Monday, August 31, 2009

Lockerbie and the Point Some Will Make

170 Americans dies over Scotland in 1988. There was one conviction. And now the world is watching to see which politician blinks.....Did Brown know and if he did, did Obama know ???and if he did when did they know????

I can not imagine being a family member of one of the victims. The phone rings and I politely answer and then I am hit with the thunderbolt of fatality. The finality of a horrible death and the prospect of a lifetime of questions never to be answered...

Our time on earth must surely end. But not our spirit, our energy, our essence permeating the spheres of understanding our friends and loved ones inhabit... It is a painful memory for any American, parent, sibling, friend or neighbor....

Now we will see the political powers rush to judgement as those who suffer with this tragedy every day have their hearts dragged through the most painful memories of their lives......To prove a point or make points.....

Yes, I know which side of the debate I am on.... but that is not the point.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Bet On Teddy and Irene Might

There once was man who had a dream about the 5 horse in the 5th race. He wakes up and looks at his alarm clock and it is 5:55 AM. He looks at the Calendar and it is May 5th. He goes into the bathroom and their are five tooth brushes in the cup. He picks up his wallet and in it is five hundred fifty-five dollars and fifty-five cents.

He looks on the Internet and The 5 horses name is Irene Might. His wife's name is Irene so he believes he has a sign from the gods that the horse will win.

He goes to the bank and borrows five thousand five hundred and fifty-five dollars and then goes to the track. He bets it to win on Irene Might.

The race begins: "And they're off" As had been predicted in his dream and by his alarm clock and his calendar and his tooth brush and his wallet and his wife's name
Irene Might.......The horse ran 5th...

We watch the health care debate. Kennedy was the leader of the pack for a long time. The voices can be heard from coast to coast. Pass it for Teddy...An unrelated reason to pass a piece of legislation that may indeed be good for all....I don't know...Do you??? I do know what happened to Irene Might....Her stars were aligned and she ran fifth....

Ted Kennedy is worth remembering. his speechifying was fun to listen to. I think we all loved the Kennedy/New England accent....Remember Irene Might as the voices convince you that this is a LOCK......No such thing as a lock.

Ted Kennedy In A NYC Taxi?

Ted Kennedy is gone, and taxi drivers still have to go to work. Parhaps a day off for the liberal lion of the Senate is in order, well at least in Boston. It is a big name by any standard. But not one you would find in a cab unless you refer to his nephew John Kennedy Jr. or his ex sister-inlaw Jackie O.

A friend of mine, a cabbie of some renoun once drove the former First Lady. It was not a long ride as I recall the story. But nonetheless it is one worth thinking about. The woman who sat next to JFK in the moment that stopped time, casually getting into a yellow cab and asking to go to the museum, or the doctor......

In the political climate of the day we will hear form all sides about all things and they will link Ted Kennedy to whatever suits the writer or commentator's cause. I will avoid watching and listening. But I will remember.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Vacation Is Over

The heat wave is breaking and the world will soon be back at work...At least those of us who keep the peddle to the metal in New York City Taxicabs.... It has been many years since I sat on the seat of a taxicab, plying the trade of NYC Yellow Transporter. Why so Long??? Well a funny thing happened on Thanksgiving Eve 1992.

As I prepared to drive my taxi the phone rang......A part time job offer through the Taxi And Allied Workers Union, to help political refugees train to pass the New York City Taxi Operator Exam, which soon became a full time job. After a few years of being in the right place at the right time the work evolved into the The Master Cabbie Taxi Academy. The first and only privately held taxi driver training center in New York City..

Today The Academy is located at 24-29 Jackson Ave. in Queens County. In between the entrance of the Queensboro Bridge and the Queens Mid Town Manhattan Tunnel. We provide training and tutoring services to a few thousand people each year.

Our Academy is an unusual universe of personalities. Most coming from across the globe to The Big Apple in search of discretionary income. Hoping for a way of life that will support the dream of a future.....With the proverbial hat in hand asking for help to obtain the coveted NYC Hack License which will allow them to operate the iconic New York City Yellow Cab, it is a small thing to ask for, but a big thing to receive. A small piece of plastic with your picture on it offering a gateway to America for many, salvation in times of financial need to others, or a way to grind out a responsible living for those who invest and build taxi companies. Many of whom will become Master Cabbies.

Which one are you??

Friday, August 21, 2009

Daily Newsie Busted By Bike Cop for Texting At Ground Zero

There she was. Stopped at the light reading the messages on her Blackberry when Marie McGovern noticed a Motorcycle cop looking at her. To her credit she did not start screaming and saying how she had a sick child in the trunk on her way to the hospital. She just followed police instructions pulled over right at Ground Zero and accepted her $130 summons.

According to the Daily News, New York City issues 530 cell phone tickets per day....Do the math and all of a sudden financial solvency becomes a possibility through good police work.

Hands free is still OK. Unless you are licensed by the New York City Taxi & Limousine Commission. That's right. NY City Yellow Cabs must be legally parked for the driver to engage in cell phone activity..... like talking. So Cabby's, if your lips are moving and there is no passenger in the back seat, you can expect to pay $130 to Mr. Bloombergs Finance Dept. And of course lets not forget that the TLC can also levy a taxi specific fine, but you would have to be given a TLC summons for this. Who issues the TLC summons? NYPD. Twofers?

A member of the NY City Taxi Commission, The late Marvin Greenberg, once responded to a rep from AT&T who was making the pitch for cell phone use as a good thing. In his wisdom Mr. Greenberg, an orighinal member of the New York City Taxi & Limousine Commission made a statement similar to the following "Son, you remind me of the tobacco execs who claimed that they did not believe cigarettes cause cancer. I vote no"

At that point he and the entire NY City Taxi Commission voted to ban cell phone use by taxi drivers unless the cab was legally parked.....It should be noted that this was done more than ten years ago. Well ahead of the curve.

So, unplug New York City, the call can wait.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Cell Phone Rules!

We all know the cell phone rule. But now we are going to be reminded by the NYPD. A zero tolerance policy is being put into effect. And as a survivor of a zero tolerance on parking, forced to go to some warehouse and fight for my bosses car without a registration I can unequivocally say...Zero Tolerance is no fun.

But what brings us to this point? Lets face it, Blue Tooth is fun at first and then it starts to hurt your ear. After a while you lose it and at sixty bucks who's in a rush to get a new one. EEEEEEEconomics 101....Recession 101, do without.

Now the realities of cell phones are interfering with the realities of life. A kid is run down and people want answers. A yellow cab driver is either the catalyst or the second one lost in the 2009 war of the cell phones that will now be waged by an underfunded New York City and an underfunded, economically challenged citizenry.

We should all practice saying: "I'm sorry your honor" And get used to hearing: "Next time maybe you'll pull over before you answer your cell phone. Bailiff lock him up"...

And as the Cabby Prince says? "Who weeps for the child lost in Harlem?"

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Cell Phones, Taxicabs and Taxi Drivers

Cell Phones, Taxicab’s and NY City Taxi Drivers
By: The Cabby Prince

All alone in the City, it’s late at night, in fact the wee lonely hours between midnight and dawn. As times slides by less and less traffic and more and more distance between the driver and the last passenger. Who knows how long before the next fare.

I NEED SOMEONE TO TALK TO. Flip, press and connect. The conversation begins to a girlfriend or boyfriend in the outer boroughs or a relative in a distant country or a fellow cabby hoping to set a meet for a coffee…..but for now, I am not alone and I need to talk to someone.

We have recently seen the worst of cell phones and automobiles as a young boy’s life was cut short in Harlem when a car, driven by a man on his cell phone, ran the boy down. The cars driver has been accused of talking on his cell phone at the time of the accident and also accused of attempting to leave the scene…

So who might he have been talking to? What could be more important than watching where he was going?

Why is it we, the people talk so much on these 21st century devices? What are we missing in our lives that, has us on the phone so much of the time….Before cell phones what did we do?? I remember public pay-phones. I liked them much more than cell phones.

A cell phone might be the equivalent of the 24 hour news channels that play the same news over and over again and present it as if it is new. We listen but do not hear the banter between the hosts who are experts at being unobtrusive, and well dressed, reading copy as if it is the Word.

I do not know the exact number but I am sure that cell phone related fatalities is documented someplace. As well, the number of injuries connected to cell phone abuse while operating a motor vehicle, all of which will lead to teary eyed defendants waling before judges of “HOW SORRY THEY ARE….And of course “It will never happen again you honor”.

But what of the eight year old boy in Harlem? Who weeps for him? The defendant? For a while their fates are entwined…. and then the cell phone will ring again. He will listen, ponder and then tell his conscience he has to take the call.