Everyone stay calm but NYC is going to possibly maybe blow up I think kind of

So you probably all heard the news that there has been some “credible” but “unconfirmed” reports of the possibility that car bombs will explode in New York City in the next couple of days.  Specifically, the New York Times reported, “A White House official said on Thursday evening that while the government has already stepped up its vigilance in advance of the anniversary, ‘the president directed the counterterrorism community to redouble its efforts in response to this credible but unconfirmed information.’

What does this really mean when you cut through the hyperbole and government talk?  According to Vice President Biden, the threat is “credible,” because there are “specifics”, i.e., “car bombs” were described during what I assume was an intercepted or series of intercepted conversations.  The information in the intercepted conversations was not “confirmed,” according to Biden however, because there is no other evidence — read: not even a scintilla of evidence — that corroborates the intercepted statements that “car bombs” would be used.

In fact, what is telling is that the CIA or the NSA or the DEA or whoever else was doing wiretapping has not even suggested or intimated who they were wiretapping.  I assume the target or targets the three letter acronym agencies were wiretapping weren’t high value or even medium value or even low value. Because, let’s assume this: they were wiretapping a suspected terrorist or it came across an intercepted conversation of an unknown person talking to a suspected terrorist or an associate of a suspected terrorist, then the suggestion could at least be articulated that the intercepted conversations describing the “car bomb” threat are not completely “unconfirmed.”

For all we know, the three letter agencies wiretapped a sheep farmer who said, “Hey, did you hear from Ibrahim that he heard from Muhammed that he believes Al Queda might use car bombs on around Sept 11 in New York City?”

Under the definition and standards given by our government, this would be a “credible” but “unconfirmed” threat.

I think it’s fair to say that I don’t want to get blown up or seen anyone  blown up by a damn car bomb.  But I don’t know what or who the hell these announcements serve, other than to do one or all of the following: raise fear, breed apathy, increase overtime for law enforcement, or provide legitimacy to Homeland Security and other government agencies.  They are not much different than the color threat rating levels.

These announcements provide us with absolutely no information and in my opinion, make us less vigilant, not more.

The NYC Blizzard of 2010: Mayor Bloomberg’s Colossal Failure

About ten days before the nasty blizzard that walloped New York City and brought it to its knees, the national weather service and several news agencies predicted that the City would be receiving at least a foot of snow. This blizzard was not a surprise to anyone.  It didn’t come sneaking in the middle of the night under the radar like a stealth ninja.

In places like upstate New York, like Syracuse, Rochester, or Buffalo, blizzard conditions would not have been necessarily front page news for the government, because they have the systems in place to deal with such a weather contingency.  But one foot of snow in upstate New York is a lot of different than one foot of snow in New York City.  For starters, New York City requires much more preparation and planning to galvanize its workers to ensure that the snow is cleared by the plows, both because of the City’s size, as well as the simple fact that heavy snow is not part of the usual NYC winter landscape.

Given all this, at first it was hard to understand why the City was so thoroughly unprepared by the blizzard.  The arguments that were put forward by the City, as well as outlined by many major media outlets, centered around after-the-fact arguments that did nothing to explain why the government was unprepared — thoroughly unprepared — by the blizzard.  These two arguments generally revolved around: 1) there were too many cars stuck in the road for clean up crews and 2) there was a huge fire in Queens.

Within two days of the storm, the estimates quickly went from a foot to as much as 16 inches. This should have clearly moved whatever myopia was over Mayor Bloomberg’s cash infested upper east side loving brain.   But it didn’t.  Instead, Bloomberg decided to do the business as usual plan: mobilize the efforts a few hours after the snow began falling.

That works when you have unsustained snow totaling no more than two or three inches — which is considered usually a “heavy” snowfall for New York City.  When you’re dealing with snowfalls greater than a foot, you can’t start the cleanup after the snow begins falling, because a) it’s falling fast and b) the potential for vehicles not part of the cleanup crew to block the streets increases.  That is why some cities close certain roads to ensure that the cleanup effort is not hampered.  To be sure, the City did recommend  that non-essential driving be kept to a minimum — but it did so only the next morning, when no one in the outer-boroughs could drive anywhere anyway.

It is thus no surprise that the City was and still is a damn mess.  Roads are still unplowed.  Buses are still stuck in the middle of the road.  Trains are not functioning.  People can’t get to work.  The City is still at a standstill.  And the sad fact is that it’s going to be like that for a little while.  To be clear,  when I say the City, I should mention that I’m defining it as the outer-boroughs and parts of Manhattan that do not include the upper east side.  Because to Bloomberg, it seems that the only part of the City that matters to him is the upper east side.  And everything else falls to the wayside in proportion to how far you are away from East 79th Street.

The outer-boroughs look like something from Cormac McCarthy’s “The Road.”  I know people who can’t get to dialysis because they’re plowed in and can’t either take a taxi or bus to the clinic.  You would not see this on the upper east side.  Their roads will be clear and then wonder why everyone else is complaining.  They say, “If only people were self-reliant.”

In fact, in the throes of the storm, the one place where you could really drive a car, even if you had a Toyota Prius, was on the upper east side.  Bloomberg, for his part, was his testy little Kim Jong-Il self when, in response to criticisms of his leadership (or lack of it more precisely) during the blizzard, he stated, “There’s no reason for everybody to panic.  Our city is doing exactly what you’d want it to do.”

Really, Mr. Bloomberg?  You are completely out of touch.

Post Raisin Bran: Haters of Kellogg’s Raisin Bran

The first raisin bran introduced in the United States was called Skinner’s Raisin Bran, in 1926.  It was made by the same company, U.S. Mills, that made Uncle Sam’s Cereal.  You can still buy Uncle Sam’s Cereal, but I find that cardboard with honey tastes much better.

Nowadays, when most people think of Raisin Bran, they are thinking of Kellogg’s Raisin Bran.   You know, the one with the “two scoops.”  Not surprisingly, Kellogg’s raisin bran is the most popular raisin bran in the United States, regardless of whether the flakes are small, the raisins are dried out, and it’s loaded with sugar, I mean, high-fructose corn syrup.  Enter “raisin bran” in google, and Kellogg’s Raisin Bran will be the first listing that pops up.

Post Raisin Bran, on the other hand, has bigger flakes and the raisins are a lot fluffier.  In their mind, and rightfully so, they feel they should have a larger share of the raisin bran market.  They’re better than Total Raisin Bran or some of the other knock offs or late comers to the Raisin Bran Wars.

So what does Post Raisin Bran do?  They make their cereal box eerily similar to the Kellogg’s Raisin Bran Box.  Same purple themed tone.  And, as you can see in the picture below, they even put Kellogg’s — in the same distinctive “Kellog’s” font no less — front and center on the box, right above a smaller label for “Post.”  If you were to look at this quickly, you would think, “Oh, it’s a Kellog’s Post Raisin Bran Cereal.”

Seems to me that this looks a lot like false advertising.  Decide for yourself.

 

Post Raisin Bran: Notice the purple themed box and the "Kellogs" right above the "Post."

 

 

Kellogg's Raisin Bran: It tastes worse than Post, but it's the original

 

Alberto Contador: The Man, The Myth, The Idiot

As most of you know, I am not a fan of Alberto Contador.  That said, I never denied his talent.  For the last few years, he has dominated the peloton with his climbing skills, time trialing ability, and the endurance to wage, as well as respond to, attacks.  But despite this, history has shown time and time again that Contador is an immature rider.  It is primarily this reason why he will never be as great as Lance Armstrong.  Many will say that Lance Armstrong is an egotistical rider who cares only about himself.  Maybe that is the case, but he was political about it, and knew how to manage those feelings and instincts outwardly.  That is an intangible factor that only comes with maturity.  Armstrong recognized that during his first bid for the Tour De France.

Contador, on the other hand, has regressed every year, and has expressed his egotistical instincts outwardly, like a little child, not like a champion professional bike racer that he should be.  Professional bike racing is forty five percent talent, forty percent your team, and fifteen percent politics.  Contador has not mastered the latter, and has pissed on the second.

It is thus with no great surprise that many pros are outwardly supporting Contador with his recent positive drug test, in the sense that they urge a fair review of Contador’s samples.   But inwardly, they are laughing, in that, “That mother*&^%^& had it coming” kind of way.  It’s the fate of professional bike racing.  You act immature, the professional bike racing god will piss on you.  The most successful bike riders who are now legends praised and respected the god.  For that reason, Armstrong will never get caught in a doping scandal . . . that sticks.  All the haters can cry all they want, but nothing has stuck.  Nothing.

Contador, on the other hand, got his hand in the cookie jar.  Not simply an allegation, but a suspension based on a test.

Anyway, good luck, Contador.  I’m really sure it was a piece of meat that caused the spike in your system.

AdoramaPix

July 2010 — Adorama, along with B&H Photo and Video and perhaps J&R, are probably the three stores in New York City that have cornered the photo market. If you want something photographic, from a lens to the latest digital camera, one of these stores is going to have it. And, if they don’t have it, they’ll order it. It goes without saying that such powerhouses of supply also have a bustling internet business. So, people from around the world can share the same supply chain as us New Yorkers.

To begin, Adorama is B&H’s little brother. While B&H appears to take up a whole city block on 34th Street, Adorama seems cozy and less institutional, with its hardwood floors and crowded floor space. I generally go to Adorama for my photo supplies, because it’s a little more convenient to get to and it carries more in-stock Voigtlander products than B&H. Apart from sometimes spotty and rushed service you get at Adorama (you get this at B&H and J&R, too), it’s a solid place to get your equipment from knowledgeable staff. (J&R is the last place you want to go to if you want sane advice).

I figured because it was such a good store, I’d figure their “Adoramapix” would be great, too, and particularly the framing department. Their website, Adoramapix, seemed snazzy and professional enough to take a chance with ordering pictures and having it framed. A one stop online shop. Boy was I completely wrong about that one on numerous levels.

While the ordering process was really easy with their automated “upload” and “pick a frame” system on their website, the order fulfillment was a completely different story.

1) I received an email a few days after I placed an order that the frames were ready to pickup at the store. I went to the store and my order was not there. The person stationed at Adoramapix (their section is tucked in the corner near the cash registers) explained that this is “normal,” in that, “you will get an email saying it is ‘ready’ for pickup, but it’s not really ‘ready,’ because of the framing part.” That was a bit of an interesting explanation, because the order was for a picture in a frame. That was the order, not simply a printed picture. There’s a million places in the City that can do that well while you wait.

2) Okay, fair enough. It wasn’t that long of a subway ride and I don’t mind going to the Adorama store to browse around. The Adoramapix agent explained that it “will definitely be ready in a couple of days.” I said, “Alright, fine.” I was giving the place the benefit of the doubt.

3) A couple of days later, I called the store to confirm whether my order was ready for pickup. The following conversation ensued:

Me: I’m just calling to confirm whether my order was ready for pickup.
Adoramapix: It’s not ready for pickup. It’s still pending.
Me: But I was told that it would be ready today.
Adoramapix: Well it’s not ready.
Me: Okay, when will it be ready?
Adoramapix: It takes five to seven business days.
Me: From the date I placed the order?
Adoramapix: Yes.
Me: But I placed the order more than seven business days ago.
Adoramapix: Well, it’s still pending. It should be ready in a couple of days.

At this point, I realized the conversation was going nowhere. I figured they probably put the people who couldn’t quite cut it on the main floor at Adoramapix, because the person I spoke with seemed irritated that I was calling. Okay, maybe she was having a bad day, even though it was on 10a.m. I was still giving the place the benefit of the doubt, despite the fact that the order was late.  It would have been comforting to hear Adoramapix admit the order was late, but I would get no such admission.

4) I went to the store later that day to speak with manager, Morris Freeman. I wanted some assurance that the order was going to be done, particularly since a) an Adoramapix representative said it would be done and it wasn’t and b) the order was past due. Mr. Freeman couldn’t help me because the building where they do all the framing is “a couple of buildings away.” I asked, “Um, maybe you could call them?” He said, “No one picks up over there.” I said, “Okay. What do you want me to do here?” He said, “You can cancel your order or you can come back in a few days. It should be done then.”

I wasn’t going to cancel my order, even though a part of me believed that my order wasn’t even started, so there wasn’t much “canceling” to do. But I was in a good mood and said, “Okay, I’ll come back on Friday.” Mr. Freeman said, “It will be ready by then, for sure.” I said, “That’s what the other person told me.”

5) I came back on Friday and, not to my surprise, the order wasn’t done. It was still “pending.” Now my patience was starting to run a bit thin. The order was already four days past the five to seven business day promise. Mr. Freeman was not available, and none of the two Adoramapix employees had any idea what to do apart from look at a stack of boxes in the back.

6) The following week, I went back and the order was complete. Hallelujah! But when I returned to my office and opened up the box, everything was off. The picture wasn’t securely in the matte. The frame was scratched. The black and white picture I had ordered had a green tint. This is something I would expect from Target or CVS, but not Adorama. Photography is their primary business.

This is the last time I’m ordering from Adoramapix. Perhaps I just had a bad, isolated experience, but I’ve received no apologies, no discounts, nothing from Adoramapix. I’ve spoken with a few of my colleagues who ordered frames from Adoramapix, and they’ve had issues with timely order fulfillment. The bottom line seems to be this: be wary of Adoramapix frameshop, particularly if you are on a schedule, as most normal people are. Adoramapix has been unapologetically inferior in every way. I advise to avoid it until they fix their issues.

There are several other places that will do the same type of work at a much quicker pace, both online and in New York City.

Red Hook Swimming Pool, Brooklyn

2010: Everything in New York City is expensive, and with such cost, you have come to ordinarily expect obnoxious and massive crowds, which 9.9 times out of 10 result in a subpar experience that makes you question why you live here in the first place. Consequently, as a New Yorker, your mind doesn’t have to venture so far to wonder what something free and in Brooklyn would be like.  You think of the worst thing in your life and multiply it by three hundred and ninety nine.  You are then relegated to thinking that quality summer fun without having to spend fees on “memberships” could only be had in the Caribbean, California, Florida, or essentially anywhere else but in this god-forsaken City.

But don’t despair, my cynical New Yorkers.  There are pockets of good to genuine good in the City that makes you believe that not only can the City work, but that government in this damn City could work.  It’s a mind-blowing concept.  And particularly mind-blowing when what we’re talking about here are public pools.

I think even before a dentist, a public pool in New York City is the least likely place that a rational New Yorker would want to visit.  Thoughts of piss and other substances in the pool.  Teenage thugs with wild, rabid pitbulls roaming the deck.  A multitude of painful and violent crimes waiting for those not in the right gang in the locker room.  Just all around unsanitary and unsafe conditions that would even make Kurt Russell in Escape from New York uncomfortable.

Enter Red Hook Swimming Pool, located on 155 Bay Street (between Henry and Clinton Streets), in Red Hook Brooklyn (or to people who just nod but don’t know what the fuck I’m talking about, a fifteen minute walk from Ikea or Fairway Supermarkets [and if you can’t walk for fifteen minutes, really, should you be swimming?]; and to people who don’t know there was either an Ikea or Fairway in Red Hook, or even where Red Hook is, stay in New Jersey, and Hoboken, New Jersey, is still New Jersey).   This is the epitome of New York City government efficiency that puts the more fearful conceivable myths you have about NYC public pools and throws it down the drain.

1)  Is there piss in the pool? No, there’s no piss in the pool.  In fact, the water is extraordinarily clean.  Surprisingly clean.  Amazingly clean.  It doesn’t smell overly like chlorine, like some pools, that are simply compensating for the lead and uranium in their water.  There’s also no crap in the pool.

2) So, the pool, what is it, ten feet by ten feet? The pool seems bigger than an olympic size pool.  No kidding.  You would need a fisheye lens just to get all of it.  I was there on one of the hottest days of the summer so far.  There were about three hundred people in and around the pool.  It did not at all seem crowded.  It took five minutes for me to walk from the locker room to the opposite side of the pool.

3) How many lifeguards? There are lifeguards everywhere.  And they’re professional lifeguards.  Not lifeguards who are just checking out the bodies.  The lifeguards here actually look like they can swim.  They all wear recognizable orange uniforms and carry those floating devices like the ones on Baywatch.

4) It must be a madhouse in and around the pool, right? Wrong.  It kind of has the vibe of a senior citizen’s pool but without the senior citizens.  It’s quiet but not deathly Long Island or Westchester quiet.  It’s respectful.  It has the sounds of summer innocence, when you could play basketball from dawn to dusk without having to worry about drug dealers, where the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue was the most hardcore mainstream media that you saw, and Michael Jordan was still trying to win his first championship.  People are kept in check by the multitude of workers walking around.  There’s also security around the pool.  No music playing.  No shirt wearing in and around the pool unless it’s a white t-shirt.  No smoking.  No bags.  No food.  No drinks.  No shoes (slippers only).  No profanities.  No horseplay.  No diving.  No jumping.  No long pants.  No street clothes.  No bandanas.  No weapons.  No bums.  No crack addicts.

5) Is there a place for kids to swim? The pool doesn’t get any deeper than four feet.  That means Greg Louganis wannabees or those looking to win the next cannonball contest will be nowhere near that pool.  On one end of the pool is for lap swimming.  The other end of the pool is for general swimming.  You know, where people just wade around and bounce around and hide their pasty white and often fat bodies underneath the crystal clear water.  Then there’s a separate gated off section for toddlers.  The water is less than a foot.  There’s sprinklers and lots of colors so that your toddler or newborn can feel comfortable.  And this, too, is big.  It’s not like wading in one of those inflatable pools at a summer picnic in Bayridge or in Rego Park or in Jericho.  This is the real deal.  Most importantly,  if you don’t have a toddler or a newborn, or if you are not a toddler or a newborn, you are NOT getting into this section.

6) Okay, where can I store my stuff? You can’t get in without a lock.  You must bring a lock.  There’s a bodega a few minutes away where you can buy one if you forget to bring one.  The locker rooms are open and airy.  The lockers are square cubby holes and were probably made in the McCarthy era.  But their solid, operational, and unless you have a chainsaw or a degree in the CIA, you’re not getting into these lockers without anyone noticing.  To get to the pool, you have to walk through the locker room.  There are continuous wooden benches that are wide enough to sit or to change your toddler’s diaper without worrying about him or her falling off.  There are locker attendants.  They are not there to offer you towels, because you had to bring your own towel.  They are there to answer your questions, and they do so politely and in English.  The locker room is well lit and well ventilated.  It’s never crowded but never completely empty.  You will feel safe.  The first time you go, you will not believe that you can actually feel safe at a public pool in New York City.

7) Where do I take a shower? There are showers.  After you walk through the locker, you walk through the shower area.  And because nothing is closed off, the showers are open.  Thus, there’s not going to be a lot of privacy in the shower if you decide to take a shower, but then again, you won’t have that trapped feeling like Jason is watching you from a hidden corner ready to slice your throat or well, you saw Oz, right?

8. But the bathrooms.  They must be a disaster, right? If these were the bathrooms at the Hyatt, I’d ask for a refund, but this isn’t the Hyatt.  Then again, it’s miles above the bathroom at Penn Station, and isn’t that bathroom how men’s bathrooms in the City are compared to?  Bottom line is that, like the bathrooms, everything is open (well, the toilet stalls have doors).  This means you will never have that trapped, I’m in a shithole and I can’t escape from that psycho/rapist/voyeur/robber hiding in the shadows.  If you do have that feeling when you walk by the bathrooms, the moment is a fleeting one.  Bottom line is that it’s clean and doesn’t smell.  There’s not much else you can ask for.

9) So how the hell do I get to this place, by helicopter? It’s not as easy as going from your sofa to your kitchen sink, but it’s not difficult like going to City Island or something.

10) How much does it cost to get in? Nothing.  No shit.  Nothing.  You don’t even have to give your name or show your I.D. like you would if you got a library card.

By bus, take the B77 to Lorraine and Clinton.    Walk down Clinton (it’s a big and populated street for Red Hook), and make a right.  A few minutes later and, voila, you’re at the pool.  If you are not near the B77 bus, you can take the B61, which drops you in front of Ikea.  See the instructions below on how to walk to the pool from Ikea.

By subway, take the F or G train to Smith/Ninth Street.  The exit for that station is on Ninth.  Look to your right and go there, because that’s where Smith Street is.  Cross that street, walk to Court Street.  Take a left on Court and keep walking until you reach Bay Street.

By car:  Follow the directions on ‘how to get to Ikea.’  It’s a stone’s throw from there and takes the same route.  You must pass the pool to get to Ikea.  Also, if you don’t drive in Brooklyn, NY-27W or NY-28E is the Prospect Expressway.

By water taxi:  Get it from Pier 11 to Ikea.  Monday through Friday, it’s five bucks each way.  But Saturday and Sunday . . . it’s free.  And that’s probably when you’re going to go to the pool, right?  When you get to Ikea, it takes about a fifteen minute walk to get to the pool.  Or if for whatever reason you don’t like walking (and the walk is a nice and safe walk), there’s a multitude of respectable taxis at Ikea that will take you to the pool for a few bucks).

By Ikea shuttle bus:  Take the F, D, M, or R train to the 4th Ave/Ninth Street station.  Or  take the 2, 3, 4, 5, M, or R train to Court Street/Borough Hall.   There’s a free shuttle bus at these stations (including the one at Smith/Ninth Station) that will take you to IKEA.  Follow the instructions above once you hit Ikea.

Questions:  Call (718) 722-3211 (718) 722-7105.  Believe it or not, someone answers.

Team Geotrax

Team Geotrax, a fisher price production, follows the adventures of train operators and their trains in geotown. I’m not sure if the shows are on television, but you can find it on just about any toddler’s DVD collection. I don’t want to get into the details, but I’ve seen several discs and have come to rather a disturbing conclusion.

Geotrax is a racist show that promotes ethnic stereotypes. Here’s just a look at some of their characters:

Googles & Bunsen: they are the “smartest team”. These guys synchronized all of geotown with some special science they invented when they weren’t reciting the quadratic equation in ten different languages. He wears a lab coat and has glasses. They are white.

Bull & Bruno: they are the “toughest team”. Anything that needs to be carried or delivered, they can do it. If it means lifting thirty pallets of heavy wood, you can bet on Bruno and Bull to finish it singlehandedly. Of couse, as Brutes, they have to get some things wrong. For instance, in one show, there was a horse that was blocking them. They then went back a few feet and went on another track. However, beknownst to everyone but them, the track went around in circles. Bull and Bruno nonetheless kept going around and around, seemingly unaware that they were going in circles as they progressively became dizzier. They are heavily muscled, burly, and use copious amounts of some sticky wet substance to keep Bruno’s Sylvester Stallone haircut in the movie, Lords of Flatbush, in place.

Aero & Eric: they are the “fastest team”. They can run down the rails faster than anyone because they are the only trains that have their technology, although clearly he had nothing to do with it’s creation. In fact, we learn that Goggles & Bunsen created Aero the train. Unlike the other characters, who all seem like at least young men, Aero & Eric are without question boys, and pretty ones no less. His slightly sunbleached hair is effortlessly put together like that guy in High School Musical. He wears what essentially is a very form fitting white and blue one-piece leather motorcycle uniform. They are daring and adventerous. They are white and most likely from southern California.

Sheffeld & Genkins: they are the “most refined team”. They don’t do anything before tea. Sheffeld can make toast and then have it shoot it onto Genkins plate. Genkins wears white cardigans and has a strong English accent. They are white.

Woohoo & Ope: they are the “stupidest team”. Ope has a strong southern accent, looks perhaps inbred, walks like a fool, and is missing a few teeth. In one of the first episodes, they collect wood for the new geotown station by removing the wooden parts of their railroad tracks, causing three train derailments. And then at the end of the show when the station finally opens, they drop the big cake before anyone can eat it. They are white and probably smoke meth at nights between swigs of nighttrain.

Loopy & Loco: they are the “stunt flying team”. They are amazing flyers but they have an issue with keeping on their assignments. They have so much fun that they forget what their assignments were and often jeopardize the the geotrax mission. It’s when they get on the geotrax mission, and focus only on that and not themselves, are they able to succeed and gain acceptance. They are Latin American.

Stanley & Steamer:  they are the “hardest working team.”  My investigation reveals that Stanley’s family was the original capitalist owners of geotrax.  During the episode, “Stanley and Steamer Save The Day,” Stanley remarks that of the machines has “been in the family for years.”  He is an older white character.  He exudes confidence and stability and has that all-American, northeastern feel.  Stanley looks a lot like Nelson Rockefeller when he was younger.  Stanley and Steamer never gets angry and are always emotionally even keeled.  When Woohoo and Ope removed the tracks because they thought they were helping out collecting wood, Stanley calmly said, “It’s okay to make mistakes, as long as you learn from them.”  What a team.

Brutus and Victor: they are the “biggest bullies”. With strong Russian accents and blue and blue and gold imperial wear, they cause havoc to the geotrax team by unplugging the map that geotrax needs to coordinate their movements, puts a huge boulder blocking an important route for geotrax, and even steals cargo. But everytime, his plans, which seemed very creative and evil, fail with the utmost of predictability. Victor, who has a striking resemblance to Joseph Stalin, is white.

There are no women in the show.

There are no African-Americans that have their own trains. I have only seen one African-American on the show. He works with a heavy set white guy. They are maintenance workers who use one of those human powered platforms to move across the tracks. Apparently they don’t have what it tajes to operate real trains. Nor do they have the ability to speak. Everything he says rhymes.

Please write letters to fisher price and let them know that their show has to change.