A great conversation starter was posted on Twitter by Katie Honan. She asked, “New Yorkers, what’s the one New York thing you haven’t done?”

Lots of people weighed in. Glancing through the replies, I’d say the Empire State Building was the place most mentioned. The Statue of Liberty was another famous spot that a lot of New Yorkers just haven’t made it to, yet. (And if they haven’t yet, they ain’t likely to). I’m not, I swear, going down memory lane again but these two places were easier to visit a few decades ago. 

You could go to the Empire State Building on a whim. It was free to ride the elevator to the 86th floor and get an unmatched view of the city. For a couple of bucks, they even had a recording booth in which you could make

Can they call them something besides old white men? That hits a little close to home.   One of my follicle-challenged brothers has said, bald people are the last group no one has any hesitation to make fun of. You can’t mention race, religion or body shape without triggering a protest rally. But bald guys are still fair game. It’s an outrage, the bowling ball head, mutters.

Well, old white men are the new bald guys. And I’m not being redundant.

Plenty of old white men (OWM) just want to be

The murder rate was quadrupling but we were allowed – sometimes ordered – to take the subway in the bad old days if we were past the age of ten. Oh, those parents. But I guess it was relative. Why worry about your kids meeting a homicidal psychopath or some street toughs when you’re thinking about nuclear war? Those were the days when your kids were in school practicing putting their heads under the desk to prepare for nuclear war because, you know, that was going to keep them safe.

We weren’t

A couple weeks back I documented some of the dangers of being a kid before helicopter parents were invented. Factologist Sean McVeigh could not believe there were such things as glass shampoo bottles. But I was proven right as his research showed Prell shampoo to be the iPhone of its time. Tell ya, if I traveled back in time I’d open an Urgent Care center or maybe a Stitches R Us. 

It was such a big deal when shampoo was finally put in plastic bottles, they made TV commercials about this new

Happy Thanksgiving. If you play word association, whaddya come up with? Stuffing?  Cranberry, sweet potatoes? Turkey, bird, football? Once you rattle off the basics you might come up with King Kong, which used to be shown on TV every Thanksgiving — and probably still is but with 500 channels it’s hard to find the one showing King Kong, Son of Kong, and Mighty Joe Young — back to back. 

I have no idea why gorilla movies became a tradition. March of the Wooden Soldiers, the Laurel and Hardy

It’s a wonderful world – partly because Louis Armstrong inhabited it. The raspy baritone is a musical immortal, of course. I should be able listen to him all day. But I get stuck on “What A Wonderful World.”

It goes back to eighth grade. Which I’ll get to in a second.

Louis sings, “And I think to myself, what a wonderful world.” And I don’t hear another word. You know what my twisted, stunted mind does? It focuses on those words: I think to myself.

Well, who else is he gonna think to? I

Memory plays tricks on all of us. We forget things so we can move on. We forget some things just so we can deal with them – when they inevitably happen again.

I’m not sure what I’ve forgotten about Hurricane Sandy.  What follows is what I wrote a couple months after.

 

I headed out of Rockaway in country darkness, depressed.  Emergency lights atop a utility truck flashed giving some light to a side street full of garbage. Piles of it. But, of course, it really wasn’t garbage.  I didn’t need

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