From skyline to brick wall

My first couple of days in New York sort of suck. But things are better now. I got to see the 30th season premiere episode of The Amazing Race today, and that was a lot of fun. I took a little film of that, you can see that below.

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This is the usual view from my favorite hotel in NYC, the Affinia Dumont, which is now closed and turning into condos. I pay for this view, but it’s worth it.

But to start out, I have this favorite hotel in New York, the Affinia Dumont, where the views are spectacular, you think you are living in a postcard. It’s amazing.

Well, after all these years, they were sold and  becoming condos, the Murry Hill Marquis, so the hotel company put me at another one of their Affinias up the street, the Shelburne. I stayed there once, and didn’t like it, but figured what the hell, it can’t be that bad.

It is.

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This was my view when they changed me from the Affinia Dumont to the Affinia Shelburne.

They gave me a room facing a brick wall. You can see it here! Then they charged me $25 a day for “incidentals,” like wine at the wine bar, $10 worth of things at the gift shop, internet, etc. I’m here 10 days, do the math. I would only use the internet, and possibly the gift shop for a bottle of water and maybe the newspapers. I don’t drink wine, and I don’t mix with total strangers and free wine socials at hotels.

I asked for them not to charge me the $25 and they said that’s the way it is. I could do nothing about it. This was one of the managers who said this to me. Basically, that’s tough, you’re stuck with the bill. Then I asked to change my room from the dungeon that it is and I was told there were no other rooms! The two little bitches at the front desk were quite rude. The manager literally told me that they stuck me in the dungeon room because they wanted to give me an inside room which is more quiet and preferred. I guess she thought I was a mental patient, who need to calm my nerves.

The coup de gras was the next morning when I got stuck in the elevator! A couple from England and I got stuck. This changed everything. I’m not sure why, because it wasn’t long and I didn’t complain, that sort of thing doesn’t phase me, but they were now falling all over themselves at the front desk, the manager called me, he removed some of my $25 “incidental” charges and they moved me to a room with a view. There is sunlight coming in the window as we speak!

The hotel is surley and not friendly, I asked one of the ladies from housekeeping if I could have a bar of soap, Her response – “Call 64 and they’ll bring you the soap.” In quality hotels, she would have brought me the soap herself when she had a chance.

Anyway, I went to Washington Square Park at about noon for the filming of season 30 of The Amazing Race. There were quite a few reality starts there like Cody and Jessica from the recent Big Brother season which only ended a few weeks ago, that was quite fast signing them up. It was fun to watch, Phil Keoghan is a really nice guy, you’ll see in the film below that he approached a little boy, about four years old, who has a sign that says he wants to be on The Amazing Race. Phil is cracking up. He asked the little boy how he know about the show at such a young age.

I think this will show this winter, probably February. They had the little boy’s mother sign a release, so I guess that interaction will be on tv.

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It’s a Down Under thing

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I’m always fascinated with Australia and New Zealand, I don’t know why but I enjoy a lot of tv based there. I am currently watching the new series, The Real Housewives of Aukland. No, don’t laugh, it’s a real show. And I enjoy The Real Housewives of Melbourne, too. I love how they talk.

I also like Doctor Blake Mysteries, which was recently canceled, not sure why, it’s an excellent show, Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries and A Place to Call Home. These shows are period pieces that take place in Australia, Dr. Blake and A Place to Call Home take place around 1954 and Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries takes place in the 1920s, she’s a rich flapper who solves murders with the police. Sort of a younger Murder She Wrote in a different era.

And I came upon a funny comic strip called Bushscrubs by cartoonist Vince Steele, who lives in Tasmania of all places. Tasmania!

The strip is hilarious. Vince describes the strip as “An Australian comic strip. Meet the Bushscrubs as Gazza and his dog, Benny, live the dream by running a camping ground out in the middle of nowhere.”

Vince posts the strips on Facebook here, where I usually see them.

The top sample here is really funny, it’s been a continuation of Trevor, this bird, who somehow managed to get into ladies clothing and ended up on a tour bus. The tour guide keeps calling him Doris. The credit card went through because they needed voice recognition and for some reason, Trevor’s squawk into the phone did the trick and he has full access to everything on the tour.

 

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Now all they need is tinfoil

tvI read a funny story in the SF Gate, which originated in the WSJ. It isn’t supposed to be funny, but it is.  The headline says it all: Millennials Unearth an Amazing Hack to Get Free TV: the Antenna.

I thought tv antennas would go on the list of Things From the Past, but maybe not. Remember using tinfoil to help with the signal? Next thing you know, these Millennials will be into black and white tv and maybe getting up to turn the channels.

Am I dating myself?

Martin Landau, cartoonist?

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Martin Landau at the NY Daily News. Courtesy of Daily News

As you may have heard, actor Martin Landau passed away this past weekend, he was 89. I always remember Martin from the Mission Impossible tv series. I remember watching it Sunday nights. I never really understood it, but I watched it, I guess to prolong the weekend.

I was surprised to learn that Martin was a cartoonist for the New York Daily News in the 1940s, before he became an actor. Mike Lynch has a lot about this in his blog today.

Martin: “I did that [cartooning] professionally, actually. I mean, I started on The New York Daily News as a kid when I was 17 years old, as a cartoonist and illustrator, and I was being groomed to be the theatrical caricaturist. And I know if I got that job, I’d never quit. So I quit.

Sending up the Bat-Signal

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Courtesy CBS

Los Angeles is lighting the Bat-Signal tonight (June 15) in honor or Adam West’s passing.  Mayor Eric Garcetti will light the signal at a special ceremony at 7:30 pacific time.

The signal will be shown from City Hall. The signal will be projected on LA City Hall.

Batman has always been a part of my life it seems. In the 1980s, while lying on the beach I used to think of Batman. What happened was that a friend of mine had fantasies of buying the shuttered St. Moritz Hotel in South Beach, which is part of the Lowes Hotel at 16th and Collins Avenue. Back in the 1980s, 16th Street was open, it was a street now it’s part of the Loews property. I would park there and lay out on the beach at the water’s edge, but with the St. Moritz hotel in the distance.

As I would lay on the beach, I would imagine that my friend Franco needed me to run the front desk or something, and he would send up a Bat-signal type thing from the roof to alert me. The way he would alert me was a little more rudimentary.  There was tinfoil on the two very top windows and when he needed me, he would open and shut the windows and flash the tinfoil into the sunlight, which would send a sort of Bat-signal up and then I would know I was needed to get inside to work.

A time before cellphones. 🙂