Monday, January 28, 2008

Not-So-Deep Pockets

I saw this story this morning in the Hartford Courant about the middle class feeling the pinch of tougher economic times. Like everyone else, I'm also taking a beating over escalating energy costs -- electricity, heating oil and gasoline -- but I wonder about all the little "necessities" and "conveniences" that we've added to our lives which are subtracting from our wallets. Are they worth it?

I'm not talking about food or clothes, but things like TV -- we pay for basic TV, but then it's a few extra few dollars a month to have HBO, Showtime and Skinemax. Oh, and then we need to have it all on a shiny new 60-inch plasma flatscreen. And don't forget that for just a little more, you might as well get the high def and DVR service . . . .

Or communications equipment -- gotta have a cell phone, right? Plus, for only a few dollars, your own ringtones and themes -- and don't forget the text messaging (the plan is cheap!). And the camera. And web access is only cents per day . .. .

Or computers -- why have a desktop when you can have the convenience of a laptop for a few hundred dollars more? And to be hip, you need every bell and whistle available, all the software from desktop publishing to burning DVDs -- they come with the basic package, only a fraction of the original cost. Plus, a web cam, scannner, and of course, with the fastest internet connection we can find, wireless, obviously. Only a few dollars a month more. ...

Or cars -- can't drive a used stationwagon -- for only a few thousand more, you can get the shiny new SUV! (Gas prices are going to come down, I promise!) Then there's the warranty. And that subscription for satellite radio and the GPS service because, it's only a few more dollars a month. And don't forget, while going through the drive-thru window, it's only 50 cents more to supersize it. . .

Gee, I can't understand where all the money goes.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Rowland Safe at Home

As a citizen of Waterbury, I am delighted to have John Rowland on the case, promoting and pushing for the place he loves most. Waterbury 's downtown has many assets as a place for businesses and offices, but the city has never been willing to pay for a top person to do the schmoozing and selling. Now they are getting a very good schmoozer, who still has good contacts in place, at what will no doubt be a bargain price. Make all the Waterbury jokes you want. I have heard them all and even made up a few. Rowland has paid a fair price for his foolish behavior and now wants to turn the page and prove himself anew. I really do think Waterbury will benefit from this move.

Friday, January 4, 2008

A Silver Lining

Well the best thing to be said about Chris Dodd's ignominious defeat in the Iowa caucus is that the state of Connecticut gets a Senator back. He'll have plenty of time after he's scurried back home with his tail between his legs and when the Senate reconvenes on Jan. 22 to unpack his belongings and move back into the job the people of Connecticut elected him to do.

Of course, you can't blame Dodd for being ambitious and wanting to run for the White House -- I suppose it's the dream of everyone who gets into politics. And I do give him credit for accepting reality and getting out (relatively) early. (Then again, if there's a lot of speculation that you couldn't even win in your home state, then maybe you shouldn't have run at all. . . .)

Over at Connecticut Local Politics, they do a great job of dissecting Dodd's demise, noting that it wasn't just one thing that doomed the campaign, but a confluence of factors, not the least of which was his lack of being able to distinguish himself from the pack.

Well, now that his fantasy has been dismissed and his ego deflated, there's a good chance that Dodd will now rededicate himself to the citizens of Connecticut, some of whom were put off by his relocating to Iowa as well as the entire run itself. Let's hope his loss now makes for our gain.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

The Little Freeze

Before you ask, yes, it's cold enough for me.

Everyone complains about global warming, but I'm all for it! I hate shoveling snow, driving on icy roads and dealing with frozen pipes -- the sooner we can get the Connecticut climate like Florida, the better. As a matter of fact, after I'm done typing this, I'm going to the top of the palatial Connectiut Magazine Tower here in Trumbull, and not only am I making a bonfire out of all the styrofoam I can carry, but I have a case of my sister's AquaNet hairspray from the '80s that I'm going to run around releasing. Then I'm going to all the local farms to see what I can do about getting cows and pigs to produce more methane . . . .

Obviously, I'm kidding -- I'm not going to drive around to any farm on a day this cold!

And the good news is that despite how cold it is today, over the next few days, temperatures are expected to rise up through the 40s and possibly to 50 by Monday. Not exactly shorts and T-shirt weather, but I'll take it.

Still, I guess the winters of my youth may truly be a thing of the past -- instead of a sparkling white wonderland, we'll be looking at a rainy gray mushpile. No more sledding, snowmen and snowball fights, but mud pies, mudslinging and mud wrestling instead.

It's not the same, but you'll probably still have someone come up to you and ask, "Hey, muddy enough for you?"