Blog Archives

…sadly I say “Yes, it is.”

In my attempts to bring you good writing on important issues, I give you  Nicholas Kristof.  He is an OpEd columnist for the New York Times.  There are links to his blog, Facebook, and Twitter at the bottom of the post.  Click one and tell him “thank you” for writing this piece.  Open your brain and read.

Is This America?

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If you consider yourself an American watch this.

I don’t care if you like Keith Olberman or not- what is said here is the absolute truth. Listen and think. Paste the following into a new browser window:

NYC: A Summary

I am back in Mississippi now and I keep thinking about last week and everything I experienced for the 1st time.  Times Square, SoHo, NoHo, Brooklyn, Queens, Chealsea Market,  Brooklyn Bridge, Chinatown, Harlem, and the millions of people I saw, bumped into, listened to, stared at, and was in awe of.  I honestly didn’t know what to say or how to say anything concerning the experience as a whole because it was simply too much information to post in a traditional blog post.  So this is my solution.  I will present you with this, a summary of my experience in a categorized list form. Read the rest of this entry

Broken Down, Running Red Lights, and Inaudible Speech

Our group decided to purchase a tour to see the WHOLE island.   The ticket sales people in their yellow jackets were everywhere and quite pushy about the “bus tour” We decided on City Sights NY over the Red Line for some reason.  The buses were clean and neatly decorated…no complaints there.  The 1st tour we went on was the “Night Tour.”  It went all over Manhattan over to Brooklyn and back…in theory.  We arrived at the bus stop and after a lengthy delay of 45 minutes and an argument between the staff and a Portuguese family about who was at the start of the line to board the bus, it arrived.  Every one boarded and off we went while the sun was up on the “Night Tour.”  We saw NYC at dusk.  I say “saw” because the speakers on the bus were horrible.  Not the person-the actual loud speakers cracked and went in and out so much that you really couldn’t hear anything the guide was saying.  We were still in awe of the city and its multitude of areas.  On to Brooklyn!  We were going to watch the sun drop and the city lights come on gradually at a location UNDER THE BROOKLYN BRIDGE.  All that happened…we waited, and waited, lights came on, skyline was awesome, Empire State Building had the St. Patty’s green lights on, and every one was taking pictures and having a great time.  Everyone boarded the bus and…nothing.  The bus wouldn’t start.  45 minutes later another bus arrived and they whisked us back to the start to make up for the 1.5 hour (start delay and breakdown) delays.  Because we bought a 3 day pass, we naturally boarded a bus the following day laughing about the previous nights misfortune.  This bus did not break down!  It finished the uptown tour successfully. Now,  Let me tell you what I learned on this tour: The tour guide hates Madonna, Alec Baldwin, Jay Z, Jerry Seinfield, Donald Trump and anyone else he isn’t.  Oh, and he lived in a 2 BEDROOM apartment that over looks central park (I swear he said that 100 times) and fishes in the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir for 4 lb bass with a man who bought his apartment for 25 million dollars.  The tour guide also told us he has been on CNN and Fox News.  Horrible.  So, what do you do when you have two less than perfect tours…TAKE ANOTHER ONE!!! We boarded the Downtown Tour bus with low expectations.  We were completely surprised that this tour guide was smart, funny, engaging and cool.  He looked like MOBY meets HIPSTER and he liked to rhyme.  We loved him and learned a lot about much of downtown including the less than popular spots.  You could tell he loved his city.  HOWEVER, the driver of the bus (NOT THE TOUR GUIDE) ran 5 red lights and chose to stop at NON BUS STOPS and pick up passengers for a bus that is completely full.  The tour guide was not happy and was visibly flustered and angered by the driver as we were frightened by his driving.  Another chance to do good thwarted by poor driving.
The good aspects of this tour service:  Clean buses, one great tour guide, and a means to see the whole city without paying cab rates
The bad aspects of this tour service:  Unreliable transportation, angry and disgruntled guides who like to fish, bad speaker systems, and fumes

This is my Trip Advisor Review to be published in 48 hours.  You get advance viewing!!!

Here is a link to the review.


NYC: Blind Date

Upon final approach to the city the vastness of it was somewhat breathtaking.  As the plane got lower and lower cars, people, and the Hudson Bay became very clear as we hit ground at Laguardia. “So, here I am NYC,” I thought as we taxied to the terminal (No, really check my tweets.)  Cab ride to hotel, room not ready, stowed luggage at hotel, and set out into the city.  Carmine’s was the 1st spot on the list.  Pasta with Vodka Sauce and Country Style Rigatoni were inhaled by the weary travelers…the complementary sour dough bread was a great find there.  A not so great find was the $3.00 a glass iced tea with no free refills.  I guess the south has spoiled me to some expected luxury at a restaurant.  From Carmine’s we sadly exited into the booming St. Patrick’s Day celebration teeming with green clad teens, twenties, and up.  All in some state of happiness and inebriation.  Exactly what a St. Patty’s Day in NYC is supposed to look like times 500.  Antennae with glitter shamrocks, “Kiss Me I’m Irish buttons,” “Mugs not Drugs t-shirts, and 1000 different races pretending to be Irish for one day.  There is something to be said about homogeneity in cause for celebration.  No one cared about the color of the skin, the language being spoken, the non-red hair of the green clad woman next to you-they all were happy about…something.  Maybe the parade?  Maybe the beer?  Maybe the color green?  It really doesn’t matter, Times Square was green and it was great.  As we trudged through the scores of people, we happened upon a “tour bus.”  Being the adventurous lot we are, we bought the “NIGHT TOUR.”  Saw a lot of the city at night.  From Chelsea, to SoHo, The Village, through midtown, and over to Brooklyn.  Thats when it happened, the bus broke.  Yep, right there UNDER THE BROOKLYN BRIDGE, the bus broke.

Brandon kicking the bus' ass.

Wouldn’t crank and it did not seem to want to try.  Being a country mouse, I knew I knew I could crank that diesel with some implement starter (compressed ether).  My wife didn’t have any in her purse, so I couldn’t help us escape.  As the sun sank into the western sky the lights of the city across the river came on.  The Empire State Building’s spire, in honor of St. Patty’s Day, lit up with green lights, the thousands of internal building lights became visible as the silhouette of the city disappeared into the darkness and was replaced with a fluorescent cityscape that  really showed the depth and breadth of this city. Almost an hour later, another bus arrived and loaded us in. They took us back through China Town and rounded us back to our starting point.  It was a fun night, it was a good night and a great one to start the trip.  Hopefully the coming days will be yield good food, good fun, good memories, and a lot of laughs.

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