Hands Off My Urinal, Governor Paterson!

Men's room at Ralph Wilson Stadium, Buffalo, NY

I give David Paterson credit for trying to save money, but this time he’s gone too far.

According to the TU’s Tim O’Brien, the Gov is looking to shut down rest areas in New York to close the spending gap. We’re not talking about Thruway rest stops –like the disgustingly dirty Ardsley Travel Plaza– but the little bathroom and parking operations such as the ones on the Northway.


If you’ve ever driven with me in the morning you know how important the rest areas are, especially after a couple of cups of coffee. In fact we could probably use a few more of these instead of less. Talk about distracted driving.

It’s a no win situation. You want to be well hydrated but then you spend half your time drinking water and the other half looking for a bathroom. Which reminds me of a story.

I was sitting in the examining room during my annual physical. The doctor asked if there was anything else I wanted to talk about. “Well… it seems like I urinate very frequently. Is that something to worry about?”

“How much water do you drink?”

I went on to describe my hydration rituals.

“Of course you go to the bathroom all the time. Where else would all that water go?”

Duh. Let’s get back on topic.

So, Mr. Paterson, what do you say? It’s time to drop this wild proposal that will hurt drivers who badly need relief. New Yorkers will not be treated like peons —and if you expect us to take this sitting down, you’ve got another thing coming.

Just When You Thought It Was Safe

Some people claim that DVD players in cars have hindered communication between parents and their children on family trips.

To that I say, “Thank God.”

In my experience young back seat passengers have never added anything to travel except annoyances, particularly if there are more than one of them. DVD players and headphone changed this forever. Now if there’s a complaint about the length of the trip, I say, “Oh…well maybe you’d like to come up here and drive and I’ll sit in the back and watch movies.”

The DVD player is not without pitfalls. After repeated viewings of Jaws on the way to vacation my 13 year-old son Zack got the idea that there must be sharks in Lake Ontario. Even after I explained that there were no Great Lakes sharks he countered that they could swim up the St. Lawrence River looking for human prey.  “They could,” I said. “But they don’t.”

The topic came up again as we swam at a secluded beach. The water was crystal clear and there was a sandy bottom —perfect conditions to see the three foot fish that slowly cruised past us. Before I could say, ‘You’re gonna need a bigger boat’, he was out of the water and standing on the shore.

I don’t blame him. It’s startling to see such a large fish swim past —I just hope he doesn’t see this story before our vacation next week on Long Island. Or this one.

The World According to Rob

This Facebook status update caught my eye:

Chris Rooney doesn’t like when cars drive too fast down his street.

Have you ever heard anyone complain that they drive too slow? Of course not. We all think they drive too fast —but what are you going to do chase after them and get all up in their grill, so to speak? That may have worked for T.S. Garp but it’s not a good idea these days.

In The World According to Garp, Garp gets into the habit of chasing after cars speeding through his neighborhood. In the book he’d catch up to them at the stop sign and give them a piece of his mind. It worked. Try that today and they’ll run you over.

Years ago the town showed up and yanked out the stop signs on the corner where I live. When I complained they helpfully explained that the signs created an unsafe situation and actually encouraged people to drive faster. I don’t know about that —but I do know that as soon as the signs came down the speed of the cars went up.

I decided to take matters into my own hands and request people slow down by yelling at them when they drove past. This did nothing to slow the cars but a number of people did return to yell back, threaten me, etc.

Now when they zip past I keep my mouth shut —instead seeking revenge by doddering along that road like an 80-year-old, driving a speed safe and reasonable for a place teeming with kids:  20 MPH.

Zombie Car Commercial

The new campaign for the Lexus IS C shows folks mixed up in all sorts of cinematic action —but the best one of the series by far is the zombie commercial.

In this one the protagonist is dashing down the street barefoot from a crowd of what could only be zombies. And these are fast zombies like those in the 2004 re-make of Dawn of the Dead —not clumsy, slow, lurching Night of the Living Dead zombies.


The internet is full of discusions about what vehicle would be best during a zombie apocalypse but I don’t think the Lexus IS C will be on anyone’s list. I’d say you want 4-wheel drive and then it’s a matter of preference: SUV or pickup? Gas or diesel? Maybe the Hummer H3T? There are pros and cons all around.

Pretty Good Friday

My fire department pager went off and the dispatcher transmitted that it was an alarm at Hannaford. As I was running out the door, Ann shouts to me, “Could you get me some of that granola I like while you’re there?”

According to the CDC, more than 86,500 Americans visit emergency rooms every year due to falls caused by pets and pet related objects. Dogs are overwhelmingly the culprits, accounting for an average of 71,452 injuries —30% of those are caused by tripping or falling over the dog(s). On average, 27 of the incidents annually involve both a cat and a dog. Watch your step.

A Nebraska woman was killed last week when a Taco Bell sign fell 75 feet and crushed the pickup truck she was sitting in. According to police, the woman and her husband were parked waiting for a Wyoming couple who were to purchase two of their dogs. From the North Platte Bulletin:

Officials said the couples agreed to meet in North Platte about 1 p.m., “right underneath the big Taco Bell sign.”

Don’t Drink the Water

Not Poland Spring Sparkling Spring Water With Lemon Essence

This I guarantee: the fluid in that bottle is not Poland Spring Sparkling Spring Water with Lemon Essence. Oh sure, it may have once been deliciously crisp and refreshing sparkling water with a hint of citrus —but it isn’t anymore.

I saw this bottle in the parking lot at work and just had to take a picture. Why? Because it tells us something interesting about men: we can pee anywhere at anytime, even in the car.  Maybe the idea of  urinating in the car sounds revolting but believe me, it can be handy in a pinch.

Anyway, there are two things to remember if you are going to pee in a bottle in your car: first, Gatorade bottles are much easier to use. Second, please properly dispose of urine filled containers. Thank you for your cooperation.

From the Notebook

I keep hearing a radio spot for an herbal supplement that’s supposed to promote prostate health. The announcer wants to know if you have any troubling symptoms. He asks, “Do you get up to go to the bathroom?” Huh? Well, yes as a matter of fact I do get up to go to the bathroom. Every single time. And when I stop getting up to go to the bathroom, that’s when I’ll know I have a problem.

Rob: Did you read this story? Some guy was hit by a car and killed after he ran into the road to get his dog.

Ann: Is the dog OK?

Denver’s Rocky Mountain News publishes its final edition today and that’s got me thinking about newspapers. If you live around Albany, you’ve heard people use the term Times Useless to describe their daily paper, the Times Union. After you hear that one about a thousand times it doesn’t sound clever any more —and besides it’s far from accurate. If you want to remain a well informed citizen, you’d better hope that good newspapers like the TU find their way through these tough times. This column is one of the better ones I’ve read on the topic —and there have been hundreds. And if you think local TV news will fill the void, read this piece from the NY Post’s Phil Mushnick.

Besides, newspapers are useful.

Quotable Moments On the Road In Syracuse

I’m not hungry, I feel like I’m going to throw up. Maybe I’ll be hungry after I throw up.

You’re like a human GPS. Except with no sense of direction.

I’m not taking a nap. I’m 13, not 48.

No, you can’t see the map and yes, I do know where I’m going.

What, you can’t eat lunch while someone’s talking about colonoscopies?

Sure, we could stop at Dinosaur Bar-B-Que if you feel like waiting five hours for a table.

If someone gives you a scratch-off ticket and you win $1 million? Keep your mouth shut and put it in your pocket. Don’t say a word.