Chumbala, Chumbala, Chumbalaika…

Some observations to stir up the water from today’s news:

  • From the “Everything Old is New Again” Department: Those of you living in San Francisco are familiar with this, but the most popular subway car in NYC is something old. That’s right. It’s Nostalga Train time in NYC, and the R-1s are running again. On Sundays in December riders on select lines can enjoy the R-1s, 84,000-pound, 60-foot-long cars introduced in 1931, constructed of riveted steel, with some featuring wicker seats, dangling emergency brake cords, incandescent light bulbs, big exposed overhead fans, and open windows.
  • From the “Shades of the Shubert Theatre” Department: A developer in Los Angeles is proposing to tear down the Century Plaza Hotel. Many of us remember the Century Plaza, a luxury hotel across from the site of the former Shubert Theatre in Century City. The Century Plaza was home to presidents and potentates, but may soon be replaced by high-rise condos, offices and an even fancier hotel. I say we should keep the Century Plaza.
  • From the “So Now I Have A Name for My Generation” Department: I’ve always been an odd duck. Too young to be a baby boomer (I was born in 1960), but too old to be whatever they call children of the 1970s. But an article today gives my group a name: we’re the Late Baby Boomers. Even better, Obama is one of us! As the article states: Late boomers were doing wheelies on bikes and playing with dolls back when early boomers were fighting in Vietnam, avoiding the draft, singing along with the Mamas & the Papas, mourning a president, marching for civil rights and trekking to Woodstock. Obama’s peers were defined by Watergate, stagflation, gas lines and 20% interest rates. Their cultural touchstones were groups like the Carpenters and Steely Dan (on cassette or eight-track tapes, of course), and shows like “All in the Family” and “Charlie’s Angels” (you know who you are). Very interesting article.
  • From the “Everything Has A Price” Department: Newspaper circulations are going down. In fact, two Detroit papers this week announced they are stopping home delivery on certain days. You know who pays? Animal Shelters. Yup, there’s a shortage of paper to put under the cages. So do a puppy some good. Donate your paper.
  • From the “Unexpected Consequences” Department: Our concerns over privacy, pedophiles, and other dangers have caused many of our childhood activities and joys to go away. No longer can we let our children just wander the neighborhood, coming back when they are good and ready. Even Santa is affected. The US Post Office had a service where they would let people answer children’s letters to Santa, and even be Secret Santas and deliver gifts. No more. After a pedophile got one of the letters the USPS pulled the program. They will soon be replacing it with an anonymized version.
  • From the “I’ll Have What She’s Having” Department: A blog in San Francisco brings news of the latest trend: Women having orgasms while giving birth. Now, I’m not going to speak to the subject, but the comments are hilarious. My favorite: “A mother I know says she had similar sensations when the last of her kids finally left the house.”

And on that note, I’ll wish you all pleasent dreams, and as Harry Nillsson would say, “A good night”.