George Rucker's Newsletter for March 7, 2017

Buongiorno,amico mio, Good Morning my Friend in Italian,


It has been a while since I wrote about this topic, if I actually did, as some topics I think about and just rehash in my mind and never put onto paper.  Well anyway last August or possibly September, I looked at my electric bill thought when did this happen?  My kilowatt per hour (kw/h) charge was almost 17 cents each.  My provider at the time was EverSource/Nstar electric, who happens to be the default provider for most of the New England area.

Everyone pretty much has the ability to pick their provider so I called EverSource and asked them where I could find a list of providers.   Now that I think about it I could have just done a search on my computer.  However talking to them was interesting as they offered to lower my rate for three months to almost 10 cents per kw/h provided I retained them as my provider.  After the three months it would revert back to the default rate.  I wasn’t bourn yesterday so I declined their offer and wanted to see what others had as an electric rate.

Off I went to find a site that lists all Mass providers along with their rates and if there are any penalties for withdrawal.  It is darn near impossible to find rates in a side by side graph.  I couldn’t find one anywhere.  I did a phone call and found that the billing is done by an actual third company.  They bill for every electric company and every transmission company.  Three fingers are in this electric pie, no wonder electricity is so expensive.  I was mailed a list of providers, their rates, and any penalties for switching.  Note just for your information most penalties drop after one year of payments.

I picked Ambitenergy who offered the rate of 8.75 kw/h for six months, for me this would be almost a 9 cent  per KW/h saving.  They also give me vacation points which I do not know how to use.  I now have 4714 of these points.  Anyway I have to sign up for renewal of automatically revert to the default provider.  My last experience with the default provider was they were in this for the money and would charge me more than twice the rate I could get for myself.  I have gone once again for www.ambitenergy.com and locked in the 9.75 rate for the next 12 months.

Do me a favor.  If you switch to this company let them know who gave you this information.  George Rucker, Account Number A5213522, thanks.  I am not sure of the reward but probably more vacation points or something.

The delivery rates in New England are much higher than other parts of the country.  This fact has caused and investigation as New England transmission rates appear to be “unjust, unreasonable and unduly discriminatory or preferential” and this called for an investigation.   The same does not hold true in other parts of the country, where transmission and distribution make up much smaller portions of the bill, even though the grid operators in the other regions serve a much broader territory per customer some areas of the country have rather great distances between neighbors.

Sorry, trying to find out what was going on with transmission rates makes it look like the other regions of the country are trying to raise their rates to equal those of New England.  The whole thing is a legal quagmire headed by Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

If you want my two cents, here it is.  They produce nothing just move electricity from point A to point B with those ugly poles.  Once the cost of the poles and wire are recovered the balance is all profit, and this profit goes on and on forever.  This part of the electric company should have never been taken from them and by allowing them to sell it off was  just another way to screw the consumer.

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Spaghetti with Garlic-Shrimp & Broccoli 4.8 stars from www.Kraftrecipes.com

Accept oohs and ahhs when your family tastes this garlicky shrimp and broccoli pasta dish—and all for just 20 minutes in the kitchen.

What You Need

½  lb. spaghetti, uncooked
4 cups small broccoli florets
½  cup KRAFT Tuscan House Italian Dressing
1 lb. uncooked deveined peeled large shrimp
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup KRAFT Grated Parmesan Cheese

Make It

Cook spaghetti in large saucepan as directed on package, omitting salt and adding broccoli to the boiling water for the last 2 min.

Meanwhile, heat dressing in large skillet on medium-high heat. Add shrimp and garlic; cook and stir 3 to 4 min. or until shrimp turn pink.

Drain spaghetti mixture; return to pan. Add shrimp mixture and cheese; mix lightly.

Special Extra

Add ½ tsp. crushed red pepper to the hot dressing along with the shrimp and garlic.
Variation

Prepare using thawed frozen cooked cleaned large shrimp, and reducing the cooking time for the shrimp and garlic to 2 to 3 min. or until the shrimp are heated through.

My notes: This is quick to make, about 20 minutes start to finish.  Low in calories.  As far as taste goes very average C+ or B-.


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During my life I have gone through many cars.  Of the cars I have owned a few stand out as favorites and if still available today I would like to drive.  One was a blue and white, two tone, 1955 Packard, a yellow and black 1971 Ford Maverick Grabber, and a 1986 Nissan Maxima, the Maxima could talk and no others have done so that I have driven.  Other than those three the rest were pretty much just transportation.

I was watching a Chevy commercial the other day and they claim to have the J D Power award for “Initial Quality” for 2017, 16, 15, and 14.  I thought either Chevy owned J D Power or “Initial Quality” only means the day you pick up your vehicle as most of the people I know would rather have vehicles with the longest lasting quality.

Well after a brief search, J D Power is an independent polling company and they claim  very strict standards.  Perhaps the survey that Chevy used had particularly worded questions that would prove the results they were touting.

Once while test driving a car, a Chrysler product, the vehicle door handle came off in my hand.  It was a very quick no thanks as I handed the salesman the door handle and went on my way.  If given the J D Power polling test at that moment Chrysler was a total failure.

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A frustrated Japanese father vented, "When I was a youngster, I was disciplined by being sent to my room without supper. But in my son's room, he has his own color TV, telephone, computer, and CD player."

"So what do you do?" asked his friend.

"I send him to MY room!" exclaimed the father.

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St. Patrick's Day is all about the Irish and the beautiful country Ireland but did you know that there are many aspects of the big day that the Irish can not claim as their own invention? Such as the St. Patrick's Day parade phenomenon, for instance? To get you up to date with all the weirdest and most wonderful St. Patrick's day facts, here are Irish Central's top strangest titbits about the patron saint to have you all caught up on your St. Patrick's trivia by March 17.


1. The Irish can’t claim credit for the invention of the Saint Patrick’s Day Parade

The world’s first recorded Saint Patrick's Day Parade took place in Boston on March 18, 1737, followed by the New York Parade, which first took place in 1762.

Ireland took over a century to jump on the parade float with the rest of the world and only had their first St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Dublin in 1931.


2. This St. Patrick’s Day we’ll all be wearing green, but shouldn’t it be blue?

The original color associated with St. Patrick was blue but because the Saint preached about the Holy Trinity through the symbol of the shamrock and the Irish ‘little folk’ were also associated with green, it became the most common shade in connection with him.

Parade committee organizers across the world wouldn’t take too kindly to us changing the color, so maybe we’ll leave it at green for now.


3. 100 lbs. of green dye was poured into the Chicago River in honor of St. Patrick’s Day

In 1961, business manager of Chicago’s Journeymen Plumbers Local Union, Stephen Bailey, received permission to turn the Chicago River green for St. Patrick’s Day.

Due to uncertainties about the amount of dye it would take to turn the river green, a massive 100 lbs of vegetable dye was used in comparison to the 25 lbs used today.

The Chicago River stayed green for a full week.


4. Saint Patrick banished the snakes from Ireland

… and not a snake in sight. Patrick is said to have banished the snakes from Ireland but in fact, Ireland never had any snakes as the weather was too miserable for the cold-blooded reptiles.

The banished snakes were thought to be symbolic of the pagan druid priests with whom Patrick might have had a few issues to iron out.


5. George Washington ordered that “St. Patrick” be the response to the password “Boston” on Evacuation Day

On Evacuation Day, March 17, 1776, the General Orders issued by Washington were that those wishing to pass through Continental Army lines should give the password “Boston,” to which the reply should be “St. Patrick.”


6. The resting place of Saint Patrick

Though never fully proven, Down Cathedral in the town of Downpatrick, Co Down, is thought to contain St. Patrick’s remains and, according to legend, he lies beside Saints Columcille and Brigit.

Apparently, he’s missing a few things like a jaw and a tooth, but these can be seen in Dublin Museum.


7. Saint Patrick’s Relics

A few of the Saint’s relics can still be viewed in Ireland today: St. Patrick’s Bell and shrines of the Saint’s jaw and tooth can be viewed in Dublin in the National Museum, while Patrick’s copy of the four gospels is held at The Royal Irish Academy.

Saint Patrick’s Crozier, with which he banished the imaginary snakes, was venerated for centuries in Dublin's Christ Church only to be publicly burned in 1538 under the orders of the archbishop, George Browne.

Sounds like George had a few issues too.


8. Drink, drink, and yet more drink!

The global corporate-relations director of Guinness says 5.5 million pints of Guinness are sold on any given day, but this figure rises to an astounding 13 million on St. Patrick’s Day.

IBISWorld also reports that Saint Patrick’s Day 2012 brought in $245 million in beer sales.

Who’s up for making March 18 into International Hangover Day?


9. The Royal Dublin Dog Show was the place to be on St. Patrick’s Day

Due to strict laws on the curtailment of sales of alcohol on Holy Days in Ireland, from 1927 to 1961, the only place a thirsty Irish person could legally get a drink on Paddy’s day was at The Royal Dublin Dog Show.

One TD was reported to complain that it was a grand occasion “except for all the dogs.”

At the time, the church and state were worried that the Irish would drink too much on the day.

Turns out they were right. Oh well.


10. And after all that, he’s not even Irish!

Saint Patrick was actually born in Roman Britain at the end of the 4th century AD and taken to Ireland by slavers when he was a teenager.

The exact place of his birth is debatable as some say Scotland and some say Wales but, either way, he’s Irish now.

Sources: Ripley's and Rev Patrick Comerford

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Along with St. Patrick’s day, another celebration that is coming up is the Mardi Gras.

Mardi Gras History

The origins of Mardi Gras can be traced to medieval Europe, passing through Rome and Venice in the 17th and 18th centuries to the French House of the Bourbons. From here, the traditional revelry of "Boeuf Gras," or fatted calf, followed France to her colonies.

On March 2, 1699, French-Canadian explorer Jean Baptiste Le Moyne Sieur de Bienville arrived at a plot of ground 60 miles directly south of New Orleans, and named it "Pointe du Mardi Gras" when his men realized it was the eve of the festive holiday. Bienville also established "Fort Louis de la Louisiane" (which is now Mobile) in 1702. In 1703, the tiny settlement of Fort Louis de la Mobile celebrated America's very first Mardi Gras.

In 1704, Mobile established a secret society (Masque de la Mobile), similar to those that form our current Mardi Gras krewes. It lasted until 1709. In 1710, the "Boeuf Gras Society" was formed and paraded from 1711 through 1861. The procession was held with a huge bull's head pushed along on wheels by 16 men.  Later, Rex would parade with an actual bull, draped in white and signaling the coming Lenten meat fast. This occurred on Fat Tuesday.

New Orleans was established in 1718 by Bienville. By the 1730s, Mardi Gras was celebrated openly in New Orleans, but not with the parades we know today. In the early 1740s, Louisiana's governor, the Marquis de Vaudreuil, established elegant society balls, which became the model for the New Orleans Mardi Gras balls of today.

The earliest reference to Mardi Gras "Carnival" appears in a 1781 report to the Spanish colonial governing body. That year, the Perseverance Benevolent & Mutual Aid Association was the first of hundreds of clubs and carnival organizations formed in New Orleans.

By the late 1830s, New Orleans held street processions of maskers with carriages and horseback riders to celebrate Mardi Gras. Dazzling gaslight torches, or "flambeaux," lit the way for the krewe's members and lent each event an exciting air of romance and festivity. In 1856, six young Mobile natives formed the Mistick Krewe of Comus, invoking John Milton's hero Comus to represent their organization. Comus brought magic and mystery to New Orleans with dazzling floats (known as tableaux cars) and masked balls. Krewe members remained anonymous.

In 1870, Mardi Gras' second Krewe, the Twelfth Night Revelers, was formed. This is also the first recorded account of Mardi Gras "throws."

Newspapers began to announce Mardi Gras events in advance, and they even printed "Carnival Edition" lithographs of parades' fantastic float designs (after they rolled, of course - themes and floats were always carefully guarded before the procession). At first, these reproductions were small, and details could not be clearly seen. But beginning in 1886 with Proteus' parade "Visions of Other Worlds," these chromolithographs could be produced in full, saturated color, doing justice to the float and costume designs of Carlotta Bonnecase, Charles Briton and B.A. Wikstrom. Each of these designers' work was brought to life by talented Parisian paper-mache' artist Georges Soulie', who for 40 years was responsible for creating all of Carnival's floats and processional outfits.

1872 was the year that a group of businessmen invented a King of Carnival, Rex, to preside over the first daytime parade. To  honor the visiting Russian Grand Duke Alexis Romanoff, the businessmen introduced Romanoff's family colors of purple, green and gold as Carnival's official colors. Purple stands for justice; gold for power; and green for faith. This was also the Mardi Gras season that Carnival's improbable anthem, "If Ever I Cease to Love," was cemented, due in part to the Duke's fondness for the tune.

The following year, floats began to be constructed entirely in New Orleans instead of France, culminating with Comus' magnificent "The Missing Links to Darwin's Origin of Species," in which exotic paper-mache' animal costumes served as the basis for Comus to mock both Darwin's theory and local officials, including Governor Henry Warmoth. In 1875, Governor Warmoth signed the "Mardi Gras Act," making Fat Tuesday a legal holiday in Louisiana, which it still is.

Like Comus and the Twelfth Night Revelers, most Mardi Gras krewes today developed from private social clubs with restrictive membership policies. Since all of these parade organizations are completely funded by their members, New Orleanians call it the "Greatest Free Show on Earth!"

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 Q: What is the difference between Fat Tuesday and Mardi Gras? A: Mardi Gras is an all-night party in New Orleans, Fat Tuesday is who you wake up with the morning after!

 Mardi Gras reminds me how much inflation changes things. Beads used to buy you the island of Manhattan, now you only get two coconuts.

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 You Might Be From Louisiana If

 When out of town, you stop and ask someone where there is a drive-thru daiquiri place, and they look at you like you have three heads.

 The crawdad mounds in your front yard have overtaken the grass.

 Every so often, you have waterfront property.

 You learned to drive a boat before you could drive a car.

 You know the meaning of a "Delcambre Reeboks" (That would be a pair of all white fishing boots).

 You can name all of your 3rd cousins.

 You can plan your wedding around hunting season & LSU football.

 Your burial plot is six feet over rather than six feet under.

 You're not afraid when someone wants to "ax you something".

 The smell of a crawfish boil turns you on more than HBO.

 You prefer skiing on the bayou.

 You assume everyone has mosquito swarms in their backyard.

 You like your rice and politics dirty.

 You pronounce the largest city in the state as "Newawlins".

 You know those big roaches can fly, but you're able to sleep at night anyway.

 You can't think of anybody that can cook better than your momma.

 Your last name isn't pronounced the way it's spelled.

 You have spent a summer afternoon on the Lake Pontchartrain seawall catching blue crabs.

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See some of you later at exercise.