LIRR days

As we sat on the Long Island Railroad hurtling out toward Bay Shore – I knew all the stops because the conductor used to rattle them off over the intercom like, “This is the 3:30 local to Montauk, stopping at Freeport, Merrick, Bellmore, Wantagh, Seaford, Massapequa, Massapequa Park, Amityville, Copiague, Lindenhurst and BAB-bee-lon (Babylon). Change in BAB-bee-lon for the train to Bay Shore, Islip, Great River, Oakdale and Sayville. Change in Patchogue for the train to Montauk making all local stops. Next stop… FreeeeePORT!” – what came next was that this same conductor came down the aisle and collected fares. Continue reading


Not so Dad

On the 405 going north toward Sacramento, trying to find the right off ramp leading to the 10 toward Santa Monica, I was seriously outgunned. I mean, the people here are all Professional Drivers. Like New Yorkers are Expert Walkers. Continue reading

Just one more bite, please…

When I was last headed to McCarren Int’l Airport in Las Vegas, I saw Susan Sarandon in the morning at the US Airways Club and Larry King by the pool that afternoon. So far at Logan I haven’t seen a single celebrity. On my way to LAX through Vegas today. [Inserted post-script comment from Free First-Class Upgraded Seat 2C, Vegas to LA: Woman walks on with every bit of her pumped with collagen and silicon. Didn’t know earlobes went under the knife but apparently they’re included in the $2999 Facial Extremities Package…] Continue reading

The butcher on Fire Island

Dominick was the butcher out at the summer beach community where my parents had a house since the 70s. (Jim and I sold it in 2002 after their deaths, after we realized that $100,000+ of work probably wasn’t in our budgets.) This was back when it was okay to use that term for that profession – butcher – not deli worker, etc. You knew what a butcher did, and nobody was embarrassed by it, least of all the butcher himself. Continue reading

Pauly, where are you?

My early morning foray into the thick Orlando air was at first quite unsuccessful.

I had planned on going to Dexter’s, which was the recommendation of “Michelle” at Marriott’s front desk, but upon calling last night I learned they were not open for breakfast.

Then I did a Google search for “best breakfast Orlando home cooking” and came up with Pauly’s Diner, on Nebraska off N. Mill Avenue just north of downtown. Driving there with the wipers on intermittent because I couldn’t make the AC get rid of the condensation on my windshield, I first passed Nebraska because there was no street sign and then, doubling back, found it on the left-hand corner, but with the feared “CLOSED” sign in the window. A light was on in back, toward the kitchen, and the Internet had said it opened at 5:30 a.m. for breakfast – it was about 6:05. But what did the world wide web know about Pauly’s personal schedule? Maybe Pauly was off surfing. Maybe he took the family to the lake. Maybe Pauly was a woman and was PMS-ing. Maybe Pauly was a transsexual and was having problems adjusting to the latest hormone injections. I really didn’t know, and it’s not that all those thoughts went through my head. But they could have. Because I was kind of mad. And the dreaded alternative was what I passed on the way over: IHOP.

Its name starting with the ubiquitous first-person vowel, which normally typifies everything cool these days, this restaurant typifies all that is wrong with American eating. The one redeeming quality is its waitresses. I think of a Lone Star song about a waitress saving up “two-bit tips” to send her boy to college. Sure enough, my tip – $2 off a bill of $10.24 – was certainly over two bits. The waitress here calls me “honey” a lot, and that’s cool, because the only thing that could be worse than an IHOP meal would be an IHOP person. No, she is real and might have had a job previously at Pauly’s, back when Pauly was still a man and didn’t PMS because s/he didn’t have problems going on with hormone injections and she dealt with real people eating real food.

photo: jimrhoda