News for the Week of Nov. 2, 2007

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Nov 022007

Fatalities in N.C. Beach FireThe New York Times
Fire engulfed a beach house at Ocean Isle Beach, North Carolina early Sunday morning. Ocean Isle is about 30 miles north of Myrtle Beach, S.C. It is unclear how many people were in the house, but the reports it was college students possibly from the University of South Carolina. Approximately six were taken to the hospital, but there were deaths from the fire.

UPDATE: It now appears about six people were injured and seven died in the fire. They were mostly USC and Clemson students.

Happy Birthday to the NYC Subway SystemSlate
This past weekend marked the 103rd anniversary of the opening of the New York City Subway system. It’s now the largest subway system in the world.

Couple Arrested for DUI – Dayton Daily News
A Michigan was stopped and given a prelimary breath test which Police said read above the 0.08 limit. He had his 12 year old son in the car, so police told him to call his mother to come pick him. She arrived with the couple’s 9 year old daughter in the car, and was found to be drunk herself.

Dog Shoots HunterDayton Daily News
James Harris of Tama, Iowa was shot by his dog on opening day of Pheasant season. Harris was hunting with a group, and a bird was shot. He laid his gun on the ground to climb a fence to get the bird, and his dog stepped on the gun, causing it to discharge and put 100-140 pellets into Harris’ calf. I wonder if there’s any chance of getting this dog on any of Dick Cheney’s hunting trips?

The Sky Falls In OhioPlanetout News
Either the sky is falling or hell has frozen, but an out gay person has been appointed as a judge in Ohio. A former Dayton city commissioner is Ohio’s first openly gay judge after being appointed by Gov. Ted Strickland, the Washington Blade reported. Mary Wiseman is replacing Common Pleas Court Judge John Kessler, who retires Wednesday.

News Roundup for The Week Ending October 28, 2007

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Oct 272007

Elephants Electrocuted in Drunken RampageMSNBC
That scrolled by on my news ticker, so how could you now click and read a story with that headline. It happened in India where elephants apparently have a taste for a rice beer brewed by local villagers. In this case, six elephants got into the drums of fermenting beer, got drunk and went on a rampage. They were eventually electrocuted when one of them knocked down a power line pole.

Citrus County Florida Necrophilia Plot
According to the report, a man in St. Petersburg had struck up an online friendship with a man in Citrus Springs. Eventually, Kevin Wade Daley asked the St. Pete man to help him kill someone so he could have sex with the victim. He’d targeted a handyman that worked in the neighborhood.

Trash to TreasureDayton Daily News
It’s the classic story of someone out for a daily walk in NYC and finding an interesting painting put out as trash. Turns out it’s an important work by Rufino Tamayo stolen in 1987. It’s been returned to the original owner, and will be auctioned at Sotheby’s, and could bring as much as $1 million. No word on whether the person that found gets a cut.

Planes, Trains, Automobiles, Buses, Boats and Taxis

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Aug 082007

NYC from Jersey City at Night Wow! Did a recent business trip to New York City turn into a bit of an adventure. We had a meeting in town, and I’d found what I thought was a reasonably priced hotel one block from the meeting site. The boss went on Priceline, and found rooms in Jersey City for $125. It was a Hyatt, and a nice place.Of course it also meant getting there from La Guardia. He’d planned to pick me up, but traffic getting back into the City on a Sunday evening in the Summer is as bad as any weekday rush hour. He didn’t make it, so I had to get a limo to Jersey City. Got in at 10pm to the airport, and it took nearly 2 hours to get to the hotel.

The next day, being that we were on the water, we decided to take the Water Taxi across the river. Then there was a bus that took us to the subway stop….subway to station near the meeting location. After the meeting, it was a taxi to La Guardia, and a plane home to Tampa. So between Sunday and Monday this week, I think I was on just about every form of transportation available.

Apr 252007

As one friend noted, I’m doing the rock star tour. I am headed to Pittsburgh this morning, and will fly into Reston, VA tonight for some meetings at our headquarters tomorrow. Tomorrow night I fly to New York City for a software user conference Friday. Finally home tomorrow night. I was going to purchase an upgrade for this flight to Pittsburgh. The system messed up and didn’t take my credit card, and he couldn’t backup, so he just issued the upgrade. I can live with that.

Bullets Over Broadway

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Jun 242004

Bullets Over Broadway (1994)

Set in 1920’s New York City, this movie tells the story of idealistic young playwright David Shayne. Producer Julian Marx finally finds funding for the project from gangster Nick Valenti. The catch is that Nick’s girl friend Olive Neal gets the part of a psychiatrist, and Olive is a bimbo who could never pass for a psychiatrist as well as being a dreadful actress. Agreeing to this first compromise is the first step to Broadway’s complete seduction of David, who neglects longtime girl friend Ellen. Meanwhile David puts up with Warner Purcell, the leading man who is a compulsive eater, Helen Sinclair, the grand dame who wants her part jazzed up, and Cheech, Olive’s interfering hitman / bodyguard. Eventually, the playwright must decide whether art or life is more important.

Directed by
Woody Allen

Comedy, Romance, Crime

John Cusack, Dianne Wiest, Jennifer Tilly, Chazz Palminteri, Mary-Louise Parker, Jack Warden, Joe Viterelli, Rob Reiner, Tracey Ullman, Jim Broadbent, Harvey Fierstein, Stacy Nelkin, Malgorzata Zajaczkowska, Charles Cragin, Nina Sonja Peterson

A Woody Allen written and directed film that does not include him in a single frame. It may seem strange, but it’s true. Allen’s “Bullets Over Broadway” deals with a struggling stage writer (John Cusack) who is so desperate to get one of his plays on Broadway in the 1920s that he reluctantly enlists the help of the local mafia crime lord to fund the play. Of course there is a large stipulation. The crime lord’s girl must be in the play (hilariously played by Jennifer Tilly in an Oscar-nominated role). Needless to say she’s terrible and Cusack struggles with her in the play. However, he has booked A-list actress Dianne Wiest (in her second Oscar-winning role) who is an alcoholic who has seen better days in her career. Tilly’s bodyguard (Chazz Palminteri, also in an Oscar-nominated role) sees the play rehearsed firsthand and gives Cusack some directions on the project that Cusack cannot refuse. Palminteri is street smart and knows how people really talk, while Cusack is so educated that his words make no sense to the normal audience. This film is what “The Godfather” would have been like if Allen had directed it. The screenplay is outstanding and Allen’s direction has rarely been better. Cusack is fun and hilarious, but it is the supporting cast that makes the movie work. Other than the aforementioned Oscar-nominated actors, there are great turns by several others. Mary-Louise Parker, Tracy Ullman, Jim Broadbent, Jack Warden, Rob Reiner, Harvey Feinstein, and Joe Viterelli are all superb in well-calculated supporting roles.

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New York City-The Really Big Apple

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May 252004

I had to fly into New York City last night for a conference today. I’ve only been to NYC a couple of times, but it fascinates me. Of course all the lights, and the hustle and bustle and the sheer numbers is fascinating. But its more than that. Driving back to airport today we drove through Central Park. I’m given to understand that Central Park is a pretty important part of life for New Yorkers and I can understand why.

I have a great friend that lives in NYC, and his monthly apartment rent for a tiny one bedroom is the same as my house payment. I have a small front yard and a fairly big back yard. Brad doesn’t even have a balcony. So, what does this have to do with Central Park. I think this points up one of the many differences in lifestyle. Central Park is basically the backyard for everyone living in the city. Pretty much no one has a yard, so everyone heads to the park for playing and lounging.

Obviously, you walk more living in NYC. I remember meeting someone at a training program a number of years ago. This lady was, like me then, in her 20s, from NYC, and had never bothered to get a driver’s license. I thought back to what a right of passage that is where I’m from (small-town North Carolina).

I think you spend a lot more time waiting…waiting on buses, cabs, subways. There are lines for almost everything here. Maybe that’s why New Yorkers always rush. They spend a lot of their time cooling their heels, and have to make up for it. I think being in delivery jobs or other “transportation” related jobs must be tougher in NYC. It seems to me that delivery people probably can’t make as many stops as they can in other cities. You seem to spend a lot of time waiting in traffic. And, a lot of people commute some distance in to work, so I’m guessing there is a lot less after work “hanging out.”

New York is a fun place, and I understand the allure to many people, but its a lifestyle I would not enjoy. I suppose I could live there if I had to, but it would take a lot of getting used to. I also think its a lot easier if you have a lot of money. You can use taxis all the time, and live in a bigger place…something with the space like I’m used to.

If I had to live here, strange as it seems, I’d prefer to live in the City. I know a lot of people perfer to live outside of Manhattan, but if I were to have to be here, I’d want to be right in the middle of everyting. I thinkI feel that way about any big city. If I’ve gotta live there, I want to do it all the way. Well, its about time for me to start the trip home to Tampa, and my yard, and the slower pace. I’ll be glad to get there.