After our adventures in the Bronx and Flushing, we were really looking forward to getting together with my cousin Lenny and his family for dinner. Remember, this all happened the same day, and boy, were we hungry!

Driving to Lenny’s also let me take Steven on the fabled Long Island Expressway, where I still remembered specific bumps and pavement mismatches from over 40 years ago. When you ride a motorcycle, you learn every last one!

Continue reading

The Alley

After our whirlwind tour of the Bronx, we headed over to the Cloisters to meet Steven’s friend Shoshanna (a web developer whose husband is studying to be a rabbi), but some communications got snarfed and they were closing early, so we took some pictures inside and outside the building and met her at the subway stop. Then I drove her to her building in Washington Heights and we all talked about this and that until it was time to head back to Flushing.

Continue reading

Looking down the city steps

Previous: So Two Fiedlers Walk Into a Bar…

I’m going to leave our trip and arrival the first Tuesday (June 2) out of this for now, because I want to start getting to the good stuff (the pictures, for those of you who weren’t actually there). And since we rented a car in Flushing, we actually drove around Flushing first, but let’s pretend we didn’t so we can retrace my steps in chronological order. And when I say “my steps”, I mean “my first baby steps”, because the Bronx is where I was born and grew up until high school.

Continue reading

Steven and David at McSorley's (photo by Bruce Applebaum)

This was the premise: take my youngest son Steven all the way to New York City to drink at McSorley’s, arguably the oldest Irish bar in New York and most definitely the “house bar” of Cooper Union, where I once spent a little less than two years until I was very politely kicked out (from the school, not the bar).

It does seem a bit ironically extravagant for a mostly retired guy who hardly even drinks nowadays, except that (a) Steven just turned 21 (b) he just graduated from Folsom Lake College and (c) I just got a nice affiliate commission payment from one of the websites I manage. So I actually had both a good reason and some money for once.

I had a few other things I wanted to do there, mainly introduce Steven to some friends and family members he’s never met, and show him around the parts of New York that I grew up and spent a lot of time in. We had 8 days of fun, adventure, and excitement prowling the streets and subways. Now that we’re safely back, I’m trying to get all the photos processed and the blog posts written in the next week or two (we’ve both been a bit wiped out by all this). So please follow along!

Steven and David at McSorley's
We made it!

Note: as always, remember to click on the photo to see a larger version or go into slideshow mode.

Well, folks, they’ve finally done it. They’ve destroyed the Internet.

Everything us techies have been saying for years has been proven. We haven’t been paranoid at all, and our worst fears are true. The US government (with the collusion of the UK too) has been planting backdoors in software for years, and they can now decrypt virtually everything. You know those https links that you rely on for “security”? Bullshit.

Oh sure, it’s still running and everything. But this means that every email you ever read, every SMS message you ever wrote, every picture you sent privately, every purchase you made with your credit card — as well as your credit card information, your personal information, your Social Security number and all your private medical information — has been compromised. The NSA now has something on everyone, and if it’s true that the average American commits three felonies a day just by accident then they can blackmail or jail almost anyone they want with the information at their disposal.

All those people who claimed all these years with their big flapping mouths “Well, I have nothing to hide, so I don’t mind” are morally to blame for this too. I hope all their most private lives get blasted all over Facebook for their friends to giggle over and perfect strangers to scam and threaten them over. I’m sick of them.

Here’s the worst part, somewhat buried in this great article on the Guardian, and BTW I would like to nominate Glenn Greenwald for the Pulitzer Prize (and Edward Snowden for some sort of world prize as well):

The NSA describes strong decryption programs as the “price of admission for the US to maintain unrestricted access to and use of cyberspace”.

What that means is that the US Government doesn’t actually believe in a free Internet at all. They only allow you to think you’re free because they have been secretly controlling it all along.

So, they’re no better than the Chinese government, which censors its citizens openly. In a way they’re worse, because they let you say whatever you want, and then they can come back later and make you pay for it.

No wonder Homeland Security wanted all those bullets.

Update: Bruce Schneier has said this more eloquently in many more words.

Last night Susan and I went to an awesome concert at Three Stages in Folsom featuring BeauSoleil Quartet avec Michael Doucet and Tom Rigney & Flambeau.

I just can’t tell you how awesome this was. I haven’t heard much Cajun or Zydeco music since my last trip to New Orleans (about 15 years ago…how time flies…) and even so, I never would have expected anything this good. These two world-class bands were just amazing.

Michael Doucet not only played up a storm, but also told interesting stories about many of the tunes (while looking a bit like a tall Cajun Santa Claus). Tom Rigney gave a good impression of a mad Cajun leprechaun onstage. Any member of his band Flambeau would be comfortably accepted in any blues band I’ve ever seen.

The best part is that you don’t have to be into Zydeco, Cajun or even blues to dig these guys with their perfect mix of high energy and mellowed-out musicianship, perfected to the last note. Just don’t miss either one if they’re anywhere near you!

So thanks okay and then banks and bankers in the Wall Street Journal 1% at the stealing from the people of the world for years either by inflation body out and out fraud by currency manipulation by all kinds of measures and laws and loopholes and regulations designed to make themselves richer and they don’t care who they hurt because they think they’re entitled to everything as a result we have the inequality of a very tiny number of people holding a huge percentage of the wealth of the world and this has led to occupy Wall Street and all movements that just sprung out of people’s being just sick and tired of being treated this way and media which is obviously owned by the powers that be around the world by definition the media is quick to portray these people as APs professional agitators no goods in general criminals outcasts homeless mentally ill anything but the real truth that everyone is sick of them you don’t have to be mentally ill to see what’s going on but you have to be pretty fighting stupid to ignore it and that’s what they do by trying to manipulate our minds with the bread and circuses of the TV the Jersey shore that desperate housewives the so-called reality shows the the football of extravaganzas whether it’s American football with the insane have times of the Super Bowl where if they had God coming he would be probably third in the lineup or the insane rivalries of European soccer where you have people killed en masse in to regularly in riots and who in his time and so on yet we have the occasional movie shooting button they regularly outdo us whose problem mass deaths at soccer games so it’s a case of culture know maybe some cultures just toxic not movies per se something about those beliefs look at Batman Batman yet it was a comic book but it was supposed to be a comic book it started off as a comic book and the TV show in the 60s was a comic book but then they decided oh we want to have more and more and more and you had the blizzard 1987 Batman weeks of Jack Nicholson as the Joker who was very very disturbing fellow and you have the so-called reboot with the dark Knight series which got far more disturbing far more violent far more sickening and where does it stop where is the glorification of Gulf Islands and it has nothing to do with guns or knives or pencils per se it’s just violence it’s mindless sickening bloody violence and there’s a certain mentally defective kind of person that likes this sort of thing and those people should be watched and put away if they are seen to be dangerous but that doesn’t mean the rest of us have to be governed by their actions when a madman kills people with a gun and a legislator says will this means we have to get rid of guns that means that the madman is driving the legislation do we really want crazy people writing our legislation do we want the actions of lunatics governing what we do if one person puts a common issue everybody has to take their shoes off one of the next person puts a bomb up the mess hall are we going to have to spread our cheeks for TSA to get on an airplane

As someone who has been observing the medical marijuana movement, I experienced a sort of “bong hit of irony” when I saw the headline “Obama Creates Jobs Program For Illegals” on the Drudge Report yesterday. It wasn’t just due to the fact that Obama’s administration has been running around closing and prosecuting well-run, state-legal medical marijuana facilities (after their explicit announcement to the contrary), but because of Obama’s often-repeated hand-wringing to the effect that he couldn’t personally change the status of marijuana, because that’s a job for Congress.

Well, Obama just did just that, by exercising “prosecutorial discretion” in an announcement that certain illegal immigrants would no longer be deported, but allowed to stay here and even work legally. Reason magazine reasonably asked Why can Obama bend the law for young immigrants, but not for drug users? To me, it’s not “drug users” that need protection, but legitimate medical patients who just happen to need cannabis for their particular illness. Do we demonize people who are unlucky enough to need opiates to kill their horrific pain?

So, President Obama, if you really want to help law-abiding Americans with jobs, why not do something to protect the hard-working, law-abiding Americans who happen to need legal medical cannabis to treat their conditions from losing their jobs, simply for testing positive for the harmless substance they already acknowledge to be taking? It’s not like anyone is deliberately contracting cancer, AIDS, depression, Multiple Sclerosis, PTSD, Crohn’s, etc. just so they can smoke a joint.

I said it almost 15 years ago, and now it’s gotten worse.

Back then it was Bill Clinton being hailed by idiots far and wide as “the first black president”, even though he was patently not black and barely acting presidential.

Now, Newsweek — a once-respected publication that was recently sold for the princely sum of $1 — has published a cover on which Barack Obama is touted as “the first gay president”, apparently based solely on his new, “sort-of-favoring-gay-marriage” political position.

I rest my case.

Unless, of course, BHO is planning to admit to all those gay rumors that have been swirling about for years…

Update: The Atlantic has gone this story one better, pointing out how Obama has even been called “The First Jewish President”, “The First Female President”, and a host of other stupidisms. And they reminded me that it was Tina Brown who was the editor of The New Yorker when a writer in that publication called Clinton “the first black president” (and is the current editor of Newsweek). Sorry, I don’t generally follow the careers of people like that (rich, entitled liberals).