Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The Pan Am Building

The Pan Am Building
(please ignore the "Met Life" sign on the picture: everyone knows its really the Pan Am Building.)

I am listening to the Bower Boys lately. They do podcasts about New York history. They recite history, nostalgic anecdotes and opinions (heavy,  in a campy style) about events,  neighborhoods, gangs and also they often pick a famous building. 

I am enjoying these because I was born in Long Island, (Rockville Centre, note the 're' at the end please) and my father worked in the city. 

Yes, he worked in the Pan Am building, for Westinghouse. Westinghouse Electric (I believe) which is not the refrigerator division, but the Energy Generation engineering specialists. 

I like to say that my dad built nuclear generators in Japan and India. This was back in the early sixties, mind you.

But I digress.  The Pan Am building has a great history and the Bowery Boys do a great job of describing it. 

But I just remember going to NY city for the company Christmas party.  (I do not recall if it was once, twice or five times. I just remember it. ) I remember the long escalators. I remember Grand Central. I remember the odd, multi key calculator (probably a slide ruler mechanism; my dad had a bunch of slide rulers).  But I also remember that it had low ceilings. Pretty amazing for a 7 or 8 year old, which I suppose was my age when I visited. 

Its interesting that even though I moved to Seattle in 75, and then returned to NYC for 2 and a half years to work on Wall Street, that I don't remember experiencing any nostalgia for the Pan Am building. (But that is probably very uninteresting for any reader that has landed on the blog of a guy whose dad worked in NY. )

My point is that I do remember visiting; I remember watching the TV show "That Girl" where she has some visit to the helicopter pad which runs in the beginning credits (I think); I remember that it blocks Park Avenue; and I remember that it is above Grand Central. 

I guess that's it. But its important that I associate it with my Dad, his commute to the city, and its a symbol of the 1960s, white shirt, thin black tie, workforce, and my childhood. 


Thursday, April 16, 2009

Texans for Kinky

Texans for Kinky - P.O. Box 92153 - Austin, TX 78709 - http://www.texansforkinky.com/ - http://www.kinkyfriedman.com/
Political ad paid for by Texans for Kinky, Abel Dominguez, Treasurer

Dear Fellow Texans:

Here's the way I see it: Democrats + Independents = Victory

I was serious when I ran for governor in 2006
and I'm serious now. I am a humorist, but I know these are not humorous
times for a lot of us. Part of the reason is the pathetic lack of
leadership at the state level. The last governor, I believe, who was
truly on the side of the people of Texas, was Ann Richards. She was a
very funny lady - she was also a great governor. I'll take my cues from
Ann Richards

I also draw inspiration from Ann Richards' mentor, Barbara
Jordan. Barbara believed that if one is attacked personally, one should
never counterattack personally. During the 2006 campaign I was attacked
personally. However, like Barbara Jordan, I have no desire to attack
anyone personally. Instead, like Barbara, I will merely relegate them
to my "forgive and remember list."

But I do not wish to fight yesterday's campaign again. Today, I
have taken the first step toward running for Governor in 2010 by
forming "Texans for Kinky," a committee to help with research and
raising the funds necessary to launch a successful campaign. Now is the
time to win. I'm running in the Democratic Primary because my heroes
have always been Democrats: Sam Houston, Sam Rayburn, Henry B.
Gonzales, Ralph Yarborough, Barbara Jordan, Ann Richards, Liz
Carpenter, Jim Hightower and Molly Ivins. Their spirit is part of the
reason the Democratic Party is transforming itself into a more
progressive, populist mode - like the Democratic Party that dominated
the past century. It is a party that, at its best, always stood up for
the people against the special interests and big corporations. The men
and women I have mentioned as my heroes have done just that. And we can
do it, too.

It's time to end corporate handouts, get rid of the death
penalty, get rid of the TAKS Test, and get rid of the Republican
stranglehold on this state. Jim Hightower told me he believes the main
reason we've lost every statewide race since Ann Richards is the
inability of our candidates to excite the grassroots. Jim is talking
about rural folks, working people, independents, libertarians and even
disgruntled Republicans (many of whom used to be Democrats and should
be on our side).

I intend to run a serious campaign, one that grows the party. I
intend to visit and listen to the voices of neglected communities,
small towns, suburbs, and rural areas, often where Democrats have
lately feared to tread. This, I feel, is the very definition of being a
Democrat. I intend to play by the rules. I will endorse and campaign
for whomever wins the Democratic Primary.

Will the independents support me and vote as Democrats? I think
they will. I think many Texans appreciate and respect anyone who gets
knocked down and gets back up to fight again. Will Democrats take me
seriously? I think they will. When Barbara Jordan, who may well be
Texas' only modern-day statesman, was a young girl, she was never very
serious in school. The teachers reported to her father (Ben Jordan, a
very strict part-time preacher), that though she was the smartest kid
in the class, she was a perpetual cut-up, a troublemaker and a class
clown. When Ben had finally had enough of Barbara's antics, instead of
reprimanding her with his customary fire and brimstone iron-hand style,
he tried a different approach. "Barbara," he said, "I'll stick with you
just as far as you want to go." That turned her around, and the rest is
truly history.

So I say to Democrats who may not yet take me seriously, I'll
stick with you just as far as you want to go. If we stick together
we'll go very far indeed. All the way to the Governor's Mansion!

God Bless Texas,

Kinky Friedman

Kinky Friedman

PS: Please show me you're serious about Texas' future too by making a campaign contribution now to Texans for Kinky.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

United Is Watching Its Weight

A friend linked to this article about Fat united passengers being charged more.

Some details were amusing. Like if the passenger does not fit in a seat easily, they might be forced to take the next flight.

My favorite is this one.
Couples flying together who can fit in adjoining seats are exempted "unless one of them complains," a United spokesperson said.

My question is , what if the wife is always complaining. heh.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Obama: From Prague With Sincerity?

Wife and I are watching Obama speech not two miles from castle, but
from the couch on BBC. Wife is amazed at the telephoto lens ability to
juxtapose a church that is far away. I am amazed that he can be
falsely sincere like Bill Clinton.

Sent from my mobile device

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Sundance with Isabella Rossellini

This has got to be the Best Thing I have found on the web in months, and its probably been around for ages. Isabella Rossellini.

via Earthfirst.com