I have returned from two weeks in Newfoundland. This is a view of St. John's harbor and downtown St. John's from the top of Signal Hill. Signal Hill is where Guglielmo Marconi received the first Transatlantic wireless signal in December 1901.
We'll see more of St. John's and Transatlantic transmissions later in the show. First, though, a big thanks go out to Sheila and Greg for the food, lodging and great company. Another big thanks goes to travel companion Donna who flew in from Colorado to join me on the trip.
On a side note, even though I'm keeping a closer eye on the site now that I'm back comments will continue to sit in the moderation queue before being published. That's just to better manage the spam comments (they really like Grandma Brown's Baked Beans for some reason). If you're a real person leaving a real comment your comment will appear, just not immediately after you make it.
Grand Central is a terminal not a station but I couldn't think of a rhyme for terminal. I also didn't sit while I was there. The vacation part is true! I'll be back in 2-3 weeks. As an experiment I'm going to turn the comments off while I'm gone so I don't have to deal with the spammers.
Most people don't even know Utica exists, let alone know that the city has a beautiful train station. Built in 1914 and modeled on Grand Central Terminal the Utica train station sits not far from the Erie Canal on the northeastern edge of downtown Utica.
Amtrak stops here daily, as do a couple of bus lines. The station is also the southern terminal of the Adirondak Scenic Railroad, which runs several excursion trains through the Adirondaks up to Lake Placid. In fact, the station served as the official rail terminal of the 1980 Winter Olympics. At the back left of the second photo is a New York State DMV office.
The station has undergone extensive renovations the last couple of decades, partly thanks to funding secured by former Congressman Sherwood Boehlert. As a side note, Boehlert was perhaps the last Republican in Congress to have a realistic understanding of environmental problems, specifically the challenges global warming poses to the country.
Yes, meerkats actually do that standing up thing. So do prairie dogs. Nieces not so much.
I'm trying to think of how many zoos I've been to. Not many. As an adult I've gone to the San Diego Zoo once, the Cleveland Zoo once, but that was only to see the newly opened rainforest, and the Central Park Zoo a few times with visitors. There was the Catskill Game Farm when I was a kid. I also remember going to the very awful zoo in Watertown, New York. The only clear memory I have of that is of people throwing gum and marshmallows to the bears, who would then chew and chew and chew. I think that's it. I'm not much of a zoo person.
Everyone in Massachusetts has spring break in mid-April to observe Patriot's Day. That's patriot in the Paul Revere/Lexington/Concord/Shot heard 'round the world sense, not in the football team that loses to the Giants sort of way.
Because so many people in his district visit Washington that week Congressman Ed Markey holds a constituent day in the Capitol. They even let a New Yorker in! We were met by the congressman's staff who led us down labyrinth-like corridors to the House chambers, where Mr. Markey talked to us and answered questions for a half-hour or more. Afterwards we went out to the Capitol steps for group pictures.
We could have gotten passes to the House gallery to see a floor debate later in the day, but Congressmen wake up early and we needed to get breakfast and see more sights.
Totally unrelated but I have to tell this story: I was driving across 125th Street yesterday when I got behind a car with vanity license plates. In itself that isn't unusual, but the license plate had punctuation (a period and a hyphen) added to further emphasize the vanity. It was pretentious enough to take a photo. At the Amsterdam Ave. traffic light the driver anticipated a green light about 20 seconds early by jumping past the crosswalk and part-way into the intersection. At the next stop light, Old Broadway, he swerved left and stopped in a nether region that's clearly marked (Google Map view) as not a traffic lane. Look at that link and you'll see that he was anticipating getting into the left turn lane on the next block even though he was the first car at the traffic light in the proper lane and nobody could have gotten to the left turn lane before he could. For no reason whatsoever he endangered other people by putting himself in harm's way at two consecutive intersections. I felt like getting out of my car and scolding him. I thought I should post the photo here. Then the vanity plate finally registered with me and I realized this person is probably a colleague of justenoughsalt or me (although I didn't recognize him when I drove by).