Tuesday, September 19, 2006

The Fashionable Guy (General)

Since I haven’t written in a week, I figured I’d do a little potpourri. Some “Hit and Run.” A little “Odds and Sods”, if you will.

** Might as well start with the title. Last week, I was asked by WGCH to engineer a radio program, called “The Fashionable Life”, at a remote in New York City. The show is hosted by two smart and funny ladies (Jayne Chase and Jennifer Goodkind) who made me feel very welcome. All I had to do was set them up and keep them on the air. Though this is never easy for me, I got no airtime. That’s OK, I guess, as the paycheck will be welcomed.

Doing a show in the big town is not an easy chore. Sure, you can drive, but have fun finding parking. NYC police wouldn’t exactly be making me feel the love if I tried to pull up, leave the car to drop off the equipment, and then park. So I came up with a plan. I would try to buy a luggage utility cart (you’d recognize it if you saw it) and take the train. It took a little bit of shopping, but Macy’s in Jefferson Valley had my cart. Then I had to take an early train to get to Bryant Park by 7:00 (or shortly thereafter). I was all set to take a 5:23, having bought my ticket, when I saw the lights of the train coming around the bend at Croton Falls. Long story short? The doors closed as I got to the platform. So I took the next train, about a half-hour later. Now how does one deal with large cargo on a train, if it doesn’t fit in the overhead rack? Keep it in front of you. Don’t you know that at the very next station, some troll decided that she had to sit in the same row as me…when the train was otherwise empty? I just laughed. You’ve got to love people.

The show went fine, and it was a fun experience for me. I felt bad that The Wife (who says I can use her name here) wasn’t there. She’s the most fashionable person I know, or ever will know. She should have been there. As a heterosexual male who appreciates fashion, and like clothes, shoes, etc., I liked it. I think I can fashionable at times, even if it takes a nudge from The Wife.

By the way, I think The Wife is OK with my using her name here because I told her that I was planning on giving her a pseudonym. I was going to use the name of an ex-girlfriend. I hadn’t decided which one yet. Then I thought I’d use “DiDra” (pronounced “Drr-Druh”), because, like me, she is known by various versions of her first name. I’m “Rob” to most everyone, but a “Robert” or even my boyhood name of “Robbie” still pops up – especially with family. Just so we’re clear: I’m NOT “Bob.”

Incidentally, I missed my train to come home as well. That’s show biz.

** I love where I live. I lived in Mahopac until April, and now reside in Carmel. It’s not easy to live in my high school rivals town, but it doesn’t matter. The Wife likes that The Son will go to a different school than either of ours. If she doesn’t want him to go to the brilliance factory known as Mahopac High School, then that’s her mistake. But I digress. As you cross into Putnam County, you see many signs imploring you to “Shop Putnam.” I would love to do that. However, in the towns to the north and northeast of Carmel, the citizens there are under the delusion that you can get everything in the General Store, and anything else comes via the Sears and Roebuck catalog. For several years now, developers have tried to put a shopping enclave at the corner of Interstate 84 and Route 311, right on the Patterson-Kent town line. Of course, many are crying foul. Of course, many of the many are those who recently moved from the Bronx to “come to the country.”

Here’s the reality for you. To do my “warehouse” shopping, I go to Costco. In Brookefield. Connecticut. Sometimes in Port Chester, which is in lower Westechester County, NY. Grocery shopping? Most of it is done at the Stop and Shop…in Somers, which is in Westchester County. To be fair, I can go the A&P in Carmel or Mahopac. A mall? Danbury in Connecticut; Jefferson Valley and The Westchester in Westchester County; Palisades Center in Rockland County, and Poughkeepsie Galleria in Dutchess County. In Putnam County, there is currently a Home Depot, a Kohl’s, a Linens n Things and a few other stores that recently opened. But while places like Target are exploding in this area, they’re still roughly a half-hour ride away for me.

We need tax breaks. We need to be able to “Shop Putnam.” We can’t do so if the NIMBY’s (Not In My Back Yard) continue to whine about everything. You wanted the country? MOVE! But please do us all a favor and pipe down. Stop whining in the papers, and posting the stupid signs. It really makes the area look silly.

I’ll have more to say about this as it moves along. Somehow, the people of this area will have to learn that the electric light has been invented, and that Route 311 is not a cow path.

** While on the subject of my home area, Mahopac has gone through some troubling times. Recently the school budget was rejected. So what does the board do? Put the same budget on the ballot again. Did they think that people didn’t SEE it the first time? The result? A contingency budget that resulted in a system where athletes and club members have to pay to join. Now I don’t mean this in a bad way, but my family was never rich. We were middle-middle class at best, as a one working parent household. I was able to go visit my grandparents in Florida 14 times between 1969 and 1986, but we never flew (and I didn’t go on a plane until I was 25). So you get the idea. Still I can remember having to choose if I wanted to go on the eighth grade class trip to Boston, or the ninth-grade class trip to Washington, DC (all that marble won out over the Red Sox, I guess). To go to Washington, I had to help raise money. What I am getting at is this: I can not be 100% positive that I would have been able to play sports if this “pay to play” system existed for me. My parents would have done their best, but $408 per person per sport is a lot of money. Look, I was no great athlete. I was captain of the bowling team at MHS, and I did it for a couple of reasons. Chief among them was the chance to “letter” in something, and to be with friends of mine. We were not your average bowling team. I think we were more like the “Slap Shot” of bowling teams. Or maybe the “Average Joe’s” of “Dodgeball.” The point is, it isn’t easy for these families, especially with multiple kids. And many thanks must be given to those (like the Mahopac Sports Association, where I played baseball for 11 years) who helped get that amount DOWN to $408. There was a chance that all sports and clubs would have been discontinued without their help. Some heads should roll on that school board.

** Let’s stay in Mahopac. A fellow-MHS alum, who now lives ion Virginia, might be the only one to care about this next fact, but let it serve as a reminder to the rest of you that nothing lasts forever. Fisher Brothers Chevrolet sat on the side of US Route 6 for almost 60 years. It’s where my father knew the owners and staff personally. It’s where I bought my first car with a loan (a 1986 tan Chevy Cavalier). It’s also where members of that same staff came to pay their respects when my father died in 1989. I may have left them as a customer (largely due to not liking the domestic automobile), but my mother and brother were always standing by them. Fisher Brothers saw the death of those original brothers, then saw their sons (the new brothers, I suppose) sell the business. It now sits largely empty on the side of the road. Even when the new owners take over, it just won’t be the same, and certainly won’t have the same name. I can still remember sitting inside of a 1980 Blazer in the showroom, wishing I could drive off in it. Time marches on…

** One more Mahopac note, though this is throughout the area as well. There’s been a recent rash of high school deaths over the last week. In Mohegan Lake, a Yorktown High student was murdered by a Lakeland High student (see why I DON’T want The Son going to The Wife’s alma mater?). Also in Yorktown, another student died when her friend’s mother, who was drunk, decided to go northbound on the Saw Mill Parkway in Dobbs Ferry. One problem: she was in the southbound lanes. A night of partying in New York City brought this on. Look I’m all for being a “cool” parent. I think I’m going to be a cool parent (sometimes), I know The Wife will be, and I think my father was, as well as my mom. But some common sense has to be exercised, right? You want to take your kid and a friend into the City to relive your love of The Ramones? Great. How about not getting tanked then?

Lastly, Mahopac High is awash in tears following the death of a 17-year-old senior who was apparently driving too fast on Agor Lane (now that’s a cow path, or at least it was) in a souped-up Mercedes that could do 155. Now I know for that for many of his friends, this is the first time they’ve lost anybody close. Here’s my only beef: don’t turn the crash site into some makeshift memorial. This is a residential area and I can’t imagine the people who live there want to see that, not to mention the crowds that gather at the site. It will die down, I know, but the memorial will be left behind to rot. That’s the way those things go. You see them on every highway. Why does mourning have to be so public like that?

So what do we get in the end? Three young lives over. Each one as foolish as the one before it. Sad.

** Many thanks to the fine folks at New York State Unemployment. Why? Because I haven’t received my benefits since early August, and now I can’t get anybody to return my phone calls. Quality stuff, to be sure.

** I am starting a very short temporary job tomorrow. The funny thing is that it’s in the same office park as the job that laid me off in June. Funny.

** A big thanks to an old high school friend of mine, who held his annual “Jimmy Buffett Bash” on Saturday. As I wrote in my MySpace blog, “what happens at the Buffett Bash STAYS at the Buffett Bash.” It was a blast, as always, yet was a little spicier this time. Always fun to make new friends, and catch up with other that you only see once a year. I even got on the phone with a friends cousin, who I haven’t spoke with in about 19 years or so.

** I’m trying to do more to the MySpace page. I’ve added some pictures, updated the blog, and edited my friends. At first, I was just adding anybody as a friend. I might still do that, but if I find you’re creepy/freaky/trouble, then you’re gone. Besides I have to keep mine up. The Wife has created one. She said she felt left out.

** Entertainment Weekly (or EW) recently had an article about female rappers and their recent troubles on the charts. I can’t speak with any authority about that, but I do know this. I, largely due to The Wife, have broadened my musical tastes. I have great admiration for the talents of Beyonce, for instance, and even Eminem has won me over (don’t own any of his music, but I still “get” him). I can see where rap has its place, especially because people (mostly, The Wife) like the beat. She was all over Sean Paul’s “Temperature” (which sounded like idiotic prattle to me). But then again, she’s also very moody – lately it’s Snow Patrol, and back to The Killers. It had been Nine Inch Nails, and 311, and Blink-182. I tried, but it didn’t stick. Still I’ve mellowed in that I can laugh when what I consider to be pure garbage comes on the radio. I won’t necessarily put my fist through the tuner if I hear some overplayed crap. Radio, for instance, killed U2 for me for roughly 15 years.

One of the faces featured in the EW article was Missy Elliott. Without turning this into some debate on race (since I just praised Beyonce), let’s just say that I’m not a fan. In fact, I blame her for the dumbing-down, or the “ebonicization” of our youth. I know pop culture works into the psyche of people. It’s one thing to repeat movie lines, and even emulate some people, but at the end of the day, I can be understood when I talk. I write in basic English, with some flair (and that’s not an “Office Space” reference). When goofing around, I can be heard saying “wassup yo’” or “fo’ shizzle” because it’s an act. If I’m on the radio, or at a job interview, or just conversing seriously, I talk and write just like this. Missy can’t seem to handle that. Then add in the fact that her music does nothing for me and neither does she. One day I might be proven wrong, or change my tune.

** I’ve saved the best today for last. Whole-hearted congratulations to the New York Metropolitans. The Metsies won the National League East last night, and for the most part, celebrated appropriately. That being said, broadcaster Howie Rose’s call on WFAN in New York was a little over the top. Reminder, friends: winning the division doesn’t mean what it used to. We’ve seen enough wild-card teams go to, and even win, the World Series. All five real die-hard Mets fans can tell you that the Mets were a wild-card entry in 2000. I don’t dare say who they lost the World Series to. No hint of bias here.

What drives you nuts about the Mets is how they can border on being a college team. From the theme song, to Mr. Met, to this – having the grass painted with “NL East champs” (or something like that) immediately following the game. I remember throwing things at the TV when I saw “1999 Wild-Card Champions” back then. Do the Wilpons’ get it? Are they so hung up with bringing the ghosts of Pee-Wee, Jackie, Campy, and Hodges into Shea Stadium that they forget that the World Series is the ultimate goal? I work in Marketing, and I have this to say – leave the work to the players and coaches. Keep the Marketing and Promotions dopes out of it.

Then there are the fans. No not the five I alluded to. The OTHER fans. The ones who are the long-timers. At least since May. The ones who are talking trash. One did it to The Wife yesterday, after she reminded him that good seats were still available for the division clincher last night. He’s right off the boat from Ireland, so I’m sure he’s been a loyal fan since he got back to the States…last week.

Treat the NL East title as a nice first step. It IS nice to win the division. It gets you more home games, and you can hang a nice banner, but try hanging a divisional banner at Whatchamacallit Stadium in the Bronx. They’ll hang you as well. The Mets, especially with people talking trash, MUST, I repeat, MUST make it to the World Series, at least. Keep watching out for those pesky Dodgers (remember 1988, anyone?) or Padres (Piazza’s sweet revenge) or the Cardinals. Oh sorry, I can’t say that with a straight face. Tony LaRussa win in a big spot? Hahahahahaha!

By the way, that other team should clinch their 10th American League Eastern Division crown in 11 years within the next few days. Yawn. With them there is one goal. The division isn’t it.

Again, congrats to the Mets, and congratulations to their REAL fans, of which Ricky Fritsch is one. He’s loyal and he doesn’t talk junk. That’s probably why we’re friends. At least I hope we are after he reads this.

The playoffs. I live for this.


Jon said...

Would you be upset if I called you "Bob" and said I own a Missy Elliott CD?

No more Fisher Brothers? That place was an american institution. I noticed last time I was home that the 7-11 in Baldwin place was gone too! But as long as the Olympic Diner thrives, all will be right with the world.

ricky said...

It seems sharing the spotlight is not sitting well with the Bronx faithful.

Anonymous said...

Where's the beef!!?

Sean G. Kilkelly said...

If you want to hear a cool album check out the "Grey Album" a cool mixture of the Beatles' "White" and Jay-Zs' "Black" albums.

BTW I don't get that last posting about where's the beef. You didn't mention anything about Wendy's. Strange....