Friday, 26 June 2009

Only at JFK

Allow me to introduce this story in a slightly different way.

When you fly into New York....you go into JFK typically. As you walk out of the concourse.....you start to think that you might be in a third-world airport. This doesn't compare to Frankfurt, Atlanta, or Miami. It doesn't compare to Houston or Paris or Munich. I stood in awe of the minor-league look of the airport.

Eventually you end up at the baggage area and then you see the payphones. There are only a dozen hotels near the airport....all places that you'd rather not stay. Then you see this one phone that arrange hotels in town. You call. They cite a price, and want your credit card....verbally. Then you start to look around, and twelve people are within ten feet of you and all seem to be listening. You twist and turn....upping a syllable here and twisting to give another number. Everyone looks criminal.

Then you walk out the door and find this magnificent area where shuttles, buses and taxis stand....and no real organization. You start to pick one but then the guy looks "nuts", then you keep thinking there ought to be a safe way of doing this.

So, now that I've introduced the madness of JFK.....lets tell what happened this week.

These five French tourists arrived at JFK. They were typical French....dressed French....speaking French....and acting French.

There at the Air France terminal....they were led like I was....through the maze.....to the luggage area. Then they went to the taxi, bus and shuttle area. There.....they were "lured" to a van....which strangely enough.....isn't licensed to provide taxi service. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey says this.

Here, at some magic point.....one cop sees that the taxi dude is bogus.

The cop approaches.....with the Frenchies in the van.....the cop tries to reach inside the van. He wants to take the keys.....but then....the driver hits the gas and off they go.

Naturally, this is kinda like a Three Stooges episode. The port cops give chase.

Now the bogus van races through New York streets.....almost seven miles.....through two boroughs....and then, it crashes into a Post Office in Brooklyn. You can imagine the Frenchies in the rear....crying....screaming.....all in French.

One lady......Paris resident Esther-Ethy Mamane, and her mama, Claudie, came all the way to New York for a religious seminar.

Claudie eventually said at the end:"We are happy to be here; we love New York and New Yorkers. We never lost faith. And at any time we never thought it would end badly for us."

This was a story built for a movie. Cops chasing a couple of nuts in a van, who have two French tourist females who've come to Gotham City for a Jesus-conference. At the end, some New Jersey cop and some New York mafia guy save the French damsels from certain death.....and get a key to the city. I can see this story unfolding, with some JFK baggage guy who tells of the woes of arriving at JFK.

Black Friday

Two associates packed up and left today.

The first, my office co-worker....who’d I had known for two years. We came to be a good team and she was knew the budget business up one side and down the other. I was told originally as she arrived....that she was lacking humor. For me, that was a sign of a serious office environment. As the months went by, I found that she had a very dry sense of humor and our office was the place where most people wanted to hang out and have a cup of coffee. I came to enjoy this period and she will be sorely missed.

Second, from the shop next door.....Ms NO is finally leaving. Yes, the legendary Miss New Orleans (NO), who said that she was accepting one job, then didn’t....then accepted another job, but didn’t....then accepted another job, but didn’t.....finally accepted a job and is leaving.

In the world of cynic and sarcastic behavior.....there are few who are my match. In the past twenty years....I’ve only met three who could sit in my shadow and I respected as sarcastic co-workers or friends. She was one of the three.

If I were to define Ms NO....to me....she was Jack from “Lost”. She was prepared to go from plan A to plan B to plan C.....and then draft up a new plan on the spot. She knew the big plan and could envision how the things were to be. Yes, she was a bit sarcastic and cynical. Yes, she was chatty. Yes, it was maddening to be in a car with her for 90 minutes. Yes, she did dress like a bit weird. Yes, she could be difficult. And yes, she was a bit argumentative. But you can’t have chicken gumbo, without a bit of Louisiana Hot Sauce....and that she was (no, she wasn’t spicy). She simply added life to the moment. Finally, she was the only one amongst my peers who was into “Lost” and we could discuss details and scenarios to the ninth degree.

So my mighty circle has lessened slightly.

Micheal Jackson

I have heard some folks today equating this moment of his demise to when they heard Princess Di pass away. I probably haven’t placed him in such a category.

In the late 80’s....for a eight-year period....I would have placed him as the “king of rock”. He had produced the videos and made album after album. Then you could see this phase occurring....he was spending tons of money, producing little to nothing, and living mostly a soap-opera lifestyle. As one business analyst had said....the guy had all the hot property and yearly income rolling in....and could have lived in great comfort for the rest of his life. But he didn’t.

This is the guy who allowed the entire family to scrap off bits and pieces of his empire....then the point where he realized what they were doing. But then, he had business associates who came to do the same thing....until he realized what they were doing. At some point, he was a massive marginal point where he could not make the money that he needed to live his lifestyle, yet continued on.
Then came the smart guys who went after his few money-making empires left....and loaned him money to get to the money-makers.

About five years ago, you could tell that his entire empire was lost. He couldn’t sell anything worth discussing or bring in more capital. The only place where he had a huge following was the UK. This fall, there was supposed to be this grand tour starting up with a bunch of dates in the UK....where he hoped to recoup his life and make enough to survive on.

What money might still be left? Whatever does exist...is tied to the kids....and likely to be taken by the authority who maintains the kids until they are 18. I doubt that anything will be left of the account by that point. The empire will have spent itself into nothing.

So I don’t have great words of praise. He had so much talent and capital.....then lost it all.