Thursday, June 30, 2005

Oh hell. I missed the Howard Dean Scream Contest in South Carolina

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Beware the Swede

Hail this Swede with los gran cojones. This is a righteous action that could really have an impact. Not business, its personal.

New Freedom Tower

They've announced the new design for the Freedom Tower . Will want to read more about it in tomorrow's papers, but I like it so far.

The skeleton that topped the former design is no longer there. The antenna is centered, unlike the off-to-the-side antenna that was on the first version.

This building sort of looks like One WTC. In 2009, you'll be able to ride an elevator to an observation deck 1362 feet high, just as in the WTC. How spooky and great will that be? Sign me up.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Allen Stewart Konigsberg ( Woody Allen) , profound artist. Posted by Picasa

Woody Allen: 9/11 was " not profound..."

Woody Allen, in Der Spiegel says that the events of 9/11 were not profound enough to be interested in them myself as an artist. Fair enough. This pseudo-intellectual twit would only trivialize an issue as large and terrible as 9/11.

But is this guy is an " artist " at all? Only in the sense that a Brooklyn Cyclone infielder is a pro baseball player. Poor neurotic Woody had some funny ( funny ha-ha ) movies very early in his career, followed by a number of slavishly contrived imitations of Fellini, Bergman, other European filmmakers.

Wood-man, you're not qualified to say what is profound.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Outdoor Cafe Opens Across from WTC

Outdoor cafe opens across from the WTC site. Don't really know what I feel about this one.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Warming up in the bullpen, the wiry lefty Ho Chi Minh Posted by Hello

Mets, Yankees, The Times and Uncle Ho

The Yankees have just won the third game of the set vs the Mets. Good thing, too, otherwise Steinbrenner would have ordered 25 horse heads, one for each players bed.

A respected national survey from Pew shows that much fewer people believe in National newspapers. Count me among them. And " national press " means the NY Times . I respect their global perspective, but their news stories are so biased on many levels, and I don't put up with it the way I once did. I still buy the Times, but I do not buy it every day. There are many other places to get the news now, the NY Times simply is not essential reading anymore.


Read the first chapter of William J Duiker's biography of Ho Chi Minh. Very readable. Left me off as a young Ho Chi Minh boards a Europe-bound ship in Saigon. In 1911. When Saigon was part of the French colony of " Cochin China "--they had Vietnam split into three different colony / protectorates at the time, long ago.

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Whitestone Bridge from Francis Lewis Park, Whitestone, Queens, A little gem of a park. If you're not from NY, the Bronx is on the other side, as you face north. This bridge was built in 1939. To me, it looks like the Verrazano Bridge. Most New Yorkers would have no idea where this park is.

Joined Little Green Footballs

Am a major fan of Little Green Footballs and read it almost every day. I've never posted a reply to any posting there, as they have not been admitting new members...until today. Signed up just now.


Went to AAA Continuing Drivers Ed today, way up in Whitestone. Take these classes once every three years, in order to get a 10% reduction in my car insurance. The classes are boring, but they do provide a useful safety refresher. I took notes and will try to use some of these ideas.

It was an interesting drive up there to Northern Boulevard, near the Clearview Expressway. Went for a quick workout at the Whitestone branch of my " NYSC " is so much bigger and nicer than any of the Brooklyn branches....and then took a look at Francis Lewis Boulevard, on the Queens side of the Whitestone. Its very pretty, might have to go up there to take a photo soon.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Pedro Martinez / Yankees Daddy in the Bronx

Have not been watching very much baseball thus far in 2005, what with my planning for the Vietnam trip and a hectic time on the job.

But tonight, watched a nice chunk of the Mets-Yanks game. Observations, none of which will be original, on a 6-4 Mets win.

Pedro Martinez continues to be wonderful for the Mets. Sneaky, smart, a pitcher's pitcher with a nasty bag of deception on the mound. He's not the same guy who was on the Red Sox. He seems to be grounded and much happier with the Mets.

The guy who seemed like a high maintenance semi-headcase is now the most solid of solid citizens in ( blue ) pinstripes.

One of the reasons he's so happy is Carlos Beltran, his Latin buddy looking over his shoulder in center. Beltran hits a home run every time Pedro starts ( or so it seems ). He hit one tonight, and then made a great catch in the eighth, robbing Matsui to end the inning with ARod on base.


Blueberries are getting cheap now, from North Carolina. Wait until the New Jersey crop comes in very soon, and I will go back to my annual ritual of inhaling pints of delicious, fat, happy berries. The Chilean berries are ok during the offseason, the North Carolina ones are ok, the Jersey berries are the best.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Viva Gitmo!

Stolen from No Pasaran. Posted by Hello

Monday, June 20, 2005

Yet More Free Katie!

Can be found right here God I love this. These guys are having a lot of fun, and I am sure this is driving Tom Cruise and his freaky Scientology control freaks up the wall. Excuse me, I have to get " audited " in the Celebrity Room.

Today, received two books from Amazon. The first, a biography of Ho Chi Minh. No point in going to a place like Vietnam if you don't want to dig, and dig deep, into the recent history.

The second is Teach Yourself Vietnamese, a book and two audio CDs. Well guess what. I ain't gonna teach myself Vietnamese--won't happen. But I will learn enough to show respect. A little good faith goes a long way, and a few phrases makes a foreign place less intimidating.

Despite the European alphabet, this is a very different language. Lots of subtle tones, very different sounds.

More Free Katie!

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Free Katie!

this is funny. I don't follow gossip stuff to-oo much, but would be delighted if Katie Holmes left Tom Cruise and his creepy posse of Scientologists from hell.

Good for these guys in London. I'm against this sort of thing, unless Tom Cruise is the victim.

NY Helicopter Crashes - Baseball - Farenheit 9/11

Not one, but two separate helicopter crashes, both into the East River, but noone died in either incident. Luck clearly played its part, but without brave rescuers this story would not have had such a happy ending.

The Mets are now the team in the funk, while the Yankees have won six straight. Granted, three of those wins came against the AAA Pirates, and the other three came against the clawless Cubbies, but still that's pretty good. A writer in todays NY Post referred to Chien Ming-Wang as " the best pitcher to come through their system since Andy Petitte ". That may be correct. With a 4-2 record, and eight very strong innings against Chicago yesterday, this guy is an essential part of this team.

Finally saw " Farenheit 9/11 " on disc. It is a a laughable work, intentionally funny in spots ( as when he asks Congressmen to have their sons sign up for Iraq ), unintentionally funny most times, dishonest all the time. We invaded Afghanistan so we could build pipelines there. Michael Moore said so, it must be true.

The fact that this thing actually won the Palme d'Or at Cannes and that it made lots of money is because lots of people hate Bush. Thats fine. Good for them. But this is not a documentary, nor is it art. Its a Triumph of the Will for limousine liberals from the coasts and antiwar Europeans, without any of the artistry of Leni Riefenstahl.

Jean-Luc Godard had it about right. I strongly agree with Godard's point that Bush was actually helped by this movie.

Bush is truly blessed to have Michael Moore and Howard Dean as enemies.

NJ by Car / It Can't be done on the weekend

Back from a party in Lebanon NJ. Great party, the only problem was getting to and from it.

On the way out, a wall of traffic on the Staten Island Expressway. On the way back, smooth sailing on Route 78, but a wall of traffic on the Goethals and the entire length of the Staten Island Expressway.

This is a serious problem for NYC and the region. Unless you're willing to travel first thing in the morning, you simply cannot get from NY to NJ on a summer weekend. This is a problem that noone is thinking about, much less addressing.

It's especially acute from Staten Island to NJ and vice versa.

Despite the huge volume of traffic between these two places, there is exactly zero mass transit between them. That ain't good.

The Goethals and the Outerbridge are inadequate two lane bridges that serve as choke points instead of proper crossings. They both need to be replaced, not patched, but again nooone talks about it, much less does anything about it.

Lets follow Bloomberg's advice and build a football stadium in Manhattan and a NASCAR track right by the Goethals so that noone will ever be able to drive anywhere again, which will make an excellent contribution to Global Warming.

The only options now? Move to NJ, or never travel there, or only take mass transit there ( necessitating a trip to Manhattan and then the PATH / NJ Transit or NJ Bus ) , or drive there only in the morning and/or via the streets and at no other time. Apart from these, there are no alternatives and maybe you should only send e-mails to NJ and good night to you and leave me alone.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Banh Mi

Had a " Vietnamese " or " banh mi " sandwich today after work. It was at Sau Voi Corp, south of Canal Street ( Lafayette / Walker, SE corner ) , listed here Seriously delicious, at a cost of $3 or so. It's a small candy store type business, that happens to serve some of the best sandwiches in town for very low cost.

No seats. I ate it standing outside, in the rain, and was happy to do so. Now I have to try another one. Like tomorrow.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

It's Cool

After a succession of hot, humid days and nastier nights, New York is bathed in cool air and soft winds. Feels like it might rain, and I could care less if it did. It's 64 chilly degrees now. Paradise.

Ordered the Footprint guide to Vietnam and a Vietnamese phrasebook / CD ROM yesterday. And mailed in the request for my Vietnam visa today. Them Commie bastids better not mess it up. Never got a visa before. They only take Money Orders, and it has been quite a while since I bought one of them.

Very good sleeping weather tonight.

How history could have been very different

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Received the e-ticket confirmation of the air ticket to Vietnam in todays mail.

I have to get a visa from the Vietnamese Embassy. Have never had to get a visa before. It is a pain, so it is recommended that you use a professional service to get the thing done.

My hotel in Hanoi? The Hanoi Hilton. Not the place where they tortured John McCain, but the name is still most interesting.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Wacko Jacko " Innocent "

This strangest of individuals has been found not guilty. I doubt that the jury was found " star struck ". More likely this very probable miscarriage of justice was caused by the fact that a case like this is very hard to prove.

O.J. got away with murder, and, unburdened by a conscience, is a happy man today. But Jacko will not have the post-trial joyride that OJ has enjoyed.

He's broke, his career's over, and now even the most irresponsible parent will not let their child within a hundred miles of Neverland. No more money, no more little McCauley Caulkins coming over.

A solitary freak who used to be a star.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Hot in NYC, went straight from the cool spring to the summerlike weather.

Got the formal confirmation from travelindochina on my trip to Vietnam. Will try to learn some phrases in vietnamese, but a quick search shows that it is one of the harder world languages to learn to read or write. Easier to learn than Chinese, Arabic or Japanese, but...not easy. It has a lot of subtle tones, as in Chinese, so you can think you are saying a word correctly, but you can be way off.

Well, will will certainly learn the vietnamese noun " ruou bia " from this very important list

Friday, June 10, 2005

Told you so. The adults of the Democratic Party have given Howard Dean a good talking to. And he will listen. For a few weeks, at least.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Vietnam Vacation

Booked an October 8 flight to Saigon ( only weasels call it " Ho Chi Minh City ") and a two week tour from travelindochina that will take me from Saigon, to Dalat, Nha Trang, Hue, Hanoi,and other places. The flight is via Seattle and Taipei, into Saigon and out of Hanoi via Eva Air of Taiwan. Can't wait.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Latest fashion news from France

I don't f***ing think so. Partir, petit homme bĂȘte


Jeez, and I thought Kerry was so-o smart. Not so. The great man had a lower GPA than George Bush at Yale, though neither one of them was the big genius. ( from No Pasran, containing a link to a catty Newsweek article )

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Wang Chien-ming

One of the very few bright spots for the Yankees this year is starting pitcher Wang Chien-ming. Not surprisingly, his excellent performance has been noticed back in Taiwan

The Yankees better not mess this kid up, or do something unforgiveably stupid like involving him in a trade for family man Judas Iscariot Clemens.

Leave Wang in the rotation, give him some good coaching, use him as one of your building blocks. This season may be lost anyway, the rebuilding needs to start right now. Right George?

Baseball / Changing of the Guard

Tonight, there were 39,000 people at Shea, and Pedro Martinez pitched another gem, a no-hitter into the seventh.

While the Yankees are about to lose two straight to the Brewers, after losing three straight to--the Twins.

The Mets are no great team, but Wright, Reyes, and especially Martinez are great fun to watch. There's electricity in the old Queens graveyard.

The Yankees, meanwhile, are in an incredibly deep hole, with no easy way out, despite their fat bank account. Lots of old players, and very few leaders. Jeter, Sheffield, and who else? Wang Chien-ming?

DNC head Howard Dean is very rapidly becoming a folk hero --for the Republicans. Every time he opens his mouth, they love him even more. Republicans have called him " a gift sent from heaven ". They are ecstatic

There have been signs of serious unhappiness with this jamoke among the adults of the Democratic Party ( Biden, Edwards, Richardson ). Expect a serious " recall - Dean " movement by mid-summer. Don't blame Dean. The boy can't help himself. He's heading toward the wall 90 miles an hour, and noone's gonna stop him.

Monday, June 06, 2005

NYC Stadium Dead?- GOOD

If it's dead, my reaction, in a word, is GOOD.

This thing would have cost the taxpayers an absolute fortune, and I can't for the life of me figure out what the benefit was supposed to be.

The Jets play a big fat total of 8 home games a year. The city said that they would not use the stadium for concerts. So what the hell was this thing ever supposed to be used for?

Could never buy the Olympics argument, as NY was never going to get the Games anyway, and I could care less about the Olympics anyway. They cost host cities a fortune, and the Games last for two weeks, and the host city is left holding the bag with stadiums for bicycle racing and polo and yacht racing that serve no purpose when the Games end. That is already happening in Athens, which built a stadium for baseball / softball ( which Greeks do not play ) and the stadium is never used now.

The biggest dopes are Jet season ticket holders who supported the stadium. They've already been told that they will not be allowed to tailagate. And the minute the stadium was built, they would be forced to buy " personal seat licenses " at $50,000 a pop ( a scam used in other cities ) just to get the right to buy their season tickets. The " Fireman Ed " types will be on the outside looking in, while " Expense Account Ed " takes his place. The so-called investment by the Jets will be borne by these " seat licenses ".

If there was ever an argument for this stadium, I could never understand it. Bloomberg, who has been somewhat effective as mayor, wasted half his term in office with this foolish, uneconomical, anti-New York taxpayer crusade.


Narrowing down the autumn vacation. Think it will be 14 days in Vietnam and and this previously mentioned tour probably will be the itinerary I want a place that's really different and interesting, and this may be it.

Saturday, June 04, 2005

2 WTC Escape / Sept 11

Three and a half years later, another story of an escape from Two WTC emerges from an Ottawa newspaper (from LGF )

Here is part two of the story

Today's NY Post has more letters praising Trump's WTC plan. As if it was a sincere proposal by him. This is indeed the right plan, but it has been put forward two years too late, when the train has long left the station. Trump is beyond insincere here.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Interview by Brooklyn Beer Brewmaster

Interview found here, from Gothamist. Garrett Oliver is a good guy, and Brooklyn is a great brewery, but it is funny that these guys cannot say one damned sentance without a catty comment about Budweiser. Beer-snobs should not do that. Only sells more Budweiser.


The Yankees continue to confound their fans. Their ten game win streak is ancient history now, and they've lost two in a row to the lowly Kansas City Royals. While there is a big part of me that is happy to see this happen -- poor David should be able to beat rich Goliath once in awhile -- I want the Yankees to succeed.

But it is hard to succeed when your pitching staff is this old. Randy Johnson looks like someone's grandfather out there. Brown is a disinterested bum who could care less whether the Yankees win or lose. And Mouse Mussina isn't exactly putting the fear of God into the batters.

There continues to be speculation that the Yankees will try to solve their problem by getting the ( old ) Roger Clemens back. This would involve trading at least one good young player ( Wang, Cano ) for the Cy Young winning backstabber from Texas. Which patches the problem on the mound, until Clemens decides he misses his family again, but makes the team even older than they are now. Such a move would also bring the worst karma in the world to the Bronx.

Don't do it.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Europe Constitution Vote

The defeats in France and Holland of the referendums for the European Constitution are good news, for both Europe and the US.

It is a crushing defeat for those who wanted Europe to evolve into a " counterweight " to the USA, an American style federal govt that would challenge America for whatever purpose. It is a slap in the face to the French political class who wanted to ram this incomprehensible document down the throat of the voters.

If it had been voted down by the Brits, that would have been one thing. But coming from the French, of all people, makes it all the sweeter a victory.