11/11/2011

Happy Veteran's Day

Taps played with words

Day is done
Gone the Sun
From the hills
From the lake
From the skies
All is well
God is night

God Bless the men and women who fight everyday to make this country safe.

10/17/2011

Another Hershey Miracle

One of my favorite posts last year was The Hershey Miracle where I explained the trip out to the annual antique car show, little did I know I would be composing a squeal only a year after. Like the one last October, the trip was only planned in a few short weeks. Rick Krestchmer, a fellow ALPCA member, advertised a room to share in Hershey. If you recall he and shared a room at the 2007 ALPCA Convention in Huntsville AL and have kept in touch via e-mail. So when he was looking for someone to share a room with in Hershey, I jumped! I quickly e-mailed him and Rick responded he'd like room with me. The next thing I knew I was searching for Amtrak tickets into Harrisburg. I also tapped into the Dauphin County Paratransit system to get me from the train station to the Hershey Giant Center, the middle of everything. It was fine only the bus that picked me up broke down enroute to dropoff other passengers we had to wait for another bus, which set back my arrival time tremedously.
I arrived at the Giant Center to find Rick wandering around already mapping out his plan for the next three full days of plate hunting. After exchanging our hellos we quickly made our way to the field and started our search to add to our collections. Unlike last year where Bill sat with Roger while I roamed around, Rick's goal was simple, cover three vendor fields in three days. Well it was a plan worth following. That wasn't to say we were glued at the hip the entire time, but unlike last year where I basically drove between fields for a day and a half, this year I was somewhate orginized. Rick and I had o ur cellphones to keep in touch.
Rick's a very orginized person, just what I needed to keep from drifting all over the place thus using my entire battery in one day. The "one-field-a-day" approach was just the right way to get to see everything. Well almost because I found myself doing more cruising than browsing the first day. Although I did come up with some finds for my collecting, including a MATCH to a 1933 NJ Commercial Municipal plate already in my collection
It has been said Hershey is the biggest car show in the world, well outside of the ALPCA convention, it's the biggest gathering of ALPCA MEMBERS. Besides Rick, I bumped into "Tiger Joe" Sallmen who manged to get a snapshot of me just checking in with Dad. I also got to visit the spot of Mike Glauboch and Chuck Sakryd where I picked up a few neat plates.
* While it isn't as orginized at the ALPCA Convention, the hotel-s usually sell out a year in advance. So people reserve a room for the following year. Rick put the deposit down for next year when he checked out of the hotel the Saturday morning. I said in certain terms I definitely am planning on making it three years in a row, we'll see what happens!!!

9/22/2011

Ten years.........and a week later

Like so many of the recent posts I started this a week ago and just finishhing it now!!
Sunday marked the 10 year anniversary of the tradgic day that changed our country forever. Ironically one of the things that I remember about both d ays was the weather wa perfect, a nice sunny fall day with a light breeze. Although unlike that day I wasn't glued to the police scanner, I decided scooter riding had to take priority. Like many towns Park Ridge had a ceremony attended by all the emergency services, including the OEM. I drove down to the ceremony to find the road closed to vehicle traffic, well most. I parked right by the memorial and joined the percession into the memorial park. It was a pointant ceremony were elected officials spoke and members of clegy lead us in moments of reflection. We then attended a reception at the American Legion
Of course this entry wouldn't be complete without mentioning the monitoring. People think that because I live so close to New York City I constantly listen to the them. Truthfully I find monitoring their communications very confusing and usually I don't listen, but every September 11th I turn on the NYC system in my scanner and give a listen.

7/25/2011

Uncalculated risks

When am I going t o learn when it comes to Facebook one liners can cause just as much damage as a couple of sentences. It all came down to the taxi ride going there. Every now and then I make a stop at the TDBank to withdrawl money. Last friday evening I did the normal routine. During the ride I heard the taxi get his next fair to go from the Hillsdale train station. Since it wasa fairly new driver I decided as an act of good faith on my part I would leave the money on the back seat and I left the door open while I went into the bank. That was a m istake that I will never make again! The idiot got out of the cab took the money o=ff the back seat closed the door and proceeded to the Hillsdale train station, leaving toi walk the extra few blocks. Well I always give $20 on a $15 cab since they do pull in the driveway and do loop around right to the front. This time like an idiot when I poulled out my wallet I decided to leave @$20 on th e back seat because I didn't want to ppull my wallet out twice. I left the door open to make suree he didn't leave. He then got out of the car took the $20 and proceeded to ickup his next fare at the train station,leaving me to walk from the bank to the Cornerstone.
I got to the bar, ordered a shot and proceeded to post my anger on Facebook. After a few more drinks I decided to show how angry I was I posted something a bit more "racially charged'" post on my Facebook page. In the back of my mind, right or worng, I figured he pulled that stunt and this was my way to vent my anger. Well it was the most respoonded status update I ever had, some positive, most negative. The irony of it all is friends that don't usually post on my wallu came out against the way I expressed my anger. They also didn't buy my rationale that since he did this because he felt he could get away with it because it was hard for me to explain what happened over the phone.
Bottom line was, and still is, because I feel my disability played a factor in the treatment I recieved and so I felt racial comments were justified. I also feel people overreacted to my post. First of all, it was only one line. Secondly ri-ght or wron I felt a racial overtone would make me feel better in the end it didn't. I felt like saying something I've always heard like "Sticks and stones break your bones....." or "Actions speak louder than words". In the end I apologized because I didn't want it to get into a bigger mess, although it still got huge!!

6/30/2011

Charleston Collecting--Part I

Well I continued my streak of attending ALPCA conventions, this makes my fifth in a row and seventh overall. This year I dragged my folks down to Charleston, West Virginia. We did the trip down in two days stopping halfway in Maryland at Rocky Gap State Park and Resort, it was such a nice resort I almost didn't want to leave....I said ALMOST. Every year that I arrive on Wednesday instead of Tuesday I also think going I am mmissing something but not being there as soon as the hall opens. This year wasn't any different, however the exception was I was setting up a table for the first time and didn't want to miss any sale. I found some friendly faces behind the registration desk handing out welcoming packets to members. I grabbed mine and hunted for my table. The covention center layout itself was a bit weird but doable. They had the bathrooms sort of in the middle, in a separate room that divided the hall up a bit meaning you had to go around the bathrooms to get to the other side. Since this was the first time I got a table, a new challenge was balancing the time I spent cruising the hall with the time I spent trying to make some money. I wasn't expecting to make a killing but I figured I needed to recoup the entrance fee, didn't quite make it, but it didn't really matter.
On the first night of the convention there's usually a social gathering. This year it took place on a riverboat on the Kanawah River. Instantly I renewed friendships I made in Texas, even prior conventions. One in particular was with famed drummer, Jim Fox of the James Gang. A former president of ALPCA, Jim and I enjoyed a chat and even snapped a picture. More to follow...

6/09/2011

Google redeems itself thanks to Les Paul

A few months back I blasted Google because they had the Pacman game running on their  search engine to celebrate the 40th Anniversary. It drove everyone using Firefox nuts because even if you  weren't on Google it still fed into Firefox, Pacman sound and all. I figured this out after uninstalling and reinstalling Firefox a few  timesI did a search and found that day on Yahoo the top search phrase was "how to get rid of the Pacman noise. It made a number of technology blogs, and because I sacraficed a mouse, I put my two cents in as well. Hey it was perfect writing material once  I figured out what was going on. The only way to get rid of the sound was to  disable the  Google search engine inFirefox. Once I did that the sound was gone. I have since updated Firefox and the  Google searchb is back in there, I'm leaving it alone.......for now.
Today would have been guitar hero Les Paul's  95th birthday and in is honor Google has a playable electric guitar on it's homepage. You roll your mouse over the strings and it playys notes. There's a record button where the site plays back your compistion. It's a nice little touch, es pecially because you control the sound and it's not constant!!  You have to wonder if guitar players likeJeff Baxter, Jeff Beck even Eric Clapton are surfing  over to Google to play a few chords.

Happy Birthday Les Paul!!!

5/31/2011

Memorable Memorial Day

It started out as a pretty normal Memorial Daqy. Chris, Natalie  and Zander came up this weekend, we went to  the Old Mill yesterday and while mom played with Zander I decided to do some laps. This morning I woke up earlier because I knew Mom wouldn't let me out of the house without some kind of breakfast. I woofed it down and waited for the car to be moved so I could get my scooter. I was a bit bummed because  my camera stopped working but still I was psyched. They call it the Tri-Boro parade because it goes through Woodcliff Lake Park Ridge and Montvale, every  year they alternate. Th is yea r the parade started at the Woodcliff Lake firehouse so I went down to hang out. I unexpectedly ran into a good friend Bob Hanna, actually I went to school with his son Robbie. Everytime he sees me he anno unces, "Here's trouble!", which is true and this time was no excpetion. Well he announced he put his 1931 Model T Pickup in the parade this year. After about a second he answered the question I was afraid to ask. With a roll of his eyes, jokingly of course, he offered to allow m e to ri de shotgun. Instantly I was transported back to my youth when I rode in Joel Abrham's  1932 Chevy, but he sold  it a long time ago I had to park the scooter somewhere, the back bay of the firehouse  was open so I rode the scooter in, grabbed my scanner and ran back around the corner. Of course the parade already started so I had to scrabbleinto the truck trying not to scuff the running board.  Hanna then said I needed to take my sandles off which he thought was a mistake because my feet were sweaty./ Well we finally got our act together and I was in seventh heaven!! Meanwhile my mom, Natalie, Chris and Zander were waiting at the corner of Glen and Pascack, when Hanna and drove by hey just smiled. Hanna jokingly announced I put a gun to his head, right in front of th e Woodcliff Lake Police  Chief, glad he didn't hear it.
AS we drove the parade route I overheard people yelling, "Hey that's Justin" or what are you doing in that truck?" I was just smiling the whole time, soaking in the moment. It was also very interesting learning about the Model T picking truck while driving me along the route.   After all the years teasing each ot her we had a pretty pleasant drive
Afterwards we went to a pinic with the other antique auto folks. I returned to the firehouse to get m y bike home'. I no sooner got home and it was time to go to Aunt :Dees for dinner and of cou rse more swimming. Can't think of a better way to spend Memorial Day!!!!!

4/25/2011

Congressional Medal of Honor License Plates

While I don't usually comment on license plate sales on ebay \or otherwise, the Congressional Medal of  Honor plates need to be examined. It's a sticky issue because somewhere down the line there was a man or woman who made a great personal sacrafice to be award the medal.  People always say you dont "win" the award, you recieve it and it 's an honor that you can put a price tag on. I feel b uying the plate cheapens the meaning behind it.
Although over the years collectors have definitely tried. The plates  have made appearances at plate shows every so often. Usually collectors stare at the plate and talk to the seller about it, maybe try to talk the price down or even figure out where the seller got the plate.  I even held one in my hand, but decided the price wasn't right. It wasn't the monetary  value, but I would prefer to have a story behind how I got the license plate rather than just say "oh I bought that license plate from another collector". Formost plates thatt's a reasonable response, but the Congresssiona Medal of Honor license plate is unlike most license plates .It just part of my particular plate collectors code of ethics. On the other hand I'm not one to critize the sellers...well at least on the list because the post would be rejected by the moderators anyway. So I will save it for this blog!!

3/29/2011

Hi-tech cat and mouse

This caught my eye while surfing the Internet. It seems a COBRA escaped the Bronx Zoo a few days ago. Obviously the news spread and the search for the snake (not to be confused with a NY politician) is that lastest and greatest to have a Twitter account. It seems someone is having a little fun with the incident with one Twitter  account for the Cobra, username "snakeonthetown", which is filled with extremely clever Tweets like "Leaving Wall Street. These guys make my skin crawl." and " On top of the Empire State Building! All the people look like little mice down there. Delicious little mice."   I was literally falling off the chair laughing as I compose this entry. Hey  you have to wonder what kind of person has the mind of a snake?  I could write more but nothing can match the whitty comments of this slimey reptile!


http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20110329/ap_on_fe_st/us_missing_cobra_5
http://twitter.com/BronxZookeeper 
 http://twitter.com/#!/BronxZoosCobra

3/24/2011

"Somewhere in Texas George W. Bush is laughing........."

I have been blogging for years and been reading articles on the Internet, mainly linked of Yahoo's site, even longer. After the articles there's a place where people can leave comments, the comments range fro-m intelligent dialogue to absolute absurdity. For the record I KNOW President Obama was born in Hawaii and George W. Bush WASN'T BEHIND 9/11! However every know and than someone posts a comment that blows me out of the water.
Like everyone in America I am horrified about what's going on in Lybia.  Ronald Regan was right to call Ghadafi a "mad dog". Personally I co-uld come up with a few more colorful descriptions, but there's too much violence on the internet and I don't want to add to it. We all agree Ghadafi is a bad guy who needs to go. The problem is it isn't that simple, as we found out in Afganistan and later Iraq. However I agree now the United States can't fight on a third front.  Although we can't let him continue his brutal dictatoship either. If you think I'm going to claim to have the answere you're crazier than Ghadafi, but I do have some advice for Obama, whatever you do, stick to it and don't back down. Everyone of your jcritics will back down.
You ever notice how whenever something goes wrong in the world, the United States  is always expected to help and then when the outcome isn't exactly the way we said, we get blamed? This has been a reoccuring theme since we became a super power. Well Obama is getting pounding from the right for not responding quick enough and hammered from the left  for interveining at all. While we're on this topic since when has establishing a "No-fly Zone" a definite act of war?
People reading th is may wonder where exactly I stand on this issue, with Obama of course. Those who whine about getting Congessional approval I challenge you to write your congresspersoon and ask them if killing people who can't defend themselves is alright. My belief is you need to help people who can't help themsselves. It's the height of hypocricy to whine about human rights then stand idly by when something can be done to help them. George W. Bush realized this and finally so does Barack Obama.
People say our involvement in Lybia will but very brief. All I read I have my doubts, although I don't expect it to drag on for years. I w oould like to see the UN for once finally take some responsibility and do something to help the people of Lybia, but we all know that's not going to happen. My thoughts and prayeres are with them

3/07/2011

The two Kings

The news from Northern New Jersey is focusing on mainly two things these past 24 hours, the massive flooding that has swept the area and the ongoing fight between Peter King and the Muslim community./ Well since  Hillsdale is indeed right next door, I should mention that the hot spot for news crew is the Ki=ngs parking lot. At first glance people would think it would b e good business for Kings, but then again showing the parking lot filled with water isn't exactly putting out the welcome mat. I  have yet  to ride  my scooter down the road to check the brook.
Alright now down to business even if you totally disagree with Peter King, you have to  say he has guts. The problem here, as with most  government policies is if people sense their rights are going away, they'll jump up and down and scream. However once it's explained and parts implemented, then things calm down. King has struck a nerve with people who feel he's targeting a certaain group, the question is why wasn't this done before 9/11? Time aftwer time every survey shows Muslim extremism is a great threat to national security. It was said after 9/11 there would be a major backlash  against Muslims, those claims were vastly overblown, just like they are now. King's actions don't make him a bigot, they make him sensible. The problem is nobody really wants to admit it. They'll be labelled a bigot \also, it's stupid. Tjhese folks need to accept the fact in the short term, they'll be demonized, but in the long run will be praised. The sad reality is, it might take another terrorist attack to prove these people right!

3/03/2011

The King's Speech WINS

Well it's a guilty pleasure of mine, I do watch the  Oscars. Maybe it's because such  a movie nut it's actually the one awards program I care about.  People say Oscar's evil twin, the  Razzies, which celebrate the WORST of the movies, is just as entertaining. The nominees for Best Picture, Black Swan, Inception, The Kids Are Alright,(I also enjoyed )True Grit, The Fighter Toy Story 3, Wintere's Bone(I liked a lot) all deserved the nomination and truthfully I wouldn't have been surprised No matter who won this year.

Admittedly I haven't actually seen The King's Speech yet, but everyone knows the story about how King George VI of Britain overcame a stutter to become England's King in one of the most important times history. The story is about the King ,played by Colin Firth overcoming his stuttering problem with the help of a speech therapist Lionel Logue, played by veteran English ac tor Geoffrey Rush.  I won't bother going into details. The  essence of the story is really overcoming a disability, although I doubt you'll find the  word "disability" anywhere in the films description nor in any review. The movie is uplifting by all accounts and the end King George overcomes the stutter and there you go. From what I have read, seen and heard about the film, I call tell the King did "live with a disability" but tried to hide it, much like FDR did when he was in the public eye.
There have been a handful; of films about folks overcoming  disabilities, My Left Foot,Ray, now The King's Speech who have won awards. All of the involved real people with real disabilities, something Hollywood needs to take some notice!!!
Congratulations to all the winners

2/21/2011

Ham Radio Bucket List

It seems like I generally do more writing than reading, my grandmother always asked me if I was reading a book. My answer was I read the paper, although admittedly I have read books since high school, mostly autobiographies andnon-fiction. I alsolove reading other  people's aritcles and my absolutely favorite is Letters to the Editor. It's rare these days to find  a news article thatb I would considr worthy of calling them craftmanship, but letters are always from the gut
Notice I said rarely but it does happen./ One such case is the article I linked to below. Written by  Jim Kocsis, WA9PYH, the Ham Radio Bucket List is a must read for all hams who are serious about operating. For those less seasoned  readers a bucket list is things you want to do before you die.  Things  like travel, write a book, whatever, this one is  geared for ham radio operators. Jim, who has been licensed longer than I have been alive (45 years) mixes humor and common sense with a dash of wisdom in there as well. I was thoroughly entertained and educated when I finished and I hope you will be too....


http://www.arrl.org/one-ham-s-bucket-list

1/21/2011

Jerkweed Jaun is back

Back in July I wrote about this idiot license plate collector I nicknamed "Jerkweed Jaun"(see below). He's still on the  Yahoo list and I'mp still on his case. Call it payback for accusing me of screwing  him out of pl-ates. I won't be satisfied until everyone in t he plate collecting community knows, what a Jerkweed he ha beco-me. His who-le approach to collecting i0s wrong, he tries to get p=lates for nothing, breaksx trade promises on a whim and other stunts that  would give a collector a bad  name. His pattern, make noise on the list for a few days and then  go back into hiding until his next st9upid request.
Believe  it or not Jaun has tried to make truce saying he didn't mean to jerk me around, but I'm not buying into the scam. I am a big believer in giving people a second chance, but I don't think Jaun deserves that chance. On the contrary, I believe he needs to be taught a very hard lesson and I feel I need to teach it. While I won't accuse him the way he accused me, I will come out and say he is a rogue collector meaning he represents the very worst  in this hobby'.

Jaun's  latest kick is movie plates, which everyone knows are prop plates, but that's besides the point! I am afraid he wi-ll say the wrong thing to someone outside the hobby. Word spreads quickly around the plate collecting community and since  we are a tight knit group, one bad apple does ruin it for the rest of us. Jaun isn't  the image of a license plate collector I want to convey to the general[ public.. Now p=eople like Jaun have come and gone but they are still out there. My job as ha responsible license plate collector is to expose these people.





Jerkweed Jaun

1/10/2011

Blaming others is the utmost act of intolerance

The news about theshooting of Arizona Rep. Gabby Giffords is racing across TV screens and plastering the front pages of every front page in the US, if not the world.  I share the grief of all those who have been touched in some way.
It's   even more heartbreaking to learn that 9 year old Christina-Taylor Green was also tradgically killed. Green, born September 11th, 2001, was from what I see as the true "American Girl".  She was very patriotic, loved baseball (America's favorite past time) and will surely be missed by family and friends.


It  bothers me that people have again turned tragvedy int a fierce p;olitical debate. From Keith Olbermann suggesting placing picture of Giffords with crosshairs on Sarah Palin's website gave the shooter the idea to suggestions the Tea Party endorsed the shootmakes me mad. Case in point take my comment on Facebook: "The Arizona shooter is a self-described 'left-wing pothead, yet the media is pointing fingers at the Tea Party.....extremely sad state of affairs". That triggered reactions f rom my  friends, comments like "where does the "self described wing pothead" come in? I read them all, I think, I've other things to do, but... JAY when Tea Partiers started proudly toting guns at rallies and such, doesn't that imply something?"
Now I have been thinking about that reelpy all day made by a close friend and can  honestly see where she's coming from. I completely disagree and probablly will never make her see my point of view however I'm not here to pursade anyone's minds. Howeverf I have to ask myself why in  the world me bashing the media makes someone react in such a matter.
My comments where more about the reaction to this  h-orrible event rather than the event itself.  I never woul-ds comment about the actual events so lightly. There's' a problem with my reactions to those who responded, I never learn not to always shoot from the hip. It was an overraction on other people's comments.However this is in itself is proof the media