That’s the sound of a ball bouncing down the basement steps, which I’ve now heard three times this morning.
Our dog Scarlett has learned that if she drops a ball down the steps I will often retrieve it and toss it back to her. Then she drops it down the steps again.
It occurs to me now that this is a bizarre turnaround in the training routine; she is giving a cue that makes me spring into action. I have been conditioned to react in a certain way, and she knows — to the extent that dogs know anything — what I’ll do.
Predictable behavior on command. That sounds a lot like training to me.
But she’s just a dog and she can never get me trained properly. I’m quite sure that no matter what she does, I’ll continue to eat food off the counter, lay on the couch, and poop in the house. So there.
I like the drive south down River Road.
Glenmont, Selkirk, Coeymans, New Baltimore — keep going and you’ll go through Coxsackie and to Catskill. Route 144 gives way to Route 61 which leads to Route 385, but it’s all the same.
Roads like this were busier before the Thruway, and if you look closely you’ll see the remains of old gas stations and tourist cabins that dotted way — and places like the Bridge Diner.
It’s near two bridges in Coeymans, actually; the railroad bridge that carries freight across the river and the Thruway’s Castleton Bridge. The diner must have been a busy place when that Thruway bridge was being built in the late 1950s – ironic, because it was the Thruway itself, not far behind the diner, which must have stolen a lot of the traffic away from Rt. 144.
While the building looks vaguely like a railroad car, the only time it rolled anywhere was when it was shipped to its destination in four-foot segments and assembled on site. The diner was built by the Bixler Manufacturing Company of Norwalk, Ohio sometime between 1931 and 1937 when the firm went out of business. Back in the day, you could buy a pre-fab diner like this one on credit — and hope you got enough business to make your payment.
I don’t know anything about how the Bridge Diner ended up as it is today. It’s too bad somebody couldn’t have put the building to use — or break it back down into four-foot sections and cart it off to where it could be live again, a place for a couple of fried eggs and some hash browns on a chilly morning.
When it comes to shaving, I go with the cheapest. The cheapest shaving cream, the cheapest blades and no fancy balms or lotions.
But it’s not just about money.
One time my wife brought home a big bag of remarkably elaborate and expensive looking razors. They came from someone who works in R&D for a big razor company; he was hoping me and the boys would try these fancy things and provide feedback. I didn’t touch them. Nope. Just give me my plastic disposable twin blader. You, know, the kind of razor they let prison inmates use. Seems to work just fine!
cheap committed to the basics, I was intrigued by the Dollar Shave Club. It seems that a dollar — and another two dollars for shipping — will get you five blades a month. They even throw in a free handle. Very well, let’s give it a go. This could mean I never have to even think about razors again, and that I like the sound of that.
I’ll let you all know how this goes. In the meantime, watch this tremendous video from Dollar Shave Club. It’s one of the big reasons I signed up.
Bloggers get no love. Consider this headline from the Times Union:
Ex-blogger Arrested on Child Porn Charges
I like how they give blogger equal billing with child porn. “Child porn? That figures! Filthy blogger!”
So, when somebody treats local bloggers special, believe me, it’s a pretty big deal — like this week when Price Chopper invited a bunch of local food bloggers to the opening of their new Market Bistro store in Latham.
Price Chopper has smart PR people, so they know that if you schmooze a bunch of bloggers and feed them you’ll get results — like seven blog posts the next day. There may be more out there; these are just the ones I found in a two-minute search:
The Angel Forever
All Over Albany
Jon in Albany
Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s terrific that blogs are considered an important part of a media campaign — and it does seem to work. Now, if I can only get myself invited somewhere they have free food. I promise to write a blog post about it.
I knew exactly what I’d hear when I picked up the phone at 1:13am. Read this in shouting mode for the full effect:
Hello, this is recruit Madeo!
I have arrived safely at Parris Island!
Please do not send any food or bulky items!
I will contact you in 3 to 5 days via postcard with my new mailing address!
Thank you for your support!
Goodbye for now!
We tried to queeeze in a few words at the end of his scripted call, but he was gone in a flash, off for 12 weeks we can read about, but hardly imagine.
I would never mock the poor. I might mock your grammar, but never the poor.
It’s perfectly natural to sit at work and complain. Oh, why is my computer so slow, what’s up with this email, are those edits to my work really necessary, why are we doing this?
That’s when you’re lucky there isn’t an old-time Hudson River iceman standing behind you, because surely he’d smack you in the back of the head and tell you to shut the hell up. Those people knew a thing or two about hard work, spending their days sawing away at the river ice and stacking it in warehouses.
There was a time when the shores of the Hudson were crowded with ice harvesting operations; you can see evidence of the ice trade up and down the river — including just off Rt. 9J south of Stuyvesant.
What you’ll find there is the ruins of the R&W Scott Ice Company: the shell of the building that housed the steam engine that powered conveyor belts and an elevator — and you can trace the foundation of a massive six-story structure where the ice was stored. Here are some photos: Continue reading
By spring you’ll see American robins on every lawn, but the common local bird really caught my attention on Monday morning. There were dozens of them picking at the tiny, shrivelled crabapples on a tree in front of my house.
Seriously, I’ve never seen so many robins in one place — and they were having a hell of a time out there, flitting around, tugging fruit off the tree, relaxing on the branches. It was quite a show for my cats as well; to them, watching birds is like a Netflix binge.
My wife said there were a bunch of waxwings hitting the tree also. I wouldn’t know a waxwing if it were pecking my eyes out, so I’ll have to take her word on that.
I don’t know if this influx of robins means anything. We can be hopeful and see it as a sign of spring, but I’m mostly hopeful that they have enough to eat until the snow finally melts.