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Monday, May 4, 2009

Update May 5, 2009



Last Saturday was the third and last Saturday in Valerie's van. I decided that, even though I live in a Russian neighborhood, I can't stay away from hearing Russian spoken, and stores with Cyrillic signs [which I can still read, by the way, from my Russian class at Long Beach HS -- thank you Mr. Ritter]. So when we realized it would be in the 80s, I suggested we set out for Brighton Beach. Now, this is a different population from the immigrants in my neighborhood. The Rego Park immigrants are from the Central Asian former Soviet Republics -- Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan, and Kazakhstan. The immigrants in my neighborhood started to immigrate maybe 20 years ago. They are country people from the farms -- peasants. They dress in old-world clothing, and my neighborhood looks like a scene from "Borat" or "Fiddler on the Roof".

The Russians in Brighton came over a generation before the Rego Park immigrants. Their children are having children already. They are from Russia, many from Moscow. They have actually taken what was a declining neighborhood and made it better. Nonetheless, the Brighton Beach boardwalk is great people-watching. Of course, there is mostly Russian spoken, and you can see everybody having lunch at the restaurants on the boardwalk. The boardwalk is in great shape and twice the width of the boardwalks in Rockaway or Long Beach. It reminded me of Europe. It was a great afternoon

Friday night, Judy and I went to Starbucks, always a place for characters. The baristas all know us, and one of them moved a woman from the handicapped table to another table, in our honor. We noticed that night a character sitting in a stool by the counter, talking at the top of his lungs to the barista about his personal, as if he were in a bar confiding in the bartender. But the best was a strange character with a borderline personality holding a vinyl LP, which Judy happened to catch the title of -- "The Best of Myron Cohen" [no relation to me that I know of. Look up Myron Cohen in Wikipedia. He was a comedian of the Borscht Belt Catskills. And he was always on Ed Sullivan. We sat through his routines while waiting for our British boy groups to appear. These guys were always appropriate for prime time TV, although when they performed in the Catskills hotels, they were always on late at night, so the guests could put the kids to bed. Then these comedians got raunchy. As a child, we used to take a 3-hour drive to Loch Sheldrake, where my Uncle Normie Pasternack and Aunt Ruth [my dad's sister] ran the coffee shop at Brown's Hotel in the Borscht Belt. Hey, I think I have a story to publish online or a chapter of my book.

Speaking of which, there have been too many opportunities for an attention-challenged procrastinator like me. I find myself getting hooked into Facebook and Twitter and losing track of time. Valerie gave me a whole box full of clothing custom-made for Lewis, with velcro closures.

I ran into problems when I found out that NYSARC didn't pay a few of my important bills. I had to get a special cord for my new fax [I found out my old fax was sending black pages, which I only found out after the bills weren't paid and I called NYSARC, who said "oh, yeah by the way....... nice]. So Louise has been faxing them at her office. Despite getting confirmatiions, NYSARC claimed they didn't get some of them. So more followup has to come from me.

The seatbelt on my wheelchair -- busted again.
Debbie came last Sunday. We bullshitted for a while and then went in 80 degree weather to have ice cream at Baskin Robbins.
Ride for Life starts next week. I am possibly going an extra day because they offered to pick me up with a wheelchair van. So I will probably do two days.
Fern's Fighters will be doing the Manhattan Walk to D'Feet on May 16. The Long Island Walk to D'Feet is on Sept 12 this year.
I'm sick of hearing about swine flu.....excuse me, I mean H1N1.......I don't want to be a "piggist"
There is now a Facebook group for AES alums, thanks to this former French/Spanish teacher.
They're building condos across the street from me -- purchase price $1 million and up! Huh???
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