Sunday, August 31, 2008


I'm just days away from unveiling a MAJOR announcement. Stay tuned. Wish I could unveil more now, but stay tuned, as they say in the radio biz.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008


Like so many of you, I was mesmerized by the Summer Games in Beijing. As always, the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat came front and center. The opening and closing ceremonies were spectacular, the achievements of the young athletes were inspiring. But, the Chinese people were clueless over the controversies swirling around the 2008 games.

They didn't know Olympic officials were questioning the ages of the very young looking female gymnasts.

They didn't know that Eight Americans were sentenced to 10-days in jail for staging a pro-Tibet rally without a permit. The Chinese did know that for the first time ever, Beijing was prepared to dole out permits for protests in designated staging areas.

What they didn't know was that not a single one of the dozens of applications was approved. Not a single "legal" protest was held. The Chinese people also didn't know what happened to two of their own, a pair of Chinese women in their late 70's.

They were thrown in jail for a year, not for protesting, but, get this, for asking to protest. Seems the Chinese government got a little sick and tired of their FIVE pestering attempts to apply for a legal permit to do what any American can do on our streets without a permit! Neither of these elderly ladies had a trial. Instead, they were handed what's known as an "administrative sentence." That would be like a police officer in New York City arresting you for shoplifting and then putting you in jail for a year. The Chinese government describes the sentence as "a year of re-education through labor." Mao Tse-Tung would be so proud!

China says the women, ages 75 and 79, disturbed the public peace. WTF! Only in China can you disturb the "public peace" by not doing anything public. They showed up at the police station and applied for permits.

The Chinese people will never know about any of these stories. Their media and even, Internet bloggers are muzzled. Reporting of anti-China stories will also land its citizens in jail, but the government won't even give them a chance to hang themselves.

Instead, through technology they are able to block not only broadcasts of negative stories, but they frequently jam Internet sites. China and the rest of the world will never know what the Chinese people really think or what their most heroic citizens have done in their lonely attempt to infuse freedom of speech, religion and assembly.


Okay, I'm no animal rights nut, but I found this kind of funny. This truck from Assured Environments was parked in my neighborhood. They bill themselves as "humane bird control specialists," but the list of control methods that follows just doesn't seem too humane.

"Spikes, bird wire, electrified systems." I wonder what the "non-humane" methods might be? Precision shotgun, cyanide darts, drowning!

Saturday, August 23, 2008


I've been passing this poster for years in the window of the Blarney Rock Pub on 33rd Street in Manhattan. The other day after a series of humorous incidents involving tourists, I thought I'd snap a shot of the "Prayer for Tourists," which has probably been hanging in the bar's window for decades.

It was penned from a local's point of view, rather than from a tourists point of view. It's more or less a locals take on how tourists act and behave when they arrive in New York City or for that matter any other tourist town in the World.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008


Every so often, I'm forwarded some letter or other document that purports to be the real deal. In this case, it's a heart warming, but hate laden letter from a housewife who offers up her opinion on the war in Iraq and specifically, a story of a soldier who desecrated a copy of the Koran belonging to a prisoner.

In many cases, these documents are email hoaxes, created to stir up emotions or distort the facts. Just the other day, I received one such letter and after a little fact checking realized that a housewife didn't pen this article. It was in fact written by an on-line columnist and his words were embellished. Below is the letter I received in my email.


Letter from one 'Angry Woman'

I don't know who wrote it but they should have signed it. Some powerful words. This woman should run for president.
Written by a housewife from New Jersey and sounds like it! This is one ticked off lady.

'Are we fighting a war on terror or aren't we? Was it or was it not started by Islamic people who brought it to our shores on September 11, 2001?
Were people from all over the world, mostly Americans, not brutally murdered that day, in downtown Manhattan , across the Potomac from our nation's capitol and in a field in Pennsylvania ?

Did nearly three thousand men, women and children die a horrible, burning or crushing death that day, or didn't they?

And I'm supposed to care that a copy of the Koran was 'desecrated' when an overworked American soldier kicked it or got it wet?...Well, I don't. I don't care at all.
I'll start caring when Osama bin Laden turns himself in and repents for incinerating all those innocent people on 9/11.

I'll care about the Koran when the fanatics in the Middle East start caring about the Holy Bible, the mere possession of which is a crime in Saudi Arabia

I'll care when these thugs tell the world they are sorry for chopping off Nick Berg's head while Berg screamed through his gurgling slashed throat.

I'll care when the cowardly so-called 'insurgents' in Iraq come out and fight like men instead of disrespecting their own religion by hiding in mosques.

I'll care when the mindless zealots who blow themselves up in search of nirvana care about the innocent children within range of their suicide .

I'll care when the American media stops pretending that their First Amendment liberties are somehow derived from international law instead of the United States Constitution's Bill of Rights.

In the meantime, when I hear a story about a brave marine roughing up an Iraqi terrorist to obtain information, know this: I don't care.

When I see a fuzzy photo of a pile of naked Iraqi prisoners who have been humiliated in what amounts to a college-hazing incident, rest assured: I don't care.

When I see a wounded terrorist get shot in the head when he is told not to move because he might be booby-trapped, you can take it to the bank: I don't care.

When I hear that a prisoner, who was issued a Koran and a prayer mat, and fed 'special' food that is paid for by my tax dollars, is complaining that his holy book is being 'mishandled,' you can absolutely believe in your heart of hearts: I don't care.

And oh, by the way, I've noticed that sometimes it's spelled 'Koran' and other times 'Quran.' Well, Jimmy Crack Corn and-you guessed it-I don't care!!

If you agree with this viewpoint, pass this on to all your E-mail friends. Sooner or later, it'll get to the people responsible for this ridiculous behavior!

If you don't agree, then by all means hit the delete button. Should you choose the latter, then please don't complain when more atrocities committed by radical Muslims happen here in our great Country! And may I add:

'Some people spend an entire lifetime wondering if they made a difference in the world. But, the Marines don't have that problem' -- Ronald Reagan

I have another quote that I would like to add AND.......I hope you forward all this.

'If we ever forget that we're One Nation Under God, then we will be a nation gone under' Also by.. Ronald Reagan

One last thought for the day:

In case we find ourselves starting to believe all the Anti-American sentiment and negativity, we should remember England 's Prime Minister Tony Blair's words during a recent interview. When asked by one of his Parliament members why he believes so much in America , he said: 'A simple way to take measure of a country is to look a at how many want in.. And how many want out.'

Only two defining forces have ever offered to die for you:
1. Jesus Christ
2. The American G. I.

One died for your soul, the other for your freedom.


When ever I get suspicious emails and sometimes even when they're not suspicious, I go to my trusty urban myth debunking site, SNOPES.COM.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008


It's as if they've never seen a banana before. I've never seen a bunch of grown adults consume so much of their time talking about the little fruit stand that opened up next to the ABC building at 66th and West End Avenue in Manhattan.

With so much happening in the world, the people in the newsroom at the ABC Radio Networks, (the anchors, reporters, editors, writers, tape editors and producers) couldn't stop talking about the sudden appearance of the fruit stand.

Walk a block in any direction on the Upper West side and you'll find a place that sells fresh fruits and vegetables. It didn't just stop in the newsroom. The building houses corporate offices and they film ABC's "The View" and the soap opera "All My Children" in the building.

They were all talking about the fruit stand. I'm walking past security in the lobby and some guy yells to some other guy,"You want me to pick up some raspberries for the ride home."

Others wondered whether the new fruit stand would be competition for Tommy's food truck, literally a few feet away. One noted that Tommy's is a greasy spoon, while the new guy offers up a healthy alternative. The security guard surmised that having the fruit cart so close to Tommy's would inject guilt into those who typically go for greasy spoon type food.

When I first noticed the fruit stand, I said nothing. I grew up with fruit and veggie stands in the suburbs of Philadelphia. They called them roadside stands. My Dad would spend hours finding the most remote location and checking out the freshest produce with the cheapest prices. Everyone agrees, the fruit stand guy charges less than supermarkets. But, such a big fuss over such a little stand in a city where you can find anything? That same day, a tropical storm was hitting Florida, NATO was about to blacklist Russia over its invasion of Georgia and the economy sank to new lows.

Monday, August 18, 2008


Okay, so I've seen all sorts of things on stoops, ledges and tables in front of homes here in Brooklyn. But, I'm not sure who they thought would grab up the female panties on display around the corner from me, except some pervert. Funny thing is, an hour later, they were gone. So, I suppose someone put them to good use.

Friday, August 15, 2008


You know your neighborhood has gone to the babies, when you can no longer comfortably stroll down the street, without yielding to a gaggle of mothers, fathers and their babies and strollers. Hey, don't get me wrong, I love kids. I just don't want a half dozen of them sitting in baby buggies clogging up the sidewalks of Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn.

While Willamsburg is the hipster hang out, Carroll Gardens has become the new Park Slope. As rents and home prices climb, a new breed of Yuppies and Thuppies (Thirty-something urban professionals) have descended on the neighborhood to move into spacious, renovated brownstones.

Along with these young professionals, come their children. They take them everywhere.
They clog supermarket checkout lines, cafes, and yes, now even sidewalks, alternating between crying and giggling.

For a while, the city had posted signs alerting dog owners that rat poison was used "in the area." The vague phrase left one wondering whether it was safe to walk your dog down the street, past one of those signs in fear that Scruffy and Muffy might eat one of the poison pellets. I secretly think this was a clever neighborhood rebellion. Neighbors furious at irresponsible dog owners who let their dogs plop their poop on their stoops probably posted the signs to shoo away dogs from their block.

This technique is brilliant and I suppose a similar campaign by single people looking to have free access to the sidewalks could rebel, as well. In the cloak of night, singles in Carroll Gardens could fan out and post the bogus signs: RAT POISON. PLEASE KEEP YOUR CHILDREN AWAY FROM THIS AREA. Panicked parents would cross the street or go the other way, fearing that even the fragrant scent of the poison might someone kill their kids.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008


So, just five hours after Jean dropped off her beloved dog, Max, a Chow-Lab mix, Max disappears! When I had Noodles and Romer I always kept my back door to the deck open.
It overlooks the first floor lawn below, which belongs to the garden level tenants.
There's a barricade blocking the steps to the lawn. Didn't matter.

I went out for just two hours and when I returned, Max was gone. I searched my entire apartment and then realized I kept the back door open. But, up until now, none of my dogs had ever attempted to venture down the steep metal stairs to the lawn below. Max did.

Frantic, I grabbed a flashlight and walked down the steps and looked through the thick brush of the overgrown backyard. Nothing. I shined my flashlight over fences and peered in yards. Nothing.

I even walked all the way to Jean's house, some 20 blocks away, figuring, dogs would instinctively return to their homes, like Lassie did so many times. Nothing.

In the morning, I called New York City Animal Care and Control, the official agency responsible for picking up lost dogs and unfortunately, euthanizing them after a certain number of days or weeks.

I couldn't imagine telling Jean, that Max had run away. I couldn't imagine what she would tell her two kids, ages 9 and 14. They loved Max. He has a great demeanor and temperament.

Shortly after noon the next day, my doorbell rings. It's a neighbor I recognized from a block or so away. I didn't know her name, but exhausted, she said: "I'm really sorry to bother you, but do you know anyone who lost a dog." Immediately, I said yes. Me! I described the dog, right down to the bandanna that Jean had tied around Max's neck. She summoned me to her home, just around the corner and told me a dog, fitting Max's description, was laying under a tree in her backyard since last night.

Get this, in addition to posting flier's all over the neighborhood, this woman decided to go door-to-door, asking every single person on four blocks, if they lost a dog. She was on a mission. She asked me, "didn't you see the poster?" Right in front of my Brownstone and slapped on a tree was a bright orange flier, with big magic marker letters reading: FOUND DOG. It was followed by a description. I told her I had not seen it, but she plastered a bunch of these around the neighborhood, just hours earlier. We figure Max climbed down the steps behind my house, walked through the backyard and somehow squeezed his way through a hole in a fence or hopped over it, landing in another backyard.

The lady didn't know Max's name, so when I called out to him from under the tree, he perked up and slowly lifted himself up and walked toward me. Again, it wasn't Jean, it was his temporary caretaker who he had only met a few times before.
Max seemed relieved. His tail was wagging, but he was still scared to leave the security and solitude of that bushy tree, in some lady's backyard.

I brought Max's leash and hooked it on him and we walked back through the woman's house to President street. Just a few steps away and we were home. Well, I was home. Max's home is 20 blocks away, but for him, he seemed calm and relaxed, grateful that a nice lady down the street was kind enough to launch a full scale search for the owner of the little guy. Thank God, I don't have to stare Jean in the face and say, "I'm sorry, I lost your dog."

Tuesday, August 12, 2008


Well, he's not my dog...and he's certainly not new. I borrowed him from my good friend, Jean, who's now off on a two-week Italian Cruise. Yes, I'm pet sitting.
This is a good thing, considering I've been dog-less since the loss of Noodles a few months ago. I miss my little Dachshund, but, Max is a great fill-in dog. He's half Lab and half Chow, a medium size dog a little bigger than a Beagle with black hair.

I've had him for all of 5 hours and he's a chore. Not that he's not well behaved. He's fine. He sits and lays down and loves children, fellow dogs and even evil looking people. He's a well balanced doggie, but he misses his Mommy and Mom's two kids who are also off on the cruise in Rome. Every once in a while he'll cry or bark, he'll curiously look around to see if anything looks familiar. It doesn't. I live about 20 blocks from Jean's place, so the surroundings are unfamiliar.

Unlike Noodles, Max eats two cups of food a day. Noodles would eat about a half a cup. He poops and pees more, too. And, because he's a bigger dog, a little smaller than a German Sheppard, he can jump up on to anything. My bed, the sofa, he can even put his paws up on the window sill and look outside.

I know this will be some chore over the next two weeks, but having lost two dogs in the course of two years, having a dog to hang out with is very cool. I'm not sure how this little experiment will go, but I'm looking forward to it, nonetheless.

Right now, Max is pacing back and forth in the apartment and periodically jumping up on the window sill to look outside. I'm sure he's hoping Mommy comes home soon. It'll be two weeks....and this will be the true test of his resilience. Max knows me. But, now he'll get to know me really well. He'll sleep by my side, eat what ever I give him and God forbid, hopefully he won't pee or poop in my house. I'll keep you posted.


This might very well be a first. Guy is busted for punching his 15-year-old nephew, lands in jail in Brooklyn's 76th precinct and then offs himself.

26-year-old David Sotomayer was put in one of the precincts holding cells on Union street. After saying he felt ill, a call came in that a police officer needed help. The medics diverted to the cop and much of the precinct was emptied, leaving the young guy all by his lonesome.

For some reason, he decided to commit suicide by hanging himself with a shirt. Sad, yes. But, a little wacky, too. It's not like he was being locked up for exposing himself in public, raping a little girl or secretly running a gay prostituition business. He punched his kid nephew in the face. Distraught, he kills himself. Go figure.


It's nice to know so many people in Africa would like to give me their millions of unused cash. Yet again, I've received a lovely offer from a bank executive to unload millions in unclaimed cash. This time it's Dr. Mark Chuks, who represents a bank in the African country of Guinea Conakry. Well, suffice to say, this is another one of those email frauds, where they get your personal information and rob you blind, without every depositing the $126,000,000 into your bank account. I find it hard believe that anyone actually believes these scams, especially the fact that some guy I've never heard of has selected little ole me out of the billions of people in the world to receive this generous offer. For your curiosity, here is the latest letter:


I wish to inform you that this letter is not a hoax mail and I urge you to treat it serious. We want to transfer to overseas account($126,000.000.00 USD) one hundred and twenty six million United States Dollars) from a prime Bank here in Guinea Conakry. I want to ask you, If you are not capable to quietly look for a reliable and honest person who will be capable and fit to provide either an existing bank account or to set up a new Bank a/c immediately to receive this money, even an empty a/c can serve to receive this money, as long as you will remain honest to me till the end for this important business trusting in you and believing in God that you will never let me down either now or in the future.

I am Dr.Mark Chuks, presently promoted to Auditor General in one of the banks here in Conakry Guinea. During the course of our auditing, I discovered a floating fund in an account opened in the bank in 2000 and since 2004 nobody has operated on this account again, after going through some old files in the records I discovered that the owner of the account died without a [Heir/WILL] hence the money is floating and if I do not remit this money out urgently it will be forfeited for nothing.

The owner of this account is an American and a great industrialist and a resident of Alaska State, who unfortunately lost his life in the plane, crash of Alaska Airlines Flight 261 which crashed on January 31 2003, including his wife and only daughter leaving nobody to claim the money . No other person knows about this account or any thing concerning it, the account has no other beneficiary and my investigation proved to me as well that the account is a secret account. The total amount involved is one hundred and twenty six million United States Dollars only[$126,000.000.00] and we wish to transfer this money into a safe foreigners account abroad. But I don't know any foreigner; I am only contacting you as a foreigner because this money cannot be approved to a local person here, but to a foreigner who has information about the account, which I shall give to you upon your positive response.

I am revealing this to you with believe in God that you will never let me down in this business, you are the first and the only person that I am contacting for this business, so please reply urgently so that I will inform you the next step to take urgently. I need your strong assurance that you will never let us down, me and a key bank official who is deeply involved with me in this business.

I guarantee you that this transaction will be executed under legitimate arrangement that will protect you from any breach of the law The bank official will destroy all documents of the transaction immediately you receive this money leaving no trace to any place. I will use my position and influence to obtain all legal approvals for onward transfer of this money to your account with appropriate clearance from the relevant ministries and foreign exchange departments.

At the conclusion of this business, you will be given 35% of the total amount,60% will be for me while the remaining 5% will be for the expenses.

I look forward to hear from you.


Dr. Mark Chuks

These scams are often refered to as 419 scams, after a relevent section of legal code in Nigeria. To find out more you can go here: 419 Scam.

Friday, August 8, 2008


So I just returned from a few days in Miami's South Beach where I lounged around the pool, sipped (guzzled) on tropical drinks, jet skied and ate copious amounts of fresh seafood. That was the good part of the trip.

But, upon my return to Kennedy airport, my car service, Legends Limousine, which is usually pretty reliable, totally screwed up my reservation. I had booked a pick-up at my house a few days earlier. They got that pick-up right. Then, I booked a pick-up at the airport on my return from Miami. Diligently, I called Legends, told them I was here at the Delta arrivals and was promptly told they didn't have my reservation. Get this, I was even given a confirmation number, told the price and had the credit card pre-approved when I booked.

None of this mattered, "I'm sorry sorry, We don't have a reservation," they repeated several times, even asking me, "are you sure you booked it with us?"
Thing is I've been very loyal to this company, yet I'm so pissed at this one mistake, I'm probably going to stop using them, which means they lose several thousand dollars a year of my business. They explained it would take a half hour to get a car to me, but I don't know about you, but when I arrive home from a trip, the last thing I want to do is spend any more time in the airport.

I stood in line and waited for a Yellow cab. He asks me which way I'd like to go home. I say it doesn't matter, as long as there is no traffic jam. "Did you see any traffic jams coming over, " I asked. "No sir." he says confidently. "Fine, take the Grand Central to the BQE," I tell him. Guess what, there was a traffic jam. So I instructed him to get off the highway and take Atlantic Avenue all the way into Brooklyn Heights.

He did, but he was the worst driver. He's one of those people who is constantly riding the gas pedal, so that you get this jerking back and forth motion, the whole ride. I meant to ask him, if anyone actually taught him how to properly use the gas and brake pedals, but I didn't want to insult him.

Later that day, some fairly attractive, decently dressed young woman stops me on Smith street, looking as if she's in a panic and needs help. First, she apologizes and says, "I'm sorry to bother you, but I need help getting home." "To where,?" I ask. Upstate near the Catskills. She needs $37.00 to get the train. She lost her wallet and has no one to call. Hmmmm. I've been hit by these scams before, so I usually always say no, even though the person may very well be one of the rare people who is truly in need. Still, I didn't buy her story. If I had time, I would have secretly followed her to see what she was up to.

Instead, I reached into my wallet and pulled out a Metrocard. She gives me this confused look, because I know the last thing a beggar wants is a Metrocard. They want cash. I think had $3.00 on the card. Good for a ride. Hey, at least that would get her to Penn Station. I don't know what ever happened to her, but I watched as she strolled down Smith Street, stopping anyone who looked like they could afford to fund her little trip. She vanished into the blur of the night.

Friday, August 1, 2008


You'd think after all of the warnings, all of the underground posters and all of the publicity, commuters would learn some subway etiquette. Fact of the matter is, there are plenty of you out there that just don't get it or just don't care. More than ever, riders need to change their selfish attitudes. The subway system is experiencing record ridership because of rising gasoline prices. The trains are packed.

Yet, why is it, there's always a handful, if not more, of rude passengers on board each train car? Take the fat older Asian woman who was standing right in front of one of the subway doors, trying to get on the train while dozens of others were trying to squeeze around the fat f_ _K! It's not just fat Asian women who do this. No violators of this common courtesy come in all shapes, sizes and colors.

RULE #1 : Stand to the side of the door and let the passengers get off before you get on.

Then, there was this rude teenager sitting right next to me on the F train. She was stuffing her face with a spicy, smelly, gooey sandwich. Little chunks of food were falling on the floor and the nasty odor of the sandwich wafted through the stuffy air of the subway car.

RULE #2 : No eating on subway cars, especially if the stuff stinks.

Keep in mind, all of this is happening on a single subway ride. This isn't a collection of stories over a week on several trains. This all unfolded in one car on one train in one hour. Next up, the Latin kid who was using a neighboring seat as a foot rest. This didn't bother me so much, because there were plenty of open seats on the train. But, it did bother this taller, older black dude who didn't even want to sit in the foot occupied seat. He was sitting catty-corner to the Latin kid and proceeded to give him a lecture, pointing to others who were standing and telling him it was rude to hog up two seats.

What surprised me was the seat hogger's response: "Fuck you, I'll do what ever I want, when ever I want." The big black guy kept bugging him. I thought the Latin guy was going to snap, but he didn't look like the fighter type. He looked more like a Latin gay guy with an attitude. I would have probably said something to the kid too, if all of the seats were taken and some little old lady was using a cane to hold herself up in the middle of the aisle. Needless to say, two stops later, both guys got off.

RULE #3: Don't hog seats on the subway. (this also applies to using the seat next to you as a storage locker for your personal belongings.)

Across the aisle from me was the hip hop kid who prompted me to write rule #4. Ever since SONY hit the market with its Walkmans, the electronics company revolutionized how people listen to music. No longer would we have to suffer the bass pounding sound coming from some one's boom box. Now, people could listen to their music on personal headphones.

Unfortunately, these days there's nothing personal or private about the headphones and earbuds. These people crank up the music, so that even over the din of the rattling subway car, we are invaded by a wide variety of musical tastes ranging from rap, hip-hop, rock, country and even an occasional classical music moment.

RULE #4: Please don't share your personal music with everyone else on the train.

The next subway offense is actually tied to Rule #4 and it's actually more irritating than the previous infraction. This is when, not only do people have their Ipods turned up, they're now singing along with the songs. I don't even think they know they're doing this, or even how loud and disturbing it is for other passengers trying to sleep or read the paper. It wouldn't be so bad if these folks were American Idol finalists, but they're not. They can't carry a tune and it drives everyone else on board bonkers.

RULE #5: Don't sing along with your Ipod tunes.

There are plenty of others things that bug me about rude subway passengers, but it just struck me how many violators existed on just one train ride from Manhattan to Brooklyn. I suppose these violations aren't so bad, considering the offenses committed on subway trains in the 60's, 70's and 80's. Vandals would spray paint the trains while people were on board, knife fights would break out in the cars, boom boxes would burst the eardrums of passengers. Then, it seemed, not just a few, but almost every passenger was obnoxious, perhaps to counter the edgy attitude of their fellow passengers.

Even so, if you feel, I've missed some important subway rules, feel free to send me a comment and I'll publish an update from the responses of blog readers. In the meantime, have a pleasant, peaceful subway ride.