I've discontinued this site but blog full-time at www.paullarosa.com . See you there and thanks!
I've discontinued this site but blog full-time at www.paullarosa.com . See you there and thanks!
I've discontinued using this blog in favor of my personal website. To follow me go to paullarosa.com and thank you very much.
You enter the car, and everyone smells like McDonald's french fries or whatever. That's actually not as bad as entering a car and smelling Chinese food. Ugh, there is just something about the smell of food inside the enclosed space of a subway car that is gross even if, under other circumstances, you would like that food.
All this was brought to mind of course by the now-famous video (first posted NYC the blog.com) of three women arguing over the etiquette of eating a steaming plate of spaghetti on a moving, crowded subway (photo). I mean, really. One woman refers to the spaghetti-eater as an "animal" and all hell breaks loose, including the spaghetti that goes flying.
No doubt the woman who referred to the other two as an "animal" was dead wrong, and should never have done that. And yes, this was, in my opinion, a racial incident because the name-caller appears white and the other two women are African-American. There is a lot of simmering (and exploding) hate in this video. But I can understand why the woman would not want to sit next to someone with her face in a plate of spaghetti. Good manners don't end when you slide your MetroCard through the turnstile.
I have a big problem with people who eat anything more than a candy bar or a bagel or sweet bun on the subway. My wife doesn't agree. She thinks working people with two jobs sometimes have no choice but to eat on their commute. I think you can find other places to chow down.
And don't get me started on those coffee drinkers. How many times have I cringed while standing in a crowded, moving subway while the person next to me opens the lid on a very hot cup of coffee and gingerly begins sipping it. Subways tend to stop short, make sharp turns and jostle people around. There is no way someone can guarantee they won't spill. And what then?Sorry? Oy.
I say ban eating on the subway, except for water and a candy bar or energy bar. They'll be a lot less garbage and no incidents like the one in this video, at least not over food. Oh and, in case you were wondering, yes I am against eating subways on the subway...unless you're a hero. LOL Never mind.
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That's the name of a class I spoke to yesterday at John Jay College for Criminal Justice. I showed the class and spoke about a recent hour I produced for "48 Hours Mystery" about a lawyer who killed his wife, abused his three ex-wives and threatened to shoot and kill his teenage daughter. This kind of thing, I said, is all too common.
I mentioned to the class that there was a story going on in NYC about an ex-cop Eddy Coello (who is now a physician's assistant of all things) who is suspected of killing his wife Tina Adovasio. The couple, who have a five-year-old daughter together, were often heard verbally fighting in their apartment, according to neighbors, and Tina had recently contacted a lawyer to investigate divorce proceedings and take out a restraining order. She didn't pull the trigger, the lawyer said, because Coello promised to get counseling.
Now Tina Adovasio is dead, her body found dumped in some woods in Westchester County. She also has three other children by a first husband who will grow up without their mother. Her husband Eddy Coello is the main suspect.
The thing is, Coello has another child too and lived for a time with a woman named Glory Perez, and the NY Daily News has anexclusive interview with her in today's paper. That interview is a textbook example of the way an abuser works and the way a victim feels. Talk about the psychology of the victim -- here it is in black and white. Perez recites the abuse she suffered including being hit so many times she can't remember how many, and having a loaded gun put to her head.
One paragraph really jumped out at me. Glory Perez spoke of walking on eggshells around her ex. I hear that line all the time from abused women. And then Perez went on to say, "I tried so hard to do nothing wrong. I thought if I could just be perfect, maybe he wouldn't get angry."
Ladies, if you find yourself thinking that, take your kids, your valuables, grab your car keys, walk to the door and leave immediately. It's already too late.
My daughter had what she thought for a sure-fire deal for me -- accompany her to a raw food restaurant where she would get $40 off the bill thanks to Groupon, and I would pay the balance. The key words here are "raw food restaurant."
I was happy to say 'yes' to my daughter but her restaurant of choice, Pure Food and Wine, gave me pause. You see, even though we were going out for dinner, nothing would be "cooked." Hmmmm. I was reassured somewhat by the restaurant's website which bragged that it had many "meat and potatoes" guys who were regular customers. I'm not so much a meat and potatoes guy as I am a "gee, I'd like my food cooked" kind of guy.
But being a good sport, I went along. Pure looks like any other upscale NYC restaurant and is in the heart of the Gramercy Park area. And the menu features foods that you've even heard of, old standbys like lasagna, spanikopita and Pad Thai. The only problem is that everything is really something else. Lasagna here is not made with noodles. Neither is the Pad Thai, and the spanikopita has something called nut cheese in place of Feta. I know what you're thinking -- who can resist, right?
The two women sitting next to us heard us mention the spanikopita and went into paroxysms of delight. "Oh, you have to have that," they both agreed. "It's fantastic."
Suffice it to say that these two ladies looked like they knew their way around a plate of food so I figured, why not? We also agreed to split the first course -- a polenta-stuffed flower. (photo above)
Now I can't say anything tasted bad but, aside from the flower on my plate, I had no idea what I was eating. In fact, this is the kind of restaurant where I get the feeling that the cook is pulling my leg -- that he'd put ANYTHING he found lying around the kitchen on the plate as long as it wasn't cooked. In fact, my plate looked kind of like something AFTER someone ate it. If I'd found a brillo pad on that plate, I wouldn't have been all that surprised, unless it was cooked. Who knew what I was eating?
Then came the aforementioned spanikopita. It was...different. And here's the really weird thing about raw food -- you get very filled up very quickly. I'm not kidding. Just a couple of bites of that spanikopita and I was ready for dessert. Actually, I was ready to dive into anything that appeared to be something I'd eaten once before in my life. Not that I don't appreciate a good polenta-stuffed flower now and again but still....
The dessert was very good -- a salted chocolate caramel tart. Nearly everything was as advertised except the tart of course -- it's hard to make a tart crust without cooking but something took its place. I think it was a coaster from the bar next door!
I remember the first time I walked into a health club in NYC. It was back in the dark ages, somewhere around 1980. I think I was ten years old. But really, I was in my mid-twenties and I accompanied a friend who thought he wanted to join one of those Jack Lalanne-Bally health clubs. A fitness guy showed us around and then sat us down, and basically he held us hostage. In those days, you had to give up your license to get a tour. He had our licenses and wasn't about to let two powder puffs like us out the door without at least one membership.
But we were resistant. My friend insisted he wanted to think about it. Now mind you, I don't think I'd ever worked out in a health club in my life at that point and neither had my friend. We had waistlines that the Michelin Man would've been proud of.
The trainer was frustrated with our recalcitrance but we refused to back down. It was a standoff. We couldn't leave because he had our drivers licenses. In exasperation, he spoke to directly to my friend in a stern voice. "Look this guy's body is barely salvageable," he said pointing to me, "but you, you forget about it."
It didn't work. We refused to buy in and he finally un-handcuffed us and let us out.
Those infamous words of that trainer ushered in the modern era of health clubs in NYC. "Perfect," the movie with Jamie Lee-Curtis and John Travolta summed up the period.
The result is what we have today -- a health club on practically every corner in NYC.
But now the NY Times has weighed in to tell us that the "easy era" of health club memberships is over. The paper of record ran an article titled: "Full-Service Gyms Feel a Bit Flabby" which reports that in any year up to 45 percent of gym members quit and do not return. And it's getting harder and harder to replace exiting members. It's almost as though a generation of younger me's is out there resisting the urge to work out.
The article has many theories about why this is so but I'm going to tell you the real reason. It's that you can work out till your eyeballs are sweating but mostly likely, nothing -- zero, nada -- will happen to give you the abs or thighs of your dreams UNLESS YOU EAT LESS.
The truth is that health clubs have been lying to us all these years. They show pictures of the perfect specimens with bodies to die for and scream, "if you work out at our club, you too will look this way." Finally the American consumer has awakened because that line is just not true. Here's the truth, according to me. Working out has nothing to do with losing weight. Eating less has to do with losing weight. Working out has many things to recommend it -- fitness, general well-being, the ability to lift suitcases when you hit your 60's but losing weight is not one of them.
We've all been sold a bill of good all these years. I have worked out for hours on stair-masters and you name it. My abs were under all that fat but I couldn't see them until I began to eat less. And let's face it. Most of us want to "look good naked" as Kevin Spacey said in "American Beauty." That's the real aim of all this working out. So save your money. Eat less, do a few push-ups, walk more, do yoga even and you'll get the body of your dreams for a lot less money than you think.
Today for the second time in the last couple of years (ah, the joys of growing older), I had to undergo some gum surgery and, as fun as that sounds, I decided I needed more. So I did exactly what I did the last time I was forced to have oral surgery -- I left the dentist's office and headed a few blocks south to the Museum of Modern Art.
I almost never get to really take my time in a museum (my DW does not like museums and probably would prefer oral surgery) so this was perfect. What's more, I was still numb from the Novocaine and numb is a very nice state of mind sometimes. I love just walking through MOMA and letting the masterpieces flow over me. But today, because the coat check gal would not let me leave my camera in my bag, I began to notice everything through my photographer's eye and what I noticed was everyone trying to understand the ART they were looking at.
The lucky ones were the little kids who had teachers along to spell it all out. Less fortunate were the rest of us who were trying to understand some of the more esoteric pieces of modern art -- like the white on white painting. The masterpieces are easy. You just stand there and realize you are in the presence of greatness and, for me at least, that's all I need. I eschew the audio-tours and headphones etc. I'm there to see the ART but today, I couldn't help but take some photos. Enjoy:
I met Jack Lalanne when he was much younger -- 82!
It was one of the thrills of my life to produce a television segment about him back in the '90s. Along with then-correspondent Bill Lagattuta and a camera crew, I headed out to Lalanne's home in Morro Bay, California, to watch his two-hour morning workout.
Lalanne began by jumping in his pool and swimming and doing special exercises. It was 5:30 a.m. and even in California, it was cold. While the cameraman videotaped Jack swimming his octogenarian head off, Lagattuta and I watched in amazement.
"This is one of the best things about this job," Lags said. "I grew up watching this guy on TV."
I agreed. It's not so often in life you can visit a legend in his home. After the swimming, Jack hit the gym. It was his own gym of course and it was fully outfitted and as big as any sports club.
Then it was time for breakfast. I think I had grabbed a coffee and roll on the drive up to Jack's home. That was not his breakfast of choice. He a power shake prepared by "Lala" Lalanne, his longtime wife. And then he headed to his vitamin cabinet where he popped vitamin after vitamin into his mouth so quickly that some fell to the floor.
When it came time for the interview, Jack was full of schtick. Lags told him that his mother used to watch him all the time during those early days of television. "I spent a lot of time on the floor with your mother," Jack said.
He had all his lines down pat but he was still a revelation. Aside from the gym where he worked out, Jack also had a museum gym filled with "original" equipment he had created with the help of a blacksmith back in the '30s, '40s and '50s. Back then, there weren't sports clubs on every corner. There were free weights and that's pretty much it. It was Jack who created things like the incline bench, and other sports equipment that are now ubiquitous. But he had not patented any of it.
The thing about Jack Lalanne that people don't know is that, yes, he did an insane amount of exercise every day but he also ate very little and restricted his calories. Not that he cared. I asked him if he ever felt like eating a cookie and he said no, he didn't. The thought never even popped into his head.
He believed in fresh food, vitamins and of course exercise. He lived to be 96 years old so he must've been doing something right. He was convinced he was right and had total belief in himself. It was not for nothing that he built a statue of himself at the entrance to his property.
After I produced the segment and it ran, I got a package from Jack. It was a little acrylic heart-shaped award to me and the crew. "Thank you from the bottom of our athletic hearts. Elaine & Jack Lalanne"
He was a class act.
I just remembered one other thing he said: "I'm never going to die. It's bad for business."
I had a visitor staying in my house the week after Christmas. He had never been to NYC and his strange observations about our city reminded me of the 1984 John Sayles movie "Brother from Another Planet" in which an alien tries to makes sense of New York.
On one level, my guest's observations about NYC were off the wall; on another level they were refreshing and a clear example of thinking out of the box.
For instance, we were walking along and he kept staring at all the fire escapes on some Chinatown buildings.
"What's the matter?" I asked.
"Do people really have to climb all those stairs every time they want to go to their apartments?"
I explained that, no, residents did not have to pull down a fire escape and make like a gymnast in order to get to their apartments at the end of a busy day. There were inside stairways.
Then we found ourselves in a subway station after we'd narrowly missed a train pulling out of the station.
"When does it come back?"
"What do you mean?" I asked.
"Well you know, how long does it take to make the loop and get back here."
He thought there was just one subway train that went round and round. I explained that, even though NYC can sometimes appear a little shall we say Goofy, it is definitely not Disneyland.
When I was in high school and college, students and teachers would talk about the rat race as a pejorative term. It was a dark concept, something to be avoided. No one wanted to be part of it -- working for the man in a 9 to 5 job, busting your tail, never getting any time off....
Boy does that seem like a long time ago. Nine to 5? These days it's more like 9 to 9, round the clock. No one talks about the rat race anymore. Probably because we're all so busy running around the work maze -- what with blackberries, iPhones, smartphones, computers, Twitter -- that we don't notice that we've become the rats. Nowadays if you put up a sign that said 'join the rat race,' there would be a line around the block.
How did this happen? We're getting less and less European every year. We blog on the beach, in the theater, the second we stop out of the subway. Can't miss an email, a phone call, time is money, doncha know? We consider ourselves lucky to have jobs, any jobs.
I just woke up today wondering what happened to that other self we knew as students, when we supposedly cared about time off and living 'la dolce vita.' Come to think of it, that's another term I haven't heard in a very long time.
NOTE: Please go to paullarosa.com/blog to read ALL my posts!! Thanks.
Anyway, a friend of mine was mugged exactly one week ago. It was a mugging so brutal and so random that the reaction of a lot of people was, "Boy that sounds like something out of the 1970s." Indeed. I'm writing about it to warn anyone who may be coming out of the subway stop at 23rd Street and Broadway because, according to the cops, the same type of assault happened one week before my friend was brutalized.
He was coming home on a Sunday night and it was 12:30 a.m., not late at all for this neighborhood in the middle of Manhattan. He got out of the train, headed up the stairs when, bam, he doesn't really remember anything else. But thanks to surveillance cameras, he knows that the moment he headed up the stairs, a thug behind him motioned to another thug who must have been hiding at the top of the stairs. The plan was in effect -- one guy grabbed by friend around the neck while the other one smashed his face over and over with his bare hands. There was a witness which is why the thugs ran off rather quickly. All they got for their trouble was a bad cell phone (not a smart phone) and a backpack filled with newspapers.
My friend got 25 stitches in his face, a chipped tooth and a bad case of the nerves. It's hard to feel secure after a thing like this. It's easy in this day and age to get lulled into a false sense of security in NYC what with the crime rate down and all but bad things do happen still. Yes, the murder rate is way down but there are still 500 souls who lose their lives each and every year.Be aware of what's around you, and retain what Gavin de Becker calls "The Gfit of Fear." It's a landmark book that basically tells people to trust their instincts. If the hairs stand up on the back of your neck, better listen. Do not shrug off what your instincts are telling you, no matter how politically incorrect they may be
Well, I'm here to report that actual offices are every bit as crazy, if not more so. I've been collecting real-life office tales and emails from people I know and present them here. All are absolutely true but the names of people and companies have to be omitted to protect the idiotic.
Just this morning, a friend forwarded me this email sent out by a company drone:
Subject: FYI -Ball Point Pens- Blue (Retractable)
You'll find them in our supply closet along with our other pens.
Now that's breaking news!
Another friend missed a meeting and received this facetious though true email informing her of what took place:
Subject: Meeting Minutes
9:42: I take one of the chocolate chip cookies on the
conference table. XXX looks disappointed and remarks that she wanted
that one. I tell her there are others in a nearby bag. She laments that
everyone takes her too seriously and curtly advises me to "lighten up."
9:56: We briefly discuss the dress code. XXXX implores us to read the policy and keep in mind that "the seasons are changing."
10:12: XXXX announces that she would like to begin an employee walking club. Sometimes she walks to FDR Drive, other times to Houston. She enjoys walking. Sometimes she even stops at a firehouse. She suggests that employees be issued pedometers to help them track the distances they cover.
10:21: XXXX shares details about the upcoming benefit. Although she isn't sure how many people in our department will be allowed into the event, she says, firmly, "We should dress like we might, one day, be able to shop at Saks Fifth Avenue."
I could go on and on. A close relative told me that a female co-worker gave her a Christmas card advising, "Merry Christmas to you and all your lovers...." even though she knows this relative is in a committed relationship. The same woman walks around kissing and touching the bellies of pregnant co-workers without asking....although I guess asking if you could kiss someone's belly would get an immediate turn-down so why bother?
This relative works in an office where an obese supervisor inhales any and all food that happens to be left out in the open. Workers began putting hot sauce and pepper on the cookies but it didn't matter. The obese fellow ate them. Finally, they put out a plastic chocolate pretzel. The guy took a bite but threw it out because it "tasted funny."
The same guy later PRINTED OUT 200 pages of pornography and left it in the printer for all to see!!! Now who prints out pornography???!!! Not even Michael Scott would do that.
Already, one publisher after another in the past few weeks has announced that it will delay putting out electronic versions of its books for months so that consumers must pay full price for hardcovers ($25 to $35) as opposed to $9.99 for e-books.Earlier this week, best-selling author Stephen Covey transferred his e-book rights directly to Amazon for one year and took them away from Simon & Schuster. That sent chills through a lot of people in the book publishing worl...(continue reading)
Nearly every morning when I leave my Park Slope brownstone, I am greeted with a puddle of dog urine right outside my front door. And almost always, that dog urine is on a small wall of my brownstone as in this lovely photo.
Now I like dogs and, until my little dog Midnight died last year, I was a dog owner. I realize you cannot always control where they pee. In fact, walking down the street sometimes seemed like a mine field of places your dog could just NOT relieve itself. (continue reading...)
It was one thing for Andre Agassi to admit he once used crystal meth. That I could forgive. But now he's gone and admitted wearing a wig during the 1990's. Now that, Andre, I cannot forgive. Especially when you blame your fear of losing your hairpiece on your French Open loss in 1990 (see photo left of Agassi's really bad hair day). Andre, you're setting back the bald movement decades with this admission. (continue reading...)
This was surprising on several levels. First, that I even needed a gun. I did not need a real gun, of course, just one that looked real enough for a television production. I went in search of something that shot blanks. (continue reading....)
Draper ushered me into his office at Sterling, Cooper, and walked over to his bar.
"What are you drinking?" he asked.
"It's 10 in the morning, Don." (continue reading...)
I noted with interest this week the 40th anniversary of the day the NYC buses stopped making change for its riders. Before August 31st 1969, you could still board a bus, and come face to face with a driver who not only drove the bus but who had a little change maker at the ready. The fare was 20 cents and if you gave the driver a dollar, he'd give you back 80 cents. Amazing. But the main reason I remember this rather useless anniversary is that it coincided with the first rock concert I ever attended.(continue reading....)
This may sound kind of funny but I have a complaint about the NY Times' "Complaint Box" column running in Sunday's (8/30) new Metropolitan section. First off, it's yet another rant from a woman about how no one gave her a subway seat when she was pregnant. Fair enough, even though it seems to me The Times runs the same story rather frequently.
But my real complaint has to do the author's (Lynn Harris) specific complaint that, of all the people who did give up their seat to her, never was it a "white man." (continue reading...)
...and I got not only a meal but yet another object lesson in why NYC is such a weird, interesting place. I wandered with my friend AA into Big Nick's Burger and Pizza Joint on the upper west side to grab a bite before a concert, ordered and looked around. We were surrounded by dozens of handmade signs, the likes of which they don't post in McDonald's, or any other crappy chain restaurant. (continue reading...)
There are any number of lists about what to do in NYC but here is my first list of things NOT to do. Years of living here have taught me the following things tourists must NOT do....(continue reading)
I was flabbergasted to realize that a bag of peanuts, which I once chomped with abandon while throwing the shells all over the floor below me, added up to nearly 1,200!! (continue reading)
In the aftermath of TMZ, the entertainment website, breaking the news about the death of Michael Jackson, there is a lot of soul-searching in some quarters of the media about the practice of paying for news. Harvey Levin, head of TMZ, has told the NY Times that he pays "tip fees" for news but does not pay for stories.
Is there a distinction there? I believe there is...(continue reading)
I've got a confession to make. I kind of enjoyed this past June when it was raining nearly every day. Why? Because then I could at least escape from what I call the tyranny of a beautiful day. I love a beautiful sunny day as much as the next person but I hate the pressure that goes along with it. (continue reading...)