Wednesday, June 28, 2006


Always, I have loved blueberries. Now that they come in from Chile in our winter, you can get them almost all time time in New York. But the Chilean blueberry, like those from Florida and California, tends to bitterness, and is merely tolerable product. In early spring, they come from North Carolina, and they're just OK.

But I am in my glory in June and July when the New Jersey blueberry crop floods into New York. They're plump, and sweet and cheap as hell. I buy them in large numbers and inhale them a pint at a time.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Deutsche Bank Building

Deutsche Bank Building, originally uploaded by bayridgephantom.

The internal demolition of this building is well advanced. the exterior structure will be coming down before long.

Double Check

Double Check, originally uploaded by bayridgephantom.

A much-beloved resident has returned. Removed for safekeeping after 9/11, "Double Check" is now back on a bench at Liberty Park, still checking the contents of his briefcase, nervous as ever. He's at the northwest corner of the park, affording him a nice view of the WTC reconstruction, if he ever looks up from his briefcase. Pardon my ratty gym bag on the next bench.

Liberty Park

Liberty Park, originally uploaded by bayridgephantom.

They've done a fine job at restoring Liberty Park, which reopened recently. It's a block away from the WTC site, two blocks from the Firefighters Memorial. . Back in the old days, I used to enjoy eating a Sam's Falafel sandwich in this park.

New York Firefighters Memorial

Yesterday, I went to lower Manhattan to visit the Firefighter's Memorial. If's a fine work, and I recommend that anyone who can do so comes over to see it.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

World Trade Center / Firefighter's Memorial

I've seen the Firefighter's Memorial three times now. It's on the side of the Engine Co. 10/Ladder Company 10 firehouse on the corner of Liberty and Greenwich Streets.

The bronze images are not of supermen. They're firemen doing their jobs. Here in one of my favorite images, of an exhausted fireman washing his face, from an open fire hydrant.

The second plane hits Two World Trade Center.

The lower part of the memorial is of marble. It contains the names of the firemen who died.

See the very good NY Times article ( Click on the "interactive feature" to the left )

Also, beautiful nighttime photos from Test of Will. Like the man says, click 'em to make 'em bigger. There are other good photos on that site, and I may link to it.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Hungarian PHANTOM poster

Hungarian PHANTOM poster, originally uploaded by Vermont Ferret.

Springtime doesn't last long in NYC anymore. In recent years, it's been a quick transition to summer, and its certainly summerlike today. Now where did I leave my shorts?

Thursday, June 15, 2006

How is the A380 Like the European Constitution?

A380 BNE Departure, originally uploaded by David McKelvey.

I've fallen and I can't get up!

Lou Minatti knows. For starters, they're both bloated and ugly.

You know things ain't goin' well when Der Spiegel starts to speak of an "airbust".

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Airbus A380: White Elephant WAY Overdue

A380-5, originally uploaded by All Glory To The Hypnotoad.

Heading down!

Shares of Airbus' parent company EADS crashed today, as Airbus announced a new, seven month, production delay of their superjumbo jet, the 840 passenger A380.

Singapore Airlines, which had been scheduled to take the first of the A380s this year, is sick of the delays, and stuck a dagger in Airbus' heart by agreeing to buy 20 Boeing 787 Dreamliners.

The delays are only part of Airbus' problem with the A380. I think that the entire concept of the plane is a mistake. Do you want to fly in a plane that has 839 other people in it? I don't. I don't think that too many others do either.

This monster-plane makes sense if people are going to primarily fly to from one hub airport to another, ie going from England to the UK by means of Heathrow and JFK Airports. But if you're going from New York to Edinburgh, why go through Heathrow when you can fly Continental Airlines nonstop to Edinburgh? They have two of those flights to Edinburgh now, and they're making a fortune on them. They also fly nonstop from New York to Bristol, Birmingham, Manchester, and Glasgow, as well as London. They cover the NYC-UK route, better than British Airways does ; they cover NYC-Ireland ( nonstop to Dublin, Shannon and Belfast ) better than Aer Lingus.

But British Airways can serve the massive London trade to the US better than anyone. They'll take you from London nonstop to all kinds of places in the US without a stop. And so it goes worldwide. There's all kinds of service from smaller cities in one country to hub cities in a second country.

Point to point also means you and your luggage board one plane one time, and go through security one time only.

So, if this is the direction that the airlines are moving to, what the hell do we need a 840 seat plane based on the model of hub-hub travel that is unraveling every day? The hub to hub model will fall apart even more as very long distance aircraft become more common. The latest 787 model will go New York-New Zealand and Sydney-London nonstop.

Airbus bet the farm on a plane that the world doesn't want and doesn't need. The A380 is like the Concorde, an aviation curiosity that everyone will lose money on-airlines, airports, Airbus itself. But not me. Your friendly Phantom owns a few shares of Boeing stock. So, on behalf of all the Boeing shareholders, I say to Airbus, THANK YOU for coming out with this white elephant!! Stay the course, Noël Forgeard!!

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

World Cup Fever Hits New York City (*)

This is the back cover of today's New York Daily News. The main sports story is how this year's NY Mets are now popular baseball team in town. ( Its not true, but they're heading in that direction. ) There's only the smallest mention of the US-Czech Republic World Cup game.

Sports fans here are certainly aware that the World Cup is being played, but they're not exactly on the edge of their seats with excitement. The first-game loss of the US to the superb Czech team won't exactly help the sport in this country either.

Its different over here. The US has its own rich sports traditions, and soccer just isn't a big part of it. Every four years, you hear that soccer is on the verge of a big breakthrough, but it never happens.

And you know what? Thats OK. Who says every country has to like the same things?

Meanwhile, as soon as the US Soccer Team is eliminated, which should be soon --their next opponent is mighty Italy-- I transfer my World Cup allegiance to England. This may dismay some of my Irish friends, but it is true to my contrarian nature. Go Becks! Hurray up and heal, Rooney!!



Weird Scientology Story of the Day
Actress Jenna Elfman confronts a man in LA wearing a t shirt making fun of her stupid cult

Delta Force Zarqawi Scandal
From the ever-fantastic Blame Bush

Monday, June 12, 2006

The Vile Anne Coulter

I've never liked Anne Coulter. It's something visceral. There's something about her that I could never trust.

This is a blonde "conservative" writer who writes books with titles like "Treason" (about "liberal treachery") and "How to Talk to a Liberal (If You Must)".

I've had my own problems with liberalism and the Democratic Party. I think the content of both that label and that party have gone steadily, terribly downhill since John F. Kennedy was murdered 43 years ago. I love stirring the pot with a direct political debate in which almost everything is fair game.

But there was something about this woman's "humor" that I didn't get. I'm from the Tip O'Neill / Ronald Reagan school--attack the other guy's opinion, not his character. Argue all day, have a beer afterwards and discuss something else.

But Anne Coulter isn't from that school. She engages in a shrill, ugly attack that passes for debate. All flame, no light. Now she's topped herself.

In her new book, "Godless- the Church of Liberalism", she attacks some politically active women whose husbands died in the World Trade Center. Of these women, she said,
"I have never seen people enjoying their husbands' death so much" she writes. It hurts to read these words, to cut and paste them.

The sin that these women committed? To endorse John Kerry, and to take a Democratic view on politics. Now again, I don't sing from the Democratic hymnbook, have not for a long time, but I have a very hard time connecting the dots from "endorsing Kerry" to "I'm glad my husband's dead".

I worked in the World Trade Center. I know one of the women that have been mentioned, and I knew her husband. A sweet and happy and gentle man he was. I know how he died too. He wasn't one of the "lucky" who died instantly or without pain. I doubt that his wife found much joy in her husband's death, under such awful circumstances.

I don't think that all the 9/11 widows were all wonderful. I remember some FDNY widows in particular saying the most unfair, dreadful things to Fire Commissioner Von Essen and to other NYC officials in the months and much longer after 9/11. Some of what was said was simply unforgiveable. I've never felt that a loss, even one as terrible as this, gives you a lifetime pass to attack others and play the victim forever.

Likewise, the widows who have taken positions on political things should be prepared to have their positions attacked. And I don't think that they're immune from personal attack either, if there's anything legitimate to attack them personally about.

Here, they're guilty of taking some political positions that Anne Coulter, and a lot of us, disagree with. So what. That's hardly a crime. Those widows who want to be politically active should continue to do so.

One of the women in question said "Contrary to Coulter's statements, there was no joy in watching men that we loved burn alive. There was no happiness in telling our children that their fathers were never coming home again. We adored these men and miss them every day."

I believe her.

I condemn Anne Coulter unreservedly. She is a vile, poisonous woman. There are others like her, plenty from the liberal side too. But we're not talking about them today.

For a perspective from a big conservative blog, see this from Red State

"My only regret with Timothy McVeigh is he did not go to the New York Times Building." - Anne Coulter

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Lets Go Mets

The Mets beat Arizona 15-2 today, to complete a four game sweep. They're now 39 wins and 23 losses. The Yankees, meanwhile, are 35 and 26. The Mets, from here, are both the best and the most interesting baseball team in town. The Yankees have "owned" New York for many years now, but that might be about to change.

America is blissfully immune from soccer's World Cup. While the rest of the world, esp the participating countries, grinds to a halt during the tournament, this country continues to follow its own baseball and basketball leagues this time of year. I happen to think that's great! Who says that the entire world has to like the same things? Just because Angola and Paraguay like soccer, doesn't mean middle America has to watch it.

That having been said, the US is actually in the World Cup this year --a fact that most Americans may not even know-- and they have a good, well-coached team. I get this from the sports pages, as I admit I know nothing about the game.

Anyway, the Phantom's picks for this year's World Cup. I predict that the United States will win. This is a prediction analogous to the first time visitor to the racetrack who picks a horse to win because she likes its name.

If the US does not win, England will.

But I have a perfect blog track record at predicting sports events based on my call of the World Baseball Classic win for Japan.

Mark it here: America wins.. Noone expects it. But it'll happen.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

New Format on View From 103

Bayonne Bridge, originally uploaded by corydalus.

Hope that you like the new format. It's fun to change looks once in awhile, but here I really had to--I've really started to enjoy digital photography, and have posted more photos on the blogs. But when I posted large photos from flickr onto the old template, the sidebar was pushed to the bottom of the page. The problem was mitigated when viewed via a Firefox browser, but not everyone uses that.

This is a template called "iconic", found here, and I may keep it for awhile. Unlike my apartment, its very clean and organized.

I've removed the support Denmark banner. Not because I have ceased to support Denmark, but because that issue has calmed down.

Above is the Bayonne Bridge, which connects Bayonne New Jersey with Staten Island. Its gorgeous. A few summers ago, I walked across this bridge, which most New Yorkers have never done. On a nice day, there is nothing like it. Its not that high above the water, and its cool to watch the ships pass underneath. Nice shot, corydalus

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Zarqawi - Special Delivery Package to Hibhib

F16, originally uploaded by Leonieke.

Can anyone sign for two 500 pound packages?
Wonderful news this morning, as Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was killed in the village of Hibhib, Iraq.
US F-16 aircraft dropped two 500 pound bombs on the safe house where he'd been staying. He probably never felt any twinge of fear, nor did he know what hit him. That's OK. Those beautiful 500 pound bombs removed Iraq's worst terrorist from existence, and that's a wonderful thing.

There will be those who may think Zarqawi as some sort of Iraqi Freedom Fighter. Well, he wasn't an Iraqi, and he was not a freedom fighter. He fought for terror, for torture, for oppression, for death. He sawed off the heads of living human beings. He really did this. He spent much of the past year trying to start a civil war between the Sunni and the Shia in a country that he was not native to.

Lets hope that this is a turning point in the Iraq War. Anyone who knows me knows that I support this effort, for reasons already stated.
A tip of the hat to the Americans, British and Iraqis who are fighting over there, and especially to anyone who had anything to do with yesterday's mission to Hibhib. Goddamnit, you're good!!

As Christopher Hitchens says, here
"If we had withdrawn from Iraq already, as the "peace" movement has been demanding, then one of the most revolting criminals of all time would have been able to claim that he forced us to do it. That would have catapulted Iraq into Stone Age collapse and instated a psychopathic killer as the greatest Muslim soldier since Saladin. As it is, the man is ignominiously dead and his dirty connections a lot closer to being fully exposed. This seems like a good day's work to me."

Monday, June 05, 2006

Mr. Met
Meet the Mets, Meet the Mets,
Step right up and greet the Mets,
Bring your kiddies, bring your wife,
Guaranteed to have the time of your life
Because the Mets are really socking the ball
Knocking those homers over the wall.
East side, West side ev'rybody's coming down,
to meet the M-E-T-S Mets from New York town

( "Meet the Mets" theme song, the original version from the teams formation in 1962 )

In this season of the World Cup , when some foreign guys are going to kick a few soccer balls around in Germany, we will add Brooklyn Met Fan to the blogroll.

As true connoisseurs of sport, from Tokyo to San Pedro de Macoris will tell you, baseball is the master of all the sports. We just may add an entire blogroll section for baseball as time goes along. If you have any selection of baseball blogs I should be lookin' at, let me know.

**Off to travel in Bermuda, back later in the week**

Sunday, June 04, 2006

SF Giants vs NY METS at Shea- Back to the John Rocker Express

Walking up the ramp to the No. 7 subway train. I've walked up this ramp many times since I saw my first NY Mets game in the 1960s.

SF Giants vs NY METS at Shea- Hi There!

Yours truly just after the game ended

SF Giants vs NY METS at Shea- Hon Sighting

Hey, Hon made it to the game!! Hon, its June, for Gods sake. You don't need that jacket.

SF Giants vs NY METS at Shea - Usher

Usher keeping an eye on things. The NY Yankees laid off the ushers years ago, but the Mets have kept them on. Many of them are old timers who may have been working here since Shea Stadium opened in 1964.

SF Giants vs NY Mets at Shea - Mets Tie It Up

After David Wright hit a home run to tie the game in the bottom of the eighth , the game was tied 4-4, and Shea was a happy place. Not for all that long. The Giants scored two in the tenth inning, and the Mets hit back to back home runs ( Valentin, Milledge ) to tie it right back. But the Giants scored an additional run in the 12th, which was unanswered. Mighty Valentin grounded to second.

SF Giants vs NY METS at Shea- Bonds ( * ) Nicked

Steve Trachsel hits Barry Bonds, just barely.

Bonds, the famous steroids user, was not a factor in this game. He was roundly booed, but the mood at the stadium was not ugly.

SF Giants vs NY METS at Shea Stadium- Dave Wright's First Home Run

David Wright scoring after hitting the first of his two home runs. It wasn't enough, as the Mets lost 7-6 in twelve innings.

SF Giants vs NY Mets at Shea- Mother and Child

Posted by Picasa
Woman and child near the concession stand at the big Shea.

Other sports tolerate young children, baseball welcomes them. You can't imagine attending a game without seeing young kids there.

June 4, 2006

SF Giants vs New York Mets at Shea-Beltran Fan

Young Kid at Met Game, originally uploaded by bayridgephantom.

The kid in the Beltran shirt couldn't sit down for long. He watched much of the game looking over his dad's shoulder, moving around between pitches.

A lot of orange in this picture!

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Barry Bonds Steroids Tribute Video- Cheating Gets It Faster

Cheating Gets It Faster
I've always loved baseball, far more than all other sports combined. Tomorrow, I meet up with the Hon to see the NY Mets play the San Francisco Giants at Shea Stadium.

I come from the last generation of kids who divided the sports world between a) baseball and b) everything else. Its pretty important to me.

The San Francisco Giants' biggest star is Barry Bonds. Bonds, who came up as a skinny outfielder with the Pittsburgh Pirates, developed enormous muscular bulk in the late 1990s/early 2000s. His head grew noticeably larger, and his home run production increased radically at a time in life when power usually drops off. It is "widely suspected" that both the midlife muscle growth and the pumpkin head were caused by steroid use. His personal trainer, Greg Anderson, was indicted by a Federal Grand Jury for supplying anabolic steroids to athletes. What a coincidence.

Tomorrow, Barry Bonds will receive the thunderous boos that NY Sports fans reserve for the worst cheaters and bad guys. Bonds is a two-fer, a steroids abuser noted for being nasty to people.

I found the above song and video on youtube. I find the song to be perfect, as if it was written with Bonds in mind.

Nothing Ever Shames San Francisco

I initially thought the video itself to be just OK, but after a few viewings I like it al lot. To the lyrics, which are perfect for this subject, you see the San Francisco fans who idolize this criminal. San Francisco regards itself as a sophisticated place. How can you be sophisticated if you cheer on the fake accomplishments of a bighead steroids abuser? San Fran is the biggest hick town in the baseball world. I hope to God New Yorkers wouldn't cheer this guy if he wore one of our uniforms. Yes, we do have Jason Giambi, another ex(?) steroids guy, on our Yankees, but he's not surly, he isn't going to break any records the way Bonds might, and he at least had the character to admit that he used steroids, which Bonds, and other players never did.

I may take photos tomorrow, and if I do I will post them.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Shuffling the Deck

Blogroll Reshuffling

The Penalty Box has been dismantled, and A Tangled Web has been returned to the Irish section. I had been contemplating this move for a while.

The fact is, that good opinionated writing is often found on ATW, and ringmaster David Vance has no trouble with opposing points of view. Like Jerry Springer, he keeps a lid on it.

This Northern Ireland-based blog is mainly political, and mainly Unionist. But there are plenty of Republicans, of both the Irish and US variety, speaking freely also. The kind words given to a wrongly attacked fellow-blogger, UI, have also been noted.

There's still the problem of ATW's co-host Andrew McCann. This guy likes to throw bigoted anti-Irish remarks at times. The only proper response to him is a sharp rap on the knuckles. That's a language that he understands.

Also added:
Tim Blair, a right-leaning site from Australia
Ask the Imam, from South Africa. Wasn't sure whether to add it to the humor or the international section, but there it is.

Step to the right for the blogroll.