Q is for queue

The difficulties at my polling place were replicated all over the city.

voters-brave-long-linesThe word queue has several meanings. The first I learned is “a braid of hair worn hanging down behind,” which I swear I learned in an episode of the TV western Bonanza, when someone cut off the queue of a Chinese man, bringing the victim dishonor. When I was growing up, my great aunt Deana and I used the word frequently when we played the board game SCRABBLE.

But the meaning I think of usually is “a file or line, especially of people waiting their turn.” Specifically, I think that line that feeds to several cashiers at the drug store, or clerks at the Department of Motor Vehicles, or tellers at a banker. Though it doesn’t seem to be in the definition, I’ve always distinguished it from “line”, such as what one finds at the grocery store, where I’m always in the longest one.

Generally, I prefer the queue to the line. But when the queue breaks down, I remember.

One time was in 1999, when my new bride and I were flying back from our honeymoon Continue reading “Q is for queue”

Casinos and power stations

The Seneca Niagara Casino, though, did have one interesting aspect; the sign for the upcoming music performers there.

RIGHT across the street from the Sheraton Inn where I stayed in Niagara Falls, NY late last month is this massive Seneca Niagara Casino. I assumed it’s run by the tribe, but I don’t have enough intellectual curiosity to find out. I just don’t enjoy being in them.

My late father, by contrast, LOVED the casinos; I went with him at least once in California. I got stuck waiting for a co-worker to lose $150 at Turning Stone, between Syracuse and Utica, NY.

Back in 1998, there was no casino on the US side of Niagara Falls, so one had to go to the Ontario, Canada side to play. Since there was little else to do, I went along. I was winning on a particular slot machine Continue reading “Casinos and power stations”

Coming back to America

Before you leave Canada on foot, you need to put fifty cents, Canadian or American, in a turnstile.

Picture (c) 2013 by Sam Kandel. Taken 30 Apr 2013
All of our NYS Small Business Development Center offices across the state meet once a year. In late April, the locale was Niagara Falls, NY. I’d visited there a couple years ago with the family, but I had never had a chance to see the Falls from the Canadian side since we had our SBDC conference in NF in 1998. Back then, when a half dozen of us crossed back into the United States, I waved my passport, said, “They’re with me,” and the guy let us all through.

No more. Now when one crosses the border back into the United States, one ought to have a passport, or an enhanced driver’s license, available only in four states thus far – MI, NY, WA, VT) or other specialized forms.

Just before the trip, one of our business advisors e-mailed me that his passport had expired. Could he get into Canada? From all the anecdotal data – as opposed to the official position Continue reading “Coming back to America”

At the Falls!

I find myself in the worst queue I’ve ever been in, worse than the line at JFK customs.

If you do Niagara Falls, you HAVE to do the Maid of the Mist. I think it’s the law; maybe it’s in the Constitution. Or perhaps le Déclaration des droits de l’Homme et du Citoyen.

You take this elevator down to the water level, and you are given a blue piece of plastic that is suppose to serve as a poncho, but really doesn’t keep you dry. Continue reading “At the Falls!”

Off to Niagara Falls

The family went on a two-week vacation, leaving on Saturday, July 30. As noted, this was the very first time I’ve taken off for two weeks from work in over a decade. OK, I was off for a couple weeks when my mom died in February, but that’s a different beast.

The vacation plan was initiated by the Olin international family reunion on August 5-7 in Peterborough, Ontario, Canada. More on that down the road.

We decided to essentially circumnavigate Lake Ontario. We were going to travel from Albany, NY to the Sterling Renaissance Festival in the middle of the state. That, however, would have meant Continue reading “Off to Niagara Falls”