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Nominal Me

I'm falling in love with my camera and taking photos everywhere I go. That, combined with my passions for politics, sports, religion and other things we all agree on, makes this blog persist.

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Location: Astoria, New York, United States

I'm born in Manhattan and raised in Queens.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Touring Lambeau Field and the Packers Hall of Fame

Today I went on a tour of historical Lambeau Field and the Packers Hall of Fame, which is located in nearby Green Bay, WI.

The place is jam packed with old programs, photos, objects, and information on the history of this great sports franchise.

There is a lifelike depiction of the classic "ice bowl" quarterback sneak by Bart Starr.

The legendary Vince Lombardi is well represented here. They even had a replica of his office, in a similar way that U.S. presidential libraries often present.

Lynn Dickey and Jonn Jefferson were great Packers players from my childhood. They were some of the first players I remember rooting against.

Recent Packers greats are lauded.

In the Packers' shrine sits the team's three Lombardi (Super Bowl) trophies.

We had an engaging tour guide who kept asking us to spend money there. According to my guide, the Lambeau Field store has the highest sales of any team store in the world. It's probably due to his salesmanship.

"Curly" Lambeau was the team founder, first captain, and first head coach.

Want to see a Packers game? You need season tickets. As for getting a season ticket, there's a 79,000+ person waiting list. Our group briefly sat in a $94,000 luxury box seat. There's a long waiting list for those as well.

Maybe someday I'll be able to afford one.

They don't even bother estimating how long it will take to get either season ticket arrangements. It's not worth doing so, since it will take so long.

We walked through the tunnel that NFL greats use at gametime.

We briefly got to walk on the end zone area of the football field. That was the highlight of the tour.

There's me, my Doug Flutie jersey, and Lambeau Field.

Almost $20 for a foam cheese head? Damn. That's loyalty.

For football fans, Lambeau Field is hallowed grownd. You really should check it out if you're ever in the area.

On Thursday a metal stairway fell on my foot. Since it was still hurting I had it X-rayed today -- a bone contusion. I'll have to take it easy for the rest of the week.

Tour Stats:
Number of visits to Wall Mart: 7
Number of people asking me about September 11th: 5
Number of McDonald's Visits: 2
Number of Waffle House Visits: 1
Number of Hospital Visits: 1

America's Treasures

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Lazy Sunday in Wisconsin

Sunday Morning I attended the Memorial Presbyterian Church on College Avenue and Meade in Appleton. It had a small friendly congregation and a very engaging pastor.

The sermon, delivered by Charles Valenti-Hein, was based on Romans 12:9-21 and Matthew 16:21-28, and focused on many Christians' desire to make a "heaven on Earth". He was equally critical of both liberal and conservative churches' desire to do so, noting that these attempts are more about making a city in our own image than God's. He added that we do not "seem to want to have the cross in our church any more" and stated that we must "rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep".

The pastor was the fifth person who asked me about September 11th since I've been on the road.

I had lunch in the Milwaukee area with Ellie, and old friend from church, and her fiance Brian. Ellie's working as a massage therapist now (for those of you who have actually met her and care for an update) and they both seem happy and well.

They get married in six weeks. Good luck guys.

America's Treasures

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Harry Houdini!

Today I went to the Outagamie Museum in Appleton, WI. The main exhibit was on Harry Houdini, who from the ages of four through eight lived in the city. His father was the city's first rabbi until he was fired (possibly for not speaking English -- I wonder why it took them four years to figure that out).

Possibly to help Houdini hide his Jewish/Hungarian heritage, he would often claim Appleton as his hometown. He would later move to Milwaukee and then New York, and after his death would be buried about two miles from where I grew up in Queens, NY.

This was my favorite display. It had contemporary shackles and handcuffs, along with the tools used to pick the locks. It basically teaches the children of Appleton how to break into buildings. I'm sure a crime spree will ensue.

Children were encouraged to lock up their sister in an effort to make her dissappear. It didn't work though for this kid. I'm not sure how he felt about that.

The displays would go to great lengths to explain how Houdini performed his tricks, and this supposedly caused a great uproar in the magician community! Talk about a group of guys not to be messed with!

Want to get out of handcuffs? Come to this museum!

The museum also had a quilt exhibit. I have no witty comment here. There's nothing funny about quilts.

Oh yeah, I got my Perkins fix!

America's Treasures

Still Life of Appleton, WI

Having to run some errands on a Saturday afternoon, I went off to the Fox River Mall. It was, well, a mall.

A nice one, but being from the city I have no frame of reference for these kinds of things.

I'm sure every mother of a daughter would love their child's boyfriend to wear either of these shirts on dates around town.

What's up with people spending good money on jeans that look like they need to be thrown out? If I tried to donate these brand new clothing items to the Salvation Army, they would turn me away. Stupid kids. Maybe I should sell them my old clothes for $50.

T-shirts like these say: "you are not in New York anymore".

It was a nice time. I shopped at Target in an attempt to keep my Wal Mart statistics down.

This is real red state America. Wheeeee!

America's Treasures

Friday, August 26, 2005

Photo Essay: Lambeau Field

Last night I caught the New England Patriots -- Green Bay Packers preseason game in historic Lambeau Field.

Packers fans know how to tailgate, and even though I was wearing my #7 Doug Flutie shirt (he's a backup with the Patriots now) I did not get any death threats (not like I usually do when I go to New Jersey to see the Jets play the Bills).

The security guard in the stadium did stop me and said "what are you wearing, I'm not sure I can let you in with that thing". He was a closet Flutie fan though, so I got in.

There's the man -- Vince Lombardi. I can hear the old NFL Films song playing in my head now.

The outside of the stadium has been renovated. They've added an atrium, bars and restaurants.

Miller Lite is king around here. I had to have one with a Bratworst. When in Rome...

The stadium is a throwback, you can see the stadium seat base as you're walking through the hallway. The seats are all metal benches. Man that must have sucked during the ice bowl.

The place has a vibe. During the national anthem, the crowd actually sung it. You could hear 79,000+ people belting it out. You don't get that in New York.

Tom Brady and the Patriots marched down the field over and over, while Packers QB Bret Favre threw two interceptions. Green Bay rookie backup Aaron Rogers fumbled twice and was sacked on his first three plays. The Pack faithful were not amused.

My hero Doug Flutie didn't get to do much, as the game was pretty much over at halftime. At one point Flutie hit a guy wide open for what would have been a 30 yard gain, but the guy dropped it.

Even though it was just a preseason game, the stadium was packed. They have a fantastic fan base here (mind the pun).

The stadium walls are lined with the names of some of the greatest to ever play the game.

Cheese heads do exist in Green Bay.

After halftime, it started pouring rain. Instead of killing what was left of the crowd, the fans went wild. They started chanting "Go Pack Go" and it seemed to lift the dour mood in the stadium. Here's a nice blurry photo of myself soaking wet from the rain.

At the end of the game, with the score Patriots 27, Packers 3, and the rain pouring down, dejected Green Bay fans left Lambeau Field.

While I doubt most in the stadium shared my point of view, I had a great time. It's a special stadium with a special fan base.

Number of Wal-Mart Visits: 7
Number of People Who Asked About 9/11: 4
Number of McDonalds Visits: 2

Random Song: "Turn The Page" by Bob Segar. It's a song I can really relate to right now.

Other Photo Essays

America's Treasures

First Event Over

We wrapped up our first training event in Appleton. It slowed down in the last few days, but was pretty successful.

We have more training next week, and then it's off to Minnesota.

America's Treasures

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Wrapping Up Training

Life in Appleton is easing into a routine. Each member of the team is finding their niche and things are going well.

My primary responsibility comes from giving speeches and (eventually) talking to the media.

All is well. I'm going to catch the Packers-Patriots game tomorrow. Photos to follow of course!

America's Treasures

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Appleton and the Quest For Beer

If you find yourself in Appleton, WI, know this above all else: beer sales end at 9 PM.

The photo you see is not doctored, that's a lock and a chain over the beer section of a local gas station.

One of my collegues went on a futile quest to buy alcholic beverages that lasted at least a half an hour. He was practically punching his steering wheel by the time he realized it just wasn't going to happen.

No one was able to tell us if it was legal to drink the beer while still in the store after 9 PM, but I doubt it.

It was a long day at work, 14 hours, giving tours to the client and its employees. Things are going well though.

Not well enough for one of the guys I work with though.

America's Treasures

Monday, August 22, 2005

Fighting The Tide

The road has many temptations (and I’m not even talking about that kind,…those of you with dirty minds).

There’s bad food, bad TV, and Wal-Mart.

In New York City, living in the comfort of my apartment, I was able to avoid all three.

But the forces are tugging against me.

When driving from city to city, there is nothing but fast food near the exit ramps. McDonalds are everywhere. They call to you in the night…”eat me Mike, I’m quick and cheap”. Israel and I were driving the other day and got off the exit ramp to look for local food (re: not fast food) and it took us 20 minutes to find a local diner. The diner was horrible (but they pronounced “gyro” right).

When you check into the hotel after driving for hours, your mind is racing. So you turn on the boob tube and watch random stuff -- last night was the movie Whiteboys.

I stayed up until 1:30 AM watching a movie about white kids in Iowa trying to be gangsta rappers. It was unwatchable and hilarious at the same time.

Because I’m staying at a suite in Appleton, WI, I had a chance to buy groceries. Where did I go?


Why? Do I want people to have low wages? Do I want Chinese people to build all that I own? Do I want American manufacturing jobs to go to Ecuador or something? Do I want all that is globalism to rain down on Appleton, WI?

Well, no.

I had no choice, kind of. You see, I know I can buy just about anything I want there. So I did.

It was easy.

It’s all easy.

I can’t afford to drive around getting lost in cities I know nothing about.

Which is why I may be fat, mindless, and brainless by the end of the tour.

But they have Perkins restaurants here (anyone here remember those from upstate NY?), so I’m golden.


America's Treasures

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Chi Town Rocks!

Waking up in a suburb of Chicago, IL, I had breakfast with my cousin Tommy and his daughter Elizabeth.

She’s five now, but 10 years from now, watch out!

I hadn’t seen either of them in a couple of years, and my cousin had the good sense to take me to a Greek diner. Ethnic food! I already miss it.

I took a double-decker train into the main Chicago train station (how genius is that?) where homeless men offered to hail cabs for tips. It reminded me of pre-Giuliani New York.

The big event for the day was Chicago’s Air & Water show, a free outdoor event where our military and engineering might is on full display. It drew millions of people allowing for various people-watching opportunities.

Great looking young people mixed with old overweight ones. Cats and dogs mixed together! It was chaos!

Although you could see it just about anywhere, I met up with Ross at Lincoln Park on the north side of Chicago.

The planes were going so fast that they seemed ahead of their sound; if you looked where your ears told you where the plane was, you had already missed it. The photos do not do it justice.

The pilots, many of whom were part of the Illinois National Guard, did various tricks and it was a great atmosphere.

There was an area of promotional vehicles, with the U.S. Army and Navy taking up quite a bit of space.

To tour the trucks, where you can learn about military technology and get free dogtags, you had to sign a form with your name and address on it (“Jimmy Carter Smith” will be getting some mail).

On the line, someone walked past the kid standing in front of me and said “enjoy it kid, but remember there’s a war going on."

There were some protestors nearby, but they seemed to be ignored.

Nothing can be cooler than a Hummer with a Best Buy logo on it.

Tony the Tiger was there. Celebrities!

Here is a young Mom reassuring her child that cartoon characters selling sugar products are OK to approach.

Red Barron was giving away pizzas. That was by far the largest line at the event. I'm going to hit fast food a lot on this tour, so I passed.

It was a fun, but quick time. I rode in Ross’ semi through Milwaukee to Appleton, WI to get ready for our second client inspection.

Random song heard today: All Through the Night by Cyndi Lauper, heard in an Outback Steakhouse.

Ross is trying to convert me into liking country music. He was playing some Cross Canadian Ragweed, a Texas band. I...liked...it...

America's Treasures