Monday, December 22, 2008

The Need for Gloves on the Iron Horse

So as I'm riding home on the Iron Horse this past Sunday night, I see this middle-aged man sitting in a corner seat. He shivers every time the train doors open as the cold winter draft enters the car. Upon further inspection, I notice that he's wearing orange "chinese slippers" (for a lack of a better term) with no socks. His ankles are exposed and his skin ashen white. He's wearing a tattered coat and has his hands tucked inside his coat for warmth.

This is the worst time of year to be down on your luck. In reality, any time of the year is a hard time be down on your luck. But in my opinion, Christmas is really bad. We (hopefully) all have good memories from our childhoods during Christmas. So to have nothing while watching people walk around with bags of gifts can really be demoralizing. But I digress.

So, I remember that I have an extra pair of gloves that I found in the bar in my bag. I stand and offer him the gloves. He politely refuses them. I note a look of pride in him as he says no to my repeated offer for the gloves which I believe, no I know, that he could have used. I often say that pride does not pay the rent and in this occasion pride does not keep your hands warm. I respected his decision to not take the gloves by not asking him again and sitting down at my seat.

As I arrive at my station, I catch a quick glance at the man. He's awake, aware and shivering. Man, I wish he could have taken the gloves. Pride definitely does not keep you warm, I hope he has another way of doing so. Merry Christmas.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

The Gamesmasters at work

So the dude who I'm referring to is a friend of one of my doorguys (For matter of privacy both dudes will remain nameless). This is his normal routine at arriving to the bar: He notices a woman ir a group of women sitting without men in their group and he moves on in like body odor:Real Strong. He drops a line or two and a minute later he's back: shot down. He'll do it 4 to 5 times while he's at the bar.

So we call him on it and he says that we don't see the game that he has. His game doesn't apply at Bleecker Street since he really doesn't care if he hooks up there or not. Transation: Bleecker Street women aren't slutty enough to go home with me as they are in the dive bars I hang out in. He says that he'll show me a lesson so I need to learn from him. The dude is just sad. For example this was one of his lines this past Friday night:

"I noticed by your sweater that you went to the same school I did and I felt that I had to talk to you." The girl after a second of digesting the statement says "You went to USCM: The school of the United States Marine Corps?" She laughs so hard that she knocks down her drink on the bar as he slinks away. So the Gamesmaster got shot down once again.

I have the nerve to call what I do work AND I get paid to watch these shows. LOL.


Sunday, December 14, 2008

Back Spasms and Duane Reade

So in addition to the stress of trying to finish my papers, attend class, go to work and take care of my househod responsiilities I have a nasty set of back spasms while trying to do so.

So I have become a frequent customer of Duane Reade in trying to find relief. From rubs, to patches to pills, I have run the gauntlet of stuff that I have purchased. But here is where my rant lies.

I look for Excedrin Back and Body pain pills which I find are on the bottom shelf. How is someone who has back pains supposed to bend over to get pain medication on the bottom shelf. Jeez, they must do it on purpose to watch people like me who are in pain struggle to get the pills. If I ever see a video of myself on The Smoking Gun or World Dumbest on Tru TV, Duane Reade on Broadway and Houston is in major league trouble. LOL.

Luckily for me the back is getting better and it doesn't hurt so much to laugh.


Tuesday, December 9, 2008

"Funny" Monday Night Bar Story

So this fucking guy comes into the bar with a chick. I'm at the end of the bar so I intercept him near the jukebox and ask for his ID. He says that since he's going to the back of the bar, I should follow him to see his proof. Naturally I tell him no, I'm checking his proof where I tell him to, not where he wants. He shows it but is a real jackass about it. He walks out and comes back a few minutes later with these two busted looking chicks.

I see he comes in and start walking towards him when he starts to wave me over to him, like someone would wave to a valet or a servant. That's like waving a red flag to a bull. He proceeds to tell me that he was waving to me to alert me to his presence. Like he was somebody fucking important. I tell him that there's no need to wave to me as I saw him come in. Again he stresses that he was just trying to let me know but it wasn't only the wave but the demeaning tone in which he said it.

I tell him that there's no need to bust balls since I felt that he was busting mine. He keeps with the attitude says that he was only being Jocular since it was the holidays. Its safe to say that I was not feeling the same and told him so, in addition to telling him that he needed to leave. It goes downhill from there.

He calls me an asshole. I tell him that "It takes one to know one" and to get the fuck out (while apologizing to the ladies for cursing, talk about class, eh?). He complains that I'm cursing after he calls me an asshole. I tell him that if he has a problem with it he can do something about it and he goes he'll be back later as the girl holds him back. He starts puffing up saying he'll be back (while the girl still hold him back. Like any woman can hold me back when I'm pissed off). Now I retort I'll be here til 4am, but why wait I'm here. He gets even more pissed off but still doesn't break free from the lady's grasp which I go ahead and remind him that the lady's holding him back and that no one his restraining me. If he wants some come get some.

Now, a real man would step to the plate and be a man. Not this pussy. He gets walked out by his girl and now she starts talking trash outside the bar. People don't realize that the shit I put up with on a Friday and Saturday night doesn't happen on a Sunday or Monday. By now, I don't have the patience or desire to deal with the bullshit and have no problem bitch slapping some dude who's trying to impress his lady friends in front of the same ladies.

Lo and behold he left but we'll see if I have another story if he comes back...I wouldn't bet on it.

But to show that I'm not a heartless dude, hey Mr. Jocular have a Merry Christmas. Douchebag!!!


Sunday, December 7, 2008

Homeless and something I've never seen in the train

So when its freezing out in the big city like it is tonight, I often wonder how those without a place to live survive on the streets when it gets this cold. The train I just got on to go to work seemed to have a homeless person in each car. I know that some of them smell but I rather see them warm and safe on the train and/or the platform than frozen on the streets. Anyone who complains should try to last a night like tonight on the streets.

So keeping with the homeless theme though in a much lighthearted tone yesterday (Saturday) I saw something that I have never seen before on the subway. Being a native of NYC I've seen some real funky stuff on the Subway, but this had to be a first for me.

So, I'm riding the train to work (early for a change) and this homeless guy gets on the train and starts asking for money. Nothing new there. A woman gives him a small bag of pretzels which he proceeded to eat. Again, nothing new. So he finishes them, gets up and moves on through to the next car via the emergency doors. I pay him no mind. Here where the story grows.

A few stops later, a guy who (I guess) works for Bed Stuy EMS (That's what the back of his shirt and hat said) is traveling through the car I'm in and attempts to use the same emergency doors that the homeless guy went through and found that he couldn't open the door. He bangs on the glass and the door opens. I turn to see what was happening since I heard banging and what do I see on the floor when the door opened: A Turd. The homeless dude squatted down and dropped a duece in between cars while the train was moving. We had just pulled into 86th Street so the train was filling up.

Hey, I give the guy credit. I wouldn't be able to squat down between cars while the train was traveling 4 stops while dropping a turd. And (I assume as I didn't see him) he kept his balance the whole time. That takes skill folks.

The EMS guy starts yelling at the homeless guy to clean his sh*t up and asks him WTF he was doing. The homeless guy shrugged and said calmly "I had to go". He kicked his deposit into the tracks and got off the train rather nonchalantly. I couldn't stop laughing and the EMS guy gave me a dirty look before he also started laughing. What could you do. When you gotta go, you gotta go. And on that note, I bid thee farewell.


Friday, November 14, 2008

The Bird of Prey in The Bronx

Sometimes living in a large Urban area, I forget how close we still are to nature. I was walking to get some groceries when I came across a man looking into a tree in front of my kids school. He tells me in spanish that the bird was beautiful. As I look closer, I notice that it was a bird of prey of some type. I'm not sure whether it was a hawk or falcon but it was beautiful, majestic and apparently hungry.

In my neighborhood, especially near my kids school, there are many squirrels. Now anyone that knows me knows that I love squirrels. So I somewhat felt bad when I saw the bird was trying to catch one of the squirrels. I would never interfere with nature. As bad as I would feel if the bird nabbed a squirrel, its what would happen in the wild. Luckily for the little guys, each time the bird jumped to a branch to nab himself a little morsel, the slick squirrels dodged and weaved their way from harm's way.

I also noted that the many seagulls and pigeons that we have were circling the air above where the bird was. I guess they realized that danger was around. Here's where the story gets interesting. I see this big crow fly to the top of an adjacent tree and starts to squawk and caw. As he does so, he dives head first towards the bird of prey, chasing it away over the school. I always told me wife that crows had were cool and have character. I got to see nature and didn't even have to leave my neighborhood. How about that.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

History was made November 4, 2008 11:00pm EST

I know that in my last post I mentioned the reason as to why I had my doubts on whether Obama could win the election. There's no need to re-hash what I said but I'll be the first to admit I was wrong (thankfully so). My statements were never based on his abilities or his potential or even because of his opponent. I voted for the man as I said that I would vote for him when he announced his candidacy 21 long months ago. In reality who can TRULY say they are qualified to be President. The job is more or a crapshoot than anything else. Maybe I under-estimated the power of a diverse voting bloc who (before I made my statements about Obama's campaign) got nailed by a faltering economy. I'll leave the economics to those in the know to explain the intricate details, but I believe had the economy not tanked, the results of the election may have taken a different route.

I still have my worries concerning Obama and his incoming transitional team. I have my worries about the time to come that has nothing to do with Obama and his transitional team. As a pessimist (As Harper would categorize me) or as I prefer to list myself as: A Realist, hate to be a buzz-killer but the time for the "kumbaya" and "rah rah" of the people is done. We all need to roll up our sleeves and get to work at fixing the mess that's being left in all our feet. As JFK once said "Don't Ask What Your Country Can Do For You, Ask What You Can Do For Your Country". Obama is our leader but he can't do it all on his own. He needs our help in order to get this country on the right path. Change without hard work and progress is nothing. All it is, is just Change for the sake of Change. As with the power that we have with our vote, we as a people of the great country have the power to get the machine rolling again.

In the end I'm a Historian and not a Political Scientist and we have witnessed history. That fact is not lost on me. I just hope Obama (for our sakes and his) is more of a FDR, helping to lead the country out of a crisis instead of being a Jimmy Carter who (fairly or not) took the country from bad to worse. Only time, hard work, sweat and tears will tell.

But then again, I'm just a bouncer at The Bleecker Street Bar so what do I really know.


Tuesday, November 4, 2008

My Election Day Experience Nov 4, 2008

Normally my voting experience is very non-descript and uneventful but since this election has such historical ramifications things were a little different. I realized that the bus left me a block from where the polling station is and as I walked by I noticed a line of about 35 people. It was 5:50am. After asking someone what time the polls opened (6:00am) I decided to wait. Now friends of mine have taken their kids with them to the polls to witness the historic moments. After two and half years of this whole campaign, the BS, the taunts, the accusations and so forth I just wanted to end this mercifully and without my kids. Bah Humbug you might say, Tough say I.

So as I waited on line outside of the building a woman is complaining as to why she needs her ID to vote. Duh??? To avoid fraud, perhaps. Are people that stupid to think that the voting poll workers are going to take her word for who she is without her ID? And she's probably the first to cry foul and fraud if her candidate was to lose. Other people were complaining about having to wait outside though the weather was quite pleasant. At 6:01am the line starts to move in.

Once inside, the small cramped cafeteria that is used for the voting area was even more cramped than usual. Bottlenecks on lines were causing people to be on the wrong lines and getting into arguments about those people who were trying to get through. Now I knew the supposed line for my voting booth (District 87 in The Bronx) was past the main throngs of people that were bitching and moaning. So as any person with some type of common sense, I go past the lines to the table where I was supposed to be. At that point the anger gets directed towards me.

Once I verified that the table I was standing in front of was indeed the table where I belonged, 3 women who were on the wrong line rushed the table and accused me of cutting the line. The woman who was already checking my ID and address was telling them that they weren't on her line since they were all on the wrong lines. All 3 women started to gang up on me when I told them "If it wasn't that I asked a simple question, you would all still be waiting on the wrong lines." To which the woman behind the table agreed. But they still wouldn't let it go and after working a slow night at the bar and feeling sleepier by the second, I was not going to budge.

I tell the ladies that "They shouldn't be mad at me since they've already had their beauty sleep and should be nice and refreshed, while I was tired of having worked the night before and just wanted to vote to get my sleep." Whether or not the statement worked, I don't know or care. By the time the main antagonist was in the middle of her ghetto ass rant, I was in the booth, voted and on my way out telling the lovely ladies to have a themselves a nice and glorious day. So much for the feelings of positive hope and elation. I sure did not get any of their sunshine.

I'll be honest with everyone: I voted for Obama/Biden. I normally don't discuss my political views with too many people. I refuse to use myself as (a car full of bumper stickers would be) a tool for advertising. I don't do so for fashion and I won't do it for politics. I consider my political beliefs to be very personal and choose not to share them with any Tom, Dick or Jane. To me politics, like religion, is one of those subjects that people get very passionate (and even rabid) about and where intelligent discourse can really get nasty in a short amount of time. So I usually keep a stone face when in the middle of a discussion about politics unless I truly know the people in the discussion. With random strangers I have no qualms about telling them I don't discuss my political views with just anyone. Saves me and others time and aggravation. But back to Obama/Biden.

At first I honestly didn't think that he had too much of a chance to win, though I felt (and still do) that he was a breath of fresh air who is eloquent (unlike our current President), candid, honest (from what I could tell), and really gave people a hope (including myself) for a different future not only for themselves but for our country. As my friend Michael said over 2 years ago (while snapping his fingers) "If Obama is elected, the view of this country around the world will start to change overnight". And I still believe it now. I do think that if (yes I'm, still skeptical even 8 hours away from learning the results) this country can only improve both at home and abroad with Obama's election. And I do think his chances have improved significantly in the months after I made the statement of Obama's not having a chance. You must forgive me. After standing in the bar watching the results of the 2004 Election on CNN and staring in disbelief at the screen that "GW" would be re-elected I've been skeptical about elections ever since. I take nothing for granted. But why did I think he did not have a chance when I believed in him?

I don't pull the race card. Those that know me know that I don't put up with it when it is pulled on me. I don't believe that my heritage and race is a deterrent to my future (I know, I'm digressing). But there are many people in this country that have no problem doing so to further their cause and hinder another person's cause. People have their biases that manifest themselves at the moment of truth. A person that says out right I won't vote for him because he's of a certain color, or creed, or political affiliation or because he's an urbanite (being from a city over a rural area and not because he likes rap music since Urban has become synonymous with inner city culture) or since he has big ears, or because they don't like his wife, yada yada yada is at least honest enough to say it out loud and to stand by their view. Though I do not agree with them in any way, shape or form, I at least can say that those people have the guts to be truthful to others and more importantly to themselves. It's the cowards who in public are all "rah rah" about Obama and inside the safety of their walls say I won't vote for that so and so because he is this color or has this middle name or is of this race and so forth. Those are the people that I worry about because their deception skews the polls and makes a mockery of the political process.

You don't like him just say so. This is a free country where you can voice your opinion whether its the popular view or not. We see it everyday on TV and hear it on the radio. You have the right to change your mind for or against any candidate but just be honest with yourself. But don't be a jackass and talk out of both sides of your mouth. And I'll get off of my soapbox now. Feel honored, I don't talk to too many people about my political views and put it in print on the internet for all to see even less. So feel honored or don't.

We're Americans and many of our fellow Americans gave their lives for the freedoms that we enjoy (and often take for granted) on a daily basis. The least we can do to honor their sacrifice is to go and vote for our President with the same fervor as all the people who vote for the winner of American Idol do. And before I go on another rant, I'll log off. May God Bless America. Lord knows we need it.


Saturday, August 23, 2008

Tattoos, vending machines and what state are we in?

This is a three parter folks. Just some observations of the weird things I come across (Or seem to find me) in The "Real World".

Act One: So there's this dude hanging in front of The Bleecker Street Bar wearing a wife beater. As he's rambling about some dude who he met the night before and told him about the bar (Justin?????) two women approach the front door. One of the ladies was wearing a Dallas Cowboys hat. The guy notices and proceeds to talk smack about how the Giants won the Superbowl, beat The Cowboys yada yada yada.

Then he flexes his arm to show us his tattoo. I noticed that he had the Giants "NY" symbol on his arm. Not too weird of a tattoo. But here comes the weirdness. Underneath the tattoo is an autograph: #10 Eli Manning. With pride he points to it and says (more like slurs): I saw Eli at a lounge and when he saw my tattoo he signed my arm. I ran 1000 miles to my local inkshop and had it put on my arm permanently. As tempted as I was to take a picture of it I didn't want him being more of a distraction than he already was. So I let him walk off into the distance regaling anyone who cared to listen to his ramblings.

Wow, THAT'S loyalty to your team. Guess he falls into the definition of what makes a fan. He actually belongs in his own league. Wow, that's all I have to say about that.

Part Duex: This past Wednesday I took the family for a fun filled day to Coney Island. We visited the Aquarium, hung on the beach and the kids got on the rides at Astroland.So as we're leaving the boardwalk towards Nathans, I notice these pairs of vending machines. As I walk by them, I take a double take. The machines vend Kosher Hot Dogs. As it is, a hot dog vending machine is not something that I see everyday, especially down the block from Nathans. The franks were not even Nathans doggies. What are people thinking, a vending machine that spits out no name franks up the block from Nathans. The nerve.

As tempted as I was to put my 3 buckaronies into the machine to see how it operated, my better judgment reminded me that 2 chili and sauteed onion frankfurters were calling my name at Nathans. Thank you better judgment.

Tercera parte (part three for you monolinguals out there).This guy walks into the bar a couple of Monday nights ago while its pouring rain and immediately I realize that he's hammered (Surprise). When I tell him that I wouldn't be letting him in, he's astonished (Surprise again) that I won't let him in. He goes on to tell me that this is f'd up since he was in the Army.

I thank him for his service but still not let him in. Not very different than any other situation where I don't let someone in. But here is where things get weird. He goes on to tell me that being in Pennsylvania is f'd up. He says he's from NYC and that we need to go to NYC to learn to have fun. Then he storms out.

Harper (the Bartender) looks at me and asks me if he heard correctly. I nod. I've known for people to be in altered states while drunk and/or high but this is the 1st time I've encountered someone so out of it that they thought that they were in a totally different State of the Union. Ouch!

Hasta the next time,

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Bobby Murcer, Rest in Peace

Today marks a sad day. Bobby Ray Murcer has passed on due to his battle with brain cancer. Another one of MY Yankees has passed on. Bobby played on the Yankees of the late 1970's and early 1980's that I grew up watching. As when Thurman, Billy and Scooter passed on, I feel a sadness that part of my youth is gone. The era of the Bronx Zoo evokes a time for me where life was simple. Baseball, comics, baseball cards and stickers. There was nothing else to life but that. But as an adolescent, why should there be anything else?

Bobby Murcer is a man with values and beliefs that in today's cutthroat society seem to have been lost. Makes you wish that more people like him who have such values and beliefs would be celebrated more in life than how we do when they pass on. I recently watched an episode of Halls of Fame with Fran Healy who interviewed Bobby Murcer about 7 months ago. He spoke of the struggle with the brain cancer with such candor and ease that made you wish that he would as he put it "Not be part of the bell curve". Meaning that the Bell Curve for those living with the cancer was 14 months. Bobby lived for 21 months. How can you not root for someone who even though he knew the end of his story continued to move forward and working in the field that he loved: Baseball. His strength through adversity, his love for his family and the fans is truly something to be admired. With a tear (or two) I bid you farewell. Thank you for the memories and may you Rest In Peace.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Bus Rant

Been a while since I've ranted on something appropriate of a rant. Here goes. It must be a Bronx thing. This whole idea by people of varied ages that they are ENTITLED to just go on the bus through the back doors without paying. At first I thought it was young people who were mainly doing it but as of late, age has not played a role in it. I've seen both men and women of different ages sneak on the bus, thereby not paying their fare.

Now I know some will say that the MTA deserves it because they raised the fare and will do so again in the near future. But you know who gets screwed in the end? Us, those of us who pay our fare each and every time. What happened to responsibility. What happened to people doing the right thing. People just want to get theirs and the hell with everyone else. To make matters worse, there are people who insist on sneaking on first before letting those passengers that are getting off the bus, off the bus. And as with what happened to me, you say something and they get mad at you. I've had to get loud with people to let me get off of the bus with my kids without having to navigate through those who chose to sneak on through the back. Really now, is that where we are as a society?

As it is, I see that the fine for not paying your fare has gone up to $100 dollars. What's next, undercover cops riding the buses to catch people not paying their fare to levy the fines? It's not like the cops don't have more important things to do. But if it means less and less freeloaders abusing both us and the system, why not. I give credit to those bus drivers who stand up to those who sneak on the bus. On more than one occasion, I've seen a driver either stop the bus until the fare beater got off of the bus or continue on his route, flag down an officer and report the fare jumper. The person is removed from the bus and I assume given a ticket (Hopefully). Like some bus drivers have said, if you don't have the fare ask to get on, the driver will most times let you on.

It sucks that I, as a fare paying member of society, has to take a back seat to some punk ass person who isn't man or woman enough to put their two bucks back into the system. It's truly time to get the hell out of Dodge.


Saturday, June 14, 2008

Happy Father's Day

First off, I'd like to wish all of my fellow Fathers a Happy Father's day. I'd also like to wish those of you and specifically my good friends that have lost their Dads a Happy Father's day. We wouldn't be who we are without having the love and guidance of our Dads, Papis and Old Men. Thank you for everything you've done for us. Thank you Dads for showing us what it is to be men. From our way of dress, to our mannerisms, to how we are supposed to treat all people with respect (especially the ladies).

Most of all I'd like to thank my Dad for without him, God knows where I'd be today. Thank you for instilling in me the idea of a positive work ethic, the idea of knowing who you hangout with to how their actions reflect on you both positively and negatively (and vice versa), and the idea of getting an education to being the main way in order to advance myself in life. I know that raising a boy in these last few years can be tough (As I know with the upcoming challenges that Brigette and I will face with not only our son but with both of our little ones). Outside influences as drugs, alcohol and crime can easily lead a young man down the wrong path and to keep one from going down that path proves to be often a daunting challenge that not only my father faced but both of my parents in raising me. I know that the path was full of head butting, arguing and resistance but thanks to their persistence, love and strict upbringing, I've been able to enjoy a fruitful life and hope to be able to provide the same to my children.

Thank you Papi, and Feliz Dia De Los Padres. Love you.

Monday, June 9, 2008

The Heat Is On!!!

Well, the oppressive and brutal NYC heat is upon us and like the weather, I am steaming hot. Not only am I always swampy due to the heat, people out there have managed to piss me off in about 3 days of heat. This rant is for all of those morons out there that need to discover a simple beauty aid called DEODORANT.

We live in the modern ages where even though water prices have risen it's still cheap to take a bath or a shower. After doing so, slap on or spray on some Secret, Brut, Axe or any of the hundreds of DEODORANTS that are out on the market. Now if you can't afford the high end products, head over to your local .99 cents store and buy the cheap stuff. It works just as well but you may need to use more. In this day and age there is no excuse for you smelly people out there to be stinking up a packed subway car at 9am. For the "rare" instance that you start to smell later in the day, carry a travel size DEODORANT and apply some after washing your pits in the bathroom at work with soap and warm water. Come on people, show some pride in yourselves and get on the ball.

Secondly, this isn't so much a rant but a curiosity. What's the deal with the tight pants on guys with the whole back of the boxers or tidy whities showing. Not that I'm looking but damn it's hard not to notice when they stand with their back to you on the iron horse while you're sitting down. Now the style of baggy pants down past your ass is not new, God knows why its still popular. What I have to ask is this, how can you guys run with you pants so low. How comfortable can that be. I mean if you're being chased by a group of guys wearing their pants in the same fashion then the field is even. You have a bunch of dudes running after each other holding up their pants. Go figure. Any input would be appreciated.

Staying on the topic of men's fashion. My local Key Food has been in the news lately. Seems like the landlord, Vornado Realty is trying to jack up the rent to an amount that would drive the market from its location. Its a shame if they were to leave since its really not a bad place to shop and the nearest markets are a few blocks further in various directions. You may be asking yourself: What does Key Food have to do with men's fashions. Here's my rants. Let's go.

The management has required all male employees that work on registers to wear ties. Simple enough, except that they have not mandated that they wear a uniform shirt to accompany their ties. So what you have is a group of young guys that were any shirt with the ties. I mean if they wore a simple white polo shirt with their tie I might be open to letting the fashion slight pass, but no, these young dudes wear (Literally) any shirt with the ties.

Have young men simply forgotten how to dress like professional young men? When asking one of the young men as to why he (and his fellow cashiers) don't wear a simply white or solid color shirt, tucked into their pants with their ties I was pretty much told that since they are made to wear the ties they wear them with whatever shirt on purpose. It's "Their Style" he said. Honestly and no offense young man, you guys all look like clowns. Simply ridiculous. Boy he's lucky I don't manage that place.

I partially blame the management for this one. If you're going to mandate that they wear ties you need to mandate the matching shirt and pants. Give them a stipend to buy the clothes if they don't have the money. How do you expect the general public to take you seriously in your plight to avoid eviction against a greedy landlord if you won't show any professionalism when it comes to your male employees. And young men, there's nothing wrong with looking crisp and professional at work. You'll lose no street cred or status because you're looking like a professional while at work. Dress how you like outside of work but do yourself a favor and learn to be a professional at work. A little pride can go a long way. Well this has been a hot trip...Thanks for taking it with me. Hasta Luego.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

What Makes A Real Baseball Fan?

I know this post will piss some people off. Frankly I don't care. Two discussions at Bleecker Street Bar this past week set this one in motion. The second one created the bulk of the idea that I am presenting.

This next Sunday, June 9 were are giving away a set of Yankees tickets via Yankee trivia. Harper asks me to come up with a series of questions for the quiz. Here is where my issue is. The questions that I came up with, being a Yankee fan, were deemed to be too difficult. Now I thought that the questions were not too hard if you were a true Yankee fan answering Yankee trivia. So what makes up a real fan?

Does buying a #2 Jeter shirt and a new hat, while watching a few games on the big screen during the season or even attending some live games make you a fan. In my opinion, No. It makes you more of a casual observer. A real fan puts more effort, time and investment into his team than just new gear and the occasional game. Can a casual observer become a true fan? Absolutely, but it takes time, patience and research. Allow me to elaborate.

You would think in today's age of instant information and constant footage, becoming a true fan would be easier. I mean there are more ballgames on the tube each night than when I was a kid. There's baseball on ESPN at least 4 times a week, plus at 2 games on TBS, plus YES, SNY and the games shown on FOX. Multiply that with the games on the baseball package and that's a lot of ball. I remember the Yanks on Channel 11, the Mets on Channel 9, Monday Night Baseball on Channel 7 and the game of the week either on Channels 4 or 2. For my highlights we had This Week in Baseball and on the late Sunday nights George Michaels Sports Machine. Much less viewing availability.

I learned about the ballplayers I saw on tv through baseball cards, baseball sticker albums, baseball magazines such as Street and Smith's Baseball Annual (Still get it once a year) and the box scores in the paper. Now if you want to see the career stats of the most obscure player you google the player and hundreds of pages come up with complied stats for almost all known situations (And it really comes in handy with the Blackberry in the middle of debates with Harper on slow nights). Plus in NYC there is so much more available in terms of entertainments that baseball is not your only option on tv. So why do I feel that there are many people that aren't real fans when there is so much available to them to view and use.

I guess it's just that, there is too much information without much effort. I feel today's fan doesn't have to work hard enough to keep up with his team for it to be meaningful. If you know your team (for example The Orioles) will be on at least 3 times during the week you really don't have to watch or hear them to know what happens. Unlike my friend Bryan, who used his am radio to tune in Cleveland Indians games before radio games were made available of the internet (and I believe that he still gets the radio feeds online). I just don't believe that the passion is there.

There's nothing like running to the local magazine shop and looking through the plastic sleeves of the 3 card baseball packs to see who were the 6 player cards that you knew you were getting (the 3 in front and 3 in back). Running home and laying your cards out by team and pouring over the stats on the back and reading the short quip about the ballplayer. Here I go waxing poetically again but I can't help myself. It's easier to be a casual observer who rides the success of a team when it suits them than the real fan that would sit in a near empty stadium when his team is 20 games under .500 and in last place. A real fan keeps score in the program or score book and teaches his kids to do the same at games. A real fan reads books on not only his team but on other players and teams to get a complete idea of what the game was and is. A real fan can sit and say where he was when so and so debuted, did this or that and when he stopped playing. A real fan not only knows his team's player but other players though out the years. Real fans remember moments like who rode the police horse in celebration after the 1996 World Series and the name of the kid who reached over the wall in the ALCS against the Orioles in 1996.

It's people like Pete Sophy, Dave Sirosi, Dan Corvino and Manny Aguirre who can pull random stats about random players from thin air during conversations about baseball that make up what real fans are. And like the guy who cried into his pint at Bleecker Street Bar when the Cubs lost to the Marlins in game 7 of the 2003 NLCS, that's what makes what a real fan is, not just a new hat and shirt.

So before I step off of my rant box, let me say something about the 1st conversation I alluded to in my opening paragraph. Under no circumstance do you as a Yankees fan ever root for the Mets and vice versa. Cubbies fans do not root for the Chi-Sox and South-siders never root for North-siders. Real fans never root for their arch rivals no matter who they are playing. For me, Mets vs. Red Sox in the World Series is a neutral and objective affair. Do I hate the Mets and The Red Sox? No, hate is too strong a word plus in the grand scheme of things I have more important things in my life that hatred for a rival professional baseball team. But I do have passion, love, and excitement for my team that translates into elation when the win and sorrow when they lose. I only root for one baseball team, and that's the New York Yankees. That's where my allegiance lies as a real fan.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Panhandlers, Judgments and The Iron Horse

While riding the Iron Horse back from work this past afternoon (After taking the work keys with me) I noticed that there were panhandlers on the train. Now seeing panhandlers on the train is not a rare sight. But who they are is what made me think about something Professor Lobel mentioned in my American Urban History class this past semester.

I'm not sure in what context the discussion of judgments that we make when faced with a panhandler was made but I feel that it fit my current situation. There was this white guy on the train asking for money to get a place to stay. Having just gotten out of jail, his family said he could not come back home (Makes you wonder what he did) and after getting beat up at the Atlantic Avenue shelter he was not going back there so he needed money from riders to get a room until Monday. For him, Monday was the day when he was getting his old job back. Now this story can be changed with different situations and language just like we did as kids with Mad Libs. What if it was true?

In my mind, the first thing I did was look at him to see in what shape he was in. He was dressed in clean clothes, nothing too flashy so why couldn't he just needed money for a place to stay. Here's where the judgment issue comes in. Had he been dirty, dingy with tattered clothes would he have made me feel any different about helping him.

I'll be honest, unless you're missing a limb (Like the guy who on the N line in Astoria has no lower extremities and rides on a skateboard to get around) or something comparable to missing a limb you won't get any of my money. But is that the right way of looking at it. I would always say that being poor doesn't mean that you have to be dirty. Allow me to elaborate. People have this idea that if you're poor and live reasonably within your means then you won't get any assistance. This applied when I worked at the law firm doing investigations. I'd go to these apartments in some of the poorest neighborhoods to assess potential lead poisoning cases concerning kids and often I'd walk into a pigsty of an apartment. Maybe they were just dirty people. But when you see it over an over again, you grow to believe that people do in fact feel that they will garner the most sympathy from you if they look as if they need help, in this case living in filth. So how does this fit the guy on the train. I'll get back to him in a second.

Now let me give you the flipside. Those of you raised in Astoria will attest to this. There's was (or still is) a supposed homeless woman that asks for money along Broadway and different parts of Steinway Street. She wears dirty clothes and sunglasses while doing so. In actuality, she's well off and lives in one of the plantation style houses on 12th Street near Astoria Park. Why does she do it? Who can truly tell. Now, if you saw her next to my guy on the train, who would you think would get the money. I'll leave that for you to answer.

So getting back to my original thought, this guy asked for cash and didn't get any from me. He got a buck from an older gentleman. To me he didn't look as if he needed help. He didn't sound like he needed help and he really didn't appreciative at getting the buck. Maybe he truly needed it for a room or for his fix. Who truly knows. Sometimes I wonder if my judgments on who gets my money are correct or not. In the grand scheme of things, does it really matter. Again I say, who truly knows.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Memorial Day and The Iron Horse

So riding the iron horse from Parkchester to work on Memorial Day is a literally a trip. The train is packed to the doors with passengers heading home from their jaunt to The Puerto Rican Riviera: Orchard Beach. Loud, vulgar and cursing like sailors (and that's just talking about the teenage women that sat in front of me) my ride is punctured by shrieks, squeals and slurs. Now that wouldn't be unlike any other day of riding the 6 train from the Bronx to work except for the next fellow I'll elaborate on.

The weirdest sight is the man with a fire bandana, sunglasses and possibly all the jewelry that he owns around his next. Now this happy fellow is sitting with a black shopping cart full of beach items such as an umbrella, a small cooler and a number of bags. Now that's not totally odd but for the small bag that sat at the top of the cart that moved at random intervals. Apparently, this gentleman went to the beach, accompanied by two small kittens. These two little white and grey furballs had a day at the beach. Guess he didn't want to leave them alone on Memorial Day. How thoughtful of him. Luckily for him the seagulls didn't get a hold of them. That would have made for a hell of a memory.

BTW: Thank you to all the veterans who have and are giving the ultimate sacrifice so I can sit here and ramble and babble about bullsh$t. Thank You.

Remaking Movies. Good or Bad.

So to comment on the discussion that we had at the bar about rehashing and remaking movies, I believe to continually remake older movies is not only an insult to those who originally made and acted in the movies, but it also serves as a detriment to our youth. True there are some people that aren't film buffs as my friend Myron David said but why make a half-assed version of a film instead of having the people just watch the original.

As it is, many people don't read books and newspapers preferring to get their education and knowledge from the TV and other video mediums. This in turn is creating a semi-illiterate population who not only can't read as well as they should, they can't talk as they should. But I digress and that's a rant for another day.

So, instead of their making an effort to look and learn about the past, we prefer to just modernize, rehash and repackage. In the long run, many of the actors, directors and movie roles will only be remembered by film students and film buffs. The movie industry should take its cue from both the books and sports industry in honoring the past works. Instead of rehashing a old movie, just re-release it for a newer generation, as book companies do by putting older books in print. Reprint them as they were so that nothing gets lost. Also, as with sports, the breaking of a record doesn't just celebrate the person who broke the record, but it also celebrates those who came before the today's athlete to make his accomplishment something to be broken.

True there are many negative aspects that are present in many of these old films such as racial, gender and societal issues that would disturb some today. But to just gloss over them and act as if we didn't live in a past where those issues existed will only doom us to not only repeat the mistakes of the past but to also make our future generations ignorant to the struggles of those who fought against the injustices. The re-releasing of films in theaters will help to not only educate but to also celebrate the past instead of denigrating it as is being done with the remakes today.

Welcome aboard for the ride

Being a Native New Yorker and having worked in a bar/club/restaurant for over Ten years has exposed me to many things that I believe most people have not seen. This is basically a forum for me to express my thoughts, share my observations and bore you with my rants. Jump in on the discussions and add your own ideas and rants. Any discussion is good discussion. I look forward to your input.

Francisco Hilario Jr.