Saturday, October 29, 2011

The Funnyman in the Booth

Never let it be said that MTA Token Booth clerks don't have a sense of humor at 5:00am. I walk down to the Uptown Bleecker Street Station and ask the token booth clerk "Is the 6 train running?" The man says something which I don't quite understand but gets a big smile from him.

He notices that I don't understand what he says and he repeats himself and says: The 6 trains have no legs so they can't run. They roll instead. I have to admit that I chuckled at that answer.

Considering that the MTA is usually pissing me off, it was good to laugh for once. Well played you cheeky bastard. LOL.


Monday, October 24, 2011

Waking Someone on the Train

I often wonder about what kind of judgment some people use while riding the subway. That is bad enough to think about during "normal" riding hours. Multiply that tenfold during the late hours that I ride on the trains. Allow me to elaborate on what I mean.

I was riding the train after work last night/this morning and the train had a mix of people coming home from work, those going to work and those coming back from Friday night's entertainments. I tend to sit in the middle of the car. Why? I'm not sure. Perhaps it's because I'm a creature of habit in certain aspects of my life. To be honest, during the late night hours, the corner seats tens to be occupied by sprawled out sleepers and/or homeless people. To get to the point, apparently there was a guy either sitting asleep or had his legs on one of the long corner seats while asleep. Nothing strange about it, right? Well, here comes my source of wonderment.

This older guy gets on the train and yells out "Wake up and get your feet off of the seat". Naturally he startled everyone on the train including the sleeper who the message was intended for. The older guy who was of a decent size decides to sit directly across the now awakened and pissed off man to further browbeat him. He tells him that it's illegal to occupy more than one seat while on the subway. Now, while that is true, unless you're a police officer why stick you're neck out. Sure the older dude was wearing a baseball cap that had the word police written across the side but I would hardly say that his hat would qualify him to be a law enforcement official. 

So the man continues to bust this dude's balls to the point where the awakened man tells him to "Just shut the fuck up already". That seemed to end the now truly amusing exchange between the two men. The sleeper went back to sleep and the old dude was left grumbling about God knows what. Ok, so you would think that would be the end of my little tale. Nope, not quite. Fast forward the train ride to the Hunts Point station in the Bronx.

The train pulls into said station and the sleeper gets up to get off the train. As he steps off the older man yells something out at him and starts wagging his index finger at him. The man steps back on the train and looks like wanted to throttle the man. He, unlike the older man, showed better judgment by just exiting the train avoiding any further confrontation. The older man focused his attention a teen who got on at Hunts Point and was wearing a Pittsburgh Pirates hat. The older man told the teen "Now that's a team" while pointing at the hat. The teen just opened the side door and went into the next car. LOL.

I mean what are people thinking. What if the dude who was sleeping had a bad day, a bad week or a bad month. Why risk putting yourself in a position where you could be assaulted or worse. People need to learn to just mind their business and just sir there quietly. You hear of it often enough in the news (and on YouTube) about how the person who stuck their nose in someone's business on the train got the taste smacked out of their mouth. Come on now people. Just ride the iron horse and get home safe. 


Saturday, October 22, 2011

The Mob Boss Lives In Parkchester

I'm waiting at the Parkchester station waiting for the Downtown 6 train when this older black man wearing a tan trench-coat does his his best to get my attention. Grudgingly I take my headphones off and listen to what he has to say. Here goes the brief exchange:

"You live around here?" He says
"You can say that" I respond. The man points toward the Parkchester housing development and says:

"You live in Parkchester?" I shake my head to indicate that I don't. He continues:

"You see Parkchester there? It's corrupt. The mob boss lives there and runs the place. If you don't work with him, you get ran out of there"

I try to remain as serious as I can when I answer: "I didn't know that. I'll keep that in mind next time I'm in Parkchester" 

"Yes. Do." he retorts with a grave face. 
"Are you from New York?" He adds. I answer in the affirmative with a nod to which he responds "I'm from South Florida" and he continues down the platform to the end.

Well, that solved one of the questions I had on my bucket list. Now I know where the mob boss lives. He's in Parkchester. Splendid!! I wonder if he has one of those apartments similar to the one my sister has in Parkchester. Maybe he has deluxe accommodations. 

You would think that I would pose an intimidating figure while waiting for the train. Maybe I should have left the stash instead of shaving it. Gotta love NYC.


Friday, October 7, 2011

Learning Something New Everyday

I've made it a point in my life to try and learn something new everyday. I believe that life isn't worth living if you don't learn something new. Something new causes you to think, to imagine and to learn something you hadn't known before.  The new nugget of information doesn't have to be something monumental. Something simple would do just fine.

A good source that I found resides right on the Google home page. If you look under the search bar on Google's page, you'll see a clickable box called "I'm Feeling Lucky". Clicking on this box takes you to the Doodle 4 Google page which shows the Google logo drawn in honor of different event such as Days of Independence of various countries and birthdays of different historic figures. If looking at those doodles and what they signify doesn't peak your curiosity I don't know what will. 

To go back to my original point of learning something new everyday day, what have I learned that's new. Last night while watching an episode of How It's Made on Science Channel On Demand, I saw how Barbershop poles are made. Not only that, but the narrator explained why those poles were important historically. Not that I doubted the narrator's description of the history of the barber pole, but I decided to do some research of my own.

According to

The modern barber pole originated in the days when bloodletting was one of the principal duties of the barber.  The two spiral ribbons painted around the pole represent the two long bandages, one twisted around the arm before bleeding, and the other used to bind is afterward.  Originally, when not in use, the pole with a bandage wound around it, so that both might be together when needed, was hung at the door as a sign.  But later, for convenience, instead of hanging out the original pole, another one was painted in imitation of it and given a permanent place on the outside of the shop.  This was the beginning of the modern barber pole.

See what I mean? How many of you out there can say you knew that. 

Today I came across an article on one of my favorite blog pages called Past Imperfect which is hosted on This blog site has a variety of historical articles. The one I read recently was about Pablo Fanque. Fanque was an expert equestrian, tightrope walker, acrobat, showman–and Britain's first black circus owner. Not to spoil it for you (since I know you will read it now that I included the link for you ;P) but there is a connection between Pablo Fanque and Beatle John Lennon. 

So go out and read, load up your RRS reader with a multitude of informative blogs and articles, explore and learn something new today and everyday.


Debit Card Fees or To Swipe or Not to Swipe

I've had a number of conversations as of late concerning a number of topics. I just wanted to touch on one of them. In recent days it has been announced that Bank of America is going to start charging a five-dollar monthly fee for those customers who use their debit card at least once a month. I'm not of the parameters of which accounts will get charged or not but people are up in arms and to a degree its understandable. Given the fact that Bank of America was given a bailout by the government makes the move smell like greed and feels like a smack in the face to consumers. While some consumers can (and will) pick up the picket signs to let their voice be heard by Bank of America, there are a few steps that can be done by consumers that I feel will be beneficial in the long run.

- Close your Bank of America account(s)
This is probably the simplest one of all. Don't like what a bank is doing, then take your money out. Plain and simple. A few years ago, Commerce Bank which now known as TD Bank announced that they were going to start charging Checking account holders in NYC a fee. When I inquired to see if the bank fee was across the board for all account holders in other states, the bank representative told me that only account holders in NYC were being charged. I close my accounts. Don't profile me because I live in NYC. Commerce, TD Bank or whatever they are called is not the be all, end all option in banking. There are options. There are always options.

- Do your research and invest locally
In this age of internet information you can do proper research on just about anything. The same applies to banks. Look around online at local banks in your area to find the best option for you. Maybe you won't have the luxury of having a gazillion ATMs in your backyard as with the big banks but sometimes investing in a small bank is what consumers need. Check out this website Find A Better Bank for help in doing what the name says.

- Go back to relying on cash
This is the big one for me. I believe that consumers have gotten so used to the ease of just swiping plastic that we have forgotten to be fiscally responsible. Why do I say that? You really think its efficient and prudent to swipe your card for a two dollar cup of coffee or a five dollar bottle of beer? As I stated on Facebook the other day:

says that people, especially the younger generation that has gotten so used to just using debit cards in their daily routines, need to get used to carrying cash. Carry cash=no need to use debit=better budgeting=no need to pay fees

You can't imagine the number of people I come across on a daily basis in the bar that don't carry cash. The rely entirely on debit cards. The thought to me is just astonishing. I feel weird when I leave the house and don't have any cash. I hate relying on using my debit and/or credit cards for everyday purchases. I try to use them only when making substantial purchases. If consumers would budget themselves properly there wouldn't be the need to swipe for a cup of coffee. Invest in gift cards. They work just as well as a debit card and can be refilled often earning reward points depending on the store.

If we as consumers take the power from the banks, we'll eventually return to the days where banks courted us for the privilege of putting our money into their vaults. But that won't happen until we stop being lazy and just swiping for the sake of swiping. We need to re-learn and adjust our spending habits. As my friend Jeremy said the other day: Cash is King. Do I think we need to go back to the age of stuffing our mattress full of cash? No, not at all. Banks have their uses (paying bills, storing money, storing items in safe deposit) as long as we maintain control of our situations. We have to live within our means. Not above it. If you use cash, then there is no reason to swipe thereby no need to pay a fee to swipe. If you don't have cash? Then you can't get in trouble by overspending. Right? Makes sense?

It starts with us one baby step at a time. Yes? No?