Wednesday, November 30, 2005

" Shoot the Freak " Man Busted in NJ

Oh, its quite the tragedy. One of the barkers for the somewhat popular " Shoot the Freak " game was arrested in Giants Stadium in NJ after allegedly stabbing two people at a NJ Jets game. Now, I know that the Jets fans are known for being rowdy, but this could almost be seen as going too far.

Shoot the Freak is an attraction unique to Coney Island. You pay to shoot paintballs at a live human who runs around an enclosed area and taunts you if you miss. It's between Surf Avenue and the boardwalk, just east of Nathan's Famous Hot Dogs. See you there next summer.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

DIRECTV adds XMRadio

A windy, rainy night in New York. I like rain, but it certainly does not increase the energy level.

I've had DIRECTV satellite television for three years now. Like most subscribers, I am very happy with it. It's less expensive than cable tv, and problems have been few.

They, like many cable and satellite systems, have had audio-only music channels for years. DIRECTV just changed its music content provider to XM Radio.

XM is one of two pay radio services here in North America, the other being Sirius. They're very similar, in that you have to buy special equipment and pay $11-12 a month for the service. The lure is that there are many music channels, all with no commercials. There are also news and political shows.

Unfortunately, both have also decided to attract customers by hiring famous " shock jocks ". XM has Opie and Anthony who, a while back broadcast a couple having sex in St. Patricks Cathedral, . Sirius will soon have Howard Stern, who is famous for his on-the-air farting contests. There's actually an audience for this stuff. Not me. I was pretty close to signing up for one of the services a few months ago, but when I heard that they were staking their fame on Fartman and Opie and Dopey I changed my mind.

But now, XM has come to me anyway. I now have the only service of theirs I really wanted, which is the 60 commercial free music channels, and I did not have to lift a finger to get it.

I really like this service, and have connected my Bose radio to the satellite receiver so I can listen on better speakers. Soon, will have to reconfigure the hole thing into a home entertainment system.

Monday, November 28, 2005

WTC / Deutsche Bank Building Coming Down Soon

The Deutsche Bank, at 130 Liberty Street, stood right across the Liberty Street from the World Trade Center complex. The 40 story building was originally the Bankers Trust Building. When Bankers Trust was taken over by Deutsche Bank, I think in 1999, the name of the 130 Liberty Street was changed.

There was a Chinese restaurant on the second floor of this building, which served a halfway decent menu of Chinese-American cuisine. We used to go there once in awhile.

On September 11, 2001, this building, across the street from the 110 story Two World Trade Center, suffered a lot of damage from broken windows and the like. There was no irreparable structural damage, but the broken windows and other exterior damage left the interior of the building exposed to the open air -and rain - for a very long time, which allowed a great deal of mold to grow inside. " Toxic Mold " is one of the major phobias these days, grossly hyped by trial lawyers and paranoid types.

So, to make a long story short, though this building was and is repairable, the decision was made a long time ago to tear it down. Because of the " Toxic Mold ".

The building has stood a sad watch over the WTC site for the past four years. The black shroud they put over it has made it look even more funereal. The photo you see here is not current, but it gives you an idea of what the Deutsche Bank Building has looked like for much of the time since 2001.

Deconstruction of this building begins in earnest in March 2006. There's a lot of detail in this link, if you are interested. The demolition work will last until 2007.

Most people in the area want to see this sad building come down, but I'm conflicted. My instinct is to preserve it. It survived 9/11, and that reason alone makes me want it to stand forever. But down it will come.

Black Friday Go to Hell

Lots of reports this year about people fighting in department stores during sales early in the morning on " Black Friday ", the day after Thanksgiving.

But this morning's NY Times reports " As the nation's retail executives began poring over, and in some cases despairing over, sales receipts from the holiday weekend, one pattern became clearer: consumers mobbed discount chains, with their $398 laptops and 5 a.m. openings, but largely shopped right past other specialty retailers at the mall."

First, anyone who shows up at the store at 5am is a freak. I don't care if you're selling 50 inch plasma televisions for 25 cents. You'll never see me there. ( At five am on the day after Thanksgiving, I have at least four more hours sack time to go )

Second, if you have a group of freaks in the store, do not be surprised if fights break out.

Third, wonder why more and more people buy on line every year? And its the department stores' fault.

Idiot, lowlife-attracting stunts like 5am openings attract all the wrong people and drive overall sales down. See you online.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

El Blogador, No Pasaran and Radio Free Finland

Irish blog El Blogador has been added to the Legion of Honor. Noone's there for show, I check each of them out at least every other day.

No Pasaran's Eric Svane was interviewed today on Radio Free Finland today. It was a live broadcast, but if you want to hear the half-hour interview you can find it right here as a web-based mp3 file.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

George Best

Ireland and Britain have been in mourning recent days, and lots of other places too, upon the death of great Belfast-born footballer George Best.

How to explain him to an American audience? First, as the Michael Jordan or Babe Ruth of his sport. He was the best football player in his era in his part of the world, and maybe in any part of the world.

As Babe Ruth was a pheomenon way bigger than his sport, George Best was the first superstar of European football. He was known as the " Fifth Beatle " because of his astonishing fame, with a common touch and kindness towards the little people he ran into along the way.

He partied like the Joe Namath, with the glamour and the girls and every guy wanting to be him. But he wound up exactly like NY Yankees outfielder Mickey Mantle- a truly great player, whose personal life was destroyed by alcohol. Both destoyed their livers with the drink, both received liver transplants, but both died too young anyway.

Mickey Mantle

But there was a time when George Best was young and happy and beyond great. If you want to see a glimpse of that, see the the video link on this post from United Irelander. I've watched it six times now. Some of the action shots are astonishing. I recommend that you play this bittersweet tribute with the sound up.

From the many George Best postings on other Irish blogs:
A Tangled Web
Big Ulsterman
El Blogador

Friday, November 25, 2005

Review: Walk the Line / Johnny Cash

I've always liked Johnny Cash. Among the first albums I bought as an adult was a Greatest Hits cassette tape of Johnny Cash's Greatest Hits. I became a fan all over again when rap producer Rick Rubin ( below ) became Cash's producer, and helped create Johnny's great, late in life, albums.

I looked forward to this movie, but was afraid that they would mess it up. They didn't.

I've read a good bit about Cash, and saw the ( very good ) CMT TV biography that appeared in 2003. I watched the movie with a close eye for historical details. Based on my knowledge, they got the details right. More on that later.

The film begins with images of the Cash family picking cotton in the Dyess Colony in northeast Arkansas. The death of Johnny's much-loved older brother Jack was a devastating loss to Johnny.

The movie shows Cash's father, Ray Cash, as a cold, nasty, emotionally-distant, unsympathetic figure. The first word the Ray Cash in the movie says to Johnny after Jack's death are a stern " where have you been? " . When Johnny leaves home for military service, the father does not even shake his hand. When Johnny Cash went through his hell of drug abuse, the movie father response offers no support, only criticism and contempt.

Cash's mother Carrie has a smaller movie role than does father Ray. She encourages Johnny in his career.

Joaquin Phoenix

Joaquin Phoenix was chosen by Cash himself to play the lead role. Phoenix's performance is astonishing. He has some physical resemblance to the square-jawed Cash, which does not hurt. He captures the violent rages that seized Cash, the desperation that came upon him when the pills ran out.

Phoenix also sings. Sings well, too. He nails Cash's deep growl of a voice and his stage manner. Joaquin Phoenix could play in a club and would not embarass himself.

He also captures Cash's deep masculine, at times dangerous, manner. That's not an easy thing to describe, but anyone who saw Cash knows what I'm talking about. There may not be another actor who could have pulled it off.

Reese Witherspoon is excellent in the role of June Carter Cash. She captures June's cheerful nature. And the internal conflict that June had in fighting her attraction for Johnny Cash when first when both were married, then years later when only he was married and on strung out on pills. Like Phoenix, she sings all the songs her character had in the movie, and does well.

The movie only touches only lightly on Cash's Christian faith, a vastly larger factor in his real life than is shown here.

Johnny Cash's daughter Kathy is critical of the movie's portrayal of her mother, Cash's first wife, Vivian. Kathy says that the movie portrayed Vivian as " the mad little psycho who hated his career. That's not true. She loved his career and was proud of him until he started taking drugs and stopped coming home."

I don't agree that that is how Vivian was portrayed. I think she was portrayed as someone who was overwhelmed by the career ( and who said that she did not want to talk about the tour when Cash returned from a trip ) , who was in a world that she did not really understand when Cash hit it big, and whose response to Cash's pill-popping and his open affair with June was anger at times and emotional withdrawal at other times. That's all understandable and it does not make the character a psycho. She is not a fun, sympathetic figure here, but I don't know how she could have been. But Kathy was there, and none of the rest of us were, so if she thinks Vivian was treated unfairly she should be listened to.

Kathy also thinks that the movie was unfairly harsh to Cash's father. Again, impossible to comment. The father in this movie was a bum. Impossible to say how that squares with the real Ray Cash.

This film is married boy meets married girl, boy has long bout of drug addiction, boy wins girl finally when both are free. The movie ends somewhat abruptly when June accepts his proposal onstage in Toronto, when both are free. But what happens in between makes for a good movie. There is enough of Johnny Cash's life remaining to make at least one other movie.

I liked this movie, and will see it again. I may well read one of the books about Cash too.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Thanksgiving Day

Its Thanksgiving Day. I'd think we all have a lot to be thankful for. So lets give thanks.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

U-2 and Patti Smith At Madison Square Garden

Busybusybusy at the office, but had some fun after work. Our pal Rob got three of us tickets to the U-2 Concert at Madison Square Garden.

Got there just before Patti Smith sang her signature song " Because the Night ". Then Rock N Roll Nigger and some rapidfire punky stuff. Face contorted like a fist, she prowled the stage, her anger barely under control.

U-2's not that angry. They're a cool, high-tech bunch from Dublin. They're Irish, but you never hear a recognizably Irish sound in their music. No uileann pipes, no fiddles, none of that. It's an American sound, by way of the garage.

They're a savvy big stadium band, and the noise level indicated that the amplifiers were in excellent working order.

There was a circular stage protruding into a pit of fans. It was framed by lights that changed colors, as did the stage background, and lamps hanging from the ceiling.

U-2's a good band, but I won't say that they are a great band. Lets face it, their new music is too goddamned slow and a lot of it sounds the same. And I can't get excited about " Vertigo ", though it is ok, and it did sell a few IPODs.

But " Sunday Bloody Sunday " was and is an important and great song. " Pride in the Name of Love " "With Or Without You " and " Where the Streets Have No Name " are very good.

They performed " Miss Sarajevo " , with Bono singing some lines in Italian. In the studio version the Italian lines were sung by Pavorotti.

Is there a time for keeping your distance?
A time to turn your eyes away
Is there a time for keeping your head down?
For getting on with your day
Is there a time for kohl and lipstick?
A time for cutting hair
Is there a time for high street shopping?
To find the right dress to wear
Here she comes
Heads turn around
Here she comes
To take her crown
Is there a time to run for cover?
A time for kiss and tell
Is there a time for different colors?
Different names you find it hard to spell
Is there a time for first communion?
A time for East 17
Is there a time to turn to Mecca?
Is there a time to be a beauty queen?
Here she comes
Beauty plays the clown
Here she comes
Surreal in her crown
Dici che il fiume
Trova la via al mare
E come il fiume
Giungerai a me
Oltre I confini
E le terre assetate
Dici che come fiume
Come fiume.
L'amore giunger
E non so pi pregare
E nell'amore non so pi sperare
E quell'amore non so pi
It's said that a river
Finds the way to the sea
And like the river
You shall come to me
Beyond the borders
And the thirsty lands
You say that as a river
Like a river.
Love shall come
And I'm not able to pray
And I cannot hope in love
And I cannot wait for love
Is there a time for tying ribbons?
A time for Christmas trees
Is there a time for laying tables?
And the night is set to freeze

Much of U2's work is political, but not in an agitprop, enraged, spit in your face Patti Smith way. They love America, and America loves them back.

Playlist ( copied from the U2 Website )

City of Blinding Lights
Electric Co.
I Still Haven’t Found
Beautiful Day
Original of the Species
Sometimes You Can’t Make It On Your Own
Love and Peace or Else
Sunday Bloody Sunday
Bullet The Blue Sky
Miss Sarajevo
Pride in the Name of Love
Where the Streets have no Name

Until the End of the World
Mysterious Ways
With or Without You

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Letterman, Oprah End Feud!

Well, the fifteen year feud between Oprah and Letterman has ended, and she will appear as a guest on the Letterman show on December the 1st. This should be pretty entertaining to watch. The feud has been a running gag for years.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Rainy Night in New York

It gets dark early this time of year in New York, and as the sun went down, it began to rain. It'll rain through the night. As I type this, I hear the rain on the glass panes of the skylight. That and the odd gust of wind. Good night to be indoors.

Finished work at 730 tonight, late but not unusual in my business. I stopped off in my favorite wine shop, Astor Wines and Spirits on the way home. Its where Astor Place meets Lafayette Street, in the Village.

It's a brightly-lit supermarket of a wine shop. The staff is knowledgeable and friendly, the values are often terrific. I don't do fancy, I seek the perfect marriage of taste and thrift.

So, I walked out with

Two good reds
Il Volano, Rosso di Toscana, 2002
Donna Di Rango, Puglia, 2000

Two sparkling wines
Brut Gruet, New Mexico
Marquis de Gelida Cava 2000

Two ultracheap 2003Porteno Argentine reds, and
One cheap Solario pinot noir from Casablanca Valley, Chile

Look forward to opening one or two of these bottles on Thanksgiving Day.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Al-Zharqawi Dead?

As yet unconfirmed reports, repeated by LGF, that terror mastermind Al-Zharqawi has been killed

US forces apparently killed eight Al Queda members in a house in Mosul, Iraq. As of 5pm tonight, Fox News is mentioning the possibility that Zharqawi may have been in there, and CNN is not talking about the Mosul incident at all.

White Phosphorus

This is my post on this subject.

The BBC is trying to make the case that there is something wrong with the US and UK use of white phosphorus in Iraq. They have not. Case dismissed!

I love the smell of white phosphorus in the morning!

The Disturbing Case of Padraig Nally

Injustice Wins This Round

The countryside of County Mayo, in the west of Ireland, is one of the more peaceful places in Ireland. Life is lived at the slow, friendly pace typical of the Irish countryside.

But Padraig Nally, a 61 year old farmer living alone did not get to enjoy much rural tranquility. His farmhouse was burgled repeatedly, and not much was being done about it. He grew frightened and paranoid, and had resorted pouring water on the soil by his front gate so as to obtain footprints of any intruders.

On October 11, 2004, one Thomas Ward came up to Nally's house asking about buying a Nissan car. While this conversation was taking place, Thomas' father John Ward, snuck into the back of Nally's house.

Nally went back into the hay shed and produced a shotgun and shot the intruder when he emerged from the house. A violent stuggle ensued, in which Ward was hit 20 times with a stick. It's said that Nally went back to the hay shed , reloaded, and then followed Ward down the road, and shot him again, killing him.

On November 11, Nally was convicted and given a sentance of six years. This man, who has never been in trouble with the law in his life, sits in prison today.

This case has been the cause of great debate in Ireland. The judge said that it was "most difficult sentencing matter I’ve had to deal with in 14 years in this court". Nally has great support from his neighbors, who I think see this as an open and shut case of a man defending his property. Or as the case of a good man pushed to the brink of sanity by the repeated break-ins, someone who was so overcome by fear and the terror having his home invaded again and again and again that lost it under the circumstances.

The other side sees this as a case of vigilante justice, of someone who chased a criminal out of the house , reloaded the gun, and decided to execute the wrongdoer.

This is a disturbing case. If Nally was thinking clearly, then his actions in re-loading the weapon and shooting Ward the second time are probably wrong in that supposedly Ward was a beaten man and was allegedly in the process of leaving.

But, if Irish law requires, as it does in America that you be guilty " beyond any doubt ", that raises the question of the Nally's state of mind. It appears that he was terrorized out of his mind by the break-ins and by the flow of events that day. The accounts of the police that day verify this.

What I hear leads me to believe that an injustice was done in the Castlebar court. Nally should have been acquitted.

By the way, this John Ward was a career criminal, a lowlife with 26 convictions. Someone whose last act on earth was leading his son into an act of theft of a farmer living alone. Now we hear about what a loving father and great guy the twenty six time loser was.

If you want to read more on this, you can look at an unsympathetic commentary from a Kerry paper, a thread from a discussion group.

There will be continuing debate and information on the United Irelander site , whose author has championed Mr. Nally's cause. And rightfully so.

Also, there is a Padraig Nally support website that you can keep an eye on.

Al-Zarqawi's Family Renounces Him

Al-Zarqawi's family renounces him .

"A Jordanian doesn't stab himself with his own spear," said the statement by 57 members of the al-Khalayleh family, including al-Zarqawi's brother and cousin. "We sever links with him until doomsday."

The statement is a serious blow to al-Zarqawi, who no longer will enjoy the protection of his tribe and whose family members may seek to kill him.

This is part of what could be a very significant change in Jordan and in the Arab World. Al-Jazeera's website has not reported this yet, and has really downplayed the demonstrations against terrorism in Jordan.

If this turn against terrorism is permanent, terrorist friend Al Jazeera is a big loser.

200,000 Jordanians March Against Terror

( hat tip Little Green Footballs )

An immense crowd in Amman, Jordan marched against terrorism.

"Zarqawi, from Amman, we say to you: 'You are a coward,' " protesters chanted while brandishing banners with the names of their tribes from every part of Jordan.

As stated before, the hotel bombings in Amman could be a major turning point. In turning much of the Arab world against terror.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Hello there

Mark Simone / WABC

Mark Simone of WABC-AM New York radio trends towards the right, and he can be brilliant. I am now listening to a " documentary " he has made quoting Clinton, Pelosi, other leading Democrats in 1998 speaking with great fervor and specificity on the need for Regime Change and on the fact that Iraq had Weapons of Mass Destruction. Could not be more clear.

Simone does not have much air time. He is only on the air weekend mornings or as a subsitute. He should have his own show.

WABC has mostly conservative hosts. Its broadcasts are streamed on the Internet via the above link

Friday, November 18, 2005

I did a Blog Search on the Beatles and ran into this post by Dave the Oklahomist on Oklahomily , from Broken Arrow, Oklahoma. Dave gets this posthumous " Beatles fight " exactly right.

Lennon Blasts McCartney

The amateur historian in me loves this story ; the Beatles admirer in me hates it.

There was a real conflict between John and Paul, this ( only now released ) interview makes clear. Yoko Ono continues the argument all these years later ( more detail here )

If Paul was high-handed, if he and the other two hassled John about Yoko, that's sad, as respects their personal lives.

Artistically speaking, it's a different story. The Beatles were three good musicians with different styles, who, when teamed up with a bloke from the neighborhood, became the best band in the world ( sorry Mick ).

And Yoko messed that up.

Any time John spent in the studio with the talentless Yoko meant less time spent with the Beatles. I suppose the Beatles could have invited her to join the band, but to what benefit? Her horrific screeching would have more than cancelled out any benefit from John's continued presence.

So John spent more time in the studio with Yoko, and the band broke up.

But sorry, Yoko, Paul was the better songwriter. John's " Strawberry Fields Forever " and " Imagine " are ok, but McCartney's body of work ( " Yesterday ", " Hey Jude ", " Let It Be " ) are simply better. And McCartney never embarrassed himself with laughable stuff like " Woman is the Nigger of the World " and the other agitprop songs about how great Angela Davis was etc.

But the John-Paul argument should not even be necessary. The Beatles, more than any rock group I know, were a group where the whole was vastly greater than the sum of its parts. Lennon, Harrison, or McCartney alone were good. Ringo alone, no big deal. But the four Beatles together were the best band of their era or of any era.

Yoko Ono made Lennon happy, so give her credit for that. But she, herself a laughable musician, is in no position to judge which of the Beatles were better. She discredits herself by continuing the pointless conflict between Lennon and McCartney all these years later. Let it be.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

CMA Brings Bad Country Music to New York

The CMA dissed Johnny Cash years back. They decided to go with younger and prettier faces, songs according to a formula, rather than anything from the heart. Cash was kicked aside, to make way for the Shania Twains and Brooks and Dunns of this world.

And now they bring their awards show to New York,and it ain't exactly the talk of the town.

Not that there aren't country fans here, there are plenty of them, in a traditional scene that centers on Brooklyn.

The country fans here tend to be more followers of Hank, Johnny Cash, and George Jones than of the Shania Twain type junk that passes for big time country music today.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Nickie Goomba: Who Are You Lookin' At?

I've liked the political/humor site Nickie Goomba since I discovered it a couple of weeks ago, and have linked to it.

Don't know where Nickie hangs his hat, but his site has a Brooklyn attitude!

Monday, November 14, 2005

It's Nighttime

Its the night that comes at the end of a beautiful fall day in New York. I was out in the backyard figuring out how to use the tripod that came with the new camera. It did not have instructions, but it was pretty easy to figure out how to use it.

ARod Wins Baseball's Most Valuable Player Award

Well, well, well. We have us the makings of a controversy. Alex Rodriguez of the NY Yankees has won the MVP Award of the American ( baseball ) league. He beat David Ortiz of the Boston Red Sox.

Both are great hitters who put up huge numbers for their teams. It's pretty clear that ARod won out because he plays a defensive position, third base, and plays it well. Ortiz is a specialist " designated hitter " who is excused from playing the field.

The Red Sox pitcher does not have to come up to bat- Ortiz bats for him. When teh pitcher is on the mound, Ortiz sits in the dugout picking his nose, waiting for his next time up at bat.

I don't care if he hit a home run every time up-- no DH does deserves an award for anything. They're not baseball players.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

McSorley's Ale House

Went to McSorley's Ale House last night. I would not want to go there every week, esp. not on weekend nights when it's pretty raucous, but its a great place to visit once in a while.

Its been open since 1854, and little has changed since then.

There's a coal-burning Franklin stove in the center of the main room.

They serve only two types of beer- McSorley's light and McSorley's dark. For food, you have ultra-basic stuff such as cheese squares, fish and chips, and liverwurst sandwiches.

In the past, McSorley's regulars hung wishbones across the gas dusty chandelier that hangs over the bar. In 1917, it served as a gas lamp, and men who were going to war in Europe hung chicken bones over it for good luck. The bones still hanging belong to the men who never returned from the war. In deference to their sacrifice, the bones and the chandelier, now powered by electricity, have not been dusted in decades.

Yesterday was Veterans Day. I saw an Air Force vet wearing his old uniform, two people wearing Remembrance Day poppies, and, in full dress uniform, a member of the ( British ) Royal Green Jackets.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Someone that I know at work knows someone ( a Jordanian-American ) who was at the wedding party attacked by the suicide bombers in Amman. The friend was ok.

Cold day in New York today. Sunny and cold, very clear air.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Jordan's 9/11

From the web, I see that, as Jordanians ( and most countries ) mark the date day/month, the Amman hotel bombings happened there on " 9/11 ". Al-Queda apparently has a freaky obsession with numbers/numerology, and this may have led them to choose this date.

This could provoke a reaction that Al Queda did not anticipate. The government and people of Jordan are angry, not afraid. Jordan, which sits right next to Iraq, can be expected to be an even stronger ally to the US coalition and the Iraq government now.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Jordan Bombing

A few days ago, the Australians busted Muslim terrorists who were stocking up on the same chemicals used in the London subway bombings.

Today, suicide bombers killed at least 57 in Amman, Jordan.

A lot of people seem to have largely forgotten 9/11, and the many atrocities that have followed after it in Bali, London, Beslan, Moscow, and " of course " in Israel. And in a hundred other places. I don't forget, and you shouldn't either.

You won't see me crying about Guantanamo Bay or Abu Ghraib either. If there's a mad dog going after your child's neck, you don't try to reason with it. You take it out.

Oh, and a bit of news about the Religion of Peace that was not in your morning newspaper.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

France's Intifada?

France's Intifida is the title of a column by Ralph Peters, a military / political writer in the NY Post, a paper that has better columnists than you'd think by looking at the front page headlines.

He actually has sympathy for the rioters, stating that they live in a " concentration camp without walls ". The French, who " cherish their image of America as racist " themselves have " no Colin Powell or Condi Rice ", etc.

You simply cannot underestimate the anger at France here, much stronger than " schadenfreude ". I have not heard of a single person who sympathizes with France, a country that has lived in illusion since at least the end of WWII and now finds itself in a horrid trap of its own making.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Is France Burning?

France, so completely without sympathy for America in the past four years, now finds itself in a grave situation. Should anyone shed a tear for France now? Pourquoi?

France slandered its friends and set out to appease its enemies. Now it has no friends and its enemies are at its throat. A situation entirely of its own making.


In today's mail, got a Olympus Digital lens ( 40-150mm zoom) that will complement the one that came with my Evolt camera. I can't wait to check it out.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Marathon Sunday

Have now posted virtually all the photos I care to on Vietnam View. Will be some more text added this week, and it will then largely stand as is.

It was a beautiful Sunday in New York today, with a high of 67 degrees. Great for most of us, but a little hot for the many thousands who came here for the New York Marathon. I saw them the many at the four mile mark in Bay Ridge Brooklyn, then later in the day saw some very tired finishers, wrapped in their aluminum blankets. There were a few in the Port Authority Bus Terminal, then a group of talkative French runners on the downtown C train.

Went to the NY Jets football game today. This was an invite from someone in my business, in a " luxury box ". The surroundings were great ( beer, food on demand, bathroom right there ) , but I loathe " luxury box " crowds. These people were much more interested in talking business than they were in watching the game, and I hate that.

Actually, I am in no hurry to see another NFL game in person. There are so many delays in the game to accomodate tv commercials that the flow of the game is completely disrupted. You don't notice it when you're watching it at home. You do in the Stadium. That's maybe the only thing that soccer football has going for it--the game continues without delay until the half is completed, unless there is an injury.

I took some photos at Giants Stadium ( yes, the NY Jets play in the Giants Stadium, in NJ, don't ask ). The photos were taken with my old Olympus 35mm camera. It has been so long since I've used it, I forget what photos are already on the film that was in it. After using the digital camera for a few months, it is astonishing to go back in time to a more simple film camera, where you have basically one choice of shot, period, you must advance the film by hand, and where you only see the photo when the print comes back. I will always love my 35mm camera, and will continue to use it once in awhile, photography appears vastly superior in every respect.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

New Template

I have changed the template for the blog. If United Irelander can do it, so can I!

It is a pain that when you do this in blogger, you lose the customized features that you had added. So, I have had to add ( some ) links back a second time. I should have saved a copy of the template html code, but did not. Next time. Because these things have to change once in a while.


Tomorrow, the NY Marathon is on. It goes within a few houses of where I live, but I will miss most of it this year, as I am leaving for the 1pm Jets football game.

I tore the house apart today, as I had misplaced the battery charger for my digital camera. Found it.

Warm, gorgeous day in New York today.

Tuesday is Election Day, and in NYC it will mean a vote for Mayor. Incumbent Michael Bloomberg will crush brain-dead Democratic challenger Fernando Ferrer by over 20 points. In a city where Democrats are the huge majority. Bloomberg has zero personality, but he is a good technician who has run the city well.

Riots in Paris, Marseilles...

An article posted in No Pasaran , an article about the suburbs of Paris . Written in 2002, it absolutely predicts the events of today. It is not a " French bashing " --it is a clear-eyed view of a terrible problem in the middle of Europe. If you read only one article on this problem, read this one.

Last night, 900 cars were burned, and the police could not stop it. A woman on crutches, leaving a bus was set on fire by criminals. This, in Paris, in France, in the so-called " heart of Europe ", yesterday.

France has all the proper laws, but they have not been enforced in vast areas of the suburbs of Paris for many decades.

Paris needs a Guiliani. It needs an NYPD. It has neither.

Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy wants to exert real leadership, but who the hell will follow him?

The problems in Paris, and in France, are much worse than they ever were in New York. I take no pleasure in writing this.

I don't know if there is the will to solve this problem over there. Regardless of the response, the future is not pretty.

With Hon and Rob, visited Seth at Beth Israel Hospital last night. Rob brought Seth some delicious sushi from Whole Foods. I brought a nice 12 ounce warm can of Budweiser to cheer him up. Since Seth declined to drink it, I popped it open, spilling a drop or two on the poor immobilzed patient on the bed below, and drank the 12 delicious ounces myself.

Friday, November 04, 2005

The New World Trade Center

Construction of the new World Trade Center began yesterday, an entirely good thing.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Michael Moore and Halliburton, French Rioting

Delicious beyond words. Michael Moore owns Halliburton stock. It must be fun to play the radical while living a Park Avenue lifestyle.

More than a week now of rioting in France by angry Muslim youth. They're upset because two punks, hiding from the Paris cops, fell into an electrical grid and got their asses electrocuted. Instant death penalty. The French will have to come down with an iron hand against this stuff , if they even have the will to defend their own country and society. It may well be too late.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Sharia Justice In Iran

An eight year old boy has his arm broken by Islamic authorities. For stealing bread. ( very disturbing images )

Much commentary on Little Green Footballs.

This news is not in your local paper. Why?

Am nearing completion of the Vietnam Trip Blog , learning as I go along. Today, I cropped a digital photo for the first time, using Picasa. Like anything else, easy as pie after you've done it once.

Saw the NYPD checking bags at the 53rd St / Lex subway station this evening. Good for you, guys. Was almost disappointed when I was not randomly chosen.

There's an immense amount of stuff on Maureen Dowd on the blogs these days. A lot of it is quite funny. Go to Blog Search and do a search on Maureen Dowd. You'll see something on her for sure. She's a fascinating sort of cobra, on the cover of New York magazine, everywhere it seems. Is the NY Times happy with her being their number one star?

Seth goes for hip replacement surgery tomorrow, at Beth Israel. He's way too young for this sort of thing, but he took some nasty bike spills years back, which may be a factor. Good luck.