hot on it's heels it is time for every BoSox fan to start getting nervous. Right now they are leading the Yankees by 8 (standings). But you start to asking yourself, when will the slide begin? When will the disappointment start?

But, for now they are ahead of the Yanks by 8, which is all that really matters.

Saturday, July 14, 2007


The other night I was browsing the channels and stumbled across Bobby Flay's 'Throwdown' on the Food Network. And the throwdown for this episode was 'Fish & Chips'. I have been salivating ever since.

I have never made this myself but am ready to try. Over the last ten plus years I really have not eaten that much in the way of fried food but that is about to change.

Back in my bachelor days I had an apartment in Burlington, Vermont, a mere stones throw away from The Vermont Pub and Brewery. Many a night my buddy Mike and I would end up there and I recall more than once partaking of a pint or two of Dogbite Bitter with a plate of their Fish & Chips. Very tasty indeed.

So now, I need to make some up. I have a feeling that until I do I will not be able to get this out of my head.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Good Morning

Good morning from Massena.

An interesting weather pattern hit the Northeast yesterday afternoon. We had a thunderstorm watch all afternoon and lots of thunderboomers rolled through the area. We even had what the weather folks call 'mild rotation' in a couple of the cells - weather speak for 'potential tornado'.

Did I mention that weather and climate are interests of mine?

The trough in the jet stream that has been causing all of the hot and dry weather out West resulted in a ridge on the East coast which was the root cause of last nights weather. and at the top of the ridge some nice, tight, isobars meaning wicked pressure differential resulting in winds and all around unstable weather.

I was in my glory.

Friday, July 6, 2007


Maybe I am perseverating on toes, I don't know. But I do know that I am glad that it is Friday.

From a quick browse of I see that Boeing is getting ready to roll out and present to the public (or at least the media) the first 787 Dreamliner.

For some reason airliners make me giddy. In the 90's I did a lot of travel for work and accumulated my fair share of miles. At that time I got a lot of miles on 737s and end of life 727s and I still remember my first hop in the big 747. I had always been fascinated with planes (the first toy I can clearly remember was a red plastic B-17). And the ability to see a lot of them up close and personal was just a joy.

I'm still fascinated with planes. Late last year I saw my first 777 (at DFW) which made my jaw drop. What a beauty, an AA example in polished aluminum.

And now the Dreamliner. Of course we already know what it will look like with Boeing making public unlimited artwork and simulations. But to see the real thing rolling out of the hanger will be something I can't wait to see.

The only disappointment,... though it represents the next major leap in materials and efficiencies in the aircraft world, I doubt that we will see a barrel roll on it's maiden flight.

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Toes in the Water, Checking the Temperature.

For the last year or so I have browsed various Blogs, with several that I find myself regularly hitting and commenting at. All in all, I have found a bunch of information (some good, some bad), some entertainment, and most importantly, some varied opinions.

And so I have finally put my toe in the water to test the temperature and created my own.

So, what does Gary in Massena have to say? The heck if I know.

I anticipate commentary on the various things I stumble across on the web. I'll probably have some things to say about cooking (and more importantly eating), especially about BBQ. There very well may be a comment about politics and politicians, what with elections a year and a half away.

We'll just have to wait and see.

In the mean time come on in, the waters are fine!