Saturday, December 25, 2010
My father said, "Just ignore it, turn up the radio!". Soon, passing a gas station, my father reluctantly turned in to get second opinion on the car.
Being only six, my memory resurfaces the next week where the family stayed at the Hotel Herkimer. Every day we walked through the park and every day my father came back from the garage with bad news. Apparently the family trip to Canada had met with a permanent dead end in Herkimer. The mechanics thanked my family for the watermelon we had left in the car. It must have tasted good that hot August day.
My brother and me were playing at the one pinball machine in the hotel when a man came out and said, "Hey kids, would you like to see a radio station?"
"Sure," my brother said. We walked around the station and the disc jockey, he looked like a spaceman with those huge headphones waved at us. Then the gentleman who gave us the tour gave us a gift of records. I still have the Conny Francis record in my collection.
Finally my father, exasperated by the fate of the car, sent me, my mother and brother to the train station where we took the train back to Hackensack, presumably through New York.
It was my first trip on a train.
The car was finally repaired, but it was a source of constant expense and aggravation during it's lifetime with the family. It was replaced in 1966 with a Ford Falcon, a much better automobile.
The family never made it to Nova Scotia. Thanks to college radio, I got to sit with headphones and wave to people while doing my air shift. The glamorous world of radio.
Friday, December 24, 2010
Thursday, December 16, 2010
Tuesday, December 7, 2010
Sunday, November 28, 2010
Saturday, November 20, 2010
Saturday, November 13, 2010
Sunday, November 7, 2010
Friday, November 5, 2010
Saturday, October 23, 2010
There was once an episode of the Simpson's where Lisa and Bart demanded of Maggie that she tell them who she loved the most. After a moment's thought, she ran and hugged the television set. Most of us baby boomers are most influenced not by our teachers and our families, but by television situation comedies. Here we learn what life is like, how people act, how to stay out of trouble, and what the world will be like when we grow up. For many of us life is a continuing series of disappointments when life turns out to be unlike situation comedies.
Here are a few examples where life is different from what we see on tv.
Work shows. In work related situation comedies, the normal staff is there every day. In real life, what with doctor's appointments, vacations, student conferences, meetings, etc. you never have more than 40% of a staff present at any one time.
In shows like How I met your Mother or Friends, the same group of people has a regular table at a bar in New York. In real life bars in Manhattan are very crowded and it's hard for anyone to get a table.
Graduate students and professors don't act like they do on the Big Bang Theory. And a cute neighbor like Penny would never hang out with them.
In television situation comedies, the principal moves into a new place and meets a neighbor. By the next episode they are fast friends. Most of us never get friendly with neighbors.
When people on television situation comedies go somewhere all the principals go together. In real life, some of the people always have dentist appointments, can't get away from work or have no money to go to the Hamptons with the gang.
Community college is a very transitory place and study groups change personnel constantly. No study group at a community college would have the same people for more than one semester. Plus no one ever mentions waiting for the student aid checks to come through, a constant at community college.
Lorelei Gilmore would never have been able to buy an inn without money from Dad.
Of course, television situation comedies give a hands on accurate portrayal of married life.
Saturday, October 9, 2010
Friday, September 24, 2010
Monday, September 20, 2010
Sunday, September 12, 2010
The modern day liberal: Immigrants built this country and illegal immigrants should be treated with compassion and their children deserve an education.
Sunday, September 5, 2010
Monday, August 23, 2010
Friday, August 20, 2010
Sunday, August 8, 2010
If you open the doors of that room you have the world economy under globalization. The outer reaches of the house get a slight increase in comfort. Most noticeable, however is the one room that had air conditioning. It's conditions deteriorate rapidly.
Thursday, July 29, 2010
Monday, July 19, 2010
Sunday, July 18, 2010
Saturday, July 10, 2010
Say you are vacating an apartment. Instead of a terse letter to a landlord, people will now make videos. It will start with a history of the life of the apartment, a moving in video, videos of the renter socializing with neighbors, sitting on the couch, followed by interviews of neighbors explaining what a great tenant he was. Then the video will conclude with a question and answer session. The tenant will speak of himself in the third person. He will speak of the many happy years he spent in the apartment and will then talk about seeking new opportunities, an easier commute, a roach free kitchen. Perhaps the tenant will speak of the desire to make toast and coffee in the morning at the same time without worrying about blowing a fuse.
Sunday, July 4, 2010
I also worked for temporary agencies. Here some of the jobs were okay and some were pretty awful. The worst jobs are the ones where you show up at the agency (I fondly remember Handy Andy in Hackensack) for the early morning shape-up. Nobody feels more miserable than a hung over 21 year old college graduate sitting in a hard chair waiting to be put on a crew.
Finally I found a job courtesy of family connections through CETA. Family connections are the deux ex machina of modern life.
Thursday, July 1, 2010
Monday, June 28, 2010
Monday, June 21, 2010
Here, according to Wikepedia, in Eastern Germany they call it "Men's day" and it's not limited to fathers. Here, the men all get drunk and ride around in wagons. (Go to section on Germany). Sounds like more fun than yelling into a phone, "No not the drivers disc, the setup disk!"
Saturday, June 19, 2010
Wednesday, June 16, 2010
Saturday, June 12, 2010
Monday, May 31, 2010
Saturday, May 29, 2010
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
Friday, May 14, 2010
Sunday, May 2, 2010
Thursday, April 22, 2010
Thursday, April 15, 2010
The Chinese restaurant was practically empty. Guess they don't like ethnic food too much either. The prices went up and they didn't have either free fortune cookies and I had to eat with a fork since the collection of chopsticks I was looking for was gone.
It's ha ah ard times.
Friday, April 9, 2010
Wednesday, April 7, 2010
Thursday, April 1, 2010
Sunday, March 28, 2010
Monday, March 22, 2010
Sunday, March 21, 2010
I remember one stormy day taking Mexicana Airlines back to Denver and them walking through the aisles with bottle of wine after another. I guess this was to make us to forget the sudden drops in air pressure. I treated to myself to the free libations. "Heck, I'm not paying for it" I said to myself.
It was then that I discovered the pleasures of air sickness. I learned then that drinking too much on a flight is bad for your sense of well being. Thankfully, I didn't have to use the air bag.
At least the food in airports is better than it used to be. And if they let you bring stuff on the plane now, you won't look cheap. You'll just be making a stand against the man. And they still will supply peanuts and pretzels. Just like the Hilltop Tavern.
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
Then when I was in college, I roomed near a group of Irish American patriots who would go to MacSorley's on Saint Paddy's day and come back to the dorms full of the magic spirit of County Cork. Then they would get drunker still, break a chair or two, perhaps have a good fist fight, and celebrate the wonderful day in their own way.
Saturday, March 13, 2010
Friday, March 5, 2010
I had grown out of practice. The tokens are gone now and you have to deal with the weird machines that sell you a ticket that expires in two hours. I was a typical tourist fumbling for change.
I can remember when you couldn't transfer from an IND train to an IRT train at Times Square. Now you can. The trains looked newer now too and the walls weren't caving in like I remembered.
Still the subway is still the subway. Going from an uptown train to the 7 crosstown train is still an adventure. Half a mile of walking in dark corridors with an occasional blind singer or guitar player on the way.
Treat of all treats I got to hear "the speech" on the number 6 train. A voice suddenly boomed out from behind me, well echoed. The man was homeless, had a wife with a baby on the way and only needed enough money to stay in a youth hostel. In the 70's he would have been a Vietnam vet. He did well and collected some bills. I was surprised. Unfortunately he kept talking after his pitch and collection was over. Like a talk show host he started making small talk to the crowd. You should always know when to end a presentation.
Like I always say, "You haven't been to New York if you haven't ridden on the subway". I'm not sure if quoting oneself requires the use of quotation marks.
Sunday, February 21, 2010
When I was a tot, our family had a canary named Cheap. The bird was named by my mother when my father, who wanted to buy a canary for himself, gave dear Momma a canary for her birthday. The bird never sang and Momma, who had to clean the birdcage and feed this hungry if quiet pet, named the bird Cheap in honor of the old man's parsimony. Sadly, one day poor old Cheap passed away.
People who have children know that a dead pet can never be replaced by the no pet option, however well that may serve the furniture and the family budget. Naturally the kids wanted a replacement for dear old Cheap. By this time my big brother was preoccupied with baseball and I, an eight year old, was left with the task of keeping up the inquiries concerning when we were going to get a new canary. I was weepy about losing our beloved Cheap, and the folks, perhaps realizing how lucky they were that we didn't want a dog, promised us a new canary.
Why a new bird didn't just materialize in the family I don't know, but it was decided that the bird would be my birthday gift. Being a December baby, dear Momma was relieved to have a fall where she didn't have to deal with bird baths and Hartz Mountain bird seed and gravel. Come November, my father and I started making expeditions to visit old Henry, who raised canaries in Bogota New Jersey. He had a huge labyrinth of bird houses beyond his driveway and he posed quite an interesting figure, always wearing a golf hat. My father asked him how old he was. He said he was ninety-eight years old.
One problem, though, is that he didn't have any canaries for sale for the first three visits. Whether this was caused by the weather in the Caribbean or because he wanted to make sure my father and myself would make good parents I don't know.
Finally, one Sunday after mass, my father drove us to the house and Henry greeted us with good news. He had canaries for sale. I looked through the birds and picked out one I liked. It had a cute hat like structure on the top of his head. Henry said I had good taste. My father turned ashen for a moment, seeing that I had picked out an expensive specimen of the species.
Nevertheless, we brought the bird home and my mother seemed happy to see the new addition. I got naming rights and I named the bird Henry, after the wizened old bird dealer. Henry was a fine member of the family and it sang and kept my mother company in the house when the rest of the family was away and Arthur Godfrey was not on television.
A few years later my brother had a New Year's eve party and the bird caught a draft and died on New Year's day. That was the last bird the family ever had. The next year we got a cat.
Editor's note: I have a new blog on Brigitte Bardot on the Sixties blog.
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
Sunday, February 14, 2010
Saturday, February 6, 2010
So far no great surprises. Everyone is successful it seems. Still, like high school reunions, the people who ended up in jail or in the French Foreign Legion are less likely to turn up on Facebook.
So far no one has turned up from my past and asked to borrow money. Of course I have only been on for two weeks.
Facebook is also fun in that you can put up movies and links to neat stuff. Your favorite tv shows and bands also have Facebook pages. I'm waiting for someone to tell me I missed out on the golden age. There are always people on anything who remember when it was better than it is now. Like when you had to understand Unix to go on the Internet.
Sunday, January 31, 2010
Monday, January 18, 2010
Thursday, January 14, 2010
In the working world, toner is one of those items that separate the sheep from the goats. Sheep complain about the printer or the copying machine when the pages are too light or they get an error message about toner. Goats get the job of replacing the toner.
There is an art to installing toner. Too light a touch and the thing won't go in right. Too heavy a touch and the thing will get bent. Then there is the matter of recycling the toner. Sometimes the unscrupulous goat will pocket the old toner to get a discount at Staples.
Ever since I have collected a W2 form I have put toner of one type or another in a machine. I have put toner in photocopy machines, microfilm machines, computer printers and scanners. I always end up with black on my hands, my shirt, my tie, my trousers. Luckily if you act quickly you can get most of the toner off.