Friday, September 30, 2005

Vietnam and Baseball

Seven days from now, I'll be at the airport waiting to board a 747 bound for Taipei, Taiwan, where I'll catch another plane to Saigon, Vietnam. I'm really looking forward to this trip.

It's very interested in history, and I want to see some of the places associated with the Vietnam war. And of this country's long history before that. And the jungles, and China Beach, and Saigon and Hanoi and Hoi An and all of that. And the great, hot food.

I will be part of a small group tour run by an Australian company. Can't wait.

Hey, I've even found a foodie Saigon blog, Noodlepie. Its about food, but not only about food. Have added it to the links list.


The dreaded Red Sox, with Judas figure David Wells on the mound, beat the Yankees 5-3 tonight. The Yankees and Red Sox are actually tied for the AL East lead, with two games to go. All eyes will be on the game tomorrow, then again for the season ender on Sunday.

There's actually a very plausible chance of a three way tie at seasons end, with the Yanks, Sox and Cleveland tied for the Wild Card entry ( for our non-North American friends, we speak of the American League, which is divided into three divisions. The three division winners get into the playoffs, as well as the second place team with the best record. Either the Red Sox or Yankees will win the American League East title, the other might be the Wild Card )

Its all very confusing. And also very exciting.


Album listening to now " After the Gold Rush ", Neil Young.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

George's Restaurant

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In the months after September 11, 2001, large cracks appeared in the wall of George's Restaurant, on the corner of Rector and Greenwich Streets. The building was demolished. A new George's Restaurant, which you see here, opened on September 11, 2005, and is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

New York Baseball in late September

Fall has come upon us, and the end of the baseball season nears.

The Mets, despite recent improvements -- including a rookie third baseman, David Wright, who has hit and played the field much better than anyone would have dreamed, and the free agent pitcher, Pedro Martinez, who has been dominant all year --have been a disappointment. They're playing well now, taking two of three from the still-contending Phillies, but that does not impress me. Its pretty damned easy to win when there is no pressure on.

The Yankees on the other hand have overachieved in a perverse way. They have the highest payroll in baseball, and have the highest revenue stream in baseball, two facts not entirely unrelated.

The Yankees' pitching has been a big disappointment, including numbskull starting pitcher Kevin Brown, who last year punched a concrete wall with his pitching hand and this year stunk up Yankee Stadium every time he took the mound. Mike " Mouse " Mussina has not impressed. Randy Johnson, fancy free agent in the photo above has had a long career, and has pitched like a guy who has had a long, long career. Free agent Jaret Wright has five wins and four losses.

So the money has not all been well spent.

But in the late season, a mixture of luck and design have come to the aid of the Yankees. Taiwanese rookie pitcher Chien-Ming Wang, pitched well early in the season, got hurt, and is now back and pitching well again.

Shawn Chacon was obtained in a trade, for cheap, and has been wonderful. Great stuff, great control, fearless on the mound, 7 and 3 in his last ten starts.

Finally, Aaron Small, who has a 9 wins and 0 losses. Don't know how the Yankees got him, he pitched for Florida last year.

So, anyway,after 158 games, the Yankees are one game up on the dreaded Boston Red Sox, with only four more to play. The last three are in Boston, so both the Yankees and the Red Sox will control their own destiny at season's end.

Randy Johnson has very recently started to pitch like the nasty, intimidating money pitcher he is supposed to be.

But if the Yankees prevail, give a whole lot of credit to Small, Chacon, and Wang, three once unknown pitchers who have given this team exactly what it has needed this season.

WTC / International Freedom Center Nixed

Very good news today. Governor Pataki has decided that the International Freedom Center will not be part of the World Trade Center redevelopment after all.

The IFC people had some good people, like Natan Scharansky associated with it, but it was to be a political institution. And to many 9/11 families, and many others, it was incomprehensible why anyone would want to politicize a place where 3000 people died in this way. It would have been the first thing that people saw upon entering the complex.

Why? Remember the dead, celebrate the very real heroism of that day, yes. But why a place with a political point of view of any kind? Freedom is defined pretty differently by people. This, at this place, was never a good idea.


This follows the deletion of the Drawing Center from the site. Could see it now, some bright light art exhibit a few years from now like this, or its right wing equivalent, right outside the WTC Memorial. Step right up, get yer tickets right here. Even if such "art" was in line with your political views, why the need to have it on this ground, of all places?

There are no art exhibits, nor are there political " Freedom Centers " inside Aushwitz or the other places of mass death in Europe. There won't be in the WTC site either, and that is a good thing, for art, and for politics, and most of all for the remembrance that will be the foundation of the rebuilt World Trade Center site.

Warm congratulations to Take Back the Memorial, which led the fight against a truly dreadful idea. It took a couple of years, but the good guys won.

Can't wait to see the stamping of feet at tomorrow's NY Times Editorial Page.

Monday, September 26, 2005

IRA Disarms

If recent reports are true, this could be a very important week in Irish history. The Irish Republican Army ( IRA ) has announced that it has " decommissioned " its weapons. Or destroyed them. Put them beyond use. Disarmed.

This was a voluntary move. They weren't compelled to do it, nor could they ever have been compelled to do it, by the British Army or ten British armies.

But Chairman Mao said " a guerilla must move amongst the people as a fish swims in the sea ". For the IRA, the sea changed noticeably years ago. The people of the six counties were tired of the fighting, the murders, the terror. They wanted a chance to live normal lives.

This disarmament comes after years of discussions inside the six counties, between Ireland and the UK, with a valuable and sustained assist from President Clinton some years back.

An Ireland without IRA military action, and yes, terrorism, is a better place. But lets not parse words here - " Northern Ireland " was built, and maintained, until very recently, on a foundation of prejudice, discrimination, and on varying degrees of state-sponsored terrorism.

When the Catholics marched peacefully, at varying times they were clubbed to the ground, or shot down by heavily armed British paratroopers. The modern IRA was not formed by Gerry Adams or Martin McGuinness, the real architects of the modern IRA are Ian Paisley , and the criminals within the B-Specials, the RUC, the British Army and the Government, who pushed the " nationalists " to the wall time and time again.

You kick a people in the face decade upon decade, and shoot them down in the street when they try to protest, don't be surprised if a few of them pick up the gun against you.

But what's done is done, and what's one is one, and what's lost is lost and gone forever.

I think that the vast majority of the people of Ireland reject terrorism and conflict, and will welcome this move. Let's see how people react. Let the new day begin.

The Iraq War and the politicians that supported it

Fiercely independent Poland has veered right. Do not know how this effects Poland's support of the Iraq war but I do know the relatively recent election results in other countries:

US - Bush reelected
Japan- Koizumi reelected
UK - Blair reelected
Australia - Howard reelected

The only coalition govt to go down was Spain, as a direct result of the Al Queda train bombings

Germany - Schroeder defeated - a messy result, but where his party finished second
France- EU Constitution defeated. A large issue in itself, but a huge slap to Chirac

Looks to me like the voters are treating the Coalition govts pretty well

Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame

Just back from a short trip to Cincinnati, Ohio.

Went to the Cincinnati Reds game on Sunday. But first, a visit to the adjacent
Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame. Its a small museum devoted to one of America's oldest baseball teams.

Our guide is affiliated with the museum, and we got a sneak peek at two things that are not on display yet. We saw the collar of the famous team mascot Schottzie. ( The dog, not Marge Schott, the old bat that used to own the team )

We also saw the 1990 World Series ring of Reds pitcher Jack Armstrong, which will be on display soon.

It is a small museum, but if you are a baseball fan, it is fun. Lots of stuff on the
Big Red Machine, the gifted power-hitting team of the 1970s.
Also, a Wall of Baseballs, one for each of Pete Rose's 4,192 hits.

And a large rose garden in the back.

Since Rose is banned from baseball, he cannot be elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame or even the Reds Hall of Fame. But you cannot take away from his accomplishments as a player. I understand that there are a lot of Rose exhibits in Cooperstown.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Fall in New York ...Rita

Overnight, fall has arrived in New York. It was 59 degrees farenheit overnight; now, at 1020 am, it is only 62 degrees. This is the most delightful time of the year, when God's natural air conditioning cools the entire region. Great sleeping weather. Good thinking weather. Crisp weather leads to crisp thoughts.
No such pleasure down south. Rita's raising hell in Texas and Louisiana. My buddy Jim left his home to be relocated in Houston, now I am sure he's had to evacuate again.

There are calls to --not-- rebuild New Orleans, from some on the left and right, and from environmentalists. Dennis Hastert got crucified when he spoke of not rebuilding the place, but not rebuilding is an option that must be considered. Why spend immense treasure in rebuilding a city below sea level? Why encourage people to move back to a place that cannot be protected? There is a particularly good column in today's NY Post, as reprinted from the New Republic. It's by Adam B. Kushner, a New Orleans native. I can't find a proper link to the article, but the last paragraph is:

It is no easy thing to wish your birthplace out of existence for its own good ; the American habit, like with any challenge, is to fight back. But, in the end, demonstrations of perseverence aren't worth nearly as much as the lives they are meant to uplift.
The Islamists are saying that these hurricanes are caused by Allah, as a strike against the debauched America. They said that the tsunami hit the Muslims of Indonesia to punich them for not being strict enough. So any natural disaster will have a religous reason, according to this lot.
I'll be away on a day trip to Cincinnati Ohio, returning late Sunday night.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Went up with Skippy and the Honorable One at Brady's Tavern for a couple of Guinness " pints " after work. We later passed fancy architect David Libeskind on West Broadway, who was walking uptown. Perhaps he was heading to Brady's himself for a shot and a beer.

Airbus A320 -Two Design Flaws?

Wednesday's dramatic landing of the JetBlue A320 at Los Angeles was heartstopping. It was amazing to see the flight skid to a halt right in the middle of the runway.
Watching this on TV, I was told that such incidents of the front landing gear are very rare. Good thing, because you could see how a plane in the hands of a lesser pilot could have skidded off the runway, or flipped over.

But now the New York Post reports that there have been at least seven prior incidents of the front landing gear being stuck. The NY Daily News says that there have been at least five prior incidents of this type. That's not so wonderful.

Previous incidents have been blamed by Airbus on bad maintenance, but I'm not sure about that.

And this plane supposedly cannot dump fuel in flight. If that's true, I see this as a major design error. There will be times when a large plane needs to dump fuel in order to minimize fire / explosion risk in an emergency landing, or to minimize the weight of the plane when it is necessary to land very soon.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

The Proper Pint - Bring Back Imperialism

Well, this guy is leaving the company and we took him out for some cocktails at Connolly's on East 47th Street. Part of a small Irish chain of bars in Manhattan. Good pub grub. Good drink. Efficient, courteous service. But bad in one respect.

When you ask for a pint, this bar, and most others now, give you a technical pint. It is 16 fluid ounces, which is fine for most liquid measures, but for ain't right. I remember when every Irish bar served a pint that was 20 ounces, a proper drink for people that knew what they were doing. Over the years, one bar after the other have slipped in a pint glass that is a pint in the strictly technical, Clintonian sense, but is not what I want and is not what my friends want.

If a customer were to protest, they'd be told with a disengenous smile, " well, sir that is a pint." No it is not.

I want a law passed by the US Congress, the Dail, and the House of Commons tomorrow morning. It must hereby state that a pint in any public house shall be 20 ounces, not 16 ounces, and not any amount of millileters. Twenty ounces. Period. This one relic of imperialism is to be encouraged in all the nations of the world.

I'll take the one on the right, please.

The Frenchman and the Holocaust

From that sophisticated nation that seeks to educate the rest of us on the lessons of history. As Ace of Spades said, imagine the howls of ridicule in the MSM if Bush had said such a stupid thing.

M. Douste-Blazy, there were no deportations of Jews from England because the Brits had a novel strategy to deal with the Nazis. They fought back.

Some Israeli responses to to this comment

WTC / As Heard on the NYC Subway

Today, took the No. 6 train downtown for some crabcakes at Blue Water Grill off Union Square.

Somewhere between Grand Central and Union Square this Susan Sontag looking woman comes into my car and starts screaming about how the destruction of the World Trade Center was done by the US government. It was a " controlled demolition " you see, because " no buildings could fall down that fast ". Also " Dick Cheney arranged for military maneuvers that day to fool NORAD."

The passengers weren't too happy to hear this. She wasn't shouted down, but she was the object of a few choice comments including requests to know if she was " off her medication " and that she " get back to the hospital ".

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

New Blogs / Cindy Sh...

Have updated the Blog Links section of this site. Got rid of some, added some others.

There are six Irish blogs here, and more will be added in the future. There's an active blog scene over there, and I've enjoyed participating in some spirited debates on United Irelander.
Also added: Kurdistan Bloggers Union, from what they would refer to as southern Kurdistan. If you look on that site, you will see a flashing sign that says " Northern Iraq Is Invalid. No Northern Iraq. It is Southern Kurdistan! "

The Kurds have had the misfortune having their population located in adjacent areas of Iraq, Turkey, Iran and Syria. These four countries have denied self-determination to their Muslim brothers for a long, long time. It's bad enough to have to win your national independence against one country. Imagine trying to win it against four countries. Not easy.

Anyway, the blog looks ok and we will take it for a test drive.

Also, an Iraqi blog, Ibn AlRafidain, Arabic for the Son of the Two Rivers.

The ability of Kurds, Iraqis ,others from troubled to broadcast their message to anyone in the world who cares to read is no small thing. This is a revolutionary technology.


Also added the lunatic Chase Me Ladies, I'm With The Cavalry. Whoever produces that thing should be locked up. I will keep a close eye on him until that day comes.


Cindy Sh...oh, who cares

Don't Get Stuck on Stupid

From the very good Radio Blogger an account of a press conference in New Orleans. The dimwit mayor was besieged by the reporters, and General Honore took over. When the reporters kept asking foolish questions, the plain-speaking General responded with " You are stuck on stupid " .

General Honore- right man, right place. New Orleans has its Guiliani now, and its not the Mayor.

An excellent sign of recovery in New Orleans. The first " exotic dancer " has returned. Surprised it took this long.

In the immediate days after 9/11, just about the first business to reopen in the area just south of it was the " Pussycat Lounge " on Greenwich St. . The construction crews / cops / firemen were great customers.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Arizona Memorial / etc

The Arizona Memorial, in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, is not in good shape, and a fund-raising effort will soon begin to perform needed repairs. Sign me up.

On December 7, 1941, this magnificent ship was destroyed in the sneak attack by the Japanese forces. One thousand one hundred crew died on a Sunday morning.

The USS Arizona Memorial was built in 1962. The majority of the funds came from private contributions, with a big boost from Elvis Presley, who donated the proceeds from a 1961 concert to the Memorial.

The Arizona Memorial was constructed just above the sunken ship. It's a haunting place to visit. Small drops of oil still come to the surface, after all these years. I was there this past July, and saw them.

The eight dolphins swept away by Katrina in Mississippi have all been rescued. Good news from a region that needs more good news.


Home runs way down in baseball this year. Sure that this has nothing to do with the steroids testing. Has Barry Bonds been tested yet this year?

The Death of Tibet

As a python crushes its prey and then consumes it, it China's absorption of Tibet continues, a day at a time.

The Guardian has an article about a new railway the Chinese are building that will connect Golmud to Lhasa, Tibet. Golmud is north and somewhat east of Lhasa.

Its good that China is modernizing, doing impressive engineering projects like this, and taking its proper place as one of the world's great nations. Its good that many of its people have a better life.

But this comes at a price. Part of this price is the slow death of the Tibetan nation. The Dalai Lama remains in exile, while the python crushes the life out of his people.

Casey Sheehan vs Cindy Shee-han

Casey Sheehan was a patriot and a fighter who re-enlisted when the Iraq War was well underway. He was almost too patriotic. Never met him, but I will bet that he would have been absolutely horrified at the antics of his mother, Cindy Shee-han.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Vietnam appearing in the Distance

Well, it won't be long before I am far away in Vietnam. As per the norm, my research is, ahem, somewhat behind. But what the hell. I say the test of a real traveler is to wing it.

I leave on October 8, so I have a little time to research things. And its good that its on an organized tour.

I can say that the weather now looks to be: temperature ok, and lots of rain.

Vietnam, Vietnam. Less than three weeks. Can't believe it. I will be updating the blog from there. With internet cafes, its easily done, even in the so called third world.


My yahoo e-mail is not working now. Have to tell people to sent to the alternate gmail address also if it is important.

The NY Giants - New Orleans Saints game is on tv, for Monday Night Football. The Giants lead 27-10. I wish New Orleans was winning.

The NY Times restricts access to parts of their website today, unless you are a subscriber. Well too bad, NY Times, you're not that important anymore. And subscribing is not convenient to me. So take a hike.

A London correspondent to WABC radio today said " Why is Ray Nagin still the mayor in New Orleans? Is it just me or is he an idiot? " He was referring to the mayor who complained about no transporation, though he had 200 buses at his disposal that remained unused ; more recently on his request over the weekend, against federal advice, that people move back in to parts of New Orleans, advice that he rescinded today, as the new hurricane came calling into the Gulf area, and as not enough infrastructure was back on line. It is obvious. Its Bush's fault.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Major League Baseball to Europe?

The ( London ) Times reports that major league baseball mayopen the 2007 season in London I think that this would be a swell idea. I thought it was great when the Yankees opened in Japan a couple of years back.

The more international exposure baseball gets, the better it does. The Phantom would have to consider flying over such a match in London.

Baseball is small potatoes in Europe, but it's bigger than you think. There's a high standard of play in Holland, which produced the great Bert Blyleven, a pitcher who won an eye-popping 287 games.

There is also a professional league in Italy. It has not produced major league players as far as I know, but they will someday.

And yes, my Irish friends, there is a small league in Ireland. I don't think that this is a professional league, and the number of people at a game would probably fit in a phone booth, but you have to start somewhere.

Someday, 50,000 people in Croke Park for a pennant race between Dublin and Belfast, as Irish-American power pitching great and Hall of Famer Nolan Ryanthrows out the ceremonial first ball...

Latest news from Australia

New Orleans. An article not on the politics, but the sweet, sweet, music and how you can help it survive.


Watching some of Hitchens-Galloway debate on C-SPAN2's Book TV. Will try to see the whole thing later on.

Its a much different experience on television. And Hitchens, who is more thoughtful and much less bombastic than Galloway, comes across much, much better here.

Trip To Fenway Park

This past Friday, I took a trip up to Boston to see the Red Sox play at Fenway Park.

I'd been there once before, years ago. On a sunny Saturday afternoon in 1987, we saw a young Roger Clemens completely overwhelm the Texas Rangers in a 2-0 victory. So, it had been a very long time.

Friday was a rainy and cold for this time of year. We weren't sure we would see a game. After a one hour delay, they played.

Fenway Park is an absolute gem. It opened in 1912, just five days after the sinking of the Titanic. You unfortunately have a modern electronic screen flashing stats and selling product, but you also have a scoreboard that is updated by hand, and other little quirks

Baseball is a game where half the fun is dredging up memories of great deeds done past. Even memories of things you never saw. When in Fenway, I think of Ted Williams and Babe Ruth playing on the same field, and of Bucky Dent and Yaztremski, all the great players, and the great moments for all those many years.

But baseball is cannibalizing its past. Almost all the old stadiums are gone. There are exactly three stadiums still in use where Babe Ruth once played--Fenway Park, Wrigley Field and Yankee Stadium. And Steinbrenner plans to demolish Yankee Stadium in the next few years. The new place will be swell, but it won't be Yankee Stadium, no matter how many amenities it has.

A few years ago, the Red Sox announced that they would build a new stadium. There was a fan revolt. The plans are permanently shelved. Fenway, and the red seat, and the Citgo sign, will outlive the House that Ruth Built.

The imminent destruction of Yankee Stadium makes Fenway ( and Wrigley Field ) even more precious to the real baseball fan.

So, anyway, I'm at this game in Fenway, surrounded by this army of Red Sox fans, loving the Green Monster and the history of the place. It was an entertaining game, with the usual mental blunder by the gifted but brainless Manny Ramirez and a crazy bottom of the tenth when the Oakland As had five infielders against Edgar Renteria and the game decided by a hit batsman with the bases loaded. The batsman, the aforementioned Ramirez is so bloody stupid that he thought that the pitcher was throwing at him intentionally. You saw a flash of anger. Yeah Manny, the pitcher was trying to hit you with the bases loaded and the winning run on third.

But, any-way. Fenway's a great place.

Fundraising and charity work have always been a big part of the Red Sox. For 52 years, they and their players have supported the Jimmy Fund for sick children. The scoreboard urged contributions for " the victims of the genocide in Darfur " . ( At what other sports venue would there be an appeal for this cause? Expressed this truthfully ? ) There was an appeal a fund for the animals displaced by Katrina, also urging people to adopt them. The Sox handed a $500,000 check for Hurricane Katrina relief before the game, and there was a sign urging contributions painted onto the Green Monster.

And during a delay, they played a version of " City of New Orleans ", the Arlo Guthrie song, performed by someone else. It sounded wonderful.

Donn Clendenon, RIP

There's a radio report just confirmed by the internet, that Donn Clendenon has died.

For those of us old enough to remember, Donn Clendenon was the last piece of the 1969 Miracle Mets World Series Championship team.

This was a team that was horribly uncompetitive from its creation 1n 1962 through 1968. Then in 1969, helped by a the great, young power pitcher Tom Seaver and and other mostly young players, they were vastly improved. But when they signed Clendenon
they had a dangerous hitter, an older guy, a home run threat in those pre-steroids days that helped them overcome the cocky, overconfident Chicago Cubs for the division, and to then go on to beat the supposedly superior Baltiomore Orioles in the World Series.

I remember going to a night ballgame at Shea Stadium in 1969. I will always remember catching a foul ball off the bat of Donn Clendenon that had been thrown by the great Cubs pitcher Ferguson Jenkins.

The 1969 World Series win by the recently hapless Mets was an huge event in New York and in America. I remember the wild celebrations in my Bay Ridge Brooklyn neighborhood, with fireworks deep into the night, a scene replicated were replicated all through the city and beyond.

It would not have happened without Donn Clendenon. Now he Agee, and Tug McGraw are all gone. It's not fair. God bless, Don Clendenon.

Hitchens / BBC / Yankees

From the National Review, another commentary on the Hitchens - Galloway debate.

Just stumbled on to Biased BBC, for the first time. See, its all on the Internet. Whatever you're thinking about, someone is writing about.

The Yankees continue to step it up. Shawn Chacon pitched 8 masterful innings as the Yanks win 1-0. This has become an interesting team recently. Without the unexpectedly wonderful performance of both Chacon and Small, this team would be 8 games back now. As it is, they are a game and a half back. I'll take it.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

BBC Anti -US Bias

Tony Blair, and Bill Clinton have criticized the BBC for the anti-US bias in their reporting of the New Orleans floods. Clinton and Blair were correct, but it was not just the BBC that was biased.

Looking at the Yahoo cross-section of ( US ) political cartoons a week ago, just about every one of them crucified Bush and made him look like an imbecile. There was no criticism of the LA governor and the NO mayor at all, no nuance, no diversity of opinion.

But the bias you see on the BBC and the other taxpayer-supported media in Europe are a real problem. So much of the media is run by the government. In France, you'll never see a pro-US voice in their mainstream media. The media panders to every anti-US prejudice of the population. The Europeans think that they are well-informed, but do they ever hear an alternative view?

The natural tendency is to see long-established media official or nearly official media ( BBC, Deutsche Welle, Le Monde ) as " objective ". But they're anything but. There's one view, with only shades of a basically anti-US view that is presented.

Europe needs a Fox News Channel. And much more critical feedback from a robust internet. I don't care if they agree with me or with any action of the US govt, but there needs to be at least diversity of perspective. Shouldn't there?

Thursday, September 15, 2005

The NY Times missed the story of the Hitchens - "Georgeous George" Galloway debate that took place all of 20 blocks from their offices, but the London Times did notmiss it. And the London Times nails the story exactly right.

This story attracted significant interest around the world, but the NY Times was seemingly unaware.
The Yankees have completed a three game sweep of the Tampa Devil Rays, and are now only two games behind Boston. I will be in Fenway Park tomorrow, to cast a hex upon the Red Sox, who play Oakland.

The collapse of the Mets cannot be understood. They lost again today. Its sad to see, after a season in which much seemed to have been accomplished.
Two dolphins rescued off the coast of Mississippi
Have a headache, caused by a cold. Pisses me off, especially when I put on my Phantom Mask. But the eye is doing very well. Good night.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Brooklyn Nets: It will happen

The MTA has just approved the sale of land to developer Ratner . Who will now get to build office buildings and a basketball arena in the Atlantic Avenue area of Brooklyn, right by the LIRR station and all the main subways that serve Brooklyn.

Nothing will stop this deal from happening now, I don't think. And I think it is a good thing. The Gehry-designed buildings are interesting. This will give Brooklyn a true center, something I don't think it has ever had. Can't wait. I don't even like basketball, but I will root for the Brooklyn Nets.

Google Blog Search Engine / Hitchens - Galloway Cage Match Debate

Google has just launched a blog search engine which is to be found hereI stumbled on it while on, and found it to be both quick and accurate in a raod test. It digs deep. It found the wonderful View from 103 and Bay Ridge Blog first shot, even pages within them, instantly.


I just finished listening to the Hitchens - Galloway debate as it was broadcast on the web. To tell the truth, it was dissapointing. A lot of ad hominem attacks, only nuggets of substance.

Some nuggets:

Galloway more or less openly supports the attackers of US / British coalition troops in Iraq. He had no criticism at any time for any of their actions. He referred to them always as " the resistance ". Resistance my ass. The Saddam / Islamofascist resistance that the Kurd / Shia majority utterly despises.

Hitchens referred to the Iraq war as " just and necessary ". He said that if the US had not invaded, Iraq would have been invaded by Turkey, Iran and Saudi Arabia. Not sure I follow this. Iran, maybe. Turkey, do not think so--though Hitch said they would in order to put a lid on the Kurds.

The Saudis could not fight their way out of a wet burka.

But Hitchens raised a lot of valid points about Iraq being a menace to all of its neighbors, and a slaughterer of its own people.

The moderator made an immense error by bringing up New Orleans, which led to a very long off topic discussion. This really killed the debate. Not that it was so great to begin with. Again, a lot of personal attacks. Abd the usual Halliburton arguments. And animal noises from the Galloway supporters.

I think Galloway is a liar and crook both, but he is a fearless and a good debater. Hitchens is a very strong writer, and was good on night when I wish that he had been great.

I agree with Hitchens that the war was and is justified. The world is a better place with Saddam powerless and in prison.

This will be worth watching on C-SPAN this weekend--I want to see how it comes off on tv.

Verizon DSL Treachery / Yahoo Music Player

My stinking Verizon DSL connection crapped out as I was writing a masterpiece. It's gone now. What you missed!

I'd been listeing to my Yahoo Music Engine which I really, really like. When my connection died, I had to listen to what was on the C drive. So I've listened to Gilliam Welch, again. My God, she is a true voice.

Sorry, friends outside the US...this service is only available in the US for now. Do not know if there are similar services in Canada, Europe, Australia ( Rhapsody? ) but if there are, I recommend you check them out. This is the future of music. Now let me post this before Verizon dies on me again.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Hitchens vs Gorgeous George

Dammit. What could be one of the best political debates in memory, between British politician George Galloway and Christopher Hitchens, the writer, will take place in New York tomorrow night, and I just heard about it and cannot get a ticket.Its sold out. Will try to listen on the radio.

Galloway is one of the truly vile people in public life. He has always had suspiciously close ties to Arab dictators, including for a long time, Saddam Hussein. He recently spoke belligerently before the US Senate, and there was not one of them who could effectively take him on. That will not be the case with Hitchens, who fears no man, and unlike any US Senator, can actually debate on his feet.

New Orleans Leaders / 9/11 Incident

Similar Situation, Different Response

An interesting perspective on Nagin and Blancoduring Katrina, comparing them with Guiliani and Pataki.

Apparently, Nagin and Blanco hated each other, and allowed this to interfere with their working relationship when the storm hit. Guiliana and Pataki also hated each other, for the identical reason --the mayor had endorsed a rival candidate for governor . But Guiliani and Pataki buried the hatchet immediately when disaster struck. Nagin and Blanco didn't.


Newsstand Firefighter's 9/11 Excuse

This past Saturday, Edward Dailey, a 27 year old fireman was arrested for assaulting a 51 year old newspaper vendor in the Village, telling the Bangladeshi immigrant " You look like Al Queda ". The firemen went into a nearby bar with 15 other firemen, where they were rude to the female bartender and other patrons.

The bartender said " Its seems like its almost an excuse for them " referring to the firemen's attitudes to 9/11. Six cops escorted the firemen out of the joint.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Latest News From Lyons, France

Mass nudity for photo shoot by whathisface the fancy New York artist Spencer Tracey
or whoever.
Home come you can't get better resolution on these shots anyway?

Bush Hides Bodies in Louisiana

From the devilishly funny Blame Bush:

If that devil President Bush is " responsible " for this hurricanedoes the much lower than expected death count mean he's not as responsible? Do the Mayor and Governor get a pass now?

Katrina, continued

As facts come out, views of the storm and the response to it are changing.

First, the death toll in Lousisiana is now 197. It will go up, but earlier estimates by Nagin of 10,000 now appear to be ludicrously high.

And views of the Federal response are evolving too.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

September 11, 2005

The fourth commemoration was of the events of September 11, 2005 was held in Manhattan today. Posted by Picasa

Saturday, September 10, 2005

The View From The 103rd Floor

It was like this. You could see for miles and miles. Posted by Picasa

September 11 Anniversary Part Two

I didn't always like the World Trade Center. I didn't like the way the huge hordes of commuters on the Concourse level. I did not like the scale of it. I remember years and years back, when a guy on ( far left ) WBAI FM said that the World Trade Center had " the worst vibes in the world ". For whatever reason, I always remembered that statement.

And when I read Divided We Stand, a small book that recounted the constuction of the World Trade Center, and how an entire small neighborhood called Radio Row was demolished to make way for this mega project, I was unhappy about what had been done to create this bohemoth.

But still, it did grow on me --a bit-- after awhile. I got an office there, which I never had before. And after awhile, I got another office, by the south side, with a window yet. From the 103rd Floor, I had a commanding view of the Statue of Liberty ,Ellis Island, the Verrazano Bridge, and to the left, my home neighborhood of Bay Ridge.

I saw the whitecaps on the water when it was windy. I saw Continental Airlines commuter planes hook around the complex on their way to Newark Airport. I saw the cruise ships leave on a Friday night, on the way to Canada, Bermuda or the Caribbean.

From the other sides of the building, you could see over the entire city. With binoculars, I could see planes on the runway at JFK Airport. Without them, I saw Long Island Railroad trains in Nassau County, and silver NJ Transit trains heading west to the Watchung Mountains. There were large highway signs somewhere in Brooklyn that shined bright green when the sun shone just right on them. Also trucks way out in New Jersey. And Shea Stadium and the Washington Square Arch, and a million other things, large and small.

The view from the 103rd Floor depended on the play of the sunlight. The view changed every day, and every hour within every day.

Almost every day, we would see airplanes fly below us. Often we saw advertising blimps float below.

Working 103 floors above the earth, cars were very small specs , and you really could not see individual people on the sidewalk.

We would often have clouds form below us. Someone would ask what the weather was like, and you had to say you had no idea!

One of my favorite moments was when there was a heavy thunderstorm at maybe 4pm. We had a meeting in a corner conference room. from which you could not see an inch outside. But you could hear the thunder from maybe a half-city block outside. And could see the lightning when it flashed too close for comfort. God, I loved that!

On September 10, 2001, I worked a long day, as we had a meeting was changed at the last day to September 11 and I had to do a few things. I was there until maybe 7:30 at night. There was the 7:30 flight to New England the following morning. As it was a day trip, I left my laptop in the office. I took the elevator down to the 78th floor Skylobby, then took the larger elevator to the Ground Floor. Then, a short stroll through the concourse, to the R subway train for a 35-40 minute ride home to Bay Ridge.

I'll always remember the view from the 103rd Floor. No eagle had a more commanding view of New York than we once did. I miss it terribly.

Facts? We Don't Need No Stinking facts

from the great Day by Day Cartoon. A new one daily, presenting views you won't see in the MSM American/European media. Click on image to enlarge.

World Trade Center

Four years ago, they still stood. Posted by Picasa

September 11 Anniversary

It's a perfect fall day, as it was a perfect day four years ago.

Tomorrow, I'll meet with family and friends in lower Manhattan. We'll observe some of the ceremonies. The tentative plan is to follow the route that some of my co-workers took four years ago--to walk across lower Manhattan in a zig-zag route, stopping in a few places, then walking across the Manhattan Bridge to Brooklyn.

Then, some of this group will meet some others will meet in the Waterfront Ale House on Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn. Four years ago, a very large group of us met there on the first Saturday after 9/11. We hugged each other, exchanged what was often still incomplete information on what happened , whether this person or that was alright, or all too often, was not.

Four days after 9/11, with the still-burning site only a couple of miles away. The family of someone still missing came looking for any information that could be had.

I worked in the Two World Trade Center, 25 stories above where at 903am, the hijacked United Airlines No. 175 crashed into the south face of the building at nearly 600 miles an hour. I know people who died instantly then, as they were waiting for the elevator in the 78th Floor Skylobby ; I know others who were trapped in my company's floors above under desparate and soon fatal conditions.

I remember them always.

Fortunately, when the first plane hit the building next door at 845am, most of my co-workers on the 103rd Floor decided to get the hell out. A lot of them walked down to the 78th Floor and just took the elevator right down to the ground floor. If you headed for the exits immediately, you were probably ok.

I've been asked many times what I would have done. And the answer is that I have no idea if I would have stayed, or gone. Noone knew the facts, noone knew that a second plane was on its way. I second guess noone here for staying or going or for telling anyone else to stay or go. But I am glad that many of my friends got out, and that a couple of them, L and G, apparently took leadership roles, barking at others to get the hell out right away.

I was out of town that day. I had a day trip in New England with a client, and I flew American Airlines that left JFK at 745am. I was in the air at the same time as Mohammad Atta and his 18 evil friends. My friend M caught a flight at Newark and could have been going through security at the same time as the hijackers of United Airlines 93, the flight that fought back.


Upon landing in New England, I heard from my friend A that a plane had crashed into the World Trade Center. Like everyone, I thought it might have been a small plane. I used to see the Continental Airlines commuter jets swing by all the time on the approach to Newark Airport. Must have been one of them.

Arriving at the client's office, the fact that something immensely grave immediately became known. Large screen tvs were brought out. I saw my building and the one next door being hit again and again, and I saw them fall again and again.

A offered to take me to a hotel, but I insisted on going home. There was no alternative, and I would hitchhike the entire way if I had to.

We went to the bus station, to learn that all bus and train service to NYC was suspended. I asked to be let off at Interstate 95, where I would hitchhike and find a way into my city. A said that she could not let me do that, that she would take as far down Interstate 95 as we could go. What a great thing to do.

We traveled south, grabbed some late lunch, and then realized that there was a ferry from Bridgeport, CT to Port Washington Long Island. Surely this ferry would still be operational. And if I could make it to Long Island, then I would definitely make it home that day.

We went to the Bridgeport Ferry terminal. A let me borrow her cellphone, another very kind act.

There was a long line of cars, but foot passengers like me could catch the next boat. It was a slow car ferry. I saw the towers fall on tv, again and again, then went to the side table to get away from that image. I ripped the cardboard backing from a pad of lined paper to make a sign to use for hitchhiking when I landed in at Port Washington. The sign said " Brooklyn or Queens "

When we landed, I put my thumb out. The first passing driver, a guy of Indian background, stopped and said he was going to eastern Queens, and if it was ok to go there. I said yes, and he took me all the way to where I could catch the Q46 bus. I rode it a long, long way to where we connected to the E train. The E train that still had signs that announced the last stop as " World Trade Center ". I rode it west for a while, then took the G local to Brooklyn's 9th Street and Fourth Avenue. I would normally catch the R train there to Bay Ridge, but it was not running. I, with a few others, walked to Third Avenue, and rode the B37 bus to Bay Ridge. I make it home.

I spoke with my mother. I made a few phone calls. I met my friend Kenny. We drank a few beers on a park bench , watching the emergency vehicles go by on the Belt Parkway. I fell asleep later that night, at about 430am, in my own bed. I heard fighter jets in the sky. It was a most welcome sound.

I knew that the world had changed forever.

But that's enough writing for now.

Friday, September 09, 2005


I know three people from New Orleans.

One, who lives in NYC, advised that his cousin's family lost their home in St. Barnard's Parish. The extended family is split up, taking refuge in Baton Rouge, staying with friends.
The other one lives right outside New Orleans, in Metairie. I sent him an e-mail as the storm bore in, wishing him the best, and his reply just came in today "Great to hear for you. All is OK with my house and family...some wind damage. I was blessed. My daughter's and my brother's houses flooded as well as my brother's law office building. [a woman ] of my office has about 8ft of water in her house. We will be officeing in the [ company's ]Houston office for the next couple of months."
The third lives far away in Bermuda. Do not know how her people are.
A group of Iraqi soldiers took up a collection for the Katrina victims . With all of their troubles, they donated a month's salary to the relief effort.

This reminds me of the true story of donations made by the Cherokee and the Choctaw Indians of America to the starving Irish at the height of the famine in 1847. If you read the link, you'll see that the Irish have never forgotten this act of great kindness, from a people with uncountable troubles of their own . Nor have the Choctaw, nor the Cherokee.

September 11

We're two days from September 11, 2005.

Today, I had a meeting in lower Manhattan, and as I often do, went out of my way to pass the block where I once worked.

Sunday, I will be there at 830 in the morning for the commemoration. Has it been four years?

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Nagin, Blanco, and Brown - The Three Killers

I will soon have to stop thinking about the New Orleans catastrophe.When I think about it, I get very, very angry.

The looting pissed me off, but I have to let that go. New Orleans, for all of its virtues, is probably the most corrupt city in the US, and it is located in what is --by a mile-- the corrupt state in the US. So when the blacks, and the whites, and the kids, and cops, in uniform, are to be found robbing the shelves of a Wal-Mart with an air of insouciance and entitelement, why the hell should I be surprised? At least Wal-Mart can afford it ( and has nonetheless donated to the relief of the city whose citizens robbed them ).

But the absolute, staggering incompetence of the government is what killed hundreds of people. People who did not have to die.

We know where the buck stops, but the buck starts somewhere, too. Lets devote a bit of time to Mayor Nagin.

Last night, Matt Drudge replayed an interview Nagin did right before the storm hit. Literally with a Starbucks in hand, there was no sense of urgency. The mayor said essentially that " all those who wanted to be out were out of the city " and that those with no other option were at the Superdome, where " doctors were waiting for them ", and that those who stayed could expect no help for days.

Meanwhile, a huge armada of school buses was only a mile away from the Convention Center. They, and the city's mass transit buses, could have been used to take a lot of the city's poor to a safer place. But those buses, every one of them under city and state authority, were never used. Not one.

The city had an evacuation plan. It was rehearsed --to failing grades-- 13 months ago. But it really failed when Katrina hit, because the evacuation plan's written process of evacuation using city vehicles was never implemented. Its not that it was not implemented in full, but that it was not implemented at all. Not one bus carried one passenger.

Many of the people stuck in the city wanted to be there, having ridden out all the other storms. Others were afraid of what might lay ahead, or that their meager belongings would be stolen. But some people wanted to leave but could not. And there was zero effort on the city's part to help them.


Blanco, she who cries in front of TV cameras, spouted legalities when Bush wanted to federalize the New Orleans National Guard. Weak, indecisive, emotional, she is not worthy of another keystroke.


The truth of the above will not be seen in the NY Times, or most mainstream media, but the truth will out. Nagin and Blanco should face jailtime for this, the murderous incompetence is so overwhelming.


Bush, you are not off the hook. I will cut you some slack for being on your monthlong or yearlong vacation in that your Crawford rathole, with media whore Cindy Sheehan preening outside.

I will you some slack for being dazed and slow off the bat for the first few days. You were slow off the bat on 9/11, but came back very strong.

But I cut you zero slack for appointing nobody Michael Brown as head of FEMA. This guy's qualifications are that he is a fund-raiser for the Republicans. FEMA has refused aid from other states, and botched the Federal Government's role in every conceivable way.

Nagin, Blanco and Brown. Each holds high office, each has the blood of New Orleans on their hands.

I will roast Bush for appointing Brown. But the voters in Louisiana and New Orleans actually voted the other two into office. They wanted to let the good times roll, but Katrina was in no mood to play.

There is a flood of information coming out on this from here, from the National Review, here, Mother of God from from the BBC, who even sees fit to now publish the schoolbus armada photo

this is an audio post - click to play

Monday, September 05, 2005

Excellent karaoke concertjust for you I think its from Japan but I ain't no expert.

New Orleans In Better Days

I think that this is the streetcar line that took one to New Orleans' gorgeous Garden District. Note the grass by the tracks. Riding this line was stepping back in time.

Blockbuster beats Netflix

Ha ha, Pentex. A South Carolina newspaper recently compared the two main US rent-by-mail DVD services and won. ( Hat tip, netflixfan )

As someone who has subscribed to both at times, I think that this article is exactly correct. They are both good services, providing great value. Blockbuster comes in at a nose due to their two free in store rental coupons and their slightly lower price.


It's a beautiful day here in New York.

I'm in a good mood as this is the last day I will have to wear the protective lens in my eye. Tomorrow, they take it out, and we'll begin to see how the lasek touchup surgery really went.

Am listening to Cecilio and Kapono's " Night Music " on the Yahoo Music Player.

This was one of the groups that was part of the modern Hawaiian music revival. I heard them first when in Guam, and have always liked them.

The Yahoo Music Engine had glitches a couple of weeks ago and would not play. But I tweaked it, and it is working perfectly. It is the best value of all time. I recently listened to Gillian Welch's " Soul Music "for the first time, and was absolutely floored by it.

Actual Video of New Orleans Police Officers Looting ( edited )

Two actual videos of the New Orleans looting:
from NBC.

another video, showing more images, incl a Walgreens on Canal St that I have shopped in


A thoughtful story on this subject from the Boston Globe.

Very little of this looting was caused by hungry people looking for food. The truth is that civilization is a very thin veneer, and is at it's very thinnest in places like New Orleans with its top - to - bottom history of corruption.

The media is downplaying this story now, but that is wrong. As the Boston Globe story says, the crimes against property quickly led to assaults on people. And it distracted the ( few ) good men of the New Orleans Police Dept from efforts to save people.

Face it, the NOPD is by far the worst police force in America. As someone said in Little Green Footballs "I don't believe that they will be selling NOPD hats at any grocery stores and department stores in the next few months. "

Hope the guy in the picture enjoyed his Heinekens.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

New Orleans School Buses -Second Photo

Or what Little Green Footballs ( hat tip ) has named the " Ray Nagin Memorial Motor Pool "

Another high resolution photo of the fleet of ( 250 ) school buses that Mayor Nagin and Governor Blanco did not use to get people out of the city.

Oh, excuse me. Blanco did order them used...on September the first. You do the math.

These photos could not be more damning. Nagin and Blanco have been completely negligent in the performance of their duties.

( From Drudge Report ) " Louisiana disaster plan, pg 13, para 5 , dated 01/00

'The primary means of hurricane evacuation will be personal vehicles. School and municipal buses, government-owned vehicles and vehicles provided by volunteer agencies may be used to provide transportation for individuals who lack transportation and require assistance in evacuating'..." Oh, my. I guess that devil Bush stopped Nagin and Blanco from reading the manual.

Drowning New Orleans

Scientific American published a major article called Drowning New Orleans in October 2001 that dealt with the possibility of a major catastrophe there.

If we are going to be in the business of assigning blame, there's a lot of blame to go around. At local, state, and federal levels.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Mayor Nagin, the do-nothing leader

Mayor Nagin of New Orleans has been shooting his mouth off about how the state and federal govt didn't do enough. But he didn't do much of anything.

How many New Orleans school buses are in this picture? Why wasn't one of them used to evacuate some of the people before the storm hit?

Leadership begins at home. Nagin is a critic, not a leader.

The Disgrace of New Orleans

Above, a photo of a New Orleanian prepared to fight for what's right. A pity the city doesn't have many more like him.

The hurricane and flood are a shame. The slow government response is unacceptable. But the wide, systematic looting, by large numbers of the city's residents is a criminal disgrace. This will scar the image of the city forever. And should.

But even worse is the downplaying of what has happened. Mayor Ray Nagin the other day gently crticized the looters but said that many of them were " just looking for food " or something like that. Oh yeah? Is that why I saw images of grinning looters with carts filled with Budweiser, Nikes and others with armfuls of jeans sloshing through the waters. That must be why they stole all the guns from a Wal-Mart, and why all the cars were stolen from a dealership. Because they needed food for the little babies.

I saw a comment from Sri Lanka yesterday, a place that is incomparably poorer and where the ( tsunami ) damage was much greater. The Sri Lankan said that she knew of no looting there, and that not one tourist was mugged when the tsunami hit. She said that " now we know who is civilized " or something to that effect. She is not wrong.


Mayor Nagin has been shooting his mouth off about the allegedly slow response of the Federal Govt. Well, that's his right, but its also our right to take a look at this guy and the performance of his people.

It has been reported that:
a) up to 1/3 of the New Orleans Police Department deserted their posts when the flood waters hit
b)NOPD officers stood by when the looters hit and there were several reports of NOPD officers participating in the looting
c) New Orleans sent refugees to the Convention Center, but did not advise FEMA or other agencies about it. ( Therefore, no FEMA aid went there in the early days )
d) Nagin and the city provided no vehicles to evacuate people without cars. ( The city had no vehicles at its disposal? Not one school bus? )

The disgraceful response of much of New Orleans' population was mirrored by the performance of a loudmouth mayor who blamed Bush and the Governor, but apparently had no idea that the mayor and his city government had some responsibility to act first. They're the ones who supposedly know the city best, they are the ones on the ground already.

Compare Nagin's performance to that of Guiliani on 9/11 and afterwards. With Giuliani, who very nearly died that morning, the work of recovery and social order began immediately and the buck stopped with him. Though aid was sought and given by the nation, there was never a question as to who was in charge, who was responsible. And because the City and the NYPD / FDNY responded so well from the beginning, the Federal reponse complemented if perfectly.

With Nagin, all responsibility is avoided, replaced by pointing the finger of blame wags at Baton Rouge and Washington and the media and whoever. Its a great New Orleans show, but it will kill his city.

In their hour of need, New York had a much better mayor than it deserved. And much of the New Orleans population now has --exactly--the mayor it deserves.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

New Orleans Needs A Giuliani

It has been painful looking at New Orleans this week.

On Monday, it looked as though the city had dodged a bullet. No, it didn't. It could have been worse, true -- a direct hit of a Category 5 hurricane would have killed 50,000 and destroyed many thousands of buildings. But this is dreadful enough.

The looting and other crime is beyond unforgiveable. The New Orleans Police Department has a well-earned reputation for incompetence and corruption that will not be enhanced by reports that NOPD cops were actually participating in some of the looting. Hard to stop the looting when you're grabbing armfuls of swag off the shelves yourself.

New Orleans desperately needs a Rudy Guiliani, who could have drilled a little backbone into the NOPD, who could have led a fight against the terrible crime in this city before the hurricane, and who very possibly could have prevented the looting after the hurricane had passed.

But New Orleans does not have a Mayor Guiliani. Nor does Louisiana have a strong governor. They don't elect leaders like that in Louisiana. In this hour of greatest need, the lack of leadership at the local and state level is costing lives every day--those those who are murdered, and those won't be rescued from a rooftop somewhere because there's a retroactive effort to try to keep the animals from stealing everything not nailed down on Canal Street, Orleans Avenue, Poydras and everywhere else.