Saturday, December 31, 2005

The Internet is a wondrous thing at times. We are bombarded with the most useless information, yet at times it can allow us to make discoveries we could not have foreseen.

In 1975 I was divorced from my first wife. It turned messy and even though I was angry at the time I've since come to realize that the marriage was a mistake from the beginning. We were two people who had no reason to even be together except for a bizarre set of circumstances. It was doomed from the outset. After we split I only heard of her whereabouts second hand several years later. As far as I knew she simply fell off the face of the earth.

As I sometimes do when bored (and believe me New Year's Eve at the library is pretty slow) I was Googling around checking up on folks. I had not even been thinking about my ex, but decided for some reason to put both her name and that of her father into the search. Low and behold I turned something up. Sadly, it was an obit for her father who had passed away several months ago. However, it mentioned that he was survived by his daughter and son-in-law.

Sometime in the 1980s (after the last time I'd heard about her) she evidently returned to Colorado where we had lived, hooked up with one of my old co-workers and got hitched. Just as in my case it was Lucky #3 I guess as she seems still to be married.

Good luck, Betsy and Happy New Year!
This from the AP: The U.S. Justice Department is investigating who disclosed a secret domestic eavesdropping operation approved by President George W. Bush after the September 11 attacks, officials said on Friday.

Do we even want to go into the hypocracy of an administration which tried to cover up the naming of an undercover CIA operative, yet wants to lynch whatever "whistle blower" leaked this bit of information?

If I don't have a chance later today I just wanted to wish one and all a very, Happy New Year!

Stay safe and (sounding like one of those TV ads) don't drink & drive, okay.

Friday, December 30, 2005

Been lots of interesting posts in the Blogverse about whether or not His Smugness is impeachable. As much as I'd like nothing better, I don't foresee anything like that happening.

Face it, the GOP is happy the way things are and would gladly put a match to the entire Constitution if they could and still maintain power. The Dems (for the most part) are seat fillers with no courage whatsoever, so don't expect them to rock the boat (which keeps them as rich & dull as their friends across the aisle).

As I said weeks ago, if a Democrat was doing something like this the Republicans would be in the streets with torches, tar & feathers. GW thinks he's above the law, flaunts it and they'll happily put his face on Mount Rushmore.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Last weekend, Donna and I finally had the opportunity to catch the last two episodes of ANGELS IN AMERICA. Unfortunately, we didn't know the show was on until it was too late to catch earlier segments. We were impressed enough by what we saw to want to eventually see the entire mini-series.

It's obvious why the show received so many nominations and awards. Al Pacino and Meryl Streep were both outstanding and the rest of the cast can be proud of their performances.
You don't see enough of Emma Thompson in these segments to judge her performance, although she does make a pretty imposing angel. (Just an aside: I don't think the body double they used for the scene with Mary-Louise Parker really worked. You could have done the scene without a stunt tush, simply having Parker herself shown opening a robe from the back. To me is seemed a bit of cheap titilation.)

Playwright Tony Kushner adapted his Pulitzer winning play for the small screen and it is amazing. Kushner was one of the speakers at Kristina's college graduation and he is just as funny and political as you could guess.

I don't have anything to add to what others have said about the series, but can only add my own recommendation (again based solely on the final two installments). I don't doubt the first four are just as incredible.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Hope that Santa was good to everyone. Mrs. Claus gave me a new Sony Walkman to replace the one that finally died on me. I get looks from folks and even a few comments as I seem to be the last person riding the subway listening to cassettes. I haven't moved up to a portable CD player, yet alone MP3. As Elayne will vouch I have dozens of tapes, both music and Old Time Radio that I can't part with.

We spent part of the holiday with Donna's family and I had way too much food. It's strange stuffing myself with pasta and fish dishes, having grown up in a family that kept to the traditional Christmas turkey. The idea was to have only recently finished off the frozen remains of the Thanksgiving feast and to make the X-mas bird last into the New Year. If you've ever seen A CHRISTMAS STORY (one of my Top Five favorite movies) you'll get some idea of how important that turkey was in the Chaput household.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Made it here safe & sound this morning, with hardly a ripple. Maybe it was the 'holiday spirit' or just folks happy to be riding again, but a couple of folks actually moved over to make room for me to sit down this morning!

Hat's off to the TWU members who are back to work and doing a great job, as far as I can tell.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Setting suns before they fall
Echo to you that’s all, that’s all
But you’ll see lonely sunsets after all
It’s over, it’s over, it’s over It’s over
Thanks to Mr. Roy Orbison for that!
Well, it seems that we can pack up our stuff here at BPL and head across the Williamsburg Bridge tomorrow morning. I have no clue what that first commute following the strike will be like, but I have a feeling that I'm not going to find a seat. On top of that, the "M" isn't the most reliable line to begin with and it's the only one running out to Ridgewood. I'll check in Friday morning and let you know how things went.
Good luck to all those who still have that nightmare commute this evening.
(Dons his dark glasses for one more chorus....)
"It's over, it's over...It's ooooooooooooooverrrrrrrrrrrrr!!!"
By the time I post this things may have already changed, but at 1:00pm today it looks like the TWU will request its members return to work and the strike is all but over. Tomorrow will still probably be a nightmare on buses and trains, but at least they'll be moving.

I place most of the blame on the MTA for pushing the union into this, but there is plenty blame to go around.

Fingers crossed things will return to normal and I can get back to Queens on Friday.
Day Three and the jokes getting old real fast! Hopefully, both sides will finally cool down long enough to stop the name calling and negotiate a deal. It would be nice to get back to my own branch, although the folks here at McKinley Park couldn't be nicer.

I'm going to say something negative about the Queens system, so if you work there look away.

I don't know how New York Public is handling the situation, but it seems to me that Brooklyn Public Library is going about this in the best manner. They are having all the branches open & close at the same time (10:00am - 5:00pm weekdays) enabling staff to be able to get home at a decent hour. Queens on the other hand is expecting to continue with regular service hours. This may be fine for patrons, but hardly fair to those staff (especially from other systems) who made it their priority to report. It's difficult enough getting around during the strike without having folks leaving at 8:00pm to walk back to wherever they live.

Just my two cents as usual!

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

"Yow! Are we having fun yet?"

The second day of the transit strike is beginning much the same as yesterday. I'm still here at McKinley Park and have a strange feeling that tomorrow won't be much different. If this keeps up I may find myself driving into Queens on Saturday just to see if Ridgewood is still standing.

I actually feel rather guilty as I do have work that should be done and here I am pretty much goofing off. The library here is pretty quiet until the kids get out of school in the afternoon. Time for blogging and net surfing while being paid the Big Bucks we civil servants pull in. :-)

Hope that both sides will come to some sort of agreement so that things return to normal by Friday, if not sooner. My heart is with the TWU (local and not the International, which seems to be turning on the strikers for whatever short term goals it seeks for itself), but I don't know how much longer the average New Yorker will feel that way.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Well, we're at the beginning of a transit strike here in NYC today. The MTA and the Transit Worker's Union couldn't come to an agreement so early this morning the union leadership voted (not unanimously by the way) to go out. The union made concessions but apparently it wasn't enough for the suits put in place by Pataki. As you can imagine things are pretty messed up on the highways and especially in Manhattan.

I grew up in a family that was very strongly union. I had a couple of uncles who were shop stewards and one later a state legislator (Democrat, natch!). Years ago I was fired for attending a meeting of a group discussing the formation of a 'grievance committee', which further radicalized me. I have spent time protesting in front of management events and attended my share of union rallies since becoming a member of DC37/AFSCME, back in 1986. Sadly, we're seeing most of the mainstream media pushing a pro-MTA message and looking for the usual disgruntled drivers to say things against the strikers. Big surprise, huh?

I hope that this strike doesn't last more than a day or so, as I really would like to be working at my own library. As I've said we're in the middle of a major renovation and there's a lot to be done and organized before our reopening in February. Fingers crossed my brothers & sisters in the TWU get what they deserve!

Union forever!

Monday, December 19, 2005

I didn't listen to His Smugness last night, but the media has pretty much given me the high (or low) points, so I obviously didn't miss much.
The "Strategy for Victory" seems to be telling the American public over and over that we can't expect victory unless we stay in Iraq. If we leave now "the terrorists have won." The intelligence was bad, he accepts responsibility but he'd do it again. He's beginning to resemble the impersonation that Dana Carvey used to do of his father. "Stay the course!"

In other words, there's nothing new to report, except that our government has the 'Constitutional' right to listen in on domestic phone calls. Only if one person on the line is suspected of being a terrorist, supporting terrorism or being a member of an organization which supports terrorism. Is there a list of those organizations? Does it resemble the list of about a hundred groups that I had to claim not to be a member of back when I first joined the Navy? Those were groups suspected of advocating the violent overthrow of the American government.

I think I ended up joining or donating money to several of them during the the Vietnam era. My bad!

Not sure from where or if I'll be posting tomorrow, since if there's a transit strike I'm not going to be working here in Queens. I've signed up to work a few blocks from home in a Brooklyn library where I worked on & off about a decade ago.

To be honest, I'm not really sure whether I'd enjoy a strike for a day or two or not. :-)

Friday, December 16, 2005

This past week two radio shows, both of which I’m a fan, are going off the air. Both Air America’s MORNING SEDITION and Howard Stern’s radio show are leaving the airwaves. I don’t know what I’m going to listen during my morning commute now.

I began listening to Mark Riley and Marc Maron from their first broadcasts last year. Sadly, the Powers That Be at Air America feel that they must make some changes and this is one of them. Mark Riley, who has been around NY radio for years, will still be on but I’m going to miss the sketches, characters and general zaniness that he and Maron would get into. Sure, they were doing a progressive take on the “Morning Zoo” type of show, but they were really good at it.

Marc & Mark, along with Al Franken, actually made us believe that John Kerry would win last year. Now they were keeping the Bush Admin’s feet to the fire as things began going wrong for G.W. & Co. Even without MORNING SEDITION, Air America Radio is a comfort to my liberal heart and soul.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

I'm always amused by the decisions that folks in administration make. (In this case we're talking about Queens Library admin, not those folks down in DC.) Neighborhood libraries, like banks belonging to larger mega-banks, are generally referred to as 'branches'. It has been decided that this has some type of negative stigma so from now on those neighborhood libraries will be called "community libraries", thus letting the patrons (who must be called customers now) that we're here to serve their needs. I'm sure there was some type of focus group and highly paid researchers involved along the way, but that's out of my league.

Anyway, the reason I bring this up is that my title is not Branch Library Manager, but rather Community Library Manager. You can now just call, CLM! I couldn't be happier!

Monday, December 12, 2005

I appear to have survived my first day as the new Community Library Manager. People keep asking me if I'm excited, but my only response is that I'm more overwhelmed than anything else.

Despite doing this type of thing for years now, this is the first time that I've been the head honcho at a branch. Did the 'acting' manager thing in Brooklyn, but the place was half this size and we weren't in the middle of renovations and other major changes.

Wish me luck!

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Like a number of progressives who lived in Connecticut, the junior Senator was never a particular favorite. Joe Lieberman has always resembled a moderate Republican more than a 'real' Democrat in my book. As time's gone by I think more and more folks are beginning to agree. He and others like him (by which I mean Dems in name only) have pushed the Party more and more towards being a watered down GOP.

With this in mind you can imagine my delight when I heard that Former Gov. & Senator Lowell P. Weicker Jr. is considering a bid to unseat Lieberman. Then Senator Weicker was the commencement speaker when I received my Assoc. of Science degree from Three Rivers (then Mohegan Community) College. He is also the only Republican I have ever voted for for state-wide office in my thirty plus years of voting. Fingers crossed the people of Connecticut remember just how good he was and return him to D.C. where we can certainly use him.
Next week is going to be pretty crazy, so I don't know if I'll be posting much or at all.

Not only am I going to hit the 55 mark, but I'll be starting my new job as Branch Library Manager. The job worries me more than getting older, since the fact that I made it past the Big 5*0 amazes me.

Hell, when I was much younger I never expected to see twenty-five! Looking back at some of the stupid and dangerouss things I did I probably should haven't gotten this far.

Petty Officer Steve says, "Don't throw live ammunition into the campfire, shipmates! It can cause nasty physical harm or worse. Remember, being drunk on Jack Daniels & beer doesn't exuse poor camping skills."

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

The city was lucky to have dodged a major snow fall today, although I personally was up at 6:15am shoveling off the steps and front sidewalk. This is twice I have to do this in the past five days and it's not even the middle of December. I expect to finally get around to using the snow blower we got last year before all things are said and done.

Monday, December 05, 2005

It seems that the MTA is going to force us all to be nicer on the subways & buses, whether we want to or not. Personally, I'd love to have folks stop putting their feet up on the seats, or laying down across two or more. Then again, I'd love to have Storm Troopers smacking around anybody who feels I want to hear them singing or playing musical instruments on the N & R after I've been working all day. But that's just me....

At least they appear to have backed away from stopping us from drinking coffee. I think they feared a physical revolt from those of us addicted to caffeinated beverages in the AM.
I sometimes think that it's only the availability of coffee & tea that keeps some of us from jumping our fellow passengers. That's my reason anyway!

Friday, December 02, 2005

Before I forget I just want to wish Elayne Riggs a very happy b-day! Also, best wishes to all the other December Sagitarians like us with birthdays around the holidays.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

It happened. Jennifer Garner and Ben Affleck are welcoming the arrival of their baby daughter. Born earlier tonight and named Violet.

Show of hands. How many of us were hoping for Elektra?

Also, I was saddened to hear of the death of actress Wendie Jo Sperber. Ms. Sperber is probably best known for playing Michael J. Fox's sister in theBACK TO THE FUTURE films and earlier for appearing in television program, BOSOM BUDDIES which starred a young Tom Hanks. Sperber fought a battle with breast cancer for the last eight years.