Enough Already–Let’s Vote

In 1972 I waited in a long line at the Mallard Creek 2 polling place in Charlotte, NC to vote for Eugene McCarthy. “If you vote for him things will be awful,” I was told. I did vote for him. Things did turn out to be awful.

What makes this election different from the 11 other presidential elections I actually remember (Sorry Ike, I don’t remember ’52 or ’56) is how long it’s been heavily covered.

In the pre-Internet, pre-cable days candidates were on the stump, but mostly unnoticed by the general population. If you spoke in Chillicothe, you might have gotten some local TV coverage (in fact you prayed for local TV coverage) and maybe a short AP/UPI write-up, but no one else knew. Now, every breath you take, every move you make, they’ll be watching you!

Democrats pulling for Senator Obama equate this massive coverage to vetting and use it to thwart Senator McCain’s claim we know nothing of Obama. I don’t think McCain’s getting much traction here. We all feel, right or wrong, after all this time we know the candidates.

I remember reading somewhere that Bush-41 knew he was going to lose to Bill Clinton a few weeks before the election (I cannot find a citation fo this–but it is my memory) and then just went through the motions. It doesn’t look that way with John McCain, who I saw speaking from a town on the Tennessee/Virginia border a while ago. Still, it’s got to be tough to know you’re as far behind in the polls as he is.

I’ve always thought it was students and young adults who drove Lyndon Johnson from office. And yet when franchised as a very liberal young voter I never voted for eventual winners. Very frustrating.

In 1972 I waited in a long line at the Mallard Creek 2 polling place in Charlotte, NC to vote for Eugene McCarthy. “If you vote for him things will be awful,” I was told. I did vote for him. Things did turn out to be awful.

No one I knew was voting for Nixon and yet he ran away with North Carolina and the election in general. Since then I voted voted both Republican and Democratic in presidential elections. To be kind, I am not a bellwether.

At work I asked Intern Jacob if he was excited about this election and if he thought students were involved. He quickly answered yes. I found that encouraging.

Back in 1960 the election results were on all-night. The election itself wasn’t decided until the pre-dawn hours. Though I was just 10, I remember how exciting that night was (and I also remember primarily watching NBC). I was prepped for the same fun in 1964, but everything was decided quickly. Not every election goes down to the wire. In fact, most do not.

Tomorrow’s results will probably be known early and Barack Obama will go-to-bed President Elect Obama. In football he’d be seen as a prohibitive favorite… and yet they still play the games.

A Listener 30 Years Removed

I’m pretty flattered anyone would remember, much less have me in their aircheck collection. I haven’t been on WPEN in 30 years!

Here’s an email I got earlier this evening:

Hi Geoff:

I remember you as being one of the best DJs on 95PEN. I think you were also a ham operator.

Anyway I have some airchecks of you and would love to swap some or if you don’t have any I can send you what I have. I always enjoyed your wit and humor in your delivery. I have since moved to Virginia for a change of pace.

Take Care……….Steve West

I wrote Steve and told him where the one aircheck on this site is hidden.

I’m pretty flattered anyone would remember, much less have me in their aircheck collection. I haven’t been on WPEN in 30 years!

I did some of my best work at 95PEN. It was a more innocent time. Morning shows weren’t as developed back then. We did have great jingles (thanks Jon) and played lots of oldies.

I’d like to be that last-one-called, emergency fill-in person at CBS-FM in New York. Radio is still in my blood.

What Goes Up Must Come Down

Here’s the problem. When you’ve got an object as big as this 10-ton satellite, some of it will survive the plunge to Earth. That’s especially true when there are hardened pieces.

mir_atmosphere.jpgIt looks like a US spy satellite is out-of-control and will soon plunge back into the Earth’s atmosphere. It’s happened before.

I remember when Mir plunged to Earth. The photo on the left shows what was left as the debris passed over Fiji.

Back in 1979 pieces of Skylab fell on Australia. No one was injured.

The question is, is this dangerous? Uh… yeah. Though there is some conflict in that opinion.

I just checked Google’s news site and found “Falling US satellite is not dangerous – NASA” from Russia’s Interfax news agency. That’s a relief.

Oops. Hold on. Here’s what the Times of London says: “Threat as 10-ton satellite set to crash back to Earth”

So, it’s either not dangerous or a threat. Got it?

Here’s the problem. When you’ve got an object as big as this 10-ton satellite, some of it will survive the plunge to Earth. That’s especially true when there are hardened pieces.

From the New York Times:

John E. Pike, the director of Globalsecurity.org in Alexandria, Va., said that if the satellite in question was a spy satellite, it was unlikely to have any kind of nuclear fuel, but that it could contain toxins, including beryllium, which is often used as a rigid frame for optical components.

The speculation is this is a spy satellite, launched in 2006 and quickly lost. It probably went up with hydrazine for thrusters. That’s really nasty stuff.

When properly used in space:

The catalyst chamber can reach 800° C&#185 in a matter of milliseconds, and they produce large volumes of hot gas from a small volume of liquid hydrazine, making it an efficient thruster propellant.” – Wikipedia

When improperly encountered on the ground:

Hydrazine is highly toxic and dangerously unstable, especially in the anhydrous form. Symptoms of acute exposure to high levels of hydrazine in humans may include irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat, dizziness, headache, nausea, pulmonary edema, seizures, coma, and it can also damage the liver, kidneys, and central nervous system. The liquid is corrosive and may produce dermatitis from skin contact in humans and animals. Effects to the lungs, liver, spleen, and thyroid have been reported in animals chronically exposed to hydrazine via inhalation. Increased incidences of lung, nasal cavity, and liver tumors have been observed in rodents exposed to hydrazine. – Wikipedia

The Earth is mainly covered by water. Even the land portion of Earth is sparsely populated in most spots. The odds of anyone getting hurt is small.

However, the more stuff that falls down, the worse those odds get.

&#185 – Here in the US, we use Fahrenheit. 800&#176 C is about 1,500&#176 F.

For perspective, aluminum melts at 1218&#176 F. Most other ‘substantial’ metals have significantly higher melt points.

I’ve Become The London Lee Repository

There must not be a lot written about London Lee, because when people search his name, they often end up here. Most notes begin by acknowledging he was drop dead funny. I’ve heard from his friends, relatives, a few folks who despise him (London, trust me, stay clear of your cousin in Boca) and a woman who claims to have known him in Europe.

A while ago, I wrote about London Lee, the iconic young Jewish comic of the mid and late 60s. I’m afraid for those just a few years younger than me, his name means nothing.

London Lee was huge. He was on Sullivan. He was on the Tonight Show. He was a comic on a meteoric rise… and then… you know… stuff happens.

There must not be a lot written about London Lee, because when people search his name, they often end up here. Most notes begin by acknowledging he was drop dead funny. I’ve heard from his friends, relatives, a few folks who despise him (London, trust me, stay clear of your cousin in Boca) and a woman who claims to have known him in Europe.

It’s funny, but I was just thinking about “London Lee”. I did the search and found your site.

London Lee was really the son of a wealthy garment center guy. His real name was Alan Levine and he lived on Central Park South NYC. That was in 1960-1-2.

My boyfriend at the time, who was a hustler and pool sharp (later to be a heroin addict), was staying with London in his studio there and that was how I met Alan/London.

I was impressed when I first saw him on TV and surprised at how really funny he was. I guess it was because it was all true stories and insecurities.

Amazingly, he does seem to have fallen off the face of the earth. Would have been in his mid to late 70’s I wonder if he is still alive…….

Maybe Miami Beach?


He’s alive. I believe it’s Broward County, just to the north of Miami Beach. By the way, isn’t it more than a little unnerving to read her boyfriend/heroin reference of 45 years ago!

Today I got this:

Just read about London Lee.

He is performing at the Hillcrest Golf and Country Club in Hollywood, FL on Sunday October 29, 2006.

Thought your friend who e-mailed you might be interested.


So, obviously he is alive an well. There is quite a “Borscht Belt II” circuit playing for retirees in South Florida. He is in good company.

The real reason I’m posting this is this remarkable photo I got from Harry Watts. How lucky am I that Harry took it in August 1968, kept it safe all these years, digitized it and then sent it to me via email nearly 40 years after the fact?

The scene is the Boardwalk in pre-casino Atlantic City. This photo is looking north and the ocean is off camera to the right. Back then A.C. was a hopping resort town.

Steel Pier was, and is again, located at Virginia and Boardwalk. It was known for it’s diving horse (whether it was actually a free will diving horse is another story) and it’s big name acts.

Appearing along with London Lee was John Fred and his Playboy Band. Their hit, “Judy in Disguise” went to number one in January 1968. Also on the bill, somewhat incongruously, was Don Glasser’s Orchestra, a “smooth as glass” dance band.&#185

The photo is a one of a kind, and I’m deeply grateful to Harry for allowing me to post it.

Take a look at the people and what they’re wearing. Atlantic City was where you went, even on this gray summer day, to get away from the heat, forget about the rest of the world, and have a little fun.

&#185 – Amazingly, Don’s band still performs, though without Don.

Because this page is so often searched and found, it has been reopened for comments.

I Didn’t Know I Was This Nice

My friend Farrell’s mom, Ruth, has been interviewed again about her escape from New Orleans.

Every time she tells the story, I become a bigger hero. It’s now the “Legend of Geoff Fox.”

Seriously, this was a call anyone with info would make to the parent of a close friend. I am glad Ruth escaped New Orleans unscathed. I’m glad she listened to her family and friends, because I know in her heart she very much wanted to stay.

The story from the Valley Gazette continues at the jump.

Continue reading “I Didn’t Know I Was This Nice”

Bad News For Groton And The Submarine Base

Word came out this morning that the submarine base at Groton will be closed as part of a nationwide military base realignment. That this is a firmly ‘blue’ state probably didn’t help Connecticut, as those boats are moving to Virginia – a red state.

My first remembrance of Groton is back when I was a college student. I worked part time at WSAR in Fall River, MA, so I would often drive I-95 past the base. There were signs along some of the bridges admonishing drivers not to stop.

That was the height of the cold war. I’m guessing there were few warm and fuzzy warnings, especially to a ‘long hair’ like I was.

I became more conscious of the base when I moved to Connecticut. As the economy of Eastern Connecticut slacked critically (in the pre-casino days), it was the one constant. Submariners were often out to sea for extended periods, but their families were in Connecticut, spending money.

I’ve taken two submarine ‘rides’ from Groton. One was on the USS Providence. I can’t remember the name of the other, except to say it was a Los Angeles class fast attack submarine.

Though I’m not sure of the significance of the words “fast attack,” they sure do sound impressive when used together.

My first trip left the dock on a very foggy morning. Rather than bring the sub down the river in bad conditions, the passengers for this ‘fam trip’ piled onto a tug and were ferried to the ship.

As both slowly moved in sync (to maintain steerage), a gangway was set between the ships. I crossed onto the deck of the sub only to be greeted by a frogman with a sheathed knife on his leg. He was there to rescue anyone who might fall off. Going below was accomplished by climbing into a hatch and down a ladder.

I said this then and I’m sure it’s still true now. The submarine itself didn’t impress me. Well, maybe that’s an oversimplification. It didn’t impress me as much as I thought it would. It wasn’t anywhere near as high tech as I had imagined. That is probably because the procurement procedures at the Defense Department take forever!

I remember looking at a PC being used for some task and thinking, “Wow, I’ve got a much more powerful one at home.”

On the other hand, I was blown away by the officers and crew. The real secret weapon of the US submarine fleet are these people. They were bright and disciplined and well trained to do their job and others as well.

The crew was just as much a positive surprise as the equipment was a disappointment.

It was interesting to talk with the men on board and watch them do what they did. Like every job, I’m sure it gets a little stale after a while. Still, they could tell what they were doing was impressive to others and they seemed to bask in that.

Part of the trip was submerging and sailing through Long Island Sound. People ask if I was scared. I was not. These trips were as gentle as could be.

On the way back to port I got to climb another ladder to the top of the sail. This is not a passage designed for the claustrophobic. It was well worth it. It might very well be the most macho place any human can stand.

Given half a chance, I’d hop on a sub again tomorrow.

Having a major base, like Groton, adds importance to a place. It’s a reason for being. I’m a so scared this closing will be a major disruption to all of our lives here in Connecticut. The economy, especially in Eastern Connecticut, doesn’t deserve to take this hit.

Yes, I’m selfish about this. My opinion has been formed irrespective of the big picture. I hope they can find a way to keep the base open.

My Trashy Story

Every week, on Friday, our trash goes to the curb. Every other week it’s supposed to be accompanied by recycling. It doesn’t work that way in our household.

Whether it’s our distance from the curb or the amount of recycled newspapers we have (we subscribe to both the New Haven Register or New York Times) or maybe all the boxes we get because of online shopping, going to the curb bi-weekly doesn’t work. So all of this recyclable material piles up in the garage. A few times a year we stuff it into the SUV and I drive it to the transfer station.

Transfer station, what a lovely phrase. It’s so much more genteel than town dump.

I drove up to the transfer station this morning only to find the new policy – no newspapers. I had an SUV full of recyclables, and of course, the supermarket bags of newspapers were on top!

I unloaded the 20 or so bags of newspapers to get to the cardboard and other material underneath. At this point the transfer station folks took pity on me and found a place… a transfer station loophole if you will… that allowed me to drop the papers off. From now on it’s newspapers to the street, I suppose.

I want to be a good citizen, but it is increasingly difficult to follow the rules. In fact, it would be much easier to hide the newspapers and cardboard and bottles with our weekly trash. I’m sure a lot of people do just that. It also always strikes me as a little ironic that the two most talked about recycled products are made from sand (glass) or grow on trees (paper).

I know this is supposed to be good for the environment, and I’m for that. But, is it really? Is this just a feel good exercise with no payoff… or negative payoff?

From “Recycling Is Garbage” – New York Times Magazine, June 30, 1996:

Every time a sanitation department crew picks up a load of bottles and cans from the curb, New York City loses money. The recycling program consumes resources. It requires extra administrators and a continual public relations campaign explaining what to do with dozens of different products — recycle milk jugs but not milk cartons, index cards but not construction paper. (Most New Yorkers still don’t know the rules.) It requires enforcement agents to inspect garbage and issue tickets. Most of all, it requires extra collection crews and trucks. Collecting a ton of recyclable items is three times more expensive than collecting a ton of garbage because the crews pick up less material at each stop. For every ton of glass, plastic and metal that the truck delivers to a private recycler, the city currently spends $200 more than it would spend to bury the material in a landfill.

I don’t know what to think. I want to do what’s right, but I am really not sure. Until I know otherwise, I will follow the rules.

In the meantime, part of our recycling life at home will have to change. Newspapers to the curb. I can hardly wait for the first really big rain on a Thursday night.

Continue reading “My Trashy Story”

Why Do They Do It This Way?

Last weekend, shooting stills at the UCONN/Army game was a lot of fun. I would have shot more, but I ran out of memory.

As cameras have ramped up the pixel count, the memory storage requirements have gone up too. I have three compact flash cards that together hold about 1 gigabyte.

Today, that’s not an incredibly large amount of memory, but I remember when it was – and not that long ago.

I didn’t want to get caught short again, so I looked into buying another, larger card. Within the last month, compact flash prices have dropped through the floor. Prices are half what they had been recently and a quarter of where they were last year!

To me, that was a buy signal (though at this rate, I could have waited a little longer until they paid me to take them).

I searched around and found what I wanted on eCost.com. This is an interesting site because there is free shipping – but you pay a handling charge. Exactly what is the difference? And, how can a business, built on handling your order, charge for handling?

The card cost me $84 plus $4.95 for handling. Subtract a $30 rebate&#185 for a net of $58.95. That’s an excellent price – today. Next week it might look like I was ripped off.

Of course I wanted the card yesterday, but that was not to be. Somehow, UPS put this thing on the scenic tour of Eastern America. It’s not that it took so long – it’s just the package made more stops than a presidential campaign!

Oct 1, 2004

12:04 P.M.



6:27 A.M.



3:45 A.M.



1:28 A.M.



Sep 30, 2004

12:06 P.M.



7:32 A.M.



6:07 A.M.



1:37 A.M.



Sep 29, 2004

11:50 P.M.



6:30 P.M.



6:16 P.M.



3:45 P.M.



3:12 P.M.



10:46 A.M.



10:20 A.M.



5:39 A.M.



1:51 A.M.



Sep 28, 2004

10:18 P.M.



8:57 P.M.



8:12 P.M.



Only UPS understands why it saw three Tennessee cities and drove past my house on the way to Massachusetts… where it turned around and headed back.

The UPS driver walked the package from the curb to my front door. The box was light but substantial at 12″x10″x4.5″. Why? The hard plastic wrapped packaging was only 5″x6″ and without the wrap, the card is only 1.5″x1.625″ .

Not only could this have been packed in a smaller box, it could have been packed in an envelope! It’s difficult to believe the box is protecting the flash card much more than its impenetrable plastic packaging.

Bottom line is, it’s here. Tomorrow Steffie plays field hockey and I’ll attempt to fill it up.

&#185 – Rebates are seriously the work of the devil. I am very careful in how I fill them out, reading every word of the instructions. I still feel I get a very low return. These companies have every possible incentive to not pay me.