Sunday, October 28, 2007

Give war a chance

Ev'rybody's talkin' 'bout Terrorism, 9-11, Fascism, Bushisms, Ragism, Tagism
This-ism, that-ism, ism ism ism
All we are saying is give war a chanceAll we are saying is give war a chance

(C'mon)Ev'rybody's talkin' 'bout Bill O'reilly, Limbaugh, Coulter and Malkin,
Plamegate, Abramoff, Larry Craig, Laugh it off,
All we are saying is give war a chance
All we are saying is give war a chance

(Let me tell you now)
Ev'rybody's talkin' 'bout Condoleeza, Waterboarding, Mass destruction, What is torture,
Insurrections, Allegations, Amputations, Immolations,
All we are saying is give war a chance
All we are saying is give war a chance

Ev'rybody's talkin' 'bout Blackrock, Tom Delay, Hillary, Giuliani, Tough on terror, Cut and run,
Clinton's errors, Haliburton, Vets are hurtin,
Here comes Victory, Here comes victory,
All we are saying is give war a chance
All we are saying is give war a chance(Repeat 'til Civilization runs out)

Monday, October 22, 2007

Joe Torre

Joe doesn't have to put up with this nonsense for another day. He's old enough to collect Social Security now, so he probably doesn't need the money. Seriously, he is one of the great class acts in baseball, and we will miss him terribly. I particularly enjoyed the snarky face-saving remarks by Hank Steinbrenner, "El Bossito." It's the kind of eloquence we've come to expect from people with that last name. I would like to propose that I'd manage the Yankees for 4 million if they asked me the right way. I'd be a bargain - the first Yankee manager to know the Dewey Decimal number for baseball.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

On the wrong track - the Long Island Railroad

My son now has a job as a librarian in Queens, so he needs to take the LIRR to Jamaica every day until we get him his own apartment. Since he is mobility-impaired with cerebral palsy, he needs to take the last car so he can go right to the street and catch a bus. Yesterday, the last car was much further up the track, so he had to run. He shouted for someone to hold the door open because, sure enough, they were trying to leave without him. Some good Samaritan waiting for another train did that. When he complained to the conductor, the man just laughed and said "Well, I guess you made it."

I've been on all of the suburban train systems and the LIRR is, hands down, the worst. Filthy cars, delays, surly conductors, broken elevators - you name it. Now they are going to go through their annual ritual - raising the price of tickets and cutting service. The only cure for this system might be competition, but there is no hope for that. Suck it up, Long Island.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Iowa Primary song (to the tune of 'Kokomo')

Joe Biden, Kucenich, in it to the finish.
John Edwards, Obama, come on pretty mama
Wahpeton, Kalona baby wh'y dont we go
Down to Larrabee

Off the Interstate
Theres a place called Larrabee
Thats where you wanna be to get away from it all

All the jokes are bland
M&Ms melting in your hand
We'll be falling in love
To the rhythm of the high school band
Down in Larrabee

Urbana and Vinton, come on Mrs. Clinton
To West Union, Manchester come on pretty mama
Altoona and Rowan baby we'll be goin'

Ooo I wanna take you down to Larrabee
We'll get there slow
Then we'll pick up the speed
Thats where we wanna be
Way down in Larrabee

Well go to the prairie
Showin' off our new library
By and by we'll defy a little bit of gravitas

Afternoon delight
Corn dogs and moonlit nights
That dreamy look in your eye
Give me a midwestern contact high
Way down in Larrabee

Chris Dodd and Kucenich in it to the finish
Sioux City, Algona come on pretty mama
Paulina, Owasa baby why dont we go
Ooo I wanna take you down to Larrabee
Well get there slow
And then well pick up the speed
Thats where we wanna go
Way down to Larrabee

West Des Moines I'll eat a fresh pork loin.

Bill Richardson
Is just in it for the fun
And the chance to get away from it all
Way down in Larrabee

Mankato and Windom, Come on Mrs. Clinton
Sioux City, Algona come on pretty mama
baby why dont we go
Ooo I wanna take you down to Larrabee
Well get there slow
And then we'll take it up to speed
Thats where we wanna be
Way down to Larrabee

Apologies to the good people of Iowa - I've never personally been there. It's humor.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Luck of the Irish

On Saturday, I went to the city with my son and my mother-in-law. After a shopping and eating mission in Greenwich Village, we headed back to the train in the early afternoon. On the way home, I reached for my wallet at some point and noted that it felt oddly positioned, but didn't make any correction. When we got out of the train in Merrick, I felt for it and realized that the train was rolling out with my wallet left on the seat. I tried calling the LIRR, but it was Saturday, so you could only get recorded messages.

At home, I went to the phone book. There was a Lost and Found number listed for LIRR at Penn Station. When I got through, there was a recorded message saying that they just left. I called the Suffolk County office of LIRR, and finally got a human voice. A police clerk was sympathetic, and said she'd radio the people on the train to see if anything was found. When 45 minutes went by, I stopped waiting for that callback, and started researching the phone numbers I'd need to cancel everything.

My wife came home from work, and asked if I'd called my work voicemail. She reasoned that the driver's license would tell them I'm in Merrick, but they wouldn't find my listed number, so if they saw my business card, they'd call that. It turns out that this is just what happened. Somebody from Johnny McGorey's Irish Pub and Restaurant in Massapequa Park called to say that the wallet had been found on the train, took it in to work and turned it in to the bartended, who called me. The four of us rushed into the car, made the 15 minute drive, and ordered a giant plate of appetizers and Guinness. The waitress heard the story and called out the young man from the kitchen. Of course, rewards were given.

The irony of this turning up in an Irish pub was pretty good, since I run the Irish digitization projects at Quinnipiac University library. The food was great, so we'll be back lots of times in the future, and I'd urge other Long Islanders to do likewise.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

I'm irritated - 2

I'm irritated with Volvo. The other night I was watching television and saw a commercial from Volvo, selling SUVs. As the announcer was purring "Safety for you, safety for your little ones" they showed the planet-destroying monstrosity zooming down empty roads, on the LEFT side. Umm, here in America it's proper to drive on the right side, but they are marketing these things to idiots, with the subtle message "Buy our SUV and you can just mow down anything in your path. None of the rules of society or human civilization apply to you."

Sunday, March 04, 2007

I'm irritated

I'm irritated at Verizon. First of all, they have these commercials - "Can you hear me now?" We switched to Verizon two years ago because circumstances demanded it - my son's girlfriend had them and it was switch or pay $300 monthly bills. Then I get my new phone up to the room I rent near the university and find out I'm in a Verizon dead zone. Cingular worked there but not Verizon. I finally gave up and got a "Pay as you go phone from Cingular" and gave the Verizon phone to my wife for emergencies. No, Verizon, we can't hear you.

Now they are offering a new fiber-optic service in Merrick that has television, phone and internet packages. I got the ad in my bill. Great! Except that it's not in my part of Merrick. We haven't even got DSL yet. When I called Verizon about this, they patiently explained that we are in the part of Merrick that they don't care about. "I guess I'll just wait for DSL," I said. "No, we don't wire DSL anymore." So, an entire generation of internet service has come and gone while Verizon is not giving us service.

I'm also irritated at the grocery chain ShopRight. They had a store a few blocks away from us next to the WalMart. Years ago, they closed the store for "Renovations." I guess they wanted to get it right because it's been years now and they haven't done a thing. Now and then workmen will be there, but they have put up signs telling us that we can't ask the workmen any questions. Meantime, other stores in the shopping center have left. I wrote their web page a few pointed remarks, and they wrote back explaining that it isn't really their store. It's owned by a franchisee, whose identity they won't disclose, and that they "can't remodel the store because there are "Problems with the building," and they can't do something radical like fix them. They said that they will pass along my opinions that they are hurting our neighborhood and our property values to "Mr. X." I told Shopright that I will never spend another penny at any of their stores until they do something. Hopefully, they will sell this to a real grocery store like Stop and Shop.

On a similar note, let's talk about the local Post Office. A while back we went on a long trip and told the Post Office to hold our mail. Fortunately, our neighbor was alert because some days they held mail and some days they didn't. When I called the Merrick Post Office to complain about this, I was told something absolutely preposterous. "The mailmen don't like your route." It's too big or something. My Dad was a mailman for twenty years, and I never heard anything about how they give better service to routes they "like." They served everybody - rain, sleet, snow, etc., except it was Phoenix so it was pretty much just rain. For years we had two mail deliveries - the first one from the mail man and the second when we gave the wrongly-delivered items to our neighbors. Lately, we've been having pretty good service, so I guess the new mail man likes us.

I'm irritated at the state of handicapped parking passes in Long Island. They are handed out like aspirins to old people who walk better than I do. My son has cerebral palsy and actually is mobility-impaired. We went to Trader Joe's and Commerce Bank in Merrick yesterday, and found every handicapped spot taken, although you couldn't see anyone inside with the slightest problem. Commerce Bank was the best - they had exactly one handicapped spot at their Merrick Road location. We've actually been glared at for taking up a handicapped spot by old people who seem to be saying "You're not old enough for this spot." They're handicapped spots, not Elderly spots.