Friday, December 22, 2006


Coming home from work this past Wednesday I had a blowout to the left rear tire. The spare was fixed to the undercarriage at the rear of the car. It was the most pathetic, bedraggled-looking little donut tire ever. It appeared not much more reliable than an actual donut. And a donut with sprinkles might have had more traction. Another disconcerting question entering my mind was: Should I be able to squeeze the tire with my bare hand? Anyway, I got the spare on and Judy came to the rescue with some fix-a-flat. And that folks, was the very first tire I'd ever changed.

So, two things I've only done once in my life are: changing a tire and changing a diaper (about 20 years ago). Guess which one made me gag.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Back In Manhattan, Nov 28th '06

This was the very last picture I took before entering Terminal 7 at JFK to catch my flight home. In one of my first postings I commented that prior to going there, most of what I knew of NYC/Manhattan was gleaned from Seinfeld, Law & Order, etc. On my very first trip to New York back in Nov '03, this sign was the first thing that caught my eye as I walked out of the airport. Hey, I thought, it's the Van Wyck! For non-Seinfeld fanatics, the Van Wyck is the freeway Elaine nearly conquered in her attempt to drop off her loser boyfriend at the airport for a 10:00am flight. I seem to recall that when family/friends asked me about the sights I'd seen, my reply was something like "Lot's of stuff - The Empire State Building, The Statue of Liberty, and the Van Wyck Express sign!"

This has become a traditional first photo location dating back to my first trip. I may have described it's location before, but in case I haven't, it's in the southwest corner of Central Park. It was taken about 6am. Lots of booths were still there at nearby Columbus Circle, leftover from the Thanksgiving parade.

This is The Hello Deli of Late Night with David Letterman fame. As you can see, it was not open yet. But I have eaten there. I believe it was the trip before last. Rupert Gee, proprietor and participant in many a Letterman skit, was right there behind the counter. It felt a little bit wierd. Having only known him via television, it took some effort to realize that he really does own and run that little eatery. And when I say little, I do mean little. There is just enough room for about four or five people to stand inside, as long as they keep still. Rupert is a friendly sort, and chatted amiably with two old gents from Italy who were in line ahead of me. He asked them how they were enjoying their stay, etc. Apparently they get Letterman over there. When it was my turn to place my order, not wanting to give myself away as a "tourist", I ordered the "New Yorker." Pastrami on Rye. I think he may have seen though me, though.

Here are some decorative Herald Angels. This plaza leads straight towards the Rockefeller skating rink and the TREE, which are right behind me.

Meredith Veira, Today Show. I like her, but sometimes there is such a thing as smiling too "bigly."

Ann Curry and Matt Lauer's understudy. Judy told me his name, but it's gone. There really is a cult-ish vibe surrounding the folks who stand around spectating and smiling beatifically. I found it kinda fun as well, which I took as a sign it was time to leave.

Al Roker. As George Costanza once said of Newman, "He's merry." BTW, if any baseball fans are viewing this right now, take a look at the guy on the left. If he is not a near dead-ringer for Curt Schilling, then I'm a dementor. I hold no delusions that it is him, 'cause why would he be by himself hanging around the Today Show set? And him a Red Sock? I don't know. They say each of us has a twin somewhere.

I had not heard this young lady's story before I clicked away at her as she sat for her interview piece with Meredith, and indeed I felt quite sheepish once I had heard it. I feel bad that I don't recall her name, but she was a pioneer in NCAA football in that she was the first female to start on a team - and ended up getting raped by teammates, I believe. She was the placekicker. So there I was going paparazzi on her only to hear her talk about this terrible thing that happened to her. She sure is a stunning woman, though. Maybe she's part Veela. Any out there who know her name feel free to let me know.

Here is another photo with a Seinfeld connection. This soup counter, run by one Al Yeganeh (you can see his name if you look closely), was the inspiration for the famous "Soup Nazi" episode. Mr. Yeganeh cursed Seinfeld's name to the heavens when customers began calling him Soup Nazi. "Hey, you're the Soup Nazi, aren't you?" Although it undoubtedly gave a huge boost to his business. If you're like me, when you look at the sign you'll hear Newman's voice saying "jamba-LA-yah" in your head. Don't fight it.

So yeah, they go in for huge decorations in Manhattan. Christmas lights, fancy ornaments, and (as Deacon Brown in Flower Mound, Texas would style them) "shiny balls."

THE TREE. They actually didn't have the big lighting ceremony until the evening of the 29th. When I was at the Today set, I was kinda looking around for it. I had no reference point, being unfamiliar with the area. I'm glad I didn't ask a cop as I had been considering doing, because I finally realized it was right across the street from where I was standing. Looking at the Tree, the Today show set is straight left from it. It is an impressive piece of vegetation, no question. Oh, BTW it costs around $24 to ice skate there if you don't BYOS. Like $9 rink fee, and $15 skate rental.

Washington Square Park. I learned some new facts on this trip. Previously I had rather vaguely assumed that the Arc structure was somewhere in Central Park. I had planned on visiting this particular park because it was located in Greenwich Village, which was a district I had not yet been in. So I was pleasantly surprised to see this monument to George Washington suddenly before me. I did not spot Liv Tyler or Gwyneth Paltrow as hoped, however. Near the top on the south side there is a quote from George Washington which reads: "Let us raise a standard to which the wise and the honest can repair - The event is in the hand of God"
I also found out that NYU is located just south of the Park.

Here is an old white haired squirrel successfully stalking what appears to be a flippin sweet nut. I love those little squirrel hands.

I tried to get at least one good shot of the fall colors. I like this one. I had a good time on this trip. I forgot to mention getting my lunch at Chelsea Market (a grilled parmesan chicken panini with tomato sauce, mozzarella, and roast eggplant) with the alterior motive of bumping into Rachael Ray (nope). I did not buy any Feaux-lex watches in Battery Park this time around, thought they were selling some pretty nice looking ones at the airport 2 for $20. So, I picked out a couple. The flight home was quite hellish, I must say, due to the fact that I'd caught a cold that afternoon and also had a raging headache by the time I boarded. But it was a good time anyway. I got some good pics, saw some cool stuff, and learned a few new things. Well worth it.