Archive for August, 2009

Happy Trail Mix Day

August 31, 2009

It’s true! August 31, National Trail Mix Day. I had a few things I thought I could blog about today, but the weekend seems a good place to start.

We had gotten tickets to a show for yesterday from our friend Purdy who was unable to use them because he was going up to visit his family and he offered them to us. The show is called “The Retributionists” and is playing at the Playwrights Horizons Theater on 42nd Street. Right next door is Chez Josephine named after singer/actress/dancer Josephine Baker and run by her sons Jean-Claude and Jarry. The place has been recommended to us by other friends of ours and since it was just a few steps away from the theater, we decided on brunching there. The atmosphere was cozy, the wait staff courteous as could be and my Manhattan was poured with perfection. My escargot appetizer was delicious and oddly, in a French bistro, the French Onion Soup failed to thrill me. But the rest of my meal, and Ariel’s, from what I understand, was worthy of praise.

The Retributionists“, the story of Jewish freedom fighters trying to right the wrongs perpetrated against their people during WWII. The basic plot was intriguing. The execution got a little muddled and the acting at times was stiff and monotonous but through it all the first act succeeded in setting up the premise of the story. The second act began with a flashback and when once again in “present” time, 1946, sub-plots starting popping up out of nowhere and the play seemed to turn towards a different theme. It wasn’t a super bad production, but I felt it could use a little tweaking and a little more energetic and convincing acting.

After that brunch at Chez Josephine, we were still a little bloated to enjoy dinner so we walked around a while and when the heat was getting the better of us, we stopped into a neighborhood bar for a few drinks with some of the locals, before heading to our favorite haunt, Playwrights II Irish Pub. And the oddest thing, while we ate, I was looking outside and noticed the busses that stopped in front, were lowering and rising as people got on and off and that fascinated me. Ariel thought it was the most hysterical thing that I’d never seen that before. He said they are called kneeling busses. Ha, you learn something new every day.

We got home close to 9:30 and sat for way too long in front of the TV, watching the Daytime Emmy Awards, which was a circus-like production. It started out smoothly, but ended up a rushed affair, in that while one winner was accepting an award, the announcer was stepping on his or her (or their) acceptance speech with the next category. I was rooting for Bree Williamson, who plays Jessica Brennan on One Life To Live to at least win her category, Best Supporting Actress, which I felt was demeaning since she brilliantly carried a storyline for over a year. Susan Haskell, though I love her as Marty Saybrook, was nominated, and won, for Best Lead Actress, but her storyline was anything but lead material. And Betty White introduced a tribute to Guiding Light which she said she watched faithfully from the age of 6 in 1779.

And now it’s Monday morning and it looks like through all my planning of this blog, I’m going to be late with it and with my start time for work, so on that note, let me get to the publishing end of all of this. It’s also McGinty Monday. Oh, by the way, that issue that was to be resolved by last Friday still isn’t. But I worked around it. It’s what I do.


Press 1 To Cancel

August 28, 2009

It must be Friday, there’s cinnamon in my coffee. And with it I’m having an olive oil and garlic coated linguini and cheddar omelette.

So, I’m catching up with Guiding Light last night–I’m watching the last few weeks of its run as a show of respect to it and I was once a rabid fan–and I had to watch two days’ worth because I was in NY on Wednesday night. At the very beginning of the recording was the tail end, literally the last 30 seconds of President Obama’s speech about Teddy Kennedy and after that the camera switched to a split screen of  two news commentators, whose names I don’t remember. The woman said (more or less) “I could hear the emotion in his voice.” The man said (more or less) “It was from the heart, just like we were told it would be.” What the hell  kind of ridiculous and plastic non-analytical comment is that?

Quickly, speaking of soap operas, I read yesterday that Erika Slezak’s contract was renewed on One Life To Live. There were rumors all over the place the show was going to do away with “Viki” and that would have been the end of that for me.  And I will add, that I’m sure my letter I sent in protest added to the decision.

Last Friday, as you may remember, I had those computer issues in that while I was just finishing up trying to post my blog, first Internet Explorer went down, then my Internet connection fell from the cable company. I called and was told they were getting calls about it from people in my area, but so far no notification came through about an “official” outtage.

Fast forward to this past Tuesday. My phone ran several times during the afternoon and all from the same 800 number before I finally relented and answered. I was super busy with work and I figured it was someone trying to sell me something, like a block of tickets to the symphony or for Broadway shows. But that would have been odd because that kind of call doesn’t usually come until after we’ve shoved the first forkful of dinner into our mouths. It was an automated message from my cable company that my service call for Thursday was for between this time and this time. Huh? “If your service is working properly and no longer need this service press one to cancel.” I pressed. “To confirm your cancellation, press 1.” I pressed. “Thank you.” The phone rang again, this time, appropriately while we were eating dinner and it was the exact same canned message which I handled in the exact same way. And believe it or not, soon before I had to get ready to catch my train into the city on Wednesday, the same call…and I had a funny feeling it wasn’t over.

11:08 yesterday morning (Thursday) my phone rang. It was a local number I didn’t recognize. I answered. “Hi, this is (let’s say his name was Bertram…I know, right? Silly! It was probably more like Jose or Paul or something like that.) “Hi, this is Bertram confirming your Comcast service call.” “My what?” I asked, already bored with the entire matter. I explained to Bertram/Jose/Paul that yes, I had called to find out if there was an outtage…a WEEK ago but that I never scheduled a service call. “So, do you want me to cancel it?”

No walk again today. It’s raining like mad and three days isn’t dedication enough to not care about a slight incumbrance such as rain. When I was walking steadily a while ago, I relished rainy days because it was an adventure. I just worried when there was lightning that it would find me and my iPod.

Well, it’s time for me to reconfirm that it’s Friday. I need another cup of coffee. Have a great weekend

Conversations and Observations

August 27, 2009

We spent a few hours in the city last night with a couple of friends. I quit work early to catch a train and met Ariel at our usual rendezvous spot in Newark, the Burger King just up from Penn Station and we drove into the city.

Getting to the train station was a bit hair-raising. The cab got here on time as they do and right away the driver swerved onto the street making what we call a Pennsylvania left. For those just joining in, let me quickly explain, a Pennsylvania left is a right hand turn and finding a safe spot to make a turnaround crossing over at least 2 lanes of traffic as opposed to 4 and then heading in the direction you wanted to go. So, he made the PL in a driveway across the highway, not even at a side street and then backed into the highway and got us on our way and at times I swear we were airborne while I could hear over the wind noise through the open windows the driver humming what sounded like an Indian chant.

At the station while I sipped my piping hot Dunkin Donut coffee, I commented to myself of the southbound platform that it was like they were waiting for the (I can’t say handicapped–it’s not politically correct) train. Someone was in a wheelchair with his legs fully extended to the footrest, someone was walking with leg braces, one a cane and one with a pronounced limp. Yikes! On my platform I overheard a guy of about 18 or 19 assuring someone on the listening end of his cellphone that he was currently making “anywhere between 7 and 8 dollars”. Not really a solid selling point if he was trying to negotiate a salary. His friend who was walking with him, apparently joined at the hip and also on his cellphone was talking sports scores. Once in Newark, at the foot of the driveway into the Burger King parking lot, which really doubles as an unofficial waiting area for people getting off the train, sat a woman in a wheelchair with no legs, just two stubs below the knees that she was flicking back and forth.

We parked closer to the restaurant we were going to than where we would normally park so we could avoid having to walk a gazillion blocks in the heat. Bar 89 was the name of the place. As we neared the place, I saw the banner to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Annex and I said, “Are you kidding me? That’s the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Annex?” Ariel: “I guess it is.” Me: “Not much pomp and circumstance.” Ariel: “It’s in a great spot.”–emphasis on great meaning prime area of the neighborhood. Me: “It is? Who’d ever find it?” Ariel: “Well, your standing in front of it.” And so I was.

Bar 89. Trendy and echo-y from the ultra high ceiling and its stark decor and very tasty food. I had to use the restroom and was so impressed with that whole experience I had to take a picture.

bar 89 bathroom


And not only that, but I found this short video of the bathrooms in action to show you.


After dinner we just tooled around the city for a while. I almost bought a chess set from a pawn shop. And then of course it began to rain. Not hard, but just enough to remind us that we were out and about having a fun time. I also got my answer on just how extremely urgent some people feel reaching out and touching someone can be. There was this woman, with her cellphone clamped between her ear and her shoulder, while wearing a bicycle helmet, getting into position on her bicylce. Did I find that odd? Not in NY, no. On the ride back to Jersey, we listened to selections from a special edition CD soundtrack of Wicked and that entertained us greatly.

So, my point is, no walk this morning, even though it wasn’t too late when we got in. Only about 11:30. After all, today is a school day and speaking of which, I gotta get ready to work. Later!

Getting Back In The Groove

August 26, 2009

Today marks day 3 that we’ve actually gotten up and out for our 4 mile walks. Remember those? I figured I’d wait until today to mention it to make sure it wasn’t just a fluke on Monday. It’s so peaceful at that hour of the day, between 5:30 and 6:30 (this morning was 5-6) but it’s shocking how many cars are on the road, especially on the back roads; people from neighborhood developments leaving for work. What also makes me go hmm (thanks C&C Music Factory!) is how these vehicles handle street walkers. Hey! We walk in the street, even where there’s a sidewalk only because trees hang over and there could be spider webs. At least on the street where there’s the overhang of trees, cars go by and swipe away any possible webs. Of course we walk against oncoming traffic (one road we take is one-lane and the other two are wider and divided) and when cars see us, and we scoot over as close to the curb as possible without tripping, they still veer clear across to the other lane. Larger vehicles like pick ups and SUV’s, practically chase us off the road AND at as high a speed as they can get. But the point is, so far, we’ve got 12 miles under our belts this week.

My poppies look like they’re not gonna make it. I kind of thought that’s how it would go because it was super late in the season when I tried to replace the ones I had started in the little flat and they croaked when I brought them outside. I’ll try again next year.

And this just in…Teddy Kennedy, dead at 77.

I guess I have to mention it, Michael Jackson’s death was ruled a homicide. His doctor was pumping him full of stuff to treat him for insomnia so he’s sleep. Sleeeep. Now he’ll…. okay, that was wrong.

Also, the Miley Cyrus pole dancing thing.

                Singer Miley Cyrus performs onstage during the Teen Choice Awards 2009 held at the Gibson Amphitheatre on August 9, 2009 in Universal City, California.                          

I’m surprised I haven’t mentioned it before but it’s still in the news so let me throw my two cents in. First of all, no matter what her daddy, Billy Ray might say, how it wasn’t so bad, that she loves entertaining people, she’s still a 16 year old girl and a role model for countless young teenage girls (and probably as many boys after that stunt). I think Billy Ray’s comments were most likely orchestrated, that if he’s not bothered by it, then the press would be more likely to leave them alone about it. And if that’s the case, then kudos to him.  And really, I could care less.  I’m not in her fan base and I don’t know anyone who is and if that’s what today’s kids are doing, well, then have at it. I’m just thinking from an old man’s point of view that it was inappropriate. Curiosity made me watch the video just now. I think I find the “singing” more offensive than the pole dancing.

Is there anything else today? No, I think that’s it. Have a great day.

Roll Your Bod – Florida Tan Tuesday, Part 2

August 25, 2009

If you missed last week’s chapter of this exciting adventure, click here.


“It must be too early for anyone else to be here,” I remember commenting as the three of us plodded across the hot sand, already gratefully welcoming the cool breeze. We staked out a spot on the nearly barren beach, someplace between where the car was still in view and the foaming crashing waves of the ocean. Near the water’s edge, we watched as hermit crabs disappeared underneath the wet sand, leaving behind bubbling little holes in their wake.

Little by little, fellow sunbathers came to the beach. Some remained in outfits of loose-fitting gauze or something comparably flowing who huddled beneath umbrellas. Of them we thought, why bother coming to the beach? Others, whose skin were like tanned leather and of them we thought, hmm, we’ve got some catching up to do. Good Heavens, we were from NJ, after all and in desperate need of some color. If laying in my own backyard with a book during the summer months could garner a supple healthy looking tan, albeit after a pesky bout with a sunburn, then certainly full on Florida sun at the height of summer would more than do the trick.

Linda, or Binda if you will, Bin for short, Donahue (Donna) and I, Grain (don’t ask me why–and I can’t believe I’m divulging that tidbit, but there it is) alternated constantly between sand and surf, enjoying the restorative properties of the cooling water and each time we’d return to our blankets, we’d alternate from sunning our front and back sides.

There was a point during the day, while Donahue and Binda were huddled ear to ear listening to yet another loop of the one music cassette they’d brought, I flipped over and had my head at their feet. Now that the music was away from my ears, I began to hear a curious scratching sound beneath my head and I was certain it had to be one of those hermit crabs clawing its way to the surface of the sand. I kept a lazy but vigilant watch on the surface beneath me hoping to stave off a hermit crab attack, latching its claw onto my earlobe, making me shriek in pain and horror. On and on that scratching sound continued and it finally hit me; it was Donahue’s toes digging in the sand.

“I could use a soda.” I think we all said it in unison and we scraped together enough money and the girls offered to go to the snack bar, giggling like girls do as they scampered off out of view. Ah, now I could try to find some other music to listen to at least while they were gone. When they returned, the sodas had already started turning warm from the intense heat and if memory serves (remember this was 29 years ago) I think the girls said they were a little short on cash, but the guy let them go anyway. I guess it pays to giggle and scamper sometimes.

“We should probably think of heading back,” I said sometime later, suggesting we take up our mission again tomorrow, and by three o’clock we were gladly ready. You know how the bright sun tends to “bleach” one’s vision and as we attempted to compare our “differences”, to see just how successful our first day of tanning went, we were disappointed to see nothing but white. “I can’t believe we’ve been here since ten o’clock, and nothing!”

Defeated, and wondering just how long it would take to get our sought after tans, we rolled up our blankets, gathered our belongings and headed back to the car, each step an increased burden. A blast furnace whoosh of air greeted us as we swung open the car doors and oh man were those dark vinyl seats hot. We situated towels and blankets to sit on for the drive home and even with that between our burning flesh and the nearly melting seats, it was like sitting on shards of glass. Once our eyes had begun to adjust to the toned down light inside the car we could finally start to see our “differences” and we slowly and nervously drove back to my grandparents’ trailer. With the last words spoken to us as we set out earlier that morning, not to say long on the beach, started to make sense, only one thing was on our minds.”They’re gonna kill us!”

To be continued….

I’m Over Here Now!

August 24, 2009

It was impulsive move this weekend, but I’m on a new blog page. It probably doesn’t look all that different to you, which was my goal, but if you look around, you’ll see the side bar on the right hand column is empty. Those will fill in soon enough, I’m sure and if there’s anything you need to see from any date prior to day, you can get to those by clicking on the “Older Posts” link under the “Pages” tab.

I also have McGinty up and running and today’s installment is the one I’ve been trying to post since the beginning of this month.

It seems like for so long we’ve had this black cloud over our heads, well, except for that last camping trip we just took, and all the computer mess on Friday seemed to continue into the night, even without a computer. We decided to order Chinese for dinner and for some stupid reason, I ordered a Pu Pu platter, just to have something other than my usual beef lo mein and Ariel ordered sesame chicken, prepared mildly, like he always does. When the food came, I realized I couldn’t eat my food enjoyably. It was spare ribs, chicken wings, big crunchy wontons, skewered curried beef. Well, I berated my stupidity up one side of the kitchen and down the other, while I shaved pork off rib bones, broke apart my beef and smooshed my wontons into bite size pieces. Ariel had it no better. His sesame chicken was swimming in hot peppers.

We left all that behind on Saturday when we went into the city to treat our friend Bobby to dinner and a show for his birthday a week or so ago. We arrived a little earlier, despite Ariel missing his exit off the Turnpike for the Lincoln Tunnel (don’t laugh, he’s very sensitive about that one) and we ended up going the wrong way on Rt 3 in a attempt to follow that road into the tunnel. The roads up there are all ridiculously marked and the last time we were up there for the Il Divo concert, we also got lost. Anyway…we had some time to kill before he would get into the city, so we made our way to a bar near where our restaurant was, which was south of 42nd Street where we parked, past The Port Authority. Oh, what a scary area. Any of what you’ve ever heard of the dregs of society really do congregate there AND in broad daylight. Quite a culture shock from just a few blocks in the other direction.

The place we ate was a little gem of an Italian restaurant called Carbone. Actually it was a little hole in the wall, easy to miss, and we walked right passed it until we realized the building numbers were getting lower than what we were looking for. While the interior was unremarkably decorated, the tasty food and gracious service more than made up for that.

The show we saw was called The Temperamentals and Bobby recognized one of the actors as being someone who is in the TV show Ugly Betty”, Michael Urie. Well, that meant nothing to me, since I’ve never seen the show. After we were in our seats for a while, as the audience was still filing in, who came in with a non-descript entourage but Vanessa Williams. And where did she sit? Behind us. Bobby got to speak to her when the show was over; he let her pass before he moved out into the aisle and she was on her way out and disappeared into the crowd, on her way to catch a plane to the west coast for the start of rehearsals on the new season of Ugly Betty, he heard her say, adding how she was unsure if the star of our play would be up to getting to rehearsals in time.

That was my exciting weekend and I’m on pins and needles to see how this week progresses starting with this afternoon’s Dr. Bob appointment. I’m going for my first fitting for my permanent teeth.

And here’s one big weight off my shoulders. I know McGinty published today. So, please, enjoy.