Here Is a Boycott We Can All Support

From here on out, when you see a commercial with a doorbell or someone knocking on the door, please note the product in this thread. If I have one more peaceful moment in the recliner interrupted by a commercial with a doorbell, causing both dogs to jump off my lap and bag me in the process, I’m going to go all Mad Men on someone.

This insanity has got to stop.

111 replies
  1. 1
    Warren Terra says:

    Easy solution: replace your doorbell with something more imaginative. Eventually the dogs won’t associate a stereotypical doorbell tone with visitors.

  2. 2
    Alison says:

    LOL our dog used to go nuts over that too, if it happened during a show. (My parents always mute the commercials.) For some reason, the Law and Order theme music also got him going…he was a weirdo :)

  3. 3
    dollared says:


  4. 4
    p.a. says:

    @efgoldman: aren’t you in RI? That should have no effect whatsoever on your driving.

  5. 5
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @efgoldman: Are haddock a particularly deaf fish?

  6. 6
    NotMax says:

    Don’t click here.

  7. 7
    Omnes Omnibus says:


    I found yelling at the haddock in the fish market doesn’t produce optimal results.

    Whereas yelling at the plaice works like a charm?

  8. 8
    Suzanne says:


    Deaf as a haddock

    I’m going to have to use that one. That’s so ridiculous that it’s charming.

  9. 9
    Helen says:

    Looking at the Newsmax headlines: “Dinesh D’Souza: Liberals Silent on My Indictment”

    No we weren’t. We laughed our asses off.

  10. 10
    srv says:

    We are about to lose another great religious leader:

    The founder of a fundamentalist church known for picketing military funerals and political events with anti-gay signs was excommunicated in 2013 and is near death in a Kansas hospital, his son said on social media on Sunday.

    Rev. Fred Waldron Phelps Sr., who launched the Topeka-based Westboro Baptist Church in the 1950s, “is on the edge of death at Midland Hospice House,” his son, Nathan Phelps, wrote on his Facebook page.

    The younger Phelps, one of several members of the family to have parted ways with the church, also said his father was excommunicated by his own church in August, 2013, but did not say for what reason.

    “I’m not sure how I feel about this,” he said. “Terribly ironic that his devotion to his God ends this way. Destroyed by the monster he made.”

  11. 11
    Schlemizel says:

    Doesn’t your remote have a mute button? Greatest invention since headcheese. When the folks at work start whining about commercials I have to have them tell me what the visuals are & even then I often don’t know wtf they are talking about. mute the damn thing!

  12. 12
    Cassidy says:

    @efgoldman: In Georgia it is not illegal to not make way for emergency vehicles. Fun times in rainy weather.

  13. 13
    p.a. says:

    @efgoldman: does Mass still have no fault? A Boston ex gf told me they don’t stop for minor accidents in city because 1) no fault and 2) 1)+ stopping would cause major traffic Snafu’s.

  14. 14
    Botsplainer says:


    Worse: radio commercials which use sirens/emergency vehicle sounds in the car, while you’re driving.


    Can’t tell you how many time I’ve gazed around stupidly over that.

  15. 15
    NotMax says:

    There are doorbells made with a variety of sounds to choose from. I seem to recall that Arlec doorbells include as one of the built-in sounds the choice of barking dogs.

  16. 16
    opiejeanne says:

    @srv: I know how I feel about it: I hope he meets his maker soon. Emphasis on “his maker”.

  17. 17
    opiejeanne says:

    @NotMax: We bought a replacement doorbell because the one that was here was terrible. The new one came with about a dozen different chimes and the important thing was that you could reprogram it easily.

    That was 3 Hallowe’ens ago and I haven’t been able to change it to anything else once I set it on Adams Family Bell of Doom. It gets a lot of laughs, but I think I’m ready to go back to one of the less distinctive ones.

  18. 18
    NotMax says:


    And is greeted with a big, juicy kiss on the lips? With tongue.

  19. 19
    Violet says:

    You should get a doorbell with a recording of your voice saying something like, “Who’s a good girl, Rosie? Lily? Want to go for a walk?”

  20. 20
    yoohoocthulhu says:

    Hey John,

    Regarding the stool-eating comment a few posts back, you might want to try something like Forbid ( added to the cat food. Assuming your cat tolerates it, it’ll make his feces unappealing for dogs to eat.

  21. 21
    Tara the Antisocial Social Worker says:

    I can’t boycott Domino’s over the doorbell in their commercial (which drives my dogs crazy too). I’m already boycotting them over the fact that their pizza tastes like an overcooked chair cushion.

  22. 22
    Suzanne says:

    @efgoldman: Huh. I have one branch of my family tree from Cornwall, but that one never made it into our lexicon. I like it.

  23. 23
    gnomedad says:


    In Georgia it is not illegal to not make way for emergency vehicles.

    Are you sure? That sounds implausible even in the Confederacy, and according to this, it’s not so. It’s probably OK to shoot at them, though.

  24. 24
    policomic says:

    @efgoldman: YES! Also, horns.

  25. 25
    muddy says:

    My dogs go nuts for doorbell sounds on tv and tires in gravel on tv. We do not have a doorbell and live on a paved street. Ridiculous.

  26. 26
    Cassidy says:

    @gnomedad: Maybe. We were briefed differently during rookie school.

  27. 27
    Suffern ACE says:

    Well there’s this anti- bullying commercial that run on the Cartoon Network that uses the same sound I’ve set my phone to alert me to work email that causes a panic. Does that count? I can’t really boycott the anti-bullies.

  28. 28
    Suzanne says:

    @Cassidy: I had to testify at a trial once against a woman who not only didn’t yield to an ambulance, but hit it while going over 50 mph. Ambulance had a man inside of it who had fallen out of a palm tree and was being rushed to the hospital. The ambulance became airborne and rolled over, and the woman’s car spun out, and she and her two kids were knocked unconscious. I witnessed the wreck and helped get the EMTs out of the destroyed ambulance.

    The woman’s defense in her trial was that she didn’t intend to hit the ambulance and she wasn’t drunk. The judge pretty much laughed at her and pointed out that the statute didn’t require intent or intoxication. Just that she did it. And she admitted to doing it. God. What a dumbass.

  29. 29
    MomSense says:

    @p.a.: @efgoldman:

    Ok, that made me laugh! I miss Boston.

  30. 30
    Helen says:

    @Suzanne: Do you know what some drivers do here in NYC? They get behind the ambulance and follow because then they too can skip the lights. Who’s gonna stop them? Mortifies me every time I see it. Jeez, do they not know what karma is?

  31. 31
    MomSense says:

    I don’t even know what my doorbell sounds like. I live in one of those neighborhoods where people just walk in your door. My dog used to bark at doorbells and cars driving by and now he is retired. He only gets up and off of his bed when my middle son comes in the door. For everyone else he lifts his head and does a quick nod of acknowledgement.

    Oh and I was all in a Spring mood what with sunshine and above freezing temps yesterday and today but suddenly we have been plunged in the deep freeze and will get more snow tomorrow. Make. It. Stop. I can’t take this anymore. I think we may all have weather induced insanity. My 10 year old came into the living room tonight singing “my milkshake brings all the boys to the yard” as Bob Dylan! He could barely finish the chorus he was laughing so hard. Pretty soon we were all laughing hysterically and I’m not sure if it was actually that funny or we are suffering from acute cabin fever.

  32. 32
    MikeJ says:

    @Helen: I learned that trick when I lived in Boston. More with fire trucks than amubuli though. I also once drove three blocks in reverse through the back bay pointed the “correct” way down a one way street. All of this probably has something to do with the fact that I think Seattle drivers are kitty cats[1].

    I tolerate new Simpsons because it has as many laughs per episode as it used to have per minute. Then I want to see Cosmos. Why oh why must they put family guy on in between?

    [1] Or a similar word.

  33. 33
    NotMax says:


    Last trip to NYC included the first time riding on an articulated bus in Manhattan.

    My respect for the skill of the drivers of those is unbounded.

  34. 34
    Culture of Truth says:

    I’m going to go all Mad Men on someone.

    Don’t you mean go all ‘Breaking Bad’ on someone?

  35. 35
    ShadeTail says:

    @Suzanne: That’s not a dumbass. *THAT’S* a dumbass.

  36. 36
    Helen says:

    @MikeJ: Oh come on. We’re (I’m) in NYC. We’re not scared of the word Pussy. Own it, Dude.

  37. 37
    Belafon says:

    @MikeJ: MacFarlane is spending his money on Cosmos, and Fox agreed to run Cosmos because he convinced them.

    Plus, Sagan’s widow, Ann Druyan, is a fan of Family Guy.

  38. 38
    MikeJ says:

    @Belafon: I can’t help it if she has no taste. I won’t pretend that FG is any good just because he made a different show that isn’t as bad as most things on tv.

  39. 39
    Helen says:

    @NotMax: Yeah unbelievable. Here’s Mayor Helen’s NYC driving rules. Only one. No private cars in Manhattan. Only busses and cabs. You want to drive from your Hamptons house to Manhattan? Park in Queens and get a bus. You REALLY want to drive from your Hamptons house to Manhattan? No problem. $500,000 fee per year.

  40. 40
    🍀 Martin says:


    I live in one of those neighborhoods where people just walk in your door.

    Notes that MomSense obviously doesn’t live in Florida.

  41. 41
    Helen says:

    Wow the “P” word put me in moderation. On Balloon Juice. Tunch cried. Steve laughed and laughed and laughed. Rosie and Lily slept.

  42. 42
    BillinGlendaleCA says:

    @Warren Terra: When my cocker was a puppy she barked at the doorbell in our house. We’ve moved twice in the last 5 years and she still barks at the similar sounding doorbell on the TV, even though it sounds nothing like the current residence’s doorbell. So, changing it really doesn’t work.

  43. 43
    MikeJ says:


    You REALLY want to drive from your Hamptons house to Manhattan? No problem. $500,000 fee per year.

    $500k? That’s not unheard of.

  44. 44
    Tyler Forrest says:

    @Warren Terra: We had a doorbell for the first 3 years with our dog. Switched to just a loud door knocker. Our GSP barked at every doorbell on TV for her last 8 years.

  45. 45
    Gex says:

    Casey used to go nuts when he heard a doorbell on the TV. He eventually stopped, I guess he just finally figured out the difference between the way it sounded IRL and how it sounded on TV. Thankfully. I remember being really pissed off by that. Those and the sirens on the radio when I was driving.

    I record my therapy sessions and sometimes listen to them when I am out walking. My therapist is on a busy street so now I’m constantly looking over my shoulder for the cars that sound like they are heading my way when there are no cars around. I’m sure I look weirdly jumpy when that happens.

  46. 46
    MomSense says:

    @🍀 Martin:

    Given the winter we are enduring, Florida doesn’t sound too bad.

  47. 47
    Helen says:

    @MikeJ: That then would be $500,000 per year to drive your car in NYC and then another $1,000,000 to park it.

    Yeah. I can live with that. For those people.

  48. 48
    MikeJ says:

    @Helen: The people who could pay it wouldn;t like it, but it would soon just be another status signifier, like having a house in the Hamptons to begin with. The only people you’re punishing are those who aren’t rich.

  49. 49
    Yatsuno says:


    Also shows up in a list of Nova Scotia folk sayings

    Oh sure. Blame RedKitteh. I see how you are!

  50. 50
    craigie says:

    The younger Phelps, one of several members of the family to have parted ways with the church, also said his father was excommunicated by his own church in August, 2013, but did not say for what reason.

    Isn’t it obvious? Phelps Sr came out. Hoist by his own, you know.

  51. 51
    MikeJ says:


    Cornish fishermen allege that haddock are quite deaf, the reason given being that once upon a time as the devil was fishing a haddock continually carried off his bait which made him so angry that he put his face close to the water, by the fish’s head, and cried, “Ha Dick, I’ll tackle thee yet.”

    The sound broke the drum of the fish’s ears, and he has always been stone deaf ever since, and his name has been Ha Dick or haddock.

    The Icelandic legend is that the devil one day groped in the water till he found a haddock, and gripped it under the breast fin, where ever since a dark stripe can be seen down each side of the fin. In Norway it is called St. Peter’s fish, and the marks on each side of its mouth are believed to show where the Apostle’s finger and thumb touched it when he took from it the piece of money.

  52. 52
    NotMax says:


    Suppose the Holland and Lincoln tunnels could be fitted out as dormitories for the homeless. They sure couldn’t be supported and maintained on toll money from just commercial traffic.

    Would also have to dramatically raise the limit on taxi medallions, which would bring a hefty chunk of the volume of traffic right back.

    Those folks living in Nassau and Suffolk wouldn’t be all too pleased either when it came time to visit Uncle Harry and Aunt Gertrude in NJ.

    Those examples are but a smidgen of the chaos which would ensue.

    Nice pipe dream, but you’d be ex-mayor Helen faster than one can say Jimmy Walker.

  53. 53
    MikeJ says:


    Nice pipe dream, but you’d be ex-mayor Helen faster than one can say Jimmy Walker.

    Sucks to have to pay attention to the voters, doesn’t it? Much easier to do what’s best for them and tell them to fuck off.

  54. 54
    Helen says:

    @MikeJ: Those who aren’t rich do not have cars in manhattan.

  55. 55
    NotMax says:


    Heh. Expect the hundreds of thousands who would need to be displaced when eminent domain is invoked to obtain acreage for parking on the periphery would have something to say, too.

    “Where did we park again? Structure 811, Level Q, Turquoise section, Space 663. Where’s that damned parking field shuttle?”

  56. 56
    MikeJ says:

    @Helen: I used to drive there all the time when I lived in DC.[1] I’m sure my clients didn’t like my daily rate but it put me a long way from “rich”. Lots of people drive into Manhattan without being rich.

    [1] Usually I just drove to NY and then cabbed around.

  57. 57
    Helen says:

    @NotMax: Chaos you say? Yeah – not so sure. We are NY’ers and we adapt.

    The NJ tunnels? Aren’t they run by the PA? And isn’t the PA run by cronies? And brothers? And “hey how’s about some traffic problems in Ft Lee people?” Perhaps we should re-think that?

    And if LI people wanna visit NJ people… Really?..Really? I’m from LI; go to Jersey?? Really??? Anyway, go over the Triboro or the Verazanno. No reason to go through Manhattan.

    But you are right about ex-Mayor Helen. Gawd. I curse too much. Like; every 4th word out of my fucking mouth!.

  58. 58
    NotMax says:


    Any early morning’s saunter to witness the ritual of moving cars to comply with alternate side of the street parking points otherwise.

    Take it you’ve never been through Washington Heights or Inwood in northern Manhattan either.

  59. 59
    NotMax says:


    But you are right about ex-Mayor Helen.

    IIRC, the state constitution contains authority for the governor and legislature to remove mayors and certain other locally elected officials from office.

  60. 60
    burnspbesq says:


    I’m as big a Little Feat fan as the next person, but Los Lobos is the best American rock band ever.

  61. 61
    Helen says:

    @NotMax: I used to live on Overlook terrace, so yeah; I know WH. Many people who drive into or live in Manhattan are not rich. True. But you can get from anywhere in NYC to anywhere else in NYC and especially anywhere else in Manhattan on public transportation.

    I suppose what I am saying is this: There are (or should be) certain sacrifices that you make when you live in a city of 9,000,000 people. And one of those sacrifices should be transportation. And if you do not want to make that sacrifice; you should pay dearly for it.

    Or you can move to the sticks. An drive and drive and drive the crap out of your car.

  62. 62
    🍀 Martin says:

    @Helen: They should just keep drilling and connect the Queens Midtown to the Lincoln tunnel. Connect Brooklyn-Battery to Holland. Split GWB between Major Deegan and Cross Bronx. Problem solved.

    In Manhattan, close half the traffic lanes on avenues and turn them over to bikes and pedestrians, close half the streets to cars. The total assessed value of Manhattan streets is about $50B. Open up the sidewalks and closed streets to outdoors spaces and select business (restaurant patios, that kind of thing). $50B is a hell of a lot to give away. Worse if you have to dump a bunch of tax money maintaining it.

  63. 63
    The Dangerman says:

    @Warren Terra:

    Easy solution: replace your doorbell with something more imaginative.

    Perhaps we can all pitch in and buy a doorbell with Cole’s voice saying “walkies”. Hey, he has to get up and answer the door anyway.

  64. 64
    NotMax says:


    NYC’s total population (all 5 boroughs) is about 8#189; million.

    Manhattan’s resident population is about 1½ million (roughly the same as all of Philadelphia).

    Commuters raise the number of people out and about in Manhattan to over double that during the regular work week.

    Guess as I kept a car on the street when I was living in midtown Manhattan, I was rich. Who knew?

  65. 65
    James E. Powell says:


    Your talking jam bands, right? Because if you are talking rock bands neither of those two are in the top ten.

  66. 66
    NotMax says:


    Coding error. 8½ million is the number for all of NYC.

  67. 67
    Suffern ACE says:

    Man, I leave this blog alone for 1 hour, and the next thing I know, someone is charging me a hell of a lot of money to take in dinner and a show on the weekend.

  68. 68
    Helen says:

    @🍀 Martin: What? Seriously; not sure what you are saying. We are talking about cars in Manhattan. Are you saying that without the cars, the economic activity would diminish? What does “assessed value” mean and why do we have to give that away?

    Also your first paragraph – yes I agree. If only we had the political will (meaning money) to do that. No kidding.

  69. 69
    Helen says:

    @NotMax: Yeah 8 1/2 million is what the census counts. With others, it is 9,000,000. But no matter. In such a big city 500,000 is a rounding error. Not sure you and I disagree.

  70. 70
    Suffern ACE says:

    Of course, compared to the 60s and 70s, today’s nyc traffic is nothing. It seems like banning cars in Manhattan is solving a non problem.

  71. 71
    🍀 Martin says:

    @Helen: What I’m saying is that 25% of Manhattan’s acreage is devoted to cars. And that isn’t used equally by the public (other than the sidewalks). The land value of the roads is about $50B. Private drivers aren’t charged for that use of that land, and taxpayer dollars are used to maintain that land.

    So what I’m saying is that the freeloading drivers should be kicked off the streets, the streets opened up to the public and to limited business use – allow restaurants to expand (uncovered) seating out into that space, things like that. Buses and cabs are used more broadly and there is a mechanism to recover street maintenance costs from them. Eliminating all parking in the city would open up even more space and make it easy for businesses to be serviced. It’d be an economic benefit to the city.

  72. 72
    Helen says:

    @Suffern ACE: No. Just come park at my house. In Queens. And take the E train; only $2.50.

  73. 73
    Anne Laurie says:

    @Suzanne: Did the patient survive? Because this happened recently, here in MA:

    MILFORD — A woman accused of running a stop sign and causing a fatal ambulance crash Tuesday is expected to face criminal charges that include motor vehicle homicide by negligent operation, according to the Worcester district attorney’s office said Wednesday.

    A patient riding in the back of the ambulance was killed after the driver of the car clipped the ambulance, causing it to overturn…

    The driver — Lisa Zemack, 61, of Framingham — will probably be ordered to appear in Milford District Court at a later date, prosecutors said. She has three prior citations for speeding, in 1990, 1995, and 2005, said Michael Verseckes, spokesman for the state Department of Transportation. The lights were off, and no one answered the door at an address listed for her.

    A surveillance video of the crash shot by a stationary camera at the Domino’s Pizza across the street appears to show a Mercedes-Benz running a stop sign at the intersection of Green Street and clipping the back of the ambulance, which was heading west on Route 140, said Milford police…

    Scott was being transported from a dialysis appointment to a Northbridge nursing center, police said.

    Don’t think Zemack has been arraigned yet, but it wouldn’t surprise me if she argues that driving a Benz gives one the right to ignore stop signs.

  74. 74
    NotMax says:


    Not to get all snippy, but 500,000 is 5½% of 9 million. Five-and-a-half per cent is hardly a rounding error.

    Trivia: 2014 is the 100th anniversary of the creation of The Bronx as a separate county.

  75. 75
    Suzanne says:

    @Anne Laurie: From what I heard, he survived, but was grievously injured. I don’t know the extent. But when I saw him, let’s just say that I had nightmares for a few days afterward.

    And that is why I did not pursue a career in medicine.

  76. 76
    🍀 Martin says:

    @Suffern ACE: Without private cars, the city could develop a proper street-level transit solution. The 2nd ave subway is budgeted at $1.7B per kilometer. Chicago’s projected cost for their Bus Rapid Transit expansion is $13M per mile. For the $3.5B proposed for 2nd ave, Manhattan (with no private cars) could put a street level system that would cover the entire island, be just as fast, and be cheaper to operate.

  77. 77
    Suffern ACE says:

    @🍀 Martin: drivers are charged. We pay taxes on gasoline. We pay taxes on parking spaces. You may think we aren’t charged enough, but to say there aren’t special taxes and fees on cars in New York is not true.

    I guess what you’re trying to say is “thank goodness those cars have forced manhattan to build wider streets than they would have otherwise so the pedestrians can get some sun”

  78. 78
    Helen says:

    @NotMax: Oh no not snippy. I would never think of you as snippy. But when you are talking about those not counted, as in “illegals” yes it is a rounding error.

  79. 79
    Helen says:

    @🍀 Martin: I agree, Sir. When I first read your post I thought you were being satirical. You are an urban economist. My Master’s degree is and MPA from Columbia. My mentor’s mentor was Williams Vicarrs (sp?) the transportation guy. You know of him, yes?

  80. 80
    Ian says:

    That’s a sweeping generalization for 8 million+ people.

  81. 81
    NotMax says:


    When living out in Queens Village (after fleeing a Manhattan apartment) and taking bus and then subway to commute to work in Manhattan, it took between 90 minutes and 2 hours each way under normal conditions. (Remember one particular winter evening when it took over 5 hours, and had to then trudge the last couple of miles because the bus stopped part way through its route and the driver announced we were all getting off right there.)

    On a good day, the same drive into midtown could be made in 25 minutes.

    That kind of stuff figured prominently in the decision to move away.

  82. 82
    Anne Laurie says:

    @Suzanne: Sorry — I shouldn’t have been snide. Can assure you, though: Every bad thing you’ve heard about Boston drivers is true… although possibly not strong enough.

  83. 83
    Aleta says:

    I wonder…if you had someone stand outside and ring your doorbell, and if at the beginning of the sound you gave them each a thimbleful of cheese on your lap; and repeat; and repeat … if they would eventually stick around when they heard the bell. Or at least salivate on you before leaping.

  84. 84
    Suzanne says:

    @Anne Laurie: you were fine, I didn’t take you as snide. That was just one of those life’s horrors, you know? One of the EMTs was also severely injured, and the poor dude who had fallen out of a palm tree and then had his ambulance roll over—all before 9 am on a Saturday—looked like dog food. That’ same bad fuckin’ day.

  85. 85
    Helen says:

    @NotMax: Yeah that’s kind of my point. In Queens Village you lived, effectively in the suburbs. 3 more miles east you would have paid $10,000 a year (or more) in property taxes. What you gave up, was your time. And I apologize for not being clear. I live in Forest Hills. It takes me 50 minutes each way every day to go 5?? miles to Manhattan. And it costs $2.50. I give up my time for commuting relatively cheaply. But I get on the subway on their time, on their route, on their schedule. And if you or I chose to live in a big city, that is our sacrifice.

  86. 86
    NotMax says:


    Nice things about Queens Village were the abundance of street parking, incredibly quiet streets with mature trees shading them, the mix of private houses and apartments, and the positively gargantuan floor space of my apartment compared to the shoebox in noisy Manhattan.

    Entire 2-bedroom cottage have lived in here for over 30 years is about the same square footage as just the living room of the Queens apartment. :)

    For whatever irrational reason, when I resided there the LIRR skipped the Queens Village stop during rush hours. Never quite grokked that.

  87. 87
    🍀 Martin says:


    You are an urban economist.

    Nah, I’m just insatiably curious about things and I read instead of watching TV. And I used to live in NY, so I’m familiar with the situation. But I just love learning stuff like this, and I work with a number of transportation economists, and asking them hypotheticals about stuff like this always lights them up at lunch.

  88. 88
    Suffern ACE says:

    @🍀 Martin: but it isn’t the private cars that prevent that. There actually were elevated trains on both 2nd and third avenues until the 1940s. Those weren’t removed to make way for cars. Those were removed because elevated trains going through certain neighborhoods was not acceptable. Cars get the blame, but are surface trains any more popular with east siders than they were then? You could close off 2nd avenue and those east siders would still want you to build underground.

  89. 89
    opiejeanne says:

    @NotMax: Ha!

  90. 90
    Helen says:

    @NotMax: Sooooo funny you mentioned the LIRR. I was gonna mention that as a positive, “hey you had the LIRR too, right?” but I grew up on LI and the LIRR is NEVER a positive!!! And definitely never rational!!

  91. 91
    NotMax says:

    @Suffern ACE

    Minor correction, in that the majority of the Third Avenue El in Manhattan was closed in the 1950s. In upper Manhattan and into the Bronx, the rest of what had been the Third Avenue El was not fully shut down until the 1970s.

  92. 92
    Helen says:

    @🍀 Martin: Do not disparage your knowledge. You definitely have a clue. Dr.Vicars was the father of congestion pricing (of which I am a big proponent) and he wrote many papers about the problem of busses in NYC driving right behind each other. The first bus full; the next bus empty. He loathed schedules for busses. I loved his theories; because they were practical. And I am nothing if I am not a practical girl!

  93. 93
    NotMax says:


    Yeah. Going from faulty memory here, but the weekday schedule listed trains into Manhattan which stopped at Queens Village station at like 5:44 a.m. and then nothing until 9:17. Similar mysterious gap in service going the other way in the late afternoon/evening.

    On the subject of LIRR, am old enough to remember the railroad crossing had to traverse on the walk to and from school (this was in Nassau County), the gates of which were manually operated by a grizzled gentleman wearing greasy overalls who would dart out of his little shed to raise and lower them.

  94. 94
    🍀 Martin says:

    @Suffern ACE: Elevated rail presents a different set of downsides, not least of which is that they’re noisier and block sunlight to pedestrians. And they’re both expensive and inflexible.

    BRT is like a hybrid between street light rail and buses. It has greater flexibility than light rail because you can reconfigure the network at minimum cost. Consider the cost of having to change the route of an El line, or of a subway? For BRT it’s little more than restriping and reprogramming the lights, possibly building new street level stops (which cost about the same as a street light rail stop). BRT requires dedicated lanes (hence the need to eliminate private cars – Manhattan just doesn’t have the road capacity to dedicate lanes) and signaling to favor the buses. Stops are level grade (like trains) as you board from a raised platform and tickets are purchased before entering the stop, rather than on the bus itself, like light rail. So you get the benefits of street light rail with much of the flexibility and implementation costs of buses.

    The buses are clean and relatively quiet – most are now nat gas. They could be fuel cell for additional cost. They could be electric a little down the road with induction charging at stations. They don’t block sunlight and have a very small footprint compared to elevated rail, but larger than subways.

    NYC has never seen BRT nor has the public every really considered it to my knowledge. But its working well elsewhere in the US and around the world. And I don’t think you can take the lessons of Robert Moses and apply them today. Manhattan is a very different place for many reasons.

  95. 95
    NotMax says:

    @🍀 Martin

    One has to keep in mind too that the many of the Manhattan elevated lines were existing infrastructure which were refitted for electrification, having been built to carry steam engines up above street level to mitigate the obvious problems such engines present with frequent passage while traveling at grade.

  96. 96
    Helen says:

    @🍀 Martin: The elevated trains on 2nd Ave were taken down and the residents lied to about how a new subway would be built underground. That was in 1929. The new subway (or at least a portion of it) will be complete in 2016. YAY?

    Interesting about over-ground light rail. No you could not do it in NYC. Too many cars. You would think. This goes back to when I said NYC is very adaptable. The first time I was in Dublin was 1991. Lots of traffic. In fact I called it (and kind of still do) “NY, but with the accents and double-decker busses”. Very busy and crowded. About 12 years ago they installed light rail throughout the main parts of the city. There are, I think, 3 lines. And they work wonderfully. The Dubliner’s have adapted. They stopped driving where the light rail is. Also, just as an aside. There are no conductors on the light rail. You are expected to buy a ticket. It is the honor system. Imagine of they did that here? BWA HA HA. But it works there.

    ETA: If you want to read the best book ever about the NYC subway system read “Subway Lives” by Jim Dwyer, a NY Daily News writer. You will be transfixed.

  97. 97
    NotMax says:

    @Helen – @🍀 Martin

    The event that convinced Manhattan* to undertake serious effort to create underground subways was the Blizzard of 1888.

    The condition of things was little, if any, better on the Second and Third avenue divisions than on the west side. The condition at Seventy-sixth street brought about an immediate suspension of traffic on Third avenue but for two or three hours after it occurred there were blockades at the south, especially along the Bowery. It was discovered early in the day that any attempt to run trains to South Ferry would result in forming solid blockade south of Chatham square; and about noon they were notified that no trains would be run below Grand street. At irregular intervals, however, trains were dispatched from the City Hall station, but passengers were warned that they might not be able to get any further than Chatham square.

    After the middle of the day there was no attempt made to run trains to the north on Third avenue, but the stations were besieged with people who wanted to get back to Harlem or to the Thirty-fourth street ferry, or to the Grand Central depot. Importunate passengers who hunted up Train Dispatcher Carroll of the City Hall station were informed that their only chance for getting to Harlem was to walk to the Grand street station of the Second avenue division, whence trains would be sent north at intervals of “when they could.”
    …Mr. Carroll’s word was nearly correct. No stops were made on most of the trains short of Thirty-fourth street, and a howling mob of disappointed ticket-buying patrons was left on the platforms of the more southern stations. Even when stops were made it was only to let passengers off, and the engineer drew the trains to points several rods from the platform, so that passengers had to get down to the narrow walk alongside the rail and walk back. There was often an interval of forty-five minutes between trains on Second avenue going up town, although the down trains ran more frequently.
    A reporter of THE SUN, who had an early assignment requiring his presence in the lower part of the city, had what seemed to him a very unpleasant experience of elevated rapid transit under the conditions of yesterday, but it was one that was shared by at least 50,000 other New Yorkers at the same time. He reached the Eighteenth street down-town station on Sixth avenue a little after 8 o’clock A. M. No train was in sight, and he was told that “no train had come down for thirty-five minutes,” and “none had gone up for a h—of a while.”… Source

    Fascinating page to read in full, actually.

    *(Brooklyn was similarly affected, but was a separate city not a part of New York City at that time.)

  98. 98
    🍀 Martin says:


    Do not disparage your knowledge.

    I don’t, but I’m not formally trained is what I’m getting at. So, I know a bit here and there, with huge gaps. So, don’t assume too much.

    What I really have going for me is that I have a fair bit of experience at systems modeling in other areas, so it’s not a huge leap to take those lessons and apply them here. I spend a lot of time arguing that the conventional solutions (those that look backward) are ineffective or expensive and that new options now exist that are cheaper/better. Everyone is always afraid of breaking things, never considering that they might already be broken. And they don’t give the public enough credit to optimize your solution in ways you never intended. Mostly you just need to give them the information they need, and that’s usually where these things fail – poor communication.

    SFPark couldn’t have worked a decade ago. The payment solutions weren’t there nor were the mechanisms to inform the public of the pricing before they embarked. Demand pricing only does what it’s supposed to if you know your cost before you leave, so you can pick an alternative. Google map mashups and smartphones provide the infrastructure needed to inform the public. So, now it can be done. And I love the solution for that reason.

  99. 99
    Helen says:

    @🍀 Martin:

    Everyone is always afraid of breaking things, never considering that they might already be broken.

    Yes. And Dublin Ireland, which was a Viking settlement, and only became an independent country in 1922 (wow did I bypass mega history there or what!!) was like, light rail??? really? In 2004. (see my 101). They had no idea transportation was broken. And when it was “fixed” they embraced it.

    Also – a very simple explanation is that people hate and fear change.

  100. 100
    Suffern ACE says:

    @Helen: maybe when New York is as old as Dublin, it can solve its transit issue. Until then, my trip in to the city is controlled by two commuter unfriendly state governors. The one in New Jersey, famous for canceling a rail tunnel project. And the one in New York who is building a 2 billion dollar bridge without a rail link because he’s concerned about cost. Outside of the city, no one likes commuters who take public transit.

    Ban cars-we’ll adjust. Yeah. Sure. The various governments and authorities move so swiftly whenever commuters need infrastrure built, it is amazing.

  101. 101
    raven says:

    Wagstaff: Well, what is the password?

    Baravelli: Oh no, you gotta tell me! (pause) Hey, I tell you what I do…I give you three guesses…It’s the name of a fish…

    Wagstaff: Is it Mary?

    Baravelli: Ha, ha! Atsa no fish!

    Wagstaff: She isn’t? Well, she drinks like one. Let me see…Is it sturgeon?

    Baravelli: Hey, you’re crazy! A sturgeon, he’s a doctor cuts you open whena you sick. Now I give you one more chance.

    Wagstaff: I got it! Haddock!

    Baravelli: Atsa funny, I gotta haddock too.

    Wagstaff: What do you take for a haddock?

    Baravelli: Well now, sometimes I take aspirin, sometimes I takea calomel.

    Wagstaff: Say, I’d walk a mile for a calomel.

    Baravelli: You mean chocolate calomel. I like that too, but you no guess it. (Slams door. Wagstaff knocks again. Baravelli opens the peephole again.) Hey, whatsa matta? You no understand English? You can’t come in here unless you say swordfish! Now, I give you one more guess.

    Wagstaff: (thinking) Swordfish…swordfish…I think I got it! Is it swordfish?

    Baravelli: Ha! That’s it! You guess it!

  102. 102
    Gindy51 says:

    I’m so glad I have a deaf dog.

  103. 103
    Svensker says:

    Radio ads with sirens. Great for when you’re driving in heavy city traffic.

  104. 104
    Brother Shotgun of Sweet Reason says:

    a) You don’t fast-forward through commercials? b) If you’re watching in real time, you don’t mute the commercials?

  105. 105
    Craig says:

    @Warren Terra: This turns out not to be the case. Or at least, “eventually” is liable to be longer than the dog’s expected lifetime. We’ve lived in a house for years without a doorbell, and one of the hounds still loses her mind when she hears one on the televsion.

  106. 106
    Sondra says:

    My cat is the same. He is a rescue cat and whenever he hears our doorbell ring he freaks out. He used to freak out at those commercials too: I admit I thought they were my doorbell too for awhile as they sound alike.
    He is sort of getting desensitized to the commercial, but whatever terrible thing he associates with that bell, is still very much there and I am right behind him.

  107. 107
    kindness says:

    Hey John. Do you have Pink Floyd’s disc Animals? What do your kids do when you play that? Do they go searching for the other dogs? That would be a fun video for you to show us.

  108. 108
    J R in WV says:

    Our dogs go crazy when they hear another dog barking on a TV show.

    We got home yesterday after a nice visit to SE Arizona. On the way back home to WV we rolled the F-350 on I-25. Friends in Pueblo rescued us from Las Vegas NM, and we bought another truck (F-250) in Pueblo last week to drive home in.

    Uneventful trip after that. No one injured seriously in the rollover, but really great truck was a total loss. New F250 a gasoline powered model, nice, but I miss the whoosh of putting the diesel throttle down and reaching warp speed in seconds.

    Got home and it was like spring, then today it’s like mid-winter!

  109. 109
    JR says:

    Can’t you just change your door chime to something like “Dixie” or “Close to You”?

  110. 110
    NCSteve says:

    Hear fucking hear. I have had my fill of rear-foot clawings from Cat A frantically jumping off me and running to hide from monsters, Cat B jumping off me to see who has come to pet and adore her and Cat C running to assume a prudent midpoint between A and B, prepared to demand attention or hide depending on whether the visitor is a human or a monster.

  111. 111

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