April 30, 2006

100 Years of Solitude

Looking at the title of this post, you may think that I'm writing about Three Days of Rain - yet again. But I'm not.

This week I read a book called 100 Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez.

It's a beautiful and strange book.

I recommend it if you're looking for something to absorb you and make you think.

Have you read it?

What do you think?

April 29, 2006

Three Days of Rain

Okay. I've seen the show five times this week. I really wanted to be fair to Julia Roberts before I reviewed her performance, giving her ample opportunity to improve. She never does. She just doesn't get better.

Every show she gives the same flat, soft-spoken, low energy performance. It's like she's on valium. There are scenes where she interacts with either one or both of her male co-stars who run around the stage with abounding energy. They give her so much to work with. Yet she somehow sucks it all in and then neutralizes all the life force being given to her as a gift from the other actors.

And she drops practically every line - well, maybe dropped isn't the right word. She seems to speak downwards. She ends every sentence at a lower pitch than she started. And she does seem as wooden as the reviewers said. Especially when compared to Bradley Cooper's performance which is like bubbly champaign next to her flat gingerale.

I realized for the first time last night that she must not have any formal theatrical training - that she's probably been getting by on her sweet personality and good looks. In film, she's great. She connects immediately with audience and is usually instantly sympathetic. She was great in Erin Brokavitch - so great in fact she won an Oscar.

But there won't be a TONY anytime soon, that's for sure.

Today I have to work on the revivial of Neil Simon's Barefoot in the Park which the critics absolutely hated. With the exception of parts of the Odd Couple, I generally hate Neil Simon. He always portrays women in a bad light.

April 27, 2006

Disney Plus Times Square Equals Misery

As if Disney's monopolization of 42nd Street and its slow takeover of Broadway weren't enough, now Disney is filming a movie in the heart of Times Square. Yesterday, Disney was filming what looked like a stunt for one of their movies.

Here is the shot they were working on when I got to the evening showing of Three Days.
Time Square Stunt

If you look closely, on top of the bus you see a man dressed in a ridiculous outfit with puffy sleeves.
Time Square Stunt

I can only imagine that Disney is filming yet another one of their "brilliant" fish-out-of-water sagas where a colorful and arrogant (or heroic - doesn't matter) prince from the general past (usually in a history made up by the geniuses at Disney) somehow ends up in modern times. By watching what they were doing, I'm guessing that the prince most likely will have fallen out of the sky only to find himself in a world full of mechanized monsters that transport people from one place to another.

In the meantime, trying to get to the subway station under that sign in the background that says Guest Suites is becoming increasingly difficult.

Every day it's something new preventing me from making a quick escape from the congested city. If it's not the premier of a show like Le Stat The Musical next door to the station, Disney is filming a crap movie.

Welcome to life in the big city.

The Rapping Granny

With a limited engagement of a hot play with a star as huge as Julia Roberts, there are bound to be a few celebrities in the audience. At the matinee performance, I missed seeing Tracy Ullman as she got a drink at the bar, just four feet away from me, because I was helping customers.

As I was getting my headsets ready for the evening performance, Julia Roberts walked right past me while my back was turned. I didn't know until I turned around and she'd already passed me. I saw her back. So, I can only tell you that from the back she looks like pretty much every body else, except that she was wearing a really nice spring coat.

In the audience, as people were getting into their seats before the show, I spotted Ellen Albertini Dow who much to my delight has her own website. You know her. She's the character actor who is always playing a part where she is doing something out of character for an old lady like her role as the Rapping Granny in the Wedding Singer.

I'm sure there will be others. I'll keep you posted.

April 26, 2006

Three Days of Pain

3 Days marquisOkay. I get it. I understand why the critics are being so hard on Julia Roberts, but it's not her fault. Three Days of Rain is kind of boring. And her part in the first act is kind of lame and the fact that she's practically screaming may have had something to do with, what some critics called, her wooden performance. It's not fair when actors and actresses
have to worry about the sound quality of a show because it detracts from their performances.

Sound on straight plays is always lame. I don't know why they don't attach microphones to the actors like they do in musicals. If actors in this play had individual mikes they could concentrate on acting instead of projecting. But no. Like all straight plays where TALKING is the most important thing, only the stage is miked which means instead of individuals you hear all of it, everything. Even if you're wearing one of my headsets, instead of hearing the sounds being eminated from the people acting in the show, you hear every sound in the entire freakin' theater - including candy wrappers, coughing and the beeping of phones that weren't silenced during the walk-in (the half hour before the show starts where everyone takes their seats).

Now as far as the play goes, it's like watching someone's playwriting graduation project. I don't know how this show was chosen for Broadway - and mind you some these tickets are going for over $600. In the first act the three actors play a brother, his sister and their friend. In the second act they play their parents. Snooze. Nothing much happens. Although, the second act does afford Julia a meatier part by way of a dramatic Southern woman. Paul Rudd's character stutters in the second act which makes it even LONGER. I smacked my forehead in frustration and released a huge sigh when his character started stuttering.

I've heard that some people find the play confusing but is that Julia Roberts's fault? No. It's not. It's the play. I understand why some people found the play confusing. If you were bored by the incredibly boring first act you may have missed all the important but boring exposition and boring background stuff about the characters that would show up later in the slightly less boring second act.

Bradley Cooper is the third actor in the play and he is very good. His energy is what pulled me through the show. Paul Rudd turns in a decent performance and Julia Roberts is Julia Roberts. She is lovely, talented, sweet but very soft spoken. The Jacobs Theater seemed to swallow her voice. I listenedto her. She was talking in top voice. It's not like she was whispering.

But gosh I sure do wish she would speak louder. I hate when the patrons complain to me about the sound quality of the show. Patrons don't understand that I'm not associated directly with the theater - I'm just a vendor providing a service. Because of the nature of my work they want to talk to me about the sound of the show. I can only shrug my shoulders.

Le Stat, The Musical

Last night, on my way to the theatre, I walked by a big to-do in front of Le Stat, The Musical. There were mobs of people, boom mikes and photographers with huge cameras set up on tri-pods watching what looked like some kind of red carpet spectacular.

LeStat to do

Actually it was the opening of the show. And it didn't get very good reviews. Not surprisingly. Most shows crash and burn within two months of opening. I remember seeing AIDA in the same theater and that was absolutely wonderful - moved me to tears. Perhaps Elton John was trying to make lightening strike the same spot twice. Of course, critics absolutely can not be trusted. If I actually get to work on this show I'll let you know how it is.

But until then save your money. Do not spend $100 or more on a show unless someone you trust and whose taste you agree with recommends that you see it.

April 25, 2006

A New Week - A New Show

I'm going to the Jacobs Theater tonight and I'm psyched as all get out. I'm leaving in 5 minutes or so.

And I'm hungry.

Yesterday, I bought a new jacket at Macy's on sale. Macy's is what Lord & Taylor was.

I couldn't believe the sales. I'm going to have to go back with a bigger plan than just buying one jacket.

April 23, 2006

Things I Missed This Week

American Idol - Now that I'm working nights, if I don't tape a show I like, I'm not going to see it. This is what happened with A.I. this week. I forgot to set the VCR but this was not a problem as the guest judge was Rod Stewart. Have I ever mentioned how much I loathe the musical talents of Rod Stewart? So no loss there.

Chris's housewarming/birthday party - Friday night my friend had a party. Due to allergies and a late shift I ended up bailing. Sorry buddy. I'll make the next one. I promise.

One thing I didn't miss this week was my old full time job.

Dirty Rotten Commute

Dirty Rotten Marquis Today was a long day, not that I'm complaining because I'm not. Because I have an amazing part-time job that is giving me a lot of joy, so I wouldn't dare complain. But Wednesdays and Saturdays are very long days because of the matinees.

Matinees end around 5 which gives me two hours before I have to be at the theater for the evening shows. I get to the theater an hour before the curtain goes up in order to get ready for the shift. So, I have to be there at 7. I would go home except that by the time I got home, I would have about half an hour to relax before I had to turn around and head back into the city.

With that said, today was a hard day to kill two hours walking around mid-town because of the unusually cold and rainy weather. I had a plan and that plan was to walk over to the lending library at 39th St and 5th and get a new library card, which I did - in the cold and the rain. I had dinner at a quiet Chinese restaurant and worked my evening show.

But then the night got really long. First, my last headset was returned 10 minutes after the show ended. Then I had to fight my way through the rain and crowds of theater goers exiting their respective shows. When I finally made it to the station I was psyched to get on the train and head home to our nice warm apartment. I waited from 11 to 11:30 as 3 R trains stopped and picked up the lucky passengers headed toward Rego Park and Forest Hills.

I didn't get home until midnight. After 30 minutes of waiting I finally went up to the clerk at the ticket counter and asked him if N trains were indeed running. He said they were running but were behind schedule. (NO KIDDING.) My question naturally prompted the N train to come and rescue me from the cold, damp station.

Three Days of Rain - Premier

I was working at the Imperial Theater the night that Three Days of Rain premiered across the street at the Jacobs Theater. Three Days of Rain stars Paul Rudd, some other guy and Julia Roberts in her Broadway debut. As you can imagine, the scene was complete chaos. People were losing their minds for a glimpse of Julia Roberts. Here is a shot of the Jacobs as the stars made their wait out of the stage entrance after the premier. If you look closely you can see a black SUV parked by the stage door amidst the crowd in which takes Ms. Roberts home every night.
Julia's Premier

And here is the rainy scene three days later. You can see Julia's SUV more clearly but not as many people. In all fairness, I did take this shot an hour before the play was scheduled to go on, but I thought it was an interesting contrast to the madness of three days earlier.
Julia  - 3 days later

I have to admit I'm pretty excited to be working this show all next week. It's even more exciting than when I worked on Long Days Journey Into Night and that show had FOUR big stars in it. There's something about her star power that transcends reasonable expecations of her as a human being. I think critics were expecting her to give a TONY winning performance in her Broadway debut not thinking that she might actually have to practice live theater for a while before actually getting good at it.

Any way, I'll be sure to let you know what I think as soon as I have an opinion that can be expressed in 200 words or less.

Post-It Graffiti

I took this shot Tuesday night waiting for the train at the 49th St. station.

Wouldn't it be wonderful if this was the graffiti trend of the future?

Post It Graffiti


One of the wonderful things about my new schedule is now I have time to do chores. Hooray!!

Thursday morning I did our laundry, spending half of what we would have spent had we had it done. Since the last time I did it, the laundromat added these warning labels to all of their machines.

When did it become necessary to warn the public against the dangers of putting people into washing machines?
Washing Machine Warning

April 21, 2006

Knock This Battery Off My Shoulder - I Dare Ya'

I forgot to tell you that I saw Robert Conrad at the theater Wednesday night. A lot of you probably don't know who he is, but I sure do. He was a big time TV actor for a long time, most famous for playing Jim West in The Wild, Wild West. He had a real tough guy image, so tough in fact that in the 70's he did a TV commercial where he dared viewers to knock a battery off his shoulder, which is probably the second thing he is most famous for.

He looked very old - older than 71 years of age. His white hair was thin and whispy. He's still tall and handsome but he's not young anymore. His posture is still good but he was doing the "old man shuffle" when he walked. I was very excited to see him. It's always exciting to spot a celebrity especially one that's been out of the lime light for a while.
Last night (4/19/06), across the street from Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, the play Three Days of Rain premiered. When I got to the evening show at 7, there were crowds of people hovering around the Jacob Theatre - news crews, boom mikes and cameras. Why? Because Julia Roberts is the *STAR*. Before the show crowds gathered to watch who was coming into the theater. After the show, they were crowding around to see Ms. Roberts exit the theater via the stage door. It was madness. The show didn't receive very good reviews.

I'm working the show next week.
They've been shooting a movie in Time Square late nights. It makes leaving the theaters a nightmare as I make my way through motionless crowds of hypnotized tourist. They've never seen a camera man in a cherry picker before. I should be more understanding and bring my elbows in more while I pushy my way through the.

New Yorkers are jaded to things like movie star trailers and enormous, crowd blocking film equipment that makedaily commuting nightmarish.


April 20, 2006

Love is My Legs

This week I'm working on the show Dirty Rotten Scoundrels which is very funny.

Jonathan Pryce (you may remember him as Al Pacino's pigeon in Glenn Gary Glenn Ross) took over the role originated by John Lithgow and seems to be doing a great job.

The show also stars the very familiar Joanna Gleason, who I know so well, but couldn't tell you one thing she's ever done. I just know her. She's exceptionally good - truly a triple threat.

The story line is the same as the movie made famous by Michael Caine and Steve Martin. I didn't find the movie all that funny. Amazingly though, I find the play INCREDIBLY funny. It's mainly due to the comical performances of Rachel York as Christine Colgate, the young naive pigeon who becomes the subject of a cruel bet; Mylinda Hull as Jolene Oakes, Oklahoman heiress to a huge oil fortune; and Norbert Leo Butz as Freddy, the young flimflam man in training to be the most successful conman in the world.

His performance has been consistently funny two shows in a row. I'll see how he does tonight but this guy's got it. He could burp on stage and people would laugh. He's just a funny guy.

And of course, everyone sings, dances and acts amazingly.

April 19, 2006

Nightmare in New York

Have you ever ridden the tram that goes from New York City to Roosevelt Island? If you're not from New York, you may not know it but there is an island in the East River called Roosevelt Island. It's been around for a long time and has gone through many incarnations. Right now, it's a combination of apartment buildings, private residences and convalescent homes.

Jon and I took a tour of the island with Forgotten New York back in November.

We learned that for a long time to get to Roosevelt Island you had to take a boat. Then a small bridge was built connecting it to Queens. For a long time, that was the only way you could get on and off the island. About thirty years ago or so, the tram was added to ferry commuters to New York City and most recently, the subway.

If you're not familiar with the tram you've probably seen it. It looks like this.
Back and forth across the East River, it takes four minutes each way.

I've been on the Tram several times and there hasn't been one time that I've taken it, that I haven't thought about what a nightmare it would be if the tram got stuck one way or another.

Well, it happened today and all I can say is thank goodness I wasn't on it.

At the time I'm writing this entry, the rescue operation is underway. It involves a small basket that can move people 10 at a time. The one closest to Manhattan, suspended over either 1st or 2nd Avenue, will be the second to be rescued because the one heading toward Roosevelt Island is stuck in the middle over the water and is presumably the scarier one to be on.

The scariest part, aside from having to hold your pee for 8 hours, has to be climbing out of the tram and into that little basket 200 feet above water. To get out of the tram you have to climb out through the roof. It's not a simple rescue.

I hope it goes well.

April 18, 2006

A Couple of Things

Double YolkThis morning I made myself a breakfast burrito with a couple of eggs and turkey pastrami. Imagine my surprise when I cracked open my first egg and out fell a double yolk. There are several superstitions associated with double egg yolks. One predicts marriage while another predicts death. I prefer the one that says a childless couple will create a child if the woman eats the double yolk after finding it.

Since I prefer the procreation theory of double yolked eggs, imagine how excited I was when I cracked open a second egg and found another double yolk. I scrambled up both eggs right quick and greedily gobbled them up.

Maybe that means Jon and I will have quadruplets.

April 17, 2006

Ring of Fire

Ring of Fire MarquisFriday night, I started working my new old part-time job. My first assignment was Ring of Fire at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre. Ring of Fire is a revue of music recorded by Johnny Cash. I say recorded by and not written by because when you look at the program, you realize that at least of 40% of his hits were written by other musicians. It's a decent production. There are 3 couples who do most of the performing - very young, young and not so young. I guess you don't have to be a genius to figure out that the three couples represent Johnny and June Cash at different times in their lives. Then there are 9 other musicians who perform right on stage with the cast. They sing and dance right along with the triple threats who make up the main corps. It's a talented bunch of people. All 3 male leads and at least 1 of the female can play guitar and sing and act and dance all seemingly at the same time.

There's a loose story that ties all the songs together about a guy travelling on a train that at the beginning of the revue he hears rolling - rollin' round the bend. This allows the cast to travel in time from the beginning of Johnny's career to the end.

Some of it is a little hokey but that's typical of a Broadway show that is meant for all ages. Like a Bugs Bunny cartoon, there was a little physical humour to appeal to the younger and less cerebral members of the audience. The edgier points are inferred from the music and the acting that was being done simultaneously with the singing. One of the funnier numbers is sung by one of the cast members performing as a prisoner in Folsom Prison - about how he missed Delia, the woman that he loved and then killed.

The most popular number was definitely I've Been Everywhere, Man. It starts slowly with 3 guitar players performing the main theme and ends with all 12 cast members on stage, each playing the guitar although I suspect that only 8 of them were really playing. So popular in fact that the people who sell the show's souvenirs made a T-shirt with that specific phrase.

As with all Broadway shows, Ring of Fire has a gimmicky, hokey souvenir stand called The General Store done up in a Western fashion to match the flavor of the show. The General Store

Here is the beautiful (not so beautiful) I've Been Everywhere, Man t-shirt complete with all the destinations where the singers have been.
I've Been Everywhere

This normally plain brown t-shirt is a 50/50 cotton/poly blend, yet if look closely at the sign,
The Sign
you'll see that this cheap little t-shirt cost $30.00. Yes. $30.00 is what it says and while I stood at my booth waiting to hand out headsets, I witnessed many people buying them two and three at a time.

Speaking of my booth, I bet you're having a hard time wrapping your mind around what it is I'm doing exactly. Basically, I work for a company that provides a free service to those that are having trouble hearing. During the half hour before the show while people are walking in and during intermission, I stand in front of this booth and wait for people to come over to me and request a headset.
My booth
Each of those yellow dots is a piece of tape with a number that helps keep track of the headsets.

The patron gives me a license usually that I hold while they enjoy the show with device. At the end of the show, we make a final exchange and they go on their merry way.

In the between times, I am free to watch the show if I choose. I chose to do it on Sunday. Although I listened to the show during the shifts previous to that. Now, I understand that country music isn't for everybody. What I don't understand is why this show received bad reviews.

It's good for what it is. I recommend it to those of you that like the music of Johnny Cash or country music in general. If you thought that typical Broadway wasn't for you because the musical style threatens your heterosexuality, then this show is for you. Because it is the least gay Broadway musical I have ever seen.

April 13, 2006


This is me doing a facial. Ain't I cute?
Facial Val

Plucky Bucky Goes Home

Bucky Covington was finally eliminated from American Idol (A.I.). But not before we had to listen to him sing his song out of tune one more time.

That's a strange thing they do on A.I. When a contestant is told that they are going home, they are handed a microphone and asked to sing in spite of their tears or obvious disappointment - at which point I always change the channel. Why would I want to hear someone sing the song that got them eliminated? Why would anyone think that's enjoyable?

Perhaps I'm not the only one doing this because I think the producers got wise to this. Instead of having the loser sing his final goodbye to wrap up the show in a neat a little bow, they had the bottom three sing their song as their names were being announced.

When Elliot sang I sat and listened because he was so good last night that there was no way he was going home. He was the exception.

When Ace sang, I started some turkey bacon cooking in my favorite new pan.

When Bucky sang, I fixed myself a plate and then ate said turkey bacon.

I don't have anything bad to say about Bucky. He seemed like a nice young guy who sang real well through his auditions. But it seems he left his talent behind at the auditions. Because during these last few weeks he has been consistently giving poor vocal performances.

Maybe they'll bring back Mandisa. Now she could sing even if she was politically incorrect.

April 12, 2006

American Idol - Queen

This week's theme was the music of Queen. Each contestant got to rock out with Queen in preparation for the show. But if you can't sing, no amount of preparation - even with a great group like Queen (and I use the word great loosely) - is going to help you win American Idol.

Bucky Covington contributed to the show's lackluster start by butchering Fat Bottomed Girls. The man cannot sing in tune to save his life. Yet somehow every week, he gets through. What he doesn't have in voice talent he makes up for with unfaltering enthusiasm. He ends being enjoyable to watch because he has a genuinely good time performing. But he still can't sing in tune.

Ace Young was up next. He sang We Will Rock You - the kinder, gentler version. Simon's comment best summed up his performance. "It was like We Will Rock You gently." He even managed to screw up the lyrics. This song does not have complicated lyrics. If you watched him last night, you may have noticed that he was wearing eye makeup. Very strange. And completely unnecessary. He's a good looking 25 year old man. He doesn't really need much in the way of eye makeup.

After his performance, just before Ryan cued the judges, the camera cut to Mickey Dolenz - former Monkee - in the audience. I couldn't help but get the idea that someone is suggesting that Ace Young is like a Monkee - ready to be exploited for what little talent he has.

Kelly Pickler did a decent job performing Bohemian Rhapsody. Simon said something that confused her as usual. So he simplified his critique by saying she sang good so she could understand him. She is pretty naive and it's really starting to annoy me. She doesn't understand metaphors, puns or anything with double meaning. But she sure is sweet - stick your finger down your throat sweet - and I don't think I can take the naive schtick anymore.

Chris Daughtry rocked the shit out of a song that Queen never sings live. While he was singing, the rear screen projector was showing some weird matrix like imagery. But he sang his song really well. The song was one I'd never heard but it was soooo complicated that to sing it well means something. He chose Innuendo. He could win this thing. I'm quickly shifting my loyalty from Taylor Hicks to Chris Daughtry. He might just have the better voice of the two. He does this great Eddie Veder thing with his voice that really works. He was another victim of the American Idol makeup artist. Way too much eyeliner for a straight guy.

This brings us to the very pretty Katherine McPhee. Between Daughtry and McPhee the camera cut to Camryn Manheim of The Practice fame. I couldn't tell if she was excited about Daughtry's performance or McPhee's upcoming one. McPhee sang Who Wants to Live Forever from the soundtrack of Highlander - a forgettable 20 year old movie. She sang this song well. She's a Broadway kind of singer - she belts. Except I thought the judges were being generous when they described her as having pitch problems. The truth is that instead of belting out her high notes she was shouting them and you could really hear it. She was straining, yelling, stretching her voice beyond it's limit. I wouldn't be surprised if she was in the bottom three again tomorrow night.

The very charming, but not so handsome Elliot Yamin sang Somebody To Love. It was nice to hear a familiar Queen song after the previously mentioned performances of two obscure ones. He did a great job. He really knows how to vocalize. He sings. I like him. But sadly he won't win in spite of his natural abilities.

Taylor sang Crazy Little Thing Called Love and kind of made a fool of himself. He can sing but sometimes he gets carried away with the dancing. Graceful he is not. He did mike stand thing that completely fell apart and made him look pretty stupid. And the song was kind of blech. I've long been a fan of his but since the competition began he's kind of lost what it was that I loved about him. He had an "it" quality about him that is missing now. He's becoming too much of a ham. He doesn't know how to play it cool.

Paris Bennett blew everyone away with her incredibly awesome and weirdly inappropriate performance of The Show Must Go On. I say inappropriate because there is just something strange about watching a cute, wholesome 17 year old sing like a cynical adult. Simon commented on it too. She is great but there is something weird there. She's still my favorite to win. Her talent is so far beyond anyone else's on the show. She can't be topped.

Overall the show was pretty good. It was definitely more entertaining than last weeks Kenny Rogers themed show. That show sucked for me because country music is not my favorite.

April 11, 2006

Jury Duty - Day 3

It took one hour and fifteen minutes of riding connecting subways to get to the courthouse this morning for my 10 a.m. call time. I was 15 minutes late to the juror room and nobody noticed. As I was approaching the courthouse, the defense attorney on my assigned case walked past me in the opposite direction. I interpreted this as a sign that we weren't going to trial today. Around 1 p.m. they sent us home with a notice requesting our presence again on Monday the 17th.

I'm excited to be doing jury duty and I'm probably one of very few people who say that and mean it. It's my civic duty and I want to do it. I just don't want to sit around waiting to do it and that's what I've been doing. Waiting. And don't tell me that by my being there, I'm serving as a reminder to both plaintiff and defendant that this case is serious and that I may make a difference in terms of the final decision - because there's no trial yet. Nothing's happening. The case is scheduled but isn't moving up the calendar.

This presents a big problem for me. This week I am off until Friday night, when I start working again. But next week, I'm supposed to work a Wednesday matinee and there's a good chance the case is going to run over two days once it gets started. So now something that I was looking forward to doing, something I want to do because I believe in it, has become an enormous pain in the behind.

April 08, 2006

Jury Duty

Yesterday was my first day of jury duty and I was picked as a juror for a civil suit.

I waited only two hours before my name was called to be on a panel and within 45 minutes I was on a jury. Because it is a civil suit there are only six of of us with two alternates.

The plaintiff's attorney questioned us for about 5 minutes to make sure we didn't provide any conflicts for his arguments while the defense attorney took 40 minutes. The defense attorney couldn't stop blathering. Throughout his questioning, he kept telegraphing his case leaving no room for wondering what his arguments might be in the courtroom.

Either way, I was out of their by 3:30pm and set out from Sutphin Blvd by the Jamaica courthouse in Queens and arrived on Steinway St in Astoria 1 hour later.

Traveling in Queens on public transportation takes a very long time.

April 07, 2006


Chiropractor James C. Burda of Athens, Ohio claims he can realign your bones with the power of his mind. He calls this form of telepathic healing Bahlaqeem - a word he made up after he discovered his "ability" after healing a pain in his foot by simply wishing it felt better.

Specifically, Burda claims that he conducts his healings by travelling back through time to when his patients' injuries occurred.

You can read about his "amazing technique" on his website http://www.bahlaqeem.com and learn how he can align your body by phone or by email.

The Ohio State Chiropractic Board wants to stop him from practicing due to mental illness, claiming he suffers from delusions of grandeur.

That an official board of chiropractors wants to stop one of their own from practicing "medicine" says a lot about how insane this guy must really be. If you've ever been to chiropractors, you understand that there are some that actually help you through using a more sophisticated form of massage. There also those that use power of suggestion by exploiting the vulnerability and gullability of their desperate patients.

I've been to both kinds and find the latter despicable and amazed that the Ohio State Chiropractic Board is only stopping one from practicing a questionable form of healing.

April 06, 2006


I'm fair skinned so it's important that I get my skin checked regularly for early signs of skin cancer but without insurance it's been hard to get that done. Now that I have insurance I'm taking better care of myself and seeing all the doctors I've been putting off for years. Yesterday, I finally had my appointment with the dermatologist.

He checked my moles and my freckles and gave me a good report.

One of his comments made my right eyebrow arch like Spock's. He said, "You have a surprising small amount of moles for all the sun damage you have on your face." He didn't elaborate and I was so embarrassed by his examination of my mostly naked body that I forgot to ask him to elaborate. If he meant freckles then I understand what sun damage is but if he didn't then I don't know what he's talking about. I thought my skin looked pretty decent for someone who is almost 40 years old - slight crow's feet, the start of some laugh lines; nothing too serious.

What did he mean by that? Does anyone know?

April 04, 2006

Great Adventure - People

After the safari, we went to the park.

Here's Jon looking at a map with our friends Dave and Alicia in the background looking at the same map. We went out separate ways but joined up later in the day to play some carnival games.
Jon Map

The first attraction we saw was this great fountain with living sculpture. Just before I snapped this shot, the actor lurched forward like she was going to grab the two people walking by her scaring them. But then she moved right back into this position and when we left the park 5 hours later, she was still standing there.
Living Statue

It wasn't long before we ran into a couple of characters, literally. Sarah posed with "Tarnation" Sam and I posed with Marvin the Martian's dog.
Sarah and Tarnation Sam
Val and the Martian's Dog

Just after this I spotted the candy coated carousel. This section of the park was amazing as it looked like the buttercream on a 3-year-old's birthday cake. Jon, Sarah, Caren and I all went on the carousel. It's a life rule of mine that if you see a carousel you have to go on it. It's a good rule because a carousel is one of those places where everybody feels happy.
Jon CarouselSarah Carousel
Caren Carousel
Val Carousel

Tea cups were next on the list because they were right next door. I haven't been on a Teacup ride since I was 10 years old. I had so much fun on the ride I didn't take any photos but here's one of the sign. I find it amusing that the tea spilling out of the cup in the sign looks a little bit like vomit. If you spin your cup too fast you could throwup.

After Tea Cups we went into the arcade and played Skee ball. We combined our winning tickets and bought two mood rings; a magic ORB which makes prediction in an amazingly similar manner to the Magic 8 Ball; a yoyo that lights up; and a super bouncy ball.

We then walked into the red, white and blue section of the park. It was here that I realize that each section of the Great Adventure park has its own color theme. This oom pah pah band greeted us in their American Flag vests.
Ump pah pah

This section of the park features the Superman ride, the Great American Scream machine and the Parachute ride. Of the three, we all agreed that the Parachute ride was the least scary. You can see the Great American Scream Machine in the background. That ride looked scary. As it turned out the Parachute ride was thrilling. It looked simple enough - being wisked into the air but when you're on the ride, you realize that you are going really, really high up. I was scared. Sarah was brave enough to take a picture. Not me. Nope. I was clinging to the safety bar for dear life.
Parachute Ride 2

After this exciting ride, I was ready to try something more daring so went over to the Runaway Train - the first rollercoaster I ever went on as a teenager all those years ago. I'm told that this is one of the gentler rollercoasters but I felt like my life was in peril. It was fun, I guess. I'm not sure. When I was done I felt both scared and happy and I had butterflies in my stomach.

We finished the day off with a ride on the ferris wheel.
Ferris Wheel
Self Ferris
Sarah FerrisFerris Wheel

Great Adventure - Safari

Jon and I joined some friends for a day out at Great Adventure's opening weekend. The last time I was there was in 1985 - the day after prom. We never got to go on the Safari because most of the day was spent looking for the other half of our group. By the time we joined up it was after dark and the safari was closed. But this time, we got there early enough to enjoy the animals. But did the animals enjoy us?
On Safari

As cool as it is to see wild animals face to face, there seems to be something inherently wrong with allowing animals to roam free with cars that can kill them.

This is a girl elk. The boys had big antlers and were walking in between the cars slowing down traffic but nobody seemed to mind.

There were 6 elephants penned up in a space probably only big enough for one or two. They looked old, tired and some of them had tattered ears. But again, it was so cool to see elephants so close up.

Camel in the Road
There were quite a few animals roaming freely including the camels which, much to my surprise and the surprise of those with me in the car, people were feeding. In spite of the fact that there were warnings posted everywhere about the danger of feeding these animals people food, people were sticking things out of their windows to attract the animals. Hopefully people had sense enough to feed the animals appropriate food but I doubt it.

It's Coming
It was the same thing with the giraffes but I was so filled with childish glee at the sight of them in the road, I didn't get upset until after we drove through the Great Adventure herd. Here is a giraffe approaching us and then bending down to visit and see if we have any food to offer.

The zebras were grazing on NJ grass while people drove by taking snapshots. It's just not right and it doesn't look right.

The last sad picture I'm going to post from the safari is this picture of a baboon sitting behind the fence like a prisoner. The only thing missing from this shot is a tin cup in his hand for him to rattle on the bars. Even sadder were watching the babboons playing in a bare field of grass with a noisy roller coaster in the back drop. They were using an old piece of roller coaster track as a jungle gym. And half of them looked sick with big pink protruding asses. I don't know a lot about monkeys but I don't think their butts are supposed to that.

The rest of the day was quite lovely. The safari was lovely. It's just that sometimes seeing animals in captivity saddens me.

April 02, 2006

Flavor of Love - Reunion Show

Jon and I spent most of the day outdoors with some friends at Great Adventure which I'll write about tomorrow with pictures.

We got home in time to watch the Flavor of Love Reunion show which was just awful.

I don't know how I got sucked into a show like this.

It's degrading to all women but especially to the hoes who participated in the show.

Yes. I watched it. I even enjoyed parts of it.

But I'm done with Flavor Flav and his Flavor of Love.

I won't be coming back for Flavor of Love 2.