Friday, March 20, 2009


Many of you know, I have had two bouts with bed bugs in my over ten years at this location in Carroll Gardens, so my radar is always on when it comes to the blood sucking bastards that made my life hell. I'll never forget those sleepless nights of waking up to find red bumps all over my body, very much like what you're seeing in this photo. Just thinking of them makes me itch! Happily, and thanks to my landlord and a reputable exterminator, they no longer exist.

However, Mayor Bloomberg this week signed legislation that creates a "Bed Bug Advisory Council." It's funded by the city and is made up of a team of experts. Their mission is to research New York City's bed bug problem and report back to the mayor in nine months with some guidance. Great, another fricking study, another blue ribbon panel, another commission created to stall doing anything to really eradicate these pests. In the last year alone, more than 9,000 bed bug complains were logged with the city's housing division. That's up from 1800 just three years ago. But, most people didn't file formal complaints, they just sounded off. 23,000 called in complaints to the city's 311 line. Not only that, from all indications everyone I know who had a bed bug problem in New York City made no formal complaint, which means the actual numbers must be extraordinary.

The city's various agencies are well aware of the problem. They need to sit down for a series of meetings with experts. This should take all of two days during a weekend retreat, not nine months. Put their heads together and come up with a city-wide plan of attack, setting up a pest control office in the city that can provide tenants and homeowners with useful advice and resources for dealing with the mass producing critters. I predict, thousands of additional residents will be infested with bed bugs by the time this "advisory board" reports back to the mayor with it's recommendations. Then, what? How much longer will it then take to actually carry out the panel's advice? 2010? 2011? Too long!


First off, I'm appalled that these bonuses were handed out, nearly 170 million dollars worth this past weekend to the top executives at American International Group (AIG). The bonuses come as AIG reports billions of dollars in lost revenue during the fourth quarter and worse yet, it follows a multi billion dollar U.S. bailout of the struggling insurance giant.

Despite that, there's not much the government can do to reverse the bonuses. Here's why. Like radio and t.v. personalities, these executives have personal service contracts, negotiated in many cases well before the bailout money arrived. There are many reasons for bonuses. In broadcasting, for instance, they're typically based on ratings performance. If your ratings go up, you get the previously negotiated amount for a percentage increase in listenership. Signing bonuses are used to lure good people away from other firms. Executives in broadcasting can get bonuses based on ratings, as well, but more often they are rewarded for making budget and keeping costs down.

At AIG, there is likely a comprehensive bonus structure. Some may get extra cash for securing a certain level of new clients, retaining certain clients or simply to insure that an employee doesn't bolt from one company to another for more money. Bonuses are also paid based on how well the company performs in terms of revenue and the like. So while AIG didn't perform well, it's very possible contracts obligated AIG to pay out bonuses based on other factors.

Still, some of those receiving bonuses no longer work for AIG, contradicting earlier comments from top executives that bonuses were ALL paid to current employees based on contractual agreements. If this is the case, the government can't really intervene to reverse the bonuses. However, it needs to look forward.

What Congress is doing now, appears to be on the right track. From here on out, a clause of any bailout agreement, must prohibit these companies from doling out FUTURE bonuses. What we don't want companies doing is handing out bonus checks as a preemptive strike, while lawmakers construct a new set of guidelines. I could easily imagine banks and insurance giants quickly shuffling to arrange bonuses before Congress can act. Here's what Congress can do then. It can take the equivalent of the company's bonus payout in tax penalties, if the perks were handed out thanks to government bailout money. This is also being discussed in Congress.

Keep in mind, this is not a Republican or Democrat issue. This has polarized lawmakers on both sides of aisle and it needs strong bipartisan support and a clear, powerful mandate from President Obama. He needs to stand arm and arm with Republican leaders to say our government won't tolerate this sort of abuse of U.S. taxpayers dollars, as Americans continue to lose jobs and struggle in sick economy.

Thursday, March 19, 2009


You're looking inside a restroom at an unnamed bar in New York City. The graffiti has been growing inside here for the past few months. It has that graffiti style, so I'm guessing some of the inner-city kids have placed their mark on the walls, but there's no evidence of gang signs per se, rather it's just random thoughts and comments about their love life and where they hail from. One scribbling simply reads: Ben$onHURTS instead of Bensonhurst. Can you guess which bar?

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

ST. PATRICK'S DAY: A Tale of Two Bars

As it turns out, I celebrated St. Patrick's Day at two locations, at the Blarney Rock Pub in Manhattan and at Angry Wades in Brooklyn, the first to soak in the flavor of the parade just a few blocks away and the second to chow down on some traditional Irish food.

I strolled into a packed Blarney Rock around noon, nudged myself into a corner seat where a few of the regulars were hanging out and began to watch the drunks get stupid. This was a perfect spot. I had a commanding view of the entire length of the bar, plus I could watch the shenanigans unfolding outside the big picture window behind me.

St Pats Day at Blarney Rock -

While a few dozen green clad revelers sang along to Bon Jovi songs they played on the jukebox, outside bouncers were shooing away kids who looked as young as 14 and 16. Many of them already had beers in their hands, stuffed in brown paper bags. In New York, the legal drinking age is 21, but on this one day, the owner decided to ban anyone from coming inside unless they were 23 and had two forms of I.D to prove it. It was pathetic watching two friends trying to hold up a girl who couldn't stand on her own. I felt like I was watching a female version of "Weekend at Bernie's," you know where the two buddies cart their dead friend around town, as if he was alive.

After a while, I had enough, said goodbye to the regulars and the bartender and headed to Brooklyn, where I popped into Angry Wades for a few drinks. But, I was really there for Wade's big St. Patrick's Day spread, which included corned beer and cabbage, boiled potatoes, carrots and traditional Irish soda bread. He does this every year and doesn't charge a dime for it. They were doing the same sort of thing a few blocks away at the bar Moonshine. Most of the food was gone in less than 90-minutes. The crowd here, unlike Manhattan was much more civil and at this pretty early hour, no one appeared to be visibly or annoyingly drunk. I left before the big night time crowd of party goers arrived. This was probably a good thing.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

For some reason people seem to think "Erin Go Bragh" is Gaelic for "Happy St. Patrick's Day." It's not. It basically means "Ireland Forever." So on this day recognizing Ireland's patron saint, millions of people worldwide will play, drink and eat. For Roman Catholics in Ireland, however, it's a holy day of obligation.

It's still early, so I haven't decided if I will partake in the merriment. I've got two choices----stuff myself inside the Blarney Rock in Manhattan or take in the free meal at Angry Wades in Brooklyn. I'm leaning toward the free feast of corn beef, potatoes, carrots and soda bread. But, then again, there's something fun about watching amateurs get drunk just two blocks from the St. Patrick's Day parade route.

In New York City, an estimated 1.5 million people will watch the parade march up Manhattan's Fifth Avenue. It's the world's largest, but the one in Boston is actually older, by just one year. Boston's St. Patrick's Day parade first stepped off in 1761, organized by recent Irish immigrants.

I suppose you'll find out tomorrow, what I decided to do on this Irish feast day. In the meantime, Happy St. Patrick's Day.


I wrote about this in length some time ago, but I still marvel at how popular these scam letters have become. Some people must be biting, otherwise they wouldn't be so prevalent. Basically, these are poor folks in African countries who concoct a story in hopes of convincing you that in return for some cash to take care of incidentals, they'll bestow upon you a boat load of money from a dead relative. It starts with a letter like the one below and is often followed up by other emails and a phone call or two to complete the "deal."

Dear Beloved one,

Based on your profile, l am happy to request for your assistance because I beleive that you are not going to betray the trust which I am going to lay on you, Hope all is well with you and Other members of your family.

My name is Miss Bintu Mohammed, the only daughter of my late parents Mr.and Mrs Mohammed. My father was a highly reputable busnness magnet-(a cocoa merchant) who operated in the capital of Ivory coast during his days. It is sad to say that he passed away mysteriously in France during one of his business trips abroad on 12th.November 2007.Though his sudden death was linked or rather suspected to have been masterminded by an uncle of his who travelled with him at that time, but God knows the truth!

Though I have not meet with you before but I believe, one has to risk confiding in succeed sometimes in life. There is this huge amount of Six million five hundred thousand U.S dollars ($6.5m) which my late Father Mr.Camara Mohammed kept for me with one trunk box in a Security Company here in my country. My father told me that I should not let any of our relations to know about this money because he was kiled by them and if they know about it, that they will do nothing but to kill me in other to take hold of every thing, He told me that I should seek for a foriegn partner abroad who will help me transfer this money to his or her account in abroad and also travel with him or her in other to continue my Life and Education and also to start a Bussines relationship with the person whom can take care of me in the future

I am just a university undergraduate and really don't know what to do. this is because I have suffered a lot of set backs as a result of incessant political crisis here in Ivory coast. The death of my father actually brought sorrow to my life, My dear, I am in a sincere desire of your humble assistance in this regards and your suggestions and ideas will be highly regarded.

Now permit me to ask these few questions:

1. Can I completely trust you?
2.Can you accept me as your own blood Sister (Or Daughter)?
3.What percentage of the total amount in question will be good for you?

Consider this and get back to me as soon as possible with your full assurance that you will not disapoint me in this issue so that i can give you the contact of the Security Company where my late Father deposited the box for you to contact them to retrieve the box and transfer it to you in your country,

Thank you so much for your understanding and may almighty God bless you and your Family to the Glory of God Almighty.

My sincere regards,
Miss Bintu Mohammed

Monday, March 16, 2009


I was a kid of the 60's and 70's so I don't remember the government warning me to "Duck and Cover." However, this is what millions of school children in the 50's and early 60's were urged to do when they "see the bright flash." That flash, of course, would have been a nuclear warhead and although none had been used since World War II, the U.S and Russia were in the midst of a Cold War. The government ran Public Service Announcements featuring a shy turtle that was very scared of the "bright flash." He was taught to "Duck and Cover." Add some catchy music and the comforting voice of an announcer and that was essentially the commercial. Here it is.

Sunday, March 15, 2009


Just in time for St. Patrick's Day, Anheuser Busch has released a limited-edition run on these cute bottles of Bud-Light. I asked the friendly bartender at the Blarney Rock to snatch one from the carton before Tuesday's unveiling at the big St. Patrick's Day party.

It's a cool green bottle, it's not a bottle. It's made out of a very thick aluminum, so it has the feel of a glass bottle. In fact, unlike beer cans you can't crush it with your hands. It was quite the amazing sight on Saturday, as the big delivery trucks pulled up along 33rd Street in Manhattan to deliver thousands of cases of the green Bud-Light to about a half dozen bars along the strip.

All of the bars along here are expecting huge crowds, since it's the main traverse between Penn Station and the St. Patrick's Day Parade route a few blocks away on 5th Avenue.

Saturday, March 14, 2009


* I've been listening a lot to Scott and Todd on WPLJ these days. I always liked them, but, after a long listen, you know something, they are two of the most talented broadcasters on the air. They're worth every penny.

* To answer my friend Frank's question: No, I have not seen Slumdog Millionaire yet!Instead, I spent $5.00 on a bootleg DVD of "The Wrestler." No, I haven't watched that yet, either!

* I found out someone close to me is gay and guess what, I never knew.

* I just had some new business cards made. 200 cards for under $15.00. Glossy, two colors. 123print.com

* So I just want to buy a box of tic-tacs and I have to wait behind a line of idiot lottery players who have scribbled down dozens and dozens of number combinations on tiny, little pieces of paper---reciting each combination to the clerk. Fun Fact: 80-percent of lotto winners use Quik Pic!

Note to self: Buy new batteries for the flashlight.

* And now you know the Rest Of The Story. Paul Harvey died over the weekend. My local radio station carried him when I was a kid. When I grew up and worked at the nation's biggest radio station, they carried him too. When I drove from Philadelphia to Saint Louis, I heard him. Same on that trip from Denver to Los Angeles. I even heard him in the desolate Colorado Rockies. I remember his stories, his dramatic pauses, his exaggeration of words and the whimsical tone of his voice. How many people can you say that about? You can't. There was only ONE Paul Harvey and he will be missed.

* Cold Play's "Viva La Vida" is playing on the radio. It never gets old.

* If I could watch just three shows a week, they would be "24," "American Idol" and CBS's "Sunday Morning."

* If I was stuck on a deserted island, I could survive with just one thing: A cellphone. Well maybe, two. A computer so I could tell you about that island.

* The closest thing I've ever been to a deserted island was actually a peninsula in the Dominican Republic. It's the Samana Peninsula.

Just a dozen or so tiny villages. I stayed in Las Galeras at a place called Villa Serena. It was heaven.

* Like my Dad, I use a shoehorn.

* Is it possible that for just one year, Congress can just STOP spending. Despite Republican John McCain's plea, hundreds of earmarks for pet projects in their hometowns have been stuffed into the new budget. They criticize the President for spending too much and then go and do it themselves. Hypocrites!

Guess what's under that construction barrel? That's right, a fire hydrant.

But, motorists didn't have a clue. Car after car has been ticketed by traffic agents at this corner on Manhattan's Upper East Side. One guy found 7 tickets on his windshield, each for $115. When he looked at the ticket, he asked, "What fire hydrant."

Friday, March 13, 2009


For well over a year, perhaps two, and before America woke up to realize we were in the middle of a recession, a building at the corner of Smith and Douglass Streets in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn was razed. It's been so long, I can't remember what the hell was there a few years ago. But, as you can see in this Google Map "street view", the now empty lot is surrounded by plywood barriers. Nothing has risen from the vacant lot.

View Larger Map

I had hoped that some developer would build a supermarket with a gourmet twist, but nothing. Some had feared it would be another chain drug store. Others thought an apartment building would emerge, but nothing. Every once in a while, when the construction walls begin to crumble, some workman stops by to put in a few nails to hold it in place.

Rents along Smith Street soared in recent years. Mom and Pops who were paying under $2,000 a month found themselves forking over up to $10,000 or moving. Most moved.
Then, the recession hit. Perhaps, a glum economy knocked the wind out of the property owners and they just gave up. Maybe they're holding on to the lot for better times. Either way, that corner lot is a disgrace.


I often wonder how people come up with names for their businesses. Take the folks who run "Effective Plumbing," seen here emblazoned on the back of a pick-up truck spotted in midtown Manhattan. Did they think that most people look at plumbers as "ineffective." Because, for goodness sakes, you wouldn't want to hire a company called "Ineffective Plumbing."

Thursday, March 12, 2009


Jimmy says his business isn't going so well these days. His work takes him around the country, but the people he's scalping tickets to just don't have the cash to spend. Every year about this time, I see the slightly plump fellow hawking his wares outside the Blarney Rock Pub on 33rd street in Manhattan. It's March madness and college basketball teams are competing just a half block away at Madison Square Garden.

He's picked what you'd think would be a perfect spot. Scalpers, like Jimmy, are usually chased off the plaza at MSG where arena security and local cops bust the ticket sellers. In New York, you can scalp tickets, but only a slight percentage above face value. Jimmy has found himself a spot in the middle of the block that has become an unofficial gateway to the Garden. Not only that, NCAA fans pack into the Rock to get a little looped before the game. It's also the unofficial headquarters for Syracuse fans.

Jimmy recognized me right away when I walked up to him to ask how business was going.
It's hard talking to the guy. "Need tickets. tickets here," he'd say interrupting our conversation. I only saw him make one sale. It didn't help when a young college kid walked into the Rock with a handful of tickets trying to unload them for just $10 a piece. That's how bad it has gotten. Kid has to pay off his loans, I guess.

Jimmy works outside of stadiums and arenas around the country. He travels from town to town buying and selling tickets and trying to turn a profit. This year, he says, he's struggling. Jimmy considers scalping an honorable business, because in his eyes, he's trying to earn repeat customers who know they'll get the real deal. Others, he warns, peddle counterfeits.

He also noted trying to turn a profit on concert tickets is even tougher. Jimmy marvels at how much some of those tickets are going for at face value, $100, $250 and higher. A ticket for a recent show by aging crooner Van Morrison would set you back $300. His complaint is, at such a high price, he'd have to sell those tickets for $400 or more and no one, he says, is buying. "I've got tickets. Anyone need tickets," he hollered one last time, before giving up in front of the Blarney Rock and trying his luck somewhere else nearby.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


My sources are telling me the "Maury Povich Show" is wrapping up production at it's studios inside the Hotel Pennsylvania, across the street from Penn Station in Manhattan. They've been there for about four years now, but in a cost cutting move, the show is packing up its bags and moving into a newly redesigned facility in, ready, Stanford, Connecticut.

They'll share studios with several other syndicated shows. I'm not sure if any of you have taken notice of the audience that Maury packs into his midtown studio, but they're quite frightening. They're generally inner city kids who are broke. They go there for the cheap thrill and the free pizza. Every day they film, producers order up pizza's from a local joint and deliver them to the studio, the former grand ballroom of the hotel.

In the middle of the day, you can spot the young rebels hanging outside the Hotel on 33rd street. You got your sassy black girls, ghetto looking Latinos boys and transgendered folk all milling about on the street during the shows lunch break.

I'm trying to envision the type of audience they'll get in Stanford. In this city of 120,000, 70% of the population is white, 15% black and nearly 17% Latino. Maury's New York show is packed with the ruff neck type from the inner city, which will be hard to round up in Stanford, where the average annual income is $60,500.

I'm guessing they'll bus the kids in from New York. At 70, you'd think this guy would just give it up and move on, but no, his show continues, focusing on such fringe topics as "girls on meth gone while," "teens under 12 who beat up their teachers," and that sort of thing. The topics match the studio audience, but with the demographics changing maybe we'll see, "How I spent my 401K on drugs," and
"Bernie Madoff: The early years."


The other day I'm reading a story about all of the unclaimed money sitting in the state of New York's bank that could be mine. The state Treasury department's website notes that "billions of dollars" in unclaimed funds are available to their rightful owners. Each state has an "Unclaimed Funds" division. It's coffers are loaded with money from closed bank accounts, unclaimed payroll checks, over-balances and other assorted lost funds. Each state also runs a website where you can see if your name's on the list and it allows you to fill out a form on line to claim what's yours.

So I typed in George Weber. It asked for an address, but I figured I'd do a broad search first. I scrolled down and there I was. The entry indicated that a have a payroll check waiting for me from my previous employer while living at a different address. The Treasury department's website has a picture of a guy from Onondaga County in upstate New York being handed one of those bigger than life cardboard checks, like the ones they hand lotto winners, from the state Comptroller. It was made out for $13,000. That's a lot of money.

But, before I got all worked up and excited over the prospect of collecting my big ass check, I remembered a few years ago checking the the rolls at the unclaimed funds departments of three other states I lived in before moving to New York.
I spotted my name on the list in Colorado, filled out the paper work and then was informed, they were holding $11.25 of interest left over in an old bank account I had closed in Denver. Rather than bother with the additional paperwork, I ditched the money. It's still there, I suppose.

About a year ago, a friend of mine looked up his name here in New York and discovered, he too, had some unclaimed funds. A few weeks after filling out the online forms, but uncertain as to how much was heading his way, he received a check in the mail for .09 cents. Some states tell you right away on their websites how much money you're getting back. New York, however, keeps it a mystery until either they contact you via email or you receive a check in the mail. I can't imagine my check being that large. How could it? Don't you think most people would know that they're missing money? My friend, Ron Kuby, the civil rights lawyer and liberal talk show host, had some unclaimed money. He figured it was payment for services that somehow got lost in the mail. I'm not sure if he ever retrieved that money.

So why not go for it. Do a Google search for "Unclaimed Funds" in what ever state you reside. Or, try going to your state's Treasury department website. In New York, you can find it here: http://www.osc.state.ny.us/ouf/index.htm
Good luck!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


My name is George. It's not Dude, Chief, Buddy, Pal, Boss, Yo or Nigga. Yet, I'm called one of these names everyday. When I walk down the street, I hear it, too. Some of these people are talking to each other like they're good friends, which makes me wonder, Do they really know that guys name?

I've heard women referred to as Hun, Honey and Sweetie, yet the people calling them these names are nothing more than acquaintances, customers in many cases. I couldn't even imagine myself walking into a restaurant and referring to the waitress as "Hun." As in, "Hun, I'd like some steak and eggs." That's just plain rude.

I did a little survey of friends, trying to find out which of these terms is the most offensive. We came to the conclusion that for guys it was "Chief." As in, "Hey, Chief how have you been." I'm not sure what it is about that word, but it's condescending, almost a superior tone, as if, "Hey, little man, how are you." "Little man?" I don't hear that word too often, but every once in a while some guy will blurt it out, even to a tall guy. Boss and Pal were close second and thirds. I just plain hate, "Hey, Pal."

"Dude" is so outdated, I'm not sure why anyone uses it anymore. "Buddy" is a word that's used when the person speaking it isn't so sure he's really the other guy's friend. "Nigga" (short for Nigger for those of you not living in the city) is like saying, "What's up" or the bastardized version "Wass up." It's urban slang, kind of like what "Mate" is in Britain or "Lad" is in Ireland. It's generally used by those who are under 30. Black kids started it. Then the Latinos picked up on it. Now, white kids in upper crust Cobble Hill say it to each other. Hip Hop music and it's thuggish artists got it started.

In schools, some teachers leave work each day thinking their names are "Yo." As in,
"Yo, when's my homework due?" Or "Yo, can I go to the restroom."

I'm actually guilty of using another phrase when I can't think of someone's name. I say, "Hey there." Not so bad, right? But, after a few "heys" the person probably catches on that I'm clueless about their name.

Randy Jackson, one of the judges on "American Idol" throws around "Dog," like its everyone's first name. "Hey, Dog, what's up." "Dog, that's the best performance tonight." "Dog, you got it down." I couldn't imagine substituting dog with any other animal. Years ago, it was "cat." That's one cool "cat," often spelled with a "K." "Kitty" is somewhat endearing, but only if used by a loved one. Pig, for instance would be offensive. It was, at least, for a whole generation of police officers. Sometimes people will say, "Hey, Tiger." Cute, I suppose. But, they'd never use Lion, Gorilla or Zebra. But, words like Elephant and Cow refer to fat people and are typically used behind their backs. Whatever you do, don't ever call someone a monkey.

In the end, these are all just words---- simple, silly words. I urge you, however, to choose them carefully. "And if I ever have a son, I think I'm gonna name him
Bill or George! Anything but Sue! I tell ya, life ain't easy for a boy named Sue."

Monday, March 9, 2009


When I was growing up, I remember Slinky's, Christopher Glenn's "In The News" on Saturday mornings, a college professor showing 1950's civil defense films and School House Rock's "Conjunction Junction" on ABC. These are just a few of some great childhood memories and periodically, I'll be sharing them with you. But, hey, you can do the same. If there's something you remember from your childhood that comes in the form of a photo or video, let me know and maybe I'll post it.

This week's Memories takes us back to the 70's and 80's when the animated series "Conjunction Junction" aired Saturday mornings on ABC. It's long run ended in 1986, but it was produced periodically until its cancellation in 2001. The series taught children how to use words and essentially connect them properly. Here's a clip.


I'm not going to bellyache about this. I'm just pointing it out. I was aghast at what they were charging at the West End Super at 65th and West End Avenue in Manhattan for a pack of cigarettes the other day.

Just two weeks ago, I was in sticker shock when they announced a pack of 20 smokes was going for $11.25. I just figured, it's the Upper West Side. But, just two blocks away on Columbus or Broadway, they were selling them for under ten bucks, the going rate these days in New York.

But, this weekend, I strolled in looking for a pack and they had raised the price to, ready......are you sure, to $12.75. Nowhere, and I mean, nowhere in the city are they charging that much. The mark up alone is what is costs for a pack in Pennsylvania or Delaware. Right now, the going rate in New York for a pack of Cigarettes is between $8.50 and $9.50.

I'm thinking...what a great opportunity to quit smoking. I should. But, then, I started getting angry trying to figure out WHY they were charging so much. I came to two conclusions. There could be more and I'll let you figure that out.

My first thought was that the Asian family that runs the little grocery store is anti-smoking. So, they figure ...raising the price will result in fewer people smoking. Well, if they were really anti-smoking, they'd simply stop selling the packs.

My second thought is a tad more sinister. Just two blocks away and surrounded by high-rent skyscraper apartments, sits a fairly large inner-city housing project.
Yes, black and Latino people live there. Could this be their way of keeping the brothers from coming into their shop? Don't know. But, do you guys have any other reason for why this one little market is charging FOUR dollars more than any other place in the city for cigarettes. I'm open to suggestions.

Sunday, March 8, 2009


Some guy is walking down the street in Carroll Gardens and drops an envelope containing, as the poster indicates, "lots of consecutive $100 bills." He says it's to pay for his wedding, which means "lots" of bills is probably more like thousands of dollars in $100 bills. But, it does raise the question" Who goes walking around with a wad of $100 bills, "consecutive," no less? GEORGE WEBER THE NEWSGUY wanted to know, so I got one of my more gutsier friends to dial the number on the flier, one of many posted around Carroll Gardens.

Turns out he's a young guy whose grandmother gave him an envelope stuffed with cash to pay for his upcoming wedding. But, we wondered about the "consecutive" bills. Sounds kind of fishy. He told our intrepid reporter that he was "guessing" they were "consecutive" because they all looked brand new.

How about that reward? What person in their right mind would hand over an envelope full of thousands of dollars in $100 bills only to get one lousy Benjamin Franklin in return. I'll tell ya who, nobody! Here's why. Rewards are offered to get people to return stuff they really don't need or want. Perhaps they picked up a wallet. They snatch the money and for a reward, return the wallet and the rest of its contents. An old watch, some important documents, a missing dog or cat. These are things you can put a price on, but how do you price cash. Give me $20,000 and I'll give you a hundred. Right!

One other thing. Although we didn't ask, I'm guessing the soon to be newlywed probably hasn't told his grandmother yet that her life savings was dropped on some street in Carroll Gardens. It was kind of like a year ago when I lost my ex-girlfriends dog for a day or so. I was prepared to wait a few days to make sure I couldn't find the dog, before breaking the bad news. So, I'm guessing this guy did the same thing. Listen, if someone found the cash and spotted the signs and returns it to the young couple, I will eat my words. That truly would be an amazing story in these tough economic times. You find a envelop full of cash and give it back. I'd be impressed. By the way, I did find that dog!

Saturday, March 7, 2009


"Jack Goes Boating" is actually a movie in the making, an adaptation of an Off-Broadway play of the same name. Philip Seymour Hoffman directs and stars in the flick which began filming a few weeks ago in downtown Brooklyn and along trendy Montague street in Brooklyn Heights.

For the past few days, the cast and crew have been filming at the Guido Funeral Home at the corner of Clinton and Carroll streets in Carroll Gardens. I've also noticed fliers attached to utility poles on nearby Court street.

Produced by Overture Films, the film is, as one review puts it the story of "two potheads falling in love" or as Broadway.com explains, " a "quirky romantic comedy about two misfits navigating the joy, distractions and pitfalls of New York City."
The film also stars Daphne Rubin-Vega and John Ortiz, who starred in the stage version.

So you say, a story of "two potheads falling in love." How can they turn that into a movie? Hey, Cheech and Chong did it for years and Sean Penn was the classic pothead in "Fast Times At Ridgemont High." So who knows?

Friday, March 6, 2009


The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) is considering dramatic transit cuts and another increase in bus and subway fares, complaining they're running out of money. Year after year, they bellyache over huge deficits and year after year, they seem to find millions of dollars stuffed in the sofa of some corporate suite, after raising fares and cutting service.

We keep paying and riding, yet the MTA whines it just doesn't have the money. The federal, state and city governments, they say, have cut back funding of the transit agency.

Hmmmmmm. Maybe that's because some of its workers are SLEEPING ON THE JOB. (click to enlarge to see the sleeping men) Take for instance, the 3-man crew sleeping inside the cab of this odd looking utility vehicle parked in front of the Angry Wade's bar on Smith Street in Cobble hill........for FIVE hours. I know this because I walked by the bar earlier in the day, then spent a few hours hanging out at Wades a few hours later and still, the crew was sleeping.

Just before 1:00AM, as I was snapping pictures of the truck, I noticed one of the workers was missing from the cab. Before he realized what I was doing, he asked me what time it was. I told him 1:00am. He said and I quote, "too early." He continued walking up Smith street. On his return and caught off guard, I hear a voice behind me yelling, "what are you doing, " as I continued snapping pictures of the lazy crew and their idle truck. I quickly stashed by cell phone camera and darted back into the bar, telling the bouncer that a big burly MTA worker may come running into the place. He didn't. Instead, we watch through the windows, as the truck quickly pulls away from the spot where it sat for FIVE hours, doing nothing.