Union Square

It’s not Christmas without a visit to the Union Square Green Market. Seeing people carrying Christmas trees through Manhattan really sets the season. I love the Green Market on Saturday mornings. It’s a ritual when I’m in town.

We went to The Hamptons for the Holiday parade on Saturday, but I stopped by the Green Market first.

There’s a holiday bazaar every years – booths set up at one end of the park. The same thing is set up in Bryant Park behind the library and in a space inside Grand Central Terminal.

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The Southampton Annual Tree Lighting and Parade of Lights

We made it back to the Southampton Christmas parade this year. We had gone a couple of years ago and last year it was canceled due to the pandemic. I love it for so many reasons, the parade is fun and the tree lighting at the end of the bar is even more fun, but the idea that all of the small villages at the east end of Long Island get together and celebrate with a parade is so quaint. Southampton along with East Hampton, Sag Harbor, Shelter Island and all the others taker part.

My cousins and I hang out for the day, we eat – on Saturday, before the parade, we at at the old standby – the Southampton Publick House.

I wasn’t sure if we would go this year. My cousins had planned to go to the lighthouse lighting event in Montauk, which is just as great, but so much longer to get there. But I put a little bug in one of my cousin’s ears at Thanksgiving and left it at that. By Saturday, we were on our way. Was there ever any question?

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Out and about NY

Been doing a lot in NY. Too busy to blog.

Went to the Macy’s parade on Thursday, then did our usual family thing for Thanksgiving.

It’s been a cold week, but I’m managing. Did my usual – Union Square, The MET, been out eating and drinking with everyone. Saw Wicked again! 5th time!

I have my favorite view of the Empire State Building again, which is a different color every night this time of year.

Did the Southampton Christmas parade and tree lighting again. I’ll post another thing about that in a day or so.

I’ve taken up drinking again. I stopped for no reason other than I didn’t like the taste after so many years, but I’m back. It’s weird because my friend Michael, who never drinks unless he is with me sort of got me into it, he was the influence. But the weird part is that I never drink, so not sure how I am an influence on him, but we are now influences on each other.

Not a lot – a drink or two when out. So it’s not a mess like when I was younger. We both control it, we aren’t sloppy drunks and have a drink or two when out. That’s it.

I’m trying to bring 7&7’s back. I started in the summer at Oakland’s in The Hamptons and have taken it around the city. So far, not many people know what it is. I have to substitute things like Royal Crown or Sprite, but people are learning. I’m bringing back this classic one drink at a time.

Yesterday at Sunday’s a bar/restaurant in The Hamptons, the bartender knew it! I think he made a comment about not serving it since 1978, but he got it right!

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From Boston to New York City

I was in Boston for four days, but I didn’t have internet, so I couldn’t post anything here.

I was in a nice big hotel, but some things, like the internet were not good. Neither was the tv. When I checked in, they said I didn’t have a reservation, it was canceled! I didn’t cancel it and neither did Hotels.com, so what was up with that? They lady at the front desk told me not to worry, she would take care of it and she reinstated my reservation, but it appeared to be more than what I was paying with Hotels.com. I wasn’t gonna argue, so I just accepted it, stewed for days, and decided to dispute it after I got home, but when I checked out this morning, the bill was actually hundreds of dollars cheaper than originally set with Hotels.com!

As the saying goes, 90% of what we worry about, never comes to pass. So I checked out happy.

I took the train down to New York. It’s been cold today in Boston and New York. I noticed in Boston that almost everyone wears masks out of doors, I figured out that it keeps you very warm, and that must be the case, although in New York, people don’t seem to wear masks outside. They are strict with vaccine checks at indoor restaurants though. And of course, in Florida, anything goes, or basically, nothing goes – no rules, just rights.

I was just at a Starbucks in NYC and the girl was mopping the floor and then she made my coffee. I didn’t drink it.

In Boston, every single Starbucks made the best cafe mocha that I’ve ever had. Everywhere else it varies, but in Boston, every location made it delicious and perfect and a way I never had before – almost like a hot chocolate with some coffee added. Delicious.

I’m going to Wicked today – for the fifth time! I’ve been twice already in NY, once in Miami and once in Ft. Lauderdale. One of my friends bought the tickets and I agreed to go. It’s worth seeing again.

Getting rid of my old car

I’m heading up north on Friday – Boston and New York and it’s been an issue trying to get rid of my old car.

It’s amazing how I said so many years ago that I would keep the car until I ran it into the ground and that seems to be the case. The car really doesn’t seem to be worth much.

I have kept up maintenance all these years – I’ve always been good about that. But for some reason, it’s all falling apart. The roof leaks (it’s a convertible), the electrical system is shot, the car shakes, which may have to do with the electrical system and quite a few other things. But until last week, it all was perfect, or so I thought.

I have the car at the service station, and they ended buying the car for peanuts. It burns me up that I have spent thousands of dollars there over the years – thousands of dollars some years alone, and they wanted to nickel and dime me over the price of the car. But I needed to get rid of it and the burden, before I leave town tomorrow.

Friends wanted to buy it and I was ready to just give it away, but I didn’t want to sell it or give it away to anyone I know. I don’t trust it and I didn’t want to sell or give away a problem car to someone where they will always have problems with it. My good gesture will end up bad.

I agreed to sell the car to Carvana and they were to come out yesterday to pick up the car and pay me, but they sent me an email canceling the whole thing because Carmax, the almighty Carmax, says the odometer does not match what I told Carvana it was, even though I had it verified and I sent a photo of the current odometer. How Carmax is accurate and I, the person in possession of the car, is not, I don’t know.

I finally decided to donate the car to a local charity. But I needed them to pick up the car by today. I never heard back from them to arrange the pick up. I gave them all the info over the phone and I then just waited, but I was getting antsy, so I sold the car to the service station instead, just to be done with it. And for the past few days I have picked up every strange phone number that called – all robocalls, but thinking that one might be the charity. None were.

As for my trip – I’m taking one of my usual Thanksgiving trips where I start off in Boston and then take the train down to New York. I wrote about one of the train trips in 2017 called “A delightful train ride,” where I overheard a couple of older ladies and their conversation the whole train trip – they sat behind me on the train. You can read that here.

UPDATE: After I sold the car for next to nothing, I received an email from Carmax. They corrected the error and it’s updated on their website. A day late and thousands of dollars short.

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CartoonStock

I’m proud to be a part of CartoonStock, which is a searchable cartoon archive on the internet where editors, and just about anyone, can find cartoons for their publications from newspapers, magazines, newsletters and online publications. At CartoonStock, people are buying the rights to publish the cartoons.

In 2018, CartoonStock was acquired by longtime New Yorker Cartoon Editor and Cartoonbank.com creator Bob Mankoff, and cartoon lover/philanthropist Lawrence Benenson.

Cartoons available were published in The New Yorker, Esquire, The Wall Street Journal, WIRED, National Lampoon, Barron’s, and The American Bystander, as well as online collections from The Weekly Humorist and Narrative Magazine.

“By joining CartoonStock’s talent and technology with our longtime publication connections, we’ve created the platinum level in the cartoon universe, allowing us to showcase distinguished cartoonists alongside upcoming talent with content that is hilarious, insightful, and relevant,” says Bob Mankoff.

There are curated cartoons on various subjects, or you can check out each cartoonist individually and see their work, or you can type in keywords for whatever subject you are looking for and the various cartoons pop up.

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More tourists? No thanks

So the US is now open to foreign travelers. I’m not gonna lie, I liked it without extra bodies and people.

I’ve only been to NYC since the pandemic started, and that’s a major hub for foreign travel. But the city seemed empty without all those extra people. I know the businesses welcome it, but those of us not in the travel industry are not keen on over-capacity airports and cities.

It reminds me of this guy I had an encounter with about three years ago in NY. He was British.

At one of my favorite hotels, the only complaint are the elevators. They are too slow. And one reason is that guests and the staff push all the buttons whether they are going up or down. So even if a person wants to go down, they push the up button.

One night I got in the elevator to head up to my room and the elevator stopped on another floor as I rode up. A guy gets in. Now after a week or more of this nonsense, I had to say something.

The conversation went like this:

ME: You are going up?

BRITISH TOURIST: No. Down.

ME. Then why did you push the up button?

BRITISH TOURIST: (Looking shocked at accosted by this big mouth American). What?

ME: Why did you push the up button to go down?

BRITISH TOURIST: They told me to.

ME: Who told you to? The front desk?

BRITISH TOURIST: Yes.

ME: Wait. You are telling me that the staff at the front desk told you to push the up button if you want to go down?

BRITISH TOURIST: (looking incredulous)

ME: (staring angrily at him)

BRITISH TOURIST: Look mate. How should I know, I’m from Britain.

ME: Britain? (then I shouted) AND YOU DON’T KNOW HOW TO USE A LIFT??? (I stressed the word LIFT)

His eyes were bugging out now. He jumped back like Charlie Brown at the end of the Christmas episode. And then backed away from this nut (me).

When the elevator got to my floor, all the way at the top, I got out, he called me an a-hole, and he proceeded all the way down to the lobby.

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It’s like I’m from another planet

I bought a new car the other day. I hadn’t had a new car in 16 years! What happened was, I always had cars for a few years, maybe five years the most. At one point I started leasing cars, so I had to turn them in every three years and I would then get a new car. But 16 years ago, I decided to buy a car and keep it until I ran it into the ground. And that finally happened – it is almost run into the ground.

My current car has electrical problems and with the pandemic and all, they can’t get the part or parts they need to repair it. So I panicked and I went and purchased a new car. I did try to rent a car for a week or more but again, due to the pandemic, there are no cars available to rent!

So anyway, I went to the dealership and bought a car. They said they usually have 200 cars on the lot, but now they only had 11 – pandemic again! I had to get a pre-owned car because the wait time for new cars is one year. Seriously.

I got in the car to test drive it and was lost. I couldn’t find the shift, “How do I put it in drive?” I asked. “How do I turn it off?”

It’s been so long with my current, “ancient” car that I was not up on all the new gadgets and blue tooth, etc. The new car almost looks like a cock pit. The staff at the dealership was laughing. What made them laugh more was that I didn’t take the car with me. I said I could come back the next day to pick it up. I didn’t want to wait around for it to be detailed. They couldn’t believe I would buy a car and not drive it out that day.

But that’s me. I like my old stuff. I don’t want a new tv or cell phone or computer or car, unless I am forced to get it. I am a creature of habit, as one guy at the dealership put it. Do I fear change? Maybe. I have friends who are out the first day that a new iphone is available or a new tv. But not me.

Of course I’ve been in many cars that are new and modern, but I guess I’m not paying attention to the dashboard, I’m looking out the window as others drive.

My cousin had called to say hello the other day and we were talking about my new car. He was telling me things like how the key fob works and how the Bluetooth works and things like that. It made me feel like I was a 15 year old kid learning to drive for the first time. Truth be told, my 16 year old car has a key fob and it took about 12 years for me to realize that the locks were not broken on the car, it was the key fob that made them appear to always be unlocked. I just thought I was living on the edge by not having the car locked, when I finally realized it was the fob in my pocket allowing the car to be unlocked.

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Out of chicken

This Bottom Liners cartoon by Eric and Bill Teitelbaum had me laughing because it’s so true.

The other day a friend and I went to Pollo Tropical, a chicken chain here in Miami, and they were out of chicken! They offered us pork instead. We passed.

I was telling my family about this and my nephew said the same thing happened to him at KFC, another chicken place!

This supply chain problem is really starting to affect everything it seems.

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