life in and around NYC is insane

Friday, July 29, 2016


The speech in Philadelphia last night...

Hillary is not an orator, not a great speaker like Bill, or like Obama.  But she got the job done.

I was shaking with emotion watching it. 

Madam President.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Almost forgot

The backpack

and more baseball

Last night we headed over to Bethpage Ballpark for a Ducks game.  Or rather, a Ducks doubleheader.

To backtrack: 

We make it a habit to see 7 Ducks games every year, one game against each team in the Atlantic League.   We try to go when there's a promotional giveaway, or when they schedule Grucci fireworks after the game.  Wednesday night was Grucci fireworks night.

When we purchased our tickets for last night's game, we had no idea that someone would give us Mets tickets for Tuesday night's game, nor that Tuesday night's game would become a doubleheader due to Monday night's rain.

When we purchased the tickets for last night's game, it was supposed to be a single game against the New Britain Bees.  But, just like the Mets, the Ducks were rained out Monday night.  They decided not to turn their Tuesday afternoon game into a doubleheader, but instead, they would play two games Wednesday night. Game one would start at the usual time (6:35), but would be shortened to 7 innings.  The fireworks would follow game one, and game two (also a 7 inning game) would be played after the fireworks.  Oh, and since Monday night was "drawstring backpack" night, the first 1500 fans to enter the ballpark would receive a backpack. 

Our seats were excellent, field level, just one row back from the visiting team dugout. 

And the team mascot, Quackerjack, was in fine form:

They played with all the usual hoopla.  The crowd was very appreciative.  The Ducks won, of course.  9-2.  the Bees, the newest team in the league, were badly outmatched. 

Most people left right after the fireworks, or in the early innings of the second game.

Interestingly, both teams changed into another uniform for the second game:

by the last few innings of the game, the stands were virtually empty.  Seriously, there couldn't have been more than 150 people in the stands.  They cut out a lot of shtick, and just played the game.

The game ended just before  midnight, another ducks victory.

I'm drinking a magic potion today, it's made from beans and it's called "coffee", and it's the only thing keeping me human....

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

I'm talking baseball...

The glass ceiling shattered Tuesday night.  It was a wonderful night in Philadelphia. 

But I wasn't watching the proceedings on TV.  We had tickets for a baseball game.

Or rather, two games.  We had tickets for a single game Tuesday night, Mets vs. Cardinals.  The Mets game scheduled for Monday night was rained out, so last night they played a single-admission double header.

We had great seats, on the third base line, over the visiting team dugout. There were a handful of Cardinals fans in the stands, and they were all seated in our section.  Stands were half empty for the first game, which began shortly after 4:00 in the afternoon.  Packed house for the second game.

 The weather cooperated, neither too hot nor too cold. 

I wore my Mike Piazza jersey, he's being honored this weekend, his number will be retired.

Syndergaard pitched the first game.  Usually he's a joy to watch, but this time around he struggled.  and he committed a fielding error that cost him the game.  Game was slow to watch, with a few brief moments of excitement.  They lost 3-2.

Colon pitched the second game, which was a more interesting game.  They won 3-1. 

The view from our seats -- yes, that is a plane over the Coca Cola sign, he's landing at La Guardia.

Pennants flying:

Number 31 will be added this weekend:

And the jets just kept on coming:


Tuesday, July 26, 2016


Since Paul Simon, Demi Lovato and Boyz II Men performed at the DNC convention last night, and since future DNC events (on the main stage and elsewhere)  include performances by Lady Gaga, Lenny Kravitz, Idina Menzel, Cyndi Lauper, Snoop Dogg and Katy Perry....

...I don't think Hillary will have any problem getting licenses to play music at her campaign events.

hospitals suck

So last week my mother was feeling under the weather.  It didn't seem too serious.  But on Sunday morning, her situation deteriorated, and my sister took her to the emergency room. 

And the  ER doctors felt the situation warranted a short stay in the hospital, so they admitted her. It's not terribly serious, they think she'll be going home today or tomorrow.

It was eerie driving up there to visit her yesterday, eerie to walk those halls again.

She's on the same floor where my father was a patient last September and October.  Some of the nurses even remember my father, remember our family.

It was hard to keep perspective, hard to keep from getting over emotional. 

Hospitals suck.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Star Trek Beyond (spoiler alert)

So we still do summer blockbusters, but now the experience is more civilized. Almost every motive theater is the region has now converted to  armchairs and reserved seating. We chose our time to see Star Trek Beyond based on where we'd be able to sit.  Lovely experience.  (Just don't remind me about the increase in the cost of a ticket.)

And of course we had to see Star Trek Beyond, we loved the original series, we love the spin offs, and we're really enjoying the reboot.

the internal logic of the rebooted series involves time travel.  A Romulan form the 24th century travels back in time, arriving in the 23rd century, specifically on the day James T. Kirk was born.  the timeline is therefore altered, everything we, the audience, thought we knew has been erased.  Essentially the creative team hit the "reset" button.

Star Trek often employs deep character interaction and heavy doses of philosophy and moralizing.  This is not one of those times.  The plot is basic, the movie focuses on epic battles between spacecraft, stalking/shooting scenarios and hand-to-hand combat. The special effects make the movie -- see it in IMAX 3D if you can.

The storyline is basic.  The Enterprise is restocking at the Yorktown Space Station when an alien makes a dramatic entrance, and begs assistance for her stranded crew.  The Enterprise  goes on a rescue mission, only to be attacked.

But what makes the movie so enjoyable...the "Easter eggs", the little "Extras", the in-jokes and references.  This movie pays homage to every version of Star Trek that has gone before.  We caught quite a few of them.  Example, early in the film Kirk mentions that they've spent 966 days in space -- the original series premiered in September 1966. Kirk complains that his life feels "episodic". In a salute to Star Trek: Voyager, Kirk reports to Admiral Paris.  The bridge of the USS Franklin looks much like the bridge of Scott Bakula's Enterprise. 

But the funniest Easter egg?  The set up happens at the very beginning of the movie, the punch line isn't delivered until the very end of the movie. 

At the beginning of the movie, in a scene reminiscent of The Wrath of Khan, Kirk and McCoy are having a drink in honor of Kirk's birthday.  McCoy has purloined a bottle of Scotch from Chekov's locker.  He comments, "I always thought he was a vodka man."  Later, at the end of the movie, Chekov delivers a line:  "Scotch was invented by a little old lady in Russia."

Now where did we hear that line before?  David Gerrold must be kvelling.

The most intentionally poignant moments come when Spock is told that his other self, Ambassador Spock, has died, and later, when he goes through Ambassador Spock's personal effects. A fitting tribute to Leonard Nimoy. 

But Anton Yelchin as Chekov....sigh.

Not the best movie in the series, but we really enjoyed it.

If you want to find more of the Easter eggs, I've included several links:

Seven Easter Eggs
All the Star Trek Beyond Easter Eggs
25 Easter Eggs

Friday, July 22, 2016

what do they all have in common?

Elton John
The Rolling Stones
Earth, Wind and Fire
George Harrison
The Turtles
Luciano Pavarotti

They, or their representatives, have all told Trump to "cease and desist".  He can't use their music in his campaign.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

the Republican fiasco

A modern political convention should be a very scripted piece of theater. 

The GOP 2016 is turning into a trashy  reality show. 

But what can you expect, look who they nominated!

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Another this and that

Nothing like a political convention to bring people together.  I haven't spoken to my cousin Don in months, but last night we were texting our comments on the RNC fiasco.  Can't wait to see what happens during the DNC convention next week...

Seems like old times...Back in the day, whenever a new Harry Potter book was due out, I had to order three copies, one for each of the girls and one for myself.  I just paid for three Kindle copies of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, I treated my now-adult children....

The Rio Olympics are coming up next month, and with the games we will get a mega dose of Brazilian culture.  Drew's Aunt Pierina used to live in Rio, and when I first met Drew she frequently took us to a great Brazilian restaurant in Manhattan. I think I  want to go out for Brazilian BBQ now...

We are seeing the new Star Trek movie Saturday.  Drew already bought the tickets and picked out our seats.  What a difference from the very first Star Trek movie, when I stood on line in the coldness of an Albany winter,  waiting to get in...we sat in the very front row of the theater, and were glad to be inside, instead of  waiting for the next showing...

All eyes will be on Cooperstown this weekend, as Mike Piazza is inducted into the Hall of Fame.  One of my favorite players, if for no other reason than 9/21/2001.  I guess I can wear my Piazza jersey to Citi Field on Tuesday night, we have tickets to a game...

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

songbird loves the 80's

Playlist downloaded by my younger daughter yesterday:

"Girls Just Want To Have Fun", Cindy Lauper
"How Will I Know?", Whitney Houston
"I Wanna Dance With Somebody", Whitney Houston
"Open Your Heart", Madonna
"Material Girl", Madonna
"Summer of '69", Bryan Adams
"Bad", Michael Jackson
"The Way You Make Me Fell", Michael Jackson
"Man In The Mirror", Michael Jackson
"Hungry Like The Wolf", Duran Duran
"Girls on Film", Duran Duran

I obviously did something right with that child.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Green building? that I drive a hybrid ...

Seems I am entitled to get a bumper sticker from the DMV that will allow me to drive in the HOV lanes even when I don't have a passenger.

And I'm allowed to park in the "reserved for hybrids" parking at work.

True, there are only two reserved spots, which means I have to arrive early to claim the privilege.

But the landlord provides the two spots as part of his plan to make it a "green" building, which qualifies for certain tax credits.

I feel so environmentally responsible.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

and it's official

Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton did a joint appearance today, and he endorsed her.

Most of his supporters will vote for her.  Some are planning to run to a third party candidate.

It's time to beat Trump.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Meet Peanut

Baby was a good car.  But Baby is gone.

I am now the proud owner of a blue Prius.

It's a hybrid,  runs on electric as well as gas.  Quiet, smooth ride.

A dashboard worth of the starship Enterprise.

I was thinking of calling the car "Galileo" in honor of Star Trek.

But then Drew reminded me about Jeff Dunham and his wife's blue Prius.

When I stopped laughing ...

I named my new baby "Peanut".

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Goodbye Baby

Dearly beloved, we are gathered here to mourn the passing of our Baby.

I will never forget the first time I saw Baby.  Sandpebble beige exterior, soft cloth seats.  Back seat large enough for two child seats.  Tape deck player in the radio console, what a joy!  Cup holders!  And that "new car" smell.

Yrs, the 1995 Toyota Corolla was a wonderful car.  Easy to handle, good gas mileage.

Baby and I shared a lot of miles.  Almost 197,000 miles.  Wish we could have made it to 200,000, but alas ...

I'll never forget the road trips to Colonial Williamsburg and to Hersheypark when the kids were little. Then later, the trips to Boston and Rhode Island as the girls explored their college options.  The last big trip the Baby took me on was to Jen's college graduation in 2012. aging Corolla ...I could live with  the engine noise and how that car burned oil.  How ice got into the door locks in winter, freezing the doors shut.  And that  the rear door on the passenger side sometimes needed to be locked by hand because the automatic lock didn't always work.  I could live with the peeling paint on the hood.

I could not live with a broken exhaust pipe.  A repair that  would cost more than the value of the car itself.

So Baby is gone.  She was a good car.  But now it's time to let her go.

Friday, July 8, 2016

the world has gone mad


5 officers dead,  7 officers and two civilians injured.  One sniper dead, 3 suspects in custody.

It was a Black Lives Matter protest, a cry for justice after yet another incident of black men dying at the hands of police.  And yet it was a peaceful protest; the officers who policed the gathering wore regular uniforms, not riot gear, and even posed with protesters. 

The sniper said he wanted to kill white people, especially white police officers.

Watching the live video on TV last night was scary, terrifying, horrible.

And it didn't help that Brian Williams kept reminding viewers that last night's events took place just minutes from Dealey Plaza, and that the shooting victims were taken to Parkland Hospital -- those of us who grew up in the 60's, even those of us who were too young to remember the JFK assassination, grew up with those events hovering over us, the after image shaping our young lives.

And another image pops into my head -- the tensions that exploded in 1968.  I was a child, I didn't come to full understanding about that summer until much, much later. 

It has become a scary, terrible, frightening world.

24 years ago today ...

... a baby was born.  She was 4 days late, my due date was July 4. 

But she was a beautiful baby, a smart and charming baby, a darling little girl.

24 years have flown by so fast.

Happy birthday, Becca.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Heat Wave!

The dictionary defines a  heat wave as a lengthy period of excessively hot weather,  which may be accompanied by high humidity.  

That describes our current weather conditions.  Hazy, hot and humid only begin to describe it.  

But what did we expect?  After all, it's July.

And frankly, I'd rather deal with this than anything January can throw at us.

At least we've got air conditioning. 

Wednesday, July 6, 2016


NASA's solar powered spacecraft is now in orbit around Jupiter.

We've probed Jupiter before,  of course, but this time NASA expects a lot of new data about Jupiter and its moons.

I'm excited that we are exploring space.

But sad it's done with probes, not people.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Another this and that

So the annual 4th of July barbecue has come and gone.  We ate too much food, as always.  And there are a ton of leftovers.  But it was good to see everyone, as always.

The friend I'm worried about, the one who has issues with her foot, was able to come. She's still being treated for her issues, but she's healing well.  I was so happy to see her.

But another friend told me that she's got issues, now, too.  She's going for a biopsy next week.  Prayers have been said.

Drew is dealing with a very bad cold, the coughing...I think he may be developing a case of bronchitis.  Not good. 

Kind of puts my own troubles into perspective.  My  car, my "baby" ... I bought the car in May 1995, a brand new 1995 Corolla in sand pebble beige.  I was so proud of that car!  It's 21 years old now, with 196,000 miles on it, and it needs a repair that will cost more than the book value of the car.  I knew it was coming....but still...


Saturday, July 2, 2016

What a game! what a night!

What's more American than a baseball game for the Fourth of July? Why, fireworks, of course! Or, even better, fireworks after a baseball game.

Last night the Ducks began a home stand against the Sugarland Skeeters, with Grucci fireworks scheduled after each game. And we had tickets for last night's game.

And the weather forecast called for some pretty nasty thunderstorms to roll through the area in the early evening.

It started to rain while we were on line outside the ballpark, but the entrance gate is covered by a huge awning, so no big deal. By the time we were seated in the Duck Club -- I had a burger, Drew ordered the steak special --the rain had become a torrential downpour. The start of the game was postponed from 6:30 until 7:00, and ultimately pushed back to 8:15. Game began with cries of "pull that tarp!"

Our seats last night were in the VIP area, upper deck behind home plate. The upper deck seating (the VIP area and the private suites) is under an awning; the field level seats, except for the handful under the upper deck, are open to the elements. So when the rain came back, on and off, we were nice and dry. Those in the field level seats found themselves scrambling for cover a few times.

The Skeeters scored 2 runs in the top of the first, and then both teams played some routine, almost boring innings.

And then it was the bottom of the 5th, the Ducks had runners in scoring position ... And the skies opened up. Umpire called for a rain delay.

And then they announced that they'd do the fireworks show during the rain delay. That made sense, actually, since so many people in the crowd had young children with them, and it was getting late.

Of course, the rain stopped as soon as the tarp was placed on the field. But they went ahead with the fireworks, which were beautiful as always.

Most people left after that.

Game resumed in the bottom of the 5th, but the Ducks were unable to bring the runners home.

Top of the 7th, and the Skeeters scored two more runs.

Mass exodus during the 7th inning stretch.

And the handful of loyal fans who remained got to see an amazing bottom of the 7th.

It seems the Skeeters relief pitchers can't find the strike zone.

When you load the bases, and then walk in a run ... And walk in another run ...hit a batter ... Your teammates commit throwing errors ... It's not a good inning.

One of the Skeeters -- I think it was a coach -- lost his temper and started an argument from the dugout, he was not happy with the home plate umpire. He walked onto the field, and he's lucky the manager reined him in before the umpire tossed him from the game.

The Ducks batted around, scoring 8 runs in the process.

Final score, Skeeters 4, Ducks 8. The Ducks swatted the Skeeters.

And the icing on the cake -- listening to the Mets game on the car radio during the drive home. Mets 10, Cubs 2, final score.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

expanding my horizons

It's a dilemma I never thought I'd have.

I've become a bit obsessed with physical fitness.  Anyone who's known me for a long time will find that rather out of character, but...well, better late than never.

So these days I'm really enjoying my Planet Fitness membership.  30 minutes of strength training, followed by cardio on the recumbent bike and/or the treadmill, then a little stretching in the mat room before using the massage chair or the hydrobed.  I love being able to use the gym near my office during the week and use the gym near Drew's house on weekends.

I go to the gym 2-3 times a week.  And when I'm not there, I'm either walking outdoors, or using a Leslie Sansone powerwalking DVD.

 Since the community pool opened, I'm there once or twice a week.  I do a little bit of lap swimming, it feels really good.

And now I've dug up my old yoga DVD's and mat -- I take the mat out to Drew's back yard on Saturday and Sunday mornings.  I'm not very good at it, but I'm trying.  I'd like to take a class eventually.

And that's the problem with Planet Fitness.  They don't have a pool, they don't teach classes like yoga.  What am I going to do in September, when the community pool closes?  Where can I take my yoga class?

Before I joined Planet Fitness, I had considered re-joining the JCC.  They have fitness equipment, an indoor track, a pool, water aerobics and yoga classes.  But a JCC membership includes cultural activities as well as the gym, so it's very expensive.  Not to mention, the place closes for religious holidays.  And while it's convenient to my house, it's not convenient to Drew's. 

I had also considered LA Fitness -- there's one near my office, and one near Drew.  They have a pool, they have yoga and other interesting classes.  But they're twice the price of Planet Fitness, and Planet Fitness felt a lot less intimidating.

These days,  I'm really liking the atmosphere at Planet Fitness, I don't think I'm ready to switch to another facility.  So I'm going to look into a water aerobics class at the JCC, it's open to nonmembers, or maybe look  at the swimming programs available to the community at our high school natatorium.  

And maybe I'll look into yoga studios for a class. 

If I do either of these, it'll cost more than membership at LA Fitness.  But I think maybe I should explore the possibilities before I switch gyms.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Summer breeze makes me feel fine

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