Skating away

I told my wife that Eddie Albert had died last week at the age of 99 of pneumonia and Alzheimer’s. She said that she figured he was already dead. I suppose that was a reasonable assumption.

When I was a kid, I admit to not only watching Green Acres, but liking it. (I also enjoyed Switch, but there was no shame in that.) Maybe it was because it was another show in the same Hooterville universe as Petticoat Junction. (Think Buffy/Angel on TV, or Marvel Comics crossovers.) Or maybe it was that it had Green in the title. I realized that Oliver Wendell Douglas (Eddie Albert), who initiated the move to the country (check out the theme lyrics) remained a fish out of water, confounded by Mr. Haney, Arnold Ziffel the pig, and their handyman Eb. Lisa Douglas (Eva Gabor), on the other hand, seemed to take it as it came in “Hootersville”. Like most supposed “airheads” on TV, she was probably smarter than her husband, the lawyer. I’m not defending it as Great Television, just not as bad as it has been portrayed.

Eddie Albert sang the title song (Eva Gabor more or less talked it). It is unusual for a star to sing the title song, I thought. Oh, there’s Dean Martin, Tom Jones, Jimmy Durante, and Happening ’68, hosted by Mark Lindsay of Paul Revere and the Raiders, but those were entertainment shows. And, of course, there’s Mr. Rogers. But I’m thinking scripted comedies or dramas. There was Erica Gimpel on Fame, but that was an ersatz performing arts school.
The only other ones I could think of were Drew Carey (Drew Carey Show, “Moon over Parma” -first season only) and Linda Lavin (Alice, “There’s a New Girl in Town”). Oh, and I nearly forgot the classic Carroll O’Connor/Jean Stapleton rendition of “Those Were the Days” on All in the Family, so notorious that it had to be recorded twice. (No one could understand, “Gee, our old LaSalle ran great.”)
But then I checked out some of my Television’s Greatest Hits CDs and discovered Tony Danza (“Hudson Street”) and Marla Gibbs (227, “There’s No Place Like Home”). And how did I forget Will Smith (with Jeff Townes, a/k/a DJ Jazzy Jeff) on “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air”? But the leader in this category, as far as I can tell is Greg Evigan from My Two Dads (“You Can Count on Me”) and the title song of “B.J. and the Bear”; this is in quantity, not necessarily quality. For my money, Green Acres told the story as well as any theme.

CBS canceled Green Acres and the Beverly Hillbillies in 1971, part of its de-ruralfication, despite its still strong ratings. Would that happen now? Maybe, with emphasis on “demographics”, the coveted 18-49 market. But these days, some cable outlet (TNN?) would have snatched them up.

But my everlasting recollection about the Green Acres theme is the routine performed by the ice dancing duo of Tanith Belbin and Ben Agosto. The couple, who won a silver medal at the World Championship in Moscow in March, do a goofy, sexy exhibition featuring the Green Acres theme segued with the theme to Deliverance. (BTW, I didn’t look this up. My wife watches skating; now, I’m watching skating. I know more about the new international scoring system than I care to.)

So, as Eddie Albert skates away to a new existence, Green Acres lives on, not only in reruns, but on the ice as well.

What Did You Do In the War, Daddy?

My father entered military service on May 1945, just after V-E Day. It was still the period of segregated units. He didn’t talk much (or at all) about his time in the army. What little I know were stories my father told my mother, and my mother told us, of course, long after the fact and second hand.

One of these piecemeal tales involved the fact that my father was temporarily raised to corporal (or sergeant) for a particular task, because the army wanted someone of that level to do the task. Then, when the task was complete, he was busted back down to private (or corporal), something I gather he was none too happy about. (Allegedly, lowering his rank was done to save money for the government.) If this sounds vague to you, trust me that this is all I’ve got.

A year or so ago, my sister Marcia had contacted the VA and was advised that the records that would have included my father’s records were destroyed in a fire in 1973. We found it strange that he only served 1 1/2 years, rather than 2-4 years, being honorably discharged in December 1946.

The one other aspect of the story is that there was a copy of an article from Ebony magazine from 1945 or 1946 that described “Negro servicemen” fraternizing with the local (white) women in Germany (I think), much to the chagrin of some, that was discovered in my father’s papers (and temporarily misplaced by me. Subsequently, there was a Newsweek article that reported on the Ebony piece.) I have no idea if this had anything to do with my father – it could have been about a friend of his – but straw grasping is what I’ve got.

So, blogiverse, on this Memorial Day, I’m hoping that somebody out there knows something about the military career of one Leslie Harold Green (b. 9/26/1926) from Binghamton, NY. If so, please e-mail me, if you would. Thank you.

The Force is Trying to Suck Me In

I ran into one of my FantaCo buddies, Joe Fludd, the other day. Joe did some art for the Chronicles series. Anyway, he asked, “Did you see Sith yet?” And I said, “No,” and that I really hadn’t planned to see it. But he seemed very enthusiastic. “It’s everything that you wanted in Episode 1.” Hmm. And, of course, it explains how Anakin becomes Darth Vader.

Let me look at the PROS and CONS:

PRO: I really loved the first three Star Wars movies, or Episodes 4-6, if you prefer.
CON: I was really bored by the fourth film, Episode 1, except for hating a particularly universally loathed character, which I will not name (JJB). So,
CON: I never saw the fifth film, Episode 2.
PRO: The sixth (and final, according to George Lucas) film, Episode 3, is playing at the local, independently-owned, recently reopened Madison Theater, right in my neighborhood. I wouldn’t have to go to the mall and/or to some big chain of theaters to see it.
The Madison has been around since 1929. In 1994, it was sold, renamed the Norma Jean Madison Theater, after Arthur Miller’s ex-wife (or was it Joe DiMaggio’s?) It was closed in 2001, then opened under new management, only to close again in 2003.
PRO: Carol would like to see it.
CON: We’d have to get a babysitter, which isn’t always easy. Indeed, we were invited to view the film with another couple this past Thursday, but care for the child became the deciding factor in not going.
CON: Episode 3 is rated PG-13, and I know why – one of those parental warning pieces appeared in the local paper. The second Raiders film, a scene from which I found a bit disturbing, practically created PG-13. The Hoffinator, who also saw it last week, said it was very good but “dark.”

The logical solution is to rent Episode 2 (I heard it was on broadcast TV recently, but broadcast TV is a TERRIBLE way to see most movies), THEN go to Episode 3. Based on the box office for the first DAY ($50 million), it’ll probably be around a while.

And now, this message from the Organic Trade Association, featuring ObiWan Cannoli, Cuke Skywalker, Princess Lettuce, C3 Peanuts, and Artoo Tofu. (Thanks, Anne.)


I plan to do a JEOPARDY! column every Saturday, complete with cliffhangers. This may be an artifice, but so were the Saturday matinee cliffhangers. You always knew if OUR HERO were hanging off the precipice at the end of the reel, that his horse and a piece of rope would save the day in the beginning of the next scene. Didn’t you?

Every weekday at lunchtime from 1965 to 1968, while growing up in Binghamton, NY, I would go to my maternal grandmother’s house and watch JEOPARDY! with Art Fleming as the host, and Don Pardo (later of Saturday Night Live fame) as the announcer. I watched with my great-aunt Deana Yates, who lived with Grandma Williams. (About the only decent scene in the movie Airplane 2 was the Art Fleming JEOPARDY! sequence.)

The money was much less then. The clues in the first round ran from $10 to $50, with the second round double that. Watching that program, I learned that the ZIP Code for the Spiegel catalog in Chicago was 60609, and that Rice-A-Roni was “the San Francisco treat.” I probably learned some other stuff as well. But I went to high school in 1968, and didn’t come home for lunch, so I watched the program only sporadically thereafter, and by the time the show went off the air in 1975, I was off at college and hardly watching it at all.

Meanwhile, I tried out for one of those Pyramid shows, hosted by Dick Clark, when I was living in NYC in 1977. I must have done miserably; even my sister, who didn’t even watch the show, got a callback, though she was not ultimately chosen, either.

JEOPARDY! returned in 1984 as a syndicated show hosted by Alex Trebek, former host of High Rollers, a show I would watch occasionally. I was almost instantly captivated by it. The questions addressed popular culture as well as the more encyclopedic material. The set was more stylish. Also the money had increased tenfold, with the clues running from $100 to $500 in the first round, and again, twice that in the second round. As the show grew in stature in the culture, I knew I’d have to try out “sometime when I get to Los Angeles.” Meanwhile, I watched with a fervor that approached devotion.

Then I saw THE NOTICE in the Times Union, Thursday, April 9, 1998, Page: D5, 169 words. I almost missed it:

If you think you have what it takes to win at “Jeopardy!”, prove it at a pretest at Crossgates Mall April 29 and 30, 4 to 8 p.m. WTEN, Ch. 10, which airs the game show at 7:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday, will sponsor the competition. About 75 Capital Region contestants who take the pretest are expected to advance to a regional contestant search in Boston May 14.

I hadn’t gone to Los Angeles, but Los Angeles had come to me!

The instructions in the paper were to call starting at 9 am to register. I called promptly at 9 and got a busy signal. I hit the redial regularly for about 20 minutes before I got through. Finally, I was able to make an appointment.

I rode up to Crossgates on my bike, not really knowing where I was going. (The tryout was at a closed department store, but since I didn’t usually frequent the mall, I didn’t know where this store – which I couldn’t name THEN, let alone NOW – was.) And I had made a 4:15 pm appointment, which I was in danger of missing.

Fortunately, I saw a WTEN truck. I followed a techie through a narrow passageway that wasn’t generally open to the public, getting there about 4:13.

There was a swarm of humanity in queue for the test, some for 4:30 and 4:45 appointments. I signed in, and was seated fairly quickly. We were in a section with a bunch of desks, arranged as though it were a classroom. The test itself was 10 questions. You needed to get seven right to get to go to Boston. I remember little of the test except that there was something about Egyptology that I may have gotten wrong. I also found out later that there was another test in every other seat, so that we couldn’t cheat. The other test had a question, the answer of which was Cal Ripken, Jr. (probably something about his “Iron Man” streak of consecutive games played.) Some folks wrote Cal Ripken, which was marked as WRONG, because there was a Cal Ripken, Sr., his father, who was also associated with baseball (and specifically with the Baltimore Orioles.) I thought at the time that I had gotten at least 8 of 10 right.

About 15 minutes later, someone read a list of names of people who had passed the test. I was ON the list! I went to the designated table and got a sheet of paper informing me that I would be able to take a bus to Boston on May 14 to take the REAL test. But I COULDN’T. I had a NON-REFUNDABLE train ticket to visit Detroit and Cleveland that week. (Obviously, I had missed that part of the newspaper notice.)

What will I do?

Continued next Saturday, June 4.
I finally watched the last 10 games of the Ultimate Championship over two early morning viewings. All I have to say is: It’s too bad more stories didn’t say “Brad Rutter wins” (except in his section of Pennsylvania, and on the JEOPARDY! site.) Most stories read “Ken Jennings loses”, because of his now celebrity status. At least Brad will have $2 million to lick his wounds.

The writing process

I went to see the author Joseph E. Persico last Saturday afternoon at the Albany Public Library. It seems reasonable that I would have mentioned the event on this blog BEFOREHAND, given the fact that the Friends of the Albany Public Library was co-sponsoring the event, and that I’m on the Friends BOARD. My only excuse is that I was out of town for several days and lost track until the night before the event.

In any case, Persico has been writing for over a quarter century. His current book is Eleventh Month, Eleventh Day, Eleventh Hour: Armistice Day, 1918, World War I and Its Violent Climax. He stated that more people died on that last half day of the Great War, for no particular strategic purpose, than died on D-Day (June 6, 1944) in World War II.

Persico talked about the process of researching and writing his books, which I found instructive in writing this blog.

While working on My Enemy, My Brother: Men and Days of Gettysburg (1996), he sought to pin down who fired the first shot in this pivotal Civil War battle. He believed he’d finally found the answer. He brought this to a gentleman at the Gettysburg Memorial who had provided invaluable assistance. The gentleman replied, “That’s one version.”
I’m going to try to get it right, but some of it is all but irretrievable, even my own history, where memory blurs and fails. I’ll try to do my best to get it right, especially re: JEOPARDY! and FantaCo, but I cannot swear it’ll be definitive.

Persico interviewed Charles Collingsworth, one of “Murrow’s Boys” for Edward R. Murrow: An American Original (1988). At one point Collingsworth asked him to shut off the tape recorder, which Persico did. Collingsworth then told of Murrow’s affair with Winston Churchill’s daughter-in-law, Pamela Churchill (later Pamela Harriman), which almost wrecked Murrow’s marriage. Persico decided that Collingsworth wanted him to have the story, but didn’t want people to know that the information came from the now late newsman. Persico used the information in the book.
I want to put in as much as comfortably possible. Some might be embarrassing, (even to me.)

As a speechwriter for the former New York State Governor and US Vice-President, Persico had unusual access to Nelson Rockefeller. The author was waiting for Rocky to finish a lengthy meeting with black housing leaders. Finally, the exhausted official collapsed into a chair, looking haggard, and exclaimed, “Amos ‘n’ Andy got it right.” (For those of you too young to understand the reference, Amos ‘n’ Andy was a controversial radio and television program in the 1940s and 1950s.) Persico wrote this comment down at the time. He put it in the first draft of his book The Imperial Rockefeller: A Biography of Nelson A. Rockefeller, then took it out, then put it back in, ultimately leaving it out. He decided that the then-governor lashed out in frustration that was out of character, and would provide a distorted view of the man.
Re: the blog, I may decide not to tell (for now) some stories.

In that same book he had to deal with how Rocky died. He was with a 22-year old assistant that Persico knew. Not to mention it would have made it “look like the book was authorized by the Rockefeller Foundation.” He told the tale succinctly, never mentioning the woman’s name (nor did he mention Megan Marshack by name in his talk.)
One can get to the truth sometimes without being TOO explicit.

Persico co-authored Colin Powell’s autobiography, My American Journey. He believes his most important jobs were to keep in what was interesting to a broad audience, and to delete what was not. In Powell’s case, the general wanted to put in a couple sentences about his two tours of Vietnam. Persico found this not practical, given its import in American life. Conversely, Powell was a policy wonk, very proud of a report he had made. Persico argued that the audience would not be as interested in this story as he was, and the story was excised.
I’ll try not to use too much insider language.

Anyways, I enjoyed the talk, though I was troubled briefly that he thought I was there ONLY because I was on the Friends board. I do wish that more folks were present. It WAS a lovely Saturday afternoon outside, though, and that is tough competition in a spring that has been unseasonably cool and wet.

The Lydster (Part 14): "24"

Before she was born, I decided that I was going to keep a journal of my thoughts about Lydia as she was about to enter my life. And before she was born, I did write to her a number of times. But since then, nothing. I got caught up in the busy-ness of life with her. This electronic outlet has allowed me to write about her in a way I was somehow unable to put down before.

I don’t want to write primarily about how well she’s walking or how she says “Uh, oh” when she drops something, though both are quite endearing. I want to talk about how she’s affected me (besides sleep deprivation).

So, naturally, I need to talk about the television series “24”. The two-hour season finale was Monday night; I didn’t see it. I watched the first season intently, and thought the first 13 episodes made up a fine story arc, though the remaining 11 episodes stretched credibility (amnesia, the Perils of Kim Bauer). Still I was willing to try it a second season, and I watched, though not as regularly. Super Jack Bauer, suffering intense torture did all THAT?

Carol and I discovered she was pregnant in July 2003. When the third season of “24” came around, I just didn’t feel like subjecting myself, and by extension, our unborn child, to such violent vibes. I didn’t see the fourth season, and won’t watch the fifth one when it starts up again in January.

It changed my movie viewing habits, too. Mystic River is a movie that, three years ago, would have gone to see in a heartbeat, but now: a film about an abused child who becomes the accused in the murder of his childhood friend’s teenaged daughter? No, thanks. A few months after Lydia was born, my in-laws in Oneonta watched Lydia will we went to the movies. There were only two choices at that particular theater: Man on Fire with Denzel Washington trying to save Dakota Fanning from being abducted (and FAILING), or Lindsay Lohan in Mean Girls. Lindsay won.

(Incidentally, no spoiler alert needed: the information I cited came from the trailers of those films.)

My family was visiting shortly after Lydia was born. They were watching CSI; I was reading the paper. But I couldn’t help but to note that the plot was something like this: a couple kills their own kid because they were afraid the kid would get some debilitating disease or die from a pesticide, or some such, which the kid (as it turns out) was NOT subject to. Oh, YUCK!

I need uplifting or funny or fun or silly. That’s where I am right now. So it will be a LONG while before I see Frank Miller’s Sin City movie, no matter how stylized the violence is.

Getting back to “24”, I found it humorous that not one, but two people I know, who are connoisseurs of the program, Mark McGuire of the (Albany) Times Union -who I bug occasionally, and Fred G. Hembeck (April 8-12, et al.) -who I bug more than occasionally, managed to tape or TiVo “24” this season, then fell weeks behind, only to catch up in marathon sessions. What’s THAT all about? BTW, it was Fred who put my feelings about the show best in his May 24 column: “I mean, I know it’s just a TV show and all, but the always mounting body count can be disturbing at times, especially considering the number of completely innocent people who are so casually slaughtered along the way, y’know?” Yeah, I DO know.

So, happy 14 months, Lydia. I’ve learned a lot about me through you.
The JEOPARDY! Ultimate Tournament is over. And the winner is..I DON”T KNOW. I’m still a week behind, so PLEASE don’t tell me, don’t ask. I know Jerome is one finalist (and Ken Jennings, of course, is another,) but I haven’t seen the last pair of semi-final games, nor the three-day final. My wife knows the results, so talk with HER about it.

Handicapping the Already Challenged

High on the list of very enjoyable presentations at the conference in Lake Placid a couple weeks ago was “How to Work with Differently-Abled Clients”, given by the NYS SBDC’s Mike Soufleris, who I warned I might put in my blog. Mike’s a great guy, but he’s had trouble holding on to vehicles; they tend to get stolen from him. Don’t ever park next to him.

One of the exercises involved listening to a tape where certain sonic qualities were lost. People asked to have it turned up, but it didn’t help much. It was a great demonstration about how the hearing-impaired have to deal. Another activity involved putting a headset on one person so that she couldn’t hear at all, and for two others to try to figure out how to communicate with her. (Hint: getting up close and yelling doesn’t work.)

The discussion about the barriers that those who are physically impaired have to deal with was also intriguing. But when I participated in the discussion, it touched off a very raw nerve. I’m sure it was because it reminded me of the inconsiderate things I see in my neighborhood almost daily. They’ve been bugging me for a while.

There are a couple people who park their cars so that it blocks the sidewalk. I can get around if I’m on foot. But if I’m pushing a baby carriage or a cart for transporting groceries, I have to go back to the PREVIOUS driveway, ride in the street, and come back the NEXT driveway. It CAN be a busy street. And what of someone in a wheelchair or a walker? Or a blind person?

Another regular irritant involves the people who stop at the local bagel shop “for just a minute” and stop in the crosswalk, because “there’s nowhere to park.” I’ve seen this when there was a good spot two or three car lengths away. One time, I saw a blind man walk across the street; his cane hit the car, and he was totally disoriented. (I was too far away from him to help.) Fortunately, someone closer came to his aid. But it oughtn’t to have necessary.

Fantasy #1: I “key” them. The reality: I was raised too well – Mom and Dad’s fault, no doubt. Also, I don’t know if that would be commensurate with their rude act. Also, I believe that it’s illegal.
Fantasy #2. The reality: Oh wait, I may DO Fantasy #2 someday. It doesn’t cause damage, and I don’t THINK it’s illegal. It’s definitely commensurate with their behavior. Yeah, maybe I will…

What’s in a (Band) Name?

I went to see the Funk Brothers and the Family Stone Experience in Washington Park back on May 14. It was great, but it got me to thinking: When personnel changes in a rock group, can it still be considered that group? There were, last I knew, TWO splinter groups from Sly and the Family Stone, both with original members. Since NEITHER includes Sly, there’s no issue of being the real thing. But there have been other bands during the years that have had more complicated issues.

The Beatles: When the Beatles broke up in 1970, it was considered “Paul’s fault” in some circles. After all, he had the audacity to put out his first solo album at about the same time as Let It Be. (Even though the others had all released solo discs earlier.) And he had different management (the Eastmans, Linda’s kin) than the others (Allen Klein). There was a widespread rumor at the time that the Beatles would re-form with Lennon, Harrison, Starr, Billy Preston (keyboardist on Get Back) and Klaus Voorman (designer of the Revolver album cover) on bass. Would they have been accepted as “The Beatles”? I seriously doubt it. They could survive the switch from Pete Best to Ringo Starr on the cusp of their stardom, but as the icons they became, there could be no substitutes.

The Rolling Stones: Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Brian Jones, Charlie Watts, and Bill Wyman was the line-up, with Ian Stewart as session and tour keyboardist. In June of 1969, guitarist Jones quit the group, quickly replaced by Mick Taylor. (Jones died a month later.) Taylor left in December of 1974; Ronnie Wood played (on loan from the Faces) on the 1975 tour, and the following year is installed as a permanent member. Bassist Wyman calls it quits in 1994. It seems that the Rolling Stones will survive as long as the Glimmer Twins (Jagger, Richards) continue to perform. With a new album and tour in 2005, it is still very much an active band.

The Beach Boys: Brothers Brian, Dennis, and Carl Wilson, cousin Mike Love, and friend Al Jardine (replaced briefly in 1962 and 1963 by David Marks) were the band. Brian quit touring in 1966, replaced briefly by Glen Campbell, and more permanently by Bruce Johnston. Dennis drowned in 1983. When Carl Wilson, Alan Jardine, Mike Love, and Bruce Johnston toured as the Beach Boys through 1997, there was a real legitimacy. But Carl died in 1998. [I went to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame shortly after Carl’s death, where they had a nice tribute piece to him and to another Carl who had died recently, Carl Perkins.] Mike Love and Bruce Johnston regained the legal right to use the Beach Boys name and have been touring as “The Beach Boys” ever since. Even with short-timer David Marks, it’s hard for me to accept this band as the Beach Boys. Maybe if Mike & Bruce kissed and made up with Brian & Al (who was a respondent in a lawsuit for using the Beach Boys’ name in his “Al Jardine’s Family & Friends Beach Band”, featuring Al’s sons, Brian’s daughters, and several former Beach Boys’ backing musicians), then THAT would be the Beach Boys.

Herman’s Hermits: There’s the group headed by Barry Whitwam; it also featured Derek Leckenby before he died in 1994. Then there’s Herman’s Hermits Starring Peter Noone, which at least has the original Herman. The two groups create an unfortunate dilution of legitimacy.

Bob Dylan: No, wait, he’s solo artist. He’s just had so many phases in his career. He is 64 today – happy birthday to the “unwilling counterculture icon.”

I liked what Cream did. They break up, the name’s done, even though 2/3s of them (Eric Clapton, Ginger Baker) end up in Blind Faith. And when there’s a Cream reunion this year (with Jack Bruce), there’s no question of their legitimacy.

Say, this is FUN! Think I’ll do it again with some more groups some other time.

A lap around the lake

Reflections about Lake Placid:

The hotel where we stayed was on a short but steep hill; taking it slowly was advisable. It wasn’t too onerous, though I broke a sweat pushing the baby carriage up on the one hot day we had.

Right at the bottom of the hill is Mirror Lake. It’s called that because when you’re on the far side of the lake, you can see the buildings of Main Street reflected in the water as though it were…you get the idea. The conference presenters, including myself, received a framed photo of the lake, which is quite lovely. The path around the lake is a 2.7 miles of red brick.

There is a Kate Smith library (which is but one room) in the hotel, and a couple blocks from the hotel, a Kate Smith Avenue. Several other places are named for the singer as well. She summered there for 40 years and was baptized in the village in 1965. For more about Kate (and to hear “God Bless America” in an interminable loop), you can go here.

One afternoon just off the hotel lobby, there was some kid hitting on a stuffed seven-foot (or so, it was seated) bear that was perched on a bobsled from the 1932 Olympics (or a good replica of same), while his mother watched, seemingly unconcerned. I was quite annoyed until I realized what a great headline it would make: “Belligerent Boy Beats Bobsled Bear.”

There was a bakery that had THE most annoying sign on its wall – 35 “stupid” things that their customers have asked, and their “clever” responses:
“Do you bake everything here?” “No, we have it flown in from Chicago. The plane lands right on Main Street to deliver daily.”
“Aren’t you hot in here?” “Yes, but we can eat what we want and sweat it off.”
“What’s a Snickerdoodle?” “There is a sign in the showcase. It is in front of a Snickerdoodle.”
“Is that ALL you have?” “No, we keep the really good stuff for ourselves to eat later.”
And my personal favorite:
“Do you have any water?” “No, we lick our dirty dishes clean.”
My wife wouldn’t go back there because of this rude “humor” (and despite the quality of its pastries), and I absolutely agree with her on this. Telling your customers that they’re stupid is a bad marketing plan.

That sign is much worse than the one I saw in a Lake Placid restaurant a couple years ago. I’m paraphrasing the first part, but the second is a direct quote: “We cook your food to order. Not responsible for overcooked meat.”

I’ve been here twice in the past three years, and I’d come again any time. (But I’ve never been here in the winter, nor during the notorious black fly season, so maybe not ANY time.)

Our driver on the way home, the Hoffinator, warned us to expect a roadblock on Interstate 87 so that officials could check for illegal immigrants. This is not at the Canadian border crossing, but some 20-25 south of there. She had made the trip up to Lake Placid and back to Albany several times in helping to plan the conference. But, surprise – no checkpoint. We were oddly disappointed.

What was it that Dorothy said in the Wizard of Oz, while she clicked the ruby slippers?