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Random Thoughts Rattling Around an Almost Empty Head

Random, unrelated thoughts and ideas that have been living in my brain for the past few weeks.

Since many of the top Boston newspaper columnists like to write random thoughts columns when they don’t have any fresh ideas, I thought, why not me? Other than the fact I am not a top newspaper columnist in Boston or anywhere else, I see no reason not to. Here goes:

I like things I can pick up and hold - compact discs, newspapers, magazines and books. I understand that online is usually cheaper, quicker and more convenient, but the experience just doesn’t compare to the real thing. I still read two newspapers each day and still buy most of my music at Newbury Comics. I am part of a dying breed.

I was in Barnes & Noble the other day and suddenly felt sad, when I realized in a few years it and most other book stores might not exist anymore. You just can't beat that smell you get the first time you open a new book. I read books on my iPad, but the feeling just isn’t the same.

Remember when we used to have bus stops that kids actually had to walk to and then stand and wait for the bus? Now it seems in every city and town, the school bus pretty much stops at every home.

Presidential "debates" have become a complete farce. The candidates don't debate and rarely answer any of the questions. As for the questions, they usually are awful at best and trivial at worst.

The Occupy Everywhere group seems to have made its point and drawn attention to some serious issues in the country, so what's the next step? What do they do now to try and effect change? Continuing to squat on public land across the country doesn't strike me as a winning strategy.

The new high school/middle school project for North Reading truly is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for this town. If we don’t do it now, over the next several years we will end up being nickeled and dimed to death by major repairs and renovations. And in the end, we will have no more space than we have today and what we would end up with wouldn’t compare to what we will get if the new schools project is approved. Don’t forget the November 29 meeting at the auditorium to discuss the new school.

The ongoing NBA lockout is infuriating. Sure, everyone wants a fair contract, but when players are makings tens of millions of dollars annually, and when the last guy on the bench who never plays is making close to a half-million, it’s hard to feel any sympathy for them. The owners have no one to blame but themselves for letting the situation get to this point, but it’s time for both sides to compromise, reach an agreement and get back on the court.

While there weren’t any championships, this past fall season was one of the most successful in a long time for North Reading High School athletes. Four teams – volleyball, field hockey and boys and girls soccer – qualified for their state tournaments and the football teams needs 1 more win to finish with a record above .500. Also, congratulations to Lindsay Breen, field hockey coach, who won coach-of-the-year honors in the Cape Ann League.

The continuing escalation of college costs has to stop or the system will implode. Granted, the cost of tuition, room and board and fees published by most schools is often defrayed by financial aid, but the schools need to quickly figure out a solution before it gets to a point where only a few can afford to attend the college of their choice.

Steve Jobs was a brilliant man and he played a key role in developing beautiful products that changed the way we work, communicate, listen to music, etc. However, as a person, he was often cruel and treated most people with disdain. I highly recommend his biography, “Steve Jobs,” which provides great insight into this troubled genius.

Is there any question that cereal is one of the best foods ever invented? There are days when I can eat it for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Such a great comfort food. Mentioning cereal, how great is it that Sugar Pops, Sugar Smacks and Sugar Crisp are now called Corn Pops, Honey Smacks and Golden Crisp? I wonder whether the ingredients have changed or just the names to be more politically correct?

Has Rick Perry yet figured out what the third federal agency is that he plans to cut if he is elected president? And what about Ron Paul? Doesn’t he remind you of that old guy who is always complaining and starts every sentence with a whiny, “When I was a kid………….”?

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Gina Mclaughlin November 12, 2011 at 12:03 PM
Mel, thanks for a good read with my first cup of morning coffee
Janet Vincze November 12, 2011 at 02:47 PM
Mel, I think you may be the new Andy Rooney!
Bill November 14, 2011 at 01:16 PM
Enjoyed your thoughts, Mel! Continue to share.
melee November 14, 2011 at 07:03 PM
I think that if North Reading invested in more sidewalks, we could eliminate the bus stopping at every house. It is unfortunate that only one side of Rte. 62 has sidewalks. The side without sidewalks has high commercial traffic and also has a large apartment complex but have no sidewalks for pedestrians to walk on.

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